Friday, September 4, 2009

TOEFL essay

Instant food has improved our quality of life by making it quicker and easier to prepare meals.

The technological advances of the past decades have affected many aspects of human life. Indeed, not even the most mundane of tasks have been left untouched by technical innovation. Food preparation is a good case in point. Nowadays we do not need to spend so much time in our kitchens preparing meals. In my view, this time savings, without a doubt, has made our life better so that we can take full advantage of it.

In fact, it is difficult to imagine how much work was involved in preparing meals a hundred years ago. There were no supermarkets offering different kinds of preprocessed food. People had to buy many basic ingredients such as meat, vegetables, and cereals in the market and then cut, chop, boil, and stew all that stuff to make it edible. It was a tedious and lengthy process. The fate of many women of those times revolved around housework, and cooking was a major reason why they had no opportunity to liberate themselves from their daily chores.

In this day and age, however, modern life is more merciful to a woman. Thanks to the many time-saving solutions that the food industry now offers, a woman does not need to be tied up in the kitchen all the time. A typical everyday meal can be easily prepared from precooked/ready-made food products. Both men and women now can spend more time on more important activities such as building a career, playing with their children, or doing sports.

In addition, simplified food preparation has had an impact on our recreational activities too. People no longer have to take a lot of things with them to prepare their meals when on a long trip. They can rely on canned food and thus have more time to enjoy their holiday/vacation.

To sum up, instant food has changed our life in many ways. It allows us to devote our precious time to more significant business or to the things we like the most. People may now spend more time with their families, concentrate on career development, or have a great time traveling.

TOEFL essay

The government should spend less money on space exploration.

The twentieth century witnessed tremendous breakthroughs in space exploration. Never before has humankind been able to explore our planet and other planets of the solar system with such ability. The progress has been made possible by the only institution that can afford to allocate so many billions of dollars: the government. However, nowadays some people question whether we should continue to throw away that much money on space exploration. They point out that the results are far less tangible than those of investments in other areas, and thus argue that spending on space exploration should be reduced. In my view, curtailing our space programs would be both counterproductive and short-sighted; indeed, I believe we should not only continue funding these programs, but also find ways to expand them.

First, space exploration not only satisfies scientific curiosity, but also changes our perception of life. In the middle ages, people believed that the world was flat. They had a very simple understanding of what our universe looked like. This seriously influenced many aspects of their life, such as religious beliefs, scientific inquiry, and daily activities. They could not comprehend that the structure of the universe is much more complex than their conception of it. We humans could still live in such obscurantism if there was no government funding of space exploration.

Secondly, our expensive space programs have given a lot of benefits to ordinary people. There are plenty of inventions that we are used to using on a regular basis and don’t even realize that they were made possible because of space exploration. Satellite dishes, new composite materials widely used in cars and planes, and life-saving medical devices were all either direct or indirect results of space programs. If the government had not subsidized space exploration, we might not have all the conveniences of life we enjoy today.

In conclusion, the belief that the government should limit the funding of space exploration is shortsighted. Space exploration has enriched our understanding of the world we live in and has made life easier as well. The government should not cut its spending on space exploration even though some people do not understand the benefits it brings.