NeoBytes :) is an occasional feature that takes a step back from the big headlines, to take a look at what else is happening in the vast, scary expanse of the tech world - often with a cynical eye, always with a dose of humour.
What happens when you let the Internet name your brand new £200m arctic exploration ship? Over 124,000 people will pick the name "Boaty McBoatface", almost four times the votes of the next leading name.
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) commissioned a new state-of-the-art vessel that will be used to research Antarctica and the Arctic, gathering large amounts of cutting edge research to help scientists make new discoveries. The NERC website elaborates:
She will be the first British-built polar research vessel with a helideck, opening up access to new locations for our scientists. She will be one of the most sophisticated floating research laboratories operating in the polar regions. Off the ship, robotic submarines and marine gliders will collect data on ocean conditions and marine biology and deliver it to scientists working in the ship's laboratories. Airborne robots and on-board environmental monitoring systems will provide detailed information on the surrounding polar environment.
In order to add excitement amongst the citizens of the UK, NERC decided to have an official vote to name the new ship. That's when former BBC radio host James Hand suggested Boaty McBoatface to the public. It's unclear whether this name was a joke or not, but Hand stands by the name, calling it "brilliant".
The vote was apparently not binding, since NERC has since announced via Twitter that although voting is closed, the final decision has not been made. For their part, many responses to the tweet are calling for the name to stick, with many citing that this will entice children to pay more attention to science.
Now the Internet has to wait and see whether NERC will accept the name or ignore the will of the public and instead pick either one of the runner-ups, or a name of their own choosing. Regardless, let this be a warning before allowing people on the Internet to collectively make a decision.