Archive for November 8th, 2011

November 8, 2011


Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. It is also commonly referred to as ‘infiltration,’ although that term is be more closely associated with the exploration of active or inhabited sites. It may also be referred to as ‘draining’ (when exploring drains) ‘urban spelunking,’ ‘urban caving,’ or ‘building hacking.’

The nature of this activity presents various risks, including both physical danger and the possibility of arrest and punishment. Many, but not all, of the activities associated with urban exploration could be considered trespassing or other violations of local or regional laws, including—but not limited to—invasion of privacy and certain broadly-interpreted anti-terrorism laws.

November 8, 2011

Comfort Food

Comfort food is food prepared traditionally that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. Many comfort foods are flavorful and easily eaten, having soft consistencies. American comfort foods include apple pie, chicken soup, chili, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, and potato salad. Australian comfort foods include vegemite, meat pies, fish and chips, chiko rolls, dim sims, and potato cakes. In Chinese culture the comfort foods might differ between each households. Nevertheless the common theme is usually invoked nostalgic sentiments of home and family. Chinese comfort foods usually served warm, have soft texture and it might be soupy. Some of common Chinese comfort foods are: baozi, rice congee, chinese noodles, and dim sum.Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological affects or to increase positive feelings. The term was first used in 1977. One study divided college-students’ comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or affect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.

The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, ‘males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age.’ The study also revealed strong connections between consumption of comfort foods and feelings of guilt. Comfort food consumption has been seen as a response to emotional stress, and consequently, as a key contributor to the epidemic of obesity in the US. The provocation of specific hormonal responses leading selectively to increases in abdominal fat is seen as a form of self-medication. Further studies suggest that consumption of comfort food is triggered in men by positive emotions, and by negative ones in women. The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women, with only 33% reporting healthy eating choices during times of emotional stress. For women specifically, these psychological patterns may be maladaptive. A therapeutic use of these findings includes offering comfort foods or ‘happy hour’ beverages to anorectic geriatric patients whose health and quality of life otherwise decreases with reduced oral intake.

November 8, 2011

Secret Society

A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their activities and memberships but maintain a public presence. The exact qualifications for labeling a group as a secret society are disputed, but definitions generally rely on the degree to which the organization insists on secrecy, and might involve the retention and transmission of secret knowledge, denial of membership in or knowledge of the group, the creation of personal bonds between members of the organization, and the use of secret rites or rituals which solidify members of the group.

November 8, 2011

Line-crossing Ceremony

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in several navies that commemorates a sailor’s first crossing of the Equator. Originally, the tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs. Equator-crossing ceremonies, typically featuring King Neptune, are also sometimes carried out for passengers’ entertainment on civilian ocean liners and cruise ships. They are also performed in the merchant navy and aboard sail training ships.

The two-day event (evening and day) is a ritual of reversal in which the older and experienced enlisted crew essentially takes over the ship from the officers. Physical assaults in keeping with the spirit of the initiation are tolerated, and even the inexperienced crew is given the opportunity to take over. The transition flows from established order to the controlled ‘chaos’ of the Pollywog Revolt, the beginnings of re-order in the initiation rite as the fewer but experienced enlisted crew converts the Wogs through physical tests, then back to, and thereby affirming, the pre-established order of officers and enlisted.

November 8, 2011

Blood Wings

Blood wings is a traditional initiation rite that is endured by many graduates of the United States Army Airborne School and sometimes practiced in other elite military training environments, including the Army Aviation and Aviation Logistics community. It is called ‘blood pinning’ in the United States Marine Corps. Although it is rare, some Air Force Academy cadets receive their upper-class Prop and Wings insignia via the blood wings tradition. Upon receiving the Parachutist Badge, an instructor or comrade of the graduate places the pins of the badge pointing into the chest of the graduate. The badge is then slammed against the graduate’s chest, resulting in the pins being driven into the flesh. If the graduation is affiliated with a particular unit number (unit 15, for example), then the pin will often be pounded deeper into the muscle the same number of times (15 times in this case).

The origins of this tradition are unknown, but most likely date back to World War II paratrooper training. This practice is fairly secretive and sparked controversy recently when knowledge of it reached the public, which is often critical about painful forms of hazing. Blood wings are against Armed Forces Policy and are prohibited. Recipients of blood wings consider it a highly honorable rite of passage. The offer of blood wings is usually presented by a superior to an elite soldier who has reached a significant career transition point. The superior would probably have had the same honor at his own graduation in the past. The risky offer of blood wings to a transitioning soldier is considered an honor, but the graduate nearly always has the option to reject the offer.

November 8, 2011



Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group. Hazing is seen in many different types of groups, including in gangs, clubs, sports teams, military units, and workplaces. In the United States it is often associated with fraternities and sororities.

Hazing is often prohibited by law and may be either physical (violent) or mental (degrading) practices. It may also include nudity or sexually oriented activities. Hazing often serves a deliberate purpose, of building solidarity. Persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.


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