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Pop Culture

These fun facts about how 5 well-known things got their names are blowing people's minds

Did you know that the name "Idaho" was made up by a con artist who tried to pass it off as a Native American word?

image of idaho mountains overlaid with a screenshot from Merriam-Webster

From how Idaho got its name to why we capitalize "B" in "dB," here are some fascinating factoids.

The "I was today years old when I learned" meme might be a bit overdone at this point, but thanks to the random factoids people share on the internet, it's a near-daily reality. Rarely do we go an entire day without seeing some surprising, delightful or head-scratching piece of info cross our feeds.

Let's take the etymology of words, for example. Did you know that the word "jumbo" originated from an exceptionally large elephant named "Jumbo," and not the other way around? Or that the word "muscle" comes from the Latin musculus, meaning "little mouse," because the Romans thought that muscles moving looked like mice running under the skin?

It's fun to see where things come from, but sometimes we can be surprised by an origin that we thought for sure couldn't be right, but actually is. For instance:


Michelin star ratings for fancy restaurants come from the Michelin tire company.

Yes, really. The assumption many of us have been operating under is that Michelin the restaurant review guide must have been founded by some hoity toity French restaurant critic and not the tire company with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man mascot. Yet here we are, being all wrong.

They don't even try to hide it, so it's surprising that many of us don't know this. The logo and the Michelin man are right there at the top of the Michelin guide website, and the story of how the guide came about is shared on the About Us page:

"It all started in Clermont-Ferrand in central France in 1889, when brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin founded their eponymous tire company, fuelled by a grand vision for the French automobile industry at a time when there were fewer than 3,000 cars in the country. In order to help motorists develop their trips - thereby boosting car sales and in turn, tyre purchases - the Michelin brothers produced a small guide filled with handy information for travellers, such as maps, information on how to change a tyre, where to fill up on petrol, and wonderfully - for the traveller in search of respite from the adventures of the day - a listing of places to eat or take shelter for the night."

The Michelins gave away the guide for free until one of them saw a tire shop using them to prop up a workbench. They decided to demonstrate the value of the guide by charging money for it. They also started sending mystery diners to review restaurants anonymously, and over the next hundred years they'd hone the star rating system that restaurants now aspire to impress with.

The "Guinness" of The Guinness Book of World Records is actually the same Guinness as the beer company.

Similar story here—who knew this was the same Guinness? Only this time, the offshoot was founded not by Guinness himself but by British engineer and industrialist Sir Hugh Beaver, the managing director of the Guinness Brewery. He conceived of the idea in the early 1950s to satisfy bar patrons who asked trivia questions.

The impetus was Beaver himself getting into an argument over what was the fastest game bird in Europe during a shooting match. But he couldn't find the answer in any reference books. So he decided to create a book with the help of a couple of sports journalists, and the Guinness Book of World Records was born.

The first book was 190 pages and had 4,000 entries. As of 2022, more than 60,000 Guinness world records had been catalogued in the world records database.

The reason the "B" in dB, the abbreviation for "decibel," is capitalized is because it's named after Alexander Graham Bell.

This is one that came out of left field for a lot of folks. How many years did we spend in school without learning this simple fact?


Remember Hansen's Natural soda? It morphed into Monster.

If you were a child of the 80s or 90s, and especially if you had parents who were anti-Big Soda or anti-high fructose corn syrup, you probably drank your fair share of Hansen's Natural soda.

If you weren't paying close attention, you may not know that in 2012, Hansen's Natural Corporation officially changed its name…to Monster Beverage Corporation. That's right, as in Monster energy drinks. Apparently, they found that energy drinks had become their bread and butter, so they leaned into it full force.

Talk about a wild pendulum swing of a rebrand.

"Idaho" was made up by as sketchy congressional delegate who tried to pass it off as a Native American word

There are some unclear spots in the story, but the gist is that back in 1860, the Western territory of that would become Colorado was soon to become a state and needed a name. Congress wanted the state to have a Native American name and someone suggested Idaho, a name allegedly coined by congressional delegate George M. Willing, who claimed it was a Native American word from the Shoshone that meant "Gem of the Mountains." It wasn't and it didn't. He totally made it up.

Congress approved "Idaho" as the name for Colorado at first, but then took it back after they found out it wasn't actually a Native American name. (Did they then choose a Native American name? No, they went with the Spanish name of Colorado.)

In the meantime, someone had named a steamboat in the Pacific Northwest "Idaho," and then some mines got named after the steamboat, and after a few years and several "named after" iterations, people forgot that Idaho was a fake, made-up word, and Congress gave the state its name.

And now, Idaho is not only a state but the last name of a fan-favorite character in one of the best loved sci-fi stories of all time that takes place 10,000 years into the future. A conman's word forever immortalized. God bless America.

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


Health

Over or under? Surprisingly, there actually is a 'correct' way to hang a toilet paper roll.

Let's settle this silly-but-surprisingly-heated debate once and for all.

Elya/Wikimedia Commons

Should you hang the toilet paper roll over or under?


Humans have debated things large and small over the millennia, from the democracy to breastfeeding in public to how often people ought to wash their sheets.

But perhaps the most silly-yet-surprisingly-heated household debate is the one in which we argue over which way to hang the toilet paper roll.

The "over or under" question has plagued marriages and casual acquaintances alike for over 100 years, with both sides convinced they have the soundest reasoning for putting their toilet paper loose end out or loose end under. Some people feel so strongly about right vs. wrong TP hanging that they will even flip the roll over when they go to the bathroom in the homes of strangers.

Contrary to popular belief, it's not merely an inconsequential preference. There is actually a "correct" way to hang toilet paper, according to health experts as well as the man who invented the toilet paper roll in the first place.

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Pop Culture

Olivia Munn’s aggressive breast cancer and double mastectomy is a wakeup call to all women

She’d had a clean mammogram and tested negative for cancer genes just months before she was diagnosed.

Nicole Alexander/Wikimedia Commons

Olivia Munn at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

Actor Olivia Munn has announced that she's been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and has undergone a double mastectomy, and her story is one all women need to read.

The 43-year-old, who has a 2-year-old son with comedian John Mulvaney, shared her experience with photos, video and a written statement shared on Instagram.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer," she wrote in the post caption. "I hope by sharing this it will help others find comfort, inspiration and support on their own journey."

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Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?

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If this is "distracting," then what are girls supposed to wear? Cloaks?

With as much evidence we have showing how dress codes specifically target women, you would think that finally, in 2024, there would be an end to it. But here we are.

To show how this ridiculous, blatant discrimination continues to rear its ugly head, look no further than a video posted by a mother named Shasty Leah, who received a phone call from her daughter’s school a mere two hours before school day would end…due to her outfit “distracting the boys.”

And just what was Leah’s daughter wearing that was so distracting? A high neck, long sleeve shirt and blue jean-like leggings.

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Categories are great for some things: biology, herbs, and spices, for example.

Image via

But bodies? Well, putting bodies into categories just gets weird. There are around 300 million people in America, but only 12 or so standard sizes for clothing: extra-extra-small through 5x.


That's why designer Mallorie Dunn is onto something with her belief — people have different bodies and sizing isn't catching up.

Dunn has found that the majority of clothing sizes stop at an extra-large, yet the majority of women in America are over that. "And that just doesn't make sense," she says.

All images via Smart Glamor, used with permission.

Human spice rack, only, a LOT more variations of flava. ;)


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Most people imagine depression equals “really sad," and unless you've experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it's different for everyone.

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