Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Good idea

Since I work in the tech industry, I literally owe my livelihood to Alan Turing, who invented the computer. I liked Julian Sanchez's little note here:

Reading this on a computer screen? Thank Alan Turing. Not reading it in German? Thank Alan Turing again. Turing's theoretical work in the 30s laid the foundations for computer science; his more hands-on efforts as a codebreaker at Britain's Bletchley Park helped ensure that the Allies could read enciphered Nazi messages. Turing's reward for these services to his country—and species—was to be prosecuted for "gross indecency" after naively disclosing his homosexuality to police. He was subjected to chemical castration, had his security clearance revoked, and within two years took his own life by swallowing cyanide.

Now, more than half a century later, a British computer scientist has launched a campaign to secure a formal apology and posthumous pardon for Turing. It would be a small and purely symbolic gesture, but it seems like an appropriate one. Readers who hail from that side of the pond can join more than 24,000 signatories on a petition to the Prime Minister.

We could also get a move on to ditch Don't Ask, Don't Tell here. We should reward gays and lesbians who risk their lives for us, not fire them.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.