Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Serendipity (September 14, 2013)

Saturdays often allow a more leisurely approach to life than work days. I can more easily post links to some blog posts or other materials I have discovered during the week, or even to those discovered during a Saturday morning coffee and extended surfing of the blogosphere/internet.

Here are a few recommendations for inclusion on your reading list.

1.   Judy Russell at The Legal Genealogist has an important post from last Sunday in her continuing efforts to keep the community informed about the controversy over the attempted patenting of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes by Myriad Genetics and its partners back in the 1990s.  The patent was granted back then and it gave Myriad and its partners a virtual monopoly on the genes and testing for the elevated risk of breast cancer that they harbor for women who have the genes.  It also helped to keep the cost of testing for the genes unreasonably and unnecessarily high.  The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the patents in June 2013, but Myriad sued when at least two companies announced they would offer testing to women at significantly lower prices.  The litigation fight is now on, but a movement called Free My Genes has also been formed.  Judy explains it all, and I encourage everyone to follow her lead by simply "Liking" Free My Genes on Facebook to show support for the battle against Myriad and for the lower pricing of this extremely important testing for women with a family history of breast cancer!  

2.  Did you know that your ancestors did not sleep the way you do?  It's true.  Find out how their sleep habits differ from most of ours today by going here to an article I found via a mention at UpFront With NGS on September 6th.   

3.  Every person I know who is into genealogy is fascinated by photographs of their ancestors.  There are many reasons for the fascination and I think that among them is the ability to see our ancestors age over time.  So many posts on blogs show ancestors as babies, in youth, middle age and then in the so-called "twilight years."  Well if you have 4 min and 58 seconds you really should go and look at this amazing depiction of a girl going from youth to old age.  

4.  Heather Wilkinson Rojo's series on 20th Century Americana continued this week with The Clam Box in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  It's not just the fried clams, but the building itself in a "then and now" presentation here.

5.  How's this for a science project?  Get 200 babies, sequence their entire gene set at birth, then follow them to see how knowing their genetic make-up affects their lives and their medical experiences.  Something tells me the $6 million budget is not going to be enough.  Learn more here.  [Tip courtesy of  NEHGS's The Weekly Genealogist.] 

6.  Amid all the remembrances this week for 9-11, it is worth noting that the September 11 Museum is nearing completion below the ground where the twin towers once stood. And speaking of the September 11 Museum, if you were a follower of the Story Corps project that ran on NPR and if you like TED Talks, I suggest you mosey on over to this site and watch Jake Barton: The museum of you.     

7.  AND, speaking of TED Talks, we who are absorbed by genealogy are always in one way or another examining what is "home" for us and our ancestors.  So, I think you will find it interesting to watch Pico Iyer: Where is home?  

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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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  1. Thanks for the mention, John. We were in Essex, Massachusetts again today enjoying some fried clams!

  2. Thanks for some great recommendations. I enjoyed the youth-to-age video. The changes were almost indiscernible as they happened. How I wish I had annual photos of ancestors to see the changes over time.

  3. Thank you for reading and commenting Nancy -- it is much appreciated. I found that video amazing too!