Missouri Open discussion

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Missouri Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:02 am

I would have started this last night, but I fell asleep before results for everything got posted, so now that I can reasonably assume this set is cleared for discussion, go for it.
I do want to profusively thank everyone who wrote packets for this, as there were lots of things I found interesting submitted, along with the many people who freelanced some questions for us. Most importantly though, Auroni Gupta and Shantanu Jha did amazing amounts of work on this set, so if you liked something about it, chances are you can thank them, and if you didn't like something about it, chances are you can blame me. I do apologize for the set's length, as there were some other submitted packets I expected to do more with, but we decided to just scrap them, so we ended up with 12 packets. Hopefully that combined with Eurofest was enough to make a decent day out of it for each site (and I also want to thank Bruce for setting that up!).
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:34 pm

I would like to give massive thanks to Andy Watkins, Hannah Kirsch, Chris Ray, and Seth Teitler. You can attribute most merits of the chemistry and biology distributions to Andy and Hannah, who were able to write a large number of questions when I asked them on Friday. Chris spent a considerable portion of his Friday helping me track down packets and finding more freelance writers. Seth wrote a number of physics, earth science, and astronomy questions in the few days before the tournament, allowing us to circumvent the issue of repeats across the science distribution.

Thanks also to Ike Jose, Matt Menard, and Evan Weingarten, who, at the moment, are the people I recall sending me freelance questions on request in the past week or so. George Stevens, as well, for looking over the history and geography distributions.

I don't think the tournament met most of my aspirations for quality, but some of the blame lies with me, since I had abdicated my position as editor about a month before the tournament, placing a lot of pressure on both Charlie and Auroni. That said, for a tournament haphazardly edited over a period of three days, I don't think it ended horrifically.

I really apologize for any repeats or problems in the fine arts distribution, which strike me as doubly unfortunate because I spent a fair amount of time writing replacement fine arts questions. The most salient example would be the repeat of L'Orfeo, where an earlier version of my question managed to find its way into the finals packet.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by millionwaves » Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:45 pm

I really enjoyed playing these questions yesterday, and I think it's a shame that more people weren't able to make it to the west coast and midwest sites.

Although the questions weren't amazing (and some of that can be attributed to our own tardiness in submitting them, I'm sure), I recognize the immense amount of effort it takes to take a set of submitted packets and make them playable. This set was certainly that, and I'd like to express my appreciation to the editors that put in what must have been a long, hard fight on them.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:54 pm

I thought this was an okay tournament for the most part. There were a couple of odd tossups here and there, but I only recall being really mad at one, maybe two, tossups. I certainly am happy with the fact that i was able to play this tournament despite the small field at Mizzou. I won't be playing any tournaments until late October, and this was a good start and end to summer QB 2009.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:04 pm

I edited much of the literature and some science in this set, let me know if you have any questions about it.

One thing that I noticed though, is that despite our explicit reminder to teams to treat this as a "slightly above regular difficulty and below nats" event, many teams sent us tossups on shit hard things and bonuses. This, coupled with the fact that most of the packets became available to us in the four days prior to the tournament, meant that we had to keep some of these shit-hard things rather than replace them with something easier. So please, please, please, if you see that the difficulty in a tournament announcement is specified, try to keep to that difficulty!

I also want to remind certain teams NOT to include inter-team-question comments in their packet submission and other teams to actually write EVERYTHING that the distribution specifies
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:35 pm

To be fair, the announcement mentions "Illinois Opens, Minnesota Open, VCU Open, or Chicago Open 2007", all of which are of rather different difficulty levels. VCU Open was considerably more difficult than Chicago Open 2007, for example. And I don't think we received anything I would have perceived as out of place at VCU Open.

Really I was pretty pleased with the difficulty level, which I think ended up closer to this year's ACF Nats than anything else, which is admittedly where I wanted to steer it. It probably overshot my ideal difficulty level by a good bit, but honestly I think that the plethora of hard questions were at least as much my doing as the packets themselves.

If there are specific questions people want to talk about and critique, I would actually appreciate that.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:43 pm

I pledged to Auroni to make a post about this after Mizzou Open was completed, because I've been seeing a little increase in a trend of people doing this. Can we agree right now to stop picking numbered UN resolutions, presidential orders, and the like for hard bonus part answers? We had one submitted that was on a UN resolution prompted by the 6 day war, and while it certainly is important, I don't think asking about the numbered resolution is a good thing because people don't memorize those for every important incident the UN is involved in. I think there was a similar question in the PACE Armenian genocide bonus, and I would ask that writers, unless they are picking something people know within the context of its number (and I'm not sure I can think of anything), not to pick those numbered resolutions to fill out your hard part of a bonus. I want to nip this practice in the bud before it really gets rolling, because nobody wants to have bonus parts that are unanswerable and people just digging through Executive orders to pick their answers.
Otherwise, while it was harder than advertised for the obvious reasons Auroni pointed out, I consciously attempted to make sure there were plenty of normal answer lines in lots of the tossups, and the scoring I've seen suggests this set was difficulty appropriate for a lot of teams playing. I hope at least that, even if it did end up somewhat too hard, there was a good balancing of "things that are hard but interesting" and "things that were canonical. Matt Weiner thought the set did a good job of not going overboard, so hopefully others agree. I will be sending the set to Chris this evening.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by pray for elves » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:33 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I pledged to Auroni to make a post about this after Mizzou Open was completed, because I've been seeing a little increase in a trend of people doing this. Can we agree right now to stop picking numbered UN resolutions, presidential orders, and the like for hard bonus part answers? We had one submitted that was on a UN resolution prompted by the 6 day war, and while it certainly is important, I don't think asking about the numbered resolution is a good thing because people don't memorize those for every important incident the UN is involved in.
I don't know what the question was on specifically, as I did not play the set (and I wrote only one last-second math question), but UN resolution 242 is without a doubt the most frequently invoked and studied UN resolution. A class on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict I took spent an entire month on UN 242 and its effects. If the question was on a different resolution, then forget it, but 242 is not a bad answer choice for a bonus's hard part in my estimation.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:43 pm

First off: I'm probably one of the guilty parties who wrote stuff that was deemed "too hard," and I apologize.

Second: speaking of the history in the set, could someone with access to the packets post the "Washington" court case tossup? The only clues I heard were the "International Shoe" case and some case about apples, which thankfully led me to reflex, as my long-term memory was fuzzy to me at the time.

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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:03 pm

I could see where something like PT 109 would come into play, but yeah in general obscure numbers should be better left as clues than as answers.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:37 pm

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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:56 pm

UN Resolution 242 is pretty famous--it was heavily discussed, as it should be, in my Intro to the Middle East class. I'm not saying I would have remembered it, but it's definitely notable. That said, Charlie is correct in that just because something is an executive order or a resolution that does not inherently make it notable, but that applies to all laws, not just numbered ones.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by marnold » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:00 pm

I would imagine Executive Order 9066 is both important enough and well-known enough to make a decent answer. In general, of course, these answers are just special cases of the Ullsperger Lemma (or Theorem - I can't remember which. Someone with strong meta-fu or access to the archive of the old QB Wiki can identify which it is).
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:09 pm

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:I don't know what the question was on specifically, as I did not play the set (and I wrote only one last-second math question), but UN resolution 242 is without a doubt the most frequently invoked and studied UN resolution. A class on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict I took spent an entire month on UN 242 and its effects. If the question was on a different resolution, then forget it, but 242 is not a bad answer choice for a bonus's hard part in my estimation.
I took the same sort of course. I included a discussion of the terms of the resolution in my independent study work on EU attempts to mediate the conflict. I wouldn't have come up with the nubmer. (Though I'm not sure whether this statement better reflects the poor choice of a random number as an answer or my own ineptitude at playing quiz bowl.)
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by cornfused » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:11 pm

marnold wrote:I would imagine Executive Order 9066 is both important enough and well-known enough to make a decent answer. In general, of course, these answers are just special cases of the Ullsperger Lemma (or Theorem - I can't remember which. Someone with strong meta-fu or access to the archive of the old QB Wiki can identify which it is).
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:39 pm

Part of the problem with executive orders as opposed to say a UN resolution for example, is that sometimes Congress codifies those orders into permanent federal law (or in the case of the Emancipation Proclamation proposes them to the state as a constitutional amendment). So one, when writing, must take steps to make sure that they are paying strict attention to detail in the writing that they are only referring to the order and not a subsequent law promulgating the substance of that order.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:26 pm

Re: the tossup on D.G. Rossetti in the Luo packet - isn't Rossetti's "Ballad for Dead Ladies" just a translation of Villon's "Ballade des dames du temps jadis"? I would have buzzed with Villon on that clue.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by magin » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:30 pm

I did neg with Villon off that clue, and was quite put out.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:14 am

Sorry, I know Sorice either did neg or was going to neg with that clue as well, and I personally had no idea the poem was a translation so I didn't know that needed to be fixed.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:36 am

I apologize for the Dante Gabriel Rossetti tossup; I was responsible for partially rewriting it but I apparently managed to miss the fact it was a translation of a fairly famous Villon poem. I hope issues like this were not apparent in the rest of the tossup.

Another error that I thought I had fixed but made it into the final version of the packets is that the man who commissioned Ghirlandaio was Giovanni Tornabuoni, not Giovanni Fornabuoni.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Jesus vs. Dragons » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:23 am

I had a good time this weekend, these questions were definitely above my skill level, but the tournament itself was ran well by Borglum and Boris (Missouri Open Mirror @Valenica btw.) There was one nearly identical repeat on acids and bases, but that was just one thing, idk if anyone else noticed it.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by setht » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:25 am

I wrote the following questions: open clusters, pulsars, CMB/recombination/Silk damping; p waves, cloud seeding, Archaean/olivine/komatiitic; diffraction, dynamos, Stark effect, vorticity, moment of inertia, Mossbauer effect, chemical potential/grand canonical ensemble/PV, Born approximation/Fourier transform/partial waves, ferromagnetism/Weiss/hysteresis, phase transition/Landau/universality. If anyone has complaints or comments about any of those, please post here or email me.

Thanks,
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:08 pm

setht wrote:I wrote the following questions: open clusters, pulsars, CMB/recombination/Silk damping; p waves, cloud seeding, Archaean/olivine/komatiitic; diffraction, dynamos, Stark effect, vorticity, moment of inertia, Mossbauer effect, chemical potential/grand canonical ensemble/PV, Born approximation/Fourier transform/partial waves, ferromagnetism/Weiss/hysteresis, phase transition/Landau/universality. If anyone has complaints or comments about any of those, please post here or email me.

Thanks,
-Seth
All of those were pretty good (at least the ones we heard). I have some possibly invalid comments:

-Steiner's theorem shouldn't be in power for moment of inertia. You could have mentioned the Poinsot ellipsoid, for example.
-I'm not sure if the Giant stark effect in boron nitride nanotubes has become stock yet.
-Acousto-optic diffraction as the leadin for the diffraction tossup was a good idea, but as far as quizbowl notability goes I'm surprised you didn't mention Shaefer-Bergmann Diffraction or the Debye-Sears effect.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:25 pm

I thought I had kept the power mark on moment of inertia further back, but I guess not. In any case, Seth's original version of the question had placed Poinsot's ellipsoid much earlier, and I actually positioned it later than the Steiner's theorem clue (which I had never heard of, though apparently it's another name for the parallel axis theorem). My evidently faulty reasoning was that I had never heard of Steiner's theorem, whereas you learn about Poinsot's ellipsoid in first year physics courses, at least at Chicago.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:58 pm

Another error that I thought I had fixed but made it into the final version of the packets is that the man who commissioned Ghirlandaio was Giovanni Tornabuoni, not Giovanni Fornabuoni.
I'd love to see this question.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:12 pm

So like everyone, I enjoyed Missouri Open and I think we all know that it could have been a better set had the editors been able to put more time into it. I don't have time to do any question commentary right now, but I would like to address the whole not getting packets side of things.

At both this event and Fake Trashionals, I was under the impression that there would be a radically different number of packets available than there actually were. I did not find out about the packet differences until the day of/day before the tournament. At Missouri Open, I was not told there would be anything but 16 packets (desipte my repeated "how can you possibly get 16" themed comments) until SATURDAY MORNING WHEN I ARRIVED AT THE TOURNAMENT. Charlie, this is not acceptable. People need to make schedules, they need to tell teams what to expect, and they need to know what the tournament will be like to plan staff appropriately, etc. If not for the incredible show of altruism by Cameron Orth's team and Rutgers, who agreed to just play each other for the playoff round robin, we would essentially have had to wash the second half of the tournament. God knows what we would have done if we'd been running a paper tournament like Borglum.

I know things apparently happened the last few days leading up to the tournament, and that's something I'm not going to hold against anyone. I also know packets came in late (although in the case of our packet, that was simply because our team came together very late). But I think most of the late packets got played with minimal editing. So that's not the central issue. I also know that many of the last packets you sent me on Saturday were packets you recieved a month ago. Again, you got the job done and these packets were serviceable, the tournament was not delayed because of them, etc. So this isn't at all a rage-fueled invective, since man, I enjoyed the tournament, but more an expression of puzzlement at why you did not better communicate the situation to the sites. As Chris Borglum said to me on the phone when he called me Saturday morning (since there was no contact number for people to call, another big problem), he likely could have pulled together a paperless tournament if he'd known even one day in advance that it might be necessary. You've simply got to tell people what the situation is. Did you not look at the packets you got weeks or months before the tournament until the eleventh hour? Or did you just assume you'd have time to edit? I spent much of Friday serving as Shantanu's cloud messenger because he didn't know the things you needed to have told him, and other people didn't know the things he knew.

This isn't only directed at Charlie, because it happened with Matt too, and it happened with several events this year to people who aren't me. I know Charlie and Matt had things come up at the last minute that were utterly not expected, but the lack of advance communication - and prompt notification when it becomes clear that the situation is changing - has really been a problem this year, and it's something we need to do better as a community.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:42 pm

I thought for the most part this was a pretty decent set. The science was generally solid although the difficulty was kind of all over the place. I apologize for the lateness of my team's packet; the team was literally assembled a few days before the tournament because I didn't know when I would return from my research trip and what my circumstances would be after I got back.

It would have been nice to know the total number of packets before we started, but in this case I don't feel too aggrieved about it. Delays due to this were pretty minimal and we were able to get 6 full rounds of EuroFest done on top of it, so thanks to Maryland for their smart organization.

Is the full set posted anywhere? I would like to go through and make some comments on a few questions that I thought could have used a little work.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by JackGlerum » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:44 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Is the full set posted anywhere?

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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by setht » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:40 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
setht wrote:I wrote the following questions: open clusters, pulsars, CMB/recombination/Silk damping; p waves, cloud seeding, Archaean/olivine/komatiitic; diffraction, dynamos, Stark effect, vorticity, moment of inertia, Mossbauer effect, chemical potential/grand canonical ensemble/PV, Born approximation/Fourier transform/partial waves, ferromagnetism/Weiss/hysteresis, phase transition/Landau/universality. If anyone has complaints or comments about any of those, please post here or email me.

Thanks,
-Seth
All of those were pretty good (at least the ones we heard). I have some possibly invalid comments:

-Steiner's theorem shouldn't be in power for moment of inertia. You could have mentioned the Poinsot ellipsoid, for example.
-I'm not sure if the Giant stark effect in boron nitride nanotubes has become stock yet.
-Acousto-optic diffraction as the leadin for the diffraction tossup was a good idea, but as far as quizbowl notability goes I'm surprised you didn't mention Shaefer-Bergmann Diffraction or the Debye-Sears effect.
Thanks for the comments. As Shantanu noted, the original version of the moment of inertia tossup had Poinsot's ellipsoid a couple sentences before Steiner's theorem, but in Shantanu's defense I wasn't entirely sure how to order some of the clues, so if Poinsot comes up in the intro physics series here and Steiner doesn't I can understand why he'd make that change. Neither Poinsot nor Steiner came up in my intro to mechanics class at Cal (the parallel axis theorem came up, but not with the name Steiner). I wound up putting Poinsot earlier and Steiner later because I thought the surrounding clues in the Poinsot sentence were harder than the context clues of the Steiner sentence.

When I put giant Stark into the packetsearch I only get one hit (a CO 2006 question) that refers to the giant Stark effect. Has it been showing up more in packets that aren't appearing in the packetsearch feature? In any case, I thought it should be safe since I didn't say "giant," just mentioned one of the cooler-sounding applications. If boron nitride nanotubes are too easy even without saying "giant" that's my bad.

I've actually started coming around to the opinion that science questions these days have a little too much "quizbowl notable name-dropping" clues, and not enough "here's something you'd hear about in a science class" clues (at least for my taste). Perhaps I'll get back to this at some point with a longer rant, but I brought it up because I actually made a conscious decision to go with something I hadn't heard come up before (Raman-Nath) over something like Schaefer-Bergmann, which has come up but doesn't seem more interesting or important than Raman-Nath, from what I read while writing the question. If Schaefer-Bergmann is actually a bigger deal and more people know it from class than Raman-Nath, then that was a poor choice on my part; if the main thing Schaefer-Bergmann has going for it over Raman-Nath is that it showed up in a question at some point, I'm happier with something like Raman-Nath plus a bit of context. Looking at this a bit more, it might have been nice to do Raman-Nath and Debye-Sears, but it also looks like Debye-Sears has shown up a lot in the past year.

Again, thanks for the comments.

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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:19 pm

setht wrote:When I put giant Stark into the packetsearch I only get one hit (a CO 2006 question) that refers to the giant Stark effect. Has it been showing up more in packets that aren't appearing in the packetsearch feature?
Here's the final version of my Stark effect tossup from ACF Winter:
Lawrence/Georgia Tech wrote:In 2004, Alex Zettl used boron-nitride nanotubes to observe a "giant" variety of this effect, and the Autler-Townes effect is an AC version of it. A low-energy tail in the absorption edge of semiconductor spectra known as the Franz-Keldysh effect is related to one type of this effect; that type results in an increase in interband separation and a decrease in exciton binding energy, and is known as the quantum-confined variety. According to Kramers' theorem, this effect can only break degeneracy completely for a system in which the sum of the particle spins has an integral value. The linear version of this effect can only exists for degenerate states that are not parity eigenstates, while for non-degenerate states, only the quadratic variety exists. Analogous to the Zeeman effect, for ten points, identify this quantum-mechanical effect in which spectral lines are split by an applied electric field.
I submitted the boron-nitride/giant clue as the second clue and Jerry moved it to the front; when I wrote the tossup, I thought I was introducing the giant Stark effect to quizbowl.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:41 pm

Yeah, I edited that Stark effect tossup for Winter (and am duly ashamed that I didn't buzz on the same clue), but I would hardly say that this clue has somehow become "stock."
setht wrote:I've actually started coming around to the opinion that science questions these days have a little too much "quizbowl notable name-dropping" clues, and not enough "here's something you'd hear about in a science class" clues (at least for my taste). Perhaps I'll get back to this at some point with a longer rant, but I brought it up because I actually made a conscious decision to go with something I hadn't heard come up before (Raman-Nath) over something like Schaefer-Bergmann, which has come up but doesn't seem more interesting or important than Raman-Nath, from what I read while writing the question.
I couldn't agree more with this. Actually, I took graduate E&M where we spent a lot of time on diffraction and I've never heard of either Raman-Nath or Schaefer-Bergmann; perhaps these are things that are applied in a context other than a purely theoretical one. In general, I think that a lot of physics questions are becoming a lot more about name-dropping and not enough content. It's getting to feel a little like the literature equivalent of tossups that have nothing but titles in them. Sometimes that's understandable, because if you have to write a science question and you don't know much about physics, say, that's the kind of clue that you're likely to use, but in general I don't like this trend. It's also correlated with the rather unfortunate trend of people writing hard bonus parts on stuff that's named for scientists but which has very little actual relevance to anything and which you'd have to be a total expert in to know.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:53 pm

On the issue of communicating numbers of packets in time, here's what I suggest. As an editor or editing team, you have to decide how many editor's packets you're going to write for an event like this and work on those first. I suggest writing about 4 editor's packets for any tournament, before you even start with editing the submitted packets. I feel like, if you produce 3 or 4 editor's packets and the tournament still doesn't have enough packets because of lack of usable submitted material - then that's not really the editor's fault in a tourney like this, you can only be expected to do so much. But, if it becomes clear that you can't write the number of editor's packets you thought you'd be able to, or it becomes clear that the number of submitted usable packets is very low - you really should communicate that to people as quickly as possible.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:29 pm

I couldn't agree with Ryan more; in fact, the reason I gave up my position as editor was that I didn't think I'd be able to produce enough questions for the editor's packets. I implored Charlie to move the tournament back when I realized that between schoolwork and finals week, neither Auroni nor I would have time to write enough, but people had already bought plane tickets.

Admittedly, the responsible thing to do would have been to start months ago, and a fair number of questions in the editor's packet and among the extra questions were questions I had produced back in March or earlier. I can't remember if Auroni or Charlie wrote much, but this was definitely where we failed as an editing team.

I decided to help out with the tournament on the last few days, though I was hardly aware it would involve me staying up from Wednesday to Saturday in order to both write questions and using Chris Ray as my 'cloud messenger' to figure out where eleven of the cited sixteen packets were. I'm not sure if the last minute editing of this tournament could have been much more of a disaster than it was. It's worth pointing out that we did, in fact, have 15 packets, but we opted for a more qualitatively homogenous set and threw out the three packets we did not have time to edit.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:40 pm

Megalomanical Panda on Absinthe wrote:I couldn't agree with Ryan more; in fact, the reason I gave up my position as editor was that I didn't think I'd be able to produce enough questions for the editor's packets. I implored Charlie to move the tournament back when I realized that between schoolwork and finals week, neither Auroni nor I would have time to write enough, but people had already bought plane tickets.

Admittedly, the responsible thing to do would have been to start months ago, and a fair number of questions in the editor's packet and among the extra questions were questions I had produced back in March or earlier. I can't remember if Auroni or Charlie wrote much, but this was definitely where we failed as an editing team.

I decided to help out with the tournament on the last few days, though I was hardly aware it would involve me staying up from Wednesday to Saturday in order to both write questions and using Chris Ray as my 'cloud messenger' to figure out where eleven of the cited sixteen packets were. I'm not sure if the last minute editing of this tournament could have been much more of a disaster than it was. It's worth pointing out that we did, in fact, have 15 packets, but we opted for a more qualitatively homogenous set and threw out the three packets we did not have time to edit.
yeah, I spent most of my time with this tournament editing submitted questions and not writing my own for an editor's packet; I truly believe this is where I personally failed the most during our collaboration.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by dxdtdemon » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:57 am

Is there any chance that the 1970's marathon runner bonus get nominated for an Elephant Molar award? I think that one thing that Matt Weiner did right for Fake TRASHionals that the writer of this bonus didn't do is realize that just because something is an easy part at the time it occurred doesn't mean that it is still an easy part today. I'm assuming that the "easy" part of this bonus was supposed to be the guy who actually won a marathon, the "middle" part was the not-quite world class runner who is a coach of some current marathon runners, and the "hard" part was supposed to be the guy who should've won the Olympic marathon had the 1980 boycott not happened. On some of the Weiner bonuses, the hard part was something that would've been an easy part sometime in the lifetime of the players at the tournament, but enough time has passed that Matt also included something more recent about the answer to kind of jog your memory about it. It seemed that while the writer of the marathon bonus tried to achieve that in one part by saying that Salazar was the coach of Kara Goucher, I don't think that even most track fans follow who the runner's running coach is.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:57 am

The marathoners bonus was mine. I understand that I'm old and y'all are mostly young, so perhaps that was ill-advised. FWIW, I tossed that in late to provide some trash for the distro, and I chose to write on something interesting to me.

Still, though I have no beef with the idea that the bonus sucked, I'll defend it. Alberto Salazar, young fellow, was the greatest distance runner of the early 80s, and his numerous wins at Boston and New York indeed make him "world class." His coaching of Kara and Adam Goucher was much discussed in those gauzy bio pieces during the Olympic Trials and actual Olympics, and I'm confident that even HS/college runners who actually follow running (that may be a small subset, sure) know him from that. Bill Rodgers is perhaps the best-known and most-beloved marathoner of all time (which makes him significantly less famous than, say, Serbian author Danilo Kis in the QB world, I know). And Frank Shorter's win in the 1972 Olympics is generally attributed as the key event in the running boom of the 70s and 80s.

I don't know what the "Elephant Molar" award is, but I thank the academy for the nomination. And just be happy that the editors chose to take out my Theophile Gautier/Nadar/l'art pour l'art bonus.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:12 pm

Theophile Gautier/Nadar/l'art pour l'art
That is like ten thousand times easier than the runners bonus. Certainly no one we encountered at our site had heard of any of those people, and I do not think it's a factor of age. If the bonus had been about a really famous runner right now, or a few years ago or whatever, I wouldn't have known it. The only runners who are wildly known are sprinters who make big splashes at the olympics (Usain Bolt is the only presently-active person who runs for a living that I would consider an easy part, at least that I can think of offhand). It's really such a niche sport that you have to have some substantial level of knowledge just to be aware of who the people are, and you can't do that with easy parts.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Lapego1 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:53 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Certainly no one we encountered at our site had heard of any of those people, and I do not think it's a factor of age
Lies! Magin read a book by Bill Rodgers and almost pulled it in our game.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Coelacanth » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:13 pm

Chris and Chris, I think this runners thing is really a generational issue.

I pay almost no attention to track and field in general and distance running in particular; being 100 lbs overweight, it's obvious that the fitness movement passed me by completely. But I'm also old enough to remember the days when marathons were not all won by East Africans, and I would consider Shorter/Rodgers/Salazar to be easy/medium-easy/medium-hard.

These guys (other than Salazar, I guess) were not just runners, they were also media celebrites. They wrote books, promoted them on talk shows, starred in commercials. If you're older than about 30, you probably remember all of this; if not, then I agree that you've probably got no chance on this bonus.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:50 pm

Here's an easy fix to that bonus: replace Shorter with Steve Prefontaine. Pre is a fitting easy part, because, like, he's America's greatest distance runner. If you can't get Pre, you know nothing about distance running at all.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:59 pm

la2pgh wrote:Here's an easy fix to that bonus: replace Shorter with Steve Prefontaine. Pre is a fitting easy part, because, like, he's America's greatest distance runner. If you can't get Pre, you know nothing about distance running at all.
Hey, in case this discussion hasn't clued you in, most of us don't know anything about distance running at all! That's why this is a bad question!

This is a beef I have with minor sports in general. Every Olympic cycle some otherwise unknown athlete wins some event that no one watches, then someone writes a bonus on it, and we're all expected to somehow know it even though the event in question was on at 4 AM and no one cares. Stop doing this! It's great that you're into synchronized diving or hurdles or left-handed table-tennis doubles, but guess what? Most other people are not!
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:04 pm

Coelacanth wrote:Chris and Chris, I think this runners thing is really a generational issue.

I pay almost no attention to track and field in general and distance running in particular; being 100 lbs overweight, it's obvious that the fitness movement passed me by completely. But I'm also old enough to remember the days when marathons were not all won by East Africans, and I would consider Shorter/Rodgers/Salazar to be easy/medium-easy/medium-hard.

These guys (other than Salazar, I guess) were not just runners, they were also media celebrites. They wrote books, promoted them on talk shows, starred in commercials. If you're older than about 30, you probably remember all of this; if not, then I agree that you've probably got no chance on this bonus.
Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we probably shouldn't be writing trash explicitly catered to the over-30 set in an academic tournament. Heck, this would be too out there even in a trash tournament.
DumbJaques wrote:(Usain Bolt is the only presently-active person who runs for a living that I would consider an easy part, at least that I can think of offhand)
I can think of a couple others (Tyson Gay, Sanja Richards), but they're probably middle parts. You're right that distance runners are generally really really hard; Paavo Nurmi is the only one who I can think of right now.

...

Anyway, obviously it would have been really good to have another packet given how the schedule worked out, but since I played this without writing anything (thank you!), I have no basis on which to complain. It was an enjoyable tournament, and in particular, the music was well-done.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by cornfused » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:57 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
la2pgh wrote:Here's an easy fix to that bonus: replace Shorter with Steve Prefontaine. Pre is a fitting easy part, because, like, he's America's greatest distance runner. If you can't get Pre, you know nothing about distance running at all.
Hey, in case this discussion hasn't clued you in, most of us don't know anything about distance running at all! That's why this is a bad question!
I was actually about to suggest Prefontaine when Charlie posted it. I'm not a distance runner (though a few of my close friends ran competitively in high school) and I would've almost definitely gotten that part.

However, a distance running bonus is going to be completely impossible without Prefontaine or maybe Deena Kastor - I think if you throw Pre, Kastor, and one of the parts from that bonus into a bonus, a decent amount of teams would be able to 10 or 20 it.

But I'll agree that Tyson Gay, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt, and the like are really better easy parts.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:07 pm

Ok, there is something people are missing here despite Jerry posting it explicitly. Just because some dude is the most famous distance runner (or the best-known whatever, it doesn't matter) doesn't automatically make him an easy part. Similarly, if this Prefontaine guy is way easier than the other parts, that also doesn't make him an easy part. You want X amount of your field to convert an easy part (where X should usually be at least 75%), and that is the rational you should use. His status in the "I've heard of this guy" department is not relevant, and his intrinsic relationship in difficulty to your other bonus answers is even less so. If I felt the intense need to writer a distance runner bonus, I suppose I would try to make my easy part some major city's marathon using clues that do not require you to know specific things about distance running, because I would never imagine 75% of the field follows that or is even marginally aware of it in a question-answering way.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:33 pm

I agree with Chris and Jerry that that bonus shouldn't have been used, if that at all affects how this argument goes.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:39 pm

cornfused wrote:However, a distance running bonus is going to be completely impossible without Prefontaine or maybe Deena Kastor - I think if you throw Pre, Kastor, and one of the parts from that bonus into a bonus, a decent amount of teams would be able to 10 or 20 it.
I am in no way convinced of this.
But I'll agree that Tyson Gay, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt, and the like are really better easy parts.
I've heard of these guys because they're practically impossible to miss since there's news articles about them all over the place and I'm a person who reads news. But I maintain that outside of people who are interested in running, few people are going to know anything about allegedly famous runners, in part because they were famous before most of us were even born. A quick search reveals that Steve Prefontaine died in 1975(!!!) a full 7 years before I even saw the light of day.

I hate to harp on this particular bonus; it's just that it's symptomatic of some of the kind of bad reasoning people use to justify all sorts of atrocious questions, especially in the trash category.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:41 pm

I think Pre is one step closer to making the one currently possible running bonus. Usain Bolt (or Michael Johnson, or someone else who's a sprinter), Pre, and someone else. Hell, maybe Bannister, and make another part a bit harder. I don't really care, as you can tell. But honestly, the number of points that the best chemistry team in the field should get on most chem bonuses is thirty. The best distance running team in 90% of non-open fields knows maybe five names at most. So really, we don't need to get that deep into the canon. Everyone converts Bolt, half of the field remembers Michael Johnson, and then you have some hard third part that makes ten distance-running specialists across the country cream their shorts.

But this is a standard thing about trash bonuses. If you're writing a bonus on a specific subject, one part almost always will have to be that subject: one bonus part has to be "Super Bowl XVIII" or "curling" or "chessboxing." And with two academic ties to long-distance running, why not!
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:47 pm

It's great that you're into synchronized diving or hurdles or left-handed table-tennis doubles, but guess what? Most other people are not!
I'll quit as long as we also get rid of questions about that pussy sport wherein Euro guys fall histrionically to the ground every 2-3 minutes while not scoring any goals. I mean, that's fun to watch every four years, but how you can watch it year in and year out is beyond me.

PS--Just gigging you, Jerry, but indeed the folks in that question are actually significant figures in the history of sport (and not just Olympic sport), so your analogy to synchronized diving, etc, though also sarcastic, I know, is inapt. But significance there is not necessarily QB significance, so the message is received: no more distance running questions for you people. I'll shitcan the Emil Zatopek toss-up from my Sun n Fun packet, too. I'm not trying to use any "atrocious reasoning"; I just figured that it was fun to write about and that it was reasonable at the time for people to have heard of at least two of these guys, but I was wrong. Lesson learned.

PPS--any commentary on other stuff in my packet? Around 5-6 tosses were replaced, perhaps for repeats (Dr. Atomic bonus, for example, as there was a TU on it in another packet), but I'm interested in more discussion of any suckage in what I submitted.

PPPS--Prefontaine is not the greatest distance runner in our history, but he was rakish and good looking and has had two movies made about him in the last five years, so he probably is the best known. But I won't ask about him, either.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:46 pm

So,

I won't argue particular points regarding the legitimacy of Prefontaine as answer. Doing a cursory search of the packet archive, Prefontaine has appeared twice as a *tossup* answer (MLK 2005, AnnBDavis 2006).

As an anecdote, two fraternity brothers of mine became good friends essentially because when they moved into the house together; they both had the same Prefontaine poster. Did they both happen to run track in high school? Sure. Does that predispose them to know of such a figure in a way that the average person does not, maybe. But I am nonetheless amused by the claims that "Pre" is somehow not in the current cultural lexicon. I am happy to agree to never write such a tossup on him or Bill Kazmaier or any other members of the Pantheon of "Marginal Sports." But, arguably one of the most famous athletes from the University of Oregon whose celebrityhood is perhaps due in part to Nike's intimate connection with that University isn't totally appropriate in the college game, or am I totally off base?

Perhaps this isn't the main thrust of anybody's complaint, and thus I apologize for the hijacking. Really, I ought to be writing more SnF tossups, and finding a place to live.
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Re: Missouri Open discussion

Post by magin » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:01 pm

I think that Prefontaine would be a fine easy part for a nationals-level bonus. Moreover, while I agree that we shouldn't be writing entire bonuses off obscure figures from minor sports, there are plenty of notable athletes famous enough to come up (while "I've heard of this guy" is not a good reason to think an obscure answer is easy, "I haven't heard of this guy" is similarly not a great reason to think an answer like Prefontaine is hard).
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