Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

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Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by millionwaves » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:10 pm

Hey everyone,

The following people edited Chicago Open this year:

Eric Kwartler (literature, fine arts, religion, mythology, trash)
Trevor Davis (history)
Gautam Kandlikar (biology, chemistry)
Wesley Matthews (physics, all the other science)
Trygve Meade (philosophy, social science)

We welcome your comments on the set.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:30 pm

I enjoyed playing this set. I am a little unqualified to comment on a lot of it. Regarding the history, I felt the American portion of it tended to be mostly nineteenth century stuff. I was kind of out of my league, not helped by playing stupidly near the end of the day, but it was certainly a good day. The tournament itself was nicely run and I thank the folks running it. It was also thriling to finally meet folks like Eric Mukherjee, Guy Tabachnick, Jack Glerum, and see some very good teams in action.

I would be interested in knowing what people felt about this:

-Trash. This tournament didn't crown a national champion, it wasn't pitched at colleges/high schools, so I suppose there's really only aesthetic reasons why trash should or shouldn't appear. I feel like a hypocrite here because I have defended in the past the appearance of trash at ACF events (including Nats even, although I'm not wedded to it), but I felt uneasy about its appearance here because (1). it stood out more in a set where I didn't know the answer to the majority of questions every round and (2). it played a big role in the matches we did win. Maybe I'm making too much of it, although I do find it sardonic that our biggest win came not because of deep academic knowledge but rather running into a relatively easy Donald Duck bonus, while another win could be traced to powering Don Rickles.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:05 pm

I had quite a lot of fun at this tournament; thank you to all involved.

Just a few comments. This might also belong in the "writing music questions" thread, but I noticed a few music questions with the problems we've been harping on for awhile about non-unique clues or music theory clues that are virtually meaningless. When the set is posted, I can point out a few more examples, but one that springs to mind is the bonus part on Penderecki's Polymorphia. The description of the piece given in the prompt fits a lot of Penderecki's work, and a lot of sonoristic pieces in general. I think I said Cosmogonia instead.

Also, regarding question length: I have no problem with a 9+-line question if the question needs that many lines to be clue-dense and pyramidal. Hell, sometimes questions get long just by virtue of the inclusion of long titles or theorem names. But I notice these 10-line questions with what seems like extra middle clues that could be cut to make a solid 7-line question. That kind of thing would make life easier for readers and probably speed rounds along a bit.

A few questions that were not great ideas: Kokopelli, The Trojan War was easily negged with The Iliad, early on "substance P" could be negged with dopamine, and werewolves was pretty clearly going to be either that or vampires. Laying down "tensilon test" so early in the myesthenia gravis question was also a questionable choice, and the Albee tossup got easy pretty quickly. A few questions that I really liked: Ginastera, Cologne, Myth of the Negro Past, Koestler, de Chirico, George Crumb.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:09 pm

I wonder if CO is having an identity crisis now that Gaddis, Experiment, and assorted vanity side events exist. It used to be "the hardest tournament of the year", but is that still what it is/should be?
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:30 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:I wonder if CO is having an identity crisis now that Gaddis, Experiment, and assorted vanity side events exist. It used to be "the hardest tournament of the year", but is that still what it is/should be?
I think there's still plenty of room for a post-nationals all-subject event, even if there's increased demand for other events of extreme difficulty and/or subject-specific monstrosities.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:21 pm

On the logistics end, it looked like Chris Carter and co. kept things running pretty smoothly, which was great. However, I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of CO this year. It undoubtedly had many very good questions, but the entire tournament felt very uneven in terms of difficulty, both in tossups and in bonuses. One the one hand, you had tossups on things like John Clayton, a guy who is literally known for one single thing, and on the other hand there was a tossup on The Death of Socrates which could have been found in a novice set. Bonuses too oscillated rather wildly in difficulty; I often got the impression that many bonuses simply lacked anything like a gettable third part or would leave off the easy parts and you'd be lucky to get 10.

My biggest problem, however, was the science. I can't speak intelligently about chemistry or biology, so I can't contribute much to that debate, but I have to say that as far as the physics and "other science" categories were concerned, this was the worst major set I played in a long time. It's worth noting that this is the second time I've played a set heavily edited in those categories by Wesley Matthews and each time I've had substantial problems with the writing. Before I even get to the contents of the actual questions, I have to note how unacceptably skewed towards earth and planetary science this set was, to the extent that I think I might have heard one computer science question all day, and my team's packet didn't even end up having a physics bonus, even though the distribution clearly calls for 1/1 physics in each packet. While I'm sure that every editor has his wheelhouse, and Wesley's is notably earth science, it's just not right to turn the science distribution into an airing of your favorite abstruse earth science topics.

The more pressing concern with that part of the science distribution was how poorly written it was. This might be the most egregious manifestation of "thing-named-after-guy bowl" I have seen from anyone not named Ryan Westbrook. There were misleading clues all over the place, clues that did not uniquely identify their answers, clues that were just plain useless to anyone, and endless amounts of name-dropping that was entirely unhelpful in actually describing the answer. I counted several instances of "identify this thing you know how to do which I bet you didn't know had a name!" in bonus parts, and I know that at least one bonus I wrote for our packet was modified so as to make the third part virtually unanswerable by anyone without a graduate course in Lie algebras. I will post some concrete examples either today or tomorrow, but in my view, the quality of this set was highly degraded by the awfulness of half of its science distribution.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:43 pm

I enjoyed this tournament despite my favorite categories not reflecting the strengths of my knowledge, and I thought that several of the questions that I saw were novel and good ideas.

However, mainly along science and in particular other sciences, I consistently heard that certain topics were either 1) nigh ungettable or 2) poor ideas for answers. An example that I can clearly remember is the hydrophobicity tossup which was negged very early on with "solubility." I'm inclined to forget 1) since this is after all, the hardest event of the year, but 2) seemed to at times disservice people with clear knowledge.

There were a few questions that I felt got too easy too early; among these were the aforementioned Kokopelli and Edward Albee, and I believe that the Baha'i and "black mage" tossups suffered from that a bit as well. I also thought that the bunyip/Rainbow Serpent/Dreamtime bonus was the easiest bonus of the day. The vast majority of the tournament, difficulty wise, I felt, was spot on.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:56 pm

Maybe an extended discussion of difficulty and what words like "easy" or "hard" actually mean needs to take place outside the CO discussion proper. CO is definitely a masters' open where the edges of the canon are explored, but when your conception of difficulty becomes "you must have a Ph.D. in this topic to get 20 or 30 points on this bonus, and maybe not even then" then you lose the ability to effectively distinguish between teams with different levels of knowledge.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:11 pm

Censorship in Burma wrote:I also thought that the bunyip/Rainbow Serpent/Dreamtime bonus was the easiest bonus of the day.
No, clearly the easiest bonus of the whole tournament was Rocroi/Battle of the Dunes/Prince de Conde. I know this because I 30d that bonus and I would have only gotten 10 on that Aboriginal myth thing, so it must be true!

Seriously, stop saying things like this. You knew you some aboriginal myth, awesome, you got 30 points. That doesn't mean it's "easy" and you don't need to post in here and tell us how trivial those answer lines are. That seems like a pretty reasonable bonus to me given the field composition, and just because certain players have deep myth knowledge doesn't make that an inappropriate bonus on the whole.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:49 pm

So this tournament was fun, and I got the impression that I would be wildly happier with it if I knew more literature and less, say, science. I agree with Jerry's comments on the physics; though I obviously know far less in that subcategory than he does, I felt the same sort of irritation at having to guess at what was going on (for example, at what the writers thought clue x uniquely identified). The biology and chemistry were, generally speaking, much better, though I'll have to make better comments on those categories once the set is posted. My one immediate objection is to choosing the Woodward-Fieser rules as an answer line. I don't dispute their importance; I took a spectroscopy class and we certainly covered them when we covered UV. I just feel as though clues on them tend to be either unbuzzable or decreasingly vague descriptions of exactly what they are. Totally an appropriate bonus part; totally an ill-thought-out idea for a tossup. Similar thinking may have led to that hydrophobicity tossup; while I'll dutifully memorize the clues in that tossup in case people have that bad idea again, I should note that I was prepared to make Eric's neg when he negged it, in large part because of the question.

EDIT: report just in that the tossup was apparently on hydropathicity, and hydrophobicity was negged (in some room other than mine, apparently, since I got the points); this makes this tossup's answer line even stranger unless this was actually a moderator fuckup.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:22 am

What was up with Tossup 11 in the packet that started with De Chirico? From what I recall the answer line was on, "Actions by [some Nazi dude whose name I didn't get]". Unless I'm missing something (and everyone else in the room including Hoppes and Yaphe), but that was probably the worst idea for a common link tossup I've heard since Lying Face Down in the Mud. Why was this just not on this guy in the first place, rather than "Actions of"?
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by cdcarter » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:28 am

Mike, here is the question:
One of these actions was foiled by Gevork Vartanian, while another unsuccessfully attempted to foment rebellion among disgruntled Iranian mountain tribes. Another of these actions violated the Hague Convention regarding improper use of uniforms, prompting a later trial. One of these actions was partially inspired by an incident in Caesar and Cleopatra featuring a rolled-up carpet and was code-named “Mickey Mouse.” While a failed one saw an attempted capture of Marshal Tito, more successful ones included a disinformation scheme during the Battle of the Bulge, and an operation that saw the kidnapping of the son of (*) Miklos Horthy. The most notable one is known as the Gran Sasso raid and allowed its target to create the Italian Social Republic. For 10 points, name these actions that include the mission to free the imprisoned Benito Mussolini, which were all carried out by a certain scar-faced Nazi commando.
ANSWER: Operations of Otto Skorzeny [accept obvious equivalents, prompt on Nazi Commando Missions or other equivalents]
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:31 am

This was a terrible idea that could have been a great tossup if an editor had taken five seconds to chop the answer line to just _Skorzeny_ and adjust the pronoun usage accordingly.

Here's why common link tossups sometimes play badly: this one only asks for an "action." So I sort of figure out what's going on here during the sentence with Tito and Horthy and the Bulge. Then I hear the Gran Sasso clue, and I think: "Gran Sasso! A glider-borne commando raid led by Otto Skorzeny. Now, what part of that is the answer line here?" I have to think back through the other clues (most of which I, after all, didn't recognize). Meanwhile, one of my teammates buzzes in with March on Rome (which is a quite plausible neg, if you've figured out that "it's a repeatable action from the 20th century with late clues about Mussolini"). Of course the tossup goes dead, but I guess I get the pride of figuring this out once the question gets to the end and actually specifies that the common link is the guy who led those operations...
Last edited by Important Bird Area on Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:35 am

In the spirit of the Chandrasekhar tossup, they could have made that into a common-link tossup on Skorzenys, including clues on Janos Skorzeny, the vampire from the 1971 horror movie "The Night Stalker".
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:46 am

There's just no reason to not make that a Scorzeny tossup. I don't know what people are thinking when they write things like this, but whatever it is they should stop thinking it.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by castrioti » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:54 am

Since I have the set of blind tossups I wrote in front of me:

Physics Tossups

Thevenin's Theorem
Liouville's Theorem
Einstein's Field Equations
neutrino oscillations
dispersion
Aharonov-Bohm effect
albedo
Type II Superconductivity
Langmuir Waves
ferrimagnetism (extra)
Lyman effect (extra)
Auger effect (extra)
turbulence (extra)

Physics bonuses
Earnshaw's Theorem/Gauss's Law/Penning Trap
Hilbert Space/supergravity/Calabi-Yau manifold
Couette flow/Navier-Stokes/Chapman-Enskog
Huygens Theorem/Brunt-Vaisala Frequency/Feynman-Wheeler Theory
quantum tunneling/WKB/Majorana Fermion
acoustic cavitation/Mach number/Bjerknes forces
resistivity/Bloch-Gruneisen/van der Pauw method
polarizability/Clausius-Mossetti/Maxwell-Wagner Law

Astronomy tossups

Kuiper Belt
Sachs-Wolfe Effect
rings of Uranus
Carina
Hill Sphere

Class O/Wolf-Rayet stars/delta Scuti Variables
Lense-Thirring/binary jets/Bardeen-Petterson effect
Tharsis/coronae/Io (extra)
coronal mass ejections/relativistic fireball/type Ia sypernovae (extra)

ESS Tossups

mesocyclone
gelifluction
Lehmann Discontinity

ESS bonuses

basaltic/Rayleigh fractionation/Goldschmidt's phase rule
thermohaline circulation/euxinic/anchialine zone
Bowen's reaction series/facies/Usiglio's experiment

Math/CS Tossups

stacks
Bolzano-Weierstrass Theorem
Banach-Tarski paradox (replacement for "Banach science")
Chinese Room problem (extra)

Math/CS bonuses

Routh's Rule/parallel axis theorem/torus
von Neumann architecture/recursion/Williams memory
Riemann zeta/Perseval's Theorem/Montgomery's Law

Jerry, your accusation that I'm trying to bend the tournament to my "wheelhouse interests" does not add up. Consider also the numbers of the following Math/CS or astronomy written mostly by others:

Astronomy

Magnetars
Seyfert Galaxies
quark stars/Schwartzschild Limit/Urca process
sunspots/faculae/Carrington Number
Kirkwood Gaps/Trojan Asteroids/Hungaria

ESS

Rossby Waves
Ekman Spirals
varves/clarity/de Geer
isostasy/compensation depth/Bouguer compensation
P waves/shadow zone/1/6th
foehn wind/thunderstorms/katabatic wind
paternoster lakes/kettle holes/jokulhlaups

Math/CS

Ideals
Bridges of Konigsberg
A* Algorithm
Pigeonhole Principle
error correction
NP complete/Cook-Levin/Karp
Savitch's Theorem/ALGOL/Blum axioms
Knuth-Morris-Pratt/strings/Deterministic FA
max flow/Ford-Fulkerson/Dinitz blocking
alternating groups/Jordan theory/Burnside conjecture
convolution/fFT/Cooley-Tukey

Perhaps what is happening is that some people are hearing questions they do not personally like, and their dislike is blowing the perception of what is really going on out of proportion. I do this constantly with trash only to find out later that there wasn't as much as I perceived that there was, only that these questions seem to take longer, seem harder, and stand out more due to my own lessened interest in the topics.

It was not originally my intention to replace as many tossups with stuff I wrote, but there were quite a good many repeats and near repeats (good GRIEF people love their particle physics). Even as the questions were ready to go to print, I kept questioning myself on how close some topics were to one another. But, this is nothing that hasn't happened before. I am not sure why Jerry's team's packet lacked a physics bonus. I marked the radiation pressure / Chandrasekhar / Lane-Emden bonus as ready-to-go, I didn't find anything wrong with it. Is this a randomization issue?

Before writing, I took a long, hard look at my last submissions for ACF nationals 2008, and another longer, harder look at my submissions for Chicago Open 2009. I find that these should not have suffered from the same problems. I find that for the most part the 30 point bonus parts were at or slightly below the level of difficulty of the 30 pointers for ACF Nats 2008, which I think is about right for CO. However, I pulled back significantly from the difficulty seen in the 20 point bonus parts Jerry and Seth noted for ACF Nationals 2008. I did feel sometimes that the ante wasn't upped quite as high as some other bonuses, and I edited accordingly (thus Iwasawa's theorem was added to the Lie algebras bonus).

Jerry, you state that questions were poorly written; but from the description that follows it sounds like you are saying rather that answers were poorly chosen. I understand why people balk at common thread people science, I do myself. I let a grand total of 2 of these through as "other science" or "other academic," (Eotvos and Thomas) and only when other strong tossups were present. But I do not agree that science that happens to bear someone's name is inherently bad, nor do I agree that recent and well cited, or interesting research done by scientists or groups of scientists with names makes for a bad leadin. This isn't necessarily canon expansion as much as it is finding difficult but relevant clues.

I am, of course, interested in allegations of incorrectness and non-specific clues. Please point them out.

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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:03 am

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:EDIT: report just in that the tossup was apparently on hydropathicity, and hydrophobicity was negged (in some room other than mine, apparently, since I got the points); this makes this tossup's answer line even stranger unless this was actually a moderator fuckup.
If this tossup was actually on hydropathy, then its downright criminal that they didn't mention GRAVY or the fact that plotting it is used to find which regions of a protein are transmembrane. In addition to the fact that the Hansch-Leo thing is a super-obscure method used to find partition coefficients, LogP values, or lipophilicity, all of which fall under this umbrella of solubility that I negged with. More tomorrow.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:09 am

There's really too much to reply to right now, so I'll try to keep it brief. My problem was not entirely one of answer choices, although I think that the tossups on things like dispersion, Llewellyn Thomas, Eotvos, and bridge of Konigsberg were poorly conceived. A much larger problem was that many of those tossups were full of clues that either did not mean anything at all, or were completely generic, or were in fact actually wrong, or were downright misleading to the point where trying to figure out what the hell was being discussed actually cost me the tossup. At least a few of the questions contain clues that I have literally not been able to find anywhere else; one of the clues traces back to a single paper posted on arxiv and appears nowhere else (that I have been able to verify) while another clue appears in only one place and that's your own tossup on the same topic from 2005 ACF Regionals. In addition, many of the bonuses were nigh-impossible; I memorably remember getting 0 points on a bonus in which the presumably easy part is something that was footnoted in the most popular graduate text on solid state physics. Whatever lessons you think you learned from the discussion around 2008 ACF Nationals, you clearly didn't learn them particularly well, because many of these bonuses were just egregiously difficult. They are poster children for a demonstration of how pointless it is to write on something just because it has a name. I'm going to have a lot more on this topic tomorrow.

edit: you = Wesley
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:41 am

grapesmoker wrote:
Censorship in Burma wrote:I also thought that the bunyip/Rainbow Serpent/Dreamtime bonus was the easiest bonus of the day.
No, clearly the easiest bonus of the whole tournament was Rocroi/Battle of the Dunes/Prince de Conde. I know this because I 30d that bonus and I would have only gotten 10 on that Aboriginal myth thing, so it must be true!

Seriously, stop saying things like this. You knew you some aboriginal myth, awesome, you got 30 points. That doesn't mean it's "easy" and you don't need to post in here and tell us how trivial those answer lines are. That seems like a pretty reasonable bonus to me given the field composition, and just because certain players have deep myth knowledge doesn't make that an inappropriate bonus on the whole.
Well, it is my fault for not substantiating that claim, but all three of those things show up in regular tournaments a lot, so I felt that it didn't have the tinge of extra-canonicity that flavor a lot of CO bonuses.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:52 am

Here is the hydropathicity tossup with the answer line:

The HINT program is a computational tool used to map this property of molecules using the “fragment” approach to assigning numerical values for this property developed by Hansch and Leo. One plot which is used to predict the antigenic sites of a protein uses this property, since it usually displays a local maximum at antigenic sites, That plot is called the Hopp-Woods plot, which used less frequently than the (*) Kyte-Doolittle plot. A global index of this property for a given molecule is called ILM, which is a function of the distance between a solute atom and the solvent atom, and in drug design, this property is described by the partition coefficient of a system. Most scales only take into account side chains of amino acids while calculating it. For 10 points, identify this property which describes the degree to which a given molecule loves or hates water.
ANSWER: Hydropathicity [accept Hydrophilicity or hydrophobicity until “loves”; prompt thereafter]
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:53 am

Censorship in Burma wrote:Well, it is my fault for not substantiating that claim, but all three of those things show up in regular tournaments a lot, so I felt that it didn't have the tinge of extra-canonicity that flavor a lot of CO bonuses.
They do not "show up in regular tournaments a lot." I don't know where people get these crazy ideas; I've played damn near every regular tournament hosted anywhere on the East Coast during the last 3 or 4 years, and while Aboriginal myth has come up occasionally, it certainly does not come up "a lot" by any reasonable definition of "a" or "lot." Perhaps it wasn't as canon-adventurous as some other questions at CO, but it's certainly not anything like the easiest bonus or some kind of egregious offense against quizbowl aesthetics.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:54 am

Censorship in Burma wrote:all three of those things show up in regular tournaments a lot
[citation needed]
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:01 am

Pilgrim wrote:
Censorship in Burma wrote:all three of those things show up in regular tournaments a lot
[citation needed]
Penn Bowl XVII: The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music Bonuses by South Florida (Ahmad Ragab) wrote:
15. Name these features of Australian aboriginal mythology, for 10 points each.

[10] Spencer and Gillen coined this term which is often thought to refer to the Aboriginal conception of a time before time, though further analysis reveals that it is more of an always-already concept of time or consciousness.

ANSWER: Dreamtime [accept The Dreaming]

[10] Though various aboriginal groups have different roles for this spirit ancestor; many consider this entity responsible for the creation of the world, especially the billabong rivers that its winding path created.

ANSWER: The Rainbow Serpent [or Rainbow Snake, etc]

[10] A favorite topic of cryptozoologists, these creatures are half-bearded snakes thought to terrorize unsuspecting individuals who have wandered too close to rivers and streams.

ANSWER: bunyips
So there you go, the exact same answer choices. I only get 4 hits from "Dreamtime" in the collegiate quiz bowl packets archive, and I'm sure there are more in a wider packet collection. "Rainbow Serpent" shows up twice but has been a clue for Ayers Rock before, and the bunyip has been a clue and and answer before (in that bonus, in fact). The Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament tossup on Aborigine myth had middle clues that I felt were harder than these three things, so yeah, there's nothing particularly CO-y about this bonus compared to the several other myth ones in this tournament.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:37 am

I will take the blame for the Otto Skorzeny tossup, as I wrote it and it pretty much went in unedited. This was based on completely unjustified fears about transparency, plus a little bit of pompous cuteness that I admit I suffer from. I obviously should have changed "these actions" to "actions led by this man." In the spirit of Nazism, all I can say is that "mistakes were made."
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:01 pm

Censorship in Burma wrote:So there you go, the exact same answer choices. I only get 4 hits from "Dreamtime" in the collegiate quiz bowl packets archive, and I'm sure there are more in a wider packet collection. "Rainbow Serpent" shows up twice but has been a clue for Ayers Rock before, and the bunyip has been a clue and and answer before (in that bonus, in fact). The Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament tossup on Aborigine myth had middle clues that I felt were harder than these three things, so yeah, there's nothing particularly CO-y about this bonus compared to the several other myth ones in this tournament.
In other words, I'm entirely correct; this has come up a few times here and there as a clue, and once again as an answer. It's not my platonic ideal of a CO bonus on aboriginal myth, but it's also not particularly problematic.

This is something that also deserves its own thread, but "this has been a clue before" does not imply that it can now be a bonus or tossup answer. Just because Bohemund of Otronto is mentioned in tossups on the First Crusade doesn't mean he's now fair game for any bonus answer. This is the kind of thinking that leads to unanswerable bonus parts because shockingly people don't remember every instance of whatever it is that comes up as a clue.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:24 pm

Well, I wasn't deeply offended or frustrated by it, it just felt a bit incongruous compared to other bonuses in difficulty so I pointed it out. My intention was never to brag, and certainly not to imply that it was too easy simply because I 30d it.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:38 pm

I will take the blame for the Bridges of Konigsberg tossup, although I don't think it suffered for lack of uniquely-identifying clues. It may not have been the best idea for a tossup so I apologize if it seemed like a strange choice.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:53 pm

I actually do think that Australian myth bonus shaded easy (or rather, easier than many of the bonuses in this set- which is what we're talking about for "inconsistent bonus difficulty.") Compare the Australian history bonus that went Battle of Pinjarra/Western Australia/Swan River colony. There's a hard bonus part that's never even been a clue before.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:55 pm

Can someone post the text of the Pigeonhole Principle tossup? I want to take another look at that question's lead-in.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:14 pm

I have more substantive comments about the set, but I wanted to note that I was pretty displeased with the tournament format. My understanding is that the following things basically took place:

*Jason Loy's teammates dropped, leaving him as the sole member of team 15.
*Jason Loy offered to play solo so as to not sodomize the schedule, or with whatever random staffers could be corralled into participating.
*Because the tournament was already behind in production, the decision was somehow made to drop to 14 teams, have Jason staff, and cannibalize his packet for use across the entire set.
*There were pretty clearly enough staffers so that one or two people could have played filled out spots on the field even if Jason Loy's packet had been cannibalized. This would have been especially true if 3-4 people weren't spending the entire day writing the second final packet, but was overwhelmingly the case anyway since most bye round players were being turned away from reading and some dedicated moderators ended up reading just 4-5 rounds on the day.

So it seems to me that we played only 12 rounds of Chicago Open, played a double bye format in which legitimate games against fellow playoff bracket teams ended up being thrown out, and .02 ppb were used to decide top bracket advancement, all because of. . . well, I'm not really sure why, actually. It doesn't even seem like the need to finish the set precluded setting up a scab team for the schedule, so all I can figure is that the tournament was so unacceptably not finished that the schedule was scrapped because there weren't enough packets. This is really upsetting. It seems kind of bogus for teams to just play 12 games at CO, and have only 6 of them actually end up counting. I have far less of a problem with some of the question shortcomings, which happened despite a clearly incredible amount of work and good faith by the editors, than I do with the fact that this tournament falling way behind on production led to a much abbreviated experience for everyone.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:58 pm

Ok, so here's an in-depth response to the problems I found with the physics questions at CO. I'm splitting this up into three posts due to size limitations.

First of all, I think the tossups on both Eotvos and Thomas were ill-advised (also, why did the tossup on Thomas demand his first name? Did we worry about confusing him with noted Rock of Chickamauga George Thomas?) because those people are basically known for a few things and it's nearly impossible to find middle clues for them. So on that Eotvos tossup, if you figured out right away that we're talking about his surface tension rule, you could buzz, but if not, it seems like you'd have to wait until the description to get it. I certainly don't recall learning about any of his experiments in any science-related contexts. The Thomas question had a similar problem, and was also incompetently executed to boot. First of all, searches for "Buttiker Pretre Thomas" point to papers published in 1993 and 1996, which would make it impossible for them to have been by Llewellyn Thomas, as he was dead! He died in 1992, something even Wikipedia will tell you. I have no idea what the Bohr-Infield theory, linear or otherwise is, because when I search for it, I get nothing. Congratulations, your clue is so obscure even Google doesn't know what the fuck you're talking about. The first place I can see anyone with knowledge actually buzzing is on what I can only assume is a coy description of Thomas precession, and then if you know anything at all about stuff associated with Llewellyn Thomas, you'll buzz on "this dude names a method with Fermi." The "clue" which reads "His most famous contribution involves the inertial reference frames of a particle in a circular path, in which a vector does not remain fixed." is entirely useless; it's like saying "this guy did stuff with relativity and vectors" and I don't know what benefit it could possibly hold for anyone.

I also think the dispersion tossup was a bad idea done badly. The second sentence in the tossup appears entirely useless: "Cross-sectional areas of three dimensional surfaces across which it occurs may be imaged in convergent beam electron diffraction via higher order Laue zone energy analysis." Nothing I've looked at regarding CBEM suggests that one can be induced to say "dispersion" based on this clue; dispersion is a thing that happens in materials in general, regardless of whether or not CBEM is used to study them. The tossup also bizzarely claims that the Kramers-Kronig relations link the real and imaginary parts of dispersion, whatever that means (hint: dispersion is not a number that you measure, it's a function of a material), and this is false; the KK relations link the real and imaginary part of the electrical permittivity, if anything, and could also plausibly be said to link the real and imaginary parts of the index of refraction by extension. So that was not only confusing and wrong but also neg-inducing and nearly cost us the game against Jonathan's team.

Hearing "Limber approximation" in the Sachs-Wolfe tossup made me want to neg with "gravitational lensing," and research confirms that I would have been justified in doing so. I'm also confused as to how ISW effects are either enhanced or impaired by Sunyaev-Zeldovich effects, since the mechanisms of those two interactions are completely different, but I'm just going to ignore that for now. The Nyquist theorem tossup drops "moire" way too early; moire is a form of aliasing, which is what you avoid by sampling at the Nyquist frequency. Likewise, having "principally generated" in the second line of a tossup on ideals is a mistake. That should be near the end of such a tossup. Comically, that question contains the following wrong information: "If the product of any two elements of a ring is itself an element of that ring, then that ring’s one of these is said to be prime." But closure under multiplication is part of the definition of a ring, so I assume what you were trying to say is that when the product of two elements of a ring is contained in an ideal and this implies that either of those elements are in the ideal (for commutative rings), then that ideal is prime.

There is no reason that "Noether's Theorem" needs a prompt; there is only one important theorem by Noether as it relates to physics. I buzzed, was prompted, gave a description of the theorem in which I used the word "symmetry" and was still negged. I was able to argue back my points, but it's still stupid to prompt on this. Also, the tossup contains the statement "This theorem states that applying a Poisson Bracket to the Hamiltonian and a constant of the motion is zero." This is certainly a consequence of Noether's theorem, but that's actually a description of Hamilton's equation, and I can see how that could be confusing for a lot of people. As for the bridges of Konigsberg problem, why not just make that a tossup on Eulerian cycles?
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:59 pm

The tossup on Seyfert galaxies contains the following text: "All of them contain core temperatures high enough to produce tridecavalent iron." When I do a search for tridecavalent iron, Google comes up with 4(!) links, the first of which is... drumroll... a link to Wesley's tossup on Seyfert galaxies from 2005 ACF Regionals. So I gotta ask: do you have some special knowledge of tridecavalent iron that no one else does or something? Because so far, you are the only source for that assertion (and is it untrue of all other AGN's?). Bafflingly, the tossup also allows for a prompt on "AGN" before the word "cores" in the following snippet: "while emission from these bodies in the radio spectrum is due to synchrotron emission from their cores. Doppler broadening between the bands of their accretion disks provides one method of classifying them." Is there something between "cores" and "Doppler broadening" (a thing that happens in pretty much any circumstances where gas is moving) that makes "AGN" promptable before but not after? I'm fairly sure that AGN's in general exhibit Doppler broadening and this clue is not exclusive to Seyferts. The clues that are exclusive to them are probably the first ones about specific emission lines, but then AGN is just not promptable at any point at all.

The Chinese Room tossup is not a science tossup as such, but is called a "lemma" for some reason. It's not a lemma at all, it's a thought experiment.

The turbulence tossup in the final is one that really gets my goat. For some reason, this tossup leads off with the following sentence: "The first evidence of this phenomenon is preserved by space-inflation induced stretching of Batchelor-Obukhov-Corrsin temperature spectra, and it first appeared at least ten to the minus 33 seconds following the Big Bang." Now, when I do a search for the BOC spectrum and inflation together, the only reference I find is a link to a paper on Arxiv by some dude at UCSD who isn't even an astrophysicist in which, near as I can tell, he talks about how primordial turbulence is not inconsistent with currently available data. From the get-go I wanted to buzz with "quark-gluon plasma" and after skimming that paper, I find that I would have been justified in doing so, but I kept sitting there thinking this was going to be a tossup on some thing from the early universe and trying to puzzle out the interminable word salad of eponymous effects and equations, so I completely missed the "Boussinesq approximation" and "Kolmogorov scales" clues later on. This is especially galling to me since I have spent the last 3 weeks prior to CO preparing for my prelim exam on cosmic inflation, so I definitely expected to know whatever it is that was going on in the early stages of that question. So congratulations, your ridiculous "clue," of dubious factual accuracy totally confused the fuck out of someone who just spent weeks studying the subject.

Finally, why didn't the Langmuir waves tossup say something about who they were named after? Like, the least you could do is at the end drop a hint like "for ten points, identify these plasma waves whose namesake also names a probe used to measure plasma potentials." I guess I feel stupid for not having pulled it anyway, but in my defense it was 10 PM and I was running on 3 hours of sleep and 5 Red Bulls, so my judgment was somewhat impaired. Still, are you concerned about people knowing stuff or what? It just seems gratuitous not to give people that nudge. Also, I'll note that the "giveaway" mentioned how fast these waves are, and that information is linked to directly from the Wikipedia page for Langmuir waves. In general, a lot of these tossups looked like the information in them was pulled directly from the Wiki pages for the answers without any particular regard as to whether the information was useful or uniquely identifying.

And those are just the tossups.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:59 pm

Many of the bonuses were equally ridiculous. For example, there was a bonus whose parts were Ewald summation/Poisson summation/von der Lage-Bethe method. I've vaguelly heard of one of these things despite almost 2 years of solid state physics under my belt. As I alluded to before, Ewald summation is a footnote in Ashcroft and Mermin's Solid State Physics, the most widely used graduate text on the topic. I've never even heard of the other two parts; who knew that "separating the angular and radial portions of the wavefunction," something that's taught in damn near every QM class ever, has a name? That's a fuck-you bonus that anyone is lucky to get 10 points on, and most teams got nothing. The following bonuses:
varves/clarity/de Geer
thermohaline circulation/euxinic/anchialine zone
isostasy/compensation depth/Bouguer compensation
Huygens Theorem/Brunt-Vaisala Frequency/Feynman-Wheeler Theory
Class O/Wolf-Rayet stars/delta Scuti Variables
quark stars/Schwartzschild Limit/Urca process
Lense-Thirring/binary jets/Bardeen-Petterson effect
paternoster lakes/kettle holes/jokulhlaups
all contained parts that were entirely too hard for even good science teams. The hard parts of many of the bonuses were truly obscene in the sense that I don't think anyone present at this tournament (which featured all the best science players currently active) had even a shot at them. Majorana fermions, seriously? Who is answering that bonus part? Is anyone not named Seth Teitler getting a part on delta Scuti variables? Does anyone have a hope in hell of getting anything other than Huygens' Principle in that waveform bonus?

This is just ridiculous. If you're writing a vanity tournament and you think people should hear about crazy shit named after dudes because that's all you're capable of writing, fine, whathever, I don't care. But if you're writing for an event which is intended to separate the best open teams from each other, then you need to write bonuses that give knowledgeable teams a shot at 30 points. That doesn't mean you have to give them 30, but it means that your answer selection needs to come from a set of answers which includes the kinds of things people in that field are likely to know. This is a tough thing to juggle in fields like literature and history, where the diversity of material is much greater, but most physicists everywhere cover the same topics. For an example of how to do this right, go to the Seth/Mike/Selene packet and look at the bonus on grand canonical ensembles, fugacity, and free energy. None of those parts are gimmes, but a moderately competent team will probably get 10 for fugacity, a team with a better science player will get 20 for the first two parts, and a team with a good physicist on it has an excellent shot at getting all three parts. The major feature of that bonus that the other examples lack is that it allows you to discriminate between different levels of knowledge rather than setting the effective limit on possible points at 20 and screwing most teams. Chicago Open is about canon expansion to some extent, sure, but it's not about impossible things that people have no hope of getting, and it certainly isn't about the kind of sloppy tossup writing that I talked about above.

This is the kind of thing which we've been discussing in the "writing science questions" thread, and I really hope more people pay attention to that thread and this one for examples of what to do and what not to do.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:09 pm

I, too, was confused by that KK clue, that calling of Chinese Room a lemma, that treatment of dispersion, that S-Z clue in the S-W tossup (I was baffled; I assumed that the clue was supposed to be something other than "I am saying an effect that famously occurs in the CMB; please say the other one," but I can't find a different link between the two effects. There go my points!), and some others of the examples you mentioned. Wesley, like, I don't pretend to know nearly as much about physics as Jerry does, but a lot of the confusing non-clues were on relatively easy material that an editor shouldn't mess up in this way (while it's kind of understandable if you phrase something poorly about something rather hard or obscure, since it's hard to find information on/ unlikely that you are an expert in it), leading me to get scared that I would neg (and I was usually right) and lose points (and, sometimes, games) for my team. I don't like losing games for my team because the physics is dominated by nonsense.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Susan » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:12 pm

Jerry wrote:I have no idea what the Bohr-Infield theory, linear or otherwise is, because when I search for it, I get nothing.
Is this supposed to be Born-Infeld theory?
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:17 pm

myamphigory wrote:
Jerry wrote:I have no idea what the Bohr-Infield theory, linear or otherwise is, because when I search for it, I get nothing.
Is this supposed to be Born-Infeld theory?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born–Infeld_theory says yes.

Can someone post the text of the Bridges of Konigsberg tossup, please?

I'd also like to point out that because of some issues in packets in which questions weren't filled in (i.e. tossup 14 in one packet just said "religion," William Walton was doubled in our packet instead of the inclusion of a tossup on Ammanati or whatever they replaced it with), we ended up reading a lot of the "extra" questions and using tiebreakers as part of the regular 20/20. This caused problems at least once when an actual tie occurred, and it was a little sloppy besides.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:18 pm

I just also wanted to add that, pending a response from Seth, who probably should get the right of first refusal on this, I'll throw my hat into the ring for head editing next year's Chicago Open. I've played enough of them and would greatly enjoy editing one, and next summer looks like a good time for me to commit to such a project. If my editing offer is accepted, I'll be assembling a team for various specialist fields early in the spring.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:21 pm

The Ehler Correspondences reveal this conundrum as central to the new science calculi situs proposed as a solution to the limitations of algebraic magnitudes by Leibniz, though the first to attempt a solution trivialized its importance after announcing its resolution in the Marinoni Letter. Its earliest solution implies an early version of the Handshaking Lemma of double counting, (*) and Fleury’s Algorithm and the Hierholzer Algorithm are based upon principles introduced by this problem. W.W. Rouse Ball first extended its premise to diagram-tracing puzzles. Variations of this problem attempt to add further arcs to identified nodes marked by the Blue Prince, the Red Prince, the Gasthaus, and the Kirche, though uneven degrees of the original nodes prevent its positive solution. For 10 points each, name this problem, a forerunner of graph theory involving a walking tour of a city on the Pregel River, which was proven impossible by Leonhard Euler.

ANSWER: Seven Bridges of Konigsberg Problem [accept clear knowledge equivalents]

Regarding the missing religion tossup in one of the packets, I believe one of the questions I had written that day just never got properly put into the document or was eaten somehow by Google Docs and/or India's power outages.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:28 pm

myamphigory wrote:
Jerry wrote:I have no idea what the Bohr-Infield theory, linear or otherwise is, because when I search for it, I get nothing.
Is this supposed to be Born-Infeld theory?
Yeah, but that doesn't improve things at all. When I search for "Born-Infeld Thomas" on Arxiv, I get one paper, and that paper doesn't mention anything having to do with Thomas-Lande field equations, which I'm still trying to track down. Point being, this isn't some sort of super-active area of research that you might hear about if you're a reasonably well-educated physicist, it's a single paper which doesn't even mention the stuff in the clue. I've used Arxiv as a source before, but you can't just drop a paper out of the blue, you have to make sure it's situated in some kind of useful context. This is one of the worst uses of Arxiv in question writing I've ever seen.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:38 pm

It should come as no surprise to some of you that I had huge problems with the music in this set. I just pulled out all the answers to questions that I believe were part of the classical music distribution in the set, as opposed to jazz or opera. Here they are, and if I get something wrong about the distribution, please let me know.
The Seasons, Carl Nielsen*, Jean Christian Sibelius*, Anton Bruckner, George Antheil*, William Walton*, Manfred Symphony in B minor, Francesca da Rimini, Aleko, George Crumb*, Francis Poulenc*, The Harmonious Blacksmith, George Percy Grainger*, seventh symphonies*, Jean Sibelius*, Tapiola*, Tulen synty*, Henry Cowell*, The Musical Offering, Witold Lutoslawski*, Concerto for Orchestra*, Henryk Gorecki*, Concord Sonata*, Les Patineurs, Emile Waldteufel, Valse Triste*, Transcendental Etudes , Polish Requiem*, Krzysztof Penderecki*, Polymorphia*, Symphony No. 101 in D Major [accept "Clock" Symphony), Misere mei, Deus, Michael Praetorius, Thomas Tallis, Gabriel Fauré, Alberto Ginastera*, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Scott Joplin , Arvo Pärt*, Suite Populaire Bresilienne*, Pequena Suite or Little Suite*, Bachianas Brasileiras*, Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo\, Dmitry Kabalevsky*, Roy Harris*, William Schuman*, Charles Ives*
(Notably, none of those appeared in the second finals format, which I would have been annoyed at if I happened to be in that game).
All of the questions labeled with an asterisk were either written in the 20th century, or else were about composers who wrote a really significant portion of their work in the 20th century (for people like Nielsen and Sibelius, who were technically active earlier but didn't hit their peak until after 1900). Now, out of the 48 total answers, 29 of them have those asterisks behind them. That's right, over 60% of the classical music in this set was about the 20th century. Considering music is a discipline that probably has its most important works written between 1700 and 1900 (and I don't mean that in an opinionated sort of way, I mean that objectively), and has lots of important things stretching back even further, to think that the 20th century is so prevalent in a non-novelty set should hopefully be self-evidently absurd to anyone, even those of you who don't know much about music. In my old post about the unfortunate direction of music in quizbowl, I laid out what seems to be going so wrong, and am extremely disheartened that the editorship of this tournament, and apparently lots of packet submitters, can't contain themselves enough to actually try and write on something old, and are so wrapped up in exposing us to modern topics instead that may or may not actually be worthwhile topics to ask on, and that lots of music players with extensive private training will still be unable to answer. Just like with literature and history, we need to keep mind of time-period subdistributions for music, which should more ideally leave 20th century music at something like 1/6th or less of the distribution (although I'd even be happy with 1/5th after this weekend!). Even I could never have predicted that a tournament would end up with such a high number of modern music questions, and I think this should be an important call to alarm for anyone who cares about music in the game that something is going terribly terribly wrong with what we write on.
Separately, I was disappointed with the quality of many of these questions. Hannah brought up one example which was absolutely right, but some others that I had a problem with were that questions used non-unique clues. I am programmed to expect a question having maybe 1 clue that could also apply specifically to a different work. However, questions that have 2 or more concrete clues to point you to a specific work will obviously cause negs when they want another work. I made negs on the Clock symphony and the Concord Sonata because of this - in the Clock symphony, it says that there is a double fugue in the finale then a line later names JP Salomon. Salomon gave the Jupiter Symphony its name, and the Jupiter symphony has an extremely famous double fugue right at the end of its finale. The Concord Sonata tossup was clearly about Ives, named its inspiration from transcendentalists, and claimed that it quotes Beethoven's fifth symphony. I buzzed in at some point with the Emerson Concerto (which all of those clues apply to), which in retrospect would be far too hard to toss up, but given the difficulty of some questions here, was surprisingly not-unreasonable. I'm aware that there were clues before these things that were uniquely identifying - however, when you are a player and hear multiple clues that identify something in the middle of a question, it makes sense to buzz there since you probably don't know the leadin clues, especially not at this tournament. I would like writers to be aware of how these clues can be misleading when they come together like that.
Some of the modern music answer selections I also had problems with - Henry Cowell in particular was crazy, because I've never seen him performed in concert, and as far as I've ever known, the one thing he's really notable for is creating the prepared piano, which would never have become anything important in modern music if not for a different composer, John Cage, writing for it. I also disliked the 7th symphonies tossup, because it opened with a clue (that mentioned the number Seven!) about a Penderecki symphony I doubt anyone in the field will have heard of, and then a Philip Glass symphony that is probably in the same boat taking up 5 lines, then it drops to mentioning things that happened in Antractica, which is quite the cliff considering what other notable seventh symphonies there are like Beethoven's. I'm running out of computer power, so I may get around to commenting on other questions later, but those were the biggest individual frustrations I had with questions.
As I said though, the biggest problem with the set was the obvious and ridiculous overrepresentation of modern music. I like modern music, and I even like some composers that I don't think are very important in modern music. I would gladly put up with 1 question on Lutoslawski per tournament if every other question was on something more widely listened to, studied, and performed. But when tons of questions are on comparably minor figures, and the majority of it falls into a time period that isn't even considered the major era of composition, I think we all should be justifiably frustrated at all of those things coming together.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:59 pm

Wow, Charlie's right. I didn't really notice this at the time, but looking at the answer selections, that's ridiculous.

A few other specific music complaints: One thing I do remember is that I had a huge, huge problem with the high Sibelius distribution. I think he or his works came up in three separate packets? Charles Ives came up twice. And to hop on the too-hard bandwagon, that Villa-Lobos bonus was ridiculous. I consider myself pretty well-versed in classical music, and I couldn't hope to get more than Bachianas. Charlie or Cameron or Aaron might have gotten more, but still. People like Roy Harris and William Schuman aren't just CO difficulty, they're incredibly obscure and not actually that significant. Topics that could have replaced them (and other modern music topics) include more obscure works/symphonies of the likes of Beethoven, Berlioz, Schumann and Mendelssohn, questions on more quizbowl obscure 19th century composers like Ernest Chausson, people like Fritz Kreisler... the list is endless.

Charlie's also right about the Concord Sonata. I fell for a lot of negbait over this tournament, and that was one instance of it.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:13 pm

Just a few comments on the history:

I haven't had a chance to look over the question set, but the history was similar to what I have come to expect from a tournament whose chief editor is not a top history player. There were some clue ordering mistakes, some confusing or misleadingly phrased clues, and some bizarre and only vaguely canonical answer choices. The Otto Skorzeny tossup has been mentioned. I also think that Walsingham and Afonso Henriques were far too difficult. John M. Clayton was less of an offense because his treaty is super famous in quizbowl (for reasons I don't understand, but it is). However it had a misleading clue that I would characterize as a hose. Early in the tossup he is credited with trying to reform the postal system; he may have done this, but the far more canonical Richard Mentor Johnson is infamous for his attempts to reform the post office. Also edict on maximum prices should not be within power on Diocletian. And it was confusing for the Carthage tossup to begin "the capital of this polity". Why not just write a question on Carthage.

Perhaps all of these problems are linked to the tournament being too hard, and thus difficult to edit for things like these.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:19 pm

The problem with that Clayton tossup is that there's no way to buzz before the Clayton-Bulwer clues. It's 10 lines of biographical information on someone who seems to be at best a minor functionary and I don't know that anyone in quizbowl has extensive knowledge of his life.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:35 pm

I wrote:The second movement of this work contains an instruction to use a fourteen and three-quarter inch piece of wood to create a massive cluster chord. That second movement was partially derived from its composer’s now-lost pieces The Slaves’ Shuffle and Demons’ Dance Around the Pipe, while this piece’s final movement sees the entrance of a solo flute playing the hymn “Martyn”. This piece constantly quotes Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata and Fifth Symphony, and its composer used a section of its second movement as the basis for his later work The Celestial Railroad. Its third movement depicts a “home under the elms” where “Beth played the old Scotch airs” on a piano given to her by Sophia Thoreau. This composition was the subject of its author’s Essays before a Sonata, which describes its final movement’s use of the “[tone] scale of a Walden morning.” For 10 points, identify this piece consisting of the movements “Emerson”, “Hawthorne”, “The Alcotts”, and “Thoreau”, a work depicting “the spirit of transcendentalism” in the title location, by Charles Ives.
ANSWER: the Concord Sonata [accept Ives’s Piano Sonata No. 2: Concord, Mass., 1840-1860 or equivalents; “Ives” is not necessary after his name is said]
So here's my Concord Sonata tossup; I believe the final version was nearly identical to this, which I submitted. I'd like to know what specifically you music people thought was negbait so I can avoid similar mistakes in the future.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:41 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:I also think that Walsingham and Afonso Henriques were far too difficult.
Agreed (even though I would have enjoyed hearing the Walsingham tossup if we had played that packet).
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:44 pm

Amusingly, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty is probably one of the less important things that John Clayton ever did. Clayton's real legacy to the American people is the Presidency of Zachary Taylor; he arranged the nomination of Ol' Rough and Ready and basically pulled all of the strings after they won the election. Quizbowl just loves this one ultimately irrelevant treaty he happened to negotiate in the cushy job that Taylor gave him as a reward.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:50 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Quizbowl just loves this one ultimately irrelevant treaty
This makes me wonder about some stuff:

1. Does quizbowl just love treaties more than other classes of history answers?

2. How consistent are trends like this over time? I remember the Clayton-Bulwer treaty coming up as a high school bonus part when I was in high school.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:51 pm

Champa Kalhari wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:Quizbowl just loves this one ultimately irrelevant treaty
This makes me wonder about some stuff:

1. Does quizbowl just love treaties more than other classes of history answers?

2. How consistent are trends like this over time? I remember the Clayton-Bulwer treaty coming up as a high school bonus part when I was in high school.
1. I think so. They're identifiable even if they're not important.

2. It still does on occasion.
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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:53 pm

Harper v. Canada (Attorney General) wrote:
Some of the modern music answer selections I also had problems with - Henry Cowell in particular was crazy, because I've never seen him performed in concert, and as far as I've ever known, the one thing he's really notable for is creating the prepared piano, which would never have become anything important in modern music if not for a different composer, John Cage, writing for it.
I will be sure to consult with you next time before writing a question to make sure you've have seen a work by the composer performed. In the meantime, feel free to check out the Internet, which is home to numerous videos of people/groups performing his works.
Billy Beyer, formerly of FSU

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Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:54 pm

Champa Kalhari wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:Quizbowl just loves this one ultimately irrelevant treaty
This makes me wonder about some stuff:

1. Does quizbowl just love treaties more than other classes of history answers?

2. How consistent are trends like this over time? I remember the Clayton-Bulwer treaty coming up as a high school bonus part when I was in high school.
One reason that this comes up is that unless you are an expert in ante bellum post-Jacksonian America, you are much more likely to know the Clayton-Bulwer treaty because it will be mentioned in any discussion of the Panama Canal and American foreign policy of the 1850s. I don't think it's fair to say that quizbowl loves it; it's just the kind of thing that's often covered in introductory classes on US history and features in books, so people know it.
Jerry Vinokurov
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