The Most Hazardous Species: Us?
Richard Wrangham: I think that I'm still very bothered by the fact that humans have not taken on board the degree to which we are a dangerous species. There's a very wide sense that -- the default conditions for humans is if no bad person comes along we'll all live in peace together. I'm kept up at night by the notion that that's a dangerous concept because it underestimates the propensity for things going wrong. And I'm hoping that, just as more and more people understand evolutionary theory and where we come from and be real about us in that way, more and more people will appreciate that we do have to take into account our aggressive propensities because when you do that, then you can design a safe world. Then you can recognize when danger is coming. So, just as people do recognize that men are dangerous as potential rapists and we take back the night and we don't allow people to have dark areas in cities where it's simply foolhardy for young women to walk alone. So life is safer if we recognize the dangers and anticipate them. And that way we've got a great future.
Question: How do we recognize that?
Richard Wrangham: Well in the same way that we are doing now. I mean, look what happened in Kenya in 2008. There was a contested election and something like 2,000 people died. And that could have turned into a Rwandan genocide. But actually there was huge intervention, and it was resented by the President of Kenya, but people slowly came in with a single voice and said, look, we recognize a tremendous danger here, we really care. They worked for an intense couple of months in particular, and what happens is, you end up with the President and the Prime Minster from the rival parties and they're working together. It doesn't mean that peace will always happen there, there may be further conflicts. But people are sensitive now to the dangers. And that's what I think is really important.
Humans have not acknowledged the degree to which we are a dangerous species. Life is safer if we recognize the dangers and anticipate them.
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Air pollution up to five times over the EU limit in Central London hotspots
- Dirty air is an invisible killer, but an effective one.
- This map visualises the worst places to breathe in Central London.
The Great Smog of 1952
Invisible, but still deadly
Image: MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images
London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Image: Transport for London
ULEZ phases 1 and 2, and LEZ
- Mr Khan has pledged to spend £800 million on air quality over a five-year period.
- Uber fares will rise by 15p (20¢) to help drivers buy electric cars.
- By October 2021, the ULEZ will expand to cover a greater part of Central London.
Central London's worst places for breathing
Heathrow (bottom left on the overview map) is another pollution hotspot
Image: Mike Malone, CC BY SA 4.0
Traffic congestion on London's Great Portland Street
As bad as Delhi, worse than New York
Image: Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
By some measures, London's air quality is almost as bad as New Delhi's.
Google joins fight against air pollution
Image: laszlo-photo, CC BY SA 2.0
Elephant & Castle, London.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
It works better than other memorization techniques.
- Drawing something that you want to remember is more effective than using other memory techniques
- For older people with dementia or Alzheimer's, drawing stores memories in still-intact regions of the brain
- Even if you're terrible at drawing, it's the neurological underpinnings that make it worth a try
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