British researchers studying "the mathematics of cultural transmission" have published a statistical analysis of the emergence of popular new baby names. The Economist reviewed their results.
Some key factors: new, non-traditional names are almost 2x more likely for girls than for boys (possibly because patrilineal naming constrains choices for boys' names more), and the "celebrity effect" on name popularity is real.
Or to put it another way: A bushel of Apples is coming soon to a pre-school near you. [via snowdeal.org]