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Archive for October, 2008

The Quote tag

The title says it all, isn’t it?

Well.. This is from Sneha, and i’m more than happy to put down 5 of my favorite quotes.

1. As you think, So you are.  – The Buddha

2. Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. – Benjamin Franklin

3. Keep looking, don’t settle till you find what you love to do. – Steven Jobs

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. – The Dalai Lama

5. I don’t have time only for something i don’t like to do. – Sandeep R.

Okay, the last quote is from a guy who doesn’t have a wiki entry yet but wishes to have it some day. :)

I’m a quote freak, and i’ve a page here listing few of my favorite quotes. The five above are picked from there. Now comes the fun part, tagging fellow bloggers. Here’s the list: Sakhi, Shivya, Dinesh, Swats (c’mon this’ll be fun!), and Reema.

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The Kite flyers

I was talking to RJ (yeah he’s still alive) on Friday afternoon. He was compiling his ‘bucket list’, and told me few of his:

– Learn to whistle. Haha.. i can do that

– Learn to blow a bubblegum. That’s easy.. i can do that

– Learn to spin a top. Yikes.. i can do that too

Next one,

– Learn to fly a kite. Oops.. I can’t do that.

RJ asked me what was my bucket list. I don’t have any list, i just do things i feel like doing. :)

The greatest joy in life is not to have a bucket list, and strike off the things you did from others’ list.

I’ve tried like a million times in my childhood (not that i’m old now :P) to fly a kite but with dismal results. It’s just too hard, i can’t get it sore over the skies. There must be a technique i got to learn to fly.

I had heard one of my friends saying that flying kite is too easy, and he used to fly a lot in school. So, first thing i did after learning RJ’s bucket list was send a mail to my friend(s) for a kite flying workshop :))

Thankfully he obliged. Another friend knew a place where they sell kites and other required accessories, and she obliged to get all the stuff. So, Monday was my maiden flight. It was exciting. I flew a kite all by myself, from ground to skies till the thread (manjha) got over.

I know there are many guys who want to learn to fly a kite. Those in Bangalore can contact me, we’ll start Kite flying for dummies workshop soon. :P

Here are few pics:

..

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Kabini JLR was on to-do list for long time, and I took a trip to this Jungle Lodges and Resorts on the backwaters of Kabini last weekend. Being rated as the top five wildlife resorts in the world by Tatler’s, getting a booking at this JLR is not an easy task. We had booked two rooms about a month back. Vandan picked me, Danny, Akshat and Sam from various parts of Bangalore and we headed to Kabini by 7:30am. The popular Kamath Lok Ruchi on Mysore road was thronged by hundreds of people, we too stopped there for a sumptuous buffet breakfast. Numerous restaurants and coffee shops on Mysore road make the journey prolonged, which otherwise wouldn’t take more than 2.5 hours. :))

Route: Bangalore -> Mandya -> Mysore -> HD Kote -> Kabini JLR : 220kms

Butterfly right outside our room at Kabini JLR

Butterfly right outside our room at Kabini JLR

We reached JLR by 12:30pm. At the reception we were briefed about our activities for the next 23 hours. A board displaying the recent sightings had Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Python, and Wild dogs. This apart from the common ly sighted spotted deers (chitals), sambhars, elephants, and numerous birds. Sightings in the morning were more than that in the evenings. Checked into our rooms soon, freshened up and had lunch by 1:30pm. Lazed around for sometime after lunch, picked up our gears from the room, had tea and left for safari by 4:00pm.

Prem was our driver and naturalist. First up we spotted a tusker on the Mysore – Mananthavadi highway. This stretch is intentionally under prepared to avoid roadkills. We drove into the jungles with the hope of spotting a big cat. Nearly an hour in the jungle and no luck. Few spotted deers, racket tailed drongo, white throated kighfisher, a glimpse of sambhar and that’s about it. A radio message informed Prem that there was a tusker fight at some part, and he started driving to that spot. On the way we sighted a Crested Hawk Eagle (EKA Changeable Hawk Eagle) perched nicely on a dead tree, fired a few frames. Soon, we spotted couple of Malabar Gaint Squirrels but were hard to capture. The light was already fading, lower shutter speed and high ISO didn’t get the best of the images. When we reached the spot we saw 3 young tuskers, two of them were tussling with each other. The third one walked into the bushes. The other jeeps had left the spot, and Prem maneuvered the jeep around so that we could get a best capture of the tussle, but the elephants always positioned in such a way that we couldn’t get a perfect shot. Nevertheless, Prem did as much as he can and we got a few decent snaps. The first image in this post, at the top, was this fight. It was almost 6pm, and we were to leave that area. Spotted few Sambhars but were almost impossible to photograph even at 1600 ISO.

Crested Hawk Eagle

Crested Hawk Eagle

Back at the resort, watched a documentary on the wildlife at Kabini. We were convinced that summer was the best time to witness the best of wildlife and largest congregation of Asian elephants in the world. Prem also suggested us to visit at least for two days during summer to capture best of the wildlife at Nagarhole national park and Kabini backwaters. A sumptuous dinner, and bonfire for some time. Slept by 11:30 pm.

Next morning, got up by 4:45am. The wakeup call was at 6am and the safari at 6:30am. We wanted to capture few long exposure landscape shots on the backwaters, so got up early, got ready and left for shooting by 5:45am. Then Safari, again with Prem, by 6:40am. Prem was about to take us along one direction of Mysore – Mananthavadi highway, we saw two jeeps heading in the opposite direction. He turned on the radio, and we were informed about a leopard sighting. He rushed us to the spot. There was a leopard on the branch of the tree about 250mts from the road. One could barely see more than a yellow texture with black spots with naked eyes, but these naturalists are amazing to spot these while in the jeep. We clicked a few ‘documentary shots’, confirming it to be a leopard. As the tourists gathered, their noise made the leopard uncomfortable and he jumped off the tree into the thick bushes. It left what looked like a kill, and we too left the spot soon. That was my first spotting of a leopard in the wild, and was like a spec at that distance.

I was disappointed, and bored as we drove inside the Nagarhole forest. Few moments later, we spotted a pack of Wild dogs (Indian Dholes), strolling along the jeep track. There were 8 of them, and were playing with each other. Got some nice shots as the lay around leisurely. Warning calls from jungle fowls were readily heard. When we got enough of them we drove to other parts spotting few chitals and sambhars. Drove around the park for an hour clicking shots of few birds. Sighted and photographed a Small Green billed Malkoha. Then, returned along the same path of wild dogs sighting. I had shot full 8GB of my card by this time, and replaced it with a 2GB card. Were hoping that the Indian Dholes, which hunt in packs, would have made a kill, but no such luck. It was time to leave, back to the resort.

I was about to suggest Prem that we visit the place we spotted the leopard again, he echoed my thoughts ‘Sir we’ll go to the place we spotted the leopard again and then leave.’ Reached that place and looked around. There was nothing i could see, but Prem spotted the leopard on a tree branch. He helped us spot it and capture. Leopard was at a distance, shot few frames hand held, then mounted our cameras on tripods and clicked few shots. The shots were dismal. We realized we need at least 600mm to get a decent shot of the leopard. Prem radioed to others of spotting this leopard. Others arrived soon, including those who had missed the leopard earlier. It was barely visible with naked eye, as earlier. We shot few snaps and showed them to other tourists. My 2GB card got over, and i picked another 2GB card to replace. As i changed, and was about to position myself to shoot, the leopard sprang and got down quickly. I missed the shots, but Sam got a few ‘better’ shots. Alas! May be next time.

Returned to the resort for brunch, took a boat ride on the backwaters for 15-20min. Then back to the room, packed our stuff and checkout by 11:45am. From there we left for Mysore, we wanted to shoot the palace in the evening sun. Lunch at Royal Orchid at KRS by 3pm, relaxed for sometime. Started walking to the car the sky opened up, pouring heavily. Trees didn’t cover us much. This delayed us, and since it was still drizzling we abandoned the plan of shooting the cathedral and headed straight to Palace.

Mysore Palace is closed at 5:30pm. They stop issuing tickets, and you can not go inside the palace. No one is even allowed in the premises from 5:30 to 6:45pm. We were the first to stand in the queue to get into the premises, to witness the lighting, at 5:40pm. Akshath was disappointed as he had plans to click the palace in the fading blue light. By the time we were let in it was dark, and soon they turned on the incandescent lights to decorate the palace. It was like a glittering gold palace, beautifully done. There were thousands of people, belonging to different race and religion. We settled and clicked few frames. We were constantly approached by people to inquire if we’d click their photos for money. Exhausted, by 8pm, we left the place. Choco-bar snacks there, and dinner at McDs on highway, reached my house at 12:30am. Monday morning at work. :P

Here are few more images:

Malabar Gaint Squirrel

Malabar Gaint Squirrel

Wild dogs pack - walking in search of food

Wild dogs pack - walking in search of food

More pics of wildlife and Mysore palace to come. Watch out my flickr space.

Happy Diwali to all my readers! :-)

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The Quirky Me

I am not quirky, How can Reems know about my quirkiness when i don’t have any?

“Every man had his own quirks and twists” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

So, what are mine?

1. Once i had life now i have a blog :))

This says all:

2. I don’t hate or have a strong dislike for anything, but sometimes i do feel i should hate something or someone.

3. I’ve my weird choices. Sometimes i appear stingy, sometimes i blowup money on what others see as stupidity. An example, I had a Nokia 6600 and later 7610, soon after its release, in college,. One year into work, i spend what seems like a fortune on a pair of headphones. “$380 for headphones!!? Are you crazy??” is expected, isn’t it? Six months later, 7610 breaks down. I live for 2 months without a cellphone saying ‘i don’t need it‘. Then i buy Samsung C-160. “Aah.. you bought a 6600 and 7610 when your dad was paying for it, and now you buy C-160. Loser!

4. Watches. I’ve bought so many of them as a kid. For few years, i even used to wear them to sleep. No, i wasn’t 4 or 5 then. I was much older.

Got Fast track, sometime early into college. Used that for a long time, a year of more into work. Then i saw a Tag Heure, and decided this would be my next watch. One month after that, strap of my watch cuts down. ‘Big deal, get a new one like i’ve done a few time in the past 4-5years.’

Nope, no such luck! They don’t have that particular type of strap any more. So, i stop wearing watches. I was cajoled to buy a new one. But that Tag Heure costs $2000! :P

5. I clear all spam mails in my 6 mail accounts, all of which i check regularly if not daily.

6. And i thought i wasn’t quirky :)) :P

Those were 6, i am feeling i’ve few more. I’d tag Po (where are you?), Deeps (make time for this, will you?) , Manasa, and Priti. I wanted to tag Dinesh, but i got late.

P.S.: I got this in a mail:

Concept of Bankruptcy

Once there was a little island country. The land of this country was
the tiny island itself. The total money in circulation was 2 dollars
as there were only two pieces of 1 dollar coins circulating around.1) There were 3 citizens living on this island country. A owned the
land. B and C each owned 1 dollar.

2) B decided to purchase the land from A for 1 dollar. So, now A and C
own 1 dollar each while B owned a piece of land that is worth 1
dollar.

* The net asset of the country now = 3 dollars.

3) Now C thought that since there is only one piece of land in the
country, and land is non producible asset, its value must definitely
go up. So, he borrowed 1 dollar from A, and together with his own 1
dollar, he bought the land from B for 2 dollars.

*A has a loan to C of 1 dollar, so his net asset is 1 dollar.
* B sold his land and got 2 dollars, so his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C owned the piece of land worth 2 dollars but with his 1 dollar debt
to A, his net residual asset is 1 dollar.
* Thus, the net asset of the country = 4 dollars.

4) A saw that the land he once owned has risen in value. He regretted
having sold it. Luckily, he has a 1 dollar loan to C. He then borrowed
2 dollars from B and acquired the land back from C for 3 dollars. The
payment is by 2 dollars cash (which he borrowed) and cancellation of
the 1 dollar loan to C. As a result, A now owned a piece of land that
is worth 3 dollars. But since he owed B 2 dollars, his net asset is 1
dollar.

* B loaned 2 dollars to A. So his net asset is 2 dollars.
* C now has the 2 coins. His net asset is also 2 dollars.
* The net asset of the country = 5 dollars. A bubble is building up.

(5) B saw that the value of land kept rising. He also wanted to own
the land. So he bought the land from A for 4 dollars. The payment is
by borrowing 2 dollars from C, and cancellation of his 2 dollars loan
to A.

* As a result, A has got his debt cleared and he got the 2 coins. His
net asset is 2 dollars.
* B owned a piece of land that is worth 4 dollars, but since he has a
debt of 2 dollars with C, his net Asset is 2 dollars.
* C loaned 2 dollars to B, so his net asset is 2 dollars.

* The net asset of the country = 6 dollars; even though, the country
has only one piece of land and 2 Dollars in circulation.

(6) Everybody has made money and everybody felt happy and prosperous.

(7) One day an evil wind blew, and an evil thought came to C’s mind.
“Hey, what if the land price stop going up, how could B repay my loan.
There is only 2 dollars in circulation, and, I think after all the
land that B owns is worth at most only 1 dollar, and no more.”

(8) A also thought the same way.

(9) Nobody wanted to buy land anymore.

* So, in the end, A owns the 2 dollar coins, his net asset is 2 dollars.
* B owed C 2 dollars and the land he owned which he thought worth 4
dollars is now 1 dollar. So his net asset is only 1 dollar.
* C has a loan of 2 dollars to B. But it is a bad debt. Although his
net asset is still 2 dollars, his Heart is palpitating.
* The net asset of the country = 3 dollars again.

(10) So, who has stolen the 3 dollars from the country ? Of course,
before the bubble burst B thought his land was worth 4 dollars.
Actually, right before the collapse, the net asset of the country was
6 dollars on paper. B’s net asset is still 2 dollars, his heart is
palpitating.

(11) B had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. C as to relinquish his
2 dollars bad debt to B, but in return he acquired the land which is
worth 1 dollar now.

* A owns the 2 coins, his net asset is 2 dollars.
* B is bankrupt, his net asset is 0 dollar. (He lost everything)
* C got no choice but end up with a land worth only 1 dollar

* The net asset of the country = 3 dollars.

************ **End of the story ************ ********* ******

There is however a redistribution of wealth.
A is the winner, B is the loser, C is lucky that he is spared.
A few points worth noting –

(1) When a bubble is building up, the debt of individuals to one
another in a country is also building up.
(2) This story of the island is a closed system whereby there is no
other country and hence no foreign debt. The worth of the asset can
only be calculated using the island’s own currency. Hence, there is no
net loss.
(3) An over-damped system is assumed when the bubble burst, meaning
the land’s value did not go down to below 1 dollar.
(4) When the bubble burst, the fellow with cash is the winner. The
fellows having the land or extending loan to others are the losers.
The asset could shrink or in worst case, they go bankrupt.
(5) If there is another citizen D either holding a dollar or another
piece of land but refrains from taking part in the game, he will
neither win nor lose. But he will see the value of his money or land
goes up and down like a see saw.
(6) When the bubble was in the growing phase, everybody made money.
(7) If you are smart and know that you are living in a growing bubble,
it is worthwhile to borrow money (like A ) and take part in the game.
But you must know when you should change everything back to cash.
(8) As in the case of land, the above phenomenon applies to stocks as well.
(9) The actual worth of land or stocks depend largely on psychology

That’s all folks!

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Space missions and research showcases the cutting edge technology capabilities of a intellectually capable nation. We know Indian scientists are gifted, and they are at least as good as their western counterparts. Space systems are the backbone of broadcasting, communication, remote sensing and meteorological services. The add value, and make life easier for the citizens of a country. But why would a developing country want to explore Moon?

The objective of Chandrayaan-1 according to ISRO is:

The Chandrayaan-1 mission is aimed at high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared(NIR), low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions.

Why do they want to do this? What do we achieve from such a mission costing 386 crore rupees? Mapping of the moon surface and research on water on its surface. I totally agree to the point that we learn a lot in harnessing the payload, space craft or rather lunar craft with ground support systems. There is a lot of learning, no doubt. But the question is whether such a learning worth the cost? ISRO says 386 crore is not a big sum. May be it is not when you compare it to the kind of money NASA blows on space missions, but for a developing country it sure is a big amount.

India is a country which still imports outdated fighter jets to fight the enemies, lacks good intelligence services to curb the terrorist activities, lacks the funds to provide good education, lacks funds to help the flood and other natural calamity affected citizens, fails to defend its border from infiltrating and encroaching neighbors, doesn’t pay enough for the jawans guarding it’s borders day and night without caring for their life. Amidst all these issues, that never gets addressed, a mission to Moon to showcase the capabilities of ISRO and Indian space technology is considered more important.

Why don’t we build better defense systems than build Satellite Launch Vehicles? Why don’t we spend money in teaching geography to underprivileged children than shell out millions on mapping the surface of Moon? Why don’t we pay better salaries to army jawans than handling bigger payloads?

Let’s leave the space research to the American organizations, there is no need for our Indian organizations to take up such missions. Brilliant Indian scientists can go to a rich and developed nation like USA or France or Russia for flexing their brain muscles for research in space. For the love of our motherland, lets solve problems at grass root levels if possible. There is no need for India to compete for pride in space missions with communistic principled China, where citizens’ opinions are no better than that of animals, as US did with USSR a few decades ago. US can afford to look for water in Mars or a spec of dirt on any heavenly body, contentious to be called a planet, but not a country like India where bare minimum essentials are not met.

I wish the Chandrayaan-1 mission is a success, and hope our government does not encourage any future endeavors with such magnanimity.

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An unexpected and unplanned visit to the Chinnaswamy stadium for the day 3 of 1st test India v/s Australia. Friday night i was planning to attend a late afternoon workshop, then my cousin says we’ll go to the match next morning. I had earlier denied the visit to the match when a colleague had asked if i were interested. I’ve visited many test matches at Bangalore, and an ODI.

I still remember the horrible test against Australia in Bangalore, last time they visited. Gilchrist and Clark belted hundreds and Indian batsmen stumbled. The then captain Rahul Dravid got out for a duck. He walked out of the stadium at the end of the day, stealthyly. The crowd had gathered near the team bus. I stood at a little distance, watching the furor. Dravid briskly walked past me to his car without lifting his head.

I didn’t have any plan for Saturday morning, so i went to the match taking tickets from our ‘contacts’. The crowds always have fun, and cheer for every single fun. Here are few images from Day 3 of the test:

Media covering the test

Media covering the test


Brett Lee in action, Laxam on non-striker end

Dada walks to bat, maybe for the last time in Bangalore, with a huge cheer from the crowd

Rahul Dravid shows why he’s called ‘The Wall’

Dada leaves a ball precariously close to stumps

Sehwag and Sachin gone, Laxman goes for a Duck, and Dravid gets out after 50. Mood of an Indian fan:

I left the match, soon after Dravid got out, and Dhoni walked in. I attended a workshop on photography by Canon India for CanonEdge members at National Institute of Creative Communication (NICC) at a god forsaken location, way outside what we call ‘Bangalore City’. May be we should start calling the place i live, downtown Bangalore :)) The workshop was disappointing. It was sheer waste of time and fuel. The lady who took the session, for about 2 hours, sounded no good to me, using ridiculously stupid words for describing the technical details of photography. Any 10th or 12th standard kid will know better and more about optics then her i thought. I don’t know how good she is as a photographer, maybe she is amazing. But her workshop session was forgettable.

What added to the torture was an aged man, may be in late 50s, who knew zilch about DSLR and photography was asking stupid questions throughout. He must be crazy to buy a DSLR without knowing a thing! At least he could have read the manual before coming here. Anyway, the session got over in a cramped room, which could barely accommodate 15ppl but stuffed with 25.

I seriously advice any other sensible photographers not to attend this workshop because it is so not worth it. One can learn a lot more by spending these two hours reading stuff online or interacting with ‘knowledgeable people’.

That’s all folks! ;)

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Pilgrimage doesn’t sound all that good for a twenty-something old, but Western Ghats sure does. After the Cauvery Fishing Camp trip, i was tired but i knew i had 4-5th Oct trip coming. Saturday morning sleep was sacrificed and we left to Chikmagalur by 9am.

Route:

Bangalore -> Nelamangala -> Kunigal -> C.R.Patna -> Hassan -> Belur -> Chikmagalur

Chennakeshava temple at Belur - front view

Chennakeshava temple at Belur - front view

We stopped at Belur Chennakesava temple with Hoysala architecture by 2:30pm. I had not seen this place earlier. The stone carvings at Hoysala temples are exquisitely beautiful with the minutest of details distinctly standing out. The carvings around the temple are uncanny. Belur and Halebedu (about 16km from Belur) are two of the most famous Hoysala temples from 12th – 13th century which showcases the genius craftsmanship from a lost era. Every pillar inside the shrine is crafted ingeniously. It’s hard to give a visible shape on wood (exp.: workshop in Engg.), and these sculptures are carved out of stone! It left me spellbound. This master craftsmanship cannot be described in words, so here are few images i captured.

No doubt this place is thronged by so many foreigners, and along with Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu is being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites.

I clicked few snaps, and b-o-o-o-m, the battery on my 450D died down. To make things worse, i didn’t carry the charger. Now i know why they say, There is a thin line between confidence and over-confidence. :( Didn’t mom ask me to charge the battery last night? Wasn’t i overconfident that it would last this trip, as it indicated 2/3 full? 1/3rd gone after few shots outside the temple, and rest gone as i finished last few shots inside the shrine. Gawwww.

I had captured few good snaps at Belur, an unplanned stop. But was disappointed as i wanted to capture few landscapes around Chikmagalur. Never mind, experience does cost a thing. Chikmagalur was the next stop, to soak up at cousin’s hospitality. :)) Hiremagalur has a temple of Lord Rama, didn’t miss out that either, later that evening.

Sunday morning, by 7am, we headed towards Sringeri which is famous for Sharada temple. Shringeri is about 90km from Chikmagalur.

Route: Chikmagalur -> Aldur -> Balehonnur -> Sringeri.

The drive through Western ghats was nice, in the chilling weather with coffee estates around. Reached Sringeri by 9:30am. Since we expected it to be crowded during navratri, we had made arrangements with ‘contacts’ and it was a easy affair. Someone there suggested we should visit Annapoorneshwari temple at Horanadu, only 66km from Sringeri.

We left for Horanadu by 12:30pm, and i think we missed a turn. It took us through Kudremukh national park. There was a check post, where one needs to collect a slip for passing through the national park. 2 hours is the time limit for experiencing the blissful tall mountains and valleys in the wilderness. The drive through this place was amazing. It was drizzling and this added to the beauty of that place. The temple at Horanadu is situated amidst the forest area, enclosed by those mighty mountains. We traveled nearly 85 to 90km in about 3hours, with some stops in between to appreciate the beauty of western ghats, to reach Horanadu. It was already 3:30pm, and lunch at the temple was over.

Got few glimpses of the goddess in the crowd. Bought few snacks, and started towards Bangalore by 4:30pm without a proper lunch. The route from Horanadu to Bangalore:

Route:

Horanadu -> Kalasa -> Kottigehaara -> Mudigere -> Belur -> Hassan -> Bangalore

The drive from Horanadu to some extent beyond Kottigehara was mesmerizing. Evening sun on those picturesque cloud covered mountains with huge coffee and tea estates enhanced the beauty. Sun light in the evening is magical, and can not be described in words. Few stops along that treacherous stretch of ghat roads for passing streams with pristine water got us delayed, and reached Hassan by 8pm for dinner. Dinner there was forgettable, and wished we should have stopped at Kamat’s, further half an hour from Hassan. But we were hungry. Latté at a CCD was the respite, and reached Bangalore by 12:30am. Thus ending a tiring trip covering 800kms in two days without many captures of those beautiful landscapes.

I will go there again sometime to click pictures. :)

P.S.: Sorry, i’ve missed out on visiting many of the blogs that i follow regularly. Hope to read them asap.

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