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.
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.
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.
In the September 2017 Newsletter of the Australian National Placenames Survey, the editors report the death of Vern O’Brien. Affectionately known as the “grand old man of Australian toponymy”, O’Brien was instrumental in researching and documenting the origin of named geographical features throughout the Northern Territories. Among his impressive list of scholarly accomplishments, O’Brien was the Surveyor-General and the Director of Lands in Darwin and served as a prominent member of numerous scholarly toponymic organizations such as the Committee for Geographical Names of Australia, the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory, and the Historical Society of the Northern Territory.
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.
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his September 26th column, he looks at the history of the name Serena.
Tennis great Serena Williams, who has twice won all four Grand Slam tournaments in a row, turns 36 today. Serena is the feminine form of Latin Serenus, meaning “clear” or “serene.” The first famous Serena was a niece of Theodosius, last emperor to rule both the western and eastern halves of the Roman Empire.
The 1850 U.S. census found 2,051 Serenas. The 1851 census of Great Britain had only 172. Perhaps Americans saw Serena, with its Latin origin, as part of the “Classical Revival” where towns were named Rome and Athens and babies Horace and Minerva.
Serena’s rise was boosted in 1993 when English actress Serena Scott Thomas starred in the miniseries “Diana: Her True Story.” In 1997, teen character Serena Baldwin (Carly Schroeder) began appearing on the soap “General Hospital.” Serena peaked again at 209th in 2000. 2000 was just after Serena Williams began her tennis career. Her first “Serena Slam” — winning the Australian, French and U.S. Opens along with Wimbledon — came in 2002 and 2003.
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Serenas in history!
Crayola has finally revealed the name of the new blue crayon that will replace the now-retired Dandelion yellow color in boxes around the world. A contest was held this summer to choose the name, with over 90,000 entries whittled down to just 5. The winner? Bluetiful. Predictably, some people complained that the winner wasn’t a real word and that children might get confused. Spoiler: “Crayola” isn’t a real word either; it comes from “craie”, the French word for chalk, and “ola” from oleaginous.
Throughout the United States, civil rights activists have fought to have the names of slave owners removed from public spaces and replaced with the names of champions for equality and social justice. This trend is not only to be found within the US, however. Across Europe, a similar movement has taken place. Most recently, the leaders of the Rotterdam Arts Centre decided to remove the name Witte de With, a 16th century Dutch admiral who led violent expeditions into Indonesia. Currently, the Arts Centre representative is looking for an appropriate onomastic replacement. The new name choice is expected to be announced in 2018.
Many people, both inside and outside of the Native American community, agree that the term “redmen” is offensive. Nevertheless, there are still athletic teams with names that feature this and other potentially offensive terms. A case in point is the Brooklin Redmen Lacrosse Club club in Ontario, Canada. Interested in learning about the history of the team, and what the team president thinks about this moniker? Read more here.