English Polar Research Vessel Won't Be Named 'Boaty McBoatface'

Sorry, internet: The UK's brand-new, nearly $300 million polar research ship won’t be called Boaty McBoatface, BBC News reports. Instead, it’s going to be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough, after the legendary English broadcaster and naturalist, officials announced this morning. As a consolation prize, they’re giving the name Boaty McBoatface to a high-tech Arctic submarine instead.

"The public provided some truly inspirational and creative names, and while it was a difficult decision I'm delighted that our state-of-the-art polar research ship will be named after one of the nation's most cherished broadcasters and natural scientists," England’s science minister, Jo Johnson, said in a statement.

The vessel made international headlines in March after the UK's Natural Environment Research Council’s website (NERC) launched an open online poll to find it a name. Perhaps a little too predictably, voters ignored the NERC’s stipulations that the name be "inspirational and about environmental and polar science.”

The name Boaty McBoatface—which was jokingly suggested by former BBC presenter James Hand—ended up receiving a total of 124,109 votes, beating more dignified suggestions like the RRS Poppy-Mai and Henry Worsley. (Worsley was a famous British explorer, who died last January while trying to cross the Antarctic unaided.) Other nominations included It's Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!!, and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.

Not surprisingly, government officials ended up overriding the poll once it finally ended on April 16. Their final selection, the RSS David Attenborough, only received 10,284 votes, and ranked fifth overall, Gizmodo reports. However, leading scientists say it’s a good name for a state-of-the-art research ship—and a fitting way to celebrate the renowned Attenborough, who turns 90 on Sunday.

"We are delighted with the name RRS David Attenborough,” Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey (one of the ship’s primary users), told BBC News. “He is an important public figure who has engaged and inspired the public over generations with his passion for the natural world. This new ship will be at the forefront of polar science and deliver world-leading capability for UK research in both Antarctica and the Arctic."

[h/t BBC News]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

The School Book That Pioneered Funny Cat Pics 100 Years Before Lolcats

If you were learning to read in the early 20th century, you could do a lot worse than practicing on Eulalie Osgood Grover’s 1911 masterpiece of an early reader book, Kittens and Cats; a Book of Tales, which we spotted on the Public Domain Review. Long before lolcats or Instagram-famous felines, Grover’s teaching tool imagined what cats would say if they could talk. And boy, do they have things to say. In one chapter, a cat muses about how hard it is to drink out of china cups. In another, a cat wonders who that cat he saw in the mirror was. The first chapter’s narrator proclaims “I am the Queen of all the Kittens. I am the Queen! the Queen!” (Show me a cat who doesn’t think that.)

The chapters, usually just a page or so long, are all accompanied by photographs of cats and kittens dressed up in silly hats and frilly outfits and labeled with captions related to the story, like “I am taking a bath,” “I am Granny Gray,” and “I am the queen!”

According to the Public Domain Review, the photographs were likely the work of pioneering animal photographer Harry Whittier Frees, who insisted that his carefully posed portraits were the result of human handling, not taxidermy. Given how crisply his early-20th-century camera shutter managed to capture piles of kittens, the claim seems suspicious. But please dwell on how amazing these little stories and portraits are and not the stuffing that might be hiding behind these cute kitties’ glassy eyes. Go ahead and enjoy a few of the most delightful spreads below.

Not sure why every elementary school on earth isn't teaching their students to read with this book.

[h/t Public Domain Review]


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