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Google The Almighty Buck United Kingdom Technology

Bletchley Park Finds a Saviour In Google 59

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the breakin-da-code dept.
hypnosec noted that Google has stepped up to try to help fundraising for Bletchley Park. From TFA: "The point is that all of us have heroes. At Google our heroes are Alan Turing and the people who worked on breaking the codes at Bletchley Park. It was probably the most inspiring and uplifting achievement in scientific technology over the last hundred years. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that without Alan Turing, Google as we know it wouldn't exist."
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Bletchley Park Finds a Saviour In Google

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  • Royal Army? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:28AM (#37023694)

    The British Army should never be referred to as the "Royal Army" - it's the only one of the three armed forces in the UK *not* to have "royal in its title.

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/British_Army (5th paragraph)

    • by ewanm89 (1052822)
      While technically correct, the recruitment posters have ra.mod.uk on them, not ba.mod.uk (which doesn't redirect to anything) or army.mod.uk (their actual website). So if they advertising as such, I don't think they mind too much when people get it wrong. Also, a couple of individual sections are called as such, like the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
      • While technically correct, the recruitment posters have ra.mod.uk on them, not ba.mod.uk (which doesn't redirect to anything) or army.mod.uk (their actual website). So if they advertising as such, I don't think they mind too much when people get it wrong. Also, a couple of individual sections are called as such, like the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

        Well I just pointed my browser to ra.mod.uk and it took me to the website of the Royal Artillery, which is a set of regiments in the Army, not the entire Army.

  • Would that be the internet search behemoth, whose best days are behind it? http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/08/08/1415203/Are-Googles-Best-Days-Behind-It [slashdot.org]
    • by Trepidity (597)

      Those aren't necessarily incompatible. For example, lots of people think Microsoft's best days are behind it, but it still has loads of cash and publicity, so "Microsoft supports charity X" can be useful for charity X.

      But probably true that the other story is a bit overplaying it.

      • by nschubach (922175) on Monday August 08, 2011 @12:02PM (#37024130) Journal

        There's a bit of difference though. As far as I can tell, Microsoft mainly "donates" to charity when it's their software and training that is being given to help further their brand. I may be incorrect in this, but Google isn't donating time and mandating/installing Chrome/ChromeOS on all the PCs in the place or training people how to search efficiently.

        IE:
        Microsoft Donates $344 Million in Software To Worldwide Initiative to Train 400,000 Teachers (...to train their students in Microsoft software)
        Microsoft donates cash, software to help military vets get IT skills (... to use their software to encourage businesses to buy more)
        Microsoft Donates $250,000 of Software to Create IT Jobs for Youth in Kenya (... again, for Microsoft's overall benefit)

        Heck, software is still a cheap donation. They can put any self-assessed value on it and print off a new copy for a dime a dozen to inflate their charitable donation amount.

        • by Branka96 (628759) on Monday August 08, 2011 @12:32PM (#37024542)
          Microsoft has a matching program for employee donation. It matches dollar by dollar and even donates $17 per hour if you do volunteer work. Microsoft also have the Giving Campaign (October in the US). Here different groups compete about raising the most donations (cash). There are fund raising events like breakfast with your Senior VP being your server, or auctions (dinner at home with Bill Gates is typical a top draw ~$50,000). In 2009 the Giving Campaign raised $70 million (cash) in the US. That is $35 millions from employees (about $500 per employee) and $35 millions from MS.
  • Honestly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:37AM (#37023806) Journal
    There are legitimate questions to be asked about how many resources we should spend commemorating/preserving the past, vs. letting the past be past and spending forward; but to the degree that comemmoration/celebration/recognition of the past is a worthwhile enterprise, Bletchley park has always seemed mysteriously neglected.

    The work done there was extraordinarily vital in terms of signals intelligence and cryptography, and not having that done would have hampered the Allied war effort significantly. The fact that that work also included some groundbreaking CS and early computing machine work is just icing on the cake. There are other WWII sites with many more casualties; but the only other WWII R&D developments that can even fall in the same order of magnitude are the Manhattan Project, Penicillin mass-production, and possibly Radar(The cavity magnetron: defeated Hitler and produces delicious popcorn in minutes!).

    Letting the past keep to itself is a self-consistent position, albeit not one I endorse; but any sort of historical preservation of WWII stuff that doesn't have Bletchley park well up there seems downright ill-formed...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kuiperbelt (2427618)
      It's been heartening to see the increased recognition the computing pioneers at Bletchley Park have received over the last few years, after being neglected for decades. Gordon Brown's posthumous apology to Alan Turing [nationalarchives.gov.uk] for the persecution he received for his sexuality was a great moment. Most people have never heard of Turing but he deserves recognition. They ought to put his face on a banknote or something. About three years ago when I was at university a guy visited from Bletchley Park to give a talk on th
    • What I found interesting about the work done is how relevant it is today in security and cryptography. While Enigma had its weaknesses like a letter could never be coded to itself, the main weakness exploited were the users of the system. For example there a number of settings that the Luftwaffe left up to the operator for messages that were supposed to be random but Bletchley Park found some operators that used the same settings everyday until the end of the war. Some operators would broadcast the same
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:42AM (#37023862) Homepage

    Bletchley Park is getting more attention in recent years. I've been there, but before the restored Colossus or replica bombe was working. All we saw were static exhibits, plus a working Enigma, something I'd seen before. There were few visitors.

    Now they have funding from the UK national lottery [bletchleypark.org.uk], "Family Fun Wednesdays", a conference center, a giant chessboard, a model railway (with a "Thomas the Tank Engine layout), a mini cinema, an auto museum, model boats, and swans in the lake.

    • In that case a revisit is worthwhile. Much has changed in the past few years, with new exhibition spaces becoming available, the Colossus and bombe, and all the other stuff you mention. Try and plan your visit on a day that the National Museum of Computing (on the same grounds, but operated independently with rather limited opening hours) is also open.

    • by jeremyp (130771)

      You really need to go again then. Try not to do what I did which was visit on the hottest day of the year which made the temperature in the Colossus room almost unbearable. But it was worth it.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 08, 2011 @11:43AM (#37023892) Homepage Journal

    That is great. What I feel sad about is that the US didn't perserve the most important ship of WWII which was the USS Enterprise. We kept of bunch of old battleships from that time like the Texas and Alabama but we scrapped the Enterprise.
     

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Efforts to save CV-6 failed because the campaigns didn't get enough money to buy the ship from the US Navy

  • Beltchy? What a horrible name for a park.

  • by ischorr (657205)

    I don't understand why there are so many geeks that don't like this company. A small minority, but still. How can you not?? =)

  • Station X at Bletchley Park is an important part of our shared history... It marks the beginning of the all electronic digital computing and also of distributed computing (they had up to 10 Collosus working across different locations, by the end of the war). Much groundwork theory was built in that era by people working at that place, including the ideas behind of packet switched data networks and routed networks.

    I visited back in 2005 and I hope to go again someday (when I am in the UK).

    • Unfortunately, the people in charge failed to notice a good thing when they saw it and kept a good deal of it secret, leaving others to take computing forward. Similar story with what would become known as RSA.

    • by ewanm89 (1052822)
      Don't forget about AI research, that was started by Turing himself.
  • Read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon for some fun fictional Turing action.

  • I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that without Alan Turing, Europe as we know it might not exist.

    Ftfy.
    Cracking the Enigma code was a huge deal, and may have made the difference between the outcome seen in history (a terrible war, but one that Nazis eventually lost) and a horrific alternative with a crippling invasion of England and failure of many of the Allied powers' anti-Nazi offensives. Even a delay in the cracking could have been disastrous. It's possible that the Bletchley team would have cr

    • It's a good point. There's another story that makes a compelling case for a single event / group that won the war (not that the two stories are mutually exclusive). Told in the book "A Man Called Intrepid" the basic concept was that the pre-OSS crew got Hitler and the Nazi leadership all fired up about how America didn't take them seriously, via intentionally intercepted mail, so that when Japan declared war on the US, Hitler did too b/c he wanted to show the US how powerful he was (what other reason, beyon

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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