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Disaster strikes! - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 19th, 2013

09:23 am - Disaster strikes!

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Well, not a complete disaster, but one of those things that makes you have to put on your big girl panties and keep your shit together despite wanting to yell loudly and throw things.

I broke the Magister's Staff. It was my own fault, it was on the table drying and I propped it against the bookcase so I could have my breakfast, and it slid and fell over and hit the table. The acrylic tube is broken, the vanes have come half off (because the plaster that was supposed to reinforce all this is not yet dry), and there's a broken wire in there somewhere so the LEDs don't work any more. *sigh*

I picked it up, gently pushed it all back into shape, and put it in the corner where it will stay until I get over being pissed off enough to look at it carefully and start fault-finding to repair the wire. I think if the lights still worked I woudln't be all that bothered (the break in the acrylic is not major), but the wire has all been hot-glued into place and finding where it's broken will be a mission. *more sighing*

On the upside, my 5v 10A DC adapter arrived yesterday, so if I feel so inclined I can get started on the Brainfart circuits - or at least attach the LED strip to a power supply and go "Oooh pretty!" for a while before trying to do anything else.. cos I'm a bit breaky-of-things right now..


In fact, I only pulled him up once, when he said the drop in opium production in Afghanistan in 2008-2009:



was due to the influence of Western drug supply disruption measures. It was actually due to a disease of opium poppies causing mass crop failure - which is stated clearly in the UN World Drug Report that that graph came from.

Things I didn't pull him up on:

Stating that "At least 95% of the world's opium is grown in Afghanistan" - Actually, it's about 63% (p27) - at least, as accurately as such things can be measured - and the emerging areas of production are Myanmar and Mexico. It concerns me how much of the focus of this course is on Afghanistan. It could be that the lecturer's done this research a few years ago when things were different and hasn't bothered to update his info, or it could be that he has a bee in his bonnet or a pet theory about heroin in the Middle East, and is ignoring things that could weaken his theory. Either way, FACTS PLZ.

Showing us a picture of Indonesian rebels funded by Operation Haik, and suggesting that the reason the rebellion didn't work was because the rebels "don't really look like hardened soldiers, do they?".

Calling on a class member, an Armenian, for his opinion on whether terrorism in Russia is a front for organised crime these days. I see this as somewhat akin to asking me if I think the Wellington docks are run by the Triads these days.

Suggesting that the reason for the final defections that led to the end of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the mid-1990s was due to the 'Manicure Approach to Peace' - which involved the wife of the leader of the government inviting the wife of the leader of the Khmer Rouge to join her in a visit to a beauty salon, where she would be pampered. She would then go back and bend her husband's ear about how she was tired of living in the jungle and wanted some luxury, and thus the Khmer Rouge would be slowly persuaded that holding out was against their best interests, all through the harping of a woman. I kid you not. To his credit he did say this was a pet theory, and I can sort of see how living in crappy conditions would lower morale and perhaps lead to defection, but WUT WITH THE MANICURES I DON'T EVEN.

On the other side, he did have some reasonably accurate (by which I mean, well-accepted and verifiable elsewhere) things to say about the effect of globalisation on inequality and how that might have affected the drug trade (and organised crime in general), but I have to be honest and say that by now I am merely looking for points to pull him up on and not really learning anything. I have a book at home on the politics of heroin (which notably is not among the bibiliography for this course), which I will read to get a more accurate picture. Meanwhile, next week, the week where he talks about the legalisation debate and the change from supply disruption to demand reduction policy in Western countries, I'm faced with a decision. Do I go along and be a wanker in the interest of ensuring this tiny group of people get accurate information about my field of expertise, or do I stay away for the sake of not spending an evening trying to make a lecturer cry, because in the grand scheme of things I have bigger fish to fry?


I am conflicted. On one hand, misinformation has caused a lot of harm in the drug war, and this dude is Misinformation Plus. On the other, I hate the idea being the dissenting, harping voice for a whole 2-hour lecture, after which I will come away feeling icky. Umm..

Dr Wheel had two teeth removed yesterday. I overdosed him with drinking straws and ice cream and cuddles because I know what it's like to have sore teeth and because he's lovely and brings out the 'be nice' urges in me (yes I do have some, nyah). He got to bring his ones home and we compared them with my ones from last year. One of his had to be cut into bits to be removed. Ouch. But, he is one of the few people I know who still manages to look cute with half his face swollen. <3

Meanwhile, my brother has been playing with a Hall Effect sensor. I think someone should apply this to a levistick. Someone who can look at their projects without breaking them, preferably.

Comments:

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From:pundigrion
Date:March 18th, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
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I suggest if you go to more lectures, you make certain to have the following earworm stuck in your head to reduce the rage. Then guess how many of the behaviors you think the lecturer engages in.

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From:tatjna
Date:March 18th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Bahahaha!

Someone did that slow driving in the overtaking lane to me on Sunday. I was confused by this behaviour.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 18th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
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I looked at the staff and have a few ideas:

- wire probably broke on the opposite side to the split acrylic tube. The length of wire up the staff is probably fine.
- drilling holes into the acrylic bits at the bottom, and then screwing them into the staff should make it stronger (preventing them from being able allowed to flex and reducing stress on the weak point where the currently split is).
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From:tatjna
Date:March 18th, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
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<3 Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

I think you're right about the wires - I figure it'd break where it experienced tension around a corner. And we did put a little extra in there, so it may be fairly easy to fix.

This morning I was just all EVERYTHING'S COMING APART OH NOES and didn't want to look at it.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 18th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
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That's usually what I did with my computer when it'd decide that it couldn't handle the jet engine sized graphics card. ;-)
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From:helianthas
Date:March 19th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
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Two key phrases stood out to me: "misinformation has caused a lot of harm in the drug war" and "my field of expertise." I wonder if there is a way of approaching him privately? I think it would be hard to sit back and let a lot of misinformation fly, and university classes are meant to engender debate and multiple opinions, so I think speaking up is important, but maybe there's a way to do it to avoid any feeling like a wanker and/or crying on anyone's part...?
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From:tatjna
Date:March 19th, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
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That's true, thanks for suggesting it. I'll have a think about how I might approach him directly. Awesome. ;-)
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From:khaybee
Date:March 19th, 2013 05:33 am (UTC)
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I think it would be appropriate to write a complaint to Victoria and ask for your fees to be refunded. There may only be a few of you in this class, but it is detrimental to the reputation of the University to have someone misrepresenting theories as facts in their name.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 19th, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. Part of the reason I'm still going is to make sure I'm accurate when I give them my feedback on this course. I am very disappointed, and I'm disappointed because Vic has set my expectations of academic integrity very high - so they would want to know if someone was undermining that.
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From:khaybee
Date:March 19th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
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My point exactly. Asking for a refund of fees is a way to make sure your complaint gets pushed upstairs, so to speak.
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From:meathiel
Date:March 19th, 2013 06:33 am (UTC)
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Argh ... I'd be pissed off at myself as well. Hope you can fix the staff.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 19th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
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Joel thinks it's going to be fixable, and at this point I'm happy to defer to his judgement. ;-)
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From:siobhan63
Date:March 19th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
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If I were you, I would be documenting the stuff he's saying in lectures that is false, and then write a letter to the head of the department raising your concerns with all of your supporting proof. It's one thing to make the occasional mistake during a lecture, but this guy seems to have a specific agenda and is creating "facts" to support it. And most students will just accept whatever he says as the gospel truth. That doesn't help anyone. At the very least, do you have a chance to rate the profs at the end of the course - some sort of official feedback form that goes to the department? Lots of universities do that. But this guy shouldn't be in the classroom, IMO.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 19th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. Part of the reason I'm blogging about this is so I'll have a record of the things I'm concerned about.

Most courses in NZ have a feedback form at the end of them, and I expect this one will be the same. Usually they have a space for longform commenting, so I'll be making full use of that, and probably contacting the university directly as well.

I dislike complaining, but at the same time I really do feel disappointed and concerned about how much minsinformation this course has contained.
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