DIGITAL AGE - Qatar Tribune

Thursday, 19 February 2015
Issue No.
Beautiful Inside and Out
recently discovered the secret to livening up even
the dullest conversation: introduce the topic of
clutter. Everyone seems to be waging a passionate, private battle against their own stuff, and
they perk up as soon as it was mentioned.
“I don’t buy anything - no clothes, no shoes,”
a woman who works in the fashion industry told
me. Someone on a de-cluttering bender explained:
“There’s too much in my head, there’s too much stuff
in my house, too.”
Clutter isn’t a new problem, of course. But suddenly, it’s not just irritating - it’s evil. If you’re not living
up to your potential, clutter is probably the culprit.
Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying
Up,” the top-ranked book on The New York Times list
of self-help books promises that, once your house is
orderly, you can “pour your time and passion into
what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”
This isn’t just an ‘American’ problem. Kondo’s
book was a best seller in her native Japan, too, as
well as in Taiwan, Korea and Germany, and nearly 30
translations are planned. Karen Kingston, a British
clutter expert who consults around the world, says
her online courses, including an advanced class called
Zero Procrastination, draw students from at least 18
Not all of the world’s clutter is created equal. Kingston says that British clutter tends to include pieces
of unwanted inherited furniture. Americans have
fewer heirlooms, but can become sentimentally attached to new purchases, she says.
Germans are among the biggest subscribers to
her de-cluttering courses. Though when a colleague
emails her clutter photos from potential clients there,
she’s often at a loss to find the mess in the pictures.
In Germany, “It’s not so much that they have a lot of
clutter, it’s more the fact that they want to be optimally organised,” Kingston explains.
A survey found that, among Western Europeans,
Italians had the greatest number of “unused objects”
in their homes. Perhaps that’s because extended families are living together, merging their clutter.
De-cluttering can be a born-again experience. It
was transformative for Ryan Nicodemus, co-creator
of The Minimalists blog, who describes how he was
overworked and depressed - until he got rid of 80 percent of his belongings. “A month later, my entire perspective had changed. And then I thought to myself,
maybe some people might find value in my story,” he
said in a talk.
Clutter is having its moment in part because we’ve
accumulated a critical mass of it. The cascade began
about 25 years ago, when China started to export
huge amounts of cheap clothes, toys and electronics.
Cut-rate retailers and big-box stores encouraged us to
stockpile it all. And we did.
But as stuff got cheaper, it lost status. Reality
shows about hoarders made having lots of things
even less appealing.
Now, in some well-off circles, people boast about
how little they own, or curate small collections of
carefully selected items. The rich increasingly con-
in the
acebook? Of course. Books? Not really. Video
games? Sure. Sport? Huh?! Speed? Yes. This is
Generation Z -- independent, pragmatic and
always in a rush.
Born after 1995 and unaware of a world without
Internet, they live a life that’s so far removed from
that of the previous generations. They are so hooked
into the digital world that they are nicknamed the
• They want everything immediately. They surf on
two screens simultaneously. They don’t mind paying for the latest smart phone but turn up their
nose at paying for a film or a song when you can get
that for free, online. Their vocabulary is peppered
with acronyms, incomprehensible to those not in
the know. “Swag” is the new cool.
sume expensive experiences - like a trip to Bhutan rather than material goods.
The middle classes are tiring of their possessions,
too. There are online communities for people who
have vowed to remove 40 bags of stuff from their
homes over 40 days, or to pare back to just 100 possessions. In her book “A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did
Not Buy,” the artist Sarah Lazarovic describes the
year she spent painting pictures of things instead of
buying them.
It’s hard to resist the de-cluttering fever. I, too,
spend my weekends filling bags with cookbooks, toys
and vintage dresses, and then hauling them away. For
the first time in years, I can lay my hands on any one
of my sweaters.
But the more stuff I shed, the more I realise that
we de-clutterers feel besieged by more than just our
possessions. We’re also overwhelmed by the intangible detritus of 21st-century life: unreturned emails;
unprinted family photos; the ceaseless ticker of other
people’s lives on Facebook; the heightened demands
of parenting; and the suspicion that we’ll be checking
our phones every 15 minutes, forever. I can sit in an
empty room, and still get nothing done.
It’s consoling to think that beneath all these distractions, we’ll discover our shining, authentic selves,
or even achieve a state of mindfulness. But I doubt it.
I’m starting to suspect that the joy of ditching all our
stuff is just as illusory as the joy we find in acquiring
it. Less may be more, but it’s still not enough.
• They find it easier to talk online than in person.
Their friends on social media are as important to
them as their friends in real life. But they do actually meet up in person with these virtual pals,
• They have seen many technologies become obsolete and for this they have become the ultimate
self-educators, learning how to use new stuff via
self-help videos on YouTube.
• They spend more than three hours a day in front
of a screen. Living in constant fear of missing out
(FOMO), they can’t stand the idea of not being in
the loop when something new comes out. They
surf while watching TV and they have a short attention span, with a tendency to skim-read rather
than read properly.
rowing up beautiful also has a
downside. Combing through
decades of findings, social psychologists Lisa Slattery Walker and Tonya Frevert at the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte reviewed all the
evidence to date – and their conclusions
are not what you might expect.
Almost all infant milk supplements
carry a slogan that says, breast milk is
the best for babies up to two years. This
issue’s Health page is all about breast
milk and how it actually help prepare
babies for solid food. Babies who are
fed only breast milk have microbial
communities that seem more ready for
the introduction of solid foods, this,
according to a study published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, where researchers from the UNC
School of Medicine and UNC College of
Arts and Sciences found that a baby’s
diet during the first few months of life
has a profound influence on the composition, diversity, and stability of the gut
A beautiful home is always a welcome
treat and Martha this week is all about
organising and keeping the kitchen
clean. Matched with some useful decorating ideas from Better Homes and
Gardens, today might be a good time to
start really making your house a special
place for yourself and your family.
And while you’re at it, you might
want to check out our recipes this week
- brilliant pasta recipes that will take
less than 30 minutes to prepare. We
dare claim they are restaurant quality
too, so go ahead try them and let us
know how they fare.
Comments? Drop us a word at
[email protected]. Your feedback is
always welcome, be it science, technology, lifestyle or fashion, take your pick.
And Facebook users, keep liking our
Thursday, 19 February 2015
The study
suggests that
the makeup of
the microbiome
can affect a
baby’s ability to
digest food in
the short term
and potentially
influence longterm health.
he moment of birth marks the beginning
of a beautiful, lifelong relationship between a baby and the billions of microbes
that will soon colonise his or her gastrointestinal tract.
In a study published in Frontiers in Cellular and
Infection Microbiology, researchers from the UNC
School of Medicine and UNC College of Arts and
Sciences found that a baby’s diet during the first
few months of life has a profound influence on
the composition, diversity, and stability of the gut
microbiome. These factors, in turn, influence the
baby’s ability to transition from milk to solid foods
and may have long-term health effects.
“We found that babies who are fed only breast
milk have microbial communities that seem more
ready for the introduction of solid foods,” said Andrea Azcarate-Peril, PhD, assistant professor in the
department of cell biology and physiology and the
study’s senior author. “The transition to solids is
much more dramatic for the microbiomes of babies
that are not exclusively breastfed. We think the
microbiomes of non-exclusively breastfed babies
Babies for
Solid Food
could contribute to more stomach aches and colic.”
The discovery adds to the growing awareness
that the gut microbiome plays a major role in helping us digest food and fight pathogens, among
other functions.
“This study provides yet more support for recommendations by the World Health Organisation
and others to breastfeed exclusively during the
first six months of life,” said Amanda Thompson,
PhD, associate professor in the department of anthropology, a Carolina Population Centre faculty
fellow, and the study’s first author. “We can see
from the data that including formula in an infant’s
diet does change the gut bacteria even if you are
also breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding seems
to really smooth out the transition to solid foods.”
For this study, the research team collected
stool samples and information about the diets
and health of nine babies as they grew from ages
2 weeks to 14 months. Applying genomic sequencing techniques to the stool samples, the scientists
deduced the types and functions of the bacteria in
the babies’ gut microbiomes. The analyses revealed
that during the first few months of life there were
clear differences between the microbiomes of babies that were exclusively breastfed as compared to
those fed both formula and breast milk. This finding is consistent with previous studies.
What surprised Thompson and Azcarate-Peril,
who is the director of the UNC Microbiome Core
Facility, was the drastic genetic differences in stool
samples taken after babies began eating solid food.
Researchers found differing amounts of about 20
bacterial enzymes in exclusively breastfed babies
when compared to exclusively breastfed babies
that received solid food. This indicated that some
new bacterial species had entered the scene to help
process the new food types. In babies fed both formula and breast milk -- and then introduced to
solid foods -- the samples revealed about 230 enzymes, indicating a much more dramatic shift in
microbial composition.
The microbiomes of exclusively breastfed babies
tended to be less diverse and were dominated by
Bifidobacterium, a type of bacteria considered beneficial for digestion. Babies fed a mixture of breast
milk and formula had a lower proportion of Bifidobacterium.
The study suggests that the makeup of the microbiome can affect a baby’s ability to digest food in
the short term and potentially influence long-term
health. Although microbiome research is still in its
early stages, gut microbes are thought to potentially play a role in obesity, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
“The study advances our understanding of how
the gut microbiome develops early in life, which is
clearly a really important time period for a person’s
current and future health,” said Thompson.
The researchers also compared the microbiomes
of babies that attended day care to those that
stayed in the home. Attending day care was also associated with more diverse microbial communities
overall, but feeding practices remained the most
important factor influencing how the microbiome
responded to the introduction of solid foods.
(Source: Science Daily)
Safely Storing Breast Milk
For healthy full-term infants:
• Store at room temperature for 4 to 10
hours (at no warmer than 25°C)
• Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 days
at 0°- 3.9°C
• Store in the freezer (be sure to leave about
an inch of space at the top of the container or bottle to allow for expansion of the
milk when it freezes):
- for up to 2 weeks in a freezer compartment located inside the refrigerator
- for 6 to 12 months in a freezer that is
self-contained and connected on top of
or on the side of the refrigerator and
is kept at -18°C. Store the milk in the
back of the freezer, not in the door) or
in a deep freezer that’s always -20°C.
To thaw frozen milk, move to the refrigerator (it takes 24 hours to thaw), then warm
by running warm water over the bag or bottle
of milk and use within the next 24 hours. If
needed immediately, remove from the freezer and run over with warm water until it’s at
room temperature. Do not refreeze it.
Once the baby has started to drink from
the bottle, you should use it within 1 hour.
If the baby doesn’t finish the bottle, you can
put it back in the refrigerator, then warm it
and use it at the next feeding.
You may find that different resources
provide different variations on the amount
of time you can store breast milk at room
temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the
freezer. Talk to your doctor if you have any
concerns or questions.
hether you’re a new mom or a seasoned parenting pro, breastfeeding
often comes with its fair share of
questions. Here are answers to some
common queries that mothers may have.
Breast milk can be frozen and/or refrigerated.
Store in clean bottles with screw caps, hard plas-
tic cups that have tight caps, or nursing bags (presterilised bags meant for breast milk). It’s helpful to
put a label on each with the baby’s name and date
indicating when the milk was pumped. Fresh cooled
milk can be added to milk that is already frozen, but
add no more than is already in the container. For
example, if you have 2 ounces of frozen milk, then
you can add up to 2 more ounces of cooled milk.
How much milk should be
stored in the freezer?
Although some women may choose to
pump large volumes to be frozen, it’s a good
idea to actually store the milk in 2 to 4 ounce
(59.1 to 118.2 mL) portions so as not to waste
any. Label the bottles, cups, or bags with the
date and the baby’s name, then freeze them.
Milk could also be poured into ice cube
trays that have been thoroughly cleaned in
hot water, let them freeze until hard, store
them in freezer bags, then count up the
amount of cubes needed to make a full bottle.
Breast milk that’s been frozen or refrigerated may look a little different from fresh
breast milk, but that doesn’t mean it has
gone bad. It’s normal for early breast milk to
look kind of orange and the mature milk to
look slightly blue, yellow, or brown when refrigerated or frozen. And it may separate into
a creamy looking layer and a lighter, more
milk-like layer.
Cleaning bottles and
pump parts
Prior to first use, wash and sterilise the
nipples, bottles, and washable breast pump
supplies by boiling them for 5 to 10 minutes.
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations
for the length of time to boil the parts.
Sterilisation can also be done using a countertop or microwaveable steriliser. Thereafter, wash the bottles, nipples, and pump supplies in hot, soapy water after every use. They
can transmit bacteria if not cleaned properly.
Is it safe to microwave
baby bottles?
The microwave can create dangerous “hot
spots” in bottles of formula or breast milk, so
you should never microwave them. Instead,
you can run the bottle or freezer bag under
warm water for a little bit, swirl the bag or
bottle around in a bowl of warm water, or
thaw the milk in the refrigerator.
You also can put your baby’s bottles in a
pan of warm water and then test the temperature by squirting a drop or two on the inside
of your wrist before feeding your baby. Bottle
warmers are also available for use at home or
in the car.
Fine Living
Thursday, 19 February 2015
All About Organising
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
soon as you get them home. This will
not only help keep them fresh, but also
make them easier to scoop with measuring tools when you’re ready to use
them. If you don’t use up ingredients
quickly, then it’s a good idea to note the
date of purchase on the containers.
items) or in another area of the house.
For example, if you use your oversized
platter only once a year, you don’t need
to store it in the kitchen at all.
De-clutter yearly. Take an inventory
of all utensils, cookware, and dishware
annually. Get rid of unnecessary duplicates, items that are damaged beyond
repair, or things no longer used.
Sugars should also be put into airtight
containers, and be sure to keep them in
a low-humidity environment. Moisture
can make solid sugars lumpy, so be sure
to double-wrap brown sugars to keep
them soft.
Clump small things together. Keep
small kitchen items in containers, seethrough bins if possible, with neat,
easy-to-read labels.
All of these items can be kept up to a
year if properly stored, but oils for
things like marinades and vinaigrettes
have a bit shorter shelf life, and should
be kept in original bottles for up to six
Store things where you use them. Pots
and pans are best kept near the range or
Powdered disinfectant cleaner with
bleach works well on tough, setin stains and eliminates common
germs. Sprinkle it on a sponge or
wet surface, and let it sit for 15 seconds before rubbing; make sure to
be especially gentle with delicate
Liquid cleansers remove yellow
stains from pots, pans, and teacups,
while all-purpose cleansers are usually antibacterial and well-suited for
cleaning sinks and stovetops.
Diluted kitchen liquid disinfectant
is a classic choice for floors, walls,
appliances, and counters.
Silver polish will help keep your silverware in top condition, but overuse can cause premature wear.
Group like items together. Store all
bakeware in the same cupboard, all
wooden spoons in the same ceramic
crock, and all spices in the same drawer.
Car wax rubbed into sink fixtures
will force water to bead and fall off.
Oven spray cleaner removes tough,
baked-on food.
Revise your storing technique. Store
your most frequently used items in the
most accessible places. Keep things you
use most often at eye level; store heavy
items below waist level and infrequently used items on high shelves (keep a
step stool within easy reach for such
Latex gloves protect hands from
caustic cleaning agents.
Assorted rags, sponges, paper towels, and microfiber cleaning cloths
are gentle and absorbent enough for
almost any cleaning task.
Spices for side dishes should be put into
labelled tins where no light can reach
them, because light and heat can cause
them to lose their flavour more rapidly.
If you have everything organised and
you stock up now, then you won’t have
to scramble for things later, which is a
great way to stay stress-free.
Flours, sugars, and other dry goods
-- key ingredients for pies -- should be
transferred from their packaging into
wide-mouth, airtight containers as
Cooking is easier and safer in a clean
kitchen, so you should spare no effort
or expense in keeping your work surfaces sparkling. Fortunately, most of
the cleaning supplies you’ll need are inexpensive and readily accessible. Once
you’ve gathered the basics, assemble
them in a convenient caddy, and you’ll
be prepared to tackle virtually any
household chore.
If you haven’t gone through your pantry lately, the weeks leading up to summer are the perfect time to refresh ingredients like sugars, spices, herbs, and
other staples. Getting fresh stock will
also help your recipes taste better, since
things like spices and seasonings will
lose their potency after about a year.
The secret to speeding up your cooking
is organising kitchen tools and equipment. By thoughtfully placing your
small appliances, cooking utensils, and
gadgets in your work area, you’ll be able
to grab exactly what you need when you
need it. Our tips and guides will make
organising kitchen tools and equipment
easy and leave you with a clutter-free
cooktop; mixing bowls, near the countertop you use for food preparation;
plates, glasses, and flatware, near the
1-Hour Projects
Spruce up your home with one of these done-in-an-hour DIY
projects. Some projects require dry time, but all require less than
an hour of hands-on work. What’s not to love about that?
Don’t let an old book with damaged pages go
to waste. If it has a beautiful cover, you can
turn it into a pretty frame. Using a crafts
knife, carefully cut a rectangle out from the
front cover. To create the mat, cut a few of
the inside pages into a rectangle a bit smaller
than the cover rectangle. Glue the pages to the
cover and tape a photo in place.
Rescue cast-off crystal platters and turn them
into one-of-a-kind artwork. Paint the smooth
sides of the platters with two to three coats of
acrylic paint; let dry between coats. Mix and
match colours, sizes, and patterns and hang
the platters together in a grouping.
Pick up a few doilies and repurpose them as
storage vessels. Dip the doily into a mixture
of one part crafts glue and one part water.
Smooth the wet doily over an upside-down
glass bowl with your hands; let dry. Carefully
peel the doily away from the bowl.
Create a mini memo board with bottle caps.
Cover a frame backing with pretty paper. Use
heavy-duty glue, to attach the bottle caps to
the backing. Arrange the caps in a fun shape,
such as a heart. Glue magnets inside additional extra bottle caps, and use the new frame as
message board.
Set a pretty display with painted glass bottles
that look like milk glass. Wash the glass with
soap and water; let dry. Dampen a cloth with
rubbing alcohol, and wipe the inside with the
cloth. For narrow vessels, pour a small amount
of rubbing alcohol inside, swirl around, and
pour out excess; let dry. Mix two parts acrylic
paint with one part water in a glass bowl and
pour into the bottle or jar. Swirl the paint
around inside the bottle or jar until the entire
interior is coated. Place the glass vessel upside down on a paper towel or paper plate to
dry. Repeat painting steps until you are happy
with the coverage. Note: These bottles are for
display only; do not use with food or drink.
Create art from dictionary pages. Choose
words based on a theme. Enlarge and photocopy the pages and hang in matching frames.
(Source: Better Homes and Gardens)
Thursday, 19 February 2015
The Anti
Aging Pill
he company, Elysium Health, says it
will be turning chemicals that lengthen
the lives of mice and worms in the laboratory into an ‘over-the-counter’ vitamin pill that people can take to combat aging.
The start-up is founded by Leonard
Guarente, an MIT biologist who is 62 (“unfortunately,” he says) and who’s convinced that the
process of aging can be slowed by tweaking the
body’s metabolism.
The problem, Guarente says, is that it’s nearly impossible to prove, in any reasonable time
frame, that drugs that extend the life span of
animals can do the same in people; such an
experiment could take decades. That’s why
Guarente says he decided to take the unconventional route of packaging cutting-edge lab research as so-called nutraceuticals, which don’t
require clinical trials or approval by the FDA.
That means there’s no guarantee that Elysium’s first product, a blue pill called Basis will
actually keep you young. The product contains
a chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide, or NAD, a compound that cells
use to carry out metabolic reactions like releasing energy from glucose. The compound is believed cause some effects similar to a diet that
is severely short on calories — a proven way to
make a mouse live longer.
Elysium’s approach to the anti-aging market
represents a change of strategy for Guarente.
He was previously involved with Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a high-profile biotechnology startup that studied resveratrol, an anti-aging compound found in red wine that it hoped would
help patients with diabetes. That company was
bought by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, but
early trials failed to pan out.
This time, Guarente says, the idea is to market anti-aging molecules as a dietary supplement and follow up with clients over time with
surveys and post-marketing studies. Guarente
is founding the company along with Eric Marcotulli, a former venture capitalist and technology executive who will be CEO, and Dan Alminana, chief operating officer.
The company says it will follow strict pharmaceutical-quality production standards and
make the supplements available solely through
its website, for $60 for a 30-day supply or $50
per month with an ongoing subscription.
“You have high-end prescription drugs up
here, which are expensive,” says Guarente,
gesturing upward. “And you have the nutraceuticals down there, which are a pig in a poke
— you don’t know what you’re getting and
you don’t know a lot about the science behind
them. There’s this vast space in between that
could be filled in a way that’s useful for health
An anti-aging pill with an ivory-tower pedigree could prove profitable. The $30 billion supplements market is growing at about 7% a year
overall, Alminana says, and at twice that rate
for online sales.
Elysium declined to name its investors, but
it has some high-level endorsements. Its board
includes Daniel Fabricant, former director of
the FDA’s division of dietary supplements and
now CEO of the Natural Products Association,
a trade association. The company also has five
Nobel Prize winners advising it, including neuroscientist Eric Kandel, biologist Thomas Südhof, origin-of-life theorist Jack Szostak and the
2013 laureate in chemistry Martin Karplus.
Karplus, now an emeritus professor at Har-
vard, said in a telephone interview that he was
turning 85 this year and had asked the company to send him a supply of Basis as soon as it’s
available. “I want to remind myself whether I
really want to take it or not,” he says.
Scientists have shown they can reliably extend the life of laboratory mice by feeding them
less, a process known as “caloric restriction.”
That process seems to be mediated by biological molecules called sirtuins. NAD is important
because it’s a chemical that sirtuins need to do
their work and is also involved in other aspects
of a cell’s metabolism. In worms, mice and people, NAD levels fall with age, says Guarente, so
the idea is to increase levels of the molecule.
“NAD replacement is one of the most exciting things happening in the biology of aging,”
says Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for
Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College
of Medicine in New York, who has co-authored
scientific papers with Guarente but is not involved in Elysium. “The frustration in our field
is that we have shown we can target aging, but
the FDA does not [recognize it] as an indication.”
Other experts said while NAD may decline
with age, there is limited evidence that aging
can be affected by restoring or increasing NAD
levels. “There is enough evidence to be excited,
but not completely compelling evidence,” says
Brian K. Kennedy, CEO of the California-based
Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Guarente says Elysium’s pill includes a precursor to NAD, called nicotinamide riboside,
which the body can transform into NAD and
put to use. In addition, the pill contains pterostilbene, an antioxidant that Guarente says
stimulates sirtuins in a different way. Both in-
gredients can already be found in specialty vitamins. “We expect a synergistic effect [from]
combining them,” he says.
Guarente says Elysium plans to gradually
add to its product line with other compounds
shown in academic labs to extend the healthy
life span of worms, mice, or other animals. The
company will do preliminary testing to make
sure the products are not toxic, but will not
follow the arduous FDA approval process. Vitamins and supplements can be sold over the
counter as long as they contain ingredients
known to be safe and don’t make overly specific
health claims.
Marcotulli says the company has some anecdotal evidence that Elysium’s pills make a difference. “For older demographics, we’ve heard
really interesting feedback related to levels of
energy. It’s very, very useful and restorative,”
he says. And he takes the pills himself. “When
I don’t have a supply, I feel actually fuzzy,” he
says. “It’s become a staple of my routine.”
Guarente also says he takes Basis every day,
along with 250 mg of resveratrol, the red-wine
compound. Guarente also exercises — though
not, he says, as often as he should.
He says it doesn’t trouble him that he sees
no obvious benefits yet from his supplement
regimen. Too many studies in the anti-aging
field, he says, are too short-term to show real
benefits. Or else they study people who are
already unhealthy. “I think that’s the way it
would be if something is really acting to slow
your progression into decrepitude — you’re not
going to notice that,” Guarente says.
The Surprising Downsides of
Being Drop Dead Gorgeous
Can you be too beautiful? It is hardly
a problem that most of us have to
contemplate – as much as we might like
to dream that it were the case.
et the blessings and curses of beauty have
been a long-standing interest in psychology. Do those blessed with symmetrical
features and a striking figure live in a
cloud of appreciation – or does it sometimes pay
to be plain?
Combing through decades of findings, social
psychologists Lisa Slattery Walker and Tonya Frevert at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have reviewed all the evidence to date – and
their conclusions are not what you might expect.
At the most superficial level, beauty might be
thought to carry a kind of halo around it; we see
that someone has one good attribute, and by association, our subconscious assumes that they
have been blessed in other departments too.
“It’s one of many status characteristics that we
can identify very early in our interactions,” says
To psychologists, this is called the “what is
beautiful is good” heuristic. In education, for
instance, Walker and Frevert found a wealth of
research showing that better looking students, at
school and university, tend to be judged by teachers as being more competent and intelligent – and
that was reflected in the grades they gave them.
This influence inflates over the years. “There’s
a cumulative effect,” explains Frevert. “You become more confident and have more positive beliefs and more opportunities to demonstrate your
In the workplace, your face really can be your
fortune. When everything else is considered,
more attractive people tend to earn more money
and climb higher on the corporate ladder than
people who are considered less pleasing on the
eye. One study of MBA graduates found that
there was about a 10 to 15% difference in earnings between the most and least attractive people
in the group – which added up to about $230,000
over a lifetime. “You are being conferred advantages throughout your life, from your schooldays
into the workplace,” says Walker.
Even in the courts, a pleasing appearance can
work its magic. Attractive defendants are likely
to get more lenient sentences, or to escape conviction entirely; attractive plaintiffs, meanwhile,
are more likely to win their case and get bigger financial settlements. “It’s a pervasive effect,” says
But if beauty pays in most circumstances,
there are still situations where it can backfire.
While attractive men may be considered better
leaders, for instance, implicit sexist prejudices
can work against attractive women, making them
less likely to be hired for high-level jobs that require authority. And as you might expect, goodlooking people of both genders run into jealousy
– one study found that if you are interviewed by
someone of the same sex, they may be less likely
to recruit you if they judge that you are more attractive than they are.
More worryingly, being beautiful or handsome
could harm your medical care. We tend to link
good looks to health, meaning that illnesses are
often taken less seriously when they affect the
good-looking. When treating people for pain, for
instance, doctors tend to take less care over the
more attractive people.
And the bubble of beauty can be a somewhat
lonely place. One study in 1975, for instance,
found that people tend to move further away
from a beautiful woman on the pathway – perhaps as a mark of respect, but still making interaction more distant. “Attractiveness can convey
more power over visible space – but that in turn
can make others feel they can’t approach that
person,” says Frevert. Interestingly, one online
dating website recently reported that people with
the most flawlessly beautiful profile pictures are
less likely to find dates than those with quirkier,
less perfect pics – perhaps because the prospective dates are less intimidated.
So, as you might have guessed, being beautiful
is not a passport to certain happiness – though
it helps. Frevert and Walker are keen to emphasise that like our conceptions of beauty itself,
these influences are superficial and by no means
deep-rooted in our biology, as some might suggest. “We have a whole set of cultural ideals about
beauty that let us say if someone is attractive –
and through those same ideals, we begin to associate it with competence,” says Walker. In a sense,
it’s just a cognitive shortcut for a quick appraisal.
“And like many of the shortcuts we use, it’s not
very reliable,” says Frevert. And it could be fairly
easy to lessen the impact – if human resources
departments give more information about a candidate’s achievements before an interview, for
Ultimately, Frevert points out that focusing
too much on your appearance can itself be detrimental if it creates undue stress and anxiety –
even for those already blessed with good looks.
“If you are obsessing about attractiveness, it may
alter your experience and interactions,” she says.
It’s a cliche, but no amount of beauty can make
up for a bad personality. As the writer Dorothy
Parker put it so elegantly: “Beauty is only skin
deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”
Thursday, 19 February 2015
Five Promising
Products From LG
LG held its annual Innovation Festival in Malaysia recently and it was all
about the biggest advances in home-entertainment products and appliances.
The affair was literally a high-tech wonderland of LG stuff —from 100-inch
Ultra HDTVs and WiFi speakers for audiophiles to cordless vacuum cleaners,
anti-mosquito air conditioners, front-load washers, door-in-door fridges, and
dishwashers that combine steam power with a UV lamp sanitation process
to clean even the dirtiest dishes.
But more than a sampling of what’s available now or coming soon, LG gave
a glimpse of the future—where home appliances can not only get more
things done quickly, but interact with other electronics in your home as well,
regardless of brand.
Here are five of the most promising LG products you would probably want to
have at home:
LG 105-inch Curved Ultra HDTV
This 105-inch behemoth is LG’s IMAX for the home. It boasts 5K resolution—seven
times the picture clarity of a 1080p TV or monitor—at a cinema-wide 21:9 aspect ratio.
This model is equipped with LG’s True 4K Engine Pro for upscaling lower-resolution
video. The result is consistently stunning visuals, regardless of the resolution. A bevy of
smart features, including an app ecosystem and wireless screen mirroring comes standard.
LG Inverter V Air Conditioner
LG brought the cool back to residential air conditioners with
new models offering several air-purification functions and additional power savings versus conventional units. Voice Mate, available for select models, accepts voice commands for turning the AC
on and off, or when adjusting the temperature.
LG Twin Wash Washing
LG Double Door-in-Door
The latest front-loading washing machine from LG
is no less advanced than any appliance from this Korean brand. Its strongest points come with speed and
efficiency, reducing overall cycle times significantly.
The key to LG’s twin-wash system is two-fold: The
washing machine is capable of cleaning two loads of
laundry at the same time — it comes with a mini compartment beneath the main washer; the improved
quick-wash option, or the TurboWash, shortens the
washing time by an estimated 15 minutes.
LG’s newest mega-capacity refrigerator sports
an ultra-reflective glass exterior that minimises
fingerprints and make the surface easier to clean.
It comes with two slim compartments for housing common food items and making them readily
accessible without the need to open either of the
main doors. Besides giving you quick access to your
snacks and beverages, having additional doors, according to LG, reduces cold air loss by up to 47 percent, resulting in food staying fresh longer.
LG Hom-Bot Square Vacuum Cleaner
Meet the Hom-Bot (pronounced Home Bot) square – a compact robot
vacuum cleaner programmed to navigate a variety of floor surfaces while
avoiding walls and furniture. It has four automated cleaning modes, and
can be controlled manually using a remote.
Cheaper Robots Could Replace
More Factory Workers: Study
he falling cost of industrial robots will
allow manufacturers to use them to
replace more factory workers over the
next decade while lowering labour costs,
according to a new research.
Robots now perform roughly 10 percent of
manufacturing tasks that can be done by machines, according to the Boston Consulting
Group. The management consulting firm projected that this “automatable” tasks will rise to
about 25 percent by 2025.
In turn, labour costs stand to drop by 16 percent on average globally over that time, according to the research.
The shift will mean an increasing demand for
skilled workers who can operate the machines,
said Hal Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting.
Factory workers “will be higher paid but there
will be fewer of them,” Sirkin said.
The research found a tipping point for installing robots: Companies tend to start thinking
about replacing workers when the costs of own-
ing and operating a system come at a 15 percent
discount to employing a human counterpart.
For example, in the U.S. automotive industry,
which is predicted to be one of the more aggressive adopters of robots, a spot-welding machine
costs $8 an hour versus $25 an hour for a worker.
A robot that can perform certain repetitive
tasks costs about one-tenth as much as it did
more than 10 years ago, Sirkin said. Costs tied
to one commonly used robotics system, a spot
welder, are expected to fall 22 percent between
now and 2025.
Three-fourths of robot installations over the
next decade are expected to be concentrated in
four areas: transportation equipment, including
the automotive sector; computer and electronic
products; electrical equipment and machinery.
Adoption is to be slower in industries where
tasks are more difficult to automate or labour
costs are low, such as food products or fabricated metal.
Certain countries also are expected to be
more brisk adopters. China, the United States,
Japan, Germany and South Korea now account
for about 80 percent of robot purchases
and are expected to maintain that
share over the next decade.
Labour costs have climbed in
countries such as China that
have been popular for outsourcing production, while
technological advances for
robots allow them to be
more flexible and perform
more tasks, said Jim Lawton, chief marketing officer
at robotics company Rethink Robotics.
“People have come to believe this is going to be an
important part of how manufacturing gets done,” he said.
(Source: Reuters)
fe Style
Thursday, 19 February 2015
Weeknight Pastas
Restaurant-quality pasta in less than 30 minutes is entirely
possible, and we’ve got brilliant recipes to prove it.
When shredded, the butternut squash
cooks quickly in the pan and adds bulk
to this unique pasta.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 5 cups shredded butternut squash
(from about ½ peeled medium squash;
shredded with the coarse grating
attachment on a food processor or on
a box grater)
• ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh sage
• 1 pound Fiorentini or other short
curled pasta
• Salt
• ½ cup finely grated Parmesan plus
• Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot
over medium heat. Add squash and
sage and cook, stirring occasionally,
until squash begins to brown, about
2 minutes.
• Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large
pot of boiling salted water, stirring
occasionally, until al dente. Drain
pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking
• Add pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking
liquid to squash and stir to coat. Cook
over medium heat, stirring, adding
more cooking liquid as needed, until
sauce coats pasta. Stir in ½ cup
Parmesan. Divide pasta among bowls;
top with more Parmesan. Serves 6.
Orecchiette are the perfect shape for
this quick weeknight pasta since they
act like little spoons holding all the
cheesy breadcrumb goodness.
• 1 pound kale, or other variety (about
2 large bunches), stems trimmed
• Salt
• 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus
more for drizzling
• 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted
• 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil,
• ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper
• 1 pound orecchiette (little earshaped pasta)
• ¾ cup finely grated Parmesan
• Working in batches, cook kale in
a large pot of boiling salted water
until just tender, about 4 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer to a rimmed
baking sheet; let cool. Set aside pot
with water. Squeeze out excess liquid
from kale; chop leaves and finely
chop stems; set aside.
• Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small
skillet over medium heat. Add
breadcrumbs and cook, stirring
often, until beginning to brown,
about 4 minutes. Add one-third of
chopped garlic and cook, stirring
often, until breadcrumbs are golden,
about 3 minutes. Season with salt
and pepper and transfer to a paper
towel-lined plate; let cool.
• Heat butter and remaining 2
tablespoons oil in a large heavy
pot over medium-low heat. Add
anchovies, red pepper flakes, and
remaining two-thirds of chopped
garlic; cook, mashing anchovies with
a spoon, until a paste forms, about
2 minutes. Add reserved kale and
1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring often,
until kale is warmed through, about
4 minutes. Season with salt and
• Meanwhile, bring reserved kale
cooking liquid to a boil; add pasta
and cook, stirring occasionally, until
al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta
cooking liquid.
• Add pasta and ½ cup pasta cooking
liquid to kale mixture and stir to
coat. Increase heat to medium and
continue stirring, adding more
cooking liquid as needed, until sauce
coats pasta. Mix in Parmesan and ½
cup breadcrumbs; toss to combine.
Divide pasta among bowls, drizzle
with oil, and top with remaining
breadcrumbs. Serves 6.
Store-bought cooked lobster meat means fancy
20-minute weeknight pasta anytime.
• 12 ounces spaghetti
• Salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 pound cherry and/or sun gold tomatoes, halved
• 1 pound picked cooked lobster meat or cooked large
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
• Lemon wedges (for serving)
• Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water,
stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1
cup pasta cooking liquid (the secret to silky sauce).
• Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over
medium-high heat. Cook shallot and red pepper
flakes, stirring often, until shallot is softened, about 2
minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until
tomatoes are soft and juicy, 5–8 minutes.
• Add lobster meat to skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta
and 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with
salt and pepper.
• Cook, tossing constantly and adding more reserved
pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens
and coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
• Serve pasta topped with lemon zest, with lemon
wedges alongside for squeezing over. Makes 4 servings.
Sure, this pasta looks (and tastes)
like summer. But since sweet yellow
cherry tomatoes are available year
round, there’s no reason not to
make it any time.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 sprigs basil
• 1 sprig thyme
• 1/2 sprig tarragon
• 1 whole star anise pod
• 1 whole clove
• 4 cups Sun Gold or cherry
tomatoes, halved
• 2 teaspoons red vinegar
• Salt, freshly ground pepper
• 12 ounces spaghetti
• Heat oil in a large skillet over
medium heat. Add onion and
cook, stirring often, until soft
but not brown, 6-8 minutes. Add
garlic, basil, thyme, and tarragon
sprigs, star anise, and clove, and
cook, stirring often, until fragrant,
about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes
and vinegar. Cook, stirring
release their juices and a sauce
forms, 10-15 minutes. Discard
thyme, tarragon, and basil sprigs,
star anise, and clove. Season sauce
with salt and pepper.
• Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a
large pot of boiling salted water,
stirring occasionally, until al
dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup
pasta cooking liquid.
• Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta
cooking liquid to sauce in skillet.
Cook, tossing and adding more
pasta cooking liquid as needed,
until sauce coats pasta, about 2
minutes. Serves 4.
DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 1
day ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat
before tossing with spaghetti.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
Revamping your beauty routine has never been easier with a cool new class
of fresh products on the shelves. Try out some of the best new products listed
Chanel La Perle de Chanel Collection – Spring 2015
Inspired by the graceful world of
ballet, this delicate makeup collection features rosy tones and
glimmering metallics in beautiful balance. Taking center stage:
a limited-edition five-shade palette featuring romantic lipsticks
and glosses to choreograph a colourful lip look.
Nail Colour To The Extreme:
8 New Hard As Nails® Xtreme Wear®
Shades From Sally Hansen®
The Anti-Gravity Effect for
Face and Neck
Introducing Clinique
Repairwear Sculpting Night
Think of it: your nail colour wardrobe all in one place. Sally Hansen’s Xtreme
Wear® collection is revitalised with stylish, of-the-moment shades.
The Xtreme Wear® palette update welcomes definitive new additions in musthave shades of nude, periwinkle, mauve, glitter, teal, peach and of course, pink—
both hot and blush. Each new shade of Xtreme Wear® features streak free application and extreme shine.
Introducing NEW Clinique Repairwear Sculpting
Night Cream, a targeted overnight moisturising treatment that helps visibly tone and lift from cheeks to jaw
and create a new smoothness in the neckline.
The jawline, neck and chest are among the first areas
that show age, but are often overlooked. Leveraging
the powerhouse Repairwear technology, the winner of
96 Beauty Awards globally, NEW Clinique Repairwear
Sculpting Night Cream helps you keep waking up with
Chloé’s signature scent captures the creative, confident individuality of the Chloé woman. A fresh and
feminine fragrance suited to a free spirit with an utterly innate sense of chic.
The airy, flirtatious head notes drift away to reveal the
richer and more sensual side of the rose, derived from
the velvety interior of the flower. The rose is accompanied by heady magnolia and lily of the valley, as well
as subtle intimations of warm amber and elegant cedarwood. This complex yet intuitive blend effortlessly
characterises the cool chic of the Chloé woman.
Cellular Swiss Ice
Crystal Eye Cream
& Cellular Swiss Ice
Crystal Emulsion
in a world of ice
crystals, beauty
resists time
La Prairie expands the collection to include Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Eye
Cream, fighting the first signs of aging
around the eye area and Cellular Swiss
Ice Crystal Emulsion, a light-as-air daily
moisturizer. By way of the collection
namesake ingredient, Swiss Ice Crystal
Complex, and new ingredients formulated specifically into the new launches,
La Prairie brings your skin resilience to
fight the first signs of aging like never
The Swiss Ice Crystal Complex breakthrough in the quest for ageless beauty is
prominent throughout the entire Cellular
Swiss Ice Crystal Collection.
Maybelline New York
Non-stop nude around the clock!
Rimmel london launches new lasting
finish 25 hr nude foundation
Rimmel launches its first lightweight long-lasting,
transfer-proof foundation that reveals naturally flawless skin, with a nude, barely there feel. Prepare to be
flawlessly nude for 25 hour girls!! Finally a foundation
that won’t let you down halfway through the set of our
favourite band!
Are your lashes ready for the intensity of pure black
leather? Colossal Go Extreme Leather Black Mascara
This Mascara has a double curved stem and the biggest brush. The curves on the
wand load a double shot of Mascara on to the bristles for 16 times more volume,
all without a single clump! The patented brush has extra-large bristles in a helix
shape to add extreme volume to each lash while lifting and fanning them out. The
result is pumped up, voluminous lashes with an intense, bold look.
Maybelline New York’s Go Extreme Leather Black Mascara is just the season’s perfect make-up accessory for the winter leather trend.
Thursday, 19 February 2015
was clothes as
canvas this season
at Donna Karan as the
designer got creative with a
paintbrush and pen. Doodles,
scribbles, paint daubs, splashy
intense hits of red against white
and black was all in the mix in
her heady spring cocktail.
It looked fresh on a line
up of full skirts and
bra tops.
Volume was reined in on wiggle skirts
sleeved safari shirts - the sort of shirt
that looked like it had a lifetime of
wear, such was its soft and crinkled
appeal. So too those belted shirt
dresses that she brings out season
after season - and why not when they
look this good.