Putting the life back in science fiction


2019 Predictions. How badly did I do?
December 14, 2019, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Back on December 27, 2018, I posted a set of predictions.  I haven’t posted much since then, because I’ve been annoyingly busy with conservation work, fighting a bunch of leapfrog sprawl developments in San Diego County.  Most of that I can’t really talk about due to litigation issues, but I can at least go over the predictions I made a year ago and score how well I did.

Here they are.

  • That I’ll write a column in December 2019 about what I got right and wrong.  This means, among other things, that I won’t die in a pandemic or nuclear war in 2019, and that civilization won’t collapse.

Got that right.  Yay!  It’s always good to start of a set of predictions with a win.

  • The US president as of December 2019 will be either Pence or Trump, most likely Trump.  This isn’t because I’m a Trump supporter, but for two reasons.  One is that the US Senate is Republican, so they’re not going to vote to impeach him.  Also, the US looks like it can weather having incompetence-in-chief, so long as we don’t get into a war, and since he’s smart enough not to start a nuclear war, I don’t think the US is going to get invaded.  Rather, I think it’s to a lot of peoples’ advantages to dump liquid oxygen on the bonfire of his vanity, to make him unable to wage the struggle for reelection for 2020, even while he’s roped into it as the only Republican candidate running.

To no one’s surprise, Trump’s still president.

  • Hard, no-deal Brexit won’t happen.

Oh how I wish I’d gotten this right, but after Thursday’s election it looks like English Nationalism looks to North Korea for a model for cordial international relations.  Is this sour grapes for losing the empire?  If so, please do look at how France has handled their transition with rather more aplomb (and rather more islands still under their control)

  • There will be lots of disasters linked to climate change.

Such as the Midwest US floods, massive fires in Australia, methane bubbling from the east Siberian Sea…And I’ll make the same prediction for 2020.

  • Nuclear fusion will be announced to be 30 years away at some point during the year.

Kinda maybe?  The Lockheed baby fusion reactor of 2015 is on its fifth design, but still hasn’t gone live.   On the bad side, this shows their initial PR was so much BS (sadly, no surprise).  On the other hand, they’re actually working on it, which I guess is a good thing.  If fusion’s going to play any role in dealing with climate change, we needed it 30 years ago, really.

  • Suburban sprawl will largely stop in California and San Diego (this is part of the stuff I can’t talk about further).

I was pretty sure, going into 2019, that this was a safe prediction, and I was largely correct.  However, it’s not a permanent stop.  What’s going on is that there were a bunch of highly problematic leapfrog sprawl developments.  Most of them were approved, and the ones that were approved ended up in court as their opponents sued.  There are three left in the queue, and they’ll all get the same treatment.  But wasn’t unanimous.   A couple of developments (notably Paradise Valley in Riverside County) were ignominiously shot down, after much work by the local environmentalists.  Local county supervisors (courageously) stood up against the corruption that’s generally accompanied the sprawl.  The problem with these projects is that they’ll gross hundreds of millions to billions of dollars at full build-out, so the cost of financing elections and other shenanigans is a minor part of the budget.   Kudos to the Riverside Supervisors for doing the right thing regardless with Paradise Valley.  I could only wish that the majority of San Diego Supervisors had similarly developed notochords.  If we’re really lucky, the judges will say some good things about not putting people in harm’s way from fires and earthquakes.  Perhaps their rulings (perhaps!) will make it harder to build in dangerous areas.  I’m skeptical about this last, because right now the trend on hazard analyses is to lie and hope that your opponents can’t sue (or pay for the appeal) to make you tell the truth.  Even if a judge sternly tells developers that they need to not hang people out to fry, they’ll likely do it anyway, while claiming on paper that they are not.

  • A bunch of new bench-top battery technologies will be published and then disappear as someone tries to create them on a commercial scale.

Oddly enough, this article just showed up, so yes, and I didn’t even have to keep track of the battery news in 2019.  This was a safe prediction.

  • Something vital we thought was correct about social media and its inevitability will turn out to be completely untrue in scary ways.

Since I was silly enough to throw “inevitability” in here, I have no idea how to score this one.  Definitely the glow is off social media, and I think a lot of us are getting sick about the “lock-in” it’s so far achieved with much of society.

  • There will be a lot of politicking around the Green New Deal.

Yes, and I’m not going to link with it.  While the words of the actual Green New Deal are quite inspiring, what I’ve seen about how it’s being organized on the ground…how do I say this?…could use some improvement.  The other thing I could say is that I started out involved, then I stopped being involved, and I sincerely hope that what ultimately comes out is better than what I saw earlier this year.

  • San Diego will start working on the third edition of their Climate Action Plan, as the first two have been thrown out by judges.

I was wrong.  The County has so far lost five times on this in court, but they decided to appeal again rather than just getting on with writing a new plan.   There’s a Forrest Gump saying that adequately covers their behavior.

  • The 2019 rainy season will be drier than the 2018 season.  And I’ll wash my car a lot in the next few months too.

This one I can’t score.  We’ve had more rain than we had at this time last year, which was extremely fortunate, as it ended the fire season before it could properly get going.  The critical question was whether those few inches are all we’re going to get this rain year, or whether there’s more coming.  It’s impossible to tell, as rain in southern California almost always comes in a few storms, and we get rain or not depending on whether the storms hit us or miss us.

Given that I’m a vocal pessimist, it’s kind of embarrassing that the stuff I got wrong, like the English doing Brexit and the behavior of the San Diego supervisors, was because I was too optimistic about their behavior.  Guess I’ll have to work on that.

Happy holidays, all.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“Hard, no-deal Brexit won’t happen.”

It still may not happen, but the odds of it happening are getting shorter. It all depends on whether shambolic, serial liar, mini-Trump decides to accept a very close relationship with Europe to ensure that the UK is out of Europe by the end of 2020, or whether he opts for a tougher deal that results in a hard Brexit no deal. The US boss is hoping for the latter to push as much US ag into the UK, as well as trying to make the NHS as free market as possible. Farage will be adding his nonsense for a hard Brexit from the [US] sidelines. As they say, “Watch this space”.

Comment by Alex Tolley

You can throw an, “Australia’s on fire!” pie in the face at anyone who tries to call you on your drought prediction. Your mistake was to be geographically specific instead of predicting that it was likely for more of the world to burn during 2019 than did during 2018.

Comment by anonymous coward




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