Zyzmor's Revenge?

In the SuperFreakonomics section about various "birth effects," we cited some research about the downside of having a surname that begins with a letter late in the alphabet: It is common practice, especially among economists, to co-write academic papers and list the authors alphabetically by last name. What does this mean for an economist who happened to be born Albert Zyzmor instead of, say, Albert Aab? Two (real) economists addressed this question and found that, all else being equal, Dr. Aab would be more likely to gain tenure at a top university, become a fellow in the Econometric Society (hooray!), and even win the Nobel Prize.

Xcellent Names for Drugz

Ever wondered why so many prescription drug names are loaded with x's and z's? Scrabble gives a hint.

Rough Name, Rough Start?

A criminal's name.

Vote Now for 2010 Name of the Year

Voting for the 2010 Name of the Year contest has begun.

When Is a Naming Law More Than a Naming Law?

A number of countries have passed naming laws, forbidding citizens from giving their kids certain types of names, but North Korea's new naming law is more meaningful.

"Kevin Is Not a Name — It's a Diagnosis!"

We've written extensively about the consequences of baby naming. The name you choose for your children can affect his “Google-ability” or even get you in trouble with the law. A new survey of 2,000 elementary school teachers in Germany finds that your children's names may also affect how teachers perceive them (translation available here).

The "Bill Golden Gates Bridge"?

In case you missed it, take a look at this plan for the cash-strapped New York MTA to sell off naming rights to subway stations. The first taker: Barclays, which will buy the privilege to rename the stop at Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Brooklyn Barclays Center.

Mao's Little Red Aircraft Carrier

Freakonomics readers know that a baby's name reveals more about its parents than about the baby. That's also true of naval ships. The Christian Science Monitor reports that China's online community has taken a strong interest in naming that country's first aircraft carrier -- if it ever gets built. The most favored name? Mao Zedong. China's state newspaper approved, with one caveat: if an aircraft carrier named after Mao is damaged in battle, "it might hurt ordinary people's feelings."

The Downside of Sexy Science

A paper by a team of scientists and analysts maps out how fields and subdisciplines emerge in 21st-century science. One of the main findings: much like trendy baby names boom and bust, the most high-influence subdisciplines also tend to be the most short-lived.

Forecast: There Will Be No More Cash in 2012

An interesting fact: The faster that a new baby name becomes popular, the faster it will die out. At least that's the conclusion of a comprehensive study of naming patterns in both France and the U.S. by my Wharton colleague Jonah Berger and co-author Gael Lë Mens.