Archive for January, 2014

2013 Predictions Revisited!

So last New Year’s, I made a bunch of predictions about what would happen during 2013. Let’s take a look and see how well I did:

   1) North Korean aggression will spark a Second Korean War. The war will quickly turn nuclear and end badly for North Korea.

Well, unless there’s been some secret war that’s been going on, I think this one didn’t turn out to be true. I suppose that’s a good thing.

Score: 0/1

   2) A star will go supernova and will be brighter than Sirius in the night sky.

Nope. I’m sure a star went supernova somewhere (in fact, given the sheer number of stars in the universe, about 2,500 went supernova while reading this sentence), but no visible supernovae are to be seen.

Score: 0/2

   3) There will be a massive earthquake in Europe.

A cursory search reveals that the most massive earthquake that occurred in Europe was a 6.4-magnitude quake in Greece on October 12th. Since that is relatively massive, I’m going to take that as a hit.

Score: 1/3

   4) The iPhone 6 (or 5S, whatever they call it) will be released and be a flop.

The iPhone 5S (as well as the lower-market 5C) was indeed released in 2013, but it seemed to sell as well as its predecessors, and got generally positive reviews.

Score: 1/4

   5) Astronomers will measure the existence of molecular oxygen in the atmosphere of an Earth-sized extrasolar planet, thus showing that it contains life.

This would have been massive news if it had occurred, so it’s obvious that this is a miss. Several extrasolar planets did have their atmospheric compositions measure, however, detecting such things as water vapor, but these were massive Jupiter-sized planets or larger.

On a slightly more serious note, I think this method is the most likely way that we’ll initially discover extraterrestrial life. All it takes is pointing it at the right star and doing the difficult work of picking out the planet’s light from the star’s. I honestly think that by 2020, we’ll probably know for relative certainty that there is extraterrestrial life, and that it exists on a given extrasolar planet.

Score: 1/5

   6) There will be a near-miss from an asteroid that will swing by Earth and come less than 10,000 km to the surface. It will not be discovered until after it has passed.

I couldn’t find an asteroid that specifically came within 10,000 km, of course that doesn’t mean one didn’t happen. There was, obviously, a relatively large one that did hit us on February 15th, in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, causing some 1,000 injuries to people on the ground. It wouldn’t really count as a “near-miss”, but when you think about it, doesn’t a “near-miss” imply it didn’t miss…:) I’m going to count it, literally in this case, as a hit.

Score: 2/6

And now on to the celebrity deaths:

   1) Sylvia Browne

BOOM! Sylvia Browne died November 20th. This was the one I wanted the most. It may seem awful to wish that someone would die, then be happy when they actually do, but Sylvia Browne was probably one of the worst human beings to have ever lived. She would emotionally manipulate grieving people to line her pockets with cash, and didn’t give a crap about it. She would unhesitatingly tell parents of missing children that they were dead, subjected to horrible fates like being sold into sex-slavery in Asia, or even that they were still alive when they turned out to be dead the whole time. She totally knew what she was doing, knew she was ruining people’s lives, and all she could say was, “Screw ’em. Anybody who believes this stuff oughtta be taken.

Funnily enough, she predicted she would die at age 88. She was only 77 when she died.

Score: 3/7

   2) Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI

Well, Joseph Ratzinger is still with us on this Earth, but he did resign as pope, and is now styled as Pope Emeritus. Therefore, the pope did “die” in some sort of way…

Score: 4/8

   3) One of the Kardashians

I’m sure if you trace the family line back far enough, you could find a relative of the family that passed away, but nobody really notable died. I was mainly thinking of someone who would otherwise make the cover of People magazine.

Final Score: 4/9

So a 44% hit rate. I suppose if you were to relax the criteria, for example counting some Kardashian relative, or saying supernova did happen out there somewhere, I could claim a higher score. To really prove that any of the predictions made were false would basically involve proving a negative, which is pretty much impossible.

That’s the crucial thing in all this. To claim something is true, you need to have evidence to back it up. If you don’t have any, then there’s no reason to believe the claim in the first place.

Coming soon, predictions for 2014!