Regionals discussion

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Regionals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:13 am

All sites were completed yesterday, so feel free to talk about the packets.

The tournament will be posted on the ACF archive soon.

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Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:41 am

Overall I thought it was a good set. It seemed to achieve its goal of reducing the difficulty level, although it still was maybe a tad harder than this year's Penn Bowl. There were a few clunkers (Enlil, Long Wall, Constitutions, Willa Cather come to mind immediately), but they were pretty spread out and did not really detract from my experiences in this tournament.
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Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:33 pm

Overall, I though the set was very good and fun to play on. A couple of comments:
1. I thought the start of the Long Walls question was ok, though I don't know how it ended. However, I took a Greek History class last semester, so I'm sure my views on that are skewed.
2. Is the Okavango River really obscure enough to be a lead-in for Botswana? I'm pretty sure I have seen it as an answer for bonus parts, at least.
3. What differentiated the V1 from the V2? This was negged in multiple rooms, and all the clues I recognized could apply to either.

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:45 pm

The first sentence of the V1 tossup mentioned the fact that it buzzed. This was a major difference between the V1 and the V2 -- the V2 was supersonic so therefore you couldn't hear it coming until AFTER it exploded.

That said, I think that "V1" is an absolutely bizarre answer choice, even if it was a well-written tossup. I also think that "Fourth Lateran Council" was equally strange.
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Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:00 pm

squareroot165 wrote:Is the Okavango River really obscure enough to be a lead-in for Botswana?
No, it's not.

Both the V1 and the Fourth Lateran strike me as perfectly good ideas for tossups, but probably too hard for Regionals.
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Post by MiltonPlayer47 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:04 pm

The Okavango probably shouldn't come until the second to last line of a tossup on Botswana.
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Post by cvdwightw » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:10 pm

I apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently hosed with my clues on Felix Leiter in the "hand bitten off by a crocodile" tossup (I had a lead-in and a giveaway, and tried to fudge a middle clue. Perhaps "lost a hand" would have been a better answer). That said, eaten by sharks does not apply to any of the listed characters, and people negged with this in at least two rooms at the West Regional.

Overall an excellent tournament. The bonus difficulty seemed a little inconsistent; however, it was consistent packet-to-packet, which implies that the editors did an excellent job with controlling difficulty.

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Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:16 pm

Since when is 4th Lateran too hard? It's a hugely important church council which was convened during the height of the investiture controversy.
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Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:18 pm

MiltonPlayer47 wrote:The Okavango probably shouldn't come until the second to last line of a tossup on Botswana.
That's what I thought. I am much less confused now.

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Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:29 pm

Yeah, that was my bad on the Okavango. I'm not much of a geo player and had never heard of said river, so I figured it wouldn't be a bad leadin. It seems people who know about geography disagree. Oh well.

That said, after doing a search of my ACF packet archive, there have only been 3 instances of Okavango coming up, and never as an answer, and it never came up in a question about Botswana. It comes up more often in the Stanford Packet archive though, with MLK 05 and 06 having it as an answer in bonuses about the geography of Botswana.

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Post by Kyle » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:01 pm

Regarding geography::: I read or kept score for thirteen rounds. Seven of them had a tossup on African geography: Botswana (with a badly misplaced Okavango clue), Zambezi (which repeated the Okavango clue in an appropriate place), Central African Republic, Serengeti (which put Ngorongoro waaaaaaaay too early), Malawi (which didn't have a single gettable clue until Lilongwe), Guinea, and Lake Chad. Why so much African geography? For what it's worth, I thought Guinea and Zambezi were pyramidal.

I was pleased to see Taha Hussein come up in quizbowl for the first time. I don't know if it was his quizbowl debut, but it was the first time I saw him mentioned. But if you're going to introduce an obscure writer, shouldn't you mention his most famous book (in this case, The Days)?

[edit: I see that The Future of Culture in Egypt is the only Taha Hussein work with its own Wikipedia article, but I would still submit that The Days is much, much better known to people who actually care about Arabic literature.]

Other than major editing problems with the geography and six or seven repeats, I thought it was a good set. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to play on it!

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Post by alkrav112 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:13 pm

As I recall, there was another tossup whose answer was "Lake Malawi," which as I recall, aside from being a "Malawi" repeat, was a decent tossup.

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Post by Kyle » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:31 pm

You're right: the Lake Malawi tossup was in the South Florida packet, which we would have used for the second game of the advantaged final if it had come to that.

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Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:07 pm

As usual, this tournament was well-written, well-edited, and had some very interesting answer choices. I particularly want to thank the editors for the inclusion of trash that people actually know about (even if I negged the "Metroid Prime 3" tossup with "Metroid Prime"), which was a welcome change right after SCT. Now, on to the commentary:

1) There seemed to be a LOT of music and geography at this tournament, especially African geography. It began to wear down on me after some time, although my music-inclined teammates seemed to enjoy themselves fine.

2) There were some overlaps that sneaked into the set (two bonuses on Quine, two on Langston Hughes, a couple others).

3) In general, the difficulty was very controlled, and very appropriate[ly easy], but there seemed to be some tossups that went too far in one direction or the other. For example, the tossup on Japanese authors (which mentioned the Tattoer in the second line) probably went very early in every room it was read in; on the other hand, I found myself sitting on the Enlil tossup because I was surprised that he would come up at this tournament.

4) Many of the bonuses seemed to have a "fuck you 30", with one particularly egregious example being the Kobo Abe one. I don't yet have the set on me, but that's one that stuck out.

5) Matt Keller should edit more tournaments (please); the only team complaints was the tossup on Huygens' principle, which Jerry claims no one really cares about, and as happy I am that the Kozak consensus sequence came up, I wouldn't have minded hearing Shine-Dalgarno in the bonus prompt itself, just for clarity's sake (otherwise it just feels like a trap). Also contrails was kind of weird, but an interesting idea for a tossup. In general, the science tossups and bonuses were both interesting and rewarded knowledge - unfortunately my scrotum knowledge wasn't up to par with the field.
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Post by wasprsilds » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:43 pm

ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:and as happy I am that the Kozak consensus sequence came up, I wouldn't have minded hearing Shine-Dalgarno in the bonus prompt itself, just for clarity's sake (otherwise it just feels like a trap).
Wow...has Kozak consensus sequence been in a tournament before?

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Post by Strongside » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:43 pm

I thought this was an excellent tournament.

The only tossups I remember really disliking was the benzene tossup. The tossup started out with Gatterman-Koch, which is in my opinion is a stock clue for Friedel-Crafts. The question mentioned this molecule eventually, but I believe I buzzed before that was mentioned.

There seemed to be a lot of questions about Chicago in some form. I remember the Haymarket Square Riots tossup, the Chicago Cubs Tossup, the Great Chicago Fire Tossup, the Chicago School Tossup, the Chicago part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Bonus, a bonus part about John Mearsheimer. I have absolutely no problem with tossups on Chicago as it is an important and awesome city, and maybe being in Chicago made me realize it more, but it was mostly something I just noticed.

In terms of difficulty, the tournament was right on. Most of the tossups were accessible. There were a few tossups that were on the difficult side (the T.S. Eliot quote), but I like when hard tossups are thrown in among easier tossups.

The bonuses were generally difficult to 30, but generally had an easy part that was very gettable. The Schiller plays bonus was the easiest bonus that I remember hearing.
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Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:08 pm

bjb87 wrote:The only tossups I remember really disliking was the benzene tossup. The tossup started out with Gatterman-Koch, which is in my opinion is a stock clue for Friedel-Crafts. The question mentioned this molecule eventually, but I believe I buzzed before that was mentioned.
I did the same thing. I believe I was given the points, however.
wasprsilds wrote:Wow...has Kozak consensus sequence been in a tournament before?
My archive is kind of small, but its not in any of the packets in there.

Hear that? That's the sound of the canon expanding...
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Post by vandyhawk » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:32 pm

I'll probably have a longer post at some point in the near future, but just a few things on the comments so far. I'm glad people enjoyed the science for the most part. I have to give a big thanks to my teammate Paul for editing the math, as if it isn't stats or linear algebra, I have no clue what to do with math questions. I wish I'd had more time to work on some of the tossups, but I was generally pleased with the way the bonuses came out, though some of them could've used a little bit easier hard part. One of those tossups was the contrails one that Eric mentioned - I had a hard time deciding what to do with that one, but left it in since it was kind of different but still accessible, and I think there were a total of 2 earth science/geo tossups submitted. Maybe I'm biased b/c I do optics stuff, but I thought Huygens' principle was a commonly taught kind of thing. Hopefully people were at least able to get it off the extra clue about the cassini probe, which is what it took in the room where I was reading that round. For the Kozak consensus sequence, the bonus as submitted had Shine-Delgarno as the hard part, but I personally am kind of tired of having that always be the 3rd part of similar bonuses, so I changed it to the Kozak. Eric's suggestion about saying "Like the Shine-Delgarno in prokaryotes..." is probably a decent one. Also, my undergrad roommate's last name was Kozak, so I guess it's always stuck with me. Oh, and sorry about that crazy stretch of phallic stuff in the Irvine round. It was random that three tossups went fetish, scrotum, and then mentioned a talking penix [apparently the real spelling gets edited into "martian" by the software]. I left the scrotum tossup in b/c I found it rather well written with actual physiological info, and honestly, I got a little kick out of it.

Whether people knew this or not, I also did the fine arts editing. There again, I have to give a big thanks to Paul for writing a few of the music tossups and especially to Eric Kwartler for letting me bounce ideas off him, and for guest editing the tossups in 4-5 rounds so I could focus on finishing the science, which in general needed more work.

Overall, as I was reading yesterday, I was pleased with the set. In talking with Weiner, I think we both agree that some bonuses could've had a more accessible hard part, and that some rounds were on the whole harder than others, but within-round difficulty was pretty consistent. We also have some ideas on how to improve team turnout and submissions, but I think he'll probably make such a post soon. To me, it seems that quantity, quality, and timelinesss of submissions all suffered quite a bit from regionals being at the end of a streak of about 5 weekends where each has a major tournament, all but naqt requiring packet submission as well.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:37 pm

I'd like to point out, as non-defensively as possible, that just hearing the same proper name come up twice is not a repeat per se. For example:

Identify these literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance, for 10 points each.
[10] This prolific writer’s first novel, “Not Without Laughter” was published in 1930 to much acclaim. He later co-wrote the screenplay for “Way Down South” and penned such poems as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
ANSWER: Langston Hughes

A college classmate of Thurgood Marshall's, and later an ardent Communist, he wrote poetry and stories about black workers. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this creator of Jesse B. Simple who wrote "Montage of a Dream Deferred" and I Wonder as I Wander.
ANSWER: Langston Hughes

There's no repeated info there, and the other parts of those bonuses go off in somewhat different directions. I consider that sort of thing appropriate in limited doses when trying to use the questions people submit. That's also the reason for stuff like "a lot of questions on Chicago" and "a lot of geography about Africa"--it's what people wrote.

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Post by Kyle » Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:09 pm

I agree that the Langston Hughes bonus wasn't a repeat even though at the time it sure seemed like one. I don't think it's a repeat unless you could, conceivably, get one question off something you learned in a previous question.

By that definition, of course, Okavango was a repeat. At Harvard, we read the Botswana tossup in an early packet. Let's say the other team buzzes off "Okavango Delta" and says Botswana. If you're paying attention, you have just learned that the Okavango is a river in southern Africa. A few rounds later, you hear "Okavango River" and suddenly you're listening to a tossup about a river in southern Africa. "Zambezi" is a very safe guess at that point.

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Post by naturalistic phallacy » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:42 am

Matt Weiner wrote:I'd like to point out, as non-defensively as possible, that just hearing the same proper name come up twice is not a repeat per se. For example:

Identify these literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance, for 10 points each.
[10] This prolific writer’s first novel, “Not Without Laughter” was published in 1930 to much acclaim. He later co-wrote the screenplay for “Way Down South” and penned such poems as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
ANSWER: Langston Hughes

A college classmate of Thurgood Marshall's, and later an ardent Communist, he wrote poetry and stories about black workers. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this creator of Jesse B. Simple who wrote "Montage of a Dream Deferred" and I Wonder as I Wander.
ANSWER: Langston Hughes

There's no repeated info there, and the other parts of those bonuses go off in somewhat different directions. I consider that sort of thing appropriate in limited doses when trying to use the questions people submit. That's also the reason for stuff like "a lot of questions on Chicago" and "a lot of geography about Africa"--it's what people wrote.
Agreed about the Langston Hughes question not being a repeat. There did, however, seem to be two bonuses on Quine that had middle parts that were virtually the same....
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Post by Eärendil » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:44 am

I too thought this tournament was well-edited and at just the right difficulty level. Some of the stuff I liked: the tossups on Michaelis-Menten (very well-written), Indra, gastrin, Joyce Carol Oates, "Why I live at the P.O.", dwarves, peacock, Long Parliament (though I negged with Rump Parliament), Anne Bradstreet, Agni (though we didn't get to hear it); and the bonuses on IR spectroscopy, chirality, van der Waals forces, Arjuna and Bhima, Nullarbor plain, and fibroblasts.

The bonus on Aldol condensation, etc., and nitrogenous compounds felt too easy. The Asch and bystander effect tossups seemed to become rather transparent in the middle, and I thought the Walden Inversion clue in the SN2 tossup should have come sooner. The scrotum tossup was well-written, but it gave our moderator some trouble at the beginning and I negged with "testicles." I also disagree with the use of Devi/Shakti as an answer choice, as all of the individual female deities mentioned in that tossup are arguably much more important and have richer backgrounds than just Devi alone. True, she may have her own holiday (Navratri), but even then only Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are the ones usually worshipped. I'll save my "Hinduism: Myth vs. Religion" rant for another post.
ToStrikeInfinitely wrote:
bjb87 wrote:The only tossups I remember really disliking was the benzene tossup. The tossup started out with Gatterman-Koch, which is in my opinion is a stock clue for Friedel-Crafts. The question mentioned this molecule eventually, but I believe I buzzed before that was mentioned.
I did the same thing. I believe I was given the points, however.
I buzzed in with Friedel-Crafts off that too, but wasn't given the points. Boo.
vandyhawk wrote:Maybe I'm biased b/c I do optics stuff, but I thought Huygens' principle was a commonly taught kind of thing.
I learned Huygens' principle in my introductory optics course, but only in the context of single-slit diffraction. I know diffraction was mentioned in the tossup, I just would have picked up it sooner had "single-slit" been mentioned.
vandyhawk wrote:For the Kozak consensus sequence, the bonus as submitted had Shine-Delgarno as the hard part, but I personally am kind of tired of having that always be the 3rd part of similar bonuses, so I changed it to the Kozak.
The bonus as originally written was:
It contains a D-loop, a variable arm, and a 3’ (“three-prime”) end where amino acids attach. FTPE
[10] Name this RNA molecule that delivers amino acids during protein translation.
ANSWER: tRNA or transfer RNA
[10] Prokaryotic translation begins when the 16s rRNA binds to this stretch of adenines and guanines upstream of the start codon.
ANSWER: Shine-Dalgarno sequence
[10] In prokaryotes, the start codon AUG codes for this modified amino acid. Eukaryotes initiate translation with the unmodified version of this amino acid.
ANSWER: formyl methionine (accept fMet; do not accept or prompt on “methionine”)
I thought formyl methionine was a pretty hard hard part, at least by quiz bowl standards, and fairly challenging from a biology perspective. I'm all for canon expansion, but Kozak consensus sequence strikes me as something more appropriate for ACF Nationals. The most recent instance that I can find of "Shine-Dalgarno sequence" as a hard part in a bonus is from the Illinois A, Virgina A, Florida A, MIT A packet from ACF Fall 2006. Given that span of time and this level tournament, I still thinks it makes a good middle part.

Just my two cents.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:35 am

The good:

I really enjoyed this tournament. I thought it was very well written and well edited, and the majority of the questions were of very high quality. I actually thought the tossup on losing a hand to a crocodile was pretty clever (I knew what the correct answer was but still took 3 prompts to get it right) and I also liked the fact that the trash was more accessible. There were even 2 bonuses on video games which my team 30'd, which was pretty awesome. Most gratifying to me was the fact that the math and physics questions were uniformly of very high quality (my only real gripe was with Hugens' principle being a tossup, since I didn't think anyone actually used it for anything other than as a demonstration). I don't think there was a single question in those categories which was poorly written. Other enjoyable things included the absence of pre-Socratic philosophers and the only tossup I think I've ever played where knowing someone's middle name helped me get the right answer. Bonus difficulty was generally pretty even across the board, which was also nice (caveat below). On a non-question-related note, Harvard ran a very good tournament and waiting between times was minimal, so I'll just go ahead and thank them for that here as well

The not-so-great:

I want to emphasize that these are relatively minor quibbles and didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the tournament. There were a couple clunkers here and there, though nothing too serious (are there any other notable Sogdians than An Lu Shan?). Slightly more annoying to me was that the bonuses seemed to consist of two very easy parts together with an impossible part. With all respect to Kyle, but I think he and Charles may have been the only people who stood a chance of answering a bonus part about Taha Hussein, while the other two parts of that bonus were ridiculously easy. That didn't seem to be as much of a problem for the science questions, but literature and history had a lot of these bonuses. I submit that the middle parts should have been a little harder and the hard parts a little easier, as often times we'd breeze through the first two parts and then wind up with a third part that we'd never heard of.

Overall, it was a very good set which I think met its goal of bringing Regionals down to a difficulty level more in line with the average invitational. I realize that I'm among the handful of people who would have preferred a more difficult Regionals, but I think this is a good difficulty for this event, and I think it should probably remain in this vicinity in the future. I know people have noted that this set was harder than Penn Bowl, but I think that since Penn Bowl has been relatively easy over the last couple years, being harder than Penn Bowl is not a bad thing.
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Post by Gautam » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:50 pm

I liked this set, too. I will just talk about what I liked/disliked about the tossups, since I remember them the most.

The math tossups on the four colour theorem and latin squares were awesome, and has been praised before, the physics was fine.
The common link tossup on "gamma" was cool also, i thought.

The visual fine arts seemed great, and I liked the tossups on 20th century art/artists. I didn't get very many, but it was good to get to know the various canonical artists out there.

The European history tossup on various european wars were also nice. I liked the one on the Peasants War and the war of the 3 Henrys, although i wasn't every expecting them to come up.

The common link tossup on the literary appearances of Kublai Khan was cool too.

The chemistry was okay for this set, although as has been commented elsewhere, I feel like the chem canon has been too narrow for a while.

Other Concerns:

Are Euler lines really that obscure to merit being in a leadin on an Euler tossup? It's possibly just my background, but my high school geometry course taught me about Euler lines, and it seems like the same is true with quite a few other schools.

The compass and straightedge tossup was as well written as could be, but while I was playing it, I felt like the question made it clear slightly earlier than it should have that the two answers were instruments that need to be used to construct stuff. What do others think?

Should "jet trails" have been acceptable for contrails? I was scorekeeping that round, and someone negged late into the question with "jet trails," and frankly, I wouldn't have been able to think of a better term either.

The Master and Margarita tossup had kind of a stock leadin about Berlioz, as did the Grignard reagents tossup.

The tossup on Dead Souls forced me to play Chicken, because I can't think of too many works which end in the middle of a sentence... I just looked at the tossup too, and the middle clues for it all seemed fresh, but like, I don't think any of them should have qualified as middle clues.

That is pretty much it. I enjoyed playing at my first ACF regionals - kudos to Matt Weiner, Matt Keller, other editors, and the writers who put in the efforts.

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Post by vandyhawk » Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:07 pm

I'll plead ignorance on the Gatterman-Koch thing, as I just wasn't aware that clue was referring to a version of Friedel-Crafts. Sorry about that. As for Stanford's translation bonus, I guess I misspoke a bit in my earlier post. I took out tRNA since there was also a tossup on it, and I guess Shine-Delgarno was the medium part, but I thought it was a bit hard for that at our new desired level, so changed it to Kozak and made the methionine easier as the middle part. Anyway, I don't want to keep rehashing that, just figured I should correct my earlier post about it. If someone had set "jet trails" in my room, I would have prompted, but I don't think that's an acceptable alternative. The listed answers were contrail, condensation trail, and vapor trail.

Also, if anyone wants feedback on your science and fine arts questions, feel free to email me at matt.keller AT vanderbilt.edu.

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Post by Pilgrim » Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:37 pm

I had mixed feelings about this tournament. I definitely enjoyed myself and thought most of the questions were high quality, but I didn't think it was as good as MLK or Penn Bowl - maybe my judgment was clouded by the minuscule field size at Delaware.

Overall, I thought the lit tossups were fantastic, though the bonuses seemed to have a few easy 30s mixed in with a lot of fuck you 30s.

One complaint I had was that the chemistry distribution seemed to be nearly all organic, which I wish could have been tuned down some.

As for some specific clue placements:

"Confirmation" was WAY too early in the Charlie Parker tossup - it's one of his most famous pieces and definitely shouldn't come up before the last couple of lines.

I agree with Gautam that the Euler line is a pretty easy lead-in clue, as it has tons of applications in basic geometry.

Likewise, A* was pretty early in the Dijkstra's question.

I could be wrong about this one, but I thought the passage discussing Las Meninas in The Order of Things was pretty well known, and thus shouldn't be used as a lead-in.
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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:10 pm

This may be a function of me being an old geezer, but even after majoring in math, I'd never heard of the Euler line. Granted, I didn't take any classical geometry in college, but I think it may be more famous if you're closer to high school than I am.
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Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:24 pm

grapesmoker wrote:...my only real gripe was with Hugens' principle being a tossup, since I didn't think anyone actually used it for anything other than as a demonstration...
I've used Huygens' principle pretty often and it's likely that you have, too. If you think about it, it's the basis for Green's functions techniques in optics (e.g. Fourier optics.)

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Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:25 pm

I've been teaching high school math since 1990 and don't know about them (Euler Lines), but I usually avoid Geometry.

Edit: Now that I look them up, I have seen them before but forgot that that's what they were called.

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Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:28 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:I've used Huygens' principle pretty often and it's likely that you have, too. If you think about it, it's the basis for Green's functions techniques in optics (e.g. Fourier optics.)
I see what you mean. I guess because that's more of an implicit application, I've never really thought about it that way.
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Post by pray for elves » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:31 pm

I'm about to graduate with honors in math and did not know what an Euler line is until this weekend.

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Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:37 pm

Everyone wrote:argh Euler line
Its pretty common in high school contest math, from what little I remember. There's a nifty derivation in Geometry Revisited in case anyone cared.

Given that its something that's not taught in mainstream math classes (both in high school and college), but something commonly known among geometry enthusiasts, I thought it was a fine intro clue.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:34 pm

As someone who took an honors geometry high school class in the last 2 years I never learned what Euler lines are, although I was stuck with an awful teacher who was also mean and threw away one of my tests to make sure I couldn't get better then a D in her class, but that's beside the point.
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Post by btressler » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:21 pm

ReinsteinD wrote:I've been teaching high school math since 1990 and don't know about them (Euler Lines), but I usually avoid Geometry.
It's probably dependent on the textbook / curriculum whether this is mentioned.

In my previous job I taught Geometry to grades 9-10. Since our textbook emphasized discovery and constructions over proof, we went over the Euler line and how to find the orthocenter, circumcenter, and centroid. So I was pretty surprised that an ACF tossup started with what to me was a 9th grade clue. (And indeed that was all the farther I got as a reader as multiple players buzzed.)

And speaking of which: if I had heard "two answers required" and the word "construct" in the second clue of a vaguely math-related question, I would have been buzzing with compass and straightedge for pretty much the same reason.

IMO, the best math question was the Lagrange one, but there are six packets I haven't seen yet.

I have to admit, my biggest surprise here is that no one is complaining about the Interstate clue for Cincinnati. That's something I thought was verboten in ACF and that even in small doses wouldn't be liked.

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Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:12 pm

So I basically agree with what several people have said. This was a solid set minus a small handful of transparent tossups (particularly in a few select packets), misplaced clues, conspicuously easy 30s, things like that. It did what it set out to do very well.

That said, I'm frankly just flat-out annoyed by the turnout for this tournament at several sites. Here we have an accessible and well-edited set and lots of teams apparently aren't interested in playing it. What the hell is going on? It's particularly annoying to me in light of hearing people for the past few weeks discourse at length about the pros and cons of SCT, an inferior event in every imaginable way for anyone interested in playing good academic quizbowl. I means to be confrontational about this...go to good tournaments.

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Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:18 pm

Last edited by Matt Weiner on Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Awehrman » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:00 pm

That said, I'm frankly just flat-out annoyed by the turnout for this tournament at several sites. Here we have an accessible and well-edited set and lots of teams apparently aren't interested in playing it. What the hell is going on? It's particularly annoying to me in light of hearing people for the past few weeks discourse at length about the pros and cons of SCT, an inferior event in every imaginable way for anyone interested in playing good academic quizbowl. I means to be confrontational about this...go to good tournaments.
I wonder if ACF should move their regional tournament in the future. I don't think NAQT's popularity is going away. Having tournaments on back-to-back weeks is a strain on many teams, and it's easy to say "let's just pick one." When picking one, it's also easy to say, "Let's pick the one with a division II and without a packet requirement." I think if ACF would move to the following week (the same as CBI Regionals) or some other week, they might get some better returns.

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Post by kactigger » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:06 pm

Just wondering: how many teams, in total, attended the SCT vs ACF Regionals?

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Post by Awehrman » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:31 pm

My quick count shows 204 teams at SCT (including 46 community college teams) and 52 at ACF Regionals (including 1 high school team).

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Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:50 pm

Ryan Westbrook wrote:That said, I'm frankly just flat-out annoyed by the turnout for this tournament at several sites. Here we have an accessible and well-edited set and lots of teams apparently aren't interested in playing it. What the hell is going on? It's particularly annoying to me in light of hearing people for the past few weeks discourse at length about the pros and cons of SCT, an inferior event in every imaginable way for anyone interested in playing good academic quizbowl. I means to be confrontational about this...go to good tournaments.
I think Ryan has really struck a chord here with his comment. Other than perhaps the overabundance of organic chemistry there were no real systematic issues with the packets in either context, accessibility, pyrmidality etc, a stark contrast to the NAQT questions played the week before. The canon expansion I think was quite reasonable, props to the Taha Hussein inclusion, the Paul Auster, Bertolucci, John Ford bonuses were great as well.

But the attendance in the Southeast regional was really rather poor, I know UTC and South Carolina were planning to come but decided to bail the Wednesday prior. Even members of my own team were surprised by the ease of one of the bonuses, claiming facetiously that it was some kind of error or oversight that will soon be eradicated.

I don't think the timing of the tournament has anything to do with it. Can teams honestly say that the busy tournament schedule prohibited them from attending ACF regionals?

This was a well-edited, well-conceived tournament, I hope people realize that when they see the questions Matt has graciously posted to the message board, and that Eric Kwartler's wild optimism about capping Nationals at 40 teams is well-founded.
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Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:59 pm

Awehrman wrote:My quick count shows 204 teams at SCT (including 46 community college teams) and 52 at ACF Regionals (including 1 high school team).
That (1 high school team) happen to win the Southeast Regional. Actually for Much of the day, MLK high school was represented by two players Dallas and Cody Simmons. The stats speak for themselves, and perhaps you may scoff and suggest this only highlights the weakness of the Southeast region, but they played really well, perhaps Matt Keller can speak to that to corroborate. If anything it should suggest that ACF is certainly accessible, and not a de facto master's circuit.
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Post by Saiem » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:48 pm

Not to beat a dead horse, but like Euler Lines generally not heard of in any regular high school curriculum. But then again, most geometry classes usually only learn how to coordinate bash how to find the orthocenter, circumcenter, centroid and all that. It isn't too common to find Euler lines in too many types of contest math. Usually alternative methods are used. I love that it is part of the canon though, and I think it was a pretty good lead in clue. There are far too many stock clues on Euler anyway, so anything that everyone wouldn't get is mildly acceptable.

Also, a note on Geometry Revisited. Perhaps the most valuable geometry text in current history. If you're a masochist or a geometry enthusiast, that'd be the book for you. It does have alot of wonderful proofs, but like. Seriously. Its Geometry.

Comments about the questions:

There was alot of easy mixed with difficult. There were tossups I was getting from the third or fourth clue, but there were like 5-6 per packet where I pretty much hadn't heard of the answer.

As for the bonuses... it was alot of hit and miss. For the topics I knew something about, it was pretty fair. I think the ideal was achieved with the bonuses, to some extent. I think the sentiment was that there were alot of easy 30s and alot of fuck you 30s. Pretty accessible as far as ACF regionals goes. I wasn't completely depressed afterwards.

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Post by Mr. Kwalter » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:20 pm

I think the major complaint people are having is a valid but in many ways inevitable one: bonus consistency. The fact is that bonus consistency is the hardest thing to modulate, especially when you're facing time constraints (again, nearly inevitable). This brings me to my next point: both editors and teams need to start being more responsible with their timing. Editors: flexibility on deadlines needs to stop, and the last deadline should be way before the tournament itself. Any of you who saw my recent post in the ACF Nationals thread knows that the Nationals team means business in this regard. The last packet deadline is about four weeks before the tournament, and we won't be accepting packets after that deadline. Now, teams: get off your asses and submit sooner. Established writers: stop expecting nepotism to get you a break on your packet timing and be more courteous. Newer writers: do a better job of anticipating that your packet is going to take a long time to write. Nobody's expecting Chicago A and the freshman team from a fairly new club to write the same packet, but they are expecting both of them to have their packets in on time.

I'm not going to say, "Stop complaining; if you had submitted earlier problems wouldn't have happened," because that's just not true. I just hope that in the future we can do a little better as a community.

Something else: timing of ACF Regionals. There may be something to the idea of the schedule being crowded, but I think the choice is more about necessity. If a team wants to go to ACF Nationals, we will welcome them with open arms (you hear that, people of the world? Open arms). If a team wants to go to ICT, they have to qualify at SCT. Even a team that is generally partial to ACF is going to dedicate their resources to SCT in a pinch if they want to go to ICT. And while this isn't a consideration in some regions of the country, money and time can be short when the drive to both is 6-9 hours. I know Matt Keller graciously gave the USF guys considerable discounts to help them make it, and as someone who has driven 36 hours over two weekends for quizbowl, I can say that I fully understand a team being loath to spend the time, money, and energy to accomplish that.
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:33 am

Matt Weiner wrote:For the moment, you can get the packets at http://www.hsquizbowl.org/regionals.zip . That link will probably go dark once they are uploaded to the ACF site.
Now posted to the ACF site.
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Post by vandyhawk » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:36 am

Kit Cloudkicker wrote:I think the major complaint people are having is a valid but in many ways inevitable one: bonus consistency. The fact is that bonus consistency is the hardest thing to modulate, especially when you're facing time constraints (again, nearly inevitable). This brings me to my next point: both editors and teams need to start being more responsible with their timing. Editors: flexibility on deadlines needs to stop, and the last deadline should be way before the tournament itself. Any of you who saw my recent post in the ACF Nationals thread knows that the Nationals team means business in this regard. The last packet deadline is about four weeks before the tournament, and we won't be accepting packets after that deadline. Now, teams: get off your asses and submit sooner. Established writers: stop expecting nepotism to get you a break on your packet timing and be more courteous. Newer writers: do a better job of anticipating that your packet is going to take a long time to write. Nobody's expecting Chicago A and the freshman team from a fairly new club to write the same packet, but they are expecting both of them to have their packets in on time.
I endorse this paragraph. When it's 9 days before the tournament and you only have 4-5 rounds so far, there is going to be a time crunch, even with having a stockpile to pull from. My own philosophy is to at least use people's submitted answers as much as possible, so there's only so much that planning ahead can accomplish. I mean this in general, and not just in response to regionals, because I know many many events have had these situations. For major events, a final deadline of at least two weeks before the event should probably be the standard. I hope the Nats submission process goes well.

On a related note, I've been thinking about the responsibilities of experienced vs. inexperienced teams in terms of submission. For the inexperienced team, I think trying their best and getting a packet that follows the basic guidelines in at a reasonable time is all one can really ask of them. For the experienced team, though, and I mean one that has proven to be quite capable of writing and editing good questions, how big of a faux pas is to submit a round with questions it knows aren't good? I've dealt with this on both sides of the fence I suppose. My teammates don't always write good questions, but since people expect good questions from us, I generally feel obliged to fix them up myself before sending them on so that the editors can put more work into submissions from inexperienced teams. I can't honestly say that I've done this every single time, but I have more often than not. As an editor, I get the impression that some teams do this and some don't. I won't give any specific examples, but there were definitely cases of submitted regionals rounds from good, experienced teams containing some really not so good questions. My question, then, is where the burden should fall in these cases. I mean, it seems a bit much for an editor to tell someone, I know you can do better than this - please fix it, but it's also quite a drag on the editorial process when good teams write bad stuff.

Kit Cloudkicker wrote:Something else: timing of ACF Regionals. There may be something to the idea of the schedule being crowded, but I think the choice is more about necessity. If a team wants to go to ACF Nationals, we will welcome them with open arms (you hear that, people of the world? Open arms). If a team wants to go to ICT, they have to qualify at SCT. Even a team that is generally partial to ACF is going to dedicate their resources to SCT in a pinch if they want to go to ICT. And while this isn't a consideration in some regions of the country, money and time can be short when the drive to both is 6-9 hours. I know Matt Keller graciously gave the USF guys considerable discounts to help them make it, and as someone who has driven 36 hours over two weekends for quizbowl, I can say that I fully understand a team being loath to spend the time, money, and energy to accomplish that.
I kind of got the impression from some people in our region at SCT that they had given up on ACF beyond the fall level, and it may take another year or two to bring them back. Several other schools did go out of their way to say they would've like to come but couldn't make it, and some said they couldn't come if I asked, but I couldn't tell how much truth their was to it. I wonder what would happen if regionals were before SCT?

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Post by SnookerUSF » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:45 am

Jerry, I tried downloading the regionals set from the website and I got this message:
WinRAR Archive wrote:! C:\Documents and Settings\Ahmad Ragab\Desktop\regionals.zip: Unexpected end of archive
The archive that downloads is 472KB in size if that helps.
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Post by grapesmoker » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:51 am

SnookerUSF wrote:Jerry, I tried downloading the regionals set from the website and I got this message:
WinRAR Archive wrote:! C:\Documents and Settings\Ahmad Ragab\Desktop\regionals.zip: Unexpected end of archive
The archive that downloads is 472KB in size if that helps.
That seems to be the right size, but it downloads and opens ok for me. I would suggest clearing your cache and trying again, and if the problem persists, I'll reupload.
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Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:56 am

SnookerUSF wrote:
Ryan Westbrook wrote:That said, I'm frankly just flat-out annoyed by the turnout for this tournament at several sites. Here we have an accessible and well-edited set and lots of teams apparently aren't interested in playing it. What the hell is going on? It's particularly annoying to me in light of hearing people for the past few weeks discourse at length about the pros and cons of SCT, an inferior event in every imaginable way for anyone interested in playing good academic quizbowl. I means to be confrontational about this...go to good tournaments.
I think Ryan has really struck a chord here with his comment...

But the attendance in the Southeast regional was really rather poor, I know UTC and South Carolina were planning to come but decided to bail the Wednesday prior...

I don't think the timing of the tournament has anything to do with it. Can teams honestly say that the busy tournament schedule prohibited them from attending ACF regionals?
Since people are complaining about the turnout at ACF Regionals and mentioning my team (South Carolina) by name, I would like to throw in a few cents since we are one of apparently many "usual suspects" that didn't go to ACF. I am not playing for South Carolina these days, but still help the team with practices and drive them to tournaments when I'm able. USC usually has an active tournament schedule, and we've been to I think 3 this semester already with plans on going to at least 3 more. We went to the NAQT SCT last weekend at VPI (it should be noted that there were only 8 teams in both divisions at that tournament).

We wrote a packet for regionals and were planning to go, but a few of our players had major commitments pop up the week before ACF and we bailed. It was that simple. If regionals was at a closer venue, we would have possibly made it, but the 7+ hour ride to Nashville was too much.

The busy tournament schedule was not the reason why the SC team didn't go to ACF Regionals per se. It had more to do with the busy schedule college students have in general and the greater than usual distance that it would take to get to regionals this year. If regionals were the week before, we would definitely have gone and if it were this weekend we probably would have gone. This past weekend was just not good for us to make a trip. I'm pretty sure USC had been to the past 10 or so ACF Regionals before last weekend.

All of that said, and I'm probably something of a hypocrite for saying it, the attendance at the SE regional was lousy. I just wish I were still a student and had a chance to play ACF Regionals because they are some of the best damn questions around.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:59 am

vandyhawk wrote:I wonder what would happen if regionals were before SCT?
Hmm. If anything, I would say being later would help, although that would likely involve either "competing" with CBI or running into spring breaks. The only reason I say that is because, at least this year, the "no penalty" packet deadline was like a week into the semester, and it's so hard to get focused on a spring semester tournament before New Year's.

That's a big part of why we couldn't get a packet together, and while we ended up having conflicts and stuff come up that probably would've prevented us from going anyway, I wonder if having submitted a packet might have persuaded some people to find time to make the trip.

(On preview: A lot of what applied to SC applied to us as well, in terms of being busy and stuff just coming up.)

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Post by barnacles » Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:05 am

Yea, UTC had planned on sending a team, but had some things pop up. It's really my fault for not coordinating my dates properly. I have played at the past few regionals and enjoyed them and was sorry not to be able to go this year.

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