Has Jonathan Ross Cratered?

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.]

4 thoughts on “Has Jonathan Ross Cratered?

  1. Despite the use of buzzwords like “Crowdsourcing”, this is simply a variation of the old “name a star after someone” scam. The message the IAU is trying to get out is that this sort thing is completely meaningless has absolutely no official status. It’s a good way to waste money. You may as well pick a feature off a NASA map and print up your own official looking certificate, and save the money.

  2. The map is not the territory. The map is not the territory. The map is not the territory.

    @Jason – yet unlike those name a star scams that took place pre-internet, the “map” can use new technologies to overlay the territory. IAU just hasn’t loaded the “right” map into their google glasses….

  3. I’ll send you the electronic equivalent of portrait of Lincoln next week and you can start collecting names to have me named as a Hugo Awards M.C. After all, I’m sure to get the LASFS vote, Taral’s, Jason Stokes’, Rose Fox’s, and Arthur Hlavaty’s. Why, I’ll bet I get Marty Cantor’s twice.

  4. Even though I’m not a LASFS member, Mr. Klaus can have my vote, too. As the Goons used to say, here’s a photograph of a five-pound note.

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