Hovercraft

Q: If I found a commercially available product containing a brushless motor attached to a fan, must it be labeled as a "cooling fan" to be legal? (section: 4/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line:1 )

A: No. As long as it is a fan typically used for cooling electronics or computers it does not need to be labeled as such.

Q: Can commercially available rechargeable battery packs that are labeled <= 9.0 V be used as a power source. (section: 4/ paragraph:  4/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes.

Q: What modifications are allowed to be made to the hovercraft during impound and eight minutes of vehicle testing? (section: 5/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Per General Rule 1, Actions and items (e.g., tools, notes, resources, supplies, electronics, etc.) are permitted, unless they are explicitly excluded in the rules, are unsafe, or violate the spirit of the problem.

Towers

Q: If the tower breaks or is damaged in any way while still being able to "carry the additional load" of sand without any "additional support from anything other than the tower," will the event supervisor(s) stop the flow of sand into the bucket? (section: 5/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  / line:2-4 )

A: No, loading only stops when a failure occurs or when time expires. Failure is defined as the inability of the Tower to carry any additional load, or if any part of the load is supported by anything other than the Tower.

Q: Bonus points...the Tower to span a 29 cm diameter circle. If the base is a square, does the 29 cm situate outside the square touching the 4 corners or can the 29 cm circle be inside the square base but the circumference are touching the part of the 4 sides. In essence, the square is outside the 29 cm circle or the square is required to be inside the 29cm circle? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: No part of the tower may touch or be supported within the 29 cm circle.

Q: "...Tower must span a 20 cm x 20 cm opening..." mean that no part of the tower may touch or be supported within the 20 cm x 20 cm opening? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes, this is correct.

Q: Is it allowed for our tower base to be less than 20cm by 20cm but still be able to span the opening of the test base? Or is the minimum dimensions for the tower base 20cm by 20cm? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Thank you for your question. We have just answered and posted a similar question to yours below on the State web page. Please visit: Please check http://socalscioly.org/?tab=event&page=allclarifications to see a list of clarifications.

Rocks and Minerals

Q: Are they allowed to bring in a (one) Rocks & Mineral Field Guide that they may tab? We thought that in the past, with field guide events, they were allowed to bring in both the 3-ring binder and one (1) field guide. We just need clarification as the rules manual says it does not allow one field guide.    (section: 2/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, field guides are not allowed this year.

Robot Arm

Q: Can the end effectors be completely mobile on their own, without power from the arm. i.e. a small RC car attached to the base via a tether to the base?
 (section: 1/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No. This would not meet the definition of a robotic arm. Definition (checked in multiple sources) A robot arm is a series of rigid elements linked by rotary or translation joints. The tether is not a rigid link, nor is it a rotary or translational joint.

Helicopters

Q: What defines a single bladed rotor? Would a single stick of wood projecting out horizontally from the body be considered a "lifting surface" that "rotates on a common path around a vertical axis"? (section: 3/ paragraph:  f/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: No, that would not be considered a lifting surface. To be considered a lifting surface, it must contribute lift to the overall flying assembly. An easy way to demonstrate that would be to demonstrate flying it with and without the surface, if the surface is not present then the flight would be significantly different.

Electric Vehicle

Q: Is the vehicle permitted to be propelled backwards outside of the run time (as defined in 5k)? (section: 5/ paragraph:  j/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No. The rule is clear. ...please see rule 5.g.

Q:  How is "leading part of the vehicle" defined? Is it the forward-most part in the direction of the vehicle's travel or the closest part to the Target Point? (section: 2/ paragraph:  g/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1,2)

A: The "leading part of the vehicle" is the forward-most part in the direction of the vehicle's travel.

Q: Clearly batteries must be less than 9V, but can we use step-up regulator to generate 12 V?  (section: 2/ paragraph:  c/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No, the voltage across any two points ≤ 9 V as stated by the manufacturer labels. If a step-up regulator steps a 9V battery up to 12V, this would be a violation.

Q: Am I allowed to use a step-up voltage converter that produces 12v when supplied 9v? I will only be using a 9v battery. (section: 2/ paragraph:  c/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: The answer to your question was already answered. Please check http://socalscioly.org/?tab=event&page=allclarifications to see a list of clarifications.

Q:  (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: 

Ecology

Q: "Simpson Index" can be loosely applied to 3 different values (and calculations) depending on the author/source: Simpson's Index, Simpson's Index of Diversity and Simpson's Reciprocal Index. This should be clarified. (section: 3/ paragraph:  b/ sub-paragraph:  iv/ line: 2)

A: Students should be familiar with all three. If used for the National competition the national supervisor will specify which is being used. We have chosen to define the Simpson index, p as the proportion (n/N) of individuals of one particular species found (n) divided by the total number of individuals found (N), Σ is still the sum of the calculations, and s is the number of species. This information can be found on the files distributed at coaches clinics and will also be on the SO website once the clinics are over.

Q:  Could you clarify what aspects "local and regional ecology" refers to, mainly, how will general ecological principles be applied to specific regions? (section: 3/ paragraph:  a/ sub-paragraph:  i/ line: 5)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what will be covered on a test or how to coach the event will not be answered.

Q: The rules state that the ecology test will be divided into 3 sections. Will these sections be separated and labeled as Parts 1-3? Or will the types of questions be integrated throughout the test? (section: 3/ paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, questions regarding what will be covered on a test, the format of the test, or how to coach the event will not be answered.

Dealing with Schedule Conflicts

Q: We have a conflict for one of our students who is competing in one event and a different event at the same time. For our school they are both scheduled for the same time slot. Is it possible to change one slot for an earlier slot? (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: No This is the biggest challenge for everyone and it is part of the competition. There are no exceptions made for conflict challenges in the schedule.

There is important rationale involving the logistics of the day and the number of teams participating at any given time, but the important answer is that the schedule is firm and teams must participate at their assigned time. Teams with greater depth (more students prepared for more events) have an advantage, which is part of the overall competition.

You might ask, "what if I can find another school that will switch with me?" The response remains "no." Sometimes switching can create problems in scoring, especially if there is a question related to the team's results or exam. The schedule is firm.

Hovercraft

Q: We can not find any motor controller that is not built with some kind of integrated circuit. Even the one that was provided to my child by his science Olympiad advisory has a small integrated circuit. Additional guidance is needed with regard to acceptable motor controllers.  We need resources for vendors that sell motors w/o integrated circuits.  If kids are expected to build their own board then they would need resources where they can get diagrams of motor controllers w/o integrated circuits that can handle the required volts and amps. " (section: / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: )

A: Note there is an official rules clarification related to this, available at: https://www.soinc.org/official_rules_clarif : "Brushless motors and integrated circuits are not permitted, unless they are an integral part of and are imbedded into a commerically available electronic or computer cooling fan."

Q: What modifications are allowed to be made to the hovercraft during impound and eight minutes of vehicle testing?  (section: 5/ paragraph: i / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Per General Rule 1, Actions and items (e.g., tools, notes, resources, supplies, electronics, etc.) are permitted, unless they are explicitly excluded in the rules, are unsafe, or violate the spirit of the problem.

Robot Arm

Q: Can LiPo batteries be utilized as a power source? (section:3 / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes, LiPo batteries are okay to use as long as they are clearly labeled and fulfill the other battery requirements. 

Q: Can the pennies be pushed into the target area instead of being carried into the target?  (section: 6/ paragraph:  h/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: Yes.

 

Hovercraft

QIs a breadboard with resistors and/or transformers considered an integrated circuit?(section:  4/ paragraph:  i/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

A: No. A breadboard with discrete resistors and/or basic transformers is not an integrated circuit. Note though that some types of resistors and transformers ARE integrated circuits and hence are not allowed.

Astronomy

National Clarification: Henize 2-248 should be Henize 2-428. (section:  3/ paragraph:  c/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

QWe are having trouble getting DS9 Software to run with Cygwin64. What version of DS9 will we need to know how to use for the event? Since we don't have internet access at the competitions we will not be able to use the JS9. (section:  3/ paragraph:  1/ sub-paragraph:  / line: 3)

A: Because the event will be pen and paper, only printouts (or screenshots) of DS9 will be used. As a result, teams do not have to have DS9 on their computers to compete. Instead, if you cannot download DS9 simply use JS9 (the online tool) to practice for the competition. What is tested instead is students familiarity with the programs output and how to analyze/interpret that output. So however you get it to run on your personal, school, or library computers (and whichever version you use) is really a fine way to gain that understanding.