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  1. Topic 857 - In the Bayhead Public Library, books that are rarely borrowed continue to take up shelf space year after year, while people who want to read a recent novel frequently find that the library's only copy is checked out. Clearly, the library's plan to replace books that are borrowed no more than once a year with sufficient copies of more recent books will solve this problem. The protest we have heard since this plan was made public has come from a small, and thus unrepresentative, group of some thirty people and so should therefore be ignored. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 938 - The following appeared in a memo from the president of Viva-Tech, a manufacturer of high-tech medical equipment. "In order to reduce costs, we should close some of our existing small assembly plants and build a large central plant. Grandview would be an ideal location for this new plant. First, of the locations that we have considered, Grandview has the largest adult population, so that we will be able to staff our plant quickly and easily. Second, since the average wage earned by workers in Grandview is less than that in the other locations, we should be able to keep production costs low. Last, as an inducement for us to build there, Grandview's town council has offered to allow us to operate for the first three years without paying city taxes. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 757 - The following appeared in a memo written by the head of the Gorham School. "Our school cafeteria should make changes in the lunches that it serves in order to improve the health of our students. Several teachers and I have observed that students who eat these meals tend to eat the main course and the dessert, but seldom finish the vegetable portion. This pattern means that students are missing the vital nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables, which are typically rich in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, the school cafeteria should serve larger fruit and vegetable portions along with smaller main course and dessert portions. This change will be effective because, according to research conducted at the Rose Children's Hospital, children eat the same amount of food served to them ?about 55 percent, on average ?no matter what the main course is. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 755 - The following appeared in a letter to an editor. "In many countries, wood is the primary fuel used for heating and cooking, but wood smoke can cause respiratory and eye problems, and extensive use of wood causes deforestation, a major environmental problem. In contrast, charcoal, made by partially burning wood in a controlled process, is a fuel that creates less smoke than wood does. Moreover, although charcoal costs slightly more than wood, less charcoal is needed to produce the same amount of heat. Therefore, people who use wood as their primary fuel can, without experiencing economic hardship, switch to charcoal and can thereby improve their health and preserve the environment. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 962 - The following appeared in a newspaper article published in the country of Corpora. "Twenty years ago, one half of all citizens in Corpora met the standards for adequate physical fitness as then defined by the national advisory board on physical fitness. Today, the board says that only one quarter of all citizens are adequately fit and suggests that spending too much time using computers may be the reason. But since overall fitness levels are highest in regions of Corpora where levels of computer ownership are also highest, it is clear that using computers has not made citizens less physically fit. Instead, as shown by this year's unusually low expenditures on fitness-related products and services, the recent decline in the economy is most likely the cause, and fitness levels will improve when the economy does. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. 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
  7. Topic 935 - The following appeared in a memo from the new vice president of Sartorian, a company that manufactures men's clothing. "Five years ago, at a time when we had difficulties in obtaining reliable supplies of high-quality wool fabric, we discontinued production of our deluxe alpaca overcoats. Now that we have a new fabric supplier, we should resume production. This coat should sell very well: since we have not offered an alpaca overcoat for five years and since our major competitor no longer makes an alpaca overcoat, there will be pent-up customer demand. Also, since the price of most types of clothing has risen in each of the past five years, customers should be willing to pay significantly higher prices for alpaca overcoats than they did five years ago, and our company profits will increase. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 759 - The following appeared in a memo from a member of the Clark City School Board. "Mason Elementary School is faced with a shortage of classroom space. At the same time, parents in our district are increasingly expressing the desire to see improvements in their children's reading abilities. Therefore, we should reduce the number of physical education classes at Mason Elementary and convert part of the gymnasium to class-room space. The school will gain the additional space for classrooms without the cost of extending the building and can use the time that students would have spent in physical education classes to provide more reading instruction. This plan will lead to improvements in students' reading skills. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 895 - The following appeared as an editorial in one of Coleville's city newspapers. "Even though a high percentage of Coleville City's businesses failed last year, we who live in Coleville City should keep in mind the fact that the Coleville region has attracted a great many new businesses over the last three years. It is well known that new businesses are, on average, much more likely to fail than are long-established ones, so the business failures should not be considered a sign of poor economic health. Indeed, many analysts regard the presence of a significant number of new companies among a region's businesses as a sign of economic health. Thus Coleville City appears to be in good, not poor, economic shape. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 965 - The following appeared in a medical newsletter. "Doctors have long suspected that secondary infections may keep some patients from healing quickly after severe muscle strain. This hypothesis has now been proved by preliminary results of a study of two groups of patients. The first group of patients, all being treated for muscle injuries by Dr. Newland, a doctor who specializes in sports medicine, took antibiotics regularly throughout their treatment. Their recuperation time was, on average, 40 percent quicker than typically expected. Patients in the second group, all being treated by Dr. Alton, a general physician, were given sugar pills, although the patients believed they were taking antibiotics. Their average recuperation time was not significantly reduced. Therefore, all patients who are diagnosed with muscle strain would be well advised to take antibiotics as part of their treatment. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 762 - The following appeared in a newspaper published in the state of Celera. "Speed limits on our state's highways should be eliminated in order to increase our state's prosperity. Because greater speed means more efficient travel, commercial deliveries will be faster, increasing business profits. Elimination of speed limits will also make driving more attractive to motorists, so that more people will use the highways, providing more highway toll revenues for the state. At the same time, safety on our highways will not be affected: daytime speed limits were eliminated last year in the western states of our country, and no significant increase in the number of accidents in these states has been reported. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 939 - The following appeared in a memo from the mayor of the town of Hopewell. "Two years ago, the town of Ocean View built a new municipal golf course and resort hotel. During the past two years, tourism in Ocean View has increased, new businesses have opened there, and Ocean View's tax revenues have risen by 30 percent. The best way to improve Hopewell's economy, and generate additional tax revenues, is to build a golf course and resort hotel similar to those in Ocean View. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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October 15, 2016