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  • My best Christmas (there, I've said it, you politically correct secularists) present this year weighed nothing. It came over the aether decorated with dancing dollar signs in an email blast from ace prognosticator/idiot savant Max Entropy. If you subscribed to it, you'd already know you'll have opportunities galore in 2016 to make serious money from other peoples' hapless misfortunes. As a New Year's present form Max, some prescient predictions follow.

    Concerning politics, unless your head was buried in Instagram or YouTube throughout 2015, you realize that 2016 is an election year. So ask yourself, who wins elections? Not candidates themselves. Campaign consultants do. Pollsters do. Television networks do. Social media savants do. Corporate contributors do, and so could you.

    Here's an idea from Max in that vein that goes for the political jugular of fear and loathing. You can already buy little bobble-head dolls of almost any celebrity, including national politicians and especially presidential candidates. But nobody is selling bubble-head dolls. What's that, you ask? Think of your least favorite politician (I know it's a hard choice). Are you visualizing? Good. Now suppose you had a mini-me manikin of him or her with real-looking hair and clothing small enough to drown in your bathtub or kitchen sink. When you hold your fetish underwater, its little limbs flail until the water soaks in. Then it goes limp and its little mouth emits an ingratiating stream of bubbles. Of course it's a one-trick pony, but haters will love it so much they'll shell out for more at $9.98 a dunk, twenty-five percent of which could be yours.

    And that's just for starters. If you are interested in learning how to get rich in this crazy world, read on.
  • Before we climb out of the political process pool and dry off, here's another timely suggestion from Max: Have you thought about taking out some terrorist insurance? Not for yourself of course. You surely realize that the chance that a terrorist will take you out is significantly less than that of dying from an overdose of weed. No, what he's talking about is buying terrorism default swaps from an investment bank or arms merchant. While this might seem like gambling, it's not the same as wagering whether certain events will happen or not, as people do on longbets.org. Instead, like mortgage default swaps, it's an investment strategy to extract profits from someone else's misery. Basically, you are betting that sooner or later, a terrorist incident will devastate a big chunk of some urban area. Say what? Max figures that all those bombs dropped by Russia or the US and its coalition partners will create enough enemies in the Middle East to reach critical mass and chain-react across the Western World. That's what ISIS has been hoping for, and it looks like they will get their wish.

    Regardless, Max always advises his followers to hedge their bets. We all know the phrase "a hedge against inflation," and that's a good place to start. Expect inflation. The Federal Reserve has been hinting for a while it wants money to cost more, and now it's their official policy. The classic hedge strategy is to buy precious metal or related mining futures. Investing in real estate, which along with college tuition leads the economy in inflation, is another time-honored ploy. The Fed's logic is that raising short-term interest rates will force manufacturers and importers to raise prices. That might not seem like a good thing to you, but the higher rates will benefit lenders (who are all the Fed—a wholly-owned subsidiary of major banks—actually cares about). Supposedly, somehow, some of the banks' newfound wealth will trickle down Joe Sixpack's throat. Don't hold your breath, Joe. Instead...
  • Consider the exorbitant costs of health care and education. These industries, bless their bloody hearts, contribute to inflation more than most, particularly health care's core component, pharmaceuticals, and that key educational indicator, tuitions. People are fed up with the economics of getting educated and staying alive. Max says it's time for innovators to shake these guys up.

    For example, why do you need to be a college or university to provide higher education? You could be the first to open an uncollege, where the streets are classrooms and everyone students meet is a teacher. When a kid goes to uncollege, he or she isn't paying for science labs, building maintenance, food services, or dormitories, or for heating and cooling any of those facilities. Students can major in exciting subjects like Linked In, Padding Credentials, and Government Benefits. You set your uncollege up as a limited liability corporation that farms out students as interns. If an employer actually pays its interns, you collect the money from them and issue extra uncollege credits to the students you place there. And so, you are able to offer much lower tuition—as little as $10K a year—than any ivy or ivy wannabe school.

    So now, take drugs. Wait—that didn't sound right. Anyway, magazine, Internet, and TV ads for pharmaceutical products push that message aplenty, and the medical profession obliges by inventing new disorders that require interventions. On top of that, today, especially in America, self-medication is all the rage as people seek to assuage their anxieties and fill their spiritual voids with one substance or another, prescription, nonprescription, or illicit.
  • Which leads us to pot, which is good at relaxing people, especially stress puppies who somatize their insecurities. If you are fortunate enough to live or operate in a state where weed's legal, you have a bonanza blowing dollar signs at you. Wherever it occurs, legalization begets a Wild West situation, with opportunities galore for small businesses. But your chances to profit will quickly fade away once regulators and corporations crash the party, so get smoking. To get your head in a good place, here are a few things Max suggests you can do to reap rewards from reefer that don't require handling the substance itself:

    • Market a simple kitchen product—let's call it The Cannabinizer—designed to enhance the stoner experience. Sell it on the Net and on late-night TV for $14.95 plus shipping. It's basically a groovy-looking Mason jar that comes with ten little gauze sachets filled with cotton soaked with essential oils and tinctures such as vanilla, almond, or floral scents. They could also hold dried cherries, cranberries or banana chips. Just dunk the sachet in water, shake it off, put it in the jar, and add pot. Screw on lid and put it in your herb cabinet or fridge. Over time, the sachets will perfume your pot and the water will keep it nicely hydrated. Just don't mistake it for oregano. Or, if you are good at coding,

    • Develop a smartphone app that you could call TryMeNow for stoners to test their readiness to drive home after having high times. The app is a set of puzzles and games that the user must master in the time allotted. A score is computed and displayed on a meter with green, yellow and red bands for good to go, go slow, and don't go, respectively. During setup, users are instructed to teach it the codes your car key sends to open or lock car doors. When users test themselves and the meter hangs in the red zone, TryMeNow signals their car to lock its doors via Wi-Fi every ten milliseconds, for as long as it thinks its user is still under the influence. The user must continue testing him or herself until enough concentration and coordination return for TryMeNow to say "open sesame." WARNING: Do not use app while operating a motor vehicle.

    • To appeal to families worried that certain members do too much weed or need to be sober for church, do this: Hook up with a good gadgeteer to create sort of a bubble gum machine for overindulgent drug consumers that we'll call the Merry-Jane-O-Matic. Unlock the top compartment with your secret combination. Opening the lid reveals controls to set the delivered dose in grams, a time interval (default is 24 hours), and a price per pop (defaulting to a dollar a dose), plus a hopper that you fill with pot and then close the cover. It locks itself and, when the time expires, flashes psychedelically. Only then can someone insert the required number of quarters, after which a plunger expels a few hits of fine herb into a little removable tray for convenient rolling.

    • Once Merry-Jane-O-Matic catches on, many consumers will decide they need one next to their coffee makers. Then you come out with the platinum model, with three hoppers to let users dial the variety of zonk they prefer. You can also offer an optional automatic rolling unit that puffs out a perfectly-formed joint each time instead of that heap o' herb. And of course all models come with a gas gauge for each hopper and Fill Now indicators.

  • Entrepreneurship is great fun, but by now you're probably chafing to know what Max thinks 2016 has in store. As always, he has identified significant megatrends and microtrends that can float your boat. I'll give you some samples below, but to get the full Monty all you only need subscribe to Max's factoid-filled newsletter PayDay ("Trustworthy Tips for Troubling Times") for only $49.98 per month with a prepaid yearly subscription. If that seems too dear, ask yourself where else you can buy insider foreknowledge at such a low, low price. For example:

    • 2016 won't usher in the end of the world, but you can always cater to the Apocalypse crowd. It should be easy to convince large numbers of them that they can't be rapture-ready until they have a sheaf of documents you can conveniently prepare for them to leave behind that provide instructions for the care and feeding of their pets and apostate children. If Jesus could love sinners, so can they.

    • Politicians are sure to monger fear of suicide bombs, so why not feed at the trough of terrorism? Convince people that terrorists recoil from pork the way vampires do from garlic, and then sell them packets of pickled pig's blood and water pistols they they can squirt it into and carry to protect themselves against Muslim fanatics. You're sure to do well. Pig blood is cheap. So are water pistols. Paranoia is priceless.

    • Speaking of floating boats, sea levels have nowhere to go but up. You can take that to the bank. Forget selling hip boots; they're just too clumsy and unfashionable. Think instead of the millions of Jesus Shoes you could soon sell to those who dwell along shorelines.

    • Another deadly disease on the order of Ebola will emerge in Africa and turn into a global contagion, vectored by tiny parasites that eat blood cells. It will turn out that the only effective antidote is nicotine, so buy tobacco stocks now.

    • Along with many other minor opportunities, medical device manufacturers will see robust sales of rehab products as more and more people trip on curbs and wander into traffic and open manholes raptly fixated on hand-held personal devices. Invest accordingly.

  • Finally, Max is calling 2016 The Year of the Zombie, because due to turbulent weather conditions caused by El Nino and political campaigning, many more zombies than normally do will emerge from their graves, and they will vote in large numbers in the November elections. So Max urges you to get ahead of the curve and package brain food for them before the Koch brothers and Donald Trump eat your lunch.

    So sign up now to receive Max's prescient predictions every month. For a limited time only, you can get six months of enriching content for only $39.98 a month. And for only $4.98 more, you can sign up for his reader protection plan: If any of Max's predictions turn out not to be true, he will cancel your subscription at no cost to you. Try this special introductory offer and tell your friends too, because what good is it being able to say "I told you so" if there's no one to tell it to?
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