Until Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro -- one of the most shameless self-promoters in law enforcement history -- invited camera crews to ride along with his deputies in the 1980s, the thought of following around regular people with TV cameras and calling it entertainment seemed ridiculous. But the show that resulted -- COPS -- became an international sensation, and paved the way for such cultural advancements as I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. Again, you’re welcome.
Classifying (and avoiding) hurricanes
Grady Norton was an Alabama farmer on vacation in West Palm Beach in 1928, where he found himself at a funeral for some people who’d died in the great hurricane that year. Some attendees were lamenting the fact that if there’d been a way to warn people about the oncoming storm, perhaps this funeral never would have happened. He was so motivated by this concept he devoted his life to predicting hurricanes, and ultimately headed the National Hurricane Center for 20 years, revolutionizing the practice of predicting storms, and lowering the average hurricane death toll from 500 when he took over, to five when he left. One of the men who followed him -- Robert Simpson -- worked with Dade County building engineer Herbert Saffir to develop their namesake scale, rating hurricanes from Category 1 to Category 5.