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Topic Reading-Vol.2667-7/31/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How to escape the “hyperactive hivemind” of modern work
If you take a factory tour, you’ll find that any task taker, whether a human or robot, is engaged in one task at a time. Most factories are designed to produce maximum outputs from their capacity. Their performance and efficiency are constantly monitored, adjusted and improved because the processes are visible, tangible and measurable. However, such efficiency control and management are hardly seen especially in the offices where people work for creative tasks like software engineers or designers. Since their tasks are fulfilled by human intelligence, concentration is the key to productivity. Some people may seem to have the capacity to handle multitasks at once, but that is not always true as human brains have a limited capacity to perform efficiently at a given time. Also, each time a job is interrupted, it takes some time, in some cases over 20 minutes, to get the brain refocused on the task that had been worked on.
So, if you want yourself or your workers to improve productivity, it is essential to reduce disruptions. After all, it is the output that matters. And doing things one at a time may look slower but seems more efficient.
Enjoy reading the article and rethink how creative or productive you are when you are deeply focused.


Topic Reading-Vol.2666-7/30/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why young Germans think this career is the wurst
Wurst is German or Austrian sausage, a cylindrical meat food made from ground meat with salt, spices and other flavorings. They can be boiled, pan-fried, broiled, or barbecued. Sausage is essential for Germans. German sausages, in particular, include Bratwürste, Rindswürste, Frankfurters/Wieners, Knackwürste, and Bockwürste, which can be served in any meal or used in various dishes.
The sausage was originally developed to preserve meat. Sausages may be preserved by curing, drying, smoking, or freezing. There are so many traditional or innovative ways to make sausages. Making sausages is a labor-intensive job. Butchers work many hours from early morning in a cold kitchen to put their products in the showcase. Young people prefer less-demanding jobs especially in major cities where they can find other jobs easily, thanks to Germany’s low unemployment rate. As a result, the number of butcher’s shops has declined nearly in half during the last two decades to 12,000.
There is also a social trend to avoid meat products. Since there are so many other alternative foods that provide healthier and greener nutrition, people consume less red meat products. In fact, vegetarian and vegan sausages are becoming popular.
Just like mom and pop bakeries in France, more traditional foods are getting mass-produced and sold at chain stores. With the help of AI and robots, there may be no need to train humans to do those unpopular jobs.
Capitals and technologies seem to be playing more important roles even in the food industry rather than labors and skills.
Enjoy reading the article and think which sausage you’d like to try in Germany, man-made or robo-made.


Topic Reading-Vol.2665-7/29/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Will drones transform farmers' lives in Thailand?
Agriculture is the key industry in Thailand, both for economy and elections. It represents 8.5% of the national GDP and one-third of the workforce. No wonder some politicians try to buy votes by pledging support for farmers by government subsidies and tax incentives, especially to rice farmers. Indeed, rice production represents about 13% of all farm production and nearly 40% of Thai’s farmers, or 16 million.
Rice farming is both water and labor-intensive especially in Thailand where farmers can harvest three rice crops a year, thanks to the tropical climate and abundant water. But to get three crops a year, those rice farmers have to work hard year-round. One of the labor-intensive jobs is to spray fields with pesticides and fertilizers. Farmers carry a tank full of pesticides, walk around the rice paddies spraying the harmful chemical substance all day long.
Now drones can do this much more efficiently from the air. They can cover much larger space without break but with just battery charges. All those farmers have to is to program the area by their smartphones, fill the tank with pesticide, and charge the battery. Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? The question is if they can afford it.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what can drone do in help rice farmers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2664-7/28/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
North Korea, Syria and Myanmar among countries defending China's actions in Xinjiang
Countries form an alliance in various ways and from time to time. For example, there are ideological allies by communism and capitalism that created the Cold War, Military allies NATA and Warsaw Pact that dived the world powers, Political allies that form a coalition government, and economic allies that make things and services more freely and easily. Interestingly, some alliances are tightly organized to share common goals and achievements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and the EU at least until recently while others are loosely formed just for the sake of a show-off, like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), or for a means to win an election. Also, some allies could have conflicting interests and they are also members of opposing alliance, like Russia, China, and India.
Now, a day after 22 countries, mostly Europeans, officially condemned China for detaining ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, 37 ambassadors to China praised the country for its achievements in protecting human and promoting human rights through development.
If you look at the list of the countries supportive of China’s “regional development initiative”, you’ll find a common interest among them, which seems to create a stronger bond than ideology or economy.
Enjoy reading the article and find what could unite or divide countries or rulers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2663-7/27/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
S Korea employers could face jail under harassment law
Remember the “nut rage incident” in 2014? When the then vice-president of Korean Air was not satisfied with the way nuts were served by her own employee in the first-class cabin, she got mad and ordered the aircraft to return to the gate before takeoff at JFK airport in New York.
This incident received wide attention from the media as it took place on a commercial flight and disrupted the operation of the major US airport. However, such workplace harassment is not uncommon in South Korea where seniority-based culture has long been deeply rooted. And sometimes employees in a weaker position, such as junior workers or women, are bullied or harassed by their superiors or even colleges by shouting, embarrassing, gossiping, spreading personal information, and forcing drinking or smoking.
Recently, workplace anti-bullying laws have been introduced to protect employees from bullying or harassment in the country. Now, employers could face a substantial fine or even prison time if the protection law is violated. Whether new laws will change the wide-spread customs will remain to be seen.
By the way, the nut-rage VP was a daughter of the airline’s owner. She has sentenced a twelve-month prison term in a South Korean court and served five months.
Enjoy reading and learn about South Korea’s traditional workplace problems and new solutions.


Topic Reading-Vol.2662-7/26/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Inside Iran: What Iranians think of stand-off with US
The Islamic Republic of Iran has lived under US economic sanctions ever since the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran by radical students in 1979 and the subsequent detention of diplomats. Washington froze Iranian assets and cut off all US trade and investment with Iran. More sanctions had been added aimed at restraining Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities until the former US administration and other world powers reached a deal with Iran in 2015. Under the agreement, Iran would restrict the use and development of nuclear facilities in return for the lift of nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets. However, the present US administration withdrew the agreement abruptly and adopted tougher sanctions aimed at restraining Iranian development of dual-use nuclear capabilities that would enable the production of nuclear weapons. This spring, the US cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the country’s economy, which has pushed the annual inflation rate to over 50%.
What is life in Iran like now? What do people feel and think of these sanctions and the latest standoff? One thing seems to have happened. By re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran, Trump seems to have helped Iran more united among various sectors of the country and more opposed to the US.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what people in Iran think of the US sanctions.


Topic Reading-Vol.2661-7/25/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
America's addiction to absurdly fast shipping has a hidden cost
The delivery time has been becoming shorter and shorter these days. Thanks to the retailers’ neck-and-neck competition, the average delivery time from a purchase now is 4.3 days from 5.2 days just two years ago in the US. Amazon is even shorter with only 3.2 days on average. Though faster service sounds convenient for consumers and efficient for providers, there is a hidden cost for quick delivery. Environmental cost. The more packages are loaded in a truck, the more deliveries can be made per trip, which saves greenhouse gas emission per package. However, when a customer chooses or is automatically offered a faster delivery service without an extra charge, the package tends to come in a less-loaded truck or even by a delivery contractor’s car. Those retailers and logistics service companies are now using the state of art machine learning algorithms to direct where inventory is best stocked in order to minimize the delivery lead time and cost. However, a few days is still environmentally friendlier and economically better than just one day to deliver a box to your doorstep.
One possible solution is to use nudging, or subtly encourage consumers to choose greener options without losing the competitive edge. For example, showing the shipping option as green shipping instead of the standard shipping (3~4 days), could direct consumers to better shipping lead time for both environment and profit.
Every option or action counts to save the environment.
Enjoy reading the article and think twice before you close the next online purchase order.


Topic Reading-Vol.2660-7/24/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Five myths about hay fever
A runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure. These are common symptoms of hay fever, which is nothing to do with hay. Unlike a cold, which causes similar symptoms, hay fever is caused by an allergic response to outdoor or indoor allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, or tiny flecks of skin and saliva shed by cats, dogs, and other animals with fur or feathers. When you have hay fever, your immune system identifies these harmless airborne substances as harmful. Your immune system then produces antibodies to the harmless substance and cause above mentioned annoying symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no universally effective way to avoid getting fay fever unless you stay away from the causes. What you can do though is to lessen your exposure to the airborne allergens that cause your symptoms. Then you may wonder if rain help to ease the symptom or which is better, day or night. There are some tips that could help those who suffer from this irritating condition.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what this growing physical problem to the environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.2659-7/23/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The global auto industry has the worst kind of problems
Last year, Global car and light commercial vehicle sales in 2018 contracted by 0.5% to 86 million vehicles. Car sales increased by double digits in Brazil and Russia, and by 5% in India, were flat in Europe, Japan, and the USA. However, China, the world largest automotive market, contracted for the first time in two decades.
Through the year, the Volkswagen Group, Renault-Nissan Group, Toyota each sold over 10 million new vehicles.
By country, 28 mil new cars were sold in China, 17 million in the USA, 5 million in Japan, and nearly 4 million in India respectively.
2018 marked a record year for the sale of battery-powered electric vehicles. Passenger electric cars recorded 1.26 million sales throughout the year, up by a huge 74%. China lead the market with 769,000 new electric car sales, followed by USA’s 209,000. Surprisingly, with its eco-drive policy, Norway was ranked third with 46,000 clean car sales.
As for the electric car brand, Tesla, BAIC, and BYD are the three leading brands. Only Nissan was listed among the top five e-car brands as a traditional car manufacturer.
This year, overall car sales are predicted to fall 4% to below the 80 million mark, the biggest hit since the financial crisis of 2008. Besides the trade war and economic slowdown, the century-old auto industry is struggling with life-threatening structural and technological changes.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges the leading industry is facing.


Topic Reading-Vol.2658-7/22/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Amazon plans to retrain 100,000 employees
Amazon is facing a dilemma that is being created by itself. Its business has been and will be expanding from online retailing to subscription services and cloud computing while upgrading warehousing and shipping efficiencies through innovation and automation. Even for a tech giant like Amazon, it’s hard to keep up with mounting demand for skilled workers. So, instead of just looking for qualified candidates outside of the company, they decided to invest more in upgrading their own workers. Why not? There are over half a million workers in the US alone and they need to be qualified for their jobs to deal with ongoing changes by robotics, machine learning, and cloud computing. The company has recently pledged to invest $700 million to help as many as 100,000 employees to upgrade their skills to qualify for more advanced or new jobs in the next six years on top of their existing employee training programs. Also, they offer a paid apprenticeship program for classroom and on-the-job training.
Clearly, Amazon seems to know that when the company tries to create and innovate businesses, it also needs to transform their workforce.
Enjoy reading the article and think as to how you are going to adapt yourself to new environments and requirements.


Topic Reading-Vol.2657-7/21/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India’s all is well approach to life
Goa is a small state on the southwestern coast of India with a population of just under 1.5 million. Since it was a colony of Portugal for 450 years until 1961, Goan food, architecture, and lifestyle have a strong influence of former colonials. One of the unique customs is to take it very easy after lunch called susegad, or siesta. Stores shut their doors, cars stop running, people take a nap in the shade. This laidback attitude is distinct from other busy and noisy Indian cities. Goans say it is about living life at a slower pace to feel contentment and enjoy both physical silence and mental peace. You may think such a slow lifestyle is ideal but unproductive.
But do never underestimate the effect of their lifestyle. Goa’s GDP per capita is the highest among all Indian states.
Enjoy reading the article and learn the importance of balance in life.


Topic Reading-Vol.2656-7/20/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why so serious? The reason we rarely see smiles in art history
Can you keep smiling for hours? That’s what you need to do if you want your portrait smiling. Ever since the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, smiling has been the de-facto standard for portraits and selfies. But prior to the technology invention, the subject of a portrait had to endure hours maintaining the same facial expression. That is one reason most of the portraits in museums aren’t smiling. Also, smiling wasn’t considered decent at least among people in high class. Very rarely though, smiles were painted in the Renaissance period like Mona Lisa by Leonard da Vinci. How Lisa Gherardini maintained her famous enigmatic smile while the renowned artist was painting it is still a mystery. Even in the following the Baroque, Romanism, and Neoclassicism period, smiling wasn’t so popular for western portraits. 
After all, people who controlled society, religion, or wealth didn’t have to be worried about elections or popularity. Also, while they were being painted, they were in a formal dress. Dignity might have suited better than friendliness.
Enjoy reading and learn why you don’t see smiling portraits in the museum.


Topic Reading-Vol.2655-7/19/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Football pitch' of Amazon forest lost every minute
The Amazon rainforest covers most of the Amazon basin of South America. Roughly 60% of the forest is contained in Brazil, 13% in Peru, 10% in Colombia, and the rest in the other six countries. It represents over half of the Earth’s rainforests and is the largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest. The forest’s billions of trees absorb a huge amount of carbon dioxide and produce oxygen in return, whose process slows the rise in global temperatures.
Until Bolsonaro, nicknamed “the Trump of the Tropics” was elected the president, Brazil had been serious and strict in conserving the rainforest. But the administration abruptly loosened the guard and now about the size of a football field of the forest is being lost every minute. And much of the cleared land is covered with grass to raise cows, which on average release around 100 kg of Methane per year, a greenhouse gas whose negative effect on climate is much higher than carbon dioxide.
And what will happen to one million indigenous people who live in and depend everything on the rainforest? It is also home to the world’s richest biodiversity with nearly one-tenth of all species of animals and plants. A single election result is going to change the future of the most valuable and vital resource of the planet.
Read the article and think if an elected president should have almighty power over the environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.2654-7/18/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Substitutes changing appetite for pork
Pork is essential for Chinese dishes. It could be steamed, fried, pan-fried, or stuffed in dumplings and meatballs, not only for the taste but also for the texture and juice. However, the price of pork has been rising this year because of the spread of the swine flu and influence of the US-China trade war, which raised the price of soybeans, essential feedstock for pigs.
In the meanwhile, there is a growing demand for healthy yet still tasty meat alternatives among Chinese middle-class population who are becoming more cautious about their health and the environment. Now, just as US restaurants and consumers are accepting beef substitute to their menus, Chinese people have started craving for plant-based pork substitute. Omnipork is one such example. It is made from soy, peas, shiitake mushrooms and rice protein, and mimics the taste, feels, texture and color of real pork. It also offers nutritious benefits, lower in saturated fat and calories but higher in calcium and iron per gram compared with real meat.
Now the price of such meat substitute declines as production expands while the price of the most popular meat, pork, surges, it is time for pork lovers to try animal-free meat products.
After all, food itself is innovative. Homo sapiens today eats very differently from their ancestors in a few millenniums, centuries or even decades ago. Why not?
Enjoy reading and learn about this emerging change in food cultures.


Topic Reading-Vol.2653-7/17/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Biased and wrong? Facial recognition tech in the dock
What is face recognition, or FR? It is a method of identifying or verifying the identity of a person by the images of their faces. Face recognition systems use computer algorithms to pick out specific, distinctive details about a person’s face, such as distance between the eyes or shape of the chin. Then, they convert the information into mathematical data and compared with data of a face recognition database. Facial data can be collected from social media, Closed-circuit Television (CCTV), traffic cameras, published or private photos, or organizations’ database without being recognized by the person. So, if the face of a known terrorist is captured by security cameras in a public place like an airport or station, face recognition system alerts the authority for attention or action. It surely saves time and could save lives.
However, how reliable face recognition technology is? Unfortunately, it varies by situation and object. The angle and brightness of the image, and the skin color and gender of the object all affect the accuracy of the identification system. Also, there are technical difficulties that are unique to machines. For example, differentiating photos of a blueberry muffin and the face of a chihuahua dog isn’t an easy task for facial recognition.
Some authorities use FR aggressively to identify criminals, unwanted or suspicious people in public places. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of CCTV cameras installed in China. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies of San Francisco are banned to use facial recognition for fear of threatening civil liberties and making false alerts.
Is technology always flawless, or close to perfect? Which is more reliable, human eyes or AI-powered face recognition?
Enjoy reading the article and think if you feel more secure in an airport with face recognition security system.


Topic Reading-Vol.2652-7/16/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Amazon at 25: The story of a giant
Born on July 5, 1994, in a Seattle metropolitan area in Washington, Amazon celebrated its 25th birthday this month. The company initially sold books at its online marketplace and later added electronics, CDs and DVDs, games, apparel, groceries and toys to its offering. Just in five years, its sales surpassed well over the one-billion-dollar mark. The rapidly growing online giant retailer opened its distribution services to small businesses, introduced prime membership and subscription services, launched electronic reading and smart devices, started on-demand cloud computing platforms, and stepped into brick-and-mortar retail business. Now, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer and internet company and US’s second largest employer and technology company by revenue. It is now one of three most valued companies with Microsoft and Apple, which made the founder and chairman Jeff Bezos the wealthiest person in the world, who just made the world most expensive divorce settlement.
What Amazon will be doing in the next 25 years? Will we see extraterrestrial delivery services by amazon spacecraft? That might not be in the not so far future.
Enjoy reading the article and imagine how much you’ll be paying to Amazon next year.


Topic Reading-Vol.2651-7/15/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Destination trouble: Can overtourism be stopped in its tracks?
With rising middle class, increasing budget airlines and massive cruise liners, and influencing travel websites and social media, tourism has been flourishing for the last few years. In 2018, there were 1.4bn international tourist arrivals, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), a rise of 6% over the previous year. Some of the popular travel destinations are visited by more tourists than the local residents daily. Although tourists bring and spend money that creates jobs and boosts the economy, too many visitors could cause trouble to local communities. Indeed, overtourism is becoming a major problem to popular tourist destinations, and they are trying to find a way to balance tourist demand with the peace and life of the local community. Some cities like Venice, Italy have started levying entrance fees to day trippers who tend not to spend so much money. Such tourist tax varies by season to reduce peak-season visitors and boost slower-season visitors. Others like Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Reykjavik, Iceland are promoting other cities in their countries to divert tourists. To maintain order, Rome, Italy now bans bars to serve alcohol between 2 am and 7 am and fines people who drink in the street after 10 pm.
Overtourism seems to be another case of imbalance between the economy and the environment.
Enjoy reading and learn what this newly created word “overtourism” means.


Topic Reading-Vol.2650-7/14/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A group of US billionaires is calling for a wealth tax
Wealth tax is a tax on the total value of personal assets, such as money, bonds, stocks, real estate, cars (and boats and airplanes), valuable properties like antiques and paintings, pension plans, and unincorporated businesses. Poor people don’t have such assets. People of the middle-class may have just enough assets to get by for now, and hopefully for after retirement. Only the rich own more than enough personal assets to spend or waste, donate or give, or inherit or succeed at will. They usually try their very best to minimize taxes they have to pay.
Now, some very wealthy Americans are calling for a tax on their wealth to tackle climate change and reduce inequalities. They seem to be generous enough to institute such a progressive initiative trying to make changes. But not all the rich will agree with being levied more taxes as they already paid income tax, sales tax or inheritance tax when they obtained their assets. In other words, it’s double taxation. Also, there are non-financial assets that are unique and hard to value, such as vehicles, antiques, private business.
Will this move help solve the problems? How much additional tax burden can they bear?
Enjoy reading the article and think who should be paying a wealth tax and how much.


Topic Reading-Vol.2649-7/13/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Obesity 'causes more cases of some cancers than smoking'
The fatter a person is, the higher the risks for cancer are. And the risks become even higher if the person is overweight or obese for a longer period. Furthermore, those who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from cancer than smokers, according to a UK research institute.
Though the link between obesity and the biomechanisms is still yet to be known, the research shows bowel, liver, kidney, and ovarian cancers are caused more by obesity than smoking. However, smokers shouldn’t feel relieved by these research findings as smoking still is the top cause of cancer overall in the UK. The problem is while smokers are decreasing in number, those who are overweight or obese are increasing. And the potentially fatal problem is increasing child obesity. Indeed, they are obese for a much longer period than their parents.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a candy bar certainly does the opposite.
Enjoy reading the article and think twice before your next snack or dessert.


Topic Reading-Vol.2648-7/12/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What to drink to help you sleep
What do you avoid eating or drinking after dinner to enjoy a sound sleep? Those who are sensitive to caffeine try to refrain from taking caffeine-rich drinks like coffee, green tea, and some soda.
Then does sweet chocolate that you may find on the bed in your hotel room get you a sweet dream? Sorry. It also contains caffeine. You also need to brush your teeth again.
What about a nightcap? Milk, whether warm or not, might be of some help but definitely not alcohol. It only helps you fall asleep but disrupts your sleep quality.
One thing seems to be sure. None of the things in your hotel room, in the fridge or minibar, helps you sleep better but water. Yes, water. You certainly want to be adequately hydrated when you go to bed.
Whether it’s psychological or biological, try whatever helps and avoid whatever disrupts your sound sleep.
Enjoy reading the article and think which of the tips you may want to try tonight.


Topic Reading-Vol.2647-7/11/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Assam NRC: Are India’s ‘unwanted people’ being driven to suicide?
Assam is a state in northeastern India known for its wildlife, archeological sites, silk, and tea. It is bordered by Bhutan to the north and Bangladesh to the south.
Recently, the state has been intensifying its effort to identify who are locals and who are not.  Those who migrated from its eastern neighbor Muslim-majority Bangladesh, or East Pakistan before its independence in 1971 may lose their citizenship. Four million people have already been excluded from the national register of citizenship list and many of them are feared to face either detention or deportation if they cannot prove their residence prior to 1971. It is a fatal blow to those who have already lived in the state for more than a few decades. They have nowhere to go once they lose their citizenship. Some of those in despair about their future have killed themselves. India was a dreamland and has been their homeland.
Is this just a sort of legal procedure or ethnic cleansing? Could the same thing happen to Hispanic Americans in the US?
Read the article and think how desperate they were when they moved to India from their homeland.


Topic Reading-Vol.2646-7/10/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Heatwaves: What you should and shouldn’t do to stay cool
Summer is coming in the northern hemisphere. If you are in an air-conditioned space, you need not worry about the heat and do whatever you like, such as reading a book, taking a nap or doing an exercise. But when you are exposed to extreme heat, say 35 degrees Celsius or higher, your body is dehydrated quite fast and the body temperature goes up. What should you do to stay cool?
First, you need to get liquid before it’s too late. But with what kind? Water, coffee, or beer? Hot or cold? You also want to get a breeze to make you feel cooler. But should you open the windows or run a fan? Though the answers to these questions are mostly conditional and circumstantial, you may want to know what you should and shouldn’t do and why.
Enjoy reading the verdicts and prepare for the summer heat.


Topic Reading-Vol.2645-7/9/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Second US town pays up to ransomware hackers
Ransomware is a malicious computer software that threatens to destroy someone’s files, systems, or even reputation unless a demanded ransom is paid. If not paid, the ransom goes up, or the threatened files or systems are encrypted so that the victim cannot use or access the data or use the system. At that point, the victim has only three choices, to pay the inflated ransom with a hope to bring the files and system back to life, to restore them from the backup only is such backup had been made, or to give up and rebuild everything from scratch.
Where there are risks, there also are insurance businesses. Cyber insurance is designed to help organizations to relieve or reduce risk exposure by offsetting costs for recovery after a cybersecurity breach. When a small town in Florida suffered downed computer systems for two weeks, they decided to have their cyber insurance company pay the ransom. The good news is the system came back to life after the payment was made and the cost was covered by the insurance. The bad news is that their insurance premium will go up unless they build a bullet-proof security system that convinces the insurer that future risk is lowered.
To avoid such disaster, never open attachment or links in unsolicited emails. Make sure to update your computer system. Keep backup files on an external drive or cloud service. Remember, every time a ransom is paid, it finances the attacker to be more demanding, malicious, and sophisticated.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what ransomware attack is about.


Topic Reading-Vol.2644-7/8/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Makeup fridges a hot item among youth
Why not? If there are specially designed refrigerators like a wine cooler and kimchi fridge, it may make sense to have one dedicated for cosmetic products, such as masks, creams, and perfumes. In fact, makeup fridges are getting popular among appearance-conscious young Chinese. These fridges are specially designed to store small cosmetic products at a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room. Unlike conventional food refrigerators, makeup fridges are colorful and fashionable as they are placed where the user do their makeup. Though they may need electricity and more space, they also help the user organize a variety of products.
Is it necessary to keep cosmetics cool in the first place? Well, users of such fridge want to look and feel cool for sure. Apply a chilled facial mask, you’ll feel cool instantly even though you will not look cool until you remove it.
Enjoy reading the article and think if there is anything else you want to keep at a cool temperature.


Topic Reading-Vol.2643-7/7/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The fiction that predicted space travel
Born in England in 1917, Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was a renowned science fiction writer. The stargazing child worked as a radio engineer during WWII and later became a science fiction writer, futurist and undersea explore in Sri Lanka.
His first novels were about space explorations, the first flight to the Moon and colonization of Mars both of which were published in 1951 during when the world was still stuck in the aftermath of WWII.
His most famous work, A Space Odyssey was written in 1968 when the world was divided by ideology and nuclear weapons. It was made into one of the greatest films of all time directed by Stanley Kubrick. The story was about encounters with an alien monolith that sparks a technological and intellectual leap, which was succeeded by three sequels, 2010: Odyssey Two in 1982, 2061: Odyssey Three in 1988, and 3001: The Final Odyssey in 1997.
Another famous alien encounter story is Rendezvous with Rama in 1973, whose sequels were published in 1991, The Garden of Rama and in 1993, Rama Revealed.
In these futuristic books, Clarke introduced iPad like communication and information device, computer software that reads human lips, space tourism, space elevators, and space stations.
Over a decade after his death, only a few of these have been brought into life. Humans still have a long way to catch up his extrapolations.
Enjoy reading the article about one of the most profound science fiction writers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2642-7/6/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
San Francisco becomes first US city to ban e-cigarettes
An electronic cigarette also called e-cigarette or vapor is a battery-operated device that emits doses of vaporized nicotine. Users of e-cigarettes can enjoy a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke without smoke. Though the manufacturers claim that e-cigarettes offer a more healthful alternative to cigarettes, there is growing evidence that vaping may be harmful. It contains nicotine that is addictive especially to the young and hazardous during pregnancy. Also, the aerosol contains harmful solvents, flavorings, and toxicants.
The most alarming problem seems to be teenage vapers who tend to do what others do. With alluring assorted flavors, such as menthol, peach pit, vanilla, chocolate, and mango tango, along with fashionable packaging and cool brand names, more and more teenagers are attracted to this smoking alternative.
Now, San Francisco is going to prohibit sales of e-cigarettes in and delivery to the city. It sounds controversial because San Francisco is where Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette manufacturer in the US, is located. They claim that the ban will drive their customers back to their competitor’s products, traditional cigarettes.
Isn’t it like staring at smartphones instead of TV screens? Both are addictive. In either case, how do kids get money to buy a smartphone or vaper?
Enjoy reading the article and think how much monthly allowance is appropriate for high school kids.


Topic Reading-Vol.2641-7/5/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A guide to 4th of July for non-Americans
Yesterday, The United States of America celebrated its 243rd birthday. It declared independence from Great Britain on the fourth of July 1776 and became the first European colony to be recognized by the international community after the American Revolutionary War that ended in 1783. Other countries in the American continents followed suit and became independent in the next century, like Mexico from Spain, Brazil from Portugal, and Canada from Britain.
On the fourth of July, Americans celebrate their birthday party and enjoy ceremonial events across the country. Firework displays, parades, and barbeque parties, to name a few. Somehow, hot dog is the most popular food to celebrate this birthday, and over 150 million hot dogs were eaten last year, according to an industry organization. Actually, a single man ate 71 hot dogs in 30 minutes at the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest to defend his title.
The original form of the US consisted of 13 former British colonies. The number of states expanded and finally became 50 when Alaska and Hawaii were added to the list in 1959. The country has now the strongest economy, military, and stomach for junk food.
Enjoy reading and learn what you can expect to see on this happy birthday.


Topic Reading-Vol.2640-7/4/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The Arab world in seven charts: Are Arabs turning their backs on religion?
Do you have any idea how people in Arab countries think about religion, women’s rights, foreign influences, social practices, migration, or wellbeing? Do you think most of them are conservative, traditional theists?
BBC recently conducted a survey across 10 countries in North Africa and the Middle East and the Palestinian territories. It found that;
- the number of people who identified themselves as not religious increased over the last five years
- most people think it's ok to have a female leader in their respective state but not in their houses
- an honor killing, a practice to kill a family member who brought dishonor onto the family is more accepted than homosexuality
- Israel and the US are identified as the most threatening powers and Erdogan and Putin are more supported than Trump
- and more than one in five people are considering moving out to their countries mainly due to economic reasons.
If you are interested in the survey results, enjoy reading the article.


Topic Reading-Vol.2639-7/3/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Norway island wants to be world's first time-free zone
Sommarøy is an old fishing village on a small island in Norway with a population of just over 300. It is located on the 69th parallel north, well north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn’t set for nearly 70 days between May and July. In return, the sun doesn’t appear over the horizon from November to January. So, the villagers work or enjoy outside activities as long as they can beyond the time clock in the precious summer. Kids play football at 2:00 am and parents mow the grass after dinner.
This summer, the villagers signed a petition to be a time-free zone, hoping to be free from traditional time-restricted lifestyle while boosting tourism. Indeed, tourism and fishing are their main source of income in the small island village.
When do they sleep? Well, they can catch up with their sleep in the long winter.
Worry about your body clock when you visit there? You’ll eat when you become hungry and sleep when you feel sleepy. Sounds like an ultimate vacation experience, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and think if you want to try a life in the Arctic Circle, whether in summer or winter.