12 June 2013

benign drunken letter to chinese embassy about archeology

I composed this to the chinese embassy, cc'ing postmaster@nsa.gov, but decided not to send it. Directly. Its not coded; its me ranting. Hello, I just heard a recent radio news story reminding me of Chinese investments in .af and the archeological diggings that "should" go on before the historical copper site is mined. I'd like to suggest that China fund a massive, fast program to send "zillions" of archeologists there, and also employ many more *local* workers as diggers and sifters. The PR would be great and then you could get on with mining --the world clearly needs copper: its stolen from public places in the US because it has become so valuable, although Chinese demand is often cited as a reason for this, "lol". Demand is demand. Investment == capitalism but I'm just ribbing you there, I suppose. China could prevent destruction of some artifacts ---these are Buddhist objects in Afghanistan, which don't have a great longetivity. :-) That's why it occurs to me to write / rant. (Also, see below) The cost for these academics and diggers is trivial in the mining maths. This can help "ameliorate" China's supposed destruction of fish and mammals and villages by creating hydro dams, which I've read about. Though of course it doesn't really fix those problems, it just moves resources; very common in US. 'develop' one area, 'preserve' another in compensation. [note to us intel: no, I'm not a militant environmental dude]. But this is an aside. The point is: for cheap, you can study an old town then rip it up without too much hassle. However, China doesn't need to placate anyone. China is I think sympathetic to Buddhism. I'm sympathetic but/and an atheist. FWIW. I'm not going to be personally terribly upset if cultures are blown up, excavated, whatever. (LOL is that buddhism or apathy?) China has recently being contributing enormously to studying fossils, perhaps unearthed by growing excavation (same here in SoCal ---they find sloths and whalebones when they dig a highway). Recent Chinese bird fossils are greatly informative and amazing. So someone in China digs paleontology (get the pun, Translator-san? NSA-san?) I never thought I'd be reading about the colors of dinosaur's proto-wings from chinese fossils. But I do. In such a campaign (sending many many chinese and other archeologists to an ancient copper-town site before trashing it) you'd have to deal with spooks and justified spook-paranoia on all sides (incl. convincing locals that your folks aren't :-) but you can greatly build up your archeological national academics, esp. if you invite foreign scientists. I realize archeology is not on anyone's list of important national goals (its not actually that important to me personally) but I thought of this opportunity. A few glasses of wine allowed me to compose this nonsense. China likely has a 'neutral' purely economic "persona" which might facilitate what it does. "They will dig some old stuff, then mine the earth, and hire and pay us. Ok. They don't want more than that. Ok." You might do well to isolate your miners from the locals to keep the locals happy, a commercial version of the iraqi "green zone" castle concept. You don't want your folks to act like drunk off-duty US military in Japan, say. Or go Sgt Bales on the locals. But you know that. Ok, getting off track there. My point: do something *big* to preserve a culture (not even your own) then go full-on industrial mining it. And you build up a particular niche academic "industry" in the process. Hey, you can always use those young archeos as spooks when they visit other places. By super-funding a burst of research you can somewhat (rightly or wrongly) deflect later criticism about archeological or cultural "insensitivity". That doesn't really matter (being cynical here) but being perceived as "sensitive" might help future resource-extraction-expeditions. You don't even have to pretend to be a NGO. ... Mining is a good thing, better than farming for those who can: read "De Re Metallica". Most aren't so lucky, historically. ... I expect a reply from neither your Embassy nor the Supreme Postmaster I cc'd (gratuitously :-), but I do hope you enjoy this. My intent is to encourage archeology with China'$ abilitie$. Politically, copper is good, leave the afghans to the afghans. ... I realize these strategies may be somewhat obvious to all parties involved. The irony of China 'conquering' (as much as has been possible in the last few thousand years) .af via capitalism is staggering. Cheers