Thursday, October 30, 2008

Presidential Predictions

I wouldn't be a good blogger with out wildly guessing at the outcome of the election right? In 2004 there was no blog, but fair to say I guessed really really wrong. I thought that "momentum" in the polls was going to some how push Kerry over the top in the intervening hours between the last poll and election day. But look at the graph showing the aggregate race four years ago:

You can see that last minute surge that gave me hope, but looking at the big picture it was futile. Much of what is called "momentum" in polling (and the stock market) is really just a random, statistical walk one way or the other. Polling that happened yesterday does not affect polling done today! So, lets look at where things are right now nationally including the McCain "momentum" that he has been talking about all month:

On the state by state level, it looks even worse for McCain. If you assume that McCain wins all of the states labeled "toss up" and wins all the "lean democratic" states (less than +8 for Obama) on the web page, you get this:

McCain is still losing! He would have to flip either VA (+8.1) or PA (+10.7) or NH (+11) to win. This is the more likely outcome:

The only ones on that list I am not sure about are Missouri, where it will be very very close, and North Carolina and Florida where turn-out will be key. If it is a big Obama win, you can add: Indiana, Georgia, North Dakota, Montana, and even McCain's home state of Arizona to places where it will be close.

One thing about these maps is that we will probably know very early on election night if McCain has any chance. If Obama wins any set of two big east cost states from within Florida, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, it will be numerically over right away. If Obama wins North Carolina, it will be effectively over.

The rest of the night will be looking at house and senate races, along with Prop 8 in CA. I am hopeful about Bachman loosing to Tinklenberg but not betting on it. Incumbents are hard to beat even if they are as crazy awful as Bachman. And Franken's odds are now not looking good either after a breif surge of support. The best hope both Tinklenberg and Franken have is that Obama's coat tails will be large enough to pull them over the top on election day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Okay, okay, time to tell the big secret! No, we aren't adopting a cat from the humane society. We may, however, be fostering some orphan kittens if the shelter needs our help! I had training today for the U of MN's Orphan Kitten Program, which works with local shelters to send kittens home with vet students to be bottle fed until they're old enough to be adopted out of the shelter. Orphan kittens take lots of work (bottle feeding 12 times a day when they're really young!), but can be very rewarding too. I figured it's a good compromise for now, when we're not in the best position to adopt a cat, but I have a lighter course load and a little extra time on my hands. This year's kittens have pretty much all been born, so I probably won't have any fosters until early next spring. Watch the blog for pictures if/when we get a litter!

Another clue

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Afton CX

Wow what a great race, and another one in the books! This was race number 4 for me and by far the best race and best performance to date. Out of 60 racers I finished 34th which puts me in the 57th percentile for this race. For comparison, last week I finished way back in the 79th percentile!

It was also a great race because of the huge fan section cheering along! It was a great family afternoon with a bike ride in between.

The circuit this time was a true cyclocross course with long grass stretches, several barriers (that were really tall!), a wicked hill to run up (with a skull on a stick at the bottom as warning), mud, dirt, gravel, and pavement! Personally, I found out that I really do love the run ups. The photo on the right here is the hill on the first lap, and I am the one in black at the end of the pack. But I think I passed eight of those nine people during this run up! So I finally found something I am good at in cyclocross. Running! Hmmm...

The best moment for me came on the last lap when I was chasing two riders and finally caught one near the top of the hill. I wasn't sure I had the energy to pass him, but decided that I had to try so I charged up the last quarter of the hill past him, and left him behind. I tried to catch the rider in front of him too, but there wasn't enough course left so I rode into the finish line easy and alone.

This race was very well documented and I got lots of cool photos of L. and I jumping, running, and looking tired along with some great shots of the family too. I am glad the race was Saturday and not today, that would have been miserable!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Economic update

It has been a while since I wrote anything down about the economy because frankly it is a huge bummer, but I have still been watching with interest what is going on. Here is where I think we are this week:

The world has avoided a "systemic financial meltdown" after unprecedented coordinated action. The world was at the brink, but has backed off. Governments put all the chips on the table saying, "we will exist." The downside to that bet was literally the collapse of nations - but luckily they won. Even Iceland looks like it will survive. They even used the Swedish model!

The TED spread which measures how much risk banks see in other banks rose to 4.63% - 30% higher than the black Monday crash of 1987 - but has since subsided to 2.66%. It has historically been between .5-1.5% so things are not good but they are not going to explode either.

So it seems that we are past a phase I of this crisis, the banking phase. Now on onto phase II, the global recession.

As everyone has noticed, the stock market has gone insane. It is not that it has just gone down, it has going up and down violently almost every day, and sometimes even during the day there are massive swings. This is measured by the VIX Volatility index that is at an all time high since it started in 1990. And if you look at this month, even the Volatility index has been volatile! So the basic assumption that the market is driven by value has taken a leave for the foreseeable future.

The reason I started this post was because of this Bloomberg article showing the value of the Baltic Dry Index, an index that measures international freight. It has plunged 90% since May making it a bigger drop than the .com boom, or the housing bubble. Shippers can't get credit for cargo, so they are not moving goods. This is what will really drive Phase II of this crisis I believe, as developing and emerging markets (Brazil, China, etc) get slaughtered by what will be an already severe rescission in the powerful G8 nations, as their currency gets drained of value as investors flee towards the dollar.

So some "predictions." Right now everyone is apocalyptic but so far things have not been as bad as 1973-76 when the market declined 45% and then recovered over 26 months as shown here:

Right now markets have declined 41% over 13 months. If you want to correlate 1974 to today, that means the DOW hits a low of 7,750 next October, and finally recovers at the very start of 2011. That seemed like crazy talk a month ago, but now seems optimistic!

Now the pessimistic side. John Authers put forward a disturbing concept today though that is worth watching. Basically, he says that after Japan's financial crisis of the 1990s their interest rate was effectively 0% through out the 90s and is still very low today. So smart investors would borrow Japanese Yen and pump that money into the stock market to turn a free profit. This is called the "Yen Carry Trade" and it has gone bust along with everything else. But what Authers is suggesting is that we have been in a Yen Carry Trade bubble for the past 10 or 15 years that is now busting.

If that is true, that would be deeply shocking and fundamentally change the understanding of the economic landscape going back to the late 1980s. It would also mean the DOW should fall to around where it really broke off from the Japanese Nikkei stock market, which has floundered for decades.

That was in 1995, at 3,900...

And Rubbini is sounding more like he believes that even when the rescission is over it might recover "recover" in an "L" shape like Japan experienced in the 1990s as shown above. To this day 18 years later, the Nikkei has never recovered. He stresses the "might" here though. As of right now he is still thinking in "U" shapes a-la 1974.

So like I said, a bummer. The only thing I can hope for is that in the past decade, the top 1% has gained wealth in huge disproportion to the rest of us, so perhaps this downturn will disproportionally affect them too. One can hope.

EDIT: This is interesting. Draw a line using the basic trajectory of the stock market before it took off in 1995 and you get this:

So if the Dow had kept a steady climb since 1995 it would have been at about 7,500, or about 10% lower than the market is right now...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Ring Flyers CX

Race number 3 in the books! I finished the "C" race 38th out of 48th, which if you adjust for the number of racers, was actually my worst finish of the year. I also got results from last week's race and finished that 72nd out of 98 which is about right. L. had a crazy race this weekend, and rode through the finish in 1st place quite alone!

All three races have been so different, and this one was no exception. It was very grassy and flat, and since they got last minute news that they couldn't run the race through the woods they added some mad mazes that riders had to bike through. No run-up or hills to speak of. I started the race back quite a bit, and really wasn't feeling it. I just sort of bumbled along for a lap keeping in line, and it wasn't until I was into lap 2 did I realize that I was in the middle of the race and had better get moving! I did well after that, but by then I think I had dug myself into a hole and couldn't catch up. Oh well, it was still lots of fun and next weekend is at Afton Alps that is described as "something for everyone" with run-ups, possible mud, some fast flat, and other craziness (I hope). It is turning into "spectator weekend" so come on out!

I had a great practice tonight, and there is another tomorrow, so I should be primed for this weekend. Here my new park, that I think I like more. It is much larger so you can get some good long runs at speed which has been more like the races I have been in.

View Larger Map

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still alive!

Apologies for the lack of vet-school-related blogging recently. We had our first round of exams of third year, and rather than starting gradually, they came in one big burst (three in-class exams and four take-home exams within 5 days!). Just like classes, the exams are making me feel a little bit more doctor-ish as they feel more clinical than previous years. You know- instead of "Name all the hormones produced in the adrenal glands", we get questions like, "How do you treat acute vomiting in the dog?". Much more practical!

We also have gotten our hands dirty in lab, learning how to repair a fractured tibia, reattach a tibial tuberosity avulsion, and perform an extracapsular repair to fix a rupture cranial cruciate ligament (or a torn ACL in human-medicine-ese). We also got to practice placing urinary catheters, performing a chest tap, and honing our skills on the all-important physical exam. Everything we get to practice makes me feel one step closer to being a doctor, and makes the hours that we spend in class feel a little less tedious and little more relevant.

As soon as our exams were over last week, I headed out to Reno for the AHVMA annual convention with four other classmates. We stayed at a house near Lake Tahoe (and saw SNOW- and a bear!). We never did get to see Lake Tahoe itself (except when we were flying over it on our way home), but our morning drive through the mountains was lovely. We didn't see much of Reno aside from the casino where the convention was being held, but since a classmate from California called Nevada "the ugliest state in the country', I don't feel like we missed much.

The conference itself was wonderful, and it was really fun to meet up with people that I met last year. The entire first day was devoted to pet foods (both commercial and homemade), which is a big interest of mine. It's always great to hear vets who don't uniformly decry the feeding of homemade and raw foods, but instead have an informed and intelligent discussion about the pros and cons of alternative diets. Dr. Susan Wynn (the animal herbal medicine guru) is now working on her nutrition residency, and she gave a great talk about formulating diets for three common diseases (kidney failure, obesity, and food allergies). All we ever hear in school is that these pets should be on prescription commercial diets- it's good to know that there are resources for those pet owners who would like to have more control over what their sick pets are eating.

The second day was a little more varied, and I attended a lot of herbal medicine talks. Traditional Chinese Medicine is still a hard concept to grasp for me, but I'm starting to appreciate how TCM practitioners approach cases and come up with diagnoses. There were a lot of talks about essential oils, and there was even a vendor for animal aromatherapy oils. The clinic I work at uses a lot of lavender to help keep animals calm, and I've seen essential oil diffusers in the teaching hospital at school, so it's definitely becoming a popular concept. And why not- it's evidence-based medicine!

As usual, everyone was super friendly and excited to see students at the conference. AHVMA is great for rekindling the feelings that we do great things for people and animals as vets. Sometimes it's easy to get depressed with all the cancers, kidney failures, neglect, and trauma that we deal with, so it's nice to be reminded about all the good we do too.

We got back from Reno on Monday, had another exam Tuesday morning, and life has gotten back to its normal swing since then. Chris and I are realizing that we haven't thought about wedding plans since we visited Valley Grove last month- yikes! Time to get cracking... maybe after all the election distractions are over?

Until then- Yes We Carve!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final debate

The final debate is over, and John McCain has left diminished and defeated. He landed all his punches. He emptied his clip of attacks one after another, but in a disjointed sneer that left every hit with out muscle or real impact. Obama wasn't looking to win. He is up by massive, nearly insurmountably margin in national and state polling, so he got to go on TV and line-by-line calmly dispute McCains repetition of Ayers, ACORN, tax-hikes, and many other attacks (notably Rev. Wright was absent, but replaced with John Lewis). And with every attack, McCain got more and more angry. Watching him was painful at times, some one said, "it was like watching a class in anger management."

In this debate, McCain threw everything he had and came away a smaller, angrier man to Obama's presidential stature.

Obama remained steady, as he has been for this entire campaign. People are going to expect great things from him, and the next president really has a massive challenge laid out before him. But I think we are at the point where people en-mass are deciding that they want Barack Obama solving those problems. They like the way he thinks, they like the way he talks, and they fundamentally like his ideas more.

At this point, there is nothing McCain can do to win the election. It is completely out of his hands. He has been defeated at all three debates, his running mate is a drag on the ticket, he is being outspent 3:1 on ads, he has none of the ground game that brought Bush two victories while Obama has one of the best ever, and tonight he just shot off just about every attack he could find on the darkest corers of the internet and still came up resoundingly short. It was once a wild hope for me that Obama could be president, but I assured myself that could never happen. I thought his name was to unknown in a world of big fish. He would be to timid in his campaign and fail. I thought that good judgment could only get you so far, that good ideas would just be shouted down by simple rhetoric. But he has done it.

The photo above was taken on July 27th, 2004 during Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention.

Election day is on November 4th.

20 days from today.


This ad struck me personally for some reason...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why Bush won

I found the Living Room Candidate from the Museum of the Moving image that is an archive of presidential advertisements and found it really interesting to go back and see what the campaign narratives looked like in hindsight.

George Bush's ad's in 2000 were all really good, hopeful, and clear. Gore's are all really bad complicated, and yes - painfully boring.

And the swift boat ads of 2004 really are amazingly brutal. It is crazy that Kerry didn't come at them sooner.

Take a look at 2008 as a whole and see what you think this election will look like.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama was at Macalester College's new and fantastic Leonard Athletic Center today and I was there! The star trib says there was more than 4000 people who showed up in the rain to get in.

She was introduced first by St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman, then Senator Klobuchar, and then a 16 year old volunteer from Northfield. Al Franken was at the door, and got to shake all 4,000 hands as well as get props from every speaker.

Michelle's speech was completely positive. I don't think I heard "McCain" or "Palin" once the entire time. Her theme was, "Barack gets it" and tied her and his life story into the economy, heath care, and education. Her father worked for the fire department at a desk because of a degenerative medical condition. His mother had Barack at 18, and they lived on food stamps for a time. They both made it to the best schools and have so much to be thankful for, and she used that to tie everyone into the campaign, and send the responsibility back to the audience. 'Barack has carried it this far and built this political campaign, now you have to finish it.'

She was also able to be more folksy than a politician could be, refering to Barack as "honey" when recalling a story, and made a very passionate personal appeal to his character. She also got to talk about the future in the frame of her two daughters, and driving them back from the hospital and saying, 'they are the future.' To everyone who doesn't have kids, she said, "you don't even know" with a laugh.

Overall she came off as unvarnished, honest, and very well convected to reality. The crowed was "fired up and ready to go" - very reminiscent of Iowa 10 months ago...

Here is a little slide show of the line, and some of the other speakers.

M.O @ Mac.

More later...


Congratulations to Paul Krugman, the solo winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics.

And on the first day of honest good news about the financial crisis. The short version - Britain took charge, Europe followed, and the US might get dragged along pouting.

EDIT: Wow. Best day on the market since 1939, right after the worst week since 1929. Still the TED spread is at 4.57%, down just 1% from its record high, and banks are still unwilling to lend to each other. But the market just bet big that they will and soon...

ONE MORE: Get your John Authers here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wirth CX

Race no. 2 is in the Books! Today's race was at Theodore Wirth park/golf course which is what I considered my "home turf" for cross country skiing races back in high school. So this was a kind of return!

The course it self was basically not a cross course, it was a mountain bike trail with stuff in the way! No chance for recovery, lots of narrow single track through the woods, and the only places to pass were on a few open spots where you could sprint ahead. I started back quite a bit in the pack and because the course was so narrow crawled along for about 1/2 a lap before I could stretch my legs out.

There were lots of crashes today. I was in one minor one when a guy went down right in front of me and I rode into him, but I was able to run and remount while only losing a single spot. I also got my fingers into some other guys spokes at a very narrow barrier. He came up behind me and tried to pass on the narrow part (jerk), and it turned into a tangle. Then there were three other crashes in front of me that were to my advantage and I picked up spots from them. None of these crashes were serious, just low speed pileups due to the massive number of people winding around! I don't know the exact number of people in my race, but it was between 100-150. There were 240 racers total in all three races.

Unfortunately, due to all those people the officials didn't have results ready before we left, so I will have to wait until they are posted online. I think I did better than last time but who knows!

This atmosphere at this race was really great. RT Rybak showed up apparently, there was free beer provided by Rock Bottom Brewery of Minneapolis, and there were crazies in the woods who were shooting off fire-crackers to modivate racers (it works!).

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to loose an election

Of course, it is bad luck to call an election before it is over, but by any metric McCain is losing very very badly. Here is a chart from I made showing the polling trend from June to today. Obama has cracked the 50% mark, and his momentum has been a 45˚ trajectory upwards since McCain's peak after the RNC in St. Paul.

All the McCain campaign has left is a single debate, and the hope that Obama will say something insane. The sounds coming from the McCain campaign are sounding more and more like fringe blogs and email forwards with their references to ACORN, Ayers, and Rezco. The right-wing blogs love it, everyone else hates it. It is especially jarring in today's economic crisis, with the stock market crashing harder this week than it did during the great crash of 1929 - 18.2%. It was the Dow Jones worst week ever

So here is how Obama wins the election, now 24 days away. He doesn't loose his cool, and lets McCain continue to dig himself deeper into his hole. Obama has McCain trapped on all sides. Obama has an overwhelming ground organization game. Obama has a 3 to 1 TV advertising budget advantage. Obama-Biden have won all three debates. McCain conceded Michigan, and Obama is leading significantly (+5) in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Colorado polling. Norm Coleman wouldn't even been seen with McCain in Minnesota! If this list of things doesn't spell certain political doom, I don't know what else does.

So while you wait, here is a video comparison between Mike Judge's movie Idiocracy, which is a dark comedy about the most average person in the world being frozen and waking up 500 years later to find the world a much much dumber place. In fact, he is now the smartest person alive.

First, here is a clip of President "Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho" addressing congress about his solution for all their problems.

Ok, now here is Sarah Palin's entrance to Wilmington, OH this Thursday. Note the use of patriotic music, "The Eye of the Tiger," fake smoke, the swirling lighting, an announcer who could be from the WWF, and of course - the bus.

I love it. And a side note, she brought her newborn baby onto the stage with her along with her two daughters. Wouldn't that be a rather stressful place to bring a baby?

Thursday, October 09, 2008


After my third and final exam for the week, I'll be heading off to balmy chilly Lake Tahoe, then to Reno to attend the AHVMA conference for the weekend. Snow is in the forecast... brrr, no fair!

The Angry Franken

I have been telling this story all week, and low and behold Al Franken makes a killer ad about it. If he can tie Coleman to Bush/McCain, and himself to Obama/Wellstone, heck he could win this thing...

Jay Walker's Library

Some chaser for that bracing financial post. Wired did an overview of Jay Walker's personal library and it is astounding!
"Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) That edition of Chaucer ... is it a Kelmscott? (Natch.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you—a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy."


TED @ a shocking 4.23%

Stocks down 40% from the peak.

1974 saw stocks down 43%

If you invested in the Dow Jones in May, 1998 - your money is worth the same today.

The only good news, is that the bail out bill sounds like it might be able to be enacted in the Swedish model (Now UK model too) of buying preferred shares of banks to recapitalize them. Lets hope that reports are true.

Dramatic, historic, and frightening times.

Oh boy!

I'm definitely making an Obamalatern this year! This and other patterns at the AP... If you want something spooky, there's are McCain and Palin o' laterns too :)

EDIT: Credit to N. for this find. Pumpkin planning in action!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rudy back home

Rudy is his name, and he is a mischievous cat from across the hall. He waits in the coat rack and when you least expect he leaps out the door to seek adventure far and wide. He is home now, but rest assured planning his next escape...

Hi, I am a cat. Let me in.

What the.....

So tonight was a birthday party for our friend Dave, and after every one else left and as he was leaving we all hear a distinctive "Meeeoowww" from the hallway. Dave goes to investigate and there is a black cat in the hall way looking to get in. I let it in because hey, what else was I supposed to do!

Now we have signs up all over the hall, walked up and down the hall, but have no idea where this cat came from. He is huge, strong and black and very nice. Needless to say, Winnie is not happy about all this. I will let you know what happens!

three exams in five days

You know it's a rough week when professors start giving us extra credit for showing up to lectures...

On the bright side, I got to put a broken bone together today using wires and power tools!

Wednesday morning fun

Obama + LOLcats= Yes We Can Has

Obama + babies= Yes We Can (Hold Babies)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"that one"

Oops, watch out for that one my friends.

EDIT: I found a good chart that describes both McCain's debate performance, and election chances. Amazing! 

Monday, October 06, 2008

Godwin's law on the campaign trail

Godwin's Law as defined by Wikipedia:

Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1] is an adage formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states:[2][3]

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

And from John McCain's prepared remarks today,
I guess he believes if a lie is big enough and repeated often enough it will be believed.
Which is variation of a quote famously attributed to Nazi Joseph Goebbels, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."*

Godwin, meet McCain. McCain, meet Goodwin.

Of course, built into Goodwin's law is the idea that the first person to invoke a comparison to Nazi's automatically looses the argument.

* (even though Hitler put the idea forward first as the "big lie" and was referring to Jews, and Goebbels was referring to the English, the quote is used today to describe Nazi propaganda)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Corcoran Cross

One race down on the books! L. and I had a great day yesterday at the Corcoran cross race. The weather was perfect and the course was mad and dusty. They designed the race around a motocross track, so part of the time riders were going over these large sculpted ramps and jumps that were really fun. There were two tight turns at the bottom of fast hills that were pure gravel, that resulted in several slow speed crashes.

L. Finished the "B" race strong, third place! I finished my first race 45th out of 62 finishers (not sure how many started, I will link to results when they are online). The people I was finishing with seemed about right, so I was happy with my result. I had a great duel with one other rider for the second half of the race after he crashed ahead of me and lost his momentum in the race. I caught him on the run-ups, then he would catch me on the flats, then I would catch him on the run-ups until the very end I was ahead. But, I made a beginners mistake and thought I had one more lap to go when the race was really over just 100 yards ahead of me! He sprinted from behind me to pass, and I let him because I was saving energy for the last lap. By the time I saw the "laps remaining" sign said "zero" it was too late! Ah well, next time.

I managed to stay up the entire time, narrowly missing two pileups - one at the first turn and one on the motocross track (pictured below).

Next race is next Sunday at Theodore Wirth park, my old home turf for cross country skiing. It will be really fun to return again!

That's me in the blue/green jersey in the front of the second pack.

A crash that happened right in front of me on the motocross course.

Me, very tired!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bail Out Passed

The house passed the bailout today in round 2, and it was law a few hours later. I have always been for some kind of intervention like this, and I do think it will save the banking industry and prevent a catastrophic global banking failure. While I would have liked to see something along the lines of the Swedish Model I linked to before (recapatalize banks by buying stock - effectively nationalizing them for about 5-10 years), but someone pointed out that in order for that plan to work you need to have a functional government to save a dysfunctional banking system.

America, unfortunately, has dysfunctional everything.

So this is what we get. An imperfect, blunt economic tool that should allow banks to keep on at least functioning for now. But, I think that is all it will do. The world is heading into, or is already in, a global recession and I don't think there is a government in the world that can stop it. Big orders are way down, no one can get any loans to keep projects going, unemployment has shot up, and all this was before banks started failing. Yikes.

But a caveat to all this optimism, the TED is now at 3.87% - a new high and almost off the chart I posted below. So even with the news of this bailout, banks are more afraid than ever before to lend to each other.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Epic Robbery

I found this story on BoingBoing and thought it was hilarious. 

How to rob a armored car. 

1: Dress like a construction worker with a ventilator mask 
2: Fake-hire about 20 other people to show up at the same time dressed like you by posting an ad on Craigslist 
3: Pepper spray the guard/driver and take the money
4: Run to your awaiting innertube and float down the river 

And best line from the news report, "an accomplice picked up the robber in a car after he ditched his innertube"

That's one way to weather a global recession