General Discussion

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General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:54 pm

Discuss away.

I'll let others break down their involvement. I wrote/edited all of the American history, pretty much all of the European history bonuses, and a large chunk of the trash. Bruce wrote/edited the European/world history tossups. Shantanu wrote quite a bit of the world history bonuses and Bruce finished the rest off with editing from me.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Huang » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:58 pm

What was the trash distribution breakdown? (amount of old movies and etc.)
This set was pretty fun to play on despite my horrendous negging and blanking and general suckitude.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:11 pm

I liked the set, even if I didn't have much success on it. Considering I have no collegiate experience to compare it with, I can't really say how good it was in the context of other sets. But my gut reaction to it was that it was pretty good. Difficult to me, but obviously not too difficult for those with experience.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:48 pm

Here's the breakdown:

Movies: Die Hard, Fritz Lang, Inglorious Basterds, The Hangover bonus (with Slowskys part)

TV: Arrested Development, Monk, Mark Wahlberg TV Shows bonus, The Office bonus (with a sports part)

Other: Board Games bonus

Cross-Distro: Santa Claus (movies/TV), Morgan Spurlock bonus, Jack Benny bonus (movies/TV/music), Neil Flynn bonus (movies/TV), Charles Manson bonus

Music: The Offspring, Gangsta's Paradise, Hot 'n Cold, Rap bonus, '90s hits bonus, Pink Floyd bonus

Video Games: Half-Life 2

Comics: Catwoman, Green Goblin

Performers: Kenan Thompson

Trash Lit: Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams

Sports: Texas Longhorns Football, Calipari bonus, NFL kickers bonus, SF Giants bonus, Kissing Suzy Kolber bonus, Phil Jackson bonus

Most of the sports ended up as bonuses, which may or may not have been a problem. Movies and TV probably got a touch overrepresented due to the cross distro things. In terms of "old movies," there was only like 1/1 (Fritz Lang/Jack Benny), while there were a few '80s and early '90s things, but there were some pretty recent stuff too. There was only 1/1 in the trash that I considered vanity (Santa/Jack Benny), so I hope people felt it was distributed okay.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Huang » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:53 pm

Oh ok. Yeah, I figured my selective memory was playing tricks on me as to just how many times old movie questions were showing up.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:54 pm

Where was the powermark on the Offspring tossup?
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Re: General Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:04 pm

Gerd Bockmann wrote:Where was the powermark on the Offspring tossup?
Editors 3 wrote:8. This band notes that “free rides just don’t come along every day” in a song that was heavily inspired by the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." The subject of another song by this band “talks about closure and that validation bit," to which their singer retorts “just do me a favor and check your baggage at the door." Another song by these artists of “Why Don’t You Get a Job” and “She’s Got Issues” contains the lines “Hey, they don’t pay no mind / If you’re under 18 you won’t be doing any time” after the singer says “you gotta keep ‘em separated.” For 10 points, name this Dexter Holland-fronted band whose 1994 album Smash contains “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem."
ANSWER: The Offspring [accept Manic Subsidal]
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:09 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:
Gerd Bockmann wrote:Where was the powermark on the Offspring tossup?
Editors 3 wrote:8. This band notes that “free rides just don’t come along every day” in a song that was heavily inspired by the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." The subject of another song by this band “talks about closure and that validation bit," to which their singer retorts “just do me a favor and check your baggage at the door." Another song by these artists of “Why Don’t You Get a Job” and “She’s Got Issues” contains the lines “Hey, they don’t pay no mind / If you’re under 18 you won’t be doing any time” after the singer says “you gotta keep ‘em separated.” For 10 points, name this Dexter Holland-fronted band whose 1994 album Smash contains “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem."
ANSWER: The Offspring [accept Manic Subsidal]
OK, I powered that at the very last possible moment. "Why Don't You Get a Job" is a somewhat well known song though, so I (and two of my teammates) were pretty shocked that it was a power.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:32 pm

I generally liked this set a lot. I felt like answers were very gettable, and that early clues were buzzable at least more often than usual.

I would really like to see one packet which didn't seem as polished as the rest of the tournament, which I think was partially by Minnesota (my notes say UMN-1). We lost to Dunbar A on that packet, with a bonus conversion of 10.0 on 8 bonuses (we averaged 14.6). Illinois A beat Ohio State A by 75 on the same packet, with bonus conversion of 14.6 (average 23.3). Perhaps the packet was just full of stuff we should know but don't, but something felt wrong. I hope the fact that we lost isn't skewing my views towards it. Was that packet a really late submission that didn't have as much time to be edited?
If someone could email me the set (or just that packet), I could post more specific comments.

Thanks!
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:37 pm

Just eyeballing the bonuses in that packet, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but that packet also saw the lowest bonus conversion in the prelims at our site too.

It was a packet written by Gautam and me (ostensibly originally written for Winter but never submitted) and not a late submission at all.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by sds » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:23 pm

Overall, I quite enjoyed this tournament. I really appreciate the inclusion of trash lit in this set, since it usually seems to get edged out by everything else.

I'd be interested to see the distribution of social science. This may just be due to which packets we heard, but it seemed like econ was way overrepresented, while there was very little psychology or linguistics. Part of this may have been the inclusion of econ-type clues in philosophy tossups, though.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:35 pm

sds wrote:Overall, I quite enjoyed this tournament. I really appreciate the inclusion of trash lit in this set, since it usually seems to get edged out by everything else.

I'd be interested to see the distribution of social science. This may just be due to which packets we heard, but it seemed like econ was way overrepresented, while there was very little psychology or linguistics. Part of this may have been the inclusion of econ-type clues in philosophy tossups, though.
There was one linguistics bonus in the tournament. I would have liked to have a tossup as well, but I forgot to replace the submitted one that was too hard. Looking over the answer document, I agree that there was a bit too much econ, especially since there were philosophy/ss tossups on both Gramsci and Hayek (who also did non-econ things). This probably stemmed from my extreme resistance to writing on things that I like that are far too hard to be in this tournament, and for that, I apologize.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by goblue16 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:39 pm

I also felt that econ was over-represented to the detriment of other equally important SS, like anthro. Overall, this was a very good tournament and a particularly enjoyed the history, which, in my opinion, did not have any outlying/weird answers. I particularly thought the Fritz Lang tossup was well done and the large amount of Norse myth in T-Party was much to my liking.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:44 pm

I really liked this tournament, despite playing pretty poorly. However, powers were really, really stingy. I didn't realize there would be powers until about round 5, because we hadn't seen one yet. I don't see how this squares with the stated goal of "good players buzzing early". One particular thing that I did like about this tournament was that a vast majority of the buzzes that I saw were solidly in the middle of the tossup. There weren't too many tossups that were unrealistically hard until the giveaway. So, thanks a lot, editors and U of M folks!
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:51 pm

Terrible Shorts Depot wrote:I really liked this tournament, despite playing pretty poorly. However, powers were really, really stingy. I didn't realize there would be powers until about round 5, because we hadn't seen one yet. I don't see how this squares with the stated goal of "good players buzzing early".
One particular thing that I did like about this tournament was that a vast majority of the buzzes that I saw were solidly in the middle of the tossup. There weren't too many tossups that were unrealistically hard until the giveaway.
I think this is the part that reflects the stated goal. Like, I won't say ex cathedra that we must have met that goal; indeed, we might have failed utterly despite your observation. But the goal drew from a Matt Weiner post in a thread that asserted that it's much better, essentially, for a regular difficulty tournament to have Chicago v. Brown see 70% first-line buzzes than for 90% of teams to be mostly buzzing on the giveaway--that there are two "muddy battlefields," to borrow from Ryan, and that for regular difficulty tournaments it's better to avoid the one that affects the most teams. Maybe we should have made leadins a bit easier, but I, at least, was mostly concerned with accomplishing the second part of your post.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:57 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Terrible Shorts Depot wrote:I really liked this tournament, despite playing pretty poorly. However, powers were really, really stingy. I didn't realize there would be powers until about round 5, because we hadn't seen one yet. I don't see how this squares with the stated goal of "good players buzzing early".
One particular thing that I did like about this tournament was that a vast majority of the buzzes that I saw were solidly in the middle of the tossup. There weren't too many tossups that were unrealistically hard until the giveaway.
I think this is the part that reflects the stated goal.
Yeah, looking back at this, it's vaguely contradictory. However, I think that a slightly more liberal awarding of powers would have fulfilled that goal even better than this tournament already did.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Red-necked Phalarope » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:34 pm

tetragrammatology wrote:I would have liked to have a tossup as well, but I forgot to replace the submitted one that was too hard.
This was probably my tossup on "vowel shifts" which I got press-ganged into writing exactly two hours before the packet deadline, which upon reexamination was indeed way too difficult until Otto Jespersen. My bad. (Apparently Penelope Eckert's only appeared once before in the QB canon? Crazy.)

While we're talking about unusual subdistributions, though, it seemed to me that there were very few (1-2) questions on architecture and computer science, and that the "world lit" distribution was very strongly weighted towards South America. Am I alone on this?

The other main issue I had was with bonus difficulty variability. Not to start nit-picking questions, but I feel there's a really big gap in lit between ("Vikram Seth"\"The Golden Gate"\"Li Po") and three parts on some Italian author who I don't think I'd heard of before and whose name I can't recall even now, unfortunately (it was the same packet as the CMB radiation tossup and, I believe, the third round we played at Centre)*. Some variation of this sort is unavoidable, of course, but I felt that our team's scoring on individual bonuses probably varied more than at any other tournament I've been to this year.

On the whole, though, I definitely enjoyed the tournament. It seemed like the shorter questions didn't lead to too many buzzer races or difficulty cliffs, and I could tell that there was a conscious effort to incorporate some recent quizbowl 'trends' like deoveremphasizing Japanese lit and including more post-1965 American history (cf. the Saturday Night Massacre tossup and the 1st Gulf War bonus). On a personal level, I loved seeing Martin Waldseemuller and Zipf's Law come up.

Thanks!

*To clarify, these two bonuses didn't appear in the same packet; I'm just juxtaposing them for the sake of illustration.

EDIT:
Cheynem wrote:a bunch of stuff on trash
I thought that the trash in this tournament was both well-distributed and very accessible without being overly easy. Awesome job.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:01 pm

There was 2/3 CS; generally I would shoot for having 4/4 CS in a tournament of 16 packets, but other editors have less CS than the other other science categories. In this specific case, it was mostly generated by a dearth of good submitted CS (though the 1/1 that was good was gold).
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Red-necked Phalarope » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:41 am

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:There was 2/3 CS; generally I would shoot for having 4/4 CS in a tournament of 16 packets, but other editors have less CS than the other other science categories. In this specific case, it was mostly generated by a dearth of good submitted CS (though the 1/1 that was good was gold).
Ah, that makes sense. We probably just didn't get to many of the bonuses, then.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:27 am

This is tournament was excellent in many, many respects. So, instead of performing the customary, "It's pretty good...these tossups sucked," I will devote some precious time to explaining what I liked about this tournament, and how I would like to see tournaments progress.

The Morgan Spurlock bonus (though I think we only got 10 on the bonus) is a great kind of "pop significa" question, and represents a category that I hold is underrepresented in quizbowl. The conflation that pop culture/TRASH must also be trashy is unfortunate, and I think questions like these occupies a cultural space that is somewhere in-between Lady Gaga and Richard Rorty. I think, Malcolm Gladwell, Eric Schlosser, maybe Klosterman, Greil Marcus, Naomi Klein, possibly Barbara Ehrenreich, Friedman, and Leavitt are also the kind of figures that seem to fit in this space, and I hope that this area is further explored. If I were to try to come up with a name for this genre or category, I guess it would be "pop academia" or some such thing.

Though I don't have the questions in front of me, my initial reaction to the literature/philosophy/social science is that it did a very good job of describing major concepts, plot points, etc. relatively early-on, and thus avoided the anxiety of title-dropping third/fourth tier works but still managed in the space provided to distinguish the knowledge level between teams (at least at our Furman site). I would say that occasionally the opening clues of some of the philosophy/ss were not as explicit or unique as I would like them to be, but that is a minor point.

Special approbation goes to the bonus which mentioned the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, "The Strife of Love in a Dream," (the coolest piece of Renaissance incunabula ever) There is a great book by Lian Lefaivre that describes its awesomeness. Anyway, thanks for including this (maybe it was outlier difficulty, but I appreciated it nonetheless).

I think 6-lines TNR 10pt is just almost good enough to encapsulate any pryamidal quizbowl tossup. I guess I don't mind a little prolixity, but I appreciated the peppy, fast nature of having most tossups answered somewhere three lines in most of the time. Also, I did not think the powers were particularly stingy, I think they were appropriate given the clue space and tossup length.

Either the science seemed a bit harder than the other categories or was written in such a way as to expose the true fraudulence of my already limited science knowledge. If it was the latter, bully for you, mission accomplished...

This was a very, very consistent and laudable effort.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:31 am

Atlee Hammaker wrote:
The other main issue I had was with bonus difficulty variability. Not to start nit-picking questions, but I feel there's a really big gap in lit between ("Vikram Seth"\"The Golden Gate"\"Li Po") and three parts on some Italian author who I don't think I'd heard of before and whose name I can't recall even now, unfortunately (it was the same packet as the CMB radiation tossup and, I believe, the third round we played at Centre)*. Some variation of this sort is unavoidable, of course, but I felt that our team's scoring on individual bonuses probably varied more than at any other tournament I've been to this year.
Do you mean "The Betrothed-Manzoni-A character from the Betrothed" bonus?
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:37 am

Heh, the Spurlock one was not a conscious decision to represent that strain of thinking, but I'm glad you liked it. I was trying to consciously try to balance some ends of the distribution, which is why I threw out some perfectly fine submitted bonuses and replaced it with sports, for example, as almost no one submitted sports questions.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Red-necked Phalarope » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:08 am

SnookerUSF wrote:
Atlee Hammaker wrote:
The other main issue I had was with bonus difficulty variability. Not to start nit-picking questions, but I feel there's a really big gap in lit between ("Vikram Seth"\"The Golden Gate"\"Li Po") and three parts on some Italian author who I don't think I'd heard of before and whose name I can't recall even now, unfortunately (it was the same packet as the CMB radiation tossup and, I believe, the third round we played at Centre)*. Some variation of this sort is unavoidable, of course, but I felt that our team's scoring on individual bonuses probably varied more than at any other tournament I've been to this year.
Do you mean "The Betrothed-Manzoni-A character from the Betrothed" bonus?
Yeah, that's almost certainly the one. Thanks.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Gautam » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:21 am

Atlee Hammaker wrote:
SnookerUSF wrote:
Atlee Hammaker wrote:
The other main issue I had was with bonus difficulty variability. Not to start nit-picking questions, but I feel there's a really big gap in lit between ("Vikram Seth"\"The Golden Gate"\"Li Po") and three parts on some Italian author who I don't think I'd heard of before and whose name I can't recall even now, unfortunately (it was the same packet as the CMB radiation tossup and, I believe, the third round we played at Centre)*. Some variation of this sort is unavoidable, of course, but I felt that our team's scoring on individual bonuses probably varied more than at any other tournament I've been to this year.
Do you mean "The Betrothed-Manzoni-A character from the Betrothed" bonus?
Yeah, that's almost certainly the one. Thanks.
I will agree with you that that is a hard bonus, given that I had written a bonus with a similar construction for our ACF Nationals 2008 packet (bonus #10. in Minnesota.) Of course, that was before I'd learned about not asking for minor characters, so perhaps that could be different. Replacing the 3rd part with an easy part (easier than Manzoni) could have made it more reasonable.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:54 pm

While reading the set, one thing that stood out to me as problematic was the geography, which seemed very almanac-bowl-like in the tossups. This is something that I should have worked on, as I really enjoy interesting geography questions, but it slipped through the cracks.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mettius Fufetius » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:06 pm

gkandlikar wrote:
Atlee Hammaker wrote:
SnookerUSF wrote:
Atlee Hammaker wrote:
The other main issue I had was with bonus difficulty variability. Not to start nit-picking questions, but I feel there's a really big gap in lit between ("Vikram Seth"\"The Golden Gate"\"Li Po") and three parts on some Italian author who I don't think I'd heard of before and whose name I can't recall even now, unfortunately (it was the same packet as the CMB radiation tossup and, I believe, the third round we played at Centre)*. Some variation of this sort is unavoidable, of course, but I felt that our team's scoring on individual bonuses probably varied more than at any other tournament I've been to this year.
Do you mean "The Betrothed-Manzoni-A character from the Betrothed" bonus?
Yeah, that's almost certainly the one. Thanks.
I will agree with you that that is a hard bonus, given that I had written a bonus with a similar construction for our ACF Nationals 2008 packet (bonus #10. in Minnesota.) Of course, that was before I'd learned about not asking for minor characters, so perhaps that could be different. Replacing the 3rd part with an easy part (easier than Manzoni) could have made it more reasonable.
Was this bonus that much of an outlier? Is it even harder than the bonus right after it? Personal anecdote time: this is what happened when Ming and I got bonuses #5 and #6 from Editors 2:

Bonus 5, part 1: We don't know who Don Abbondio or any of the other characters but we hear "marriage" and Italian names and Ming frauds "The Betrothed" out of that.
part 2: We're aware that Manzoni wrote "The Betrothed" because of binary knowledge from packets.
part 3: We didn't know about The Unnamed, but I thought the name itself was neat and memorable. I'm vaguely inspired to actually learn more about Manzoni, largely because of the connection to this Francesco Visconti guy I don't know about and his Italian wikipedia page. We felt okay about that bonus.

Bonus 6, part 1: We don't recognize any of the titles. I mix up We Have Always Lived in the Castle with Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle and therefore mistakenly identify the author as a 20th century female Briton. I think we ultimately don't even come up with a guess.
part 2: We have at least binary knowledge that Shirley Jackson wrote "The Lottery," and I think Ming might know more than that based on how quickly he answered it.
part 3: We've never heard of The Sundial either, and the description makes what turns out to be a really interesting plot seem banal. An opportunity to link "What is this world?" to Chaucer wasn't taken. We felt kind of baffled by that one (although it was nothing compared to the science, of which I think 10 total points were earned out of the three science bonuses read in our room.)

On the other side of difficulty, we 30ed three bonuses from that packet, including the other two literature bonuses (one because I remembered that the Ern Malley hoax was from Australia, even though I couldn't connect Carey with My Life as a Fake), and Ahmad/Wes 30ed three others (they knew about sangha, Phrixus and Vygotsky, none of which seem to me as hard as the hard parts in 5-6 -- I've at least heard of all of those answer lines before.) So, while we're only one data point, for us this bonus was right in the middle; and I preferred it over most of the other bonuses in the fact that the third bonus part made an interesting connection to another time period and field (without turning it into a history bonus part.)
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:01 pm

The Shirley Jackson bonus should have discussed her hilarious light comedies "Life Among the Savages" and "Raising Demons." I almost considered donating my copy of the former to be a book prize but decided to keep it.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:19 pm

Some people at the VCU site, including myself, seemed to think that a lot of the painting questions (Christ's Entry into Brussels, Diana leaving the bath/Boucher/Chardin, etc.) were a little tough for this set. I'd like to know if other people had the same impression.

I'll also note that I didn't see a single music question get powered (or a single musical clue get buzzed on), but apparently people like writing those questions that way, so I can't fault this tournament in particular.

Other than that and the science, the latter only because I'm a failure at it, I really loved this set. Good job, editors.

EDIT: I'd like to point out an irritating trend I've seen in a number of sets, which was perpetuated somewhat in this one. When a specific lead-in clue (like the G-P equation or the Reptiles Fund) has been reused ad nauseam or discussed endlessly on the forums so that it becomes unnaturally quizbowl famous, it seems that the rational thing to do would be to stop using it for a while, so that it eventually fades back into obscurity. Here's what has happened instead:
T-Party wrote:These substances are described by a non-linear Schrodinger equation, because the potential term of their Hamiltonian includes a term for inter-particle interactions proportional to particle density. For 10 points each:
[10] Name these low-temperature states.
ANSWER: Bose-Einstein condensates
T-Party wrote:12. One holder of this position had an advisor who wrote the essay "Land Without a History," which called for the government to create national pride. Another holder of this position was disgraced by the Guillaume Affair, in which one of his personal assistants turned out to be a Communist spy. One man in this position traded Heligoland for a namesake strip in Africa, while the first holder of this post established the “Reptile Fund” to influence journalists. This post is currently held by a woman who has a doctorate in quantum chemistry. For 10 points, name this position first held by Otto von Bismarck and now held by Angela Merkel.
ANSWER: Chancellor of Germany [accept: Deutsches Kanzler; accept Bundeskanzler or Chancellor of West Germany before “1926”]
ACF Winter 2010 wrote:The transition temperature of these systems is proportional to the particle density divided by the Riemann zeta
function, all to the two-thirds power. Vortices in them are allowed via the psi-squared term in the equation
describing the wavefunction of these systems.
Sweeping a magnetic field through one of these causes spin-flip
collisions and the Feschbach resonance, while further increasing the field causes an implosion followed by an
explosion in a namesake type of nova. Their wavefunction is described by the Gross-Pitaevskii equation. They were
first created by Cornell, Wieman, and Ketterle by laser-cooling a bunch of rubidium atoms. For 10 points, name this
system consisting of a bunch of degenerate ultracold bosons.
ANSWER: Bose-Einstein condensates [or BECs]
Like, do you think you're cleverly obfuscating binary knowledge by including a description of the G-P equation, then naming the equation itself bizarrely late in the tossup? It might work, if this manner of description were employed for any equation other than the G-P equation: as things stand, those clues are very easy for anyone who's read that discussion and extremely difficult for those who haven't. I guess what I'm wondering is, why are you including that clue at all, when there are plenty of other equally notable clues you could use? Or if there aren't any equally notable clues, why do BECs come up so damn often?

As for the Chancellors question, the inclusion of that Reptiles Fund clue was just laughable. By putting that clue so late in the tossup, you're giving members of the "in-crowd" free points and wasting an opportunity to include other important Bismarck clues, which someone with extra-quizbowl knowledge has a chance to buzz on. To clarify, I'm not arguing that writers should punish quizbowl knowledge; I'm just asserting that writers shouldn't give people with quizbowl knowledge an unfair advantage over those with equally deep real knowledge.

Other opinions? Do I have a point, or am I just completely wrong here?
Last edited by The King's Flight to the Scots on Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:02 pm

Ah that is right, The Unnamed...difficulty is such an irksome thing to pin down. I think in general that the practice of establishing difficulty is often an arbitrage between quizbowl notability and curricular/academic concerns. For example I think there was a bonus about Russian playwrights, where the easy answer was Chekhov (and Uncle Vanya and the Three Sisters were both given as clues) and the final part was Griboyedov, which we gleaned from the play Woe from Wit. Part of the thinking for me here- is that the reason that Griboyedov even appears in the field of vision as a possible answer is because of its introduction into the quizbowl canon, rather than a kind of natural academic or curricular progression through which one becomes acquainted with him (in 21st century US academic institutions). That said, Manzoni is a seminal figure in the history of the Italian novel, and The Betrothed would come up in any class about modern Italian works of literature.

All of this is up for discussion, so please feel free to vehemently disagree but I think the greater point is that "regular" difficulty is a combination of a number of things, not the least of which is "seepage" from harder levels. What is interesting is that the editors' desire to excise this "seepage" or qb-notability in science, often made the science more opaque to those whose expectations regarding such difficulty were seemingly not met. That and I wonder if the answer space might have been appropriate, but the clue space was perhaps more expansive than it needed to be.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:12 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:Ah that is right, The Unnamed...difficulty is such an irksome thing to pin down. I think in general that the practice of establishing difficulty is often an arbitrage between quizbowl notability and curricular/academic concerns. For example I think there was a bonus about Russian playwrights, where the easy answer was Chekhov (and Uncle Vanya and the Three Sisters were both given as clues) and the final part was Griboyedov, which we gleaned from the play Woe from Wit. Part of the thinking for me here- is that the reason that Griboyedov even appears in the field of vision as a possible answer is because of its introduction into the quizbowl canon, rather than a kind of natural academic or curricular progression through which one becomes acquainted with him (in 21st century US academic institutions). That said, Manzoni is a seminal figure in the history of the Italian novel, and The Betrothed would come up in any class about modern Italian works of literature.

All of this is up for discussion, so please feel free to vehemently disagree but I think the greater point is that "regular" difficulty is a combination of a number of things, not the least of which is "seepage" from harder levels. What is interesting is that the editors' desire to excise this "seepage" or qb-notability in science, often made the science more opaque to those whose expectations regarding such difficulty were seemingly not met. That and I wonder if the answer space might have been appropriate, but the clue space was perhaps more expansive than it needed to be.
I have to disagree re: Griboyedov. He actually seems like the type of author someone interested in the history of literature might know about (I, for example, learned about him by reading Eugene Onegin). Maybe my experience is unusual, though, and I'm not educated enough to agree or disagree with your broader point.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:43 pm

Cantaloupe (disambiguation) wrote: I have to disagree re: Griboyedov. He actually seems like the type of author someone interested in the history of literature might know about (I, for example, learned about him by reading Eugene Onegin). Maybe my experience is unusual, though, and I'm not educated enough to agree or disagree with your broader point.
I learned about him by reading Master and Margarita.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:00 pm

I should have edited the Chancellor of Germany question a little more to put in middle clues that talked more about Bismarck other than "reptile fund." I can't speak for Bruce, but it seems like the ostensible point of the tossup was to reward deeper knowledge of more modern German chancellors like Kohl and Brandt, but, yes, there was a bit of a cliff. Not being the primary writer, I will let Bruce speak to as to whether he was intentionally reacting to forum discussion of "reptile fund."

I was trying to minimize "in crowd knowledge" in the history and I apologize for this question. Were there other problems along this line that you noticed?

EDIT: Since I'm going to be editing a lot of MUT's history, I'd also like to know if this is a trend in my writing that could perhaps be stopped.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:10 pm

Since I wrote the Manzoni bonus and edited the Vikram Seth bonus, I'll chime in. Manzoni is the single most important Italian novelist, regularly read in Italy and studied in the context of either the history of the novel, Italian literature, or European history. If he's harder than Li Po, I don't think he's harder by much. I'm not even sure their frequency of representation in quizbowl differs greatly.

The third part of the Manzoni bonus (L'Innominato) is hard, but he's certainly no minor character. As a matter of plot he's more important than everyone but the protagonists and I'm heartened than Nathan responded to the bonus exactly as I would have liked.

I also edited or wrote all of the painting and am slightly surprised to hear that it was considered hard. I think I tended closer to the traditional definition of regular difficulty than my fellow editors, but besides the conscious outlier of The Milkmaid I'm not sure which of the tossups or bonuses were far out. I guess Christ's Entry, Bronzino, Friedrich, and maybe The Eight are a touch tough but I think the literature and music tossups were at least as hard. Was it the bonuses that were too difficult?

The world literature tossups did have a lot of South/Central American content, but I think this was mostly a function of submissions. The world literature is very restricted at this level and in trying to avoid the profusion of Japanese or African literature I may have swung in the direction of Latin America. For that I apologize.

Any other comments on the world literature, non-Russian European literature, painting, or "other" audio distributions would be appreciated.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:08 pm

There were a non-negligible amount of "fuck you" third parts that could have easily been rewritten to be more accessible. For example, how many people that even read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana are going to remember the Hypernotomachia, the apparent thesis of the protagonist of that book? Isn't it more reasonable to ask for Loana instead? Same thing with Alfred Schnittke in the same packet; Shostakovich has a bunch of lesser known works, so why not ask about one instead of further opening the modern music canon? One of these that's a little bit less egregious is the "radio plays of Pedro Camacho" part, since that's a major element of a novel that I'm guessing is very widely read. I can't say the same for the alluded-to part on the unnamed in The Betrothed, but I'm not very knowledgeable in that area. Finally, there was this bonus part in the Sienkiewicz bonus:

[10] Sienkiewicz created this master of the szabla, who dies alongside Ketling at the Siege of Kamienic Podolski. He is the namesake of the third novel of Sienkiewicz' Trilogy which includes With Fire and Sword.
ANSWER: Michał Wołodyjowski [take either underlined name]

The Polish title of Fire in the Steppe appears to be Pan Wołodyjowski, but that's really not accessible at all unless you've read this fairly minor work, and it's a little confusing otherwise.


Apart from these third-part problems, I thought that this was the best regular difficulty set of the year along with ACF Winter.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:21 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:One of these that's a little bit less egregious is the "radio plays of Pedro Camacho" part, since that's a major element of a novel that I'm guessing is very widely read. I can't say the same for the alluded-to part on the unnamed in The Betrothed, but I'm not very knowledgeable in that area. Finally, there was this bonus part in the Sienkiewicz bonus:

[10] Sienkiewicz created this master of the szabla, who dies alongside Ketling at the Siege of Kamienic Podolski. He is the namesake of the third novel of Sienkiewicz' Trilogy which includes With Fire and Sword.
ANSWER: Michał Wołodyjowski [take either underlined name]

The Polish title of Fire in the Steppe appears to be Pan Wołodyjowski, but that's really not accessible at all unless you've read this fairly minor work, and it's a little confusing otherwise.

Apart from these third-part problems, I thought that this was the best regular difficulty set of the year along with ACF Winter.
I object to the characterization of Pan Michael (which is indeed the name of my translation of the novel) as a minor work; it's one of his four best known and I see little reason to consider it less important than the other parts of the trilogy. Moreover Michael is a character of some importance in all three novels in the trilogy. That bonus part was a calculated effort to give points to people who have actually read parts of the Trilogy and understand its structure; if as a consequence it ended up being too hard I apologize.

Hence I see nothing "fuck-you" about either that bonus part or the one on "radio plays of Pedro Camacho"; in the latter case we're talking about identifying the subject of half of the novel.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:27 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:There were a non-negligible amount of "fuck you" third parts that could have easily been rewritten to be more accessible. For example, how many people that even read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana are going to remember the Hypernotomachia, the apparent thesis of the protagonist of that book?
Do your research next time: the Hypnerotomachia is a real thing that just happens to be the subject of the thesis of Loana's protagonist. The submitted packet contained a bonus part on the former that I found interesting, so I found some easier parts to connect it to.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:11 pm

Megalomanical Panda on Absinthe wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:One of these that's a little bit less egregious is the "radio plays of Pedro Camacho" part, since that's a major element of a novel that I'm guessing is very widely read. I can't say the same for the alluded-to part on the unnamed in The Betrothed, but I'm not very knowledgeable in that area. Finally, there was this bonus part in the Sienkiewicz bonus:

[10] Sienkiewicz created this master of the szabla, who dies alongside Ketling at the Siege of Kamienic Podolski. He is the namesake of the third novel of Sienkiewicz' Trilogy which includes With Fire and Sword.
ANSWER: Michał Wołodyjowski [take either underlined name]

The Polish title of Fire in the Steppe appears to be Pan Wołodyjowski, but that's really not accessible at all unless you've read this fairly minor work, and it's a little confusing otherwise.

Apart from these third-part problems, I thought that this was the best regular difficulty set of the year along with ACF Winter.
I object to the characterization of Pan Michael (which is indeed the name of my translation of the novel) as a minor work; it's one of his four best known and I see little reason to consider it less important than the other parts of the trilogy. Moreover Michael is a character of some importance in all three novels in the trilogy. That bonus part was a calculated effort to give points to people who have actually read parts of the Trilogy and understand its structure; if as a consequence it ended up being too hard I apologize.

Hence I see nothing "fuck-you" about either that bonus part or the one on "radio plays of Pedro Camacho"; in the latter case we're talking about identifying the subject of half of the novel.
Fair enough, I'll acknowledge my ignorance in these matters.
Do your research next time: the Hypnerotomachia is a real thing that just happens to be the subject of the thesis of Loana's protagonist. The submitted packet contained a bonus part on the former that I found interesting, so I found some easier parts to connect it to.
Having read that, I agree that it's pretty interesting, but it doesn't lessen the gap in the difficulty of the medium and hard part of the bonus.

In a related discussion, I really enjoyed the finals packet Strindberg bonus that asked you to name Strindberg and what people would consider to be his two most famous works, with their most recognizable clues omitted. More bonuses like this should be written.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:17 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:
Do your research next time: the Hypnerotomachia is a real thing that just happens to be the subject of the thesis of Loana's protagonist. The submitted packet contained a bonus part on the former that I found interesting, so I found some easier parts to connect it to.
Having read that, I agree that it's pretty interesting, but it doesn't lessen the gap in the difficulty of the medium and hard part of the bonus.
Well, I'll certainly cop to that.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:31 pm

Cantaloupe (disambiguation) wrote:Some people at the VCU site, including myself, seemed to think that a lot of the painting questions (Christ's Entry into Brussels, Diana leaving the bath/Boucher/Chardin, etc.) were a little tough for this set. I'd like to know if other people had the same impression.
Dunno about the rest of the painting, but the first on seems reasonable and the second is at least a plausible outlier. Christ's Entry into Brussels is probably Ensor's most famous individual painting. Chardin is pretty well known/widely exhibited(didn't he pretty much introduce still life/genre painting to French painting?), and Boucher is at least notable as "that Rocco painter who isn't Watteau or Fragonard". Diana and Her Bath is probably a bit much with those two parts, though.
Bronzino
This might be a bit of an outlier that seemed easier than it turned out to be, though.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:48 pm

Dave Breger wrote:
Cantaloupe (disambiguation) wrote:Some people at the VCU site, including myself, seemed to think that a lot of the painting questions (Christ's Entry into Brussels, Diana leaving the bath/Boucher/Chardin, etc.) were a little tough for this set. I'd like to know if other people had the same impression.
Dunno about the rest of the painting, but the first on seems reasonable and the second is at least a plausible outlier. Christ's Entry into Brussels is probably Ensor's most famous individual painting. Chardin is pretty well known/widely exhibited(didn't he pretty much introduce still life/genre painting to French painting?), and Boucher is at least notable as "that Rocco painter who isn't Watteau or
Fragonard". Diana and Her Bath is probably a bit much with those two parts, though.
I'll point out the actual bonus was Diana Leaving Her Bath (the prompt tells you it's a Boucher painting)/Fragonard/Chardin. Chardin doesn't seem like an unreasonable medium part and Fragonard is as easy as easy parts get.
Bronzino
This might be a bit of an outlier that seemed easier than it turned out to be, though.
I have no idea what this means.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:39 am

I just want to say that I really liked the Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter bonus. Asking about the scripts was a bit of an odd answer choice, but it was very clear to me what was being described. That made it a part that rewards reading the book, but the answer would probably be hard to come up with otherwise.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:50 pm

I really enjoyed myself at this tournament; most of the criticisms I'd make have been made already, but I'd like to throw out my huge, HUGE appreciation for the six-line tossups. The tournament finished at a good hour, despite a significantly late start, and when I read a round on our bye, it was... well... refreshing rather than exhausting.

One note (and no, I'm not going to hijack this thread for music): Although I could have known the earlier clues well enough to get the question, Till Eulenspiegel is represented both by the French horn and by the clarinet. To me, the clarinet is most notable, since it recurs in the end around his execution, so I negged with that.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:24 pm

This is now public.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:26 pm

Cheynem wrote: Movies: Die Hard, Fritz Lang, Inglorious Basterds, The Hangover bonus (with Slowskys part)
In terms of "old movies," there was only like 1/1 (Fritz Lang/Jack Benny).
For film / "old movies", there were also tossups on Capra and Kubrick (two tossups I was very happy to hear, by the way) and a bonus on Jean Renoir, although you may be just talking about the film questions that you classified as trash. But if so, is there a particular reason why you categorize Fritz Lang as trash, but Capra and Kubrick as fine arts?
Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote: One note (and no, I'm not going to hijack this thread for music): Although I could have known the earlier clues well enough to get the question, Till Eulenspiegel is represented both by the French horn and by the clarinet. To me, the clarinet is most notable, since it recurs in the end around his execution, so I negged with that.
Sorry if you got hosed by that. The text I learned Till Eulenspiegel from labeled the horn theme as the theme representing Till and the clarinet theme as a theme representing his laughter, but googling it now, I see that a lot of analyses simply call them Till's first theme and Till's second theme (or primary and secondary), so I should have made it clear that I was asking about the instrument playing the primary theme.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:32 pm

If both the Capra and the Lang tossups appeared, it was a mistake. I wrote the Capra tossup to replace the Lang tossup which I spoiled in the IRC after the first running of this tournament.

Yeah, it was a mistake on my part not to count the Kubrick tossup and the Renoir part as part of the "old movies." This was because they were classified as "Fine Arts" and not "Trash." The reason why the Lang tossup wasn't qualified as Fine Arts (which it could have been) was that it was submitted as trash in a packet with an appropriate fine arts tossup. Either way, I hope old movies still didn't come up too much (2/1 of important film directors doesn't strike me as excessive and again, if Capra and Lang appeared, it was a mistake).

I'm glad you liked the Capra/Kubrick tossups, as I wrote both and tried to get a few of the lesser known films some airplay.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:06 pm

Ok, I have to cite this bonus part from one of the finals packets as an example of a thing not to do:
[10] This other American philosopher criticized Dennett’s instrumental realism in A Theory of Content. He outlined his theory of a segmented brain in The Modular Mind and also wrote Psychosemantics and The Elm and the Expert.
ANSWER: Jerry Fodor
Fodor is not that well-known and there's no reason not to give his most famous work here; that work would be The Language of Thought, which outlines his representational theory of mind. I'm guessing this is a simple mistake and not an attempt to conceal information, but it bears on a point that I've been making about SCT. Which is, if you're going to give a relatively poorly-known person as a third part of a bonus, it doesn't make much sense not to give his or her most famous accomplishment. Maybe if this were Nationals this formulation would make more sense, but I suspect that this part would frustrate a bunch of people who might even know something about Fodor but not the list of his less-known works.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:27 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Ok, I have to cite this bonus part from one of the finals packets as an example of a thing not to do:
[10] This other American philosopher criticized Dennett’s instrumental realism in A Theory of Content. He outlined his theory of a segmented brain in The Modular Mind and also wrote Psychosemantics and The Elm and the Expert.
ANSWER: Jerry Fodor
Fodor is not that well-known and there's no reason not to give his most famous work here; that work would be The Language of Thought, which outlines his representational theory of mind. I'm guessing this is a simple mistake and not an attempt to conceal information, but it bears on a point that I've been making about SCT. Which is, if you're going to give a relatively poorly-known person as a third part of a bonus, it doesn't make much sense not to give his or her most famous accomplishment. Maybe if this were Nationals this formulation would make more sense, but I suspect that this part would frustrate a bunch of people who might even know something about Fodor but not the list of his less-known works.
Yeah, this was my mistaken omission that should have been caught in rereading the packets. I agree with the point you're making wholeheartedly.
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