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]

Banner image courtesy of YouTube

Google Translate Error Accidentally Insults Flat-Earthers

Google seems to be holding nothing back in its treatment of science deniers. As spotted by Mashable, Google Translate accidentally labels flat-Earthers “crazy” when one particular phrase is translated into French.

You can try this trick for yourself—at least until Google fixes the error. On translate.google.com, select English as the original language, type “I am a flat earther” into the blank field, and choose French as the second language. The phrase translates to “Je suis un fou,” which reads as “I’m a crazy person" when it's translated back into English by clicking the icon with the two arrows on it. (Note: This doesn’t work if "Earther" is capitalized, and it seems to only work for French.)

Google representatives say this wasn't an intentional dig, though. A Google spokesman told CNET, "Translate works by learning patterns from many millions of examples of translations seen out on the web. Unfortunately, some of those patterns can lead to incorrect translations. The error has been reported and we are working on a fix."

Flat-Earthers are those who reject that the Earth is round, instead believing this to be an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by various governments and space agencies. Members frequently use YouTube as a platform to spread their message, and the UK just held its first Flat Earth convention in April. About 200 people attended.

Intentional or not, this wouldn't be the first time Google snuck an Easter egg into its translation service. One Reddit user discovered that the “world's funniest joke” from Monty Python's Flying Circus translates to “[FATAL ERROR]” when plugged into the translator app. The joke sounds like it’s in German, but the words are actually gibberish and don't translate to anything in particular. In the skit, anyone who hears the joke dies from laughter.

Update: As of May 29, the translation error has been resolved. It now translates to "Je suis un flat earther." 

[h/t Mashable]

Keystone/Getty Images
How to Craft the Perfect Gag, According to Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Keystone/Getty Images

Dubbed “The Great Stone Face” for his ability to hold a deadpan expression even as the world (quite literally) crashed down around him, Buster Keaton was “one of the three great silent comedians” in film history, according to filmmaker Tony Zhou.

A video by Zhou, spotted by The Kid Should See This, explains just how Keaton managed to pull off such memorable stunts, and why his scenes continue to influence modern actors and filmmakers. First, Keaton shunned title cards and subtitles, instead opting to advance the story through action. He disliked repetition and thought each movement should be unique, while also insisting on authenticity and proclaiming that a filmmaker should “never fake a gag.” If a gag couldn’t be captured all in one shot, he wouldn’t do it.

The angle and positioning of the camera was also paramount. Many of Keaton’s vaudeville-esque gags were visual in nature, toying with the viewer’s perspective to create illusions that led to hilarious reveals. But for that to be successful, the camera had to remain stationary, and the joke had to play out entirely onscreen.

A low-speed chase scene in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, where Ralph Fiennes's Gustave H. runs up a long staircase in the background to escape cops, is a modern example of this. “Like Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton found humor in geometry,” Zhou says.

Check out Zhou’s video below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]


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