Essay practice: Too / Too much / Far too much

17 05 2011

Task

Here are all the A level questions (2000-2009) that require us to consider the term(s) “too/too much/far too much”.  Refer to the recent post on addressing “too much” questions, and practice thinking of relevant yardsticks for the following questions:

Discuss the view that too much faith is placed in statistics. (2008)

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil. (2005)

‘Too much attention is given to criminals; not enough to their victims.’ Is this true? (2005)

‘Far too much attention is given to beauty products and treatments.’ Do you agree? (2004)

Does the modern world place too much reliance on technology? (2003)

Is sport too closely linked to money these days? (2001)

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices? (2001)


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28 responses

20 05 2011
Jia Xian

(Late) – The world being too dependent on oil.

This means that the world currently, requires oil to run the necessary processes in industries or cars to allow the world to actually function with the technology people have developed and lived with for the past century.

The line where the world is too dependent on oil is when industries come up with technologies such as cars, machines which preferably run on oil even if substitutes such as compound gases or liquids are available.

21 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Yardstick uses fuzzy logic: it’s like saying that I’m too dependent on wall clocks to tell the time because I can use sundials or watches instead.

20 05 2011
Jia Xian

new tech*

21 05 2011
Jeffrey

Too much attention is given to criminals: yes
not enough to their victims?:
do the victims want attention in the first place? unlikely….

cops trying to catch criminals at all cost, welfare of victim not top priority. interview/interrogate victims,remembering experience to the point of possible psychological trauma. seems like more attention to victim but actually the criminal.

Media- exaggerate/sensationalise crime stories, glorify criminals giving them names and titles. UNWANTED attention by media on victims….leading to possible danger e.g criminal wants to kill them to prevent incriminating evidence to be brought to light.

21 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

not enough to their victims?:
do the victims want attention in the first place? unlikely….
–> link directly to “not enough” (more than enough attention is given to them, seeing that they are unlikely to want any more attention)

cops trying to catch criminals at all cost, welfare of victim not top priority. interview/interrogate victims,remembering experience to the point of possible psychological trauma. seems like more attention to victim but actually the criminal.
–> why is this TOO MUCH? Merely sounds like “more than”

Media- exaggerate/sensationalise crime stories, glorify criminals giving them names and titles. UNWANTED attention by media on victims….leading to possible danger e.g criminal wants to kill them to prevent incriminating evidence to be brought to light.
–> is this meant to prove that enough attention is given to victims? Make the link clear.

21 05 2011
Daryl

Does the modern world place too much reliance on technology?
Stand: It is unlikely that this is true, despite the screams of technology usage all over the world.
Yardstick: Technology is merely an extension of ones abilities. It was fashioned after man to mimic and enhance it’s everyday processes to achieve higher productivity. Some form of skill is still required to be input by man. It is only Too much when technology degradates and erodes humankind’s ability to perform the tasks that have been “passed on” to technology.

Eg. The invention of sewing machines. Primitive, but still required the utmost skill of tailors to master and control the stitches made by the machine to create a perfect garment, sometimes even embroidered. BUT, nowadays, coupled with the invention of computers, automated embroidery machines have been invented: the rare skill of embroidery is being eroded n extinguished. That is too much. Technology can never replicate the exquisite manner of a master’s hand when it comes to embroidery. A compromise In quality has already been made in the name of speed and productivity, but a compromise in the preservation of the origin of the technology is unacceptable.

21 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Sounds like your eg contradicts your stand

“screams of technology usage” –> odd metaphor

“but a compromise in the preservation of the origin of the technology is unacceptable.” –> point not clear

Sent from my iPhone

22 05 2011
Justin

Discuss the view that too much faith is placed in statistics.

Stand: Yes, too much faith is placed in statistics.

Yardstick: By basing our absolute belief and trust in mere, raw data on past trends, we are unable to predict the unpredictable and expect the unexpectable. Being susceptible to the uncertainty of the future, mankind relies on statistics in attempt to predict future trends and minimise the probability of failure by making preparations beforehand in expectation of the likely scenarios. However, everything can be jeopardised and fall apart if an unexpected outcome occurs. Placing too much trust in just statistics alone, this is akin to holding a ticking time bomb.

Examples: Bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers, U.S government did not expect the global financial services firm with the reputation of being the 4th largest investment bank in the USA to fold. By being caught off guard and not saving it, this and the collapse of other important financial instituions led to a perfect storm of economic distress factors and triggered the global financial system to the brink of collapse.

22 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

What is your yardstick? You gave reasons, but no actual yardstick.

22 05 2011
Tze Ling

Discuss the view that too much faith is placed in statistics.
Stand: Yes, too much faith is placed in statistics.

Yardstick: It is too much when humankind use statistics to define numerically unquantifiable entities. Many things in the world cannot merely be quantified by digits but other considerations such as ethical and moral aspects have to be taken into consideration.

Eg. Carbon credits are assigned to measure the amount of carbon emissions released in an attempt to combat increased environmental degradation. Each country is given a certain number of carbon credits based on their size and economy and can only emit that fixed amount of carbon. Furthermore, carbon credits can be traded between countries. To think that environment degradation can be quantified is completely absurd. The conservation of the environment is more than just mere numbers and too much faith is placed into carbon credits to control the rate of environmental degradation.

22 05 2011
Amelia Monteiro

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil

Stand: The world is too dependent on oil.

Yardstick: People need oil so much that they are willing to fight over it & put their own & the lives of others at stake

Eg. Iraq-Iran gulf war, Iraq-Kuwait war
Many lives lost, many homes destroyed, environmental pollution as well –> oil tanks were burnt / thrown into the seas on purpose during the war.

The importance of oil exceeds the importance of the lives of fellow human beings
This shows that people are so dependent on oil that they are willing to go to such huge extents- create disaster, live in catastrophy, even sacrifice their own lives/the lives of others. Absolutely absurd.
Without such great dependency on oil –> no war, peace in the countries, iraq wouldn’t be in such great debt / country would not be in the state it is in now (political unrest, destruction, poverty, suffering etc)

22 05 2011
Caleb Lim

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices?

Stand: Yes, it offers us too many choices.

Yardstick: There are too many choices in life such that decision-making becomes too difficult. Every choice has its pros and cons. Because of too many choices, one has to consider too many pros and cons too. As a result, too many choices such that it leads people to making simple, snap judgments just to avoid the hassle of wading through confusing options or even to an extent such that one does not come to a conclusion.

“The presumption is, self-determination is a good thing and choice is essential to self-determination,” says Barry Schwartz, PhD, a Swarthmore College psychologist and author of “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less” (Ecco, 2004). “But there’s a point where all of this choice starts to be not only unproductive, but counterproductive–a source of pain, regret, worry about missed opportunities and unrealistically high expectations.”

Not really an example:

By Barry Schwartz
“About ten years ago, I went to The Gap to buy a pair of jeans. A salesperson walked up to me and asked if she could help. “I want a pair of jeans — 32-28,” I said.

“Do you want them slim fit, easy fit, relaxed fit, baggy, or extra baggy?” she replied. “Do you want them stone-washed, acid-washed, or distressed? Do you want them button-fly or zipper-fly? Do you want them faded or regular?” I was stunned. A moment or two later I sputtered out something like, “I just want regular jeans. You know, the kind that used to be the only kind.” It turned out she didn’t know, but after consulting one of her older colleagues, she was able to figure out what “regular” jeans used to be, and she pointed me in the right direction.

The trouble was that with all these options available to me now, I was no longer sure that “regular” jeans were what I wanted. Perhaps the easy fit or the relaxed fit would be more comfortable.”

Example:
Social psychologists Sheena Iyengar, PhD, a management professor at Columbia University Business School, and Mark Lepper, PhD, a psychology professor at Stanford University, were the first to empirically demonstrate the downside of excessive choice. In a 2000 paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP, Vol. 79, No. 6), the team showed that when shoppers are given the option of choosing among smaller and larger assortments of jam, they show more interest in the larger assortment. But when it comes time to pick just one, they’re 10 times more likely to make a purchase if they choose among six rather than among 24 flavors of jam.

Next, Iyengar sought to examine consumer choices with higher stakes to see if a greater investment in the outcome meant people would make different or better choices. In a study under review at JPSP, she and Wei Jiang, PhD, a finance professor at Columbia Business School, analyzed retirement-fund choices–ranging from packages of two to 59 choices–among some 800,000 employees at 647 companies.

“With 401(k)s, people are given enormous incentives to participate through tax shelters and employer matches,” Iyengar comments. “So, essentially, if you choose not to participate, you’re throwing away free money.”

Instead of leading to more thoughtful choosing, however, more options led people to act like the jam buyers: When given two choices, 75 percent participated, but when given 59 choices, only 60 percent did. In addition, the greater the number of options, the more cautious people were with their investment strategies, the team found.

22 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Good examples.

22 05 2011
Rama

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil. (2005)

Stand: Yes the world is indeed over dependent on oil.
Yardstick: At present there are a lot of things that can be done with oil after it is fractionally distillated, from fuel to creating products. Practically every fraction can be utilised. Hence with no other alternative to this limited precious resource it only increases our dependence on it.
Eg. From an economic viewpoint the very fact that the price for a barrel of oil influences not the local but global market shows that trading of oil is very important as countries require it to fuel economic growth. This is because oil is used to practically manufacture everything else either by burning it to produce electricity which in turn powers machines or to produce other goods; the cost of production is hence affected by the cost of electricity.
Eg. Even though primarily oil is used as a fuel for transportation and to generate electricity, alternatives sources of energy are being developed but since currently the technology for these innovations are still in relative infancy, their prices are unattractively higher than conventionally using oil.
Eg. There are even attempts by scientist to recreate synthetic oil from chemicals and even the use of commercially grown crops as bio fuels. But it is an undeniable fact that there is a limit as to how much crops can be processed into bio fuels. And it is highly plausible that the electricity required to manufacture these bio fuels might just actually come from oil. All this clearly shows that people acknowledge the worlds over reliance on oil and its finite supply and are gradually reducing the need through the advent of technology.

22 05 2011
Melissa

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices? (2001)
STAND: Life today does not offer too many choices
Life today has offer us choices such that we can choose between different forms of a product that fufills the same purpose and an example is transportation which comes in the form of motorcycles, cars, buses and trains and even for small scale uses, we have the fans and air-conditioners that cools us down. However, this number of choices have become exceedingly great such that not only do we have to choose the product that cater best to our needs, we have to choose between the different brands of the same products for instance, when one wants to buy whitening beauty product, they have to choose betweeen L’Oreal, OLAY, Bio-Essence, SK II and Shiseido. Yet, between these different brands, differences still exist to differentiate them. For example, between SK II and OLAY whitening products, SK II targets more on pigmentation while OLAY generates an overall whitening effect. The competition between these brands has induce the producers of these products to further enhance them to better cater to individual consumers. Hence, a wide variety of one product does not equate to too many choices because one form of the product may still specifically suit an individual need such that they may no have choices at all.

22 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

To improve, make your yardstick clear at the beginning, and reinforce again at the end. Here, the yardstick was only clear at the end. Effective exemplification.

22 05 2011
U Bhalraam

The world being too dependent on oil.

The Line : The world is indeed too dependent on oil, and to a great extent too. Very dependent to the extent that if we were to stop the use of oil, there is a chance that foundations to the “tower of human achievement” would vanish and whether the said tower would crumble is purely dependent on alternatives the human race have in place to satisfactorily secure its height. Would intelligent people like ourselves allow an inanimate resource state the expiration date of the human race? We have gone too far to let this happen.

Even when you are marking this essay, the table that you are using probably comes from a petroleum source. The pen you are using,if it contains plastic, also comes from crude oil. EVEN your clothes are based on oil. We are so dependent on oil, so ADDICTED to oil, that when it is gone, I cannot imagine the chaos that would reign after that. No electricity, no jobs, no food, no-thing.

22 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Yardstick isn’t clear. But I love how you draw me into the piece in the second paragraph. Not always advisable, but I liked it in this context.

22 05 2011
erica

Is sport too closely linked to money these days?

Stand: No sport not too closely linked to money

Yardstick: sport is only too closely linked to money if
1) the only reason why people engage in sport is money
2) these people, whom only engage in sport for money, make up a majority
3) the values that sport promotes (health, fitness, friendship, excellence, sportsmanship…etc) have been eroded and the central aim to the existence of sport is money

explanation:
1) many reasons why people engage in sports, for leisure, to keep fit, to socialize, because they’re naturally talented and passionate about it, not because of the potential to get paid a lot should one become a sportsman.
Yes- sportsmen are paid ridiculous sums but it doesn’t start out that way for them. And many sportsmen will tell you that the money involved is not of much significance to them.
furthermore, these people are only the minority of the minority. majority of the people involved in sports are fans, who do not get a share of such monies.

2) countries who host sporting events often do so for reasons of bringing national pride to their country, not only because of money
yes-the costs are great and the economical benefits of hosting sporting events often come to mind, but this does not shift the focus of such sporting events from its initial aims of showcasing and celebrating human ability and excellence amongst other values (e.g. olympic values)
when people celebrate the success of their country’s bid to host a sporting event, they often aren’t celebrating because of the monetary benefits that their country may enjoy, but because of the pride and excitement that such events will bring.
furthermore, usually such events result in huge amounts of national debt rather than gains

22 05 2011
Danielle

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices? (2001)

Stand: no

Yardstick: too many- suggests that it has a detrimental effect. and much more than neccessary.

Choice is in fact beneficial and important. choice promotes thinking. the process of decision making promotes cognitive development which is an essential skill for individuals in the modern world where life is not just about following instructions and ultimately life is about the choices you make.

its true that the wide variety of choices we have today can cause stress. however, it is through the experiences that we go through in the process of choosing that helps us learn from our mistakes and makes us stronger and wiser. choice brings about creative thinking, which results in progress.

choice is also the force which drives our economy as it creates demand.

23 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

You need to show why the level of choice we have today is still beneficial. “choice is beneficial” is not mutually exclusive to “the level of choice we get today has reached a point where it isn’t beneficial any more”

Second paragraphs is ok (assuming it will be elaborated on and explained)

Third paragraph needs to show current level of choices, not just “choice”

22 05 2011
qirong

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil.

The world we live in today is too dependant on oil as oil is closely linked to our daily lives than we think it is. Oil is an extremely important resource to us
as we are dependant on it as it contributes to almost all of our basic needs. We are too dependent on oil as most of us rely on it for our daily needs, electricity, transportation and all of the plastic that goes into the things around us.

25 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

“The world we live in today is too dependant on oil as oil is closely linked to our daily lives than we think it is.” –> reason doesn’t lead to conclusion

“too dependent” not proven

23 05 2011
Bryan

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices? (2001)

Stand: No, life does not offer us too many choices.

Yardstick: it is only too much when
1) it has a detrimental effect or
2) when it become unnecessary or
3) when choices are left unpicked

Reasons:
Yes, people are taken aback initially by the overwhelming choices available but do snap back to reality when they realize they are no longer bound by the limited choices like in the past. Choice liberates us by better allowing us to express our sense of creativity and preferences. If no choices are available people would be forced to follow the norm, giving birth to a society where everyone are narrow-minded and unable to think out of the box.
Nevertheless, too many choices can result in what we would call a dilemma. Though writer Barry Schwarts mentions that this “delibitates” or “might even be said to tyrannise”, its necessary for society to progress.

25 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Your stand isn’t clear from your paragraph.

23 05 2011
Glen Kua

Is sports too closely linked to money?

Stand: Depends on the level.
Yes for sports in the international arena, Not for sports on a personal level

Yardstick: sports is too closely linked to money when sports is predominantly used to generate vast sums of money

When there is a debate on which decisions should be made, economic reasons are most likely to take precedence over other reasons. Eg in the parliamentary debate on whether a casino should be built in SG, more emphasis is placed on the influx of foreign dollars as opposed to the increase in the occurence of social ills that may bring about. This may be because of a more pragmatic approach taken by many, coupled with the great importance and value that many place on money.
As such, in the name of pragmatism and economic benefits that it may bring about, sports have also been manipulated as a means to generate vast sums of money. In the World Cup watched by billions all around the globe, we have seen an increase in opportunities for one to place their bets through legal means. With the increase in live betting websites available to the masses, who’s to say that many watch sports for the sole reason of entertainment?Corporations such as Mcdonalds have also come up with merchandise goods such as World Cup mugs so as to maximise their profits. Even the world governing body for fair play, Fifa, have also utilised sports to boost their financial capabilities as it charges exorbitant fees for broadcasting rights in Singapore. Despite the huge outrage in Singapore, Fifa have persisted in its grouching ways, resulting in a temporary collaboration of Starhub and Singtel to pay for a whopping $100 million for broadcasting rights. In addition, people have been so audacious as to fix matches so as to reap huge amounts of profits. This is evident in the Italian Serie A and the match-fixing scandal by Wilson Raj. In these instances, we have seen that sports is largely used as a tool to generate vast sums of money, even compromising on national reputation in the case of Italy. Although sports are used to invoke a national culture and unite divisions in a country as seen in Spain, it is not a predominant reason why many engage in sports. Financial status, whom many consider of great importance, is the predominant reason for sports. Hence, in the international arena, sports is too closely linked to money.

25 05 2011
Adrienne de Souza

Suggestion: Remove the casino example – it distracts from the idea of sports.

23 05 2011
Margaret Khaw

Do you think that life today offers us too many choices? (2001)

Yardsticks (why too many)
1. Instead of the innumerable choices giving us freedom, they attribute to dilemma and confusion, which is detrimental to people in society.

E.g. Researchers from several universities have determined that even though humans’ ability to weigh choices is remarkably advantageous, it can also come with some serious liabilities. People faced with numerous choices, whether good or bad, find it difficult to stay focused enough to complete projects and handle daily simple tasks. In a fast-paced world today, a plethora of choices could therefore be mentally exhausting for one.

2. Instead of allowing us to make better and more well informed decisions due to the vast amount of choices available and therefore the most viable option chosen, research also shows that an excess of choices often leads us to be less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide. A less satisfactory decision made could therefore lead to insecurity, worry and perhaps a sense of regret due to the missed opportunites.

3. Too many choices lead to complexity. A trivial 10 minute shopping affair could become a mind-boggling 1 hour one as people have to make comparisons, for example, brand, price, quality, worth, etc. The opportunity cost in making decisions for more important issues is forgone.

Conclusion:
As more chocies are readily available to us, the autonomy, control, and liberation variety brings us is powerful and positive. But if the number of choices keeps growing, negative effects start to appear and the negatives escalate until we can become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates us but tyrannizes us

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