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Alan Turing

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch Reading an Alan Turing Letter in Celebration of Written Correspondence is Peak Cumberbatch

    Be my penpal?

    In anticipation of independent U.K. publisher Canongate's annual Letters Live event, (at which Cumberbatch is a frequent presenter, of course) here's Benedict "Pingwing" Cumberbatch reading a letter from Alan Turing to mathematician Norman Routledge.

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  2. The Imitation Game‘s Benedict Cumberbatch Joins Campaign To Pardon Gay Men In Britain

    In the wake of the Oscar nominated film The Imitation Game, Alan Turing's gotten a lot of attention in the public consciousness— but what often gets left out of his amazing story of code-breaking and computer geniusery is that in 1952, he was convicted of "gross indecency" for being gay and was forcibly chemically castrated by his government. A few years later, he was dead by suicide.

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  3. Apparently Benedict Cumberbatch Is Related To Richard III, Probably Everyone Else In the UK As Well

    He is infinite (and so posh)

    So you know how Tumblr prince/omnipresent man Benedict Cumberbatch is playing King Richard III in The Hollow Crown? Well according to one genealogist, Cumberbatch's connections to the King of yore extend beyond the connection an actor has to their character: Cumberbatch is literally related to King Richard III.

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  4. “Ada Lovelace Exam” Proposed As Alternative To Turing Test, Computers Everywhere Are Hella Stoked

    I feel so much better about the Singularity.

    You guys remember rad-as-HECK Ada Lovelace from Sam's profile of her earlier this year, right? The Ada Lovelace? The one with a day of the year named after her plus an entire computer language? The woman who essentially wrote the world's first-ever computer program and predicted the creative capabilities of modern machines? Well, good. Because Ada might be about to get a lot more fans, at least if one tech professor has his druthers.

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  5. Watch the First Two Trailers for Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

    Kleenex at the ready.

    Benedict Cumberbatch's previous "Look, ma! I'm playing a tech history icon!" movie, WikiLeaks docudrama The Fifth Estate, crashed and burned both critically and commercially, so here's hoping his Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game does better. There's certainly no shortage of talent on display in the trailers (US above, UK behind the cut).

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  6. Computer Officially Passes Turing Test for the First Time Ever by Pretending to Be a 13-Year-Old Boy

    Proving that the best way to convince someone of your humanity is to annoy the crap out of them.

    For the first time since the inception of the Turing Test in 1950, a computer has been able to pass by convincing humans that it is a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Goostman. Smart strategy—everybody knows that prepubescent teenagers are as irrational as buggy computer programs.

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  7. Here’s Your First Look At Benedict Cumberbatch As Alan Turing


    We brought you news earlier this week of computer genius Alan Turing finally being pardoned for his 1952 conviction for homosexuality. Now here's the first image of Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, playing Turing. Coincidence? We think not. Never underestimate Hollywood, folks. The film will also star Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, and Charles Dance. Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

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  8. Computer Pioneer Alan Turing, Convicted for Homosexuality, Finally Receives Royal Pardon

    For great justice

    We have some bittersweet news for you this Christmas Eve day: Alan Turing—computer genius, codebreaker, World War II hero—has finally had his 1952 conviction for homosexuality overturned by the British government. "Sweet" because it's been a long time coming. "Bitter" because it in no way erases his initial conviction and its heartbreaking results.

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  9. Alan Turing Officially Given That Royal Pardon, But What about Everyone Else Convicted of Gross Indecency?

    Remember, human decency only applies to you if you are famous.

    Remember that online movement to pardon Alan Turing that began to pick up steam recently? Well, it's finally paid off — the famous cryptographer received a formal pardon from Queen Elizabeth II yesterday for being convicted of charges related to homosexuality in 1952. Just him, though. Apparently all the other convicted homosexuals are out of luck.

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  10. Yes, Alan Turing Deserves a Pardon, But Not Because He Was a National Hero

    Pardoning Alan Turing is a nice thought, but it runs the risk of sending the wrong message -- that thousands of other men who suffered his same fate in Britain deserved it.

    There's a new movement gaining steam in England to officially pardon British cryptographer and godfather of modern computer science Alan Turing, and it appears likely that this one will finally end in a formal pardon. Now, ordinarily, we'd be all for that, but for one fact. If Turing is issued an official pardon, it will be for the wrong reasons, and runs the risk of ignoring why he actually deserves an apology from his government -- and why many other Britons who were similarly affected by a bad law deserve the same.

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  11. Benedict Cumberbatch to Depress Audience Members In Alan Turing Biopic?

    Submitted For Your Approval

    Fellow history nerds, rejoice. A biopic of World War II codebreaker extraordinaire/tragic life story subject Alan Turing has been in the works for a year or two. A script for the movie, called The Imitation Game, was put on the Black List (a list of scripts that industry folks are talking about but that haven't been picked up yet) back in 2011, and last December the film got a director in the form of Morten Tyldum. And now Deadline is reporting that it's close to having a star, too: Benedict Cumberbatch.

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  12. Scientists Petition to Grant War Hero, Math Genius Alan Turing, Convicted of Homosexuality, An Official Pardon

    For great justice

    Stephen Hawking and other notable scientists have asked the British government to grant an official posthumous pardon to Alan Turing, the mathematician and code-breaker whose contributions to the Allied victory in World War II were followed up by a conviction for homosexuality. Turing was given the choice between imprisonment and a hormonal treatment better known as "chemical castration," and after a year of enduring the latter he committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

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  13. Things We Saw Today: Alan Turing Memorial Decorated for Pride

    Things We Saw Today

    This weekend doesn't just mark Pride. It's also the birthday of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who cracked the Enigma code, handing the Allies one of their greatest achievements of World War II, and upon whose logical leaps the basic foundations of modern computer science were laid. Turing also died at the age of 41, from what is commonly thought to be suicide, after being convicted of "indecency" (i.e., being gay) and sentenced to chemical castration. While his memorial certainly brings melancholy thoughts to mind, the way it was decorated this weekend takes us right back to hopeful ones. Happy Pride, everyone! (Boing Boing)

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  14. Google Celebrates Turing’s 100th Birthday; Everyone Should

    You might have known that Google regularly creates special doodles for certain historic occasions. Today, of all days, is the birthday of Alan Turing -- the man often considered the father of computer science. He'd be marking his 100th were he still alive. To celebrate properly, the doodle even includes a rudimentary form of programming language.

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  15. Two of Alan Turing’s Secret Code-Breaking Essays Released by U.K. Government

    One of the early pioneers of computer science, Alan Turing is best known for his work on breaking the Nazi Enigma code during the Second World War. His work for the British code-breaking outfit Bletchley Park during that time are considered fundamental to modern cryptography -- so much so that some of his work has remained under wraps for nearly 70 years. Now, in celebration of what would have been Turing's 100th birthday, two of his foundational essays on code breaking have been released by the U.K. government.

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  16. Things We Saw Today: Thor On a Cat

    Things We Saw Today

    What it says on the tin. By Natascha at Lamilu. (via The Uniblog)

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  17. Robot Nominated to Carry Olympic Torch in 2012, Stands Pretty Much No Chance

    The 2012 London Olympics are not that far off and, of course, there are many preparations in order, including deciding who will be involved in the traditional torch relay. The bearers are to be chosen through a nominations system (which is now closed, sorry) that is aimed to allow people with "inspirational" stories a chance to bear the flame. People with "inspirational" stories and also a robot, apparently.

    James Law of Aberystwyth University nominated the iCub robot as a potential torch bearer, and not just as some sort of prank. Here's Law's pitch:

    2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, the founder of computer science and a figurehead for the code breaking efforts of WWII. A robot torch bearer would be a fitting tribute to Alan Turing, and an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers.

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  18. Alan Turing's Hand-Drawn Monopoly Board

    Ever wondered what a Monopoly board would look like if Alan Turing hand-drew it? Well, wonder no more. Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing happened to get a shot of it:

    Bletchley Park, the birthplace of modern computing and cryptography, where the Allied WWII cipher-breaking effort was headquartered. Cold War paranoia caused Churchill to order Bletchley broken up, its work kept secret, its machines destroyed, and, very slowly, it is being rebuilt.Earlier this year, the Bletchley Trust acquired Alan Turing's papers for the collection with a grant from, and I got this shot of Turing's awesome hand-drawn Monopoly board -- the cryptographers of Bletchley were sequestered from the rest of the world and desperate for distraction, hence this great bit of historical ephemera.

    Head on past the jump to see a larger version of the image.

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  19. Things We Saw Today: A Commenting Malfunction

    Things We Saw Today

    Hey! We don't really have a funny picture up here today because we need to adress some serious business. Our commenting system, Disqus, seems to have banned a whole bunch of people that we didn't ask it to. Including one of our own writers! We want to let everyone know that these bans were not intentional, and we're working to iron out the problems. At the moment we don't exactly know what's wrong, but it appears we are not the only site affected. On the other hand, other sites in our home network like Geekosystem are not having these problems. So it's left us looking something like the picture above. We're sure that it's also left some of you like the picture above and we apologize for the inconvenience. We don't hate you! In the meantime, if:
    • You find that you are blocked
    • You were not spamming
    • You had not shown a history of making personal attacks against our writers or otherwise being a jerk (we will notice)
    Then please send us an email with your username, make sure the subject line is "TMS, Y U Ban Me?" just in case there turns out to be something that we can do about it. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Things We Saw Today.

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  20. Turing Machine from Scrap [Video]

    This is the best mechanical (occasionally steam-powered) computer you've seen today. Inspired by the theories of Alan Turing, the British mathematician and Enigma code breaker, Jim MacArthur took it upon himself to build a Universal Turing Machine out of scraps. The machine uses a metal grid with ball bearings as its memory, moving back and forth over the bearings and repositioning them as necessary. According to MacArther, if the tape to be extended to an infinite length, it could conceivably solve any computation. Originally conceived by Turing as a thought experiment to explain the operation of computers, MacArthur built the device with an eye toward being completely analog. While it can be driven by hand, an electric or steam-powered motor needs to be used for longer computations. Sure, it could conceivably take months to add two numbers together. But who cares: it's a computer that uses ball bearings and can run off a steam engine. A true marvel of the tinkerer's art. (Srimech via Engadget)

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