Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth's Magnificent Moon (17 Stunning Images)

"Into the sunset's turquoise marge The moon dips, like a pearly barge; Enchantment sails through magic seas, To fairland Hesperides, Over the hills and away." ~Madison Julius Cawein

Light reflecting off the moon, Earth's only natural satellite and the only extraterrestrial body man has stepped foot upon, travels 1.28 seconds before reaching our eyes and cameras here on Earth. It is about 4.6 billion years old, the same approximate age of the Earth. Most scientists agree that it was formed after a colossal collision between the Earth and a rouge planet at the beginning of Earth's formation. The molten debris shot into space after the collision and eventually clumped together forming a liquid ball that cooled into the sphere we see today. Through conservation of momentum, the interaction between the moon's gravity, the Earth's spin and the ocean's tides, the moon moves farther away from us every day while slowing the spin of the Earth and lengthening the day. Since the moon has no atmosphere or weather, the millions of impact craters are not eroded away, like on Earth, revealing to us a great deal of historical information. Some of these impact craters are so big, they can be seen with the naked eye on a clear night with a full moon. No cheese has been found on the moon.

Image Credit: Philipp Klinger

Image Credit: Andrei Lintu

Image Credit: pxipusher

Image Credit: joka2000

Image Credit: Romair

Photo Credit: Terence Molter

Image Credit: Surfingjoe

Image Credit: revlimit

Image Credit: stormygirl

Image Credit: Heartkins

Image Credit: Terry Lea

Image Credit: Ben

Image Credit: Ben

Image Credit: mattie shoes

Image Credit: Ben

Image Credit: R. Motti

See also: Ten German Birds

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Friday, March 20, 2009

FASTRA - A Faster Cheap and Compact Cluster

In my article 24-Core Linux Cluster in a $29.99 Case from IKEA, I showed how you can build your own cluster (pictured at left) that is small enough to fit under your desk. It's turned out to be a nice space heater in the winter too, keeping my toes warm while it crunches numbers. It's come to my attention that someone in Belgium has created a 128-core cluster called FASTRA computer for under $5000 using 4 GPUs. Graphical Processing Units are normally used to render 3D video games, but in this case, they are using the cluster to speed up their 3D tomography calculations. Check it out below. Too bad they didn't use a Helmer cabinet...

By the way, IBM has the world's fastest computing cluster called Roadrunner using a similar design but much much bigger. It has 130,464 cores and uses 2.35 MW of power.

Surfing in Downtown Munich, Germany

A YouTube video and Pics...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Add Nested Menu Items to an Eclipse RCP Application

This article shows how to add nested menu items to a menu in an Eclipse RCP application and builds off of a clean Hello World Eclipse RCP Application. As shown in the article Add a Menu to an Eclipse RCP Application, it is very easy to add a File menu containing the Exit action. Here the Exit action as well as About and Preferences are added to a submenu called Expand in the File menu to demonstrate nested menu items.

Step 0: Create a HelloWorld RCP application.

Step 1: Add the nested menu actions. Open up the ApplicationActionBarAdvisor class and add the three About, Preferences, and Exit actions as private fields. In makeactions(), define the actions and register them. In the fillMenuBar() method, create two instances of MenuManager, one for the File and one for Expand. Add the three actions to the Expand MenuManager. A Separator is added before the Exit action for the sake of demonstrating this nice menu organizing feature. Next add the Expand MenuManager to the File MenuManager. Finally add the File MenuManager to the menubar.

package com.blogspot.obscuredclarity.nestedmenu;

import org.eclipse.jface.action.IMenuManager;
import org.eclipse.jface.action.MenuManager;
import org.eclipse.jface.action.Separator;
import org.eclipse.ui.IWorkbenchWindow;
import org.eclipse.ui.actions.ActionFactory;
import org.eclipse.ui.actions.ActionFactory.IWorkbenchAction;
import org.eclipse.ui.application.ActionBarAdvisor;
import org.eclipse.ui.application.IActionBarConfigurer;

public class ApplicationActionBarAdvisor extends ActionBarAdvisor {

private IWorkbenchAction aboutAction;
private IWorkbenchAction preferencesAction;
private IWorkbenchAction exitAction;

public ApplicationActionBarAdvisor(IActionBarConfigurer configurer) {

protected void makeActions(IWorkbenchWindow window) {

//ActionFactory Actions, the ActionFactory defines a set of common actions and can be used in our application.
aboutAction = ActionFactory.ABOUT.create(window);
register(aboutAction); //register the action so it is deleted when the Workbench window is closed
preferencesAction = ActionFactory.PREFERENCES.create(window);
exitAction = ActionFactory.QUIT.create(window);

protected void fillMenuBar(IMenuManager menuBar) {

MenuManager fileMenu = new MenuManager("&File", "file"); //create a menuManager to take care of all submenus in "File"

MenuManager expandingMenu = new MenuManager("&Expand", "expand");
expandingMenu.add(aboutAction); //Add the "about" action
expandingMenu.add(preferencesAction); //Add the "preferences" action
expandingMenu.add(new Separator()); //Add a horizontal separator
expandingMenu.add(exitAction); //Add the "exit" action

fileMenu.add(expandingMenu); //Add the expanding menu to the "File" menu
menuBar.add(fileMenu); //Add the "File" menu to the menuBar


Step 2: Run the application and test if everything worked. Your application should now have a new menu containing a group of actions nested in a parent menu:

Piece of cake!

<--- Previous - Verify User Intent Before Closing an Eclipse RCP Application
---> Next - Add a Custom Menu Action to an Eclipse RCP Application

Also see: Eclipse RCP Tutorial Table of Contents

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

11 Spectacular Bird Photos by David Hemmings

All the bird photos in this post are copyright David Hemmings found on I just wanted to share these amazing bird photos that I discovered a while back as well as promote David's phenomenal work. These are just a small sampling from all his work, so be sure to check out the rest of his work. Thanks for the amazing shots and the inspiration, David! Click on the images below for higher resolution versions.

See also: Bar-headed Goose - Streifengans

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Fibonacci Sequence

The Fibonacci Sequence: 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377...

Check it out:

The Fibonacci Sequence can be found in the song Laterus by Tool.

See also: Statistics Not Calculus