That's pretty nutty. I wonder how often this sort of thing happens.
I’d really love to know how this value was determined. Is this like some sort of ‘Antiques Road Show’ valuation for insurance purposes?
The real answer here, given the historical context, is probably closer to ‘priceless’.
If the Feds are reading this thread and are looking for a buyer, please send me a message ;)
Intentionally refusing to refer to someone by their chosen name is wrong whether that name is Muhammad Ali, Chelsea Manning, or Julia Turing. I have certainly seen comments flagged on HN for inappropriateness when they refuse to refer to Manning by her chosen name.
Are you trying to "gotcha" people who argue for trans rights?
I am arguing for people to be in control of their own identity. It doesn't matter whether the reason for the change is due to gender like Manning, religion like Ali, or for someone unknown reason like Turing.
In no way, does it ‘sound like’ the items were accessible to the public. From the article,
> A former biology teacher at the Sherborne said Julia Turing claimed she was Alan Turing’s daughter when he gave her a tour of the school.
So, while her name was not legally Turing yet, it sounds like the good professor rolled out the red carpet for her, based on who he believed her to be. It’s very certain fraud was attempted, and also successful.
It says these items were tucked away somewhere in ‘a wooden box in a laboratory’, not sitting in the library in the open for anyone to pick up and look at.
Therefore, I don’t think the reason for the name change is unknown in the case of Ms. Turing. I think it is reasonable to surmise that she believed it would be in her best interest to to acquire the last name, that helped her commit the crime 4 years prior.
Also "a wooden box in a laboratory" doesn't exactly sound like something that is under lock and key with access limited to next of kin. If access to these items was truly so limited, their theft would have been pinned on Turing immediately. In addition, I don't see what benefit she could possibly have received in changing her name four years after the theft. If anything it would further endanger her by linking her legal name to the one she gave the people at Sherborne.
Just as the author of "Animal Farm" is not obliged to state clearly and exactly the legal names of the people his characters represent, and we all know who they represent.
Would you have a similar objection if the root comment factually referred to "The woman previously called Miss Schwinghamer"? or would that factual reference still not be good enough for you?
People have a right to be called what they want
I don't think I should have to participate in someone else's reality if I don't want to, just like they're not obliged to interact with me in the way I demand. It's always nice when they do, but I don't think people have a special right to dictate these kinds of terms to other people. I think this is especially true when the person being discussed will never see this conversation.
You have freedom of speech and don't have to abide by their request. This leads back to my original comment. It is a act of kindness to abide by people's wishes when it requires no extra effort on your part and actively refusing to do it is at best condescending.
In this case, it adds confusion to the circumstances of a crime.
EDIT: I'm a little confused why this is being downvoted. Is it because of the belief that the stolen items should always belong the the original owner? I agree with that in a theoretical sense, but I was just commenting on the fact that this isn't how things operate in practice and seemingly few governments actually hold anyone to that ethical standard.
Some say yes, the British Museum should return its fruits of conquest, and other museums have indeed repatriated stolen artifacts. Heck, one recent example involves the owner of Hobby Lobby: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobby_Lobby_smuggling_scandal
Movable property is much more varied and complicated.
A true owner can recover a stolen item from a thief who still has possession. However, if the thief sells the item to a bona fide purchaser (i.e., one who pays fair market value without knowing or having reason to know that the item was stolen), then the bona fide purchaser receives superior title to the item than that of the prior owner. So, the prior owner cannot force a court to transfer the item to him and is limited to attempting to recover the value from the thief. The idea here is that the bona fide purchaser did nothing wrong, so he should not end up the loser in the deal.
The case of art stolen during the colonial period, e.g. the Elgin Marbles, seems to mostly be argued on pragmatic grounds, such as by saying that a mass return of all plundered art would empty out the largest museums in the world. I find this... morally unconvincing, to say the least.
As much as I’d like the Louvre gutted of its looted contents, I am pretty sure that returning yet another Leonardo painting to Italy or yet another marble statue to Greece, will just satisfy the basest nationalist instincts (which will probably move on to some other complaint a minute later) while impoverishing the global public.
 - https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/12/arts/design/poland-nazi-l...
 - https://polandin.com/46197504/polish-ministry-of-culture-rej...
I had no idea they were stolen in the first place
No account of the motive of his poisoning, or his prosecution. When activists protest against erasure, this is what they're talking about.
I don't mean this in a passive-aggressive way, but can you link me to any good sources on this? The most authoritative-seeming ones I've read lean pretty heavily on the side of suicide, with the alternative case presented mostly as wishful thinking on the part of his grieving mother.
edit: the particular source I had in mind was the Hodges biography; other sources may have largely been relying on Hodges. And to partially answer my own question, an NYRB article points me to a newer biography which is apparently much more open to the possibility of accidental death (or even murder, though more in a 'can't rule it out' sort of way).
To be clear, there's no definitive evidence either way. Reasonable people can differ in which version they find more plausible. But I think the extent to which a lot of people tell it as certainly being a suicide (and certainly being due to anger over his unjust conviction, he could've committed suicide for unrelated reasons!) is distorting the issue.
But that being said, the coroner’s inquest at the time ruled it a suicide. So we can speculate that they got it wrong, and we can suggest that today we may or may not come to a different conclusion, e.g. “Death by Misadventure”.
But until someone gets that ruling overturned, it seems to me that the appropriate way to describe his death in a journalistic context is to either say nothing (Died in 1954), go along with the official verdict (Committed suicide in 1954), or mention the official verdict and that there are some dissenting views (Died in 1954 by what was ruled a suicide at the time, however some historians now question the finding.)
I feel it’s inappropriate to say “poisoned,” while saying nothing about the ruling at the time, which has not yet been conclusively overturned.
I find the arguments against suicide reasonable, but it’s not like anyone has a conclusive bit of hard evidence that it wasn’t suicide. So it seem to me that if the manner of his death is to be mentioned, the official verdict should be mentioned.
At the time suicide in England was a crime and coroners needed to prove that the deceased i) did something to end their life and ii) had the intention of ending their life, and they needed to prove that to the criminal standard, ie "beyond all reasonable doubt".
Suicide stopped being a crime in England in 1961. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/9-10/60
The burden of proof changed from "beyond all reasonable doubt" to "balance of probabilities" after the Maughan cases in 2018/2019.
Maughan case appeal: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/1955.html
Maughan case next appeal: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2019/809.html
It would be easier, not harder, for a coroner today to come to a conclusion of suicide.
[from the BBC article] >Prof Copeland emphasises, a coroner these days would demand evidence of pre-meditation before announcing a verdict of suicide,
I'm not sure that's true. Evidence of pre-meditation makes a conclusion of suicide easier, but it isn't required.
There are a lot of misconceptions about suicide, especially about how suicidal people behave. These examples from the BBC article are the kinds of things that seem important but which actually aren't:
> In statements to the coroner, friends had attested to his good humour in the days before his death.
> His neighbour described him throwing "such a jolly [tea] party" for her and her son four days before he died.
The paradox of good mood before self-inflicted death has a few possible explanations. Imagine a person in severe emotional distress. They can't see any way out, and they can't see how their future will work. They decide on a plan to end their life. For that person, at that moment, this is a solution to their problems. They now have something to work towards; they now have a way out.
There are people who dispute Prof Copeland's comments. From what I've read of Copeland's comments he doesn't understand suicidality; he got some facts about the case wrong; and he doesn't understand coroners.
I find this response more persuasive: https://www.turingfilm.com/turing-suicide
So I guess when I say that an argument is “reasonable,” what I’m really saying is, “I get where that person is coming from, and I don’t think they’re unhinged for thinking what they think, or for saying what they say.”
But that doesn’t mean I hold the same views. And without checking everything you’re saying, It seems reasonable too.
Lots of people don’t understand suicide, I don’t think we understand much about mood disorders or suicide (and for that matter, not all suicide is related to mood disorders! Lumping the two together reflexively is probably a sign that I don’t understand suicide either.)
Anyhow, this I do believe: If we can speculate that “Today, we would likely come to a determination of X instead of Y given the evidence,” we can also speculate that today, we’d have much, much better evidence.
And even better, if Alan Turing did commit suicide, and if he was motivated by his persecution, well then, today he would not have been persecuted to begin with. And if he had some mood issues for other reasons, well, while our society is still deeply flawed in this area, it’s still much, much better than it was in the 1950s.
Regardless of what actually happened, the larger story of our social progress around homosexuality and inclusion of atypical people——whether socially or neurologically atypical—- is the thing that matters, and his life’s story forms a part of that progress no matter what exactly happened to end it.
This is a huge milestone in the history of LGBT people in the UK, so it's hard to imagine that it's not worth mentioning in any article about him.
It also touches a nerve since in the past Turing's gayness is always whitewashed by the news. Why still do it? Especially when it was so important to who he was and specifically why we died.
And before you tell me "gay rights aren't a political issue, human rights go beyond politics": a new law being passed by politicians is literally as political a subject as it gets.
But if you think that's editorial and political if mentioned at all, despite being endorsed by all sides of the parliament, I guess that's a valid opinion. It's certainly the case that many people claim that anything objected to by a single person is political. I usually find that the BBC is more clever than that.
The items were offered in 2018 to the library University of Colorado at Boulder, by this weird woman who had apparently stolen the items in 1984, then changed her last name to Turing in 1988.
I find this phrasing a bit surprising, but maybe I can learn something about words here.
I've only ever heard "degree" used as an intangible noun, to refer to the achievement or title or whatever you want to call it.
Is it common to use it to refer to a physical object? Is it an informal way of saying diploma? Maybe a British way of saying diploma? I made some brief checks of online dictionaries and couldn't find that usage.
A 'diploma' to me is a 'degree-equivalent' (as determined by government; not, perhaps, by employers) qualification offered by non-universities.
As you said, you can't sieze someone's degree, at best you can invalidate it.
The journalist is American, presumably, and the US doesn't have direct equivalents to the hierarchical orders that Commonwealth countries have, so maybe they just assume that knighthood means something much broader than it does.
'Nobody' calls the non-knighthood honours (nor the order as a whole) 'knighthoods'.
It is one of the highest awards of state.
Not that it really matters in this case but it's imprecise.
Yes. It was actually issued multiple times (with slightly different wording), and each issue was in multiple copies. The most famous is the original of 1215 of which four copies survive (all in England).
I've seen the manuscript of the 1297 issue which is on display at the Australian Parliament. Another manuscript of the 1297 issue is on display at the US National Archives. I think those are the only two manuscripts outside the UK; there are a dozen or more manuscripts surviving at various locations in England.
I hope they aren't too harsh on her.
According to the article she stole a dead man's medal from a school and then vanished it out of the country where it is of national importance. Seems like a pretty rotten thing for her to do and something we need to discourage, right?