Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why Is the Greek Letter Pi the Symbol for That Mathematical Ratio Anyway?

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Banning Pledging Doesn't End Hazing

Sigma Alpha Epsilon — dubbed "The Deadliest Fraternity" in America — banned new member pledging last week following the deaths of 10 fraternity members and pledges over the past decade.

While SAE is not the first national fraternity to move away from pledging, it is one of the largest and best-known. Another fraternity that has made this announcement — Sigma Phi Epsilon — offered its congratulations in a statement:

After learning that Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) would follow their lead by replacing pledging with single-tier membership and a better fraternity experience, leaders of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity contacted their peers at SAE to offer congratulations and support on the historic news...

SigEp hopes that its two decades of experience challenging Greek stereotypes and operating a fraternity focused on the development and achievement of members without pledging will help SAE as they begin to make similar changes.

SigEp's membership process has been lauded by anti-hazing activists. In a New York Times op-ed, Cornell University President David Skorton wrote that "acceptable alternatives to the pledge process must be completely free of personal degradation, disrespect or harassment in any form. One example is Sigma Phi Epsilon's 'Balanced Man Program,' which replaces the traditional pledging period with a continuing emphasis on community service and personal development."

However, SigEp's experiences in Greek reform clearly show that banning pledging and reforming the new member process does not automatically lead to the end of hazing. In fact, SigEp has continued to battle hazing in its chapters since it launched the Balanced Man Program more than 20 years ago.

In a statement to Business Insider, SigEp national's communication director Beaux Carriere condemned hazing and outlined the fraternity's efforts to end it:

Hazing is a form of bullying, and any university's student judicial records will show that bullying and its various forms are very much a problem among student populations. SigEp teaches our new members early on about bullying, bystander behavior and hazing prevention. Our members know that hazing is not a part of theSigEp experience, and they are willing to report it if they see it. We also work with parents and universities to make sure they understand our expectations for student safety and are willing to report behavior that could lead to hazing. The moment a student is put in an uncomfortable situation by one of his peers, a line has been crossed. It doesn't take a death or serious injury for us to take action. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to hazing, and we do everything in our power to ensure that it doesn't happen.

It was our undergraduate members who realized that pledging was causing more harm than good, and our they asked for a reform to the pledging process in 1991. In 1992, we launched the Balanced Man Program, and its success has made it a demand-driven program since its inception....

It is important to note that The Balanced Man Program is more than the removal of pledging. Our members participate in programs and events that focus on academic achievement, healthy lifestyle choices, leadership development and preparing for a professional vocation.

The Balanced Man Program emphasizes continuous education for fraternity members during every year of college, not just as "new members." One part of the program that makes it so different than other Greek organizations, according to their website, is giving "a member full rights the day he joins, so he becomes a full contributor with equal responsibility." More specifically, there is no pledging in the fraternity.

According to Carriere, 85% of SigEp chapters currently operate the reformed program, and the fraternity is "working hard to raise the funds necessary to support the Balanced Man Program at 100% of our chapters because we know it works."

"We believe that telling a chapter they have to run the Balanced Man Program without giving them the staff support, volunteers and resources to implement the program would be like removing faculty from a college and instructing students to teach themselves<' Carriere said. "With the financial backing of our alumni, we are working to provide all SigEp chapters with the resources and support they need to implement the Balanced Man Program effectively."

Though the Balanced Man Program began in the 1990s, hazing at SigEp chapters has not disappeared just because the national fraternity has banned pledging.

Carriere explained how the national fraternity typically handles chapters that have been found to haze new members:

Sometimes hazing happens when a member acts alone, your typical bully. But if bullying has been tolerated by a chapter at-large, we won’t risk the safety and wellbeing of our members. In partnership with our alumni and universities, we have closed chapters where this has been the case and have 30 fewer chapters today than we did 10 years ago. We typically return to a campus once the current membership graduates, and we're able to recruit men who haven't been a part of a culture that accepts bullying.

A quick search revealed a number of hazing abuses of new SigEp members over the past few years.

In one disturbing example, the Purdue University SigEp chapter was placed on probation for four years after a 2013 university investigation revealed significant new member hazing. As The Purdue Exponent reported:

New members were yelled at and required to do tasks, such as cleaning the chapter house daily and requiring them to be sober drivers, which the University characterized as demeaning and degrading.

New members were also given "puke buckets." The buckets, normally used for decoration, can include messages that condone drinking and are given to new members by their "big brother," an older member of a fraternity who serves as a mentor.

On Sept. 22, new members brought an inflated sex toy representing a naked female body to the France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center to take photographs of the sex toy for laughs.

Purdue SigEp notes the chapter's commitment to the Balanced Man Program on their website, writing, "Sigma Phi Epsilon is committed to developing its brothers throughout their careers at Purdue as GENTLEMEN, SCHOLARS, and ATHLETES. We are able to achieve this through the Balanced Man Program."

The SigEp chapter at Stetson University also recieved sanctions for hazing allegations last year, as the university reportedly discovered that new members were locked in a room and "urinated in the water jugs because they may not have felt comfortable to leave and go to the bathroom," according to The Stetson Reporter.

According to their website, Stetson SigEp "is not a pledging chapter. We have a Balanced Man ideal where we believe that, upon admittance, a new member has the same responsibility and impact upon the fraternity as a full brother."

Hazing charges are nothing new to SigEp chapters, though. In 2008, the University of Arizona chapter was removed from campus for three years after several major hazing violations came to light — all while openly continuing to have pledges.

Carriere told BI about the University of Arizona chapter's evolution:

After SigEp launched the Balanced Man Program the undergraduate leaders at the University of Arizona were unable to implement the Balanced Man Program. In 2007, SigEp closed the chapter because we could not provide a safe experience that supported the growth and development of Arizona students. When the chapter reopened in 2012, they began operating the Balanced Man Program...

The Arizona story is a great example of why it is so hard to make changes when students involved in a culture that accepts bullying are still on campus. To clarify the timeline, SigEp learned of allegations of hazing at the University of Arizona in 2007 and suspended all members and chapter operations. Arizona alumni worked with these students to understand and remove negative elements from the chapter so that operations could resume safely and free of hazing. Unfortunately, this attempt was undermined by former members of the chapter, and the house was shuttered in 2008. Today, these students have graduated and the young men on campus that have joined our new chapter are able to focus on the Balanced Man Program and all the advantages that come with it.

The Arizona Daily Star described the hazing that occurred in 2008 at the SigEp chapter's "History Night:"

Divided into groups of 10, the pledges rotated through rooms of the house behind University Medical Center and were asked to squat with their backs pressed against the walls and learn about the goals of pledging.

The pledges were asked to memorize traditions and recall one another's names while being yelled at and intimidated.

And when one pledge didn't behave as he should — members thought he was disrespectful — a dozen pledges were lined up and slapped one by one.

When a pledge ducked to avoid a slap, he was hit a second time and then had his shirt ripped off.

Among other instances of hazing was a particularly nasty description of making new members learn a song:

The most serious violations revolved around daily song practice, during which pledges sang traditional fraternity songs while members listened.

The investigation details that members threw paper balls at pledges, shot spitballs at them and pushed them while they sang. Some members threw ice down the pledges' shirts, the investigation said.

On Fridays, the underage pledges were forced to drink beer while they practiced the songs. The pledges were told to drink until they vomited, with garbage cans put out for them to use, the investigation details.

After they finished vomiting, the pledges would have to resume singing and drinking, according to the investigation.

While it is certainly laudable that SAE is working towards decreasing the danger that has become associated with many of its chapters, it may need to do more than just banning pledging. For many, hazing has become an integral part of the fraternity experience, and certain chapters may continue offensive and illegal traditions regardless of their national fraternity's actions.

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The Cost of War: Syria, Three Years On

Three years of fighting in Syria have taken an enormous toll on the country, leaving more than 140,000 slaughtered, millions driven to neighboring states and the country's economic and cultural structures in ruins


Michigan Feature “Papou” Finished and Off to Festivals

Name: Nick PhillipsItem price: News, ArtsLocation: Novi, MIDescription:Novi, Michigan – March 12th, 2014 – Michigan feature film Papou has, after almost a year and a half of production, been completed today. A recipient of Michigan’s Film and Digital Media Incentive, Papou has been entirely produced in the state of Michigan by Michigan natives Michael Angelo Zervos, Christos Moisides, and Michael Sinanis.

Papou stars Greek actor Yorgo Voyagis (Zorba the Greek, Borne Identity) and local Michigan actor Evan Kole (Avengers, Misled) as the leads alongside dozens of other Michigan supporting talent. The first feature from 25 year old director Zervos, the film tells the tale of a wildly imaginative young boy (Kole) and his dying grandfather’s (Voyagis) attempts to escape the clutches of death.

“The journey getting to this point has been full of struggles and the fact that I can hold in my hand a Blu-ray of what was originally an idea is awe-striking.” Zervos said, “Ours was not the smooth production of a multi-million dollar picture that moves along with a single handshake but the work and sacrifice of many people believing in the story I had to share.

Truly, Zervos does not overstate the obstacles. His journey began almost a year and a half ago when he raised $51,000 on Kickstarter alone for the project. Eventually, he found private financiers for the rest of the film’s $200,000 budget and fought his way to signing Voyagis as the star. Zervos admitted that “Yorgo believed in the story just as others had, but he was willing to make unnecessary sacrifices to take on this role. There might not be a Papou without his dedication”

A strong advocate of the recent surge of Michigan-made films, Zervos is in the process of applying for approval through the Michigan Film and Digital Video Incentive program. He believes that if the incentive hadn’t been reinstated in its latest form, he wouldn’t have made the film at all. “The common perception is that Michigan doesn’t have a competitive incentive for filmmakers to film in state anymore. On the contrary, Michigan remains in the top ten best states to film in for monetary savings.”

Papou has been submitted to a host of national and international film festivals and expects to premiere at one of the top festivals accepted. “Of course, I’ll not forget a premiere back in my beloved home state!” Zervos assures. Even as the director of Papou is busy promoting the film, his editors are hard at work churning out the first trailer for the film. Release of this is expected in the next two weeks.

Visit or to find out more about the film.

Contact: Michael Angelo Zervos info@motherandmidwife.comImages:no images


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Athens university seeks police protection

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US university offers to pay for students' year off, removing financial barrier to travel

by  Associated Press US university offers to pay students for year off by PAIGE SUTHERLAND, Associated Press - 14 March 2014 10:54-04:00

MEDFORD, Massachusetts (AP) — A new program at Tufts University hopes to remove the financial barriers keeping cash-strapped U.S. students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, offering an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting university.

This "gap year" program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can often add up to $30,000 or more.

Although gap years are more popular in Europe, they have started to gain traction in the United States. About 40,000 Americans participated in gap year programs in 2013, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2006, according to data gathered by a nonprofit called the American Gap Year Association.

Princeton University began offering full aid to need-based applicants in 2009 and nearly 100 students have participated, volunteering in Brazil, China, India, Peru and Senegal. The University of North Carolina offers $7,500 to gap year applicants, while students at Wisconsin's St. Norbert College can receive financial aid based on need, although airfare isn't covered.

Lydia Collins, 19, a Tufts freshman from Illinois said she took a gap year because she wanted to see what was outside of the classroom before committing to four more years of school.

"A lot of kids are very burnt out after high school," Collins said. "Taking this time to be with yourself and see yourself in a new community and light will only help you to succeed in college."

Collins worked in microfinance in Ecuador through Global Citizen and said the experience inspired her to pursue international relations, something she would not have known about beforehand.

Students who take part are able to see the world beyond the bubble they grew up in and return to school with a better perspective of their future, said Holly Bull, president of the Center of Interim Programs, which counsels students on taking gap years. Bull said the benefit of the structured time away from school is too valuable to exclude lower-income students.

"Students return to the classroom more focused, independent and confident," said Bull, who took a gap year herself to Hawaii and Greece, and said the students also tend to have less trouble adjusting to dormitory life.

"This experience taught me that everything I learn in the classroom will be able to help me when I leave Princeton," said Jeremy Rotblat, a 19-year-old Princeton freshman from New Jersey, who said his experience volunteering at a hospital in Senegal better prepared him for college. "It is easy at times to question the purpose behind all the school work. But seeing the value firsthand encourages me to push myself academically."

Students selected for Tufts' 4+1 program will be able to defer their admission for a year while still remaining tied to the university through video chat and email. Tufts will work with organizations including Global Citizen, City Year and Lift — which offer volunteering positions in areas such as education, economics, health and the environment 7/8— to create packages that fit students' financial needs, including travel and living costs.

Patrick Callan, founding president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, applauds the gap year experience, but said structure is key.

"Sometimes, for less motivated students, taking a year off could lead to them never coming back," he said, adding that students that go in without concrete goals can be sidetracked from their studies. "You need to come in having a plan."

News Topics: General news, Higher education, Education, Undergraduate education, College admissions, Volunteerism, Social affairs

People, Places and Companies: United States, Massachusetts, North America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Tilus Lebrun Arrested for Double Murder at Jimmy the Greek

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7 Historical Facts That Completely Challenge What You Think You Know About The World

Just when you think you understand how the world works, you learn...1. The swastika was actually a symbol of good -- until the Nazis got ahold of it. The swastika has been around for over 3,000 years and commonly symbolized goodness and luck, up until its use by the Nazis in Germany. The now reviled image was used by cultures all over the world, including early Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and even Native Americans. In more recent history, the swastika was still prominent just before the rise of the Nazi party. A few American uniforms featured the symbol in World War I, Coca Cola used it in advertising and, as seen above in this picture of the Edmonton Swastikas, sports teams even took its name. The Nazis deeply complicated the swastika's long existence as a symbol for good, and looking back upon its thousands of years of prominence in cultural history can yield some results that appear incredibly strange with contemporary eyes. To salvage the image, it has been proposed that the clockwise version of the swastika should represent evil while counterclockwise would represent goodness.2. Drunk debates were once a key aspect of any important decision-making process. Perhaps you don't have to be Don Draper to believe in the necessity of alcohol at the work place. When famous Greek historian Herodotus, travelled to Persia around 450 B.C., he found a culture that deeply valued the wisdom that comes while being drunk. The Persians he encountered would make sure that particularly important arguments were debated both while sober and drunk, as only ideas that made sense in both states were truly worthwhile. This process went both ways: Arguments originally had while drunk would be debated again the next day in soberness, and dry arguments would be followed up with discussions over wine. C.S. Lewis expanded upon this idea in his "Letters to Malcolm," when he wrote:I know this is the opposite of what is often said about the necessity of keeping all emotion out of our intellectual processes – 'you can’t think straight unless you are cool.' But then neither can you think deep if you are. I suppose one must try every problem in both states. You remember that the ancient Persians debated everything twice: once when they were drunk and once when they were sober.Image: WikiCommons3. The Olympic Games used to award medals for art. Maybe artists deserve varsity jackets, too. From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics held competitions in the fine arts, with medals being awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture. The art produced was required to be Olympics-themed, so gold-winning pieces had names like, "Knockdown" and "Étude de Sport." The first winning work of literature was actually written by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, who supposedly wrote the piece, "Ode to Sport," under a pseudonym. According to Frédy, adding an arts component to the modern Olympics was necessary because the ancient Greeks used to hold art festivals alongside the games. Over the years, dancing, film, photography and theatre were all proposed as additional events, but none of these ever became medal categories. In total, 151 medals were awarded before the Olympics removed the art competitions in favor of requiring host cities to provide cultural events to accompany the games.Image: WikiCommons4. Pink wasn't always a girl's color and blue a boy's color -- in fact, it was once the other way around. The distinction of blue for boys and pink for girls didn't take full hold until the middle of the 20th century. Many people already know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wore dresses as a child, but this was common practice for the time. Children would wear gender neutral, mostly white clothing that was easy to bleach clean, and wouldn't get haircuts until around the age of six or seven. It wasn't until department stores started marketing gender-specific colors that parents began to worry about making sure their children were wearing the "right" outfits. Even when mass marketing began, the messages were mixed. The trade publication "Earnshaw's Infants' Department" featured an article suggesting, "the generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”5. English was once a language for "commoners," while the British elites spoke French. Despite the severity with which some contemporary English-speakers vehemently attack "incorrect" uses of the language, English used to belong to the people. In the formative years of the language, it was only spoken by "commoners," while the English courts and aristocracy mostly spoke in French. This was due to the Norman Invasion of 1066 and caused years of division between the "gentlemen" who had adopted the Anglo-Norman French and those who only spoke English. Even the famed King Richard the Lionheart was actually primarily referred to in French, as Richard "Coeur de Lion." To further mess with your preconceptions about the English language, the "British accent" was actually created after the Revolutionary War, meaning contemporary Americans sound more like the colonists and British soldiers of the 18th century than contemporary Brits. Of course, accents vary greatly by region, but the "BBC English" or public school English accent (which sounds like Austin Powers) didn't come about until the 19th century and was originally adopted by people who wanted to sound fancier.6. Money was once designed to discourage people from having too much of it. Perhaps having quick and easy money isn't truly in our best interests. According to Greek historian Plutarch, in his "Life of Lycurgus," the Spartans used long and heavy iron rods as their currency in hopes that it would discourage them from pursuing large amounts of wealth. This unusual currency was called "obeloi" and was supposedly so cumbersome that carrying multiple rods would require oxen. A couple other things that might change the way you think about contemporary money: American presidents weren't originally supposed to be on the nation's currency, as that was seen as a practice of monarchies. Also, the idea civilizations relied on established barter systems before the rise of physical currency is probably incorrect. People may have traded things, but one of the only well-known bartering practices was more of a bonding and sex ritual between tribes in Northern Australia called the dzamalag.Image Left: WikiCommons. Image Right: Getty7. A good night of sleep used to mean waking up sometime in the middle. Are we sleeping all wrong? According to growing research about sleeping habits before the 20th century, people didn't always sleep in one long block, but would briefly wake up in the middle to split the slumber into two sessions. During this time, people would reportedly engage in all sorts of activities, with the more scholarly using the time to read and write, while couples might spend the break having sex. The two-part sleeping pattern was the product of people going to bed much earlier before the invention of electricity, which meant the world actually went dark when the sun set. For those who assumed candles were regularly lit at night before electric lights, historian Craig Koslofsky points out in his book, "Evening's Empire," that we tend to overestimate their importance. He writes, "even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night." Contemporary society seems to have adjusted to the single session of sleep, but that doesn't mean the transition has been entirely smooth. It has been suggested that those who consistently wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep, may simply have bodies that yearn for the way we used to operate.Bonus Legend: Tickling may have been used as torture. This one may be more of a legend, but still, tickling is not funny, dammit! It was apparently used as a form of torture during the Han Dynasty, as captives would recover quickly and no physical signs of abuse were left on the body. The ancient Romans may have also used tickle torture, where a goat would be brought in to lick the captive's feet. Although there is only shaky evidence that either of these modes of torture were actually employed, there appear to have been cases in which severe tickling was deemed abuse in more contemporary times.All images Getty unless otherwise noted.


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Greek ReporterPoll shows support for new Greek party surges, major parties tiedThomson Reuters FoundationATHENS, March 14 (Reuters) - Greece's ruling conservatives and rival leftists are running neck-and-neck ahead of European elections in May, while a new party set up by a Greek journalist has quickly shot up to third place behind them, a poll showed on ...Greece Wants Debt Cut, Not Another BailoutGreek Reporterall 3 news articles »


Hunting rifle causes stir at Patra court's administrative services

Police and rapid-response units on Friday were called to a building that houses the administrative services of the Patra Court of Fist Instance in the western Greek port city, after staff saw a hunting rifle propped up at the entrance to an office. A larg... ...


This Is The Most Beautiful Beach In Greece, Which Means It's The Prettiest ...

This Is The Most Beautiful Beach In Greece, Which Means It's The Prettiest ...Huffington PostNavagio has been called the prettiest beach in all of Greece, which, if we can all agree is one of the prettiest places in all the world, then this beach is the prettiest beach in the whole wide world. Logic works for us. And so do these pics. Like ...


Greek Cyprus swears in new cabinet members

Greek Cyprus swore in new members of cabinet in a mini reshuffle on Friday, expedited by the departure of a junior partner from the centre-right coalition last month. President Nicos Anastasiades replaced his defence, education, communications and health ...


WWF presents new report for Greece

The Greek branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has presented its first progress report on a groundbreaking sustainability campaign that activists hope could inspire a new lifestyle narrative for crisis-hit Greeks. Dubbed "Kalyteri Zoi" (Better ...


Nanotechnology in Greece: Market Report

Greece is a located in southeast Europe, almost at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It covers an area of 131,957 km 2 and has a population of 10,767,827 as of 2012. Greece became a part of the NATO in 1952, the EU in 1981, and the ...


A system looking out for its own

It is hard to believe that even today, with the country going through a sixth year of relentless recession, a certain number of the Greek Parliament’s elected members carry on defending the need not to abolish a number of completely useless organizations ... ...


Biography of November 17 hitman sparks row over free speech

An autobiography written by the main hitman of the far-left Greek extremist organisation November 17 has sparked a row over freedom of speech. The book by Dimitris Koufodinas, written whilst serving multiple life sentences in Korydallos prison near Athens... ...


Pharmacists closed Friday and Monday in ongoing strike against reforms

Pharmacies were to be closed on Friday and on Monday as Greek pharmacists continue their protests against planned reforms aimed at liberalizing their sector. The pharmacists walked off the job earlier this week in an initial "warning strike" and have thre... ...


Greece Cuts Sports Budget 50%

Citing a crushing economic crisis, Greece's sports secretariat is cutting funding for amateur sports in half, drawing criticism from the sports federation.

The post Greece Cuts Sports Budget 50% appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece Wants Debt Cut, Not Another Bailout

Greece is raising the prospect of debt relief with international ... while SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras supports seeking better terms or outright default. The government cannot stand another bailout because of the new austerity terms, said ...


Immunity Lifted for Three Golden Dawn MPs

The Ethics Committee of the Greek parliament has decided to lift the parliamentary immunity of another three members of the political party