Fiction. “The Hill”

I guess you can say I was like any other kid while growing up. I was bit rough around the edges, a bit introverted but willing to get into some trouble; willing to scrape my knees at least. I was a proud patriarch of the scrape knee society. 

I remember riding my a bike, a faded red Huffy, across the edge of town to a grass meadow. The meadow had long been forgotten; the grass grew in whatever direction it pleased. After scaling to the top, I would sit perched at the crest of the hill and stare down to the street below. 

After sitting in the grass for a good hour or so, my ass would turn numb; a reminder that it was time to leave. I would limber up on my wobbly legs, a side effect of my left leg always falling asleep. I patted the dirt off my jeans and straddled my bike. 

As I began my descent down the hill, I would pick the right moment to close my eyes. On a good day, I would make it down without taking both my feet off the pedals. But mostly I always ended up crashing into a ditch and flying over my bars. As my tumble through the dirt came to a quick end. I would reach down; check that I was still in one piece and wipe the blood off my tattered pant leg. 

Summer 2014.

Fixing The World Cup

With the 2014 World Cup set to begin on June 12, a recent report by the New Yorks Times has raised serious concerns over how easily matches were fixed by a gambling syndicate during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Could the same thing happen again at this year’s World Cup?

image

Image from the New York Times

According to an internal report issued by soccer’s international governing body FIFA, at least “five matches and possibly more” are believed have been fixed for betting purposes during the lead up to the 2010 World Cup. At the center of the fixing allegations was an Asian gambling syndicate based out of Singapore, that operated out of an organization called “Football 4 U Internation,” who allegedly paid off referees anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 to sway the results of matches. It’s believe that as many as 15 matches were targeted to be fixed, including a match between the United States and Australia. 

One referee in question, Ibrahim Chaibou, is reported to have walked into a bank in South Africa in May of 2010, where he deposited a large amount of cash. Hours later Chaibou officiated a match between South Africa and Guatemala. Even though another referee has been scheduled for the match, Chaibou took his place. Throughout the match, Chaibou made a series of questionable calls that resulted in South Africa winning the match. According to the Times’ article:

  • "In the 12th minute, South Africa scored on a penalty kick after a Guatemalan defender was called for a hand ball even though he was clearly outside the penalty area."
  • "In the 50th minute, Guatemala was awarded a suspicious penalty kick for a hand ball, even though a South African defender stopped a shot in front of the goal with his chest, not his arm."
  • "In the 56th minute, another debatable penalty kick was awarded to South Africa, which resulted in the team’s fourth goal in a 5-0 win."

Prior to the start of the match, a system used by FIFA to monitor betting on matches alerted to a possibility of insider betting on the match.

As this year’s World Cup is set to begin in a few days, officials with FIFA are reportedly concerned that match fixing may also occur in Brazil. A recent international friendly between Scotland and Nigeria is believed to have been fixed. During the 32nd minute of the match, the Nigerian goalie can been seen throwing a ball he catches directly back into his own goal. The goal was not counted, but the match is now under investigation by British authorities. 

El Beto as Raging Bull. Fall 2013.

El Beto as Raging Bull. Fall 2013.

2014.

Perspective. New York 2013.

Perspective. New York 2013.

Fiction. “This Is Not A Test”

This is not a test.

An alarm will not sound.

There will be no flashing lights.

There will not be calm and order.

This is not a test.

There is no clearly marked exit signs, pointing in the right direction.

Oxygen masks will not deploy.

It really is one for all.

This is not a test.

Yes, there is smoke and fire.

Panic makes the legs grow weak.

This is a sinking ship.

Book Fair.

Book Fair.

Levitated Mass. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2013.

Levitated Mass. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2013.

The Economics of Online Dating

With more and more people turning to online dating, do the same old stereotypes that dogged people in the real world still exist? According to Paul Oyer they do, mainly beauty and wealth go a long way…

Luis, who prefers to use only his first name, is a 27 year old from Los Angeles. He recently broke up with his girlfriend of six years and is trying to find love once again. Wary of the traditional routes of dating, he has tried a new method. “I’ve try to meet girls through friends or at bars, but it never worked out for me, he said, “so I have turned to the wonders of online dating.”

Luis is not the only one wanting to find romance via the internet. Research by the Pew Center has found that 11 percent of Americans adults and 38 percent of those who are currently “single and looking,” have used a dating site or mobile dating app. It boils down to “one in every ten Americans” now turn to the internet to find their next date.

When asked how his endeavor was panning out, he sounded hopeful, “so far I’ve been on a few dates, but have’t met anyone I like.” For about three months now, Luis has been active on Ok Cupid and Tinder. Luis pulls out his iPhone and shows me some women he has gone on dates with from Tinder, which GQ magazine has called the fasting growing dating app in the world.

 For those not in the know, Tinder works as a glorified version of hot or not. The app shows photos of each participant from each person’s Facebook account. If both participants approve of each other, the participants can start communicating with each other through the app. Tinder was only launched 16 months ago, but now sees upwards of 600 million uses a day.

After a look at some of his success stories on Tinder, Luis hesitantly shows me his Ok Cupid profile, another dating app that follows suite to that of match.com.

While looking through his personal details, I noticed something right away. The amount he has listed as his annual income is inflated from what he told me earlier. Luis who works as a sound engineer makes a decent living, but the amount his listed is double his actual salary.

When asked about the discrepancy Luis gave a simple answer, “women like a guy with money.”

What sounds like a dated stereotype, actually has some truth behind it, according to economist Paul Oyer. In his new book Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, the Stanford professor has parlayed his knowledge to the dating world.

After taking a dive into the online dating universe and meeting his girlfriend on Jdate.com, Oyer discovered that online dating functions similar to labor markets, his field of expertise. In a recent interviews on the Freakonomics podcast, Oyer discussed the truths about online dating. His research found some truth to age-old stereotypes, that beauty and wealth go a long way.

In his interview, Oyer stated some statistics that came from Ok Cupid. One found that looks really do pay off, “a hot woman receives roughly four times the messages an average-looking woman gets and 25 times as many as an ugly one.” Hot men also received similar attention,  where “the very hottest 5 percent of men get twice as many emails as men” who are not in the top 5 percent.

A male’s profession also affected how attractive males were to women. Women were found to be more attracted to lawyers, doctors, men in the military and firefighters. For those who want to the firefighter of their dreams, sites like meetfirefighters.com can help make that happen.

Now for the reasoning behind Luis’ inflated income. Oyer found in another study that income had a large effect in how men were perceived as attractive by women. Given similar looks, men that make $250,000 per year, were “contacted two and a half times as much as a man who makes $50,000 or less and looks the same.”

So making six figures a year will make the ladies swoon over a guy, more so than the guy’s twin who makes $50K.

Given Oyer’s research and ever growing competition in online dating, Luis’ attempt at fluffing his Ok Cupid profile seems totally reasonable. Among the millions of people who are using apps like Tinder and Ok Cupid, Luis had to do something to stand out from other suitors. Banking on that old stereotype, Luis double downed on the financial incentives to have a night out with him.

When asked what would happen if the women he dated, perhaps lured in by his inflated income, found out the truth, Luis said he had not thought that far ahead. He just hoped that they would not ask to see his bank account.