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Nov 15, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 20)

Erika Sonder’s “Portable Herbarium”

  • Great idea, beautiful
  • Not much science here
I hate it when I see something that makes me wish I’d thought of it myself. I mean, how fair is it that someone takes an incredibly simple idea, runs with it, and probably makes a mint? The most recent time I had this feeling was when I discovered this amazingly cool idea by Erika Sonder. Start with a beautiful plant. Scan it, photograph it, or image it in some high-tech way at the highest possible resolution. Then sell the products of that effort as works of art by means of high quality laser copying. Simple? Yes. Beautiful? Yes. Wish I’d done it? You bet. Sour grapes aside, this is truly an inspired idea by someone who clearly has a love of nature and a desire to share it with others. With her work now part of the permanent displays of museums in Salem, MA, and Boston, Erika has impressed more people than just me with her work.
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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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