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#21 - Historian: The standard "QWERTY" configuration of

g89
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Section 3 #21 (computer keyboards)
I'm confused about answer E because the stimulus gives no information about early computers -- for instance, if keyboards had been designed for computers, perhaps they would have still been designed to be awkward because early computers, like typewriters, could jam easily. How can we assume that early computers would not face the same problems that the stimulus says early typewriters faced??

Thank you!!!!
Steve Stein
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The author does specify that it was typewriters that would jam frequently, but you make a good point about the possibility that computers might have similar issues. The test makers appear to presume people generally know the way early typewriters worked—the mechanisms attached to the keys sometimes caused the keys to jam—and that computers wouldn’t present the same sort of problems. With that said, while it’s possible that computers would present similar issues, this is certainly the answer choice that is most strongly supported by the passage; perhaps, then, the best way to approach this question would be by process of elimination.
Steve Stein
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SMR
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Hi,

Can someone please explain to me why (E) is correct? I don't see how this inference can be drawn based off this stimulus. Also, can someone explain why (A) is incorrect?

Thank you!
David Boyle
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SMR wrote:Hi,

Can someone please explain to me why (E) is correct? I don't see how this inference can be drawn based off this stimulus. Also, can someone explain why (A) is incorrect?

Thank you!


Hello SMR,

Answer A says, "Most people who have tried typing with non-QWERTY keyboards have typed significantly more quickly . . . ." But the stimulus says, "Experiments have shown that keyboard configurations more efficient than QWERTY can double typing speed . . . ." That says "can", not "must". So answer A is not proven at all.
Answer E, though, makes sense, since the keys on computer keyboards are not attached to metal levers and typebars the way they are in an old-fashioned typewriter, but are "attached" to electronic signals instead, which cannot "jam", at least not in the way that metal type bars or levers can.

Hope this helps,
David
SMR
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Hi,

I still don't see how (E) is supported by the stimulus at all because how can we know this? (E) brings up outside knowledge that we can't know and that we can't assume or even infer based off of the stimulus. I feel like it goes against all the rules about Must be true question types. This is a must be true question type correct? If so, please help me understand in a way that follows the must be true guidelines.

Thanks!
David Boyle
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SMR wrote:Hi,

I still don't see how (E) is supported by the stimulus at all because how can we know this? (E) brings up outside knowledge that we can't know and that we can't assume or even infer based off of the stimulus. I feel like it goes against all the rules about Must be true question types. This is a must be true question type correct? If so, please help me understand in a way that follows the must be true guidelines.

Thanks!


Hello SMR,

It might be o.k. for outside knowledge to be brought in if, say, it's given as a hypothetical, and they say "If", so it is a hypothetical. ...And, actually, it's not so much outside knowledge or new information, as it is a reasonable conclusion based on the info in the passage. The problem with a typewriter is all the keys and typebars sticking, etc., so it's reasonable to think that without all that moving metal (the printing elements are in the printer these days, as opposed to the old days when the keyboard was part of the typewriter, and the typewriter itself was the "printer"), that a computer keyboard wouldn't have to limit typing speed.

Hope this helps,
David
carnegie49
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Hi,

Can someone please explain why answer choice C is incorrect? Is this because the stimulus suggests/implies a time difference between "early typewriters" and the subsequent QWERTY design? Or simply because E more strongly supports the statements? And if so, how is it a stronger answer?

Many thanks!
Robert Carroll
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carnegie,

Answer choice (C) is tricky but you can dispense of it this way - if the designers knew that technology would eventually prevent the need for the QWERTY design, what would they have done? It's possible they would have chosen a different design, but it's also possible that they would have adopted the QWERTY design in the short term and expected it to be changed later. These are just some possible explanations of what the designers would have done. The point is that we don't know for sure the designers would have chosen some other design just because a change in technology in the future would have made this a (potentially) good idea.

Note that this is a Must Be True, so it's not that answer choice (E) supports the stimulus, but rather the other way around - the stimulus supports answer choice (E). If the keyboard had been designed for computers, it would not need the limitations early typewriters necessitated.

Keep in mind also that one answer will be correct and the others incorrect - it's not that answer choice (E) is merely better, but it's the right answer and answer choice (C) is definitely wrong.

Robert Carroll
Khodi7531
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I chose C over E. I don't like any answers that give hypothetical situations in LR, like if this was different then the original outcome would not have been.

But in this case, I found it plausible over E. E I didn't like because i've had my computer freeze on my plenty times as i'm sure others have too. Now I get that it's "unlikely" to assume that and get rid of E. But the justification FOR WHY QWERTY WAS INVENTED, was because type writers would get jammed up and so they wanted you to slow down. Ok...well if someone said to them, no don't worry type writers won't get jammed up anymore from typing too fast then yeah, you can assume they probably wouldn't have used QWERTY.

Especially when you know they chose that format for the specific reason to slow down typing. Why would you want to slow down the process of typing if it isn't for that? That can be JUST as easily "supported" for a MSS - especially when you're using the exact reasoning of the stimulus itself and not having to deal with the outside world that deals with computers, that the LSAT has taught us remove when approaching these questions.


Again I didn't cross E off, but I had "hmm" written next to it. I liked it, but C is just better.
Emily Haney-Caron
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Hi Khodi,

This is definitely a tricky one! It seems like Robert's post, above yours, really targets the concerns you raise about answer choice C. He said it better than I could. :) Check that out and let us know if you still have specific questions about C!