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  1. Topic 907 - The following appeared in a memorandum from the general manager of KNOW radio station. "Several factors indicate that radio station KNOW should shift its programming from rock-and-roll music to a continuous news format. Consider, for example, the number of older people in our listening area has increased dramatically, while the total number of our listeners has recently declined. Also, music stores in our area report decreased sales of recorded music. Finally, continuous news stations in neighboring cities have been very successful, and a survey taken just before the recent election shows that local citizens are interested in becoming better informed about politics. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  2. Topic 789 - The following appeared in a memo from Grocery Town's regional manager. "The new Grocery Town store in Elm City, located near a new residential development, has a 'high-low' pricing policy where average prices are relatively high, but deep discounts are offered on some items in weekly specials. This store has been showing increased profits every month as the nearby residential development gets closer to full capacity. It follows that people prefer a pricing policy where they can find bargains on specific items. Since there is a new residential development planned in Oak City, we should change the pricing policy at all of our Oak City stores from our current 'everyday low prices' policy to a 'high-low' policy. This will increase the profits at all of our stores in Oak City. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  3. Topic 803 - The following appeared in the annual report of a chain of stores that sell supplies for do-it-yourself home improvements. "Current reports indicate that sales of new homes nationwide declined by 9 percent during the past year, while sales of existing homes increased by 16 percent. Thus we can expect that the percentage of homeowners who will be making repairs or improvements to their homes will also increase. In addition, people who buy existing homes will have more money left over after the purchase to spend on home improvements. Finally, people who buy existing homes are more likely to make improvements themselves, as opposed to paying someone else. These factors combined indicate we can expect an increasing demand for products in all our stores nationwide, thus increasing our profits in the coming year. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  4. Topic 864 - The following is a letter from a professor at Xanadu College to the college's president. "The development of an extensive computer-based long-distance learning program will enhance the reputation of Xanadu College. This program would allow more students to enroll in our courses, thereby increasing our income from student tuition. Traditional courses could easily be adapted for distance learners, as was shown by the adaptation of two traditional courses for our distance learning trial project last year. Also, by using computer programs and taped lectures, faculty will have fewer classroom obligations and more time to engage in extensive research, thereby enhancing the reputation of Xanadu. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  5. Topic 872 - There is a general idea that waiters and waitresses are more likely to receive larger gratuities from large groups of people. A recent research study suggests this is not true. The researchers examined the relationship between the size of tips in restaurants and the number of meals charged on the bill. They found that, while most tips were around 15 percent, the minimum percentage considered appropriate, people dining alone tipped consistently more (19 percent) and those dining in groups of four or more tipped considerably less (13 percent) than this 15 percent standard. These results strongly suggest that people dining in a group are less likely to feel personally responsible for leaving an adequate or generous tip. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  6. Topic 842 - The following appeared in a letter from a department chairperson to the president of Pierce University. "Some studies conducted by Bronston College, which is also located in a small town, reveal that both male and female professors are happier living in small towns when their spouses are also employed in the same geographic area. Therefore, in the interest of attracting the most gifted teachers and researchers to our faculty and improving the morale of our entire staff, we at Pierce University should offer employment to the spouse of each new faculty member we hire. Although we cannot expect all offers to be accepted or to be viewed as an ideal job offer, the money invested in this effort will clearly be well spent because, if their spouses have a chance of employment, new professors will be more likely to accept our offers. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  7. Topic 810 - The following appeared in an editorial in the Mason City newspaper. "At present, Mason City residents seldom use the nearby Mason River for any kind of recreational activity, even though surveys of the region's residents consistently rank water sports (swimming, fishing, and boating) as a favorite form of recreation. Since there have been complaints about the quality of the water in the river, residents must be avoiding the river because they think that it is not clean enough. But that situation is about to change: the agency responsible for rivers in our region has announced plans to clean up Mason River. Therefore, recreational use of the river is likely to increase, so the Mason City council will need to increase its budget for improvements to the publicly owned lands along the Mason River. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  8. Topic 786 - The following was published by a consumer protection agency. "Three years ago, So-Low launched a nationwide ad campaign, focusing heavily on sunny regions and distributing free sunglasses there. But although So-Low sunglasses cost less than higher-priced brands, they block a smaller proportion of the Sun's rays, including the type of rays known to damage the eyes even when the person wearing the sunglasses feels no discomfort. A recent study suggests that So-Low sunglasses can actually increase the risk of damage to people's eyes by creating a false sense of security. The study shows a sharp increase in the incidence of vision problems in the sunny regions over the past three years. These findings suggest that anyone concerned about eye damage from the Sun should avoid So-Low brand and instead either pay for higher-priced brands or wear no sunglasses at all. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  9. Topic 887 - The following appeared in a letter to the Grandview City Council from a local business leader. "During last year's severe drought, when the water supply in the Grandview city reservoir fell to an extremely low level, the city council imposed much more rigid water-rationing rules. But just after these rules were imposed, industrial growth in the area declined. This clearly shows that the new rationing rules have hurt industry in Grandview. Therefore, to promote the health of the local economy, the city council should now stop water rationing. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  10. Topic 853 - The following is a recommendation from the personnel director to the president of Acme Publishing Company. "Many other companies have recently stated that having their employees take the Easy Read Speed-Reading Course has greatly improved productivity. One graduate of the course was able to read a five-hundred-page report in only two hours; another graduate rose from an assistant manager to vice president of the company in under a year. Obviously, the faster you can read, the more information you can absorb in a single workday. Moreover, Easy Read costs only $500 per employee ?a small price to pay when you consider the benefits to Acme. Included in this fee is a three-week seminar in Spruce City and a lifelong subscription to the Easy Read newsletter. Clearly, Acme would benefit greatly by requiring all of our employees to take the Easy Read course. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  11. Topic 761 - The following appeared in a newsletter about health published in the country of Sauria. "According to Sauria's leading nutritional experts, a diet high in complex carbohydrates, and low in fat is optimal for good health and longevity. Because this was the diet of the people who lived in ancient Sauria, one would expect them to have had long and healthy lives. Yet the mummified remains of Sauria's ruling classes from two to three thousand years ago show the existence of many medical problems among the ancient Saurians, including dental problems, elevated blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and early mortality. Clearly, the diet of the ancient Saurians was responsible for these problems. The high incidence of high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease in Sauria today even among those who have tried low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets further proves that Sauria's leading nutritional experts are wrong. " Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write
  12. Topic 981 - Yellow-legged frogs were once common in high-altitude lakes in the Sierra Nevada mountains, but they have become increasingly rare. Trout feed on tadpoles and young frogs. Few lakes in the Sierra Nevada had any trout in them until a hundred years ago. At that time, many lakes were stocked with trout for recreational fishing, and now trout are common in virtually all bodies of water in the Sierra Nevada. Researchers removed the trout from one lake, and the frog population soon quadrupled. Since frogs are capable of moving several miles over land, removing trout from just a few lakes is clearly the way to restore the frog population to its former levels. Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Read | Write



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October 15, 2016