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Book Club for Nerds!

I just finished "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot.  I just couldn’t bring myself to start it for some reason, but now that it’s over, I really enjoyed it. 

Pros: I loved Skloots alternation between a science-y chapter and a historical/biographical chapter.  It prevented me from forgetting the human aspect of the story (Henrietta and her family) by forcing me to reconnect every 15 pages.  I also think it’s perfect for people who are not super science scholars.  Skloot did a great job of making the science understandable for the readers, even those with little background in cancer or cell biology. 

Cons: It wasn’t technical enough for my taste.  It did inspire me to do some of my own research/exploration (which I guess is really a pro), but I would have enjoyed some more scientific depth.  Secondly, the book really is a bummer.  No one in Henrietta’s family ever gets any closure from the process and they grow up poor and black in Maryland which doesn’t offer much opportunity for them to prosper.

Overall, I’d recommend the novel to anyone.  It was a quick but emotional read for me and I think it raises a lot of questions about what parts of ourselves we can claim ownership over.  I think everyone should understand their rights and the ones they might think they have but don’t.

Next up: Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker

Just for fun:  Bossypants by Tina Fey


GET IN THE BOAT of the Day: A school of Asian carp “attack” a father-sons fishing trip off a freshly flooded Spoon River.


I am the first to admit it’s hilarious to watch Asian Carp, or silver carp as our variety surely is, jump on people as they ride by.  I even start my unit on non-native species by showing the students a video in which the carp do just that.  Even so, it’s a hugely real possibility that these obnoxious invaders have already reached the Great Lakes by way of the Chicago River and other parts of the midwest waterways.  The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting studies on the best way to deter the fish from entering the area but these studies may already be of no use.  The carp will decimate local food chains and could also destroy the fishing and tourism industries in Michigan.  Would you drive up to a cabin on Lake Michigan if every time you turned on your boat, 20 lbs. fish could whack you in the head?

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