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Lunchbreak Interlude VII

Recently on Facebook, I’ve seen this going around:

You are posting on a social network created by an Atheist (Mark Zuckerberg), using an OS created by a Buddhist (Steve Jobs) or an Agnostic (Bill Gates) or maybe an athiest (Linus Torvalds), that is executed through hardware based on the work of an Atheist homosexual (Alan Turing) that works thanks to the electric networks developed by a free thinker (Thomas Edison).

I’m not going to preach or say anything about people’s views or religions (those without preach/proselytize just as much as those with), but I thought it was interesting to think about.  In addition I thought it was pertinent as the next two books I plan to read  Alan Turing, whose 100th birthday is this year.  I plan on reading The Man Who Knew Too Much by David Leavitt, a library book, and The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by by Sinclair McKay, a Net Galley.

I don’t know much about Turing other than he was prosecuted for being gay and took his own life at some point after being chemically castrated.  There are still petitions to the UK Government for an official pardon and apology, but little has come from them.  However, Alan Turing’s legacy in math, codebreaking, computing and artificial-intelligence lives on.  Google recently based on the Turing Machine:

In addition, “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.'”  Check out the piece, Transits Into an Abyss below.

To learn more about Turing and his impact on modern technology and the world.  Check out this piece from the Washington Post.

And in a tangentially related note, I found this interesting article on the New York Times webpage last month and there were two things that were great about it.

The first is the awesome image (to the right). How amazing would that be a s a wedding cake (maybe not the colored part, but the idea of books as the layers? Someone would really have to love you (or be as big of a book nerd as you) to let it happen.

And the second is the article itself, it once again talks about the nonentity of gay marriage and how it won’t destroy literature. (Makes an interesting connection to women getting the vote and Obama’s election as President.)  The quote I appreciated the most was:

When people ask if gay marriage means the end of gay fiction, what they really want to know is whether gay people will now see themselves more easily in straight books and not need their own books anymore. But we’ve always been able to read straight books and see ourselves reflected there, even if from a slightly skewed angle. We are more like straight people than we are different, and we’ve known this all along. Yet we still want our own stories too.

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7 thoughts on “Lunchbreak Interlude VII”

  1. Alan Turing was great. I did a presentation in university that included an explanation of the Turing test and was shocked to hear how tragic his story was.

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    1. He was definitely a unique person. I knew a bit about his history as a gay man, but didn’t know as much about his contributions to science. I was disappointed in the book and hope to have my response posted later today.

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  2. I may check out those books that you are going to read. When I started to read your post I knew Turing’s name sounded familiar, and to be honest and run the risk of embarrassing myself: I only recognized it from the Google thing. (I always play with those when it’s something new…and it took me long enough to solve that I forgot what I was initially going to search for…)
    Anywho, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Well having finished the book, I’m not sure I’d recommend it unless you’re really into computers. There have to be better ones out there. I like the Bletchley Park one I’m reading right now.

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