Us against them: why some countries supply more ISIS fighters than others

About 30,000 fighters from at least 85 countries have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as of December 2015.Some have argued that economic poverty is linked to ISIS recruitment. Yet,although the great majority of ISIS recruits come from the Middle East and the Arab world, many foreign fighters also come from Western nations, including most members of the European Union, as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Authors Benmelech and Klor have found in the data something much more interesting. They argue that countries with a lot of homogeneity will supply more ISIS fighters than countries with more immigrants. 

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Women can compete as much as men when the reward benefits one’s children.

Every human face intra sexual competition. Since we adopted monogamy, male and female must compete between themselves to attract potential mates. A lot of the evolutionary literature has been dedicated to find how intra sexual competition differ between each sex. One main consensus among studies, though, is that female have a lower desire to compete than men, which is why so few of them are found in top-ranking professional positions.

Yet, most studies have used cash rewards to mesure competitive traits. This is a huge bias since we know that women find attractive the ability to get resources. This makes money reward probably more important for men who want to show of their value and their ability to be good providers. On the other hand, we might expect women to be as much competitive, if not even more, when it’s time to secure resources for their offspring. 

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Environmental forecasts are ”laughably ridiculous” if they don’t take into account technological innovation

This is a very interesting article by an environmental social scientist named Adam Dorr. He argues that any environmental prediction has no worth if it doesn’t consider technological innovation. He makes a comparison with Regional Transporation Plans of major US cities like Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco which try to plan and forecast for the next 40 years but do not include any discussion about autonomous vehicles, which make them ‘laughably’ unrealistic to say the least. 

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The Yuck factor or why so many people feel disgusted about technology

beefWhen speaking about growing food in a lab or artificial intelligence, many people close to me get afraid and “feel” that we, as a race, probably got too far with science.  This is the same feeling we face when patients refuse to take meds and prefer to take homeopathy or other “natural remedies”. This feeling of disgust against everything “unnatural” is perceived as an intuitive wisdom for some writers. This feeling is named the Yuck Factor.

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