In 2004, Livermore, Calif., paid Miami artist Maria Alquilar $40,000 to create a ceramic mural outside its new library. Its pride was short-lived: The mural misspelled the names of 10 of the 175 historical figures it honored:
Vincent Van Gough
German chemist Otto Beckmann’s name was spelled Beckman, and Italian sculptor Luca Della Robbia’s name was spelled Luca Della Robia.
“The most egregious is Einstein,” library director Susan Gallinger told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s the worst one.” Livermore is home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Unfortunately, California state law bars the city from removing or changing public art without the creator’s consent, so the city council had to pay Alquilar an additional $6,000 to correct the errors.
The artist was unapologetic. “The people that are into humanities, and are into Blake’s concept of enlightenment, they are not looking at the words,” she told the Associated Press. “In their mind, the words register correctly.”
The Danish word for TAX is SKAT.
v. to reveal or confess
In 2005, archivist George Redmonds discovered something surprising among English birth records of the 14th century: a girl named Diot Coke.
She was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1379. Researchers at Britain’s National Archives believe that her first name is a diminutive of Dionisia and her last name a variation of Cook.
She might have done worse. Popular girls’ names of the time included Godelena, Helwise, Idony, and Avice.
- To frustrate eavesdroppers, Herbert Hoover and his wife used to converse in Chinese.
- Asteroids 30439, 30440, 30441, and 30444 are named Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp.
- COMMITTEES = COST ME TIME
- 15618 = 1 + 56 – 1 × 8
- How is it that time passes but space doesn’t?
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary gives no pronunciation for YHWH.
adj. made of wood
German astronomer Karl Reinmuth discovered and named more than 400 asteroids. Among them are these eight:
Their initials spell G. STRACKE, for Gustav Stracke, a fellow astronomer who had asked that no planet be named after him. In this way Reinmuth could honor his colleague without contradicting his wish.
n. delight, pleasure, enjoyment
n. pleasure or delight
v. to delight oneself
Ixonia, Wisconsin, was named at random.
Unable to agree on a name for the town, the residents printed the alphabet on slips of paper, and a girl named Mary Piper drew letters successively until a name was formed.
The town was christened Ixonia on Jan. 21, 1846, and it remains the only Ixonia in the United States.