17 March 2008

Baby Name Wizard's Name Voyager is FASCINATING

Go to this link (you need to have Java on). The screen will fill with a multilayered (blue boys, pink girls) image of all the names assigned to babies in the United States for the last 100 years. At the upper left is a blinking black cursor. Click on the cursor and start typing a name (or just a random letter); the image will show all names starting with that letter (I used "B" in the example above). As you continue to type a name, the image continues to evolve until finally if you type the complete name, you see the demographics of how its popularity has changed. The scale on the right tells you how many babies got that name each year, and if you move your cursor over the image itself, it tells you the rank of the name for a given year.

After you try your own name and that of your family members and friends, try exploring. I discovered that "Bill" has almost disappeared (and William also!?), as have Mary and George. Jesus and Mohammed have risen; Monica spiked and then fell out of favor. Look at the biphasic pattern for "I" and "O" and the lonely peak of "P." Q, X, and Z are hot.

Endlessly interesting. Send it to your friends.

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