The walking trash can evolutions. :)
For those of you who are not battletech followers, the urbanmech is a light unit, very slow, that has one big gun, but is not effective in most scenarios.
The Jagermech is a heavy unit that has a lot of range, but not much armour and doesn't do much damage. It is not effective in most scenarios.
The imp is an assault unit that is scary and deadly.
And all three look very similar to walking trash cans on legs (or eggs on legs)
I posted this on another post earlier.
If you want to avoid chafing (on your thighs) or blisters on your feet go to a sporting goods store/running store and pick up Glide. It looks like a deodorant stick and goes on the same. Your body parts will thank you and it will make all the walking we do at Gen Con a lot easier.
In a blind study, you compare the results of your treatment to the results of a placebo treatment. What usually does *not* happen is that the placebo has no effect across the study population, while the drug either does or doesn't. The placebo treatment will almost assuredly have some kind of effect. People who participate in a study and get the placebo, a percentage of them, will improve. Your treatment is deemed "effective" if your treatment rate is sufficiently higher than the placebo's rate.
But the placebo does have an effective rate of treatment. It may not be high. But for some people, it does work. And what's really amazing is that for some people it will continue to work even if they have been given data showing that it shouldn't. 'Holistic' medicines continue to get results for some people even after they have been told by authority figures that they should not be working. Our desire to want something to work is powerful.
Vitamin C drops(dose early, dose often), plenty of pre-hydration, and a couple packs of those moist towlette thingies. I'm normally far from ultra fastidious when it comes to these things, but one or 2 bouts with the dreaded Con Crud is a true learning experience.
So for the author to claim that the placebo effect isn't real because any effects caused may be caused by the things listed is to mislabel what you're calling the placebo effect.
It's true enough that some of the factors listed are not part of a placebo effect on a given patient. False reports given (the subject saying they aren't feeling pain anymore in order to please the doctor, when they are still feeling pain), misquotation, etc. But others are. A subject actually feeling a reduction in symptoms of a disease *because they are conditioned to feel better when a doctor gives them a pill* is *exactly* the placebo effect in action. That's conditioning.
The claim made in the link regarding pain--that placebos don't lessen the pain, they lessen the emotional response to the pain, betrays an incomplete understanding of pain. Take a subject, John, who says "I'm feeling a lot of pain in my arm, it's a 9 out of 10." Doctor gives him a pill. Later the doctor asks if he's feeling pain. John says "Well, I can feel that there's something wrong with my arm still, but it's not so bad anymore. 7 out of 10." How are we supposed to interpret that? A nice fMRI maybe and we still see the same nervous system activity as we did when he claimed a 9 out of 10. Is it correct to say "No, you're still feeling a 9 out of 10 pain"?
Part of the 'feeling' of pain just is the emotional response to the physical feeling. I worked as a cook right out of high school. Used to burn myself all the time, hazard of the job. I eventually got to a point (have since lost it) to 'shut off' the pain of a burn. I would get burned, feel the pain, feel the emotional "aww dammit" with it. And then I would just mentally 'flick a switch', a very deliberate thing. I could still feel the burn as a thing that was there, a feeling. But I wasn't 'worried about it' anymore. I was able to operate as if it wasn't there--I exhibited no 'pain behavior', although I could still 'feel' a burn feeling. The pain, for lack of a better way of putting it, didn't hurt.
Now, is that a 'reduction in pain', or just a reduction in my emotional response to the pain? I argue for the former. I was actually in less pain, because pain is not just physiological but mental as well. For the authors of the piece to reject the placebo effect because some cases only deal with the emotional part of pain is to not capture what pain really is.
They're right to be skeptical of some claims, but they are casting too wide a net.
And I'll bet you that in the hyper-analysis, you forgot your pain. Not being contrary, just having some it's Gencon time, who can be in a bad mood type fun. :-)
"In one study involving asthma, people using a placebo inhaler did no better on breathing tests than sitting and doing nothing. But when researchers asked for people's perception of how they felt, the placebo inhaler was reported as being as effective as medicine in providing relief."
Were the people in this study getting a reduction in their symptoms, or a reduction in their emotional response to the symptoms? In this case at least, I argue for the latter since we have data that shows they had the same difficulty breathing as the subjects who sat and did nothing.
I'm not saying that would be a universal finding in all placebo studies. I'm just saying the issue is far from settled.
I have packing to do, so last word's yours if you want it.
Here's the question: if you had asthma that did not respond to any medications, except one that made you *feel better* about your condition even though it did nothing to improve your performance on breathing tests--would you take that medication or not? Would you *pay for* that medication or not? :)
A patient who does not function better or live longer than another patient with the same condition but *feels better* will have a better quality of life, which is something the medical profession is only now starting to distinguish from 'length of life'.
Placebos don't always have a measurable effect. They don't always have a non-psychological effect. But they sometimes have both, even if the measurable physical effect is a result of a psychological effect (lowering of blood pressure due to lessening of mental stress, e.g.).
And back to the tips...
I'd add "Be Aware and Present while at the Con"--as in, don't be that person who stops in the middle of a moving crowd and causes a pile-up behind them because they somehow managed to forget that they are not just one person at the Con, but one of 65K+ people at the Con. Or, the person who is so focused on their cell phone, map, program book, etc. that they become a hazard to themselves and everyone else when they don't look where they are walking. While it's somewhat amusing to watch these people walk into walls or fall down stairs, it's not as amusing when they are walking into people. Having an inattentive person walk into you and send your coffee, soda, whatever all over you, or knock your stuff out of your hands to be trampled on the floor, is not nice and can be avoided with simple courtesy and awareness of the immediate space around you. I guess this would sort of tie in to the tip about watching what you're saying while in a crowd. General awareness might stop you from dropping your most colorfully enhanced f-bombs in an inappropriate place (like the family fun area).
Oversized backpacks are mentioned all the time, but any pack (messenger bag, backpack, rolling bag/cart thing) can be a hazard to others when you aren't paying attention. Most hanging bags are at the perfect height to hit a child in the head, nail a guy in the jewels, slam into someone's stomach, side, or back, knock into a knee or cause someone to trip (though practicing some defensive con-going-techniques of your own will hopefully prevent some of this when these walking hazards are not paying attention to what's going on around them)--not pleasant at all, and likely to cause knee-jerk retaliation of the equally painful variety. So, if you're wearing a pack or slinging a bag of any kind (and who won't be, especially in the dealer hall?), try and be aware of how much space that bag is adding to your own footprint before you take off.
A good attitude is a must, but some simple courtesy, common sense, and good manners will also go a long, long way to a pleasant convention experience. :)
^ This. 1000 times, this.
I'll add, after having just ridden a day among 15,00 cyclists...when you're in the Vendor Hall or packed areas, try not to veer off suddenly when you see a shiny thing. Look behind you and to your side to see who you're going to run over first. And similarly, if you're walking at most than a casual stroll, don't just stop dead in the middle of the aisle. Move to the side. I've seen people get knocked down because the person behind them was 'drafting' too close.
In the be aware and present while at the Con - also be on the lookout for strollers, wheelchairs, scooters -- you'd be amazed the # of people who just DON'T LOOK DOWN! I do the best I can to not hit anyone but if you suddenly step out in front of me... well... I can only stop so fast!
Now, if I've noticed someone deliberately using their scooter or stroller or rolling cart or whatever as a battering ram to clear through a crowd, well... that's a different story, and just as rude. I've not really seen this with a stroller, but I once saw a man almost take down two people in his determination to force his scooter through their aisle so he could reach something on the other side of where they were standing, then blow on by without an "excuse me" or apology, either playing that he didn't see them (impossible) or that they just didn't warrant his concern (special snowflake syndrome).
I'm one of those people who, though often randomly spacing out, is also strangely hyper vigilant of what's going on around me, who's in my immediate vicinity, who's walking in my direction, from the side, whatever that I may have to clear away from (if it seems like they aren't paying attention), be super aware around blind corners and such, etc... I developed it years ago when I seemed to always walk up on people (scaring them half to death, apparently), or get walked on when people didn't hear me, because I walk fast, but quietly (which I also didn't realize until around that time, lol), and I don't fidget much when I'm just standing around. My fiance always laughs and tells me that he takes his cues from me when we're out and about, and that he'll never have to worry about getting blindsided in an apocalypse because I'll see or sense the threat coming and just ninja my way on out of the situation ^.^;