Science

Old college threads.
User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4047
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:33 pm

List of ferry operators in Japan wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:[10] Name this functionality, an acyl derivative of which called mCPBA reacts with ketones to give esters in the Baeyer-Villiger reaction. It's characterized by an oxygen-oxygen single bond.
ANSWER: peroxides
(These are certainly the easiest possible clues about peroxides; I believe you if you say that peroxides are inherently too hard)
Those are in no way the easiest clues about peroxides; I can easily come up with several that are easier. Also, I think this points out one issue that I had with most of the science generally and with the chemistry in particular. Though you eliminated a lot of eponyms as answers, you kept them as clues, often almost exclusively, i.e. there were some questions that were just laundry lists of eponyms. I didn't like that.
MaS
I think the definition of a peroxide (oxygen-oxygen single bond) is very reasonable for an easy part. It could be easier if you mentioned H2O2, but I'm not sure if that is necessary.
Specifically, mentioning the definition of the peroxide anion (O2 2-) could also have helped.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Crimson Rosella
Wakka
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:19 am

Re: Science

Post by Crimson Rosella » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:40 pm

As far as examples of harder medium parts than normal, I'll cite some things I thought were a little bit harder than the average science middle part. I'm sure I'm revealing my ineptitude as a player with some of these (or all of them), but I think they might bear some consideration.

Antiferromagnetism/frustration (I'm not sure which of these is the hard part), steppe climate, noble gases (because of the obscurity of the clues, or was Lennard-Jones the medium part?), lub/supremum (or is this supposed to be Bolzano-Weierstrauss?), diradicals/isocyanates, Hartree-Fock/Koopman's.

Part of the reason so many of these are ambiguous to me as easy/medium parts is because of the fact that I tended to learn both of the easy/medium or the medium/hard part of what I've listed as elementary topics in a single class. Particularly, consider Hartree-Fock/Koopman's theorem. The average chemistry major probably won't know any of these until after second semester Physical Chem at USC, which is a 3rd year course. I'm fairly certain that Gen-Chem here wouldn't expose students to either of those concepts, so it's possibly excluding a person who has a decent fundamental understanding of chemistry established by coursework up to analytical chem from receiving any points. lub/Bolzano-Weierstrauss is a similar example, which any undergraduate math major is going to be able to get after Real Analysis (again, third semester course for the average USC Math Major), though maybe you could defend the B-W theorem because of its canonicity.

Also, the clue "Ideal examples of these substances are reusable" involving organometallic reagents seemed really vague to me... I'm lucky my teammate was listening to the "proteins...are enzymes" part of this bonus as I floundered in confusion at the lead-in, despite having done 4 years of research on catalysts.

I want to reiterate, as a bit of a disclaimer, that the majority of my frustrations over this set were more like "Hey here's this thing that comes up all the time and I should have a more fundamental understanding of it, because the clues clearly determine whether or not you have that." I'm more than willing to endure a few tournaments where I feel that way and start to get used to having to really understand basic concepts to be a viable science player than see the science canon continue in the direction of everybody in quizbowl knowing Chapman-Enskog = viscosity and nothing else. Considering that this is a significant shift from the prevailing paradigm of science question writing, I think this set was admirable in both its goals and its content.
Joey Montoya
University of South Carolina 2005-2010
Stanford University 2010-

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:42 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I wouldn't say that there's a subtype of reactions called Diels-Alder reactions.
That's inaccurate and you know it, Andy Watkins. Your mealy-mouthed reply to Susan's nailing on you isn't going to cut it this time. People talk about "the Diels-Alder reaction between x and y" all the time; as you well know, Diels-Alder reactions are the class of reactions between a diene and a dienophile, which comprises an enormous number of reactions, defined as two specific reactants creating specific products. You could say that these are all "the same reaction" modulo the type of reactants and you could also say that it's been conventional in quizbowl to talk about them as such, but you can truthfully say neither that it's inaccurate to say that these are, in fact, different reactions in another perfectly understandable sense, nor that the Diels-Alder reactions (and other similar reactions) are never talked of as a class of related reactions in literature, in chemistry labs, or even in quizbowl.
Okay, sure: I'll concede that it's semantically valid to refer to DA as a class of reactions, but only in a totally different way from the way that it's valid to call cycloadditions a class of reactions. (My initial "no" directed at Andrew was working out of the latter context, not the former; I thought he was making a different claim than I guess he was.) I am unsure how the language of my tossup could have been improved to account for this fact; do you have ideas?
theMoMa wrote:My general feeling about the science in this set was that it didn't live up to the advertised difficulty. The teams in the lower half of the field at our site were regularly complaining that they didn't stand a chance at getting even ten points on a science bonus.
I've got to agree there. The science was somewhat harder than the rest of the questions.
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I also want to take issue with your claim that nobody does the Cannizaro reaction. At Illinois, students perform that reaction every year in the organic chemistry first instructional lab. Please take away the moral that it's fine to editorialize, but I'd prefer that you do so on the basis of more certain knowledge and outside of questions and I can hardly be said to be alone in the latter.
Moral taken; I should explain that my knowledge is certain that nobody does that reaction for synthetic purposes (who wants at best 50% yield?), even though in questions it's commonly treated as though it is. I should have included that part of the story, or omitted the editorializing altogether, though if this results in that reaction coming up less frequently, I won't complain.

EDIT: actually, upon rereading the question, I did include that part of the story, just not in so many words
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:46 pm

Dutton Speedwords wrote:Antiferromagnetism/frustration (I'm not sure which of these is the hard part)
I tried to make antiferromagnetism a good middle part; I talked about how the dipoles cancel exactly on net, etc. etc., as everything's aligned oppositely. I guess I wasn't clear enough.
noble gases (because of the obscurity of the clues, or was Lennard-Jones the medium part?)
Lennard-Jones was meant to be; I can believe that it's a little too hard.
Also, the clue "Ideal examples of these substances are reusable" involving organometallic reagents seemed really vague to me... I'm lucky my teammate was listening to the "proteins...are enzymes" part of this bonus as I floundered in confusion at the lead-in, despite having done 4 years of research on catalysts.
Yeah, this ended up being rather long and windy; I was convinced to add a "catalysts" easy part to the palladium/ Heck reaction bonus, and I was looking to ways to relate it to the rest of the bonus (transition metal compounds are expensive! it's a beautiful thing that catalysts don't have to be thrown out!) and to easy clues (hey, proteins!).
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Science

Post by Auroni » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:49 pm

Editors 6 wrote:The HiPco method for making nanotubes uses one of these reactions to form carbon and carbon dioxide from carbon monoxide. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this type of reaction, in which one substance is simultaneously reduced and oxidized.
ANSWER: disproportionation [or dismutation]
[10] This organic disproportionation of aldehydes comes up in quizbowl despite being of no synthetic utility, as it has a Wikipedia page. It's principally important because it's a side-reaction one has to be aware of when designing syntheses.
ANSWER: Cannizzaro reaction
[10] Only aldehydes that do not possess one of these disproportionate under Cannizzaro conditions. If they have one of these, they instead undergo an aldol condensation with themselves.
ANSWER: alpha hydrogen [or alpha proton; or proton at the alpha position relative to the carbonyl; accept equivalents]
Some points to clarify:
1) The Cannizarro reaction wasn't meant to be the easy part of that bonus. It was meant to be the middle part. To many chemistry players, the first part would be the hard part. "Disproportionation" is defined in the prompt; disproportionation is something that came up in high school gen chem and later in inorganic chemistry
Why isn't "redox" promptable? We never learned disproportionation by name in gen chem but we sure did learn how to balance redox reactions!
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:50 pm

I don't want to duck your direct questions, Andy; I think they're good ones, but they require some more research on my part. I'll get back to you on them later.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:53 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:
Editors 6 wrote:The HiPco method for making nanotubes uses one of these reactions to form carbon and carbon dioxide from carbon monoxide. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this type of reaction, in which one substance is simultaneously reduced and oxidized.
ANSWER: disproportionation [or dismutation]
[10] This organic disproportionation of aldehydes comes up in quizbowl despite being of no synthetic utility, as it has a Wikipedia page. It's principally important because it's a side-reaction one has to be aware of when designing syntheses.
ANSWER: Cannizzaro reaction
[10] Only aldehydes that do not possess one of these disproportionate under Cannizzaro conditions. If they have one of these, they instead undergo an aldol condensation with themselves.
ANSWER: alpha hydrogen [or alpha proton; or proton at the alpha position relative to the carbonyl; accept equivalents]
Some points to clarify:
1) The Cannizarro reaction wasn't meant to be the easy part of that bonus. It was meant to be the middle part. To many chemistry players, the first part would be the hard part. "Disproportionation" is defined in the prompt; disproportionation is something that came up in high school gen chem and later in inorganic chemistry
Why isn't "redox" promptable? We never learned disproportionation by name in gen chem but we sure did learn how to balance redox reactions!
A redox reaction features one substance being oxidized and the other being reduced. A disproportionation reaction is where a substance reduces itself (and thereby oxidizes itself) (or you could look at it the other way). I suppose I could technically have prompted on redox, but since I'd already said the words corresponding to "red" and "ox" in the prompt, I didn't think many people would answer "redox." I'll add that in just in case, I guess.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
The Toad to Wigan Pier
Tidus
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:58 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Science

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:35 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:I was very happy that somebody wrote a tossup on undecidable.
I was really happy to see that submitted, too! It took a little editing, and one issue in playtesting was how to make sure that we didn't make people think that we wanted a named class of problems, or a set of posed problems, but rather a property that problems have. Do you have any comments on how we can make the question better still for subsequent mirrors?
One problem in this class involves determining if dominoes can be configured so that the concatenation of strings along their tops matches the one along their bottoms and is known as the Post correspondence problem. One problem in this class is related to Chaitin's constant and asks whether a given Turing machine, given an input, will ever return a definite answer, known as the halting problem. Objects with this property can be framed as subsets of natural numbers that can't be reproduced by an algorithm. For 10 points, name this kind of problem such that no single algorithm can give the correct binary answer for all possible inputs.
ANSWER: undecidable
The odd power-mark placement is because I thought "whether" flagged that things were getting a bit binary, a yes/no type of thing.
The statement " Objects with this property can be framed as subsets of natural numbers that can't be reproduced by an algorithm" is factually incorrect. That describes unrecognizable problems of which undecidable is a subset. For example there exists a TM that does actually print out the set of Godel numbers corresponding to the set of TMs that halt, yet deciding whether a given Godel number is a member of the set that is printed out by aforementioned TM is undecidable.
EDIT: I meant to say that unrecognizable is a subset of undecidable, stupid set complementation.
Last edited by The Toad to Wigan Pier on Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
William Butler
UVA '11
Georgia Tech 13

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:17 pm

Ah, I see. Sloppy research on my part. Is there a way I can put a similar clue that is correct?
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Science

Post by theMoMA » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:52 am

Mike, I think your point is fair that I didn't have enough knowledge of selection rules to never not get a tossup on them. However, I disagree with the notion that eponyms, even those that are wildly more quizbowl-famous than important, have no place in questions. Most practically, the lack of the Laporte rule in the question actually caused me to not say selection rules. The answer was hard enough on its own. But not only didn't it give the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules, it seemed to rule out that answer for people who don't have complete knowledge of selection rules, since regular quizbowl questions (especially ones on harder-than-regular topics) are overwhelmingly in the habit of giving you the easiest possible clues at the end. It makes an unlikely answer doubly unlikely when clues that you'd expect to see in that tossup aren't there.

Gautam and I were reminded at T-Party that Illinois packets are often the most frustrating for newer players, and tend to see very low tossup and bonus conversion rates compared to other packets at the same tournaments. This isn't meant to call out Sorice, since I'm generally a fan of your answers and clues (especially in science, which has really inspired a lot of the curiosity that I have in that area). But principles such as not wanting to name eponyms in questions should be coupled with picking reasonable answers for the difficulty level, otherwise these packets will probably continue to frustrate inexperienced players. The bigger picture here is that "real science" doesn't have to be on harder-than-reasonable answers that omit the most quizbowl-famous clue; I think that the fact that various teams at our site were deriding "Sorice science" reflects these choices more than the difficulty of non-eponymous science on its face.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am

Re: Science

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:19 am

theMoMA wrote:Mike, I think your point is fair that I didn't have enough knowledge of selection rules to never not get a tossup on them. However, I disagree with the notion that eponyms, even those that are wildly more quizbowl-famous than important, have no place in questions. Most practically, the lack of the Laporte rule in the question actually caused me to not say selection rules. The answer was hard enough on its own. But not only didn't it give the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules, it seemed to rule out that answer for people who don't have complete knowledge of selection rules, since regular quizbowl questions (especially ones on harder-than-regular topics) are overwhelmingly in the habit of giving you the easiest possible clues at the end. It makes an unlikely answer doubly unlikely when clues that you'd expect to see in that tossup aren't there.

Gautam and I were reminded at T-Party that Illinois packets are often the most frustrating for newer players, and tend to see very low tossup and bonus conversion rates compared to other packets at the same tournaments. This isn't meant to call out Sorice, since I'm generally a fan of your answers and clues (especially in science, which has really inspired a lot of the curiosity that I have in that area). But principles such as not wanting to name eponyms in questions should be coupled with picking reasonable answers for the difficulty level, otherwise these packets will probably continue to frustrate inexperienced players. The bigger picture here is that "real science" doesn't have to be on harder-than-reasonable answers that omit the most quizbowl-famous clue; I think that the fact that various teams at our site were deriding "Sorice science" reflects these choices more than the difficulty of non-eponymous science on its face.
So maybe they should learn about the actual science, instead of memorizing names?

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4047
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:35 am

theMoMA wrote:Mike, I think your point is fair that I didn't have enough knowledge of selection rules to never not get a tossup on them. However, I disagree with the notion that eponyms, even those that are wildly more quizbowl-famous than important, have no place in questions. Most practically, the lack of the Laporte rule in the question actually caused me to not say selection rules. The answer was hard enough on its own. But not only didn't it give the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules,
I'm willing to bet that "quantum mechanical strictures that dictate when a transition is possible" is in fact the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules, and that the fact that the didn't drop a name that you or quizbowl has latched onto does not make it less legitimate.

That said, a tossup on selection rules may well have been too hard for this tournament.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:44 am

Ukonvasara wrote:I'm willing to bet that "quantum mechanical strictures that dictate when a transition is possible" is in fact the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules, and that the fact that the didn't drop a name that you or quizbowl has latched onto does not make it less legitimate.
And, in fact, it's non-obvious that the easiest legitimate science clue is harder than the easiest eponym for new players, whom you, Andrew, suggest REAL SCIENCE partially victimizes. (I don't think novices are the primary target audience of this tournament, either, so.)
Ukonvasara wrote:That said, a tossup on selection rules may well have been too hard for this tournament.
Yeah, this. I left it in chiefly because I thought it exciting and well-asked. I made it other science both because it applies equally to chemistry and physics and because that way it would probably alter fewer game results to have it.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:37 pm

theMoMA wrote:I disagree with the notion that eponyms, even those that are wildly more quizbowl-famous than important, have no place in questions.
I didn't say that. What I said, and am saying, is that those sorts of clues have a strictly limited place and don't have to and, in fact, ought not appear in every question contra your contention that they ought to appear in every question.
Here's the thing: the Laporte selection rule is, in fact, harder than most of the clues in that tossup by any sane measure. It only appears easier (to you) because it's come up many times before and because of how you choose to play questions like this.
Again, if you don't really know something, you're going to be eminently vulnerable when the correction against the fake stuff you know comes. That correction is pretty likely when that fake stuff doesn't happen to be all that important or likely to be taught in most classes that teach about the subject, as is the case here. I don't view this tossup going dead for you as a bad thing necessarily; it has taught you the rudiments of what selection rules actually are. Obviously, if it went dead everywhere, that's a problem; that problem is that the answer was too hard, which I'm still willing to acknowledge is probably the case.
Ukonvasara wrote:I'm willing to bet that "quantum mechanical strictures that dictate when a transition is possible" is in fact the easiest legitimate science clue for selection rules, and that the fact that the didn't drop a name that you or quizbowl has latched onto does not make it less legitimate.

That said, a tossup on selection rules may well have been too hard for this tournament.
That's pretty much exactly what I'm saying. I view artificially boosting the conversion by adding a "LOL Laporte" clue as akin to, but slightly less fake then, the NAQT-like expedient of adding a giveaway like "whose name is synonymous with 'choosing laws'" or something. That is to say, adding such a clue would raise conversion, but not really change difficulty proper; it would just allow people who don't really know anything about the answer to get the question, which I don't view as a positive necessarily.
theMoMA wrote:Gautam and I were reminded at T-Party that Illinois packets are often the most frustrating for newer players, and tend to see very low tossup and bonus conversion rates compared to other packets at the same tournaments. This isn't meant to call out Sorice, since I'm generally a fan of your answers and clues (especially in science, which has really inspired a lot of the curiosity that I have in that area). But principles such as not wanting to name eponyms in questions should be coupled with picking reasonable answers for the difficulty level, otherwise these packets will probably continue to frustrate inexperienced players. The bigger picture here is that "real science" doesn't have to be on harder-than-reasonable answers that omit the most quizbowl-famous clue; I think that the fact that various teams at our site were deriding "Sorice science" reflects these choices more than the difficulty of non-eponymous science on its face.
It's exciting to hear that you're willing to lecture me about both my understanding of quizbowl and science now. It's also fun to learn how hard my question are, given the stats on our two packets. In reality, my questions for this tournament were too hard not because of some unwillingness to include fake-ass eponyms (that doubtless every new player has hard-wired as buzz words...) but because I wrote them on answers that were too hard because this tournament was much easier than I expected. To try and pretend anything other than that is silly, given the number of tournaments or all kinds of difficulties I've written and written for.
Frankly, if you're upset that my science isn't rewarding your fakery, I'm glad; it's partly done its job. If you think I can't write easier questions that would do the same thing, you're mistaken. If you think inserting fake buzzwords favors newer players, you're doubly wrong in a way that is suspiciously useful to your style of play.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
SnookerUSF
Rikku
Posts: 310
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 2:55 am
Location: USF-Tampa, FL
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by SnookerUSF » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:38 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:If you think inserting fake buzzwords favors newer players, you're doubly wrong in a way that is suspiciously useful to your style of play.
What's this, inferring a possible hidden motivation from a plausible internet argument, for SHAME Michaelangelo!

But seriously, I am a bit confused by some of what has transpired here in this thread, and I would like some clarification. If I understand correctly, you claim that canonicity aside, the placement of "Laporte" within any tossup on selection rules, in order to correspond sanely with any curricular framework would have to come well before the definitional giveaway, but because of the penchant and ease by which eponymous clues are consumed by fraudulent quizbowl; the most reasonable solution is to excise them (almost) completely, conversion rates be damned, in order to most accountably reward "real" science knowledge. Moreover, you claim that the inclusion of "Laporte" does not necessarily benefit newer players, but only players whose study habits are geared to memorizing such clues, even if we admit that many if not most new players are of the "fake-ass" eponymous-bowl stripe, their exclusion at this level of difficulty is not a priori illegitimate.

If I have reckoned your argument correctly, I honestly don't know what to make of this. I have always believed that at anything below "master's difficulty" that the "dead tossup" is to be avoided at (almost) any cost. But I also submit that quizbowl, even though it is a game, must attempt to adhere to and pass along principles of intellectual and academic integrity.

My concern here is arguably selfish and frankly I am even reticent to voice it: if indeed this is the trend that science will take within quizbowl, then I think it, along with music (to a lesser degree), will become increasingly opaque and unanswerable to non-science and non-music players. Now you will possibly contend that this is exactly what you want, and I understand the intuitive and rational appeal of this desire. But I hold that all of the other topic areas are significantly less immune to fraudulence than this "new science" will be, which will (as has already occurred to a certain degree) shift the balance of power (and powering!) to those who have chosen a major/career/primary interest in the physical and natural sciences. You might rely on the "anything" can be memorized/learned objection to bridge my concern here, but I don't think the evidence has ever supported that conclusion entirely, magical robots not withstanding.

For the time being, grant me that this kind of tossup/bonus construction overwhelmingly benefits science players (again, those are players whose primary academic interest is in the physical and natural sciences) and that such a construction is not available to the other subject areas (music aside), thus leaving science players with asymmetric access to the other categories. Provided I have shown, given these premises, my conclusion about the increasing science player bias in quizbowl holds, does anyone see this as a problem or concern? Should quizbowl seek to be egalitarian in its attempt to reward players of any academic bent, or is the greater priority academic and intellectual honesty? Is this a false dichotomy I have constructed? Have I asked too many questions consecutively?
Ahmad Ragab, itinerant moderator at the New School for Social Research

ACF Nationals 2011:"Too real for the streets"
-Auroni Gupta

"Can 40,000 redacted topic Tossups be wrong?"

"With my gnomes I'm highlighting the danger of political opportunism and right-wing ideology. I get the feeling that this gnome has reopened an old wound."
-Ottomar Hoerl

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:56 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:But seriously, I am a bit confused by some of what has transpired here in this thread, and I would like some clarification. If I understand correctly, you claim that canonicity aside, the placement of "Laporte" within any tossup on selection rules, in order to correspond sanely with any curricular framework would have to come well before the definitional giveaway, but because of the penchant and ease by which eponymous clues are consumed by fraudulent quizbowl; the most reasonable solution is to excise them (almost) completely, conversion rates be damned, in order to most accountably reward "real" science knowledge.
For what it's worth, the inorganic class I took last spring (which one takes before quantum, or perhaps concurrently with quantum if you're taking quantum in the physics department) taught me what Laporte was solely in the context of what I could expect to see on UV spectroscopy (oh, okay, so tetrahedral compounds have transitions available that are Laporte-allowed, so you'll get absorptions of around 1000 (some units, where forbidden transitions were about 1-10 (since there can be some instantaneous stretching going on) and metal to ligand or ligand to metal charge-transfer transitions were on the order of 100,000) and all I knew was that it had to do with the lack of inversion symmetry. So I think there are people for whom Laporte is easier than the formal definition of selection rules. I think this is confined to chemistry students; inorganic chemistry includes MO theory and teaches you what to expect from IR and Mossbauer spectroscopy; therefore, there has to be a little Oprah quantum mechanics going on. But, given that there are a tiny number of straight-chemistry (or CE) students in quizbowl, Mike's is the best approximation we've got.
Moreover, you claim that the inclusion of "Laporte" does not necessarily benefit newer players, but only players whose study habits are geared to memorizing such clues, even if we admit that many if not most new players are of the "fake-ass" eponymous-bowl stripe, their exclusion at this level of difficulty is not a priori illegitimate.
Well, many if not most new players haven't really started studying yet. Unless this new player is Ryan's recently-activated robot, he or she is spending most of his or her time doing college coursework, not vacuuming up names of fifth-tier pieces of Eero Saarinen furniture. So this new player is more likely to know how to find the magnetic field around a wire than to know the name of the Paschen-Back effect.

As to your later points, Ahmad: I see that as a potential issue of controversy, but I don't know if it's a problem. If I wanted to get music points, I should have to learn music. I simply don't feel entitled to those points unless I do whatever it is people who know music do. I wouldn't feel entitled to literature points unless I do what it is that literaturers do (which is: not make up words like literaturers). I think serious academic study is what ought to be rewarded. I wasn't always a science person; there was a time when I didn't realize the bowling ball and feather would fall at the same rate in a vacuum. I did the work necessary to answer science questions; I just did it over a series of years that weren't all quizbowl-playing years.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6592
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Science

Post by Cheynem » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:02 pm

This is not really the thread for it, but I respectfully disagree that "if wanted to get music points, i should have to learn music" or however you want to put that. I agree that if I want to first line or beat music/literature players to a music/lit tossup, I should learn music or literature. But this is a different presupposition than "getting the tossup at all, even when playing against others who don't know music or lit." Serious academic study should perhaps be rewarded first, but it shouldn't be the only thing that is rewarded in a tossup (or even a bonus sequence).
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:06 pm

Cheynem wrote:This is not really the thread for it, but I respectfully disagree that "if wanted to get music points, i should have to learn music" or however you want to put that. I agree that if I want to first line or beat music/literature players to a music/lit tossup, I should learn music or literature. But this is a different presupposition than "getting the tossup at all, even when playing against others who don't know music or lit." Serious academic study should perhaps be rewarded first, but it shouldn't be the only thing that is rewarded in a tossup (or even a bonus sequence).
Well, sure; there's no denying that, in no small part because learning music rarely happens without listening to music. "Learning x" in an academic context should--if you're writing the ideal tossup, which no one often does--be the fastest route to points; no one who's "learning x" in an academic way should be beaten (save in buzzer races, of course) to a tossup by someone who's rote-memorizing shit.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Science

Post by Auroni » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:20 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
theMoMA wrote:I view artificially boosting the conversion by adding a "LOL Laporte" clue as akin to, but slightly less fake then, the NAQT-like expedient of adding a giveaway like "whose name is synonymous with 'choosing laws'" or something. That is to say, adding such a clue would raise conversion, but not really change difficulty proper; it would just allow people who don't really know anything about the answer to get the question, which I don't view as a positive necessarily.
I have an issue with this analogy. In the NAQT case, the addition of a phrase like "whose name is synonymous with 'choosing laws'" is completely anti-intellectual and does nothing for the tossup other than reduce it to "figure-it-out-bowl." On the other hand, by appending something like "examples of which include Laporte" to the end of the question, you are relegating what you see as "fake knowledge" but which is still some semblance of academic to the lowest rung of the ladder in the pyramidal question without failing to reconcile your own desire to reward people who know science in detail with the desire of all good question writers to not see their tossups go dead.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:25 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
The King's Flight to the Scots
Auron
Posts: 1458
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:11 pm

Re: Science

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:30 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
Then should we stop dropping titles at the end of fine arts and literature questions? Or "Iron Chancellor" at the end of Bismarck questions? I mean, if we want to "real-ify" quizbowl, let's not put scientists at a huge advantage.
Matt Bollinger
UVA '14, UVA '15
Communications Officer, ACF

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4047
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:33 pm

Cantaloupe (disambiguation) wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
Then should we stop dropping titles at the end of fine arts and literature questions? Or "Iron Chancellor" at the end of Bismarck questions? I mean, if we want to "real-ify" quizbowl, let's not put scientists at a huge advantage.
The analogy between named whatevers and book titles is questionable at best.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Science

Post by Auroni » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:33 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
I disagree. It's not very academic, but it's still the knowledge that a [specific scientific thing] is in the [scientific category that the tossup requires you to name]. That is unquestionably more academic that having people pull "selection rules" from a bad dictionary definition.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:33 pm

It's good to ask those things, Ahmad; those are certainly things I've thought about. I think that the replacement of fake science clues with real ones would engender the same process that happened before and that has seemingly always happened: people who can will learn (some of) the real clues because it behooves them to do so. I have no problem with people getting points based on shallow knowledge of real stuff, though I do think it's necessary to write questions scrupulously to privilege deeper knowledge of real things.
People have been saber rattling about the opacity of science and its killing of quizbowl seemingly forever, but I don't see that happening. I rather continue to see quizbowl science that does a poor job tapping into the real science knowledge that people really do have. Tapping into that by using real clues should result in easier questions in the steady state, as people learn the real stuff, though any change of clues will depress scoring rates in the immediate term (due to the prevalence of binary pair memorization in the current era of the game if for no other reason.)
I think an example of this is my own expressed views in this thread of the Cannizaro reaction question. To recap, Andy said he was okay not saying explicitly that the disproportionation of an aldehyde will make a carboxylic acid and an alcohol, because anyone who knows some basic chemistry would know that and he already said we were disproportionating an aldehyde, which is true. However, I said I wasn't sure that's the right position because saying "this reaction makes an alcohol and a carboxylic acid" seems real enough to me, so that is basically just a change of difficulty. Thus, we can use real clues without maximizing difficulty.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:34 pm

Ice Warrior wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
I disagree. It's not very academic, but it's still the knowledge that a [specific scientific thing] is in the [scientific category that the tossup requires you to name]. That is unquestionably more academic that having people pull "selection rules" from a bad dictionary definition.
It seems I'm not alone in not seeing that as really not academic, given that the question already clearly and unambiguously stated what the Laporte selection rule is. The question is: "How academic is the the knowledge that lets one name a thing from a hackneyed, binary-pair eponym given that one couldn't name it from a statement of exactly what that eponym in fact is?" The answer is: not very.
Also, again, this isn't a "no eponym clues ever" argument. It is rather an argument against the proposition that every question ought to contain (the easiest) eponym clues, regardless how fake or ill-matched to the purpose or category of the question. I disagree: it's very okay for me if not every question does that.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:37 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:
Cantaloupe (disambiguation) wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
Then should we stop dropping titles at the end of fine arts and literature questions? Or "Iron Chancellor" at the end of Bismarck questions? I mean, if we want to "real-ify" quizbowl, let's not put scientists at a huge advantage.
The analogy between named whatevers and book titles is questionable at best.
Rob Carson: Continual Stator of What I Was About To State!

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2999
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Science

Post by Auroni » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:39 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
Ice Warrior wrote:"examples of which include Laporte"... which is still some semblance of academic
The binary association of the name "Laporte" with the response "selection rules" is not academic, really.
I disagree. It's not very academic, but it's still the knowledge that a [specific scientific thing] is in the [scientific category that the tossup requires you to name]. That is unquestionably more academic that having people pull "selection rules" from a bad dictionary definition.
It seems I'm not alone in not seeing that as really not academic, given that the question already clearly and unambiguously stated what the Laporte selection rule is. The question is: "How academic is the change in knowledge if we add the name of the thing after we've already stated what it is?" My answer is: not very.

MaS
My answer is: academic enough to be useful to players on marginal (difficulty-wise) topics like the one in question without taking an anti-intellectual road like the analogous NACutie phrase that you mentioned earlier!
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:42 pm

Congratulations: your argument doesn't make sense! Academic character has nothing to do with a clue's usefulness or the difficulty of the answer to which it's attached - arguments like that are what's known as the fallacy of special pleading. Either a clue's academic enough, or it ain't.
I already acknowledge that the question was too hard. Adding fake clues makes this a qualitatively different question (a fake one, which I'm not comfortable writing.) If I'd known the tournament's difficulty better, I'd have reserved this question for something harder, that's all.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Science

Post by theMoMA » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:34 pm

Mike, I simply said above that an attempt to excise eponyms shouldn't come at the expense of conversion. The answers should be easier than selection rules if you're going to do this.

I really dislike the characterization of my "playing style" as depending on a certain type of science question. Undoubtedly I have plenty of binary association knowledge, not just in science. I also think I have been one of the only non-scientists to take a good faith approach to learning how to play, write, and talk about science questions. I can't make up for lack of years of classes by reading a few journal articles, and I can't make a comprehensive independent study of such a massive field, but I also am not just memorizing a bunch of names to get points on questions. I haven't done that since I got sick of memorizing lit lists in eleventh grade.

I find it completely misguided to treat incomplete knowledge of an answer as equivalent to no knowledge at all. This, to me, characterizes your position. I don't want to see science questions that assume that after what is basic to all "true scientists," there are no more levels of knowledge worth rewarding, which is what you vehemently seem to be arguing.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:51 pm

theMoMA wrote:Mike, I simply said above that an attempt to excise eponyms shouldn't come at the expense of conversion. The answers should be easier than selection rules if you're going to do this.
Then we pretty much agree; this particular question was too hard given my constraints and the difficult of the tournament, which I didn't know would be as low as it was. Conversion isn't to me quite the sacred cow that you say it is to you*; academic character remains foremost in my mind, since converting fake answers or fake clues doesn't do anything for me, regardless at how high a rate, but conversion is certainly a positive end in both our philosophies.
theMoMA wrote:I really dislike the characterization of my "playing style" as depending on a certain type of science question.
I'm going by your description of how you played the question. I see you describing some meta-knowledge heuristics you were trying to apply, then bewailing the lack of a clue you'd binary associated to this answer and that I don't consider very academic or important. Since you're saying you don't play like that generally, please take what I'm saying as discussion of your own description of your play on that one question and generalize it to the extent you see fit.
theMoMA wrote:I also think I have been one of the only non-scientists to take a good faith approach to learning how to play, write, and talk about science questions. I can't make up for lack of years of classes by reading a few journal articles, and I can't make a comprehensive independent study of such a massive field, but I also am not just memorizing a bunch of names to get points on questions.
I appreciate your attempts more than most, as you know. However, I want you to re-read your own sentiments here and realize that your lack of science grounding in some way must qualify your own criticism of questions, including this one! You're trying to tell me that the name of the Laporte rule is real science, but where do you get the authority to do that, given that my own study in this area dwarfs yours (maybe by a non-finite factor?)
In fact, in this case, you did memorize a few names and expect that to cover every future question on this topic. When you found expectation disappointed, you came here demanding questions reward the names you've memorized. That's not right.
theMoMA wrote:I find it completely misguided to treat incomplete knowledge of an answer as equivalent to no knowledge at all. This, to me, characterizes your position. I don't want to see science questions that assume that after what is basic to all "true scientists," there are no more levels of knowledge worth rewarding, which is what you vehemently seem to be arguing.
Regardless of the vehemence of my seeming, that's not what I'm arguing. My argument isn't about the completeness of knowledge, but about its realness or academic character. I don't think that fake knowledge should necessarily be rewarded in every question and I think that the name "Laporte rule" is pretty fake given that we've already completely described the rule itself. If you want to say that it's not fake, then I simply disagree about the character of a single clue and, frankly, I'll take my judgment over yours in this area. If you want to argue that conversion is the ne plus ultra so we should include fake or at-best-questionable things if they'll help conversion, then we disagree at first principles, which is fine. Either way, I think we can pretty clearly see where the discrepancy is.

MaS

*I continue to note that your packet actually seemed harder than ours, but that may be my bad, bad play on it speaking. Certainly our two packets were the hardest played at the Centre site.
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Science

Post by theMoMA » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:58 pm

Okay, sorry for escalating (if any escalation was involved); I think we do agree on a few things and disagree on others.

Also, I only wrote four tossups for this tournament, three of which were used, and all of which were provided to me as answers.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:00 pm

It's cool, man; I'm not angry with you or anything and sorry if I sounded angry, too. I think this was productive anyway.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6592
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Science

Post by Cheynem » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:02 pm

The "Minnesota" packet was written by myself and Gautam, so you can direct your invective there and leave that poor Andrew Hart alone.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:08 pm

I'LL GET YOU RAT BASTARDS YET! In seriousness, I don't think I can evaluate that packet fairly because I was very angry during it, probably mostly at my own shitty early play, but I was pretty distinctly sure it was harder than most. Obviously, even a certain evaluation on my part that that one packet, even one that he actually wrote, was hard can make or break Andrew's reputation for difficulty.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:29 pm

Having played this tournament yesterday, I have to say that I agree one million percent with what Mike is saying here. I answered the "selection rules," tossup just outside of power, but I recognized what was being described right away and I only waited because I was sure that my knowledge of selection rules was superior to that of everyone else in the room. It seems to me the paradigmatic tossup that rewards actual knowledge over list memorization. I guess if I'd written it, I might have dropped Laporte at the end, but the absence of that clue doesn't seem particularly egregious to me. It's one of those things that's literally only known because it has a name, not because it's more important than any other selection rule.

In general, I thought the science in this tournament (in my areas) was decent, but still had a few clues that were mostly out of the Ryan Westbrook Quizbowl Writing Manual. One example is the Casimir effect question (CHIRAL BAG MODEL). There were a few others too that I can point to once the set is posted. Overall, the bonuses in the chemistry and bio seemed a little tougher than in other areas, so perhaps the easy parts of those could have been modulated down a little bit.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:36 pm

grapesmoker wrote:One example is the Casimir effect question (CHIRAL BAG MODEL).
WHAT YOU SAY

Yeah, I agree with this. A lot of submissions weren't changed out of their original paradigm; i.e. if it was written to a "Ryan Westbrook standard" or whatever, I'd often just try to make sure that the clues were correct and made sense and would reward real knowledge (or reward it in a real way, I hoped) before fakery began. I think this allowed me the time necessary to improve other questions; if I had a chance to do this tournament again, I'd certainly be more rigorous about that (and I'd apply what I learned in editing this tournament and from reading ACF Regionals to make things more REAL and easier both). I think this tournament's science was a decent starting point for changing the way science questions happen; I certainly don't think that it was an endpoint, and I think that Jerry's physics is a much, much better example of how it should be done for physics.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:09 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:One example is the Casimir effect question (CHIRAL BAG MODEL).
WHAT YOU SAY
WARD-TAKAHASHI IDENTITIES

I wish to express my extreme displeasure at the tossup on "galaxies," which was full of misleading information. For example, the first clue is about relativistic beaming, which occurs mostly in ellipticals. The next clue was on the Faber-Jackson relation, where I buzzed with "elliptical galaxies." As far as I can tell, nothing that came before in the question excludes ellipticals from being the answer; granted, I was stupid in not giving the most general answer, but technically I believe my answer was correct. Also, radio-loud and radio-quiet are certainly terms that are used to describe galaxies but they are also used to describe AGNs themselves, so the formulation gets even more confusing. This is a common problem when trying to write questions on astronomical objects, since the classifications for many types of these things are not firm boundaries but rather groupings of characteristics that can apply to many different kinds of things. People should be really careful when writing these types of questions.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:13 pm

You're right; that was my oversight in not taking ellipticals early on. The latter problem (with AGNs) I'm terrible at dealing with (eclipsed, if barely, by my inability to write questions on AGNs or subclasses thereof properly); is there a good way to resolve it (without being, like, "the ACTIVE NUCLEI of these objects can be radio-quiet...")?
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:17 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:You're right; that was my oversight in not taking ellipticals early on. The latter problem (with AGNs) I'm terrible at dealing with (eclipsed, if barely, by my inability to write questions on AGNs or subclasses thereof properly); is there a good way to resolve it (without being, like, "the ACTIVE NUCLEI of these objects can be radio-quiet...")?
After the fact, I'm not sure. I guess I would recommend not writing such a question in the first place and instead picking something that's specific enough that you can eliminate false positives. I guess if you do a lot of research you could pull off a question on galaxies, but I think it's just hard to do otherwise and you're better off picking something more specific.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:23 pm

That's fair. I tried to err on the side of more general answer choices when I could, to increase conversion rates (I used to think that high schoolers knew specific classes of variable stars, so, you see, I'm erring too far on the side of caution); i think we've found that there's a barrier beyond which we shouldn't try to go without expecting a challenge.*



*look forward to my common link on DSOs at HI!
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:49 pm

Another remark: I feel like at most levels of the game, experiments tend to make bad tossups. There are only so many clues for them, and most of the time you are trying to figure out ways of obfuscating things about it by doing things like describing similar experiments or the setup or whatever. While many of these experiments are in fact important, I think they're way less important than the underlying concepts and again, tend to get asked because they are named after dudes. See the following tossup:
Karpa and Weitz carried out a version of this experiment on polaritons, quasiparticles that model slow light. This experiment is mimicked by population inversion in a MASER. Employing an extension of this experiment's apparatus led I. I. Rabi to discover his eponymous oscillation. The results of this experiment accorded with the later hypothesis of Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit. This experiment featured a nonuniform magnetic field that deflected a beam of silver atoms, giving two beams rather than a continuous distribution. Created to test the Bohr-Sommerfield hypothesis, for 10 points, name this doubly-eponymous experiment that demonstrated the discrete value of spin.
ANSWER: Stern-Gerlach experiment
I have no idea what the Karpa-Weitz experiment might be, but ok, that's kind of interesting. The rest of the question seems a lot less so. I don't even understand the second sentence (how does population inversion in a MASER mimic the Stern-Gerlach experiment? What does that even mean?) and the clue that I buzzed on, which was the bit about Rabi oscillations is straight outta quizbowl. Maybe there's a really good way to write this question but I have my doubts. While experiments typically make nice easy-to-medium bonus parts, I think they're not very well suited for tossups unless they're on something out of the ordinary and/or are being written by someone with good expertise in the subject.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:04 pm

That's fair. Re: the population inversion clue, it was submitted; I checked it out--apparently it's referring to how both processes involve, like, being exposed to a magnetic field subsequent to having passed through an aperture or something. That puts some atoms in the higher energy state of a MASER, I guess; I'm Not a Physicist (tm). Anyway, I probably should have excised that clue since it's only tenuously related to the experimental setup and requires some mental hoop-jumping; I was

I generally have the same problem with experiment tossups that you do--that is, I've seen a lot of tossups that basically proceed from vague to specific clues about the goddamn apparatus itself, and nothing more--and this was an attempt to do something a little different, at least, with one.
Andrew Watkins

mattreece
Lulu
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:06 am

Re: Science

Post by mattreece » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:43 pm

For whatever it's worth (not much), I've never heard of the Laporte rule, though of course I know what a selection rule is. Maybe it's something chemists know more than physicists do.

I'm pretty sure I could poll a random sample of 50 particle theorists under the age of 35 and find at most 10 who know what the chiral bag model is. (A lot could guess.)
Matt Reece (formerly of UChicago and Cornell quizbowl)

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:45 pm

Yeah; so far as I can tell, its quizbowl-fame is largely canon-driven, not something that is there for good reasons. I shouldn't have included it. That said, was my description thereof okay? I did, at least, try to include a description thereof, unlike all the former invocations, which were just name-drops.
Andrew Watkins

mattreece
Lulu
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:06 am

Re: Science

Post by mattreece » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:56 am

Assuming I'm looking in the right place, "This effect is invoked in the baryon mass prediction of the chiral bag model" is fine. But more detailed versions of it have appeared in packets in the past, and I would guess more people in quizbowl will know it from that than will know what the chiral bag model is. And it's not clear why the word "chiral" needs to be there, since the Casimir effect has been discussed in the context of the original, more well-known, MIT bag model as well. The most interesting thing about the chiral bag model seems to be the slightly mysterious "Cheshire cat principle," although I've never looked into it in enough detail to see if it's really as interesting or mysterious as its inventors believe it is. (Google turns up a recent paper about it by Holger Bech Nielsen, of "backwards-time-traveling Higgs bosons sabotaged the LHC" fame, which makes me suspicious, but it looks sane.)
Matt Reece (formerly of UChicago and Cornell quizbowl)

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1815
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: Science

Post by Susan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:42 am

mattreece wrote:Assuming I'm looking in the right place, "This effect is invoked in the baryon mass prediction of the chiral bag model" is fine. But more detailed versions of it have appeared in packets in the past, and I would guess more people in quizbowl will know it from that than will know what the chiral bag model is. And it's not clear why the word "chiral" needs to be there, since the Casimir effect has been discussed in the context of the original, more well-known, MIT bag model as well. The most interesting thing about the chiral bag model seems to be the slightly mysterious "Cheshire cat principle," although I've never looked into it in enough detail to see if it's really as interesting or mysterious as its inventors believe it is. (Google turns up a recent paper about it by Holger Bech Nielsen, of "backwards-time-traveling Higgs bosons sabotaged the LHC" fame, which makes me suspicious, but it looks sane.)
Well, I'm glad to have been the only person (so far as a brief search indicated) to use the most interesting thing about that overused canonical clue!
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1852
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Science

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:17 am

theMoMA wrote:I'd just say that there is a subtype of reactions called Diels-Alder reactions, which are both subsets of pericyclic reactions.
You're right, but the problem is there's no "1,3-dipolar Diels-Alder reaction", so that answer is invalidated somewhat early. Diels-Alder and the 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition are both pericyclic.

@Jerry: I think that question is making an obscure reference to how Kleppner used a version of the same apparatus to create the first hydrogen MASER. Not that that clue is well-written as is, however. Also, as for experiments being bad tossups, I'm not sure that's entirely true, at least for biology. If you've read the original paper for an experiment (which is something that did happen in a few of my classes), I think its ok for quizbowl to reward that. Is it different in physics, or is there a specific way that experiment tossups should be written to reward knowledge?
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Science

Post by theMoMA » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:36 pm

Right, in hindsight the early clues invalidated my buzz. However, I think that pragmatically, a question that causes a vast swath of players to neg is probably less than optimal, even if the clues as constituted point to the right answer.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:38 pm

Did it cause a vast swath of players to neg? I agree with you in principle (and prompts for every reaction and possible class described at every point before the later sites), but does this hold up in practice? I didn't moderate this packet for any teams, so I don't know myself; I could go over scoresheets and try to find out.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Science

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:21 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:@Jerry: I think that question is making an obscure reference to how Kleppner used a version of the same apparatus to create the first hydrogen MASER. Not that that clue is well-written as is, however.
In this case, my objection was not to the clue itself but rather to the way it was phrased. If you knew about Kleppner's experiment, you'd already buzzed, and if you didn't, that second sentence was a throwaway that could not possibly help you.
Also, as for experiments being bad tossups, I'm not sure that's entirely true, at least for biology. If you've read the original paper for an experiment (which is something that did happen in a few of my classes), I think its ok for quizbowl to reward that. Is it different in physics, or is there a specific way that experiment tossups should be written to reward knowledge?
Maybe this is just me, and someone in a different field like Matt Reece or Mike Sorice are welcome to contradict me, but I never found that "original paper for an experiment," is a very useful metric for anything. Like, it's hard to get too much more famous than the original BCS paper (ok, not an experiment, but whatever), but it's also a) 4 pages long, and b) incredibly dense. How many people actually read that paper is questionable; certainly most people who know things about BCS theory know those things because they've taken some solid state physics classes and have had it explained to them via lectures and books. I find this to be also true for experiments. Virtually no one reads the original Stern-Gerlach paper, for several reasons: one, it's in German, and two, there's not much there that can't be condensed into the opening pages of a standard quantum text, as it always is.

I'm not saying experiment questions are bad in principle. I'm saying that they're tough to pull off unless you know what you're doing. Moreover, I suspect there's no really clever way to write a tossup on Stern-Gerlach or Michelson-Morley, two things that came up at this tournament. That's because there just isn't that much information out there about those experiments to work with, so what you end up doing is talking about other experiments that demonstrated similar results or the setup or what have you. Most of that ends up being filler, in my view. There are certainly important experiments out there that haven't been written about too much, but they're also probably very inaccessible as answers to the majority of players. As such, my suggestion in general is that unless you know what you're doing, stick to less challenging topics. If you're itching to connect with an experimental concept in your question, you could write on that concept instead and use the experiment as a clue.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

Locked