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Posted: January 20th, 2016, 5:51 pm
Something is wrong here, as I see it. The more I read these rules - the more it look likes they are written to curtail innovation and not promote it.

Hopefully, I am missing something?

#3. Construction
Part D. ". . . must fit within a cube 80 cm per side for Division B in a ready-to-launch configuration, in ANY ORIENTATION CHOSEN BY THE TEAM.

OK. Now move on to . .
#4. Completion
Part A. . . . teams must place their devices at a location they select in a launch area 1 meter X 1 meter, designated by tape on the floor.

So here is the problem.
1. The device "cube" is made of squares that measure 31.49" X 31.49".
2. We are allowed any "orientation according to the rules.
3. So if we move the square that is touching the floor and point it at a target with two corners of that square in the centerline of trajectory?
4. Distance between the two corners of the 31.49" square is 44"
5. How does one fit 44"within the proposed tape border that measures 1 meter square (39.3") ?

This appears to me to be a overt contradiction UNLESS the "tape border" is allowed to rotate somehow when the device operator chooses to rotate the device to his/her chosen "orientation."

Posted: January 20th, 2016, 6:38 pm
That is not a contradiction but rather an engineering "challenge" imposed by the rules. You must design your device to be smaller than 80x80 cm so that it will still be able to rotate 45 degrees. It isn't completely necessary to turn the device 45 degrees though, unless you are trying to hit some very close bucket shots that are shifted to the side by 2m.

Posted: January 20th, 2016, 7:14 pm
jdemaris wrote:Something is wrong here, as I see it. The more I read these rules - the more it look likes they are written to curtail innovation and not promote it.

Hopefully, I am missing something?

#3. Construction
Part D. ". . . must fit within a cube 80 cm per side for Division B in a ready-to-launch configuration, in ANY ORIENTATION CHOSEN BY THE TEAM.

OK. Now move on to . .
#4. Completion
Part A. . . . teams must place their devices at a location they select in a launch area 1 meter X 1 meter, designated by tape on the floor.

So here is the problem.
1. The device "cube" is made of squares that measure 31.49" X 31.49".
2. We are allowed any "orientation according to the rules.
3. So if we move the square that is touching the floor and point it at a target with two corners of that square in the centerline of trajectory?
4. Distance between the two corners of the 31.49" square is 44"
5. How does one fit 44"within the proposed tape border that measures 1 meter square (39.3") ?

This appears to me to be a overt contradiction UNLESS the "tape border" is allowed to rotate somehow when the device operator chooses to rotate the device to his/her chosen "orientation."
THOU SHALL USE THE METRIC SYSTEM

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 6:09 am
How is that NOT a contradiction? The written rules clearly state the device can be the max size of a cube with 32.4" sides (80 cms). The written rules also clearly state the operator of the "device" can orientate it any way she or he chooses. If "orientate" does not mean to move to any angle wanted, what the heck does it mean?

Then - the rules indicate a 32.4" square (one side of the cube on the floor) MUST fit within a 39.3" square taped line on the floor? THAT is not possible if "any orientation" is allowed.

Saying turning the device at a 45 degree angle is not "necessary" has nothing to do with this. The operator is the one who is supposed to be allowed to decide what is "necessary" as long as the rules are followed.

And yes it certainly Is a "challenge", but not an engineering one. At least not in this dimension. Tell me how to fit a 32.4" square - inside a 39.3" square - when turned at an angle and the distance from corner to corner of that 32.4" square is 44"?

If these rules made sense (which seems they do NOT), the 1 meter (39.3") taped border would only be there verify the "device" is the correct size and then it be allowed to be spun any direction the operator chooses to - AS the rules already say is allowed.

I'll further note that spinning at an angle IS important to the design of what I'm helping the kids build because it allows a longer barrel length. Rule #3-D clearly states we CAN do it, and rule #4-A appears to indicate we cannot. HOW does that make sense and inspire any innovation?

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 6:36 am
jdemaris wrote:How is that NOT a contradiction? The written rules clearly state the device can be the max size of a cube with 32.4" sides (80 cms). The written rules also clearly state the operator of the "device" can orientate it any way she or he chooses. If "orientate" does not mean to move to any angle wanted, what the heck does it mean?

Then - the rules indicate a 32.4" square (one side of the cube on the floor) MUST fit within a 39.3" square taped line on the floor? THAT is not possible if "any orientation" is allowed.

Saying turning the device at a 45 degree angle is not "necessary" has nothing to do with this. The operator is the one who is supposed to be allowed to decide what is "necessary" as long as the rules are followed.

And yes it certainly Is a "challenge", but not an engineering one. At least not in this dimension. Tell me how to fit a 32.4" square - inside a 39.3" square - when turned at an angle and the distance from corner to corner of that 32.4" square is 44"?

If these rules made sense (which seems they do NOT), the 1 meter (39.3") taped border would only be there verify the "device" is the correct size and then it be allowed to be spun any direction the operator chooses to - AS the rules already say is allowed.

I'll further note that spinning at an angle IS important to the design of what I'm helping the kids build because it allows a longer barrel length. Rule #3-D clearly states we CAN do it, and rule #4-A appears to indicate we cannot. HOW does that make sense and inspire any innovation?
You are assuming that you need to make your device the full 80cm x 80cm size. I've seen plenty of devices much smaller than that. The reason it's not a 'contradiction' is the same reason you can't point at rule 3.d (the size constraint / any orientation one) and then say you don't have to abide by rule 4.c. that says no part of the device can extend outside the launch area before or after because you should be able to pick an orientation that extends outside the launch area.

The bottom line is SO, like the real-world, presents a series of tradeoffs and constraints you have to work within - which is the key to fostering innovation. You can design a device with a footprint smaller than 80x80cm and have the full range of angles to work with in the launch area, or you can design it at 80x80cm and have a reduced range (but potentially better capabilities such as accuracy or distance).

P.S. - please don't convert / reference imperial units when the rules specify metric. Metric is the defacto system for SO (and much of science and engineering in general) and by using it you will become more familiar with it, helping to accomplish one of SO's main goals of providing STEM based education.

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 7:32 am
I am 65 years old and was told in grammar school that the US was going to change over to the metric system in the 60s. As we all know - it never happened. I was working as an auto mechanic when the first US cars appeared with a mix of SAE, USS, and metric hardware and it caused a lot of confusion. Ford Motor Company even tried to color code all the hardware in the first Ford Pintos with all metric bolts painted blue. Today? Brand new cars still have a confusing mess of SAE, USS and metric hardware.
Note . . . I was taught with the US system of measurement. I still buy my gasoline and diesel fuel in US gallons. Not liters and not Imperial gallons. My tires run air pressure measured in PSIG, not kPa. Car and truck tires are sold by inch sizes, not cms. I buy lumber by the board-foot. Not by the "board meter." Highway speeds are posted in miles per hour. As I see it the USA certainly has not converted to the metric system yet - and nor have I. So yes. I use conversions because it is the way my brain is wired. I have posted using both types measurements so perhaps people who do not use the metric system can easily understand without doing conversions. I consider it a courtesy since the US at large is not metric based and I am a US citizen.

Perhaps my working definition, or connotation/denotation of the word "contradiction" is different then your's. Legal documents require words to be taken as described in a common dictionary if not specifically defined in a document. The primary denotation of "contradiction" in most dictionaries is . . "a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another."

The written rules clearly state (with a bit or paraphrasing) that an 80 cm square can be used "in any orientation chosen by the team."
To me and I hope anyone else that uses American English - "any orientation" means just that. It does NOT say "any orientation within a 1 meter square."
Later on in a different section is states that a tape will be on the floor marking a 1 meter square. What it does NOT say is if this taped square is just for initial verification of the device size - or a judge has actually chosen the orientation and taken away that freedom from the kids and their device.

Looks pretty clear to me. In one place the rules clearly state it is OK and then later in another section - in a less-clear way - seem to indicate it is NOT OK.

If this is supposed to be about science and such science based upon precision - perhaps some precision of words is in order.

I find this frustrating. I've been told by a few coaches that this is NOT really about innovation. More about kids getting to all sort-of-build the same thing, learn to work together, and record data and predict results. If I'd known this was the case at the outset - I'd never offered to help. I assumed this would at least be in part, to inspire innovation. Not curtail it. I fully understand the need for certain restrictions so a kid cannot build a gun that can deliver 120 cubic inches of air volume @ 15 PSI and shoot a ping-pong ball at a near dangerous speed. But come on. Saying an 80 CM cube at "any orientation" is allowed and then later saying it is not? Not only is this a clear contradiction - I wonder what purpose does it serve? To be consistent - all that is needed is a circle on the floor with a 44" diameter. This way the max size of 80 cm square would be verified and "any orientation" would be possible.

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 8:09 am
One more comment. RE the "PostScript" pointed in my direction that states . . "P.S. - please don't convert / reference imperial units when the rules specify metric. Metric is the defacto system for SO (and much of science and engineering in general) and by using it you will become more familiar with it, helping to accomplish one of SO's main goals of providing STEM based education."

I have worked nearly 50 years as a carpenter, diesel mechanic, auto mechanic, and an electrician. All those fields use science and engineering on a daily basis. An inch is as useful as any centimeter. A watt-hour is as useful as a joule. An acre likely makes more sense to most Americans then a hectare. Common measurements in the USA are every bit as valid today as metric - including in diciplines that utilize science. At least in one man's opinion.

You claim having two statements that contradict each other - all printed on one document is somehow not a contradiction?

That is analogous to having a auto-mechanics tech manual that states a cylinder head bolt must be torqued to 115 foot pounds (sorry, no Newton-meters) on page 1, and then on page 10 it says no head bolts shall be torqued in excess of 92 foot pounds. That would not only be silly, it could cause damage.

Or a house builders code-book saying roof-rafters on 16" centers carrying a 60 PSI snow-load at a 16 foot span, with #1 species wood, must be at least a nominal size of 2" x 12" on page 4. Then on page 31 of the same code book it says no non-engineered rafters may be used in excess of 14 feet with any snow loads over 40 PSI. This again would result in mayhem and danger. If such a thing WAS done - page # 31 would have a reference mark warning there are further limitations.

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 9:05 am
jdemaris wrote:One more comment. RE the "PostScript" pointed in my direction that states . . "P.S. - please don't convert / reference imperial units when the rules specify metric. Metric is the defacto system for SO (and much of science and engineering in general) and by using it you will become more familiar with it, helping to accomplish one of SO's main goals of providing STEM based education."

I have worked nearly 50 years as a carpenter, diesel mechanic, auto mechanic, and an electrician. All those fields use science and engineering on a daily basis. An inch is as useful as any centimeter. A watt-hour is as useful as a joule. An acre likely makes more sense to most Americans then a hectare. Common measurements in the USA are every bit as valid today as metric - including in diciplines that utilize science. At least in one man's opinion.

You claim having two statements that contradict each other - all printed on one document is somehow not a contradiction?

That is analogous to having a auto-mechanics tech manual that states a cylinder head bolt must be torqued to 115 foot pounds (sorry, no Newton-meters) on page 1, and then on page 10 it says no head bolts shall be torqued in excess of 92 foot pounds. That would not only be silly, it could cause damage.

Or a house builders code-book saying roof-rafters on 16" centers carrying a 60 PSI snow-load at a 16 foot span, with #1 species wood, must be at least a nominal size of 2" x 12" on page 4. Then on page 31 of the same code book it says no non-engineered rafters may be used in excess of 14 feet with any snow loads over 40 PSI. This again would result in mayhem and danger. If such a thing WAS done - page # 31 would have a reference mark warning there are further limitations.

There is no doubt that sometimes the rules can be ambiguous. That's the ENTIRE reason that Sci Oly has an official rules clarification system/FAQ (see https://www.soinc.org/frequently_asked_questions). This is not an official place for rule clarification- only that place. However, I can tell you (in so many words) that Chalker is going to be correct in this case (and most cases).

You say: "The written rules clearly state (with a bit or paraphrasing) that an 80 cm square can be used "in any orientation chosen by the team."". This is NOT what the rules say. The device must fit in an imaginary cube that is 80.0cm on all sides when the device is ready to launch. I have coached Sci Oly for 8 years and I am not seeing the ambiguity in this. Everyone is entitled to interpreting the rules how they read it but the writers do a good job eliminating ambiguities as they arise (see official FAQ link above).

" I've been told by a few coaches that this is NOT really about innovation. More about kids getting to all sort-of-build the same thing, learn to work together, and record data and predict results. If I'd known this was the case at the outset - I'd never offered to help. I assumed this would at least be in part, to inspire innovation. Not curtail it."

I do not know what head coach would ever say that if they are truly involved in Sci Oly. All of the builds are ALL about innovation. We (as a team) work within the framework of the rules and innovate literally on a daily basis. Teams do not sort-of-build the same thing. This is evident at large competitions. Do we work together? Yes. Do we record and predict? Every day. That is a huge part of science. I am sorry that you would not get involved if you knew this.

Innovation is what we do daily, teamwork makes us successful, and working within a framework of the rules keeps us all.... sane.

Also, I have only used metric in science- and I agree that we see other units in the USA, but why not know both? Both are valid but Sci Oly should stick with metric since that is what is used in MOST science/engineering.

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 9:12 am
JonB wrote:
jdemaris wrote:One more comment. RE the "PostScript" pointed in my direction that states . . "P.S. - please don't convert / reference imperial units when the rules specify metric. Metric is the defacto system for SO (and much of science and engineering in general) and by using it you will become more familiar with it, helping to accomplish one of SO's main goals of providing STEM based education."

I have worked nearly 50 years as a carpenter, diesel mechanic, auto mechanic, and an electrician. All those fields use science and engineering on a daily basis. An inch is as useful as any centimeter. A watt-hour is as useful as a joule. An acre likely makes more sense to most Americans then a hectare. Common measurements in the USA are every bit as valid today as metric - including in diciplines that utilize science. At least in one man's opinion.

You claim having two statements that contradict each other - all printed on one document is somehow not a contradiction?

That is analogous to having a auto-mechanics tech manual that states a cylinder head bolt must be torqued to 115 foot pounds (sorry, no Newton-meters) on page 1, and then on page 10 it says no head bolts shall be torqued in excess of 92 foot pounds. That would not only be silly, it could cause damage.

Or a house builders code-book saying roof-rafters on 16" centers carrying a 60 PSI snow-load at a 16 foot span, with #1 species wood, must be at least a nominal size of 2" x 12" on page 4. Then on page 31 of the same code book it says no non-engineered rafters may be used in excess of 14 feet with any snow loads over 40 PSI. This again would result in mayhem and danger. If such a thing WAS done - page # 31 would have a reference mark warning there are further limitations.

There is no doubt that sometime the rules can be ambiguous. That's the ENTIRE reason that Sci Oly has an official rules clarification system/FAQ (see https://www.soinc.org/frequently_asked_questions). This is not an official place for rule clarification- only that place. However, I can tell you (in so many words) that Chalker is going to be correct in this case (and most cases).

You say: "The written rules clearly state (with a bit or paraphrasing) that an 80 cm square can be used "in any orientation chosen by the team."". This is NOT what the rules say. The device must fit in an imaginary cube that is 80.0cm on all sides when the device is ready to launch. I have coached Sci Oly for 8 years and I am not seeing the ambiguity in this. Everyone is entitled to interpreting the rules how they read it but the writers do a good job eliminating ambiguities as they arise (see official FAQ link above).

" I've been told by a few coaches that this is NOT really about innovation. More about kids getting to all sort-of-build the same thing, learn to work together, and record data and predict results. If I'd known this was the case at the outset - I'd never offered to help. I assumed this would at least be in part, to inspire innovation. Not curtail it."

I do not know what head coach would ever say that if they are truly involved in Sci Oly. All of the builds are ALL about innovation. We (as a team) work within the framework of the rules and innovate literally on a daily basis. Teams do not sort-of-build the same thing. This is evident at large competitions. Do we work together? Yes. Do we record and predict? Every day. That is a huge part of science. I am sorry that you would not get involved if you knew this.

Innovation is what we do daily, teamwork makes us successful, and working within a framework of the rules keeps us all.... sane.

Also, I have only used metric in science- and I agree that we see other units, but why not know both? Both are valid but Sci Oly should stick with metric since that is what is used in MOST science/engineering.
I agree with JonB

Posted: January 21st, 2016, 10:18 am
A few more comments from me (John Demarrais)

I stated . . "The written rules clearly state (with a bit or paraphrasing) that an 80 cm square can be used "in any orientation chosen by the team."".

I got a reply stating . .

"This is NOT what the rules say. The device must fit in an imaginary cube that is 80.0cm on all sides when the device is ready to launch. I have coached Sci Oly for 8 years and I am not seeing the ambiguity in this. "

If you do not see a contradiction in the written rules - something is seriously wrong here. And yes - as written - the rules indicate up to an 80 cm square can be on the floor where the 1 meter taped border will be. I did not say "cube"because a such cube does not have a footprint on the floor. Only a side of that cube. Are you trying to say that an 80 cm "imaginary" cube is not made up of "imaginary 80 cm square sides? A tape border making a square put on a floor cannot determine height and therefore does not measure the entire cube. Just its footprint on the floor. I DID say I was paraphrasing.

I (John Demarrais here again) will also address this next statement/reply to me:

"Innovation is what we do daily, teamwork makes us successful, and working within a framework of the rules keeps us all.... sane. "

I reply (John Demarrais again) that if you want sanity and clarity - don't put in two statements that clearly contradict each other - on the same document.

And to this other reply to me?

"Also, I have only used metric in science- and I agree that we see other units in the USA, but why not know both? Both are valid but Sci Oly should stick with metric since that is what is used in MOST science/engineering."

I reply (John Demarrais again) . . this is plain silly. As I already stated - I am fully aware of the many systems of measurement used in real life in the USA. Metric is still in the minority. In hard science - yes Metric is almost the rule. That being said many people apply science on a daily basis with no Metric system figures involved. Expressing figures in both Metric and US versions is a courtesy to all. All my technical manuals come with dual figures because those tech writers understood this. Seems some people here do not? I have never refused to learn the Metric system. It just happens NOT to be the default in my brain because I was taught different.

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