Tuesday, August 31, 2010

GRE Argument Task 4

“An important change is taking place in this area that will permit the Elm Street sotre to attract more business and increase profits. A locally owned grocery store, Ma’s Pantry, is permanently closing in two months because its longtime owner is retiring. The store is just one mile away, on the other side of the interstate highway. One feature that has attracted customers to that store is its deli section, where people order sandwiches to take with them. By adding a deli section to this store, we could expect to attract those customers plus others who used to shop for produce and other groceries.”

The speaker believed that adding a deli section to the Elm Street store will attract customers of the closing in Ma’s Pantry, a grocery store located one mile away. Even though the argument seems plausible, it is flawed in many areas and the speaker missed many things in his consideration.

Assuming that Ma’s Pantry will be closed for good, how can anyone be sure that its customers would go the Elm Street store afterwards? The availability of other stores near Ma’s Pantry as contending alternatives is not mentioned. The writer also did not give any information about the surrounding of the Elm Street store. Is it strategic and can be accessed easily? It that is not the case, people would hardly think of the store as a new shopping destination.

The second flaws relies on the reasoning of the deli section. The fact that the deli section in Ma’s Pantry succeeded does not mean that the Elm Street store would be able to have one as lucrative. It is likely that people buy sandwiches from the deli in Ma’s Pantry as their victuals on the highway. Therefore, there is a big possibility that they would not bother to visit the deli section in the Elm Store, which is located one mile away from the highway, on their way to other state.

The most vulnerable point in the argument is the writer did not mention what will happen to the properties of Ma’s Pantry after its closing. The owner might be retiring, but he could sell his store to others who would run it as usual or develop it to be bigger and more successful than ever. In the end, arguing whether the Elm Street store should have a deli section is completely useless because there would be no customer looking for a new store to shop at all.

Despite everything, if the Elm Street store to be more competitive, it would be better for them to make a distinctive character. The stone could make unique themes every month, build a small playground to keep children busy while their mothers are shopping, or hold fascinating events several times a year. Having something new and convenient would be a more advantageous factor in attracting customers rather than merely copying the rival’s strength.

GRE Argument Task 3

No comments:
“There are several unique pieces of sculpture in the Old Quad. Because they stand out-of-doors, it is not possible to secure them at night, and they could be targets for thieves or vandals. A comprehensive security system in the area, including motion detectors and surveillance cameras, would guarantee that these works of art will come to no harm.”

In order to ensure the safety of several unique out-of-doors sculpture in the Old Quad, the speaker proposes that a comprehensive security would work best. However, the argument has flaws in some of its components.

First of all, is it true that the reason they could be targeted for thieves or vandals is merely their being located out-of doors? The sculptures themselves might bear something valuable: gems or antiquities. Thus, the security efforts should be focused on them, not the sculptures. If these precious items are removable, we just have to keep them somewhere safe at night. Without them, the sculptures are less attractive, and hence would attract fewer crimes.

However, if that is not the case and the sculptures are vulnerable to larceny as said in the second sentence of the argument, it is reasonable to infer that the pieces themselves are portable. Therefore, a practical way to keep them save is simply to store them in a warehouse at night.

Now, if the sculptures are big and some irresponsible fellows are prone to vandal it, a security system is needed. Even so, the speaker does not explain how comprehensive his system will be. If it only includes a guard, motion detectors and surveillance cameras, it does not help much. The guard would be incompetent against vandals who act in a group and those with cars or motorcycle ready to take them away—fast. I suggest that a high fence surrounding the pieces would support the security system proposed. The fence could be opened during the day to allow people looking at the unique pieces conveniently.

GRE Issue Task 8

No comments:
“Because e-mail places a premium on rapid communication and quick response, it discourages careful thought and well-crafted prose and tends to encourage incivility.”

As the Internet has overtaken most of the functions of the post offices and such, we arrived in the era of rapid communication. Fifteen years ago, we had to wait four days to send letter to a nearby city, almost a week to a neighboring state, and even a month if we sent it from the middle of nowhere to an unknown village in a different contingent. As amazing as it seems, the Internet allows us to send an e-mail to anywhere, as long as the Web is accessible there, in a matter of seconds. Responses could be sent just as quick. If Kahlil Gibran and May Ziadah lived today, it would not take years for them to fall in love to each other. It might only take weeks or even days, instead.

However, there is an issue that the speedy nature of e-mail discourages people from thinking carefully of what they writer. As a consequence, they are not used to well-crafted prose. Even worse, e-mail encourage incivility to the Internet users. However, I disagree that e-mail and its propensity is culpable of those mentioned above. The argument itself is plausible and has at least two vital flaws.

In the argument, the writer implies that he expects conventional mails to be well-written and well-structured. Meanwhile, it is not necessary for mails to be written so well. Whether someone writes in the proper tenses, structures, or paragraph partitionings depends on the individual. It is very likely that some people write to their friends without thinking about any of those felicity. This tendency is brought up when they write e-mails.

Now, let us turn the table to the innovative alternative way of communication. Although “e-mail” stands for “electronic mail”, but does it mean e-mails only replace conventional letters? No, e-mails may be functioned as memos as well. A memo is expected to contain a short message, and thus we have to emphasize the content of the message rather than its rhetorical quality. When an e-mail is sent as a replacement of a memo, the similar inclination occurs.

Eventually, e-mails do not encourage incivility, for the individuals themselves have different degrees of inclination to it. Another point is we can not expect e-mails to be well-crafted because they replace not only letters, but also memos. Therefore, e-mails are not as detrimental as the writer thinks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

GRE Argument Task 2

No comments:
“Twenty-five years ago, the depiction of violence in film was rare in the country of Edonia, because the Decency Commission, a quasi-governmental body appointed by the President of Edonia, had the authority to prohibit the showing of violent movies. The authority of the Decency Commission steadily eroded with the result that the incidence of the depiction of violence increased. Two years ago, the Commission was abolished. During the same time, the incidence of crime among Edonia teenagers has increased dramatically. Over 90% of the parents surveyed by the Independent Inquiry Poll stated that they believe that movies are too violent. Therefore, the Decency Commission shodul be reestablished with a mandate to preclude the showing of violent movies in order to solve the problem of teenage crime in Edonia.”

The speaker believes that precluding the showing of violent movie will solve the problem of teenage crime in Edonia. It is also emphasized that the one should be given this mandate is the Decency Commission which then has to be reestablished. However, the argument has at least three questionable assumptions.

The most vulnerable assumption is whether is it true that the dramatic increase of crime among Edonia teenagers has been incited by the showing of violent movies. There are many other possible factors, such as displays of violence in other media or direct contact with newcomers with such inclination.

The second weakness in the argument is the poll indicating that 90% of parents surveyed believe that movies are too violent. In order to examine the quality of this result, the poll should be elaborated into more details it had given to the parents surveyed. Were they asked whether movies are too violent for teenagers or for children in common? Those who participated in the survey might think the rate of violence suggested was for young children or even toddlers. It is very likely that they would change their answers if it was clearly stated that they the ones they should put in mind are teenagers.

Even if it is true that violent movies is the strongest driver for teenagers in Edonia to commit crimes, still there is a problem with the assumption that reestablishing the Decency Commission would suppress the teenage crime rate. The speaker’s assumption that the commission’s achievements twenty-five years ago could be repeated is very unlikely to be correct. Nowadays, the highly-developed technology allows anyone who is internet-savvy enough to gain access to violent movies easily. Therefore, simply banning the showing of violent movies in the cinemas and television would not help much. Banning access to such movies in the Internet is much more complicated and there is no guarantee that the teenagers would not find any leak to the limitation imposed by the commission. Eventually, the reestablishment would generate no objective intended.

To Hit the Books or To Surf the Net

No comments:
People nowadays are enjoying the benefits generated by the Internet and the World Wide Web. It is possible for you to look for many kinds of information by surfing the Web without having to go out of your house, even get out of your bed. By a few clicks and keywords, you are led to anything you want to know about your favorite rock star or the recipe of a Korean dish you have just had the other day. Moreover, our fast-paced busy life should thank the existence of online media, both text and video, for it allows us to keep up with the hot issues with the slightest distraction from our demanding daily activities. That is how the Internet cover our need of conventional radio, newspaper, and television. Now, when it is compared to the classic source of information, books, does the Internet still able to emulate them?

In case of learning something, the Internet can help you catch the gist of it but books are vital to give you a thorough and credible information. You can say, hey, there are websites out there with the same weight of content! It is a flawed argument for there is a fatal weakness in the Web: anyone can post anything freely there. You can not do the same thing with books, especially those printed by the notable publishers. There are copywriters and editors who conduct tough selections among the scripts. This kind of process is extremely rare in the Web.

The next point that is going to be elaborated in this paragraph is the fact that the Internet is also a medium to access books. Books, in nature, are pages containing some accumulated information which were written for a certain purpose and function. In this advanced world, it is not necessary for books to be tangible. To avoid shipping problems and limitations, you can buy the digital version of particular books and print them by your very own printer or you can just read them on your screen. What help you to do this? The Internet. Therefore, even though you begin with the cyberspace in your study, you will end up reading books available there.

Eventually, it is not possible for us to learn just as much by surfing the Internet and the World Wide Web as by reading books. The information available in the cyberspace are overall and superficial. To learn something at best, reading books are still the most helpful way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GRE Argument Task 1

No comments:
“One of the most important reasons for the decline in the number of visitors to the downtown Herbert Falls area is the presence of teenaged skateboarders. Pedestrians are few and far between, and the graffiti and litter are widespread. Fully 80% of business owners surveyed recently responded that they favored putting limitations on the use of the mall by skateboards. Clearly, then banning the use of skateboards on the mall will reverse the decline in business in the downtown area.”

It is obvious that the writer believes the nonexistence of skateboards on the mall will restore the business in the downtown Herbert Falls area. However, it is just as obvious that the proposal, and its supporting statements, is flawed.

First of fall, how could the writer be sure that the presence of teenaged skateboarders is a critical factor that makes people reluctant to visit the area? Other reasons may be more urgent and ineluctable, such as the nearby downtown area has new entertainment facilities and the ones in Herbert Falls are already trite, if not breaking down. It is also possible that Herbert Falls itself is helplessly boring. There is nothing new and people cannot find any enticing events there.

Moreover, I do not see that skateboarders should be necessarily accused of the litter and grotesque graffiti around the area. It is reasonable that due to the lack of efforts to clean it from the local authorities, most people just simply think it is normal to add some litter there. The graffiti might be created by anyone, but whoever made it, isn’t it better to repaint it and ask local artists to make beautiful murals on the walls? It would make Herbert Falls unique and attract more visitors to the area.

Finding a scapegoat is easy, but before getting rid of the skateboarders, the writer and the local authorities should bear this in mind. If you ban skateboards on the mall, the skateboarders might then tell other teenagers about how “uncool” Herbert Falls is. That means the ones who would leave Herbert Falls to find a more compelling area to hang out are not only the skateboarders, but also a large portion of teenagers. This would certainly be a big loss and contradict the objective to reverse the business decline in the area.

GRE Issue Task 6

No comments:
Oh, this GRE stuff is killing me :(

“The university of today is a kind of service industry. In order to operate successfully, the administration and faculty need to be responsive to the desires of the students who are the paying customers.”

The speaker viewed the university as a kind of service industry with students as its paying customers. Therefore, it is consequential for the university’s success to comport with the desires of the students. It implies that students have a big bargaining position in the university and thus the university has less freedom to use its income as it sees fit.

Even as a college student, I am not keen of this opinion. University exists for enhancing knowledge and nurturing people with it. Hence, it is only reasonable to let the students have all their desires met if those reflect this end. However, I doubt that students know what is best for them, less knowing what is best for the university.

For instance, the university is saving money to establish an advanced research center. Meanwhile, the students are signing a petition to urge the restoration of their old stadium. Someone will point out that the stadium would be useful for a larger proportion of the students, but this gives very little support to the university’s achievements in the academic fields. If the university indulges the students by agreeing the petition, some of its goals as an academic institution will be more difficult to be achieved.

Another issue might dwell in the academic process itself. If the students feel that the current curricula is to strict and difficult, is it better that the university change it? The university is a place to learn at best, so an easier curriculum would enfeeble the students’ minds. That means, again, the university should not subject to its pupils’ requests.

Nevertheless, the university’s keep being on its toes about the students’ desires will not hurt. As long as they propose advantageous changes in their demands, the institution should consider them seriously. If these desires are met, the students would be merrier during their presence and study in the university. The positive atmosphere would make them more productive.

Eventually, it is advisable that the university is cognizant to what its students want, but it should not be responsive or subject to it. The university should focus on its academic objectives and stick to them.


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