Fried Mars bars, Futurama theorem, the thagomizer, ëẍcëssïvë ümläüts, long names, Neutral Moresnet, and oddities of the English language

Today's post is a tad longer  than normal, and we will look at the metal umlaut, a comic-inspired anatomy nomenclature, Scots who deep-fat fry candy bars, a theorem about body switching, some odd English words, a sub-nation that was shared between the Prussians and the Dutch/Belgians, and a couple of odd names.
The longest name for a person in the world is Wolfe+585, Senior, which is short for Hubert Blaine Wolfe­schlegel­stein­hausen­berger­dorff, Sr., which itself is short for Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfe­schlegelstein­hausenberger­dorffvoraltern­waren­gewissenhaft­schaferswessen­schafewaren­wohlgepflege­und­sorgfaltigkeit­beschutzen­von­angreifen­durch­ihrraubgierigfeinde­welche­voraltern­zwolftausend­jahres­vorandieerscheinen­wander­ersteer­dem­enschderraumschiff­gebrauchlicht­als­sein­ursprung­von­kraftgestart­sein­lange­fahrt­hinzwischen­sternartigraum­auf­der­suchenach­diestern­welche­gehabt­bewohnbar­planeten­kreise­drehen­sich­und­wohin­der­neurasse­von­verstandigmen­schlichkeit­konnte­fortplanzen­und­sicher­freuen­anlebens­langlich­freude­und­ruhe­mit­nicht­ein­furcht­vor­angreifen­von­anderer­intelligent­geschopfs­von­hinzwischen­sternartigraumen, Senior. In addition to having first/middle names for every letter in the English alphabet, this German-born Philadelphian typesetter (appropriately enough profession) full surname entails 590 letters (thus the shortened "Wolfe+585"). Born in 1904, he unfortunately enough passed his whole name onto his son, who couldn't pronounce it until age three, which roughly translated, means "who before ages were conscientious shepherds whose sheep were well tended and diligently protected against attackers who by their rapacity were enemies who 12,000 years ago appeared from the stars to the humans by spaceships with light as an origin of power, started a long voyage within starlike space in search for the star which has habitable planets orbiting and whither the new race of reasonable humanity could thrive and enjoy lifelong happiness and tranquility without fear of attack from other intelligent creatures from within starlike space". Be sure to listen to the spoken article recording.
At least his name actually is pronounceable, unlike Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, whose name was filed in protest of Swedish naming laws. Fined 5,000 kroner (equivalent to $600 in 1996, now closer to $780) because they failed to file his name by age five, his parents responded with the name they claimed was pronounced "albin", which the courts rejected. They then tried to name him "A", which was similarly rejected.

The so-called metal umlaut or röck döts is simply the use of an umlaut (or other diacritic) for show, which is usually known as a type of foreign branding. Much like Häagen-Dazs, it's done not for phonetic reasons, but as decoration. It's usually combined with a kind of gothic script to evoke an ancient strength, evoking Teutonic or Viking stereotypes of power and bad-assery. Sometimes, this is indistinguishable from real Scandinavian (or other North European) names which have been associated with black or death metal in the last few decades. Examples include Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, and Blue Öyster Cult. The real trema is used in many languages as a sound shift in vowels, but English tends to lack this feature, favoring to substitute in other vowels with contextual pronunciations or an acute accent.
The fictional band Spın̈al Tap in the mockumentrary This Is Spın̈al Tap uses an umlaut over the n and a dotless i to mock this.

English words with uncommon properties: I'm not even gonna try. Just read it.

I like to consider myself a bit of a candy connoseuir, and was blessed with a high enough metabolism as a child to keep me from getting fat as I gorged myself on junk food. However, the first time I ever saw a Mars bar was two years ago, when flying home and stopped over at an airport in Leipzig, whose gift shop had lots of quality candy. So, I couldn't really tell you if the Scottish tradition of deep-frying a Mars bar is as odd as it sounds. It was invented in a fish'n'chips bar in Aberdeen in 1995, and its spread was ironic in the face of the notoriously unhealthy diet of many Scots. Roughly 40% of surveyed chip shops sell or have sold the delicacy, and has spread to other areas (such as New Zealand, who use Moro bars with it). That said, I'm not sure even a glutton like myself would eat it.
And Europeans make fun of Americans as fat?

Neutral Moresnet was what is technically termed a "condominimum", which isn't a residence but a political territory equally shared and equally governed by two independent nations. In this case, this little swatch of land centered around the city of Kelmis, and its highly coveted zinc mines. When the Congress of Vienna redrew the maps in Europe in 1815, but left this square mile with 3,000 residents in doubt, and joint administration was a compromise between the Netherlands and Prussia. When Belgium became independant of the Netherlands in 1830, they took over the Dutch stake, and the Germans swiftly claimed it as they overran the Belgian borders in World War I. The Treay of Versailles made it permanently part of Belgium, which it remains today.
A German postcard circa 1900 depicts Moresnet.

We at Funcyclopdia like comics, if you hadn't gathered by now. We like Gary Larson, and we like the Far Side. We also like when life imitates art, and even more when you combine the two concepts. The term "Thagomizer" was coined in one of his strips, where a caveman identifies the spikes at the end of a stegosaurus's tail as such in memorium of "the late Thag Simmons". Naturally enough, a palaeontologist who enjoyed the strip began using the term in jest, but its use became serious when he referred to it at a conference in 1993. Even if it is informal, it is an accepted anatomical term, used by the Smithsonian in displays and on thier website.
Gary Larson's original comic
WikiWorld comic by Greg Williams

Last but not least is another case of life imitating art: the Futurama theorem. It was invented purely for the titular show, and is used in the episode "The Prisoner of Benda". In a scenario where a machine can transfer minds between the bodies of two individuals once (but never agin between those two), and again to other individuals any given number of time, it will be possible to restore all minds back to thier respective bodies with the assistance of two fresh individuals. This excersize in group theory, of course, reveals the plot for the whole episode, where body swapping reaches a frenetic pace and overly-complicated net of confusion, but all is well once the two volunteers step in. To put it overly simplistically, one of the helpers holds the body of the first individual, and the second slowly unravels the network, going straight from the current occupant to the target. It was devised by Futurama writer Ken Keeler, who also happens to have a PhD in applied math from Harvard and can show the proof in formula (which he does, on-screen).

That's all for today, sports fans. I've gotten my camera back, and will start filming segments and showing off my truly horrible editing skills with Windows Movie Maker in a few weeks. Happy reading!

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