Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chapter Review: Alan Turing: How the Father of the Computer Saved the World for Democracy

from the book Dreamers and Deceivers: True Stories of the Heroes and Villains Who Made America by Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe, Theshold Editions, New York, 2014.

This is the only individual featured in this book who was not a citizen of the United States.  Alan Turing was a mathematician, and a marathon runner.  It was while running that he thought of the idea of machines being used to solve problems.  The machine he imagined could read instructions, it would scan a tape with numeric code which would tell the machine what to do.  He thought this machine may solve complex mathematical problems.  
And so the beginnings of the computer where hatched.  This idea of a problem solving machine became a necessity during WWII.  The Nazis were using a sophisticated coding machine, enigma it was called.  Only a machine would be able to decipher the code fast enough to have a chance at breaking the Nazi codes.  Turing worked on this through a good part of the war, but finally had developed something which would help them crack the code, by using known words or frequent words.  Turing was especially prominent in the work against the U-Boats.  Who knows how many lives he saved by being able to pinpoint the location of submarines.  His work was part of the strategy to eliminate or reduce the threat from the Nazi U-boats.  
During his time in the deciphering business, he visited America where he again helped with developing the computer, while taking ideas home.  
After the war Turing became known as a homosexual, which was against British law of the time.  He was subject to hormone therapy,and later took his own life via one bite form a cyanide laced apple.  Beck wonders if that may be the reason behind the Apples with one bite missing on all i-phones and Apple computers.

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