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Topic Reading-Vol.2322-8/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are your internet habits harming wildlife?
As you probably know, Elephants, Rhinos, and Pangolins are critically endangered species mainly because of poaching and trafficking of their ivories, horns, and skins. There are also other species that are endangered by human desire, not for their body part but because of their cuteness. As photos and videos of rarely-seen cute animals like Red pandas and Loris attract viewers on the Internet, the demand for these little animals increases and develops a black market where people try to capture and sell these animals to those eager buyers. As a result, the population of these cute animals decreases in the wild.
Adoration of animal photos and videos could indeed endanger their lives and existence.
Enjoy reading and learn what harmless, heartwarming images on the Internet could do to wildlife.


Topic Reading-Vol.2321-8/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
New Zealand bans foreigners from buying property
Good news and bad news. When property value goes up, the property owners become wealthier. However, it makes those who don’t difficult to buy or rent one, especially the young. That is what has been happening in New Zealand and Australia where a flock of Chinese investors have been pouring their money into the real estate market. As a result, housing prices have soared to the level where restrictive measures to foreign buyers have taken place. Australia did it last year and has seen a decline in their housing prices. New Zealand followed the move and has just passed a similar law.
The new law is waiting for the Royal assent, which signifies that the bill has the approval of the Governor-General as the Sovereign’s representative.
Enjoy reading and learn how foreign investors could affect the lives of the citizens and permanent residents.


Topic Reading-Vol.2320-8/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Selfie violence and illegal bathing at Rome's Trevi Fountain
Have you seen Trevi Fountain in Rome? Created in 1762, this 49-meter wide Baroque fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It was featured in old movies like Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, and Roman Holiday.
The fountain draws not only visitors but also coins in large numbers, as much as 3,000 euros daily because visitors throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder as shown and sung in a 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain. How many of those coin throwers have seen the movie?
Anyway, the more crowded a hot spot is, the higher the chances of disputes among visitors and violations of the law. And that is not limited to this popular fountain in Italy.
Enjoy reading and learn some don’ts in this Europe’s popular travel destination.


Topic Reading-Vol.2319-8/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India’s impressive concept about nothing
Zero is fundamental to math, physics, engineering and modern technologies. As you might know, today’s computers use the binary number system that is made up of only 0s and 1s.
The concept of zero was developed in ancient India, where nothingness is embraced as part of teachings in Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as in meditation of yoga.
While the Ancient Greeks only counted up to 10,000, ancient Indians did over trillions. They also had the concept of infinity. No wonder many IT experts and executives are from India these days.
Enjoy reading and learn how zero came to the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2318-8/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Good cod! A bitesize history of fish and chips
Yesterday in Volume 2317, stories of French Fry were introduced. Today, let’s learn about one of the most popular ways of serving fried potatoes in Britain, Fish and Chips.
You may wonder why two distinct foods were combined and became one popular dish. When and how each food became popular, and who ate them in the early days. Back then, fried food was a luxury. It was only enjoyed by the rich and served on plates. As the two fried foods became popular, they were wrapped in old newspaper. Today, the combined dish is served anywhere in the UK with lemon and/or vinegar.
Enjoy watching the video, of course in a British accent, and learn this popular British dish.


Topic Reading-Vol.2317-8/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Can Belgium claim ownership of the French Fry?
No matter how you call it, French Fry, Chips, or Steak Fry, it is deep fried potatoes. Though how, when, and where it was invented is still unsure, somehow the dish is often called French Fry. Today, this popular dish is enjoyed in distinct ways around the world. For the British, chips must be provided with fried fish, called fish and chips. In America, fries always come with burgers. In Belgium, double-fried French Fry is eaten with a touch of mayonnaise. And each claims that it is their cultural heritage.
Interested in the origin of this popular dish?
Enjoy reading and learn how fried potatoes were invented and are enjoyed in different places around the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2316-8/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Australian hotel chain fined $2.2 million for manipulating TripAdvisor reviews
Do you check any user reviews when you book a hotel or restaurant?
TripAdvisor is a website that shows users’ reviews of hotels, restaurants, accommodation bookings and other travel-related content. While most of the content is created by the website users, their revenue is generated by advertisement by the hotels and restaurants. It sounds like a well-balanced business model provided that the user reviews are properly shown. Nowadays, hotel staff these days try their very best to get good reviews, or not to get bad ones, because such reviews show up immediately on this or other review websites, which could significantly affect the reputation of the property.
However, some of the properties have made a malicious effort to hide negative reviews. For example, a large Australian hotel chain gave an invalid email address to TripAdvisor for negative reviews. It is a violation of the consumer protection law, and the hotel chain was fined $2.2 million by the federal court.
Now you may wonder if positive reviews were truly contributed by the guests or hotel staff.
Enjoy reading and think how to use or discount the reviews on travel websites.


Topic Reading-Vol.2315-8/13/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Don't pressure your picky eater -- it doesn't work
Eat it! It’s nutritious and good for you.
Some parent pushes their child to eat carrots or string beans that the child is reluctant to put into the mouth. Though such parent feels responsible to make sure their child gets enough and balanced nutrition, forcing young children to eat certain food seems to cause a negative effect. After all, food is not just one of the necessities for a healthy life but also for fun. So, for picky eaters, encouragement works better to remove the barrier to try eating unfamiliar or unfavorable food. Yes. Put the food on the child’s plate and encourage them to try eating it. Ideally, if you put the food that was grown in your own yard or bought from a store with the child, they may eat it with curiosity. It is also suggested that eating with other family members naturally encourage children to try the food that everyone else is eating.
Enjoy reading and learn dos and don’ts to feed young children.


Topic Reading-Vol.2314-8/12/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China has an online lending crisis and people are furious about it
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a method of debt financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend money. P2P platforms connect borrowers and investors online. They attract lenders with interest rates that are much higher than conventional saving or investment financial options like bank saving accounts or money market funds. They also provide borrowers, such as start-ups and small businesses with access to financing that traditional lenders don’t. Sounds like a win-win business model, doesn’t it?
However, there is a fundamental rule in financing. The higher the expected return is, the higher the risks are. And in the market where such financial service is loosely regulated, there are cases that the promised returns on investment are not paid, and in some cases, the initial money invested is entirely gone when the lending service company suddenly disappears. That is what is happening in China where there are a lot of eager investors who believed that the money invested was secured and the promised interests would be paid.
However, such rapidly increasing alternative financing services had not been strictly regulated like traditional banks, and as a result, there have been increasing cases of fraud. Then what happens to the investors?
Enjoy reading and learn the promises and risks of P2P lending service.


Topic Reading-Vol.2313-8/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The man who makes six figures rating dogs
Do you want to get your pet dog rated? If yes, there is a twitter account that rates your dog, not too seriously but generously. Just send photos and videos of your dog to this dog-rating account, he/she will be rated on a 10-out-of-10 scale. Since your dog is so special to you, the score is usually 10 or even higher. Interestingly, many pet owners seem to like this dog rating, or dog-show-off site so much that they buy lots of dog-related merchandises from their online shop. Now this dog rating account has become a successful business platform.
The founder of was a college student when he opened a twitter account dedicated to dog photos and videos. He had no intention to create a new business or anything. But what he created was what people wanted. Yes, dog owners want to show off their beloved dogs. Isn’t that how a successful new business is initiated?
Enjoy seeing the video and check what weratedogs is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.2312-8/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why Brazilians are always late?
Are you punctual? Is that important in your culture?
In countries like Germany, Switzerland, and Japan, punctuality is the rule number one, except for Japan where politeness is no less essential for business and social occasions. A delay by a minute makes others irritated and frowned. Yes, you are expected to arrive and things start on time in those cultures.
However in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro in particular, punctuality is neither expected nor appreciated. For example, turning up on time to a social gathering is regarded as awkward. And it’s not just for a few minutes but to an hour or two is the norm. Why do Brazilians hold such a relaxed approach to time-keeping? Is that because of the traffic congestion or lack of transportation infrastructure? Some say that’s because of their optimism in life.
Enjoy reading and learn how and why Brazilians don’t want to be punctual in western standard.


Topic Reading-Vol.2311-8/9/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Meet Britain's real-life Iron Man
You might have seen Robert Downey Jr. fly in the movie series Iron Man. Do you think a human can fly in the air like that? There had been no precedent for creating such a flying device until this British inventor came up with a jet-powered flying suit. It allows the wearer to fly as fast as 50 km per hour and as high as Mount Fuji. And to your surprise, it is on sale at a department store in London. The price? Just US$442,000, about the same price tag as a small apartment in a metro city like New York or a super car like Lamborghini’s Aventador.
This Jet Suit by Gravity is easy to operate, and anyone can wear it and fly, according to the inventor who claims he is no more than an ordinary person. Even if you cannot afford this special suit, you can still try it on at the department store, or you can test fly in his company’s hanger.
Enjoy reading and think if you want to try it or wait until more affordable one becomes available.


Topic Reading-Vol.2310-8/8/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Your next job interview could be with a computer program
When you search and apply for jobs, you may get a chance for an interview. Nowadays, you may be interviewed via video or asked to upload an introduction video of yourself. In any case, humans have been screening the candidates. But new AI technologies can monitor and detect your facial expressions and tone that cannot be recognized by ordinary humans. For example, when you are hesitant, reluctant, uncomfortable, or dishonest to answer questions, you tend to show some non-verbal sign without realizing it. But trained AI algorithms can detect such sings easily. This kind of technology can assist humans to make critical decisions as to whether the company should proceed with the hiring process of the applicant.
Will that be good news for you?
Enjoy watching the video and learn how things are changing in the job hiring process.


Topic Reading-Vol.2309-8/7/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What is 5G and what will it mean for you?
Most of your mobile devices are connected via so-called 4G, fourth-generation network, or LTE, Long-Term Evolution. Though it is fast enough to watch videos or play online games, it sometimes becomes jerky or suffers glitches when data transmission is too congested. Is it time for a new generation of mobile internet connection?
Indeed. Fifth generation, or simply 5G, mobile internet is coming soon to provide much faster data transmission speeds, wider coverage, and more stable connections. Technically, the new data service could achieve browsing and download speeds about 10 to 20 times faster than the current 4G network. This means you can download or upload almost anything you want without stress or glitches. But more importantly, the new technology and infrastructure will allow real-time Internet of Things, or IoT, to the world. For example, cars are connected with each other continuously, so that real-time mapping, navigation, and auto-driving can be realized. Also, when numbers of drones are coordinated in the air, they can monitor or search wider areas more precisely for research, surveillance or rescue missions. Another possible use of IoT is to monitor your health conditions in real time, all the time.
How soon and where such services become available?
Enjoy reading and learn what the new generation mobile internet connection is about.


Topic Reading-Vol.2308-8/6/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why so many people fall for scams?
Do you receive junk mail, spam email or robocalls often? Nowadays, no one seems to be free from such solicitations. They are not only annoying but also potentially harmful. When you get sweepstakes, lottery or other mass-market scams, you may think you’re lucky. But that is exactly what those solicitors are intending. In many cases, consumers overestimate their ability judge what’s safe or unsafe and underestimate the risks and dangers of those traps and click, open or respond to the malicious invitations.
A new study found that those who are less educated tend to react more to financially motivating offers than others.
There is no easy money after all.
Enjoy reading and think what your strategies are to protect yourself from such scams.


Topic Reading-Vol.2307-8/5/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
22 of the best places to visit in the United States
There are 50 states and a federal district, Washington DC, and five major self-governing territories like Puerto Rico and Guam in the United States of America. It is the third largest country by total area and is nearly as large as the entire continent of Europe. As the mainland lies between the Atlantic in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west, and Canada in the north and Mexico in the south, it is very diverse in geography, climate, wildlife, and atmosphere. For instance, there are mega cities like New York and Los Angeles, a sub-tropical state like Florida and arctic region like Alaska, and mountainous Colorado and the Great Plains like Kansas.
Now, CNN Travel picks 22 attractive places to visit in the great country. How many of them have you visited or thought of visiting?
Enjoy seeing the photos and guides of 22 travel destinations in the US.


Topic Reading-Vol.2306-8/4/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A crammed commute where men aren’t allowed 
Life is a struggle, especially for women in Mumbai, India. It is the second most populous metropolitan area in India with a population of over 21 million.
Mumbai Suburban Railway provides train services for over 7.5 million commuters daily, connecting suburban areas and the metro region. It is the most crowded commuter rail system in the world.
You can imagine how struggling it is for female commuters there. Just getting on and off those overpacked trains is beyond imagination. Even if one successfully gets on it, she needs to struggle just to survive in the crowd to the destination. There could be groping, pickpocketing, or robbery to female passengers. Can they protect themselves?
Here is a solution. Dedicated compartments for women and children under 13. There, women can safely settle themselves and travel without fear of being intimidated or attacked. But there is more to it than that. Since most of those commuters take the same train on their workdays, they come to know each other and become friends. They can chat, sing, or even celebrate other’s birthday on the train. Then, the train becomes a social place for commuters.
Enjoy watching the video and learn about commuters in Mumbai.


Topic Reading-Vol.2305-8/3/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Nashville in the MLS: How do you build a team from scratch?
MLS? Major League Soccer is a man’s professional soccer league in the USA and Canada. It was founded in 1993 and the first season took place in 1996 with ten teams. Now, there are 20 US teams and three Canadian teams in the league. It’s going to add another franchise in Nashville, Tennessee in 2020. As of now, there are no coaches, no players, no permanent stadium, no training ground, no offices or even its name but the investor who initiated this bold move and a chief executive, Ian Ayres, recruited from England. He was a former CEO of Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League and was appointed to build and lead a brand new “soccer” team from scratch. That sounds like a big challenge even for a seasoned executive in the field. Another challenge for this English guy is to adapt himself to a new culture, such as fish and chips to catfish and fries or a lift to an elevator, not to mention football to soccer.
Enjoy reading an article about this bold challenge of a US billionaire and an English football executive.


Topic Reading-Vol.2304-8/2/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Dogs rush to help when owners cry, study suggests
How much and how well do dogs understand their owners or caregivers’ emotional state? In other words, how empathetic are dogs to humans? A new study found that dogs responded much more quickly when their owners said “help” in a distressed tone than in a normal tone. Among the dogs in the study, nearly half of them were therapy dogs but the rest were ordinary pet dogs. Since the word “help” is not particularly an enticing word for dogs like “meal” or “walk”, those dogs that responded swiftly most likely had sensed something unusual was happening to their masters.
Is this surprising to you? In fact, dogs are very attentive and sensitive to their owners and their family members. They recognize their family members by their voice and footsteps. Also, they seem to sense whether the person whom the owner is talking to is hostile or friendly by their owner’s tone and manner.
Why not? Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and they live very closely with their owners.
Enjoy reading and learn how dogs reacted to their owners.


Topic Reading-Vol.2303-8/1/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A philosopher asks: Is a longer life a happier one?
How long is too long to live? There are several aspects need be viewed to answer this question. What seems to matter first and most is physical health and ability. If you become physically incapable of doing things you want or need to do, you’ll have to depend on others’ support. That’ll make your life less enjoyable or fruitful. Also, if your cognitive ability declines, you could be mentally distressed for not recognizing people you loved or things you enjoyed doing.
Socially and financially, as the average human lifespan in developed countries extends, the social welfare becomes more burdensome. In fact, there used to be three or four people of working age, 16-64, for every person over age 65, there are two or even less to one soon in aging countries like the UK or Japan. Higher taxes to the young and less benefits and services to the seniors.
In any case, healthy aging is worth a fortune or maybe anything else.
Enjoy reading and think how old you want to live.