Question-specific discussion

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Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:39 pm

This is the thread for discussion of specific questions. We'd especially appreciate any comments about errors, typos, or anything else which should be fixed before future mirrors.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:21 pm

The trash in this tournament was ridiculously fun. Particular kudos to the questions on Balto, humans, Ash Ketchum's dad, Kudryavka, and the water type.

Regarding the science - the only clue I remember off-hand as being particularly out-of-place was the VEI (which is the Volcanic Explosivity Index and reasonably well-known) being mentioned very early in the tossup on volcanoes. In the tossup on "slopes", I see what you were trying to do (mass wasting and all of that is important, yes) and it was a good idea in principle, but it didn't play well. In the tossup on tRNA, I believe the answer was referred to as "this molecule", which kind of threw me off - a better pronoun would be "these molecules" or "this type of molecule", since tRNA is variable in both its composition and function.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:16 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:In the tossup on "slopes", I see what you were trying to do (mass wasting and all of that is important, yes) and it was a good idea in principle, but it didn't play well.
Anything specific here? Fixed the others; thanks.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:55 pm

All in all, the tournament was enjoyable to read and play. A couple issues I noticed, which I didn't already express:

- The "sikh gurus" tossup was pretty transparent to me, and seemed pretty easy at "lion."
- The Poynting vector bonus in packet 4 made me sort of mad, because part three basically artificially inflated its difficulty by using obfuscatory, sciencey-sounding terns. One could have just as easily asked for the mean value of the integral of sine squared as the medium part, and using a more suitable hard part. (To be clear, I am all in favor of "hard questions about simple topics," but it's a little ridiculous, in my mind, to predicate conversion of a hard part on correctly parsing
Using complex phasor representation, one can derive the time-averaged Poynting vector as this factor times the real part of the phasor form of the electric field crossed with the complex conjugate of the phasor form of the magnetic H field.
as
what's the well-known average value of a standard integral?
- The "fermions" tossup in packet 1 seemed a little generous on the power, or just a little easy, in general for a fall-plus tournament: in particular, "Majorana" is a big buzz point, and the description of the Fermi-Dirac distribution is the subject of an undergraduate thermodynamics course. I do, however, acknowledge that I know more about this than most.
- I learned "Love Wave" simply as "L Wave," so you may consider adding a prompt
- The Special relativity tossup meantioned "beta" too soon, IMO. This is definitely okay power material for high school, but should be powered by every physics expert at the college level.
- I heard generally negative reactions to the "ancient Egyptian burial" tossup. I wasn't playing that round, but I probably would have negged it with something about mummification. I understand that it's wrong, but the distinction wasn't intuitively obvious, at least for the first two or three lines.

Otherwise, the set seemed pretty solid. I will note that I enjoyed the diversity of the mythology used (although as I am a noted advocate of weird mythology, your mileage may vary). The exception was the Welsh myth question in Packet 9, in which I did not see a clear easy part.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:09 pm

I heard some really great music leadins (hope that the rest of those questions were as good), but I would like to note that the Beethoven violin concerto begins with 5 timpani notes, not 4...

Mentioning "pointing" in the Poynting vector bonus seemed ill-advised.

The "burial" tossup seemed to be basically saying "let's bait people who know things about mummification but don't have deeper knowledge of egyptian rituals into negging with mummification" which seems a bit disingenuous to me, although i understand the impulse.

Could I see the tossup on the Annunciation? It seemed to begin with some pretty ridiculous things, but I could be wrong.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:17 pm

vinteuil wrote:The "burial" tossup seemed to be basically saying "let's bait people who know things about mummification but don't have deeper knowledge of egyptian rituals into negging with mummification" which seems a bit disingenuous to me, although i understand the impulse.
Unless there were clues that could apply to both burial and mummification (if so, I apologize), I don't think the question is doing that - if you know what the clue is referring to, then you won't neg it with mummification. You might recognize something as being Egyptian and then buzz with mummification, but that comes with the risk attendant any time you buzz and say something vaguely related to the words you heard.
vinteuil wrote:Could I see the tossup on the Annunciation? It seemed to begin with some pretty ridiculous things, but I could be wrong.
There's a bonus part on the Annunciation, but no tossup on the Annunciation. Are you thinking of the Crucifixion tossup?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:23 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
vinteuil wrote:Could I see the tossup on the Annunciation? It seemed to begin with some pretty ridiculous things, but I could be wrong.
There's a bonus part on the Annunciation, but no tossup on the Annunciation. Are you thinking of the Crucifixion tossup?
I was thinking of Adoration of the Magi, my bad.
women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
vinteuil wrote:The "burial" tossup seemed to be basically saying "let's bait people who know things about mummification but don't have deeper knowledge of egyptian rituals into negging with mummification" which seems a bit disingenuous to me, although i understand the impulse.
Unless there were clues that could apply to both burial and mummification (if so, I apologize), I don't think the question is doing that - if you know what the clue is referring to, then you won't neg it with mummification. You might recognize something as being Egyptian and then buzz with mummification, but that comes with the risk attendant any time you buzz and say something vaguely related to the words you heard.
Fair enough; the descriptions of things involving canopic jars seemed mummy-ish, iirc?
Last edited by vinteuil on Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Corry » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:28 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote: Unless there were clues that could apply to both burial and mummification (if so, I apologize), I don't think the question is doing that - if you know what the clue is referring to, then you won't neg it with mummification. You might recognize something as being Egyptian and then buzz with mummification, but that comes with the risk attendant any time you buzz and say something vaguely related to the words you heard.
Could you post the full text to the question on Egyptian burials? In my room, four people buzzed at the same time near the end of the question, and the team we were playing (Penn C, I think) negged with "mummification". The question then proceeded to go dead because the rest of us weren't sure what else the question could have been asking for.

I'm sure there's nothing factually wrong with the question. Based off my room's experience, however, asking for that specific answer line just doesn't seem like a good idea.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Corry » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:33 pm

This has already been mentioned in the "General Discussion" thread, but I found the tossup on seascapes to be an extraordinarily weird answer line. Could you also post the full text of that question (or maybe just the full answer line-- either works)?

I'd also like to see the full answer line of the tossup on the War of Jenkin's Ear. The other team negged on that question, so I waited it out to the end, but I was wondering whether the War of Austrian Succession or King George's War would have been acceptable at any point in the question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:34 pm

Overall, I thought this set was pretty solid, though I echo others' complaints about the varying difficulty of the tossups and bonuses. While I came to this tournament expecting something like EFT or IFT as indicated in the announcement, I learned to expect something more like this past year's MUT or somethings more Regs-minus. The Fall-level tossups and bonuses interspersed in the set did not help with trying to determine what difficulty it shot for.

Some specific things:

I'm not sure about the clue ordering for Skadi, but since I'm not a Norse myth expert I don't have any real complaints about it.
"Sugar" was asked for twice, in the same context (as a Caribbean commodity).
The insertion sort/big O of n^2/online algorithms bonus didn't seem to have a discernible easy part.
In a vacuum, what I remember of the stickleback clue for the "speciation" tossup could also apply to fixed action patterns.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by vinteuil » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:36 pm

Oh yeah, could I see the question on Rhapsodies? I remember it calling them a "form" (they're almost formless, almost by definition), and including a clue about Dohnanyi's last piece (I know that his last opus is flute music, including a passacaglia) being one.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:40 pm

vinteuil wrote:I was thinking of Adoration of the Magi, my bad.
I don't think there was a tossup on that, either.
Corry wrote:Could you post the full text to the question on Egyptian burials? In my room, four people buzzed at the same time near the end of the question, and the team we were playing (Penn C, I think) negged with "mummification". The question then proceeded to go dead because the rest of us weren't sure what else the question could have been asking for.

I'm sure there's nothing factually wrong with the question. Based off my room's experience, however, asking for that specific answer line just doesn't seem like a good idea.
4. A blade used to cut the umbilical cord after childbirth, the peseshkaf, was also used in these events. Participants in these events wore crowns of justification. A symbolic ritual performed during these events is known as the opening of the mouth ceremony. Statues known as ushabti were provided to participants in these events, which often took place in mastabas. Spells used in these events include the Spell of the Twelve Caves, and are found in collections like the Pyramid Texts. Before these events, internal organs were removed and placed in canopic jars as part of the mummification process. For 10 points, name these events in which deceased ancient Egyptians were prepared for the afterlife.
ANSWER: ancient Egyptian burials [accept anything indicating that it’s a funerary practice; do not accept “embalming” or “mummification” because all the clues are about stuff that happens after that]
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:43 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:\ANSWER: ancient Egyptian burials [accept anything indicating that it’s a funerary practice; do not accept “embalming” or “mummification” because all the clues are about stuff that happens after that]
Would "funerals" have been acceptable for this?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:49 pm

Christ, I Know wrote:
women, fire and dangerous things wrote:\ANSWER: ancient Egyptian burials [accept anything indicating that it’s a funerary practice; do not accept “embalming” or “mummification” because all the clues are about stuff that happens after that]
Would "funerals" have been acceptable for this?
Yes.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:18 pm

vinteuil wrote:I heard some really great music leadins (hope that the rest of those questions were as good), but I would like to note that the Beethoven violin concerto begins with 5 timpani notes, not 4...
Brief explanation, which will hopefully not turn into a thread derail:

Unless I am mistaken, I am to blame for first introducing the "opens with four timpani notes" clue about Beethoven's violin concerto to collegiate quizbowl in a tossup I wrote while editing for ACF Fall 2010. Since then, it has appeared in four other tournaments that I've seen (ACF Regionals 2012, ACF Fall 2012, Minnesota Open 2012, and MFT 2013), and much to my surprise, it appears to have become the standard clue for the piece. This clue appears on the Wikipedia page for the concerto, so I'm not crediting myself as the actual source of the clue, of course.

In the beginning of the concerto, the timpani does indeed play five notes total: four notes solo, which open the piece; and then one note together with the woodwinds when they enter in the next measure. If you look at sources, there are two common ways of describing this: either you think the important thing is that the timpani plays five notes total, or you think the important thing is that the timpani plays four unaccompanied before the other instruments enter. Back in 2010, I decided that it was better to clue the four, because someone who had only listened to the piece and not checked the score might only hear the opening four (the fifth is buried on many recordings). So, I wrote: "Beethoven’s sole work in this genre begins with four lone timpani strokes". This to me seems right; the piece opens with exactly four lone strokes. A person who knows the piece well enough to know that there are five, will know that the fifth stroke is not solo. When editing a violin concerto common-link for ACF Regionals 2012, I had room to expand this clue to be slightly clearer: "Beethoven’s work of this type opens with four strokes of the timpani on the tonic note of D before the woodwinds enter".

I don't remember from playtesting how the clue was phrased in this tossup. But that's my rationale for defending this general way of describing the opening. And I should note that this is a common way of describing it outside of quizbowl too.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:40 pm

Here's what I have from my round-by-round notes:

Round 1
-The Tokugawa Shogunate tossup was very easy
-This is a very good Aztec myth tossup (no names until the end, good buzzable clues throughout)
-I stupidly did not power the poverty tossup because I blanked on what Amartya Sen is best known for, but he probably shouldn't be in power.
-The Philip tossup probably mentioned the Battle of the Golden Spurs too early
-Sonderbund should probably not be in power for Switzerland

Round 2
-This packet had three tossups with Japanese material in it; on the plus side, the Japan (religion) and Susanowo (as it was once pronounced) tossups are good (no obvious name-country/region giveaways until the end)
-The "Rome" tossup said "Pope" some time in the middle, which caused me to rule out Rome as an answer because it seemed way too easy. This was probably ill-advised on my part, but regardless it was probably a bad idea to put that clue that early in the question.
-The Antietam tossup mentioned the Hagerstown Turnpike in the first line, which caused me to buzz with "Gettysburg" because there was conflict over the Hagerstown Road at that battle. Obviously my fault, but I think that clue could possibly confuse other players with real knowledge about both battles.
-The special relativity tossup mentioned velocity addition very early (telling you it's some kind of relativity) and then mentioned hyperbolic geometry, which I thought was a bit transparent.
-The Holy Roman Empire bonus seemed easier than most

Round 3
-The tossups on Skadi and Russia were pretty good, though I think the Black Hundreds are pretty well known. The Skadi tossup just in general seemed pretty well-done.
-The clues for Edward the Confessor seem misordered to me, though at the same time my knowledge of him may be weird
-I really liked the tossup on Sanskrit. It's pretty simple and easy, but the fact that it's a relatively difficult answerline for this tournament counterbalances that fairly well, and everything in the question is important. It's very pyramidal as well.
-Mit'a should not be in power for Inca

Round 5
-The tossups on Finnish myth was pretty good imo, though Stephen Liu said the clue about a duck caused him to neg against us, though for me it was uniquely identifying.
-rotation curves should not be in power for anything related to any type of galaxy
-Mentioning Somali insurgents in a tossup on a neighbor of Somalia might not be a great idea, but I liked the Kenya question overall

Round 6
-Saying "this country's Taliban" early in a tossup on Pakistan caused me to rule out Afghanistan/Pakistan as an answer. Again, probably bad practice on my part, but that really seems like a bad idea imo
-The tossup on Mexico had an unfortunate typo that said Pius IX issued the bull Iniquis Afflictisquie, which is factually incorrect; Pius XI issued that bull. This caused me to not buzz, and Stephen Eltinge ended up getting the tossup instead of me. Thankfully this did not have any effect on the game outcome, but it was still really annoying.

Round 7
-This Bolivia tossup is pretty good (wasn't entirely rivers and mountains; had cool clues about world heritage sites, etc.)
-Tocqueville is ridiculously early in this prisons tossup
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:46 pm

It might help if you explained why questions were good or too easy; it's hard to get much from your list otherwise.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:55 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:In the tossup on "slopes", I see what you were trying to do (mass wasting and all of that is important, yes) and it was a good idea in principle, but it didn't play well.
Anything specific here? Fixed the others; thanks.
Can you post the "slopes" tossup? (and, unrelatedly, could someone post the tossup on religion in Japan?)

Grace negged on the tossup with the sticklebacks with something involving FAPs, so that's presumably something worth looking into in light of Ben's comment. Also, I concur with Zach re: the hard part of the Poynting vector bonus
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:57 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:Can you post the "slopes" tossup? (and, unrelatedly, could someone post the tossup on religion in Japan?)
The Fellenius and Bishop routine solutions are extensions of the method of slices, all of which are used when modeling these structures. The three models of the evolution of these structures are decline, replacement, and parallel retreat. Weathering-limited and transport-limited are the two major varieties of these structures, which can suffer from rotational, translational, or compound slip. Internal frictional resistance and particle cohesion affect the shear strength of these structures, which are subject to mass wasting. The angle of repose is the steepest that one of these structures can be without losing stability. The continental shelf transitions to a "continental" one of structures, which itself transitions to the continental rise. For 10 points, identify these inclined surfaces.
ANSWER: hillslopes [or grades; or gradients; or pitchs; or rises; or inclines until "inclined surface" is read]

The planned resettlement of Jews in this country was the subject of the Five Ministers’ Conference. A religion originating in this country contains a list of transgressions called the Eight Dusts and believes that physical bodies are borrowed to live the Joyous Life. The patron saint of Mexico City, Philip de Jesus, was killed in this country as one of the Twenty-Six Martyrs. One festival practiced in this country is named after the ages of children who partake in it and has a name translating as “seven five three.” Suspected Christians in this country were forced to step on images of Jesus or Mary in a period during which they were labelled “hidden.” The first Catholic missionary to this country was Francis Xavier, and one of its religions worships kami. For 10 points, name this home country of Tenrikyo and Shinto.
ANSWER: Japan
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:11 pm

I dunno, some things just feel kind of off about the slopes tossup. The continental slope is a qualitatively different kind of thing than the other things described in the tossup, for one (though I see why you probably need that in there for conversion reasons). Even if it _is_ uniquely-identifying that "internal frictional resistance and particle cohesion" are things that affect the shear strength of slopes, it doesn't really _feel_ uniquely-identifying - those terms seem like they could affect the shear strength of anything that shears. All the clues prior to "mass wasting" are just kind of hard (albeit important!) because geology is generally understudied among quizbowlers, and also because this topic in particular seems new to quizbowl. Aside from the continental slope bit, this I think would've been a pretty good tossup for a regionals(+) tournament, but it just kind of felt out of place here.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:43 pm

The planned resettlement of Jews in this country was the subject of the Five Ministers’ Conference. A religion originating in this country contains a list of transgressions called the Eight Dusts and believes that physical bodies are borrowed to live the Joyous Life. The patron saint of Mexico City, Philip de Jesus, was killed in this country as one of the Twenty-Six Martyrs. One festival practiced in this country is named after the ages of children who partake in it and has a name translating as “seven five three.” Suspected Christians in this country were forced to step on images of Jesus or Mary in a period during which they were labelled “hidden.” The first Catholic missionary to this country was Francis Xavier, and one of its religions worships kami. For 10 points, name this home country of Tenrikyo and Shinto.
ANSWER: Japan
I liked this question a lot. Kirk was very dissappointed in me for not buzzing before "ages of children".

Added some more descriptive information to my above post.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:45 am

Some comments, not exactly in packet order:

- I think Zach Pace makes a good point about the feasibility of parsing equation-bowl on the fly (e.g. that bonus part, the tunneling tossup). I'm not a science person and haven't successfully parsed an equation for points since 2010, but I guess I've just seen seemingly-useful equation clues flummox people really frequently and would like to hear more as an outsider about how useful they are (and whether they may have to be limited to equations with only a few terms, or to discussing really specific-looking single terms of a longer equation.)

- I was initially really skeptical about the factual accuracy of the burial tossup, but as it turns out the Opening of the Mouth is in fact done to bodies that have already been mummified. Usually I would be rather unsympathetic to people who guess wrong things, especially on a religion tossup (you know, "welcome to quizbowl; learn more", all that), but I get the impression this tossup just plays too badly to be kept. It was negged in almost every room (meaning the team with less familiarity with ancient Egypt picked it up for 10 at the end in almost every game), and that situation is probably dire enough that it warrants replacement with a tossup on "mummies" or "Ancient Egypt" or "embalming/mummification" or "dead people" with Egyptian clues, or something that is more eminently powerable, by the time this is played again next week.

- How many of the clues in the tossup on "loas" were lies referring only to orishas, and how many refer to both or to all Yoruba-influenced Afro-Caribbean traditions writ large? In particular, the horse-mounting ritual seems common to both, "they were syncretized with saints" is common to both, and sacrifice a live chicken really makes most people think to the Santeria group in Florida that got sued (or, since this is quizbowl, to the giveaway of Santeria tossups). This tossup requires a rewrite or perhaps a replacement.

- The Nicene creed bonus should say "proceeds from the Father...", not "proceeds the Father...". This typo makes it sound like you guys invented a brand new heresy, in which the Holy Spirit precedes the Father and the Son, and I'd prefer that this year's Michigan quizbowl team not burn at the stake.

- In the philosophy realm, I thought that the tossups on "Being and Time, "the state," and Derrida all had very hard early clues in power and wouldn't look out of place at Regionals (was that early Derrida thing 'Plato's Pharmacy?'). The bonus part on the Nazi Germany study Behemoth is defensible at some tournaments throughout the year, but it's too hard for this one. On the other hand, I'm not sure why a tossup on skepticism says "its opposite is reliabilism" in power, but I suppose people are worse at guessing than they ought to be.

-This is the sort of tournament where a tossup or two a game can be on something that's a step up from the usual easy-level answer difficulty, such as Skadi or Giant Steps, so while I raised an eyebrow at the former, I wouldn't go too far overboard going "hey, this tossup was on a somewhat harder thing" unless there was a packet where there were far too many or there were just too many across the set.

- "This is definitely the most famous name reaction for which the selection rules of Woodward and Hoffmann apply." Uhh...I'm no chemist, but this type of clue just rang out to me as bad style.

- I had to read the words "associated with..." nine times in eleven rounds yesterday; that seems excessive.

- Agreeing that the Tocqueville clue is about two lines too early in the prisons tossup. Additionally, I'd consider moving the Green Belt clue down to the second or third line in the Kenya question, but that may not be necessary modulo that actually not being that famous in America.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:51 am

RyuAqua wrote:- I think Zach Pace makes a good point about the feasibility of parsing equation-bowl on the fly (e.g. that bonus part, the tunneling tossup). I'm not a science person and haven't successfully parsed an equation for points since 2010, but I guess I've just seen seemingly-useful equation clues flummox people really frequently and would like to hear more as an outsider about how useful they are (and whether they may have to be limited to equations with only a few terms, or to discussing really specific-looking single terms of a longer equation.)
I'm no fan of equation bowl and find most such clues incredibly useless. That doesn't mean they can't be useful, however - you just have to be careful. In the specific case of the tunneling TU: while you may not have derived that exact equation, or even remember it, I think the clue is useful because of the more-or-less standard notation you use in QM (plus the clue has a lot of other substance to it aside from the equation).

When using equations, I typically want to make sure that they are important and relevant to the answer (e.g. Shockley diode equation), will be correctly interpreted by someone with knowledge of it (i.e. short enough, easy to parse, standard notation/spell out what is in the equation), is memorable enough that it's easy to remember (e.g. Shockley diode equation), and has other components so that the clue isn't wholly based on "can you interpret this equation". I don't think you have to satisfy all these criteria to have equation clues be useful, but I like them as a guiding principle.

Edit: also, the problem with the 1/2 bonus part is that it was simply too hard for this level. That's not really related to the (very standard, very simple) equation for the time-averaged Poynting vector stated in the question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:06 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:- I think Zach Pace makes a good point about the feasibility of parsing equation-bowl on the fly (e.g. that bonus part, the tunneling tossup). I'm not a science person and haven't successfully parsed an equation for points since 2010, but I guess I've just seen seemingly-useful equation clues flummox people really frequently and would like to hear more as an outsider about how useful they are (and whether they may have to be limited to equations with only a few terms, or to discussing really specific-looking single terms of a longer equation.)
I'm no fan of equation bowl and find most such clues incredibly useless. That doesn't mean they can't be useful, however - you just have to be careful. In the specific case of the tunneling TU: while you may not have derived that exact equation, or even remember it, I think the clue is useful because of the more-or-less standard notation you use in QM (plus the clue has a lot of other substance to it aside from the equation).

When using equations, I typically want to make sure that they are important and relevant to the answer (e.g. Shockley diode equation), will be correctly interpreted by someone with knowledge of it (i.e. short enough, easy to parse, standard notation/spell out what is in the equation), is memorable enough that it's easy to remember (e.g. Shockley diode equation), and has other components so that the clue isn't wholly based on "can you interpret this equation". I don't think you have to satisfy all these criteria to have equation clues be useful, but I like them as a guiding principle.
This is more or less my train of thought. I agree that the derivation clue in the tunneling TU was well-placed and reasonably clear, aside from my usual gripe of being stingy with commas. I didn't play that round, but it was converted for 10 by my ChemE teammate at a reasonable point. I also agree that the mathematical language in the diode question was both useful and fairly easy to interpret. Upon further reflection, it seems to me that the style of the offending bonus part was jarringly different from the style of the previous part, and "this factor" was buried in the middle of a bunch of math. One could have easily have written, "this numerical factor appears in the equation for the time-averaged Poynting vector. It emerges as a result of integrating a phasor squared over that phasor's period." This is simpler, there is no mathematical language to parse, and most significantly, it rewards the knowledge that a phasor is a complex representation of a sinusoid, which, when squared, and integrated, yields a factor of one-half.
Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:Edit: also, the problem with the 1/2 bonus part is that it was simply too hard for this level. That's not really related to the (very standard, very simple) equation for the time-averaged Poynting vector stated in the question.
I actually disagree with this. I will grant that the question doesn't do a very good job of explaining why it is related (which may be functionally the same as being unrelated), but one does in fact do that derivation when calculating light intensity. The obfuscatory way it was asked made it difficult--I think my version above would have been appropriate as a hard part, and merely saying in addition that a phasor is a sine wave, then asking for the coefficient, would enable most physicists, engineers, and mathematicians who finished their calculus sequence to convert for 10.

All in all, though, Cody, I think we are of similar minds here. The point is that people should avoid obscuring answers which are simple in several lines of jargon, at least for tournaments at regular difficulty or less.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by t-bar » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:57 pm

I don't want to entirely derail this thread into science discussion, so I'll just briefly note that I found the first equations in both the diode and tunneling tossups to be parseable, useful, and buzzable. This was because they were not only well-worded but also well-chosen--I buzzed on the first equation in the tunneling tossup because I've always found the fact that the rate is proportional to "e to the negative two times a phase" rather than just "e to a negative phase" unusual and memorable, not because I was parsing the dimensionful quantities under the integral. Not all equations, even if they are perfectly described in the tossup, are as useful or possible to process on the fly.

I think there are two problems with the "one-half" bonus part:
Using complex phasor representation, one can derive the time-averaged Poynting vector as this factor times the real part of the phasor form of the electric field crossed with the complex conjugate of the phasor form of the magnetic H field.
First of all, as Cody stated, this is probably a bit too hard for this tournament. Secondly, however, it's worded in way that makes it difficult to parse as it's being read to you. What are we taking the real part of? In the game, I thought you wanted (the real part of the electric field) crossed with something, and I got confused. In addition, it's a bit redundant to say "phasor" three times--the real part of an expression is the same no matter how you choose to represent it. I think a better wording of this bonus part would have been:
Using complex phasor representation, one can derive the time-averaged Poynting vector as this factor times the real part of the cross product of the electric field and the magnetic H field.
That way, the order of operations is made clear, and you cut down on excess verbiage.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:28 pm

I think I was misinterpreting what you meant by obfuscatory, Zach—sure, I can see how you might be confused by the phrasing of the equation. What I don't think is obfuscatory was not going into detail about why it is 1/2 / giving more clues—doing so would've made it the part easier, but not doing so isn't intentionally hiding anything to make the part harder.

So, in essence, I guess we probably agree about that, too.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:11 pm

t-bar wrote:I don't want to entirely derail this thread into science discussion, so I'll just briefly note that I found the first equations in both the diode and tunneling tossups to be parseable, useful, and buzzable.
I'm not really a science person, but I took an accelerated introductory physics course sequence where we did some basic quantum mechanics. Based on what we did in that class, the equation in the tunneling tossup made me think that the answer was tunneling, but by the time I was pretty sure noted person who knows science Ashvin Srivatsa had buzzed.
t-bar wrote:First of all, as Cody stated, this is probably a bit too hard for this tournament. Secondly, however, it's worded in way that makes it difficult to parse as it's being read to you. What are we taking the real part of? In the game, I thought you wanted (the real part of the electric field) crossed with something, and I got confused.
This reminds me of the bonus at VCU Open that asked for a "formula" to calculate the potential energy of a pendulum. While in a physics class this would be straightforward, quizbowl tends to be the realm of Named Things, and I got confused at that tournament and thought "really, there's a name for this?". I feel like just asking for "this number" or "this numberical factor" or "this numerical coefficient" is better. Thankfully this was a HARD part at this tournament, rather than an easy part.
RyuAqua wrote:I was initially really skeptical about the factual accuracy of the burial tossup, but as it turns out the Opening of the Mouth is in fact done to bodies that have already been mummified. Usually I would be rather unsympathetic to people who guess wrong things, especially on a religion tossup (you know, "welcome to quizbowl; learn more", all that), but I get the impression this tossup just plays too badly to be kept. It was negged in almost every room (meaning the team with less familiarity with ancient Egypt picked it up for 10 at the end in almost every game), and that situation is probably dire enough that it warrants replacement with a tossup on "mummies" or "Ancient Egypt" or "embalming/mummification" or "dead people" with Egyptian clues, or something that is more eminently powerable, by the time this is played again next week.
I thought the clues were pretty clear when we played this, in particular the bit about the opening of the mouth ceremony, which I was able to buzz on. The fact that "peseshkaf" sounds Egyptian and that it's some sort of event/process doesn't mean people deserve points for negging with random ancient Egyptian things; hence, I would dispute the use of that word early in the tossup, but not much else. I think we should find out how the question played at other sites; if it played as badly there, I'll concede Matt's point.
How many of the clues in the tossup on "loas" were lies referring only to orishas, and how many refer to both or to all Yoruba-influenced Afro-Caribbean traditions writ large? In particular, the horse-mounting ritual seems common to both, "they were syncretized with saints" is common to both, and sacrifice a live chicken really makes most people think to the Santeria group in Florida that got sued (or, since this is quizbowl, to the giveaway of Santeria tossups). This tossup requires a rewrite or perhaps a replacement.
Somebody mentioned negging with something like "santeria religious figures" on this one (I think it may have been Eric) and it seemed kind of obvious (which West-African derived religious figures are these?) when being played. While I don't want another stock tossup on voodoo or santeria, I think it may have to be done unless this tossup gets rewritten.
Christ, I Know wrote:I'm not sure about the clue ordering for Skadi, but since I'm not a Norse myth expert I don't have any real complaints about it.
I missed this earlier, but I agree with this, despite my comment about the tossup on Skadi being well-done and a good break from fastballs. I don't know if my knowledge of Norse myth is weird or something, but I think the clues about Thjazi are harder than the clue about making her laugh and the snake dripping on Loki.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:10 pm

Can you post the tunneling tossup? I honestly didn't have any idea what was going in that question and only buzzed based on the "Could this be anything other than ___" principle. In particular, whatever equation was going on when I buzzed was completely opaque to me (possibly because I wasn't listening hard enough).
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:12 pm

In Yang-Mills theories, BPST instantons are solutions for this phenomenon between two vacua of different Chern-Simons numbers. Field emission of electrons is explained by this phenomenon. e to the negative two over h-bar times integral between two points of root two m times quantity V of x minus E, dx is the derived probability for this phenomenon when using the WKB approximation. A diode that operates via this phenomenon was created by Leo Esaki. Fusion occurs via this process in the Gamow window because nuclei don't have to overcome the Coulomb barrier. For 10 points, name this classically forbidden phenomenon in which a particle passes through a potential barrier even though its energy is less than the barrier's.
ANSWER: quantum mechanical tunneling
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:37 pm

In retrospect, that tossup seems fairly transparent.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:39 pm

I'll post more later, but I found the V(x) - E clue buzzable for the tunneling tossup, because when you solve the particle in a box that shows up for tunneling. I certainly was thinking it when the question talked about tunnelling between vacuum states (which I've seen in a context different from the one on the question), but I found it better to wait.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:51 pm

Ah, I see what was going on there. I didn't get the scope of the operators correct (the integral is in the exponential and the V-E term is in the square root). I don't think there's any good solution to this (you'd have to throw in lots of QUANTITY / END QUANTITY), so I guess there's nothing amiss there.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Make sure your seatbelt is fastened » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:51 am

Bonus 1, Packet 1, and Bonus 13, Packet 14 are the same bonus. Also, Nippon should be acceptable.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:14 pm

I only heard the first two clues of the "grasslands" tossup, but I was glad to hear ecology/evolution questions that were not random-taxon bowl, and I thought this was a particularly clever way to toss up concepts in community ecology that would otherwise be very difficult to test. In general, there was a lot of ecology and evolution in this tournament and much of it was well-written and important, so good job to whoever did that. Regarding the speciation question, though, I was thinking "adaptive radiation" on the stickleback clue, since I assumed that was referring to Dolph Schluter's work. Can someone post the full question and (apparently quite long) answer line?

I would like to personally thank Dartmouth for mentioning a building the entire MSU team walks past every day in their Michigan architecture question.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Windmill Tump » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:18 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:Can someone post the full question and (apparently quite long) answer line?
An underlying mechanism for one type of this process is modeled by the Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller model. The most important model organism for this process is the three-spined stickleback. That mechanism is increased by "reinforcement", or the Wallace effect. Ernst Mayr proposed another type of this process after mapping the ranges of birds in New Guinea. Gould and Eldredge built on Mayr's theory when proposing that this process occurred during short periods in punctuated equilibrium. The two most common examples of this process result from reduction in gene flow or geographic isolation and are sympatric and allopatric. For 10 points, identify this process by which new species arise.
ANSWER: speciation [or obvious equivalents, such as the creation of new species, until "new species arise" is read; prompt on anagenesis; prompt on cladogenesis; prompt on genetic incompatibility; prompt on reproductive isolation; prompt on hybridization; prompt on gene flow; prompt on natural selection; prompt on evolution]
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:36 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:I would like to personally thank Dartmouth for mentioning a building the entire MSU team walks past every day in their Michigan architecture question.
You can also credit Nick with the grasslands tossup (at least I think he told me after the tournament that he wrote that).
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:58 pm

Now then.

PACKET 1:
-I'm glad you've dug up yet another leadin for Ziegler-Natta catalysts in this question.
-I really enjoyed the leadin to this fermion question
-What is this leadin in the Aztec tossup referring to? I've never heard that story
-This packet suffers from something that this tournament suffered from globally, which is a somewhat poor subdistribution between categories. In this case, there was a lot of China and Japan in this packet.
-So here's a good illustration of bonus variability. The hard part of this kidney bonus is "countercurrent multiplier", which is something learned in AP bio. On the other hand, this enthalpy bonus has a hard part I assume one only learns in a chemical engineering class

PACKET 2:
-Starting a tossup on the Diels-Alder reaction with "its oxo variant" is a bad idea. You should start with what the oxo variant makes, then name it. This is another recurring problem in this set (word order) which I will point out
-I'm really glad this SR tossup went before "velocity addition formula" in our room, otherwise that'd have been a buzzer race of the worst kind.

PACKET 3:
-I don't know enough about the Black Hundreds to say whether that was too early in this question; it doesn't really stick out as quizbowl famous to me, and Patrick got it based on very real knowledge.
-T cells leadin was fabulous
-Leading in a question on carboxylic acids with a clue about acyl halides isn't a great idea. Technically amides, esters, carboxylates, anhydrides, acyl halides, etc are all derivatives of each other. HVZ is a great clue though.

Now I'm bored and have to write penn bowl.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:50 pm

RyuAqua wrote:I'm not a science person and haven't successfully parsed an equation for points since 2010, but I guess I've just seen seemingly-useful equation clues flummox people really frequently and would like to hear more as an outsider about how useful they are (and whether they may have to be limited to equations with only a few terms, or to discussing really specific-looking single terms of a longer equation.)
I actually find it harder to understand clues that use the quizbowl convention of describing an equation instead of just saying it outright. This may be exacerbated by my being in engineering school, where theory is always subservient to practice. Anyway, it seems that I am in the minority for liking the "parse this equation" style.
RyuAqua wrote:...and that situation is probably dire enough that it warrants replacement with a tossup on "mummies" or "Ancient Egypt" or "embalming/mummification" or "dead people" with Egyptian clues, or something that is more eminently powerable, by the time this is played again next week.
Yesterday, I answered this tossup correctly with "dead people in Ancient Egypt" after being prompted on "Ancient Egyptians," so it must have been rewritten.

I wrote the Giant Steps tossup that is being mentioned as one of the harder questions in the tournament and would like to know how it was generally received.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:48 pm

Yesterday, I answered this tossup correctly with "dead people in Ancient Egypt" after being prompted on "Ancient Egyptians," so it must have been rewritten.
According to Will, it was revised due to the criticisms in this thread.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:23 pm

I thought the Giant Steps question seemed fine; it was probably above the average difficulty, but not unreasonably so. I also enjoy clues that spell out equations, since they tend to reward actually working with them, and because descriptions typically come out kind of vague and unhelpful.

I kind of disagree with Eric on the Fermions tossup - the lead-in is fine, I guess, but there's a huge cliff at "Majorana".

I agree with the people above who said the Special Relativity tossup got really easy really quickly.

I enjoyed the Ozarks bonus.

The liquid-liquid extraction bonus was really hard in comparison to this tournament's average and target.

The Yang-Mills theory bonus was a good idea and executed well, as was the following NKVD one.

Why would you lead-in with Shockley in a diodes tossup?

In addition to being pretty hard, if it had gotten there I would have buzzed on the "developed Monte Carlo" for von Neumann with Metropolis, seeing as it was Metropolis and Ulam who wrote the paper that's generally considered to have presented it, so the clue seems kind of misleading.

The bonus on disappeared things is great.

The Cauchy tossup was well done.

The bonus on the work function should at least prompt on phi.

I enjoyed the Carlsbad Caverns bonus.
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:46 pm

Madagascar Serpent Eagle wrote:The liquid-liquid extraction bonus was really hard in comparison to this tournament's average and target.
Yeah, in this packet, the easy parts on science went "cancer," "extraction," "Grand Canyon" (which isn't really science knowledge) and "atomic nuclei," with straightforward descriptions. Extraction is definitely harder than those other ones. Unless magnesium was the easy part, I can't really tell, I've got kind of a heavy bias when it comes to laboratory techniques. Was extraction supposed to be the easy part?
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:43 pm

magnesium was the easy part, not liquid-liquid extraction.

(also, the Grand Canyon part is entirely legitimate earth science knowledge. does that happen to overlap with geography? sure, but earth science tends to overlap with a lot of things and the Grand Canyon is a common topic of study / mention in geology, which obviously necessitates understanding how it was formed.)
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Re: Question-specific discussion

Post by bmcke » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:12 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:
Yesterday, I answered this tossup correctly with "dead people in Ancient Egypt" after being prompted on "Ancient Egyptians," so it must have been rewritten.
According to Will, it was revised due to the criticisms in this thread.
4. In one society, a ritual involving this type of person ... For 10 points, name this type of person.
ANSWER: a _corpse_ that used to be a person but now it is just matter [accept "Egyptian _corpse_"]
Brendan McKendy
University of Ottawa 2011
Ontario QBA 2019

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