TIT Discussion

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TIT Discussion

Post by Batsteve » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:51 am

There are no delayed mirrors of the set, so I'm going to open it up for discussion. I'll send it to the packet archives in a day or two, after I've fixed a few of the sillier formatting errors. A few of the questions had powermarks but no bolding, and at least one question had no powermark (oops!). Additionally, a few history questions bizarrely had short random chunks cut out during the packet randomization.

First, the editors. I handled overall coordinating and edited Literature, Science and Social Sciences. Chris Ray edited History and Fine Arts, Logan Anbinder edited Religion and Philosophy, and Paul Marchsteiner stepped in to edit Mythology--you guys all rock. I'd also like to thank the rest of MAQT for pitching in questions of various categories as I needed, and providing feedback during playtesting.

Second, a major improvement over last year's TIT was that no one waited until less than 24 hours before the tournament to send me packets. This made a tremendous difference in planning out the last few rounds, and meant we were able to allocated labor much more efficiently.

On to a substantive point. I think that we did a much better job of controlling length than last year's TIT, but we still overran the planned 6-8 line tossups slightly; I think we hit 7-9 line tossups, which is pretty close. That said, I think cutting the tossups any shorter would have started causing severe pyramidality problems, so I'm happy with the way the length turned out.

Discuss away.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:27 am

So this tournament did a good job of testing knowledge, as evinced by how few science tossups I powered. My only major complaint was that several tossups were quite confusing as to what they referred to. There were tossups on novels beginning "This story," where there's no conceivable reason not to just say "This novel." If I'm not mistaken, the Paris Commune tossup referred to it as an "event," which is kind of confusing. Lastly, polity tossups are always hard to do without being transparent, but I don't think there's a good reason to use "this state" when the answer isn't a subnational division. I think there were a couple of those.

All in all, though, I very much enjoyed it. History tossups were packed with interesting anecdotes, and bonuses were difficult without being unmanageable.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:23 am

I have to run, but just one quick thing off of the top of my head. The Pirandello bonus in Round 2(?) has a third part asking for what play is being rehearsed when the Characters appear. I forget what the answer line was, but in the version of the play I read, the play being rehearsed was called "The Rules of the Game." Maybe the answer given in the packet was just another translation, but it was not "The Rules of the Game," which I am certain is an acceptable answer.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Red-necked Phalarope » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:01 pm

Inkana7 wrote:I have to run, but just one quick thing off of the top of my head. The Pirandello bonus in Round 2(?) has a third part asking for what play is being rehearsed when the Characters appear. I forget what the answer line was, but in the version of the play I read, the play being rehearsed was called "The Rules of the Game." Maybe the answer given in the packet was just another translation, but it was not "The Rules of the Game," which I am certain is an acceptable answer.
Looks like this is indeed something that varies between translations (though "Mixing It Up" does appear to be more common); apologies in any case for not catching that on the original submission.

(Obligatory egregious pun: thanks for mixing it up on us, Pirandello/Pirandello translators!)

Oh, and my own feedback: I definitely enjoyed this tournament; good difficulty level, and I really enjoyed seeing a few select answers (George Herbert, EarthBound, etc.) come up. I think the question length was spot-on. The sum total of 0 linguistics questions asked was a bit disappointing, though something I'm used to.

And yeah, whatever packet randomizer you used that important words out the questions, I'd be very wary of using again. I know it may not be considered 'constructive criticism' or whatever, but when the errors and typos are so bad as to require the moderator to stop mid-question multiple times per packet, I think it's just as deleterious to the tournament as more clue-based issues.

On the whole, though, a good job from a fairly young editing team. Thanks!
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:11 pm

Good tournament. Here's two questions that I thought were problematic and that I think can be constructive:

-the Foucault tossup dropped the title "Archaeology of Knowledge" very early and then oddly went on to describe the book as well as some other theories of Foucault. While I guess Archaeology of Knowledge is a second tier Foucault title, it's still a very notable title and there's definitely no reason why at least the description of that and other notable books shouldn't come first, in my opinion. This happened several times in tossups on authors.

-the inexplicable tossup on the movie "The Delta Force" seemed insane. As far as I can tell, it did not inform you it was a movie until about halfway through, which I assume prompted various negs with real life historical events that the movie was inspired by. There's absolutely no reason to be that coy.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:36 pm

As SteveJon mentioned, I edited the history and fine arts for this tournament, and am interested as always in feedback. In particular, I'd love to hear what people thought of the arts, especially the music, as that's really something I have zero background in but made a reasonably concerted effort to write competently this year.

My own thoughts on the rest of the set: There were some clunkers (Mike mentioned Foucault, I thought there was some stuff that was too hard to be tossed up, some literature questions that had some pretty gettable stuff early on), but overall I thought it was a pretty good effort for a first-time editing team. I have absolute confidence that SteveJong, Logan, Paul, and co. will be more than capable of putting together future sets on their own, whether or not I'm around to pitch in.

On that note, I also wanted to recognize Isaac Hirsch and Ozzie Fallick for their work on the set - they helped me out with arts and history (and I believe wrote stuff for other people as well). A number of the questions they wrote ended up needing very minimal editing, which was an absolute godsend in the always-hectic final push. It's really rare to get freshmen who can even contribute one solid question to a mid-year college tournament, and we had two this year; it was most appreciated.
-the inexplicable tossup on the movie "The Delta Force" seemed insane. As far as I can tell, it did not inform you it was a movie until about halfway through, which I assume prompted various negs with real life historical events that the movie was inspired by. There's absolutely no reason to be that coy.
Yeah, this was really not such a great idea. This inexplicably resulted from me forgetting that Operation Eagle Claw was the actual name of that thing, and although it's certainly true that the Iran Hostage Crisis did not take place five years after Operation Eagle Claw, it caused all kinds of problems. I would certainly have edited that question substantially had I not been too sleep-deprived to notice.

There were tossups on novels beginning "This story," where there's no conceivable reason not to just say "This novel." If I'm not mistaken, the Paris Commune tossup referred to it as an "event," which is kind of confusing. Lastly, polity tossups are always hard to do without being transparent, but I don't think there's a good reason to use "this state" when the answer isn't a subnational division. I think there were a couple of those.
I agree with the "story" comment, because that word implies short story. I'm not sure where I stand on the Paris Commune thing; I mean, it was an event, was it not? I mean, you can describe it as a government of course, saying things like "this government included so and so random French lunatic X," but I think you can also describe it as "this period of time/thing that happened where French lunatics took over Paris, during which random insane thing Y happened." In principle I absolutely subscribe to the theory that one should choose the most direct way to present information as possible, so if people feel quite strongly about this, I'd like to know.

I don't think I agree with the "this state" point. A "state" is a perfectly acceptable term to use to describe any sort of organized political entity, really quite synonymous with polity. Unless there's like a really good reason not to use it (and I can't really think of one), I don't see the difference in using "polity." Is this going to make people neg with "Tennessee" for the Belgian Congo? If there's some reason this misleads people, then it's worth discussing, but we use "state" all the time to describe national-level entities (and even more commonly to describe a generic national-level entity). Think of the term "non-state actor," Man, the State, and War, or even the famous definition of the state put forth by Weber.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:13 pm

DumbJaques wrote:I agree with the "story" comment, because that word implies short story. I'm not sure where I stand on the Paris Commune thing; I mean, it was an event, was it not? I mean, you can describe it as a government of course, saying things like "this government included so and so random French lunatic X," but I think you can also describe it as "this period of time/thing that happened where French lunatics took over Paris, during which random insane thing Y happened." In principle I absolutely subscribe to the theory that one should choose the most direct way to present information as possible, so if people feel quite strongly about this, I'd like to know.

I don't think I agree with the "this state" point. A "state" is a perfectly acceptable term to use to describe any sort of organized political entity, really quite synonymous with polity. Unless there's like a really good reason not to use it (and I can't really think of one), I don't see the difference in using "polity." Is this going to make people neg with "Tennessee" for the Belgian Congo? If there's some reason this misleads people, then it's worth discussing, but we use "state" all the time to describe national-level entities (and even more commonly to describe a generic national-level entity). Think of the term "non-state actor," Man, the State, and War, or even the famous definition of the state put forth by Weber.
Sure, the Paris Commune was a period of time, and the uprising that led to it was an event, but it sounds odd to me to say something like "The Paris Commune occurred in 1871" (although "the Paris Commune occurred" gets 135 Google hits). It seems like referring to the Directory as an event. Maybe I was the only one confused by this, though.

Of course "state" is a perfectly good term to refer to national-level entities, but it also happens to be a term used for subnational entities, so why not avoid the ambiguity, when possible? Actually, I agree with you in principle - after all, "polity" has the same ambiguity, in that it could be any sort of political entity - but I guess I was confused because Quizbowl usually uses "polity," so I figured the question was using "state" for a reason. Again, I could have been the only one confused by this. Still, there were other examples of unclear reference, like the aforementioned Delta Force question.

On an unrelated note, I'm glad that The Rules of the Game turns out to be correct, because I was very puzzled when not only was that answer not accepted, but the given answer was something completely different. Ah, the vagaries of translation.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:23 pm

I remember having an internal struggle when I was writing a Paris Commune tossup for one of my tournaments; I think I eventually went with "this period", which allowed me to use the construction "events during this period included". I tend to use "period" or "era" when writing about different French governments (e.g., First Republic, Second Empire, Paris Commune, etc.)

Anyway, I think this tournament was literally unremarkable. There were no major systemic problems, nor were there any breathtaking innovations or sterling examples of the perfect tossup. Thus, I predict only bad things for this discussion thread: with no bigger picture criticism or praise to give out, we will inevitably just nitpick about pronouns and individual clues.

Such is the decadent state of modern quizbowl.
Last edited by Skepticism and Animal Feed on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:24 pm

It’s always hard to tell when your team composition changes radically from one iteration to another (e.g. when I play a tournament without someone who knows science on my team, all of the sudden 1/5th of the questions seem a lot harder), but this tournament seemed a bit harder than the last incarnation. There were a few things that seemed out of place at a “regular difficulty” tournament, especially among the bonus parts (Endo is suddenly an easy part at a tournament? Why ask for the Treaty of Altranstädt and not Augustus the Strong?). This didn’t detract from my experience per se, but made the tournament less fun for some of the new members of our team who were playing it.

In regards to the visual arts, they seemed fine, although in general seemed to me at least to be pretty tough for at least the first half of the question. There were lots of tossups on people I’ve written quizbowl and visual questions on before (Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Parmagianino, etc.) and I had trouble getting these until near the end, but maybe that’s just my awful memory.

On a side note, the CS tossup on “Congestion” seemed like a pretty ambitious thing to ask about at a tournament like this.

Overall, though, it seemed like a pretty good set for a new editing team.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:40 pm

I think there were a few tossups that were outright too hard for the tournament, such as Expedition of a Thousand (which probably resulted in quite a few Risorgimento negs), Robertson Davies, and supersymmetry. The rest of the set was quite accessible and featured a lot of exciting answerlines that I'm happy made it in, like 8.5 and Duchamp's readymades.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:54 pm

As a music player I can say that the music was overall around the difficulty it should have been, although there might have been a few middle parts that were quite hard, such as the Liszt bonus (I think).

The Susano'o tossup had a lead-in that wasn't uniquely identifying, as it started off describing how Uke-Mochi (the food kami) was killed by him. I've also read that Tsukuyomi did the same thing. Although it didn't stop Rob Carson from beating me out on it, though.

Also To Kill a Mockingbird really shouldn't have been tossed up.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:04 pm

Yeah, as far as Eric and I can tell, the goddess Ogutsuchi is the same as Uke Mochi, and there are myths about how both Tsukuyomi and Susano'o killed her; therefore it would be a shame if anyone was negged for saying a correct answer if they rang in with Tsukuyomi.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:06 pm

Can you elaborate on why To Kill a Mockingbird shouldn't have been tossed up? I think it's a difficult thing to write on because its sheer ubiquity means it's difficult to mine good lead-in clues, but I'm not sure what you mean.

Again, this is turning into poodle dee, poodle doo "WHY DID YOU WRITE ON THIS?", so I apologize, but why is Garibaldi's Expedition of a Thousand too hard? I would assume no one would object to Garibaldi (an ACF Fall answerline) being tossed up, so why is there objection to one of the most notable things Garibaldi did?
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:10 pm

Cheynem wrote:why is Garibaldi's Expedition of a Thousand too hard? I would assume no one would object to Garibaldi (an ACF Fall answerline) being tossed up, so why is there objection to one of the most notable things Garibaldi did?
I think it would result in lower than average conversion across rooms. It's a fine answerline, just one that I think might be replaced with the easier and more accessible answerlines "Risorgimento" or "Italian Unification," which I would not be surprised if they were things that people negged the Expedition tossup with.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:36 pm

I put an "Expedition of the Thousand" tossup into Spring Offensive, and teams seemed to have some trouble converting it. Even State College didn't get it.

There is a difference between knowing the deeds of Garibaldi, and knowing the name that historians have assigned to the deeds of Garibaldi. Hence the disconnect between conversion rates on Garibaldi and the expedition.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:46 pm

Morraine Man wrote:I put an "Expedition of the Thousand" tossup into Spring Offensive, and teams seemed to have some trouble converting it. Even State College didn't get it.
That, uh, wasn't a problem this time around.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:11 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: On a side note, the CS tossup on “Congestion” seemed like a pretty ambitious thing to ask about at a tournament like this.
I admit that when I write 5 science tossups for a packet I tend to write four of them on canonical things and one that is in the shadow cannon so to speak. However, I think tossups on stuff like "congestion", which is something people actually learn about in CS classes, is better than yet another tossup on let's say quantum computing related matters, a subject which people rarely study. Not that this tournament had that particular problem, but there were some issues with the CS questions that I'll comment on later.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:14 pm

Cernel Joson wrote:
Morraine Man wrote:I put an "Expedition of the Thousand" tossup into Spring Offensive, and teams seemed to have some trouble converting it. Even State College didn't get it.
That, uh, wasn't a problem this time around.
Then its inclusion in this tournament and State College getting it is just an effect of undesirable difficulty propagation. If Bruce realized that a tossup on Expedition of a Thousand was too hard for his tournament, whose history was aimed to be harder than the history in this tournament, then it was too hard for this tournament, even if State College got it this time. It didn't magically whittle down in difficulty between the two events.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:49 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:
Cernel Joson wrote:
Morraine Man wrote:I put an "Expedition of the Thousand" tossup into Spring Offensive, and teams seemed to have some trouble converting it. Even State College didn't get it.
That, uh, wasn't a problem this time around.
Then its inclusion in this tournament and State College getting it is just an effect of undesirable difficulty propagation. If Bruce realized that a tossup on Expedition of a Thousand was too hard for his tournament, whose history was aimed to be harder than the history in this tournament, then it was too hard for this tournament, even if State College got it this time. It didn't magically whittle down in difficulty between the two events.
Yes; I, too, know basic facts about how quizbowl works. It struck me as ironic that Bruce chose that particular team as an example, and nothing more.

EDIT: As for the rest of the tournament, I agree that it was a pretty good effort for first-time editors, often working outside of their strongest categories. Lit could have used some more oversight, since notable titles and clues were getting dropped pretty early (e.g. Nabokov, Rilke). It was still fine to play, though.

One thing I thought this set usually did well was restrain difficulty of third parts. There were a few that were too hard (that Soyinka poetry collection), but I rarely thought "Yeah, there's no way I'd ever get that one."
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:05 pm

Endo is suddenly an easy part at a tournament? Why ask for the Treaty of Altranstädt and not Augustus the Strong?
Endo was not the easy part, it was Akutagawa. The middle part of that bonus should probably have been on Endo and not Silence, and even then it would have been something of a harder bonus, but I thought the easy part was fine.

As for Altranstadt, it seems like a curious thing to pick out. It's come up with reasonable frequency in clues about the Great Northern War and is something that actually has relevance (if Augustus the Strong can be said to have relevance, which I of course submit he can). That bonus had a middle part that was eminently gettable (Cossacks), so I thought Augustus the Strong (who's been tossed up before a number of times, for good or ill) would be a bit too easy as a hard part for that bonus. Whether or I was right or wrong, who knows, but I don't at all think it's any sort of outlier. There were a number of other third parts I put in that were harder than that, by virtue of being relatively obscure in quizbowl vs. real academic study.
Stuff about the Expedition of the Thousand
I completely don't understand the objections over this, though I was admittedly surprised that State College only vaguely knew it. That's an extraordinarily famous thing Garibaldi did, and certainly in the category of "if you don't know this, you don't really know that much about the answer." I don't agree that there's a "knowing a thing" vs. "knowing the name of a thing" issue going on here - it's something that absolutely has a name, although buzzing in and saying "Garibaldi's conquest of the Two Sicilies" or something was certainly acceptable.

I mean, surely everyone must agree that "Garibaldi's Redshirts" is something people have familiarity with. This is the thing the Redshirts did! If you can buzz and say "Garibaldi" on that clue about him serving in the Uruguayan Navy but can't name what's pretty much the most famous thing he did, I have little sympathy for you. Similarly, I can't see how someone would buzz in and say "Italian unification" on anything but rote association knowledge of "Cavour" or something like that, but I'm open to the possibility that it was an error not to consider that.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:24 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Endo is suddenly an easy part at a tournament? Why ask for the Treaty of Altranstädt and not Augustus the Strong?
Endo was not the easy part, it was Akutagawa. The middle part of that bonus should probably have been on Endo and not Silence, and even then it would have been something of a harder bonus, but I thought the easy part was fine.

As for Altranstadt, it seems like a curious thing to pick out. It's come up with reasonable frequency in clues about the Great Northern War and is something that actually has relevance (if Augustus the Strong can be said to have relevance, which I of course submit he can). That bonus had a middle part that was eminently gettable (Cossacks), so I thought Augustus the Strong (who's been tossed up before a number of times, for good or ill) would be a bit too easy as a hard part for that bonus. Whether or I was right or wrong, who knows, but I don't at all think it's any sort of outlier. There were a number of other third parts I put in that were harder than that, by virtue of being relatively obscure in quizbowl vs. real academic study.
Whoops, my bad about Endo. Anyway, I still contend Altranstadt is too hard for this tournament, but I guess it's just another case of "well the top 5% of player have memorized this thing that's come up a few times, so tough shit".
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:26 pm

I'm OK with tossups on the expedition of a thousand if "Garibaldi's invasion of the two Sicilies" is acceptable as an answer. It wasn't clear that this was the case when all of the earlier posts were made.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:09 pm

I thought the tournament was generally ok, but there were a few problems I noticed in science. I felt like numerous times, a question contained a clue the author misunderstood or didn't fully understand. The best example I've seen of this was caught by Libo in the Equation of State tossup.
One example of these is a power series developed by Clausius and sets the average kinetic energy equal to half the average potential energy.
This appears to be describing the Virial theorem, which is not an equation of state. There is a Clausius equation of state and a virial equation of state (which is a power series), which are both fine clues, but they are very much not the same as the virial theorem.

Another example of this problem is from the polarization tossup, and its clue about the Kerr effect in Kerr Cells.
a Kerr Cell uses the Kerr effect to change this property
The Kerr effect is a change in the index of refraction of a material under an applied electric field, so I was very surprised that the question was not about index of refraction. Looking through the Wikipedia article, I see the following lines:
The Kerr electro-optic effect, or DC Kerr effect, is the special case in which a slowly varying external electric field is applied by, for instance, a voltage on electrodes across the sample material. Under this influence, the sample becomes birefringent, with different indices of refraction for light polarized parallel to or perpendicular to the applied field.
Some polar liquids, such as nitrotoluene (C7H7NO2) and nitrobenzene (C6H5NO2) exhibit very large Kerr constants. A glass cell filled with one of these liquids is called a Kerr cell.
Maybe there are some Kerr cells that are used to produce polarization, but I'm skeptical based on this information. The "polar" in the second quote is unrelated to light polarity, and the index of refraction appears to change based on the polarity in the DC Kerr effect (quote 1) rather than the other way around. Maybe it works in both directions? If so, could whoever wrote the question link me to an article describing it, since it sounds interesting? Either way, I would expect to see a lot of negs on this question, since that clue seems very misleading.

Make sure you understand the clues you are using, and don't just find something with a name and whatever the term is in its description. I don't know how the questions were written, but it felt like these and a few others would have benefited from a bit more time spent looking at the background of the clues.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:21 pm

I thought TIT this year was quite good. Contra Bruce, I'll even say that I thought there were several creative and interesting tossups. I actually enjoyed the bonus parts on Aldranstadt and tossups on things like "Expedition of 1000" and "Mansa Musa's Hajj", which I thought were creative ways about asking common regular-difficulty knowledge without writing the umpteeth tossup on Garibaldi or Mansa Musa. I personally might have made the last part of that bonus Augustus the Strong, or something about the War of the Polish Succession, or whatever, but I don't think that was particularly egregious.

In particular, I want to praise the non-CS science in this set, which I thought was pretty well-written. I enjoyed the tossups on the stomach, GABA, the Equipartition theorem, and several others. The CS was kind of lackluster (the aforementioned really strange tossup on congestion, some others that I can't remember).

There were, however, some egregious 3rd parts at this tournament. Besides the aforementioned Soyinka collection, there were also parts on Bisphenol A, a really weirdly defined part on electromagnetism, Master Olaf, etc, etc. I guess I learned something anyway. The only other systemic issue was some early title drops (Archeology of Knowledge, Dialectics of Secularization...), but that's been beaten to death

EDIT: Yeah Michael has good points.

EDIT 2: Also, as we all know from VCU open sunday, Morpholinos don't actually trigger RNAi.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:22 pm

What was wrong with the part on Bisphenol-A?
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:23 pm

every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:What was wrong with the part on Bisphenol-A?
I thought it was hard. Am I wrong?
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Auroni » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:24 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
every time i refresh i have a new name wrote:What was wrong with the part on Bisphenol-A?
I thought it was hard. Am I wrong?
It came up in coursework and didn't seem to be a random thing. Isn't it important to understanding estrogen structure/breast cancer? I guess it might have been a stretch for a third part like Altranstadt.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Pilgrim » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:10 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: On a side note, the CS tossup on “Congestion” seemed like a pretty ambitious thing to ask about at a tournament like this.
I admit that when I write 5 science tossups for a packet I tend to write four of them on canonical things and one that is in the shadow cannon so to speak. However, I think tossups on stuff like "congestion", which is something people actually learn about in CS classes, is better than yet another tossup on let's say quantum computing related matters, a subject which people rarely study. Not that this tournament had that particular problem, but there were some issues with the CS questions that I'll comment on later.
None of the clues in that congestion tossup, nor the concept of congestion itself, have ever come up in any of my classes. That's not to say that there aren't classes that cover it (I'm sure there are), but it's certainly not part of a standard cs course sequence (maybe its more standard for computer engineers?). Conversely, quantum computing has come up a couple of times in my classes, albeit briefly. I do agree that it's something that probably shouldn't come up in quizbowl much, and quantum bogosort is a particularly egregious example, considering its not even a real algorithm.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Ringil » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:58 pm

Reading for this tournament, I thought it was pretty average, and the bonuses were fine. I don't think it was as good as last year's set. I definitely felt the science was often confusingly worded. However, a few things struck out noticeably.

As mentioned, that mess up with the Virial Theorem vs. Equation of State was unfortunate.

The tossup on Peterloo had Henry Hunt as the first two words. This seems like a terrible idea as Henry Hunt is one of the most notable figure in that event.

The tossup on ATP synthase had power mark right before F0, as it probably should be, but F0 was already dropped earlier in the question in power.

The tossup on integrable has this clue:
The (*) three body system lacks this property, causing its solutions to be chaotic.
The Three-body problem is notably not solvable, and the idea of it being unable to be integrated is not really talked about as opposed to the impossibility of solving the problem analytically.

The tossup on Antoninus Pius had a clue about how he warned off Vologases from attacking Armenia. Vologases I invaded Armenia in the reign of Nero, and I probably would have been very confused if the question got to this point. I feel like the number of the Vologases Antoninus Pius warded off should have been included.

On the tossup for Robert the Bruce, Auld Alliance came pretty early.

The bonus of chemical potential/diffusion/conjugate variables had some very confusing wording for the part on conjugate variables.

The tossups on Haiti and Pazzi Conspiracy seemed fairly hard (though I don't know much about early Haiti)

I thought the tossups on Mansa Musa's Hajj and the Expedition of One Thousand were pretty cool.

I liked the tossups on Charlemagne, Nabokov, Edward III, and the bonus on Gnosticism which rewarded stuff I've read recently :)
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Susan » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:07 pm

Bisphenol A has been in the news--and the scientific literature--for some time. I have a larger interest in lady-parts biology than most people, so my views may be nonstandard, but it strikes me as a timely and not unreasonable thing to ask about.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:40 am

"well the top 5% of player have memorized this thing that's come up a few times, so tough shit".
I'm really bothered by your implication that I somehow endorse this sentiment, since I've been a vocal opponent of it at every turn (including the very post you responded to, where I noted that a number of my harder third parts were so by virtue of having more real world vs. quizbowl importance). I do not particularly care how many people have memorized this thing or any other, but I do care that it's a precise thing that reflects a suitably deep level of knowledge about the Great Northern War. Perhaps it was a bit hard as a third part at this level (though I still think not nearly so much as some people seem to think), but I have no idea how you get from there to "this clue is so easy for Ryan Westbrook, so tough shit, mere mortals!" I quite seriously wrote a manifesto against this very kind of mentality in the form of the 2010 NSC, so I'd like to know where you're seeing me defend it.
The tossup on Peterloo had Henry Hunt as the first two words. This seems like a terrible idea as Henry Hunt is one of the most notable figure in that event.
I mean, I grant you that this isn't the most obscure thing in the world about Peterloo, but if you happen to be on a first-name basis with early 19th century British radicalist orators, well, I'm cool with you powering this tossup. The next clues were about the allegations that the people who did it were drunk, stuff alluding to and then mentioning the Cato Street Conspiracy, the Spa Fields riots, Six Acts, etc etc. I'd be willing to bet that more people would buzz in on this stuff than Henry Hunt, and I also suspect that hordes of people did not light this question up on the mentioned of Ol' Hank. I'm reasonably satisfied with that result for a regular season tournament, though in a perfect world I might have found one more leadin clue.
The tossup on Antoninus Pius had a clue about how he warned off Vologases from attacking Armenia. Vologases I invaded Armenia in the reign of Nero, and I probably would have been very confused if the question got to this point. I feel like the number of the Vologases Antoninus Pius warded off should have been included.
On the one hand, this is not in the least incorrect and I surely would have felt bad had this confused you or anyone else. On the other hand, I nonetheless feel compelled to use this quote as the epitaph on the gravestone of productive tournament discussion.
On the tossup for Robert the Bruce, Auld Alliance came pretty early.
Did it?
The tossups on Haiti and Pazzi Conspiracy seemed fairly hard (though I don't know much about early Haiti)
There were certainly some fresh clues in that Haiti question, but there was plenty of basic stuff about Haiti. Pazzi was something I thought would be among the harder tossups of the tournament, but was something that has in fact come up a bunch of times in quizbowl and, much more importantly, is a really well-known and memorable anecdote from history (and something you're likely enough to have come across in any study of the renaissance, be it for art history, philosophy, etc.). So while I'm entirely willing to accept that it was one of the toughest answer lines, it's exactly the kind of thing I want among my toughest answer lines. Perhaps, though, I misjudged how gettable it actually was.
I'm OK with tossups on the expedition of a thousand if "Garibaldi's invasion of the two Sicilies" is acceptable as an answer. It wasn't clear that this was the case when all of the earlier posts were made.
Yeah, any equivalents were acceptable.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:53 am

DumbJaques wrote:
The tossup on Peterloo had Henry Hunt as the first two words. This seems like a terrible idea as Henry Hunt is one of the most notable figure in that event.
I mean, I grant you that this isn't the most obscure thing in the world about Peterloo, but if you happen to be on a first-name basis with early 19th century British radicalist orators, well, I'm cool with you powering this tossup. The next clues were about the allegations that the people who did it were drunk, stuff alluding to and then mentioning the Cato Street Conspiracy, the Spa Fields riots, Six Acts, etc etc. I'd be willing to bet that more people would buzz in on this stuff than Henry Hunt, and I also suspect that hordes of people did not light this question up on the mentioned of Ol' Hank. I'm reasonably satisfied with that result for a regular season tournament, though in a perfect world I might have found one more leadin clue.
I have no problem with Hunt being worth power, but I do think he's famous enough that he shouldn't be the first two words of a Peterloo tossup. (Not only is he better-known than, say, a description of the Spa Fields riots, but you will also want to avoid confusing players re: "Henry Hunt organized a preliminary bombardment before this battle...")
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Ringil » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:57 am

DumbJaques wrote:
The tossup on Peterloo had Henry Hunt as the first two words. This seems like a terrible idea as Henry Hunt is one of the most notable figure in that event.
I mean, I grant you that this isn't the most obscure thing in the world about Peterloo, but if you happen to be on a first-name basis with early 19th century British radicalist orators, well, I'm cool with you powering this tossup. The next clues were about the allegations that the people who did it were drunk, stuff alluding to and then mentioning the Cato Street Conspiracy, the Spa Fields riots, Six Acts, etc etc. I'd be willing to bet that more people would buzz in on this stuff than Henry Hunt, and I also suspect that hordes of people did not light this question up on the mentioned of Ol' Hank. I'm reasonably satisfied with that result for a regular season tournament, though in a perfect world I might have found one more leadin clue.
It was powered in my room by someone from OSU who was just as surprised as me that Henry Hunt was the first clue. I mostly agree with Jeff's interpretation in that Hunt is fine in power, but unfortunate as the first clue.
DumbJaques wrote:
On the tossup for Robert the Bruce, Auld Alliance came pretty early.
Did it?
Honestly, i felt it did, as the Auld Alliance is a pretty well known Scottish thing. But you're probably mocking me for my nitpicky-ness and maybe for knowing too much.
DumbJaques wrote:
The tossups on Haiti and Pazzi Conspiracy seemed fairly hard (though I don't know much about early Haiti)
There were certainly some fresh clues in that Haiti question, but there was plenty of basic stuff about Haiti. Pazzi was something I thought would be among the harder tossups of the tournament, but was something that has in fact come up a bunch of times in quizbowl and, much more importantly, is a really well-known and memorable anecdote from history (and something you're likely enough to have come across in any study of the renaissance, be it for art history, philosophy, etc.). So while I'm entirely willing to accept that it was one of the toughest answer lines, it's exactly the kind of thing I want among my toughest answer lines. Perhaps, though, I misjudged how gettable it actually was.
I thought the Pazzi Conspiracy was pretty awesome, but I do question its difficulty.
Last edited by Ringil on Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Batsteve » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:59 am

Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat wrote:I thought the tournament was generally ok, but there were a few problems I noticed in science. I felt like numerous times, a question contained a clue the author misunderstood or didn't fully understand. The best example I've seen of this was caught by Libo in the Equation of State tossup.
One example of these is a power series developed by Clausius and sets the average kinetic energy equal to half the average potential energy.
This appears to be describing the Virial theorem, which is not an equation of state. There is a Clausius equation of state and a virial equation of state (which is a power series), which are both fine clues, but they are very much not the same as the virial theorem.
This is entirely my fault. I was looking for a clue to describe the Virial Expansion, and managed to put in a clue describing the Virial Equation, which is not the same thing.
Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat wrote:Another example of this problem is from the polarization tossup, and its clue about the Kerr effect in Kerr Cells.
a Kerr Cell uses the Kerr effect to change this property
The Kerr effect is a change in the index of refraction of a material under an applied electric field, so I was very surprised that the question was not about index of refraction. Looking through the Wikipedia article, I see the following lines:
The Kerr electro-optic effect, or DC Kerr effect, is the special case in which a slowly varying external electric field is applied by, for instance, a voltage on electrodes across the sample material. Under this influence, the sample becomes birefringent, with different indices of refraction for light polarized parallel to or perpendicular to the applied field.
Some polar liquids, such as nitrotoluene (C7H7NO2) and nitrobenzene (C6H5NO2) exhibit very large Kerr constants. A glass cell filled with one of these liquids is called a Kerr cell.
Maybe there are some Kerr cells that are used to produce polarization, but I'm skeptical based on this information. The "polar" in the second quote is unrelated to light polarity, and the index of refraction appears to change based on the polarity in the DC Kerr effect (quote 1) rather than the other way around. Maybe it works in both directions? If so, could whoever wrote the question link me to an article describing it, since it sounds interesting? Either way, I would expect to see a lot of negs on this question, since that clue seems very misleading.
I don't recall the exact source I used for that clue, but http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_ ... rType=inst describes the usage of a Kerr cell to measure voltage by examining a phase shift. My understanding is that a Kerr Cell is a specific application of the Kerr effect (where applied electric field causes a change in index of refraction, usually causing birefringence) to cause a change in polarization of a laser. That is to say, a Kerr cell is used to rotate a circularly polarized a beam of light, and the mechanism is the Kerr Effect.

That said, I name-dropped "Kerr Effect," which reasonable quizbowl players have every right to associate with "electric field causes a change in index of refraction." I agree that I should have looked for a better way to phrase that clue that didn't imply that the Kerr Effect was changing the property that the question was looking for.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:06 am

I haven't actually done this, but my suspicion is that if you look at old packets, Hunt tends to be a middle clue for Peterloo.

Altranstadt comes up A LOT in quizbowl. As early as 2007 Deep Bench, it was a lead-in clue for the Great Northern War. It was seared into my mind when Dennis Jiang (of all people!) beat me to a tossup on GNW because he had memorized the Peace of Altranstadt. I subsequently used it as a lead-in on virtually any tossup I wrote about Poland or Sweden.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:09 am

Batsteve wrote:I don't recall the exact source I used for that clue, but http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_ ... rType=inst describes the usage of a Kerr cell to measure voltage by examining a phase shift. My understanding is that a Kerr Cell is a specific application of the Kerr effect (where applied electric field causes a change in index of refraction, usually causing birefringence) to cause a change in polarization of a laser. That is to say, a Kerr cell is used to rotate a circularly polarized a beam of light, and the mechanism is the Kerr Effect.

That said, I name-dropped "Kerr Effect," which reasonable quizbowl players have every right to associate with "electric field causes a change in index of refraction." I agree that I should have looked for a better way to phrase that clue that didn't imply that the Kerr Effect was changing the property that the question was looking for.
Thanks! For anyone without access to it, the paper includes the following line:
Incident light parallel and perpendicular to the applied field traverses the cell liquid with different velocities. The light that enters the cell plane-polarized at an angle of 45° with the field becomes elliptically, circularly, elliptically, and again plane-polarized as it proceeds through the cell.
From what I can understand about light passing through birefringent materials, they must have picked a very specific cell size or light wavelength to get the light to come out at the same polarization as it entered, but Kerr cells certainly do change the polarization of light passing through them.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:45 am

Morraine Man wrote:It was seared into my mind when Dennis Jiang (of all people!) beat me to a tossup on GNW because he had memorized the Peace of Altranstadt.
Nah man that was the Peace of Travendal. Its like his favorite clue.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:00 am

Morraine Man wrote:I haven't actually done this, but my suspicion is that if you look at old packets, Hunt tends to be a middle clue for Peterloo.

Altranstadt comes up A LOT in quizbowl. As early as 2007 Deep Bench, it was a lead-in clue for the Great Northern War. It was seared into my mind when Dennis Jiang (of all people!) beat me to a tossup on GNW because he had memorized the Peace of Altranstadt. I subsequently used it as a lead-in on virtually any tossup I wrote about Poland or Sweden.
From what I've read of Peterloo, Hunt seems to really be the catalyst of that event, being a radical and the main speaker at the event. To put him in the first line, nonetheless the first two words, seems like a bad idea.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:51 pm

Honestly, i felt it did, as the Auld Alliance is a pretty well known Scottish thing. But you're probably mocking me for my nitpicky-ness and maybe for knowing too much.
No dude, that was completely in earnest, I have no overwhelming life convictions about the relative difficulty of the Auld alliance. If I was trying to point anything out, it was just that saying "I thought the Auld alliance came too early" doesn't really provide any meaningful substance - I mean, unless it's an issue like Henry Hunt where it's just clear it's easier than I thought I was, you're just tossing out a floating opinion. All I was doing was requesting you provide some exposition on the thought.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:55 pm

I don't have the text of the James the Bruce question, but to me that Auld Alliance clue was fine. Not because the Auld Alliance is obscure: it's one of the most famous alliances ever. But rather because the Auld Alliance lasted for hundreds of years and was renewed and re-created a bunch of times by different kings. Saying "this king renewed the Auld Alliance" is not very uniquely identifying and I would never buzz on a clue that said that.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:55 pm

ITT the history mafia takes their revenge.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Ringil » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:30 pm

17. This man's genocidal misadventures include the Harrying of Buchan, while a gift of twelve pence and spurs helped him evade a foe who hung his sister Mary in a cage from Roxburgh castle for four years. This king renewed the Auld Alliance by signing the Treaty of Corbeil with France, while the Declaration of Arbroath asked John XXII to consider this man's longstanding support by Bishops Robert Wishart and William Lamberton. Henry de Bohun recieved an axe to the face from this man after charging him at the edge of Tor Wood, and he lost at (*) Methven in a war triggered by his slaying of John Comyn on an altar at Dumfries. Apocryphally inspired to persevere by a spider's web in a cave, this successor of John Balliol was crowned at Scone, and beat Edward II at Bannockburn a decade after the death of William Wallace. For 10 points, name this winner of the Scottish Wars of Independence.
ANSWER: Robert I [or Robert the Bruce]
I mainly feel Auld is misplaced and should be after power, even though the Treaty of Corbeil is in an acceptable position (though removing Auld could result in confusion with another Corbeil between Aragon and France). I agree its not entirely uniquely identifying, however, it basically turns the question into: hey, here's a scottish king hmmm...
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:03 pm

A few comments:

Generally the tournament was pretty good; the history, arts, SS, and RMP were pretty solid. The literature seemed kind of up and down, with disproportionately more clunkers (e.g. the David Foster Wallace tossup was kind of not good). As for the science, the physics seemed pretty bad at times. Michael has already pointed to the "virial" misuse upthread, which is nice because I negged that immediately and then had to sit there asking myself whether I really don't know the difference between the virial theorem and the equation of state (ANSWER: _actually, I do know the difference_). Also a number of questions just struck me as a lot of "this name is associated with this thing"-bowl without providing too much useful information. An example:
Ringil wrote:The tossup on integrable has this clue:
The (*) three body system lacks this property, causing its solutions to be chaotic.
The Three-body problem is notably not solvable, and the idea of it being unable to be integrated is not really talked about as opposed to the impossibility of solving the problem analytically.
This is a poorly worded clue, but actually, Libo, you're wrong in your critique. The non-integrability of the three-body problem is key to its being unsolvable analytically. It's actually a canonical example of non-integrability, or at least it was in my physics classes. Regardless, that's a really confusing formulation because I can see how several plausible answers could fit that description. In general, I thought the science questions could have used a bit more description (e.g. "here's a mechanism of how something happens,") and fewer ambiguous phrasings like the polarization question.

I think most of the other things that people are complaining about difficulty-wise aren't that big a deal (for example, I don't see much functional difference between a third part on Altranstadt or one on Augustus II), and things like tossups on the Pazzi conspiracy are perfectly fine at this level. Likewise arguing about where "Auld Alliance" should be placed doesn't seem that productive to me; you can figure out "Scottish king" from contextual clues, and "Auld," sounds a lot like "Old," which isn't identifiably Scottish (and, contra Bruce, not even remotely one of the most famous alliances ever).
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:46 pm

Some minor nitpicks:
Columbia A Packet wrote:4. In a strong field, the magnitude of this effect is determined by m l and m s instead of a coupled quantity m j. The anomalous version of this phenomenon can be explained by noting that the magnitude of this effect is proportional to the Bohr Magniton and (*) Lande-g factor, which accounts for both L and S, and led to the discovery of electron spin. A form of this effect occurs in spin-orbit coupling in atomic fine structure. This phenomenon sees a perterbation Hamiltonian break the degeneracy of atomic states with different angular momentum. For 10 points, name this effect where an applied magentic field causes the splitting of spectral lines, the magnetic analogue of the Stark effect.
ANSWER: Zeeman Effect
This tossup is largely fine; if I were awake, I would have realized the first sentence was talking about the Paschen-Back effect. But if I were you, I'd try to obscure the terms "strong-field" and "anomalous", because the fact that there's an anomalous Zeeman effect is pretty well-known. I'd include some additional leadins too, like its applications in spectroscopy and whatnot.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by jonpin » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:36 pm

I was asked by Eric to compile a D-value calculation for the various mirrors. I'll update this when Toronto posts their stats, but here's what I have so far for the nationwide summary.
OATR = Opponents' Average Tossup Rating (aka strength of schedule)
A TP/T and TU Pct = "Adjusted" to a norm of 4.000 OATR (for this tournament, the average was 4.37)

In terms of "raw" D-value (before applying an order-of-finish correction), the top 5 teams were Minnesota 535, Lone Ranger 508, Virginia 496, Penn (Yale) 479, Yale-A 443. State College's 409 ranked them 8th place (also behind VCU-A).
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:38 pm

I think you used the stats from the Harry Potter tournament for the Washington mirror.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by jonpin » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:08 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I think you used the stats from the Harry Potter tournament for the Washington mirror.
So I did. That will be fixed when I make the update with Toronto's stats.
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Steeve Ho You Fat
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:36 pm

You also missed the Texas mirror, which didn't have stats posted in the normal places:

viewtopic.php?f=52&t=10451&start=50#p207834
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:11 pm

I think you used the stats from the Harry Potter tournament for the Washington mirror.
Sounds like a D-value to me.
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Re: TIT Discussion

Post by mpellegrini » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:09 pm

The only questionable TU choice I recall was the Obama tossup in the Penn packet that referenced anime and his fictional sexual relationship with Hilary Clinton.

There was also a TU on the Anglo-Boer where I negged with Battle of Rorke's Drift. I'd have to see that question to know if it was my fault or the editor's.
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