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The Internet Wants to Name This Research Vessel "Boaty McBoatface"

If there's one thing that history has taught us, it's that you should never give the Internet the power to name anything. The Verge reports that the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) recently launched a poll on its website to find a name for its new $288 million polar research ship, and so far the name with the most votes is "Boaty McBoatface."

Other NERC ships have names that one would expect important vessels to have, including the RRS Discovery, but tens of thousands of people have cast their vote in the #NameOurShip poll for something far less conventional. The Verge points out that the name does not technically meet the standards set forth by the NERC, which stipulate that the name should be "inspirational and about environmental and polar science." But the NERC also asked that the name not be currently in use by another scientific vessel, and as far as we know, "Boaty McBoatface" is up for grabs. Other names submitted to the poll included the RRS NetflixAndEndureSubzero, RRS Seaward (an Arrested Development reference submitted by one George Bluth), and the RRS Ice Ice Baby.

This is not the first time that the Internet has shown its creativity when it comes to suggesting names. In 2014, expectant parents in British Columbia, Canada, asked the Internet to name their daughter. They ended up going with the name Amelia Savannah Joy McLaughlin, even though the top choice online was Cthulhu All-Spark. Mountain Dew also rejected the top pick for its Dub the Dew poll, which was supposed to provide a name for a new drink. Apparently, 4chan users wanted the drink to be called "Hitler Did Nothing Wrong," which prompted Mountain Dew to cancel the poll altogether.

The NERC poll ends on April 16, so there is still time to have your voice heard and potentially submit the winning name … or you can cast a vote for Boaty McBoatface.

Banner image via YouTube

[h/t The Verge]

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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Pop Culture
Treat Yo Self to a Piece of Pawnee, Indiana, at this Parks and Recreation-Themed Auction
Chris Haston/NBC
Chris Haston/NBC

They'll never get to eat JJ's world-famous waffles or attend a Mouse Rat concert, but Parks and Recreation fans can still purchase a piece of Pawnee memorabilia featured on the late NBC sitcom. As Slashfilm reports, auction house Screenbid has partnered with NBC Universal Television to sell nearly 300 props, clothing items, and accessories used by the fictional parks department and their fellow Pawneeans.

The auction starts on November 27, 2017, and runs through December 1, 2017. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the LA Conservation Corps, which describes itself as "the nation's largest urban conservation corps and L.A.'s preeminent youth development organization."

Items for sale include, but aren't limited to, Leslie Knope's campaign merchandise (including buttons, T-shirts, and mugs), a Raggedy Ann Halloween costume worn by Ann Perkins, and multiple Mouse Rat CDs. And for fans of Tom Haverford, there's plenty of Entertainment 720 swag to go around (and wear out around town).

View some selected auction items below, or treat yo' self by checking out the full online catalogue here.

 "The Final Word with Perd" mugs, featured on the NBC TV show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new themed auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

The Final Word with Perd mugs, featured on the NBC TV show Parks and Recreation.

Courtesy of ScreenBid

Entertainment 720 Dollars Stack, featured on NBC show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new online auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

Entertainment 720 Dollars Stack, featured on Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

An Entertainment 720-branded T-shirt, featured on the NBC show "Parks and Recreation" and on sale in a new auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

An Entertainment 720-branded T-shirt, worn on TV show Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

A bottle of Tom Haverford's Snake Juice, featured on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is on sale in a new auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

A bottle of Tom Haverford's Snake Juice, from Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

An "I met Li'l Sebastian" T-shirt, once featured on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is on sale in a new online auction hosted by auction house ScreenBid.

An "I Met Li'l Sebastian" T-shirt from Parks and Recreation

Courtesy of ScreenBid

[h/t Slashfilm]

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