First, the celebrations!
According to the Chinese Calendar, January 23rd, 2012, to February 10th, 2013, is the Year of the Dragon. Feng Shui experts state that 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon.
Dickens 2012 is a year-long celebration of the beloved author's 200th birthday.
Girl Scouts of the USA, in honor of their 100th anniversary in 2012, celebrates the Year of the Girl.
2012 is the Year of the Bat. Oddly enough, so was 2011.
2012 is the International Year of Cooperatives. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes, "Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility."
2012 is the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Supporters hope to achieve three objectives by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
2012 is the Alan Turing Year, honoring Turing's contributions to computing and mathematics.
2012 is a leap year. Every four years an extra day - February 29th - is added to the calendar. This keeps the Gregorian Calendar in alignment, since the solar year is actually 365.25 days long. Leap years occur every year that is divisible by 4, with some exceptions in so-called century years, such as 1900 and 2000. Century years must be divisible by 400 in order to be leap years, so 2000 was a leap year, 1900 was not.
Next, the predictions!
Some fear the end of the world is coming on December 21st, 2012, because the Mayan Calendar ends on that date. Perhaps you've seen the blockbuster film highlighting this prediction.
Although 2012 is officially the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese Calendar, golf experts predict it will be the Year of the Tiger, as in the rebirth of Tiger Woods.
Chow dubs 2012 the potential foodie Year of the Horse, following legislation that allows resumption of horse meat production in the United States.
Time predicts that 2012 will be the Year of the Ultrabook, as laptops and notebooks become clunky by comparison.
On the other hand, BYTE predicts that 2012 will be the Year of the Android Tablet, due to the impending release of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).
Bit9 predicts that 2012 will be the Year of the Smack Down, as criminals move from hacking computer systems to "smacking down" our mobile devices.
Based on analysis by Holger Kisker, BetaNews predicts that 2012 could be the Year of the Cloud, when much of our data is stored out there somewhere.
AllThingsD points out that 2012 must be the Year of the Impending Essential Tweet. Apparently Congressman Barney Frank tweeted his one and only tweet back in 2009 - "I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet." Frank is retiring in 2012.
Barron's predicts that 2012 will be the Year of the Female CEO, starting with Virginia Rometty (IBM) and Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard).
The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch predicts that 2012 will be the Year of the Dove at the Federal Reserve. The dove strategy involves shocking the economy and tweaking interest rates to create positive change.
2012 is welcomed by an LED-encrusted ball dropping in New York's Times Square. Earth Techling believes that 2012 could be the Year of the LED Light Bulb, as old-school bulbs burn out or slowly fade away.
PopWatch observes that 2012 could well be the Year of the Dude Movies. With luck, it will also be the year when people stop referring to females as dudes.
Finally, enjoy these amusing sports "predictions" for the coming year, written as if looking back at the end of 2012, by Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register.
Please feel free to comment below with your predictions for 2012.
Now go forth, celebrate, be safe, and try not to write 2011 on your checks.