Predictions for 2004
Okay, here are my predictions for 2004. I predict that these predictions will be far more accurate than the predictions I made last year.
Satellite attacked U.S. military officials will be shocked when a KH-14 or 15 reconnaissance satellite is disabled in space by a foreign ground-based energy weapon. This will temporarily put the military on Defcon 2, but the perpetrator, a country that had earlier cooperated with America in its fight against terrorism, will issue a private apology and the incident will be hushed up. Also, a new type of weapon involving a laser-like device will be invented that ultimately leads to Star Wars-style weapons.
Israel Mathematicians will discover that Israel's newly-constructed protective fence is actually in the shape of a fractal. In related news, Israeli defense officials will be enraged when news leaks out of Israel's new secret weapon that causes explosives carried by terrorists to detonate prematurely. Sharon will be ousted for failing to stop terrorism and the new prime minister of Israel will be former general Moshe Ya'alon, who will propose placing land mines in the no-man's land between Israel and the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, following the mysterious death of Yasser Arafat, conspiracies will abound about Israel having used a secret microwave weapon to kill him.
Extraterrestrial messages A message, initially believed to be from extraterrestrials, will be found in the human genome DNA sequence. Excitement will mount across the globe until, after intense effort, the message is finally translated as "Bruce is a doofus!", an apparent cut-and-paste error by a disgruntled employee during sequence annotation. A few diehards, however, will continue to believe that the message is authentic.
Extraterrestrial Democratic candidates Gen. Wesley Clark, who caused much bemusement in the scientific community with his pronouncement that, although he still believes in E=mc2, he also believes that time travel is possible, will be forced to withdraw from the Presidential race after he claims to actually be from the future. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has experience in such matters, will ridicule Clark saying, "I'm from dah future myself, and I don't remember seeink him dere." Governor Howard Dean, despite winning the New Hampshire primary, also will be forced to withdraw, because of a general perception that his views are slightly to the left of Karl Marx. This will leave the nation stunned to find Dick Gephardt as the Democrats' number one candidate. Note added January 20: did I say Dick Gephardt? I meant Joe Lieberman, of course.
News media reform The news media will be forced to admit that they were wrong on almost every account concerning the war in Iraq. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times will be the first, saying, "I was wrong ... Bush is a tactical genius! How could I have been such a schputz!"
Oh wait, sorry. That prediction was for the news media as it exists in the bizarre alternate universe.
Stocks The DJIA Stock Market will rise above 25,000, making everyone fabulously wealthy. Democrats, however, will complain that this is just more evidence that Bush's economic policies only benefit the rich.
International Justice The newly-formed International Criminal Court will swing into action with sweeping indictments of George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon, Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Tony Blair, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, pressure will mount for the charges against Schwarzenegger to be dropped when it is realized that the movie Terminator was not, in fact, a documentary, and cannot therefore be used as evidence. However, ICC prosecutors will refuse to drop the charges, saying that the truth about whether Arnold really is a robot from the future bent on genocide cannot be decided on the basis of supposition but must be decided in a court of law, and both sides of the issue must be heard.
North Korea The US will drop thousands of radios into North Korea in secret flights, but instead of broadcasting news and information, at the insistence of the State Department the military will only be allowed to broadcast cool jazz and an old tape of Bob Hope's 1945 Berlin Comedy Tour. Photos will surface of Koreans listening to the radios uncomprehendingly and taking them apart looking for food. Some of the radios will turn up on E-Bay where they will fetch up to $1000 apiece.
Nobel Prize nominees The Nobel Prize Committee will continue its new tradition of giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the person who most effectively emboldened the opponents of peace or massacred fewer people this year than the year before (i.e., the Yasser Arafat Memorial Prize). The nominees will be:
Pakistan Islamists will attempt a coup in Pakistan, with several simultaneous bombings of political targets in the capital, but they will be defeated.
Airline mergers Virgin Atlantic will be forced to shorten its name to 'Atlantic' after being passed over in a mega-deal between BA and an American airline company, and simultaneously denied access to Concordes.
Telemarketers The telemarketing industry will follow in the footsteps of the IT industry and relocate to India; however, they will be driven out by enraged mobs after they call everybody in India while they are eating their tikka masala.
Disease A frightening new disease will appear, but it will not be the feared biocatastrophe that many in the media believe. The news media will return to their 24-hour coverage of the Carrot Top trial, which will be billed as the 'trial of the century'. Sadly, they will be correct for once, and the century will lose.
Earthquakes An magnitude 6.8 earthquake will occur in the USA in a state whose name contains the letter 'A', coinciding with a quake in Turkey.
Mysterious traffic camera failures Chaos will ensue in parts of America as a number of traffic cameras break down simultaneously. There will be calls for martial law as motorists suddenly begin driving recklessly through intersections, reveling in their newfound freedom to drive in a straight line for two whole blocks without getting a traffic ticket.
A famous broadcast news anchorman will be injured in a skiing accident. A physician examining him will express amazement that he is unharmed despite the fact that his heart had momentarily stopped and he has, according to test results, been clinically brain-dead for at least 17 years.
Implantable cell phones A new fad of having miniature cell phones implanted directly into the head will rapidly peter out after people begin to complain of "ringing in the ears".
Russia will unexpectedly change its mind and ratify the Kyoto treaty after being bribed by several Western European countries, but will not implement any reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. America, on the other hand, despite having rejected Kyoto, will force its industries to cut CO2 production. They will do this by moving their production to China and Mexico.
Callyfornia The L.A. Times will print a story claiming that the U.S. military had drawn up plans to attack a secret Gray Davis training base hidden in the middle of the Mojave desert. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will send a stuntman with a rocket launcher, sunglasses and a leather costume to check out the location, but it turns out to be a deserted Hollywood set. The stuntman will blow it up anyway.
A scandal will destroy Hillary Clinton's chances for 2008 and the White House will be occupied by our first black president, Condoleezza Rice. The vice-president in 2008 will be Joe Lieberman, who will be so fed up with his fellow Democrats that he will defect to the Republican party.
Secretary of Defense Arnold In 2008, the new Secretary of Defense, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will make George W. Bush's "Axis of evil" speech look tame when he declares his goal in the war against terrorism to be "To crush my enemies, to see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentations of their women."