RSS Feed


Topic Reading-Vol.1845-4/30/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google cofounder's 'flying car' makes its debut
Do you want to fly yourself without a license? Here is one coming up soon. Though the price tag hasn’t been attached yet, this flying car, or rather looks more like a flying jet ski, will be on sale by the end of the year.
This project was initiated and invested by Larry Page, the cofounder of Google. Unlike Uber’s flying taxi that transport a person from a place to another, this personal flying vehicle seems to offer views like the ones seen in a drone-shot video and excitement that can’t be enjoyed in any other flying vehicle affordably (presumably) available to public today.
Enjoy seeing the video and think if you’re excited about this personal flying machine for your next Christmas or birthday present. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1844-4/29/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The next generation of jobs
What do you want to be? This typical question to ask a future profession may no longer be appropriate for today’s children. Instead, it may become more common to ask, “What skills do you want to acquire?” and “How are you going to use the skills?”
As technologies advance more rapidly and drastically, job protocols and processes, how to do things, are going to change at a significant scale and speed that has never been experienced. For example, many people may work on numbers of micro-jobs in shorter periods rather than a single job for a long time. Also, AI may take away traditional jobs from your want-to-be list, such as customer service, marketing and medical examination.
In order to live through this changing world, young people need to develop skills that match their career objectives, and keep developing new skills as they grow.
Enjoy reading and thinking what skills you have or need to develop to achieve your career objectives.


Topic Reading-Vol.1843-4/28/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Plastic-eating caterpillar could munch waste, scientists say
The caterpillar is the wormlike larva, the immature, wingless stage of a butterfly or a moth. They have numerous pairs of legs and powerful biting jaws. They usually eat the leaves of the plant or tree on which their lives began.
So what if some species of the caterpillar eat plastic bags just like they eat the leaves they were born on? Whether they think it’s edible or not, scientists found that some caterpillars do eat, or at least degrade plastic bags. Sounds like good news for the environment as millions of tons of the plastic polyethylene are produced each year. That’s enormous number of plastic bags considering the weight of each piece.
Enjoy reading and thinking if caterpillars help humans clean the planet.


Topic Reading-Vol.1842-4/27/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
France is the weakest of Europe's big 3 economies
Marine Le Pen was supported by over 20% of the voters in the latest presidential election, and she is advancing to a run-off for the French presidency on 7 May. The radical politician commits to revive the republic without EU, euro and NATO. It sounds like an idea to become a fully independent state in the continental Europe like Switzerland. Why such significant portion of people in France want an extreme politician to lead the country?
Though France is one of the major economies in Europe, its rate of economic growth has been lagging behind the fellow EU giants, Germany and the UK. Also, one out of four young people is unemployed. To make the situation even worse, the country’s deficit is mounting because of its relatively high social spending.
Time to choose a drastic change like the UK or the US, or continuity and consistency.
Enjoy reading and thinking if there are effective cures that could remedy France’s economic problems.


Topic Reading-Vol.1841-4/26/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The army that conquered the world
It could, most likely would, have been a disaster if it had been discovered a few years earlier.
Qin Xi Huang’s tomb and his terracotta army were accidentally found by farmers near Xian in 1974, when there were no more Red Guards, who had destroyed tombs and statues of historic importance including the Ming emperor Wanli like today’s Taliban or ISIS, marching across the country looking for and destroying anything counter-revolutionary.
The first emperor of China seemed to have a persistent passion for eternal life and the next life. He spent fortune in search of remedy for immortality, which of course turned out to be unsuccessful. Instead, the terracotta warriors created to guard his tomb seem to have attained eternal life. As many as 8,000 of them are well preserved by the present dynasty and shown to commoners from the world. But his tomb is still untouched to avoid interrupting his sleep even after over two millenniums.
Enjoy reading and thinking if the resting emperor is happy with his eternal sleep.


Topic Reading-Vol.1840-4/25/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Lotte World Tower opens in Seoul setting world records
How high do you want go above the ground to look down other buildings and observe the view of the city? If the higher the better for you, here is a brand-new skyscraper just opened to public in the capital of South Korea, called Lotte World Tower. It is 555-meter tall, not the highest but the fifth in the world ranking, and has a glass-bottom observatory at 478 meters.
One thing absolutely necessary to enjoy the magnificent view is fast but un-pressuring, neither by air nor fellow passengers, elevators. In this newly completed skyscraper, a double-deck elevator brings as many as 52 passengers at a time to the top floor in just a minute at a speed of 10 meters per second, or 36km/h.
Too fast for you? There are much faster ones competing in the world elevation race as landmark buildings and towers become taller and taller. The fastest one so far lifts you 20 meters per second!
It seems not just architects but engineers of elevators are the ones competing in the world-tallest race.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you’re ready to enjoy elevators at a speed of an automobile. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1839-4/24/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Facebook shares brain-control ambitions
Just think of something, and it’ll be done or realized, even before you speak or type a word of it. This is what the SNS giant is working on now. Though it’ll take long before such brain-direct technology fully recognizes what the mind thinks and reacts properly, the company believes the prospect of such invention and is investing considerable resources.
A silent speech interface is being developed to decode the words humans speak on a day-to-day basis. It requires neither implanted sensor in the brain nor sharing of all the thoughts of the person with Facebook (sounds so scary!). It’s a system that allows a person to choose what to express and write straight from the brain.
Sounds like a system of dream, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and thinking what you would do if you got such a mind-decoding, or reading system.


Topic Reading-Vol.1838-4/23/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What’s wrong with Europe?
EU, established in 1993, is an economic and political union of 28 member states. There are approximately 500 million people living and 24 official languages in the union but there aren’t any border controls between most of the member countries that agreed with the Schengen Borders Code.
Now, the union is facing various difficulties. Though they worked out to keep Greece in the euro currency system, they could not stop one of the key members, the U.K., leaving the union. The union members tried to help those desperate refugees from Syria and Africa by allocating quota to member countries, which just seems to have caused anti-immigrants moves across the continent. Also, there is a rise of populism by extremists and hatred for Muslims everywhere.
But what are people in Europe thinking of these topics?
Enjoy taking the quiz and learn what’s wrong with Europe.


Topic Reading-Vol.1837-4/22/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The trees keeping Vietnam afloat
Vietnam seems to be so vulnerable to the rising sea levels.
The Mekong Delta, or the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, which produces a large part of rice crop of the coastal country along with other vegetables and fruits, is feared to go underwater by the end of the century. Though rising sea levels are not particularly caused by the local residents, they are the ones who suffer that most. While neither human ingenuity nor force hardly matches with this environmental challenge, something in nature is expected to ease the impact.
The mangrove is salt tolerant trees that grows in coastal water or wetlands with many roots that trap soil and eventually form land. Mangroves have a unique salt filtration system and root system to cope with salt water and waves. Forests of mangroves could become natural barriers to storms and filters to saltwater.
Sounds like an ideal solution to the Delta, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about this human ingenuity to use natural resources.


Topic Reading-Vol.1836-4/21/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why idle moments are crucial for creativity?
How long do you usually keep your eyes on screens of any kind? A few hours or longer? Surprisingly, Americans and Brits both spend around staggering 10 hours a day on looking at screens, according to a media research firm. If a person sleeps for eight hours, there are only six hours left to do other things. If that is the case, how much time does one have to be reflective or creative?
One researcher says there are two attention systems in human brain, one is external and the other is internal. The latter is only activated when the mind is rested, in other words, daydreaming. People become more creative or innovative when their mind or attention is not occupied or interrupted by external links.
How long do you daydream a day?
Enjoy reading and thinking when you usually come up with a good idea or solution.


Topic Reading-Vol.1835-4/20/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saving China's pandas
Do you have any idea many Giant Pandas there are in the world?
There are a little over 1,800 pandas in the wild and about 450 in captivity. Thanks to China’s continuous and determined efforts, Panda’s population has been increasing, and the Giant Panda is no longer on the endangered species list.
So far so good. But will the population keep increasing in the future especially in the wild while pressures mount to develop surrounding areas where they live now? Since captive pandas are treated like first-class passengers around the clock throughout the year, they might be too spoiled to live wild life themselves. Their playful acts draw human eyes and minds so much but such cuteness is meaningless or even volatile in the wild.
Enjoy seeing the photos and think if those captive pandas return to and survive in the wild.


Topic Reading-Vol.1834-4/19/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
We can learn a lot from how the French do lunch
How much time do you usually spend on lunch on a weekday? You may not even know it if you sit at your desk and grab a sandwich while typing or surfing on the PC. But what about an occasional eat-out lunch with your friends or colleges? Do you order just a dish of pasta or salad? How long do you spend eating it?
The French are well-known gourmets. They spend longer time in preparing and eating meals. Dining for an hour or two is quite common even among busy workers. Also, many of them enjoy three-course lunch when they eat out, with a glass, or even glasses, of wine. It seems that work and pleasure are inseparable in French culture.
Enjoy watching the brief video that shows how the French enjoy their mid-day meal.


Topic Reading-Vol.1833-4/18/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Bengali new year parade in Dhaka stands up to militancy
A little bit of background knowledge about Bengal and Bengali.
Bengal region lies in the Ganges Delta, the world's largest delta in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. East Bengal, roughly two-thirds of the region with an estimated population of 160 million, belongs to Bangladesh, and West Bengal is part of India, whose population is about 90 million. Though Bengali is commonly spoken in the region, dominant religion is Islam in East Bengal and Hindu in West Bengal.
So why is there a new year celebration in April? Bengali New Year, also known as 'Pohela Boishakh' is the first day in the Bengali calendar which occurs on 14 April in the Gregorian calendar, today’s most widely used civilian calendar, each year.
Enjoy seeing some photos and captions.
Then, for Bangladesh side of the parade, see this video;
For Indian side of the parade, check this out;


Topic Reading-Vol.1832-4/17/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A map that shows we really do live in two different Americas
More divided as a whole but more consistent in each district than ever before. That’s what seems to be the trend in terms of politics in America. In other words, one may find that more people who live in your district share the same view. For example, in some area, most of the residents were shocked to have seen Trump win the election in 2016 while most of those who live in a different district were pleased with the result.
Why is such a polarization happening and deepening? Is that because of unfair distribution of wealth or outlook of their future?
Enjoy reading and thinking if you prefer to live in a place where most of the residents support one side of the political spectrum that you agree or disagree with.


Topic Reading-Vol.1831-4/16/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Taiwan bans slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption
You might have seen a dog owner riding a motorcycle while having their dog running alongside them for exercise (not for the owner). Also, you might have heard that dog meat is regularly used in Chinese dishes. But you won’t see or hear such practices in Taiwan any longer.
Taiwan’s parliament approved a legislation that had never been seen in Asia to protect dogs and cats. The punishment of violation of this new law includes a large fine, imprisonment and publication of the name and photo of the violator. That sounds rather a harsh penalty, doesn’t it? But in a country whose first family consists of two cats and three dogs, it may not be so surprising.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you are more interested in visiting the island country.


Topic Reading-Vol.1830-4/15/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in 'unprecedented' bleaching
While super elite entrepreneurs are trying to realize their dreams to travel space as posted in yesterday’s Topic Reading, there are clear and present danger on the mother planet that needs immediate and decisive actions. Despite the status of World Heritage, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, one of the most irreplaceable and valuable natural beauties, is found to be in critical condition. The area of the coral reefs that is severely bleached seems to have stretched to 1,500km especially in the middle section, in addition to the already bleached northern section. The bleaching is usually caused by rising water temperatures as well as stress to the natural treasure. Global warming is mainly to blame because waters absorb most of the increase in the Earth’s heat.
Everyone knows the sooner effective actions are taken, the better the chance for recovery, if it’s not too late.
Enjoy reading and thinking which project should be prioritized, space traveling or nature conservation.


Topic Reading-Vol.1829-4/14/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
When Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos left everyone in their dust
Both are world most progressive and aggressive entrepreneurs,
Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business and technology inventor, and leads today’s most technologically advancing businesses like Space X, PayPal, Tesla, Hyperloop, SolarCity and OpenAI.
Jeff Bezos is an American technology and retail entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, He founded and has brought the company to the world's largest online shopping retailer. He also founded Blue Origin in 2000 to realize space travel business.
The market cap of Musk’s Tesla, an electric car company, and Bezos’s Amazon have matched or exceeded the one of the traditional-but-still-powerful players, such as Ford or GM in automobile and Walmart in retail business.
They seem to be quite tolerant to failures, which many try to avoid.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you can agree with Bezos’s statement, "Failure and invention are inseparable twins."


Topic Reading-Vol.1828-4/13/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
FIFA loses nearly £300m in 2016 and scheduled to lose further £400m in 2017
What do you think was the world most watched match or event? According FIFA, the federation of International Football Association in English, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil games were watched by 3.2 billion viewers around the world, and its final game alone was viewed by one billion people. No wonder why the world most lucrative sports organization generated a revenue of $4.8 billion for the four-year period, and leaving a staggering amount of gross profit, $2.6 billion.
So how come that rich organization lost money in 2016 and is projected to lose more in 2017?
The reason is simple. They are spending more money than they earn. Then on what?
Enjoy watching the video to find how expensive corruption is to the organization and those who received the money. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1827-4/12/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why women are taking to YouTube in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may be most conservative state the world. In a country where there are no movie theaters or hardly any music concerts, YouTube seems to play a more significant role for entertainment than other countries. And the producers of such vlogs, or video blogs, especially women, are often referred as YouTuber or vlogger, who often play the main character of such videos. When a vlogger’s video goes viral, she becomes incredibly popular overnight in not only the country but also other places that share the same language and customs. As more people spend time on their smartphones rather than a TV set, popular female vloggers are creating huge number of subscribers with their straightforward and no-fear attitude.
Enjoy reading and thinking if those vloggers change the male-dominant society from cyber space.


Topic Reading-Vol.1826-4/11/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
10 modern ways to serve eggs
Though they aren’t as popular as they used to be at least in developed countries (or for over developed bodies), eggs still are the most popular breakfast item. Somehow, modern urban people tend to prefer cold breakfast, such as a banana, yogurt and cereals with non or low fat milk, trying to avoid animal fat and cholesterol. However, eggs are among the most nutritious foods you can find on the planet. In fact, a whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken. A medium-size egg has 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats and decent amounts of various vitamins that are important for health. Sounds like a perfect food to start a day, doesn’t it? Besides such nutritious benefits, eggs can enrich ordinary dishes astonishingly and creatively. Do you want to learn some of such contemporary ways to delight your breakfast or brunch menu?
Enjoy seeing the tasty photos and reading the brief descriptions of egg-enriched dishes.


Topic Reading-Vol.1825-4/10/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Is Singapore really the world’s most expensive city?
The Republic of Singapore, often called the Lion City, is a city-state locating nearly on the equator in Southeast Asia. With a population of 5.6 million in just over 700km2  land space, it is the third most populated state per square kilometer after Macao and Morocco. With GDP per capita ranks 7th in the world, there is no wonder why the cost of living or staying for expatriates or visitors is higher than other metropolitan cities in the world. In fact, the city state is again ranked the costliest city to live in for expatriates, according to a cost of living index compiled by a business unit of The Economist.
Does it really mean Singapore is the most expensive place to live in? Because the index includes some heavily taxed items, such as wines and cars, it doesn’t reflect the actual cost of normal living there. In fact, many residents seem to enjoy comfortable and reasonable life without being punished by high-cost daily necessities or real estate prices like in Zurich or San Francisco.
Enjoy reading and learning what the cost of living is like in the Lion City.


Topic Reading-Vol.1824-4/9/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia, Iran, others react to US strike in Syria
Didn’t Syrian administration, or President, know that chemical weapons are classified as weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs? There is an arms control agreement called the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons.
If 1993 was too old to remember, what about the defiant then Iraq president Saddam Hussein’s incredibly quick fall in 2003 when his troops were defeated by US-led allied forces, which took only three weeks until the capital fell. The regime was attacked and destroyed based on an intelligent suspicion that the country had developed and kept weapons of mass destruction, which evidence wasn’t found after the invasion.
Now Syrian aircraft used chemical weapon to its civilians. The US reacted very quickly to this barbarian act by firing 59 guided missiles from its warships to hit military facilities. While this act was accused by a few countries that have interest in the current Syrian regime and opponents of the US, many countries in the region and the world expressed their support to this decisive action.
Enjoy reading and learning about the reactions to the use of chemical weapons.


Topic Reading-Vol.1823-4/8/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Exploding dumplings': When Asian food is done wrong
When in Rome, do as Romans do. If you agree with this saying, when you eat a local dish, eat as the locals do. Eating genuinely prepared food wrongly could hurt the pride of the locals, even just a soup dumpling.
In fact, an online video featuring an eater burst a soup dumpling, called Xiao Long Bao, with chopsticks and threw away the soup, was seriously criticized by many food enthusiasts for not showing the proper way to enjoy the proud dish.
(Xiao Long Bao is supposed to be eaten in one go to enjoy the harmony of the soup, ingredients and bun all together, even though it could burn your mouth and tongue)
The same is true for Pho, a rice noodle soup, for Vietnamese, which is regarded as their national dish by many.
Enjoy reading and learning how serious for some to eat genuinely prepared food in a genuine way.


Topic Reading-Vol.1822-4/7/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The world happiest country?
Crime, violence, drugs and civil war might be the things that may come to your mind when you think of Columbia, a country in South America with a population of 50 million. But there are things they are proud of to the world, such as coffee, salsa, and surprisingly, happiness.
In fact, Columbia is always ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world, according to the polls by WIN/Gallup International. You may wonder what makes people in a country of unrest feel so happy about their lives. Coffee, underground money, religion (90% Catholic) or the climate?
The answer seems to be nothing extraordinary but very distinctive.
Read the article and learn what most effective weapon is in the war against despair.


Topic Reading-Vol.1821-4/6/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
History destroyed: The ruins of Mosul Museum
Precious Assyrian and Sumerian antiquities that had been exhibited in the museum in Musul, one of the major cities in Iraq, were ruthlessly destroyed by the hands of ISIL, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Sumer was the first urban civilization in the southern Mesopotamia, now southern Iraq, during the 20th and around 50th century BC, one of the first civilization with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley.
Assyria was a major Mesopotamian East kingdom and empire that existed as a state from the 25th century BC.
Both early-age civilizations left valuable antiquities that can never be replaced or reproduced.
Why did those extremist terrorists destroy such things of significance in human history?
See the video to find what they did.
Also, check this video to learn how they’ve evolved.


Topic Reading-Vol.1820-4/5/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why China is banning beards and veils in Xinjiang
In China, there are 22 provinces, four municipalities like Beijing and Shanghai, two Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macao, and five autonomous regions, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Ningxia, Tibet and Xinjiang. Each of these autonomous regions is a minority entity that has a higher population of particular ethnic group.
The largest autonomous region is Xinjiang, which borders Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Over 40% of the population are Uyghur, a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Most of them are Sunni Muslims and speak Uyghur. The region is abundant in oil and mineral reserves, and it produces more natural gas than any other regions in China.
Now the provincial government issued anti-extremism legislation on April 1st prohibiting full-face coverings, growing beards and any extremism content on paper or the web.
Why is China so strict about what people wear or see in this remote region?
Enjoy reading and learning how sensitive it is to rule, integrate or assimilate an autonomous territory.


Topic Reading-Vol.1819-4/4/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Understanding Japan's unique 'scrap and build' design culture
When you visit residential areas in Italy or Germany, you’ll find houses that look mostly identical. Thanks to aesthetic regulations, most towns keep their traditional look and style. For architects, there isn’t much room to explore their creativity.
But in Tokyo, most areas are barely aesthetically regulated but the height. In fact, you may find a traditional Japanese house is sandwiched by a Mediterranean style villa and a contemporary cube house. Also, there aren’t many old houses as a 30-year-old house is valued nearly zero.
This unregulated scrap-and-build market is an ideal campus for progressive architects to grow and present their creativity.
Enjoy reading and thinking which residential district you’re more interested in living or investment.


Topic Reading-Vol.1818-4/3/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
SpaceX makes history: It launched a used rocket and then landed it in the ocean
Reuse a rocket? That’s what this ambitious space company, SpaceX, has been working on to reduce the cost to launch rockets drastically. By reusing one of the most expensive parts of a rocket multiple times, the company is aiming to be a LCL, low cost launcher in space like LCC for low cost carrier in the air. Imagine replacing the fuselage or engines of a passenger airliner every flight, the ticket cost would skyrocket. But that has been the norm in rocket launching business, disposing the rocket every time. So why not retrieving that precious part of the rocket and use it again and again. It’s so simple that you don’t need rocket science to figure out this economical advantage.
Enjoy watching the video and learning these a-little-unfamiliar words, used rocket. dronship, relaunch and refly,


Topic Reading-Vol.1817-4/2/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
NASA just made thousands of aerial images of Africa available to the public
While the US administration seems to have become stingier and more reluctant to pay attention or money to global issues, such as peace, environment or refugees than ever, one of the government agencies has shown a global-scale generosity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, is an independent government agency of the U.S. responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Recently, the famous and respected agency has released an online library that features images, videos and audio from all over Earth. Anyone in the world can now have not only full access to this resource of 14,000 items but also download any of them for their own use. You can enjoy very different view of famous things and places, such as pyramids, dunes, rivers and mountains in Africa.
Enjoy checking some of those spectacular images and thank NASA for their generosity.


Topic Reading-Vol.1816-4/1/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
This skyscraper is out of this world -- literally
A tall building without a foundation in or on the ground. That sounds very unstable, doesn’t it? It is in fact unstable from the ground because it hovers above the ground. Furthermore, it keeps moving as the object in space that this building is attached to orbits the Earth.
This jaw-dropping architecture concept, called *Analemma Tower, is brought by a creative design studio in New York. Very imaginative, isn’t it?
*analemma: a graduated scale shaped like a figure eight that indicates the daily declination of the sun
But their idea doesn’t stop there. What do you think the object in space that hangs such structure is?
Enjoy reading and learning this one-of-a-kind building for the future.