Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Three Body Problem 三体

I haven't read sci-fi in years, and so it was with a feeling of elation that I read through The Three Body Problem 三体 and The Dark Forest 黑暗森林. A couple of thoughts:

Aside from the content, what struck me are the limited narrative devices, which seems to be the main  body of criticism that this was a good story told by a not so good story-teller. E.g. cliffhangers in the traditional sense are non-existent; some chapters end in declarative statements that do not even function as transitions. In the face of this shortcoming, I find it more remarkable that the suspense is maintained and driven by the plot alone.

National history joining world history, autarkic cultural developments bridged by the common heritage of science, contingent circumstances reverting to universal axioms. The permutation of these themes gives the novel its suppleness and originality.The first is not a new motif, but significance of this novel in the wider body of Chinese literature lies in it endowing the reader a belonging in the future of world history. And in doing so, kept Chinese society awake and brought it closer to the world.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Your glory knows no bounds

Cuirassier, artillerie, and er... Renault FT... everything seems to be in order here.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Analysis followed through to conclusions

"This particular operation means to render unthinkable the idea that people could arrive at revolutionary politics via a clear-headed analysis followed through to conclusions. Instead they must be in the grip of some hidden compulsion which they obey relentlessly, all the while insisting that this obedience is freedom."
 Review of 'The East'

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Monday, March 07, 2016

ZFS on Linux with LUKS startup automount; Ubuntu 16.04

When ZFS became a first class citizen under Ubuntu, the issue of ZFS on Linux with LUKS not auto-mounting properly at startup was finally addressed in Xenial 16.04.

The following steps successfully produced a successful auto-mount on a nightly build of Xenial in VirtualBox:

# list block devices using /dev/disk/by-id
sudo ls /dev/disk/by-id

# identify the block device for the LUKS container; here, the example is a VirtualBox device

# create a key file
sudo dd if=/dev/urandom of=/root/key bs=1024 count=64

# encrypt [using defaults here for simplicity] target block device with key file
sudo cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/disk/by-id/ata-VBOX_HARDDISK_VBd5b297e5-009dc9f9 /root/key

# find the newly encrypted LUKS container uuid
sudo blkid

# the result should show the device with TYPE="crypto_LUKS"
/dev/sdc: UUID="b7458a4d-2d45-42bc-8fe7-f392e0a0f85f" TYPE="crypto_LUKS"

# open the LUKS container with key file and map it to a name, example here is mapped to "crypt-c"
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen UUID=b7458a4d-2d45-42bc-8fe7-f392e0a0f85f --key-file /root/key crypt-c

# add a line for the new LUKS container under crypttab so it can be identified during startup
sudo nano /etc/crypttab
crypt-c UUID=b7458a4d-2d45-42bc-8fe7-f392e0a0f85f /root/key luks

# Identify the LUKS partition UUID
sudo ls /dev/disk/by-id

# the result should show the device starting with dm-uuid-CRYPT

# create the zfs partition on top of the LUKS partition
sudo zpool create -o ashift=12 zfs-test-pool /dev/disk/by-id/dm-uuid-CRYPT-LUKS1-b7458a4d2d4542bc8fe7f392e0a0f85f-crypt-c

# nothing added under /etc/fstab

# upon restarting, zfs-test-pool is auto-mounted and can be verified with zpool status

Reference links:
Dm-crypt/Device_encryption manual