Predictions for 2012

So you don’t enter the new year completely unprepared, here are my most secure predictions for 2012. Unlike other prognostication websites, these predictions are based on Science!

1. Freely-falling objects will accelerate toward the ground at an approximately constant rate, up to corrections due to air resistance.

2. Of all the Radium-226 nuclei on the Earth today, 0.04% will decay by the end of the year.

3. A line drawn between any planet (or even dwarf planet) and the Sun will sweep out equal areas in equal times.

4. Hurricanes in the Northern hemisphere will rotate counterclockwise as seen from above.

5. The pressure of a gas squeezed in a piston will rise inversely with the change in volume.

6. Electric charges in motion will give rise to magnetic fields.

7. The energy of an object at rest whose mass decreases will also decrease, by the change in mass times the speed of light squared.

8. The content of the world’s genomes will gradually evolve in ways determined by fitness in a given environment, sexual selection, and random chance.

9. The entropy of closed systems will increase.

10. People will do many stupid things, and some surprisingly smart ones.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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44 Responses to Predictions for 2012

  1. Tintin says:

    @ 13. Dick

    ” “unsecured people”

    Tintin, I’m sure your meant “insecure people”, no?”

    I’m sure correcting my typing skills must have also made you feel superior. Anything to help the “unsecure.”

  2. Chris says:

    #5 The pressure of a gas squeezed in a piston will rise inversely with the change in volume.

    This is completely wrong. This is only true for an ideal gas which assumes there is no volume to the gas molecules and zero intermolecular attraction. The van der Waals equation is the most common correction to the ideal gas law, however it has its problems at high pressures and low temperatures. The virial equation does the best, although it is a not that convenient to use.

  3. Tintin says:

    @ 27

    WOW, Chris, we are all impressed with your knowledge of Physics 101 (2nd Semester)!

  4. BigBangBoom says:

    Hey Chris,
    What’s your opinion on Faster than Light Neutrinos? How about making some real predictions. Will the Higgs be confirmed? etc. etc. Lots to really speculate about this year, don’t sit on the fence. We follow you for your science opinions not Physics 101.
    Wish you had more opinions about science (your field right?) and less about Theology and Politics where your opinions carry no more weight than anyone else.
    My prediction is we’ll have a great year and I hope you have a Happy New Year

  5. Alan says:

    I predict that many people, including Chris the Canadian, will continue to use greengrocers’ apostrophes.

  6. Low Math, Meekly Interacting says:

    sigh…

    Perhaps #5 just needs “to good approximation for gases not circa phase transition under conditions assayed”, as I’ve observed myself on numerous occasions.

  7. tim Rowledge says:

    ‘unsecured people’ are to be secured properly in order to avoid refuting prediction #1 and thus demonstrating ‘Intelligent Falling’, therefore god(s).

  8. Andrew Wood says:

    An experimentally testable general theory of a nonlocally acting cause and its effects will show how we could live in a purposeful universe.

  9. Alan says:

    I’d be interested to know whether Craig Hogan’s holometer, this year, shows (a) whether space has a limit to it at the smallest scales and (b) does this actually mean that 3D reality is really projected from some surrounding surface? How are the two related? Saw Leonard Susskind comment on this a short while back.

  10. Justin Loe says:

    I wonder if #9 and #10 jointly apply to people with certain political beliefs.

  11. Gizelle Janine says:

    I have a question, sort of off topic, and I refuse to wait for the next post to ask it:

    Could the laws of conservation have something to do with separating space and time? Is it possible that in order to separate space and time, you might need to think about relativity in terms of quantum mechanics and something like electromagnetism?

    These are all very abstract connections that may support the idea that F=ma might be a huge part of why you cant seem to separate space and time in relativity, and in the end solving problems associated with it. Things like geometry really become important, I presume, especally considering if you think about vectors as a form of energy that does some kind of physical “work, simply put. These all have solid connections somehow, I’m just curious to how this might work.

    What if we already seperate space and time physically just by the way we percieve both as independent from each other in any way? Maybe whatever makes us “percieve” time as numbers and “space” and something that automatically suggests it’s big and empty, seriously has something to do with the laws of conservation?

    (It’s more obvious to me using common sense that space and time are entangled with each other, and some force of resistance would be needed to seperate them in any way, locally or non-locally.)

  12. Gizelle Janine says:

    “What if we already seperate space and time physically just by the way we percieve both as independent from each other in any way? Maybe whatever makes us “percieve” time as numbers and “space” *and something that automatically suggests it’s big and empty, seriously has something to do with the laws of conservation?”

    *Spelling error, I definitely meant “…as something.”I hate ipod keyboards sometimes. Laugh it up, clowns…

  13. and all the waste in your garbage can will be blown down the street because an extra aeroplane was needed to take a bloke to work.

  14. John R Ramsden says:

    Ooh great, a chance to nitpick.

    Re #3, I take it “planet” doesn’t include exoplanets. ;-P

  15. jimvj says:

    The chancellor of UC Davis will not resign.

    The cops who sprayed the students will be similarly employed.

  16. MKS says:

    Ah yes!

    How aboot ontological inertia will continue?

  17. Chris Winter says:

    Alan wrote (#30): “I predict that many people, including Chris the Canadian, will continue to use greengrocers’ apostrophes.”

    I second that. However, I predict that none of them will tell us that the panda eats, shoots, and leaves.

  18. Chris Winter says:

    #6: Electric charges in motion will give rise to magnetic fields.

    Yes, and changing magnetic fields will induce electric currents.

    As well, protons will not be found to decay; but neutrons will continue to do so when isolated.

  19. chris says:

    well, #3 will only be approximate

    happy new year!