Monthly Archives: August 2013

Instead of pouring it, ya cut milk in Yakutia

Privyet everyone!

Yakutia (home to the Yakut people), or, officially, Sakha (home to the Sakha people) is very proud of its humungous dimensions, liking to compare itself with assorted European countries, a favorite for some reason being France: on Wikipedia (in Russian, at least) it says Yakutia is ‘five times as large as France’. (Why France? Why not Spain, Turkey or Ukraine?) There are plenty of other comparisons kicking about the Internet too, like the one approximately equating Yakutia with the Mediterranean and Black Seas together.

Anyway, whichever way you look at it – or measure it – there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that what we’ve got here is one titanic territory. Indeed, turns out it’s the largest subnational entity in the world in terms of land area – stretching across three time zones!

But I think to do the place some justice it needs to be compared with other massive things, not much smaller ones. So, here we go…

With a territory of around three million square kilometers (but a population of just under a million; that is, three square kilometers per person), what other ginormous territory can it be compared with?

First off – Australia. Yakutia is only two and a half times smaller than the whole of Oz, while having 20 times less population. But that makes sense, for down under they don’t have to suffer the intense Yakutian winters. Then again, Australia is nothing but desert… that must be why the population there is only 20 times larger and not more (and lives all along the coast).

Next up: Canada. Yakutia is just three times smaller than this country together with all its islands. However, most of Canada is much further south – thus, 35 times as many folks live there.

Next: China. This country is also three times bigger than Yakutia, whereas the population… hmmm, best not get into that. China not the best example to take…

On per capita income – Yakutia is somewhere near Thailand, Cuba and Peru (individually), while it comes four times less than Australia and Canada, and a little more than China.

Yakutia can boast not only a massive territory; it also rocks in terms of diamonds, is real cool on the permafrost front, and is extreme to the extreme on wintery cold – particularly in Oymyakon. There’s also the Kolyma Highway (the one Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode along on their round-the-world motorcycle trip in 2004), the Lena River, and – last and most – the Lena Pillars – which were where we were headed. Here are the pics:

lena_pillars_yakutia_1

More: Pillars, permafrost and people who live there…

Alaska, alas, shrugged…

…at our disappointment about the weather in this corner of the atlas.

Howdy all!

Briefly, what’s coming up below: a quick Alaskan photo-fest + brief commentary, after a recent trip to the 49th state. This place is the latest been-to of my upcoming Top-100 Must-See Places in the World.

So, herewith, I submit, your honor, both my witness testimony and photographic evidence…

AlaskaAlaskan Duel

More: First thing to say: it’s royally rainy here…

West Coast volcano boast.

It’s easy to brainstorm a long list of things you can associate instantly with the USA. Easy peasy…

Washington, D.C., the White House, NYC, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Wild West, the Great Depression, Lend-Lease, the first man on the moon, the Space Shuttle, Coke and Pepsi, McDonald’s, Hollywood and Disney, Microsoft, iPhone, Google, Facebook… I could go on for ages, as I’m sure you could….

But one thing I never associated with the U S of A is volcanoes. However, it turns out there are quite a few here – and rather impressive they are too. They’re on the West Coast – in Washington state, up next to Canada.

For those who might not yet know, I’m a big fan of volcanism (see my tales, pics and vids from Kamchatka, New Zealand, Santorini, Mount Etna, Pico de Orizaba and so on).

And I can now add a plus-2 to my collection of been-to volcanism – with these two gems:

1) Mount Rainier (Indian name – Tahoma);

2) Mount St. Helens (Indian name – Louwala-Clough).

Mount St.Helens

Mount St.Helens

 

More: Stateside volcanism…

Thinking hard… in Prague.

Hi all!

Once upon a time long, long ago (in 1998 to be precise) some comrades and I, much in need of some rejuvenation on the basic ideas front, decided to take leave of the hustle and bustle of Moscow for a short while and get ourselves to a quiet place (so that nobody could disturb us) in a charming location. We needed to get away from it all, and to go back to basics – to discuss and hammer out blueprints for the future of our technologies, antivirus engines, how various antivirus subsystems effectively interact with one another, and other such fundamentally crucial topics.

So this is what we did…

First, we needed to get the venue right. What we were after was a place that was sufficiently comfortable (not some doss house with one bathroom per floor or something), but nothing more. We also needed a conference room that could seat six – that’s how many were heading out. Basically it needed to be reasonably economical, since back then we weren’t exactly flush with cash, to say the least. Thus: three-star it was to be.

We checked out various places in the Moscow region, but to no avail. So then we looked further afield. Eventually we decided that the most suitable place – out of those not too far from Moscow – was the Czech capital. So off we flew down there…

Kaspersky Lab Innovation Summit 2013

More: Prague brainstorm, 15 years later…

The phantom of the boot sector.

My power over you
grows stronger yet
(с) Andrew Lloyd Webber – Phantom Of The Opera

In the ongoing battle between malware and anti-malware technologies, there’s an interesting game that keeps getting played over and over – king of the castle.

The rules are simple: the winner is the one who loads itself into the computer memory first, seizes control of the ‘levers’, and protects itself from other applications. And from the top of the castle you can calmly survey all around and guard the order in the system (or, if you’re malicious, on the contrary – you can cause chaos, which goes both unnoticed and unpunished).

In short, the winner takes all, i.e., control over the computer.

Cybercriminals have long taken an unhealthy interest in boot sector – the ideal way to hide the fact that the computer is infected. And they use a special strain of malware – bootkits.

And the list of applications wanting to do the boot process first begins with (as the name might suggest) the boot sector – a special section of the disk that stores all the instructions for what, when and where to load. And, terror of terrors, even the operating system sticks to this list! No wonder cybercriminals have long taken an unhealthy interest in this sector, since abusing it is the ideal way to get first out of the blocks while completely hiding the fact that the computer is infected. And the cybercriminals are helped in this by a particular class of malware – bootkits.

How your computer loads

loading_comp_en

To find out what bootkits are and how we protect you against them – read on…

More: the prosperity, the fall and the return of bootkits…