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Topic Reading-Vol.933-10/31/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Lessons from a lemonade stand
How much percent of parents wants their children to learn how to manage money? The figure may be higher in America or Middle East where money is valued more than other places. On the contrary, talking about money is sometimes regarded as disrespectful in some cultures like German or Japanese.
Some say people could learn how to manage better from an early stage of life, even before going to school. One of such ideas is to have a child make decisions how to allocate money for different purposes such as for spending, saving and sharing (donation).
How does it sound? Is it worth teaching or guiding children at an early stage?
Enjoy reading and learning how to develop money management skills.


Topic Reading-Vol.932-10/30/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Delhi chokes on toxic smog after festival of lights
Is there a place whose air quality is worse than Beijing? Yes, there is. It’s the capital of the rival country, India. These two nations seem to compete not only in strengthening space and military programs but also in worsening the air quality level of their capital cities.
According to the WHO study released May this year, Delhi is crowned the dirtiest atmosphere in the world in airborne particles level, known as PM.
Furthermore, people deliberately pollute the air even worse during their Diwali, festival of lights, by lighting firecrackers despite the calls by the government and environment groups.

Enjoy reading and learning how difficult to change a tradition is.


Topic Reading-Vol.931-10/29/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Google's Alan Eustace beats Baumgartner's skydiving record
How high would you like to go up in the sky? Being lifted by a helium-filled balloon up to 40 kilometers above the ground, which is 40 times higher than the cruising altitude of commercial flights, is crazy enough for a human. Then how does the person get back to the ground? It’s simple. Just jump off, and the gravity will take the person back home faster than any other transportation, without any carbon footprint. How fast? The speed of the falling object (person) reached over 1,300 kilometers per hour, faster than the speed of sound or a fighter jet. Who challenged such a free fall? One of the executives of the company that maps the world on the ground and from space.
Now are you interested in the venture?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video.


Topic Reading-Vol.930-10/28/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
'Burka ban' - not parliament's finest hour
First of all, what is burka? It’s an outfit in some Islamic traditions which covers a woman head to toe. The face-veiling portion is usually a rectangular piece of semi-transparent cloth to provide visibility from inside but not so much from outside.
Amid mounting tensions and concerns about Islamic extremist like IS, Australian parliament tried to introduce a controversial rule to separate people in burka in the parliament house. However, the proposal was backed down due to fierce criticism saying such treatment is unfair, unjustifiable and unnecessary.
The question is; how many women in Australia wear burka in the first place.
Enjoy reading and learning about this swift U-turn by Australian legislators.


Topic Reading-Vol.929-10/27/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The 5 biggest breakfast myths
People eat or skip breakfast. Some believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Others think having breakfast affects weight. There are also people who just don’t feel like eating right after waking up. But how much does breakfast matter to your weight, health and performance of the day?
Some nutrition and food researchers conducted a 16-week research on 300 overweight or obese people. They had some of them eat and others skip breakfast. And the results are …
Enjoy reading and learning about the effects of breakfast.


Topic Reading-Vol.928-10/26/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
In Malaysia, a dog-petting event riles Muslim clerics
What’s it like to be disregarded if you touch a dog? That seems to be the situation in Malaysia where touching dogs is regarded as a taboo by many Malay Muslims who view dogs as unclean.
But a challenging event, I-Want-to-Touch-a-Dog, was held by an organizer who tried to remove the fear of dogs by having the attendees touch and pet the dogs they brought in. The event drew 800 people, the majority of them were Muslims. The attendees seem to have been happy to have direct contacts with dogs that they had never had a chance. They were also taught how to clean their hands after touching dogs.
Enjoy reading and learning this new move to challenge the religious tradition.


Topic Reading-Vol.927-10/25/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison for girlfriend's killing
The family of the killed girlfriend of Pistorius said they were satisfied with the sentence because justice was made. They must have been suffered too much and now they want to get it over with it, though the fact of losing their loved one will never go away.
Oscar Pistorius, also known as blade runner, who took part in the 2008 London Olympic and ran with able athletes, was convicted of culpable homicide of his girlfriend at his luxurious home in the small toilet.
The judge gave a five-year sentence on his conviction. She said that the sentence was given based on the balance of elements such as the nature and seriousness of the crime, the personal circumstances of the accused and the interests of society.
What do you think? Is a five-year sentence enough for a convicted killer?
Enjoy reading and thinking what the justice is about in his case and in general.


Topic Reading-Vol.926-10/24/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Mellowcabs jolts rickshaws into the 21st Century
The last mile or the first mile? It is indeed the shortest but the most inefficient and costly distance for most of the travels. Everyone needs to use some form of vehicle to go to or from the public transportation hub such as bus stop, train station or airport, unless he, she or someone drives there or it’s so close that he or she can just walk there.
While there are many kinds of light transportation vehicles in major towns like Bangkok or Manila, they are noisy and smoggy and often dirty and unfriendly. Here is a smart solution. A motor assisted bike covered by recycled plastic that can carry two passengers. This smart vehicle is brought by a South African entrepreneur solves such problems. The bike is called Mellowcab. It can be called up by your smartphone with its app that finds the nearest cab available to you. The cab is equipped with GPS and is connected to the service center online, so that the payment, navigation and claims can be all taken care online, real time.
Would you be interested in riding one of these Mellowcabs? Why not?
Enjoy reading and learning about this smart and eco-friendly first/last mile transport.


Topic Reading-Vol.925-10/23/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Almaz's story
It sounds like a story in a book or made up for a movie. But it is indeed a true story to tell what happened to an Ethiopian girl who had gone to Saudi Arabia to work as house maid.
Read this sad story in cartoon and think if it is an exceptional case or not.


Topic Reading-Vol.924-10/22/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Catholic synod: Pope Francis suffers setback on gays
It sounds extremely challenging to change any part of the religious disciplines and practices that have been in place for centuries, even though the proposal received support from a majority of the votes. That is because a two-thirds majority in required to approve a proposed agenda or changes in The Synod of Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church, or simply Synod. It is an advisory body for the Pope and the members of the Synod are bishops who are chosen from different regions of the world. They meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between Pope and bishops, and also to assist Pope with their counsel. Although the council is supportive of Pope by its nature, reaching an agreement by two-thirds of the attendees for sensitive issues such as gay marriage and divorce still remains challenging
Enjoy reading and learning about the recent council meeting for Pope.


Topic Reading-Vol.923-10/21/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What's it like to feed the most powerful man in the world?
Serving just one meal to entice presumably the most powerful president on earth must be one of the greatest honor and achievement for any chef, like the sushi master in Tokyo who had Obama say his was the best sushi he had ever had. But what about serving the president and his family on a daily basis as well as feeding other executives of the White House and managing big bouquets to host honored guests from all over the world? Isn’t that pressure and responsibility as heavy as the one that the president owes?
The executive chef of the White House seems to be one of the most extraordinary professional women of our time. She’s been in her job longer than the current first family. So she must be good enough to serve and satisfy presidents from very different backgrounds and political taste.
Enjoy reading and learning what’s it like to serve the President of the United States.


Topic Reading-Vol.922-10/20/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India looks for love on Tinder
There, 90% of marriages are arranged, for now. Although it has been a popular custom in many countries and societies, the percentage of arranged marriage tends to decline as people become more educated and independent. It seems just a matter of time when the majority of Indians will choose their partners themselves.
Even now, young Indians want someone to spend time with before marriage. Even though they may end up settling with an arranged marriage, they want to enjoy their lives with someone. And there seems to be a powerful tool for them. Tinder. Nowadays, anyone who has a smartphone can simply and instantly download such a match-making app and start searching for profiles to suit his or her taste or requirements.
Enjoy reading and learning about this possibly-game-changing app to India’s traditions.


Topic Reading-Vol.921-10/19/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Tony Blair: Fight war of ideas against extremism
Children are extremely vulnerable to biased or prejudiced views on others, especially those whose character, personality or logics haven’t been formed or matured yet. They could be easily brain washed to dislike or disregard others, form extreme beliefs and sometimes commit radical acts such as terrorism or genocide.
In other words, children are open to good education. If they are provided opportunities to learn others’ culture, religion, traditions and values, they will understand the differences and respect each other. That what the former British PM is working on these days.
Enjoy reading and learning about how critical education is in the 21st century.


Topic Reading-Vol.920-10/18/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Use 5 Statistics to Find a U.S. College That Fits Your Needs
If you’re ever interested in studying in the U.S., here are some tips worth checking. For those who are intending to take higher education in America, it is essential to choose a right college to meet your learning objectives. In addition to the fundamental factors such as the location and climate, the faculty and course options the college offers, the specialty and versatility of the students, and of course the tuitions and other costs, there are other data that you may want to look into details to find which one suits better than the others.
Since education is one of the most important investment in life, scrutinizing numbers seems like conducting due diligence before signing, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and finding what should be checked to choose the right college for you.


Topic Reading-Vol.919-10/17/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chinese govt's English website gets new update
Another new launch announcement from China. This time the latest revamp of the government website.
It is said to provide creative, transparent and open information to international communities. Interestingly, the website is going to be run by the best team of China Daily. That sounds like a rational move because China Daily provides daily update on what’s happening in China and what message the Chinese government wants to be heard.
Enjoy taking a look at the new website and also finding several typos in China Daily’s announcement. (It may be because they already allocated the best staff to run the new government website)


Topic Reading-Vol.918-10/16/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Navy: Self-guided unmanned patrol boats make debut
In the air. Un-manned Flying Objects are already in use for photo/video shooting, farming and bombing, and also for deliveries soon. On the ground, auto-driving vehicles have been tested and are expected to be on the road soon, and possibly self-driving vehicles as well. Then, what about in the water? Technically it should be much easier the one on the ground because there are no lanes, signals, traffic in most of the time and places or pedestrians to worry about.
Here is a new self-guided and unmanned patrol boat introduced by the US Navy. The boat not only cruises and patrols around its escorting ship but also makes moves to protect the ship when something threatening is detected. It is equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun which is only fired by a human direction.
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest intelligent un-manned water vehicle.


Topic Reading-Vol.917-10/15/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The extraordinary art of autistic 'five-year-old Monet'
How impressive! The paint works this young little girl has created are undoubtedly remarkable. Some may even mistake her work as the one of Monet.
However, those paint works seem to have been the only gateway to see what this little girl has in her mind because she never speaks or write. She’s autistic. She doesn’t talk. Instead, she seems to express her emotions and feelings through painting. She started painting when she was only three without being taught how to work with the brush or the canvas. It was her natural act.  
Now her works are so highly appreciated by not only art collectors but also ordinary buyers that they are traded at very handsome prices.
Enjoy reading the article and viewing some of her beautiful works, along with her inseparable pet cat sitting and watching her painting.


Topic Reading-Vol.916-10/14/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The Monkey that Became a Midwife
Very amazing photos to anyone and a surprising act to any natural, particularly mammal, scientists. A middle-aged female white-head monkey acted as a midwife helping another young female monkey deliver a baby! Furthermore, the midwife monkey did it and the mother monkey had her do it pretty much as-a-matter-of-factly. To prove the act was to help the delivery, the midwife monkey licked the new-born baby and handed it to its mother. This is very surprising and unexpected because in some other primate species, kidnapping a new born is quite a common practice.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the amazing photos.  


Topic Reading-Vol.915-10/13/2014

 Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Once-vast Aral Sea dries up to almost nothing
Was that because of the Soviet’s attempt to irrigate the land nearly a half century ago? The sure fact is that then the fourth largest lake in the world is nearly dried up now.
As the water recedes, the raining water became saltier and more contaminated by fertilizers and chemical runoff. Also, the humid level has gone down which made the surrounding area colder in winter and hotter in summer.
Have the local residents enjoyed the benefits of the irrigation or suffered?
Enjoy reading and seeing a brief video to show how much the lake has shrunk.


Topic Reading-Vol.914-10/12/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Climate Change Could Alter the Human Male-Female Ratio
Are male fetuses more vulnerable to the climate change than the ones of female? A new study by Japanese scientists found that fewer baby boys were born nine months after a severe temperature change than usual based on the data taken since 1968. There have been more temperature fluctuations later in the period in Japan where the temperature gap between winter and summer is already wider than the countries that took similar data.
But what about the influence of air conditioners which has become popular during the period? Can’t modern device for comfort help reduce the impact of the recent climate change?
Enjoy reading and learning another possible influence of the climate change.


Topic Reading-Vol.913-10/11/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
12 inspirational quotes from women who rock STEM
There is a day to celebrate, motivate and inspire girls to challenge the world of STEM, science, technology, engineering and math. Today’s the day.
Even today when most opportunities are evenly open to either or any gender, there is still stereotyped view on women to men-dominated professions. To break such prejudice or mental barrier, here are some inspirational talks and comments by those who made great success in the world of STEM.
Enjoy reading the comments and seeing the videos of those leading women.


Topic Reading-Vol.912-10/10/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Food: How mozzarella became the perfect pizza cheese
What kind of cheese would you like on your pizza? Have you thought why certain kinds of cheese are used for pizza? There seem to be numbers of scientific factors contributing to provide perfection in flavor, taste and visual appearance.
Researchers measured a chain of event how cheese melt and browned on top of the crust. As cheese heats up, it starts to boil, evaporates into steam and makes a growing bubble in the cheese. After that, …
Enjoy reading and learning how scientific to prepare and serve perfect pizza.


Topic Reading-Vol.911-10/9/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Finally, a flying car for everybody? It's the idiot-proof aerial commuter
Technologically, flying cars are no longer a dream in science fiction movies. There are already unmanned flying drones all over the places doing their missions such as photo or video shooting, surveillance, delivery and even bombing.
Environmentally, if they are powered by battery and controlled to fly within the allocated air space, they may be more acceptable transport than ordinary cars on the road. Good news is that most of the commute in the US takes shorter than 25km or 30 minutes, which makes battery-powered vehicle more feasible.
Practically, there are issues need to be sorted out and they are the ones the 'MyCopter' project has been working on.
Enjoy reading and learning about Personal Aviation Vehicle, or PAV.


Topic Reading-Vol.910-10/8/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Boycott threat over rare New Zealand dolphin
Does it sound too radical to boycott seafood in order to save an endangered sea mammal? Well, in the case of the Maui's dolphin, the world's smallest and scarcest sub-species whose population is as small as 50, it might be necessary to take an urgent, decisive and collaborative action. That is why environmentalists are threatening to call a boycott of New Zealand's seafood industry. The dolphin that those environmentalists are trying to save is found only in shallow waters near the coast of north New Zealand. The fishing industry that is threatened for boycott is critical for the country’s economy, generating NZ$1.5 billion annually whose customers include China, Australia the EU and US.
The question is what specific action could save this rarest species from extinction?
Enjoy reading and learning about a move that could save the endangered species and the country’s environmental reputation.


Topic Reading-Vol.909-10/7/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The best way to win an argument
It seems that humans tend to take a short cut when they make decisions or assessments by not thinking enough or trying to understand the issue correctly. Even teachers comment that they didn’t really understand equation or grammar until they had to teach it, or they find that no matter how badly they teach they still learn something.
If so, it seems that the best way to convince someone who insists his or her understanding, thought or opinion is to have that person explain his or her logic step by step so that the person will have a chance to review and rethink the reason.
Enjoy reading and learning about the pitfall people could fall into.


Topic Reading-Vol.908-10/6/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's achievements in 65 years benefit world
Celebrating its own birthday! Nothing is wrong with that. Praising everything from every field it has done for the last six and a half decades; eliminating hunger, stimulating market economy, opening the market to foreign investors, protecting the environment, ensuring democracy, transparency, and human rights, and securing the national and regional peace.
Indeed it is now one of the most influential countries in the world in economy, market, environment, and both domestic and foreign investment, and peace and security. Any move by the government, the ruling party or the military could shake the economy and security of the region and world.
And they seem to be pretty much confident what they’ve achieved and they can influence.
Enjoy reading and learning the confidence the Asian giant has now.


Topic Reading-Vol.907-10/5/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Global AgeWatch Index: Norway best for older people
By the middle of the century, it is predicted that one in every five persons will be over 60 years old.
There are several factors that contribute to have this much older population such as better health care, nutrition and sanitation, not to mention the economic prosperity that finances them. But not all the countries or places are equally caring and accommodating senior citizens. So, where are the good places to spend the later life?
Enjoy reading and thinking where you’d like to spend the rest of your life.


Topic Reading-Vol.906-10/4/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
California imposes first state-wide plastic bag ban
No more free or even charged plastic bags at supermarkets or convenience stores in California. It seems like a significant milestone to reduce the use and manufacturing of plastic bags.
Then, what are the alternative bags or containers? Recycled paper bags. However, they will be sold to the customers at the point of sale for not less than $0.10, which is expected to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.
California is known as the most conscious and aggressive state when it comes to health and environment. Will this rather radical legislation trigger a nation-wide move to ban or limit the use of plastic bags?
Enjoy reading and thinking how influential this legislation might be.


Topic Reading-Vol.905-10/3/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How often do you need to see a dentist?
Six months have already passed since the last dental checkup. Are you willingly or somehow reluctant to make an appointment with your dentist?
Who said that you need a biannual dental checkup in the first place? It’s quite unsure if it is needed or recommended. There don’t seem to be any authentic researches available how frequently dental checkup should be made to keep teeth and gums from decaying. It’s more like eating and drinking habits and daily maintenance works, except for children whose teeth are still growing. So the risk varies at different times of life, too.
Enjoy reading and learning how often you should go to the dentist.


Topic Reading-Vol.904-10/2/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
NASA picks Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts
Privatization is a crucial factor for capitalism. The U.S.A, the heart of capitalism, has moved a step further to use civilian companies to operate part of federal program.
When NASA, US space agency, is heading outer space exploration such as Mars and beyond, it wants to contract with private enterprises to handle routine transportation tasks to orbiting space stations. And there are several contenders that had competed to get the contract. Now, Boeing, a legendary space and aircraft giant, and Space X, a new venture by billionaire Elon Musk, who also owns and runs Tesla Motors, have won the contract.
The US agency also wanted to stop relying on Russia and paying $70 million per seat to send their men to the space. Space X projects only $20 million per seat.
Enjoy reading and learning why and how the US space agency has been trying to contract space transportation tasks.


Topic Reading-Vol.903-10/1/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A New Technology Turns Food Waste and Poo into Power, Saving the Environment and Money
Food waste and sewage turn into greener energy? Sounds like dream has come true, doesn’t it?
A remote desert city in California unveiled a carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plant, first of the kind in United States. The anaerobic digestion technology system is going to convert food and sewage waste into biogas, which is usually burned and released into the atmosphere.
The new facility and system is projected be in operation by 2015, diverting more than 1,400 tons of waste. Reducing the waste and generating greener-than-ordinary fossil fuel sounds all right with anyone, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about this innovative solution for food waste and sewage.