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I find this post and comments to be surprisingly delightful. I'll aggregate the scattered gems in the comments here:

- Sideburns : Named after the American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside.

- Heaviside function (a mathematical step function) : named after Oliver Heaviside

- The Children's python (animal) : Named after John George Children.

- Snowflake, AZ : Named after Erastus Snow and William Jordon Flake.

- Lake Mountain, Victoria : No lake. Named after George Lake, who was the Surveyor-General of the area including the mountain.

[*] Search for the relevant comment for more info and references.

Sadly, I can't edit the comment anymore. Here are a few more.

- German Chocolate Cake - Named after the English-American chocolate maker Samuel German.

- Baker's Chocolate (popular American brand of baking chocolate) - Named after Dr. William Baker

- Loop subdivision (CG term) - Named after its inventor Charles Loop.

- French Hill (neighborhood in Jerusalem) - Named after British general John French. (Disputed)

- Mobile Homes (my absolute favorite) - Named after their place of fabrication, Mobile Alabama. Bonus fact (mine): The product's original name (that sadly didn't catch on) was "Sweet Homes" after their inventor James Sweet! And The 1974 Lynyrd Skynyrd hit “Sweet Home Alabama” was a reworking of a 1951 radio jingle advertising “Sweet Homes, Alabama.”

The Mobile Homes one is a fake story made up by Snopes for their TRoLL section. It's not true. There was no business called Sweet Homes in Mobile, and the prefab housing industry did not originate there.

Manufactured houses really did grow out of the camper/trailer industry. The name "mobile home" is a holdover from when they had wheels. The first companies to deliver prefab houses to set on foundations already had thriving businesses making trailer-homes or other prefab structures (like those seen on construction sites)

Another food item:

– Caesar salad — named after Caesar Cardini, a restauranteur in San Diego and Tijuana [1]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_salad

I don't think it's unexpectedly named after a person, but it may qualify as named after an unexpected person.

Nachos are also named after a person - a maitre d' named Ignacio, who needed to come up with something to serve one night after his chef had already left). The word "Nazi" comes from the same root, a nickname for Ignatz used to make fun of Bavarian peasants.

According to Snopes, the song "Sweet Home Alabama" was actually inspired by a radio commercial for "Sweet Homes" that had aired decades earlier. Full circle.

You fell for a Snopes TRoLL. They made that story up. Mobile homes are called that because they can move. There was never a mobile home company called "sweet homes", and the industry does not originate in Mobile.

The ultimate troll entry for me on Snopes is:

> So how did this claim arise? In a 1993 PC Professional article, columnist Lisa Holst wrote about the ubiquitous lists of “facts” that were circulating via e-mail and how readily they were accepted as truthful by gullible recipients. To demonstrate her point, Holst offered her own made-up list of equally ridiculous “facts,” among which was the statistic cited above about the average person’s swallowing eight spiders per year, which she took from a collection of common misbeliefs printed in a 1954 book on insect folklore. In a delicious irony, Holst’s propagation of this false “fact” has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the Internet.

This is NOT in their "TroLL" section -- it is not clearly marked as being a fake fact.

See https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/swallow-spiders/ .

Yet if you do the homework -- other people have, and I have tried to reproduce it myself -- there is no such source. See https://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2094/is-a-write... for example.

This Snopes article cites a column reportedly called "Reading Is Believing" from a periodical called "PC Professional", page 71, date 7 January 1993. I was unable to find the existence of any such periodical although there is "PC professionnel", published in German, ISSN 0939-5822, whose archives seem to only be available in German libraries (and I have not reviewed those).

However, I was able to find in the Cornell University archives, a quarterly periodical called the Cornell Engineer, which carried a column by a student columnist dated April 1992 (Volume 56 number 2, page 24, column title "Stress and Strain", author Margot Anne-Stephanie Vigeant '94). That seems to predate the January 1993 citation given in the Snopes article, and the 1992 student-publication column text says in part

> My first topic for this issue is worries. I've decided that there are just too many well adjusted, un-paranoid people in this school (NOT), so I've decided to wreck their peace of mind by sharing a list of my favorite worries with them. These are the kind of things that just jump into your mind right before you're about to fall asleep - horrible little night gremlins whose goal it is to keep you up just a little bit longer. So here they are, hope you can sleep after this:

> The average person swallows eight spiders while sleeping, in their lifetime. What if all eight show up tonight?

Meanwhile the source that Snopes apparently made up, Lisa Birgit Holst, is an anagram for "This is a big troll".

It's just odd. Their debunking contains a pointless lie; there is a real citation available they chose not to use.

Gotta wonder about their other debunkings, which is the whole point, really: They salt their site with lies to keep you on your toes.

For the benefit of anyone else reading fabrication is the key word in the origin of “Mobile homes”

Lynyrd Skynyrd themselves should be on that list.

I believe French drains were invented by an engineer named James French

I like Mobile home especially because of affects how you write it, and how you say it.

The joys of English… Where the exact same word can have two different pronunciations depending on the context.

One I'm fond of is Angel Falls[1] in Venezuela, named after aviator Jimmie Angel.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Falls

Student’s T-test/distribution:


Waterfall Glen, a forest preserve outside Chicago, IL, has a waterfall but is named after Seymour Waterfall.


Millbrae, California (suburb of San Francisco-San Jose right next to SFO) is a conjunction of Mill and 'brae.' Mill refers to Darius Ogden Mills (at one point the richest person in California) who purchased the land in 1860 and brae is a Scottish word for "rolling hills". [1]

Longyearbyen in Svalbard (Longyear Town), the main settlement, is named after John Monro Longyear, an American coal magnate from Michigan [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millbrae,_California

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longyearbyen

Nice. As an aside, how do you pronounce Heaviside? Is it hevy-side or heevy-side or...?

From the IPA pronunciation guide of Oliver Heaviside's wikipedia page (mouse over the bit in parenthesis right after his name at the top of the page), "heavy side", with a slight emphasis on the first syllable of "heavy".


At university in the UK it was always pronounced heavy-side.

Same. I guess I'll continue saying it that way. But I always feel so awkward about it!

My first interpretation was heveh-side or hevi-side.

I have no idea what the correct pronunciation is. But between you and me, I think we have some viable candidates.

Heavy side - it’s a pun

There is also a King Street in London's Hammersmith. The surprising bit is that, in a city full of places named after various monarch, it was named after bishop John King.

A potential addition: - Pink Lake [1] in Quebec, Canada named for the Pink family who cleared land in the area.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Lake_(Canada)

Adidas = Adi Dassler

This doesn't belong in the category, since it's obviously a name. If it were called "Running Shoes" because the company founder was named "Running", then it would belong..

It wasn't obviously a name to me. Next you'll say Nike is a name!

What's "Adidas" to you then? the examples show nouns or adjectives that turn out to be the inventor's name (like PageRank, you think it's from "web pages", but oh, it's from "Larry Page", or "Main Street", where you think it's because it's the primary street, but oh, it's actually named after a Mr. Main).

So what noun or adjective is "Adidas"?

I'm going to complain about being downvoted and I'm gonna grumpily say even HN isn't immune to anti-intellectualism...

I had thought both Adidas and Nike were made up words, like Kodak.

Not sure if you were trying to make a joke, but Nike is the Greek goddess of victory.

What a coincidence!

It doesn't belong in the same way that Debian doesn't.

The good ones in the list are good because they are not obviously a name of a person, the name of the thing makes sense independently to it being named after a person.

"Lake Mountain" could easily be named that because it is a mountain with a lake, so it is interesting that Lake Mountain is named after someone named Lake; Adidas and Debian are unexpected simply because they don't look like the name of a person, or anything else!

French's mustard -> Robert Timothy French.

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