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Lab Mom

Lab Mom spent 15 years as a Lab Manager in Academia before off-tracking in 2010 to stay at home with her two daughters. She blogs about the juggling act of motherhood and a science career, which encompasses a lot more then the cliche work-life balance.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Over on my personal blog I have been lamenting the fact I live in a 100 year old house and absolutely hate what a money pit it has become.  To put in perspective how long ago 100 years really is, I looked up a few facts about life in 1905 (the year my money pit was built) .

"When this house was built Teddy Roosevelt was president, there were only 45 states in the Union, most people still drove a horse and buggy, and milk cost 14 cents per gallon. It was the age of the Victorians. Automobiles, the railroad, radio, the world series, airplanes and indoor plumbing were all in their infancy. Albert Einstein still hadn't finalized the theory of relativity, and William Bateson suggested the term "genetics" for the very first time. The average weekly salary was $12.98 and the average life expectancy was 47 years. Child labor and racial segregation were prevalent and women wouldn't be given the right to vote for another 15 years."

Maybe I'm just young (please tell me I'm still young!) but it seems like the very distant past.  Unrelatable.

Or is it?

I was fascinated when I came accross the editorial in the latest issue of The Lancet, which looks back 100 years at Squire Sprigge's editorial in the Jan. 7, 1911 issue.  It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Sure there are ideas which are clearly incorrect in hindsight (the excitement over aquisition of an X-ray machine to be used in the treatment of ringworm) and cutting-edge advances we take for granted today (treatments for rabies, diphtheria, and the plague) but there are also topics which are timely even now.

Articles in the 1911 included topics such as the quest for a cancer cure, concerns over food safety, and the debate on how to provide affordable healthcare for the entire population. Those are issues we still see in the headlines today, and the wars rage on.  The 1900's struggle to find a cure for tuburculosis parallells our current fight against HIV, and although sometimes it seems we are moving at a snail's pace, it is amazing how far a snail can travel in 100 years.  Sure our tools may have changed, but our goals have not.

So I will admit I may have jumped the gun when I complained that I couldn't realate to the Victorians because I "didn't use an outhouse and have a good chance of dying in childbirth or from the flu" but maybe we do have a little more in common than I would care to admit.  That being said, I still don't want to live in their houses, I can't relate that much.

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Haha.. I love this post! Great stuff LM! I especially like the part where you say 'drove a horse'

Yes, I agree, we have come a ridiculously long way in just a few years time.. I hope we don't accidentally end ourselves without noticing though. It is amazing how quickly we become accustomed to new technology and take it for granted, and expect more new amazing stuff on demand. It's pretty cool we've been able to deliver on that.

And yes, indoor plumbing is highly underrated.

Thomas Joseph
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The 1900's struggle to find a cure for tuburculosis ...

Give it a few more years and we'll probably be back around to this one.

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When you put your house in this perspective, it really made me think, wow. It is funny how some things are still the same, like the concerns for healthcare and disease, and yet, some things kids born today will know nothing about- like having a house phone or listening to music on records.

Old homes can be fun and have a lot of character, but I'm with you when it comes to living in an old home. No thanks!

Genomic Repairman
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Thomas Joseph said:

The 1900's struggle to find a cure for tuburculosis ...

Give it a few more years and we'll probably be back around to this one.

That's no damn joke, where I live TB is a serious issue.


Dub C Med School
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Genomic Repairman said:

Thomas Joseph said:

The 1900's struggle to find a cure for tuburculosis ...

Give it a few more years and we'll probably be back around to this one.

That's no damn joke, where I live TB is a serious issue.


We're seeing it crop up more and more in HIV+ individuals around the Bay Area.  Beginnings of an effing nightmare.

Great post, LM.  I love sociological forays like this, trying to relate past and present.



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Definitely indoor plumbing is highly underrated!!

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