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Topic Reading-Vol.2291-7/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How much water should I drink a day?
As you probably know that over two-thirds of your body is water. There is no doubt how important water is to keep your body in good shape. You need to take enough water not to be dehydrated, a drop below normal levels of water in the body, especially when you work or exercise outside in a hot temperature, or when you suffer from diarrhea or vomiting.
How much water is enough to keep your physical and mental health? That’s depending on your age and gender, body weight and activities, and the temperature and humidity. Also, some food contains more water than others, such as steamed rice, fruits, and vegetables. Overall, two litters of water is needed to keep you healthy. The question is how to measure how much more water is needed? One easy and dependable way is to check the color of your urine. When it is light yellow or clear, you’re OK, but when it becomes darker, you ought to take more water, immediately. But too much water is no good either because the salt level in your blood goes too low.
Enjoy reading and learn how to keep your hydration level in balance.


Topic Reading-Vol.2290-7/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Can the Middle East solve its water problem?
If you see a world map, there are noticeable places like the Middle East and North Africa where there is no or very little part if any painted green. People in the region basically get water from rivers and the underground, but that supply has been exceeded by the growing need. While their population is growing faster, the water supply in the region is getting scarce. Some of those countries are fortunately so oil-rich that they can afford to build and run expensive sea-water purifiers, or desalination plants. However, that process is harmful to the environment because of the energy needed to evaporate water and discharged chemicals and brine, water saturated with salt, into the sea.
According to a recent World Bank report, water is getting scarce in the region, and water conservation, production, and consumption are all essential to balance the supply and need.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the situation of global water supply.


Topic Reading-Vol.2289-7/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
KLM's new airport robot Care-E will guide you to the gate
Wouldn’t it be a luxury if you had a personal guide to the boarding gate in the airport? Celebrities and special passengers are often assisted by their agents or airline staff. But most passengers have to find the way to the gate with their carry-on luggage, sometimes with playful children or a crying baby. It is quite a task especially in a large airport whose boarding gates are located so far away from the check-in counters. And what if the boarding gate or departure time is changed but you can’t hear or understand the announcement?
Now, there is another way to make use of smart robots in airports. A Dutch airline KLM has introduced a passenger assisting robot called Care-E to guide their passengers to the gate. The AI robot walks you to the gate at a normal walking speed and carries your luggage. Also, it’ll redirect you should the boarding gate is changed. All you need to do is to scan your boarding pass, no need to listen to or speak Dutch or English.
Enjoy watching the video and think what other service or assistance you want robots to do to help you in the airport.


Topic Reading-Vol.2288-7/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The truth about only children - why the stereotype is wrong
If every couple had only one child, the world would go extinct in the future. In fact, the world fertility rate, the average number of children born to one woman while being of child-bearing age, declined from 2.57 to 2.45 between 2005 and 2015. In some Asian countries particularly like China, Japan, and South Korea are losing their populations because of the low fertility rate and the trend doesn’t seem to change sometime soon despite the measures and actions being taken by their governments. There are various factors why couples in those countries choose not to have more than one child, such as high education cost, late marriages, housing costs, and lack of support to raise children. Anyway, the world is producing more only children than ever before in human history. But is an only child so distinct from siblings in their behaviors, characteristics, and temperament? Population Research Center of the University of Texas conducted a research and made a brief video about their findings.
Enjoy watching the video and think about what an only child is like in the family, at school, and in a workplace compared with siblings.


Topic Reading-Vol.2287-7/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Millennials may be less happy and healthy than their parents by middle age
While gig economy gives young people chance to manage their time flexibly, it seems to cast a shadow over their future, according to a recent study among adults in the U.K. who were born in the 1980s or early 1990s. Of course. Without job security, how could anyone feel secure about their daily living and future career development? The study also has found that the rising housing market makes the young adults less hopeful about their future.
Along with these economic uncertainties, those grownups with digital devices and online social network also seem emotionally unstable. They feel difficult to establish social relationships with others and communities.
With all these modern convenience and future ambiguity, the researchers think millennials in the UK are not as happy or healthy as their parents in the next decade or two. But weren’t their parents so happy when they were young? What about a fear of nuclear war, infectious disease or air pollution?
Enjoy reading the article and think if you’re happier than your parents’ generation.


Topic Reading-Vol.2286-7/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Can plastic roads curb waste epidemic?
Plastic lasts for long. Unlike paper or wood materials, plastic isn’t biodegradable. So, when it is wasted, its durability causes a big problem to the environment. But what if plastic is used as material to last for long?
A British Company came up with an idea and recipe to make use of used plastic, such as plastic bottles, diapers, carrier bags. The idea is to blend used plastic with asphalt to be used for road construction and repairs. They claim when used plastic is cooked at a right temperature and mixed at a right proportion with asphalt, the blended asphalt lasts longer than conventional asphalt. This plastic-blended asphalt has already been used in the UK, the Gulf, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Sounds like a brilliant idea to solve the plastic problems, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learn how a problem can be turned into a solution.


Topic Reading-Vol.2285-7/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How your age affects your appetite         
Do you eat only when you are hungry? Probably not. In reality, most people live to clock or schedule in modern life and they eat regularly, sometimes despite or beyond the need or appetite.
Do you eat as much as you want or only the foods you like? If you eat alone, you could choose what to or not to eat within the budget, according to the availability and by convenience.
Do you like eating alone or with others? Many people tend to eat more when they dine together because it is part of a social engagement. They take longer time to eat and as a result, they eat more. Also, when others are eating, you feel like eating too even though you’ve eaten more than enough than usual. After all, food isn’t just for energy and nutrition.
Did you eat more or less 10 years ago? People should be more cautious about food intake and balance as when they start losing muscles gradually from the 50s.
After all, while good appetite is regarded as the best sauce for food, what and how much to eat seem to be more essential to human lives. And that is likely to change as one ages.
Enjoy reading and think what your eating strategy for the next decade.


Topic Reading-Vol.2284-7/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How long could we live?
What is an appropriate question to ask about life, just how long to live or live a healthy life? Some may say as long as they can because they can’t think of dying while others say as long as they are healthy and active. Some researchers think people can live much longer, say hundreds of years. Tech investors are putting money on researches on longevity. Genetic research and engineering, advanced medical technologies and treatment, and healthier diet and lifestyle may someday prolong the lifespan by years or even decades. But in what physical, cognitive and mental conditions?
It seems that beyond technologies and treatment, there are essential factors that keep the life more enjoyable and meaningful, such as physical activities, social connection, and mental stimulation.
How long do you want to live?
Enjoy reading the text and think what would make you want to live longer.


Topic Reading-Vol.2283-7/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Affirmative action: Trump 'to scrap' college racial bias policy
Preferential treatment to a certain group of people could mean unfair treatment to others, even though it was intended to maintain the diversity of the academic environment. Ever since an executive order to give preferential treatment to a disadvantaged group of people on federal hiring was signed by JFK back in 1961, affirmative action has been debated intensely especially for college admission guidelines. For example, students of affluent Asian-American families tend to score higher grades and advance to higher education because of their families’ intense focus on education compared with those of Latinos and African Americans families. As a result, prestigious universities like Harvard, whose admission rate is as low as 6%, have more qualified applicants from certain racial and family backgrounds over others. So, they set non-explicit guidelines to keep the diverse environment on their campus, which has made Asian-American students feel unfair.
While the world is becoming more diverged, the gap between the rich and poor seems to be widening and become overwhelming. And in the U.S., this topic is so controversial that each administration seems to have taken different actions.
Enjoy reading and think what is fair to all, opportunity or result.


Topic Reading-Vol.2282-7/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
South Korea cuts its work limit from 68 hours a week to 52
How much is hardworking and how long is overworking? South Korean workers seem to work too long. On average, they worked over 2,000 hours in 2017, the third-longest after Mexico and Costa Rica among OECD countries. That’s nearly 50% longer than its economic rival, Germany. Why do they work so long? Is that a way to show their loyalty to their employers or to compete with their co-workers? Are they all so ambitious to be successful in their careers or is that because of their collective culture?
Working long hours could cause physical, mental and social problems. Productivity and efficiency decrease, the stress level goes up and mistakes and errors increase, and fertility rate declines. In fact, an average Korean woman has only 1.2 children, the society is rapidly aging.
So, the lawmakers finally made a drastic move by limiting the maximum work hours per week from 68 to 52, a staggering 24% reduction!
Will this abandon a place for a retreat like “prison for people seeking peace and quiet”?
Enjoy reading and think what makes people work harder and longer.


Topic Reading-Vol.2281-7/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died
She was a female western lowland gorilla born and grown in California. She was named Hanabiko, meaning fireworks child in Japanese, because she was born on the fourth of July. She understood 1,000 English words and communicated with 2,000 Gorilla Sign Language, a modified version of American Sign Language (ASL).
Koko demonstrated not only her intelligence to humans but also maternity to her pets. In fact, she adopted five kittens in her life. She named them All Ball, Lipstick, Smoky, Miss Black and Miss Grey respectively and cared for them as if they were baby gorillas. When she was signed that the first adopted cat was killed in a car accident, she signed "Bad, sad, bad" and "Frown, cry, frown, sad".
Indeed, Koko showed cognitive abilities and emotional capacity of the gorilla. She passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep about two weeks before her 47th birthday.
Enjoy reading and learn what a gorilla can do.


Topic Reading-Vol.2280-7/9/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
First confirmed image of the birth of a planet
Far away from our solar system in the Centaurus constellation, a newborn yet still forming planet was discovered. By using a coronagraph to block the light from the young dwarf star PDS 70 light, two teams of researchers captured an image of the disk and the planet. It is a gigantic gas planet that is at least a few times the mass of Jupiter, but it takes 120 years to orbit its star because of the distance from the star that is equivalent as the one of Uranus. Despite the distance, the newly forming planet is over twice as hot as our hottest planet, Venus.
You may wonder why this discovery is so significant. That’s because the processes behind early stages of planetary evolution have never been clearly observed. If such observation is realized over time, we might be able to learn how the earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago.
Enjoy reading and learn about this baby planet that is 200 million light years away from earth.


Topic Reading-Vol.2279-7/8/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Beer is being rationed in the UK
Is carbon dioxide, or CO2, good or bad? While it mustn’t increase in the air to curve global warming, carbon dioxide is necessary for our daily lives.
CO2 prolongs shelf life of food like meat because it slows the growth of bacteria. Without it, the shelf life becomes at least a day shorter. It is also used to stun chickens and port before slaughter. And CO2 gas carbonate drinks like water, cola, and beer. Can you imagine non-carbonated cola or beer?
So, what if there was a shortage of commercial and industrial CO2? In fact, some beer brewers in the U.K. were left no choice but to allocate the amount of beer to deliver to their retailers because they were unable to secure enough CO2 to keep up with their production. Also, some meat producers are using electric stunning instead before slaughtering cattle and chickens.
Indeed, modern lifestyle produces and uses CO2 a lot.
Enjoy reading and learn what CO2 does to our lives.


Topic Reading-Vol.2278-7/7/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
International Asteroid Day: Are we ready if an asteroid strikes Earth?
Have asteroids struck our planet? Yes, many times. Most recently, a 20-meter near-earth object, or NEO, entered the atmosphere and exploded over Russia in 2013 and caused substantial damages to a town called Chelyabinsk. The light from the meteor was brighter than the Sun and the energy released by the impact was about 30 times of that of the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. And of course, there was an asteroid of the size of a mountain that hit earth 66 million years ago wiped out 80% of life on earth including most of the dinosaurs.
So, when will the next impact like that occur? Fortunately, there aren’t any known or detected NEOs that could post an immediate, significant threat as of now. Though a number of asteroids hit our planet every day, most of them are so small that they burn up in the atmosphere. But there are more and larger asteroids that could cause a significant damage or even catastrophe to the planet. NASA has been working with other space agencies of the world trying to detect and predict any sign of life-threatening collision. They are hoping to give a pre-warning of such event as early as 10 years before the impact.
Is a 10-year notice too short or too long? What about announcing a year before next election?
Enjoy reading and learn about space objects near Earth.


Topic Reading-Vol.2277-7/6/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Hunting the people who kill elephants
Poachers catch and kill animals illegally on someone else's land to get valuable parts of them, such as elephant’s ivory and scale and Rhino’s horn, which are used to produce decorative items, leather, and medicine. Since the demand for such items is high compared to the supply, they are highly valued and traded in the black market. So, there are poachers who hunt elephants and rhinos in Africa. Though the number of such animal killers isn’t large, they can kill quite a few numbers of such wildlife animals. In fact, according to a 2014 study, the population of elephants in central Africa dropped by 64% only in 10 years.
Also, there are people and organizations that transport such valuable items to markets of demand, such as China and Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, as the economy of these countries grows, so does the number of poaching of elephants and rhinos.
Killers, traffickers, and sellers. They are all part of the supply chain of killing wildlife animals. And of course, there are buyers who reward them for their risks and work with money.
Enjoy reading and think about which part of the chain the cause of this cruel practice really is.


Topic Reading-Vol.2276-7/5/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Horses can make facial expressions just like humans
It has been 5,000 years since horses became human companions like dogs and cats. To live with creatures that have numbers of facial and vocal expressions like humans, horses seem to have learned to read what humans are feeling from their expressions. They seem to understand an emotional state of a particular human and remember it. So, when the person shows up later again, the horse’s reaction is relevant to the previous expression of the person. If you want to be liked by a horse, you’d better be nice to him just like your friend.
Another finding from a recent research shows that they make as many as 17 facial expressions, three more than chimpanzees and only 10 fewer than humans. These expressions include "chin raiser," "sharp lip puller," "lip pucker" and "jaw drop." If you learn their facial expressions and show your emotional states clearly, you might be able to communicate with horses quite extensively.
Enjoy reading and learning how sensitive horses are with humans.


Topic Reading-Vol.2275-7/4/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China's 'heat pole' bakes as temperature hits 83 C
Though just being too hot doesn’t attract people, the extreme heat seemed to have drawn numbers of visitors to the middle of nowhere in the desert. Turpan Flame Mountain in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, also known as the heat pole of China, recorded 83 degrees Celsius on June 25th. The sand and rocks had been baked during the day to reach the highest temperature of the year at 4:00 pm. Over 2,500 curious or eager visitors got there to feel the heat, and also to take photos in front of the 12-meter-tall jumbo thermometer, which can measure up to 100 degrees. The extreme heat bakes not only the land surface but also the eggs in a cooking pan. Sounds like hot-spring boiled eggs, doesn’t it?
Would you be interested in feeling the natural heat? What would your skin say?
Enjoy reading the article and see the photos and think if such experience is worth your time and money.


Topic Reading-Vol.2274-7/3/2018

Topic Reading-Vol.2274-7/3/2018
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Uber's Mideast rival is hiring women drivers in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the last country that prohibits women to drive.
It took over 80 years for women to get permission to drive but now they can get a driving license only after a 30-hour training. The demand seems to have been very high. Over 120,000 women applied for new licenses. So, businesses are trying to keep up with the booming demand, such as driving school and car companies.
And there is another one trying to lure new drivers. The peer-to-peer ride-sharing business. Careem, the Middle East's rival to Uber, is recruiting women to switch their seats. Yes, female ride-sharing drivers. It could be a good business opportunity because many women, or even some men for curiosity, may prefer riding a newly-joined female-driven car.
Will they charge a higher fee for a female driver if demand surges? Will male drivers lose their jobs?
Enjoy reading and think what other businesses might arise in the conservative kingdom.


Topic Reading-Vol.2273-7/2/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Supreme Court upholds travel ban
Another sign of the Divided States of America. The US supreme court ruled that the President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions to travelers from the designated countries is within the scope of executive responsibility. They are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela. You can tell easily that these are the countries that have been producing quite a number of refugees in recent years.
The highest court was as divided as the sentiment of the people in the country, five-to-four, which means that if just one of the judges had had a different thought, the decision could have been different. The President seemed to be so pleased with the ruling that he tweeted immediately that the ruling was a tremendous victory for the American people and the constitution (and for him).
Enjoy reading and think what the President would have tweeted if the supreme court decision had been other way around.


Topic Reading-Vol.2272-7/1/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
McDonald's and Starbucks hit by plastics ban in India
As covered in Vol.2264, the world praised the progressive move by a Swedish furniture retailer to voluntarily abandon the sale or use of single-use plastics. On the other hand, US restaurant and coffee chains seem to suffer from damages both in the bottom line and brand recognition for not complying the laws that ban the use of single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, food containers, straws and lids for drinks and cutlery.
In fact, India is trying to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022 being alarmed by the research result that plastic is expected to weigh heavier than fish in the oceans by the middle of the century. Restrictions or bans on single-use plastics are already in place in most of the states, even though not all of them are strictly enforced.
If such bold initiatives to protect the environment can be taken in this massive democratic yet developing country, why other more established or developed countries, such as Japan and the US, haven’t taken any actions yet?
Enjoy reading and think if growing populism among democratic countries helps political leaders make a move to save the environment and the planet in a long term.


Topic Reading-Vol.2271-6/30/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Will we stop speaking and just text?
How much percentage of your personal written communication, inbound, outbound or internal, uses emoticons or emojis?
Emoticons are pictorial icons created by punctuation marks, letters, and numbers to display an emotion or sentiment, such as ‘( and (>_<). So, you can create numbers of emoticons on a  keyboard. On the other hand, Emoji are pictographs of faces, objects, and symbols. Instead of creating an icon, you need to choose from the suggested list. There are over 2,800 Unicode emoji that can be used in most smartphones, tablets, and PCs. The key benefits of emoticons and emoji are instant and universal. In most cases, they reach your mind directly without interpretation or translation beyond the language barrier. A prominent tennis champion, Roger Federer sometimes tweets mainly by emoji. Also as shown in Vol.2257, emoji can be more useful than languages for emergency situations like an earthquake or tsunami. But could such icons replace written or spoken language communication? Or, should they be used mainly to compensate or reinforce texts? Certainly, not of AI speakers.
Enjoy reading and think as to how communication and interactions will change in the next decade.


Topic Reading-Vol.2270-6/29/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What if we knew when and how we are going to die?
Though it is inevitable, people naturally avoid thinking about their death. That may be partly because we don’t know when and how to die. But if a person, who suffers from a mortal disease or injury for example, came to know when he or she is going to die, what their reactions might be? Would they become more focused on what they have been enjoying, try their best to beat the illness, or do anything they’ve wanted to do?
Knowing when the life is ceased might bring positive and negative effects. Most people probably become more conservative or focused on practices or ideas they have believed, liked and been used to. Many are expected to become less open to new ideas or cooperative to the society and environment. Also, there are people who try their best to accomplish the things they have been doing or enjoy the relationship with families and friends.
In the meantime, knowing when to die would allow people to plan some events that have previously been impossible to predict, such as the final day and funeral services. Also, people could rethink whether to hire or marry someone who is going to cease to breathe soon.
Enjoy reading and think if you would like to know when and how to die if possible.


Topic Reading-Vol.2269-6/28/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Algeria turns off internet for high school exams
The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria is a country of youth. Approximately 28% of the total population of 40 million are under age of 15. The North African country conducts a nationwide high-school diploma exam in June every year. As many as 700,000 students are taking the test in 2,000 exam halls this year. It is a serious business for high school students and they try all kinds of efforts to get good or just enough scores to pass the tests.
Nowadays, digital technologies have made leaking and cheating of exams quite easy and widespread. Because of the significance and influence of the certificate exams, there were considerable cases of leaks of the problems before and during the exam last year via social media. Therefore, the education ministry is taking a bold move this year by imposing a nationwide Internet blackout for an hour during the six-day exam period.
It surely is annoying for the rest of the population. In the meantime, it could be a good opportunity to spend an hour without online interactions.
Enjoy reading and think what you would do during the blackout hour.


Topic Reading-Vol.2268-6/27/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Canada legalises recreational cannabis use
Canada has become the second country that legalizes the recreational use of cannabis, only after Uruguay. It’s now officially and legally ok to grow, sell or buy, and enjoy smoking marijuana as long as you are 18 or 19 years or older depending on the province.
Smoking marijuana has been quite popular among Canadians. It is estimated that they spend almost as much money on cannabis they do on wine. So, the new law might have simply set guidelines for this already-popular practice.
Some people travel to other countries to enjoy certain practice or receive special service that is not permitted in their home country, such as drinking alcohol, shooting a gun, or having an abortion. Will there be young visitors to Canada to smoke marijuana? What will the educational institutions do that send their students regularly to Canada to study English?
An immigration officer asks a young visitor, “What is the purpose of the visit?” The visitor says without hesitation, “To smoke marijuana.” The officer says, “Welcome to Canada. Enjoy s---ing.”
Read the article and think if you would still send your child to Canada for any purpose.


Topic Reading-Vol.2267-6/26/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council
Another US withdrawal from international efforts. Last year, the Trump administration announced to withdraw from the global compact for migration, an inter-governmental agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration under the UN auspices. Also, the administration of the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter retreated from the Paris climate agreement, the international effort to address dangerous global warming.
Now, one of the founding members of the United Nations, and also one of the permanent members of the Security Council has announced that it withdraws from the UN Human Rights Council, or UNHRC, a UN body to promote and protect human rights around the world.
Though the administration had threatened the UN body for its retreat for about a year, this sudden announcement was made just a day after President Trump’s immigration policy that separates families at the US-Mexican border was accused by the High Commissioner.
What’s the next war front, trade or non-proliferation of nuclear weapons?
Enjoy reading and think if the world is reading the prologue to a new world order.


Topic Reading-Vol.2266-6/25/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Eid al-Fitr: A healthy way to break the fast
Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting. During the period, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and engaging in sexual activity from dawn to sunset to surrender to the creator. It also makes them aware of the pains of hunger and thirst, so that they become more appreciative of what they have.
After the month-long fast, Muslims celebrate the end of the holly event called Eid al-Fitr, which was held on 15th and 16th of June this year. They give a specific prey and give money to the poor and the needy before the feast. You can imagine what and how much more food than usual they eat during these break-fast days. But after a month of restrictive eating and drinking period, their stomach and digestive systems aren’t in normal shape. Careful and moderate eating is essential to not to surprise the body. Also, it may be good time to rethink and reorganize what to eat and how much every day.
Enjoy reading about this break-fast festivity and think what restrictive diet could do to your spirit and diet.


Topic Reading-Vol.2265-6/24/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Greece and Macedonia sign agreement on name change
The Republic of Macedonia is a small, landlocked Balkan country with a population of about two million. The former Yugoslavia state declared independence in 1991 like Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the official name, the country has been described as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM, because of a dispute with Greece, which has a region with the same name.
In order for Macedonia to be a member of the EU for the economy and the NATO for security, the current administration decided to rename the country the Republic of North Macedonia and signed an agreement with Greece. Though an agreement is signed, it still needs to be ratified by the parliament of both countries, and in a national referendum in Macedonia.
Is this a compromise, concession or surrender for the people in Macedonia? Are all Greeks happy with the deal? It seems to depend on who you ask the question.
Enjoy reading and think what a name change means to the citizens.


Topic Reading-Vol.2264-6/23/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Ikea bans all single-use plastic from its stores and restaurants
Do you have any idea how much plastic is produced annually? Approximately, 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, and the most popular plastic product is single-use plastics, such as PET bottles, straws, cutlery, and bags. You may think most of them are recycled, but actually, only 14% of plastic is collected and less than 10% of such plastic products are recycled. Where does the rest of the plastic go? Simple. It goes around you or into the ocean. It is predicted that there will be more plastic in weight than fish in the ocean by the middle of the century. Also, single-use plastic makes up over 70% of all litter on beaches and in waters in EU. What can we do?
One of the multinational retailers, IKEA, has announced to stop using and selling single-use plastic items at its over 400 stores and in nearly 50 countries. The retailer sells modern, eco-friendly, ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, and home accessories.
It might be just one step toward reducing plastic items now but could trigger other single-use plastic users, such as MacDonald’s and Starbucks, to rethink their business practices.
Enjoy reading and learn what a Swedish retailer is trying to do.


Topic Reading-Vol.2263-6/22/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Scientists lay out how to save a melting Antarctica -- and the grim future if we don't
Antarctica. Though this icy continent is far away from most inhabited places, what is happening there significantly affects the world. If no decisive measures were taken to stop the global warming, about a quarter of the sea ice in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica would disappear in the next 50 years, according to a paper in the journal Nature by nine prominent scientists. And if that happened, sea levels would rise about half a meter from where it was in 2000.
You might have heard similar warning scenarios about the melting sea ice in the Arctic and ice sheet in Greenland. But this is not just another warning for global warming. The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is vital to the condition and ecosystem of the planet. For example, it soaks up heat and carbon to slow the speed of global warming. Also, the ocean supports the life in other seas by providing nutrient-rich deep water to lower latitudes regions in. So, it’s not just penguins on the continent or residents of the coastal regions that will be severely affected by the rapid melt of Antarctic ice but all living creatures all around the world.
Enjoy reading and learn the impact mechanism of melting Antarctica.


Topic Reading-Vol.2262-6/21/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Can we trust AI if we don't know how it works?
Which is more reliable, reasonable or acceptable, a decision made by an educated and qualified human or Artificial Intelligence powered by machine learning and algorithms? As AI is taking more decision-making roles in the areas where human intelligence and judgment used to play a part, such as a loan approval, medical diagnosis, and driving, humans are becoming less aware or informed of how those decisions were made. For example, when a person who is declined a loan application by an AI assessor wants to know the reason, will the machine or a human be able to provide a rational explanation in plain language?
Algorithm is a list of mathematical rules or procedures to follow in order to achieve an objective. It learns as more relevant data is provided. Unlike conventional computer programs that are written by humans, outcomes of AI are hardly retraced or reverse engineered for an explanation. In other words, Blackbox.
As long as the outcome is right or more appropriate for the situation, it won’t bother many. But when it is questioned, it isn’t designed to provide proper or understandable explanations. Will that be problematic?
Enjoy reading and learn what AI decisions are like.


Topic Reading-Vol.2261-6/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Trump Kim summit: Imagine a North Korean family
Was that really the pressure by US military or its key-ally China that had pushed North Korea’s dictator to risk traveling to Singapore to shake hands with Trump?
Indeed, Kim Jong-un is an absolute dictator of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He can rule and decide any matters of his country, military, and government as well as the fate of 25 million-or-so people in his realm. No matter how closely related a person is to him, even a brother, uncle, or long-term mentor, he or she is never free from capital punishment, not to mention the traitors and defectors.
Is he fearless? Not really. He’s always afraid of assassination by anyone including his closest aides, generals, and even his own bodyguards. He is also worried if his people might revolt against his regime.
Here is a presumed story of an ordinary family in this highly secretive country.
Enjoy reading and learn what the life of an ordinary family is like in North Korea.


Topic Reading-Vol.2260-6/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coming of age: Why adults in Japan are getting younger
What does becoming an adult mean to the young? In Japan, 20-year-old has been considered the age to be adult since 1876. When a person reaches the age of adulthood, they are responsible for themselves legally and socially and allowed to drink alcohol and smoke. There is even an official ceremony, called The Coming of Age Festival, to welcome new adults every year in January, where all new adults are celebrated by their respective local communities.
In Japan, when a person reaches the age of 18, he or she can get a driver’s license, vote for elections, and get married if their guardians agree. After 2022 when the new laws take effect, they can marry without a parental consent, borrow loans and apply for credit cards, but they still have to wait to become 20 either to smoke or drink.
Why are they changing the laws? What are soon-to-be adults thinking of the change?
Enjoy reading and learn this rare drastic move in Japan’s usually conservative society.


Topic Reading-Vol.2259-6/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Men outnumber women by 32.66 million on Chinese mainland
Competitions aren’t limited to enter a prestigious university or to get a job in a government department in China. There is a much more serious, life-determining event that young Chinese men are facing. To find a girlfriend or wife.
As of the end of 2017, men outnumbered women by 32.66 million on the Chinese mainland. Though this imbalanced gender ratio of 104.81 males for every 100 females has improved from previous years because of the comprehensive two-child policy implemented since 2015, there still are a lot more young men than women. However, among the generations that were severely affected by the previous one-child policy, the situation is more intense. Between the age of 15 and 29, there are 112 men for every 100 women. So, how to find and get along with a girlfriend is no less serious than getting a good job.
But where there is a problem, there are always solutions either online or in person. Since young Chinese are used to take extra-curricular courses, some young men are now attending schools that teach them how to date women.
              Check this video=> A dating school for China’s many men
By the way, if women have more choices than men, what their attitudes tend to be?
Enjoy reading and think about what kind of social challenges China will face in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.2258-6/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are windowless planes the future of travel?
What do you enjoy the most during a long flight? Meals, movies, games or reading? There are flights that last over ten or even 15 hours. Though windows are usually closed during those long flights, it is always a pleasure or relief to see outside through the window time to time even if you’re sitting in a first-class seat. But Dubai-based airline Emirates, one of the most popular long-haul flight operators, has come up with an exclusive first-class suit that features virtual windows. The passengers can still see real-time virtual views of the outside world through window-like monitors. What are the benefits of removing real windows from the cabin? Why do passengers pay a premium for non-real views?
There are also other ideas for future airplanes and aerial vehicles, either manned or unmanned, or powered either by conventional engines or an electric motor.
Which makes you more comfortable or nervous to fly, a windowless airplane or a pilotless drone?
Enjoy reading the article and see the images of futuristic flying vehicle designs.


Topic Reading-Vol.2257-6/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Could an emoji save your life?
Most of the mobile phone users must have seen or used emojis. The emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication worldwide. They include sequences for gender or skin tone, flags, and the components used to create keycap, flag, and other sequences. Originated on Japanese mobile phones in 1999, emojis have become increasingly popular around the world especially on smartphones and now there are over 2,800 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of June 2018. Since the emoji is used without training and beyond language barriers, it could be regarded as one of the most popular international communication tools.
Also, the emoji expresses the meaning, feeling and even situations clearly and instantly like pictographs and other visual images that are used to show for safety instructions to passengers and warnings signs to visitors. Now, some people are campaigning to use this common communication tool as an early warning message tool for climate and environmental events, especially for an earthquake. Since so many people are visiting or staying in places whose languages are different from theirs, universal and easy-to-understand mobile messages are essential and convenient for critical events. So, why not use it more effectively?
Enjoy reading and think if someday the emoji will become the leading universal communication tool over languages.  


Topic Reading-Vol.2256-6/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
World's highest glass bridge to open world's highest bungee jump
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is a glass-bottomed, transparent suspension bridge over a 300-meter-deep valley in the Zhangjiajie Park, China. This 430-meter-long bridge is so popular among tourists that it is walked by 8,000 visitors a day.
Now, the world’s longest glass bridge has set another world record as the world’s highest bungee jumping site. The higher the jump site is, the longer and the faster falling is enjoyed. Fearless jumpers can not only enjoy the hair-raising freefall but also the magnificent view of the valley. Whether you are a bungee jumper or not, it seems worth walking on the bridge to enjoy seeing the breathtaking view and others falling down to the deep valley.
Enjoy reading and learn about this thrilling bridge.


Topic Reading-Vol.2255-6/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
10 things about Harvard graduates: Liberals, virgins and iPhones
Established in 1636, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is the oldest higher education institute in the U.S. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities having produced leaders in various fields, including eight of 45 US presidents, 62 living billionaires, 157 Nobel Laureates, 10 Academy Awards, and 48 Pulitzer Prized. Although the door to this prominent university is open to all ethnicities, with now the majority of the new students being non-white, only about 5% of applicants are accepted. Along with the brand reputation, its tuition is one of the highest among all higher education institutions. The university offers various grants and scholarships to maintain the diversity of the students.
So, you may wonder what those Harvard graduates are like. Were they mentally stable during their college days? Did they drink or smoke? Are they politically liberal or conservative? Where do they find their first jobs?
Enjoy reading and learn what those promising students are like.


Topic Reading-Vol.2254-6/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Key 'step forward' in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air
A new idea and technology have gotten closer to reality. Extracting carbon dioxide, or CO2, from air sounds like a great solution to cope with global warming. However, it still is too costly to commercialize or mandate to the emitters. Also, what to do with the extracted CO2 is another issue needs to be resolved.
Now, a Canadian company backed by the Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates has come up with practical and economical solutions to remove CO2 from the air. The system sucks air and extracts CO2, and then use the gas by combining with hydrogen derived from water to produce carbon-neutral fuels. With its advanced technology and engineering work along with the generated renewable energy, the entire process of removing CO2 has become substantially more economical than other methods.
However, the world still seems to need legislative supports, incentives, or obligations to make use of any advanced solutions to combat global warming.
Enjoy reading and think if ever humans prioritize the environment over immediate benefits.


Topic Reading-Vol.2253-6/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
San Francisco bans sales of flavored tobacco products
Some may wonder what flavored tobacco products are. They include menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and vaping, or e-cigarette liquids. Vaping works by heating a liquid to generate vapor that the smoker inhales. Though it doesn’t produce as much smoke or odor as an ordinary cigarette, it is not permitted in most smoke-free environments. Also, despite the uncertainty of its health risks, vaping is not allowed in schools because many e-smokers are also or turn to smokers. In fact, vaping is spreading widely among children because of various kids-enticing flavors, such as Blue Raz Cotton Candy, Peach Green Tea, and Frozen Lime Drop. It is a promising product for tobacco companies.
Now, voters in San Francisco chose overwhelmingly to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products in a referendum. They don’t want their children to see fancy ads in convenience stores and buy vaping liquids like sodas or candy bars. Even a grandson of the founder of Reynolds, a giant tobacco company, promoted the proposition along with numbers of health advocate groups.
Will the Bay community move to ban sugary drinks to refrain their children from becoming overweight?
Enjoy reading and think if child vaping is going to be banned in other communities.


Topic Reading-Vol.2252-6/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The invented language that found a second life online
Have you heard Esperanto before? It is a constructed language created by a Polish eye doctor in 1887 to be used as the second language for people all over the world. Esperanto means “a hopeful person” in Esperanto. Though the language is easy to learn, the number of its speakers is small and uncertain. Since the language isn’t particularly popular in any country or region, people try to learn it mainly for interest, not for practical purposes.
However, the Internet has been helping the speakers and learners of the language. There are online communities and exchanges that connect people beyond borders and languages.
The language survived two world wars in the last century. Will it survive another century?
Enjoy reading and think which is and will be more popular as an international communication tool, Esperanto, English, or Emoji.


Topic Reading-Vol.2251-6/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The jobs in India that attract thousands of applicants.
What are your priorities to find a job? There are factors such as challenge, satisfaction, salary, benefits, job security, work environment, location, flexibility, and status only to name a few. In India, a government job of any kind, such as police, military or railway, seems to be one of the most demanded and highly esteemed occupation. For example, over 23 million people applied for 100,000 posts in the national railway services, including porters, electricians, and trackmen. Also, a local government received 2.3 million applications for just 368 secretariat jobs.
Why over 6,000 people compete for a secretarial job? Surprisingly, many of those applicants are overqualified for those government jobs whose salaries are just competitive with private sectors. There seem to be both tangible benefits and intangible motivations for government jobs in India.
Enjoy reading and learn what drives people to look for a government job in India.