(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘placebo

“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”*…


Drug companies have a problem: they are finding it ever harder to get painkillers through clinical trials. But this isn’t necessarily because the drugs are getting worse. An extensive analysis of trial data has found that responses to sham treatments have become stronger over time, making it harder to prove a drug’s advantage over placebo…

Bad, good, or simply confusing news? Decide for yourself at Nature.

* Salvador Dalí


As we take the red pill, we might recall that it was on this date in 1814 that London suffered “The Great Beer Flood Disaster” when the metal bands on an immense vat at Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery snapped, releasing a tidal wave of 3,555 barrels of Porter (571 tons– more than 1 million pints), which swept away the brewery walls, flooded nearby basements, and collapsed several adjacent tenements. While there were reports of over twenty fatalities resulting from poisoning by the porter fumes or alcohol coma, it appears that the death toll was 8, and those from the destruction caused by the huge wave of beer in the structures surrounding the brewery.

(The U.S. had its own vat mishap in 1919, when a Boston molasses plant suffered similarly-burst bands, creating a heavy wave of molasses moving at a speed of an estimated 35 mph; it killed 21 and injured 150.)

Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery


Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 17, 2015 at 1:01 am

Placebos for the drug-free…

From Futility Closet:

In most elevators installed since the early 1990s, the “close door” button has no effect. Otis Elevator engineers confirmed the fact to the Wall Street Journal in 2003.

Similarly, many office thermostats are dummies, designed to give workers the illusion of control. “You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat,” said Illinois HVAC specialist Richard Dawson. “Guess what? They quit calling you.”

In 2004 the New York Times reported that more than 2,500 of the 3,250 “walk” buttons in New York intersections do nothing. “The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on.”

TotH to Slashdot (from whence, the photo above).

As we press ahead anyway, we might recall that it was on this date in 1918 that an Armistice was declared, ending World War One. The conflict, which was triggered by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, had involved almost 70 million military personnel, and had direct economic costs estimated at $232 trillion.  8.5 million died during the conflict; 21 million were wounded; and there were 7.5 million prisoners & missing.  Aftereffects included the devastation of the European (especially the German) economy that contributed to the outbreak of the second round of the conflict (aka “World War Two”), and the creation of health problems that included the worldwide influenza epidemic that had killed 22 million by 1920.

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme (source)


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