Search Results For: turing

Belated Justice For Turing

Dec 30 2013 @ 7:35pm

Alan Turing, the great British mathematician who cracked Nazi codes and later killed himself after the government chemically castrated him for being gay, received a posthumous royal pardon last week, 61 years after his conviction (NYT). Peter Tatchell wants the pardon extended to everyone convicted under the “gross indecency” law, which remained on the books until 2003:

Why him alone? Singling out Turing for a royal pardon just because he was a great scientist and very famous is wrong in principle. The law should be applied equally, without fear or favour, regardless of whether a person is a well-known high achiever – or not. Selective redress is a bad way to remedy a historic injustice. At least 50,000 other men were convicted under the same ‘gross indecency’ law from the time it was first legislated in 1885 until its repeal in 2003. They have never been offered a pardon but deserve one, equally as much as Turing. An estimated 15,000 men of these men are still alive. It is not too late for them to receive a measure of justice in the form of a royal pardon.

Ally Fogg is on the same page:

Turing should be forgiven not because he was a modern legend, but because he did absolutely nothing wrong.

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Capturing America’s Conflicts

Nov 11 2013 @ 6:00pm

In honor of Veterans Day, the Washington Post has created Portraits of War, a portfolio of some of the greatest war photography of the last 150 years. Among the ten featured photographers is Mathew Brady:

dish_bradyBrady remains the single most famous photographer of the Civil War. His name came to overshadow those of other photographers, causing some mistakenly to believe that Brady had almost single-handedly created the immense photographic archive. Brady deserves credit for envisioning the possibility of using photography systematically to document the war. He would send teams of photographers – and occasionally go himself – to create images of battlefields and important leaders. His public display of “The Dead of Antietam” was the first time the American public viewed images of dead soldiers on the battlefield.

Brady’s efforts to document the Civil War pushed him into a series of bankruptcies. In the years after the war, he campaigned to get Congress to buy his collection of negatives and prints. In 1875, Congress finally bought the rights to his work for $25,000.

See the full tribute here.

(Photo of Union soldier by gun at US Arsenal, Washington DC, 1862, by Mathew Brady via Wikimedia Commons)

Capturing The World’s Brutality

Sep 3 2013 @ 8:36pm

Fisher passes along the above interview with war photographer Goran Tomasevic:

Tomasevic, who is Serbian, began working for Reuters in 1996, covering political instability in his native Belgrade. He has since become one of the best-known war photographers currently working. If you’re in the Washington, D.C., area, you can see some of his photos at the Corcoran Gallery, which is hosting a wonderful war photography exhibit through the end of September.

Capturing Egypt’s Killings

Aug 21 2013 @ 5:13pm
by Patrick Appel

Max Fisher has an interview with Egyptian photographer Mosa’ab Elshamy. He reflects on “how significant events really end up taking seconds”:

As a photographer you always have to keep the shutter on — we call it the burst mode. I have full sequences, and sometimes it starts with somebody standing, but in the sixth or seventh photo, he’s got a bullet through his head, and it all took less than a second.

The consequences of that moment, of this guy getting shot or avoiding a bullet that killed someone else — it’s a very significant thing, and more often that’s becoming lost. I try to focus on that in my pictures, I try to include as few people as possible; just a man sitting with a killed friend of his, or a mother mourning next to a daughter. It’s a very individual act, one person killing another person.

Check out a Flickr gallery of Elshamy’s work here.

Capturing Closeness

Jul 13 2013 @ 9:07pm

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Alison Barker muses on The Art of Intimacy, Stacey D’Arasmo’s treatise on intimacy’s successful portrayal in literature and art:

[U]nexamined assumptions about something as powerful as intimacy make for stories that are full of stereotypes and stereotypical behavior. This is depressing. And it’s not art. By continually rearticulating how she conceives the different types of intimate relationships wrought by the best writers in this and the last century, D’Erasmo cleverly prepares us to accept that intimacy, necessarily, is a bit of a mystery, and that it is only when writers question their received ideas about intimacy that they are able to transcend sentimentality and produce stories that better illuminate this powerful, mysterious, frequently shape-shifting human experience.

(Photo from Nan Goldin’s Scopophilia exhibit, currently being shown at the Matthew Marks Gallery, “which pairs intensely personal portraits of Goldin’s friends and lovers with classic images from the Louvre” and is featured prominently in The Art of Intimacy. © Nan Goldin, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.)

Two days ago, Richard Deitsch wondered aloud how many of his Twitter followers have photos of their happiest moment ever. Megan Garber observes that the outpouring of responses is a testament “not only to Twitter’s power as a platform for sharing, but also to cameras’ increasing ubiquity in our lives”:

We may plan to take pictures at weddings, or during proposals, or after the births of babies; many of life’s happiest moments, however, are unexpected and random and weird. The fact that more of us are regularly carrying cameras around with us means that we are newly able to capture those moments–to make the ephemeral newly permanent. And, then, shareable with Sports Illustrated writers.

Many more excellent pictures sent to Deitsch are below:

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Capturing Confessionals

May 26 2013 @ 8:23pm

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For her series Reconciliation, Billie Mandle photographs American confessional boxes:

These photographs were made in confessionals, the small rooms found in Catholic churches where people confess their sins. Almost all religions have theologies of repentance; the confessional is unusual because it acts as a physical manifestation of an abstract idea. …

I was raised Catholic and so the traditions of these rooms are familiar to me. Photographing the confessional has become a type of ritual: I use a large format camera and available light, lifting the curtain of the confessional and looking into the darkness, just as I lift the dark cloth of the camera. The confessionals contain contradiction: darkness and light, corporeality and transcendence. They are rooms where people confess their sins and ask for grace surrounded by the traces of past confessions. In making these images I approach the confessionals as metaphorical spaces — rooms that suggest the paradoxes of faith and forgiveness.

(Photo: Saint Christopher by Billie Mandle, from Reconciliation)

(Hat tip: Pete Brook)

Capturing Carbon In The Wild

May 15 2013 @ 9:31am

Lawrence Krauss wants more research into extracting existing CO2 from the atmosphere as a way to address climate change. He notes that, unlike other forms of geoengineering, “direct air capture would treat the disease, not merely the symptoms”:

First, one removes CO2 from the air by using a sorbent, which is a material that can absorb gasses. Next, the CO2 has to be extracted from the sorbent and sequestered, presumably by pumping it deep underground at relatively high concentration or by binding it to minerals—a bit like how we handle nuclear waste. But another possibility includes actually converting it back into fuel. One particularly attractive possibility that has been proposed involves using an “exchange resin” sorbent which binds CO2 when dry and releases it when wet. In this way the evaporation of water could actually be used to help reduce the energy burden associated with binding and subsequently extracting the CO2.

Scott Rosenberg wonders whether geoengineering, through either carbon dioxide removal or solar radiation management, is “a slam-dunk no-brainer or a regrettable last resort”:

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The Turing Tetris

Apr 25 2013 @ 3:41pm

Computer scientist Thomas Murphy has designed an artificial intelligence, PlayFun, that can figure its way through videogames by relentlessly testing strategies that lead to high scores. Gary Marcus explains further:

The program proceeds by automating trial and error. It records everything in the Nintendo’s memory, and correlates every simulated press of a joystick with particular memory locations in the game that represent a player’s score. Any action that increases the score gets weighted more heavily; actions that decrease the score become less likely. In essence, Murphy aims to overpower the Nintendo through sheer brute force, not by what humans would consider actually playing the game. He writes that the “central idea … is to use (only) the value of memory locations to deduce when the player is ‘winning.’ The things that a human player perceives, like the video screen and sound effects, are completely ignored.”

Capturing Tragedy

Jan 30 2013 @ 3:40pm

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In the wake of the Newtown shootings, NPR ran an item accompanied by the above picture. The news outlet was later contacted by the woman shown in the picture, Aline Marie, who noted that “no one asked [her] permission to post [the picture].” Coburn Dukeheart relates her feelings about the experience:

“I sat there in a moment of devastation with my hands in prayer pose asking for peace and healing in the hearts of men,” [Aline Marie] recalls. “I was having such a strong moment and my heart was open, and I started to cry.” Her mood changed abruptly, she says, when “all of a sudden I hear ‘clickclickclickclickclick’ all over the place. And there are people in the bushes, all around me, and they are photographing me, and now I’m pissed. I felt like a zoo animal… yes, it was a lovely photograph, but there is a sense of privacy in a moment like that, and they didn’t ask.”

Dukeheart also spoke with the photographer, Emmanuel Dunand:

[W]hen he took Marie’s photo, he knew she was suffering, but that he simply didn’t want to bother her. He thought that leaving her alone was the most respectful thing to do.

NPR solicited reader comments on whether photographers should “interact with their subjects in moments of grief” to ask permission and names, or if it is “more respectful to leave them alone.” Dukeheart summarizes the responses here.

(Photo: Aline Marie prays outside St. Rose of Lima church in Newtown, Conn., on the day of the school shooting. Marie noted in her message to NPR that she was “not asking [them] to take the photo down, nor [was she] offended.” By Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.)