Anti-nazi computer inventor Turing killed by homophobia


This video from Britain is called A brief video biography of the achievements of Alan Turing.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Computers that beat the nazis

Thursday 20 December 2012

Bletchley Park, on the edge of what is now Milton Keynes, was the site of Britain’s main decryption establishment in the second world war where nazi codes were broken.

Most important were the ciphers of the German Enigma and Lorenz machines. The high-level intelligence produced at Bletchley Park played a crucial part in the Allied victory.

Bletchley was also the place that saw the conception and birth of the modern computer.

Given that sort of history you would expect any nation in the world to have turned it into a celebration of national pride. It should be a sparkling, well-funded and well-maintained tribute to its unique place in technological history and the victory over fascism.

Not here. Britain ignored the place for years. It was even threatened with demolition and clearance. Only the dedicated work of countless volunteers and enthusiasts have preserved and saved it for future generations to marvel at.

Today it’s a motley, not to mention scruffy, collection of museums and displays run by a diverse collection of enthusiast groups. It is still an amazing place to visit.

Disgracefully it wasn’t until last year that Bletchley Park finally received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant large enough to finally restore the site and tell its story in the way it deserves.

Even then the volunteers had to raise matching funds. By June this year they had successfully raised the money to unlock the grants.

Alan Mathison Turing worked at Bletchley Park. Mathematician, code-breaker and cryptanalyst Turing was the man who invented the computer.

He is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He was born a century ago in 1912. He was also gay.

At Bletchley Park he was in charge of Hut 8, the key section responsible for breaking German naval codes.

He devised a number of ways of unlocking German ciphers, including electromechanical machines – early computers – that unlocked the codes generated by the famous Enigma machines.

After the war, in 1952, Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution. Turing met a 19-year-old called Arnold Murray and invited him to his house. Murray betrayed him.

A friend of Murray burgled Turing’s house, confident that the mathematician, fearful of exposure, would not tell the police.

The two men misjudged Turing. He reported the theft and admitted a sexual relationship with Murray.

To avoid prison, Turing accepted chemical castration with female hormones. The treatment ruined his health and fitness.

Previously he had often run the 40 miles from Bletchley Park to London for meetings. Only an injury had kept him out of the 1948 London Olympic marathon team.

Turing died a broken man in 1954 – he was 41. He bit into an apple dipped in cyanide.

An inquest recorded suicide but his mother believed it was an accident. Some even suspected he may have been murdered.

It took 55 years before British prime minister Gordon Brown, responding to a petition, made an official public apology for the appalling way Turing was treated.

“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’,” he said.

Brown wrote: “Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was, under homophobic laws were treated terribly.”

Shamefully, however, the extraordinary achievements of this British scientific genius have still never been properly recognised and he has yet to be officially pardoned. The present state of Bletchley Park is an outstanding example of this, although Turing does have a statue in Manchester.

Some say Apple computer’s logo – an apple with a bite taken out of it – commemorates Turing’s curious death.

Turing admirer Stephen Fry asked the late Apple founder Steve Jobs if the story was true. “Sadly not,” said Jobs, “but God, I wish it were.”

For more information visit www.bletchleypark.gov.uk

See also here.

You may already be aware Queen Elizabeth out of the goodness of her heart issued a “mercy pardon” for Alan Turing almost 60 years after he committed suicide when the British courts had him neutered for the heinous crime of being a grossly indecent homosexual: here.

First freshwater mosasaur discovery


This video is called Dinosaur Revolution – Mosasaur Rampage.

The name Mosasaur means literally ‘[river Meuse] lizard’, because the first specimen was discovered near Maastricht city along the Meuse in the Netherlands. However, when they still lived, mosasaurs did not swim in rivers, but in the sea. Until a discovery now …

From The Sticky Tongue blog:

First freshwater mosasaur discovered

A new mosasaur species discovered in Hungary is the first known example of this group of scaled reptiles to have lived in freshwater river environments similar to modern freshwater dolphins, according to research published December 19 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Laszlo Makadi from the Hungarian Natural History Museum, Hungary and colleagues from the University of Alberta, Canada and MTA-ELTE Lendület Dinosaur Research Group, Hungary.

The species lived about 84 million years ago, the largest specimens reached about 20 feet in length, and belongs to a family called ‘mosasaurs’, conventionally thought of as gigantic finned marine lizards, similar and perhaps even related to present day monitor lizards. The researchers discovered several fossils of the new species, ranging from small juveniles to large adults that suggest that this species had limbs like a terrestrial lizard, a flattened, crocodile-like skull, and a tail unlike other known members of the mosasaur family.

The fossils were recovered from an open-pit mine in the Bakony Hills of Western Hungary, which were once flood-plains. According to the study, this is the first known mosasaur that lived in freshwater, and only the second specimen of a mosasaur to have been found in rocks that were not once deposited in the ocean. Makadi says, “The evidence we provide here makes it clear that similar to some lineages of cetaceans, mosasaurs quickly adapted to a variety of aquatic environments, with some groups re-invading available niches in freshwater habitats. The size of Pannoniasaurus makes it the largest known predator in the waters of this paleo-environment.”

Even in the modern world, scaly reptiles in the aquatic world are extremely rare. Only a few species live in the water, and even fewer, like marine iguanas and sea kraits, live in the oceans. The new species described here probably adapted to freshwater environments similarly to river dolphins, such as those now inhabiting the Amazon, Ganges and Yangtze rivers.

Citation: Makadi L, Caldwell MW, Osi A (2012) The First Freshwater Mosasauroid (Upper Cretaceous, Hungary) and a New Clade of Basal Mosasauroids. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51781. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051781

Leeds United, from football to Bahrain dictatorship propaganda


This video is called Bahrain security forces torture doctors, medics and patients.

The absolute monarchy in Bahrain has, it seems, successfully bribed US American TV star Kim Kardashian, US media corporation CNN, and the British armed forces.

They also tried to bribe the British parliament. But then, they failed with at least one MP.

Today, there is news from Sports Mole in Beitain:

Friday, December 21, 2012 at 13:10 UK

Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole’s live coverage of the news that GFH Capital have completed their takeover of Leeds United.

The Bahrain investment bank will take 100% control over the club in a £52m deal today.

Current chairman Ken Bates will stay on until the end of the season before being appointed club president.

To some people who are sick and tired of Ken Bates, this may seem like good news.

But not so fast. Leeds United be out of the frying pan, and into the fire of being a public relations prop for a torturing dictatorship.

From Football Speak in Britain:

Questions raised about GHF’s ability to fund Leeds United

03 October 2012

By James M Dorsey

Concern is rising that troubled English soccer club Leeds United’s negotiations for a takeover by Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) may not give it access to the kind of Middle Eastern funding that has significantly boosted the fortunes of the likes of Manchester City and Paris St. Germain.

Determined to rid themselves of current majority shareholder Ken Bates whom they blame for the club’s difficulties, fans organized in the Leeds United Supporters Trust have welcomed GFH’s bid for the team despite Europe’s mixed experience with Middle Eastern investors.

It was not immediately clear what the purpose is of GFH’s planned acquisition of Leeds, but its close association with the embattled rulers of Bahrain suggests that it may be in part intended to shore up the island nation’s image tarnished by last year’s brutal suppression of a popular uprising in which 35 people were killed and some 2,000 injured.

35 dead is a much too conservative estimate.

Some 150 athletes and sports officials, including three national soccer team players, were arrested, dismissed from their jobs and in some cases tortured and charged in court for their support of the protests. Many of those affected have since been reinstated, but unrest is simmering with protests having moved from the capital into the villages in what many believe is a second uprising in waiting.

A Bahrain court this week upheld the sentencing to prison of nine medics accused of illegal assembly and concealing weapons. The court rejected the medics’ assertion that they were simply fulfilling their duty to treat the injured irrespective of their political views. Five of the medics were arrested at dawn on Tuesday morning with the wife of one of them calling the verdict “purely political.”

See also here.

Good Dutch woodpecker news


This video says about itself:

Nov 26, 2010

Dendrocopos medius, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Tammitikka, First record in Finland, Asikkala.

Translated from the Dutch SOVON ornithologists:

Middle spotted woodpecker increasing

Friday, December 21, 2012

The middle spotted woodpecker is still making serious headway in our country. In the east of the Netherlands this species has by now benefited for more than fifteen years from the expansion and aging of deciduous forests. In 2012 in Twente and Limburg together 303 territories were reported by counters of Sovon Vogelonderzoek Netherlands.

More woodpeckers

The middle spotted woodpecker has for a long time been on a steady rise. This started about fifteen years ago from the forests of South Limburg. The woodpeckers benefit from the aging of deciduous forests, particularly older oak trees are favourites. Changes in forest management, such as tolerance of dead or dying wood, are in favour of the woodpecker. In early spring in more and more places people can hear the plaintive cry of this species. The main strongholds are still Limburg and Twente, which in 2011 already had record numbers: 130 and 125 territories. Compared to last year, with 20 new territories Limburg grew to 150, while in Twente 28 new territories were noted. These numbers are promising for the rest of the Netherlands, of which not all data are known yet. In 2011, almost 360 territories were counted in the whole country.

Expansion

Also in neighbouring countries middle spotted woodpeckers are doing well. Undoubtedly, we have our expansion due to the expanding populations across our borders. Thus in Wallonia there already are over 4200 breeding pairs and just across the German border nesting goes well too. It seems only a matter of time before the appropriate forest areas in the center and north of the Netherlands will be conquered by the middle spotted woodpeckers.