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Life Arts    H4'ed 6/24/11

Happy Birthday Alan Turing !

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See the excellent entry at Wikipedia about Turing.   All three of the pictures herein are courtesy of Wikipedia, and are located in the Wiki article at "Turing."  


Twenty years ago, I read a couple of books about the man, and the Wiki article tells a different story from theirs about how Turing's gender orientation came to the attention of the English authorities.   But the stories converge about the fact that the authorities gave Turing the choice of being "treated" with female hormones or going to jail and being publicly exposed.   Turing chose the treatment, and subsequently died after ingesting cyanide, in 1954.

Forty-four long years later, in 1998 a simple plaque was put up honoring Turing in Wilmslow, Cheshire, England, Turing's birthplace:



Three years later, a more pointed plaque was put up honoring Turing in Sackville Park, Manchester, England's seventh-largest city:



Finally, in 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown released a statement by the English government apologizing and describing Turing's treatment as "appalling":

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 ... 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.

Wish Alan Turing happy birthday today - the Wiki article notes that he believed our bodies are machines but our spirits survive death. 

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
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