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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.
Lapiedra et al. report on the effect of selection pressure by predators on curiosity. The main predator endangering humans is other humans and curiosity and preparedness to risk failure are the main drivers of science. Several thousand years are quite sufficient for natural selection to yield observable results. So it's quite possible that political stability and personal safety versus factionalism and continuous tribal warfare are strong drivers behind the large observable differences in scientific productivity between world regions.
Reading Segal I find, that my brilliant and original finding of Napoleon and the French Revolution being prophesied by Daniel may not be correct after all. What a blow.
Chen & Rohla's results are quite telling. There is a well documented tendency of the political left towards intolerance and totalitarianism. For them there are no differing opinions but only correct versus wrong and evil ways of thinking. Chen & Rohla's results are given in a two person form, there are the host and the guest. It is a plausible assumption, though, that the host's opinion represents the majority of those present. Then we see two results:
One, left leaning persons refuse to visit a family of a predominantly different point of view while right leaning ones are more tolerant and value family, being prepared to leave politics by the side. Secondly, once being there, left leaning guests are made welcome and can enjoy their visit while right leaning ones get harassed and lectured, feel uncomfortable, and leave early. The reluctance to visit relatives of politically divergent views is heightened by strong advertising in the traveller's home region, but again right leaning people are far less affected than left leaning ones. Unfortunately the effect of advertising on hosts and their hospitality is not reported.
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