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August 25, 2006

Links Du Jour 08-25-06

  • NASANew Spacecraft Name Leaked Into Space - Looks like an astronaut Jeff Williams let it slip that the new vehicle NASA hopes will bring us back to the moon is to be named Orion. I've written before about my fascination with space and the naming conventions used by astronomers that are taken right out of Greek Mythology. Orion means "The Hunter" and most people are aware of Orion's Belt, a constellation of three stars easily viewed by the naked eye.
  • Hitler CrossIndia's Hitler-Themed Eatery To Get New Name - And now, for the dumbest product name of the year: an Indian eatery that was until recently named "Hitler's Cross" and which was decorated with Nazi symbols. A good one to file under "What were you thinking?" category. This was probably a misguided effort to generate instant buzz about an otherwise unremarkable restaurant, but I have written before about how certain names, especially those relevant to the Nazi era, are simply no-go areas. I did find it interesting that the swastika, a symbol that by all means should be cast into infamy, once was a symbol of good luck in India. It is a symbol filled with occult meaning and mystery. But now it's just another casualty of the Nazis.
  • South_Africa_LogoAzayo Pursues South Africa Name Change Campaign - The Azanian Youth Organisation (Azayo) is pushing for the name Azania to replace the Republic of South Africa, noting that the name has been used for years by the various liberation movements within the country. The origins of country name changes are fascinating and I was interviewed about this by Southern California Public Radio on July 20th, 2006. My contacts in Cape Town assure me that this name change is probably not going to happen, but it is indeed a long running debate. One of the reasons the name will probably fail is because it is not an African word--it is from ancient Greek word azainein meaning "dry", its mythological roots lie closer to Somalia, and as such the African National Congress sees it as a yet more colonialist name that South Africa.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 25, 2006 9:50 AM
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