Category: Articles

Prime Minister John Key on Finance & Debt Lessons

The Right Honorable John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has kindly taken the time to record a video for TDTYTIS.

He talks about financial lessons he wishes he had learned, especially regarding debt, which is a very relevant subject to everyone in the world today. Prior to entering politics, Mr. Key was the global head of foreign exchange for Merrill Lynch.

We think this is a hugely important topic, and the detail Mr. Key goes into gives clear background to the topic and how everyone can be careful regarding debt.

Discuss the topic and give your view in the comments!

  • Quentin Todd

    How did u get the PM for an interview?????

  • Teacher

    … is taught in Year 10 Economics class

  • Jim Mitchell

     And is reverentially received? Acted upon scrupulously? Taught and widely ignored?  Frankly I think the terrifying consequences of runaway debt cannot be stressed enough.  Of course it’s probably all Greek to most students… but life itself will administer those lessons if they’re not learned earlier/

The importance of being skeptical (and an alternative view of climate change)

One problem that will always face us as human beings is who to believe when presented with a variety of differing viewpoints. Action on these can be drastic, with severe social, economical, and environmental impacts.

We are currently being presented with the future of the planet in our hands. People say that human actions are causing what’s known as “anthropogenic climate change” – basically equating to human CO2 emissions causing an increase in global temperatures.

The problem with this is that world governments are being put under pressure to cut human carbon dioxide emissions, threatening industrial and agricultural sectors when still very little is known about the connection between what we as humans output, and how this affects natural climate cycles.

Here is a real world example of when people have looked at only a few of the facts, and made a significant decision that affects the lives of many.

The purpose of the Kyoto Protocol was to limit carbon dioxide emissions globally. The country that arguably enforced it the most stringently with an Emissions Trading Scheme, New Zealand, has failed, and experienced a 25% increase in emissions since 1990.

The result? A $300,000,000 cost to taxpayers to pay off the carbon credits.

So who wins here? The people don’t – they have to face an economic burden. The environment doesn’t – more carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere. Industry doesn’t – production is limited and they become more inefficient. The only winners here are the policy makers, who fatten their pockets

What if more analysis was made earlier on? What if it was known that 99.9976% of heat retained by CO2 in the atmosphere was retained completely independent of human emissions? This isn’t the place for the complex science, but you can check it out at if you’re scientifically inclined!

With this knowledge, surely all this effort and money would be better put to use researching what actually drives our climate, including volcanic activity; solar variations; earth’s orbit around the sun; and others. Of course it is undeniable that the climate is changing, as it has never remained constant in the history of our planet. Sadly, as policy makers have sought to find a simple easy-to-understand answer that they can take action on, they are leading us down the wrong path at our expense.

The investigation of the actual effectiveness was only undertaken later. Scientists were upset at having only isolated patches of their research looked at, with the wider picture being ignored. Consequently, in 2007 one hundred of the world’s top climatologists wrote to the United Nations to argue against what had been decided.

If only a little scepticism had been applied earlier on by the UN policy makers, then it would have been clear that taking carbon emissions wasn’t the right track to go down.

This lesson applies to everything in life. Just because something is intuitively appealing doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. Bear in mind that there is always a place for a little scepticism, especially when large-scale decisions are being made.

With a little more analysis and understanding, we can better work towards having a better place to live in. After all, who wants to be taxed for no good?

Who is Ben Guerin?

Ben Guerin is a New Zealand student who is passionate about how international decisions affect the way we live. He is a member of the International Gateway for Gifted Youth Junior Commission on Climate Change/Sustainability, as well as of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. He has founded Wellington Motivated Young People (WMYP) and plans to write regular articles on a variety of topics to share his views with the world.


  • Michael Moore-Jones

    I first became concerned with being skeptical when I read a book called The Black Swan by a guy called Nassim Nicholas Taleb – I’ve written previously on the topic on TDTYTIS. For anyone interested, check it out here:

  • Michael Moore-Jones

    One more comment Ben – I’d be careful when you talk about “policy makers fattening their pockets”. You say it as if policy makers have invented climate change in order to get rich. Policy makers are providing a service to the public to find solutions to world problems, of which climate change has been deemed to be one. Most policy makers are paid a salary that has no link to the view that is shown in their policies, and they function with information available to them.

    I disagree that policy makers work on climate change to fatten their pockets.

    But apart from that, great article!

  • Meter Data

    Great Article! The website Meter Data has videos from all sorts of places and was specifically designed to show how incredible the world is and just how much energy and technology is available if people really put their minds to it. It is a new site but it might be great info for students who want to broaden their understanding and possibly pursue a career in engineering or even science. There are plenty of technical people who don’t agree with “intuitive appeal” but you don’t see them in the limelight because they are working hard helping others and have little time to talk about it.

  • Michael Stewart

    Awesome article Ben, I have to say that just your article just reinforced perspectives I have heard many times before, that man is not the cause of climate change. The scientific link that you included within your article was absolutely fantastic. I was still skeptical about your article after reading it but after reading the evidence I am completely convinced. I must say though that it is necessary to cut down on fossil fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions and that we do need policies that reduce our use of fossil fuels but I feel that it is wrong to try and achieve these ends through lies and deceptions. We need to make sure people know the truth and then we still need to try and reduce fossil fuel consumption even without the huge “green” craze.

  • Harry

    Bottom line: be skeptical about points of view anybody that lives in a country that is impacted by global policies as their point of view will be skewed by local media and personal interest/impact as can be clearly seen above.

  • Lynn Lai

    Hey Michael,

    I heard a speaker a while back on climate change and they said something I think would be worth mentioning – I cannot remember the scientist’s (Hansen? or something like that) name but he mentioned that we were characterising the problem wrong. i.e. that the policies are ineffective and climate change is still happening and at a faster rate. It was a very pragmatic view, but to be fair, he did warn governments a while back about climate change and the dangers but it seemed to be ineffective. So this time around, he said, we are doing it wrong, we need to be facing the disaster and danger before we can be motivated to take action.

    Thought you might find this interesting re: climate change and the views out there.


  • Michael Moore-Jones

    Interesting! I’ll try Googling to find out more.

Why You Should Make Lots of Little Bets

Innovation is an important part of everyones’ lives. We have to be able to think of new ideas and new ways to do things in order to be able to improve our lives and enjoy what we do. But there are different ways of innovating. A book I’ve recently finished reading, called Little Bets, shows a new and different way of thinking about success and innovation.

Peter Sims, the author, uses examples such as Frank Gehry, the architect of buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the comedian Chris Rock, to demonstrate this new way of achieving goals. Since reading the book, I’ve been thinking differently about a lot of things I do in my life, using the little bets approach. It’s easiest to explain little bets in terms of a business, but in fact little bets can be made in all parts of our lives.

Traditionally, businesses innovated through coming up with a master plan. Their employees will be told to “innovate”, so they’ll sit down, come up with ideas, then write a huge document outlining everything to do with that idea. Then that document will be sent off to the developers or manufacturers who make it to the letter. And then the product is either a huge hit or a massive flop. In many ways, this form of innovation comes down to luck as to whether it is successful or not.

The little bets approach, in contrast, involves looking for a problem and then trying to build something to solve that problem in a very simple form. So for example, if a website is to be created, then that website will be created in the most simple way it possibly can be – without great graphics and lots of features. But then, the business can start to get users of their product or website. And in turn, those early users will tell the business what they like about the product and what they don’t like about it. Then the business gets their manufacturers or developers to use the customer’s feedback to change the product.

The end result, some of you may have picked up, reflects what the users want. And all it’s involved is taking a little bet at the start. The basic website would have cost a fraction of the cost of a website developed using a “master plan”, and the little bet website will also have a much larger chance of eventual success.

Sims uses people like the comedian Chris Rock to show how little bets can be applied to our everyday lives. Rock would go to local restaurants or bars and perform a huge number of jokes to audiences. And he fully expected that most of the jokes would be absolutely terrible. But by taking lots of little bets by performing jokes to audiences, he would eventually be able to work out which jokes people liked and which they didn’t. So instead of just sitting down and thinking up some jokes, then hoping that they were funny on the night of a big performance, Rock would perform in front of small crowds and make little bets on lots of jokes in order to work out the best ones.

If little bets can even be applied to comedy – then how can they be applied to your life in order to help you achieve better?

Here’s How To Actually Study & Concentrate

They teach you about the importance of studying, but they really don’t teach you much at all about the process of studying. Sure, they might tell you that you need to eat healthy and take regular breaks. But do they teach you how to get past procrastination and actually get study done? Doubtful. But you’re about to learn how.

Some of you may think that you have good willpower, and will be able to use your computer while studying but avoid visiting Facebook, Twitter, or any other distracting websites. If any of you can honestly do that, I congratulate you, and you need not read further. But for the majority of us, it’s all too tempting to click on these websites “just for a second”. Nek minnit… Half an hour has passed and you remember you’re meant to be studying.

A single application will solve that problem for you.

It’s quite aptly named – called Concentrate. You can download it and use it for free for 60hours, but after that you’ll have to pay (it costs $29 – very cheap for how much it’ll help you).

Here’s how it works. Concentrate lets you create a “Task”, and then create “Rules” for that task. So, for example, I created the task “Study”. Then for that task, I created rules like “Block all social network websites”, and “Block applications: Twitter, Mail”. When you then activate the task, all those rules will be applied to your computer until you end the task. So, for the duration that you have the task activated, you won’t be able to visit any social networking websites or open the Twitter or Mail applications (using the above example).

You can create an endless number of rules, from opening and closing applications and websites, to changing desktop backgrounds and setting personal reminders and playing songs.

With Concentrate, that quick click on Facebook becomes impossible. And you really are forced to concentrate. After a while using Concentrate, you might find that your brain has been trained to not even click on Facebook at all – and maybe you truly will be able to study for an hour without being distracted. But, Concentrate is the first step in getting to that point.

Do check it out. I guarantee that it’ll help you study ten times more effectively. And in fact, you should even recommend it to your teachers – they might find it useful in concentrating while they prepare classes. Because no one is immune to distractions these days.

  • Javier Rojo

    The only bad thing is that it’s only available for Mac, but it’s a great application.
    Though I think the ability to focus on getting things done should be taught since the early days in school and at home.

  • Shred_the_nar

    You write above, “Do they teach you how to get past procrastination and actually get studying done? Doubtful.”. However this post doesn’t either. It provides a way in which one can spend those minutes tweaking a program to filter your Internet. There is no learning or suggestion of how to increase self discipline. Furthermore, you recommend an app that costs $29 that almost any software that comes with a wifi access point does for free. I’d change the title and actually suggest some tips that might lead to growth and change in self-awareness and discipline.

  • Did anyone find a version of this for Windows? It would also be great if someone built something like this that used cloud sync to simultaneously block distractions from my two laptops, iPhone, Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire, and two touchpads.  … Ubiquitous uncomputing.

  • Guest

    Again, you helpfully fail to tell us that it’s only available for a small number of computer users — those with Macs.

  • I was not actually aware that it’s only available for Macs, and I feel sure that the creators will release a Windows version soon. There must be something similar for Windows anyhow. Will have a search and let you know.

  • I found one called FocalFilter for windows, which blocks websites but not native apps.

  • Caileyculp10


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  • Maxhupalo

    Study is really about investing in yourself. I advise my students to spend two afternoons a week in our local library – it is cool in summer has free wi-fi and is quiet and distraction free. 40 mins after school with a 10 minute milkshake break followed by a second 40 minute session. It is then around 5.30 and parents collect the virtuous, ‘feeling good about school’ student…parent is feeling pretty good too! Home for dinner and a good read after. This begins a new habit that can transfer to University life.

    If you smoke, you need to quit right now. Smoking severely affects concentration. The road may be bumpy. You may need to quit hanging around certain people, or going certain places, but in the long run, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the costs. If you find it hard to quit smoking, use a product like TBX Free to help you quit smoking.

    Working out why you want to achieve results is a good plan too. Remember, short term, working memory needs to rehearse new learning to strengthen the transfer to long-term memory and provide reliable recall. It is really about good learning habits.

The Regrets of the Dying, And How To Avoid Them

An Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, has recently published a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. She outlines her experiences with patients who have been told that they have less than 12 weeks to live.

Some of the things they say are surprising. Some are obvious. But whatever they are, you should take note.

The top five regrets are as follows:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Give it some thought. Are you working too much? Are you living the life others expect of you, not the life that you truly want? Are you keeping in touch with your friends?

Think about how you can change your life to avoid ending up saying the same things. No matter where you’re at, you can still change your life and where you’re going.

All about guitar and its type:

Guitars are two kinds Acoustic and Electrical. Acoustic guitars are traditional and the most commonly used.they are made of thin wood, these guitars are massive, and there is external amplification. Because of its hollowness, when attached to any electronic devices the acoustic signals are transferred to an amplifier. They are suitable for any music but mostly to folk music. Acoustic guitars have its characteristics. They are the classical, steel,twelve-string,   resonator guitars and bass.Electric guitars are much easier to play as its tuning is comparatively simpler and easy to play because it needs less force to press its string.

How to learn guitar faster?

As a beginner, you don’t want to take month or years to play your favorite songs which you like. As for us you’re concerned, sooner you can play one of your favorite songs better. The are some key elements and techniques that help you to learn guitar fast.

The element from guitar parts:

Are the head, string, neck, body. The electric and acoustic guitar has the same part. There might be a slight difference only. But you have to buy a different guitar as if you want apt music. Another key element is holding a guitar to play the notes. Holding a string down in between a fret, which is located on the neck and the strumming the string at the body, play notes? You should care full in playing your notes that are necessary for playing solo and melodies song. Playing several notes at one time on different strings on different frets and strumming those strings on the body play chords. Chords are used as a rhythmic compliment in a song or to accompany a melody or a singer. First, you should know about strings, notes from E to the musical interval, understanding and learning scales, building chords. These are about the guitar