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Tomak

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Tomak last won the day on August 1 2010

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About Tomak

  • Rank
    Research Guru
  • Birthday 07/31/1982

Profile Information

  • Name
    Tomak
  • School
    Cal Poly
  • Biography
    I debated in high school in the late 90's and in college in the early 2000s. I used to post here a lot.
  • Location
    Seattle
  • Interests
    Chess, Go (the game that looks like Othello but isn't), Guitar, Physics, Philosophy

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  1. Tomak

    This site

    I used this site a ton 20 years ago when I was first learning policy debate. I posted here a lot, and 10 years ago I created the Virtual Debates forum. I loved sparring with fellow CX debaters late into the night. Then I got a job and forgot about cross-x. My question is, WHAT HAPPENED? There’s so little activity here. Can someone give me the tl;dr of the last decade? Are there any long-time users still here? And where do people engage fellow debaters these days?
  2. Tomak

    Oceans is a broad topic

    Lots of people mentioned "US key" as a plausible generic neg strategy. You're missing that the resolution allows for domestic cases that completely avoid this strategy. Whether the aff wants to limit oil drilling, promote aquaculture, or incentivize underwater mineral extraction, it could do so exclusively in US waters. China can't declare marine sanctuaries in US waters. The UN has no say in land use permits for salmon hatcheries in Oregon. And if any other state tries to pick up nuclear waste from the underwater nuclear dump near San Francisco, there will be trouble. Say goodbye to your agent-changing counterplan. It's totally up to the aff whether they want to have that debate.
  3. Tomak

    oceans T

    Critique of development!! A strong generic negative strategy will actually be to run a critique of the word "development." I suspect next year most affirmative cases will do no "exploration" and just claim that their case "increases development" of the ocean, since that word can be bent all sorts of different ways. But the word "development" gets a lot of criticism. Here's the obvious card from that same article you quote: Granted, developing the ocean isn't the same as developing a nation. But there are various Deep Ecology critiques of "development" that link better this year. I did a google scholar search and found Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions to wet your appetite. Check out page 15: Run that as a definition on T-Development, concede the "We Meet," and cross-apply it to the K.
  4. Tomak

    Oceans is a broad topic

    By some measures, this might be the broadest topic in over a decade. The topic paper suggests only one definition for "development," which is "A significant event, occurrence, or change" (from FreeDictionary.com). This is probably not the best definition, but you see the problem. Any "event, occurrence, or change" is topical, so long as it's non-military, "significant," and has something to do with the ocean. The ocean covers 70% of the earth, and over 90% of the world's population lives in countries that border the ocean. How often do you get an international topic that doesn't specify a country? Actually, this year is both a domestic topic and an international topic - it just depends on what the aff chooses to do. The aff can operate entirely in domestic waters, or they can ratify the Law of the Sea Convention. Or they can work in obscure stretches of water with different consequences entirely. Different governing bodies have complex and overlapping jurisdictions when it comes to the ocean. The "USFG" could be a lot of different things this year too. The aff could use an executive order or Congress if they want. Or they can skip both and have independent agencies like NASA or NOAA do their work. The State Department has their Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs, and the DHS can control imports at sea ports. There's a National Historical Park in Guam (War in the Pacific) with a coral reef that is actively studied. Good luck linking your disads to the Director of the National Parks Service exploring a coral reef in Guam. This year will be tough to be on the negative team. The aff can't really be nailed down to any predictable actions. Pick your favorite generic disad next year and think about all the cases it doesn't link to.
  5. Tomak

    What Computer to get?

    A debater needs a computer that is 1. Lightweight 2. Reliable 3. Boots and launches apps fast 4. Has great battery life. Get a computer with a SSD instead of a hard drive - that radically affects all four of the above criteria. You should get something with a fast enough processor that is energy efficient - look for an Intel i5 Haswell processor. You don't need a discrete graphics card at all unless it's also a gaming machine and you're willing to pay the price in dollars and battery life. The macbook air or a PC copycat of the Air is a perfect choice.
  6. Tomak

    Neg Abuse?

    I've never seen a round won on "new in the 2 is abusive." This is partly because the 1AR doesn't have enough time to articulate such an unorthodox argument, and partly because it's just not a good argument. It's widely accepted that both teams can use their second constructives for new arguments, and the right to go first and choose the parameters of the debate is adequate compensation for the time pressures of the 1AR. The real problem is that your 1AC and 2AC are so lacking in offense that you're spread out by off-case by the 1AR. You need to put pressure on the negative early if you don't want to get spread out by junk arguments later in the round. Fill your 1AC with advantages that can outweigh disads, cards that can be cross-applied quickly to common off-case arguments, and traps that can explode later if ignored. Fill your 2AC with turns, turns, and more turns. Then see how the negative allocates their time in the block. Don't complain about time constraints - use them! They're part of the game.
  7. Debaters often hastily dismiss the idea of a straight-up global warming case as boring. But they have big impacts, they're very easy to build, and they're hard for the negative to research because there are sooo many of them. I've seen so many negs just give up and try to run a Warming Good turn. Just pick a technology that is developed in the ocean and reduces or reverses global warming. Cut a few cards saying the technology works, attach your favorite GW cards from camp. Boom, you have a throwaway 1AC for quarterfinals against that team that sucks at warming debates. There are dozens of reasonable cases to choose here, but they can be broken down into just a few different kinds. 1. You can advocate geoengineering. You can take CO2 out of the air and pump it in the ocean, or use ocean water to reflect sunlight and cool the earth. This is controversial because of the unknown side effects, but the science is sound. Just be ready for the case turns and outweigh them. Iron fertilization is the most popular CO2 sequestration technique Deep ocean CO2 injection is another possibility Getting stranger: sea-dwelling cloud factories cool the earth by reflecting sunlight 2. You can invest in an alternative energy to offset fossil fuel use. There are many interesting technologies unique to the ocean. Tidal energy works. It just doesn't generate all that much electricity, and ocean turbines are prone to biofouling. But there are already two commercial tidal energy power stations in the world. Ocean wave energy is another option. Ocean thermal energy conversion is kind of awesome. Lockheed Martin just signed a contract to build the world's biggest OTEC plant. Offshore wind farms are expensive, but there's dozens in Europe already. Basically identical to the land-based ones, with the same advantages and case turns. Offshore solar… well… it exists 3. You can restrict oceanic drilling to keep fossil fuels from getting used in the first place. In the wake of Deepwater Horizon, there is a ton of literature, and you can get more direct and immediate advantages relating to oil spills. If you're making a real aff case instead of a throwaway 1AC, the vast amount of evidence will make drilling an attractive case. Banning drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is a completely different case than banning drilling in the arctic. But get ready for T-increase; by decreasing oil exploration and development, you are making resolution bidirectional. 4. You can reduce emissions directly. Since shipping by boat has a smaller carbon footprint than shipping by air or truck, you can create incentives for ocean commerce and claim GW as an advantage. Or you could require vessels to be more CO2-efficient (by driving slower, for example). There's a whole universe of cases here, all with the same goal in mind. A final thought. The fact that global warming has direct consequences for the ocean (sea level rise, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching) is also interesting. These impacts may cancel out the negative environmental consequences of dumping dry ice in the ocean or building giant offshore energy plants. Maybe this is useful, maybe not. What's the current feeling on full-on global warming cases? Did I cover the landscape pretty well, or am I missing something?
  8. What does this thing do? On my mind? Hmm...

  9. Tomak

    Timecube

    Every once in a while some debater cuts a bunch of random cards from timecube.com, gives them plausible tags, and pretends it's a kritik. Since timecube.com is a bunch of schizophrenic rambles that don't actually make sense, the so-called timecube "kritik" is really just a cheap ploy to annoy the other team, waste their time, and possibly embarrass them for being gullible and buying in. It's more of a prank - not a serious debate argument. It was probably funny the first time it worked, but now everyone's heard of it, so you have to find another nonsensical author. Other possible sources for the same "haha you thought it was real" strategy include the postmodern generator, quotes from , and many from the last decade or so.
  10. Tomak

    are pictures args?

    A picture is a sequence of colors projected toward your eyes, usually to convey information. A speech is a long sequence of sounds projected toward your ears, usually to convey information. Arguments are information shared with the idea of proving or disproving an idea. This information can be encapsulated within a verbal speech, or a visual aid like a photograph, a stencil portrait, a graph, a political cartoon or any number of other forms. We don't see many visual aids in debate because it is traditionally a spoken activity. I can't think of any reason to make a rule against using a picture or a chart as evidence - it's just that they don't really provide the kind of information we're usually looking for in a good piece of debate evidence.
  11. Tomak

    My account seems to be broken

    YES! Thanks a ton. That was fast.
  12. Tomak

    Black Holes?

    I've seen black holes used as a terminal impact in two ways. - Next-generation particle accelerators could supposedly accidentally create a black hole that could suck in the whole earth. The link card came from Discover magazine 2000, if I recall. There was an article about 20 ways the world could end by 2020. Someone ran this on the WMD topic. The topicality answers were hilarious. Particle accelerators are actually the only pieces of technology other than nuclear weapons and reactors that "destroy mass." - Rogue black holes could destroy our solar system, we need some sort of search and surveillance system, blah blah blah. Not that we could actually do anything about it if we found one incoming.
  13. Tomak

    Topicality Neg Strat

    I used to have a "T-Development Assistance" shell that was two and a half minutes. It was one of those all-out shells with well-crafted violations, FX and Extra-T standards, and a piece of accompanying topic literature. Realistically, you can't go much longer than that. There are only so many arguments that are useful to make in a T debate. After that you're just preempting RVIs and spewing nonsense violations that do as much to confuse the judge as your opponents. Moreover, T is a dangerous basket to put all your eggs in. On more than any other off-case, judges often read the round differently than the participants on T. The flow is usually a bit blippy and open to interpretation - often an interpretation having as much to do with the judge's personal feelings about T debates in general. And when it comes down to it, sometimes your opponent is just f*ing topical, and T isn't really a good choice when the 2NR comes around.
  14. Nobody? Really? Where have all the theory hacks gone?
  15. Tomak

    K ground

    Nobody's mentioned deep eco yet? The desire to colonize space is obviously just a new phase in humanity's quest to conquer nature.
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