Predictions for 2018

I don’t normally do year-end stuff. But I figured, why not? After all, I put up a post at my work blog about the major things that happened in historical human pop gen this year.

Indian population genomics will move forward notably. The ancient DNA work really feels like vaporware sometimes. Some of the researchers involved reach out to journalists (people of my acquaintance) and leave tantalizing clues, but they disappear off the face of the earth. I assume that some sort of Indo-Aryan intrusion from Central Asia will seem clear from the data and results, though the Indian media and intellectual class will claim the opposite. In this way they are just like the American media and intellectual class; if the evidence does not fit just say that the evidence says the opposite of what it does. People will believe because they want to believe.

The current protests in Iran won’t go anywhere. Someone with guns needs to be on the side of the protestors. That’s it. Also, if a group with guns ends up favoring them, the West will find that anti-clerical Iranians are quite nationalistic and not necessarily liberal democrats.

The Democrats will win the House of Representatives. I think there’s about a 50/50 chance that they’ll get the Senate.

The United States will be in a recession by the last quarter of 2018. We’re overdue. All OECD countries are growing, to the point where Brent crude prices are going up. This isn’t sustainable, especially since many developed nations have been kicking the bucket down the line.

Personal genomics is going to be more of a presence as the year progresses. I was surprised by all the attacks from the tech-press on direct to consumer genomics over the past few months. That indicates to me that the industry is getting big enough to be a click-bait target.

George R. R. Martin will publish Winds of Winter.

More ancient DNA from the New World. This has been in the works for a while. I’m really skeptical that they won’t be able to push it out in 2018.

Twitter will continue to not be able to find its way. Basically, it can’t win, and won’t win.

More work in complex trait genetics published. This is has been long in the works, so this I know for a fact. Whatever the results, don’t worry, it will confirm all your priors no matter what those priors are.

13 thoughts on “Predictions for 2018

  1. George R. R. Martin will publish Winds of Winter.

    I’ll second that. It was either 2016 or early 2017 where Martin actually apologized for not getting the book done at the end of the previous year, and seemed to believe that finishing it was definitely in the realm of possibility. If he does turn in the manuscript, the turnaround time on that is going to be as rapid as possible – if he turned it in June 2018, I wouldn’t be shocked if it hit bookstores by October 2018.

    The United States will be in a recession by the last quarter of 2018. We’re overdue.

    I’d like to believe that we’ll eventually figure it out like Australia, and stop having recessions (seriously, at least as of early 2017 they hadn’t had what could technically be called a recession in 25 years). Eventually.

  2. “The Democrats will win the House of Representatives.”

    I have really been stunned at a current crew of politicians in both Congress and the Executive Branch who are so utterly indifferent to public opinion.

    For example, in the recently passed tax bill, I can understand if your donors insist, why you might pass a big corporate tax cut.

    But, why so ever do you ad insult to injury by including a tax break for private plane owners that cuts less than $5 million a year on a group of people receiving massive tax cuts elsewhere that could probably have been accomplished through a Treasury Regulation and makes up a significant share of the rhetorical criticism of the entire bill in a conference committee agreement?

    “The United States will be in a recession by the last quarter of 2018.”

    In line with the point about the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, political uncertainty limits the ability of businesses to commit to long term decisions.

    Retaliation from Mexico by importing agricultural products from non-U.S. farmers is going to hit the U.S. hard in 2018. Global warming fueled disasters are also hurting ag and the economy more generally – Puerto Rico is still 45% without power 3 months after Hurricane Maria.

    Skilled immigrants who could have fueled the U.S. economy are choosing Canada instead. If Amazon puts its second HQ in Canada that will really help.

    Lots of deadweight loss to the economy is going to occur as money is spent rent-seeking by restructuring businesses in unproductive ways to take advantage of the new tax bill.

    The Bitcoin collapse which is already in progress could have spill over effects.

    Venezuela’s economic collapse will hurt the economy.

    We haven’t seen the end of Brexit fall out yet.

    If Jeff Sessions cracks down on state legalized marijuana, the hit on lots of state economies will be huge, not just directly from the loss of the industry itself, but also because of the huge impact the industry has on the commercial real estate market and tax collections. Serious real estate collapses impact Wall Street collateralized mortgage pools and could replay the 2008 collapse scenario.

    “George R. R. Martin will publish Winds of Winter.”

    Blessed be.

  3. no way, bro, you’ve been predicting a recession for like a year now! time’s expired. Have you been listening to Peter Schiff every day? heheh, ijk.

    here’s mine: at the end of 2018, Trump will be exonerated by Mueller but DJT will dismiss Jared Kushner from his position.

    You wanna get nuts? let’s get nuts!

    yeah, i’m sayin’ Dow 30,000 by next new year.

    I’m going with Nashville Predators for the Stanley Cup.

    “Get Out” will win Best Picture.

    Magnus Carlsen will be defeated in the World Chess Championship by a challenger.

    Bitcoin or some other crypto-currency will be found to have directly financed a terror attack, resulting in a gov’t crackdown.

    If i’m wrong about ANY of these I will donate $119 to R. Khan before the end of next year.

  4. “The current protests in Iran won’t go anywhere.”

    That’s a pretty safe prediction about most major protests. But not all of them. I’m not clear on why a few get over the top and take out leadership when others don’t. I think we’re always looking for patterns and reasons, maybe there isn’t a reason. On rare occasion, protesters get enough military/police support to change regimes, and it isn’t predictable in advance whether that will happen.

  5. What do you think of prediction markets for electoral predictions?

    these guys claim that betfair isn’t liquid for the 2018 elections, but predictit puts democratic control of the senate at 45%, pretty much agreeing with you. But they put the house at 58%, which sounds much lower than you.

  6. betting markets are great, but liquidity obv an issue. also if u track them close to election their value seems to be in getting “CW” right a minutes before the pundits. eg 2016 was pretty volatile for predicit and trump/clinton, and it basically barely led the pundit-class.

    i think the house going dem is undervalued. i’ll put it at around 75% right now. though low confidence in the estimate.

  7. “George R. R. Martin will publish Winds of Winter.”

    Most of your predictions are defensible, but this is either denialism or deliberate cargo cultist behavior inspired by a passing whim. I understand if it’s the former, and am appropriately amused if its the latter.

    GRRM hasn’t written anything ASoFaI-related in years. The Jets, conventions, funding local projects for (scam-)artists, and Wild Cards are keeping him too busy.

  8. I’d like to believe that we’ll eventually figure it out like Australia, and stop having recessions (seriously, at least as of early 2017 they hadn’t had what could technically be called a recession in 25 years). Eventually.

    IIRC, that’s what the ‘Great Moderation’ was suppose to do. Until it didn’t.

    As for Australia’s success, that simple, it exported raw material to China and real estate boomed (with a good portion coming from China itself). It’s not exportable and it may (granted, it has been predicted many times before) be coming to an end, with iron ore and coal prices low and real estate prices so high nobody can really afford them.

    In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the next global economic crisis originates from the ‘peripheral Anglosphere’ (Australia, New Zealand and Canada). I think the next global economic crisis also has the potential to be really bad, as with the decade the institutions of the United States and the European Union have continued to decay, and unlike in 2007 will come to the crisis with all their tool worn down and ineffective.

  9. Big doubts on Democrats and recession though a 10-15% stock rollback is more than possible.

    Too many of the pollsters who missed MOST 2016 races are declaring a Progressive Wave. I think a lot of people are going to see enough of their paychecks remaining in their pockets to get out and vote. No one has a good grasp yet of what the slates will look like either.

  10. The idea that Dems are more likely to win the House than the Senate seems strange. I could see the Dems picking up 2 seats in the Senate even if the polls are only lightly in their favour (especially if McCain retires, as looks increasingly likely). On the other hand, the House is only going to flip if there’s a large Dem wave, which would almost guarantee the Senate flips as well.


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