Boaty McBoatface dove to the bottom of the ocean. What it found was 'unprecedented.'

All hail Boaty McBoatface, lord of the seas!

Boaty McBoatface is pulled out of the water. Photo by National Environment Research Council.

The internet-famous submarine just completed its maiden voyage, coming back with reams of "unprecedented data" about the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, according to the researchers who sailed with it.


"Boaty is already delivering new insight into some of the coldest ocean waters on Earth, giving scientists a greater understanding of changes in the Antarctic region and shaping a global effort to tackle climate change," U.K. science minister Jo Johnson said in a statement.

In 2016, the U.K.'s Natural Environmental Research Council held an online contest to name a new polar research vessel.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

While the council put forth several suggestions, "Boaty McBoatface," suggested by former BBC radio host James Hand, was the runaway winner.

The council ultimately rejected the results, christening the vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough instead.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

As a consolation prize, they elected to bestow the name on a small yellow submersible carried on board.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

That small yellow submersible just finished beasting around some of the deepest, coldest waters around Antarctica.  

Its mission involved mapping the region's ocean currents as well as studying their speed, temperature, and salinity.

Some scientists worry that rising temperatures and increased freshwater could be altering the global circulation of ocean water, resulting in even more rapid and drastic climate change.

The information gathered by Boaty on the flows in the Orkney Passage off the southern continent hasn't been analyzed yet, but it is the first of its kind, according to the researchers on the project.

If it takes a tiny underwater robot with a ridiculous name to make the people of Earth get serious about the threat to the planet's ocean currents, then so be it.

The scientists hope to learn more about the currents in the coming years, with Boaty giving them the opportunity to study the system far beyond their previous capabilities.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

"Up until now we have only been able to take measurements from a fixed point, but now, we are able to obtain a much more detailed picture of what is happening in this very important underwater landscape," University of Southampton professor Alberto Naveira Garabato, the study's leader, said in a statement. "The challenge for us now is to analyse it all."

Future Boaty missions to the area are already in the works, which is hopeful news for the planet.

Sail on, Boaty McBoatface, you noble vessel!

May you always receive Poseidon's favor!

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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