Wanna name a new ocean animal after your partner or your dog? It'll cost you upwards of $5,000 and the money will pay for science.
The venerable site of my ocean education, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is offering a new special. A super-fancy hydrothermal vent worm could carry your chosen name for $50,000 and you can have a nice orange speckled nudibranch for $15,000.
I suppose it had to come to this, since there's never enough money for research and rich people are always looking for new ways to conspicuously consume. I'm thinking the nudibranch is just perfect for Paris Hiltonii.
And looking back, this is hardly a new thing. Rich patrons have always been important for scientists and artists. Here's a new way to get back to the good ol' days of patronage. Of course, that carries with it the need to appeal to fickle personalities for support, instead of the more logical and bureaucratic funding agencies.
Maybe we'll get to corporate sponsorship, and we'll have the "Verizonia" or "BankAmericania" as new groups of animals, with interesting new TV commercials to follow. Hey wait...maybe this is a good way to get science back in the public eye, the gecko seems to be working for Geico. Maybe Verizon will feature a tube worm with a cell phone in their ads next year?