There has been differences in views on sleep for decades. Some say a good nights sleep is absolutely necessary to function well in the world. Others believe that sleeping is a waste of valuable time when one could be creating new things.
More time could be made available if sleep was postponed indefinitely. However, there is a question as to whether performance is impaired. Then creativity could be replaced by nuisance behavior - someone who is just a pest to well functioning individuals around him or her.
Research points to sleep being required for efficient functioning. We have evolved with roughly 12 hours of darkness each day. A century or so ago people went to bed early, before electricity grids changed all our lives. Most animals still head for cover when the sun goes down. Particular animals evolved to be active at night, hunting for food. Even these though sleep in daylight hours.
An Oregon study has shown that the elderly function better if they get a minimum of six hours sleep a night. People with dementia also performed more efficiently. Data confirm the findings of similar research in developing and developed countries - everyone needs sleep. The Oregon program was an international study in itself, the first test with subjects from many countries.
It is a pipe dream to raise the pension eligibility age and expect the elderly to go back to work. With thousands of young able bodied young people unemployed what kind of work are older people going to do?
Employers will not have older workers unless there is some sort of financial benefit. It makes no sense to give this with all the youngsters looking for work. Furthermore, making the unemployed wait six months to get any money at all is absolutely irrational. How are they going to get food to eat? The crime rate will rapidly increase. We will be back to the days of being imprisoned for stealing an apple.
Many of the young would like to see the accumulated assets of the elderly confiscated and given to them in benefits. Little goodwill is left in society. The old, worked 12 hour days, seven days a week in hard physical labor to gain their assets. The young today will only lift things under a certain weight. They use lifting machines to move heavy things around.
When I was a child I used to marvel at my father, a short man of average build. He took me with him in his delivery truck during my school holidays. He would unload 112lb bags of cement, but he carried two bags, one on each shoulder! Other men only carried one.
The elderly have worked hard for what they have. They should not be attacked and treated like lazy old welfare bludgers. They have served society and paid their taxes: they deserve respect and a decent income in the twilight of their lives.
Australians will always turn out when there is something odd going on. Thousands of people flocked to Bondi Beach for Australia Day but it was not just to celebrate the day off. They went because of the importance of thongs in there lives - no, not the ones worn around the waist, those worn on the feet!
A crowd of 500 beach goers grabbed giant inflatable thongs and took to the water in an attempt to break the world record set in 2006. The record was safe, however, well short of the the 863 target. At least everyone had a good time.
Australia day is when you celebrate things Australian and thongs are very popular here. In summertime some people wear nothing but thongs, all the time. They even go shopping in them. They are especially good for a day of fishing at the beach when you can "fling" them off and head into the water, then come back and put them back on again with your hands free.
Dolphins and whales are related. When dolphins are sleeping they show this. In the day they are quite unlike whales. Dolphins show off by jumping, swimming and catching balls. At night, however, they appear to "speak" a whale language.
The sounds they express closely resemble the humpback whale song. They only do this after they have heard the song. The song was in a soundtrack played during a performance for the public. This is an indication how all mammals deal with new things. The brain works on new things below the level of consciousness.
So well imitated were the whale sounds that tests done on them by volunteers showed people thought they were real whale sound. Dolphins mimic other types of sounds during the day, but they tend to zero in on whale sounds at night showing the evolutionary link.
Human beings perceive objects by seeing in the "normal" optical range. This is purely an evolutionary imperative. Evolution could just as easily given us eyes that work in the infrared to know what is going on around us. If this was the case we would experience no night at all. The night sky would be just as clear as the sky in the day.
At night the sky would be lit by hydroxyl molecules emitting infrared light in the form of a mass of narrow emission lines. It would be like daylight, though a few stars could be seen along with the Sun and the Moon.
Telescopes operating in the infrared get over this problem by using limited apertures and special filters. These filters use a photonic lantern system to move the light into parallel tracks. A Bragg filter reflects out the tracks and lets wavelengths between lines through. Many IR telescopes are in space where such a filter is unnecessary. The space telescopes beam data back to Earth.