The Barbarism of Specialization

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The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Ike » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:48 pm

Put another way, my point is that myth gets a ton of exposure in real life. What Thinker A at University B wrote about Topic C in Book D with Topic C in its title, on the other hand, does not. I don't see why we should quantify how much exposure of a category there should be based on the entire possible universe of things that can be asked about. It seems to me the better metric is how much exposure people get to the category in the real world.
I'm going to use Stephen's point as a springboard for my own point: I think quizbowl needs to be reminded every now and then that this is a game played by generalists, and that fundamentally, questions have to remain interesting to people who don't answer them. I understand that the game is getting more real, and that by and large is a good thing, but I think Chicago Open in some categories really overdid it:
[10] What specific condition can be diagnosed by an EKG with the following features? [Read slowly, pausing between the commas] A secondary R wave in lead V1, a slurred S wave in leads V1 and V6, and a broad QRS complex that looks like an M in V1 and a W in V6?
[10] This giant database of ethnographic info from over 400 institutions is helpful for cross-cultural studies of violence, or really of anything. It is queried using three-digit OCM numbers for topics, such as 865 for "Aggression Training," and OWC codes for cultures.
I think it's a bit excessive to ask about computerized research projects that only anthropology grad students or studious undergraduates are likely to have used, or to have us diagnose what's wrong with someone's heart given whatever that was. I understand that to some extent you can apply this argument to any element of quizbowl- (e.g. why do you truly care about Thomas Pynchon? Why should I care about Stalin?) But I'm going to assume that quizbowlers are "smart people with intellectual curiosity," and even assuming that I think Chicago Open was often excessive in some of the social science and science in asking about things that were really esoteric despite being "real."

Now I know that these things are “real” and “important” and there’s probably going to be someone downthread who will defend the idea of these questions and tell me that they are super important. But honestly, 99% of people playing Chicago Open will not be able to make heads or tails of the science bonus, and I really doubt anyone got the database of anthropological microfiche. I don’t mind a too-hard hard part every once in a while, but the thing that irks me is that the general audience will throw their hands up into the air and say “who gives a flying fuck!” when they have these bonus parts read to them. It's totally OK if you ask the name of a disease in standard English and Eric Mukherjee is the only one who converts it – the rest of us might learn something along the way. But for Christ’s sakes, we’re not taking an MCAT, and you honestly should be writing your third parts so that someone with a general collegiate education should be able to ~understand~ what the hell your question is asking about.

I also maintain that every bonus part should be gettable by a non-specialist who has a general interest in such topics. I could be wrong about this particular example, but I really think that anyone who isn’t an anthropology major is just shit out of luck. And if you really have to ask about this database, it would help if you explained to people who only have a very superficial knowledge of anthropology why they should care about this database instead of telling us about OWC codes - (saying a database is useful for “anything” isn’t really that useful.)

The takeaway from all this is: everyone in quizbowl is pretty much a generalist, and quizbowl should be written for generalists. Even at the hardest difficulty levels, you have to write questions so that everyone understands what is going on in a question, and if you're going to ask about something that is only known to a select few specialists, at least try to explain why the rest of quizbowl should care about it, or better yet explain how they can know about it.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by touchpack » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:23 pm

As a sort of a corollary to this point, I'd like to point out that there were some science bonus parts in this CO that, in pursuit of rewarding real knowledge, were incredibly difficult to impossible to answer within 5 seconds. I think the thought process behind some of these parts is good, but writers really really need to consider the practical implications regarding the playability of their questions.
Chicago Open wrote:[10] On the other hand, all of the other cross-coupling reactions, like the Negishi, Kumada, Suzuki, etc., follow an identical catalytic mechanism involving these three steps. You must list them in order.
ANSWER: oxidative addition, transmetallation, and reductive elimination [must be in that order; prompt on partial answers for each individual part]
I think this is probably about the limit of how hard you can make your "real" bonus part before it gets too hard to do in 5 seconds. I converted this, and I think Andrew Wang did as well, but it requires basically perfect knowledge of palladium cross-couplings to get the bonus part. However, the scary thing is it seems this was intended to be the medium part of the bonus (!!). If beta-hydride elimination was intended as the medium part, then my response is that is definitely not a medium part. If this was intended as the medium part, then my response is not enough people in quizbowl have perfect knowledge of the full mechanism of these reactions to make it gettable; something like just requiring you to name one of the three steps would be much more appropriate for an M.
Chicago Open wrote:[10] [Read slowly.] You cool a ledeburite mixture to below its eutectic point. Let L be the carbon concentration in ledeburite, P be the carbon concentration in pearlite, and C be the carbon concentration of cementite. In terms of L, P, and C, what fraction of the total mass of the system will be cementite?
ANSWER: (L-P)/(C-P) [or L minus P over C minus P; or (P-L)/(P-C); or P minus L over P minus C; that’s the lever rule]


This has gone way past the line of what is possible in 5 seconds. Here are the requirements to solve the bonus:

1) Recognize that the solution requires you use the lever rule
2) Perfectly recall the exact formula for the lever rule
3) Have the entire phase diagram for steel memorized (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
4) Apply the lever rule to the problem.

I got to step 1, then hit a wall, since I haven't used the lever rule in class in 3 years. If you gave me a pen, a picture of the steel phase diagram, and gave me 5 minutes, I would probably convert this bonus part (it would take me a few minutes since I forget the lever rule's formula, and would have to derive it from scratch using a mass balance). But 5 seconds with no visual aid? It's impossible. I would bet a large amount of money that no one converted this.
Chicago Open wrote:[10] What specific condition can be diagnosed by an EKG with the following features? [Read slowly, pausing between the commas] A secondary R wave in lead V1, a slurred S wave in leads V1 and V6, and a broad QRS complex that looks like an M in V1 and a W in V6?
This is just completely impossible. You could read this to a practicing cardiologist studying for their boards, and it would probably take them at least 30 seconds looking at the physical EKG itself to figure it out. But delivered orally with only 5 seconds to think? The only way ANYONE could possibly get this is just by randomly guessing a cardiac condition.

In pursuit of real knowledge, writers need to remember that quizbowl is a game with strict limits. Like Ike says, this isn't the MCAT or the FE exam. Design your bonus parts approriately.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:17 pm

One nitpick I have with this (though I generally agree) is that, sometimes, in the process of making clues for generalists, you end up with questions with no relevance to specialists. That is, questions that are only relevant to quizbowl. SS questions, for example, historically relied on things like "The American Beaver" that were certainly gettable by generalists as hard parts, but had zero relevance to anything actually studied currently (I am close to 100 percent confident that I am the only anthro major at Yale who has heard of "The American Beaver.")

The key, I think, is to, like you said, make the clues interesting. Just keep in mind that interesting can cut both ways.

P.S. The HRAF is something that gets mentioned in a fair amount of biological anthro research papers and, in my experience at Yale, isn't horrendously obscure (as in you'd encounter it in a lecture for a intro or intermediate bio anthro class). You're right that the second sentence doesn't really do anything (I'm pretty sure only grad students would actually use the database). I'd probably change the clue to mention how it's actual use as a research tool as been called into question.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:18 pm

[10] What specific condition can be diagnosed by an EKG with the following features? [Read slowly, pausing between the commas] A secondary R wave in lead V1, a slurred S wave in leads V1 and V6, and a broad QRS complex that looks like an M in V1 and a W in V6?
The answerline is by itself hard enough without having to diagnose the condition based solely on X characteristic in Y wave on V lead in five seconds. No one is going to be actually *mechanistically* figuring out what the answer is based on those clues; you're given five seconds to remember that V1 is good for looking at the RV and that R' seen in it is indicative of a delayed RV depolarization (you could do to mention rabbit ears here as well "M"...). Although then you get to a "slurred S wave in leads V1...", which doesn't make sense (it's slurred in lead I, not V1, where it should be part of the rabbit ears), not that that's going to trip anyone up because, again, no one is going off this mechanistically. The only way you could get this question is if you've literally memorized all the abnormal EKGs -- making it completely impossible for anyone who isn't currently cramming for a cardio test in med school. The only thing that could make this not ridiculous is to give actual physiology clues, like what rSR' actually corresponds to and how the impulse is traveling across the septum.

EDIT: FWIW, I think a cardiologist probably could approach the right answer pretty quickly based on the R' and M clues -- but that's only because s/he has memorized what those correspond to, not because s/he can figure out what those features on specific leads mean mechanistically.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by adamsil » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:47 pm

(Before I ramble: I take full blame for the questions in these categories, and it's not like people were submitting questions with these perceived "barbarisms". I'm not exaggerating when I say that re-wrote every submitted question in my categories, with the exception of a single bonus in the Gupta packet. The blame for the perceived difficulty lies squarely with me.)

Also, for what it's worth now, beta-hydride was the intended middle part of that bonus, so we can agree to disagree about how important that is; certainly, I think "forming an alkene, hydrogen atom with a metal, two-carbons away" is enough cluing for that answerline for anybody who's ever heard the term "beta-hydride elimination" to be able to figure it out. It was also a middle part at CO 2013, so I thought that was uncontroversial. (I thought the mechanism of cross-couplings is a good example of the sort of hard "figure-it-out" thing to ask about in QB, though maybe it should have just asked for one of them, sure.)

The rest of your points--I agree whole-heartedly with them. The EKG bonus was outrageous--I didn't know much about that topic going in, so I read a lot of sources online about it, and pretty much the only thing I could find that was relevant was diagnosing a couple of specific diseases with them. This was not gettable for anybody, including myself, and I apologize. The lever rule--I think the previous part explained the actual phase diagram of steel that you needed to use to solve the bonus part, but if you tuned it out, then that certainly makes it a lot trickier (though, I can't quite understand how one "forgets" the lever rule, since it's super-obvious based on the name!). To add to this list probably the biggest offender in this regard: if you've never done flow cytometry, or some other technique involving fluorescent proteins, there's no way in hell that you know what GFP's excitation wavelength is, no matter how good a generalist you are. No way a non-biologist gets that.

I guess the flip side of this is--if you're me, or Matt Jackson, or whatever, and you're trying to write a real bonus on cardiology or anthropology and you've got literally no academic background in that subject, how do you approach something that's going to be hard, but not too hard? CO hard parts are, virtually by definition, either things that have never showed up in quizbowl before, or easier things with certain clues withheld. And if you don't have ideas for what the hard part of that bonus needs to be right off the bat, then you're casting in the dark. I just don't know what the approach for writing a hard part for CO should be in topics that you don't know well. If I'm writing a bonus about the human body, then I accept that there are med students or pre-meds in quizbowl that know way more about these topics than I do, that I normally would 10 or 20 this bonus, and I have to find something that may challenge them. Perhaps it's easier for literature or arts--you pick another author, another work, dig deeper into a book--the list of available options is finite. But here, if I don't want to write on a named thing, because quizbowl rightfully says that I shouldn't, then the easiest thing for me to do is go for something real and hard from a textbook or lecture notes, and if people don't get it, then maybe they'll accept it because they're not studying this topic academically.

When I was editing this set, I collected every bio/chem question from CO 2015 and 2013 (2014 has pdfs, so it's harder to do this), and chose the questions that I most wanted to imitate--and those that I didn't. Here are two bonuses from 2013 that are worth considering. (To be clear, I didn't model any questions in this set on these bonuses, but they are convenient for two points at question here. I have no idea who wrote them, and I hope I don't offend anybody reading this discussion.)
It is treated by inserting a catheter into the heart and firing radiofrequency waves at the defective tissue, for 10 points each:
[10] Name this conduction disorder in which an accessory pathway called the Bundle of Kent transmits electrical impulses faster than usual, leading to pre-excitation of the ventricles and reentrant tachycardia.
ANSWER: Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome [accept things like “pattern” or “disease”]
[10] This is the specific part of the conduction system that gets bypassed in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It transmits its impulses to the Bundle of His and is defective in a condition that exhibits Wenckebach periodicity.
ANSWER: AtrioVentricular node
[10] Though most patients have normal recordings, the classic pattern for Wolff-Parkinson-White seen on an electrocardiogram consists of a shortened PR interval as well as this unique finding, in which the ascending part of the QRS complex is slurred.
ANSWER: delta wave

Recently, organometallic compounds have become more popular as both reagents and catalysts in organic chemistry. FTPE:
[10] Name these organometallic compounds that are reagents in the Kumada cross-coupling reaction and form from the reaction of magnesium metal with aryl or alkyl halides.
ANSWER: Grignard reagents
[10] Although the addition of Grignard reagents to amides generally results in the formation of tertiary alcohols or amines, these special amides, named for their American creator, form ketones upon reaction with Grignards or organolithium reagents. They are formed from the reaction of acyl chlorides with an amine with methoxy and methyl substituents. The N-methoxy group on the resulting amide forms a persistent chelate with a Grignard reagent after a single addition is completed; this chelate is hydrolyzed at low temperatures free of nucleophiles to yield the ketone.
ANSWER: Weinreb-Nahm amides
[10] Name this palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction, applied to the synthesis of antifungal Papulacadin D, which involves the reaction of an aryl or alkyl halide with an aryl alkyl silane in the presence of fluoride ions to form the coupled product.
ANSWER: Hiyama coupling
If I played on these questions last Saturday, I probably would have 10ed both bonuses, and if I was lucky, may have converted Wolff-Parkinson-White and Weinreb on a good day, but no prayer on either hard part (but I'll skip over middle parts for now, since they're not really the topic of this discussion). And I wrote specific bonuses on these topics for CO this year, after doing quite a bit of research in both topics! So, if you excuse these bonuses as more gettable, or at least more comprehensible to generalists, then how do I write to a wider audience? I have niche interests, I guess--does that mean that I'm just not cut up to edit science at this level? When I was trying to find stuff to imitate, these bonuses were not on the list, because I thought they were ridiculously obscure, but clearly "synthesizing antifungal drug" is more interesting than "solve math problem or chemical mechanism", so perhaps humanities players greatly prefer this sort of question?

I don't want this discussion to turn into "Adam's trying to make us pity him for how bad he is at quizbowl", because that's not my intent. But I'll leave it as an open question, I guess: if you're editing a hard tournament, do you make all the hard parts and hard clues things that you can convert? And if it's not feasible for you to say Yes, because you lack technical experience, then how do you pick clues? I tried really hard to make every bonus part in this tournament something that I'd have converted before writing the set: I know what the excitation wavelength is of GFP, I know the mechanism of the Suzuki coupling, I know what the lever rule is. But it wasn't going to happen everywhere.

I'm sorry for stuff that was too hard--I'm not denying this tournament's bio and chem were really difficult, at least in early clues and in bonus parts (if people think the easy parts of bonuses and TU answerlines were too hard, that's a totally different question). I just don't know what would have been better hard parts in this case. Billy, Ike, Eric, other people, I'm serious, if you have ideas for what makes a hard CO science bonus part, I'd love to hear them. There were very few hard bonus parts in this set that I asked about because I wanted to introduce them to the QB canon--most of the time, they were of the form "this is something hard I know about this topic, let's see if anybody else does."
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:04 pm

touchpack wrote:
Chicago Open wrote:[10] What specific condition can be diagnosed by an EKG with the following features? [Read slowly, pausing between the commas] A secondary R wave in lead V1, a slurred S wave in leads V1 and V6, and a broad QRS complex that looks like an M in V1 and a W in V6?
This is just completely impossible. You could read this to a practicing cardiologist studying for their boards, and it would probably take them at least 30 seconds looking at the physical EKG itself to figure it out. But delivered orally with only 5 seconds to think? The only way ANYONE could possibly get this is just by randomly guessing a cardiac condition.
To add to Billy's complaint about time constraints, and as the only person in the field to have actually diagnosed an RBBB from an EKG, this is one of those things you only can do if you can 1. Visually see the EKG (verbal descriptions are difficult here), and 2. Are in practice (as in, you're reading EKGs regularly). My PI (a dermatologist with 20 years of clinical experience) probably couldn't do it from the EKG, and certainly couldn't do it based on a verbal description. This is a very high standard you've set.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by adamsil » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:21 pm

(To further clarify my stance on the original question to Ike): It's easier for me to write a very hard question on something "real" that I know than a very hard question on something "fake" that I don't. That's a natural consequence of having specialists write quizbowl questions, though--if I were to write an anthropology question, I don't have the capacity to actually know anything about that discipline without spending inordinate time reading, so it's likely going to be more answerable for generalists in exactly the same boat. If the answer is that everything needs to be homogeneously dialed down in difficulty in the science distribution, then that's okay too--but we ought to be explicit about it, because I was aiming for the same difficulty as last year's CO, but with hard parts that I actually knew the answers to.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:48 pm

adamsil wrote:To add to this list probably the biggest offender in this regard: if you've never done flow cytometry, or some other technique involving fluorescent proteins, there's no way in hell that you know what GFP's excitation wavelength is, no matter how good a generalist you are. No way a non-biologist gets that.
It is treated by inserting a catheter into the heart and firing radiofrequency waves at the defective tissue, for 10 points each:
[10] Name this conduction disorder in which an accessory pathway called the Bundle of Kent transmits electrical impulses faster than usual, leading to pre-excitation of the ventricles and reentrant tachycardia.
ANSWER: Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome [accept things like “pattern” or “disease”]
[10] This is the specific part of the conduction system that gets bypassed in Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It transmits its impulses to the Bundle of His and is defective in a condition that exhibits Wenckebach periodicity.
ANSWER: AtrioVentricular node
[10] Though most patients have normal recordings, the classic pattern for Wolff-Parkinson-White seen on an electrocardiogram consists of a shortened PR interval as well as this unique finding, in which the ascending part of the QRS complex is slurred.
ANSWER: delta wave
With regards to the GFP wavelength clue, I think it's worth noting that Alexa 488 is an extremely common dye that most people who do any kind of immunofluorescence have likely encountered. It's probably in a lot of labs' +4s. The only issue is how easily it can be unambiguously described, considering how many other Alexa Fluor dyes there are.
I don't like that heart bonus either! AV node is not an easy enough easy part in my opinion considering that it doesn't mention the SA node. There's no reason to avoid giving the easiest clues when your answerline is already not something that would appear as the easy part at even regs+. There has to be a better middle ground between "heart disorders namebowl" and "assume people can visualize abnormal deflections on various precordial leads".
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Ike » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:49 pm

I'm really only approaching this from a generalist perspective. I get Isaac's point about ~The American Beaver~, but I think we as a game have largely moved pass asking about the same old musty tomes over and over again - or at least if we have they are done much more sparingly. My overall point is more about being able to understand the question and making the question interesting. My dog in this fight is not whether that EKG part was gettable by < 5% of the field who can get it - it's more of, there's nothing interesting that you're telling the other 95% of the field.

Adam, I don't think it's an issue of specialization. We've all written non-ideal questions before and it's not like you're the only editor who I thought made this error at this year's CO. Even though I've written some very hard computer science over the years, I really don't require that anyone know more than big O notation and basic discrete mathematics to understand what my question is saying - even if you don't recognize the clues. I expect that people who have that minimal background knowledge will find almost every one of my computer science questions to be interesting - at least that's the goal. Without even counting whether your question is too hard for the science sluggers at CO, I think you (and actually every writer) should try to aim for something similar.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:50 pm

Chicago Open is difficult enough, and CO players' pockets of deep knowledge often surprising enough, that figuring out what might or might not be an appropriate hard part is often something of an educated guess. (Precisely because we are all generalists to some degree, there is basically no alternative to making one's best guess when trying to reward specialization in fields one hasn't studied oneself!) And you can't know beforehand if exactly 10% of teams will convert it or whatever your metric is; you have to wait and see how things turn out. The Human Relations Area Files bonus part was one such educated guess; I found relatively meaty mentions of them in two of the introductory textbooks I was drawing from, and corroborated via the Internet that they seem to be used and usable in various anthropological and sociological studies. It seems like this was at least in theory knowable to quizbowlers, per Isaac's post above.

What's more, I think it's fair in a tournament of CO's size for different specific hard parts to be of differing levels of "classroom"-iness; for one example, going deep into the 2010s New York Times bestseller list universe is unlikely to reward English majors per se for being English majors, though it does reward people who read and follow recent developments in the literary scene. The HRAF part is pretty classroom-y compared to, say, Constantine Rafinesque, which the tournament also had a bonus part on.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by touchpack » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:00 pm

To clarify, I thought that the bonus part on "list the steps of a cross-coupling reaction in order" was good, but it's about at the limit of what you can reasonably expect a player to be able to do within the format of this game.

I frequently do that type of difficulty analysis, actually! I like to take it a step further, especially when writing for regular difficulty and below. I'll think: "if I hadn't written this question, how would I play on it?" Then I'll think: "What about me in 2013 as a college junior? How is he doing on that question?" Etc, with various time periods, as I see fit to gauge the question appropriately. Personally, over the course of a tournament like nats or CO, I try to gauge the difficulty so I'd be getting a decent amount of 30s, mostly 20s, a few 10s, and absolutely no 0s, with my average PPB being something like 20-22. I guess in theory if you're less good at the category as I am at chemistry, you could try to shift the numbers appropriately, but that seems much more difficult to do and I wouldn't recommend this thought exercise to anyone who isn't a seasoned editor and player.

The important takeaway I'd like to push here is that hard parts are supposed to be convertible. I don't view this as a stylistic problem with "over-specialization"; rather, I think that the genesis of the problem is the editor being overly focused on making sure their hard part is "real" while losing sight of its gettability. As to the lever rule example, here's a potential way to make that more gettable.
Chicago Open wrote:[10] [Read slowly.] You cool a ledeburite mixture to below its eutectic point. Let L be the carbon concentration in ledeburite, P be the carbon concentration in pearlite, and C be the carbon concentration of cementite. What equation can you use to find the fraction of cementite in the system in terms of L, P, and C?
ANSWER: _lever rule_
I'm not sure this is ideal either (it feels like on the easy side for a CO hard part, but I think it's probably within the bell curve of hard part difficulty), but it rewards knowledge of what the lever rule is and how/where to use it without punishing the player for having not memorized the phase diagram for steel and the exact equation of the lever rule.

Another side note: CO 2013, as I remember, was criticized (by people like me and Eric) for having science that was too hard, so I'm not surprised that you picked out some really challenging bonuses from that set. Specifically, I remember getting 10 on that chem bonus too because I couldn't remember what Weinreb amides were called, despite covering their mechanism in detail in class.
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Cody » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:43 pm

I'll disagree and note that I thought the lever rule part was great. The previous bonus part gave you the info you needed to visualize the phase diagram wrt L, C, and P; all one had to do to convert it was remember the lever rule equation (which does not strike me as that hard). As soon as Adam started reading it, I recognized that I'd need to use the lever rule, so I think that step is trivial. (unfortunately, it'd been 3 years since I used the lever rule, so I did not remember it)
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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by Evan Lynch » Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:52 am

On the lever rule, it was my opinion after a couple years of Materials Science that nobody actually bothered to remember the equation - because it's so simple I found it becomes instinctive when you're looking at a phase diagram. Could I then answer that hard part from visualising a phase diagram in my head, remembering which way round everything goes and converting it into algebra in my head? Possibly, but not within five seconds.
Of course, I need to know this equation (or at least the basis of it) to get any precise concentrations, but being able to quote the equation is a LOT harder than looking at a phase diagram and going 'well that's about 60% of the way across'. I'm not really sure how to rewrite this - lever rule is probably an unsatisfactory hard part, but there are so many things connected with a steel phase diagram that there must be something there worth asking.

As an aside, I'm surprised the Weinreb amides question doesn't mention something along the lines of 'stopping reductions halfway', given that's a much easier way to remember it (at least for me) than the way the question is worded, and would probably have improved the conversion slightly.
Evan Lynch

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Re: The Barbarism of Specialization

Post by QuizBowlRonin » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:11 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
touchpack wrote:
Chicago Open wrote:[10] What specific condition can be diagnosed by an EKG with the following features? [Read slowly, pausing between the commas] A secondary R wave in lead V1, a slurred S wave in leads V1 and V6, and a broad QRS complex that looks like an M in V1 and a W in V6?
This is just completely impossible. You could read this to a practicing cardiologist studying for their boards, and it would probably take them at least 30 seconds looking at the physical EKG itself to figure it out. But delivered orally with only 5 seconds to think? The only way ANYONE could possibly get this is just by randomly guessing a cardiac condition.
To add to Billy's complaint about time constraints, and as the only person in the field to have actually diagnosed an RBBB from an EKG, this is one of those things you only can do if you can 1. Visually see the EKG (verbal descriptions are difficult here), and 2. Are in practice (as in, you're reading EKGs regularly). My PI (a dermatologist with 20 years of clinical experience) probably couldn't do it from the EKG, and certainly couldn't do it based on a verbal description. This is a very high standard you've set.
Ditto. I'm a board certified internist, and I'd have a hard time figuring this out in 5 seconds without the visual.
Jason Paik
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Washington University 1998-2002
University of Alabama School of Medicine 2002-2011
Residency in Internal Medicine, Stanford Hospital and Clinics 2011-2013
Fellowship in Hematology and Oncology, Stanford Cancer Institute 2013-2018

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