Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Old college threads.
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Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:51 pm

Welcome aboard. Thanks to Matt for helping me set this up. I just added a group with writers/editors/tds, and will now be taking requests from players.

Reminder from Trygve:

"If it's ever proven that you use these forums to cheat in any capacity, you will receive a non-negotiable permanent ban."
Last edited by Important Bird Area on Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:37 pm

I want to say that i was privileged this year to see just how much work goes into this set, as a second-eyes editor for DI. Jeff, Andrew, Matt Keller, and R all put in a buttload of work into this set. They should be thanked for that.

This set was not without its imperfections, but I think it also suggests that if the above four get help in the future from other experienced writers, SCT can be an excellent tournament. It wasn't last year's SCT, but it was a step in the right direction from '08--and if in the future, the man-hours of writing this set (and tons of high school sets besides) are divided up among more people, this set will shine.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:39 pm

I'd like to thank Andy for the tremendous amount of work he put into reading the set in the past week.

I do agree that this set was a bit of a step down from last year's, but honestly that's kind of hard to avoid when you lose Seth Teitler from the editing team. I hope this year's SCT nevertheless provided good quizbowl to everyone who played it.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:44 pm

More thanks: R., Andrew, Matt Keller wrote a lot of quality questions for this set.

Special thanks to Mike Bentley and Matt Weiner for writing to fill some of the last few gaps in the set on Wednesday. R. and I thank you for allowing us to get a little bit of sleep this week.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:51 pm

I assume that we are clear to discuss specific questions? Because there were a lot of awful questions in this set that need talking about.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:54 pm

That's the whole point of Trygve's restricted-access forum innovation, Jerry. So: fire away.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by vandyhawk » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:04 pm

Rather than take any undue credit (or blame as it may be), I thought I should point out that my contributions were completely limited to the bio and chem writing/editing duties. If one looks at the % contributions of questions, mine is probably up there since practically no one submits specifically high-level bio or chem. I wanted to help more but just had no time to do so.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:50 pm

Ok, so I don't have the questions on hand right now so I won't be able to post entire questions from the set and will for the moment stick with general impressions. I am deeply disappointed in the quality of this SCT. About half of it was pretty ok; most of the history (with some notable exceptions), arts, philosophy, and science (with another few exceptions) seemed fine. A good chunk of the literature was ok as well, but there were many questions that just ended up being incredibly vague and had entirely unhelpful clues. Some bonuses were outrageously hard and lacked easy parts, and more than once, the most famous thing about some bonus answers wasn't even given as a clue. I'm thinking in particular of the Delmore Schwartz bonus part in the DI bonus on Humboldt's Gift, where you didn't even get a single poem from Schwartz as a clue, but there were others too. The history that wasn't American was fine, but the American history for some reason seemed absolutely determined to explore every minor political figure from the last 50 years. It was like congresscritter bowl out there; why is James Traficant, who was never even all that significant, still being asked about? The American history questions were just full of junk like that and it felt like the entire 19th century except for the Civil War had just disappeared. There were notable problems with bonus difficulty, with parts that were just ass hard all over the place, especially in the trash categories. Which brings me to:

The interminable shitwave of trash in this SCT really ruined my experience completely. Oh, you caught a bad bonus because it's on a show on a network you don't watch? Screw you, you get nothing! Endless bonuses demanding you identify some obscure-ass actors, ungettable things about some stupid shows, crap to no end. The best preparation for this tournament would have been to read IMDB or the TV Guide or something. A tossup on fucking Ray Kurzweil? A bonus that asked you to identify the company that owned LiveJournal, as if anyone could care about this? Stupid. Really, really stupid and pointless kinds of things being asked about that I don't understand why anyone would either know or care to know.

There were also lots of really stupid so-called "cross disciplinary" bonuses too, which I really loathed. Like science questions that became geography or idiotic "common thread" NAcuties. Lots of garbage that basically made it impossible to tell what category, if any, questions actually fell into. This is annoying and stupid and it should stop.

Those were my general impressions. I was pretty happy with last year's SCT and I really thought it should have served as a model for this year's edition. Instead, this SCT was really sub-par and made for a thoroughly miserable experience for me. When I get my hands on the text of the questions, I'll post specifics.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:57 pm

Traficant, for what it's worth, was CE, not history (the third part of a bonus with Voinovich and Tubbs-Jones).
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:01 am

My main question is why DI SCT is so difficult? Especially now that ACUI is on board, there are several new teams that are potentially playing DI because they have a grad student on them. At our site, only one team in DI eclipsed 10 ppb, many of the other teams weren't even close to that mark (I'm not saying they should be, but I'd like to see a team like Washington State a bit further from the bottom).

The easiest comparison I can find right now between this tournament and a "regular difficult" circuit tournament like ACF Winter is the Missouri team. Charlie got an extra teammate for SCT and still up only 12.48 ppb compared to 17.74. This seems like a much better bonus conversion for a team that one would expect to do well at a mid-level regional field.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by alexdz » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:17 am

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:...the Missouri team. Charlie got an extra teammate for SCT and still up only 12.48 ppb compared to 17.74.
Haha...this "extra teammate" was me. Be forewarned that the addition of me was not all that beneficial - I only answered 4 questions the whole tournament (in fact, I could probably name them...). But however negligible my contribution was, your point is still very much valid. Charlie and I had a lot of trouble converting a lot of bonuses today. Compared to the SCT I played last year, even though it was D2, this was much, much, much harder - much more of a leap of difficulty than should be expected.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:34 am

I'm probably already known as the guy that finds issues with questions relating to semiconductor physics, but...
Packet 4 Bonus 16 wrote:Paul Dirac described a vacuum as a sea of negative-energy states in which these particles exist as holes. For 10 points each--
A. Name these fermions.
ANSWER: positron (accept positive electron or beta plus; prompt on beta particle)
B. The number of quasiparticle holes in a bipolar junction transistor can be multiplied with this type of doping
ANSWER: p-type doping (or p-type semiconductor)
For Part A, I have two widely used textbooks in semiconductor physics that say the answer is electrons. My class notes for a Solid State Physics class also says this.

Two issues for Part B:

1) "multiplied" is not a good term to use here. "Added to" works better. This may be nitpicking, but doping levels are calculated by integrating a dose, so additional doping doesn't multiply what is already there, but just adds to it.

2) There are a lot of other answers that should be accepted. Acceptor, boron, gallium just to name of a few would be correct. Additional, the process that introduces dopants is also called doping so answers such as spin-on and ion implantation are not incorrect, but I'd probably put in as being promptable. If "type" was replaced with "flavor" (a colloquial term that has made its way into some papers), then p-type is the only correct answer, but then there are only two possible answers of p-type and n-type.

Perhaps if "boron is commonly used" or "gallium can be used to achieve this" to the end of the part of the question, it would focus in the answer.

It was nice to see Auger electrons show up as Part C though.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:35 am

I'd like to echo Jerry's sentiments on the trash/current event/cross-disciplinary questions, at least in the division II set. The common link/list-style ones particularly got on my nerves, and I especially hated the "quantum" one. Also, in the same packet as the quantum tossup was essentially a repeat of one on Harry Reid. If it wasn't a word-for-word repeat of the tossup in the other packet, it did share its clue regarding Reid's remarks on Barack Obama. I also noticed that Rydberg appeared in both a tossup and a bonus in the same packet, and distillation was a bonus answer of a bonus that had already mentioned distillation in an earlier part. So I suppose editing was an issue with this set as well.

The high amount of trash et al questions also seemed to displace other categories (like Jerry, I don't have the set with me, so I can't give specifics), causing inconsistency within the packet-to-packet distribution. Related to this was that we noticed the bonuses were, in Adam's words, "of laughably variable difficulty". Some sets were easily 30ed, while others were on topics too obscure to gradate into easy, middle, and hard parts.

There was also the bonus part on pressure measurements that was basically a stealth math computation problem.

That's all I can think of now, tired after getting back home.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:55 am

Old Man of the Mountain wrote:For Part A, I have two widely used textbooks in semiconductor physics that say the answer is electrons. My class notes for a Solid State Physics class also says this.
Which textbooks? I find this dubious, since my quantum books all view positrons as negative energy states, which is the conventional way of describing them (and is how Dirac described them).
Two issues for Part B:

1) "multiplied" is not a good term to use here. "Added to" works better. This may be nitpicking, but doping levels are calculated by integrating a dose, so additional doping doesn't multiply what is already there, but just adds to it.

2) There are a lot of other answers that should be accepted. Acceptor, boron, gallium just to name of a few would be correct. Additional, the process that introduces dopants is also called doping so answers such as spin-on and ion implantation are not incorrect, but I'd probably put in as being promptable. If "type" was replaced with "flavor" (a colloquial term that has made its way into some papers), then p-type is the only correct answer, but then there are only two possible answers of p-type and n-type.

Perhaps if "boron is commonly used" or "gallium can be used to achieve this" to the end of the part of the question, it would focus in the answer.

It was nice to see Auger electrons show up as Part C though.
That second part was really confusing because it's really unclear what exactly is being asked. Maybe it's just me but I never really thought of doping as coming in "types." Making that part be "acceptor," for example, would be a much better formulation.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:56 am

I agree that last year's SCT outstripped this one. Hopefully, NAQT will consider the differences between this year's process and last year's in approaching next year's SCT.

For now, a few examples that really made me sad for reasons other than the fact that they were questionable answer choices in and of themselves: tossups on Danse Macabre, the sharp, malaria, Man Ray, random walk, Keats, mitochondria, the stealth mathcomp bonuses brought up earlier, the inclusion of noted CO answer Henry Cowell in a bonus... things like that.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:16 am

Forgive me by not including Packet or Question numbers, I'm just flipping through the packets now.

I just noticed that there's a tossup on Lagrange and a bonus on Lagrangian.

How is "Seattle Sonics" not an acceptable answer? Or just Seattle? Or just Sonics? The team often referred to themselves as just the Sonics!

Rob Neyer is a bonus answer? Really? He's probably the 3rd or 4th most well known ESPN baseball columnist!

The beam of light phase change bonus is a computation question in disguise. "Low to high, change of pi" can work, but this was not a good idea for a three part bonus.

Bonus 22 of Packet 8 makes me cry. PN Junctions are only back-to-back if it is a BJT (but some BJTs are now made laterally), not a FET (but some FETs are now made vertically), those are side-by-side, I guess, but that's not used in common nomenclature. Also, a PN Junction itself does not a device make! The device would be a diode if it had contacts. I've also never heard of a transistor that wasn't made in a semiconductor, so that was superfluous. Also, our 3rd appearance of Lagrange!

Mike Rowe/Diane Sawyer/ looks like it was ripped off from this TVNewser entry, close to word for word: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/abc ... 146830.asp From the packet: (Packet 9, Bonus 2)

"He got a new cleaner job in December 2009 when he voiced over the introduction [of] ABC's World News Tonight. For 10 points each--

A. Name this Discovery Channel mainstay and Ford pitchman
answer: Mike Rowe
B. Rowe's gig coincided with the ascension of this Good Morning America host to the evening news chair.
answer: Diane Sawyer"

TVNewser:

"A Much Cleaner Job for Mike Rowe: The Voice of 'World News with Diane Sawyer'

During a chat with ABC News executive Jon Banner this morning, we learned the new announcer for ABC's "World News with Diane Sawyer" is Mike Rowe host of "Dirty Jobs" on Discovery Channel. Rowe is also a spokesman for Ford. "

I'll look through Packets 10-16 tomorrow morning.

EDIT: Fixed my typo of "Rose" for "Rowe"
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:23 am

grapesmoker wrote:
Old Man of the Mountain wrote:For Part A, I have two widely used textbooks in semiconductor physics that say the answer is electrons. My class notes for a Solid State Physics class also says this.
Which textbooks? I find this dubious, since my quantum books all view positrons as negative energy states, which is the conventional way of describing them (and is how Dirac described them).
Looking again at my books, it appears that in Tsividis, one instance of the description left off positive before electron so I'll chalk that up to a typo as "positive electron" is mentioned twice later in the book. Streetman agrees with the question and McKelvey says just electron, but the book has many other typos, so I would be willing to believe that it could be another one. I'll back off of this gripe.
Two issues for Part B:

1) "multiplied" is not a good term to use here. "Added to" works better. This may be nitpicking, but doping levels are calculated by integrating a dose, so additional doping doesn't multiply what is already there, but just adds to it.

2) There are a lot of other answers that should be accepted. Acceptor, boron, gallium just to name of a few would be correct. Additional, the process that introduces dopants is also called doping so answers such as spin-on and ion implantation are not incorrect, but I'd probably put in as being promptable. If "type" was replaced with "flavor" (a colloquial term that has made its way into some papers), then p-type is the only correct answer, but then there are only two possible answers of p-type and n-type.

Perhaps if "boron is commonly used" or "gallium can be used to achieve this" to the end of the part of the question, it would focus in the answer.

It was nice to see Auger electrons show up as Part C though.

That second part was really confusing because it's really unclear what exactly is being asked. Maybe it's just me but I never really thought of doping as coming in "types." Making that part be "acceptor," for example, would be a much better formulation.
In industry, n-type and p-type doping usually refer to the "types" of doping, as in "boron is a p-type dopant." I agree that acceptor would be a much better formulation.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by vandyhawk » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:07 am

Oh man, the Kurzweil tossup made it in? Before I entered a grant-writing bubble for the last week, I remember being curious about what was in "Technology" (which I don't like as a category in the first place) and saw that one; there were already notes from two reputable people about how that should not be a question, so I figured another one wasn't needed. Apparently it still made it somehow.

Hannah, any further thoughts on mitochondria and malaria? Though this isn't that great of an excuse, those were two of the very few bio questions originating from others, and I had way less time to write/edit than I would have liked this year (going back to like July...).

On a more general note, I wonder if SCT and ICT would be consistently better if there were more college-specific subject editors (as far as I know, I'm the only one), and/or the guest editors have more long-term, active involvement like Seth did last year, compared with Andy's involvement this year. Not to imply that current editors can't produce good college questions, but the sheer volume of HS questions required to produce certainly has its disadvantages. To touch on Mike's post about difficulty, I also can't help wondering if dealing with HS questions all the time makes it seem more acceptable in comparison to have college stuff be that much harder. Of course, many people can handle the distinction just fine, so who knows.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:13 am

Yeah, the degree to which I could help (as a SEED recruited essentially only in this past week) was ridiculously limited. I'd love to help in the future (particularly if I'm getting paid for it, damn!) and particularly if I can help long in advance so that my recommendations are heeded instead of (perhaps rightfully, as kicking questions requires more questions to be written, then) ignored. That would be great.

I hope that I can help more in the future; I think Matt's absolutely right.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:16 am

vandyhawk wrote:I also can't help wondering if dealing with HS questions all the time makes it seem more acceptable in comparison to have college stuff be that much harder.
That's a very interesting hypothesis. I consciously tried to make this set easier than last year's SCT, in part by including some tossups on easy answers. (Those last also intended to address the common critique that quizbowl does an inadequate job of testing deep knowledge of famous subjects.) I'd be interested in hearing any commentary on some of those questions.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by cchiego » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:26 am

I'll echo some of the points made above about the variability of bonus difficulty. Particularly when it came to current events/trash/sports, some of the bonuses were downright impossible if you hadn't heard specifically about the show/actor/situation/etc. that it was describing. On the other hand, if you knew a bit about some of those things they made for easy 20s and 30s. That's stupid, capricious, and random. You've got to throw players a bone here. Give decently intelligent people ten as a reward for getting the tossup (on that note, if you have any data about the standard deviation on some of these bonuses I would love to see it and compare it to say, ACF Winter).

NAQT in the past I know had complaints about the overrepresentation of hockey. This year, it appeared to be baseball that was getting the bulk of the "sports" distribution. Suggestion: get rid of the sports distribution entirely. Put in more of the big 3, fine arts, whatever instead. There's no reason to have that separate from the regularly pop culture when you're just going to ask about random old/current non-notable players. There's already too much trash. Please, please reduce it and focus on things with at least a small academic connection.

On the other hand, I did enjoy a good bit of the history and found the geography very well-written for the most party, although there were a few difficulty cliffs I'll look for when I go back over the set. I was disappointed that fine arts seemed to be all over the place, with the painting in particular being a combination of difficulty cliff buzzer races (the Chagall one was a good example of this) and memory bowl from random titles. Part of the problem is with the length cap the descriptions are necessarily truncated, but even so I wish there were more descriptions of what was going on in the works instead of random background anecdotes or lists (i.e. the salt cellar one; space is precious, don't waste it on random criminal caper details!).

I want to go back and look through the questions before commenting more specifically (especially on the current events), but for clarification's sake were the random US politicians from the 1950s-1980s considered Current Events or History?
Last edited by cchiego on Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:30 am

If it's genuinely from the 1980s, it's history. (See above for Traficant discussion.)
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by endersdouble » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:14 am

Notes off the top of my head (no questions in my hands):
  • Feynmann diagram clues are (IMHO) rarely particularly useful. Moreover, if you don't buzz off the first sentence of such a clue, a whole paragraph is really not going to help. There are plenty of clues for beta decay, please use them.
  • Without text or expert knowledge, I'm not sure, but was the beta-decay tossup even unique to beta-minus? I got negged for beta, and I'm honestly unsure if that's correct.
  • College sports are the suck. Less sports trash, please.
  • "When You Were Young" is emphatically not power for the Killers. "Gary Anderson, perfect all season, missed a field goal" is emphatically not power for the NFC championship.
  • "Kakutani" and Nash equilibrium should probably not both be in the first sentence of a fixed-point tossup.
Could someone post the text of the random-walk tossup? Something seemed odd there but without text I'm not sure.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:17 am

round 8 wrote:This process' fluctuations are bounded by the law of iterated logarithms. Its Polya constants are less than 1 for dimension two or greater, but equal to 1 in one dimension, where its scaling limit is a Wiener process. Often a (*) Markov process, its one-dimensional distribution of endpoints after n moves is the nth row of Pascal's triangle. A simple model of Brownian motion is--for 10 points--which process of taking steps in a finite, integer number of stochastically determined directions?
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Ringil » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:22 am

I liked most of the history in the set, but I was sad at the lack of China in the DI set from what I heard from the DI team.

However, I felt there were some crazy things in the science. For example, in one round in DII, there was a tossup on the Rydberg equation and bonus later in that same round had a bonus part on the Rydberg Constant. There was also the already mentioned tossup on Lagrange, while later there was a bonus on the Lagrangian. In one DI packet, there was a question of square waves and it said that these can be written in terms of just even functions (it might have been odd functions here). This seems to be a terrible clue because you can write it in terms of odd functions (or even) if you just shift the phase of the square wave. I'll have more when I actually have the packets in front of me.

Also, like some of the above, I think there's too much sports (especially this) and pop culture.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:25 am

Ringil wrote:I liked most of the history in the set, but I was sad at the lack of China in the DI set from what I heard from the DI team.
The DI set had 2/1 Chinese history (as expected).
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Ringil » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:28 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Ringil wrote:I liked most of the history in the set, but I was sad at the lack of China in the DI set from what I heard from the DI team.
The DI set had 2/1 Chinese history (as expected).
Did you count Mao's Little Red book as part of that?
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:29 am

No.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:30 am

The baseball-lit bonus was awesome. The prompt on the easter island stone heads was confuzzling. The distillation bonus was a fail.

I felt like the difficulty on the D2 set was very hit or miss. Some tossups were going dead based on the answer choices being too hard. Some bonuses seemed too easy. I can't give much of an accurate read on the set itself when sometimes you only get through half of the questions, but was there any hockey or soccer in D2?

As for the ppb, I find the PPB goes up a lot when you field a full team of 4 competent players regardless of who is getting the tossups. No one at the Missouri site played with a full side, so their PPB is deflated. At UIC in D1, the 3 teams that fielded full sides of circuit players (Chicago A-C) all averaged above 15 PPB. You can't expect to break 12 if you are playing solo, or have random hanger-ons who belong in D2 with you.

I know cross-disciplinary can be annoying, but NAQT does a good job of writing cross-disciplinary questions, and it is works in a way that ACF should never touch with a 30 foot pole.

Now I'm pulling out my notes:
Isochoric in the first line of a tossup, choric = volume. Too easy.
Focus in the family tossup became too current, and thus too easy. The Superbowl is today you know.
Okechobee tossup = buzzer race. It became: Name a lake near Kissimmee.
Actors in bands tossup was fun.
I think all 8 people buzzed at the same time on the pope tossup after Angels and Demons. The new mexico tossup was the same, and who gives a fuck if some kid invented cave text messaging . It only came up on gizmodo, and NPR, unless my google search sucked. Gizmodo picked it up Monday, NPR picked it up on Thursday, and no mainstream television channel or internet news website picked it up.
Julianne Huff probably went dead in a lot of rooms.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Alejandro » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:38 am

nalin wrote: was there any hockey or soccer in D2?
There was a "Hand of God" question and a bonus part on Alex Ferguson.

There seemed to be an abundance of "name this congressman" questions in DII, which got annoying quickly. The TV Trash also seemed to be about low-importance shows (i.e. Flash Forward, Leverage).
On another note, one of the packets contained a second question on Harry Reid with the same clue from the LA Times, followed by a tossup on the LA Times. There were a few other repeats as well (i.e. bremsstrahlung).
Could I see the "stack" question? The C++ clue didn't seem correct.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Steve Watchorn » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:37 am

I am responsible for the questions concerning transistors Nathaniel and Jerry have discussed:
Old Man of the Mountain wrote:For Part A, I have two widely used textbooks in semiconductor physics that say the answer is electrons. My class notes for a Solid State Physics class also says this.



Which textbooks? I find this dubious, since my quantum books all view positrons as negative energy states, which is the conventional way of describing them (and is how Dirac described them).

Two issues for Part B:

1) "multiplied" is not a good term to use here. "Added to" works better. This may be nitpicking, but doping levels are calculated by integrating a dose, so additional doping doesn't multiply what is already there, but just adds to it.

2) There are a lot of other answers that should be accepted. Acceptor, boron, gallium just to name of a few would be correct. Additional, the process that introduces dopants is also called doping so answers such as spin-on and ion implantation are not incorrect, but I'd probably put in as being promptable. If "type" was replaced with "flavor" (a colloquial term that has made its way into some papers), then p-type is the only correct answer, but then there are only two possible answers of p-type and n-type.

Perhaps if "boron is commonly used" or "gallium can be used to achieve this" to the end of the part of the question, it would focus in the answer.

It was nice to see Auger electrons show up as Part C though.



That second part was really confusing because it's really unclear what exactly is being asked. Maybe it's just me but I never really thought of doping as coming in "types." Making that part be "acceptor," for example, would be a much better formulation.
First off, I REALLY apologize for the use of the word "semiconductor" instead of "bipolar junction" in the "p-n" junction. That was a big error I should have corrected. The use and definition of the word "device" is a bit more of a gray area for me; I would say the inclusion of other elements that make something operate tends to be assumed, when talking about the sina qua non of a system. Still, perhaps "construct" would be better in this case.

I took the positron answer from the Dirac's original textbook, with commentary (the commentary for the name "positron," of course). It sounds like Jerry is mentioning the same thing.

And I feel bad about the confusion over the p-type doping. I researched that one with my own Kittel text and a couple reliable online sources, but did not consider alternative ways of saying the same thing, even knowing that the electron acceptor is the recipient of such doping. Since I had always heard n-type and p-type, when I put in the word "type," that was what was in my head. I think your formulations are more precise.
Last edited by Steve Watchorn on Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:52 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Steve Watchorn » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:40 am

endersdouble wrote:Notes off the top of my head (no questions in my hands):
  • Without text or expert knowledge, I'm not sure, but was the beta-decay tossup even unique to beta-minus? I got negged for beta, and I'm honestly unsure if that's correct.
I did not write that question, but I did read it while doing a topic check to make sure I didn't write a repeat. The answer line clearly states that answers of "beta" and "beta decay" should be prompted, not discarded out of hand. Did your moderator do that?
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Windows ME » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:26 am

I'm probably going to be responded to here with some numbers that prove me wrong/I'm going on gut feel, and maybe this is my Canadian-ness shining through but:

What, exactly, is the point of having 2/2 U.S. Politics in every pack?

(Other than that, I enjoyed the tournament)
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by samer » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:53 am

fourplustwo wrote:I'm probably going to be responded to here with some numbers that prove me wrong/I'm going on gut feel, and maybe this is my Canadian-ness shining through but:

What, exactly, is the point of having 2/2 U.S. Politics in every pack?

(Other than that, I enjoyed the tournament)
I won't be the one providing the numbers. :)

In any case, though, people tend to overestimate the amount of questions in categories they either don't like or don't know well (or both). (I remember someone who definitely should have known better asking when "bio and chem merged into **** hard biochem.") It's a near universal phenomenon, and there's probably a psychological explanation for it (the same way you tend to remember the questions you get wrong or miss on a test more than the ones you get right).
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Chico the Rainmaker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:22 am

nalin wrote:The baseball-lit bonus was awesome... but was there any hockey or soccer in D2?
Really? I thought that bonus was awful. There was, just off the top of my head, a tossup on the San Jose Sharks, the aforementioned Alex Ferguson and Hand of God questions, and a tossup on New Zealand that mentioned they qualified for the World Cup by beating Bahrain. I'm not sure whether the New Zealand one included any more soccer clues since that's where I buzzed, though I would guess it didn't.

Edit: This was in D2.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:37 am

vandyhawk wrote:Hannah, any further thoughts on mitochondria and malaria? Though this isn't that great of an excuse, those were two of the very few bio questions originating from others, and I had way less time to write/edit than I would have liked this year (going back to like July...).
Sure, although be forewarned that I'm no Eric or Susan when it comes to bio.

I had an issue with the mitochondria leadin that said that vancomycin "inhibits these structures." The two things I know vancomycin for are 1. inhibiting cell wall construction and 2. halting the action of ATP synthase, which is a transmembrane protein of both mitochondria and chloroplasts. And considering that K-S syndrome and the mention of Tim and Tam proteins are both pretty early to early-middle clues, there was also quite a difficulty cliff right after power, which I am happy to blame on the character limit.

The malaria tossup spent over a line in power describing the life cycle of the parasite. I noticed this sort of issue with a lot of questions: A clue would be offered, and then described and described. It seems that question space would be better taken describing multiple clues that more people might know rather than beating one to death. It also described the two most famous species of Anopheles mosquito in power, which I thought was a little much.

But the vast majority of biology was really solid.

EDIT: Both speeeeelling and the addition that vancomycin and oligomycin, according to my notes from my biochem class last semester, are ATP synthase inhibitors.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by samer » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:42 am

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:
vandyhawk wrote:Hannah, any further thoughts on mitochondria and malaria? Though this isn't that great of an excuse, those were two of the very few bio questions originating from others, and I had way less time to write/edit than I would have liked this year (going back to like July...).
Sure, although be forewarned that I'm no Eric or Susan when it comes to bio.
I had an issue with the mitochondria leadin that said that vancomycin "inhibits these structures." The two things I know vancomycin for are 1. inhibiting cell wall construction and 2. halting the action of ATP synthase, which is a transmembrane protein of both mitochondria and chloroplasts. And considering that K-S syndrome and the mention of Tim and Tam proteins are both pretty early to early-middle clues, there was also quite a difficulty cliff right after power, which I am happy to blame on the character limit.
FWIW, the antibiotic mentioned was valinomycin, not vancomycin.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:44 am

samer wrote:FWIW, the antibiotic mentioned was valinomycin, not vancomycin.
Then I are wrong! I have no idea what valinomycin does (yet). Sorry, Matt!
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:52 pm

Hard Tack Come Again No More wrote:
nalin wrote:The baseball-lit bonus was awesome... but was there any hockey or soccer in D2?
Really? I thought that bonus was awful. There was, just off the top of my head, a tossup on the San Jose Sharks, the aforementioned Alex Ferguson and Hand of God questions, and a tossup on New Zealand that mentioned they qualified for the World Cup by beating Bahrain. I'm not sure whether the New Zealand one included any more soccer clues since that's where I buzzed, though I would guess it didn't.

Edit: This was in D2.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to any of those except New Zealand tossup (that was misc. sports), which I got off sailing.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:59 pm

That question on the moai was stupid and emblematic of the way a lot of these questions were written. The whole text of that tossup was an exercise in being coy by not explaining what the answer was supposed to be (the vague "these" was used), and then, oh look, I dropped a Polynesian-sounding word, are you buzzing yet? It was the same story with the El Dorado tossup in the same packet; I don't even understand why there's a tossup on El Dorado at all, but the gist of that question was "this is a thing Spaniards were looking for in the New World." Questions like that basically turn into games of chicken: is it going to be the obvious thing or something even stupider like the Seven Cities of Cibola (that was my unfortunate guess)?

Also, questions on symbols used in programming are not "science" they are not "technology," they are awful! I program routinely in several different languages, as I'm sure do most competent programmers. I don't remember esoteric syntax for every one of them and asking for things used in that syntax is stupid. There could have been a real CS question in place of that dumb tossup on the tilde, but instead we get this garbage. These questions need to be purged with a vengeance and never reappear.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by endersdouble » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:10 pm

Steve Watchorn wrote:
endersdouble wrote:Notes off the top of my head (no questions in my hands):
  • Without text or expert knowledge, I'm not sure, but was the beta-decay tossup even unique to beta-minus? I got negged for beta, and I'm honestly unsure if that's correct.
I did not write that question, but I did read it while doing a topic check to make sure I didn't write a repeat. The answer line clearly states that answers of "beta" and "beta decay" should be prompted, not discarded out of hand. Did your moderator do that?
Sorry, should have been clearer. I was prompted. The best I could come up with was "beta decay of a neutron." I was asking if the question actually uniquely identified beta-minus, a term I haven't encountered before (and if that should have been the answerline anyway: I'm sure I've been read multiple questions ending "FTP, name this process where a neutron decays..." and scored with "beta.")
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by endersdouble » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:12 pm

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote: The malaria tossup spent over a line in power describing the life cycle of the parasite. I noticed this sort of issue with a lot of questions: A clue would be offered, and then described and described. It seems that question space would be better taken describing multiple clues that more people might know rather than beating one to death. It also described the two most famous species of Anopheles mosquito in power, which I thought was a little much.
This. As I said upthread, I don't think four sentences on a Feynman diagram is going to help anyone who didn't get it on the first sentence; there were several other offenders, though I'm blanking on questions without text.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:17 pm

I know of beta minus decay; the other team negged with "neutron decay," which is what I was trying to do (and which honestly seems like a totally acceptable answer to me). Beta minus just refers to the fact that the emitted particle is an electron rather than a positron as in beta plus decay. Anyway, I was prompted on "beta decay," but took too long to understand what was being asked and only came up with beta minus as time was called on me.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:24 pm

grapesmoker wrote:There could have been a real CS question in place of that dumb tossup on the tilde, but instead we get this garbage. These questions need to be purged with a vengeance and never reappear.
I agree; that was one of the many questions that came to me the day before SCT; because of my schedule, I could only begin working on them an hour before I had to hand them off. It wasn't a quick-fix, so I had to leave it as is to work on more important material. Sorry about that. I'll leave it to someone who's more familiar with the details of the situation, like R, to talk about the effects of time pressure here. NAQT's clearly quite strained to produce this set without failing in its standing commitments; without a bunch of playable but perhaps not exciting tossups written in the final hours, the set just wouldn't have happened. Something about that needs to change.
grapesmoker wrote:I know of beta minus decay; the other team negged with "neutron decay," which is what I was trying to do (and which honestly seems like a totally acceptable answer to me). Beta minus just refers to the fact that the emitted particle is an electron rather than a positron as in beta plus decay. Anyway, I was prompted on "beta decay," but took too long to understand what was being asked and only came up with beta minus as time was called on me.
The meandering Feynman diagram clue didn't seem too productive to me, but similarly I didn't see a way to help it quickly enough. I certainly should have fixed the answer line so that it accepted things like "neutron decay" (since it begs you to answer with that after describing the Feynman diagram of a neutron undergoing SOME KIND OF DECAY PROCESS before describing quite what happens (what with the quarks taking a bit of a turn being described first)).
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by MicroEStudent » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:38 pm

A few more comments:

Thin-film solar cells can be amorphous, but there's plenty of research where polycrystalline materials are used. Also, there are many other materials that are not silicon that are used to make them such as CIGS and CdTe. (Packet 13, TU 5)

Packet 14, Bonus 10 is a well put together semiconductor question!

I'm disappointed that I didn't get to play on the Don Cherry question.

The two full lines of answer explanation probably show why "texting while driving" wasn't a good idea.

I'd also just like to add a comment on people asking for the reduction of sports trash.

Using the working assumption that trash is part of the NAQT distribution (an assumption that I'm sure many people wish weren't true), then sports are definitely a major part of a trash distribution. Most trash tournaments have sports make up 20% of the distribution which is the same percentage that music, movies and TV receive. If I had my way, I'd like to eliminate music trash, but I realize that it is an part of the trash distribution.

I will say that there were several answer choices that were too difficult for this type of tournament. 1930's college football players? Our opponents were completely lost on that bonus. Early 20th century boxing? Did any team get over 10 on that bonus? Gary Anderson came way too early in the NFC Championship TU because of all of the chatter about it leading up to this year's game. Is there a distribution of 1/0 for indoor sporting facilities? (Astrodome, last year Georgia Dome).
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:41 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:The meandering Feynman diagram clue didn't seem too productive to me, but similarly I didn't see a way to help it quickly enough. I certainly should have fixed the answer line so that it accepted things like "neutron decay" (since it begs you to answer with that after describing the Feynman diagram of a neutron undergoing SOME KIND OF DECAY PROCESS before describing quite what happens (what with the quarks taking a bit of a turn being described first)).
Well, the diagram itself isn't helpful because who can visualize it? It's just that you're telling me that there's a particle made up of an up and two down quarks involved, which I know to be a neutron, and then the second part is all products of a possible decay... so, neutron decay!

The number one issue I found in the science questions was that they were very vague about what was being asked for. Consider this tossup:
The name of this kind of mathematical entity is sometimes applied to the Levi-Civita symbol, because the sign of that symbol depends on whether its subscripts represent an odd or even one of these. They are collected in the (*) symmetric groups Sn [“S sub n”] and represent bijections from a set to itself; for a set with n elements there are n factorial of them. For 10 points—name these ways to put n items in order that are contrasted with unordered combinations.

ANSWER: permutation
The italics in the quote indicate where I buzzed, giving the answer as "tensor." Now, I know that the Levi-Civita symbol is sometimes used to denote permutations, but so what? You're saying, this is a kind of mathematical entity and the Levi-Civita symbol is sometimes called this, and my answer is exactly correct; the Levi-Civita symbol is in fact a tensor, so it's sometimes called a tensor! You can make this a lot less confusing by saying "This kind of mathematical operation is sometimes denoted by the Levi-Civita tensor," or something of the kind. In fact, you should actually avoid using weasel words like "sometimes" because they introduce a lot of ambiguity into the question and it becomes really unclear which "sometimes" you're talking about. Since I can't read your mind, writer of questions, I can't guess as to which application you are thinking of, and yet presumably you intend for me to make use of that clue or you wouldn't have put it there. So say what you mean unambiguously.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:02 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
The interminable shitwave of trash in this SCT really ruined my experience completely. Oh, you caught a bad bonus because it's on a show on a network you don't watch? Screw you, you get nothing! Endless bonuses demanding you identify some obscure-ass actors, ungettable things about some stupid shows, crap to no end. The best preparation for this tournament would have been to read IMDB or the TV Guide or something. A tossup on fucking Ray Kurzweil? A bonus that asked you to identify the company that owned LiveJournal, as if anyone could care about this? Stupid. Really, really stupid and pointless kinds of things being asked about that I don't understand why anyone would either know or care to know.
Most of the thread after Jerry's post seems to focus on individual science questions, which I have virtually no part in producing/editing. However, I did write a solid chunk of the (D1) trash, including most of the TV bonuses (which seem to be a special target of Jerry's ire here). If these really were the questions that completely ruined people's experience of the tournament, I'd love to see specific examples of bad ideas or failed questions, if only to stave off repetitions of the same at ICT.
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:27 pm

Alejandro wrote: Could I see the "stack" question? The C++ clue didn't seem correct.
DII round 12 wrote:A C++ version of this structure might have methods implemented as "*a++ = n" and "return *--a", and the Java virtual machine is said to be "based" on one. They are typically used to code depth-first searches, evaluate (*) postfix expressions, hold local variables, and pass arguments to subroutines. The methods "push" and "pop" are used to manipulate--for 10 points--what "last-in, first-out" data structure?
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:35 pm

grapesmoker wrote:A good chunk of the literature was ok as well, but there were many questions that just ended up being incredibly vague and had entirely unhelpful clues. Some bonuses were outrageously hard and lacked easy parts, and more than once, the most famous thing about some bonus answers wasn't even given as a clue. I'm thinking in particular of the Delmore Schwartz bonus part in the DI bonus on Humboldt's Gift, where you didn't even get a single poem from Schwartz as a clue, but there were others too.
Oh, here's something else I wanted to ask about. I wrote/edited a significant portion of the lit, so it would be helpful to see examples of questions that were flawed in the ways Jerry suggests (or other ways).

The general remark that "more than once, the most famous thing about some bonus answers wasn't even given as a clue" eludes me as critique, though. I would have thought it's standard practice in quizbowl not always to give "the most famous thing" about a bonus answer, assuming that the bonus answer in question isn't meant to be the "easy" part of a bonus. Here's the bonus Jerry cites as an example:

The title refers to a manuscript and a letter which are given to Charlie Citrine. For 10 points each, name--

A. This 1975 novel.

answer: _Humboldt's Gift_

B. The Nobel Prize-winning American author of ~Humboldt's Gift~.

answer: Saul _Bellow_

C. The American author of ~Summer Knowledge~, on whom Bellow based the character of Von Humboldt Fleisher.

answer: Delmore _Schwartz_

Clearly here, B is the "easy" part. C. offers two specific clues about Schwartz -- the fact that he was the basis for Humboldt; the title of the book for which he won the Bollingen Prize. I'm not sure why "failing to give the title of an individual poem by Schwartz" would be a particular weakness of this bonus (what specific poem by Schwartz is all that well known?), or in general why Jerry suggests that this is a fatally flawed bonus. (It's a somewhat perfunctory bonus, sure; but I don't think it's bad in any of the ways implied by Jerry's general critique of the lit in the set.)
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Re: Welcome to the 2010 SCT discussion.

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:41 pm

Well, like, there was a bonus that I got where the "easy" part was Caprica. I mean, I know that this is the prequel to BSG, and I figured that out from the clues, but I couldn't remember what it was called. I don't have cable, so I don't watch things like the Syfy (ugh) channel and the only way I know about Caprica is through some advertisements I briefly saw online. The other two parts were actors from the series, I think, so of course I had no shot at all at that. Can't you throw me a bone with a BSG part or something there? To me this is like a bonus ostensibly on Robert Louis Stevenson where the easy part is Catriona and the other two parts were on characters from that book. I don't think anyone would say a bonus of such difficulty would be ok for this tournament (or, I hope, any tournament, really) but it looks to me like the trash equivalent of that gets used all the time. There was a tossup on Leverage, too, which I only got because it's advertised incessantly on TNT during basketball games. Is this a show people actually watch or what? Among the things that really annoyed me during matches were: I got stiffed by a baseball bonus that, to me, had no easy parts, hit a bonus on collegiate football players from the 30s that I only got 10 on because of a stock clue in there about Byron White's playing career, had to field and zero a bonus on college basketball statistics (!!!).

In general, I pretty much feel like in academic questions, there's at least an attempt to give people an easy part of the "this guy wrote Moby Dick" variety. In trash questions, unless you're a follower of college basketball (and I'm not) how am I even supposed to get 10 on that bonus? Maybe that's the point, I don't know, but it runs pretty much contrary to what I think is a good way to structure bonuses, especially at this level. There were just lots of trash things that to me, didn't even have easy parts and I find that endlessly infuriating.

As long as I'm typing, I'm going to return to my earlier gripe about congressperson bowl. Look at bonuses 2 and 4 in packet 7:
Bonus 2:

For 10 points each—name these former naval aviators who later became politicians:
A. This pilot, captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, co-sponsored a campaign finance reform bill
with Russ Feingold.
answer: John (Sidney) McCain (III)
B. Like John McCain, this naval aviator was held as a POW by North Vietnam. He later became Ross Perot's vice
presidential running mate in 1992.
answer: (Vice Admiral) James (Bond) Stockdale
C. Unlike McCain and Stockdale, this aviator was never a POW. He was America's only naval ace of the Vietnam
War before becoming a California representative and pleading guilty to bribery charges.
answer: Randy “Duke” Cunningham

Bonus 4:

For 10 points each—name these Mormons in the U.S. Senate:
A. He became Senate majority leader in 2007.
answer: Harry (Mason) Reid
B. This senior Senator from Utah introduced the INDUCE Act in 2004 to fight copyright violations.
answer: Orrin (Grant) Hatch
C. This successor to Dirk Kempthorne became his state's senior senator upon the departure of Larry Craig.
answer: (Michael Dean) Mike Crapo [KRAY-poh]
Is there a reason that there are 2 bonuses almost in a row about US politicians in this packet? Did it not occur to anyone that it's probably not a very good idea? I suppose someone will tell me that one of these counts as history or something, but I fail to see the point of asking for Ross Perot's 1992 running mate! Why?! I'm one of the oldest people playing this tournament and I was 10 years old at the time; I was probably a more politically aware 10-year-old than most, but are you kidding me, asking me to remember this? Who even cares? Randy Cunningham is actually a rep from San Diego so I kind of vaguely know the back-story of his situation, but all I got was "this aviator guy from California who was convicted," which is not terribly helpful. The very least that question could do was tell me that this guy was a San Diego congressman, which would have been useful, and that's assuming that historical minutia like congresspeople convicted of corruption is something memorable and interesting and worth asking about (which premise I emphatically deny).
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
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