Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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placebo sunshine: sunshine for those of us who miss it and given that, mysteriously enough, the placebo effect works ( there is even pain relief from placebo surgery )
  [vote for,

what is it? well, it’s a really big bright shiny thing which could either be suspended from an air balloon or afloat above something tall like Nelson’s column or the London Eye (choose your own local landmark to suit).

it would have to be erected at the dead of night by workmen sworn to secrecy and having first signed the official secrets act etc.

be sure to put on some big football match / cliffhanger drama or something to keep most of the local population indoors.

make sure that all riggings and electric cables are camouflaged with green stuff at lower levels (or grey building colours) or cloudy stuff at higher altitudes and there you go, Bob is your mother’s brother.

please if you do it, don’t tell me.

po, Aug 05 2004

placebo surgery. http://www.mindbody...com/kneesurgery.htm
[po, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Placebo effectiveness http://skepdic.com/placebo.html
placebo is a control which produces no measurable change as evidence, but can produce the feelings of healing, health etc. [dentworth, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

San Antonio's artificial moonlight http://www.experien...his/Moonlights.html
Not really the same, but interesting either way. [destructionism, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) The Long Rain http://www.brinklin...archives/006096.php
"Some ill-fated explorers have crashed their ship and are slogging though the deluge in search of a "Sun Dome" -- a warm, dry refuge graced by an artificial sun." [Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Too much sun http://www.youtube....watch?v=ND9CDzsxzTk
Too hot, too harsh [pashute, Jul 26 2010]


       Forgive my stupidity po: how is this a placebo?   

       The placebo effect depends on the subject being given something that should have no effect, but because they expect that it will, it does.   

       Seeing as what you propose simply replaces the Sun with an alternate light source, isn't this equivalent to surreptitiously feeding someone medicine? They will feel better but have no idea why, whereas the whole point of the placebo effect is that the patient equates the improvement in their condition with the placebo - they have a clear idea of what they *think* is going on.   

       Placebo sunshine would surely involve trying to suggest to people that the Sun was shining when it isn't, and attempting to replicate that "sunny day" feeling without actual sunshine being present.   

       Apologies if this appears incoherent or plain wrong. I do like the idea of dual Sun technology, Star Wars style, so have croissanted anyway :)
DocBrown, Aug 05 2004

       "big, bright, shiny thing" sounds like a placebo to me. doesn't say it emits all of the rays nor warmth we get from the sun.   

       cute idea, po. +
dentworth, Aug 05 2004

       [po], come on over, you can see it from our side. if only just for a while. may tide you over for a bit. (+)
xclamp, Aug 05 2004

       I agree with the good doctor....perhaps "substitute sunshine" would be more correct.
lintkeeper2, Aug 05 2004

shapu, Aug 05 2004

       [dentworth] even if we accept that "big, bright, shiny thing" is an acceptable placebo Sun, we're still in a Catch-22 situation, unless I've ballsed up somewhere (quite possible, am waiting for po's response to my original note). Catch is thus: If people don't know the placebo is there, no placebo effect can be possible, since there's nothing to fixate around and trick yourself into thinking you're feeling better.   

       Alternatively, if people are informed of the existence of the placebo Sun, they will be able to determine it's not the real Sun and thus any placebo effect is lost.   

       Like I said before, I like the idea and it could work, but "placebo" here is a misnomer. This is more like unconscious psychological manipulation. Mmmmmm....unconscious psychological manipulation.
DocBrown, Aug 05 2004

Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

DocBrown, Aug 05 2004

       great idea for a title, world.   

       there's bags of light, dent. expense, absolutely no object.   

       Doc, you should know (if you are a medical doc) that a placebo *is* an unconscious psychological manipulation. people can see the big bright shiny thing. I omitted to say that it would have to be switched off on *real* sunny days so as not to confuse people. oh yes, and at night!
po, Aug 05 2004

       Great idea for an idea, [po]. Though around here we're at our few months of real sun.
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       we have heat and humidity and thunder and lightning and rain but very little sunshine.
po, Aug 05 2004

       [po] I'm curious, please expand your argument?   

       I accept that a placebo is "unconscious psychological manipulation", but only to the extent that the person being manipulated is unaware of the deception being applied - they must still have something (the placebo)to ascribe any beneficial effects to. Without awareness of your Illusun, people are being manipulated but it's not a placebo effect.   

       Should they be informed of its existence, you lose any chance of invoking a true placebo effect, (see Catch 22 in previous post) although they might still benefit from the increased light and warmth because, hey, who doesn't like light and warmth?   

       I would be keen to learn more if there's something I've mis(understood/sed).   

       I'm not a medical doctor btw, it's just a "Back to the Future" reference.   

       I do occasionally call myself a Doctor of Journalism, but that again, is just overexposure to Fear & Loathing.   

       And now, the Doctor makes a house call...to home :)
DocBrown, Aug 05 2004

       What DocBrown said. This has very little to do with placebos, and you've weakened your presentation by involving this red herring.
jutta, Aug 05 2004

       Great idea, [po]. Here's an artificially sun-dried croissant. Can I make a suggestion?
[engages provocative mode]
Make the Illu-Sun strong enough that it can be seen by us poor folk up north. This would have the added benefit of reducing London and the Home Counties to a scorched wasteland. Mwahaha!
[disengage provocative mode]
spacemoggy, Aug 05 2004

       I disagree, jutta. a placebo is something that you take in the belief that it is a real *fix* for whatever.   

       Doc, there is a false looking sun in the sky and so the well-being that we get from seeing the sun is perceived as real.   

       get your own, moggy!
po, Aug 05 2004

       It wouldn't be a real sun, but it would still be a real light. You wouldn't just make people believe that there is a real sun up there. (We're trying that now, and, well...) The effects of light on the human body (including its mood) are due to the light, not due to the belief that there's light (actually, I don't know whether that's been studied).
jutta, Aug 05 2004

       they've done studies in intensive care units using walls of light to mimic day/night sequence and have shown a decrease in ICU psychosis and depression (a very common complication in ICU patients). they've also studied "sunroofs" (both real and simulated) which also worked.   

       more to the point, the placebo effect in this idea would come from convincing people that the fake sun was as good as the real sun in alleviating depression etc., whether it actually was or not. it could be proven by measuring how people felt on days spent with the placebo sun versus days spent with the actual sunlight.   

       so i agree that [po]'s requirement that it be constructed in secret negates the possible placebo effect. patients in placebo trial *know* they are taking a pill that is to alleviate their symptoms. that's the difference. still like the idea though despite the misnomer.
xclamp, Aug 05 2004

       Upon rereading Jutta's comment, she's saying light is light, whether artificial or real, and both have real, measurable effects on life. I agree. But po did not say full spectrum, artificial light, not at first... To xclamp my last response is still that if I see it, I believe it, I feel better, even if it isn't real light, that is the meaning of the placebo part of this. if po had not said it would emit "bags of light" I think it would make sense as a placebo. I'm done now.
dentworth, Aug 05 2004

       Good pedanting there, half-bakers! Storms and tea-cups come to mind. Rarely in the field of human nit-picking has so much been made of so little by so few.
spacemoggy, Aug 05 2004

       xclamp has it bang to rights (the way it was intended anyhow) apart from the secret thing - if people saw it built they would know it was a false sun; they have to believe its the real thing.
po, Aug 05 2004

       Just to show that I'm not above a little pedantry myself: doesn't "banged to rights" mean "caught red-handed"?
spacemoggy, Aug 05 2004

       bang to rights (in english), or dead to rights (in american) does mean to be caught in the act of committing a crime, without reasonable doubt etc. i searched but could not find reference to a much earlier nautical meaning of the term in which (i think) it refers to another ship being directly alongside the canons of your own ship making a direct hit a certainty (or, as Lennon was wont to say "vicky versey").   

       anyways [po] it doesn't matter if people know it's fake as long as they believe it to be effective.   

       From BBC Worldwide: "A private group has announced it will construct a massive "Illusun" atop the London Eye to alleviate the citizenry's symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. The fake sun will reverse symptoms of depression associated with extended periods of dark skies. According to the inventor, less than 60 minutes of exposure per day will produce the desired effect."
xclamp, Aug 05 2004

       the point is - that people think its a fecking sun! its what we want! we envy florida, come back StarChaser & tell me I am wrong.   

       No xc, they have to believe its a sun. <bangs head on wall>
po, Aug 05 2004

       oh. well nevermind then. 'i wish they all could be california girls'.
xclamp, Aug 05 2004

       Someone would find out pretty soon, probably while trying to burn ants with a magnifying glass.
eulachon, Aug 05 2004

       Neat idea, but wouldn't it be simpler just to have a pair of shades with an LED implanted in the lens? If you want to get all complicated about it, you could have sensors in the specs which detect their orientation and move the wee LED accordingly, using tried and tested Etch-a-Sketch technology.   

       And by the way, Bob's not my mother's brother, he's my cat.
lostdog, Aug 05 2004

       [eul] Or the first actual sunny day. Or when someone realizes the sun is _under_ the clouds. Either of these events may create mass hysteria, which is perhaps even more enjoyable than placebo sunlight.   

       [lost] I think [po]'s going to slap you. You're supposed to think it's really the sun.
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       [lost] SLAP! <meow>
po, Aug 05 2004

       *how is a serious idea meant to survive this?*
po, Aug 05 2004

       Looks like you're more than surviving (+10, -0)
Worldgineer, Aug 05 2004

       Sounds a bit like Ray Bradbury's "The Long Rain" <link>
Klaatu, Aug 05 2004

       Ouch. It was just a suggestion.   

       By the way - I should tell you that Bob gets kind of annoyed if anyone other than him slaps me around. I work hard to put smelly cat food in his dish - still, it's never enough. He sends me out to work everyday: I brave the mean streets while he eats the "rabbit and chicken - in gravy" results.   

       There's a fine line between "pimp" and "pet". And Bob's crossed it more than once.   

       Or, to give him his full name, "beelzebob".
lostdog, Aug 05 2004

       re-reading what xc said (I paraprase his comment) - 'knowing that it was a false sun but believing it was effective because that is the published propaganda' - makes sense to me this morning. it just wasn't what I had in mind.
po, Aug 06 2004


       Can't see anything wrong with the reasoning. Nitpicking about whether it should be called a placebo or not doesn't change the fact that the human mind is well known for its ability to fool itself against all evidence. Package holidays, organised religion, and the tobacco industry all depend on it.
egbert, Aug 06 2004

       How about the warming rays of an invisible sun, with infra red and microwaves shining down on the people. Great for the winter (if you have winter in your area.) I agree some places do need more light. +
sartep, Aug 06 2004

       klaatu's link hints that this is half-baked (I have not read the book); the review mentions that Mr Bradbury's plot involves Domes that have life-giving artificial suns - unlike my idea which centres around the placebo effect of a very obviously false bright shiny thing erected at the dead of night in secrecy so that people imagine they are observing a warmth/light giving object in the sky that makes them feel happy.   

       the placebo effect is central/paramount to this *idea*   

       great link, dentworth.
po, Aug 07 2004

       In the Middle East we tried it, and ever since are at constant war. Nobody knows how to cool down, everybody is constantly angry, with the continuous harsh light and emmence heat.
pashute, Jul 26 2010

       It's unfortunate that [Klaatu]'s link is dead. I remember that story fondly.   

       Great anno, [pashute].
normzone, Jul 26 2010

       yeah but, do they suffer with SAD in the middle east? this was intended for england.
po, Jul 26 2010


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