Science Monstrosity III: The Gay Science

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ezubaric
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Science Monstrosity III: The Gay Science

Post by ezubaric » Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:40 pm

This is perhaps a little early, but Subash has confirmed that there will be a Chicago Open this year, so I just thought I'd announce that I will be taking over Science Monstrosity from Jerry this year. Irene and Dan are aiding me in this folly (some other potential helpers have not gotten back to me).

There's a draft of the announcement here:

http://quizbowl.caltech.edu/ScienceMonstrosity.html

This information may change at any time; nevertheless, it's not too early to start putting together a team and writing questions. I assume there will be a mirror at BASQUE, as usual.

At this point, I would appreciate it if interested parties e-mail me or post below if they're interested in playing.

-Jordan
Jordan Boyd-Graber
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Post by Larry Horse » Fri Apr 15, 2005 6:56 pm

Are you serious about the Gay Science thing, or does gay not mean gay?
Matt Weiner stole my avatar

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Post by ezubaric » Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:18 pm

Sadly, I'm not responsible for the clever title. The credit/blame should be reserved for Jerry.

To quote Mr. Nietzsche:
To laugh at oneself as one would have to laugh in order to laugh out of the whole truth—to do that even the best so far lacked sufficient sense for the truth, and the most gifted had too little genius for that! Even laughter may yet have a future! I mean, when the proposition "the species is everything, one is always none" has become part of humanity, and this ultimate liberation and irresponsibility has become accessible to all at all times. Perhaps laughter will then have formed an alliance with wisdom, perhaps only "gay science" will then be left.
Edit: can't spell
Jordan Boyd-Graber
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2018-present
UC Boulder, Founder / Faculty Advisor 2014-2017
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2010-2014
Princeton, Player 2004-2009
Caltech (Pasadena, CA), Player / President 2000-2004
Ark Math & Science (Hot Springs, AR), Player 1998-2000
Monticello High School, Player 1997-1998

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Post by grapesmoker » Fri Apr 15, 2005 7:58 pm

Larry Horse wrote:Are you serious about the Gay Science thing, or does gay not mean gay?
Quite serious, my friend, in all possible interpretations.

Jerry
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Post by ezubaric » Wed May 04, 2005 4:49 pm

The earlier packet deadline was tentative given the range of dates Subash put out earlier, but it's now official. If you want to be assured of a spot, send in a packet by June 14th. Interested parties without a packet might be allowed to play depending on mirror teams who write packets and and our motivation to write house packets.

I've heard from a few people expressing interest, but if you'd like to play, please go ahead and e-mail me so I can get a better sense of the field.

-Jordan
Jordan Boyd-Graber
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2018-present
UC Boulder, Founder / Faculty Advisor 2014-2017
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2010-2014
Princeton, Player 2004-2009
Caltech (Pasadena, CA), Player / President 2000-2004
Ark Math & Science (Hot Springs, AR), Player 1998-2000
Monticello High School, Player 1997-1998

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Post by setht » Thu May 05, 2005 1:59 pm

I've taken a gander at the SM III distribution, and it seems a bit strange to me. The last two SMs used the following distribution:
4/4 bio
4/4 chem
4/4 physics
3/3 math/cs
3/3 astro/earth science
2/2 other (more of the above, engineering, whatever)

This year's distribution is:
4/4 bio
4/4 chem
4/4 physics
3/3 math
2/2 cs
2/2 astro/earth science
3/3 other (lab techniques, science in science fiction, "fake" science, biography questions, etc.)


There are two things I don't like about this distribution; I'm wondering whether other people feel similarly, and if so, whether Jordan would be willing to change things. Disclaimers before I get on with the whining: 1) as the head editor, Jordan gets to do whatever he wants; 2) if the distribution remains unchanged, I will still play, and I'm sure I will still have a good time.

Now for the whining. The original SM distribution was set up by me as a rough approximation to the typical tournament's science distribution. Of course there is quite a bit of variability in how the science is subdistributed between various tournaments, but I think the current distribution is skewed pretty far from the typical tournament. In particular, is there some reason to have as much cs as astro and earth science combined? I don't think I've ever been to a tournament where this was true; in fact, I think the vast majority of tournaments have more astro than cs (and a fair amount have at least as much earth science as cs). I have also been to at least one tournament with more astro than math. I think the typical tournament has about as much math + cs as astro + earth science, with math having the most questions, followed by astro, earth science, and then barely any cs (many tournaments have 2/2 or less, in the entire set). The tournaments to which I refer are submission tournaments, which suggests that players tend not to enjoy writing CS questions. I think the majority of the teams playing SM III will struggle to write 2/2 acceptable, non-overlapping CS questions. Why not cut back on the required number of CS questions? People who want to write more can do so through the "other" category. What do other people planning on playing think about this?

The second thing that struck me as odd in the distribution was the 3/3 other (lab techniques, science in science fiction, "fake" science, biography questions, etc.). This one seems less important than the previous bit, because people can just write more of the regular categories, if they want. But, is there some reason not to have lab techniques and biography in whatever discipline they belong to (Southern blot in bio, titration in chem, Mark Bukowinski in earth science, etc.)? What kind of "fake" science are we talking about? If people want to write the occasional question on a now-discredited theory that was important to the development of science (e.g., Newtonian mechanics), is there some reason to separate that from questions in whatever discipline said theory influenced? If we're talking about more crackpot theories that have never been accepted and have had little or no influence on the development of science (e.g. scientology, Larry Horse's soon-to-be-published theory of "Peninis" as the dominant form of dark energy), why bother writing them, especially for a science tournament? Finally, I'm not a fan of the "science in science fiction" idea, but it's probably not worth debating.

In summary: SM III will be a lot of fun, and I'm very grateful to Jordan (and his co-editors) for taking it on. I think there's too much CS in the distribution. I hope many teams will use the last 3/3 as an opportunity to write more of the standard categories; I don't think anyone's interested in hearing my zerg biology bonus, so I won't inflict it on you. I make no promises about protoss physics.

-Seth

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Post by QuizBowlRonin » Thu May 05, 2005 2:55 pm

I don't think anyone's interested in hearing my zerg biology bonus, so I won't inflict it on you. I make no promises about protoss physics.
I expect that you will be asking us about cloaking techniques and the mysteries of time travel.

EDIT: I challenge all comers to Brood War on US East. ID: JPaikman
Last edited by QuizBowlRonin on Thu May 05, 2005 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Thu May 05, 2005 3:29 pm

First of all, I'd like to say that I agree with all of Seth's points, especially the one about playing and having a great time regardless of the eventual distribution (as Andrew and I have at each Science Masters... oh, and we're going to get you this year, Seth, you punk) but also the ones about the distribution.

Secondly, the following statement is untrue:
setht wrote:I don't think anyone's interested in hearing my zerg biology bonus, so I won't inflict it on you. I make no promises about protoss physics.
'StarCraft' was by far the finest packet at the Iowa Theme Tournament. While that may not be saying very much, it was also a very fine packet all in all. Please, more.

MaS

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Post by ezubaric » Thu May 05, 2005 8:27 pm

setht wrote:In particular, is there some reason to have as much cs as astro and earth science combined?
Yes, there is a very good reason. I have a ton of CS questions lying around, and this is a great chance for them to be put to use. :grin: Although I would like to see more CS in quiz bowl, Seth is right about there is no way that there should be more CS than astro.

I wrote this distribution before having Wesley on board, and I felt uneasy about the "Planetary Science" category and wanted to limit my liability. I've updated the distribution to make CS and astro both 2/1 or 1/2, and I've boosted earth sciences to 2/2.
setht wrote:want. But, is there some reason not to have lab techniques and biography in whatever discipline they belong to (Southern blot in bio, titration in chem,
No, not really. I guess I just didn't want people to forget that those were options for writing questions. This has also been updated.
setht wrote:What kind of "fake" science are we talking about?
My goal was to encourage people to write questions that would be fun given the context (and I agree that discredited theories should go in the appropriate category). I think that it's a worthy experiment, but perhaps I'll look back at it in regret. I was thinking along the lines of questions that I had written for past SMs: "Snow Crash", "Pigeon" (from RFC 1149 and Pigeon rank), "Warp Drive". I know that I had fun writing them, and I think I would have fun playing on such a packet.

Perhaps there is no place for trashy subjects in a science tournament, but I'd like to give it a try. I think this is also the place for crackpot theories, which I agree are probably not worth writing about (with a few exceptions). I'd like to give people an opportunity to be creative, though. Let's see what happens. In order to make room for the above expansions (and partially to quell Seth's fears), I've pulled back this category to 2/2.

Thanks for your comments, Seth. If more people have ideas, please chime in now. Nothing's set in stone, and I want this to be as fun as possible for everyone involved.

EDIT: sarcasm not obvious ... didn't want to come off as a prick
Jordan Boyd-Graber
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2018-present
UC Boulder, Founder / Faculty Advisor 2014-2017
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2010-2014
Princeton, Player 2004-2009
Caltech (Pasadena, CA), Player / President 2000-2004
Ark Math & Science (Hot Springs, AR), Player 1998-2000
Monticello High School, Player 1997-1998

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Post by ezubaric » Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:29 pm

So we have at least five packets expected, and we're working on more house packets. If you're writing a packet, please let me know just so I can stay on top of what's happening.

Is there anyone who would be interested in playing but can't submit a packet? If so, reply here or send me an e-mail at jbg AT princeton.edu. Will we see a Frankel/Weiner dream team? We can't assure you a spot yet, but odds are we'll have a couple of spots.
Jordan Boyd-Graber
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2018-present
UC Boulder, Founder / Faculty Advisor 2014-2017
UMD (College Park, MD), Faculty Advisor 2010-2014
Princeton, Player 2004-2009
Caltech (Pasadena, CA), Player / President 2000-2004
Ark Math & Science (Hot Springs, AR), Player 1998-2000
Monticello High School, Player 1997-1998

Human-Computer Question Answering:
http://qanta.org/

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