Archive for July, 2006

Terms for sailing

I need to learn some of the most common terms used on a sailing boat:

Swedish English French Spanish
akter stern, aft  le arrière, la poupe la popa
ankare anchor la ancre la anchla
babord port bâbord el babord
boj buoy  un buoy 
bom boom bôme bumo (?)
fall   la drisse  
att falla   au portant  
fock   le fock  
för bow la proue  
gajar (skot till spinnaker) spinnaker sheet l’écoute de spinnaker  
genua   génois  
att gippa gybing empanner  
knop knots noeud   
att kryssa   louvoyer (zigzaguer)  
köl keel quille   
latta lath    
lova (att styra upp båten mot vinden) heading up border  
lovart (båtens vindsida)   au mûr  
lee abriter du vent  
läns running downwind vent arrière  
mast mast le mât mástil
ombord aboard    
att reva reef, take in sail    
roder rudder rames  
rorkult   le barre  
segelbåt sailing boat le voilier barca de vela
sittbrunn cockpit cockpit  
sjömil nautical mile mille marin  
skot sheet l’écoute  
skott (båtens vägg) hull le coque du bateau  
att slå to tack de virer  
styrboard starboard tribord el estribor
winschvev   la manivelle la manivela
vind wind le vent el viento
vinsch winsch winch  

Le Chat Noir

Le Chat NoireWhen a good friend moved away from Geneva, I was given her poster of Le Chat Noir. I have framed it and it now hangs in my apartment. What is the story behind the famous poster?

Well, the original Le Chat Noir (“The Black Cat”) was a famous 19th century cabaret in the (notoriously bohemian) Montmartre district of Paris. It was opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rouchechouart by the artist Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897.

Salis most often played, with exaggerated, ironic politeness, the role of conférencier. And it was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents (Salon of Incoherent Arts), the “shadow plays” and the comic monologues got their start.

The artist behind the iconic poster is Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, who was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker.

Pursewarden’s advice to the budding artists

In the Alexandria Quartet, the author Pursewarden asked the children of the literary group at the Jewish school to write down three things in the notebooks might help them some day if they didn’t forget them. Here they are:

  1. Each of our five senses contains an art.
  2. In question of art great secrecy must be observered.
  3. The artist must catch every scrap of wind.


I have been asked to help to get the development of a possible marker for breast cancer underway. So I am reading up on breast cancer these days.

The gene that might be used is called BARD1 and here is its technical description:

BARD1 interacts with the N-terminal region of BRCA1. In addition to its ability to bind BRCA1 in vivo and in vitro, BARD1 shares homology with the 2 most conserved regions of BRCA1: the N-terminal RING motif and the C-terminal BRCT domain. The RING motif is a cysteine-rich sequence found in a variety of proteins that regulate cell growth, including the products of tumor suppressor genes and dominant protooncogenes. The BARD1 protein also contains 3 tandem ankyrin repeats. The BARD1/BRCA1 interaction is disrupted by tumorigenic amino acid substitutions in BRCA1, implying that the formation of a stable complex between these proteins may be an essential aspect of BRCA1 tumor suppression. BARD1 may be the target of oncogenic mutations in breast or ovarian cancer.

More is to come on this topic.

“Prevention starts at home”

UNIDSRA good friend of mine at the UN gave me a 2006 calendar which has been hanging on the wall since a couple of months back. I thought it’s about time to check up on the background of this calendar.

The calendar is produced by UNISDR, and its cover photo is one of flooded houses south of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Covered by a vast network of 300 waterways, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers, which descend the slopes of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is a delta plain that is subject to seasonal monsoons. In 1970s, two-thirds of the country remained under water for several months following the worst floods of the century that claimed half million deaths. Bangladesh suffers monsoon floods almost every year. The worst floods in 15 years swept the country in 2004, killing more than 1,000 people and making millions homeless. A rising sea level, possibly caused by global warming, will only aggravate the difficulties of this country, and may lead to permanent flooding of a considerable portion of its rice fields. Before 2020, 20 million people might have to leave their country because of flooding.

Fantasia 27

dsc01893.JPGYesterday we were a gang of four people that went sailing with a Fantasia 27 (a boat from Jeanneau, see this page for more info). We started at the marina La Belotte and with Frida as helmsmen (see left, and click also on the photo for more photos from the trip) we did pretty well. :-D

Avis de Coup de Vent sur les Poulains

My brother and his wife gave me this nice poster last year. Now it hangs above my computer, and I have checked up a little on its story:


The shot was taken by the photographer Philip Plisson from a helicopter on 24 November 1996, and the island we see is Belle-Isle-en-Mer, off south Brittany’s coast, and the name of the lighthouse is Les Poulains. Apparently the the wind was blowing up to 72 knots (130 km/h speed) at the time.

Isn’t it a magnificent shot full of life and strength…? It certainly inspires me to do great work at the computer. :-D