Will the World End?
NASA Senior Research Scientist Don Yeomans
Yeomans is one of several NASA scientists who don't think some planetary alignment will result in the end of the world in 2012. He's quick to point out that yes, there's a ton of interest in the position of the planets (and their trajectories) in relation to Earth this year, particularly towards the end of the year, but he says there's no need to panic. This is a lot of hype, and speculation. Yeoman says: "Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV, and the movies is not based on science."
In case you're interested, NASA has established a special FAQ page to address the whole 2012 end-of-days theory, which you can read here.
'The God Particle'v
Physicist and Director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Rolf Heuer
Ever heard of the so-called 'God Particle?' This particle, also known as the subatomic Higgs Boson particle, could finally be proven (or disproven) to exist in 2012, according to physicist Rolf Heuer, the director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Discovering the Higgs Boson particle could fill in a major piece of the missing puzzle with regard to the formation of the entire Universe. In short, the particle could help to answer the fundamental question about why matter has mass.
Over the summer of 2011, Heuer said that 2012 is THE year for this discovery, noting that, "I would say we can settle the question, the Shakespearean question - 'to be or not to be' -- by the end of next year."
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, 'The Atlantic' and Robert Hof of 'Forbes'
Facebook crossed the 500 million users mark in July of 2010. At the beginning of 2012, Facebook had roughly 800 million users. Back then, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg predicted that the company would eventually see one billion users. Could this happen in 2012? Or has the growth slowed down for the world's largest social network? Some industry watchers, including The Atlantic's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, say yes, it's going to happen. Let the countdown begin!
Another Facebook-related 2012 prediction: The company will offer a long-anticipated IPO and it will be huge - valuing the company at up to $100 billion ("billion" seems to be a key word where Facebook's concerned in 2012). Not everyone thinks the IPO will be the saving grace for the economy, however, including Robert Hof of Forbes, who says that the Facebook IPO "won't launch a thousand IPOs as a gazillion venture capitalists and angel investors hope."
The Year of the Tablet
Vivek Wadhwa, 'The Washington Post'
With the Kindle Fire's explosion in popularity, will more, even lower-priced Android-powered tablets surface in 2012? Possibly. 'The Atlantic' predicts that Google will lead the way with a $200 tablet, while Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa predicts that prices will go even lower - possibly into the "sub-$100" range.
Will Obama Win?
'US News & World Report' Journalist Brad Bannon
2012 is a presidential election year, so it's no surprise that predictions about winners and losers are rampant. Brad Bannon of 'US News & World Report' isn't exactly going out on a limb with his prediction that Mitt Romney will win the GOP nomination and then lose by a narrow margin to President Barack Obama. He says Ron Paul, as the Libertarian Party candidate, will take just enough votes away from Romney to allow Obama to win (a la Ralph Nader, circa 2000).
Political Economist and former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
Robert Reich is no stranger to politics, having served, among other things, as the Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997. Reich predicts that Barack Obama will choose Hillary Clinton as his vice-presidential running mate in 2012, with Joe Biden moving into her job as Secretary of State.
But what about the Republican ticket? Reich predicts that eventual GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will choose Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his vice-presidential running mate.
Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to former President George W. Bush Karl Rove
Karl Rove, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, also makes a number of 2012 political election predictions. Most aren't surprising. Among them: Republicans will keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives and gain control of the U.S. Senate.
Karl Rove also offers a (very) brief prediction of the 2012 presidential election, saying that Barack Obama will lose the election, possibly to GOP candidate Mitt Romney (though he doesn't get into that too deeply). He does say that he believes Ron Paul won't get the nomination and won't run as a third-party candidate "that would put his son, Rand Paul, in an untenable position: Does the Republican senator from Kentucky support his father and effectively re-elect Mr. Obama, or back his party and defeat him?"
War with Iran?v
CBS National Security Correspondent David Martin
Some believe that 2012 will see increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, but CBS National Security Correspondent David Martin takes things one step further. During a panel discussion on 2012 predictions, Martin said that Israel will attack Iran next year - with help from the U.S. Here's Martin's full quote:
"If Iran doesn't blink Israel will strike... Go after its nuclear facilities, if Iran doesn't blink... [The U.S. will] have no choice but to support Israel. And depending on what the evidence is at that time they might even want to take part in that raid, it depends on what kind of intelligence they have about that decision that Iran has to make about whether to really build a bomb and go beyond putting all the pieces in place, which is what it's doing now."
2012 at the Box Officev
BTIC Analyst Richard Greenfield
What are some of the biggest hits (and misses) coming in the entertainment industry in 2012? BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says he expects the 'Dark Knight Rises' to be the biggest movie of the year. Not exactly earth-shattering in terms of predictions, huh? Greenfield also says that Disney's 'John Carter' will flop massively, becoming the "biggest box office disappointment." Again, not entirely surprising.
But what about movie attendance in 2012? Moviegoers stayed home in record numbers in 2011, leading to horrible overall box office numbers. Greenfield predicts that this trend will continue, with the movie companies putting out more and more 'premium' formats like IMAX and 3D at higher ticket prices, without success. He says, "Unfortunately, bad movies at premium prices are still bad movies and end up alienating your best customers."
Interestingly enough, Greenfield sees positives for Netflix in 2012. He says that Netflix's original programming efforts will pay off, and be "a positive surprise for investors in 2012."
Anne Thompson, 'Thompson on Hollywood'
Film expert Anne Thompson is one of many in the industry who are trying to predict the 2012 Academy Awards - before the nominations are even announced. As of early-January 2012, Thompson was predicting that 'The Artist' was a clear favorite to garner multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. 'The Artist's' closest competition, according to Thompson, is 'The Descendants.' She believes that stars George Clooney and Shailene Woodley could win in the acting categories, and calls director Alexander Payne a "strong contender" for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sasha Stone, Awards Daily
Okay, Thompson makes her case, but do others in the industry agree? Sasha Stone at Awards Daily definitely does. She predicts that 'The Artist' is the odds-on favorite in the 2012 Best Picture Oscar race, saying that "there's no stopping this movie" and adding that the "universal appeal of 'The Artist' is what has it winning critics, industry and audiences alike." So there you go. Another prediction that 'The Artist' will dominate the 2012 Academy Awards.
Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon
But wait, aren't there other films offering some strong competition? Yes, according to Rope of Silicon's Brad Brevet, who believes that 'The Descendants' is the front-runner for Best Picture. He predicts that other strong contenders include -- yes -- 'The Artist,' but also 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' and 'The Help.'