Tag Archives: Surrey

Discovering a Martian Fighting Machine

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Martian Fighting Machine Micheal Condron

After my post about the book The Martians Are Coming, and with nothing to do the next afternoon, I jumped on a local train and visited the home town of H G Wells, a place called Woking, Surrey, England.

I endeavour where ever possible, not to take what I am told, given, or learn at face value, unlike the listeners of that radio play by Orson Welles broadcast in 1938 in the USA, which resulted in mass panic, where people thought Martians were invading Earth. I need to dig down, chunk down, to discover more facts, to understand the truth behind what I am being told, what I read, or what I am being fed.
And so it was, after a short journey I left the railway station in Woking. I had read that there was a Martian Fighting Machine described by H G Wells in his book The War Of The Worlds erected in the town center. I walked down a road deserted of shoppers and with not very inspiring shops, having really no idea of which direction to take, only presupposing that any artwork would perhaps be in the town center.
Hawker Hunter Woking

Hawker Hunter Woking

As I rounded a corner my eyes caught sight of a jet fighter mounted on a large metal pole. Why was it mounted in the center of Woking I could not find out from asking local people, only that once it had been a indoor showpiece of the nearby Big Apple family entertainment centre. One window cleaner I talked to, said he had worked and lived in the area for fifteen years and had no idea what it was all about. I have later found out that it is thought to be the very last Hawker Hunter ever built.
Then down the road from the corner of my eye, (thank you Phillip’s Sausage), I saw the Martian Fighting Machine.
Martian Fighting Machine Woking

Martian Fighting Machine Woking

Martian Fighting Machine Micheal Condron

Martian Fighting Machine Micheal Condron

With very little information about the sculpture I took my time viewing this work by Michael Condron. Smaller than I imagined, some 7m (23′) tall, the sculpture seemed to be in the wrong place to honour one of Woking’s greatest authors.
A quick tour of the shops and a cup of hot chocolate and I was back on a train home, not knowing much more than when I started my afternoon trip. But now a little seed has been planted to research why the Hawker Hunter has been placed outside a rather seedy looking Big Apple family entertainment centre.

Sleep Power-Nap

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sleeping man power nap

 I do not know what it is, the heat, the humidity, or the different time zone to the UK, Malaysia being eight hours in front, but often I need an afternoon nap, a small sleep in the afternoon.

This afternoon sleep, may last from ten minutes to one hour, but I find it such a deep sleep, the whole body plus my brain seems to shut down.

When working in Saudi Arabia, we had a time when the office hours were changed from working 9am – 6pm, to working 9am – 1pm, we would then go home to return to the office at 5pm and work until 9pm.

I would enjoy an afternoon sleep, away from the midday heat, but what a waste of a day, by the time we had returned home in the afternoon, had lunch and a nap, it was time to go back to the office, and in the evening, by the time we got home, prepared a meal, it was time to get to bed.

On my many trips to China giving training, it really confused me to see straight after lunch, office workers, participants, ordinary people, suddenly fall asleep at their desk, in their chair, but just for say half an hour.

Much research has been undertaken on afternoon naps, or what is known as “power-naps”.

In a California University, many years ago, researchers undertook tests on a group of cats.

The cats were taught a challenge, something special to do, and their brain waves were monitored. After a while the group of cats were split into two, and one of the groups was allowed to sleep or nap, whilst the other was allowed to learn the challenge.

A while later, the group of cats were woken, and the two groups were tested on how well they had learned the challenge. It was the group of cats that had slept who had mastered the challenge better. Sleep had increased learning.

Whilst the cats were taking the nap, researchers noticed unusual brain activity, and at a time when the sleep was at its’ deepest, when the cats entered REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. The researchers said that this was the first time they had seen the brain learning, the short-term memory passing information to long-term memory, a function they called the plasticity of the brain.

Further research has been carried out on REM sleep, in Harvard University (USA) and University of Surrey (UK). It was found that when nappers took 1 hour to 90 minutes sleep say around 2pm, and which involved slow wave sleep, that is light sleep, which also included REM sleep, that is deep sleep which is often identified with dreams, they performed better than those who did not sleep or had a “power-nap“.

It was also noted that the “power-nap” enhance performance of work and duties in the afternoon, but remarkably only if REM was achieved as well as light sleep. Also noted was that the “power-nap” was no substitute for a normal good nights sleep.

Research at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center suggests that a nap does not effect the normal nights sleep, in fact they found that the nap could be beneficial for improved cognitive performance, to perform arithmetic, decision-making and reaction time tests and mental for up a day after.

It is said that there have been famous and great “power-nappers” in our time including Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Lance Armstrong (the cyclist), yachtswoman Ellan MacArthur, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and that they could/can exist with a few hours sleep a night. But experts say that a full night’s sleep is still necessary for many bodily functions.

Will a “power-nap” influence the circadian rhythm or biological clock? No, only if you take more than 90 minutes for a nap.

sleeping man power nap sleeping man power nap

So sleep and nap well, I will.

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