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Welcome to the new year

10 January 2022

Welcome to 2022.

Wow, when I was a kid I couldn't imagine what things would be like 22 years into the 21st century and even now I'm having trouble believing exactly what year it is.

I recall that as a child of probably 10 or 11 years, my head filled with the predictions of countless Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines, I really thought we'd have flying cars, a manned colony on Mars and heaps of other stuff that simply hasn't happened.

The reality is that we've done some pretty cool stuff from a science and technology perspective but we're still not fulfilling the dreams and predictions of your average 1960s science fiction writer.

Yes, we "almost" have self-driving cars and computers are way, way ahead of what was predicted back then but in most other aspects of life, technology really hasn't changed that much at all.

For example... odds are that the car you're driving today is powered by the same fuel (petrol) as those horrible old 1960s heaps made by companies such as Morris, Hillman and Triumph.

Yes, EVs are now starting to really take a decent chunk of the market, with the Tesla Model 3 outselling any other brand/model of passenger car last year and only being gazzumped on the sales table by utes and vans. However, the internal combustion engine is, for at least a couple more years, still the mainstay of the automotive industry.

Houses, despite changing styles and fashions, are pretty much the same wooden dwellings (in NZ) that they always were. Sure, we have insulation, double-glazing and such but anyone going from a 1960s dwelling to a 2022 one won't be too surprised at what they see.

Okay, maybe that 65-inch 4K OLED TV set might be a mind-bender for our hippy throwbacks but we still use carpet, wallpaper, paint, tiles and such. Houses really don't change much do they?

I am sorely disappointed, yet rather relieved, that we don't all have micro-sized nuclear reactors in our homes or powering our cars and aircraft. This was the promised future back in the 1960s but I guess they conveniently forgot about the risks and dangers associated with fission reactors. However, now that the Chinese have managed a sustained fusion containment lasting some 17 minutes, perhaps that holy grail of *fusion* reactors is finally coming into the picture. What do you reckon... give it another 10-20 years perhaps?

One thing I'm really happy about is that we no longer have cheques. I guess many of us will recall in years gone by, the annoyance of getting the year wrong when dating those little bits of paper during the first week or two of a new year.

Perhaps the one thing that nobody could have predicted back in the 1960s was the way we've built a network (the internet) that effectively allows almost everyone on the planet to exchange thoughts, ideas, beliefs, knowledge and information.

So sad that it's mainly used to post cute cat pictures, to troll people and to spread disinformation on almost every subject imaginable. This is such a waste of a resource and people's time that it really ought to be declared a crime.

I also doubt very strongly that anyone alive in the 1960s, especially those who fought in WW2, would believe that the people of 2022 would so gladly give up the freedoms that cost so many brave men their lives. To think that an entire population now freely accepts the levels of surveilance, control and suppression of free speech by democratically elected governments that has now become rampant is a very saddening thing.

These are facts of life I guess and we simply have to accept them, since no individual will be able to change things and the populace as a whole seems disinterested in recovering all that's been lost.

As for the year ahead... as I predicted back in November (well ahead of the mainstream media), it's startiong to look as if omicron is the less dangerous variant of Covid 19 that will effectively immunise the world's population, whether they're vaxxed or not. This is how the Spanish Flu epidemic died out and I am pretty sure it spells the end of CV19 as an epidemic.

By the end of the year I expect the borders to be wide open again and for things to be very-much getting back to normal. However, we must all be hyper-vigilant to ensure that the freedoms taken from us in the name of "protecting the population from pandemic" are returned to us. There will be a huge temptation for government(s) to retain the extra powers they granted themselves during this period and we must not allow this.

Unfortunately, the return to "normal" will also see the bill come due for all the massive amounts of money the government threw around during the lockdowns. This money didn't just magically appear, it was effectively borrowed from our future earnings and must be returned by taxation on those earnings. I predict tax rises -- but after the next election, for obvious reasons.

Inflation may also raise its ugly head again and that will spell very bad news for many of those who have borrowed heavily to buy houses and properties that are at unheard-of prices.

That $800,000 mortgage may be manageable at today's interest rates but what if/when rates start spiking, perhaps into double digits and beyond. Those of us who were around in the 1980s well remember what 15%+ interest rates can do to those that can't keep up.

I predict a period where the rich will get *even* richer and the poor will get even poorer, due at least in part to the number of those who lose their homes in forced sales.

Yeah, sounds a bit grim I guess... but the sun will shine, fun will be there to be had if you look for it and every day above ground is a good day.

Now go to the forums and throw a few of your own predictions around.

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