Nature of Studying

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
conquerer7
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Nature of Studying

You can get okay with memorizing clues, but to really get great, you have to get deep: read poems, listen to music, go see paintings, read piles of history books. That's a great thing.

Let's compare two tossups:
7. This work makes a distinction between chance and probability and describes how events that occur in the universe cannot be determined by chance, in “On Probability.” This work’s author dismissed the claim that ideas can arise without impressions, a problem raised by determining a missing shade of blue. This work critiques the possibility of a “violation of the laws of nature” in its section “Of Miracles.” It differentiates between “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact,” which leads the author to question whether we can trust scientific claims, which are based on inductive inferences. For 10 points, name this empiricist work written by David Hume.
If you read it, or read the most important sections, you can firstline it. (and presumably the question writer also read it, so this isn't on the wikipedia page; then you'd have to read it to get it) If you know the broad ideas presented, what kind of thing Hume would write, or happened to hear "Of Miracles" before, you can get it in the middle. All's good. This is what pyramidal was made for!
20. One expression of this law includes lambda and mu, the Lamé parameters. The compliance tensor appears in its 3-dimensional generalization, formulated by Cauchy. The constant parameter appearing in this law can be approximated using the bulk modulus and Young’s modulus. The integral of this equation with respect to displacement gives an expression for elastic potential energy, and it is only applicable up to the elastic limit. It states that the restoring force is proportional to the displacement, or “F equals negative k x.” For 10 points, name this law describing the behavior of springs.
There are very few high schoolers that understand and can use tensors, in any way. Very very few of those people are quizbowlers. There are tons of quizbowlers, like me, who have merely memorized the word "Cauchy" and tagged it to "Hooke's Law".

If I wanted to get real knowledge for the first tossup, I could find the text online, go to that section, and read his argument. I could also go to SEP and get a quicker overview. In both cases, I'd truly understand it. If I wanted to do the same for the first, I'd have to pick up a book on tensors -- and it'd be much slower going. Science is cumulative. In one week, I might be able to do calculations with the compliance tensor. In another week, I might start to understand what's actually going on. That's, of course, assuming I have the prereqs... if I didn't, it'd take another few weeks to learn the rest of the math.

...or, I could just memorize that it's "Cauchy's Law"! Because honestly, there aren't that many variations on Hooke's Law. By glancing at the terms in the Wikipedia page and skimming over the 'see also' pages, I could basically guarantee firstlining any high school question on Hooke's Law. Meanwhile, my friend is actually learning science, but by the time he's done with tensors I've already done the same process to a hundred other tossups.

The issue is twofold:
1. Everything not-science seems to inherently have more details. That's what makes the works rich. A book is full of anecdotes and stories on every page! A chemistry, physics, or math textbook is 90% proofs, calculations, examples, and intuition, and only 10% defining the kinds of proper nouns that can be used as quizbowl clues. The result is that getting deep science knowledge is useless and extremely slow.
2. The clueable things that science does have are often less important, in a sense. For example, most questions on curves have clues about how you can trace it out by drawing lines from a hyperbola onto a circle rolling on a parabola... honestly, who cares? If you're trying to get deep knowledge, you'll never once run into this. I'll wager the great majority of mathematicians don't know any of those things and don't care. I don't care either. I want to go learn how Maxwell's four equations can be combined into one, and god forbid, that leaves me with even less clues!
(i'll add that you'll never see anybody bragging about how many formulas they know... more often, people brag about how few they know, or how they can rederive the results they need as they go)

If you try writing a good first/secondline for a science question and you're not careful (or get it off wikipedia), it'll either end up unimportant, or advanced/legit -- in both cases, only gettable by fraud (and very easily, too, if it was wiki'd).

I know everybody here hates Science Bowl, but it at least lets you distinguish between somebody who deeply understands X, somebody who's studied X, somebody who knows a bit about field Y and thinks X would make sense, and somebody who memorized 'X --> answer Z'. Science Bowl makes you do science; Quizbowl makes you learn the words that scientists say.

Is there any way to fix this situation? Should it be changed? Is it not even an actual problem? Am I just spouting a load of ?

(disclaimer: this isn't true for all science questions, many of which are just fine, though it does seem to be much higher for NAQT.)
Kevin Zhou
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Re: Nature of Studying

So I guess I'll preface this post by noting that, though primarily a humanities player, I still have some "real" knowledge of the sciences (particularly math and physics, though you are obviously far more legit at the latter than I, Kevin).

Your point, while accurate, merely serves to demonstrate that the Hooke's Law tossup is not great as written (or perhaps is not a great tossup answerline at all, for the reasons you listed). The fact that Cauchy generalized it to 3D doesn't seem super-important, but does seem to be repeated in a number of high school tossups. I think your tiny disclaimer at the bottom really hits the main point though; somewhat tautologically, well-written science questions shouldn't (and don't!) have this problem. More importantly, however, in my (albeit somewhat limited) experience, this problem basically goes away at higher levels -- I can't find any packets on QBP of higher than regular high school difficulty written recently which have tossed up Hooke's Law.

In my opinion, quizbowl can't verify that people Actually Have Knowledge, especially on tossups. I'm often fond of drawing the Chinese Room-esque analogy here -- if I drop Mehring in the first line of a Nadine Gordimer tossup in a high school level set, there's basically no way to distinguish between people who have read The Conservationist and those who have merely read a summary/heard it in a packet/memorized protagonists/whatever. If however, I'm writing for a harder tournament, I can totally tossup The Conservationist with impunity; anyone who has read it will do far better than people who just know one or two things. At the high school level, that knowledge is good for a first-line buzz, and we're OK with that -- a similar standard applies to science, where (for example, in the packet you found that Hooke's Law tossup) we are fine with people who know the average kinetic energy of an ideal gas particle getting a first-sentence buzz.

I don't know much about Science Bowl, so I am genuinely curious: how would it distinguish knowledge of Hooke's Law? If the answer is simply "know F=kx and apply this formula to find one of F,k,x given the other", that's not any better -- if the answer is something more interesting, there's probably no reason it couldn't happen in a quizbowl bonus, or a cleverly-enough written tossup. If you haven't read it yet (I don't believe y'all were there?), I highly recommend NSC 2012 science, especially physics and math -- it's what I first go to whenever one of my more sciencey friends tries to tell me you can't write good science in the quizbowl format. Also, is your issue just with physics? I feel like bio and some of the minor sciences especially will naturally be more name-bowly (and of course some areas of physics and chem which are less math-focused), but that's not a terrible thing -- the idea is that the clues at the beginning of good name-bowly tossups are generally not recycled from old packets, but are instead novel things that are actually Important were you to legitimately study the answer in question.

That Hume tossup is an interesting one to pick to counter-balance -- it's on a pretty hard answerline few high schoolers would have heard of and even fewer could convert (aspiring high school housewriters, take note -- if you want to write a regular difficulty tossup on Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, you can't! At least just make it four lines of clues on Enquiry that ends FTP, name this philosopher who wrote Enquiry!) Still though, I think there's just as much "wrong" buzzing on it because you've heard "Of Miracles" in a packet as there is buzzing on Hooke's Law because you've heard the Cauchy clue. Then again, I am not so great at philosophy, so I will defer to wiser minds here on the merits of that question.

Long story short, bad science questions are caused by bad/lazy question writers or poor answerline selection. In this, and many other regards, science is very similar to basically every other quizbowl subject; despite what science-oriented people sometimes are wont to say, a well-written tossup of a sufficiently high level can adequately distinguish levels of knowledge.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Mewto55555 wrote:That Hume tossup is an interesting one to pick to counter-balance -- it's on a pretty hard answerline few high schoolers would have heard of and even fewer could convert (aspiring high school housewriters, take note -- if you want to write a regular difficulty tossup on Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, you can't! At least just make it four lines of clues on Enquiry that ends FTP, name this philosopher who wrote Enquiry!) Still though, I think there's just as much "wrong" buzzing on it because you've heard "Of Miracles" in a packet as there is buzzing on Hooke's Law because you've heard the Cauchy clue. Then again, I am not so great at philosophy, so I will defer to wiser minds here on the merits of that question.
I'll confirm that few high school offers a standalone philosophy class (much to my chagrin at the time; the only widespread one I know of is IB Theories of Knowledge) and most HSers' exposure to the subject comes from tie-ins via classes such as AP History or common knowledge that various philosophers existed as picked up from whatever other source (crosswords, classes that read No Exit, song lyrics, debate, New York Times articles...). This is part of why I don't believe that it is appropriate for high school sets to have 1/1 philosophy in every round, despite my personal interest at the time and now.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Kevin, I find your point a little hard to understand. You say
If I wanted to get real knowledge for the first tossup, I could find the text online, go to that section, and read his argument. I could also go to SEP and get a quicker overview. In both cases, I'd truly understand it. If I wanted to do the same for the first, I'd have to pick up a book on tensors -- and it'd be much slower going. Science is cumulative. In one week, I might be able to do calculations with the compliance tensor. In another week, I might start to understand what's actually going on. That's, of course, assuming I have the prereqs... if I didn't, it'd take another few weeks to learn the rest of the math.
Well, no you wouldn't. For starters, "compliance" is just inverse stiffness—so that sentence hypothetically tests knowledge of that bit of vocabulary. Understanding Hume at the level of a basic once-over read-through is about the same as learning "a tensor is sort of like a generalization of a matrix"—which is just about all you need to know to understand why the 3D version of a law would include it.

Some of the points I would make about what I'd like in QB science were made in the Ocean Bowl thread viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13889#p254593, which interestingly contains another bad Hooke's law question...

I guess my point is pretty similar to Max's (I also agree that these questions are both not exceptionally well-written—there is no reason that the name Cauchy must be always dropped with the 3D Hooke's Law)—your complaint is that this is testing a superficial knowledge of relatively obscure things in science. Well, that's what all the other questions are doing, too.

For instance, yeah I read a number of "QB books," ("Real Knowledge") and yeah, I also memorized the NAQT literature frequency list (the opposite of Real Knowledge), and yeah I also read a bunch of books that I only found out about from that frequency list. All "real knowledge" starts out as the equivalent of fake knowledge anyways; is it any better for me to have known that Oliver Goldsmith wrote The Vicar of Wakefield from seeing it on my father's bookshelf (and then later having read it) than knowing that Housman wrote a poem that begins "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now" from the frequency list (and then later having read it)? One is "real-world" and the other is not and the distinction is moot and the effort put into actually bothering to learn something about the topic—whether reading tossups, a summary (is there a difference in "reality" between those two???), or the actual book—should be what is rewarded, but of course nobody disagrees with me on that.
Last edited by vinteuil on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nature of Studying

I guess that I'll preface my post by saying that I know absolutely nothing outside of math/physics, and if I was any worse, I'd be buzzing in with Ronald Rixen or something.

Max, first, to satisfy your curiosity, I admit Hooke's law really is a bad example. There probably aren't any good science bowl questions on that, but there is stuff like this:

3) PHYSICS Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST explains how a radium isotope with a half-life of about 1,600 years can be found in the crust of the Earth that was formed millions of years ago:
W) its decay is slowed by the pressure of the Earth
X) the radium is replenished by decay of longer lived radioactive elements
Y) the radium was replenished by meteors and asteroids over the millennia
Z) the radium is recycled from the Earth’s core where magnetic fields slow the decay

19) EARTH SCIENCE Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST describes an air mass that originates in northern Mexico, moves into the Great Plains and stagnates, resulting in severe drought:
W) continental tropical
X) continental polar
Y) maritime tropical
Z) maritime polar

22) BIOLOGY Short Answer Order the following 4 processes from the one to typically occur the EARLIEST to the one to occur the LATEST in the production of collagen:
ANSWER: TRANSCRIPTION; SPLICEOSOME; TRANSLATION; GOLGI MODIFICATION

Full disclaimer, there are also tons of SciBowl questions that are basically attempting to be Quizbowl pyramidal style but failing, due to the must-give-exact-answer-for-MC rule or backwards order of clues or ridiculously short length. But in any case, it's just not possible to do these with quizbowl's format; the first is all conceptual and the second and third can't be fit into a unique proper-noun answer.

(Or, well, I haven't ever written... is it possible? Quizbowl's pace is tough; there are tossups, especially in math/chem, that involve figuring something small out, but the next clue arrives really fast. And at HSNCT, the reading was so fast in the end that all I could do was listen for proper nouns. If only you could write, [read half as fast as usual here], but that's ridiculous! I suppose you might fit some of these in bonuses, but it'd probably require a switch from 10/10/10 and 5 seconds, and I can't see anybody agreeing with that.)

Though I really don't know anything out of physics/math, it still feels that it's easier to write a good non-science tossup, even on super common things. Say, Hamlet, you can start by quoting from soliloquies, and there's so much variety in those that you'll have to have read it to get it. (plus, a player could go read them right after a round) That is a true test of knowledge -- unless you define real knowledge to include not just the play's text, but also all the ways it can be interpreted, or something.

On the other hand, I doubt Hooke's Law can be fixed at all. As far as conventional clues go, there's not much beyond the law itself, Young's modulus, and tensor business. I can think of a few SciBowl-y clues but they all take too long to think through in a tournament setting. The same problem holds for many natural sounding science answerlines; they just don't turn out to have much depth before getting insanely complex. "Friction" is bad; non-super-famous scientists' lives like Boyle/Avogadro/Hooke are horrible. Hooke's Law is usually bad, though simple harmonic motion, not too far off, can be really good.
Well, no you wouldn't. For starters, "compliance" is just inverse stiffness—so that sentence hypothetically tests knowledge of that bit of vocabulary. Understanding Hume at the level of a basic once-over read-through is about the same as learning "a tensor is sort of like a generalization of a matrix"—which is just about all you need to know to understand why the 3D version of a law would include it.
Well... okay, I see what you mean. Learning science like that sounds horrifying to me, but I suppose I must've given you the same reaction talking about philosophy.

Still, it feels different. To get first tossup instantly I'd have to know a little about what Hume claims, and that must take mental effort beyond proper noun matching. For the second, I just have to memorize "compliance" and "Cauchy". Reducing tensors to "bigger matrices" is akin to reducing, I dunno, all of Hobbes to "ungoverned people suck".

Edit: and in response to your edit, well, I've used those too to steal lit points, and even worse, binged on 1000 protobowl science questions to scan for proper nouns. We're all guilty! :P Like you, I want to convert my knowledge to real knowledge, but a lot of these clues are either years beyond my mental capacity or not very real/legit at all.
Last edited by conquerer7 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kevin Zhou
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Re: Nature of Studying

conquerer7 wrote:3) PHYSICS Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST explains how a radium isotope with a half-life of about 1,600 years can be found in the crust of the Earth that was formed millions of years ago:
W) its decay is slowed by the pressure of the Earth
X) the radium is replenished by decay of longer lived radioactive elements
Y) the radium was replenished by meteors and asteroids over the millennia
Z) the radium is recycled from the Earth’s core where magnetic fields slow the decay

19) EARTH SCIENCE Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST describes an air mass that originates in northern Mexico, moves into the Great Plains and stagnates, resulting in severe drought:
W) continental tropical
X) continental polar
Y) maritime tropical
Z) maritime polar

22) BIOLOGY Short Answer Order the following 4 processes from the one to typically occur the EARLIEST to the one to occur the LATEST in the production of collagen:
ANSWER: TRANSCRIPTION; SPLICEOSOME; TRANSLATION; GOLGI MODIFICATION
I absolutely agree, if QB science could do this, it would be amazing and fill a massive gap in how QB tests knowledge of science.
conquerer7 wrote:That is a true test of knowledge -- unless you define real knowledge to include not just the play's text, but also all the ways it can be interpreted, or something.
Yes, that is what my definition of the literature analogue of your definition of real science knowledge is. There is no such thing as a literature class where your grade depends on how well you have learned the literal textual content of the play, and there is no such thing as a science class where your grade depends on how well you have memorized who did what. (hopefully).
conquerer7 wrote:
Well, no you wouldn't. For starters, "compliance" is just inverse stiffness—so that sentence hypothetically tests knowledge of that bit of vocabulary. Understanding Hume at the level of a basic once-over read-through is about the same as learning "a tensor is sort of like a generalization of a matrix"—which is just about all you need to know to understand why the 3D version of a law would include it.
Well... okay, I see what you mean. Learning science like that sounds horrifying to me, but I suppose I must've given you the same reaction talking about philosophy.

Still, it feels different. To get first tossup instantly I'd have to know a little about what Hume claims, and that must take mental effort beyond proper noun matching. For the second, I just have to memorize "compliance" and "Cauchy".
Yes, that is a truly horrifying way to learn science (or philosophy, or anything!) to someone who's really into gaining a "full appreciation" of it or something. But, I think you may have misinterpreted me (probably not your fault) a little:
conquerer7 wrote:Reducing tensors to "bigger matrices" is akin to reducing, I dunno, all of Hobbes to "ungoverned people suck".
Yes, yes it is. However, this is not a question on "tensors," which is just about impossible to tossup, and would be an absolutely insane answerline at the HS level (I'm unhappy enough about "groups" being considered something that 90% of teams can convert). It's more like reducing Behemoth into a history of the English Civil War (or The Conservationist to Mehring), because it tests
superficial knowledge of [a] relatively obscure thing.
For instance, every Marx question that starts with the eleventh Feuerbach thesis is testing the same kind of matching knowledge, no thought required, even if it changes the wording. That's sort of how I feel about your Hume example, I guess. This is actually much worse in sociology, which is usually reduced to people's categories (Weber's forms of authority, Durkheim's types of suicide, mechanical and organic solidarity, etc.) with no understanding of them even required—social science seems to suffer from the worst of both science quiz bowl and philosophy quiz bowl...
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Re: Nature of Studying

(sample science bowl questions)
"Here are 4 things; order them by some property" questions are the second-best thing about science bowl from an anti-fraud perspective, and can probably be implemented as quizbowl questions if carefully constructed. This sort of thing would've worked wonderfully under the old 30-20-10-5 model of bonuses, but we don't do that these days for whatever reason.

"Here is a phenomenon; select the thing that explains it" questions are the best thing in that sense, but are thoroughly unimplementable, except in a few corner cases when the language can be altered so that it requires just a short noun phrase as an answer, and we already have those in quizbowl.

The second type of question you have there ("what kind of air mass") doesn't seem to differ in any substantial way from what you could put in a quizbowl bonus, seeing as "continental tropical" is a reasonable thing a team could be expected to say given the bonus prompt (except that it's too hard for high school).
If only you could write, [read half as fast as usual here], but that's ridiculous!
I feel like I have seen tournaments in which certain questions contain moderator instructions to emphasize/enunciate certain bits of the question, though this is understandably uncommon. Given that it is difficult as a non-scientist (or even a scientist from a different field) reading a science question to ascertain exactly what parts of the alphabet soup found in some tossups are actually useful and important, I think that this is a practice that could potentially see slightly more widespread application, maybe. (Whereas in non-science questions, by and large, emphasizing proper nouns, titles, and important-looking noun phrases will generally yield good results.)
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Re: Nature of Studying

perlnerd666 wrote:
conquerer7 wrote:3) PHYSICS Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST explains how a radium isotope with a half-life of about 1,600 years can be found in the crust of the Earth that was formed millions of years ago:
W) its decay is slowed by the pressure of the Earth
X) the radium is replenished by decay of longer lived radioactive elements
Y) the radium was replenished by meteors and asteroids over the millennia
Z) the radium is recycled from the Earth’s core where magnetic fields slow the decay

19) EARTH SCIENCE Multiple Choice Which of the following BEST describes an air mass that originates in northern Mexico, moves into the Great Plains and stagnates, resulting in severe drought:
W) continental tropical
X) continental polar
Y) maritime tropical
Z) maritime polar

22) BIOLOGY Short Answer Order the following 4 processes from the one to typically occur the EARLIEST to the one to occur the LATEST in the production of collagen:
ANSWER: TRANSCRIPTION; SPLICEOSOME; TRANSLATION; GOLGI MODIFICATION
I absolutely agree, if QB science could do this, it would be amazing and fill a massive gap in how QB tests knowledge of science.
Wait, what? Maybe I'm crazy, but this seems even less legit than "fake" quizbowl science...all you're doing is answering some multiple choice (figuring out which 3 of the 4 answers make 0 sense requires near 0 knowledge, figuring out that Mexico is a continent, not an ocean, and that it is in the tropics, not the polar regions requires near 0 knowledge, and then you just have to put stuff in order -- it would be stupid to ask "which comes first translation or transcription", so why does it become less stupid to ask 6 such questions in the span of a line?). If this is what Science Bowl is like, I totally do not understand all these Science+quizbowl players fetishizing it.
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Re: Nature of Studying

I'm not sure what's going on here, and I'm not sure what point(s) is/are being put forth, but:

-one-to-one stock clue associations can happen with any subject;
-if anything, I'd imagine they're more likely to work poorly in science than in most subjects;
-it is possible, but admittedly hard, to write good science questions that test understanding of concepts over lists of names.

On that second point, I think the Cauchy --> Hooke's law connection bandied about here is an excellent example. If a player starts buzzing with Hooke's law every time they hear Cauchy, they are going to rack up lots and lots of negs (seriously, that's got to be a ways down the list of stuff Cauchy did), interspersed with a few 10s or 15s. If recent high school sets have had multiple tossups on Hooke's law with an early Cauchy clue, that's lazy, stale question writing (or, more charitably, bad luck), but that is not endemic to science.

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Re: Nature of Studying

Wait, what? Maybe I'm crazy, but this seems even less legit than "fake" quizbowl science...all you're doing is answering some multiple choice (figuring out which 3 of the 4 answers make 0 sense requires near 0 knowledge
If we were to hypothetically put the first question (radium) on an A-set, multiple-choice and all, I don't think you'd get as good conversion as you'd want to have for the easy part of a bonus. I mean, yes, if you have an inkling about how radioactive decay works, the answer is patently obvious, but I don't think it is that obvious to the average high school team.

Like, what if we replaced this with asking how C-14, despite having a half-life of 5700 years, still exists in the atmosphere? Turns out, there are cosmic rays that irradiate some nitrogen isotope to produce C-14, but that certainly isn't obvious, especially if one of the alternate answers was something plausible-sounding like "it is produced by the decay of long-lived oxygen isotopes in the atmosphere". Point is, it is possible to have questions like this that effectively test knowledge of science, if the wrong answers are properly chosen.

Granted, The nature of it being multiple choice allows for 25% baseline success, which is bad and not amenable to quizbowl, but the idea behind it I think is good.
figuring out that Mexico is a continent, not an ocean, and that it is in the tropics, not the polar regions requires near 0 knowledge
The second question (air masses) is bad as a multiple-choice question, but perfectly fine as an ordinary bonus part (a "short answer", in the lingo of science bowl) at the appropriate difficulty level.
and then you just have to put stuff in order -- it would be stupid to ask "which comes first translation or transcription", so why does it become less stupid to ask 6 such questions in the span of a line?).
I'm surprised that you think the third question is bad (format-of-quizbowl constraints notwithstanding). Firstly, there are 24 different ways to answer this question (as opposed to the 2 ways to answer "translation or transcription"), which makes it more robust against guessing. Secondly, the order in which things occur in protein synthesis is 1.) "legitimately" knowable by high schoolers; 2.) known by a suitable fraction of high schoolers; 3.) not binary word association. This type of question is also extensible in its most basic form to the set of "things that happen in a specified order", of which there are many. There are various other extensions of this idea, some of which are bad ("here are 4 metals; order them by density" and two of them are like iron and copper or something non-obvious), and some of which are good (well, I don't remember any offhand these days, but I'm pretty sure there were others).
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Re: Nature of Studying

As a physics/astro specialist (and NAQT writer), as well as someone with at least a cursory knowledge in Euro History, I would like to weigh in.

Kevin, I would take issue with your characterization of science as basically word-matching. In fact, in my experience, it is very easy to ascribe this characteristic to anything for which a study method is foreign. I find a teammate's lit knowledge as baffling as he finds my astronomy and physics knowledge.

Furthermore, I find your assertion that quizbowl makes you "learn the words scientists say" is patently false. While this is perhaps valid at some levels of play, it is necessarily so, for the following reason.

The vast majority of the literature canon (at all levels) is technically accessible to all levels of players (I write this at the risk of starting an indignant series of retorts by lit/history/SS experts.) The only thing stopping me from tossing up a specific Ionesco work, say, at the regular high school level, is the fact that people have not physically read the work yet.

This can be contrasted to physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy, at least, where high school questions limit their answerlines, by my observation, based on what is somewhat standard curriculum (i.e., the level of science that can be taught and understood at the high school level). This is why one seldom sees vector calculus questions in high school sets--they are beyond the academic scope of high school education.

At the collegiate level, specialization is enabled by the selection of majors. While lit/history/SS experts now simply have more time to expose themselves to a greater variety of material, science experts (whom I will simplistically conflate with science majors) are exposed to the foundational material they need to understand higher-level topics and higher-level clues.

This is, I believe, an important distinction.

Also, Max, Matt, and Jacob have made good points about how to write science well. I'm not going to go into detail, but suffice it to say that when I write, I make every effort to have my clues test real knowledge (as nebulous as that term may be). This is obviously much easier to do at the collegiate level--I can talk about the actual mechanism underlying neutrino oscillations, before mentioning it by name. This is an example of a situation where more coy descriptions would be absolutely useless at the high school level, due to the absence of any foundational skills in physics and mathematics that would permit actual understanding.

I will supply a guess as to why you believe NAQT's questions are the main offenders. Simply put: they are shorter, and there is less of an opportunity to be very coy with upper-level clues (detailed, accurate descriptions take up precious characters). I know I have trouble writing what I believe to be satisfactory tossups, in many cases, due to this.

Of course, I would be interested to hear the opinion of Seth Teitler or Andrew Watkins on this subject, although as I post this, I see that Seth has already opined.
Zach Pace
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Re: Nature of Studying

Thank you, Max. In Science Bowl, that Radium question was used as a tossup. Why anybody would want to play matches on multiple-choice tossups is beyond me. The idea that it would differentiate well between several different levels of teams is just plain wrong on its face.

The second question, which was used as a bonus, is easily fraudable by anybody who listens to it and knows what Mexico is, as has already been pointed out. Though, in defense of that question, it is better than many of the other questions in that round. In addition to having no idea why somebody would want to play matches that use multiple-choice tossups, I have no idea why somebody would want to play matches that use single-part bonuses, many of which are multiple-choice.

The third question, which was also used as a bonus, demonstrates the typical quality of Science Bowl editing by referring to a spliceosome as a process. I'll add that, in a further demonstration of Science Bowl editing, it was the second spliceosome question in that round. While knowing the order of important processes is valid knowledge worthy of points, it is fraudable because it generally can be learned by reading the Table of Contents of a book rather than the book itself, and it does come up in quizbowl. A quizbowl tossup or bonus can and sometimes does ask for the process that follows transcription along with descriptions of translation. Quizbowl stopped using ordering questions around the same time and for the same reason it stopped using the bonus question, "For each part, I'll name the title of a book--you name the author." Namely, once teams start studying for those types of questions and hear them a lot, they become uninteresting and shallow.

Anyways, I think the topic of how to write good math and physics questions, including good answer selection, is a worthy topic that should be discussed on this board. I apologize for using this post to address the low-hanging fruit--emulating Science Bowl is not the direction we want to go in.

I was a physics major and have taught high school math for twenty years, yet I still find that those topics lead me down the most dead ends when I write questions. It is more common for me to write questions in those categories than other categories that I have to abandon once I get most of the way through them because I just don't like them, and it is also fairly common for those questions to just not play so well because they get frauded, get to the giveaway, or go dead.
David Reinstein
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Re: Nature of Studying

David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

samus149
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Re: Nature of Studying

As someone who specializes only in the two topics discussed here (science and philosophy), and has taken part in both science bowl and quizbowl over the years, I would just like to put my two cents in.

Let's start with philosophy. When I first began studying for philosophy, I would only memorize the buzz words, e.g missing shade of blue to Hume or "On Liberty" to J.S. Mill. Then, I attempted to learn philosophy by studying the works of the authors, and it is FAR more difficult than any other topic. Unless it is a philosopher whose works have a theme unmatched by any other (tossups on Marx, for example, are very easy to distinguish due to the economic subtext), the options are varied. A distinction between change and probability would point to any empiricist thinker, including Bacon, Locke, and Berkeley, so getting the answer off of a concept is next to impossible. Once the reader said "On Probability" though, I would buzz because I have heard that term specifically applied to Hume, and Hume's only significant work is Enquiry (though at a national/college that would have been stupid because they may question on some other obscure work). Due to this, I still do word association.

As for science, yeah, that Hooke's Law tossup was fairly bad. Like basically all high schoolers, I have no idea of how to use tensors in practice, but I have heard the term thrown around when discussing stuff like Einstein's field equations (the Ricci Tensor). Sounds maybe like a vector or matrix...oh, and they said "3 dimensional generalization", must be in one dimension...compliance sounds maybe like stiffness...Hooke's Law! By that logic, I will have frauded my way through the second line of a question I know nothing about. It rewarded me for some random leaps of faith rather than my actual knowledge, which begins at "Young's modulus", one line later.

Quizbowl science is nearly all proper noun association. If someone says Stribeck effect, I say friction, if they say Fick's laws, I say diffusion. Attempting to actually learn these concepts requires derivation, prerequisities, and a whole load of other things I can't do. History, lit, fine arts, they all involve memorization (nobody ever had to derive the Thirty Years' War!). I guess quizbowl science isn't bad, it just falls in line with every other topic in quizbowl, whether it's lit (Theophilus Msimangu...Cry, the Beloved Country!) or history (Vilbia Sabina...Hadrian!), but it's still something to be said about knowledge vs. memorization.

Onto science bowl. Science bowl is actually a much better measure of science knowledge than quizbowl science. I realize this is a controversial and universally shunned position, but think about how it actually rewards deep knowledge.

22) BIOLOGY Short Answer Order the following 4 processes from the one to typically occur the EARLIEST to the one to occur the LATEST in the production of collagen:
ANSWER: TRANSCRIPTION; SPLICEOSOME; TRANSLATION; GOLGI MODIFICATION

In a quizbowl tournament, there might be a tossup that includes about Golgi modification. I could think about it for a second and realize that it only applies to proteins, and the only protein that comes up in quizbowl is collagen. In this science bowl question, if I associated Golgi modification with collagen, that gets me nowhere. I actually have to know what occurs in that step and how it relates to the other steps. Unfortunately, this science bowl question is fraudable, because of the three 9th grade bio terms and only one complicated term, but what if it included formation of fibril? The difficulty science bowl must reach to reward true knowledge is achieved usually around the playoff rounds, and by nationals things get much more intense. Most people have a problem with science bowl because they view it as gimmicky (exact answer multiple choice ftl) and easy, but those people have obviously not gotten past the first few rounds.

On a different matter, the problem with comparing science tossups and philosophy tossups is the vast difference in their distros: science is regularly 4/4, while philosophy ranges from 1/1 (usually at housewrites like GSAC) to around 0.3/0.3 for some NAQT tourneys. Nobody who specializes only in philosophy can be an indispensable part of the team, so deep knowledge in that respect is usually tossed aside for someone with good word association.

In conclusion, word association is a slightly bigger problem with science, but I guess that's the price we science players pay for quizbowl, which is invariably over half humanities. Also Kevin, please don't kick me off of either team based on my opinions here today.
Sean M.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Sean, you are totally wrong!

Glancing at your other posts, it seems nearly all your exposure to questions is through ProtoBowl -- it's totally logical that you would believe knowing Stribeck curve is enough to always get you questions on friction when all you have seen are the same two or three tossups on friction repeated over and over again, but this is in fact not the case. Like I challenged Kevin earlier, look at PACE NSC 2012 science and see what you think -- it is incredibly well-written and I'd be surprised if you persisted in these misguided beliefs after reading it.

This idea that quizbowl is a game that can be beaten by memorizing sufficiently many names and is therefore an insufficiently good test of knowledge is a foolish one that seems to be common among the middling players who are starting to find that, due to the nature of their strategy, many of their buzzes are indeed "fake." If you content yourself with knowing "Fick's laws is diffusion", you will lay waste to the vast number of teams who have never heard that clue and feel proud. You would however, be slaughtered by the teams who actually know what Fick's Laws or Graham's Law state. If all you know about novels are character names, then you are in for a rude awakening when a well-written tossup goes three lines dropping plot clues and no names. You might know Vilbia Sabina was "associated with" Hadrian in some way, but won't it suck when there's a tossup on Marcus Aurelius that mentions the other Vibia Sabina? Or perhaps a tossup on Suetonius mentioning their affair? What if Stribeck curve is used in a clever tossup on "liquids" which start by mentioning their effect on the Stribeck curve ("lubricants in this phase [do something to the shape] of the Stribeck curve")

There is NO WORD which can be strictly used as a one-to-one association with any particular answerline -- I challenge you to come up with a single example, or even an example of a two-or-three-word phrase.

Quizbowl, alas, has a way of getting back at the poor children who do not actually know what they are buzzing on: a recent thread is an example of this.

You're totally not going about this right though -- to say ScienceBowl is better than quizbowl because at high difficulty ScienceBowl can distinguish better is to willfully ignore the literally hundreds of good science tossups which are written at higher difficulties than regular HS. It sounds to me like what would be a remedy for all your problems is to go into your own ProtoBowl room and set the difficulty to college and see how it goes. Spend your time actually learning things; trust me, it helps you a lot. If you are happy with having fake knowledge, then your abilities will quickly peak.

the only protein that comes up in quizbowl is collagen.
This is, alas, completely false. Even Protobowl has tossups on more proteins than collagen!

PS: For frauding purposes, if something has a 3D generalization, don't forget that it could be occurring in 2D, not just necessarily 1D!
Max

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Re: Nature of Studying

Since Max made the argument more eloquently than I ever could, let me just warn you, Sean, to expect a lot of negs at actual tournaments if you keep up your approach.
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Re: Nature of Studying

the only protein that comes up in quizbowl is collagen.
Hemoglobin, keratin, actin, myosin, insulin, glucagon, ATP synthase, GFP, antibodies, von Willebrand factor, histones, and the sodium/potassium pump are all feeling really sad right now.
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Re: Nature of Studying

samus149 wrote: In conclusion, word association is a slightly bigger problem with science, but I guess that's the price we science players pay for quizbowl, which is invariably over half humanities. Also Kevin, please don't kick me off of either team based on my opinions here today.
Really, is that actually a thing? I'd figure that more people would reflex buzz on something like Jupiter symphony and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for Mozart, which doesn't require deep Mozart knowledge to memorize, than something like Lorentz factor for special relativity, considering how many other answer lines it could possibly be. It's not like a Haydn question would ever use clues like the above, whereas a question on the speed of light or velocity could mention Lorentz factor, making you require more Actual Knowledge to get the science tossup. Maybe I'm biased as a humanities player though.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Ok, first of all, to Max, ouch, that was a little mean. I did just get into quizbowl this year, and I am obviously not an expert on the subject. However, please don't belittle me for using word association to answer questions; it is a legitimate, albeit inconsistent, strategy. Just because you can get 150 PPG doesn't mean everybody has to. Second of all, all of my other posts are about protobowl because THAT WAS MY FIRST POST. I have only been using this account actively for a few days, and this is one of the first things I have commented on (though not the first thread I have read). It's not fair to say all of my quizbowl knowledge comes from protobowl. Our school holds regular practices, I am tutored by members of our A team, I attend tournaments regularly, I research new topics, and I am trying to build up a knowledge base. But protobowl as a practice tool is efficient and allows me to interact with other members of my team. I despise membowling in any form, so don't assume that I just redo the same questions to make myself feel smart.

Also, I have tried college science, and it is far harder than high school. However, if a few days before a tournament I want to practice, I am not going to choose tossups on p53 or the Bohr magneton, I am going to choose tossups that will help me. In my spare time, I do try harder questions, and I am learning. I do NOT just protobowl and learn nothing from it.
Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:Since Max made the argument more eloquently than I ever could, let me just warn you, Sean, to expect a lot of negs at actual tournaments if you keep up your approach.
Well, I do neg a lot, though it has nothing to do with me getting things wrong from incorrect word association. Mostly it's just because I buzz accidentally (one time I buzzed on "syncopated" for Hughes...big mistake), or I try to fraud because the team is winning. I accept my shortcomings and realize that they are not good practices at tournaments, and I am working on improving.
RyuAqua wrote:Hemoglobin, keratin, actin, myosin, insulin, glucagon, ATP synthase, GFP, antibodies, von Willebrand factor, histones, and the sodium/potassium pump are all feeling really sad right now.
Again, I agree, saying collagen is the only protein that comes up was dumb, but it was meant to serve as an example of how the canon can sometimes be restrictive. I should have thought about that more before I said it, and it sounds pretty ignorant hearing it now.

All of that being said, this is one of my first experiences commenting on a post, and you guys are being pretty mean. I only meant to show that word association can work if you're not aiming to power every question, and that science bowl is not as awful as people claim it is, not to advocate getting 1st at NASAT by frauding.
Sean M.
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Re: Nature of Studying

samus149 wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:Hemoglobin, keratin, actin, myosin, insulin, glucagon, ATP synthase, GFP, antibodies, von Willebrand factor, histones, and the sodium/potassium pump are all feeling really sad right now.
Again, I agree, saying collagen is the only protein that comes up was dumb, but it was meant to serve as an example of how the canon can sometimes be restrictive.
How? I'm pretty sure the Golgi complex modifies more than just collagen.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:
samus149 wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:Hemoglobin, keratin, actin, myosin, insulin, glucagon, ATP synthase, GFP, antibodies, von Willebrand factor, histones, and the sodium/potassium pump are all feeling really sad right now.
Again, I agree, saying collagen is the only protein that comes up was dumb, but it was meant to serve as an example of how the canon can sometimes be restrictive.
How? I'm pretty sure the Golgi complex modifies more than just collagen.
I am really not being clear here...Ok let me rephrase that, my collagen example was completely irrelevant to my main point and I have no idea why I wrote it. Please ignore it and think of it as an example of how I am bad at examples.

Let me try to rephrase that comment in a non-science manner: possibly the only Danish philosopher appearing in an answer line in quizbowl is Soren Kierkegaard, so even though there are other Danish philosophers, knowing them contributes very little (except maybe someone like his teacher, Poul Moller).
Sean M.
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Re: Nature of Studying

samus149 wrote:Ok, first of all, to Max, ouch, that was a little mean. I did just get into quizbowl this year, and I am obviously not an expert on the subject. However, please don't belittle me for using word association to answer questions; it is a legitimate, albeit inconsistent, strategy. Just because you can get 150 PPG doesn't mean everybody has to.
No meanness was intended, but I have no desire to sugarcoat my criticism of the incredibly wrong belief, which is still shockingly common, that quizbowl can be reduced down to a game of word associations. Auroni said it best on the IRC earlier this evening: paraphrasing him, the first step of getting good is not learning clues like "The Kalevala is associated with Finland and with Elias Lonnrot;" it is instead learning things like "The Kalevala, Finland's national epic, was compiled by Elias Lonnrot," or, more to point of stuff discussed earlier "Vibia Sabina was the wife of Hadrian." This is what enables you to have the cognitive map to get better and grow intellectually. I am only capable of putting up large scores BECAUSE I approach quizbowl studying in this manner (look for an excitingly detailed large post on this subject soon!); I have been exactly where you were as a player, sans the mentoring of an A team, and trust me when I say that solely playing high school tossups, many of which are poorly written, with the mindset to practice your fraud and word associating, is not the way to reach the next level of play.

Unrelatedly, I'd put forth a hypothesis that part of the insistence by this brave new world of protobowlers on word association stems in no small part from Protobowl focusing primarily on tossups, and therefore not emphasizing the specific knowledge required to succeed on medium and hard parts of bonuses.
Max

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Re: Nature of Studying

I skimmed over the past few posts and people don't seem to believe this, so let's throw out some associations.

Commutator - Heisenberg uncertainty principle
(there are a million other things this could mean in both math and physics, but at the high school level...)

Clebsch-Gordan - angular momentum
(leadin to half of all angular momentum questions ever; I've probably firstlined on this one clue at least 5 times in practice and in tournaments, never been anything else)

Kerr, Schwarzchild, Reissner-Nordstrom metric - either general relativity, black holes, or just "mass"; it's obvious to tell which one by "this ___"

Early effect - transistors

CKM - quarks or weak force; obvious to tell which one by "this ___"

Hartree-Fock - orbitals

Kekule - benzene

Sanderson or Mulliken or "this quantity"+"chemistry"+"charge" - electronegativity; also always extremely transparent. Despite not knowing anything about electronegativity, I can first or secondline any non-nationals tossup on it by reasoning that it's a chemistry quantity involving electrons.

In all these cases, it's not that there isn't another possible answer, it's that there's nothing else that would be both natural and tossupable, at anything short of NASAT difficulty (things like "Clebsch–Gordan coefficients are used in this field of physics" or "one of his theories involves the Kerr metric" are not natural). I'm pretty sure NSC fixes this by simply not using these clues or these answerlines, not by using them in an innovative way. There's no salvaging these. (and everybody that reads this should probably get at least one or two extra science questions at their next tournament)

In many, many tossups the same clues appear in the same places, and are given in the exact same way. I get a lot of deja vu. My personal theory is that at some point, a good writer/physics major put in Clebsch-Gordan as an angular momentum clue. Subsequently, almost everybody else that proceeded to write angular momentum questions didn't know enough to make a robust tossup on it, and probably didn't bother consulting a QM textbook. Add in the factor of unconfidence: they don't want to be shouted at for unintentionally using something that's actually ambiguous, and they don't know how to modify the clue while keeping it correct. But they do know it's been used as a good firstline in the past. (A similar thing makes a lot of other tossups read like the table of contents of Wikipedia pages)

That's not meant as an insult; I would do the exact same thing trying to write a lit tossup. But, given time, I could actually read the book (or might have read it already) and confidently write a great question with novel clues. If you don't already know a lot about angular momentum, how would you make a good question? I swear, writing each clue will require a year more experience with physics than the next.

I have one more example: the phrase "for a black hole" always corresponds to the answerline "entropy". You don't even need to know it's proportional to the area. The clue always comes up written the exact same way, usually as the leadin. I don't know of anything nearly as bad in any subject. I do like to teach people actual things, but with this, I can give a freshman a guaranteed firstline instead!
Last edited by conquerer7 on Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kevin Zhou
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Re: Nature of Studying

I'm by no means saying that this is how anybody should study, but the fact is that most of my points at tournaments come from stupid things like this. I have spent plenty of time learning things "for real", but that probably won't fetch more than a question or two.

While I'm on my soapbox, a very nice way to lessen this is by describing something in a few words before dropping its name. Still, for aforementioned reasons, this just doesn't happen in regular high school.
Mewto55555 wrote:Auroni said it best on the IRC earlier this evening: paraphrasing him, the first step of getting good is not learning clues like "The Kalevala is associated with Finland and with Elias Lonnrot;" it is instead learning things like "The Kalevala, Finland's national epic, was compiled by Elias Lonnrot," or, more to point of stuff discussed earlier "Vibia Sabina was the wife of Hadrian." This is what enables you to have the cognitive map to get better and grow intellectually.
I've been promoting this for a while, too, but is that quite enough? I know that you have a good map of history, knowing what people and countries are doing what at what times; similarly, my map makes me a good science historian or science enthusiast, not a scientist.

Edit: And science bowl isn't ideal, and, lord, a lot of it is written badly. But the fact remains that its format makes it possible to do things you just can't in quizbowl. We might have a lesson to learn from how its multiple choice forces you to choose between plausible sounding possibilities, even if we don't like how they implement it.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Prison Bowl wrote:
20. One analogue of this law relates the expectation value of an operator to its commutator with the Hamiltonian; that analogue, Ehrenfest's theorem, reduces to this equation in the limit of large quantum numbers. A term accounting for the loss of exhaust is added to one side of this equation to obtain the ideal rocket equation. The impulse-momentum theorem follows from this law, whose rotational analogue states that torque equals moment of inertia times alpha. Its original form stated that net force equals the time derivative of momentum. For 10 points, name this law of physics which states that force equals mass times acceleration.
ANSWER: Newton's Second Law of Motion [prompt on F = ma] <LC>
Science Monstrosity 2 wrote: 2. The most common calculation of this effect in hydrogen is expanded to three terms, and the third
correction is known as the Darwin term. The eigenstates resulting from the addition of its second term can
be found using the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, and the second term vanishes for states of 0 orbital angular
momentum. The first term of this effect is the result of relativistic corrections to the hydrogen atom and like
the other two terms is proportional to the square of the charge times its namesake constant. FTP, identify
this energy splitting in hydrogen which takes its name from its porportionality to a constant approximately
equal to one over 137.
(and before you ask, fine structure constant has been a tossup answerline before in HS, such as the 2010 All-Star Round NSC -- it's hard, but not impossible)

These apply to way more things -- for example, Schwarzchild metric could be a clue in a tossup on like "non-rotating" or something cute like that.

Early Effect could be used as a clue in a voltage tossup (though I just glanced over wiki, I could be wrong).
Noted high school set from this year MSU/UD wrote: 10. The Hartree-Fock Method is used to solve this man’s equation for the conductivity of molecules. That equation can be represented in Dirac Notation, and it describes the time and space dependence of quantum systems. To demonstrate the absurdity of the(*) Copenhagen interpretation, this man proposed a thought experiment where a vial of hydrocyanic acid shattered. For 10 points, name this man who described a wave function’s collapse with a box containing a simultaneously alive and dead.
Kekule could just as easily be a clue for anything that is true of benzene (maybe like "Kekule figured out that a certain compound had this property" as a construction somewhere), though I would agree with you that the "Kekule had a dream of a snake eating its tail yay benzene" is not a good clue for early in benzene tossups (which is why it isn't used there in well-written ones!)

I would be surprised if Mulliken, noted developer of MO theory, didn't come up anywhere besides in electronegativity tossups.

You are taking your life into your own hands if you hear "for a black hole, this quantity" and buzz with entropy. There's no reason someone couldn't write a tossup on like any other quantity and phrase it that exact way.

I don't think we're really at cross-purposes though, my point is mostly that word-association doesn't work on good sets -- on "Generic Highschool Housewrite #10 where Every Clue is Lifted From an Old Packet" they'll serve you well, but that's not what matters. You are totally fine if you know that Kekule proposed the ring structure of benzene; you are less fine if you only know Kekule is "associated with" benzene (and you will, as I alluded to, be flying blind on Kekule bonuses).

I totally agree with you on the bit near the end though; people, stop being lazy when you write questions!
Max

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Re: Nature of Studying

Yeah, I hope that an auxiliary purpose of this thread is to show that it makes no sense to compare the worst quiz bowl questions to [insert other format], and use that as "proof" that [other format] is better. Also, call Max Schindler mean all you want, but I am impressed by his patience.
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Re: Nature of Studying

I think Max has already pointed out a ton of excellent stuff, but it's probably worth noting that the mentality of direct associations leads to some really poor, boring, and sometimes downright incorrect question writing. If you rely solely on associations, you probably won't be a very good writer.

Also, a story: In my sophomore year, I got through much of the year using direct associations for physics things, because I hadn't taken physics and was too lazy to try to understand things. I got a few powers here and there by hearing "Ives-Stilwell" and buzzing in with "Doppler effect" every time. Then, at PACE, this question came up:
This effect was first experimentally verified when Ives and Stilwell observed the exact decrease in frequency predicted by the transverse Doppler effect. This effect is most often illustrated by considering a traveler who moves at relativistic speeds and returns to find that he is (*) younger than his twin, a result known as the “twin paradox.” It was verified at non-relativistic speeds by placing four atomic clocks on planes and seeing what time they read compared to a stationary one. For 10 points, name this effect which, like length contraction, is predicted by special relativity.
This is obviously a fine tossup, and it very clearly points out that the thing that's being asked about was "first experimentally verified" by the Ives-Stilwell experiment. Well, I pretty much ignored that and buzzed with the Doppler effect. I was of course totally wrong, and all of this happened simply because I was too lazy to learn the actual association between the Doppler effect and the Ives-Stilwell experiment. This is one of many, many examples of the phenomenon Max is talking about.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Mewto55555 wrote:Sean, you are totally wrong!

Glancing at your other posts, it seems nearly all your exposure to questions is through ProtoBowl -- it's totally logical that you would believe knowing Stribeck curve is enough to always get you questions on friction when all you have seen are the same two or three tossups on friction repeated over and over again, but this is in fact not the case. Like I challenged Kevin earlier, look at PACE NSC 2012 science and see what you think -- it is incredibly well-written and I'd be surprised if you persisted in these misguided beliefs after reading it.

This idea that quizbowl is a game that can be beaten by memorizing sufficiently many names and is therefore an insufficiently good test of knowledge is a foolish one that seems to be common among the middling players who are starting to find that, due to the nature of their strategy, many of their buzzes are indeed "fake." If you content yourself with knowing "Fick's laws is diffusion", you will lay waste to the vast number of teams who have never heard that clue and feel proud. You would however, be slaughtered by the teams who actually know what Fick's Laws or Graham's Law state. If all you know about novels are character names, then you are in for a rude awakening when a well-written tossup goes three lines dropping plot clues and no names. You might know Vilbia Sabina was "associated with" Hadrian in some way, but won't it suck when there's a tossup on Marcus Aurelius that mentions the other Vibia Sabina? Or perhaps a tossup on Suetonius mentioning their affair? What if Stribeck curve is used in a clever tossup on "liquids" which start by mentioning their effect on the Stribeck curve ("lubricants in this phase [do something to the shape] of the Stribeck curve")

There is NO WORD which can be strictly used as a one-to-one association with any particular answerline -- I challenge you to come up with a single example, or even an example of a two-or-three-word phrase.

Quizbowl, alas, has a way of getting back at the poor children who do not actually know what they are buzzing on: a recent thread is an example of this.

You're totally not going about this right though -- to say ScienceBowl is better than quizbowl because at high difficulty ScienceBowl can distinguish better is to willfully ignore the literally hundreds of good science tossups which are written at higher difficulties than regular HS. It sounds to me like what would be a remedy for all your problems is to go into your own ProtoBowl room and set the difficulty to college and see how it goes. Spend your time actually learning things; trust me, it helps you a lot. If you are happy with having fake knowledge, then your abilities will quickly peak.

the only protein that comes up in quizbowl is collagen.

This is, alas, completely false. Even Protobowl has tossups on more proteins than collagen!

PS: For frauding purposes, if something has a 3D generalization, don't forget that it could be occurring in 2D, not just necessarily 1D!
Max, your challenges to the Science Bowl questions (valid), have been entirely on their worth as questions in and of themselves—yes, they are not stellar, just like most Science Bowl questions, or, for that matter, most quiz bowl questions (and, excluding NAQT and ACF tournaments, the majority of college tournaments are not at all immune to this phenomenon). However, the ways in which they test this knowledge really are different.

I think this is what's being argued: yes, deeper knowledge is rewarded at higher levels of play in Quiz Bowl (thank god). However, the different format of Science Bowl questions allows deeper knowledge to be tested at the same level of difficulty, and maybe some elements of this could be added to Quiz Bowl questions as-is.

Excluding "creator-creation," your statement about direct one-to-one associations may be true (even with the much-dreaded geography), except for maybe certain quotations. I also agree that memorizing things like this (or reading packets by memorizing clues instead of adding to the list of encyclopedia articles/books/etc. to read) is not my idea of good Quiz Bowl studying.
Mewto55555 wrote:No meanness was intended, but I have no desire to sugarcoat my criticism of the incredibly wrong belief, which is still shockingly common, that quizbowl can be reduced down to a game of word associations. Auroni said it best on the IRC earlier this evening: paraphrasing him, the first step of getting good is not learning clues like "The Kalevala is associated with Finland and with Elias Lonnrot;" it is instead learning things like "The Kalevala, Finland's national epic, was compiled by Elias Lonnrot," or, more to point of stuff discussed earlier "Vibia Sabina was the wife of Hadrian."
But this is just word associations, using the "wife" or "National Epic" as the associative word—which takes no more effort (it's certainly easier for me, at least) than the other way. My only point in making this post is that you may be slightly misconstruing the reductionist argument; I know that if I were to make it, I would be implying that quizbowl (like all other knowledge?) can be reduced to "Caracalla was a Roman emperor" "Caracalla had his younger brother Geta murdered" "Caracalla and Geta were both sons of Septimius Severus" "Caracalla granted citizenship to all freemen in the Empire" etc. I'm not saying that people don't study by learning "'Baths'=Caracalla if Roman Emperor," but "word associations" can mean a lot of things.
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Re: Nature of Studying

HSAPQ wrote:The CKM matrix explains several reactions mediated by this interaction, which Cronin and Fitch showed...
HSAPQ wrote:This interaction is described by an extension of the GIM mechanism, the CKM matrix, and an experiment...
GSAC wrote:The CKM matrix explains decays due to this type of interaction...
Prison Bowl wrote:The CKM matrix describes their decay...
ACF Fall wrote:One form of this interaction is governed by the CKM matrix.
It's not just a "bad quizbowl" thing. I'm pretty sure everything above is considered to be good quizbowl, and I wasn't even able to search through half of the recent packets. I'm pretty sure I've heard this leadin at least twice in NAQT IS sets, too.
Orangutan Surfing Civilization wrote:I got a few powers here and there by hearing "Ives-Stilwell" and buzzing in with "Doppler effect" every time. Then, at PACE, this question came up:
This effect was first experimentally verified when Ives and Stilwell observed the exact decrease in frequency predicted by the transverse Doppler effect. This effect is most often illustrated by considering a traveler who moves at relativistic speeds and returns to find that he is (*) younger than his twin, a result known as the “twin paradox.” It was verified at non-relativistic speeds by placing four atomic clocks on planes and seeing what time they read compared to a stationary one. For 10 points, name this effect which, like length contraction, is predicted by special relativity.
My point was that trying to make things like this often ends up awkward. Up to the word "transverse", either "relativistic Doppler effect" or "transverse Doppler effect" are both right. If it then instead said "predicted by time dilation", then the answer would definitely be one of those two.

That, in combination with "this effect" in the beginning, makes it just feel like a hose. Doppler effect is the more natural answer. This is like beginning with "This effect explains why Saturn's rings have not formed into moons" and having the answer be "gravity", not "tidal forces".
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Re: Nature of Studying

It's no secret that most if not all good quizbowlers to some extent use association/memorization to improve. However, this is a foundation; it can only get you so far (lots of good to medium buzzes at lower difficulty sets, mostly okay buzzes at higher difficulty). Furthermore, it can harm you if questions appear that you are not cognitively prepared for because you are just word associating. If I mention the site of a battle associated with some king but have provided context clues that make it obvious that it is like 500 years after that king ruled, you will neg foolishly if you just word associated.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Man, can we just burn protobowl?
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Re: Nature of Studying

Thanks to Kevin for airing much more eloquently what I've been privately complaining about to him for about a year.

You can't just say "at the best levels of quiz bowl, it gets better". I've never played PACE NSC, maybe it has these wonderful science questions. But it doesn't matter, because at the worst levels of Science Bowl, it's still good. I can read the easiest Science Bowl questions from a Science Bowl regional tournament to our freshmen and sophomores and they'll do frighteningly terribly - because even though they've learned quiz bowl science beyond their curriculum, they haven't learned any science beyond their curriculum. You don't need to know whether transcription comes before translation in order to buzz with it when you hear "TATA box" - which seems backwards, but that's quiz bowl for you.
Cheynem wrote:It's no secret that most if not all good quizbowlers to some extent use association/memorization to improve. However, this is a foundation; it can only get you so far (lots of good to medium buzzes at lower difficulty sets, mostly okay buzzes at higher difficulty). Furthermore, it can harm you if questions appear that you are not cognitively prepared for because you are just word associating. If I mention the site of a battle associated with some king but have provided context clues that make it obvious that it is like 500 years after that king ruled, you will neg foolishly if you just word associated.
Basing your knowledge on binary word association only will lead to the hilarious negs that Max talks about ... about 20% of the time, which is an acceptable ratio. The other 80%, you get lots of points and win games. The existence of counterexamples doesn't destroy the presence of a really awful trend. We have a player who has the potential to learn a lot of really cool science... but his goal is to be good at quiz bowl. So of course he plays Protobowl and learns stock clues, because most of the time, that works. It qualified our D team for HSNCT. I'd wager on an IS set or a housewrite, he's the best science player at LASA.
Mewto55555 wrote: Glancing at your other posts, it seems nearly all your exposure to questions is through ProtoBowl -- it's totally logical that you would believe knowing Stribeck curve is enough to always get you questions on friction when all you have seen are the same two or three tossups on friction repeated over and over again, but this is in fact not the case. What if Stribeck curve is used in a clever tossup on "liquids" which start by mentioning their effect on the Stribeck curve ("lubricants in this phase [do something to the shape] of the Stribeck curve")
That will never happen in an IS set. It will never happen in an HSAPQ packet. It will never happen in a housewrite. It will never happen in ACF Fall, and it will probably never happen at HSNCT. If it happens in any of those sets, it will be criticized as either a "hose" or "too difficult".
Inkana7 wrote:Man, can we just burn protobowl?
Competitive protobowl is a highly successful way of getting better at mid-level high school quiz bowl. Max's assertion that people should go to their own private rooms and load up college questions is actually what I've done on a number of occasions, and it helps. Instead of burning protobowl, we should make it so our questions can't be protobowl'ed.

And besides which, Protobowl only does more efficiently what people have been doing in physical practices (and if I hear correctly, quiz bowl camps) for years. (Citation: http://www.qbwiki.com/wiki/Romero_Method)
Last edited by Angstrom on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nature of Studying

If you've never played NSC, how can you make these sweeping pronouncements about tournaments?
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Re: Nature of Studying

I make sweeping pronouncements about the tournaments I've played. Which are mostly IS sets, easy college sets, and HSNCT.

As I said, maybe the top of high school quiz bowl is shiny and wonderful. But that doesn't change the matter of the rest of it.
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Re: Nature of Studying

That will never happen in an IS set. It will never happen in an HSAPQ packet. It will never happen in a housewrite. It will never happen in ACF Fall, and it will probably never happen at HSNCT. If it happens in any of those sets, it will be criticized as either a "hose" or "too difficult".
And when that criticism happens, it will correctly be ignored and more questions that actually test peoples' knowledge will be written. Loud voices do not a convincing argument make.
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Re: Nature of Studying

conquerer7 wrote:
Orangutan Surfing Civilization wrote:I got a few powers here and there by hearing "Ives-Stilwell" and buzzing in with "Doppler effect" every time. Then, at PACE, this question came up:
This effect was first experimentally verified when Ives and Stilwell observed the exact decrease in frequency predicted by the transverse Doppler effect. This effect is most often illustrated by considering a traveler who moves at relativistic speeds and returns to find that he is (*) younger than his twin, a result known as the “twin paradox.” It was verified at non-relativistic speeds by placing four atomic clocks on planes and seeing what time they read compared to a stationary one. For 10 points, name this effect which, like length contraction, is predicted by special relativity.
My point was that trying to make things like this often ends up awkward. Up to the word "transverse", either "relativistic Doppler effect" or "transverse Doppler effect" are both right. If it then instead said "predicted by time dilation", then the answer would definitely be one of those two.

That, in combination with "this effect" in the beginning, makes it just feel like a hose. Doppler effect is the more natural answer. This is like beginning with "This effect explains why Saturn's rings have not formed into moons" and having the answer be "gravity", not "tidal forces".
What the hell are you talking about? This post is complete nonsense and only shows that you have no idea what you're talking about with regards to science. Go read up on the Ives-Stillwell experiment on wikipedia for about 5 seconds and you'll see that what you said makes no sense! That question is perfectly fine, and is in NO WAY AT ALL a hose or awkward.
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Re: Nature of Studying

OK, so here's what y'all are missing: Quizbowl regular difficulty is NOT meant for your teams. LASA was polled as top 3, High Tech I can't find in the Fred 50, but I'm sure they're probably still decent, especially compared with the rest of their circuit. The goal is NOT FOR QUESTIONS TO GO DEAD IN THE NAME OF REAL KNOWLEDGE!!! Seriously, guys? That's like me complaining that I read Arrowsmith two years ago and "OMG all these Sinclair Lewis questions are so easy why don't they ever toss up Max Gottlieb in an HSAPQ set." Just because ScienceBowl has un-answered questions doesn't make it better; I for one like weaker teams being able to at least play regular difficulty sets.

Kevin, your CKM examples are from HSAPQ, housewrites, and a college set from 2007. They're not indicative of what goes on at higher-level play; have you gotten around to reading NSC 2012 yet? Do you see what I mean when I say science questions can be written well?

Allan, what is going on in your posts? If I wanted to watch people do terrible at science who only knew quizbowl terms, I could pull up Lederberg Memorial and read it to my freshmen at practice. This would be stupid. I don't know why you neglected to play a fantastic NSC, and I know you missed playing much of NASAT's mostly-good hard science because people still don't understand that subbing during quizbowl games is a stupid strategy, but you should read through NSC as well and see how wrong you are. I don't know why the mirror of LIST in Texas suddenly disappeared and you haven't gotten to play a housewrite which I wrote primarily intending to reward legitimate knowledge. I'm really glad your D team qualified for HSNCT -- if they want to actually do well at NSC or something, you should advise them that they might want to change their study strategy.

But back to Science Bowl, yeah; there's nothing in Science Bowl that, if it's so fantastic, can't at least be adapted into the form of a quizbowl bonus. As Gandhi would say, Allan, be the change you wish to see in the world -- you know what you want, you have the perfect venue to present it to the quizbowl world, and you have a fantastic science head-editor who can help you out. Find the best of ScienceBowl, and be different than the writers of the crappy housewrites whose questions you rightly disdain: put some thought into writing your questions and make them actually reward real knowledge. It's hard work, but well worth in. When both LIST and JAMES are clear, I'll gladly post all my physics questions and you yours into a thread so we can all do a post-mortem, and see what went right and wrong.

And yeah, Kevin, Billy is totally right -- don't try to argue that any question which your "you say Ives-Stilwell I say Doppler!" cheerleading routine fails is flawed. It's your strategy that is.
Last edited by Mewto55555 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Mewto55555 wrote: But back to Science Bowl, yeah; there's nothing in Science Bowl that, if it's so fantastic, can't at least be adapted into the form of a quizbowl bonus.
I totally agree, and will try to incorporate at least something that rewards knowledge like the "order the steps" question (but less transparent) into my question in the future.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Mewto55555 wrote:High Tech I can't find in the Fred 50
They'd be in the "next five out" if I cared to do such a thing.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Mewto55555 wrote:The goal is NOT FOR QUESTIONS TO GO DEAD IN THE NAME OF REAL KNOWLEDGE!!! Seriously, guys? That's like me complaining that I read Arrowsmith two years ago and "OMG all these Sinclair Lewis questions are so easy why don't they ever toss up Max Gottlieb in an HSAPQ set."
Lord, I never wanted that. I just want early clues to be gettable with real knowledge. See, you actually have real Sinclair Lewis knowledge. Presumably, that means you can get questions over people who skim a Wikipedia page, because really early clues would be nicely varied and wouldn't be in the article at all.

If I wanted to power my questions off of real knowledge, I'd have to spend years learning the stuff -- and even it wouldn't be particularly useful because a lot of quizbowl science questions read more like the table of contents of a Wikipedia article than the content of a course or book. (and god, don't get me started on questions that throw out obscure things about how insert-experiment-here was conducted, or what scientist argued with who; nobody would ever learn that anywhere besides Wikipedia)
Kevin, your CKM examples are from HSAPQ, housewrites, and a college set from 2007. They're not indicative of what goes on at higher-level play; have you gotten around to reading NSC 2012 yet? Do you see what I mean when I say science questions can be written well?
And yeah, Kevin, Billy is totally right -- don't try to argue that any question which your "you say Ives-Stilwell I say Doppler!" cheerleading routine fails is flawed. It's your strategy that is.
That's the last thing I'm advocating. I don't pull this association at nationals (and I haven't seen NSC, but NASAT does a wonderful job), but it works pretty well everywhere else. It's flawed, I don't want to use it, but what frustrates me is that there's no way I can avoid using it. This isn't as simple as "go read a book" -- I won't be able to actually understand most science clues for another few years. (not to mention if I didn't use it, I wouldn't have been on the High Tech team that went to HSNCT, or the NJ NASAT team)

In any case, that specific question quoted was awkwardly written. I'm totally aware that the intro to the Wikipedia article says "this is the first direct test of time dilation". It's also the first direct test of the relativistic (or transverse, if you wish) Doppler effect. That effect is a direct result of time dilation (it's literally a one line derivation), so "time dilation predicts the relativistic Doppler effect" is totally correct; what this question is doing is flipping that over with "the relativistic Doppler effect predicts time dilation", which doesn't really make sense. Again, this is like saying "this force rips apart objects within the Roche limit" but surprise!, it's "gravity", not "tidal force", which results from gravity, in an attempt to trip up people who will buzz with the latter.

Of course, I understand what you guys mean. It does get better at nationals. But non-science can be good at any level!
But back to Science Bowl, yeah; there's nothing in Science Bowl that, if it's so fantastic, can't at least be adapted into the form of a quizbowl bonus.
I still think there are some things that just can't be transferred. Like:

Earth and Space. Which of the following best explains why we always see the same side of the moon?
<insert 4 very plausible sounding answers, all containing the phrase "tidal force" or "tidal bulge">

Or, well, I don't want to drag in computation. But NAQT's attempts at math comp bonuses end up meh because you only have 5 seconds to do them; that makes the question space rather small.
When both LIST and JAMES are clear, I'll gladly post all my physics questions and you yours into a thread so we can all do a post-mortem, and see what went right and wrong.
Let's hope this doesn't end up as brutal as IMSANITY's math critique... I wasn't aware of JAMES at all, and I'm excited to see it, and to play LIST in a month's time.
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Re: Nature of Studying

conquerer7 wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
And yeah, Kevin, Billy is totally right -- don't try to argue that any question which your "you say Ives-Stilwell I say Doppler!" cheerleading routine fails is flawed. It's your strategy that is.
That's the last thing I'm advocating. I don't pull this association at nationals (and I haven't seen NSC, but NASAT does a wonderful job), but it works pretty well everywhere else. It's flawed, I don't want to use it, but what frustrates me is that there's no way I can avoid using it. This isn't as simple as "go read a book" -- I won't be able to actually understand most science clues for another few years. (not to mention if I didn't use it, I wouldn't have been on the High Tech team that went to HSNCT, or the NJ NASAT team)

In any case, that specific question quoted was awkwardly written. I'm totally aware that the intro to the Wikipedia article says "this is the first direct test of time dilation". It's also the first direct test of the relativistic (or transverse, if you wish) Doppler effect. That effect is a direct result of time dilation (it's literally a one line derivation), so "time dilation predicts the relativistic Doppler effect" is totally correct; what this question is doing is flipping that over with "the relativistic Doppler effect predicts time dilation", which doesn't really make sense. Again, this is like saying "this force rips apart objects within the Roche limit" but surprise!, it's "gravity", not "tidal force", which results from gravity, in an attempt to trip up people who will buzz with the latter.
No, you are still misunderstanding. Let's look at what the question actually said:
This effect was first experimentally verified when Ives and Stilwell observed the exact decrease in frequency predicted by the transverse Doppler effect.
Nowhere does the question say that the transverse Doppler effect predicts/causes time dilation. It states that Ives and Stillwell obtained a frequency measurement consistent with the predictions of the transverse Doppler effect, which is just the normal Doppler effect with time dilation added in. In addition, saying "time dilation predicts the relativistic Doppler effect" is a silly and nonsensical thing to say, considering that the relativistic Doppler effect IS time dilation applied to a particular case. Saying "time dilation causes the TDE" or "the TDE is an example of time dilation" are more accurate statements.

If you buzz in before "transverse" is read and say "Doppler effect," you are wrong. (this is due to the use of the word "first") If you say "transverse Doppler effect" or "relativistic Doppler effect," then you probably deserve to be prompted. However, beware in doing so, as a question on time dilation might include previous clues that don't involve the Doppler effect at all, making you wrong. (although, in that case, the clue would require a slight re-wording to discourage those buzzes)

As for your Roche example, I see nothing wrong with doing that and prompting on "tidal forces" (provided that there are no clues earlier in the question that do not have to do with tidal forces). If you can't come up with gravity on a prompt, then you don't actually know what tides are and don't deserve points.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Angstrom wrote:Basing your knowledge on binary word association only will lead to the hilarious negs that Max talks about ... about 20% of the time, which is an acceptable ratio. The other 80%, you get lots of points and win games. The existence of counterexamples doesn't destroy the presence of a really awful trend. We have a player who has the potential to learn a lot of really cool science... but his goal is to be good at quiz bowl. So of course he plays Protobowl and learns stock clues, because most of the time, that works. It qualified our D team for HSNCT. I'd wager on an IS set or a housewrite, he's the best science player at LASA.
So, I got a limited amount of time and I can't respond to everything point-by-point in this thread, but I wanted to respond to this particular argument.

Yes, learning minimal information will make you better than whatever percentage of quiz bowlers that don't know how to study, or don't care to study, or don't study a particular category. That will allow you to beat those teams, particularly on normal high school difficulty.

Yes, learning minimal information and minimal information only will lead to you losing to teams that actually learn more things. Those teams will then go and contend for national championships, while your team can really only beat local teams that don't know what's going on or don't care.

This is what, we in "the biz" refer to as, "a working system." Mediocre teams beat bad teams. Good teams beat mediocre teams. Great teams beat good teams. If things didn't work like this, then there would be a fundamental flaw in the game.

This is, essentially, an extension of "easy high school quiz bowl is too easy to challenge me. Therefore, it must be redesigned so it is a challenge for me. Nevermind the consequences of that, such as sets being dramatically harder for new high school teams, or high school teams that don't have the talent and/or drive to actually get good, and the resulting decrease in active teams essentially crippling the quiz bowl economy. It is I, a person who has self-defined himself as good at quiz bowl, who the activity must be exclusively designed for." This is a great course of action to follow, if you want quiz bowl to no longer grow and, in fact, shrink.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Angstrom wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote: Glancing at your other posts, it seems nearly all your exposure to questions is through ProtoBowl -- it's totally logical that you would believe knowing Stribeck curve is enough to always get you questions on friction when all you have seen are the same two or three tossups on friction repeated over and over again, but this is in fact not the case. What if Stribeck curve is used in a clever tossup on "liquids" which start by mentioning their effect on the Stribeck curve ("lubricants in this phase [do something to the shape] of the Stribeck curve")
That will never happen in an IS set. It will never happen in an HSAPQ packet. It will never happen in a housewrite. It will never happen in ACF Fall, and it will probably never happen at HSNCT. If it happens in any of those sets, it will be criticized as either a "hose" or "too difficult".
A tossup on "liquids" is by no means too difficult for an A-set, let alone any of the tournaments you mentioned. Perhaps people would call it a "hose" on Protobowl, but, having laid out exactly what it's asking for, it would not "hose" anyone who bothered listening.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Earth and Space. Which of the following best explains why we always see the same side of the moon?
<insert 4 very plausible sounding answers, all containing the phrase "tidal force" or "tidal bulge">
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Re: Nature of Studying

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
Angstrom wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote: Glancing at your other posts, it seems nearly all your exposure to questions is through ProtoBowl -- it's totally logical that you would believe knowing Stribeck curve is enough to always get you questions on friction when all you have seen are the same two or three tossups on friction repeated over and over again, but this is in fact not the case. What if Stribeck curve is used in a clever tossup on "liquids" which start by mentioning their effect on the Stribeck curve ("lubricants in this phase [do something to the shape] of the Stribeck curve")
That will never happen in an IS set. It will never happen in an HSAPQ packet. It will never happen in a housewrite. It will never happen in ACF Fall, and it will probably never happen at HSNCT. If it happens in any of those sets, it will be criticized as either a "hose" or "too difficult".
A tossup on "liquids" is by no means too difficult for an A-set, let alone any of the tournaments you mentioned. Perhaps people would call it a "hose" on Protobowl, but, having laid out exactly what it's asking for, it would not "hose" anyone who bothered listening.
Having never heard of the Stribeck curve before and having only done 3-5 minutes of googling for research, it could also easily be incorporated into tossups on "velocity" or "viscosity." Just because many writers of high school science questions are uncreative does not mean that science high school quizbowl is somehow invalid or bad!
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Re: Nature of Studying

Fred wrote:This is, essentially, an extension of "easy high school quiz bowl is too easy to challenge me. Therefore, it must be redesigned so it is a challenge for me. Nevermind the consequences of that, such as sets being dramatically harder for new high school teams, or high school teams that don't have the talent and/or drive to actually get good, and the resulting decrease in active teams essentially crippling the quiz bowl economy. It is I, a person who has self-defined himself as good at quiz bowl, who the activity must be exclusively designed for." This is a great course of action to follow, if you want quiz bowl to no longer grow and, in fact, shrink.
I don't quite understand this sarcastic paragraph, but it seems you think I want to make easy quiz bowl harder. I don't think "less stock" is the same thing as "harder". Is that what you're saying? Because Science Bowl does a good job of being gettable at the high-school-curriculum level and not being stock. That's the whole point of this thread, I think - that easy and not-stock IS attainable, and HAS been attained - by someone else.

And I don't think we should say that the only parts of high school quiz bowl that we're allowed to try to make less stock are national tournaments.
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Re: Nature of Studying

All quizbowl should be less stock. I think quizbowl gradually is becoming less stock.

Getting back to the Science Bowl comparison, I really feel like you are comparing apples and oranges. Quizbowl does not have questions in which people have to analyze works of literature or explain the significance of historical events because you cannot make those questions pyramidal and thus fairly competitive. Science Bowl apparently gives some flexibility in requiring people to explain how things work and what they mean.
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Re: Nature of Studying

Angstrom wrote:
Fred wrote:This is, essentially, an extension of "easy high school quiz bowl is too easy to challenge me. Therefore, it must be redesigned so it is a challenge for me. Nevermind the consequences of that, such as sets being dramatically harder for new high school teams, or high school teams that don't have the talent and/or drive to actually get good, and the resulting decrease in active teams essentially crippling the quiz bowl economy. It is I, a person who has self-defined himself as good at quiz bowl, who the activity must be exclusively designed for." This is a great course of action to follow, if you want quiz bowl to no longer grow and, in fact, shrink.
I don't quite understand this sarcastic paragraph, but it seems you think I want to make easy quiz bowl harder. I don't think "less stock" is the same thing as "harder". Is that what you're saying? Because Science Bowl does a good job of being gettable at the high-school-curriculum level and not being stock. That's the whole point of this thread, I think - that easy and not-stock IS attainable, and HAS been attained - by someone else.

And I don't think we should say that the only parts of high school quiz bowl that we're allowed to try to make less stock are national tournaments.
You're missing the point: that you don't have to resort to the format of science bowl (which leads to many horrible, horrible things such as multiple choice tossups) in order to make high school qb less stock! The reason people are citing NSC is NOT because NSC is more difficult (although the increased difficulty does contribute to making it harder to fake), but because Eric Mukherjee is better at writing than your average housewrite writer (understatement, I know), leading to better questions.
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Re: Nature of Studying

I think most people go through a phase where they think "stock clues" are equivalent to "clues I've heard before." Stock clues are clues that are recycled over and over again, disproportionately to their importance, and often in lead-ins even though overuse has made them familiar to many. One example might be the thing from To Kill a Mockingbird about that person who drank cola out of a paper bag.

On the other hand, if the clue is important and placed properly, there is no problem at all. Many questions I've heard on ribosomes mention the E-, P-, and A-sites, but if questions on ribosomes teach you that those are sites where aminoacyl tRNAs go during translation, you're not just memorizing clues - you're learning something. As long as these clues don't appear too early, there's not a problem. And if a particular clue that isn't central to the topic is repeatedly recycled as a matter of apparent laziness, maybe you ought to call people out on it rather than complain about the entire format.
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Re: Nature of Studying

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote: And if a particular clue that isn't central to the topic is repeatedly recycled as a matter of apparent laziness, maybe you ought to call people out on it rather than complain about the entire format.
I think this should be the key takeaway from this thread.
Max