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Topic Reading-Vol.2380-10/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Sky battles: Fighting back against rogue drones
As more drones fly in the air to shoot photos, spray pesticides, or deliver goods, new security concerns arise. There are numbers of incidents of near-misses not only around airports but also in mid-air. Also, a drone could be abused by terrorists to carry and drop harmful objects like a bomb or chemical substance to a target, such as a military facility, prison, and stadium. Sounds scary indeed, doesn’t it? So, how can we prevent such malicious attempts from succeeding? Shooting down a suspicious drone sounds like an easy countermeasure. But it could still cause a damage or harm if the drone is carrying explosives or chemical materials.
In fact, there already are several ways to capture or disable intruding drones to protect a perimeter.
Enjoy reading and learn about arising technologies in the air.


Topic Reading-Vol.2379-10/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Same-sex mice have babies
A historic accomplishment in genetic engineering. Bi-maternal, or two mammas mice were created in China. They are not only healthy but also fertile. It may recall you the movie and book, Jurassic Park, where male dinosaurs created their offspring without female.
Parthenogenesis is a type of reproduction in which living things develop from eggs that have not been fertilized. In Jurassic Park, it occurred naturally in order to keep the species by themselves. But in this scientific experiment, researchers took an egg from one mouse and a special type of cell from another, and then applied gene-editing technologies. Though the similar approach to create double-dad mice didn’t go as well as this female-only reproduction, for now, it may not be too long before such mice survive and reproduce.
Will this please the female worriers in a Greek mythology, the Amazons?
Enjoy reading and think if such technology is really needed or pursued.


Topic Reading-Vol.2378-10/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Japan’s special take on a packed lunch
When you travel around Japan by train, you’ll most likely find some or many of your fellow passengers eating packed meals during lunch hours or any other time of the day. In Japan, it has been customary to eat a packed meal on the train for over a century. And these packaged meals aren’t just for convenience but are prepared to entice travelers. In fact, it is considered as part of the entertainment for a train trip. People enjoy seeing sceneries while tasting local and seasonal delicacies. Any major train stations that bullet or express trains stop, there is a wide variety of packed lunches stacked on the shelves to choose from. Sometimes, department stores or supermarkets have “Ekiben Fair,” which offers popular or never-heard-of packed lunches to their shoppers. Indeed, it is another deep-rooted Japanese food tradition.
But be careful. Eating a packed lunch on a local commuter train is considered unruly.
Enjoy reading and think if you want to try one when you visit Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.2377-10/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Scientists: Time running short before climate change effects are 'irreversible'
How long will humans keep ignoring the intelligence about what is going to happen to the earth’s climate? The consequences of global warming are well known, and the actions needed to prevent climate and environmental disasters from happening have been proposed enough.
A recent UN panel’s report shows that carbon dioxide emissions by human activities need to be reduced by half of 2010 levels in the next decade to avoid irreversible, catastrophic climate change. Such reduction obviously requires historic, decisive, and drastic actions as no one wants to give up what they are enjoying, or hope to enjoy the convenience and practices, not to mention business activities that heavily depend on energy consumptions.
Yet, the United States of America, the second largest carbon dioxide emitter by human activity, is going backwards under the current administration and Congress. The US had been one of the most influential bodies to lead such actions until two years ago but unfortunately, it seems no longer interested in taking such initiatives for the next two years, at least.
Will human ingenuity ever take such actions while there still are wars, nuclear weapons, genocides, and famines in many places around the world.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video to learn how significant the impact of global warming that is on its way to everywhere on the planet.


Topic Reading-Vol.2376-10/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
As global temperatures rise, so will mental health issues, study says
A rise in temperatures in a certain place seems to have quite an impact on mental conditions in a negative way to the residents, according to a new study in the U.S. The research compiled data of two million responses about their mental health status over a decade. The number of the respondents who reported anything that falls within the range of stress, anxiety, depression, emotional issues increased more in places where there was an increase of just one degree Celsius. The same trend was also found in regions that were hit by a disastrous hurricane like Katrina.
Unfortunately, those whose incomes are relatively lower seem to have been affected more by such meteorological changes. If so, the global warming we are experiencing now is going to cause not only ecological and environmental disasters but also mental and subsequently physical problems to those who live in warmer regions.
Read the article and think what strategies you are going to develop to cope with the ongoing climate change.


Topic Reading-Vol.2375-10/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How France created the metric system?
The metric system is an internationally adopted decimal system of measurement. The modern metric system consists of the meter for length, kilogram for mass, second for time, and ampere for electromagnetism. However, there are three countries that still are reluctant to use this modern convenience; the U.S., Liberia, and Myanmar.
When and where did this world standard system originate? It came out of the French revolution which wanted to replace old monarchy and church customs with new systems. Unlike then-more-modernized China or Japan, there were as many as 250,000 different measurement units just in France alone before the revolution. But it wasn’t an easy task to standardize how long and how heavy a thing is. In fact, it took decades before the system became the nation’s de-facto standard.
Now you might have realized that why not “meteric” but “metric” in English. That’s because “metre” in British English came from French “m├Ętre”.
Enjoy reading and learn how the metric system was created and how it became popular.


Topic Reading-Vol.2374-10/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Amazon is using AI in almost everything it does
Amazon started its business as an online bookstore, added CDs and videos, and diversified into a mass retailer, selling almost everything. Soon, they offered their online store, warehousing and shipping & delivery infrastructures to other sellers as Amazon Marketplace. They also offered their computing platforms to individuals, companies and even governments as on-demand, cloud services, called Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Amazon also developed some consumer electronic products such as Kindle and Echo. They now have a plan to add thousands of brick-and-mortar stores called Amazon Go where shoppers can simply grab what they want and leave the store without stopping.
You may already have known, heard of, or experienced these Amazon’s business activities. But what is there behind these advanced technologies and services?
Enjoy watching the video and learn what roles AI plays behind Amazon.