Henrietta Lacks

SYSK Selects: How HeLa Cells Work

In this week's SYSK Select episode, after she was diagnosed with the cervical cancer that shortly killed her, a tissue sample was taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951 without her knowledge. Those cells would go on to become the first immortal line of human cells, something of enormous benefit to science and humanity as a whole. But while the line, called HeLa cells, became a multi-billion-dollar industry, her family languished without health care insurance. Learn about this complex case of private rights and scientific advancement in this episode.

Over the last little while I've picked up on some interesting information that, on their own, aren't really enough for a post each. Put together, though: look out! 1) Most of the wildlife photography I've ever seen was probably faked. Disney was long ago exposed for staging the lemmings running off the cliff scene in the nature film White Wilderness, which forged the lasting idea that lemmings are suicidal. As I learned recently, that tradition continues in the form of game farms. Most of these farms were initially established as wildlife preserves in states like Montana. After awhile, wildlife photographers started turning up looking for perfect shots of what had become tame animals -- shots they could never get in the woods.