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Enigma Cipher Machines – The Tipperary Connection

 The Stoney Family of North Tipperary


Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS (1912 – 1954).

The Stoney family (latter family name originally Danish), were once prominent landlords, here in North Tipperary.
Ethel Sara Stoney (1881–1976), was born on November 18th, at Podanur, in the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India, the daughter of Edward Waller Stoney (Borrisokane, North Tipperary) and Sarah Crawford (Cartron Abbey, Co. Longford); Protestant Anglo-Irish gentry.

Her father was Chief Engineer of the Madras Railways, which played a pioneering role in developing railways in southern India, before being merged in 1908 with Southern Mahratta Railway to form the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway.

Educated at Alexandra School and College, Dublin, and at Cheltenham Ladies College, before attending lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris, she returned to join her parents in Madras, preferring to use her middle Christian name that of ‘Sara’. On October 1st 1907 she married Julius Mathison Turing, son of Reverend John Robert Turing and Fanny Boyd, in Dublin.

Many television viewers recently would have watched the film “The Imitation Game” which starred amongst others Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. This film, which grossed over $233.6 million at the box office, was based on the life of Sara Turing’s son Alan Mathison Turing.  Born on June 23rd 1912, the second and last child (after his brother John Ferrier Turing) later he would be regarded as being one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century.

Those of you, our readers, who viewed this film (Highly recommended viewing, I might add) will be aware that Alan Turing was educated at Sherborne College and Cambridge University, and received a PhD from Princeton, having sailed on the liner Berengaria to New York arriving at Princeton in September 1936. A brilliant mathematician and cryptographer Alan was truly the founder of modern day computer science and artificial intelligence and designed a machine to help break secret Enigma encrypted messages [1] being then circulated by the Nazi German war machine during World War 2.

[1]  Enigma devices were electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and used in the mid-twentieth century to convey and protect sensitive commercial, diplomatic and military communications. Invented by the German engineer Arthur Scherbius towards the end of World War I, these early models were also used commercially by Japan, Italy and most notably Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

Many readers however will not be aware that Alan’s mother was a member of this same Stoney family who once resided at Tombrickane, Kyle Park, Borrisokane, North Co. Tipperary.

Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill once stated that Alan Turing made the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany, possibly saving the lives of an estimated 2 million people, through his efforts in shortening World War 2. Churchill was first introduced to Alan Turing during a visit to the highly secretive Hut No 8 at ‘Bletchley Park’, establishment in September 1941. The following month Turing and three other cryptographers wrote directly to Sir Winston Churchill seeking further administrative resources; a request which Prime Minister Churchill immediately made available.

Described as one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century, in 1945 Turing was awarded the OBE by King George VI for his wartime services which included (between the years 1939 – 1942), the breaking of U-boat Enigma messages, thus ensuring allied victory in the battle of the Atlantic. His work continued to remain top secret for many years and Turing machines still remain, to this very day, a central object for study in the theory of computation.

Apart from his work in breaking Nazi Enigma codes from 1945 to 1947, Turing worked on the design of the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) at the British National Physical Laboratory and presented a paper (February 19th 1946), laying out his vision for the first detailed design of a stored-program computer.

Alas, in 1952 his brilliant career was to be halted; brought about by a short homosexual affair with a 19 year old, named as Arnold Murray. “Eaten bread is soon forgotten” as my grandmother used to say, and Alan’s private life would now come into conflict with an ingrate society displaying short term memory.

Turing and Murray were both prosecuted for homosexual acts, (under section 11 of the then Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885), then considered illegal whether carried out in private or in public. Now with the loss of security clearance to fund his work, Alan chose chemical castration as an alternative to the punishment of a long gaol sentence.

Between 1953 and 54 much of his work in biology and physics remained unfinished and on the 7th of June 1954 Alan was found dead as a result of cyanide poisoning, in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Although suicide was suspected, Alan left no suicide note, having eaten an apple apparently laced with cyanide. This apple however was never fully tested, leaving his mother to never accept the Coroner’s suicide verdict or indeed understand Alan’s actual motivation to end his life.

Certainly his humiliation by prosecutors and the cruel effects of his hormone treatment would have greatly influenced his then mental state, but it was not until September 2009 that former British Labour Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown would make a formal apology on behalf of the British Government, firstly recognising his contribution to World War 2 and secondly for Turing’s treatment stating ‘he deserved better’.  On the 12th of June 1954, Alan’s body was cremated at Woking Crematorium, St John’s, and his ashes scattered.

Perhaps the apple with the bite taken out, which constitutes the logo on the back of your iPhone or MacBook Pro after all remains as a tribute to Alan Turing, although Apple the American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, apparently dismiss this association.

Regarding his mother Ethel Sara Stoney from North Tipperary; her death came during the early part of her 95th year, on March 6th 1976, while she residing at Stoneycrest, Churt Road, Hindhead, Surrey, England, and following her death, like her son, she too was also cremated.

Perhaps someone will unveil a small commemorative plaque during 2017 in memory of Sara and Alan at Borrisokane; if only in our quest to encourage elusive tourists.


Tipperary Co Council Offer Free Text Alert Advice

Tipperary County Council are now offering its customers a free text alert system to advise with regard to the following information:

Joe MacGrath, To Chair Tipperary Implementation Group

Mr Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive, Tipperary Co. Council

Severe Weather Notifications.
Road Closures & Diversions.
Community Events & Initiatives.
Local Planning Activity.
Flood Potential Events.
General Community Notices.

Registration, to receive the above information, can be obtained by accessing your right to register Here.

‘MapAlerter’ is a free service that gives all Irish Councils the ability to issue alerts for the specific topics shown above. Rather than informing an entire town about a water outage, all alerts are mapped so only the real affected residents receive notification. This ensures a high level of satisfaction amongst MapAlerter subscribers because the information they receive is local in nature to their specific area.

You can also register for a free account to receive alerts by SMS text message, by Email or by Smartphone App notification.

As already stated, alerts will only ever be issued for your local area and there are no costs to get the text messages. The system is specifically designed to keep you, the customer, better informed and fully up-to-date about activities taking place across the Premier County.

You can also get your alerts using the free MapAlerter App if you search for “MapAlerter” on the App Store or Google Play.


Have You Been Pwned?

Mid West Firstly, no the spelling of ‘Pwned’ is not due to our failure to use our spell checker. The word ‘Pwned’ is in fact a corruption or leetspeak slang term (‘Leetspeak’ also known as eleet or leet, same being an alternative alphabet for many languages that are used primarily on the Internet), and derived from the word “Owned.” (We understand that the word originated with the online computer game called ‘Warcraft’, where a map designer accidentally misspelled the word “Owned.”)

But why the above question we hear you ask?  Well to answer a question with a question; “How aware are you of how much of your personal private computer data; including account ‘Usernames’, ‘Email Addresses’, ‘Encrypted Passwords’ and ‘Password Hints’ have been made available or publicly exposed by computer hackers”.

Examples of just four popular used accounts of some 153 such sites known to have been compromised.
[A] In October 2013, 153 million Adobe Accounts were breached by computer hackers. Data compromised with each account included IDs, Usernames, Email Addresses, Encrypted Passwords and Password Hints.

[B] In May 2014, the Avast Anti-Virus Forum was hacked, with 423k member records exposed. Data compromised again included Usernames, Emails Addresses and Passwords.

[C] In mid-2012, Dropbox Data was breached which exposed the stored credentials of tens of millions of customers. Again in August 2016, Dropbox forced password resets for their customers whom they believed may have been put at risk. Data totalling over 68 million records was subsequently traded online, included Email Addresses and Passwords.

[D] In May 2016, LinkedIn had 164 million Email Addresses and Passwords publicly exposed. While originally hacked in 2012, this data remained out of sight, before eventually being offered for sale.

[Other widely used accounts breached in the past include Tesco, Sony, Win7Vista, and numerous Gaming and Torrent sites.]

Question: How will I know if my personal data has been compromised?
Answer: Simply click HERE and add your Email address or username to the appropriate box, before clicking on the word ‘pwned’, latter positioned on right hand side of this same box. Then scroll down the page, just a little, to see the number of accounts / breaches in which you were ‘pwned’ in.

Question: I have an account which has been ‘pwned’, so what should I do now to correct this data exposure?
Answer: Go, as soon as possible, and change all passwords to named accounts ‘pwned’. If you cannot remember the associated password with any of your accounts, simply hit the tab which permits a request from you to change your password on the basis ‘Forgot My password’(You will receive a personal email permitting such changes.)  When changing your password remember the wisdom of Sheldon Cooper (From TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”), and I quote “1234 is not a secure password”.   Use at least 8 symbols including uppercase and lowercase symbols, alphabet letters and numbers.

N.B. Even more importantly, it goes without saying; ensure that none of your individual accounts currently use the same password.


National Broadband Strategy Needs Urgent Implementation

Mid West

Independent TD Michael Lowry has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr Denis Naughten, to urgently advance the Government’s National Broadband Plan for County Tipperary.

Currently there exists over 41,000 properties across Tipperary without broadband and of these over 8,000 are businesses of varying sizes, each attempting to compete in the wider market place. Larger towns like Clonmel, Thurles, Nenagh, Tipperary Town and Templemore are well served by commercial operators; however other smaller towns and villages right across Tipperary require immediate intervention by the government.

Deputy Lowry recently contacted Minister Naughten; highlighting that “a key element for rural development must be to invest in infrastructure in areas outside of our main towns and cities. The absence of high speed broadband is a significant issue in attracting foreign direct or other investment to rural areas, thus obstructing all future job creation in Tipperary”.  Lowry further insisted that “the State now fast-track the necessary capital funding into the Broadband process to expedite the roll-out schedule and guarantee rural broadband to 100% of Tipperary homes and businesses.”

The Independent TD continued, “The Government must review its current time-line on Broadband issues and stop referring to it as anything other than what it actually is, a basic and essential utility. Lack of Broadband is threatening the very growth capacity of entire local economies, particularly in Co. Tipperary. Broadband has become a critical factor to 21st century business life, and rural businesses rightfully feel abandoned and unable to compete, while city based businesses continue to thrive.
This same digital divide now places rural Ireland at a massive disadvantage and is not just failing individuals and businesses in their ability to communicate, but is also affecting students in our educational system to adequately engage in their intellectual pursuits; much of which now depends on having access to basic Internet facilities.
Obviously the lack of basic Broadband accessibility is only one of the many areas that need to be scrutinised in an effort to stop the everyday curse of migration, emigration and unemployment. These factors are draining rural areas of their very livelihood. However, with rural Ireland lacking critical 21st century infrastructure in providing 21st century opportunities, rural dwellers will continue to flee in favour of greater prospects elsewhere.
Business, whatever its size is the very lifeblood of every economy and if entrepreneurship is to be encouraged to set up in rural Ireland, access to Broadband is now essential if we are to work, grow and fairly compete,” concluded Deputy Lowry.


Hawk-Eye Technology Bound For Semple Stadium

GaaHawk-Eye score verification technology is expected to be up and running here in Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co Tipperary this summer, 2015, in time for the Munster SHC quarter-final between Clare and Limerick.

This technology was given the green light for installation in several major stadia outside Croke Park at last year’s GAA Congress.  However with Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Casement Park both undergoing complete reconstruction at present, this technology is expected to be undertaken at Semple Stadium first.

With a feasibility study of Semple Stadium now completed, it is expected  that this technology can be installed in time for the start of this summer’s Munster hurling championship, scheduled for the end of May initially, while using a temporary screen.

Semple Stadium will also host a Munster football quarter-final between Tipperary and Waterford, followed by a provincial hurling semi-final between Cork and Waterford before the second week of June, so for testing purposes alone, getting this technology up and running by May ‘s end would represent good planning.

This verification technology was called into use to decide the All-Ireland senior hurling final between Kilkenny and Tipperary last September 2014 in Croke Park Stadium, ruling that John O’Dwyer’s final action free, before full-time, was indeed narrowly outside the target zone, thus resulting in both teams having to replay.