Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

March 21, 2012

It’s the hard drive life for us

Researchers in Italy announced last week they discovered a second Leonardo da Vinci mural masterpiece.

According to Dave Mosher in a Monday, March 12, article for National Geographic News, “By poking high-tech instruments through the wall of one priceless 16th-century mural in Italy, researchers . . . think they’ve located the first ‘encouraging’ evidence . . . a lost Leonardo da Vinci . . . hidden beneath. Using a tiny camera, the researchers snapped pictures of a telltale hollow space behind Giorgio Vasari's “Battle of Marciano” — and a brick wall — in the Hall of the 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s city hall. They also uncovered black pigment and lacquer used in painting — clues that the lost Leonardo may have long ago been saved from destruction.”

A mystery spanning four hundred years, the da Vinci masterpiece is called  “The Battle of Anghiari.” Mosher reports the mural may be as large as 20 feet long and 10 feet tall, and was commissioned by an Italian statesman, Piero Soderini, in 1502. In the mural, Italian knights were to be shown defeating Milanese forces in 1440 on Tuscany's plain of Anghiari.

“Leonardo, it’s said, used the opportunity to experiment with a new oil-painting technique, but it ended in failure,” explained Mosher.

Sadly, hundreds of years doesn’t change much when it comes to losing art and information. I learned this as dusk ebbed across my writing room last week, while at the same time the blue screen of death emerged on the screen of my computer.

“Fatal system error,” the blazing white words flashed in a bizarre, electronic guffaw of light, signaling the impending death of my machine — and with it, my life.

I rebooted.

I pressed all the function keys.

I scanned and re-scanned drives for errors, viruses and corruption.

I drove to the local Nerd Herd and watched them dismantle my drives, place them in other computers and diagnostic machines, insert and spit out various diagnostic CDs and DVDs. They had so much fun with the overwhelming level of my computer’s dysfunction they worked two full days until finally they announced, like surgeons emerging from a lifeless operating room, my computer was dead.

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Commentary
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