June 2022

The Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes

The novel “The Legacy of Heorot” by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes was published for the first time in 1987. It’s the first book of the Heorot series.

When some of the colony’s animals are found dead of violent causes along with damage to some fences, security officer Cadmann Weyland thinks there’s a predator on the island that hasn’t yet been identified. Almost everyone else looks for alternative explanations and some even suspect that Cadmann created the incidents to prove his usefulness.

Given the situation, Cadmann decides to go in search of the possible predator and only Ernst helps him, but he suffered brain damage as a side effect of the hibernation in which he spent the interstellar journey. The two of them discover an animal native to the planet but Ernst is killed and Cadmann can barely survive. When he returns to the colony, he discovers that a woman has been killed along with her child and some colonists accuse him of the crime.

Superworm (Zophobas morio) larva

An article published in the journal “Microbial Genomics” reports the results of a study of the ability to digest polystyrene by the larvae of beetles belonging to the species Zophobas morio, commonly known as superworms, kingworms, or morio worms. A team of researchers from the Australian University of Queensland led by Chris Rinke used a metagenomic technique to analyze these larvae’s gut microbiome to find which microorganisms and in particular which genes are responsible for the digestion of polystyrene. The idea is to produce the enzymes needed to destroy the polystyrene waste in an ecological way.

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The novel “Provenance” by Ann Leckie was published for the first time in 2017.

Ingray Aughskold spent all of her money to get Pahlad Budrakim out of the prison planet where he was exiled from Hwae and for the journey on Captain Tic Uisine’s spaceship to bring them home with a fake ID for Pahlad. Her plan is to find the precious vestiges whose replacement with fakes doomed Pahlad.

When Ingray Aughskold awakens Pahlad Budrakim from the cryogenic sleep he was put into after his breakout, she gets a nasty surprise when the person she was handed over claims to be someone else. Ingray has no choice but to heavily rethink her plans because failure would mean losing any hope of succeeding her adoptive mother in her political office. When they arrive on Hwae, however, things just start getting complicated.

Some cabinets of the Frontier supercomputer (Photo courtesy Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy)

The American Frontier supercomputer has been crowned the new king of the Top 500 ranking. It has a speed that is more than twice that of the Japanese Fugaku, the previous king. This is the first exascale supercomputer, which means that it’s capable of exceeding the calculation capacity of 1 exaflop with 10^18 floating point operations per second. Frontier reaches 1.102 exaflops per second.