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Topic Reading-Vol.2880-2/29/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: Mass masked wedding in the Philippines
Amid coronavirus outbreak, wearing blue surgical masks amid a coronavirus outbreak, as many as 220 couples tied the knot in an elaborate event held at the Bacolod City, Philippines on February 20. The participants to the annual event held in the city center were also required complete health declarations detailing a travel history for 14 days, the quarantine period across the globe for arrivals from China, and the maximum incubation time for the virus.
Though it must have felt different to kiss while wearing masks, the newly-wed couples had a very memorable wedding ceremony.
Enjoy watching the video of this unusual annual event in the Philippines.


Topic Reading-Vol.2879-2/28/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Florida surfer uses drone to capture awe-inspiring views of sharks
There are a lot of surfers and beachgoers in warm and sunny Florida. The beaches are beautiful and the waves are great. In the meantime, Florida has the most reported shark attacks. Of the 64 unprovoked attacks worldwide last year, 21 of them were in Florida, which represents one-third of all shark attacks in the world.
Located on the central east coast of the state with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, unofficially known as the shark attack capital of the world. In fact, there were three shark attacks only in a day last year. On February 18, a 33-year-old surfer shot a video by a drone of the sea where he just surfed in. He was shocked to see how many sharks swimming around the area were. He was grateful that he hadn’t been encountered any of them. A close encounter, wasn’t it?
Enjoy watching this amazing video clip to see how crowded this shallow water is with sharks.


Topic Reading-Vol.2878-2/27/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
As a kid, America sent him to live in barracks with 18,000 others. Now, decades later, he's getting an apology
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Imperial Japanese navy shocked and angered Americans. Then-President Franklin Roosevelt authorized an executive order to relocate and incarcerate American people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the West Coast. 120,000 of the first, second and third generation of Japanese Americans were forced into concentration camps, some were sent to other states as far as Arkansas. They lost what they had had, their freedom, civil rights, and contacts with others outside of their camps. This forced relocation and internment lasted for four years even months after the end of the Pacific War. Sounds like the detention camps that the US is criticizing nowadays, doesn’t it?
It took decades for the US to start reflecting what they had done to their own people and it was 1988 when President Ronald Reagan signed a law apologizing for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 to each camp survivor. Now, the state of California, where most of the relocated Japanese American lived, is about to pass a resolution to formally apologizing for the act.
Why does it take too long for a government to admit its own mistake?
Now as the coronavirus outbreak is spreading around the world, such forced detention by race or nationality is another concern.
Read the article and learn how the US detained its own people during the war.


Topic Reading-Vol.2877-2/26/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
This violinist played her instrument as surgeons removed a brain tumor
A brain tumor is a mass or growth of abnormal cells in one's brain. While primary brain tumors can begin in the brain, cancer in other parts of the body could spread to the brain.
A 53-year-old female professional violinist in the UK suffered a brain tumor. It was important for her career and life to have the tumor removed without impairing her abilities to play the musical instrument. So, when she underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her right frontal lobe, she was asked by the surgeons to play the violin to make sure her musical abilities were not damaged. That sounds like pretty much a hands-on surgery, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, the surgery went well, and she was released from the hospital only three days later.
Enjoy reading the article to learn about this extraordinary brain surgery, and if you’re interested, watch the video of the violinist playing the violin during the surgery.


Topic Reading-Vol.2876-2/25/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Movement, vibration, dynamism': The helmet-cam that is revolutionizing Formula E
Started in Beijing in 2014, Formula E is a single-seater electric-powered car race. Racing takes place on 1.9 to 3.4 km long temporary city-center street circuits. The 2019–2020 FIA Formula E Championship is the sixth season of the FIA Formula E championship and will make its debut in Seoul, South Korea in May.
Can you imagine what the car race drivers are looking at and feeling in the cockpit during the race? Some might have seen racing scenes from an onboard camera attached to the car. It shows you what the car racing is like on the street level. Now, thanks to the miniaturizing technologies, a micro camera is attached inside of the driver’s helmet. This Driver's Eye camera allows viewers to be immersed in the dynamic Formula E car racing in tight corners of the city streets. Since the camera is mounted inside the helmet, you can not only see what the driver is looking at but also feel the vibration. You’ll be surprised to find how little a racing driver can see in the cockpit.
Enjoy watching the video and immerse yourself in a Formula E car racing.


Topic Reading-Vol.2875-2/24/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The price of wine is dropping fast
California supplies nearly 90% of the American wine production. There are over 1,200 wineries in the state ranging from boutique wineries to international sellers like Mondavi.
California's wine regions are generally classified as a Mediterranean climate, perfect to grow grapevines. Of the four wine regions, Central Valley produces nearly three-quarters of the state wine production. On the North Coast, there are famous valleys like Sonoma and Napa where world-famous wines are produced.
California wine industry had been enjoying steady growth until recently and expected the growth would continue and grew more vines. However, consumers’ demand for alcohol diverged to spirits and ready-to-drink cocktails while baby boomers age and thus consume less wine. As a result, there is more supply than demand. It seems that they have to wait for some time until the larger millennial population starts to enjoy dining with wine. The good news is that high-quality California wines are expected to become more affordable.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges of vine growers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2874-2/23/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Jeff Bezos: World's richest man pledges $10bn to fight climate change
The founder and chief executive officer of the world’s largest online sales, internet company by revenue, and AI assistance provider, Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is known to many in the world. As Amazon’s market capitalization reaches one trillion US dollars, his net worth exceeds 120 billion. Now, he is named the richest man on Earth.
So, what does he do with that much money? As he’s only 56 this year, there are many things he can do. So far, besides Amazon, he founded Blue Origin, the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company and bought The Washington Post, the major American newspaper, neither of which is an environmental or philanthropic organization. So, he’s been criticized for not being generous to others or conscious of the environment.
Now, he pledged 10 billion dollars to help preserve and protect the natural world by exploring new ways of fighting the impact of climate change.
10 billion dollars to start a fund for a philanthropic cause! It is surely a huge amount of money and if it is well invested and used, it’ll help save the environment a lot.
In the meanwhile, the new fund represents about 8% of his wealth. What will he do with the rest of his money?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what he is interested or expected to do the next.


Topic Reading-Vol.2873-2/22/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Everest: Top Sherpas slam Nepal's plan to clean rubbish from mountain
The peak of Mount Everest rests at 8,848 meters above sea level. It is part of the Himalayas, a mountain range in Asia stretching about 2,400 kilometers across the countries of Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Recently, more people want to reach the peaks of those high mountains, and Mount Everest alone attracted 800 mountaineers in 2018. The problem is that they leave trash behind, such as oxygen and cooking gas cylinders, climbing gear and other rubbish like food wrappers, cans, and bottles. Also, most of them leave their poo and some of them their own bodies. Such trash, human waste, and bodies amount to tons in and around all over the mountains waiting to be removed. In order to clean the mess, humans need to go up, collect the trash and bodies, and carry them down because they are left beyond the reach of garbage collection trucks. The question is who and how? Sherpas or soldiers?
Indeed, Mount Everest has a mountain of a problem.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the amounting problem in and around the mountain peaks.


Topic Reading-Vol.2872-2/21/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Cookies crumbling as Google phases them out
Every move or request on your browser is sent to the server and recorded. It is usually used to tell if the request came from the same browser, which keeps the user logged-in, so that he or she doesn’t have to be identified every time they click or touch on the website. Such information that is sent back to the server is called cookie. Cookies can also be used to record and analyze user behavior and preferences. For example, if someone searches dog food a few times, he or she will be shown ads for pet food, toys, and insurance constantly. While some may find it helpful, this is also regarded as an infringement of privacy and the practice is regulated in the EU and other countries. For example, EU privacy laws state that consent for cookies must be clearly shown and informed. However, most of the sites are found to show such information almost unreadable or inaccessible, and user choice to reject it is hardly visible. In order to protect privacy rights, Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla have banned third-party cookies for some time and now Google, the largest browser Chrome’s provider, is going to restrict the number of advertising cookies on websites.
Cookies may no longer be so sweet for advertisers.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how cookies are being used.


Topic Reading-Vol.2871-2/20/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Chinese birth rate falls to lowest since PRC was formed
The crude birth rate in a year is the total number of births per 1,000 population. Seven decades ago, the world’s average birth rate was around 37 births per 1,000 total population but now it fell by half to 18.5 now.  
China is the world’s most populous country with over 1.4 billion population. Although its population is still growing, the birth rate has been declining and hit the record low last year since the nation was established 70 years ago. While 14.65 million babies were produced last year, the figure represents a birthrate of 10.48 per 1,000, lower than the US’s 12 but higher than Japan’s eight.
This falling birth rate poses a big concern for China’s social and demographic balance in the future because a fewer number of the young and middle-aged population are going to have to support the senior generation. Is the long-blamed single-child policy to blame? But falling birth rate is a common problem among eastern Asian countries like Japan and Korea.
How the world’s largest population, and also the second-largest economy is going to cope with the timebomb may affect the world economy.
Enjoy reading the article and think about what could have caused the declining birth rate in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.2870-2/19/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival had to import its snow this year
The first Sapporo Snow Festival was held in Odori Park in 1950 when six snow statues were made by local high school students. Surprisingly, the festival attracted about fifty thousand people. It became popular across the country when the festival was broadcast on TV in 1959 and drew international attention after the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympic Games. In recent years, the festival welcomes over 2 million visitors from Japan and abroad to see spectacular snow and ice sculptures. This year, the 71st snow festival took place from February 4 till 11. But there were two major shortages the organizers and exhibitors suffer from.
One is the coronavirus, and Sapporo was no exception. The total visitors dropped from 2.7 million last year to about 2.2 million. They can hope they’ll have more visitors next year.
But the other is not only this year’s problem. The snowfall. Japan is experiencing a very mild winter in 2019-2010 season and seeing a record low snowfall even in usually-snow-covered places like ski slopes and mountain resorts. And Sapporo is no exception. The event organizers had to carry snow from mountains that lie as far as 60 kilometers away from the even venues. And they also had to scale down the size of the event. For example, the usually 100meter-long snow slide was cut down to 70 meters this year.
Though the novel virus could be contained by the next season, the warm climate doesn’t seem to end so soon.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos and think about how long the snow slide will be next year.


Topic Reading-Vol.2869-2/18/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why it's time to redesign the old air conditioner
Ever since the first air conditioner came to the market about a century ago, the economy and efficiency of the convenient appliance have been continuously improved. However, the very basic design remains unchanged. Now, there are over 1.2 billion air conditioners that are being used on the planet, consuming electricity and exhausting warm air. The problem is that the world is becoming warmer, more people work indoors, and more computers need to be cooled. In the next three decades, the number of air conditioners running on the planet is estimated to grow to 4.5 billion, about one-half of the world’s population then. Building and running more machines that warm the planet further is neither economical nor environmentally sustainable. So, the world seems to need different kinds of air conditioners or building structures, just like electric or fuel-cell vehicles to replace conventional fossil-fuel engine cars. But how?
The Global Cooling Prize is an innovation competition to develop a climate-friendly residential cooling solution without warming the planet. There are over 2,000 participants from 95 countries for the competition and eight of them are going to be tested this summer in sizzling Delhi, India for 60 days.
In the last century, things were designed to be more economical and convenient without much thought on the environment. Now, more efforts are needed to redesign more environmentally sustainable solutions.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the rising problems of the air conditioner.


Topic Reading-Vol.2868-2/17/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How reading the air keeps Japan going?
Japan is often referred to as a high context country where both verbal and nonverbal communication is indirect. There, it is essential to read from small communication gestures and less direct messages. Messages are often not spoken or expressed but rather implied and are expected to be inferred. In other words, one is expected to read the air. That doesn’t sound so communicative to those whose culture is low context where direct verbal communication and other non-verbal expressions play a big role like America. For example, when your host asks you if you want another cup of tea in Japan, it could mean it’s time for you to leave. You may not simply say, “No thank you,” but should say, “Oh, I stayed too long to bother you.” Yes, it could a cue to urge you to leave depending on the situation and relation with the host.
In order to read the air, you definitely want to understand the situation first. Looking around to find what and how others are doing is one thing. Another way is to find the real intention of the speaker by looking into their eyes. Also, picking up on non-verbal cues along with other non-verbal communication helps you to understand what the person is implying. It is so cultural, situational, and contextual that even young or non-sensitive Japanese don’t get it right. That may be one of the reasons Japanese aren’t good at speaking English.
Enjoy reading the article and learn to read the air.


Topic Reading-Vol.2867-2/16/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Petrol and diesel car sales ban brought forward to 2035
Though the UK leaves the European Union, it seems to stay as a member of the global community to reduce carbon emissions. In order to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050, the UK pulled up the schedule to restrict the sale of new gasoline, diesel or hybrid cars by five years from 2040 to 2035. That sounds ambitious but is necessary as the average age of cars on the road in the country is increasing steadily and has passed the eight-year-old mark. In fact, nearly half of the cars on the road are over six years old. So, if they want to achieve the 2050 goal, the last fossil-fuel engine car to be sold should be no later than 2035 or even 2030.
Some say the 2050 net-zero target is too ambitious. However, if you look at how fast technologies in IT, robotics, communication, bioscience, and rocket science are advancing, it may not be so surprising to see auto-driving emission-free vehicles outnumber human-driven gas-guzzlers on the road. Imagine which generation, or “G”, mobile communication you’ll be using in 2035. What will you be able to do with it?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what would drive political leaders to take actions, personal ambition, political realism. or a 17-year-old girl.


Topic Reading-Vol.2866-2/15/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
This orangutan saw a man wading in snake-infested water and decided to offer a helping hand
Orangutans are one of the four kinds of nonhuman great apes – gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. While the others live in Africa, Orangutans live in Asia, mainly in Borneo and Sumatra, Indonesia. They are the largest tree-living mammal in the world, making their homes in trees. They live for about 35 to 40 years in the wild and longer in captivity. Unfortunately, they are one of the most critically endangered of the great apes due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation and the palm oil plantations. It is estimated that there are only about 50,000-65,000 orangutans remaining in Borneo and Sumatra.
Having nearly 97% of the same DNA as humans, Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. When a warden of a conservation forest in Borneo was trying to remove snakes in the water, an orangutan offered him his hand. Although it is unknown whether the orangutan tried to help a human who was removing their enemy snakes from the water or not, it looks like a helping hand to the warden.
What do you think the man in the water did?
Enjoy this rare photo of an encounter of a wild primate a human.


Topic Reading-Vol.2865-2/14/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Penguins' speech patterns are similar to humans, a new study finds
The African penguin is one of the smallest species. Even though they may not be found in the icy and windy continent, they are covered in an array of black, white, and gray dense, waterproof feathers that keep them dry and warm in the cold waters off the African coast. African penguins communicate with one another through body language and voices. They are known to use three different types of calls, a bray to attract a mate, the yell to scare others, and the haw to call their partners. Recently, researchers found that their frequently used words are shorter like humans. It is an efficient way to communicate within their limited vocabulary and is a similar trait of humans. Also, each penguin has his or her distinctive voice to identify itself. Indeed, imagine a large flock of similar-looking penguins in the mating season. Voice recognition is essential to find the right partner.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how the flightless birds communicate with each other.


Topic Reading-Vol.2864-2/13/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Antarctica logs hottest temperature on record of 18.3C
Lying around the South Pole, Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. The fifth-largest continent is covered by a vast ice sheet and is the world’s highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent. In fact, the ice sheet contains nearly 30 million cubic kilometers of ice, which is about 90 percent of the world’s ice and 80 percent of its freshwater.
You may wonder how cold or warm the continent is. Temperatures reach a minimum of below −80 °C in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C and 15 °C near the coast in summer. Over the last half-century, however, temperatures on the icy continent have risen by almost 3C, and on February 7, a record high temperature of 18.3C was logged on the continent's north-west tip. Since the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest-warming regions on earth, the record-setting temperature indicates that global warming is accelerating. In fact, it was only five years ago when the previous record of 17.5C was logged.
While glaciers are retreating and ice sheets are melting on the icy continent, humans are still warming the planet at an unprecedented pace. Sea levels are going to rise soon.
Read the article and learn about what is going on in Antarctica.


Topic Reading-Vol.2863-2/12/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Nike's controversial shoe will be commercially available this year
The Nike ZoomX VaporflyNEXT% is evolutionary competitive running shoes. A full-length, carbon fiber plate underfoot provides a propulsive sensation to help the runner push the pace. The lightweight VaporWeave material is strong and water-resistant. The midsole material in the forefoot delivers exceptional energy return. By combining these technologies and materials, the shoes seem to provide a competitive edge, as much as a 4% boost in the running economy. In fact, the shoes helped a Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge run a marathon distance within two hours at a special event in Vienna, Austria last October.
As the 2020 Olympic Games are looming on the international sporting calendar, there have been serious arguments as to whether such high-tech thick-soled running shoes could be worn by athletes. How much technologies can contribute to human capabilities? World Athletics approved Nike’s particular shoe product but banned any shoes with soles thicker than 40mm or with more than one plate to enhance their spring. Why 40, not 30 or 50?
Soon, you may see a lot of runners who look 4-centimeter taller than usual on the track or road.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the breakthrough running shoes that have broken a few world records.


Topic Reading-Vol.2862-2/11/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
More medics rush to join the fight in Wuhan
As of yesterday, over 40,000 people have been infected and nearly 1,000 people died of the navel coronavirus. Most of them are in China and Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province and now the epicenter and the frontline to battle the deadly disease. China has been making its best effort to contain the infectious disease, inspect and care for the patients. Hospitals in Wuhan are the most infected places with coronavirus on earth now. It is like a battlefield. Whoever works there has a chance to be infected, like soldiers fighting in the frontline. There are never enough medical staff to cope with the increasing number of desperate patients who have nowhere to go. Indeed, it is the frontline and also the last line of defense against the fast-spreading virus. To help the understaffed medical facilities and overworked staff, doctors and nurses are arriving from around the country. Whatever the motive they have, mission, patriotism, or empathy, their courage to go to the most contaminated facilities of the epicenter is highly admirable. Imagine, they are spending long hours in the air full of viruses and caring for the infected patients. Yet, they look like having full of energy and commitment to go and work there.
See the photos and learn how hard China is fighting the novel virus.


Topic Reading-Vol.2861-2/10/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Watch this: Latest tips to prevent novel coronavirus
China has been making its best and most effort to stop spreading the coronavirus. Some cities are locked down, public transportations are stopped, roads are closed, spring holidays are extended, businesses and schools are closed. In Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, a new 1000-bed hospital was constructed in less than two weeks to house the increasing number of patients. Probably only China can take such drastic measures and enforce restrictions so swiftly and thoroughly, thanks to the mighty ruling party. Remember, there are over 1.3 billion people in the populous country.
Then what can and should people do to prevent from infecting others or being infected by others? In fact, there isn’t anything special you can do other than ordinary measures and cares to prevent and deal with the flu. Wear a mask, sit or stand apart from others, use hand sanitizer, disinfect seats and doorknobs, and ventilate the air, not to mention washing hands and gargling often. Of course, you should avoid going out, contacting people, or talking or eating with others. Also, take temperatures twice or more a day to find any sign of infection. If you have a high fever or coughs, go to the hospital with a mask on. But if you have no choice but to stay home, try to stay away from your family members, maintain a balanced diet, and do moderate exercise if the body temperature is not so high.
Now, the hardest part in some places is to find facial masks.
Watch the video and learn what you can do to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus.


Topic Reading-Vol.2860-2/9/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Somalia declares emergency over locust swarms
Grasshoppers are usually solitary and harmless to humans. However, under certain circumstances, they change their behavior and habits and become more abundant, gregarious, and nomadic, called locusts. Although an adult locust eats its own weight in food daily, or about one half of a gram, when they become gregarious, they eat more and travel over 100 kilometers in a day and eat anything they find on the way. Such a transformation of usually harmless grasshoppers into destructive desert locusts, including changing the color, eating much more, and breeding much faster and more easily, occurs in a response to overcrowding.
Located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia is a small, poor and insecure country with its GDP per capita ranked nearly the bottom on the world’s list. Now, they declared a national emergency as large swarms of locusts spread across east Africa. Already poor farmers are losing their hope for the next harvest. With this overwhelming swarms of locusts, some are as many as 80 million locusts per square kilometer, spraying pesticide is hardly effective to protect their farmland.
It sounds as destructive as the coronavirus outbreak.
Read the article and watch the video to learn about what locusts do to humans and nature.


Topic Reading-Vol.2859-2/8/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How you can get hotels to use less plastic
When you stay in a hotel room, you’ll find a variety of plastic items, such as the room key, bottled water, and toiletry bottles. According to the chain scale segment in 2018, there are over five million hotel rooms in the U.S. Imagine how much single-use plastic is disposed of from there daily and yearly. However hard you try to reduce the use of such environmentally unfriendly materials in your daily life, you still find many hotels are still depending on such convenient and economical plastic items. But things are changing. More hotels are eying sustainability, avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance, to become more competitive and guest friendly. They are driven by customer feedback more than ever before to stay competitive, thanks to guests’ reviews and comments on hotel booking sites.
Sooner or later, you’ll find more hotels offer non-plastic room keys, purified water machines, and large pomp-topped bottles in the bathroom. Will you enjoy the stay better that way?
Indeed, sustainability seems to drive businesses to save the planet.
Enjoy reading the article and think about what you can do to travel in a more environmentally friendly way.


Topic Reading-Vol.2858-2/7/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Greta Thunberg to trademark 'Fridays for Future'
Originally staged by a Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, in August 2018, Friday’s for Future is an international movement of school students to prevent climate change. The cause encourages students to take time off from class on Fridays to participate in demonstrations to demand political and business leaders to take action to prevent climate change and replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy. In September last year, a series of strikes took place with millions of participants in more than 150 countries. Surely, the name became popular enough to be used for other purposes.
Now, in order to prevent people from using her name and the movement for commercial purposes, Thunberg is trademarking her name and the #FridaysForFuture movement. Also, she has set up a non-profit foundation to manage the financial side of #FridaysForFuture, which is essential to make the cause sustainable and independent.
The incumbent US Treasury Secretary told her to study economics before lecturing investors. But she seems to be able to work with experts to manage the financial and economic aspects of the movement.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this global movement to stop climate change.
p.s. If you want to know more about the movement, Check


Topic Reading-Vol.2857-2/6/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Artificial intelligence-created medicine to be used on humans for first time
By now, most people know that artificial intelligence is applied to analyze, judge and solve a wide range of issues, such as translating languages naturally, analyzing questions and suggesting responses, predicting customer traffic and adjusting inventory, and diagnosing patients, not to mention beating chess or go champions. Indeed, while the automation does what humans used to do physically faster, AI does what humans can think and judge more accurately and swiftly. Also, you might have heard that AI is becoming even creative, innovative and inventive, such as writing stories, playing music with other musicians, and developing new medicine. Now, AI has invented a drug molecule to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD. It was created only in a year or so by using algorithms to check potential compounds against a huge database of parameters, which could have taken years if humans experts had tried. The AI created molecule is going to be tested in humans soon.
Will AI exceed human ingenuity in all aspects?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this AI invention.


Topic Reading-Vol.2885-3/5/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Children facing uncertain future, experts warn
Despite the agreement on 17 sustainable development goals, SDGs, in 2015, very little improvement has seen in hunger, poverty, and climate action in the world. Those who have been enjoying their lives and dying within the next few decades especially in developed countries don’t seem to care so much about climate change. However, those who are growing now are going to have to live in the world that faces a rise in ocean levels, heatwaves, malnutrition and infectious diseases like malaria as a result of global warming. They are also threatened by another human-created health problem, junk foods, and sugary drinks. Over two billion people including children, or roughly 30% of the world’s population, are overweight while 150 million children suffer malnutrition. TV commercials and target ads in social media that promote unhealthy foods and drinks are to blame. Both climate change and junk food ads are created by adults and are threatening the future of their offspring. Does any other creature on the planet do such a self-destructive act?
Read the article and think if human ingenuity is going to save or keep harming the future.

Topic Reading-Vol.2856-2/5/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
GM and Honda unveil self-driving car with no steering wheel or pedals
Would you like to use a ride-sharing service? If yes, what about a driver-less, six-seater electric van? Such an autonomous vehicle is about to be seen on the road soon. The Origin, developed by an autonomous-vehicle unit of GM and Honda, has no driving features like a steering wheel, gas pedal, rearview mirrors or windshield wipers but has only seats and seatbelts for six passengers. There is no doorknob, either. To get in this boxy car, a rider needs to punch the code that was sent to your smartphone on the keypad outside the vehicle. The sliding door is wide enough for two people to get in or out at the same time. You won’t be able to buy this futuristic autonomous car as it is designed for the ride-sharing fleet. So, someday, you may be picked up by this driverless car somewhere. No matter how accommodating and comfortable the ride may be, it won’t ask you for a tip. That’s for sure.
But wait a minute. Is there space to put your luggage in?
Enjoy reading the article and think if and when you may ride a fully autonomous, electric ride-sharing vehicle without luggage but with five other passengers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2855-2/4/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
France to ban culling of unwanted male chicks by end of 2021
If a chick is born male, his life most likely ends before long. That’s because male chickens are economically unwanted. Male chicks neither grow as fast as nor lay eggs like hens do. Each year, while billions of hens are used in egg and poultry farming, a similar number of male chicks are slaughtered either by gas or grinders as soon as they are sorted after birth. So, most chickens living on the planet are hens. No gender equality for chicks whatsoever.  
France is now taking a new step to end this culling practice after birth. They announced to ban this mass killing of newborn chicks by the end of next year with an expectation that new technologies are going to be developed to identify the gender before hatching. That sounds less inhumane than killing chicks after hatching. Selective hatching, in short.
Read the article and learn about if human laws supersede the law of nature.


Topic Reading-Vol.2854-2/3/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Here's one way to cut down on plastic pollution: Eat your bowl
In the last century, our priority was to create economical solutions and produce them on a massive scale. Single-use plastic products are the most notable example, such as bags, wraps, and tableware. But they are not bio-degradable so that once used, they become waste. Of the 300 million tons of plastic waste produced each year, less than 15% of that is recycled. Using paper is one of the practical solutions to reduce the use of single-use plastic. Paper bags, straws, and dishes are good alternatives. But they still end up in landfills or incinerators.
Is there anything that is biodegradable and consumable? One South African company came up with an edible bowl that is made from wheat. This began bowl can hold a hot meal for up to five hours and be stored for as long as 15 months. Sounds like a perfect alternative for tableware used in fast-food restaurants, outside events, and airplanes. Though it costs more than plastic tableware, it can be part of the meal like bread. Not so different from an ice-cream cone or taco shells.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this edible tableware.


Topic Reading-Vol.2853-2/2/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Lunar New Year: 11 things to know
Still in New Year holidays? Though China’s Lunar New Year / Spring Festival holiday was supposed to end on January 24, it was extended at least to today nationwide and even longer in some major cities like Shanghai in an effort to contain the fast-spreading, deadly, novel coronavirus outbreak. Public movement, large gatherings, festival events, and businesses are all restricted. Only the shops that sell daily necessities are open but with limited supply.
A novel coronavirus outbreak and traditional spring holidays are taking place in China at the same time. Neither of which is well known outside China, save the fact that both affect many people and all kinds of activities. But at least, you can learn more about the most important holiday and its activities in China. During the holidays, they move to reunite with their family members, relatives and friends and do special things and don’t do certain things that are considered bad luck. They also wear red clothes, make large noises, and watch special movies and dramas. Everyone adds another age as it is the beginning of the new year.
Sounds interesting?
Enjoy reading the article and learn what Chinese do during the Spring Festival holiday season.


Topic Reading-Vol.2852-2/1/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: What it does to the body
As over 10,000 people have been confirmed to have been infected, the World Health Organization, WHO, declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. It is now defined as an extraordinary event that constitutes a public health risk beyond China through the international spread of disease, and potentially require a coordinated international response. Previous emergencies have included Ebola, Zika and H1N1. Despite China’s all-time effort to contain the virus, including locking down nearly 60 million people, banning group travels, and extending the Spring Holidays, there were more than 100 confirmed cases in 20 places outside of China at the end of January.
What do you know about this novel coronavirus? What are the symptoms? What does it do to the human’s body and health? Who is more vulnerable to the virus than others?
Read the article to learn about this deadly, fast-spreading coronavirus.