Citizen Hurricane

Before I get to my awesome idea, a hurricane related item that has bugged me for years:

I am tired of political correctness - All Hurricanes should be named for women. If you don't understand why, you never will.

I mean, c'mon, people. Not to be roll-your-eyes, punny, but they are Hurricanes, not Himicanes. 

Okay, here's my idea: 

"Cyclone" by Elizabeth Lisy Figueroa

The National Hurricane Center (hereafter known as "Science Weasels") should NOT get to name Hurricanes. I found this great Wikipedia article that explains all the names of Hurricanes for the next few years in all the different Regions, and the contingency plans in case they have more storms than names, and it's all neat and alphabetized and blah blah blah.  

It's a perfectly fine efficient system, but I can improve it 843,000% in one fell swoop WHILE AT THE SAME TIME raising money to help people devastated by weather run amok. 

The Science Weasels should not get to control such an awesome force, something that affects so many people. We all know they pick the names trying to impress some waitress they met at Hooters they want to sleep with, or possibly to punish an Ex.  Whatever. We can do so much better. 

Seeing as how a destructive Hurricane is a local, state, national and international event, we should all get a chance to decide what the Hurricane names are. 

We should get to vote on it.  

While we could keep the alphabet plan, there's no intrinsic need to do so, and there is an inherent unfairness to people with  popular-letter names (like J) over, say, I, which has maybe 8 names total. What I would do is let people vote on the names they want to see (hopefully all women, but I would even relent on that if it got people on board). 

Voting would be done on the Internet and would require a donation to a meticulously above-board charity either set up (or already in existence) whose mission is to help people devastated by Hurricanes and tropical cyclones. 

Every dollar donated would give you One Vote - with a minimum of $5 but no maximum. $8 would get you eight votes - $28 would net you twenty-eight votes, and $2032 would mean two-thousand thirty-two votes toward whatever name you wanted to champion. 

When you vote you specify whether you want your name in the North Atlantic or the Pacific, although to keep it fair all the money donated would go into one central charity charged with helping people affected globally. 

Looking at the stats, there are very rarely over twenty Tropical Storms (with a potential to be a Hurricane ) in any year, so that's probably a good target number. (The first year there could be alternates and then in subsequent years if there were more than twenty storms than names from previous years that didn't get used would fill in.)

Okay, so the voting itself would be awesome. There would be YouTube videos explaining why you should vote for Team Rutledge (it was her grandfather's name and he died in a tropical storm after saving an orphanage of Albino Autistic Albanians), and Facebook pages would crop up exhorting you to support Team Homer or Team Spongebob.

Some companies would try to get in on the act for marketing purposes - Hurricane Popeye, anyone?  We all know Stephen Colbert would go to the Mattresses to secure his storm, and ye gods - don't even get me started on Bieber Nation

(Did I mention that last names would now be okay?  Why not, right? I'm sure a few sensible rules and guidelines could be established to make sure nothing Vulgar, insensitive or otherwise inappropriate slipped through.Yes, this would cover Team Buttafuoco.)

Results would be updated hourly on the Internet during the Voting period to encourage more Voting, and thus more money donated to the Rebuilding Life fund, or whatever we call it. I'm sure some rich nerd would come in last-minute to champion Team Francine in an attempt to win over that Starbucks Barista he's never had the courage to talk to. (If only he'd known that, contrary the line of crap that Collective Womendom is always trying to sell us about "sense of humor" and "kindness" topping their lists - it turns out many women are very open-minded about the idea of marrying a rich guy.)

Once the voting is over we have our 20 winners - and here's where a wrinkle comes in. Because we're no longer tied to the alphabet there is no reason to list the people in any particular order. On the contrary, the first few storms of the season usually don't amount to anything memorable. The solution is to allow the top vote-getting name to pick what slot they get. There's no guarantee of Hurricane-ness but this would lead to tons of research and science (and voodoo) trying to pick the most likely spot. 

A cursory look at this data year by year (which only lists the strongest storm from each year, but is still something) points quite a few C, E and H names topping the years, which would mean the 3rd, 5th and 8th spots might be prime. Who knows?

Another wrinkle I just thought of - any Name who didn't like their slot (or maybe they had inside info on a big Hurricane season in the future) could "roll over" 50% of their votes to the following year. This would encourage even more charitable giving the next year plus it would encourage all the Names who weren't going to make it to the Top 20 but were close to keep giving - since they could get in as an alternate. 

(You might be sitting there thinking, "Who gets to decide the spot in the Hurricane Lineup, or whether to roll-over the votes?" Good question. We could let the top Donor make that call, but very likely the problem would solve itself. To get these names through the crucible of voting would require organization - Facebook Pages, Twitter Accounts, Bloggers, etc, and I'm sure there would be some sort of ad-hoc group spring up - or maybe they could even be official groups registered with the charity to make sure everything was on the up-and-up. My point is: it won't be an issue.)

One final note: right now, names are rotated through every six years or so, and if the Storm ever amounts to anything (like a Katrina), it is retired. I think we could modify that some, and allow a Name to be re-used (if it got the Votes again) every other year, provided it's namesake storm was relatively uneventful, and in the case where there was a Hurricane the name could be out-of-commission for 10-20 years (depending), instead of forever. 

So there's my plan. It would allow people all over the world to have a say over the severe weather that affects them, while raising tons and tons of cash to help the people who inevitably will pay the price of a Hurricane's fury. It would also get people interested in other parts of the world, since the Atlantic Hurricane Lineup would be so hard to crack that I'm sure enterprising people from Team Streisand or Team Carrot-Top might try their luck in the South Indian Ocean. It will ALSO get people more interested in meteorology and Science in general, since it will be in Pop Culture and because of the various speculation about slotting the Names. 

This is a totally brilliant idea overflowing with what soon-to-be-a-Hurricane Charlie Sheen would call "Winning" - in fact, it's a virtually perfect idea.  This probably means it's doomed, but you never know. Send this to everyone you know, and maybe one day we can all evacuate for Hurricane Hypey. 

August 27, 2011
4:44 am
(typed but not read)

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