Science

Old college threads.
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Captain Sinico
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Re: Science

Post by Captain Sinico »

I totally agree with Jerry here.

Also, to respond to the other living trend in this discussion, I'd say that if someone buzzes using a heuristic on a question, they're necessarily taking a calculated risk and should be fine getting what they get. If other people take the same risk and also negged, heuristic players everywhere can console themselves that at least their heuristic is popular and therefore probably positive-expected-value.
My attitude becomes a problem if questions are not susceptible to knowledge, which usually happens in the modern game, especially in science, in the form of questions with series of vague clues so that the only winning strategy is to guess the most canonical answer that fits the clues*. I didn't think this question suffered from that problem, exactly, though I do think it had some issues specifying answer immediately, per my earlier comments. That's a related problem, but not quite the same.

MaS

*Or second-most-canonical at Westbrook tournaments.
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Re: Science

Post by cvdwightw »

To bring up something that's several weeks old, the disproportionation tossup I wrote for HSNCT (thinking "hey this thing was covered in my high school chem classes, so it's probably okay at this level") resulted in a negative points-per-room average. I'm really not sure whether my high school chem experience was completely atypical, or why this thing is so hard, but there definitely needs to be at least a prompt for "redox" in that bonus part. Also, I don't know why "alpha hydrogen" has to be the easy part on that bonus - why not just make it on "alcohols"?

While the "original experiment" papers are often quite interesting and clue-rich in biology, I think that all experiment questions, to some degree, suffer from the problem of "there just aren't that many of them that are important and askable." I think Jerry's entirely right - it's certainly easier to write a tossup on "DNA replication" using a few clues from the original Meselson and Stahl paper and variously using other sources than to write a Meselson-Stahl tossup (and I suspect it will get converted at a higher rate!).
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Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

cvdwightw wrote:To bring up something that's several weeks old, the disproportionation tossup I wrote for HSNCT (thinking "hey this thing was covered in my high school chem classes, so it's probably okay at this level") resulted in a negative points-per-room average. I'm really not sure whether my high school chem experience was completely atypical, or why this thing is so hard, but there definitely needs to be at least a prompt for "redox" in that bonus part. Also, I don't know why "alpha hydrogen" has to be the easy part on that bonus - why not just make it on "alcohols"?
.
Yeah, at some point I'll erase all the quirks that come from weird educational experience, but a few still remain.

alpha hydrogen clearly didn't have to be the easy part; it's true. I just wanted to ask about something that I thought was easy-part-difficulty off at least one interesting clue (i.e. a mechanistically interesting thing about the Canizzarro reaction that you learn when you cover it, unlike the Tishchenko-Claisen ester synthesis that employs it). I perhaps should have made it just _hydrogen_ off "needing to have at least one atom of THIS ELEMENT at the alpha position"; that's my mistake.
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Re: Science

Post by cvdwightw »

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:easy-part-difficulty
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:i.e., a mechanistically interesting thing about the Canizzarro reaction that you learn when you cover it
I do not think "easy-part-difficulty" means what you think it means.
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Re: Science

Post by Cody »

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote: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.
(As already said) It was negged with Diels-Alder in all three rooms at VCU.
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Re: Science

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

cvdwightw wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:easy-part-difficulty
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:i.e., a mechanistically interesting thing about the Canizzarro reaction that you learn when you cover it
I do not think "easy-part-difficulty" means what you think it means.
That's what I kept saying!
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Re: Science

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Ukonvasara wrote:
cvdwightw wrote:
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:easy-part-difficulty
Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:i.e., a mechanistically interesting thing about the Canizzarro reaction that you learn when you cover it
I do not think "easy-part-difficulty" means what you think it means.
That's what I kept saying!
But, like, I also gave other alpha-hydrogen clues, like "you lose one when you form a goddamn enol." Either all those enol chemistry tossups you get at regular difficulty tournaments are too hard, or the common denominator of all of them is an okay easy part (if a little bit harder than I'd have wanted, and I already proposed a way to make it easier while asking about the same material).
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Re: Science

Post by Susan »

cvdwightw wrote:While the "original experiment" papers are often quite interesting and clue-rich in biology, I think that all experiment questions, to some degree, suffer from the problem of "there just aren't that many of them that are important and askable." I think Jerry's entirely right - it's certainly easier to write a tossup on "DNA replication" using a few clues from the original Meselson and Stahl paper and variously using other sources than to write a Meselson-Stahl tossup (and I suspect it will get converted at a higher rate!).
I think Dwight's right to point out that the "original experiment" papers may be a little more useful in biology--I read a bunch of them from pretty much all subfields of biology (okay, all subfields i care about, so not, like, neuro or anything) during both undergrad and grad school, and pretty much every paper of major interest was a) originally published in English and b) accessible to the educated non-specialist. I think the big problem with some of the experiments, particularly in physics, as question subjects is just that they've been dramatically overasked lately, and there are only so many middle and easy clues for, say, Stern-Gerlach (and really only so many hard clues until you start coming up with things that were in one never-cited wackadoo paper on arxiv once and no one will realistically be able to buzz on).
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Not That Kind of Christian!!
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Re: Science

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! »

myamphigory wrote:pretty much every paper of major interest was a) originally published in English and b) accessible to the educated non-specialist. I think the big problem with some of the experiments, particularly in physics, as question subjects is just that they've been dramatically overasked lately, and there are only so many middle and easy clues for, say, Stern-Gerlach (and really only so many hard clues until you start coming up with things that were in one never-cited wackadoo paper on arxiv once and no one will realistically be able to buzz on).
This is a great point, particularly part b. There still seems to be a rather limited canon of askable bio experiments, at least for now, but quizbowl could and should absolutely use more clues based on major experiments, like the this-is-how-ATP synthase-works clues that come up from time to time.
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Re: Science

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

Captain Sinico wrote:Also, to respond to the other living trend in this discussion, I'd say that if someone buzzes using a heuristic on a question, they're necessarily taking a calculated risk and should be fine getting what they get. If other people take the same risk and also negged, heuristic players everywhere can console themselves that at least their heuristic is popular and therefore probably positive-expected-value.
I agree with this.
Captain Sinico wrote:My attitude becomes a problem if questions are not susceptible to knowledge, which usually happens in the modern game, especially in science, in the form of questions with series of vague clues so that the only winning strategy is to guess the most canonical answer that fits the clues*.
I'm not ok with vague clues, but I don't see too much wrong by using canon-fitting if the clues make sense. To use a recent tossup that I liked, you might not know specifically that the Meselson-Stahl experiment used a Cesium Chloride gradient, but if you know how that technique works, you can realize its the only canonical experiment that would use one.
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