Scientists Predict 2024!

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Happy new year, friends! What’s that? It’s actually the whole ass second week of January? I do not care. Time is an illusion, and January doubly so. I’m starting 2024 riiiiiiight…

And so as with every year, I’m starting it with PSYCHIC PREDICTIONS! For the past few years I’ve been asking scientist friends to open their third eye, align their chakras, read their tea leaves, and tell me what the universe has in store for us in the coming 12 months.

And so as always I will begin by judging the predictions of last year.

First I went to biologist and DNA specialist Dr. Karen James, who gazed into her crystal ball and reported that:

“someone will resurrect (either as cells, embryos, or actual young) an extinct species. They’ll try to justify it by suggesting it is ecologically relevant, but it will not truly be.” 

It’s the first prediction and it was a HIT! Well, sort of. Dr. James was likely referring to someone cloning a species back into existence as some researchers are currently trying to do to the dodo. But last July, scientists published a paper in PLOS One announcing that they had revived a particular species of nematode that they found in Siberian permafrost. These little goofballs had been in suspended animation for about 46,000 years, and since they were successfully resurrected they are now the only known survivors of their otherwise extinct species! So technically Dr. James was correct, which as we all know is the best sort of way to be correct.

Her next prediction was that “Ancestry dot com will merge with Twitter and charge $8/month for “Twitter Blue-Gene,“ which will provide a (scientifically bogus) validation of one’s race or genealogy of choice to win arguments against SJWs.”

This did not happen but probably not for lack of trying on Elon Musk’s part.

One out of two ain’t bad, though!

Next up was the Bad Astronomer himself, Dr. Phil Plait, who consulted astrological charts to determine that the James Webb Space Telescope…

“will see an unambiguous gay pride flag in a distant galaxy. NASA will still refuse to consider changing the observatory’s name.”

That didn’t happen. Well, the first part didn’t happen. The second part did, I guess, in that NASA has continued to insist that we call it the James Webb Space Telescope despite the fact that James Webb was a real asswipe who discriminated against LGBTQ people. Fun fact, though: if you Google “James Webb LGBTQ” Google’s shitty AI thinks you want to know when James Webb “came out,” which James Webb would have fucking hated. So that’s fun.

Next Dr. Plait predicted that 

“Elon Musk will buy the ACLU and shut it down.”

No, but this is pretty close when you consider that Musk did get the Anti Defamation League to completely go off the rails. If you missed it, Twitter is now full of Nazis, the ADL gently pointed that out, Musk threatened to sue them, and then after October 7 when Musk made it clear he’s an anti-Palestinian pro-Apartheid Zionist, the ADL’s CEO started singing his praises, leading ADL employees to start looking for new jobs.

Next up:

“Lauren Boebert will be arrested on felony assault charges.”

This was SUCH A CLOSE PREDICTION! First of all, she WAS caught committing lewd acts in public (the audience of the Beetlejuice musical). Second of all, the VERY WEEK I am recording this, Colorado police have reported that Boebert is officially under investigation for an apparent “altercation” at her restaurant involving her ex-husband. They didn’t offer any other information but Boebert said in response, and I’m not making this up, “I didn’t punch Jayson in the face and no-one was arrested.”

My “Not involved in human trafficking” T-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt.”

Dr. Plait then took a chance at “Astronomers will discover 422 new exoplanets.”

Okay, it was surprisingly hard for me to find this number.  but it looks like at the start of 2023 NASA accepted that there were 5,284 known exoplanets, and at the end of 2023 there were 5,566. That’s 282 new exoplanets, meaning that by Price is Right rules, Dr. Plait has lost and should have bid “1” new exoplanet.

Dr. Plait also predicted that “Globally, 2023 will be the 4th warmest year on record, just edging out 2022.”

I have extremely depressing news: Dr. Plait got this one wrong. 2023 was, in fact, the hottest year on record. Everything’s fine!

Finally Dr. Plait predicted that

“My book, “Under Alien Skies”, will become a national bestseller, and a TV series will be optioned based on it. Sadly, I will be replaced as its host by an AI that will generate images of an astronomer waving their hands a lot and saying things like, “… while the view from here is amazing, of course you’d be dead in seconds.””

This is actually all true. Did you miss it? I think it was on AppleTV.

Finally, I asked my friend, entomologist Dr. Gwen Pearson, to consult the Ancient Ineffable Bug Gods and tell us what 2023 had in store: 

“1. The National Butterfly Center will be attacked again and close (again) for an extended period in 2023.”

If you’ll recall, QAnon psychos tried to shut down the National Butterfly Center in 2022 because they thought it was a hub of human trafficking. I’m happy to say that as far as I can tell they were NOT attacked in 2023. I’m even happier to say that they were cool as shit in 2023, escorting Texas Department of Public Safety troopers off of their property and Tweeting that the cops thought they could ignore the law because they were helping the local border patrol find undocumented immigrants. In a Butterfly Garden. Apparently this isn’t the first time the border patrol has swarmed the center’s grounds, because the executive director told Rolling Stone “It’s always bullshit.”

All cops are bastards and all butterflies are cool.

“2. PETA will take up the defense of Spotted Lanternflies, hindering USDA and state agencies’ ability to control the pest. Alicia Silverstone tries to pose nude with 10,000 lanternflies, but eventually walks off the set covered in honeydew.”

I’m very sad to say this but PETA has not, as far as I’m aware, made any new comment about the invasive lanternfly besides their milquetoast statement to the New York Times in 2022.

“3. For a second year, no Northern Giant Hornets (aka “Murder Hornets”) will be found in the Pacific Northwest.”

A hit!! The Pacific Northwest remained blessedly Murder Hornet-free in 2023.

“4. The National Park Service request for people to stop licking their toads will be expanded to millipede licking.”

This did not happen, and so I’d like to encourage you all to get out there and MAKE THEM put out a warning this year. Head over to Sequoia National Park at night, when you can find glow-in-the-dark millipedes that smell like delicious almonds! You know, because of the cyanide in them. Yum.

Thanks again to my pals for their insightful predictions! For this year, we have a few new voices. Dr. James was traveling this holiday season and thus could not access her crystal ball, and Dr. Pearson…okay honestly when I asked Dr. Pearson what 2024 had in store she just responded “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.” So, write that one down for her.

Luckily, Dr. Plait went right to work with the astrological charts and came up with these predictions:

1.) Developers will create an app that allows you to reach through the internet and choke someone to death. They reach one billion dollars in sales overnight. 

Sigh. If only.

2.) Artemis II will be delayed until 2025 due to SLS rocket issues. Artemis III, the first Moon landing of The New Era, will be delayed until no earlier than February 2027 due to issues with the SpaceX timeline in getting Starship ready. 

3.) Execs at Substack will realize their name is too difficult to say and write, so they will shorten it to SS.


4.) Trump will get the GOP Presidential nod despite his legal team only being able to get him on three state ballots. His Vice Presidential pick will be the Hamburglar.

I will call this one a win if Trump’s VP has ever stolen a hamburger, worn a black and white striped shirt, or is caught on tape saying “rubble rubble.”

Our next scientific psychic is none other than Dr. Kaveh Hoda, gastroenterologist and host of the podcast House of Pod, where I recently appeared to help question Dr. Jen Gunter about her newest book. Check it out, link (as always) is in the transcript, which is linked (as always) in the doobly do below:




Dr. Hoda opened the entrails of a patient who came to him complaining of being a bit gassy, and here is what he saw for the coming year:

1) Within the class of medications known as “biologics,” used as treatments for diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, we’ll have the development of great new oral treatments (infusions and injections will no longer be necessary) but the cost will be prohibitive for most.

2) Given the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with more and more people being crammed into small spaces, with no infrastructure there to support them, we will see the development of terrible new infectious disease strains that spread globally. The cost will be prohibitive.

Dr. Hoda coming out of the gate SWINGING.

For our final psychic, I reached out to my friend, microbiologist and infectious disease expert Siouxsie Wiles, who recently had an entire documentary made about her efforts to fight COVID-19 in New Zealand! Siouxsie put some tea leaves under a microscope and here’s what she saw in store for 2024:

1.) Cillian Murphy will win an Oscar for his performance in Oppenheimer but won’t be able to pick up his award in person due to having developed long COVID after catching COVID at a previous awards ceremony.

2.) A nasal pan-coronavirus vaccine that prevents transmission of all current and future COVID variants with the real potential to bring the pandemic under control will pass phase III trials and be rolled out equitably around the world. Still, most people in high-income countries won’t get it because it’s obviously just a Gates-funded ploy to depopulate the “civilised” world.

3.) Deadly outbreaks of [a usually innocuous virus/bacterium/fungi] will sweep the world and be blamed on lockdowns.  

4.) Gwyneth Paltrow will rebrand her jade yoni egg as a treatment for long COVID.

I actually had to check to be sure that hadn’t already happened. Surprisingly it has not.

Good luck to all three of our psychic scientists! I’m excited to see how they do and to therefore focus on science news as it comes out, instead of focusing on all of the upcoming political news that would have me joining Dr. Pearson in an unending cry of “fuuuuuuuuuck.” Here’s to Good Science in 2024!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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