About Names: Enchanting Ella traces history to English nobles

Ella Fitzgerald

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Ella. The name Ella or Ela was brought to England in 1066 by Norman conquerors. In the late 18th century British and American authors were fascinated by medieval chivalry. Ela was one of many medieval names they revived — though they preferred spelling it with two l’s. The Ellas of today are mostly too young to be famous — though actresses Ella Peck (1990) of “Gossip Girl” and “Deception” and Ella Anderson (2005) of Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger” are already well known. They and thousands of other young Ellas will enchant us for decades to come.

German baby naming: “The most beautiful name for my child!”

One of the most exciting and daunting tasks facing parents-to-be is selecting a name for their newborn.  In an effort to help parents out, the Society for the German Language or Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache e.V. is offering a special course on baby naming in Germany.  The course covers several important topics including the newest naming trends in Germany, German naming laws, and international databanks for first names.  For information in German on how to sign-up and the dates for the next course being offered, click here.

Pink Floyd honored in naming of newly-discovered shrimp

A British scientist recently announced the discovery of a new hot pink crustacean.  In honour of the sea creature’s flaming colour, the University of Oxford researcher, Sammy De Grave, decided to name his discovery after his favorite rock band, Pink Floyd.  The species is now officially named “Synalpheus pinkfloydi”. The dashing sea animal kills its prey by creating a deadly blast of sound with its over-sized claws.

Animals feature frequently in the Floyd back-catalogue. Indeed, the 1977 album Animals includes tracks titled Dogs, Sheep, and a suite of music dedicated to pigs. Then there’s Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict from 1969’s Ummagumma. In fact, other biologists have already named a damselfly after that album: Umma gumma, in the family Calopterygidae. However, until today there have been no crustacean names known to honour the band.

The Coral Project: The Real Name Fallacy

In this in-depth piece at The Coral Project, writer J. Nathan Matias looks at the controversy surrounding the use of real names online. “People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names. It sounds like it should be true – surely nobody would say mean things if they faced consequences for their actions? Yet the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing real names in online communities could also increase discrimination and worsen harassment.” Read on to learn more about anonymity, harassment, and how names play into the dynamic.

Richard Berry Building renamed Peter Hall Building at University of Melbourne, Australia

The University of Melbourne’s Richard Berry building has been renamed to the Peter Hall building in an effort to create a more inclusive campus environment. The move comes after a long anti-racism campaign by a group of staff and students. Berry lobbied for “sterilization, segregation and the lethal chamber” for Aboriginal people, as well as homosexuals, poor people, and prostitutes.

The building has been the home of mathematics and statistics for several decades and was the building in which Professor Hall produced much of his highly influential work in non-parametric statistics. Professor Hall was regarded as a giant in his field for his many outstanding and innovative contributions to statistics and probability theory. His work included a number of classic monographs in addition to over 500 research papers.

The Berry Building was renamed in response to the death in 2016 of Peter Hall, a prolific and world-renowned mathematician and statistician,” said spokesman David Scott in a statement to the BBC. “While the building had previously housed the Department of Anatomy, it has been home to the School of Mathematics and Statistics for a number of years, the School where Professor Hall completed his internationally-recognized work. Therefore it was appropriate to name the building to reflect its current usage.”

About Names: Name “Judith” personified justice back in medieval times

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 11th column, he looks at the history of the name Judith. Judith is the English form of Hebrew Yehudit, “woman from Judea.” In the Book of Genesis, Judith is a wife of Esau, the twin from whom Jacob steals his birthright. Like other biblical names, Judith went out of style in the late 19th century. In 1880, when Social Security’s baby name lists began, it ranked only 882nd. But in 1937, when Judy Garland became a star in the “Andy Hardy” films, Judy had risen to 91st — and Judith ranked 34th. Read on to find out about more famous Judys!


The next six years of storm names from the National Hurricane Center

Twisters, cyclones, hurricanes, and tropical storms.  For nearly one hundred years now, the National Hurricane Center has had the task of bestowing these spectacular weather events with personal names.  To learn which names have been scheduled through 2022, visit the special “About Names” page at the NHC.

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

The six lists are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2017 list will be used again in 2023. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO committee (called primarily to discuss many other issues) the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it. Several names have been retired since the lists were created. Here is more information the history of naming tropical cyclones and retired names.


Most popular baby names in Israel 2015: Muhammad, Yosef, Noam, Noa, Ariel

photo credit:INGIMAGE

The most popular baby name in Israel in 2015 was Muhammad, given to some 2,730 newborn boys, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel. And for the second year in a row, the most popular Jewish name for a boy was Noam, with some 1,414 boys given this name, while the most popular Jewish name for a girl was Noa, which has remained one of the most popular names for a girl for the past 16 years. Keep reading this article in the Jerusalem Post to find out more about 2015’s most popular names!

Man’s surname deemed “too offensive” for car license plate in Canada


Lorne Grabher, a Canadian resident of Nova Scotia, has a personalized license place with his surname on it. He says the plate, which he has had for decades, was suddenly refused when it came up for renewal this year. Nova Scotia’s license plate regulations allow the province to refuse names deemed to be offensive or in poor taste. The province currently bans about 3,100 names. What do you think about the decision? And what would you do if your name was banned from a license plate?

Name That Tune: What Parts of Our Brains Do We Use for Naming Songs?

Here is an exercise: Think of a piece of music that you love or hate.  Got it?  Can you hear that wonderful (or annoying) rhythm in your head?  But here is the million dollar question — Were you able to recall that tune without remembering the title of that music?  If you were (or even if you weren’t), there may be a very good reason why and it has very little to do with the number of records sold and everything to do with brain physiology.  Interested in learning more?  Read what researchers have recently discovered about the connection between music and naming in this article at Scientific American. They conducted a scientific study to find out which parts of the brain are important for naming a famous song.