MAGNI Question Discussion

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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Cody »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:Packet 4: For "shockwave", I'm not sure, but this sounded a lot like Cherenkov radiation, as they are both are results of going really fast in a given medium.
Why would there be Cerenkov radiation in space? (Also, as the author of an extremely ill-advised tossup on detonation, I can assure you it sounded a lot like a tossup on shock waves)
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

RyuAqua wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:"Rouroni Kenshin": I don't know how much of a problem this is, but I read and watch A LOT of manga and anime, and when you said "this manga" as opposed to "the manga of this anime" made me start to think of mangas that had no anime associated with it. This may just be because I watch so much anime that this happened, but I think it would be prudent to mention this so people with superior knowledge don't get confused. I do really appreciate the inclusion of anime and manga in tournaments, so this was quite awesome
This is ludicrous. The first two clues apply to a sizable story arc which constitutes the final third or so of the Rurouni Kenshin manga and does not appear at all in the anime. If you watched the anime and didn't read/know the plot of the manga, you didn't actually have "superior knowledge" because you didn't have enough knowledge to answer a question on this particular manga within the first two clues of the question. If you thought the term "manga" excludes things with anime adaptations, that's not a problem with you knowing more about completely different works, it's a problem with your own flawed logical reasoning (after all, what you're arguing is essentially logically equivalent to prefacing every lit tossup with "The book of this film" if it has a film adaptation, JUST IN CASE). Quizbowl works a certain way; Deal With It.

I'm glad you appreciated the idea, though.
I wasn't saying that I didn't know that it had a manga, I haven't got around to reading it. I was just saying that generally when I talk to other people that read manga and watch anime, they only say manga itself when they are talking about a manga that doesn't have an anime. I wasn't complaining that I didn't get it because I never read the manga, I was just commenting that saying only manga led me to think that you were looking for a manga that didn't have a corresponding anime such as "Psyren." I think the question was fine and I especially liked its inclusion. it made me really happy hearing it and I didn't even get it
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

SirT wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:Packet 4: For "shockwave", I'm not sure, but this sounded a lot like Cherenkov radiation, as they are both are results of going really fast in a given medium.
Why would there be Cerenkov radiation in space? (Also, as the author of an extremely ill-advised tossup on detonation, I can assure you it sounded a lot like a tossup on shock waves)
ok. I wasn't sure. for some reason to me it sounded like Cherenkov radiation. I was clearly mistaken
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by cchiego »

Packet 3: For "Deterrence", is it just me, or does this hose for "brinksmanship" pretty early?
When discussing the “perfect” form of this concept, Zagare and Kilgour noted that most threats are incredible and credible threats actually might provoke conflict. Thomas Schelling distinguished this concept and compellence since compellence seeks to change behavior, unlike this concept, and the “extended” form of this concept is demonstrated by placing troops along the border of territory like the DMZ or in Berlin to provide a credible commitment. One application of this concept required the presence of a second-strike capability; that application, espoused by Robert McNamara, was Mutually Assured Destruction. For 10 points, identify this strategy in which nations discourage attacks by threatening retaliation, often discussed in connection with nuclear weapons.
ANSWER: deterrence
There's no such thing as "perfect" brinkmanship or "extended" brinkmanship and Schelling specifically compares deterrence to compellance in several chapters and papers. Brinkmanship is about changing your opponent's behavior- you raise the risk of conflict to a level where your opponent backs down while deterrence is specifically about reducing risks, leaving nothing to chance (i.e. the Doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove), and maintaining the status quo. I'm not sure how this would be transparent either; if you can figure out what's going on thanks to the early clues here and eliminate other possible things like "commitment," then you deserve to get the TU.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

cchiego wrote:
Packet 3: For "Deterrence", is it just me, or does this hose for "brinksmanship" pretty early?
When discussing the “perfect” form of this concept, Zagare and Kilgour noted that most threats are incredible and credible threats actually might provoke conflict. Thomas Schelling distinguished this concept and compellence since compellence seeks to change behavior, unlike this concept, and the “extended” form of this concept is demonstrated by placing troops along the border of territory like the DMZ or in Berlin to provide a credible commitment. One application of this concept required the presence of a second-strike capability; that application, espoused by Robert McNamara, was Mutually Assured Destruction. For 10 points, identify this strategy in which nations discourage attacks by threatening retaliation, often discussed in connection with nuclear weapons.
ANSWER: deterrence
There's no such thing as "perfect" brinkmanship or "extended" brinkmanship and Schelling specifically compares deterrence to compellance in several chapters and papers. Brinkmanship is about changing your opponent's behavior- you raise the risk of conflict to a level where your opponent backs down while deterrence is specifically about reducing risks, leaving nothing to chance (i.e. the Doomsday machine in Dr. Strangelove), and maintaining the status quo. I'm not sure how this would be transparent either; if you can figure out what's going on thanks to the early clues here and eliminate other possible things like "commitment," then you deserve to get the TU.
ok. makes sense. My APUSH teacher described them as basically the same thing so that's why I thought that. Also who said it was transparent

EDIT: clarity
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:"Rouroni Kenshin": I don't know how much of a problem this is, but I read and watch A LOT of manga and anime, and when you said "this manga" as opposed to "the manga of this anime" made me start to think of mangas that had no anime associated with it. This may just be because I watch so much anime that this happened, but I think it would be prudent to mention this so people with superior knowledge don't get confused. I do really appreciate the inclusion of anime and manga in tournaments, so this was quite awesome
This is ludicrous. The first two clues apply to a sizable story arc which constitutes the final third or so of the Rurouni Kenshin manga and does not appear at all in the anime. If you watched the anime and didn't read/know the plot of the manga, you didn't actually have "superior knowledge" because you didn't have enough knowledge to answer a question on this particular manga within the first two clues of the question. If you thought the term "manga" excludes things with anime adaptations, that's not a problem with you knowing more about completely different works, it's a problem with your own flawed logical reasoning (after all, what you're arguing is essentially logically equivalent to prefacing every lit tossup with "The book of this film" if it has a film adaptation, JUST IN CASE). Quizbowl works a certain way; Deal With It.

I'm glad you appreciated the idea, though.
I wasn't saying that I didn't know that it had a manga, I haven't got around to reading it. I was just saying that generally when I talk to other people that read manga and watch anime, they only say manga itself when they are talking about a manga that doesn't have an anime. I wasn't complaining that I didn't get it because I never read the manga, I was just commenting that saying only manga led me to think that you were looking for a manga that didn't have a corresponding anime such as "Psyren." I think the question was fine and I especially liked its inclusion. it made me really happy hearing it and I didn't even get it
This is still a very otherworldly complaint whose logic I can't understand. The question was on the manga, and led in with several clues that applied only to the manga and not the later adaptation. It's most famous for the adaptation that aired on Cartoon Network for a few years back in the day, if that's what you're trying to get at, but it still seems like if you recognized a clue, you would be able to buzz on the clue. I'm really at a loss as to how someone could be justifiably confused by this.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote: I read and watch A LOT of manga and anime
I'm sure your parents are very proud.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

Matt Weiner wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote: I read and watch A LOT of manga and anime
I'm sure your parents are very proud.
of course they are. give it a try
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:Packet 1: For "Flip/Flops", shouldn't it prompt on logic gate?
I think we've gone over this already. I don't think I would prompt.
Packet 4: For "shockwave", I'm not sure, but this sounded a lot like Cherenkov radiation, as they are both are results of going really fast in a given medium.
I assure you that this question had nothing to do with Cherenkov radiation. They are superficially similar ("going really fast") but operate via different mechanisms.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

grapesmoker wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:Packet 1: For "Flip/Flops", shouldn't it prompt on logic gate?
I think we've gone over this already. I don't think I would prompt.
derp I can read. my bad
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:"Rouroni Kenshin": I don't know how much of a problem this is, but I read and watch A LOT of manga and anime, and when you said "this manga" as opposed to "the manga of this anime" made me start to think of mangas that had no anime associated with it. This may just be because I watch so much anime that this happened, but I think it would be prudent to mention this so people with superior knowledge don't get confused. I do really appreciate the inclusion of anime and manga in tournaments, so this was quite awesome
This shouldn't be much of a problem since a majority of animes are adaptions of manga that became popular enough to be animated. "This manga" shouldn't automatically disqualify mangas with animes. The only time I can see "the manga of this anime" come up in a question is if a question begins with clues derived from the anime but then uses clues from the manga.

The only problem if you begin with "this manga" would be if the clues use plot and other elements from the anime which don't occur in the manga (e.g. filler episodes).
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

Monocle wrote: The only problem if you begin with "this manga" would be if the clues use plot and other elements from the anime which don't occur in the manga (e.g. filler episodes).
The other problem is that you're asking a goddamn tossup on "this manga."
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Excuse me. I just killed myself.

EDIT: I really don't have a stake in the manga tossup horse, so if you like your manga or anime, whatever, yippee, but jeepers creepers, how productive is it to discuss this one tossup over and over?
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

Cheynem wrote:Excuse me. I just killed myself.

EDIT: I really don't have a stake in the manga tossup horse, so if you like your manga or anime, whatever, yippee, but jeepers creepers, how productive is it to discuss this one tossup over and over?
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

Matt Weiner wrote:
Monocle wrote: The only problem if you begin with "this manga" would be if the clues use plot and other elements from the anime which don't occur in the manga (e.g. filler episodes).
The other problem is that you're asking a goddamn tossup on "this manga."
Hence why using anime-specific clues causes problems and confusion if you begin with and only use "this manga." It's emblematic of bad writing, which doesn't seem to be the case with the tossup at hand.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay »

Monocle wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
Monocle wrote: The only problem if you begin with "this manga" would be if the clues use plot and other elements from the anime which don't occur in the manga (e.g. filler episodes).
The other problem is that you're asking a goddamn tossup on "this manga."
Hence why using anime-specific clues causes problems and confusion if you begin with and only use "this manga." It's emblematic of bad writing, which doesn't seem to be the case with the tossup at hand.
I think Matt's just expressing his detest at the fact there was a question on a manga, as he doesn't like the genre.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

The bonus part on London might want to mention that he developed the explanation for the Meissner effect with his brother, Heinz. I was momentarily thrown off the scent because of that (but the latter part makes it clear that it's looking for Fritz London).
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

theMoMA wrote:The bonus part on London might want to mention that he developed the explanation for the Meissner effect with his brother, Heinz. I was momentarily thrown off the scent because of that (but the latter part makes it clear that it's looking for Fritz London).
Yeah, I actually did have that initially, but I cut it since the bonus part entered the third line with it. I think if you know what the London equation is, you can still pick it up from there without any chem knowledge.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by DumbJaques »

Holy shit, stop posting about anime.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

Another thing that came up in multiple rooms at our site: The Bhisma clue of the "sex change" tossup was not unambiguous enough; it could also have referred to "death" and "reincarnation," which the girl undergoes before becoming a man.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

Some particular nitpicks and comments and words of praise, with particular points of note underlined:

I do not particularly like the leadin to the van der Waals equation tossup in packet 1 ("One equation that is incredibly similar to this one has a modified version containing the number 9/128.") I would not be surprised if that is non-unique, and I am not really sure whether this is a very helpful clue.

Is colorimetry something that should be acceptable/promptable for the UV/Vis bonus part in packet 1?

I liked the flip-flop tossup in packet 1 and wish I had not negged it.

The binding-energy clue in the iron tossup in packet 1 seems kind of early.

Regarding the block-on-an-inclined-plane bonus in packet 3: while I like the idea of the bonus in general as a way of asking about "real science," it strikes me as too easy for a regular-difficulty collegiate tournament, given that the block-on-an-inclined-plane is quite literally one of the first systems treated in any physics class. I also take issue with the moderator note indicating that moderators ought to be lenient on the time taken for this bonus - if it seems that the bonus will take more than 5 seconds to answer, the bonus is probably not a good idea.

The Ebers-Moll bonus part in packet 3 strikes me as an awfully hard thing, though I have not actually taken a class on electronics, so I could well be mistaken.

The law of mass action bonus part in packet 3: stating that "the ratio of the concentrations of products [is] adjusted for the power of the coefficient" was a little bit confusing; there's no reason I see to not simply say that the concentration is "raised to" the power of the coefficient instead. Also, though further investigation reveals that the law of mass action was originally a thing about reaction rates, I'm not sure that I've ever heard of it being taught that way. Certainly, the rate formulation isn't derivable from the K = ([A]^a*^b)/([C]^c*[D]^d) formulation that I would imagine most people learn.

In packet 4, on the Huntington's tossup: I am fairly certain that Drosophila cannot in fact suffer from Huntington's. There are similar conditions in Drosophila that result from the same genetic basis, yes, but those conditions are not exactly Huntington's. I think this clue would have been better off reworded as something like "In Drosophila, the intrabody C4 sFv has been shown to delay the symptoms of conditions analogous to this disease."

I am led to believe that there may be incorrect information in the manifold tossup in packet 4, regarding the description of the scope of Nash's embedding theorem; I don't know enough about this to elaborate.

I very much liked that there was a bonus on the Bamboo Cutter's Tale; however, the actual Japanese name of the tale (Taketori Monogatari), which I gave as an answer, was not given in the answer line. It would be good if everybody would remember to include these things. I was also slightly disappointed that only one part of the bonus was exclusively on the tale itself, with the other two parts being common-links with other mythologies.

I am rather unhappy that "Arabidopsis" was not accepted for the tossup in packet 5. I do see that "Arabidopsis thaliana" is the full name of the organism, but "Arabidopsis" is essentially the common name for the organism. A brief skim through the noted standard biology textbook by Campbell reveals that in every case I checked except for the first mention of the plant (when it was introduced by full binomial name), the plant was referred to as "Arabidopsis". In the same way that we do not expect people to say "D. rerio" in tossups on zebrafish, I am very much opposed to the idea of requiring "A. thaliana" for tossups on Arabidopsis. (Contrast this with the case of Caenorhabditis elegans which is, to my knowledge, always referred to as "C. elegans"; I do not argue that "Caenorhabditis" should be accepted for tossups on that.)

The eating meat tossup in packet 5 was quite nice.

Perhaps I have a fundamental misunderstanding of science, but I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me why "lava" is never accepted for tossups on magma (this isn't something specific to this tournament, except insofar as there was a magma tossup in packet 5). I'm not sure if this is an actual geologically-important distinction, or if it is just a thing that quizbowl has adopted for the fun of it.

I notice that the work tossup in packet 5 was mentioned earlier. I recognize this as another good way of asking about "real science"; however, I think that the leadin is much too easy. I think that PV work is more elementary than Jerry suggests; and even if one had not learned about this, it is rather easy to figure out - PV has units of energy, and it is a quantity that you integrate along a path. (Also, the wording "this quantity is uniformly zero for the magnetic field" strikes me as a little bit odd, given that work is not really a property of the magnetic field, but rather of particles moving in it.)

I liked the bonus on steric hindrance / SN2 / lone pairs in packet 5 as an example of questions on things that people learn that are not lists of eponymous things.

I'm not sure that I like the clue about Hardy and the Euler-Mascheroni constant in the rational numbers tossup in packet 6 - as far as I know, the rationality of the Euler-Mascheroni constant, while unresolved, isn't a particularly mathematically-significant result; as such, this strikes me as a history chestnut sneaking its way into a science tossup.

The particle-in-a-box tossup in packet 6 could have used maybe one more leadin clue - when you're talking about a quantum system that has a characteristic length scale (at regular difficulty), I can't think of anything but a particle-in-a-box.

I am amused that "cuprum" is listed in the answerline for the copper tossup in packet 6. I am so glad to know that the writers are making the effort to accommodate speakers of Latin.

Wombo Combo!

I don't think the first clue of the Raoult's law tossup in packet 7 ("The variable whose value is obtained through this law is either higher or lower than expected in the so called positive and negative deviations from it.") means anything useful. I can't imagine that positive and negative deviations are a technical term that only applies to Raoult's law; all you've said in this (non-uniquely identifying) clue is that this law can be deviated from. That's fine as a middle clue or something to help people arrive at the answer, but it doesn't make for a good leadin.

At the risk of outraging various quizbowl luminaries, I would like to make a comment on the Rurouni Kenshin tossup in packet 7: this seems kind of difficult to convert even if you are part of that loathsome class of people who likes these kinds of things. I am not sure that it is a good idea in general to ask about Japanese-animation-related-things aside from those that enjoy widespread reception due to being made into popular children's cartoons (e.g. Pokemon).

The selection rules bonus part in packet 7 states "Molecules in point groups can only undergo the symmetric transitions listed in the table..." - what table?

I think the niche bonus part in packet 7 could have been fleshed out a bit, perhaps by including a second definition of niches.

Regarding the pressure tossup in packet 8: I think this is probably me just complaining too much, but it seems less than ideal to have early clues (one-third of radiation density, and then flux divided by speed of light) that allow you to figure out the answer just by dimensional analysis.

The dead parrot sketch tossup in packet 8 may be one of the best trash tossups to ever exist. I can only hope that more people will write questions on Monty Python and/or other things I know.

The antennas tossup in packet 9 was quite interesting.

The parity violation bonus part in packet 9 should probably prompt or accept on "P violation".

The lysine bonus part in packet 9 was confusing. What does it mean for an amino acid to be "standard, but not natural"?

In the SNP bonus part in packet 10, I'm not sure what "between two individuals that should have the same genome" is supposed to mean. This phrase seems to imply that SNPs are things that occur only when comparing the genomes of identical twins or clones, which is not the case.

Regarding the weather prediction tossup in packet 11: are those pre-Doppler clues things that people learn in meteorology classes? If so, that's pretty cool.

(I recognize that these comments are essentially moot now that all the sites are over; I figure they were worth mentioning anyway because why not. Presumably someone will benefit from them.)
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:Some particular nitpicks and comments and words of praise, with particular points of note underlined:

I do not particularly like the leadin to the van der Waals equation tossup in packet 1 ("One equation that is incredibly similar to this one has a modified version containing the number 9/128.") I would not be surprised if that is non-unique, and I am not really sure whether this is a very helpful clue.
That number is especially unique -- it appears in the modified Bertholet equation and no other equation that I know of. If someone can prove me wrong, I'll buy a hat and eat it. As for the helpfulness, this was one of the last chem questions to be written (essentially it was written Thursday night before the tournament), and the majority of the remaining clues were taken from my textbook so I thought I could slide with that one.
Is colorimetry something that should be acceptable/promptable for the UV/Vis bonus part in packet 1?
I don't think so. A quick glance on Wikipedia tells me that it's similar to spectrophotometry, but if it doesn't involve Beer's Law and/or molar extinction coefficients I don't think it should be.
The law of mass action bonus part in packet 3: stating that "the ratio of the concentrations of products [is] adjusted for the power of the coefficient" was a little bit confusing; there's no reason I see to not simply say that the concentration is "raised to" the power of the coefficient instead. Also, though further investigation reveals that the law of mass action was originally a thing about reaction rates, I'm not sure that I've ever heard of it being taught that way. Certainly, the rate formulation isn't derivable from the K = ([A]^a*^b)/([C]^c*[D]^d) formulation that I would imagine most people learn.


Yeah, I wasn't trying to be obfuscatory here. I saw that the law of mass action was used as a name for that equilibrium constant equation. Someone else brought up that it's more often used in the context of rates, so I may have overlooked this.

In packet 4, on the Huntington's tossup: I am fairly certain that Drosophila cannot in fact suffer from Huntington's. There are similar conditions in Drosophila that result from the same genetic basis, yes, but those conditions are not exactly Huntington's. I think this clue would have been better off reworded as something like "In Drosophila, the intrabody C4 sFv has been shown to delay the symptoms of conditions analogous to this disease."


Yeah, you're right. Drosophila is being used to model the conditions of the disease, that was an obvious oversight I totally overlooked (cf http://www.pnas.org/content/102/32/11563.full)

I am rather unhappy that "Arabidopsis" was not accepted for the tossup in packet 5. I do see that "Arabidopsis thaliana" is the full name of the organism, but "Arabidopsis" is essentially the common name for the organism. A brief skim through the noted standard biology textbook by Campbell reveals that in every case I checked except for the first mention of the plant (when it was introduced by full binomial name), the plant was referred to as "Arabidopsis". In the same way that we do not expect people to say "D. rerio" in tossups on zebrafish, I am very much opposed to the idea of requiring "A. thaliana" for tossups on Arabidopsis. (Contrast this with the case of Caenorhabditis elegans which is, to my knowledge, always referred to as "C. elegans"; I do not argue that "Caenorhabditis" should be accepted for tossups on that.)

Alright, some things about this: For model organisms, the genus name is promptable and the species name along with the genus name is acceptable (along with one initial of the genus name, if you want to do that). The most general form of the common name of the organism is promptable, with the specific common name acceptable. So "fruit fly" is acceptable for D melanogaster, "zebrafish" for D rerio, "thale cress" for A. thaliana. "fly," "fish," and "cress" would receive prompts. So how I handled that question is consistent with the standard that I have seen. I guess I've seen some Drosophila questions only accept Drosophila, and maybe that's famous enough to bend the convention, but I didn't see a reason to do that for this particular question (which I actually marked as the hardest bio tossup in the set).

I liked the bonus on steric hindrance / SN2 / lone pairs in packet 5 as an example of questions on things that people learn that are not lists of eponymous things.


Thanks. This is what I was trying to do here. I think anyone who took ochem for a year would 30 this handily, and I hope that they did.

I am amused that "cuprum" is listed in the answerline for the copper tossup in packet 6. I am so glad to know that the writers are making the effort to accommodate speakers of Latin.


We have to accommodate those cute and clever players, you know.

I don't think the first clue of the Raoult's law tossup in packet 7 ("The variable whose value is obtained through this law is either higher or lower than expected in the so called positive and negative deviations from it.") means anything useful. I can't imagine that positive and negative deviations are a technical term that only applies to Raoult's law; all you've said in this (non-uniquely identifying) clue is that this law can be deviated from. That's fine as a middle clue or something to help people arrive at the answer, but it doesn't make for a good leadin.


Yeah, I cringed as I read this in the game; it was probably anything but useful. The clue was describing how the curve for Raoult's law starts to curve instead of being linear when it is deviated from. In pchem classes, you certainly learn about conditions where you deviate from Raoult's law; I guess I just couldn't put the idea into useful words.

The selection rules bonus part in packet 7 states "Molecules in point groups can only undergo the symmetric transitions listed in the table..." - what table?


The table that you use to look up all of the operations you can do with each point group.

The lysine bonus part in packet 9 was confusing. What does it mean for an amino acid to be "standard, but not natural"?


There's a set of 20 natural amino acids and 20 + some more amino acids. The first is apparently called natural and the second is standard. Pyrrolysine is in the latter category.

In the SNP bonus part in packet 10, I'm not sure what "between two individuals that should have the same genome" is supposed to mean. This phrase seems to imply that SNPs are things that occur only when comparing the genomes of identical twins or clones, which is not the case.


Yeah this was worded poorly.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
I am rather unhappy that "Arabidopsis" was not accepted for the tossup in packet 5. I do see that "Arabidopsis thaliana" is the full name of the organism, but "Arabidopsis" is essentially the common name for the organism. A brief skim through the noted standard biology textbook by Campbell reveals that in every case I checked except for the first mention of the plant (when it was introduced by full binomial name), the plant was referred to as "Arabidopsis". In the same way that we do not expect people to say "D. rerio" in tossups on zebrafish, I am very much opposed to the idea of requiring "A. thaliana" for tossups on Arabidopsis. (Contrast this with the case of Caenorhabditis elegans which is, to my knowledge, always referred to as "C. elegans"; I do not argue that "Caenorhabditis" should be accepted for tossups on that.)
Alright, some things about this: For model organisms, the genus name is promptable and the species name along with the genus name is acceptable (along with one initial of the genus name, if you want to do that). The most general form of the common name of the organism is promptable, with the specific common name acceptable. So "fruit fly" is acceptable for D melanogaster, "zebrafish" for D rerio, "thale cress" for A. thaliana. "fly," "fish," and "cress" would receive prompts. So how I handled that question is consistent with the standard that I have seen. I guess I've seen some Drosophila questions only accept Drosophila, and maybe that's famous enough to bend the convention, but I didn't see a reason to do that for this particular question (which I actually marked as the hardest bio tossup in the set).
In that case, I would argue that Arabidopsis is famous enough to bend the convention also, at least from a quizbowl-historic perspective (though I think also from an actual usage perspective): upon searching the packets on my hard drive, I discovered 14 questions which had Arabidopsis as the answerline (including this tournament). Of those 14, 11 accepted "Arabidopsis" outright, while 2 prompted, and 1 did not accept anything without "thaliana". The 11 questions that accepted "Arabidopsis" outright included ones from 2011 ACF Nats, 2009 CO, and 2009 MO.

(I do see now that my analogy with zebrafish was a bad analogy.)
The lysine bonus part in packet 9 was confusing. What does it mean for an amino acid to be "standard, but not natural"?
There's a set of 20 natural amino acids and 20 + some more amino acids. The first is apparently called natural and the second is standard. Pyrrolysine is in the latter category.
So you're saying "natural" in this context is a technical term that does not necessarily mean "is found in nature" (because pyrrolysine definitely is found in nature)? I'm not sure if that's correct. My understanding is that there are 22 proteinogenic amino acids (20 + selenocysteine + pyrrolysine) of which the 20 are the "standard" ones. I haven't found any references to "natural amino acid" outside of the context of "amino acid that is found in nature."
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

So you're saying "natural" in this context is a technical term that does not necessarily mean "is found in nature" (because pyrrolysine definitely is found in nature)? I'm not sure if that's correct. My understanding is that there are 22 proteinogenic amino acids (20 + selenocysteine + pyrrolysine) of which the 20 are the "standard" ones. I haven't found any references to "natural amino acid" outside of the context of "amino acid that is found in nature."
Yeah, so it should have been "natural, but not standard." My bad.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:The binding-energy clue in the iron tossup in packet 1 seems kind of early.
This clue was at the start of the second half of the question, which I think is just fine; it's something people with solid science knowledge can buzz on.
Regarding the block-on-an-inclined-plane bonus in packet 3: while I like the idea of the bonus in general as a way of asking about "real science," it strikes me as too easy for a regular-difficulty collegiate tournament, given that the block-on-an-inclined-plane is quite literally one of the first systems treated in any physics class. I also take issue with the moderator note indicating that moderators ought to be lenient on the time taken for this bonus - if it seems that the bonus will take more than 5 seconds to answer, the bonus is probably not a good idea.
I don't see any problem with this bonus at all. Not everyone takes physics even at the high school level. Congratulations, you did, and you were rewarded accordingly. It's on the easy side for anyone who has but that set is quite small.
The Ebers-Moll bonus part in packet 3 strikes me as an awfully hard thing, though I have not actually taken a class on electronics, so I could well be mistaken.
It's literally one of the first things covered on transistors in Horowitz & Hill's The Art of Electronics. And, I imagine, many other textbooks. You're right, if you haven't taken an electronics class, this might be a bit tough. I don't think that's too problematic.
The eating meat tossup in packet 5 was quite nice.
Glad you liked it.
Perhaps I have a fundamental misunderstanding of science, but I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me why "lava" is never accepted for tossups on magma (this isn't something specific to this tournament, except insofar as there was a magma tossup in packet 5). I'm not sure if this is an actual geologically-important distinction, or if it is just a thing that quizbowl has adopted for the fun of it.
Every source I have checked clearly delineates between lava and magma in the sense that lava is above ground and magma is below. All the clues I used in that question refer to the magma as they are all below ground. Perhaps someone in the earth sciences could comment on this, but the research I did suggested that this was a legitimate and accepted technical distinction.
I notice that the work tossup in packet 5 was mentioned earlier. I recognize this as another good way of asking about "real science"; however, I think that the leadin is much too easy. I think that PV work is more elementary than Jerry suggests; and even if one had not learned about this, it is rather easy to figure out - PV has units of energy, and it is a quantity that you integrate along a path. (Also, the wording "this quantity is uniformly zero for the magnetic field" strikes me as a little bit odd, given that work is not really a property of the magnetic field, but rather of particles moving in it.)
Yes, it's very good that you know these things. Guess what? Most players don't know much about integrating along paths or what units PV has. You knew stuff because you've taken physics, you got points; this is by design. I know some people have said that they covered that material earlier than I did; I'm chalking that one up to random curricular variations. Also, the point of that clue was that magnetic fields do no work because their force is always perpendicular to the direction of motion; that's why I said it was zero "for" magnetic fields. Sorry for the weird phraseology, but I think it makes sense.
I'm not sure that I like the clue about Hardy and the Euler-Mascheroni constant in the rational numbers tossup in packet 6 - as far as I know, the rationality of the Euler-Mascheroni constant, while unresolved, isn't a particularly mathematically-significant result; as such, this strikes me as a history chestnut sneaking its way into a science tossup.
I didn't write this question but I don't see why the rationality of the EM would be insignificant. I imagine that if it's difficult to prove, it probably has some significance somewhere. This is an odd complaint.
The particle-in-a-box tossup in packet 6 could have used maybe one more leadin clue - when you're talking about a quantum system that has a characteristic length scale (at regular difficulty), I can't think of anything but a particle-in-a-box.
That question is fine and your remark is not correct; there are plenty of toy systems that have a characteristic length scale. In fact, they all do. For example, the characteristic length scale of the hydrogen atom is the Bohr radius. If you got that question early, good for you, but there wasn't anything terribly easy about it.
Regarding the pressure tossup in packet 8: I think this is probably me just complaining too much, but it seems less than ideal to have early clues (one-third of radiation density, and then flux divided by speed of light) that allow you to figure out the answer just by dimensional analysis.
I don't know man, maybe you're really good at doing dimensional analysis on the fly. If so, good for you. You were rewarded for having knowledge, knowledge most people playing this set don't have. You got points. Why are you complaining?
The parity violation bonus part in packet 9 should probably prompt or accept on "P violation".
Sure. Sorry about that.
Regarding the weather prediction tossup in packet 11: are those pre-Doppler clues things that people learn in meteorology classes? If so, that's pretty cool.
I took that information directly out of a book on atmospheric physics. I don't know the answer to your question, but it seems quite possible.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Susan »

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
Is colorimetry something that should be acceptable/promptable for the UV/Vis bonus part in packet 1?
I don't think so. A quick glance on Wikipedia tells me that it's similar to spectrophotometry, but if it doesn't involve Beer's Law and/or molar extinction coefficients I don't think it should be.
I think it probably should have been prompted; colorimetry is functionally a subdivision of visible light spectrophotometry and as such does use Beer's Law and molar extinction coefficients. The rest of the second sentence of that clue ("to quantitatively determine transition metal compounds and conjugated organic compounds.") seems a bit strange, but assuming you meant that it's used to determine their concentrations or whatever, colorimetric assays are used for that too. I suspect the HPLC clue may be more uniquely identifying, but: 1) that's the only one and 2) it's especially not ideal to have the most uniquely identifying clue be the one that requires the most out-of-the-classroom knowledge. A clue about the range of things that you could use it for that included a UV-only application would have made this identifying (e.g., quantifying nucleotides and quantitating Bradford assays).
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
I am rather unhappy that "Arabidopsis" was not accepted for the tossup in packet 5. I do see that "Arabidopsis thaliana" is the full name of the organism, but "Arabidopsis" is essentially the common name for the organism. A brief skim through the noted standard biology textbook by Campbell reveals that in every case I checked except for the first mention of the plant (when it was introduced by full binomial name), the plant was referred to as "Arabidopsis". In the same way that we do not expect people to say "D. rerio" in tossups on zebrafish, I am very much opposed to the idea of requiring "A. thaliana" for tossups on Arabidopsis. (Contrast this with the case of Caenorhabditis elegans which is, to my knowledge, always referred to as "C. elegans"; I do not argue that "Caenorhabditis" should be accepted for tossups on that.)

Alright, some things about this: For model organisms, the genus name is promptable and the species name along with the genus name is acceptable (along with one initial of the genus name, if you want to do that). The most general form of the common name of the organism is promptable, with the specific common name acceptable. So "fruit fly" is acceptable for D melanogaster, "zebrafish" for D rerio, "thale cress" for A. thaliana. "fly," "fish," and "cress" would receive prompts. So how I handled that question is consistent with the standard that I have seen. I guess I've seen some Drosophila questions only accept Drosophila, and maybe that's famous enough to bend the convention, but I didn't see a reason to do that for this particular question (which I actually marked as the hardest bio tossup in the set).
Arabidopsis should be accepted without question for this tossup. I used to work with Arabidopsis, and people in the field routinely refer to it as Arabidopsis--in fact, they preferentially refer to it as Arabidopsis in any medium except published papers (talks, conversation, emails, whatever). I would accept genus names for most commonly studied species for which there's an obvious species you mean when you say the genus name (e.g., Saccharomyces for S. cerevisiae, but not Homo for Homo sapiens, although I would probably prompt on Homo). Incidentally, I now work (partially) with C. elegans, and in casual speech/emails/talks people call it elegans all the time; I would accept that if someone gave it as an answer.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Jeaton1 »

Allow me to give my two cents on the work tossup: I did think the opening clue in question came a bit too early. While I see and commend what Jerry is trying to do here -- differentiate people with actual science knowledge from those without by giving us solid clues without having us wade through a quagmire of eponyms -- I don't think the clue in question differentiates enough between any two players that do have science knowledge. The clue led to a first-line buzzer race in our room and seeing the other comments I imagine similar situations occurred at other sites. The opening line should certainly be buzzable by someone with deep knowledge, but I think these early clues should attempt to seed out those with the deepest knowledge in a particular topic and then have clues like in the work tossup coming in the second or third line to differentiate between topic 'experts' and 'non-experts'. Again, Jerry has succeeded in aptly rewarding those with science knowledge, but I feel the tossup simultaneously punishes those same people by having it come down to speed.

Other than that, the physics and other science at this tournament was all around excellent. Lots of interesting, yet accessible topics like galactic collisions, shock waves and infinite square well made the tournament a joy to play.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Charbroil »

Overall, I enjoyed the set, but I was wondering--is bandwagoning really all that well known? It seemed to be one of those questions where everyone knew what was going on but had no idea this concept had a name.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

Jerry wrote:things about how not that many people take physics
I'm somewhat surprised that the number of people who have taken a physics class is as low as you make it out to be, though if it is I suppose most of what I said was incorrect.
I don't know man, maybe you're really good at doing dimensional analysis on the fly. If so, good for you. You were rewarded for having knowledge, knowledge most people playing this set don't have. You got points. Why are you complaining?
Is the ability to do dimensional analysis quickly something that you want to see rewarded, though (at least in early clues)? This strikes me as sort of close to the sort of "applied-skills" knowledge that (as I understand it) quizbowl seeks to avoid testing (kind of like computational math, I guess).
Yes, it's very good that you know these things. Guess what? Most players don't know much about integrating along paths or what units PV has. You knew stuff because you've taken physics, you got points; this is by design. I know some people have said that they covered that material earlier than I did; I'm chalking that one up to random curricular variations.
What I take issue with is that it this tossup does not do a suitable job of discriminating among people who have taken physics. In the same vein that Jeremy noted, I buzzer-raced my teammate, who is also a sophomore physics major, on the first clue. Suppose that there existed some clue that most or all sophomore english majors knew, and that clue were the first line of a tossup (I recognize that science being fundamentally different from the humanities in the sense of having a mostly-unified curriculum prohibits such a clue from existing, but I don't think this invalidates my analogy). Surely that would be suboptimal.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

grapesmoker wrote:
The Ebers-Moll bonus part in packet 3 strikes me as an awfully hard thing, though I have not actually taken a class on electronics, so I could well be mistaken.
It's literally one of the first things covered on transistors in Horowitz & Hill's The Art of Electronics. And, I imagine, many other textbooks. You're right, if you haven't taken an electronics class, this might be a bit tough. I don't think that's too problematic.
I'm taking an electronics course now and Ebers-Moll is the first this listed on transistors in all three of my texts books, and the first thing investigated in lab.
The parity violation bonus part in packet 9 should probably prompt or accept on "P violation".
I'm not the best at quantum, but I said CP violation for this. Is this fundamentally wrong or promptable?
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Cody »

grapesmoker wrote:
Excelsior wrote:The Ebers-Moll bonus part in packet 3 strikes me as an awfully hard thing, though I have not actually taken a class on electronics, so I could well be mistaken.
It's literally one of the first things covered on transistors in Horowitz & Hill's The Art of Electronics. And, I imagine, many other textbooks. You're right, if you haven't taken an electronics class, this might be a bit tough. I don't think that's too problematic.
I didn't feel like bringing this up here (though I did remark on this in-game), but since Ashvin brings it up: I felt it was too hard. We'd *just* covered BJTs in my Introduction to Microelectronics class and, although we were taught the equation for the emitter current and base current, we weren't taught the name of the Ebers-Moll model (nor the equivalent circuit model from which the emitter and base currents are derived). Having looked it up recently before the tournament for a completely unrelated reason, I found that it was only mentioned in the on-disc appendix to Sedra/Smith (which I am led to believe is THE microelectronics book) in reference to what models PSpice uses for simulation.
grapesmoker wrote:Every source I have checked clearly delineates between lava and magma in the sense that lava is above ground and magma is below. All the clues I used in that question refer to the magma as they are all below ground. Perhaps someone in the earth sciences could comment on this, but the research I did suggested that this was a legitimate and accepted technical distinction.
I would never accept lava for magma (or vice versa)--fundamentally distinct processes happen to molten rock when its beneath the surface of the Earth and when it is above the surface, and there is such a name distinction for a reason.
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:I'm not the best at quantum, but I said CP violation for this. Is this fundamentally wrong or promptable?
CP violation is charge and parity violation. That is nowhere close to the same thing as just parity violation.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by cchiego »

Charbroil wrote:Overall, I enjoyed the set, but I was wondering--is bandwagoning really all that well known? It seemed to be one of those questions where everyone knew what was going on but had no idea this concept had a name.
Bandwagoning and Deterrence are both pretty basic concepts specifically named and described in every beginning-level IR textbook that I've seen and form the basis for many of the great debates in IR at the higher academic levels. Bandwagoning may be a bit harder than deterrence, but it is a specific strategy that's brought up an contrasted with balancing in any discussion of realism.

I'd rather people ask IR questions about these concepts instead of questions on overasked and not-that-important people like Joe Nye (try his co-author Keohane for a more important and relevant person) or some of the older realists. If you want to ask about an important person, try someone like Olson, Riker, or Ostrom at the higher levels or Schelling and Waltz at the middle levels. If you want to get more historical, Angell and Carr are two interesting and important theorists worth asking about.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:
I don't know man, maybe you're really good at doing dimensional analysis on the fly. If so, good for you. You were rewarded for having knowledge, knowledge most people playing this set don't have. You got points. Why are you complaining?
Is the ability to do dimensional analysis quickly something that you want to see rewarded, though (at least in early clues)? This strikes me as sort of close to the sort of "applied-skills" knowledge that (as I understand it) quizbowl seeks to avoid testing (kind of like computational math, I guess).
I think you're misunderstanding the issues here. The issue with comp math was that it was a contest of who could solve elementary school problems fastest. There were also problems with people understanding the concepts, but messing up the calculations because of the speed required. There were some weird metaphysical arguments that "applied skills" should never be rewarded in quizbowl, but they weren't very strong and weren't fully accepted either.

More commonly, however, people noted that you can still reward applied knowledge in concept-based tossups. If you write a paper on a novel, for example, you're going to know the facts about that novel pretty damn well. I think the way you answered this tossup was analogous. You don't have to be able to do dimensional analysis within five seconds to answer this tossup, but if you get it that way, you're still being rewarded for understanding and having solved physical problems.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by evilmonkey »

cchiego wrote:
Charbroil wrote:Overall, I enjoyed the set, but I was wondering--is bandwagoning really all that well known? It seemed to be one of those questions where everyone knew what was going on but had no idea this concept had a name.
Bandwagoning and Deterrence are both pretty basic concepts specifically named and described in every beginning-level IR textbook that I've seen and form the basis for many of the great debates in IR at the higher academic levels. Bandwagoning may be a bit harder than deterrence, but it is a specific strategy that's brought up an contrasted with balancing in any discussion of realism.

I'd rather people ask IR questions about these concepts instead of questions on overasked and not-that-important people like Joe Nye (try his co-author Keohane for a more important and relevant person) or some of the older realists. If you want to ask about an important person, try someone like Olson, Riker, or Ostrom at the higher levels or Schelling and Waltz at the middle levels. If you want to get more historical, Angell and Carr are two interesting and important theorists worth asking about.
I will echo that bandwagoning is quite well known - I encountered it first in my intro to IR class in a reading introducing us to Kenneth Waltz, and I've come across it several times since.

Was deterrence the easy part? I don't think this bonus was heard in my room, but it sounds like something that should be gotten quite easily.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

evilmonkey wrote:
cchiego wrote:
Charbroil wrote:Overall, I enjoyed the set, but I was wondering--is bandwagoning really all that well known? It seemed to be one of those questions where everyone knew what was going on but had no idea this concept had a name.
Bandwagoning and Deterrence are both pretty basic concepts specifically named and described in every beginning-level IR textbook that I've seen and form the basis for many of the great debates in IR at the higher academic levels. Bandwagoning may be a bit harder than deterrence, but it is a specific strategy that's brought up an contrasted with balancing in any discussion of realism.

I'd rather people ask IR questions about these concepts instead of questions on overasked and not-that-important people like Joe Nye (try his co-author Keohane for a more important and relevant person) or some of the older realists. If you want to ask about an important person, try someone like Olson, Riker, or Ostrom at the higher levels or Schelling and Waltz at the middle levels. If you want to get more historical, Angell and Carr are two interesting and important theorists worth asking about.
I will echo that bandwagoning is quite well known - I encountered it first in my intro to IR class in a reading introducing us to Kenneth Waltz, and I've come across it several times since.

Was deterrence the easy part? I don't think this bonus was heard in my room, but it sounds like something that should be gotten quite easily.
Deterrence was a tossup.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:I'm somewhat surprised that the number of people who have taken a physics class is as low as you make it out to be, though if it is I suppose most of what I said was incorrect.
I freely confess to not having hard statistics on what fraction of quizbowlers are physicists; my impression comes from my time playing. Admittedly, I have now been out of collegiate quizbowl for a year and so perhaps in that timeframe more physicists have cropped up, but I have encountered very few during my years.
Is the ability to do dimensional analysis quickly something that you want to see rewarded, though (at least in early clues)? This strikes me as sort of close to the sort of "applied-skills" knowledge that (as I understand it) quizbowl seeks to avoid testing (kind of like computational math, I guess).
I think Matt Bollinger has very eloquently articulated my own position on this issue. Some time ago, I had a discussion on this forum where I advocated for rewarding what I called "engagement with the material" (this was in the context of music but intended to be generally applicable). From my perspective, being able to do dimensional analysis is that kind of engagement that I do want to see rewarded. When you perform such an operation, you are not merely doing a mechanical calculation, you are drawing on a great deal of background knowledge and demonstrating that you know something important about the question at hand. I have no problem giving you points for that.
What I take issue with is that it this tossup does not do a suitable job of discriminating among people who have taken physics. In the same vein that Jeremy noted, I buzzer-raced my teammate, who is also a sophomore physics major, on the first clue. Suppose that there existed some clue that most or all sophomore english majors knew, and that clue were the first line of a tossup (I recognize that science being fundamentally different from the humanities in the sense of having a mostly-unified curriculum prohibits such a clue from existing, but I don't think this invalidates my analogy). Surely that would be suboptimal.
Ok, here's the thing: I think you're right that this question did not do the best job of discriminating between several different physics majors in the same room. However, and here I again refer to my experience garnered from playing, there just aren't that many physicists in quizbowl. That there are two on one team is actually quite remarkable, generally speaking; the few quizbowlers who do study physics tend to be pretty dispersed. My goal wasn't to necessarily discriminate between two physics majors; to do that, I might have had to split finer hairs than I would have liked, or possibly backtracked on my mission to write more basic, accessible science. My goal was to give people with actual physics knowledge the opportunity to buzz relatively early in the question while keeping most of the answer choices reasonably within the reach of non-experts. It certainly seems like more people knew the opening clue than I'd anticipated, but I'm not sure anything in particular can be inferred from this; there are differences in what people know and in what order they cover subjects. In this particular case it looks like my general experience (thermo being one of the last basic classes I took) didn't generalize terribly well (apparently), but that can happen; I'm not sure it means very much. As the debate on the part on the Ebers-Moll model shows, there's some disparity in what people study. I, for example, learned about electronics via Horowitz and Hill in my physics lab courses, and that model is prominently featured; apparently it's not featured in Sedra/Smith.

My general point here is not to necessarily defend this particular question but just to point out that I think people with good specialist-level knowledge sometimes forget how relatively inaccessible some of that stuff is to people without that knowledge. I'm relatively ok with, at this level, a question that sets off a buzzer-race between two physicists, as long as it fulfills other useful criteria. If a lot more buzzer races were happening on this question than reported here, I'm happy to admit that the clue was misplaced, but I suspect that this isn't what happened at most sites (but of course would be interested in hearing any specific additional reports).
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Oh, and parity and CP (i.e. charge and parity) violations are two different things, so one is obviously not acceptable for the other.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

grapesmoker wrote:Oh, and parity and CP (i.e. charge and parity) violations are two different things, so one is obviously not acceptable for the other.
Thanks. I wasn't very sure as I know they are somehow related. As an example to different ways people learn physics, thermo is taken very early on for me here at UD, while quantum is something I don't encounter until spring of junior year.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Crimson Rosella »

For what it's worth, I didn't think the music questions were too top heavy at all. I was able to confidently buzz a few times early on knowledge I gained independently of qb, and when I was buzzing in the middle, I felt like it was on clues I'd heard come up several times before.

The question wasn't wrong or anything, but I wish the intro clue to the spherical coordinates tossup had fleshed out the description of spherical Bessel functions more, say, by describing the closed sin x / x form of the zeroth order one or even by saying they were typically denoted with lowercase j's and y's rather than capital J's and K's. My moderator that round was a little soft-spoken and I wasn't able to catch "half-integral" and just figured that the clue was probably going for cylindrical given that they're much more commonly used to describe cylindrical systems in my experience.

In general, though, I really liked the science. I much prefer the paradigm of rewarding people for a deep knowledge of principles over knowledge of associated nomenclature, and I felt like this set was written with that ideal in mind.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

In Packet 1, I'm wondering about dropping "Asa Heshel" so early in a common-link tossup on "Yiddish". At that point in the tossup, you've had two lines and already you've been given "New York" and "religion"... I'm buzzing at Heshel at that point on pure fraud. Is this just me or did it play out that way in any of the rooms?
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

cornfused wrote:In Packet 1, I'm wondering about dropping "Asa Heshel" so early in a common-link tossup on "Yiddish". At that point in the tossup, you've had two lines and already you've been given "New York" and "religion"... I'm buzzing at Heshel at that point on pure fraud. Is this just me or did it play out that way in any of the rooms?
Yeah, we considered that this might happen. I occasionally linguistically fraud Czech and Hungarian questions (History or Literature) for the same reason, since those are also languages whose names sounds quite distinctive. I thought about writing this without character names in the first half, but it seemed unbuzzable. My hope was that players would be deciding between Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, and Polish (since a novel about Eastern European Jews could theoretically be in any of those languages), and wouldn't automatically try to fraud it. I try to make my test for transparency while writing "Could this be anything else at this point?", rather than "Does this sound a lot like what it is?".
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
cornfused wrote:In Packet 1, I'm wondering about dropping "Asa Heshel" so early in a common-link tossup on "Yiddish". At that point in the tossup, you've had two lines and already you've been given "New York" and "religion"... I'm buzzing at Heshel at that point on pure fraud. Is this just me or did it play out that way in any of the rooms?
Yeah, we considered that this might happen. I occasionally linguistically fraud Czech and Hungarian questions (History or Literature) for the same reason, since those are also languages whose names sounds quite distinctive. I thought about writing this without character names in the first half, but it seemed unbuzzable. My hope was that players would be deciding between Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, and Polish (since a novel about Eastern European Jews could theoretically be in any of those languages), and wouldn't automatically try to fraud it. I try to make my test for transparency while writing "Could this be anything else at this point?", rather than "Does this sound a lot like what it is?".
honestly, I had never heard of this and while playing I was thinking "Damn this sounds like Polish or Yiddish or something of the like. I wish I actually knew things to be certain."
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Louis XIV and Twenty Million Henchmen »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
cornfused wrote:In Packet 1, I'm wondering about dropping "Asa Heshel" so early in a common-link tossup on "Yiddish". At that point in the tossup, you've had two lines and already you've been given "New York" and "religion"... I'm buzzing at Heshel at that point on pure fraud. Is this just me or did it play out that way in any of the rooms?
Yeah, we considered that this might happen. I occasionally linguistically fraud Czech and Hungarian questions (History or Literature) for the same reason, since those are also languages whose names sounds quite distinctive. I thought about writing this without character names in the first half, but it seemed unbuzzable. My hope was that players would be deciding between Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, and Polish (since a novel about Eastern European Jews could theoretically be in any of those languages), and wouldn't automatically try to fraud it. I try to make my test for transparency while writing "Could this be anything else at this point?", rather than "Does this sound a lot like what it is?".
honestly, I had never heard of this and while playing I was thinking "Damn this sounds like Polish or Yiddish or something of the like. I wish I actually knew things to be certain."
I haven't looked at the question since playing, but I remember thinking "this sounds like it could be things from Yiddish theatre, which I don't know much about except that it's a thing" while hearing it. If those weren't actually theatre clues, though, then it was just a case of accidentally thinking the right answer for the wrong reason (and I got outbuzzed anyway).

Also, I agree that the music questions were really good.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Distance model wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
cornfused wrote:In Packet 1, I'm wondering about dropping "Asa Heshel" so early in a common-link tossup on "Yiddish". At that point in the tossup, you've had two lines and already you've been given "New York" and "religion"... I'm buzzing at Heshel at that point on pure fraud. Is this just me or did it play out that way in any of the rooms?
Yeah, we considered that this might happen. I occasionally linguistically fraud Czech and Hungarian questions (History or Literature) for the same reason, since those are also languages whose names sounds quite distinctive. I thought about writing this without character names in the first half, but it seemed unbuzzable. My hope was that players would be deciding between Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, and Polish (since a novel about Eastern European Jews could theoretically be in any of those languages), and wouldn't automatically try to fraud it. I try to make my test for transparency while writing "Could this be anything else at this point?", rather than "Does this sound a lot like what it is?".
honestly, I had never heard of this and while playing I was thinking "Damn this sounds like Polish or Yiddish or something of the like. I wish I actually knew things to be certain."
I haven't looked at the question since playing, but I remember thinking "this sounds like it could be things from Yiddish theatre, which I don't know much about except that it's a thing" while hearing it. If those weren't actually theatre clues, though, then it was just a case of accidentally thinking the right answer for the wrong reason (and I got outbuzzed anyway).

Also, I agree that the music questions were really good.
Yes, the second clue in the tossup is about The Dybbuk, which is probably the most well-known play in Yiddish theatre (but which I don't think has had any quizbowl exposure up until now!).

Glad to hear that you, Joey, and Matthew liked the music. I'm sure Kevin will be happy to hear that too.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Hey, so this tournament was really really good. I mean that earnestly. I thought almost every question managed to keep the difficulty down while simultaneously managing to be interesting. Now for the criticism b/c this tournament apparently has received enough praise.

Issue 1:

In terms of the science, I am a huge fan of the back to the classroom approach that Jerry and Auroni have taken, but I think in a couple instances it has been taken a little too far. More than any of the post-Lederberg tournaments (I use this as a marker because in retrospect that tournament was as distant from the classroom as an NCAA Division I football player), I feel like this tournament went back to the classroom in the absolute exclusion of finding some interesting leadins. Alternatively, this tournament a lot of the time seemed to go back to the classroom - the high school classroom. Let me give you some examples.

The Particle in a box tossup is one of the best examples of this. I solved the particle in a box tossup in intro chemistry, so I'm delighted to see it come up (and I solved it again on the car ride home to stay awake). But the really interesting things about the particle in a box, to me, were the applications that it had, like understanding why solutions of solvated electrons are blue, its application to the hydrogen atom and the atomic nucleus, its application to models of solids, etc, etc. Furthermore, I would have loved to hear something new about the particle-in-a-box (what happens when you add relativity? I've always wanted to know), which I think is a function that leadins should serve. I'm a little confused why the entire tossup talked about how to solve the thing, rather than its applications - I personally would rather test people for the applications early than whether they remember that the energy levels are proportional to n squared.

Another example is the protein folding tossup. I've had enough protein folding lectures to fill a 12 line tossup, but it immediately leads in with talking about how bacteria use a heptameric protein to initiate it. Not only is the GroEL-ES complex like the third thing you learn about protein folding, as an aside its also non-unique until you mention the name (both DNA replication and splicing use heptameric complexes to initiate).

The best example is the work tossup, which I realize has been beaten to death. But its worth mentioning that a handicap of this back to the classroom approach is that you risk giving away the answer too early. Mentioning the PVdV law, the fact that a particle in a box has a length scale, the fact that a type of light scattering has a dependence on the wavelength (what else was it going to be, particle size?) all have this problem.

Issue 2:

What's with all the "Operation" clues? Whoever read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mi ... operations right before the tournament sure had an advantage. That North Vietnam tossup, especially, just seemed like a hailstorm of military jargon until the end.

Issue 3: Specific stuff
-I didn't really appreciate the fact that the tossup on the Iraq war with trash clues and the grinch appeared in the same packet
-The van Der Waals equation tossup kind of falls into the same trap that a lot of Equation of State tossups fall into. You know its a law, you know that modifications of it exist, and you know that said modifications have some unusual numerical coefficients. If you use the Yaphe method you can figure out that tossup without any real knowledge of the van Der Waals equation.
-Manet tossup dropped a somewhat vague description of the Execution of Maximilian way too early. Its like playing chicken.
-The pneumonia tossup was a great idea, but that leadin is an endemic problem to science writing. Vaguely saying that vitamin X helps stave off this condition is not a very useful leadin, especially if its one of those things that recent studies show. I'd really like to see a day where the only recent studies that show up in tossups are the ones that are uniquely identifying and actually famous.
-Should "interplanetary medium" be acceptable for "interplanetary dust"?
-I wasnt' a fan of the catalysis tossup. There's this chemical process, and you can use it to reduce waste, blah blah blah...
-Its ok to drop the name "sclerosis" in the leadin of the lichen tossup. Because the way you have it described also applies to molluscum contagiousum by some accounts. There's also something called lichen planus that's way more famous and would have made a way better leadin, but that's neither here nor there.
-I'm not sure that leadin to the fullerenes tossup is unique.
-I really like the kinetic energy tossup, as it went back to the advanced physical chemistry classroom.
-Putting random biographical shit into the rational numbers tossup is not ok.
-Raoult's law tossup with a leadin essentially saying that positive deviations from it are called positive deviations is not useful.

More later if I feel like it.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I obviously don't know shit about shit like science, but Eric's analysis strikes me as that he is taking a different interpretation towards lead-in clues (at this level of play) than the writers of this tournament. The writers seemed to be content and satisfied that people with competent classroom knowledge of a subject could get a tossup very early, while Eric is suggesting that the lead-ins should be reserved for new things that might test people with competent knowledge of said subject. Am I misinterpreting you here, Eric?
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Yeah, Mike, you've hit the nail on the head here. I think competent classroom knowledge, as you put it, should be closer to the middle.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by Auroni »

I'll respond to Eric's point, but before doing that let me just refer to this.
I solved the particle in a box tossup in intro chemistry,
To me, this tells me all I need to know about how superlative Eric's schooling, expertise, and depth of knowledge is. The same intro chem where people at UCSD are re-learning stoichiometry, basic thermo, basic kinetics, and some really basic orbital stuff, Eric is solving the particle in a box. It was sort of jarring to see this comment come right after the "high school classroom" jab, since obviously close to 0.1% of high schoolers even know what that is from having encountered it in school. I can't help being colored by this statement of Eric's as I hear the rest of his criticisms.
Another example is the protein folding tossup. I've had enough protein folding lectures to fill a 12 line tossup, but it immediately leads in with talking about how bacteria use a heptameric protein to initiate it. Not only is the GroEL-ES complex like the third thing you learn about protein folding, as an aside its also non-unique until you mention the name (both DNA replication and splicing use heptameric complexes to initiate).
I've had enough protein folding lectures to fill out a 9 line tossup, which I scaled down to size to write this one. You've had more lectures on that than me, and you have probably paid more attention to it than I have, so you should be buzzing on clue one. I doubt that all structural biochem curricula are so similar as to teach students GroEL-ES for protein folding early on. Indeed, I read this to Dwight and Jeremy, who didn't pick it up til after Levinthal's Paradox. The clues went from straight structural biochem to stuff that people who have used comp sci to tackle biological problems might know, to stuff the general science literate population might know. I don't see a compelling reason to start the slope way higher.

The full leadin reads "In bacteria, this process occurs when each one of seven subunits of a dual-ringed protein is bound to a molecule of ATP, causing a conformation change so that the target is trapped in the GroEL-GroES complex." I guess that there's other heptameric stuff, but I put in some additional info (that the complex is dual-ringed, which is significant, and that ATP binds to it seven times) that uniquely specifies the answer.
What's with all the "Operation" clues? Whoever read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mi ... operations right before the tournament sure had an advantage. That North Vietnam tossup, especially, just seemed like a hailstorm of military jargon until the end.
This was one of those moments where you have a great idea, only to find out that in actuality there aren't a lot of non-military history clues around. One cool clue that I did find was that Ho Chi Minh's Chinese wife was apparently unrecognized by the North Vietnamese government, but I felt that that would have been even more detrimental to the already relatively strict non-acceptance of "Vietnam" as an answer.
-The van Der Waals equation tossup kind of falls into the same trap that a lot of Equation of State tossups fall into. You know its a law, you know that modifications of it exist, and you know that said modifications have some unusual numerical coefficients. If you use the Yaphe method you can figure out that tossup without any real knowledge of the van Der Waals equation.
Should I have left that as a 5.5 line tossup without any modification clues? Anyway, you are using a thought process that literally only you and a couple of other people maybe are accustomed to using. I don't see any reason to intentionally keep you on your toes and leave everyone else further out in the cold.
Manet tossup dropped a somewhat vague description of the Execution of Maximilian way too early. Its like playing chicken.
I thought that this was a pretty unmistakable description. You could argue that it came too early.
-The pneumonia tossup was a great idea, but that leadin is an endemic problem to science writing. Vaguely saying that vitamin X helps stave off this condition is not a very useful leadin, especially if its one of those things that recent studies show. I'd really like to see a day where the only recent studies that show up in tossups are the ones that are uniquely identifying and actually famous.]
I didn't vaguely say that vitamin D keeps pneumonia away, I said that recent studies showed that it can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Maybe that's just another one of Pubmed's ten million effects of vitamin D deficiency. I don't know how to find the most famous and uniquely identifying studies, only the ones with the most cited bys.
-I wasnt' a fan of the catalysis tossup. There's this chemical process, and you can use it to reduce waste, blah blah blah...
Once again, a fact that only you and a couple of other people have internalized and can buzz on without hesitation.
-Its ok to drop the name "sclerosis" in the leadin of the lichen tossup. Because the way you have it described also applies to molluscum contagiousum by some accounts. There's also something called lichen planus that's way more famous and would have made a way better leadin, but that's neither here nor there.
Yeah, probably. I had no idea how famous or non-famous that disease actually was. I needed to replace a non-unique fossil clue.
-I'm not sure that leadin to the fullerenes tossup is unique.
Yeah, that was from organic chemistry portal -- not the best place for leadins, I'm sorry.
-Putting random biographical shit into the rational numbers tossup is not ok.
We covered this in many discussions. Interesting biographical shit that's actually relevant (I believe it was something with GH Hardy trying to show that the Euler-Mascheroni constant was a rational number) is totally okay.
-Raoult's law tossup with a leadin essentially saying that positive deviations from it are called positive deviations is not useful.
Yeah, I covered this before in an earlier post. I didn't know a good way to test knowledge of deviations from Raoult's law, which is a pretty essential concept that you cover in pchem.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Unsurprisingly, I am going to take issue with most of what Eric said. The issue is that I don't think he's right about the content of the questions.
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:I feel like this tournament went back to the classroom in the absolute exclusion of finding some interesting leadins. Alternatively, this tournament a lot of the time seemed to go back to the classroom - the high school classroom. Let me give you some examples.
This is maybe one thing that I would agree with. You're right, very many of the things that I wrote for this tournament were not "sexy" and I make no apologies for this. I think I've spent a fair bit of time explaining why this choice was made; yes, it was not mind-blowing. You want that, we've got a tournament for you called ACF Nationals, which I promise will be full of exciting science. For this particular set the idea was to a) give good players with solid classroom knowledge the chance to buzz early, and b) make the questions in general somewhat more accessible to the field. I don't know how to write sexy tossups on work or kinetic energy or particles in a box; maybe they are possible but I'm not convinced that the best use of my time is to figure out how to do that.

I think evaluation of this tournament's science should be made in light of the above information. Did this tournament achieve its goal in terms of what it set out to do? I think it did. Your complaint seems to be that it had different goals than what you were expecting (though I'm not sure why, because it's not like this was a hidden secret or anything) but I don't think this is a valid criticism.
The Particle in a box tossup is one of the best examples of this. I solved the particle in a box tossup in intro chemistry, so I'm delighted to see it come up (and I solved it again on the car ride home to stay awake). But the really interesting things about the particle in a box, to me, were the applications that it had, like understanding why solutions of solvated electrons are blue,
This was not a chem question; I know nothing of solvated electrons. All the information in this tossup was basically taken from Shankar's QM book, which didn't mention them either. I guess I could have spent a lot of time looking for novel applications of particle-in-a-box, but again, I submit that this is not a good use of my efforts. I think I wrote a good question on a basic, important topic in physics.
its application to the hydrogen atom and the atomic nucleus, its application to models of solids, etc, etc.
The hydrogen atom is a distinct system from PIAB; it has a completely different potential, so I'm not sure what you're going for there. Yes, periodic PIAB is generalizable to a lattice model (the Kronig-Penney system) but I don't see any good reason for putting that in rather than actual basic information about PIAB that you would know from class. That was a conscious decision on my part.
Furthermore, I would have loved to hear something new about the particle-in-a-box (what happens when you add relativity? I've always wanted to know), which I think is a function that leadins should serve.
So you want me to solve relativistic PIAB for you? If that information had been readily available to me, I would have used it. It wasn't, and I'm not about to sit down and solve the thing just so I can provide you with one fresh clue. This is not a reasonable demand.

I also disagree with your claim about what leadins are for. They are for distinguishing between different levels of knowledge, and I think this question did that throughout. If it can be done while teaching you something truly novel, I am totally for that, but this was not the goal of these questions.
I'm a little confused why the entire tossup talked about how to solve the thing, rather than its applications - I personally would rather test people for the applications early than whether they remember that the energy levels are proportional to n squared.
I think I've explained this: it's because I wanted to focus on basic things that I thought were important, rather than relatively superficial things. PIAB is a toy system and doesn't generalize too well to actual applications; it's presented in intro quantum as a canonical model system to illustrate the notion of probability currents, the wave function, eigenenergies, etc. Yes, the n-squared dependency is important; you wouldn't ask "why does this question on Shakespeare ask about tertiary Shakespearean scholarship instead of whether players remember lines from sonnets," and I'm not sure why you're asking for it here.
The best example is the work tossup, which I realize has been beaten to death. But its worth mentioning that a handicap of this back to the classroom approach is that you risk giving away the answer too early.
Graduate student and all around excellent science player Eric Mukherjee answers tossup, declares it easy.

Come on you guys. Take a second to step outside your expert experience, which is considerable, and view this question from the perspective of someone who is not a scientist. I'm happy to admit that this was a difficulty miscalculation on my part, but I don't think it's so terrible at all that this happened; yes, advanced students in the sciences should be able to first-line such tossups. Hell, I'm even ok with people who are just majoring in it doing that.
the fact that a particle in a box has a length scale, the fact that a type of light scattering has a dependence on the wavelength (what else was it going to be, particle size?) all have this problem.
This is absurd. I've already addressed the length-scale issue, and I'll do so again: every relevant QM system has a characteristic length scale. You can't get anything from the mention of those words, and if you buzzed there, you got lucky. Just as well, the scattering clue doesn't tell you anything about whether the answer is "wavelength" just by itself; if you've ever solved a scattering problem, you should know that there are many dependencies on many different parameters and you can't just go 1-to-1 on these things. Context matters.
-Should "interplanetary medium" be acceptable for "interplanetary dust"?
Promptable, but not acceptable; dust was specifically indicated by the clues of the question.
-I really like the kinetic energy tossup, as it went back to the advanced physical chemistry classroom.
Just to point out, that was a pure physics tossup.

Let me conclude by asking you guys to evaluate the questions in the context in which they were written and relative to whether or not they met their stated goals, not relative to whether or not they met your goals for novelty.
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Re: Individual Question Requests and Discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
Another example is the protein folding tossup. I've had enough protein folding lectures to fill a 12 line tossup, but it immediately leads in with talking about how bacteria use a heptameric protein to initiate it. Not only is the GroEL-ES complex like the third thing you learn about protein folding, as an aside its also non-unique until you mention the name (both DNA replication and splicing use heptameric complexes to initiate).
Indeed, I read this to Dwight and Jeremy, who didn't pick it up til after Levinthal's Paradox.
Actually, you've got that wrong. Having had only two (?) lectures on protein folding, I could only figure out "it's something to do with proteins" off the GroEL-ES clue, and by the time I remembered what Anfinsen was known for, Jeremy had negged with "translation" or something.
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
-The pneumonia tossup was a great idea, but that leadin is an endemic problem to science writing. Vaguely saying that vitamin X helps stave off this condition is not a very useful leadin, especially if its one of those things that recent studies show. I'd really like to see a day where the only recent studies that show up in tossups are the ones that are uniquely identifying and actually famous.
I didn't vaguely say that vitamin D keeps pneumonia away, I said that recent studies showed that it can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Maybe that's just another one of Pubmed's ten million effects of vitamin D deficiency. I don't know how to find the most famous and uniquely identifying studies, only the ones with the most cited bys.
As probably the most notorious serial offender of "putting bad clues from recent studies in science questions," I feel I have perspective on this.

I think the most important criterion that needs to be satisfied for inclusion in a tossup is, "does this study provide enough uniquely-identifying science that a knowledgeable scientist who hasn't read the study is at least clued in?". That is, if you summarize the results of the article, it better include unique clues that would help someone who hasn't read the article figure out what's going on. Let me describe this in terms of another study that I am more familiar with.

About a month ago a paper came out in Nature that showed that implantable electrodes can deliver a sensation of touch as feedback in a brain-machine-brain interface (or brain-computer interface). This has major implications for the next generation of human prostheses. However, this would be a really terrible lead-in to use for a question on "touch," basically, for two reasons:

1. Any description of the paper that does include relevant information useful to science players would include phrases like "somatosensory cortex," "brain-machine interface," or "neuroprosthetic limb," all of which are, at best, middle clues and, at worst, transparent. (Actually, I wouldn't mind more clues like this, where real middle clues are taken from sources in the literature rather than textbooks)

2. Any description of the paper that doesn't give too much away doesn't really give anything away to anyone who hasn't read the paper, and thus is sort of useless as a lead-in.

The other thing that I'd caution is that if you use a recent paper as a lead-in, it should be published in a prominent journal in the field and/or have had major media coverage such that people who don't work directly in the area have a prayer of having heard of it.

Finally, I find that this strategy works much better as the lead-in to a bonus, e.g., "For 10 points each, answer the following about [recent study]." I did this for a bonus on induced pluripotent stem cells (ACF Regionals 2008?) and sequencing the panda genome (NASAT 2010), and I think both turned out to be much better than any tossup I wrote using clues from recent literature.
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
-Raoult's law tossup with a leadin essentially saying that positive deviations from it are called positive deviations is not useful.
Yeah, I covered this before in an earlier post. I didn't know a good way to test knowledge of deviations from Raoult's law, which is a pretty essential concept that you cover in pchem.
I figured I'd try a google search to see if this lead-in was unique, since it sure as heck didn't sound unique when I heard the clue to be basically transitive. 14 of the first 20 results for ["positive deviations" law] came up with Raoult's Law (your search may show slightly different results), with second place finisher being 100+ year old mentions of Boyle's Law. Other results included Benford's Law and something called Vegard's Law, which I don't remember ever seeing in a question before and is thus headed to a lead-in near you.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
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