Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hurricane or Him-icane?

That is Roxcy Bolton. Motivated by Hurricane Irene, I decided to find out why hurricanes are named as they are, and discovered that pilots of WW 2 aircraft collecting meteorological data over Florida informally named hurricanes after their wives or girlfriends. Florida feminist Roxcy Bolton said the practice was sexist, and called for male names to be used -- women generally do not cause vast amounts of economic devastation and death, she said -- men do. She even suggested that 'hurricane' sounded too close to 'her-icane', and wanted 'him-icane' used instead. Meteorologists adopted equal naming of these vast storms, from an alphabetical list that rotates about every six years. Hurricanes that cause huge death and devastation, such as Andrew (1992) or Katrina (2005) have their names permanently retired.