When the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK put the naming of its $300 million Antarctic survey vessel to a public vote online, well, the Internet had a little fun.
NERC asked for "an inspirational name that exemplifies the work" the ship will do, and suggestions ranged from the, yes, inspirational ("Henry Worsley," the former British Army officer and explorer who died in January trying to cross Antarctica without aid) to the literal ("It's bloody cold out here") and the snarky ("Notthetitanic"). But the current front-runner is "Boaty McBoatface," reports the Independent. The name has garnered 21,000-plus votes, nearly 10 times as many as the second highest "Henry Worsley." The NERC has set April 16 as a deadline and noted that it will choose the name.
Meanwhile, the communications manager who submitted Boaty McBoatface has since apologized, though it's not likely to disappear—it's even got its own Twitter hashtag. Still, in the realm of Internet silliness and snark, things could be worse. People once responded to Mountain Dew's call for a new flavor name with "Hitler did nothing wrong" and "Fapple," notes Mashable. And even though Boaty McBoatface is far from the "inspirational name" that NERC called for, it's become popular enough to have caused multiple traffic outages and brought attention to a ship that may otherwise have gone under the radar. (The other big Internet hit of the last week: "Sad Papaw.")