The hypermarché is coming
I'm going to reformat this blog as a catalogue of inventions yet to be made and noteworthy wikipedia entries. Before the design change and real content transfer I'll give you one of my recent finds.
I was thinking about names and their variations across several languages. I wondered if the male given name Mario is a masculine form of Maria and then if it were the only name that was derived from a female name. No and no.
Then I thought of the name Gary and how it's a silly name that I associate with lecherous business executives or socially retarded software engineers. I couldn't think of its equivalent in other languages or even its origins. Wikipedia told me:
The name Gary is derived from the word spear in Old English & Germanic languages, and used to describe a "spear thrower".
More importantly, I found:
Gary was relatively rare as a given name in the 1900-1920s period (e.g., in the 1910s it was the 677th most frequent name, given to less than 0.01% of the babies born in that decade). However, when the actor's Gary, Indiana-born agent Nan Collins told him to change his name (then Frank Cooper) to Gary, this name's popularity soared. In the 1930s, 0.38% of the male babies in America were named Gary, and in the 1950s as many as 1.54% of the male babies were given this name, making it the 12th most popular given name of that decade. The name Gary reached its record popularity (9th place) in 1954, the year after Gary Cooper received his Best Actor Academy Award for his leading role in High Noon. Since then, the popularity of Gary as a given name in America has been on a very slow, but steady decline.