I just finished reading How I killed Pluto and why it had it coming, by Mike Brown. Very engaging book by an astronomer who has found more Kuiper belt objects than anyone else. And The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was also very good. I am now reading The Irrationality Virus.
am not kind of guy who you would call a heavy reader , I get bored if the book is not colored ? huh is that a medical condition
anyway am checking an E-book called (Matrix Operations for Engineers and Scientists:An Essential Guide in Linear Algebra) looks interesting ..?
So far it is not so much interesting as mystifying. The storyline is jumping back and forth between World War II and the late 90’s. The WWII branch is more interesting. I don’t have a clue where this is going.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks sound interesting, was it more technical, or was it more sentimental, or what asanta?
I finished an old 1915 biography called _Tom_Alva_Edison_ written by Francis Rolt-Wheeler, written during Edison’s lifetime. Its a scan from Google’s library. Wheeler was a real fan of Edison’s admiring everything that he did. It got a bit technical describing a couple of inventions, but the author wasn’t skilled with technology so the descriptions sounded inaccurate. It mostly focused on highlighting some of the machines that he modified or invented. The book didn’t focus on Edison’s family at all, merely mentioning them. It was a decent biography, and it was interesting to see how the language has changed in a century, just small changes.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks sound interesting, was it more technical, or was it more sentimental, or what asanta?.
Henrietta Lacks was a poor uneducated black woman who died in 1951 of cervical cancer. When she was diagnosed, her gynecologist at Johns Hopkins took a sample of her tumor to see if it would grow outside of her body. He has unsuccessfully tried to do this for years and hers were the first to grow. It is a biography of Henrietta and her family as well as examining the history of medical ethics in the USA and the billion(s) dollar industry her cells spawned. It never gets very technical, someone with no medical background could easily read it. The author is a very good writer, who has been fascinated by Henrietta since the 1970s and spent a decade writing the book. I remember learning about Henrietta around the same time, and had often wondered about her story.
It never gets very technical, someone with no medical background could easily read it.
I remember learning about Henrietta around the same time, and had often wondered about her story.
Not technical? Darn. I used to enjoy going to medical lectures on cancer at a local medical school. They were interesting, until they got to the micro-biology, and then I was just bewildered.
Yeah, I knew the story, I heard the author interviewed, and I might have seen a documentary also. What is the cell line called, HeLa cells, based on her name? They made her sound like she was one of the greatest contributers to modern medicine. And they made it sound like there were some very questionable ethical issues about how Ms. Lacks was treated! Riveting.
I hear news reports saying that blacks in the USA have significant distrust in the medical professionals since news of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments. I hope that no-one is missing out on valuable medical treatment due to some ethical problem with a few people. I’m glad to hear the medical professionals I know talk about informed consent now-a-days. I just got my flu vaccine this season.
Yes, she is the source of the HeLa cell line. It has been the most important, as well as the most problematic cell line used in science. It is the most robust of all the cell lines, and will contaminate the others if scientists are not scrupulous about their methods. The Lacks family was treated very poorly by the medical community. Everyone made money off her cells except the gynecologist who took the tumor sample (by choice, he gave it away), and the Lacks family, because no one told them anything, a They kept going back to the family on several occasions, but they were too uneducated, and medically uniformed to know what was going on. Henrietta’s daughter, who was developmentally delayed and ended up in an institution when her mom became too ill to care for her, was also experimented on and horribly abused. It didn’t help that Henrietta’s husband was a total dog of a scumbag who tried to give his youngest daughter (at 12 or 14) to his cousin so he could sleep with his wife, and the wife abused the kids without interference from the parent who should have protected them. He also abandoned his oldest daughter, he never visited her after the death of his wife. Those kids went through a LOT.
You say “most robust”, asanta, I wonder if there could be a convenient way to test for that robustness. I wonder if there are more robust people out there. I wonder if the robust people could get some compensation for their valuable cells , and I’m worried about creating any kind of commercial market for human parts. I’ve given blood, but never sold it.
For cells, ‘robust’ is a description of how fast, and how easily a cell divides. The AIDS epidemic put an end to the reimbursement for blood donations. At that time, many of the people who donated were looking for fast cash (the Red Cross paid $40 per pint) for their next drink or drug, and the only diseases we needed to test for was Hepatitis B. Then AIDS, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis D came on the scene and changed everything.
Before the Dawn – Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors
Nicholas Wade- 2006 -279pages
Wade – is a reporter for the New York Times, previously worked for both Nature and Science magazines.
Wade’s book, covering the evolutionary development of humans following both the work in Genetics and Language, deals with the effects of warfare, development of settled societies, sexual selection, religion and trade.
I found some of the discussion on the details of genetic research methods difficult to follow. (Most likely because my background in this area is weak, my last biology class was in 1966.)
The book is highly interesting and informative; it covers the exodus of humans from Africa and the development of variety among the human species because of our existence in relatively isolated groups through most of our history. A main point of this book is that human evolution did not stop 50,000 years ago with the development of modern humans, a point he finds is too often overlooked especially by historians and other social scientists according to Wade.
He also discusses genetic as a result of changes in environment, both social and physical. The discussions of the genetic changes possibly underlying human societies change from hunter-gather societies to modern settled societies is a large part of the book and is very interesting.
In his conclusion he discusses the benefits and dangers of humans becoming able to direct our own evolutionary development by directed genetic methods rather than let nature take its course, something we all may need to think about.
I recommend this book, particularly if you have a child who is taking biology and or general world history course as it puts things into a perspective that is often left out of these courses.
I making my way through my Lovecraft collection again. For like the third or fourth time. Over the weekend I read The Rats in the Walls, A Color Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, and my favorite At the Mountains of Madness. Next I think I’ll read Dagon, Call of Cthulhu, and oh how about Beyond the Walls of Sleep. Then who knows? I have tons of it.
Fixed BBCode typo.
[ Edited: 21 February 2011 03:27 PM by Dead Monky ]