Aqua Aerobics

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Aqua aerobics

For people who are bored with the usual workout regimens, aqua or water aerobics is a great way of muscle toning, and cardio and strength training. Due to its buoyancy, water provides the best and safest exercising environment for people with joint-related ailments (who should avoid high-impact exercises), by encouraging a wide range of motion and improving flexibility.

Another advantage of aqua aerobics is that the heart rate remains lower during these exercises compared to other typical land-based exercises, such as weight training, aerobics and jogging. Since the body ‘floats’ in water, the cardiac muscles get a workout without being put under stress; the water has a cooling effect on the body, preventing sweating, that often results in cramped muscles.  Continue reading

Driving On Sunlight

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sunlightConcerns about depleting fuel reserves, their damaging impact on the environment and spiralling energy costs have led automobile manufacturers to explore the commercial potential of vehicles using renewable energy. Taking the lead is Ford which is focusing on making solar-powered cars financially viable for the general public with the launch of its concept sedan, the C-Max Solar Energi.

This concept car uses 15 to 20 small Fresnel lenses attached to tall metal structures (with large surface areas) which are placed on top of high-efficiency solar panels installed on the roof of the car. The lenses capture sunlight and act as magnifying glasses, thus increasing the amount of energy that the panels can generate by almost eight times. This allows the car’s battery to be completely charged within six hours of direct exposure to the sun, and can power the car for nearly 38 kilometres.

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Construction Trends In Pakistan

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Constructions TrendsSpiralling energy costs and depleting fuel reserves, not to mention ever increasing carbon emissions from buildings (they account for approximately 48% of total emissions) have led to increased focus on energy-efficient architectural design and construction practices globally. Pakistan is now beginning to embrace the ‘green movement’ as well.

Case in point: this year, one of the major construction trends in Pakistan was ‘Passive Housing’. This entails the construction of structures that employ ‘green features’ to ensure that lower indoor temperatures are maintained within houses which can result in up to a 90% reduction in energy costs. Continue reading

Shoes That Go The Distance

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shoe croppedWhile using old discarded tyres to make footwear is not a new concept (we have all seen documentaries of Masai tribesmen wearing Lugabire sandals made out of worn out tyres, while in Pakistan and Bangladesh people have been wearing shoes made of vulcanised rubber for decades), it is amazing how the entire concept has hit the high streets of the fashion world like a tsunami recently.

Armed with the knowledge that post-industrial humanity continues to discard a whopping 1.5 billion tyres a year which are hard to dispose but easy to recycle into anything from fashionable flooring to fabulous shoes. Fashion houses from Mumbai to Mombasa and Stockholm to Santiago are now churning out shoes that come with killer designs, ergonomic comfort and intense durability and which puts shoe making staples, such as leather and fabric, to shame. Designers who have created exquisite rubber sandals for their Fall collections include iconic fashion brands Burberry, Chanel, Chloé, Jimmy Choo and Sergio Rossi – all with a price tag of anywhere between $200 and 400. Added to this mix are a handful of considerably cheaper, relatively obscure African brands, such as Akala Sandals and Sole Rebels – retailing at a mere $35 to 80 – which have started making their mark on the international fashion arena.  Continue reading

Resolving Conflicts

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CareerWhile driving to work one day, one of my colleagues rear-ended a car. As it turned out, the driver of the other car is now her husband! This is a case where a conflict was amicably resolved and led to a mutually beneficial outcome. Although most workplace conflicts may not have as happy an ending as this one, if resolved effectively, they can lead to improved productivity.

If you are a line manager here is how you can resolve conflicts effectively:

Identify the cause. Uncovering and understanding where the conflict is stemming from is a crucial first step towards resolving it. For example, if you notice that two of your team members are making a conscious effort to avoid each other, treat this in the same way as you would if they were arguing loudly in public or refused to work with each other. Discreetly bring them together to ‘talk it out’ in an informal setting such as lunch; this can help you find the root cause of the conflict and maybe resolve it. Continue reading

Amin Jaffer selects Holi Festival and Blue City by Steve McCurry

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Lot 157 - Holi FestivalHoli Festival (1983)
By Steve McCurry
Digital C-type print, printed 2015; from an edition of 30
Dimensions: 51 x 61 centimetres (20 x 24 inches); excluding frame
Estimated price: £2,000-4,000

Lot 156 - The Blue CityBlue City (2010)
By Steve McCurry
Digital C-type print, printed 2015; from an edition of 30
Dimensions:
51 x 61 centimetres (20 x 24 inches)
Estimated price: £3,000-5,000

This April, Christie’s presents a new themed auction, Around the World, showcasing a host of fascinating and eclectic items from all corners of the globe, exploring cultures, countries and the spirit of travel. Journeying from Australia to the Americas, via Africa and the Antarctic, the auction features unique and unusual objects, artworks and mementos: discover a Hei Tiki Mãori pendant from New Zealand, a rare 34-star Civil War flag from North America, and a set of prints after original photographs by Robert Falcon Scott of the Terra Nova expedition. The Sale will be held at Christie’s South Kensington on April 28, and offers something for travellers, explorers and collectors alike who don’t miss this opportunity to travel around the world with Christie’s. Continue reading

Eating For Productivity

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CareerWhile developing frameworks that optimise workplace performance, line managers and employees rarely factor in the impact of dietary habits on productivity levels. Yet, a recent research study published in Population Health Management (a medical journal) has concluded that unhealthy eating patterns can reduce employee productivity by as much as 66%.

Since an increasing number of organisations in Pakistan provide health insurance to employees, they should keep in mind that poor dietary habits make employees more vulnerable to falling ill. This, in turn, exponentially adds to the insurance premium costs borne by the organisation. Therefore, if you are a line manager, it is important to have Employee Nutritional Counselling and Well-Being Programmes in place to ensure the mental and physical health of your workforce. Continue reading

Gadgets For A Mobile Lifestyle

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Adbuzz 3rd featureIf you are living life on the go, here are four gadgets to help you stay connected.

Power boost pens. A stylish combo of a pen that doubles as a backup battery for your phone, power boost pens come in handy in emergencies when your phone is low on battery and you need to make a phone call or send a text. Just pop the pen’s cap and connect it to your smartphone using a universal charging cable, and voila your device will start charging.
Price range: Rs 3,000-5,000

Secure storage devices. These devices save you the hassle of remembering your passwords or other security codes you are using. These pocket-sized devices use biometric user identification, which prevent unauthorised access to your personal data. All you have to do is plug the device into the USB port of your tablet or computer and swipe your finger over the biometric sensor. The device will then auto-fill your passwords and log you in.
Price range: Rs 20,000-30,000 Continue reading

Curtain Call For Nishat Cinema

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Nishat Cinema in all its glory (c. 1950)

Located on M.A Jinnah Road, Nishat Cinema was Pakistan’s first movie theatre, and despite facing competition from cinemas that were established later, including the nearby, Bambino, Capri and Prince, which boasted 70 mm screens and plush interiors, it continued to entertain crowds for almost six decades. Unfortunately, Nishat Cinema was burnt down during a protest in 2012 and two weeks ago, any hope of its restoration were dashed when it was put on sale.

nishat today

Charred remains of Nishat Cinema

It’s show time… According to its Director, Nawab Hasan Siddiq, Nishat Cinema was inaugurated by Fatima Jinnah in 1947. People who went there regularly recall queuing for hours outside to buy tickets for blockbusters including Shehri Babu and Doli (starring Rajesh Khanna and Inayat Hussain Bhatti respectively) in the 1950s. They vividly remember the hushed silence as the lights dimmed and the films began, as well as singing along to the songs of these films.

Out and about… Several high-end malls such as Gul Plaza and Star City Mall have cropped up recently near Nishat Cinema, replacing old-fashioned, wholesale bazaars. Several of Karachi’s oldest healthcare institutions, including the Taj Medical Complex, OMI and 7 Day Hospital, that have treated people for generations, are also located nearby. Foodie options are restricted to roadside cafes offering doodh patti and parathas, or fast food at the malls’ food courts.

Gul Plaza

Home accessories at Gul Plaza

The real estate take… Commercial property options in this part of M.A Jinnah Road include standalone shops as well as retail space in low- and high-rise buildings (the latter have been established recently). Property prices and rentals have increased by approximately 45 and 50% in the last three years; property is in high demand. Residential property options are limited to apartments.
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Bring The Outdoors Inside

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Real Lead 4c

The term ‘Parlour Palm’ usually refers to that popular, small tree, botanically known as ‘Chamaedorea elegans’, often grown as a houseplant but – with an interestingly artistic twist – can be loosely applied to any species of tree – or bamboo – and cultivated as an integral part of home and office construction.

Including a living, growing tree, be it a bamboo, climber or other perennial plant in architectural plans is the green trend to follow. In fact, bringing the outdoors inside is an exciting environmental move that totally revolutionises the ‘green home’ concept. Continue reading

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