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Soccernomics: Brazilian Economists Have A Formula To Predict World Cup Qualifiers


SANTIAGO - With the World Cup coming to South America in 2014, the soccer-crazed continent is already worrying who will qualify, and who will be forced to stay at home and watch the others soak up the glory.

Well, if you are an Argentinian, Chilean, or Uruguayan, your team is going to be among those competing in Brazil’s World Cup two years from now. At least that is what a group of macroeconomists from Banco Itaú, a Brazilian bank, say, América Economía reports.

The method used by the group, led by economist Caio Megale, is based on the assumption that since 1998, when the current elimination system was introduced, all teams with a win rate of over 70 percent qualified for the tournament, whereas all teams with a win rate less than 30 percent did not.

“From that information, we are calculating the probability of participation in the tournament based on projections of performances in the elimination rounds, giving teams with a higher than 70 percent win rate a 100 percent chance of being in the tournament, and using a non-linear regression down to 0 percent chances of participating in the tournament for teams with less than 30 percent win rate,” the economics team explained.

Based on data from the rounds that have already been played it looks like Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are fairly certain of playing in Brazil, where there are four spots for South American teams, not including Brazil that qualifies automatically as host.

Colombia is on the brink, with a win rate of only 44 percent. The only possible surprise is if Ecuador, currently trailing behind Colombia, maintains its performance and knocks out the Colombians. Ecuador, it’s time to invest in some goals!

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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