Pokery's Prediction Competition Concludes - The Snow In The Summer or So-So

1 February 2009
Prediction is a mug's game. That's why Mystic Mug does so well.

Getting in on the stroke of the finish line, a final piece on the Pokery Prediction (com) Petition, most recently discussed in August, since when Mr. Pokery has explained his thinking

These were the events nominated for discussion, our thoughts in August, and our thoughts now. Our original meta-prediction was that precisely two of the twelve would take place. The events are listed in descending order of probability as assessed by the players. The conclusions we draw, and the score we compute, are subject to confirmation by Mr. Pokery. It's his competition, and the chairman's decisions are final.

And, as an added-content bonus, we review TMQ's predictions for the NFL season that began last night. All predictions wrong, or your money back, is his remarkable boast.

1. USA to win most gold medals in Beijing: 47%

We would take the information on the IOC website, but we can't find the information on the IOC website. Indeed, the IOC website seems entirely bereft of information about its crass spectacle, and babbles on about churchy stuff. Instead, the scores on the doors from Eurosport show China 51, United States 36. This Did Not Happen.

2. HP 6 to gross at least $285 million at the US box office: 45%

Looking at the figures, we can see that Harry Potter and the Delayed Release has thus far taken the grand non-total of C$0 (€0, ¥0, 0ƒ, Zim$ 100 million billion squillion (within rounding error)). The direct replacement in the film world was when a bunch of amateurs turned up to the royal premiere... sorry, when A Bunch of Amateurs turned up to the royal premiere, and that's taken somewhat less than the target figure. This Did Not Happen.

3. BBC Global 30 stock market index to drop below 4750: 43%

No-one anticipated the manufactured banking crisis in September and October, which caused the BBC Global 30 to record a closing low of 4433.89 in early October. This Happened.

4. Oil to trade at $200/barrel or higher: 41%

Even in June, it became clear that oil was priced far above its fundamental value. The plummet for Brent Crude from over 140 to under 40 was staggering, and an effect of a collapse in projected demand caused by the spectre of recession. Was the banking crisis manufactured to bring down oil at the pumps? Whatever, This Did Not Happen.

5: Microsoft to takeover Yahoo: 35%

This has become a piece of history already. Did Not Happen.

6: USA and/or Israel to execute an overt air strike against Iran: 32%

This Did Not Happen, helping to keep the price of crude down.

7: Gordon Brown to stop being Prime Minister, Labour leader or both: 29%

Though it looked entirely possible during the summer, Mr. Soup Dragon remained in office long enough to discuss policy with Quincy on Election. This Did Not Happen.

8: Firefox usage to reach 33% or higher: 27%

The highest statistics we have are: W3C - 32.07% (September) Hitslink - 21.34% (December) The Counter - 19%. We still find W3C's results so inconsistent with other figures as to make their methodology entirely questionable. Anyway, according to data available on 1 February, This Did Not Happen.

9: Named British Prince or Princess to marry publicly: 25%

No such notification has been published in the Court Circular; indeed, Miss Davey of Chelsea is believed to have split from Mr. Harold. This Did Not Happen.

10: No more than 2 major hurricanes in 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season: 22%

A major hurricane, those with winds over 180 km/h, formed in five consecutive months from July to November. This Did Not Happen.

11: New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLIII: 21%

It's the year when the senior competition followed in the footsteps of NCAA-ball, by selecting two decent but not outstanding teams to contest its season finale. Just as Utah and Scalf should have been fighting for the Heisman Trophy, so the Flaming Thumbtacks and New Jersey/A should have been battling it out in the Tampa Bay Year 3000 Stadium for the Off-White Cup.

The oracle of the pastime, Gregg Tuesday Morning Quarterback, projected The Flying Elvii to win their division. In actuality, they managed to lose out to the Marine Mammals (projected: +2-14, so only out by eight games there), and in spite of being the ninth-best side in the game, they were frozen out of the play-offs in favour of lesser sides from more fashionable parts of the continent. And we thought the mid-east was the fashion centre of NCAA-ball.

Anyway, Monday morning's final match will feature the Pittsburgh Hypocycloids, about whom TMQ wrote

The Steelers were the best 2007 team to draw little media notice.

Their opponents will be a team about whom this was written:

The Arizona (Caution: May Contain Football-Like Substance)s has one playoff victory in the past 61 seasons; Liechtenstein has more wins in that period. For reasons I do not pretend to know, every summer, football pundits suggest that the coming year will finally be the Cardinals' year. It's never going to be the Cardinals' year!

This Did Not Happen. We don't even believe TMQ's claim that a CAUTIONs victory on Monday morning would be the biggest upset in sports history. Sri Lanka in the 1996 cricket world cup? Greece in Euro 04? Buster Douglas? 1995 Ryder Cup? Foinavon? Dromcollogher-Broadford beating Nemo Rangers last autumn? But we digress...

12: John McCain to win at least 336 Electoral College seats: 18%

Who? What? Anywhoo, This Did Not Happen.

In the meta-game, we said two events would happen. We were off by one, so claim nine points. We originally stated that the stock market would drop, picking up the three bonus points available.

In the later round, we were wrong to back 1, 2, and 7, and wrong to oppose 3, so claim (41+35+32+27+25+22+21+18) 221 points, for a grand total of 233. The maximum available to us was 462 (not the 463 we calculated in August), for a success rate of 50.4%, just scraping a Second-Class Honours (Division II) in Futurology. That's almost as good as Easterblogg's It's never going to be the Cardinals' year! Oh, and while the CAUTIONs have thus far won four bowl games, Liechtenstein has won six.

Added 15 April: See also Mr. Pokery's final analysis, and unveiling of the winner. We were, er, winners of part one.

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