Random forecast

Coming in 2007: More tech, more fear, less Paris, and some time travel
By MIKE MILIARD  |  December 29, 2006


If there's one thing that’s sure to happen in the coming year, it's that people will make erroneous predictions about what will happen in the coming year.

That was one of the less helpful — but clearly accurate — answers I got when I surveyed the Phoenix newsroom for 2007 prophesies. Still, I can try. So, in the spirit of the “wiki mentality,” here’s a rather scattershot collection of prognoses, projections, and prognostications yielded by the “wisdom of crowds” (i.e. by a cursory poll of my co-workers).

Make the world go away
The new record from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, due out in March, is called Living with the Living. Recently, Leo told Jersey City freeform station WFMU that the title refers, in part, to “what a pain in the butt” it can be, “living with living people.”

Ain’t that a fact. Actually mixing it up, in the real world, in real time, with real human beings can be a complicated and stressful business. More and more people seem to be reacting to this by spending more and more of their lives online — obsessively updating their MySpace and Facebook pages; posting clips to YouTube; gabbing in chat rooms; spending long nights bathed in the dull glow of message boards; or submersing themselves wholesale in the virtual surrealities of Second Life or one of those massive multiplayer online role-playing games.

Expect that sort of escape to be more prevalent in 2007, though it’s sometimes disturbing to think of a whole generation who’ve grown up with much — if not most — of their human interaction taking place online, rather than in so-called meatspace. But, boy, they sure can type fast.

Powder kegs and polonium
In 2007, we’ll probably become even more paranoid and helpless. The other day, I received an educational e-mail. The subject line read “10 Things to Know About Polonium.” It made me feel much better. Now, the next time a Russian spy is poisoned with radioactive material in my neighborhood, I’ll know how to deal with the fallout. (So to speak.)

As if it weren’t bad enough that we have to worry about subway bombers and dirty bombers and shoe bombers and hair-gel bombers, as if Al Qaeda and Iraq and anthrax (remember that?) weren’t enough to keep us freaked out on a near constant basis, now we’re supposed to worry about some ex-KGB op’s clumsy assassination?

Also, we may soon discover, the terrorists aren’t even earthbound any more. Or at least they won’t be for long. No, now they’re taking their operation to the outer reaches of space. “The Bush administration warned Wednesday against threats by terrorist groups and other nations against US commercial and military satellites,” according to an AP story earlier this month. 2007: the year of terrorists in space suits. Have fun in a future without Sirius and satellite TV.

Iran so far away
Meanwhile, over in Persia, we’ve got Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier who may any day now have his finger on the button, and who has promised that the US, the UK, and Israel will “vanish like the pharaohs.” What to do? On this one, our fearless leader might have to take care of it the only way he knows how: by going it alone. Literally. As one Phoenix staffer predicted: “George Bush travels to Iran and has a nuclear-grade temper tantrum: problem solved.”

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  Topics: News Features , Bill O'Reilly, David Brooks, Al Qaeda,  More more >
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