May 06, 2016

The Sinking of Boaty McBoatface

In an ill-concieved attempt to raise public support for the construction of a £200 million Arctic research vessel, the Natural Environment Research Council of Britain engaged the public in a contest to nominate and vote for the name of the new ship. James Hand, exercising what he later came to regret as an excess of whimsey, offered the name "Boaty McBoatface" for the vessel, and the public, responding to the poll with a resounding unseriousness, voted overwhelmingly in its favor.

Embarassingly, nothing in the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council encouraged whimsey. They had a fallback position, which they hastened to exercise: ignore the poll result completely and go with their own choice in the matter.

Thus Sir Other Attenbourough was called in from the bullpen to lend his anodyne name and its associations to the ship, which even James Hand allowed was probably for the best.

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