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Critical Reasoning - Explain the Paradox Questions of Critical Reasoning - II Module

Here are the ten official questions which are discussed in detail in the Critical Reasoning - II module at the end of the Explain the Paradox Questions section. Shout out in the comments section if you have any doubts in the explanations.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 1


From 1978 to 1988, beverage containers accounted for a steadily decreasing % of the total weight of household garbage in the United States. The increasingly widespread recycling of aluminium and glass was responsible for most of this decline. However, although aluminum recycling was more widely practiced than glass recycling, it was found that the weight of glass bottles in household garbage declined by a greater % than the weight of the aluminum cans. 


Which of the following, if true of the United States in the period 1978 to 1988, most helps to account for the finding?


(A) Glass bottles are significantly heavier than aluminum cans of comparable size.


(B) Recycled aluminum cans were almost all beverage containers, but a significant fraction of the recycled glass bottles had contained products other than beverages.


(C) Manufacturers replaced many glass bottles, but few aluminum cans, with plastic containers. 


(D) The total weight of glass bottles purchased by households increased at a slightly faster rate than the total weight of aluminum cans.


(E) In many areas, glass bottles had to be sorted by color of the glass before being recycled, whereas the aluminum cans required no sorting.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 2


Technological improvements and reduced equipment costs have made converting solar energy directly into electricity far more cost-efficient in the last decade. However, the threshold of economic viability for solar power (that is, the price per barrel to which oil would have to rise in order for new solar power plants to be more economical than new oil-fired power plants) is unchanged at thirty-five dollars.

Which of the following, if true, does most to help explain why the increased cost-efficiency of solar power has not decreased its threshold of economic viability?

(A) The cost of oil has fallen dramatically.


(B) The reduction in the cost of solar-power equipment has occurred despite increased raw material costs for that equipment.


(C) Technological changes have increased the efficiency of oil-fired power plants.


(D) Most electricity is generated by coal-fired or nuclear, rather than oil-fired, power plants.


(E) When the price of oil increases, reserves of oil not previously worth exploiting become economically viable.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 3


For several years, per capita expenditure on prescription drugs in Voronia rose by fifteen percent or more annually. In order to curb these dramatic increases, the ministry of health prohibited drug manufacturers from raising any of their products' prices. Even though use of prescription drugs did not expand after this price freeze, per capita expenditure for prescription drugs continued to increase by a substantial percentage each year.


Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain why the ministry's action did not achieve its goal?


(A) After price increases were prohibited, drug manufacturers concentrated on producing new medications to replace existing products.


(B) The population of Voronia rose steadily throughout the period.


(C) Improvements in manufacturing processes enabled drug manufacturers to maintain high profit levels on drugs despite the price freeze.


(D) In addition to imposing a price freeze, the government encouraged doctors to prescribe generic versions of common drugs instead of the more expensive brand-name versions.


(E) After price increases were prohibited, some foreign manufacturers of expensive drugs ceased marketing them in Voronia.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 4


People often criticise their local government for not providing enough funds to the public libraries in their district. They complain of lacking infrastructure and out-of-date and worn out reading material. Surprisingly, the most frequent and vociferous complaints come from those who live in districts where the libraries are most well maintained and kept current.

All of the following, considered individually, help to explain the apparent paradox EXCEPT:


(A) People from districts of well maintained libraries are more likely to use the public libraries.

(B) People have no knowledge of the facilities and infrastructure provided by the other libraries in their district.


(C) Good facilities cause people’s expectations to rise leading them to demand even more.

(D) The people in districts with well maintained libraries are likely to complain when the library they use is not as well maintained as the other libraries in that district.


(E) Most complaints about libraries come from political activists, most of who live in districts with well maintained libraries.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 5


Many small roads do not have painted markings along their edges. Clear edge markings would make it easier for drivers to see upcoming curves and to judge the car's position on the road, particularly when visibility is poor, and would therefore seem to be a useful contribution to road safety. However, after Greatwater County painted edge markings on all its narrow, winding roads the annual accident rate along these roads actually increased slightly. 


Which of the following if true, most helps to explain the increase in accident rate? 


(A) Greatwater County has an unusually high proportion of narrow, winding roads. 


(B) In bad weather it can be nearly as difficult for drivers to see the road as it is at night. 


(C) Prior to the painting of edge markings, Greatwater County's narrow, winding roads already had a somewhat higher accident rate than other Greatwater County roads. 


(D) Many of the accidents on narrow, winding roads involve a single vehicle veering off the road, rather than the collision of two vehicles. 


(E) After the markings were painted on the roads, many drivers who had gone out of their way to avoid driving on those roads at night no longer did so


Explain the Paradox Question No. 6


The number of musicians employed to play accompaniment for radio and television commercials has sharply decreased over the past ten years. This has occurred even though the number of commercials produced each year has not significantly changed for the last ten years.


Which of the following, if it occurred during the past ten years, would contribute LEAST to an explanation of the facts above?


(A) The type of music most popular for use in commercials has changed from a type that requires a large number of instruments to a type that requires very few instruments.


(B) There has been an increase in the number of commercials that use only the spoken word and sound effects, rather than musical accompaniment.


(C) There has been an increase in the number of commercials that use a synthesizer, an instrument on which one musician can reproduce the sound of many musicians playing together.


(D) There has been an increase in the number of commercials that use prerecorded music as their only source of music.


(E) There has been an increase in the number of commercials that use musicians just starting in the music industry rather than musicians experienced in accompanying commercials.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 7


In the two years following the unification of Germany in 1989, the number of cars owned by residents of East Germany and the total distance traveled by cars in East Germany both increased by about 40 percent. In those two years, however, the number of East German residents killed each year as car occupants in traffic accidents increased by about 300 percent.


Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain the disproportionate increase in traffic fatalities?


(A) The average number of passengers per car was higher in the years before unification than it was in the two years after.


(B) After unification, many people who had been living in East Germany relocated to West Germany.


(C) After unification, a smaller proportion of the cars being purchased by East German residents were used vehicles.


(D) Drivers who had driven little or not at all before 1989 accounted for much of the increase in the total distance traveled by cars.


(E) Over the same two-year period in East Germany, other road users, such as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, experienced only small increases in traffic fatalities.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 8


Last year Ranger Airways' annual report showed an increase in the number of revenue passenger miles (the total for all flights of the number of miles in each flight times the number of paying passengers in that flight). There were, however, declines in both the load factor-the percentage of available seats occupied- and the number of flights.


Which of the following, if true about Ranger Airways in the year reported on, would help most to resolve the apparent paradox between the increase in revenue passenger miles and the decreases in both load factor and number of flights?


(A) The average passenger capacity of airplanes decreased.


(B) The average length of flights increased.


(C) There was an increase in the number of delays in both departures and arrivals.


(D) There was an increase in the number of nonpaying passengers.


(E) Many of the passenger fares became more expensive.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 9


Microscopic plants called algae grow inside the top layer of sea ice in the Antarctic if enough sunlight reaches that layer of ice and enough seawater, which contains nutrients, reaches that layer after splashing onto the surface. Even though moderate snow cover reduces the sunlight that filters into the top layer, sea ice with moderate snow cover typically contains even more algae in the top layer than does sea ice with less snow cover. 


Which of the following , if true most helps to explain the apparent discrepancy?


(A) As the weight of accumulated snow forces ice lower in the water, more seawater splashes onto the surface and seeps through the snow. 


(B) Seawater in the Antarctic often contains higher concentrations of nutrients than does seawater in more temperate regions.


(C) As the air temperature around sea ice decreases during the winter, the likelihood decreases that snow will fall and thus add to any existing snow cover. 


(D) The nutrients on which algae rely are common in seawater throughout the Antarctic.


(E) More sunlight filters through a layer of ice than through an equally thick layer of snow.


Explain the Paradox Question No. 10


Escalating worldwide demand for corn has led to a sharp increase in the market price of corn, and corn prices are likely to remain high. Corn is extensive used as feed for livestock, and because profit margins are tight in the livestock business, many farmers are expected to leave the business. With fewer suppliers, meat prices will surely rise. Nonetheless, observers expect an immediate short-term decrease in meat prices.


Which of the following, if true, most helps to justify the observers’ expectation?


(A) The increase in corn prices is due more to a decline in the supply of corn than to a growth in demand for it.


(B) Generally, farmers who are squeezed out of the livestock business send their livestock to market much earlier than they otherwise would.


(C) Some people who ate meat regularly in the past are converting to diets that include little or no meat.


(D) As meat prices rise, the number of livestock producers is likely to rise again.


(E) Livestock producers who stay in the business will start using feed other than corn more extensively than they did in the past.



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