Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

The Rise and Fall of Names

My wife Katherine recently pointed me to a very cool website that produces a historical graph showing the popularity of a name through time. The interactive graphing feature, the NameVoyager, is really well done and fun to play with. “What should we name our child?” is a common conversation today among our peers, many of whom are now firmly enagaged in the procreation phase of life.

When I was born in the 70’s, my name was on the rise in popularity, peaked around 1980, and has been falling steadily ever since, though it is still more common today than when I was born.

Since Katherine had already ruled out my suggestions that we name our son Agamemnon or Klaxtor5, we named him Quinn, aiming for a name that was relatively uncommon, yet not so rare as to be strange or difficult to spell or pronounce. Being word nerds, we also wanted a name with a high Scrabble score. (Never mind the fact that proper nouns don’t count, please.)

Update: Hunter Walk, the AdSense Partner Manager at Google, pointed out to me that another consideration when naming your child should be how easily discoverable they will be when using a search engine. I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of that myself, though I did reserve on his behalf.

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June 2nd, 2005     Categories: Family, Miscellaneous    

Grammar Crime: Teacher’s Plant

121104_1445I was out shopping today with Katherine and Quinn, and I spotted the following sign, which was proofread neither for grammar nor for irony. Perhaps Mrs. Miller (neĆ© Noland), my high school English teacher, had too much influence over me in my formative years, but I’ve got a nearly reflexive compulsion to proofread everything I see, particularly signage. For some reason, sign makers in particular seem afflicted with two grammatical maladies: the “gratuitous” use of quotation marks and the tendency to use the apostrophe when there is no possessive in sight.

December 11th, 2004     Categories: Miscellaneous    

The Coolest Vegetable

RomanescuMy good friend Martin Reinfried has a photoblog, where he took a couple shots that reminded me of the coolest (among a very nerdy fan-base) vegetable I know of: romanescu broccoli. The fractal, self-similar appearance of this vegetable is a great visual example of mathematics in the natural world and yet another example of the Fibonacci sequence in living things.

December 5th, 2004     Categories: Miscellaneous