Ok, ear stretching.
Started in Africa by various tribes, this is a well known form of body modification which has spread throughout modern culture. Even the famous starts on MTV and Vh1 now are stretching their ears. Ear Stretching is done by slowly increasing the lobe size by small increments. Jewelry is measured by gauge sizes, increasing in diameter while lowering the gauge size. (18g is a regular piercing, 00 is about the size of a pencil, etc.)
The initial stretch is done several different ways, with the taper being the most popular. A taper is a cylindrical cone that's diameter is increased as the length is pushed through you ear. After that,, a plug is used..
Update will be tomorrow getting into more depth.