Sunday 24 December 2023

Predictions for 2024

Journalists will write about the following:

The world's first wind-powered cargo ship has set off on her maiden voyage, using her giant metal 'wings' to fly through the ocean. The WindWings have been fitted onto Mitsubishi-owned Pyxis Ocean - chartered by Cargill - and was designed by a team of British Olympic sailors. It has been built by Yara Marine Tech, and the WindWings are expected to save up to 30% of shipping fuel on average. ( According to Wikipedia, "wingsails" were invented by  L. Francis Herreshoff, who died in 1972. They've been the next big thing since then.)

The big idea: are our short attention spans really getting shorter? (Guardian, 2023-10-29. This idea has been current since the 16th century.)

Schoolgirls at Rainford High School have been lined up in fenced-off areas whilst male teachers inspect girls' skirt lengths. This has lead the girls feeling humiliated and subsequent mass school protests staged by pupils. (@David_Challen Feb 23 2023. Head teachers impose draconian uniform rules in order to get their school's name into the papers.)

2023 Fuss over a shorts ban in South Wales. (Child isolated, petition from parents.)

A Cornish tin-mine re-opens. This year it’s South Crofty, in Pool. And they’re not mining tin but miracle ingredient Z. Oh, they are mining tin because we need it for X and its price has risen because Y. (Cornish Minerals CEO Richard Williams explains: 'It's a very simple use, it's a solder for the electrical connections in computers, iphones and electric vehicles. However 75% of all the tin today comes from China and Indonesia.'

Politics is no longer about class. Class is no longer about money. Sorry, class is now about money instead of... what exactly?

Bring back blogging. (It never went away.)

Twitter and Facebook are dead. (Every year since they appeared.)

A middle-aged or elderly writer will come over very puzzled about a technology that’s been around for ten or 15 years. (“What is the point of these ‘pod casts’? When do people have the time to listen to them? What is a ‘park run’?”)

Guardian hed 2023-02-20: Goth’s undead! The dark return of Britain’s spookiest subculture (A comment: Doesn’t somebody write this article every year?)

Could a pioneering hydrogen airship help the world move away from fossil fuels? (Financial Times, 2023-02-25)


Music won’t require personal musicians in fifteen years and your favorite “artist” will be a personal algorithm, though you will still have your favorite generic public celebrity musicians. (@vkhosla Jun 29 2023. Didn't Orwell predict machine-written songs, and machine-written pulp novels, in 1984?)

Many, many people will whinge that there is no “none of the above” option on a ballot paper. (But as none of the parties seem able to define the word "woman", I may write the above on mine.)

They will moan that "nobody wants to work any more, and everything bad is caused by new things". (As someone says every year. Thanks to Paul Fairie, author of The Press Gallery) 

A novelist will use the adjective “bone” in a title. We’ve had people, clocks and ships so far.

A pundit will write a book using “science” to complain that whatever it is young people are into this year, it’s just too enjoyable

Just finished
Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke, interesting and fast read on our addictive, pleasure-soaked society. (@phamnuwen2. God forbid anyone should experience pleasure, especially not young people. To be paired with the one about the decline of mental health in young people – meaning that they’re unhappy, and they’ve told someone, and those someones have actually taken it on board and considered it to be a bad thing.)

A pioneer will suggest re-importing wild wolves, bear and lynx to the UK. The Leicester Mercury has the story for 2024.

More recycled topics here, and links to the rest.

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