Police blotter stories

Taken from here and here.


1400 block of El Camino Real, 4:48 a.m. Tuesday A woman accused her boyfriend of coming home drunk and spitting on her. Officers responded and upon determining the spittle was likely the result of his talking too loudly, the man decided to sleep it off on the couch.


Monterey and Senter roads, 5:35 p.m. Tuesday A driver who pulled over when her vehicle stalled was approached by a male with a machete who seized her keys and stole her vehicle.

2900 block of Cunningham Avenue, 5:15 p.m. Tuesday A male was robbed while watering his lawn.


Beach Park Boulevard, 1:52 a.m. Monday A male on the pedway reported to be wrapped in a blanket and howling told police he was fine and went on his way.

Metro Center and Edgewater boulevards, 9:16 p.m. Monday A male reported to be laying on the ground next to a bike was arrested for public intoxication while animal services took possession of his pet mouse.


El Camino Real, 12:12 a.m. Sunday A man apparently unhappy with his burrito took one bite, then threw it on the floor along with the tip jar and left.

Junipero Avenue, 1:12 a.m. Tuesday A thrown pumpkin broke a window and struck a male inside.

Paul “Minimus” Hansmeier

(I really don’t usually criticize people’s language errors like this; I made an special exception for Prenda. Also, this post is actually just an excuse to learn some Latin, which I’m actually quite poor at.)

PAUL HANSMEIER, Minnesota “lawyer” and definitely-not-principal-of-Prenda-Law, wrote in a letter to Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel on Sunday, October 22, the following:

With one de minimus exception, the only transfers I received from Prenda Law were in consideration of the sale of my practice

His Latin is wrong. (Even from a descriptivist point of view.) The phrase, as our Mr. Hansmeier no doubt must have learned at some point in law school over at the University of Minnesota, is de minimis (OED), meaning “of trivial things”.

Actually, we can’t quite conclude that he is wrong quite yet. As a lawyer, we might expect him to have a least a fair grasp of Latin. Perhaps since he speaks of a de minimus exception, he declined minimus into the ablative singular instead of the usual ablative plural minimis. But no. The ablative singular of minimus is minimo (masculine) and minima (feminine). For some reason it appears that the correct one for de * non curat lex is minima. Don’t ask why, I don’t know either (my Latin very well might be worse than Hansmeier’s)—I used a quick Google search. So it’s not that, and he’s definitely wrong.

(What makes this worse is that he didn’t have to use the Latin term, and did anyway.)

So, his Latin is bad, and as a purportedly self-respecting lawyer, he should feel bad.


Of course, the sentence is also factually incorrect, but I’ll leave writing about that to the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigative Division and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Square’s business restrictions

THE APPEAL of Square is of course that anybody can open up a Square account and start accepting credit card payments. As pointed out here, this means that unlike a usual credit-card processor, they don’t carefully vet their account-holders. Correspondingly, Square’s terms of service have a long list of prohibited business activities:

By creating a Square Account, you also confirm that you will not accept payments in connection with the following businesses or business activities: (1) any illegal activity or goods, (2) buyers or membership clubs, including dues associated with such clubs, (3) credit counseling or credit repair agencies, (4) credit protection or identity theft protection services, (5) direct marketing or subscription offers or services, (6) infomercial sales, (7) internet/mail order/telephone order pharmacies or pharmacy referral services (where fulfillment of medication is performed with an internet or telephone consultation, absent a physical visit with a physician including re-importation of pharmaceuticals from foreign countries), (8) unauthorized multi-level marketing businesses, (9) inbound or outbound telemarketers, (10) prepaid phone cards or phone services, (11) rebate based businesses, (12) up-sell merchants, (13) bill payment services, (14) betting, including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting, and wagers at races, (15) manual or automated cash disbursements, (16) prepaid cards, checks, or other financial merchandise or services, (17) sales of money-orders or foreign currency, (18) wire transfer money orders, (19) high-risk products and services, including telemarketing sales, (20) service station merchants, (21) automated fuel dispensers, (22) adult entertainment oriented products or services (in any medium, including internet, telephone, or printed material), (23) sales of (i) firearms, firearm parts or hardware, and ammunition; or (ii) weapons and other devices designed to cause physical injury (24) internet/mail order/telephone order cigarette or tobacco sales, (25) drug paraphernalia, (26) occult materials, (27) hate or harmful products, (28) escort services, (29) bankruptcy attorneys or collection agencies engaged in the collection of debt.

(There aren’t any line breaks in the original either, in case you were wondering.)

With regards to perhaps the oddest entry, #21, “automated fuel dispensers”, I found a notice by Visa, which warns that gasoline pumps (or as they call them for some reason, automated fuel dispensers), are highly susceptible to card skimming. Likewise MasterCard apparently has special procedures in place for gas station payments, which they also call automated fuel dispensers.

An old blog post from 2010 covers #26, “occult materials”. (Which reminds me just how old Square actually is. The only actually new aspects of Square are its iPad stand, released in June, and the new Square Cash thing.)

Math problem

The following problem was a 10-point problem on a multivariable calculus midterm here at UC Berkeley last year. Supposedly only about 2 out of 50 students got it correct.

Let \(g(z)\) be a function from \(\mathbb{R}\) to  \(\mathbb{R}\). Let \(z = f(x,y)\) be a function from \(\mathbb{R}^2\) to \(\mathbb{R}\). Let \(C\) be a level curve of \(f\), parametrized by \(t\), so that \(x=u(t)\) and \(y=v(t)\) on the curve \(C\). Let \(w(t) = g( f(u(t), v(t)))\). Assume that \(g, f, u, v\) are differentiable.

Find \( \frac{dw}{dt} \) in its simplest form.