Orkhon Inscriptions

When I was in middle school, I was very enthusiastic about history but quickly became bored with the standard canon of Western history, namely American history. At the time history class basically ran through Sumer, Egypt(often old testament based), Greece, Rome, Middle Ages, Discovery of American, American Revolution.  I became interested in history that didn’t […]

Cultural Notes 2

This is for particularly for anyone interested in visiting Mongolia in the future. -Most Mongolians are fairly indifferent to Westerners. A lot feel positively towards Westerners, particularly if you show interest in Mongolian culture, try to speak the language and are polite. There are however extremely conservative groups who really don’t like foreigners. Sometimes people will be […]

Portal 2 and Diaspora

Two important pieces of software have been produced recently Diaspora and Portal 2. Diaspora is an open source social networking system that has been in development for a while. I’m currently signed up for the alpha version so I suspect that the real version won’t be up for a while more. It was produced as a response […]


Today someone was told me that they hated that vapidity of internet culture and argued that this was part of a larger cultural trend that would no longer produce beautiful or complex things. As a general rule I disregard doomsayers because people have thought the world would end for a very long time. I strongly suspect […]

An Unsubtle Monument

Before the most recent homestay we went to Harhorin (Хар Хорин), the once capital of the Mongolian Empire. It is in the Orkhon Valley, and at some point when I’m less tired I’ll talk about this history of the valley, the city (more of a town now), and the monastery. There’s also a rock here […]

Buddhism and Gandan Monastery

This is the first of a couple posts on religion. We’ve seen three monasteries and heard a couple lamas and an abbot speak. We’ve also heard from a practicing shaman. First a brief history of Buddhism in Mongolia. Originally they were shamanistic, and many still are. I may describe Mongolian shamanism later. Buddhism entered Mongolia […]


Just got back from the second rural home stay. Saw and did some pretty sweet stuff. Have some pretty sweet pictures. I’m in an internet cafe in the aimag center so no pictures yet. I’ll probably go through the events of the past two weeks thematically rather than chronologically. Highlights: -sand dunes -camels -extremely crude […]