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56 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out

So that's what it stands for!

Don't miss an episode of mental_floss on YouTube—subscribe here! Images and footage provided by Shutterstock. Here's a transcript courtesy of Nerdfighteria Wiki:

1. If you've ever been caught staring at your zipper and wondering what YKK stands for, it's Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, which roughly translates to Yoshida Company Limited. Also, your fly is down.

2. TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle.

3. The greatest name in the history of clothing and outdoor recreational equipment is Leon Leonwood Bean.

4. 3M is an abbreviation of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.

5. M&M's stands for Mars and Murrie's. (That is, Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie.) Before you think that M&M's are some confectionery American dream, Mars and Murrie were the sons, respectively, of the Mars and Hershey fortunes. And while we're on the subject of chocolate brand named origins, the Three Musketeers originally included three smaller bars: one vanilla, one chocolate, and one strawberry, but when the ingredients became too expensive during World War II, the Three Musketeers became all chocolate.

6. The "Q" in Q-tips stands for Quality. They were originally called "Baby Gays."

7. BMW? Bavarian Motor Works.

8. Smart Car began as a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes, and sounds better than "Swatch-Mercedes Art Car."

9. ASICS gets it's name from the Latin phrase "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano" - Mispronouncing things is my THING! - which means "A sound mind in a sound body." Which is pretty high-brow for shoes that look like THIS.

10. ADIDAS is not short for "All Day I Dream About Soccer." The name comes from founder Adi Dassler.

11. TCBY now means "The Country's Best Yogurt," but it once meant "This Can't Be Yogurt," until they were sued by rival frozen yogurt concern "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt." 

12. The "A" and "W" of "A&W" are Roy Allen and Frank Wright.

13. Frederick August Otto Schwarz founded his famous toy store with his brothers, but then cut them out of the naming rights. In a related story, the vlogbrothers channel on YouTube shall now be know as "John Green is the greatest. Hank is poopy."

14. The "R" in Toys R Us isn't an initial; it's just bad grammar. However, the Toys R Us mascot, Geoffrey, pictured here, here, and here - God, we love giraffes on this show - used to be known as Doctor G. Raffe. And his liver looks like that!

15. The "K" in K-mart stands for Kresge, for founder Sebastian S. Kresge.

16. The "J.C." in J.C. Penney stands for James Cash.

17. When you say you're going to the "ATM Machine" to type in your...

18. ..."PIN Number," you are being redundant. Also, you are saying an unnecessary number of words.

19. Michael J. Fox's middle name? ...Andrew.

20. Wander over to your bookshelf and you'll find an alphabet soup of writers' initials. Like, before writing Catcher in the Rye and becoming all reclusive, Jerome David Salinger worked as an entertainer on a cruise ship.

21. Elwyn Brooks White, of Charlotte's Web fame, also the White behind Strunk&White, the famous English-language style guide.

22. The November 22, 1963, death of Clive Staples Lewis was overshadowed by the death of another famous person known by his initials: JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy).

23. Then there's Howard Phillips Lovecraft

24. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

25. Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

26. Thomas Stearns Eliot

27. David Herbert Lawrence

28. Herbert George Wells. No wonder these people went by their initials!

29. Lucy Maud Montgomery

30. James Matthew Barrie

31. Wystan Hugh Auden

32. Alan Alexander Milne

33. Philip Dey Eastman

34. Hunter Stockton Thompson

35. and Philip Kindred Dick. Let's just pause for a moment and thank Phillip K. Dick's parents. Good people.

36. All right, I'll do a couple more: Arthur Charles Clark

37. Edward Estlin Cummings

38. Joanne Rowling didn't have a middle name, so when her publishers wanted another initial, she gave herself a "K" for "Kathleen," which was the name of her favorite grandma. By the way: Harry James Potter, Hermione Jean Granger, and Ginger Bilius Whatshisface.

39. If you want a career in politics, particularly a career in American presidential politics, you're gonna need a good middle initial, like James Knox Polk...

40. or Rutherford Birchard Hayes

41. or Chester Alan Arthur

42. or James Abram Garfield

43. or Warren Gamaliel Harding

44. The "M" in Richard M. Nixon stands for Milhous. Everything's coming up Milhous.

45. And Harry Truman's middle name? Just "S."

46. Someone worked extremely hard to make USA PATRIOT Act an acronym. It stands for "Uniting & Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept & Obstruct Terrorism."

47. The ZIP in ZIP Code is Zone Improvement Plan.

48. GEICO was originally short for "Government Employees Insurance Company."

49. The speaker company JBL is named for founder James Bullough Lansing. Bullow? Bulluff? BullOG? Beuloff? I'm sure one of his descendants is going to let me know.

50. CVS originally stood for Consumer Value Stores; over time, it just became CVS.

51. H&M is Hennes & Mauritz.

52. The shipping company DHL is named for founders Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn.

53. The abrasive cleaning pad SOS means "Save Our Saucepans."

54. SCUBA means Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

55. LASER means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

56. And, lastly, DFTBA, of course, stands for "Darling, Fetch the Battle Axe." And "Don't Forget to Be Awesome."

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Afternoon Map
The Richest Person of All Time From Each State


Looking for inspiration in your quest to become a billionaire? This map from cost information website HowMuch.net, spotted by Digg, highlights the richest person in history who hails from each of the 50 states.

More billionaires live in the U.S. than in any other country, but not every state has produced a member of the Three Comma Club (seven states can only lay claim to millionaires). The map spans U.S. history, with numbers adjusted for inflation. One key finding: The group is overwhelmingly male, with only three women represented.

The richest American by far was John D. Rockefeller, repping New York with $257.25 billion to his name. Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates clock in at the third and fifth richest, respectively. While today they both make their homes in the exclusive waterfront city of Medina, Washington, this map is all about birthplace. Since Gates, who is worth $90.54 billion, was born in Seattle, he wins top billing in the Evergreen State, while Albuquerque-born Bezos's $116.57 billion fortune puts New Mexico on the map.

The richest woman is South Carolina's Anita Zucker ($3.83 billion), the CEO of InterTech Group, a private, family-owned chemicals manufacturer based in Charleston. Clocking in at number 50 is the late, great socialite Brooke Astor—who, though a legend of the New York City social scene, was a native of New Hampshire—with $150 million.

[h/t Digg]

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Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
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fun
There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

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