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Topic Reading-Vol.2236-5/26/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Starbucks is stepping up its expansion in China.
How many Starbucks coffee shops are there in China? Of its 28,000 shops around the world, about half of them are in its home country, the U.S.A. There already are over 3,000 Starbucks coffee shops across China. And the coffee company is aiming to add 600 new shops a year, more than a shop a day, in the next few years to double the number of total outlets.
You may wonder why people in a traditionally tea-drinking culture want to drink coffee so much. In fact, there are over 1,000 outlets in Japan and South Korea, and over 800 in the U.K., all of which are traditionally tea-drinking countries. Does coffee taste better than tea? Have their eating habits changed so much just recently?
Starbucks serves a variety of fresh coffee and other drinks, hot or cold. You can even custom order your drink, like Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato.
They also provide safe, stylish space for the customers to spend time comfortably, unlike fast-food restaurants where customers are expected to eat and leave.
While American the giants like Google, Apple and Facebook are all struggling to do business in China, why is Starbucks enjoying growth there? Is that because of its flavor?
Enjoy reading and think what it would take to grow business in different cultures.


Topic Reading-Vol.2235-5/25/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Elon Musk promises $1 rides in LA transit tunnels
Los Angeles is known as one of the most congested cities in the world despite having the vast highway system. It is quite surprising that this scale of mega-city has just six metro lines with 93 stations, used only by some 360,000 passengers daily on average.
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been initiating innovations to bring once-astronomically-expensive projects on and above ground to commodity, such as electric cars and space traveling. Now, he is digging the ground.
His infrastructure and tunnel construction company is trying to construct alternative urban transportation by a series of underground roadways that ferry vehicles to and from destinations using high-speed electric tracks. He chose his hometown LA as the testing ground for his new venture. He believes the company can build tunnels at much faster and economically using his tunnel boring machine (TBM).  
Surely, innovations slash the price and make the dream happen.
Enjoy reading and learn what this high-speed underground transportation system is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.2234-5/24/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Two-thirds of world population will live in cities by 2050: UN report
Towns and cities become larger as more people move in from rural areas. The UN estimated that about half of the world’s population lived in urban areas a decade ago. It is predicted that figure will grow to about 68% by the middle of the century with additional three billion new city residents. In other words, two out of three people live in cities by 2050.
There used to be only 10 mega-cities with populations over 10 million in 1990. Now there are 33 similar sized urban centers and will be 43 by 2030. These rapid urbanizations will be seen in Asia and Africa.
Though urbanization boosts the economy, brings modern life and well-being, and improves efficiency, it also creates distinct inequality of incomes and environmental challenges, such as traffic congestions, air pollution, and waste. Also, as more people move in urban areas, demands for housing also increase. As a result, the housing market has already skyrocketed in growing cities like Sydney, Australia, and Vancouver, Canada. Good news for those who own properties but bad news for those who want to own or rent a house.
Enjoy reading the article and learn new challenges the world is facing in the next few decades.


Topic Reading-Vol.2233-5/23/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Amazon Prime members to get extra discount at Whole Foods Inc. is the largest Internet retailer and on-demand cloud computing platform provider in the world. It is the world’s third most valued company only after other two “A” companies, Apple and Alphabet, google’ parent company.
It is estimated that the online retailer has 90 million prime members in the US who pay $12.99 a month or $119 a year for a membership fee. What are the privileges of the membership? Free fast deliveries, selected streaming movies and videos, Kindle books, and magazines to name a few. Also, the prime members earn 5% back at using the Amazon credit card. Is it worth the membership fee?
              Click/Touch for more details about amazon prime
For those who want more from the fee, they can now enjoy special discounts at Amazon-owned grocery stores, Whole Foods. You can enjoy the benefits both online and onsite.
By the way, when was the last day you didn’t see any news or article on Amazon?
Enjoy reading and think if the membership is just a member’s privilege or financial segregation.


Topic Reading-Vol.2232-5/22/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why you eat more when you’re in company
It seems to be clear that people eat more with others than alone. Of course. When people eat in a group, they most likely gather to enjoy the company, time and meal. In other words, they are there to eat longer. The longer time you spend on eating, the more food you dine. Also, you tend to be indulged in more food than you usually eat when others are enjoying a larger portion of meat, extra pieces of pizza, or sugar-rich dessert. According to a food researcher, this phenomenon is called social facilitation. But is it really a bad habit?
When food was scarce and limited, people like hunter-gatherers shared whatever food available and edible. Also, sharing food gives chance to balance nutrition. So, social eating isn’t that too bad for your diet as long as you manage your appetite.
There is another tip. People tend to eat more when they are accompanied or served by heavier people. Is that because they want to grow to match the others in size?
Enjoy reading and think what could make you eat healthily.


Topic Reading-Vol.2231-5/21/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How long are you going to live?
Life expectancy. It is a statistical measure of the average time one is expected to live. The most popular measure of life expectancy is at birth by country and gender. For example, Japanese women are expected to live the longest in the world at 86.8 years and Swiss men are expected to live longer than any other men in the world for 81.3 years. Life expectancy at birth can be affected by living standards, lifestyle, education, and quality and availability of health services. So, you may think newborn girls in a developing country would on average live longer lives than their mothers. Not quite. That’s because grownups have already lived many years, meaning they have gone through the most critical period of life in their early periods and years. In fact, although the first 48 hours of a new life is the most crucial period for newborn survival, quality care to prevent and treat illness for newborns and their mothers are far from available in Sub-Saharan countries. As a result, their life expectancies are far shorter than the world average. More than a dozen countries have female life expectancies shorter than 60 years.
So, life expectancy varies by gender and age group even in the same country. And there is a quick calculator to find the answers in this article.
Enjoy reading and checking the life expectancies of you and others in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2230-5/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Memory transplant' achieved in snails
Why snails to study human memories? In fact, the cells and molecular processes in the marine snails aren’t that different from the ones of humans. The difference is just the number of neurons in its central nervous system. The former has about 20,000 and the latter does billions. In short, snails’ memory system is similar to humans’ but much simpler.
A team of scientists transferred a form of genetic information called RNA, ribonucleic acid, of marine snails that were trained to react to electric shocks to another. Surprisingly, the memory-transplanted snails that had never experienced such shocks showed the same reaction as the snails that experienced the shocks.
It seems like a step towards better understanding of how memories are formed, preserved and transferred.
Enjoy reading and learning how one’s memories could be transplanted to another.