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‘Lifelong dream’: Weird Al Yankovic shouts out new bioreactor on Nantucket named after him




A machine dubbed “Weird Al Plankovic” will help grow massive amounts of algae to feed shellfish.

Weird Al Yankovic at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards in January. Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press

A new piece of high-tech machinery has made its way to Nantucket’s Brant Point Shellfish Hatchery, and the team there was so excited about the facility’s new addition that they decided to give it a name. 

After a period of public voting, they announced that the machine would be called “Weird Al Plankovic,” after satirical musician Weird Al Yankovic

Through Twitter, word got around to the machine’s namesake himself. His response, calling it “a lifelong dream come true,” was appropriately tongue in cheek.

The machine in question is a bioreactor made by the Canadian company Industrial Plankton. Technicians from the hatchery detailed the machine in an Instagram post soon after it arrived, calling it a “really fancy tank for growing algae.”


Staff members will plant clean algae in the machine, which provides optimal lighting and nutrients. The bioreactor will essentially give the staff members “algae on tap” to feed to shellfish. 

In that post, hatchery team members asked followers for suggestions on what to name the machine. Suggestions included “Led Zeplankton,” “scallop pants,” and “the plankton womb.” 

Voting was conducted through an Instagram story on the Natural Resources Department’s page. In the end, the Weird Al-inspired suggestion from Instagram user Jessica Jenkins’ won out with about 47% of the vote. 

The machine will be called WAP, for short. In the video announcing the new name, rapper Cardi B’s song “WAP” played in the background. 

The machine’s purchase was funded by Great Harbor Yacht Club Foundation. The Town of Nantucket’s Sewer Department took the lead on transporting the large bioreactor to the hatchery using heavy machinery. Hatchery staff then participated in a three-day training course to learn how to use it properly. 

The Brant Point Shellfish Hatchery spawns and releases Nantucket bay scallops into the nearby waters. 

Source: Boston Globe


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