And in sports news – Misha is the chess champion!

Oh yes, the boy’s done good ace! Mikhail Antipov, our chess champ, has won the World U20 Championship 2015!

How the boy’s come on – from the modest boy-next-door, to the widely known (at least in the world chess clique:) world-beating champion with major trophies on the mantelpiece already! What’s especially pleasant about this news? Actually, all of it!…

First – chess is a very useful and proper pastime for training the brain. And if it grows into being a professional undertaking with worldwide recognition – ah, that’s the second already. And third, it’s nice to know we had a hand in seeing Misha make it to the top, after supporting him since his early days in the game.


Read on:

Mission Impossible 5 – in KLondon!

I’ve been known to have a pop at the quality of Hollywood blockbuster movies released in recent years. But there’s a new film that bucks the trend, which I recommend everyone sees at the soonest! (But then I would say that)…

This impossibly incredible film I’m talking about is Mission Impossible 5.

So what’s so great about it that it gets a whole EK blogpost dedicated to it? Can’t you guess?…

…Yep, a scene in the movie was shot in one of our offices – our UK one in central London! Specifically, an interrogation scene in the ‘CIA’s London post’ was filmed in the building our office is in in Paddington, some of it on our floor.

Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

What struck me as curious at first was that we didn’t solicit any filming – in fact we didn’t do anything.

All that happened was the director liked the look of our office building. Apparently they looked all over central London for a suitable backdrop for a particular scene, and eventually settled for our new office. Can’t say I blame them: our EU business operations headquarters look impressively spanking and swanky. They’re also very conveniently located: right next to Paddington Station – with a connection to the airport via the Heathrow Express that takes just half an hour. It’s just a shame all the KL logos – plus even all the Ferrari kit and paraphernalia – had to be taken down.

Witnesses gave the following account of glimpses of the proceedings:

The shooting took place on October 11-12, 2014. Though it was a weekend, all the people invited to the filming were at their desks. Everything started at 6.30am and finished at 6pm. For all that time they were shooting and reshooting a scene that lasted only 20 seconds in the final film. That’s show business!

In all 400 folks took part in the making of that 20-second footage, including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and… our KLers! Here they are, the beauts:


As you’ll have guessed, they were extras milling about in the background. I can’t wait to see the actual scene and find out who made it into the final cut. If you’ve seen it – let me know in the comments! I promise a nice surprise for the first to do so :).

Btw, the fee we received from the production company was donated to a foundation for the protection of kiddies from cybercrime.

And this (and this) is what our office looks like on a regular workday when Hollywood A-listers aren’t paying a visit.

The aquapark in Atlantis: not to be missed.

Beach-resort holidays (‘vegging out’) are not my thing. At all.

Sand, sun-loungers, parasols, ‘refreshing’ drinks and sunblock – I can survive that torture for two or three hours tops. Then I have to start strolling along the beach, sometimes a few kilometers at a time, oftentimes with camera. It beats lounging about any day. You walk along, get a tan, take a dip once in a while, take pictures along the way… Once, in the Dominicanan Republic, D.Z. and I strolled like that for some four hours. Afterwards we looked like models for a scary sunblock ad.

So yeah: beaches, sand, beach beds and basking in the sun are not for me. But!…

But #1. Some of our trips can be really hectic, involving flying across several time zones. As a result we get to the hotel not just tired, but totally wasted. If there’s nothing I have to do the next day and there’s a nice little beach close by, I can easily spend the day sleeping there. I’m pretty good at it. I lie down in the shade around midday and wake up at sunset, all rested, fresh, and ready to go.

But #2. We often organize our business events in beach hotels (which means that for me a beach has come to represent work rather than play:). Anyway, in our 18 years of active corporate life we’ve been pretty much everywhere. From Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. It works out real nice: we work in the daytime and can have a good time in the evening – resort-style. And often we stay for a couple more days after the business is done :).

I seem to be taking a long time getting to the subject of the waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm hotel resort in Dubai…


Read on: Things to do in Dubai if you got some time to spend on yourself…

“Everybody be cool, this is a robbery.”

Startups – affairs that are risky and slow to build up momentum. They call for big cash, a knack for seeing into the future, and a nose for where the big returns on investment are. They take years to really get going; only one in twenty (or even more) doesn’t die a premature death.

Traditionally, venture capitalists have funded startups, but there’s a new type of venture capitalist on the block. They ask: ‘Why get all tense and take risks with startups, when it’s possible to invest in… patent trolls?! Easy! One such new kid on the block is the funder Bentham IMF (I don’t give the site address on purpose; hardly want to help this company out with their SEO efforts. You can find it if you really want to).

The math is reeaal simple: the funder gives out, say, one to ten million dollars for low risk patent cases against wealthy victim-companies, which can bring in no less than ten to a hundred million dollars payout, respectively (that is, they aim for around a ten-fold return on investment). Now, the fact that patent trolls in the US – even if they lose – don’t pay a penny to defendants, and the average % of awarded ‘damages’ or out-of-court-settlement payments can be up to 99%… well, it all adds up to a practically guaranteed-returns venture scheme! 

Who the heck needs innovation? Much better: ‘invest’ money in small patent trolls so they can shake down litigate against the innovators. Wonderful. The American Dream turned inside-out and upside-down. The new American Patent Dream in full effect!

Bentham IMF

Of course, there’s an official basis to this legitimatized extortion – the support of law, universal justice and punishment of rotten violators. But no matter how much it’s talked up, there’s still no getting away from the simple fact: a troll is a troll.

Read on: Stratospherically absurd and wrong and bad things in the world of patent extortion…

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).


Read on: who does what at CERN…

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.


Read on: Chess and billiards…