Archive for February, 2019

Real World Graduation, Question 71: Chemicals in Foods

RealWorldGraduation_Question_71_ChemicalsInFoods   <– PDF

Popular foods consumed by millions of people have been discovered to have a process involving a dangerous chemical in the manufacture of those food items. Upon investigation, it was discovered that manufacturers used a process in which a quantity of carbonic acid gas was dissolved in hydroxic acid, which then forms what the manufacturer claims is a safe, edible compound although it contains known levels of carbonic and hydroxic acids.  Consider the following facts regarding carbonic acid gas and hydroxic acid.

Item: Carbonic acid gas, although naturally occurring, is a known asphyxiant. It is odorless and colorless.  It is dangerous because in concentrations of 15% in air, carbonic acid gas causes unconsciousness, coma, and death.  However, the carbonic acid gas used in the manufacture of the “edible” compound is 100% pure, that is, at more than seven times the lethal concentration.

Item: Hydroxic acid is an odorless, colorless liquid at room temperature. It is known to cause death in humans if too much of it penetrates into the lungs, which can occur in the process of ingesting the manufacturers’ “edible compound”.  It is particularly deadly in children.  In 2004, statistics show that children under the age of 14 died from this cause 14.73 times more frequently than adults over the age of 85.

Item: The “edible” compound containing these materials has no known health benefits, but has not been studied to determine if it poses any health risks. It is used merely for aesthetic reasons in the production of some foods.

With these facts in mind, what would be the most prudent course for regulation of these materials?

a) A study should be done to determine if anyone has been poisoned, and if so,

1) the manufacturers should be prosecuted, and then

2) these substances should be regulated the same as other poisons.

b) Manufacturers should require a license, be subject to periodic government inspections, and warning labels should be placed on all containers until the risk level has been determined.

c) Prohibition on sale to minors should be enacted to protect children.

d) An excise tax should be levied to discourage production and consumption since it has no known health benefits.

e) Manufacture, importation, possession, and consumption should all be prohibited, with an exemption for those entities specifically licensed to handle this material, due to the danger to children.

(The answer is on p.2 of the PDF.)

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RealWorldGraduation_Question_70_CharitableFoundations   <– PDF

A famous person decides to set up a tax-exempt Foundation. He names the Foundation after himself (like the Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations), files all the necessary paperwork, and begins to solicit tax-deductible contributions from the public.  Although the Foundation has zero assets at the beginning, the Foundation receives a great deal of money from the public owing to the founder’s personal popularity.  After withholding a small percentage for administrative costs, he bundles all the contributions received from the public into large amounts and gives the money away to various causes, such as AIDS research, literacy, etc.  All of the donations are made in the name of the Foundation.  What is the main benefit of this arrangement?

a) People get to take a tax deduction for their contributions.

b) The money contributed, except for administrative costs, goes to good causes that help the less fortunate.

c) Enough money can be concentrated in each of the charitable areas to make a real difference.

d) People feel better about themselves by helping others.

e) All of the above.

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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RealWorldGraduation_Question_69_DefendingYourCommunity   <– PDF

A certain community has been plagued by many years of violence by criminal gangs. These gangsters have engaged in street battles in which innocent people, sometimes even small children, were killed in the cross-fire.  They have burned peoples’ houses down, ruined the schools and parks, and hold loud parties that reduce the quality of life in the neighborhood.  Children are afraid to go to school, and people in general are afraid to go outside after dark.  Over the past ten years, 92 innocent people (24 of them children under the age of 10) have been killed by the gangs, with 264 others injured seriously enough to warrant hospitalization.  The local police force has done the best they could with limited resources.  They do manage to arrest a few gangsters after especially infamous crimes, but overall the neighborhood is becoming increasingly dangerous.  Criminal activity by the gangs shows no signs of abating, despite the fact that the members of the gangs are well-known to the police and residents alike.  The residents have found that complaining to City Hall is a waste of time, as the politicians say they are doing the best they can.

A group of residents decides to act in their own interests. They hold a secret meeting and develop a plan to arm themselves, patrol the neighborhood, and attack and kill as many known gang members as they can find.  A local informant finds out about the plan, and reports the residents to the police.  What will happen next?

a) The chief of police arranges a meeting with the residents, and offers to share all the information about the gangs possessed by the police, so that the gangs can be eliminated more efficiently.

b) The chief of police orders his men to assist the residents in any way they can.

c) The mayor intervenes and convinces the residents to abort the plan and also orders the police not to aid the residents. He arranges for representatives of the residents and the various gangs to sit down and discuss the issues in the neighborhood, with the idea that a negotiated settlement can be worked out.

d) The mayor tries to convince the state to fund a jobs-training program for the gang members. At the same time, he convinces the residents to hold off on their plan until the jobs program takes effect.

e) Some combination of the above.

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in critical thinking, gun control, Real World Graduation | No Comments »

Real World Graduation, Question 68: Home Ownership

RealWorldGraduation_Question_68_HomeOwnership   <– PDF

Why is owning your own home a good investment?

a) In the long run, values of houses tend to go up, thus owning a home causes a person’s net worth to increase over time.

b) The federal government and most state governments give homeowners an income tax deduction for interest payments made on a house (if it’s a primary residence).

c) It is easier to customize and decorate one’s own house to one’s own tastes, which is not normally permitted when leasing or renting.

d) One will be able to live very cheaply after the house is paid off, whereas one never stops paying rent.

e) A combination of a), b), and d).


(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

Posted in critical thinking, Economics, Real World Graduation | No Comments »