Having deployed sophisticated computer modelling techniques, I am now prepared to formally predict that Teh Thread Everlasting will exceed 20,000 comments before its first anniversary on Feb. 24 2010.**
This prediction is based on conservative projections from current temporal commenting trends, as illustrated here:
(click to enlarge)
The pink dashed line is a best-fit 3rd-order polynomial calculated from the comment/time data shown in black, and forecast into the future. Note that this underestimates the effect (if any, Professor) of the recent anastomosation.*
The red line is the minimum rate needed to satisfy the prediction.
As far as I am aware, this is only the second example of a quantitative prediction in the history of the discipline of Blogospherical Science.
*UPDATE 1/17: it seems that anastomisation did have a positive effect on commenting rate, and that the Day of 20K is therefore likely to arrive even sooner than predicted above.
**UPDATE 1/27: This prediction turned out to be laughably conservative. People started commenting at ridiculous rates.