Australian huskies immortalized in Antarctic place names

Husky dogs hitched up on Mawson’s expedition 1911-14. (Frank Hurley)

The Antarctic Place Names Committee is naming 26 islands, rocks, and reefs after the beloved dogs, that were a crucial part of Australia’s heroic era of ice exploration a century ago, and had a role into the 1990s. The dogs were all on Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-14, but the naming is a tribute to all the huskies that underpinned Australian exploration in the icy continent.

Rod Ledingham detailed “the fine art of dog driving” in a manual and in lectures, to countless Australian Antarctic expeditioners and scientists from the 1970s, after training and running teams for the UK. Mr. Ledingham said dogs had been critical to exploring the Antarctica, up until they were removed in 1994.

“Most of the leaders were female,” he said. “There was even a team of all ladies, it was called ‘The Ladies’, 11 females that were a very good team.”

Read this article at ABCNews to find out more!

Yale college naming sparks debate

Pauli Murray

The debate over the naming of two new colleges at Yale University began in earnest in fall 2015. With racially charged protests sweeping college campuses across the country, the as-yet-unnamed construction sites by Science Hill emerged as a litmus test for Yale’s commitment to diversity: Would the University seize the opportunity to honor a woman or person of color, students asked, or choose another dead white man as a college namesake?

In the end, Yale did both. The college closest to Science Hill was named after Anna Pauline Murray LAW ’65, a queer black activist who co-founded the National Organization for Women. But to the dismay of student protesters, the second college was named in honor of the founding father Benjamin Franklin — a writer and inventor who also owned slaves.

Read this article at the Yale Daily News to find out more about the controversy over the names.

About Names: Tanya, Tonya are survivors

Tanya Tucker

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 10th column, he looks at the history of the names Tanya and Tonya.

Tanya is a pet form of Tatyana, the Russian form of Tatiana. Tatiana comes from the Roman family name Tatius. In Roman legend, Titus Tatius was king of the Sabines. He attacked Rome after its founder, Romulus, abducted Sabine women. The war was a draw, and Tatius and Romulus ruled Rome jointly.

Russians rarely use Tanya as a full name, but it gradually spread west through literature. In 1882, French author Henry Gréville (Alice Durand), who set many novels in Russia, published “Tania’s Peril.” In 1920, Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin,” with its aria “Ah, Tanya, Tanya,” had its U.S. premiere at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

Tanya doesn’t appear in U.S. Census records until 1880. In 1940 there were 644 women named Tanya or Tania in the census, 21 percent of whom were born in Russia. Russian Tanya is pronounced “TAHN-yuh.” Many Americans look at its spelling and want to say the first part like the word “tan.”

That’s how Tanya Tucker herself says it. Tucker’s mother found the name in a Texas newspaper birth announcement for a local banker’s daughter. The Tuckers assumed the “tan” pronunciation.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Tanyas and Tonyas in history!

Coming to Georgia: The city of Amazon?

Amazon wants to establish a new corporate hub, currently called HQ2, and some cities are pulling out all the stops to entice the Seattle-based giant to their state. The Stonecrest, Georgia City Council has voted to de-annex 345 acres of land if Amazon picks them – and on top of that, they’ll name the new city Amazon.

“There are several major U.S. cities that want Amazon, but none has the branding opportunity we are now offering this visionary company,” said Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary. “How could you not want your 21st century headquarters to be located in a city named Amazon?”

Is this just the 21st century version of a company town? Read this article at to find out more. 

Rolls-Royce Is the Most Mentioned Name Brand in Pop Music

With the ascension of hip-hop in popular music, brand references have became a shorthand for aspiration and status. According to Bloomberg’s research, over the past three years Rolls-Royce or the name of a Rolls-Royce product was mentioned in 11 top-20 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. A few artists who mention Rolls in their popular songs include Quavo, Future, The Weeknd, and Kodak Black.

Ferrari came in a close second, with nine songs mentioning its supercars. Porsche tied with Hennessy, each with seven shout-outs, while Lamborghini and Chevrolet tied for six. Bentley, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz all tied, along with Jordan Brand, Rolex, and Xanax, with five mentions. Head over to the Bloomberg article to find out more about how brands feature in today’s hits and why Rollers are still king.

How Elon Musk names his projects

Tony Stark: Not actually Elon Musk.

Like most entrepreneurs, Elon Musk loves to create names for his many projects – space rockets, electric cars, tunnels, even travel to Mars. Looking over every name Musk has given one of his machines, some patterns emerge. He’s an avid sci-fi reader, but he’s also partial to the more mainstream literary references, with even a bit of ornithology thrown in. Read this article at Inverse to discover where he finds his inspiration for names like Kestrel, Merlin, and Raptor – as well as Heart of Gold.

How to pick – and protect – a company name in China

Finding a name for your company is hard enough, but if you’re planning on doing business in Asia, you also need to select a Chinese name and register that as a trademark in China. It’s not enough to be fluent in Chinese – you need an expert in Chinese-language branding, and a law firm that understands the complexities of Chinese trademark law.

Because China has a limited number of syllables, it is easy to come up with homophones to a foreign company’s Chinese name – especially when that Chinese name is a transliteration. This makes it even more difficult to protect your Chinese name. Chinese trademark examiners might reject a mark that has all of the same characters as yours except one, but if the mark has all different characters and they just have similar pronunciations, the mark is much more likely to be approved.

Want to know how to solve this problem? Read this informative and detailed post at the China Law Blog.

British Museum says “too many Asian names on labels can be confusing”

The British Museum began a special social media program in in which museum staff answers questions from the general public. Although the question-and-answer exchange has proved exceedingly popular, this September, the museum curator themself inadvertently stepped into a hornet’s nest. Early this month, the British Museum received the following question from the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney: “How do you go about designing exhibition labels and information […] for a wider range of people?”. The British Museum’s official response: “We aim to be understandable to 16-year-olds. Sometimes Asian names can be confusing, so we have to be careful about using too many.” That tweet ignited a mighty backlash. Interested in reading more about this onomastic controversy? Head over to the Guardian to read the comments from social media.

Scaly-Headed Moth Named after Trump

Somewhere floating between California and Mexico, there lives a newly discovered species of moth with an oddly familiar name. Named Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, this small-sized winged insect is distinguishable by its yellow-white head tuft that reminded the name-givers of the 45th President’s trademark hairdo. According to biologists, it is hoped that this eye-catching name will help to bring public attention to the need to protect the special habitat that this moth calls home. Trump will not be the first president to have an animal named after him. A fish native to the coral reefs of northwestern Hawaii was named after President Barack Obama in honor of his efforts to protect the fish’s habitat.