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Topic Reading-Vol.415-5/31/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Spelling bee shakeup creates buzz at nerve-wracking contest.
Spelling bee had been a competition in which contestants are asked to spell words until only seven weeks before the final contest this year. The 86 year-old contest now includes the vocabulary component, which the contestants are expected to answer the meaning of those complicated rarely used or found words. It certainly requires more knowledge.
Are the contestants ready to tackle the task?
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest update on spelling bee contest.


Topic Reading-Vol.414-5/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Angelina Jolie’s aunt dies of breast cancer days after op-ed.
Had they known the chance of getting cancer being so high a little earlier, they would surely have chosen the same way as Angelina did.
The same defective BRCA1 gene as Jolie has taken not only her mother but also her aunt life away. So, as in Topic Reading Vol. 401 posted on May 17th, her decision to undergo the complicated surgery to remove both her breasts now seems much more sense.
One thing for sure is that the decision she made was a very difficult one.
Enjoy reading and learning about how gene analysis works these day.



Topic Reading-Vol.413-5/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Researchers say Western IQs dropped 14 points over last century.
Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, is a measurement of a person’s intelligence that is calculated from special test results, which mean average score of a certain age group is set to 100 and the standard deviation is to 15, meaning 95% of the population scores between 70 and 130. Some statistics show that average IQ of people with postgraduate education is 125 or higher, college is around 112 to 115, and just high school is 100.
So, why the average IQ has been found to drop as much as 14 points in a century?
Enjoy reading and learning about this eye-opening research findings. 


Topic Reading-Vol.412-5/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Flying cars: Radical concept design aims high.
Would you like to drive and fly on a same vehicle to your destination, using electric power to drive on the road, hydrocarbon combustion engine to lift off (not take off as it goes up vertically like a helicopter) and gas to cruise at 300 km in the air?
It may sound dreaming or confusing to you but some researchers are ready to fly the idea.
Enjoy reading and learning about this all-in-one vehicle for near future, possibly. 


Topic Reading-Vol.411-5/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Xi-Obama meeting crucial in Sino-US ties: Kissinger.
Their initial announcement was that their leader would visit Latin America and meet Obama on his way, just like a drop-by on the way to a big party or something. In this article, they put more emphasis on how important their meeting could be for bilateral, regional and international community by referring to the quote by legendary former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
Enjoy reading and learning how China expresses its important diplomatic effort to its counter part. 


Topic Reading-Vol.410-5/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ten species named after famous people.
How many new species do you think are discovered every year?
Roughly, 20,000 new species are identified. So the question is how they are named?
Some are named after famous people such as movie stars, politicians or historical heroes.
Enjoy reading and seeing some of the interesting or weird names of newly discovered species.   


Topic Reading-Vol.409-5/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Samsung Galaxy S4 named top smartphone by Consumer Reports.
Manufactures put their the latest version of their smartphones roughly every quarter while consumers have to stick with the same model at least 24 months because of the subscription contract. They are competing in the fastest growing and most prospective market that seems to be taking place for some of the PC market. Users should be able to enjoy the benefits of those technologies and features as they use, not only the time when they get a new one in every 24 months. When will such a gap be dissolved?
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest and most appraised smartphone. 


Topic Reading-Vol.408-5/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sticker shock: New college graduates, here is why your education cost so much money.
Does higher education mean higher price to get educated? It does so in America, where the best and brightest gather from the world to enjoy the best education for their future. But what’s going on with average Americans who earn even as much as college’s annual tuition, dorm and board for a private college?
Enjoy reading and learning about how costly the tuition for higher education in America is. 



Topic Reading-Vol.407-5/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Saudi woman makes history by reaching Everest summit.
It’s quite rare to see a photo of a young Saudi woman standing without a veil. But this photo is even rare as she is standing on top of Mt. Everest and she is the first to do so among women.
As you might know, it is difficult for a Saudi woman to travel without being accompanied by a guardian. Actually, to get approval from her family seemed have been the tallest hurdle she had to overcome before reaching the summit of the world.
Enjoy reading the story and her photo. 


Topic Reading-Vol.406-5/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beckham: The man who broke football's gay taboo?
Before he opened the door, it seemed to have been a taboo to be open to gay society or to admit being a gay among professional footballers. It was him who took interviews from gay magazine and embraced being a gay icon for the first time at least among the top of the best players.
Of course he did much more than that during his professional footballer’s career but this is one of his exceptional footprints he has created.
Enjoy reading and learning about another innovative aspect of the legendary super footballer.


Topic Reading-Vol.405-5/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ancient water found in Canadian mine.
Would you be willing to drink water as old as 2 billion years? The water some scientist found in Canada seems to have been created when early form of life was born. To your surprise, it was still 2 billion after Earth itself was formed, which means this planet had been lifeless for that long. So, even if we had a “visitor” from other universe, it might have found Earth as empty lifeless planet.
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to hear what those scientists find out of the ancient water.
Enjoy reading and learning about this rare finding in geosciences field. 



Topic Reading-Vol.404-5/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Opinion: Japanese politicians still struggle with wartime past.
Is it time for Japanese politicians to cause further problems on sensitive issues with its neighboring countries and their people on top of territorial disputes and notorious North Korean issues are on the table? Are politicians supposed to simply express what they think or they should represent what his or her supporters expect? In any case, how long do Japanese people bear with such thoughtless and inconsiderate politicians and their words?
Later, the US state department officially and strongly condemned the comment as outrageous and offensive.
Enjoy reading and learning what these influential politicians said or did.



Topic Reading-Vol.403-5/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China joins Arctic Council but a decision on the EU is deferred.
When global warming melts ice, as mentioned in the last issue on Mt. Everest, in and around Polar Regions, people, enterprises and countries of other regions become eager to join the circle to discuss how to get benefits from them, even as observers.
It’s so sad to find such interests or initiatives have never been displayed when the agenda of the causes are only on protecting the environment.
Enjoy reading and learning about the hottest move around the coldest region. 


Topic Reading-Vol.402-5/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Mount Everest's Ice Is Melting.
The glaciers have retreated, precipitation, both snow and rain, has dropped and temperatures have risen in the Mount Everest region over the course of last two decades, when economies of Asia have drastically grown. Are these signs of global or regional warming?
The world’s tallest mountain range seems to have been suffering from environmental problems such as litters and leftovers by the climbers on top of this warming effect.
Enjoy reading and learning about how global warming affects this highland region.


Topic Reading-Vol.401-5/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Angelina Jolie has double mastectomy
One of the most successful and popular actresses, also known as world humanitarian envoy and representative, had to make one of the toughest decisions a woman has to make; to remove her both breasts to reduce the risk of getting cancers, which killed her mother at the age of 56.
Having a living partner, three adopted and three biological children, she had no choice but to undergo a very complicated surgery.
Enjoy reading and learning about how strong Ms. Jolie is to cope with her fate. 


Topic Reading-Vol.400-5/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Solar Plane #2: Funny-looking plane designed to make history.
More photos and stories about the solar plane that is on the way fly across America.
This time, an answer to your natural question is presented.
Q: What happens in the cockpit when nature calls?
A: When the plane takes off, you have full bottles of water on the right side and empty bottles on the left side and when you land, it's the other way around.
Enjoy reading and learning about this historic flight venture that is most friendly to nature. 




Topic Reading-Vol.399-5/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
From James Bond to the boardroom: What the Royal Navy can teach leaders
Are you happier to do whatever being told to do, or asking others what to do? Which do you think you will be more suitable than the other, doing things right or doing the right thing?
The former choices are for the staff and managers and the latter for the leaders. Whichever your choices might be, the key is whether you’re happy to do those things or not, and it seems that Royal Navy’s soft skills make people think and do things in a motivating fashion instead of forcefully.
Enjoy reading and learning about the soft skills being developed in the sea and on the land. 



Topic Reading-Vol.398-5/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sir Alex Ferguson: Man Utd lift Premier League trophy.
The man, honored with Sir title, has lead the strongest and most widely supported football teams 1,499 games ever since he took its manager’s position in 1986, and has won 13 premier cup trophies and many other big titles.
As you might know, Manchester United is one of the wealthiest professional football teams in the world. It became the first sports team in the world to be valued at $3 billion, over 50% higher than the second most valued team. There is no wonder why the team can bring in the top players to be top of the league.
Enjoy reading and learning about the legendary manager of the best football club. 


Topic Reading-Vol.397-5/13/2013

Topic Reading-Vol.397-5/13/2013
Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Carbon dioxide passes symbolic mark.
400ppm, reads particles per million, is the same level of CO2 in the atmosphere as was in three to five million years ago on this planet, when the average temperature was higher than it is now.
To clarify how significant to pass this 400ppm mark is that the measurement was only 315ppm a half century ago when it started to be taken. You may then ask how we know the level of CO2 in a couple of millions of years ago.
If you want to know, enjoy reading and learning how we measure the CO2 level of now and in the past. 



Topic Reading-Vol.396-5/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
This mask gives you superhuman abilities.
As the speed of microprocessors and data transmission gets faster, wearable technologies seem to become more practical and useful not only for robo-cops or spies but also for ordinary people.
Surely, it’ll be convenient if you could only hear or see what you really want through earphones or eyeglasses where other noises and crowds interfere and disturb your senses.
Enjoy reading and imagining how you would use and enjoy wearable tech. 


Topic Reading-Vol.395-5/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Pilotless passenger planes prepare for take-off
Which do you feel assured when you hear “This is your captain speaking” message of a human voice in a certain accent when are on board a plane on the ground or in the air, or “This is your robo-captain speaking” by a computer voice? Do you feel to fly that your flight is controlled automatically most of the time including taking off and landing, and the pilot only taxies the plane on the ground? If that’s the case, you may not need two pilots in the cockpit but need a drive to taxi the huge vehicle. Which if more reliable, human’s hands or microprocessors and sensors?
Enjoy reading and learning about how today’s and upcoming technologies do for your flight.


Topic Reading-Vol.394-5/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Punished for blogging.
While some countries or states have passed laws that allow gay marriages, there are still some, not a few, countries that don’t allow women’s rights to vote at elections, drive a car, learn at school or even blog for their rights. Why does such inequality still exist in numbers of societies in the 21st century when people can do many things electronically and wirelessly with high tech devices and infrastructure like smartphones and the Internet? Why technology and ideology differ so much?
Enjoy watching the short video that shows how women’s rights are restricted in some part of the world and how women are fighting just to be equal.


Topic Reading-Vol.393-5/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hong Kong's giant rubber duck.
Did you play with a yellow rubber duck in the bath tab when you were a little kid? If so, how big was it? It must have not been as big as the one floating in Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, which drew attentions from thousands residents and tourists.
The 16.5 meter inflatable duck appeared on Thursday, May 2 without notice and will stay there for a month. It is scheduled to be somewhere in the US afterwards but the exact location is kept secret.
Enjoy reading and learning why someone is showing such an amazing duck. 


Topic Reading-Vol.392-5/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Solar Plane Takes Off on Historic Coast-to-Coast Flight.
This high-tech fuel-free aircraft weighs only as heavy as a station wagon but has wings as long as a jumbo aircraft. It charges its highly efficient battery during the day by the solar power panels on the wings to be able to fly at night when no power is generated.
It has taken a century to engineer and fly coast-to-coast across the continental USA  with renewable energy since the first flight with fossil fuel.
Enjoy reading and learning about the human ingenuity and initiative. 


Topic Reading-Vol.391-5/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why is art so expensive?
It is because while you can build a luxurious yacht or palace at anytime, you can’t create valuable art works such as La Reve by Picaso or The Scream by Munch.
The prices for necessary things and materials, such as oil or rare metals, can go very high when the demand exceeds the supply, or when people speculate the imbalance is likely to happen in the future. But still, is over-100-million-dollar price tag for a piece of old painting a fair market value, sound investment or wild speculation?
Enjoy reading and learning about how a small group of people want to spend their fortune.


Topic Reading-Vol.390-5/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan's Mount Fuji 'set for Unesco listing'.
Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, got a recommendation by a key UN advisory council, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), to be registered on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The active mountain which last erupted three centuries ago is Japan’s icon or symbol and one of the most popular tourists’ destinations in Japan.
Enjoy reading and learning about a recent nomination to one of the most valued list in the world.



Topic Reading-Vol.389-5/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
5-year-old boy shoots 2-year-old sister in Ky.
A very tragic agenda on Children’s Day in Japan. There was s shooting accident in Kentucky, a southern state of the U.S., that a five-year-old boy shot his little sister in the chest to death with “his own” rifle that had been given as gift a year ago.
The rifle is one of those designed for kids to practice and use, and is promoted as “My First Rifle.”
It seems that giving a fire arm in rural areas in America is no more different from giving a tricycle or a pet dog. Was the rifle purchased at Toy’s’ Us?
Enjoy reading and learning how different the people’s perception towards guns and how difficult to ban or control them in America.


Topic Reading-Vol.388-5/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sunken Egyptian city reveals 1,200-year-old secrets.
We’re sending spaceships to other planets, exploring Antarctica and Arctic Sea and drilling deep into the shell layer to get massive amount of natural gas, yet humans hadn’t found historical artifacts lying only 450 meters under the sea level near a habited town for centuries until very recently.
Which exploration are you interested more than the other, archeology or astronomy?
Enjoy reading and learning about a significant finding and also learning about ancient Egyptian town and culture.


Topic Reading-Vol.387-5/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Inspiring young girls to define success on their own terms.
What inspires young girls the most to learn and work hard to be successful in the future seems to be role models. This is probably because there are a lot more male success models in history, books, and media than female ones. So if a young girl gets a chance to see, talk and learn from those few examples, she may be more likely to be thrilled than the boys of the same age.
Enjoy reading and learning how people are trying to inspire and motivate young girls.


Topic Reading-Vol.386-5/2/2013

Rescued Nepalese find new life in circus.
Human trafficking doesn’t seem to have been abandoned yet in this famous yet poor mountainous country and its neighboring country by buying or kidnapping young children.
However, those who had been trafficked but fortunate enough to be rescued seem to have found and move on their new lives by the skills they were forced to learn and perform. More importantly, they are trying to rescue such victims while performing their circus shows.
Enjoy reading and learning about what human trafficking is about and how those victims are trying to live their new lives. 


Topic Reading-Vol.385-5/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Spain's unemployment hits record high at 27%.
What kind of situation or life can you imagine if over a quarter of people who want to work can’t find a job, or six million people unemployed in a country whose population is just 47 million? And when you talk about young people under the age of 25, that figure goes well over 50%, meaning over a half of your friends are unable to get a job and as a result, some of them have decided to move to other countries to get one. Under this kind of situation, even if you are lucky enough to find one, you may be afraid of losing it at anytime or you may get one that isn’t something you have studied or prepared for.
That could happen to anywhere at any time as there are so many alternatives available these days because of the advancing technologies and globalization.
Enjoy watching this brief news clip to tell you how bad the situation is in Spain.