A New Year’s custom on this blog is to have readers predict what will happen in the year ahead. That’s not particularly unique. But what is unique is our other custom: To review those predictions at the end of the year and actually check how everyone did. Whoever has the most impressive prediction wins universal acclaim and bragging rights for the whole year.
I urge you all to read Your predictions for 2011 | Cranach: The Blog of Veith. You will get a kick out of it, and you will be encouraged that the year was not quite as bad as many of us thought it was going to be.
Most notable is that Webmonk and Kerner actually made a bet over the number of troops that would be in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kerner said that we would have fewer than 155,000 troops still fighting in those wars, and Webmonk said that we would have more than that. Webmonk said that if Kerner is right he would write on this blog an ode “to the greatness of Kerner and all things Lutheran (LCMS).” Kerner called the bet, agreeing to write an ode to Webmonk and to the religion of his choice. Well, combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq, though 91,000 remain in Afghanistan. So Kerner wins!
Webmonk, we await your ode. Not a limerick or a sonnet. An actual ode.
Special Loser Awards for the predictions that most spectacularly did NOT come to pass go to:
(1) The Jones, for predicting that Mitch Daniels would be the Republican presidential front-runner, with Tim Pawlenty “right at his heels.” (We wish!)
(2) WeCanKnow, a follower of Harold Camping, who insisted that the world would end on May 21.
Honorable mention goes to someone who has placed in this contest I believe each year that we’ve done this: Cindy Ramos. She predicted that the Green Bay Packers would win their division this year with a record of 13-3. She didn’t nail the record exactly–it will be either 15-1 or 14-2 (if, as if likely, the Packers rest their starters against Detroit, the perfect season being gone and the team already with a bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs). Still, few people expected the Packers to have the kind of season that they did. Cindy’s prediction I still consider remarkable, and more remarkable still is her record of at least three years making remarkable predictions in this contest. (She is one of my former students. I taught her all about how to do effective analysis and interpretation. Wait a minute. The Jones is also one of my former students.)
This year’s winner started off making some generalized predictions, then realizing that no one could agree on whether they happened or not, he took a different tactic:
The only way to surefire Prediction Glory is to make a rather unforeseen, falsifiable claim and manage to get it right. So I’ll shoot for the moon and say that some event (death or general incapacity) will cause Kim Jong-Un to succeed his father as leader of North Korea.
Kim Jong-Un! Who even knew who Kim Jong-Un was this time last year? But sure enough, with just a couple of weeks left in 2011, he became North Korea’s new dictator. So all Prediction Glory goes to: tODD!