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  1. Topic 943 - When Ida McAllister ran for mayor of Lake City four years ago, she failed to win even 30 percent of the vote. But since then, McAllister has made public her commitment to environmental causes. She would be wise, therefore, to announce her intention to close all Lake City parks to automobile traffic, thus following the example of the former mayor of Plainsville, Alecia Yu . On the recommendation of a small group of concerned citizens, Mayor Yu prohibited automobile traffic in all Plainsville parks, and therefore was credited with solving the pollution problem and improving the quality of life in Plainsville. This action would have great appeal to the citizens of Lake City, most of whom participate in the community's recycling program, and would guarantee McAllister's success in her current quest to be Lake City's new mayor. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 908 - The following appeared as a letter to the editor of a local Solano newspaper. "The Solano school district should do away with its music education programs. After all, music programs are not especially popular in our schools: Only 20 percent of our high school students participated in music programs last year. Furthermore, very few of the Solano district's college-bound students are interested in majoring in music at the university level. Also, when the school district of our neighboring town of Rutherford eliminated its music programs two years ago, the overall grade point average in the high school increased by 10 percent the next year. Surely the money spent on Solano music programs could be better used to improve the quality of traditional academic courses. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 948 - Milk and dairy products are rich in vitamin D and calcium, substances essential for building and maintaining bones. Many people therefore believe that a diet rich in dairy products can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones weaken significantly with age and that is linked to both environmental and genetic factors. But a long-term study of a large number of people has found that those who have consistently consumed dairy products throughout the years of the study have a higher rate of bone fractures than any other participants in the study. Since bone fractures are a symptom of osteoporosis, this study result shows that a diet rich in dairy products may actually increase, rather than decrease, the risk of osteoporosis. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 963 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a newsletter on health issues. "For the past decade, most health experts have advised teenagers to avoid eating greasy foods in order to prevent acne and related skin conditions, but the number of teenagers who sought medical help for these skin problems has actually risen over the same period. In a recent study, teenagers who avoided greasy foods for a month reported approximately as many outbreaks of acne and related skin conditions as did those who ate an average of two servings of greasy food per day. Such data indicate that eating greasy foods is unlikely to be a cause of acne and related skin conditions. Therefore, health experts should no longer recommend that people avoid such foods. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 832 - The nation of Claria covers a vast physical area. But despite wide geographic differences, many citizens are experiencing rising costs of electricity. A recent study of household electric costs in Claria found that families who cooled their houses with fans alone spent more on electricity than did families using air conditioners alone for cooling. However, those households that reported using both fans and air conditioners spent less on electricity than those households that used either fans or air conditioners alone. Thus, the citizens of Claria should follow the study's recommendation and use both air conditioners and fans in order to save money on electricity. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 848 - The following appeared in a letter to the school board in the town of Centerville. "All students should be required to take the driver's education course at Centerville High School. In the past two years several accidents in and around Centerville have involved teenage drivers. Since a number of parents in Centerville have complained that they are too busy to teach their teenagers to drive, some other instruction is necessary to ensure that these teenagers are safe drivers. Although there are two driving schools in Centerville, parents on a tight budget cannot afford to pay for driving instruction. Therefore an effective and mandatory program sponsored by the high school is the only solution to this serious problem. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 769 - The following appeared in a magazine focusing on health and fitness. "A recent study of several nutritional supplements showed that subjects who took a daily pill containing luceen had significantly better vision of distant objects than subjects in the study who took other nutritional supplements. Luceen appears naturally in a tasty fruit that grows on the island of Bonopia, and very few inhabitants of that island wear eyeglasses or other corrective lenses. Such evidence suggests that people who develop vision problems should take regular luceen supplements. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 787 - A recently completed study shows that people dwelling in stairs-only apartment buildings (that is, buildings without elevators) live an average of three years longer than do people who live in buildings with both elevators and stairs. A second study shows that elderly residents of buildings with elevators make, on average, twice as many visits to doctors each year as do elderly residents of buildings without elevators. These findings suggest that even a very moderate amount of daily exercise, such as that required to use the stairs leading to and from one's apartment, can increase people's health and longevity. The findings also suggest that new apartment buildings should be constructed with as few elevators as possible. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 785 - The following proposal was raised at a meeting of the Franklin City Council. "Franklin Airport, which is on a bay, is notorious for flight delays. The airport management wants to build new runways to increase capacity but can only do so by filling in 900 acres of the bay. The Bay Coalition organization objects that filling in the bay will disrupt tidal patterns and harm wildlife. But the airport says that if it is permitted to build its new runways, it will fund the restoration of 1,000 acres of wetlands in areas of the bay that have previously been damaged by industrialization. This plan should be adopted, for it is necessary to reduce the flight delays, and the wetlands restoration part of the plan ensures that the bay's environment will actually be helped rather than hurt. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 754 - Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to certain stimuli. One view is that allergies can develop as the result of childhood exposure to certain irritants, such as dust or animal dander, while the immune system is not yet mature. Another view is that exposure to particular bacteria early in childhood actually triggers the proper development of the immune system, and that limiting exposure to these bacteria through excessive hygiene can cause children's immune systems to overreact to certain irritants later on. A new study supports the second view: children who are washed especially frequently and whose parents clean their homes especially frequently are more likely to develop allergies than are other children. So in order to reduce the incidence of allergies in children and adults, parents should not limit children's exposure to irritants or bacteria. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 940 - The following appeared in a memo from the chairperson of the school board in the town of Saluda. "For the past five years, Mr. Charles Schade has been the music director at Steel City High School, and during that time the school band from Steel City High has won three regional band competitions. In addition, the quality of the music rehearsal facilities and musical instruments at Steel City High has improved markedly over the past five years. Because of such successes at Steel City High, the Saluda school board should hire Mr. Schade to plan and direct the general music education programs for the entire Saluda school system. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 777 - One kind of brain-scanning device is used by doctors to monitor normal as well as abnormal activity in a patient's brain. The device provides precise measurements of blood flow in the brain, a known indicator of how the brain is working. Unfortunately, the device requires patients to remain completely still with their heads in the scanning machine, which makes a very loud noise. Under these uncomfortable conditions, it is doubtful that doctors can get accurate measurements. A new head-mounted device that measures eye movements rather than blood flow and allows patients to move around will undoubtedly provide better brain measurements. Thus, the new head-mounted device should replace the older device at all hospitals and research institutions. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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