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enSun, 23 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0200<![CDATA[Revealing the unspoken pandemic of suicide]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Revealing-the-unspoken-pandemic-of-suicide.628845
I remember when suicide statistics in Malta were zero. I am not that old.
In the Catholic tradition suicide is judged as a sin. As a consequence, the Church never used to allow suicide victims to be buried in the main Catholic cemetery. They had to be buried with the foreigners, in unconsecrated land. So it is surprising to learn that recently Malta has started reporting an increase in the number of suicides.
A new study shows that since 2005 some 302 people committed suicide in Malta. This year alone, 18 suicides have already taken place with the highest rate being for middle aged, those... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.
]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 09:22:00 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Revealing-the-unspoken-pandemic-of-suicide.628845<![CDATA[Another view of the 1807 Froberg Regiment mutiny]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Another-view-of-the-1807-Froberg-Regiment-mutiny.628888
Dr Albert Ganado (The Sunday Times of Malta, October 16) has regaled us, yet again, with fascinating, yet alarming, details of Maltese history. And in his customary fashion he has added what appears to be hitherto unpublished data related to the eventual capture and execution of Caro Mitro and Nicola d’Anastasi, two of the die-hard mutineers of the Froberg Regiment.
Dr Ganado refers to an eight-page account of events published by the government “without delay” following the mutiny. This account, written by Vittorio Barzoni, includes a note of thanks to the Maltese for their good conduct,... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.
]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 13:36:04 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Another-view-of-the-1807-Froberg-Regiment-mutiny.628888<![CDATA[Myth debunked: Quick solutions to mathematical problems]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Myth-debunked-Quick-solutions-to-mathematical-problems.628885
It is often assumed by members of the public that in order to be good at mathematics, one needs to be quick, and the faster one can solve a problem the better one is in the subject. This idea may have been disseminated by the fact that in examinations students are expected to solve a number of problems in a specified time interval. Perhaps also prevalent in people’s minds is the perception that most mathematical problems can be solved in a relatively short time by smart mathematicians that are able to carry out quick thought processes.
However, the history of mathematics is riddled with instances of problems that took a long time to solve or that are still open after several decades or centuries. For example, it took mathematicians 357 years to confirm ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’, and the proof contains over 100 pages of deep mathematics developed over several centuries. Mathematics is endowed with conjectures that have so far remained unsolved and that influence its development.
One of these is Goldbach’s Conjecture, which simply states that every even whole number greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes. The conjecture was first proposed by the German mathematician... ]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 08:59:07 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Myth-debunked-Quick-solutions-to-mathematical-problems.628885<![CDATA[A farm with a view]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/A-farm-with-a-view.628884
This week I was called out to a farm to attend to a sick sheep. When the call came through, the farmer informed me that one of his ewes had given birth during the night and that she had suffered a vaginal prolapse.
A prolapse of the vagina is a condition that frequently occurs in cattle and sheep and one that I have attended to on numerous occasions, so it was not quite the situation of having to attend to a sheep that took me by surprise. Rather, it was the unexpectedly scenic location of the farm itself, coupled with the genuine fondness with which the farmer regarded his animals and... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.
]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 12:06:12 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/A-farm-with-a-view.628884<![CDATA[In search of π: exploring the universe]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/In-search-of-exploring-the-universe.628886
Arguably pi is one of the most intriguing numbers in mathematics. The concept is simple enough. If one divides the circumference of a circle by its diameter, then one gets this rather strange number 3.14159, and to make it even weirder, not only do the digits following the decimal point go on forever but there is no pattern in these numbers. But how did mathematicians arrive at this number in the first place?
One of the earliest references to pi can be found in the Bible.
And he made the molten sea; 10 cubits from the one brim to the other; it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of 30 cubits did compass it round about. (I Kings 7:23)
The Hebrews, it seems, had arrived at the conclusion that this ratio was close to three to 30 cubits divided by 10 cubits.
The ratio between the circumference and the diameter has fascinated mathematicians since ancient times. Indeed, the earliest-known record is an Egyptian papyrus written by an Egyptian scribe named Ahmes around 1650 BC, now known as the Rhind Papyrus. In problem 50, Ahmes writes:
Cut off 1/9 of a diameter and construct a square upon the remainder; this has the same area as the circle.
What Ahmes is... ]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 08:15:06 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/In-search-of-exploring-the-universe.628886<![CDATA[Photo of the week]]>
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Photo-of-the-week.628887
On March 21, 2015, Rajveer Meena, a resident of Mohocha village in Swaimodhapur district of Rajasthan, set a world record by reciting 70,000 digits after the decimal point in pi in 9 hours 27 minutes. Rajveer’s feat was achieved at the VIT University, Vellore, India. He was awarded the Guinness World Record certificate for memory on October 1. Rajveer claims that he can memorise thousands of digits by sequencing it into an episode or transforming it into an object. The former record belonged to Lu Chao who in 2005 had recited post decimal pi up to 67,890 in 24 hours 7 minutes.
Photo: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-pi-places-memorised ]]>Sun, 23 Oct 2016 08:01:05 +0200http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161023/life-features/Photo-of-the-week.628887