Letters: Financial Advice, March Madness

Reaction was mixed to the segment on listeners' economic concerns. A basketball fan was delighted about the interview with a math student who correctly predicted the outcome of an NCAA tournament game.

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NOAH ADAMS, host:

Now, a few of your comments about yesterday's program.

In our segment about the economy, Michele Norris put your questions to NPR's international business and economic reporter, Adam Davidson. We also got answers from a former Federal Reserve governor, Laurence Meyer.

Your e-mail reaction was mixed. Thanks for your great exposition of these difficult matters, writes Neil Clark(ph) of Frederick, Maryland.

But then, there was this from Patrick Millet(ph) of Mill Valley, California. Your reporter's comments that people associated with Bear Stearns have been punished enough and the collapse do not address the fact that they likely still have millions more than the average U.S. citizen. As to the talk about how no one could've seen this 100-year flood coming, I say, really? I hope to God that Washington enables some effective regulation so that this kind of disaster never strikes again.

And Monica Medina(ph) of Paradise Valley, Arizona, adds this: your panel has suggested that analysts did not see the folly of investing in subprime mortgages, come on. Just the name alone would alert anyone that something is not kosher. Would you take a ride in a subprime airplane? Let a subprime doctor perform an operation on your child?

March Madness got into full swing yesterday with ball games around the country. And Robert Siegel spoke with Neil Goodson, a senior math major at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He's part of a team working on algorithms, which attempt to predict the NCAA tournament winners.

First a correction, we referred to Mr. Goodson's professor, as he, when in fact, the person grading the project is mathematician Amy Langville.

And now, here's a bit of our interview.

ROBERT SIEGEL: You assume there will be upsets?

Mr. NEIL GOODSON (Senior Math Major, College of Charleston): Right. There will be upsets; they always happen. And some of our models do predict some upsets.

For example, USC and Kansas State play tonight, we - our models - most of our models have predicted Kansas State the weaker team to beat USC, or supposed weaker team. Now, we think that they are a better team.

ADAMS: And so, to my amazement, writes Christian Henning(ph) of Dallas, Texas, Kansas State actually did throw USC out of the competition. Bravo. One request: Could Mr. Goodson's team take on the soccer Euro 2008 Finals this summer and make sure that Switzerland upsets everybody. Many thanks in advance.

We thank you in advance for writing. Just go to npr.org/contact.

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