Monday, July 28, 2014

Argentina

Back during my short stint on Wall Street, I'm pretty sure the one factor that would have made my model of sovereign default risk immeasurably more powerful is an indicator variable IsArgentina.

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Unrelatedly, I now finally have two human visas and three feline import permits for Australia. Woo!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

bike theft

This should go without saying, but unfortunately I don't think it does.

If you see suspicious activity, like the two guys I just saw walking down the street with two shopping carts full of about a dozen bikes, then for the love of god, CALL 9-11! Just about everyone who owns a bike in the bay area has been the victim of bike or bike part theft. Don't you wish someone had called about yours?

Obviously this is true for any criminal activity, but my guess is that a lot of the bike trafficking that goes on around here gets by on people not being sure that what they're seeing is criminal. Very true, but seems solidly like probable cause to me. And yet I was the first person to contact the police about those guys, despite the fact it was a busy street. "It's probably nothing" is an easy justification for not calling, but probably illegitimate.

Also: register your bike. In Oakland this just involves stopping by any fire station between 9 and 5 on weekdays. That's kind of a pain, but when your bike is stolen, you'll kick yourself for not bothering. Only 16% of recovered bicycles are returned to their owner due to lack of registration. And with tactics such as shipping stolen bikes between LA and SF to make them harder to find, or breaking them down for parts, posting on craigslist just won't cut it.

Also: if your bike is stolen (or property is vandalized, or anything else) then also, for the love of god, file a police report. No, there's basically no chance anything will come of it (especially in Oakland), but you'll show up meaningfully in statistics. For example, Karim's bike shop in Berkeley is notorious for selling stolen bicycles. But when raided by the police, only a few were able to be confirmed stolen. With more ubiquitous registration and theft reporting, trafficking operations would have a much harder time sticking around. Note that without having registered your bike, and thus being able to find the serial number, the value of your report drops precipitously.

(Also, three cheers for the bait bike program.)