Boaty McBoatface is on the run

8

I know what you're thinking: two "Boaty McBoatface" articles within two weeks? And we're past April Fool's Day?

But since I posted my original analysis about the "Name our ship" phenomenon that's happening in the UK right now, a new contender has appeared: Poppy-Mai.

The cause of Poppy-Mai, a critically ill infant who has captured the imagination of many British citizens (and indeed, of the world), has made a very large dent in the lead that Boaty McBoatface holds.

poppymai
Yes, "Boaty" still has a-better-than 4:1 lead. But that's a lot closer than the 10:1 lead (over "Henry Worsley") from just over a week ago. Check out the box plot now: you can actually make out a few more dots. Voting is open for another 10 days -- and as we have seen, a lot can happen in that time.

poppybox
As I take this second look at the submissions (now almost 6300) and voting data (almost 350,000 votes cast), I've found a few more entries that made me chuckle. Some of them struck me by their word play, and others cater to my nerdy sensibilities. Here they are (capitalization retained):

While I'm on this topic, I want to give a shout-out to regex101, the online regular expression tester. I was able to develop and test my regular expressions before dropping them into a PRXPARSE function call. I found that I had to adjust my regular expression to cast a wider net for valid titles from the names submissions data. Previously, I wasn't capturing all of the punctuation. While that's probably because I didn't expect punctuation to be part of a ship's name, that assumption doesn't stop people from suggesting and voting on such names. My new regex match:

  title_regex = prxparse("/\'title\':\s?\""([a-zA-Z0-9\'\.\-\_\#\s\$\%\&\(\)\@\!]+)/");

I could probably optimize by specifying an exception pattern instead of an inclusion pattern...but this isn't the sort of project where I worry about that.

Will I write about Boaty McBoatface again? What will my next Boaty article reveal? Stay tuned!

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Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies.  He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

8 Comments

  1. Michelle Homes

    Thanks for sharing a sequel to the Boatyard McBoatface story... I'm definitely hoping you'll write another post within the next ten days and maybe at the end of the race too. Those names are hilarious! Had me giggling...

    Good tip with the online regular expression tester. Can imagine it would make it easier (and quicker) to check the tricky prxparse argument. BTW I don't see a closing double quote and bracket.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Thanks Michelle - this particular regex is driving our blog platform crazy -- probably lots of important code-injection logic getting triggered!

  2. I've always used the regex tester at http://www.regxlib.com which allows you to load a local file or url into the data source. It also has a huge library of regular expressions people have submitted over the years so there's often one at least close to the one you want.

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