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Spear Grass

by yellowho » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:47 pm
A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.

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by manpsingh87 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:56 pm
yellowho wrote:A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.
Hi.. i'm also confused between B and E, i also picked up option B, and i think for option E to become winner we have to assume that farmers don't let their livestock to go for a grazing on their own because if they do then they can eat spear thistle, which can cause problem for government in tracking down the growth of spear thistle.
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by yellowho » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:15 pm
This is a Knewton problem. Can a Knewton expert please elaborate on this problem. Thanks!


[quote="manpsingh87"][quote="yellowho"]A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.[/quote]

Hi.. i'm also confused between B and E, i also picked up option B, and i think for option E to become winner we have to assume that farmers don't let their livestock to go for a grazing on their own because if they do then they can eat spear thistle, which can cause problem for government in tracking down the growth of spear thistle.[/quote]

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by ansh.kumar » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:10 am
hi. PLZ READ THE QUESTION STEM literally then u know that the answer HAS TO BE "E".
the most support for the PREDICTION that the agencies' action will have its INTENDED EFFECT?
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by fitzgerald23 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:35 am
In B there is not information to know if it will have the intended effect. They are telling you that animals that graze on timothy grass will not eat the weed, but they fail to tell you how many animals eat the grass. Imagine there are 10 farms in Canada and 9 are cow farms and one is a goat farm. Lets say cows eat cow grass while goats eat timothy grass. Because the majority of farms are cow farms and unaffected by the loss of the timothy grass it stands to reason that the farmers will not pay attention to the governments actions to try to curb the spread of the weed since it does not cause them ham.

In E they specifically state "most farmers" use timothy grass, thus they will be directly affected by the spread of the weed. Because it is a majority there is a good chance that the government actions will work since the farmers will want the weed to disappear

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by bubbliiiiiiii » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:30 pm
I am completely confused with this question.

Firstly, as per stimulus, the fact sheet gives facts on weed's pictures and the effect of weeds on soil.

Options B and E, both talk about animals feeding on the grass. Though I agree that B is somewhat close to weeds because it talks about thorns of weed but unable to relate the option with the stimulus!!

With E, I really dont know how the application of the grass is concerned with the agenicies plan of distributing fact sheets.

I strongly believe more information is needed in order to answer this question.
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by AIM GMAT » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:41 pm
IMO E .

I chose E because as the farmers use timothy grass to feed their livestock , while cutting timothy grass they may come to know the extent growth of weeds in their land if any , so by educating farmers about the spear thistle grass along with photos of the grass will enable the farmers to identify the grass growing on their lands .
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by czarczar » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:33 am
yellowho wrote:A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.
What my understanding is that we have to support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect. (the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land)

Choise E gives us the explanation of why spear thistle is not into interest of farmers as spear thistle takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass.

on the other hand B just tells us that animals will no graze , thats it.
but this information can not be used to strength.

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by mundasingh123 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:34 am
We are trying to strengthen the conclusion that the government will be successfully able to track the growth of Spear Thistle by providing photos of the Spear thistle to farmers and explaining to them the adverse effect on the soil that the Spear Thistle has.
C also helps the farmers to identify the growth of spear thistle because it creates holes in Timothy grass where it grows.

Why not C ?
Doesnt E involve the use of Outside information that farmers need to have their interests vested in the task of identify Spear Thistle and reporting its outgrowth on their Lands. If the farmers have nothing to gain from this Exercise of Tracking the progress of Spear THistle, they will not help the Govt.
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by czarczar » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:59 am
mundasingh123 wrote:We are trying to strengthen the conclusion that the government will be successfully able to track the growth of Spear Thistle by providing photos of the Spear thistle to farmers and explaining to them the adverse effect on the soil that the Spear Thistle has.
C also helps the farmers to identify the growth of spear thistle because it creates holes in Timothy grass where it grows.

Why not C ?
Doesnt E involve the use of Outside information that farmers need to have their interests vested in the task of identify Spear Thistle and reporting its outgrowth on their Lands. If the farmers have nothing to gain from this Exercise of Tracking the progress of Spear THistle, they will not help the Govt.

which can create , I guess what you read is which will create.

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by saurabh_maths » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:15 pm
yellowho wrote:A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.
First of all a NICE Q :-)

I think it shd be E as E suggests a reason why farmers would be interested in implementing the govt plan.

The farmers feed and nourish their livestock with the grass. As weed can effect the condition of grass by taking away the nutirients from the soil which otherwise would have gone to grass.

This could have a direct effect on health of livestock of farmers. So this is a reason why farmers are willing to help govt and will help the govt in implementing it.

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by bubbliiiiiiii » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:06 pm
Agreed with what you say if the government incentive contained something which would help to improve the quality of grass. However, the government plan focusses more on the identification of weeds and reporting weeds to government so that effective measures can be taken to irradicate them.

WOW .. I answered the question myself in the above note. but I dont edit it keeping into account for my fellow bloggers who incase have any further confusion on this problem.

saurabh_maths wrote:
yellowho wrote:A certain variety of spear thistle, a weed that quickly spreads across grasslands, was inadvertently introduced into Canada from the United Kingdom in the late 1960's. This weed takes nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise go to timothy grass, the most common Canadian grass varietal. To help track the spread of spear thistle, the Canadian government has released a fact sheet to farmers to help them identify the weed-the fact sheets contain pictures of the weed and explain its effect on soil; the sheets also ask farmers to report any outgrowths of the weed found on their land.

Which of the following, if true, would provide the most support for the prediction that the agencies' action will have its intended effect?


(A) The spear thistle is one of several foreign weed species that draws nutrients from the soil of Canadian farmers.

(B) The animals that graze on timothy grass on Canadian farms are uninterested in eating spear thistle because of its thorns.

(C) The spear thistle leaves spiny thorns on the ground which can poke holes in timothy grass.

(D) Spear thistles usually draw nutrients out of the soil at night, but timothy grass usually grows during the daytime hours.

(E) Most Canadian farmers use timothy grass as the main varietal with which to feed and nourish their livestock.


Why not B? To me if the animals are eating the spear thistle then you can't track thus if you know that the animals wont eat the grass then it's still there for tracking. I guess when I picked B over E is that I felt B directly relates to 'tracking" better than E. E seems to imply farmers' will try to remove the grass rather than "Track" it.
First of all a NICE Q :-)

I think it shd be E as E suggests a reason why farmers would be interested in implementing the govt plan.

The farmers feed and nourish their livestock with the grass. As weed can effect the condition of grass by taking away the nutirients from the soil which otherwise would have gone to grass.

This could have a direct effect on health of livestock of farmers. So this is a reason why farmers are willing to help govt and will help the govt in implementing it.
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by mundasingh123 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:28 pm
czarczar wrote:
mundasingh123 wrote:We are trying to strengthen the conclusion that the government will be successfully able to track the growth of Spear Thistle by providing photos of the Spear thistle to farmers and explaining to them the adverse effect on the soil that the Spear Thistle has.
C also helps the farmers to identify the growth of spear thistle because it creates holes in Timothy grass where it grows.

Why not C ?
Doesnt E involve the use of Outside information that farmers need to have their interests vested in the task of identify Spear Thistle and reporting its outgrowth on their Lands. If the farmers have nothing to gain from this Exercise of Tracking the progress of Spear THistle, they will not help the Govt.

which can create , I guess what you read is which will create.
Ya , I misread this BUt it still leaves my question regarding the use of outside information open.
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by lunarpower » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:04 am
i can definitely see substantial justification for both choice (b) and choice (e).

* as for choice (b), if the livestock animals don't eat the spear thistle, then there's a greater chance that the farmers will actually be able to see it on their farms (so that they can positively identify it with the pictures in the government brochure).

* as for choice (e), if timothy grass is plentiful on the farms, then it should be easier for the farmers to detect the spread of spear thistle, because timothy grass is the primary casualty of spear thistle's parasitism.

since this isn't an official problem, i don't think it's terribly worth worrying about -- you've basically got a choice between two correct answers here. on the official problems, you would not have to deal with such a thing.
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by lunarpower » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:16 am
@ mundasingh123:
Why not C ?
Doesnt E involve the use of Outside information
... well, both "outside information" and "unstated assumptions" are fine, under certain circumstances:

* "outside information":
ALL strengthening/weakening questions have correct answers that are, at least in some way, outside the scope of the original argument -- i.e., they contain something (or more than one thing) that isn't already discussed in the original passage. therefore, at least some outside information is actually REQUIRED in a correct answer choice.

* "unstated assumptions" (i think this is what you're going after with your question here):
in general, strengthening/weakening questions require you to:
- make commonsense assumptions
- interpret statements in the MOST PROBABLE or MOST LIKELY way
so, if by "outside assumptions" you are referring to assumptions that are more or less basic common sense, then, yes, you are allowed to make such assumptions.

for instance, here is a short argument:
the unemployment rate in the New City area went up from 5% to 9% in the last month alone. therefore, the economy of the New City area is in trouble.
one CORRECT "weaken" response would be:
New City is home to a large state university that graduated 20,000 students a month ago.

in order for this statement to weaken the argument above, you actually need to make two different common-sense assumptions:
* some non-negligible fraction of the university's new graduates actually stayed in the New City area (i.e., they didn't all leave),
and
* some non-negligible fraction of those graduates were unemployed upon graduation (i.e., they didn't all have jobs lined up).

yes, these assumptions are "outside assumptions" -- but they are clearly the most reasonable assumptions in the situation at hand; the alternatives are not very plausible at all.

by the way, this is a feature, not a bug: the main reason why there are so many strengthening/weakening questions on the test is that these problems CAN'T be solved by memorization, formal logic, or rigorous rules -- they test your ability to hash out reasonable real-world assumptions and interpretations of statements.
in fact, if you try to approach strengthening/weakening problems with rules/memorization rather than with intuitive, real-world thinking, you will almost certainly get worse at them with additional practice!
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