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I so love this speech on TED because Sir Ken Robinson puts forward such a powerful argument contrasting what he sees as the current failure of the education system in the USA and his proposed alternative.

I often wonder if education is being ruined by political correctness?

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for behaving well and being aware of our behaviour toward other cultures, ideals, religions and the opposite sex; I just don't think people always think differently, they just know 'what not to say', and that's not the same thing. I often observe situations where I believe people are less authentic and free as they don't want to be labelled sexist, homophobic, racist etc and as a result don't actually say what is on their mind. To accuse people of these things is such an easy take down as it is quite disarming but in my mind is a truly lazy debate. Is it therefore possible that, because we don't want to be disliked or because of fear of retribution, we don't get to have the crucial conversations required to bring about change and ignite real and respectful bipartisan debate? Is it possible that teachers don't get to teach as they don't have the confidence to say "Fuck the system, teaching is more important that just testing"? In this speech Sir Ken Robinson talks about teaching needing to not be about 'command and control', but about leadership and influencing children and communities. My worry is that schools seem to be some of the most politically correct places there are, with teachers not wanting to offend anyone. To lead though, you actually need to risk upsetting people and be prepared to take a stand, and ultimately the environment has to support that stand by not being bullied by splinter groups and over zealous parents. We have to give teachers back their discretion, and support it, but in truth real leaders don't allow it to be taken from them in there first place. Teachers need to be leaders! PS I should say I love teachers and value education I'm not however so fond of the current environment.

This is one powerful story. A very inspiring and incredibly convincing story about the power of getting your hands dirty. I love that we're re writing the rules of society and building the world we want to live in. "Growing your own food is like printing money" Wow what an wonderful man.

The Possibility CalculatorEarly last year I had three things on my mind. I was researching the possible use of Amazon AWS for a project we were working on; I was watching the events at the Auckland Startup Weekend wishing I was there; and finally I was preparing for a presentation I was due to give at the College of Business at Massey University. It was a holiday weekend, so much to Sonya's dismay, I wondered if I could run my own Start Weekend. The question I asked myself was "Could I launch an internet business in one weekend, in the process write all the code, learn AWS including EC2, Route53, Multi Region ELB, RDS, SSL, Cloud Watch and Autoscaling and could I prove to the University Students they had wonderful opportunities available as it was possible to launch an incredibly scalable business for a meer $60 a month?"

First of all Amazon AWS is incredible, if you're going to build an online business do it there and make sure your start by building to scale. Anyway I worked like a dog, and I came close, but by the end of the 3rd day I was exhausted; I had a working website, but something that was still a little buggy, and without enough design refinement for me to want to put my name to it. It was however an awesome test and if I had, had a project partner it would have been easily achieved. I loved this project, and as I am so passionate about helping people design their financial or business futures I didn't want the work to be just thrown out. I put it on the virtual shelf where it stayed until last week when I had a few evenings free to finally finish and release the project. So on the 12/12/12 I released The "Possibility Calculator" as both a Website and Facebook app. Slowly over the week people have been trying it out and having fun not just understanding their current financial situation but also playing "what if?" as they create alternative scenarios too.

Anyway, I'm writing tonight to mark the occasion. A few days out from Christmas is probably the worst time to release this as everyone is so busy, but I had set a goal of doing so in 2012. If you're game, then please have a play. If you have friends that need budgeting assistance please share this with them. We are in difficult times and most of us could either do with more money, better understand where it all goes and almost everyone wants to pay down their debt. If any of that rings true for you then The Possibility Calculator might be just what you need. Enjoy!