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Alaa Al Aswany on Going from Dentist to Novelist
al Aswany: My name is Alaa al Aswany. I am a novelist. Well, I’m from Egypt and I was raised in the house of my father who was as well a very known novelist in Egypt, and I was his only child, so I was very attached to him and we had literature everywhere in the house. So, that was my only dream, to be a novelist. But, in the Arab world, it is almost impossible to make your living from literature. You must have another profession, including Naguib Mahfouz who is a Nobel Price winner. He used to work as a civil servant for the government ‘til the age of retirement. So, I had to have another profession, and that’s why I became a dentist. What is happening with me now is very exceptional. Now, I have been a best selling novelist in the West, and now, since 2002, I earn money and I can quit dentistry, you see? But this is very exceptional. And also, I insist on keeping my dental clinic, and I see my patients twice, only twice a week now, and I have colleagues who are taking care of the clinic when I’m abroad.
Question: Why was getting published in Egypt so difficult?
al Aswany: Well, it was a really very tough time because I was refused to be published by the government three times, in 1990, 1994, 1998, for three different books. And then, 1998, I was, as you say, I was really very desperate, so I said to my wife that it’s enough for literature. I gave literature all that I can give and [lit] has [given] me only troubles, you see, and I decided with my wife to immigrate to New Zealand, as you say, but I told my wife that I’m going, I have began just another novel and I’m going to finish this novel and this is going to be the end with literature for me. And this novel was “The Yacoubian Building,” which is, it’s now, we’re going to celebrate 1 million copies the coming months, in 22 languages, 100 countries all over the world. And even my previous works now are going to appear in different languages and I’m very proud to say that “The Yacoubian Building” was a best selling novel in the Arab world from 2002 ‘til 2007. Now, “The Yacoubian Building” is number 2 on the best selling list because “Chicago” is number 1, my new novel, so I am number 1 and number 2. I’m very happy.
Alaa Al Aswany talks about the impossibility of making a living as a writer in Egypt.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.