Drop Bear Lane gets go-ahead in New South Wales, Australia

PHOTO: An artist’s impression of the mythical drop bear. (Wikimedia Commons: Yamavu (own work))

A community in north-western New South Wales is preparing to unveil a street named after an icon of Australian folklore. The “drop bear” is said to be a reclusive animal that shies away from roads and humans — but it is a different story at Upper Moore Creek near Tamworth where a road will be named after the mythical creature.

Tamworth Mayor Col Murray said reaction to the proposal had been positive and overwhelming. “It’s just something that’s attracted a lot of interest from people,” he said. “One of the consistent comments was that we tend to get very staid and very serious and ultraconservative about our road names and street names and things. This was thought to be a great thing to introduce a bit of light-heartedness.”

Can tech be biased when it comes to names?

Once again, the old computer adage rings true: “Garbage in…garbage out!” Researchers have discovered that many of the technological devices we have developed over the years to make our lives easier and more efficient suffer from some of the very same prejudices and biases that their plague their human designers.  For example, according to a CNN report, an internet search for a Black identifying name might be attached to ads that imply that the subject has a criminal record. Want to learn more? You can watch the whole report at the CNN website.

How Many Parents Named Their Kids “Kylo” Last Year?

The Social Security Administration officially released its 2016 baby name data, and Star Wars fans are responsible for making Kylo the fastest-growing name in the U.S. According to the data, 238 parents named their sons after the new Star Wars villain last year, although 14,569 opted for Benjamin, some of which presumably could’ve been inspired by Kylo’s real name. The runners up in that category were the equally pop-culture inspired Creed, Benicio, Adonis, Fox, and, shortly thereafter, Zayn.

Directory of the UK Map Collections now an online database

The Directory of the UK Map Collections has now been converted to a database. The directory database lists all of the major map collections in the British Isles and is run by the British Cartographic Society (BCS). Visit the website to browse for free!

Collections include:

  • National Libraries
  • National Mapping Agencies
  • Government Libraries & Archives
  • Corporation of London
  • London Museums, Societies, Institutions, Businesses, etc.
  • University & College Libraries
  • Museums, Societies, Institutions, Businesses, etc. outside London
  • Northern Ireland
  • Local Authority Libraries

Arunachal Pradesh: China renames districts in disputed India state

Image from GlobalSecurity.org

China has renamed six districts along a disputed Himalayan border region with India, in a move seen as “retaliation” for a visit by the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan spiritual leader, 81, had visited Arunachal Pradesh in India’s remote north-east earlier in April. China had said the visit had a “negative impact” on bilateral relations and warned India against “undermining” Beijing’s interests. India has not yet commented on the Chinese announcement, made on Tuesday. Here are the new names: Wo’gyainling, Mila Ri, Qoidêngarbo Ri, Mainquka, Bümo La and Namkapub Ri.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that the name changes were “a legitimate action by the Chinese government” which “reflect from another side that China’s territorial claim over South Tibet is supported by clear evidence in terms of history, culture and administration.” Lu explained that the names had been “passed on from generation to generation by people who lived there for generations, the Tibetan ethnic and Monpa ethnic groups,” but China had only just now got around to using them as part of an ongoing “second census of names and localities.”

New marine iguana discovered on Galapagos named “Godzilla”

The legend has finally become a reality. German researchers announced this month the discovery of an entirely new sub-species of iguana.  A thorny resident of San Cristóbal, the northeast island the Galapagos archipelago, the real-life creature bears such an uncanny resemblance to the cinematic legend Godzilla that researchers decided to give it the regal name Amblyrhynchus cristatus godzilla. Unlike its nearly invincible namesake, the real-life marine iguana is, like some many other of the world’s animal species, facing extinction.  Hopefully, the magnetic name will help to bring public attention to this species and support to preserve its threatened homeland. The research results were recently published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.


Exhibition: My Name Is…The Lost Children of Kloster Indersdorf, Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York, through July 2017

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, New York is currently holding a moving exhibition on the fates of hundreds of displaced children who found temporary shelter and relief in a German convent named Kloster Indersdorf.  The convent was requisitioned immediately after WWII by the US armed forces for the care and potential repatriation of homeless children found on the streets of war-torn Europe.   Dangerously malnourished and severely traumatized by the horrors of the Holocaust, these smallest survivors often had little more than their first and last name as a connection to their birth families and homelands.  Entitled “My Name is…The lost children of Kloster Indersdorf”, this powerful exhibition is a haunting reminder of the devastating effect war has upon the  most innocent and powerless of victims, both past and present. The exhibit will remain open until the 23rd of July 2017. 


Why Korean companies are forcing their workers to go by English names

Kim Do-hee, an employee of Kakao Friends Shop, uses a smartphone beside its goods in Seoul. (Ahn Young-joon/Associated Press)

The norm in South Korea is to call your colleagues or superiors not by their given names but by their positions. It’s the same for addressing your older friends or siblings, your teacher or any person on the street. But some companies are looking to eliminate some of this hierarchy. The best way to do that, it seems, is dictating that employees take English names. Using the actual name of your boss or co-workers feels impolite. But, hopefully, calling him or her an English nickname taps into a different cultural mind-set. Rachel Premack, writing in the Washington Post, looks at how such a change affects Korean workers’ attitudes and their very identity.


Aboriginal alternatives offered for offensive Tasmanian place names

Proposed changes in north-west Tasmania to Aboriginal names. Image from Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

Suicide Bay and Victory Hill are Tasmanian places with bloody histories and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) wants them replaced with Aboriginal words in the spirit of reconciliation.

The TAC has chosen 11 new names in palawa kani, the revived Tasmanian Aboriginal language, as dual and replacement names for sites around the state, under a proposal being put to the state’s Nomenclature Board.

Palawa kani language program co-ordinator Annie Reynolds said the TAC had carried out extensive consultation with the Aboriginal community, local councils and government representatives about the 11 proposed names.

Read on to find out more about the proposed changes and the importance of Aboriginal place names in Tasmania.