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Kite power—latest in green technology?

Geneva, Switzerland, is known for many things. It is the birthplace of the International Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions, and home to more than 270 nongovernmental organizations, and tens of thousands of intergovernmental meetings and diplomatic treaty negotiations.

It is also host to an enormous amount of steady, powerful winds that come off the adjacent lake—one of the largest in Europe—and the city is sometimes buffeted by other winds that descend from the nearby mountains, which are extensions of the Alps. These winds are so large, and their timing so predictable, that local sailors have names for them; for example, the cold, persistent, and vigorous northeasterly is called the “bise,” most likely a mocking reference to the French word “bisous,” meaning “kiss.” When the bise arrives, flagpoles on shore appear to nearly bend in half, and it can be thrilling (and terrifying) to be on the lake in a small sailboat.

John Sonderman

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