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The Quick 10: How 10 Well-Known Beverages Got Their Names

Today marks the anniversary of the first day Coca-Cola was sold. As a Diet Coke addict, I'm extremely grateful to Mr. John Stith Pemberton, although the first sales of Coke at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta in 1886 were considerably cheaper (five cents a glass) than what I pay now. In honor of this historic day, I give you...

How 10 Well-Known Beverages Got Their Names

Coca-Cola was named for two of the ingredients that made up the drink at the time "“ coca leaves and kola nuts.

Mountain Dew is an old slang word for moonshine. It was marketed as "zero-proof moonshine" for a while and even used pictures of hillbillies in its marketing efforts until 1973.
Fanta - Two versions here, both based on the German word "fantasie" (fantasy/imagination). Story #1 "“ a contest was held for employees to name the drink. The inventors told employees to let their "fantasie" run wild. One salesman came up with Fanta. Story #2- same thing, except early versions of the drink were made from by products of cheese and jam production. Thus, the consumer would have to use their "fantasie" to imagine that the beverage actually tasted like oranges.

TAB "“ A computer randomly generated 250,000 three- or four-letter name possibilities. Why TAB was selected out of that list isn't for certain, but Coca-Cola says it's because it helps people keep "tabs" on their weight.

Pepsi "“ Used to be called the highly imaginative "Brad's Drink." Inventor Caleb D. Bradham bought the name "Pep Kola" from a local competitor, which eventually evolved into "Pepsi-Cola" and then "Pepsi".

Canada Dry "“ Pretty simple explanation here. It was invented in Canada, and dry was supposed to mean "not sweet" (as opposed to "not wet"). There you have it.
Started in Canada. Dry = not sweet

A&W Rootbeer "“ This one's pretty easy, too. A&W = the company's founders, Roy Allen and Frank Wright.

Gatorade "“ This beverage was invented to help a football team with dehydration issues. The team? The University of Florida Gators. Gator-aid.

Dr Pepper "“ The rumor is that the man who bought the formula, Wade Morrison, used to live near a Dr. Charles T. Pepper and had a thing for his daughter. Also, as someone who considers the AP Stylebook akin to the Bible, I have to share - with this particular brand name there is never a period after the "r" in Dr.

Squirt "“ So-named because it "Squirts" in your mouth like a ripe grapefruit.

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Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
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Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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