NOTA BENE

Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

March 10, 2015

Guatem-ooh-la-la volcanism.

Turns out the Ring of Fire affects Guatemala too. But then that country classic affects many, and always will :). But no, it’s the seismic-lithospheric-tectonic Ring of Fire that ensures Guatemala is fully sorted in the volcano department.

In all there are around 30 volcanoes in Guatemala – impressive for a country of its modest size. Taking a peek at trusty old Wikipedia, we see Guatemala covers approx. 100,000 square kilometers, so if we divide that by the number of volcanoes… ooh la la!: the volcanism force is strong with this one! It’s nothing on the Kurils of course (68 volcanoes in 10,500 square kilometers!), but the Kurils aren’t a whole country…

Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes – Agua, Fuego and Acatenango – all of which were visible from our hotel:

Guatemala volcanos

Read on: Ahhh, so great being up a mountain!…

March 9, 2015

Guatemala – what a gala (of colored… rugs). Part 3.

Howdy folks. Herewith, the next installment on my recent Guatemalan adventure. Today, a report on what we discovered while strolling around Antigua Guatemala.

Brief background: Antigua was one of the capitals of the country during the Spanish Empire era. Down the years it’s been destroyed three times by volcanic or seismic ultraviolence, poor thing: First, in 1541 – under a lahar (mudflow) from Agua Volcano; and then in 1717 and 1773 – by earthquakes. How unlucky? After the third time, the authorities wisely decided to move the capital to a safer location – where it still stands today. The ruins of Antigua were abandoned and stood mostly uninhabited for centuries. Shadows of former colonial grandeur can still be seen today in the dozen (!) or so imperial cathedral and church ruins. If the place looks impressive in ruins, I thought, imagine what it must have been like intact and with roofs on!

Antigua Guatemala

Read on: street ‘carpets’ made of colored sawdust, flowers and grasses…

March 6, 2015

Night at the (Hotel) Museum.

Alrighty. Here we are in Guatemala. I’m enthusiastically ensconced in this here hotel-with-a-difference in the heart of the country – and it’s a fascinating place. I’ve been in some interesting lodgings in my time which stretch the definition of ‘hotel‘, but never stayed in one that doubles up fully as something else at the same time. In this case – several museums!! It’s called Casa Santo Domingo, situated in the former colonial capital of the country, Antigua Guatemala.

Antigua Guatemala

Read on: Not your usual hotel…

March 5, 2015

Guatemala – what a gala (of color). Part 1.

Which airline to choose to get from Madrid to Guatemala was a no-brainer: practically the only airline to fly direct is Iberia. It’s like, why would we fly with a connection – heaven forbid a North American one? :)

So off we popped, direct to Central America…

The first bit of land on the other side of the Atlantic was Haitian (I think), and then came Jamaica. Over the mainland we flew over Honduras, and next up was our country of destination – Guatemala.

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaHonduras coming into view

Incidentally, Honduras – why’s it called Honduras? You can find out here. It appears there are two alternative versions. The first starts:

In Spanish, the word “honduras” means “deep waters” or “depths”. It is a peculiar name for a country, but there is also a peculiar story behind how our country got this name.

Madrid - GuatemalaYou have reached your destination

Not everyone (who lives outside Central America maybe) is able to point out Guatemala on a world map. Not everyone knows it’s in Central America even – many think it’s in South America. But no, Guatemala is the quintessential Central American country – the most central Central American country, in fact.

It sits neatly between Honduras, Salvador, Belize and Mexico. Firther to the south there’s also Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and then Columbia and Ecuador.

I flew over this nest of cuckoos curiosity a while back. Unfortunately that was at nighttime so I saw nothing at all of it. This time things were different:

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaVolcanism on the horizon. My cup of tea

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - GuatemalaA Fuji competitor!

Madrid - Guatemala

Madrid - Guatemala

Turns out there are 33 volcanoes here, three of which, I’m told ‘represent a threat’. That makes sense: this part of the world’s seen plenty of volcanic activity in its time, some of it very sad. For example, in the sixteenth century Agua destroyed the first capital of the country; and in 1965 Pacaya blew its top violently and has been erupting constantly ever since.

And right now Fuego‘s causing all sorts of problems for the locals. And on the first night after we arrived there was even an earthquake! I missed it as I was in a jetlag-compensating deep sleep. Not sure if that was a good or bad thing.

We went for a walk up Pacaya while in Guatemala; not to the top – it’s smoking like a bar steward right now up there – but around the old crater near it. Impressive. So impressive in fact that it warrants a post of its own. I wasn’t expecting that there’d be a lot to report back on from here – I was proved wrong!

All the photos are here.

Back soon folks!…

February 26, 2015

Cancunference 2015.

Some ten-plus years ago, our then still quite small company decided to push the boundaries – literally: we went transnational. Before long we found we had expert-analyst KLers working in all corners of the globe, all of them communicating with one another by email, messengers, telephone and other indirect means. Nothing wrong with that really, but still, it’ll never beat face-to-face interaction. So we decided to have a yearly jamboree where we’d all get together and top up on the much needed proper face time. That was when our annual conference for IT security experts was born: the Security Analyst Summit (SAS).

cancun-mexico-sas2015-1

cancun-mexico-sas2015-2

Read on: Work hard, play hard, like always…

February 25, 2015

A rise in the sea level of just one meter, and it’s curtains for the Maldivian paradise.

Never thought that one day I’d be in the Maldives.

Why? Well, my travels normally take me to places where I really need to get to for business. The Maldives? No meetings, speeches or conferences, and no business tends to be transacted there…

Of course there are times when I go to this or that exotic country as a tourist, but my preferred tourism tends to feature rucksacks, tents and volcanoes – not sun, sand, and surf. So, again… the Maldives? Eh?

But when it was suggested that ‘we have this year’s management board jolly in the Maldives’, well, I didn’t need much convincing as to the wholesomeness of the idea. Everyone surely knows the Maldives is a sun drenched set of paradisiacal islands, so why would I object? So off we headed in the direction of the Indian Ocean…

Maldives

Read on: Global warming vs Maldives…

February 19, 2015

The biggest device in the world – part three.

First, a brief summary of the previous two parts…

On the Swiss-French border, near Geneva, there’s a place called CERN. Within its various buildings, modern-day alchemists scientists conCERN themselves with the fundamental structure of the universe. They disperse protons and other particles at near light speed and have them smash against one another, which creates various kinds of quark-gluon plasma and other mysterious physical phenomena. Then they apply titanic brainpower (math, physics, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics… all that), engineering capacity, and computing power to track the results of collisions of these fundamental particles.

We were there the other week and given a good long guided tour. Took lots of pics too…

The first accelerator we saw is called LEIR (the Low Energy Ion Ring). In it, lead ions are pooled. First the ions come from the LINAC-3 linear accelerator to LEIR, then they pass through to a PS ring, and then into a complex of big hoops, including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

cern-math-1

Read on: who does what at CERN…

February 12, 2015

In sports news… A 125:50 victory for our man!

Amid all the neutron-proton-electron collision topics of late on these here cyber-pages – a bit of a breather. Time for some sports news…

Some of you – especially those who follow our blogs – will know how we’re fairly well into the sponsorship thing: supporting sporting teams (and individuals – see later) around the globe, sometimes in the most unlikely of places. Here’s a quick overview for those who’ve not been watching carefully…

Down under, our logo has been worn on the fetching kits of a Sydney rugby club for some years now, while down the coast in Melbourne it adorns the shirts of a team of Australian rules football.

kaspersky-sport-1Source

Read on: Chess and billiards…

February 10, 2015

The biggest device in the world – part two. 

Bonjour mes amis!

All righty. You’ve had the soup for starters; now let’s move on to the main course…, rather, into the main course – i.e., inside the proverbial pie served up as main course, and check out the filling – the proverbial steak and kidney, as it were… (but I digest).

Put simpler – let’s find out what goes on within the walls of these plain buildings on the Swiss-French border where nuclear-physicists study the very nature of… nature – at it’s very deepest level.

CERN

CERN

CERN

Read on: So what happens inside the Large Hadron Collider?…

February 9, 2015

The biggest device in the world – part one.

It’s not just the biggest, it’s also the most expensive, most innovative device in the world. Naturally, that means it’s highly computerized. I wonder what AV it’s got :).

What we’ve got here is a modern-day wonder. Research at the cutting edge of both theoretical and practical knowledge into particle physics  the study of what makes up matter. Other groundbreaking stuff has been going on here since the 1950s too, including the small matter of, in 1989, the invention of… the World Wide Web!

CERN

Yes folks, this is CERN. An international team that prods the microcosmic world with various kinds of prodders to try and learn what’s going on down there. Here they make particles ‘collide’ at the speed of light to find out how they interact and to get clues to the fundamental laws of nature. Pretty cool, no?

Read on: unassuming contraption winning the Nobel prize…