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review 2018-09-07 18:56
The Curse of the Yelnats Family
Holes - Louis Sachar

Holes is the fictional account of the life of Stanley Yelnats IV. The Yelnats family is cursed because of Stanley’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. His great great grandfather broke a promise to a friend leaving him with a curse that made life hard for future generations of the Yelnats family. The curse leads Stanley to be wrongly charged for a crime he did not commit. The judge gave him two choices, either he could go to jail or go to a camp for wayward boys, Camp Green Lake. Stanley’s choice to go to Camp Green Lake instead of jail leads him on adventures of hole digging, and joy riding. This book would be great during a social studies unit about ancestry. It provides a quirky story for how Stanley’s family functions and would help students piece together stories passed down in their families. The DRA level is 50.

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text 2017-05-08 00:00
OT: My ancestry - again

Reading the results of the DNA test has made me consider my identity. Before we had the results, we assumed we were more or less 100 % Scandinavian, but it turns out we actually have about 10 % less Scandinavian ancestry than the average Swede. It's certainly given me food for thought.

We've always been different and considered different by others, but is this the explanation? That we're partly Irish (and Iberian)? Because being partly Karelian and Wallonian is no different than most people here.

All this has made me wonder what actually makes us who we are and if this new knowledge in some way influences what I consider 'home' or where I'm going in life. Has our family been shaped by our 'exotic' DNA?

My conclusion, that is by no means final, is that while it's fascinating to find out more about our past, it's not where we come from that matters, it's where we belong - and that's a whole different question. In short, this hasn't helped me decide what to do with my life, but it's been a lot of fun.

If you're the least bit interested in your family history or indeed any kind of history, I can really recommend taking this sort of test.

Source: crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/179131.html
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text 2017-04-30 09:26
OT: Our Ancestry!

The genealogical DNA test results have come! I had no idea they sent these things on a Sunday, but apparently they do.

Unfortunately, most of our relatives don't seem to be doing any research so today we've only found a few people that we're related to.

What we did learn was our genetic origin.

Just like we already knew, we're mostly Scandinavian (Swedish and Norwegian - 82 %). Surprisingly, we are also 9 % Irish, 3 % Finnish/Karelian, 3 % Western Europe (most likely France or Wallonia), 2 % Iberian (Spanish/Portuguese - I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's the latter, since I have a really good friend who's Brazilian, with mainly Portuguese ancestry) and 1 % Britain (England, Scotland, Wales). This is so fascinating. We'll probably never find any relatives from Ireland etc, living today, but just knowing about this part of our ancestry is so thought provoking. Apart from our Scandinavian ancestry, the Irish ancestry has the highest probability, but clearly there's something else as well.

I really hope we'll be able to find out more. When more people join the genealogy site (and possibly some others that use the same DNA tests), we might actually get to know people who are related to us. Maybe we'll even solve the great mystery of our family tree - 'who is my dad's real mother'?



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review 2014-11-09 20:26
DNA and the riveting meta-history of being human
The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures - Christine Kenneally
The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language - Christine Kenneally

Review of The Invisible History of the Human Race:


This fascinating reader-friendly book covers a diverse but related set of topics including ancient human origins, the history of our fascination with genealogy and ancestors, the inexplicable longevity of ideas that arise in a culture almost incidentally, the latest sometimes surprising finding about the workings of the human genome, and the benefits, risks, and limits of DNA testing for disease likelihood, cultural identity, and prehistoric ancestry.


The Invisible History of the Human Race is the kind of book that compels me to interrupt otherwise occupied people in the hope that they’ll share my deep interest in the thought-provoking passage I’ve just read and want to discuss it. Here is some of what intrigued me the most:


*The gene whose mutation causes Huntington's disease is ancient enough to be found in slime mold. It’s crucial to slime mold, when it’s disabled the slime mold will sicken, but when a nearly identical human copy of the gene is inserted the slime mold revives.


*Someone can be your direct blood ancestor but contribute nothing to your actual DNA--it’s not as simple as having one-sixteenth of your DNA from each of your great-great-grandparents.


*Ideas tend to stick around way past their expiration date. For instance, the author cites research indicating that in areas where people farmed wheat and began using the plow, which requires a lot of upper body strength, the idea developed that men should be in the field/world and women should stay in the home--it was seen as natural and right. Now hundreds of years later, and even though no one in the area is still farming, that belief persists, having been passed down somehow through generations, and is more prevalent than in communities which didn't use the plow, like in places where rice was farmed instead. The pernicious latent influence of institutions like slavery is also discussed in this chapter.


Christine Kenneally’s other book, First Word, also hooked me completely and I highly recommend it too. It’s similarly broad in scope and would appeal to readers interested in the origins and evolution of human language, the history of language research, and the proto-languages of animals. I first read it years ago and am still thinking about it.


Source: jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/1041624/dna-and-the-riveting-meta-history-of-being-human
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review 2013-08-29 00:00
Ravenous (Ancestry, #1) - Heidi Loney Ravenous (Ancestry, #1) - Heidi Loney This review is also posted on my blog at: Thoughts and Pens

Note: A free copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read and review.

HA.HA.HA. to the power of Bajillion.

That’s how I laughed every time I flipped a page of Ravenous. The whole thing was ridiculous and I couldn’t quite summon any liking for every element that the book has. Ravenous is set in a future where food shortage has become a critical problem and the government has to put in place stringent measures in controlling the food intake of every citizen. Once a citizen is found out to be overweight, he/she will be immediately endorsed to a Wellness Facility to shed off the excess weight. Unfortunately, our heroine, 17-year old Calla Ryan became one of those citizens. While staying on the Wellness facility, Calla gradually discovered the horrors the facility have been secretly keeping.

When I first read the synopsis of Ravenous, I was immediately hooked and raised my hands to get a free copy to review. Being a food enthusiast, my curiosity was really piqued because I could never imagine the future with food being so controlled. One of my mottos in life is “Live to Eat” and not the other way around. Having said that, there’s no way for me not to read this book and see how the author would scare the hell out of me. Obviously, I was surprised that the opposite had happened. It entertained me to the point that I just couldn’t stop laughing. Maybe not the way the author intended it to be. Nonetheless, I was highly entertained.

Ravenous’ beginning was slightly okay. But as the story advanced, it was glaringly simplistic with so little twists at all. The scenes weren’t that engaging and lacked solid foundation. There were even unnecessary minor info dumps here and there. The lengthy explanation about the bread making and the mushroom really made my day. I felt that the book was competing against a cookbook and “How to Propagate a Mushroom” book. Plus, I understand that Ravenous is all about food but I wasn’t prepared that it’ll go out of its way to highlight a lot of menus and from what crops they’re made of. Every time I read about those, I find myself staring at my laptop screen and check if the book isn’t something straight from the Agriculture bookshop. Or from the Cooking section of our local bookstore.

Next, we have the shoddy characters. No one, not even our hero Calla Ryan is spared from being the typical, boring doormat. Madge, Billy, Chef, Daniel, Marnie, Caleb, Chef and even the villains comprised of Dieter and Robert are all as flat as 1D. I can’t even hate them…. What for? You can’t hate mindless and emotionless robots let alone those good ol’ doormats.

Another thing that set me laughing about Ravenous is the romance. The power of instalove is sooo amazing, it’s irresistible. It was even crudely done. Calla didn’t really notice Billy until she was told that the latter is giving her the eyes. Suddenly, Calla was all over him and then the innuendos came as fast as lightning. Seriously?! After they escaped the facility, they took refuge in one of the Northern villages and there, they said I love you to each other all of a sudden. There was no transition, no subtle hints. Where did that even come from?

Ravenous has a lot of potential but the execution was a total… I can’t even. *sighs irritably* The conflict was resolved so easily like it was just a walk in a park. And that mystery about Calla’s birth, it was sooo meeehh. Instead of getting awed, I found myself rolling my eyes heavenward and beg for some salvation from this book. And that ending, it was absolutely as relaxing as counting from 1-5.

1 star for managing to make me laugh.
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