Of Note

Cyberian Dispatch 15: The Exchange Between Idealism and Fatalism in Bolshoye Goloustnoye

Posted on 05.11.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 15: The Exchange Between Idealism and Fatalism in Bolshoye Goloustnoye

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Bolshoye Goloustnoye is a bucolic hideaway nestled in a valley on Baikal’s western shore. Traditional wooden houses with precious decorative accents line hushed streets, stretching to the Lake, where a classic wooden church anchors the village. Sheep forage on the steep hills overhead, while cows and horses parade leisurely…

Cyberian Dispatch 14: The Nature of Faith in Ulan-Ude

Posted on 04.25.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 14: The Nature of Faith in Ulan-Ude

Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac At a time of polarization and division around the world, the Republic of Buryatia stands out as a place where people of diverse backgrounds live in harmony. Ulan-Ude, the tranquil and welcoming capital nestled among a ring of mountains, is not only the leading center of Buddhism in Russia, but…

Cyberian Dispatch 13: Can Peace Trails and Strawberries Save the Amphipods?

Posted on 04.05.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 13: Can Peace Trails and Strawberries Save the Amphipods?

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac What do peace trails, a strawberry festival and the future of Lake Baikal’s amphipods have in common? More than we thought, it turns out. Several days ago, we embedded with scientists from the Biology Institute of Irkutsk State University on a one-day expedition to Bolshie Koty, where the Institute…

Cyberian Dispatch 12: A Note on Temperature

Posted on 03.27.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 12: A Note on Temperature

by Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac We made it through the Siberian winter. It snowed today and it’s not exactly lovely yet outside. But with the vernal equinox upon us, we can look forward to temperatures that are much warmer than before. We’ve resisted a post about how cold it is in Siberia, since that’s…

Cyberian Dispatch 11: Expedition to the Rookery

Posted on 03.19.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 11: Expedition to the Rookery

Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac In the middle of Lake Baikal is a remote archipelago called the Ushkanii Islands, including Big Ushkan Island, and three smaller islands, Tiny, Round and Long. These secluded and rugged isles are primarily known as the site of a rookery. Can’t remember what a “rookery” is? Neither could we. Dictionary.com…

Cyberian Dispatch 10: Baikal Speaks in Music

Posted on 03.19.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 10: Baikal Speaks in Music

Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac The oldest, deepest and largest lake by volume cannot be fathomed easily, but one way to plumb its remote depths is to listen. And if you listen to Baikal, it quickly becomes obvious that the Lake is speaking. It is not speaking in words. Instead, the Lake expresses itself in…

Cyberian Dispatch 9: Playing Hide and Seek with the Angara

Posted on 01.14.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 9: Playing Hide and Seek with the Angara

Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac There are more than 330 rivers that flow into Lake Baikal, filling the cavernous Lake with one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. But there is only one mighty river that flows out: the Angara. In Irkutsk, the largest city on the Angara, the River is half a block from our…

Cyberian Dispatch 8: A Blazing Welcome in a Frozen Baikal Village

Posted on 01.01.2019 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 8: A Blazing Welcome in a Frozen Baikal Village

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac The indigenous, traditionally semi-nomadic Buryat people of Eastern Siberia used to live separately from one another until the Soviet Union forced them into collectives where their language and customs were suppressed. Now, in post-Soviet times, many still live side by side with Russians in villages like Bugul’deyka, a tiny…

Cyberian Dispatch 7: Spirits of Buryatia

Posted on 12.05.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 7: Spirits of Buryatia

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Outside of Sukhaya, a village in Buryatia so small and remote that it doesn’t appear on Google Maps yet, we paused at a roadside monument for Khaim, the spirit that holds sway in four local villages. A posted sign warned foreigners who don’t understand local traditions against participating in…

Cyberian Dispatch 6: 114 Gigabytes of Ice

Posted on 11.15.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 6: 114 Gigabytes of Ice

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Most people who have never visited Siberia imagine it as a vast territory locked in permafrost. In fact, it was far from that when we arrived in September. We often walked about Irkutsk in shirtsleeves admiring the flowers and enjoying the warm breezes. Temps slowly diminished over time, but…