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  1. Topic 748 - The following appeared in a newsletter about health. "The proportion of children in the United States who are overweight is greater now than ever before. Obesity rates among children have been increasing since the 1970's and, during that same time period, the proportion of children living in suburbs has increased. Whereas children in rural areas tend to have outdoor active chores and children in cities often walk to school or other places they need to go, children in suburbs are typically driven everywhere. Thus the increase in childhood obesity is probably due mainly to the suburbanization of America and the associated decrease in the opportunities children have for exercise. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 812 - The following appeared in the editorial section of an educational publication. "One study at Lee University found that first-semester grades of teenage students who had always attended public, tax-supported schools were slightly lower than the grades of students who had received some home schooling instruction by parents at home, although the grade differences disappeared in the second semester. These results suggest that home schooling is the best way to educate teenage children. Therefore, instead of spending more money on public education, the government should provide financial incentives so that home schooling is an option for more parents. After all, children schooled at home receive more attention, since they are taught by the best possible teacher: a parent who has a high stake in educating them well. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 893 - The following appeared in the editorial section of a student newspaper. "In a recent survey, most students who were studying beginning Russian gave higher course-evaluation ratings to classes taught by non-native Russian speakers than to classes taught by native Russian speakers. The reason that the non-native speakers were better teachers of Russian is easy to see: the non-native speakers learned Russian later in life themselves, and so they have a better understanding of how the language can be taught effectively. Therefore, in order to improve instruction for all languages and also save money, our university should hire non-native speakers as language instructors instead of trying to find and recruit native speakers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 756 - The following appeared in a memo from the business manager of Medicine, Inc., a local drugstore. "Most business analysts for the drugstore industry have stated that even when a nation's economy is weak, drugstores' profits are unlikely to decline appreciably. While consumers might put off some kinds of purchases when the economy is slow, prescription and over-the-counter drug purchases are dictated by consumers' health needs, which are independent of the economy. Therefore, Medicine Inc. is likely to continue to have increasing profits and should plan to open an additional drugstore next year. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 814 - The following appeared in a newsletter distributed at a recent political rally. "Over the past year, the Consolidated Copper Company (CCC) has purchased over one million square miles of land in the tropical nation of West Fredonia. Mining copper on this land will inevitably result in pollution and environmental disaster, since West Fredonia is home to several endangered animal species. But such disaster can be prevented if consumers simply refuse to purchase products that are made with CCC's copper until the company abandons its mining plans. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 917 - The following appeared in a newspaper article about law firms in the city of Megalopolis. "In Megalopolis, the number of law school graduates who went to work for large, corporate firms declined by 15 percent over the last three years, whereas an increasing number of graduates took jobs at small, general practice firms. Even though large firms usually offer much higher salaries, law school graduates are choosing to work for the smaller firms most likely because they experience greater job satisfaction at smaller firms. In a survey of first-year students at a leading law school, most agreed with the statement that earning a high salary was less important to them than job satisfaction. This finding suggests that the large, corporate firms of Megalopolis will need to offer graduates more benefits and incentives and reduce the number of hours they must work. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 821 - The following appeared in the editorial section of Monroetown's local newspaper. "Mayor Brown was recently re-elected by a clear majority of 52 percent of Monroetown's voters. Her re-election, however, does not show that most people in our town favored Mayor Brown's proposal for tax reduction over that of her opponent, Mr. Greene, who proposed raising taxes to improve education. It has been shown that voters nationwide tend to re-elect people already in office, regardless of candidates' proposals. In fact, a local survey after the election showed most people in Monroetown disagreed with Mayor Brown's proposal. Clearly most people in Monroetown favor improving education and therefore approve of Mr. Greene's proposal despite the fact that they did not vote for him. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 817 - According to a poll of 200 charitable organizations, donations of money to nonprofit groups increased by nearly 25 percent last year, though not all charities gained equally. Religious groups gained the most (30 percent), followed by environmental groups (23 percent), whereas educational institutions experienced only a very small increase in donations (3 percent). This poll indicates that more people are willing and able to give money to charities but that funding for education is not a priority for most people. These differences in donation rates must result from the perception that educational institutions are less in need of donations than are other kinds of institutions. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 860 - The following appeared as part of an article in a health magazine. "A new discovery warrants a drastic change in the diets of people living in the United States. Two scientists have recently suggested that omega -3 fatty acids (found in some fish and fish oils) play a key role in mental health. Our ancestors, who ate less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat, including omega -3 fatty acids, were much less likely to suffer from depression than we are today. Moreover, modern societies ?such as those in Japan and Taiwan ?that consume large quantities of fish report depression rates lower than that in the United States. Given this link between omega -3 fatty acids and depression, it is important for all people in the United States to increase their consumption of fish in order to prevent depression. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 750 - The cities of East Sacunda and West Sacunda are in an earthquake-prone area. Since 1985 both cities have had stringent building codes requiring all new buildings to have specific features designed to prevent damage in an earthquake. Buildings built before 1985 are exempt from the codes, but many building owners have modified their buildings to make them conform to the 1985 codes. Last year a major earthquake hit the area, and many people lost their homes. The number of people who were left homeless was much higher in East Sacunda than in West Sacunda, however, so we can conclude that building owners in East Sacunda were less likely to modify their buildings so as to bring them up to the 1985 code standards. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 761 - The following appeared in a newsletter about health published in the country of Sauria. "According to Sauria's leading nutritional experts, a diet high in complex carbohydrates, and low in fat is optimal for good health and longevity. Because this was the diet of the people who lived in ancient Sauria, one would expect them to have had long and healthy lives. Yet the mummified remains of Sauria's ruling classes from two to three thousand years ago show the existence of many medical problems among the ancient Saurians, including dental problems, elevated blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and early mortality. Clearly, the diet of the ancient Saurians was responsible for these problems. The high incidence of high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease in Sauria today even among those who have tried low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets further proves that Sauria's leading nutritional experts are wrong. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 937 - A recent sales study indicated that consumption of seafood dishes in Bay City restaurants has increased by 30 percent over the past five years. Yet there are no currently operating city restaurants that specialize in seafood. Moreover, the majority of families in Bay City are two-income families, and a nationwide study has shown that such families eat significantly fewer home-cooked meals than they did a decade ago but at the same time express more concern about eating healthily. Therefore, a new Bay City restaurant specializing in seafood will be quite popular and profitable. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write

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October 15, 2016