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Alan Turing's hand-drawn Monopoly Board


Update: William Newman has the true history of this artifact: "May I confess to being the perpetrator of said 'board', which I drew on a sheet of paper back in the 1950s when I was in my early teens and lacked the money to buy a proper set. My brother and I played on it, and when Alan asked if he could join us in a game we played a threesome (Alan lost). Later the board fell into disuse and I lost track of it about 50 years ago, but it recently turned up (together with the rules), see http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/news/docview.rhtm/644565. The Roman numerals indicated property prices. I forget why I added the diagonal. "

Yesterday, I had the delightful experience of attending a fundraiser for Bletchley Park, the birthplace of modern computing and cryptography, where the Allied WWII cipher-breaking effort was headquartered. Cold War paranoia caused Churchill to order Bletchley broken up, its work kept secret, its machines destroyed, and, very slowly, it is being rebuilt.

Earlier this year, the Bletchley Trust acquired Alan Turing's papers for the collection with a grant from Google.org, and I got this shot of Turing's awesome hand-drawn Monopoly board -- the cryptographers of Bletchley were sequestered from the rest of the world and desperate for distraction, hence this great bit of historical ephemera.

I also learned that Turing didn't believe the UK economy would survive WWII even if the Allies won the war, and so he drew as much of his pay as he could in silver half-crowns, melted them down, created two enormous ingots, and buried them somewhere in the region. They've never been recovered -- as far as we know. (finkployd just reminded me that this was in Cryptonomicon, but the detail had slipped my mind).

Alan Turing's hand-drawn Monopoly board, the Turing Papers, Bletchley Park, UK

Law prof: it would be legal to mint 2x $1 trillion platinum coins & use them to pay the US debt

Jack Balkin, a Yale Law prof, has a weird idea for solving the debt crisis. He says the law sets no limit on the amount of currency the US Mint can float, provided it produces the currency in the form of platinum coins. So:
Ironically, there's no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.
3 ways Obama could bypass Congress (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

(Image: platinum eagle re-mix, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from sirqitous's photostream)