Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 26th, 2008

The complexity of the placebo effect

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New Scientist has a fascinating article on the placebo effect. From the article:

First, we established my pain scale by determining the mildest current I could feel, and the maximum amount I could bear. Then Colloca told me that, before I got another shock, a red or a green light would appear on the computer screen.

A green light meant I would receive a mild shock. A red light meant the shock would be more severe, like the jolt you get from an electric fence. All I had to do was rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10, mild to severe.

After 15 minutes – and what seemed like hundreds of shocks – the experiment ended with a series of mild shocks. Or so I thought, until Colloca told me that the last series of shocks were all severe.

I had felt the electric fence jolts as a series of gentle taps on the arm because my brain had been conditioned to anticipate low pain whenever it saw a green light – an example of the placebo effect.

And this:

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Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2008 at 8:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

How Conservatives have undermined US security

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Samantha Power, the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School, has written a long and informative review of two books that take stock of the impact Conservatism has had on our country’s security. Well worth reading. The review begins:

Since the Vietnam War the Republican Party has developed a reputation for having a superior approach to national security. Americans have long trusted the views of Democrats on the environment, the economy, education, and health care, but national security is the one matter about which Republicans have maintained what political scientists call “issue ownership.”

Partly, this is for particular historical reasons. President Eisenhower initiated US involvement in Vietnam, and President Nixon escalated the war in 1969 and kept US troops on the ground in a manifestly unwinnable mission until 1975. But John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were tagged as the primary culprits. President Carter was widely seen as having bungled the Iran hostage rescue mission and having responded ineffectually to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Although he substantially increased US military spending, he was never forgiven for his claim that Americans had “an inordinate fear of communism.”

President Reagan of course did more than any other person to entrench the Republican reputation for toughness on national security. He ran his election campaign against Carter’s apparent softness, brought the Iran hostages home upon taking over the White House, nearly doubled the US military budget, invaded tiny Grenada, and staged covert operations throughout Latin America and beyond. Many “Reagan Democrats” crossed party lines precisely because they saw him as more able to confront Communist threats, and the fall of the Berlin wall confirmed their view.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2008 at 8:11 am

Posted in GOP, Government

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Lime today

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Castle Forbes Lime shaving cream today, and its usual great lather produced with the Rooney Style 3 Size 1 Super Silvertip. I used the Vision and Black Beauty again, and today tried the two-pass shave: first across the grain, then against the grain. It works okay, but I prefer the three pass: a more gradual stubble reduction.

Aftershave was Royall Lyme, and I’m off for coffee.

Written by Leisureguy

26 August 2008 at 7:23 am

Posted in Shaving

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