Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘placebo

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 151

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Your depressed friends could be a good source of free labor. Invite them to contribute to your life in some way, even if it’s as small as asking you to go see a movie that you wanted to see in the theater or help you clean out the garage: They love to get engaged

Jihad told me and showed a short video of the wedding of his son As3ad Ghoussoub in Cyprus. Perfect wedding to be emulated extensively. Break my heart that Cyprus is a century ahead of Lebanon in civil status laws and human rights

Cyprus frequent visits to Lebanon is to convince us to install all the oil and gas infrastructure for the region on our seashore. Rational: since our shores are so heavily polluted, let’s Capitalize on that humiliating and unhealthy situation. Cyprus is to remain a touristic attraction for the over 7 million visitors a year

Paul (the disturbed) was being ironic when he wrote: “If you can’t believe Jesus resurrected, you are No Christian”. And he knew people were fool enough to take seriously that faith in myths rules supreme. He resumed thus to discriminate against female gender

Pietro voulait contribuer au jour le jour, a son echelle: une vie reglee’ par une routine intangible. Pietro etait depasse’ par le desorde diffus dans tous lea domaines de l’existence.

When inspiration becomes manipulation, inspiration becomes obfuscation. If you are no cynical you should be skeptical. You should be as skeptical of placebo politics as of placebo medicine.

If a problem is in fact endemic to a system, then the exponential effects of Moore’s law also serve to amplify what’s broken.

If and when the key problems facing our species were to be solved, then perhaps many of us in this room would be out of work (and perhaps in jail).

It’s not true. Problems are Not “puzzles” to be solved. That metaphor assumes that all the necessary pieces are already on the table, they just need to be rearranged and reprogrammed. Barely anything is on the table, discussed and analyzed.

Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us.

Philip Giraldi: Israeli government is a rogue regime by most international standards, engaging as it does in torture, arbitrary imprisonment, administrative detention, and continued occupation of territories seized by its military, assassination.

Khalass. Bala zanakha. Meen 3azam al mauwt?

 

The thing you can’t have becomes a powerful placebo

New MQA music format?

The efficacy of a technology, a shortcut, a medicine, a tool, a method—you get the idea—is directly related to how difficult it is to obtain.

Placebos work because our brain picks up where our belief begins.

Without some sort of conscious or subconscious trigger, the placebo effect never kicks in.

But when it does, it’s astonishingly effective. Placebos change performance, cure diseases and make food taste better.

Consider the case of the new music format, MQA.

The overdue successor to the MP3 files we’ve been listening to for a decade or more, MQA treats your music with more care, and the reports are it sounds better. A lot better.

Of course, most people can’t hear the difference in a double-blind test, particularly with disposable earbuds.

But that’s okay, because no one is double blind in real life. Instead, we have information about what we’re listening to and where it came from, and it turns out that knowing the provenance of your music can actually make it sound better.

The fact that MQA might actually sound better is a fine thing, but the lesson here is about the story.

The MQA rollout has been agonizingly slow, with dates promised and then missed, with absent bits of gear, with no easy way to get this new technology. Which makes it even better, of course.

The same is true for baked goods that sell out every morning at 8 am, and the new beta-version of an app that makes you more productive.

If you want your medicine to be more effective, consider making it difficult to get.

[PS I’ll be doing a Facebook Live Q&A about the altMBA. See you at 2 pm ET today, Thursday.]

Are you familiar with the nocebo concept? Is worse to accept than the than placebo?

Considering the nocebo

The letter to the co-op board sounds likely enough. The tenant is up in arms because air fresheners and other common household odors are seeping into the writer’s apartment, giving him severe migraines. What to do about this chemical onslaught?

There’s no doubt that these odors are giving the letter writer a debilitating headache, but also little doubt that there isn’t a likely double-blind, testable, organic chemistry cause to the headache only in this setting.

The migraine in this case, like many things that bother us, is caused by a nocebo.

A nocebo is a placebo that makes things worse.

In this case, the lack of control over his home, the unwelcome and unasked for odors, are making him feel trapped, and thus annoyed, and angry, and so they lead to a headache.

It’s pretty clear to most of us that if that very same bundle of molecules wafted in the door when the clever and happy grandson came to visit, there would be no problem.

Of course the nocebo is real. And eliminating it is a great way to improve your life or the lives of your customers.

The TSA intentionally brings a nocebo to the airport, stressing out innocent travelers. (TSA?)

And schools know precisely how to raise the blood pressure of stressed out students.

In many situations, loud noises, uncomfortable seats, moments of lost control… these create actual physical discomfort.

We can use the nocebo to give you a headache, a backache, or even a chronic degenerative disease…

But you don’t remove the nocebo with medical tests.

You remove it with a better story, with a situation that makes us feel powerful and in control, with a setting and a narrative that gives us agency and dignity.

[I’m not asserting that all migraines are caused by nocebos. Far from it. I apologize to anyone who got that impression. But there’s plenty of evidence that there are very real problems caused by nocebos.]


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2020
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