Placebos and Chaos
Welcome to the Hurt Your Brain internet playlist from November 7, 2016. It's a collection of podcasts, videos, and other links for people who love to learn online and are fascinated by the world. Click here to get playlists emailed to you as they come out.
Picture yourself in a doctor's office, part of trial. They want to improve your chronic pain, and instead of the typical blinding that happens, they tell you that you are about to receive a placebo. At the end of a week, you've shown significant improvement. What?! Placebo's are crazy interesting, so what better way to keep this short by doing a mini playlist about them?
MINI PLAYLIST: PLACEBOS Placebos have long interested me. Ever since I had a sleep over in middle school and bragged to my parents the next day about how we stayed up all night thanks to the caffeine in the flavored seltzer in the downstairs fridge. The pitied look followed by "but Seltzer doesn't have any caffeine" shattered my world. First of all, what the hell was wrong with me? Second, how amazing that simply a little belief and expectation can completely change your physiologic state (or as my dumb self said at the time, "noooo waaaaay").
Episode 1 The Magic and Power of Placebos - The Tim Ferriss Show Oct 23, 107 min I LOVED this interview Tim Ferriss did with science writer Erik Vance about his adventures and writings on placebos. Ferriss's interviews can be really long, but when it's a topic I love, I'm always grateful for the meanderings and million questions. If you are at all interested in science writing, great stories from field biology, or crazy self experiementation with placebo, definitely give this a listen. Episode 2 Antidepressants - Science Vs Oct 28, 42 min The focus is on the heated debate around how effective antidepressants actually are, and along the way there is lots of great placebo talk. I know a good bit about this particular discussion and host Wendy Zuckerman does a fantastic job avoiding a simple black and white answer on a complicated subject. For more on placebo Check out these great episodes from Stuff You Should Know and You Are Not So Smart. OTHER INTERESTING EPISODES HP Lovecraft - To The Best of Our Knowledge: The godfather of horror fiction, creator of the ever popular Cthulhu mythology, and apparently, a raging racist. How Chaos Theory Changed the Universe - Stuff You Shoud Know: Find out what the heck Jeff Goldblum was talking about in that one scene in Jurassic Park. Weird connection- the hosts mention something being Lovecraftian (see above) within the first two minutes. VIDEOS What caused the French Revolution? - Ted-Ed: The visuals is what makes this stand out as interesting. How To Cook With Cast Iron - Tasty: I had to include this because I love cooking with cast iron and I've been frustrated many times with the disjointed or contradicting information available online about how to properly care for cast iron. THIS video is by far the best, quickest, injection of the actual knowledge you'll need if this interests or overwhelms you. ARTICLES AND OTHER LINKS Reddit is full of fantastic space photography in subreddits like /r/space. Here is an example of a beautiful picture of Saturn, but the real gem is this top comment that explains in great detail why space photography never shows what you would actually see in person. It's a fantastic explainer. That's all for this week! Connect with me @erikthejones on twitter and if you've learned anything interesting, please forward this link to any curious natured friends or family so they can subscribe. Many thanks!