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Storms personified

August 26, 2008 - Rob Weaver
We have two new devices on the production end of the newsroom. One has the name “Mako CTP” on the side, and that machine connects with one called a “Raptor.”

I don't know why the equipment bears the names of predators. I suppose the aggressive nomenclature makes the apparatus sound more durable or dominating.

For the record, the new gear works; we used it to produce today's edition. But the new tools spit out metal plates — they won't chase anything down, much less take a bite out of anything.

What brings this to mind is the latest hurricane to drench Florida, and the next one poised to make landfall later this week. “Fay” was a wimpy name for a  ’cane, and the name “Gustav” doesn't exactly strike fear, either. Vladimir maybe, but not Gus.

A coworker once theorized the reason people give major storms names at all is to personify them; giving tropical storms names such as “Rita” or “Jorge” makes them seem less impersonal, less fearsome. Perhaps that's why, years ago, they received only feminine names.

If that's true, then how we name them is a mistake. If authorities want someone to evacuate a coastal area instead of ridin' the storm out, they've got to select more ominous names. Who wouldn't flee Hurricane Hitler, or vacate ahead of Tropical Storm Stalin?

While we're on the subject, there's a storm name that needs to be redefined: tropical depression. I think that term should be used to describe a person's mood at work following a Caribbean vacation.

Gotta go. My Razr is ringing.


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