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12/31/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2090-12/31/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
World skyscraper construction hits all-time high
The taller the better to live in? Or, do people naturally want to look down others from a higher place?
Another record in 2017. A total of 144 skyscrapers, buildings 200 meters or taller, were constructed around the world, breaking the previous year’s record by 13%. There are now over 1,300 skyscrapers, of which nearly 600 are in China. More surprisingly, over 500 of the skyscrapers in China were constructed in and after 2000.
What are those high-rise buildings for? While approximately the half of them were built for office use, the rest is designed for residential, hotel, commercial and office complex. In fact, there are as many as 300 skyscrapers are mainly for residents.
Is living in such tall buildings more environmentally friendly? How long will they last? Are they any safer to live in than free-standing houses or ordinary apartment buildings? How long do the residents stand in elevators every day?
Maybe you should ask these questions to the residents of Hong Kong.
Enjoy reading and think which floor you want to live in, underground, ground level, or as high as 100th.
    If you are interested in the list of skyscrapers, check this World Building List.
Last but not least, wish you a happy and healthy new year.

12/30/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2089-12/30/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Greenland would look without its ice sheet
What is Greenland like? You know it is covered with ice, but do you have any idea how thick the ice is?
Recently, scientists created a comprehensive geographical map of Greenland and the surrounding seafloor without the ice sheet. This map and data have provided a more accurate estimate of the volume of the ice sheet. The study found that the mean thickness is about a mile, or 1,673 meters to be precise, and the thickest ice reaches nearly 3,500 meters, nearly the peak of Mt. Fuji. Though the total ice volume of Greenland is about one-ninth of that of Antarctica, if all the ice on Greenland melted, it would raise global sea-level by 7.42 meters, and Greenland would appear as an archipelago.
But how did scientists figure out the shape of this ice-covered landscape? They used airborne radar that penetrates the ice sheet to see the shape of the land below. Also, they surveyed sonar to map the depths of sea bottoms from ships. Then, they estimated by modeling the shape of the places where neither of the approaches can be used.
Amazing work from multiple sources and cooperation. While such comprehensive scientific research is done beyond organizations and borders, actions to make use of the findings are not taken so cooperatively. Is human ingenuity limited only to studying?
Enjoy reading and learning what Greenland’s glaciers are like and how they are melting.

12/29/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2088-12/29/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China hails 'first Antarctica flight' for its tourists
Do you have any idea how many tourists visit Antarctica a year? There were about 45,000 visitors in the last season between November and March. And the number is expected to rise. Why?
Chinese appetite isn’t limited only to food. Chinese tourists are seen anywhere in the world, Hawaii, London, and Moscow, and now in Antarctica. In fact, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Antarctica has been on the rise steadily, and now the second only after Americans. Most of the tourists to the seventh continent sail from Argentina's southernmost port of Ushuaia. Recently, Chinese travel agency organized a tour to fly rich and progressive Chinese tourists to the continent, from Hong Kong to Cape Town, South Africa to Antarctica, and even to the South Pole.
Visiting the icy continent is one thing, but landing on the South Pole is beyond extreme, not to mention the airfare for this non-routine flight arrangement.
Enjoy reading and think if you want to add a tour to Antarctica on your bucket list.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-42388788

12/28/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2087-12/28/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Three myths about pregnancy
Good news or bad news? Some of the commonly given advice to expectant mothers don’t seem to have clear scientific or medical endorsement. Here are three questions you may try to answer.
Should a pregnant woman eat for two?
Will she have less period pain after giving birth?
Should flying during pregnancy be avoided?
It was found there is no one thing that changes life either in a good way or a bad way.
Some of you might think this topic doesn’t interest you now or never. However, knowing what expectant women should or shouldn’t do may help you someday, or be more considerate of them.
Enjoy reading and learn the myths about pregnancy.


12/27/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2086-12/27/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Baby survives after being born with heart outside her body
Not all the babies are born under normal conditions. Some of them have to undergo intensive and complicated surgeries after birth. One of the rarest cases is conjoined twins. They need to be separated at some point to survive. But it is hardly believable that a baby girl was born with the heart outside her body. It is called Ectopia Cordis, or out-of-place heart. It occurs when a baby’s heart is formed either partially or wholly outside the chest during the early stages of development in the womb.
Vanellope was born by cesarean section on November 22 in England with the heart outside her body. In three weeks, she underwent three surgeries to put the heart back into her chest. It was miraculous that the baby girl was born and survived in such a complicated condition. And of course, the medical team that undertook the delivery and surgeries must have studied, prepared for, and implemented the tasks beyond professionally.
Enjoy reading and imagine how blessed the baby girl and her parents are.

12/26/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2085-12/26/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why South Koreans rarely use the word “me”
Learning language isn’t an easy task. You need to learn at least basic grammar, common expressions, and vocabulary of the language. But that’s not enough. If you really want to learn a different language, you may want to think differently from your own culture because language reflects the culture and vice versa.
In Korea, they often say ‘our’ or ‘we’ instead of ‘my’ or ‘I’.” For example, someone may say, “our wife,” for “my wife.” This is confusing because it sounds like as if the wife is also married to someone else. Why is that?
It is because of their traditional attitudes of togetherness. While the English language is individualistic, Korean relationships are very much tied to collective idea.
More confused?
Enjoy reading and learning what’s important to learn another language.

12/25/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2084-12/25/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Airbus A380 draws giant Christmas tree over Germany
Christmas is celebrated by over two billion Christians all over the world. It is also decorated with Christmas trees in places where Christianity isn’t so popular, like China or Japan. Whatever the belief is, Christmas tree is enjoyed by many.
The Airbus A380 is the world's largest passenger airliner. It is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet that provides seating for 500 to 800 passengers depending on the class configuration.
During a test flight of this super-jumbo aircraft, the crew drew the largest ever Christmas tree in human history, almost half the size of Germany. The tree even had 10 circles which look like balls hanging from the Christmas tree.
Santa Clause might have thought if it was a new competitor for his business. Fortunately for him, there were no Christmas presents on board. “Ho, ho, ho!”
Enjoy seeing the flight path of this jumbo Christmas tree by a super-jumbo aircraft.

12/24/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2083-12/24/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Jerusalem: UN resolution rejects Trump's declaration
Vote in favor, against, or abstention or no show. These were the three choices that 193-member states had for the resolution at the UN General Assembly’s emergency session on December 21. The resolution called on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is a holy city for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is also claimed as the capital by Palestine but is occupied by Israel. The world agreed not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, so they maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. But recently, US resident declared to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, which only pleases Israel but no other state in the world. His rationale was to please the national interest and Americans.
Though the resolution is no-binding, it was historic to vote against the decision because the vast majority of the world voted against the US’s move.
128 states voted yes to the resolution, including all the other UN Security Council members.
Nine states voted against the US’s move besides the US and Israel were Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo, all of which were threatened to cut economic aid by the U.S.
35 states that abstained in the voting included Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentine and other small countries that are also relying on US economic aid and military presence.
Also, 21 small states, such as Samoa or Kenya, didn’t turn up for the vote to avoid conflict with the U.S.
US President said he would remember the states that would vote against US’s decision.
The world will certainly remember what the US said and did at the UN General Assembly.
Fascism and militarism caused the WWII.
Militarism and ideology brought about the Cold War.
Now, religionism, nationalism, and populism seem to lead the world to another conflict.
Enjoy reading and learning why the status of Jerusalem is so critical to so many, and also think what the world order is going to be like in 2018.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42446027

12/23/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2082-12/23/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Beijing forces migrant workers from their homes in 'savage' demolitions
Prompt execution of an order is essential for government workers in China. However affecting the order is to the residents, neither human right nor property ownership is respected or regarded when it comes to eviction. And in this extreme case even in modern China’s standard, it was only a matter of day to move out their houses and apartment rooms after a small piece of notice was put on the door. The poor residents had no choice but to move out the place, give up all the hope to live and work in the capital city and try to find a way to go home in their rural villages.
That is what happened in poor neighborhoods in Beijing recently. The authority claims that the eviction order was issued to ensure the safety of the residents. The question is why such critical concerns for building safety is raised all of a sudden? Is that because of the recent fire that killed several residents, or the government plan to cap the population of the capital city?
Whichever the motive might be, it is freezing cold in Beijing, especially for those evicted migrant workers.
Enjoy reading and learning about this savage implementation of the operation “Demolition.”

12/22/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2081-12/22/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Toxic cost of rubbish scavenging in East Timor
Where there are people who dump unnecessary items and trash, there are people who pick them up to sell. It’s easy to say working in unregulated dump site is hazardous to health, but it is the absolute and only place for those who make living out of rubbish.
East Timor is a sovereign state in Maritime Southeast Asia with a population of about 1.2 million. It became independent in 2002 after 25 years of military suppression by Indonesia. While people enjoyed a long-awaited peace and pride of their own country, nearly half of the population still lives in poverty, and many of them rely on subsistence farming. Infrastructure, legal system, and education are all far from desired levels, not to mention the health and environmental regulations.
So, here at the Tibar landfill near the capital, Dili, there are numbers of people, children to 60’s or 70’s, men or women, are all busy sorting the rubbish trying to find anything that can be sold; metal, cans, and bottles to make their living.
Enjoy reading and learning what’s behind the scene of this tropical paradise.

12/21/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2080-12/21/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What is net neutrality and how could it affect you?
Net Neutrality is the guiding principle of the Internet that guarantees the right for anyone to communicate freely online. It also prohibits Internet Service Providers, or ISP, to discriminate or block any applications or content that ride over those networks. It was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, in 2015 under Obama administration.
For example, when you go online, you expect to be connected to any website you want at a minimum speed guaranteed by the internet service provider of the spot or area, but not by the content, application, or website. It’s just like a public motorway that is used by any vehicles without any preferential treatment or higher fees no matter how big or small the vehicle is. But what if those service providers prefer or discriminate some content or applications by the business agreement with the content providers?
Now, the FCC under Trump administration has decided to scrap the Net Neutrality protections. This change will allow ISPs to set up fee structures based on the type and size of the content and application. You may get slower connections for video content if the content provider doesn’t pay the demanded fee to the ISP, or toll to drive a higher-speed lane and avoid congestion. This could favor already-established content providers with deep pockets, such as Google or Facebook, but may discriminate new start-ups, non-profit organizations and activists, and educational content that cannot afford such toll.
Is this just a matter of Internet businesses in the US?
Enjoy watching the video and think what this change in regulation could affect you.

12/20/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2079-12/20/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Meghan Markle' and 'fidget spinners' top UK Google search
Politics doesn’t bother people’s interests. Though the president of the brother state on the other side of the pond isn’t going to be warmly welcomed by UK citizens, they seem to have shown a high interest in the American actress who is going to be a bride for their royal family.
Meghan Markle, the royal bride-to-be, was the top of the Google UK’s top trending searches in 2017, followed by iPhone 8 and the Hurricane Irma. She was also number five in the world top trending searches.
Interestingly, people searched information about popular terms often used in the media, such as hung Parliament, exit pool, the Confederations Cup, and even general election.
Also, people now not only search information on the web but more often try to find ways to take actions and to do things. It seems that it is time for newscasters and editors to rethink what and how to report and comment common issues to their readers and audiences.
Enjoy reading the article and the list, and think which term(s) you may want to search in google.

12/19/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2078-12/19/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
EU gives doner kebabs a health grilling
Doner kebab is a Turkish kebab. It’s usually made of meat, such as lamb and beef, cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The sliced meat is often stuffed into a pita with vegetables, which is a very popular fast food in the Middle East and Europe. However, there are some health concerns just like other fast foods, including the hygiene for storage and reheating, high salt, fat, and calorie levels.
Also, the use of phosphate additives is concerned by the EU regulators. They are commonly used in processed meat, ham, sausages, canned fish, and cola for longer shelf life, making foods creamier, keeping the moisture. Though the chemical element is essential for humans, it is found to have a bad effect on cardiovascular disease. It is also used in matches and fertilizers. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
How much is too much? Also, is it feasible to regulate and enforce the amount of such poisonous chemical per serving on the street?
Enjoy reading and remembering how much ham, sausage, canned tuna fish, kebab and kola drinks you’ve enjoyed for the last few weeks.

12/18/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2077-12/18/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China’s all-seeing state
What’s next to the Great Firewall of China? Once the city is protected from outside threats, it’s the people inside the wall that need to be monitored. How?
Closed-Circuit Television, or CCTV, is used for video surveillance. Video monitoring has been used widely in security-sensitive places, such as laboratories, data centers, and research institutions. It is now used in many public places, such as airports, train stations, and busy street and squares around the world. It helps the security team find dangerous or suspicious things, activities or persons in the location.
However, use of video surveillance is controversial and debated about the balance between privacy and security especially when it is linked with personal identities by face recognition technology. It could tell who did or is doing what, where, and when. It seems effective and preventive up to certain extent, except for those who worry about being monitored.
But there is very little room to debate about such privacy concerns with authorities in China. They’ve installed and activated 170 million CCTV cameras around the country and working on adding 400 million more! It’ll certainly create a new industry.
It sounds like nuclear power. When it is used to generate electricity, it provides the most efficient and clean energy, though the waste needs to be disposed of properly. But when it is used for weapons, it is more destructive than anything else on earth.
Enjoy watching the video and think of any other pros and cons of AI-powered CCTVs.

12/17/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2076-12/17/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Canada province urges shopkeepers to stop saying 'Bonjour-Hi'
Should an Italian restaurant be disciplined by the ministry for listing “pasta” in its menu? That is just a part of the requirements to do business in Quebec, Canada, where official and primary language is French. They recently passed a law that mandates businesses and workers to greet their customers and clients with the word “Bonjour.”
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country or state/province, usually refers to the language used in courts, parliament, and administration, but not enforced to speak in daily basis. The question is why Quebec's provincial legislature decided to mandate businesses to use French while the majority of Canadians speak English.
Enjoy reading and think if it is a good move to force people to speak a certain language.

12/16/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2075-12/16/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Nuclear destruction 'one impulsive tantrum away,' Nobel winners warn
How many countries have these destructive nuclear weapons? The members of the United Nations Security Council, also known as the Permanent Five, or P5, China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US are all exempted from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT because they had built and tested a nuclear explosive device before the treaty was signed. There are four other states are known to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace prize for its role in pushing for the NPT. Founded in 2007, ICAN is a non-profit organization that includes 468 partner organizations in 101 countries.
One campaigner, who was one of the victims of Hiroshima, said, “We must not tolerate this insanity any longer.” The executive director of the organization also said that nuclear war had been avoided not through prudent leadership but through good fortune.
While tensions mount in Korean Peninsula, no considerable action has been taken to reduce or eliminate these weapons of mass destruction. Will their messages be heard by the leaders of those nuclear-powered nations?
Enjoy reading the text, watching the video and listening to the song for peace, and think which crisis is more imminent for the world, nuclear weapons or global warming.

12/15/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2074-12/15/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Japanese firm to use drone to force overtime staff to go home
Excessive overtime has been a cultural and habitual problem in Japan’s workplaces. It causes serious physical and mental problems to their employees. Some even committed suicide and drew attention from the public and then the health ministry.
A Japanese firm has come up with an idea to reduce overtime. Annoying employees in the office by flying a drone to sound some music that reminds people of the closing time.
Of course, there are things and people that are annoying in workplaces. Demanding bosses, non-sense document, time-wasting meetings and so on. But none of such nuisances is deliberately made by the management. Is this drone patrol a new robotic harassment?
Enjoy reading and think if there is any better use of technology to improve work efficiency.

12/14/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2073-12/14/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Halal vs. Kosher
 “Halal” is what is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law, such as food and drinks, just like “Kosher” for the Jew. Muslims are obliged to follow this dietary law. What can be eaten and how the food is processed or prepared are stated in Quran, which is distinct from ordinary foods sold or served for other people.
It is estimated that there are nearly 1.8 billion Muslims in the world now. Since the fertility rate of Muslims is higher than any other religion or the world average, the total of Muslim populations in the middle of the century is predicted to surpass one of Christians, currently the world most populous religion. This also means that over 20% of the food consumed in 2050 is going to be Halal. Now you may be interested in what sorts of food Halal is.
Enjoy reading this comparative chart for Halal and Kosher.

p.s. If you are also interested in where Halal meat is produced, please check the below.
“Where does halal meat come from?”

12/13/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2072-12/13/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Amazon's Alexa heads to the workplace
If people have gotten used to using AI speakers at home, why not using them in their offices?
Think of smartphones. They are now used not only by individuals but also for payment, identification, and even for businesses. So, it may be quite natural that this rapidly getting popular device will be used in offices and businesses. For now, touch panels are replacing paper or humans. But it may not be such a distant future for AI speakers to take some of those roles. For example, you could call someone just by saying the person’s name or ID instead of dialing the number. You may also get the information you need without typing the keyboard. It’s like just having a personal assistant in the office. That’s what the users of AI speakers are enjoying, isn’t it?
Yes, there are of course security and privacy issues as the information and actions could be logged and stored in the cloud. But there are always ways to solve problems and concerns.
By the way, does it sound futuristic to have an AI speaker order printer paper?
Enjoy reading and thinking of an environment where people are just speaking to devices.

12/12/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2071-12/12/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google Amazon row leads to restricted YouTube access
Competition is heating up to the level that users and customers are going to be left far behind. Both Amazon and Google are among the most influential businesses to the general public in America and also in some other countries. They used to play their games on different playing fields, one to sell merchandises and the other to provide content. Both had been pursuing to get as many clicks and touches as possible to maximize their revenues. But as they extended their business domains, they started competing with each other. Then, one drops the other’s product/service from its product offerings, and the other reacted the same. Amazon stopped selling Google’s smart speakers, and Google enabled Echo Show speakers to play YouTube videos. These moves have already caused some inconvenience to consumers. Now, Google, the most generous content provider in cyberspace, announced that it will make Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices unable to use YouTube from 2018. This is going to cause significant inconvenience and disadvantage to the users of Fire TV since YouTube for Fire TV is almost as essential as TV broadcast for TVs.
How far will these business tensions go?
Enjoy reading and thinking of a life without YouTube.

12/11/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2070-12/11/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Before humans, Australia was colonized by rats
What animals were there the most before humans started to live in Australia?
You may think marsupials like the kangaroo or koala whose new born is fed and protected in its mother’s pouch until it is completely developed. Yes, there are many of them, but they were outnumbered by rodents, such as rats and mice from Asia and Indonesia millions of years ago.
They were new to the continent where there were neither threatening predators nor direct competitors. They then colonized the continent, diversified, and evolved. There are unique species of rodents in Australia, such as swimming rats that eat fish and tree-living rat that chew on leaves.
Enjoy reading and learning about the first colony in Australia.

12/10/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2069-12/10/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Super beans' raise hopes in hunger-prone parts of Africa
Use, save or invest? The choice may be depending on how desperate the needs are, and how scarcely the resources are. In the case of hunger, eat what is on the table now, or plant it and grow more food for the future. 
When you’re really hungry or starving, it’s really difficult not to fill your stomach even though you know you’ll be even hungrier later. This is often the case in some places in Africa where the top priority is just getting any food to survive. Also, such places tend to have infertile soil and very little precipitation, which makes farming very challenging. They need crops or plants to grow that are high yield, resistant to dry conditions, and tolerant of diseases and pests.
So-called, super beans, seem to meet such requirements, and they are grown more in different places in the continent. 
They have a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, but not genetically modified. The pinkish color seems to be liked, too. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it?
It’s also important for refugees and immigrants to be self-sufficient instead of relying on the food that is provided by aid organizations to create their future.
Enjoy reading and think which sounds more practical in Africa, growing beans or chickens.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/super-beans-raise-hopes-hunger-prone-parts-africa-51542956

12/09/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2068-12/9/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Venezuela unveils virtual currency amid economic crisis
Digital money. Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money, like bitcoin, that is designed to be secure and anonymous. It uses cryptography, the process of converting readable information into an almost uncrackable code, to track purchases and transfers. Though it can be exchanged with hard currency, neither the face value nor the exchange rate is guaranteed.
In fact, the value of bitcoin fluctuates too drastically for ordinary households or businesses to switch from hard currency. It is rather speculative than practical these days.
Now, devastated by the triple-digit inflation, Venezuela’s economy is on a brink of implosion. Printing value-less banknotes is no longer an option. So, the government came up with an idea to create a cryptocurrency backed by its valuable natural resources, such as oil, gas, gold and diamond wealth.  
Will that government-created digital money be trusted and used by their people, businesses, and international creditors? What difference will it make from the hard currency that is valued less and less day by day?
Enjoy reading and thinking if you’ll be interested in using the oil-backed digital money.

12/08/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2067-12/8/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The avocado police protecting Mexico's green gold
Mexico produces nearly half of the world avocados. And for TancĂ­taro, a small town in Southwestern Mexico, avocados are like green gold. They bring jobs and fortune to this city of just around 30,000 residents. What’s remarkable about this community is while the country as a whole is experiencing the most violent year since 2000, it has been enjoying peaceful times. Kidnapping and armed extortions happen to anyone and anywhere in Mexico. Those who are wealthy are good candidates and victims of kidnapping. Valuable produce like the avocado is also a good target for extortions, but there aren’t enough police or military forces to protect this small town from gangs and robbers. The community was left no choice but to form a self-defense force. But instead of simply hiring someone to do the job, they recruited local residents and avocado farmers who are determined to protect their own community and people. They are well trained, armed and even uniformed, and routinely patrol the farms and check the traffic in the town. So far, this self-defense mechanism seems to be working.
Enjoy reading and think if such self-defense forces may become popular in other regions, especially in the Middle East.

12/07/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2066-12/7/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Voyager 1 spacecraft thrusters fired up for first time since 1980
The mission was given forty years ago. The spacecraft is now flying in interstellar space off our solar system about 20 billion kilometers away from earth and is still reporting daily. When Voyager 1 spacecraft was needed to adjust the angle to point its antenna towards earth, NASA, the creator, and operator of the spacecraft gave an order to fire up the thrusters that had not been used for the last 37 years. There is no doubt that it was the longest-distance order human being had placed in history. Fortunately, the order reached the spacecraft and was executed properly. Can you imagine how grateful the NASA staff were when they confirmed signal from the spacecraft?
Though the primary mission of Voyager 1 will end in a few years, it’ll still keep flying towards the constellation Ursa Minor. It may be picked up by someone along the way, or come back to earth to complete its mission like was shown in Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Enjoy reading and thinking if this spacecraft will ever be passed by another human-made spacecraft.

12/06/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2065-12/6/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Designer tweaks famous logos to use less ink
Effects of changing logo designs on the environment. Just a minor design change to a big brand logo could provide substantial savings to both the brand and the environment. Why? It’s the amount of ink used to print the logo. Though very little ink is used to print a logo on disposable items like a coffee cup or take-away bag, the number of such items used daily is quite a lot around the world. In fact, there are over 36,000 MacDonald’s restaurants and 25,000 Starbucks coffee shops worldwide. How many cups and bags with their logos on are being used and thrown out daily, monthly, and yearly?
Little savings add up. For example, draw lines instead of painting a solid color. Use the space more efficiently to save money and the planet.
Enjoy reading the text and seeing the eco-friendlier logos.

12/05/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2064-12/5/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Russian TV defends men over sex pest claims
There has been extensive media focus on sexual harassment claims in the U.S. Those who have been accused are celebrities like a movie producer, actors, and politicians. Some of them choose to admit their inappropriate conducts they did long ago before being publicized by the victim or others.
While most of the western media are paid by sponsors, they need to present what more people are interested to see or hear. Meanwhile, to keep the medium’s integrity, they are required to be neutral and sensitive to equality issues such as gender, race, and religion.
On the contrary, Russian media that are being embraced by the administration don’t seem to be limited as to what and how to speak about such delicate matters. They’ve recently presented conservative, traditional views on women without consideration of such social contexts and even made fool of American media and public on sexual harassment issues.
Interestingly, while most Russians expect women to play traditional roles, there are some fields that Russian women have higher representation than other countries.
Enjoy reading and think which media represent

12/04/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2063-12/4/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Indian surgeons remove 263 coins, 100 nails from man's stomach
A man in India went to the doctor for a stomach pain. The doctor was surprised to find that there were things quite unusual in his stomach. When they were removed from the stomach after an intensive surgery, the doctors found nearly 12 pounds of metal objects, including nut bolts, chains, 263 coins and around 100 nails.
How could a man have held that many harmful metal objects in one’s stomach? Were they in the food he had eaten? Was he forced to swallow them?
Whatever the reason might have been, it must have been very heavy and noisy to carry that much metal objects in his stomach. Also, the man was quite lucky not to have suffered any serious infections or cuts.
He no longer needs to bear such burden at least until he swallows foreign objects again.
Enjoy reading and learn how important mental health is to physical health.
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/29/health/surgeons-remove-coins-nails-from-mans-stomach-india/index.html

12/03/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2062-12/3/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Dictionary.com names 'complicit' its word of the year for 2017
Another unpleasant year they seem to have had in the USA. After xenophobia, meaning extreme dislike or fear of foreigners, their customs or religions, in 2016, the word “complicit” was chosen as the word of the year. Its noun form, complicity, maybe a little more popular than complicit, an adjective, but neither word is used popularly by many.
Complicity means being involved with others in an illegal or unethical activity. Synonyms are involvement, conspiracy or collaboration.
Complicit is an adjective, and it means associated with, involved in, or knowing about such activity.
Why was this word chosen? It seems that both xenophobia and complicit implicate the current public sentiment in America associated with the incumbent President.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you’d like to add this word to your vocabulary bank.

12/02/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2061-12/2/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Dodging taxes isn't the only reason the rich stash cash offshore
Those who don’t have saving male their best to make their living and save a little if they can.
Those who have some saving opt to grow it by investing in stocks and real estates.
Those who have too much money try to protect their wealth from being taxed or stolen. One of their preferred options is to move the money off-shore where there is no or little tax or disclosure is required. Such places are called offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and Switzerland.
One question is why they do so, to avoid taxes, ensure safety or keep confidentiality.
Another is who such wealthy people are.
Enjoy reading and learning what motivates the super-rich to go offshore.

12/01/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2060-12/1/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China should push 'toilet revolution': Xi
For hygiene, populism, pride or tourism, whatever the motives are, it seems like a good move to have cleaner toilets in China.
There was the Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao Zedong about half a century ago in China. And Xi Jinping was one of them who were sent to a rural village to engage in farming. There he endured the rural standards then, such as innutritious meals, unhygienic toilets, and uninterrupted hard labor. He might have felt that improving hygiene is more essential than destructing traditional cultures for people and the country.
Hygienic reform in tourism spots to public places and facilities, and then rural communities. That sounds like the economic growth path the country has been taking since Deng Xiaoping made his Southern Tour a quarter-century ago.
Since everyone uses toilets at least several times a day, they may remember who provided better toilets for long. It may be more effective and lasting than distributing and having people repeat quotations.
As the world two most-populated countries, India and China, are upgrading and installing cleaner toilets, the world is expected to become more hygienic in the next few years.
Enjoy reading and thinking what the priorities are to make people happier.

11/30/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2059-11/30/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Three cups of coffee a day 'may have health benefits'
How many cups is too much? That seems to depend on how you take your coffee, with or without sugar or milk/cream, which type of coffee it is, regular or instant, and how large the cup is.
It has been reported that coffee has some health benefits. A new review of studies says that coffee drinkers seem to have a lower risk of liver disease, some cancers, and stroke. This finding may make you feel like having another cup of coffee. But it has not been proven yet that it is coffee that reduces the risk of getting such diseases. There are other factors that must influence one’s health, such as smoking, exercise, and diet.
While smoking or sugary drinks like coke and pops have no health benefit, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate seem to provide health benefits if it is taken in moderation. Yes, moderation is the key to healthy life and longevity.
In the meantime, the more the better for businesses. You may see signs of health benefits of coffee at Starbucks outlets before too long.
Enjoy reading and think what your next after-meal drink will be.

11/29/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2058-11/29/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Japan's music playing, water-spraying TOTO toilets took over the world
It’s just a toilet but it is something that you use several times or more every day. So, instead of just doing the thing necessary to live, how about making it more comfortable and even enjoyable experience? That’s what TOTO, a Japanese manufacturer of conventional and smart toilets, has been working on for 100 years.
When they started their business, their focus was to provide western-style clean toilets in Japan’s homes. In 1980, the company started marketing a new type of toilet that had a buttock-washing feature integrated into an electric toilet seat, called Washlet. Now, it is a standard feature for most of the toilets in Japan, in homes, shopping malls, stations, and hotels. It also has become popular in some other countries, and some foreign tourists, especially affluent Chinese, buy TOTO’s smart toilet when they visit Japan.
However, TOTO’s innovation doesn’t stop there. They’ve been trying to reduce the amount of water needed for each flush. It used to use 10 litters for a single flush, but the recent models need only three litters or so.
The company’s history of the pursuit of conventional clean toilets to modern comfortable and eco-friendly toilets is presented in TOTO museum.
Enjoy reading and think how much is worth for a toilet.

11/28/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2057-11/28/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Nasa timelapse paints 'most complete picture of life' to date
Threats to the environment are no new news. Greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste, water pollutions just to name a few. When you see photos of the smog-clogged city like Delhi, plastic particles floating in the sea, or grossly contaminated water being drained into a river, you understand how serious the problems are. Yes, seeing is believing.
Then how can climate changes be visualized? There have been numbers of images of shrinking ice sheets, melting glaciers, and expanding deserts. But is there one that shows such changes more comprehensively and extensively at a glance?
Yes. Nasa has recently released a time-lapse video that shows how ice, forests, deserts, and inhabited and developed places changed over the course of the last two decades. The images that are shown in the video look similar to the ones shown by functional MRI (fMRI).  
Enjoy watching the video to find how the earth has been breathing for 20 years.

11/27/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2056-11/27/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
17 years without a raise? Welcome to Brexit Britain
Will there be a chance for a rise of extremism in the U.K.?
Having had no real pay increase for a decade is frustrating enough for ordinary citizens, especially when expenses on modern-era necessities, such as mobile communication and education have been rising. In the meantime, the rich and successful are getting wealthier than ever before by taking advantage of their money, talent and connections wisely.
Now the country is facing a painful divorce from the major business partner, the EU, within less than two years. When the UK citizens chose the divorce by a national referendum, they expected that would be a better choice for their future. However, there seem to be growing concerns about the already-gloomy economy in and future investment to the kingdom, not to mention the penalty that they are going to owe to the union. In fact, the referendum turnout was a little over 70%, and those who voted to Leave the EU won by 52% to 48%.
What will happen to their next election if there is no brighter prospect in the future? Will there be another case of advancement of radical populism or extremism?
Enjoy reading and learn the fall of the once-great empire, and think if the empire strikes back.

11/26/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2055-11/26/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Rape and no periods in North Korea's army
How big is the North Korean army? It is estimated that there are nearly 1.2 million active service members, the fourth largest army in the world. The total population of North Korea is just over 25 million, roughly the half of that of its southern neighbor. So, approximately 47 persons in every thousand are on active duty. That’s because they have the longest compulsory military service period in the world, seven years for women and ten years for men.
Traditionally, women are not respected or treated as well as men in the peninsula. Also, it was only a few years ago when women’s compulsory service was introduced. As a result, those young women serving in the military have to bear very difficult, inconvenient, and intolerable conditions and treatment. Many of them are physically unhealthy and mentally depressed. Some of them attempt to defect by swimming across the river to China.
How long will this sort of ruling last?
Read the article and think what you would do if you were among the young in North Korea.

11/25/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2054-11/25/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The Greek island with the key to longevity
How old is too old to enjoy life? What makes one’s life more pleasurable or miserable?
There on a small island in the Aegean Sea called Ikaria, one-third of the residents are over 90 years old. Unlike the fast-aging countries where the old are spending time mostly in the bed or nursing homes being cared by paid workers, they live ordinary lives themselves by their standards. For example, a 105-year-old widow creates woven bags and clothing by herself and sells them in her little shop, just like she did decades ago.
What is the secret to longevity? Mediterranean diet, daily routines or good challenge?
Enjoy reading and thinking which of the tips mentioned in the article is applicable to you.

11/24/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2053-11/24/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2053-11/24/2017 
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India's Indira canteen: The best meal you can buy for 13 cents
Altruism or populism? The state government of Karnataka in south India is setting up nearly 200 canteens in the state capital, Bangalore, to serve 300,000 cheap but good meals daily. And they are planning to open 100 more canteens in other areas in the state.
These canteens surely help those who are desperately poor and hungry, such as beggars and daily wage workers. Sounds altruistic, doesn’t it? But they are also enjoyed by those who had been eating at other restaurants or their homes. They can save money and time by eating at these government funded and operated canteens. In other words, they are cheaper dining alternatives for anyone. Sound like populism? As said in the article, filling stomach is the best way to win people’s hearts and votes. Yes, India is the largest democratic nation in the world.
There is another side benefit. Very little or no food waste to serve these many people every day. There is one menu for each meal and all the meals are cooked in centralized kitchens and delivered to nearby canteens. A very efficient way to serve sufficient food for many people.
But what happened to the restaurants or food sellers nearby these canteens? Are they also eating at these canteens now?
Enjoy reading and think of the benefits and side effects of government-sponsored canteens.

11/23/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2052-11/23/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The world's largest automaker is putting big money into electric vehicles in China.
China is the world largest market for new car sales, approaching the 30-million mark for annual sales. It is also the biggest electric car market, which accounts for approximately as many electric vehicle sales as all other countries combined. And the government is determinedly pushing electrification of the vehicle market to improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and become the leader in the industry. They are heavily incentivizing electric or clean energy vehicles by tax reduction to buyers and penalty to car manufacturers. Also, they are stimulating domestic production rather than import by posing import duties. No wonder why major automakers are all announcing huge investments in electric vehicle and battery factories in China as well as partnering up with local players at an unprecedented pace.
Enjoy reading and thinking when you will get your first fully-electric, not electrified, vehicle.
(Check the video to learn the difference between electric and electrified cars in the video)

11/22/2017

Topic Reading-Vol.2051-11/22/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Want to live longer? Get a dog
Walk a dog. This daily activity no doubt has physical benefits for the owner. That’s because the owner can’t make an excuse not to take a walk for their pet dog. There is no need to be strongly determined. Just try to make the beloved living companion happy.
Also, living with a dog improves mental health, especially those who live with no one. Minding and caring someone that live with, even a dog, seems to make daily life more engaged and valuable.
Sounds like an enjoyable and pleasurable option to live a healthy life. Though neither of these health solutions can be prescribed by a medical doctor, if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, why not a dog?
Enjoy reading and think if you want to get a dog, or another one, to live with you.