Hindsight bias (“I knew it all along”) afflicts many in the feng shui world who make predictions, just as it affects doctors, economists, government officials, and “armchair authorities.”What fun to take predictions for 2006 (a Fire Dog year) and match them to events that were recorded by news services, along with data released by businesses and governments!

You never know what you might learn.

The method

A Dogpile search of websites using the keywords dog year 2006 feng shui (not necessarily in that order) revealed websites claiming to have predictions for the year.

  • Many sites saying they had predictions had to be eliminated because they borrowed too heavily from Raymond Lo’s predictions.
  • Others were eliminated because the “predictions” were actually anecdotes or marketing materials, or too vague to be considered a prediction.
  • Some sites offering predictions were not looking at Chinese sources to develop predictions for the Chinese new year.

The final list of predictions includes Raymond Lo, Yeung Tin-Ming, Michael Hanna (of the UK Feng Shui Store), the Kuala Lumpur newspaper The Star (for one prediction), Sharon Hay, Jan (Shay) Arave, Susan Levitt, and T. Raphael Simons.The goal was to pull summaries and match them against the year’s events.

Unfortunately, some of the people doing the predicting were not able to summarize very well, so only the first one or two sentences in their predictions were used. It also appears some of them were working from notes — which would lead you to believe the predictions were being made by someone else. (I tried to remove any that sounded too much like Raymond Lo.)

Sources for actual events

The Week compiles a yearly review of events that made big news in the US. I compiled the events list (first pruning all of the celebrities) before I went hunting for Chinese New Year predictions.

How to compare predictions

Words in bold within a prediction match something in the list of actual events.

Actual events of 2006

Here is what occupied US news reports from February 2006 to mid-January 2007 (in no particular order).

Global organizations, activities, and politics

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency voted to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for its nuclear program. European countries offered incentives to end the program, which Iran rebuffed.
  • The UN reported that roughly 100,000 Iraqis flee the country each month.
  • The International Astronomical Union announced that Pluto is really just a dwarf planet.
  • According to a disaster report released by the UN, floods and storms were more frequent in 2005, along with extreme temperatures. Asia was hit the hardest again in 2006, with Typhoon Durian and a landslide in the Philippines. There was an increase in flooding from previous years, especially in the US. China, followed by the US, suffered the most natural disasters.
  • Italy won the World Cup after an altercation that resulted in France’s star player being ejected from the game.
  • In a speech, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor who believed the Prophet Mohammed’s ideas were “evil and inhuman.” His speech incited rioting across the Muslim world. The pope later delivered a rare apology.


A Danish newspaper published cartoons making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. This caused weeks of rioting throughout the Muslim world.


North Korea performed an underground test of a nuclear bomb. The test was only partially successful. China shot an old weather satellite out of orbit with a ground-based missile. The test was a success — except for the debris field, which meant the International Space Station had to change orbit to avoid being hit.

Middle East

  • Nouri al-Maliki, the new prime minister of Iraq, had difficulty installing a Cabinet that would satisfy all parties. A bloody wave of bombings, executions, and drive-by shootings began, targeting civilians. The violence spiraled out of control after the Cabinet was finally installed, with an estimated 100 civilians dying daily. Sectarian violence left the country in anarchy.
  • According to a National Intelligence Estimate by US spy agencies, the violence jumped 51 percent since the new government was installed. President Bush denounced the release of this report as a way for America’s enemies to “create confusion in the minds of the American people.”
  • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel suffered a stroke and was replaced by Ehud Olmert.
  • Hamas won the Palestinian elections.
  • Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers, igniting a major military assault into southern Lebanon. The UN eventually arranged a cease-fire.
  • Saddam Hussein was tried and found guilty, and hanged. Badly.

United States

  • The Iraq Study Group issued its report on the “grave and deteriorating” situation in Iraq. The cause was determined to be a policy that was “not working.”
  • The New York Times published information about a secret wiretapping program authorized by President Bush after 9/11. The program allows the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and emails between the U.S. and foreign countries without first obtaining a warrant. President Bush expressed anger at the Times for writing about the program..
  • The Supreme Court ruled that suspected terrorists and other “detainees” are covered by the Geneva Conventions and due process of law. This ruling came as a complete surprise to the White House.
  • President Bush ordered about 21,000 more troops to Iraq to stop the violence.
  • 2006 was the hottest year on record in the US, and nearly identical to the record set in 1998, but seven months were much warmer than average. Global annual temperatures are about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer than the start of the 20th century, and the rate of warming has accelerated over the past 30 years. The past nine years have all been among the 25 warmest years on record for the continental US.
  • Wildfires burned almost 10 million acres, a new record. The number of wildfires in 2006 jumped to more than 30,000. The country still suffered from prolonged drought, especially in the Southwest and the Midwest along with Tennessee.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally discharged a shotgun in the face of his friend while bird hunting. The friend later apologised.
  • Chemical vapors inside a paint and ink factory caused a huge explosion in Massachusetts that leveled the building and dozens of surrounding homes.
  • A former deputy chief of staff to Representative Tom DeLay pleaded guilty to corruption and bribery charges, and vowed to cooperate with prosecutors. Three days later, DeLay announced he would retire from Congress. Representative Cynthia McKinney had a physical altercation with a Capitol police officer who did not recognize her as a member of Congress. At a public (and videotaped) event, Senator George Allen referred to a dark-skinned supporter of his opponent as macaca, a French racial slur meaning ‚Äúmonkey.‚Äù Representative Mark Foley resigned after a website published electronic conversations with Foley and a young male intern.
  • Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, resigned his post after being exposed as a hypocrite.
  • Millions of illegal immigrants and their supporters demonstrated around the US.
  • Democrats won control of both houses of Congress. The next day, it was announced that the Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) was being replaced.
  • A nationwide E.coli outbreak killed several people and sickened many others. It was traced to contaminated spinach. Later outbreaks of E.coli at a fast-food chain were traced to contaminated lettuce.

Feng shui predictions for 2006

Yeung Tin-Ming

To be fair, Yeung Tin-Ming did predict a nuclear explosion between 7 October and 7 November 2006, occurring in Japan or Korea. The test was 9 October. However Yeung said it would be from a confrontation, not from testing. Also, the underground test was only partially successful — like a firecracker that turns out to be a dud.

Michael Hanna of Feng Shui Store (UK)

… robbery, deception, fighting, arguments, misunderstandings, and gossip, 2006 unfortunately will not be a steady year. We will still experience hostility around the world like last year and predictions of natural disasters like earthquakes; landslides, floods and further worldwide disasters are highly likely. There are many other nasty predictions for 2006 but as you know we don’t like making them too in-depth as the power of the mind is extremely powerful and can manifest the problems

I am sure we are all surprised to learn that if we think about global warming and natural disasters, we’ll “manifest the problems.”

Hanna’s remark echoes American religious thought behind “The Secret.” It is also a type of disclaimer often used by people who suffer from hindsight bias. It allows them to later tell everyone they predicted some event. However, they hope no one looks at what they actually wrote.

Jan (Shay) Arave

Dog years provide opportunities to get back to basics, do the things you really enjoy, or complete projects that are really important to you. If anything has gone wrong in previous years this is a year when you can make them right. It’s a year filled with the energy of creativity and is said to be a good one for marriage. Dogs years support expansion in the area of friendship, fun and new experiences. But, of course, as with every good thing, there is a down side to the Dog Year. This particular dog year hides a powerful secret energy. On the surface everything may seem to be calm. We will have the feeling that if we are sufficiently patient, everything will work out the way we hope it will. However, underneath this seemingly placid surface, feelings, secrets and troubled emotions simmer like molten earth and just as we assume that life is stable and our way is clear, the volcano erupts.

A good candidate for the “volcano erupts” is the “unequivocal” report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was released right at the start of the feng shui new year: You, me, and the rest of humanity are responsible for what is killing the planet.

Sharon Hay

In many ways Dog years are about coming home; coming home to ourselves, returning to the soil and having an appreciation of the things that truly serve us. Relationships are essential and are an appropriate focal point for many Dog year activities. Enjoy this year and make the most of it. It holds challenges for some and rewards for others. For everyone it promises many opportunities to experience love and joy and abundance.

Susan Levitt

The year of the Dog is a time of fairness and equality. Controversial issues are given their due, revolutions are successful, politics are liberal, and political oppression is opposed. Integrity and honesty are the values that lead to success under Dog’s watchful and just influence.

T. Raphael Simons

The dangers of Fire Dog are to go to extremes in ambition, to become severely aggressive and intolerant and to be hounded by anxieties. There is a possibility of an event of unanticipated violence coming into the world in the earlier part of this year. The symbols that describe this are of a flood and of the large number being overwhelmed by the small number of the enemy. High officials in government and business who are not overly selfish and who strive to work in harmony with others will succeed this year.

The Star (Kuala Lumpur), published in June 2006 before the World Cup

Whenever the World Cup takes place in the Chinese horoscope Year of the Dog, the champions have been either Italy or Brazil.

Raymond Lo

In general, the yang fire Dog year, with fire on top supporting earth below, is symbol of more harmony and optimism with more international co-operation and more care about the future of humanity and global well-being. The Dog is also symbol of spiritual achievement and the world may pay more attention to spiritual health and enrichment as long term solution to the hatred and religious differences which have been causing disharmony to the world in the past decade. There will be more international co-operation in solving environmental issues such as control of nuclear power and global warming. The strong yang fire appearing on top can also bring about serious explosion or nuclear disasters. There will also be more chances of natural disasters involving drought, earthquake, landslides, and volcanic eruption.

The winners

Yeung Tin-Ming, for giving a time frame and a location for an atomic explosion. However, the bomb did not entirely explode, and it was the result of a peaceful test rather than the result of a confrontation with other nations.

The Star newspaper from Kuala Lumpur. One sentence provided enough detail to track a particular event (the World Cup), and provided information on those involved in the event (Brazil and Italy). However, technically this is not a prediction. It is an observation: Either Brazil or Italy do well in Dog years. But those odds are much better than the actual predictions.

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