To Sleep, Perchance to Dream


A Maid Asleep - Johannes Vermeer

The Heat Beneath

GPM # 39

Few things in life are more precious than a good night’s sleep. Six or seven hours of shuteye, punctuated by brief visits to the loo.

Better yet, sleep bursting with pleasant dreams.

Microsleeping in the middle of an important meeting, or behind the wheel of your car, is an entirely different story. This past week, scientists reported that nesting chinstrap penguins do just that, nodding off for a few seconds, ten thousand times every day, while keeping a wakeful eye on their nestlings.

The GPM spoke about the human form of this most cherished and mysterious activities with Brian Murray. Murray is a sleep neurologist at Sunnybrook Hospital and Research Institute, in Toronto.

Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Dar es Salaam (David Kattenburg)

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania’s largest city and Africa’s fourth largest port, on the edge of the Indian Ocean — is a funky town.

It also gets rainy. For the past few months, under the dual influence of El Niño, originating in the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean Dipole, Dar has been experiencing heavy rains and flooding.

Stuck in your own car, or packed into a daladala minibus on a muddy road, creeping from one side of Dar to another, can be a tiring challenge.

No one knows better than one of the GPM’s oldest friends, Josephat Mwanzi. Mwanzi is a journalist and radio trainer based in Dar es Salaam. I reached Josephat at home, on the edge of Tanzania’s City of Peace.

Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Each year, fossil fuel burning sends 37 billion metric tons of CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere.

A little over a tenth of those emissions – 4.1 billion tons – are associated with heating air and water in houses and buildings. So, clean ways to generate heat are in … hot demand.

Low energy pumps transfer heat from air to water and air to air. Then there’s geothermal – piping water from beneath Earth’s surface, where water approaches boiling temperature.

At the Technical University of Delft, in the Netherlands, two pipes are now being bored two and a half kilometers down. A ‘doublet’, these are called. Seventy-five degree C. water filled with natural gas will be pumped up, the gas will be tapped, and the hot water will be used to heat campus buildings.

Slightly cooler now — 50 degrees C. – that water will be sent through a grid to about 10,000 surrounding Delft homes, then pumped back down into the Earth again. Total output: 8 megawatts of thermal energy.

There are about twenty geothermal doublets around the Netherlands today. That could expand to seventy-five by 2025, and up to 700 by 2050, at which point the Netherlands aims to be CO2 emissions-free.

I spoke about the Delft Geothermal Heat Project with Hemmo Abels, a geologist at the Technical University of Delft.

Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Hemmo Abels (David Kattenburg)

Thanks to Dan Weisenberger for  his fabulous guitar instrumentals.