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What's in a Name?

The appalling appellations of babies, brands, and backronyms. See sources here.

TO ALTER the state's wintry image, North Dakota legislators have considered dropping the word "North" four times. To reform its crime-ridden reputation, in 2003 South Central L.A. was renamed South L.A.

NEW YORK has 12 laws named after crime victims, including Buster's Law, for a tabby cat doused with kerosene and set on fire.

BRAZIL OFFICIALLY recognizes only 5 racial categories, but a national survey found that Brazilians identify with 136, including "snow white" and "cinnamon."

IN 2002, the German firm Siemens ditched plans to use the name Zyklon for a line of home appliances, including gas ovens.

IN JULY, the U.N. renamed Auschwitz "the former Nazi German Concentration Camp of Auschwitz" after Poland objected to it being called a "Polish concentration camp."

PRINCE CHARLES may change his name to George when he is crowned king, due to the bloody associations with Charles I and II.

AFTER A CANADIAN ham company trademarked Parma, ham makers in Parma, Italy, were forced to rename their product sold in Canada "super ham."

LAST YEAR, Australia held a worldwide contest to rename kangaroo meat. Finalists included marsu, kangasaurus, marsupan, jumpmeat, and MOM (meat of marsupials).

IN 2005, McDonald's offered rappers $5 every time one of their songs mentioning a Big Mac was played on the radio.

TUPAC SHAKUR'S name appeared once on Rolling Stone's cover before his death and 4 times since.

IN 1992, MTV banned Sir Mix-A-Lot's raunchy "Baby Got Back." Last year, Target paid Sir Mix-A-Lot an undisclosed amount to change the chorus to "Baby got backpack" as part of its back-to-school marketing campaign.

since christian rocker Sonny Sandoval told MTV Cribs in 2000 that he'd named his daughter Nevaeh—heaven spelled backward—the name has become more popular than Mary.

JENNIFER was the most popular girl's name in America from 1970—the year Love Story came out—until 1984.

the popularity of Aidan rose from No. 114 in 2000 when the Sex in the City character was introduced to No. 43 in 2005.

MALAYSIA prohibits naming a child after an insect, fruit, or vegetable, and bans "undesirable" names such as "Smelly Dog" and "Hitler."

AT LEAST 3 Americans are named ESPN.

IN APRIL, Muhammad Ali sold all rights to his name for $50 million.

IN JULY, the president of Iran ordered that modified Persian words replace foreign words such as "chat," "helicopter," and "pizza"—which will now be known as "elastic loaves."

ABDUCTED BY THE CIA, German citizen Khaled el-Masri was detained for 5 months even after the CIA knew it had confused him with Al Qaeda operative Khalid al-Masri.

IN JULY 2005, the Global War on Terror officially became the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, or GSAVE, to emphasize that it's an "ideological battle." Since then the Bush administration has also test-driven the Global Struggle Against Enemies of Freedom and the Long War Against a Determined Enemy.

"BACKRONYM" BILLS recently debated by Congress include CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) and ENRON (Electricity Needs Rules and Oversight Now).

WHEN REP. DON YOUNG (R-Alaska) wanted a bill named for his wife, Lu, six staffers spent an afternoon formulating SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—;A Legacy for Users).

IN MARCH, Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) said, "I think people are starting to spend more time coming up with a clever acronym than they are worrying about the substance and the impact of the legislation they write."

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