Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dalzel-Job Inspired James Bond

Patrick Dalzel-Job (1 June 1913 – 14 October 2003), was a distinguished British Naval Intelligence Officer and Commando of World War II. He was also an accomplished linguist, author, mariner, navigator, parachutist, diver and skier.

Born in London, Dalzel-Job was the only son of Captain Ernest Dalzel-Job, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After his father's death Dalzel-Job and his mother lived in various locations, including Switzerland, and he learnt to ski and sail. They returned to the UK in 1931 where he built his own schooner, the Mary Fortune, which he and his mother spent the next two years sailing around the British coast.

In 1937, they sailed to Norway and spent the next two years exploring the coast. During this time Dalzel-Job became fluent in Norwegian. He and his mother were accompanied by a Norwegian schoolgirl named Bjørg Bangsund from the city of Tromsø.

At the outbreak of the war on 8 December 1939, he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He served as Navigating Officer on a Fleet Tug operating from Scapa Flow between January and March 1940. From April until June, he served with the Anglo/Polish/French Expeditionary Force to Norway during which time he disobeyed a direct order to cease civilian evacuation from Narvik. His action saved some 5000 Norwegians for which King Haakon of Norway awarded him the Ridderkors (Knight's Cross) of St. Olav in 1943. This award saved him from being court-martialled.

In June 1942, Dalzel-Job was assigned to collate information about the west coast of Norway. A few months later, Lord Louis Mountbatten, head of Combined Operations, chose him to convey Commando raids there, known as 'VP operations', using eight 'D'-Class Motor Torpedo Boats.

From mid-1943 until early 1944, he served with the 12 (Special Service) Submarine Flotilla becoming versed with X-Craft and Welman midget submarines, while taking time to complete parachute training with the Airborne Division. As prospects for major action in Norway faded, Dalzel-Job visited London and discovered 30 AU (Assault Unit) Commando, the field operative unit of the Naval Intelligence Division - Room 30. He transferred to 30 AU under Commander Ian Fleming who was then Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence.

In this role, and promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he landed near Varreville on Utah beach, Normandy, on D+4 with two Royal Marines Commandos allocated to him, and an unrestricted authority order signed by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower to pass through Allied lines and assault specific targets in German held territory. He subsequently assisted in disabling the German destroyer Z29 at Bremerhaven with full crew and taking surrender of the town of Bremen. Post war he served in the Canadian navy for some time.

Dalzel-Job was widely acclaimed as one of the main inspirations for James Bond, Ian Fleming's fictional character, though he stated that he personally "only ever loved one woman" (Bjørg) and was "not a drinking man".

After the war he returned to Norway and found Bjørg, the girl he and his mother had sailed with before the war. He married her in 1945. They had one son, Iain Dalzel-Job, who served as a Major in the 2nd Battalion, The Scots Guards and commanded G Coy (7, 8 and 9 Platoons) at the assault on Mount Tumbledown during the Falklands War. Bjørg died in 1986.

He released his memoirs, titled From Arctic Snow to Dust of Normandy (ISBN 0-9519788-0-2) in 1991.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Black Gold from South Korea

Black Gold, Light and Solid as a Bird’s Bone, Is Developed

This new material is more solid and 30% lighter than regular gold.

Prof. Ju-Young Kim's team used a ball milling technique to elevate the strength and durability.

UNIST, South Korea, Mar 28, 2016

Prof. Ju-Young Kim (School of Materials Science and Engineering)’s research team developed an ultralight nanoporous gold with high strength. This newly developed material is twice more solid than a regular gold and it is 30% lighter. This research outcome was selected to introduce on the online version of Nano Letters on March 22, 2016.

Prof. Kim says “This nanoporous gold has 100,000 wider surface than a regular gold and it is harmless to humans since it is chemically stable. As long as we overcame the fact of easily breaking quality, it will be used in various research areas.”

This gold loses its original gloss, therefore it looks black. So it’s called Black Gold. Black gold has a structure with many holes, but with strength and durability. The porous materials are not difficult to elevate the reaction efficiency since they have wider surfaces than their sizes. However, if there are more holes, then it would get more difficult to use in various areas with weaker strength.

Prof. Kim’s team used a ball milling technique to elevate the strength of nanoporous gold. This newly developed nanoporous gold maintains the good qualities of the regular gold, so it is possible to be used in various ways after coating it with various ingredients on the surface.

Prof. Kim says, “With this research outcome, it is now possible to raise the credibility of nanoporous ingredients and apply them to the various elements.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ethics and Equipoise

Clinical equipoise, also known as the principle of equipoise, provides the ethical basis for medical research that involves assigning patients to different treatment arms of a clinical trial. The term was first used by Benjamin Freedman in 1987. In short, clinical equipoise means that there is genuine uncertainty in the expert medical community over whether a treatment will be beneficial. This applies also for off-label treatments performed before or during their required clinical trials.

An ethical dilemma arises in a clinical trial when the investigator(s) begin to believe that the treatment or intervention administered in one arm of the trial is significantly outperforming the other arms. A trial should begin with a null hypothesis, and there should exist no decisive evidence that the intervention or drug being tested will be superior to existing treatments or effective at all. As the trial progresses, the findings may provide sufficient evidence to convince the investigator of the intervention or drug’s efficacy. Once a certain threshold of evidence is passed, there is no longer genuine uncertainty about the most beneficial treatment, so there is an ethical imperative for the investigator to provide the superior intervention to all participants. Ethicists contest the location of this evidentiary threshold, with some suggesting that investigators should only continue the study until they are convinced that one of the treatments is better, and with others arguing that the study should continue until the evidence convinces the entire expert medical community.

The extent to which major research ethics policies endorse clinical equipoise varies. For instance, the Canadian Tri-Council Policy Statement endorses it; whereas, the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) does not. With regard to clinical equipoise in practice, there is evidence that industry-funded studies disproportionately favor the industry product, suggesting unfavorable conditions for clinical equipoise. In contrast, a series of studies of national cancer institute funded trials suggests an outcome pattern consistent with clinical equipoise.


Miller and Brody argue that the notion of clinical equipoise is fundamentally misguided. The ethics of therapy and the ethics of research are two distinct enterprises that are governed by different norms. They state, “The doctrine of clinical equipoise is intended to act as a bridge between therapy and research, allegedly making it possible to conduct RCTs without sacrificing the therapeutic obligation of physicians to provide treatment according to a scientifically validated standard of care. This constitutes therapeutic misconception concerning the ethics of clinical trials, analogous to the tendency of patient volunteers to confuse treatment in the context of RCTs with routine medical care.” Equipoise, they argue, only makes sense as a normative assumption for clinical trials if one assumes that researchers have therapeutic obligations to their research participants. Further criticisms of clinical equipoise have been leveled by Robert Veatch and by Peter Ubel and Robert Silbergleit.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Sun's Superflares

Deadly Stars
Aarhus Universitet, March 24, 2016

Every now and then large Sun storms strike the Earth where they cause aurora and in rare cases power cuts. These events are, however, nothing compared to the apocalyptic destructions we would experience if the Earth is struck by a superflare. An international research team led by Christoffer Karoff from Aarhus University, Denmark, has now shown that this is a scenario we may have to consider a real possibility.

By: Rasmus Rørbæk & Christoffer Karoff

The Earth is often struck by solar eruptions. These eruptions consist of energetic particles that are hurled away from the Sun into space, where those directed towards Earth encounter the magnetic field around our planet. When these eruptions interact with Earth’s magnetic field they cause beautiful auroras. A poetic phenomenon that reminds us, that our closest star is an unpredictable neighbor.

When the Sun pours out gigantic amounts of hot plasma during the large solar eruptions, it may have severe consequences on Earth. Solar eruptions are, however, nothing compared to the eruption we see on other stars, the so-called ‘superflares’. Superflares have been a mystery since the Kepler mission discovered them in larger numbers four years ago.

Questions arose: Are superflares formed by the same mechanism as solar flares? If so, does that mean that the Sun is also capable of producing a superflare?

An international research team led by Christoffer Karoff from Aarhus University, Denmark, has now provided answers to some of these questions. These alarming answers are published in Nature Communications.

The dangerous neighbor
The Sun is capable of producing monstrous eruptions that can break down radio communication and power supplies here on Earth. The largest observed eruption took place in September 1859, where gigantic amounts of hot plasma from our neighboring star struck the Earth.

On 1 September 1859, astronomers observed how one of the dark spots on the surface of the Sun suddenly lit up and shone brilliantly over the solar surface. This phenomenon had never been observed before and nobody knew what was to come. On the morning of September 2, the first particles from, what we now know was an enormous eruption on the Sun, reached the Earth.

The 1859 solar storm is also known as the “Carrington Event”. Auroras associated with this event could be seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii, telegraph system worldwide went haywire, and ice core records from Greenland indicate that the Earth’s protective ozone layer was damaged by the energetic particles from the solar storm.

The cosmos, however, contains other stars and some of these regularly experience eruptions that can be up to 10,000 times larger than the Carrington event.

Solar flares occur when large magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun collapse. When that happens, huge amounts of magnetic energy are released. Christoffer Karoff and his team have used observations of magnetic fields on the surface of almost 100,000 stars in the field of view of the Kepler space telescope,  made with the new Guo Shou Jing telescope in China, to show that these superflares are likely formed via the same mechanism as solar flares.

“The magnetic fields on the surface of stars with superflares are generally stronger than the magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun. This is exactly what we would expect, if superflares are formed in the same way as solar flares” explains Christoffer Karoff.

Can the Sun create a superflare?
It does therefore not seem likely that the Sun should be able to create a superflare, its magnetic field is simply too weak.  However…

Out of all the stars with superflares that Christoffer Karoff and his team analyzed, around 10% had a magnetic field with a strength similar to or weaker than the Sun’s magnetic field. Therefore, even though it is not very likely, it is not impossible that the Sun could produce a superflare.

“We certainly did not expect to find superflare stars with magnetic fields as weak as the magnetic fields on the Sun. This opens the possibility that the Sun could generate a superflare - a very frightening thought” elaborates Christoffer Karoff.

If an eruption of this size was to strike the Earth today, it would have devastating consequences.  Not just for all electronic equipment on Earth, but also for our atmosphere and thus our planet’s ability to support life.

Trees hid a secret
Evidence from geological archives has shown that the Sun might have produced a small superflare in AD 775. Here, tree rings show that anomalously large amounts of the radioactive isotope C14 were formed in the Earth’s atmosphere. C14 is formed when cosmic-ray particles from our galaxy, the Milky Way, or especially energetic protons from the Sun, formed in connection with large solar eruptions, enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

The studies from the Guo Shou Jing telescope support the notion that the event in AD 775 was indeed a small superflare, i.e. a solar eruption 10-to-100 times larger that the largest solar eruption observed during the space age.

“One of the strengths of our study is that we can show how astronomical observations of superflares agree with Earth-based studies of radioactive isotopes in tree rings.” Explains Christoffer Karoff.

In this way, the observations from the Guo Shou Jing telescope can be used to evaluate how often a star with a magnetic field similar to the Sun would experience a superflare. The new study shows that the Sun, statistically speaking, should experience a small superflare every millennium. This is in agreement with idea that the event in AD 775 and a similar event in AD 993 were indeed caused by small superflares on the Sun.

It is no coincidence that the new Guo Shou Jing telescope in China was used for this study. In order to measure the magnetic fields, Christoffer Karoff and his team used a spectrum for every star of the 100,000 stars available for this analysis. A spectrum shows the colors, or wavelengths, of the light from the stars. Here, certain short ultraviolet wavelengths can be used to measure the magnetic fields around the stars.

The problem is, however, that conventional telescopes are only capable of obtaining one spectrum of a single star at a time. Therefore, if the observations were to be made with another telescope, such as the Nordic Optical Telescope on La Palma - a telescope the research group has used before - it would require 15-20 years of continuous observations.

The Guo Shou Jing telescope, or LAMOST as it is also called, is optimized for obtaining spectra of up to 4,000 stars simultaneously, as 4,000 optical fibers are connected to the telescope. This makes it possible to observe 100,000 stars in only a few weeks and it is this special capability that has made it possible to generate the new results.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Clever Management Ideas

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future is a book by Daniel H. Pink, author of Free Agent Nation. A Whole New Mind posits that the future of global business belongs to the right-brainers. The book was published by Riverhead Books on March 24, 2005.

Key Concepts

A historical narrative begins the text by outlining four major "ages":

  1. Agricultural Age (farmers)
  2. Industrial Age (factory workers)
  3. Information Age (knowledge workers)
  4. Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers)

In the fourth stage, Pink focuses on the way in which businesses can become successful.

Pink references three prevailing trends pointing towards the future of business and the economy: Abundance (consumers have too many choices, nothing is scarce), Asia (everything that can be outsourced, is) and Automation (computerization, robots, technology, processes).

These trends, Pink writes, bring up three crucial questions for the success of any business:

  1. Can a computer do it faster?
  2. Is what I'm offering in demand in an age of abundance?
  3. Can someone overseas do it cheaper?

When these questions are present, creativity becomes the competitive difference that can differentiate commodities. Pink outlines six essential senses:

  1. Design – Moving beyond function to engage the sense.
  2. Story – Narrative added to products and services - not just argument. Best of the six senses.
  3. Symphony – Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
  4. Empathy – Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
  5. Play – Bringing humor and light-heartedness to business and products.
  6. Meaning – the purpose is the journey, give meaning to life from inside yourself.


A Whole New Mind is Pink's second book. The book is a long-running New York Times and BusinessWeek bestseller that has been translated into 20 languages. The book was named Best Business Book of 2005 by Strategy + Business, The Miami Herald, 800-CEO-READ, and Fast Company.

The book is part of a general movement in management literature to increasingly accept creativity and innovation as a source of business value.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Smartest Living American

Christopher Michael Langan (born c. 1952) is an American whose IQ was reported to be between 195 and 210, although IQ tests are unreliable at such high levels.  He has been described as "the smartest man in America" as well as "the smartest man in the world" by the media.  Langan has developed a "theory of the relationship between mind and reality" which he calls the "Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe" (CTMU).  His work is closer to the Spinozist God and Spinozism than most other systems. His work is essentially, analytical moral epstemology, in the vien of Nicholas Reacher.

Early Life

Langan was born in San Francisco, California, circa 1952. He spent most of his early life in Montana, with his mother and three brothers. His mother was the daughter of a wealthy shipping executive but was cut off from her family's fortune. Langan didn't grow up with his biological father as he died or disappeared before he was born. This eventually resulted in an economic struggle for the family, causing a food scarcity, reducing the family to a life of poverty.

During elementary school, Langan was repeatedly skipped ahead, which resulted in torment by his peers. Although teachers praised Langan for his college-level work, his peers still bullied him, not for his intelligence, but because of his family's socio-economic status. Langan has disclosed that he was brutally beaten by his stepfather, Jack Langan. Chris Langan recalled that his "stepfather constantly asked [Chris] difficult questions, and when I'd give him correct answers to those questions, he'd bat me in the mouth or something of that nature to let me know he didn't appreciate a guy trying to be smarter than he was."  At the age of twelve years, Langan began weight training, and forcibly ended the abuse by throwing his stepfather out of the house and telling him never to return when he was fourteen.

Langan says he spent the last years of high school mostly in independent study, teaching himself "advanced math, physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek".  He allegedly earned a perfect score on the SAT (pre-1995 scale) despite taking a nap during the test.  Langan attended Reed College and later Montana State University, but faced with financial and transportation problems, and believing that he could teach his professors more than they could teach him, he dropped out.

Later Life

Langan took a string of labor-intensive jobs for some time, and by his mid-40s had been a construction worker, cowboy, Forest Service Ranger, farmhand, and, for over twenty years, a bouncer on Long Island. Langan was also approached and contracted by Disney Research and he previously worked for Virtual Logistix, a technology company. According to company records, Langan "produced original research in various fields of mathematics, including graph theory, algebra, advanced logic and model theory, abstract computation theory and the theory of computational intractability, artificial intelligence, physics and cosmology".  Langan said he developed a "double-life strategy": on one side a regular guy, doing his job and exchanging pleasantries, and on the other side coming home to perform equations in his head, working in isolation on his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU).

                                                              Christopher Langan

The CTMU has gained both praise and controversy in the scientific community. Robert Seitz, a former NASA Executive and Mega Foundation director stated "every physicist is inundated with amateurs' ‘Theories of Everything,' but Chris' CTMU is very, very different".  On the flip side, the CTMU theory has been criticized for its use of convoluted language. Langan's use of terms he has invented (or redefined) has made his exposition obscure. Some suggest this is deliberate.

In 2004, Langan moved with his wife Gina (née LoSasso), a clinical neuropsychologist, to northern Missouri, where he owns and operates a horse ranch and undertakes activities for his Foundation.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tougher Men Lie to their Doctors

The Tougher Men Think They Are, the Less
Likely They Are to Be Honest with Doctors
Men, who die on average five years earlier than women, prefer male doctors, but are more honest with female doctors
By Ken Branson Rutgers Today

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 -- Men are less likely than women to go to the doctor, more likely to choose a male doctor when they do go, but less likely to be honest with that doctor about their symptoms, Rutgers psychologists have found. The researchers believe this may contribute to men’s dying earlier than women.

“The question that we wanted to answer was, why do men die earlier than women?” said Diana Sanchez, associate professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences. “Men can expect to die five years earlier than women, and physiological differences don’t explain that difference.”

Sanchez and Mary Himmelstein, a doctoral student, have published studies in Preventive Medicine and The Journal of Health Psychology describing their research.

Himmelstein and Sanchez found that men who held traditional beliefs about masculinity – that men should be tough, brave, self-reliant and restrained in their expression of emotion – were more likely to ignore medical problems, or at least put off dealing with them, than women or than men with less traditional beliefs. They were more likely to choose a male doctor, based on the belief that male doctors were more competent than female doctors.  Paradoxically, however, the researchers discovered that men, having chosen a male doctor, were less likely to be open with that doctor about their symptoms. 

“That’s because they don’t want to show weakness or dependence to another man, including a male doctor,” Sanchez says.

Ironically, the researchers found, men tend  to be more honest about their medical symptoms with female doctors, because, Sanchez theorizes,  to be honest about  vulnerabilities causes them no loss of status with women.

For their study, reported in Preventive Medicine, Himmelstein and Sanchez asked participants – about 250 men -- to fill out an online questionnaire designed to elicit their opinions about manhood and relative attributes of men and women. The participants also answered questions about doctor preference. The higher they scored on the masculinity scale, the more likely participants were to prefer a male to a female doctor. The researchers then recruited 250 male undergraduates at a large public university and had them fill out similar questionnaires. Each subject was  interviewed by male and female pre-medical and nursing students about their medical conditions. The interviews took place in clinical examining rooms, and the interviewers wore white coats. The higher the subjects scored on the masculinity scale, the less likely they were to discuss their symptoms frankly with the male interviewers.

In the research published in The Journal of Health Psychology, Himmelstein and Sanchez interviewed 193 students (88 men and 105 women) at a large, public university in the northeastern United States, and a separate sample of 298 people, half men and half women, from the general population. They found, as they expected, that men who held strongly traditional opinions about masculinity were less likely to seek medical help, more likely to minimize their symptoms and suffered worse health outcomes than women  and men who didn’t share those opinions. However, they also discovered that women who thought they should be brave and self-reliant – according to their responses on questionnaires -- were less likely to seek treatment, more likely to put  off seeking medical help and less likely to be forthcoming with their doctors than women who did not hold bravery, toughness and self-reliance as core values.

Self-reliance, therefore, seems to be dangerous to one’s health, regardless of gender.

“It’s worse for men, however,” Himmelstein says. “Men have a cultural script that tells them they should be brave, self-reliant and tough. Women don’t have that script, so there isn’t any cultural message telling them that, to be real women, they should not make too much of illnesses and symptoms.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dangerous Populist Tom Watson

Thomas Edward "Tom" Watson (September 5, 1856 – September 26, 1922) was an American politician, attorney, newspaper editor and writer from Georgia. In the 1890s Watson championed poor farmers as a leader of the Populist Party, articulating an agrarian political viewpoint while attacking business, bankers, railroads, Democratic President Grover Cleveland and the Democratic Party. He was the nominee for vice president with William Jennings Bryan in 1896 on the Populist ticket (but there was a different vice presidential nominee on Bryan's Democratic ticket of 1900 and 1908).

Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1890, Watson pushed through legislation mandating Rural Free Delivery, called the "biggest and most expensive endeavor" ever instituted by the U.S. postal service. Politically he was a leader on the left in the 1890s, calling on poor whites and poor blacks to unite against the elites. After 1900, however, he shifted to nativist attacks on blacks and Catholics (and after 1914 on Jews). Two years before his death, he was elected to the United States Senate.


Watson began to support the Farmers' Alliance platform and was elected to the United States House of Representatives as an Alliance Democrat in 1890. He served in the House from 1891 until March 1893. In Congress, Watson was the only Southern Alliance Democrat to abandon the Democratic caucus, instead attending the first People's Party congressional caucus. At that meeting, he was nominated for Speaker of the House by the eight Western Populist Congressmen. Watson was instrumental in the founding of the Georgia Populist Party in early 1892.

The People's Party advocated the public ownership of the railroads, steamship lines, and telephone and telegraph systems. It also supported the free and unlimited coinage of silver, the abolition of national banks, a system of graduated income tax and the direct election of United States Senators. As a Populist, Watson tried to unite the agrarians across class lines, overcoming racial divides. He also supported the right of black men to vote. The failures of the Populists' attempt to make political progress through fusion tickets with the Democrats in 1896 and 1898 deeply affected Watson.

Rural Free Delivery

Watson, though a member of a minority faction in Congress, was nonetheless effective in passing landmark legislation. The most significant was a law to require the Post Office to deliver mail to remote farm families. Rural Free Delivery (RFD), legislation that Watson pushed through Congress in 1893, eliminated the need for individuals living in more remote homesteads to pick up mail, sometimes at distant post offices, or to pay private carriers for delivery. The legislation was opposed by private carriers, and by many small-town merchants who worried the service would reduce farm families' weekly visits to town to obtain goods and merchandise, or that mail order merchants selling through catalogs, such as Sears, Roebuck and Company might present significant competition. RFD became an official service in 1896. That year, 82 rural routes were put into operation. A massive undertaking, nationwide RFD service took several years to implement, and remains the "biggest and most expensive endeavor" ever instituted by the U.S. postal service.

Shifting Racial Views

Watson had long supported black enfranchisement in Georgia and throughout the South, as a basic tenet of his populist philosophy.  He condemned lynching and tried to protect black voters from lynch mobs. However, after 1900 his interpretation of populism shifted. He no longer viewed the movement as being racially inclusive. By 1904, he was engaged in nativist attacks on blacks. By 1908 Watson identified as a white supremacist and ran as such during his presidential bid. He used his highly influential magazine and newspaper to launch vehement diatribes against blacks.

Election to the U.S. Senate and Death

Watson rejoined the Democratic Party, and in 1920 was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating his bitter rival Hoke Smith.

Watson died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1922 at age 66. Rebecca L. Felton was appointed to succeed him and served (for 24 hours) as the first female U.S. Senator.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Major Photon Computing Breakthrough

Breakthrough Technology to Improve Cyber Security

The University of Sydney, March 22, 2016 -- Interdisciplinary global photonics research is set to revolutionise our ability to exchange data securely.

An international team of researchers has made a breakthrough in generating single photons – the single quanta of light particles – as carriers of quantum information in security systems. The findings are set to revolutionise cybersecurity, along with advancing quantum computing, which can search large databases exponentially faster. Work will be continued through the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, which launches at the University of Sydney in April 2016.

“This is the holy grail for quantum communications and quantum computing – the ability to generate photons on demand.”
                         -- Professor Benjamin Eggleton.

With enough computing effort most contemporary security systems will be broken. But a research team at the University of Sydney has made a major breakthrough in generating single photons (light particles), as carriers of quantum information in security systems.

The collaboration involving physicists at the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), an ARC Centre of Excellence headquartered in the School of Physics, and electrical engineers from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, has been published last night in Nature Communications.

The team’s work resolved a key issue holding back the development of password exchange which can only be broken by violating the laws of physics. Photons are generated in a pair, and detecting one indicates the existence of the other. This allows scientists to manage the timing of photon events so that they always arrive at the time they are expected.

Lead author Dr Chunle Xiong, from the School of Physics, said: “Quantum communication and computing are the next generation technologies poised to change the world.”

Among a number of quantum systems, optical systems offer particularly easy access to quantum effects. Over the past few decades, many building blocks for optical quantum information processing have developed quickly,” Dr Xiong said.

“Implementing optical quantum technologies has now come down to one fundamental challenge:  having indistinguishable single photons on-demand,” he said.

“This research has demonstrated that the odds of being able to generate a single photon can be doubled by using a relatively simple technique – and this technique can be scaled up to ultimately generate single photons with 100% probability.”

CUDOS director and co-author of the paper, Professor Benjamin Eggleton, said the interdisciplinary research was set to revolutionise our ability to exchange data securely – along with advancing quantum computing, which can search large databases exponentially faster.

“The ability to generate single photons, which form the backbone of technology used in laptops and the internet, will drive the development of local secure communications systems – for safeguarding defence and intelligence networks, the financial security of corporations and governments and bolstering personal electronic privacy, like shopping online,” said Professor Eggleton.

“Our demonstration leverages the CUDOS Photonic chip that we have been developing over the last decade, which means this new technology is also compact and can be manufactured with existing infrastructure.”

The research will be furthered at the new Sydney Nanoscience Hub - part of the Australian Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology, which launches next month.

Co-author and Professor of Computer Systems, Philip Leong, who developed the high-speed electronics crucial for the advance, said he was particularly excited by the prospect of further exploring the marriage of photonics and electronics to develop new architectures for quantum problems.

“This advance addresses the fundamental problem of single photon generation – promises to revolutionise research in the area,” Professor Leong said.

The group – which is now exploring advanced designs and expects real-world applications within three to five years – has involved research with University of Melbourne, CUDOS nodes at Macquarie University and Australian National University and an international collaboration with Guangdong University of Technology, China.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ghost Story Basics

A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or characters' belief in them. The "ghost" may appear of its own accord or be summoned by magic. Linked to the ghost is the idea of "hauntings", where a supernatural entity is tied to a place, object or person.

Colloquially, the term "ghost story" can refer to any kind of scary story. In a narrower sense, the ghost story has been developed as a short story format, within genre fiction. It is a form of supernatural fiction and specifically of weird fiction, and is often a horror story.

While ghost stories are often explicitly meant to be scary, they have been written to serve all sorts of purposes, from comedy to morality tales. Ghosts often appear in the narrative as sentinels or prophets of things to come. Belief in ghosts is found in all cultures around the world, and thus ghost stories may be passed down orally or in written form.


A widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material. Anthropologists link this idea to early beliefs that ghosts were the person within the person (the person's spirit), most noticeable in ancient cultures as a person's breath, which upon exhaling in colder climates appears visibly as a white mist. Belief in ghosts is found in all cultures around the world, and thus ghost stories may be passed down orally or in written form.

The campfire story, a form of oral storytelling, often involves recounting ghost stories, or other scary stories. Some of the stories are decades old, with varying versions across multiple cultures.  Many schools and educational institutions encourage ghost storytelling as part of literature.

In 1929, five key features of the English ghost story were identified in "Some Remarks on Ghost Stories" by M. R. James. As summarized by Frank Coffman for a course in popular imaginative literature, they were:

  • The pretense of truth
  • "A pleasing terror"
  • No gratuitous bloodshed or sex
  • No "explanation of the machinery"
  • Setting: "those of the writer's (and reader's) own day"

The introduction of pulp magazines in the early 1900s created new avenues for ghost stories to be published, and they also began to appear in publications such as Good Housekeeping and The New Yorker.

“Golden Age of the Ghost Story”

Historian of the ghost story Jack Sullivan has noted that many literary critics argue a "Golden Age of the Ghost Story" existed between the decline of the Gothic novel in the 1830s and the start of the First World War. Sullivan argues that the work of Edgar Allan Poe and Sheridan Le Fanu inaugurated this "Golden Age".

Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu was of the most influential writers of ghost stories.. Le Fanu's collections, such as In a Glass Darkly (1872) and The Purcell Papers (1880), helped popularise the short story as a medium for ghost fiction. Charlotte Riddell, who wrote fiction as Mrs. J. H. Riddell, created ghost stories which were noted for adept use of the haunted house theme.

The "classic" ghost story arose during the Victorian period, and included authors such as M. R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Violet Hunt, and Henry James. Classic ghost stories were influenced by the gothic fiction tradition, and contain elements of folklore and psychology. M. R. James summed up the essential elements of a ghost story as, “Malevolence and terror, the glare of evil faces, ‘the stony grin of unearthly malice', pursuing forms in darkness, and 'long-drawn, distant screams', are all in place, and so is a modicum of blood, shed with deliberation and carefully husbanded...”.

Famous literary apparitions from the Victorian period are the ghosts of A Christmas Carol, in which Ebenezer Scrooge is helped to see the error of his ways by the ghost of his former colleague Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. In a precursor to "A Christmas Carol" Dickens published "The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton".  Dickens also wrote The Signal-Man, another work featuring a ghost.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Military Psychic Research

The Stargate Project was the code name for a U.S. Army unit established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defense Intelligence Agency and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic applications. This primarily involved remote viewing, the purported ability to psychically "see" events, sites, or information from a great distance. The project was overseen until 1987 by Lt. Frederick Holmes "Skip" Atwater, an aide and "psychic headhunter" to Maj. Gen. Albert Stubblebine, and later president of the Monroe Institute. The unit was small-scale, comprising about 15 to 20 individuals, and was run out of "an old, leaky wooden barracks".

The Stargate Project was terminated in 1995 after a CIA report concluded that it was never useful in any intelligence operation. Information provided by the program was vague, included irrelevant and erroneous data, and there was reason to suspect that its project managers had changed the reports so they would fit background cues. The program was featured in the 2004 book and 2009 film entitled The Men Who Stare at Goats, although neither mentions it by name.


Information in the United States on psychic research in some foreign countries was sketchy and poorly detailed, based mostly on rumor or innuendo from second-hand or tertiary reporting, attributed to both reliable and unreliable disinformation sources from the Soviet Union.

The CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency decided they should investigate and know as much about it as possible. Various programs were approved yearly and re-funded accordingly. Reviews were made semi-annually at the Senate and House select committee level. Work results were reviewed, and remote viewing was attempted with the results being kept secret from the "viewer". It was thought that if the viewer was shown they were incorrect it would damage the viewer's confidence and skill. This was standard operating procedure throughout the years of military and domestic remote viewing programs. Feedback to the remote viewer of any kind was rare; it was kept classified and secret.

Remote viewing attempts to sense unknown information about places or events. Normally it is performed to detect current events, but during military and domestic intelligence applications viewers claimed to sense things in the future, experiencing precognition.


In 1970, United States intelligence sources believed that the Soviet Union was spending 60 million rubles annually on "psychotronic" research. In response to claims that the Soviet program had produced results, the CIA initiated funding for a new program SCANATE ("scan by coordinate") in 1970.  Remote viewing research began in 1972 at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California.  Proponents of the research said that a minimum accuracy rate of 65% required by the clients was often exceeded in the later experiments.

In 1977, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) Systems Exploitation Detachment (SED) started the GONDOLA WISH program to "evaluate potential adversary applications of remote viewing." Army Intelligence then formalized this in mid-1978 as an operational program GRILL FLAME, based in buildings 2560 and 2561 at Fort Meade, MD (INSCOM "Detachment G"). In early 1979 the research at SRI was integrated into GRILL FLAME, which was redesignated INSCOM CENTER LANE Project (ICLP) in 1983.

In 1984 the existence of the program was reported by Jack Anderson, and in that year it was unfavorably received by the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council. In late 1985 the Army funding was terminated, but the program was redesignated SUN STREAK and funded by the Defense Intelligence Agency Scientific and Technical Intelligence Directorate (office code DT-S).

In 1991 most of the contracting for the program was transferred from SRI to SAIC, with Edwin May controlling 70% of the contractor funds and 85% of the data. Its security was altered from Special Access Program (SAP) to Limited Dissemination (LIMDIS), and it was given the name STAR GATE.

In 1995, the defense appropriations bill directed that the program be transferred from DIA to CIA oversight. The CIA commissioned a report by American Institutes for Research that found that remote viewing had not been proved to work by a psychic mechanism, and said it had not been used operationally. The CIA subsequently cancelled and declassified the program.

The Stargate Project created a set of protocols designed to make the research of clairvoyance and out-of-body experiences more scientific, and to minimize as much as possible session noise and inaccuracy. The term "remote viewing" emerged as shorthand to describe this more structured approach to clairvoyance. Stargate only received a mission after all other intelligence attempts, methods, or approaches had already been exhausted.

It was reported that there were over 22 active military and domestic remote viewers providing data. When the project closed in 1995 this number had dwindled down to three. One was using tarot cards. People leaving the project were not replaced. According to Joseph McMoneagle, "The Army never had a truly open attitude toward psychic functioning". Hence, the use of the term "giggle factor" and the saying, "I wouldn't want to be found dead next to a psychic."

In 1995, the project was transferred to the CIA and a retrospective evaluation of the results was done. The appointed panel consisted primarily of Jessica Utts and Ray Hyman. The psychologist David Marks noted that as Utts has published papers with Edwin May "she was not independent of the research team. Her appointment to the review panel is puzzling; an evaluation is likely to be less than partial when an evaluator is not independent of the program under investigation." A report by Utts claimed the results were evidence of psychic functioning, however Hyman in his report argued Utts' conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, especially precognition, was premature and the findings had not been independently replicated. Hyman came to the conclusion:

Psychologists, such as myself, who study subjective validation find nothing striking or surprising in the reported matching of reports against targets in the Stargate data. The overwhelming amount of data generated by the viewers is vague, general, and way off target. The few apparent hits are just what we would expect if nothing other than reasonable guessing and subjective validation are operating.

A later report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) also came to a negative conclusion. Joe Nickell has written:

Other evaluators-two psychologists from AIR assessed the potential intelligence-gathering usefulness of remote viewing. They concluded that the alleged psychic technique was of dubious value and lacked the concreteness and reliability necessary for it to be used as a basis for making decisions or taking action. The final report found “reason to suspect” that in “some well publicised cases of dramatic hits” the remote viewers might have had “substantially more background information” than might otherwise be apparent.

Based upon the collected findings, which recommended a higher level of critical research and tighter controls, the CIA terminated the 20 million dollar project, citing a lack of documented evidence that the program had any value to the intelligence community. Time magazine stated in 1995 three full-time psychics were still working on a $500,000-a-year budget out of Fort Meade, Maryland, which would soon close.

David Marks in his book The Psychology of the Psychic (2000) discussed the flaws in the Stargate Project in detail. Marks wrote that there were six negative design features of the experiments. The possibility of cues or sensory leakage was not ruled out, no independent replication, some of the experiments were conducted in secret making peer-review impossible. Marks noted that the judge Edwin May was also the principal investigator for the project and this was problematic making huge conflict of interest with collusion, cuing and fraud being possible. Marks concluded the project was nothing more than a "subjective delusion" and after two decades of research it had failed to provide any scientific evidence for remote viewing.

According to the American Institute for Research, which performed a review of the project, no remote viewing report ever provided actionable information for any intelligence operation.

Official Statement

The Stargate Project was claimed to have been terminated in 1995 following an independent review which concluded:

The foregoing observations provide a compelling argument against continuation of the program within the intelligence community. Even though a statistically significant effect has been observed in the laboratory, it remains unclear whether the existence of a paranormal phenomenon, remote viewing, has been demonstrated. The laboratory studies do not provide evidence regarding the origins or nature of the phenomenon, assuming it exists, nor do they address an important methodological issue of inter-judge reliability.

Further, even if it could be demonstrated unequivocally that a paranormal phenomenon occurs under the conditions present in the laboratory paradigm, these conditions have limited applicability and utility for intelligence gathering operations. For example, the nature of the remote viewing targets are vastly dissimilar, as are the specific tasks required of the remote viewers. Most importantly, the information provided by remote viewing is vague and ambiguous, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the technique to yield information of sufficient quality and accuracy of information for actionable intelligence. Thus, we conclude that continued use of remote viewing in intelligence gathering operations is not warranted.

— Executive summary, "An Evaluation of Remote Viewing: Research and Applications", American Institutes for Research, Sept. 29, 1995

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Family Nobody Wanted

The Family Nobody Wanted is a 1954 memoir by Helen Doss (née Grigsby). It retells the story of how Doss and her husband Carl, a Methodist minister, adopted twelve children of various ethnic backgrounds besides White Americans (Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Mexican, and Native American). The couple appeared on a 1954 episode of You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx, where they talked about their story.

The story was featured in a 1956 episode of Playhouse 90 directed by a young John Frankenheimer and made into a 1975 TV movie starring Shirley Jones of The Partridge Family fame.

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Reader Reviews of The Family Nobody Wanted from

5 Stars
Probably my favorite book of all time...
By Amazon Customer on September 23, 2002

I first read this book at the age of 10, after ordering it from Scholastic book services. I have since read it uncountable numbers of times, each re-reading bringing warm feelings at the familiar passages. This reprint has been highly anticipated, as I had wondered for years what had happened to the Doss family after the end of the book. It is the story of a man and a woman, and their desire for a family. But it is also much more. It is the tale of the strength found in a loving family, a family made by love and not biology. It is a reminder that we are all family, flesh and blood or not, skin color and ancestry aside. And it is filled with the humor that only small active children can provide! I highly recommend this book for readers of all ages, and would suggest it to families to read aloud together.

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5 Stars
An all-time favorite
By Ken Pierce on June 9, 2001

Only my closest friends are given the privilege of borrowing this delightfully written true story; the long out-of-print and (before the days of the internet) irreplaceable book has been one of my most closely guarded treasures since childhood. Any family with several small children, of course, will have a store of hilarious anecdotes; children raised with love combine insouciant joy with freedom from adult assumptions and habits of thought, so that any house full of love and children is a house full of unpredictability and laughter. But Helen Doss, unlike most parents, can capture her children in her writing and pass the joy on to us. I don't know anyone who has managed to read the book through without at some point laughing to the point of tears.

But the book is much more than a connection of Readers' Digest anecdotes strung together. Ms. Doss reveals, through deft and honest touches, her own weaknesses and struggles, her impetuosity and her grit. She communicates with power the pain that can come in so many different ways to a woman with a tremendous need to love, especially when obstacles - infertility, unreasonable adoption agencies, poverty - rise up to keep her from satisfying that need. And the portrait of her husband Carl, who changes as much as the children do, is vivid and telling. The Carl who says, "Let's take `em all" at the end of the book is a very different Carl from the one who agrees to the first adoption largely to humor his wife and to keep her from moping weepily and endlessly about the house, and whose annual refrain for many years is, "This is the last one!" You expect him to come on board, of course; but his path is a bit surprising and most revealing of the essence of the man. In particular his ability to close ranks against outside interference shows the degree to which his love for his family is as strong as his wife's, however differently it might be expressed.

As a family memoir alone, it would be a classic. But because the children were of mixed racial ancestry - in the `forties and `fifties - the Doss family became an unwilling catalyst for the ignorance and prejudice of the time. It is part of the Doss magic that the love in the family was strong enough to triumph over the unpleasant incidents, so that those incidents enriched, rather than poisoned, the Doss childhoods. (Not that this made them less unpleasant, of course.)

The book is never preachy. Nevertheless, it is a vivid documentary of how racism was built into the attitudes of even "nice" people of that time. It is a sermon of a kind, a sermon lived out in the lives of the Doss family. It is a primer on how to overcome evil with good, a standing lesson to a nation still struggling with racial resentment.

But the genuinely remarkable thing is that, despite the frequent intrusions suffered by the family from racially prejudiced outsiders, the book is not about race. No doubt this is because the Doss family was never about race. When the book crosses your mind in the days after you've closed it - and it will, frequently - it will not be as a book about race. It will be as a book about a uniquely special family and about the triumph of love and joy and grace and laughter over whatever might vainly try to overcome them.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Child Prodigies

In psychology research literature, the term child prodigy is defined as a person under the age of ten who produces meaningful output in some domain to the level of an adult expert performer.  Child prodigies are rare; and, in some domains, there are no child prodigies at all. Prodigiousness in childhood does not always predict adult eminence.

The term wunderkind (from German: Wunderkind, literally "wonder child") is sometimes used as a synonym for "prodigy", particularly in media accounts. Wunderkind also is used to recognize those who achieve success and acclaim early in their adult careers.

Examples of particularly extreme prodigies could include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Evgeny Kissin and Teresa Milanollo in music; Bobby Fischer, Samuel Reshevsky, Judit Polgár, Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin, Paul Morphy and José Capablanca in chess; Carl Friedrich Gauss, Shakuntala Devi, Srinivasa Ramanujan, John von Neumann and Terence Tao in mathematics; Pablo Picasso and Wang Ximeng in art; and Saul Kripke in philosophy. French composer Camille Saint-Saëns has been recognized by musical historians as one of the greatest musical child prodigies, but his mother was cautious, and didn't seek to exploit her son's skills, fearing it would cause him emotional trouble.

Memory Capacity of Prodigies

PET scans performed on several mathematics prodigies have suggested that they think in terms of long-term working memory (LTWM). This memory, specific to a field of expertise, is capable of holding relevant information for extended periods, usually hours. For example, experienced waiters have been found to hold the orders of up to twenty customers in their heads while they serve them, but perform only as well as an average person in number-sequence recognition. The PET scans also answer questions about which specific areas of the brain associate themselves with manipulating numbers.

One subject never excelled as a child in mathematics, but he taught himself algorithms and tricks for calculatory speed, becoming capable of extremely complex mental math. His brain, compared to six other controls, was studied using the PET scan, revealing separate areas of his brain that he manipulated to solve the complex problems. Some of the areas that he and presumably prodigies use are brain sectors dealing in visual and spatial memory, as well as visual mental imagery. Other areas of the brain showed use by the subject, including a sector of the brain generally related to childlike "finger counting," probably used in his mind to relate numbers to the visual cortex.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Psychokinesis Remains Unproven

Psychokinesis or telekinesis, is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without physical interaction.

Psychokinesis experiments have historically been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeatability.  There is no convincing evidence that psychokinesis is a real phenomenon.


In September 2006, a survey about belief in various religious and paranormal topics conducted by phone and mail-in questionnaire polled 1,721 Americans on their belief in telekinesis. Of these participants, 28% of male participants and 31% of female participants selected "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement, "It is possible to influence the world through the mind alone.”

In Popular Culture

Psychokinesis and telekinesis have commonly been used as superpowers in movies, television, computer games, literature, and other forms of popular culture.

Notable portrayals of psychokinetic and/or telekinetic characters include the Teleks in the 1952 novella Telek, Sissy Spacek as the title character in the 1976 film Carrie, Ellen Burstyn in the 1980 healer-themed film Resurrection, the Jedi and Sith in the Star Wars franchise, the Scanners in the 1981 film Scanners, and three high school seniors in the 2012 film Chronicle.


There is a broad scientific consensus that PK research, and parapsychology more generally, have not produced a reliable, repeatable demonstration.

A panel commissioned in 1988 by the United States National Research Council to study paranormal claims concluded that "despite a 130-year record of scientific research on such matters, our committee could find no scientific justification for the existence of phenomena such as extrasensory perception, mental telepathy or ‘mind over matter’ exercises... Evaluation of a large body of the best available evidence simply does not support the contention that these phenomena exist."

In 1984, the United States National Academy of Sciences, at the request of the US Army Research Institute, formed a scientific panel to assess the best evidence for psychokinesis. Part of its purpose was to investigate military applications of PK, for example to remotely jam or disrupt enemy weaponry. The panel heard from a variety of military staff who believed in PK and made visits to the PEAR laboratory and two other laboratories that had claimed positive results from micro-PK experiments. The panel criticized macro-PK experiments for being open to deception by conjurors, and said that virtually all micro-PK experiments "depart from good scientific practice in a variety of ways". Their conclusion, published in a 1987 report, was that there was no scientific evidence for the existence of psychokinesis.

Carl Sagan included telekinesis in a long list of "offerings of pseudoscience and superstition" which "it would be foolish to accept (...) without solid scientific data". Nobel Prize laureate Richard Feynman advocated a similar position.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

First Wheeled Monoplane

Traian Vuia or Trajan Vuia ( August 17, 1872 – September 3, 1950) was a Romanian inventor and aviation pioneer who designed, built and tested a tractor configuration monoplane. He was the first to demonstrate that a flying apparatus could rise into the air by running upon wheels upon an ordinary road. He is credited with a powered hop of 11 metres (36 feet) made on March 18, 1906 and he later claimed a powered hop of 24 metres (79 feet). Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, Vuia's invention influenced Louis Blériot in designing monoplanes. Later, Vuia also designed helicopters.

A French citizen since 1918, Vuia was also a great patriot, leading the Romanians (especially Transylvanians) of France in the resistance during World War II. He returned to Romania in 1950.

Traian Vuia
Education and Early Career

Vuia was born to Romanian parents Simion Popescu and Ana Vuia living in Surducul-Mic, a village in the Banat region, Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Romania; the place is now called Traian Vuia. After graduating from high school in Lugoj, in 1892, he enrolled in the School of Mechanics at the Polytechnic University of Budapest where he received his engineering diploma. He then joined the Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary, where he earned a Ph.D. in law in May 1901 with the thesis "Military and Industry, State and Contract regime".

He returned to Lugoj, where he studied the problem of human flight and designed his first flying machine, which he called the "airplane-car". He attempted to build the machine, but due to financial constraints decided to go to Paris in July 1902, hoping to find someone interested in financing his project, possibly balloon enthusiasts. He met with considerable skepticism from people who believed that a heavier-than-air machine could not fly. He then visited Victor Tatin, the well-known theoretician and experimenter who had built an aircraft model which flew in 1879. Tatin was interested in the project, but doubted that Vuia had a suitable engine or that his aircraft would be stable. Vuia then presented his plan to the Académie des Sciences in Paris on February 16, 1903, but was rejected with the comment: "The problem of flight with a machine which weighs more than air can not be solved and it is only a dream."

Flying Experiments

By December 1905 Vuia had finished construction of his first airplane, the "Vuia I". This was a high-wing monoplane constructed entirely of steel tubing. The basic framework consisted of a pair of triangular frames, the lower members forming the sides of the rectangular chassis which bore four pneumatic-tyred wheels, the front pair steerable.

Vuia chose a site in Montesson, near Paris, for testing. At first he used the machine without the wings mounted so he could gather experience controlling it on the ground. The wings were put on in March and on March 18, 1906, it lifted off briefly. After accelerating for about 50 m (160 ft), the aircraft left the ground and travelled through the air at a height of about 1 m (3 ft 3 in) for a distance of about 12 m (39 ft), but then the engine cut out and it came down.

The French journal L'Aérophile emphasized that Vuia's machine had the capability to take off from a flat surface, without assistance such as an incline, rails, or catapult. At the time Europe was aware of the efforts of the Wright brothers who on December 17, 1903, had flown their Wright Flyer from level ground using a dolly undercarriage running on a guide rail, though few yet recognised the achievement. The Wrights had made sustained and controlled flights in a complete circuit by September 1904.

Charles Dollfus, former curator of the Air Museum in Paris, wrote that aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont's use of wheels on his aircraft was influenced by Dumont's having seen Vuia's flight attempts.

Vuia in his 1906 aircraft
Other Accomplishments

Between 1918 and 1921 Vuia built two experimental helicopters on the Juvisy and Issy-les-Moulineaux aerodromes.

Another invention by Vuia was a steam generator with internal combustion that generates very high pressure – more than 100 atm (10 MPa) – that is still used today in thermal power stations. Traian Vuia and one of his partners, Emmanuel Yvonneau, patented several types of gas generators.