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Words, March 26



Fibonacci rules:

When the Arkansas Times' NCAA pool director informed participants that this year's event would be conducted under Fibonacci rules, the response was “The hell you say!” and “What are you trying to pull?”

He referred us to The Americans United for a Better NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Pool Manifesto, which rejects the common practice (used at the Times heretofore) of awarding one point for each winner picked, so that a winner  in the first round counts as much as the winner of the championship game. The Manifesto says that in order to better identify the participant who knows the most about college basketball, selections should increase in importance as the tournament advances. And the best way to determine the increased value that should be given each round of games, according to the manifesto, is to follow the teachings of Leonardo Fibonacci, said to be a 12th century mathematician. The manifesto website explains these principles, but the explanation might be difficult for the lay reader. So let's just say that when applied to the Times basketball pool, the Fibonacci method means that every correct first-round pick is worth 2 points, every second-round pick 3, every third-round 5, every fourth- round 8, every fifth-round 13, and the final round 21.

Some participants are worried about the comparative complexity of the new arrangement. Not me. I'm confident I'll do every bit as well under the new system as I did under the old one.


n Speaking of the basketball tournament, the sports page quoted a well-known coach: “You can spin the math any way you want, but it's my responsibility as a SEC coach to represent the SEC spin. So I do it with a clear conscious.” Let your conscious be your guide, Coach.


n “We are working with the faith community to compose a message to our state legislators … ”

“In an e-mail to the birding community listserv, Fowler recounted his trip last weekend … ” Here at the Times, we're placing our bets with the Fibonacci community.      


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