Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Beer name Reeb

One of the most popular beers in Shanghai is named Reeb (the reverse of beer). Yes, it uses an old naming technique. But I am all for it, as mirror names have always worked. Makes the brand look clever and offers a talking point for the glugger. The only issue with the name could be the sound. Reeb's acoustics is not as good as say Tiger, Budweiser or Heineken. It's got a wimpish sound. Almost like the feeb in feeble. But who cares. At the end of the day, all that counts is it's a short, interesting name.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What is the name of the largest number?

A Googol is 1 followed by a 100 zeroes. That is 10^100. Edward Kasner popularized this concept in 1940. It's not the largest number known to mankind. Wikipedia says the Shannon Number (the exhaustive number of possible moves in a chess board) amounts to 10^120. This was computed in 1950. Long before, Kasner or Shannon, Valmiki gave us a clue about numbers not known to mankind. And Hindu wizard mathematicians had names for it. Listed below is a set of terms that should boggle your mind -

10^5: Lakh
10^7: Crore
10^12: Shanku
10^17: Mahashanku
10^22: Vrindam
10^27: Mahavrindam
10^32: Padmam
10^37: Mahapadmam
10^42: Kharvam
10^47: Mahakharvam
10^52: Samudram
10^57: Ogha
10^62: Mahaugha

Georges Ifrah mentions another set of names for large numbers in ancient India...

Koti —10^7
Ayuta —10^9
Niyuta —10^11
Kankara —10^13
Pakoti —10^14
Vivara —10^15
Kshobhya —10^17
Vivaha —10^19
Kotippakoti —10^21
Bahula —10^23
Nagabala —10^25
Nahuta —10^28
Titlambha —10^29
Vyavasthanapajnapati —10^31
Hetuhila —10^33
Ninnahuta —10^35
Hetvindriya —10^37
Samaptalambha —10^39
Gananagati —10^41
Akkhobini —10^42
Niravadya —10^43
Mudrabala —10^45
Sarvabala —10^47
Bindu —10^49
Sarvajna —10^51
Vibhutangama —10^53
Abbuda —10^56
Nirabbuda —10^63
Ahaha —10^70
Ababa —10^77
Atata —10^84
Soganghika —10^91
Uppala —10^98
Kumuda —10^105
Pundarika —10^112
Paduma —10^119
Kathana —10^126
Mahakathana —10^133
Asankheya —10^140
Dhvajagranishamani —10^421

Asankheya is supposed to have figured in Vishnu Sahasranama. It also happens to be the Hindi word for countless. It is larger than the Shannon Number. And Dhvajagranishamani beats Asankheya by a mile. So is that the largest known number? Nopes. The largest number is a never ending story. In the begining, we were told it's Googolplex (10^Googol). Then came Googolplexian (10^10^Googol). Then Googoltriplex (10^10^10^Googol). The mathematicians didn't stop. The tweaking continued. And now we're at Googoldecaplex. That's like 10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10^10^Googol. The only larger number I know is Anantha :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Element 112 to be named Heisenbergium?

The hunt is on for a new name for Ununbi (one-one-two in latin), the chemical element number 112. BBC did an interview with scientist John Hemsley, who seems to indicate a groundswell of support for naming the element after Werner Heisenberg (yes, the uncertainty principal). But till it happens, we'll never be certain.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Factonama # 11

Volkswagen's new pickup truck is called Amarok. It's has been derived from the name of the giant wolf in Inuit mythology. Unlike normal wolves that hunt in packs, Amarok is supposed to do it all alone.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

7 billion people. 183 million domain names.

Verisign, the meticulous chronicler of the domain name grabgame, has certified that as on date, there are close to 183 million domain names in use. I feel, we've just scratched the surface. There will be an explosion of dot ins, dot coms, dot TVs, dot radios, dot shops and dot what nots in the future. Considering there are close to 7 billion people on this planet, I think the game has just begun.

Arivazhagan - The beauty with brains

While I was commuting to my office, I chanced upon a fascinating name while gazing at one of those over-cluttered political posters that dot the Chennai outdoorscape. The name in question belongs to a congress politician. I thought, it's a beautiful coinage because it marries beauty (azhagu) and brains (arivu). I haven't come across an English equivalent. Excitedly, I googled Arivazhagan. To my surprise, I found it's a common tamil name. Then the jigyaasu baalak in me took over. I was curious to know what these guys looked like in real life. Did they turn out to be as handsome as their moms imagined them to be? I must say google images didn't reveal any Adonis. But then as they say, beauty lies.

Ambasamudram Ambani

The name of a Karunaas flick, just launched. It caught my eye the moment I saw it. Yes, it rides on Dhirubhai's name. But what adds fizz to it is the alliterative touch of Ambasamudram. When put together, Ambasamudram Ambani teases you into imagining a tale of a smalltown systembeater. I like the sound of it. That's why enakku idhu pidichurukku.