In today’s America, conservatives often fall short of being politically correct. Same with Catholics, farmers and Christians.

And the weather.

It’s true. Hurricanes with female names are being blamed for more deaths than hurricanes with male names.

A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found meteorologists and geoscientists “have called for greater consideration of social science factors that predict responses to natural hazards.”

“We answer this call by highlighting the influence of an unexplored social factor, gender-based expectations, on the human toll of hurricanes that are assigned gendered names.”

The study found feminine-named hurricanes “cause significantly more deaths, apparently because they lead to lower perceived risk and consequently less preparedness.”

“Using names such as Eloise or Charlie for referencing hurricanes has been thought by meteorologists to enhance the clarity and recall of storm information. We show that this practice also taps into well-developed and widely held gender stereotypes, with potentially deadly consequences. Implications are discussed for understanding and shaping human responses to natural hazard warnings.”

“The Death of Free Speech: How Our Broken National Dialogue Has Killed the Truth and Divided America” examines how the news media has created arbitrary, biased and illogical rules for determining what can and cannot be said in the public arena.

Steven Hayward at Powerline Blog called it the “PC Scourge of the Week: Sexist Weather!”

“The obvious public health move will be to name all future hurricanes after men. Long live the Patriarchal Low-Pressure Weather System!” he wrote.

“Surely someone will find a way to blame this on cl—– ch—-.”

The PNAS headline was “Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes.”

“Our model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley (MFI = 2.889, 14.87 deaths) to Eloise (MFI = 8.944, 41.45 deaths) could nearly triple its death toll. The substantial change in predicted counts of deaths for hurricanes high in normalized damage, coupled with the marginal change for less damaging hurricanes, supports our line of reasoning about the effect of gendered names on protective action.

“For storms that are less damaging, death rates are relatively low, and decisions to take protective measures are less predictive of survival. However, for severe storms, where taking protective action would have the greatest potential to save lives, the masculinity-feminity of a hurricane’s name predicted its death toll.”

The report said these results “suggest that individuals assess their vulnerability to hurricanes and take actions based not only on objective indicators of hurricane severity but also on the gender of hurricanes.”

“This pattern may emerge because individuals systematically underestimate their vulnerability to hurricanes with more feminine names, avoiding or delaying protective measures.”

The report said an archival study of hurricane fatalities “established that severe storms with more feminine names are deadlier.”

“Multiple experiments suggested that this is because feminine- vs. masculine-named hurricanes are perceived as less risky and thus motivate less preparedness. Although our findings do not definitively establish the processes involved, the phenomenon we identified could be viewed as a hazardous form of implicit sexism.”

The Washington Post called it a “groundbreaking study.”

“Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning 1950 and 2012. Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities. (The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model),” the report said.

The Post said Sharon Shavitt, co-author of the study, suggested the results imply an “implicit sexism” that influences judgment.

The National Hurricane Center told the Post people should focus on the danger storms pose rather than their names.

“Whether the name is Sam or Samantha, the deadly impacts of the hurricane – wind, storm surge and inland flooding – must be taken seriously by everyone in the path of the storm in order to protect lives,” spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

A forum commenter on the Post site wasn’t impressed with the study, writing, “That’s the most moronic explanation attributed to hurricane deaths that I’ve ever heard. Who stays up at night thinking of ways to boggle our minds with this garbage, and how much did this non-essential, totally brainless study cost, and who paid the bill?”

“The Death of Free Speech: How Our Broken National Dialogue Has Killed the Truth and Divided America” examines how the news media has created arbitrary, biased and illogical rules for determining what can and cannot be said in the public arena.


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