Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Nostradamus Department


The Institute for the Study of Male Stereotyping was set up in the 1960s. This was an era when feminism was beginning to make itself felt and the traditional male psyche was coming under some stress.

Like all institutions, it was not content to limit itself to its original mission and in the 1970s it branched out into the area of attempting to predict male adult lives based on the behaviour of young children.

This part of the Institute was christened the Nostradamus Department, hence the title of this post. The Department turned out to be aptly named as its predictive ability closely paralleled that of Nostradamus in total failure.

There were, of course, always signs that could be correctly interpreted in retrospect, but in prospect were wide of the mark.

Some examples may help to clarify. The two children below were randomly selected from a sample of those whose future the Institute predicted in the 1970s. Those in the sample were given letters of the alphabet instead of names in order to protect their anonymity. The two chosen at random from the sample were Child D and Child E below. So let's now see just what went wrong in their case.


Child D, above, was observed, even while still in nappies, to have a fondness for the typewriter keyboard and the Institute confidently predicted that he would become at best a famous author or at worst an infamous journalist.

This was way wide of the mark as the child actually became a major figure, innovator and critic, in the world of IT and Permaculture. So the keyboard, if it had any significance at all was not for communicating with his fellow humans, but rather with the computer.


Child E was confidently expected to become a permanent Civil Servant on the basis of his love affair with the teapot. Heading for the eternal tea-break, no less.

Well, it turned out that it was soup rather than tea that he ended up dealing with. He became a renowned geneticist.

When these blunders could no longer be covered up, the Nostradamus Department was shut down, but as it had by then become the major unit of the Institute, the Institute itself was soon to follow.

The only successful cover-up so far has been of the very existence of the Institute itself, but I have now blown that with this post.

Any further developments will be reported on here.

2 comments:

Viv said...

Yes, its cover has now been blown, thanks to your goodself.

The Institute was closely connected with the Biomedical Atomic Bicycle Bumps Institute of Technology (Babbit), established by the well-known German scientist Selby, following the revelation of his theories regarding molecular transfer between bicycle and rider and ensuing physiological and psychological changes in riders, especially females riding men's bicycles.

Selby's theories were first revealed, not in a scientific journal, but in the book "The Third Policeman", by Flann O'Brien. Why Selby chose this method is not known, but he had an aversion to peer scrutiny.

Not many people know this.

Nora said...

:D