Monthly Archives: September 2021

So, what exactly is a ‘Kamchatkan mirage’?

Why have I use the word ‘mirages‘ more than once already in this series of posts on our Kamchatka-2021 expedition?

Normally this word describes images on a horizon which aren’t really there. Simply an optical illusion: the eye seems to see what isn’t there. Something caused by the bending of rays of light in hot places with distant horizons, like deserts. However, in the case of ‘Kamchatkan mirages’ it’s all the other way round: on the horizon there is (as per a map, for example) a substantial, often uniquely beautiful and meditation-inducing natural geological object – like a volcano, it’s just you can’t see it, as if it simply isn’t there!

For example, the ‘collar’ of Bezymianny volcano is one such Kamchatkan mirage; at least, it was when we were looking for it this year…

Read on…

Fully-vaxxed Sochi conference: a shot in the arm for industrial cybersecurity.

Personal experience, plus what I’m told by other clever folks, has taught me to treat with much skepticism any predictions regarding the future given by so-called experts – in fact all kinds of prognoses and prophesies about this, that and the other. Although I tend to share this view, I have to make an exception for the predictions of one single person in particular: me! Why? Because, unfortunately, those predictions normally come true…

Ten years ago, when we chose industrial cybersecurity as one of our new main areas for development of the company, attacks on industrial equipment were largely deemed hype and/or something out of Hollywood, or at least limited to relatively few specific enterprises; for example, ones like this. But since the beginning of the 2010s I’ve been repeating (ad nauseam!) that, sooner or later, attacks on industrial installations will go mainstream and become massive in scale, and that modern industrial security is sadly very lacking in its ability to cope with the realities of the digital world.

Today, attacks on industrial objects are becoming a daily – very expensive – reality. We’ve already seen how a ransomware-cyberattack on a mere office network of large pipeline can bring about a short-term rise in the price of gasoline in the U.S.A. So imagine how much more costly attacks on industrial components of critical infrastructure operators could be. And it’s not just a matter of financial losses incurred by targeted companies caused by their compelled down time – there’s also the hit taken by all the consumers of the companies’ products and services, which can be painful for regional economies and even national ones.

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Budapest
  • Budapest
  • Budapest
  • Budapest

Instagram photostream

Kamchatka can be fun; Kamchatka can be frightening.

Volcanic landscapes are capriciously changeable…

For example, a beautiful volcano can stand pretty much unchanged for 100, 200 or 1000 years, and then ‘bang!’ – volcanic debris is flying in all directions, lava rivers flowing from volcanic vents, smoke bellowing several kilometers up into the sky, and the earth fairly shuddering. Well, that’s one scenario – the longer-term one.

There’s another scenario – of a shorter term (i.e., more regular), and of a much smaller scale. And such regular scenarios mean that a volcanic landscape can – and should – be returned to again and again: the picture you’ll be presented with is bound to be different somehow. For example, Bezymianny (which I told you all about in my previous post) has a gradually growing cone rising up inside its colossal crater ->

While from the other side, it looks like no changes at all:

But, when we look a bit closer, we did see a few changes of an unexpected kind…

Read on…

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Kamchatka-2021: These volcanisms were made for walking, so that’s just what we did!

Sunset views of the Klyuchevsky group of volcanoes – done.

Aerial views of same (from a helicopter) – done.

Next up – walkies…

The route went something like this: heading southwest, and then west around Bezymianny volcano – known for its catastrophic eruption in 1956, which led to powerful pyroclastic flows (for those wondering what they are, and interested in learning about different types of eruptions – check out this link and other links below, included specially for the curious types among you).

And here she is – Bezymianny (Unnamed). The view from the southeast, which was the direction of the lateral blast of the eruption in 1956:

Though it’s been a full 65 years since that explosion, there’s still no vegetation on the volcanic landscape here today. The material spewed out of the bowels of the earth is probably simply too poisonous with assorted volcanic chemicals (too alkaline, or too acidic, or too much of this, that or the other…).

Read on…

Volcanoes in a row – one, two, three: it has to be… – Klyuchevsky!

Well, well. Here’s a first: I recently suffered a bout of writer’s block.

In the past, when I’d return from various exotic/meditative/emotionally-charged travels, tales (plus pics) from the adventure-tourism side would start to appear on this here blog of mine practically straight away. This time, however, I just couldn’t get my self going. The proverbial first step was indeed proving the hardest. Odd. I wondered why…

Well, first – I’d been to Kamchatka several times before, and duly written up series of reports on most of those trips. And I’m never one to go over the same ground: life’s too short for repeats!

Second – the weather on this year’s expedition around the peninsula was worse than usual – and it’s always mostly bad weather in Kamchatka! Sure, it could have been worse. It could have been a lot better too. Glass full or empty? I digress…

Third – due to the bad weather, I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked: I didn’t have much to show for a month-long tour.

Fourth – I committed a serious… pedagogical mistake: I agreed to take with me on the trip colleagues who weren’t quite prepared enough – neither morally nor physically. They’d read my previous expedition reports, and seen the photos, and so had long dreamed of joining me for a pop at the peninsula. However, instead of being able to gently ease themselves into all things extreme, severe and somewhat goddamn awful uncomfortable, they were thrown in at the deep end, for this year’s weather, as already mentioned, was mostly… goddamn awful – and most everything in Kamchatka depends on the weather. For this, I apologize sincerely to my colleagues who had a real tough time of it.

I finally put fingers to keyboard once I’d settled on the appropriate, doable, and – for me – most enjoyable format: a bit of a historical, encyclopedic, ‘all I know’ review of everything awesome I’ve experienced for myself in Kamchatka (so I’m not short on tales and pics due to this year’s deficit thereof). Oh, and any awesomenesses I’ve yet to experience I’ll save until having done so on future expeditions – of which there will be several, I hope!…

Well that was an (unexpectedly) long proviso-explaino intro, no?! So without more of a do, let me give you some snaps ->

That trio of voluptuous volcanoes are three of the total of 14 that make up the Klyuchevsky group of volcanoes. From left to right: Bezymianny (‘Unnamed’), Kamen (‘Rock’), and Klyuchevskaya Sopka. Kamen died out long ago, Bezymianny occasionally erupts violently, while Klyuchevskaya Sopka is so extremely active its peak doesn’t even have a constant height above sea level!

All righty. Lengthy intro text & intro pics – done. Next… everything I’ve seen in Kamchatka. No pressure…

Read on…

Kamchatkan Mirages: foreword.

Hi folks!

Oh my… golden leaves! It’s fall already! Is it just me, or do summers seem to get shorter and shorter by the year? Still, there’s a good reason why my summer seemed to fly past – a third of it (mid-July to mid-August: nearly a whole month) I spent in Kamchatka, my fave place on the planet, where, as always, I had much fun and adventures, during which of course times flies…

And time flies for me still to this day (year) in Kamchatka, even though this trip was my seventh full vacation on the peninsula (not including quick ins-and-outs en route to the Kuril Islands a few times). And another thing that never seems to change is the fact that there are still plenty of places in Kamchatka that I’ve yet to get to and fully investigate (there are also a great many astonishingly beautiful places there I just never tire of returning to).

Here, for example, is a place I’ve never visited – the Zheltovsky volcano – near the southernmost tip of the peninsula ->

So, why Kamchatka?

Read on…

Red Karpet, naturally, for Grandmaster Karpov.

Greetings folks!

It’s been a while, I know. My last dispatch was the one on our B-day bash mid-July! How time flies when you’re having summer fun…

The main reason I’ve been quiet of late was my month-long summer expedition to my favorite part of Russia – Kamchatka. As per tradition, I’ve plenty to tell – and show (in hi-res photos) – from that adventure, which is coming up soon in a series of travelogue-blogposts.

But, before I could even begin editing my pics and putting fingers to keyboard for the Kamchatka-2021 write-up – in fact, while still in ‘deep decompression’ mode after the month of euphoric exhilaration on the expedition – as soon as I was back home (as if to help with my decompression attempts) we were honored to be visited by a very special guest to HQ. And I mean really special. Yes, none other than former world champion chess player Anatoly Evgenyevich Karpov dropped by!

Yes – really! That Anatoly Karpov – the legendary Soviet-Russian three-times world champion, three-times FIDE champion, international grandmaster with scores of honors and awards to his name!

As already stated in the title – the red carpet was (just in case: literally:) rolled out, which we reserve for visiting ministers and other dignitaries, and, now, world-champ grandmeisters! ->

Read on…