What Will Happen Next?

National Geographic Channel  Breakthrough, Season 2
Narrator: Aaron Eckhart
National Geographic/Imagine/Asylum Production 

Each episode is 50 minutes in length
6 Episodes in this series
Episode Five: Predicting The Future 

The fifth episode in National Geographic's “Breakthrough: Season 2” concerns the area of prediction. No crystal ball here, instead the episode centers on weather prediction and how it has advanced from looking out a window at the horizon to equations, computer calculations and weather satellites. For those who live in Tornado Alley (Central Plains of the United States) to Hurricane Row (southern and eastern seaboard regions of the United States) having accurate weather predictions is a must to every day life. Why live there, then? Why not?  As a friend once said to me, “It’s better than an earthquake” (which is an entirely different topic.) 

The director of NOAA’s weather predictions centers, Bill Lapenta, tells of the tools used now to predict weather. Something new called “Deep Learning Neural Networks” that can be used for weather, or charting asteroids (they like to dance around Earth) or even helping cities try to figure out potential spots within their areas that could be troublesome. Computers have come a long way and in this capacity, can go over the information put  into them and find the one solution (or several) for that question. What a difference to have been able to foretell the hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900, the deadliest in U.S. history. Upwards of 6000 people died from this Category 4 storm that began off the coast of West Africa. Then, there was the tornado outbreak in the Mississippi River Valley/Ohio part of the U.S. in 1925 in which over 700 people died. In Tornado Alley, for instance, the difference between “it’s in your county” to “it’s coming up your street” is mighty. 

Predicting the future can be realized now. And in weather, it gives one time to prepare, something that a century ago, wasn't possible. The dark speck on the horizon could be a flock of birds, but then...it could be a tornado or hurricane. Also, the term “tornado” is of a modern age, and my grandmother spoke of a devastating storm in her youth that we would have said “tornado,” but was then called a cyclone. Either way, prediction would have helped...and now we have it. 

Direction, cinematography and music are excellent. 

Breakthrough: Season 2 is produced by National Geographic/ Imagine and Asylum. The series will run on television in 172 countries and in 43 languages. The six episodes are “Addiction: A Psychedelic Cure” narrated by Mike Colter and shown on May 2, 2017, “Cyber Terror” narrated by Barry Pepper and shown on May 9, 2017, “Curing Cancer” narrated by Sheila Vand and shown on May 16, 2017, “Game of Drones” narrated by JK Simmons and shown on May 23, 2017, “Predicting the Future” narrated by Aaron Eckhart and shown on May 30, 2017 and “Power to the People” narrated by Chris Pine and shown on June 6, 2017. For more information see www.nationalgeographic.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Linkedin and Pinterest. 


Copyright 2017 Marie Asner