Retirement Life

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The death of the open-plan office? Not exactly but a revolution is in the air

<p>“What will it take to encourage much more widespread reliance on working at home for at least part of each week?” asked Frank Schiff, the chief economist of the US Committee for Economic Development, in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1979/09/02/working-at-home-can-save-gasoline/ffa475c7-d1a8-476e-8411-8cb53f1f3470/">The Washington Post</a> in 1979.</p> <p>Four decades on, we have the answer.</p> <p>But COVID-19 doesn’t spell the end of the centralised office predicted by futurists since at least the 1970s.</p> <p>The organisational benefits of the “propinquity effect” – the tendency to develop deeper relationships with those we see most regularly – are well-established.</p> <p>The open-plan office will have to evolve, though, finding its true purpose as a collaborative work space augmented by remote work.</p> <p>If we’re smart about it, necessity might turn out to be the mother of reinvention, giving us the best of both centralised and decentralised, collaborative and private working worlds.</p> <p><strong>Cultural resistance</strong></p> <p>Organisational culture, not technology, has long been the key force keeping us in central offices.</p> <p>“That was the case in 1974 and is still the case today,” observed the “father of telecommuting” Jack Nilles <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/what-telecommuting-looked-like-in-1973/418473/?sf43013774=1">in 2015</a>, three decades after he and his University of Southern California colleagues published their landmark report <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/book/10.5555/540203">Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow</a>. “The adoption of telework is still well behind its potential.”</p> <p>Until now.</p> <p>But it has taken a pandemic to change the status quo – evidence enough of culture resistance.</p> <p>In his 1979 article, Schiff outlined three key objections to working from home:</p> <ul> <li>how to tell how well workers are doing, or if they are working at all</li> <li>employees’ need for contact with coworkers and others</li> <li>too many distractions.</li> </ul> <p>To the first objection, Schiff responded that experts agreed performance is best judged by output and the organisation’s objectives. To the third, he noted: “In many cases, the opposite is likely to be true.”</p> <p>The COVID-19 experiment so far supports him. Most <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/54-percent-adults-want-mainly-work-remote-after-pandemic-study-2020-5">workers</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/working-from-home-remains-a-select-privilege-its-time-to-fix-our-national-employment-standards-139472">managers</a> are happy with remote working, believe they are performing just as well, and want to continue with it.</p> <p><strong>Personal contact</strong></p> <p>But the second argument – the need for personal contact to foster close teamwork – is harder to dismiss.</p> <p>There is evidence remote workers crave more feedback.</p> <p>As researchers Ethan Bernstein and Ben Waber note in their Harvard Business Review article <a href="https://hbr.org/2019/11/the-truth-about-open-offices">The Truth About Open Offices</a>, published in November 2019, “one of the most robust findings in sociology – proposed long before we had the technology to prove it through data – is that propinquity, or proximity, predicts social interaction”.</p> <p>Waber’s research at the MIT Media Lab demonstrated the probability that any two workers will interact – either in person or electronically – is directly proportional to the distance between their desks. In his 2013 book <a href="https://www.humanyze.com/people-analytics-book/">People Analytics</a> he includes the following results from a bank and information technology company.</p> <p><strong>Experiments in collaboration</strong></p> <p>Interest in fostering collaboration has sometimes led to disastrous workplace experiments. One was the building Frank Gehry designed for the Chiat/Day advertising agency in the late 1980s.</p> <p>Agency boss Jay Chiat envisioned his headquarters as a futuristic step into “flexible work” – but <a href="https://www.wired.com/1999/02/chiat-3/">workers hated</a> the lack of personal spaces.</p> <p>Less dystopian was the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters opened in 2000. Steve Jobs, majority shareholder and chief executive, oversaw the project. He took a keen interest in things like the <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/new-work-order-from-google-and-pixar-to-innocent-the-future-of-the-office-starts-here-8687379.html">placement of bathrooms</a>, accessed through the building’s central atrium. “We wanted to find a way to force people to come together,” he said, “to create a lot of arbitrary collisions of people”.</p> <p>Yet Bernstein and Waber’s research shows propinquity is also strong in “campus” buildings designed to promote “serendipitous interaction”. For increased interactions, they say, workers should be “ideally on the same floor”.</p> <p><strong>Being apart</strong></p> <p>How to balance the organisational forces pulling us together with the health forces pushing social distancing?</p> <p>We know COVID-19 spreads most easily between people in enclosed spaces for extended periods. In Britain, research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows workplaces are the most common transmission path for adults aged <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/17/scientists-age-groups-covid-19-workplaces-shops-restaurants">20 to 50</a>.</p> <p>We may have to get used to wearing masks along with plenty of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463918305911?via%3Dihub">hand sanitising</a> and disinfecting of high-traffic areas and shared facilities, from keyboards to kitchens. Every door knob and lift button is an issue.</p> <p>But space is the final frontier.</p> <p>It’s going to take more than vacating every second desk or imposing barriers like cubicle walls, which largely defeat the point of open-plan offices.</p> <p>An alternative vision comes from real-estate services company Cushman &amp; Wakefield. Its “6 feet office” concept includes more space between desks and lots of visual cues to remind coworkers to maintain physical distances.</p> <p>Of course, to do anything like this in most offices will require a proportion of staff working at home on any given day. It will also mean then end of the individual desk for most.</p> <p>This part may the hardest to handle. We like our personal spaces.</p> <p>We’ll need to balance the sacrifice of sharing spaces against the advantages of working away from the office while still getting to see colleagues in person. We’ll need new arrangements for storing personal items beyond the old locker, and “handover” protocols for equipment and furniture.</p> <p>Offices will also need to need more private spaces for greater use of video conferencing and the like. These sorts of collaborative tools don’t work well if you can’t insulate yourself from distractions.</p> <p>But there’s a huge potential upside with the new open office. A well-managed rotation of office days and seating arrangements could help us get to know more of those colleagues who, because they used to sit a few too many desks away, we rarely talked to.</p> <p>It might just mean the open-plan office finally finds its mojo.</p> <p><em>Written by Andrew Wallace. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-death-of-the-open-plan-office-not-quite-but-a-revolution-is-in-the-air-140724">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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How to maintain a slower pace of life after lockdown

<p>Before lockdown, our lives were defined by speed. Rushing around, living life at rocket pace was the norm. Keeping up with work responsibilities, social obligations and the latest tech or fashion trends was a neverending feat. Only a privileged few <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-growing-business-of-helping-customers-slow-down">could afford to slow down</a>.</p> <p>But in lockdown, the pace of life slowed <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-how-the-pandemic-has-changed-our-perception-of-time-139240">dramatically overnight for everyone</a>. People literally stopped running to work. The office, gyms, pubs, clubs and restaurants closed. Global travel shut down. Staying at home became the new normal. People began playing board games and puzzles, gardening, baking and other analogue pursuits with their new found time.</p> <p>Now that we are gradually emerging from lockdown, one tentative step at a time, is it possible to hold on to the benefits of being slowed down, and not go back to our old rushed way of living? <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article-abstract/45/6/1142/4999270">Our research</a> shows that in order to experience the benefits of slowing down, people must decelerate in three ways.</p> <p><strong>1. Slowing down your body</strong></p> <p>We call this embodied deceleration – when the body itself slows down. For example, when people walk or cycle as their primary forms of transportation, rather than taking the tube, train or bus.</p> <p>During lockdown, we have all had to stay close to our homes, and public transport has been for essential workers only. As we come out of lockdown, the city of London, for example, is expecting more people to continue walking and cycling rather than taking faster forms of transport, and is altering the built environment of the city to facilitate this.</p> <p>If possible, try to continue these slower forms of moving, as <a href="https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Resonance%3A+A+Sociology+of+Our+Relationship+to+the+World-p-9781509519927">they do not only provide</a> physical benefits. Moving at a slower pace allows for feeling a stronger connection between body and mind, which can gradually open up mental space for deep reflection. It is about getting into a mindset in which you have time to think, not just react.</p> <p><strong>2. Controlling your technology use</strong></p> <p>You don’t need to give up technology entirely. This is about having control over technology, and also communicating more face-to-face.</p> <p>During lockdown, we have all relied on technology to a great extent – to do our work remotely as well as keep in touch with our loved ones. Yet technology has been used to rekindle vibrant and meaningful connections to those who are important to us. From Zoom happy hours with long lost friends to watching movies with a partner, technology has been used to reinforce close connections.</p> <p>Try to continue these practices as you emerge from lockdown. For example, keep up your involvement with the WhatsApp neighbourhood group, which checks in on vulnerable community members. This keeps you grounded in the local, and continues your use of technology to facilitate close, meaningful and long lasting, rather than superficial and short, relations with others.</p> <p><strong>3. Limiting your activities</strong></p> <p>This is engaging in only a few activities per day and – crucially – reducing the amount of choices you make about buying things. During lockdown, when we were all confined to our homes, the only activities to be engaged in and choices to be made were where to set up our home office, what to eat for each meal, and where and when to take a walk. Now, as we begin to see others outside of our household, as restaurants and bars begin to open for takeaway and shops start to reopen, the amount of activities and things we can consume starts to rise.</p> <p>Try to remember the feeling of making your own food, and sharing it with your household, rather than running back to eating many meals out and on the go. As you emerge from lockdown, try to maintain practices like stopping work to eat your lunch in the middle of the day, and take tea breaks, preferably with others and outdoors when you can. There is much value to be gained from having the rhythm of your daily life be one which you can savour.</p> <p>In general, all three dimensions of slowing down speak to simplicity, authenticity and less materialism. Although many people desired these in their life pre-lockdown, it was hard to achieve them, as we felt there was no getting off the sped-up rollercoaster.</p> <p>Now, when we have all experienced the benefits of living a life which emphasises these values – the amount of things purchased during lockdown was quite small, and many people decluttered their homes – there is an incentive to hold on to this rather than rush back to our old, accelerated life.</p> <p>We are seeing societal changes which facilitate maintaining this new, slowed down rhythm. New Zealand is talking about <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/20/jacinda-ardern-flags-four-day-working-week-as-way-to-rebuild-new-zealand-after-covid-19">moving to a four-day work week</a>, for example, and Twitter <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/keeping-our-employees-and-partners-safe-during-coronavirus.html">says employees</a> can continue to work from home indefinitely.</p> <p>The current moment offers a unique opportunity to push back against the cult of speed and to continue life in this slower, more meaningful form.</p> <p><em>Written by Giana Eckhardt and Katharina C. Husemann. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-maintain-a-slower-pace-of-life-after-lockdown-140088">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life

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The story behind the Queen’s jewellery for Philip’s 99th birthday

<p>The royal family has released a new photograph of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of the duke’s 99th birthday on June 10.</p> <p>The image, taken at Windsor Castle on June 1, shows the Prince donning a Household Division tie and the Queen wearing a dress by Angela Kelly and a historic brooch.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOsiR6HsKl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CBOsiR6HsKl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">📸 This new photograph of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen was taken last week in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to mark His Royal Highness’s 99th birthday tomorrow. . Copyright: Press Association</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/theroyalfamily/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Royal Family</a> (@theroyalfamily) on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:35pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Dating back to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rct.uk/sites/default/files/null/diamonds_fact_sheet_1.pdf" target="_blank">1911</a>, the Cullinan V brooch features an 18-8-carat heart-shaped diamond at its centre with pave-set border of smaller diamonds.</p> <p>The centre stone is one of those cut from the famous 3,106-carat Cullinan, the largest diamond ever discovered. Other stones from the 621g diamond – found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905 – were set on other royal jewellery pieces, including the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s Sceptre.</p> <p>The Cullinan V was first owned by the Queen’s grandmother Queen Mary, who wore the brooch as part of the suite of jewelleries made for the Delhi Durbar in 1911.</p> <p>Elizabeth later inherited the piece in 1953 and has since featured it as part of her outfit on many occasions. She was last seen wearing the brooch during the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding at St George’s Chapel in October 2018.</p>

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“True national treasure”: Moore to be knighted by the Queen

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Captain Tom Moore captured hearts around the world as he walked laps around his garden to raise money for NHS charities. He has since raised more than £33m ($NZD 65m) and is set to receive a knighthood for his heroic fundraising efforts, which is news he is “delighted” by.</p> <p>Downing Street confirmed the news on Tuesday, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that Moore is a “beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus”.</p> <p>"Colonel Tom’s fantastic fundraising broke records, inspired the whole country and provided us all with a beacon of light through the fog of coronavirus," Johnson said in a statement.</p> <p>"On behalf of everyone who has been moved by his incredible story, I want to say a huge thank you. He's a true national treasure."</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth approved the knighthood and it will formally be announced later today.</p> <p>She also acknowledged his efforts with a personalised birthday card. It is tradition that the Queen sends letters to all British centenarians, but Moore’s card contained a message specific to his fundraising efforts.</p> <p>"I am so pleased to know that you are celebrating your one hundredth birthday on 30th April, 2020," it read.</p> <p>"I was also most interested to hear of your recent fundraising efforts for NHS Charities Together at this difficult time. I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion."</p> <p>Prince William has also written to Moore to congratulate him on his amazing achievement.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">We sent <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CaptainTomMoore?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CaptainTomMoore</a> a special message from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 🥰 Watch his reaction below...⤵️<a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KensingtonRoyal</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/captaintommoore?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@captaintommoore</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WalkWithTom?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WalkWithTom</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BBCBreakfast?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BBCBreakfast</a><br />More here: <a href="https://t.co/wy1ixmuA2E">https://t.co/wy1ixmuA2E</a> <a href="https://t.co/U2oPdwbZA7">pic.twitter.com/U2oPdwbZA7</a></p> — BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCBreakfast/status/1251029611942739968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 17, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>"It's wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination. I think he's a one man fundraising machine," Prince William said in an interview with the BBC. "Good on him and I hope he keeps going."</p> </div> </div> </div>

Retirement Life

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Whopper and wine: Is this how you’d ring in your 105th birthday?

<p>A great-great-grandmother has celebrated her 105th birthday with a burger and a bottle of wine.</p> <p>Beatrice Turner marked her milestone birthday on May 3 with a Hungry Jack’s Whopper and red wine at her Perth aged care home, surrounded by family and friends.</p> <p>Turner is the eldest of a growing group of centennials at the SwanCare Waminda aged care facility.</p> <p>“My legs are a bit wobbly, but my mind is still sharp,” she said.</p> <p>Turner was born in 1915 in Northam, nearly 100 kilometres east of Perth. She moved to the Western Australian capital with her family after her husband returned from World War II.</p> <p>Having gone through two world wars and the Great Depression, Turner now has three children, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.</p> <p>When asked about her secrets to a long life, Turner said she had never smoked a cigarette and didn’t drink alcohol until her 50s.</p> <p>“She's an inspiration and we feel honoured to have Bea here at Waminda,” said the facility’s manager Pauline Bremner.</p> <p>Premier Mark McGowan also sent Turner his congratulations on behalf of Victoria Park MP Ben Wyatt during a COVID-19 press conference.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fswancare%2Fposts%2F3005152672838396&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=552&amp;height=424&amp;appId" width="552" height="424" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p>

Retirement Life

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113-year-old woman becomes oldest person in the world to beat coronavirus

<p>A 113-year-old woman, the oldest person living in Spain, has now become the oldest reported survivor of the coronavirus.</p> <p>Maria Branyas, a mother-of-three, survived COVID-19 whilst residing in the Santa Maria del Tura care home in the city of Olot, eastern Spain.</p> <p>Originally born in San Fransisco on March 4, 1907, Branyas lived through the Spanish flu pandemic that affected the world in 1918 and 1919, killing an estimated 50 million people.</p> <p>Maria is considered the oldest person in Spain by the Gerontology Research Group, a global group of researchers in various fields which verifies and tracks supercentenarians – people who have reached the age of 110.</p> <p>While other people over the age of 100 have survived the coronavirus, Branyas is likely the only supercentenarian to have done so.</p> <p>17 people at the nursing home have died from virus, and while measures were put in place to make sure Branyas doesn’t contract it, she was diagnosed positive in April.</p> <p>She was kept in her room in total isolation as she fought the disease before finally testing negative.</p> <p>Anyone over the age of 70 is considered to be at high risk from contracting coronavirus making Branyas’ recovery even more remarkable.</p> <p>According to her daughter Rosa Moret, Branyas said the pandemic is very sad, but she is not aware where it comes from or how it reached Spain.</p> <p>Ms Moret told reporters that her mother is a strong and optimistic person who dealt with a urine infection whilst infected, but the virus itself was symptomless.</p> <p>It was revealed in April that nearly half of the deaths in Europe resulting from the coronavirus were in care homes.</p>

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Can’t go outside? Even seeing nature on a screen can improve your mood

<p>Are you feeling anxious or irritated during the coronavirus lockdown? Do you constantly want to get up and move? Maybe you need a moment to engage with nature.</p> <p>Getting into the great outdoors is difficult at right now. But our research soon to be published in <em>Australian Forestry</em> shows you can improve your mood by experiencing nature indoors. This could mean placing few pot plants in the corner of your home office, or even just looking at photos of plants.</p> <p>Our work adds to <a href="https://theconversation.com/biodiversity-and-our-brains-how-ecology-and-mental-health-go-together-in-our-cities-126760">a compelling body of research</a> that shows being around nature directly benefits our mental health.</p> <p><strong>Biophilia</strong></p> <p>Public gardens and parks, street verges with trees and bushes, and even rooftop gardens bring us a <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10630732.2019.1637694">broad range of benefits</a> – boosting <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(00)00317-2">physical health</a>, reducing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2013.12.011">air pollution</a>, and even <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/bs4040394">lowering crime rates</a>.</p> <p>But inside, in your hastily constructed home office or home school room, you may be unable to take full advantage of <a href="https://theconversation.com/green-for-wellbeing-science-tells-us-how-to-design-urban-spaces-that-heal-us-82437">urban nature</a>.</p> <p>Embracing the notion of “biophilia” – the innate human affinity with nature – while locked down inside may improve your productivity and even your health.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/building-a-second-nature-into-our-cities-wildness-art-and-biophilic-design-88642">biophilia hypothesis</a> argues modern day humans evolved from hundreds of generations of ancestors whose survival required them to study, understand and rely on nature. So a disconnection from nature today can cause <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1010043827986">significant issues for humans</a>, such as a decline in psychological health.</p> <p>In practice at home, connecting with nature might mean having large windows overlooking the garden. You can also <a href="https://makeitwood.org/documents/doc-1624-pollinate-health-report---february-2018.pdf">improve working conditions</a> by having natural materials in your office or school room, such as wooden furniture, natural stones and pot plants.</p> <p><strong>Indoor plants</strong></p> <p>Our research has demonstrated that even a small number of plants hanging in pockets on along a busy corridor provide enough nature to influence our physiological and psychological perceptions.</p> <p>These plants even caused behavioural differences, where people would <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1618866717306763">change their route</a> through a building to come into contact with the indoor plants.</p> <p>We surveyed 104 people, and 40% of the respondents reported their mood and emotions improved in the presence of indoor plants.</p> <p>They felt “relaxed and grounded” and “more interested”. The presence of indoor greenery provides a place to “relax from routine” and it made the space “significantly more pleasant to work in”.</p> <p>As one person reported:</p> <p><em>When I first saw the plants up on the wall brought a smile to my face.</em></p> <p><em>Whenever I walk down the stairs or walk past I mostly always feel compelled to look at the plants on the wall. Not with any anxiety or negative thoughts, rather, at how pleasant and what a great idea it is.</em></p> <p><strong>Looking at wildlife photography</strong></p> <p>Our research also explored whether viewing images, posters or paintings of nature would make a difference.</p> <p>We photographed the plants from viewpoints similar to those the corridor users experienced. Survey responses from those who only viewed these digital images were almost the same as those who experienced them in real life.</p> <p>While we can’t say for sure, we can hypothesise that given the importance of vision in modern humans, an image that “looks” like nature might be enough to trigger a biophilic response.</p> <p>However, physically being in the presence of plants did have some stronger behavioural effects. For example corridor users wanted to linger longer looking at the plants than those who viewed the photographs, and were more likely to want to visit the plants again. Maybe the other senses - touch, smell, even sound - created a stronger biophilic response than just sight alone.</p> <p>So the good news is if you can’t get to a nursery – or if you have a serious inability to keep plants alive – you can still benefit from looking at photographs of them.</p> <p>If you haven’t been taking your own photos, search the plethora of images from wildlife photographers such as <a href="http://gimesy.com/">Doug Gimesy</a>, <a href="http://lanting.com/">Frans Lanting</a> and <a href="https://www.tanyastollznow.com/">Tanya Stollznow</a>.</p> <p>Or check out live camera feeds of a wide range of environments, and travel to far-flung places without leaving the safety of home.</p> <p>While we haven’t tested the mood-boosting effects of live videos, we hypothesise their physiological and psychological effects will be no different than digital photographs.</p> <p>Here are seven places to help you get started.</p> <ul> <li>The <a href="https://bushblitz.org.au/">Bush Blitz</a> citizen science app launched a new online tool today. The species recovery program encourages children to explore their backyard to identify different species.</li> <li>“From the bottom of the sea direct to your screen”: watch this <a href="https://www.natureaustralia.org.au/what-we-do/our-priorities/oceans/ocean-stories/reef-cam-underwater/">underwater live stream</a> of Victoria’s rocky reef off Port Phillip Bay</li> <li>The Coastal Watch website offers <a href="https://www.coastalwatch.com/surf-cams-surf-reports">live camera feeds on beaches</a> around Australia.</li> <li>Watch the running water, trees and occasional fauna in California’s <a href="https://explore.org/livecams/zen-den/live-redwood-cam-1">Redwood Forest River</a>.</li> <li>In pastoral Australia, go on a <a href="https://youtu.be/qqYFgqN_q-w">four-hour drive through the country side</a> along tree-lined roads.</li> <li><a href="https://www.zoo.org.au/animal-house/">Zoos Victoria</a> has set up live cameras that show its animals in natural (and nature-like) environments from Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo.</li> <li>Yellowstone National Park may be closed right now, but <a href="https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm?sf174893829=1">webcams are stationed</a> in various locations throughout the park.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Cris Brack and Aini Jasmin Ghazalli. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/cant-go-outside-even-seeing-nature-on-a-screen-can-improve-your-mood-135320">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Captain Tom Moore's 100th birthday sealed with special postmark from Royal Mail

<p>A special postmark has been made in order to celebrate the 100th birthday of NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore.</p> <p>He’s set to celebrate his birthday on the 30th of April, and the special postmark will be used on all mail sent from Monday until May 1.</p> <p>The postmark reads: "Happy 100th Birthday Captain Thomas Moore NHS fundraising hero 30th April 2020.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Today we launch a very special postmark to celebrate Captain Thomas Moore's 100th Birthday!<br /><br />The postmark will pay tribute to the work of the inspiring NHS fundraiser who has captured the hearts and minds of the nation in the midst of the ongoing crisis.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CaptainTomMoore?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CaptainTomMoore</a> 👏 <a href="https://t.co/EGC9f8nfTw">pic.twitter.com/EGC9f8nfTw</a></p> — Royal Mail (@RoyalMail) <a href="https://twitter.com/RoyalMail/status/1254665226341023744?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>The World War II veteran has touched the hearts of people worldwide, as thousands of cards continue to be sent in to celebrate his birthday.</p> <p>Captain Tom set out to complete 100 laps of his yard before his 100th birthday in order to raise much needed funds for the NHS and completed his final laps on the 17th of April surrounded by a military guard in honour of his achievements.</p> <p>His initial aim was to raise £1,000 ($NZD 2,047) but his goal was completed in around 24 hours and he extended his challenge to 200 laps after completing the challenge two weeks ahead of schedule.</p> <p>More than 1.3 million people around the world have donated an incredible £29,353,122 ($NZD 60,100,810).</p> <p>There are calls for Tom to be knighted and he was even part of a chart-topping hit and became the oldest person in the UK to reach number 1.</p> <p>“What wonderful news to receive today, a number one single and a record breaker too – my grandchildren can’t believe I am a chart-topper,” he said.</p> <p>“I have to thank Michael Ball, the NHS Voices of Care Choir and everyone behind the scenes, who shared their talents and expertise in order to raise money for the NHS, to whom we owe so much.”</p> <p>Many around the world have also sent Captain Tom cards ahead of his birthday, with more than 100,000 cards being processed and many more being expected as his birthday draws closer.</p> <p>Royal mail has adapted its sorting machines in the South Midlands Mail Centre to re-route all of his post to a dedicated collection box.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Happy birthday, <a href="https://twitter.com/captaintommoore?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@captaintommoore</a>!🎉<br /><br />The WWII veteran has received over 120,000 cards for his 100th birthday after raising over £29 million for Britain’s NHS. <a href="https://t.co/a6tXpq1iew">https://t.co/a6tXpq1iew</a> <a href="https://t.co/s0ICZiF23Y">pic.twitter.com/s0ICZiF23Y</a></p> — Cheddar🧀 (@cheddar) <a href="https://twitter.com/cheddar/status/1254857682340610048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>David Gold, director of public affairs and policy at Royal Mail says that Captain Tom’s achievements are “truly phenomenal”.</p> <p>“What Captain Thomas Moore has achieved is truly phenomenal, and this is reflected in the affection shown for him across the world.</p> <p>"As Royal Mail works to keep the country connected during these challenging times, we are honoured to issue a special postmark in celebration of his 100th birthday.</p> <p>"We continued to deliver the many tens of thousands of birthday cards from well-wishers across the UK and abroad as people look to show their gratitude for all he has achieved on a more personal level."</p>

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Why does the Queen celebrate her birthday twice?

<p>Queen Elizabeth is set to continue her reign as the longest-serving British monarch as she turned 94 yesterday.</p> <p>While most people mark their birthdays just once a year, the Queen celebrates on two different days.</p> <p>But why does the monarch celebrate the occasion twice?</p> <p>Here’s why.</p> <p>The Queen’s birthday is on April 21, but she also celebrates on the second Saturday in June. This year, it will fall on June 13.</p> <p>Why does she celebrate her birthday twice? It’s all because of British weather.</p> <p>In 1748, George II brought about the tradition to celebrate the King or Queen’s birthday twice. The King, who was born in November, felt the weather was too cold and wet during that time of the year for his annual birthday parade.</p> <p>Which is why he combined his birthday event with the annual military parade, Trooping the Colour.</p> <p>Ever since then, British monarchs have celebrated their “official” birthdays in the summer months.</p> <p>Although in the same month, the Queen’s birthday doesn’t have a set date, only that it is celebrated on the second Saturday of June. This changed from Thursday in 1959 for convenience purposes.</p> <p>Her birthday won’t be celebrated as usual this year due to coronavirus, but usually, it is marked by gun salutes and Trooping the Colour, a tradition in which the Queen inspects her troops in a military pageantry parade.</p> <p>She usually appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with other members of the royal family, making for an iconic annual photo.</p> <p>But because of the pandemic, the Queen will hold an intimate celebration with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle.</p> <p>There will be no alternative celebrations to mark the day in a special way, although it’s expected she will privately receive video calls from family.</p>

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Virgin Australia gets a lifeline but will it be enough?

<p>With commercial airline fleets grounded due to lack of demand, the Australian government will pay the nation’s two biggest airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia, $A165 million to ensure they keep flying critical metropolitan and regional routes over the next two months.</p> <p>This measure comes on top of a <a href="https://minister.infrastructure.gov.au/mccormack/media-release/additional-new-support-critical-regional-aviation-services-through-covid-19">A$198 million assistance package</a> for regional airlines and the waiver of A$715 million in fees and charges for domestic airlines.</p> <p>It’s particularly important for the cash-strapped Virgin Australia. The company this week asked the Australian Stock Exchange to <a href="https://www.businessnewsaus.com.au/articles/virgin-suspended-from-asx.html">suspend trading of its shares</a> after the federal government rebuffed its request for a $A1.4 billion loan.</p> <p>Without a significant cash injection, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/coronavirus-airline-support-package-qantas-rex/12064316">industry experts</a> say, the airline will collapse within six months. Prior to the government’s latest announcement there were reports it <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/14/virgin-australia-considers-going-into-administration-as-labor-calls-for-government-rescue">could go into administration</a> within weeks.</p> <p>Virgin Australia is 90% owned by five international companies – Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, China’s Nanshan Group and HNA, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Facing their own difficulties, they have signalled they will not inject further capital.</p> <p>This funding package gives the airline more time to find <a href="https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/private-equity-investors-circle-over-virgin-20200415-p54jwd">other investors</a>. But its longer-term future remains up in the air.</p> <p><strong>Desperately seeking $1.4 billion</strong></p> <p>While the US government has agreed to provide <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/business/coronavirus-airlines-bailout-treasury-department.html">US$50 billion</a> in loans and grants to its ten biggest domestic airlines, with the option to take equity stakes, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said this week the Australian government was “not in the business of owning an airline”.</p> <p>Having two major airlines had served Australia well, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-16/virgin-australia-disspears-from-skies-which-airline-coronavirus/12151072">he said</a>, but “our approach has been sector-wide support”.</p> <p>Complicating that type of support has been disagreement between Virgin Australia and Qantas.</p> <p>Qantas chief Alan Joyce has argued for “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-24/qantas-boss-comments-unhelpful-says-accc-boss/12085672">survival of the fittest</a>” and against assistance to “badly managed” businesses. His airline did not need government support, Joyce said this week. But if the government loaned Virgin Australia A$1.4 billion, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-16/virgin-australia-disspears-from-skies-which-airline-coronavirus/12151072">he wanted A$4.2 billion</a>.</p> <p><strong>To bail or not to bail</strong></p> <p>The federal government’s dilemma is whether it is better to bail out Virgin Australia or allow commercial forces to rule, as it has done in the past.</p> <p>Its interest in sector-wide support reflects the fact the entire domestic aviation industry is hurting.</p> <p>Freight and logistics, aircraft maintenance and repair, flight training and simulation, component manufacturing and research and design operations are all bundled together into a tightly bound sector.</p> <p>All up, the industry’s five subsectors – domestic commercial aviation, international commercial aviation, general aviation, freight transport and aviation support infrastructure – have provided employment for about <a href="http://www.australianindustrystandards.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Aviation-Key-Findings-Paper2018V4Web.pdf">90,000 Australians across 1,900 businesses</a>. So it’s not just the 10,000 people employed by Virgin Australia the government needs to think about.</p> <p><strong>Systems shocks are nothing new</strong></p> <p>History is also a factor. The global aviation industry is no stranger to “system shocks”. These have included the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the SARS outbreak in 2003, the World Trade Centre attacks in 2001, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 and the oil shocks of the 1970s.</p> <p>Typically the sector has “bounced back” within a year.</p> <p>The last big shakeup of the Australian airline industry was in 2001. Just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Ansett Airlines – flying since 1935 – went into administration.</p> <p>After Ansett’s collapse, Virgin Blue (established in 2000) saw explosive growth and former Ansett employees helped create regional operator Rex in 2002.</p> <p>So from the rubble of failure new enterprises and forms of aviation business can grow, just as Virgin Australia has taken Ansett’s place as the nation’s second major domestic carrier.</p> <p>Of course, the extent of the crisis is somewhat different this time.</p> <p>With domestic travel restrictions likely in place for at least six months, and international flight restrictions set to continue even longer, the sector will be changed forever.</p> <p>But history shows Australia can support two major airlines. We have extensive domestic aviation routes that will enable an early recovery compared with airlines in other parts of the world that rely on international routes.</p> <p><em>Written by Stephen Fankhauser and Mat Ebbatson. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/virgin-australia-gets-a-lifeline-but-will-it-be-enough-136399">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p> </p>

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99-year-old war veteran raises millions for healthcare workers

<p>A 99-year-old war veteran has raised nearly more than 4 million pounds ($NZD 8.4 million) for British healthcare workers by attempting to walk the length of his garden one hundred times before his 100th birthday later this month.</p> <p>Captain Tom Moore has used a walking frame to move around since breaking his hip and said that he was incredibly grateful to the National Health Service (NHS) for the treatment he received.</p> <p>He wanted to do something in return to say thank you, and the aim is to do 10 laps a day before the end of the month.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zVFCwjZqzoo"></iframe></div> <p>Britain’s state-funded NHS is under intense strain as it treats large numbers of people suffering from COVID-19.</p> <p>Moore turns 100 on April 30 and had hoped to raise 500,000 pounds. He has since quadrupled that figure and more already thanks to the generosity of 205,326 supporters.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">99 year old Captain Tom Moore <a href="https://twitter.com/captaintommoore?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@captaintommoore</a> is celebrating his birthday by walking 100 lengths of his garden for <a href="https://twitter.com/NHSCharities?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NHSCharities</a> <br /><br />So far he has raised £3,676,361.91 ⬆️735% !<br /><br />You can support him here: <a href="https://t.co/mmZMpHJpsl">https://t.co/mmZMpHJpsl</a> <a href="https://t.co/hsE3ZvTMNT">pic.twitter.com/hsE3ZvTMNT</a></p> — Bev Matthews RN ↔️ 🧍🏼‍♂️↔️🧍🏼↔️🧍🏽‍♀️↔️🧍🏿 (@BevMatthewsRN) <a href="https://twitter.com/BevMatthewsRN/status/1250168744074149898?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>NHS Charities Together, who will benefit from the funds, said that it was “truly inspired and humbled”.</p> <p>Ellie Orton, chief executive of the charity, had nothing but praise for Tom Moore.</p> <p>"I think I absolutely join the rest of the country in being truly inspired and profoundly humbled by Captain Tom and what he has achieved.</p> <p>"Thank you for being an inspiration and a role model."</p> <p>Moore couldn’t believe his eyes as funds went over the 4 million pound mark and said that it was “almost unbelievable”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">WOW - 4 million pound for our NHS!<br /><br />We cannot wait to tell the news to Tom in the morning, he will not believe his ears! <br /><br />Thanks each and every one of you - we are in awe of you, but especially our frontline staff who need this now more than ever. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TomorrowWillBeAGoodDay</a></p> — Captain Tom Moore (@captaintommoore) <a href="https://twitter.com/captaintommoore/status/1250186487095873536?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 14, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>"When you think of who it is all for - all those brave and super doctors and nurses we have got - I think they deserve every penny, and I hope we get some more for them too,” he said to the<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52278746" target="_blank">BBC</a></em>.</p> <p>The veteran who served in Asia during World War II had a message of hope.</p> <p>"That's the way I think I've always looked at things: tomorrow will be a good day," he said.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs" target="_blank">Just Giving</a><span> </span> </em></p>

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Scary red or icky green? We can’t say what colour coronavirus is and dressing it up might feed fears

<p>Images of the latest coronavirus have become instantly recognisable, often vibrantly coloured and floating in an opaque background. In most representations, the shape of the virus is the same – a spherical particle with spikes, resembling an alien invader.</p> <p>But there’s little consensus about the colour: images of the virus come in red, orange, blue, yellow, steely or soft green, white with red spikes, red with blue spikes and many colours in between.</p> <p>In their depictions of the virus, designers, illustrators and communicators are making some highly creative and evocative decisions.</p> <p><strong>Colour, light and fear</strong></p> <p>For some, the lack of consensus about the appearance of viruses confirms fears and <a href="https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2738/2481">increases anxiety</a>. On March 8 2020, the director-general of the World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/director-general-s-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-2019-novel-coronavirus---8-february-2020">warned</a> of the “infodemic” of misinformation about the coronavirus, urging communicators to use “facts not fear” to battle the flood of rumours and myths.</p> <p>The confusion about the colour of coronavirus starts with the failure to understand the nature of colour in the sub-microscopic world.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/articles/technical/how-do-we-see-color">perception of colour</a> is dependent on the presence of light. White light from the sun is a combination of all the wavelengths of visible light – from violet at one end of the spectrum to red at the other.</p> <p>When white light hits an object, we see its colour thanks to the light that is reflected by that object towards our eyes. Raspberries and rubies appear red because they absorb most light but reflect the red wavelength.</p> <p>But as objects become smaller, light is no longer an effective tool for seeing. Viruses are so small that, until the 1930s, one of their scientifically recognised properties was their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10739-018-9530-2">invisibility</a>. Looking for them with a microscope using light is like trying to find an ant in a football stadium at night using a large searchlight: the scale difference between object and tool is too great.</p> <p>It wasn’t until the development of the electron microscope in the 1930s that researchers could “see” a virus. By using electrons, which are vastly smaller than light particles, it became possible to identify the shapes, structures and textures of viruses. But as no light is involved in this form of seeing, there is no colour. Images of viruses reveal a monochrome world of grey. Like electrons, atoms and quarks, viruses exist in a realm where colour has no meaning.</p> <p><strong>Vivid imagery</strong></p> <p>Grey images of unfamiliar blobs don’t make for persuasive or emotive media content.</p> <p>Research into the representation of the Ebola virus outbreak in 1995 <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0392192107087919">revealed</a> the image of choice was not the worm-like virus but teams of Western medical experts working in African villages in hermetically sealed suits. The early visual representation of the AIDS virus focused on the emaciated bodies of those with the resulting disease, often younger men.</p> <p>With symptoms similar to the common cold and initial death rates highest amongst the elderly, the coronavirus pandemic provides no such dramatic visual material. To fill this void, the vivid range of colourful images of the coronavirus have strong appeal.</p> <p>Many images come from stock photo suppliers, typically photorealistic artists’ impressions rather than images from electron microscopes.</p> <p>The Public Health Library of the US government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) provides one such illustration, created to reveal the morphology of the coronavirus. It’s an off-white sphere with yellow protein particles attached and red spikes emerging from the surface, creating the distinctive “corona” or crown. All of these colour choices are creative decisions.</p> <p>Biologist David Goodsell takes artistic interpretation a step further, using watercolour <a href="https://pdb101.rcsb.org/sci-art/goodsell-gallery/coronavirus">painting</a> to depict viruses at the cellular level.</p> <p>One of the complicating challenges for virus visualisation is the emergence of so-called “colour” images from electron microscopes. Using a methodology that was originally described as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451945616303579">painting</a>,” scientists are able to add colour to structures in the grey-scale world of imaging to help distinguish the details of cellular micro-architecture. Yet even here, the choice of colour is arbitrary, as shown in a number of coloured images of the coronavirus made available on Flickr by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In these, the virus has been variously coloured yellow, orange, magenta and blue.</p> <p><strong>Embracing grey</strong></p> <p>Whilst these images look aesthetically striking, the arbitrary nature of their colouring does little to solve WHO’s concerns about the insecurity that comes with unclear facts about viruses and disease.</p> <p>One solution would be to embrace the colourless sub-microscopic world that viruses inhabit and accept their greyness.</p> <p>This has some distinct advantages: firstly, it fits the science that colour can’t be attributed where light doesn’t reach. Secondly, it renders images of the virus less threatening: without their red spikes or green bodies they seem less like hostile invaders from a science fiction fantasy. And the idea of greyness also fits the scientific notion that viruses are suspended somewhere between the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-alive-giant-discovery-suggests-theyre-more-like-zombies-75661">dead and the living</a>.</p> <p>Stripping the coronavirus of the distracting vibrancy of vivid colour – and seeing it consistently as an inert grey particle – could help reduce community fear and better allow us to continue the enormous collective task of managing its biological and social impact.</p> <p><em>Written by Simon Weaving. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/scary-red-or-icky-green-we-cant-say-what-colour-coronavirus-is-and-dressing-it-up-might-feed-fears-134380">The Conversation. </a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Royal sign off: Harry and Meghan's last message EVER to social media accounts

<p>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have posted their last message to royal fans on their social media accounts before they officially leave The Firm to pursue new heights in the career without their HRH titles.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9b43tdnzgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9b43tdnzgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Mar 7, 2020 at 6:27am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple shocked the world, including their grandmother The Queen and the royal family, when they hastily announced their intention to depart from their role as senior royals and instead seek an “independent” income.</p> <p>A deal was then brokered by Her 93-year-old Majesty and Prince Harry where they both decided the pair would go their own way beginning from April.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9C0fs0HsZI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9C0fs0HsZI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:48pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“While you may not see us here, the work continues,” the couple wrote in their last ever message to their Sussex Royal Instagram page.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-XTsETJsU0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-XTsETJsU0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on Mar 30, 2020 at 9:17am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Thank you to this community, for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You've been great.</p> <p>“Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”</p>

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Buckingham Palace furiously denies Prince Philip death rumours

<p>Buckingham Palace has been forced to furiously deny claims regarding the whereabouts of Prince Philip.</p> <p>Since stepping out the limelight, the 98-year-old royal has often been targeted by cruel fake rumours, including one that came out this week that Prince Philip had fallen victim to the coronavirus and died.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97DLwtnesa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B97DLwtnesa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by TheRoyalist (@_britishroyals_)</a> on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>However, Buckingham Palace insiders have found the claim laughable, and told the<span> </span>Express<span> </span>that the royal is “absolutely fine”.</p> <p>“Sources close to Buckingham Palace tells me he’s absolutely fine,” Gareth Davies, editor of the UK’s<span> </span>Telegraph<span> </span>told the publication.</p> <p>“I don't know what would possess someone to start a lie like that, but stop. It's weird and incites panic. We don't need that right now,” Gareth also wrote on Twitter.</p> <p>Sources also seemed to confirm the same news as Gareth to ET Canada, that Prince Philip is alive and well.</p> <p>According to reports, the hoax news story was created on messaging application, WhatsApp, where it was shared around that the royal had died before it was shared to Twitter and spread like wildfire.</p> <p>However, it appears the Queen or her royal staff have taken no notice of the vicious cycle of rumours, as she carried out a private reception at Buckingham Palace with Commanding Officer of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, on Wednesday evening.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94ecUxndDU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B94ecUxndDU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Cam Brunner (@brunnercam)</a> on Mar 18, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Since the Duke of Edinburgh retired in 2013, the royal has kept a low profile. Although sometimes, royal watchers are able to catch a photo of him keeping active and have even seen him carriage riding his beloved horse on the grounds of Windsor Castle a number of times.</p> <p>At the beginning of 2019, Prince Philip underwent a shocking car crash which he surprisingly came out of with little to no injuries.</p> <p>The royal was also hospitalised over Christmas break and photographed leaving a medical facility.</p>

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Why are older people more at risk of coronavirus?

<p>As we learn more about COVID-19, it’s increasingly clear that your risk of severe illness and death increases with age.</p> <p>Children under nine years of age seem to be <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">largely unaffected</a>, either with no or mild symptoms. None have died as a result of the infection.</p> <p>People over the age of 80 years and those with chronic diseases are the most vulnerable. For those over 80, approximately 15% of those infected will die.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">death rate</a> starts to increase for those over 50 years of age. Those under 50 years who are infected have a death rate of 0.2-0.4%, while for those 50-59 years it’s 1.3%.</p> <p>For those 60-69 years it’s 3.6%, for 70 to 79 year olds it’s 8.0% and for those over 80 years of age it is 14.8%.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">similar picture is emerging</a> when looking at the increased risk of severe illness and death of those with underlying conditions.</p> <p>The death rate for those with no underlying chronic conditions is approximately 1%.</p> <p>For those with cardiovascular (heart) disease the death rate is 10.5%, for diabetes it’s 7.3%. Chronic respiratory disease (such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has a 6.3% death rate, for hypertension (high blood presure) it’s 6.0% and cancer is 5.6%.</p> <p><strong>Why are older people at greater risk?</strong></p> <p>The likelihood of having chronic conditions increases markedly as you age. <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Chronic%20conditions~25">Four in five Australians aged 65 years and over</a> have at least one chronic condition.</p> <p>But the presence of chronic conditions only partially explains the high death rate in older people.</p> <p>As we age, our immune system weakens. This makes us more vulnerable to infections of all types. And any sort of challenge to the body can do more damage.</p> <p>When the immune system gears up in older people, there is also a higher likelihood of a phenomenon called a <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/12/21173783/coronavirus-death-age-covid-19-elderly-seniors">cytokine storm</a>. This is where the immune system overreacts and produces too many of the chemicals to fight an infection.</p> <p>So you get a severe inflammatory reaction which has the potential to cause significant damage in the body, including organ failure.</p> <p><strong>What about specific chronic diseases?</strong></p> <p>The biggest risk factor for dying of coronavirus is cardiovascular (heart) disease, with a death rate of 10.5%. But we <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/examining-factors-that-worsen-coronavirus-severity">don’t yet know why</a>.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean that infection necessarily causes a heart attack, just that people with underlying heart problems are more likely to become seriously ill and die from complications of coronavirus.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease for those with diabetes, such as actor Tom Hanks, may be easier to understand. Diabetes depresses immune function and makes it harder to fight off viral infections.</p> <p>Elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels in people with diabetes <a href="https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/tom-hanks-covid-19-diabetes">may also provide</a> a more ideal environment for viruses to thrive.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19 in people with chronic respiratory illness such as asthma and lung disease (known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD) is perhaps the <a href="https://time.com/5802423/coronvirus-asthma-high-risk/">clearest</a>, especially if your illness is not well controlled.</p> <p>Respiratory conditions – such as uncontrolled asthma, which causes causes inflammation of the airways – are likely to be exacerbated by infection with COVID-19, which also targets the airways.</p> <p><strong>How can you reduce your risk?</strong></p> <p>If you fall into a vulnerable group, or have close contact with someone who does, be vigilant with hygiene. The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf">government reccomends</a>:</p> <ul> <li>sanitising your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings</li> <li>using “tap and pay” to make purchases rather than handling money</li> <li>travelling at quiet times and trying to avoid crowds</li> <li>asking public transport workers and taxi drivers to open vehicle windows where possible</li> <li>regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot.</li> </ul> <p>You may even want to limit your public transport use and non-essential travel to reduce your chance of coming into contact with the virus.</p> <p>It’s also reasonable to ask family or friends not to visit you when they’re ill.</p> <p>Even if you’re young and healthy and not feeling particularly at risk of coronavirus, remember you play an important role in stopping the spread of the virus to those more vulnerable.</p> <p><strong>What can governments do?</strong></p> <p>Some government are implementing additional measures to reduce the risk of older people becoming infected.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom, the government <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51895873">has indicated</a> that in the coming weeks people aged over 70 could be asked to self-isolate, or reduce their social contact, for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-uk-over-70s-to-be-asked-to-self-isolate-within-weeks-hancock-says">up to four months</a>.</p> <p>The UK government has <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults">also asked</a> that no one visits aged care facilities unnecessarily, and that people visiting elderly relatives for essential reasons keep their distance.</p> <p>In the United States, president Donald Trump has <a href="https://time.com/5804402/white-house-coronavirus-guidelines/">urged older Americans to stay home</a> for the next 15 days.</p> <p>In Australia, the government <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-public-gatherings-and-visits-to-vulnerable-groups#limits-on-visits-to-vulnerable-groups">has recommended</a> limiting visits to residential care facilities and is likely to announce new measures <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/coronavirus-health-advice-mass-gatherings-stimulus/12062224">tomorrow</a>.</p> <p>For now, asking older people in the community to take precautionary measures appears to be sensible advice, rather than imposing rules around self-isolation which come with logistical and social consequences.</p> <p><em>Written by Hassan Vally. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-older-people-more-at-risk-of-coronavirus-133770">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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A simpler life begins at home – key tips from people who’ve done it

<p>Voluntary simplicity focuses on doing more with less. People who choose this way of life seek other riches, like personal fulfilment, free time, community and environmental benefits. They see limiting their consumption as a way to improve their quality of life and flourish.</p> <p>We wanted to learn about people who choose this path. What lessons do they have to share? In particular, how can housing be designed to support simplicity?</p> <p>We talked in depth to 14 householders and 25 housing industry professionals. As well as the householders, 11 of the professionals had made housing changes to simplify their own lives. Our conversations focused on life stories and beliefs, thoughts on voluntary simplicity, and ways to overcome the challenges they faced.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02673037.2020.1720614">recently published research</a> shows it is possible, with a bit of work and planning, to live a simple <em>and</em> fulfilling life. We focused on housing, because housing choices are at the heart of such a life. Our social connections, incomes, transport needs and energy and water usage all link to where and <em>how</em> we live.</p> <p>Despite <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/6496B4739650C270CA2581F3000E3B4D?OpenDocument">continuing increases</a>, house and land prices are lower in Tasmania than on mainland Australia, but so are incomes. Just as elsewhere, housing practices here can lock householders into complicated consumption practices with negative consequences for society and the environment. Needing to work more to pay off bigger mortgages is one aspect of this.</p> <p><strong>Compromises are inevitable</strong></p> <p>Some participants wanted housing that encompassed environmental best practice and closeness to nature. Some wanted to connect with like-minded people. Some wanted smaller or no mortgages.</p> <p>But “you can’t have it all”, we were told. Compromises are inherent in striving for voluntary simplicity in housing.</p> <p>For example, you might want an off-grid eco-haven, but that’s unlikely in the inner city. You might need public transport, but that could rule out retrofitting a bush block home.</p> <p>The ethically sourced building materials you select from interstate or overseas might involve supply chains using multiple transport modes and all the fossil fuel these use. Locally sourced materials might not meet your ethical standards. And are you happy to buy your solar panels using credit from a Big Four bank that invests in fossil fuels?</p> <p>So, know your deal-breakers and accept that you cannot be “a model of simplicity” in every way all the time. “Do what you can for the context you’re in.”</p> <p>A resounding piece of advice from the professionals was “smaller is better”.</p> <p><strong>Do your homework</strong></p> <p>To find palatable compromises you must do your homework. For example, many people wanted to save money or have meaningful experiences of creating house and home.</p> <p>That level of engagement takes a lot of work, which surprised several participants. It requires project-management skills and familiarity with regulations <em>beforehand</em>.</p> <p>You might need specialist professionals on board from the start. A building designer told us:</p> <p><em>You’re doing something different from the norm, so your standard industry professional might not be experienced with the regulations for composting toilets, on-site greywater systems, or even smaller-than-average houses.</em></p> <p>Situations might change mid-project. Participants emphasised how important it is to be prepared for regulatory reforms, technological change and unexpected costs. Communication is crucial – with family, professionals and tradespeople, councils and suppliers.</p> <p>One owner-builder told us:</p> <p><em>It’s like a little treasure hunt. Ask lots of questions but gather them all together because professionals charge per hour or part thereof. Find people who have experience with a similar build or project. We asked friends for basic info, then asked the experts once we had some background.</em></p> <p>Options and requirements might not be obvious. Finding professionals with similar values who have a talent for project administration, regulations and time management can be hugely helpful. Another building designer told us:</p> <p><em>It’s becoming increasingly hard to build a home without professional help. If you don’t know the order in which to do things, and how one influences the other, it can become very stressful and costly and time-consuming.</em></p> <p>Confidence and patience are useful attributes. Another owner-builder said:</p> <p><em>You’ll be talking with people who know their stuff (or think they do) and are used to working with other professionals. It’s hard to call someone about a product not knowing what you’re talking about, but do it anyway and don’t be scared. At the end of the day, we were responsible for every aspect of our place, so why not take control? It gets easier once you start doing it.</em></p> <p><strong>Be patient and know your limitations</strong></p> <p>Since everything seems to “take so much longer than planned”, remember you are there for the long haul.</p> <p>If you want to move faster, you often have to pay experts for the privilege. As one owner-builder said: “We could have gotten away without the loan if time weren’t a factor.”</p> <p>The more you do yourself as a non-expert the more you learn. But even if you are careful, you might make mistakes that cost time and money. So “be guided by your emotions and values but don’t let them get the best of you”.</p> <p><strong>The project of a lifetime</strong></p> <p>The voluntary simplicity housing journey also affects professionals. One building designer told us:</p> <p><em>I hope to see myself as an interpreter of what people want. It might be the project of a lifetime for someone who has spent their life savings on it, so I feel a responsibility to provide some sort of pastoral care. For owner-builders, the house becomes a part of the family in some ways.</em></p> <p>That means being friendly, patient, communicative and paying attention to how clients experience the whole system from planning regulations to the philosophies of sustainability.</p> <p>In practice, simple living is a huge journey. But with thought, planning and hard work, it can be extremely satisfying and rewarding.</p> <p>Committing to voluntary simplicity in housing (or anything else) is never a complete response. But, as part of a suite of positive responses to contemporary challenges, from climate change to community cohesion, it’s worth working for as individuals and as professionals.</p> <p><em>Written by Marisa McArthur and Elaine Stratford. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-simpler-life-begins-at-home-key-tips-from-people-whove-done-it-132081">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Thousands of Seniors have made the discovery!

<p>While millions of people have a Seniors Discount card or the Senior Savers Card, it can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out just how many perks and savings we can be getting.</p> <p>All over Australia and New Zealand, thousands of businesses offer serious savings for those who hold a senior discount card, but do you know just HOW many companies there are that want you to get more bang for your buck?</p> <p>From big brands and national retailers to local businesses and smaller vendors, there are over 36,000 discounts throughout Australia and New Zealand that seniors have the opportunity to tap into quickly and easily.</p> <p>The key to getting all that you possibly can with your discount card is by using the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> – an application that allows older Australians and New Zealanders to tap into perks and savings across the two nations.</p> <p>Already the app has helped thousands of seniors find all of the different place where they can use their discount card.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835168/senior-discount-card-app-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/30b35f2ff3e34c289f0f00cc77812738" /></p> <p>Whether you are wanting to save on changing a tyre or scrape a few dollars off of your morning coffee, the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> shows you the helpful savings across both everyday items and special purchases.</p> <p>The new free smartphone app is not just a gamechanger in your local community – it lets users get great deals and discounts wherever they go.  </p> <p>Along with a number of helpful services and products you can save on, there are also gorgeous and adventurous attractions you can get for a reduced price – so your retirement fund can be stretched out just that little bit further.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835163/senior-discount-card-app-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/77f0476694ae4d1184631673a4bb736c" /></p> <p>Founder Lane Prowd created the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> when he realised just how little his friends and family knew about their discount card.</p> <p>“They didn’t want to always be referring to a big book, nor did they want to be constantly asking in shops and being told no,” he explained.</p> <p>“So the app really started out as a way they could have access to all those discounts right from their smartphone.</p> <p>“I wanted to make it easier for people to find the discounts all around them.”</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> has proven to be a helpful tool for Seniors  who believe the new application has created a way for them to take advantage of all the incredible savings around them.</p> <p>Melbourne-based Sandra Gould says since finding the app, discounts she was not aware of have become accessible to her.</p> <p>“I’ve used it in cafés, restaurants, and in some of my favourite retail shops that I never even thought about for receiving a discount,” Ms Gould said. “I even discovered my hairdresser offers Seniors Discounts!”</p> <p>She added: “It’s quite amazing the huge variety of businesses and discount offers that are out there rewarding us seniors.”</p> <p>Take advantage of your opportunity to live a lifestyle you deserve, for a reduced cost that you have earned.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.2142038946163px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835182/senior-discount-card-app-3-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4a8e57668d494f148256ea2d583e8f45" /></p> <p><em>Download the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> here.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Dining with Dolly Parton: Sir Billy Connolly shares his bucket list

<p>Sir Billy Connolly has revealed the people he would like to have at his dream dinner party.</p> <p>In a recent interview with <em><a href="https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/dining-with-dolly-parton-sir-billy-connolly-reveals-his-fantasy-dinner-party-guests/">The Sunday Post</a></em>, the Scottish comedian said his fantasy guest list, featuring both alive and deceased figures, includes country musician Dolly Parton.</p> <p>“I had a brilliant experience seeing Dolly in Glasgow, being swept along with thousands in the crowd and no one recognised me,” he said.</p> <p>“No one could see me until a little girl shouted: ‘Look! Its Billy Connolly!’ She came and gave me a big cuddle. She was wonderful. I met her again in a shop and she did the same thing.”</p> <p>Another singer he would like to invite is Bob Dylan, who created his favourite album <em>Blonde On Blonde</em>.</p> <p>Other famous figures in Connolly’s wish list are authors Charles Dickens and Iris Murdoch as well as artists John Byrne and David Hockney.</p> <p>Byrne, who is an old friend of the Big Yin, paid tribute to the comedian with <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39947883">a portrait in the 1970s and another in 2017</a>.</p> <p>The 77-year-old went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2013 and <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/billy-connolly-quits-stand-up-comedy-amid-parkinson-s-diagnosis">retired five years later</a>. He is now working as an artist.</p>

Retirement Life

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Central Coast's changing face attracts Sydney downsizers - would you retire here?

<p><strong>In Australia, NSW's Central Coast region’s natural beauty, improved transport access and shift to high-quality new housing are helping to attract downsizers from Sydney.</strong></p> <p>Downsizing.com.au spoke to a local agent to understand more about the region’s growing appeal.</p> <p><strong>Attractive lifestyle and transport access</strong></p> <p>Michelle Tucker, a Central Coast-based McGrath agent, says there are several drivers enticing downsizers to ‘The Coast’ (as locals prefer to call the region).</p> <p>Ms Tucker said the picturesque Brisbane Waters and the region’s magnificent beaches are key attractors. “The lifestyle of the Central Coast has always been an attractive proposition for downsizers,” Ms Tucker said. </p> <p>Ms Tucker also says transport access is also about to improve, with the <a href="https://northconnex.com.au/">North Connex roadway project</a> close to completion. This project is expected to make the trip from the Central Coast to the centre of Sydney some 30 minutes faster. </p> <p>“Downsizers want to stay connected to the city’s amenities, and this is particularly so for those originating from Sydney,” Ms Tucker explains. </p> <p>“They want everything at their fingertips. They still want to go to shows in Sydney and meet their friend for lunch. They don’t want to give up their Sydney lifestyle.”</p> <p>In addition, Central Coast residents have the choice of two major airports, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith and Newcastle Airport at Williamtown. It is also possible to take a train from Gosford to Central Station in 70 minutes.  </p> <p><strong>Relative value for money</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker says the downsizer market on the Central Coast is split between locals and those moving from Sydney. </p> <p>“We recently sold a beautifully appointed penthouse with sweeping views of Brisbane Waters to downsizers from Killara, a northern Sydney suburb, for $1.6 million,” she says.  </p> <p>“To find an apartment like this on the North Shore with sweeping water views of say Middle Harbour or Sydney Harbour, you could expect to double and even triple the price.</p> <p>“Not only has this couple bought into a fantastic lifestyle but downsizing to the Central Coast leaves money in the bank.”</p> <p>However, Ms Tucker said that the Central Coast hasn’t always offered the housing product matching the region’s lifestyle delights. </p> <p>“It’s only in the last few years we’ve seen an increase in brand new luxury apartments come onto the market,” she said.</p> <p><strong>Changing face of Gosford</strong></p> <p>With more residential towers in various stages of development in Gosford and Point Frederick, the local restaurant, café and bar scene is improving with a bullet.</p> <p>“You come out of your apartment, and you’re on the waterfront, go to a restaurant or café in town. Gosford is starting to happen, and there are places to go,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>In addition, both of the region's major hospitals are <a href="http://www.gwhr.health.nsw.gov.au/">currently undergoing a major redevelopment.</a> </p> <p><strong>Properties on the Central Coast</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker is currently marketing the luxury <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/47280/ravello-luxury-apartments">Ravello</a> residential apartment project, being developed by veteran media industry figure John Singleton at Point Frederick.</p> <p>Located on the former site of the iconic Monti’s Ashore fish and chip shop, Ravello includes 40 apartments and has largely uninterrupted views over Brisbane Water.</p> <p>The project will be completed in 2021 and includes one, two and three-bedroom apartments, and three penthouses. </p> <p>There is only a limited number of one-bedroom apartments available from $460,000, while two-bedroom apartments begin at $830,000. </p> <p>“Central Coast downsizers love large apartments with big terraces as they still want space for the Christmas lunch and in this respect, developments such as Ravello tick these boxes,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>Another new Central Coast project currently on offer is Retire Australia’s <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/44418/expect-a-lifestyle-thats-second-to-none">Rise at Wood Glen</a> project at Erina. </p> <p>The Rise at Wood Glen will comprise 58 purpose-built two and three-bedroom independent living apartments against a backdrop of award-winning gardens and bushland views in the existing Wood Glen retirement living community.</p> <p>Independent living apartments in Stage 1 range from $650,000 to $1,050,000.</p> <p>The Central Coast also continues to offer more affordable property in existing retirement villages and land lease communities.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/664/Central-Coasts-changing-face-attracts-Sydney-downsizers"><em>Downsizing.com.au.</em></a></p>

Retirement Life