community Service means Business!

16 July 2004


AlterNet: MediaCulture: Why the Press Failed

" echo Thomas Jefferson's famous declaration that, "The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

15 July 2004

A Blog from Asia


check out the graphics and the musical interlude provided by this blogger!

The Nonprofit Sector and the March Toward Tyranny

Nonprofit Online News: The Nonprofit Sector and the March Toward Tyranny

The Role of the Nonprofit Sector:

"The question I'm considering is this: What role, if any, does the nonprofit sector have in responding to this threat? Many people who are as alarmed as I am about these issues would tell me that, while individual organizations might, according to their mission, have a calling to respond, the sector as a whole does not. They would tell me that there is no moral center to the nonprofit sector and these matters are therefore none of our business. I think they are mistaken.

Nonprofit organizations, regardless of their mission, are founded on the idea that, while reasonable people may disagree about what constitutes charity and education, we do agree on the civil framework that allows us to pursue our different interpretations of charitable and educational purposes in the context of nonprofit work.

I believe that while the institutional shells of the nonprofit sector will undoubtedly survive, the civil framework that allows it to thrive is being destroyed by this march toward tyranny. For example:

A substantial portion of the funding of the U.S. nonprofit sector comes from the federal government. It's very clear that this funding is in serious jeopardy as deficits soar to fund the war industry and tax cuts for the rich. This was the argument I made in my editorial last year about the war, but it goes much deeper than that.

Advocacy organizations in particular, but nonprofits of all kinds rely upon the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech to thrive. Neighborhood organizations should not have to worry about police infiltration in their meetings, and hospitals should not have to worry about having abortion records seized.

Nonprofits depend upon a culture of responsibility, from the perspective of the question "what can I do?" as opposed to "who can I blame?". The culture of suspicion, aggression, and xenophobia being fostered is eroding the fundamental civil values on which our sector depends.

What sort of nonprofits will be permitted in a world of indefinite detention or one party rule? Will we need de facto party approval to form an organization or to have a meeting? Will controversial board members disappear? What sort of daily compromise of your mission will you learn to accept in order to survive?

What about our international organizations? What credibility will American relief workers and volunteers have if the world comes to see us as corrupt servants of big business and criminal partners with whatever tyrannies suit us?

What We Can Do:...."

"...not a square to spare; not even a ply!"

Demand for Paper Trail Escalates
"Paper has become a big issue in the controversy over electronic voting machines. So activists in 19 states dumped a lot of it on election officials Tuesday as they delivered petitions bearing 350,000 signatures asking officials to mandate voter-verified paper audit trails for touch-screen voting machines in their states.
The Computer Ate My Vote campaign, led by MoveOn, TrueMajority and six other organizations, urged secretaries of state to follow California's lead and adopt measures for improving the integrity of elections this November. They also wanted to rally support for federal legislation that would require a paper trail on voting machines nationwide, which has been stalled in Congress for more than a year."

Sex & The City Paper: Ads Under Fire

"Dating services, massage parlors, escort services and chat lines are among the businesses that typically pay for space in the paper, which is distributed for free in boxes and racks throughout the Pittsburgh area." ..."While the diocese doesn't allege any laws are being violated, it suggests the City Paper pull sexual ads or run a "parental advisory" image on the front page."

Are you flirting with a felon?
New online dating service boasts of background checks
By Bob Sullivan
Technology correspondent -- MSNBC

"...True uses Investigation Technologies' to do the vetting, a firm recently acquired by database aggregator ChoicePoint. ChoicePoint, a spin-off of credit reporting agency Equifax, supplies insurance firms with background information on everything from car accidents to home water damage claims, helping the insurance industry set premiums. ChoicePoint also offers its own criminal background check service.
Rapsheets' spokeswoman Camile Gamble says the company has a vast database of over 175 million criminal convictions, both felonies and misdemeanors..."

the He-male, Fe-male Disliker Confluence.

No Girls Allowed
Women are being shut out of the ‘new’ Pittsburgh much like they were in the old
Photographer: HEATHER MULL

"When a city can have a financial oversight board of five white men, it’s a horrendous message. … ‘You’re not welcome, and even if there were mistakes made in the past, they were OUR mistakes, and by God we’ll continue to be the ones making them.’"

-- Cathy McCollom
Friday, July 16, 6-8 pm (free) at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.

TO GATHER AGAIN - Plant-based Installation Art

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild - July 16 through September 3
Please join Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and The Persephone Project as we present artist Delanie Jenkins.
Delanie Jenkins, Heinz Endowments Creative Heights Residency artist with Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, has maintained a garden in Persephone Project's ArtGardens of Pittsburgh at Frank Curto Park, the product of which is used within an art installation at Manchester Craftmen's Guild. An installation artist, Jenkins draws on her agricultural roots and memories in relation to plant material, scent, and sense of place. A great granddaughter of Texas cotton field sharecroppers, Jenkins now harvests flowers and plant “products” as potential art making material. Her garden at Frank Curto Park has previously been planted with cotton, okra, luffa sponges and honeysuckle among other plant varieties.

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild – 1815 Metropolitan Street – North Side

who, me?...uuh, Ken-L-Ration

Note to governors: Eat your own dog food, please
Apparently, U.S. states are doing some offshoring of their own. According to a study released yesterday, at least $75 million in U.S. state contract work has been captured by companies that specialize in offshore outsourcing. The total amount can't be estimated, the study notes, because most states don't know where the work is being performed. I imagine taxpayers will be thrilled to hear about this.

India sees fading of outsourcing backlash
The New York Times: A bellwether Indian software company posted better-than-expected earnings, mostly on improved business from the United States.

iPod: Weapon of network destruction?
With the UK's Ministry of Defense banning iPods from most of its offices, Apple's media player joins a list of mobile gadgets that, due their USB connectivity and extraordinary capacity, are prohibited from being brought to work. Sure, a Ministry of Defense has a reason to be sensitive to the capabilties of such devices. But should businesses adopt a similar model--considering that devices represent a potential hole in their firewalls? Or should they entrust the security of potentially mobilized data to technology-based solutions such as Senforce's Enterprise Mobile Security Manager?

Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids

The rights and wrongs of using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on humans have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school.
The tags will be read by readers installed in school gates and other key locations to track the kids' movements.

Save the last chance for me

One Last Chance

A private school in Birmingham, Ala., offers a last chance to students who have fallen through the cracks in public high schools.

School Lunch Reauthorization by the Prez

Bush Signs School Lunch Reauthorization
Federal child-nutrition programs have a new focus on healthy eating habits and fighting obesity under a measure signed into law recently by President Bush.

7-14-04 -- "What Works" - Education Research Site Unveiled

7-14-04 -- "What Works" Research Site Unveiled -- Education Week

Practitioners and researchers who read the resulting reports at the What Works Web site,, last week said they were carefully and clearly written. Those observers also praised the site for its navigability.

Most were disappointed, though, to see that so few studies made the cut.

"School leaders are very eager to comply with the research-based mandates in No Child Left Behind," said Terri Duggan Schwartzbeck, a policy analyst for the Arlington, Va.-based American Association of School Administrators. "But when a superintendent looks at that he or she will say, ‘Oh, none of the research meets their standards—well, that’s not really going to help me.’"

Whether the meager showing reflects a lack of solid research in the field or overly strict clearinghouse methodological standards is debatable. Following research-evaluation practices in medicine, the clearinghouse puts a premium on randomized field trials, in which subjects are randomly assigned to either control or experimental groups.

..and "the fog crept in on little cat's feet"

The Village Voice: Nation: Press Clips: Ooops! by Richard Goldstein
Journos, Go Home
The British Guardian reports that foreign journalists covering the U.S. will no longer be able to renew their visas without leaving the country first. Some 20,000 correspondents will now have to return to their home countries and apply for re-entry at American embassies there.

...more from SLATE"These reporters are not enemy combatants. They are not chroniclers of scathing injustices of the Bush administration. One Australian reporter was here to interview Olivia Newton-John. (God knows, someone has to.) She reported being "body searched and groped" by immigration and customs officials".
Ten French and British journalists were here to report on last summer's Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video-game industry's annual trade show. Unless Super Mario Brothers are secretly accumulating weapons of mass destruction, this mistreatment of journalists from allied countries serves as yet another example of overzealous, unbridled discretionary excesses by government officials who still can't figure out who we're fighting in the War on Terror.
The state department says it isn't "feasible" to collect anti-terrorist information, such as fingerprints, from Washington. But the move is widely seen as hampering the ability of foreign media to cover the coming election here. And it may lead to reciprocal impediments for American journalists working abroad."

Letter to Tom Ridge

U.S. Visa FAQ's

"What's wrong with requiring foreign journalists to have a special press visa, you ask? Why shouldn't they have to show that they are here for good and benign reasons? Well, for one thing, we don't require most tourists from these friendly nations to obtain visas. Indeed, some of the reporters locked up and deported from LAX had already been allowed through immigration as tourists and were only nabbed later when they or their colleagues copped to being journalists. Singling out reporters for greater scrutiny than ordinary sightseers suggests there is something uniquely dangerous about journalism. As Lappin points out in her piece on her ordeal, only countries like Cuba, Syria, Iran, and North Korea demand that reporters have special visas. As James Michie, the public affairs officer at the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, told me this afternoon, this happens in other countries, too; another journalist reported to him that she was frequently treated this way in Yugoslavia. America: Striving to be more like Yugoslavia each day."


The Village Voice: Features: Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young: One Sick Fall by Solana Pyne
"Not having a job with benefits can mean being forced to choose between health insurance and other expenses, some of them critical to building a so-called life. Young adults "are in a stage where people have debts from school, they are trying to buy a house, and that seems more important than paying for health insurance, which might cost multiple thousands each year," said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard University."


Welcome to MSN.coml

Media Email Do's and Don'ts

1) Does your subject line say something compelling? "XYZ Company Launches New Product" does not say enough to make the contact open up your email.
Try something like, "XYZ Company's New Product Outselling Competition 2:1."

2) Always provide a hook whenever possible; if not, use the
company name prominently as many editors are interested in specific companies and that may draw their attention.

3) Write subject lines like headlines. Take a lead from the daily newspapers and online news sites, which condense the news into compelling, interesting headlines. For instance, instead of "The Public Relations Training Company teaches PR pros to increase coverage" (yawn!), you could write, "New training teaches PR pros to boost press coverage by 300%"
Put time and effort into your subject line. At a recent panel of journalists, an editor from the Dallas Morning News said he only scans the first six words of an email header before deciding to open it or delete it. This is the most important part of your email. Spend time working it!

3) Did you give the contact an impetus to respond? Always include a call to action. Instead of ending the email with the standard, "please don't wait to call with questions," or "I'll call to follow up", ask for a specific date and time to talk. "Are you available next Thursday between 2 and 5 p.m. for a phone interview with our CEO?" This is a very powerful technique. When you ask someone to commit to a specific appointment, they automatically feel compelled to do it if another appointment is not staring them in the face. You could go so far as to give your contact a couple of choices by including a check-box that your contact can fill-in , hit "reply" and seal the deal.

4) Is it too long? Anything more than four paragraphs is probably too long and is not being read all the way through. Email is just a teaser to make the introduction to you or your client. Make it snappy and short.

5) Is the most important information up at the top where it belongs? Be brutal - go through it with the cynical eye of an editor: "What is this about? Why is it interesting?" If you want to schedule an interview with the contact, say so right up front.
"I want to have you meet with our CEO next week because we have a new product coming out that is different than anything we've ever done."

6) By attempting to schedule an interview time in the original
email, you'll have a reason to email or call back: "Can you meet
with our CEO on the afternoon of the nineteenth?" Then move
toward locking in the appointment, which, after all, is the
original goal of the email.

7) Proofread. You can't afford to look stupid or illiterate in
any communication, so make sure your email reflects your best
effort before sending it. Make sure you spell the contact's name

8) Include live links to more information. Instead of sending a
release or attachments, give a link to the website where contacts
can visit, download info and bios as well as images and press releases.

9) Use blind copy if you're sending out multiple emails to
different contacts. Nothing turns a contact away faster than seeing their name wedged among a 30 line "To:" list.

13 July 2004

hey! hey-heeey! remember the Sixties?

The Village Voice: Features: Mushmouth Reconsidered by Ta-Nehisi Coates: "Mushmouth Reconsidered by Ta-Nehisi Coates
July 13th, 2004 11:00 AM"

For all their mean-spiritedness and elitism, Cosby's rantings have suffered from his unwillingness to allow facts and stats to get in the way of a good dig. "At any time you can pull stuff out the newspaper that sounds horrible, of any race and any people," says Mike Males, a senior research fellow for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. "I looked at all these measures that he's talking about, and I saw that none of them were any worse than they were in the past. In fact, many are better."

Males should know. After hearing Cosby grumble that the young were trampling over the work of the old, he went and crunched some numbers and came up with some shockers:

In 1970, among black females between 15 and 17 years old, there were 72 pregnancies per 1000. In 2002, there were 30.9 per 1000.

In 1970, the dropout rate was 28 percent among African Americans. In 2001, it was 11 percent.

In 1970, 15 percent of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 went to college. Today, that number stands at 31 percent.

..never can say, no, no-no-no, i never can say goodbye...

MSNBC - Exclusive: Election Day Worries:

"American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call 'alarming' intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack,"

gimme one more night, just-a one more night.....

Top News Article |

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - "U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to postpone the November presidential election in case of an attack by al Qaeda, Newsweek reported on Sunday.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network may attack within the United States to try to disrupt the election."

and from the World of Education...

The International Page

Smarts No Longer Good Enough for Singapore Students. A recent Singaporean film, "I Not Stupid," recounts the travails of three 12-year-olds categorized by their school as not too bright. School officials streamed the boys into courses labeled "em3," the academic basement of the country’s hypercompetitive education culture.(registration required)

U.S. and U.K. Educators Seek Answers to Common Woes. Educators and policymakers from the United States and the United Kingdom gathered here recently to tackle common issues in urban education, ranging from how to narrow the achievement gap to how to recruit and retain teachers. (registration required)

Teachers Travel the Globe for Professional Development, Dec. 3, 2003. Experts in global education say that plenty of opportunities are available for teachers to expand their knowledge of the world. But, they acknowledge, it might take some looking to find the programs and resources and then match them to individual situations.(registration required)

Waving the Flag. In schools throughout Japan, patriotism has been making its way back into the daily routine. But not all in the island nation are united in their views on how or even if schools should foster "love of one's country," as required under the revised national course of study.(registration required)

Children Flood Kenyan Schools to Get
A Free Education
. The push to provide free primary schooling in Kenya comes at a time when several International organizations are calling on the United States and other wealthy nations to increase support for poorer nations as they work to provide education for all children. (registration required)

...and finally.....

Urban Editing - Cinematic Architecture in Temple Bar [Archeire, Irish Architecture Online]:
"For Benjamin, as Buck-Morss has pointed out, the dominant experience of modern life is that of shock: 'In street crowds and erotic encounters, in amusement parks and gambling casinos, the technologically altered environment of the industrial city exposes the human sensorium to physical shocks that have their correspondence in psychic shock'2 -- a shock also comparable to the shock of the cinematic edit between one shot and the next."

Pick a view, any view....

Focus on Social Issues - Consequences of Gambling: Danger Ahead, Dad

"According to experts, an estimated 5 million to 10 million Americans are afflicted with serious gambling problems. The rate of divorce, child abuse and neglect, bankruptcy, theft, job loss, attempted suicide and other destructive behaviors among these individuals is astronomically high.

"The more people believe in the importance of luck, chance, randomness and fate, the less they believe in the importance of stern virtues such as industriousness, thrift, deferral of gratification, diligence and studiousness."
George Will, syndicated columnist
Despite the evidence, state governments actively court the gambling industry. Casinos are now legal in nearly half the states in the nation, and one or more forms of gambling are permitted in every state except Utah and Hawaii.
Gambling is big business. This year Americans will risk more than $400 billion on everything from the lottery to greyhound racing.

ya places yer bets, and ya takes yer chances

Las Vegas SUN: Studies: Casino gambling's effect on communities mixed
"A new series of studies suggests that, for some of these urban plagues, there's little connection to gambling. But nearly consistent increases in bankruptcies and some crimes, such as theft, has researchers saying more work needs to be done to explore a possible link with casinos."

what about re-runs huh? ...what about those re-runs!

'Billboards' that walk, talk, and even flirt a little

By Clayton Collins |--Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
"Just think Teletubbies - with a hint of Hooters. Eleven-inch, flat television screens adorn the fronts of T-shirts worn by winsome women deployed to be, in the words of the product's developer, "aggressively friendly." The programming? Why, a marketing message, of course.

I was 43 years old before I even began to understand my father's world.

Pop the Question - Men's Health:

"'I tell guys to imagine what they'd say at their father's funeral,' says Stephan Poulter, author of Father Your Son and a psychologist who has helped more than 2,300 guys and their dads bridge the conversation gap. 'If all they remember are facts, not feelings, then they need to do something right now.' Here's how to start five important discussions without making your dad squirm. "(more)

12 July 2004

why Pittsburgh is a 'shot and a beer' town

Antifreeze fruit drink kills man -
"Mitnick said Neabor only intended to hurt him severely enough so that he would have to move into her family's home so she could take control of his finances and get out of bankruptcy."

No Bumper Stickers, Just Vote!

Memo:12 JULY 2004
Subject: voting registration

TO: All Manchster Craftsmen Guild and
Bidwell Training Center, Staff and Faculty

Since voting for public officials is sometimes an often overlooked aspect of being an American citizen (only 39% of eligible voters had voted in the 2000 Presidential election), we here at Manchester Bidwell Corporation are attempting to bring it to the forefront. We are joining a non-profit organization, Just Harvest, in their voting campaign called "Just Vote".

Two components will comprise our effort:

1)three minutes to complete a Voter Registration Application card - for either people that have never registered to vote before or for those who need to make any changes (i.e., address, name or political party affiliation)

~~~or if you are already a registered voter~~~
2)one minute to complete a Just Vote pledge (promising that you will vote on November 2nd) and will be entered into a data base for follow-up of the Just Vote campaign

ALL STAFF & ALL STUDENTS are encouraged to participate.

I will be stationed at a booth on Monday, June 12, 2004 in the main lobby area of 1815 during the morning (before and during lunch), and on the second floor of 1650 @ during the afternoon (after lunch).

Depending on the outcome of the event, this may be a monthly occurrence, until election time.

Thank you.

Gary, Bidwell Training Center Staff

(Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet....)

·House steps into church-politics debateWASHINGTON (AP) —
Churches that mistakenly mix religious and political activity would face reduced fines but keep their tax exempt status under a provision in a corporate tax bill the House is to consider this week. The proposal, which could invalidate the strict separation of religion and politics in current tax laws, was introduced by House Republicans the same week President Bush's re-election campaign targeted 1,600 Pennsylvania congregations to recruit voters.

·The Associated Press WASHINGTON -- The Bush campaign on Friday defended a memo in which it sought to mobilize church members in support of the president's re-election bid through efforts such as providing church directories to the campaign, arranging for pastors to hold voter registration drives, and talking to various religious groups about the campaign.
Some religious organizations have criticized the document as inappropriate and perhaps having the potential to cause churches to jeopardize their tax-exempt status by becoming involved in partisan politics.

·Legal Rules for Nonpartisan Voter Education, Outreach, and Participation by Nonprofits--
Voter registration and Get Out the Vote Activity (GOTV): Both the content of the GOTV message and the choice of audience must reflect a limited agenda: encourage exercise of the right to vote. For example, the organization cannot ask people contacted how they intend to vote.
Sites for registration and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) drives cannot be chosen for reasons that relate to the results of the election. Instead, sites should be based on neutral criteria that result from the group=s underlying purpose or are the result of practical constraints.
While the choice of people targeted by voter registration and GOTV drives cannot be based on political or ideological criteria, a 501(c)(3) may target disadvantaged or under represented groups, even if their historical voting pattern favors one party over another. The target group can also be defined by a set of common interests or problems that are broadly shared, such as farmers or women's groups.

11 July 2004

Alaska State of mind...and it's still news to me

News-Miner - Past News:
Police Report

Suspicious shooting
A woman reported to Fairbanks police early Saturday morning that someone had shot at her son, according to police records.
The son was unharmed, said Sgt. Ron Bowers, and he refused to cooperate with police.
* Fairbanks police arrested Lawrence A. Derendoff, 30, of Fairbanks on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and refusal to submit to a chemical breath test.
Derendoff's Friday arrest happened after he was involved in a motor vehicle accident on College Road and fled the scene, police records stated.
* Alaska State Troopers arrested James M. Floto, 26, of Delta Junction on Saturday and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Floto was stopped near the Alaska Highway on a Yamaha three-wheeler after he crossed a road in front of a trooper, according to a trooper report. "
Floto also reportedly failed to halt at a stop sign.

Weapons misconduct

A 36-year-old Eagle River man was arrested by troopers Friday night on an allegation of shooting a gull out of season with a high-powered rifle in the parking lot of a resort near Denali National Park and Preserve.

Sean Murphy faces charges of second- and fourth-degree weapons misconduct.

at least they didn't break the law.

Yahoo! News - Seniors/Aging: "Report Confirms Medicare Cost Estimates Kept Secret
Reuters - Tue Jul 6, 8:22 PM ET
"The former Medicare chief pressured an agency official to keep secret his high cost estimates for prescription drug coverage for the elderly but did not break the law, government investigators said Tuesday."

just in case abstinence doesn't prevail

Yahoo! News - HIV Prevention Programs Help Black Teen Girls: "SUNDAY, July 11 (HealthDayNews) -- HIV (news - web sites) prevention programs tailored to black teenage girls help reduce their chances of getting pregnant or getting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), says a study in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association."

WOW! the Big Red-Shoe Diet.....who knew?

The Observer | Food monthly | OFM: Diary of a fast-food virgin: "Diary of a fast-food virgin

Morgan Spurlock, an American documentary-maker, decided to eat only McDonald's food for 30 days. The result? An award-winning film and a very bad liver. Tim Adams repeated the experiment in Britain, but after only seven days of burgers, nuggets and shakes his body told him to stop

Sunday July 11, 2004
The Observer

Day one

There are seven small words that every journalist dreads. The words are invariably spoken by editors when you least expect them, and inevitably lead to pain or humiliation or worse."

hey! get out there and take one in the head for the Gipper.

Yahoo! News - Ex-Army Reservist Sues to Avoid Recall

"A former Army reservist who returned to civilian life in December — only to be recalled five months later — filed a lawsuit Thursday to avoid duty in Iraq."


"Revenge of the Teletubbies: 'When a beautiful girl walks up to you, and she's wearing the TV commercial on her chest, you just can't get away from it,' enthused Adam Hollander, head of The Brand Marketers and creator of T-Shirt TV. The shirts contain speakers and 11-inch TV screens, which can show video ads, flash animation or slides. Such appraoches are all a part of the advertising industry's guerrilla marketing arsenal. "

All Borges: All the Time!

The Book of Sand
if you love Borges as much as I do, then this page will fill the gaping chasm in your soul for that which only Jorge can provide.

Homemade Beauty Recipes - Hair - Skin - Body Care - Health

Homemade Beauty Recipes - Hair - Skin - Body Care - Health

spent the day working on some info for my wife's business endeavor. came across this site. lots of well-written and applicable articles for our frenetic times.


be here-Now!

into the Gaping Void

My Friend Flickr

Talk Gone Wrong

Drop-off Box simple private sharing


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