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> This is one thing I never understood. Why is it implemented that way - in 
> all other programming languages (that I know) variables in 
> subroutines/functions are automatically local. Is there a reason, why it 
> is implemented the other way round? 

It's mainly because of the original goal of Lua: to be used as a
configuration language, where data to be set must then be read by
some other code.