June 2, 2014

"Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them."

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University examined six decades of hurricane death rates according to gender, spanning  1950 and 2012.
Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”; that is, we make decisions about storms based on the gender of their name without even knowing it.... People imagining a ‘female’ hurricane were not as willing to seek shelter,” Shavitt said. “The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women – they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men.”
Katrina and Audrey were left out. We're told they were deemed outliers that would skew the study.

Science! But the science here is marketing, not climatology, so this does not undercut demands that you believe the scientists who are... marketing (?!) global warming.

74 comments:

rhhardin said...

Women are like hurricanes.

When she came, she was wet and wild; after she left, I had no house and no car.

- Larry Kenney, maybe stolen.

Mike said...

Holy small number statistics, Batwoman!

RecChief said...

guess they never heard, "hell hath no fury like a woman ..."

Seriously, how much federal grant money did they get to do this study. further proof that this country is headed for the ash heap.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hey! I want to know what the results look like with Katrina and Audrey back in. "Outliers," forsooth. All or nothing, I say.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The classical Greeks distinguished between gods and men, the gods being pretty much just like men, only better.

Whether Helen was a victim or an accomplice remains open to debate, and it's been a long time.

Mike said...

In all seriousness, I can tell you exactly what went wrong. They studied hurricanes from 1950 on. But all hurricanes had female names until 1979. They try to correct for this by looking at death rates. But 1950-1979 was also the period of some of the deadliest hurricanes in recent American history, before we had the early warnings and accurate tracking we have now. What an absurd study. Are they sure this wasn't published in the Onion?

kimsch said...

But, but... until 1978 hurricanes were ALL named with female names. Did that make those pre-1978 deadlier as well?

ngtrains said...

That's about as stupid as anything I've heard in a long time. why leave out two huge 'female' hurricanes? If left in, maybe the whole thesis is wrong. Let's continue to adjust the data to fit preconceived ideas.

ted

ngtrains said...

Another thought - Male hurricanes are more macho, so they have to live up to the male image!! WOW - what insight!

Sam vfm #111 said...

Looks to me like a push to have all storms named after men.

Phil 314 said...

When did they start using male names?

tmitsss said...

As a Carbon American I am offended

CWJ said...

Idiocy on a stick and paraded around the town square.

Let's review.

First.

"The study excluded Katrina and Audrey, outlier storms that would skew the model)."

Yeah, because accounting for the actual data is hard. At least they admitted it. Global Warmists take note.

Second and third,

"Hurricanes have been named since 1950. Originally, only female names were used; male names were introduced into the mix in 1979."

Second, well the source that came up when I first started googling this said the year was 1953 not 1950. So which one is it. But that doesn't so much matter because -

Third and most important, by what logic do you justify your conclusions as a 60 year study, if male names are no more than 35 years old.

Captain Curt said...

Good grief! Given that there were no male names used until 1979, they should not even have been comparing pre-1979 hurricanes to post-1979. There is the small matter of improved hurricane detection and prediction over time lowering the fatality rates.

I've been looking at the spreadsheet in the Supplemental Information to the paper, and while I have not done formal analysis, it is very clear that recent hurricanes have generally had lower fatality rates than ones longer ago.

JBeuks said...

So it would "skew" the results to include two big female-name storms that occurred since hurricanes began to alternate female and male names, but it apparently wasn't similarly misleading to include all storms from the era in which ALL of them had female names? This study sounds to me as if it was designed to support a predetermined conclusion.

Captain Curt said...

Interestingly, they interpret Hurricane Sandy of 2012, the only hurricane used in the era of alternating male and female names that caused over 100 fatalities, as a female name, even though it was in a male-name "slot" that year, so intended as a man's name.

They apparently ranked names on a masculine/feminine spectrum and considered Sandy to be highly feminine, even though it is a very common man's name (Sandy Koufax?).

ALP said...

Obviously, the answer is to name hurricanes using gender-neutral names such as "Pat". Then, people will be too confused to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight: Katrina and Audrey are outliers but Camille isn't?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, why would you look at anything before they started using male names in 1979? They're needlessly introducing era as a confounding factor.

Big Mike said...

This is the silliest study since phlogiston.

More people would have evacuated New Orleans if only Katrina had been named Kevin?

Anonymous said...

Beware the Hurricane named Harvey Keitel.

The Elder said...

I no longer respect female marketing professors. My research consists on only one data point, but if I include more in the sample it might skew the results. After all, I'm a scientist!

John henry said...

I'm skeptical too.

They studied 1953-2012? For 25 of those years there were no male named storms at all. The protocol called for female names only.

I've lived through 2 cat 5s where the eye passed over my house in Fajardo Ouerto Rico: Hugo (89) and Georges (98) David (79) and Frederick (79) also passed right over me but they weren't much more than stiff breezes.

I have not been affected at all by female hurricanes.

John Henry

Paco Wové said...

It gives me some hope that even the WaPo commenters realize how stupid this is.

Sam L. said...

It's the self-war-on-women.

Pettifogger said...

This has got to be BS. I'm old enough to remember when all hurricanes had female names. We thought they were plenty dangerous then. In fact, when people started contending that exclusively using female names was discriminatory, the politically incorrect response was that hurricanes have female names because they are violent and unpredictable.

That says nothing about women, but I see it as corroboration that people took female-named hurricanes seriously.

The Godfather said...

This is either an Onion hoax or absurd. From 1950 until 1979, all hurricanes had female names. After that, male and female names alternate. So of course there's a bias toward more damage from "female" hurricanes BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN MORE OF THEM!

I lived in Southeast Florida for 6 years (2003-09), including the worst hurricane seasons in recent years. I guarantee you, nobody gave a flaming shit about the name of the hurricane: They cared about the wind speed and the storm track. If Hurricane Fluffy came ashore in Fort Lauderdale as a Class 3, we'd all be hunkered down behind the storm shutters, praying like mad. Even the atheists prayed: There are no atheists in a hurricane.

Unknown said...

I'm a Louisiana resident living in the west-central side of the state. We were sideswiped by Katrina followed by Rita who smashed right through us.
I lost nearly everything I owned in the first when my roof vents were blown off and rain drenched my home. Luckily, we had been evacuated before that time.
When Rita hit, we were still evacuated and were out of electricity for nearly two weeks.
Don't tell ME we take hurricanes lightly because of their names. If the word "hurricane" precedes the name, it's a serious storm in this area of the country.
Fucking moron poll takers.

D. B. Light said...

Katrina and Audrey were left out. This is what we used to call "massaging the data" to get the result you want. It invalidates the entire study. Sorta like the way the climate scientist operate.

Anonymous said...

So what about Hurricane Sandy, a name that could apply to either gender?

Peter

CWJ said...

Idiot writes -

"The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle"

You know, there's nothing subtle about the fact that prior to 1979, the ability to warn people about the timing and intensity of a hurricane was far less sophisticated than today. So absent any male names with which to compare, how did she control for this.

I would normally attribute this to children with no understanding of anything that happened prior to the Bush administration, but this person seems old enough to have no excuse.

How do these people receive degrees!!!!!!

Original Mike said...

"Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois, says the results imply an “implicit sexism”"

This is a joke, right?

sojerofgod said...

We live in an era where nothing we hear or see from any kind of authority can be believed.
Remember eggs? Cholesterol so bad you would think your arteries would seize up in the morning after a pair sunny side up. Now they are nature's wonder food. it is almost to the point that if an 'expert' informs us that the sun rises in the east we would have to go outside with a compass to see for ourselves if it was true. And that is shameful.

traditionalguy said...

It's the Transgender storms that are what we all fear. They spin both ways.

Rich Horton said...

My immediate thought was why 1950? Atlantic hurricanes were not given male names until 1979. Wouldn't it make more sense to just look at the time period where both genders are represented? Also, before the 1970's you didn't have weather satellites giving pin-point positions for storms. Using death rates from 1950-1973 or so could only give bad results.

I'll go look at it, but the synopsis is not encouraging.

Quaestor said...

There was a time when people were pilloried for being so stupid.

Maybe Sharon Shavitt should make a study of scholarly papers published by women.

Charlie Martin said...

I wonder if they noticed hurricanes only had female names for much of that interval?

gadfly said...

So what happens if the Ruling Class begins to name hurricanes using surnames or just numbers? I suppose we would get BS about Smith vs Lopez or lucky numbers vs unlucky digits.

When the answer is "known", it is cheaper not to do the stupid studies. How could any study on hurricane names exclude "Katrina?"

Jaske said...

Every scientist is Loki.

Ken Mitchell said...

"Katrina and Audrey were left out. We're told they were deemed outliers that would skew the study."

Throwing out the "outliers" that would "skew the study" says right out front that the authors of this POS had a pre-determined result, and it isn't "science" at all.

Frankly, their universities involved should revoke their degrees retroactively for falsifying their data.

rcommal said...

I suggest worrying about one's own local weather--and, also, paying attention, as a matter of habit. Both might prove quite useful.

(FWIW)

Johanna Lapp said...

And still, the cultural bias. Traditionally African-American names are chronically underrepresented in the lists of names assigned to storms. Why do Shaniqua and LaToya no get the same respect and fear that Agnes and Katrina inspire?

285exp said...

They should name them all Butch.

tim maguire said...

Oh good god! Talk about looking backwards from a conclusion.

Hey, I know, let's do a study comparing things with women's names to things with men's names. Then let's remove all the ones that screw up the results and ascribe any differences in the final totals to misogyny!

Brando said...

I'm pretty certain this story originated from a satire piece, and got picked up by other news organizations as a mistake.

Bob R said...

High winds ring out in the barroom night
Enter Katrina from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out "My God they killed them all"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The storm the authorities came to blame
For something that she never done
Put her in a prison cell
But one time she could-a been
The champion of the world.

"I blame George W. Bush"

SGT Ted said...

The study is bullshit on stilts. They have no idea why more people died, other than storm strength.

If they leave out data, specifically because it changes the preferred outcome, then the study is crap.

Larry J said...

Stupid study produced by stupid people.

Q: What do fires, floods, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and a wife have in common?

A: Sooner or later, one of them is likely to get your house.

rhhardin said...

You can evaluate fatality bias without having equal numbers of male and female names.

Tank said...

I don't thin that word science means what you thin it means.

"Studies." I wonder what that word means now.

Curious George said...

"Big Mike said...
This is the silliest study since phlogiston.

More people would have evacuated New Orleans if only Katrina had been named Kevin?"

No, because "Kevin" is a gay name. "Rock" would have saved thousands though.

David said...

Methinks self respect may be the underlying issue with these authors.

A lifetime of experience has taught me to be very careful in the presence of a stormy female.

And then there are those outliers!

David said...

Outlier?

Out and out liar?

At this point, what difference does it make?

Xmas said...

Studies from schools in Illinois and Arizona...two states that have no idea how coastal dwellers react to the word "hurricane".

They should really look at plywood, bread and milk sales in the days before the storm to see how seriously people took them.

I get what they are saying about Katrina and Audrey. Both storms caused death and destruction well after the storm made landfall. (Audrey hit destructively in Louisiana then resulted in 10 deaths in Quebec days later.)

Opinh Bombay said...

The term "Studies Show" = "We are lying to you."

Opinh Bombay said...

The term "Studies Show" = "We are lying to you."

Lucien said...

Excellent! Now anybody injured by hurricane Bambi can sue the National Weather Service (or whoever) for not calling it hurricane Godzilla. Trial lawyers win again!

Lyle said...

Why didn't the exclude Camille? It was as bad or worse than Katrina or Audrey.

damikesc said...

I love the WaPo blogger's comments about how they factored the name thing in to their data.

WHY would they NEED to factor it in when it makes infinitely more sense to simply start the study when both gender names were used?

Hurricane deaths have dropped off tremendously since 1970 thanks to better radar tracking.

What actual scientific study intentionally leaves in a mountain of absolutely pointless data?

Unknown said...

I was sure this was going to be an Onion article...

D.GOOCH

Big Mike said...

@Curious George, (1) the only Kevin I know is thoroughly, aggressively, hetero; and (2) if "Kevin" isn't sufficiently butch for you, try "Kamal."

Mike said...

Not to too my own horn ... well to toot my own horn, I looked at the stats (http://michaelsiegel.net/?p=6414). Basically, if you look at the post-1978 data, male and female storms killed at the exact same rate. Furthermore, tests of the null hypothesis show that it's likely this result is bogus.

Scientific Peter Principle: most of the time, a headline grabbing result is an outlier or a sign of bias.

lemondog said...

Name hurricanes after foods starting with fruits and vegetables with a mix of dairy, nuts, breads and meats.

Are there male and female gender-leaning foods?

Hurricane cherry, tangerine, olive... (too sexist?)
Hurricane pork chop...(Peta sensitive?)
Hurricane watermelon (racist?), pineapple
Hurricane (2%, lowfat, blueberry, etc) yogurt

For ethnicity:
Hurricane (pumpernickel, rye) bagel, tortilla
Hurricane black walnut, Indian gooseberry, bok choy .....

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Stupid study with really dumb conclusions. For almost half the period being studied only female names were used. Didn't that skew the results? Then there's the multitude of variables other than the name of the storm that were disregarded by the lame-ass researchers. And finally, there is the randomness inherent in assigning the names, in doing so without knowing how or whether the storm will reach landfall and become a deadly hurricane.

But yeah, sexism, that's the ticket. So maybe they should study whether Mildred or Maryann produces an expectation of hotness and whether that is just naked sexism too?

Æthelflæd said...

Well, we got the heck out of town for Rita, but didn't bother with Ike. Personally, when I think of scary hurricanes, I think of Camille, Katrina, and Rita. I think the "study" might actually have things bass-ackwards. A woman scorned, and all that.

Anthony said...

So Michael Siegel (above) says that in the period where hurricanes had both make and female names, there was no coherence, but that hurricanes before 1979 were more deadly.

So we can conclude that global warming has made hurricanes less deadly over time.

Or that reaganomics made it possible for more people to survive hurricanes.

Or that female hurricanes calmed down one there were some male hurricanes around to keep them happy.

Diamondhead said...

Shouldn't this be spun in a positive way? "...this may be because female hurricanes work more efficiently and tend to be better multi-taskers."

Unknown said...

Hell hath no fury like a female named inanimate object scorned!

Unknown said...

Hell hath no fury like a female named inanimate object scorned!

n.n said...

Mother nature. There is a perception of a feminine quality that women are always nurturing. Of course, while there is no life without women, there is also no greater killer than women.

The real nature of the female gender is the cause of a traditional prejudice which shields them from closer scrutiny of their behavior. The right to privacy, both legal and implicit, has ensured that their legacy of destruction will never be fully appreciated.

I wonder if naming hurricanes with women's names was the basis of an effort to dispel the mythos of female moral superiority.

Shanna said...

Why didn't the exclude Camille? It was as bad or worse than Katrina or Audrey.

I've never heard of Audrey, but I heard a ton about Camille! Before KAtrina, there were some 'we survived Camille' or Camille themed gift shops in Biloxi.

RMc said...

Basically, if you look at the post-1978 data, male and female storms killed at the exact same rate. Furthermore, tests of the null hypothesis show that it's likely this result is bogus.

Did no one consider this might be simply random variation at work? Let's say there were 100 hurricanes in the study, and you told a computer to pick 50 "A" hurricanes at random, then compare them to the 50 "B" hurricanes.

If you repeat the study 1,000 times (each with two sets of randomly chosen hurricanes), you'll discover there are several instances when the A's are lot more (or less) deadly than the B's.

I get why they did this study and framed it the way they did: to get people talking! To ask questions! Maybe a national dialogue on sexist hurricanes! (Actually, the question I'm asking is, "You mean you guys got paid money to do this crap...?!")

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I just nominated that study for an IgNobel Prize, and found that a tsunami of people had already gotten there to do the same. The IgNobel people, at the Improbable Research website, have now issued an article about the study, entitled "Count the Tempestuous Assumptions": http://www.improbable.com/2014/06/02/count-the-tempestuous-assumptions/.
It refers in turn to yesterday's National Geographic web posting, "Not Exactly Rocket Science": http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/02/why-have-female-hurricanes-killed-more-people-than-male-ones/.
Lots of good comments there.

MadisonMan said...

Sorry I missed this yesterday. Meetings.

The hurricane person I talked to last night thought the whole thing was bunk. First of all -- why are they asking College Students in Illinois about their actions in Hurricanes? Typical lousy psychology testing. Why not ask residents along the Gulf Coast where Hurricanes actually happen?

Also, damage/deaths away from the coasts were included. If a person is killed by a flood caused by a hurricane (See Agnes, 1972, or Camille, 1969) -- should that be used in the calculation of whether it should instill fear in someone at the coast?