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The filmmaking feats and photographic treats of our American friends on the Kuril expedition.

The filmmaking feats and photographic treats of our American friends on the Kuril expedition.

I’ve already mentioned a few times that we had a few American friends along for the rideadventure in the Far East, and that I’d be ‘getting to them’ later on. Well that later on has arrived!…

So who were these folks from the U. S. of A. (and a few other countries), who traveled with me and my regular expeditioners?

First up – Mr. Chris Burkard, the very famous and very successful photographer of all things extreme, distant, fantastic – often and preferably all three at the same time. He’d heard lots about the Kurils, and had long dreamed of exploring and snapping them. So one day, while...

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Guess which company made the ‘Top-100 Global Innovators’!

Guess which company made the ‘Top-100 Global Innovators’!

Hi folks!

Regular readers of my blog will know how I occasionally write about some of our less noticeable – but no less important – business successes: those related to our patents and how they help us fight – incredibly – not just cyber-evil, but also patent trolls who do nothing but hinder technological progress.

I said ‘success’. Well here’s out latest: we’ve become the first Russian company to enter the Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators! Hurray!

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The Derwent Top-100 is a yearly rating conducted by the independent American company Clarivate Analytics of the most innovational companies in the world, based on companies’ patent...

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The world’s largest man-made explosion ever – by far: in the Kurils, where else?!

The world’s largest man-made explosion ever – by far: in the Kurils, where else?!

Hi folks!

Back to the Kurils for the next installment on our far-eastern archipelago adventure…

Island: Simushir, uninhabited;

Location on island: Brouton Bay;

Place of interest: Abandoned Soviet naval base.

The naval base existed from the late-70s up until 1994. In its heyday around 3000 folks lived here. Now the place is deserted, has been looted, is overgrown and rusting. Up close: ugly. A way off, on a sunny day – mysteriously charming:

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What the place is known most for among naval historians/buffs, and also the people who lived there and ‘participants’, is the story of its being the site of one of the...

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More from Baalbek: ancient stone construction hi-tech.

More from Baalbek: ancient stone construction hi-tech.

Perhaps the first question that comes to mind for anyone who visits Baalbek is: who placed all these massive stones here, when, why, and how? Ok, ok: the first four questions ).

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The stones are gigantic: almost too big to fit in a photo!

But you can’t really get a feel for their size if you see a pic just of them; you need to add a few Homo sapiens:

Here, the structure goes like this: smaller blocks at the base; above those larger ones; and above those – MASSIVE ones, with the following dimensions: 21 x 5 x 4 meters!

And those humungous blocks are seven meters above the ground. So who – or what – lifted them up? Wiki doesn’t...

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From Phoenicia to Lebanon.

From Phoenicia to Lebanon.

Lebanon: the photos – and a few videos – have been sifted, edited, spruced, and are ready. My tales from the country are ripe and also ready – to be blogged. But first – a photographic introduction: this post is made up of a few dozen pics of the country’s monumental historic places of interest.

While you view them, I recommend you update your knowledge of the geography and history of this part of the world; in particular of the following: Baalbek, Byblos, Phoenicia. There’s also the name Jeita Grotto, which may be new to you as it was for me (get ready to be astonished thereby). And, while you’re at it, you may as well refresh your memory of the modern history...

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Please move forward – by one year!

Please move forward – by one year!

Konichiwa folks!

October 4 has caught up with me again – suddenly, I’m 54 years old! Goodness!

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It was as if leading Russian business daily Kommersant knew my b-day was coming up – including me in their 1000 Best Russian Managers – 2019 listing [Russian language]. Nice! Thank you: that was my first birthday present! Am much obliged.

Even nicer was seeing a full four K-bosses in the Top-100/Top-50 rankings in the same newspaper in their respective lines of work:

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Have no fear: the sun is out in Ushishir!

Have no fear: the sun is out in Ushishir!

Hi folks!

You didn’t think there’d be just one post on Ushishir, did you! )…

Of course not! Why limit probably the best volcano in the world to just one? No reason at all; accordingly, here we go – deeper. Literally! Into a cave here! For example – the one ringed red, here:

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From afar – nothing special ->

But then you get nearer…

Woah – hole! No – two holes: like eyes peering out. The devil’s eyes!

Birds everywhere – even inside this cave:

The seaweed stuck to the cliffs shows how high the morning full-tide gets.

We enter the cave. Looking back… “oh: nice!” – Petrovich.

And here are the two devil-eyes – ouch – from inside the...

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Ushishir: the jewel in the Kurilian crown.

Ushishir: the jewel in the Kurilian crown.

The next stop on our Kuril-2019 adventure was the unparalleled Ushishir! One of the most beautiful locations in the Kurils; one of the most beautiful locations in the world. And If I were ever to compile a ‘Ten Most Beautiful Volcanoes in the World’ list (hmm – now there’s an idea!), Ushishir of course would be on it, and could even be at the top of it.

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Actually, yes. Striking while the iron’s hot – let me quickly write up that list! I’ve seen all the world’s mega-volcanoes, so why not?

All righty:

// The Americas – 0. There are volcanoes there of course – like Rainier and Fuego, and the multicolored craters of Costa Rica – but there is little...

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The jiggery-pokery of the volcano called Raikoke.

The jiggery-pokery of the volcano called Raikoke.

Every single island of the Kuril archipelago is volcanic. Each island came about due to volcanism; and most islands have one, two, three or more volcanoes on their territory, some being among the most beautifully symmetric (e.g., ideal pyramids) in the world. Many of the volcanoes are active – with lava-spewing eruptions occurring regularly. One such active island-volcano is Raikoke – an island with a real checkered (green and black – as you’ll see:) history – literally.

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The name of the island comes from the Ainu language, and means ‘Hell Mouth’. Yep – I don’t think I could have thought of a better title:

Hell mouth has a serious bad...

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On Lovushki – scenes surreal: a paradise for the seal!

On Lovushki – scenes surreal: a paradise for the seal!

Hi folks!

The topic of today’s post – these cute little charmers:

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View this post on Instagram

Котики, сивучи и неопознанные курильские пернатые вам в ленту! :) —8<— Seals dancing! . #fromkurilswithlove #kurils #курилы #wildlife

A post shared by Eugene Kaspersky ⚕️ (@e_kaspersky) on Aug 26, 2019 at 9:36am PDT

But first, some intro….

The length of the string of Kuril Islands is 1200 kilometers from top to bottom (that’s just a bit shorter than the full length, top to bottom of Great Britain, or about the same as the distance between Copenhagen and Milan, or between New York and Chicago). The...

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Dinosaurs, temples, and one too many a car – in Ulaanbaatar.

Dinosaurs, temples, and one too many a car – in Ulaanbaatar.

Farewell Gobi. Time for us to wrap up Mongolia – so we headed to its capital…

The whole population of Mongolia clocks in at around three million folks. Around half of those all live in the capital – Ulaanbaatar – which means, incidentally, ‘Red Hero’. Yes, a big city it is, and there’s plenty to see here too. We started, perhaps logically, with a Buddhist temple of worship – the Gandantegchinlen Monastery.

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And a beautiful monastery it is too – perfect for a morning stroll after a night flight. Calm, quiet, soothing, spiritual ).

The lions protecting the entrance reminded me of similar lions at Ivolginsky Datsan in Buryatia,...

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For the remoteness connoisseur: an overnight stay in a Mongolian yurt – a ger.

For the remoteness connoisseur: an overnight stay in a Mongolian yurt – a ger.

I anticipate a few logical questions re our lodgings during our few days in Mongolia: what kind of yurts (in Mongolian a yurt is a ger, btw) did we stay in while in the Gobi Desert? Were they comfortable? Were they cozy? Were they warm? Were the beds comfy? Was the home-made bread tasty? Were your hosts hospitable?…

Ok; herewith, what I found out about yurts ->

First off – perhaps the most striking thing about yurts: the fact that you must enter or leave one with the right leg first! The same goes for hands, as in – you must give something to or take something from someone inside a yurt with the right hand –...

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The extraordinary story of Kharimkotan glass floats.

The extraordinary story of Kharimkotan glass floats.

The islands of Atlasov, Paramushir, and Onekotan – already inspected. So what was next on our southward trajectory along the Kurils? Well, there was plenty to go on: there were another 50+ islands left! However, not all of them are interesting. For example, just south of Onekotan (with its Krenitsyna) there’s the island of Kharimkotan. Here it is in fine weather:

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And here it is on Google Maps.

source

The island’s not all that comfortable, and there’s not much to see on it. I know, as we landed on it last time we were here – in 2014. Here are some photos (copyright and author: D.Z.):

Of course, one could climb to the top of the...

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Gobi: lazy afternoon – treading barkhan dune.

Gobi: lazy afternoon – treading barkhan dune.

Cайн уу folks!

Herewith, another installment from the one and only Gobi Desert, southern Mongolia (btw, did you know it also stretches into northern China?). Flat, vast, middle-of-nowhere, bewitchingly beautiful, in places – marvelously magical. Steppe, mountains, valleys, dunes… and barkhans. What, Hans?! Barkhans! These are a particular type of dune – crescent-shaped ones. Here they are – the magnificent Moltsog dunes.

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And you thought sand dunes came and went depending on how windy it is on this or that day? Well, at least these barkhan dunes here are semi-permanent – due to the wind being similarly semi-permanent here.

The wind is...

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Backward-flying seagulls; whales, trout, cod, turquoise sea… and the Death Star prototype.

Backward-flying seagulls; whales, trout, cod, turquoise sea… and the Death Star prototype.

Hi folks,

Onward I narrate about our expedition round the Kurils this summer…

The weather on the Kurils is unpredictable, for sure. For most of the previous two days, up on the caldera of the King of the Volcanoes, the weather couldn’t have been pleasanter. This day, on the other hand – just the opposite: the wind was blowing a gale, and the rain was pouring down in torrents. Still, I won’t go over the wicked Kurilian weather again; I’ve mentioned it plenty before, including here. Nothing to add – apart from the fact that nothing has changed ).

Anyway, on this day of...

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Gobi Desert: Yolyn Am – a gorge that’s gorge!

Gobi Desert: Yolyn Am – a gorge that’s gorge!

I may have popped to the next-door continent briefly, but, as I’ve told you before, that doesn’t mean I’m finished quite yet with my tales from the Central Asian side. Accordingly, I continue them from the Gobi Desert; specifically, from Yolyn Am – the deep, narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains in southern Mongolia – here.

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At its narrowest point the width of the gorge is a mere few meters:

Then it widens, and at the very end the mountains drop away and it merges into the wide expanses of steppe:

Alas, we didn’t get to the very end. But how tricky it would have been I still don’t know: our guides told us the length of the...

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Alpbach – Davos’ younger brother.

Alpbach – Davos’ younger brother.

Guten Tag folks!

As my case > event > micro-tourism > hotel > case > airport > next place status enters its third week, after Malaysia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, I find myself in… Austria!

Why? Well, I just couldn’t pass up on the invite I received to speak at the Alpbach Forum now could I? What’s Alpbach? Well, I’d say it’s a bit like Davos (where the World Economic Forum holds its yearly bash), but with more of a European focus, less a whole-world one like at Davos. Put another way, Alpbach is Davos’ ‘younger brother’. I say ‘younger’ as it’s smaller; however, in one important way it’s better: there’s no whiff of geopolitical distortions and other...

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King Krenitsyna: to climb it you need to be a bit thinner.

King Krenitsyna: to climb it you need to be a bit thinner.

It’s hard to believe, but in the northern Kurils there are only two or three days of sunshine – per year! No, really! Therefore, if ever you find yourself sat on the edge of the outer caldera of Krenitsyna Volcano, and the sun is shining – savor every single second, as we’re doing here in this pic – because you could be weeks waiting for the next short-lived installment of fine weather.

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I mean – just look at us: still staring intently at the vista before us – and it was the second day already ->

Meanwhile, some of us…

…Well, there are hardly showers installed on Krenitsyna now are there?!

Of course we wanted to get up to the...

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15 years in Kazakhstan!

15 years in Kazakhstan!

Selem folks!

I’ve still plenty more to tell and show you about our Kurils-2019 expedition, and also about my recent trip to Mongolia and its Gobi Desert, but in the meantime I’ve been visiting yet further countries less-visited – including… Kazakhstan! Now, I know I’m behind on my Kuril-and-Gobi catch-up, but I don’t want that tardiness to cross over into other trips. Accordingly, herewith, a brief side excursion – to Almaty!

I was in Kazakhstan’s largest city to celebrate a jubilee – the 15th anniversary of our presence in the region, and that covers the whole of Central Asia, including Mongolia!

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(The photos are official ones – taken by a professional...

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Krenitsyna in the Kuril sun: volcanic scenes that simply can’t be outdone!

Krenitsyna in the Kuril sun: volcanic scenes that simply can’t be outdone!

Let’s say you’re near the top of Krenitsyna Volcano in the Kurils, you’ve applied the Strategic Stratovolcano Stratagem to secure some imminent sunny weather, you have tents with you, sleeping bags and gas stoves (no firewood up there) and all the rest, which you’ve carried with you 500+ meters along the vertical and 9km on foot (7.5km to the edge of the caldera; 1.7km to the pond), you dump it all down on the grass (or put up the tents straight away if the weather’s still poor), sit on the very edge (ideal spot – very comfortable) and are ready to behold the most mind-blowingly picturesque volcanic scene on the...

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iClosed-architecture and the illusion of unhackability.

iClosed-architecture and the illusion of unhackability.

The end of August brought us quite a few news headlines around the world on the cybersecurity of mobile operating systems; rather – a lack of cybersecurity of mobile operating systems.

First up there was the news that iPhones have been getting attacked for a full two years (!) via a full 14 vulnerabilities (!) in iOS-based software. To be attacked, all a user had to do was visit one of several hacked websites – nothing more – and they’d never know anything about it.

But before all you Android heads start with the ‘nah nana nah nahs’ aimed at the Apple brethren, the very same week the iScandal broke, it was reported that Android...

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Gobi Desert: the red rocks of Bayanzag.

Gobi Desert: the red rocks of Bayanzag.

Hi folks!

It was a bright, clear morning, and it was time to head further along the route of our express-journey across the Gobi Desert. Next port of call – the Flaming Cliffs, aka Bayanzag.

It’s around about here where many dinosaur bones and even whole dinosaur skeletons have been discovered. And the internet tells me it was here where the first fossilized dinosaur eggs were found. Yes, I think that’s highly likely: I’m sure they could have simply fallen out of these here red-rock cliffs that were eroded over the years to expose them. And anyway, besides their usefulness to prehistorical studies, these red rocks and cliffs are also delightfully...

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How to see Krenitsyna Volcano? Apply the ‘Strategic Stratovolcano Strategem’.

How to see Krenitsyna Volcano? Apply the ‘Strategic Stratovolcano Strategem’.

Hi folks!

Herewith, a continuation of my narrative about the most beautiful volcano in the word, the king of all volcanisms on the planet (and in the Solar System, surely:) – his royal highness Krenitsyna Volcano! Here he is:

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To get the best idea of the overall grandeur, splendor and superiority of this exceptional volcanism, one should check out Google Maps’ satellite pic thereof:

And a bit nearer ->

Now for a few more facts and figures about this volcano:

  • The width of the base of the caldera from shore to shore is 17+ kilometers (imagine the bang that made!);
  • The height of the rim of the caldera is...
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Our fan club is a teenager already!

Our fan club is a teenager already!

If ever I mention while chatting with someone that Kaspersky has a fan club, I immediately get asked: Why? How come an antivirus company has a fan club? Here are the why’s: because it’s been a long time since we just made antivirus protection; because our company is always actively doing fun and interesting stuff; and because people want to participate in what Kaspersky does even if they’re not employees. And, well, it’s just cool to have one.

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All this tomfoolery began, it’s scary to recall, 13 years ago, back when we cranked out version 6, which was praised throughout the computer security industry. Almost daily we posted new builds on the forum,...

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Okey-dokey – let’s chopper over the Gobi.

Okey-dokey – let’s chopper over the Gobi.

And now for more Gobi desert.

The Gobi is a huge desert consisting of several regions. It occupies Mongolia’s southern and south-western territory and a considerable part of central northern China. We only saw a small portion of it in southern Mongolia, but that was more than enough for our first visit. I can’t stress it enough: the Gobi is absolutely magical in gentle summer weather, and I highly recommend that everyone sees it with their own eyes. There are vast, infinite spaces. I want to say it’s where the horizon goes beyond the line of horizon’!

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Dunes and sand drifts… (BTW does anybody know what the difference is?)

Mountains of varying...

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