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Topic Reading-Vol.2545-3/31/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China develops online toilet map for tourists
Headquartered in Beijing, China’s tech giant Baidu has China’s largest and the world’s second largest search engine with over two billion active users. Since there is no presence of Google in China, Baidu is the de-facto search engine there. Now, responding to a request by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Baidu is going to show locations of toilets in tourist attractions, transport centers, parks, and even restaurants across the country on its map app.
That sounds helpful for both foreign and domestic travelers whose yearly number exceeds 50 million and five billion respectively.
Will the app show the type of the toilet, whether squat or western and/or the cleanliness? Well, the country is trying to improve the toilet cleanliness to lure visitors under the initiative set by the administration. Star-rated toilets may be shown on your smartphone soon.
Enjoy reading and plan a trip to China to find how the toilet map works.


Topic Reading-Vol.2544-3/30/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
British food: 20 classic dishes
How much do you know, or have tried British food other than Fish and Chips? (Americans may prefer calling it Fish and Fries)
What does pudding mean in British dishes and why so many different kinds of pudding dishes, such as Yorkshire Pudding, Black Pudding, Steak and Kidney Pudding, Rice Pudding, and Christmas Pudding?
Are Shepherd’s Pie and Pie and Mash desert?
What dish is most often eaten by all generations and occasions in Britain?
What is one thing Brits debate to death besides Brexit?
Read the article and see the photos of the most popular British dishes and think why most of them aren’t so popular in other places like pizza or burgers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2543-3/29/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Do mosquitoes feel the effect of alcohol?
You may know that a person who drank alcohol of any kind attracts more mosquitoes. But is the person bitten more than other people around? Interestingly, exhaled alcohol indeed brings more mosquitoes around just like a dinner bell, but it is the person’s genetic make-up that attracts mosquitoes to bite, such as blood type and body temperature. For example, a person whose blood type is O is twice more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than a person with type A blood.
Another interesting fact is the influence of alcohol. When a mosquito punctures the skin with its mouthparts and feeds on the blood of a person who drank alcohol also influenced by the alcohol? Not likely. That’s because even if the person has consumed a few glasses of wine, the alcohol level of the blood is still too low to influence tiny mosquitoes.
So, if your blood type is O, you’d better protect your skins from mosquitoes especially when you drink alcohol.
Enjoy reading and learn what attracts more mosquitoes.


Topic Reading-Vol.2542-3/28/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Hundreds of hotel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online
Another problem of live streaming videos after New Zealand. This time is in South Korea where the online penetration reaches 90 percent, one of the most connected online country. Recently, hidden cameras were found in 42 hotel rooms in 10 cities. According to the police, about 1,600 people were filmed and live-streamed online by a few criminals to their paid subscribers.
Such criminal conduct is not really new in the country. Spy cameras are hidden in public toilets to film the users for fun or money and in most cases, such victims are women. Tens of thousands of women protested last year against such practice and demanded the government to take more decisive and effective actions.
Video cameras have become so small and cheap that they are widely used to prevent or solve crimes and misconducts, such as on-dash mounted cameras and surveillance cameras in streets and public places. In the meanwhile, they could be used maliciously to broadcast criminal activities or violate privacies, like the mass-shooter in New Zealand recently.
Read the article and think if you want to “clean” the hotel room or public toilet before you use it.


Topic Reading-Vol.2541-3/27/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
This is the world's happiest country in 2019
People in which country feel happier than others? First published in 2012, The World Happiness Report is a survey of the state of world happiness that ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens think and feel on six key variables: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. This year, the survey focused on happiness and community: how happiness has been felt over the last 12 years, how much influence has been made by information technology, governance, and social norms.
Eight of the top ten countries are in Europe; Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria. One thing common among these European countries is high tax and good social welfare, which suggests trust to the government. The report also found that the people in these countries are generous and care about each other.
While Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are also among other happiest countries, many Asian and African countries are found at the bottom of the ranking.
Enjoy reading and think about what makes people feel happier.


Topic Reading-Vol.2540-3/26/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
World's most expensive cities to live in
The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services in 133 cities around the world. The items surveyed include food and drink, clothing, home rental, transport, schooling, and recreation.
For the first time in its three-decade history, the survey ranked three places at the top of the world’s most expensive cities in 2019. Those most expensive cities to live in are Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris, followed by European and Asian cities like Genova, Osaka, Seoul, and Copenhagen.
The survey is designed to help companies adjust compensation packages and allowances for their expatriates and business travelers. The prices of each city are affected by currency appreciation, inflation, and devaluation, so the cost of living of the permanent or long-term residents may not fluctuate as much as the annual ranking.
Enjoy reading and learn which cities are more costly to live in than others.


Topic Reading-Vol.2539-3/25/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
There's new advice to prevent food allergies in children
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system. Symptoms of food allergy could be vomiting, itching or swelling in the month, hives on skin, diarrhea, tightening of the throat, trouble to breathe and drop in blood pressure. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, culprit foods for young children are peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy and tree nuts.
It was recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2000 that food allergy development could be avoided by postponing the introduction of culprit foods until children become one year old or later depending on the food. However, the academy recently has reversed the guidance recommending early introduction and routine feeding of culprit foods. They now think that making a habit of eating more diverse foods help children develop the immune system, not allergies.
Only within two decades, very different recommendations were made by the same academy. Which guideline should parents follow?
Enjoy reading and think about how AI could help develop new guidelines for food allergies.


Topic Reading-Vol.2538-3/24/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Christchurch shootings: New Zealand falls silent for mosque victims
During Friday Prayer on March 15, a self-proclaimed white supremacist fired semi-automatic weapons and rifles at the Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people were killed and over 50 people were wounded by the attack.
On March 22, the whole nation observed a silence to mark a week since the massacre. Thousands of people gathered in Hagley Park, near one of the mosques the shooting took place. The Muslim call to prayer was broadcast on national television and radio. Many non-Muslim women wore headscarves to show solidarity with Muslim women. Maori haka has been performed in many places to express their sorrow. The shooting also triggered the government to make a decisive move to ban all assaulted weapons.
Indeed, they are broken-hearted, but they are not broken, and the country is now more united than ever before beyond race, religion or generation.
Read the article and think what people could do to restore and enhance goodwill and harmony.


Topic Reading-Vol.2537-3/23/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
AI and spices: Would you put cumin on a pizza?
Spices are essential for most cooking styles, especially for Cajun, Chinese, Indian, and Persian cuisines. If you don’t cook, you never know how many kinds of species and how much of each spice were used to enhance the flavor of the dishes you are enjoying. Indeed, the blending of spices creates a unique flavor and taste of each dish. And the recipe is often traditionally or culturally inherited, or ingenuously created.
As you know, AI can learn such human ingenuities in a very short period of time, called deep learning. So, how about using AI to create a new spice mix, or an alternative spice mix to substitute expensive or hard-to-obtain spices? In fact, the world biggest spice company has been working on improving their AI model to come up with such spice mix suggestions that only experienced expertise can make.
It seems that the more AI is trained and sophisticated, the more sensitive it becomes to human tastes.
Enjoy reading and imagine the time when you find dishes on the menu with AI enhanced sauce, dressing, or flavor.


Topic Reading-Vol.2536-3/22/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Five myths about staying in cold weather
Though the winter has already gone in most parts of the northern hemisphere, it will come back again after the fall. And it is coming to the southern hemisphere. Whichever the case is, many people try to keep them warm whether they are inside or outside. There are sayings and beliefs on how to keep you warm in cold weather, such as turning a ceiling fan, drinking alcohol, or wearing a hat. But how true are they? Does any of these myths work better than the others? It seems that the answers are quite situational and conditional.
Enjoy reading and learn some of the tips that keep or don’t keep you warm,


Topic Reading-Vol.2535-3/21/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coca-Cola reveals how much plastic it uses
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a British charity that aims to rebuild a greener future through the framework of a circular economy, which involves rethinking and redesigning of the present take, make, and waste industrial model. So far, 150 companies have committed to reducing their plastic usage, including global giants like Nestle and Unilever. Recently, the foundation announced a report that revealed the annual usage of plastic packaging of 31 companies. For example, Coca Cola, which holds 500 beverage brands worldwide, uses three million tons of plastic a year. The beverage giant has committed to recycling all of their used bottles and cans by 2030. Another example is Nestle, the world's largest food and beverage company, used 1.7 million tons of plastic. February this year, the Swiss company replaced plastic straws from its products with paper ones.
If a company wishes to improve the bottom line of their financial statement, they need to reduce not only the costs but also the wastes they create, particularly plastic these days.
Enjoy reading and think which is more important to you when you choose a drink, just a cheaper or flashy one, or one with a greener image.


Topic Reading-Vol.2534-3/20/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Only six countries have equal rights for men and women, the World Bank finds
Do women enjoy freedom, opportunities, treatment, and equal rights as men in your country? For example, can women go places, start a job, get paid, marry, have children, own and run a business, or get a pension like men do? According to a report from the World Bank, there are only six countries that women can enjoy entirely equal rights as men, which are Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Also, women in the UK, Australia, and Germany are found to have nearly equal rights. However, while women are treated more equally in many countries than a decade ago, countries in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa give less than half the legal rights of men. Since the report focused mainly on legal rights, it might not reveal what the actual situations are like. In fact, religions, traditions, and customs are the ones that have more significant influences on daily lives.
Enjoy reading and think what factor you think could improve women’s rights and opportunities the most in your country.


Topic Reading-Vol.2533-3/19/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Meet Tengai, the job interview robot who won't judge you
As the job markets become more open and competitive, it becomes increasingly challenging for recruiters to maintain fairness and appropriateness of job interviews especially when there is a wide diversity among the applicants. There is virtually no interviewer who is free from any prejudice, stereotype, or bias. Interviewees often think they are mistreated or even discriminated on the basis of their ethnicity, age, gender, appearance, weight, or language.
Also, the capacity, or manpower is limited for most companies and organizations to interview all of the qualified applicants. They often end up narrowing the number of applicants to interview much fewer than they want.
So, what if there were a robot that carries out initial job interviews 24/7 without any bias and makes thorough reports for the recruiter? Then, the recruiter examines the report and decides which candidates should advance to the next stage. That kind of robot-aided interview process could provide fairer opportunities to both the applicants and recruiter. And in fact, it has been tested in Sweden for a debut this year, and the English version is scheduled next year.
But how do interviewees feel about being interviewed by a robot with a human-like fact?
Enjoy reading and think if an interview by a robot or a chatbot should be added or mandated as part of a job screening process.


Topic Reading-Vol.2532-3/18/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
America's most popular national park is ...
Of the 418 national park sites in the US, 61 of them are national parks and others are recreation areas, seashores, parkways, memorials, battlefields, and so on.
Which ones are more popular than others? Let’s take a look at a few numbers before checking which national park sites are more popular than the others.
The population of the United States of America is around 328 million.
About the same number of people visited the National Park Service sites last year.
Though the country is geographically far from other countries, save Canada and Mexico, it attracts around 80 million visitors annually.
Now you might have grasped the size of the numbers.
Of the 418 national park sites, the most visited sites are the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near San Francisco and the Blue Ridge Parkway that goes through 450 miles in North Carolina and Virginia, with around 15 million visitors each.
Among the 61 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park that straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina stands top of the list with over 11 million visitors, followed by the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
If you are planning a trip to or thinking of visiting America, don’t miss these popular spots. But remember. 112 national parks charge entrance fees.

Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of the most popular America’s national park sites.


Topic Reading-Vol.2531-3/17/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China to introduce new generation of driverless trains in 2020
Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) Trains use magnetic forces to lift, propel and guide a vehicle over a track. Unlike conventional trains, Maglev trains have no steel wheels, which makes it faster, quieter, and cheaper to operate because of the absence of rolling friction. For example, the high-speed Maglev train system being constructed in Japan runs at a top speed of 500 kilometers per hour. Also, maglev railcars can be wider, which allows wider interior space. Another benefit of the maglev train is that it can ascend higher grades, as much as 10 percent, than conventional trains, which can only climb up to four percent. All in all, Maglev trains have a few considerable advantages either for long distance routes or just intercity connections.
Just like the world longest highspeed railway network, China is the leader in Maglev technology and operation. There already are a highspeed line in Shanghai, a medium-speed line in Changsha in Hunan province, and a low-speed Maglev subway in Beijing. Now, they are planning to have another one in Changsha that is driven without a human operator onboard.
Enjoy reading and think which is safer and dependent, a human or an AI driver especially for high-speed trains.


Topic Reading-Vol.2530-3/16/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Who is making money from your DNA?
Data monopoly doesn’t seem to be limited only to GAFA, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, or BAT, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, at least for now. There are companies that are collecting and sharing DNA data from their customers who provide their DNA samples for diagnoses. Such diagnosis service providers not only make money by selling DNA analysis to their customers but also by sharing the data with or selling them to pharmaceutical companies like GSK, who try to develop more effective medicine or treatment faster at less cost.
That sounds like a decent business model because it could reduce the cost for both diagnosis and medicine. However, are those customers well aware of the fact that their DNA samples are used for other purposes by third parties? Also, are the data gathered by such method valid to develop medicine for anyone because the availability and affordability of such DNA diagnosis services are still limited to affluent, educated people who live in a small number of developed countries.
As the era of medical big data is on the horizon, it is a question of who should obtain, retain, and benefit from DNA sample data. Should it be private enterprises or public services?
Enjoy reading and learn what DNA samples could do to businesses and medical services.


Topic Reading-Vol.2529-3/15/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What do the people of the world die from?
The world seems to have become safer and more hygienic than right after World War II, and as a result, people around the world live much longer. Though there still are victims of war, terrorism and natural disasters, the deaths from such causes account less than 1% of all deaths combined. Over 70% of deaths come from non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancers, which combined attributes nearly half of all deaths.
Despite the improved living conditions, there still are over three million, mainly babies and children die from diarrhea and neonatal disorders, the death of a baby within the first 28 days, which could be prevented by better hygiene and medical care.  
Surprisingly, almost twice as many people killed themselves as those who were killed by others. In fact, suicide was the leading cause of death in the UK for men aged between 20 and 40.
But the cause of deaths varies widely by country and region. This means there are a lot could be done to reduce preventable deaths, especially vulnerable children.
Enjoy reading and learn what are taking away human lives.


Topic Reading-Vol.2528-3/14/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
There's now only one Blockbuster left on the planet
Blockbuster is a US-based video and video game rental service provider that once had over 9,000 stores in the world, with more than half of them located in the US. However, after its peak in 2004, the brick-and-mortar business model became deteriorated due to the competition from mail-order service, automated kiosks, and later on-demand per-per-view or subscription streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. There were only 1,700 stores remaining when the company filed bankruptcy in 2010. Now, only one store still remains in business in central Oregon, US after the last store in Australia closed its doors.  
How rapidly the video/DVD renting business had flourished and shrunk! Similarly, as recorded audio media shifted from the vinyl record, cassette tape, CD, Mini Disk (MD, if you remember), USB, to streaming, the way people enjoy music and the device they used also changed accordingly and rapidly. The same is true for photos and phones. Today’s popular media or device may become obsolete a decade later.
Enjoy reading and learn how soon a video rental chain store grew and shrunk.


Topic Reading-Vol.2527-3/13/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How to visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone
National borders are geographic boundaries that are established through agreements between states that control those areas. Some countries are naturally and historically bordered by rivers, waters, or mountain lines, and others are artificially divided by agreements. While most borders are open and unguarded, some are controlled, walled or fenced, such as the Berlin Wall during the Cold War period, US-Mexico borders to block illegal entries from Mexico, and the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, between North and South Korea, which was set as part of the armistice in 1953 to cease the deadly Korean War. The DMZ is a 250-kilometer long, four-kilometer long strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula. It is now the world’s most strictly controlled and militarized borders.
In the meantime, it is also a popular tourist spot, which is visited by over a million travelers a year. About 50 kilometers north-northwest of Seoul, there is the Joint Security Area, or JSA, where discussions between North and South Korea still take place in blue buildings that straddle the Military Demarcation Line. From the observatory, tourists from South Korean side can enjoy seeing distinctively different sides of the peninsula and feeling the tension between the two countries. For those need a little more fun, there is even a theme park nearby.
Interested? Then, book a flight to Seoul and join a private or group tour. You need to be guided to walk around there.
Enjoy reading and learn about this most divisive guarded border in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2526-3/12/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
22 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India
Grow fast, worry about the costs later. That seems to be happening in South Asia. While China has made decisive actions to improve air qualities as their focus shifted from growth to improvement, India stills lags far behind in the World Most Polluted Cities report.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. These particles are formed when fossil fuels or trees are burned, and chemical reactions take place in the air. And they are the primary cause of smog. Many cities in South Asia, especially in India, have these microparticles in the air much beyond acceptable levels for health. As the pollutants included in the particles get into the lungs and cardiovascular system, they tend to cause lung and heart disorders and weaken cognitive and immune functions.
The problem is that the costs aren’t limited to budget, but health and environment. When an economy grows, activities in cities increase. People move more by cars and motorcycles, burn more fossil fuels to supply electricity and heat and cut more trees to make more room. Then, air pollution worsens, deteriorates health and the environment. People are sacrificing themselves, their children and the environment for today’s money and comfort.
Read the article and learn what a rapid, unregulated economic growth could cost.


Topic Reading-Vol.2525-3/11/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How do you bring a forest back to life?
Deforestation. Over 18 million acres of forests are being lost each year. Deforestation could be caused by fires, cutting for agriculture, ranching, or housing, over-logging, and climate change. In order to cope with this crisis, a global initiative was endorsed at the 2014 UN Climate Summit, which is to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. We had six years back in 2014 until 2020 but less than a year now. How are we doing?
In most places, once the land is deforested or degraded, sustainable reforestation doesn’t simply occur naturally. Sustainable reforestation needs sustainable ecosystem with biodiversity that suits the region. It also requires mid-to-long-term financial returns on investment, such as agricultural produces, eco-tourism, and carbon credit, not to mention the lumber from the forest. It seems that more stakeholders enjoy financial benefits, more environmental benefits can be created and sustained.
Enjoy reading and learn what it takes to bring forests back to life.


Topic Reading-Vol.2524-3/10/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Tiniest baby boy' ever sent home leaves Tokyo hospital
While most babies are born at between 37 and 41 weeks of pregnancy, premature babies arrive a few weeks earlier. In extreme cases, premature babies are born only 23 to 28 weeks after pregnancy. Surprisingly, even if a baby is born weighing under a kilogram, the chance for his or her survival is nearly 90%, provided that they are born in a good hospital and taken care by good medical staff. However, the survival rate goes down to half if a baby is born under 300 grams. That’s because babies are most vulnerable when their lungs are developing.
Last August, a baby boy was born by an emergency C-section only at 24 weeks of pregnancy in Japan. When he was born, he weighed only 268 grams. Having been nurtured in intensive care for six months, he was released from the hospital in good health weighing 3.2 kilograms. He is the smallest boy who has survived in the world.
Look at the photos and imagine if you were the parent of the baby boy who arrived too early and too small.


Topic Reading-Vol.2523-3/9/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
South Korea fertility rate at new lows, dipping below 1.0 threshold
The fertility rate is the number of children who would be born per woman in their child-bearing years, usually between the ages of 15 and 44 or 49. A fertility rate of 2.1 is needed to maintain the population because of natural deaths, and the global average fertility rate is just below 2.5 children per woman. The rate is higher in developing countries especially in Africa and unbearably lower in Eastern Asian countries, such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, each of whose fertility rate has dipped below 1.0 recently.
In Korea’s case, the problem seems to have been worsening as fewer women are getting married these days. Only around 10% of women were unmarried between the ages of 30 and 34 at the beginning of the millennium, but recently the number went up to 37.5%. Career development, job security, economic uncertainty, and education cost are mainly to blame. Indeed, bearing a child is a one-time event but rearing them is nearly a life-long burden as women are getting later and education takes longer and costs higher. A single income may afford a house in a lifetime and another income could rear a child. But that seems as much as an ordinary couple can bear.
Enjoy reading and learn about the challenges South Korea and other neighboring countries are facing.


Topic Reading-Vol.2522-3/8/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Semi-identical twins 'identified for only the second time'
You might have or have seen twin boys, girls, or boy and girl. How different each other are they? Besides gender, there are commonly two types of twins. Identical twins share the completely same DNA both from the father and mother because they are originally from a single egg, fertilized by a single sperm. Though they share the same DNA and look alike, environmental factors and different experiences cause a difference in personality and appearance over time.
In contrast, fraternal twins are born from two separately fertilized eggs. They share half paternal and half maternal DNAs. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins could be brothers, sisters or a brother and sister. Yes, they are just like siblings born at the same time, or just a few minutes apart.  
But when two sperms fertilize one egg simultaneously, and the double fertilized egg divides and create two babies, they are classified as semi-identical twins, though such case is extremely rare. One case, thought to be the second once confirmed, was recently reported in Australia. It was found through routine ultrasound scans conducted to the mother during the pregnancy. But if the scans hadn’t been done, neither the doctors nor parents would only know that the babies were a twin boy and girl.
Now imagine how many twins had been ultra-sound scanned before their births in the world. Many of the parents in medically undeveloped communities would never know whether they are identical, fraternal or semi-identical until they are grown, or never.
Enjoy reading and learn how twins or multiples are created and different.


Topic Reading-Vol.2521-3/7/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Disney's new 'Star Wars' theme park coming to a galaxy near you
Originally, Star Wars movies were created and produced by Lucas Films. The first film, subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, was released in 1977 and shocked the world, men and women, the young and old. After the first trilogy that consisted of episode IV, V and VI, a prequel trilogy once concluded the space sage in 2005. The Star Wars universe extended to books, TV shows, video games, and merchandises. The franchise has been expanding further after its ownership was acquired by Disney in 2012.
Now what? Disney is developing a new Star Wars theme park that is designed not just to entertain visitors by the ride but also to provide an immersive and interactive experience of the space adventure. Two Star Wars theme parks will open this year, one in Disneyland in Anaheim, California in summer and the other in Disney World in Orlando, Florida in fall.
There is no need to be fully knowledgeable about the stories, characters or scenes appeared in the movie series to enjoy the theme park, but the more you know, the more excitement you’ll enjoy, Visitors to either theme park will surely be excited and waited in a long line.
Enjoy seeing the preview of the galaxy and think if you want to be part of Star Wars this year.


Topic Reading-Vol.2520-3/6/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Berlin’s radical plan to stop rocketing rents
Though it hasn’t skyrocketed like San Francisco, monthly rents in Berlin have more than doubled in the last decade. This is a big hit to the residents and newcomers because most of the residents rent their homes or apartments in the capital city. Why such a rapid rent hike? It’s the market. The demand has been increasing more than the supply. 10 years ago, the population of Berlin was below 3.4 million, but not it has increased by 300,000 to 3.7 million and is expected to increase to four million by 2025. It’s a big problem because people’s income hasn’t grown that much.
In order to cope with this rising problem, some lawmakers are trying to cap the rent increase in the city for the next five years until the supply catches up with the demand. That may sound to those who are looking for affordable apartments or renewing their existing contracts. However, it could be a double-edged sword because it could also discourage landlords to upgrade or maintain their rental properties and developers to build new ones fast.
As Amazon has just scrapped its plan to build a NY headquarters because of the backlash from members of the community, growth may not always be welcomed by the residents.
Enjoy reading and think what could be viable solutions to rent increases.


Topic Reading-Vol.2519-3/5/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are these airplane seats the future of economy?
In general, the more passengers are on board or the more money passengers pay per seat, the more profit the airline generates. That’s why budget airlines put as many seats as possible while full-service airlines provide luxurious business class seats and first-class cabin. But do passengers’ comfort and the airline’s profit have to be so conflicting with each other in economy class?
Well, with a little ingenuity, economy-class seats can be comfortable as well as economical. A British design company came up with comfy economy-class seats for short or medium haul flights for Airbus. The seat design looks very stylish and functional, just like a chair in the office. Also, there are features to make the passengers feel more comfortable even without a reclining function. They also accommodate today’s digital savvy and addicted passengers with features like seat temperature, tension, pressure and movement that can be operated via an app on their smartphone.
Will the airline also make money by providing passengers with an app whose information could be shared with or sold to other businesses?
Enjoy reading the article and see the photos of the innovative seats and think if this kind of stylish seats please passengers in Europe, Asia, and America.


Topic Reading-Vol.2518-3/4/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Tiger kills potential mate on first date
What humans think is good for cats might not be liked by them. This is what happened when a conservation program action for Sumatran tigers took place in a zoo in London, England.
Sumatran Tigers, which have distinguished heavy black stripes on their orange coats, are the smallest living subspecies of the tiger. As their estimated population is only around 400, they are listed as Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List. Deforestation and poaching are mainly to blame for the crisis.
When a seven-year-old male Sumatran tiger arrived at London Zoo, keepers hoped that he would mate with a female tiger that had been living in the zoo for some time. After careful observation of their reactions to each other in adjoining enclosures, they were introduced. However, the could-be-a-first date turned to be a deadly fight, and the female tiger was overpowered and killed by the potential partner. This incident will make future breeding programs more difficult for this critically endangered species.
Read the article and learn what could happen to a first date.


Topic Reading-Vol.2517-3/3/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Could squid protein be an eco-friendly answer to our plastic problem?
What do squids do to the environment? Can they be an ugly but healthy alternative to beef? Well, what researchers looked at was not the body but the teeth. Squids have small sharp teeth along the suction cups on their tentacles. Recently, researchers developed coatings and fibers for textiles derived from these ring teeth proteins. Since they are elastic, flexible, and strong enough to be used for recyclable fabric, they can replace some use of plastic materials, such as recyclable fabric and protective clothing for chemicals. Furthermore, they are biologically degradable, they could be a perfect alternative for some use of plastics.
Since humans have already destructed the ecosystem and environment of the planet with plastics for the sake of convenience and economy, it seems that the time has come to put more efforts in developing reusable, recyclable, and degradable materials to replace them.
Enjoy reading and imagine a day when you wash dishes wearing kitchen gloves made from squid teeth.


Topic Reading-Vol.2516-3/2/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How human food is changing wildlife
Wildlife animals are supposed to feed themselves with food available in the wild, whether in the desert or tundra. And their biological mechanisms are built to live in their respective habitat. But when they find human waste and garbage, planted crops or fruits, or domesticated pet animals like dogs or cats, they naturally prefer such easily available edibles. For instance, a candy bar for a bear, trash bin for a crow, and a pet cat for a mountain lion. The problem is that when wildlife animals are fed by such unnatural foods, their biomechanism is also affected. One study found that bears that find unnatural human foods hibernate less and they live shorter. Also, while human foods tend to be richer in calorie, they are not as nutritiously balanced as the food or prey wildlife animals usually eat. Some say that it’s a double-edged nutritional sword for the species that depend on human foods.
As humans expands their territories to the wild, these kinds of encounters increase, and they cause health problems and a disruption to the lifestyle of wildlife animals.
Enjoy reading and learn how humans affect wildlife.


Topic Reading-Vol.2515-3/1/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Is waking early good or bad?
Do you struggle to get up early for whatever the reason or wake up early naturally? Depending on your school hours, work schedule, or life stage, such as when you raise your children, you may have to get up early only to get the things done. Some people even force themselves to start their days earlier than birds trying to maximize their outputs or performance. But does such practice really make the person more productive?
Not really. Studies found that people have different peak times and slow times during the day. Some people are more productive and energized in the morning and others are at night. This is not because of their attitudes but their genes. Everyone has different peak times and down times during the day. An early start of the day doesn’t work for all. If you aren’t a naturally or genetically early riser, you’d better not force yourself to get up too early. One thing you definitely want to avoid is sleep deprivation.
Then do you know when you are more productive during the day? One way to find your peak or slow times is to measure when you feel more awake and most sleepy on a holiday. It would be ideal if all the members of a team could make the best use of their peak performance times.
Enjoy reading and learn how to improve your daily performance, if you can.