Monthly Archives: October 2010

Does it matter what’s in a placebo?

Yes, it does matter what is in a placebo (as well as how it is administered, and so on) because the placebo is an important part of the experimental protocol used in pharmaceutical research. Before we get to why this question has even been raised, and an interesting point or two about it, lets quickly cover what a placebo really is.
Continue reading Does it matter what’s in a placebo?

Tomas is, suddenly, a hurricane …

… and almost as interesting as his enigmatic sister, Shary. Tomas formed farther south than Hurricanes often do, hung around for a long time as a tropical depression, then blew up to hurricane strength very quickly. Having been declared a hurricane just a few moments ago, it may reach Category Three status as early as Monday, certainly by Tuesday. It will track in it’s current direction, staying south of DR/Haiti and heading pretty much directly towards Jamaica, though it will likely turn north towards Cuba before hitting Rastaland.

I can’t see how Tomas is NOT going to be a serious problem for someone. It will srengthen over the next four days and likely remain a strong hurricane for a while afterwards. From the National Hurricane Center:

A hurricane warning is in effect for…
* St. Vincent and the Grenadines
* St. Lucia
* Martinique

A tropical storm warning is in effect for…
* Barbados
* Dominica
* Trinidad and Tobago
* Grenada

Shary … it’s complicated

Try to pick out the hurricane in this picture:


Possible but difficult. Click here to see an animation (if it is still on line), then it is easy to see this most unusual hurricane.

Shary is cnfusin the weather experts ath the HPC. words like “conundrum” and “system not handling this well” and “normally … would not require this much discussion” and “a change … does complicate matters” and “it is hard to discount” and a note that this hurricane would never have been detected were it not for the most modern of techniques.

Shary will be absorbed by a cold front by the end of the day Monday. Or so they say.

Voter intimidation

Elderly Black Voters Allegedly Intimidated At Their Homes In Texas

Two middle-aged white Republican activists in Texas allegedly harassed and intimidated at least seven elderly African-American voters at their homes in eastern Texas, according to a complaint filed with the Justice Department on Thursday.

Gerry Hebert, executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, submitted a report to DOJ alleging that two unidentified women visited elderly African-American voters at their homes in Bowie County and questioned them about their mail-in ballot applications, Mother Jones first reported.

Read the rest here

McDonald’s Employees Told That, Unless Republicans Win, They Won’t Get Raises Or Benefits

WASHINGTON — There may be something rotten at McDonald’s — and it’s not a year-old Happy Meal.

The owner of a franchise in Canton, Ohio enclosed a handbill in employees’ paychecks that threatened lower wages and benefits if Republicans don’t win on Tuesday.

“As the election season is here we wanted you to know which candidates will help our business grow in the future,” reads the letter. “As you know, the better our business does it enables us to invest in our people and our restaurants. If the right people are elected we will …

more here