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.