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Anyone who has spent time in an isolated classroom understands why teacher collaboration makes such good sense. If you don’t have time to share ideas or plan projects with colleagues, you miss out on opportunities to grow and learn as a teacher. And your students miss out on something important, too.

Recognizing the benefits of collaborative practice, some schools create regularly scheduled time for teachers to work together in professional learning communities. But many educators tell me that collaboration still happens on the fly — if it happens at all.

Increasingly, educators are using Web 2.0 tools to open new opportunities for connecting with colleagues. What’s exciting is that this feels like true peer-to-peer professional development. No one from above is mandating participation. Members rely on one another as experts. What’s more, they can tailor their professional-development experience to meet their personal learning needs, whether it’s just-in-time troubleshooting with technology or a more extensive conversation about assessment or learning theories. And in some cases, online communities generate new opportunities for face-to-face collaboration as well.

If you’re looking to bring more collaboration into your professional life, here are a few sites worth investigating:

Classroom 2.0, one of the fastest-growing social-networking sites for educators, has expanded to nearly 6,000 members in less than a year. It offers a variety of ways for educators to connect with colleagues, from sharing discussions to uploading videos to recruiting participants for collaborative projects. Now the site is planning to hold regional gatherings to allow virtual Classroom 2.0 friends to meet in person and exchange ideas and best practices for the classroom.

The Global Education Collaborative, an online space for teachers who have an interest in global education, with about 400 members, is the place to go if you’re looking for international colleagues to join a global project or to discover what educators are learning about when it comes to best practices in project design.

SigTE 2008 Book Discussion, a book-study group hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education’s Special Interest Group for Teacher Educators, generates lively conversations about topics raised in my new book, Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age. Recent discussions have taken up questions such as “Should professional learning communities be mandatory, or voluntary?” and “Can online collaboration fill the need or do teachers need face-to-face time to make the most of shared professional learning experiences?”

All three of the above sites are built on Ning, a social-networking service that is reaching out to the education community. (Read my fellow chúng tôi blogger Chris O’Neal’s post about Ning to learn more.) To find more specialized user groups that focus on everything from learning with laptops to gifted education, check out Ning in Education.

Of course, a wide range of tools can support online collaboration. International teacher Julie Lindsay, cocreator of the collaborative Flat Classroom Project 2007, knows from experience the value of working with like-minded colleagues, sometimes across great distances. Currently, she is helping colleagues at the Qatar Academy, in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, shift their practice toward a more twenty-first-century model of education. The Qatar Academy staff just had two days of shared face-to-face time to talk among themselves and with experts about what this means and why it matters. They are keeping the momentum going with the help of online tools.

In a post on her blog, Lindsay describes the collaborative experience this way: “We Twittered, we Ninged, we talked. We openly discussed at a professional level what it means to be teaching and learning in a time when there is so much change in the world.”

With so much potential for learning, there’s no need to go it alone. What do you think about this type of peer-to-peer collaboration? What online educator communities are you familiar with? Please share your experiences.

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Eve Online Patch 119.3: Here’s What’s New

EVE Online Patch 119.3: Here’s what’s new




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Eve Online is a sweet spot for all sci-fi multiplayer online role-playing fans. The game established itself as the leader of the genre and received critical recognition for it. Moreover, with the frequent patches, the game gets even better.

The latest patch brings out mild changes to the overall experience but also addresses balancing and bugs. Besides that, the game receives a few cosmetic improvements with the new sound theme. For that reason, we prepared a summary of main changes and fixes so you’ll know what to expect.

EVE Online Patch 119.3 changes summary Repair service

With this patch, players are able to use the ability to repair items in Upwell structures just like they usually did in services around the cluster. With this change, you’ll be able to repair drones, modules, and ships for free in Citadels, future Upwell Structures, and Engineering Complexes.

Improved scanning system

There are a lot of structural changes to the capsuleer’s scanning system. Compared to the previous version, players will enjoy the better visibility with a better-optimized color scheme. Additionally, the user interface is vastly improved for more easily deploying, managing and moving probes.

Rorqual and Mining improvements

Rorquals and Mining drones received balance changes. The mining tweaks reduced cycle times and yields for excavator mining drones. Tech two mining drones now gather greater benefits from Mining Drone Specialization Skills. Moreover, you can configure hotkeys to launch and control drones. Changes are also affecting PANIC defensive module which now requires active target lock on an ice deposit or asteroid before it can be activated.


These are the notable balance changes in the new patch.

Fighters – Increased signature radius. Wyvern and Hell class supercarriers increased hangar bay size.

Heavy Interdictor –  Propulsion scrambling effect from Focused Warp Disruption script to Focused Warp Scrambling script. You can now select one of the 3 Warp Disruption Field generators with different traits.

Mobile Warp Disruptor – Mobile Warp Disruptors now generate killmails when destroyed and will self-destruct if unattended for longer periods of time. Additionally, shield regeneration and hitpoints have been rebalanced, too.

Bust Projector – Increased duration of their effects.

Fighter UX improvements

Fighter UX is also largely improved and optimized. These improvements include:

Improved info details and tooltips.

Support for estimated fighter damage per second.

Fewer Busy Squadron messages.


A lot of interesting redesigns are also included in the patch. Besides some secondary aesthetic changes, there is some major remodeling of the Chimera and ORE Vessels. The Chimera received a new beautiful hull model with a smoother and more detailed look. Its model now features same textures technology as citadels. When it comes to ORE Vessels, they received a texture update with additional details and better paint layer spread.

Besides these notable changes, this patch brings match more. The players will be especially happy with the change to cargo holds. Namely, the cargo holds of ships maintenance arrays and bays are expanded so you can now store boosters, liquid ozone, and strontium in addition to charges.

You can find the detailed patch notes with complete changes here. All of these are quite an improvement for the already great game. It seems that the developers are doing a great job. You can expect this patch on 14th of March.


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Svb’s New Billionaire Owners Are Quietly Building A Banking Empire

Like the 20th Century transformation of NCNB into Bank of America, First Citizens’ Frank Holding Jr. is building another North Carolina super regional with grand national ambitions.

North Carolina’s First Citizens Bank doubled its size with the stroke of a pen in the early hours of Monday morning with its landmark acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank. Image: Getty

North Carolina’s First Citizens Bank doubled its size with the stroke of a pen in the early hours of Monday morning with its landmark FDIC-assisted acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank, and nobody will reap the rewards more than the family that has orchestrated its growth for the last century.

Chairman and CEO Frank Holding Jr. and his four sisters Olivia Holding, Hope Bryant, Carson Brice and Claire Bristow collectively own about 20% of First Citizens’ stock and have close to 50% voting power in the company, according to SEC filings, for a cumulative stake worth $2.7 billion thanks to Monday’s 54% stock gain following the deal. The surge erased all of the stock’s year-to-date losses in the regional bank selloff stemming from SVB’s failure and contagion fears.

Raleigh-based First Citizens and the Holding family have kept a low profile for decades, but the family-owned bank has been on a mission to expand nationwide via opportunistic acquisitions. Its growth has accelerated since the 2008 financial crisis thanks in part to a series of more than 20 FDIC-assisted acquisitions of small failed banks, including California’s $1.8 billion (assets) First Regional Bank, $1.1 billion Temecula Valley Bank, also based in Southern California, and $1.8-billion Denver-based United Western Bank. At the end of 2008, First Citizens had assets of $16.7 billion. Prior to this weekend’s SVB deal, the bank’s assets stood at $109 billion.

“It developed a bit of a specialty in that area,” says Peter Gwaltney, CEO of the North Carolina Bankers Association, referring to First Citizens’ purchases of failing banks. “They’re practiced at this, they’re disciplined and they’re trusted by the FDIC.”

In January 2023, its $2.2 billion acquisition of New York-based CIT Group was its biggest purchase prior to SVB. CIT is a 115-year old middle market commercial and consumer lender with a nationwide footprint. It went bankrupt during the financial crisis in 2008, and emerged in 2010 under the leadership of former Goldman Sachs executive and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, who retired in 2023.

First Citizens is taking on $110 billion in assets, $56 billion in deposits and $72 billion in loans from SVB, becoming one of the 20 largest banks in America now with $219 billion in assets. It has more than 500 branches in 21 states, heavily concentrated in the fast-growing Southeast and California.

The $72 billion loan portfolio was acquired at a $16.5 billion discount, the FDIC said in its press release, and an SEC filing said First Citizens received a $35 billion five-year loan from the FDIC at a 3.5% fixed rate to finance the deal. In early March, SVB experienced a bank run as its tech startup customers rushed to withdraw more than $40 billion in deposits. The ailing bank had more than 85% of its $175 billion in deposits uninsured. According to regulatory filings, First Citizens had 32% of its $91 billion in deposits uninsured as of the end of 2023.

“Frank Holding is one of the most opportunistic bank buyers out there,” says Brady Gailey, a managing director at KBW. “He’s creating an enormous amount of shareholder value, and the math on this acquisition is just eye-popping. Tangible book value per share could double with this deal.”

The Holding family’s expansion in banking is reminiscent of the rise of another “super” regional bank out of North Carolina, NCNB, under the leadership of Hugh McColl Jr., a former marine who made hundreds of acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s. NCNB was renamed Nationsbank in 1991 and ultimately acquired San Francisco’s Bank of America, growing assets from $12 billion in 1983 to more than $640 billion by the end of McColl’s tenure in 2000.

Hugh McColl Jr. turned North Carolina’s NCNB into a banking giant in the late 20th century that merged with Bank of America.

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“The Holdings have been very smart people for 100 years,” says McColl, 87, now the retired cofounder and chairman emeritus of private equity firm Falfurrias Capital. “They first made their very good investments during the Depression and right after the Depression, and they’ve always been smart about picking up things in hard times.”

First Citizens was founded in 1898 as the Bank of Smithfield serving farmers in Johnston County, North Carolina. Frank Jr.’s grandfather Robert Powell Holding arrived as an employee in 1918 and became president in 1935. His son Lewis Holding became CEO for a half-century after the patriarch died in 1957, with Frank Holding Sr. serving as an executive alongside his brother. Frank Holding Jr., 61, who went to school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, has spent his whole professional career at the bank, became its president in 1994 and took over as CEO from his uncle Lewis in 2008.

Holding’s sister Hope Bryant is the vice chairwoman of First Citizens, and his brother-in-law Peter Bristow is its president. Bryant also serves on the board of Mount Olive’s $4.8 billion (assets) Southern Bancshares and $4 billion (assets) Fidelity Bancshares of Fuquay Varina, two other North Carolina banks that count the Holding family as controlling shareholders. As of the end of 2023, 54% of Southern’s deposits and 35% of Fidelity’s deposits were uninsured.

The Holding family’s influence in North Carolina extends beyond banking. Frank is the chairman of the board of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest health insurer, and is also on the board of the Mount Olive Pickle Company, the largest independent pickle company in the U.S., based in the town of Mount Olive an hour southeast of Raleigh. His cousin George Holding was a four-term Republican congressman from 2013 to 2023, and his sisters Hope Bryant and Olivia Holding are listed as directors or principal owners of North Carolina companies including Twin States Farming and E&F Properties, which own thousands of acres of land.

First Citizens’ growth has been bolstered by its location in one of America’s fastest growing regions. Research Triangle Park between Raleigh and Durham is home to more than 300 companies. Google recently opened a large Durham office, and Apple is building a new billion-dollar campus in the Triangle area. In an investor call Monday morning, Holding cited Raleigh’s status as a growing hub for tech startups and his desire to make First Citizens their bank of choice.

“This transaction builds on our capabilities in the innovation and technology sectors,” Holding said on the call. “We believe there are long term secular tailwinds supporting technology and healthcare businesses that will continue to drive growth in the future.”

First Citizens has also established a large footprint in California and in the Northeast in recent years, and acquiring SVB will accelerate that growth. Many of SVB’s associates with experience in banking the technology industry will join the combined bank.

“Capital call lending, which is lending mostly to private equity companies, is a big piece of what they’re acquiring here. That’s roughly $40 billion of the $110 billion that they’re acquiring. That’s a perfect fit for what they’re already doing there in Raleigh,” Gailey says. “I think as more investors see the merits of this deal, this stock is still headed a lot higher.”

This article was first published on chúng tôi and all figures are in $USD.

Smartphones With Satellite Connections – What Do They Offer

A “Small Step” for Smartphone Makers

Let’s first look at what Huawei satellite connections offer. According to the company, the Huawei Mate 50 can send “short messages” (but not receive) by connecting to Beidou satellites. It will work only using the Huawei “Changlian App” and it works without a mobile network. Huawei’s technology originates from the “Mobile Beidou Short Message Communication RF Baseband Integrated Chip” released on July 30 this year. However, when a mobile phone uses this chip and directly connects to satellites, the main usage scenario is exploration and rescue positioning, not talking. After all, the main function of the Beidou system is positioning and navigation, not communication.

On Apple, the satellite connections on the iPhone 14 series focus on security. When there is no mobile signal and no high obstacles, users can select the option through Apple’s own Find App. In 15 seconds to a few minutes, it will connect directly to the satellite, and then switch back to the ground base station and relay station. This way, the ground voice call emergency centre can receive the information.

The direct satellite connection function of mass consumer smartphones is only a small step. Whether the future can take another big step depends on whether the following goals can be achieved:

Directly connect to satellites, high-speed and stable all-weather access, to achieve two-way high-throughput communication.

A stable and large-scale business model between smartphones and satellite service providers. 

Similar to terrestrial mobile communication service providers, there are different constellations of communication satellites to choose from.

But at present, there are a lot of technical problems to be solved in order to realize the above sci-fi scene.

Technical route for satellite connections 

There are some technical routes for smartphones to directly connect to the satellite. Each route has its own difficulties and four key issues:

1. Frequency band problem

Secondly, how to use it. The satellite-specific frequency bands and protocols are different from the terrestrial cellular frequency bands. It is currently difficult to use these frequency bands Ku, Ka and Q/V to directly connect mobile phones with satellites. There will also be cross-interference in mobile communication, and even the mobile 4G/5G standard needs modification.

2. Issue of balancing costs 3. Antenna problem

At present, mobile phones have built-in antennas. It is not difficult to increase the transmission power when the satellite transmits signals to the mobile phone. However, when the mobile phone transmits signals to the satellite, it is not only difficult to achieve. There are also strict restrictions on the transmission power of the mobile phone.

4. Docking of mobile phones and satellites

According to “China Electronics News”, the satellite moving too fast, Doppler effect caused by radio signal frequency and phase changes will be difficult problems. Taking the high-speed rail in an area with sparse signal towers, the mobile phone network is always intermittent. This is because people move too fast with the high-speed rail and there are too few signal towers. Similarly, the density of communication satellites should be as many as the signal towers. The mobile phone will have a good experience if it directly connects to the satellite.

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Satellite connections can not work for short videos

The bandwidth of communication transmission depends on the transmission frequency, the higher the signal frequency, the faster the data transmission rate. However, under the premise of given transmission power, the higher the signal frequency, the shorter the transmission distance. Therefore, satellites with communication functions, especially high-throughput communication functions, are mostly low-orbit satellites (orbit altitude 200km~2000km).

Low-orbit small satellite constellations are the mainstream of satellite communications due to their small power requirements. They also have simple launch methods and low investment costs. But the power of small satellites is limited, and users must rely on special ground receiving equipment to use these companies’ satellite Internet. This means that the satellite connection for smartphones is not enough for users to browse the internet.

Can satellites in higher orbits communicate?

Beidou satellite is a typical medium-orbit earth satellite (MEO), but the main function of the Beidou satellite is navigation. The communication function is much simpler. Short message is a primary satellite communication service provided by the Beidou system. Terminals have specific chips that can send and receive text, voice or small pictures in both directions through Beidou satellites. This service is mostly used in emergency disaster relief, ocean communications and other scenarios that cannot be covered by ground base stations.

Medium-orbit satellites are located at a distance of 2000km to 35,786km from sea level and are mainly used to build large-scale navigation system satellite constellations. Large-scale global navigation systems such as GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, and Galileo are all located in medium orbits.

At present, only O3b is a medium-orbit communication operator, and it mainly provides broadband access services for various operators or group customers with limited access to the ground network. Thuraya, which is the same name as Iridium is located in a higher geosynchronous orbit (GEO, 35,786 km from sea level, and a radius of 42,164 km from the center of the earth). However, the medium and high orbit satellites are far from the ground, so the communication bandwidth is not high and the transmission delay is large. Thus, it is very difficult to use them for direct connection to consumer smartphones.

To break through, not to hype

“Mobile phone with satellite” is of course a sexy and eye-catching concept, but we should examine its commercial potential with a rational attitude, rather than being misled by the temporary market hype.

The current estimates of the market size of satellite Internet are quite confusing. The results given by different calibers and institutions vary greatly.

Morgan Stanley is the most optimistic, predicting that the global satellite Internet market size is expected to reach $45.426 billion in 2030. But other more conservative expectations are only $17.431 billion to $18.59 billion, the gap is quite large. For a more cautious short-term forecast, it is expected that by 2026, the size of the market will reach $6 billion to $8.1 billion US, there is a big gap between 2030 and the aforementioned forecast.

In simple terms, the use of satellite connections on smartphones is not as simple as the brands make it sound. It is also not a seamless process and it is not as easy as dialling a number on your smartphone. There are technical issues with satellite communications when turning to more conventional and broad basic application scenarios. Obviously, in the absence of sufficiently powerful satellites, “satellite Internet” can only be regarded as a supplementary route at most.

The demand for satellite Internet comes from remote areas that are difficult to reach with the traditional network coverage.  Ordinary residents who rely on satellites instead of optical fibers to access the Internet are relatively limited. This reduces the demand for satellite Internet to a certain extent. Analysis by overseas institutions.

What can satellite smartphones really do?

Another key question is what can users do with phones that can connect directly to satellites. At present, satellite communication cannot meet the basic needs of ordinary mobile Internet users. In most cases, smartphones with satellite connections can only support sending and receiving short messages. This function will only be useful in times of specific needs. Even at such situations, the reliability of the feature can not be guaranteed. For ordinary users, the satellite function may never be used. It is obviously too early to consider the satellite connection as a feature to drive the market.

We can say that “satellite Internet” is an important supplement to traditional network services. However, saying that it will form a large-scale replacement for the existing network service coverage model will undoubtedly exaggerate its actual function and commercial potential.

Building Chatgpt’s Ai Content Filters Devastated Workers’ Mental Health, According To New Report

Content moderation is a notoriously nasty job, and the burgeoning labor outsourcing industry surrounding it routinely faces heated scrutiny for the ethics of its approach to subjecting human workers to the internet’s darkest corners. On Wednesday, Time published a new investigative deep dive into Sama, a company that recently provided OpenAI with laborers solely tasked with reading some of the worst content the internet has to offer.

Although the endeavor’s overall goal was to develop helpful and necessary internal AI filters for the popular, buzzworthy ChatGPT program, former Sama employees say they now suffer from PTSD from their tenures sifting through thousands of horrid online text excerpts describing sexual assault, incest, bestiality, child abuse, torture, and murder, according to the new report.  Not to mention, the report states that these employees, largely based in Kenya, were paid less than $2 an hour.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT quickly became one of last year’s most talked about technological breakthroughs for its ability to near instantaneously generate creative text from virtually any human prompt. While similar programs already exist, they have been frequently prone to spewing hateful and downright abusive content due to their inability to internally identify toxic material amid the troves of internet writing utilized as generative reference points.

With already well over 1 million users, ChatGPT has been largely free of such issues (although many other worries remain), largely thanks to an additional built-in AI filtering system meant to omit much of the internet’s awfulness. But despite their utility, current AI programs aren’t self-aware enough to notice inappropriate material on their own—they first require training from humans to flag all sorts of contextual keywords and subject matter. 

Billed on its homepage as an “the next era of AI development,” Sama, a US-based data-labeling company that employs workers in Kenya, India, and Uganda for Silicon Valley businesses, claims to have helped over 50,000 people around the world rise above poverty via its employment opportunities. According to Time’s research sourced via hundreds of pages of internal documents, contracts, and worker pay stubs, however, the cost for dozens of workers amounted to self-described “torture” for takehome hourly rates of anywhere between $1.32 and $2.

[Related: OpenAI’s new chatbot offers solid conversations and fewer hot takes.]

Workers allege to Time that they worked far past their assigned hours, sifting through 150-250 disturbing text passages per day and flagging the content for ChatGPT’s AI filter training. Although wellness counselor services were reportedly available, Sama’s employees nevertheless experienced lingering emotional and mental tolls that exceeded those services’ capabilities. In a statement provided to Time, Sama disputes the workload, and said their contractors were only expected to review around 70 texts a shift.

“These companies present AI and automation to us as though it eliminates workers, but in reality that’s rarely the case,” Paris Marx, a tech culture critic and author of Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong About Transportation, explains to PopSci. “… It’s the story of the Facebook content moderators all over again—some of which were also hired in Kenya by Sama.”

Marx argues the only way to avoid these kinds of mental and physical exploitation would require a massive cultural reworking within the tech industry, something that currently feels very unlikely. “This is the model of AI development that these companies have chosen,” they write, “[and] changing it would require completely upending the goals and foundational assumptions of what they’re doing.”

Sama initially entered into content moderation contracts with OpenAI amounting to $200,000 surrounding the project, but reportedly cut ties early to focus instead on “computer vision data annotation solutions.” OpenAI is currently in talks with investors to raise funding at a $29 billion valuation, $10 billion of which could come from Microsoft. Reuters previously reported OpenAI expects $200 million in revenue this year, and upwards of $1 billion in 2024. As the latest exposé reveals yet again, these profits frequently come at major behind-the-scenes costs for everyday laborers.

Building Structures In French

The whole of the French language can be broken down into several different structures. If you take any sentence from any French book or any utterance, you will see that it fits into one of these structures.

I remember one weekend, I was writing some lessons for the week ahead, when I suddenly realised this. I noticed that there are a certain number of structures in French, and that every sentence follows one of these structures. I spent the rest of the weekend working out all the structures, and I wrote them all down.

Every structure you learn gives you the ability to say a huge amount. Some structures are used more than others, but all the structures together make up the whole French language. Once you’ve learnt how a structure works, all you have to do is insert different words into the slots and you have a sentence.

This course introduces you to structure 4. I’ve limited each course to one structure so as not to overburden you. By looking at just one structure at a time, you can really get to grips with it and understand its usage. It will help to clarify the French language and make it more like a reflex rather than something you have to think about as is it were a maths equation.

Each structure can also help to propel you to fluency; if you can manipulate the structures at high speed, you can start to say anything you want without having to thing about how to say it.

This course contains plenty of practice opportunities for you to revise what you’ve learnt and it also contains some hints and tips on how best to learn and memorise the structures and the vocabulary that goes with them. You’ll learn how to make questions out of structure 3, how to make statements and how to turn positive statements negative.

The Building Structures in French series is set out using the same learning techniques as the 3 Minute French courses. You can work through the course in three minute chunks, enabling anybody to learn French, no matter how little time you have.

Who this course is for:

You want to explore the French language a little more deeply

You are interested in starting to learn about the next structure of the French language and how to manipulate it.

You enjoy the 3 minute methodology used in other 3 Minute French courses

You enjoyed learning about the first three structures and would like to learn about the next structure in French


Learn about the fourth structure in the French language

Get to grips with how easy it is to manipulate this structure and say what you want with it

Get plenty of opportunity to practise using this structure

Learn how to form questions and statements in structure 4 in both the positive and negative

Complete lessons in 3 minute chunks – perfect for the busy learner

Build your own sentences without memorisation

Get more familiar with the past tense in French

Speak from the very first lesson


Ideally, you should be a little familiar already with the French language, but if you’re not, panic not! Everything in this course is fully explained, so you won’t get lost

I recommend you start by enrolling on the “Building Structures in French – Structures 1, 2 and 3” course

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