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A hobby is a regular activity that is done for pleasure, typically, during one's leisure time. Hobbies can include: collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, and playing sports, along with many more examples. By continually participating in a particular hobby, one can acquire substantial skill and knowledge in that area.
Generally speaking, a person who engages in an activity solely for fun is called an amateur (or hobbyist), as opposed to a professional who engages in an activity for reward. An amateur may be as skilled as a professional, the principle difference being that a professional receives compensation while an amateur does not.
In the 13th century, the term "hobyn" had the meaning of "small horse or pony". The term "hobbyhorse" was documented in a 1557 payment confirmation for a "Hobbyhorse" from Reading, England. The item, originally called a "Tourney Horse", was made of a wooden or basketwork frame with an artificial tail and head. Designed to mimic a real horse, the hobbyhorse was used for religious activities and civic occasions. By 1816 the derivative, "hobby", was introduced into the vocabulary of an unknown number of English people. Over the course of subsequent centuries, the term came to mean "recreational" or "leisurely pursuit".
Hobbies are practiced primarily for interest and enjoyment, rather than financial reward. In the 17th century, the term was used in a pejorative sense due to the childish origins of the term. Referring to the origin of the word, engaging in one's hobby equated to the horse outfit from the term's formulation and was considered a puerile overindulgence that would yield no benefit.
In the 21st century, personal fulfillment is the aim of hobbies in First World Western nations and they are widely considered to be helpful in such societies. Although, in the United Kingdom (UK), the pejorative noun "anorak", similar to the Japanese word "otaku", has the meaning of being a geek or enthusiast), and is often applied to people who obsessively pursue a particular hobby that others consider boring.
Development into other ventures
There have been instances where hobbies have led to significant developments beyond the personal fulfillment for those involved. Amateur astronomers have made significant contributions to the profession, and hobbyists have made discoveries such as finding an unknown celestial body or celestial event. In the area of computer programming, the invention of the Linux operating system began as a student's hobby. A substantial amount of early scientific research came from the hobby activities of the wealthy.
Hobbies have also risen to prominence after a period of relatively low interest. For example, a British conservationist was seen wearing field glasses at a London train station in the 1930s and was consequently asked if he was going to the horse races. Whilst the general public was not aware of nature observation which was formally conducted as field research, during the 1930s, practitioners of the hobby went on to become the pioneers of the conservation movement that flourished in the UK from 1965 onwards. Eventually, it became a global political movement within a generation's time span.
The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world. Others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest, perhaps 19th century postage stamps, milk bottle labels from Sussex, or Mongolian harnesses and tack.
Many coin collections are also referred to as date sets, and may be stored in coin holders. The most popular of the coin holders for date sets are called coin albums.
Specialized commercial dealers that trade in the items being collected, as well as related accessories, may have started as collectors themselves, eventually turning their hobby into a profession.
One's finances may be a restriction on the more extravagant hobbies. For example, someone who has the financial means to collect stamps might not be able to collect sports-cars.
One alternative to collecting physical objects is collecting experiences of a particular kind. Examples include creating a list through observation or photography, train spotting, aircraft spotting, metrophiles, bus spotting, bird-watching, and systematically visiting continents and countries to collect stamps in their passports,or visiting various states, national parks, counties etc. The game I-Spy is related to collecting.
Outdoor pursuits are the group of activities which occur outdoors. These hobbies include gardening, hill walking, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, climbing, caving, fishing, wildlife viewing and engaging in watersports and snowsports.
Depending on an individual's desired level of adrenaline, outdoors experiences are considered one type of hobby. While many enjoy an adrenaline rush or just an escape from reality, outdoor recreational activities can also be an extremely effective medium in education and team building.
As interest increases, so has the desire for commercial outdoor pursuits. Outdoor recreational supply stores have opened in large numbers and are thriving, as have outdoor pursuit journalism and magazines, both on paper and the Internet.
The increased accessibility of outdoor pursuit resources has been the source of some negative publicity over the years, with complaints of the destruction of landscape. An example is the destruction of hillsides as footpaths are eroded due to an excessive number of visitors.
Many hobbies involve performances by the hobbyist, such as singing, acting, juggling, magic, dancing, playing a musical instrument, martial arts and other performing arts.
Some hobbies result in an end product. Examples of this would be woodworking, photography, moviemaking, jewelry making, software projects such as Photoshopping and home music or video production, making bracelets, artistic projects such as drawing, painting, etc., creating models out of cardstock or paper - called papercraft. Hobbies also include higher-end projects like building or restoring a car, or building a computer from scratch.
For computer savvy do-it-yourself hobbyists, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is also popular. A CNC machine can be assembled and programmed to make different parts from wood or metal.
Making a replica of a real object in a smaller scale goes back to prehistoric times with small clay "dolls" and other children's toys having been found near known populated areas. The Greeks, Romans, and Persians took the form to a greater depth during their years of world domination, using scale replicas of enemy fortifications, coastal defense lines, and other geographic fixtures to plan battles.
At the turn of the Industrial Age and on through the 1920s, families could often afford things such as electric trains, wind-up toys (typically boats or cars) and the increasingly valuable tin toy soldiers.
Model engineering refers to building functioning machinery in metal, such as internal combustion motors and live steam models or locomotives. This is a demanding hobby, requiring a multitude of large and expensive tools, such as lathes and mills. This hobby originated in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century, later spreading and flourishing in the mid-20th century. Due to the expense and space required, it is becoming rare.
Scale modeling as we know it today became popular shortly after World War II. Before 1946, children as well as adults were content in carving and shaping wooden replicas from block wood kits, often depicting enemy aircraft to help with identification in case of an invasion.
With the advent of modern plastics, the amount of skill required to get the basic shape accurately shown for any given subject was lessened, making it easier for people of all ages to begin assembling replicas in varying scales. Superheroes, aeroplanes, boats, cars, tanks, artillery, and even figures of soldiers became quite popular subjects to build, paint and display. Although almost any subject can be found in almost any scale, there are common scales for such miniatures which remain constant today. The most popular scales for each subject are (in order of popularity):
- Cars (1:24, 1:25, 1:32)
- Railroads (1:87/1:76, 1:160, 1:220, plus ridable "backyard railroads", 1:8 and smaller.)
- Planes (1:48, 1:72, 1:32)
- Armor (1:35, 1:72: 1:48)
- Soldiers (1:32, 1:35, 1:48, 1:6)
Figures are probably the most variable of all subjects in terms of scale and are often referred to as their metric equivalent; for example, a 1:32 scale figure soldier is more commonly described as "54mm". Likewise other popular sizes are 90mm, 120mm and almost every increment in between. An example of a diorama hobby is Warhammer 40,000, from Games Workshop.
In addition to plastic kits, resin has become a popular material for "short run" productions. The level of detail is often quite exquisite, and while more expensive than the typical plastic soldier, is much easier to work with and modify, compared to White Metal or Pewter figures.
The advent of small and cheap computers, sensors (often derived from the smartphone industry), and radio equipment allowed hobbies such as Radio-controlled aircraft, cars, and toy robots to become more popular.
Scale modeling is no longer a high growth industry as it was during the 1960s and 1970s, but there are still thousands of retail shops selling kits, supplies, paints, and tools to support new and established hobbyists. There are more companies producing varieties of kits on subjects than ever before, and the levels of detail have become unbelievably accurate with the advent of modern drafting and molding equipment. Digitized CAD software have also contributed to this allowing accuracy of up to 1/1000 of an inch.
With more costly kits seeing an upward trend and youth entertainment moving more towards computers and in-home video gaming, the average age of the avid hobbyist is now older than ever before — with adults making up the vast majority of enthusiasts. At the same time, there are probably more people building from kits now than ever, and there is a large selection of supportive magazines such as Fine Scale Modeler, Military Miniatures in Review (MMiR) and Tamiya Magazine from every era. There are several modeling clubs in most cities, with the largest being International Plastic Modellers' Society (IPMS). IPMS has support chapters and contests around the world.
Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually, though not always, chemically transforms it, thus changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. It encompasses a vast range of methods and tools, and may also be used to improve the digestibility of food. It may require the selection, measurement and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the ambient conditions, tools and the skill of the individual cook.
The diversity of cooking worldwide reveals the myriad of nutritional, aesthetic, agricultural, agronomic, economic, cultural and religious considerations that have an impact upon it.
Cooking properly, as opposed to roasting, requires the boiling of water or oil in a receptacle, and was practiced at least since the 10th millennium BC with the introduction of pottery. There is archaeological evidence of roasted foodstuffs, both animal and vegetable, in human (Homo erectus) camp sites dating from the earliest known use of fire some 800,000 years ago.
Residential gardening most often takes place in or about ones own residence, in a space referred to as the garden. Although a garden typically is located on the land near a residence, it may also be located on a roof, in an atrium, on a balcony, in a windowbox, or on a patio or vivarium.
Gardening also takes place in non-residential green areas, such as parks, public or semi-public gardens (botanical gardens or zoological gardens), amusement and theme parks, along transportation corridors, and around tourist attractions and hotels. In these situations, a staff of gardeners or groundskeepers maintains the gardens.
Indoor gardening is growing houseplants within a residence or building, in a conservatory, or in a greenhouse. Indoor gardens are sometimes incorporated into air conditioning or heating systems.
Water gardening is growing plants that have adapted to pools and ponds. Bog gardens are also considered a type of water garden. These all require special conditions and considerations. A simple water garden may consist solely of a tub containing the water and plant(s).
Container gardening is concerned with growing plants in containers that are placed above the ground.
Reading, such as reading books, ebooks, magazines, comics, or newspapers, along with browsing the internet is a common hobby, and one that can trace its origins back hundreds of years. A love of literature, later in life, may be sparked by an interest in reading children's literature as a child.
People who enjoy playing sports may be amateur athletes who play recreationally.
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