|Sent on:||Monday, October 31, 2011 2:15 PM|
Hey Hipsters and Bibliophiles,
Just a reminder about this Wednesday's secondary meetup for Henrietta Lacks. Last week's group had a great debate on scientific ethics. Let's see what this week brings!
Don't forget that it will not be at the Cafe, but at Headhouse Cafe (122 Lombard).
Thanks to Greg's efforts we now have a secondary meetup!
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.
Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.
Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.
I had no problems finding this at the local independent bookstore.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is available on Amazon.com, however, I encourage you all to support your local independent book store or library:
City Paper's List of Independent Bookstores
Google Map/Listing of Independent Bookstores in Philly
PLEASE ONLY RSVP IF YOU INTEND TO SHOW UP, more than 3 no shows in a row will result in a temporary ban from RSVP-ing until you can assure me you will actually attend. We are having far too many people RSVP and then not showup and people changing their RSVP at the last possible minute preventing other members from being able to attend.
You will notice that that if you RSVP "Yes," you'll be charged to attend. This is to help me cover my costs as Organizer and reduce the number of no-shows we have at meetings. Please keep in mind I'm only giving refunds if the meeting is canceled or rescheduled, not if you change your mind about attending.