Tag Archives: 2012

Avaragado’s 2012 predictions – results

As usual the cider-enhanced Chris Walsh has cast a rheumy eye over the predictions I made a year ago and awarded the marks as he saw fit. Adjudications and correct answers in square brackets.

News

  1. It will be announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. [1pt]
  2. Ed Miliband will be replaced as leader of the Labour party. [0pt]
  3. The US presidential election will be between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama will be re-elected. [1pt]
  4. At least one country will leave the euro. [0pt]
  5. Boris Johnson will be re-elected as Mayor of London. [1pt]
  6. There will be an earthquake in the UK of magnitude 4.0 or above on the Richter scale. (I’m only using this scale as it’s the one used on the Wikipedia page for UK earthquakes.) [0pt]

[Score: 3/6]

Sport

  1. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will win 21 gold medals at the Summer Olympics, and over 50 medals in total. [1pt: GB&NI won 29 gold and 65 in total]
  2. Great Britain & Northern Ireland will top the medal table at the Paralympics. [0pt: third, after China and Russia]
  3. Spain will win the Euro 2012 football tournament. [1pt]
  4. The United States will regain golf’s Ryder Cup. [0pt: Europe won in a very close finish]
  5. Jensen Button will regain the Formula One championship. [0pt: Sebastian Vettel]
  6. Manchester City will win the English Premier League. [1pt: with a last-minute goal on the last day of the season]

[Score: 3/6]

Science and technology

  1. Having miraculously survived 2011, Steve Ballmer will definitely be fired as Microsoft CEO. [0pt: still there!]
  2. CERN will announce the official discovery of the Higgs boson. [0.999pt, rounded up to 1pt]
  3. Apple will launch a TV. [0pt]
  4. At least one of the co-CEOs of RIM will be fired, and the company will be bought. [0pt: Jim Balsillie resigned but was not fired, and RIM wasn’t bought]
  5. The next version of the iPhone will include an NFC chip. [0pt: rumoured for the 5S]
  6. Amazon will release a free version of the Kindle. [0pt: but Chris wishes they would, as he sat on his and broke it]

[Score: 1/6]

Entertainment

  1. The 2012 season of X Factor in the UK will be the last. [0pt: nothing announced – time will tell!]
  2. In Doctor Who, the replacement for the Ponds will not be from Earth. [0pt: nothing to suggest she’s not from earth – time will tell!]
  3. Best Actress Oscar: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. [1pt]
  4. Best Actor Oscar: Jean Dujardin, The Artist. [1pt]
  5. Best Picture Oscar: The Artist. [1pt]
  6. CNN will fire Piers Morgan. [0pt: although competing petitions to deport/refuse repatriation suggest nobody wants him]

[Score: 3/6]

Celebrity Deathwatch

  1. Former anthropology student, US evangelist Billy Graham. [alive!]
  2. Former ophthalmology student, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. [alive!]
  3. Former chemistry student, Baroness Thatcher. [alive!]
  4. Former naval cadet, Prince Philip. [alive!]
  5. Former Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali. [alive!]
  6. Former Hitler Youth, Pope Benedict XVI. [alive!]

[Score: 0/6]

[Total score: 10/30]

Not as good as last year. I suspect I was a year early on most of the science and technology predictions. And my celebrity deathwatch category maintains its staggering 100% failure record.

Stay tuned for Avaragado’s 2013 predictions…

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Pale, blue plot

If our solar system were to hide or magically spawn a second Earth, identical to ours down to the crinkle of the fjords (© D Adams) and the pluck of the eyebrows of its population, then I hope Other Dave doesn’t bother to see Another Earth.

I exaggerate slightly. I’ve sat through films more tedious and less engaging than this one, I’m sure, their names now blissfully blanked. (Oh, yeah, 2012. Damn it.) I didn’t flounce out, or tweet stroppily half-way through, or sigh and tut like a Daily Mail reader at an anti-BBC drivelganza. It’s just a little dull.

The main storyline concerns an intelligent young lady who drink-drives — it’s the American Way — and causes an accident, and must deal with the aftermath. This coincides with the first appearance of Earth’s photocopy, dubbed Earth 2. It’s initially spotted on the night of the accident as a pale, blue dot, and then later dominates the skies with its own sidekick, Moon 2 (Moon Classic is not shown). These doppelspheroids aren’t merely similar, they’re identical down to the names, ranks and serial numbers of the inhabitants. Potentially an interesting scenario in science fiction: how? Why? Is it anti-matter? Is there a crack in the multiverse? etc. But this isn’t science fiction. The other Earth is merely a pale, blue plot device attempting to inject some originality into a not-too-interesting movie.

This is rather sad. Such a bonkers premise brings to mind fifties/sixties classics like The Day The Earth Caught Fire, The Day The Earth Stood Still and, of course, When Worlds Collide. I want to see streets full of hats, a Strand drooping from every lip. No such luck. We get an earnest, slow-moving movie that’s not as touching as it thinks it is. And like Earth 2, most of the plot is visible from a very great distance indeed.

What irritates me about the film, what sticks in the craw, is the other Earth/Moon system. I know it’s a film, I know I should suspend disbelief, and I know I should have given up all hope that films obey the laws of physics at the opening titles of Armageddon. But every time Earth 2 appears large in the sky of the ‘real’ Earth, almost invariably behind the misery guts main character, a shattering klaxon goes off in my head and I want to launch into a lecture about gravity.

How exactly does Earth 2 mosey on down to park itself beside Earth 1? How does it stop? What happened to Moon 1? Why is nobody running up and down the street worrying about tidal waves? And many other interesting questions.

Is it odd that I find the fundamental concept of an Earth copy far more acceptable than said duplicate pulling up alongside Earth 1 like the Space 1999 Moon ricocheting itself around the rubber-faced galaxy? I don’t know. If I can accept that, I should, I suppose, also be able to accept that Earth 2 is (as far as I can recall) tide-locked — always showing the same face towards Earth 1 — and that it’s pretty much geostationary — always handily plonked directly above lady misery’s home town. And I should pay no attention to poor Sir Isaac thumping and weeping in his dark corner.

I suspect one factor in my fist-shaking is that I’ve recently been deeply wrapped up in the world of the Apollo programme, having just read The Last Man on the Moon by Gene Cernan, Commander of Apollo 17. Thirty-nine years ago yesterday he became the last person (so far) to leave bootprints on the lunar surface. One of the three Apollo 17 astronauts, most likely Jack Schmitt, took the famous Blue Marble photo of Earth. And it’s this photo, on many if not all occasions, which is used in Another Earth for Earth 2. It’s so recognisable to a certain class of spacenerd that every time the image appears in the film it’s all I can think of. Oh look, there’s the Arabian peninsula, the comma of cloud near the southern tip of Africa, and the huge cloudmass over Antarctica. WARNING: DISBELIEF SUSPENSION EJECTED. KLAXON!

I know. Superheroes, fine. Time travelling police box, fine. Wizard school, I suppose.  But this, hmm.

Avaragado’s rating: space noodles

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