Archive for History

NSA

Posted in History, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2017 by Drogo

‘Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency’; by James Bamford

1950s – “As the CIA report points out, human spies had effectively been put out of action.” Stringent security measures blunted traditional methods for spying. It was the age of American spy planes. In Georgetown, CIA Director Allen Dulles commuted to work. After emergency calls for a ‘Doomsday practice exercise’, helicopters carrying nearly 2-dozen senior NSA officials were flying south over Virginia. Their destination was a secret command center dug deep into Mount Weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains and built on a series of giant nuclear-shock-absorbing steel springs. Its code name was High Point, but politicians called it ‘the hide-out’.

1960s – Eisenhower had suggested creating a secret sabotage pretext to invade Cuba. The CIA & DoD created Operations Mongoose & Northwoods, which were secret plans to invade Cuba. They called for innocent Americans to be shot on the streets, refugee boats to be sunk, terrorism in cities, innocent people framed for bombings, planes hijacked, and tons of false evidence to blame on Castro. The Cuban debacle ‘Bay of Pigs’ was part of those plans, and actually launched a covert invasion to attack our own Naval base to incite war. Dulles mysteriously lied to Kennedy about the success potential of the operation, and so did others, and many soldiers were killed. NSA listened to their desperate dying pleas.

1970s – “Anything the NSA did is totally defensible” – Nixon

1980s – NSA instituted a dreaded unscheduled polygraph policy

1990s – “Thinking Machines Corporation delivered to NSA its first massively parallel computer – the Connection Machine CM-5 (Frostburg).”

2000s – Now they monitor all our communications.

SCOD-cast Audio Shows

Posted in Education / Schools, POB Audio, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2016 by Drogo

SCOD Pod-cast Audio Radio Shows:

Philosophy Lecture Series:

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element
500 BC – Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides. Change vs Non-Change with Math as religion.
400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers
300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics
200 BC – Epicureans, Aristarchus & Library of Alexandria – Happiness, Science, and Scrolls
100 BC – Caesar, Cicero, Anthony & Cleopatra – Politics & War vs. Love & Peace
0 BC-AD – Jesus, Augustus, Boudica – Roman Empire vs The World
100 AD – Marcus Aurelius & Stoics

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SCOD-cast Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides Lecture – 500 BC

SCOD-cast on Thales the Ionian 600 BC 

SCOD Radio Show on Philosophy

SCOD-cast Audio Show 1

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Benjamin Franklin

Posted in Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2015 by Drogo

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a polymath, author, printer, philosopher, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, politician, and diplomat. As an American scientist of the Enlightenment he studied physics for his discoveries, theories, and inventions. He invented lightning rods, bifocals, the Franklin stove, and many other instruments dealing with electricity, work, and music. He helped organize local civic functions, like Philadelphia’s fire department, schools, and journalist printing presses. Ben became wealthy publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack, and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Almanacks were popular in colonial America; mixing seasonal weather forecasts, practical advice, puzzles, and other amusements.

Poor Richard’s Almanack used word-play (puns) of the 1700s to explore common proverbs and ‘coin’ witty phrases. Wisdom often meant providing an apt adage for any occasion. ‘Richard’ was one of Franklin’s pen names.

“A penny saved is two-pence dear.”

– Poor Richard (Ben Franklin)

It was not until the 1800s, that we see the phrase worded as we commonly hear now, often attributed to Franklin.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Pall Mall Magazine, Sept. 1899

Here are other proverbs listed by Ben Franklin:

“Fish and visitors stink in three days.”

“A countryman between two lawyers,

is like a fish between two cats.”

“A cypher and humility make

figures and virtues of ten-fold value.”

“A false friend and a shadow attend

only while the sun shines.” (on rainy-day friends)

“A fine genius in his own country, is

like gold in the mine.”

“After three days men grow weary of

a wench, a guest, and weather rainy.”

“A life of leisure, and a life of laziness,

are two things.”

“An egg today is better than a hen to-morrow.”

(debatable, like ‘chicken or egg‘)

“Anger is never without a reason, but

seldom with a good one.”

“Anger warms the invention, but over-

heats the oven.”

“An honest man will receive neither

money nor praise, that is not his due.”

“A pair of good ears will drain dry an

hundred tongues.”

“A plowman on his legs is higher than

a gentleman on his knees.”

“Approve not of him that commends all you say.”

That last proverb is meant to disapprove of false flattery, but does not allow that some people may actually love you so much you can do no wrong. Here are more from Ben Franklin:

“A quarrelsome man has no good neighbors.”

“There are no gains without pains.”
“Early to bed and early to rise,

makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
“Plow deep while sluggards sleep,

and you shall have corn to sell and to keep.”

“A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder.”

“Are you angry that others disappoint you?

Remember you cannot depend upon yourself.”

“Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle.”

(a Puritan curse akin to ‘Devil’s play’ warnings)

“A watched pot never boils.” – current adaptation

Time feels longer when you’re waiting for something to happen, and you keep checking on it all the time, getting more and more anxious. Actually we all know that watching the pot does not stop it from boiling (without even getting into the Quantum Enigma); but our perception of time often slows when we worry about the future, and speeds up when we are are contently enjoying the present. The original phrase is more accurate, but still psychological.

“A watched pot is slow to boil.”

Franklin wrote this in another publication, but referred to it as something Poor Richard might have said, as the proverb isn’t found in any of the Poor Richard almanacs.

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The Odyssey – by Homer (circa 700 BC)

Posted in Book Reports with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2015 by Drogo

In the first chapter (Book I: House of Odysseus) Homer sets the pace for the long story that follows. It tells how events started, after the Trojan War (Iliad), and shows conversations in Ithaca mentioning the absent Lord Odysseus. Book II describes Telemachus’ struggle to stand up against the problems that are quickly engulfing his mother’s house. Book III is where Telemachus begins asking questions about his father, Odysseus. He finds out why Odysseus stayed and why Nestor came home. In Book IV, King Menelaos held a feast, and Telemachus asks more questions.

Athena becomes concerned that Odysseus remains in captivity as Calypso’s prisoner in Book V. Odysseus leaves the island on a raft, and arrives on the coast of Scheria. Book VI tells how Odysseus meets Nausicaa, and goes to her father Prince Alcinoos. In Book VII Alcinoos wants Odysseus to marry his daughter. Books VIII, IX, and X have contests in Phaiacia, and Odysseus begins his tale. Odysseus tells of the destruction of Ismaros. Next he drifted to Cythera, where he saved his men from the influence of the lotus fruit. Then they encountered the Cyclopes. The day after they blinded the Cyclopes, Odysseus and his crew went to the Island of Aiolia (Winds).

After they got the bag of winds, In Book XI they make it to the Land of the Midnight-Sun, and meet Circe the Sorceress. Odysseus visits Hades, where he encounters people of his past. In Book XII Circe warns of the Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis. The climax of the book occurs, where Odysseus is strapped to the mast of his ship, to resist the terrible charms of the singing Sirens, and his crew are decimated.

In Book XIII Athena changes Odysseus into a beggar, upon arriving in Ithaca. From Book XIV-XVIII Odysseus visits his swine-herder Eumaios. Telemachus is warned by Athena, and goes back to Ithaca; where he meets his dad. Odysseus returns home, and beats the beggar Iros. In XIX Telemachus stores the weapons, and the house nurse recognizes Odysseus. In the next 3 books, Zeus sends down Omens. Also Penelopeia (Odysseus’s wife) made the test of stringing the great bow, marksmanship between axes, and a battle between the suitors vs the House of Odysseus. In Book XXIII Odysseus proves to Penelopeia that he has returned. The last chapter Book XXIV Odysseus finds his father, a rebellion is quelled, and the strife and adventure is ended.

Appalachian Rap Music

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Music Reviews, POB Audio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2013 by Drogo

Yes there are black people in West Virginia; and they are not afraid of representing their home State WV!! In fact the first free black college in America was in Harpers Ferry, WV; Storer College. From a rich African-American cultural heritage mixed with white Caucasians for generations; some have been rapping and recording their music for over decades now since MTV began. Although modern multi-media has affected cultural style and subject matter, it does not replace their heritage; rather there is an evolution of expression. In the Harpers Ferry area, some renaissance men have been leading and waging an under-ground musical revolution. In Harpers Ferry there is an historic tradition of revolution.

One such Harpers Ferry musical revolutionary from black-roots is Donald Greene. Together with his circle of friends (many local), they have been doing their thing… all the while having fun. These artists have had to wear many hats to pay bills and play artistically. These new pioneers are artists, musicians, producers, writers, film-makers, and more.

There is no public funding or venue to sell what they do, yet they do it just to do it.

Here we will explore Interviews, Albums, and other aspects of Appalachian Rap Music.

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Freestyle 2006 audio cassette tape “John Brown n Shadows” – JB, Arob, Mike Fields, Paul

A: JB & Arob (14 tracks): Sycamore, Union Street, Union Freestyle, Showbiz Ridin, Metamorfosiz, Fight Klub, Rambone Shaka, Billigoat Gruff, Dungeon Kreep, Transformuz, Shadow Talknik, Frak Niggas, Ladies Bombaz (Brown Shugga), Booty Shake, Caribbean Rap

B: Beat Boxing w Paul (3 tracks); Slugging w Mike Fields (5 tracks): Thug Snappa, Robo Pirates, Gonna Get It On, Tree Thugga, Circus Dont Stop; JB & Arob (3 Reggae Beat tracks); Local Party recording (w Keith, Doug, DG, Deena, etc)

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24 Tracks 2007 : JB Codiak & Arob

 

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AMM 2013 : Appalatian Mountain Malitia

AMM Intro, AMM Anthem, Return of JB, What it Is, Morbit, Serial Killa, Dark Echoes, JB Fort, Jeff Rock, In God’s Hands

 

 

 

 

Savannah, Georgia

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Historic Architecture, Organic Architecture, Recommendations & Tributes, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2013 by Drogo

Historic Architecture, Environmental Landscape, and Urban Social Art

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Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. From sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).

According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.

From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).

There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).

Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging roaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.

Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

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Celtic Paganism (Wiccan / Druid)

Posted in History, Pagan, Religions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by Drogo

Neo-Pagan Wiccan and Druidic religions are derived from the ancient Celtic Pagan polytheist culture (1300 BC – 400 AD). The word Celt translates “chisel” or “ax” from the Latin word celte, and refers to an ethno-linguistic region comprised of several European tribal nations. Originally the Greeks and Romans got the name Celt from a specific tribe in Gaul (France). The main Celtic name for themselves seems to be Gal (“strong” or “fierce”) with derivations: Gall, Gaul, Gali, and Gael. The main Celtic nations were Gaul (France), England (Brittani & Cornwall), Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Spain (Iberian Galicia). The basic Celtic periods can be divided into Bronze Age Urnfields (1300-700 BC), Iron Age Hallstatt (700-500 BC), Iron Age La Tene (500-0 BC), Gaelic Last Stand (0-400 AD).

Celts were commoners, slaves, nobles (equites), priests (druids), oracles (vates), and musicians (bards). Druids, bards, and vates were the three priestly classes. Secular Celtic society varied throughout their decentralized tribal civilization. Celtic priests emphasized an oral tradition, and forbid their doctrines and stories to be written down; perhaps to have exclusive control over the religious rights, much as we use copyright laws today. Druids were exclusive secretive authorities on cultural superstition, ritual knowledge, and political magic. Bards were story-tellers, singers, and musicians. Vates were prophetic seer shamans, or oracles. These priestly orders may have survived from a Neolithic or Bronze Age Indo-European religion of the Horned-God of Animals; which included wheels, spirals, torcs, deer, ram-horned snakes, and other animals as sacred symbols even into the Iron Age. Various Greco-Roman accounts refer to Druidic human sacrifice, magical practices with flora and fauna, belief in reincarnation, and that they were respected as authorities by Celtic secular society. Oaks seem to be their most sacred trees (followed by ash and yew), and perhaps wrens were their most sacred birds; because the word druid is related to roots which mean “magic-oak-wren-seer”.

The Greeks and Romans considered Celts to be simply barbarians, a term which lumped them together with germanic and other tribal cultures that were deemed uncivilized savage foreigners. It was also said that most barbarians were immoral mindless hordes, that will invade and destroy unless they are invaded and destroyed, or enslaved.

Thus Roman and Christian Empires invaded and destroyed most of ancient Celtic culture by war and assimilation. The only source scriptures we have are Greek, Roman, and later Christian literature for any linguistic detail concerning ancient Celtic religion. For obvious reasons these sources are biased towards the conqueror’s own beliefs. However in the New Age, Neo-Paganism resurrects the ancient religion, with the contemporary tradition of witch-craft (wicca), which is the rural underground vestiges of the ancient Celtic beliefs, evolved in family secret legacies and in assimilated spiritual superstitions for hundreds of years, despite numerous witch lynchings and burnings by Christian literalists.

Celts and Druids did not seem to have unified religious doctrines amongst the tribes, as to who the main gods were, or how the gods could be represented; as the Celts were not an empire in the centralized way that Greece and Rome were. Rather than temples, the priests seem to have preferred forest groves, so the emphasis was on regional environmental powers and wildlife (genius loci), more than detailed personifications. Yet the bards must have sung of heroes, and because they were not recorded (as the Homeric poems were) the closest we have are the later Christian Irish and Welsh selected writings. It was claimed that Druids forbid writing, but they did use some alphabets and codes like Ogham and Runes. It seems that if there were any other Pagan writings the Church did away with them. The dominant mythical stories of Celtic England, France, Scotland, and Spain may have been lost over the generations, although their oral and bardic styles remain a secular tradition.

The Celts were animists, believing that all aspects of the natural world contained spirits. Celts communed with these spirits, and spirits were capable of reincarnation. Hundreds of Celtic deities and heroes were reduced to faerie spirits over time, and then futher diminished in size to tiny faeries, by the Renaissance. Although it is possible that small faeries always existed within Celtic Religion; even just as small animals. Also many animals continue to live in the ground, as our ancestors did, or dead people do, and birds fly like spirits in the air and mess about unseen. These are reasons that faeries exist.

The absence of a Celtic creation myth means either they never had one, or we have lost it. It is most likely the Celtic creation myth was lost on purpose by the Roman-Catholic Church, as it would have been seen as threatening to Catholic Genesis dogma. The Irish Christian story began with the settling of Ireland by several invasions. Celtic deities should be considered in a tribal clan context, due to their lack of specialization, as compared to Greek or Roman deities.

In Ireland, first were the Fomorians. Then came the Partholonians, who achieved architecture and landscaping, but were killed by plague. The next wave was the Nemedians, and they defeated the Fomorians. Then Fir Bolgs from Greece came, and civilized Ireland by dividing it into five provinces, and made laws. Next the Tuatha arrived and defeated Balor. Finally the Spanish Iberian Milesians came and defeated the Tuatha. The Milesians gave the Tuatha the land below ground and the Milesians the land above. Tuatha De Danann means “People of the Deity Danann” who came over water and went under hills.

Irish Scot Gaelic Deities

Danann / Danu – mother goddess

Dagda – father god, good with all

Morrigan – Nemhain, Macha, Badb (Triple Goddess)

Brigit – maiden fire

Lugh – light (Apollo or Mercury)

Goib – earth, craft

Oran Mór, “The Great Melody”

Crom Cruach Dubh – head bloody black crooked one of sacrificial stone mounds

Ogma – wise words, writing (ogham), and strength

Triple God of Skill = Dagda, Lugh, Ogma

Cú Chulainn – hero son of Lugh (Irish hero)

Fin MacCool – hero son of Cú Chulainn, (Irish hero)

Gallic Gaul, Briton, and Welsh Deities

Arawn Ankou – king of the dead otherworld realm of Annwn

Bran & Branwen – raven gods

Belenus – sun fire god of Beltane and cattle

Cocidius, a god of war

Condatis, a god of the confluences of rivers

Cernunnos – horned (Carnonos) nature virility (Hern) wild animals, green man

Ceridwen – (Carugwen) mother goddess of love, magic, change, transformation

Epona Rhiannon – horses

Nantosuelta Erecura – goddess of nature, earth, fire, and fertility in Gaul

Taranis – god of thunder and wheels (chariot or wagon)

Teutates = great tribal spirit, or leader of the people (Teuta), hundreds of deities

Sucellos – “kindly good striker” god of agriculture, forests, drinks, mallets

Damona Damara – a river fertility goddess

Coventina, goddess of wells and springs

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Neo-Pagan Celtic Wiccan Deities

Kernunos – Triple God = Lugh, Dagda, Arawn / Ankou

Morrigan – Triple Goddess = Brigit, Ceridwen, Crone / Macha

Mathonwy – Merlin = druid god of magic, math, alchemy, science

Nantosuelta Damona Damara = Mother Earth, animals, plants

* Empedocles primary deity list (Harpers Faery way)

There is a connection between the old Celtic Horned-God Carnonos / (C or H)ernunnos, and with Dis-Pater. Wealth is represented by the torcs, which are both collars of control and value; stewardship over a livestock herd was wealth. Wealth, wildlife, and herds all connect Hermes-Pan with Carnonos. The horns and some underworld aspects link Dis-Pater and Pluto to Carn, but Pluto may have been Dagda as well… under-ground. Gaelic Hernunnos (Hern) and Gallic Carnonos. cairns or herms (Hermes-Pan), human – (Proto-Germanic) hurnan – horn-man (German)- hern-mon-os (latin hermanos “brother”) humanus (homo) (Persian Sanskrit) sur = horn, Berton kern = horn, herds

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