A 15 Minute Trip Around the World via the Internet

An Etruscan tomb belonging to a large family. Make a note, I will expect nothing less from my own funerary arrangement.  Iamge from Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/105623553736575352/

An Etruscan tomb belonging to a large family. Make a note, I will expect nothing less from my own funerary arrangements. Image from Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/105623553736575352/

Weekly Web Links:

Historical Book Review for the Week:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

On a side not, this book is also one that has a cover which makes it impossible to misplace.

On a side not, this book is also one that has a cover which makes it impossible to misplace.

Basically, everything you need to know about this book is the following:

It is spectacular and everyone reading this should immediately drop whatever it is that they’re doing, track down a copy, and read it.

Henrietta Lacks was a black American woman who was born and lived in poverty for the entirety of her tragically short life and, for many years after her unfortunately early death, continued to be an unknown figure despite the fact that her genes have become one of the most important tools in the field of medicine.  Cells which were removed from her in 1951 during the attempts to remove the cancerous tumors in her body which would shortly after go on to take her life – and which were taken without her knowledge – ended up becoming vital to the development of the polio vaccine, cloning procedures, and gene mapping among other developments. In addition to her cells being bought and sold around the world by the billions they are priceless to the progress of medicine as well as the improvement of health standards worldwide. In glaring contrast to the contribution that her genetics have made to the world, her family still lives in poverty today and is unable to afford health insurance.  In this book, Rebecca Skloot does a phenomenal job of describing the progress of medicine since Henrietta’s cells were discovered to have unique properties while combining these important developments with the very human and rather heartbreaking personal story of Ms. Lacks and her family.  It provides a glaring contrast in the areas of ethics, race, education, wealth, science, and medicine and nowhere is this more clear than in the areas of the book that are focused around Henrietta’s daughter, a woman who grew up not knowing her mother and who no one ever bothered to explain her family’s contribution to the world of medicine explained to her.

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