Tuesday, December 31, 2013

' Undangerous' predictions for 2014

So here we go. As my 2013 evaluation post indicated, I was both too risky and too sentimental.  Can't do  that in the prediction business if you want your predictions to look good.   These will be better.  But I'll still take a couple of risks.

1. The U.S. men's soccer team won't make it out of the group round at the World Cup.
Discussion:  Hardly a stretch.  They're in a very tough group (Germany, Ghana, and Portugal).  It'd be cool if they make it out of the group.  But none of the experts expects them to, so why should I?

2. Status quo in the 2014 national elections.
Discussion:  The Senate could still be tough to hold in 2014 for the Dems, particularly with Obamacare problems.  Otherwise they could exploit the bad opinion the public held of the Republicans after the budget battle.  They will, of course, still try.  And while a switch in the House looked possible after that, the Obamacare problems cooled it down.  Depending on the savviness of the campaigns, the Dems could pick up a few seats.  There's a long way to go and a lot of potential events that could influence this ultimately, so I'm playing it safe.

3. Sandra Bullock wins Oscar for Best Actress for "Gravity".
Discussion:  I couldn't stop watching, but I didn't think "Gravity" has the gravitas to win Best Picture.  It was a technological triumph, and Sandra Bullock acted the heck out of a part where she was mostly alone.  That's pretty good. As usual, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench will  contend. Dark horse:  Julie Delpy.

4. There will be at least one 8+ (Richter scale) earthquake this year.
Discussion:  According to Wikipedia, there have only been two years between 2000-2013 when this didn't happen (2007 made up for 2008 by having 4).  So obviously this one's a decent chance.  But not a gimme.  I'm rolling the dice here. Stretching - where?  I think South America is due.  I hope it's not the Cascade zone (and I will continue to hope that for as long as I live).

5. Hillary Clinton decides she will run for President in 2016.
Discussion:  Unless something bizarre happens, her status as the person 80% or so of liberals want to see run will force her hand, plus the siren call of history will be too hard to resist.

6. The Washington Nationals make the major league baseball playoffs again.
Discussion:  Call me a sentimentalist because they're a local team, but I think this past year was fluky that they didn't make it.  They're a good team with solid pitching, and added a big piece from Detroit, Doug Fister.  They were also the best team in baseball in the second half but couldn't overcome the slow start.  Question mark:  new manager.

7. NASA's new satellite shows there's more precipitation than expected.
Discussion:  NASA is slated to launch a new precipitation measuring satellite early in 2014. By the end of the year they should have some preliminary results.  If everything works right, I'm predicting that due to the improved coverage and instrumentation, they'll find that there is more precipitation around the world than has been previously estimated and modeled.  This is a coin-flip prediction;  the other side of the coin is that they  could find less than estimated/modeled.  But climate change is making more precipitation, so I go with more.

8.  There's an Entourage movie!

Discussion:  Supposedly, they will start filming this early in 2014. Since it won't have a lot of post-production, I think they'll get it on screens by the end of the year.  Which means seeing the stupendously awesomely lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui on the big screen -- yay!   Side prediction - Emmanuelle will wear lingerie or a hot swimsuit at least once in the picture.  Side prediction #2:  Jeremy Piven will have an epic wig-out in the picture.

9.  There will be at least two landfalling hurricanes on the U.S. East Coast (or Gulf of Mexico coast) during the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
Discussion:  This past Atlantic season was abnormally quiet.  So a very modest prediction is a return to more normal statistics, which means a couple of hurricanes make it onshore. I also do expect a few more solid setbacks to the climate-skeptical position this year, too.   I will note them, of course.

10. The Winter Olympics hockey final 4:
Hockey is the "big" thing in the Winter Olympics, and considering that while I enjoy watching the craziness on the slopes or the XC course I don't know anybody by name other than Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White, predicting them is not very reasonable.  (But I will bet that the amazing South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na wins it again on the women's singles side).   But as for hockey, it's a very tough sport to predict, so all I'm going to to do is predict that the gold medal team will be from one of four countries:   Canada, the United States, Russia, or Sweden.  I can't go out on a thicker limb than that, can I?   But I will also predict that not all four of these teams will be in the actual final 4, i.e., the bronze medal game and the gold-silver game.  I will predict that three out of these four will be in those games.  But the prediction to base my success on is the gold medal winner.

How shall I do?  Only 365 days will tell.

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