Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Treasure of Khan

"The action, and there's plenty of it, ranges from Siberia's Lake Baikal and the wilds of Mongolia to the Hawaiian islands. The treasure is that of Genghis and Kublai Khan, the great Mongolian conqueror and his grandson. The villain is a modern-day Mongol with dreams of restoring national power and pride."
-Publishers Weekly

A couple years ago in Costa Rica, an archaeologist friend told me about the adventure novels of Clive Cussler, which kind of incorporate maritime archaeology somewhat. He was reading one of them--I think it had to do with the Aztec--and he offered it to me when he was finished. I opted for Under the Volcano.

Last weekend at the ranch, we watched the mighty crap-bomb that is Sahara, based ("loosely," allegedly) on one of Cussler's novels. The pirate Chinese DVD crashed before the end of the movie, and we cheered.

Today, while researching a dead poet guy, I got into one of those spiraling click-chains that somehow led to Cussler. So, I discovered that his new novel has a Mongolian flavor. And is being released next month.

"When Dirk Pitt is nearly killed rescuing an oil survey team from a freak wave on Russia's Lake Baikal, it appears a simple act of nature. When the survey team is abducted and Pitt's research vessel nearly sunk, however, it's obvious there's something more sinister involved. All trails lead to Mongolia, and a mysterious mogul who is conducting covert deals for supplying oil to the Chinese while wreaking havoc on global oil markets utilizing a secret technology. The Mongolian harbors a dream of restoring the conquests of his ancestors, and holds a dark secret about Genghis Khan that just might give him the wealth and power to make that dream come true."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Russia and China

"Chinese immigrants find opportunity in the fertile emptiness of Siberia. But hosts fear a gradual takeover."


Met up with Ulemj and a couple of his buddies last night. We sat in a bar called "Zona" just north of the Parliament building and drank beer. Got drunk.

Ulemj is one of the first people I met after returning to Mongolia a year and a half ago. He teaches engineering at the Technological University.

He went to Khovsgol with his family over the summer and sent a photo.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

simulation argument

Is this a simulated reality?

The simulation argument, claimed by the philosopher Nick Bostrom, investigates the possibility that we may be living in a simulation. The argument attempts to prove the disjunction of three hypotheses (that is, that at least one of the following three propositions must be true), that:

  • the human race will never reach a level of technology where we can run simulations of reality so detailed they can be mistaken for reality; or
  • races who do reach such a level do not tend to run such simulations; or
  • we are almost certainly living in such a simulation.