June 14, 2011
Once, I started a fight with my best friend about her rear end. I thought hers was perfect: small, flat and taut. Like Paris Hilton‘s. My friend saw things differently: "My behind is flat all right — flat as in shapeless; it's not feminine,"" she complained. She would prefer to have a derrière like mine. I thought she was making fun of me. When arguments ran out, we got down to facts. We bared hindquarters and took pictures so we could compare. Result? Each one still thought the other had the better bum.
I have to tell you that my bottom is the exact opposite of my friend's: soft, round, and not at all tight-skinned like an apple—more like an overripe pear. At its widest, it measures 95 centimeters, or just over 37 inches. And yes, that is a problem! Because I'm otherwise very slim. My upper-arm diameter is 23 centimeters (9 inches) and my chest (here lies the crux of the issue) only 79 centimeters—31 inches.
My theory is this: your ass should never be wider than your chest. If it is, you look like a spider—big body, skinny extremities. And if I've always known one thing, it's that I don't want to look like a spider.
But as it turns out, these views are now passé. What used to be of the essence—having as small a tail end as possible, despite the fact that 70% of men apparently appreciate a shapelier female backside—is no longer ‘"in."" Curves are. This became clear during the British Royal Wedding, when the sight of bridesmaid Pippa Middleton's lush derrière arrested not only my eye but the eyes of enough others to honor it with a page on Facebook. By last count, the "Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society" page had over 230,000 fans.
What's more, we now have Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Day. The trend that started in Munich in 2007, when Bulgarian Kristina Dimitrova won the World's Best Butt Contest, is now coming full circle. Demands for cosmetic surgery that augment and enhance buttocks are on the increase; it's all about implants, not liposuction. The long and the short of it—no ifs, ands or butts about it—is that the whole world is now on my friend's side.
It's reached the point where I ask myself why I used to complain so much about my posterior, and why I did what I did to change it. It's the story of a long, hard fight.
It started at the gym. My trainer developed a special work-out for me that I embarked on enthusiastically. Results were noticeable very quickly, only here's the thing: the changes were in the wrong places.
Somehow, my face got really narrow. My chest measurements got smaller. But my backside, on the other hand, stayed the same. I also noticed my upper thighs starting to bulge. ‘"That's great,"" said my trainer. ‘"We're building muscle!‘‘ Not amused, my interest in the training flagged and that was the end of that.
That's when I started to work out in the privacy of my own home. The exercises seemed designed to make anyone doing them look like a fool. I didn't tell anyone about them, and figured that since I wasn't using weights there wasn't much that could go wrong. Not only did nothing go wrong: nothing happened at all. No changes whatsoever to my bothersome backside.
So I bought a step machine. I'd heard that climbing stairs, even if you just simulated it, worked wonders. So every morning I worked out on the stepper, which was not only terminally boring but gave me knee problems. My orthopedist suggested swimming instead.
Less is not always more
I joined a club that not only had a huge outdoor pool but an indoor pool as well, and bought some swim fins because I'd heard that paddling around with them was a great way to firm up the fanny. I did it all summer, but it was very strenuous and turned out not to be very good for my knees—or my keister. As fall rolled around and there were fewer sunny days, I had to move my training indoors. Once again, my interest waned and I wound the paddling down.
There was now nothing for it but to integrate fighting what I thought of as my ‘"battle‘‘ into my daily routines. Armed with a loofah, I buffed my buttocks then gave them alternating hot and cold rinses when I showered. Afterwards, I massaged each one carefully with a lotion that contained caffeine, which is supposed to fire up your metabolism. I also went for regular saunas—and I will admit that my skin became very smooth and soft, also firmer, from this regime. However, it had no impact whatsoever on the size of my seat.
Somewhere along the line learned that posteriors are where the body stores its last reserves of fat, and that these reserves (according to researchers) are a good thing and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In other words, a round rump is a sign of good health. Of course, as a beauty ideal, generously proportioned female hindquarters go back as far as the Stone Age, and it's an ideal that to this day prevails in many tribal cultures.
The thing is, I wanted to leave the Stone Age behind me, correction, I didn't want the Stone Age behind me. Many women feel the same way, which is why the world is full of so many high tech weapons to rid it of curvy cans.
And I made full use of those weapons, beginning with a pair Scala Shaper Leggings that have Active Bio-Crystals woven into the fabric that warm up your tissues and supposedly melt the fat. I have never owned a finer pair of leggings; my bum definitely did not look too big in them. But when I wasn't wearing them, we were back to square one—the crystals somehow didn't kick in.
Still it was a pretty good discovery that led me to test other shapewear, such as Spanx, which also worked visual wonders, except that removing the flesh-covered undergarments is anything but sexy (always make sure you're alone when extricating yourself). And since it just created the illusion of a more compact rear without altering the real article, shapewear made me feel as if I were cheating.
So on to some Reebok EasyTones at 130 euros the pair. Air pads in the soles of these shoes intentionally destabilize you. To keep your balance, you end up working a lot of muscles, including tush muscles.
The toned tush thing sounded so promising, but I never got that far because once in the subway the shoes made me lose my balance, which really irritated me. And in the editorial offices where I work in the fashion section, everybody studiously ignored my clumpy footwear. I think they thought I was seriously going for a Darth Vader look!
What to do next? Have an operation? That was very far down on my list of options; there isn't a lot of demand for corrective buttock surgery, and I didn't feel like going with it either. Instead, I got on a flight to Geneva, where I'd booked a session at L. Raphael's Temple of Beauty. They use an ultrasound method that works the way lymph drainage does. The treatment made my backside and legs tingle like crazy. My head started tingling too when they explained that I would need at least 10 sessions (at 800 euros a pop) to start seeing real results.
Fast forward, post-Pippa: the latest developments on the fanny front may mean that my fighting days are permanently over. If not, then at least there's been a cease-fire. A Detox Yoga course that I completed last week helped me a lot in trying to wrap my mind around the new reality. Kundalini yoga is not so much about body detox as about purifying the mind. In the very first class we learned to respect ourselves, for who and —importantly—how we are. That respect lays the foundations needed for change.
I'm not normally into esoteric stuff, but I found myself really getting into the meditative chants, repeating over and over: "I am who I am, thank God I am." To my great surprise, I felt pretty good after those sessions. Come on, I hear you say.
Okay, I admit it! What's really making me feel a whole lot better, besides Pippa, is Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles. A new ideal of beauty is upon us. Out with apples. In with tomatoes: large, full and round. I no longer have to fight the fight. From now on, it's going to be like the old Sir Mix-a-Lot rap hit: "Shake that healthy butt!"
Read the original article in German
Photo - Duncan
Die Welt ("The World") is a German daily founded in Hamburg in 1946, and currently owned by the Axel Springer AG company, Europe's largest publishing house. Now based in Berlin, Die Welt is sold in more than 130 countries. A Sunday edition called Welt am Sonntag has been published since 1948.
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Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.
October 17, 2021
It's hard to overstate the damage the pandemic has had on the airline industry, with global revenues dropping by 40% in 2020 and dozens of airlines around the world filing for bankruptcy. One moment last year when the gravity became particularly apparent was when Asian carriers (in countries with low COVID-19 rates) began offering "flights to nowhere" — starting and ending at the same airport as a way to earn some cash from would-be travelers who missed the in-flight experience.
More than a year later today, experts believe that air traffic won't return to normal levels until 2024.
But beyond the financial woes, the unprecedented slowdown in air travel may bring some silver linings as key aspects of the industry are bound to change once back in full spin, with some longer-term effects on aviation already emerging. Here are some major transformations to expect in the coming years:
Cleaner aviation fuel
The U.S. administration of President Joe Biden and the airline industry recently agreed to the ambitious goal of replacing all jet fuel with sustainable alternatives by 2050. Already in a decade, the U.S. aims to produce three billion gallons of sustainable fuel — about one-tenth of current total use — from waste, plants and other organic matter.
While greening the world's road transport has long been at the top of the climate agenda, aviation is not even included under the Paris Agreement. But with air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel.
Fees imposed on the airline industry should be funneled into a climate fund.
In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials. Energy is supplied through wind turbines from the surrounding area, while the fuel's main ingredients are water and waste-generated CO2 coming from a nearby biogas plant.
Farther north, Norwegian Air Shuttle has recently submitted a recommendation to the government that fees imposed on the airline industry should be funneled into a climate fund aimed at developing cleaner aviation fuel, according to Norwegian news site E24. The airline also suggested that the government significantly reduce the tax burden on the industry over a longer period to allow airlines to recover from the pandemic.
High-flying ambitions for the sector
Hydrogen and electrification
Some airline manufacturers are betting on hydrogen, with research suggesting that the abundant resource has the potential to match the flight distances and payload of a current fossil-fuel aircraft. If derived from renewable resources like sun and wind power, hydrogen — with an energy-density almost three times that of gasoline or diesel — could work as a fully sustainable aviation fuel that emits only water.
One example comes out of California, where fuel-cell specialist HyPoint has entered a partnership with Pennsylvania-based Piasecki Aircraft Corporation to manufacture 650-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell systems for aircrafts. According to HyPoint, the system — scheduled for commercial availability product by 2025 — will have four times the energy density of existing lithium-ion batteries and double the specific power of existing hydrogen fuel-cell systems.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce is looking to smash the speed record of electrical flights with a newly designed 23-foot-long model. Christened the Spirit of Innovation, the small plane took off for the first time earlier this month and successfully managed a 15-minute long test flight. However, the company has announced plans to fly the machine faster than 300 mph (480 km/h) before the year is out, and also to sell similar propulsion systems to companies developing electrical air taxis or small commuter planes.
New aircraft designs
Airlines are also upgrading aircraft design to become more eco-friendly. Air France just received its first upgrade of a single-aisle, medium-haul aircraft in 33 years. Fleet director Nicolas Bertrand told French daily Les Echos that the new A220 — that will replace the old A320 model — will reduce operating costs by 10%, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20% and noise footprint by 34%.
International first class will be very nearly a thing of the past.
The pandemic has also ushered in a new era of consumer demand where privacy and personal space is put above luxury. The retirement of older aircraft caused by COVID-19 means that international first class — already in steady decline over the last decades — will be very nearly a thing of the past. Instead, airplane manufacturers around the world (including Delta, China Eastern, JetBlue, British Airways and Shanghai Airlines) are betting on a new generation of super-business minisuites where passengers have a privacy door. The idea, which was introduced by Qatar Airways in 2017, is to offer more personal space than in regular business class but without the lavishness of first class.
Aerial view of Rome's Fiumicino airportcommons.wikimedia.org
Rome's Fiumicino Airport has become the first in the world to earn "the COVID-19 5-Star Airport Rating" from Skytrax, an international airline and airport review and ranking site, Italian daily La Repubblica reports. Skytrax, which publishes a yearly annual ranking of the world's best airports and issues the World Airport Awards, this year created a second list to specifically call out airports with the best health and hygiene standards.
The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.
Data privacy issues
However, as pointed out in Canadian publication The Lawyer's Daily, increased use of AI and biometrics also means increased privacy concerns. For example, health and hygiene measures like digital vaccine passports also mean that airports can collect data on who has been vaccinated and the type of vaccine used.
Auckland Airport, New Zealand
The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less?
At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel in particular is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.
Trying to forecast the future, experts point to the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks as at least a partial blueprint for what a recovery might look like in the years ahead. Twenty years ago, as passenger enthusiasm for flying waned amid security fears following the attacks, airlines were forced to cancel flights and put planes into storage.
40% of Swedes intend to travel less
According to McKinsey, leisure trips and visits to family and friends rebounded faster than business flights, which took four years to return to pre-crisis levels in the UK. This time too, business travel is expected to lag, with the consulting firm estimating only 80% recovery of pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
But the COVID-19 crisis also came at a time when passengers were already rethinking their travel habits due to climate concerns, while worldwide lockdowns have ushered in a new era of remote working. In Sweden, a survey by the country's largest research company shows that 40% of the population intend to travel less even after the pandemic ends. Similarly in the UK, nearly 60% of adults said during the spring they intended to fly less after being vaccinated against COVID-19 — with climate change cited as a top reason for people wanting to reduce their number of flights, according to research by the University of Bristol.
At the same time, major companies are increasingly forced to face the music of the environmental movement, with several corporations rolling out climate targets over the last few years. Today, five of the 10 biggest buyers of corporate air travel in the US are technology companies: Amazon, IBM, Google, Apple and Microsoft, according to Taipei Times, all of which have set individual targets for environmental stewardship. As such, the era of flying across the Atlantic for a two-hour executive meeting is likely in its dying days.
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SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
South China Morning Post (SCMP) is an English-language daily published in Hong Kong. Co-founded in 1903 by the British journalist Alfred Cunningham, the newspaper has an estimated circulation of 104.000. It is currently owned by Alibaba group.
La Repubblica is a daily newspaper published in Rome, Italy, and is positioned on the center-left. Founded in 1976, it is owned by Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso.
E24 NÃ¦ringsliv is a Norwegian, online business newspaper launched on 18 April 2006. In the course of the first week of operations it became the largest business web site in Norway. In week 46, 2008, it had 575,000 unique users per week.
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