Marc Silver

The Zika virus has gone from an obscure disease to an international public health emergency.

Editor's note: The original version of this post contained a map illustration intended to represent the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which poll respondents identified as the region presenting the greatest risk to travelers and expatriates in 2016. The map had a number of errors. The countries of Cyprus, Israel and Turkey were either not shown or not labeled; the label for "Palestine" should have read "Palestinian territories"; and Afghanistan and Pakistan were mistakenly included. NPR apologizes for these errors.

When the Nobel for Medicine goes to two scientists who discovered a drug used to fight a variety of neglected diseases, how do you tell the story?

Is it real or is it satire?

In Thailand, a dark-skinned actress laments, "If I was white, I would win."

In India, a movie director says, "I can't have any dark people on my set" and hands a skin-lightening product to two dusky actors.

Namala Mkopi always wanted to be a pediatrician. He doesn't know exactly who or what inspired him. He just wanted "to treat kids."

And nothing would stand in his way, not even biology. "It wasn't my thing," he admits. "I never really liked biology."

One thing we've learned here at Goats and Soda is that the world of global health and development is swimming in abbreviations/initialisms. We try not to use them in the blog because let's face it, dear readers, if you saw a story about NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) trying to improve BHS (basic health services), you'd probably click over to a video of RCC (really cute cats).

Global health and development abbreviations do have their defenders. They are a convenient shorthand for people who work in the field.

Although not everyone is a fan.

A headline for a chart caught our eye this week: "US Holiday Lights Use More Electricity than El Salvador Does In a Year."

Who's that man bending his body like a pretzel in today's Google doodle?

Yogis might know. It's Bellur Krishnamachar Sundaraja (B.K.S.) Iyengar.

Iyengar, who died in 2014, would have been 97 years old today. That's why he's getting the #GoogleDoodle treatment.

He began doing yoga after childhood bouts of malaria, tuberculosis and typhoid. In his 2006 book Light on Life, Iyengar wrote that his brother-in-law suggested "a stiff regime of yoga practice to knock me into shape and strengthen me up to face life's trials and challenges as I approached adulthood."

When you search for #ParisAttacks, you get nearly 2.2 million results on Google.

When you search for #KenyaAttacks, you get about 300.

The Parisian response is a reaction to the terrorist attacks last Friday, which took 129 lives and injured far more. People around the world have expressed solidarity. Facebook users are coloring their profile photos with the red-white-and-blue French flag, and the hashtags #PrayforParis, #WeAreAllParisians and #ParisAttacks are trending on Twitter.

It's World Kindness Day today.

Yes, it's kind of a made-up holiday. But really, it's not a bad idea to celebrate kind words and deeds.

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