Alan Turing Hub

New Sculpture of Alan Turing on Display: PHOTO

(wynn abbott - instagram)

A new sculpture of Alan Turing has been put on display in Paddington, London.

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.

Activists and lawmakers are still working to get an official pardon for Turing's conviction from the British government.

Pink News reports:

The two-dimensional sculpture appeared near St Mary’s, Paddington, alongside sculptures of fellow local heroes, famous nurse Mary Seacole and Paddington Bear author Michael Bond.

The sculptures are part of the Portrait Bench series by Sustrans, transport charity, which installs the sculptures, as voted for by local residents. The sculptures are made from Corten steel, the same as the Angel of the North, and will eventually rust to give a more organic look.

Stephen Hawking, Fellow Scientists Call for Pardon of Gay UK Codebreaker Alan Turing

Professor Stephen Hawking and a long list of scientists have joined the chorus of voices calling for an official pardon of Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing, in a letter to the UK's Telegraph:

TuringWe write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He lead the team of Enigma codebreakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War. Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.

We urge the Prime Minister formally to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even today. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing’s achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.

Lord Currie of Marylebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner or Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow
Astronomer Royal
Lord Sharkey
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Baroness Trumpington
Sir Timothy Gowers
Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University
Dr Douglas Gurr
Chairman, Science Museum Group
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse
President, the Royal Society

During World War II, Alan Turing, who is known as the father of modern computing, devised the Turing Bombe, a codebreaking device that was used to decipher the Nazi enigma codes, up to 3,000 messages per day. He was also gay, and two years after being convicted of "gross indecency" for being homosexual and sentenced to undergo hormone therapy, he killed himself with a cyanide-laced apple.

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1236


PLANK FISHING: Not hard to predict what's about to happen here.

XELLE: "Queen".

CODEBREAKER: Alan Turing documentary premiering this week in NYC and LA.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.

Machine Makes Beautiful Music For Gay Computer Scientist Alan Turing: VIDEO


Who knew computers could carry a tune?

To honor the 100th birthday of computer scientist Alan Turing, the gay grandfather of modern technology, researcher Francisco Vico and musician Gustavo Díaz-Jerez, both from the University of Malaga in Spain, created a computer called Iamus that "evolves" its own music and "produces scores that real musicians can play," New Scientist reports.

A recording of Iamus' score Transits Into an Abyss, played by the London Symphony Orchestra, goes on sale next month. In the meantime, you can listen to Iamus' track, "Nasciturus," which means "unborn child," AFTER THE JUMP

Díaz-Jerez is on the harpsichord and Sviatoslav Belonogov works the viola d'amore.

Continue reading "Machine Makes Beautiful Music For Gay Computer Scientist Alan Turing: VIDEO" »

Alan Turing Turns 100: VIDEO

Alan-TuringHappy 100th birthday to Alan Turing: genius, probable aspie, gay man, and savior of Europe.

He was born in London and attended public school in Dorset, where he showed astounding aptitude for math. While there, he began some kind of relationship with fellow pupil Christopher Morcom, who shortly perished from bovine tuberculosis. The boy's death destroyed Turing's religious faith and cemented his belief in materialism, which would inform Turing's later work on computation and his musings on consciousness.

Turing went on to study at King's College, Cambridge, and at the Institute for Advanced Study, at Princeton, where he theorized what came to be known as the "Turing Machine." In 1938, Turing began work for the Government Code and Cypher School, where he concentrated on German Enigma machines -- code-making machines, which in the coming years allowed German military commanders to believe their electronic communications were private. They weren't, because Turing's prodigious cryptological genius had broken the Enigma machines wide open. In particular, he had co-created the Turing-Welchman "bombe," a machine that could rapidly test interpretations of secret Nazi codes and discard false ones. By the end of World War II, there were hundreds of "bombes" in service, and Winston Churchill credited Turing with having provided the single greatest contribution to the Allied war effort.

In the late 1940s, Turing did pioneering work on early computers at England's National Physical Laboratory and the University of Manchester, where he began to think seriously about the nature of intelligence and how it might be emulated by a machine. His writings on the subject gave us the "Turing Test." Towards the end of his life, Turing's mind turned towards solving pernicious problems in plant biology, which he did.

In 1952, Turing brought home a trick: a young man named Arnold Murray. The two had several dates before Murray and an accomplice burglarized Turing's home. Turing reported the matter to the police, to whom he divulged the nature of his and Murray's relationship. As homosexual acts were illegal in England, Turing was charged with and convicted of "gross indecency," and given a choice between imprisonment and chemical castration. Turing chose the latter, and was forced to begin a regimen of synthetic estrogen injections. Turing's government clearances were revoked.

In 1954, Turing died of cyanide poisoning. It was likely intentional -- he died eating an apple, which an inquest determined he'd probably poisoned -- though Turing's mother insisted otherwise.

Since his death, Turing has been written about and lionized endlessly -- almost guiltily. He's the subject of plays, movies, and biographies. Streets are named after him. The Alan Turing Award is the computing word's highest honor, and all modern computers can rightly be considered Turing's technological progeny. In 2009, in response to a petition by John Graham-Cumming, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued this apology to Turing's ghost:

... The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of gross indecency – in effect, tried for being gay.

His sentence – and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones.

... Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.

Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted as he was convicted under homophobic laws were treated terribly. Over the years millions more lived in fear of conviction.

This recognition of Alan's status as one of Britain's most famous victims of homophobia is another step towards equality and long overdue.

But even more than that, Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind … It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe's history and not Europe's present.

So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.

Google is celebrating Turing's birthday with a mathy, gnomic tribute-doodle that asks visitors to spell "Google" using binary, and to arrive at the binary characters using a kind of digital mockup of what appears to be a primitive Turing bombe. Try solving it! If you can't, seek instructions AFTER THE JUMP ...



Continue reading "Alan Turing Turns 100: VIDEO" »

NEWS: Dick Cheney's Bad Heart, Derek K. Miller's Big Heart, James Cameron's Derring-do, And Rick Santorum


Towleroad-roadicon Rick Santorum wins Louisiana:

With around 60% of the vote in, Santorum held a nearly 2-1 lead over front-runner Mitt Romney. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 19% of the vote and Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 6%.

Santorum's win was his fourth in the South, where front-runner Mitt Romney has not been able to connect with conservative voters in the region.

Winning Louisiana big will help fuel Santorum's campaign as the conservative alternative to Romney.

"Santorum can't just win, he has to win big. He's the one who needs to shake up this race. Another ho-hum win in the South doesn't cut it. He's on a political bridge to nowhere and is running out of time to change destinations," said Bruce Haynes, a GOP strategist and managing partner of Purple Strategies, a bipartisan public affairs consulting firm, last week.

Towleroad-roadicon Watch his victory speech AFTER THE JUMP ...

Towleroad-roadicon If you haven't yet, why not sign the petition to get Alan Turing on the £10 note?

Towleroad-roadicon Lesbian comedian Stephanie Miller lands a show on Current TV.

Towleroad-roadicon "It Gets Better" in Denmark.

Towleroad-roadicon On Lifetime's Dance Moms, ten-year-olds do a "nude" fan dance. Somehow it's still more dignified than Toddlers & Tiaras.

Towleroad-roadicon New species of hominid may have been unearthed in China:

The bones—a partial skull, skull cap, jaws and teeth—came from Longlin Cave in Guangxi Province and Malu Cave inYunnan Province, and date to  11,500 to 14,300 years ago. In comparing the Chinese bones with those of recent humans, H. sapiens living during the Pleistocene, Neanderthals and Homo erectus, the researchers concluded the Chinese fossils have a unique mix of modern features and traits rarely, if ever, seen in recent and Pleistocene humans, such as a very broad face and a protruding jaw.

Imgres Towleroad-roadicon Dick Cheney got a new heart today.

Towleroad-roadicon Will shutting down the "adult" section of curb child sex trafficking? Of course not.

Towleroad-roadicon James Cameron will soon make the deepest-ever manned submarine dive into the most forbidding reaches of the Marianis Trench. His submarine, Deepsea Challenger, has successfully completed its first unmanned test-dive, descending nearly seven miles into the sea

Towleroad-roadicon The Best Longform Journalism: Obituaries. This is a collection of obituaries, alternately horrifying, hilarious, and beautiful. One is an auto-obituary by Derek K. Miller, published to his blog shortly after his death from colorectal cancer:

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don't look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

What is true is that I loved them. Lauren and Marina, as you mature and become yourselves over the years, know that I loved you and did my best to be a good father.

Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don't know what we'd have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.

Continue reading "NEWS: Dick Cheney's Bad Heart, Derek K. Miller's Big Heart, James Cameron's Derring-do, And Rick Santorum" »


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