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User Journal

Journal Journal: Skye

Skye
---

Skye died, February 14, 2016.

The first time I saw Skye, I came in and saw her in the cage she was later to die in, after being attacked (probably) by the other new bird, Jack.

That first time, Jack was in a box in another part of the room, a baby still. Skye was old enough to perch by herself in the cage Tracie would later put both Jack and her in, when she left, and at night.

The first time I saw Skye, I walked up to her and said hi, and looked at her, smiling.

She was wary at first, eyeing me carefully, a bit scared. Everything must have been so new to her; she had just been moved to a new house, seeing new people, new birds. She sat on a high perch in the cage, quietly, and looked at me carefully. What was I going to do to her?

I just looked back, smiling, talking in soft tones, greeting her, trying to make her feel welcome, loved.

Eventually, Skye turned her head and closed her eyes in a very feminine, very cute manner. In that instant I knew she was female, and a gentle, good bird. I fell in love with her, she was so sweet. She reminded me a little of Peach.

---

I remember many other interactions with Skye, catching her and Jack to put them in that same cage together when I was leaving one day, for example.

Another memory that stands out is when I looked at her and promised to get, or build, a flight cage for her. She looked back at me for an instant with a very intelligent, knowing look in her eyes. I felt in that instant that she understood what I was saying, at least she could hear from my tone that I was promising her something she would like. And she was hopeful, expectant, but there was an element also that didn't trust me to go through with the promise.

And I didn't, not before she died.

---

I feel such a sense of injustice, at Skye's death. I imagine her, attacked, mortally injured, lying in her little tent, licking her wounds, in pain, waiting to die.

She was so quiet, Tracie didn't even realize she was injured for a while after she finally came home and opened up the cage. Skye lay in her hanging tent, dying, not making a peep, resigned.

I listen to Kurt Cobain singing "Ain't it a Shame", over and over again. When he starts screaming, in the antepenultimate chorus, I cry. It is a shame.

I think Kurt felt the injustice and the pain that Skye felt, and even when he became rich and famous he couldn't forget it. It is not fair, for any to suffer. No amount of popularity or money could change that, for Kurt, I think. Nothing will take away the pain I feel, for Skye, for Peach, for Buddy, for all the birds I have known, for all the injustice I have experienced or heard about.

Charlie. Everytime I hear the song "Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie" on the Swing Kings music station, I think of how I used to tell Charlie his name was in the song now playing, when it came on, while he was still with me.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Unsettling dream 1

I was in a box canyon with two female friends (not recognizable from real life). At the end of the canyon, I found a couple rooms that looked like they had been lived in. There was no roof but there was a bed, a table, some drawers or shelves, two rectangular living areas.

Exploring the box canyon further I encountered some people, a long-haired cool rock-star-looking dude and his friends. They accepted me into their group and I found myself unable to get back to my original friends. They showed me more living areas in the box canyon, with supplies so I had everything I wanted to survive. But I was uncomfortable.

Here I am remembering that one of the things that made me uncomfortable was that part of living amongst this group involved sticking a long tube into my throat. Day residue: I watched a Sonoran Desert movie before bed, which showed a hummingbird feeding its young by inserting its long, narrow beak into the young bird's throat and regurgitating. I think the scene in the dream was some representation of that visual experience.

I didn't want to stay in the new group. I wanted to find my old friends, go back to my old way of living. But I couldn't find a way out. I looked, but I couldn't find my friends again.

Immediate interpretation upon waking: I am afraid of being assimilated into the Tohono O'odham culture. The thought in my head on waking was that the new group of people in the dream were Tohono O'odham Indians and they had very strange practices wherein they became like intertwined puppets, and the tube-insertion was part of the intertwining. I didn't want to be like that.

More day residue: the previous day I had written a diary on k$5, an open letter to the Tohono O'odham Nation. And there was an event in the library (at which I wrote the diary) involving kids, including native kids. So the Tohono O'odham were on my mind, as was the hummingbird method of beak-insertion feeding.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Sunny

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The first time I saw Sunny, she popped out of Tracie's purse and looked at me with supreme confidence. Her feathers were slightly fluffed from being carried in the purse that morning after Tracie had picked her up from her previous home.

She was a yellow lovebird with blue tailfeathers, very pretty. She was curious. The other day I was holding the washing machine, so it wouldn't vibrate as it does excessively when it spins. Sunny was sitting on my shoulder, curiously inclining her head to see what I was doing. I explained to her I was trying to keep the machine from making so much noise, and showed her how when I put my hand on it, the noise lessened, and when I took it away, the vibrating sound got louder. I repeated these actions, of using my hand to dampen the vibrations and taking my hand away to let the vibrations sound unmuffled, several times, talking to her about what I was doing. She watched my hand, listened to me, looked at the machine. My impression was, she understood what I was trying to convey.

I was looking forward to developing more communication with her, to learn from her, to teach her, to sing with her, to have fun, to watch her have fun flying and chirping and swinging on a swing and running across the floor and taking baths and sitting on my shoulder and crawling in my pockets and nipping my toes.

I remember another time, Sunny had been running up to me as I stood watching TV or something, and biting my toes. I usually would yell and step away, and she would look pleased with herself. Once she caught me so much by surprise, I fell over onto the floor when I lifted my foot up to get it away from her beak, and lost my balance. I remember her sitting there motionless, looking very pleased with herself :) She had toppled me, many orders of magnitude bigger than her though I was.

I love you Sunny. I will remember you. I hope we meet again in other incarnations, and remember each other and learn more from each other and communicate with each other again.

I wish I could fix Sunny's body, heal her broken neck. I imagine a future where such fixes will be routine, and each mortal lives as long as they please.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Figures on 2008 crash

From https://class.coursera.org/money-002/forum/search?q=10.6+trillion#15-state-query=10.6+trillion:

Quoting from http://www.milkeninstitute.org... [milkeninstitute.org]:

The total value of housing units in the United
States amounts to $19.3 trillion, with $10.6 trillion
in mortgage debt and the remaining $8.7 trillion
representing equity in those units as of June 2008.

Of the approximately 80 million houses in the
United States, 27 million are paid off, while the
remaining 53 million have mortgages. Of those
households with mortgages, 5 million (or 9 percent)
were behind in their payments and roughly 3
percent were in foreclosure as of mid-2008.

So, say 10% of $10.6 trillion was at risk of default, or $1 trillion.

The notional amount of CDS
increased from less than $1 trillion in 2001 to slightly
more than $62 trillion in 2007, before declining to
$47 trillion on October 31, 2008.

So the derivative market inflated the real value of the mortgages by about a factor of 6, and then magnified the size of the possible default problem by a factor of 15.

---

More figures: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2013/1/10/21236/5547

---

User Journal

Journal Journal: Peaches, beloved cockatiel.

November 9, 2014

Thoughts on the death of Peaches

I would like to run a bird rescue on a marijuana farm, powered with solar or other alternative energy sources.

I would take in abandoned or injured birds, care for them, tend to marijuana plants, and maybe experiment with robotics or solar energy or bots in a barn.

Why shouldn't the government create money to help me? Would I be contributing to the General Welfare?

I would give pot away. I don't want to sell anything.

Why is my dream so threatening that I must be marginalized, impoverished, scorned, targeted, teased, trolled, bullied, scammed, ripped off? Do you people just shrug and say "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"?

---

Peach produced some chirps I'd never heard from her in the last few days. High, arcing, short chirps, as she attacked a bowl of seeds for what she knew must be one of the last times.

Three weeks ago, she produced bloody droppings. The emergency room vet seconded an internal tumor diagnosis by the regular vet. What can you do for an avian tumor? Nanotechnology, one day? Target all and only tumor cells, dissolve them or something?

She seemed to recover, no longer having bloody droppings. She ate well for a couple weeks, and chirped a lot, and asked to be carried around. I spent a lot of time with her perched on my shoulder.

Then she turned less active, and spent a lot of time sitting with her eyes closed, leaning against a wall or cage bar.

In her final hours she was having obvious difficulty breathing, and had stopped preening herself.

Peach has a very special and strong spirit. I believe we shall meet in other lives, and I tried ot get her to remember me so we might recognize each other again.

---

I knew Peach for 16 years. She saw us go through a lot. We have lots of memories, some of which I've written about in diaries.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Three baby mice

August 13, 2014

In the bathroom at Millersylvania State Park, I found two baby mice. One was cowering against a wall, shivering, moving very slowly. Another was in the hallway, likewise shivering and not moving much or at all.

I thought of putting them outside, in the forest. I assumed their mother had been killed by a trap or something. (I had seen a squirrel earlier, running with what seemed to be a dead mouse in its mouth.)

I tried to pick up one mouse by the tail, but it kept squeaking and running away. I left it alone.

I went for a hike on the trails.

When I got back, I had resolved to get a box and move the mice outside. I went back to the bathroom to check on them.

I found a streak of fresh blood where one had been, it's flattened, mangled body a few inches away, jammed under a closed door. I found two others behind another door, also flattened and bloody.

I had seen only two, there must have been another behind a door somewhere.

I'm guessing someone, some kid, stomped on them.

I whistled Flee as a bird as I walked away from the bathroom.

I thought of Robin Williams recent suicide. A Fresh Air interview with him was replayed, a bit with the punchline: "Life is not for everybody."

But those mice weren't given a chance. They could have been saved. They didn't have to die violently, by murder, for no purpose other than that they perhaps annoyed someone.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Lewis River dreams

2014-7-14

Two dream scenes:

1) IMF associated with old growth trees, as if reserves were symbolized by the giant, 1000-year-old living trunks.

Is this how they think of reserves? I don't. Money reserves are artificial, human-invented, not natural like the trees.

2) My right hand being eaten by a fish, caught in the big fish's mouth, entirely inside the ring of the teeth. I awoke feeling pain in my right hand, trapped under a thigh.

Dream as a somatic warning.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Island Camp dreams

2014-7-15
Island Camp, WA

Two dream memories:

1) I was female. I was in a multi-story department store. My right arm would shiver periodically, and an amphibian-like creature, writhing, green, long-legged (like a frog), would come twitching out from my sleeve at a fast speed; it would shoot towards the floor, tumbling, then bound off somewhere. The offshoots springing from my (right) arm were different sizes, though all of the same general form (amphibian-like) and color (green on top, whitish belly).

I have a vivid memory of looking down at one as it emerged, at a greater speed than gravity would have given it had it just been falling from my shoulder's height; it felt as if it had squirted out from an aperture, a slit, somewhere on my upper arm, which I could not see because I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt (blouse?). The creature was falling beyond my sleeve upside-down, its whitish lizard-like belly at an angle slanted upwards, towards my head; its head cocked, its neck turned so it was making eye contact with me as it descended backwards towards the floor.

I was moving between floors in the department store, taking the stairs. I was trying to hide these amphibian births from the store security. I felt that if someone saw me squirting out these frog-like creatures, something bad would happen. It was embarrassing, if nothing else.

I had no control over the births.

---

Dream interpretation:

Day residue: I saw a frog a few days ago. And some tadpoles a day or so after that, a couple days ago. I still think of the salamanders I saw in a pond in the Willipa Hills, a few weeks ago.

I was feeling a lot of insect bites, or what I took to be insect bites, during the night before the dream. After waking up I scratched my upper right arm, wondering if there was an insect there giving birth?

I thought of the dream I had a few nights ago, in which my right hand was being bitten by a large fish. When I woke from that dream my hand was trapped under a thigh, being painfully squeezed. Was this latest dream some kind of somatic warning, as well?

Another interpretation:

The live births were memes, pushed out from my right arm as it wrote them down on paper. The memes (ideas, thoughts, written words) were dangerous to the employees of the business-oriented environment I was in, so I tried to hide. What I was outputting was out of place in the sterile, cut-and-dried world of the department store. My production was disruptive, disturbing, weird, uncontrolled.

2) Second dream memory:

I was consorting with a rich person, a businessman. He showed me a card with some ideas on it, asked my opinion. I wrote in my reactions on the card. He seemed interested. He was busy, and left. When he said goodbye I felt a sense of loss, as if I should have pressed him for further meetings about my ideas; why didn't he hire me, pay me a salary, give me some money for my contributions (which definitely interested him) so I could have a decent standard of living instead of living way below the poverty line.

Later I saw something produced by the rich man's company. It was the same card he had showed me, and my ideas and scribbles were on it. He had photocopied the card with my contributions and was distributing it. I wasn't credited. He appeared to be making money from the card. I wasn't.

Interpretation: A businessman takes my ideas and profits from them, without crediting of paying me. I'm not pushy, so I don't ask when I have the chance to be part of the business.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Recorder

2014-7-15

Island Camp, WA

I've been playing the recorder a lot. A group occupying the shelter at this campsite left this morning, so I have the camp to myself. Yesterday they left in one car during the day, so I practiced then too. But it's better when I'm not worried about them returning.

I practice "Paper Doll", "When The Saints Go Marching In", "It Don't Mean A Thing", "Someday", "Basin Street Blues", "All of Me", "Don't Fence Me In", "Do, A Deer" (in different keys), "Blue Skies" (just started today), "Summertime", and a Boogie Woogie bassline.

I'm trying to get a prettier, less breathy sound, especially in the high notes. I think I hit a high B today. High G I can get fairly consistently now, high A is more iffy.

It's nice, playing with the birds, squirrels, deer. Sometimes I start playing and birds start chirping.

I'm learning how to use breath control to make notes and phrases swing.

---

I recorded three or four songs on my phone. But I can't transfer them to the computer. I was able to before; it was fairly straightforward: email the 3gp sound file to myself, then download it and convert it into mp3 format using Audacity. However, on a different computer (Windows 8), I am no longer able to play the 3gp audio files: they are silent, or don't transfer at all, or don't show any waveform when imported into Audacity. The 3gp files play on my phone, but that's it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Lewis River

2014-7-12

Lewis River

Bathed in the upper Lewis River today. The water was cold, but the air temperature was in the 90s. I thoroughly washed my feet and splashed water over all the rest of my body.

Yesterday I hiked a trail through old growth forest from the Upper Falls (on the Lewis River) to the Middle Falls, and back. Again the temperature was close to 90 degrees, so I took my shirt off. I crossed at least six or seven groups, a lot of them women.

One group had five or six women and one little boy. The boy had his shirt off, like me. When I crossed them the second time (on the way back), one girl looked like she wanted to take her shirt off, too.

It is exhilarating, finding an isolated place in the forest where I can walk naked, playing the recorder...

I spent the first night of this trip on the east end of the Swift Reservoir. I started the night in a tent, but I was right next to the water, and it was so humid the inside of the tent smelled moldy and the sides were wet. So I pulled my pads and sleeping bag out and slept on a tarp outside. The tarp was covered with dew drops by morning. Luckily the morning brought sunshine and hot weather so I dried everything out.

Second night, on the Upper Lewis River, I tried the tent again. But it smelled of plastic and was making me feel tense all over. After sunset I pulled out the pads and sleeping bag again, to sleep on a tarp next to the tent. This time it wasn't humid.

Third night: I slept in the tent. The plastic smell seemed less after airing it out all day. It kept the bugs off me. In the morning I noticed some congested sinuses which I didn't have when I slept with no tent outside...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Some figures on the housing bubble 1

http://www.milkeninstitute.org/pdf/riseandfallexcerpt.pdf provides some numbers:

The total value of housing units in the United
States amounts to $19.3 trillion, with $10.6 trillion
in mortgage debt and the remaining $8.7 trillion
representing equity in those units as of June 2008.

Of the approximately 80 million houses in the
United States, 27 million are paid off, while the
remaining 53 million have mortgages. Of those
households with mortgages, 5 million (or 9 percent)
were behind in their payments and roughly 3
percent were in foreclosure as of mid-2008.

So, say 10% of $10.6 trillion was at risk of default, or $1 trillion.

The notional amount of CDS
increased from less than $1 trillion in 2001 to slightly
more than $62 trillion in 2007, before declining to
$47 trillion on October 31, 2008.

So the derivative market inflated the real value of the mortgages by about a factor of 6, and then magnified the size of the possible default problem by a factor of 15.

I'm reminded of a sentence from John Lanchester's book, I.O.U. (another journal of mine on the book):

"Even once it's explained, however, it still seems wholly contrary to common sense that the market for products that derive from real things should be unimaginably vaster than the market for the things themselves."

Note that the total value of derivatives, according to the May 2014 BIS Statistical Release, was $710 trillion. So the $62 trillion 2007 figure has been increased by a factor of 10, again.

---

The Fed bought up trillions of the MBS assets, thereby letting off the hook the CDS holders who had insured them, I think. Pension funds held a lot of CDSes, so a SIGTARP report stated that it was prompted to action to save retirement accounts. Yet when Detroit experienced a dramatic increase in its liabilities due to an interest-rate swap with UBS, the Fed and the national government did not step in to help. Why not?

Fed Chairman Bernanke stated somewhere that helping state and local governments were too political for the Fed to get involved in. So it is the realm of fiscal policy. Why couldn't he say outright that the government can run a deficit to help out state and local governments? It worked for the Fed helping banks; why shouldn't it work for the government helping states and cities?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Web pages jumping around

I was just reading the introduction to an article on Slashdot's front page. Suddenly, the page refreshed, and reloaded leaving me with a view of the top of the site. I had lost my place, my concentration, and the train of thought I was engaged in.

The early internet wasn't like this. Now, when a page loads it jumps around. So I start reading some text, and suddenly an ad above the area loads, and the text jumps off the screen.

This happens even on wikipedia.

Is it a deliberate strategy on the part of advertisers to get you to notice their ads?

Is it an unintended consequence of loading pages in parts, not leaving enough space for the top parts?

Is my viewing experience not important to the developers?

Whatever, it is really annoying to me when i'm reading something and then suddenly the browser moves it out of my view.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Paradise Cove 1

January 5, 2014

One of the main goals of this road trip was to visit the site of Rockford's trailer.

In the 1970s, according to the evidence in the Rockford Files, Paradise Cove had free public access to the public beach. In one episode (The Queen of Peru) a motor home parks next to Rockford's trailer and Rockford, despite being annoyed by the kids' noise-making, nevertheless tells the father that he has a right to park there since it's a public beach.

Today, Paradise Cove seems to have been fully privatized. The Paradise Cove Cafe charges for beach access ($20 for walk-in, $30 for beach parking). There is a large trailer park in the Cove which now covers the hills behind Rockford's trailer, which in the 1970s were wild. In one episode, Rocky runs up the hill behind the trailer; today there are fences and roads and signs saying "No access to the General Public".

Things were better in 1970s pre-Reagan America.

I liked Rockford because money didn't faze him. He met a lot of very rich people, but he didn't want what they had. At the ends of lots of episodes he gets stiffed out of his fee or reward money; his reaction is invariably to laugh it off. Sometimes he wins, and celebrates. When he doesn't though he doesn't lose his cool. Money played some part in the game Rockford played, but it wasn't the goal. He didn't worship money or use it to keep score.

Another reason I like The Rockford Files is the sunshine under which a lot of the outdoor shots were filmed. It's 75 degrees here in the middle of winter. Looking at maps in the chilly Pacific Northwest, I wanted to see what some warm weather felt like. Today I went for a swim!

Some more pictures of Paradise Cove, and also the mudrock (?) formations in the adjacent Santa Monica hills, are in this folder of road trip pictures.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stockton

"The Miwok Indians lived in the Central Valley among the delta's waterways, using them for food and transportation." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockton,_California)

Stockton is a shock after coming from Indian Grinding Rock Park, where the Miwok ground acorns.

The park was relatively quiet, and the air was fresh. Lots of trees.

Stockton is industrialized, with a constant sound of trucks and trains. I'm in a Motel 6, next to a large trucking yard. All through the night trucks drove past. There's also a garbage dump down the road.

I went for a run to get out of the room which was giving me a headache. I passed an electric traffic warning sign on a small trailer, alerting drivers to a street closure. The end date of the closure was 12/31/2013; it's 1/4/2014 now. So they haven't taken away the out-of-date warning sign. Symptomatic of the city's budget problems?

I should have stayed at the park campsite. The charge was $30, and I didn't have it in cash.

This city reinforces the feeling that western civilization has gone completely wrong, and the Miwok had a better idea of how to live. The air was fresh in the park; here, back in the motel room, already the headache is coming back.

What if we had not overrun the Miwok in the mad rush for gold? Things could have been done differently; white settlers could have coexisted with the Indians, mutually benefited. Civilization could have brought technology but learned to keep population down and live in balance with the environment. We could have had a much more utopian setting instead of the Stockton that exists today.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Burr

From "Burr", by Gore Vidal, page 420:

An usher opened the front door. In the muddy courtyard, a groom stood with my horse. Jefferson looked at me curiously. "I must say that I had rather thought you would be coming back to live here."

"To this house?" I asked most pleasantly.

"Why not? But I meant to Washington City, to this Congress, representing one of the western states."

"It is still a possibility."

"You ought not to waste yourself, Colonel."

"I do not think that it is I who have done the wasting."

Jefferson blushed; and bade me farewell.

From Matthew Davis's biography of Burr (in the Preface):

I soon discovered that Colonel Burr was far more tenacious of his military, than of his professional, political, or moral character. His prejudices against General Washington were immoveable. They were formed in the summer of 1776, while he resided at headquarters; and they were confirmed unchangeably by the injustice which he said he had experienced at the hands of the commander-in-chief immediately after the battle of Long Island, and the retreat of the American army from the city of New-York. These grievances he wished to mingle with his own history; and he was particularly anxious to examine the military movements of General Washington on different occasions, but more especially at the battle of Monmouth, in which battle Colonel Burr commanded a brigade in Lord Stirling's division.

Further on:

Four days after, viz., the 28th of June, the battle of Monmouth was fought. It was on this occasion that General Washington ordered the arrest of General Lee: 1stly, For disobedience of orders in not attacking the enemy on the 28th of June, agreeably to repeated instructions; 2dly, For misbehaviour before the enemy on the same day, by making an unnecessary, disorderly, and shameful retreat; 3dly, For disrespect to the commander-in-chief, in two letters, dated the 20th of June. On the 12th of August the courtmartial, of which Lord Stirling was president, found Lee guilty, and sentenced him to be suspended from any command in the armies of the United States for the term of twelve months. The history of the battle of Monmouth, with all the consequences that followed, has long since been given to the world by the friends and the opponents of the respective parties. It is only necessary to state here, that Colonel Burr, on that occasion, was ranked among the supporters of Lee, and had himself real or imaginary cause of complaint against the commander-in-chief.

In this action Colonel Burr commanded a brigade in the division of Lord Stirling, composed of his own regiment and some Pennsylvanians, under the immediate command of Lieutenant-colonel Dummer. Gordon, in his History of the American Revolution, says, "The check the British received gave time to make a disposition of the left wing and second line of the main army in the wood, and on the eminence to which he had been directed and was retreating. On this were placed some batteries of cannon by Lord Stirling, who commanded the left wing, which played upon the British with great effect, and, seconded by parties of infantry detached to oppose them, effectually put a stop to their advance. The British, finding themselves warmly opposed in front, attempted to turn the American left flank, but were repulsed."

Shortly after the action had become general, Burr discovered a detachment of the enemy coming from the borders of a wood on the southward. He instantly put his brigade in motion for the purpose of checking them. It was necessary to cross a morass, over which a bridge was thrown. He ordered Lieutenant-colonel Dummer to advance with the Pennsylvania detachment, and that he would bring up the rear with his own regiment. After a part of the brigade was over the bridge, Colonel Barber, aid to General Washington, rode up, and said that the orders of the commander-in-chief were that he should halt. Colonel Burr remonstrated. He said his men, in their present position, were exposed to the fire of the enemy, and that his whole brigade must now cross the bridge before they could halt with any safety. Colonel Barber repeated that the orders of General Washington were peremptory that he should halt, which was accordingly done, and the brigade, in their divided state, suffered severely. Lieutenant-colonel Dummer was killed; Colonel Burr's horse was shot under him; and those who had crossed the bridge were compelled to retreat.

So, Burr had the feeling of being wasted those in command over him at Monmouth.

(More on the Battle of Monmouth: http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-monmouth.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Battle_of_Monmouth.Dean.USMA.edu.history.gif)

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