Monday 19 October 2009

Morning roundup

  • Placebos have side effects. Side effects depend on the kind of drug test being undertaken. So if you think you're in a migraine drug trial, you'll report different placebo side effects than if you think you're trialling anti-depressants.

  • Copyright has costs. HT: BoingBoing.

  • I have a hard time believing this is net energy augmenting: shooting bunnies, freezing them, transporting them to a power generation plant, processing the frozen bunnies then using them as fuel source. If it actually works, Central Otago could serve all of New Zealand's electricity generation needs for rather some time. I could buy it as a solution to a problem of animal waste disposal; I can't buy it as an efficient energy generation source. HT: Warren Ellis

  • Efficiencies of scale in procurement? Turns out not. All else equal, larger public bodies pay no less for goods than smaller ones, but higher levels of government (ie regional governments as compared to towns) pay significantly more. So don't expect big economies of scale in an amalgamated Auckland's procurement processes but rather expect efficiency losses as more purchasing is done by the regional government rather than the former local towns. HT: Robin Hanson

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