Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

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Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:42 pm

Since a lot of the late season hubbub has died down, I had a couple discussion points for discussion among those more experienced than I, relating to why certain subject areas seem to be avoided.

First, is is just me, or are there no dinosaur questions? Are they hard [EDIT: spelling] to write well, played out, or just not as interesting as I think they are? It seem to me that quiz bowlers would love 'em, but I rarely see anything about them, anywhere.

Second (and this topic really is more important to me), I am wondering about the relative dearth of nonclassical mythology. I agree that classical (that is, Greek and Roman) mythology should make up (as it does) the plurality of myth answerlines, as a whole. However, in most of the tournaments I've attended, non-classical myth is a fringe topic that maybe comes up once every three or four packets. On one hand, with this paradigm, I can get powers galore on the solar barge, Chalchiutlicue, Cu Chullain, and those weird common link questions (by virtue of some of the obscure opening clues). But on the other, it's very frustrating, because culturally, it's just as significant as classical.

Also, it seems that "nonclassical" is code for "fill in the empty spaces with 75% Norse myth (most of which are horribly predictable, unless you resort to the really weird stuff), and perfunctorily throw in some Egypt to keep people guessing."

So, my question, I guess, boils down to the following: why aren't we seeing a myth distribution looking something like this?
- 35% Classical (Greek & Roman)
- 15% Norse/Germanic
- 15% Egyptian
- 10% Mesoamerican (Maya, Inca, Aztec, Olmec, Toltec, North American Indian)
- 10% Celtic/British Isles
- 5% Mesopotamian (which, let's face it, will be mostly Epic of Gilgamesh questions, at least at ACF Regionals difficulty and below)
- 5% Chinese and Japanese (lots of Susano'o and Amaterasu, but at least there are some other good answerlines that aren't too weird)
- 5% Other (Aboriginal, African, Polynesian, and all the other stuff that makes people cringe anyway)

You might notice that there's no Indian myth, which brings up a smaller but still vexing question: it seems to me that Indian myth is mostly Hinduism in disguise. I will readily admit to a relative lack of knowledge in this particular subfield, so I might be making a gross error, but it seems that since Hinduism is the third-biggest religion in the world (several spots ahead of Judaism), it shouldn't be relegated to "mythology," but should probably get 25% of the religion distribution (that, however, may be the subject of an equally complicated debate).

I'd love to hear the current rationale on the current myth distribution, and the lack of dinosaurs. As usual, feel free to let me know if I'm being completely unreasonable here and/or tilting at windmills.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:50 pm

The problem of nonclassical mythology is it is tough to figure out in what contexts people study it. A lot of people study classical Greco-Roman mythology and even if you are more of a historian or a literature scholar, you at least have to a working understanding of classical mythology. From there, obviously there are people who study the other myth systems but issues of difficulty begin to creep in. Norse myth is something that a lot of people seem to learn about on their own, and I'd argue that there are actually more answers here than you would suggest. Egyptian myth to me suffers from being far less defined than the other myth systems (I've heard Thoth described as a baboon, an ibis, a mummy, etc.). Beyond that, you're starting to get into myth systems with serious accessibility issues, especially at lower difficulty tournaments. There's a few obvious answerlines for the Asian, the Mesoamerican, and the Celtic myth systems, but also a lot of stuff that I think are not as widely studied or accessible (this is where common links can be useful). So my point is this distro is very tough to implement in regular difficulty sets and practically impossible at lower difficulty sets unless you basically want to have the same tossups come up all the time.

In some ways this mirrors the religion debate and why Judeo-Christian questions frequently get a lot of play--it happens to be a religion encountered by more people, more than the other religions.

Anyway, I would also say that American folklore (Paul Bunyan, Champ the lake monster, the Mothman) should get more play in the myth distro.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:51 pm

(1) The vast majority of people in quizbowl don't know anything about dinosaurs. There was an entire thread about this, search for "Dinosaur Awareness". As the people in the art film thread are learning right now, it is very difficult to get people to accept questions about a subject they know nothing about or have little interest in. I'm probably the first or second most knowlegeable person about dinosaurs in all of quizbowl (I'd be fun to play that kid from Dartmouth on a paleo packet to see who comes out on top), but the reality is that most quizbowlers are not like us and we need to live with that reality.

(2) Hinduism is in the myth category because quizbowl defines myth as "stories about deities" and defines religion as "theology and practice". In theory, a tossup about offerings to Ganesh would be a religion rather than a myth tossup. But most quizbowl questions about Hinduism are in fact anecdotes about the time that Vishnu, Shiva, or Kartiyaka did something interesting, and fit right in with the myth distro.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:53 pm

Cheynem wrote: Anyway, I would also say that American folklore (Paul Bunyan, Champ the lake monster, the Mothman) should get more play in the myth distro.
I'd be really interested to see stuff like this crop up more!
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:55 pm

Empirically, is there actually a lack of non-classical myth? I haven't seriously played quizbowl in over two years, but back in my day I was a non-classical myth specialist and there never seemed to be a shortage of Norse, Hindu, or Celtic myth. Mesopotamiam and Egyptian was a bit rarer but still out there. There were, at the time, a lot of writers who were VERY interested in non-classical myth and wrote a lot of questions on it, many of them innovative and creative: myself, the Minnesota people, Auroni Gupta, etc. A lot of these people are still active writers.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:57 pm

Anyway, I would also say that American folklore (Paul Bunyan, Champ the lake monster, the Mothman) should get more play in the myth distro.
Was "Johnny Appleseed" in the myth distribution at the History Bowl?

BTW, I'll state my position here that mythology should be dropped entirely from quizbowl, but I'm worried that my heart will be sacrificed to the feathered serpent that Seth keeps in a cage somewhere.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:57 pm

I am actually happy that there's less non-classical myth today, since just a short while ago we were all asking some pretty ridiculous stuff like Basque and Zulu mythology. I think that the occasional crazy myth question is just fine, but for the sake of avoiding the difficulty arms race we should stick to traditions with a lot of scholarship and/or codification of myths.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:03 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:
BTW, I'll state my position here that mythology should be dropped entirely from quizbowl.
Toot on!
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:04 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:...but the reality is that most quizbowlers are not like us and we need to live with that reality.
I can live with that answer, I suppose, and so I sense that any attempt to write a "paleo-history" packet would be greeted with very little besides raised eyebrows.
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: (2) Hinduism is in the myth category because quizbowl defines myth as "stories about deities" and defines religion as "theology and practice". In theory, a tossup about offerings to Ganesh would be a religion rather than a myth tossup. But most quizbowl questions about Hinduism are in fact anecdotes about the time that Vishnu, Shiva, or Kartiyaka did something interesting, and fit right in with the myth distro.
Correct me if I am mistaken, but this seems to indicate a bit of a double standard. After all, what about all those questions on Moses (who, if I may gently remind you, did some interesting stuff)? It just seems that if religion is really just "theology and practice," then we've been seeing a pretty chronic misinterpretation. I'm not saying there's a clean solution, but I'm skeptical of your interpretation, just because it kind of contradicts what I see as common practice. Again, please tell me if I'm off in left field here, but a lot of this seems like western cultural bias (not malicious, but a little puzzling to me).
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:05 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:Was "Johnny Appleseed" in the myth distribution at the History Bowl?
There was no myth distribution at History Bowl; this was a history question, as all the clues were from real sources claiming that Johnny Appleseed actually did these things.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:08 pm

Melkor6000 wrote: Correct me if I am mistaken, but this seems to indicate a bit of a double standard. After all, what about all those questions on Moses (who, if I may gently remind you, did some interesting stuff)? It just seems that if religion is really just "theology and practice," then we've been seeing a pretty chronic misinterpretation. I'm not saying there's a clean solution, but I'm skeptical of your interpretation, just because it kind of contradicts what I see as common practice. Again, please tell me if I'm off in left field here, but a lot of this seems like western cultural bias (not malicious, but a little puzzling to me).
Ultimately all divisions of things into smaller groups of things are arbitrary and reflect some kind of bias. This is the particular arbitrary division that quizbowl has made.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:23 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Empirically, is there actually a lack of non-classical myth? I haven't seriously played quizbowl in over two years, but back in my day I was a non-classical myth specialist and there never seemed to be a shortage of Norse, Hindu, or Celtic myth. Mesopotamiam and Egyptian was a bit rarer but still out there. There were, at the time, a lot of writers who were VERY interested in non-classical myth and wrote a lot of questions on it, many of them innovative and creative: myself, the Minnesota people, Auroni Gupta, etc. A lot of these people are still active writers.
I will admit, I have no empirical data to back me up here. My question was merely derived from a sort of "general feeling" that I've gotten while playing college quiz bowl. In my experience with regular-ish difficulty, there seems to be about 50% (sometimes more) Classical, 30% Norse, and 20% other stuff. Unfortunately, I can't think of any easy way of trying to prove myself wrong (the hard way, of course, would be to tally up myth questions, but I'm sure no one has the time for that.
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:I am actually happy that there's less non-classical myth today, since just a short while ago we were all asking some pretty ridiculous stuff like Basque and Zulu mythology. I think that the occasional crazy myth question is just fine, but for the sake of avoiding the difficulty arms race we should stick to traditions with a lot of scholarship and/or codification of myths.
I'm not advocating a ridiculous distribution of "weird" myth, just a somewhat-more-even one. I'd love to see a question on Basque mythology or Zulu mythology in a tournament, but I will acknowledge that such questions should be used sparingly, and perhaps in the context of other answerlines, at least for a few years, so that people can get a little comfortable before they start getting tossed up.

Nor am I advocating a difficulty arms race. For example, in my experience, people actually know a lot more about, say, Egyptian or Celtic myth than they give themselves credit for. If we try to nudge newer players in that direction with some judicious answerline decisions, then we'll be on our way, in my opinion. I will admit, along the way, we may have to deal with a couple dead tossups or a couple zeroed bonuses, but I think it's probably preferable to the narrow-ish range of topics we have now.
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Melkor6000 wrote: Correct me if I am mistaken, but this seems to indicate a bit of a double standard. After all, what about all those questions on Moses (who, if I may gently remind you, did some interesting stuff)? It just seems that if religion is really just "theology and practice," then we've been seeing a pretty chronic misinterpretation. I'm not saying there's a clean solution, but I'm skeptical of your interpretation, just because it kind of contradicts what I see as common practice. Again, please tell me if I'm off in left field here, but a lot of this seems like western cultural bias (not malicious, but a little puzzling to me).
Ultimately all divisions of things into smaller groups of things are arbitrary and reflect some kind of bias. This is the particular arbitrary division that quizbowl has made.
I guess we can agree to disagree. I can see your point, but I happen to think that mainstream practice should be more defining than the sort of scholarship it receives (after all--could 900 million believers be wrong?) I speak partly in jest, of course, but I stand by my previous assertion, albeit somewhat stymied by popular opinion.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:29 pm

Melkor6000 wrote:I guess we can agree to disagree. I can see your point, but I happen to think that mainstream practice should be more defining than the sort of scholarship it receives (after all--could 900 million believers be wrong?) I speak partly in jest, of course, but I stand by my previous assertion, albeit somewhat stymied by popular opinion.
Suppose we reclassify Hindu stories as religion because people still believe it. Then a Neo-Pagan who legitimately worships Odin comes to HSQB and asks for Norse myth to be moved to religion, because he and his growing number of co-religionists genuinely believe the eddas to be true. Do we accomodate him and blow up the commonly accepted meanings of words, or do we tell him that his belief is not as legitimate as those of some guy in Hyderabad?

There's no escape from arbitrary, biased distinctions.

In any event, reclassifying Hinduism wouldn't actually change much about how quizbowl is practiced. Outside of high school quizbowl in Illinois where they announce the category before reading you a tossup, a tossup on Garuda isn't presented to you as a religion or a mythology tossup. It's presented to you as a tossup on Garuda. Whether it came to that packet from a spreadsheet called religion.xls or a spreadsheet called mythology.xls doesn't make much difference.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:36 pm

Also, implementing the somewhat-more-obscure myth would be made easier with judicious use of mid- to upper-level clues in common-link tossups, at least off the bat.

Think of a question on birds. There are a lot of well-known examples in classical myth (Jupiter as an eagle, yadda yadda), but what about the bird-demon Vucub-Caquix, from the Popol Vuh? Throwing stuff like that into upper lines encourages people to study stuff that's a little less mainstream, and the occasional tossup will earn new players the admiration of their fellows (I'm romanticizing it a little, but what's life without some whimsy?)

Texts like Gods and Myths of Northern Europe cover some specific topics that crop up not infrequently, and I managed to find an Encyclopedia of World Mythology (or something like that) in UB's humanities library that has gotten me some buzzes at SCT and MUT (the sample size is a bit limited since I only found it at the end of January, but it seems very informative).

My point is that people will be encouraged to study other myth systems by their application as upper-level clues and mid- to hard-parts in bonuses, until people get the hint, at which point they could start being explicitly tossed up at a lower level than they are currently. Thoughts?
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Melkor6000 wrote:I guess we can agree to disagree. I can see your point, but I happen to think that mainstream practice should be more defining than the sort of scholarship it receives (after all--could 900 million believers be wrong?) I speak partly in jest, of course, but I stand by my previous assertion, albeit somewhat stymied by popular opinion.
Suppose we reclassify Hindu stories as religion because people still believe it. Then a Neo-Pagan who legitimately worships Odin comes to HSQB and asks for Norse myth to be moved to religion, because he and his growing number of co-religionists genuinely believe the eddas to be true. Do we accomodate him and blow up the commonly accepted meanings of words, or do we tell him that his belief is not as legitimate as those of some guy in Hyderabad?

There's no escape from arbitrary, biased distinctions.

In any event, reclassifying Hinduism wouldn't actually change much about how quizbowl is practiced. Outside of high school quizbowl in Illinois where they announce the category before reading you a tossup, a tossup on Garuda isn't presented to you as a religion or a mythology tossup. It's presented to you as a tossup on Garuda. Whether it came to that packet from a spreadsheet called religion.xls or a spreadsheet called mythology.xls doesn't make much difference.
In light of your well-argued assertion, I reliquish my objection to the Hinduism point.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:38 pm

Nor am I advocating a difficulty arms race. For example, in my experience, people actually know a lot more about, say, Egyptian or Celtic myth than they give themselves credit for. If we try to nudge newer players in that direction with some judicious answerline decisions, then we'll be on our way, in my opinion. I will admit, along the way, we may have to deal with a couple dead tossups or a couple zeroed bonuses, but I think it's probably preferable to the narrow-ish range of topics we have now.
You may not advocate or want such a thing, but the inevitable consequence of encouraging more non-classical myth is that people will just write tossups on whatever they think is cool, trendy, or just hard for their own tournaments or for packet subs. As a rule, people like just submitting or writing on whatever they want and editors sometimes can't keep up with keeping those products of primal difficulty urges at bay.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by setht » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:41 pm

Melkor6000 wrote:My point is that people will be encouraged to study other myth systems by their application as upper-level clues and mid- to hard-parts in bonuses, until people get the hint, at which point they could start being explicitly tossed up at a lower level than they are currently. Thoughts?
I think you are, in fact, advocating an arms race in non-classical myth.

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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by theMoMA » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:46 pm

I don't know if you've been playing the same college quizbowl I have, because the things you're describing are not rare. Plenty of common-link tossups on animals and common themes begin with stories from non-classic myth systems, many of which are much more obscure than the Maya. (The phrase "In Ojibwe/Singapore/Ghananian/some other ass-hard myth, this creature..." will never cease to amuse.) NAQT has pretty strict controls on how much non-classical myth it writes, but the circuit (especially at higher levels) produces a lot of questions in this subcategory. In fact, if I had to pick the area where quizbowlers know more than your typical educated person by leaps and bounds, non-classical myth might be it. I don't think you'll find too many people who care about Norse cauldrons, Japanese kami swords, Aztec filth-eaters, Korean bear-women, Babylonian underworld attendants, and various vowel-less minor Welsh heroes more than quizbowlers.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:52 pm

Melkor6000 wrote:There are a lot of well-known examples in classical myth (Jupiter as an eagle, yadda yadda), but what about the bird-demon Vucub-Caquix, from the Popol Vuh?
Minnesota Open 2008 wrote:17. Answer some things about the adventures of the Mayan Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, for 10 points each.
[10] The Hero Twins’ most notable accomplishment was their defeat of the twelve gods, led by One Death and Seven Death, that ruled this place, the Mayan underworld.
ANSWER: Xibalba
[10] Before the Hero Twins’ victory over the Xibalbans, they defeated this father of Zipacna and Cabrakan. He pretended to be both the sun and the moon, so Hunahpu killed him with a blowgun.
ANSWER: Seven Macaw [or Vucub Caquix]
[10] This name is used either generally or specifically, to refer to the bats of Bat House, to their leader, or to other Central American bat deities. When the Hero Twins spent a night in Bat House, this god decapitated Hunahpu.
ANSWER: Camazotz
Minnesota Open is, of course, a very hard tournament, but my point is that these things do all come up, in common links as well as on their own. Classical myth tends to dominate easier tournaments, as do similarly accessible things like Norse myth, Egyptian myth, Hindu myth, and basic Arthurian myth, because other things simply wouldn't be converted as well by the majority of the audience. Harder things do come up, rather often, in harder tournaments. Your myth-related complaints are pretty easily addressed just by considering a larger sample size.

Also:
Melkor6000 wrote:I'd love to see a question on Basque mythology
Minnesota Open 2009 wrote:11. Two of this goddess’s sons were Atxulkar, who became a priest, and Mikelatz, who was often depicted as a red bull, which was not in fact the red bull of later energy drink fame.  For 10 points each:
[10] Identify this goddess, the wife of Sugaar, who was accompanied by storms and possibly hail whenever she left her caves on Mt. Anboto.
ANSWER: Mari [accept Mari Unaca, Anbotoko Mari, or if you’re daring, Murumendiko Dama]
[10] Sugaar and Mari are the chief deities of the myth system of this people, who also believed in figures like the cyclops Tartalo and the trickster Aatxe, who was also not the red bull of later energy drink fame. They may be better-known for speaking Euskara and living mostly in Spain.
ANSWER: Basque mythology [accept obvious equivalents]
[10] Another incident involving both Basques and mythology was the battle at this place, though in legend the Basque army was replaced with one comprised of Saracens. That legendary battle here saw Roland blow the horn Oliphant so hard that his head fucking exploded.
ANSWER: Roncevaux Pass [accept Roncesvalles or Orreaga for Roncevaux]
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:53 pm

I'd actually love to see a tournament WITHOUT Basque mythology, as I want to kill something every time such clues or questions appear.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by vcuEvan » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:56 pm

I agree with Andrew. This thread is complaining about a problem that doesn't even exist. Read more questions.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:57 pm

Cheynem wrote:I'd actually love to see a tournament WITHOUT Basque mythology, as I want to kill something every time such clues or questions appear.
Yes, the above bonus was a toned down version of an even harder submission and references an earlier, weirder tossup on "Basque mythology" from CaTO/TaCO that contained a bunch of lies about Red Bull. Afterwards, everyone agreed that Basque mythology was played out and could safely take a break forever.

EDIT: Yes, Evan and Andrew make the overall point pretty clear.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:58 pm

theMoMA wrote:I don't know if you've been playing the same college quizbowl I have, because the things you're describing are not rare. Plenty of common-link tossups on animals and common themes begin with stories from non-classic myth systems, many of which are much more obscure than the Maya. (The phrase "In Ojibwe/Singapore/Ghananian/some other ass-hard myth, this creature..." will never cease to amuse.) NAQT has pretty strict controls on how much non-classical myth it writes, but the circuit (especially at higher levels) produces a lot of questions in this subcategory. In fact, if I had to pick the area where quizbowlers know more than your typical educated person by leaps and bounds, non-classical myth might be it. I don't think you'll find too many people who care about Norse cauldrons, Japanese kami swords, Aztec filth-eaters, Korean bear-women, Babylonian underworld attendants, and various vowel-less minor Welsh heroes than quizbowlers.
Fair enough. Public opinion seems to suggest that I am missing some crucial facts, so I guess I'll consider my points, in large part, duly refuted. I will, though, note my vast inexperience with "harder tournaments," in hopes that a public declaration of this will serve to convince people that I'm just a guy who knows some stuff and is otherwise rather inexperienced with quiz bowl, rather than just someone who's unobservant and pompous (those two adjectives are, however, still up for debate).
setht wrote:
Melkor6000 wrote:My point is that people will be encouraged to study other myth systems by their application as upper-level clues and mid- to hard-parts in bonuses, until people get the hint, at which point they could start being explicitly tossed up at a lower level than they are currently. Thoughts?
I think you are, in fact, advocating an arms race in non-classical myth.
I guess we may simply be going off different definitions of "arms race." Your interpretation seems to imply a little more subtlety than mine. My definition of an arms race is the rapid expansion of unbuzzable clues, whereas yours (which seems to be the commonly-accepted definition) is more of a "creeping doom." And I guess I can understand how this might leave newer players high and dry in a few years.
vcuEvan wrote:I agree with Andrew. This thread is complaining about a problem that doesn't even exist. Read more questions.
Point taken.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm

vcuEvan wrote:I agree with Andrew. This thread is complaining about a problem that doesn't even exist. Read more questions.
Hear hear, especially the point that Hinduism never comes up as religion.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:59 pm

At the same time, a characteristic of the less-famous myth systems is that you can become an expert on them in a matter of minutes. Memorize the following pieces of information: Mari and Sugaar are the chief gods of Basque myth, they are married to each other, and Mari lives on a mountain. Bam, you now have 99th percentile knowledge of Basque myth and you will probably get 30 points on every Basque mythology bonus you ever encounter.

I think there is a place for all sorts of world myth in quizbowl. But before you write a question on wacky, obscure myth, ask yourself if your question is SO wacky that it will create frustration. Everytime you write a tossup on world myth (or a common-link tossup that uses world myth info) that contains too many clues that are too obscure, what you are actually doing is giving ammunition to people who want to dramatically cut back on the amount of world myth in quizbowl. Use clues judiciously, and you'll find you can incorporate interesting things into quizbowl without creating enemies.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:03 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I think there is a place for all sorts of world myth in quizbowl. But before you write a question on wacky, obscure myth, ask yourself if your question is SO wacky that it will create frustration. Everytime you write a tossup on world myth (or a common-link tossup that uses world myth info) that contains too many clues that are too obscure, what you are actually doing is giving ammunition to people who want to dramatically cut back on the amount of world myth in quizbowl. Use clues judiciously, and you'll find you can incorporate interesting things into quizbowl without creating enemies.
In light of this, I predict an influx of myth questions from me to the ACF Writer Feedback Program.

But in all seriousness, I appreciate your patience.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:05 pm

I don't know how facetious you are, but that's a great idea to send your myth questions in to get feedback.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:I don't know how facetious you are, but that's a great idea to send your myth questions in to get feedback.
I'd peg it at 85% serious, 15% facetious. As soon as finals are over (curses on this school thing!) I'll be writing lots of questions and sending 'em in.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:12 pm

You may also be interested to learn that there have been tournaments devoted (or in large part devoted to) mythology.

http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... myth_2005/
http://collegiate.quizbowlpackets.com/a ... 09RMPFest/

The first one of these, written by Seth Teitler, was notable for how accessible it was to new players. I played it as a college sophomore, and I still consider it the single most transformative event of my quizbowl career because it opened my eyes to the power of "hard questions on easy answers": how you can write questions that both distinguish between top players AND are still enjoyable to novices.

The second of these was written largely by me (virtually all the non-classical myth in it is entirely by me), and I include it here not just as a self-plug but because I think I did a decent job of following the advice I gave in this thread. There's also a 2008 version of the same tournament in which I did less good of a job at following that advice.

EDIT: of course, note that in a novelty subject tournament for enthusiasts of a given topic, you have a much greater lattitude of things to write about. many of the harder questions in these sets would be absolutely inappropriate for a standard tournament
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:17 pm

there is this whole all mythology tournament in the works, where you can hear all of the obscure mythos you want.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12830&p=239144&hilit=ymir#p237162
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:25 pm

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:there is this whole all mythology tournament in the works, where you can hear all of the obscure mythos you want.
Argh, yes, I know, and there is very little I want more in the world than to attend! However, early-summer commitments are aggravating little things, and I can't go to NSC, so I'm hoping that a more convenient mirror emerges.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:27 pm

A few years ago I started reading Basque Legends by Wentworth Webster just so I could get an upper hand on the Basque questions that were popular in quizbowl at that time (note: NO DONT). Classical Myth is widely pervasive in our culture and is actually studied on a fairly decent scale, as opposed to Norse or Aztec mythology which only a few very specialized historians or folklorists actively study in Real Life. As many have pointed out, there is really no lack of non-classical myth in quizbowl, and the common link has been used as an effective way to give us clues on odd cultures. We really don't need any more tossups on Eskimo myth than that one that came up in ANGST.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:08 pm

Inkana7 wrote:A few years ago I started reading Basque Legends by Wentworth Webster just so I could get an upper hand on the Basque questions that were popular in quizbowl at that time (note: NO DONT). Classical Myth is widely pervasive in our culture and is actually studied on a fairly decent scale, as opposed to Norse or Aztec mythology which only a few very specialized historians or folklorists actively study in Real Life. As many have pointed out, there is really no lack of non-classical myth in quizbowl, and the common link has been used as an effective way to give us clues on odd cultures. We really don't need any more tossups on Eskimo myth than that one that came up in ANGST.
Of course, apart from hard science most people in quizbowl who are good at subject x did not get good because they studied that subject in school - they got good at it by reading books for pleasure in their spare time. If something is widely studied, that is probably a good sign that it's askable, but the idea of the student-player is itself part myth.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:14 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:the idea of the student-player is itself part myth.
is this meta-myth going to be part of the new age of the mythology distribution?
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Chimango Caracara » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:17 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:(I'd be fun to play that kid from Dartmouth on a paleo packet to see who comes out on top)
Challenge accepted.
Cheynem wrote:Anyway, I would also say that American folklore (Paul Bunyan, Champ the lake monster, the Mothman) should get more play in the myth distro.
I agree. I also think cryptozoology clues are cool for geography tossups. I remember hearing one on Manitoba that alluded to Manipogo.

I really like obscure mythology questions because you get exposed to interesting new stuff. I think common link questions are probably the best way to go in terms of incorporating them. I have heard a lot of bonuses that start with a hard part on say, Polynesian mythology, and shift to a better-known myth system for the medium and easy parts. I guess those work, but they always annoy me a bit because they feel sort of pandering to me. Really, I don't know if there's a huge issue in the relative distribution of mythology questions.

I have heard bonuses on Hinduism that are explicitly on religious practice, as well as many questions on Hindu mythology. In general I don't think that there's too much of a problem in this area.

Shifting gears entirely, one area I do think has problems is ecology/evolutionary biology. Probably over 99% of ecology bonuses are on either mutualism, Lotka-Volterra, biomes or ecological succession (and those always assume that the "climax community" model is much more accepted/valid than it actually is) using basically the same exact answers every time. Evolutionary biology usually gets an occasional bonus along the lines of taxonomy/cladistics/polyphyletic. These are large subfields within modern biology and they are seriously underrepresented in quizbowl. Ecology in particular could be easily expanded with questions on particular organisms as they relate to ecological principles, other models (such as r/K -selection; addressing its criticisms of course) and experimental techniques.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Muriel Axon » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:21 pm

Shifting gears entirely, one area I do think has problems is ecology/evolutionary biology. Probably over 99% of ecology bonuses are on either mutualism, Lotka-Volterra, biomes or ecological succession (and those always assume that the "climax community" model is much more accepted/valid than it actually is) using basically the same exact answers every time. Evolutionary biology usually gets an occasional bonus along the lines of taxonomy/cladistics/polyphyletic. These are large subfields within modern biology and they are seriously underrepresented in quizbowl. Ecology in particular could be easily expanded with questions on particular organisms as they relate to ecological principles, other models (such as r/K -selection; addressing its criticisms of course) and experimental techniques.
Thank you! This really needed to be said. Ecology and evolution constitute a pretty big chunk of modern biology, and yet I rarely see them get a nod. Maybe this is solely because I don't play enough tournaments, but I suspect that it is a larger issue than that.

The problem, I'm guessing, is that 1) people don't know ecology and evolution, so it's hard to toss that stuff up and have it not go dead, 2) not many people like it, and 3) other than a select few answer lines (like "succession"), not much of ecology is in the canon (related to 1). (Actually, I think r/K selection is one of those things that does come up. One also hears things like "genetic drift" and "adaptive radiation.")

There are so many pushes to get new things gradually pushed into the canon, and further into common quiz bowl knowledge, that I'm a little wary of trying to do the same for more ecology and evolution. But I don't see any thing strictly wrong with writing questions or clues on any of the following, understanding that at first, many of them will be difficult for most players. I'm just coming up with stuff off the top of my head, so some of this might be completely inappropriate or difficult to write "good quizbowl" on, but I hope people will find some jewels in the rough. (It's also a legitimate problem that many ideas in ecology have names that are far too straightforward for use in quiz bowl.)

Ecology: Species-area curves, competitive exclusion, food web, energy pyramid, eutrophication, invasive species (or specific invasive species), keystone species, homeostasis (in an ecological context), basal metabolic rate, population pyramid, irruptive growth, niche, niche differentiation, Rapoport's rule, assembly rules, Bateman's principle, Allee effect, Kleiber's law

Evolution: Coalescence theory, vicariance, MRCA, neutral theory, green-beard effect, eusociality, endosymbiosis, specific adaptive radiations (like Lake Victoria cichlids or Hawaiian honeycreepers - analogous to questions on model organisms), different species concepts, phenetics, phylogeography, mitochondrial DNA, homoplasy, parallelism, fitness landscapes, Haldane's rule, allometry
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:24 pm

As a non-science player, it strikes me as bizarre whenever science players argue that a certain subject should not come up, either because "nobody likes it" or "nobody in quizbowl currently studies it".

As a history player, it is unfathomable to me that we would stop writing, say, Thai history simply because nobody on the circuit right now likes it or knows much about it. We would tell people complaining about the occasional Thai history tossup to suck it up and learn something.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:26 pm

As always, when you want to see more of something, write more of those questions. Most editors are very happy to get usable questions in any category and will gladly put your evolutionary biology or ecology question in if it's well written.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:28 pm

I've actually tried to push for more evolutionary biology/ecology in quizbowl. Unfortunately, my attempts have not been that successful and even one of my attempts(in this year's regionals) was actually met with outright contempt.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:41 pm

Qmwne235 wrote:specific adaptive radiations (like Hawaiian honeycreepers)
yes please
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:50 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:I've actually tried to push for more evolutionary biology/ecology in quizbowl. Unfortunately, my attempts have not been that successful and even one of my attempts(in this year's regionals) was actually met with outright contempt.
That's because they weren't really grounded in things that non-evolutionary biologists might know. There's ev bio that all biology majors have to learn at some point (cf my tossup on phylogenetic trees at MO). Also your tag-and-release tossup for MOO (which I am to understand was calculated to raise my ire) was brilliant, so clearly you aren't batting .000
Other guy in thread wrote:Ecology: Species-area curves, competitive exclusion, food web, energy pyramid, eutrophication, invasive species (or specific invasive species), keystone species, homeostasis (in an ecological context), basal metabolic rate, population pyramid, irruptive growth, niche, niche differentiation, Rapoport's rule, assembly rules, Bateman's principle, Allee effect, Kleiber's law
Most of these things already come up, or are too difficult to write full tossups on (I tried to do keystone species once). Putting irruptive growth, Rapaport's rule, and Kleiber's law in hard parts of bonuses are good ideas.

Evolution: Coalescence theory, vicariance, MRCA, neutral theory, green-beard effect, eusociality, endosymbiosis, specific adaptive radiations (like Lake Victoria cichlids or Hawaiian honeycreepers - analogous to questions on model organisms), different species concepts, phenetics, phylogeography, mitochondrial DNA, homoplasy, parallelism, fitness landscapes, Haldane's rule, allometry[/quote]

I'm pretty sure I bludgeoned Kimura's neutral theory and the green-beard effect into quizbowl, and I wrote a somewhat poorly-received adaptive radiation tossup for EFT one year. I'm really not sure that specific adaptive radiations could be tossed up (although I've seen Darwin's Finches done for high school). There has been no good tossup on endosymbiosis. Ever. All of these other things could be bonus parts.

The real reason ecology and evolutionary biology don't come up more isn't that there are few ecologists or evolutionary biologists in quizbowl, its that in the word there are more cell/molecular[/"real" loljk] biologists than evolutionary biologists, and that all evolutionary biologists worth their weight in salt use so much molecular biology in their work that its kind of a moot point. A better comparison might be to compare ecology or evolutionary biology to straight medicine tossups (of which there aren't that many), as those fields have similar representation in quizbowl and have almost zero overlap in practice.

And the rest of this thread is falling right into that one Weiner's Law about people who complain about stuff not coming up.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:32 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:I've actually tried to push for more evolutionary biology/ecology in quizbowl. Unfortunately, my attempts have not been that successful and even one of my attempts(in this year's regionals) was actually met with outright contempt.
That's because they weren't really grounded in things that non-evolutionary biologists might know. There's ev bio that all biology majors have to learn at some point (cf my tossup on phylogenetic trees at MO). Also your tag-and-release tossup for MOO (which I am to understand was calculated to raise my ire) was brilliant, so clearly you aren't batting .000
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: The real reason ecology and evolutionary biology don't come up more isn't that there are few ecologists or evolutionary biologists in quizbowl, its that in the word there are more cell/molecular[/"real" loljk] biologists than evolutionary biologists, and that all evolutionary biologists worth their weight in salt use so much molecular biology in their work that its kind of a moot point. A better comparison might be to compare ecology or evolutionary biology to straight medicine tossups (of which there aren't that many), as those fields have similar representation in quizbowl and have almost zero overlap in practice.
I should have chosen something easier for that one tossup, but I'm not sure that comparing "ecology or evolutionary biology to straight medicine tossups" is a better comparison. I would imagine that a straight medicine tossup would rely a great deal on material from that notably post-undergraduate institution, med school. On the other side, a straight ecology or evolution tossup would be mostly based on material learned in generic undergraduate biology programs. For example that QTL tossup I wrote for regionals (again, I admit there were better things I could have written on), was mostly written using clues learned in a class I took my first year of undergraduate biology (a class that all UVA biology undergrads must take, regardless of whether they are going to med school or evolutionary biology grad school). Only the 1st third of that tossup came from material I learned in a grad school class. Maybe, I'm really out of touch or something, but I'm pretty sure most undergraduate biology programs either require or encourage students to take a class on evolutionary and/or ecological biology.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Gautam » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:57 pm

Melkor6000 wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Melkor6000 wrote: Correct me if I am mistaken, but this seems to indicate a bit of a double standard. After all, what about all those questions on Moses (who, if I may gently remind you, did some interesting stuff)? It just seems that if religion is really just "theology and practice," then we've been seeing a pretty chronic misinterpretation. I'm not saying there's a clean solution, but I'm skeptical of your interpretation, just because it kind of contradicts what I see as common practice. Again, please tell me if I'm off in left field here, but a lot of this seems like western cultural bias (not malicious, but a little puzzling to me).
Ultimately all divisions of things into smaller groups of things are arbitrary and reflect some kind of bias. This is the particular arbitrary division that quizbowl has made.
I guess we can agree to disagree. I can see your point, but I happen to think that mainstream practice should be more defining than the sort of scholarship it receives (after all--could 900 million believers be wrong?) I speak partly in jest, of course, but I stand by my previous assertion, albeit somewhat stymied by popular opinion.
I think there is adequate Hindu religion in quizbowl, but I don't like the way it is written, usually. There is very little you can do about it, though. Writing Hindu religion is difficult. It can be done, but you really need to know what you are doing.

A lot of the "religion" questions that are written today focus on Vedic stuff. While people still care about this stuff, I'd say it does not surface in regular religious discourse as much. A fair amount of this stuff is super hard to translate into English unless you are well-versed in Sanskrit. Hell, a lot of the stuff is difficult to pronounce for the usual quizbowl audience. cf. the Brahman/Brahma controversy; the difference between Brahmán and bráhman. People don't really talk about this all that often today, and I really don't bother writing about this stuff.

If you're talking about day-to-day practice, each region has slightly different practices and traditions, making it difficult to figure out the relative difficulty of these things. Even better (or worse, your mileage may vary) each region uses different terminologies in different languages, which makes it impossible to determine which name to use in clues or which name to accept in answers. If you try writing tossusp on Gods, you run into issues with incarnations, etc. (eg. a tossup on Balaji/Venkateshwara could be interpreted as a TU on "incarnations of Vishnu" and that would not amuse a certain set of people, etc.)

Even if you try to stick to the older Sanskrit sources, you start running into issues of the sources being inaccessible. For instance, you could try writing a whole entire religion tossup on Rama (that doesn't wade into the Ayodhya mess), but a lot of the non-Ramayana sources are not very well documented, and are notoriously difficult to translate into clues. I can recite the whole entire Ramaraksha (as can a good chunk of the Marathi people out there,) but good luck finding any references to the Ramaraksha that do not involve a fleeting mention in Gandhi's autobiography.

When it comes to more recent documents, there is a good pile of shit out there that you have to weed through. All kinds of people post in their blogs about their favorite Hanuman hymns. I have also found books on Hindu practices to not be very useful, because a lot of the times they document the rituals/traditions but miss the significance.

I have tried writing combo myth/religion tossups with mixed success - you could try something like this if you are interested. I am waiting for somebody to write those tossups which will reward me.

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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by MathMusic » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:35 pm

As a gen-ed elective, I took a comparative myth class that covered almost all of the common Non-classical Proto-indoeuropean mythologies. One thing that I would like to see is a few more questions on the mythic history of Rome, and an expanded answerline for Celtic myth beyond Cu Chulain, and the Second Battle of Mag Tureid.

Although, I admit that there is no need for some of the weirder stuff, like Hurrian Mythology, or Phoenician. But a larger answer line for Celtic, Roman or Egyptian myth would be appreciated.

Also, where exactly would a question on the study of comparative mythology go? Social Science, perhaps as a subset of Anthropology or Sociology?
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Unicolored Jay » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:14 pm

MathMusic wrote:As a gen-ed elective, I took a comparative myth class that covered almost all of the common Non-classical Proto-indoeuropean mythologies. One thing that I would like to see is a few more questions on the mythic history of Rome, and an expanded answerline for Celtic myth beyond Cu Chulain, and the Second Battle of Mag Tureid.

Although, I admit that there is no need for some of the weirder stuff, like Hurrian Mythology, or Phoenician. But a larger answer line for Celtic, Roman or Egyptian myth would be appreciated.

Also, where exactly would a question on the study of comparative mythology go? Social Science, perhaps as a subset of Anthropology or Sociology?
What do you mean by "answerline?" Celtic and Egyptian myth come up at pretty much every tournament, and I've seen tossups on things such as several figures from the Mabinogion, Queen Medb, several different gods, Conchobar, and figures from the Fenian cycle. They're definitely there.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Kyle » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:28 pm

Alliance in the Alps wrote:
MathMusic wrote:As a gen-ed elective, I took a comparative myth class that covered almost all of the common Non-classical Proto-indoeuropean mythologies. One thing that I would like to see is a few more questions on the mythic history of Rome, and an expanded answerline for Celtic myth beyond Cu Chulain, and the Second Battle of Mag Tureid.

Although, I admit that there is no need for some of the weirder stuff, like Hurrian Mythology, or Phoenician. But a larger answer line for Celtic, Roman or Egyptian myth would be appreciated.

Also, where exactly would a question on the study of comparative mythology go? Social Science, perhaps as a subset of Anthropology or Sociology?
What do you mean by "answerline?"
I believe he means "answer space."
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:54 am

MathMusic wrote:Also, where exactly would a question on the study of comparative mythology go? Social Science, perhaps as a subset of Anthropology or Sociology?
Depends on how you want to structure the question. I've made Georges Dumezil a myth bonus part before.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Gautam » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:23 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:There has been no good tossup on endosymbiosis. Ever.
was this one really that awful?
Gautam for MO 2010 - Chicago B packet wrote:Mereschowky’s hypothesis is the earliest formulation of this theory, and apicomplexans are organisms in which the product of this process is highly reduced due to transfer via EGT. The first group thought to diverge after this process is unique because it has a retained the capacity to produce peptidoglycan, though the presence of multiple membranes in other groups has led to the theories suggesting that it has occurred (*) serially. Other evidence for this theory includes the presence of nucleomorphs in the cryptomonads and the presence of phycocyanins and phycoerithrin in the antennae of light-harvesting phycobilisomes. For 10 points, identify this theory proposed to explain the development of phyla such as glaucophyta, red algae, and green algae, in which cyanobacteria were phagocytosed and gave rise to a light harvesting organelle.
ANSWER: endosymbiosis of cyanobacteria [or endosymbiotic origins of chloroplasts; accept equivalents like “cyanobacteria being eaten up” but do not accept anything to do with mitochondria; do not accept “endosymbiosis of cyanobacteria and mitochondria” either]
note that a quick packet search also reveals:
2005 IO - Yaphe/Vinokurov packet wrote:A secondary form of this process was first proposed by Mereschkovsky. Inhibitors of eukaryotic protein synthesis have no effect on structures theorized to have originated through this process, one example of which is the apicoplast, which is so old that it lacks a nucleomorph. Eukaryotic cilia and flagella may have arisen through this process, and the evolution of eukaryotic chloroplasts by this process has produced red and green algae. Developed by Lynn Margulis, for ten points, identify this process, the primary type of which is the engulfing and encorportion of a prokaryote by a eukaryote, which explains the origin of mitochondria.

Answer: endosymbiosis
EDIT: also want to note that a lot of the alleged "things that don't come up" have, in fact, been attempted. Go read some packets. Or talk to one of the umpteen high-volume writers and editors. They tend to have a good memory of questions they have written or attempted to have written. A lot of said people also take copious notes at tournaments they play, and are looking out for interesting ideas... moreso than your average player. All of this pontificating about how some things don't come up only shows that you are not doing your research.

EDIT EDIT: While I'm at it:
Qmwne235 wrote: Evolution: Coalescence theory, vicariance, MRCA, neutral theory, green-beard effect, eusociality, endosymbiosis, specific adaptive radiations (like Lake Victoria cichlids or Hawaiian honeycreepers - analogous to questions on model organisms), different species concepts, phenetics, phylogeography, mitochondrial DNA, homoplasy, parallelism, fitness landscapes, Haldane's rule, allometry
I have written a tossup on fitness (2009 MO), multiple tossups on speciation ( probably for MUT/NSC/Fall), bonus on green beards and Haldane's rule (2009 CO). I have also discarded multiple tossups on mitochnodrial DNA (all for being unusable in their own right) so it's not that people don't want to ask about some of these things, it's just that no good attempt has been made yet, and we'd love to see you try it.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Auroni » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:11 pm

Your tossup is pretty good, but what else could it really be when you mention "multiple membranes" ?
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Muriel Axon » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:19 pm

EDIT: also want to note that a lot of the alleged "things that don't come up" have, in fact, been attempted. Go read some packets. Or talk to one of the umpteen high-volume writers and editors. They tend to have a good memory of questions they have written or attempted to have written. A lot of said people also take copious notes at tournaments they play, and are looking out for interesting ideas... moreso than your average player. All of this pontificating about how some things don't come up only shows that you are not doing your research.

...

I have written a tossup on fitness (2009 MO), multiple tossups on speciation ( probably for MUT/NSC/Fall), bonus on green beards and Haldane's rule (2009 CO). I have also discarded multiple tossups on mitochnodrial DNA (all for being unusable in their own right) so it's not that people don't want to ask about some of these things, it's just that no good attempt has been made yet, and we'd love to see you try it.
Okay, that's fair. I wasn't complaining that ecology and evolution topics don't come up, so much as that they don't come up with the frequency one would expect given the fairly large place they occupy in biology. Anyway, I'll see what I can do.
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Re: Less-Used Topics (And Why?)

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:41 pm

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:Your tossup is pretty good, but what else could it really be when you mention "multiple membranes" ?
Yeah this is exactly the problem. Endosymbiosis is one of those things that's inherently figure-outable in tossup form.
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