NASAT 2016: Science

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Amizda Calyx
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NASAT 2016: Science

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:17 pm

Cody edited the science except for bio and I edited the bio. If you have any comments on these subjects, including specific questions, post here!

Regarding my subject: I felt that I made the bio too hard and would *really* appreciate any feedback on both the difficulty and the content, as well as any errata I should address. I tried to cover topics that are taught in high school courses, but there are certainly significant meanderings upward and several "inspired" answerlines that may not have played well. Let me know!
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by ashwin99 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:49 pm

I liked the bio. The answerlines were pretty accessible compared to some of the science, except for maybe the tossup on "Beta-amylin" (or "amylin" whatever that answer line was)

I felt like the math was very hard, though, especially some of the bonuses. The answer lines got significantly harder as the day went on, as well, and many answer lines such as "U-Pb dating" went dead. Generally, the science was challenging and well-written, but I feel that it would be good if the answer lines were more accessible with harder clues.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:04 pm

This was the tossup on amyloid beta, which was certainly one of my harder answerlines:
Production of this molecule is increased by London and Arctic mutations and is diminished by an allele found in some Icelanders. Site-specific levels of this molecule were integral to the now-discounted "peripheral sink" hypothesis. This molecule can be imaged with PET using Pittsburgh compound B. Its degradation is lowered in people with the ApoE epsilon 4 allele. A protein triplicated in Down syndrome is processed into C99 before being refined into this molecule. This 40- to 42-residue peptide is generated by PSEN1 in the gamma secretase complex following BACE-1 cleavage of the precursor protein APP. Cortical deposition of it accelerates tau propagation and formation of neurofibrillary tangles. For 10 points, name this peptide that comprises the insoluble plaques seen in Alzheimer's disease.
ANSWER: amyloid beta [or beta-amyloid; prompt on "plaque"; prompt on "amyloid precursor protein" and "APP" before "peripheral"]
Do you have any more examples of bonuses or tossups you felt were too hard? I wasn't involved in the packetizing but I think we generally try to keep the rounds consistent in difficulty.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Cody » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:11 pm

Amizda Calyx wrote:I wasn't involved in the packetizing but I think we generally try to keep the rounds consistent in difficulty.
Yes, as question order in a sub-category is randomized before insertion into packets. For example, the 21 biology tossups were randomized using Excel + RAND(), then the first 20 appear in said randomized order as the biology for packets 1-20. (non-1/1 slices of the distribution are much more complicated but are randomized the same way).
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Victor Prieto » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:47 pm

Amizda Calyx wrote:This was the tossup on amyloid beta, which was certainly one of my harder answerlines:
Are you kidding? There's no way this answerline comes close to ACF Regionals difficulty, and this choice of answerline robbed 90% of people with decent knowledge of Alzheimer's disease.
Do you have any more examples of bonuses or tossups you felt were too hard? I wasn't involved in the packetizing but I think we generally try to keep the rounds consistent in difficulty.
In biology, I had atriums, zinc, and nitric oxide as tossups that I felt were too hard. In the bonuses, you have real-time PCR and GnRH as middle parts???

Also, as a personal thing, you should probably nix the word "folded" from that part on disorder, because disordered proteins or disordered regions are by definition unfolded. Right along with that, "unfolded" should be a promptable or acceptable answerline.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by bajaj » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:57 pm

Victor Prieto wrote:
Amizda Calyx wrote:This was the tossup on amyloid beta, which was certainly one of my harder answerlines:
Are you kidding? There's no way this answerline comes close to ACF Regionals difficulty, and this choice of answerline robbed 90% of people with decent knowledge of Alzheimer's disease.
This answerline was difficult, and it's possible that a tossup on Alzheimer's disease might have been a better idea. That being said, the question does a reasonable job of pointing to beta amyloid early on with its mention of ApoE4 and presenilin 1 in the middle clues; players with some knowledge of Alzheimer's should pick up on these clues and probably make a buzz by the mention of APP, even if the tossup's first few clues are too hard. From there, the connection from Alzheimer's disease to molecule to beta amyloid isn't impossible to make. I don't dispute that this tossup didn't play too well with the main site's field, but NASAT usually features a few tossups with challenging answerlines that are Regs+ difficulty.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Amizda Calyx » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:02 pm

Victor Prieto wrote:Are you kidding? There's no way this answerline comes close to ACF Regionals difficulty, and this choice of answerline robbed 90% of people with decent knowledge of Alzheimer's disease.
I assumed that people who know a giveaway clue for Alzheimer's disease would at least be able to get this question, but I can see how it's not a great answer choice for this difficulty level since not many people will know anything beyond maybe APP.
In biology, I had atriums, zinc, and nitric oxide as tossups that I felt were too hard. In the bonuses, you have real-time PCR and GnRH as middle parts???
Atria has some hard clues early on (atrial fib, atrial natriuretic peptide), but I think high school biology does a decent job of teaching what the different parts of the heart are. I could certainly add more easy clues, like "mitral valve" and "upper chambers", though.
Zinc is probably a little hard, although in several high school tossups on it clues about zinc fingers come towards the end, and it's the pre-FTP clue in a regionals tossup. Apparently Delta Burke 2011 had a tossup on "ZINC", but on quinterest the body of the question is about Tallahassee so who knows what clues they actually used.
Nitric oxide probably was too hard. And I should have caught GnRH as being too hard when I first saw that question, I'll reduce the difficulty on that soonish. Not sure what I'll do with qPCR yet.
Also, as a personal thing, you should probably nix the word "folded" from that part on disorder, because disordered proteins or disordered regions are by definition unfolded. Right along with that, "unfolded" should be a promptable or acceptable answerline.
Fair enough, I was thinking of IDPs in the sense that an IDP can fold after binding but still be categorized as an IDP, but I realize how that can be confusing.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:53 pm

I didn't like the distribution of the Science (e.g. no organic chem despite it being one of the major units you learn in grade 12 chemistry), but the questions that did appear were all great with a mix of classic regular difficulty fare and harder answer lines that may be pushing regs level but still stuff people learn in 1st/2nd year classes (like the tossups on zinc, NO). I enjoyed the style of the "light" question (and the "sound" question discussed in another thread which we didn't get to) where you had to think outside the box for a bit and not just buzz on a laser clue with "laser". The volcano eruptions on Venus question was my favourite science tossup of the set.

Two questions I have on clue order
- Why are HeLa and HPV mentioned before FTP for cervix? I feel like these are pop sciencey things (in that they appear in non-academic sources like outside textbooks) that people know.
- Why is the mention of Ac/Ds in the corn tossup so early? We learned about that in grade 12, first year, second year, while no mention at all of the pigments that make its color.
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Amizda Calyx » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:03 am

raffi_-_c-a-n-a-d-a.mp3 wrote: Two questions I have on clue order
- Why are HeLa and HPV mentioned before FTP for cervix? I feel like these are pop sciencey things (in that they appear in non-academic sources like outside textbooks) that people know.
- Why is the mention of Ac/Ds in the corn tossup so early? We learned about that in grade 12, first year, second year, while no mention at all of the pigments that make its color.
Precancerous lesions in this structure can be treated with conization techniques such as cold knife resection and LEEP. The normal process of ectropion results in squamous cell invasion in this structure's transformation zone, which is particularly susceptible to CIN. A small, circular opening in this structure called the external os changes into a transverse slit as a result of parturition. The HeLa cell line is derived from cancerous cells in this structure. This structure secretes thin, egg white-consistency mucus around ovulation. Dysplasia in this structure such as that caused by HPV can be detected with a Pap smear. For 10 points, name this structure connecting the uterus to the vagina that dilates during labor.
ANSWER: cervix
Perhaps HeLa is too early (although I don't know how famous it is that those cells are specifically from cervical cancer, and the clue is pretty late as it is), but HPV is just a few words before FTP. I suppose it plateaus in difficulty in the late clues, but I don't know that the alternative of adding more early clues would necessarily be fairer.

And it sounds like Canada has a more comprehensive high school bio program than the US, since I couldn't find any mention of Ac/Ds (or activator dissociator) in either Campbell (the canonical AP bio textbook) or Alberts (used in undergrad and grad bio courses). I will take that into consideration though since it is pretty well-studied. I put zeaxanthin in there because it's yellow and is named after Zea mays -- perhaps that was a little too lateralized?
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Re: NASAT Science

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:52 am

In general, "we learned this clue in a specific class I took, but not this other clue" alone is not a particularly useful avenue of criticism!
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