Tom Collins Has Spoken

We recently published a post about what seemed like an aptonym -- a researcher named Thomas Collins who's been studying the chemical footprints of whiskeys. Does he in fact share a name with the cocktail Tom Collins, or does he stick to Thomas? Thankfully, Professor Collins (or someone doing a good impression of him) left a comment on the post:

I do go by Tom. I, too, heard every combination of comments about what my parents might have been drinking, etc. I made a deliberate choice, therefore, to study whiskeys rather than gin …


A Tom Collins By Any Other Name …

Marc Resnick, a professor of human factors and information design at Bentley University, writes to say:

I came across this fantastic aptonym today and as a major Freakonomics fan I had to share it with you: A research team at U.C.-Davis just published a study on the chemical fingerprints of American whiskeys.  And the lead researcher is Tom Collins

To be fair, the scholar's name is Thomas Collins (he is director of the university's Food Safety and Measurement Facility), and we don't know if he really goes by Tom.* Furthermore, Tom Collins the drink is made with gin, which isn't a whiskey, the beverage under study here. But still ... fantastic. Thanks, Marc.

*Prof. Collins, please drop us a line and let us know if you do.

FREAK-est Links

1. Today in aptonyms: a trainer named Michael Jock. (HT: Stephanie D)

2. Certain homes in Gary, Indiana going for $1 a house -- but most buyers don't fit the qualifications. (HT: Dave McCall)

3. Drive-in "sex boxes" in Zurich designed to make work less dangerous for sex workers.

4. Consider the price of lobster: cheap at the bay this year, still expensive at restaurants.

5. Does birth order matter? (HT: Eric M. Jones)

Anthony Weiner's Sunk Costs?

Anthony Weiner is still running for mayor of New York as I write this, though that status may soon change. Not coincidentally, a reader named Jon Creem (an unfortunate aptonym in this case?) writes in to say:

Yesterday I enjoyed listening to your show about "Quitting." The segment where you explained "sunk cost" was especially interesting.

I took the explanation as people's unwillingness to give up due to the amount of investment (time, money, etc) they have already made.

Then, when catching up on the latest Anthony Weiner mayoral saga, I couldn't help make a connection.

Is this guy refusing to remove himself from the race because he feels he has done too much already to drop out now? In my opinion the odds are stacked against him regardless of how good a politician he is.

I assume continuing to campaign will only cost him more time and money. Is it worth it for him to continue?

Insofar as pride and ego are components of sunk cost, I guess Jon is right. On the other hand, it doesn't strike me that Weiner's continuing to run is really about sunk cost. Modern politics is so often an exercise in ego, hubris, and narcissism -- and if I were to armchair-analyze Weiner, I'd suggest that these factors are much more important than the sunk costs of time and money.

An Aptly Named Men's Room

In a few weeks we'll be putting out a Freakonomics Radio episode about baby names. To hold you over until then, here's an article about a naming-rights story that is amusing and has the added benefit of appearing to be true: a men's room named after law professor Bill Falik. Yes, that would appear to be an aptonym.

(HT: Michael Jones)

The Rising Obesity Tide

Obesity continues to plague the U.S., with nine states now reporting that more than 30% of their population is obese.

Today in Aptonyms

A well-named plant scientist recently weighed in on the European Commission's decision to "to allow genetically modified potato varieties to be grown in some European Union countries."

Yes, Part II

In a recent post, I extolled the virtues of Robert Cialdini‘s Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. The book is wonderfully designed in 50 short chapters to describe the results of 50 different randomized field experiments. The format of, say, 1,800 words per chapter is a bit unusual. But I found it a […]

If I Change My Name to Millionaire, Will I Win the Lottery?

We’ve said it many times before: your name is not your destiny. Unless you choose to make it so. In our continuing quest to bring you Grade A aptonyms from every walk of life, here’s the latest offering: + The author of a new bread cookbook, Kneadlessly Simple, named Nancy Baggett. (HT: Raj Pandravada.) + […]

Toronto's Punny Business

As much as we love aptonyms on this blog, we also appreciate a cleverly named store (not, however, all those horrible names for hair salons — Hair Port, Shear Elegance, etc.). Our readers in Toronto, for instance, may have stopped in for lunch today at the Hindenburger (the patties are flame-broiled, naturally), after picking up […]