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Topic Reading-Vol.2759-10/31/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Halloween: Costumes could contain same plastic as 83 million bottles
Today is Halloween. It is a celebration remember the dead and followed by All Saints' Day on November 1 and All Souls' Day on November 2. Together, the three days of remembrance of the dead is a mixture of customs of Christian and some other religious origins.
However, today’s Halloween is a party day for kids and adults. Children put on special costumes and accessories, visiting their neighbors for “trick or treat,” and have disguise parties. Adults simply have parties all over the places. Some people go too wild late at night and make places scarier than a graveyard.
But the scariest thing about Halloween is now plastic and waste. Children innocently wear Halloween costumes that are full of oil-based plastic like polyester. Also, it is estimated that nearly half of Halloween costumes are worn only once.
Adults should behave themselves on this special evening to remember the dead, and parents should consider reducing, reusing, and recycling costumes and decorations.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how scary Halloween is.


Topic Reading-Vol.2758-10/30/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Pizza Hut is testing out an Incogmeato pizza in a round box
Incogmeato is a vegan meat product range produced by Kellogg, including burgers, chicken nuggets, and tenders. As more people look for healthier meat alternatives, food companies and restaurant chains are coming up with new products and menus that woo health conscious customers at least when they buy or eat unhealthy foods, such as burgers, hotdogs, and pizzas.
To make such customers feel less guilty, fast food restaurants are testing and launching a range of meat-free options. Pizza Hut is testing out a veggie pizza topped with Incogmeato's meatless sausage in a round box, which uses less packaging than traditional square boxes.
Will health and environment-conscious people order a large pizza with a lot of cheese on it in the first place?
Well, if you want to sell pizzas, you want to sell them as many people as you can. The next alternative, a fat-free, wheat-less, low-carbon-emission veggie pizza!
Enjoy reading the article and think which fast food appeal more to you when you have no time or guts to cook.


Topic Reading-Vol.2757-10/29/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google claims its quantum computer can do the impossible in 200 seconds
Google used to be known primarily as a search engine company. But recently, their advancement in AI, such as Alpha Go which beat human Go champions, and auto driving subsidiary called Waymo, made it one of the most advanced multi-international technology companies. Last month, Google also launched its latest smartphone, the Pixel 4 XL. With Ai, auto-driving, smartphone, and other Internet services, Google unquestionably is a leading company in high tech fields.
However, its technologies aren’t limited only in technologies for today and tomorrow. Google has recently claimed that they achieved ultra-super computing with quantum computing technology. According to their announcement, the quantum computer solved a problem only in a few minutes, which calculation would take thousands of years with a conventional supercomputer.
Why so much faster? While today’s computers use the unit of information is called a "bit" and can have a value of either 1 or 0, quantum system can have a value of both 1 and 0 at the same time, which make multiple calculations to be performed simultaneously. This new computing is expected to be a breakthrough technology in the field of searching, simulation, speed, and cryptography. It may make, or might have made, the impossible possible.
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video to learn about this breakthrough computing technology.


Topic Reading-Vol.2756-10/28/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Breast cancer detected by thermal imaging scan in Edinburgh
Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is a popular tourist attraction in the Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland. It has more than 100 interactive exhibits, including the original Camera Obscura (the very ancestor of the photographic camera), on five floors. From the rooftop terrace, the visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the old town.
When a woman from England went into the thermal imaging camera room of the museum, she noticed her left breast showed a different color. She worried about it and went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. She had to undergo two surgeries is scheduled to have another one, but she will be fine without further chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Since blood flow and metabolism are higher in a cancer tumor, skin temperature around the tumor tends to be higher than the other part of the body. Though thermal imaging isn’t usually used as a diagnostic tool, it worked in her case.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this fortunate visit to the camera museum.


Topic Reading-Vol.2755-10/27/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
We asked a hacker to try and steal a CNN tech reporter's data. Here's what happened
White knight is a person or thing that comes to someone's aid. For example, when a company is facing a hostile takeover bid, white knight might make an acceptable counteroffer to block the bid. Interestingly, there is another “white -thing” that helps save companies. White hats are hackers who attack companies to help them protect from malicious hackers, or black hats. They run penetration tests to find where and how the companies are vulnerable to attackers who use various forms of deception like an app that disguises the voice to convince customer service agents to hand over private information. This kind of technique is often called social engineering. For example, a social engineer pretends to be a registered customer of an online shop customer and gets information like the home address and phone number of the customer. And surprisingly, it’s easy. Companies can make it more difficult, or defensive, to protect their customers’ information by double or triple their guards, like sending a verification code to the registered phone number or email address and have the caller read back or type it in. However, it might be taken as too cumbersome by most customers because they always want things to be easier and they want to be trusted.
How these white hats do their business?
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video to find how vulnerable your privacy could be.


Topic Reading-Vol.2754-10/26/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Qantas test flight completes record 19-hour non-stop flight from New York to Sydney
How long do you want to sit in an airplane seat? Some say the shorter the better even if they need to make a transit or two. Others prefer non-stop flights however long they might be. But can those non-stop-flight passengers, cabin crew members, and pilots stand for as long as 19 hours in the same cabin and cockpit?
The longest regularly scheduled non-stop flight is Singapore Airlines SQ22 that flies from Singapore to Newark, one of the gateways to New York, covering 16,600 km in about 18 hours with an Airbus A350-900ULR. Indeed, Singapore, which lies on the first parallel north and 104 degrees East, is far away from either Europe or North America.
But Australia lies even further from any continent or major cities in the northern hemisphere. Its flag carrier, Qantas Airline, is trying to fly even longer commercial scheduled flights between the east coast cities of the continent, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney and New York and London.
They flew a test flight from New York to Sydney in a little over 19 hours with 49 people on board, including test passengers, crew members and pilots to find impacts on their health, wellbeing, and body clock.
How many drinks, meals, snacks, movies, books and magazines, and naps are needed to endure 19 hours in the same seat? Be reminded. Once you fly to your destination, you’ll most likely need to fly back in another 19 hours!
Enjoy reading the article and think how long is too long for you for a single flight.


Topic Reading-Vol.2753-10/25/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Chile protests: Unrest in Santiago over metro fare increase
Chile is a very long narrow strip of land that lies between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The capital, as well as the largest city,  is Santiago, where over six million people live. In the metropolitan city, there are seven metro lines that stretch 140 kilometers with 136 stations, the most extensive metro network in South America. Over 2.5 million passengers are carried daily by this state-owned metro network, the Santiago Metro, which is part of the integrated public transport system that serves the capital using also feeder and main bus routes. Indeed, the metro serves an important role for residents of Santiago.
Recently, protests were sparked in the capital city when a fare increase of this vital metro system was announced, and some of them turned violent. Young protesters, mainly high school and college students attacked underground stations, started fires and blocked traffic, just like Hong Kong. A state of emergencies was declared to contain the unrest.
Why did a price hike of metro fares trigger such violence? Do young people think they are allowed to protest in any way they want?
Enjoy reading the article and think about the similarities and differences in protests in Santiago and Hong Kong.


Topic Reading-Vol.2752-10/24/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Facial recognition app a double-edged sword
While human inspectors can barely identify a most-wanted criminal if he or she disguised themselves skillfully, today’s AI-powered facial recognition systems can match the image of a person with biometric database in less than a minute. Such facial recognition technologies are especially useful in places where a lot of people walk around or through, such as train stations, airports, and stadiums. In the meantime, people are captured their images without their consent or knowledge. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of cameras installed in public places and streets in China for security reasons. Feel safer to visit China?
Another technology that is becoming popular among video creators is deep fake. It is a technique to synthesize human image using AI. The technology can combine and superimpose images and videos onto others by using a machine learning technique. Deep fake is often used to create fake news, hoaxes, and adverse videos.
Now you may wonder if facial recognition technology and applications are on your side or the other side.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about what should be done to regulate the use of facial recognition.


Topic Reading-Vol.2751-10/23/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Plant-based fish: No bones or smell
There are various meat alternatives these days, such as soya meat, high-tech meat substitute, and bugs. But what about seafood? Since the demand for seafood has been rapidly increasing globally beyond a sustainable level, actions are needed to curb or control overfishing. Also, contaminants are often found in fish, such as mercury, parasites and particles of plastic.
The most conventional method to catch fish without such worries is to raise live fish in sea-farms, tanks or ponds. The method is quite popular to raise salmon and shrimps. They are basically natural seafood or freshwater fish. Another way is to create artificial fish meat from plants. Just like a meat substitute, this is a seafood substitute. Crab stick is a good example of substituted seafood, but it is mainly made from white fish.
Recently, various sustainable kinds of seafood are created without the catch. Plant-based fish is one of such fish alternatives. For example, tuna substitutes can be created from peas, flower, sunflower oil, and citric acid. You could call it vegan seafood. Another alternative is cell-based substitute. It uses cellular biology to grow fish products in a laboratory like fish fillet. Such lab-produced seafood could be called cultured seafood or slaughter-free seafood.
Someday, “Today’s Catch” may disappear from menus in seafood restaurants. Also, farmers, engineers and factory workers may take place of fishermen.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about sustainable seafood without the catch.


Topic Reading-Vol.2750-10/22/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Virgin Galactic unveils Under Armour spacesuits
Founded by a billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson in 2004 as part of the Virgin Group, Virgin Galactic is a space tourism company which is aiming to provide space flights for tourists. The British spaceflight company is developing commercial spacecraft to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists and suborbital launches for space science missions. They use the reusable SpaceShipTwo spaceflight system, consisting of WhiteKnightTwo, a four-engine, dual-fuselage carrier jet aircraft that carries SpaceShipTwo up to an altitude of 50,000 feet. SpaceShipTwo, a reusable, winged spacecraft carries six passengers and two pilots, then fires the rocket motor and commence a near-vertical climb. The acceleration forces will reach around 3.5G and push the spaceship to speeds nearly three and a half times the speed of sound towards space. There, passengers, who are wealthy enough to pay the $250,000 ticket for a two-hour flight, will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and enjoy seeing the colorful Earth and black outer space. Though the entire trip takes less than two hours, it poses extraordinary challenges to human bodies by rapid changes in G forces, from six times the normal weight to zero, and back to the ground in a very short period of time. Will those passengers, or astronauts, have to wear the clumsy spacesuits like ordinary spaceship crew?
No. They are Virgin’s prime passengers. They deserve more fashionable and comfortable, yet functional customized protective armor to enjoy the flight. While proper attire is required for a luxurious trip that lasts as long as a five-course dinner, safety is the number one priority for any commercial flight.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video to learn about this fashionable space suit.


Topic Reading-Vol.2749-10/21/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Drones, apps and smart lockers: The technology transforming healthcare in Africa
Advanced technologies, business models and new practices used to be developed in developed countries and then transferred to developing areas, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But difficulties persist to use medical practices in such regions where access to medical facilities, transportation of emergency patients and materials, and economy of medical treatment are incomparably underdeveloped. For example, there are villages hundreds of kilometers away from the nearest hospital or only a few hospitals for tens of thousands of people.
Fortunately, though, there are new technologies that close the gap and time between patients and doctors as well as to cut the time and cost to deliver medical supplies. Drones are used to deliver blood and vaccines for emergencies. An app is used to diagnose malaria in just a few minutes without blood sample. And smart lockers are placed that patients can pick up prescribed medicine without waiting or being served by staff.
While many businesses are competing to apply new technologies to save costs and offer convenience for their customers and shareholders, some people are working on developing new systems to help people and save their lives.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video and learn how technologies could help people.


Topic Reading-Vol.2748-10/20/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What Japan can teach us about cleanliness
What should children learn in school? Among the things that Japanese students learn in schools, such as math, history, and science, they also learn how to work as a team member, behave themselves in a group, and clean the school themselves, including toilets. And those social skills and manners seem to be retained much longer than knowledge from textbooks.
That might be one of the reasons most places in Japan are clean even without garbage bins or street sweepers, unlike busy streets in China where there are more trash bins than utility poles. Indeed, Japanese people are very sensitive about how they are looked not only by their friends, peers, and neighbors but also by others on the train, in a coffee shop, and in a football stadium. Throwing trash away in public places is regarded as very unruly in the country.
Another reason Japan is so clean and organized seems to come from spiritual wellness, whether by religious teachings in Buddhism or Shinto or social practices. In Japan, it is not uncommon to see residents not only sweep the streets of their neighborhood but also nearby clean nearby parks voluntarily. No wonder they can manage to sort a dozen types of household garbage and put them out on scheduled days.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how a clean country is established and maintained.


Topic Reading-Vol.2747-10/19/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
It's only $4.99. But Costco's rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price
Rotisserie chicken is a chicken dish that is cooked on a rotisserie, a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or roasted in an oven. It is a healthier alternative for fried chicken and has become very popular especially in the US where nearly 100 million ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens were sold by foodservice outlets and retail stores last year. Costco, an American multinational corporation which operates a chain of membership-only warehouse clubs, is the world’s largest seller of rotisserie chicken having sold over 90 million chickens through 700 some stores in 2018 alone. What’s the magic? The price. It’s only $4.99 for a whole ready-to-eat chicken! It is indeed Costco’s one of the bestselling items, which is placed at the farthest spot from the entrance so that shoppers have to walk along with other merchandise. When their first store in mainland China opened in Shanghai this year, eager shoppers rushed and fought to get this iconic chicken, and the store was forced to close earlier.
How can they sell a whole cooked chicken at less than five dollars? Are they making money off it? More importantly, how do they get a stable supply of this many chickens, close to a hundred million a year?
Enjoy reading the article to learn about one of the most popular and economic ready-to-eat dishes and its supply mechanism.


Topic Reading-Vol.2746-10/18/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How selling citizenship is now big business
Vanuatu is an island nation in the South Pacific that consists of 82 islands with a population of just over 270,000. It won independence in 1980 after a century-old reign by France and the UK. Their main economic activities are agriculture, tourism, offshore financial services, and raising cattle. It draws divers from the world to the coral reefs of the South Pacific region and money to its tax-free financial services. Vanuatu is a tax haven because there are no income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or exchange control. But what brings money the most to the island nation is citizenship sales, which now accounts for as much as 30% of the nation’s revenue. The main buyers are Chinese who seek free entry and financial activities in Europe.
In fact, buying and selling citizenship is a booming business around the world, and Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest citizenship marketplaces. Many wealthy people, especially Chinese, bet their money on a passport for the safety of themselves and their fortune. Where there are desperate buyers, there are also brokers that accommodate their needs. With $150,000, one can get a passport of a tropical island country. Sounds like a membership rather than citizenship. The question is if the revenue from selling citizenship brings benefits to the local citizens.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this growing passport market.


Topic Reading-Vol.2745-10/17/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia allows unmarried couples to share hotel rooms
Saudi Arabia is one of the most closed countries in the world to tourists. It was only September this year that they officially started issuing online tourist visas to the citizens of 49 countries. At the same time, the kingdom announced that unmarried foreign male-female couples are allowed to share a hotel room and foreign women can stay in a hotel room alone. These acts are part of the kingdom’s initiative to boost tourism business to generate 10% of its GDP in the next ten years. They are also investing in building new resorts and theme parks to attract visitors.
Will these make the desert kingdom more attractive to international tourists? Please be reminded that it costs over $100 to apply an e-visa and women must wear very conservatively.
What will women wear in resort hotels?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what else is needed for this conservative kingdom to be a popular tourist destination.


Topic Reading-Vol.2744-10/16/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Former Israeli ambassador: Why we have to prepare for war and peace
Israel is a small country with a population of nine million. It sits on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea end the Red Sea and borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sounds very smoky with gunpowder, even in peace times, doesn’t it?
It declared independence in 1947, fought against Arab nations to establish its territories in the following year, and started occupying the West Bank, Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Despite the size of the land and population, Israel’s economy is highly developed especially in the high-tech industry, and the living standard is the highest in the Middle East. Also, Israelis education, military training participation, research and development spending, life expectancy, and women’s safety are one of the highest in the world.
However, having been surrounded by hostile countries and peoples, national security has the highest priority for Israel. Thus, it has been making a significant effort in intelligence, diplomacy, and military to protect its citizens and territories from enemies. Israel also has been a close ally with the US and therefore, the enemy of Iran. Israel claims that Iran supports terrorists and militants that continuously threaten Israel’s people and territories. It often strikes back any offensive acts and sometimes even preempts potential threats to Israel.
Enjoy reading and learn why and how Israel needs to increase its readiness for war and peace.


Topic Reading-Vol.2743-10/15/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Who are the Kurds and why are they under attack?
Kurds are an Iranian ethnic people who live in Western Asia’s mountainous area. The majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims and speak Kurdish languages. They were left stateless when the boundaries of Turkey were set after World War I, which made them ethnic minorities in their respective countries. In Turkey, Kurds are the largest minority that represents about one-fifth of the population. However, because of their continuing persistence and resistance, they have been persecuted by the Turkish government within the country and beyond the borders.
Now, as the US abruptly announced to withdraw its troops from northern Syria that had been supporting Kurds to fight against ISIS, those Kurdish soldiers, and people are under attack by Turkey that wants to diminish their influence on the country and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish far-left militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq.
Indeed, they are stateless nations who don’t have their own state and are not the majority population in any nation, like Palestinians, Rohingyas, and Uyghurs. And they are helpless against the persecutions in the place where they live. Who will protect or support them from now?
Enjoy reading the text and learn what sorts of ordeals Kurdish people are going to undergo and endure.


Topic Reading-Vol.2742-10/14/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
UN warns that staff could go unpaid next month as member states fail to pay dues
How is the UN funded? The world organization is funded through mandatory payments and voluntary contributions. Each of 193 member states is required to pay a percentage of both the UN’s regular operating budget and the peacekeeping budget. Largest contributions are the US’s 22%, China’s 12%, Japan’s 8.5%, Germany’s 6%, followed by the UK, France, and Italy’s. Russia pays 2.4%, merely above South Korea’s, and India owes less than one percentage point.
The money is spent on various activities the UN is engaged in, such as Peace Keeping Operations, World Food Program, UN Children’s Fund, the UN Development Program, and the World Health Organization. Also, the fund is allocated to the UN’s operating budget, including expenditures, expenses and salaries of the UN staff.
As of 8 October 2019, of the 193 member states, 130 Member States have paid their regular budget assessments in full. Though that sounds absurd for any member state not to pay the membership fee by the due date in full to the highest and the most authentic international organization, this year’s progress is no slower than usual. The problem is that some big contributors haven’t paid as they are supposed to yet. In fact, only 70% of the total operating budgets have been paid at the end of September while 78% was paid at the same time last year. That causes a significant financial impact on the UN’s operation as the 75% of the year had already passed, meaning their income is behind to the calendar and payment schedule. As a result, the Secretary-General of the UN addressed at the General Assembly that the staff salaries might not be paid unless the member states pay their unpaid contributions immediately. It was supposed to be the place where next year’s budget was presented and discussed.
Read the article and think how effectively the UN could operate if key member states aren’t paying the allocated contributions.


Topic Reading-Vol.2741-10/13/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Japan's fertility crisis even worse than before as births fall sharply
For a few years after the war ended, over 2.5 million babies were born a year in Japan. They are called baby boomers. For the next two decades, the number of newborns ranged between 1.6 and 1.8 million a year. Then, when those baby boomers reached the mid-20s, they produced around two million babies, called the second baby boomers. However, the number of newborns has been consistently declining ever since and in 2016, it went below the one-million mark. Only three years later, the number is expected to go below 900,000 this year, two years earlier than the government projection. Why so rapidly?
First, the fertility rate. Though it is not as low as South Korea’s below 1.0, Japan’s fertility rate has been below 1.5 for the last three decades, way below 2.1 mark to maintain the population. Also, the number of women in childbearing years are declining, especially when those second baby boomers have passed their late 40s. Another reason is marriage. As more women are educated and joined the workforce, they tend to delay the marriage and as a result, have their first child later, maybe too late to have another one. Finally, higher education cost is to blame. This is not a problem only in Japan but in other east Asian countries like South Korea and China, whose fertility rates are even lower than Japan. As a result, these countries are aging faster than ever in their respective history in peacetime.
Where Japan will go? It won’t be so long before its population goes below the one hundred million mark. “Hope” could be one driver to bring more babies to families. May the hope be with Japan.
Enjoy reading the article and think why Japanese people have stopped creating the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.2740-10/12/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saturn overtakes Jupiter as planet with most moons
Planets, dwarf planets and asteroids in our solar system orbit the Sun. There are eight planets and five officially recognized dwarf planets, including Pluto. They are orbited by moons, or natural satellites, a few of which have atmosphere and even water under the surface.
Do you have any idea how many such natural satellites have been discovered in our solar system? 214 in total, four of which are larger than our moon in radius.
Recently, US researchers found 20 more natural satellites orbiting Saturn, which made the total number of moons around the planet to 82, three more than what Jupiter has. Interestingly, most of those newly found moons orbit the ringed planet backward, or in a retrograde direction, while the other three do in a prograde direction, the same direction as Saturn rotates. Each takes two or more years to complete its orbit.
Scientists think there are more moons waiting to be found. In the meantime, they are running a contest to give these newly discovered moons names.
Are you interested to be a godfather of the distant moons around Saturn?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the moons of our solar system.


Topic Reading-Vol.2739-10/11/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Pigs were spotted using tools for the first time, a new study says
Chimps and crows are often seen to use tools to get their food. But you probably don’t assume pigs are capable of using a tool like them. Surprisingly though, a female wild pig in captivity was seen to use a stick to dig the mound trying to build a nest.
The Visayan warty pig is a critically endangered species that live only in six islands in the Philippines. The pigs are endangered because of habitat loss, food shortages, and hunting. Visayan warty pigs tend to live in groups of four to six.
Priscilla, an adult warty pig, was seen to dig the mound with a stick in her mouth in 2015. The act was so surprising that the researcher who witnessed the scene to return with other researchers in the following years. They found that other members of the family also exhibited the same act, though not as well as Priscilla did. But surely, they seem to have learned to use a tool for a purpose or just curiosity.
Now, if one pig family can do, other swine species might be able to do the same.
Enjoy watching the video and reading the article to learn what swine is capable of.


Topic Reading-Vol.2738-10/10/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Modi built 110M latrines -- but will people use them?
110 million latrines have been built in just five years in India to refrain 600 million people from defecating openly. Sounds like a historical achievement for the world’s second most populous country where open defecation has been still common in rural areas. But have they also established proper maintenance systems to keep those newly built toilets? And more importantly, are people really using them?
Open defecation is a major hygiene problem, especially for children. It is also a social problem for women and girls who are vulnerable to physical attacks. The Modi’s administration campaigned extensively to provide access to toilets to everyone, and at least, they seem to have achieved the campaign’s major goal. But unless those newly installed toilets are used and maintained properly, people will choose to go back to open field, bushes or railway tracks.
To change long-time traditions or practices, public education is no less important than just setting hardware. And it takes a long time for the effects of education to take place.
Still, there are a lot of houses with satellite TVs but without a toilet, and great number of people defecate openly with a smartphone in their hand in India.
By the way, China, the world’s most populous country, has run a similar campaign to clean pubic toilets to make the country more attractive to foreign visitors.
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video to learn about India’s initiative to modernize the country.


Topic Reading-Vol.2737-10/9/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Six elephants die trying to save each other at Thai waterfall
The elephant is the largest living animal on earth. Elephants are found in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. While male elephants leave their families when they grow up, females form family groups that consist of female(s) and their calves. They are very social animals and communicate with each other by touch, sight, smell, and sound. Elephants are also known to have self-awareness and to show empathy for dying and the dead. They can live as long as 70 years in the wild if they can survive from poachers who are only interested in their tusks.
Recently, six elephants including a baby elephant were found dead in a waterfall in Thailand. They are believed to have tried to save the young elephant that had slipped from the cliff and subsequently each other. Two surviving elephants were found trying to save or revive the dead ones.
Of the 7,000 elephants living in the country, half of them are in captivity.
Read the article and see the photos to learn about how elephants live and die.


Topic Reading-Vol.2736-10/8/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Uber's new helicopter service is an expensive, time-consuming adventure
Uber is a San Francisco based multinational ride-sharing company that offers transportation services such as peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing, bicycle-sharing, and food delivery services. You can order a ride via their app that shows fares quoted by their contracted drivers. So, prices for the same route vary based on the supply (drivers) and demand (passengers) for rides at the time the ride is requested. After the ride, you can pay the driver by the pre-selected method like a credit card or mobile payment like Google Pay or PayPal. You can also rate the driver for the service, including the driving, attitude, and cleanliness. All in all, the core value of the ride hailing service, such as economy, quality and convenience, is based on competition and customer reviews.
Now while its stock price is hovering near an all-time low, Uber launched a helicopter service that transport passengers from downtown Manhattan to JFK airport. Though the international airport sits only 35 kilometers from the busy downtown, it could take over an hour by car in busy hours. So, flying to avoid ground traffic may make sense to busy travelers. The eight-minute ride takes eight minutes and $205, much faster at twice the price of a conventional Uber ride. Is the price too expensive to save your time or to enjoy the magnificent view? Just be reminded that the price to fly to JFK is per person, not per ride for a family. So, it’s the matter of how many persons and what time you are flying, as well as how long it takes to the helipad from your location in Manhattan.
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video and think if it has to be Uber to fly to the airport.


Topic Reading-Vol.2735-10/7/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Climate change: Electrical industry's 'dirty secret' boosts warming
The more renewable energy is generated and transmitted, the more harmful gas is emitted, according to BBC. To prevent short circuits and accidents, sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is widely used as insulation material in electrical installations, such as power stations, wind turbines and electrical substations. Unfortunately, SF6 has the highest level of global warming potential, over 20,000 times more warming than carbon dioxide. So, to drive more electric cars, more warming gas is being emitted to power them. In fact, the annual SF6 emissions in 28 EU states combined are estimated to be about the same amount of CO2 emissions from an additional 1.3 million cars. And to make the situation worse, the use of this harmful and warming substance is increasing as more electricity is demanded to drive more cars on the road.
It sounds like Freon, nonflammable gasses or liquids that had been widely used in refrigerators and air conditioners until it was banned in 1987 because it had depleted ozone layers.
When industries are reluctant to change their practices, it is the government bodies that need to take actions to prohibit the use of harmful substances.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this side effect of cleaner energies.  


Topic Reading-Vol.2734-10/6/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
VW will soon let delivery drivers leave parcels in your car boot
What sorts of options do you have to receive a delivery when you aren’t home? One option is to go to a nearby delivery center to pick it up. You could also preassign a pickup site, such as a convenience store or a locker in the railway station. If you want to avoid such a hassle, you may want to have the package simply left at your door front as long as it is not so valuable. But nowadays, there is a convenient service available to those who have a smart door or lock that can be opened by an authorized key code. Then a delivery person can open the door and leave the package inside the house. To ensure security, the whole process can be monitored by a web camera. Does it ring a bell? Now, you could do the same to the trunk of your Volkswagen car. The delivery person has onetime access only to the trunk opener but not to the doors or the ignition. It sounds like shopping something and put it in the trunk, doesn’t it?
It seems that car manufacturers are shifting the gear from on-road driving experience to online services.
Enjoy reading the article and think if you want to have another delivery option for your online shopping.


Topic Reading-Vol.2733-10/5/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Singapore is using technology to solve its water shortage
Singapore is a small island and densely populated city-state with a population of 5.6 million. It is a highly developed country and one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Singapore is also the world’s most highly ranked state in education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety and housing, with a home-ownership rate of 90%. Sounds like a dream place to live in, doesn’t it? But the city-state lacks one of the essentials of daily life. Water. It doesn’t have natural water sources of its own. Therefore, Singapore has built a vigorous, diversified and sustainable water supply from four water sources known as the Four National Taps, Water from Local Catchment, Imported Water mainly from neighboring Malaysia, high-grade reclaimed water known as NEWater, and Desalinated Water. Because of its high-tech nature, new technologies are being developed in Singapore to reclaim as much water as possible. One of such examples is a black sponge called carbon fiber aerogel that cleans wastewater on a massive scale. Another example is a lightweight, simple, portable filtration device that provides clean drinking water.
But what is remarkable in Singapore is water management policies, including legislation and enforcement, water pricing, public education and research and development.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about human ingenuities to cope with the changing environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.2732-10/4/2019

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Tibet celebrates PRC's 70th anniversary
With an average elevation of 5,000 meters and the highest mountain Everest, Tibet is the highest region on the planet. The region had been autonomously governed under Chinese and Mongol empires until after Xinhai Revolution in 1912 when local Tibetans ousted Chinese troops and declared independence. The autonomy lasted until 1951 when it was annexed to China after a military conflict. Following the uprising in 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile from Potala Palace in Lhasa and the region lost its self-governance and social structures.
You may assume that this year is Tibet’s 60th anniversary of the uprising against and surrender to China’s ruling, but instead, they danced and sang before the famous Potala Palace and a huge signboard in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, according to China Daily.
See the photos of Tibetans performing for an anniversary of the historic event.