No reason you should know this, but I'm a nut for cartography. If you have a look at the About me page on my website, you'll see me with my nose in a book: it's a beautiful volume called Mapping Boston.
But being a writer, a particular fascination for me about mapping is the naming of places and features. If you don't already know this, you may be startled by just how much rage is stirred up by toponyms: there are several places in America called "Squaw Tits", for example, and somewhere in the States there's a "Nigger Point". My first reaction is to change them, but if you erase them, aren't you sanitising history? And if you don't, aren't you perpetuating the offense? That's my ideal drama: two opposing sides, both deeply felt and both rousing anger, but both sides right and both wrong.
I've learnt today about an almost opposite thing: a place that has no name. It doesn't sound possible, does it? You think of the world as having been thoroughly and completely explored, named, practically settled. (Incidentally, the UK is the most-mapped region of the globe, seriously. And of course it was started for military reasons; why don't we twig the reason it's called Ordnance Survey?).
But imagine a place with no name. You'd want to name it, wouldn't you? And pretty quick. So, yep, one of the current issues being debated by the US Board on Geographic Names is what to call a stream in Washington state. I'd tell you where it is but I can't find it, it doesn't have a name.
It will. I just can't decide whether this is good silly or bad silly: it's likely to be called Lambee Creek - "in honour of a nearby resident's 12-year-old cat, Lambee".
Quote from USA Today.