week 67


Mon: Xenius tries to relate testosterone levels with physical violence, but to infer causation is a jump too far.

Tue: The ecological importance of the inner delta of the Ili river emptying its waters on the Balkhash lake is foremost for Kazakhstan wildlife specially, after the Aral sea water diverting disaster in the 1960s.

Wed: Lake Teletskoye environment, in the Russian Altai, has so far mercifully escaped from the ravages of logging thanks to a precarious balance with eco-tourism development.

Thu: The mountainous Issyk lake in the Ile-Alatau NP outside Almaty, formed by debris from an earthquake blocking a gorge, reminds us that mother Nature is still in charge.

Fri: The “scorpion” tower in Miami, the last building by architect Zaha Hadid, with its exoskeleton made of glass fiber reinforced concrete is a testament to her boldness.



week 66


Mon: Who knew that multitalented cannabis plant could be used for making oil, tofu, carton walls, or cord.

Tue: Kyzylorda city, on the shores of the Syr Darya river,  with its international university and mausoleum to Korkyt Ata (inventor of the kobyz musical instrument) in its outskirts, makes for a worthy detour.

Wed: The finish viking is heading for a “30 jour a l’Altai” tournee, crossing from Russia to Kazakhstan and Mongolia, but omitting China. Gormo-Altaysk museum to the scythian ice maiden mummy is a very positive sign of the strong native cultural revival.

Thu: Rakhmanov’s lake in the Kazakh Altai region with its views of the twin peaks of mount Belukha (4500m) fully pays for the 33 km unpaved track drive to arrive there.

Fri: Adjusting the administration of cancer chemotherapy to the circadian rhythms of the patient permits a more targeted drug action (mainly only on the diseased cell) and decreases side effects for the body.


week 65


Mon: That humans have two kidneys looks like an oversight by the efficiency seeking invisible hand called evolution by natural selection.

Tue: Tamgaly-Tas petroglyphs, along the right bank of the Ile river, depicting Buddhist motives are a reminder of the mixed religious heritage the region claims.

Wed: Charyn canyon, as a mini Grand canyon, deserves its detour if only to contemplate the nearby lonely ash grove surviving since the last ice age.

Thu: Turkistan city provides the best preserved historical building of all Kazakhstan, the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi displaying a turquoise colored cupola, so typical of central Asia monumental architecture.

Fri: The national parks located in the northwest of the Chinese province of Yunnan, bordering Tibet, are a refuge for elsewhere dying plants, animals and even social practices such as two brothers marrying the same woman.

week 64


Mon: How important is the understanding of the herd immunity effect so (almost) every child gets proper vaccination and society’s well-being is assured for the next generation.

Tue: Zharkent village’s Uyghur minority gets its stamp on the land with a pagoda shaped minaret mosque.

Wed: The cold war was rather hot around “the polygon” area nearby Semey leaving a lost lasting radioactive legacy on the kazakh steppe .

Thu: Mangistau underground mosques have an eerie resemblance with the carved churches of Cappadocia.

Fri: Is Homo digitalis (a cybernetic organism) an evolved or devolved human being?



week 63


Mon: Is vaping away fragrances with unknown effect on lungs and brain the new cool?

Tue: The historical city of Taraz, close to the river Talas and site of the eponymous battle in 751 when chinese and arab armies collided, is a vivid reminder of the mixed culture and society that lived and lives still there.

Wed: A train ride thru the Congolese Katanga province is a truly astonishing experience on how the railway provides the political, economical and, health care lifeline to the peoples along its route.

Thu: Shymkent market, just 100 miles north of Tashkent, exhibits all the culinary utensils for the proper cooking of an Uzbek naan.

Fri: Katharine Hepburn, together with Garbo and Dietrich, made an actresses triad for the unparalleled golden age of the seventh art that was the 1930s.


week 62


Mon: Almost all the fancy gimmicks to keep a real euro paper bill from a fake one are revealed by Xenius, from the UV light reading logo to the semi-transparent face of the goddess Europa.

Wed: “Discovering Kazakhstan” from Kazakh-TV reported on the new pedestrian friendly area around Panfilov Avenue and the depth of the Metro stations in Almaty.

Thu: RT description of the polygamous “tokal” practice in nowadays Kazakhstan seemed almost trivial.

Fri: Kurchatov, the city on the Kazakh steppe populated by scientist conducting nuclear tests during Soviet times is a grim reminder of the lasting repercussions of radioactivity.


week 61


Mon: At last, the EU digital data protection law is enacted. Let’s see how long it will take for the US government to overpower the GAFA lobbyists.

Tue: The new silk road is half way through. From Chongqing to Khorgos (3697 km) an impressive two-lane highway crosses China. From there to Orenburg (2830 km), via Almaty, Kyzylorda and Aktobe, just a badly repaved potholed track welcomes the truckers.

Wed: Panning for gold in Kyrgyzistan, from the Kumtor open air mine to the Osh market, highlights the environmental and human toll that such practices have on the land and peoples.

Thu: The Afghan Wakhan corridor, the thin strip of land between Tajikistan and Pakistan, exhibits an ”off the beaten path” glamour that is hard to resist its pull to visit it before “civilization” does.

Fri: Aristotle Onassis’ life (1906-1975), from Ottoman Izmir to free-spirited Buenos Aires, from partner Callas to wife Kennedy, from whaling industry to oil container ships, was a global one before the 21st century globalization made it accessible to most.