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  1. 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
  2. Topic 975 - When Stanley Park first opened, it was the largest, most heavily used park in town. It is still the largest park, but it is no longer heavily used. Video cameras mounted in the park's parking lots last month revealed the park's drop in popularity: the recordings showed an average of only 50 cars per day. In contrast, tiny Carlton Park in the heart of the business district is visited by more than 150 people on a typical weekday. An obvious difference is that Carlton Park, unlike Stanley Park, provides ample seating. Thus, if Stanley Park is ever to be as popular with our citizens as is Carlton Park, the town will obviously need to provide more benches, thereby converting some of the unused open areas into spaces suitable for socializing. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 882 - The following is a letter to the editor of a news magazine. "Clearly, the successful use of robots on missions to explore outer space in the past 20 years demonstrates that robots could be increasingly used to perform factory work more effectively, efficiently, and profitably than human factory workers. The use of robots in factories would offer several advantages. First, robots never get sick, so absenteeism would be reduced. Second, robots do not make mistakes, so factories would increase their output. Finally, the use of robots would also improve the morale of factory workers, since factory work can be so boring that many workers would be glad to shift to more interesting kinds of tasks. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 816 - The following appeared as a letter to the editor of a national newspaper. "Your recent article on corporate downsizing* in the United States is misleading. The article gives the mistaken impression that many competent workers who lost jobs as a result of downsizing face serious economic hardship, often for years, before finding other suitable employment. But this impression is contradicted by a recent report on the United States economy, which found that since 1992 far more jobs have been created than have been eliminated. The report also demonstrates that many of those who lost their jobs have found new employment. Two-thirds of the newly created jobs have been in industries that tend to pay above-average wages, and the vast majority of these jobs are full-time. "*Downsizing is the process in which corporations deliberately reduce the number of their employees. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 891 - The following appeared in a memorandum from a vice president of the Megamart department store chain. "For the third year in a row, the average household income in our country has risen significantly. That prosperity means that families are likely to be spending more time and money on leisure activities. Megamart stores should therefore concentrate on enlarging and promoting its line of products typically used in leisure activities: athletic and outdoor equipment, televisions, gourmet cooking equipment, and luggage and travel accessories. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 790 - The following is a memo from the business manager of Valu-Mart stores. "Over 70 percent of the respondents to a recent survey reported that they are required to take more work home with them from the workplace than they were in the past. Since Valu-Mart has not seen impressive sales in its office-supply departments in the past, we should take advantage of this work-at-home trend by increasing at all Valu-Mart stores the stock of home office machines such as printers, small copy machines, paper shredders, and fax machines. We will also increase stock of office supplies such as paper, pens, and staplers. With these changes, our office-supply departments will become the most profitable component of our stores. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 828 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. "Too much emphasis is placed on the development of reading skills in elementary school. Many students who are discouraged by the lonely activity of reading turn away from schoolwork merely because they are poor readers. But books recorded on audiocassette tape provide an important alternative for students at this crucial stage in their education, one the school board should not reject merely because of the expense involved. After all, many studies attest to the value of allowing students to hear books read aloud; there is even evidence that students whose parents read to them are even more likely to become able readers. Thus, hearing books on tape can only make students more eager to read and to learn. Therefore, the school board should encourage schools to buy books on tape and to use them in elementary education. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 779 - The following editorial appeared in a newspaper in the country of Solaria. "The Eliot Valley region was primarily agricultural twenty years ago. In the past twenty years, however, many computer-chip manufacturers have opened factories there. A recent study found that water pollution in the region was worse than in any other region in the country. Moreover, the computer-chip factories, which use large quantities of water to manufacture the chips, are probably responsible for the low levels of water in the region's lakes and reservoirs. Therefore, if the region's computer-chip makers had limits placed on the amount of water they could use, water quality would improve. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 924 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a Batavia newspaper. "The department of agriculture in Batavia reports that the number of dairy farms throughout the country is now 25 percent greater than it was 10 years ago. During this same time period, however, the price of milk at the local Excello Food Market has increased from $1.50 to over $3.00 per gallon. To prevent farmers from continuing to receive excessive profits on an apparently increased supply of milk, the Batavia government should begin to regulate retail milk prices. Such regulation is necessary to ensure both lower prices and an adequate supply of milk for consumers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 921 - The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Clearview newspaper. "In the next mayoral election, residents of Clearview should vote for Ann Green, who is a member of the Good Earth Coalition, rather than for Frank Braun, a member of the Clearview town council, because the current members are not protecting our environment. For example, during the past year the number of factories in Clearview has doubled, air pollution levels have increased, and the local hospital has treated 25 percent more patients with respiratory illnesses. If we elect Ann Green, the environmental problems in Clearview will certainly be solved. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 941 - The following appeared as part of a memo from the president of Automate, a company that manufactures automobiles. "It has come to my attention that Sparks, Inc., the manufacturing company that just moved into our state, is advertising job openings at salaries that are twice as high as those paid to our experienced assembly-line workers. Some of our employees have already left to work for Sparks. In order to keep our best staff, we must pay them salaries equal to those Sparks pays its employees. Otherwise we will continue to lose employees in the future, because Sparks must staff the additional new plants that it plans to build in the state. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 800 - The vice president for human resources at Climpson Industries sent the following recommendation to the company's president. "In an effort to improve our employees' productivity, we should implement electronic monitoring of employees' Internet use from their workstations. Employees who use the Internet from their workstations need to be identified and punished if we are to reduce the number of work hours spent on personal or recreational activities, such as shopping or playing games. By installing software to detect employees' Internet use on company computers, we can prevent employees from wasting time, foster a better work ethic at Climpson, and improve our overall profits. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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