Local Students Attempt To Crack “Bracketology”

For the last five years, Davidson College students have consistently predicted the outcome of the men’s NCAA college basketball tournament with a great deal of accuracy.

In short, their guess is better than yours. Not only that, they continue to fine-tune their prediction methods, and this year there’s added incentive to strive for perfection.

For a contest announced in January, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans will award $1 billion – yes, with a “B” – to anyone who fills out the 2014 men’s NCAA tournament bracket perfectly. The deadline to enter is March 19.

Tim Chartier, associate professor in the department of mathematics and computer science, and his students have out-guessed millions of people using math. Predicting the outcome perfectly has never happened, but it appears mathematicians have an upper hand.

In 2009, their best bracket beat 97 percent of 4 million entries to ESPN’s annual online contest. In 2010, their best bracket beat 99 percent of 5 million entries. In 2013, their best bracket beat more than 96 percent of 8 million bracket entries. Other years, ratings have slumped to below 90 percent, but not one sports analyst did better than their best entry, said Chartier.
In 2010 Alex Herman, an autistic teenager from Illinois, claimed to have a guessed perfectly through the first two rounds and predicted Purdue to win – but Duke won that year. The odds of getting that far were 13 million to 1.
Last year, none of the 8.5 million brackets submitted to ESPN had a perfect bracket after the first round, said Chartier. Everyone got at least one wrong in the 32 games played.
Source:; Lukas Johnson; March 13, 2014.

By |March 20th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Local Students Attempt To Crack “Bracketology”|

Family Friendly St Patricks Day Festivities in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina has one of the country’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades. It’s a fabulous, family-friendly start to a weekend of festivities celebrating Irish heritage, culture and all things green. If you are not a parade fan, don’t worry – there’s plenty for you and your children to enjoy. Even if you aren’t Irish, there’s fun to be had.
By |March 14th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Family Friendly St Patricks Day Festivities in Charlotte|

3 Options For Cheap Internet TV Streaming

Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advice expert, and in the article below, he explores three different options for frugal internet TV streaming. A trio of technologies can help you enjoy TV over the Internet on your schedule at a fraction of what you'd pay to the satellite and cable companies.
By |March 6th, 2014|General|Comments Off on 3 Options For Cheap Internet TV Streaming|

Top Tips For Bargain Shopping At Costco

Something almost ethereal happens when you walk into a Costco–you go in with an idea of what you need, and then suddenly you are randomly purchasing items in bulk that you will never use just because it is a "deal." Soon, your bargain shopping trip has transformed into a bank account-draining catastrophe.
By |February 27th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Top Tips For Bargain Shopping At Costco|

Avoiding A Lemon Car Purchase

It's a myth that when you buy a car from a relative, you won't have trouble with it. Check out this story from Amandah Blackwell of the Huffington Post as she recounts the issues she experienced while considering a purchase that could have resulted in the ownership of and financial obligation to a lemon of a car.
By |February 20th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Avoiding A Lemon Car Purchase|

Valentine’s Day: For Love — And Money

Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to show your love and affection for loved ones, but many do not realize the costs that go hand-in-hand with this holiday. If you need a little something extra this year, contact us today to learn about our payday advances! Here’s a look at love, romance and Valentine’s Day in numbers: According to a survey conducted by BIGinsight, a consumer insights firm: The average person plans to spend $130.97 on candy, cards, gifts and more.
By |February 13th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Valentine’s Day: For Love — And Money|

A Case for Cheaper Broadband in Schools

A nonprofit organization with its roots in the high-tech industry has gathered some 40 executives to demand that the Federal Communications Commission change how it is wiring America’s schools. The group, called EducationSuperHighway, wants the F.C.C. to add transparency and competition to the E-Rate program, which spends billions of dollars annually to bring broadband to schools. Schools are paying too much to get connected, the group said, and the pace of development is too slow.
By |February 6th, 2014|General|Comments Off on A Case for Cheaper Broadband in Schools|

Brisk 4th Quarter Lifts Hopes for Economy in 2014

The American economy finished 2013 on a healthy note, buoyed by strong consumer spending along with an improved trade picture, spurring hopes that the momentum will continue into this year. At an annual rate of 3.2 percent, the growth in the fourth quarter was a deceleration from the pace of expansion in the summer, the Commerce Department said, but was still well above the anemic rate of growth in the first half of 2013.
By |January 30th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Brisk 4th Quarter Lifts Hopes for Economy in 2014|

Caffeine May Improve Memory

That cup of coffee in the morning may improve long-term memory, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that participants who had been given caffeine pills had better memory recall. Scientists studied 160 participants ages 18 to 30, and showed them various photos of items at the outset, asking study subjects to classify the items as “indoor” or “outdoor.”
By |January 23rd, 2014|General|Comments Off on Caffeine May Improve Memory|

Apple To Refund Parents For Unapproved App Purchases

Apple will pay out at least $32.5 million to parents whose children bought apps without their consent, after reaching a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. 

The settlement requires the gadget giant to provide full refunds to people who were billed for app store charges incurred by children, as well as for charges that were either accidental or unauthorized, the FTC said in a statement. As part of the agreement, Apple will have to change its billing practices by getting informed consent from consumers before charging them for mobile apps.

The FTC said in its original complaint that one consumer’s daughter spent $2,600 in the app “Tap Pet Hotel.” Other surprised parents found charges of more than $500 for in-app purchases on “Dragon Story and “Tiny Zoo Friends.”

Source:; Sam Frizell; January 15, 2014.

By |January 16th, 2014|General|Comments Off on Apple To Refund Parents For Unapproved App Purchases|