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Topic Reading-Vol.323-2/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Titanic II blueprints unveiled, but don't call it "unsinkable.
It’s hardly thinkable to build something unsinkable at any time in history, either in 1812 or two centuries later of the time the gorgeous cruise liner failed to make her maiden voyage to New York from Southampton, England. How does this bold project sound to you to rebuild a replica of the luxury liner with three distinctively separate classes with dedicated facilities and service members that takes four days to cross the Atlantic? Would you prefer taking a suit on an A380 super jumbo jet to arrive in New York looking down the Statue of Liberty through the window instead of looking it up from the deck on the ship waving hands and hats like immigrants to Ellis Island?
By the way, to keep up with the modern economy, and may be the nature (replica) of the ship as well, the replica ship is going to be built by a Chinese company.
Enjoy reading and learning about this bold move by an Australian billionaire (self-claimed).  


Topic Reading-Vol.322-2/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Oscar’s tribute to James Bond goes bust.
How many 007 series movies have you seen and how many titles, James Bond actor, Bond’s Girls or songs of the movie series do you remember?
The actors of the handsome, elegant, sexy, intelligent, athletic and bold spy hero are all alive. It would be nice to have all of them wear black tuxedoes with a glass of dry martini in one hand and a Berretta in the other and line up on stage, Connery, Moore, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.
Enjoy reading and learning about this 50-year-old spy movie series, their actors and songs.


Topic Reading-Vol.321-2/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How Dinosaurs Grew the World's Longest Necks?
How long do you think the neck of a giant dinosaur could have been, or how many times longer was it than that of a giraffe? Some researchers say that one of those long-necked vegetarian dinosaurs was found to have as long as 15 meter-long neck, five time as long as that of an animal that lives on the ground now, the giraffe.
How could a dinosaur have such a long neck and why? Were there any advantages by having a longer neck than others? Enjoy reading and learning about a mystery of once-dominating creature on the ground of our planet. 



Topic Reading-Vol.320-2/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South Korea's president-elect faces tough challenges.
In Korea, the first female president takes place on this very day for the next five years, possibly another five years if she is reelected. It seems to be a very exciting moment for many Koreans especially when the country is facing numbers of serious issues such as nuclear threat from the North, rising currency exchange rate, and the financial gap between the rich and those who aren’t.
Enjoy reading and learning about her and her new challenges. 


Topic Reading-Vol.319-2/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How it will feel to wear Google Glass.
You neither have to use your smartphone to shoot a thing that you want to share with someone nor post the photo or video on facebook, you just need to wear slim eyeglasses to share the view and talk with anyone simultaneously. The eyeglasses will also show you any information or notification that you might see on your smartphone, as well as the search result you might have looked up.
Enjoy reading the text and seeing the video about this future-come-true kind of gadget by Google.



Topic Reading-Vol.318-2/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
In picking the next pope, Catholic population doesn’t equal power.
Conclave, a secretive meeting by roughly 120 eligible voters from all over the world, is a place where a new pope is elected. The number of those voters, namely cardinals who wear red hats to show their faith to God, don’t seem to represent the regional population of the religion equally, or in other words, they aren’t proportionally selected by the number of the population of nearly 1.2 billion. You don’t need a computer or even a calculator to figure out how many of the 1.2 billion total believers in the world each cardinal should represent, if it’s equally allocated.
However, history and origin of the religion seem to supersede math and reality when it comes to select a person for this most influential position.
Enjoy reading and learning about this 1,000-year-old selection process of a religious leader.


Topic Reading-Vol.317-2/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Report: Chinese military engaged in 'extensive cyber espionage campaign'
How serious cyber attacks or espionages could be? A US cyber security firm has released a report to show that four networks located near Shanghai stole hundreds of terabytes of data from numbers of organizations in the world for the last eight years.
The question is who or under whose directions those cyber offensives have been conducted or how much and how well they have been organized and implemented.
The Cold War was mainly between the U.S. and U.S.S.R, and new cyber war seems to be occurring between the U.S. and P.R.C.
Enjoy reading and learning about a new phase of espionage in cyberspace.



Topic Reading-Vol.316-2/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A meteor and asteroid: 1 in 100 million odds.
On February 15, 2013, most astronomers around the world were paying close attention to an asteroid, called DA14, to make a record-close pass -- 17,100 miles -- by Earth. On the same day, a meteor blasted over Russia and injured over 1,000 people. Are these two very rare incidents related? Before doing complicated math calculations, you may want to know that our planet traveled nearly half a million kilometers. This fact itself could convince you that the two objects, the asteroid and the meteoroid were connected or related.
If you’re now ready to read some math aspects of these two historic incidents, enjoy reading and learning the article. You may find it isn’t as complicated as you think.


Topic Reading-Vol.315-2/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Inside the witness protection program.
Unless you’ve seen or read some crime, gang or spy movies or stories, you might have not heard of this extraordinary protection program for witnesses in the US who testified about the crimes they had involved or engaged despite the risks of their lives against highly probable revenge.
Once agreed and testified, the witness, and his/her family if any, gets a new ID and start a new life in a totally new unknown place where he or she has never lived or connected.
It seems to be a hard choice to completely disconnect one’s life from the familiar place and loved ones and start a new life as a new person, including the name.
Enjoy reading and learning about this secretive yet unique protection program in America. 



Topic Reading-Vol.314-2/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
First mass Moonie wedding since founder's death.
In some countries like Japan and Korea, young people are getting married later and later in their lives and making fewer and fewer children, if any, but not under the Unification Church.
Is it easier to get married to a person who you’ve never met before but is selected by the leader of the religion you believe in? This practice is more extraordinary than the arranged marriage, which has been common in many parts of the world until recently, but is supported strongly by the followers of the church as some 30,000 people got married simultaneously via a video link in many countries, including 3,500 couples in Korea.
Enjoy reading and learning about Moonie wedding practice.


Topic Reading-Vol.313-2/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sugar Mist Makes Veggies More Palatable to Kids.
Are you sensitive to the bitter flavor in vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli? If so, a touch of sugar may mask the bitterness so that you may feel less displeasing to eat your vegetables on a served-dish that was prepared personally by someone you don’t want to displease in any fashion.
Enjoy reading and learning about an interesting idea to sweeten vegetables for better nutrition. 


Topic Reading-Vol.312-2/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five things about Friday's space events
The meteor blast over Russia on February 15, 2013, was the largest meteor impact for the last century and occurred on the same day as a asteroid flew very close by our planet, and these two once-in-a-decades-or-century events are totally unrelated. Isn’t it just a coincident or an act of superstitious force?
Enjoy reading and learning what astronomical science explains about this very unusual and extraordinary events. Phew! 



Topic Reading-Vol.311-2/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's coal mines less deadly, still dangerous.
Less deadly they say seems to be proud news in the country where nearly 1,400 coal miners were killed in accidents in 2012, which represents a significant drop from the previous year’s total, approximately 2,000. And these figures are the ones announced officially by the State Administration of Work Safety, which won’t be proud to show any numbers that make or could make bad. The article says over 40% of the major accidents occurred in coal mines without valid licenses. Did those illegal operators really reported their accidents faithfully?
Enjoy reading and learning about the fact and data that was announced from the state agency. 


Topic Reading-Vol.310-2/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Girl Blasts Hello Kitty Doll Into Space!!!
A little over half a century ago back in 1958, Soviet Union launched its second rocket to space, ahead of the USA. On board the then-the-most-advanced-technology rocket was a live dog called Laika, which became one of the most famous dogs in history. Now, without rocket-science or deep pocket that a space agency like NASA has, a 12-year-old girl in California launched a Kitty doll into space! Even more surprisingly, the whole show from the preparation, launch, ascending, descending, landing and discovery were all video recorded and posted on YouTube!
Enjoy reading and seeing this scientific experiment by an elementary school girl without rocket science but with support from her family members and a school teacher. 


Topic Reading-Vol.309-2/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,

New prime number is the biggest ever found.
An inspiring topic on romantic St. Valentine’s Day. It’s about a new prime number, which can be divided only by itself or 1, has been discovered after 2008.
Do you have any idea what those prime numbers do? Well, at least it’s worth setting up an organization called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), which pursues larger prime numbers. This time, a professor in the U.S. has discovered a new one, 257,885,161-1, a 17,425,170 digit number, which supersedes the previous record prime number of 12,978,189 digits, which was discovered over 4 years ago.
The professor will receive a $3,000 GIMPS research discovery award, which certainly not worth pursuing.
Enjoy reading and learning about this new mathematical discovery, even though you aren’t that much interested in math.



Topic Reading-Vol.308-2/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A tiny Roomba for your phone and tablet.
You might have heard or seen about this robo-cleaner for homes, called Roomba. It’s still a bit too pricy compared to conventional vacuum cleaners but seems to be convenient especially when you come home exhausted to do any household choir. Now, here is a new version, but now too pricy or upgraded, but actually downsized to clean a tiny display of your loved smart phone or tablet PC.
Enjoy reading and seeing this new innovative gadget for your gadget.



Topic Reading-Vol.307-2/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What are Drones?
You might have heard about drone surveillance, or drone strikes especially in Middle East?
If you haven’t, you might be surprised to learn how much machines can take place for human troops these days.
Enjoy watching the video about this high-tech military and civilian robo-copter.


Topic Reading-Vol.306-2/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's great migration from 'Hukou Hell'.
As posted earlier in Vol.298, over three billion trips are taken place in China during their new year holiday season, the largest human migration on the planet in history, to reunite families and friends with the workers who live and work away from their hometowns to make their living.
Why such a huge number of people choose to live in cities where they have no access to welfare, insurance, social security or education for their children even despite the discriminatory legislation called Hukou system, which a Western journalist describes as illegal immigration within their own country?
Enjoy reading and learning more about this social system behind their economic growth of the world most populous and rapidly-advancing country.

If you’re interested to learn more about the Hukou system, please click the below.


Topic Reading-Vol.305-2/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why is Atlanta the world’s busiest airport?
First of all, do you know where Atlanta is? Historically, the city was the epicenter during the Civil War in the 19th century and the Civil Rights Movement in the last century and most recently the 1996 Olympic Games, but it isn’t as popular destination for international travelers as New York, London or Beijing in this new century. It’s the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with a population of a little over five million in its metropolitan area. The city is also home to numbers of major US corporations such as Coca Cola, CNN, Home Depot, UPS (the United Parcel Service), and Delta Airlines, which flies 1,000 flights in and out of the world busiest airport daily. Lastly but not the least, a quite a numbers of peach trees will welcome you to the city.
Enjoy reading and learning about a major southeastern city in America.


Topic Reading-Vol.304-2/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Postal Service will end Saturday mail delivery.
US Postal Service, or USPS, which has been delivering mails and parcels for the last 200 years, is now proposing to cut its first-class, or ordinary, mails on Saturdays to save cost. First-class mail in the US includes postcards, letters, large envelopes and small packages under 368 grams or less.
Their parcel business has been in good shape thanks for Amazon and eBays but letters and cards have been taking their places by emails, greeting cards, twitter, and social network. The question is, which do you prefer, cheaper stamps on weekday-delivery or higher stamps with Saturday delivery?
Enjoy reading and learning about the struggling once-government-owned postal service.
By the way, it’s Saturday today, isn’t it? Don’t worry. You’ll get a Topic Reading seven days a week, 365 days a year, even though this service isn’t regulated by any government.



Topic Reading-Vol.303-2/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UK lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in first vote.
Despite strong oppositions from conservatives, their prime minister’s own party, and the Church of England, Briton’s lawmakers voted in favor of same-same sex marriage by majority, opening the way to legalize same-sex marriages.
England and Wales, two of the four countries of the UK, has already recognized civil partnerships between gay couples.
There are nearly a dozen states that allow same-sex marriage, including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa and Norway, so do nine states and Washington D.C. in the U.S.
In ten years time, how many states will still not recognize equality in marriage, or at least social or legal status of gay couples?
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest move in a conservative but liberal state. 


Topic Reading-Vol.302-2/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Facebook After Death: Who Owns Your Pages When You Die?
Facbook has just celebrated its ninth Anniversary, which currently has over 1 billion live active users around the world, which number was merely a million in 2004. Over the course of nine years, there must be numbers of Facebook pages seem to be occupied by deceased people.
Facebook has created a function allowing Facebook pages to become memorials, called memorialized account, after they have died to deal with this growing number of deceased users. The below is an example;
Hi Ron,
We are very sorry to hear about your loss. Per our policy for deceased users, we have memorialized (Name)’s account. This removes certain more sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or find (Name) in search. The Wall remains so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance.
Unfortunately, we cannot provide login information for the account. This is to protect (Name)’s privacy. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Now, you may wonder what happens to other online private properties such as Twitter, emails, and photos and videos after you die?
Enjoy reading and learning about growing concerns about online properties of the deceased.


Topic Reading-Vol.301-2/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Attending a North Korean school ... in Japan.
How many of you have ever seen North Korean schools in Japan or heard anything about them, except for the recent news as to whether they should be granted the free-tuition fund?
This article and the video shows you one of the 10 such high schools in Japan, all of which are provided financial support and text books from North Korea. It seems hard to justify giving funds to such school that show the portrait of their former and incumbent dictators who launched missiles and conducted nuclear tests despite the criticisms from all neighboring countries and UN security council.
However, the students of the school look just like innocent students of other ordinary schools in Japan.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video to learn about the extraordinarily operated school. 



Topic Reading-Vol.300-2/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hospital: Pakistani teen activist Malala awake, talking after successful surgeries.
While the world is filled with numbers of news of the dark side, here is one story that is about to start shining. For your 300th topic reading article, you’ll find relieved to learn that the brave and courageous Pakistani teen activist calling for education opportunities for girls, which Taliban has been forbidding, who was shot in her head and neck in a close range last October by Taliban attacker in the bus is now under stable condition after being implanted a titanium plate to cover some part of her skull.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest update of the young courageous girl.


Topic Reading-Vol.299-2/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
US looking at action against China cyberattacks.
When diplomatic talks or negotiations don’t seem produce an outcome or solution, actions such as open accusations, economic sanctions and restrictions may take place before taking direct measures, namely counter attacks. That’s how a war could begin.
It seems very challenging to contain cyber crimes, attacks, or terrorism because these could be emanated from a single computer anywhere in the world by hacking someone else’s computer or access code.
Is it time to go into a new phase of war like cold war between eastern and western allies in between the 60s and 80s or already happening in the cyberspace?
Enjoy reading and learning about this heating topic.


Topic Reading-Vol.298-2/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Spring Festival great 'escape'.
Most of you already know that the biggest festival and family reunion in China is Spring Festival, which takes place for weeks sometime around February depending on the lunar calendar.
That is also the largest migration of humans on the planet, billions, not millions of people move around the country.
Enjoy seeing the scenes of the migration and think if you’d to travel China during the period.



Topic Reading-Vol.297-2/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South Korean rocket successfully puts satellite in orbit.
Which Korea this time? Don’t worry. It’s South Korea, or officially the Republic of Korea, not its northern neighbor The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK. More importantly, it is not aimed to launch an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM, but to put a satellite in orbit.
You may also be interested to learn that they are the 10th state to launch space rockets after United States, Russia, China, Japan, France, India, Israel, Iran and North Korea.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video of their historic moment.



Topic Reading-Vol.296-2/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Boy Scouts of America members React to Possible Inclusion of Gay Members, Leaders.
How many of you have heard or seen boy scouts, or know about their organizations and activities?
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest youth organizations in the U.S.A., with 2.7 million youth members and over 1 million adult volunteers. Their goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, such as scouting, camping and educational program including various volunteer works.
The organization is now considering to lifting its ban on gay members and leaders, which seemed to have been positively received and this article introduces several of the responses from its leaders and supporters.
Enjoy reading and learning about one of the moves to remove discrimination from society.