The Herbert Spencer Memorial Singles Tournament

Playoff Round 1


Editing and non-science questions by Matt Weiner

Science by Edmund Schluessel, Mike Davies, Jon Misurda, and Matt Weiner


1. It's called anasarca when experienced by a certain visible part of the body. Diuretics are helpful in treating it individually, and it may In earlier centuries it was called dropsy, a word that now refers informally to the "generalized" form of this disorder, in which the body cavities are also filled with fluid. FTP, give the medical term for the swelling of connective tissue caused by abnormal accumulation of serumlike fluid between the cells, most commonly preceded by the word "pulmonary" and meaning water in the lungs induced by heart dysfunction.

ANSWER: edema


2. Born in Florence, South Carolina, in 1963, this former talk show host’s current project is a partnership with Dick Clark and Mark DeCarlo for a gameshow “based on sexy singles swapping phone numbers.” He replaced Chip Beall as host of the then-Texaco Star National Academic Challenge in 1994, later moving from botching the pronounciations of foreign words to ruining relationships as the host of Temptation Island. FTP, identify this man who shares his name with the former leader of the Funky Bunch.

ANSWER: Mark L. Walberg


3. A banker’s son escapes wealthy society and falls in love with the lower-class girl Maria. Maria is literally lower-class, living in the dehumanized underground quarters of the workers. The above-ground society is vibrant and technologically advanced, with cars flying through the air. The plot is merely a formality to allow for the display of sets which were symbolic and grandiose at the time, namely 1926. FTP, name this Fritz Lang film.

ANSWER: Metropolis


4. These areas are responsible for conserving total mass of the Earth’s crust, as they send liquefied rock back into the mantle. However, sometimes the superheated rock goes the other direction, creating a type of volcano, and sometimes the instability created by melting tectonic plates creates earthquakes. FTP, give the name for these areas where one plate is melting away as another advances over it.

ANSWER: subduction zones


5. This dissenter was eventually killed in an Indian raid, during which the only family member not killed, an eight-year-old daughter, was taken into the tribe and assimilated. Earlier, this person had been exiled after being labeled an antinomialist. The charges arose from her opposition to all ministers except for John Cotton and John Wheelwright. FTP, name this seventeenth-century Massachusetts resident who supposedly accused the rest of the ministry of preaching a covenant of works.

ANSWER: Anne Hutchinson


6. They published two journals, Origin and a namesake Review. They used “composition by field” in which the rhythm of breath was elevated above pre-determined meters. Such form was part of the theory of “projective verse” which they advocated. Their number included Ed Dorn, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, and Denise Levertov, and they were  led by Charles Olson. FTP, name this group of poets which arose from a North Carolina college in the 1950s.

ANSWER: the Black Mountain poets [accept Black Mountain College, group, etc.]


7. Java implements this through interfaces and abstract classes and methods as well as function overloading. C++ has similar mechanisms but also supports templating functions and classes. FTP, name this concept, one of the 3 fundamentals of object orientedness, whose name comes from the Greek for "many forms."

ANSWER: polymorphism


8. Named after a man who served twelve years as U.S. Reclamation Commissioner, it has five basins. It subsumes thirty-five miles of the Virgin River and over one hundred of the Colorado, whose flow can be stored in this reservoir for two years. FTP, name this lake created by Hoover Dam.

ANSWER: Lake Mead


9. Two answers required. By themselves, one is strongly toxic and is used in the control rods of nuclear reactors, as well as a yellow pigment in many paints. The other can take any valence from 0 to +4 and, like iron, when ground very finely adsorbs hydrogen, and is a common component of coins. FTP, name these two metals which, together, constitute a common rechargeable electric cell.

ANSWER: nickel and cadmium


10. It is not subject to the natural elements, but it shakes whenever a resident leaves. It cannot be climbed at night. Inside its gates are carvings in marble of the Annunciation, David, and Trajan, while at the top is a ring of fire leading to the Garden of Eden. Below the proper entrance are the late repentants; inside are the practitioners of misdirected, deficient, and excessive love. FTP, name this title structure of the middle third of Dante’s Comedia.

ANSWER: the mountain of Purgatory [accept Purgatorio]


11. When it nominally dropped its military wing in the 1940s, its structure was left with three divisions: workers, peasants, and “popular organizations.” Factional splits between politicos and técnicos and international pressure to remove corruption led to two July 1997 losses: the lower house of the national legislature and the mayorship of the national capital. FTP, name this party which, in 2000, lost its once-ironclad grip on the Mexican presidency.

ANSWER: Partido Revolucionario Institucional [accept Institutional Revolution Party; prompt on IRP; prompt on Partido Nacional Revolucionario; prompt on National Revolutionary Party; prompt on Partido de la Revolución Mexicana; prompt on Party of the Mexican Revolution]


12. The lower court ruling in Raines v. Byrd was overturned due to lack of standing, but the Supreme Court addressed this practice six months later in Clinton v. New York City. By a 6-3 vote, the Court found that its use violated the scheme of separation of powers in Article I of the Constitution. FTP, identify this part of the 1994 Contract With America, which was intended to control pork-barrel spending by allowing the President to remove portions of bills before signing.

ANSWER: line item veto [or equivalents]


13. It prescribes a seven-step path: “repentance, abstinence, renunciation, poverty, patience, trust in God, and acquiescence to the will of God.” Emphasizing personal interaction with a divine presence, it became popular with the masses during periods of extreme luxury by the caliphs. FTP, name this mystic Muslim sect which includes the dervishes.

ANSWER: Sufism


14. He wrote two works with Shakespearean references in the title, Atta Troll: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Germany: A Winter’s Tale. After a trip to the mountains, he published The Harz Journey, to which he later added three more books as Travel Pictures.  His final poetry collection, Romanzero, was written in France, where he was exiled due to a possibly spurious association with the banned Junges Deutschland group. FTP, name this poet whose Book of Songs provided material for Schubert and Schumann and contained the ballad of the Lorelei.

ANSWER: Christian Johann Heinrich Heine [accept Harry Heine]


15. After assisting in Ramón Grau San Martín’s overthrow of Carlos de Quesada, he became army chief of staff, rising to the presidency within four years. Eight years after a 1944 election defeat, he staged a coup, suspending constitutional government and attempting to build the tourism and gambling industries. FTP, name this man who was overthrown in 1959 by communists led by Fidel Castro.

ANSWER: Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar


16. It was later explained as the reduced mass of the proton and electron, multiplied by the coulomb constant times the square of the charge on the electron, divided by twice the Bohr radius times Planck's constant; for heavy ions, simply the mass of the electron can be used, and for hydrogen it equals 1.097x10^7 per meter. FTP, name this constant, which appears in the Lyman, Paschen, and Balmer series equations, designated R-sub-H for hydrogen.

ANSWER: Rydberg constant


17. In July 2001, he designed his own website on which he will respond to charges of dereliction of duty and corruption. He won’t have to respond to such charges in the country where the crimes allegedly took place, because he fled from there to Japan, where he holds dual citizenship. FTP, name this man who was ousted from the presidency of Peru.

ANSWER: Alberto Fujimori


18. As leader of the strategic command division of the army, he was authorized to stop violence between Muslims and Communists. He used his emergency powers to become president, abandoning his predecessor’s Communist ties and joining the Nonaligned Movement. He remained in office for thirty-one years until a series of demonstrations caused him to cede power to B.J. Habibe. FTP, name this man who succeeded Sukarno as president of Indonesia.

ANSWER: Suharto


19. Except for the last one, the poems in this collection are untitled, labeled only with Roman numerals. Thus, the poems are commonly referred to by first lines, which include “Leaning Into the Afternoons,” “Here I Love You,” “The Light Wraps You,” “Ah Vastness of Pines,” and “Tonight I Can Write.” The final poem smashes the sensual beauty which the prior poems idolized, as reflected by its separate mention in the title. FTP, identify this collection by Pablo Neruda.

ANSWER: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair [or Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada]


20. Only about 200 on each side died, surprising considering that one army believed themselves to be immune to bullets. The attack was supposed to be a surprise at dawn, but the American army quicly organized and routed the First Nations troops. FTP, identify this War of 1812 battle at which troops led by Tenskwatawa, the Prophet, were defeated by a force under William Henry Harrison, who later used the battle as part of a campaign slogan.

ANSWER: Battle of Tippecanoe [accept Battle of Prophetstown]