1. A British research vessel could be named Boaty McBoatface, we all hope.
Crowds of people frequently make terrible choices (see: Trump rallies), but the masses can occasionally be wise. Take the case of a new arctic research vessel, which the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council asked the public to christen by popular vote. The council was hoping for something “inspirational,” but what they got instead were some truly… er, inspired… write-in suggestions. Among them: Usain Boat, Ice Ice Baby and Clifford the Big Red Boat. But the moniker pulling in votes like no other has been Boaty McBoatface, a name coined by ex-radio host James Hand. It’s winning by tens of thousands of votes, so much so that it broke the website. We have a funny feeling that the NERC will shut it down and go with something more proper, but damn. Could you even imagine how great it would be to see that spray painted on the side of a ship?
2. Hybrid Air Vehicles previewed the largest aircraft in history—and it hovers, too.
The steampunk age may not be a pipe dream after all. A British company has released images of the Airlander 10, a bulbous, 302-foot-long leviathan that looks like the Hindenburg crossed with a very large butt. But weird as it looks, this thing has impressive implications for the future of air tourism. Almost ten years in the making, the Airlander combines elements of airplanes, helicopters and zeppelins, which all combine to form a ship that’s silent, pollution-free and bulletproof. Coolest of all, it can hang in one spot in the sky for three weeks at a time without landing. That is some S.H.I.E.L.D. shit right there. Book us on the maiden voyage, please.
3. Twitter celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Monday marked ten years of tweets, subtweets, retweets and the art of the 140-character missive. And while it’s easy to dismiss Twitter as an arena for boring people to share the boring minutiae of their lives with the world (yes, Todd, we’re impressed you went with the burrito instead of the pizza), there’s no denying that it’s much more than that. The platform has changed the way we get, process and share news, allowing for instantaneous, unfettered communication between… well, anyone, anywhere. That, and it’s launched the careers of approximately a billion comedians. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all. Check out Twitter’s surprisingly moving anniversary video.
4. A charity shop is drowning in Fifty Shades of Grey paperbacks.
Ah, the book everyone’s read and no one actually wants to keep on their shelves. An Oxfam shop in Swansea, Wales, has been inundated with so many donated copies of E.L. James’s crappy erotica series that employees constructed an impressive indoor fort out of them. “We appreciate all your donations, but less Fifty Shades and more 60s and 70s vinyl would be good,” the manager, Phil Broadhurst, wrote on Twitter. But hey, maybe if they get enough, they could build an actual sex dungeon out of paperbacks. Form follows function, or something.
5. xkcd creator’s comics to be incorporated into science textbooks.
Randall Munroe, the funny and crazily intelligent mind behind brainy web comic xkcd, has certainly made us care more about how sciencey stuff works than our high school physics teachers ever did. So it’s pretty excellent that textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has seen the light and decided to include Munroe’s illustrations in upcoming high school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks. They’ll be pulling from Thing Explainer, Munroe’s recent book that breaks complex concepts down into simple terms. We’re crossing our fingers for Calvin and Hobbes comics to show up in ethics textbooks next.