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Email from Student Finance on Saturday: Why haven't you paid your… - Tactical Ninja

Feb. 2nd, 2015

09:25 am

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Email from Student Finance on Saturday: Why haven't you paid your fees yet? Get on with it!
Email to Student Finance on Saturday: Talk to Scholarships. They said they'd pay them within 2 weeks, 3 weeks ago.

Academia is functioning as expected.

But it did serve as a reminder that holy shit I am studying again this year, and it starts in less than a month. I am no less trepidatious about academic writing than I was before, but I am more resigned and somewhat happy that the format for Honours seems to be literature review/abstract/presentation and poster session/8000 word essay over the full year, instead of the Undergrad format that was 2000 word essay/another 2000 word essay/exam in 6 months. I'm not a fan of writing multitudes of short essays - I'd much prefer to write one longer one where I can explore the topic in depth.

But still, there's a certain amount of meeping going on because any academic writing at all is more than I've been doing lately, and I know I'm out of practice. Meanwhile, apparently the editor of the journal we sent the BZP article to quite likes it, which is nice.

In other news, it seems that as Kiwiburn grows, the post-festival Stuff To Deal With list grows as well. Mine now has 12 items on it, and that was before people in the forums started talking about making complaints about the behaviour of specific people. Item 13: develop a policy to deal with behaviour that doesn't warrant banning, that fits with the 10 principles, while making it clear to the person that their behaviour is unacceptable, and also while not setting ourselves up as enforcers or some perceived personal army for other people's vendettas. Fun times.

la la la


Date:February 2nd, 2015 06:52 am (UTC)
Last week I (and others in my class) got an email from the lecturer for my 'three full days across the term' class. Turns out there's a whole bunch of study to do before classes even start! That'll be 7 chapters of 'Strategic HR Management' then...
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Date:February 4th, 2015 02:15 am (UTC)

(my workload hasn't been posted yet, i'm starting to get concerned)
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Date:February 3rd, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)

Almost completely off-topic

I just noticed this in New Scientist, on-topic with your studies. You've probably already seen it, but just in case...

From New Scientist (225 no. 3003), 10 January 2015: 24 & 25.


The Kiwi comedown

Hailed as an alternative to the war on drugs, New Zealand’s stalled attempt
to end prohibition has-lessons for the world, says Ross Bell

Just 18 months ago, New Zealand was the talk of the world’s drug law
reformers. It had set up a system to allow new recreational drugs to gain
official approval and be sold legally. Moreover, it had won sweeping
parliamentary support for this: the Psychoactive Substances Act was passed
with a solitary vote against. It seemed that a government had finally taken
the bold step towards ending prohibition.

And yet now it is far from clear that the law will ever be used to
approve a drug. A panicky government amendment may have made it unworkable.
What happened has lessons for others seeking a better way than the failed
“war” on drugs to minimise the problems related to psychoactive

The Act was meant to establish a process for new psychoactive substances
to be tested and, if posing only “a low risk of harm”, approved for sale.
Regulations would cover testing, importation, manufacture and sale.
Politicians seemed to understand that “low risk” did not mean “no risk”.

The law was attempting to get to grips with a market that had been
raging for years. Designer drugs were emerging one after the other in a
chaotic, unregulated retail environment before being declared illegal. For
example, the “party pills” BZP and TFMPP appeared in New Zealand in around
2000 and were banned in 2008. No deaths had been attributed to them and they
may have reduced methamphetamine use; but they were associated with binge
drinking and emergency hospital admissions. By the time they were banned, 1
in 5 New Zealanders had used them.

In 2005, the first in a series of synthetic cannabinoids reached New
Zealand. They were progressively outlawed, but each time one with a slightly
different chemical structure would pop up. Eventually, associate heath
minister Peter Dunne accepted that this game of whack-a-mole could not
continue and championed the new law.

The act established an “interim period” in which some products and
suppliers could apply for temporary licences while the final regulations
were written. All the drugs granted interim licences were synthetic

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Date:February 3rd, 2015 03:35 am (UTC)

Re: Almost completely off-topic

At the same time, the wider market was sharply curtailed. The number of
retail outlets for “legal highs” was slashed, from as many as 4000 to
fewer than 170. The number of products fell from around 200 to fewer than
50. There was evidence that related hospital admissions fell, along with
reports to the National Poisons Centre.

The purge also magnified attention on the remaining outlets, largely
unwelcome in their communities. They became a focus for the media. Some
looked disreputable when journalists visited. In addition, personal stories
of chaos and woe received widespread coverage. That these problems had
developed in the unregulated market or were caused by products already
removed were of little consequence.

On top of this, an already under-resourced regulatory authority was
sluggish to respond. The interim régime was left carrying more weight, and
for longer, than had been anticipated. Imports could not be checked for
purity as required, and obtaining and delivering certificates of analysis
proved a challenge for all concerned. It became difficult to say exactly
what was in some products, the very opposite of what had been intended.

Despite these problems, perhaps the real damage was done before the act
was even passed. The early, relatively benign synthetic cannabinoids had
been banned for years. When the act passed, only so-called third-generation
cannabimimetics were still legal. Their harms were poorly understood.

In May, amid the media panic, the government rushed through an amendment
ending the interim licensing period and removing all the drugs from sale.
The act remains in place. Indeed, it’s in good shape. The long-awaited
regulations for manufacturing, importing and research and product approvals
were signed off in July and are in force. Those for wholesaling and
retailing are on track for the second half of 2015.

“All drugs are again illegal and thus back in the black market. Familiar
patterns of abuse are returning”

But one part of the amendment has thrown a bomb into the works. It
banned the use of animal testing results, in New Zealand or elsewhere, to
show that a product met the “no more than a low risk of harm” standard.
But a senior Ministry of Health official said recently that “at this point
in time, it is not possible to have a product approved without animal

The idea of a law that applies similar testing standards to these
substances as any other approved drug ― to ensure it is not genotoxic, for
example ― is now broken. All recreational drugs are outlawed, and thus back
in the hands of the black market. Familiar patterns of substance abuse are
returning to the street and the internet is still a broad channel for the
import of untested drugs. Chances of the animal-testing ban being rescinded
look slight for now.

The lessons? The interim period may have caused more problems than it
solved. The delay in introducing a proper regulatory infrastructure was
harmful. But more than that, New Zealand’s experience has shown the perils
of attempting to regulate new psychoactive substances without reviewing drug
law as a whole. The first synthetic cannabis product, having been on the
market for five years unnoticed and problem-free, was banned under the
vague, sweeping analogue provisions of the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act.
How different might things have been if that product had still been around?

It makes little sense to deal with new substances in isolation. If there
is a solution to the difficult problem of seeking alternatives to the war on
drugs, it very likely lies not only in looking forward, as New Zealand
attempted, but also looking back and reflecting on the laws we already have.

Ross Bell is executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, which
aims to prevent and reduce harm from drug use via evidence-based policies.
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Date:February 4th, 2015 02:14 am (UTC)

Re: Almost completely off-topic

I could rant for a fairly long time about this - especially in the knowledge that Peter Dunne has been quoted as saying that the PSA would 'strike a death blow' to the legal high industry.

Conspiracy theory or Occam's Razor - either way, this law was never as progressive as everyone made it out to be.
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Date:February 4th, 2015 02:58 am (UTC)

Re: Almost completely off-topic

> either way, this law was never as progressive as everyone made it out to be

So in many ways a predictable result?
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Date:February 4th, 2015 03:03 am (UTC)
Pretty much.
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Date:February 4th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Email from Student Finance on Saturday: Why haven't you paid your fees yet? Get on with it!
Email to Student Finance on Saturday: Talk to Scholarships. They said they'd pay them within 2 weeks, 3 weeks ago.

Academia is functioning as expected.

LOL..... I hope it gets sorted!
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