Throughout the Internet’s relatively brief but amazing history, one thing we can always count on is a thoughtful and intelligent response when you ask it for creative advice.
Several years ago, the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council asked the Internet to come up with an inspirational name for a $240 million-dollar British Navy polar scientific research ship.
The winning name was Boaty McBoatface.
By a wide margin.
The Research Council then decided to quickly pivot away from that suggestion, instead naming the vessel the R.R.S. Sir David Attenborough after the famed naturalist. However, they did honor the Internet’s opinion by naming the lead vehicle among three remote-controlled submarines being carried aboard that ship as Boaty McBoatface.
As it turns out, the initial suggestion for Boaty came from BBC Radio’s James Hand, and that came about from an Adopt-A-Bird program a few years earlier. Boaty’s popularity was apparently an homage to…Hooty McOwlface.
(Mr. Hand did apologize to the Research Council as the Boaty votes started pouring in…)
Names aside, Boaty has over the years become a key player in assessing marine ecosystems and the health of the UK’s waters, and also will be a contributor of information that will help measure the impact of climate change.
Other historic moments in ask-the-Internet history:
Austin, Texas officials passed on the Internet’s recommendation of naming their Solid Waste Services Department the Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts (after the lead singer of the band Limp Bizkit).
Slovak officials balked on the Internet’s advice in naming a pedestrian and cycling bridge near their border with Austria after actor Chuck Norris.
Mountain Dew drank in the early Internet responses towards selecting the name for their new apple-flavored beverage…promptly pulling the plug on their “Dub The Dew” campaign after Hitler Did Nothing Wrong took the lead.
Pitbull honored the Internet’s selection of which US Walmart location should host one of his concerts…the most remote one in Kodiak, Alaska.
Circling back to Boaty, the Research Council has also utilized him in marketing campaigns for children to understand the nature and value of maritime research.
There still remains those who will reach out to the Internet for advice. A couple of winters ago, the Minnesota Department of Transportation welcomed Plowy McPlowface to its snow-moving squadron.
We bought ourselves one of those Christmas mini-trees last December – for the first time – with the thought we’d only keep it through the Holidays as a small yet special reminder of the season when walking by our patio doors.
The tree has since maneuvered itself inside to an encouraging corner of the house, and it now looks like it will make its way to another Christmas.
With the tree now being a full-time resident, it only seemed logical to give it a name. I did not need to solicit the Internet for suggestions.
Hello, Snowy McSnowface…
Pictures Courtesy Natural Environment Research Council/The Guardian – Metro News