The sort of thing bureaucrats with nothing to do find to worry about…

The sort of thing bureaucrats with nothing to do find to worry about… June 18, 2014

is fretting over gender differences in hurricane names.

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  • Dave G.

    I remember this being talked about when I was a youngster back in the late 70s. Feminists brought it up. I think it’s one of the hallmarks of a well to do society that we have time to worry about such things.

  • wlinden

    Think of it as evolution in action

  • Charlotte

    Funny thing is that the decision to start including male names was because the traditional all female list was supposed to be a case of gender bias.

    • wlinden

      Yes. Using feminine names was associating women with disaster and destruction. I guess in those days nobody took hurricanes seriously.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        My second grade teacher told me that hurricanes were all given lady names because it sounds like “HER”-icane. She may have been totally making it up, but a part of me still believes her.

        • sez

          No: it was like naming ships, and such: always female. In fact, that is so ingrained in me that these new male-named hurricanes strike me as being girly-man names. Not for the name itself, but because of the context: giving the name to something feminine in nature.

      • jroberts548

        In fact, they didn’t. Hurricanes were more fatal when they only had women’s names because people didn’t take as many precautions, such as evacuating. It’s probably not causally related to naming (as the more deadly female names effect disappears if you only count storms after 1979 -

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    I decry the inherent discrimination in English only hurricane names. Where are my hurricanes named after my favorite characters in THE SILMARILLION? I know that if the TV weather girl told me that Ancalagon the Black was headed up the coast, I’d be headed for the hills.

    • Brian

      “…and officials warn that Tropical Storm Melkor, He who Arises in Might, has been upgraded to hurricane status. Residents are strongly advised that attempting to withstand the might of Hurricane Morgoth the Bauglir is folly, and their only hope lies in fleeing his wrath and appealing to the Valar for mercy.”

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        You win the internet, sir.

  • thisismattwade

    However, some of the comments in the article are pretty funny!

  • jroberts548

    Why would these bored bureaucrats worry about something as silly as hurricane fatality and evacuation rates? It’ not like deaths from hurricanes matter.

    More seriously, it turns out their study was just wrong. Hurricanes only had female names till 1979, and our response to hurricanes has been improving over time. If you include female names from 1950 to today, and male names from 1994 to today, of course female hurricanes are more deadly, even if we exclude Katrina as an outlier. If you only count hurricanes since 1979 and exclude Katrina as an outlier, then there’s no difference.

    ETA: I’m worried that some segments of Catholics (and the broader population), including Shea and many people who read his blog, are so wed to the idea of American postmodern decadence that they see it even where it doesn’t exist. If the research was correct, this would be a pretty clear case of finding something where hurricane naming conventions have an impact on hurricane fatalities. As it is, this is a case of researchers just making a dumb mistake. This has nothing to do with bureaucrats having too little to do, or with feminists, or with our well-to-do, decadent American society. It does have something to do with researchers making one fundamentally boneheaded error, but due to bone-headedness, not decadence.

    • The hilarious thing is a bunch of scientists trying to judge the “femininity” of names and put it on a numerical scale. What a joke.

  • Pete the Greek

    I think they should name the hurricanes after the names of David Ryder in MST3K’s critique of that classic movie “Space Mutiny”. Think about it! We could have hurricanes named:

    Slab Bulkhead!
    Rip Steakface!
    Stunk Junkman!
    Punch Rockgroin!
    Buff Drinklots!
    Slade Squat-thrust!

    Think how awesome the weather news would be then!

  • SteveP

    How medieval assigning names! This is the 21rst century where entities are to be known as whatever they self-identify. Come on – let’s really get some progress here! 😉

  • Andy

    The real issue is naming them – giving them a name makes them want to live up to the name – witness this past winter – all those storms were named and wanted to hang around and be famous.

  • James H, London

    I want to hear about a Hurrican Vlad; or a Cyclone Shaka; or Typhoon Genghis.