Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Old college threads.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Captain Sinico »

I'll again add my voice pretty much everyone's yearly call for less trash. Please?

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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker »

grapesmoker wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:Regarding "beta-minus decay," that process is never called neutron decay so there's no way you should accept or prompt on that. On the other hand, you should probably just accept beta decay as that's what it's usually called.
Isn't the process being described neutron decay though? Pretty much by definition?
Ok, sorry to get hung up on the technical points of a science question but I think I understand what happened. I consulted the particle data group booklet, and the decay mode being described was not in it. It seems as though neutron decay refers to the decay of free neutrons, while beta decay refers to the decay of neutrons in nuclei. I'm not entirely comfortable with negging someone who says "neutron decay," outright; I think it should probably be promptable. But "beta decay" definitely seems to be good enough.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by SnookerUSF »

I am not quite ready to engage generally the panoply of comments on the SCT, suffice it to say that while my knowledge base (as fragmented and woefully insufficient as it is) always makes NAQT a difficult proposition, I did enjoy vast swaths of the tournament.

I know generally the purpose of discussion is not to single out one question for critique, and no doubt this will be read by some as a purely self-serving comment: I must say however, I truly enjoyed the: Frank Kermode-Wallace Stevens-Stephan Mallarme bonus and would encourage NAQT to pursue such kinds of questions in the future. I liked it because it involved a critic, who perhaps does not have the wide-ranging cultural significance of a Harold Bloom or Stanley Fish, but whose writings appear regularly in such well-read publications as the New York Review of Books, and integrated him with authors whose reputations are much more firm in a way that seemed natural rather than gimmicky or contrived.

I will say that I found the Henry Cowell bonus amusing given the din and discord it caused in the wake of CO, but we must admit that 66% of that bonus was at best incidentally related to Cowell.

Personally, I was surprised to see the tossup answer of: Gaudeamus igitur, should I have been, or is this answer selection reasonable for SCT?

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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by matt979 »

Old Man of the Mountain wrote: How is "Seattle Sonics" not an acceptable answer? Or just Seattle? Or just Sonics? The team often referred to themselves as just the Sonics!
The actual answer line:
answer: _Seattle_ _Supersonics_ (prompt on "Oklahoma City" or "Thunder" before "Oklahoma City Thunder" is mentioned)

The answer line should have read:
answer: _Seattle_ _Supersonics_ (accept either underlined part; accept _Sonics_; prompt on "Oklahoma City" or "Thunder" before "Oklahoma City Thunder" is mentioned)

My fault (I wrote this a week ago) . Even from what was on the page readers should have taken Seattle (I realize now that consecutive chunks of underlining can confuse people), and leaving out "Sonics" was just my oversight.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area »

SnookerUSF wrote:Personally, I was surprised to see the tossup answer of: Gaudeamus igitur, should I have been, or is this answer selection reasonable for SCT?
It's not, we noticed it in editing but ran out of time to fix it. (That is: we accepted a well-written ICT-level question, over writing a last-minute fix question of uncertain quality. This kind of thing happens more than we would like, but I tried to cut back on the difficult answers in the history tossups.)
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent »

matt979 wrote:
Old Man of the Mountain wrote: How is "Seattle Sonics" not an acceptable answer? Or just Seattle? Or just Sonics? The team often referred to themselves as just the Sonics!
The actual answer line:
answer: _Seattle_ _Supersonics_ (prompt on "Oklahoma City" or "Thunder" before "Oklahoma City Thunder" is mentioned)

The answer line should have read:
answer: _Seattle_ _Supersonics_ (accept either underlined part; accept _Sonics_; prompt on "Oklahoma City" or "Thunder" before "Oklahoma City Thunder" is mentioned)

My fault (I wrote this a week ago) . Even from what was on the page readers should have taken Seattle (I realize now that consecutive chunks of underlining can confuse people), and leaving out "Sonics" was just my oversight.
Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Captain Sinico »

According to everything I can recall (this is an area I know some stuff about, I guess), "neutron decay" refers to is "the spontaneous emission of a neutron by a nuclide." If there was a block of clues about the beta decay of a free neutron, I guess that's something like a gray area, since I've seen that called things like "the decay of a free neutron" so I'll correct myself to say that one should be willing at least to offer a prompt in that case.
Sorry for not being better informed about the tossup. I didn't hear or see this question (because of one or more of: we didn't hear a lot of questions both because of slow readers and at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions; we played the D2 set; and we didn't get copies of the questions.)

As for the permutation symbol, sure; as I said, you're right that people call it a tensor, but it's not, in fact, a tensor. Either way, that description is a screwjob.

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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area »

Captain Sinico wrote:we didn't get copies of the questions
SCT hosting guidelines wrote:Hosts will distribute, free of charge, one copy of the Division I questions to each school with a Division I team in attendance and one copy of the Division II questions to each school with a Division II team in attendance.
I'll be in touch with R. about getting the teams from the Indiana site their questions.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Captain Sinico »

Old Man of the Mountain wrote:Hey, I just tried to reply to a Mike Sorice post and now it's gone. What happened?
Oh, sorry; I deleted it because I noticed it was redundant (Jerry had already said pretty much the same thing upthead.)

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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Ukonvasara wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
Yeah, the whole "NAQT will work with ACUI people to make sure they know what they are doing at all" thing may have failed in some instances, it seems.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Brian Ulrich »

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
Yeah, the whole "NAQT will work with ACUI people to make sure they know what they are doing at all" thing may have failed in some instances, it seems.
The last time I went to CBI's Region IX with Quincy University, we compared the experience to Heart of Darkness, though I forget the exact connections. It sounds like it hasn't changed much.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

Ukonvasara wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
This is miserable.

Anyway, NAQT needs to take away this major concept from its examination of these criticisms: Before you write a question or put it into a set, ask yourself if there is a better way to write about the same general subject matter! Examples: Why ask about Alex the Droog when you can ask about A Clockwork Orange? Why ask about Mark from RENT (dear god) when you can ask about RENT (not great, but still)? Why ask about heterochromatin when you can ask about chromatin? marbles when you can ask about the Elgin marbles or Marble Madness or whatever? and so on.

I'd like to add to the horror about the tossup on the Medusa, note that someone in my room buzzed early on moai with "Easter Island heads" and recoiled in horror when he realized he'd need to pull the Polynesian name, and point out once again that the existence of that tossup on the sharp could have improved that packet immeasurably by not existing.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent »

Captain Sinico wrote:
Old Man of the Mountain wrote:Hey, I just tried to reply to a Mike Sorice post and now it's gone. What happened?
Oh, sorry; I deleted it because I noticed it was redundant (Jerry had already said pretty much the same thing upthead.)

MaS
Not a problem. I just thought there may have been a glitch in the site.

Additionally, I found another one of my device physics books around that shows just how wrong I was!
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent »

Brian Ulrich wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
Yeah, the whole "NAQT will work with ACUI people to make sure they know what they are doing at all" thing may have failed in some instances, it seems.
The last time I went to CBI's Region IX with Quincy University, we compared the experience to Heart of Darkness, though I forget the exact connections. It sounds like it hasn't changed much.
You haven't played CBI until you've played 90 minutes to complete a round CBI. Twice. At the same tournament.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Brian Ulrich »

Old Man of the Mountain wrote:
Brian Ulrich wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ukonvasara wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:at least one reader who would refuse to read/toss out questions with words she found difficult, which usually meant science questions
What!
Yeah, the whole "NAQT will work with ACUI people to make sure they know what they are doing at all" thing may have failed in some instances, it seems.
The last time I went to CBI's Region IX with Quincy University, we compared the experience to Heart of Darkness, though I forget the exact connections. It sounds like it hasn't changed much.
You haven't played CBI until you've played 90 minutes to complete a round CBI. Twice. At the same tournament.
Ahh, but then I think I have! With long byes in between as other teams did so!
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Cheynem »

I completely agree with Hannah, although I don't really have a problem with asking for Alex--he's a pretty famous main character.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker »

As long as we're talking about trash: why does NAQT have an almost pathological aversion to things that are happening in sports right now? Like, I watch the NBA a fair bit, I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about what's going on in the leauge, and only one question in this whole tournament really touched on that, which was the tossup on Brandon Jennings. It seems like you should want to reward people who are active fans and are actually engaged in following the sport, but so much of what actually gets rewarded is historical minutia about where some dude went to school or winners of Hobey Baker awards who haven't been active players for 15 years.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by matt979 »

endersdouble wrote:
  • College sports are the suck. Less sports trash, please.
  • "When You Were Young" is emphatically not power for the Killers. "Gary Anderson, perfect all season, missed a field goal" is emphatically not power for the NFC championship.
First, I'll echo the call for fewer non-academic SCT questions, for one very practical reason: There are topics in which NAQT writers collectively generate good quality/quantity; then there are the topics that give rise to an inordinate number of last-minute needs. Inevitably the time pressures involved in writing/editing those questions will lead to unacceptable flaws. It's all the more absurd to have pressing needs in categories that the field doesn't necessarily like.

Second, both of the above were mine (though none of the power marks was).
--
According to ~Rolling Stone~ readers, this band had the most underrated album of the decade, a 2006 release that contains "Read My Mind" and "When You Were Young." The first album by this band included the lyrics "She's calling a cab while he's having a smoke" and "Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight." (*) ~Sam's Town~ and ~Hot Fuss~ are albums by--for 10 points--what Las Vegas band, led by Brandon Flowers, that sang "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me"?
--

That's too generous a mark (I'd have probably put it before "cab") but if "When You Were Young" isn't power-worthy then this tossup as a whole was too easy for the set. Not too surprising for a filler question written this past Tuesday.

--
In 1976 it featured three touchdown catches by Preston Pearson, while in 1999 a previously perfect Gary Anderson missed a field goal to all but clinch a win. Twice in the last three years an interception in this game has been the last play of the season for (*) Brett Favre, in overtime losses to the {New York Giants} and {New Orleans Saints}. The Lions and the Redskins haven't appeared in it since 1991. The {George Halas Trophy} goes to the winner of--for 10 points--what Super Bowl qualifier?
--

As written (before subject editing) this the catch in the back of the end zone by Dwight Clark (before Gary Anderson) and a very inessential Reggie Bush reference (from the Bears-Saints game). It didn't have the Lions/Redskins sentence, and the Anderson sentence was much less verbose. It may have contained the clause "missed field goal by Gary Anderson." In that version I'd put the mark before "Anderson." In what you see above, I'd put it before "interception" or "game."
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by negatron »

What about the awful redshift question? Using a classical test of general relativity as an initial clue, then following it up by saying "gravitational form of this effect" and finally "can be caused by differences in velocity" before explaining that it is related to the Doppler effect means that good, deep, physics players will get hosed, by first saying "general relativity" or "time dilation" early on. Science in general had issues, such as "reaction rate coefficients" not being accepted for "reaction rate constants".

Then there was the "missile strike against Libya" not being accepted for "attack on Libya" or "bombing of Libya". Missiles were used against air-defense networks, so this is part of what happened. I also imagine that being a bit fuzzy on the details of airstrikes at the time is not supposed to make your answer wrong for this.

Some scorekeepers did not keep running totals, slowing down the end of matches considerably.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by matt979 »

grapesmoker wrote:As long as we're talking about trash: why does NAQT have an almost pathological aversion to things that are happening in sports right now?
I think that's a fair criticism for NAQT sports tossups in upper-difficulty packet sets. (Not for the easy sets; at least I hope not.)

For tossups, it's a lot easier to write (for example) Albert Pujols to high school difficulty than to higher difficulty. The SCT counterpart might be a St. Louis Cardinals tossup that passes through Stan Musial and the fleet-footed Herzog era Cards (not necessarily in that order) on its way to a Pujols giveaway. (Or, say, a Kevin Durant giveaway to the Seattle Supersonics.)

For bonuses, my impression on read-throughs (round by round, not category by category) was that we had a reasonable amount of "right now" in the sports. If it weren't so close to the Super Bowl I'd look through the set for specific examples.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by gregpweinstein »

Old Man of the Mountain wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:
Old Man of the Mountain wrote:Can anyone name more than 2 MLB GMs without looking it up? I could only name Epstein or Cashman.
People who follow baseball closely can do this (and earn thirty points). Just off the top of my head, I wouldn't hesitate to use Billy Beane as a middle part in a bonus about GMs.
I forgot about Beane, but I could see him being an answer.
Also Omar Minaya and Frank Wren (haha but that is because im a braves fan), but I just wanted to say that I liked the trash questions, obviously that wouldnt hold too much wait seeing as how I consider myself more of a trash player. For my part they seemed easier than a trash set which I think is what academic tournaments are going for. And there really were too many current/former politicians that dont hold historical importance that it got kind of annoying after a while, and I was surprised we didnt hit all of the current congressman, though I havent looked at the Division 1 set yet, so they could have been there.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by matt979 »

negatron wrote: Then there was the "missile strike against Libya" not being accepted for "attack on Libya" or "bombing of Libya". Missiles were used against air-defense networks, so this is part of what happened. I also imagine that being a bit fuzzy on the details of airstrikes at the time is not supposed to make your answer wrong for this.
Beating Jeff to the punch...
Division II, Round 2 wrote: Responses to this attack included Scud missiles fired at the Italian island of Lampedusa [LAM-puh-DOO-suh] and three hostages hanged in Beirut by the Abu Nidal group. Its targets included the Azizyah barracks, the Benina airfield, and the (*) Benghazi air defense network, and it was a response to the bombing of a West Berlin disco. For 10 points--name this U.S. aerial attack, codenamed El Dorado Canyon, on Muammar al-Qaddafi [guh-DAW-fee].

answer: _Bombing of Libya_ (accept equivalents, like _attack on Gaddafi_ before mentioned in question)
I remember glancing at this in a read-through and idly wondering if the answer line could be improved (there were higher priorities, and I was mainly in it for the repeat avoidance).

Matt

(By the way, the Rydberg overlap is on me. I remember seeing it, but it's not in the Round 9 notes from my sent mail.)
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Post by matt979 »

matt979 wrote:If it weren't so close to the Super Bowl I'd look through the set for specific examples.
Many of these are explicitly required to be "recent" (greater than 2000 -- I think that criterion was set a few years ago and I'll recommend changing it to a rolling "less than 2-3 years ago).

I'd say these satisfy the strong form of Jerry's "right now" criterion: Braun, Jennings, the Harrisons, Stoops, maybe the Moyer bonus, maybe either or both of the sabermetrics (baseball / basketball) bonuses.

Meanwhile the three different pre-1950s questions (EDIT: four counting Jack Johnson; 4 1/2 counting Ebbets Field) are a bit fluky.

Baseball:
Tossup on Ryan Braun (with internal discussion of whether Braun + Jennings = too much Milwaukee)
Tossup on Ebbets Field
Bonus on Jamie Moyer
Bonus on Wilson/Gehrig/Greenberg
Bonus on baseball sabermetricians
(Jeff already posted these earlier in the thread)

Football:
Tossup on various NFL players named Harrison
Tossup on "NFC Championship game"
Tossup on Bob Stoops
Bonus on Outland Trophy winners (Glenn Dorsey from this decade, two from earlier)
Bonus on college greats of the 1930s

Basketball:
Tossup on the Supersonics
Tossup on Brandon Jennings
Bonus on college basketball statistical analysis
Bonus on notable NCAA tournament winners

Hockey:
Tossup on Don Cherry
Bonus on Hobie Baker winners (with _hockey_ as the answer to A)

Soccer:
Tossup on Hand of God
Bonus on owners of Premier League teams

Other/Miscellany:
Tossup on Mark Spitz
Tossup on the Astrodome
Tossup on New Zealand (various sports)
Bonus on cycling terms
Bonus on Jack Johnson claiming the heavyweight title
Bonus on early 20th century athletes (Tilden/Mikan/Hutson)
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat »

That bonus on cycling terms was not a good idea. I've actually watched much of the Tour de France the last few years, and I don't remember hearing the term "echelon." For most people, I would expect the bonus to be an automatic 0.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by matt979 »

While I'm here I'll offer a tepid defense of the _tilde_ (computer science) question, with which Andy and I had a roughly similar last-minute-review experience.
Most Unix editors append this character to a filename to indicate a backup file. In algorithm theory, it indicates that two functions have asymptotic equality. In C it denotes the bitwise negation operator, while in C++ it precedes the name of a (*) {destructor}. In {Perl} it is part of the {regular expression}-matching operator, while in Linux it symbolizes the {home directory}. In math it can indicate {similarity}. For 10 points--name this undulating punctuation mark found above the grave [grahv].
Awhile back I was lucky enough to get an on-campus interview at Google. Among other things I was asked to write on a whiteboard a regular expression that would match between 2 and 5 instances of a particular character. (For example, \d{2,5} to match between 2 and 5 digits.) I completely shanked the syntax of the part between the curly braces. If I'd needed to do this as part of real work I would have just looked it up, but it's a fair interview question as a way to signify just how fluent one is (or isn't) in the language.

Even though a theorist wouldn't necessarily care that a tilde has some special meaning (as opposed to an asterisk or something), I infer that the implicit premise of a question like this is that people highly familiar with {particular Unix editors, algorithm theory, C, C++, etc.} would recognize those clues as a consequence of their fluency.
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Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I think that it's better to ask about topics themselves, rather than to ask about likely associated topics. Like, people who have a lot of real music knowledge probably know more things about how sharps have been typeset (maybe they've read some old-timey sheet music or something? certainly, they'd take more of an interest in that stuff). But we don't (generally) do that. Chemists could answer bonuses about the formatting requirements for JACS, but, uh, please don't.

There's no good reason to prefer these questions over questions that don't have the associated knowledge => cs knowledge link. Google preferred to have you write a regex because they probably didn't want to watch you program for fifteen minutes then debug code for an hour (and even in that context, they were looking for programmers, right?).
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Post by Mike Bentley »

matt979 wrote:While I'm here I'll offer a tepid defense of the _tilde_ (computer science) question, with which Andy and I had a roughly similar last-minute-review experience.
Most Unix editors append this character to a filename to indicate a backup file. In algorithm theory, it indicates that two functions have asymptotic equality. In C it denotes the bitwise negation operator, while in C++ it precedes the name of a (*) {destructor}. In {Perl} it is part of the {regular expression}-matching operator, while in Linux it symbolizes the {home directory}. In math it can indicate {similarity}. For 10 points--name this undulating punctuation mark found above the grave [grahv].
Awhile back I was lucky enough to get an on-campus interview at Google. Among other things I was asked to write on a whiteboard a regular expression that would match between 2 and 5 instances of a particular character. (For example, \d{2,5} to match between 2 and 5 digits.) I completely shanked the syntax of the part between the curly braces. If I'd needed to do this as part of real work I would have just looked it up, but it's a fair interview question as a way to signify just how fluent one is (or isn't) in the language.

Even though a theorist wouldn't necessarily care that a tilde has some special meaning (as opposed to an asterisk or something), I infer that the implicit premise of a question like this is that people highly familiar with {particular Unix editors, algorithm theory, C, C++, etc.} would recognize those clues as a consequence of their fluency.
I'm not convinced that you cannot write a decent symbol tossup, but this certainly wasn't a good example.

I think there is also an argument to be made that some of the clues in this question are probably not that different than asking about how things like Gas Chromatography works. A lot of tossups on IR Spectroscopy probably mention things that aren't very connected to theory ("this guy provided a modification to the process..."). The complete disdain for these type of things in Computer Science probably is a bit extreme.

Let's look at this question in detail:
"Most Unix editors append this character to a filename to indicate a backup file." - This really has nothing to do with computer science. It's just testing whether you know the implementation details of Unix backup files. Who cares about this?
"In algorithm theory, it indicates that two functions have asymptotic equality." I've never personally heard of this but it seems like a legit clue to put in a question like this. I assume you're referring to something like the "tilde notation" at http://www.cs.princeton.edu/introcs/41analysis/.
"In C it denotes the bitwise negation operator," C is a common language, I guess if you're going to do a language like this that's something you'd ask. I think I've probably done this before, but don't remember that the tilde does this.
"while in C++ it precedes the name of a (*) {destructor}." Again, C++ is a common language so I guess having this there is decent.
"In {Perl} it is part of the {regular expression}-matching operator," Same as above.
"while in Linux it symbolizes the {home directory}." - This is more computer literacy garbage. Who cares what Linux uses for the home directory symbol?
"In math it can indicate {similarity}." Ok, fine.
"For 10 points--name this undulating punctuation mark found above the grave." The giveaway here is testing people's knowledge of a keyboard layout? Really?
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I've always heard "twiddle notation" for asymptotic equality; the character is certainly a tilde. But that's definitely a perfectly buzzable clue (for all that's worth, which for this tossup isn't a ton).
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Post by Captain Sinico »

As far as I know, the twiddle and tilde are the same thing.

MaS
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Captain Sinico wrote:As far as I know, the twiddle and tilde are the same thing.

MaS
That would make sense. That should probably be in the answer line of any future inexplicable tilde tossups, then!
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by fluffy4102 »

samer wrote:
Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:
vandyhawk wrote:Hannah, any further thoughts on mitochondria and malaria? Though this isn't that great of an excuse, those were two of the very few bio questions originating from others, and I had way less time to write/edit than I would have liked this year (going back to like July...).
Sure, although be forewarned that I'm no Eric or Susan when it comes to bio.
I had an issue with the mitochondria leadin that said that vancomycin "inhibits these structures." The two things I know vancomycin for are 1. inhibiting cell wall construction and 2. halting the action of ATP synthase, which is a transmembrane protein of both mitochondria and chloroplasts. And considering that K-S syndrome and the mention of Tim and Tam proteins are both pretty early to early-middle clues, there was also quite a difficulty cliff right after power, which I am happy to blame on the character limit.
FWIW, the antibiotic mentioned was valinomycin, not vancomycin.
As an ionophore, Valinomycin uncouples mitochondria. It does not inhibit them.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by bmcke »

I liked this set, at least for DII which I saw.

- I liked that the toss-ups were short, and I especially liked that the bonuses were short. I don't mind if some questions went to buzzer races; I always win or lose those races depending on whether or not the answer had crossed my mind before.
- I liked the cross-discipline questions; those are accessible to everybody but they usually still reward actual skill/knowledge. I always thought the segregation of different academic subjects was just a thing to make writing easier.
- I liked that there was "extra" trash; lots of my teammates play quizbowl just as a social thing. After ten rounds sort of bashing your head on a wall, getting an easy power on the Killers totally makes someone's day.
- I also liked that not every answer was a proper noun.

Uneven bonuses are unfair, but so are lots of things. It's "unfair" that my classes overlap with quizbowl more than most, but it's also "unfair" that I did high school in Canada so I've, like, never heard of the Civil War. ~90% of matches still get won by the better team somehow.

NAQT is more random than the ACF circuit, but less random than, like, any other quiz competition, or any other competition of almost any kind. If you held the 2010 SCT at the Canadian site 100 times, Ottawa would only win DII maybe 25 times, but probably Toronto would win DI at least 90 times. Probably the Brown teams would have won their site all 100 times. For luck to be any kind of factor in a quizbowl match, the two teams need to be at a very close level in the first place.



(Should this get moved to its own thread? It might be kinda first principles.)
Last edited by bmcke on Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by vandyhawk »

fluffy4102 wrote:
samer wrote: FWIW, the antibiotic mentioned was valinomycin, not vancomycin.
As an ionophore, Valinomycin uncouples mitochondria. It does not inhibit them.
I suppose "target" may have been a better word. I just remember googling "valinomycin AND mitochondria" to do a quick check of that clue. Also, the Rydberg repeat seems to be caused by the tossup being chemistry and the bonus part being physics. Still, the internal repeat checker should have prevented that, so not sure how it actually got through.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by alexdz »

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I'm not sure how many people wouldn't be able to recognize "Caprica" from the description given in A but would be able to recognize it if BSG were specifically name-checked.
FWIW, I would have gotten this had they mentioned BSG.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Steve Watchorn »

Just wanted to drop back in to thank Jerry for the fact that my brains are now splattered out the back of my skull, from slapping my head so hard over how I *should* have worded the permutation intro. Operation, not entity. That would have set that on much more of the right course. In addition to my problem of not frequently hearing it called a tensor (either in my mathematical methods class or in my limited experience with how it is applied by my colleagues -- hence my "sometimes applied" thread of description meant, to me, that, as you alluded to, it is sometimes called the permutation symbol (and, even then, just coming out and calling it an alternate name would have been better)), I focused so much on what it was (a selection) that I neglected the fact that it is much more commonly thought of as an operation. That would have steered the whole front of that question toward a stronger path. I apologize for your neg and any others that came from my poor choice of words and limited consideration.

Could I borrow some parts of your brain when I write questions from now on? :wink:
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker »

matt979 wrote:While I'm here I'll offer a tepid defense of the _tilde_ (computer science) question, with which Andy and I had a roughly similar last-minute-review experience.

Awhile back I was lucky enough to get an on-campus interview at Google. Among other things I was asked to write on a whiteboard a regular expression that would match between 2 and 5 instances of a particular character. (For example, \d{2,5} to match between 2 and 5 digits.) I completely shanked the syntax of the part between the curly braces. If I'd needed to do this as part of real work I would have just looked it up, but it's a fair interview question as a way to signify just how fluent one is (or isn't) in the language.
It's not a fair interview question; if I had to guess, I'd say you were interviewed by a pedant who wanted to see if you could regurgitate some stale information instead of someone interested in whether you can think or not. Anyway, who cares, because this has balls all to do with whether this makes a good question. Quizbowl isn't a job interview.
Even though a theorist wouldn't necessarily care that a tilde has some special meaning (as opposed to an asterisk or something), I infer that the implicit premise of a question like this is that people highly familiar with {particular Unix editors, algorithm theory, C, C++, etc.} would recognize those clues as a consequence of their fluency.
Uh, I constantly operate in a Linux environment which means that I constantly do things like type ~ to go home. But I also frequently do things like drill holes in objects, so perhaps we can have a bonus on various tools one uses in a milling machine or how to run a lathe? Because that's about as academic as knowing what the tilde does in C++.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Ike »

In my current comp sci class we just learned about destructors the Friday before SCT. I would not have been able to recall what precedes a destructor given the quickness of the game and pressure because it is something that is so minuscule. To be honest, if you asked me in six months from now, unless I've been coding a lot, I won't remember details like that. This happened last year when I was given a bonus that needed the symbol to dereference a pointer in C++. It had only been 1 month or so, but I had already forgotten because it really isn't that important.

If the question had asked what dererencing or destructors are, (things I find more important anyway) I would be able to remember, but the individual symbol would elude my memory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Moderators, looks like I didn't realize this part was being discussed openly, which I should have instantly realized, feel free to cross-post this if necessary.] edit 1.

I'm not particularly happy with how things turned out in our field, but I want to say that some of our field was weakened due to bad weather, I don't mean OSU cancelling, but I mean that 9/10th of the points scored on the Illinois D team was not present for round 1. I hope the new D value will be able to factor this into things. I also find it pretty upsetting that NAQT was unable to foresee the disaster that went down at our site. We played a hilariously unfair schedule consisting of round robin, then playing the first three opponents of the round robin again. This meant that Sorice's team had to play more games with the "potential possible" second place team twice, while my team had to play a less challenging schedule. The fact that NAQT did not intervene to rectify this ( I mean seriously, this would be fixing round 8-10 with a simple rebracket after the round robin is over) is absolutely frustrating.

Aside from an ACUI moderator that tried skipped science tossups because she couldn't pronounce words, took 90 seconds to read the Polyphemus tossup, around a minute for all bonuses, the tournament director (or what I presumed was the TD) was clearly incompetent. When we arrived, it took her nearly five minutes to give us our schedule because she had no idea that I was joining a team, which prompted her to say "I can't help you there," until Donald and David Garb tried vaingloriously to explain the situation to her. I think that's odd because you would think Sorice would have explained the situation competently (which given the way the TD was behaving, he probably did but she did not.) There was another moderator (again associated with ACUI) that was about to run to the TD not to resolve a protest between two teams because there was no way that either team was in contention for the final.

From my understanding, NAQT did try to secure some moderators for the field, as one of the moderators (the best one) told me Jeff Hoppes contacted him and told him to come on down. So I don't think its fair to say NAQT is completely at fault, but given the way CBI operated in the past, the bureaucratic slowness and tendencies of ACUI, the distantness from the circuit the ACUI has, and the extremely crucial nature of the SCT in determining who goes to ICT, it seems careless (at best) for NAQT not to take a hands on approach. Given how NAQT tries to operate for timely efficiency in their HSNCT, I don't think they were willfully trying to shove off responsibility in having tournaments be run efficiently, fairly etc.

I do think NAQT could have taken preventive remedies given the above factors.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by alexdz »

matt979 wrote: According to ~Rolling Stone~ readers, this band had the most underrated album of the decade, a 2006 release that contains "Read My Mind" and "When You Were Young." The first album by this band included the lyrics "She's calling a cab while he's having a smoke" and "Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight." (*) ~Sam's Town~ and ~Hot Fuss~ are albums by--for 10 points--what Las Vegas band, led by Brandon Flowers, that sang "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me"?
--

That's too generous a mark (I'd have probably put it before "cab") but if "When You Were Young" isn't power-worthy then this tossup as a whole was too easy for the set. Not too surprising for a filler question written this past Tuesday.
Then it was too easy. "When You Were Young" (and for that matter, "Read My Mind") is much, much, much more better known as a Killers song than "Somebody Told Me," which, even as a fan of that genre of music, I have never heard of, so to have it in the giveaway is a bit strange to me.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area »

Ike wrote:I also find it pretty upsetting that NAQT was unable to foresee the disaster that went down at our site. We played a hilariously unfair schedule consisting of round robin, then playing the first three opponents of the round robin again. This meant that Sorice's team had to play more games with the "potential possible" second place team twice, while my team had to play a less challenging schedule. The fact that NAQT did not intervene to rectify this ( I mean seriously, this would be fixing round 8-10 with a simple rebracket after the round robin is over) is absolutely frustrating.
I certainly did not know about this until after the tournament was over, and it clearly violates our rules for SCT formats.
Last edited by Important Bird Area on Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

alexdz wrote:"When You Were Young" (and for that matter, "Read My Mind") is much, much, much more better known as a Killers song than "Somebody Told Me,"
This assertion, especially the parenthetical, is emphatically not true, your atypical knowledge notwithstanding. However, the point remains that "When You Were Young" is indeed too well-known to be that early.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Ukonvasara wrote:
alexdz wrote:"When You Were Young" (and for that matter, "Read My Mind") is much, much, much more better known as a Killers song than "Somebody Told Me,"
This assertion, especially the parenthetical, is emphatically not true, your atypical knowledge notwithstanding. However, the point remains that "When You Were Young" is indeed too well-known to be that early.
The more telling thing about this tossup, for me at least, was its use of relatively well-known song titles before the albums on which they appear. Unless we're talking the Beatles, jazz, or really famous classic rock, there are few album titles that actually should come after the titles of tracks that appear on them. They're just not helpful to most people.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by alexdz »

Ukonvasara wrote:
alexdz wrote:"When You Were Young" (and for that matter, "Read My Mind") is much, much, much more better known as a Killers song than "Somebody Told Me,"
This assertion, especially the parenthetical, is emphatically not true, your atypical knowledge notwithstanding. However, the point remains that "When You Were Young" is indeed too well-known to be that early.
After a quick bit of research, it does appear that you are correct. My knowledge is indeed atypical, it seems. I might maintain, that if nothing else, that "When You Were Young" is of similar relevance and knowledge as "Somebody Like Me" (it did chart roughly the same - the whole point of charts is to reflect sales, which ought to closely reflect popularity - in fact, it charted higher in many cases). Thus, the point still does stand that it does not belong that early - I suppose should the community decide that "Read My Mind" is not well-known enough, it would have been a perfect early buzz for me to grab it had I been playing that question.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Steve Watchorn »

negatron wrote:What about the awful redshift question? Using a classical test of general relativity as an initial clue, then following it up by saying "gravitational form of this effect" and finally "can be caused by differences in velocity" before explaining that it is related to the Doppler effect means that good, deep, physics players will get hosed, by first saying "general relativity" or "time dilation" early on.
This is the text of my question:
The {Pound-Rebka experiment} observed {photons} departing from a potential well to verify the "gravitational" form of this effect. The metric expansion of space causes the "cosmological" type, on which {Hubble's law} is based. An astronomical object's (*) recession causes the "Doppler" type of--for 10 points--what effect in which {spectral lines} "shift" to longer {wavelengths} of a namesake color?
Not my finest hour in terms of honing in on what's being asked for, though I would be reluctant to go with "general relativity" early just because there is no distinction (that, of course, is a debit on the question). I'm not sure where the "differences in velocity" part comes from, but it's clear that "time dilation" should have been accepted at least until "cosmological." The only reason it was not included is that, up until you mentioned it, I had honestly never heard "gravitational time dilation" as a term, or even a concept, separate from "gravitational redshift," which I've seen more often as what is tested by Pound-Rebka. I knew about clocks running differently at different positions in a gravitational field, of course, but had not heard recognized it as referred to that way (as gravitational time dilation). That was an oversight on my part. Technically, I guess the redshift is what is observed rather than what is inferred, but the question contains nothing that would distinguish something close to that subtle, so a modified acceptance should have been included. I always have found I learned the most when trying to give information...

EDIT: for completeness
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by jonpin »

List bonuses: They suck. Stop using them.

If you for some reason insist on using list bonuses (and you shouldn't), stop making them painfully inane like the "Name NASA and its four cousins."
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker »

The {Pound-Rebka experiment} observed {photons} departing from a potential well to verify the "gravitational" form of this effect. The metric expansion of space causes the "cosmological" type, on which {Hubble's law} is based. An astronomical object's (*) recession causes the "Doppler" type of--for 10 points--what effect in which {spectral lines} "shift" to longer {wavelengths} of a namesake color?
I'm not sure there's too much wrong with this question. If anything, it does need "gravitational time dilation" as an additional accepted answer before "cosmological," but there's nothing really incorrect about this. It's certainly not a horrible question.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mike Bentley »

jonpin wrote:List bonuses: They suck. Stop using them.

If you for some reason insist on using list bonuses (and you shouldn't), stop making them painfully inane like the "Name NASA and its four cousins."
As a reader I was also tripped up several times by the annoying habit of some NAQT bonuses to do stuff like:

For 10 points each--given what you know about Senator John Smith, name...
[10] His dog.
ANSWER: _Checkers_

Seeing as how every other college tournament uses actual sentences in bonus parts, reading something like "his dog" leads you to think you've done something wrong while reading and to try to go back and figure out what happened. I'd rather NAQT add the extra two words it takes in each bonus part to make them clearer to read and understand.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by OntarioQuizzer »

You see, Mike, that happens when you're on the clock every game...you have to be economical in your choice of words.

(Should this have gone in Jerry's timer thread? ;-) )
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mike Bentley »

OntarioQuizzer wrote:You see, Mike, that happens when you're on the clock every game...you have to be economical in your choice of words.

(Should this have gone in Jerry's timer thread? ;-) )
My argument is that this is not an economical use of words because it leads to more moderator errors.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Susan »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:
OntarioQuizzer wrote:You see, Mike, that happens when you're on the clock every game...you have to be economical in your choice of words.

(Should this have gone in Jerry's timer thread? ;-) )
My argument is that this is not an economical use of words because it leads to more moderator errors.
Do people agree with this, generally? I've never had any trouble reading questions like this, and I don't recall hearing an inordinate amount of stumbling over them when others have read them.
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