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A new star will appear in 2022 -- give or take a year -- according to a prediction made by an astronomy professor, Larry Molnar, and his colleagues and students. "Molnar's prediction is that a binary star (two stars orbiting each other) he is monitoring will merge and explode in 2022, give or take a year; at which time the star will increase its brightness ten thousand fold, becoming one of the brighter stars in the heavens for a time. The star will be visible as part of the constellation Cygnus, and will add a star to the recognizable Northern Cross star pattern."

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It all looks as if the world is preparing for war, says Mikhail Gorbachev. "More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought to Europe. NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank. While state budgets are struggling to fund people's essential social needs, military spending is growing."

"Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defense doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war."

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2017: The year you'll never have to talk to another human again.

1. For your morning coffee: the Starbucks app
2. For your moviegoing experience: Apple eyes new releases
3. For your cab ride home: self-driving cars
4. For dining out: a restaurant with no cashiers and no waiters
5. For shopping: Amazon Go
6. For companionship: talk to a small hologram stuck in a jar

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Graph showing natural and man-made factors in global warming; makes a good case that greenhouse gasses are the primary driver of global warming.

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Seeing these "What the hell happened to the future?" type of articles makes me think of the movie "Tomorrowland." And the book "Where's My Jetpack? A guide to the amazing science fiction future that never arrived" by Daniel H. Wilson and Richard Horne.

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10 Simpsons jokes that came true. Another list of times The Simpsons predicted the future, with a few items that didn't make it into the others I've seen. Of course "President Trump" is included -- well, apparently, in the episode, Trump actually became President, not just a presidential candidate. So if he loses the election in reality, The Simpsons won't have quite predicted the future.

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The Princeton Election Consortium is giving Hillary 98% odds (random drift)/ >99% (Bayesian), while FiveThirtyEight is giving Hillary 66.2%, Trump 33.8%. To explain the difference, Sam Wang at the PEC says, "I'm a little concerned that FiveThirtyEight's code double-counts (i.e. overcounts) the swings in national and state polls. They've been a bit underconfident and volatile."

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Why are generations so different? William Strauss and Neil Howe have a theory that generations go through cycles of crisis, often punctuated by an actual crisis like the 1929 stock market crash, a generation of coming together to fight the crisis, where conformity is the norm, a generation where conformity is rejected, a generation where society unravels as nonconformity becomes the norm, leading to the next crisis. (Crisis -> High -> Awakening -> Unraveling -> Crisis).

I'm not sure I buy this theory, as 9-11 is cited as an example of 'crisis', but society has not come together following 9-11 -- what has been happening is continued unraveling. If this theory has merit, the real crisis has yet to happen, perhaps with the next generation. Regardless, it's interesting to contemplate that subsequent generations are likely, because of the very nature of generational change, to have fundamental differences on 'conformity' or other broad social characteristics.

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The reason the industrial revolution happened in Europe and not China, says Ana Swanson, despite China being the most scientifically and technologically advanced place in the world in the 13th century, is because China had a monolithic power structure while in Europe, power was fragmented, making it possible for people in Europe to say heretical things, and, if the government decided to prosecute them, "they pack their suitcase and go across the border."

"People study classical knowledge, Ptolemy and Hippocrates and Archimedes, and they begin to say, 'Most of this stuff is wrong.' You couldn't do that in China. If you said 'This stuff is wrong,' you failed your exam. But in Europe, the ability to challenge received wisdom is irrepressible." "There's a French philosopher in the late 16th century, Pierre de La Ramée, who writes a book with the title 'Everything Aristotle Has Said Is Wrong.'"

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"FiveThirtyEight and the Princeton Election Consortium both predicted the outcome of the 2012 presidential race with spectacular accuracy. Yet on September 26 of this year, just before the first Clinton-Trump debate and 43 days before the election, FiveThirtyEight predicted on the basis of highly complex calculations that the chances for Clinton to win the election were 54.8 percent, while the PEC, with no doubt an equally complex model, estimated her chances to be 84 percent, almost 30 points higher. Both these models have highly successful histories, yet these numbers cannot both have been right."

I've been following FiveThirtyEight and noticed their numbers are highly volatile. The error bars are likely quite large, but of course, are unknown. FiveThirtyEight gives the odds to three significant digits, but the third digit is meaningless and the second is dubious.
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