I am a senior at Bucknell University where I am double majoring in Management and Psychology.
Derek has written 12 posts for business government society 2

Torture Interrogations

In my White Paper, I focused on educating the reader on the practices of torture and its use in prisoner interrogations, providing evidence supporting and condoning these practices, and ultimately suggesting policies to aid Army executives on the subject of torturing. The use of torture has been documented well throughout history, primarily used as a form of intimidation and aggression from one group to another. However, this ancient practice has turned into an information-gathering tool from incarcerated prisoners in modern times. These torture interrogations hope to physically and psychologically breaking down helpless prisoners to the point that they relay vital information to their torturers.

Evidence points to the United States Army as utilizing such techniques to gather intel from captive terrorists. While many countries admit to using torture interrogations, the fact that the United States uses similar strategies is nothing short of appalling. Though the United States is involved in a difficult War on Terror, the country who holds individual’s rights above all else should focus on leading by example with the way she treats her prisoners. Therefore, it is shocking that the United States has been implicated in numerous torture interrogation scenarios, such as Bagram Prison, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib.

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Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude

“The pursuit of happiness” is a saying that is ingrained in Americans as one of the unalienable rights of man. Stemming from the United States Declaration of Independence, this term has been around our country for quite some time. What is this happiness that we are inclined to pursue and how do we generate it? Well, throughout this semester, I have been studying those questions, among many more, while completing my psychology independent study on Positive Psychology. This subject topic stems from the belief that psychology, which essentially studies human mind and its functions, place too much emphasis on the negative workings of the mind. Therefore, this new area of psychology was born to focus on how to model those who lead happy, successful lives. Thus, positive psychology seeks to make normal life more fulfilling.

Based on much of the research that I came into contact with over the semester, cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one of the easiest ways to become a happier individual. Gratitude is an interesting emotion, as it is not neurologically hardwired into our brain, yet the comparisons we innately make when cultivating gratitude help us be thankful for and satisfied with our position in life. The process of experiencing gratitude must intentionally be sought after, and, just like any learned skill, practicing gratitude allows one to experience the feeling easier.

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My Next Step

While perusing the aisles in the library, I felt as though I wanted to truly resonate with the book that I chose. And, let’s be honest, we all judge a book by its cover so I simply glanced over the names and front covers of the books in front of me. While searching for a title and cover to catch my eye, I came across a green-bordered book titled “The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove.” In no way did I want to start “loving the stove,” but I couldn’t help listening to the inner voice in my head reminding me that I will be moving into the city in three months. The intense feeling that I had prohibiting me from renting a cookbook type book from the library was only outdone by my motivation to start learning some simple tricks to save money and make my own food over the coming years. Thus, I proceeded to check the book out, shove it in my bag, and begin the journey of a lifetime.

Ok, it definitely wasn’t the journey of a lifetime, but it did seem to mirror much of what I will be going through in the coming months. Cathy Erway, the protagonist, and I will both be twenty-something individuals trying to make ends meet in the city. Although that’s where the similarities end, but the book continues to delve into the New York City style of “preferring to read a take-out menu than a recipe.” Cathy has had enough of this convenience food, and decides to live out the old maxim that “your twenties are the best years of your life to start saving” so she commits herself to cooking her own food. While she fears such a trend will propel her into perpetual loneliness by not being able to eat out with her friends and socialize over meals, she instead finds a passion in her life that makes her healthier, happier, and greener. While saving a ton of money, she also started entering cook-offs, supper clubs, and even begins her own recipe experimentation.

While this book does not appear to help me in my own food-illiterate plight, it does represent a possible path that I may need to take soon. I have been purchasing food constantly for the past four years, with very few breaks in which my mommy dearest supplied my nutrition, and I cannot imagine the amount of money that I have spent on such expenses. For my own future welfare, as well as applying this book to the class, I will most definitely try and incorporate the story of Cathy Erway and utilize what we have learned in terms of sustainable growth and organic, local grown food to my eating habits. In class we discussed the small cost it takes to purchase locally grown food, and the significant impacts such a change in ones diet could produce, thus implementing those changes into my eating schedule could benefit me health-wise and the local community financially. Maybe I’ll be entering into cook-offs and supper clubs in a few short months!

A Dark Place: Abu Ghraib and Its Ethics

Summary of Events

          Abu Ghraib was a symbol of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny in Iraq, a pillar that stood for misrepresented imprisonments, unwarranted cruelty, and deadly torture. Accounts have been posited that over fifty thousand men and women occupied this prison at one time, forced into “twelve-by-twelve foot cells that were little more than human holding pits.”[i] Descriptions of bodies being eaten by dogs, electrodes displaced from walls, and an overarching sense of evil permeated the building under Hussein’s leadership. As evidenced by CIA Bureau Chief Bob Baer in a 60 Minutes interview, “If there’s ever a reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein, it’s because of Abu Ghraib.”[ii]

            In April of 2003, American forces successfully overtook the huge prison following the destruction of Saddam’s command. Converting the massive complex into a prison operated by coalition forces in August,[iii] military personnel took charge of incoming prisoners. The prison operated under Army reserve brigadier general, Janis Karpinski, who also looked after two other large jails and had never experienced any training in handling prisoners. Under Karpinski’s watch, Abu Ghraib became a place where terrorist suspects—discovered at security checkpoints or aggressively captured during military fights—came to be imprisoned. There were three categories differentiating the prisoners: 1) generic criminals, 2) individuals who undermined the coalition, and 3) insurgents who may be leading against the coalition.[iv] The prison occupancy increased quickly as did the knowledge that many Iraqis who opposed the American forces lived within Abu Ghraib’s walls.

            As one may expect, Abu Ghraib sits in a particularly hostile area within Iraq. A Newsweek article discusses the adrenaline producing events the prison guards had to work in, citing snipers firing on U.S. patrols, landmines placed around the road to the prison, gun battles throughout the night, and constant mortar attacks.[v] Such dire circumstances set an ominous stage when one is dealing with enemies of the United States hoping to kill American soldiers. This high stress and intense pressure on American soldiers, accompanied with the inability to receive sufficient information to help America’s cause, led to the implementation of many personnel changes. For example, Major General Geoffrey Miller (the former commander at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) was put in charge of increasing interrogation means to procure more information from the prisoners.[vi] In doing so, Miller dictated his plans to Karpinski in which he wanted to “have control, and [let the prisoners] know it.”[vii] Miller initiated his desire for control at Abu Ghraib, and proceeded to use Karpinski’s military police to positively impact the intelligence effort.[viii] Continue reading

Nozick’s False Advertising

For the second paper in our class, I will be focusing on the ethics surrounding false advertising. This issue is concerned with the rights of others compared to the rights of freedom of speech. In deciding how to go about pursuing such a topic, I thought it would be valuable to perform a cited reference search on Robert Nozick’s Entitlement Theory essay. This article discusses justice and inequality based on entitlement, thus I thought there may be some intriguing essays that reference his work using an entitlement perspective to discuss the ethics of advertising.

I utilized Google Scholar to perform a cited reference search on Nozick’s essay and over 10,000 articles were found. Performing a search within these results for “false advertising,” I discovered 18 articles that cited Nozick’s Entitlement Theory and discussed false advertising. Immediately, I found one article titled “Advertisements, stereotypes, and freedom of expression” that appeared to be exactly what I would want for my topic. Unfortunately, this article could not be obtained with Bucknell’s privileges, so I went back to the results and found another article entitled “The Value of Rights” that also focused on my aforementioned topic. Continue reading

Eastern Travels

I have always wanted to visit India. The different lifestyle, culture, and geography of the area has intrigued me since I was in high school. I have not been lucky enough to interact with many people who have ventured over to the country, but my passion for visiting this area is simply based on experiencing a completely different area than I am accustomed to. My travels have taken me to many different areas in the Western hemisphere, but despite the many economic and social situations present in these locations, none of them have presented totally opposite ways of life. As a Seattle times article questions best, “Where else could you find yourself driving in a three-wheeled open-air taxi in four lanes of traffic clogged with cars, cows, camels, elephants, motorcycles and rickshaws; riding a camel into the desert; walking barefoot on the marble floors of the Taj Mahal; floating along tropical lagoons in a houseboat and hiking in the mountains, all in the same three-week trip?”

My interest in the Eastern Hemisphere first originated from learning about the Eastern Religions. I was taught that crowds of Indian Hindus would take to the streets, chanting their prayers loud enough for the entire city to hear. This intense devotion to religion manifested itself in little alcohol to drink and a thorough dedication to spirituality. The religious aspect of India also manifests itself in beautiful Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries, images that most of us have seen in National Geographic magazine covers. Continue reading

Mad Men Mayhem

I must begin by apologizing for the uneventfulness of this post, I am currently in the warm and beautiful costa rica where internet access is limited and technology has yet to catch up, both are thing that make this place what it is in my opinion. Despite this, I would never dare miss a blog post or any opportunity to reconnect with the our class for that matter! So, in regards to our blog prompt this week and with last weeks discussion weighing heavy on my mind, I have decided to write about the AMC’s show “Mad Men,” and their disrespect of women in the workplace.

Mad Men has become a resounding success on television, as many critics enjoy their accurate representations of the prototypical 1960 advertising industry. Within this industry, there is rampant alcoholism, frivolousness, and a general, lack of respect towards women. The video clip that I must ask you to follow yourself (as the technology here does not allow me to embed the video or any links) represents some of these behaviors. In accordance to our discussion last week, this is the exact type of representation that many women resent being put out there in media. I cannot help but observe two different viewpoints for this discussion, the first acknowledges the disrespect such a program exudes towards females while the second celebrates this extreme angle for its use today.

For my first argument, one need to only look so far as their own tendencies and his or her parents’ tendencies to understand how imitation plays a role in development. In fact, imitation is our primary means of learning that helps us form a fundamental backbone towards our own decision making at any time. Therefore, as this show is broadcasted to individuals across America at different points in their lives, the implications its actors’ behaviors may have on an incoming generation of workers is unknown. While these actors are held on a pedestal for being exhibited by a prominent television show, there could perhaps be individuals believing that they became successful based on their behaviors, thus these individuals will replicate such tendencies. When these tendencies are bigotry, alcoholism, and sexism, good outcomes are generally few and far between. Therefore, this show may be teaching the incoming (or current) generation immoral, unethical, and improper tendencies within the workplace.

The second argument acknowledges the teaching aspect that media has on individuals, yet presents the opposite case. This side agrees that these actors are implicitly affecting viewers, yet the absurdity of the program and of the actors’ actions make the viewer recognize their imperfections. This, I believe, is the primary goal of the show producers. They want to present such a striking side of how advertising used to work in the ’60s that viewers should observe these actions and scoff at the improper way individuals conducted themselves back in this day. Utilizing such an approach, the producers are playing with fire, but ultimately in a beneficial way to society. As my father points out (he is an avid watcher), observing how the business world used to be allows us to appreciate and further the developments made in this generation towards respecting women and people of all backgrounds in the workplace.

Being presented with such an argument, I turn the question to you: how do you feel about this show? Do you fall into either of these arguments or do you find your own condoning or upholding the shows’ depictions?

My Polly-Pocket Perspective

When I first discovered what we were supposed to be writing about this week, I was not excited. That hasn’t changed. Therefore, I apologize in advance for any lack of enthusiasm that will be exposed too from this post. My main lack of excitement for this subject is simply because I think people get too focused on it. This subject distorts people’s vision of the world, and the negativity involved in this area is too frustrating. This subject is too concentrated on subjective experiences, preconceived notions, generalizations, and assumptions that I prefer not to dwell on it. And it is easy for me to restrain from worrying about gender and racial issues mainly because I am a white male, so I admit that my own perspective is riddled from the lack of subjective experiences I have had. Also, I do feel awful for those individuals who have experienced the sting of false racial or gender biases. However, focusing on the philosophical side of such an issue innately turns me off.

To put it simply, I don’t care. I don’t care if someone is black, white, yellow, or green, male, female, or androgynous, or tall or small or skinny or fat. Each and every one of us is living our own life, with different backgrounds, experiences, demographics, interests, and talents. Therefore, we should all make the best effort possible to appreciate one another for what we bring to the table. Do we have to like everyone? Nope. But how can you truly rationalize to yourself that you have any negative (or positive for that matter) opinion about who an individual is simply based on his or her appearance? Continue reading


I am supremely interested in the manner psychology affects the way that we construe situations and events. In this realm, my primary area of interest is social psychology, a part of psychology that causes more problems in the business-world than solutions. Social psychology focuses on the psychological impacts that a group has on one individual. Within this domain, there are many phenomena that contribute to the material that we cover, but I will focus on a couple core theories that directly relate to our cases thus far. These phenomena are obedience, groupthink, and deindividuation.

A psychological concept that is relevant to Enron’s demise is obedience. Obedience is represented by one’s willingness to disobey his or her personal values when in the presence of an authority figure asking him or her to do so. Such a phenomenon occurs even when there will be no repercussion to the individual if he or she does not comply with the authority’s demands. Stanley Milgram portrayed this concept in action by performing a study in which a subject was asked to shock a confederate of the experiment whenever this confederate answered a question incorrectly. The machine that the subjects used to shock the confederate counted up in 15 volt increments to 450 volts, past where the label above the voltages indicate a “Danger: Severe Shock” sign. As the confederate continuously got answers wrong, the subject was told to punish him incrementally by doling out higher, more dangerous shocks. Despite the labels above the voltage, cries from the confederate, and the subject’s own inhibitions, twenty-six out of forty subjects continued with the experiment until the highest shock was given to the confederate. Such an example shows the extent to which an authority figure controls underlings, regardless of their respective values and beliefs. This experiment is shown below: Continue reading

Does Surfing Hurt the Environment?

My Channel Island Al Merrick surfboard is one of my most prized possessions. This surfboard was given as a present to me for eighth grade graduation, and although I have since bought a couple different boards, my Al Merrick remains one of my favorites. Al Merrick is known as the most prestigious surfboard designing company and even sponsors such surfers as Kelly Slater, the most winning world champion surfer in the world.

While I was riding this particular board, my life concerns revolved around the incoming swells and the tides of the ocean. I was the prototypical “beach boy,” blind to the broader environment in which I lived. And then, suddenly, the surfing world screeched to a halt. Clark foam, the surfing world’s number one foam supplier shut down due to EPA (Environmental Protection Agencies) requirements. This had a two-fold effect on the surfing world. First, supply had significantly immediately ceased, causing surfboard suppliers to increase the prices of all surfboards and find new ways of building boards. Secondly, one of the most “environmentally conscious” demographics (the surfing community) recognized that their main tool harms the environment. Continue reading

Bob Sutton on “Short-Termism”

After reading Bob Sutton’s blog “Work Matters,” I have fully seen the applicability and usage of developing one’s own blog. Sutton utilizes his blog not only to keep an account of his research and insights, but also to utilize readers as a source that Sutton is able to consequently work off of—not much different than our structure. Despite the intrigue in Sutton’s many different posts, I decided to focus on his post, “Taking The Path of Most Resistance: The Virtues,” in which Sutton relates the findings of successful school reforms to everyday success.

Sutton discusses how, in 1993, the Casey foundation discovered that successful school reform is only brought to fruition by taking the path of most resistance. Although this may seem counterintuitive, deciding to take the more difficult path toward lasting change seems to outperform taking the shortcut every time. It has been proven that substantial change cannot be done without difficulty, or else the former status quo is bound to re-establish itself. One can only bring about lasting change by taking a long-term oriented approach, working daily to achieve this end, and overcoming the numerous obstacles that would otherwise prohibit success.

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Positives and Negatives of Classroom Blogging

Classroom Blogging


One of the most substantial gains that classroom blogging can contribute to an academic class is that blogging is a forum through which students are encouraged to actively participate consistently. On a blog, there is no privacy to keep ones rambling thoughts and ideas from being shared with the greater part of the class. Therefore, the peer-reviewing pressure encourages students to bring their “A-game” for each post that they publish to a class blog. Furthermore, this type of classroom communication allows others to critically evaluate others work by commenting underneath each post. Such a technique enables students to be actively engaged in others contributions to the class, ultimately forcing students to read other individuals’ thoughts as well as critically evaluate these posts. Students are also able to receive immediate feedback from comments from fellow classmates.

The theory behind “two heads is better than one” has shown to be true. We are all indelibly ingrained with unique ways of perceiving and processing information, thus our different neural networks allow us to take differing perspectives on the same issues. Through blogging, students are able to learn from others’ posts and work off of these ideas to produce a better end-product. Even better, all of these ideas are captured on one forum, as opposed to spread out in individual papers. All students have access to all ideas, whether recent or old.

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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