ACF Winter discussion

Old college threads.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:43 pm

Adults participating in an adult geared event should be allowed to use adult language should they choose.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:51 pm

nalin wrote:It's always tough to say whether or not profanity should be used. If parents are all up in arms about it, they shouldn't have their kids playing it. It is kind of necessary to put "I'm a fucking soldier" in a Kellen Winslow Jr. tossup. On the other hand, I take more offense when players make a drop every 4 letter word in the dictionary when they neg. Yeah, a little bit of emotion is ok, and no ones gonna care if you slip up, but completely losing it is unacceptable. It's a slippery slope which leads going Jose Offerman on the buzzer, or even the moderator. Just try and be respectful, considering the other team is not one of your boys.
I'm pretty sure the slippery slope from swearing to physically assaulting the moderator is not very steep at all.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:22 pm

grapesmoker wrote:One question I have about literature: where was that "New Zealand" tossup going after Katherine Mansfield?
To Keri Hulme, then back to Katherine Mansfield.

I'll probably have more comments on the set later, but I would like to note that a lot of the last-minute crunch on this set was my fault, since I had a bunch of personal issues come up over break that prevented me from giving this set the attention that it needed. I'm very sorry about that and I apologize to anyone whose experience was negatively affected by {the lateness of the questions, the rushed feel I thought some of the questions I was responsible for had on reading through them again, etc.}.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:16 pm

Reading through this set, I like it better than last year's ACF Winter. It did a good job about asking about the important topics(I've been waiting to hear the "Blowjob" movie clue in a Warhol tossup for a long time) while at the same time asking about interesting subjects that I've never seen come up before(Nixon v. U.S.). I wish I could have played in it. Good job to all the writers and editors.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:41 pm

Mr. Kwalter wrote:Anyway, a few things. First, I don't really think the right answer to "we expected word format but you sent pdfs so we had to make do and it was a pain" is "we sent pdfs and you were supposed to use them as pdfs." My site had trouble with the pdfs as well, though that was due to a problem I personally could not have foreseen. In the future, tournament editors/coordinators should include the format in which the packets will be distributed in their emails leading up to the tournament, and tournament hosts should do their best to foresee any problems there might be with that format and request an alternative if necessary.
What were the issues with the PDFs?
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Golran » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:49 pm

It's possible that the people don't have a pdf reader on their computers. I'm pretty sure windows doesn't come with one, and if there is no internet at the site they couldn't download a reader. Also, I know I prefer to use a split screen for tossups and bonuses, and having multiple files open and therefore multiple headers eliminates valuable screen space. For my future knowledge, is it possible to split screen on a pdf? If so, how?
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:53 pm

dinoian wrote:It's possible that the people don't have a pdf reader on their computers. I'm pretty sure windows doesn't come with one, and if there is no internet at the site they couldn't download a reader. Also, I know I prefer to use a split screen for tossups and bonuses, and having multiple files open and therefore multiple headers eliminates valuable screen space. For my future knowledge, is it possible to split screen on a pdf? If so, how?
Adobe Acrobat allows for a second window. Window - New Window.

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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:29 pm

If that doesn't work in whatever PDF reader you're using, you can always make a second copy of the file and open that. To idiot-proof this process, packet producers could produce separate tossup and bonus files. That would slightly increase the probability of other things going wrong by adding files to be copied and chances for someone to send, copy or open the wrong file, but might be worth it.
One thing I'd advise, though, is to get a PDF reader now if your computer doesn't currently have one, as you will very likely find it useful in college if you would not find it useful now. It would be prudent for question providers to tell hosts that PDF readers will be required if they intend on providing only PDF's or on providing PDF's unless otherwise asked (since anything that can go wrong probably will, though I'm surprised that any significant fraction of people don't have PDF readers...)

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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:50 pm

I certainly do think that editors should tell hosts what format they are going to send files in. However, I can't imagine what kinds of problems you could have with PDFs. This is a proven format that works on every single operating system across the board; in fact, that's the whole damn point of the thing. Every computer purchased within the last 5 years is capable of running software for reading them and I can't think of a single situation where you would get packets in PDF and then try to convert them back to Word.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:24 pm

I'm just shocked that people don't have Adobe whatever on their computers. How can you function without it (or an equivalent)?

Still, the central people of a tournament should let hosts know what format they'll be sending files out in.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by theMoMA » Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:33 pm

Yeah, I think that future tournament editors would benefit from telling readers what format to expect. But honestly, I put my cell phone number in the email with instructions to let me know immediately if there were any problems with the set whatsoever. I simply didn't foresee any problem with using the most universally compatible document format in existence, but I did explicitly detail a simple way for TDs to tell me about pdf troubles or any other problem that may have arisen.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by stevebahnaman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:09 pm

Just wanted to chime in and agree with Weiner and a few others that there were some "third-parts" of bonuses that tended toward the insanely hard. One format I saw proliferating in this tournament was that the third part was actually the first part, which can be totally fine but sometimes vaults the work into the stratosphere of hardness.

This format tended to show up a lot (which it has in recent ACF, and is usually a good format):

1) Description of work, name it without the author.
2) Name the author
3) Name something else by the author, or something.

The problem is that many of the described works were the kinds of works that were insanely hard without the author given. This from Finals 1, for example, barely has any clues whatsoever before asking for an answer that almost no human being would give without an author clue.
7. Elizabeth Bates is angered by her husband Walter's evening absence only to find out that he was killed in a mining
accident. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this story in which Elizabeth's changing attitude toward her marriage is represented by her reaction to the
titular flower.
ANSWER: “Odour of Chrysanthemums”
[10] “Odour of Chrysanthemums” is a story by this author of Aaron's Rod and Lady Chatterley's Lover.
ANSWER: D.H. Lawrence
[10] In this other Lawrence novel, Paul Morel's affection toward Miriam Leivers is stymied by his overbearing
cancer-ridden mother, whom he euthanizes at the end of the novel.
ANSWER: Sons and Lovers
If you're going to edit questions into this format, you should be *very* careful that you add enough clues so that the players might have some idea what time period, country, or movement the work is from. Or you should pick works that are easier than Odour of Chrystanthemums.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:40 pm

Steve, I think you picked an unfortunate example. "Odor of Chrysanthemums" is one of the most anthologized Lawrence short stories ever; it's not at all implausible that one would be able to identify it from the plot. There were definitely hard third parts in this tournament but this is not a part that "barely has any clues whatsoever," or asks for an answer that "almost no human being would give without an author clue."
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by stevebahnaman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:57 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Steve, I think you picked an unfortunate example. "Odor of Chrysanthemums" is one of the most anthologized Lawrence short stories ever; it's not at all implausible that one would be able to identify it from the plot. There were definitely hard third parts in this tournament but this is not a part that "barely has any clues whatsoever," or asks for an answer that "almost no human being would give without an author clue."
So like, there is egg on my face and now I don't feel particularly encouraged to post in this board ever again. I am assuming that was what you wished to accomplish?

The point I was making, irrespective of whether the example was bad (it may have been, but I still don't consider this one of the 5 most famous Lawrence works or anything), is that this is a very dangerous way to format a bonus.

But yknow, I'll leave you people who really know stuff to enjoy making me feel stupid. Thanks man.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:05 pm

stevebahnaman wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Steve, I think you picked an unfortunate example. "Odor of Chrysanthemums" is one of the most anthologized Lawrence short stories ever; it's not at all implausible that one would be able to identify it from the plot. There were definitely hard third parts in this tournament but this is not a part that "barely has any clues whatsoever," or asks for an answer that "almost no human being would give without an author clue."
So like, there is egg on my face and now I don't feel particularly encouraged to post in this board ever again. I am assuming that was what you wished to accomplish?

The point I was making, irrespective of whether the example was bad (it may have been, but I still don't consider this one of the 5 most famous Lawrence works or anything), is that this is a very dangerous way to format a bonus.

But yknow, I'll leave you people who really know stuff to enjoy making me feel stupid. Thanks man.
Please don't take things so personally! I'm sure Jerry was merely trying to be informative, both for your benefit and for others reading the thread; I would find it quite hard to believe he wanted to shame you off of the board.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:17 pm

Steve, noone's trying to make you feel stupid. You make a fine point - sometimes people start bonuses off with very difficult works that are made even more difficult when the author isn't provided. It's just that "Odour of Chrysanthemums" isn't a great example, because it's not that hard. This is something you'll get a better feel for as you gain more experience; there's no shame in that.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by stevebahnaman » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:44 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Steve, noone's trying to make you feel stupid. You make a fine point - sometimes people start bonuses off with very difficult works that are made even more difficult when the author isn't provided. It's just that "Odour of Chrysanthemums" isn't a great example, because it's not that hard. This is something you'll get a better feel for as you gain more experience; there's no shame in that.
I overreacted. Perhaps it's a bad example. I should say though that I started playing college QB since 1999 and am 28 years old. I was not a great lit player, especially on the English lit stuff.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:43 pm

stevebahnaman wrote:So like, there is egg on my face and now I don't feel particularly encouraged to post in this board ever again. I am assuming that was what you wished to accomplish?

The point I was making, irrespective of whether the example was bad (it may have been, but I still don't consider this one of the 5 most famous Lawrence works or anything), is that this is a very dangerous way to format a bonus.

But yknow, I'll leave you people who really know stuff to enjoy making me feel stupid. Thanks man.
The fuck? All I said was that you picked a poor example; I was by no means trying to make you feel stupid and I agree with your main point. I simply think that the choice of question was unfortunate because this is actually an example of something that people who read Lawrence would very likely know. Obviously "Odour of Chrysanthemums" is the hard part here, and maybe a different structure would have made it easier to get.

I think this convention of formulating bonuses is a pretty good one, which is why it gets employed often. Personally, I might have gone for a formulation where deep details from a better known work formed the first part and the harder work was the third part, but I don't think this is too bad. The real problem is questions on things that even people with a fair amount of expertise can't convert.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by vandyhawk » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:21 am

Assuming I'm correctly remembering who Steve Bahnaman is (former Emory player?), the ironic part of those last several posts for me is that I used to think Steve and Jerry's voices and manner of speaking were very similar to each other. Now to other things...
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: I'm interested in people's opinions re: the tossup on the electric field I wrote. I intentionally included no eponyms in the science I submitted, and this tossup made it through without any making their way in there:

Particles of dielectric materials may be separated in a fractionation method that uses a nonuniform one of these. Band-bending occurs because it varies linearly in a depletion layer. Symmetric top molecules undergo line-splitting in their microwave spectrum due to the application of one of these. Modulators for active Q-switching lasers rely on an effect in which crystals lacking inversion symmetry become birefringent in linear proportion to the magnitude of one of these. Its flux through a surface is proportional to enclosed charge, and its curl is equal to the negative time partial of the magnetic field. Its magnitude is proportional to one-over-r for a line charge, and it is proportional to one over r squared for a point charge. For 10 points, name this vector field given in units of volts per meter.
ANSWER: electric field [or E field]

So the line-splitting in the third sentence is an example of the Stark effect, I think, and the fourth describes the Pockels effect. Of course, the Pockels effect by name is buzzed on less than the Stark effect. Do people think that the descriptions (in the context given) are in the right order here? I wasn't sure.
Looking at the text, when you talk about line-splitting like that, there are really only a few answer choices at that point for people who know those things. I'd think the Q-switching clue should come first in the absence of effect names (and I agree with not saying effect names there), though I wouldn't be surprised if there were people who buzzed on that clue thinking the birefringence part was referring to Kerr effect. In any case, I don't think either way is particularly problematic during game play. I actually think the 2nd to last sentence could easily be scrapped though, since you've gotten down the pyramid pretty far, and that sentence doesn't add much, esp. in terms of uniqueness, at that point.
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: On other notes, I'm happy about what I see in the science re: the increased number of questions that draw on (or ask for) lab technique, such as the FRET tossup or the chemistry lab techniques bonus. (Also, things like quorum sensing are pretty cool; we should have more questions on topics like that and fewer of the two thousandth tossup on lysosomes.)
Well, questions on things like quorum sensing may be fun for experienced people (and others in the know), but at a regular difficulty tournament, I think you still need plenty of tossups on revisited-many-times-over topics like cell organelles, standard chemical functional groups, etc. to make sure you can satisfy as much of the target audience as possible. Interesting early clues, gettable middle clues, and then easy, uh, easy clues is still the system that I think works best for that purpose. And yeah, questions rewarding practical knowledge from lab courses are always good. I can't say I'm a fan of stuff like "Name these glass items from a chem lab..." though, but I'm guessing that wasn't your intent.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by fluffy4102 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:35 am

vandyhawk wrote: Well, questions on things like quorum sensing may be fun for experienced people (and others in the know), but at a regular difficulty tournament, I think you still need plenty of tossups on revisited-many-times-over topics like cell organelles, standard chemical functional groups, etc. to make sure you can satisfy as much of the target audience as possible. Interesting early clues, gettable middle clues, and then easy, uh, easy clues is still the system that I think works best for that purpose. And yeah, questions rewarding practical knowledge from lab courses are always good. I can't say I'm a fan of stuff like "Name these glass items from a chem lab..." though, but I'm guessing that wasn't your intent.
From my experience, a lot of textbooks go over the basic mechanics of assays and techniques. While FRET probably wasn't a great choice in terms of difficulty (it was used as a middle clue last year for a tossup at regionals), I think NMR and the various other technique questions were reasonable. While one or two of the clues in the tournament were misleading or wrong, as illustrated in the following tossup, the science was definitely reasonable. I'm sure the intention was nephropathy. Spell check can do funny things.
Syndromes that affect this organ include WAGR syndrome and Denys-Drash syndrome, both of which increase the chance of developing Wilm’s tumor. Another disease of this organ is Minimal Change disease, which increases its permeability to serum albumin, causing edema. Diabetic neuropathy is a disease of this organ that affects the blood vessels of the glomerulus, a capillary tuft that filters fluids out of the blood and into Bowman’s Capsule. Dialysis is able to perform the tasks of this organ and is administered to patients with failed or missing ones. For 10 points, name this organ that filters the blood and produces urine.
ANSWER: the kidneys
I think techniques are a nice direction, since science isn't all theory. Attending two days of an organic lab course could net you 30 on that extraction, recrystallization, and reflux bonus, so it's definitely far from impossible.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by mattreece » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:18 pm

grapesmoker wrote:edit: as long as I'm at it, I'd like to note that my question on the electromagnetic force mistakenly identified the photon as the only massless gauge boson. This is incorrect, as the graviton is also predicted to be massless. The text should have described it as the only massless, spinless gauge boson.
Photons are spin one, dude. And no one calls the graviton a "gauge boson," although there is a sense in which it gauges the Poincaré group. But "only (known) massless gauge boson" is a perfectly good description of the photon.

PMNS is a ridiculously hard bonus part; the 'P' shouldn't have been required, as the phrasing of the clue itself makes clear. I might be able to pull "MNS" on a good day (otherwise, it would be "the one that's like the CKM matrix, but for leptons").
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:57 pm

mattreece wrote:Photons are spin one, dude. And no one calls the graviton a "gauge boson," although there is a sense in which it gauges the Poincaré group. But "only (known) massless gauge boson" is a perfectly good description of the photon.
That'll learn me. Well, sorry about distributing false information in the correction as well. I did think that all mediating bosons were gauge bosons, but I will take your much more experienced word for it. Obviously, throwing the word "known" in there would have made things right, I'm ashamed that I didn't figure that out.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Schweizerkas » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:46 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
mattreece wrote:Photons are spin one, dude. And no one calls the graviton a "gauge boson," although there is a sense in which it gauges the Poincaré group. But "only (known) massless gauge boson" is a perfectly good description of the photon.
That'll learn me. Well, sorry about distributing false information in the correction as well. I did think that all mediating bosons were gauge bosons, but I will take your much more experienced word for it. Obviously, throwing the word "known" in there would have made things right, I'm ashamed that I didn't figure that out.
To further derail this thread, I should point out that gluons are also massless gauge bosons (well, at least theoretically they're massless; experimentally their mass isn't as well constrained as the photon's).
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by mattreece » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:02 pm

Schweizerkas wrote:To further derail this thread, I should point out that gluons are also massless gauge bosons (well, at least theoretically they're massless; experimentally their mass isn't as well constrained as the photon's).
Yes, I hate to derail the thread, but you're probably right that the question should be rephrased. On the other hand, this is one of those points that's arguably right on narrowly technical grounds but "morally" wrong; any physical state made of glue is massive because of confinement, whereas photons are actual massless particles. So I think the gist of the original statement is true, before worrying about technicalities. Saying that gluons are massless is true in the sense that there's no mass term in the Lagrangian, but it's not very meaningful in terms of any gauge-invariant observable.

Sorry for diverting the thread; I was just lurking to try to get a sense of how to pitch the difficulty of questions for ACF nationals....
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:13 pm

Outside of NMR and Mass Spec, and maybe a few other things, your choices for lab techniques/assays/etc. seem pretty limited at a regular difficulty event. Even things that have been mentioned in qb a fair bit like ELISA are clearly too hard, and FRET probably falls in that category.

Sorry, I get a nervous tick whenever anyone's like "we should ask about this! There's SO much good material here!"
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:24 pm

Things like that distillation bonus, etc., are good and should come up more. (Also, there's stuff in the cluespace, and there are simply ways to write a question that focus more on practical matters that students of chemistry will encounter in lab than on triply-eponymous modifications of doubly-eponymous reactions that ten chemists have ever used.) I don't mean to say that things that are too hard are actually not too hard. (Though things like FRET and FISH should probably be fine for hard parts, certainly.)

Similarly, in response to Matt Keller's post--I don't mean to say that it'd be great if all of a sudden the biology canon were 20% bacterial behavior; I'm just glad to see the additional diversity in the answer selection. Particularly as hard parts, I think that this sort of material lends positive qualities to a set's biology, and it can make it more interesting than the organelle roulette wheel or the biochemical pathway craps game or...
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by recfreq » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:10 pm

i'm a bit disappointed by the biology. why are we asking for _G-protein-coupled-receptor_ when most of the clues points to the very much canonical _G-protein_? very early in that question, it was clear the answer is G-protein, but i was negged, and i presume others as well.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Lapego1 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:51 pm

recfreq wrote:i'm a bit disappointed by the biology. why are we asking for _G-protein-coupled-receptor_ when most of the clues points to the very much canonical _G-protein_? very early in that question, it was clear the answer is G-protein, but i was negged, and i presume others as well.
I think the question said to accept g-protein early and prompt on it after some word in there.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:50 am

recfreq wrote:i'm a bit disappointed by the biology. why are we asking for _G-protein-coupled-receptor_ when most of the clues points to the very much canonical _G-protein_? very early in that question, it was clear the answer is G-protein, but i was negged, and i presume others as well.
Frizzled was the keyword. Well done by the editor/writer.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by fluffy4102 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:55 am

Lapego1 wrote:
recfreq wrote:i'm a bit disappointed by the biology. why are we asking for _G-protein-coupled-receptor_ when most of the clues points to the very much canonical _G-protein_? very early in that question, it was clear the answer is G-protein, but i was negged, and i presume others as well.
I think the question said to accept g-protein early and prompt on it after some word in there.
Frizzled. That tossup was the exception to the rule. It sort of shafted people in a set that mostly rewarded knowledge, but I also agree with Andy. Techniques shouldn't make up a huge part of the science canon, but they are important and should be included as rewards for knowledge and understanding, rather than memorizing a list of reactions and its various name modifications. It does allow for science to expand the breadth of its answer selection out of the Diels-Alder, mitochondria, and citric acid stock clue stagnation.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by stevebahnaman » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:27 pm

I was going to make a thread about music tossups that contain reaonably unhelpful, multi-line information about featured instruments, key signatures, and movement tempos, but as I was looking for an example in the ACF Winter packets I didn't really find one.

Big kudos on that. These music questions were excellent and, I imagine, not painful to listen to.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:45 pm

I agree, the music was solid in this set. I will link to this thread though to assure you that you aren't the only person with concerns about unique sounding clues - viewtopic.php?p=162513#p162513
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by stevebahnaman » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:45 pm

Thanks for that link. I just missed that discussion, and agree with its overall sentiment.
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Re: ACF Winter discussion

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:10 pm

Winter stats:

85 teams representing 65 educational institutions played ACF Winter at eight sites.

The average team heard 215 tossups and played 11 games.
The average points per tossup heard was 10.25.
The average team line was 89 tossups answered and 19 negs.
The average team scored 200 points per game.
The average team averaged 15.5 points per bonus.

Those were pretty much exactly our goals, so that's awesome!

The median team heard 220 tossups and played 11 games.
The median points per tossup heard was 9.1.
The median team line was 88 tossups answered and 18 negs.
The median team scored 182 points per game.
The median team averaged 14 points per bonus.

These median scores were a little below our goals, so perhaps we should adjust our averages upward to compensate since it appears that the numbers of the very best teams affect the averages more than those at the lower end.

The 25th percentile team had 58 tossups answered.
The 25th percentile team scored 113 points per game.
The 25th percentile team averaged 10.2 points per bonus.

The 75th percentile team had 117 tossups answered.
The 75th percentile team scored 236 points per game.
The 75th percentile team averaged 17 points per bonus.

These are pretty encouraging numbers. The 75th percentile team should be about twice as good as the 25th percentile team, and the numbers bear that out almost perfectly. The tournament also wasn't too easy or too hard for teams in the interquartile range.
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