In Neal Stephenson's book Cryptonomicon, one of the lead characters is given a set of coordinates somewhere in the Philipines.

The lady will not be denied; she has a script and she's sticking to it. "I have a math problem for you," the lady says."


"What is the value of the following information: fifteen degrees, seventeen minutes, forty-one point three two seconds north, and a hundred and twenty-one degrees, fifty-seven minutes, zero point five five seconds east?"

"Uh... I don't know. It sounds like a latitude and longitude. Northern Luzon, right?"

The lady nods.

"You want me to tell you the value of those numbers?"


"Depends on what's there, I guess."

I suppose it does," the lady says. And that's all she says, for the rest of the dance. Other than complimenting Randy on his balletic skills, which is just as hard to interpret.

p. 485, Arrow Books Trade Paperback

With the aid of a GPS, Randy endures hardships and privations and makes a discovery. I won't spoil the discovery, but see the extended section for more...

I was re-reading it recently and wrote down the coordinates when I came across them: 15° 17'41.32" N 121° 57' 0.55" E. I decided to go fire up Google Earth and have a look at what's there:

Northern Luzon, huh?

(UPDATE: I can't get the MTGoogleMaps Plugin to work for me, and the link to Google Maps (15.29481 N, 121.950152 E) doesn't work very well either.)

(UPDATE2: I'm going to take a screenshot of Google Earth, but there are hassles with that too. As I use an Apple USB Keyboard, I have to somehow reconfigure that keyboard to have a printscreen key. I could Grab the image from the Mac, but sending it to the Linux box is problematic thanks to some minor Samba incompatibility between MacOSX and Linux.)

(UPDATE3: Finally! Picture above and you can go straight to there from this Google Earth file: cryptonomicon_stash_location.kmz.)

About Me


  • Unsolicited Bulk Email (spam), commercial solicitations, SEO related items, link exchange requests, and abuse are not welcome here and will result in complaints to your ISP.
  • Any email to the above address may be made public at the sole discretion of the recipient.

Other Stuff

  • Powered by Linux
  • (RedHat Linux)


Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by dave published on February 2, 2006 4:34 PM.

Some links (US Politics) was the previous entry in this blog.

Things I learn from my patients is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.