The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced a controversial decision to change the way it creates the list of names for tropical storms and hurricanes. The WMO has decided that to sell the naming rights to the storms to the highest bidder.
“Raising money through the sale of storm naming rights seems like an innovative way for us to build capital reserves during these difficult economic times,” says WMO spokesperson Niles Kitridge. “We will use these funds to further our mission to protect life and property in the event of natural disasters.”
There has been some interest in the program by a number of corporate sponsors. One prospective bidder, who refused to give his name, asked if they were the winning bidder, could they put the name of their chief competitor on the list. The bidder said that his company would be willing to pat an additional fee if the WMO could guarantee that the storm would become a category 4 hurricane.
One meteorologist wondered if the convention of naming storms in the same fashion as ball parks was really missing the point for having named storms. “Is it really useful to call a storm ‘Tropical Storm Coca-Cola brought to you by Pepsi?’ What happens if the storm is so destructive the name is retired? Do the naming rights expire if the name doesn’t get used in a season?”
Several millionaires have expressed interest in possibly participating in bidding for naming rights. Rumors have abounded that Mel Gibson would pay more than 10 million dollars to name a storm “Oksana,” because that “%#%$#!!#*&%$ really deserves it.”
A representative from BP inquired whether it was possible to put a name on the list that would somehow deflect the attention from the oil spill. Among BP’s proposed names are “Look, over there!” and “Potentially worse disaster than the oil spill if we get really lucky.”
The BP representative then had a thought that purchasing the naming rights could possibly make the company liable for the damage caused by the storm, and decided that they’d done enough damage for one company in the Gulf and probably couldn’t afford to have to pay for another one.
Of course, beyond the auction logomachy, there are many who are simply upset that the names of storms are up for bid at all.
The WMO says that the funding will be put to good use, and that any inconvenience in identifying the storms by their bid-name is easily overshadowed by the benefits of making a profit from the naming rights. “It’s really time for these storms to do more than destroy stuff. They should start earning their keep, especially with climate change leading to an increase in the number and the strength of storms all over the world. ”
logomachy / low – GAH – ma – key / noun. Greek. *1.A dispute over or about words. 2. An argument or debate marked by the reckless or incorrect use of words; meaningless battle of words. 3. A game played with cards, each bearing one letter, with which words are formed.
First used in 1569, logomachy has a pretty clear-cut origin. The first part is the familiar the Greek root "logos," meaning "word" or "speech," This root runs rampant in English in common words such as "logo," "logic," "monologue," "neologism," and pretty much all of the words ending in "-ology."
The rest of the word comes from the Greek root "machesthai," meaning "to fight," which doesn't show up much in English.