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    Why Shouldn’t a Horsefly Be Named After Beyoncé?

    At best, names for species derived from celebrities and scientists become maps to hidden treasure, rewarding those who follow the trail of clues with stories of fascinating people and human history.Photograph by Ronald Woan / Flickr David Bowie and Beyoncé never shared a stage, but they share the distinction of having cleverly eponymous species names […]

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    How the Law Protects the Idea of a Famous Person

    A woman walks in to the room. She is wearing a white dress and has a mole over her bright red lips. She could be anybody, but you might have instantly guessed she was Marilyn Monroe. For every famous person, there is a handful of traits that we use to recognize them. Caricaturists and comedians […]

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    Fame Is a Magnet that Reveals Our Weak Hold on Reality

    This past July the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy. An international press corps was parked in front of the entrance of the hospital for over four weeks before that. The UK’s Daily Mail interviewed a woman who’d flown in from New Zealand to camp out in front of Buckingham Palace awaiting the […]

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    On the Origin of Celebrity

    Why Julia Roberts rules our world.