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Topic Reading-Vol.2170-3/21/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Stephen Hawking on God, artificial intelligence, and mankind's future
Born in Oxfordshire in 1943, Stephen Hawking studied physics in Oxford. He was diagnosed with a rare form of neuron disease at the age of 21 and was said he would live only a few years. However, he went on to Cambridge for his postgraduate research in cosmology and became a professor of mathematics, a role once held by Sir Isaac Newton. He passed away on March 14 at the age of 76 in Cambridge.
He was a brilliant scientist, known for his theories on black holes and relativity, and inspired scientists, astronauts, and students. Though he lost his speaking ability, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generator by using a single cheek muscle.
His daughter once said you could ask any question to him. One of his famous quotes says if one is disabled, one should concentrate on the things that one can do, and not regret the things that one can’t do. He also predicted that Artificial Intelligence would take off on its own and redesigns itself at an ever-increasing rate.
Enjoy seeing this brief video to feel his intelligence and foresight.


Topic Reading-Vol.2169-3/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'We are the future' -- Students across country walk out to demand new gun laws
They want their voices heard. A month after the shooting massacre in a high school in Florida which left 17 people dead, an unprecedented number of students across the U.S. walked out of their classes, some marched to White House, asking for actions to end school shootings. At 10 am in each time zone, the National School Walkout took place for 17 minutes, each minute was dedicated for each victim of the Florida shooting. Though penalties may be imposed in some school districts, students took strides out of their classrooms to ask lawmakers to:
- Ban assault weapons;
- Require universal background checks before gun sales;
- Pass a gun violence restraining order law to disarm potentially dangerous people.
One student cited, "Change never happens without backlash." Now it is time for adults to respond to the movement. After all, it is for their children and for their future.
Enjoy reading and thinking if there was ever a day when students would march to commemorate the achievement of the movement they initiated.


Topic Reading-Vol.2168-3/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How to build muscle as age tears it down
When people reach their 50s or 60s, most of them become physically relieved from family and/or business responsibilities. Also, people tend to become less physically active as they age. Then is the time to start rebuilding their muscles, according to the experts.
Furthermore, even if you exercise regularly, you need to do more and better just to maintain the same level of muscle and physical strength. That’s a hardship, isn’t it? But muscle loss actually begins in your 30s and accelerates in your 50s. Though it sounds depressing, the good news is that you could slow the muscle loss by exercise regularly and intensely. Sound like a fair exchange to you?
Also, more protein needs to be taken to develop new muscles, especially the one from dairy, meat or fish. This may sound a bit encouraging. How about doing some workout and taking grandchildren to MacDonald’s? No fries or sugary drink, though.
After all, healthy aging and independence are essential for anyone to enjoy their remaining years. But that fortune needs to be attained by some work.
Enjoy reading and learning what it takes to be in good shape.


Topic Reading-Vol.2167-3/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia: What to know before you visit
Do you want to see a red planet? Then, you don’t have to wait until next year when Big Falcon Rocket is projected to take you to Mars. From April this year, tourists can enter this desert kingdom, Saudi Arabia. You might not know the fact that Saudi hasn’t been open for tourists since its establishment in 1932, even though over 20% of the population are foreign citizens and millions of religious pilgrims visit Mecca, a holy city for Muslims, every year.
Now you can see the famous camel contest and racing, taste camel burgers, and enjoy a desert scenery on a camel. The kingdom is projecting to welcome 30 million visitors by 2030, up twelve million from 2016.
Indeed, the conservative kingdom is opening opportunities for its citizens, too. Movie theaters are reopening, females are going to be allowed to drive on the street and watch sports games in stadiums.
Just a few reminders. Women need to be 25 and older or accompanied by their husband or male family to get a tourist visa. Also, no alcohol is allowed, even on the plane or in hotels. Lastly but not the least, wear conservatively and avoid exposing your skin.
Do you want to check other restrictions and requirements to visit Saudi or Mars?
Enjoy reading and think if you want to be one of the first wave of visitors to this aggressively changing this conservative oil-rich kingdom.


Topic Reading-Vol.2166-3/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How daylight saving time works and why these states want to ditch it
Most states in the US put their clocks and watches forward an hour on Sunday, March 11th. They now start their day earlier to enjoy more sunlight during the day until November 14th. Then, they put their clocks backward an hour, so that they don’t have to get up in the dark. This time adjustment practice is called Daylight Saving Time in America and is observed most of the states except Hawaii and Arizona. It is called Summer Time in Europe, but theirs begin on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October each year.
The practice to adjust times was first introduced during the WWI but wasn’t widely adopted until the 1970s when the world faced substantial oil shortages. Though the practice offers effective use of daylight and saves energy, the first morning in the summertime is a big challenge. Most people don’t mind getting up an hour earlier for fun, like going fishing or skiing, but no one wants that just to do the same things. The last hour of sleep is so precious for both mental and physical health. In fact, more car accidents and heart attacks occur on the first summer day.
Indeed, it isn’t that easy to adjust the body clock.
So, are there any ways to ease the pain? Yes, there are. For example, eating dinner earlier or taking an afternoon-nap helps you to make the transition smoother, if you can.
Enjoy reading and learning about the pros and cons of Daylight Saving Time.


Topic Reading-Vol.2165-3/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
After100 hours in Tibet, I knew it was time to leave
When you plan a journey to a place where you’ve dreamed to visit, you probably want to stay there as long as you want especially when you spend a lot of time and money for it. There is no blame. You deserve and earn the trip. But how long is enough to enjoy staying in the dream place? The longer the better? Should you stay until you feel enough?
It seems that an exciting travel experience is no different from a pleasurable dining experience. No matter how sublime the food is, the ecstasy declines as your stomach is being filled. An author of many books on travel emphasizes the pleasure of the inner journey that follows the outer journey. In other words, a sensational memory of an outstanding journey stays long and repeatedly be enjoyed through one’s life. For that reason, an outer journey shouldn’t be too long. And just like any other memorable experience like a sports game or date, a good experience stays in your mind for a long time, if not forever. After all, it’s experience, not just seeing and feeling things in a different place.
But how long is too long or too short? That’s a million-dollar question.
Enjoy reading the article and think how long you want to spend in your dream travel destination.


Topic Reading-Vol.2164-3/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Protesting Iran's compulsory hijab law
On March 8, the 107th International Women’s Day was celebrated across the world, calling for gender equality. In the meanwhile, there are numbers of women who are forced to wear certain clothes despite their will by tradition. One of such customs is hijab. It is a veil that covers the head and chest, in some cases face as a symbol of modesty and privacy. Many Muslim women wear hijab by tradition, law or their will. However, in some places, there are women who are forced to wear or not to wear it against their will. For example, Saudi Arabia and Iran, women are required to wear hijab by law. On the contrary, a burka, which covers the entire body and face, is banned to wear in public in France, the Netherlands, and China. In either case, some women experience not only pressure but also physical attacks to wear or not wear hijab or burka in public.
As a small but determined protest against such discriminatory acts and force, an Iranian woman created an animated video with the help of her boyfriend, which shows how she felt the pressure to wear the traditional clothes.
Enjoy watching the animation video and reading the article and think what your choice will be in such a situation, defection, detention, or hijab.