Archive for January 6th, 2011

Dmitry Orlov on Post-Peak Career Choices

admin January 6th, 2011

Orlov outdoes himself again meditating on the best possible high-return career once “collapse predictor” stops being a job, and after dismissing “scrimshaw dentistry” chooses to combine two exercises with similar predictive capacities to become an “astro-economist.”  I wonder if Eric could do that too?

If, as I argue above, all of these alignments, through the force of ignorance, act together in concert irrespectively of distance and time, then the signal conveyed by astrological data is complete randomness: pure, high-grade noise. It is not just any old ignorance but the purest, highest-grade, most reliably fact-free signal imaginable.

And this brings us to astrology’s sister discipline, which likewise benefits from purity of ignorance: economics. It is well-known that stocks picked by expert money managers do slightly worse, overall, than stocks picked by monkeys throwing darts. (Good monkey! Here’s your bailout!) The reason for this should be obvious: monkeys produce better results because of the superior quality of ignorance that drives their decision-making process. Similarly, economists who struggle with econometric models and statistical data collected by government and industry are sometimes accidentally correct in their predictions, raising expectations and creating false hopes. But if instead economists plugged in the pure nonsense of astrological data averaged across an infinite universe, they could easily achieve a six-sigma rating, being repeatably wrong 99.99966% of the time. And wouldn’t that be exciting!? Oh but wait a minute…

Come to think of it, perhaps astroeconomics is not a promising career choice either. Back to square one, then…
I’ve long assumed it is only a matter of time before being an apocalyptic prophetess of doom is no longer a growth industry, but I’m not as creative as Orlov – I figure like every other disaster in history, people will be desperate for escapism, so I can just take my old skill set and tranfer it into bodice rippers.  As far as I can tell, it just involves using the words “heaving bosoms” a lot, and if there are enough heaving bosoms and assertive men in tight pants, no one cares what the larger content is.   Thus, I think it perfectly viable to imagine a career writing something like the following:  ”He threw her down on the bed and watchd her heaving bosoms rise and fall like interest rates, and told her passionately, ‘Green beans must be water bath canned at 10lbs pressure!’  ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ she cried, throbbing with passion, ‘high acid foods are the only sort that can be safely canned in a water bath without risk of botulism.’   Moaning with pleasure, the two fell upon one another, measuring their love in the heaving of her bosoms and multiplying jars of preserves on the shelves.”
How could it not sell?  What’s your plan?