A year ago, I made my 2009 Skeptic Predictions. I wrote these predictions the way any psychic would: some with vague, open-ended criteria, some with extremely specific information. With the vague ones, it would be easy to claim accuracy, and if the specific ones turned out to be accurate, then I could WAY focus on those (and if I turned out to be wrong, the file drawer-effect of the memory of the believer could easily forget my misses). I also tried to include vapid, superficial predictions from the celebrity world (which I don't follow at all). I'm going to score myself, where each prediction is worth 2 points (which would allow me, and any psychic who does this sort of thing, to claim a prediction to be half-right). Let's see how I did:
1) Unemployment rates in the United States and Canada will reach levels between 8-10% by April, drop slightly over the summer, and plummet to 10-12% again in September.Well, looks like there is a error in what I wrote...I think when I said "plummet" I mean to say rise. But regardless, in April the U.S. the unemployment rate was 8.1%-8.5%, and in September was 9.8, so that's close enough for a psychic to say it's correct. (source) In Canada, the numbers weren't all that different, but in September, we fared slightly better than the Americans (source). There were six points of information in this prediction, and 3-4 of them I'm claiming turned out to be true. So for this one, I'm scoring myself a 1.
2) A senior state official in the Middle East will be assassinated by March, and another by October.In October, several Iranian state officials (commanders) were assassinated, but I couldn't find any assassinations for March. 1 point.
3) Lindsay Lohan will be seen in public being intimate with a man, throwing doubt on her homosexuality (and will make headlines again).Ugh. I can't believe I bothered with this one. AND THAT I WAS RIGHT! 2 points.
4) Britney Spears will briefly re-lapse into her crazy-fits, but she will find solace and sanity from a religion and loved ones.While Britney did indeed embrace religion, it largely started in 2008, and this year was a slow one for her anyway. 0 points.
5) Contrary to many psychics predictions, there will be no significant race-riots in the United States beyond the odd bar-fight among hillbillies.I know, I know. I predicted that something wouldn't happen. Psychics do this all the time. And this prediction turned out to be right. 2 points.
6) Afghanistan will destabilize further, forcing some states to withdraw their troops entirely, and the remaining states to increase troop presence.Sadly, This VERY turned out to be true. No special insight required here. Just a basic understanding of the history of conflicts in that area, and a close attention to the news. 2 points.
7) Much to the disappointment of Paramount Studios and Star Trek fans, the Star Trek film will be a commercial failure, and Paramount will release a statement that the franchise is now dead.I'm very glad that this prediction turned out to be false. The movie was rad, raked in a tonne of cash, and there will be two more Star Trek films under the J.J. Abrams helm. Star Trek was made cool, possibly for the first time, and it's worth be getting 0 points for this.
8) Facebook will face major legal battles with the governments of China and the United States surrounding police crackdowns in the former, and leaked access of information in the latter.China is fighting Facebook, and Facebook's America troubles are mounting, and in both cases, it's for the exact reasons I predicted. 2 points hardly seems enough to reflect my awesomeness.
9) The price of oil will regain some of its value by May-June, rising to $70/barrel, but will not rise further unless the economy can recoverIt's almost scary how accurate this was. 2 points.
10) The death-toll from anti-vaccinationists will reach a fevered pitch, causing widespread vilification and backpedaling of people like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey.The former is true, but the latter is not. This is 1 point I wish I didn't get to grant myself.
11) A major psychic will claim to make contact with the spirit of Heath Ledger.This turned out to be true. And goddamnit, it's this asshole:
2 points. Goddammit. Asshole.
I spent all the time I felt like trying to find if this turned out to be true. Doesn't appear to be. 0 points.12) A 70's rock star will get involved in a near-fatal car accident while an 80's rock star will be implicated in a sex-scandal.
13) Oprah Winfrey will come out of the closet as a lesbianAgain with a gay thing? Sheesh. Anyway, as best I know, this didn't happen. 0 points.
14) The price of food staples will become so high as to result in as much as 10 million deaths in the developing worldThis one was intentional. Food staples are always too expensive for most of the world to be able to afford. 10 million deaths of starvation is a modest estimate. 2 very sad points.
15) Several countries will nationalize some of their major industries, much to the chagrin of the United States and the IMF, who will both be powerless to stop it.Iceland nationalized the Straumur Investment Bank and the savings bank SPRON. On January 15, 2009, the Irish Government announced plans to nationalize Anglo Irish Bank in order to secure the bank's viability. The United States also pseudo-nationalized several of its investment firms and auto-companies. 1 point.
16) Russia will attempt to overthrow one of its neighbours governments by either military means, or by economic means (such as controlling the flow of resources).Russia has been steadily putting the heat on neighbouring Georgia for the past two years, but I can't claim victory on this one. 0 points.
Out of a total of 32 possible points, I scored 18, or 56%! Since most psychics generally get 10-20% right, this is a pretty damned good score. Why, even the folks at Australia's The Skeptic Zone podcast manged to do only slightly better at 60% Not bad for my first try!
Obviously, I don't have any magical powers, and I would bet my left thumb that no one on earth can see into the future. If a person pays reasonably close attention to the news, they'll be able to accurately predict a surprising amount of things. Remember that the next time you see Sylvia Browne prattle on about her past accuracy.
In a few days I'll make my 2010 predictions. Maybe less than 16 so that next year I don't have to spend so much time researching my accuracy.
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