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Why Do They Call It Trinidad AND Tobago?

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Christopher Columbus did a lot of naming in his day. As it turns out, he had a hand in naming four of the five island-nations with two names. Is that an obscure enough fact for you? Still, this is definitely the kind of fact that shows up on pub trivia night, and if you know it, you’re going to look like a genius.

Trinidad and Tobago

Ol’ Chris Columbus named the Trinidad portion of the island-nation duo Trinidad and Tobago after—what else can be expected from a Catholic explorer?—the Holy Trinity. Rumor has it people started calling the other, smaller island “Tobago” because of all the tobacco grown (and smoked) by the natives there. The neighboring islands have been linked since the late 1880s, when a British commission combined Tobago with Trinidad.

Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda has a similar story. Columbus named the Antigua portion of the two-island country after a Cathedral in Spain, Santa Maria La Antigua, but the name Barbuda, which means “bearded” in Spanish (and Portuguese and almost Italian), was probably named later, in a nod to the island’s famous fig trees looking like they have long, scraggly beards. (Incidentally, the island nation of Barbados, not to be confused with Barbuda, was probably named after the “bearded” appearance of that island’s ficus trees.)

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Old Chris named Saint Kitts and Nevis, too, but kind of by accident. When he first landed on what became Saint Kitts, he actually called it San Martin, but since there were so many poorly drawn maps in those days, the name later got transferred to the island we now know as Saint Martin. Oops. How St. Kitts then got to be called St. Kitts is a bit of a mystery, but it’s probably a safe bet to say it was named after Saint Christopher (the patron saint of, among other things, traveling, bachelors and toothaches).

Nevis derives its name from the Catholic dedication, Nuestra Senora de las Nieves, which means “Our Lady of the Snows,” and was later shortened and anglicized into “Nevis.”

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The naming of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was pretty straightforward: Columbus landed on St. Vincent on the Feast of Saint Vincent, and then named the other islands “the Grenadines” after the Spanish city, Granada. (So was the Caribbean island-nation, Grenada, but if that’s a question at your pub trivia night, someone’s not trying hard enough).

Sao Tome and Principe

The only island-nation that has two names that was not named by Christopher Columbus is—drumroll, please!—Sao Tome and Principe, which is off the coast of western Africa, and was named after Saint Thomas, of course, and the Portuguese prince to whom taxes were owed on the island’s abundant sugar fields.

This story originally appeared in 2011.

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Big Questions
Who Was Chuck Taylor?
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From Betty Crocker to Tommy Bahama, plenty of popular labels are "named" after fake people. But one product with a bona fide backstory to its moniker is Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers. The durable gym shoes are beloved by everyone from jocks to hipsters. But who's the man behind the cursive signature on the trademark circular ankle patch?

As journalist Abraham Aamidor recounted in his 2006 book Chuck Taylor, All Star: The True Story of the Man behind the Most Famous Athletic Shoe in History, Chuck Taylor was a former pro basketball player-turned-Converse salesman whose personal brand and tireless salesmanship were instrumental to the shoes' success.

Charles Hollis Taylor was born on July 24, 1901, and raised in southern Indiana. Basketball—the brand-new sport invented by James Naismith in 1891—was beginning to take the Hoosier State by storm. Taylor joined his high school team, the Columbus High School Bull Dogs, and was named captain.

After graduation, instead of heading off to college, Taylor launched his semi-pro career playing basketball with the Columbus Commercials. He’d go on to play for a handful of other teams across the Midwest, including the the Akron Firestone Non-Skids in Ohio, before finally moving to Chicago in 1922 to work as a sales representative for the Converse Rubber Shoe Co. (The company's name was eventually shortened to Converse, Inc.)

Founded in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1908 as a rubber shoe manufacturer, Converse first began producing canvas shoes in 1915, since there wasn't a year-round market for galoshes. They introduced their All-Star canvas sports shoes two years later, in 1917. It’s unclear whether Chuck was initially recruited to also play ball for Converse (by 1926, the brand was sponsoring a traveling team) or if he was simply employed to work in sales. However, we do know that he quickly proved himself to be indispensable to the company.

Taylor listened carefully to customer feedback, and passed on suggestions for shoe improvements—including more padding under the ball of the foot, a different rubber compound in the sole to avoid scuffs, and a patch to protect the ankle—to his regional office. He also relied on his basketball skills to impress prospective clients, hosting free Chuck Taylor basketball clinics around the country to teach high school and college players his signature moves on the court.

In addition to his myriad other job duties, Taylor played for and managed the All-Stars, a traveling team sponsored by Converse to promote their new All Star shoes, and launched and helped publish the Converse Basketball Yearbook, which covered the game of basketball on an annual basis.

After leaving the All-Stars, Taylor continued to publicize his shoe—and own personal brand—by hobnobbing with customers at small-town sporting goods stores and making “special appearances” at local basketball games. There, he’d be included in the starting lineup of a local team during a pivotal game.

Taylor’s star grew so bright that in 1932, Converse added his signature to the ankle patch of the All Star shoes. From that point on, they were known as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Still, Taylor—who reportedly took shameless advantage of his expense account and earned a good salary—is believed to have never received royalties for the use of his name.

In 1969, Taylor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year, he died from a heart attack on June 23, at the age of 67. Around this time, athletic shoes manufactured by companies like Adidas and Nike began replacing Converse on the court, and soon both Taylor and his namesake kicks were beloved by a different sort of customer.

Still, even though Taylor's star has faded over the decades, fans of his shoe continue to carry on his legacy: Today, Converse sells more than 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors a day, 365 days a year, to retro-loving customers who can't get enough of the athlete's looping cursive signature.

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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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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