Category Archives: news

Boaty McBoatface (this is what happens when you let the internet decide)

Now, the agency is the latest group to see what happens when web users are asked to unleash their creative energy: R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface is a clear front-runner.

People quickly disregarded the more dignified names suggested by the Natural Environment Research Council — Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon. Instead the contest became the latest in the Internet’s long, storied history to end up with social media users gleefully offering ridiculous names to government-funded projects.

The initiatives are often hilarious but don’t often succeed. Remember when Slovak lawmakers overrode the public’s vote in 2012 to rename a pedestrian bridge after the actor Chuck Norris? Or the debacle in Austin, Tex., a year earlier, when people unsuccessfully tried to name the city’s waste management service after Limp Bizkit’s frontman, Fred Durst?

Corporations have also tried the tactic, and the penalty for trying to play with the Internet tends to be meaner: Mountain Dew learned the hard way when 4 Chan took control of a vote to name a new flavor, and the joke was on Taylor Swift and VH1 when the Internet chose a school for the deaf as a concert location.

We have James Hand, a public relations professional and former BBC employee, to thank (blame?) for this latest episode. Mr. Hand became a bit of an overnight sensation when he submitted the name Boaty McBoatface after seeing reports of the competition last week. Then he watched his creation spin completely out of control.

“The storm that has been created has got legs of its own,” Mr. Hand told the BBC on Monday, and added that he had submitted Boaty McBoatface inanother competition. (For what it’s worth, Mr. Hand voted for the name R.R.S. David Attenborough.)

The research council would not comment on whether it would override the Internet’s suggestion, but Alison Robinson, a spokeswoman, said in an email that the group was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of people vying for names like Boaty McBoatface. The ship is scheduled to set sail in 2019.

“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” Ms. Robinson said. “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”

Sure they are.

The poll closes April 16 — that is, if the Natural Environment Research Council can ever get the crashed polling website back online again.

 

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(from New York Times)

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New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Official

By The American Dream

In one of the most shocking articles that the New York Times has ever put out, a New York Timesreporter has openly admitted that virtually every major mainstream news organization allows government bureaucrats and campaign officials to censor their stories.  For example, almost every major news organization in the country has agreed to submit virtually all quotes from anyone involved in the Obama campaign or the Romney campaign to gatekeepers for “quote approval” before they will be published.  If the gatekeeper in the Obama campaign does not want a certain quote to get out, the American people will not see it, and the same thing applies to the Romney campaign.  The goal is to keep the campaigns as “on message” as possible and to avoid gaffes at all cost.  But this kind of thing is not just happening with political campaigns.  According to the New York Times, “quote approval” has become “commonplace throughout Washington.”  In other words, if you see a quote in the newspaper from someone in the federal government then it is safe to say that a gatekeeper has almost certainly reviewed that quote and has approved it.  This is another sign that “the free and independent media” in this country is a joke.  What we get from the mainstream media is a very highly filtered form of propaganda, and that is one reason why Americans are turning away from the mainstream media in droves.  People want the truth, and more Americans than ever realize that they are not getting it from the mainstream media.

The following quote comes from the recent article in the New York Times mentioned above and it is absolutely jaw dropping….

The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.

They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.

Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.

The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message. Click here to continue reading this article.