Sunday, September 30, 2007

of *The Steppe*

As technology makes perfectly simulated virtual universes a fact, the most vital human intellectual endeavor is inquiry into how a conscious mind can discern a physical universe.

The notion that one might be the only conscious mind in existence, known as the “Problem of Other Minds” in the Western philosophical tradition, known to Western psychology as “Solipsism Syndrome,” is abhorrently alien to any human who lives with other humans, as almost all humans do. Yet this same notion is so natural to any human in solitude that it is a primary concern of space agency research into how humans can live in vast, empty, extraterrestrial landscapes.

The Steppe is an exploration of the horror and glory of a human accepting that which is humanly unacceptable, yet logically undeniable.


Two articles on Mongolia mining

New Statesman:

"Not all of these licenses have been exploited yet, but those that have are causing immense problems already – literally carving chunks out of Mongolia’s beautiful landscapes and leaving a legacy of pollution that will be there for years to come. More than 2,000 of the country’s small and medium sized rivers have disappeared, due to mining operations digging up their sources, and there is widespread soil and water pollution from the mercury and cyanide used in the mining and extraction process."


Asia Times:

"The magnitude of potential investment and forecast revenues from deposit sales have led some to christen Mongolia the 'El Dorado' of the new millennium. While this may be a slight exaggeration, the government's National Development Strategy 2021 anticipates per capita income in Mongolia increasing from US$1,100 today to $7,000 in five years and $15,000 by 2021."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

History is the Fiction

"History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction."

--Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Special Advance Reading


A special advance reading of Radigan Neuhalfen's new novel The Steppe will be held at 4:00 pm Thursday, September 27th, at Chinggis Khaan University.

The Steppe is being published by Chinggis Khaan University Press and will be released in October.

"Crossing Mongolia on horseback one summer, Rad encounters a man who lives alone upon the steppe. Known to the nomads as 'Buddha' but calling himself 'Baatar,' the man lives without a horse, a ger, or a herd of sheep, but with a large, mysterious sword that may once have belonged to Genghis Khan. He claims to survive by hunting and eating monstrous, nocturnal 'creatures' of the steppe.

"As Rad questions Baatar, seeking the truth, he becomes drawn into the man's strange reality. Soon, Rad realizes that he, like Baatar, may never wish to leave the steppe, nor be able to."

Chinggis Khaan University is located in the 11th district of Ulaanbaatar, just east of Dashchoilon Monastery, north of the Baga Toiruu.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Surly Beer


New brewery by Macalester alum in Minnesota, where the bridge fell down.

http://www.citypages.com/databank/28/1393/article15757.asp

"...in June a beer magazine, Ratebeer.com, had judged Surly Darkness, the brewery's Russian Imperial Stout, to be the best American beer in the whole entire world. ...Another magazine, Beer Advocate, also just named Surly the No. 1 best brewery in the entire U.S. of A."

"Americans don't really make anything anymore except software, movies, a few medical devices, and beer."

Surly Brewing

Mongolian Pinkeye

It's that time of year again -- summer travel pieces in the Western media! Pretty much the same as last year's. Anyway, here's one from McSweeney's!

Mongolia on Paper by Roy Kesey

"It helped that I had a bad case of conjunctivitis at the time."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good Writing


Cracked.com is a quality humor website. Jay Pinkerton is an editor; contributing writers include Maddox, Mike Nelson, Dave Campbell, and many others.

Many pieces critique other works of humor, opining whether something is funny or not funny, but also why it is funny or not funny, and doing so in a way that is funny. It is like reading insightful "theory of humor."

Most of Cracked's pieces are good. This one, by David Wong, is startlingly good:

7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable

"So did we really need a study to tell us that more than 40 percent of what you say in an e-mail is misunderstood? Well, they did one anyway.

"How many of your friends have you only spoken with online? If 40 percent of your personality has gotten lost in the text transition, do these people even really know you? The people who dislike you via text, on message boards or chatrooms or whatever, is it because you're really incompatible? Or, is it because of the misunderstood 40 percent? And, what about the ones who like you?

"When someone speaks to you face-to-face, what percentage of the meaning is actually in the words, as opposed to the body language and tone of voice? Take a guess.

"It's 7 percent. The other 93 percent is nonverbal, according to studies. No, I don't know how they arrived at that exact number. They have a machine or something. But we didn't need it. I mean, come on.

"When we're living in Text World, all that is stripped away. There's a weird side effect to it, too: absent a sense of the other person's mood, every line we read gets filtered through our own mood instead."

In a Submarine That’s Been Hit

I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.

I can picture in my mind a world without war. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, "Got any shoes you're not using?"

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

The other day when I was walking through the woods, I saw a rabbit standing in front of a candle making shadows of people on a tree.

I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world. Perhaps you've seen it.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

One night I came home very late. It was the next night.

I like to fill my tub up with water, then turn the shower on and act like I'm in a submarine that's been hit.

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas. I just think about it.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

I intend to live forever. So far, so good.


--Steven Wright

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