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#23844
Complete Question Explanation

Resolve the Paradox. The correct answer choice is (E)

The paradox here is that, despite the fact that the Romans understood water power and used it in some areas; they did not use it in regions dominated by larger cities. There must have been some specific cause for their decision not to use water power in larger cities, and our job in this question is to determine that cause.

Answer choice (A): The stimulus addresses the fact that the Romans did not use water power in their cities. This answer choice does not address water power; it merely addresses the ability of the Romans to pipe water into their cities from large distances, and therefore does nothing to explain the non-use of water power.

Answer choice (B): While this answer choice may be tempting because of the information about “seasonal variations,” the fact that water flow was substantial throughout the year suggests that the use of water power would have been feasible in these regions.

Answer choice (C): Again, the first part of this answer choice makes it tempting, but the added information about damage being quick and inexpensive to repair makes this unlikely as a cause for this decision not to use water power in the big cities.

Answer choice (D): The fact that other, traditional uses of energy continued to be used does not explain why the Romans failed to use water power in their cities. The use of traditional energy sources is likely to have occurred even in those areas where water power was also in use.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. The fact that water power would have caused social unrest is a direct cause for the decision not to use water power in the cities. None of the other answer choices provided such a direct cause.
 Arindom
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#23260
Hi,

For this question I was between and choice A and E and picked E because if social unrest is certain in heavily populated areas then of course the Romans would not construct water power in those area. Also this answer kind of directly hits the conclusion that has to do with large cities.
But I also thought A explained the discrepancy that if we have aqueducts that could carry water over considerable distances then there would be no need for them.

So, could you explain this better and how I can avoid wasting time between answer choices on such questions?

Thank you.

- Arindom
 Emily Haney-Caron
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#23266
Hi Arindom,

Thanks for the question! Remember that the paradox we want to explain is the lack of water as an energy source. A explains water for other purposes (presumably drinking, bathing, farming, etc.) but not for energy - this explains how people got water but not why they didn't bother to use water as an energy source. E is the only answer that actually explains the paradox we have.

For this type of question, it is critical to prephrase - what is the explanation you're looking for? Here, it is something to explain why Romans would choose not to use water power in cities. Aqueducts fail to explain that gap, so I know I need to keep looking.

Does that help?
 Arindom
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#23268
Hi Emily,

Yes, I skipped the "energy source" part!! oops!!

Thanks!

- Arindom
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 daanishb
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#101811
are we just supposed to assume that larger cities are more populated than the outskirts? I know that makes intuitive sense, but not something directly established by the stimulus. I think that inference is key to choosing E over B. Sorry if that's confusing, but am I on the right track here?
 Robert Carroll
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#101820
daanishb,

I don't even think an assumption that strong is needed - if large cities are even likely to contain heavier population than the outlying parts of the Roman Empire, answer choice (E) resolves the paradox. And it seems reasonable to think they would. Note further that answer choice (B) doesn't do anything whatsoever to resolve.

Robert Carroll
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 wisnain
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#106517
Hi, I correctly identified this as a resolve-the-paradox question, but I mistakenly thought I needed to find an answer that explains how the Romans managed (made do) without water power in large cities. This led me to choose (D). However, it turns out I needed to explain why the Romans didn't use water power in large cities. How should I have known this? Is it because the premise states that the Romans were skilled with water power?
 Luke Haqq
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#106605
Hi wisnain!

This stimulus involves a particular discrepancy about Roman water usage--namely, they knew how to harness water power and used it extensively in some places, but it was not used in large cities. We need an answer choice that articulates a reason why there was this difference in how Romans used water power.

Answer choice (D) doesn't quite get to resolving that why question. Even if more traditional sources of energy were used when water power was not, one is still left wondering why this is the case. Answer choice (E) provides a reason why--using water power in cities could lead to social unrest.

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