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Day after tomorrow - movie review

The picture of the Statue of Liberty buried under snow lured me to see "The Day After Tomorrow." Inspired by a book about global warming, the film uses special effects to show the flooding and freezing of Manhattan, a city that seems too invincible and indestructible to defy forces of nature.

That the next Ice Age could be just around the corner sounds too far-fetched to be true. Climatologist Jack Hall (played by Dennis Quaid) predicts that global warming could cause the polar caps to melt and trigger the next Ice Age.

In the real world, such a scientist's "end-of-the-world" warning is not heeded by politicians, who have far more important things on their minds. "What about Kyoto?" "Why did you upset the vice president? How will we keep our budget for next year?"

I had tried to do my bit by writing about weather, climate change, global warming, and forecasting (see right). Part of that was motivated by the desire to visit the two week conference in The Hague a few years ago. Such gatherings of environmentalists, scientists, and policy makers were bound to be informative and entertaining.

Back to the movie: Hall's climate model is a historic one, recreating the previous Ice Age. It can be used for forecasting, though it's quite different from other kinds of models which use projections. Feed data such as temperature and location, you find out that the next Ice Age is 6 to 8 weeks away. Feed more data and the results get fine tuned. It's "the day after tomorrow."

Think about the end of the world. Where will you be? Are you prepared for that? The movie paints a picture of the worst case scenario ---- if the earth freezes instantly. You will have no time to run. You'll simply freeze to death.

The first thing that pops into Hall's mind is his son who is in New York. If you can't help the world, help yourself. Love is all that matters. Those who you love, that is.

Hall went against his own advice to keep a promise he made to his son, going north (instead of south) to dangerous territory, risking his own life, to save his son. Seeing this, I suddenly realised that I will never experience that kind of love --- the kind of love parents have for their children, the sacrifices they are willing to make, the risks they are willing to take. Such parents don't hesitate to give up their lives to save that of their children.

Hall's ex-wife, a medical doctor (played by Sela Ward), stays back to keep a young cancer patient company. A doctor and a climatologist ---- both extremely important and useful professions ---- what am I? How could I possibly save the world from the next Ice Age? Through my words and music? Tough chance!

13 June 2004 Sunday

Related entries & links:
analyticalQ movie reviews
Day after Tomorrow - official site
Volunteering to fight for global warming by Anne Ku
Betting on the weather by Anne Ku
The art of forecasting demand by Anne Ku
Forecasting to understand uncertainty in electricity prices by Anne Ku
Web sources for climate change and emissions trading by Anne Ku
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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