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  1. Topic 927 - The following appeared in a memo from the chief executive of a video game company. "We have recently been offered the opportunity to buy the rights to produce a video game based on the soon-to-be-published children's book 'Squirrel Power,' by Peter Wood. While the cost of the rights is substantial and will place economic constraints on our company in the short-term, there are two reasons that the purchase of these rights will undoubtedly be a wise investment. First, Wood's last three books have been best sellers and the movie based on his first book was highly profitable. Second, the popular characters and story line in 'Squirrel Power' will save us time in developing our video game, thereby reducing our costs. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 767 - The following appeared in a memo from the president of Bower Builders, a company that constructs new homes. "A nationwide survey reveals that the two most desired home features are a bathroom with a whirlpool tub and a large kitchen. Homes in a nearby development built by our competitor, Domus Construction, have whirlpool tubs and have sold much faster and at significantly higher prices than the average. To increase our sales and profits, we should include whirlpool tubs and larger kitchens as standard features in all our new homes. Since our recent buyers have voiced no complaints about small yards, we can also increase profits by decreasing the size of our yards. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. 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
  4. Topic 765 - The following is a recommendation from the human resources department at Techforce Computer Company. "Many working parents report that problems related to their childcare arrangements are a major reason for absenteeism from their jobs. Bridgewell Corporation, a tele-communications company, implemented an on-site childcare program and after one year, the company reported that unscheduled absences had declined by 25 percent. Since Techforce has had an increase in unscheduled employee absences over the past year, we should therefore implement our own on-site childcare program. The program will undoubtedly reduce our unscheduled employee absences, resulting in significantly increased productivity. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 931 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Walnut Grove town newspaper. "Walnut Grove's town council has advocated switching from EZ Disposal (which has had the contract for trash collection services in Walnut Grove for the past ten years) to ABC Waste, because EZ recently raised its monthly fee from $2,000 to $2,500 a month, whereas ABC's fee is still $2,000. But the town council is mistaken; we should continue using EZ. EZ collects trash twice a week, while ABC collects only once. Moreover, EZ ?which, like ABC, currently has a fleet of 20 trucks ?has ordered additional trucks. Finally, EZ provides exceptional service: 80 percent of respondents to last year's town survey agreed that they were 'satisfied' with EZ's performance. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 815 - The article entitled "Eating Iron" in last month's issue of Eating for Health reported that a recent study found a correlation between high levels of iron in the diet and an increased risk of heart disease. Further, it is well established that there is a link between large amounts of red meat in the diet and heart disease, and red meat is high in iron. On the basis of the study and the well-established link between red meat and heart disease, we can conclude that the correlation between high iron levels and heart disease, then, is most probably a function of the correlation between red meat and heart disease. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 953 - The following appeared in a memorandum from the president of Humana College. "Last year the number of students who enrolled in long-distance degree programs at OmniU niversity increased by 50%. During the same year, Omni showed a significant decrease from prior years in expenditures for dormitory and classroom space, most likely because instruction in the long-distance programs takes place via interactive video computer connections. In contrast, over the past three years, enrollment at Humana College has diminished and costs of maintaining buildings have risen. Thus, to increase enrollment and solve the problem of budget deficits at Humana College, we should initiate and actively promote long-distance degree programs like those at Omni. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 950 - The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist. "Twenty years ago Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This research proves that Dr. Field's conclusion about Tertian village culture is false, and thus that the observation-centered approach to studying cultures is invalid. Because they are using the interview-centered method, my team of graduate students working in Tertia will establish a much more accurate understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other island cultures. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 959 - The following appeared as an editorial in a wildlife journal. "Arctic deer live on islands in Canada's arctic region. They search for food by moving over ice from island to island during the course of a year. Their habitat is limited to areas warm enough to sustain the plants on which they feed, and cold enough, at least some of the year, for the ice to cover the sea separating the islands, allowing the deer to travel over it. Unfortunately, according to reports from local hunters, the deer populations are declining. Since these reports coincide with recent global warming trends that have caused the sea ice to melt, we can conclude that the decline in arctic deer populations is the result of deer being unable to follow their age-old migration patterns across the frozen sea. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 867 - A recent study suggests that people who are left-handed are more likely to succeed in business than are right-handed people. Researchers studied photographs of 1,000 prominent business executives and found that 21 percent of these executives wrote with their left hand. So the percentage of prominent business executives who are left-handed (21 percent) is almost twice the percentage of people in the general population who are left-handed (11 percent). Thus, people who are left-handed would be well advised to pursue a career in business, whereas people who are right-handed would be well advised to imitate the business practices exhibited by left-handers. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 781 - The following appeared in a Brenton newspaper. "The Brenton power plant draws water from Scott's River for its cooling system and releases the warmed water back into the river. The town council recommends that the plant install a more efficient cooling system that uses less water, claiming it will be more environmentally sound. However, in Uptown, where the new system is used, a study found that the complex network of pipes in the new system tends to accumulate algae. The build up of algae can be avoided by scrubbing the pipes, which is costly, or by adding an herbicide to the water in the pipes to prevent algae accumulation. But water containing the herbicide cannot be released back into the river and it is known that low water levels can harm river ecosystems accustomed to higher levels. Therefore, Brenton power plant should continue to use the old cooling system exclusively. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 978 - The following appeared in a letter from a firm providing investment advice to a client. "Homes in the northeastern United States, where winters are typically cold, have traditionally used oil as their major fuel for heating. Last year that region experienced 90 days with below-average temperatures, and climate forecasters at Waymarsh University predict that this weather pattern will continue for several more years. Furthermore, many new homes have been built in this region during the past year. Because of these developments, we predict an increased demand for heating oil and recommend investment in Consolidated Industries, one of whose major business operations is the retail sale of home heating oil. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write

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October 15, 2016