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Increase Funding for Public Education


The public education system in America is underfunded and this is bound to cause repercussions for future generations and the future of America.   Continue reading

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Library Exploration Awards


Here are the blog council’s awards for the posts on a book you found in the library:

Best Post: Beth O’Brien

Most Timely: Derek Craig

Protestant Work Ethic (Research Driven): Lauren McGuiggan and Joey Martin

 

Congratulations to the above bloggers!

-Blog Council

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.

(start at 3:30)

Continue reading

What Can Travel Do For You?


In my opinion, the movie Motorcycle Diaries offers an important message to live by: “Deja que el mundo te cambie y podrás cambiar el mundo” (“Let the world change you, and you can change the world”).  Before we can create positive change for ourselves and for others, we first need to discover the world around us and be changed by our experience.  Continue reading

Childhood Obesity Epidemic


Childhood obesity is at an all-time high as about one-third of the United States children are considered obese. This growing rate is alarming as more and more children are having health problems such as diabetes, liver disease, and cardiovascular problems. These children are learning bad health habits at a young age that will carry over into their adulthood where they further increase the risk of health problems. In order to fix this epidemic, there has been involvement by the government, health institutions, and campaigns. While the government can create laws that regulate what children are exposed to at school, they cannot control their eating habits at home. Thus, the most productive way to change childhood obesity is to have good role models, especially the parents or guardians. Parents can control what they purchase at the store and what they prepare for their children. By constantly supplying children with healthy options, they keep obesity down and teach healthy eating habits for the future. It is also important for parents and guardians to encourage children to play outside and not sit around and watch TV or play video games all day. Technology has provided non-active entertainment for children, making it more difficult for children to be motivated to be active outside. Parents and guardians can also change this by not supplying children with lots of video games and by encouraging children to participate in activities with them.

60 Second Idea to Change the World- the Last Post


There is a lot wrong with the world.  But there is nothing wrong with the world that cannot be fixed by what is right with the world (thanks Bill Clinton for idea).  I think the same mix is inside each of us.  Hopefully, your education and this class have given you the means and tools to find what is fixable and how to start fixing.

In that spirit, your last post is to think of a “60 second idea to improve the world.”  This is shamelessly borrowed form a BBC podcast I heard.

Please read your post and time it to sixty seconds!  These should be short, powerful, and convincing.

There will be a small prize for the winning idea as determined by the post’s rating with my opinion being the final tie-breaker.  You can see my last semester’s ideas on their blog.

You have such a dirty mind…


Okay, how many of you were a little freaked out when you first read the title of my blog? Don’t worry, this is a PG rated post.  After walking into the library (apparently it’s National Library week?) I found a bunch of books on the shelf having to do with libraries.  The first one I picked up was called “How Green Is My Library” —  and while this seemed like an interesting read, I wanted to find something a little more exciting.  I kept looking through the books on display in the front of the library and found one called “Dirty Minds: How our brains influence love, sex, and relationships” by Kayt Sukel.  This should be entertaining…

After flipping through the book a little more, I was right: it was entertaining. Sukel writes, in the inside cover of the book, “philosophers, theologians, artists, and boy bands have waxed poetic about the nature of love for centuries.  But what does the brain have to say about the way we carry our hearts?” This particular quote caught my attention because everyone once in a while I wonder why I, or other people, act a particular way in certain situations.  Especially ones that have to do with love.  The truth is, there is a lot more going on in our head than what we think.  In sixteen powerful chapters in the book, Sukel examines the “intricate dance between the brain and our environment” and attemps to explain why love can torture us one day and transform us the next.

Some of the chapters in “Dirty Minds” include: The Neuroscience of Love, The Chemicals Between Us, His and Her Brains, The Neurobiology of Attraction, Making Love Last, and The Greatest Love of All.  While those are only a few of the chapters included in the book, Sukel claims that after reading the entirety of the book, we will “never look at romance the same way again.” For a more in depth summary of the book, check out the video below of Sukel discussing the chemical effects love and sex have on our brains:

Kayte Sukel, “Dirty Minds”

I realize this book probably won’t be at the top of the reading list for guys, but after skimming some of the chapters, it definitely looks like a fun read.  Although my free time seems incredibily limited these days, I am nevertheless going to check out this book and hopefully read some of it this weekend.

Monday Mornings… And Other Alliterations


Voracious. That’s how I would describe my reading style. From the very beginnings of my lovely life, I have always loved to read. In fact, that’s how I skipped a grade – I was reading chapter books in kindergarten (a little ahead of the curve much?), and I began to split my time between kindergarten and first grade. Two years later, it was decided that I was precocious and apparently socially skilled enough (who knows where on earth they got that idea) and next thing you know, I missed out on the experience that was third grade.

To this day, reading is still one of my favorite activities. That’s all that I do when I’m home! One of my biggest regrets about school is how little time I have for non-academic readings. What a nerd, I know. But if I sat down with a book, I promise you I would get nothing done until I finished that sucker. So this week’s blog post was simultaneously exciting and annoying…. I got to look at fiction books! But…. I got to look at books I wanted to but knew I couldn’t read because otherwise I’d not do my work, fail my classes, and not graduate. Great.

So, this afternoon found me reluctantly heading towards the fiction section on the first floor. The first book to catch my eye was Monday Morning, written by Sanjay Gupta, MD. The cover is mostly black with a large white font, which made it stand out from the rest of the books with picturesque scenes of trees or lakes or other romantic sappy things. When I looked closer, I almost left it; I saw that it was written by a real doctor, who apparently is also the Chief Medical Correspondent to CNN. I’ll be honest, I want nothing to do with dry medical reports, especially if it’s all gonna be bad news. But then I saw the “a novel” line and I was instantly intrigued. A real doctor who is also a reporter who wrote fiction? Wait… what?

I glanced at the inside cover to find a synopsis which goes a little something like this: “Every time surgeons operate, they’re betting their skills are better than the brain tumor, the faulty heart valve, the fractured femur. Sometimes, they’re wrong. At Chelsea General, surgeons answer for bad outcomes at the Morbidity and Mortality conference, known as M & M. This extraordinary peek behind the curtain into what is considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine is the back drop for the entire book. Continue reading

The Architecture of Happiness


It’s a nice book title isn’t it? The Architecture of Happiness is a book written by Alain de Botton. I decided to get a little creative with the blog prompt, and randomly picked a stack in the library to choose a book from. I made a few circles around different parts of the library, and eventually ended up on Lower Level 1 amongst the books on art.

Continue reading

A little digging


After searching the library database with key words such as “Japanese Whaling”, “Eco-terrorism” and “Sea Shepherd”, I found two hits for books.  The first book was “Sea Shepherd: My Fight for Whales and Seal” by Paul Watson (President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation group).  I found this book first and flipped through it, but it failed to provide much more than a narrative of his early experiences as a conservationist.  Although the information is interesting, I do not think it will be much use for my white paper.

Continue reading

Research is Invaluable


Having chosen childhood obesity as the topic for my white paper, I have had no trouble finding information as there is a wide variety of research and literature on the subject.  In the library, I was pressed for time, but I uncovered several books in the sciences and medicine stacks within a matter of minutes.  The title that I found most interesting was “Generation Extra Large: Rescuing Our Children from the Epidemic of Obesity”.  Given last week’s discussion regarding Generation We, I found the labeling of our same generation as “Extra Large” was worthy of comment. 

Nevertheless, the book that I actually chose to look at more in depth for this particular blog post was entitled “Obesity in Youth: Causes, Consequences, and Cures”.  I decided that this book might be the most helpful as it was the most recently published (2009) of the books I discovered in my less-than comprehensive search.  I assumed that this book may have more reliable data and statistics and therefore it would be more helpful than the others in contributing to my white paper. Continue reading

Blog Prompt…a visit to the library (post 10/12)


For the next blog, you will be required to take a trip to the library and pick up a book, flip through it, read some of its pages, ect.  (There is a floor plan of any floor available at the Reference Desk)  There are two options for the blog prompt.  Option one is more fun and option two is more useful for your final white paper.

POST IS DUE ASAP (Thursday night, April 12, Friday, April 13 morning).

Option 1:

Look through the books on level one of the library in either the exhibits (new books on display) or in the fiction section near the café seating area.  You can pick any book and read through part of it and tell us about it.  Why did you pick it?  Are there any aspects of it that relate to our class (this could be a stretch, so if not, that’s ok)?  What is the storyline?  …and so on…and maybe you’ll end up actually reading it.  And liking it!

Option 2:

Find the section of books in the stacks that relates to your white paper topic.  Flip through a couple books…maybe check one or two out (at the circulation desk).  Tell us about the information you learned from any book.

Successful Value Chain Management


Onslaught of Green

Consumers are finding it more and more challenging to differentiate goods and services that are advertised as environmentally friendly. According to a 2010 study by TerraChoice, an independent testing and certification organization, there are 73% more green products on the market today than in 2009.1They also revealed that roughly 95% of green products are being greenwashed to some degree (based on their seven sins of greenwashing).1 While this study focused on home and family products, the purchasing power of greenwashing is evident across many industries. Greenwashing can be defined as the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.2 Additionally, Wikipedia defines green washing as a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote the perception that an organization’s policies or products are environmentally friendly.3,4 While most organizations do not outright greenwash, any exaggerated behavior is inappropriate: greenwashing is “an extremely serious matter…it is insidious, eroding consumer trust, contaminating the credibility of all sustainability-related marketing and hence inhibiting progress toward a sustainable economy,” stated in a report by Ogilvy & Mather, a huge advertising firm.5 The Federal Trade Commission does provide guidelines for environmental marketing claims, but these are not enforceable.6,7 It has been the responsibility of corporations to not jump on the green public image bandwagon, spend resources on environmentally sound practices, and inform the public about the truthful environmental impacts of buying and using their products.

Fundamentals

A helpful document for corporations is Ogilvy’s guide on brand management: “From Greenwash to Great: A Practical Guide to Great Green Marketing (without the Greenwash).” The guide presents a framework that speaks to an honest green story starting from inside the company, not from a marketing idea that is created and spun for consumers.8 A company that has started in an honest place is Levi Strauss & Co. The company was founded in San Francisco, California in 1853 and created the very first pair of blue jeans in 1873.9 The Levi’s brand has become one of the most widely recognized brands, positioned as the original and authentic jeans brand. It’s merchandising and marketing seeks to reflect the brand’s core attributes: original, definitive, honest, confident, and youthful. It is obvious the company is proud of its history and heritage: “People have worn our products during the seminal moments of social change over the past 150 years.”10 The company has a long lineage of corporate social responsibility: shorter work weeks were implemented to mitigate the massive lay-offs happening during the Great Depression; factories were racially integrated prior to the Civil Rights Act; was one of the first companies to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as remaining committed to the pandemic; established a set of Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines; and joined the Federal Labor Association (FLA) efforts to improve working conditions around the globe.11,12,13 According to Ogilvy’s brand management guide, environmental improvements and benefits need to be measurable, verified and significant to the product’s real footprint.14 Beyond their corporate social responsibility, Levi’s is considered a pioneer in sustainability, making efforts to minimize their environmental footprint in all levels of their operations. Continue reading

The Cost of Safety: Ethics and the Airline Industry


INTRODUCTION

Today, regional airline carriers account for more than half of all domestic flights in the United States, as major airlines have been outsourcing more of their flights.  According to the U.S. government Accountability Office, the regional airlines are responsible for the last six fatal commercial airline accidents (Dillingham).  Thus, their business operations, especially with respect to safety standards, implicate a variety of ethical dimensions and perspectives.

THE STORY OF THE REGIONAL CARRIERS IN THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY

Over the past thirty years, a major transformation has been occurring in the United States airline industry.  It began in the late 1970s when the U.S. government deregulated the airline industry, which inevitably led to increased competition among the major airlines to offer lower airfares (Cunningham, et al).   In response, the airline companies created the regional industry and developed a new business operating strategy called the hub and spoke model as a way of lowering costs.  Basically, the major airlines created central hubs in large cities or metropolitan areas and began relying on small regional carriers or commuters to feed their domestic network system (Wei & Yanji).  (See Appendix A) Continue reading

Blog Awards-Cited Reference Searches


The blog council met late Friday afternoon to discuss the blog awards for this week’s prompt on cited reference searches.  Although the blogs this week were not the most exciting to write, some did spark debate such as Alyssa’s stem cell post and Ben’s NBA post.

With prompt in mind, the blog council came up with six awards.

1. Best Use of Sources

2. Best Use of Class Topics

3. Best Use of Media

4. Most tenacious

5. The Luckiest SOB (Most Cited References)

6. Best Post

The winners of Best Use of Sources are Amanda and Derek.

You each found relevant articles and were the most effective at connecting the topics in the articles to topics in your paper.

The winner of Best Use of Class Topics is Jenna.

You looked back through a previous class case, Walmart, and used the case’s references as a starting point to search for more material.

The winner of Best Use of Media is Joey.

We felt you had the most relevant and entertaining media (in your case graph and cartoon)

The winner of Most Tenacious is Lauren M.

We felt you deserved an award for the amount of effort you put into translations.

The winner of The Luckiest SOB (Most Cited References) is Derek.

You found over 10,000 articles…which can be attributed to effective researching and some luck.  Anyhow, we felt you too deserved an award.

The winner of BEST Post is Danielle.

Congratulations Danielle!  We felt your blog on Stakeholder Pressure was well researched, well written and deserved the title of best post.

Whale Wars


I wasn’t really sure what to write about for my first argument for the white paper, but I was browsing the channels and came across the show Whale Wars on Animal Planet.  I’ve watched a couple episodes with my sister so I know the background of the show.  Basically a conservation organization called the Sea Shepherd travels by boat to the Antarctic waters in search of the Japanese whaling fleet.  Their goal is to disrupt the Japanese whaling fleet so that their whaling efforts are hindered to the point where they must return home.

Continue reading

Stem Cells: The Great Debate


When I originally applied to Bucknell it was through the biology program. I grew up with a mom that worked as a nurse and a dad that worked with pharmaceutical companies, so I always heard a lot about healthcare. One of the studies that my dad frequently talked about was stem cell research. He would always say how amazing it was, and how many lives it could save, but I did not know the extent of this or about the ethical dilemmas behind it until recently.

For anyone that does not know, stem cells are cells found in organisms that divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. They can self-renew to produce more stem cells as well. These stem cells can be extracted from bone marrow, lipid cells, or blood. By extracting these cells from the donor and inserting them into another person, scientists have found that they can act as a repair system for the body and fight diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Sounds great, right?

Stem cell research has raised ethical, legal, religious, and policy questions. The main reason is the derivation of embryonic stem cells from early human embryos and embryonic germ cells from aborted fetal tissues. Furthermore, the general concept of the potential of generating human organs is another debate.

The following video tells a true success story of stem cells:

On the ABI/INFORM search engine I found a report produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Institute for Civil Society that performed a study to contribute to the public discussion related to stem cell research and its applications. The document, which is 51 pages long, is their study in which they propose recommendations for conducting stem cell research. This report was from 1999, but I figure the history of the debate will be important to take a look at.

One of the recommendations provided by the report was,

“Embryonic stem cells should be obtained from embryos remaining from infertility procedures after the embryo’s progenitors have made a decision that they do not wish to preserve them. This decision should be explicitly renewed prior to securing the progenitors’ consent to use the embryos in ES cell research.”

I thought this recommendation clearly added to the ethical debate surrounding stem cell research, because much of what is up for discussion is the actual process of gaining consent from the donors. This recommendation provides a basis for the process by which a couple should be addressed that is considering embryo donation, consent for research donation, or consent for destruction of the embryos. The report made it clear that only after the couple has definitely decided not to have the child that they should be approached a second time to discuss the use of embryos in ES cell research.

Obviously this is a huge ethical issue today, and there are many more details that I still do not know about stem cell research. I do think, however, that this report gave me the perfect understanding and potential solutions to the dilemma that I would need to write about this ethical dilemma.

Wal-Mart: It gives, and it takes


One of the topics in this class that I’m particularly interested in is the whole debate about whether or not Wal-Mart is helping or hurting our economy.  “The Wal-Mart effect” has come up in a couple of my classes, and while I’ve read some material about the debate, I thought it would be interesting to dig deeper into the subject to see if I could find out more information.

First, I looked at the works cited page from the Wal-Mart case study we read (the one titled “Wal-Mart’s Business Environment”).  Two authors, Nancy Cleeland and Abigail Goldman, were referenced several times in the works cited page.  Before I performed the cited reference search, I figured it would be useful to Google these two authors to get some background information on them.  When I typed in their names, I noticed that Cleeland and Goldman, along with a few other staff members at the LA Times, were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for the staff’s “engrossing examination of the tactics that have made Wal-Mart the largest company in the world with cascading effects across American towns and developing countries.”

After finding out that these two authors had written so much on Wal-Mart, I immediately I knew I was on the right track, and figured I would be able to find a bunch of quality articles dealing with this topic.  One in particular, titled “An Empire Build on Bargains Remakes the Working World” looked like it might be helpful to me.  Written by Cleeland and Goldman, the article focuses on the impact of Wal-Mart, on a personal level and on a broader level.  For some people, like 26-year-old Chastity Ferguson, Wal-Mart is her favorite store because the prices can’t be beat anywhere else.  For Ferguson, it’s a no brainer to shop at Wal-Mart since she only makes $400 a week and wants to save as much money as possible wherever she can.  However, for others like Kelly Gray, who have lost their job because Wal-Mart has taken business away from the local stores, it is hard not to resent the store.

In a broader sense, Cleeland and Goldman discuss how Wal-Mart both gives and takes away.  Although the company has grown tremendously and created jobs all over the world, it has come at a heavy price.  By relentlessly cutting prices, Wal-Mart has helped hold down the inflation rate for the country, according to U.S. economists.  Consumers are undoubtedly reaping the benefits, but what about the employees and local business owners trying to compete with this competitive business model?

This article is only one of the many written about this particular topic.  Using the cited reference search allowed me to find trusted, quality sources that could help me dig deeper into this subject, and I look forward to reading stories from both ends of the spectrum.

Hartman’s Article Cited by Thesis 20 Years Later


I chose to explore Edwin Hartman’s article “Donaldson on Rights and Corporate Obligations” for this week’s cited reference search blog post.  Just to recap, the article discusses Donaldson’s belief that certain fundamental human rights generate correlative duties for the corporation, including 1) the duty to avoid depriving people of their rights, 2) the duty to help protect people from such deprivation, and 3) the duty to aid those who are deprived.  Hartman introduces a fourth category of duty to the list, which he refers to as the duty to avoid helping to deprive. He argues that the corporation is not obligated to contribute to protecting anyone from deprivation, but it needs to make sure that no action it takes helps the depriver succeed in depriving.

Since the article was published in 1991, I thought that it would be interesting to see what other publications have cited it since then.  Using Google Scholar, I found that Hartman’s original article had only been cited by 3 other publications.

The one I chose to examine more closely is “La responsabilidad moral de la empresa. Una revisión de la teoría de Stakeholder desde la ética discursiva”/”The moral responsibility of the business. A review of the Stakeholder theory from discursive ethics”.  It is a doctoral thesis presented by Elsa González Esteban and directed by Dr. Domingo Garcia-Marza of the Universitat Jaume I de Castellón.  It was published in 2011, so it is rather recent information.  In total, it has 576 pages and it is written in Spanish.  Continue reading

Stakeholder Pressure Keeping You Up At Night?


For the blog posting this week I chose to use a “piece of knowledge” on Freeman. An optional reading for our session 4 class back in February was Edward Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation.  Ever since taking Management 101 the concept of stakeholders has interested me: how to identify who is a stakeholder, are their various levels, how does one encapsulate the needs of stakeholders and somehow make that align or fit within what the mission of the overall corporation is, etc.

I searched Stakeholder Theory and Freeman within the Web of Knowledge database. Since Stakeholder Theory of the Modern Corporation itself is within another piece of work, I browsed around a bit, checking out other pieces of work by Freeman regarding stakeholder theory. I spent some time searched within those for different terms, such as Wal-Mart, but did not come up with many results nor any I was particularly interested in. I eventually narrowed my focus onto Stakeholder Theory and “the corporate objective revisited” . This has been cited 76 times within the Web of Knowledge database! In settling on this document, I began sifting through the  76 items cited; I wasn’t really thrilled with this set of resources either. I eventually found an article that, from it’s abstract at least, appeared really interesting: Social Sustainability in Selecting Emerging Economy Suppliers by M. Ehrgott, F. Reimann, L. Kaufmann, and C.R. Carter. The source of the article is Journal of Business Ethics. I did a cited reference search on this article as well, but it has only been cited 3 times within Web of Knowledge.

The abstract provides great insight into what the study was about Continue reading

BLOG INSTRUCTIONS

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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