ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

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ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:09 pm

I'm sure Jonathan will have a lot more to say later, but I figure I'd get the ball rolling with a discussion thread.

I edited the visual arts and contributed a few computer science questions.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:37 pm

I really enjoyed this set's questions, especially the editors' packets. The classical history was especially enjoyable. The questions were certainly challenging, but far from impossible, and I highly anticipate playing this tournament next year.

My personal favorite tossup was the one about compiling the Qur'an, which mentioned the Sana'a document. I also liked the tossup on the Magi, though I waited a while on it because I wasn't sure whether they wanted "Magi" or just "Zoroastrian priests" - my hesitancy was probably unfounded. The tossup on Marian prosecutions was interesting, too, even though I got negged because I said something along the lines of [Martyrdom of the] "Martyrs of Oxford" because I couldn't figure out what the actual answerline for the question was. I was also very happy with the tossup on Qin Shi Huangdi.

EDIT: I looked at the packet, and the tossup on the Hasmoneans specifically mentioned that the king at the battle of Gadara was Obodas I (misspelled as Odobas in the packet). I retract my criticism of that tossup; my only complain is that I did not get to play it.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by magin » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:50 pm

I want to thank all the teams who showed up to this year's ACF Nationals. I was consistently impressed by the level of play I saw, and I was heartened that so many teams showed up. We hope to see you all back for next year's tournament.

Congratulations to Illinois A for emerging from a tough field and defeating Yale in the second game of an advantaged final to win the 2013 ACF Nationals. The finals were hard-fought and entertaining, and I'm looking forward to seeing the video. Yale also played very well to win their tiebreaker over Michigan and push Illinois to a second game.

I'd also like to congratulate Chicago B for winning the undergraduate title, and Illinois B for winning Division 2 (and as a one-player team, at that). Well done.

I want to thank Matt Weiner for being an excellent tournament director who handled logistics with aplomb, and Victoria Cui for being easy to work with and making sure everything on Columbia's end ran smoothly. I'd also like to thank Susan Ferrari for handling the bulk of the communication with the teams attending Nats. Their hard work allowed us to focus our efforts on editing the set, so if you enjoyed playing it, please thank Matt, Victoria, and Susan.

These people staffed ACF Nats, and deserve everyone's thanks: Bruce Arthur, Jerry Vinokurov, Katy Peters, Frank Firke, Ryan Westbrook, Sarah Angelo, Sid Hariharan, JR Roach, Bryan Berend & Saul Hankin switching off, Jacob Wasserman, Diana Gerr, Michael Hausinger, Eric Douglass, Mehnaj Ahmed, Will Tse, Victoria Cui, Eamon Thomasson, Andrew Lim, and Daniel Hothem (for one round). Make sure to tip your cap to them for selflessly giving up their weekend to staff. Additionally, Carsten Gehring, Evan Nagler, Susan Ferrari, and Seth Teitler all helped randomize the packets.

The following people contributed freelance questions (if I've forgotten anyone, I apologize). Their questions were a huge help in finishing the set.

Literature: Mike Cheyne, Ted Gioia, Rob Carson, Auroni Gupta, Carsten Gehring, Jacob O'Rourke, Jonathan DeWitt, Seth Teitler, Mik Larsen
History: Jacob O'Rourke, Kyle Haddad-Fonda, Mik Larsen, Auroni Gupta, Mike Cheyne
Religion: Dan Passner, Kyle Haddad-Fonda
Philosophy: Andrew Yaphe
Myth: Seth Teitler, Ryan Westbrook, Auroni Gupta
Social Science: Paul Litvak, Dennis Jang, Frank Firke, Gautam Kandlikar

Finally, I'd like to thank my fellow editors Bruce Arthur, Mike Bentley, Andrew Ullsperger, Mike Sorice, and Jerry Vinokurov. The editing breakdown was as follows:

Me: Literature, Audio fine arts, social science
Bruce: History, religion, geography/current events/other
Mike Bentley: Visual fine arts
Andrew: Biology and chemistry
Mike Sorice: Physics, Other science, mythology, some of the philosophy
Jerry: Most of the philosophy

The set is clear, and should be posted shortly. Please let us know what you liked, what you didn't like, and any recommendations you have that would help us produce a better set next year.
Last edited by magin on Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:09 pm

After getting some sleep and looking at the questions objectively, I've got a more positive take on this tournament, and I really appreciate the amazing amount of work Jonathan and co. must have put into finishing it. I'd like to make a couple comments on one major strength of the set and another unfortunate shortcoming thereof, which I hope will be taken as a constructive comment for future Nationals-level events rather than an indictment of the editors' work.

First, I'd like to say that the humanities were pretty much what we've come to expect from a Jonathan Magin tournament. Answer selection was careful and varied, including well-written tossups on both basic answers like "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and harder, overlooked topics like Thomas Bernhard. An impressively consistent philosophy governed the difficulty of bonuses, which managed to reward deep knowledge without being impossible to 30. The bonus parts on "stichomythia" and "vice characters" (not sure if the latter was meant to be middle or hard) exemplify this really inspired approach, and I hope this philosophy continues to spread through more hard events.

However, like the past few Nationals to varying degrees, this tournament did not always demonstrate a commitment to consistent difficulty across the editors' domains. If you got one of Jonathan's bonuses, you could earn 30 by naming one of the most famous literary critics of the 20th century or recognizing important quotes from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. If you landed on a Bruce bonus, you'd better know your battles from the War of the Portuguese Succession or clashes between Lithuania and the Golden Horde--and in some cases, you'd better know the Targowica Confederation or Suppililiuma I to get even 10. It didn't seem like anyone had imposed a tournament-wide vision on the set, which at times felt more like a few different tournaments stitched together. Most of those segments were internally decent, but the Press Your Luck-like experience of praying not to land on a Whammy was probably the most frustrating part of the event.

EDIT: grammar
Last edited by The King's Flight to the Scots on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:33 pm

So I was the editor for History, Religion, and Geography/Current Events/Other Academic. My general philosophy for all three subjects was that I wanted to make most of the tossups fall into the category of “hard tossups on easy answers”. This meant answerlines that would get answered in every room by the end, but clues that would challenge even the best players. For example, the gimmick in the Shi Huang Di tossup was that most of the clues refer to things that happened BEFORE he unified China. I did, however, put in a few tossups in every category that were “answerline hard” – that wouldn’t necessarily get answered in every room. I think it’s OK to do this at Nationals, and I tried to ensure that they would be a distinct minority of the tossups.

The religion distribution is probably the one I put the most thought into: I wanted to rebuff the idea that the answer space is limited, that we are doomed to play the same tossups on Guru Nanak and Sukkot over and over again, etc., and I wanted to put more focus on religion as-practiced and on important things that have been under-appreciated by quizbowl.

On Geography/Current Events/Other Academic, I tried to ensure that this was balanced in each packet. In the editors packets, you will notice that the tossup and the bonus in this category always alternated. In the submitted packets, this is not always true: there are sometimes 1/1 geography, sometimes 1/1 Current Events. The reason for this was simply that I wanted to use the highest quality/least repetitive submissions. I apologize if this caused any issues.

I did more replacing of submitted tossups in History this year than I did last year. Part of this was that the submissions were generally of lower quality, but a great part of this was because certain areas got submitted more frequently. Specifically, a lot of people submitted 20th century history, and a lot of people submitted Eastern European (especially Polish) history. In the Editors packets, which I wrote before many of the submissions came in, I also wrote a lot of 20th century history. So a lot of 20th century and Polish history tossups submitted by teams ended up on the cutting room floor despite being high-quality, for no fault of their own.

Before going into specifics, I want to address the difficulty issue: based on anecdotal evidence, it seems I may have overshot on the target difficulty. Before you ascribe this to any kind of communication or editing failure on the part of the head editor, I want to reassure you that we all did receive clear instructions on difficulty from the head editor. I think a large part of why I overshot difficulty in a few places may be the fact that I have not played for a few years. Things like “Tokhtymysh” and “Marin Barleti” were really frequently used as clues in my playing days, and I had assumed that years later, they were still coming up and, if anything, even more famous. Apparently I was wrong. Conversely, in my day there was no such thing as a famous clue about the Carnation Revolution, and then to my surprise the clue I placed at the start of that tossup has since become incredibly famous. There’s certainly more I could have done to get a better sense of how difficulty has changed since my retirement, and I apologize to anyone who got blindsided by misplaced clues or middle parts that were too hard.

Now, to get to the specifics:

Most of the religion, history, and current events/geo/other academic in the editors packets were mine. However, Mik Larsen wrote the tossups on “Corinth”, “Fabius Cunctator”, and “Philip”. Jonathan Magin wrote the tossups on “Anti-Catholicism” and “Rhode Island”. Dan Passner wrote the tossup on “Challah” and Kyle Haddad-Fonda wrote the tossup on “Reciting the Moslem Call to Prayer”. Auroni Gupta wrote the tossup on “Swiss Catholics”, though I directly requested that answerline. I edited all of these tossups, sometimes substantially from their original form, but credit is due to the original authors.

In the submissions, the following tossups came from me or one of my assistants:
  • West Germany (Mike Cheyne gave me the answerline, I wrote all of it)
  • Atomic Bomb Survivors (Auroni came up with this and wrote it)
  • World War I (all mine)
  • Chester A. Arthur (all mine)
  • Gold (all mine)
  • Vice President (all mine)
  • Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire (all mine)
  • Emperor of Ethiopia (all mine)
  • Georgia (US History) (Jacob O’Rourke wrote this with the answerline being “Indian Removal”, I edited this into a tossup on the state with mostly Indian Removal clues)
  • Georgia (European History) (all mine)
  • Panic of 1837 (all mine)
  • Franco-Dutch War (all mine)
  • Moscow (Auroni Gupta)
  • Marin Barleti (all mine)
  • Lord Palmerston (all mine)
  • Second Dacian War (all mine)
  • Akbar (all mine, but many people submitted Din-i-Ilahi bonuses)
  • Irish Free State (all mine)
  • Dominican Republic (Auroni Gupta)
  • Weddings (all mine)
  • Nachmanides (Dan Passner)
  • Cult of Reason (all mine)
  • Torah Reading (Dan Passner)
  • Zurvan (all mine)
  • Demiurge (all mine)
  • Jesuits (all mine, but multiple people submitted questions on Spirtual Exercises)
  • CISPA (all mine)
  • Tanzania (all mine. Columbia submitted a tossup on “Marxist Geography”, along with a warning telling me that if I replaced it with a tossup on Tanzania I was ignoring what academic geographers actually did. I took it as a challenge)
  • Mizrahi Jews (Dan Passner)
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:42 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: [*] Tanzania (all mine. Columbia submitted a tossup on “Marxist Geography”, along with a warning telling me that if I replaced it with a tossup on Tanzania I was ignoring what academic geographers actually did. I took it as a challenge)
A good choice!
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Fond du lac operon » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:04 pm

The philosophy I feel competent to comment on (i.e. analytic) I really liked. In particular I thought that there were fewer tossups that were "name this person/book given some hard clues and then some quizbowl-famous clues" and more that were "name this important concept," which is a writing philosophy that I highly endorse. I have a couple of nitpicks with some individual clues which I can get to once I see the set, but overall: Loved it. Great stuff.

The math/CS was a little more mixed -- it seemed like the bonus variability in particular was much higher than it should have been. The tiebreaker round had a group theory bonus that should be 30ed by anyone who's taken undergraduate abstract algebra, and then a later playoff round had a murderously difficult classical mechanics-style bonus. There was also a CS bonus where the hard part, if I'm remembering right, was "design patterns," which is not a hard part and really shouldn't even be a middle part. (I did really like the tossup on quantum algorithms, but that's just my bias.)
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:04 pm

My slice of the pie was fairly small: philosophy in the editors' packets and about half of the submitted philosophy questions. I don't know that I had any overarching model of difficulty I was working from. My general bonus philosophy is that hard parts should be accessible to experts with the relevant domain knowledge, so they won't be a matter of stumping people for no good reason. My easy parts generally shaded easier than most of the other categories, I think.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:10 pm

Also, I realize now that I made a very dumb mistake in the leadin to that Sextus Empiricus tossup; the first clue applies to Wittgenstein, which I totally forgot to disambiguate. This resulted in a single protest and I don't think affected any major games, but it was still a very stupid mistake on my part and I apologize for it.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:07 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Also, I realize now that I made a very dumb mistake in the leadin to that Sextus Empiricus tossup; the first clue applies to Wittgenstein, which I totally forgot to disambiguate. This resulted in a single protest and I don't think affected any major games, but it was still a very stupid mistake on my part and I apologize for it.
Ouch Jerry. That stings. More seriously, I think Andrew Hart was aggrieved about the Wittgenstein/Sextus Empiricus thing for the same reason I was annoyed at the "reading the Torah" question. He didn't buzz on the well known Wittgenstein clue because he didn't think that could possibly be the lead-in to a Nationals-level Wittgenstein question. Similarly, I didn't buzz on the Hagbah and Gellilah clue because I didn't think "lifting the Torah" could possibly be an answer line, but when Adam Silverman buzzed with that answer, I said it should be accepted given that lead-in.

Since I'm kvetching about Jew questions, let me say the Nachmanides question was not a great idea. The most helpful clue is "this isn't the much more famous guy," which predictably screwed Doug over. Likewise the Cult of Reason question, which more or less admitted its fault with the prompt "this organized religion."
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote: Ouch Jerry. That stings.
Keep in mind that protests are blind to the protest committee in the sense that we don't know who they involve. I only knew that one room had this happen, so I optimistically hoped that it happened in some room that did not contain a major match.

Regardless it was a bad mistake and I should have had the disambiguation in there.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:25 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
Tees-Exe Line wrote: Ouch Jerry. That stings.
Keep in mind that protests are blind to the protest committee in the sense that we don't know who they involve. I only knew that one room had this happen, so I optimistically hoped that it happened in some room that did not contain a major match.

Regardless it was a bad mistake and I should have had the disambiguation in there.
Maybe it just didn't get in until after you had ruled and thus you didn't need to be consulted, but the same thing happened in our game as well, so that's at least one other (even if it isn't major).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by historical pun » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:26 pm

This a minor point that doesn't relate to much of anything, but I found the contrast between the gun violence and Myanmar bonuses an interesting example of the challenges present in constructing current events bonuses (and many, many other bonuses I'm sure, but I don't know as much about other topics). The hard part of the gun violence bonus asked about an obscure fact that is related to something that everyone knows about (armed guards in schools->School Shield is much harder the the opposite). The hard part of the Myanmar bonus, by contrast, gave the obscure name of a group and then asked a fairly easy* question about that group (Rohingya->Muslim is much easier the converse)

I'm curious about the Cult of Reason question and the line "adopted as the state religion of Revolutionary France." I don't know of any law passed by the Convention that gave it official status, though that very well could just be my own lack of knowledge at work. On a broader level, I feel like describing it as a religion encouraged people to buzz with "Cult of the Supreme Being," which can be more reasonably be described as a religion.

*Easy in the sense that it was eminently guessable if you know the broader demographics of SE Asia, though the Rohingya have also been in the news quite a bit recently.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:42 pm

I generally found this tournament pleasant. The questions were generally enjoyable (except that tossup on the Gamow theory of alpha decay, what the fuck), and there was nothing that was systematically annoying about them. Thanks to the editors for that.

In logistical terms, on the other hand, you (general ACF you) really need to be better about having replacement questions available when they're necessary. First, in our game against Penn, the first tossup of the match had to be replaced because of a buzzer malfunction*, and it took you guys like 20 minutes to find a replacement question (and if I'm correctly understanding what Ike told me, you literally didn't have a replacement question and had to use one from Illinois's submitted packet that didn't end up in the final packets). Then, in the finals, we ended up getting stalled multiple times because you needed to find replacements for when Matt conferred and for when there were repeats in the packet, and this seemed to involve some arcane system of emailing 17 different people to induce questions to appear on mobile phones.

Even more absurdly, Bruce literally wrote a replacement bonus on a piece of paper as the match was occurring! I don't care if the question is on something that Bruce is an expert at, like Hungarian dinosaurs or whatever; that just isn't acceptable, and you should never do that again. (We frequently make jokes here at Yale about Matt Jackson freestyling tossups for our high school tournaments; those jokes are funny because they are about an absurd situation that shouldn't actually ever happen.)

There's also the issue of repeats, at least one of which was in the finals - there really isn't any legitimate reason for repeats to exist. It should be trivial (or at least, no more than a few hours' work) to develop a program that will scan over a set of .doc(x) packets and identify identical (or fuzzy-matched) text blocks. Obviously, NAQT doesn't suffer from this kind of problem because it has a mature toolchain in Ginseng, and I think it behooves ACF to at least have the basic rudiments of a similar system in place to prevent things like this from happening.

* The buzzer we were using was one of those Zeecraft buzzers that has a switch which can be set to allow it to recognize both the first and second players who buzzed in, and for some reason, the switch was set in that position. I don't know why you would ever do that (unless you're playing a bizarre Ohio quizbowl format), but please don't! People setting up buzzers should also be cognizant of odd buzzer systems like this and should take care to inspect the systems to ensure that they are properly configured.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by marnold » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:57 pm

Yeah, besides Chicago/Minnesota and us/Michigan St., I think Berkeley got negged on the Wittgenstein issue too but unlike the others it wasn't close enough to be game-deciding. And my Marxist geography tossup was a work of art - art, I say!

The swings in bonus difficulty were the only thing systematically problematic about the tournament. The most egregious example that's already been mentioned is the back-to-back bonuses with Second Partition of Poland... stuff coming up right next to the Montana geography bonus that was a very easy 30 for even (for example) a geographically-challenged median team. Also, it seems like much less law-related stuff here than ICT (just statute of limitations? I think?) which is obviously only of personal concern to people of my ilk, but just throwing it out there. I thought the Current Events in this tournament were notably good.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Ringil » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:00 pm

So I felt this tournament was very not canonical, which was pretty awesome. It had a lot of awesome things show up like the Ottoman invasion of Italy (even though it seems to have degenerated in most rooms to people figuring it out at the FTP). I also really enjoyed most of the physics, so kudos to Mike Sorice for that.

Another thing I liked in this tournament was that in the Swiss Catholics tossup, it stated at the beginning exactly what they wanted from players so there was no confusion (though I felt that tossup itself kinda sucked). I feel more tournaments should do this on questions that have unconventional answer lines. For example, that tossup on Zoroastrian priests, I'm pretty sure many people were sitting on that question afraid that there would be some specific term for Zoroastrian priests. If at the beginning of the tossup, it had just said something like "description acceptable," then the question would have played better as a test of knowledge instead of a test of who has the guts to make an incredibly risky buzz (I mean I sure don't know a specific name for Zoroastrian priests if I was prompted).

On the other hand, this tournament was pretty terrible about subdistributions. I'm pretty sure over half of the religion tossups were on Jewish things and over half the FA on the first day was on jazz. In general, the amount of Jewish content was pretty insane. While there is an argument that it became this way because of submission, surely ACF Nationals should attempt to balance the categories so one subdistro doesn't dominate in such an overwhelming manner.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:40 pm

I would like to request that statements like "I'm pretty sure over half of the religion tossups were on Jewish things" be supported by actual evidence, which you can easily gather yourself from the publicly available packets. This once, I'll do it for you. Here is the entirety of the "religion" category at Nationals, with Jewish content bolded:

Tossups:
The Netherlands, Zoroastrian Priests, Alexandria, Paul of Tarsus, Compiling the Koran, Sikhism, Challah, Sede Vacante, Mormonism, Reciting the Moslem Call to Prayer, Gregory, Weddings, Nachmanides, Cult of Reason, Pure Land Buddhism, Manicheanism, Elisha, Torah Reading, Melchizedek, Zurvan, Demiurge, Epistle to the Hebrews, Falun Gong, Flagellants, Aaron, epistles to Timothy, Christmas

Bonuses:
Heaven's Gate / Marshall Applewhite / Seventh Trumpet, Tracts for the Times / Oxford Movement / Eminent Victorians, Dr Yakub / Patmos / Shabazz, Angels / Light / Israfel, Christian Science / Mary Baker Eddy / Malicious Animal Magnetism, Shofar / Schechita / Mussaf, Funeral / Janazah / feet, Mask-Wearing / Exorcism / Tengu, Babyolonian Talmud / Rav / Amoraim, Apostolic Succession / Tertullian / St. Thomas, Tibetan Buddhism/Dalai lamas/Songstan Gampo, Thetans / Auditing / Scientology, Kyrie eleison/Eucharist/confeitor, Jeroboam/Josiah/Ahab, Cao Dai / Seicho / Din-i-Ilahi, Omikuji / Kagura / Amaterasu, Michael Servetus / anti-trinitarianism / Heinrich Bullinger, Druze/uqqal/five, Pelagius / Caelestius / Ambrose of Milan, Yahweh / Tabernacle / Hubal, orishas / Olokun / Ashe Voodoo/Houngan/angels, Tisha B'Av/Bar Kokhba's revolt/kinnot, synagogues/Genizah/ Solomon Schechter, hadith/monotheism/Zahiri, Tantric scriptures/chakra/Vajrayana Buddhism, Jeroboam/Ahab/Jehoram

I made this pretty generous actually to your case, because I coded any Old Testament stuff as "Jewish" even though for the most part Bible stories have relatively little to do with Judaism as it is actually practiced. That brings the total to maybe a quarter at best.

Also, this tournament was about as canonical as any ACF Nationals in my memory. I don't know what you mean when you say "canonical" but it doesn't seem to match up with any useful definition of that word that I know.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Rothlover » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:41 pm

Marshall I'm sorry those two questions (Ramban/layning) played out that way. I'd have hoped anyone who said anything with "Torah" in their answer for the latter question was prompted. Hagbah, of course only refers to the actual lifting of the Torah, while Gelilah is the re-rolling/re-covering/re-crowning etc, so I only really see the lifting answer for the first part. I expected anyone familiar with actual practice to know what the terms related to, so I'm glad that was the case. My emphasis in what I wrote about was to write about Judaism as it is practiced by those who practice. This, admittedly leads to a heavy bias towards Orthodoxy, though I attempted to balance that out with a question I'm not sure was used/wasn't in Bruce's list above.

The Nachmanides tu didn't spend as much time as I'd have liked on disputation related material because I felt the need to include details that would make it clear it couldn't be other Nats tu-able answers, (such as the founding of a shul in Israel, which would not fit with the modern hagiographical narrative of Maimonides, and which also rewarded the increasing importance of "spending lots of time in Israel" amongst observant Jews.) Other clues were meant to point to views in which he differed from Rambam/Rashi in his commentaries, while not alluding to works that can not be definitively ascribed to him. In hindsight, I'd have lengthened the q a line or two, cut out something and talked more substantively about the disputation. I assume conversion of the tu was low, but I accepted that as I felt the other things I wrote on would have very high conversion rates for nats and Ramban is "important."

My bad to anyone who knows things in the realm and had sub-optimal outcomes etc on any of my q's


to Libo, I'd be curious what constitutes "pretty much insane" levels of Jewish content. I know in talking to Bruce it didn't seem like there was much "Jewish" content prior to me giving in what I did. He told me the bible questions that had been submitted to that point, but, and this is a peeve of mine, I would not inherently consider Old Testament questions as Jewish. I would consider them more as Christian, especially as written (without midrashic clues etc,) as textual Old Testament study is much more the realm of practitioners of various Christian sects. So, to my mind, a bible q, in RMP, is more "Judeo-Christian" with a heavy tilt towards the "Christian."


Looking at the final, for instance, I would wonder what is "Jewish" other than that Gemara bonus. I hope Podhoretz isn't considered "Jewish." I think there is a distinction to make between things one is more likely to know because they are associated with things Jews are more likely to consume (or more basely because they are Jewish), and material that is specifically focused on that material (sort of the difference between a tu on "Awake and Sing" and any other Odets work, or Gimpel the Fool v. Goodbye, Columbus.)
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:44 pm

Ringil wrote:
Another thing I liked in this tournament was that in the Swiss Catholics tossup, it stated at the beginning exactly what they wanted from players so there was no confusion (though I felt that tossup itself kinda sucked). I feel more tournaments should do this on questions that have unconventional answer lines. For example, that tossup on Zoroastrian priests, I'm pretty sure many people were sitting on that question afraid that there would be some specific term for Zoroastrian priests. If at the beginning of the tossup, it had just said something like "description acceptable," then the question would have played better as a test of knowledge instead of a test of who has the guts to make an incredibly risky buzz (I mean I sure don't know a specific name for Zoroastrian priests if I was prompted).
I didn't play this tournament, but I wanted to agree with Libo's general point. The past few years we've seen a lot more answerlines on general descriptions, which is a trend that I enjoy and which I hope continues. Adding things like "simple description acceptable:" at the beginning of a tossup doesn't give anything away and can only prove helpful to all players involved. Let's start doing this more.

In addition, I'd like to use what credibility I have to say that the Ottoman Invasion of Italy is a horrible answer selection, even if Libo liked it. The Ottomans invaded lots of other places more notable and more important to European and Middle Eastern history than Italy.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by magin » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:21 pm

Ringil wrote:over half the FA on the first day was on jazz
Out of the 25/25 other arts in this tournament, we had 4/4 jazz. I don't think that's unreasonable.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by rylltraka » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:23 pm

Bruce has already said some of this information, but here are the questions that were mine/I helped on during editing:

Carthage TU (Ed. 2)
Archaic Lyric Bonus (Ed. 2)
Corinth TU (Ed. 3)
Pheidon of Argos Bonus (Ed. 4)
Fabius TU (Ed. 5)
Greek literature techniques (Ed. 6)
Philip (Ed. 7)
Peloponnesian War Bonus (Ed. 8)

All the faults in them are mine; all that is good in them is due to the editing team.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:55 pm

I was really happy to see the Mariel boatlift get tossed up, because it is an important event in the history of Cuba-U.S. relations. However, I think the bus crashing through the gates of the Peruvian embassy and subsequent takeover by refugees is a pretty notable cause of the event.
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Isn't this just an enolate? Not an enol? I think the clue specifically excludes an enol, which is an alkene with a hydroxyl substituent.

I was responsible for the p53 bonus. I'm not sure what happened, but when I wrote it, the "t" was not underlined, written like "tp53". I don't know if this caused a controversy in other rooms, but people were upset when the "t" turned out to be required. Was the "t" part underlined on purpose?

Also, we were pretty amused that there were two separate lead-ins about Rice University (the Houston and Pelli tossups).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:27 pm

I agree that some of the history overshot the difficulty mark (that Targowica confederation bonus being the most glaring example), yet I still had a fun time playing that and the rest of the set. Still mad at myself for my trifecta of Jew failures (1. automatically saying 'halakah' instead of Mishnah when I heard 'oral law', 2. forgetting about noted thing the Babylonian talmud, 3. forgetting Nachmanides' name despite using him as a clue in that ill-advised tossup on Spanish Jews I submitted to BARGE. ).

The editors put a ton of work into this set and it shows. Packet Feng Shui was, I thought, better-controlled than at ICT. Special props to Bruce for writing that replacement bonus on the fly. Very happy to hear that tossup on Tchaikovsky's 4th.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Unicolored Jay » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:41 pm

Overall, I enjoyed the set. While the other fine arts might have benefited from a possible subdistro balance, I don't think the problems with it were as bad as people are suggesting. I thought the history was harder than the rest of the categories, but I initially attributed that to not knowing things and not having Jarret around to get those points. The biology left a bit to be desired though; there were questions, especially in the editors' packets, that I felt weren't written as well as they could have. Those include the peroxisome tossup, which dropped the glyoxylate and beta oxidation pathways pretty early, and the Paramecium tossup, which had early clues that didn't seem very uniquely identifying. Other than that, this set was fun to play on.
The Superfluous Man wrote: Very happy to hear that tossup on Tchaikovsky's 4th.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by ulls66 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:52 pm

That bonus part in Berkeley/Rice on (t)p53 shouldn't have had "t" underlined, and it doesn't look like the underlining is there in the copy I uploaded, so I think it may have been inadvertently "corrected" at some point on its way to the final printed packet. That's not to say I mean to pass the blame here- if I had left myself the time to give everything I was responsible for a once-over in its final form, I could have caught that, so that's on me.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:47 pm

I forgot to mention this bonus, which I thought was really cool (as it asked about important stuff in military history, as opposed to just trotting facts out about battles) until the third part, which was arguably factually innacurate and incredibly unhelpful, except for the mention of "impact weapons."
After the introduction of linear tactics, infantry forces typically entered this formation when threatened by a cavalry charge. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this defensive infantry formation, which opposing forces would attempt to “break” or “turn”
ANSWER: square or hollow square
[10] The most famous use of square formations may be by this Spanish military unit, which dominated European warfare during the 1500’s.
ANSWER: tercio
[10] This type of heavy cavalry unit, common in the militaries of the 17th – 19th centuries, used impact weapons to break infantry formations. They are distinguished from light cavalry, or hussars.
ANSWER: lancers or uhlans
The last bonus part is arguably wrong on multiple counts, which caused me to not get it at the tournament. First of all, uhlans, which is given as an acceptable answer line, are typically referred to as light cavalrymen and at the same time fought primarily with the lance, though the question indicates that the answer is not a type of light cavalry (which is a very ambiguous term to begin with - I suppose you can also define heavy cavalry as any sort of shock cavalry and light cavalry as everything else, but uhlans weren't actually used as shock cavalry very much if I recall correctly). Second of all, the question says that these units are distinguished from hussars, but several units referred to as "hussars" used lances, most notably the Polish Winged Hussars, who are very different from the hussars of the late 18th and early 19th century. Finally, the question seems to imply that "hussars" is a term synonymous with "light cavalry," which it isn't at all, as demonstrated by the existence of other types of light horsemen, such as the aforementioned uhlans. All of this caused me to get confused and come up with a zillion possible answers; I finally settled on "carabineers," since those were a type of cavalry used in all three centuries that were at least sometimes used to break infantry formations (the term eventually just meant a type of heavy horseman by the time of the Napoleonic Wars) but I was positive that wasn't what the actual answerline.

It would have been really cool if the answerline were "uhlans" or "cuirassiers" or something along those lines.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:58 pm

From the perspective of a moderator I thought that this was a very good set, and I'm glad that those playing seem to have agreed. There were a very small number of typos and grammatical mistakes in the set, which is impressive given the sheer number of words and sentences in the packets. Also, the handful of pronunciation guides were well-placed and did not interrupt the flow of reading. If the editors wish to release a version of the set with corrections, it seemed like there were an unusually large number of typos in the first packet read on Sunday relative to the rest of the set. The small mistakes in that round made me realize how few were present in other packets, rather than being part of a larger problem.

I also felt like the difficulty of the answer lines was matched well to the ability of the field. Although I was reading in the bottom bracket during the playoff rounds, I still wasn't seeing a bunch of games where half the tossups went dead. When I read for top bracket teams on Saturday, it seemed like nearly all of the tossups were answered, and there was a good distribution of bonus conversion and a good spread of buzzes throughout the length of tossups. I also noticed very few difficulty cliffs that caused large buzzer races, and the final appeared to have a single player buzzing on a clue far more often than not.

Well done to the editors and to all of the teams involved.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:11 am

magin wrote:Out of the 25/25 other arts in this tournament, we had 4/4 jazz. I don't think that's unreasonable.
I heartily endorse this and people in quizbowl should stop expecting "1 perfunctory question on Coltrane, Davis or Brubeck" to be the extent of jazz in a tournament.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Gautam » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:12 am

I wrote some econ for this and provided feedback on some other econ TUs. Email me/post here if you want to comment on them.

TU on revealed preferences
TU on optimum currency areas
Bonus on the financial accelerator
Bonus on healthcare econ.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Fond du lac operon » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:17 am

So as promised, here's my nitpicky complaint about one philosophy tossup. The tossup on "virtue ethics" (and I very much enjoyed the fact that it existed) begins:
In a 1976 [paper], Michael Stocker condemned competing approaches to this theory as “schizophrenic” for failing to examine “motives and motivational structures.”
Now, I've read that Stocker paper ("The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories.") And I just skimmed over it again before writing this post to make sure I wasn't missing something. And it seems to me that that's a piss-poor clue. Stocker spends most of the paper discussing hedonistic egoism and utilitarianism, and the disconnect between motives and values/reasons in those theories. He doesn't especially condemn any particular approaches to virtue ethics, as far as I can tell. At that point, I believe I would have been justified in buzzing in and saying simply ethics, or hedonism or utilitarianism, but the clue doesn't point in particular to virtue ethics. Perhaps what was meant was something like "Michael Stocker condemned approaches competing with this theory...", but that's not what was written.

I'm not familiar with the Slote thing and so can't judge that clue, but after that the tossup seems fine -- I guess there might have been meatier clues from After Virtue, but it's hard to blame someone who might not be sympathetic to virtue ethics for not wanting to get too deep into MacIntyre's Thomist ramblings.

Anyway, thus concludes my pointless diatribe against a question I ended up getting anyway. Sorry if you read it all.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by touchpack » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:25 am

Emily Krok wrote:
magin wrote:Out of the 25/25 other arts in this tournament, we had 4/4 jazz. I don't think that's unreasonable.
I heartily endorse this and people in quizbowl should stop expecting "1 perfunctory question on Coltrane, Davis or Brubeck" to be the extent of jazz in a tournament.
I too endorse this, although I will note that good tournaments already go beyond "1 perfunctory question on Coltrane, Davis or Brubeck" for the most part.

P.S. I enjoyed the leadins to the jazz tossups you wrote for TIT, Isaac.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:37 am

4/4 Jazz over 25 packets is fine in the abstract, but there was 4/4 Jazz (or quite close to it--maybe missing a tossup or bonus) in just the 18 rounds we (VCU) played, including 1/1 Jazz in the last prelim packet. You can't necessarily plan for this beforehand (and probably shouldn't have to), but that doesn't change the fact that over 1/5 of Misc Arts is radically different from under 1/6 (especially to the players playing the tournament).
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:07 am

This is just something I noticed while going through the packets, though I heard it on the finals livestream as well. I'm from Missouri, and I felt the tossup on it in Finals 2 was quite difficult, probably a bit too hard for Nats-level difficulty; I found it impossible to buzz on until Stuart Symington was named, and even then it took a split second to register. On the whole it seemed like pure buzzer race bait, what with the giveaway and all.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:54 am

So I'm going to talk about something that I don't think has been brought up yet. I generally liked this set and I agree with the criticisms above of the inconsistent bonus difficulty, but I can understand the difficulty of getting bonuses right across categories.

However, my biggest complaint with this set had to be the science, which I found to be outright subpar. Wildly inconsistent bonuses (chloroplasts vs. zebrafish, for example), lots of early (and game-changing) clue drops (peroxisomes, bone marrow, RNAi, iron-sulfur proteins), lots of nonunique clues (half of the paramecium tossup applies to tetrahymena, for example), and some really odd answer choices (habitat fragmentation, RNA export) added up to create a really frustrating storm of questions. This problem affected the bio mostly, and to a lesser degree everything else. I thought the physics and other science were generally decent and had some great questions in them (Vector potential was very well-written. I appreciate the difficulty of editing the science for a set like this, but I would have appreciated a little more canon sense from the editors.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:59 am

Its time.

PACKET VCU/Michigan:
-Hats off to whoever wrote this "uncanny" tossup. I had to read that Freud essay for a class, and from what my professor told me its a really important concept.
-Clostridium seemed fine to me, though I can't speak to other people's knowledge of gas gangrene.
-Simmons-Smith was an excellently written question. Great layering of mechanism clues, modifications, special reagents, etc. That clue about sonication applies to a lot of other things; in general, I would try to make sure every clue uniquely points to the answer.
-Are there meaningful clues that distinguish the Kerr metric from the others? Fram what I can tell, you can calculate Carter's constant for Schwarzchild black holes as well, for example (I don't know about the other clues).
-the Rainbow warrior bombing is an excellent idea.
-Particle physics bonus was a very easy 30.
-This archeology bonus seems like a fuck you 10 for every team playing.
-Likewise, this exon bonus is a 20 for every team playing, though ENCODE is a great hard part.
-If your easy part is Targowica, you've done something horribly wrong.

PACKET Illinois/Carleton
-Decarboxylation was very well written. Lots of important clues from both organic and biochemistry here.
-Likewise with this nuclear pore question, but I'd have kept this and cut out the RNA export question that showed up later
-I can't really weigh in on the importance of Gilles of Rais, but it seemed a little out there to me.
-This Jugurtha question has angry Marius clues in the first line. This stunned both classics people on my team.
-It seems like the K-value has the same definition as the partition coefficient. The rest of this bonus is great.

PACKET MSU/Ottawa/USC
-Habitat fragmentation sounds like a very poor idea.
-I'm told the clue about H and K lines also applies to Brown dwarves, though I have no idea if that's true.
-Both this Reductionism and Marin Barletti tossups were absolutely delightful
-Hexokinase should have glucokinase as an alternate answer. This bonus was great though.

PACKET Columbia/Rutgers
-TLC was very well written; the leadin about Far-eastern blots was well chosen
-This Carnation revolution leadin is horribly misplaced. Also, put your pronoun first!
-This "constants of motion" question inspired a lot of negs with "conserved quantities". Despite having used action-angle coordinates at some point in my life I couldn't get beyond "conserved quantities" either.
-This hydrazine bonus is good, but probably more difficult than the other chem bonuses
-I can almost guarantee this Earth science bonus was not well converted. Pillow lava is a good easy part, but the other two are incredibly difficult.

PACKET MIT/GMU/UMN
-The Jewish question tossup was a great idea
-Nitriles is well-written
-Quantum hall drops a lot of buzzwords very early (filling factor)
-I appreciate that this translation question is trying to describe the functions of EF-G and EF=Tu, but those descriptions apply to a whole host of proteins.
-This Benito Galdos bonus is pretty hard.
-I said "grand canonical partition function" due to word confusion; I think that should have been acceptable.

PACKET London/WUSTL
-This carbocation tossup is interesting; in retrospect, its entirely possible to figure out the answer from the first two clues if you could actually picture the reactions in your head. Unfortunately I'm terrible at this in a game situation except for the most rudimentary situations.
-I'd switch the dyenin and neuron clues in this kinesin question; quite possibly the most famous fact about dyenins are that they move the other direction from kinesins.
-I thought this Lorenz gamma tossup was really solid; I've definitely seen the velocity addition formula in textboks, even if I couldn't remember the clue.
-Nuclear decay bonus has two hard parts.
-Under Milk Wood as an easy part?!

PACKET Chicago A/UMD/Penn B
-Irish Free State, huh
-Here's an example of pronoun switching that should be done more often. If I were writing this cAMP question, the first sentence would be "An enzyme that degrades this compound is inhibited by Rolipram". That way, if I know what rolipram is (I didn't), I can buzz immediately, rather than having to wait for a pronoun. Something similar can be said for the next sentence, whose clue I actually do recognize. In a close game, this kind of careful editing can make all the difference.
-Propagator really shouldn't be in the first line of this question.
-This white dwarfs question was really good. Of course it was written by our resident astrophysicist, James Lasker, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
-This CFT bonus was great; the nephelauxetic effect should get more coverage.
-Edward Gierek! Finally, reading about Communist Poland has paid off.

PACKET Berkeley/Rice
-VP was very well written, though that leadin's a little whimsical.
-RNAi dropping words like "decay" and "p bodies" too early.
-This clathrates bonus was really well-written, and had a solid easy/middle/hard.

PACKET Editors 7 (tiebreaker)
-I feel like the fact that the Heck reaction has an ionic liquid variant has become kind of stock. At the very least, I think saying BMIM-PF6 before Heck makes sense
-Interstate highway act was a really good idea
-"The Morning Walk" seems really hard.
-Mad Caliph should have been acceptable for Hakim.
-This permutation group bonus had 3 parts straight out of an abstract algebra class; that's great
-This Fermi golden rule bonus is really good, but its not clear to me that it has an easy part. Was the easy part supposed to be time? Same with this femtochemistry bonus.
-By contrast, this chloroplast bonus is straight high school.

Playoffs tomorrow.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Eddie » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:05 am

May I ask who wrote the various Mesoamerican mythology questions? I'm trying to get into learning more about Mesoamerican cultures, and would be delighted to know what sources were used in writing the questions.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:54 am

Fond du lac operon wrote:So as promised, here's my nitpicky complaint about one philosophy tossup. The tossup on "virtue ethics" (and I very much enjoyed the fact that it existed) begins:
In a 1976 [paper], Michael Stocker condemned competing approaches to this theory as “schizophrenic” for failing to examine “motives and motivational structures.”
Now, I've read that Stocker paper ("The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories.") And I just skimmed over it again before writing this post to make sure I wasn't missing something. And it seems to me that that's a piss-poor clue. Stocker spends most of the paper discussing hedonistic egoism and utilitarianism, and the disconnect between motives and values/reasons in those theories. He doesn't especially condemn any particular approaches to virtue ethics, as far as I can tell. At that point, I believe I would have been justified in buzzing in and saying simply ethics, or hedonism or utilitarianism, but the clue doesn't point in particular to virtue ethics. Perhaps what was meant was something like "Michael Stocker condemned approaches competing with this theory...", but that's not what was written.
I'm not seeing how what you're saying (and your proposed modification to the clue) disagree with what I wrote. I agree with your summary of the Stocker paper, but even though he's not using the term "virtue ethics" explicitly, it's pretty clear what his point of disagreement is with all the other theories. I think you seem to have read the "competing approaches" clause to modify "virtue ethics," so that what you thought I meant was "Stocker condemned different ways of doing virtue ethics," whereas what I meant was "Stocker condemned approaches to ethics that were not virtue ethics." It looks like I should have probably reworded that to say "Stocker condemned theories that competed with this approach" or something of that nature. Sorry about the ambiguity there.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:02 am

So for the record, "Constitution of May 3" was supposed to be the easy part of that Targowica bonus. I assumed it would be accessible even to non-history people because of the famous commentary on it.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by itsthatoneguy » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:11 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
PACKET VCU/Michigan:
-Hats off to whoever wrote this "uncanny" tossup. I had to read that Freud essay for a class, and from what my professor told me its a really important concept.
This was written by Will Nediger.
-Clostridium seemed fine to me, though I can't speak to other people's knowledge of gas gangrene.
I (with a lot of help from Surya) wrote this originally on C. difficile.

In general, I enjoyed the set a lot. Props to Mike Bentley for doing a great job on the visual art; I thought all the bonuses had true easy parts and most of the tossups were very accesible. I'm very sad that we did not get the Remedios Varo bonus, but it delights me that she is getting more attention in QB.

Also, I really enjoy that QB is starting to include more and more statistics questions in packets. I counted 2/1 statistics at Nats (tossups on least squares regression and the chi-squared distribution, and a bonus on generating functions / variance / pdf). I think statistics is a big subdistribution that hasn't been fully explored in QB and has potential to expand since it is encountered by a ton of people in high school and in college across many majors.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:21 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:-Habitat fragmentation sounds like a very poor idea.
I'm curious why you think so. I could understand if you thought that one or two clues were poorly selected or poorly phrased. (I think I could have done a better job with the Huffaker and species-area relation clues - in retrospect, the latter could technically apply to just "habitat loss," too.) But why is it a poor idea to write a tossup on habitat fragmentation at all?
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by touchpack » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:44 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: lots of early (and game-changing) clue drops (peroxisomes, bone marrow, RNAi, iron-sulfur proteins),
Yeah, I thought this was the biggest problem overall. I would cite as some of the worst offenders the tossups on the 18-electron rule, which was immediately obvious from the very beginning (hey guys, it's this rule that applies to transition metal complexes that contributes to stability, I wonder what it could be....) and Flory-Huggins theory, which used the phrase "polymer solutions" halfway through the question, leading to multiple people in the room sitting there in a state of shock wondering if the question had really just done that before someone took the buzz.
PACKET Illinois/Carleton
-Decarboxylation was very well written. Lots of important clues from both organic and biochemistry here.
-Likewise with this nuclear pore question, but I'd have kept this and cut out the RNA export question that showed up later
-It seems like the K-value has the same definition as the partition coefficient. The rest of this bonus is great.
The K-value is specifically the partition coefficient for a VLE, a fact which I should've mentioned directly in the question. (It's also an extremely difficult bonus part unless you're a chemical engineer, but I figured that for a hard part at ACF Nationals it was okay) Sorry about that. I'm glad you enjoyed my other questions though.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:32 pm

For those curious about the replacement bonus that was inserted into Finals 2, I've re-constructed it here:
Heroes of this cause included Sam Nujoma, the leader of SWAPO. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this political cause that successfully culminated with the independence of a new African nation in 1990.
ANSWER: Namibian Independence
[10] Namibia was formerly this German colony, which was invaded and occupied by South Africa during World War I.
ANSWER: German South-West Africa
[10] German South-West Africa was home to a genocide of the Herero and Namaqua peoples. While the Herero are Bantu speakers, the Namaqua speak a language in this family, notable for its click sounds.
ANSWER: Khoisan or Khoe
Illinois got 10 on this, getting the middle part.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Fucitol » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:06 pm

Editors Packet 4 wrote:The condition for this gauge is to set the vector potential divergence to zero. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this gauge, which renders Maxwell’s equations invariant under the gauge group of special relativity.
ANSWER: the Lorenz gauge

The lead-in is definitely wrong. Setting the divergence of the vector potential to zero is unique for Coulomb gauge. The value of the divergence in the Lorenz gauge being nonzero is how you get the Wave equation as mentioned in part II. I'm not entirely familiar with the clue in the "Name this gauge" part, but I think it does apply to the Lorenz gauge and not to the Coulomb gauge.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by gyre and gimble » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:19 pm

Jonathan only really heard me complain about specific questions all weekend, so I'd like to say that this set was the most enjoyable and difficulty-appropriate of all the hard tournaments I've played or read. I'd be very pleased to see future Nationals' difficulty targets modeled after this one, and I think all of the editors did a fine job, though I'm less qualified to comment on the science and philosophy. My favorite questions were:

Tossups on the Tuatha de Danaan (calling them a "band" was a bit confusing in a quizbowl setting, even though it's an accurate term), Calatrava, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Seljuks (dropped "Tughrul" too early, though), Boulanger (especially that clue about his duel with Floquet), Aeacus, Henry Morton Stanley, Carthage, Oldenburg, and Bran (thanks for including alternate answer Bendigeidfran, which is more accurate since that's the Welsh name and he is a Welsh figure).

Bonuses on Foucault's Pendulum (though it could have used a harder hard part than The Prague Cemetery; I'd have preferred Colonel Ardenti or abulafia; I'd also have preferred that my Travels in Hyperreality bonus was used but that's me being excessive), the Jacquerie, Maxen Wledig/Arthur/Gwydion (a much better difficulty gradient than that Ys/Taliesin/Atlantis thing, which didn't have a hard part), the Battle of Blue Waters, Philip Otto Runge, and de la Tour/Sebastian/Mengs.

So thanks to the editors for these.
itsthatoneguy wrote:I'm very sad that we did not get the Remedios Varo bonus, but it delights me that she is getting more attention in QB.
You're welcome. I even included a little note in our packet asking the editors to keep that question! (My other such note was ignored, thanks Mike.) I'm glad you liked the idea since UVA seemed displeased.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by touchpack » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:28 pm

Scarlet Minivet wrote:
Editors Packet 4 wrote:The condition for this gauge is to set the vector potential divergence to zero. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this gauge, which renders Maxwell’s equations invariant under the gauge group of special relativity.
ANSWER: the Lorenz gauge

The lead-in is definitely wrong. Setting the divergence of the vector potential to zero is unique for Coulomb gauge. The value of the divergence in the Lorenz gauge being nonzero is how you get the Wave equation as mentioned in part II. I'm not entirely familiar with the clue in the "Name this gauge" part, but I think it does apply to the Lorenz gauge and not to the Coulomb gauge.
IIRC, the Lorenz gauge sets the divergence of the four-potential, not the classical vector potential, to zero. My E&M knowledge isn't that great though so someone else should look into this.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Fucitol » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:45 pm

touchpack wrote:
Scarlet Minivet wrote:
Editors Packet 4 wrote:The condition for this gauge is to set the vector potential divergence to zero. For 10 points each:
[10] Name this gauge, which renders Maxwell’s equations invariant under the gauge group of special relativity.
ANSWER: the Lorenz gauge

The lead-in is definitely wrong. Setting the divergence of the vector potential to zero is unique for Coulomb gauge. The value of the divergence in the Lorenz gauge being nonzero is how you get the Wave equation as mentioned in part II. I'm not entirely familiar with the clue in the "Name this gauge" part, but I think it does apply to the Lorenz gauge and not to the Coulomb gauge.
IIRC, the Lorenz gauge sets the divergence of the four-potential, not the classical vector potential, to zero. My E&M knowledge isn't that great though so someone else should look into this.
Wikipedia wrote:An electromagnetic four-potential is a relativistic vector function from which the electromagnetic field can be derived. It combines both an electric scalar potential and a magnetic vector potential into a single four-vector. [1]
[/quote]

If it is the divergence of the 4-potential that is set equal to zero, that is definitely not equivalent to what the question said.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:11 pm

CONTINUED

PACKET Yale
-This indole tossup is really good. I couldn't remember the name of the reagent in the indole test, unfortunately
-I enjoyed this voting systems tossup, but I wonder whether Duverger's Law is a little early.
-This VEGF tossup is extraordinarily hard. The fact that POEMS and Avastatin are either in or right before your giveaway is absolutely ridiculous; a clue about macular degeneration really should be in there somewhere.
-I thought this temperature tossup was really inspired.
-How about this high school bonus on Dahomey
-On the other hand, this Einstein Field equations bonus had a clear easy/middle/hard

PACKET GTech/NYU
-I now understand why Will thought tossing up benzyne at ICT was a good idea. Regardless, this tossup was a lot of fun.
-RNA export is a really strange idea to write a question about.
-Paneth cells are an excellent hard part
-This Suez crisis bonus was among my favorite questions of the tournament. Clear easy/middle/hard.

PACKET Editors 1
-"Ottoman Invasion of Italy" went to the end in pretty much every room, I guarantee you.

PACKET Editors 2
-webservers was not well-received. I think several people negged with web browsers or operating systems
-As people already mentioned "Zoroastrian priests" could have stood a "name or description acceptable"
-This bone marrow question was atrocious. Mentioning colony-stimulating factors and epiphyses in the first two clues is a terrible idea. At the very least, you could have put the illiac crest earlier than these clues.
-There are several directions to take this compound eye tossup that could reward oft-taught knowledge (sevenless, bar eyes, whatever); I'm not sure anyone playing knew what ocelli are.
-I enjoyed this NMR bonus, even though it wasn't ours. DSS is a great third part.
-Someday I'll memorize the steel phase diagram. Not knowing it has cost me so many damn points.

PACKET Editors 3
-I agree in principle with Billy's criticism of the 18-electron rule tossup, but I also realize that this is probably the best possible tossup on the 18-electron rule you could write.
-Contra other people, I really liked this miracles tossup. I've read some of the Swinburne stuff, so it was cool to see that come up.
-People's Power Revolution was a great idea
-Eicosanoids is a question that could have used a lot of anti-prompting, and in general suffers from the same problems that any question on a category of things suffers from, in that the clues in isolation don't point you uniquely to the answers. I knew most of the clues, but to my mind we were just jumping between thromboxanes, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins; I wondered whether you wanted something like "lipid mediators". I finally negged with prostaglandins, hoping to be prompted.
-This protein structure prediction bonus is ridiculously hard.

PACKET Editors 4
-This paramecium tossup is also atrocious. Every clue between Huygens and aurelia applies to other ciliate protozoa; specifically, it applies to quizbowl's and genetics' favorite ciliate protozoan, Tetrahymena.
-E2 with antiperiplanar in the first line? Wow.
-Stellar atmospheres was a strange idea.
-I'm so sad I mixed up this Paul tossup. http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/20 ... n_spo.html
-Coefficient of performance was a good idea, I'm sad i couldn't remember it.

PACKET Editors 5
-This ferrocene question shouldn't not be dropping hapticity that early. The clue about fulvalene is important though.
-Compiling the Koran is really figure-outable. I think most of quizbowl knows what a Hafiz is at this point.
-Ugh, this peroxisomes tossup. First, the pronoun isn't before the clue. Second, the first clue is really well known. Third, its a tossup on peroxisomes, which has been done to death. At least ICT had a new clue in the leadin; watch out quizbowl, soon you'll hear about the RADAR pathway in every tournament.
-For Ostwald Ripening, I'll leave this here:
IUPAC Definition of Flocculation wrote:a process of contact and adhesion whereby the particles of a dispersion form larger-size clusters
The question did very little to distinguish the two.

PACKET Editors 6
-Mentioning haloamides in the first line of this Hoffman rearrangement tossup isn't a great idea.
-This helicases question was excellent, although the first few clues were really vague. Like really vague.
-This battle of yamazaki bonus is great.
-Design patterns bonus is way too easy.
-oxacyclobutane should be acceptable for oxetane (like how oxacyclopropane is acceptable for epoxides or oxiranes).
-What the hell is TILLING?!

PACKET Editors 8
-Circadian rhythms had per and cry too early.
-Inductively-coupled plasma was kind of ridiculously hard

PACKET Finals 1 and 2
-I think the snakes and eagles idea kind of fell flat.
-This defects tossup is great
-The first clue of this schizophrenia tossup is literally the regular expression for a useless clue: "A [time] paper in [journal] said [vague thing about change in the level of compound] is related to [answer]". Seriously, stop doing this.
-Aconitase being the first clue, nay, the first WORD of this iron-sulfer clusters tossup is hideous. Literally the only thing most classes teach about Fe-S proteins is that aconitase is one!
-On the other had, this epoxides bonus was my favorite chem bonus all day.
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:58 pm

Eric wrote:PACKET Yale
-This indole tossup is really good. I couldn't remember the name of the reagent in the indole test, unfortunately
-I enjoyed this voting systems tossup, but I wonder whether Duverger's Law is a little early.
-This VEGF tossup is extraordinarily hard. The fact that POEMS and Avastatin are either in or right before your giveaway is absolutely ridiculous; a clue about macular degeneration really should be in there somewhere.
-I thought this temperature tossup was really inspired.
-How about this high school bonus on Dahomey
-On the other hand, this Einstein Field equations bonus had a clear easy/middle/hard
I will take credit/blame for the questions on indole, voting systems, VEGF (about which I know essentially nothing, sorry), temperature, and Einstein field equations, insofar as my questions on those things made it into the final packets unscathed modulo clue deletion and rearrangement.

Also, now that Eric has brought it up, this reminded me - the web servers tossup wasn't all that great, mostly because it was a list of hip technologies, which isn't really computer science. You can write good tossups on other pieces of software like OSs, compilers, and I'm sure other things, because there is an underlying theoretical sophistication for those pieces of software that isn't really present for web servers (really, the only unifying thing about web servers is that they accept and issue HTTP requests). That said, I'm not sure how people managed to neg the tossup with OSs or web browsers, because neither of those things are even remotely like web servers.

The bone marrow tossup was also pretty bad, seeing as it let me beat Eric to it. (I'm not being flippant; that's pretty clearly a bad thing, especially seeing as literally every clue in this tossup besides the one about the iliac crest was something I learned in 11th-grade anatomy class.)
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:10 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: -Compiling the Koran is really figure-outable. I think most of quizbowl knows what a Hafiz is at this point.
If they didn't know it before playing ACF Nationals, they learned it the day before by hearing the Editors 1 packet, which defined the term "hafiz" as part of the bonus part on Hafez! I'll go ahead and disagree with Will and say this question wasn't very good, because from the very beginning it made clear it was about a document in the Arab world and used a repeat term for someone who has memorized the Qur'an 2.5 lines in.

Are the posted packets not corrected to have the repeats replaced internally? It'd probably be good to post the packets as they were actually played (i.e. with repeats fixed).

I don't have many new general thoughts - I will second the comments about inconsistent bonus difficulty and the unprofessional spate of repeats, which for me made this set seem less consistently excellent than last year's. (In the 2 of our 3 losses that are actually in the stats (where are the play-in and finals games?), it's easy to see we got several of the harder bonuses in a given packet, which made it much harder to catch up).

I will also say that playing this tournament felt more like an earnest intellectual experience than any other quizbowl tournament I've played - in that it did a particularly good job exposing me to interesting new ideas, people, poetic images, and works that I'm now inclined to go learn something about (that Leo Marx essay looks fascinating, for one example, and I've never had to face philosophy of math head-on before). Perhaps I was just in a state of mind to appreciate all the new things I heard while I was playing, but I feel like a lot of Magin's views on quizbowl as teaching experience (or the views ascribed to Magin on quizbowl as teaching experience) showed through here without sacrificing set quality.

Tossing up Marin Barleti is stupid canon expansion taken too far, just like tossing up the Reptiles Fund was last year; questions which do nothing but reward old-packet minutia in this way are irritating, and editors should clamp down on them.

How much of the philosophy came from the 20th century Anglo-American and/or analytic tradition(s)? It's usually true that as people get to higher-level offerings in American philosophy departments, they encounter more analytic and 20th-century philosophy and fewer mainstays from the history of the discipline (unless they choose to specialize against the grain); do people want the same trend to take place in harder quizbowl? (It's probably fine for the amount of analytic to vary from tournament to tournament at regular difficulty and higher events, so long as it stays accessible and doesn't have a chokehold on the whole category - which it didn't here.)
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Re: ACF Nationals 2013 Discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:30 pm

RyuAqua wrote:I've never had to face philosophy of math head-on before
You're welcome.
How much of the philosophy came from the 20th century Anglo-American and/or analytic tradition(s)? It's usually true that as people get to higher-level offerings in American philosophy departments, they encounter more analytic and 20th-century philosophy and fewer mainstays from the history of the discipline (unless they choose to specialize against the grain); do people want the same trend to take place in harder quizbowl? (It's probably fine for the amount of analytic to vary from tournament to tournament at regular difficulty and higher events, so long as it stays accessible and doesn't have a chokehold on the whole category - which it didn't here.)
Background: I was not originally going to be a contributor to this set. At one point, Jonathan asked me to write 10/10 philosophy; I asked him how he wanted it to be distributed and suggested a 70/30 split between analytic and everything else. At the time that I was writing these questions, I did not think they would end up being the entirety of the editor questions; I thought they'd just be replacements for various things, and that a few of them would wind up in the editor packets. Due to various exigencies, all 10/10 of those questions became editor questions. As a result, you probably got a heavier dose of analytic philosophy in this tournament than you would otherwise; if I were doing it from scratch knowing that these questions would be explicitly slated for the editor rounds, I would have made the split more like 50/50. I also purposefully tried to make especially the analytic answers something that could be gotten by most teams at the end. I think the tossup on the Strawsons is probably the hardest analytical tossup in the set, not counting Bernard Williams who I was pretty sure would be converted by any team that ended up in the finals.

This doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it explains how this distribution came to be. I wouldn't necessarily call it indicative of any trend, though I do favor a heavier representation for analytic philosophy than it has seen in the past, but like I said, I think that balance should be about 50/50.
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