May/June 2014 Newsletter

In this Issue

Desmarais and Hird Awarded $527K NSF Grant

Assistant Professor Bruce A. Desmarais (political science), associate director of the Institute for Social Science Research, and Interim Dean John A. Hird (political science and public policy) have received a $527,233 National Science Foundation grant for “Scientific Evidence in Regulation and Governance.”

SBS Graduates Honored at Senior Celebration

The SBS Senior Celebration on Saturday, May 10 was a roaring success with about 1,000 graduates in attendance.

Mellon Foundation's Prestigious Sawyer Grant Goes to UMass Faculty

A team of interdisciplinary scholars from the College of Humanities and Arts, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Commonwealth Honors College has received the prestigious John E. Sawyer Seminar Grant for the comparative study of cultures from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

New Program Aims to Prepare Women for Public Leadership

The Department of Political Science has announced a new program to encourage and help prepare new generations of women for roles in public leadership.

Other Topics of Interest

2014 Scholarship Celebration

Some of the 2014 SBS scholarship recipients

More than 100 students received SBS Scholarships for study abroad, internships, undergraduate research experiences, and merit.

"Lost Boy of Sudan" Earns Doctorate

James Alic Garang with his family

James Alic Garang, who received his doctorate in economics this year, is one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” who left their homes in Africa to escape from the chaos of civil war.

Fountain, World Econ Forum Release Government Toolbox

Jane Fountain

Professor Jane Fountain pens section of World Economic Forum's new guide to help governments use technology to build better trust and deliver more efficient public services.

Public Service Endowment Grant Goes to Anthropologist

Jonathan Rosa

Jonathan Rosa (anthropology) receives a Public Service Endowment Grant from the Office of Research and Engagement to teach Holyoke high school students to document and analyze language practices in their communities.

Schoenberger Receives Chancellor's Citation Award

Karen Schoenberger wins 2014 Chancellor's Citatation Award

We are delighted to report that longtime Assistant Dean Karen Schoenberger was named a recipient of the 2014 Chancellor's Citation Award for her dedication to the University.

Ohio Campus Honors Freedom Summer ’64 Volunteers

Freedom Summer historical marker

On Friday, June 20, at Miami University Prof. David Kotz (economics) joined former civil rights activists to recall their 1964 Freedom Summer experiences in as volunteers registering African-American voters in Mississippi. 

Where Poetry Bloomed

Field technician Jill Zuckerman, right, and Jackie Monsell '16 (anthropology) measure an excavation at the Emily Dickinson Homestead.

Field technician Jill Zuckerman, right, and Jackie Monsell '16 (anthropology) measure an excavation at the Emily Dickinson Homestead.

UMass Amherst Archaeological Services is helping the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst prepare for reconstruction of a conservatory that stood from 1855 to 1916.

UMass Amherst Named State Champion in Energy Efficiency

Raindrops on grass

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named state champion in the 2014 Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency Recognition Program.

Alumni News | Faculty and Department News
SBS in the News | A Word from SBS

Alumni News

The New York Times included a review of Scalia: A Court of One by Bruce Allen Murphy '73 (political science), a judicial biographer and scholar of American Constitutional law and politics. Murphy is Fred Morgan Kirby Professor of Civil Rights at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Congratulations to Kevin Maltby '98 (political science) and Angela Lussier (communication), who have been named to Business West's "40 Under 40" class of 2014. Maltby is a litigator and employment-law specialist for Bacon & Wilson in Springfield, and Lussier is the principal of Angela Lussier Enterprises. Of the 40 young business and community leaders selected, 14 of them are UMass Amherst alumni!

Former UMass lacrosse player and All American Kevin Leveille '03 (economics) has broken the major league lacrosse goals record. He is currently a member of the Rochester Rattlers in Major League Lacrosse, playing the attack position. Read more on the UMass Athletics blog.

Kayla Marchetti '14 (communication) is now Account Planner at Comcast Cable.

Cruz Caridad Bueno PhD '13, assistant professor of economics at Siena College, has received the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) Rhonda Williams Prize for her paper on Gender Violence in the Dominican Republic, which she was scheduled to present at the organization's 2014 annual conference in Accra, Ghana, in late June.

In an opinion piece in the GA Voice about the influence black athletes both gay and straight have had on improving views of homosexuals among the African-American community, Minutemen basketball player Derrick Gordon '15 (sociology) is mentioned as carrying the LGBT cause “into new arenas, inside and apart from sports.” In the Boston Globe Gordon is referenced in an article about the first openly gay couple, Lianne Sanderson and Joanna Lohman of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Boston Breakers, competing for the same professional sports team.

Former Minutemen point guard Chaz Williams '14 (sociology) worked out with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves in an effort to showcase his abilities in advance of the upcoming NBA draft. Read the article. Another article about Williams, that mentions a workout with the Toronto Raptors, notes that he's not alone in NBA pursuits: Raphiael Putney '14 (sociology) was scheduled to work out for the Charlotte Hornets on June 2. Here's another article on Williams' constant effort to prove his worth despite his short stature.

In an article on job growth and economic development in western MA, Aaron Saunders '03 (political science), a state senate candidate, says that it pains him to “see so many talented students graduate from our local colleges and universities and then leave the region because they cannot find jobs here."

Karen M. Thomas '82 (journalism studies) wrote a remembrance of poet and author Maya Angelou. Thomas, who interviewed Angelou in Dallas three years ago after a performance at the Nasher Sculpture Center, first met her in 1986 when she and several of her former UMass professors had gathered in Ghana for the ceremonial re-internment of the remains of W.E.B. Du Bois and his wife Shirley Graham DuBois.

A Boston Globe profile of Daniel Rivera ’96 (political science), the new mayor of Lawrence, MA, examines his plans, efforts and achievements to revitalize the city.

Former UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower '14 (communication) has been drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL. Read more... A positional analysis by ESPN.com of the Steelers’ outlook at tight end names Blanchflower as the team’s most significant addition to that spot.

Dan Lamothe '04 (journalism/English), a former reporter for the Springfield Republican, has been hired as the Washington Post’s military blogger. Most recently Lamothe was a national security writer for Foreign Policy, and prior to that with Military Times, a division of Gannett Newspapers. Read more...

Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, on their Events Listing. And check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.

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Faculty and Department News

Whitney Battle-Baptiste (anthropology) led a discussion following a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’ speech on “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” that he originally gave on July 5, 1852. Held on the Amherst Common, the event was co-sponsored by the Amherst Human Rights Commission.

PhD candidate Claire Brault (political science) has been selected as a 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award recipient. The honor is granted to only two graduate students from across the University each year and is the highest teaching honor bestowed on teaching assistants and associates at the University. Read more...

The latest book by Charli Carpenter (political science) has been released. "Lost" Causes: Agenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security explores why some issues become the focus of transnational activism while other issues become "Lost Causes." With topics ranging from "killer robots" to male circumcision to the compensation of those maimed or killed in war, her book will engage those in and outside of the discipline of political science and international law.

Jane Fountain (political science and public policy) has been appointed to the Experts Advisory Committee of the E-Government Research Center of Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA). In May she was an invited participant at the thirty-fourth Aspen Italia Seminar for Leaders in Venice, Italy. Her session's focus was on media and politics in the digital age: participation, transparency, and responsibility. Fountain drew in part from her study of the role of technology in political representation that was published by the World Economic Forum in June. From May 26 to June 5 Professor Fountain was a guest of the Chinese Academy, the United Nations, the eGovernment Research Center, and several Chinese universities. She delivered a keynote address at the International Seminar on E-governance in Asia in Beijing followed by lectures on e-Government and political institutions at Fudan University in Shanghai, at Jilin University in Changchun, and at Central University of Finance and Economics and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, was the commencement speaker at Frontier Regional High School (South Deerfield, MA) on June 6.

Steve Fox (journalism) spoke on social media ethics on PBS MediaShift's weekly #EdShift chat.

The Institute for Social Science Researchis now a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, an advocacy organization promoting attention to and federal support for the social and behavioral sciences. As the key representative for the social and behavioral sciences, COSSA has succeeded in ensuring that these sciences are represented at the highest levels in discussions and actions regarding U.S. science policy. COSSA has fought for and succeeded in establishing high offices for the social and behavioral sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. It has also defended these sciences against attacks on their credibility, usefulness, and contributions to American science and society. COSSA's membership of more than 100 professional associations, scientific societies, universities, and research centers and institutes can be viewed online.

Associate Dean Jennifer Lundquist (sociology) appeared on Australian television to discuss "The Dating Race," based on research she and Ken-Hou Lin PhD '13 did on racial preferences in online dating. Lundquist, "the expert," weighs in at 12:23, 24:47, 35:50, 48:00 and 49:40.

We are sorry to report the death on May 15 shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer of internationally renowned anthropologist George J. Armelagos, 77. He taught anthropology at UMass Amherst from 1968-1990 and was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Chancellor’s Medal. Gifts in his memory may be designated online to his two endowments, the Armelagos Lectureship Fund or the Armelagos-Swedlund Scholarship Fund. Checks made out to UMass Amherst can also be mailed c/o James Mallet, director of development, University of Massachusetts Amherst, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Draper Hall, 40 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003. Click here for the full obituary in the New York Times.

Prof. Brian McDermott (journalism) has won a Five College Digital Humanities Mellon Grant to fund his blended learning project, Visual Storytelling! He plans to launch the project in fall 2015.

Professor Emeritus Edwin Gere​ (political science), who was a pilot during the Berlin Airlift which ended 65 years ago, traveled to the city to commemorate the event with fellow pilots. Between June 27, 1948 to May 12, 1949, pilots from the United States, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand delivered about 2.3 million tons of food, medicine, coal and supplies during about 278,000 flights. Read more...

The International Studies Association (ISA) Environmental Studies Section presented Peter M. Haas political science) with its 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award at its annual meeting in Toronto. The award is presented annually to an outstanding scholar whose research and teaching has made a substantial impact on the fields associated with international relations and environmental issues.

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SBS in the News

Washington Post, 6/29/14. Prof. Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), writes about why and how his father, Abe Pollin, changed the name of the Washington Bullets to the Washington Wizards in 1995 to avoid any association between the team and gun violence. He says the owner of the Redskins franchise needs to do the same, to stop upholding a name that many consider a racist slur. The Real News Network, 6/26/14. Pollin is interviewed about ways the Federal Reserve could boost the overall U.S. economy instead of focusing on making banks able to borrow money at low rates. He suggests a policy aimed at boosting state and local governments, and municipalities in particular. Real News Network, 6/5/15. Economists Dean Baker, co-director of The Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Pollin address the question, "Is the U.S. headed toward another recession?" Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/12/14.  Pollin comments in a story about David Harvey, a professor of anthropology and geography at the City College of New York and Marxist intellectual whose new book says that dealing with economic inequality will require major changes. Pollin says Harvey is a giant in the field of economics, but isn’t well known. Washington Post, 5/1/14. Pollin, whose father, the late Abe Pollin, was the owner of the Washington Wizards, comments about Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA. Pollin says his father had a lot of respect for about half of the NBA team owners and thought the other half were jerks.   

Economic & Political Weekly, 6/28/14. Johan Mathew (economics/history) writes a review of Oceans Connect: Reflections of Water Worlds Across Time and Space, edited by Rila Mukerjee. 

The Atlantic, 6/27/14. An economics columnist cites a  story in The New York Times (6/27/14) about a proposal by Arindrajit Dube (economics), who suggests incorporating price differences across state lines when setting state or local minimum wages. The author says this is a sound idea because there are wide ranges of regional price parities in the country, so setting a single federal minimum wage can have different impacts depending on the location. Reno Gazette-Journal, 6/21/14; Huffington Post, 6/20/14. Dube's work is cited in two different news stories about the impact of raising the minimum wage. One of the leading researchers in this field, he believes raising the minimum wage has little impact on jobs but does help reduce poverty and inequality. He says if state lawmakers set the minimum wage at half the median full-time wage for each state, it would increase the minimum wage for all 50 states and lift 2.2 million people out of poverty. Santa Fe New Mexican, 6/14/14. The author of a column in support of raising the minimum wage in New Mexico cites Dube's research. New York Times, 6/4/14. Dube writes a column in which he says Seattle’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour within three to seven years will provide needed facts about how such policies affect the local economy. Slate.com, 6/2/14. In a story about how Seattle has voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour and what the expected economic impact will be, Dube says it will be very difficult to predict the likely policy impacts of the move based on existing research because the wage increase of this size has seldom been seen. New York Magazine, 5/26/14. Research by Dube is cited in a profile of Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawani, the leading advocate for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hr. Salon.com, 5/8/14. In an interview about what raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour might mean in terms of job losses and increased automation, Dube says no research has been done on the idea, so the impact is unknown. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour in Seattle, he says, is unlikely to have a large impact on jobs because it is a relatively small area that already has high wages. WSHM-TV 3, 5/7/14. An article about the debate over increasing the federal minimum wage cites research by Dube, which shows there is little negative impact on jobs when the minimum wage is raised by a modest amount. Livemint.com, 5/2/14. A columnist writing about the ongoing debate in Washington and the states over raising the minimum wage cites research conducted by Dube and notes that he is a member of the same academic department that produced last year's study that debunked a key paper by two Harvard economists calling for austerity. That paper was co-authored by Thomas Herndon, a UMass Amherst graduate student, along with Professors Michael Ash and Robert PollinSlate, 5/2/14. Dube comments about what will happen if officials in Seattle raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour from its current level of $9.32 per hour. Dube, who supports increasing the minimum wage by a modest amount, says such incremental changes don’t kill jobs; a much larger increase, like the plan in Seattle, he says, could lead to the “substitution of automation for workers.”

PBS.org, 6/26/14. Steve Fox (journalism) writes about his experience attending the Poynter Institute’s Teachapalooza conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., earlier this month.

Bloomberg, and many other outlets, 6/20-30/14. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, is the subject of an extensive profile. In describing Badgett’s work on the issues of the economics of same-sex marriage, one fellow academic is quoted saying she “was absolutely a pioneer….There was no one in economics who was really thinking about these issues.” EurActiv.com, MoneyScience.com, 6/19/14. Badgett’s research is cited in an opinion piece examining the economic costs of homophobia in the developing world. Madison.com, 6/18/14. Badgett is extensively quoted in an editorial supporting efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Wisconsin. It notes that Badgett has done research showing that states with same-sex marriage enjoy economic benefits and that large corporations also see it as good for business. Globe and Mail, 6/16/14. In a story about why some officials in Vancouver, Canada, have been urged not to move forward with efforts to halt bullying of children based on their sexual orientation because is it could adversely affect the local real estate market. Badgett is cited for her work in a soon-to-be-released study for the World Bank that finds homophobia imposes real costs of communities. FrontiersLA.com, 6/16/14. In a story about the Obama administration’s expected move to issue an executive order providing job protection for LGBT employees, Badgett says studies show that discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender people is “disturbingly common” and that a 2013 survey found that 21% of LGBT people report some discrimination by employers. Wall Street Journal, 6/10/14. Badgett says in a new study done for the World Bank that homophobia cost the Indian economy as much as $30.8 billion in 2012. That is equal to between 0.1 percent and 1.7 percent of India’s gross domestic product for that year. Badgett says one possible outcome from the report will be that people understand that discrimination has a real cost to a country’s economy. Inc.com, 6/3/14. Badgett says the Marriott hotel chain is courting same-sex weddings because there's money to be made. Marketplace Morning Report, 5/19/14; Daily Hampshire Gazette, 5/17/14. Ten years into the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, Badgett says same-sex marriages generate “millions and millions of dollars that are being pumped in to local economies and small businesses, like florists, caterers and hotels.” New York Magazine, 5/15/14. A story about how one-third of gay newlywed couples are age 50 or over discusses research that Badgett did on couples in Connecticut. In Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage has been legal for a decade, she found that more gay couples are married than dating and that 80 percent of gay couples are now married. International Business Times, 5/10/14. Badgett says married lesbian couples face a number of obstacles that traditional couples don’t encounter. For example, if they live in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, they face different tax, child custody and health insurance issues, and they are often subject to the gender pay gap.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 6/17/14. David M. Mednicoff (public policy) director of Middle Eastern studies, offers some context for the current unrest in Iraq, noting that the Obama administration needs to use multilateral diplomacy to deal with the deteriorating political and military situation in Iraq.

The Nation, 6/11/14. A panel discussion on feminism, economics and class conflict includes comments from Emeritus Prof. Nancy Folbre (economics): “The most celebrated economic victories for women in the U.S. have come at the top, not the bottom of the income distribution.” She also argues that other broad economic forces such as globalization have worked to undercut wage gains for most working people and that even successful women still face gender discrimination on the job.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 6/10/14. Ray La Raja (political science) and grad student Wouter Van Erve wrote a column in which they examine whether Amherst Town Meeting is truly representative of the community and conclude that the elected body is much less representative than most people believe.

Quartz, 5/31/14. Shaheen Pasha (journalism) discusses the economic crisis facing newly-elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

WashingtonPost.com, 5/30/14. Charli Carpenter (political science) authors a piece about public sentiment towards the potential use of autonomous weapons in warfare. CNN.com, 5/24/14.  Carpenter is quoted in an article about how the fictional land of Westeros from the popular “Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels and HBO television series “Game of Thrones” reflects contemporary America. She says series creator George R.R. Martin tells “a story about elite politics told through the viewpoint of the marginalized: women, prostitutes, bastards, dwarfs.” 

Incidental Economist, 5/30/14. Michael Ash (economics) cites the work of Emery Berger (computer science) in a blog post response regarding spreadsheet errors. 

The Asian Times, 5/29/14. CN Le (sociology) is quoted in a profile of Nina Davuluri, the first Miss America of Indian descent, noting in part that she represents a “melding” of white conceptions of beauty and those of her own heritage. 

AlterNet, 5/27/14. Gerald Friedman (economics) is interviewed about the rise of the “gig economy,” which is based on employees working short-term for a particular task or defined length of time, rather than holding a regular job with a long-term connection to a particular business and, he says, is associated with low wages, repression, insecurity, and chronic stress and anxiety. Palm Beach Post, 5/21/14. Friedman joined U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and three other experts for a panel on health care reform in the United States. Single Payer: Where Do We Go From Here? streamed live on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 10 am Eastern, 7 am Pacific. The event capped his ten-day speaking tour on single-payer health care. KOBI-TV 5 [Medford, Ore.], 5/15/14; Corvallis Gazette-Times, 5/13/14. Friedman made a weeklong tour of Oregon to discuss why he believes the U.S. should adopt a single payer health care system. He estimates that Oregon could save $8.4 billion in health care costs if it implemented such a system next year. Even with a projected increase in utilization expenses of $2 billion, that’s still a net savings of more than $6 billion.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 5/21/14. John Stifler (economics) co-authors an op-ed about speaking out against Pearson, the company contracted to design new standardized tests that will be used by the state’s Department of Education in evaluating students and schools per Common Core State Standards. 

NerdWallet.com, 5/19/14. Edward Erikson (political science) has been named one of Nerd Scholar’s inaugural “40 Under 40 Professors Who Inspire.” Chosen based on nominations highlighting their love of teaching, these women and men are inspiring the young adults of today to be the world leaders and humanitarians of tomorrow.  

Herald Sun, 5/13/14. In a story on Australian television that examines interracial dating, Associate Dean Jennifer Lundquist (sociology) says her research found that heterosexual men of all races respond to all women except African-Americans, and women of all races respond first to Caucasian men. 

WAMC, 5/7/14; WGBY-TV 57, 5/6/14. Two stories look at the Hear Our Stories project, a digital collection of stories about young mothers in Holyoke. Aline Gubrium (public health) and Betsy Krause (anthropology) helped organize the project with funding from a $500,000 Ford Foundation grant. The UMass Amherst researchers are working with the Community Adolescent Resources and Education Center of Holyoke and others run the project.  

Al Jazeera America, 5/5/14. A little more than a year after PhD candidate Thomas Herndon (economics) discovered errors in calculations used in an influential paper espousing austerity policies for the U.S. and other advanced economies, and then with Professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin showed that its central premise was incorrect, policymakers still haven’t changed course to adjust policies.

Daily Hampshire Gazette, 5/3/14. Katie Ferris '14 (sociology), a star player for the UMass women’s lacrosse team, discusses her battle with Lyme disease. She is a three-time winner of the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Award and was named the first winner of the UMass Dr. Ralph Award, named for longtime former UMass team doctor James Ralph and presented to an athlete who overcame injury or illness. 

WBUR, 5/1/14Tom Juravich (labor studies) of the Labor Relations and Research Center is interviewed about why May Day is celebrated around the world as International Workers Day, but not in the U.S. 

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A Word from SBS

This e-letter has been created for alumni and friends of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. SBS includes the degree-granting departments and programs of Anthropology, CommunicationEconomics, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC), and Sociology. Among our ranks are 38,600 alumni, 3,700 undergraduate majors, and 560 graduate students. In addition to its departments, SBS is home to numerous centers and research institutions. Through the general education courses that SBS offers, the College’s 200 faculty members teach one quarter of the nearly 20,000 undergraduates on campus in any given semester.

Gifts from alumni and friends are vital to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Your investment allows us to create remarkable opportunities for today’s—and tomorrow's—students. If you are already a donor, please accept our sincere thanks. If not, please consider a gift to SBS for your department, financial aid, a purpose that speaks to your personal experiences and priorities, or an unrestricted designation. To make a gift online, click here. Or, send a check to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Draper Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 40 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9244. Questions? Contact James Mallet, 413.577.1700.

We welcome feedback related to this newsletter, the college in general, specific concerns, or topics of interest. Please address all correspondence, including story ideas, to Sabine Cray, director of communications and marketing. If you wish to add your name to the mailing list, or if you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us. If you have had a change of address, email or other personal information, you can update it online. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone unrelated to the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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