Predictions are virtually impossible to get right. My neighbourhood psychic is still in business (the lights are still on anyway), not yet independently wealthy by predicting the winner of a horse race or winning stock in the market, or anything really.
Predictions lately have been downers, bird flu will cause a pandemic (not yet), H1N1 will cause a pandemic (didn't), the planet is in peril, well that remains to be seen. Al Gore thinks it is, but he is rich and now single again! He also has tons of credibility, Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar winner on his only movie and he lives in a great house - but its green, not the colour.
One of my favourite prognosticators of late is David Suzuki, whom I've actually written about in my other more local blog. Suzuki is a metamorphosed-fruit-fly-geneticist-become-environmentalist. He's making lots of predictions, kind of like the Canadian version of Al Gore, but poorer, leaner and more grizzled but just as gloomy. He also travels lots and I bet he lives in a great house in the woods of British Columbia, but I'm just jealous. Lately he is getting lots of press, a new movie doc about him is out, he has a new book and a foundation and his thumb in every "green-program" in Canada. He is worshipped by some and he is a first class bullshitter, much like Al Gore.
David Suzuki is mentioned in a column by Dan Gardner in the National Post this week. Gardner wrote a book coming out soon called:
Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe them Anyway (Oct. 12, 2010). The article outlines some of the classic previous failed predictions by environmental groups and people: Limits to Growth, The Population Bomb and so on. It's an interesting read and I can't wait for the book.