“Place names and the stories behind them define how we perceive and connect to landscape. But we live in a world populated by places named for colonizers: Libraries, streets and counties across the country bear names like Washington, Jefferson and Jackson, while ‘San’s and ‘Santa’s dot the Southwest, shadowing California’s coast in missionaries’ cloaks. Can we even see the land underneath those names, in all its complexities? And what is the impact on the mind — especially the Indigenous mind — of a lifetime spent repeating colonizers’ names, invoking their stories?” (Brian Oaster for High Country News)
Trilingual sign in southern Colorado. Photo by Orin Hargraves. See my October 2021 Visual Thesaurus column (no paywall!) for more discussion of place names.
“The name Tiffany has been around for some 800 years. But you can’t name a character in a historical novel ‘Tiffany,’ because people don’t believe the name is old. Science fiction and fantasy author Jo Walton coined the term ‘The Tiffany Problem’ to express the disparity between historical facts and the common perception of the past.” (The Allusionist Show)
“Turkey has a new name —at least at the United Nations. The organization has agreed to recognize it as Türkiye after a request from the country's government, which has been working to rebrand the nation's name since last winter.” (NPR)
“the main reason why turkey is changing its name is to eliminate association with the bird”— alexandra j. roberts (@lexlanham) June 18, 2022
that’s branding, baby! pic.twitter.com/edbV5YZlQ0
Design critic James I. Bowie looks into why so many cryptocurrency logos are variations on hexagons: “More businesslike than a circle but hipper than a square, the hexagon can be efficiently arrayed in a honeycomb pattern that hints at the power of interconnectivity and the depth of the ‘hive mind.’” My own guess: “hexadecimal” may play a role as well. (Fast Company)
Hexagonal crypto logos, via Fast Company
What does the pad- in padlock mean? What’s dead about a deadbolt? Mike Pope explores fascinating fasteners, along with false relations like warlock and hemlock.
If you’re even a little bit interested in dictionaries and lexicography, I recommend Pippa Bailey’s wonderful story for the New Statesman about the history of the OED. Here’s a passage that delighted me:
The English language evolves at such a pace that, for the OED lexicographers, the goalposts aren’t so much shifting as sprinting away from them. Once a word has gained its place, it may be moved – for example, to be listed as a variant spelling – but it is never taken out, meaning that the dictionary only ever expands. (This is true even of mistakes. The word “astirbroad” was added in 1885, but when an editor came to revise it in 2019, they discovered that it was an early-modern typo: the typesetter for the 17th-century book in which the word was originally found had dropped the word “stir” into “abroad”. Still, astirbroad remains.)