2015 HSNCT discussion

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2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:52 pm

This is your discussion thread for the 2015 NAQT HSNCT.

(As usual, I'm traveling this week, so expect some measure of delay in my response to posts here)
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:49 pm

On a quick look over the packets, a lot of tossups seem to have huge answerlines. During one match, I was negged for saying "analogous structures" for the "convergent evolution" tossup even though I was correct. My answer was an alternate answer and the moderator didnt see it. Unfortunately I had no way of knowing that I was correct because I didn't see the question until after. Although this didn't end up affecting the game, is there any way in the future to make that tossups more clear so moderator make less mistakes due to not completely reading the answerlines?
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:53 pm

Same as last year, I wrote a ton of questions for this year's HSNCT. In fact, I probably ended up writing/editing up to 60% of the history and 80% of the geography tossups in this set (I don't like writing bonuses as much).

When writing/editing the geography in this set, as a general rule, I tended to emphasize using "interesting" clues. Hopefully, you will have noticed how few tossups in this set mentioned lame tributaries or creeks that nobody knows about, for starters. Instead, I preferred to use clues in my geography questions that tied in history, culture, touristy things, literature, and other fun stuff. This was sort of inspired by Matt Jackson's thread on interesting geography from last year, but also partly motivated just by my own distaste towards memorizing the names of random county reservoirs and minor peninsulas.

As usual, I am very interested in feedback on any of these questions, or general feedback on HSNCT's history/geography as a whole. Which questions did you like? Which did you hate? Were any of them too easy? Too hard? Did any of them have factual errors? Did you get hosed by any of their clues (if so, sorry my friend!)? Let me know!

Listed below are questions that I wrote (not including the 50-ish others that I also edited), in order of packet:

#1
Utah
Algeria
Costa Rica
Gorillaz

#2
Teutonic Knights
Oklahoma

#3
Tammany Hall
Seminoles
Paris Commune
Baffin Island
Sudan/Omdurman/Churchill
Zionism

#4
Pyongyang
Pakistan
Adventure Time

#5
Ashoka
Bull Moose Party
Mexico City/PRI/PRD
Senegal

#6
Russia
nuclear tests
Kurt Vonnegut
Prague

#7
Duke of Waterloo
Sweden
Boston Tea Party
Vietnam War
James Cook
First Amendment

#8
Apple
China
South China Sea

#9
Isthmus of Corinth/Isthmus of Kra/Crimean Peninsula
Abraham Lincoln
Congo River
Humboldt/Atacama/Chimborazo
Kent State

#10
Thebes
Panama
Glengarry Glen Ross/Ricky Roma/David Mamet

#11
Falkland Islands
Jawaharlal Nehru
Wyoming
Merovingian Dynasty

#12
Leonid Brezhnev
Alaska
Glasgow/Scotland/River Clyde
dune
Korean War
Lapland/Finland/Aland Islands
Leif Erikson/John Cabot/Grand Banks
Washington D.C.

#13
Philippines
San Francisco
Tito

#14
Greece
Soviet Union

#15
Vietnam
Death Valley National Park
War of the Spanish Succession
Atlanta

#16
Yangtze River
Brittany/Aquitaine/Provence
Alberta
The Bald Soprano

#17
New Caledonia/Coral Sea/James Cook (Cook was sort of a repeat, sorry)
Baja Peninsula
Brazil
KKK
Splenda/stevia/RC Cola
Sahara Desert

#18
Mamluks
Kamchatka Peninsula
Scotland
Richard Nixon
Namibia/Caprivi Strip/Walvis Bay
Yom Kippur War
Bonn/Mainz/Strasbourg

#19
Indonesia
Attila the Hun
cannibalism
Jimmy Carter

#20
Albania
France
Sudan

#21
Charleston/Petersburg/Fort Pillow
Catherine the Great
Afghanistan/Great Game/Karakoram Range

#22
Escorial/Philip II/Don Juan of Austria
Anchorage
(First) Barbary War
Haiti

#23
Treaty of Versailles/Treaty of Brest-Litovsk/Treaty of Sevres
Holy Roman Emperor
HUAC
HP
Netherlands

#24
San Diego

#25
Chesapeake Bay
Auschwitz
World War I
Kashmir

#26
Abbasid Dynasty
Danube River
Yellowstone National Park
Napoleon III
Battle of Saratoga
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:36 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:. Although this didn't end up affecting the game, is there any way in the future to make that tossups more clear so moderator make less mistakes due to not completely reading the answerlines?
That's a little easier said then done, particularly for an answer like that. The solution isn't listing less obvious correct answers, because that would just lead you back to where you already were. A mistake was made by a single reader once.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:44 pm

Stefan HSQBRankovich wrote:
Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:. Although this didn't end up affecting the game, is there any way in the future to make that tossups more clear so moderator make less mistakes due to not completely reading the answerlines?
That's a little easier said then done, particularly for an answer like that. The solution isn't listing less obvious correct answers, because that would just lead you back to where you already were. A mistake was made by a single reader once.
The timed format encourages mods to hustle, which can sometimes lead to issues with complicated answerlines. It might be worth suggesting at the staff meeting that moderators stop the clock to check long answerlines - I've found myself doing this at HSNCTs in the past.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:54 pm

Stefan HSQBRankovich wrote:
Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:. Although this didn't end up affecting the game, is there any way in the future to make that tossups more clear so moderator make less mistakes due to not completely reading the answerlines?
That's a little easier said then done, particularly for an answer like that. The solution isn't listing less obvious correct answers, because that would just lead you back to where you already were. A mistake was made by a single reader once.
What i meant by this is that writers should do their part to make sure what it's clear what their asking for rather than including excessive amounts of answer lines to make up for their ambiguity. For instance, that particular question asks for a "concept", which could be anything. However, if the first line said "process", that would rule out analogous structures as an alternative answer.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by zman147 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:54 pm

In response to the post about history questions at this year's national tournament, I have a few thoughts on overall quality and some specific questions.

In my opinion, the history questions, for the most part, had very relevant and knowable answer lines. However, this can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. While I liked having some easier questions in the morning rounds, I expected to see some more difficult tossups in the afternoon, but the difficulties stayed mostly the same. In years past, if I remember correctly, tossups in the final rounds included things like Battle of the Hydaspes River, Rough Riders, the Mafia, Deng Xiaoping, and other topics that are important and relevant (Hydaspes maybe is a stretch), but don't come up enough in IS sets as tossups to be considered too easy.

This year though, even the tossups in the final rounds toed the line of too easy. For example, the tossup on the Abbasids had something like the Battle of Zab River (I can't remember if it was exactly this) in the first 2 lines, while the Napoleon III tossup listed 2 of his very important battles very early. In my experience these clues have often been used right before or even right after power in IS sets, and probably shouldn't be used so early in a Nats set. Furthermore, one of the teams answered "the Fatimid dynasty" to the first question, which while incorrect, would have made for a much more interesting answer line. Tossups like "Cartier" seemed to me much more appropriate for the difficulty and caliber of the situation, but maybe I am biased in that I consider French explorers more difficult than Islamic dynasties (I honestly don't know if others share that opinion).

In addition, I also felt that this trend of stocky/easy clues being given early in the question was more prevalent throughout the tournament for history questions than in past tournaments. There were many times where I felt that I was playing something along the lines of an IS-set rather than a Nationals set(I am not trying to brag or anything here; I felt that the practice Nats sets we had from the past 2/3 years which we read right before the competition were more difficult than the one we played this year), and I think I would have liked to see either more difficult answer lines or harder clues earlier in the question. Other than this, I thought that most questions and the tournament itself were pretty good. While there were some questions, like Glenn Greenwald, which I didn't think were appropriate, and others which I thought were trying too hard to be cute/creative at the expense of testing legitimate academic knowledge, this was definitely not the overall theme of the competition.

TL;DR: please use harder history questions next year, but overall good job.

Lastly, thank you to whoever wrote the DJ Khaled bonus, our team greatly enjoyed it.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:01 am

Corry, I really liked a lot of the questions you wrote. Washington, DC, nuclear tests, the isthmuses bonus, and Wyoming stood out to me as very good. Here are a few issues with others:
--I know I'm biased here, but blue crabs really shouldn't be in power for Chesapeake Bay. It's to this state what lobsters are to Maine (with the difference being that lobsters taste good)
--Talking with RM, they felt that the lead-in to the Boston Tea Party one was a bit easy for a national championship. The Annapolis clue comes up a bit. Not too egregious, though.
--Pretty sure you didn't have power over this, but I think the tossups you wrote that made it into the finals packets weren't harder within their subject than others. I had to Google a bunch of answerlines of things I'd never heard of while liveblogging, but the tossups on Yellowstone and the Danube had 0% of going dead, unlike Phillip Freneau or a few of the others. It's hard for me to look objectively as someone who is very decidedly a geography player, but they did tend to me, on the whole, a smidge on the easier side I think. Not too much so, though.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:04 am

Angry Babies in Love wrote:--Pretty sure you didn't have power over this, but I think the tossups you wrote that made it into the finals packets weren't harder within their subject than others.
I don't believe NAQT has a policy of making finals packets any harder than the rest of the set, so I'm not sure what the issue is here.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:25 am

zman147 wrote:While there were some questions, like Glenn Greenwald, which I didn't think were appropriate, and others which I thought were trying too hard to be cute/creative at the expense of testing legitimate academic knowledge, this was definitely not the overall theme of the competition.
This seems like a fine choice of answerline, at least - Glenn Greenwald is a very important journalist.

I also don't see what's terribly wrong with giving someone 15 points for knowing the Battle of the Zab River at a high school tournament, even a championship - unless your primary method of learning is actually just looking at old questions, that's not something that really counts as "basic knowledge" about the caliphate. If the tournament is trying to be stingy with powers then I can see that being not-so-great but (see below) I don't think this was the case this year.

I wasn't there, but power rates seemed up across the board quite a bit compared to last year (when LASA had more 10s than powers, though the reverse was true at PACE). Did teams just get that much better, was there a softening of tossup difficulty, or were power-marks just more generous? Bonuses, on the other hand, look like they were about the same.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:55 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:I wasn't there, but power rates seemed up across the board quite a bit compared to last year (when LASA had more 10s than powers, though the reverse was true at PACE). Did teams just get that much better, was there a softening of tossup difficulty, or were power-marks just more generous? Bonuses, on the other hand, look like they were about the same.
There was no specific attempt to make tossups easier or powermarks more generous, but the lead editor (and power-marker) of this year's set was different from last year's, so this can probably be partly attributed to the change in editorship. It isn't obvious to me that teams have gotten better on the whole since last year, but that doesn't seem impossible either.

The power rate was 17.0% in 2014 and 25.6% in 2015. NAQT's goal is to have a power rate between 17% and 20%, so this year's set may in fact have been slightly too easy to power. We may make an effort to tighten it up a bit next year, but frankly, among all the ways to miss difficulty targets, this one is pretty good.

Other difficulty metrics: overall tossup conversion (correct answers for 15 or 10, per tossup heard) was 84.4% in 2014 and 87.5% in 2015; NAQT's goal is 85%, so I'm pretty happy with this. Bonus conversion was 15.39 in 2014 and 15.91 in 2015; NAQT's goal is 50%, so I'm happy with that too.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:04 am

Matthew J wrote:
Angry Babies in Love wrote:--Pretty sure you didn't have power over this, but I think the tossups you wrote that made it into the finals packets weren't harder within their subject than others.
I don't believe NAQT has a policy of making finals packets any harder than the rest of the set, so I'm not sure what the issue is here.
Somebody (I forget who) told me that the Sunday packets (though not specifically the finals more than rounds earlier on Sunday) tend to be slightly harder than Saturday packets since some questions get tagged as being slightly harder and better suited to playoff rounds. Can someone from NAQT clarify on this point?
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by zman147 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:59 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
zman147 wrote:While there were some questions, like Glenn Greenwald, which I didn't think were appropriate, and others which I thought were trying too hard to be cute/creative at the expense of testing legitimate academic knowledge, this was definitely not the overall theme of the competition.
This seems like a fine choice of answerline, at least - Glenn Greenwald is a very important journalist.

I also don't see what's terribly wrong with giving someone 15 points for knowing the Battle of the Zab River at a high school tournament, even a championship - unless your primary method of learning is actually just looking at old questions, that's not something that really counts as "basic knowledge" about the caliphate. If the tournament is trying to be stingy with powers then I can see that being not-so-great but (see below) I don't think this was the case this year.

I wasn't there, but power rates seemed up across the board quite a bit compared to last year (when LASA had more 10s than powers, though the reverse was true at PACE). Did teams just get that much better, was there a softening of tossup difficulty, or were power-marks just more generous? Bonuses, on the other hand, look like they were about the same.
I will have to respectfully disagree about the Battle of the Zab not being "basic knowledge". It is the battle that ended the Umayyad Caliphate and allowed for the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate. If one has done any research on the Abbasid Caliphate or the Umayyad Caliphate, they should know that battle. I have no objection to it being asked in the question, as I think it is important and a good fact to mention, but I do not think it should come up so early (first 2 clues or something) in a question at HSNCT in the final rounds of the tournament (which I also assumed are supposed to be harder than Saturday rounds as Mr. Madden mentioned). However, it does align with what seems to be a generous power policy for the tournament this year, as you said.

Also, after doing some research, you are right about Glenn Greenwald being more important than I thought he was. My apologies.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:10 am

zman147 wrote:I will have to respectfully disagree about the Battle of the Zab not being "basic knowledge". It is the battle that ended the Umayyad Caliphate and allowed for the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate
The particular battles that start and end dynasties, caliphates, what-have-you aren't really things that get emphasized much in most history books, or at least the ones that I've read. Sure, their names get mentioned, but so do a lot of things. If you ask me to name a few things off the top of my head about the Han dynasty that I would expect someone with "basic knowledge" of the subject to have, you can pretty surely bet that the Battle of Gaixia is not going to be one of them! There are exceptions, of course (say, Sekigahara) but I think this is a pretty fair generalization.

This is different from saying that these battles aren't worth knowing - of course they are, since they are clearly important historical events!
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by 1.82 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:01 am

zman147 wrote:Tossups like "Cartier" seemed to me much more appropriate for the difficulty and caliber of the situation, but maybe I am biased in that I consider French explorers more difficult than Islamic dynasties (I honestly don't know if others share that opinion).
I guarantee that more high schoolers know facts about Jacques Cartier than about the Fatimid or Umayyad dynasties. I learned about Cartier in elementary school.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:35 am

Great Bustard wrote:Somebody (I forget who) told me that the Sunday packets (though not specifically the finals more than rounds earlier on Sunday) tend to be slightly harder than Saturday packets since some questions get tagged as being slightly harder and better suited to playoff rounds. Can someone from NAQT clarify on this point?
This is correct. Note that 1) there is no distinction between the finals and other playoff rounds and 2) this is not a tournament-wide difficulty gradient.

(That is: we do not make the Sunday packets more difficult as a general class; we're talking about a relatively small number of questions, mostly tossups that have comparatively more difficult giveaway clues than the rest of the tournament. Sometimes these get marked "use on Sunday" to prevent them from going dead in Saturday games between teams in the lower half of the field. The Jacques Cartier tossup mentioned above is one such example.)
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:05 am

zman147 wrote:the Napoleon III tossup listed 2 of his very important battles very early. In my experience these clues have often been used right before or even right after power in IS sets, and probably shouldn't be used so early in a Nats set.
Insofar as this is a problem, I would like to suggest that the trouble is in the other direction. Let's take a look at the two questions involved:
2015 HSNCT round 26 wrote:This ruler wrote The Extinction of Pauperism after he was imprisoned for leading a failed coup at Boulogne. His forces won the Battle of Magenta and Battle of Solferino a decade after he sent an expeditionary force to support (*) Pius IX against Giuseppe Mazzini's newly declared Roman Republic. The Second Republic was ended by--for 10 points--what French emperor from 1852 to 1870, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte?
IS #100 wrote:This ruler appointed the secular Victor Duruy as Minister of Education, angering his Catholic wife Eugenie. At Plombieres, he allied with Count Cavour, leading to victories at Magenta and Solferino, but he was defeated and captured at the Battle of (*) Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War. For 10 points--name this emperor of France from 1852 to 1870, the nephew of the first ruler to bear his name.
So, both of these have "Magenta and Solferino" just before the power mark. The HSNCT tossup is still harder (the coup at Boulogne is more difficult than "his wife Eugenie"; Sedan is better-known than the Mazzini and Second Republic clues. Note that "Sedan" and "Franco-Prussian War" don't appear in the HSNCT question because there was a bonus part on Sedan itself on Saturday.)

The real problem here is that the IS #100 tossup is too difficult for regular-season high school play. In 30 rooms' worth of conversion data, this tossup generated the following statline: zero 15s, 21 tens, six minus-fives.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:31 pm

What category was the alternative medicine bonus?
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:44 pm

The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote:What category was the alternative medicine bonus?
General knowledge.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Santa Claus » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:26 pm

Without going through the notes I took, I want to say it seemed like there was far less science that really stood out to me as "out there" this year compared to last. Of course, I did not play every round (missed the "dark energy" tossup in the first packet, which was... odd), and I'm sure I've gotten better since last year, but good job science writers! I'll probably have a few questions to discuss once I am in a position to think more about this later, but overall I think it went well.
zman147 wrote:If one has done any research on the Abbasid Caliphate or the Umayyad Caliphate, they should know that battle. I have no objection to it being asked in the question, as I think it is important and a good fact to mention, but I do not think it should come up so early (first 2 clues or something) in a question at HSNCT in the final rounds of the tournament (which I also assumed are supposed to be harder than Saturday rounds as Mr. Madden mentioned)
Though I am far from an authority on this, I would also
like to provide some context that I personally was considering while reading this discussion: just because a question was in the finals packets, doesn't mean it was written to be. It was stated above that both power rates and conversion stats were much better this year than last and both were above what NAQT was hoping for, something that would not have happened without people considering the entire field. A question can't be written specifically to differentiate between the two top teams in the nation; it needs to consider the other 270 teams.

To make another related point, if I started complaining that the question on Godel's incompleteness theorem was too easy because they described his proof in power, I doubt I would get much sympathy, even if it is something critically important to someone who "has done any research". Some times, clues that have real life importance can still be first lines, and just because they're easy to search up doesn't mean they necessarily have been.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Emperor Pupienus » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:44 pm

Hopping on the discussion about history questions, there was a couple of early clues that looked rather egregiously easy to me.
Evian accords was still in power, which anyone with any knowledge of the Algerian War of Independence should know.
The first words of the Dien Bien Phu tossup (if I remember correctly) were "Operation Castor," which is fairly well used "chestnut" clue. I'd bet that almost every single top 20 team first lined that tossup.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:58 pm

Santa Claus wrote: just because a question was in the finals packets, doesn't mean it was written to be. It was stated above that both power rates and conversion stats were much better this year than last and both were above what NAQT was hoping for, something that would not have happened without people considering the entire field. A question can't be written specifically to differentiate between the two top teams in the nation; it needs to consider the other 270 teams.
Strictly, speaking, this isn't exactly true. Questions could be written specifically for the finals, or, perhaps more appropriately, edited specifically for the finals. NAQT doesn't follow this policy beyond what Jeff elaborated on (and I'm not saying that this is necessarily unwise), but that doesn't mean that a question couldn't be written to differentiate between the two top teams in the nation. I've mentioned NHBB's philosophy on this elsewhere, but NHBB specifically does scale up the difficulty throughout Nationals so as to better differentiate without frustrating teams that together are from a wider-range of ability levels than are at HSNCT. Could someone from PACE clarify their policy on this point (i.e. whether difficulty is ramped up at various points in the tournament) in advance of NSC? I think people would be interested to know that.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by gettysburg11 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:28 pm

jasonzhou wrote:Hopping on the discussion about history questions, there was a couple of early clues that looked rather egregiously easy to me.
Evian accords was still in power, which anyone with any knowledge of the Algerian War of Independence should know.
The first words of the Dien Bien Phu tossup (if I remember correctly) were "Operation Castor," which is fairly well used "chestnut" clue. I'd bet that almost every single top 20 team first lined that tossup.
I will say that I too was surprised to receive power after buzzing at the Evian Accords clue. Whether that's nitpicking or not I don't know.

I thought the set overall was good, although there were some questions that were a bit bizarre in my opinion, such as the celebrities mugged in NYC bonus and the tossups about Chicken McNuggets and Cliff Paul.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Theodore » Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:12 pm

jasonzhou wrote:Hopping on the discussion about history questions, there was a couple of early clues that looked rather egregiously easy to me.
Evian accords was still in power, which anyone with any knowledge of the Algerian War of Independence should know.
The first words of the Dien Bien Phu tossup (if I remember correctly) were "Operation Castor," which is fairly well used "chestnut" clue. I'd bet that almost every single top 20 team first lined that tossup.
I also felt that some of the international history bonuses seemed unusually easy to me. One that stood out was the bonus that went Macau/Portugal/Sri Lanka.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by aescandell » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:14 pm

Out of idle curiosity, is there a rationale for the 17-20% range for power rate? I think I like the more generous rate we saw at this year's HSNCT more. At 25% I suspect that it is much more likely for lower level teams and players to score an occasional power, without making them so common as to be meaningless.

I've had the opportunity to coach players at a wide range of experience and abilities over the last five years, and don't underestimate how meaningful a single power or two can be to a developing player/team. While I wouldn't support raising the rate by much more, it seems like it played out perfectly fine in both the high and low ends of the spectrum.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by the return of AHAN » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:38 pm

Theodore wrote: I also felt that some of the international history bonuses seemed unusually easy to me. One that stood out was the bonus that went Macau/Portugal/Sri Lanka.
I vividly remember that getting 20'd in my room (Tegel).
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:45 pm

Like Corry, I wrote a bunch for this set (but not quite as much as him) but unlike him much of what I wrote was in the sciences, in particular chemistry, where by my count I wrote half the chemistry for this set. So any feedback/comments on the sciences are welcomed.

Writing science for HSNCT is definitely something of a challenge-you want questions that will differentiate between the top teams while at the same time be accessible to a vast majority of the teams at the tournament (this is of course true for every subject but seems a bit trickier to pull off in the sciences). And I prefer to not write yet another tossup on something like buffers, the Nernst equation, etc...So I tried to write some "interesting" questions that would play well. Reading/watching most of the rounds I think this worked in general although I probably overshot the mark at times (e.g., tossups on nylon and surfactants were probably okay, but ligands is probably just too difficult for HSNCT). But I only have a limited sample size so again, any feedback would be appreciated.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:51 pm

Hey folks, thanks for the feedback you've given me so far! I appreciate it a lot. Addressing a few points:
  • It's true that pretty much all of my tossups in this tournament probably ended up with 90%+ end conversion rates. I did throw a couple of "sort of hard but not really" answer lines into this set (e.g. Paris Commune, Senegal, Merovingian Dynasty), although that was really it. This is nothing ideological, but rather just a personal preference-- I have more fun writing "hard tossups on easy answerlines".
  • In retrospect, blue crabs was probably a bit easy for a 2nd line on the Chesapeake Bay. Raynell, how do you feel about the oysters clue in the first line?
  • I also talked with Richard Montgomery about my tossup on the Boston Tea Party, but honestly, I'm not sure I agree that the first clue was inappropriately easy. American history isn't my specialty, but looking further into it, the Peggy Stewart burning doesn't really seem like as common of a clue as RM made it out to be.
  • I don't think putting Battle of Zab (or even battles like Magenta and Solferino) as the last clue before power is particularly egregious, even at the HSNCT level. I mean, HSNCT questions are meant to be easier than NHBB questions, right?
  • I actually didn't like the Glenn Greenwald question very much. I'm sure Greenwald is an important dude in real life, but I also strongly suspect that this particular tossup provoked lots of negs on "Edward Snowden". (He sure did in my room.) In my opinion, this tossup would've worked much better as a bonus.
  • In retrospect, I probably should've flipped the nuclear testing clue with the Evian Accords clue in the Algeria tossup. My bad. On the other hand, I also don't think it's particularly egregious to keep Evian Accords in power, in general.
  • Side note, I really really don't like questions on pretty-important-but-still-not-that-important explorers like Jacques Cartier. The conversion rates for questions on him are always pretty meh, and I approve of NAQT's decision to move this one into the playoff rounds.
On a more general note, I also felt like the history was systematically power-marked more generously this year (to clarify, subject editors like myself don't do the power marking- that's done by NAQT's set editor). That being said, I don't necessarily have a problem with that; as Mr. Escandell notes, higher power rates can benefit the inclusivity of the game, with relatively little detriment to top teams.

Once more, thanks for the comments, guys! Keep em coming.
Last edited by Corry on Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:53 pm

The KKK tossup seemed very easy. Force Acts is quite stock but still in power.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:54 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:The KKK tossup seemed very easy. Force Acts is quite stock but still in power.
Oh yeah, I agree. I was initially expecting power to end on Force Acts, although I guess power marking was out of my control.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:59 pm

FYI, here are the discussed tossups so far (I apologize to NAQT in advance if I'm not supposed to post this stuff):
In this body of water, {sailboats} known as {skipjacks} still operate in what were once America's most productive {oyster} grounds. Most of America's {blue crabs} are {harvested} from this body of water, which features many {fossils} along its Calvert Cliffs. Early colonists settled in the (*) Tidewater region next to this bay, along the Rappahannock [RAP-ah-HAN-uck] and {James River}s. For 10 points--name this bay next to Maryland and Virginia.

answer: _Chesapeake_ Bay
A year after this event, it inspired a similar event in Annapolis during which the ~Peggy Stewart~ was burned. According to a story spread by George Bancroft, this event was started by the phrase "this meeting can do nothing more to save the country." It began after Thomas Hutchinson refused to let the (*) ~Dartmouth~ leave his city. The Intolerable Acts were passed after--for 10 points--what 1773 destruction of goods in Boston?

answer: Boston _Tea Party_
Under this {dynasty}, the Black Stone was hidden by the Qarmatians ["car"-MAY-shunz], who {sacked} Mecca soon after the suppression of a {slave revolt} called the {Zanj Rebellion}. This dynasty rose to power after the defeat of Marwan II [mar-wahn "the second"] at the {Battle of the Zab} [zahb]. Later, it lost western lands to the (*) {Seljuks} and Fatimids [FAHT-ih-midz]. This dynasty ended when Hulagu [hoo-LAH-goo] Khan sacked Baghdad in 1258. For 10 points--name this {caliph}ate [KAY-lih-"fate"] that succeeded the Umayyads [oo-MY-udz].

answer: _Abbasid_ [uh-BAH-sid] dynasty (or _Abbasids_ or _Abbasid caliph_ate or _Abbasid caliphs_)
This ruler wrote ~The Extinction of Pauperism~ after he was {imprisoned} for leading a failed {coup} [koo] at Boulogne [boo-lohn]. His forces won the {Battle of Magenta} and {Battle of Solferino} a decade after he sent an {expeditionary force} to support (*) Pius IX ["the ninth"] against {Giuseppe Mazzini}'s [joo-ZEP-pay maht-SEE-nee'z] newly declared {Roman Republic}. The {Second Republic} was ended by--for 10 points--what {French emperor} from 1852 to 1870, a {nephew} of Napoleon Bonaparte?

answer: _Napoleon III_ (or _Louis-Napoleon_ Bonaparte; do not accept or prompt on "Napoleon")
This journalist wrote the book ~No Place To Hide~ soon after co-founding ~The Intercept~. Police at Heathrow Airport detained David Miranda for carrying data from Laura Poitras to this man, who is Miranda's boyfriend. He is shown in a Hong Kong hotel room in the film ~Citizenfour~ interrogating a former (*) NSA contractor. For 10 points--name this former writer for ~The Guardian~, who helped break the Edward Snowden story.

answer: Glenn _Greenwald_
After a ruler in this country hit Pierre Deval [deh-vahl] with a {fly whisk}, this country was invaded by Charles X ["the tenth"] in 1830. This country was granted independence in the Evian [EH-vee-ahn] Accords, although a secret {clause} allowed {nuclear testing} to continue in this country for 15 years. After the FLN came to power in this country, many (*) ~{pied-noirs}~ [pee-ayn-wahrz] returned to France in the 1960s. For 10 points--name this country between Morocco and Tunisia.

answer: (People's Democratic Republic of) _Algeria_ (or al-Jumhuriyah al-_Jaza'ir_iyah ad-Dimuqratiyah ash-Sha'biyah; prompt on "Ottoman (Empire)" or "Turkish Empire" or "(Devlet-i Aliyye-i) Osmaniyye" before "Evian")
After this man's second {voyage}, he returned home with {Chief Donnacona} [DOH-nuh-KOH-nuh] of the {Iroquois} [EER-oh-kwoy]. During that voyage, he named the Lachine [lah-sheen] Rapids after China, thinking that he had found the Northwest Passage; he was actually in the village of Hochelaga [hoh-shay-LAH-gah] on the St. (*) Lawrence River. This man extensively explored the region that is now Quebec from 1534 to 1542. For 10 points--name this {explorer} who claimed Canada for France.

answer: Jacques _Cartier_ [zhahk kart-yay] (or Jakez _Karter_)
This organization was re-founded by members of the Knights of Mary Phagan shortly after the death of Leo Frank. It fell into decline after D. C. Stephenson was convicted of murdering an Indiana schoolteacher. Benjamin Butler wrote the 1871 Force Act to allow for prosecution of this organization's members. (*) D. W. Griffith's film ~The Birth of a Nation~ favorably depicts--for 10 points--what {white supremacist} organization?

answer: Ku Klux _Klan_ (or _KKK_)
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Santa Claus » Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:44 pm

Great Bustard wrote:Strictly, speaking, this isn't exactly true.
Yeah, I think I tried to make my argument more general than it really should have been. I think the point I was trying to make was that it's unreasonable to criticize a question's early clues for being too easy without considering how subjective clue difficulty can be and what it really means to be easy.

Also, I got around to looking at my notes and I'll just going to leave notes on literally all the science I played; prepare for a long post:

PACKET 2
  • dipole - I appreciated how this took a pretty common clue for torque (torque = dipole moment x appropriate field) and gave it some flavor by asking for something different. I also appreciated the mention of experiments, which are always nice ways to add in information.

    convergence - Given that it's a name that can be directly parsed (and pretty common at that), I would have put the clue on "Cauchy" after the second clue on 2^n, which I still don't recognize (would appreciate somebody identifying this!).

    vulcanization - Though the first two clues probably didn't help anybody answer this question, I appreciate that they included the phrase "creating crosslinks" in power, as otherwise this question would have been practically impossible to power. Overall, a pretty hard answer line if only because of a lack of deep knowledge on the subject.

    pulsars - I don't like the first clue on this tossup about Shapiro delay; the rest are good. The Shapiro delay is pretty strongly associated with radio waves, which was the original premise and also the medium they used when they tested general relativity. Though it technically could apply to just about any electromagnetic radiation, the fact still stands that it almost never does, and is, far as I can tell, never applied to radiation from pulsars. To make matters worst, the wording of the sentence, especially the use of the pronoun "objects", means that "radio waves" fits in very well as an answer.

    glucose/maltose/equatorial - Equatorial was pretty hard, and I'm not a huge fan of memorizing all the disaccharides.

    Southern Oscillation/El Niño/trade winds - As someone with pretty good knowledge in earth science, I felt the third part of this bonus (SO) ended up being a bit confusing. Despite knowing that the Southern Oscillation referred to the atmospheric portion of EN, I would have still guessed "El Niño" because of "namesake 'index'" as a clue, since the Oceanic Niño index is also very much a thing (3.4 especially) and because I have never heard of the SO index as its own separate entity (I even thought the Tahiti-Darwin measurements were used in an EN index, though in hindsight that's silly). I feel like the Southern Oscillation is a reasonable third part (especially with the prevalence of the term ENSO) but I would have personally put it after the part on El Niño.

    acceleration/moment of inertia/Lagrangian - This bonus was on the easy side, but I'm not complaining.
PACKET 4
  • Achilles tendon - I think this one was just an all around bad idea. Literally the first point someone who hasn't memorized all the bones in the heel could get it was also the first word out of power.

    Abduction from the Seraglio - Alright so this one wasn't science but I feel like briefly saying that this was too hard. It was lame and really shouldn't have been tossed up.

    lichens - My main concern with this question is the first line's use of the word "thallus", because that also happens to refer to the body of algae (notably seaweed, but also a lot of other non-algae organisms like fungi as well), probably because lichens have algae in them. This means that first line has a major possibility of being misleading to someone who knows things about stuff. Besides that, the FTP is arguably harder than the last line of power, which mentions something non-technical that someone who doesn't know the formal definition of a lichen might actually know; worth considering that in the future.

    Faraday - That first clue, the one where they mention the use of Lorentz forces to make potential differences? That sounds an awful lot like Edwin Hall (of Hall effect fame). Although the object being described is undeniably not Hall's, it's still seems like a bad idea to use that sort of terminology to describe an object whose formal definition people would scarcely recognize and potentially draw out negs.

    integration - It was a bad idea to leave a clue about solving differential equations with integration in power. The other clues, especially the first few, were hard to parse, but really that's par for the course on math.

    ionic - This question was confusing because of how unrelated and just plain difficult the clues were. Debye-Huckel equation is hard at the high school level (even for HSNCT). EMIM-Cl doesn't seem to be particularly famous, and if the point of that clue was to imply ionic liquids, those aren't particularly well known either. The Born-Haber cycle clue especially had some problems, mainly with the fact that lattice energy is associated with crystalline compounds, which include ionic solids.

    aqua regia/HCl/common ion - It seems a bit silly that you'd need to know specifically which of the two acids in agua regia is in higher amounts. Not any of the properties or anything like that - no, just the ratio in which the exist in a single specific compound.

    Hawking/singularity/Sagittarius A* - The first two parts are very reasonable, though the third part seems pretty dang hard; the clues used were good though.

    W bosons/Tevatron/Higgs boson - This question has two hard parts and an easy part; it's unreasonable to have either the gauge bosons of the charged vertex or the specific particle accelerator they were measured in as middle parts. It would have been advisable to include at least a mention of the weak force in the first part (though it was implied), and probably either "Fermilab" or "Enrico Fermi" instead of "Tevatron".

    shock/solar wind/interstellar medium - In my experience, the answer "shock" is very frequently misunderstood or confused for various related concepts; a different answerline may have been a better idea. The clue for ISM probably could have mentioned "beyond the sun" without any real problems, since the difficulty is knowing the name more than anything.

    identity/n/general linear - The trace part would have been a reasonable hard part, since trace is, at least to my knowledge, not very well known. The third part of this is just ridiculous and I would be surprised if any room in the tournament got it.
PACKET 5
  • fraction - Looking over it now, this was a really short question. It really could have done with another clue, since there just really isn't a lot of information being given.

    black bodies - I think the theme of "approximations of black bodies" for this question was pretty cool, but I question whether the word "hohlraum" was really easier than carbon nanotubes. Also, with a lot of theoretical knowledge of black bodies but no experimental knowledge, the earliest one could get this tossup is just out of power.

    lanthanides - I am willing to bet that anybody who powered this question got it at "contraction" (though it is pretty funny that 4f is still in power after that), so it would have been interesting to talk about some of the more interesting electromagnetic properties of the lanthanides early on instead of just dropping names of things. Things like holmium's use as a polepiece in MRI machines and stuff, rather than just a random contrast agent with gadolinium in it. I do really appreciate that the answer line was "lanthanides" instead of "rare earths" though, since that would have been a recipe for trouble.

    convergent evolution - Though this answer line was really unexpected, it was not a good idea to immediately start mentioning what was pretty clearly an example of analogous protein structure in the first two lines. The fact that that's how the question ended up going means there really weren't any substantial clues available other than examples.

    amber - Looking at the second line of this tossup for the first time, I am stupefied that the presence of amber on the Baltic seabed is considered easier than the discovery of electricity. Though it may have seemed reasonable to use it as a first clue without the mentioning of "electron" or "electricity", I doubt anyone who knows the etymology of the word "electron" wouldn't have at least a semblance of an idea of how it got its name.

    triple bond/sp/Huckel - This was a pretty good question all around, though "sp" may have been difficult to get with the context provided.

    P waves/104º/Lehmann - Alright, so Inge Lehmann is already hard enough, especially since you talk about the 220 km discontinuity rather than the boundary between the outer and inner core (which apparently is occasionally named after other people, but it's almost definitely most associated with her). But then you ASK ABOUT THE SPECIFIC DEGREE MEASURE OF THE SHADOW ZONE (or more accurately the angle away from the epicenter). Speaking from three years of experience, that is something they wouldn't even pull in Ocean Sciences Bowl, and they have questions on Mediterranean Intermediate Water.

    Hamilton/Schrodinger equation/momentum - This bonus is high up on the difficulty scale, since the easy part is still hard for a lot of teams and the hard part requires knowledge of Hamiltonian mechanics. Considering "Lagrangian" was the hard part of a different bonus, I don't know what "Hamilton" is doing as the medium part of this one.

    adrenal glands/androgens/pheochromocytomas - Alright, I didn't actually make it to this question when we played, but I saw it while reading through the packet and had to comment on it. WHY IS PHEOCHROMOCYTOMAS AN ANSWER LINE IN THIS BONUS.
I just realized how ridiculous it is to go through all the science in the set. That being said, I'm still going to do it, but in installments. This concludes the first three packets of the... nineteen I played through. Jeeeez.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:11 am

Santa Claus wrote: Abduction from the Seraglio - Alright so this one wasn't science but I feel like briefly saying that this was too hard. It was lame and really shouldn't have been tossed up.
I don't know about all of the science-y stuff, but I generally agree with this.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:17 am

Corry wrote: [*] In retrospect, blue crabs was probably a bit easy for a 2nd line on the Chesapeake Bay. Raynell, how do you feel about the oysters clue in the first line?
I think it's fine, though the problem with that is that it's not particularly uniquely identifying. Many places on both coasts have lots of oysters, and almost all of those places have seen a decline (though the counterargument is that almost all of those bays are untossupable, which is true)

Despite the fact that place-name-based geo tossups were my bread and butter in my HS playing days, I do appreciate the focus being less on that and more on what actually goes on in the places being written about. I probably would have moved skipjack down to right before power, put blue crabs after power, and then led with maybe something a bit harder. It's not that skipjacks are easy, it's just that I think they're more famous than Calvert Cliffs. I really didn't have too much of a problem with the tossup the way it was, just with blue crabs somewhere out of power.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by RexSueciae » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:12 am

As it is written, I don't think the Chesapeake Bay tossup has anything wrong with it at all. That being said, I'm wary of how qualified I am to judge the clue placement of this particular question.

I grew up in the Tidewater of Virginia (along the Rappahannock River, no less) and thus learned about the Chesapeake Bay at a fairly early age. There is a painting in my bedroom of skipjacks on the Chesapeake Bay. In middle school, we had a special lesson on how John Smith wrote that the oysters of his day were so plentiful and so efficient with their filtration that the water was nearly clear (and I do think that clue is uniquely identifying, especially since only in the Chesapeake Bay were they dredged with skipjacks). Blue crabs are some of the better known products of the Bay, true, but now we're getting into easier clues and eventually the question will start name-dropping things like a landmark named after a founder of Maryland and the specific rivers that empty into the Bay itself. Yes, blue crabs are important, but I'd wager that to teams from anywhere other than Maryland (and Virginia) that's not a flamingly obvious sort of clue.

The problem with estimating difficulty on something that one is intimately familiar with is that it's very easy to overestimate how well people from outside of a subject specialty--in this case, people who reside outside of a geographic region--are familiar with a particular clue. The question of whether "blue crabs" is placed correctly is something that I'd figure out by, say, play-testing this question with some Californians, or (after the fact) by looking at the power rate of that specific question across all rooms at HSNCT. The only conceivable ways to avoid teams from specific regions buzzer-racing on topics they know well are either 1) only ask about things from regions that don't do much quizbowl (impossible) or 2) accept that teams are going to have advantages on stuff that by dint of geographic luck they know by heart. There's also the fact that NAQT uses strict length limits for its questions, so there's less of a chance for lots and lots of finely graduated clues that would be wasted on the vast majority of the competition.

I haven't gotten a chance to look at the entirety of this question set, but I've been hearing more or less good things about it from people who played it.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonah » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:26 am

Santa Claus wrote:convergence - Given that it's a name that can be directly parsed (and pretty common at that), I would have put the clue on "Cauchy" after the second clue on 2^n, which I still don't recognize (would appreciate somebody identifying this!).
Here's the tossup:
HSNCT packet 2 wrote:In a {complete metric space}, this property is equivalent to being Cauchy [koh-shee]. One method to check it considers versions of the expression 2 to the ~n~ times ~f~ of 2 to the ~n~. A result less than 1 from the (*) {ratio or root test} indicates the "absolute" version of this property. A comparison to {reciprocals} of {powers of 2} shows that the {harmonic series} lacks--for 10 points--what property in which a series approaches a finite value?

answer: _convergence_ (accept word forms; accept _absolute convergence_; prompt on answers mentioning "limit")
The second sentence is about the Cauchy condensation test, which is not particularly related to the first sentence's reference to Cauchy sequences.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:57 am

Corry wrote:Under this {dynasty}, the Black Stone was hidden by the Qarmatians ["car"-MAY-shunz], who {sacked} Mecca soon after the suppression of a {slave revolt} called the {Zanj Rebellion}. This dynasty rose to power after the defeat of Marwan II [mar-wahn "the second"] at the {Battle of the Zab} [zahb]. Later, it lost western lands to the (*) {Seljuks} and Fatimids [FAHT-ih-midz]. This dynasty ended when Hulagu [hoo-LAH-goo] Khan sacked Baghdad in 1258. For 10 points--name this {caliph}ate [KAY-lih-"fate"] that succeeded the Umayyads [oo-MY-udz].

answer: _Abbasid_ [uh-BAH-sid] dynasty (or _Abbasids_ or _Abbasid caliph_ate or _Abbasid caliphs_)
After the fall of Baghdad, the Mamluks imported Abbasid relatives to Cairo, where the dynasty survived to 1517.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kasper Kaijanen » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:06 am

I think the tossup about Okonkwo mentioned Obierika by by name in the first clue, which was way too early.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:45 am

Kyle wrote:After the fall of Baghdad, the Mamluks imported Abbasid relatives to Cairo, where the dynasty survived to 1517.
Welp, I guess I totally forgot about that. I doubt this clue would've necessarily confused any teams, since the 1258 sacking of Baghdad is a pretty well-known thing, but yeah. My bad. Also the question editor's bad too, I guess (I didn't self-edit this question).
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:40 am

glucose/maltose/equatorial - Equatorial was pretty hard, and I'm not a huge fan of memorizing all the disaccharides
Is it? Are there not high school organic chemistry courses where they learn about cyclohexane's chair conformation (asking seriously)? As for the other part, it was originally about something else, but got changed in editing (so I am off the hook there).

I'm gonna jump ahead to Sunday's packets and point out that a handful of editors (including me) agreed that the enzyme binding question was confusing especially at the end, where it seemed to already say the answer, just in different words. It went dead in our room, and I'm wondering how it played out in other matches.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Cody » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:55 am

Santa Claus wrote:Southern Oscillation/El Niño/trade winds - As someone with pretty good knowledge in earth science, I felt the third part of this bonus (SO) ended up being a bit confusing. Despite knowing that the Southern Oscillation referred to the atmospheric portion of EN, I would have still guessed "El Niño" because of "namesake 'index'" as a clue, since the Oceanic Niño index is also very much a thing (3.4 especially) and because I have never heard of the SO index as its own separate entity (I even thought the Tahiti-Darwin measurements were used in an EN index, though in hindsight that's silly). I feel like the Southern Oscillation is a reasonable third part (especially with the prevalence of the term ENSO) but I would have personally put it after the part on El Niño.
Could this bonus be posted? I'd like to see the lead-in again.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Remembered Guy » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:00 pm

The questions for this set on the whole were very good. There was certainly some history on the easier side, as well as some CE (dropping artificial islands first line for South China Sea notably sticks out). On the whole, though, the difficulty seemed good, with powers available if you had knowledge but not if you just knew a little about the subject. As a good little zionist, I was ecstatic for the questions on zionism and kibbutzim. Can someone post those?
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:47 pm

El Cool Rectangle wrote:The questions for this set on the whole were very good. There was certainly some history on the easier side, as well as some CE (dropping artificial islands first line for South China Sea notably sticks out).
Not that it matters, but South China Sea was geography rather than CE.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Vainamoinen » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:11 pm

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:
I'm gonna jump ahead to Sunday's packets and point out that a handful of editors (including me) agreed that the enzyme binding question was confusing especially at the end, where it seemed to already say the answer, just in different words. It went dead in our room, and I'm wondering how it played out in other matches.
In my match this tossup was negged by the other team with "denaturation" rather early and then I waited on it and buzzed with "active binding" at the end for 10 points. The tossup didn't seem particularly confusing to me at any point, and I actually quite liked it.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:20 pm

Sic Semper Fidelis wrote:I think the tossup about Okonkwo mentioned Obierika by by name in the first clue, which was way too early.
I wrote this tossup after reading the novel; I'm not sure if I agree with you. Obierika is, like, the eighth most prominent character in the novel? I'm not sure how you could know his name unless you've:

A) Read the book,
B) Memorized all of its major (for an extremely broad definition of "major") characters,
C) Or studied a lot of Nigerian literature, recognized the name as an Ibo name, and then guessed that Okonkwo is the most likely character that could be tossed up.

I'm perfectly fine with you getting a first line buzz on the tossup if you've done any of those things.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:25 pm

Here's what I wrote:
#1: symmetric, Rodney King/Jim Casy/J. Cole, bread/Raphael/Gulliver
#3: Brazil, Lloyd George/People's budget/Turkey, Dublin/Ireland/Guiness
#4: Xavier, wormhole/butterfly/Looking Backward, electroscope/torsion balance/Coulomb
#5: fraction, Hamilton/Schrodinger/momentum
#6: square root of 2, Billy Donovan, Philadelphia/Delaware River/liberty bell, Oman/Hormuz/Baloch
#7: wedding at Cana, Colorado (CE), factorial, coefficient of friction, diffraction/Bragg/Davisson-Germer, Basra/Shatt al-Arab/Kuwait
#8: real numbers, New Hampshire/White Mountains/Portsmouth, Mali/Timbuktu/Azawad, cylinder/hyperboloid/gradient
#9: Spain (CE), elementary charge, gyroscope, Houthi/Yemen/Saleh
#10: Feynman diagram/antiparticle/scattering
#11: secant, congruent, frequency, Jew of Malta/Marlowe/Kyd, Lorentz/ether/rotation
#12: tessellation, span, Innocence of Muslims/Google/copyright, elastic/kinetic energy/quark
#13: Ellison, gravitational lensing, Karachi/Arabian Sea/Gujarat
#14: (circle) chord, density, Sea Islands/South Carolina/Savannah River
#15: magnetic fields, boxplot, Gore/methane/Oryx and Crake, one-third/cylindrical shell/Pappus
#16: resistance, meson/charmed/Standard Model
#17: node, injective, eigenvalue/trace/determinant, transformer/Tesla/150 comp
#18: spectral line, The Things They Carried/O'Brien/Vietnam, Belshazzar/Schumann/Doctorow
#19: polar/lemniscate/line, right-to-work/NLRB/Indiana, permittivity/Coulomb/1
#20: Democrats, Guyana/Georgetown/Jonestown, cathode ray/Rontgen/helium
#21: Kasich/Medicaid/Pennsylvania, neutrino/oscillation/Kamiokande
#23: chain rule, Libya/Lampedusa/Ceuta
#24: collinear, Montt/Guatemala/Maya, Esther/oratorio/Steen
#25: complement, Lyrical Ballads, arithmetic/Tao/Erdos, Garp/Irving/Owen Meany
#26: power, conservative/potential/Stokes, Bandidos/motorcycle/Waco

I also wrote all the comp math except for the one in the first round. (I hope that sentence doesn't destroy this thread.)

I was only there Saturday, and one of my questions that noticeably did not play well was real numbers. I wrote it for SSNCT, and I don't remember whether that first clue was the first one when I wrote it. It was too easy for an HSNCT first clue.

Kevin already commented on the fraction and Schrodinger's equation questions. I think the fraction question had a different leadin originally, but it was removed by the editor probably due to ambiguity and/or a willingness to expand the partial fractions clue. I agree that the Schrodinger question probably is towards the difficult end, though I would think a decent number of teams would know what a Hamiltonian is, and it originally had a different last part that, if I remember correctly, overlapped something else in the set. I thought the acceleration/moment of inertia I didn't write was too easy to at least 20, so it's fair to say that those two bonuses were not the same difficulty.
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:27 pm

Things Fall Apart is one of my most favorite novels ever, and the name Obierika is not something I would consider a "stock clue." Ekwefi, Unoka, Nwyoe and Ikemefuna are all so much more notable characters from the novel, at a minimum.

Also, people are throwing around the phrase "stock clue" a lot, when I think what they're actually trying to say is "I'm good at quiz bowl."
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by orenji » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:37 pm

I wrote the following questions for HSNCT, and I'm curious how they played out since I was not there in person.

Round 1: New York City (architecture)
Round 2: Clay / American System / ACS, Chopin
Round 3: Iago
Round 5: Ransom of Red Chief
Round 6: Chris Rock / Sarah Silverman / Miranda Sings
Round 8: One World Trade Center / Tokyo Skytree / Burj Khalifa
Round 13: Brasilia / Barcelona / Christchurch, Mondrian
Round 16: Jacques-Louis David
Round 19: Tempietto / Bramante / Dome
Round 21: Michelangelo Slaves, du Maurier
Round 22: Mobius
Round 25: Melee / Fire Emblem / Jigglypuff [though from reading the liveblog I'm pretty sure this wasn't played]
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Corry » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:04 pm

orenji wrote: Round 8: One World Trade Center / Tokyo Skytree / Burj Khalifa
Some dude in my room thought this bonus was a lot of fun. I liked it too. (FYI, I would've accepted this into the geography distro too if you had classified it as such, instead of fine arts.)
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Re: 2015 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kasper Kaijanen » Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:06 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Sic Semper Fidelis wrote:I think the tossup about Okonkwo mentioned Obierika by by name in the first clue, which was way too early.
I wrote this tossup after reading the novel; I'm not sure if I agree with you. Obierika is, like, the eighth most prominent character in the novel? I'm not sure how you could know his name unless you've:

A) Read the book,
B) Memorized all of its major (for an extremely broad definition of "major") characters,
C) Or studied a lot of Nigerian literature, recognized the name as an Ibo name, and then guessed that Okonkwo is the most likely character that could be tossed up.

I'm perfectly fine with you getting a first line buzz on the tossup if you've done any of those things.
Maybe it's just something in my region, but it seems like everyone who went to high school around where I am had to read that book in English class which is why to me it seemed to early. If that's just a weird quirk of the English teachers around here, then I retract my "too early" :)
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