Of course, if the experimental vaccine is effective, then we should be keeping people from dying and we don't need a control group. But this is an unwarranted assumption: we don't know yet if the exerimental vaccine is effective -- this is what we are trying to determine, and we won't have the answer until after the experiment.
You say "we already know the death rate of ebola through empirical observation", but the death rate depends on many variables. For example, health-care workers probably have better habits than the average person, but they are exposed to Ebola more than the average person. Suppose after the vaccine we see a lower death rate. Are we sure this is due to the vaccine? Perhaps the workers who got the vaccine were from volunteers from Sweden, and Swedish people are more resistant to Ebola? The point of randomized trials is exactly to account for any known and unknown effects of this type by randomly choosing who gets the treatment and who doesn't among a reasonably uniform population. This way the people who get and don't get the treatment differ statistically only in the experimentally tested property, and we can have some confidence any observed effects are due to the treatment.
Cotton is an extremely water-intensive crop. Until quite recently it was pushed on developing economies as an "export crop" for industrialized agriculture, replacing local food prodcution. This has generally been a disaster. For water-poor countries, growing cotton for export amounts to exporting expensive water to water-rich countires.
Diverting water for agriculture simply makes no sense. It is cheaper and more efficient to import the end product.
ZMapp is not a mass-produced medication. It is an experimental treatment. Calling it "scarce" gives entirely the wrong impression -- it is amazing that it is available for clinical use at all.
It's certainly worth it to produce ZMapp in significant quantities -- people would rather take an untested drug than try to survive Ebola -- but there is no "scarcity" here. Perhaps if many people wish to try it we'll have a better idea if it actually works.
For wide adoption there needs to be a full market around electric vehicles: opportunities to build charging stations, sell home charging equipment and so on. Gas stations are possible since practically all cars use the same fuel, but also because they have very similar intake openings so that the pump can stop by itself.
Tesla by itself is too small to set standards, so this is good news. It also shows how disclaim in patents helps: the benefit from a greater and more active market exceeds the payoffs from discouraging competition.
Taxpayers should not be paying for someone's pet cause
... Proper action would be to mandate the government to use the best software for the task at hand ... Let the technical merits decide.
I'm sorry, but while technical merits should be paramount, they are not the only consideration. Public contracting is not an exact science, and it is entirely appropriate to have non-technical considerations tip the scales in close cases. So while Free Software should not be mandatory, legislating a preference for it makes perfect sense.
Furthermore, there are considerations beyond the needs of a specific project and tender. Free Software has an externality: when the government (as a customer) requests modifications and improvements (and pays for them to be created), everyone benefits. For example, when my university has Blackboard Inc fix a bug (or improve the software) only Blackboard captures the value (when they sell their software to the next customre). If we were using Moodle, every other Moodle user would automatically benefit. Had we opted for Moodle, we'd also benefit from fixes made by other universities.