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Topic Reading-Vol.3033-7/31/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The most powerful renewable energy
Ever since commercial electricity production began in 1870, electricity generation has been increasing steadily, and recently rapidly, to light houses and power computers. Though renewable energies, such as wind, solar and biofuels are taking some share, the combined total of these cleaner power represents less than 10% of the total power generation. Still, it is coal that generates the most electricity followed by natural gas. Combined, these two fossil fuels produce over 60% of the total power generation. The problem is the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-based electricity generation account for a significant portion of world greenhouse gas emissions. On the bright side, hydroelectric power plants, which emit the smallest amount of greenhouse gas per generated power, produces about 16% of the total, far higher than Nuclear’s 10%.
The mechanism of hydropower is simple. It basically drops water from a high point to a lower point where turbines are waiting to spin. Sounds simple and eco-friendly, doesn’t it? However, this process usually takes place in water dams which were built with a significant impact on the environment and water ecosystem. Think of fish species that need to swim up to lay eggs like salmon. How can they clear the spinning turbines and blades of the powerplant? Also, there is a concrete wall and height they need to pass through.
To overcome these environmental challenges, some people are working on developing eco-friendly, sustainable hydropower plants.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges to build eco-friendly hydropower plants.


Topic Reading-Vol.3032-7/30/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Is Harvard worth $50,000 if it's only online? That depends on who you ask
A very difficult choice to make to start a new freshman year at one of the most prestigious universities, Harvard. The oldest institution of higher learning in the US announced that their new fall classes will be held online. Freshmen can choose to be on campus just in the fall semester but will take classes from their dorm rooms. They can also attend the same online classes from home. Each option costs $63,000 and $54,000 respectively. In other words, you’ll pay $9,000 just to live in the dorm for a few months, where you’ll have limited and smaller-scale chances to interact with other ambitious students, though there may not be as many foreign students as previous years. Is it worth paying the full tuition for online-only courses in the first place? Will $9,000 bring about a good return on investment? If you think neither is a viable option, there is another. You can choose to take a gap year before starting a freshman year hoping to enjoy full benefits of the prestigious Ivy League university with classroom courses, face-to-face interactions with the faculty members and fellow students.
For those who are enrolled in Harvard, this is going to be their first case study to figure out the return on investment and to make a decision.
Enjoy reading the article and think about which option you would choose if you were to study at Harvard.


Topic Reading-Vol.3031-7/29/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Painting an airplane: Why every layer counts
When you board an airplane, do you check the identity of the aircraft? Usually, passenger aircraft are pained in certain ways to show the identity of the airline or promotional design. But have you thought about how they are painted?
When a new aircraft comes out of the production line, it is usually painted green for metallic aircraft and beige for those made of composites. They are the base colors for later painting jobs. While new aircraft are usually painted in the assembling factory, repainting works are done in other specialized painting companies. In fact, commercial aircraft are painted every several years to keep in good appearance. Also, when an airliner is merged, acquired, or rebranded, the belonging aircraft are repainted.
Do you have any idea how much and how long it takes, and what processes are needed to paint an aircraft?
Enjoy reading the article and learn how aircraft are painted.


Topic Reading-Vol.3030-7/28/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: China's cinemas start to reopen after shutdowns
In the last five years until 2019, about 10,000 cinema screens had been added each year in China. This rapid increase was mainly driven by its growing urban population and rising demand for entertainment, not to mention the hawkish investors who wanted to jump on the bandwagon. But since March, most of these movie theaters have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic not only in China but around the world. You can easily imagine how closed and shoulder-to-shoulder environment movie theaters are. Having been closed for nearly six months, these movie theaters are in financial crisis, if not already closed forever. Now, some of the theaters opened their doors again under China’s film administration’s strict guidelines. They are allowed to sell only 30% of the seats for half the number of films compared with last year. To make the situation even harder, they aren’t allowed to sell any drinks or beverages, which could generate significant revenues to cinema operators.
For movie-goers, it’s not a bad story even without pop-corns. But financially, it is surely a money-losing game for theaters. Can they raise the ticket price? Are there enough popular movies coming out?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what you would do if you owned a movie theater.


Topic Reading-Vol.3029-7/27/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
EU leaders strike 'historic' $2 trillion deal to rebuild Europe's economy
The EU is more united than ever before to cope with the economic and financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Without the UK, the population of the EU is a little under 450 million and the GDP is slightly over 17 trillion dollars. The population of the US is around 320 million and the GDP is about 2 billion more than that of the EU's. Now, the leaders of the union gathered, discussed, and argued for four days and finally agreed to establish an $858 billion recovery fund to boost EU economies from the crisis. To create the fund, the EU will become a major borrower in global financial markets. It was very difficult for financially wealthy countries like Germany and Frugal Four, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, and Sweden, to grant about half of the fund to the hardest-hit countries like Italy and Spain. But considerable and desperate efforts were made by the leaders and their administrations to keep the EU united rather than divided beyond their financial conditions and political calculations.
While the United States of America is getting more and more divided in multiple angles, the EU has demonstrated what political leaders can do to unite countries.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the EU’s historic financial deal.


Topic Reading-Vol.3028-7/26/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Missing Kansas dog makes 50-mile trip to old home in Missouri
A four-year-old female Labrador, named Cleo, had been missing from her home for several days. Luckily, the dog was implanted a microchip that identifies personal information including her owner, so several days later when the dog was found on the pouch of someone else’s home, her owner was identified. Since the owner of the dog posted a missing dog appeal on Facebook, they were contacted by the owner of the house where the dog was found. Sounds like a good but ordinary story, doesn’t it? But the dog was found 80 kilometers away from her current owner’s home. And the house where she was found was her house until they moved away two years ago! Did she forget her present house and went to her old one? No one knows why and how the dog walked to her old house by crossing busy streets and rivers for 80 km.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how capable dogs are to trace something.


Topic Reading-Vol.3027-7/25/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Summers could become 'too hot for humans'
As global warming progresses, winter is getting warmer and summer is getting hotter. In some regions, the daytime temperatures reach 40 degrees in Celsius, dangerously too hot to work outside. Indeed, one study suggests that over one billion people could suffer heat stress by the end of the century if temperatures kept rising by climate change. But is the temperature the only index that suffers people’s health the most? In fact, a place at a temperature of 40 degrees under the shade in an extremely dry place like the desert is much more livable than that of 30 degrees under the direct sun in a humid place like South Asia. Then what do we need to know?
The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) measures that take not only heat but also humidity and other factors to give a more realistic description of the conditions, such as wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover. The WBGT of below 30C is considered comfortable to the safe zone but over 30C could cause dehydration and heat stress. It sounds a little complicated to measure the conditions in your work or living environment but what you need to do is simple. Drink enough water, get sweat, and avoid being baked by the sun.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what you need to do to avoid this dangerous health condition before midsummer (In the northern hemisphere).


Topic Reading-Vol.3026-7/24/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Covid-19: What we now know about the disease caused by the novel coronavirus
Even though the government or heath ministry allows theaters to open their doors, there is no reliable data about how far the social distance should be on the stage and between the seats. While large droplets from the mouth and nose settle out under gravity soon, smaller particles can be airborne much longer, possibly hours if the air is not ventilated or circulated. So, in order to provide some idea as to how far each singer and brass/wind musician should stand on the stage, the UK government funded a research project to find how those clouds of exhaled breath, or the aerosol, stay in the air. Such guidance is badly needed to reopen theaters and music halls but the results of the research won’t come out until fall.
There is also a supply problem to theaters and music halls. Since most of the music or performing art tours are canceled and also unable to schedule for the near future, theaters can’t sell enough tickets to make their businesses especially when seats will need to be half empty to keep social distancing.
When will we be able to see and hear musicians on the stage and dance on the floor?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges in the live music business.


Topic Reading-Vol.3025-7/23/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Tuk-tuk racing delivers thrills and spills
Tuk-tuk is an auto-rickshaw that is very common in warm regions like Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia where people can comfortably ride in the open air. It is like a tricycle version of a small motorbike which can usually carry two or three passengers. Tuk-tuk is a very popular vehicle for urban transport both for locals and tourists, but it is usually not used for a long journey or racing. However, these three-wheelers can compete in an endurance race in Sri Lanka. This year’s Red Bull Tuk It race took place in February, before the Coronavirus pandemic. Over 200 teams participated in this two-day race that covered over 120 km across Sri Lanka. The racecourse included not only paved streets in towns but also muddy paths in rural areas and rivers to cross.
For most participants, their rickshaws are the sole means of making their living. How could they risk such precious vehicle for racing that could damage or even destroy their Tuk-tuk?
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video and think if you’d like to ride on one of those participants Tuk-tuk.


Topic Reading-Vol.3024-7/22/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The moon is about 85 million years younger than we thought, new study finds
Do you have any idea how and when the moon was formed? According to a widely supported hypothesis, about 4.5 billion years ago, an ancient planet in the early Solar System collided with the early Earth when it was still heating up and changing rapidly. The collision created a lot of debris that orbited around Earth and later formed the early Moon. So, it has been widely assumed that the Moon was born about the same time as the Earth.
Now, a new study estimates that the Moon was formed about 85 million years after the Earth when the planet was almost formed solid. Also, it found that it took about 200 million years for the Moon to cool down and became solid from its molten form.
How did the scientists figure out these super ancient astronomical timelines?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the birth of our planet and the Moon.


Topic Reading-Vol.3023-7/21/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Fertility rate: 'Jaw-dropping' global crash in children being born
There were about 2.5 billion people living on the planet in 1950 when women were having 4.7 children on average. Now, there are three times more people, and the population keeps increasing even though women are having an average of 2.4 children, much fewer than in the previous century. The problem is that the fertility rate is declining in many countries around the world, save Africa. As a result, researchers predict that the world population will peak at 9.7 billion around 2064 and start declining. Also, the fertility rate stays below the replacement level of 2.1 in most countries while people live longer and longer. Consequently, while the population of under-fives is predicted to decline from 681 million in 2017 to 400 million in 2100, the number of over-eighties is going to increase from 141 million to 866 million during the same period. In short, 681 vs. 141 to 400 vs. 866. This means that the world is going to face very serious social and economic challenges to sustain the rapidly aging societies. For example, instead of restricting immigrants from other countries, many countries may have to compete to attract young people from Sub-Saharan Africa. There may be no room for racial discrimination, but age barriers may arise instead.
Environmentally, the fewer the better the number of humans is, but sociologically, that could pose significant challenges to sustaining societies.
Enjoy reading the article and think about how human ingenuities could cope with this population problem.


Topic Reading-Vol.3022-7/20/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why email loses out to popular apps in China
While using PC, email, Facebook, and then Slack respectively is the common path for digital communication in the previous side of the world, doing everything via SMS, smartphones, and WeChat is the way to live on the other side of the world, China. The difference in communication platforms has created a huge gap between China and the other developed countries not only in communication but also for business transactions. For example, when you buy something online, you’ll pay by a credit card and get a confirmation and notification to your email address. But in China, everything is done either by WeChat Pay or Alipay, all in one platform. And furthermore, these mega-SNS platforms are used in businesses and even as social infrastructures like paying tax or public parking fees. Indeed, everything is found and done by a simple device, smartphone.
How did such a one-for-all platform and device emerge?
Enjoy reading the article and learn about China’s unique mobile platform.


Topic Reading-Vol.3021-7/19/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google announces $10bn investment in 'digital India'
Since Google has no presence and will not have any in the foreseeable future in China, its obvious growth opportunities lie in India. Though English is often used in many web content and YouTube videos, it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of India’s Internet content consumption is in local languages in India. Indeed, since there are 22 official languages in the second-most populous country, simply translating English into Hindu, the most spoken language, isn’t enough to provide services to new users and access to the cyber world. Also, compared with its archrival China, there still are hundreds of millions of people waiting to enjoy the benefits of the Internet. So, the Indian-born top official of Google’s parent company announced that it would invest $10 billion in India in the next five to seven years. What’s amazing is not just the sheer amount of the financial investment but the four areas of digital infrastructures that Google hopes to upgrade, including language, new products, local businesses, and social welfare. Very comprehensive and ambitious.
Enjoy reading the article about Google’s aggressive investment in India.


Topic Reading-Vol.3020-7/18/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Aerial ballet: How airplanes fill up with fuel mid-air
If you want to extend the range of an airplane, how would you do that? If there were gas stations floating in the air, you could fly your aircraft to one of them and pump the gas. Though there isn’t any such floating gas station in the sky, you could get your hungry aircraft refueled in the air from a fuel tanker airplane via a hose. This idea sounds simple but the execution is complex. The two airplanes are flying much faster than any car on the road. Also, winds are much faster and rougher than on the ground, and there could be sudden turbulence while refueling jet fuel. Indeed, air-to-air refueling extends aircrafts’ range and endurance substantially and is actually a commonly practiced operation among air forces in the world, it is a very challenging and dangerous task. Pilots of both fueling and refueled airplanes are required precise skills to stay close to each other for a few minutes. But such precision skills are going to be taken over by a fully-automated system as early as next year. Then, drones, helicopters, and jets will all be refueled in the air more safely and easily.
Will there be commercial fuel tankers sometime soon?
Enjoy reading the history and methods of mid-air refueling.


Topic Reading-Vol.3019-7/17/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
50 of the world's best breads
There are so many types and names of bread in the world. But basically, there are two types, leavened or unleavened. Leavened bread is made by adding leaving, such as yeast, yogurt, and baking powder to the dough, usually made from flour and water, to allow the bread to rise. It is commonly eaten in Europe, America, and many parts of Asia. Loaf bread, bagels, baguettes, scones, and muffins are popular leavened bread. Unleavened bread is baked from just a dough, thus usually flat, such as chapati, naan, matzo, and tortillas.
Since bread is usually eaten with other local food, it is part of local culture and tradition. It is so essential for daily life that the availability and affordability of bread are the highest political and economic priorities in many countries. When you eat an Indian curry or tandoori dish, you’ve got to have naan with it. When you eat Mexican Fajita, you want tortillas to wrap it. When you have good cheese and ham, you want to sandwich them with sliced bread. Indeed, there are so many kinds of bread in the world, bread is basically what your culture says it is, according to a bread historian.
Enjoy reading this article and learn 50 popular breads around the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.3018-7/16/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Foreign students in US: Trump administration drops deportation plans
This time, Trump administration made a rare quick reaction. It withdrew the widely criticized policy to deport foreign college students who failed to switch their 2021 courses from online-only to in-person. (Vol. 3016) The policy was reversed shortly after it was legally challenged by Harvard and MIT first and followed by numbers of other universities and states across the country. It could have affected many of the 400,000 or so academic and vocational students should the plan was implemented.
Did any staff or advisers of the administration give other aspects of the ideas just brought up in the Oval Office? Has the President become more sensitive about public opinions as election nears?
Read the article about this sudden reversal of this potentially intimidating policy to foreign students to the US.


Topic Reading-Vol.3017-7/15/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
300 drones flew above Seoul to thank frontline workers and encourage coronavirus preventative measures
A unique way to thank the medical workers who work in the frontline and encourage people to keep the preventive measures. A drone show in the night sky. South Korea, where technologies are the key to survival and prosperity, is also in the midst of fighting the coronavirus. The government flew 300 drones to perform a 10-minute synchronized light show above the Han River in Seoul. They presented images of medical workers to appreciate their dedicated work. Also, they created images of handwashing, masks, and even social distancing to remind everyone to do their part. It sounds like a nice touch, doesn’t it?
While there are countries whose confirmed cases have already gone over million because of their leaders’ ignorance about Covid-19, East-Asian countries like Korea, Japan, and Taiwan seem to have contained the spread of the virus much more effectively.
Enjoy watching the drone show in Seoul’s night sky.


Topic Reading-Vol.3016-7/14/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: Anger over US decision on foreign students' visas
There are about one million foreign students studying at colleges and universities in the US, which represent approximately 5.5% of all college student community. Nearly half of those foreign students come from China and a quarter from India. Now, as a new academic year approaches, US colleges and universities are announcing how they’re going to run their classes and administrate the students. Some of them have decided to go only or mainly online to ensure continuity in learning even under the coronavirus pandemic, and others have said course instructions would be only delivered online. At the same time, the US government announced that it will not issue or extend student visas to those who only take courses online. If that happens, foreign students whose courses are changed to online-only have no choice but to change the courses or college, or leave the country and continue the courses. Also, those who are newly enrolled in online-only courses will have to study in their own country or somewhere else.
The academic community is deeply concerned that the new guidance will undermine students’ learning opportunities and campuses diversity, either on-campus or online,
So, what are those foreign students going to do?
Reading the article and think about the intention of the US administration by kicking out foreign students.


Topic Reading-Vol.3015-7/13/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Robotic scientists will 'speed up discovery'
Scientists are no exception from social distancing and remote working. So, when they can’t work at their labs, how do they do experiments? The answer is robots and AI.
Robots can work 24/7 without a break or face mask. Also, thanks to AI, they do not only what they are programmed to do but also what they’ve learned from their work. Such robo-scientists are expected to play important roles to help human scientists spend more time on research and innovation. This is especially valuable when many lab scientists are kept away from their workplaces to avoid Covid-19 infection. Indeed, robots have been used in hazardous conditions for some time, such as space and toxic environment. Also, scientists are hoping to connect lab-robots across the world and run them by a centralized command center to conduct larger-scale experiments faster.
Will lab-robots join international Zoom conferences soon to report the results of their experiment?
Enjoy reading the article and think when robots will join your work team.


Topic Reading-Vol.3014-7/12/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A looming plague
You might know about the unprecedented number of locusts have been flying, migrating and eating crops in many places around the Indian Ocean, from Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, and India. Having been helped by warmer and rainier weather conditions, locusts have multiplied their numbers more easily than any year in recent decades.
Female locusts can lay more than 150 eggs at a time. Just in two weeks, they hatch into hoppers. It takes just a month for these young hoppers to start flying and laying eggs, and the cycle goes on and on. Once they start flying in swarms, it is too late to stop them efficiently from spreading and migrating. That is what happened this year where spraying pesticides was logistically difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic. They were left uncontrolled and went airborne in June to India and Pakistan and eating crops for humans and laying their eggs.
See these images to learn how devastating locusts are to crops, farmers, and eventually humans in the affected regions.


Topic Reading-Vol.3013-7/11/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The unlikely history of fireworks
It was just a week ago when America celebrated its 244th birthday. As they do every year, fireworks were displayed all over the country. It is one of America’s proud two-century-old traditions.
But when and why was such entertainment of flash and sounds created?
It was 22 centuries ago when Chinese people created popping noise to scare a bigfoot. They found that bamboo shoots burst and cause a big noise when some part is heated intensely.
Centuries later, gun power was created also in China and people started to enjoy fireworks about a millennium ago.
So, Americans have been proudly enjoying this Chinese invention for their nation’s birthday over two hundred years.
Enjoy watching the video to learn how fireworks were invented.


Topic Reading-Vol.3012-7/10/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Law on safeguarding national security in HKSAR
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, or HKSAR, is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. The territory had been part of China since the Qin dynasty in 221 BC until it was leased to the British Empire for 99 years in 1898. When the lease ended in 1997, the territory with a population of 6.5 million was returned to the People’s Republic of China in peace.
The governance of Hong Kong was described as “One country, two systems," and the established system with a high degree of autonomy was supposed to be respected for up to 50 years after the reunification.
However, on June 30, 2020, China’s Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, not the Hong Kong Legislative Council enacted the Hong Kong national security law which reduces the city’s autonomy and restricts acts that could threaten the nation’s security. The effects of the law are obvious, and hundreds of activists have already been arrested. While a wave of criticism arose from foreign governments and media, China’s stance seems to have been firm to treat Hong Kong as part of the state, especially after the recent violent protests that disrupted the business and lives in the special district.
From China’s viewpoint, Hong Kong has been its territory for over two millenniums. So, what is the problem to treat its own territory as the rest of the country especially for safeguarding national security?
Read the article by China and learn about the Hong Kong national security law.


Topic Reading-Vol.3011-7/9/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Balloon trips to the edge of space by 2021
Space travel by a balloon? Indeed. you can enjoy 360-degree views from 30 kilometers above the surface, about three times higher than the cruising altitude of a commercial flight. A human space flight company in Florida designed a hydrogen balloon that lifts eight travelers for a six-hour space-view trip, which consists of a gentle ascent, 360-degree magnificent view time, and slow descent to the ocean, each of which takes two hours. You don’t have to worry about enduring the G-force to go up or overly thrilling fall from the sky. The price tag for this gentle space trip is $125,000, which doesn’t sound too expensive considering the unparalleled experience. You could take your family for a vacation or have a wedding party. The capsule is five meters in diameter and equipped with a unique toilet. Unlike the ones on spacecraft or airplane, it offers the best view in the known universe, the company claims.
An unmanned test flight of this casual space trip is scheduled next year.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos and think if you want to start saving money for this balloon trip.


Topic Reading-Vol.3010-7/8/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Prague celebrates end of coronavirus lockdown with mass dinner party at 1,600-foot table
The Czech Republic seems to move faster than others in Europe and maybe in the world. The Czech government declared a state of emergency on Mar. 12, closed its borders a few days later and issued a nationwide curfew. The small republic with just 10 million population has seen over 12,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and about 350 deaths so far. While dozens of confirmed cases still have been reported daily, the country lifted the months-long lockdown and allowed citizens to have a gathering of as many as 2,500 people at a time. In Prague, the capital city and popular tourist destination, the residents were quick to celebrate the end of the restrictions and had a very long dinner on June 30. Indeed, they created a 500-meter-long table for a massive potluck dinner party. They must have enjoyed the outdoor dinner party without face masks or shields. But are they really in a position to celebrate anything at the moment?
Read the article and watch the video and think about what the republic will be like a few weeks from now.


Topic Reading-Vol.3009-7/7/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How Covid-19 will change our shopping habits
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, there are a variety of restrictions on shopping, such as social distancing, limited entry to stores, closed changing rooms, intense cleaning procedures, and quarantining goods, not to mention face masks and temperature checking to enter the store. Do these restrictions and requirements discourage you to go shopping, either for fun or function?
Whether you are a recreational shopper or functional shopper, you tend to spend more in stores than online, according to a survey in the US, where online shopping is more common than most other countries. It also found the shoppers make more impulse purchases when they shop in-store than online. Indeed, just looking around stores offers escape, socialization, and fun. So, even though more people choose to buy online, welcoming shoppers, whether recreational or functional, provide incentives for retailers to open their stores. Retailers now need to assure and lure shoppers for a safe and enticing shopping experience, new rules of the game for retail businesses.
Enjoy reading the article and think about what your next window shopping will be like.


Topic Reading-Vol.3008-7/6/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Could a boycott kill Facebook?
On June 17, a coalition consisting of social movement groups initiated a campaign to move the largest ad platform to do more to curb racism. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign demands that Facebook remove racist and hateful content from the most powerful ad platform by boycotting ad placement for the month of July. Maybe because of the recent “act now rather than wait” attitude among US consumer goods and retailers (also to gain bargaining power?), Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Starbucks decided to pull ads from Facebook in July. How will this affect Facebook’s deep pockets? Will small advertisers gain more attention from the viewers?
It seems that an online campaign and decisive movement like walkout, demonstration, and boycott are a powerful combination to change corporate behaviors, especially on the environment, social, and governance issues, or ESG.
Read the article and learn about another movement to support BLM.


Topic Reading-Vol.3007-7/5/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A bear in Italy has been sentenced to death after attacking hikers. Activists want a stay of execution
A death sentence to a bear? That is what the governor of Trentino, an autonomous province in northern Italy, signed. The bear, which is said to have attacked two men hiking on a trail in Mount Peller, is still at large. But once a suspected bear is caught, its DNA will be tested if it matches the remains and saliva of the bear that attacked the men.
Sounds like a manhunt of a human suspect, doesn’t it?
However, while the local authority is trying to capture, identify, and euthanize the suspected bear, activists demand a thorough investigation of the incident to find if the bear was intimidated or threatened by the victims.
Unfortunately, there were no witnesses of the incident and the bear won’t be able to testify its side of the story. Will there be fair treatment or justice in this case?
Enjoy reading the article and think about how the bear should be treated.


Topic Reading-Vol.3006-7/4/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Simpsons ends use of white actors to voice people of colour
Voice actor/actress is an actor who provides voice-overs or who voices characters in animated films, video games, etc. Indeed, voice actors audibly create the characterizer’s image and perception among the audience. It is not uncommon for a voice actor/actress to play the role of more than one character in animation. Also, some voice actors voiceover a character of a different race, color, nationality, or even gender. So, it had not been overly critical for a white voice actor to play the role of an Indian convenience store owner, black police officer, and the Mexican-American Bumblebee Man in US animated comedy series The Simpsons. However, the recent Black Lives Matter movement, pushed the producer, along with the staff and actors of the animation series, to decide that it will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters.
As reported in Vol.3005 yesterday, it seems that better to act rather than wait is the recent trend in the US where 60% of the population is estimated to be white, not including Hispanic or Latino.
But if only persons of a specific color should play characters of the color in animation or game, should persons of race or sex play characters of the race or sex? Is the character of the person more important than the skill to play the role? Will job postings state the race or color restrictions for the job?
Read the article and think about how far this character issue will go.


Topic Reading-Vol.3005-7/3/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Whole Foods workers sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks
Both are headquartered in Seattle, Washington, whose residents are highly sensitive to social matters. Both are a leader within the respective industry, online retailing and coffee shops. They are Amazon and Starbucks. Amazon owns Whole Foods, an upper scale grocery chain store. Neither Whole Foods nor Starbucks allowed its employees to wear clothes that explicitly shows a political slogan or message, like “Black Lives Matter.” The grocery chain store maintains and enforces the policy while the coffee shop chain bent its policy and supported the BLM movement. Some employees of the grocery chain store whose manager enforced the policy walked out to protest the company’s stance.
It seems like a highly controversial and sensitive issue for management. Clouds are appearing and everyone can see them. The management needs to judge whether they bring a storm that could change the landscape.
Social movements often arise. It is a continuous challenge for the management.
Read the article and think about what you would do if you owned a store with a restrictive dress code.


Topic Reading-Vol.3004-7/2/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
At least 83 people killed during lightning strikes across Indian state
Although nearly 70% of the nation’s population work in farms, India’s farmlands are rarely irrigated and thus depend on rainfalls to water their crops, especially cotton, rice, oilseeds, and other grains. And almost 80% of India’s precipitation comes during the Indian Subcontinental Monsoon, usually between July and September depending on the region. So, the timing for seeding is very critical for farmers. If they seed too late, heavy monsoon rain will wash out the crops and if they seed too early, hot and dry weather will kill the crops. On June 25, a lot of farmers were working outside preparing their fields when lightning struck widely in the north-eastern state of Bihar and killed at least 83 of them. Also, more than 20 people were reported dead in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh. Even though over 2,000 people are killed by lightning each year in India, it was a big hit to record more than 100 casualties in a single day.
A standard compensation of $5,300 will be paid to each family who has lost their loved ones.
Read the article and imagine what it is like to lose this many people each year only by lightning.


Topic Reading-Vol.3003-7/1/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The Segway is officially over
Invented by Dean Kamen in 2001, Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter (PT). It was claimed to revolutionize personal transportation and drew wide attention from the world. However, because of the high price tag, nearly $5,000 then and now $6,000 to $10,000, the innovative transporter never become a popular vehicle, save the police, tourist spots, and warehouses. In 2015, the manufacture of the PT was acquired by Ninebot Inc., a Chinese transportation robotics company. About 140,000 units have been sold in the last two decades, not as many as the inventor and investors had hoped.
Now, the Chinese parent company decided not to produce the personal transporter any longer. Could it have become much more popular if the price had started below $1,000?
Enjoy reading the article and think about why this innovative personal transporter didn’t replace other transporters or vehicles.