New Proposals for Drones

Post by Mark

A user sent me a link to a proposal by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on drones and other unmanned aircrafts. I’ve been going through the proposal now and here are some points I think are worth highlighting:

For Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Under 5KG (Private Use)
– The UAS shall not be operated within 300 Meters of any person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the UAS operator; and additionally, during take-off or landing the UAS shall not be flown within 200 Meters of any person, unless that person is under the control of the aircraft operator;

– UAV shall not be operated over a congested areas, except with the permission of the DGCA; it shall not fly over public or private properties, or within 5km of Kuwait’s airport outer fence, Heliports, Helicopter landing Sites, and airfields and shall remain clear of control zones.

– DGCA UAV Registration required for UAV which have a total mass including batteries and equipment greater than 1/2kg. Registration shall be done through proper entity.

drone

For Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Under 5KG (Commercial Use)
– DGCAA UAV Registration. Registration shall be done through proper entity.

– DGCA UAS Operating Approval.

– DGCA Security Approval when equipped with camera or other scanning or surveillance equipment.

For Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Over 5KG and Under 25KG (Private Use)
– DGCA approval shall be obtained if operating outside flying clubs air space or the DGCA allocated defined zones.

– UAV shall not be operated near public and private properties;

– Use of video or image capturing device shall be prohibited;

– The applicant shall fill DGCA form to purchase this category.The form can be obtained from proper entity.

So basically if you own a drone or any other unmanned air vheicle you’re going to have to register it. If you’re shooting video and selling the footage then you’re going need to also get approval to operate the drone and approval from the air aviation security department. Finally if you’ve got one of the larger aircraft (over 5KG) like the hobby planes, then you’re going to be very limited on where you could use the aircraft plus you need fill out a form to be able to purchase one.

One thing I found odd is how sometimes they say UAS and sometimes UAV. So I started googling some of the points from the document and turns out they’ve just copied pasted a bunch of stuff from different proposals around the world including from the British CAA and the Emirati GCAA.

If you’d like to download the proposal and check it out, here is the [Link]

Image is a screenshot of drone footage from film Inspiring Kuwait
Thanks Abdulwahab


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TEDxAlshuwaikh: >Me

Post by Mark

ted

We’re getting another TEDx event in Kuwait this year and it’s going to be held on March 24th under the theme of “greater than me”. The list of speakers hasn’t been finalized yet nor information on tickets, but you could follow them on [Instagram], [Facebook] or their [Website] to stay posted on any updates.


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Take the 248AM Survey

Post by Mark

survey

The last time I took a survey on the blog was in 2010. The feedback I got from everyone helped me improve the blog by allowing me to better understand who my readers are, what kind of content you’re interested in and what issues you might have.

Since its been more than 5 years since the last survey I figured it was time for another one. I’ve decided to keep the survey as simple as possible with just 18 questions that can be all answered in under two minutes. If you could please take the time and answer them that would be great. Your opinion matters. [Link]


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248AM in 2015

Post by Mark

stats

I was just adding last years stats to my blogs media kit when I realized traffic on the blog this past year had increased tremendously over the previous year. I obviously knew traffic had increased since I monitor the stats on a daily basis but I hadn’t expected this much growth. I had roughly guessed traffic had increased by around 30% but after collecting all the data, it turns out traffic had increased by 56% over the previous year.

Page Views
2012: 3,525,263
2013: 3,089,212
2014: 3,037,706
2015: 4,509,005

Unique Visitors
2012: 2,615,214
2013: 2,289,155
2014: 1,941,236
2015: 2,858,175

What caused the traffic increase?
One theory I have is my content had improved which in return caused more interest. Another theory is that people were coming back to the blog because they were getting bored of instagram or maybe they realized the kind of content I was providing wasn’t available on instagram. Another reason I think is that people today are overwhelmed with content but with my blog I try to limit it to just three posts a day. That makes it easy to follow since I provide curated content instead of quantity. But, whatever the reason may be, the influx of traffic kept this blog alive.

The result?
Only my close friends know this but I was actually considering closing down the blog last February on the blogs 10 year anniversary. Traffic had dropped in 2014 and so I started losing interest in the blog. I tend not to spend a lot of time on projects, I like doing and try a lot of things and I jump from one project to another fairly quickly. Working 10 years on a single project was just incredibly long and if my blog had hit its peak then maybe it was about time I moved and obsessed over something else.

But last January I noticed traffic had started increasing and then when my blogs 10 year anniversary came about, traffic had increased even more. I thought that was an interesting turnaround and so I decided to hold off on closing down the blog just to see where all this was going. Every single month last year ended up performing better than the year before. The resurgence in traffic got me excited again about blogging and I started enjoying it like I did in the old days.

What now?
As long as traffic keeps increasing and as long as I continue to generate income from this blog I’m going to continue blogging.

A lot of people don’t understand the importance of my advertisers. If it wasn’t for my advertisers I would have shut down the blog a long time ago. My advertisers play a big role in keeping this blog alive and so do my readers. If it wasn’t for my readers coming back every day to read what I had to say I would have also shut down the blog a long time ago. I wouldn’t want to write if nobody was reading.

So as long as all the stars continue to align, then this blog will continue to stay up.


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Visiting the Bayan Botanical Garden

Post by Mark

botanical1

If you’re interested in visiting the Botanical Garden at Bayan Palace I have some good news (and a bit of bad news as well). The Bayan Botanical Garden is open to the general public every Thursday. You don’t need special permission or anything of the sort. All you need to do is give security your civil ID and they will let you access the garden.

botanical2

The Bayan Botanical Garden contains three different zones with different kind of plants in each. It’s not that big but it’s still pretty cool and most of the plants are labeled with their names. There isn’t a guide book that contains details on the plants so if you’re really curious to know more about each plant be prepared to wikipedia from your phone.

botanical3

Now for the bit of bad news. The Bayan Botanical Garden is open every Thursday… from 9AM to 1PM. That pretty much sucks for everyone who has a job. It also explains why the only other visitors at the garden while I was there were housewives with their kids. Still, it’s better than having no access at all. If you’d like to visit the garden, here is the location of the entrance on [Google Maps]

Thanks Maaz!


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Fork Fed: Avocados

Post by Fork Fed

avocado

If there is just one food item I think you should add to your diet everyday, it’ll definitely be avocados! Creamy, delicious and most importantly super nutritious! There just isn’t one reason I can think of as to why you shouldn’t have this food everyday, except for the fact that if you’re not careful your calories could get out of hand.

When talking about fats to any of my clients I always sense some hesitation in adapting them into their day-to-day eating habits; but not all fats are created equal, after all i’m only pushing for them to have more fruit – but a fatty one this time. Despite being called a fat, some fats can actually make you thinner! Let’s take a look at avocados because I really believe they are one of the supreme fats out there.

Bye-Bye Hunger!
Yes, fats will keep you feeling full for a very long time. Who wouldn’t want to feel full? I certainly do! Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, the healthy fats that keep your heart happy and tummy feeling full. Research has proven that eating just 1/2 an avocado can help keep you feeling full for hours to come; just be sure not to have chips with your avocados and instead aim to have them in a salad to feel fuller for longer.

Hello Waist-Line
We all want to shrink our waist-lines and believe it or not avocados have been proven to help. High in fiber and low in carbohydrates, no wonder this miracle fruit can help us with weight loss. But! It’s not just general weight loss that we’re talking about, research has actually found an association between reduction in belly fat and consumption of avocados. Yes, we can still eat and lose weight. It’s the type of fat in avocados that has been linked to regulating the gene that stores fat in your belly area. It definitely is worth a try, just make sure to swap your avocado for other fats you were eating and not add it to your diet. A swap will help cut down some of the calories.

Nutrient Booster
Not only are they loaded with antioxidants and minerals, but avocados can also help boost the absorption of other vitamins. Adding avocados to other veggies (like your salad) can help you absorb about 3 to 5 times more antioxidants than you would had you chosen to have that salad alone. See some vitamins (A,D,E,K) need fat for better absorption and you can’t go wrong with a fat like an avocado. But, like I said not only does it help you absorb more nutrients but avocados are also loaded with nutrients like vitamins K, C and potassium.

Bad Fat Crusher
Worried about your cholesterol? You shouldn’t be worrying if you’re including healthy fats in your diet like avocados. Avocados are loaded with mono and poly unsaturated fats which boost your heart function by increasing the good kind of cholesterol (HDL) and lowering the bad kind (LDL). Stronger heart, stronger you!

Control that Sugar Spike!
My favorite benefit of having avocados is the fact that it will limit how much your blood sugar spikes after a meal. There are many times where we have sugary foods and if you don’t pair those sugary treats wisely you could end up with a sugar spike which is always followed by a crash! Ever feel sleepy after indulging in carbs? My solution is to always add a healthy fat to whatever you’re eating, this way you somewhat control your sugar from spiking too high. Avocados on the other hand, are not just healthy fats, they’re loaded with fiber and vitamin K – both have been shown to improve your insulin sensitivity helping control your blood sugar levels.

Before you run and grab your avocados keep in mind that 1/2 an avocado contains 161 kcals, 15g fat, 8.5g carbs (of which 6.7g are fiber) and 2g protein. If you choose to substitute your oils with avocado oil (which I think is a great idea) then 1 tablespoon contains 124 kcals and 14g fat – you do lose the fiber and protein if you choose to have the oil. With this in mind, baby steps are all it takes to achieve a healthier lifestyle, you can do it!

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

Image Source


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Post by Mark

Busy weekend but super busy Saturday. Lots of things to do but the most popular event is probably the Russell Peters show. If you haven’t bought tickets already you’re out of luck since they’re already sold out. Check out the full list of events for this weekend below:

Thursday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Good Vibes Festival
Film Screening: Vanishing of the Bees
Rooftop Movie: A Master Builder

Friday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Gingerbread Cookie Decoration
Chill-Out Fridays

Saturday
The Honey Bee Exhibition
The Avenues Food Market
Spark Marathon
Farmers Trip
Guided Tour: Old Kuwait City
Yoga at the Park
Madeenah Tour: An Unexpected Landscape
Protein Sheikhas: Bootcamp
Art and a Burger on the Side
Urban Beekeeping: Talk and Live Demonstration
Rooftop Movie: Mood Indigo
Russell Peters Almost Famous in Kuwait

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]
For a full list of upcoming events click [Here]

Note: Sometimes events get canceled, postponed or have details changed. I try to make sure all the information is accurate but always double check with the organizers to be sure.


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I finally got it, The Kuwait Urbanization

Post by Mark

kuwaiturbanization1

I’ve had my eye on this rare and hard to find book ever since I found out about it a few years ago. It’s by the architect and planner Saba Shiber who joined the Kuwait Ministry of Public Works in 1960. The book dates back to 1964 and lays out the plan by Saba for Kuwait’s urbanization. The book features his research, sketches, plans, photos and visions he had for Kuwait.

kuwaiturbanization2

A couple of weeks ago I miraculously managed to get my hands on a copy of the book for a ridiculously good deal. I had a saved search on eBay in case the book ever popped up and it did once or twice but the asking prices were ridiculous like KD300 or so. Not that it wasn’t a fair value but it was a lot more than what I wanted to pay. Then a few days before the new year a seller in France put up a hard cover version of the book for sale and the starting bid was just KD50! So I waited and waited and nobody was bidding on it so I finally came in last minute and picked it up myself for KD50. I couldn’t believe I scored such a great deal on the book. Shipping cost me KD14.5 with Aramex so overall I really feel like I got a steal. Best Christmas gift ever thats for sure.

kuwaiturbanization3

If you’re interested in the book I’ve previously typed out the preface written by Saba and published it [Here]. I also have a PDF version of the book (166MB) uploaded to my server and you can download that from [Here]


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Etihad Airways to the United States

Post by Mark

etihad

Ok since I’ve been drinking in the Abu Dhabi airport for the past few hours and I’ve been listening to David Bowie’s Starman on loop… I’m now in a slightly better mood. So, I figured I’d post what was actually cool about flying with Etihad to Los Angeles. This was my third trip to the U.S. in the past 6 months, the first time I flew British Airways, the second time United Airlines and this third time with Etihad.

I personally prefer as direct a flight as possible since I pop a sleeping pill and xanax combo that basically knocks me out for most of the flight. So 5 hours or 10 or 15 doesn’t make a difference for me. Stopping half way is annoying, I just want to settle down in my seat, sleep and then wake up in my destination. United Airlines was a direct flight but their planes were pretty old and they’re now no longer flying out of Kuwait.

Etihad and Emirates both have direct flights to LA but Etihad has one major advantage over Emirates. U.S. Border Control are located at the Abu Dhabi Airport. It’s so odd I’m not sure why they chose Abu Dhabi, their only other location outside of North America is in Ireland. What this means is you get all your security and visa procedures done at the Abu Dhabi airport and then once you land in the States you don’t have to go through any of it. You actually land in the US as a domestic flight, you walk out of the plane, pick up your bags and leave the airport. This is very convenient especially for those who don’t have US or Canadian passports since the immigration lines on arrival to the U.S are usually super long.

The downside of Etihad is there is a high chance you’re gonna miss a connecting flight. A lot of my friends have missed connecting flights in Abu Dhabi because their flight from Kuwait was delayed or in my case, even when my flight wasn’t delayed I still managed to miss my connecting flight to Kuwait. It’s a gamble so just make sure you know the risk.


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Why Etihad Airways Sucks and American Express Kicks Ass

Post by Mark

amex

I was originally going to post about how shit Etihad Airways is because they removed my name off my connecting flight back to Kuwait. They “assumed” I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gate in time and now I’m stuck in their airport for 5 hours waiting for the next flight out. But, I figured everyone had already heard a ton of horror stories on Etihad and you wouldn’t be interested in hearing another. I mean even Anderson Silva trashed them on his Instagram account after his last visit to Kuwait.

So instead I’ve decided to turn this post into a positive one and talk about my love for my AMEX card. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and I love it for multiple reasons. Firstly getting an AMEX card was a fairly simple process, I don’t remember the exact steps since it’s been 6 or more years since I got the card but I do remember their requirements were really simple, something like just prove you work and that was it. They then give you a ridiculously high limit, mine has always been like $12,000 from day 1. But the biggest advantage of the card for me is lounge access while traveling. For example I’m now stuck at the shitty Abu Dhabi airport for 5 hours and Etihad couldn’t give me access to the lounge even though they fucked up because the lounge was “full”. Not that I really care for their lounge since it’s small and overpacked always but I just wanted them to compensate me in someway for ruining my return flight. Since I couldn’t get access to their Premium Lounge I decided to check the airport website and see what other lounges were available here. I ended up finding one called Al Reem tucked away on the far side of the airport that allows access to AMEX card holders. I’m here chilling in the lounge now and it’s actually better than the Etihad Premium Lounge. It’s quieter, a lot less people and there is even a bar.

lounge

I travel a lot and always in coach when traveling around the region so the AMEX card really makes the airport experience a lot more comfortable. I use it mostly at the Kuwait Airport, Beirut Airport, Dubai Airport (all terminals), Bahrain and now I’m using it in Abu Dhabi. If you’re flying out with FLyDubai from the Sheikh Saad Terminal in Kuwait, the AMEX card also gives you access to the business class side of the airport which is a much more superior experience compared to the regular side.

Other than lounge access, my AMEX card also gives me 30% off on MyUS shipments and I also earn points on the card which I can convert to air miles for my favorite airlines or buy products from the AMEX store. If all that isn’t enough, my AMEX card has even given me access to early bird or reserved seating for concert tickets in the States using TicketMaster.com.

There are some downsides of course compared to the credit cards from your bank. You have the yearly card fee which you have to pay while my MasterCard with NBK is free. The interest rate is also higher with AMEX, my MasterCard I think is 1% a month while AMEX is like 2.3%. Then you lose a bit of money with the exchange rate whenever you settle your bill since you have to pay using US dollars. But those downsides are worth it for me which is why I love my American Express card. For more details you can visit them in Salhiya or check out their website [Here]


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