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Popular Names

It is still a cool spring, but some of the trees are starting to bud out & flower.    Below is the Capitol on March 22 at about 8am in the morning calm and the soft morning mist.  You can see some of the trees are getting leaves.  

US captiol at 8 am on March 23, 2009

Below are a few interesting links. 

This one from the Economist talks about new dams.   Many countries need to develop more water storage.   Follow this link.

This one talks about the ancient Greeks & Romans.   The Greeks & Romans are a little out of style in the modern academia.     Many people now prefer to emphasize the contributions of the less well known or the less western civilizations.   The problem is that the reason we have revered the Greeks and Romans for so long is that they contributed so much to civilization.    The Greeks and Romans also had a viable literature.    This article tells more about it.

Finally, I happened on this name popularity page.   The most popular first name in the U.S. is still John.    And the most popular last name is still Smith.   You can put in any name and find out where it ranks along with a map showing the distribution.   I typed in “Matel,” which is not a common name.   Matels are relatively most common in Wisconsin.  I suppose most of those are some relation of mine.    There are also some in California, I don’t know if any of those are my cousins.  There is a Matel in Colorado.  I know at least one person there, Larry Matel is my relation. He contacted me via email a while back. I noticed that there is a John Matel in Duluth.    According to the Whitepages, he is ninety-five years old. My father was born in Duluth and his family lived there.  Maybe this is one of his cousins.

Map showing Matel listings in telephone book

You can play with the names in various ways.  For example, you can choose names from various ethnic groups and see the distributions.  Wisconsin is the home of many German names.   Minnesota has lots of Scandinavians.  I didn’t find anything unexpected, but I wasn’t looking hard.


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