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The One Percent

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We've hit peak home furnishings, says Ikea boss. The appetite of western consumers for home furnishings has reached its peak – according to Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer.

We've hit peak home furnishings, says Ikea boss

The Swedish company’s head of sustainability told a Guardian conference that consumption of many familiar goods was at its limit. “If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Steve Howard said at a Guardian Sustainable Business debate. Never mind pointless apps – our best minds should be solving real problems. It all started with the snacks.

Never mind pointless apps – our best minds should be solving real problems

A few months ago I lied to myself that eating “omega booster seeds” or tiny squares of carrot cake was in some way a substitute for nipping out to get a packet of Fruit Gums from the corner shop, and signed up to get “nibbles” delivered directly to my desk. Of course, that was just a gateway drug. Now there are days when my desk resembles a bustling village post office in the run-up to Christmas.

20 of the Sneakiest Secret Doors (list) Hidden Doors and Secret Passageways are always a cool amenity to any house.

20 of the Sneakiest Secret Doors (list)

Not only does provide mystery to your living quarters, but it also allows for a bit of privacy. Hidden doors and secret passageways seem to be a popular room addition since there are numerous companies on the web who specialize in such requests, like The Hidden Door Company, Creative Home Engineering and Hide A Door. Of course, you can easily get the typical hidden door in a bookcase, but we’ve found some pretty interesting ones below! 20. Mirror Secret Door. The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition.

Meet the ecomodernists: ignorant of history and paradoxically old-fashioned. Beware of simple solutions to complex problems.

Meet the ecomodernists: ignorant of history and paradoxically old-fashioned

That is a crucial lesson from history; a lesson that intelligent people in every age keep failing to learn. On Thursday, a group of people who call themselves Ecomodernists launch their manifesto in the UK. The media loves them, not least because some of what they say chimes with dominant political and economic narratives. So you will doubtless be hearing a lot about them.

Their treatises are worth reading. I’m paying my staff a real living wage – not George Osborne’s version. Running a service station is more complex than it looks.

I’m paying my staff a real living wage – not George Osborne’s version

At Parkfoot Garage, at West Malling in Kent (of which I am a director) we employ more than 30 staff at a business that never closes. The heart of the operation is no longer the self-service petrol pumps, nor even the automated car washes, but a large shop that combines off-licence, butcher (employing four), florist, baker, hot food counter, general grocer, newsagent and tobacconist. Keeping all this going 24 hours a day requires commitment and flexibility.

The company needs staff who will stay, learn their trade and adopt its service-led values. Life imitating Up: 120 balloons, one man and a garden chair take to the skies. For centuries, man has explored new ways to fly.

Life imitating Up: 120 balloons, one man and a garden chair take to the skies

On Sunday, Danny Boria, of Calgary, Canada, came up with a precise and domestically available answer: 120 party balloons, each 6ft in circumference, filled with helium and tied to a garden chair. “It was the funniest aircraft we could make,” he says. He flew freely for 20 to 30 minutes. The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick. Richard Sennett - Home. Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us. We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces.

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others. There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. Productivity: 7 things to stop doing. Stunning Images Reveal Massive Mining Operations Destroy Far More Than They Produce. Operational from 1871 - 1914, the Kimberly Mine is longer than four football fields, and almost four times deeper than Lake Erie.

Stunning Images Reveal Massive Mining Operations Destroy Far More Than They Produce

Despite its massive size, the Kimberly Mine only produced 14.5 million carats of diamonds--enough stones to fill just three small buckets. Green House Post Growth Project. Everyone agrees that we are in the midst of a massive financial and economic crisis.

Green House Post Growth Project

We have suffered the biggest ‘crash’ since the 30s, and it may get far bigger yet. How ought this ongoing crisis to be understood, and resolved? On the mainstream view: We have vast government deficits, and stagnant economies. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. Scott Adams, the famous creator of Dilbert, has made a very good living by understanding and revealing human psychology. In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares “the strategy he has used since he was a teen to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket.”

Among the unlikely truths he offers, you’ll discover that goals are for losers, passion is bullshit, and mediocre skills can make you valuable. This is a story of one person’s unlikely success within the context of scores of embarrassing failures. Chris Hadfield on Life, the Universe and What’s Really Out There. Could These 3 Simple Changes to Banking Fix the Economy?

The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities. “I always said you should never trust a bank with property, or a property developer with money,” says Peter Rees.

The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities

The former chief planner of the City of London should know about such things, having presided over the results of both. Over the last 30 years, he has ushered in a menagerie of their monuments, from the Gherkin and Cheesegrater to the Walkie-Talkie and Heron Tower, during which time he has seen a significant shift in the balance of power. How You Climb A Mountain Is More Important Than Reaching The Top. Shopping guide to buying CDs, from Ethical Consumer. Are you buying from a tax haven? Company profiles Product guide to MP3 retailers Product guide to streaming music This is our latest guide to shopping without using Amazon, looking this time at companies that sell music CDs as well as music in newer digital formats such as downloadable MP3 files and online music streaming services.

Wind farms have the power to change communities and political allegiances. Beef farmer Stuart May looked across the Cornish valley where – if an energy company gets its way – 11 wind turbines will soon soar skywards, and shook his head. "We don't need them and we don't want them," said May. "Cornwall has already done much more than its fair share when it comes to renewable energy. Pete Seeger: five great performances. Barbara Allen There are hundreds of versions of the venerable folk song Barbara Allen. The song is indestructible and there are many fine renderings, but none can match Seeger's. Listen to the quivering, quavering voice. He becomes the lovelorn, dying William and the haughty Barbara who comes to see the error of her ways and in the end yearns only to be alongside her William.

Pete Seeger: the road goes on for ever. You didn't have to listen to Pete Seeger's music to feel his effect on the popular music of the last 70 years. Pete Seeger: the man who brought politics to music. Pete Seeger: folk activist who believed music could make a difference. Ethical shopping guide to booksellers.

The score table explained All the companies on the score table sell books online. NHS: Section 75 of the health act is an engine for destruction. Andrew Lansley, then shadow health secretary, at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham in September 2008. The NHS is being taken over by Wall Street. And Cameron won’t stop it. Will David Cameron go down in history as the man who gave away this country’s greatest achievement to Wall Street, the man who enabled big American healthcare access to our hospital wards?

The One-Word Answer to Why Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Have Been So Successful. Charlie Brooker's Screen burn: Man v Food. Just one waffer thin slice. Man V Food. Photograph: Sharp Entertainment Eating huge quantities of food is an unobtainable fantasy for some and an everyday luxury for others. To Adam Richman, voracious host of Man V Food (Mon, 9pm, Good Food), it's a career choice. Man V Food is obscene on many levels, but daft on several more. Adventurers halve record for sailing around Britain in a dinghy. Economy on the edge: seeking a world that works for the 100% Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20% The scale of Britain's growing inequality is revealed by a report from a leading charity showing that the country's five richest families now own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population.

Oxfam urged the chancellor George Osborne to use Wednesday's budget to make a fresh assault on tax avoidance and introduce a living wage in a report highlighting how a handful of the super-rich, headed by the Duke of Westminster, have more money and financial assets than 12.6 million Britons put together. The development charity, which has opened UK programmes to tackle poverty, said the government should explore the possibility of a wealth tax after revealing how income gains and the benefits of rising asset prices had disproportionately helped those at the top.

The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. Economic Stagpression: Two Charts The Entire World Must See. Robert Reich: 'Austerity is a terrible mistake' Philippa Perry on How to Stay Sane. Sick of hearing politicians say the global financial crisis was Labour's fault?

NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20% A New Dynamic: effective business in a circular economy. Architecture Is Elementary - Visual Thinking Through Architectural Concepts by Nathan B. Winters - Reviews, Description & more - ISBN#9780879051860. "I Don't Want Health Insurance; I Don't Need Health Insurance" An open letter from Carl Bernstein to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. Uh-oh, there’s a new Thomas Friedman! The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages. Owen Paterson: the minister for GM hype. Now that you know 85 people own more than half the world, here's what to do about it. Basketball: is there a formula for success?

An Englishman’s Home is His Cash Cow. What Does Borgen Do? President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address (1961) Student-built homes idle in down market. The genetically modified food debate: Where do we begin? Will the Battersea Power Station revamp ruin the brick beast? Articles - Gardens of Democracy. 25 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer. Craft. Richard Sennett - Sociology Books. Richard Sennett - Recorded Lectures & Talks. We can't wash our hands of climate change. So let's roll up our sleeves. George Carlin: how does our economic system work? Interactive: Snake Oil Supplements? The scientific evidence for health supplements. Ethical Consumer: the alternative consumer organisation. Promoting accuracy in public debate.