Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Old college threads.

Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:05 am

Tees-Exe Line wrote:I'm happy to have people's criticism. I'll say a couple of things in response to what's here:

1. It just isn't true that "no effort" was put into correcting bonus variability. The problems are purely due to my lack of sense of what answers are easy/medium/hard, because I assure you that I thought a lot about making sure bonuses were uniform. For instance, both the Achaemenidian and Sassanian (not to mention the Russian) emperors bonuses consisted of answers that I considered easy, medium, and hard. So I definitely need to work on correctly assessing that, but there was no intention to be misleading or clever or cute in any of that.


Evening out bonus difficulty is very, very hard. I imagine it's even harder for someone like Marshall, who I will characterize as a player with several pockets of deep knowledge but not tons of quizbowl experience, as opposed to someone who builds themselves up by playing lots of quizbowl. In any case, this may be one of those editing tasks where recruiting more help--by polling fellow editors/writers, or playtesting, or something--may be the way to go.

Tees-Exe Line wrote:7. The Frederick the Great tossup was intended to be abysmal.


I think this is excusable on grounds of "Marshall didn't know better," but hopefully he knows now that doing this is a really bad idea and he won't do it again.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:09 am

So on that "caldera" tossup, there was a clue that went something like "this thing will form under Yellowstone in the future" and I buzzed with "supervolcano" because the Yellowstone supervolcano is totally a thing. I'm guessing there were clues that excluded this as a correct answer, but that phrasing was infelicitous.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Smuttynose Island » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:16 am

grapesmoker wrote:So on that "caldera" tossup, there was a clue that went something like "this thing will form under Yellowstone in the future" and I buzzed with "supervolcano" because the Yellowstone supervolcano is totally a thing. I'm guessing there were clues that excluded this as a correct answer, but that phrasing was infelicitous.


If I'm not mistaken the TU talked about (immediately prior to saying that a fourth one will form) how there were already three calderas at Yellowstone, which would rule out Super-volcanoes as an answer, as the actual supervolcanoes aren't there anymore.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:20 am

Smuttynose Island wrote:If I'm not mistaken the TU talked about (immediately prior to saying that a fourth one will form) how there were already three calderas at Yellowstone, which would rule out Super-volcanoes as an answer, as the actual supervolcanoes aren't there anymore.


Ah, so this is what it was. That's fine then.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:24 am

Melkor6000 wrote:For the sake of my own improvement as a writer, I will list the questions to which I contributed (noting where significant editing took place). Please mercilessly critique:
Round 1: Cepheids / Kappa Mechanism / RR Lyrae-type stars; J-psi meson / isospin / hypercharge
Round 2: Carnot cycle / adiabatic / Clapeyron
Round 3: cyclotron radiation / cross product / Lienard Formula (in the end, only the second part was mine, because of a repeat with a tossup)
Round 4: Venus; Kaluza-Klein / Yang-Mills / string theory
Round 5: small-angle approximation / elliptic integral / cycloid; Modified Newtonian Dynamics / Bullet Cluster / axion
Round 6: action / Maupertuis / Hamilton-Jacobi Equation
Round 8: Magellanic Clouds; SpaceX; Stark Effect / Zeeman Effect / Darwin Term
Round 9: Schiaparelli / Mars / Tempel-Tuttle; Varus / Arminius / Battle of Cannae
Round 10: Wien / Planck / Lambertian surface (the first two parts were mine)
Round 11: Hall Effect; William the Silent; Fresnel lens / scattering / Mie scattering; Ti'kal / Palenque / ball court
Round 12: speed of light; Oort Cloud; selection rules / magnetic quantum number / spin-orbit coupling
Round 13: symmetry breaking (this was pretty extensively edited); Yukawa potential / Earnshaw's Theorem / Born approximation; SN1054 / synchrotron radiation / Fritz Zwicky
Finals 1: Poiseuille's Law / laminar flow / Darcy-Weisbach Equation
Finals 2: CMB; CP Violation / kaons / pions

Let the criticisms begin...


I think the Cepheids bonus has a nice easy/hard/medium structure. J-psi/isospin/hypercharge feels more like easy (or maybe medium)/hard/hard. Carnot/adiabatic/Clapeyron felt like easy/easy/medium or hard. I didn't hear round 3. The Venus tossup seemed okay, and I'm not sure what to think of the gauge theory bonus; I'd be happier with replacing Kaluza-Klein or Yang-Mills with something a bit easier as a medium part (ideally something that people might actually encounter in an early undergrad course, but I understand that might be hard to do given the focus of the bonus). The MOND/Bullet Cluster/axion bonus feels like it has a hard/hard/hard structure (and we 30'd it, so this isn't sour grapes), and at the time the prompt for Bullet Cluster felt very nonspecific. The Stark Effect and Darwin Term prompts sounded a bit weird to me at the time but it wasn't my team's bonus so I wasn't paying very close attention. I couldn't figure out what to say for "Lambertian surface" and I'm a bit dubious on that as an answer (but maybe it's something other people know and is fine). My team didn't get magnetic quantum number or spin-orbit coupling and I don't know how much of that was our fault and how much of that was suboptimal prompts. The Born approximation prompt seemed a bit weird. I didn't play Finals 1 or 2.

When writing batches of science questions, particularly bonuses, perhaps it would help to take a moment while writing each bonus and ask yourself, "Does this bonus have an easy part at roughly the same level as all these other bonuses I've written? How about the medium part? How about the hard part?" This might help avoid stuff like MOND/Bullet Cluster/axion--if you look at that and ask, "which one of these would I say is roughly on the same level as 'Carnot cycle' off of straightforward clues," I think it should be pretty clear that the answer is "none of these is at all on that level." In general, my impression is that you tend to trend hard on your bonus parts (I was the same way when I started writing lots of questions, and if I don't make a conscious effort to rein things in I generally veer in that direction even now, so I certainly understand the temptation), so if you're not sure about something maybe err on the easy side.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:30 am

grapesmoker wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:To balance this post out a bit with the Power of Heart, whoever wrote that Arthashastra tossup gets a big hug from me (even if it's Marshall).


This should balance out the glare I'm going to give that person, I guess, because that question blew ass.


This seems like a nice idea for a question but I'm not sure the execution was all that good; I'm aware that the Arthashastra exists and have a vague idea of what it's about, and I very quickly realized "This is a tossup on that manual on statecraft written by Kautilya" and proceeded to blank on the name until the other team buzzed. I'm not sure there actually are all that many levels of Arthashastra knowledge present in the quizbowl community that need distinguishing, but either the question gave away too much too quick or I had a psychic moment (followed by a "your brain doesn't work so good any more, geezer!" moment).

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:38 am

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Earth Science
ocean acidification
Caldera
Tethys Ocean
outer core


These didn't really play well for me, but that could easily be my fault; I don't remember specifics. Of these, I know varying amounts about the latter three (most about the outer core, least about Tethys), and I don't really know anything about acidification. It sounds interesting, it sounds legit, but I have no idea if it's something a decent number of quizbowl players know about or if it would have been better as a bonus part. In my room it went to the end, then Selene pieced together the giveaway and decided that saying "acidification" seemed like a good idea.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:42 am

setht wrote:This seems like a nice idea for a question but I'm not sure the execution was all that good; I'm aware that the Arthashastra exists and have a vague idea of what it's about, and I very quickly realized "This is a tossup on that manual on statecraft written by Kautilya" and proceeded to blank on the name until the other team buzzed. I'm not sure there actually are all that many levels of Arthashastra knowledge present in the quizbowl community that need distinguishing, but either the question gave away too much too quick or I had a psychic moment (followed by a "your brain doesn't work so good any more, geezer!" moment).


I think this is actually one of those things that's almost impossible to write well. Like, I solved the riddle pretty quickly and remembered the name, so I got 15 points, but there's really not very many places this can go. This is one of those questions you can only write once; once it's out there, people will be like "this is a statecraft manual and you're hiding names from me, so..." Possibly there are other statecraft manuals that can be asked about, but not at this level, so it's best to just not write on such things or confine them to bonuses.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:45 am

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
is there anything I could have said about the ancient history of Cyprus that would have made a better giveaway than what's there? And if the answer is "no," does that simply mean that a question about the ancient history of Cyprus should not be asked?


I can't think of a better "ancient history of Cyprus" giveaway, but more importantly, I don't think one is needed: don't latch onto the notion "this will be a tossup on the ancient history of Cyprus or it will be nothing." Just expand your conception of the question to something like "this is a tossup on the history of Cyprus that starts out testing knowledge of its ancient history before moving into more modern stuff." Writers should pretty much always (except maybe in a vanity tournament) widen the scope of a tossup or bonus if it will substantially improve how it plays.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby touchpack » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:54 am

setht wrote: My team didn't get magnetic quantum number or spin-orbit coupling and I don't know how much of that was our fault and how much of that was suboptimal prompts.
-Seth

FWIW, Sorice thought that that bonus was factually incorrect. I don't have the physics knowledge of Sorice or the set, so I can't make any definitive statements about it though.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Sam » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:56 am

Melkor6000 wrote:For the sake of my own improvement as a writer, I will list the questions to which I contributed (noting where significant editing took place). Please mercilessly critique:
[...]
Let the criticisms begin...

I'd like to thank Zach again for writing most of the physics bonuses on not a whole lot of notice. (The remaining three were written by Jeremy Eaton, who wrote them on even less notice.)
The tossups I wrote for this category were equivalence principle, precession, Dirac, Brownian motion, Lorentz, Poynting vector, vacuum energy, 2nd law of thermodynamics, and helium. I suspect the questions I wrote skewed towards the easy side, as "easy physics" is probably my favorite kind.
"Equivalence principle" has already been brought up, and yeah, "general relativity" almost certainly applied to all the clues in that up to the sentence on Eotvos. It's unfortunate that was the first physics tossup (and indeed, the first tossup of the tournament). I'd be curious to hear from a science-y person (not necessarily in this thread, if you feel it's too much of a diversion) about what types of clues are helpful to include. Most of the resources I used were physics textbooks in Chicago's library or online, which were helpful up to a point but also seemed to have a lot of material on things like derivation or technique, useful to an actual physics student, perhaps, but not necessarily translatable into a quiz bowl question. I think the final result was questions whose second half was very easy clues about what the thing actually was, preceded by whatever proper nouns seemed to attach to the answer line (which meant a lot of experiments, not necessarily ones anyone knows about).
There's a sentence in the "finite" tossup that begins, "With the axiom of choice, this property..." If the first clause wasn't heard clearly I imagine the second would be confusing.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby cornfused » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:10 am

touchpack wrote:
setht wrote: My team didn't get magnetic quantum number or spin-orbit coupling and I don't know how much of that was our fault and how much of that was suboptimal prompts.
-Seth

FWIW, Sorice thought that that bonus was factually incorrect. I don't have the physics knowledge of Sorice or the set, so I can't make any definitive statements about it though.

Magnetic quantum number was our fault - it was a perfectly fine description, I just didn't remember my Physics 160.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Cody » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:07 am

The other earth science answers you posted are not my forte, but here is some feedback on ocean acidification.

I'll start out with the fact that this is a really wonderful answer line (please, more of this kind of earth science!), so kudos on that. I also think it is a hard tossup to write well, though, and I think you fall into the major pitfall of writing this question (see the paragraph after the next).

The main problem with this tossup is that it mentions the second most well-known thing about ocean acidification well within power (the first being that an increase in atmospheric CO2, and a corresponding increase in the CO2 dissolved in the ocean, causes it)--that is: the fact that it affects the saturation state of CaCO3 and thus affects the growth of coral (and other calcium carbonate-based organisms). Ideally this would be either your pre-FTP sentence or split into a pre-FTP sentence (corals) and the sentence before that (lysocline/CCD, CaCO3). (Incidentally, the CO2 part would be better if it were made more explicit and put in the giveaway.)

The other main problem is that, even though you've selected hard clues, the first three sentences are still pretty easy to figure out and piece together if you know even a little earth science. Since I'm told coccolithophores are not as well known as I thought, I'll stick to the most problematic sentence (the second), which implies that it probably relates to global warming ("thermal maximum") and mentions chalk (from which it is really quite easy to get to limestone and thence CaCO3). While I definitely think this is a great clue to include as it really tests whether someone understands the fundamental concept of ocean acidification, it's a bit too early in the tossup. This is the aforementioned major pitfall of writing a tossup on ocean acidification--you tend to get trapped into talking about calcium carbonate and global warming in successively less veiled terms as the question goes on until you get close to the giveaway.

Overall, there just isn't much gradation in the tossup: you'll have some people buzzing around chalk (though the coccolithophore <--> CaCO3 link is very strong in my mind, even I wouldn't buzz on the lead-in alone), some around saturation state of CaCO3/corals, some around CO2 and then the rest piecing it together on the giveaway from "decrease in pH".

I hope that was helpful.

(I also have a question about the "age of slime" clue--I could have sworn that name rung a bell, and with reference to ocean acidification [maybe something about worms or jellyfish?], but I can only really find one relevant reference to it on Google. Where did you find it?)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Ike » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:11 am

Okay, so I can’t sleep. So I’m going to finally post about this tournament. As intimated above, I was largely responsible for CS, Other Academic, Literature, RMP and a smathering of other questions. I know during the day I caught a few errors while reading my questions, I apologize, they were in large part due to me getting exhausted during the final week and being a bit sloppy. I think some of the errors were introduced during proofing, presumably because the proofer didn’t know better. (eg, Not realizing that Coleman Barks’ interpretations are not translations, because in the so-accurate words of Doug Graebner "He doesn't know anything.")

The main goal after Illinois Open I had with this tournament was to make 1.) Tossups easier at the end, while providing a rich set of deep clues, and 2.) Make it so that bonuses were always 30 able, with teams across the field 10’ing 20’ing and 3o’ing every bonus – I just assumed there would always be someone lurking around the corner who would be 0ing the bonus, no matter how hard I tried to give an easy part. I would say I got somewhat close to what I wanted to do in my categories, with still room for improvement – I think I could use on finding more reasonable religion hard parts, making the myth a bit more consistent and making the literature hard parts a bit more consistent. There's a few bonuses without medium parts, like the Drayton or Zizek ones that I honestly thought were easy......

Which brings me to thanking Jonathan Magin over and over again. He was vigilant about difficulty in my writing and someone who I talked to numerous times throughout the writing process - even before it started, in order to get a good basis. In fact, I can't say it enough, he really helped: we talked over the phone about tossup difficulty and using specific examples. In addition, Jonathan took a lot of time to go over the google docs of questions leaving notes. Other good friends who I talked to that gave me advice include Eric Mukherjee and Chris Ray, so they definitely deserve a lot of thanks too.

The only category that I intended to make a lot innovative was religion, which I tried writing about in a different way: this included tossups on gluttony, child sacrifice, primordial light, holy water, as well as a more standard repertoire of answers.

I also edited the music, with large parts of the music being written by Matt. I can say that I don’t know much about music theory, let alone not even a huge amount about the history of music, but the one goal I had in mind in the 24 hours or so that I edited the music was that even leadins be answerable by those without a music theory background. Part of the reason was that I knew my clues would suck if I chose them from music theory, but also I think there is something to be said on providing interesting clues that aren’t dense for most people. I apologize in advance if I created a bunch of buzzer races for a lot of teams because of my lack of knowledge.

Finally I apologize for tossups that didn’t play well. The Arthashastra tossup was something that as I was reading made me think, “oh dear, someone’s wheels has to be turning.” I guess at least I win a hug from Chris.

Here’s some of the other questions I wrote, I would appreciate feedback on them as well, in addition to any other tossup in my domain:

Damping
Roy Lichtenstein
Michelangelo
Ave Maria
Gustav Holst
John Adams (composer)
Delius / Cuckoo / Requiem
Concerto grosso / Tippett / Villa-Lobos
Peter Grimes
Django Reinhardt
Beale Street
Prokofiev
Drums / Blakey / Jazz Messengers
Birth of the Cool / Davis / Chummy MacGregor

I will be talking with Marshall about use of the set for discourse. I'm all for it.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Ike » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:21 am

The damping tossup confused me (probably my fault) and the quoted equation was egregious (I'm pretty sure a much simpler equation would suffice to illustrate a damping term).


Ike wrote: 17. In order to explain the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, Alfred Lotka proposed that the intermediate species of the reaction exhibit this physical phenomenon that the products and reactants do not. One way to measure this phenomenon is given by the product of the reciprocal of the resistance and the square root of the inductance over the capacitance. When it affects motion, this phenomenon is modeled by the second term of the differential equation (mass times y double dot, plus mu times mass times little g times the sign of y single dot plus k times y equals 0), where y stands for displacement. One way to visualize this phenomenon is to take the maximum N, and divide it by the maximum number N+1, and taking the log of that. That quantity is the log-decrement. When this phenomenon is present, the power dissipated is equal to the time derivative of energy. Systems are said to be over this if it is unable to complete one cycle, or critically this if there is no oscillation at all. For 10 points, identify this physical effect which reduces the amplitude of a harmonic oscillator over time, usually caused by a non-conservative force.
ANSWER: damped harmonic motion (accept damping or word forms, accept underdamping prompt on simple harmonic motion )


So this is the way I wrote this. It was very last minute, but I would like feedback on this. From my understanding, I could have cleared up a lot of ambiguity by adding in "It's not resonance" to the beginning of the second sentence - sorry about that. As for that differential equation, from my understanding its simply ma = mu * g * m* sgn(y) + ky, where I rearranged the terms to be my double dot + mu * m * g * sgn(y) + ky = 0. The ma term seems something you can't get away without mentioning, as that's Newton's second law. The second term is the damping term, and the ky term contributes to the harmonic motion. From what Sorice told me, he made that resonance neg, then was confused, then when he heard a diffy q, was coming up, he wrote it down and yelled fuck when he immediately realized what it is. Of course, one can be a bit skeptical, but I don't think that the clue is useless or egregious. If there is a better way to expressing the damping term more basically, please let me know. Also, I just realized it, but I didn't realize sgn would be audibly interpreted as sin. I hope there is a way around that...

I guess what I'm also asking for is whether or not these type of tossups are a good idea. This was basically written right out of lecture notes that I used in engineering physics, with the leadin coming from a book on nonlinear dynamics that I have.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby nadph » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:31 am

This question actually seems somewhat subpar to me, although I may be making some terrible errors in judgment. I'm not qualified to comment on the leadin, other people mentioned the resonance problem with electrical vibrations, so I'll start after that.

Ike wrote: When it affects motion, this phenomenon is modeled by the second term of the differential equation (mass times y double dot, plus mu times mass times little g times the sign of y single dot plus k times y equals 0), where y stands for displacement.

This clue probably isn't generally true - this describes Coulomb damping at low velocities, sure, but isn't accurate, for example, in the case of viscous damping using a fluid or a dashpot, which I thought could be proportional to either velocity or velocity squred (incidentally, would you have prompted on Coulomb/viscous damping here?), and which definitely affects motion. In addition, a buzz with friction absolutely warrants a prompt here, since what you are describing is exactly the damping of a SHO due to Coulomb friction.

Ike wrote:One way to visualize this phenomenon is to take the maximum N, and divide it by the maximum number N+1, and taking the log of that. That quantity is the log-decrement.

As someone who recently covered the log-decrement while discussing underdamped harmonic motion, I do not believe this is an accurate description of it (and actually can't really figure out what the first sentence is talking about at all). Perhaps "Experimental observations of this phenomenon often calculate the natural log of the ratio of two distinct extrema, or the log-decrement," would be better, although that seems somewhat transparent. While in general I support the usage of standard symbols for certain quantities, this is one example where N means different things to different people and ultimately is utterly unhelpful. Furthermore, you seem to be treating N as a measure of the number of cycles elapsed at a certain point, in which case this is fully incorrect, since the log-decrement takes the ratio of the amplitudes. Nevertheless, the usage of the log-decrement in questions is (in my opinion) a good idea.

Ike wrote: When this phenomenon is present, the power dissipated is equal to the time derivative of energy.

If I ignored other clues, I think I would be totally justified here with a buzz on "friction," "electrical resistance," or literally any other physical process in which internal energy is radiated or dissipated in some form. This really is not a unique clue.

Ike wrote:Systems are said to be over this if it is unable to complete one cycle, or critically this if there is no oscillation at all. For 10 points, identify this physical effect which reduces the amplitude of a harmonic oscillator over time, usually caused by a non-conservative force.
ANSWER: damped harmonic motion (accept damping or word forms, accept underdamping prompt on simple harmonic motion )

It's worth noting that there really isn't any oscillation in overdampted oscillators either, since they don't complete any cycles - the distinction being that overdamped oscillators' motion is modeled in the form ae^{\lambda_1 t}+be^{\lambda_2 t}, while critically damped oscillators have motion modeled by (a+bt)e^{\lambda t}. In addition, the non-conservative force thing might actually work better pre-FTP, since it doesn't work that well as a giveaway and helps give more context to those who are uncertain.

Ike wrote: As for that differential equation, from my understanding its simply ma = mu * g * m* sgn(y) + ky, where I rearranged the terms to be my double dot + mu * m * g * sgn(y) + ky = 0.

I guess so, but it seemed to me like the physics/ODE classes that treat damped SHM go more in-depth with the viscous damping model (my'' + \gamma*y' + ky = 0), although this is based on my experience and a sample size of n=3.

Ike wrote: Of course, one can be a bit skeptical, but I don't think that the clue is useless or egregious. If there is a better way to expressing the damping term more basically, please let me know.

On the whole, the motivation behind this tossup was (I think) good, since it focused on things anyone who covered basic SHM with damping would need to know. (Perhaps you could've added something about the nonlinear damping term in the van der Pol oscillator, for example, if you wanted to go deeper.) However, I personally feel (looking at the tossup) that the execution was not as well done, since it was overly general in some parts and sort of inaccurate in others.

Ike wrote:I guess what I'm also asking for is whether or not these type of tossups are a good idea. This was basically written right out of lecture notes that I used in engineering physics, with the leadin coming from a book on nonlinear dynamics that I have.

I am emphatically not an authority, but I think questions that focus on the more mathematical aspects of important physical systems are in general much better than those that deal with named things and effects. At the same time, such tossups require more work to make sure that they use unique and useful clues.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:01 am

Looking at the question, my buzz of "resonance" was clearly wrong and the question is not at fault here. I thought I heard one thing and I actually heard a different thing.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:26 am

Ike wrote:
The damping tossup confused me (probably my fault) and the quoted equation was egregious (I'm pretty sure a much simpler equation would suffice to illustrate a damping term).


Ike wrote: 17. In order to explain the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, Alfred Lotka proposed that the intermediate species of the reaction exhibit this physical phenomenon that the products and reactants do not. One way to measure this phenomenon is given by the product of the reciprocal of the resistance and the square root of the inductance over the capacitance. When it affects motion, this phenomenon is modeled by the second term of the differential equation (mass times y double dot, plus mu times mass times little g times the sign of y single dot plus k times y equals 0), where y stands for displacement. One way to visualize this phenomenon is to take the maximum N, and divide it by the maximum number N+1, and taking the log of that. That quantity is the log-decrement. When this phenomenon is present, the power dissipated is equal to the time derivative of energy. Systems are said to be over this if it is unable to complete one cycle, or critically this if there is no oscillation at all. For 10 points, identify this physical effect which reduces the amplitude of a harmonic oscillator over time, usually caused by a non-conservative force.
ANSWER: damped harmonic motion (accept damping or word forms, accept underdamping prompt on simple harmonic motion )


So this is the way I wrote this. It was very last minute, but I would like feedback on this. From my understanding, I could have cleared up a lot of ambiguity by adding in "It's not resonance" to the beginning of the second sentence - sorry about that. As for that differential equation, from my understanding its simply ma = mu * g * m* sgn(y) + ky, where I rearranged the terms to be my double dot + mu * m * g * sgn(y) + ky = 0. The ma term seems something you can't get away without mentioning, as that's Newton's second law. The second term is the damping term, and the ky term contributes to the harmonic motion. From what Sorice told me, he made that resonance neg, then was confused, then when he heard a diffy q, was coming up, he wrote it down and yelled fuck when he immediately realized what it is. Of course, one can be a bit skeptical, but I don't think that the clue is useless or egregious. If there is a better way to expressing the damping term more basically, please let me know. Also, I just realized it, but I didn't realize sgn would be audibly interpreted as sin. I hope there is a way around that...

I guess what I'm also asking for is whether or not these type of tossups are a good idea. This was basically written right out of lecture notes that I used in engineering physics, with the leadin coming from a book on nonlinear dynamics that I have.

Ike


Nikhil already gave more detailed feedback on this one than I can provide, but here's my take:

I think tossups like this are a good idea. I even think that equation clues can be fine, but the trick is that the equation has to be simple enough so that players can successfully follow along while a moderator is reading at typical speed (and if that's not possible, then I think it's better to skip an equation clue). In this case, I believe that the equation y-double dot + a y-dot + b y = 0 would be sufficient, with the damping term being a y-dot. This version has the advantage that it's nearly impossible for someone to misunderstand the content of the equation as it's being read (unlike the sine/sign issue in the other version). Nikhil pointed out that there can be nonlinear damping terms, which hadn't even occurred to me at the time, but if you're going to describe linear damping I don't think you need anything more complicated than what I wrote. As far as I can tell the first two sentences are okay (maybe that second sentence could have used a tweak to help keep people from going in with resonance, I guess). The bit about N/N+1 and the log-decrement don't mean anything to me; I've never seen the log-decrement in a class before. It sounds like a fine clue, but it also sounds like the description in terms of N/N+1 could be improved. Nikhil is correct in saying that the "power dissipated" sentence really doesn't say anything more than "this is a dissipative phenomenon"; if that's all you want to give away in that sentence that's fine--it's not like it's a lead-in that has to uniquely specify one answer--but I think there are too many dissipative phenomena to make that sentence worthwhile.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:32 am

I like the equation clue. It could be better rewarded the way that Seth said, but I also think that it's fine as it is and very useful (would have been to me had I not negged). I don't know what log decrement is either, but that might just be an engineering thing.

edit: To respond to something Nikhil said above: yeah, that equation doesn't hold universally, but that's ok. It's still correct for SHM at low velocities, and I don't think we need to get super technical here, as that degree of information doesn't really help anyone.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:13 pm

Overall, there just isn't much gradation in the tossup: you'll have some people buzzing around chalk (though the coccolithophore <--> CaCO3 link is very strong in my mind, even I wouldn't buzz on the lead-in alone), some around saturation state of CaCO3/corals, some around CO2 and then the rest piecing it together on the giveaway from "decrease in pH".

I hope that was helpful.

(I also have a question about the "age of slime" clue--I could have sworn that name rung a bell, and with reference to ocean acidification [maybe something about worms or jellyfish?], but I can only really find one relevant reference to it on Google. Where did you find it?)


Basically, I agree with everything you said about this and I should note that Gautam also said it; I took out some stuff from the beginning that I thought made it obvious, added a middle clue or two, and re-arranged, but that didn't help and I sort of knew this going in. Thus, I was left with exactly what you said: a good idea for a tossup but not actually a good tossup, and I didn't have the earth science chops to turn out another one.

My source (including the "Age of Slime"), FWIW, was a New Yorker article from about five years ago called "The Darkening Sea," which is subscription-only but perhaps accessible through a university library. The "Age of Slime" refers to non-calcifying organisms that thrive in warm oceans, including radiolarians, apparently.

Here's the question:

Experiments seeking to replicate this process have shown deformation in coccolithophores. That is why this process explains the stratigraphic evidence of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in seafloor sediment: a band of clay between layers of chalk. This process would be worsened by such geo-engineering proposals as induced volcanic eruptions. This process raises the lysocline, or, alternatively, it decreases the saturation state of calcium carbonate in the upper levels of the ocean, which prevents pteropods and corals from forming their characteristic structures. Thus, current research forecasts an imminent (*) “age of slime” as a result of this process, since the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a much greater rate than deep-ocean circulation can counter-act. For 10 points, what is this reef-threatening process in which the pH of the ocean decreases?

ANSWER: ocean acidification (accept word forms)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Sir Thopas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:35 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:Act of Union - I don't know a ton about this, but I was not anywhere close until the giveaway. I'd have to see the tossup to offer more precise criticism.

There was a clue in the middle about how it was partially caused by the failure of the Darién Scheme, which I thought was a good clue (in its own right, at least) that seemed roughly properly placed in the question. Couldn't tell you anything about the clues before or after, though.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:50 pm

I generally enjoyed the religion questions in this tournament. I really like how they focused on actual practice rather than obscure doctrinal elements, that was cool. Also, the tossup with "religion" as the answer was pretty great. Loved the "One Dimensional Man" tossup as well.

One problem that I noticed over and over again was the issue of rapid difficulty drops within tossups. Like, that Philip K. Dick tossup could really have used a few clues from things other than two of his short stories, and the John Barth tossup basically began with "This Maryland author who likes metafiction" (so you could just buzz there without knowing anything much) and continued with what I think is a wholly extraneous clue on The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, which, Rob Carson nonwithstanding, is not exactly a major Barthian work. It's kind of irritating to have read a whole bunch of Barth and not be able to really buzz until hearing "Todd Andrews."

Anyway, there were lots of questions that seemed to repeat this frame over and over again; there didn't seem to be any consistency in terms of what category those questions were from or who was the author. It's really something to watch out for: if you find yourself, in a regular tournament, writing a question that only contains clues from tertiary works, you should probably go back and rework it. Otherwise, 90% of the time that question goes "quack quack quack easy clue" and sets of buzzer-races.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:00 pm

Am I the only one who felt as though the rounds got progressively harder; and if not, was this intentional?


That was very far from the intention, something I actively tried to counter-act since it sort of happened organically and unfortunately with Sack of Antwerp. Ex ante, I thought the rounds were uniform going in, and I don't think there's any time trend in the round reports. If it still felt that way, I'm very sorry.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:14 pm

The earth science tossups generally didn't play well for me, which is largely my fault but possibly also partly a result of Marshall writing with the assumption that other people have the same kind of knowledge base he does (e.g. that caldera tossup whose giveaway I think mentioned some particular caldera that didn't mean anything to me; if the geography buffs all know that as "the famous caldera" then I guess I'm glad the straightforward geological description of what a caldera is came first, but it seemed weird at the time)


It's probably right that someone who's interest in earth science stems from the question "why does the surface of the earth look like it does?" is probably not the ideal Earth Science qua science writer. Both the "caldera" and "Tethys Ocean" tossups are of that form, and the caldera one is mostly about the sequence of calderas that have formed over the Yellowstone Hotspot. FWIW, the giveaway was "Lake Pinatubo," which is not some kind of Apotheosis of the Caldera but rather also the name of a volcano that recently erupted; it had also mentioned "Santorini," but I took that out when we decided to accept "Santorini" as an answer to the Akrotiri archaeology/art tossup.

I actually conceived the caldera question before there was a discussion of possible Earth Science topics a couple of months ago, where I believe "caldera" was offered as one promising answer line. Perhaps it wouldn't be right to speculate about what another future caldera question might contain.... or better, if I am going to keep writing earth science questions that don't scream "THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A GEOGRAPHER," where would I look to write such questions?
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:36 pm

Filippo Lippi - I was not aware there was an artist besides Fra Filippo Lippi with the name Filippo Lippi. Thus, I was confused for most of this question because I wasn't sure what was being described with the term "name". Usually such questions make it specific that they want a last name or a first name or something. I guess in this case it was fine, but I was mostly lost in Caraci land for most of it.


This was probably a case of "too many cooks in the kitchen." I wrote a Fra Filippo Lippi tossup; both Ike and Jonathan thought that was an obscure answer line and advised it be changed to a question on both Lippis (Filippo and Filippino); I didn't like what resulted and so basically included the Filippo Lippi tossup but in a way that was intended to be generous with buzzes, which just made the prompts confusing. Would you say that Filippo Lippi is a good Nationals-level tossup answer line?

astronomer/journalist/artist - "Journalist" was a little confusing here. We ended up saying "writer" and were correct, based on the Zola clue. I was thrown off a bit by the description of Louis-François Bertin (aka my avatar), who was also a businessman besides just being a journalist (the painting was famously called by Manet the "The Buddha of the bourgeoisie").


In fact, I saw the Bertin portrait in January and thought about your avatar, and that plus the Holbein Kratzer portrait is what gave me the idea for that bonus. Didn't know about "the Buddha of the Bourgeoisie" though--that's pretty good. Here's the question:

For 10 points each, given descriptions of paintings, identify the PROFESSION of the paintings’ subjects.

[10] Holbein has a portrait of Nicholas Kratzer, a Munich native who practiced this profession at the court of Henry VIII. Like Vermeer’s painting of a man of this profession, it shows the subject with a compass.

ANSWER: astronomer

[10] Ingres’ portrait of Louis-Francois Bertin shows the subject with a facial expression that could be thought characteristic of this profession, whereas Manet depicted a well-known practitioner seated at a cluttered desk overhung with a print of the artist’s own “Olympia.”

ANSWER: journalist (accept writer)

[10] Manet also has a portrait of his sister-in-law, who practiced this profession, with a complicated black hat. In a double-image of another member of this profession painted by Frida Kahlo, one version wears European dress and the other native and they share a circulatory system.

ANSWER: artist (accept painter)


Creative Destruction - I don't have any real primary knowledge about this but I was able to figure it out about half way through because it seemed to repeatedly talk a lot about how it was hard for one firm to innovate and easy for another firm to take over.


That seems fine to me--that's what the tossup was aiming to do, though I know "figuring it out" has a bad reputation in quizbowl I tend to think it's fine for something like an economic concept. Here's the question:

This economic concept has been offered as an explanation for the divergence between supposed increasing employment volatility at the firm level and the Great Moderation, a reduction in the magnitude of business cycles. In “Endogenous Growth” models, this concept usually operates at the intensive margin, where firms choose their mode of production or R&D budget, while this concept may also work through the extensive margin, in which the distribution of firm productivity changes due to entry and exit, giving rise to the “evolutionary” form of this concept. This concept was thought by its originator to function more effectively in an economy characterized by market power, since the returns to innovation would be higher, though this concept would not operate in such a setting if innovations are complementary with existing product lines. For 10 points, name this economic concept that holds that technological advance occurs through “gales” of resource reallocation, which is associated with Joseph Schumpeter.

ANSWER: creative destruction


North Carolina - I was pretty sure I knew the first clue about the Wilmington coup but was waiting for something specific to confirm this and it never really seemed to come. It seemed like this tossup was a little narrow in scope, but this could also just be a lack in my knowledge base.


It was narrow in scope--it was about the politics of North Carolina in the 1890s. As in the Cyprus question, that's probably just too narrow.

This state suffered one of the few, if not only, instances of a coup d’etat in US History when, in 1898, an elected municipal government in its then-largest city was overthrown by former Congressman Alfred Waddell, who went on to serve as mayor for seven years. That outcome was allowed to stand by the 1899 state legislature, which replaced the Republican-Populist coalition that had dominated this state since 1890. That alliance was orchestrated by Leonidas L. Polk, who was this state’s first agriculture commissioner and the first national chairman of the Populist Party. The final success of the Democrats and white supremacy after Charles Aycock was elected governor in 1900 came due to support from both paramilitary Red Shirts and the newly-dominant tobacco and textile industrialists of this state, including the Duke family. For 10 points, name this southern state unusual for the brief success of inter-racial politics that led to the Wilmington Insurrection.

ANSWER: North Carolina


Act of Union - I don't know a ton about this, but I was not anywhere close until the giveaway. I'd have to see the tossup to offer more precise criticism.


The lead-in to this is talking about the Glencoe Massacre without using the names "Macdonald" or "Campbell." I'm not sure how QB-famous that episode is on its own, and crucially, how well-known it is that that thing was essentially an act of political violence to secure the Hanoverian interest in Scotland. Perhaps I should have circled back and said "Glencoe Massacre" nearer the end; I didn't want to zero in on late 17th-early 18th century Scotland right off the bat.

As for the Darien Scheme (to addess Guy's point), famously, famously the Scottish lords had lost everything investing in the Darien scheme, and it was financial shenanigans to bail them out of that which secured passage of the act. That's like a key grievance in the mythology of Scottish nationalism--that it was the English-compromised lords who gave Scotland away to the enemy; the True Scotsmen all love FREEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM.

One episode in the political conflict leading up to this legislation was instigated by John Dalrymple, who induced his allies to murder Alastair Maclain and several dozen of his associates. A politically independent group known as the Squadrone Volante became crucial to the passage of this legislation. The period leading up to this legislation saw the passage of an Act of Security, which mandated that the succession would NOT pass to the Electress Sophia of Hanover, followed by an Alien Act, which embargoed goods from one country concerned. Another impetus for this legislation was the failure of the Darien scheme, which threatened many with bankruptcy and thus made them susceptible to bribery. For 10 points, what is this legislation, currently under attack from Alex Salmond, which made England and Scotland into one kingdom?

ANSWER: Acts of Union of 1707 (since both parliaments passed it, it was technically two acts; year not required, but the wrong year should be negged)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:47 pm

Yeah, you have two instances of "people will think it can't possibly be that" in that tossup: the Wilmington coup is pretty famous, certainly more famous than things in the leadin of a tossup at an open tournament should be. Also, you should distinguish Leonidas L. Polk from the much more famous Leonidas Polk in American history, the Confederate general, because you're going to make people think the tossup is about something that happened before the other Polk's death in battle during the war.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:50 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:This state suffered one of the few, if not only, instances of a coup d’etat in US History when, in 1898, an elected municipal government in its then-largest city was overthrown by former Congressman Alfred Waddell, who went on to serve as mayor for seven years. That outcome was allowed to stand by the 1899 state legislature, which replaced the Republican-Populist coalition that had dominated this state since 1890. That alliance was orchestrated by Leonidas L. Polk, who was this state’s first agriculture commissioner and the first national chairman of the Populist Party. The final success of the Democrats and white supremacy after Charles Aycock was elected governor in 1900 came due to support from both paramilitary Red Shirts and the newly-dominant tobacco and textile industrialists of this state, including the Duke family. For 10 points, name this southern state unusual for the brief success of inter-racial politics that led to the Wilmington Insurrection.

Hm, this is an interesting idea, but the entire question is about, like, two years in one state? I imagine there were not a lot of buzzes before Charles Aycock, and probably most around tobacco/textile/Duke . However, if you DO know it early, you could first-line this tossup as that first clue is basically the only real thing i know about the insurrection. Or, in other words, when i can look at a Wikipedia article and see the first line of a hard tossup right in the top summary of the page... i'm not sure if the question ended up doing (or asking?) what it wanted.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:54 pm

I put the Wilmington Insurrection first based on the principle that knowledge of municipal history < knowledge of state history, which is of course not universally true. In this case, we have "this is was an armed coup in an American city," which could well be more widely known than the context of that coup in the politics of the state where that city is.

Also, I knew that there was a Confederate general Leonidas Polk, but did not consider him to be more famous than the Populist chairman Leonidas Polk (who likely would have been a presidential candidate and national figure in the 1890s if not for his sudden death). However, it's definitely right that civil war generals tend to be better known than 1890s political figures, as a rule.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:21 pm

I hadn't heard of the Wilmington coup; possibly this is simply a gap in my knowledge space owing to growing up on the West Coast rather than the East. Is it really that famous?

I think some of the questions being discussed above were fine, really. Even the painting bonus, if a little weird, was still not horrible, although I think it was pretty easy if you had passing familiarity with art.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:25 pm

I hadn't heard of the Wilmington coup; possibly this is simply a gap in my knowledge space owing to growing up on the West Coast rather than the East. Is it really that famous?


No, it's not famous at all. The question is whether it's more or less famous than North Carolina politics of the 1890s generally.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby NickConderWKU » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:31 pm

I learned about the Wilmington Insurrection in high school, so I assume it's at least somewhat famous, although from what I'm seeing here it is not nearly as well known as I thought it was.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Smuttynose Island » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:42 pm

Would it be possible to see the Coriolis effect bonus? The middle part on cyclones seemed to be describing geostrophic winds, but that wasn't accepted.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:52 pm

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:I learned about the Wilmington Insurrection in high school, so I assume it's at least somewhat famous, although from what I'm seeing here it is not nearly as well known as I thought it was.

It's not well-known. I seriously only know it because it's a coup d'etat, or, at least, kinda close to one, and you certainly don't encounter those very often in American history.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:11 pm

This physical effect, which is caused by inertia in a rotating reference frame, explains several atmospheric phenomena. For 10 points each:

[10] First, what is this effect, which deflects an object to the right for a counter-clockwise rotation and to the left for a clockwise rotation?

ANSWER: Coriolis effect

[10] These phenomena occur where the Coriolis effect, which is directed outward from the center, reaches equilibrium with a pressure gradient. The polar version of these phenomena is the reason that winds at high latitudes always blow in the same direction.

ANSWER: cyclone

[10] The Coriolis effect also produces these ocean currents, which direct warm water from the equator to the poles. Examples include the Gulf Stream and the Agulhas Current.

ANSWER: western boundary currents
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Smuttynose Island » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:37 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
[10] These phenomena occur where the Coriolis effect, which is directed outward from the center, reaches equilibrium with a pressure gradient. The polar version of these phenomena is the reason that winds at high latitudes always blow in the same direction.

ANSWER: cyclone


Yeah so the first sentence describes, exactly, what geostrophic winds are (in that the pressure gradient force is balanced by the coriolis force). Cyclones are the "real world" example of geostrophic winds, as you never actually get a perfect balance. I suppose that there aren't "polar" geostrophic winds, because no such distinction exists, but I'm curious as to where you found the clues in the second sentence, as
the bit about polar cyclones causing winds at polar latitudes to always blow in the same direction doesn't seem entirely true (or atleast it was parsed incorrectly), but maybe I was taught wrong.

EDIT: I see what you were getting at with the second sentence, so nevermind.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:46 pm

I had no idea what geostrophic winds are and thus did not even entertain the need to distinguish cyclones from them, so I apologize for that and that answer should probably have been acceptable, certainly promptable. As for cyclones being responsible for the wind "always blowing in the same direction at high latitudes," it's rather that those uni-directional winds ARE cyclones, not really that cyclones are responsible for their uni-directionality (if that makes sense). Which altogether makes that a sub-optimal bonus part, for which I apologize.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Demonic Leftovers » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:28 pm

A few comments on individual questions:
1) The Darien clue was excellent. I had a professor in college who emphasized that a lot when discussing the Act of Union so I really appreciated that.
2) I thought the child labor question was a good idea, but I negged it with running a lottery at the mention of Champion. I would maybe change it so you say Lottery case, then Champion. I also thought the wording on that clue wasn't particularly good.
3) I also thought the Beale street tu, while an interesting idea, wasn't written well. I don't recall anything that made it obvious it was referring to Beale and not Memphis more generally. I think Memphis should have been promptable.
4) I appreciated Dick Russel coming up, as he is a vital figure in the history of the senate. i think the problem is he doesn't have anything that is really easily associated with him, which makes him tricky to ask about. But he definitely isn't an easy part.
5) Marshall, I would actually enjoy hearing about the relationship between moral hazard and the Volcker Rule, just because I want to understand the Volcker Rule.
Overall I wasn't thrilled with this tournament. Perhaps it was a factor of my low amount of sleep the night before, but I found the questions particularly difficult to follow, and often felt they sort of narrowed things down to an area without being specific enough to buzz.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:14 pm

Okay, perhaps it would be helpful to give an explanation of the Volcker Rule as it relates to moral hazard. First: the Volcker Rule (as it exists theoretically, as opposed to the loophole-ridden version that passed through Dodd-Frank and will likely be rendered useless as associated rules are drawn up) is a prohibition on proprietary trading by financial institutions that take retail deposits.

What does that mean?

--Proprietary trading means using a firm's own capital to take long or short positions on assets. Proprietary trading is what mutual funds and hedge funds do; they raise money and say "I think this stock is going to go up; I'll buy it." The partners get paid if their gambling pays off. This is in contrast to banks, which make money in one of two ways:

--"retail" or "commercial" banks take deposits from people with capital (that is, they borrow money) and issue loans to people who need capital. An old-fashioned retail bank thus makes money because the interest paid on its loans exceeds the interest it pays to depositors.

--"investment" banks do a number of things, but what's true about all of the traditional ones is that they are basically law firms with a very large, very short term credit line. In other words, they employ financial professionals who get paid for their advice: originating securities and advising on mergers and acquisitions are the two big ones, but there are others. The credit line is because the way origination happens is that on the day of an Initial Public Offering, say, the investment bank (which has already canvassed its network of buyers and "priced" the deal to market) buys all the new stock from the company at 9 AM and sells it by 1 PM to that network of buyers, taking as profit the difference between what it paid at 9 AM and what it received at 1 PM, net of the interest cost of the loan that was outstanding for four hours. If the deal does not involve origination (such as with a merger-only type thing in which one company just buys all of the other company's stock, to take a straightforward case), the investment bankers who advised will get some percentage of the total deal as fees. But fundamentally, whether they make a spread or a percentage, investment banks are being paid for their advice, like law firms. Excepting the four-hour period the securities are on the firm's books and the risk the buyers will walk away before 1 PM, this is not a risky business. It's not about taking on risk in the expectation of a return, as mutual funds and hedge funds do.

Retail banks are subject to the phenomenon of "bank runs," whereas investment banks are ***not***. [This is crucially not, in fact, the case; the financial crisis of 2008 was what's called a "run on repo," meaning a fire sale of the short-term securities that investment banks use to finance operations.] In a bank run, depositors become convinced that the bank does not have sufficient assets to pay back all depositors, so they run to the bank and withdraw their deposits.

The Volcker Rule pertains to retail banks because, since the Depression and even before, it has been recognized that bank runs present a threat to the economy--in aggregate, they produce a monetary contraction and the "debt deflation" phenomenon incidentally addressed in this tournament's Irving Fisher tossup. The government can eliminate that threat by guaranteeing bank deposits, but that insurance is costly to provide if banks regularly fail. Thus, along with FDIC-type insurance on bank deposits comes banking regulation.

Proprietary trading means that a bank's assets are held in securities that can fluctuate widely in value, which makes a bank run (essentially triggered by the fear that a bank's asset value exceeds its total liabilities) more likely. But, thanks to moral hazard from government insurance and other bailout-type things, the bank's asset managers don't care about taking on more risk because if bad outcomes happen, the government insurance kicks in, and if good outcomes happen then they earn a profit. Thus, by barring proprietary trading in financial institutions subject to bank runs, the risk of moral hazard in an insurance situation is, in theory, eliminated.

Just to clarify what ISN'T going on, contra Charles' post: this is not about gambling with the depositors money and whether the depositor will be made whole. That's what the insurance is for. The issue is that once the institution is insured, its managers have an incentive to take more risk than is socially optimal since they do not face the consequences of loss. That's moral hazard.

The major complication to all this is that since the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (or whenever that was), the distinction between investment and commercial banks has disappeared and what we have are large financial institutions that are both exposed to systemic risk and whose failure presents a systemic risk. As the caveat above states, these institutions were hit by what was, in effect, a bank run in 2008, and being "too big to fail," they were bailed out. The regulatory issue outstanding with the Volcker Rule (and the rest of Dodd-Frank) is to what extent the risk profiles of these institutions will be regulated going forward.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:16 pm

I appreciated Dick Russel coming up, as he is a vital figure in the history of the senate


I hope I can claim at least some credit for your knowing that.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Demonic Leftovers » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:05 am

Thanks for the summary, that definitely taught me some stuff I didn't know and helped clarify the Volcker Rule. And yes, I know about Dick Russell from the copy of Master of the Senate you gave me.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby The Motley Eye » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:12 am

Tees-Exe Line wrote:I actually conceived the caldera question before there was a discussion of possible Earth Science topics a couple of months ago, where I believe "caldera" was offered as one promising answer line. Perhaps it wouldn't be right to speculate about what another future caldera question might contain.... or better, if I am going to keep writing earth science questions that don't scream "THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A GEOGRAPHER," where would I look to write such questions?


I haven't seen and didn't play the set, so I apologize that I can't offer more than pedantry here, but I would expect a question on calderas more likely to have been written by a geologist or geophysicist than a geographer.

Tees-Exe Line wrote:I had no idea what geostrophic winds are and thus did not even entertain the need to distinguish cyclones from them, so I apologize for that and that answer should probably have been acceptable, certainly promptable.


Daniel's right - the first sentence of the bonus part describes geostrophic winds exactly. It's what I would have given as an answer.

Cyclones exist because of geostrophic imbalance. The Coriolis force exerts more influence over wind direction than the pressure gradient, which causes winds to flow inward toward or outward from a local pressure minimum or maximum, respectively.

Tees-Exe Line wrote:As for cyclones being responsible for the wind "always blowing in the same direction at high latitudes," it's rather that those uni-directional winds ARE cyclones, not really that cyclones are responsible for their uni-directionality (if that makes sense). Which altogether makes that a sub-optimal bonus part, for which I apologize.


A cyclone, by definition, has rotation in a counterclockwise direction. Unidirectional winds cannot be cyclonic. Winds in the upper latitudes appear unidirectional over long temporal scales because of the presence of polar cyclones, but will vary with direction over shorter periods as the location of the parent polar vortex changes.

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:19 am

Sam wrote:There's a sentence in the "finite" tossup that begins, "With the axiom of choice, this property..." If the first clause wasn't heard clearly I imagine the second would be confusing.


I'm interested in how that sentence continued, if only because I can't imagine what AoC has to do with finiteness (since finite choice is a theorem of ZF)
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Sam » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:24 am

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:I'm interested in how that sentence continued, if only because I can't imagine what AoC has to do with finiteness (since finite choice is a theorem of ZF)

Here's the entire tossup:
11. The set of sentences which are true in structures with this property are not generally decidable or
effectively enumerable as shown by Trakhtenbrot's theorem. A language is regular if and only if its Myhill-
Nerode relation has this kind of index. The generating set for any ideal in a Noetherian ring possesses this
property. Given the axiom of choice, this property holds for a set if and only if every injective map from that
set to itself is also surjective. Wedderburn’s theorem shows that all division rings with this property are fields. All
fields with this property have prime power order. For 10 points, name this property of all ordinals which precede
omega, which also applies to sets whose cardinality is equal to a natural number.
ANSWER: finite [or word forms; prompt on “at most countable;” do not accept “infinite” or “transfinite”]
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:34 am

Sam wrote:
11. The set of sentences which are true in structures with this property are not generally decidable or
effectively enumerable as shown by Trakhtenbrot's theorem. A language is regular if and only if its Myhill-
Nerode relation has this kind of index. The generating set for any ideal in a Noetherian ring possesses this
property. Given the axiom of choice, this property holds for a set if and only if every injective map from that
set to itself is also surjective. Wedderburn’s theorem shows that all division rings with this property are fields. All
fields with this property have prime power order. For 10 points, name this property of all ordinals which precede
omega, which also applies to sets whose cardinality is equal to a natural number.
ANSWER: finite [or word forms; prompt on “at most countable;” do not accept “infinite” or “transfinite”]


Aha, that makes sense. As someone who knows way too much math, I have to confess that I wouldn't have gotten it on the first two clues, which is nice. In general, actually, I think there should be more stuff besides abstract algebra in math lead-ins (it seems like algebra's accounted for an unusually high proportion of the lead-ins on tossups I've read/heard, but maybe I'm biased just because I tend to know those clues... perhaps I should comb through and count over spring break), and this avoided that trend.

Anyway, now I can sleep peacefully without worrying about what's different about finite sets assuming AoC (nothing, it's infinite sets that are different). Thanks!
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Sam » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:05 am

I guess I'll use this opportunity to continue my multi-post thank-a-thon and thank Matt Menard, who helped edit and write the math (including most of the middle of the "finite" tossup).
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Dominator » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:08 am

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:
Sam wrote:
11. The set of sentences which are true in structures with this property are not generally decidable or
effectively enumerable as shown by Trakhtenbrot's theorem. A language is regular if and only if its Myhill-
Nerode relation has this kind of index. The generating set for any ideal in a Noetherian ring possesses this
property. Given the axiom of choice, this property holds for a set if and only if every injective map from that
set to itself is also surjective. Wedderburn’s theorem shows that all division rings with this property are fields. All
fields with this property have prime power order. For 10 points, name this property of all ordinals which precede
omega, which also applies to sets whose cardinality is equal to a natural number.
ANSWER: finite [or word forms; prompt on “at most countable;” do not accept “infinite” or “transfinite”]


Aha, that makes sense. As someone who knows way too much math, I have to confess that I wouldn't have gotten it on the first two clues, which is nice. In general, actually, I think there should be more stuff besides abstract algebra in math lead-ins (it seems like algebra's accounted for an unusually high proportion of the lead-ins on tossups I've read/heard, but maybe I'm biased just because I tend to know those clues... perhaps I should comb through and count over spring break), and this avoided that trend.

Anyway, now I can sleep peacefully without worrying about what's different about finite sets assuming AoC (nothing, it's infinite sets that are different). Thanks!


FWIW, when I was in graduate school, I took a few mathematical logic classes, attended logic seminars, and had several logic-minded friends I talked logic with, and I had no idea what was going on in those first two sentences. (Logic was not my dissertation area, of course, but still.) Then the Noetherian clue came, which, if someone learns what Noetherian means in a class, which happens in some Abstract Algebra I courses, then it's probably because they exactly learn that clue, either in class as a theorem or as an exercise. So, that seems like a big difficulty cliff to me. It may not have played out that way, though (and, if people are asking about the axiom of choice clue [perfectly legit BTW], then likely it did not).
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:21 am

I don't think there's anything wrong with that "finite" tossup. The Noetherian clue isn't a particularly steep drop at all. I think this was a really great question actually and covered a lot of interesting ground in an accessible way.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby The Toad to Wigan Pier » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:36 am

grapesmoker wrote:I don't think there's anything wrong with that "finite" tossup. The Noetherian clue isn't a particularly steep drop at all. I think this was a really great question actually and covered a lot of interesting ground in an accessible way.

I agree that it's not a steep drop. I learned about the Myhill-Nerode theorem in a upper level CS course.
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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby setht » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:19 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:if I am going to keep writing earth science questions that don't scream "THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A GEOGRAPHER," where would I look to write such questions?


Honestly, if there's some clue that might let some geography (or other non-earth science category) buffs in on an earth science tossup they wouldn't otherwise get, I don't mind having it appear late in a tossup. If you want to find some early/middle clues that might conform more closely to standard geologist/geophysicist knowledge about calderas* (if there is such a thing), I'd suggest looking at class notes and textbooks--presumably there are plenty of fine textbooks on volcanism and landforms (and probably some books on volcanic landforms) that could yield useful clue material.

* Actually, the way you wrote the tossup may be just fine for most geologists/geophysicists: I prefer (and generally know more about) clues on general features rather than specific instances, but I believe Ray Anderson used to write many of his earth science questions with liberal doses of semi-geographical clues. I'm not that kind of earth scientist (team name!), and that's not how material was presented in my undergrad earth science courses, but that may be peculiar to me (or to geophysicists--when your professors tell you that the Earth's crust is "like the scum that forms at the top of a boiling pot of soup" [gives new meaning to "scum of the earth"] it's hard to get excited about particular wrinkles).

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Re: Peaceful Resolution Discussion

Postby Tees-Exe Line » Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:57 pm

when your professors tell you that the Earth's crust is "like the scum that forms at the top of a boiling pot of soup" [gives new meaning to "scum of the earth"] it's hard to get excited about particular wrinkles


I hope you won't be offended when I say that that is an extremely amusing example of a professor disparaging anything not in his own field of research--in this case, anything that happens on the earth's surface rather than deep within it. It reminds me of the opening pages of "Stone Age Economics" (ie, the only pages I could get through) wherein Sahlins lambastes the cruel conspiracy by the partisans of the Neolithic to suppress the glories of the Paleolithic.
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