Archive for December 5th, 2009

(The following is a handout from my days of teaching first year composition at university. It consists of some informal examples of closing paragraph strategies, but should be equally useful for formal essays. Anyone who finds it useful can reproduce it, so long as they give me credit for it)

Will North Americans continue to take their high standard of living for granted? Probably not. As we have seen, North Americans use more energy, buy more goods, and create more garbage than even the Europeans. Yet this state of affairs is barely fifty years old, and already it is changing. The North American standard of living has been declining for over a decade, and, as Europe and Japan retool for modern technology faster than we are able or willing to, there is every sign that this decline will continue. Indeed, many people believe that we are overdue to return to a more equitable rate of consumption. Perhaps in another century, historians will look back at Twenty-First Century North America in astonishment, and shake their heads with both envy and disgust.

Final Generalization:
As these examples demonstrate, social networking is transforming the way people work as well as how they play. Clearly, our lives are in the middle of a transformation whose end we cannot yet perceive..

Final Example:
One final example will illustrate the need to quarantine exotic birds. In 1934, a small shipment of cockatiels with Newcastle’s disease arrived in Holland without going through quarantine. Before the birds could be traced and destroyed, thousands of domestic poultry had to be destroyed to stop the spread of the disease, and dozens of farmers lost their livelihood. To make matters worse, 39 people caught Newcastles’ and died from the disease. Ever since, Dutch officials have insisted on a three month quarantine for imported hookbills. Without such precautions, the risk of financial health and illness are simply too high.

Final Analogy:
The disappearance of homo neanderthalis and the prevalence of homo sapiens can be compared to the Norman conquest of England. Contrary to popular belief, there was no widespread slaughter of the Anglo-Saxon population of England by the Normans. Many Anglo-Saxon leaders had died in battle, and many of those who were left chose to swear allegiance to the Normans rather than face execu­tion. Few of the middle-class or laborers were killed, for the simple reason that they were needed to run the country. Anglo-Saxon language, customs and culture were modified, but not destroyed by the Normans. Four centuries later, neither Norman nor Saxon existed–they had all become English. If such assimilation has happened so quickly in historical times, it could just as easily happen in prehistoric times as well, especially since we cannot pinpoint the disappearance of the Neanderthals to within more than five or seven thousand years. It seems likely that, instead of being slaughtered, the Neanderthals inter-married with homo sapiens, disappearing as a distinct species, but contributing their genes to present-day humanity.

Call for Action:
Such evidence indicates that the attempt to do without government automobile testing is a failure. Over half of the vehicles on B. C. roads are mechanically faulty, and over two-thirds do not meet federal emission standards. Clearly, the provincial government must act at once to put an end to this dangerous situation.

Mention of Related Issues:
Obviously, this paper cannot cover all aspects of the question. Given that some dinosaurs were warm-blooded and evolved into birds, what happened to the rest of them? Was giganticism an evolutionary experiment that failed spectacularly? Or did the dinosaurs have some help–perhaps the meteor strike that some theorists have speculated on recently. Or are modern reptiles the direct descendants of the dinosaurs? These are large questions, but they need to answered before our understanding of what happened to the dinosaurs is complete.

There is little left to say. Defeated in his attempts to bring responsible government to the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island, Richard Blanshard returned home to England. He married well, and became known in his home town for his charities. He never held public office again. James Douglas, his successor as governor, continued to represent the interests of the Hudson Bay Company in the area for another twenty years, doing all he could to prevent the rise of responsible government. Douglas became rich, and the center of high society in Victoria. Today, he is known as “the Father of British Columbia” by people too ignorant of the past to know how hard he fought to prevent its existence.

Rhetorical Question:
The issue, then, is clear: do we have the right to imprison and mistreat animals so that we can view them at our ease? Or does anyone dare to suggest that we have no responsibility to our less intelligent neighbors?

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