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A powerful thing

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April 9, 2009 | 06:25pm
Mood: destructive
Music: Tuvan throat-singing

First off: hurrah for Vermont and (sort of) Washington DC! About damn time.

I got back my history paper the other day. I think I mentioned it a few days ago - it was four pages long and I wrote it in under an hour. I got an A on it. Well hot damn. Now I need to work on my next few papers: a 10-page research paper on contemporary and modern accounts/portrayals of the Mongol invasion into Russia in literature and film, and a 10-page research paper on the medical system of either Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan during the Soviet period. Well. Maybe. I may end up writing about the history of agriculture in Uzbekistan instead. How's that for an obscure and/or potentially useless topic?

God, I love my liberal arts education.

Last night/this morning at work I edited 5.5 pages of my capstone translation. I only have about 2.5 more pages to edit and I'll be done. I'm something like 10 pages ahead of schedule right now. Of course, at this rate I won't have Dr. J's comments on my edits for a couple weeks. Ugh.

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Comments {3}

Bedlam boys are bonny

(no subject)

from: mad_maudlin
date: April 10, 2009 01:08am (UTC)
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Agriculture in Uzbekistan is actually kind of interesting (to me) because it's very tied up in the ecology of the Aral Sea basin...as in, it's the reason why the Aral Sea is drying up and will probably be gone within our lifetimes. (Well, the Uzbek half. Kazakhstan build a big fucking wall down the middle and are managing their have pretty well.) The Soviets decided that Transoxiana would be their base of cotton production, since cotton is a good export crop, but the sheer amount of irrigation necessary to grow cotton in such a dry climate diverted almost all the water from the Aral's two feeder rivers and destroyed the desert ecosystem in the process. Now Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have become dependent on export crops like cotton, melons and rice (RICE) and they resist even making basic upgrades to the irrigation system; Uzbek trade policy also makes it hard for small farmers to diversify, because there's a huge market for less water-intensive fresh fruits and vegetables in Kazakhstan in the spring, but it's nearly impossible to get a permit to bring them up here, and the cost of bribing border guards is prohibitive.

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Adam

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from: aodh
date: April 10, 2009 01:45am (UTC)
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The drying up of the Aral Sea (and the effect it has on the general ecology of the area) is actually the exact reason why I'm thinking about writing about agriculture in Uzbekistan - especially in the Soviet era. We've been studying Central Asia recently in my Peoples of the Russian Empire course, and we saw a short film on the Aral Sea last week. I also read a book a few years ago (The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron, I believe) which discussed this topic as well. I didn't know that about the trade policy, although I was aware of the issues with the irrigation system. Your comment is making me want to research this more than before...sigh. Heck, for that matter, now I wish I'd gone ahead and applied to the Peace Corps so I could've (hopefully) ended up in Central Asia. Oh well. :/

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Bedlam boys are bonny

(no subject)

from: mad_maudlin
date: April 10, 2009 01:57am (UTC)
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Hey, it's not too late to apply. It'll just make your interview a little harder to wrangle. :-)

I don't actually recommend that you read it, but Chasing the Sea by Tom Bissell has a great annotated bibliography of materials on Uzbekistan, Soviet history, the Cotton Scandal and Aral Sea policy. My favorite part is the daffy plan under Gorbachev to build a giant canal from the Ob-Irtysh basin, across a huge expanse of tundra and steppe, to the Aral. Though actually, considering how the levels of the Caspian are rising, a canal from Atyrau to Aralsk might be a reasonable idea...

(and the captcha for this comment is "built deserts." Should reCaptcha be psychic like that?)

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