Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

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Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:42 pm

So I got royally freaked out today. I was browsing through the discussion of ACF Nationals 2008, when I came across this comment:
Seth Teitler wrote:There were also some very hard physics bonuses. The bonus on BEC/Gross-Pitaevskii/bosenova feels like it has an easy/pretty hard/really hard structure.
In other words, Seth was saying that Gross-Pitaevskii was probably too hard for a middle part at ACF Nationals. Why did this freak me out? Well,
Weekend of Quizbowl 2009 Round 8 wrote:[10] The wave function of a BEC can be measured by this doubly-eponymous nonlinear equation.
ANSWER: Gross-Pitaevskii equation
So basically, within a year, an equation considered a hard middle part at ACF Nationals turned into an "appropriate" bonus part at a harder high school tournament.

What is going on here?
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Sir Thopas » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:48 pm

Journey to the Planets wrote:What is going on here?
Conjecture: Andy Watkins.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:55 pm

That's strange; I could have sworn that I removed that egregiously too-hard question from the tournament when I was last-minute asked to edit the science from some packets that people who don't know science wrote.

Here's one level: when you ask people who don't know science (like some of the contributors to that set) to write science, you get bonus parts that have clearly identifiable names that are massively underrated in terms of difficulty (added to a bad difficulty gauge).

I don't think that anyone who has any reason or desire to write science right now would make the G-P equation a middle part of a high school tournament. If so, stop doing that!
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Journey to the Planets wrote:What is going on here?
Conjecture: Andy Watkins.
Hey, Guy, how about we don't turn every thread about something difficulty related in high school quizbowl going wrong into another opportunity to tell me that I've written (get this) some too-hard questions before? I've figured that out, man, and outside of HFT last year, where I made real mistakes about the ability of a nationals-strength field, I made about as many mistakes about high school difficulty (this specifically; I obviously made some mistakes about post-nationals difficulty later in the year) as any other writer. And I corrected many more; you can look at my work on ACF-4, which would have been unplayable if I hadn't fixed it, or HAVOC II, or more recently with Fall Novice or giving peer critique on DAFT... it's a dead horse! Stop beating it!
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:57 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: I don't think that anyone who has any reason or desire to write science right now would make the G-P equation a middle part of a high school tournament. If so, stop doing that!
Oh, if only they had.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:05 pm

Do I even need to mention the Reptiles fund here?
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:09 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Do I even need to mention the Reptiles fund here?
Just because Andy Watkins is the poster child for high school canon expansion gone awry doesn't mean that he's the only one with an odd and misplaced sense of high school difficulty.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:18 pm

cvdwightw wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Do I even need to mention the Reptiles fund here?
Just because Andy Watkins is the poster child for high school canon expansion gone awry doesn't mean that he's the only one with an odd and misplaced sense of high school difficulty.
And given that the last time i wrote a high school tossup on an answer line that high schoolers don't know about was eleven months ago, which was two months after I wrote my first questions ever...
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by aestheteboy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:59 am

Are you seriously surprised that editors and writers sometimes misjudge difficulty?
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:42 am

Instead of using this thread to pile on Andy for past and now-corrected misjudgments, perhaps we can use it as a reflection on what a terrible idea it is for people to simply pluck questions from previous packets without regard to their difficulty or usability at the appropriate levels.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:26 am

Yeah; I think people make this mistake too often: they assume that anything that's made it into the hallowed packet archive must be of appropriate difficulty for the level to which it was submitted. (For the moment, I'll leave aside the crazies who think that ACF Nationals hard parts make good high school CQ parts.) This probably explains the way that spurts of Basque myth happen.

We know this not to be the case, however, particularly when one considers how canon expansion trickles down: there are bonuses from CO 2007 that would be regular difficulty now (if not very many of them at all). So it's a bit much to expect that that's the only way in which difficulty at past tournaments fluctuates, and indeed there are archived past tournaments that are too hard. What if someone writing high school social science came across my bonus on Talcott Parsons from HFT '08? I don't know what horrors await...
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:28 pm

This is actually a serious problem which I was talking to people about after MO, wherein answers of dubious appropriateness simply trickle into the answer space or the clue space for no reason other than that they come up at other tournaments. This is a problem at the college level; it's doubly a problem at the high school level and really, really needs to not happen. No one at the high school level knows anything about something like the GP equation (and most people at the college level don't either).
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:49 pm

Yeah; I think that it's important to restate that packet archives just plain aren't sources. And if you want to use it as a source (just as the ACF guidelines say yeah, okay, you're going to look at Wikipedia anyway, so please at the very least confirm what you find there using sources elsewhere), then don't, don't, don't use it as a source for answer lines. That will cause quizbowl to depart unnaturally from the academy. It is at most (and preferably not even this) a source of clues (for answer lines that you are inspired to write on because of course syllabi or textbooks or other scholarly works).
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Cheynem » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:22 pm

The packet archive isn't a great source and it should never (maybe rarely) be used for high school writing. You get a few high schoolers who are familiar with old quizbowl packets and the "canon." That's an extreme minority of most high school quizbowlers. Unless it's a national championship (and even then...), high school sets should not be written for this extreme minority. If that means, certain teams do very well at quizbowl, then, well, they will.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:51 pm

Hey, as long as we're talking about selecting answer lines, it might be helpful to talk about how you experienced writers decide what to write on. I know that I almost always resort to looking through older, controlled-difficulty sets for inspiration, but it seems like that's how the GP equation seeped down into the HS canon. For high schoolers without that kind of "real knowledge" base, what would you guys recommend?
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Cheynem » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:54 pm

For high school, I guess I'd look at old high school sets, if you're going to actually look at anything, but I think for high school, a certain "sniff test" can generally figure out what's appropriate and what's not. I mean, to be honest, high school is the place where those "same old topics" should still be coming up every tournament because that is what high schoolers know.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:05 pm

Journey to the Planets wrote:Hey, as long as we're talking about selecting answer lines, it might be helpful to talk about how you experienced writers decide what to write on. I know that I almost always resort to looking through older, controlled-difficulty sets for inspiration, but it seems like that's how the GP equation seeped down into the HS canon. For high schoolers without that kind of "real knowledge" base, what would you guys recommend?
The high school curriculum is one good guide. Obviously, that's going to lead to a paucity of answer topics for some things like physics and it's ok to range beyond that. BECs are an example of a thing that's been in the news a lot, so it's not crazy to think that some people might know that. But the thing is, in general you can get pretty creative with your question writing by picking relatively accessible topics and using interesting clues about them. There's nothing wrong with a well-constructed question on "electrons" that rewards some real knowledge, for example.

I don't think there's any inherent harm in looking at old packet sets for ideas about context, but people need to realize that there's a certain upper bound to the kind of stuff high school players will know. If a team has a physics specialist who knows a fair bit, I'm comfortable with a high school question that gives that team an early power or 30 points on a bonus if that means that the questions remain accessible to most other teams. The key here is not to use "stuff coming up before" as the hallmark of gettability or ease, because if you do this you will quickly wind up asking lots of teams impossible questions.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:09 pm

One more remark about science: I would argue that, especially at the level of high school science, stuff named after people is not all that important. You don't know what Lie algebras or Ising models are (and if you do, you're not a typical high school student) so use those parts sparingly. Base concepts like "angular momentum," "charge," and "spin," just to give a few more examples, are far more important and representative of deeper knowledge than knowing the GP <=> BEC bijection. I strongly encourage writers for the high school level to explore those topics in depth before moving on to complicated things that most of the target audience doesn't know and can't possibly have heard of.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:54 am

Cheynem wrote:I mean, to be honest, high school is the place where those "same old topics" should still be coming up every tournament because that is what high schoolers know.
The past four years indicate that this is far from the actual case. During that time period, the high school canon expanded at an astonishing rate, as more and more good high school players began reading collegiate packets and attending collegiate tournaments. I mean, the unused PACE finals packet contains a tossup on, to note the most egregious example, Machado de Asis, along with a number of other answer selections and clues that I don't imagine would have flown when I was a freshman in high school. I mean, we had ridiculous things like Graham Moyer knowing who Ngugi waThiongo was in his sophomore year. I don't think that the high school canon is featuring the same topics coming up year after year at all-- at least not in the season's more difficult sets (like Harvard Fall, the set used for Weekend of Quizbowl, and the NSC and HSNCT)
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:57 am

I'm not denying this is true, but I think high school quizbowl needs to realize that the vast majority of high school quizbowl players are not reading college packets and attending collegiate tournaments. These are the exceptions. While I agree that perhaps more difficult sets should perhaps feature different, harder things, I think the majority of high school quizbowl sets should include questions on familiar topics.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:58 am

I don't think he thought otherwise, Henry; he was saying it should be otherwise. And HFT, for example, is making an effort to curb that trend. Not a tremendous effort, mind you; there will still be some excitement, and it will try to inhabit a step between regular high school and high school nationals difficulty. But it won't be last year's.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:06 am

Ah, alright. I think that I actually agree for the most part-- the needs of the vast majority of the circuit and those of the top few teams are not the same. I also think that most of a given season's sets-- like the output of HSAPQ and NAQT, for example, should reflect that fact. That said, I don't really see anything wrong with there being some expansion at a few events a year.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:12 am

I agree with that, Henry, within reason, and places like the tournaments you described are logical places to do that...again, within reason.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:31 am

Volvo Effect wrote:The past four years indicate that this is far from the actual case. During that time period, the high school canon expanded at an astonishing rate, as more and more good high school players began reading collegiate packets and attending collegiate tournaments. I mean, the unused PACE finals packet contains a tossup on, to note the most egregious example, Machado de Asis, along with a number of other answer selections and clues that I don't imagine would have flown when I was a freshman in high school. I mean, we had ridiculous things like Graham Moyer knowing who Ngugi waThiongo was in his sophomore year. I don't think that the high school canon is featuring the same topics coming up year after year at all-- at least not in the season's more difficult sets (like Harvard Fall, the set used for Weekend of Quizbowl, and the NSC and HSNCT)
Sometimes high school reading curricula differ rather wildly and you get people knowing weird stuff. My high school sophomore lit class notably featured a reading of The Day of Doom, a bonus part that went dead in this year's ACF Nationals finals.

The fact that good teams are coming to college tournaments to play is great. That's still a very small number of teams relative to the entirety of high school quizbowl. If Awesome Team A powers a tossup on whatever, I'm ok with that and we should all be ok with that, since that's what awesome teams do. At the very highest levels when you have to determine the winner between two really good teams, it's ok to dig deeper (whether in clues or in answer selection or both, subject to some constraints I already pointed out) but for most high schools that's not that great of an idea.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The Laughing Man » Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:52 am

It seems to me that some people are failing to distinguish between two questions regarding clues/ answers that have appeared in the packet archive many times
1. Should we expect teams to know this /Is this an appropriate nth bonus part?
Should the Reptile Fund which is largely famous only through repeated quiz bowl exposure rather than because of its great academic fame or importance ever be a 2nd bonus part in a non-nationals hs tournament? The answer is no because high school quizbowl should try to minimize the advantages of packet studying over acquiring knowledge by reading, taking classes etc. Hence, even if the conversion rate were known to be acceptable, it is rewarding the wrong kind of knowledge acquisition and should not be asked for a while.
2. Does this clue make a good early clue?
The answer to this in such cases as the Reptile Fund is no. The empirical question of whether teams know the Reptile Fund is clearly distinct from the question of whether they should know it. Regardless of how academically famous it is, the fact that it came up in like 4 tournaments played by high school teams in the past year means that most good teams will know it. Sure, a clue isn't suddenly easy when it has been mentioned once. But when it has been mentioned at several of the most read high school tournaments, which are presumably attended, read or studied by most good teams, most good teams will learn it eventually.

Hence, using a clue such as the Reptile Fund has the duel bad effects of rewarding knowledge from packet reading and producing buzzer races among good teams. It does not seem reasonable to ask high school question writers to check every clue against the packet archive to see how often it has come up in recent high school tournaments (and to be realistic, lower level college ones.) However, it seems that if the writer is aware of the frequency of the appearance of a clue (s)he should avoid using it. It also seems fair to critique such questions as the one mentioning the Reptile Fund so early.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by rchschem » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:21 am

And can I get an amen on the Diels-Alder reaction while I'm necroing this thread? I've taught chemistry for 15 years at various levels and stand firm that this has no place in high school.

I know some of you will say "but I took organic in high school..." but I assure you you're not representative.

I'd love to hear good reasons why this is an accessible question to the majority of players.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:17 am

It's named!

End of list.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:05 pm

The Diels-Alder reaction isn't even taught until second- or third- semester college organic chemistry, for what it's worth.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:13 pm

jpn wrote:The Diels-Alder reaction isn't even taught until second- or third- semester college organic chemistry, for what it's worth.
That doesn't apply to any class whose syllabus I've read, and it sure doesn't apply to Harvard or MIT. Can you cite data on this?
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:17 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
jpn wrote:The Diels-Alder reaction isn't even taught until second- or third- semester college organic chemistry, for what it's worth.
That doesn't apply to any class whose syllabus I've read, and it sure doesn't apply to Harvard or MIT. Can you cite data on this?
We learned it early in our first semester of orgo, for what it's worth.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:18 pm

At RPI you don't encounter the Diels-Alder reaction until organic chemistry I, typically taken first semester of sophomore year. I know this is just one school, but I find it hard to believe that the Diels-Alder reaction is taught in any sort of freshmen general chemistry course.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Susan » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:18 pm

I, too, learned this early in the first quarter of o-chem.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:25 pm

aarcoh wrote:At RPI you don't encounter the Diels-Alder reaction until organic chemistry I, typically taken first semester of sophomore year. I know this is just one school, but I find it hard to believe that the Diels-Alder reaction is taught in any sort of freshmen general chemistry course.
Yeah, I wouldn't believe that either. Auroni was just suggesting that it's encountered in second or third semester organic, which is crazy to me.

There are some points at which the high school canon diverges from the high school curriculum--if your school teaches you about Respighi, let me know, but I'd still make him a high school bonus part, if most likely a hard one at most levels. I don't think this is a problem. The Diels-Alder reaction is as important as Respighi and if there's a point where the canon has to do more with what is knowable by high schoolers than what is known, then that's fine with me. Read a book, get some points.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:26 pm

There's no such thing as the canon and the idea of writing on the Diels-Alder reaction for a high school tournament is absolutely insane. I can't believe that there are still people who don't get this.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:29 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:There's no such thing as the canon and the idea of writing on the Diels-Alder reaction for a high school tournament is absolutely insane. I can't believe that there are still people who don't get this.
You know what I mean when I say that: I mean the same thing you do, that intersection of three things. The idea that Diels-Alder has some property that Respighi lacks that makes it impossible to make D-A, say, a hard part is precisely what I refer to as "canonicity," and I think that's silly. Most high schoolers are going to have to go out of their way to learn about Respighi, and the same with a rather easy science thing that isn't taught in high school. If I didn't do quizbowl in high school, I wouldn't have know about Rachmaninoff, but you'd probably say that he has a property that the Diels-Alder reaction lacks, in your model, and I think that's inaccurate.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:35 pm

The proof is in the pudding. An acceptable number of teams will answer a question on Respighi and won't answer one on Diels-Alder. if you haven't developed the necessary intuition to predict answerability when writing high school questions, then you need to get involved in more high school events.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by theMoMA » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:37 pm

I think Andy is arguing that stuff like Diels-Alder can come up as the third part to a bonus, which I agree with.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:39 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: Hey, Guy, how about we don't turn every thread about something difficulty related in high school quizbowl going wrong into another opportunity to tell me that I've written (get this) some too-hard questions before? I've figured that out, man, and outside of HFT last year, where I made real mistakes about the ability of a nationals-strength field, I made about as many mistakes about high school difficulty (this specifically; I obviously made some mistakes about post-nationals difficulty later in the year) as any other writer. And I corrected many more; you can look at my work on ACF-4, which would have been unplayable if I hadn't fixed it, or HAVOC II, or more recently with Fall Novice or giving peer critique on DAFT... it's a dead horse! Stop beating it!
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:There's no such thing as the canon and the idea of writing on the Diels-Alder reaction for a high school tournament is absolutely insane. I can't believe that there are still people who don't get this.
You know what I mean when I say that: I mean the same thing you do, that intersection of three things. The idea that Diels-Alder has some property that Respighi lacks that makes it impossible to make D-A, say, a hard part is precisely what I refer to as "canonicity," and I think that's silly. Most high schoolers are going to have to go out of their way to learn about Respighi, and the same with a rather easy science thing that isn't taught in high school. If I didn't do quizbowl in high school, I wouldn't have know about Rachmaninoff, but you'd probably say that he has a property that the Diels-Alder reaction lacks, in your model, and I think that's inaccurate.
You're not making your case very well, dude.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:47 pm

theMoMA wrote:I think Andy is arguing that stuff like Diels-Alder can come up as the third part to a bonus, which I agree with.
This precisely.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:33 pm

myamphigory wrote:I, too, learned this early in the first quarter of o-chem.
I was pretty sure I did not learn Diels-Alder in o-chem at UCLA. An internet search shows that this appears to be part of Chem 30C, which is third-quarter o-chem and not really required for any majors outside of the chemistry department (my major only required up to 30A and I took 30B as a prerequisite for a biochem class).
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by rchschem » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:39 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Most high schoolers are going to have to go out of their way to learn about Respighi, and the same with a rather easy science thing that isn't taught in high school.
Going out of my way to learn about a new composer isn't hard - it's a composer. Going out of my way to teach myself intro organic just so I can address the vocabulary in the wikipedia page on D-A is a very different thing.

And as far as the argument that "X is acceptable as the third part of a bonus" because X is hard, that's a wicked slippery slope and a weak defense for a bonus part.

I wouldn't call this canon expansion so much as I would call it difficulty creep. If adding Diels-Alder is canon expansion, then I expect to see "5 points for 1, 10 for 2, 30 for 3, and 30 for all four: identify the following substituents as Strongly Activating, Activating, Deactivating, or Strongly Deactivating in electrophilic aromatic substitutions." coming soon to a high school set near me.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Charbroil » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: If I didn't do quizbowl in high school, I wouldn't have know about Rachmaninoff, but you'd probably say that he has a property that the Diels-Alder reaction lacks, in your model, and I think that's inaccurate.
Rachmaninoff is something known by a fairly common subset of high schoolers (namely, piano players and musicians in general with several years of experience) know, while I don't really think there's a similar common subset of high schoolers who know the Diels-Alder reaction.

Also, just to note, Rachmaninoff came up in discussion in our Music Theory classes in high school, while the Diels-Alder reaction certainly did not.

I mean, generalizing such things by saying that both Rachmaninoff/Respighi and the Diels-Alder reaction are things that high schoolers would have to read about outside of school seems pretty absurd--I read about the Battle of Malplaquet my freshman year; does that let me make that the hard part of a high school bonus part?

Finally, the next statement may reveal my naivete, but why don't people just think about the people they knew in high school and imagine if they would know an answer before using it in Quiz Bowl? I mean, we're all smart people, we all probably had smart friends who knew things beyond school knowledge--why not just think about whether said friends might plausibly have known an answer back in high school before using it? At the very least, this seems to be a logical guideline for the answers of tossups and easy/middle bonus parts, though it is obviously less useful for those who are a bit farther out of high school and/or had non-normal high school experiences.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:49 pm

Charbroil wrote:Finally, the next statement may reveal my naivete, but why don't people just think about the people they knew in high school and imagine if they would know an answer before using it in Quiz Bowl? I mean, we're all smart people, we all probably had smart friends who knew things beyond school knowledge--why not just think about whether said friends might plausibly have known an answer back in high school before using it? At the very least, this seems to be a logical guideline for the answers of tossups and easy/middle bonus parts, though it is obviously less useful for those who are a bit farther out of high school and/or had non-normal high school experiences.
No, this is exactly what you should not do. This is what people use to justify every inappropriate answer they write on. You must develop a sense of what people in general know, not write on what your particular high school taught you as if that's the standard.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:58 pm

I think what Charles is trying to say is that when trying to think about easy types of answers it would be good to think about whether you think non-quizbowl people who are educated might be able to answer the question just off of their own knowledge of the world, even if he may have worded it in a way that opens it up to problems with specific curricula and biases in your friend choice, etc. I think that its fair to say if you see an easy or middle part and don't think you know anyone outside of quizbowl who could answer it just off of being a motivated student, perhaps it needs to be relegated to a hard part or worse.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:04 pm

Yeah, within reason, I think this standard could be a good one. Conceiving of an intellectually engaged, reasonably educated high schooler who hasn't had exposure to the "packet archive" or "quiz bowl-famous" things is not that bad of an idea. I think it's especially helpful in pegging what sorts of literature is acceptable to write on in high school and also especially American history.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:17 pm

rchschem wrote:And as far as the argument that "X is acceptable as the third part of a bonus" because X is hard, that's a wicked slippery slope and a weak defense for a bonus part.
I don't advocate that; that's a very poor idea. I was saying that if we believe someone of the difficulty of Respighi to be okay for a third part, then we should certainly believe something like Diels-Alder--which is as essential to the chemistry you learn in high school as Respighi is to the music theory you might learn in high school, I'd argue--is similarly appropriate.

Also, I don't think the suggestion that Respighi is "just a composer" while there's this enormous barrier to learning about Diels-Alder holds any water. There are a lot of ways you can learn both of these things:
1) learn buzzwords for both--I'll buzz off La campana sommersa, you'll buzz off Warner-Jauregg, we'll both go home happy
2) have surface experience of each--I'll listen to the music, you'll look at some structures of reactants and products and figure out that D-A makes six-membered rings (as evidenced by the hexagons on the right hand side) that might have a "double bond" of some kind
3) have deep experience of both--I take a semester of music theory so that i know what the hell a Mixolydian mode is and why he named a piano concerto "Concerto in the Mixolydian Mode"; you take a semester of o-chem and learn what "pericyclic" means
and each level requires roughly equal commitment for both.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:19 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I don't advocate that; that's a very poor idea. I was saying that if we believe someone of the difficulty of Respighi to be okay for a third part, then we should certainly believe something like Diels-Alder--which is as essential to the chemistry you learn in high school as Respighi is to the music theory you might learn in high school, I'd argue--is similarly appropriate.

Also, I don't think the suggestion that Respighi is "just a composer" while there's this enormous barrier to learning about Diels-Alder holds any water. There are a lot of ways you can learn both of these things:
1) learn buzzwords for both--I'll buzz off La campana sommersa, you'll buzz off Warner-Jauregg, we'll both go home happy
2) have surface experience of each--I'll listen to the music, you'll look at some structures of reactants and products and figure out that D-A makes six-membered rings (as evidenced by the hexagons on the right hand side) that might have a "double bond" of some kind
3) have deep experience of both--I take a semester of music theory so that i know what the hell a Mixolydian mode is and why he named a piano concerto "Concerto in the Mixolydian Mode"; you take a semester of o-chem and learn what "pericyclic" means
and each level requires roughly equal commitment for both.
You're doing that rationalist thing again where you think you can disprove the proposition "X is true because X has been observed to be true" if you argue against it cleverly/forcefully/deeply enough. You cannot. You can never argue your way into Diels-Alder being answerable in high school quizbowl, or Respighi not being answerable. It is a completely impossible task.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:24 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Also, just to note, Rachmaninoff came up in discussion in our Music Theory classes in high school, while the Diels-Alder reaction certainly did not.
That would be a very interesting music theory class. Also, your high school had music theory classes?!
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:24 pm

Organic chemistry at my university relegates addition and cycloaddition reactions (ie Diels-Alder) to the second and third courses in a series, putting more focus on SN1, SN2, E1, E2, Grignards, stereochemistry, chair conformations (the basic stuff) instead. I suspect it's the same for a lot of classes. What I meant by second or third semester is the second or third courses in a series, but certainly not the first.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:28 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:You're doing that rationalist thing again where you think you can disprove the proposition "X is true because X has been observed to be true" if you argue against it cleverly/forcefully/deeply enough. You cannot. You can never argue your way into Diels-Alder being answerable in high school quizbowl, or Respighi not being answerable. It is a completely impossible task.
I think I've identified where our break is here. I think that the reason that this happens is because we observe the empirical data point that more high schoolers choose to put the extra effort into going to that extra level deeper for Respighi than they do for Diels-Alder. So while there's no inherent difference in accessibility, there is in fact a difference in how that accessibility is realized in high school (perhaps because, in part, of the pressures of the canon guiding what new and exciting good academic topics high schoolers are exposed to--or perhaps because there's more of a qualitative separation between learning about terrible subject high school chemistry and awesome subject organic chemistry than between some composers and some other composers). So I guess if one wants to use what comes up in quizbowl to guide people to awesome topics, then points are the carrot. Otherwise, you're right: we have to perpetuate the status quo if we want to hit our ideal conversion targets every time. That's fair if that's your goal.
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Re: Canon Expansion, Bose-Einstein Condensates, and You

Post by Auroni » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:30 pm

Let's write on "addition" reactions instead.
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