RSS Feed


Topic Reading-Vol.2505-2/19/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why China is obsessed with numbers
It is well known that Indians are good at math. Likewise, Chinese are good at using numbers. But how?
First, you want to know how to pronounce numbers in Chinese.

1   2     3     4    5     6   7    8   9  
yī  èr  sān   sì   wǔ  liù  qī  bā  jiǔ 

10   11       20        30       100    1000
shí  shíyī   èrshí   sānshí   bǎi     qiān

Now, you may have found that Chinese digits are monosyllabic. They are easily pronounced, which makes it easier to remember when a few or several digits are used for an ID, nickname, website or even a phrase. For example, as 1688 sounds like ‘ee-lio-ba-ba’ in Mandarin, it is used by Alibaba’s group websites. Also, 520 sounds like “I love you” in Chinese. That’s why a series of numbers are often used for passwords, IDs, or websites by numbers in China. Also, in the old days when keyboards were used to type and access to websites, numbers were preferred rather than spelling words because they require just a single keystroke. As you know, Chinese people think for the long term but tend to do things quickly.
So, when you go to or live in China, pronounce numbers as Chinese do.
Enjoy reading the article and think if you can work out things by numbers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2504-2/18/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Iran marks 40 years since Islamic Revolution with nostalgia and threats
Four decades ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran was established after two years of demonstrations and campaigns to throw out the western installed monarch. Despite the name, the Islamic Revolution, or Iranian Revolution, left relatively a small number of casualties for the size of the country during the period. After then-exiled religious leader, Khomeini returned from France, a new theocratic-republican constitution was formed, and the nation was reborn. Since then, the clerically ruled Islamic country seems to have been getting continuing steadfast support and loyalty from its 80-million inhabitants despite the hardship caused by the US-led economic sanctions and corruption and cronyism of their own regime. Their accumulated hatred of the U.S. seems to have helped the theocratic nation endure long lasting hardship.
Enjoy reading and learn what the Islamic Revolution was about and how the forty-year anniversary is commemorated in Iran.


Topic Reading-Vol.2503-2/17/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
TSA finds 10 loaded guns a day in carry-on bags
Each day last year, about 10 loaded guns were seized before boarding at 249 airports in the U.S., according to the Transportation Security Administration. Atlanta alone, the world’s busiest airport, nearly 300 guns were found and confiscated at the security checkpoints.
You probably know that guns, ranging from small handguns to military-grade machine guns, can be purchased, owned, and used legally in the U.S. And in any state, either permitted or qualified individuals are allowed to carry concealed weapons in public. However, a firearm of any kind or ammunition is not allowed to be brought in any commercial flight unless it is carried by an authorized agent with permission. Of course. You can’t go through a security gate even with a bottle of water nowadays. In other cases, guns must be declared and stored in a hard-sided, locked case as checked baggage.
But why so many people are trying to bring their guns to the cabin? Are they worried about the security or determined to use their weapon at some point?
Enjoy reading and think how many loaded guns might have been being carried into the cabin without being discovered in the US daily.


Topic Reading-Vol.2502-2/16/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Sweden’s surprising rule for time off
While the neighboring country is testing the effectiveness of universal basic income scheme to unemployed citizens, covered in yesterday’s Vol. 2501, Sweden has a law that helps full-time workers to try out their own businesses. The law ensures the right to take a six-month leave of absence to start a new company or to study. It gives those who have an idea and passion for a new business a chance to try it out. Though the salary isn’t paid for the period, the person can get back to the job if he or she decides not to pursue the project any further. It seems to ease the fear of failure, financial risk and career opportunity to start a new business.
In fact, there has been a significant increase in small businesses in the last decade in the Scandinavian country even though the direct link to this program hasn’t been clarified.
Unlike the universal basic income program, this law doesn’t cost any to the government. But what about the employers and coworkers who need to fill the gap during the period?
Enjoy reading and think which idea works better in your country to stimulate entrepreneurship, universal basic income or leave of absence.


Topic Reading-Vol.2501-2/15/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Finland basic income trial left people 'happier but jobless'
Finland is one of the world's northernmost countries with a population of five and a half million, about the same as Singapore. Despite the pressure from the giant neighbor during WWII and cold war, it maintained its independence and integrity. Finland is now one of the top performers in per capita incomes, education, social welfare, civil liberties, quality of life and human development.
In January 2017, they started testing of a controversial welfare scheme, called Universal Basic Income, or UBI, which provides a certain amount of monthly income to everyone. In the Finnish test, they randomly selected 2,000 individuals who were unemployed to see if the basic income would help them find a new job or gain new skills. After two years of their test period, they found that those recipients were happy but didn’t get new jobs as much as they had hoped. They are now busy analyzing the test results.
Among the variety of progressive social welfare schemes, such as universal basic income for all or those who are unemployed, or universal basic services, which provides essential social services like education or healthcare for free, which one works better than the others for citizens, social security system and economy?
Enjoy reading and think if universal service or benefit is an effective way to improve social welfare in your society.


Topic Reading-Vol.2500-2/14/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Spectacular snow fireworks as Russians celebrate the deep cold of winter
How cold is too cold to go outside and have fun? Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and skating are all popular among almost all ages. Also, taking an outdoor hot bath is so relaxing and warming until the moment you get out of the bathtub. But there are some activities that you could enjoy only at a sub-zero temperature. Dubak in Russia is a trick of throwing boiled water in the air and watch it turn into ice before it hits the ground. It looks like an artistic activity rather than a sports activity, but it does require physical and mental strength to stay outside as well as creative sense as to when and how to throw the boiled water in the air.
If you would like to try it, you’d need to go to Siberia or Alaska, dress warmly, and wait for a perfect day for photo/video shooting.
Lastly but not the least, let me extend the highest appreciation to the Topic Readers. 
2,500 volumes have been published for the last six+ years. 
Hope you've enjoyed reading interesting topics from the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2499-2/13/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
America colonisation ‘cooled Earth's climate’
It is estimated that over 50 million indigenous Americas had lived in North, Central, and South America before Columbus brought the most unwelcomed gifts to the continent at the end of the 15th century. They were western civilization, colonization, and deadly diseases, such as smallpox, typhus, measles, influenza, and cholera. Since indigenous people of the Americas were so vulnerable to these devastating diseases that their population was reduced to only one-tenth of what it had been a century ago. It is called the Great Dying.
The scale of population reduction in such a short period of time devastated not only the civilizations of the indigenous but also their cultivation.
A large part of their farmland, about the size of present France, was abandoned and was repossessed by forest and savannah.
Recent studies of the air bubbles trapped in ice cores in Antarctica found that there was a fall in global carbon dioxide levels during the period.
Now, a new study concluded that a decline in the use of fire and grow-back of natural vegetation in Americas caused a drop in CO2 in the air substantial enough to cool the temperature of the globe, especially in Europe combined with the little ice age.
Was that really a genocide and epidemic caused global cool-down?
Enjoy reading and learn what human activities could do to the environment.