Predictions from Last Year's Story
Some of my predictions last year have not and will not come to pass in any way, shape or form:
- K5 survived 2008, and lives still to die another day.
- Windows still lives. While desktop Linux adoption has advanced in 2008 via the netbooks, it has yet to take the computing market.
- Ron Paul didn't take the Republican primary, and neither did a candidate independent of the Republican/Democrat establishment take the election in November.
- The world economy has not recovered "by the end of the year"
- Rusty probably voted for The Party's presidential candidate rather than one of the four third party candidates endorsed by Ron Paul.
- Thermodynamics isn't going anywhere.
The Big Picture
Many people appreciate this simple comic rendering of the latest screwing of people who work for a living. Awareness is of how the system is rigged is spreading. Congressional offices were flooded with protest to Paulson's $700 billion banker bailout.
Barack Obama took the Democratic nomination, as predicted. Ron Paul won too, just not technically. John SIDNEY McCain didn't have much to offer, and was soundly defeated.
Many people were dissatisfied with both candidates. If ever a U.S. presidential race could have been won by an independent, this would have been it. But third parties have been marginalized, and no strong, independently wealthy candidate emerged to run away with the election.
Cascading System Failure
Election coverage shifted from Iraq to the economy in early January. The U.S. government passed emergency legislation to "stimulate" the economy by giving out small checks to taxpayers. The stimulus payments were too little, too late, and did not address the debt problem.
Series of bank failures starting early in the year...
The first bank failure was Douglas National Bank on January 28th, 2008. (While this was before February 5th, it didn't help Ron Paul's campaign.) The British bank Northern Rock failed on February 22nd. Bear Stearns disappeared in a shotgun wedding when purchased by JP Morgan Chase in March. IndyMac Bank was placed into conservatorship for dissolution in June.
September and October were bad months for banking. Washington Mutual was taken over by the FDIC following a 10-day run on deposits. JP Morgan Chase bought the banking portion of the business and Washington Mutual Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A few days later the FDIC announced that Wachovia was to be eaten by another bank. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went into federal conservatorship. Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Three banks in Iceland were nationalized.... Wikipedia has an article on the crisis.
Housing: goes into lockup
"It wasn't that we lost money [in the market] or that we were worried
about our jobs," said Tai, a software developer in his mid-20s. "We thought we could get a better deal, so we decided to wait." - Homebuyers
balk amid Wall Street Meltdown, CNN October 10th
The housing market was covered in May - Who
Owns Your Home? A more recent story is Homeless
advocates 'liberate' foreclosed houses. "We're matching homeless people with people-less homes," he said with a grin.
What a relief - imagine a recession with rising prices! Fed
eyes record low interest rates to battle deflation.
Within 3 years, Michael Crawford becomes a former schizo-affective...
Some laughed that I predicted Crawford would get better. He still has 2 years left. Note that I said that his vision needed proper attention. This year Crawford told us that he has a lot of trouble with eyestrain. In the fall Mr. Crawford quit his job and wrecked his car, presumably because his bad vision prescription causes poor depth perception.
If Crawford gets the therapeutic attention he needs (starting with a proper eyeglass prescription), he'll quickly complete his recovery. A few suggestions were in last year's predictions story.
The term 'placebo effect' gets discarded in favor of a more descriptive label...
The term hasn't gone anywhere yet, but public vocabulary changes slowly. Imagination Medicine: "Brain imaging reveals the substance of placebos. Expectation alone triggers the same neural circuits and chemicals as real drugs"
Climate Change ... Opposition to the carbon juggernaut eventually gets a slice of the public mind and underwater volcanoes move to the forefront
Weather Channel founder John Coleman got a little publicity when he announced plans to files suit against Al Gore. See his position statement (pdf). The human-caused Global Warming advocates still have more mindshare, but economic stress has a way of shifting people's priorities rapidly.
Some Geochemists found super-hot water coming out of a vent in the Atlantic Ocean.
Various methods to extract energy from the Zero Point Field ... demonstration of ... device next May ... eventually every home has its own "Mr. Cold Fusion".
I think this was the best forecast (prediction with a time frame) of all. While Steorn was a no-show in May, there were three other developments that crossed my Internet in that month.
1. The Orion Project
While this group formed in March, their first email hit my inbox in early May. The group is an offshoot of the Disclosure Project.
From The Orion Project's Vision
Technological progress in the areas of advanced physics and electromagnetic systems, if appropriately supported, will enable humanity to live on the Earth with a minimal footprint with genuine long-term sustainability. For over 100 years, these advanced concepts in energy generation have either been ignored or actively suppressed due to the power of fossil-fuel based economic and industrial interests....The Orion Project is dedicated to:
the world's most accomplished engineers, physicists, and inventors
who have developed innovative solutions to energy generation.
Cleaning up the fossil fuel power
sources currently in use.
That page goes on to introduce their goal of raising $3 million to support their efforts.
2. Cold Fusion
On May 22 a Japanese researcher held a press conference to demonstrate his Mr. Cold Fusion setup (slashdot).
A commenter at the other site said that the field is properly called "Low Energy Nuclear Reactions". New Energy Times says researchers are now tending towards calling their field Condensed Matter Nuclear Science.
3. Breaking the Rules With a Prototype
Black Light Power issued a press
release (pdf) on May 28 about their completion of a 50kw generator prototype. Randy Mills, M.D., has been working on his 'blacklight process' for a few decades now. I first looked at their site in 2001 or 2002. BLP had dropped off my radar screen because they had nothing to show for such a long time. Then I saw a story about them on CNN in July:
... In 2005, leaders at Greenpeace asked
Randy Booker, chair of the physics department at the University of
North Carolina at Asheville, to fly to New Jersey to investigate
BlackLight's claims. Booker says he was skeptical at the outset, but
during his visit, "I found that they really were producing a
great deal of excess energy with hydrogen," he says. "Some
people may disagree with the theory, but the experiments work."
Booker believes that commercialization could lead more independent
laboratories to validate BlackLight's claims. He now performs paid
research work for the company. BlackLight's
physics-defying promise: Cheap power from water (July 29, 2008)
Apparently they had some sort of breakthrough in
2007 - I haven't read anything about that as of yet.
There were a few other free-energy developments in 2008. The first I saw was a news report in February of an inventor's trek to MIT to show his invention to professor Markus Zahn, "a leading expert on electromagnetic and electronic systems". From The Star's article:
Contacted by phone a few hours after the test, Zahn is genuinely stumped - and surprised. He said the magnet shouldn't cause acceleration. "It's an unusual phenomena I wouldn't have predicted in advance. But I saw it. It's real. Now I'm just trying to figure it out."
Black Light Power announced in October that Rowan University had independently validated their technology. BLP signed its first commercial deal on December 11th. CNN has a video on the The Looming Energy Revolution, which features BLP.
... prototype Anti-Gravity Flying Cars are probably at least 8 years out.
While I haven't noticed any developments on the flying car front, one of the pages at TOP suggests that the B2 bomber probably has anti-gravity technology. Nick Cook had a piece in Jane's
Transportation a few years back about Boeing's anti-gravity projects. A reviewer of Cook's book says "if Jane's publishes it, you can bet you life on it; and somebody, somewhere is doing just that as you read this."
The Laws of Thermodynamics get demoted to The Principles of Thermodynamics.
This was overly harsh. Our understanding of the universe is just changing. Physicists now speculate about other universes, beyond the three dimensions we call home. TOP points out that thermodynamics applies to closed systems, and that our universe is an open system via connections to other universes.
Predictions from Last Year's Comments
Liar predicted that the Large Hadron Collider wouldn't find anything, and that China would start to face class difficulties.
Verteiron had a number of good predictions, including the bank bailouts, temporary relaxation of the Great Firewall of China for the Olympics, the spike in oil prices (just ignore his timetable), the Large Hadron Collider's "embarassing glitch", and the survival of Dick Clark and K5.
Social Democrat said the NeoCons would "retain control of all three branches of the American government."
My Predictions for the Years to Come
Obama's stimulus package easily passes in his first two months in office. Because it does not address the debt problem, it won't help. The recession is still on track to bottom in the second quarter of 2009, or perhaps in the third quarter. Recovery will not begin until the Congress enacts debt-forgiveness, and redesigns the financial system to be just and fair.
Meanwhile, we can look forward to the rise of the gift economy, where people do things for each other for free. There are tens of millions of people who are un- and under-employed, and they can't sit around the house forever. Recession gardens become common in the rainy states, and home hydroponics become popular where it's dry out.
Local currencies will take off to help people trade their labor.
If the Congress doesn't do anything productive in the next two years, the United States will probably break up into 6 parts within a decade.
The Three Crashes
Health Care - insurance companies will start running out of money early in the year.
Pension Funds will start to report their losses in March. This is like when Wile E. Coyote sticks his head out of the cloud of smoke, and
realizes there's nothing solid holding him up. The stock markets crash. Again. The Dow might find support around 5500.
College Crash - no one will have any money to loan to students for mostly worthless degrees. Hundreds of colleges will face nightmare
budget problems. Eventually compulsory high school is integrated with voluntary community college classes, and the entire education system
is re-engineered to respect how children learn.
Climate Change accelerates with the new solar cycle. There will be at least two major hurricanes in 2009. There will also be a large typhoon in the Pacific ocean.
There will also be one major earthquake (magnitude 7) to hit North America's Pacific coast. This will most likely be offshore or in a sparsely-inhabited region, minimizing damage.
The Energy Revolution Continues
2009's Black Swan will be the completion of essentially-free energy devices. TOP, Black Light Power, Steorn, and others all release competing self-powered electrical generators, starting in 3rd quarter 2009.
There have been many working Free Energy systems in the past 100 years. Nikola Tesla (inventor of AC power) at one point had an electric Pierce Arrow that ran without batteries. More on Tesla's car is available for consideration.
Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann Pons started the modern era of Cold Fusion with their work in the late-80's. After being ignored by the "scientific establishment", they decided to hold a news conference announcing their breakthrough. The Department of Energy convened a panel, which narowly decided that Cold Fusion was not worth persuing because it was theoretically impossible. This was in spite of the replication of Pons and Fleischmann's experiment by a few of the labs that tried. Replication was not universal, however, and there was considerable opposition by adherents to the old atomic theory. A few scientists have been working on the fields, culminating in the demonstration in May.
Breakthrough Power, a new book on free energy, was published last year. The first chapter has been posted online, and gives some background on the problems of the revolution. The authors are associated with the New Energy Movement, and more information can be found at that site.
These are the trends which will continue to develop in the years to come. Wile E. Coyote always lives to try a new strategy - the Energy Revolution will solve many of the world's most pressing problems in the years to come. What else has reached a tipping point, and where are the other incoming black swans?