Tag Archives: non fiction

History {Is Made At Night} – The Poison Apple That Killed The Father of Computer Science

There is no doubt that the world would not be the same place if it hadn’t been for Alan Turing [b. 23 June 1912 – d. 7 June 1954]. In fact, you wouldn’t be reading this delectable morsel if it weren’t for the incredible genius of this British mathematician in developing the modern day computer.

A prophet of mathematics, with a natural inclination to numbers and science, Turing entered King’s College in 1931 and graduated Honors in Mathematics pioneering the working model for the Turing Machine, which operated on “Algorithims” that would make computing any mathematical problem conceivable. Obtaining a PhD from Princeton in June 1938, Turing  furthered his concepts introducing oracles that could plan and solve complex problems that the Turing Machine was unable to compute.

It wasn’t until war time that Turing’s incredible genius would truly be implored, joining the German code-breaking team at Bletchley Park in September 1938. Using his profound wizardry in the realm of numbers, Turing was able to develop a statistical approach using computing machines to decode the impossible German Enigma-codes. This would ultimately provide the Allies with a major advantage in winning the war.

Turing was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services during wartime.

Turing also applied his mathematical brilliance in the fields of biology, imploring mathematical thought to the idea of pattern formation in nature. He also used mathematics to develop the foundations for the science behind morphogenesis – how biological forms come to be.

So in short, a {Hero}.

However, although interesting, it’s not his mathematic, scientific, or civil achievements that really caught our attention. It is, in fact, his mysterious and bizarre death.

It all began quite innocently – the way these things always begin. After being victim to a petty burglary of his home in January of 1952, police investigations opened the flood gates, revealing Turing’s homosexuality, which in fact was illegal in the UK at this point. Wanting to evade going to prison, Turing was able to go on probation after agreeing to a chemical castration that would require him to take injects of stilboestrol, a synthetic estrogen hormone.

Perhaps the injects caused moments of weakness or uncertainty, as various mood disorders and physical ailments have now been attributed to stilboestrol. And while he is recorded as throwing “such a jolly [tea] party” for a neighbour and her son four days before he died, he was found in the most macabre of circumstances: laying in bed with a half-eaten apple at his side.

If this sounds like fairy tale, don’t be mistaken, the past is a twisted and dark place, but there’s no denying the comparison to Turing’s death and the story of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves – Turing’s recorded favourite fairy tale. Novelist David Leavitt quotes that the mathematical genius took “an especially keen pleasure in the scene where the Wicked Queen immerses her apple in the poisonous brew.”

Many have speculated that Turing may have soaked the apple in poison as an homage to his favorite tale of dark pleasure and deceit, others (his mother particularly) have asserted that Turing was in fact just careless when it came to storing his lab chemicals. Whatever the truth may be, the circumstances surrounding Turing’s untimely demise are as fascinating as his science. His death was ruled a suicide, but recent discoveries seem to point in other directions.

Perhaps it was just a way to say good-bye to a cruel world, unwilling to accept the man, no matter how great his genius. He was but the innocent, and it was a truly unjust society that would poison the likes of such an incredible mind.

Luckily, Turing’s legacy lives on every we look. From this computer screen, to our televisions, and phones, the airplanes in the sky, the subway beneath my feet – all these things and more would not be possible without Turing’s ingenuity and courage to innovate.

Can we say ‘Hello 21st Century’!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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Hexing Hitler: That Voodoo That You Do Makes Me Want To Cry…

Let’s face it – the world we live in now, and the world seventy one years ago were two very different places. While some of the biggest box-office smash include the CG comic-book action explosion, The Avengers, top grossing films of 1942 included I Married a Witch, Road to Morocco, and the year’s highest grossing epic, Mrs. Miniver.

On top of that, the world was completely engulfed by the horrors and tragedies of WAR. 1942 was a year, when the best was yet to come, and undoubted pressures and insecurities were running mad like devils (this not being too different than our current social climate), and no doubt there were those who were foreseeing THE END.

Luckily, THE END has yet to be seen in terms of whether or not we are physically standing on this Earth today – this I can confidently attest to. Luckily for us, the horrors of such a war are far behind us. But let us not forget the times where we weren’t so sure.

“On the wet windy evening of January 22, a youthful band of idealists went to a lonely cabin in the Maryland woods.”

These pictures were taken 70 years ago, as well. The year is 1942 and we, The Eye of Faith, have taken a journey South to the backwoods of Maryland where “On the wet windy evening of January 22, a youthful band of idealists went to a lonely cabin in the Maryland woods.”

These previously unpublished photographs taken by LIFE Magazine photographer Thomas McAvoy amazingly capture the drama of a “hexing party” organized “to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation.” in definitely one of LIFE’s weirdest and most wonderful pieces of history ever untold. It would be three more years until Hitler would go down by his own hand, but such a powerful force of evil could have used a few more helping hands.

“a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum,” …sounds like the tagline for a damn good movie.

[SOURCE]

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Sincerely,

{theEye}

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“The men and women in these mug shots are nobody special, but they saw things that none of us will ever see. They were all arrested in New Castle, a small town in western Pennsylvania, right over by the Ohio border. It was once one of the most industrially productive cities in America, but all that’s gone now.”

{Diarmid Mogg, SMALL TOWN NOIR}

As good as any Noir Thriller you might find in the movies. In fact, the stories told in “Small Town Noir” could definitely make one helluva TV series – so many stories to dive over, so take a look. William Brest is just one of many from the town of New Castle that got the opportunity to stare into the lens of that mighty police camera…

So check it out, why don’t ya?!

Small Town Noir

A seventy-seven-year-old widow named Alice Johnson opened her door to William Brest, whom she mistook for a neighbor’s son. She let him in, leaving him alone in her living room for a minute. He took her wallet and left. After he removed the $16 that it contained, he threw it into the weed patch behind the United Presbyterian church on Countyline street, where it was recovered by police once William had been arrested and signed a confession. William returned the money, including the $2 that he had already spent, and Mrs Johnson withdrew the charges against him.

William had just turned eighteen. Within three years, he was married with two sons. He found a job at Rockwell’s auto and truck spring plant on Furnace street and got a place on its bowling team, which met with reasonable success in the town’s industrial league. In 1977, William was treated for smoke…

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