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Topic Reading-Vol.1237-8/31/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Banksy Dismaland show revealed at Weston's Tropicana
Interested in seeing something unusual or un-expectable? Take a trip to Tropicana Pleasure Beach, near Bristol, England. There you’ll see another version of Disneyland, far different from family entertaining theme park. As a matter of fact, the artist who organized this six-week show in a nearly-closed amusement park described the event as a "family theme park unsuitable for children."
Interested or curious? Enjoy seeing the photos of this weird exhibition by a prominent contemporary artist.   


Topic Reading-Vol.1236-8/30/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why is Canadian English unique?
Though it isn’t so much sense in just learning Canadian accent unless you’re going to live there, it is quite interesting to know a little bit of their version of English.
English in Canada is spoken by only about the three-fifths of the 35-million population as native language. The one-fifth speak their version of French, a derived version from the French in France, and the rest speak the languages of their origins. How did Canadians and their version of English derive from America, as well as their unique identity they have inherited from Europe?
In general, Canadians seem to have adopted American cultures, lifestyle and business practices quite a lot but still respected and inherited their individual roots, whether from Europe or Asia.
According to this article, "The British may be family, but Americans are friends. Or sometimes ‘frenemies’." It sounds like a bit British-favored viewpoint, doesn't it?
It would be interesting to find how Americans view Canadians and their version of English.
Enjoy reading and learning about this interesting view by a British writer.


Topic Reading-Vol.1235-8/29/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
US court backs gay couple in wedding cake dispute
A baker mustn’t decline an order for a cake based on the race, sex, religious belief or sexual orientation of the customer. That sounds reasonable especially after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Then can a baker decline an order for special design or message on the cake?
A baker in Colorado refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of the special request they made for the cake that could deteriorate the artistic value of the cake. The baker believes his cakes are like art works for him, so that adding something that doesn’t meet his design sense or conscience is not acceptable. The gay couple asked to put a rainbow picture, which is a symbol used by the gay movement.
It’s still unclear whether the baker refused the wedding cake order because of the sexual orientation of the wedding couple or the design they asked for.
Enjoy reading and learning this controversial dispute.


Topic Reading-Vol.1234-8/28/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China becomes world's largest robots market for second consecutive year (Xinhua)
Another world number one by China. Robot industry is showing robust growth in both consumer and industrial sectors. Although specific types aren’t clarified, the number of robots for consumer market in China surged over 50% in 2014 and accounted for as much as a quarter of the world market in unit.
But what’s remarkable is that China is trying to boost the use of robot in manufacturing industry, trying to become a world manufacturing power under its “Made in China 2025” Initiative. Because of the rising labor costs, China is eager to develop and bring in more unhuman production methods to stay competitive against developing countries in Asia.
More made in China products?
Enjoy reading and learning about another China’s initiative to be number one in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1233-8/27/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Banned! 9 things you won't find in Russia
There seem to be some conservative, protective and emotional concepts behind these unique bans in the largest state in the world, Russia. It’s a democratically governed state under an elected president. 80% of the 150million population are Russians and approximately two-thirds are Christians, including Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant.
That sounds like having an enough diversion to view things from balanced perspectives, doesn’t it? However, when it comes to same-sex marriage, media, criticism or trade partners, the country seems highly restrictive or assertive.
Enjoy reading and learning what views Russia have on social issues.


Topic Reading-Vol.1232-8/26/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India-born CEOs are taking the U.S. by storm
Another India-born corporate leader in a high-tech corporation in America. Sundar Pichai, Google's new CEO. He’s one of the growing Indian leaders in global-scale companies such as Microsoft, Master Card, Pepsi and Adobe. But this isn’t limited only to American businesses. Harvard Business School’s dean is also Indian origin. Even a Japanese global company, Softbank, appointed an Indian ex-Google executive as the successor to the founder CEO. What makes such a surge of India-born leaders?
There seems to be some common paths those leaders have taken. They studied in the top universities in India in English, earned scholarship, continued their study in America and got higher degrees.
Also, they seem to be capable of adapting other cultures and practices to rise the corporate ladder.
And don’t forget the spelling bee champions. 15 of the 19 winners of the recent championships have been Indian-Americans,
Enjoy reading and learning about the surge of Indian leaders in business and academic world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1231-8/25/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Earth was a frozen snowball when animals first evolved.
Guessing what happened in pre-history days is a difficult task, especially the one that happened millions of years ago when there were no modern animals or creatures on the ground or in the water.
But some geologists have figured out what the earth was like hundred millions of years ago. A snowball. Our planet was nearly entirely covered with ice around 715 million years ago and the average temperature even around the equator was estimated to be around -20 degrees Celsius, like Antarctica today. And this brutally freezing condition remained for the next 120 million years.
More surprisingly, some scientists believe that this icy period triggered the evolution of modern multi-cell creatures.
Enjoy reading and learning what the earth was like in those ice periods.


Topic Reading-Vol.1230-8/24/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
July was Earth's hottest month on record, NOAA says
It was a sizzling summer, wasn’t it? Yes, indeed July 2015 was the hottest month since records began in 1880 having beaten the previous record set in 1998. And it wasn’t only July but the average temperature for the first seven months of the year was hotter than ever before.
Was that caused just by global climate change? No. There was another factor that affected the temperatures around the globe. El Nino. It is a natural phenomenon which appears as a large layer of warm water in the Pacific that causes global temperatures rises. This year, El Nino has been reported to be very intense.
Although El Nino is out of humans’ hands, the cause of global warming can be managed by coherent effort by individuals, societies, enterprises and governments. Having witnessed and experienced another clear and present evidence, what are humans going to do to deal with global warming?
Enjoy reading and learning about this year’s sizzling summer.


Topic Reading-Vol.1229-8/23/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How algorithms run Amazon’s warehouses
Human hands, that what makes a chain of an online purchase, fulfillment and delivery completes.
First, you click a key or touch the screen to confirm the purchase. Immediately, the fulfillment process begins in a warehouse somewhere in the country. The fulfillment system tells a picker to fetch the merchandise ordered. The picker then simply follow the instruction, lift the merchandise from the shelf and brings it to the packaging line. There, there merchandise is boxed with the invoice and some flyers and sealed for shipment. Once the box is shipped out of the warehouse, it’ll be delivered by a human driver.
This is what is happening now in a fastest and most efficient fashion at Amazon. But some or even all of these processes that are handled by humans now could be replaced by machines and drones in the future. Does it matter whether such process is done by humans or something else?
Enjoy reading and learning behind the scenes of your convenient online purchase.


Topic Reading-Vol.1228-8/22/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Disney to open 'Star Wars' theme parks
How crazy are you about Star Wars or Disneyland? If you’re an eager fan of the former, you’ll have more than the long-waited release of the new episode, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" later this year because Disney is setting up new “Star Wars” attractions in their theme parks. Why Disney? As you might know Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the creator of Star Wars, for four billion dollars in 2012. Since then, the new owner has been working on recouping that investment, including three new episodes one of which is going to be released at the end of this year.
Since the scale of success in Harry Potter theme park in Florida and attractions in Universal Studios, this Disney’s new plan seems likely to draw a lot of fans, their family members and friends.
Will you see Mikey Mouse fighitng with a lightsabor against the Imperial Stormtroopers?
Enjoy reading the brief but sensational announcement by Disney.


Topic Reading-Vol.1227-8/21/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Airline begins weighing passengers for 'safety'
A new standard procedure was announced for anyone flying with Uzbekistan Airways. All passengers are measured the weight of their own and carry-on luggage before departure. According to the airline, the procedure was intended to ensure safety for the flight. Indeed, load calculations, weight and balance of their aircraft, is essential for safety especially for smaller aircraft.
But isn’t that a move to a “pay as you weigh” fair structure?
Maybe. Actually, such a fee structure was announced back in 2012 by Samoa Air and is still in place. The airline flies mainly within the islands of the country with small aircraft where over 80% of the adults are overweight.
As low cost carriers, or LCC, that charge extra fees for check-in luggage and inflight drinks and foods, the next target to charge extra fee could be your carry-on luggage and yourself.
Enjoy reading and learning the latest and decisive move by an airliner.


Topic Reading-Vol.1226-8/20/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
North Korea goes back in time
Changing the nation’s standard time only after a less-than-a-week announcement. That sounds like China announcing its national holidays of the year only three-month ahead.
But this time, it is North Korea that has wound the clock back by half an hour. The purpose and motive of this sudden change is to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberalization from Japan’s ruling and the end of the war. Actually, before the Japanese occupation started back in 1910, then unified Korea had been using its own standard time that was 8.5 hours ahead of GMT, not nine. So this change to retrofit its standard time doesn’t seem so unreasonable to the citizens if they had been announced well ahead of time and to the neighbor country, South Korea, if only it had been consulted.
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent change in the most secretive state in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1225-8/19/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Crafty rhetoric, insincere politics
Not sincere enough. That what China’s news agency is saying on the statement made by Japan’s PM Mr. Abe that marked the 70th anniversary of World War II's end on Aug. 14th.
China seems to think that even though the key words such as "aggression", "colonial rule", "remorse" and "apology" were squeezed in the statement because of the domestic and international pressure, Abe didn’t show enough sincerity in his statement.
Actually, postwar generations, including Mr. Abe himself, now exceed 80% of Japan's population. He seems to want to get over with the past and move on saying Japanese people must not let their children, grandchildren, and even further generations to come, who have nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologize, while its neighbors are pressing Japan’s wrong doings during the war.
Enjoy reading and finding what China thinks of Abe’s statement,


Topic Reading-Vol.1224-8/18/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The man who turns fizzy drinks into big lollipops
In order to avoid the risks of obesity and tooth decay, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that adults should eat no more than 50 grams of sugar, or 12 teaspoons per day. To stay healthy, it also advises to limit sugar intake to less than 25 grams, or 5% of the daily energy intake.
You don’t have to worry about sugar intake so much unless you drink coffee or tea with spoonfuls of sugar each time or eat sugary dessert after every meal, which doesn’t seem to apply to many nowadays.
But what about soft drinks? How much sugar does a can of soft drink contain?
An artist in New Zealand shows you the amount of sugar contained in soft drinks not by numbers or charts but in visual art.
Enjoy seeing the amount of sugar in pops.
If you’re interested in learning how much sugar in various soft drinks, check the below site;


Topic Reading-Vol.1223-8/17/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan revisionists deny WW2 sex slave atrocities
People usually say their side of the story. Some people tend to hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest and others may even criticize the other side of the story.
As the number of people who experienced or eye witnessed the previous world war declines, more people learn what happened from those who didn’t. Their voices and stories are often opinionated or distorted somehow without realizing it.
This article shows a good example of stories of different persons who learned, experienced and eye witnessed the same topic.
Read and learn how one thing could be said differently.


Topic Reading-Vol.1222-8/16/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India 'to overtake China's population by 2022' – UN
It was in 2011 when the world population reached the seven-billion mark. According to the latest projection by a new UN study, the current population of 7.3 billion will increase by a little over 30% to 9.7 billion by the middle of the century. And the top three of the current population list, China, India and the U.S. will be replaced by India, China and Nigeria. Where the rest of the growth will be generated? The population of 28 African countries is predicted to double.
It seems that every half century or so, the activities and traffic growth seem to change, the Atlantic in the early 20th century, the Pacific in the latter, and now the Indian Ocean for the next fifty years or so.
The biggest challenges for such drastic population increase especially in underdeveloped regions seem to be food and nutrition, public health awareness and measures and education.
Enjoy reading and finding where and how fast the world population is going to increase for the next decades.


Topic Reading-Vol.1221-8/15/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beijing to ban vehicles for V-Day parade
Proud air quality in the nation’s capital. Beijing is known for its unbearably polluted air quality. However, the sky becomes blue and clear in certain period of time when they host international events. For example, when they hosted APEC summit last November, the city enjoyed “APEC blue sky,” thanks to the restriction on use of cars and suspension of operation of some air-polluting business and factories.
This year, the city is hosting the IAAF, International Association of Athletes Federations, World Championships 2015 from Aug 22 to 30. They are also celebrating the anniversary of victory in World War II, specifically against Japan, on Sept 3 with a big military parade, which some of the world leaders are invited to attend.
During the period, vehicles to be restricted on capital's roads, construction and demolition works are all suspended to ensure clean air in the capital.
It sounds great for visitors to the city but what do the residents, workers and businesses think?
Enjoy reading and learning what the government can do to improve air quality.


Topic Reading-Vol.1220-8/14/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How to buy an electric vehicle
How green do you want to be for your car? There seem to be a few moving incentives and motivations that may draw your attention.
When you buy a car, you usually check the price, gas mileage and tax incentives. You may also figure out how much depreciation per year you’re going to bear, the economic gap between the price you’ve paid and the money you’ll recoup when you sell the car.
These days, electric cars seem to run more economically than most of conventional petro-fuel vehicles. They are also offered various tax incentives and preferential treatment for parking and driving lanes. Furthermore, manufacturers of electric cars offer attractive incentives to promote this prospective category. It seems to be worthwhile checking how much you’re going to be paying per year for an electric car, doesn’t it?
And another aspect you may take it into consideration is emotion. You’ll feel proud of driving a greener vehicle and enjoy the eyes of your neighbors and drivers around your car.
Enjoy reading and learning the things you may consider for your next car.


Topic Reading-Vol.1219-8/13/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Imagine life without Internet
What do you think you will miss if you are disconnected to the Internet? The answer to this question will tell you how significant and vital the Internet is to your life. You could get nearly all of the information provided by TV, radio, books and newspapers via the Internet. You could make real-time or on-demand communication with anyone connected anywhere in the world. It is much faster, easier, and more convenient than calling or writing.
This could also mean that the gap between those who have access to the Internet and those who don’t is becoming greater. Getting information faster than others is the key to success in business, diplomacy and military. The same is also true for a job search, investment research, and shopping.
Furthermore, online education will make competitive advantage in the long term.
Then what should the government do to close such vital gap between the haves and don’t-haves?
Enjoy reading and learning the significance of the digital divide.


Topic Reading-Vol.1218-8/12/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Holiday in North Korea?
North Korea is now inviting more tourists, as many as two million by 2020! That may not be too ambitious as more and more Chinese tourists are visiting neighboring states such as Korea, Japan and Taiwan. They offer carefully tailored tour packages, showing what they want those visitors see but disregarding what tourists want to see. The more secretive and unknown a place is, the more interested people might become. So you never know if you might be attempted to visit there while its unique dictatorial regime lasts.
It also offers very unique experiences. Some of the Soviet era trains still run on the rails. Farmers work in the state-owned agricultural collectives. You may also witness people visiting the Flower Exhibition Hall in the capital to paying respect to the founding leaders. It sounds like a time-machine tour to the 60’s or 70’s, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading the article and captions of the photos in North Korea.


Topic Reading-Vol.1217-8/11/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Mexico: Growing old in poverty
The reality under the official figures. Surprisingly, as many as 50% of the entire workforce are thought to work in the informal sector in Mexico. Since that figure represents the number of workforce, it doesn’t represent how much percentage of the economy it contributes. However, if the half of the workforce don’t pay tax or contribute to the social security fund, it is extremely difficult for the government to maintain the social service systems. And of course, such workers don’t get any job security, protection or insurance coverage. They can survive only if they are lucky enough to stay healthy and get a job. But once any of the conditions is lost, he or she will have to find food for the day somewhere.
Enjoy reading and learning how a life of a 65-year-old woman in Mexico is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.1216-8/10/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Fourdays and seventy years ago in HIroshima
Four days and seventy years ago on a sizzling summer morning, Hiroshima was atomic-bombed.
There were hundreds thousands of innocent civilians in the city in western Japan starting their day. Shortly after eight in the morning, tens of thousands people were killed instantly by the heat wave and more shortly after by the burns and radiation. By the end of the year, over a hundred thousand died.
Who could have done that? Having known exactly and precisely what they had done, they did it again to Nagasaki only three days after to test another type of atomic bomb to show their capability and determination. No matter what the rationales were, any gods in the world an in history would have allowed such mass genocides.
70 years after the tragedy, Japan’s Asahi Newspaper has created a very intensive photo work that almost time-travel you four days after the bombing.
If you click the photo, it'll start showing 360-degree panorama view of Hiroshima four days and 70 years ago. You’ll see what devastating the power of the atomic bomb. But what you will NOT see in the panorama photo is how severely people suffered by the heat and radiation.


Topic Reading-Vol.1215-8/9/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beijing makes it, again!
The world athletes, this time winter sports athletes, gather again in Beijing in 2022.
It was 2008 when the capital of the most populous country hosted the summer event. While Japan is struggling to budget a new national stadium to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Beijing has no problem hosting the opening and closing ceremonies of the winter events at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest.
Although the city is known for traffic congestion and air pollution, they can contain such problems at least during the event because the authority can restrict any civilian activities at any time. The question is whether they have enough snow to host the skiing competitions. Beijing is very cold in winter but it isn’t famous for snow sports but for ice skating. Well, it may not be surprising to find snow making factories or weather controlling systems established by then.
By the way, will Brazil get ready for the 2016 games?
Enjoy reading and seeing the joy people in Beijing are showing.


Topic Reading-Vol.1214-8/8/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Google Street View crashes Mongolia's famed Naadam Festival
It’s no longer a surprise to find and view almost every corner of the world by Google Street View. But have you thought about how they do it? Some of you might have seen a car with cameras on the roof driving slowly around the town. Recently, the IT giant has gone far beyond, taking those map-making cameras to deserts, in mountains and even onto Antarctica where there are no residents or streets. They are still all places. Now they are turning their eyes into things, like historical monuments, tourist destinations and even festivals.
Those who carry street view cameras are called Trekkers. They go and walk anywhere to video shoot things and places. This time, they walked in the crowd and dust of Mongolia’s Naadam, rugged Mongolia's annual display of horsemanship, marksmanship and muscle, which was granted UNESCO Intangible World Heritage status in 2010.
Enjoy seeing the photos of the hardship of Google Trekkers in Mongolia.


Topic Reading-Vol.1213-8/7/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Russia blocks UN tribunal on MH17
Another veto by the P5 member state, again by Russia. In the UN Security Council, there are five permanent member states that hold the right to refuse to accept a resolution, even though the rest of the council members support it. This time, the resolution was to set up an international tribunal to investigate who shot down the flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, which was boarded by 300 passengers and the crew.
What is this veto power for? 70 years after the last world war ended, does the world still need to have the V5, allies claimed the victory of the war, to be P5, permanent (or privileged me) members to bring and maintain peace?
Enjoy reading and learning about this another controversial right of the UN Security Council.


Topic Reading-Vol.1212-8/6/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Disneyland Paris faces pricing probe
In EU countries, consumers are supposed to be offered the same promotional deals. But that rule doesn’t seem to apply to Disney visitors. In fact, visitors from the UK and Germany paid much higher prices than those who live in France because they were declined to apply for the promotional prices that was offered only to French card holders. It sounds like a geo-blocking, limitation for access only within certain geographical areas, doesn’t it?
What Mickey said about this?
Enjoy reading and learning about this unequal ticket prices to Disneyland in Paris.


Topic Reading-Vol.1211-8/5/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
One of the scariest jet landings ever
No need to read. Just look at this video that caught a very scary landing of a jetliner in Amsterdam. It was so windy that the pilot had difficulty keeping the aircraft straight. It looked awfully bumpy but thanks for the pilot’s skillful maneuver, it landed safely.
Enjoy watching this breathtaking video and amazing skill of the pilot.


Topic Reading-Vol.1210-8/4/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chimps over-hunt monkey prey almost to extinction
Chimpanzees are intelligent animals. They are one of the closest to humans. And researchers have found that humans and chimps share a common tendency. Over-hunt certain prey to extinction.
In part of Africa, chimps hunt certain species of monkeys so much that the population of the monkey has gone down to near extinction level. In recent years in particular, they hunted nearly a half of the remaining population every year. And as hunting to the monkeys becomes more time and energy consuming due to the reduced population, they started to hunt another species and threatening the population. They are smart enough to save effort but don’t seem to care about conservation, like humans.
Chimps usually get most of its needed nutrition from fruits but they eat meat as well. They hunt smaller animals like monkeys in a group with effective tactics. Young chimps learn to hunt as their predecessors do, like lions or wolves. When they attack a group of monkeys, they don’t look for hunting them all. They just need a few of them. But that still has significant impact on the monkeys to sustain its population. Two out 10 is 20%. That sounds like a big blow, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about hunting of our nearest species.


Topic Reading-Vol.1209-8/3/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How to buy your own island
You don’t need to be one of the royal family of an oil-rich kingdom to enjoy private vacation. You can actually buy an island property at or less than the price of an ordinary family house. It may take some time to get you there unless you settle in but the land, air and environment are all yours. Of course you may not enjoy the luxury of high-speed Internet connection, multi-channel TV, tap water or even electricity. But humans didn’t use to have such things until recently. If you don’t have them, you’ll probably manage to live and enjoy your life in a different way.
Enjoy reading and learning about owning your own island, either for vacation or permanent resident.


Topic Reading-Vol.1208-8/2/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
King Salman's French holiday: A throne, motorcades and a lift to the beach
A king is always surrounded by his servants, aides, friends and relatives, isn’t he? You many think that such a busy person may want to escape from his daily chores and businesses. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for this one of the richest royal families in the world, King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
For his three-week summer vacation in his villa in French Riviera, he is bringing 1,000 family members, relatives and friends to the popular resort many of who stay in the hotels nearby.
There are pros and cons for this extravaganza.
Good for economy, especially to the hotels, restaurants and drivers in the area. Also, some real estate agents may benefit from those visitors because some of them are serious property buyers.
Bad for local residents and ordinary vacationers. They are not allowed to enjoy some of the most popular beach spots for security reasons.
Enjoy reading and learning what a royal vacation is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.1207-8/1/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japanese comics that are too racy for Chinese censors... but still popular online
There doesn’t seem to be any border when it comes to popular culture. Movies, books, songs or cartoons to name a few. When one gets popular in one country, it spreads out to the rest of the world or to the people in similar cultures very quickly and widely.
This time, Japanese comics, or anime, has become a big hit among Chinese youths despite the ban and censorship by the Chinese authority. People who really want something, they seem to be able to find a way to get around restrictions or censors. Therefore, what the authority can do is to make the access to such prohibited sites more difficult than usual, so that casual viewers can’t reach or hard to find it. It is like whack-a-mole after all.
Enjoy reading and learning about the power of social media.