Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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The Role of Crowds in Innovation

Super interesting article over at LiveScience that outlines the role of population density in innovation:

The researchers ran computer simulations of different population densities, grouping humans into subpopulations that migrated. The model revealed that at a certain subpopulation density there was an accumulation of ideas and skills. To figure out whether this phenomenon of skill-sharing was real, the team used genetic data to estimate population sizes in different regions at different times. Sure enough, when the critical population density was reached or there was a certain degree of migration between subgroups there was also archaeological evidence of modern human behavior.

It’s especially interesting to think about in terms of what drives evolution. Last year I referenced a paper I had read about how humans evolved because of tools, rather than evolved and then were able to use them. Could these large groups actually have driven human brain development?

June 8, 2009