science: January 2010 Archives

275x250.jpgAn Italian doctor claims that he has been able to diagnose the illnesses suffered by some of the people in the world's most famous paintings.

Dr Vito Franco of the University of Palermo says the intriguing smile of the Mona Lisa was the result of very high levels of cholesterol.

He came to this conclusion by studying the details of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, where he says he can see a build up of fatty acids around her left eye.

But he has not stopped there, he has analysed a host of renaissance works -- finding that most subjects suffered from one disease or another.

It sounds to us like someone has been watching too many episodes of House. 

275x250.jpg A computer scientist has used a humble desktop computer to calculate Pi to a record 2.7 trillion digits.

Fabrice Bellard says it took his computer 131 days to make the calculation which beats the previous record - set using a supercomputer - by 123 billion digits.

He used a custom program on his PC to work out the gargantuan number which takes over a terabyte of hard disk space to store.

Apparently the number is so long that if you were to recite it at a pace of one number a second, it would take more than 49,000 years… but it would still be more interesting that Celebrity Big Brother.

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