This is why we can’t have nice things, internet.
For some unknown reason, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of Great Britain wanted to ask the general public for help naming the brand new £200 million polar research vessel that they are building. It’s going to be hit the ocean in 2019 and will be one of the most advanced research vessels in the world when it does.
They started a website (nameourship.nerc.ac.uk) and asked name recommendations, reminding people what they are looking for:
1. What sort of name do we need?
We will apply to register the ship as a Royal Research Ship (RRS), so the name must be in the format RRS NAME. Secondly, we would like the name to be inspirational and about environmental and polar science, to help us tell everyone about the amazing work the ship does.Finally, we don’t want it to be a name we have already used for one of our science ships (James Cook, Ernest Shackleton, Discovery and James Clark Ross).
Right. They want something elegant, something historic. They want a name that will instill the people of great Britain with pride.
Naturally, the amazing suggestion of RRS Boaty McBoatface quickly rose to top of the poll. It had over 18,000 votes when the website crashed due to traffic overload. It was’t the only less-than-serious suggestion though. From The Guardian:
The NERC – which was wise enough to ask that people “suggest” names, giving it future wriggle room – asked for ideas to be inspirational.
Some undoubtedly were, with its website, which kept crashing on Sunday under the weight of traffic, showing dozens of serious suggestions connected to inspiring figures such as Sir David Attenborough, or names such as Polar Dream.
But the bulk of entries were distinctly less sober. Aside from the leading contender, ideas included Its Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!! and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.
A slightly more personal suggestion came from one Sandeep Korotana, who modestly put forward the idea of RRS Sandeep Korotana.
Unfortunately, the NERC haven’t promised that the name with the most votes will actually win. Chances are that the panel will ignore the fun RRS Boaty McBoatface and name it something boring and forgettable.