Boaty McBoatface wins online poll to name U.K. polar research ship.

Boaty McBoatface Easily Wins Online Poll to Name U.K. Polar Research Ship

Boaty McBoatface Easily Wins Online Poll to Name U.K. Polar Research Ship

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April 17 2016 4:37 PM

Boaty McBoatface Easily Wins Online Poll to Name U.K. Polar Research Ship

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The ship that could soon be known as Boaty McBoatface.

The Natural Environment Research Council

The internet has done it again, illustrating why you can never trust the online masses to take on a serious task. As was widely expected, Boaty McBoatface won the online poll to name the United Kingdom’s new royal research ship. And it wasn’t even close. Boaty McBoatface obtained 124,109 votes, four times more than the second-placed Poppy-Mai after a 16-month-old girl with incurable cancer.

The poll to name the $300 million vessel went viral last month after former BBC radio presenter James Hand put forward the suggestion. “This is actually nothing to do with me,” Hand said. “I made the suggestion but the storm that’s been created—it’s got legs of its own. I just feel it’s a very British thing, which a lot of people have pointed out.”

The head of Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council now faces the final decision about the name and it likely won’t be easy. “Duncan Wingham, with whom the final decision lies, now faces the dilemma of choosing between the credibility of his organization—and its £200m arctic explorer—and the overwhelming burden of public opinion,” notes the Guardian.

NERC has said a decision "will be announced in due course." There’s a bit of time. The Royal Research Ship is currently being built and is scheduled to become operational in 2019.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.