See? “If history is any indication….” And, “based on current trends,” are great and true lead-ins to arguements about what you think is coming. Watching the news regularly has tipped me off to a curious trend: Today, people predicted the future (or at least tried to). It’s like everyone got together and decided that this is the day for knowing things before they happen – and I can’t quite figure out how to write about this! We’ve got music, war, stocks and a supernova.
The two ill-fitting pieces of this puzzle are the stock predictions which weren’t in the news today, and the super nova which wasn’t predicted by software. So it’s not a straight flush. The Stock Market prediction stuff is almost amusing. Predict Wallstreet.com attempts to forecast stock values by asking how you feel about them today, right now, in general. If the whole community generally feels good about Goldman-Sachs, then this online futures market bets on a gain tomorrow. Does investing get more dangerous than that, folks?
The Supernova prediction came to my attention via the RSS Feed Roll on this very site which reads up on Fraser Cain’s inexhaustive postings at UniverseToday. This article describes supernovae as never announcing where they’re going to happen in the night sky. It’s like standing in the middle of an arena with a hundred thousand people holding cameras; you just don’t know where the next flash is going to come from. So scientists are analysing bunches and reams of data from Chandra, the X-Ray satellite, to now verify that they spotted a supernova precursor. And, yes, the plural of supernova is supernovae.
Also in the news today and following the theme of software was a story from the University of Alabama working on attack prediction software – it’s a heavy topic. Our soldiers are being shot and bombed and killed seemingly at random. The enemy compensates for a lack of leadership and organization by trying to surprise and ambush coalition forces without pattern; or do they? This article describes the effort to look back at 12,000 attacks made since 2003 to mid-2007. The University of Alabama together with Virginia-based, Mymic LLC (owned by veterans) to aim for an Air Force contract following the current six-month study. Really: Best of luck to you. Really.
Finally, the music industry could learn a thing or two about music it seems. PodcastingNews.com writes brilliantly about stories centering on the site’s very reason to exist: User chatter, podcasts and monologues/dialogues. While PodcastingNews’s chief doesn’t take a stand on pirated music and movies, he does note that a recent study observes that user-content is the best way to guage pending sales of an album.
This echoes something we’ve said for several years: the music industry should take audio podcasts and other user-generated content seriously. The people creating podcasts other Internet media are some of music’s biggest fans and are influencers, too. JLewin
The study referenced is a New York University research report in which it was found that: The volume of blog posts about an album is positively correlated with future sales; greater increases in an artist’s Myspace friends week over week have a weaker correlation to higher future sales, and; traditional factors are still relevant – albums released by major labels and albums with a number of reviews from mainstream sources like Rolling Stone also tended to have higher future sales.
We couldn’t possibly be the only ones who noticed the trend in the news about predictions. By using news trends as a measure of the pulse about what’s interesting and picking up attention, certain applications and promotional campaigns can be quickly tailored to feed a new trend. Junk trends that never went away? Smilies and Desktop Wallpaper. With every other download of these absurd fads comes a virus or spyware or a tie-in to a bot network. With all the feeds and content that’s available and some of the ways to filter the content to grab desired key words and results, it won’t be a big surprise to find groups trying to market prediction software for your computer.
It will probably give predictions, but most likely end up taking more than it gives. Sorry to say this, but as 2012 arrives, regardless of the outcome, the very idea of predictions will prevail more and more on the human psyche. Just keep your eyes open and don’t be a sucker. Question everything; surf happy, surf safe.