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  • The first 424 people to sign up at brilliant.org/HAI will get 20% off their premium subscription.

  • This is Sweden, one of the countries on the friendly northern countries side of the world.

  • In Sweden, you can't name your baby Metallica, you can't name them Elvis, you can't name them Ikea,

  • and you definitely can't name them Albin just as long as its spelled like this.

  • That's because Sweden has some of the strictest laws in the world on which names you can use.

  • These laws originally came around because Sweden is a monarchy.

  • They've got a king, and queen, and royal families, as monarchies do,

  • and they don't want anyone to just waltz into fake nobility by changing their name.

  • They want the nobles to stay nobles and their ordinaries to stay ordinaries,

  • so nobody is allowed to use the names of noble families unless they are part of that family.

  • Slight problem - there are over 28,000 nobles in Sweden.

  • That's a lot of prohibited names.

  • Weirdly, these laws are managed by the Swedish Tax Agency.

  • Whenever a baby is born in Sweden, parents are required to submit a name to them for approval.

  • Of course in most cases babies just take the last name of their parents, but you can technically change last names,

  • so in order to prevent anyone from changing their last names to that of a royal,

  • this agency prevents anyone from naming their child or changing their name to a noble name.

  • But they also regulate first names.

  • The naming law states that "First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense, or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it,

  • or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name.”

  • This is why they rejected this spelling of Albin.

  • The parents submitted this name in protest of the naming laws since they were fined 5000 krona

  • for not submitting a name by the child's 5th birthday

  • and after this spelling was rejected, they tried again by submitting the name Albin, this time spelled like this.

  • This name was rejected again because of a ban on one-letter names.

  • But Sweden isn't the only place where some names are illegal.

  • In Denmark, which is, fun fact, the only country in the world whose name starts with "d-e-n" and ends with "mark,"

  • there's a list of 15,000 male names and 18,000 female names that are approved for use.

  • In order to name a child something not on this list, parents have to go through a laborious approval process.

  • Iceland, one of the other countries in the jibber-jabber language area of the world,

  • is even more restrictive where there are only 1,700 approved male names and 1,800 approved female names.

  • These Icelandic laws are even more difficult to comply with because Iceland doesn't name people the same way as the rest of the world.

  • In the traditional Icelandic naming system, there are no real last names.

  • If someone named Karl Daníelson has a boy named Björn, the son would not take the last name Daníelson

  • In Iceland, boys' last names are typically their fathers first names plus "son" which, surprisingly, means son,

  • while girls' last names are correspondingly usually their fathers first names plus "dóttir," which means daughter.

  • So, that boy named Björn with a father named Karl would be named Björn Karlson.

  • This can create enormous difficulties especially for Icelandic nationals

  • who have children abroad and name them with the more traditional last-name system.

  • Children without proper gendered last names have regularly been denied passports in Iceland

  • and so, to summarize, in Iceland, Aliaksandr Alexander Aliaksandrson is a legal name but John Smith is not.

  • But even the US has some restrictions on names.

  • Of course, Americans seem to take this whole free speech thing pretty seriously,

  • so you don't need to get names approved,

  • but there are some technical limitations on which names you can have.

  • There are no country-wide laws on names, but different states have different restrictions.

  • Mostly based off of how advanced their computer systems that handle name registration are.

  • In Alaska, for example, you can have any name you want but in New Hampshire, on the other hand,

  • names are capped at 100 characters because the state computers can only handle 100 character names.

  • California, meanwhile, prohibits names spelled with anything but the 26 letters of the English alphabet sonter and Léa and José are out of luck.

  • Of course these people aren't just prohibited from existing in California,

  • but for all government purposes their name will be switched to a version without accents.

  • Also out of luck would be famous mathematician Mileva Marić

  • who, I'm sure you all know, married Albert Einstein who published the Theory of Relativity,

  • which stated that you can't travel faster than the speed of light, among other things, in 1905

  • then 113 years later it went up as a course on brilliant.org.

  • Brilliant is the best place to learn things like probability, machine learning, special relativity, and more

  • because they don't teach you by making you frantically check a bunch of inane rules.

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    Samuel posted on 2018/03/19
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