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May 01, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 9)

Tools for Science

  • Useful tools
  • Spartan interfaces
I must confess—my training in statistics is pretty poor and I’m not proud of it. Whenever I can find a site that helps me with my shortcomings in this area, I latch onto it. It was for this reason that I was interested in Statistics to Use, a free subset of the Tools for Science site. First, the Tools for Science site offers an interesting mix of pages to scientists. Topics range from astronomy to quantum mechanics, which won’t be of much use to readers here, but two subsections on statistics and plotting will be. Statistics tools include t-tests, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, chi-square distribution tests, ANOVA, least squares regression, and others. Plotting routines include X-Y plots, error bar plots, and histograms, among others. It should be noted that the interfaces are spartan, but at the prices (free) of the products, who can complain?
  • Key:
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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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