Over 7,000 Martian craters have been named by donors to The Uwingu Fund since its debut this month (“Your Hole On Mars”) – “Far exceeding the roughly 1,000 craters that the committee-based naming process yielded over the past 50 years!” boast the owners.
But none has been named for Jonathan Ross. Not even one of the $5 cheapies! I’m thinking that if everyone who’s already put in their two cents worth about the ex-MC of the Hugo ceremonies did it again, a Kickstarter campaign could fund by this afternoon.
Of course, not everyone has embraced the Uwingu concept, as its CEO Alan Stern acknowledged in an article penned for The Space Review —
Uwingu’s populist, crowdsourcing approach to crater naming on our Mars map has generated controversy within some circles, particularly the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a professional organization of about 10,000 astronomers. Their leadership has attempted to portray Uwingu as a commercial victimizer of an unknowing public.
They’re just party poopers says Stern —
The IAU has done great things for the astronomical sciences, and will continue to, we are sure. But it is misguided in its effort to discourage the public’s participation in the creation of a crowdsourced Mars map, and to presume that every place name contributed to Mars maps must be approved by self-appointed committees of astronomers.
In fact, Stern’s response made a commenter realize there are limitless business possibilities in naming things that don’t belong to him:
Now, if I can buy names of craters on Mars, I should be able to sell names for rock formations in national parks. Certainly features on the ocean floor outside of international boundaries.
Here is an opportunity fandom should not overlook. All those people still wishing Jonathan Ross was the Hugo MC, and the rest who want someone else? What’s to stop us from using a “crowdsourcing approach” to naming the MC? Well, the Hugo service mark, undoubtedly, but we can work around that. I’ll collect votes at $5 per and send whoever wins a colorful certificate that declares he or she is the “2014 Convention Awards MC.” Also, like Uwingu, I promise to share the profits with worthy causes. (I’ll start with the mechanic who’s going to fix the brakes on my sedan.)
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the link.]