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Alan Turing: Petition to Pardon his Conviction
01.16.2012
03:21 pm
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alan_turing_petition
 
In the centenary of his birth, mathematician, code-breaker and pioneer of computer science, Alan Turing has been honored with a Royal Mail commemorative stamp, but has as yet to be pardoned over his conviction, in 1952, for being gay.

Turing was a central figure in the development of the computer. In 1936, he proposed a theoretical “Universal Machine”, which could carry out any calculation by following a stored program. He was also an essential part to Britain’s victory in the Second World War through his work at Bletchley Park, where he turned his “Universal machine” into a working computer. After the war, he intended to manufacture his machine as the first general purpose computer. He also pondered the question of a computer’s ability to think for itself, and proposed the Turing test as a way of measuring a computer’s intelligence.

Yet, for all his hard work for the state, he was shown no leniency when arrested in 1952 for admitting to sexual acts with a man. Homosexuality was illegal in England at this time, but Turing had no fear or shame over who he was. As the police noted when Turing gave his confession: “He was a real convert…he really believed he was doing the right thing.”

By doing the right thing, being brave, and proud in who he was, Turing was punished by the choice of imprisonment or chemical castration. He opted for the latter. He was also stripped of his security clearance and barred form working on or advising on any government matters.

In 1954, his career ruined, his life all but destroyed, Turing committed suicide by eating an apple injected with cyanide.

A tragic end to a man who did so much for others.

In 2009, John Graham-Cumming successfully organized a petition urging the British Government to posthumously apologise to Alan Turing for prosecuting him as a homosexual. This happened when then Prime Gordon Brown released a statement, which read:

‘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.’

But sometimes saying ‘sorry’ is not enough, and in December 2011, William Jones started a petition which states:

We ask the HM Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing for the conviction of ‘gross indecency’. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ with another man and was forced to undergo so-called ‘organo-therapy’ - chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself with cyanide, aged just 41. Alan Turing was driven to a terrible despair and early death by the nation he’d done so much to save. This remains a shame on the UK government and UK history. A pardon can go to some way to healing this damage. It may act as an apology to many of the other gay men, not as well known as Alan Turing, who were subjected to these laws.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Turing’s birth and it is now time to clear his name of the terrible injustice that was meted out to him, and other gay men. You can sign the petition here.
 

 
Bonus short, ‘The Achievements of Alan Turing’, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.16.2012
03:21 pm
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Amazing Digital Rug Design
01.12.2012
03:11 pm
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Incredible digital rug design concept that changes patterns when you walk on it. Unfortunately, there’s no information on YouTube for who is responsible for this amazing goodness.

If I owned one of these, I’d want something like the iconic carpet patterns from The Stanley Hotel.
 

 
(via Unique Daily)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.12.2012
03:11 pm
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Delicious AND nutritious: Study finds that years of smoking pot seems to increase lung function!
01.11.2012
05:49 pm
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Speaking as someone who would make a definitive study of one, I was pleased to read that marijuana smoking apparently does very little lung damage:

Via Vulture:

A government study, one of the most extensive examinations ever of the long-term effects of marijuana use, has found that smoking one joint a day for 7 years, or one joint a week for 49 years, does not impair lung function. In fact, “marijuana users performed slightly better on the lung function test” than people who don’t smoke anything. The study did not measure the effects of smoking a joint the size of a zucchini.

I might be able to help out there…

Marijuana Smoking Does Not Harm Lungs, Study Finds (New York Times)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.11.2012
05:49 pm
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The new Steve Jobs action figure freaks me out
01.02.2012
01:48 pm
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I mean, just look at it! It’s an exact carbon copy of him!

The Steve Jobs 12” action figure is manufactured by toy company In Icons with a U.S. release date in late-February. Steve’ll be retailing for $99.00.

(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.02.2012
01:48 pm
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Reason #4127 why cell phones exist: The Hall and Oates Hotline
12.21.2011
01:37 am
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“Callin’ Oates”: Hall and Oates at the press of a button. 

This, my friends, is what civilization has been leading up to.

When only Maneater will do.
 

 
Via Vintage Ads

Posted by Marc Campbell
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12.21.2011
01:37 am
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Is this what Neanderthals really sounded like?
12.19.2011
05:28 pm
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Not even close to what I imagined at all. I assumed—and I think I’m not alone here—Neanderthals would’ve had a much more mellow bellow..
 

 
(via Submitterator)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.19.2011
05:28 pm
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Free GPS-based record store locator app for your cell phone
12.17.2011
02:01 am
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I have a fear of flying. When I travel, I do it by car. One of the many joys of driving across the States is checking out local restaurants, junk shops and record stores. So having a GPS-based record store locator in my cell phone is an utterly cool app that I can get behind. The Vinyl District has created software for the iPhone and Android that will lead you to indie record stores throughout the United States and United Kingdom. And it’s free.

All you need to know about downloading the record store locator is at The Vinyl District’s website.

This is a great tool, not only for music freaks, but for the surviving record stores out there. Technology doin’ the right thing. Put some good karma in that irritating plastic rectangle in your pocket.
 
Thanks to Tim Broun

 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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12.17.2011
02:01 am
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4.5 million years of human evolution summed up in one picture
12.13.2011
02:36 pm
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Redditor kreaturesleeper points out about the photo, “I like the part where gawd put those here to test us.”

Click here to see larger image.
 
(via reddit)

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.13.2011
02:36 pm
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‘House of the Rising Sun’ played by old computer equipment
12.02.2011
07:30 pm
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YouTube user bd594 says, “For this video I recorded each instrument separately with a decent stereo mic and I also used a mixer to adjust the audio levels. I would like to point out that absolutely no sampling or audio effects were used.”

Enjoy!
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Animals: House of the Rising Sun

Thank you, James!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.02.2011
07:30 pm
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Philip K Dick: Interview with Charles Platt, from 1979
11.17.2011
06:00 pm
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pkd
 
An incredible interview between Philip K. Dick and Charles Platt from 1979, where the legendary author discussed his life, his writing and the strange events that inspired his famed Exegesis. At nearly 2 hours long, this interview is essential listening for anyone with an interest in PKD.
 

 
With thanks to John Butler
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.17.2011
06:00 pm
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