Sunday, August 21, 2011

A sci-fi novel re-read: "Limit"

The first decade of the new millennium has brought on multitudes of changes. The proof-of-concept of a working He3 fusion reactor, although revolutionary in itself, would not have shaken the world. In combination with the completion of a functional space elevator and the start of large scale automated mining operations on the moon, however, politics and the world economy enter turmoil. Now, Orley Enterprises, the multinational behind both breakthroughs, is about to celebrate the opening of two luxury resorts- one on the already well-established OSS ("Orley Space Station"), the other on the moon itself. A selection of celebrities, inventors, and investors gets a first glimpse, from a Hollywood actor famous for playing Kurt Cobain and Perry Rhodan, America's First Talklady, a Russian oligarch, the Hong Kong owner of Luis Vuitton and a dozen other fashion labels, all the way to the researcher famous for recent breakthroughs in stem cell technology. At the same time, a private investigator in Shanghai is asked to look into the disappearance of a friend's employee, who turns out to be one of the dissidents that the Chinese government has not been able to locate for years. When he finds first traces of her, however, events turn unexpectedly violent...
Most of the novels I've been reading throughout the last years were written in English, which is maybe the reason why some of the dialogues seemed a bit strange to me. In addition you sometimes notice that the book is already a few years old, eg. when - as historical backdrop - "the USA turned Green during the presidency of Obama". However, on the whole the setting is for a sci-fi novel comparatively sound, the story is gripping with nice suprises all over the way, and the author gets the athmosphere definitively right...
Frank Sch├Ątzing, "Limit". Sci-fi thriller about corporate espionage, the first-ever hotel on the moon, and a changing world. 4 out of 5 carbon nanotubes in the near-future sci-fi category. German. Unfortunately, no English translation yet (but there's Italian, Spanish, and Danish already).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MSc / Diploma research projects available

We're at the moment looking for clever candidates for two Diploma / MSc projects in the nanotube transport and nanomechanics group Regensburg:

In both cases, you will work in close cooperation with colleagues from several carbon nanotube projects. Contact Andreas K. Hüttel (e-mail: andreas.huettel@physik.uni-r.de) if you're interested! Regensburg students only, sorry!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Feeling underlinked?

Diego's flood of tinderbox underlinking bugs kept me puzzled in the beginning, because one thing I don't want to do is replace the linker on all my systems with some piece of half-experimental code. Luckily, after some discussion with him on IRC it became clear that many of the issues discovered by using gold can also be found using the --no-add-needed option of the normal linker. However, it has to be forced in the gcc profile to really make sure that it is applied.
So, if you want to make your system sensitive to most underlinking issues, run the following script (closely based on Diego's forced-as-needed instructions) as root. It will create an additional gcc profile, which you can then choose with eselect... Happy bugfixing.

#!/bin/bash
export SPECSFILE=$(dirname "$(gcc -print-libgcc-file-name)")/forced.specs
export CURRPROFILE=/etc/env.d/gcc/$(gcc-config -c)
gcc -dumpspecs | sed -e '/link:/,+1 s:--eh-frame-hdr:\0 --as-needed --no-add-needed:' > "$SPECSFILE"
sed "${CURRPROFILE}" -e '1i\GCC_SPECS='$SPECSFILE > "${CURRPROFILE}-forced"