(Submitted by reader Fred Bremmer)
Alan Turing, the computer pioneer, was born June 23, 1912, and died June 7, 1954.
On June 23rd, this comic was posted on Barney & Clyde with the following text:
“Why does the apple logo have a bite out of it?”
“Probably to show they’ve taken a big bite out of life. Robustly engaged with the world, for the benefit of humanity.”
“Mh. It says here it was so it wouldn’t look like a tomato.”
“Mine was better.”
There is an urban legend that the bite out of the apple in Apple’s logo (which was originally rainbow-striped, a bit like a Pride flag) is a reference to Turing’s death (and maybe his homosexuality):
“For years it has been rumored that Apple’s iconic logo, a stylized, solid white apple missing a bite on one side, was inspired by circumstances surrounding the death of Alan Turing, the groundbreaking mathematician and computer scientist who committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple in 1954.
Not so, says the man who actually created the logo, graphic designer Rob Janoff, who laughs it off as “a wonderful urban legend.” The concept was purely visual in inspiration, he says, with the bite taken out only to provide scale so the apple wouldn’t be mistaken for a cherry.”
Gene Weingarten writes the Barney & Clyde comic strip along with his son and the artist who draws it. I follow Weingarten on Twitter, so I asked him about the coincidence:
@geneweingarten Was the B&C comic on A.Turing’s 100th birthday an intentional reference to the rumor that Apple’s logo refers to AT’s death?
@nowoo Hahaha. No.
@geneweingarten Interesting. I’m a fellow skeptic. Do you mind if I submit this coincidence to The Odds Must Be Crazy?
@nowoo sure. We write these things 3 weeks in advance; neither my son or I knew anything of the Turing Apple nexus, Turing’s bday, etc.
Later he retweeted my question and his answer, but added “Er, maybe.” as a joke:
No. Er, maybe. @nowoo Did B&C comic on A.Turing’s 100th bday reference rumor that Apple’s logo refers to AT’s death?
[EDITOR: Urban legends are commonly the sources of superstitions, making them even more tenuous than usual. But this one just happens to provide some background for a humorously-timed moment of tech memes colliding on an important anniversary. One that commemorates a truly great person whose life was sadly harmed, and eventually lost, due to a lack of critical thought by those in power. While we're a few days late for the anniversary, we here at TOMBC raise a glass of whatever's appropriate to Alan Turing and the work he did that led us to have this amazing technology we use to share our stories with you every week. And in case you missed it spreading around last week, please check out this exceptionally cool Lego recreation of Alan's Turing Machine. It's a great tribute to the start of it all.]