Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Nickname in High School

So last night I was on a date and I doubled with Josh Sillitoe. Josh and I ran cross country together in high school. We hang out and do things from time to time. Anyways, while we were driving to one of our destinations at one point in time during the night Josh ended up calling me/introducing me as Chester. That was my nickname in XC and so that led to me telling the story about how I got the nickname. So I figured I would just share it and put it out there for the whole world to see. By the way… only Josh, Troy and maybe some other XC peeps are allowed to call me Chester. The rest of you are going to have to find another nickname for me if you really want to call me something.

So one Saturday during my senior year we didn’t have practice, but Coach Burgess gave us instructions to run on our own. I believe it was just a 50 minute run. So Josh Sillitoe, Troy Steadman, and I got together Saturday morning to do our workout. It was a cloudy overcast day and sufficiently chilly, at least to us desert dwellers it seemed cold. We ran for a good 50 minutes and when we got back we decided that it was cold enough to get hot chocolate at the Texaco down the road. Hot chocolate seems like a strange thing to get after running 6 miles… but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides, they had these creamers there, like “Italian Crème,” that were delicious. When we got there a Club from the high school was hosting a car wash. So we decided to support and get our cars washed. They were even vacuuming the inside, so that was a plus. Well when one of the cars finished this girl hollered over at us. She was black so imagine a black girl yelling this, “Hey! You over there! Chester! Your car is done!” So Troy thought that she was talking to me and said “AAAHHAAA! She called you Chester! I’m gonna call you that from now on!” So I went over and it turns out that it was Troy’s car that was finished. HE was the Chester! So I went back and made fun of him because he was really Chester. But he said he was still going to call me Chester. From then on we were both Chester.

Incidentally, about a year and a half ago I was watching TV while making lunch. The new story was about how the FBI had just caught a child molester who had been on the run. They put his picture up with his name under it and it turns out that his name is Chester Stiles. I did a double take on that one. What are the odds? I just did a quick google search and he also is from Nevada! Later that day I got a text from the other Chester that said, “Chester! They got you!”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Proof I'm a nerd

So my nerdiness has been flourishing unchecked lately. I guess I could try to classify it as an occupational hazard, but since economics isn’t my occupation yet maybe I should consider it an educational hazard. For all you out there who hate economics, well… you must hate me then, and we are enemies. One day we will meet in battle and only the strongest will survive. I patiently await that day. I will put three asterisks in front of the really boring paragraphs so you can skip them if you want. Anyways, on to my nerdiness!

So economics is all about models. We observe something that happens in the world and then work up a model to explain this. Then we empirically test the model to see if it works and go from there. So as a result, I have started observing things and try to explain them in terms of models in order to understand life.

So here we are with nerdiness incident #1: My mind was wandering during sacrament meeting and I was thinking about Frisbee. Then I got to thinking, has my behavior in Frisbee changed since being single? Have I started to play in a more risky manner? I don’t really think I have if you control for change in weather and the reappearance of grassy fields. So I decided to work up this model. I didn’t put values to any of these variables so it’s purely theoretic.

***So what that means is there are two equations that measure the value of making a risky play in Frisbee. They are both expected values because it’s not a 100% probability of getting hurt, there is only the chance (p) that you will get hurt and (1-p) that you won’t get hurt. The “hurt” is the value you get if you are hurt when you take the risk, “not hurt” is the value you get if you aren’t hurt and you take the risk. Then there are the glory points that you get whether you get hurt or not. The first equation represents the value you get from a risky act when you are single. Equation two is the value you get when you are dating someone. You’ll notice that there are two negative values added, “nag” and “sense of responsibility”. So since the value of U1 > U2 then a person should take more risks when they are single. So that’s my first musing.

So another story, I was brushing my teeth one day and thinking about a conversation I had with a friend the night before. The topic of my white suit came up and that led me to think about when I went with my friend to buy the suit. Then I thought, why didn’t I ever try to date her? She was really cool and fun. So I brought thought up these equations.

***Ok so in this one the first equation is the happiness you get out of being friends. It’s the happiness of being friends minus what you consider the opportunity cost of forgoing dating them would be. In the second equation it’s another expected value since it’s not a sure bet that trying to date someone will result in a successful outcome. The letters p, q, and r are the probabilities of each outcome. So the first outcome is the successful one, the benefit of dating, minus the effort put out there. The second one is when it doesn’t work out but you still stay friends. You get the benefit of being friends, minus the effort, minus the inevitable period of awkwardness. Then the last one is when you try, get shot down, and then things are never the same again and you aren’t friends anymore. Then you put forth effort and lose the benefit of being friends as well. So when if comes to decision time of what to do it depends on which is greater than the other. If U(Friend) > E[U(Dating)] then it’s best to stay friends.

So I’m sure many people will disagree with me on that last one. But this is just random musings of mine. Chill out. So on to the most recent one which has nothing to do with dating or girls. I had a French choir concert on Tuesday and I played two accordion solos. During the first one there was a part where I got nervous and my right hand started to shake. It was a fairly technical part so I ended up making some mistakes. As I was thinking about that, I realized that my performance level could be modeled by a variation of the Solow Growth model that we learn about in Macroeconomics. Here is a picture.

***So basically this is a model with multiple equilibrium points. The lower left dot is the dot that signifies a low level of performance and is correlated with a low level of confidence. The upper right dot is a high performance level and a high confidence level. The straight line at a 45 degree angle shows the direct correlation between confidence and performance. The curvy line is a function of your own practice and confidence. The place where the two lines cross is where the level of performance is. If you practice a lot then you will start on the upper right dot. However if something happens to ruin your concentration of give you a shock then you will drop down a bit on the line and it has a downward force becuase you get nervous and then mess up more and get more nervous until you hit the lower left point. 

So there you have it. My nerdiness!