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Placebos Are Getting More Effective 349

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-to-start-treating-with-placebos dept.
Wired is reporting that the well-known "placebo effect" seems to be increasing as time goes on. Fewer and fewer medications are actually making it past drug trials since they are unable to show benefits above and beyond a placebo. "It's not only trials of new drugs that are crossing the futility boundary. Some products that have been on the market for decades, like Prozac, are faltering in more recent follow-up tests. In many cases, these are the compounds that, in the late '90s, made Big Pharma more profitable than Big Oil. But if these same drugs were vetted now, the FDA might not approve some of them. Two comprehensive analyses of antidepressant trials have uncovered a dramatic increase in placebo response since the 1980s. One estimated that the so-called effect size (a measure of statistical significance) in placebo groups had nearly doubled over that time."
Linux Business

The State of Munich's Ongoing Linux Migration 203

Posted by timothy
from the es-geht-immer-noch dept.
christian.einfeldt writes "The Munich decision to move its 14,000 desktops to Free Open Source Software created a big splash back in 2003 as news circulated of the third-largest German city's defection from Microsoft. When it was announced in 2003, the story garnered coverage even in the US, such as an extensive article in USA Today on-line. Currently, about 60% of desktops are using OpenOffice, with the remaining 40% to be completed by the end of 2009. Firefox and Thunderbird are being used in all of the city's desktop machines. Ten percent of desktops are running the LiMux Debian-based distro, and 80% will be running LiMux by 2012 at the latest. Autonomy was generally considered more important than cost savings, although the LiMux initiative is increasing competition in the IT industry in Munich already. The program has succeeded because the city administration has been careful to reach out to all stakeholders, from managers down to simple end users."
Image

Need a Favor? Talk To My Right Ear 288 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the bene-gesserit-tricks dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that scientists have found that if you want to get someone to do something, ask them in their right ear. Known as the 'right ear advantage,' scientists believe it is because information received through the right ear is processed by the left hand side of the brain which is more logical and better at deciphering verbal information than the right side of the brain. 'Talk into the right ear you send your words into a slightly more amenable part of the brain,' say researchers. The team, led by Dr. Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli from the University of Chieti in central Italy, observed the behavior of hundreds of people in three nightclubs across the city where they intentionally addressed 176 people in either their right or their left ear when asking for a cigarette. They obtained significantly more cigarettes when they made their request in a person's right ear compared with their left. 'These results seem to be consistent with the hypothesized specialization of right and left hemispheres,' say researchers. 'We can also see this tendency when people use the phone, most will naturally hold it to their right ear.'"
Perl

Call For Grant Proposals In Perl Development 137

Posted by kdawson
from the sand-in-the-oyster dept.
On Elpeleg writes "The Perl Foundation is giving out grants for Perl development ranging from $500 to $3,000 in February 2009. You neither need to have a large, complex, or lengthy project nor be a Perl master or guru. You are encouraged to submit a proposal if you have a good idea and the means and ability to accomplish your Perl project. The deadline for proposal submissions is January 31, 2009."
Government

A Peek At DHS's Files On You 241

Posted by kdawson
from the fifteen-year-retention dept.
kenblakely writes "We've known for a while that the Department of Homeland Security was collecting travel records on those who cross US borders, but now you can see it for yourself. A Freedom of Information Act request got this blogger a look at DHS's file on his travels. Pretty comprehensive — all the way down to the IP address of the host he used to make a reservation."
Biotech

Seeing With Your Skin? 138

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head dept.
Iddo Genuth writes to tell us that a researcher from Tel Aviv University is exploring the possibility that humans may be able to "see" via their skin. Professor Leonid Yaroslavsky hopes to utilize this possible technology to find solutions for the blind in addition to new types of image capture that might be able to work where conventional lenses fail. Unfortunately he has a long uphill battle ahead to convince others that his theories are possible. "The lenses currently used for optics-based imaging have many problems. They only work within a limited range of electromagnetic radiation. Relatively, these are still costly devices greatly limited by weight and field of view. The imaging Professor Yaroslavsky has in mind has no lenses and he believes the devices can be adapted to any kind of radiation and wavelength. They could essentially work with a 360-degree field of view and their imaging capability will only be determined by computer power rather than the laws of light diffraction."

Comment: Re:Missing options! (Score 5, Insightful) 705

by zerblat (#20841891) Attached to: Best Meme in Slashdot's First 10 Years
Interesting. Whenever I get to moderate, I always enjoy moderating serious and stupid posts as funny. Or moderating posts I don't agree with as funny. Nothing disarms an argument as efficiently as labeling it (Score 5: Funny).

Hmm, I wonder why it's been so long since I've had moderator points.

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