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

The Canadian Arachnologist

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After 10 years of doing “Best of the Web” for GEN, I thought I had the internet covered better than anyone around until I found this set of pages. A website about spiders wins prizes for being both redundant and self-referential. How often does that happen? Here are the facts. In North America and Greenland, there are over 4,500 species of spiders (Greenland has spiders???—Yes!). If you doubt that, check out the amazing maps integrated with data on spider distribution. That’s only the tip of a big iceberg on this amazingly broad site. The opening page notes that its members are mostly Canadian, but there is a growing international component, as well. I can see why. If I were an arachnologist, I’d be on here for sure. Other highlights include an active discussion forum and a database of over 50,000 specimens, 1,820 species, and 415 images. A free annual newsletter is available, as well as spider information that is geographically focused. I have a hard time thinking about what else I’d add to this mix.
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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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