By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-one-two-three-five-eureka department
An anonymous reader tips news of 7th grader Aidan Dwyer, who used phyllotaxis
— the way leaves are arranged on plant stems in nature — as inspiration to arrange an array of solar panels in a way that generates 20-50% more energy than a uniform, flat panel array
. Aidan wrote,"I designed and built my own test model, copying the Fibonacci pattern of an oak tree. I studied my results with the compass tool and figured out the branch angles. The pattern was about 137 degrees and the Fibonacci sequence was 2/5. Then I built a model using this pattern from PVC tubing. In place of leaves, I used PV solar panels hooked up in series that produced up to 1/2 volt, so the peak output of the model was 5 volts. The entire design copied the pattern of an oak tree as closely as possible. ... The Fibonacci tree design performed better than the flat-panel model. The tree design made 20% more electricity and collected 2 1/2 more hours of sunlight during the day. But the most interesting results were in December, when the Sun was at its lowest point in the sky. The tree design made 50% more electricity, and the collection time of sunlight was up to 50% longer!"
His work earned him a Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History and a provisional patent on the design.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's before-the-heat-death-of-the-universe department
Landing his first accepted submission, qpgmr writes "AES, generally thought to be the gold standard for encryption, is showing weaknesses. From Computerworld: 'Researchers from Microsoft and the Dutch Katholieke Universiteit Leuven have discovered a way to break the widely used Advanced Encryption Standard, the encryption algorithm used to secure most all online transactions and wireless communications.'"
The full paper has lots of details
. Note that it would still take a few billion years with current computers to actually break anything, but there may be further vunerabilities
yet to be discovered.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's digital-science-is-fun department
An anonymous reader writes "I love the idea of getting an ebook reader primarily for reading research journal papers. However I've heard bad things about the handling of pdf's on the major ones. I don't particularly care for color, but having an e-ink display and the ability to handle pdf/ps docs without conversion would be a major pluse I'd even be open to a hacked kindle running Linux if it were practical. Does any good solution exist?"
A few months ago I found the Asus Eee Note
(some folks even figured out how the software works
and got it to run other Qt apps), but my hopes were dashed when I learned they had killed it before it even made it to the US. It seems right now that this particular niché is not being served: or is it?Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's there-can-be-only-one department
A number of readers submitted rumors about a few announcements HP was to make today. Now that has actually happened and the news looks grim. For starters they are exiting the tablet and phone market
and repositioning webOS for use in appliances and vehicles. While confirming they are in talks
to acquire Autonomy
, they also announced they are considering exiting the PC hardware business
entirely in order to focus on their software business.Read Replies (0)