IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

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IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:17 am

I guess the point trying to be made here is that math can exist in IHSA-like proportions without being computational? That's cool. But might I suggest not making this point at the expense of history? At the very least give that 1/1 trash to something more deserving, like more history or social science (which I guess would create room for more history). A 24/24 distro in which geo, CE, soc sci, and history are given a subdistro closer to ACF/other housewrites could probably be devised too. I think people will gladly play 4 extra questions (still 6 less that IHSA!) if it means a more well-rounded match.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Dominator » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:11 pm

If I were going to throw in an extra 1/1 somewhere, it wouldn't be history. If anything, I'd probably add to fine arts and/or RMP.

Since history creeps into "other social studies" pretty easily, giving 4/4 to history alone overemphasizes it in my opinion. If a packet were 24/24, then certainly another 1/1 history would be in order, along with 1/1 more in lit, science, and split between RMP and fine arts.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Dan-Don » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:11 pm

Dominator wrote:If I were going to throw in an extra 1/1 somewhere, it wouldn't be history. If anything, I'd probably add to fine arts and/or RMP.

Since history creeps into "other social studies" pretty easily, giving 4/4 to history alone overemphasizes it in my opinion. If a packet were 24/24, then certainly another 1/1 history would be in order, along with 1/1 more in lit, science, and split between RMP and fine arts.
Arts and RMP are already in their normal distribution.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:53 pm

Dominator wrote:Since history creeps into "other social studies" pretty easily, giving 4/4 to history alone overemphasizes it in my opinion.
Dude, you have 7/7 science in your tournament. Clearly having a fair balance of what's "emphasized" has already taken a backseat to some ideological point.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:02 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Dude, you have 7/7 science in your tournament. Clearly having a fair balance of what's "emphasized" has already taken a backseat to some ideological point.
I want to play this.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:09 pm

I agree that 33% science is too much, and you might want to reconsider it if it's not too late.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:18 pm

If absolutely nothing else--because from your perspective, 7/7 science is less than normal, and arguments from normalcy won't gain much traction--it'll be pretty hard to find non-Illinois mirrors with that distribution.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Dominator » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:32 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Dude, you have 7/7 science in your tournament. Clearly having a fair balance of what's "emphasized" has already taken a backseat to some ideological point.
To some extent, yes. I stated that as one goal of this tournament: showing that noncomp math could be included in much greater numbers than most quizbowlers estimate. Perhaps 3/3 is too much, but still, if I can do 3/3, other providers should be able to do 1/1 at a minimum. Also, you should consider that IHSA scholastic bowl uses 6/6 math, with at least 5/5 being comp. If I can do 3/3 noncomp in this tournament, IHSA can fit more noncomp into its distro.

So yes, I deliberately broke from ACF distro for a purpose. That said, I did seek advice from notable quizbowlers about the best distro given those constraints, and this is essentially what we came up with.

As to Dan-Don's point, though, I personally think 4/4 history with a distro that includes geography and econ can be too much, since political geo and econ border along history already, making history more important than science, lit, and fine arts, which I am against.

At this point, the set is mostly written, so I'm not going to make a substantial change to the distribution. However, I do appreciate the feedback and will keep it in mind for IMSANITY 2.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:38 pm

While this distribution is skewed from most quizbowl tournaments, it is not all that skewed from the high school curriculum, where an average student typically has major courses in math, science, English, social studies/history, and a foreign language. Nobody has found a way to ask foreign languages, so that's out, and there's general agreement that topics like fine arts and RMP should be in there even though only some students take courses in them.

I'm not saying that this is the direction we all need to go in. For high school students, it is somewhat arbitrary whether or not math should be classified as a science, and, if it is, whether or not the amount of science should equal the amount of literature in the distribution. This is one tournament, and it is being upfront about its distribution. I don't see why it matters whether or not it is making an ideological point--it's a good distribution if it leads to good questions that measure what we think quizbowl should measure, and it's a bad distribution otherwise.

I agree that it could use more history, though it's hard to tell how serious a problem that is because the exact amount of history is not specified. I agree that this distribution will make it difficult to find mirrors, but this is a first-time effort by relatively unknown writers anyways, so it's hard to believe that it wouldn't have gotten many mirrors with a different distribution.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by jonah » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:33 pm

Dominator wrote:I did seek advice from notable quizbowlers about the best distro given those constraints, and this is essentially what we came up with.
Who did you talk to that didn't think this distribution was really bad?
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:09 pm

Westwon wrote:While this distribution is skewed from most quizbowl tournaments, it is not all that skewed from the high school curriculum
I want my 1/1 PE distribution!
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by sssssssskkkk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:41 pm

While this tournament is rather innovative in its distribution, it's not necessarily a totally "bad" distribution. As Mr. Reinstein pointed out, a considerable amount of high school classes are dedicated to math, and thus a distribution that includes more math is not totally unreasonable. As a matter of fact, if IMSA is able to churn out 3/3 per round of good noncomp-math, then what's the problem?

Although I do agree in the fact that 3/3 is slightly too much (I would think something closer to 1.5/1.5 would be more optimal for a 20/20 set) for a set, I don't understand why people are so opposed to trying new distributions (plus, it's not radical to the extent that the canon is being totally reformed or anything), especially since math is a large part of the high school curriculum (and in general, for any school's curriculum). I'd also say that 4/4 science + 3/3 math is not equivalent to "7/7 science" - 7/7 for any one category would be too much. Yes, math is a subdistribution of science in terms of quizbowl (mostly for convenience); however, in reality, what is studied in the field of math is quite distinct from that of the field of science.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:03 pm

jonah wrote:
Dominator wrote:I did seek advice from notable quizbowlers about the best distro given those constraints, and this is essentially what we came up with.
Who did you talk to that didn't think this distribution was really bad?
And what's your opinion of "notable"?
Webster Guan wrote:I'd also say that 4/4 science + 3/3 math is not equivalent to "7/7 science" - 7/7 for any one category would be too much. Yes, math is a subdistribution of science in terms of quizbowl (mostly for convenience); however, in reality, what is studied in the field of math is quite distinct from that of the field of science.
There's way more overlap between math and all areas of science that you realize, first of all. Even fields of mathematics that you wouldn't ordinary think had some kind of application (like group theory or topology) are regularly used in physics, chemistry, and even biology. The things studied in math are not all that distinct from the things studied in theoretical physics, and the things studied in applied physics aren't too different from the things studied in physical chemistry, etc, etc. Its not just convenience that puts math in the science distribution.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by kayli » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:07 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:There's way more overlap between math and all areas of science that you realize, first of all. Even fields of mathematics that you wouldn't ordinary think had some kind of application (like group theory or topology) are regularly used in physics, chemistry, and even biology. The things studied in math are not all that distinct from the things studied in theoretical physics, and the things studied in applied physics aren't too different from the things studied in physical chemistry, etc, etc. Its not just convenience that puts math in the science distribution.
This isn't applicable to the high school level. Most of the applications of math to science are not very pronounced in high school. In high school biology and chemistry, the hardest math you do is probably taking the log of something or using the quadratic equation. In physics, you only get slightly more advanced.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:15 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:...
This isn't applicable to the high school level. Most of the applications of math to science are not very pronounced in high school. In high school biology and chemistry, the hardest math you do is probably taking the log of something or using the quadratic equation. In physics, you only get slightly more advanced.
I haven't forgotten. But the reason that the distribution exists the way it is reflects the fact that math is considered a science, at the high school level and beyond. Even in high school I remember applying BC calc techniques to physics, and using derivatives to calculate reaction rates more easily, and whatnot. I realize computational biology isn't all the rage in high school, but there's still the connection (punnett squares, blast searches, the probability of a random person on a pedigree having x and y condition, etc, were all things I had to do/solve back then).
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:15 pm

Mathematics, by definition, is a science.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by kayli » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:25 pm

3/3 math is a bit excessive in my opinion, but people are right in that math isn't very connected to other fields in science like biology and chemistry (at least at the high school level). In fact, I believe the sciences are more distinct from each other at the high school level than other subjects like literature and history. That said, I still think that 3/3 math is excessive; but I don't suppose why something like 1.5/1.5 math would be egregious.
Fred wrote:Mathematics, by definition, is a science.
Wasn't arguing that it isn't.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by sssssssskkkk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:27 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: There's way more overlap between math and all areas of science that you realize, first of all. Even fields of mathematics that you wouldn't ordinary think had some kind of application (like group theory or topology) are regularly used in physics, chemistry, and even biology. The things studied in math are not all that distinct from the things studied in theoretical physics, and the things studied in applied physics aren't too different from the things studied in physical chemistry, etc, etc. Its not just convenience that puts math in the science distribution.
Okay well obviously math is applied in all areas of science, I was not trying to deny that fact. Just because science is applied math doesn't mean it should be lumped under the category of "science." You might use differential equations in quantum mechanics and relativity, but those are for computational purposes and aren't essential for basic conceptual understanding of the topics (I would know, considering I took a watered down Modern Physics course at IMSA). Although you may take a log in the Henderson Hasselbalch equation, you wouldn't classify it as math just because it requires a bit of algebra, right? If math is included as "science," then similarly psychology and other topics in social science could also potentially be included under "science," since it is all just "applied science" anyways.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by Cody » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:35 pm

Are you people seriously suggesting that Mathematics is not science? Did you hit your head falling down that rabbit hole?
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by sssssssskkkk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:43 pm

SirT wrote:Are you people seriously suggesting that Mathematics is not science? Did you hit your head falling down that rabbit hole?
:shock: Well then...

Mathematics is a science, but if you really think about it, there are many distinct fields of study that are sciences. The study of history is science. Psychology is a science. Anthropology is also a science. Economics is a science. By putting these categories into their own separate categories, we aren't suggesting that they aren't sciences.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:48 pm

sssssssskkkk wrote:
The study of history is science.
No.
Psychology is a science.
Only some kinds.
Anthropology is also a science.


No.
Economics is a science.
Maybe, but only in a loose sense.
By putting these categories into their own separate categories, we aren't suggesting that they aren't sciences.
Usually, we are.

To be more polite, most of the theories in the fields you mentioned aren't truly falsifiable, and the way they're studied is markedly different from the way science is studied. Math doesn't have experiments, but it does have similar standards of falsifiability as the natural sciences.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:36 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:There's way more overlap between math and all areas of science that you realize, first of all.
You don't have to tell me about overlap between math and science; I have quite a bit of experience in that particular area. Also, for a high schooler, Webster does too. And while I appreciate Webster's support here, it should be noted that I alone made the decision on the distro and any criticism should be directed at me and not him.

At the same time, arguing that a math/science overlap justifies a reduced math distro is essentially like my argument that a politics/history overlap justifies reduced history amirite? The only difference, then, is that my distro is less conventional.
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: I haven't forgotten. But the reason that the distribution exists the way it is reflects the fact that math is considered a science, at the high school level and beyond.
Math is not considered a science by any mathematicians, who only really exist beyond the high school level (with at least one notable exception). I'm not sure how you can justify this point.



To me, this distro only seems unusual because it is not standard. In the Theory/Newbie thread I started this summer, I asked "How Small Is The Math Canon?" In that thread, the best answer I got was that the canon was perceived to be small because no one wrote questions in it, and no one wrote questions in it because it was thought that it could not be done. If people can show that math questions can be written in greater numbers, I don't see why that shouldn't open up the discussion of whether math actually deserves a small distro or whether it was just a historical accident that made it that way in the first place. I also don't see why we shouldn't experiment from time to time to test conventional wisdom. I have been open and honest about my intentions for six months now regarding this tournament, and placed it in the schedule (Jan. 15) where I thought such a tournament belonged. Why is this just now attracting so much hostility? (Especially from Dan-Don, with whom I'm pretty sure I talked about the tournament this summer.)

I have been around the scholastic bowl circuit (pre-quizbowl) for awhile now, and I can assure some of those people who are too young that quizbowl became what it was through a LOT of trial and error. Quizbowl is what it is today thanks to experimentation and evolution. That is the best tradition of the game, and I'm trying to continue it. If that is wrong, please explain why that is to me.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by anderson » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:39 pm

I think s8k4 and Arsonists are pretty spot on when they say math shouldn't be grouped with science, especially at the high school level. Yes, it's true that "Mathematics, by definition, is a science", but that doesn't mean having 3 math and 4 science questions in a set should be considered as 7 science questions. Like s8k4 said, math is applied to all areas of sciences, but not really in a conceptual way, and there are plenty of mathematical topics that stand out on their own. Even in the high school curriculum, biology/chemistry/physics are all considered science classes, while math is considered a different subject, as others have already said.

Also, I haven't really seen any good reasons for why 3/3 noncomp math is excessive, other than that "it's not normal", or, according to jonah, it's "really bad". I guess it's possible that history is underrepresented, but the 4/4 history, even if grouped with geography and econ, still seems like a decent amount. I'm not that experienced with quiz bowl, though, so it's entirely possible that something like 2/2 math and 5/5 history/geo would be more balanced.
Cernal Joson wrote:Math...does have similar standards of falsifiability as the natural sciences.
Umm...once something is proven in math, it's not falsifiable, unless if you want to argue about the philosophy of logic and mathematics. I think that's pretty distinct from the other sciences, where data must be gathered and experiments must be done to support a conclusion, and even with overwhelming evidence for something, it's never 100% true.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:42 pm

Supposing for a second that there is enough math that high schoolers might know to fill 3/3 per round, why don't you have 3/3 biology, 2/2 chemistry and 3/3 physics as well? Why don't the other sciences get a proportional increase based on the amount of material covered?
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:53 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:Supposing for a second that there is enough math that high schoolers might know to fill 3/3 per round, why don't you have 3/3 biology, 2/2 chemistry and 3/3 physics as well? Why don't the other sciences get a proportional increase based on the amount of material covered?
Correcting for material covered is exactly what this distro does. Students study bio, physics, and chem for roughly one year each and math for 4. It seems like the more logical approach, then, if you want to go into subdistros, is to have 1/1 geometry, 2/2 algebra, and 1/1 precalculus/calculus to correct for material covered. Then math should be roughly equal to the sum of all science.

If you argue that subjects covered more in school should get more questions, you absolutely cannot strongly object to my math distro.
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Re: Looking for mirrors: IMSANITY

Post by kayli » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:53 pm

SirT wrote:Are you people seriously suggesting that Mathematics is not science? Did you hit your head falling down that rabbit hole?
The point.


Your head.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:58 pm

Dominator wrote:
every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:If you argue that subjects covered more in school should get more questions, you absolutely cannot strongly object to my math distro.
First, bio classes are among the most densely packed with material of any science classes, certainly more than a lot of math classes. A simple "people take math for four years and bio for one" is no basis for adjusting the distribution based on content.

Secondly, it shouldn't be hard to see that adjusting all the subjects, once we get down to non-sciences, based on curricula would be absolutely unfeasible. There would be 25% or less humanities per round.

Thirdly, I was suggesting that 3/3 math per round is feasible for the sake of argument; it would clearly require an increase in other subjects to keep up and would result in an unworkable overrepresentation of the sciences, which is what brings me to my argument: don't stick to the curriculum to adjust the distribution.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:05 am

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:don't stick to the curriculum to adjust the distribution.
I think here we probably agree closer than anything. My thought was not "what distro matches the curriculum best", it was "what distro would make this tournament its best product". From that standpoint, I think we're pretty close to the correct distro. FWIW, I wrote some pretty spectacular math questions.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by kayli » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:11 am

I think that science may be overrepresented in this distribution some, but I think that the sciences overall are a little underrepresented in quizbowl. In my opinion, a lot of the other parts of the distribution tend to be more closely related. I'd say that most of the social science distribution is covered in a history class, and a good number of mythology and philosophy are covered in English classes. The sciences, however, tend to be very distinct from each other--at least more so than the aforementioned. So, in my opinion, adding 1/1 or 2/2 science won't tilt the distribution much at all. In fact, it balances it out.

Also, as for Dr. Prince's attempts to write more pyramidal non-computational math, I applaud him on this effort. I was going to attempt something similar myself, but unfortunately I felt that this obligation was too large for me to handle.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dan-Don » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:14 am

Dominator wrote:Why is this just now attracting so much hostility? (Especially from Dan-Don, with whom I'm pretty sure I talked about the tournament this summer.)

I have been around the scholastic bowl circuit (pre-quizbowl) for awhile now, and I can assure some of those people who are too young that quizbowl became what it was through a LOT of trial and error. Quizbowl is what it is today thanks to experimentation and evolution. That is the best tradition of the game, and I'm trying to continue it. If that is wrong, please explain why that is to me.
I have no recollection of this, but even if this supposed conversation did take place, I did not at the time know about this laughable distribution. I also fail to see how my posts (up until this point) have been especially hostile.

My biggest issue with this tournament is not the amount of noncomp math. I just don't understand why the distro hasn't been shifted to accommodate the noncomp math. The part that strikes me as ridiculous is that every packet (assuming 1/1 of your social studies is dedicated to "other social studies") will have as much current events, social science, and geography COMBINED as trash. That's why this tournament is wrong. By all means make a point about noncomp math (which is silly for all the reasons enumerated above), but don't bastardize history and the other really important social studies topics.

EDIT: coherence
Last edited by Dan-Don on Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by kayli » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:19 am

Oh my, Dan-Don has a good point. I think you are overlooking social science a lot. It would probably be best to shift one math down for one social science up. Also, you should totally eliminate trash and never use it again. The social science needs some more brawn.

EDIT: if possible, that is.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:24 am

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:I think that science may be overrepresented in this distribution some, but I think that the sciences overall are a little underrepresented in quizbowl.
I could definitely agree with this. Perhaps a better distribution in general (as in, not specific to a given tournament, which may adjust for any number of reasons) might have something like 6/6 science with 1.5/1.5 or 2/2 math/computer science.
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote: Also, as for Dr. Prince's attempts to write more pyramidal non-computational math, I applaud him on this effort. I was going to attempt something similar myself, but unfortunately I felt that this obligation was too large for me to handle.
Thank you. To be honest, it was an extraordinary effort, especially since there wasn't much of an example to draw from for some of the questions. Nonetheless, if you want to practice writing noncomp, send me some of your questions and I'll be happy to give you advice based on (1) what I've learned through writing a 3/3 noncomp distro and (2) what I learned through grad school.

Of course, you could also support this writing effort with a southeast mirror. :wink:
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:Oh my, Dan-Don has a good point.
I thought Kay and Dan-Don weren't allowed to agree with each other.
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:I think you are overlooking social science a lot. It would probably be best to shift one math down for one social science up.
Quite possibly. My point is that I'm writing this tournament as stated. After all, I'd rather focus on producing the tournament I promised as well as possible instead of hurrying to make major changes and producing a low-quality set on a different distro. After we are done with it, we can look at the final product and reflect on it, and we can make adjustments for IMSANITY 2.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:54 am

I'm skeptical of any arguments for or against a given distribution as being good or not that derive from "x is a type of y." The fact (which I dispute*) that mathematics is a science does not make having 5/5 science+math instead of 4/4 inappropriate. If, up until last year, there were only 3/3 science in quizbowl rounds, the above fact would not be a way to argue against changing to 4/4, either.

* largely because of what Webster said above. Mathematics is purely deductive. Even the aspects of applied mathematics that we treat in quizbowl are deductive. I suppose that we could ask about specific models that were developed using applied mathematics for the use of a certain scientific field. That would be science. For example, the use of the variational principle in computational chemistry: I'd never try to put that in math. But the mathematical principles that let you solve eigenvalue problems like the Schrodinger equation are not--in at least one essential way--science. If I went by the "math is necessarily science" logic--or even the "things should be grouped by like epistemology," I could require economics to be put under science and not social science; I should require the analytical philosophy distribution to make way for mathematics; I should split RMP's mythology into literature (as both are written, or are at least tales) and its theology into philosophy. And so forth.

We arrive at the proportions we have in the distribution we consider conventional in large part due to an infinite regress to yesterday's and yesterday's conventional distribution. I recall Andrew Yaphe arguing that a distribution that had substantially more music than the current one would probably have been viable, and quizbowlers today would be making up for it by studying music harder and, say, literature less. Another part of those proportions is due to what's convenient to group together, what sets of things people tend to be good at all of (why not "European Stuff" as a top level category instead of separate subcategories of European literature and European history?), and the enforced chunkiness of only reasoning in terms of 20/20 distributions.

I'm not ironclad wedded to the ACF distribution, clearly, but I do like it better than having 3/3 math and the history + social studies category. But not for the above type of reasons. I think we should have less than 3/3 math because I don't think there are enough topics that you can touch on meaningfully in a high school curriculum to fill 3/3 math for multiple tournaments throughout the year. I would be happy if Dr. Prince proves me wrong.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:10 am

Thank you for a thoughtful and well-argued post, Andrew. I'll be very interested to hear what you have to say about the actual math questions, should you decide to read IMSANITY.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by gauss1181 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:09 pm

Math and science are pretty practical subjects when it comes to applying them in real life, so I honestly don't see why there's this much complaint about too much math/science in the distribution? In the real world, you pretty much see math and science everywhere, no matter where you go. And we all know that quizbowl is meant to be fun, and not meant to be 100% too dead grindstone serious, but at the same time, there's gotta be some practicality in it so that it actually proves to be a worthwhile activity that strengthens people's knowledge of practical subjects, and many of today's prospective job-seekers look towards stuff that involves math and science. Not as much with history, literature, social science, RMPP, fine arts, geography, or pop culture, but I believe that as long as there are *enough* questions of those subject areas, I think it would be fine. By this, I swear, I am not trying to offend any humanities fans out there, but if you actually divide the subject fields into even broader topics, perhaps just two (sciences and humanities), you'll get a slightly fairer distribution. I know it may look like at first that there isn't enough emphasis on humanities simply by pre-judging the IMSANITY distribution, but if you actually look at the broader subject matter that geography, history, social science, literature, fine arts, religion, mythology, etc. all belong in, you'll see that the distribution is in fact fair between science and humanities.

Second of all, these subjects just have such a broad range of topics, I think that this fact provides some decent justification for the overall distribution. And yes, math is technically a subset of science. It IS considered a TYPE of science, just with more emphasis on numbers. But this does not necessarily mean the three (or so?) math tossups in each round must be computational. If you really want to incorporate some more interesting trivia/history (and yes, math history is considered a type of history question such as mathematicians' discoveries and whatnot), just add in noncomp math.

Honestly, I've seen distributions like this before on some old high school quizbowl packets that have a pretty high number of math and science questions. For example, take a look at the packets from the Wheaton North Frosh/Soph Tournament and the New Trier Schobowl Solo. (Both of these packet series can be found on quizbowlpackets.com) They also have quite a good number of math and science questions, except that they classify subtopics in more specific matters. For example, they divide math questions into stuff like mathematician history, geometry, algebra, calculus, probability/combinatorics, and miscellanea, and for science, they have specific categories like astronomy, chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, earth science, etc. But yeah, the whole point that I'm trying to make is that I honestly don't think IMSANITY's math/science distribution is too much math/science. Those fields have LOTS of subtopics that are encompassed in them, and it's impossible to cover them all in sufficiency if there weren't as many of those types of questions in the distribution.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:23 pm

sssssssskkkk wrote:You might use differential equations in quantum mechanics and relativity, but those are for computational purposes and aren't essential for basic conceptual understanding of the topics...
If the equation you're dealing with is a good model of the system under study, every part of the basic conceptual understanding of that system is built into that equation. In fact, the converse of that statement holds. In fact, causing it to hold, i.e. building models that contain every part of the basic conceptual understanding of a system and/or testing whether a given model contains every part of the basic conceptual understanding of a system, is basically what science is. Perhaps not coincidentally, that's what I do for a living.

Let me give an example that may appeal to you. As you well know, a fundamental principle of electrodynamics is the conservation of charge. Therefore, as you possibly already know, it is possible to derive an equation demonstrating conservation of charge from any good set of electrodynamical equations - for example, you can derive fairly directly the charge continuity equation from Maxwell's equations.
However, the connection is more fundamental even than this. As it turns out, any set of proposed electrodynamics equations possess (or do not) a property known as gauge invariance, which you can understand using group theory - specifically, we need to look at what is known as the symmetry group of the equations. Therefore, we can immediately test any new proposed set of electrodynamics equations by finding its symmetry group and seeing if it includes the appropriate gauge symmetry. If it does, those equations conserve charge and if not, they do not. We can even use the fact that we know going in our equations must have gauge symmetry (because we know that charge is conserved in nature) to cook up new electrodynamics equations that may be more right than what we have now. Science!
anderson wrote:...once something is proven in math, it's not falsifiable...
That's not what falsifiable means. Falsifiable statements are statements that are in the abstract capable of being disproved. All decidable statements in math are falsifiable.
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:..models that were developed using applied mathematics for the use of a certain scientific field... would be science. For example, the use of the variational principle in computational chemistry: I'd never try to put that in math. But the mathematical principles that let you solve eigenvalue problems like the Schrodinger equation are not--in at least one essential way--science.
It is perhaps instructive that the variational principle in quantum chemistry (or quantum anything) is precisely a mathematical principle that lets one solve the Schrödinger equation (approximately).

I'll add further that even the notion of science doesn't make sense without math. The scientific method is founded entirely on set theory and logic, branches of math. In summation, there can exist no debate among informed persons that every part of science essentially contains or is built upon math or, more simply, every part of science is some kind of math.

Now, I'll try to address the argument that I think the "math isn't science" people here would actually like to make, which is that there exists math that isn't part of science. The true answer to this rests on the question "Can one produce a system from some branch of science modeled (to some degree of precision) by a given equation/relation/branch of mathematics?" That question is open to the best of my understanding, but I am eager to be corrected if someone has further knowledge.

However, it is sufficient for our purposes that all the math you are likely to have studied, and indeed are likely ever to study, definitely models some system. Indeed, the connection is much deeper: most of the math you'll encounter was created, and often created intentionally, to model some system. Therefore, whenever you're doing math, you're actually studying a model of a system in some branch of science, though you may not realize it and quite possibly aren't intentionally doing so.

So I think it's safe to say for our purposes that math is thoroughly science - all science is math and vise versa. If we wish to list them separately for another reason, for example because they're listed separately in high school curricula, I don't see a huge problem with that. However, that superficial reason is not and never will be sufficient to support the statement "math isn't science" since, even being scrupulously exact, it is true that all science is essentially math and that much and possibly all of math is science in a perhaps equally essential sense.

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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:09 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:..models that were developed using applied mathematics for the use of a certain scientific field... would be science. For example, the use of the variational principle in computational chemistry: I'd never try to put that in math. But the mathematical principles that let you solve eigenvalue problems like the Schrodinger equation are not--in at least one essential way--science.
It is perhaps instructive that the variational principle in quantum chemistry (or quantum anything) is precisely a mathematical principle that lets one solve the Schrödinger equation (approximately).

I'll add further that even the notion of science doesn't make sense without math. The scientific method is founded entirely on set theory and logic, branches of math. In summation, there can exist no debate among informed persons that every part of science essentially contains or is built upon math or, more simply, every part of science is some kind of math.
I think maybe the distinction that I'm trying to draw is subtle--maybe needlessly so. There's a difference--at least in my experience, which may be atypical or simply inaccurate--between asking about specific applications of the variational principle, in chemistry, and asking about the variational principle with regards to math--or, as I was originally thinking about, stuff about the theory of differential equations (including eigenvalue problems) that could, if applied, help you solve the eigenvalue problem.

You're certainly absolutely right to suggest that science necessarily derives from mathematics in those regards. I think that adds to the absurdity of requiring mathematics to be part of the science distribution (just because in some regards math is a type of science) because you could equally have science a type of math; you could also have math shunted into the philosophy distribution, as logic and set theory owe so much to philosophy, or vice versa. We have distributions not because x is a type of y but because we like that distribution. As before: religion is not a "type of RMP."
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:26 pm

We don't need to resolve the philosophical question of whether math really is science or not in order to resolve the much more practical question of whether having 1/3 of a packet dedicated to the math+science combination is too much. I would argue that it is, since you're taking away from other relevant topics that won't be covered because of that. All this talk about job relevance and relating to the curriculum and what have you strikes me as pretty much irrelevant.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:43 pm

I personally am confused as to why history is singled out as having lots of overlap in other categories. Barring arguments like "everything is history because its from the past," I don't really think it's very common for history clues to crop up in other categories other than occasionally in geography, which is not a very big category. When you browse through lit, social science, art, RMP, etc., at least in well written sets, they all seem to me to be very much designed to reward knowledge of those categories and not reward knowledge of other categories.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Geringer » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:11 pm

I'm eagerly anticipating reading the answer lines for this tournament. I mean, seriously, 3/3 math. 3/3 MATH! This tournament might account for more unique math answer spaces than the entirety of the college circuit from the last year, possibly even two or three years, or possibly longer than that. Sure, 3/3 math is probably ill-advised, but I feel like this tournament might just help add (or discover?) some new answer lines to a subject that currently allows jerks like me to power once-a-tournament-questions on the Poisson Distribution because I read the Wikipedia article once.

I am, of course, assuming that people write their questions based on questions from previous tournaments. (A fair assumption, I think)
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Angstrom » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:28 am

Geringer wrote:I am, of course, assuming that people write their questions based on questions from previous tournaments. (A fair assumption, I think)
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but wasn't part of the point of this tournament to expand the existing noncomp math canon?

I saw this tournament as inventing new answer lines and demonstrating that there is a lot more high-school-accessible math than everybody thought. And I eagerly await the development of math as a real section of (high school) quiz bowl (not just a host for Fermat's Last Effing Theorem/Euler tossups). Tournaments like these are a great step forward -- that is, if I'm reading the intent of the tournament correctly.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Charles Martel » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:31 am

I don't see the point of the debate on whether or not math is part of science. Math being science does not change anything about the questions.

I do think that history is going to be shortchanged at this tournament, but not as much as people think, since RMP and Social Science are sometimes going to run into history. History will probably be at the equivalent of a tad less than 3/3, and while some people including me would argue for 4/4, is not completely unreasonable. In any case, some subject has to be reduced if 3/3 noncomp math is going to be tested.

AFAIK, the two things that I think frequently go wrong with noncomp math are that people
a) Are reluctant to add in non-academic clues and end up with one-line buzzer beaters and incredibly easy questions.
b) Tossup badly phrased answer lines or obscurely-named theorems/terms, like "zero product rule" or "rise over run". I have no problem with those as clues, but sometimes writers err in assuming that everyone will learn math the same way, learning every possible terminology.

As a result, people end up using an incredibly small amount of canon, tossing up "Fermat's Last Theorem", "Four Color Theorem", and "Euler" over and over again.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:39 am

whitesoxfan wrote:a) Are reluctant to add in non-academic clues and end up with one-line buzzer beaters and incredibly easy questions.
What exactly do you mean by "non-academic clues" here?
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:43 am

What history is prone to bleeding over into RMP and the Social Sciences?
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Dominator » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:02 am

whitesoxfan wrote:Stuff.
Actually, maybe this is why IMSA students should not be allowed to post.

I'm not even going to touch the things that did not make sense, like what the last two posts pointed out.

For any number of reasons, whitesoxfan is really misguided here. There are reasons it is unwise for him to criticize IMSANITY history (other than whatever temper I may have), but which I will not air publicly. And while I agree that most noncomp math, in all tournaments, could use some new clues and answer lines to avoid whatever problems he seems to be describing, that does not mean it is a good move to whine on the forums about how bad a math question is every time he misses it. #ScobolSolo
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by BGSO » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:09 am

If you think your kids are posting poorly then tell them not to post; people do it all of the time in Georgia and Texas.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:13 am

BGSO wrote:If you think your kids are posting poorly then tell them not to post; people do it all of the time in Georgia and Texas.
Please don't do this or suggest that others do it. Also, while I see Dr. Prince's good intentions here, I will ask him, on the basis of the same rule, to not use the forums to discuss whatever team policies he is mulling over regarding posting.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Charles Martel » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:21 am

The only comment I'm making on history is I think that pure history is deserving of 4/4, but the approximate 3/3 at this tournament is good considering that extra math is being added.
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whitesoxfan wrote:a) Are reluctant to add in non-academic clues and end up with one-line buzzer beaters and incredibly easy questions.
What exactly do you mean by "non-academic clues" here?
By non-academic clues, I mean that it seems that some writers are just grabbing a high school textbook and writing out of the definition section. Which means that anyone who has learned that math in high school will power it on the first buzzable clue.

I actually complimented the math at New Trier Solo. They had one or two bad questions, but nearly all of the math I didn't get I failed at because I buzzed in too early (overestimating other people's math ability) or didn't pick up on good clues. NT would actually be a decent model for good noncomp math.

The only answer lines I get really annoyed with are crap like "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally", "Rise over run", and other such "tricks" that people think every mathematician uses.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:34 am

I would suggest being more clear about your word choice in the future, and not assigning arbitrary definitions to words. According to Merriam-Webster's, academic means things such as "based on formal study especially at an institution of higher learning" and "of, relating to, or associated with an academy or school especially of higher learning." To declare that clues taken from things that are from textbooks that are used in math classes at high schools are somehow not academic, according to those definitions of the word academic, is of course laughable. If you want to complain about clues being too easy, by all means do so, but you should not declare things that are easy "unacademic" and hope we psychically can figure out what you mean and adopt a similar mentality of looking down on things we know well.
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Re: IMSANITY Distribution Discussion

Post by nadph » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:37 am

whitesoxfan wrote:The only answer lines I get really annoyed with are crap like "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally", "Rise over run", and other such "tricks" that people think every mathematician uses.
Thankfully, stuff like this has essentially disappeared from questions written by any reputable question provider or housewrite, to be replaced with mathematics questions that actually reward knowledge. Surely questions on things like "Mersenne primes", "vector spaces", or "closure" are either close to what is taught in the "real curriculum" or gettable from an interest in noncurricular math (such a good deal of number theory).
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