Alan Turing has been granted a Royal pardon. That probably doesn’t mean much to you, but it should for three very big reasons. Alan Turing was a cryptologist, who worked at the famous Bletchley Park in England on breaking the German Enigma code. Breaking the code allowed the German U-Boat menace to be slowed and eventually stopped, thus ensuring Britain’s lifeline to the rest of the world, and an Allied victory in World War Two. Turing also worked on early computers, laying much of the groundwork for the advancements in computing and even lending his name to The Turing Test, an internationally recognised method for judging the success of artificial intelligence. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the pardon was granted because he was found guilty, in 1952, of being gay. This destroyed his career and led to his committing suicide. He was every inch a hero, and an amazingly intelligent and talented man. And he was convicted, chemically castrated, publicly shamed, and eventually driven to take his own life, because he was gay. A wrong, half a decade old, has finally been corrected. Call it a Christmas present sorely delayed.
I won’t be so ignorant to believe that everybody out there celebrates Christmas, or even counts themself a Christian. But even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, and regardless of the religion you may practise (if any), I believe that this time of year should bring something to all of us. A time of year when we think less of ourselves and more of others, a time to put others’ needs in front of our own, or even just a time to consider what we have and how lucky we are to have it.
It’s been an up-and-down year for me, and I’ve been absent from the Intertubes far more than I would have liked. But every time I’ve returned to this little corner of the blogosphere, I find more and more people following me. It still amazes and bewilders me, but my mother brought me up to be grateful, even if I don’t understand that for which I am grateful.
So Merry Christmas, or whatever it is you might celebrate. I thank all of you for continuing to follow my blog, and I wish to each and everyone of you all the best of love, peace, and good fortune. May the brightness of a million stars light your path to family and kinship this season, and lead you to dreams and wishes fulfilled in the New Year. And thanks!