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  1. 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
  2. Topic 793 - The following appeared in a health newsletter. "A ten-year nationwide study of the effectiveness of wearing a helmet while bicycling indicates that ten years ago, approximately 35 percent of all bicyclists reported wearing helmets, whereas today that number is nearly 80 percent. Another study, however, suggests that during the same ten-year period, the number of accidents caused by bicycling has increased 200 percent. These results demonstrate that bicyclists feel safer because they are wearing helmets and they take more risks as a result. Thus, to reduce the number of serious injuries from bicycle accidents, the government should concentrate more on educating people about bicycle safety and less on encouraging or requiring bicyclists to wear helmets. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 951 - Woven baskets characterized by a particular distinctive pattern have previously been found only in the immediate vicinity of the prehistoric village of Palea and therefore were believed to have been unique to the Palean people. Recently, however, archaeologists discovered such a 'Palean' basket in Lithos, an ancient village across the BrimRiver from Palea. The BrimRiver is very deep and broad, and so the ancient Paleans could only have crossed it by boat, but there is no evidence that the Paleans had boats. And boats capable of carrying groups of people and cargo were not developed until thousands of years after the Palean people disappeared. Moreover, Paleans would have had no need to cross the river ?the woods around Palea are full of nuts, berries, and small game. It follows that the so-called Palean baskets were not unique to Palea. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 854 - From a letter to the editor of a city newspaper. "One recent research study has indicated that many adolescents need more sleep than they are getting, and another study has shown that many high school students in our city are actually dissatisfied with their own academic performance. As a way of combating these problems, the high schools in our city should begin classes at 8:30 A.M. instead of 7:30 A.M., and end the school day an hour later. This arrangement will give students an extra hour of sleep in the morning, thereby making them more alert and more productive. Consequently, the students will perform better on tests and other assignments, and their academic skills will improve significantly. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 886 - In each city in the region of Treehaven, the majority of the money spent on government-run public school education comes from taxes that each city government collects. The region's cities differ, however, in the value they place on public education. For example, Parson City typically budgets twice as much money per year as Blue City does for its public schools ?even though both cities have about the same number of residents. It seems clear, therefore, that Parson City residents care more about public school education than do Blue City residents. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. 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
  7. Topic 813 - The following appeared in a report of the Committee on Faculty Promotions and Salaries at Elm City University. "During her 17 years as a professor of botany, Professor Thomas has proved herself to be well worth her annual salary of $50,000. Her classes are among the largest at the university, demonstrating her popularity among students. Moreover, the money she has brought to the university in research grants has exceeded her salary in each of the last two years. Therefore, in consideration of Professor Thomas' demonstrated teaching and research abilities, we recommend that she receive a $10,000 raise and a promotion to Department Chairperson; without such a raise and promotion, we fear that Professor Thomas will leave Elm City University for another college. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 822 - The following is a memorandum from the director of personnel to the president of Get-Away Airlines. "Since our mechanics are responsible for inspecting and maintaining our aircraft, Get-Away Airlines should pay to send them to the Quality-Care Seminar, a two-week seminar on proper maintenance procedures. I recommend this seminar because it is likely to be a wise investment, given that the automobile racing industry recently reported that the performance of its maintenance crews improved markedly after their crews had attended the seminar. These maintenance crews perform many of the same functions as do our mechanics, including refueling and repairing engines. The money we spend on sending our staff to the seminar will inevitably lead to improved maintenance and thus to greater customer satisfaction along with greater profits for our airline. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. 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
  10. Topic 850 - The following is a letter that recently appeared in the Oak City Gazette, a local newspaper. "Membership in Oak City's Civic Club ?a club whose primary objective is to discuss local issues ?should continue to be restricted to people who live in Oak City. People who work in Oak City but who live elsewhere cannot truly understand the business and politics of the city. It is important to restrict membership to city residents because only residents pay city taxes and therefore only residents understand how the money could best be used to improve the city. At any rate, restricting membership in this way is unlikely to disappoint many of the nonresidents employed in Oak City, since neighboring Elm City's Civic Club has always had an open membership policy, and only twenty-five nonresidents have joined Elm City's Club in the last ten years. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 930 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper from a citizen of the state of Impecunia. "Two years ago our neighboring state, Lucria, began a state lottery to supplement tax revenues for education and public health. Today, Lucria spends more per pupil than we do, and Lucria's public health program treats far more people than our state's program does. If we were to establish a state lottery like the one in Lucria, the profits could be used to improve our educational system and public health program. The new lottery would doubtless be successful, because a survey conducted in our capital city concludes that citizens of Impecunia already spend an average of $50 per person per year on gambling. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 888 - The following appeared in a magazine article about planning for retirement. "Because of its spectacular natural beauty and consistent climate, Clearview should be a top choice for anyone seeking a place to retire. As a bonus, housing costs in Clearview have fallen significantly during the past year, and real estate taxes remain lower than those in neighboring towns. Nevertheless, Clearview's mayor promises many new programs to improve schools, streets, and public services. Retirees in Clearview can also expect excellent health care as they grow older, since the number of physicians in the area is far greater than the national average. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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October 15, 2016