Going Bats!

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AdBuzz Lead

Since the announcement of the release date of Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans of the caped crusader are eagerly looking forward to seeing the iconic, gadget-loaded automobile – the Batmobile – in action again.

Designed especially for the film by Dennis McCarthy and Patrick Tatopoulos, this custom-made crime-fighting automobile is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide. Unlike its predecessors, this black beast can be raised and lowered using certain manoeuvres, thanks to beefed up control arms at the front and an upgraded suspension system. In short, much-needed additions to handle the Dark Knight’s action-packed missions.

Over the years, the Batmobile has had many renditions, every one of them in line with the style hallmark of automobiles of the day. In 2014, the 1960s version of the Batmobile came up for auction and sold for a whopping $4.2 million. Long thought to be the original Batmobile, this Lincoln Futura was customised by George Barris.

Last December, the first official Batmobile licensed by DC Comics went under the hammer at Heritage Auctions in the United States. This Batmobile is a buffed-up version of a 1956 Oldsmobile 88, and was created in 1960 by Forest Robinson, a New Hampshire resident. It resembled the 1940s Batmobile as it had a metal fin and prominent bat ears and nose, and matched the original concept art of the Batmobile envisioned by Batman’s creator Bob Kane. No wonder Batman purists and collectors point out that the ‘Robinson Batmobile’ is far more authentic than the $4.2 million dollar 1960s version.

Despite this, the Robinson Batmobile was forgotten and remained parked in a New Hampshire field for over 50 years before it was discovered and restored by the collectible company Toy Car Exchange, and eventually auctioned off for a mere $137,000.

– Tariq Ziad Khan

Houbara Bustards In Peril Again

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3rdRare Houbara Bustards are back on death row. Under government pressure, the Supreme Court has reversed the hunting ban it had placed on these birds in August 2015 – a ban that was enthusiastically greeted, after many years of lobbying, by environmental bodies throughout the country, as well as overseas.

Now a mere five months later, the same court has acceded to government claims that the continuance of the ban would adversely affect Pakistan’s foreign relations with Arab countries, despite the fact that the Houbara Bustard is on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s ‘Red List’ and is a worldwide ‘Protected Species’. Continue reading

Pantone’s Colour(s) Of 2016

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3rdAfter choosing Radiant Orchid in 2014 and Marsala in 2015, the Pantone Colour Institute – the global authority on colour – has moved to softer tones and has chosen not one but two Colours of the Year for 2016 – Rose Quartz (muted pink) and Serenity Blue (powder blue).

According to Pantone’s official statement, these two colours represent a societal push toward gender equality and fluidity, and an important factor that led to the selection of these colours was the increasing emphasis on ‘practicing mindfulness’ as a de-stressing technique in 2015. As blue is believed to evoke calm and pink compassion, psychologists have become strong proponents of incorporating these shades in homes and offices. Continue reading

HR Metrics For 2016

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CareersManagement experts in Pakistan believe that in 2016, HR Departments will be able to add even more strategic value to their organisations if they utilise the following HR metrics (tools that use concrete data to analyse and forecast workforce trends).

If you are an HR professional, here are four metrics you should think
about in 2016:

1. Candidate Acceptance Rate (CAR) is calculated by dividing the number of candidates who accepted job offers by the total number of formal job offers extended by an organisation. The higher the CAR, the more effective the HR Department has been in promoting the organisation as an employer of choice. If the CAR is substantially lower than the industry average, then you must investigate the reasons causing this and devise remedial strategies. Continue reading

4 Questions For Effective Appraisals

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careersMost employee performance reviews take place once a year and require managers to evaluate their subordinates on a battery of skills and their accomplishments from the preceding year. This practice is widely accepted as an essential and valuable tool throughout the business world.

However, the reality is that the traditional annual appraisals practised by a majority of organisations are fundamentally flawed. Research has shown that they are ineffective, unreliable and unsatisfactory and they can also be counterproductive. That is why leading organisations (including Accenture, Adobe, Deloitte and Microsoft) are replacing the annual evaluation cycle with ongoing feedback and coaching that focus on developing employees in the future given their current performance. This approach entails that at the end of every major project, or once a quarter (if employees have long-term assignments), managers or team leaders should answer the following four questions about their subordinates:

1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, would I award him/her the highest possible compensation increase and bonus?” This measures the employee’s overall performance and value to the organisation on a five-point scale ranging between ‘strongly agree’ (5) to ‘strongly disagree’ (1). Continue reading

Put Your Anxieties In A Pickle

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health leadWe have all experienced ‘butterflies in our stomach’ when faced by any unexpected, irregular or high-pressure situation. Be it meeting new people or answering probing questions, sitting for an exam or giving a job interview, even the most extroverted among us feel anxious.

Not to worry – because scientists have discovered a method to “potentially help people overcome social anxiety”. A recent study of over 700 college students’ lifestyle, exercise and dietary habits, published in Psychiatry Research, concluded that pickles (including pickled cucumbers and our desi achaars) contain probiotics and bioactive peptides that help alleviate anxiety.

So, how do pickles help you de-stress? Research has established a close link between anxiety and our gastro-intestinal system. The probiotics found in pickles and other fermented foods (including Greek yoghurt, kefir and kimchi) reduce gut inflammation, a known trigger of stress-inducing hormones in the body.

Now the million dollar question is: can overcoming anxiety be as simple as eating pickles? Probably not, says Reid Wilson, author of Don’t Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks. Fermented foods can help people experiencing anxiety only to a certain extent, but when these symptoms become chronic, a visit to a psychologist becomes mandatory.

Another researcher, Matthew Hilimire, points out that eating fermented food can reduce but not eliminate anxiety altogether. As for how much fermented foods should people be eating, he advises that for now, “more is better”.

And that is good news for all of us. A Pakistani dastarkhwan is not considered complete without an assortment of achars, chutneys and raita. In the process of writing this piece, I ended up eating pickles everyday and my moods showed a definite turn for the better.

Therefore, the next time you get goose bumps or feel your heart race, take a deep breath and reach out for a jar of pickles.

– Dr. Summaiya Syed-Tariq
The writer works as Senior Medico-legal Officer at the Police Surgeon Office, Karachi.

 

 

The Alternative Perks Of Pomegranates

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alt apoIt’s pomegranate season again and making this news ever better is the fact that these fantastic fruits are just as wonderful when applied on your ‘outside’ as they are healthily delectable for your insides.

Health enthusiasts have long had a love affair – and rightly so according to recent research – with pomegranates, gulping down the vitamin rich juice whenever the chance arises. However, most people throw away the peel and seeds, which is a pity as pomegranate powder (made by drying and grinding them) provides myriad health benefits. Continue reading

Here’s To The Six-Hour Work Day

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CareersTwo centuries after British factory owner Robert Owen proposed that a worker’s day should comprise “eight hours of labour, eight hours of recreation and eight hours of rest”, a new HR theory practised in Sweden entails work days that amount to six hours.

The idea behind Sweden’s six-hour work day is to encourage workers to stay focused during the day, complete their tasks and leave on time in order to achieve a better work-life balance. Continue reading

Saving Pakistan’s Wildlife

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3rd boxThe recent furore over the illegal captivity of a baby Ibex in Gilgit-Baltistan by a government official has highlighted the plight of wildlife, rare or otherwise, in a country where few people care.

In this particular case, the captor held onto the Ibex for 10 days before forest officials managed to rescue it and release it in the Kunjerab National Park, where it probably galloped off into obscurity. Continue reading

Yoghurt – Your Heat Wave Essential

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NutrationsWith the Met Office forecasting yet another heat wave – temperatures are expected to soar to 42 degree Celsius until October 21 in Karachi – health officials have issued a warning to people to take precautions to prevent heatstroke. These include using sunscreen, covering their heads and staying hydrated.

Given that recent research has highlighted a host of health benefits found in yoghurt, it is recommended that you have a helping of this ‘cool’ super food every day to stave off heat-related problems.

Nutritionists recommend substituting caffeine and carbonated energy drinks with a yoghurt smoothie to start the day. Or, if you are one of those people whose appetite is reduced in the hot weather, opt for a bowl of yoghurt – with the seasonal fruit of your choice to add flavour and nutrition – for an energy-packed lunch. Continue reading

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