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  1. Topic 907 - The following appeared in a memorandum from the general manager of KNOW radio station. "Several factors indicate that radio station KNOW should shift its programming from rock-and-roll music to a continuous news format. Consider, for example, the number of older people in our listening area has increased dramatically, while the total number of our listeners has recently declined. Also, music stores in our area report decreased sales of recorded music. Finally, continuous news stations in neighboring cities have been very successful, and a survey taken just before the recent election shows that local citizens are interested in becoming better informed about politics. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 774 - The following appeared in a memo from the president of a company that makes breakfast cereals. "In a recent study, subjects who ate soybeans at least five times per week had significantly lower cholesterol levels than subjects who ate no soy products. By fortifying our Wheat-O cereal with soy protein, we can increase sales by appealing to additional consumers who are concerned about their health. This new version of Wheat-O should increase company profits and, at the same time, improve the health of our customers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 964 - From a draft textbook manuscript submitted to a publisher. "As Earth was being formed out of the collision of space rocks, the heat from those collisions and from the increasing gravitational energy of the planet made the entire planet molten, even the surface. Any water present would have evaporated and gone off into space. As the planet approached its current size, however, its gravitation became strong enough to hold gases and water vapor around it as an atmosphere. Because comets are largely ice made up of frozen water and gases, a comet striking Earth then would have vaporized. The resulting water vapor would have been retained in the atmosphere, eventually falling as rain on the cooled and solidified surface of Earth. Therefore, the water in Earth's oceans must have originated from comets. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 879 - It is known that in recent years, industrial pollution has caused the Earth's ozone layer to thin, allowing an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. At the same time, scientists have discovered, the population of a species of salamander that lays its eggs in mountain lakes has declined. Since ultraviolet radiation is known to be damaging to delicate tissues and since salamander eggs have no protective shells, it must be the case that the increase in ultraviolet radiation has damaged many salamander eggs and prevented them from hatching. This process will no doubt cause population declines in other species, just as it has in the salamander species. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 928 - The following appeared in a memo from the owner of Green Thumb Gardening Center, a small business serving a suburban town. "There is evidence that consumers are becoming more and more interested in growing their own vegetables. A national survey conducted last month indicated that many consumers were dissatisfied with the quality of fresh vegetables available in supermarkets. And locally, the gardening magazine GreatGardens has sold out at the Village News stand three months in a row. Thus, we at Green Thumb Gardening Center can increase our profits by greatly expanding the variety of vegetable seeds we stock for gardeners this coming spring. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 873 - Statistics collected from dentists indicate that three times more men than women faint while visiting the dentist. This evidence suggests that men are more likely to be distressed about having dental work done than women are. Thus, dentists who advertise to attract patients should target the male consumer and emphasize both the effectiveness of their anesthetic techniques and the sensitivity of their staff to nervous or suffering patients. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 974 - The following appeared in the health section of Glenntown's local newspaper. "Several national medical studies suggest that older people who have pets tend to enjoy better health than those who do not have pets: those who have pets have lower rates of high blood pressure and arthritis. It seems clear that having to care for an animal promotes good health for the older person. Therefore, Glenntown should establish a program to give a small pet such as a dog or cat to all of its citizens who are over the age of 65. This will help to insure that our senior citizens enjoy good health and have fewer medical bills. " Read | Write
  8. Topic 789 - The following appeared in a memo from Grocery Town's regional manager. "The new Grocery Town store in Elm City, located near a new residential development, has a 'high-low' pricing policy where average prices are relatively high, but deep discounts are offered on some items in weekly specials. This store has been showing increased profits every month as the nearby residential development gets closer to full capacity. It follows that people prefer a pricing policy where they can find bargains on specific items. Since there is a new residential development planned in Oak City, we should change the pricing policy at all of our Oak City stores from our current 'everyday low prices' policy to a 'high-low' policy. This will increase the profits at all of our stores in Oak City. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 797 - The following is a memo from the business manager of National Daily News. "To expand the home delivery service of our national newspaper, we should concentrate on the state of Urba rather than on the state of Sylva. First, the population of Sylva is more widely dispersed, which would require us to spend more money to deliver our papers in that area, resulting in less profit per customer. Second, a long-term study of television viewing habits suggests that Sylvans prefer local to national news, since they spend twice as much time viewing local news programs as they do viewing national programs. Finally, because events in Urba receive more coverage in our newspaper than do events in Sylva, we can expect Urbans to be more interested in reading our newspaper. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 830 - The following is a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. "As a local merchant, I wish to support the development of a ski resort in the state park north of our township. Along with many other merchants who favor the proposal by Ski the Slopes, Incorporated, I would, of course, experience a growth in my business. But I also know how much more prosperous, not to mention lively and interesting, our community would be if tourism increased. Since the main opposition comes from a few environmentalists* who do not even live in this community, I see no reason to give in to their views. The First National Bank has finally researched the project and agreed to fund it. As a result, I see no reason to delay development of the resort. "Environmentalists are people who advocate the preservation of the natural environment. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 947 - The following report appeared in an archaeology journal. "The discovery of distinctively shaped ceramic pots at various prehistoric sites scattered over a wide area has led archaeologists to ask how the pots were spread. Some believe the pot makers migrated to the various sites and carried the pots along with them; others believe the pots were spread by trade and their makers remained in one place. Now, analysis of the bones of prehistoric human skeletons can settle the debate: high levels of a certain metallic element contained in various foods are strongly associated with people who migrated to a new place after childhood. Many of the bones found near the pots at a few sites showed high levels of the metallic element. Therefore, it must be that the pots were spread by migration, not trade. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 932 - The following appeared in an editorial in a Prunty County newspaper. "In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County recently lowered its speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 45 on all major county roads. But the 55 mph limit should be restored, because this safety effort has failed. Most drivers are exceeding the new speed limit and the accident rate throughout Prunty County has decreased only slightly. If we want to improve the safety of our roads, we should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths and resurfacing rough roads. Today, major Butler County roads still have a 55 mph speed limit, yet there were 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County this past year than there were five years ago. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write

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  • October 15, 2016