2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I think that healing tossup was a fine idea - I think it could have been a lot stronger by focusing on fewer areas but otherwise works.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Wartortullian »

In general, I greatly enjoyed the science, and my problems with the set as a whole are limited to what Iain posted in the other thread. That said, I a couple questions could have done a better job of fleshing out clues/answerlines:

1. The bonus on numerically solving differential equations should have accepted, or at least prompted on, "numerical integration" (not to be confused with computing an integral numerically, which is usually referred to as "quadrature"). This is a pretty big oversight, as "integration" is most common term that researchers in numerical methods actually use. If you'd like to see examples, a cursory glance at my Zotero library gave me this paper, this one, this one, and this one, not to mention this one which I wrote.

2. The bonus part on "density of states" was worded in a manner that was more evocative of "degeneracy" (talking about "number of states" as if it were usually discrete, while calling it a quantity instead of a function/distribution). I've talked to other teams who made the same error.

3. "Accelerator physics" is a reified field of study, and Will and Rafael are correct that accelerators should have been an acceptable answer to the tossup. I can imagine someone blowing the prompt because they think the TU is asking for something more specific like PWFAs or linacs.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by vathreya »

ArnavS wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:21 pm

Edit 2: Someone knowledgeable buzzed in early on the question on Tamils with Dalits. And apparently this was correct? I didn't resolve it since the protest didn't end up mattering, but figured it would be worth noting.
I was actually wrong about this, because I’m fairly certain the first clue was specific to the Tamil ethnic group. Additionally, I negged on the Periyar clue because I associated him with pro-Dalit/lower caste movements more than Dravidian movements, but I believe the clue said something about “lower class members” which made my “protest” incorrect.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Cody »

t-bar wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:48 pm
Certainly the moderator could make the judgment call that "prologue" should be acceptable, but if the editor wants that to be the case, they bear the greater responsibility to say so. What about an answer of the preface or the foreword to Hopscotch? As far as I know, such terms are close to but not exactly synonymous with introduction, and when presented with a judgment call about a notably atypical book one has never read I think the moderator can expect a little more assistance. The finals sequence of the 2018 ACF Nationals featured a contentious protest concerning the difference between a frontispiece and a cover, so I don't think it's at all unreasonable that people could be uncertain when asked to make this sort of distinction.
I agree with Stephen, but I would argue further that it is outright unreasonable for a moderator (one unfamiliar with the work) to accept "prologue" in this scenario because there is a distinction between an "introduction" and "prologue" (and similarly "preface" and "foreword") – they are specific terms that the author chooses (or in some instances have specific meanings), and "prologue" arguably doesn't even meet the criteria of a "description" as a result. It is dangerous to require moderators to make such a judgement call because you're asking for inexperienced moderators to make some bad calls (including e.g. accepting foreword). This is not a moderator's fault.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by gerbilownage »

A few of the history bonus middle parts seemed on the hard side, particularly Francisco de Miranda and the Hongwu Emperor. Miranda was a hard part at 2016 ICT!
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Victor Prieto »

Thiccasso's Guernthicca wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:24 pm
As you can see, "prologue" was not explicitly mentioned in the answerline precisely because I did not want to make it longer than it already was (and, quite frankly, it's not that long as it stands), and I instead elected to include the phrase "descriptions such as" and allow the moderator to exercise some common sense
Regardless of the differences between prologues and introductions and prefaces and forewords and whatever else, I would like to commend the unusually good insight you demonstrated here - this isn't an aspect of questions usually focused on by editors, much less an editor as early in their career as yourself, so good of you to keep that in mind.

I wasn't thrilled about the answerline choice of contrast in MRI, especially since it seemed to be categorized as the chemistry tossup for the packet. I'd like to see that tossup, please. In addition, the lead-in to the speciation question was the subject of a protest that wasn't adjudicated, so I'd like to see that as well, please.

For the Rimbaud and Verlaine question: why not preface it with "two answers required?" I was also confused by a number of odd pronoun choices or pronoun switching in tossups throughout this set, which I'm surprised that nobody else has commented on because I recall my teammates commenting on it a couple times. For example, martyrdom was described as a "practice" initially, which is kind of odd because martyrdom is not something one person can be expected to do repeatedly. "Genre" for bebop was mentioned already. I think there were others, but I can't recall others without looking through the set to jog my memory.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

gerbilownage wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:05 pm
A few of the history bonus middle parts seemed on the hard side, particularly Francisco de Miranda and the Hongwu Emperor. Miranda was a hard part at 2016 ICT!
Miranda is a bit soft for a hard part at Regionals (let alone ICT) but I would definitely agree he's too hard for a middle at this level. I managed to bungle the Hongwu bonus part as well for no reason, though that was inordinately hard as well, and the "Hundred Word Eulogy" seems like a brutally hard and questionable choice for a hard part - it's come up a few times as an early clue for the Hongwu emperor at hard tournaments and now it's a bonus hard part at Regionals?
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Justice William Brennan »

gerbilownage wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:05 pm
A few of the history bonus middle parts seemed on the hard side, particularly Francisco de Miranda and the Hongwu Emperor. Miranda was a hard part at 2016 ICT!
I am particularly bad at East Asian and Latin American history so I tend to underestimate difficulty in those categories, apologies if you were on the receiving end of particularly unfair bonuses in those categories.

As Jinah already mentioned, I focused on making sure medium parts would be able to distinguish between the teams on the A-value bubble. In practice, I think a fair number of my medium parts overshot the difficulty at which team #48* would have a 50-50 chance at converting, but I preferred that medium parts leaned harder. The thinking being that slightly too-hard medium parts possessed more resolving power between the 10 or so teams contesting the last few A-value bids than slightly too-easy medium parts that those same teams would all convert. I suppose in the end a too-hard bonus that none of those teams could convert has about as much resolving power as a too-easy bonus that all of them could convert, but it certainly speaks to the supreme difficulty of calibrating bonus parts in this era of quizbowl where it feels like either everybody in the same skill tier knows any given clue or (next to) none of them know it. I believe Ben Miller looked at the bonus data from four recent tournaments and posted something to that effect in another thread recently.

I similarly wanted hard parts to distinguish between the top 10 or 15 teams. Combined with my instinct to put more distance between hard parts and the already-hard medium parts, it led to some outlandish hard parts. Coro, Grand Pensionary (when Johan de Witt probably would've been a better alternative), and Apophis are probably among the most egregious examples of that effect. Like Mike Bentley and JinAh have already said, I think having more non-specialists/non-elite players participate in playtesting is the glaring solution, though I suppose the problem there is that it's pretty painful for players to sit in Discord for hours and listen to questions that they're not very good at. As a personal example, I'm probably a useful literature playtester because I can convert >90% of the easy parts and I have a 35-45% chance at converting medium parts, but I certainly couldn't bear to listen to more than a few packets' worth of literature before I'd feel like leaving.

*or #42?, I'm not sure how large the Nats field cap is this year.
Last edited by Justice William Brennan on Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by It's Drew »

I don't know anything about opera, but my teammate who does says that the tossup on Parsifal had a misplaced clue about transformation songs. He told me to post this on his behalf.

Also, the consensus among Purdue's players was that the editors' packets were noticeably less difficult than the submitted packets. This is obviously subjective, but our PPBs did experience a general uptick in the playoffs vs. the prelims. Interested to know if this was a common experience, or just an idiosyncracy of our knowledge bases.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Vinjance »

Victor Prieto wrote:I wasn't thrilled about the answerline choice of contrast in MRI, especially since it seemed to be categorized as the chemistry tossup for the packet. I'd like to see that tossup, please. In addition, the lead-in to the speciation question was the subject of a protest that wasn't adjudicated, so I'd like to see that as well, please.
The chemistry TU in that packet was on mass spectrums. Here's the text of the contrast question:
Central Florida A, Illinois A, Penn State B, and UNC B wrote:2. This property can be improved by adjusting values occupying small regions in the process of adaptive histogram equalization. The main clinical use of microbubbles is to enhance this property by vibrating differently when exposed to sound waves. In one technique, the oral or IV (“eye-vee”) intake of certain chemicals improves this property by reducing T1 or T2 relaxation time in tissues. Frits Zernike (“ZER-nik-uh”) won a 1953 Nobel Prize for a form of microscopy that enhances this property by inducing phase shifts in background light. Paramagnetic elements like gadolinium are used as “agents” to enhance this property in MRI images. For 10 points, what property refers to the difference in appearance between multiple pixels viewed at the same time, and can be adjusted along with brightness on a monitor?
ANSWER: image contrast [or contrast ratio; or contrast agents; or phase-contrast microscopy]
<Other Science (Engineering)>
The repeat of contrast in the set is completely my fault. This was a late addition to the set and I did not thoroughly check for overlaps before adding it.

Cambridge A, JHU A, Northwestern A, and Penn State C wrote:6. The homologous recombination protein PRDM9 is the first known mammalian example of a class of gene that causes this process, which was identified in 2009 by a team led by Jiří Forejt (“YIH-zhee FO-rate”). Richard Goldschmidt used the term “hopeful monster” to describe the “saltation” mechanism of this process. S. paradoxus is used as a model organism for studying whether this process obeys the Dobzhansky–Muller mechanism. Reinforcement can promote this process given the existence of a cline. In plants, this process can occur as a result of polyploidy induced during hybridization. Eldredge and Gould proposed that this process occurs in rapid bursts in the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Geographic separation occurs in this process’s allopatric form. For 10 points, name this process that occurs when two populations can no longer interbreed.
ANSWER: speciation [accept speciation genes; accept specific types of speciation like allopatric speciation; prompt on answers referring to the formation of new species; prompt on reproductive isolation; prompt on cladogenesis; prompt on evolution]
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by jinah »

It's Drew wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:15 pm
I don't know anything about opera, but my teammate who does says that the tossup on Parsifal had a misplaced clue about transformation songs. He told me to post this on his behalf.

Also, the consensus among Purdue's players was that the editors' packets were noticeably less difficult than the submitted packets. This is obviously subjective, but our PPBs did experience a general uptick in the playoffs vs. the prelims. Interested to know if this was a common experience, or just an idiosyncracy of our knowledge bases.
I'm not sure what order the UIUC packets were read in, but the playoffs weren't done on editors' packets. There were two editors' packets and fourteen submitted ones, and only one of the editors' packets was read at the UIUC site (presumably as a final). Interesting to hear your PPB went up throughout the day, which I feel like is usually not the case (as teams get tired, etc).
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Youngster Joey »

Central Florida A, Illinois A, Penn State B, and UNC B wrote:2. This property can be improved by adjusting values occupying small regions in the process of adaptive histogram equalization. The main clinical use of microbubbles is to enhance this property by vibrating differently when exposed to sound waves. In one technique, the oral or IV (“eye-vee”) intake of certain chemicals improves this property by reducing T1 or T2 relaxation time in tissues. Frits Zernike (“ZER-nik-uh”) won a 1953 Nobel Prize for a form of microscopy that enhances this property by inducing phase shifts in background light. Paramagnetic elements like gadolinium are used as “agents” to enhance this property in MRI images. For 10 points, what property refers to the difference in appearance between multiple pixels viewed at the same time, and can be adjusted along with brightness on a monitor?
ANSWER: image contrast [or contrast ratio; or contrast agents; or phase-contrast microscopy]
<Other Science (Engineering)>
I greatly enjoyed playing this TU, particularly because it incorporates clues from multiple imaging modalities and general image processing. I believe it may be worth adding a prompt for "dynamic range," at least for the adaptive histogram equalization clue.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Eh, the history seemed tough but mostly in line with the rest of the set - the hard parts were consistently challenging, but I felt they were generally pretty similar in difficulty and weren't any sort of "roller coaster." Most of them also tested worthwhile things in a way that was engaging to listen to, whether it was more standard canonical material or something more off-beat, and that's more than good enough as far as a solid Nats-qualifier set is concerned.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by Chimango Caracara »

Victor Prieto wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:25 pm
I was also confused by a number of odd pronoun choices or pronoun switching in tossups throughout this set, which I'm surprised that nobody else has commented on because I recall my teammates commenting on it a couple times. For example, martyrdom was described as a "practice" initially, which is kind of odd because martyrdom is not something one person can be expected to do repeatedly. "Genre" for bebop was mentioned already. I think there were others, but I can't recall others without looking through the set to jog my memory.
With respect to the martyrdom question, I'm sorry if the choice of pronoun confused anyone else. I thought "practice" made the most sense, especially for the early clues, which were about the academic study of martyrdom and the development of a tradition of martyrdom in antiquity. Here is the question for reference.
2. Both Clement of Alexandria and Jose (“YO-see”) ben Kisma were ambivalent about this practice according to Daniel Boyarin. St. Cyprian delineated this practice’s “red” and “white” forms. This practice was described in the Midrash (“MID-rosh”) Eleh Ezkerah (“AY-leh ez-KRAH”). Accounts of this practice were compiled in the Hieronymianum. The Munyonyo shrine exalted this practice occurring in the reign of Mwanga II of Buganda. A letter about Polycarp sparked a genre about attaining this status, which names an apocryphal book recounting the “Acts” of Perpetua and Felicitas. A Greek term for “witness” names this status, which the palm branch and “crown of immortality” symbolize. Art depicts saints with implements used when they met this fate, like stones or arrows. For 10 points, Saints Barbara, Alban, and Stephen fulfilled what practice by dying for their faith?
ANSWER: martyrdom [or martyrion or protomartyrs, etc.; prompt on witnessing or testimony by asking “what lethal mode of witnessing?”; accept dying for your faith or equivalents; prompt on dying or specific deaths by asking “dying for what?”; prompt on sainthood or canonization by asking “what route to sainthood?”; prompt on religious persecution, etc.]
(The first sentence is from Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism; some clues come from Acts of the Martyrs and The Martyrdom of Polycarp.)

Since several of the clues were about Christian/Jewish scholars commenting on people becoming martyrs, it made sense to say "this practice." On the advice of the other editors, I changed the pronouns partway through the question in an attempt to help players narrow down the answerspace. I'm sorry if the switch was confusing. I think it would probably be transparent to start with "this status" right away.

I'm not sure that something has to be done more than once by a single person to be a "practice." I would consider suicide to be a practice, and it has been called that in suicide tossups (e.g. 2016 Penn Bowl). To me, "practice" has a sociological connotation- an action that is prevalent among a certain set of people, such as members of a religious group. I think things like prayer or going on the hajj are clearly practices, even if a particular person only does them once in their lives.

However, I do think that there were certainly cases where I was not totally certain on the best pronouns to use (e.g. healing, childbirth, magic). So I am sorry if I confused people with this aspect of those questions.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I think it would have been better to toss up martyrs as "these people" - with the caveat that this can definitely lead to ambiguity, but I think noting the fact that not all martyrs are saints or vice versa makes that work out fine, and I'm sure there's ways you can word it to be specific - especially if you give religious definitions to be one, etc. It's admittedly tricky to avoid transparency with such a question, but I think it can be done.
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by vinteuil »

I wish that the Sappho bonus had indicated that the opening words in Greek would be acceptable; since their translation was given, I assumed it couldn't be. (But a good idea for a hard part!)
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Re: 2020 ACF Regionals: Specific Questions and Errata

Post by AGoodMan »

I was very sad to realize that I did not get to play the Joseon tossup. The leadin to the tossup says:
1. An admiral of this kingdom was said to have tightened iron ropes between enemy fleet groups during a battle that
he had prepared his soldiers for by saying that “those who seek death shall live; those who seek life shall die.”
This is pretty minor, but my understanding is that most Korean historians now don't believe that the Battle of Myeongnyang featured any iron chains. I guess the clue says "was said to have," but it's not mentioned in Admiral Yi's diaries, so it might have been better to say "A mostly disproven theory claims that an admiral..." Anyway, I'm always glad to see Korean history in quiz bowl!
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