2017 NSC set discussion

NAQT HSNCT, NAQT SSNCT, PACE NSC, HSAPQ NASAT, and NAC are discussed here.

Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Jem Casey » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:47 pm

Hi all, I'm a person who wrote for NSC--specifically 64/41 questions, most of which were literature. Of my 59 literature tossups, 23 had answers that were not works, authors, or characters; so, my work for the set represented a not insignificant contribution to the "extremely large number of common-links" that has been noted. Since the common-link is a notoriously vague concept, I won’t try to define precisely what sorts of questions count as common-links (though I think posters in this thread are using several slightly different definitions). To be as general as possible, I'm counting as common-links most questions that don't have "regular answerlines," as Hari puts it upthread, and leaving the rest to common-sense and "I know it when I see it" instincts. In this broad sense, it seems that there are two types of common-links, both of which appear extensively in this set and which each comes with its own advantages and risks.

On one hand, there are common-links that serve, in Will's words, to “[bring] in content that would be difficult to ask about in an interesting manner otherwise.” To choose a random example, the Mixed Academic tossup on _clock_s that clued Christian Marclay's film and the Corpus Clock is one such question. The challenge with these common-links is the question of whether the content you’re bringing in can actually differentiate levels of knowledge in the field or, at the very least, isn't unanswerable obscurata to anyone who hasn’t read the right college packets; my standard example of a bad common-link of this type is my lit tossup on _farm_s for 2015 NSC that originally led in with plot clues from The Story of an African Farm. However, it’s worth noting that this problem of accessibility* is not unique to pure common-link questions, and needs to be considered when using any sort of early clue in any sort of question.

On the other, there are questions that use the common-link form to highlight a theme in a familiar, canonical topic; typically, these questions can be converted directly into a tossup with a more standard answerline. Since a good deal of the lit questions in this vein from the set were mine, I’ll list them now, both to give examples of how this style works and to take responsibility for the frustrations they may have inflicted on players:

boarding _school_s (in Charlotte Bronte novels), _churchyard_s (in the Thomas Gray poem), _Arab_s (in Camus’s fiction), bowler _hat_s (in Waiting for Godot), _hell_ (in Paradise Lost), _ice_ (in One Hundred Years of Solitude), _memory_ (in Proust), _K_ (in Kafka), _nihilism_ (in Fathers and Sons), _Okonkwo’s wives_ (in Things Fall Apart), _parenthesis_ (in E.E. Cummings poems), _fool_s (in Shakespeare), and _swim_ing (in Beowulf)

To list briefly some possible advantages and disadvantages of this sort of question:
Advantages
-is more fun to write than the umpteenth tossup on super-canonical thing (e.g. Beowulf or Things Fall Apart)
-may be more fun to listen to for players than the umpteenth tossup on super-canonical thing
-provides a more rewarding and memorable buzz for player getting the question. I certainly wouldn’t remember powering the tossup on “Emily Dickinson’s _dash_es” in Scattergories as fondly if it had been converted to a themed _Dickinson_ tossup, and I’d guess the same is true for Matt in regards to the _parenthesis_ question.
-can reflect how people learn about lit in classroom setting, given that high school English courses often, to my knowledge, focus on symbols and motifs.

Disadvantages
-can be harder to parse for players less versed in How Quizbowl Works
-may be tiring for players who don’t convert the question and don’t get the theme (and thus may have the sense that a bunch of impossible material from books they’ve never heard of is being thrown at them)
-removes context clue that a more standard pronoun (e.g. “this play”) provides
-has smaller number of possible clues, and thus more likely to be too difficult for too long
-can be inaccessible to players who haven't read the work, until the answer becomes super obvious in the giveaway
-may require feats of mind-reading from players who know what work/scene is being described if the clue doesn’t map obviously to the intended answer. Matt’s and Pranav’s posts raise the point that some of the clues in the _train_s tossup had this problem.
-can lead to very frustrating negs if the answerline is not properly fleshed out. The _memory_ tossup is a good example of this. I knew the answerline was incomplete and meant to come back to it but, egregiously and ironically enough, forgot, thus frustrating players who gave perfectly acceptable answers like “flashback” or “recall.”

I'd be interested to hear whether this list reflect the experiences of people who heard these questions this weekend, or if there are other things people like and dislike about them. One take-away from all this might be that, if such questions do have a place in harder hs sets like NSC, (and it's my opinion that they do in some quantity) they should be written with lots of player empathy, and subjected to the same standards of difficulty and clarity that questions with "regular answerlines" are (and rejected if they cannot meet them).

*the question to ask here is “where is a player in this field most likely to have learned this information?" "A CO packet" is probably a bad answer to this. A followup question is, "If it’s very unlikely to produce buzzes, is there any reason to put it in the question?" "Yes, to teach players about this awesome thing!" or ""Yes, to give information about the context or impact of the question's subject material" can sometimes be fine answers to this.

EDIT: "umpteenth u dummy"--Ophir
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby troyharris » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:44 pm

*the question to ask here is “where is a player in this field most likely to have learned this information?" "A CO packet" is probably a bad answer to this. A followup question is, "If it’s very unlikely to produce buzzes, is there any reason to put it in the question?" "Yes, to teach players about this awesome thing!" or ""Yes, to give information about the context or impact of the question's subject material" can sometimes be fine answers to this

Hey Jordan,
As a follow up to this, I was thinking about this earlier today and the question may seem a bit sophomoric, but I'd love to hear your opinion. Would you say that a very strong high school team has a distinct advantage playing a tournament difficulty high school set being mirrored in a college tournament over collegiate teams, due to the difference in complexity of contextual clues? I imagine that you have played in such events and would have a good feel for this.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Cody » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:10 pm

dnlwng wrote:Could we see the tossup on Lisbon? My teammate buzzed on the leadin and said "Portugal", and complained about the use of the pronoun "this port" because apparently Portugal means port or something.
The name of Portugal may have its roots in "port", but surely you aren't making the argument that you could ever describe Portugal as "this port" in the real world or in quizbowl?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Jem Casey » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:23 pm

troyharris wrote:*the question to ask here is “where is a player in this field most likely to have learned this information?" "A CO packet" is probably a bad answer to this. A followup question is, "If it’s very unlikely to produce buzzes, is there any reason to put it in the question?" "Yes, to teach players about this awesome thing!" or ""Yes, to give information about the context or impact of the question's subject material" can sometimes be fine answers to this

Hey Jordan,
As a follow up to this, I was thinking about this earlier today and the question may seem a bit sophomoric, but I'd love to hear your opinion. Would you say that a very strong high school team has a distinct advantage playing a tournament difficulty high school set being mirrored in a college tournament over collegiate teams, due to the difference in complexity of contextual clues? I imagine that you have played in such events and would have a good feel for this.


I don't have any data or anecdotal evidence on this, having not played a high school set since high school, but would think that, if a hard high school set has done its job of focusing on material people actually might know about in high school (something that I hope NSC has largely succeeded at in this and past iterations), it will be more advantageous for the average strong high school team than an easier college set, (e.g. EFT or MUT) since those tend to draw from a different canon.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby adamsil » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:26 pm

Hey all,

I wrote a large number of exclusively science questions for this set, essentially the bulk of the bio, chem, and physics. Many thanks to a few people, especially Eliza Grames and Shan Kothari, for their excellent contributions in areas of bio at which I'm not so competent, and Auroni, Eric, etc. for some very useful feedback.

I overheard wildly varying opinions on this set's science this past weekend (mostly "why is it so hard to 30 these science bonuses?"). I think Jakob's point earlier is right--I consciously pushed the envelope on "applied science" in bonuses a heck of a lot further than most sets do, with a ton of medium and hard bonus parts on applications of formulas or concepts. Sometimes this worked all right--I'm thinking of bonus parts that asked for _2S+1_ spin multiplicity, or the one asking for _ethers_ given that they're constitutional isomers of alcohols, or the one asking for the molecular weight of water. In other cases, I think asking people to apply the Rydberg formula, or figure out the products when sodium reacts with water, or give the formula for logistic growth, is just too much for 5 seconds. I didn't want to start indiscriminately handing out ten seconds to certain bonus parts, but I'm curious if any teams think that some of these questions would have benefited from some extra "computation" time, or if they were just too tough to solve in general. I'd also just be happy to hear what people thought of this overall approach to bonuses, since it doesn't work as well in the college game, so NSC is about the top-level difficulty to throw all these applied questions in. (That said, I think Cody did a really great job at Regionals this year asking a bunch of these sorts of questions as middle parts in physics bonuses).

Overall, I think my questions were harder than the rest of the set--almost certainly harder than the math--I apologize for this. Some of the hard parts were definitely too ambitious (though, I was impressed to see some of them, like the Stern-Gerlach experiment or the bar-headed line, get answered in various superplayoff game by some truly great science players). Also, a few easy parts that I deliberately made on answerlines I'd never heard come up in quizbowl but come up repeatedly in the classroom ("lipid bilayer", "homeostasis", "strong acids") wound up not being quite as slam-dunk as I'd imagined.

With respect to tossups: I had few inspired tossup ideas when writing that I was really excited about (with the possible exception of gut bacteria, which I selfishly maintained in the set because it is such a hot research topic right now), so I think a lot of the answers were pretty standard fare, with a few Jordan-style common links thrown in (e.g., Chordata exclusively from evo-devo clues; hydrogen bonding only from biochemistry; DNA from biophysics; a tossup on malaria where the answerline was mosquitoes). I decided to be more experimental with bonuses than with tossups this year but hopefully there was some new interesting cluing thrown in without making these questions impossible.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Cheynem » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:43 pm

I was actually surprised people thought the science was the hardest part of the set. I'm not a science person at all, but the questions for the most part seemed difficulty appropriate and well balanced--the fine arts, for one, certainly seemed harder to me.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:55 pm

adamsil wrote:I overheard wildly varying opinions on this set's science this past weekend (mostly "why is it so hard to 30 these science bonuses?"). I think Jakob's point earlier is right--I consciously pushed the envelope on "applied science" in bonuses a heck of a lot further than most sets do, with a ton of medium and hard bonus parts on applications of formulas or concepts. Sometimes this worked all right--I'm thinking of bonus parts that asked for _2S+1_ spin multiplicity, or the one asking for _ethers_ given that they're constitutional isomers of alcohols, or the one asking for the molecular weight of water. In other cases, I think asking people to apply the Rydberg formula, or figure out the products when sodium reacts with water, or give the formula for logistic growth, is just too much for 5 seconds. I didn't want to start indiscriminately handing out ten seconds to certain bonus parts, but I'm curious if any teams think that some of these questions would have benefited from some extra "computation" time, or if they were just too tough to solve in general. I'd also just be happy to hear what people thought of this overall approach to bonuses, since it doesn't work as well in the college game, so NSC is about the top-level difficulty to throw all these applied questions in. (That said, I think Cody did a really great job at Regionals this year asking a bunch of these sorts of questions as middle parts in physics bonuses).


Note added emphasis. That bonus part in particular was one our team enjoyed because it was challenging but we figured it out in the time allotted. I think that given more knowledge we would have better appreciated some of those other answerlines, but major props for asking about ethers in an interesting way.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Pascal Plays Poker » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:00 pm

adamsil wrote:I think a lot of the answers were pretty standard fare, with a few Jordan-style common links thrown in (e.g., Chordata exclusively from evo-devo clues; hydrogen bonding only from biochemistry; DNA from biophysics; a tossup on malaria where the answerline was mosquitoes). I decided to be more experimental with bonuses than with tossups this year but hopefully there was some new interesting cluing thrown in without making these questions impossible.


I appreciated the mosquitoes tossup; They are underrepresented in quizbowl.

Could I see the Spain (FA) tossup? Wondering if the second painting mentioned was Miro.
Last edited by Pascal Plays Poker on Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby adamsil » Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:33 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:I appreciated the mosquitoes tossup; They are underrepresented in quizbowl.

People gotta learn about gene drives at some point! :grin:
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:32 am

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:I appreciated the mosquitoes tossup; They are underrepresented in quizbowl.


I presume you mean relative to :bees: .
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:55 pm

dhumphreys17 wrote:
Pascal Plays Poker wrote:I appreciated the mosquitoes tossup; They are underrepresented in quizbowl.


I presume you mean relative to :bees: .


He liked it because he wrote a similar toss up, getting him that sweet first line buzz. :lol:
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby ykevu » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:45 pm

adamsil wrote:I overheard wildly varying opinions on this set's science this past weekend (mostly "why is it so hard to 30 these science bonuses?"). I think Jakob's point earlier is right--I consciously pushed the envelope on "applied science" in bonuses a heck of a lot further than most sets do, with a ton of medium and hard bonus parts on applications of formulas or concepts. Sometimes this worked all right--I'm thinking of bonus parts that asked for _2S+1_ spin multiplicity, or the one asking for _ethers_ given that they're constitutional isomers of alcohols, or the one asking for the molecular weight of water. In other cases, I think asking people to apply the Rydberg formula, or figure out the products when sodium reacts with water, or give the formula for logistic growth, is just too much for 5 seconds. I didn't want to start indiscriminately handing out ten seconds to certain bonus parts, but I'm curious if any teams think that some of these questions would have benefited from some extra "computation" time, or if they were just too tough to solve in general. I'd also just be happy to hear what people thought of this overall approach to bonuses, since it doesn't work as well in the college game, so NSC is about the top-level difficulty to throw all these applied questions in. (That said, I think Cody did a really great job at Regionals this year asking a bunch of these sorts of questions as middle parts in physics bonuses).

Overall, I think my questions were harder than the rest of the set--almost certainly harder than the math--I apologize for this.


Firstly, I thought the bio / chem in the set was the best I've heard all year, so many thanks for doing an amazing job. In regards to tossup difficulty, I actually thought the biology this year was more accessible in comparison to say last year, where answer-lines like FSH or chromosome 21 showed up. I personally found the applied science bonuses to feel much more rewarding and definitely preferred them to "standard" hard or medium parts that asked for basic recall / definition of a quantity, formula, etc. Also, timing didn't seem to be a major issue for our team on these types of questions. The math in the Rydberg question wasn't difficult by any means; I think the 5 seconds would more likely be used to recall the formula itself (then again we did rush and forget to square). Similarly, I feel like a team that can convert the sodium + water part in the first place is more likely to know that an alkali metal + water forms a hydroxide and hydrogen, in which case 5 seconds should be enough, than figuring it out through rearranging and balancing the elements, which requires some guesswork in the first place. I thought these types of bonuses were a breath of fresh air for a HS set and would be glad to see them return next year (perhaps in other sets as well!)

Overall, while I agree that tossups could've been more interesting beyond answer-lines of "pH," "lead," "carboxylic acids," etc., I thought the science this year was difficulty-controlled well and had a good mix of interesting ideas (gut bacteria, applied chemistry bonuses) without getting too risky with experimentation. There wasn't much to complain about—thanks again for all the work you put into the set.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Mike Bentley » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:22 pm

Pascal Plays Poker wrote:Could I see the Spain (FA) tossup? Wondering if the second painting mentioned was Miro.


12. A painting by an artist from this country was purchased with money Ernest Hemingway earned in a boxing match and shows a newspaper whose name is cut off at "L'INTR" on the title Farm. That same artist from this country placed the title creature on a stark brown and black landscape next to a ladder extending toward the sky in one painting. Another artist from here included a large hand holding an (*) egg with a flower coming out of it in his depiction of the Narcissus myth. The painter of Dog Barking at the Moon was born in this country, as was a man who created a work juxtaposing softness and hardness in which ants crawl over a watch in a landscape decorated with melting clocks. For 10 points, name this home country of the Surrealists Joan Miró (zhoo-AHN mee-ROH) and Salvador Dalí.
ANSWER: Spain [accept Kingdom of Spain or Reino de España; prompt on Catalonia] <Bentley>


Yes.

Could I see the tossup on Easter, please? I interrupted with Great Lent and was ruled incorrect and want to see if that interrupt was reasonable given the clues (I buzzed immediately after Chrysostom).


11. During this holiday, Orthodox churches read the Catechetical Homily (cat-uh-KET-ical HOM-uh-lee) of St. John Chrysostom. The tables of Dionysius Exiguus have been used to resolve a controversy surrounding this holiday. On the day before this holiday, the miraculous Holy Fire is said to appear at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A service held on this holiday involves lighting a "new fire," which is used to light a candle inscribed with a cross, the current year, and the Greek letters (*) alpha and omega. This holiday's vigil involves singing the Exsultet. The computus is used to calculate this holiday's date, which was once determined using the date of Passover. Many Christians fast for the 40 days that precedes, for 10 points, what holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus?
ANSWER: Easter Sunday [or Pascha] <Cheng>


Could we see the tossup on Lisbon? My teammate buzzed on the leadin and said "Portugal", and complained about the use of the pronoun "this port" because apparently Portugal means port or something.


14. This port's maritime trade increased with a navy built by Manuel Pessanha of Genoa under orders of Denis the Farmer King. This city's overseas trade, which was managed by the India House, included the wine it exported to England due to the Methuen Treaty. This city ceased to be a capital of an independent country after a 1580 War of Succession, which followed the death of a "desired" king in Morocco. Its Pombaline style buildings were erected by the Marquis of (*) Pombal, who managed this city following a natural disaster. A 1668 treaty signed in this city assured the sovereignty of its ruling House of Braganza. For 10 points, name this city which suffered a devastating earthquake in 1755, the capital from which trade with colonial Brazil was controlled.
ANSWER: Lisbon [or Lisboa] <Bentley>


Some of these clues might be a tad hard but this doesn't strike me as beyond the pale, although I'm obviously biased here.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby nsb2 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:49 pm

With respect to the Lisbon tossup, I buzzed in on the Methuen treaty (which has come up before for Portugal, so I actually thought that clue was dropped a bit early).
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Pascal Plays Poker » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:14 pm

nsb2 wrote:With respect to the Lisbon tossup, I buzzed in on the Methuen treaty (which has come up before for Portugal, so I actually thought that clue was dropped a bit early).


As far as mentioning the wine early, that really threw me off. I feel like the "wine trade comparative advantage" thing is really well known as a stock clue for Ricardo, and someone could've used the same logic to answer here.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:51 pm

'
Pascal Plays Poker wrote:
nsb2 wrote:With respect to the Lisbon tossup, I buzzed in on the Methuen treaty (which has come up before for Portugal, so I actually thought that clue was dropped a bit early).


As far as mentioning the wine early, that really threw me off. I feel like the "wine trade comparative advantage" thing is really well known as a stock clue for Ricardo, and someone could've used the same logic to answer here.


1) You are correct that this clue is too early
2) Dude, "wine trade comparative advantage" isn't a "stock clue." It is the single most important example of one of the most foundational principles in economics!

People, stop referring to legitimately important information that is worth asking about repeatedly as "stock clues." This is how bad writing trends are born, when people replace important "stock" information with hard or unimportant things. The clue is "misplaced" - it is not "stock."
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dnlwng » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:36 pm

Could you post the tossup on "twilight"? I'm curious as to how this question played on other rooms.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Your Feline Genome » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:42 am

Is this set going to be posted?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:41 pm

Your Feline Genome wrote:Is this set going to be posted?


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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:57 pm

Father Comstock wrote:
Your Feline Genome wrote:Is this set going to be posted?


Avoid making content-free posts on the board. In particular, quoting another post and providing no additional information ("empty-quoting") is forbidden. -- the Mgmt
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Cheynem » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:12 pm

I don't want to speak for the moderators, but I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't keep posting content free stuff. The set will presumably be posted soon.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby dhumphreys17 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:54 pm

Cheynem wrote:I don't want to speak for the moderators, but I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't keep posting content free stuff. The set will presumably be posted soon.


I must apologize for my earlier behavior. I am simply antsy over the All-Star packet specifically being posted, as I hope to see what the FTPs were on the questions that the all-stars so frequently powered.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Father Comstock » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:58 pm

My bad, I did not know that was banned. I'm genuinely curious though, why haven't the sets been posted?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby scholarhillery » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:50 pm

adamsil wrote:Overall, I think my questions were harder than the rest of the set--almost certainly harder than the math--I apologize for this


I definitely agree with this. One of my main qualms with the math tossups was that college-level physics content was not avoided, while it was for math (I understand why this was done for math and agree with what Ankit said). For example, I learned that the eigenvalues of the Schrodinger Equation are a system's energy by watching the lecture videos for MIT's 8.04 (Quantum Mechanics 1), but the clue (for energy) appeared fairly late in the tossup (correct me if I'm wrong). Knowing that clue seems to require not only calculus/linear algebra classes, but also a course that is definitely college-level to learn about. This may be something that comes up often in quiz bowl (I'm not exactly a good quiz bowl player), but to actually learn about this seems to require knowledge from college science classes, which was avoided with the math questions.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby AKKOLADE » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:35 pm

Father Comstock wrote:My bad, I did not know that was banned. I'm genuinely curious though, why haven't the sets been posted?

dingoes ate our editors :(
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Kouign Amann » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:17 pm

Hi everyone, stepping in as a mod to remind everyone, young and old, to follow the board rules. If you aren't familiar with the rules, please remedy that by reading up here as soon as possible. Specifically, please do not make content-free posts (especially not as responses to other content-free posts), and please remember that it is also a stipulation of the rules that "restraint is expected in requesting that packets be posted or making demands of people who are providing free services to the quizbowl community." If you think the best way to speed the appearance of the NSC packets is to pester the editors, you can certainly pursue that course of action, but you may not use the boards as a vehicle to do so.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby bluejay123 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:42 pm

Father Comstock wrote:My bad, I did not know that was banned. I'm genuinely curious though, why haven't the sets been posted?


eh i guess we all try to have lives?

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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby notchole » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:31 pm

I also loved the parentheses tossup (it was probably my favorite lit question in any set this year), but I did hear a few people frustrated to have it in the first round because it seemed difficult -- would you mind posting that question, so I could see where it went after the "Since feeling is first" quote? I'm simply curious as to how easy it got near the end. Thank you, and thanks to the entire writing/editorial staff for a wonderful tournament!
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:04 pm

Oh, hello.

(this is the set as it was played; in a few weeks I'll return and upload a version with a few further proofreading-related edits)
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby AGoodMan » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:11 pm

I think the Book of Isaiah TU could be better by switching the placement of some of the clues. The clues about Chapter 53 ("man of sorrows", "pierced for our transgression", etc.) may arguably be easier than the clues about Servant Songs and "spears into pruning hooks and their swords into plowshares". Isaiah 53 is a fairly well known chapter in the Bible, particularly if you've been to church during Holy Week. Perhaps it's a Sunday School knowledge vs. academic knowledge of the Book of Isaiah from an outsider's POV thing. Just my two cents.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:41 am

AGoodMan wrote:I think the Book of Isaiah TU could be better by switching the placement of some of the clues. The clues about Chapter 53 ("man of sorrows", "pierced for our transgression", etc.) may arguably be easier than the clues about Servant Songs and "spears into pruning hooks and their swords into plowshares". Isaiah 53 is a fairly well known chapter in the Bible, particularly if you've been to church during Holy Week. Perhaps it's a Sunday School knowledge vs. academic knowledge of the Book of Isaiah from an outsider's POV thing. Just my two cents.

Depends on your church, I think. If you're raised by a pacifist minister or go to a renewal synagogue (like I did) you know Isaiah 2:4 pretty well :grin: .
(53 is super well known too, ofc)
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby wcheng » Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:35 pm

AGoodMan wrote:I think the Book of Isaiah TU could be better by switching the placement of some of the clues. The clues about Chapter 53 ("man of sorrows", "pierced for our transgression", etc.) may arguably be easier than the clues about Servant Songs and "spears into pruning hooks and their swords into plowshares". Isaiah 53 is a fairly well known chapter in the Bible, particularly if you've been to church during Holy Week. Perhaps it's a Sunday School knowledge vs. academic knowledge of the Book of Isaiah from an outsider's POV thing. Just my two cents.


As someone who isn't involved in religion, it's rather hard for me as a writer to judge whether a particular Biblical quote is well-known in a devotional context. It's possible that I underestimated the difficulty of the Isaiah 53 clues and placed them too early, in which case I apologize, but I think it's great that you were able to get the question early using direct experience. My reasoning for placing the "swords to plowshares" clue afterwards was that it is a culturally-significant phrase often found outside of religious contexts, which might be recognized by a larger number of players.
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:03 pm

fwiw I'm a baptized and confirmed Presbyterian (otherwise agnostic/atheist/nonreligious) and would definitely agree that the quote about "swords into plowshares" is far more famous, in no small part because I have played the MTG card "Swords to Plowshares" many times in my life
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby scholarhillery » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:33 pm

Packet 10, Tossup 5 wrote:In quantum mechanics, operators corresponding to observables must have eigenvalues with this property,
meaning the operators must be self-adjoint and Hermitian.


Aren't self-adjoint and Hermitian the same thing?
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby adamsil » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:50 pm

scholarhillery wrote:
Packet 10, Tossup 5 wrote:In quantum mechanics, operators corresponding to observables must have eigenvalues with this property,
meaning the operators must be self-adjoint and Hermitian.


Aren't self-adjoint and Hermitian the same thing?

I didn't write this one, but yes. (I guess one technically refers to the operator and one refers to the matrix representation of the operator, but they are functionally equivalent.)
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Re: 2017 NSC set discussion

Postby t-bar » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:11 am

adamsil wrote:
scholarhillery wrote:
Packet 10, Tossup 5 wrote:In quantum mechanics, operators corresponding to observables must have eigenvalues with this property,
meaning the operators must be self-adjoint and Hermitian.


Aren't self-adjoint and Hermitian the same thing?

I didn't write this one, but yes. (I guess one technically refers to the operator and one refers to the matrix representation of the operator, but they are functionally equivalent.)

Gonna pick a small nit here. I believe you're correct when discussing finite-dimensional vector spaces, but there is a distinction in terminology when considering operators on infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces. On such a space, the domain of an operator may not necessarily be the same as the domain of its adjoint. An operator A is Hermitian if, for any input in the domain of both A and the adjoint of A, the output is the same. An operator is self-adjoint if it is Hermitian and, in addition, the domain of A equals the domain of the adjoint of A. For example, in Sturm-Liouville theory, differential operators subject to poorly chosen boundary conditions may be Hermitian but not self-adjoint.

Most quizbowl questions are not written precisely enough to tease out such a distinction, though, and any compassionate editor would probably ensure that if a question asks for one of them, the wording is such that the other is acceptable too.
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