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Topic Reading-Vol.384-4/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan marks 'return of sovereignty' day.
It took over six decade for Japan to formally celebrate its “independence” or “relief” from the ally’s occupation after the World War II, which angered not only its neighboring countries that were invaded during the war but also some of its own people in Okinawa, which hadn’t be returned from US occupation until 1972.
Some of the things quite norm in other countries aren’t seen in Japan, such as military forces, Self Defense Forces instead, respect for the national flag, anthem, or veterans, and commitment to patriotism. In other words, Japan is still dragging its feet from the last war.
Enjoy reading and learning about the reactions to the not-so-unusual ceremony.


Topic Reading-Vol.383-4/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
North Korea embraces 3G service.
Now they’ve got fast Internet connection service but not been allowed to connect to the Internet. Then why 3G? There may be a handful of people who have gotten access the Internet for special purposes or benefits whose identities or usage will never be disclosed. It’s also surprising to learn that there are as many as one million 3G subscribers in the very-tightly-closed country where many are struggling to get enough food.
Enjoy reading and learning about another mystery of the mysterious country.


Topic Reading-Vol.382-4/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
'Urgent need' to remove space debris.
The space environment seems to require as much attention and actions as the natural or living environment on Earth because tens of thousands trackable or unseeable debris circulating around and they could collide with spacecrafts or satellites in use.
It sounds similar to other environmental problems humans have been creating as people and businesses are more attempted and motivated to create or produce new things rather than to clean or remove old or used things.
Enjoy reading and learning about another environmental problem that humans has created. 


Topic Reading-Vol.381-4/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Bringing people back from the dead.
How long do you think a person could live, survive or revive without heartbeat or breath? As you can imagine, the brain cells will die if no oxygen is supplied by the blood circulation. But how long is the limit without the natural supply?
Some doctors seem to have found some ways to make the odds higher to revive a patient who has been without heartbeat or breath by cooling the body temperature down.
Enjoy reading and learning how human body in a critical condition reacts with proper treatment.


Topic Reading-Vol.380-4/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Voice-to-text just as dangerous to drivers as texting: study.
Some of you might have read or even sent text messages while driving a car or riding a bicycle. Does voice-to-text converter in your mobile or smart phone make your driving or riding safer than traditional finger-typing? It does sound so but it was found it doesn’t.
Enjoy reading and learning about what affects human attention.


Topic Reading-Vol.379-4/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Thousands of marijuana smokers celebrate first legal ‘420’ in Colorado.
In the U.S., a practice of something that is legal in one state doesn’t necessary mean that is legal in the federal law. But how much of such controversial practices or conducts are being charged, especially they are taken place by a huge crowd at one space simultaneously?
There were around 80,000 according to the event organizer people to commemorate the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Denver, Colorado, where many of the residents worry such event or the legalization of the publically-debated practice could give bad impression on visitors to the state.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest legalization rally for marijuana.


Topic Reading-Vol.378-4/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can social media clear air over China?
The second largest country in the world in terms of the economy and military spending, is now the largest producer of greenhouse gasses. It uses more coal than the rest of the world combined and sells more cars than any other country. As a result, air quality in China is at hazardous level.
But why social media such as Weibo could change and clean the air over China?
Enjoy reading and learning about the eco-warriors who are fighting with social media, not a gun or pen. 


Topic Reading-Vol.377-4/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
64,500 in China have over 100 million yuan.
There is no surprise to see more and more super-riches are produced as economy grows in the world second largest country in terms of economy (military spending as well). But there are some interesting figures about those Chinese billionaires, such as their average sleeping time on weekdays and weekends as well as the percentage of smokers.
Enjoy reading and learning about the profile and behaviors of Red Super-riches. 


Topic Reading-Vol.376-4/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Tomb tourists told: Sorry, it's a fake.
Do you know who Yang Guang (569-618) and what he did before and during his throne about 14 centuries ago? He’s considered one of the most autonomous and notorious dictators in Chinese history. But if the new tomb is his real one, those who visited his fake ones in the past were very much doomed.
Enjoy reading and learning about what the notorious emperor’s tomb is about. 



Topic Reading-Vol.375-4/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Samsung probed in Taiwan over 'fake web reviews'.
How many companies or businesses do you think are paying or hiring people to praise their products or services, or to post negative comments or reviews on their competitors ’ online?
As often seen on user reviews, there are quite a few very favorable and unfavorable comments on top of the lists, which make viewers puzzled and confused.
Here is an example of the one which has been probed, and interestingly, the accused company admitted its misconduct and even apologized.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest online cheating practice by the world most powerful electronics company. 


Topic Reading-Vol.374-4/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China reveals army structure in defense white paper.White Paper is an official report or guide to reveal or publicize an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. This time, China, usually a very secretive state, has revealed in its white paper what it’s usually considered the most sensitive issue, defense. The purpose or motive for such disclosure is still unknown but it outlines what their forces consist of and what bothers them.
Enjoy reading and learning about what China wants to present to other countries.



Topic Reading-Vol.373-4/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why I fled North Korea.
Even seeing a public execution under the age of 10, a North Korean girl thought her country was something she was proud of and things happening around her were quite normal, until at a later time she learned that people were dying of famine. That tells how difficult it is for people to know what’s normal and what’s not.
Enjoy reading and learning about a short story about how a girl and her family escaped from their mother country.


Topic Reading-Vol.372-4/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
'Harry Potter' sport stages World Cup in Florida.
Do you remember the ball game Harry Potter played fiercely in his book series, which the students of witches and wizards’ school all excitedly loved, played and even died for?
The fictional sport, or even fight some may say, has been played in the real world by some of the fanatic readers of the book series, and/or the watchers of the movie series for several years, some are casually but others are seriously or even diehardly.
Judging just from the photos, the sport (or game) looks similar to rugby, except for the brooms, which won’t fly the players like the story but seem to play a vital role to make it unique and enjoyable.
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of the game and its players. 



Topic Reading-Vol.371-4/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Samsung unveils 6.3in Galaxy Mega smartphone.
How big is enough, or how small or light is enough? Depending on how you view this Samsung, not only the world largest but also the most innovative and aggressive mobile device manufacturer, has just revealed it latest model of its smartphone fleet with either 5.8 or 6.3 inch screen.
Those new models offer almost or even more features than slightly larger 7-inch mobile tablet models such as Google’s Nexus 7 or iPad Mini, not to mention the phone function.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest model of the hottest product category. 


Topic Reading-Vol.370-4/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Watch out street racers, Dubai cops have Lamborghini.
How fast is enough to win a street race or escape from a car chase on very flat but sandy roads?
Dubai, which already has world tallest building, biggest shopping mall and the largest artificial archipelago (view what the largest man-made archipelago in the world is like, check this out; has just added the world fastest cop car like Italy or Qatar. Why? There seem to be numbers of street racers or cruisers who are fined for excess speed of over 200km/h, which means if the speed limit is 100km/h, those who were charged the fine must have sped over 300km/h, almost as fast as bullet trains! How did the police chase and catch those haste drivers and cars?
Enjoy reading and learning about Dubai’s latest move.



Topic Reading-Vol.369-4/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
PC sales worldwide have tumbled, data from IDC shows.
The new OS, Operating Software, by Microsoft seemed have not only failed to boost the overall PC sales but also helped shrink the PC market because of its upgrade to compete against or coexist with rapidly expanding tablet PCs and smart phones.
Neither technology nor investment seems to be able to save any business once something with higher value and more tangible benefits are provided by another.
Enjoy reading and learning how PC sales have been falling. 


Topic Reading-Vol.368-4/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chinese tourism: The good, the bad and the backlash.
A few decades ago, tourists from Japan, who had just emerged in the world tourism market from nowhere, were brightly spotlighted as they started to visit and stay popular places and spend considerable amount to money overseas. Now as the economic might and influence have been shifted from the rising sun to the once sleeping tiger, Chinese seem to be the most visiting, staying and spending tourists in the world.
And it doesn’t seem to be wise simply stereotype them just as Chinese, and there seem to be some ways to find what they really care about and want to do, like twitters and data mining.
Enjoy reading and learning how the westerners view Chinese tourists and also how to take advantage of this growing segment of the tourism market.


Topic Reading-Vol.367-4/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Elephant in Ringling Circus injured in drive-by shooting in Mississippi.
Drive-by shooting, a personal attack or random shooting at people, other vehicles or properties carried out from a moving car, which often results in bystanders being shot instead of, or as well as, the intended target such as drives or passengers of other vehicles, isn’t a rare incident in America, where both possession and use of firearms are legalized and some people always carry their guns for self-defense, as they claim.
This time, an elephant of the famous circus team resting in the cage peacefully was hit in its shoulder area by a drive-by shooter. Whether the shot was an intended one or not, the poor endangered species was wounded by a bullet. Will this incident help push to pass stricter gun control laws in the gun addicted country?
Enjoy reading and learning about a rare drive-by shooting case took place in a peaceful community, waiting for the victim elephant to entice the residents.



Topic Reading-Vol.366-4/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Navy's New Laser Weapon Blasts Bad Guys From Air, Sea.
You might have seen a laser beam fired from a gun to kill or would others, or from a spaceship to destroy its enemy ship. But such technology seems no longer only in science fiction movies. The U.S. navy is going to place its state-of-art laser weapon on some of its battle ships. How does it work? You may want to see the video clip below before or after reading the article. It looks very real.
Enjoy reading, seeing and learning about the latest and most economical weapon system available.

Video Clip:



Topic Reading-Vol.365-4/11/2013-1st Anniversary Issue

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Baboon sounds may hold key to origins of human speech.
It sounds quite unusual to our human’s ears but the mechanism to produce their sounds look similar to ours, that at least the researchers say about baboons live in Ethiopia.
Seeing, in this case and listening, is believing. Click the link below and enjoy seeing the video and listening to how those primates produce sounds.

Oh, by the way, this is a milestone issue, Volume 365, which means its first anniversary issue. Is this your 365th reading of Topic Reading? If so, your continuous reading is very much appreciated.
Thanks 365 tims!


Topic Reading-Vol.364-4/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Forget falling stars: NASA plans to catch an asteroid.
There are numbers of amazing experiments and missions conducted or planned by America’s proud space agency but this one is something way beyond our imagination, save for children’s bold dreams.
Are they going to use a space net or something to catch or super magnet to pull and draw an asteroid?
And once you caught one, what do you think they would do with the live asteroid?
Enjoy reading and learning about their lofty plan.


Topic Reading-Vol.363-4/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ex-Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher dies, aged 87.
There has been no other lady in politics called “iron” but this ex-prime minister of the U.K., who was also the first and only female to take the position in their history, was.
Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of the country from 1979 to 1990, when the country went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982 and also when the Berlin wall collapsed in 1989.
Her extraordinary life was filmed in “The Iron Lady.”
Enjoy reading and learning how the British politicians talk about her.



Topic Reading-Vol.362-4/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ban the killer robots before it's too late.
Have you ever seen a movie series “Terminator”? The nearly 30-year-old movie most clearly and visually showed how terrible, devastating and dangerous once an autonomous defense system and robot go out-of-control.
An fully autonomous system, no matter how flawlessly designed, manufactured and programmed, could go way beyond the designers’, programmers’ or users’ intentions or expectations once it is hacked, misused or faced unpredicted situations.
Enjoy reading and learning about the danger of this post nuclear or chemical weapons.



Topic Reading-Vol.361-4/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Near-Death Experiences More Vivid Than Real Life.
Have you ever had a near-death experience in your life or as long as you remember? The experience could include getting out of your body or going through a dark tunnel, which sometimes are shown in a movie or TV. Can your spirit really go out of your body when you die?
Enjoy reading and learning about what the near-death experience is about. 


Topic Reading-Vol.360-4/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Space station detector gives first clues to 'dark matter'.
Humans are investing enormous amount of financial fund and scientific talent on a 16-nation-collaborated mission trying to find something that has never been seen or detected, a thing called “dark matter.” (NOT the ‘dark side’ in Star Wars movie)
One surprising yet interesting issue to learn for most of the readers is that 95% of the universe consists of things we can’t see or detect, such as dark energy and dark matters. It’s like walking in a space where only 5% of the things around is visible, though the rest seems to be neither harmful nor dangerous for walking.
Enjoy reading and learning about the rest of the universe.


Topic Reading-Vol.359-4/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Apple's apology not too late.
After checking other news sources, their side of stories turned out to be read-worthier than western media, which talks only from Apple’s business view point, not the ones from its customers or services that are vital to be a respectable market player in the market.
However, it’s quite rare for the once-world-most-valued company to apologize for their attitude to their customers. You might remember that they did when their bold attempt to put their own map on their new iPhone last year which had too many fatal technical glitches compared with any other competitive products. This time, their apology is for their attitude because China is such a key market for Apple when their sales in other countries don’t seem to be in line with their expectation or projection. The bottom-line seems to be still a simple business judgment, not a sentimental move to care about their customers as much as its competitors.
Enjoy reading and learning how Chinese (state-run?) media state the issue. 


Topic Reading-Vol.358-4/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Caroline Kennedy to Be Named Ambassador to Japan.
How would Japanese people think of a nomination of a daughter of President Kennedy as US ambassador to their country? The country has been honored to welcome very high profile ambassadors from its key ally, including former vice president Walter Frederick Mondale and White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker.
Enjoy reading and learning about a nominee to the important and honorable diplomatic position, especially in a very difficult and sensitive time in the region because of the threats from North Korea, territorial disputes over islands against and expanding military presence by China.


Topic Reading-Vol.357-4/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Melt may explain Antarctica's sea ice expansion.
Global warming seems to have been increasing the amount of sea ice around Antarctica in winter time. It sounds paradoxical while glaciers in the mountains are decreasing or even disappearing.
There is an interesting explanation released in a science journal by a group of meteorological scientists in a Dutch institute. And a British scientist guesses that another factor explains even more about the increasing sea ice, wind.
Enjoy reading and learning what’s going on around the coldest continent on our mother earth. 


Topic Reading-Vol.356-4/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Images from the Hindu festival of Holi.
In Japan, some of the financial institutes on the street, such as Japan Posts or local banks, have color balls in case someone tries to rob or has robbed them, to mark the robber by the paint in the ball, which will make the robber difficult to escape into crowds.
Here in India, people celebrate the beginning of spring by throwing colored dry powder to each other. Very different practice isn’t it?
Enjoy seeing those painted Indians celebrating their festival. 


Topic Reading-Vol.354-4/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Google Street View maps Fukushima nuclear ghost town.
Some of you might have seen Google’s street view of the places of your interest, or even your own house and neighborhood. They have not only maps but also images from all angles, and in some cases inside of a store or school.
(If you’re interested, you can see the inside of oru MEL School Mitaka.)

This time, their famous street view car went into the evacuation area in Namie, Fukushima where 22,000 of their residents have been forced to flee.
Read the article and see the photos of the still-empty once-peaceful rural town.