Fuck Yeah Alan Turing.

Treatment of Alan Turing was "appalling"
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30 Responses:

  1. jwz says:

    No results found for "alan turing has a posse".

  2. Actually, my bringing this here is
    rather unorthodox ... Usually any
    payments are made through the central
    computer ... but, er ... there were
    certain difficulties, and rather than
    cause delay, we thought you might
    appreciate this now ... it being
    Christmas.

    My husband's dead, isn't he?

    Er ... I assure you Mrs Buttle, the
    Ministry is always very scrupulous
    about following up and eradicating
    error. If you have any complaints
    which you'd like to make, I'd be more
    than happy to send you the
    appropriate forms.

    What have you done with his body?
  3. lionsphil says:

    Not entirely surprising that Turing would get a hollow "sorry"—unlike most #10 requests, it costs nothing and requires no effort to not ignore, yet is fairly unambiguously a approval boost. Although I suppose it must have taken them quite a lot of effort to not reflexively blow off the petition with the usual platitudes and excuses.

    As the Register pointed out, "Proud to say sorry for an overdue apology? What does that even mean?"

    (And "a petition calling from Gordon Brown's resignation currently bears twice as many signatories", for those who have mistaken this for Democracy 2.0 in action.)

    • shaggy_man says:

      And had they failed to apologize (which would have been the usual response to a demand for an apology) you would have said that wasn't a big deal either, right? Considering that it means so little, surely it must mean little either way.

      • lionsphil says:

        I don't follow your logic. Surely if A is unsurprising, !A is surprising.

        If people find Gordon Brown mumbling out a "sorry, our bad" so satisfying, good for them. This is the man who's quite good at claiming to accept responsibility for governmental failure, with the subtext that saying sorry is sufficient to clear all ills, and the matter can now be dropped forever.

        Frankly, this is a pretty trivial instance whichever way it went, not least as it's too late to even issue a formal pardon.

        • I'm ignorant of how y'all do things over on the other side of the lake, but the wording of the statement was, IMO, pretty comprehensively progressive.

          Over here, politicians are mainly split over whether gays should be considered second-class citizens, or third-class. If Turing had been one of ours, I don't think the Obama White House would have issued that statement, and I say that as someone who's mostly pro-Obama.

          • volkris says:

            I disagree.

            From my perspective the politicians in the US argue over whether gays should be second class, first class, or have a slew of EXTRA rights because, well, they're just so darned fun to have around!

            Plenty are happy to just overlook a person's homosexuality entirely, but the loud voices call for adjustment in social perception either way.

            • That's an interesting perspective. Are you referring to hate-crimes legislation or to SSM?

              • volkris says:

                Both and more.

                I'm not saying these efforts are wrong or right, only that they exist. And yes, the proponents would say that the "extra" rights are really about restoring level, that the group is starting from behind so giving them the extras just bring them up to the place of 1st class citizen. I disagree, but ok.

                Point is, saying politicians are only looking into third- or second-class status is ignoring quite a lot of other perspectives.

                • Item one, hate crimes: I was not originally a fan of hate-crime legislation, but the turning point in the argument for me comes when it's understood that hate crimes per se are intended to instill fear in the entire class of affected people, i.e. they are a form of terrorism, and have an additional impact beyond the direct impact of the victim; thus the crime is greater. Also, my understanding is that most hate-crime laws are not limited to those committed against gays or any other traditionally oppressed class; if a criminal beats a white heterosexual churchgoing American to death then leaves his body on the church steps with a note that says DIE RELIGIOUS FUCKBADGERS, this could be prosecuted as a hate crime, so I'm not seeing any extra rights there.

                  Item two, same sex marriage: The nature of marriage has evolved continuously through American and human history, so I don't accept any privileged definition of the word that excludes same sex unions established in obvious analogy to existing mixed-sex ones, therefore I reject, denounce, and shit vigorously upon any claim that same sex marriage is some sort of extra right. I like what was done in New Hampshire, where certain protections were put in to ensure that churches don't have to put their blessing on a marriage they don't like (completely unnecessary, as these aren't needed to prevent forcing Catholic churches to marry Jewish couples and the like, but if it makes the not-completely-insane end of the religious fuckbadger spectrum happy, they're welcome to it).

                  Which brings me to item three: to the precise extent that you're "happy to just overlook a person's homosexuality entirely" provided that you don't have to extend them the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (and risking being beaten to death by homophobes, and being refused the right to marry, is unquestionably an infringement of the RTLLATPOH), go fuck yourself.

                  • volkris says:

                    As I went to close the LJ reply notification I skimmed your screed instead of dismissing it, as before, as a reply from a guy who clearly didn't realize he was joining a debate that didn't exist.

                    Wow.

                    Seriously, are you so desperate for conflict that you'd not only challenge a point of view that I didn't express, but [wrongly] assume my stances in such a way that you could end with "go fuck yourself"?

                    Such is livejournal, I guess.

                    Please don't vote.

                  • Read carefully. I wrote to the extent that you hold [odious position], GFY. If that's not actually the position you hold, and you're just advocating diabolically for whatever reason, you're off the autofuckage hook. Cheers.

        • lionsphil says:

          Ah, yes, here's the classic "responsibility" apology from Brown:

          Making a fresh attempt to close down the row, Mr Brown said: "I take full responsibility for what happened. That's why the person who was responsible went immediately."

          Please tell me I'm not the only one who spots the problem here.

  4. mhutchin says:

    I know you'll ban me for this, but I think it is inconsistent that you apparently support Alan Turing, and take money from the LGBT community, yet still called a guy a "cocksucker" on Twitter a few months ago.

    • You're assuming he was talking about human cock.

    • krick says:

      Why is "cocksucker" considered offensive?

      If you called me a "cuntlicker", I wouldn't take offense.

      Now, if you called me a "donkey-raping shit-eater", then I'd be offended.

    • jarodrussell says:

      In my mind, calling someone "cocksucker" implies you hope some six-foot, three hundred pound inmates forces that person to pleasure him orally against their will. It's not so much a homosexual pejorative as it is a hope someone will get raped in prison.

    • jwz says:

      Oh, also, you're a retard. Better?

    • spendocrat says:

      Thinking that taking money from a group of people (for services rendered) is a political action says waaay more about you than anyone actually doing so.

  5. _candide_ says:

    What many of you don't realize is that the UK computer scientist community (not the LGBT community, btw) has been petitioning the UK government for some time to restore Alan Turing's reputation and apologize for his treatment.

    Over the past few months, I've heard 2 interviews on the CBC with the British computer scientist leading this petition drive. (I'm American, btw.) He explained how Alan Turing barely even registers on the, "Top 100 Britains of All Time," list, which is polled from the general public. He finds this apalling, not just because of Turing's contributions to all of modernt computing, but because of Turing's work during WW II cracking the Enigma cryptographic code. This British computer scientist even quipped that Alan Turing is more well-known in the United States than he is in the UK.

    So, when I heard the news report yesterday, my immediate thought was, "Cool. His petition drive worked."

    • pikuorguk says:

      Indeed, this is a good thing. There's a load of petitions on the Number 10 website and they all usually get ignored or done away with a one line reply. At least they bothered with this one.

      It takes quite a lot for our politicians to actually say "sorry", they rarely do it.

      And, you know, had it not been for Alan Turing, we'd probably have no Internet on which to moan and we'd certainly not be writing our replies in English. Considering the importance of his work, it's like he never existed.

      You should all go and visit Bletchley Park too, it's really interesting. And kind of crazy that the most secretive place in the UK during the war is now a tourist attraction.

      • _candide_ says:

        You are quite right about there being no Internet w/o Alan Turing. There'd also be no laptops, no Blackberry, no iPhone, no desktop computers … he did all of the groundbreaking work in computer science, paving the way for every computing device that followed.

        Apropos Bletchley Park: I hear that, too, has been neglected by modern Britains. I also hear that there's a movement to have Bletchley Park restored and turned into a national museum. Again, a good idea.

        • lionsphil says:

          To overstate Turing's contribution is to lessen that of others. He did not do all of the work; he did some. What of Babbage? Bush? Englebart?

          Mostly, he was a mathematician and cryptanalyst. If you want to make him the major figure in something, make it the decent intelligence we had during WW2.

          • dasht says:

            I think you have to also give him creds in the foundation of mathematics - up there with Peano, Euclid, and so on. Famously he worked out the non-computability of halting but I think that beyond that he made some significant progress on constructing numbers generally. He was overly humble about his take on the continuum hypothesis (for which he offered a solution in the case we define the reals simply as the computable reals) but I think his approach to that is going to play out more profoundly than is currently appreciated. And, regardless of my speculation - the work on the theory of computability stands on its own, even in current esteem.

            -t

            • lionsphil says:

              Yeah---I'm not saying he did nothing (people who do nothing don't get mathematics problems and theses named after them); just the he didn't do everything. (I'm also not a big believer in keystone people---if anything, computers as we know them are more Englebart's work, and even then he was part of a team---but that's basically impossible to ever verify.)

          • _candide_ says:

            Oh, I totally agree with you about the overstating.

            OTOH, there's also been major understating of Turing's importance. There are certainly people who made major contributions after Turing (Knuth, Dijkstra come to mind), but Turing laid a rather sizable foundation, something that is too often discounted, "cuz he was a poofta."

            • lionsphil says:

              Mmm, haven't noticed that, to be honest---I've not seen anyone dismiss Turing, merely be ignorant of him. And when your average developed-country tech-user still can't keep the Internet (ARPA et. al.---even I can't offhand name whoever I should be thanking for packet-switched networks, and here I am making a point about it) and the Web (Bush, Nelson, Berners-Lee et. al.) separate, that's probably nothing personal.

              Mind you, they could probably name Archimedes, Newton, Galileo, and Einstein, so perhaps it's a sinister ploy by physicists to make people forget other fields of science. ;)

    • cdavies says:

      Personally, I'm quite pleased that the government one upped the petitioners and added an apology to all victims of the homophobic laws of the past. Turing makes a great figurehead, but he shouldn't be singled out as a special case.