UPDATE: I’ve filled this role. Thanks to all who applied!
You must have the ability to orient yourself in unfamiliar mental territory; to penetrate the fog of confusing, incomplete, and contradictory information; to sniff out reliable sources of key facts and to corroborate them; and to quickly sketch out a new intellectual landscape.
You will handle queries such as:
- What happened to the price of cotton and the wages of textile laborers before, during, and after textile mechanization in the 18th/19th centuries? Find data and analysis on this, including relevant statistics on labor productivity, and produce a list of sources.
- What startups or other commercial projects are pursuing advanced nuclear reactor designs? Make a list, and fill out details of each in a spreadsheet, such as type of reactor, amount and sources of funding, etc.
- Find first-person accounts of agricultural life and work before the 19th century, including descriptions of regular planting and harvesting seasons, and also times of crop failure or even famine.
- What is the difference between a bloomery, a blast furnace, and a Catalan forge? Make a list of sources that address this question.
The deliverable will typically be a list of sources, with brief notes on what each one contains, ranked roughly in order of relevance to the original query. You don’t have to answer the questions I pose, but you need to find sources that help me answer them.
The only real requirements are writing skills and attention to detail. However, the ideal candidate would be:
- A graduate student in history, economics, or a related field (ideally with access to scholarly sources)
- Familiar with and interested the progress community in general, and my work in particular
- Able to put in part-time work with fairly quick turnaround (24 hours for small queries would be excellent)
If you lack experience and credentials, apply anyway: you can make up for it by being dedicated, diligent, and willing/able to be trained.
The work will be variable, up to roughly 10–15 hours/week. We’ll mostly communicate by email/messaging, so you can be in any time zone. Pay: $25–30/hour, depending on qualifications.
To apply, send a CV/resume and writing sample to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.