Ok, I know nothing about the Trifid Nebula, so I can't contribute anything there, but here are two thoughts that occurred to me while reading the set (primarily to teams in the bottom bracket). First, it seems that PACE's acting definition of trash includes anything not only from sports, but also anything from television, cinema, or non-classical music from the last fifty or so years. It seems a little odd to me that something like Schindler's List, Meet the Press, the Beatles, etc. doesn't make the cut. I know this stuff might not be taught frequently in high school, but not only is it in all likelihood more worth knowing about than 9/10 of what was in the set, but it certainly isn't trash and among the more enlightened high schools, this stuff is in fact taught. How does one teach the 60's for example, without mentioning Woodstock/the British Invasion/etc.? Likewise, cinema only seemed like it got included if it was old, foreign, or preferably, both. I know this stuff on a wider scope has probably been debated ad nauseam elsewhere, but I think there's a happy medium between "life-skills bowl" and the minor works of Italo Calvino.
Secondly, I know PACE prides itself on long, meticulously-researched questions, but there comes a point (basically after the seventh line) where eyes roll. Especially on Sunday in the bottom bracket. Another thing to keep in mind: all those extra words add hours to the time of the tournament. That time would be useful to either build into the schedule for contingency planning, or alternatively, to give teams more games. I should also note that the teams I was reading to in the bottom bracket were in fact good teams, and certainly deserved almost without exception to be at a national tournament. Perhaps PACE sees itself primarily as catering to the top 25 teams in the country, but it needs the extra teams I would imagine in order to be viable and should take their opinions into account. I suggest that someone involved in the running of PACE next year reach out to those teams and get their feedback on what sort of questions they'd like to play, especially after they're no longer in contention for the national title.
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad