supermath crime fighter, ancient writing instrument, we’re all commies now

Fighting violent gang crime with math

UCLA mathematicians working with the Los Angeles Police Department to analyze crime patterns have designed a mathematical algorithm to identify street gangs involved in unsolved violent crimes. Their research is based on patterns of known criminal activity between gangs, and represents the first scholarly study of gang violence of its kind.

[  ]…In developing their algorithm, the mathematicians analyzed more than 1,000 gang crimes and suspected gang crimes, about half of them unsolved, that occurred over a 10-year period in an East Los Angeles police district known as Hollenbeck, a small area in which there are some 30 gangs and nearly 70 gang rivalries.

[  ]…About 80 percent of the time, the mathematicians could narrow it down to three gang rivalries that were most likely involved in a crime.

“Our algorithm placed the correct gang rivalry within the top three most likely rivalries 80 percent of the time, which is significantly better than chance,” said Martin Short, a UCLA adjunct assistant professor of mathematics and co-author of the study. “That narrows it down quite a bit, and that is when we don’t know anything about the crime victim or perpetrator.”

I’m not sure what to make of the gang crime predictions. It’s not a crime until someone commits it and then you can look at statistical probabilities, but that does not mean you have found the actual perpetrator. Gangs in California are an especially tough crime problem. Even when there is no active crime taking place the community suffers because there is always the implication that those who report gang activity will be retaliated against. This might be a good tool for organizing community resistance to gangs if authorities will provide support in the way of protection. The statistics would help to direct the best use of resources..

The research could also be used in advertising to target those who would be most inclined to buy certain products or services.

The possibility for spotting trends on social networks is a little disconcerting. While it could be used to spot the intention to commit some wrong doing, it could also be used to disrupt legitimate civil protests.

ancient writing instrument

To: sravenwrites/sraven. 1. The photo is private property and thus the rights are not transferable to anyone. 2. It was courteous of you to ask, but I do not have contact information or take comments for several reasons. Taking questions questions about the graphics or the content of this blog is one of those reasons. I would suggest you look through here or here for free stock photos of old typewriters. I used an aging effect in Photoshop on the “writing instrument” photo.


CJR’s take-down of a sloppy bit of economic analysis by the ironically named American Enterprise Institute ( ironic because enterprise and genuine competition is the last thing those crony corporatist are for) –  The Myth of Income Equality, Courtesy of AEI

This post by James Pethokoukis, who recently hopped over to AEI from Reuters, shows how to combine the worst tendencies of Slate (contrarian shtick), Business Insider (misleading, hyped headlines), and think tanks (paid-for spin), and puts it in internet-friendly listicle format:

5 reasons why income inequality is a myth — and Occupy Wall Street is wrong

This, at least the first part of it, is false in a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me kind of way, which is the whole point. That kind of headline draws you to read the post, which proceeds to give seemingly sound (but ultimately misleading) evidence for why inequality isn’t growing in order to plants seeds of doubt about whether that whole inequality thing is really a problem.

You’re probably not going to take the time to poke holes in it, so I will. A deeper look at this post shows that the body is nearly as flawed as the headline.

The AEI’s logic goes like this. Every income percentile has had some increase, thus everyone has benefited from trickle-down economics. One of the issues they skip over is the lost of the single breadwinner being able to provide a home, higher education and assorted standard amenities. Women are no longer accessory income winners. For most self-described middle-class households the middle-class dream crashes and burns without the woman working. Not to advocate the good old days that never were, it is simply a fact that most people cannot afford what we think of as middle-class without either being married, a room-mate or a partner. Another issue is how out of whack compensation has become. The top 1% takes in an increase income of 275% compared to the middle percentile’s 40% over the last 30 years. That middle is actually doing somewhat well. It includes professional managers, dentists, your average neighborhood lawyer. Lets not become transfixed on the shiny object – 40%. Let’s ask ourselves what that 1% did or is doing to deserve 235% more. Are they working 235% harder. Are they 235% smarter thus bringing some ginormous intellectual benefits to the table. One claim made that 1% is the nation could not do without them. It is not a coincidence this 1% came along as banks and Wall Street became less and less regulated. yet before this modern era plutocracy came along most the American economy was growing well enough. We had downturns, but nothing on the level of the current recession. So we could do without the 1%. None of them are so brilliant they cannot be replaced by someone just as smart, more ethical and less greedy. By the way, according to the comments at CJR anyone who questions this wage disparity phenomenon is a commie. We can’t possibly be capitalists who see a dangerously steep pyramid. You know you’re dealing with venal ideologues when you speak up for capitalism and decency and they think that is the same thing as Marxism.

 These Arms Of Mine – Otis Redding