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What is LEED and Green Building in USA?

Category: Issue Themes, Life, News, Mind Change, People Power, Personal stories for Litmocracy Year 1: Growing green shoots through cracks in the pavement, Chomsky, Miscellaneous

USGBC LEED Information
“LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.”
~ U.S. Green Building Council

✓ 2.2 million + – square feet is LEED certified every day with more than 92,000 projects using LEED.
✓ Flexible – LEED works for all building types anywhere. LEED is in over 165 countries and territories.
✓ Sustainable – LEED buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health.
✓ Value – LEED buildings attract tenants, cost less to operate and boost employee productivity and retention.
✓ LEED v4 Improvements – A stronger focus on materials to get a better understanding of what’s in them and the effect those components have on human health and the environment.
LEED works for all buildings everywhere, regardless of where they are in their life cycle. From hospitals to offices, from historical buildings to those still in the design phase, there’s a LEED for every type of building project. Only Table Tops focuses on all of the available project types and supports is customers on every level of certification.
USGBC Sustainable Furniture Purchasing Information
LEED 2009 Sustainable purchasing – furniture MRc2.2 | Possible 1 point

Intent
To reduce the environmental harm from materials purchased, used, and disposed of in the operations within buildings.

To learn more about LEED and Sustainable Furniture Purchasing Credit, visit http://onlytabletops.com/green-building-leed-program/

Only Table Tops is the #1 table top manufacturing choice for interior designers, furniture manufacturers, and architects working on green building projects.

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Cryptoassets (such as cryptocurrencies): Pyramid Schemes or Public Goods?

Category: News, Reviews

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited”

Cryptocurrencies represent a major revolution whose full implications are yet to be grasped. They challenge the paradigms underlying both the central banks’ money monopoly and public digital goods.

Cryptoassets are digital goods, but they are scarce: they require “mining” and the total number of units in limited. Consequently, cryptoassets such as cryptocurrencies are rivlarous (there is a marginal cost associated with producing additional units) and excludable (access to and ownership of the cryptoasset is restricted).

Blockchain technologies – distributed, redundant, and autonomous self-updating, propagated electronic ledgers - present the first feasible solutions to counterfeiting, real-time transacting, scarcity management, monetizing intangibles, crowdsourcing, and a host of other hitherto intractable bottlenecks in business and finance.

The risks are as big as the promises and the rewards: from asset bubbles to money laundering, the financing of terrorism, cryptojacking, and threatening the foundations of the financial value chain. These threats are amplified by the recent introduction of exchange-traded bitcoin derivatives (options), ETFs and mutual funds which invest in cryptoassets, and sovereign cryptocurrencies (e.g. in Russia, Sweden, Venezuela), thereby granting putative future access and price-setting privileges and power to financial institutions and commodifying the underlying assets.

The main concern, though, is the fact that cryptocurrencies, though they do store value as investment vehicles, failed to become accepted means of exchange. In the absence of this crucial function, they are bound to wither and then vanish in a speculative boom and bust.

One possible solution would be to link cryptoassets to crowdfunding as its main form of “money”. Cryptocurrencies are actually crowdsourced and the underlying blockchain technology would introduce rigorous fraud control beyond the current rather flimsy peer-review cum peer-pressure mechanisms in place in P2P financing.

The Typology of Financial Scandals and Ponzi (Pyramid) Schemes

Tulipmania - this is the name coined for the first pyramid investment scheme in history.

In 1634, tulip bulbs were traded in a special exchange in Amsterdam. People used these bulbs as means of exchange and value store. They traded them and speculated in them. The rare black tulip bulbs were as valuable as a big mansion house. The craze lasted four years and it seemed that it would last forever. But this was not to be.

The bubble burst in 1637. In a matter of a few days, the price of tulip bulbs was slashed by 96%!

This specific pyramid investment scheme (also known as “Ponzi scheme”, after a notorious swindler) was somewhat different from the ones which were to follow it in human financial history elsewhere in the world. It had no “organizing committee”, no identifiable group of movers and shakers, which controlled and directed it. Also, no explicit promises were ever made concerning the profits which the investors could expect from participating in the scheme - or even that profits were forthcoming to them.

Since then, pyramid (Ponzi) schemes have evolved into intricate psychological ploys.

Modern ones have a few characteristics in common:

First, they involve ever… Read More...

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2017 Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Knowledge Pack

Category: Reviews

By Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited”

Overview

The Encyclopedia Britannica has long been much more than a venerable print reference work. Almost two decades ago, it pioneered a freemium website (some content free, other content behind a pay wall). This has now flourished into a comprehensive walled garden of knowledge. Additionally, the Britannica publishes books and DVDs about specific topics and issues (the venerable flagship print encyclopedia had been discontinued in 2012.) These are the best primers and introductions available to a host of fields and areas, from history to science. Add to these the Britannica newly-minted apps and you realize that the Britannica, more than ever, is now everywhere!

The DVD

My first pleasant surprise was the packing: the DVD is embedded in a solid book-like package that can safely occupy pride of place on a bookshelf. The lightning speed at which this mammoth software installed on an 11 year old laptop is another unexpected delight. Though the minimum stated requirements are Windows 7 or later, the software ran seamlessly on that old Vista machine.

The user is prompted to choose a Standard (DVD must be inserted to function), Custom, or Full installation (copied onto the hard disk in its entirety) of the 3 encyclopaedias (Britannica, Student, and Elementary). Many articles in the Britannica Ultimate 2017 edition have been revamped to incorporate up to the minute developments. From Europe’s refugee crisis to Donald Trump to ISIL (in the Book of the Year 2014 and 2015), the Britannica is updated with events and developments to mid 2016. This has not been the case in previous editions and it is a welcome development if the Britannica is to compete with online reference works such as Wikipedia. The DVD is a loss-leader, but a great promotional vehicle for the lucrative online edition, so hopefully it won’t go the way of the print edition, which was terminated in 2012. It is now produced and sold in India by the Britannica Southeast Asia (http://www.britannicaindia.com)

Compared to its predecessor, the 2017 Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Knowledge Pack (formerly “Student and Home Edition”) contains 15% more text and 15% fewer images and videos. It incorporates the entire content of the venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica print set (88,000 articles) plus another 60,000 articles in the Student and Elementary editions.

The 2017 DVD builds on the success of its completely revamped previous editions in 2006-10. The rate of innovation in the last eight versions had been impressive and welcome. It continues apace in this rendition with Britannica Biographies (Great Minds, 600+ Heroes and Villains, and World Leaders), Classical Music (500 audio files arranged by composer), and a great Workspace for Project Management (a kind of friendly digital den).

The Britannica 2017 comes bundled with an atlas (close to 2500 maps linked to specific articles and 287 World Data Profiles of individual countries and territories, their economies and other national statistics); the Merriam-Webster Collegiate and Student Dictionaries and Thesaurus, augmented by a Spanish-English… Read More...

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The Workaholic

Category: Poetry/Lyrics

From the first moment he saw her
He was hooked, sunk and smitten.
Passing the chic design dress shop on the corner
He saw stunningly beautiful large hazel eyes, she was
Tall and slim, had a certain wispy elegant beauty
In the way she moved about the window showcase.
She was wearing a silky smooth pale blue dress
Complimenting her figure and long legs.
A strand of blond hair kept falling onto her forehead
Covering her eyes, she kept pushing it aside.
Surrounded by fashionable mannequins
That she arranged in different poses around her.

She sorted out the various decorations
Hanging them one by one until the design was complete.
Stepping back, she examined her work and was satisfied.
Susan Edwards was an established visual designer
Of displays, store windows and sales floors.
Oblivious to anyone watching her
She continued to decorate the storefront window
In her signature style, but in holiday fashion
And she was gathering quite a crowd.
It was incredible how eye-catching her display was.
She knew it would be the talk of the neighborhood.
Day after day Brad walked past that corner to catch his bus.

He was so engrossed in business matters that
He hadn’t noticed this goddess before,
That was, at least until now.
Stepping out from his office building he meandered
Down the street until he paused, right in
Front of her showcase window.
He watched her for a few minutes,
Engaged by the grace and beauty and creativity,
As she carefully moved the mannequins about
Engrossed with her display, she didn’t hear him enter
When he spoke, Susan jumped, apparently startled
That anyone would interrupt her, invade her world.

“Hello, I love your exhibit. You have created a warm atmosphere.
Your neutral colors are stimulating and inspirational.
I love the way you accented the area with throws,
And with these cushions and flowers and paintings.
‘Why did he have to interrupt my concentration?’ she thought to herself.
She didn’t ask for his opinion or appreciate being interrupted.
“I’m sorry, but I am busy. Perhaps we can talk when I’m not so harried.”
He wanted her from the moment he had looked at her.
She was beautiful, intellectual and ever so classy,
One might even say that she was a bit sassy.
Not accepting a rebuke, he said “Have you noticed
Every holiday revolves around food? Stop what you are doing!”

Accept my dinner invitation in the name of the Holidays!”
“My name is Brad, Brad Williams.” He said immediately. “And yours?”
Speaking in a buttery smooth yet commanding voice,
His white teeth showed in a reckless boyish grin.
At age 49 he looked delicious with his… Read More...

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The Green

Category: Poetry/Lyrics

I ran and thrust myself deep
into the woods, only to be accosted immediately
by the river.

“Where were you?!”

It was true; lately, I’d been selfish.
Consumed by petty earthly matters
not pertaining to The Earth herself.

The Earth I was responsible for.

“Where were you?!”

While I’d been admonished by the river many times before,
I’d never heard her so shrill, nor seen her this raging.

“Last night every tree was felled
As chaos and terror were sowed,” she informed,
“So much murder reigned supreme
Because you weren’t here to protect us.”

I swiveled, frenzied, in false hope that it wasn’t that dreadful,
only to fall over one of thousands of dead trees.
It was true, and
it was all my fault.

I craned my neck to view the sky above.
Where once it was barely visible, only through tiny slivers
between branches intricately intertwined,
Now the I could see the clouds,
and they me.
Pendulous and exposed, they rained down drops of
bitterness and fury, pelting my skin.

The river wept so loud, I feared I would go deaf.
I plugged my ears with feathers
plucked from the myriad of birds
that now lifelessly carpeted the forest floor.

The betrayal of my soul’s true roots
unleashed a ravenous shame in me.
It rapidly began feasting on my spirit.

The river, God bless her, wouldn’t stop carrying on
until I stripped as bare as the land surrounding us.
I plunged myself into the depths of her pain.

Her waters calmed as she greedily lapped up
my man-made waters, foreign and filled with salt
that were streaming down my face in grief.

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