“The Way of All Flesh” by BBC’s Adam Curtis on “HeLa” Cells


I came to know about this video while  reading the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebbeca Skloot – page 81 of the e-book edition, to be more exact.

The video and the words below are embedded from what has been puclished on Google Video.

 

 


 

The Way of All Flesh by Adam Curtis
53:33m – 2 anos atrás

Follows the story of the cells of Henriettta Lacks. She dies in 1951 of cancer, before she died cells were removed from her body and cultivated in a laboratory in the hope that they could help find a cure for cancer. The cells (known as the HeLa line) have been growing ever since, and the scientists found that they were growing in ways they could not control.

 

 If anyone has any problem, concerning copyright, with me embedding this video on my site, please contact me and I’ll be glad to talk to you.



BRAZIL’S PRESIDENTIAL RUN 2010 – PT.2


Today’s candidate is Dilma Rousseff.


Dilma Rousseff (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores – Worker’s Party) is Lula’s sweetheart. Previously to candidacy she had been the Chief of Staff of Brazil – from 2005 until 2010 – in Lula’s mandate. In spite of having an administrative position of public notoriety, she had been living in the shadowy limbo of political (and public) oblivion until President Lula openly endorsed her candidacy around the middle of 2009.  Before President Lula openly and shamelessly* advocated for her, hardly any average Brazilian citizen knew exactly who Dilma Rousseff was or what she did. Back then she would always be 10 points behind in the polls, runner up to candidate José Serra (PMDB – Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy). After President Lula started openly campaigning for and with her, she started climbing all the way up on the polls, and is now about 10 points in front of candidate José Serra.


Dilma Rousseff never ran for any public post in her life. She is essencially an administrator who was fabricated into the ideal politician stereotype, based solely on Lula’s gigantic and astonishing popularity and public appeal. This article says exactly what I am talking about: My Name is Dilma Rousseff and I’m Running Again for President, Says Brazil’s Lula


All the above said, I am not saying here that Dilma would be a bad president simply because she never ran for office before.


Unlike her female concurrent Marina Silva, who had a poor life background in the Amazon forrest, Dilma Roussef is a urban, high middle class woman, born in the town of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Already in her youth – 16 years old – she became interested in Marxism. Later while in college (UFMG, where she started a major in Economics,  later finished in another college, UFRGS, in the town of Porto Alegre.) she became a member of the socialist armed militia VAR-Palmares, one of the many youth groups that fought against the abuses of the ongoing military dictatorship (which started in 1964 with a coup d’etat). Dilma Rousseff was arrested and tortured by the military during three years of her life. After the end of military dictatorship she started her career in a number of administrative posts, always related with public administration and politics, and so on, until she became Lula’s Chief of Staff.


Dilma Rousseff, together with Marina Silva, is a good example of Brazil’s best: diversity. Both come from opposite backgrounds, one is a brown skinned, formerly illitarate child of the Amazon; the other is white, daughter of a rich European immigrant. Both are Brazilian. They have very different stories, but what they have in common is that both somehow involve suffering and giving yourself over to something bigger. Both are women. Both are candidates to president.


*The electoral law of Brazil determines that there is only so much the current chief of state can do to campaign in favor of his successor. President Lula crossed that line shamelessly many and many times, and has been fined in several thousands of Brazilian Reais for that, yet, he pays the fine and goes on breaking the law. The situation got to the curious point that Dilma will never pose with her Vice (and I’m afraid no one actually even knows who her vice is: Michel Temer, PMDB, President of the Brazilian Congress.)
I only mention this funny detail because undue campaign is something Lula vehemently condemned before he became president. Now he changed his mind, it seems.



Brazil’s Presidential Run 2010 – Pt.1


The Brazilian presidential election is starting to heat up, and it’s with great joy that I announce this: out of the three main candidates to President of Brazil, two are women.  I will present them in different posts. Today I’ll introduce you to Marina Silva.


Marina Silva (@silva_marina, PV – Green Party) was the first to officially register her candidacy with the Electoral Supreme Court. Marina’s vice-president is Guilherme Leal,  co-founder and director of  Natura, a Brazilian (and Latin American) cosmetics giant. Leal also takes part in the Brazilian WWF, Funbio (Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity), Abrinq Foundation and Arapyau Institute (an organization for education and sustainable development).


Marina is currently a Senator for the state of Acre, in the Amazon. She used as well to be President Lula’s Environment Minister. She left PT (Worker’s Party) to join the Green Party as she strongly disapproved Lula’s environmental and agrarian reform policies. A child of the Amazon, born in poverty and victim childhood labor, Marina learned to read only when she was 18 years old, and was persistent enough with studying to get a college degree in History and post-graduation. She’s a winner, a hard working exemplary Brazilian citizen.


Marina Silva has conservative opinions about gay marriage and abortion (which is illegal in Brazil). She is a religious person, nearly became a nun. Her statements about creationism and teaching religion in schools have been a recurrent cause of embarrassment, as reporters and TV anchors love to misquote her by making out of context citations.  It’s an irony that her vice-president is the owner of the biggest cosmetics company in Latin America: Marina Silva wears zero make-up. “I’m too allergic”, she says. Religion again was the cause of a recent Twitter polemic involving her followers, when Marina’s tweets about José Saramago‘s death were largely misinterpreted.


Make no mistakes though: her religiousness doesen’t get in the way of her politics. She’s no zealot. In Brazil religion and politics don’t mix. The easiest way to lose an election in Brazil is if you appeal strongly to religion. The latest polls indicate her popularity is growing, and she went from 8% to 10% of vote intentions. Two percent means a lot for the underdog with a low budget and virtually zero space in the media, when compared to the main opponents. Dilma Rousseff (PT) and José Serra (PMDB), the topdogs, lead the polls technically tied, with percentages that vary from 34% to 40% of votes (for both of them). Debates have yet to take place, but it’s likely that Marina will be present since her candidacy has been gaining popularity.

Official website: http://www.minhamarina.org.br/blog/



Happy Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is probably my favorite commemorative date. It’s a honest and realistic reason to celebrate.


Motherhood is a universal motive for a holiday: most countries celebrate it at the same day; everyone has a mother, regardless of ethnicity, religion, social status. Naturally, it is, as well, a commercial date, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that: everyone here must agree about the importance of our mothers in our lives, and presenting them with cuddling mementos is the least we can do.


Same thing for Father’s Day. Instead of traditional religious holidays, I think Father’s and Mother’s Day are the holidays that actually show how much we care about our family values.


Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

*All images under the public domain, from Flickr Commons, by The George Eastman House, The Library of Congress & State Library of NSW.



Back to International Women’s Day


I’m an avid enthusiast of Flickr Commons and a Flickr addict, and I couldn’t help but to feel uber-ecstatic with this pearl by the Smithsonian Institution. By the occasion of International Women’s Day they put together a collection of photographs, presenting us with an album named “Women in Science”.  Bellow is a photograph  of Irene Curie, the daughter of Marie Curie, taken from the Smithsonian Collection. The image is public domain (no copyright restrictions)


Irène Joliot-Curie (1897-1956), 1921

Physicist Irène Joliot-Curie (1897-1956) is shown in full academic regalia on May 23, 1921, when she accepted an honorary degree at the University of Pennsylvania on behalf of her mother Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934). Accompanied by her daughters Irène and Eve, Marie Curie had an exhausting schedule of appearances during her 1921 U.S. tour, accepting awards and a gift of radium for her research, arranged by various women’s associations and scientific groups. The photographer, James Stokley, was teaching school in Philadelphia and in 1925 became a science journalist on the Science Service staff.” *


*Description from the Smithsonian Inst.



International Women’s Day


Tomorrow, Monday, March 8th, we have International Women’s Day coming.

To remark the importance of such date, me and the psychologist from one of the clinics where I work will be doing a workshop on Women’s Health & Violence Against Women.

The target public is selected women from factories and offices whom, for reasons too long to explain here, end up missing the lectures offered by public primary care facilities¹. The workshops started out last week, and will go on throughout next week as well.  The event is pro bono. The number of atendants ranges from 20-50 women per session. We took care not to extrapolate that number in order to keep quality over quantity, allowing better participation of the public via questions and debate.

I’m the one talking about women’s health, while the psychologist will aproach violence  against women.

I’m trully excited about this since I’m a public health doctor gone rogue, and I miss doing preventive and educational work directly with the public.

I’m writing a little essay on women’s health to be published in the form of a flyer/booklet to be distributed to general public and firms associated with our clinic.

I consider education and information the best weapon to fight violence against women. Im’ still young but in half a decade of seeing all kinds of unimaginable absurdities as a consequence of my work, I know enough no know that education and information are a  critical issue, independent of any religious or racial aspect. If you try to educate someone and they don’t get it the first time, then you try a second time. If they don’t get it the second time, you try a third time. And so on. And if still they don’t get it, someday something will happen to them that will make them understand it . Then they’ll know what you meant. And then my friends, it all pays off. 🙂


¹ In Brazil, public primary care facilities are called “PSF” (Posto de Saúde da Família or Family Healthcare Unit) and/or “ESF”(Estratégia de Saúde da Família or Family Healthcare Strategy) – it’s all the same thing, govt just keep changing names all the time.



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