2012 HSNCT discussion

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2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun May 27, 2012 5:21 pm

Discuss.

Players planning to attend future mirrors of this tournament, such as the one at UTC on June 16th, should stop reading this thread right now.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Sun May 27, 2012 5:58 pm

Hello, I'm just stopping by to say that mixed impure academic questions should, in fact, be kept at the HSNCT because it is downright hilarious to hear a bonus segue from short story collections to former baseball players without any warning.
EDIT: ...when you're not the player. It's like the question is saying "What, did you want a full bonus on Herman Melville? TOO BAD, here's some trash 'cause we have a quota to fill."
Last edited by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill on Sun May 27, 2012 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Sun May 27, 2012 6:35 pm

William Crotch wrote:Hello, I'm just stopping by to say that mixed impure academic questions should, in fact, be kept at the HSNCT because it is downright hilarious to hear a bonus segue from short story collections to former baseball players without any warning.
Half of the MI, MI:PC, and GK questions were written before I became the subject editor for those categories and/or were written at level 67 and thus were not edited by me. These categories do tend to inspire the surreal and bizarre -- and I'm responsible for quite a few of those surreal and bizarre things -- but the Mike Piazza Tales you can blame on the previous regime. Ideally, though, I would be able to promise you that, at the next HSNCT, MI:PC bonuses that segue from short story collections to former baseball players will do so with at least a bit of warning.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Sun May 27, 2012 9:15 pm

I just want to say that Game 1 of the final was perhaps the most epic thing I've ever seen in quizbowl. Bellarmine runs absolutely roughshod over the playoffs upon Nikhil's return (not that they were doing badly before then, mind you), and with a 150-point lead with inside 2 minutes left their name is practically on the trophy. Joel Gluskin told me later that he walked out at that point to get R. Hentzel for the awards ceremony. And then, DCC delivers what can only be described as a comprehensive [destruction --mgmt.]. They tie it with 30 seconds left by powering and quickly 30ing every question in sight, and on the gamewinner the DCC guy beats Sameer to the punch by about a hundredth of a second, and Sameer nearly puts his fist through the table in frustration. I have never seen an audience reaction like that in a quizbowl game before....absolute pandemonium. And then Bellarmine, having taken a [devastating loss --mgmt.] with a national title practically in their hands, comes back in game 2 and shows why they were the class of this tournament, winning by 200 in a situation where 99.9% of teams would have curled up in a ball and died. The utmost in respect to both teams.

Language redacted because this is the high school section --Mgmt.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by lasercats » Sun May 27, 2012 9:31 pm

It was a pleasure to read at this tournament. I was very impressed with the organization and flow of the tournament. Props to Joel, Jonah, and the rest of the people responsible for the logistics of the tournament, and congrats Bellarmine!
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Sun May 27, 2012 10:01 pm

What Maggie said, above. This is my first HSNCT as a staffer, but it certainly won't be my last. I met a lot of great people and teams and am already looking forward to moderating next year's tournament (and PACE NSC, and NHBB, if I can get weekends away from my wife and 4 small children without being guillotined by the former upon my return home). i also thought that the question set was on the shortlist for the best i've ever heard at a high school tournament, and if there were logistical difficulties, i didn't see them. Count me as highly impressed.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Dominator » Sun May 27, 2012 11:47 pm

I'll rain on this parade. First off, I had a great time playing some awesome quizbowl teams, and the logistics were great. That out of the way,

(1) We found very few moderators on day one capable of finishing a packet, even with IMSA (and sometimes our opponent also) putting up a lot of powers and playing fast. I can only guess that, with slower-playing teams, a lot of rounds did not hear enough tossups. We never had a bad moderator, but about half of the ones we saw needed work with pacing.
(2) I do not understand why people are lauding this question set. I'm hoping that NAQT missed their target difficulty, because otherwise I don't know how a tournament with the champion at less than 22 PPB is defensible.
(3) Bonus difficulty varied way too widely. Having played a lot of great teams at this tournament, top teams did not get 21 PPB by consistent 20s and occasional 30s, but rather by lots of 30s balanced by frequent 10s and occasional 0s.

All in all, this was not a bad tournament, but several areas made it fall short of my expectations.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by sir negsalot » Mon May 28, 2012 12:01 am

Not to be overlooked is that it appears that Bellarmine set records in round 17 against Richard Montgomery with 15 powers and 765 points. Is there an official confirmation of this?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon May 28, 2012 12:05 am

While not a perfect set (and my general opinions about NAQT/trash/GK/CE/etc. notwithstanding), it was probably the best thing NAQT has ever written. My kids, who usually dislike NAQT, really enjoyed the set a lot, and it was difficult appropriate for the most part.

I'll have opinions on specifics soon, but there won't be a lot of negativity from me. I wanted to ask this though: why were bonus 2 and bonus 3 of the first round both about India? That seems like a strange anomaly and it threw my kids off when we got both of those.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Angstrom » Mon May 28, 2012 12:48 am

We were confused by what seemed to be a Saturday focus on India as well.

Set things: I noticed a lot of really fun physical games come up in this tournament (i.e. Risk, Dominion, Diplomacy, Agricola), as opposed to what, if I remember right, is a standard penchant for video games. That was very enjoyable to see. And the noncomp math in nearly every round was pleasant. I heard a couple people say that the tournament seemed more stock than either it had been or it should be; I didn't notice it myself. I echo the call for mixed impure, and add a call for mixed pure, because it's nice when the whole team is in play for a tossup for once.

Tournament logistics: The card system never fails to impress me. It's just so beautiful. The elevators worked this time. The mods were OK - I echo the sometimes slow comment, and although maybe I just paid more attention I think I noticed more choppy reading flow this year.

Teams: There were so many of them! They were so much fun to play against!
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Mon May 28, 2012 1:18 am

The logistics for this tournament went very well. This was also my first time staffing HSNCT, but it certainly is not going to be my last time staffing this tournament.

However, I noticed in round 20 a TU that I thought had a terrible lead-in. In particular, it was the tossup on the Atlantic Charter. Like, am I just considering parts of it really famous without any reason, or did it list more famous parts of the charter in the lead-in?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by mtimmons » Mon May 28, 2012 1:19 am

From what I heard on Saturday, it seemed like a lot more India than China/Japan/Korea. I also enjoyed the noncomp math a lot other than the purely imaginary numbers tossup which I'm guessing drew a lot of negs. The card system worked well for the most part although it seems some teams got somewhat screwed over and others got very easy schedules although I see how this is not easily fixable. Hopefully, next year HSNCT will grow to 256 teams which will greatly reduce these problems. The questions were overall very good. The logistics were excellent.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Mon May 28, 2012 1:21 am

Dominator wrote:(1) We found very few moderators on day one capable of finishing a packet, even with IMSA (and sometimes our opponent also) putting up a lot of powers and playing fast. I can only guess that, with slower-playing teams, a lot of rounds did not hear enough tossups. We never had a bad moderator, but about half of the ones we saw needed work with pacing.
I'm not sure what NAQT's goal was for TUH/game, but I crunched some quick numbers using the individual stats on the NAQT website. Only one player in the entire field heard less than 18 TUH/game. 184 players (out of 1167 total) heard less than 20 TUH/game. Only 201 players heard more than 22 TUH/game. The middle 50% of players heard between 20.3 and 21.65 TU/game.

If you limit that set to players that played 10 games, you get a total set of 677 players. None had less than 18 TUH/game, 107 had less than 20 TUH/game, and 112 had more than 22 TUH/game. The middle 50% values do not change significantly.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Mon May 28, 2012 2:23 am

Is it just me, or did many of the tossups seem to lack for middle clues? I know HSNCT is supposed to be only somewhat less difficult than a regular difficulty college tournament, but there were quite a few tossups on subjects I was fairly familiar with which it would have been pretty difficult to buzz in before the giveaway on. One tossup that comes to mind is the Ibsen tossup, which contained about a line and a half about Hedda Gabler and A Doll's House (if I recall correctly, the name of a character or two from the former, the name of Nora Helmer, and the titles) after two and a half lines about Ibsen works I don't recall ever encountering even in college Quiz Bowl.

To describe it another way, I recall someone mentioning that roughly 15-20% of tossups should get powered, and I saw quite a few questions that had powers through 50-60% (or more) of the tossup. If so, that seems to imply that over 80% of buzzes are occurring fairly deep into the second half of the tossup, which seems a bit late.

There also seemed to be some pretty brutal third parts on bonuses, but I think other people probably have more to say about that, so they can comment.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon May 28, 2012 2:32 am

While I do not have the HSNCT in front of me, I did read or view all 25 rounds, and I'm fairly confident that there was no tossup on Henrik Ibsen in this set. Not that anything resembling reality has ever intruded on a post-tournament discussion before...
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Mon May 28, 2012 2:39 am

Matt Weiner wrote:While I do not have the HSNCT in front of me, I did read or view all 25 rounds, and I'm fairly confident that there was no tossup on Henrik Ibsen in this set. Not that anything resembling reality has ever intruded on a post-tournament discussion before...
You're right, I think the question I'm thinking of came up in scrimmage matches (and thus came from last year's set). The description (and my general point) still hold, though.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by sssssssskkkk » Mon May 28, 2012 2:41 am

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:The logistics for this tournament went very well. This was also my first time staffing HSNCT, but it certainly is not going to be my last time staffing this tournament.

However, I noticed in round 20 a TU that I thought had a terrible lead-in. In particular, it was the tossup on the Atlantic Charter. Like, am I just considering parts of it really famous without any reason, or did it list more famous parts of the charter in the lead-in?
Actually, the poor quality of this tossup got us eliminated. While tied with Cistercian and this tossup being the last one, Adam negged this question with "fourteen points" after the question had read "this document outlined eight principles including freedom of the seas..." Both the fourteen points and the Atlantic Charter talk about freedom of the seas...I'm curious to see how many other people negged this particular question.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon May 28, 2012 2:55 am

I realize that teams may not have heard the "eight principles" part depending on moderator speed/quality, but how on Earth could you convince yourself that maybe the Fourteen Points had eight principles?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Dominator » Mon May 28, 2012 7:49 am

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:I realize that teams may not have heard the "eight principles" part depending on moderator speed/quality, but how on Earth could you convince yourself that maybe the Fourteen Points had eight principles?
Because, of the Fourteen Points, roughly half (mostly the first half) are general principles to be adopted and the second half are specific political objectives. It seems that in play, the same neg was made a lot (Centennial, Loyola, and the two other teams we asked all had the exact same neg in the exact same place. That accounts for at least 5 of the 10 gamerooms.), so it's evidently not at all as difficult as you think.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 28, 2012 8:37 am

Dominator wrote:
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:I realize that teams may not have heard the "eight principles" part depending on moderator speed/quality, but how on Earth could you convince yourself that maybe the Fourteen Points had eight principles?
Because, of the Fourteen Points, roughly half (mostly the first half) are general principles to be adopted and the second half are specific political objectives. It seems that in play, the same neg was made a lot (Centennial, Loyola, and the two other teams we asked all had the exact same neg in the exact same place. That accounts for at least 5 of the 10 gamerooms.), so it's evidently not at all as difficult as you think.
I haven't seen the tossup, but I think I mostly understand the dispute over freedom of the seas. Wilson made freedom of the seas one of the Fourteen Points. He then tried to get Brtain and France to accept the Fourteen Points. After some negotiation, Britain agreed to accept 13 -- not including freedom of the seas. When it came time to negotiate the Atlantic Charter, the Americans still wanted freedom of the seas as a general principle, and the much, much more dire position in which Churchill found himself made him more willing to agree to this stipulation than Lloyd George had been some years before. It is difficult, when you are writing 425-character tossups, to capture some of the historical context surrounding the events and ideas in question rather than just listing facts. But doing so is important for practical reasons rather than just idealistic ones, since the basic facts here are fairly similar (both documents supported freedom of the seas) while the contexts and significances of those declarations are exactly the opposite.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon May 28, 2012 9:52 am

Can you post the questions and conversion statistics for Geertz (round 15), David Foster Wallace (round 15), Portrait of Doctor Gachet (um, round 16?), Cleveland Browns (round 4, Ohio (round 1) and Stephen Decatur?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 28, 2012 10:20 am

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:Can you post the questions and conversion statistics for Geertz (round 15), David Foster Wallace (round 15), Portrait of Doctor Gachet (um, round 16?), Cleveland Browns (round 4, Ohio (round 1) and Stephen Decatur?
I'm sure Jeff will post the questions for you, but you do realize that the only way you can get conversion statistics is for somebody to sit down and enter (24 tossups + 24 bonuses) x 1,200 scoresheets = 57,600 questions into a spreadsheet, right? This tournament was yesterday.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by firebat03 » Mon May 28, 2012 10:23 am

Out of curiosity, did anyone get the Pigeonhole principle tossup (round 14) before the hash table clue?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by abnormal abdomen » Mon May 28, 2012 10:33 am

Auburn enjoyed this set, and the logistics of this tournament were wonderful.

One thing, though: It didn't end up mattering because Centennial/Adam Silverman gave us a pretty remarkable thrashing, but I'm pretty sure there's a mistake in the Qur'an bonus in round 23 (I think?). I could be wrong, and I don't have the question in front of me, but it seems that the question/answer implied that the Qur'an is arranged strictly in order of length after Surah Fatihah (1). This would imply that from Al-Baqarah (2) to An-Nas (114), the surahs would each be shorter than the previous one. Although there is a general trend towards length, the question is somewhat misleading, I think; for example, An-Nas is definitely not the shortest surah in the Qur'an. It seems that Islamic scholars basically say that the seven "long" surahs appear after Al-Fatihah, and the shortest surahs all appear in the 30th juz, but there is no exact pattern of the sort.

If I've misinterpreted the question or something, please let me know/I apologize for that.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by jekbradbury » Mon May 28, 2012 12:15 pm

Dominator wrote:t seems that in play, the same neg was made a lot (Centennial, Loyola, and the two other teams we asked all had the exact same neg in the exact same place. That accounts for at least 5 of the 10 gamerooms.)
I realized that it was a stupid buzz as soon as I made it, and realized what the actual answer was a few seconds too late, but TJ was knocked out by Auburn as a result of exactly the same neg.
In any case, if this is one of the questions generating the most criticism, this was one darn good set.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon May 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Congratulations to Bellarmine for their command performance at what's always a well-run, extremely fun event. This year's HSNCT set was on the good side of decent, and served in broad strokes to distinguish the best teams when they played it.

More rain for the parade: It wasn't much better than that, and I really think this could be one of the best sets of the year with some changes. The biggest problem in my mind, as alluded to by Noah Prince earlier, is summed up by the word inconsistency - there were wild swings in what different writers or subject editors seemed to think HSNCT difficulty is, and a lot of who won a given match depended on whether they lucked out and got a bonus with two easy parts (Aeneas/Mercury/Anchises) or none (Pelias/Aeetes/Apsyrtus?!) Obviously in a tournament with this many questions, some tossups will be on easier answers than others and some bonuses will be more easily 30d, but some choices seemed to be real outliers that couldn't really be rationally justified (who was getting a tossup on Chondrichthyes which could easily be 100% converted if it were on sharks, why toss up "reductions" at all if we're in a world where the word "Clemmensen" has to be after the power mark and the finals teams buzz there without ever having to learn what it is, etc. etc. etc.)

I have a feeling that NAQT could produce a much better set with more lead time and more writers working earlier with a clear idea of what the target difficulty of the set is. Part of this will mean strong set editorship at the top, replacing, editing, toning up, or toning down a higher number of questions, and keeping a close familiarity with what clues teams are getting disproportionately at other events ("genetic epistemology", etc.), so as to maintain the same target difficulty within and across categories. NAQT is lucky in this regard, in that it will have several years of conversion stats on individual questions to take into account in doing so! (A thought which might help this and other NAQT sets: Might it be possible within the NAQT writing system to provide a sample size of exemplary questions at each difficulty level across categories, so newer writers, older writers, and writers otherwise less connected with modern quizbowl can infer a better idea of what that difficulty allows for and what it doesnt? Perhaps with a list of specific principles of what's allowed and disallowed for difficulty reasons at each level?

Repeat control, proofreading, and feng shui all also need a vast improvement; I think we slid backwards here. We shouldn't be getting things like a tossup on "green algae" and a bonus on "algae",a bonus mentioning verdigris and a bonus asking for verdigris as an answer right after each other in the finals when everyone's watching, bonuses that claim the author of "An American Tragedy" was "answer: An American Tragedy", a lack of alternate answer "Little Albert" for the so-called Baby Albert experiment, or bizarre omitted words or added words such as "the England". This is the most important tournament of the year for hundreds of teams - do better with this! If it means calling in someone whose eyes aren't glazing over the set from long hours of editing, do that!

Full disclosure: I wrote 36 questions for this year's HSNCT set. Among those was the suras bonus - Abid, I apologize for not checking this one more carefully; I consulted several sources which all agreed that the suras after 1 were arranged by descending length, and from eyeballing the bilingual Qur'an I own it seemed to hold true at least for the English side of the page, but a lot of those sources have qualifiers such as "generally arranged..." or "more or less arranged..." that I missed. As such, that bonus part was probably not a good idea and needed such a qualifier itself if it was. My apologies.

Here's a full list, with a number in parentheses before the questions in the packet of that number:
(1) King John, Second Punic War, Jean Valjean (2) Atwood machine/acceleration/tension, Kulturkampf/Bismarck/May Laws, (3) Tenochtitlan, Don Quixote (4) liver (5) Quetzalcoatl (8) Chanukah, X-bonus(double helix, Caliban, Kennan) (11) Secretary of the Interior, Redshirts, Gunpowder Plot/James I/Walsingham (12) Congress of Vienna/Metternich/Carlsbad decrees (13) normal force/cosine/friction (15) Tiamat (16) John Macdonald (17) stags, algae/lichens/seral communities, ice/Kubla Khan/Nevsky (18) Augsburg, Menchu/United Fruit/syphilis (19) Sparta myth tossup, potential energy, hadith/Joseph Smith/Gathas, (20) Gilbert and Sullivan/Charon/Repin (21) Gaul, Ragtime/Houdini/Zapata (22) Scylla, Gabriel/descending length/Iblis, (23) torus, cosmic rays (heavily edited) (24) Federalist Party (25) Hephaestus
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon May 28, 2012 12:24 pm

The current events often seemed outdated, as if many questions were written in 2009, chilled out in some database for a few years, and then emerged this weekend.

The "I'm Kyle Haddad-Fonda, here are a lot of clues about things in the Arab world that I think are important but that the western media dosen't report on" effect seemed to be strong in this set too. One wonders how many people actually buzz on that stuff.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon May 28, 2012 12:37 pm

I noticed a few inappropriately hard organic chem questions when watching the stream. Is this really the audience for tossups on reduction reactions, palladium, and ring strain(?!?!?)
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Dominator » Mon May 28, 2012 12:50 pm

jekbradbury wrote:
Dominator wrote:t seems that in play, the same neg was made a lot (Centennial, Loyola, and the two other teams we asked all had the exact same neg in the exact same place. That accounts for at least 5 of the 10 gamerooms.)
I realized that it was a stupid buzz as soon as I made it, and realized what the actual answer was a few seconds too late, but TJ was knocked out by Auburn as a result of exactly the same neg.
In any case, if this is one of the questions generating the most criticism, this was one darn good set.
This question is generating the most criticism because most teams and players are still asleep. I agree heavily with Matt Jackson and observed and felt many of the criticisms he laid out. Thank you to Matt for so carefully laying out the types of specifics.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 28, 2012 12:51 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:The "I'm Kyle Haddad-Fonda, here are a lot of clues about things in the Arab world that I think are important but that the western media dosen't report on" effect seemed to be strong in this set too. One wonders how many people actually buzz on that stuff.
I wrote precisely three tossups that involved clues about the Arab world: a history tossup on Western Sahara, a history tossup on Sudan, and an MI:PC tossup on Algiers. I don't think any of these was out of line, and with the exception of Algiers two of the three filled parts of the NAQT distribution explicitly set aside for African history. Much as I appreciate having something named after me, I'm afraid you're going to have to blame somebody else for the "Kyle Haddad-Fonda effect."
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Brian Ulrich » Mon May 28, 2012 12:56 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:The current events often seemed outdated, as if many questions were written in 2009, chilled out in some database for a few years, and then emerged this weekend.

The "I'm Kyle Haddad-Fonda, here are a lot of clues about things in the Arab world that I think are important but that the western media dosen't report on" effect seemed to be strong in this set too. One wonders how many people actually buzz on that stuff.
Re the second comment: Looking over the CE in the set, the only one I can see that of is the "posting nude pictures on the internet" bonus, which I approved as category editor sometime last year. We probably both suspected it would be/stay a bigger deal than it did. Kyle actually seems to have written a clear minority of Arab world CE, with the majority being by a variety of writers.

On the first, there were a few older CE questions, but most still seemed (to me) to still pass the interesting/important test. The one I recall being really dubious of when I looked over the category at some point was Hitchens/Dawkins, and even that was gettable in terms of the actual answers.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon May 28, 2012 12:59 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:The current events often seemed outdated, as if many questions were written in 2009, chilled out in some database for a few years, and then emerged this weekend.
Though this may occasionally happen with NAQT sets, it did not happen with this set. The oldest CE question was the Benedict XVI/Hitchens/Dawkins question, which had been edited to mention that Hitchens is now dead but may be the only one that fits that description. I think the next oldest CE question was the Missouri bonus that had been written in early 2011, shortly after the 2010 elections. There also was an old IAEA bonus that was classified as Miscellaneous but may have seemed like an old CE question. The vast majority of the CE was written in 2012 or late 2011.

Speaking of CE, I wrote tossups on Alaska, Goldman Sachs, Haiti, Medvedev, Limbaugh, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Italy, EPA, Ron Paul, Indonesia, and Bahrain, and I wrote bonuses on Stafford/McConnell/Foxx, Breivik/Norway/Harald V, Fast and Furious/Holder/Issa, Invisible Children/LRA/Museveni, Julia/Ledbetter/SBA, capital gains/Medicare/AMT, Zuccotti/Oakland/Dimon, CISPA/Lieberman/EFF, IPO/Saverin/Instagram, and Assange/Australia/Sweden. Feedback is good.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 28, 2012 1:04 pm

Brian Ulrich wrote:Re the second comment: Looking over the CE in the set, the only one I can see that of is the "posting nude pictures on the internet" bonus, which I approved as category editor sometime last year. We probably both suspected it would be/stay a bigger deal than it did. Kyle actually seems to have written a clear minority of Arab world CE, with the majority being by a variety of writers.
It still is a big deal -- I actually read another article about al-Mahdi three days ago. Contrary to Bruce's original suggestion, this is something that was vastly over-reported in the Western press because we are apparently more fascinated by nudity than things like people getting killed. Anyway, yes, both the al-Mahdi parts of that bonus and the Ai Weiwei parts were more in the press in the fall when I wrote it; this is probably one of those circumstances in which you should reject bonuses rather than increasing the difficulty code in a way that ensures they won't be used for six months.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Brian Ulrich » Mon May 28, 2012 1:09 pm

Kyle wrote:
Brian Ulrich wrote:Re the second comment: Looking over the CE in the set, the only one I can see that of is the "posting nude pictures on the internet" bonus, which I approved as category editor sometime last year. We probably both suspected it would be/stay a bigger deal than it did. Kyle actually seems to have written a clear minority of Arab world CE, with the majority being by a variety of writers.
It still is a big deal -- I actually read another article about al-Mahdi three days ago. Contrary to Bruce's original suggestion, this is something that was vastly over-reported in the Western press because we are apparently more fascinated by nudity than things like people getting killed. Anyway, yes, both the al-Mahdi parts of that bonus and the Ai Weiwei parts were more in the press in the fall when I wrote it; this is probably one of those circumstances in which you should reject bonuses rather than increasing the difficulty code in a way that ensures they won't be used for six months.
Here is the bonus in question. I seem to have missed the coverage Kyle is seeing:
20-year-old {Alia al-Mahdi} [AH-lee-ah al-MEH-dee] received death threats after doing this in November 2011, the same month that Chinese supporters of the artist Ai Weiwei ["eye" way-way] did it. For 10 points each--

A. Identify this action that, {al-Mahdi} said, was intended to confront conservative Islamic mores.

answer: _posting nude photo_graphs on the Internet (accept any response combining the notions of _nudity_ and _photo_graphy)

B. Al-Mahdi lives in this city, the site of November 2011 protests in Tahrir [TAH-reer] Square.

answer: _Cairo_ (or al-_Qahira_)

C. Ai Weiwei's fans posted nude photos after he was charged with violating {pornography} laws, charges levied by the government less than a week after he managed to pay a harsh financial penalty for this other alleged crime.

answer: _tax evasion_ (accept _back taxes_)
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Mon May 28, 2012 1:12 pm

It's the third part that didn't age well, not the first part. If I had had Jeff replace the third part with something that is still in the news, this bonus could have been salvaged.

There's nothing wrong, incidentally, with the notion that the current events should cover an entire year's worth of current events. A year's worth of things has happened since the last HSNCT. If you want to get all of the current events questions at next year's HSNCT correct, you should start studying for it now.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by jekbradbury » Mon May 28, 2012 1:19 pm

Kyle wrote:a history tossup on Western Sahara
This made me happy (as did the rest of the Kyle Haddad-Fonda effect, whoever should be blamed for it).
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:I noticed a few inappropriately hard organic chem questions when watching the stream. Is this really the audience for tossups on reduction reactions, palladium, and ring strain(?!?!?)
These are not okay in regular difficulty high school sets, but I would expect at least "reduction" to have good conversion here, albeit with an annoying buzzer race at a famous named reduction. The palladium tossup probably saw more than its share of "platinum" negs--it said something towards the end that I heard as "this element is the most common in fuel cell catalysts," which I think might actually be unambiguously platinum rather than palladium. Ring strain is probably a little bit hard, but at least it tests a basic organic chemistry concept and not memorization of stock reaction clues.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Euler's Constant » Mon May 28, 2012 1:22 pm

As a whole I enjoyed the set, but it seemed as if there were answers given in previous questions. For me this most notably occurred on Saturday as I seem to remember a bonus mentioning Jack Layton with the NDP as an answer and a later Canadian politics bonus mentioning the NDP asking for Layton. While we managed to get both, I was a bit confused on the Layton part because of this, as he was by far the most important person in the NDP for quite a long period, with no one else coming close in importance.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Mon May 28, 2012 1:40 pm

RyuAqua wrote:who was getting a tossup on Chondrichthyes which could easily be 100% converted if it were on sharks
That one's my fault. When writing for ICT, I still had my mind on sectionals and miscoded the difficulty. Sorry.

My questions:

2: Brown (got altered quite a bit in editing)
6: transcription/intron/spliceosome; Echinodermata
8: vitamin C/heme/cephalosporin
9: Andromeda; sperm cells
12: Chondrichthyes
13: Saturn's rings (also edited a lot in the middle clues); lens/collagen/aqueous humor
15: The Clouds
18: rivers
19: tetanus
20: Archaea
22: trilobites/Cambrian/Burgess Shale
23: swords (also heavily retooled by editing); Amphibia/caecilian/apoptosis
25: Oliver Wendell Holmes/Chambered Nautilus/Old Ironsides
26: Reptilia/turtles/sexual dimorphism
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 28, 2012 1:52 pm

I like posting the questions I wrote:

(1) pounds per square inch/wave function/Earthbound, The Song of Hiawatha, In Cold Blood/Truman Capote/Other Voices, Other Rooms
(4) The Souls of Black Folk/WEB Du Bois/Atlanta Exposition Address
(5) The Artist's Studio/Gustave Courbet/A Burial at Ornans, speciation/allopatric speciation/polyploidy
(6) The World According to Garp, Because I could not stop for Death, Hanseatic League, Barnard's Star/Alpha Centauri/Wolf 359
(9) Franny and Zooey
(10) George H W Bush
(12) The Scarlet Letter, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea/Mishima/The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Hermes and the Infant Dionysus/Praxiteles/Apollo Sauroktonos
(13) Mario
(14) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Alchemist/Ben Jonson/Volpone
(15) An Enemy of the People/Ibsen/Ghosts
(17) Cupid's Chokehold, Nation of Islam, Goya/Calder/Chagall
(18) Joshua Reynolds/Royal Academy/Sarah Siddons
(20) Daddy/Sylvia Plath/The Colossus
(22) Bal du moulin de la Galette/Renoir/Luncheon of the Boating Party
(23) Las Meninas/Velazquez/Francis Bacon, The Piazza Tales/LA Dodgers/Rome (off of The Light in the Piazza), Viola/Twelfth Night/Malvolio, No Longer at Ease/Achebe/Okonkwo
(24) Frank Sinatra/Someone to Watch Over Me/Somethin' Stupid
(26) Go Tell It On the Mountain, Dracula, The Necklace

And here are ones I edited:

(1) The Eagles
(3) 50 Cent/In Da Club/Kanye West
(5) Someone Like You/Adele/Semisonic
(12) Let It Rock
(13) Puff the Magic Dragon
(16) Heartless
(17) Cupid's Chokehold
(18) Red Hot Chili Peppers/Dani California/Scar Tissue
(20) Maroon Five/This Love/Sunday Morning
(21) Ronnie James Dio/Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne
(24) Sinatra/etc
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by BlueDevil95 » Mon May 28, 2012 2:27 pm

Thanks to NAQT for running an all-around great tournament. We had lots of fun!
Fred wrote: (10) George H W Bush
This tossup struck me as highly generous because Bush's promise to not have anymore taxes was still in the 15-point range (or am I just imagining things?). When the statistics are available, it would be cool to see the conversion statistics for this tossup.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by abnormal abdomen » Mon May 28, 2012 2:36 pm

I understand, Matt. Thanks for the explanation.

On another note, I suppose this discussion takes place very often, but I think it's a fine time to ask this question: Is there a particular target bonus conversion that NAQT shoots for at the HSNCT? There are of course tons of ways to account for bonus conversion throughout a field, I think, and I'm not quite sure how NAQT handles that sort of thing. I'm interested in hearing how the main editors of this set feel about the conversion this year and whether or not it met/exceeded their expectations and so forth. As an additional remark, I should probably just make it clear that this isn't a veiled criticism of this year's bonus conversion or anything like that; I'm genuinely interested in how the process goes and how it is evaluated.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon May 28, 2012 3:00 pm

Since some of the NAQT people are probably busy traveling or sleeping today...
This grouping of works includes "The Encantadas," comprising ten stories set on the Galapagos Islands. For 10 points each--

A. Name this story collection which includes ~Benito Cereno~ and "Bartleby, the Scrivener."

answer: The _Piazza Tales_

B. Mike Piazza originally came up as a catcher for this Major League Baseball team whose current stars include Matt Kemp.

answer: Los Angeles _Dodgers_ (prompt on "Los Angeles" or "LA")

C. ~The Light in the Piazza~ was a musical set in this Italian city, whose landmarks include the Villa Borghese and the Pantheon.

answer: _Rome_ (or _Roma_)
This document laid out eight principles, including {freedom of the seas} and the declaration that neither party sought territorial gains. Issued following a conference held on Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, it referred to the "final destruction of the (*) Nazi tyranny," though one party was not yet at war with Germany. For 10 points--name this August 1941 joint declaration of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt.

answer: _Atlantic Charter_
One of these numbers can be called {skew-adjoint} if it is treated as a 1-by-1 matrix, or they can be represented by ~anti~-symmetric {2-by-2 matrices}. Multiplying by them is equivalent to a 90-degree {rotation} followed by a scaling, and they are mapped by the {exponential function} onto the {unit circle} in (*) {Euler's [OY-lur'z] formula}. If ~x~^2^ is negative, then ~x~ is--for 10 points--what kind of {complex number} with zero {real part}?

answer: (purely) _imaginary_ number (do not prompt on "complex number")
This theorem shows the existence of a child in proving {K\"onig's lemma} and is iterated to prove {Schur's theorem}. It implies that no fixed-size {hash table} can avoid {collisions} forever, and that any five-card {poker hand} must have (*) two cards of the same suit. Johann Dirichlet [DEER-ik-let] formulated--for 10 points--what principle that when there are more birds than boxes, at least one box must contain multiple birds?

answer: _pigeonhole_ principle (accept equivalents in place of "principle"; accept _box_ principle before "boxes"; accept _Dirichlet_'s drawer principle before "Dirichlet")
One reaction of this type uses a {barium sulfate} catalyst to convert an acid halide to an {aldehyde}. Another one produces chiral [KY-rul] {alcohols} from achiral [AY-ky-rul] {ketones}. Examples of these reactions include the (*) Clemmensen and Wolff-Kishner; common reagents for them include LAH and {hydrogen} gas. Benzene converted to cyclohexane undergoes the Birch variety of--for 10 points--what reaction contrasted with {oxidation}?

answer: _reduction_ reactions (accept word forms; prompt on "redox" before "Clemmensen")
This metal is a more effective alternative to {nickel} in the {Kumada coupling}. Its strong affinity for hydrogen made this component of the {Lindlar catalyst} an ideal {cathode} for the {Fleischmann-Pons} {cold fusion} experiment and led to its role in {alkene} {hydrogenation}. Most {fuel (*) cells} also use--for 10 points--what silvery-white metal in the {platinum} group named after the second asteroid to be discovered?

answer: _palladium_
This president responded to the retirement of {William Brennan} by appointing {David Souter} to the {Supreme Court}. This advocate of a "kinder, gentler America" broke a pledge not to raise taxes. He deployed forces under {Norman Schwarzkopf} after the {invasion of (*) Kuwait} by {Saddam Hussein}. His {Secretary of Defense} was Dick Cheney, and his {Vice President} was Dan Quayle. For 10 points--name this president during the 1st Gulf War.

answer: _G_eorge _H_(erbert) _W_(alker) _Bush_ (accept _Bush 41_ or _Bush the Elder_; prompt on "Bush" or "George Bush"; do not accept "George W(alker) Bush")
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon May 28, 2012 3:09 pm

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:I noticed a few inappropriately hard organic chem questions when watching the stream. Is this really the audience for tossups on reduction reactions, palladium, and ring strain(?!?!?)
This is generally a good critique but I'll point out that the tossup was on "strain." Not necessarily easier, but certainly a more flexible answer line. The question as written was, however, far too hard.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon May 28, 2012 3:16 pm

jekbradbury wrote:The palladium tossup probably saw more than its share of "platinum" negs--it said something towards the end that I heard as "this element is the most common in fuel cell catalysts," which I think might actually be unambiguously platinum rather than palladium.
"Most fuel cells also use" was the phrase. That may have been an overzealous phrasing; it is definitely very common, but I can't get the balance of the evidence to swing either to platinum or palladium (gold and iridium also being candidates).
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ondes Martenot » Mon May 28, 2012 3:31 pm

I wrote the ring strain tossup a couple of months ago with the intention that it would be used at DII ICT, where I think it would have been an appropriate tossup. It must have been placed rather late in the HSNCT; had I known about this earlier I probably would have emailed someone to get it moved out.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon May 28, 2012 3:40 pm

My questions in this set:

R1: Victor Frankenstein, Thoth/moon/Tefnut
R11: If
R16: Walter Mitty
R25: Zoot Suit Riot

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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Dominator » Mon May 28, 2012 3:57 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:
One of these numbers can be called {skew-adjoint} if it is treated as a 1-by-1 matrix, or they can be represented by ~anti~-symmetric {2-by-2 matrices}. Multiplying by them is equivalent to a 90-degree {rotation} followed by a scaling, and they are mapped by the {exponential function} onto the {unit circle} in (*) {Euler's [OY-lur'z] formula}. If ~x~^2^ is negative, then ~x~ is--for 10 points--what kind of {complex number} with zero {real part}?

answer: (purely) _imaginary_ number (do not prompt on "complex number")
I like this answer line. The late clues are solid, but the early clues I think are stated too quickly to really be buzzable. Then again, that's what happens with 425 characters.
Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:
This theorem shows the existence of a child in proving {K\"onig's lemma} and is iterated to prove {Schur's theorem}. It implies that no fixed-size {hash table} can avoid {collisions} forever, and that any five-card {poker hand} must have (*) two cards of the same suit. Johann Dirichlet [DEER-ik-let] formulated--for 10 points--what principle that when there are more birds than boxes, at least one box must contain multiple birds?

answer: _pigeonhole_ principle (accept equivalents in place of "principle"; accept _box_ principle before "boxes"; accept _Dirichlet_'s drawer principle before "Dirichlet")
There are several problems I have with this one. Konig's Lemma is about paths, not children. If you want to use that language, you really should say that you're working with rooted trees. Furthermore, one can prove Konig's Lemma without Pigeonhole Principle by using instead the same axioms that prove PP. At this point in the question, I thought it was going for something related to mathematical induction (not induction itself, since that is an axiom). For the next two clues, I thought it was going for Ramsey's Theorem*. I only figured out what the question wanted on the poker hand clue. Thirdly, and less importantly, Dirichlet did not formulate the principle, he just got it named after him in a historical accident. Finally, Ramsey's Theorem probably should have been prompted (before Dirichlet at least), not only because of the confusion in clues 2 and 3, but because PP is a special case of Ramsey's Theorem, and so all of the consequences of PP are also consequences of RT.

*Upon rereading the question, this is partly due to my mishearing it in the game it appeared, which made it sound more like a "Should Tables be Sorted?" clue. This doesn't eliminate the problem, but it lessens it.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Crimson Rosella » Mon May 28, 2012 4:45 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
jekbradbury wrote:The palladium tossup probably saw more than its share of "platinum" negs--it said something towards the end that I heard as "this element is the most common in fuel cell catalysts," which I think might actually be unambiguously platinum rather than palladium.
"Most fuel cells also use" was the phrase. That may have been an overzealous phrasing; it is definitely very common, but I can't get the balance of the evidence to swing either to platinum or palladium (gold and iridium also being candidates).
I don't have industry numbers to demonstrate that Platinum is more common than Palladium in manufactured fuel cells, but it's a more active catalyst for oxygen reduction in PEM fuel cells and it's definitely considered the industry standard by most people doing research on fuel cell catalysis.

"The current industry standard for PEMFC cathodes is a catalyst comprised of Pt nanoparticles supported onto high surface area carbon (Pt/C)" from Jaramillo et al, JACS, doi: 10.1021/ja2120162

and "Pt is the commonly used electrode material," from Norskov et al, J. Phys. Chem. B, doi: 10.1021/jp047349j
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon May 28, 2012 5:14 pm

Euler's Constant wrote: I seem to remember a bonus mentioning Jack Layton with the NDP as an answer and a later Canadian politics bonus mentioning the NDP asking for Layton
Down and out in Quintana Roo wrote:why were bonus 2 and bonus 3 of the first round both about India? That seems like a strange anomaly
Both of these should have been caught in set editing; my apologies. It would also have been a good idea to use a non-freedom of the seas element of the Atlantic Charter in the leadin to that tossup.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by mtimmons » Mon May 28, 2012 5:15 pm

On the imaginary numbers tossup I thought the representation clue was confusing/misleading though this could stem from my limited knowledge of representation theory. From my understanding, in the standard matrix representation of complex numbers, 2x2 antisymmetric matrices correspond to imaginary numbers but because the imaginary numbers lack algebraic structure [other than being a additive group trivially isomorphic to the real numbers with addition] you wouldn't typically say that the 2x2 antisymmetric matrices represent the imaginary numbers. Am I wrong about this?
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