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Monday, June 13, 2016

Alan Turing

Author's note: The following is taken from a larger paper prepared as part of a course taken for his pursuit of a Ph.D. through Milwaukee's Cardinal Stritch University. For this portion, the author was tasked with identifying and reflecting on a historical figure that in some way exemplified moral leadership. He chose Alan Turing, the subject of the 2014 major motion picture, The Imitation Game. 

Copyright 2016, Aaron Scott Robertson. All rights reserved.

Taken from "The Importance and Relevance of Moral and Ethical Principles in Leadership"
Aaron S. Robertson, MSM
April, 2016

Historical Exemplar: Alan Turing (1912-1954)

Alan Turing
Alan Turing
Most recently, with the release of the 2014 major motion picture, The Imitation Game, this author has come to find interest in the life and work of Alan Turing. Turing is generally considered to be the father of computer science, and he and his team are credited with saving countless lives during World War II when his Turing machine was able to finally crack the enigma code used by Nazi Germany (Grossman, Ostrowsky, and Schwarzman, 2014).

This author, without yet knowing very much about Turing’s life aside from what has been portrayed in the film, sometimes struggles to grasp his true intentions when pursuing the conceptualization and actual building of his enigma code-cracking machine. Much of the struggle rests on the fact that Turing never really showed emotion, and he was often detached from others, the result, perhaps, of some eccentricity and social awkwardness. Perhaps his detachment also stemmed from his homosexuality, in an attempt to conceal it from others, as it was considered a criminal act in England at the time, punishable by prison and/or chemical castration. His homosexuality was discovered by the authorities and publicly revealed later on, near the end of his life, merely by accident, when local police were investigating a burglary that had taken place at Turing’s home. The burglary turned out to be orchestrated by a friend of the man whom Turing had recently had an encounter with. Turing was convicted of gross indecency, and opted for chemical castration over prison time, eventually causing impotence (Grossman, Ostrowsky, et al., 2014; Biography.com Editors, n.d.). But whatever the cause, or causes, of his detachment from others, it is often difficult to read Turing because of it.

Was his work on this machine truly a quest fueled by moral conviction and leadership, or was it merely an intellectual exercise for him – a series of simulations; a game – meant to take up time, just something to keep him occupied? Was it all purely for the greater good in his mind and heart, or could there have been at least some degree of intellectual arrogance at work – a need to prove himself right simply for the sake of proving himself right amidst a lot of doubt? It is difficult to tell, simply based on his detachment and lack of emotion. It must also be mentioned here that once the machine did work, Turing and his team could not dispatch Allied forces to intervene in every impending German attack or invasion. In order to hide from the Nazis the fact that the riddle of their code had been solved, the Turing team had to allow for the appearance of intervention or prevention by random chance, letting the Germans get away with some attacks and invasions – no doubt leading to known certain death for many – while having Allied forces show up for others. Allied forces appearing at every event would undoubtedly give away to the Nazis that their code was now known, and they would have then simply changed its settings, rendering the team’s two years of work to crack the code entirely useless. In the movie, Turing appears largely detached from all of this, as well, giving the appearance that this was all merely a numbers game for him, nothing more than an intellectual exercise consisting of mathematics and statistics (Grossman, Ostrowsky, et al., 2014).

Yet, on the other hand, Turing kept on enduring in the face of budget constraints, numerous technical failures and disappointments, and superiors that – literally and figuratively – wanted to pull the proverbial plug on the project, convinced that his invention can, and will, work. As is now known, it ultimately did, and the rewards of it working cannot be understated. By allowing the war – and consequently, more certain death for many – to continue on after the code was broken, it is estimated by historians that Turing and his team cut the length of the war by more than two years and saved some 14 million lives (Grossman, Ostrowsky, et al., 2014).

On another note, it is interesting to this author that Turing and his team, at least that this author is aware, are not enduring the scrutiny and criticism that Pius XII’s legacy is. The World War II-era pope is heavily criticized by Jewish groups, in particular, over claims that he did not do enough to save more Jews during the war. The Roman Catholic Church’s counterargument to these claims has always been that, had Pius more blatantly and openly criticized the Hitler regime, then perhaps that many more Jews would have perished in retaliation. The pontiff, the Church maintains, did all that he could do quietly and behind the scenes, and it is not in dispute that the Roman Church had saved a large number of the Jewish people. Similarly, the Turing team had to act in total secrecy behind the scenes, and had to knowingly and intentionally allow the war to continue to drag out with the ultimate strategic goal of actually cutting it short and saving countless millions of lives. But for the Turing team, it was not just Jews whose lives were at stake, and ultimately lost, while they continued to work behind the scenes to stop some attacks while letting others through, it was also their fellow countrymen – Brits – and troops and civilians representing all of the Allied forces.

This author cannot begin to imagine the toll that these decisions must have taken on the lives of Turing and his colleagues. For this author, Turing is an historical exemplar because, whatever the reasons, perhaps only fully known to him, he chose to use the talents and gifts granted to him for the greater good – but this was not certainly without great cost. And sadly, his life was taken far too early. We can only vividly dream and guess what other talents and contributions to society may have come from his powerful mind had he lived any longer. Turing died in 1954 at the age of 41 of an apparent suicide by cyanide poisoning (Grossman, Ostrowsky, et al., 2014; Biography.com Editors, n.d.). In recent years, however, the official ruling of his death has been called into question, suggesting that the cyanide poisoning was accidental. Turing was known to work with cyanide frequently as part of his lab studies. Furthermore, he did not give the appearance that he was suicidal in his final days (Biography.com Editors, n.d.).

Bibliography

Grossman, N., Ostrowsky, I., Schwarzman, T. (Producers), & Tyldum, M. (Director). (2014). The imitation game [Motion picture]. United Kingdom: StudioCanal; United States: The Weinstein Company.

Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). Alan Turing biography. The Biography.com website. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/alan-turing-9512017

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top 20 Restaurants in Milwaukee

Looking for somewhere new and delicious for dinner? Take your date to any of these Milwaukee Top Rated Restaurants!

Yelp recently released its list of the top 20 restaurants in Milwaukee, and you can view that list by clicking here.

A special thanks to Shorewest Realtors for publishing this list on their Facebook page not too long ago - that's where we first learned of it.

Additionally, check out our own Milwaukee restaurant reviews.

Happy Dining! ‪

Muscular Dystrophy Association at Mader's Restaurant



Muscular Dystrophy Association Mader's Restaurant Milwaukee

Klement's Overstock Sale

Klement's Outlet Store Overstock Sale

Saturday, June 4, 2016
9am-1pm (Gates will open at 6am)
2650 S. Chase Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Cash or credit card accepted - no checks

Bring three (3) non-perishable food items to donate to Feeding America, and receive a coupon to use same day (Saturday, June 4). 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gabriel Sanchez at Twisted Cork

This Friday - May 20, 2016!

The team at Twisted Cork wine bar, located in Muskego, is excited to announce that Gabriel Sanchez (from The Toys and The Prince Experience) will be performing live this coming Friday, May 20th, from 8pm-11pm!

You won't want to miss this great night of wine, craft beers, mixed drinks, food, and music! Mark your calendars!

Twisted Cork
S74 W16832 Janesville Road, Muskego, WI 53150
(262) 895-9164

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Leadership Workshop in New berlin on 5/17/16

Leadership Mastermind Series #5 (of 8)

Empowerment through Embracing Change

Law 12 of John Maxwell's 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is Empowerment. Our session will start by exploring this Law, and then engage you in an experiential workshop where we examine one of the 3 barriers to Empowerment: Resistance to Change. We'll use a Model from Judith Glaser's book, Conversational Intelligence, to experience embracing CHANGE. Join us for illuminating conversation and intense personal growth.

Co-hosting with Tina Boyle-Whyte, an engaging speaker and leadership coach.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
6:00 PM Open Networking
6:15-8:15 Program
Community Room of Citizen’s Bank
5450 S Moorland Road, New Berlin

Register by emailing carol@mefirst.life.

Free Community Reycling Day

Join us for our annual paper shredding, electronics recycling, eyeglass and hearing aid collection!

On-site Paper Shredding: Up to three boxes

Electronics Recycling: See this list for acceptable and unacceptable items from Asset Recyclers

Eyeglass/Hearing Aid Donations: Help support Lions Clubs International by collecting used, yet usable, eyeglasses and hearing aids

Saturday, May 14, 2016
9am-12pm

Foundations Bank Building
N35 W23877 Highfield Court
Pewaukee

More information:

Ellenbecker.com
FoundationsBank.com
River-Run.com