02 January, 2014 – This Week in Science – Episode 445


It’s our 2014 Science News Predictions show! What did we predict for 2013? How did we do? Did we get anything right? What do we predict for the year to come? Dolphins Getting High, Shuddering Spiders, Dog Directions, and much more…

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
This Week in Science… coming up next

Predictions were rehashed and new predictions were made.

Kirsten predicted that:
Drones will become immensely popular for personal video footage collection. YouTube will be inundated with short aerial videos of cats and other cute animals, and babies. The FAA will rule on commercial use of drones in cities stating that the flying machines will be allowed to fly the airspace over mapped roads, leading to car accidents caused by people rubbernecking through their sunroof.
The ESA’s Rosetta craft will awaken from hibernation on January 20th, do a little jig, and successfully rendezvous with and probe a comet’s nucleus. Data on the mission will be forthcoming before the end of the year confirming that comets contain water.
Google’s robots will win the DARPA Robotics Challenge in December, and shortly thereafter take over Washington DC.
Based on news that plants communicate, a fringe group of vegans will promote the idea that we must all start eating dirt out of concern for the personhood of vegetables.
Whooping cough and measles will make even more of a showing this year thanks to a lack of vaccination in Waldorf schools.
India’s Mars Orbiter mission and the MAVEN mission to Mars will successfully begin the next leg of their trips to the red planet. China will help Spain will the Google Lunar Xprize. And, Virgin Galactic will begin commercial operations, allowing rich people to untether their seat belts and float in sub-orbital space for a surprisingly short period of time. However, being able to view the earth from such a great height will bring more of these influential people to become activists for humanist and climate causes.
We will learn more about how wet Mars was once upon a time.
The Japanese will construct a giant underground ice wall to contain leakage of radioactive material from the Fukushima disaster site. Conspiracy theorists will go wild with ideas about what the wall is really for.
The IPCC will report that something needs to be done about climate change. Nothing will actually be done.
The total lunar eclipse in April will strangely coincide with a reduction in werewolf and vampire attacks.
Evidence of gravitational waves will come from the Planck satellite’s analysis of photons from the cosmic background radiation.
Human embryonic stem cells will be found useful in treating macular degeneration by Advanced Cell Technology.

And, Blair predicted:
We will discover oral communication in a species previously thought mute (TRYING THIS ONE AGAIN).
We will discover that dolphins use peer pressure, have discrimination between cliques, and insult each other.
We will discover a new vector for t. gondii – it’s not just cats.
Hormones in the water will be shown to turn males of a species (besides fish) female.
We will find tool-using spiders.
2014 will be the driest year ever, and extreme weather events will increase.
Scientists will find another evolutionary line that involved interspecies breeding, like Neanderthals and humans.

Justin predicted things, but didn’t write them down.

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Dolphins like to get high
on pufferfish…

Dogs decide
where to poop depending on the Earth’s magnetic field.

Male spiders shudder to appease the ladies
a shudder of the right speed keeps male orb weavers from getting eaten after copulation.

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I'm the host of this little science show.