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Topic Reading-Vol.2380-10/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Sky battles: Fighting back against rogue drones
As more drones fly in the air to shoot photos, spray pesticides, or deliver goods, new security concerns arise. There are numbers of incidents of near-misses not only around airports but also in mid-air. Also, a drone could be abused by terrorists to carry and drop harmful objects like a bomb or chemical substance to a target, such as a military facility, prison, and stadium. Sounds scary indeed, doesn’t it? So, how can we prevent such malicious attempts from succeeding? Shooting down a suspicious drone sounds like an easy countermeasure. But it could still cause a damage or harm if the drone is carrying explosives or chemical materials.
In fact, there already are several ways to capture or disable intruding drones to protect a perimeter.
Enjoy reading and learn about arising technologies in the air.


Topic Reading-Vol.2379-10/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Same-sex mice have babies
A historic accomplishment in genetic engineering. Bi-maternal, or two mammas mice were created in China. They are not only healthy but also fertile. It may recall you the movie and book, Jurassic Park, where male dinosaurs created their offspring without female.
Parthenogenesis is a type of reproduction in which living things develop from eggs that have not been fertilized. In Jurassic Park, it occurred naturally in order to keep the species by themselves. But in this scientific experiment, researchers took an egg from one mouse and a special type of cell from another, and then applied gene-editing technologies. Though the similar approach to create double-dad mice didn’t go as well as this female-only reproduction, for now, it may not be too long before such mice survive and reproduce.
Will this please the female worriers in a Greek mythology, the Amazons?
Enjoy reading and think if such technology is really needed or pursued.


Topic Reading-Vol.2378-10/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Japan’s special take on a packed lunch
When you travel around Japan by train, you’ll most likely find some or many of your fellow passengers eating packed meals during lunch hours or any other time of the day. In Japan, it has been customary to eat a packed meal on the train for over a century. And these packaged meals aren’t just for convenience but are prepared to entice travelers. In fact, it is considered as part of the entertainment for a train trip. People enjoy seeing sceneries while tasting local and seasonal delicacies. Any major train stations that bullet or express trains stop, there is a wide variety of packed lunches stacked on the shelves to choose from. Sometimes, department stores or supermarkets have “Ekiben Fair,” which offers popular or never-heard-of packed lunches to their shoppers. Indeed, it is another deep-rooted Japanese food tradition.
But be careful. Eating a packed lunch on a local commuter train is considered unruly.
Enjoy reading and think if you want to try one when you visit Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.2377-10/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Scientists: Time running short before climate change effects are 'irreversible'
How long will humans keep ignoring the intelligence about what is going to happen to the earth’s climate? The consequences of global warming are well known, and the actions needed to prevent climate and environmental disasters from happening have been proposed enough.
A recent UN panel’s report shows that carbon dioxide emissions by human activities need to be reduced by half of 2010 levels in the next decade to avoid irreversible, catastrophic climate change. Such reduction obviously requires historic, decisive, and drastic actions as no one wants to give up what they are enjoying, or hope to enjoy the convenience and practices, not to mention business activities that heavily depend on energy consumptions.
Yet, the United States of America, the second largest carbon dioxide emitter by human activity, is going backwards under the current administration and Congress. The US had been one of the most influential bodies to lead such actions until two years ago but unfortunately, it seems no longer interested in taking such initiatives for the next two years, at least.
Will human ingenuity ever take such actions while there still are wars, nuclear weapons, genocides, and famines in many places around the world.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video to learn how significant the impact of global warming that is on its way to everywhere on the planet.


Topic Reading-Vol.2376-10/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
As global temperatures rise, so will mental health issues, study says
A rise in temperatures in a certain place seems to have quite an impact on mental conditions in a negative way to the residents, according to a new study in the U.S. The research compiled data of two million responses about their mental health status over a decade. The number of the respondents who reported anything that falls within the range of stress, anxiety, depression, emotional issues increased more in places where there was an increase of just one degree Celsius. The same trend was also found in regions that were hit by a disastrous hurricane like Katrina.
Unfortunately, those whose incomes are relatively lower seem to have been affected more by such meteorological changes. If so, the global warming we are experiencing now is going to cause not only ecological and environmental disasters but also mental and subsequently physical problems to those who live in warmer regions.
Read the article and think what strategies you are going to develop to cope with the ongoing climate change.


Topic Reading-Vol.2375-10/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How France created the metric system?
The metric system is an internationally adopted decimal system of measurement. The modern metric system consists of the meter for length, kilogram for mass, second for time, and ampere for electromagnetism. However, there are three countries that still are reluctant to use this modern convenience; the U.S., Liberia, and Myanmar.
When and where did this world standard system originate? It came out of the French revolution which wanted to replace old monarchy and church customs with new systems. Unlike then-more-modernized China or Japan, there were as many as 250,000 different measurement units just in France alone before the revolution. But it wasn’t an easy task to standardize how long and how heavy a thing is. In fact, it took decades before the system became the nation’s de-facto standard.
Now you might have realized that why not “meteric” but “metric” in English. That’s because “metre” in British English came from French “mètre”.
Enjoy reading and learn how the metric system was created and how it became popular.


Topic Reading-Vol.2374-10/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Amazon is using AI in almost everything it does
Amazon started its business as an online bookstore, added CDs and videos, and diversified into a mass retailer, selling almost everything. Soon, they offered their online store, warehousing and shipping & delivery infrastructures to other sellers as Amazon Marketplace. They also offered their computing platforms to individuals, companies and even governments as on-demand, cloud services, called Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Amazon also developed some consumer electronic products such as Kindle and Echo. They now have a plan to add thousands of brick-and-mortar stores called Amazon Go where shoppers can simply grab what they want and leave the store without stopping.
You may already have known, heard of, or experienced these Amazon’s business activities. But what is there behind these advanced technologies and services?
Enjoy watching the video and learn what roles AI plays behind Amazon.


Topic Reading-Vol.2373-10/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
A supermarket is offering to deliver groceries to your fridge while you're out
What is the last part of the process of purchasing? Online retailers offer customers easy and convenient shopping experience on either smartphone or PC whenever and wherever they are. Prices are very competitive with or even predatory to brick-and-mortar supermarkets or discounters. Payment is done automatically from the registered bank account, credit card or online payment service, such as PayPal, WeChat Pay or Ali Pay. So, what could deter customers from buying online, or choose one shopping site from others?
Patience. One survey found that online shoppers don’t want to be home just to wait for deliveries. Seems to make sense, doesn’t it? If you or both of you work during the day and get home late, there is no chance to receive a delivery. On weekends, you may want to go out to meet your friends, do any leisure activities, or simply not to be bothered by anyone at all.
So, what about having the deliverer leave the delivery items inside the door or even in the fridge? With a smart lock, you don’t have to worry about being intruded by someone else other than the scheduled deliverer. But will that be an ultimate convenience or annoyance?
The next step could be to have the deliverer prepare your dinner or feed your pet.
Enjoy reading the article and think how much convenience you would want for a grocery shopping.


Topic Reading-Vol.2372-10/9/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
The hunt for Planet X turns up a new solar system object
We know so little about our solar system, our galaxy, and the universe.
Our solar system is believed to have been formed some 4.6 billion years ago. There are eight planets, five dwarf planets, and two belts, one between Mars and Saturn and the other outside of Neptune’s orbit in the solar system.
Astronomers have been searching for another orbing object, called Planet X, outside the current boundary of our solar system. Though the planet hasn’t been discovered yet, a dwarf-like object was found at around 2,000 times the distance between us and the sun. It is thought to take as long as 40,000 years to go around the sun. As you know, it takes only a year for Earth to orbit the sun and 165 years for the farthest planet Neptune.
This new dwarf planet was nicknamed the Goblin as it was first observed during the Halloween period. What is significant about this discovery is that the move of the Goblin seems to be strongly influenced by nearby massive force, presumably Planet X.
Enjoy reading about this exciting discovery in our solar system.


Topic Reading-Vol.2371-10/8/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
A potted history of instant noodles 
Do you like instant noodles? They are one of the most popular precooked meal in many places in the world. Nearly 100 billion servings were consumed a year. The largest market is China that sold over 40 billion servings, followed by Indonesia’s 13 billion. Combined, these two populous countries ate over half of the global consumption in 2015.
Instant noodles are usually sold in a precooked and dried noodle block with flavoring powder. They were invented in Japan in 1958 when the growing population needed food that would fill their stomachs quickly. Cup noodles are a popular package of instant noodles in a plastic or paper food container with flavoring and soup powder, which was also created in Japan 13 years later when busy individuals wanted even easier and faster snack.
Though instant noodles are convenient and stomach-filling, they are also too rich in carbohydrates, fat, and sodium. So, they become popular when the economy is developing, and people need the energy to get along, but the consumption declines when people start to become more health conscious. In fact, the market for instant noodles in China has already started to decline.
Enjoy watching the video about instant noodles and think if you want one for your next meal or snack.


Topic Reading-Vol.2370-10/7/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Reviving the old silk road
Dunhuang is a small city in northwestern Gansu Province, China. As it lies on the edge of the Gobi Desert, it was once a frontier garrison and gate town to the Silk Road, connecting the then central region of China with the western regions, which are present-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The ancient town is now more known for the Mogao Grottoes, one of the most prominent world cultural heritage sites. The caves consist of 492 grottoes that contain paintings and sculptures created between the 4th and 14th centuries. The number of visitors each day is limited to 6,000 to preserve the valuable artworks and the tickets are hard to get during peak seasons.
Since the launch or the Belt and Road Initiative, Dunhuang has been revitalized as the gate city to the West in culture, tourism, and businesses.
Enjoy reading and learn what this ancient town offers now for new China and Central and Western Asia.


Topic Reading-Vol.2369-10/6/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Roald Dahl's Matilda confronts Donald Trump in new statue
Written by a British author Roald Dahl, Matilda is a five-and-half-year-old girl in England who is often treated unfairly by her own parents and the schoolmistress. When she faces rough treatment, she uses her tremendous intelligence and inherent telekinetic forth to cope with the offenders.
Now, to celebrate the 30th birthday of this popular story character, a new statue of a figure was erected before Matilda’s in the author’s museum in England. Guess who was chosen to be a most-likely encounterer of this bright, formidable girl.
Roald vs. Donald.
Enjoy reading and imagine what Matilda would say to the US president.


Topic Reading-Vol.2368-10/5/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
McDonald's removing artificial additives from its burgers
Surprise! No AI at McDonald’s! The world largest food restaurant chain, which operates 35,000 outlets in 119 countries, is removing AI from its burgers, not Artificial Intelligence but Artificial Ingredients. The company announced that they will not use artificial preservatives, flavors or coloring in their beef burgers, all the buns, the cheese, and the sauce any longer.
Though how much health benefits this change will bring to their burger eaters is not clarified, the message is clear and simple. Some may ask, “Have they used such artificial ingredients?”
After all, AI is not something that is easily recognized.
Will it make their daily 68 million customers healthier or bring more customers to their drive-throughs or counters?
Enjoy reading and think if a no-AI burger attracts you more than an AI burger.


Topic Reading-Vol.2367-10/4/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
2,569th birthday of Confucius celebrated in China
Born in 551 BCE, Confucius (孔子) was a Chinese philosopher, teacher and political figure whose teachings focused on creating ethical models of family, society, and ruling. He emphasized the importance of loyalty of family, respect for ancestors and elders and ruling with disciplines and orders in governance as well as parental affection to the people.
His sayings and dialogues were collected in Lunyu (論語) (pronounced Lúnyǔ!), commonly translated as "Confucian Analects." It is still read, taught and referred to especially in China, Korea and Japan, and also in many other places in the world.
Even after 25 centuries of time, Confucius is regarded as one of the most influential persons who shaped the lives of humanity.
Enjoy reading the article about the commemoration of this great figure and see the photos of the ceremony.


Topic Reading-Vol.2366-10/3/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Could we be facing choc-apocalypse?
How much chocolate or Choco-inclusive sweets do you eat? The Swiss eat the most chocolate in the world, as much as eight kilograms per person a year. And other Europeans and Americans love the delicacy, too, maybe because it goes very well with their favorite drink, coffee. Recently though, more people in different food cultures, such as India and China are eating more chocolate than before. Together, these two most populous countries represent over one-third of the global population. The consumption of chocolate in these countries have been rising for health and wealth reasons as their middle class grows and lifestyles become westernized.
If you look at the supply side, Cocoa, the main ingredient of Chocolate is only produced in humid tropical climate and shades of rainforests like West Africa. About half of the entire cocoa production comes from only two countries in the region, Ivory Coast and Ghana. The places where cocoa can be grown is in fact limited. Also, cocoa plants are quite vulnerable to pests and diseases. It doesn’t seem so easy to increase the supply.
As consumption grows, will there be enough chocolate in the future?
Enjoy reading and learn the future prospects of the delicacy.


Topic Reading-Vol.2365-10/2/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Amazon to open 'four-star' store in New York
How much do customer reviews matter to you when you choose a song, pick a restaurant, or book a hotel? It seems the world is filled with stars. Music, movies, books, travel spots, stores, plumbers, tutors, car sharing, food deliveries, and so on. You can save time by just checking the number of stars to expect the quality or satisfaction level of the goods or services. For your convenience, the ones with four stars or more are shown on the first page of the search.
Some stores carry items that sell well or generate higher margins while others stock up any item that customers may add to their shopping cart. But what about a brick-and-mortar store that sells only highly reviewed items by other buyers like online shops? That is what the e-commerce/service giant Amazon has just opened in a popular shopping district in New York.
Would you be interested in visiting a store to find what others like?
Enjoy reading and think if you’ll see stars on all items in other retailers in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.2364-10/1/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How to use seawater to grow food in the desert
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a sovereign Arab state in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Though it has the Dead Sea on its western borders and a small shoreline on the Red Sea, the country is landlocked. Very hot and dry. In fact, it is the second most water scarce nation in the world with only less than one-sixtieth of water that the US has per person. Obviously, it is not suitable land for farming. Thus, as much as 98% of the nation’s import is food. In the meantime, what they have is heat and sunshine. With 330 sunny days a year, the land gets enough energy to run an air conditioner per square meter. If they could make use of these inherently available natural and clean resources to farm the desert, they would be able to produce food and create jobs while reducing import.
How could they provide fresh water, food and renewable energy in such a hot and dry region while vegetating areas of such an uninhabited desert? The Sahara Forest Project is working on this challenge.
Enjoy reading and learn how to turn a dry desert into a clean, green farm.


Topic Reading-Vol.2363-9/30/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Dunkin' Donuts is officially dropping 'Donuts'
Have you had any doughnuts or coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts? It is an American, and also global doughnuts chain founded a few years after WWII in Massachusetts, USA. They now sell doughnuts, baked goods and a variety of beverages at their 12,000 restaurants in 36 countries.
Despite their original iconic sweets, over half of their business in their home market is now generated by beverages, especially coffee. Therefore, they’ve decided to drop the “Donuts” icon from their logo, signages, and packages from next year.
Will that sells more profitable beverages or makes their drinks face direct competition against Starbucks or McDonald’s?
At any rate, it may take a few decades for their customers to say, “Oh, there are doughnuts in the coffee shop.” It may remind you of the same action Apple took in 2007 to remove “computer” from its name. Because of their iPhone and iPad, very few now associate Apple with a computer.
By the way, if you have a choice, which doughnuts would you prefer, Dunkin’s or Mister Donuts? Whichever you choose, the money you’ve paid will go to the same pocket. Yes, both donut chains are owned by the same company!
Enjoy reading and think what makes you choose your coffee when you are on the road, the brand, taste/flavor, location or price.


Topic Reading-Vol.2362-9/29/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Large-scale wind and solar power 'could green the Sahara'
Generating renewable energy in the Sahara. This sounds bold enough, but it could also green the desert. Why?
Though the Sahara isn’t so populated or industrialized, it is close to Europe and the Middle East where a substantial amount of energy is consumed. And these markets are desperate to switch from conventional power generators to renewable energies. So, installing solar panels and wind turbines in the sunny and windy desert makes perfect sense.
But researchers have recently found a surprising byproduct by these clean-power generators in the desert. These solar panels and wind turbines could increase precipitation in the dry desert to the level that allows vegetation to grow on the surface.
How could that be possible?
Enjoy reading and learning what renewable energy devices could to the environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.2361-9/28/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Watch a Gulper Eel Inflate and Deflate Itself, Shocking Scientists
Interestingly, what the title says and the video shows are quite different. In the video, you’ll see an inflating object whose shape alters so flexibly that you can hardly tell what the creature is. At one point, its jaw widens so much that it looks as if an open mouth is dancing in the water. But at the end, you’ll find what this mysterious creature originally is.
Enjoy watching this rare video footage taken in the deep sea.


Topic Reading-Vol.2360-9/27/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
A trick to learning when to cut your losses
Continue or change doing something that hasn’t been working. You’ve been asking yourself this question again and again but have been unable to change the course, or more foolishly, have spent more time and/or money on it. You’re trapped. Gambling, financial investment, or a worn-out shirt which will never look any better no matter how hard you wash and iron it only to name a few. This common phenomenon among most people, companies or governments is called “chasing your losses,” or “sunk cost fallacy.”
What drives such unjustifiable decisions not to change? Is that optimism for the future or investment already made in the past? Is there any way to avoid such a trap?
Enjoy reading and think about the situations that you chased your losses.


Topic Reading-Vol.2359-9/26/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How China's GPS 'rival' Beidou is plotting to go global
Your smartphone knows where you are so that it can show you on the map, guide you to the desired place, or recommend a place to visit. That convenience is provided by the GPS, Global Positioning System, navigation system’s receiver installed in your smartphone. It receives information from GPS satellites and then calculates the geographical position. There are three globally servicing systems, the US’s GPS, the EU’s Galileo, and Russia’s Glonass, each system has 32, 30, and 26 satellites respectively that cover the globe. They were originally built for military and aviation purposes, but the US government has been allowing the system to be used for other purposes. Though there has been no such event that the system became unavailable or dysfunctional, it is still possible that the system could be suspended in certain areas or the whole world, or for civilian uses, should the US decide to.
That’s why China has been developing its own global positioning system of their own, which is going to cover the entire globe by 2020. And they are going to promote their system to the world.
Enjoy reading and learn how China is seriously trying not to depend on its archrival.


Topic Reading-Vol.2358-9/25/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How do you decaffeinate coffee?
How do you take your coffee, if you do, black, white, with or without sugar? But before this question, you should be asked regular or decaf.
Caffeine is a chemical found in coffee, tea, cola, and other products. It stimulates the central nervous system, heart, muscles, and even blood pressure, and also increases urine flow. Therefore, drinking regular coffee before bedtime is likely to disturb your sleep. These are the reasons some people take decaffeinated coffee, especially at night.
But do you have any clue how coffee is decaffeinated? Does that process take place before or after the roasting process? How is coffee decaffeinated without spoiling the original flavor and taste of the coffee? In fact, there are several ways to remove caffeine from coffee.
Should decaf-drinkers be given options as to how the coffee is decaffeinated?
Enjoy reading the article and think about how you want to take your next coffee.


Topic Reading-Vol.2357-9/24/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Inside the cockpit of an Airbus A220
Do you want to know how pilots fly an airplane? Here is a tour of the flight deck of the brand-new Airbus A220-300. This relatively small passenger aircraft is fully controlled digitally. There are no longer round dial instruments in the cockpit. Instead, digital screens show all the information needed to plan, fly and land the aircraft. You may also notice that there are no control sticks seen in front of the pilots’ seats. Instead, there are side-sticks on the side of the seats, one on the left for the captain and the other on the right for the co-pilot.
Are those side-sticks easy to use for both right-handed and left-handed pilots?
Enjoy watching the video tour of the latest flight deck.


Topic Reading-Vol.2356-9/23/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Elon Musk unveils first tourist for SpaceX 'Moon loop'
Making a lot of money is surely a dream for many. But once the dream came true, how the money should be used? Just spending the money on luxuries, such as a gorgeous house, fancy cars, brand clothes, and grummet meals might not be enough to satisfy the rising quest for more. One might seek extraordinary experiences while others engage in philanthropy. Some people invest the money to create new things and others use it to inspire entrepreneurs or artists.
A Japanese billionaire has chosen to do a few things at once by buying an extraordinary ticket, to the moon. Although the vehicle hasn’t been built or tested yet, he committed to charter the rocket to make a trip to the moon a few years from now. He also offers free seats to artists who would dare to risk traveling the space. In return, they are only asked to create something after the trip, if they can return safely of course.
Though the ticket price hasn’t been disclosed yet, it must be high enough to charter a maiden voyage of the first commercial spacecraft to the moon.
Enjoy reading and think if he and his companions could get travel insurance.


Topic Reading-Vol.2355-9/22/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Prince William mixes up Japan and China in latest royal gaffe
Another high-profile gaffe by a British official. Just two months after the foreign secretary accidentally called his Chinese wife Japanese during his first official visit to China, Prince William asked students "Have you guys had much Chinese food?" during his official appearance at the opening of the Japan House cultural center in London.
Both countries must have been annoyed by such mishaps at their sites. Though China and Japan lie on the other side of the planet geographically from Europe, the two countries are distinctly different like in their languages, cultures, and histories. Also, although they share some Chinese characters in writing, their characters are as different as Russians and British.
Do British ever confuse their former colonies, such as New Zealand and Australia, India and Pakistan, or Canada and the U.S. even though they are located next to each other and share much more similar cultures than the ones of China and Japan?
Enjoy reading and think if Asians distinguish Britain and France as much as Europeans do to China and Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.2354-9/21/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The race to make the world's most powerful computer ever
As quantum computing are becoming available, even today’s fastest computers are being categorized as conventional, just like the most powerful bomb is compared with a nuclear weapon.
Quantum computing uses quantum bits, or 'qubits,' instead of the ordinary bit that only represents either 1 or 0.
Since these qubits can store much more information than just one or the other, Quantum computers can compute tasks much faster with much less energy than conventional computers, just like going down each path of a very complex maze at the same time instead of checking each path at a time. They are expected to help discover new medicine, design materials, model climate change, supercharge artificial intelligence, and even crack or build complex security systems much faster.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But because of the complex nature, quantum computers are hard to build. So, for now, there is no one best way to build one.
Enjoy reading and watching the videos to learn what quantum computing is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.2353-9/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Beijing, Moscow vow to reinforce military relations, combat abilities
Today’s enemy is tomorrow’s friend.
China and then the Soviet Union engaged in a military conflict over a small island on the Ussuri (Wusuli) River in 1969. The two communist states were on the brink of war at a time when nuclear weapons were readily used. Half a century later, the two forces jointly concluded the "Vostok-2018" strategic military drills and a parade with over 300,000 troops to demonstrate their determination to secure regional peace and security.
That sounds like a good move for them. Since the two mighty nations share a border that stretches as long as 4,000km, they can shift their attention to other borders if they foster an alliance. But what had triggered them to demonstrate such a large-scale military event? Is there any country in “the region” that would dare to threaten the security of either country?
Enjoy reading and think if one can learn from “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” proverb.


Topic Reading-Vol.2352-9/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Crete changed the course of World War II?
How much do you know about Crete, Greece? It was once the center of the Minoan civilization back in 28th to 15th BCE, the earliest civilization in Europe, where the palace of Knossos lay.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating it from the Libyan Sea. So, it poses considerable geographical and strategic significance during wartime despite the relatively small population and economy. In fact, during World War II, the island was invaded by a large number of Nazis German troops. Although allied forces gave up fighting against the mighty Germans and withdrew from the island, the islanders continued to resist the invader s so fiercely and determinedly until the end of the war that some believe that it deterred the powerful German military from advancing to Soviet.
Because of the battle during the four-year period from the invasion in 1941 until the war ended, there still are numbers of remains of bodies, weapons, and personal items, such as helmets or gravity knives still waiting to be found. There are enthusiastic collectors in the island who want to keep those war-time remains to remember the island’s history and also to show them to generations to come.
History continues.
Enjoy reading and think about the role of history.


Topic Reading-Vol.2351-9/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
When a pet dies, should you be allowed to time off work?
Bereavement leave for pets is not so common in most workplaces at least for now. However, as pets become more popular and intimate to the owner and family, the psychological impact of its death seems to have become no less significant than that of a close friend or even a family member. That doesn’t sound so surprising as the family size is shrinking, meaning there are fewer members in each family.
But should a pet owner be given the same benefits, such as bereavement or a “fur-ternity leave” when a new pet arrives? The employee who gets such benefits or consideration will certainly appreciate it greatly and be inspired to contribute more to the company in return. The employer, either the HR manager or the boss, may have to struggle to balance the give and take as well as the influence on other workers. So, for a workplace where employees productivity matters the most, such consideration may be worth considering.
But where should they draw a line between a close family or personal pet and just an animal, bird, fish or reptile?
Enjoy reading and think if you support a leave of bereavement or fur-ternity for a pet in your workplace.


Topic Reading-Vol.2350-9/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
We can drink from enormous lakes in the air
Clean drinkable water is a scarce resource for the growing population on our planet. There are hundreds of millions of people who have no access to clean water on a regular basis. Those who can afford to drink bottled water while the poor rely on whatever they can drink, which could be contaminated or unpurified. As a result, many are losing their lives or health because of cholera and diarrhea especially in South Asia and Africa where the populations are expected to increase despite the water shortage.
However, there is plenty of clean water available for most of the places on earth. Air. Water can be taken from the air by adapting dehumidifier technologies. Such devices, materials or structures are called water from the air, or WFA. Though there are some pros and cons of each technology, more innovative, efficient, and practical technologies are on the rise.
Enjoy reading and learn a few ways to get water from the air.


Topic Reading-Vol.2349-9/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How much is academic achievement shaped by genes
How well did you do in exams in your school days? You might have done better on certain subjects than others or not as good as in certain times as other times. Then, which do you think influences more on academic performance, genetic or environmental factors, besides the effort, which could also be part of the two factors?
A study of 6,000 pairs of British twins shows that genes play a significant role to children’s test scores while environmental factors like school, teachers, friends and family influences proportionally over the course of childhood and adolescence.
Is this finding encouraging or not?
Enjoy reading and learn what genes do to test scores.


Topic Reading-Vol.2348-9/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What’s driving the rise of McVegan burger
Vegan are people who avoid taking any meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Vegetarians live on a diet of grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits, with or without dairy products like cheese or butter, honey and/or eggs. Semi-vegetarians, or Flexitarians, usually eat plant-based foods but occasionally eat meat.
The number of people who prefer eating non-meat foods has been on the rise recently for health or conscience reason. Accordingly, the sale of vegan foods has been greatly increasing. But for those who converted their eating habit to consume meat never or occasionally, the taste and flavor of meat is hard to forget. There is no wonder the world largest meat sandwich seller, McDonald’s came up with a cruelty-free burger, called the McVegan in Sweden where one in every five under-30 youngsters avoids eating meat.
Would you like to try that? Then you may want to get a ticket to Stockholm, or Delhi where vegetable sandwiches are regularly on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants.
Enjoy reading the article and think if people eat a burger because it’s made with a beef patty.


Topic Reading-Vol.2347-9/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
North Korea holds parade without ballistic missiles, reports say
Officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea lies in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, bordering with South Korea at the 38th parallel north in the south and China and Russia in the north. While the population of North Korea is just around 25 million, about half of South Korea, the estimated number of active military personnel is approximately one million, the forth largest in the world. In a country where there are no effective political elections, human rights or free media, show-off of its military power and commitment and loyalty to the absolute leader is essential to inspire unity and patriotism. Also, the military parade has been one of few opportunities for outsiders to learn about the intentions of the secretive country. Last year, they proudly showed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), or their look-alikes in the parade. It was a clear message to the world, especially to the US, that they are capable of attack their enemy with the ultimate weapon.
So, what about this year’s parade after having a top meeting with the US president for denuclearization?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video of their annual parade.


Topic Reading-Vol.2346-9/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Burberry bans destroying unsold goods and using fur
Founded in 1856, Burberry is a British fashion house headquartered in London. They sell the iconic trench coats, outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses and cosmetics at 500 locations worldwide.
It is customary for such luxurious fashion brands to destroy unsold items to keep their brand value. That’s why you don’t usually find discounted goods of such top brands either at outlet stores or online. But “destroying” could cause environmental problems whether those unwanted merchandises are burnt or buried as they are usually made with different materials, such as wool, leather, metal or plastic.
So, the prominent fashion brand has decided not to destroy unsold merchandises any longer. Does it mean you’ll have a chance to find clearance sale signs or ads of Burberry?
Enjoy reading and learn the progressive move of this traditional fashion brand.


Topic Reading-Vol.2345-9/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Giant plastic catcher heads for Pacific Ocean clean-up
Collecting already-floating plastic waste in the sea may not be the best solution to protect the marine environment. There is no doubt that more efforts should be taken to prevent such waste from being disposed of. However, if such plastic wastes, straws, bottles, and bags, are not collected, they are broken into smaller pieces and eaten or swallowed by marine creatures and circulated in the food chain. Indeed, plastic waste is really harmful to the environment and must be removed even at some cost and with some risks.
A Dutch teenager became determined to clean the ocean after he saw more plastic than fish in Greece’s beautiful sea. His ambition was supported by the Dutch government, enterprises, and investors and became reality. A non-profit organization created a 600-meter long tube that floats in a giant U-shape and catches plastic by a screen that hangs down three meters. The collected plastic will be shipped back to land to be recycled. The plan also includes using the recycled plastic material to make “made from ocean plastic” and sell at a premium price.
Is such a passive approach counterproductive to reduce plastic waste?
Enjoy reading and think how much premium you would pay for the recycled plastic to support this ambitious initiative.


Topic Reading-Vol.2344-9/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why becoming more argumentative will make you smarter
Do you like arguing, not to speak angrily to others but to give reasons why you think differently or disagree? When you express your opinion, propose an idea, or present a plan or findings, do you want to hear just applauds or counter-arguments that could help you find flaws or points for improvement? No matter how smart and thoughtful a person is, he or she can’t always come up with the best solutions. Actually, one may find themselves better at assessing or contesting others’ arguments. Indeed, being objectively critical of oneself is hard to achieve. Also, having a diversity of ideas helps one and the team become more productive because one can’t have broader perspectives than many.
So, getting along well in a workplace or a team is essential not only by being nice to others but also being critical and argumentative with others.
Enjoy reading and think if you can be productively argumentative with your colleagues or teammates.


Topic Reading-Vol.2343-9/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Didi upgrades panic button and adds audio recording after riders killed
It took two victims for this ride-sharing giant in China to promise to prioritize safety over growth.
Founded in 2012, Didi Chuxing Technology Co., 滴滴出行, is the world leading ride-sharing company providing transportation services for 550 million users across over 400 cities, including taxi hailing, private car-hailing, Hitch (social ride-sharing), and other transportation sharing and food delivery to users in China via a smartphone application.
In less than four months, two female passengers were sexually attacked and murdered by the company’s drivers. Despite the repeated apologies, the company has been severely criticized by social media users and under public pressure to take immediate, effective actions.
So, the company has announced various measures to improve safety for both passengers and drivers, such as an emergency button, recording during the ride, daily facial recognition protocol and safety knowledge test for all the drivers.
Where safety regulations aren’t mandated by law, only public eyes and voices seem to enforce money-chasing companies to take safety measures.
Enjoy reading and think if these measures ensure safety for all users of ride-sharing services.


Topic Reading-Vol.2342-9/9/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Dozens of elephants killed near Botswana wildlife sanctuary
The Republic of Botswana locates north of South Africa. The nation has been democratically governed since its establishment about 50 years ago and perceived least corrupted ranking in Africa for the last two decades. It has diverse areas of wildlife habitat in the delta, desert areas, grasslands, and savannas.
While the rest of the continent has seen a drastic decrease in the wild elephant population due to poaching for ivory, Botswana has been regarded as their last sanctuary with 130,000 elephants because of the tight protection by their armed and well-managed anti-poaching units.
However, all of a sudden, the anti-poaching units were disarmed in May this year when the new president took the office. Now can you imagine what has been happening to the elephants?
Read the article and learn what a single decision could threaten the conservation of endangered wildlife spices.


Topic Reading-Vol.2341-9/8/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google's DeepMind AI can accurately detect 50 types of eye disease just by looking at scans
DeepMind seems to like black and white, whether on a go board or in person’s eyes.
In May 2017, DeepMind’s proud AI go playing algorithm AlphaGo beat Ke Jie, the world No.1 ranked player at the time, in a three-game match. Only six month-or-so later, AlphaGo Zero, a version created without using data from human games, surpassed any preceding AlphaGo versions only by playing games against itself. This means DeepMind’s AI algorithms can learn and solve certain problems better than collective and cumulative human ingenuity.
Now, the Google’s AI arm has announced that its algorithm can identify about 50 eye diseases by looking at retinal eye scans almost as well as expert clinicians do. Furthermore, it is capable of making recommendations for treatment. This means that the algorithm could help eye doctors diagnose patients and provide appropriate cares to them much faster than now because the number of experienced eye doctors is limited.
It seems that DeepMind is stepping out of competition against humans and heading for cooperation with humans.
Enjoy reading and learn what AI could do now and in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.2340-9/7/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The secret of gua bao: The Taiwanese street food taking over the world
What’s gua bao? It is a kind of Taiwanese street food that consists of a clam-shaped white steamed bun called bao, a slice of braised pork, pickled mustard greens, coriander and ground peanuts. It is also known as steamed bao or Taiwanese Hamburger, or could referred to as Taiwanese version of the Taco, another world popular spicy Mexican sandwich.
One busy street shop in Taiwan sells 3,000 gua baos a day, which means about five gua baos in every minute. And its popularity has spread across the oceans to New York and London.
Enjoy reading the text and seeing the photos of this popular snack and think if you want to try a bite.


Topic Reading-Vol.2339-9/6/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What makes chocolate chip cookies so addictive?
The chocolate chip cookie was invented by an American chef eight decades ago. It is one of the most beloved sweets in America. Its main ingredients are no different from other kinds of cookies; shortening, flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and vanilla, but adds nuts, oatmeal, and of course chocolate chips. A touch of salt is also added to enhance the sweetness. There are numbers of variations in the recipe and styles for chocolate cookies, such as chewy, soft, or crispy cookies, and bitter or milky chocolate chips. Also, some people prefer eating warmed cookies to enjoy melt chocolate.
Whichever the preference is, the cookie seems to have addictive ingredients and characters for Americans, along with a strong connection to their childhood.
Enjoy reading what makes chocolate chip cookies so popular among Americans.


Topic Reading-Vol.2338-9/5/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Technology is changing the way you see a doctor, but is that good for your health?
Humans or technology? It isn’t an issue of choosing one or the other when it comes to diagnose a patient and provide proper care and prescription. In fact, technology overperformed humans to give initial diagnoses in certain areas. When talking about continuity, machines could accumulate historical data of a patient in all areas, not limited to the specialty or lifespan of a certain doctor. Also, when a new disease or cure is found in another area of the world, that information could be factored into the diagnosis, which can not easily or universally be done by human doctors. In the meantime, humans can focus on providing essential services such as consultations and practices. All in all, it seems that if humans try to improve and work better with machines, they will, in turn, help humans more efficiently and properly. Isn’t that what humans have been doing since the first Industrial Revolution a few centuries ago?
Enjoy reading and sense the occurrence of a medical revolution.