NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

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NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:09 pm

Post here about the set used at NHBB & USGO Nationals this past weekend. Thanks to HSAPQ and Matt Weiner for a great set of questions.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by High Dependency Unit » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:14 pm

Is there any chance the set from the US history bee can be posted?
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:49 pm

The questions from the Geography Olympiad, the Bowl, and the Bee are available for download at http://www.hsapq.com/assets/nhbb/2014nationals/ .

As with other packets on hsapq.com, you have the unlimited right to use these for criticism, study, practice, extraction of data about the usage of clues, scrimmages, and so on and so forth, but you cannot run tournaments on them or plagiarize them in any way for questions represented as your own at future events.

I have not yet received clearance from the US History Bee that those questions are good to post -- when I do, they will be made available as well.

I noticed a few typos and two boneheaded omissions by me of alternate answers (a question on Roman Britain in the Bee where one clue could just as easily apply to Caledonia/Scotland and a question on the Yellow River in the Bowl that forgot to list Huang He as an equivalent) while reading the tournaments, but luckily the protest system functioned well from what I saw and players were still able to get credit for those answers when it mattered. Otherwise, I'm happy with how the questions turned out. On Saturday, I read a JV bracket in the morning and a varsity consolation in the afternoon, so I gathered a lot of useful information on how the questions play with teams outside of the elite. Like Dave, I am interested in any and all feedback. I will probably be starting a separate thread in the general area of the board that basically says "the stuff we wrote for Geography Olympiad is what geography is supposed to look like, and the rest of quizbowl needs to follow suit." There is so much interesting stuff out there about world cultures and the human interaction with the environment -- which is what geography is defined as and how it is practiced in college geography departments -- and no one should ever write a tossup that begins with "this country's highest point is" ever again, let alone one that just involves staring at a map and copying down all the names you see.

There is information forthcoming from me and Dave about how NHBB question production is going to work in the future, but one component is that this is the last year it will be written through the regular HSAPQ process. I'd like to thank everyone in HSAPQ for their hard work on 13 Bowl sets, 13 Bee sets, 2 Geography Olympiad sets, and 2 US History Bees over the past four years, and recognize some of the leading contributors out of the 34 writers who had at least 1 question in this year's NHBB Nationals. The people who wrote 10 or more questions were Jarret Greene, Richard Yu, Victor Prieto, Patrick Liao, Dwight Wynne, Max Schindler, Jasper Lee, Tommy Casalaspi, Matt Jackson, Jacob O'Rourke, Sam Bailey, Auroni Gupta, Eric Mukherjee, Carsten Gehring, Matt Bollinger, Eric Douglass, Adam Silverman, myself, and HSAPQ's MVP of the year Mike Cheyne.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:14 pm

I'm glad to see from a distance that this tournament, along with the NHBB regional events, seems to be really hitting its stride, in terms of logistics, popularity, and value to the quizbowl world at large. I just want to take a moment to clarify, since I've often taken what seems to be an adversarial tone with Dave Madden/NHBB (or been "that guy"), that I do earnestly hope for its success both as an intrinsic competition and as a part of the larger quizbowl ecosystem. I hope my 200 or so questions for the 2012-13 NHBB cycle, and 62 or so questions for this year's, put my money where my mouth is on this front, and I want to apologize for any of the suggestions or advice I've given to Dave/NHBB which crossed a line into hostility or non-constructive criticism. I regret that my finals schedule made me unable to come staff this year, and I look forward to doing all I can to staff my first NHBB nationals in 2015.
Matt Weiner wrote: I will probably be starting a separate thread in the general area of the board that basically says "the stuff we wrote for Geography Olympiad is what geography is supposed to look like, and the rest of quizbowl needs to follow suit." There is so much interesting stuff out there about world cultures and the human interaction with the environment -- which is what geography is defined as and how it is practiced in college geography departments -- and no one should ever write a tossup that begins with "this country's highest point is" ever again, let alone one that just involves staring at a map and copying down all the names you see.
Speaking as someone who has written for HSAPQ / Geo Olympiad, I would be glad to see the writing precepts for "interesting geography" spread further, and would welcome such a public thread. Given the preponderance of geography questions at all levels (especially in NAQT sets), I think that a revamping of the category would be an order of magnitude more useful for quizbowl than other recent category-reformatting "manifestos" such as the film thread, and I'd be glad to see the category be revamped such that it does more than reward the kind of almanac learning which is done for the GeoBee up to 8th grade and ceases immediately thereafter.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Schmidt Sting Pain Index » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:36 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote: I will probably be starting a separate thread in the general area of the board that basically says "the stuff we wrote for Geography Olympiad is what geography is supposed to look like, and the rest of quizbowl needs to follow suit." There is so much interesting stuff out there about world cultures and the human interaction with the environment -- which is what geography is defined as and how it is practiced in college geography departments -- and no one should ever write a tossup that begins with "this country's highest point is" ever again, let alone one that just involves staring at a map and copying down all the names you see.
Speaking as someone who has written for HSAPQ / Geo Olympiad, I would be glad to see the writing precepts for "interesting geography" spread further, and would welcome such a public thread. Given the preponderance of geography questions at all levels (especially in NAQT sets), I think that a revamping of the category would be an order of magnitude more useful for quizbowl than other recent category-reformatting "manifestos" such as the film thread, and I'd be glad to see the category be revamped such that it does more than reward the kind of almanac learning which is done for the GeoBee up to 8th grade and ceases immediately thereafter.

I have some comments on the style in particular. In general, I am in support of the theory behind the USGO questions and mostly enjoyed the set this year. However, I really did not like the set last year at all and was wondering if the philosophy behind it change a bit this year. For example, in 2013, the set really failed to put anything relevant to geography in many questions, which were straight up history or even things like literature. This year, I felt that the clues included much more actual geographic material yet remained historically/culturally relevant.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by KnicksRule » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:43 pm

This was by far the best NHBB and arguably one of the best QB tournaments ever in terms of question quality.
KnicksRule wrote:

Just a quick question about USGO: The packets on HSAPQ were significantly different than the ones we played. Were some questions spliced together from the "thirds" of the 5th packet? Also, I am fairly sure I never played packet 4 throughout the playoffs. Was this a reserve packet or was it not used in JV?
Questions for USGO were the most improved. While I agree that geography constitutes much more than just questions about rivers and mountains, it is much more difficult to improve in quiz bowl cultural geography as there is no established cannon and domain for questions. Also, answer lines were much more favorable for students with geography knowledge rather than random trivia knowledge or even science knowledge (for example the pizza tossup or cloud seeding from last year). I just have one small issue, there seems to be a ton of history in USGO, even as much as geography itself. Is this something that can be changed without making every question "the tallest mountain in this country........" ?
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Knickerbocker glory » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:32 pm

Though I felt the playoff rounds were excellent, I thought that the morning rounds and some of the afternoon rounds were a little off. In particular, I felt that in the morning rounds, there was an incredible amount of film and popular culture, such as the Beach Boys question in one of the 3rd quarters and the Dead Kennedys tossup. Pop culture tossups gave our opponents (who were in general better at trash than we were) a significant edge in the morning rounds. I also thought I noticed more than usual non-history tossups, which gave primarily quizbowl teams an edge too, which I think goes against what NHBB was intended for. I also noticed that some 3rd quarters (Italian Art, Crime on Film, Polish scientists) weren't even history--which shouldn't occur in History Bowl, let alone national championships. Is there a reason for the sudden change in 3rd quarters?

Continuing on with 3rd quarters, I think they could be made more consistent generally, we only got 2 on one of the 3rd quarters but ended up getting 6 or 7 on most of them. Also, I think it would be nice if 3rd quarters were changed from 60 second timed rounds to 8 part directed rounds like 20/20 3 part bonuses, as we've missed quite a few questions because we've been sometimes hasty for lack of time.

Overall I thought it was a well-written tournament, but I'd like to know why some things were different than all other rounds we've faced.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by RexSueciae » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:42 pm

I'd like to ask two questions about the history question sets (which were both marvelous, to be clear, and a nice capstone on what's been an incredible four years I've had playing NHBB): one broad, one narrow.

Broad question: Was there any Soviet history tossed up that weekend? I remember the Holodomor from the History Bee in, I think, the quarterfinals (although the online set says it's in a different packet than I remember, so I might just be mentally unstable), but there was absolutely nothing that I can recall on anything else. I mean, for a very important historical period, I felt that it might have been underrepresented at Nationals. This is, admittedly, a very small gripe.

Narrow question: Who thought it was a good idea to toss up sodomy? :party:
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:52 pm

There was 1 sports history question and 1 non-sports historical trash question in each round.

The following answer lines about the USSR were in the set:

Brest-Litovsk
Trotsky/Kronstadt Rebellion
New Economic Policy
Judaism (all clues about Jews in the USSR)
Yuri Gagarin
Nikita Khrushchev
Sergei Eisenstein
TD Lysenko
Vladimir Lenin

as well as several questions (U-2 incident, Korean War, Julius Rosenberg) that were classified as US history but involved the Soviet Union in at least one clue.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by RexSueciae » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:42 pm

...huh. I must have been mistaken. On further reflection, I remember when Eisenstein came up, although I still don't remember hearing the rest (which doesn't mean anything, since my memory is fallible).
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by gustavus.adolphus » Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:21 am

Yeah, the only (very pedantic and minor flaw) that I noticed in the packet was Question #20 in Bee Round #6). It read,
A person involved in this effort was also responsible for introducing myxoma virus to curb the
Australian rabbit population and was Frank Fenner. The unit in charge of this goal was headed by Donald
Henderson, and Karel Raska developed surveillance methods as part of this program. This effort succeeded
after teams aided Rahima Banu and Ali Maow Maalin, who were the last people to fall victim to variola
major and minor, respectively. For the point, name this international public health initiative, the only
instance in which a disease has been eliminated.
ANSWER: eradicating smallpox [or equivalents]
Of course, rinderpest has also been eliminated, but again that's a super pedantic thing that didn't stop me from getting the tossup.

Overall though, the quality of questions were really high, literally light-years ahead from any other set that I've played before. OF course, I play in Kansas, so anything pyrmidial in somewhat magical to me.

I also appreciated the tossup on the Porrajmos, as I felt that shed some light on a tragic, yet important piece of history, that I don't think is really covered in history classes in the high school level
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by kievanrustic » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:36 pm

This set was fantastic, especially the historically-themed literature (Robert Service was a bit hard, though). There was just one question that I found to be completely incorrect.
National History Bee Round 2 Question 15 said:
The Jelling stones boast of Gorm the Sleepy's work against this religious belief, which was first
opposed by people such as Queen Thyra and Harald Klak. This belief was not suppressed until Eric
Good-Harvest and Blot-Sweyn were defeated by Inge, who destroyed the shrines at Uppsala, a former
center of this belief. King Olaf and the apostle Ansgar acquired sainthood for suppressing this belief, which
survived in remote areas until the time of Sigurd the Crusader. For the point, what was this belief system in
which Freya, Odin, and Thor were venerated?
ANSWER: Norse paganism [or descriptive answers such as "the pre-Christian religion of Scandinavia";
or Norse mythology, etc.; or worship of Thor until it is read; prompt on answers like "Viking religion"]
This question, being on such a broad topic, has the difficulty of having clues that are truly correct. For starters, the first clue (Gorm the Sleepy) is completely wrong. I have read the Jellings stones, and I fail to find any reference of Gorm being against paganism. I know that his son (Harald Bluetooth) converted to Christianity, but Gorm was a stalwart pagan who actively harmed Christians (he even was given the nickname "the Church's worm). Thus, this first clue can mislead one to believing that the answer is Christianity as Gorm despised Christians. If there is a stone at Jelling that notes that Gorm worked against pagans, I would like to see it, for its existence would be a good example of revisionist history.

The second clue isn't horribly wrong, for Thyra and Harald Klak both opposed paganism. It's difficult to note "first", though, as many abhorred Norse (or Germanic) paganism prior to them. Still, question writing is hard to be precise with, so I'm OK with the wording. I have similar reservations about the next clue,but, once again, its difficult to note when something was "first suppressed". One century before Inge, for example, Harald Bluetooth suppressed paganism to some extent. After all, the Jelling stone notes that he "made the Danes Christian" (Note: This is an exaggeration by the part of Harald, but it still shows his suppression of paganism).

As the question becomes less esoteric, the clues become more correct (though it is interesting to note that Ansgar lived two centuries before Inge, so he is more able to be the "first" to suppress paganism).

I just wanted to note these inaccuracies so that people studying these questions will not continue to parrot incorrect history. I have just spent the last year studying the introduction of Christianity to Northern and Eastern Europe, so you should feel confident in my above points. I know that occasionally some errors must seep into my questions, too, so I'm not too upset with whoever wrote the question. I just want accuracy.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:31 pm

I really enjoyed the tournament and I thought the questions were very good.

My single complaint, and I am not sure anything can be done about it is that the JV semis came down to three people each with 5 points. Eric, Chandler & Dan. The Idea was the first two to get one correct advance. All good. Dan gets the first, and is in. The next question is some BS baseball question. What a shame that something this important was going to be decided by a throw away sports question. To Chandler's & Eric's credit, neither of them knew it, and we got a real History question which Chandler got. So no Harm. But I was pretty POed when I heard the Baseball Question being read.

I guess I'd like to suggest no Sports or Pop culture unless they are truly historical in knock out rounds.

I did hear a Sports question earlier in the day that was basically, what team won a recent division playoffs. I did not feel it rose to the historical importance to be included. There are plenty of historically significant moments that could have been considered instead.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by KnicksRule » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:45 pm

In my opinion, Pop culture and Sports are as much parts of history than Henry of Navarre is. Obviously sports etc. are not the main focus of the competition but rewarding people with current cultural literacy I feel is necessary, especially when a good amount of the tournament's questions are not really pertinent to today's politics and government etc (not that they should be). While Bee finalists may know a great deal more about "actual history" I still think sports are important enough for one of the two participating kids to have a clue about after the giveaway.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Auroni » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:45 pm

RexSueciae wrote:Narrow question: Who thought it was a good idea to toss up sodomy? :party:
o/

You gotta know: these important practices that were historically punished and given degrading names.
gustavus.adolphus wrote:I also appreciated the tossup on the Porrajmos, as I felt that shed some light on a tragic, yet important piece of history, that I don't think is really covered in history classes in the high school level
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:00 pm

KnicksRule wrote:In my opinion, Pop culture and Sports are as much parts of history than Henry of Navarre is. Obviously sports etc. are not the main focus of the competition but rewarding people with current cultural literacy I feel is necessary, especially when a good amount of the tournament's questions are not really pertinent to today's politics and government etc (not that they should be). While Bee finalists may know a great deal more about "actual history" I still think sports are important enough for one of the two participating kids to have a clue about after the giveaway.
OK, In my opinion they are not. These are not things that change the course of human events. And in the case of the
question (32) I referenced, Its hardly old enough to be considered "history" I don't think that any of this is going to be anything that anyone cares about in 50 years. Obviously Chandler & Eric do not think it's worth their time as they don't even care to know what team played in the metrodome or where it is.

Obviously with your handle "Knicks Rule" you do care, and, in our society, you are winning this battle as we are clearly sports crazy. I just like the Idea that there are some academic havens where people can escape that feature of our lives.

32. Third baseman Gary Gaetti (guy-ET-ee) was playing for this team when he started two triple plays in
one game. In 1987, Frank Viola and Jeff Reardon pitched for this team in their Game 7 World Series
clincher against the Cardinals. Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven spent the most years of his career with this
team. In 1991, this team's first baseman Kent Hrbek pulled Ron Gant off first base, and Kirby Puckett hit a
walkoff homer, helping them beat the Atlanta Braves in a matchup of "worst-to-first" teams. For the point,
name this baseball team which formerly played in the Metrodome.
ANSWER: Minnesota Twins [or Minnesota Twins]
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by gustavus.adolphus » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:09 pm

OK, In my opinion they are not.
I think the line between not being important, and being important is actually pretty slim, and really in the eye of the beholder. In the set, there was a ton of questions about so-called "real" history, that probably has less modern-world impact than the actions of any number of athletes.

Yet, on the other hand, a great number of the sports questions went dead (basically all but one), as opposed to almost no dead tossups in the other categories. I think that deserves some thought if not some changes being made to those questions' difficulty
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:15 pm

Obviously we can have different opinions on sports, but I would say a few things:

1. History cannot be measured in terms of time period (i.e. "how old it is"). There have been numerous very important historical events in the last five years, let alone twenty. Even if you use your fifty year criteria, then why is it we still care about sports teams and figures (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, just to name a few) from over fifty years ago?

2. The Metrodome is a pretty famous and notable building in the United States, for what it's worth.

3. Popular culture, including sport, has a lot of academic and cultural importance. The history of the United States is intricately connected to its history of leisure, including sport.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:27 pm

Cheynem wrote:
2. The Metrodome is a pretty famous and notable building in the United States, for what it's worth.
And the Metrodome is how I first learned the name Hubert H. Humphrey when I was 6 (whom I 20'd Saturday). Yay, sports taught me things!



If there was ever one bone I'd pick regarding a sports question this weekend is the 60 sec round on New York that asks for the baseball team and historical stuff while dropping Shea Stadium as a clue. Ca'mon man!
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:30 pm

Actually, I will say in my opinion, sports should never be in the 4th quarter. I would've felt sour to myself if me 30'ing the Commissioner of the NBA question would've been the difference in the round we played (thankfully it wasn't, but still).
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:32 pm

Well, I mean they have to be in the packet somewhere--if you win by 10 points, any question in the game is significant.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:41 pm

Cheynem wrote:Well, I mean they have to be in the packet somewhere--if you win by 10 points, any question in the game is significant.
Right, but there were a fair number of them in quarter 1. The criticism that questions in quarter 4 are worth more is a decent criticism, but consider how that's sorta weak that one trash tossup could be worth three history tossups.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:00 pm

Cheynem wrote:Well, I mean they have to be in the packet somewhere--if you win by 10 points, any question in the game is significant.
This was a sudden death situation. But, it's whatever question comes next. Perhaps it would be best if the Sports stuff came earlier. Also regards the question. The answer is not the Metrodome, which is what you seem you think is important, It's who played in the Metrodome.... And, aside from the Stadium which is the throw away here, I don't see anything in the question that makes me think it's historically significant.

When you look at history, its the moments that stand the test of time. So, whether or not it is 50 years, or any span of time, the question the writer should ask himself is, "Will this be something that is relevant in 50 years etc?" What we had here is a fan of the twins writing a question about his favorite players and moments. There are a ton of historically significant sports moments that can be gone to. I just don't think this was one. And, I did not like seeing it come up when everything wa on the line.

Furthermore, I like having the students play in an academically rigorous tournament. These questions detract from that.

I think thats all I want to say on it because I know that here and everywhere we turn, from our tax dollars funding professional sports stadiums, to the fact that 15% students going to Ivy league schools are getting sports rather than academic scholarships, we are losing everything to sports. This is not an argument that you are going to cave in and agree with me on
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Kid In Green Shirt » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:05 pm

On the topic of sports, I'd like to thank whoever wrote the bee question on Gordie Howe. I think that there were even more tennis questions than hockey questions, so as a big hockey fan answering that question really made what was otherwise my worst round in the bee. I also think it's important to note that everything has a history, including sports. To my understanding, Dave's goal for NHBB is to cover the history of anything and everything. If the argument that sports not being historical enough for NHBB can be made, I would think that any question about a science-related topic would have to go too, as it simply would not fit the pure history requirement that is being put forth. In my opinion, this would make the tournament as a whole a lot more dry.

In other news, I also enjoyed the gum tossup from the bowl. Overall, I agree that this set was very well done. Great work by all the writers!
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by jonpin » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:Well, I mean they have to be in the packet somewhere--if you win by 10 points, any question in the game is significant.
While this maxim does hold in standard TU/B quiz bowl, as Thomas noted, the actual literal value (not just emotional value) of fourth and second-quarter NHBB tossups is greater than that of first-quarter tossups.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:10 pm

The distro is set from NHBB's end, but I'm given to understand that it is made with the goal of answering the question "how exactly is anyone (HSAPQ or any other putative writer of this set) supposed to write a set with 1692 answer lines without making it too hard for high school players?" Part of this answer is to not try to find 1692 pure history answer lines, but to mix in the history of art, literature, sports, etc. Obviously, Dave has also made it clear that he believes the history of intellectual & popular culture to be a part of history as a whole in the first place.

I am sympathetic to the notion that a trash tossup should not be the deciding one of the game, but remember that we can only control this in the Bowl -- in the Bee, any tossup could potentially be the one where someone advances or is knocked out, and there's no way to predict this in advance.

I guess I will also note that the Minnesota Twins question featured nothing but important events from the history of baseball -- Gaetti starting two triple plays in a game is a record that has not been broken, and the rest of the clues were about the Twins' two World Series victories in the last generation. Obviously, if you don't care about baseball, this won't mean anything to you, but it's written in a particular way that "sports history" for this tournament has always been written, which is different from how a straight trash question on the Twins would be written for a regular (ie non-History Bowl) NAQT or HSAPQ set.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Kouign Amann » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:14 pm

Mark Wolfsberg wrote: When you look at history, its the moments that stand the test of time.
Leaving aside the rest of your questionable argument about the merit of studying sports in an academic context, this sentiment is a pretty unsophisticated way of approaching history. All sorts of history (including a lot of intellectual and cultural history) can't really be distilled down into "moments" in a very productive way. It's just as important to understand long-term trends and movements and how people interact in a general sense. History is not just a collection of memorable moments.

Addendum, because it's the second time I've seen you mention this: there are no "scholarships" (athletic, academic, or otherwise) at Ivy League schools. There is only need-based financial aid. That's one of the defining characteristics of the league.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Thu May 01, 2014 12:23 am

Kouign Amann wrote:
Addendum, because it's the second time I've seen you mention this: there are no "scholarships" (athletic, academic, or otherwise) at Ivy League schools. There is only need-based financial aid. That's one of the defining characteristics of the league.
I did misspeak. There are no athletic or merit scholarships. but because of their huge endowments everyone admitted to an Ivy who needs financial assistance gets it. What I should have said is that 15% of enrolments are going to recruited athletes who on average are being accepted with lower academic standards than non athletes.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Al Hirt » Thu May 01, 2014 10:08 am

I wasn't at the tournament, but after reading all the questions from the Bee, Bowl, and Geo Olympiad in the course of the past few days, it seems pretty clear that this is going to be excellent fodder for practice, so I'd thank NHBB, all the writers, and HSAPQ) for putting forth an excellent resource.

As to sports history, asking about sports is still rewarding knowledge of culturally significant events/organizations. This may have been hashed out earlier, but I think it's rather fair to say that if you want to learn about sports (which does have major cultural importance), you can learn about it basically the same way you can learn history: by reading things. Certainly, it shouldn't be given the same importance as lit, history, science, etc, but the relevance of sports history is completely justified.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Mark Wolfsberg » Thu May 01, 2014 11:58 am

Dave asked for legitimate feedback.

I think we've pretty much killed the sports thing. If I concede that you have won, can we just table it so people can give valuable feedback on the questions used at NHBB & USGO

thanks
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Cheynem » Thu May 01, 2014 12:04 pm

Just to be clear, I have no problem with your feedback (I was one of the writers of this set), I just wanted to express why I disagreed with you. As Matt said, we do try to include as much historically important sports questions in the set to avoid random trivia per se.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by johntait1 » Thu May 01, 2014 12:36 pm

So, now that I've had a few days to think about the past weekend, here are my thoughts.
Part 1: History Bowl and Bee set
Since the Bowl and Bee questions felt similar but the US History Bee questions felt a bit different, I'll put them separately. First of all, I want to thank Matt Weiner and every one of the HSAPQ writers for producing the best set I have ever played on over my 9 NHBB and standard quizbowl tournaments. Here are the reasons why I liked it so much
1. Buzzer races were not nearly as big of an issue as I thought it would be. Last year at Nationals we averaged this around 5-7 buzzer races per round, which often made a huge difference as many of our games were decided by one question. This year, the buzzer races were more like 2-3 per round, which was excellent as most of our games were decided by a wider margin, so buzzer races didn't really decide the outcome of games. I truly am amazed that the number of buzzer races was more than halved at this tournament.
2. New answerlines: It was very nice that it wasn't the same stuff that I've seen in old packets tossed up over and over(one reason why buzzer races weren't as big of an issue). For example, I really liked that Nicholas Poussin, Paolo Ucello, and Honore Daumier were all tossed up in art, instead of the standard stuff that always comes up. For history I liked tossups on USS Indianapolis, or Pullman company(rather than just the strike), and Jean Laffite as a bonus was better than the standard Battle of New Orleans tossup.
3. The questions weren't too prone to guessing, as most quizbowl packets I've played this year have been. In the semifinals it seemed like everyone was guessing in JV and we kept on getting to two strikes, but at least it wasn't like people getting it by their guesses.
Now a few things that I didn't like so much......
1. As mentioned previously, a few of the packets seemed different in terms of distribution. While I agree that non-standard history should certainly be asked about, it seemed a bit unfair that some teams could lose in playoffs if they got a bad packet since it was single elimination. It wasn't really an issue for us, but I did notice there were some major upsets in JV.
2. I was a bit confused on what some of the questions were asking about. For example, it asked what position Oscar Romero was holding, which I buzzed in with archbishop since I've always seen "archbishop Oscar Romero". Not a big issue, but I'd like to know if similar answerlines would be given in the future, and if any of the writers have any tips on how not to mess up when answering those types of answerlines?
3. The amount of Christianity was much lower than last year(one or two in the whole set that I remembered playing?). I feel Christianity should definitely be tossed up more, as doctrine has played a huge role in history(most of the time that I read about history there is an important link to Christianity). It certainly seems much more significant than trash, which often came up 2 times per round. Lastly, the conversion on trash in my rounds were much lower than Christianity last year, as trash was often disliked by people who left like they were part of an academic tournament. While I personally don't have anything against the Twins or sports in general(I actually really like sports), Christianity seems like a much more important and relevant subject.
Finally, I think Mark may have been confused because the official distribution for NHBB states that all ties will be broken on standard questions. Anyways, it wasn't an issue as I got a clean first line buzz on J. Edgar Hoover and Chandler Burrows got a clean buzz on Battle of Cowpens.
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Arkangel de la Muerte » Fri May 02, 2014 7:34 pm

Does anyone know when/if the US History Bee set will be posted anywhere?
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Re: NHBB & USGO Nationals Set Thread

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sat May 03, 2014 8:07 pm

gustavus.adolphus wrote:Of course, rinderpest has also been eliminated, but again that's a super pedantic thing that didn't stop me from getting the tossup.
Yeah that's on me. I'm only in school to be a people doctor.
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