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Apr 15, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 8)


  • Easy to browse collection, many resources
  • Many "free" resources require journal subscriptions

Allow me to introduce you to BEN. As the National Science Digital Library Pathway for biological sciences education, BEN enjoys collecting and providing a large number of educational resources to students and teachers from preschool through university level. While educators can choose to register with the site, registration is not a prerequisite to pick BEN’s brain. Visitors to the site can browse by subject (everything from aquaculture, to exobiology, to theoretical biology), resource type (such as book chapter or meeting presentation), or academic level. While the site definitely lists a large number of resources, one downside to the website is that many of the resources that are labeled as being free—especially journal articles—require a subscription through the host organization’s site in order to access. Thus, the depth of freely available material on the site may be significantly less than it originally seems.

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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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