Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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While we await the U.S. News rankings, let’s look at a couple of other tables that have been published recently. First off, MONEY Magazine’s Best Colleges, as measured by value (find detailed information on MONEY’s methodolgy here):
- MONEY screened out schools with graduation rates below the median, financial difficulties, or fewer than 500 undergraduates.
- The remaining 705 colleges were ranked on 24 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni success.
- Plus, MONEY measured comparative value, by assessing how well students at each school did vs. what’s expected for students with similar economic and academic backgrounds, and the college’s mix of majors.
Schools with high tuition (we are consistently the second-most expensive Ivy) take a hit in MONEY’s ranking, and the Ancient Eight look less élite than they usually do (click on the image to enlarge it):
On a more whimsical note, an outfit called WealthInsight (“WealthInsight is the leading source of high quality intelligence on global high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals (HNWs and UHNWIs) in the wealth management sector.”) has ranked institutions of higher learning by the number of millionaires that they produce. The ranking is only a relative one; the company doesn’t give actual numbers (between you and me, where would they get such figures?). We are #19, and the rest of the Ivies all make the the top 25:
“Millionaire” seems a weak metric these days. When you add in retirement accounts and home equity, even your average middle-aged Dartmouth faculty member would qualify — a fact that makes any emotional outpouring of solidarity with the staff somewhat problematic.
Phil has run another post on his blog, this one about his trip to the Arctic. While he puts up some travel pics and evinces a new-found admiration for the College’s faculty — in an obvious effort to counteract his previous, oft-expressed disdain (never publicly, of course, but the word is out there) — he hasn’t yet found the time to write about Abbey D’Agostino ‘14. I wonder if he even knows what she did in Rio. He’s been clueless about significant Dartmouth events in the past.
Addendum: Um, Phil. Is there nobody in IT who can help you to format things better?
Addendum: An alum writes in:
My wife and I truly enjoyed your recent reports on Abbey at The Olympics. I know that President Hanlon is en vacances in the Arctic, but even if he was ON THE MOON he should have at least made some mention to The Dartmouth Family recognizing Abby… “One giant leap for sportsmanship the World over”.
How about a grass roots campaign to raise funds to build a “D’Agostino Gate” at Dartmouth memorializing the unselfish nature and kind heart of a MOST worthy Dartmouth alum who excelled on the World stage?
Is there a Dartmouth medal for outstanding achievement?
Abbey’s positive spirit and kindness in helping Nikki Hamblin to her feet epitomizes ALL that is good in sport, and it says a lot for Dartmouth and Dartmouth coaching, too! The visual of the two athletes helping one another reminded me of Jim McKay talking about “the agony of defeat” on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
Phil should be ashamed for blowing yet another golden opportunity… to laud true humanitarian spirit and friendship. Dartmouth, sadly, is the loser here.
Addendum: An alum writes in:
Thanks for highlighting Ray Lu’s excellent article on “Dartmouth at Rio.” Hats off to Abbey for her impressive show of sportsmanship, and her equally impressive show of “the right stuff’ by remarkably finding a way to complete the last mile of the race with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus.
As for the ruggers’ 9th place finish, Captain Madison Hughes’ boys were a hair away from greatness considering how close to victory they were in their games against Fiji (the ultimate champion) and Argentina (the beneficiary of a controversial try).
Ratings season is upon us (U.S. News will probably release its results in the second week of September), but Forbes has already ranked us #17 — after #3 Princeton; #4 Harvard; #6 Yale; #8 Brown; #11 Penn; and #16 Columbia — but ahead of #29 Cornell).
We do appreciably better in Forbes’ Grateful Grads Index (GGI):
Our Grateful Graduates Index ranks private not for profit colleges with more than 1,000 students by analyzing two important variables : private donations and gifts per student over 10 years, as reported to the Department of Education and the alumni participation rate, or what percentage of its graduates give back in the form of donations to their colleges.
The first measure is our show-me-the-money measure, weighted at 75%. It tends to favor elite research universities like Stanford, Caltech and Harvard, whose super successful alumni stuff its coffers with billions in donations. The second metric, the Alumni Participation Rate is measured by the Council for Aid to Education and is weighted at 25%.
The other Ivies rank as follows: #14 Brown; #24 Penn; #25 Harvard; #37 Cornell; #46 Columbia.
Note that seven of the top ten schools in the Grateful Grads Index — a good barometer of alumni sentiment as to whether their school had a real impact on them — have the word “College” in their name. The irony will not escape readers that the Folt administration wanted to change our name to Dartmouth University, and the Hanlon administration wants to make us into one. Yet look around: close relationships with professors not only produce exceptional learning, they breed a special kind of loyalty. Why can’t the Trustees see the obvious — being a research college is our niche?
Abbey D’Agostino ‘14 and New Zealander Nikki Hamblin have been given Olympic medals for sportsmanship. Both runners were presented with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal yesterday, an award given to those who exemplify the Olympic spirit:
Addendum: Still no word of appreciation from Phil about Abbey’s good-hearted gesture. If he is too busy, why doesn’t he just leave it to Dever?
Hundreds of people came to the Bema today to pay their respects to the Hartman family after Jinny Hartman passed away on Wednesday. We knew her from youth hockey, and she was the anesthesiologist for one of our kids’ surgeries. Jinny’s intelligence, warmth and wit touched a great many people, always for the better:
The Valley News obituary is here.
The artist Christo (and his partner, Jeanne-Claude, who passed away in 2009) visited the College back in my day, but he is not responsible for what appears to be the wrapping of Baker Tower — completed this week:
The Tower has not been renovated since its construction in 1928. According to an FO&M press release, work on the $4 million project should be ongoing into October:
- Replacement of the copper roofing, flashing and ornamental metal;
- Expanded, energy-efficient LED lighting to highlight the architecture of the clock and tower;
- Fabrication of the clock’s hands and numbers back to their original 1928 design;
- Installation of a digital control system to support the Baker Tower clock and bells;
- Construction of an exact replica of the Tower’s weathervane, using original drawings found in Rauner Special Collections Library;
- Replacement of flooring within the Tower Room, electrical upgrades to support future lighting needs, and installation of USB ports in all electrical outlets.
Three years ago when the College did an assessment of the structure, it chose an intelligent, low-tech way to get the job done. Rather than paying $75,000 to rent a large, unsightly crane, Robert Fulmer, a building consultant at Maine-based Fulmer Associates, clambered all over the Tower using climbing equipment. Bravo.
Addendum: We’ve noted in the past the use of illustrative scaffolding covers in major renovations in France.
Our former President is in for a tough time in trying to keep his prestigious job at the World Bank. The folks at the Financial Times have his number, and they are fighting the good fight by printing stories and letters to keep the controversy about Kim’s reappointment (or not) alive:
How nice to see an honest reference to Kim’s weak tenure in Hanover.
The FT also ran a letter from Tim Cullen, a former chief spokesman at the World Bank. An excerpt:
While the Bank’s Staff Association has focused its attention on the need for a transparent process to appoint a new president, rather than on attacking the incumbent, the reality is that Jim Yong Kim has demonstrated over the past four years that he is not the leader the Bank needs. His development priorities seem aimed at soundbites rather than sound policies.
It was good that he initiated organisational change to make the Bank more effective and relevant, but his intolerance of any dissent, which included firing three of the Bank’s most senior women over a single weekend, and his apparent contempt for staff in general, doomed his messy restructuring to failure.
I had high expectations for an Asian-American president with a development record. But I was appalled when I heard him address 40 or so ministers from small states at the 2013 annual meeting. Dr Kim poured scorn on Bank staff, saying, among other things, that if doctors (like him) got as many things wrong as the Bank’s hopeless economists had, they wouldn’t keep their jobs for long. This particular doctor has got too many things wrong to be allowed to keep his job beyond a single term.
It isn’t just about process. The Bank’s member countries need to appoint a real leader if the Bank is to remain relevant and effective in the fight against poverty.
Lance Pritchett, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and a professor of the practice of international development at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, offered a general argument on the CGD blog against the WB President being named again by the American President:
There has never been any expectation that World Bank Presidents would be reappointed. Only two of twelve presidents have been reappointed for a second five year term: Robert McNamara and James Wolfensohn. Reappointment, then, is the exception rather than the rule. The argument that the selection process for a reappointment should be different and isn’t a “time” is a non-starter, as it thwarts the very idea of having limited five year terms. Every President would love to declare that a re-election doesn’t need a full blown election, which is precisely why democracy requires that re-elections are just the same as elections.
Second, I am not (now) arguing that Jim Kim should not be reappointed because of poor performance. I am just arguing that the context within which his performance should be assessed is an “open, merit-based and transparent” process for considering who should lead the World Bank this time. Certainly it is possible that one of the candidates to be the next president will be Jim Kim. Assessing his strengths and weaknesses in his current term will be important factors in deciding whether he or some other nominee should be the World Bank’s next leader.
But even if, counter-factually, there were broad and deep consensus among all stakeholders that Jim Kim had done a fantastic job in his first term, this time would still be last time’s next time and it still would be necessary to go through a full-blown selection process in order to ensure the legitimacy of the selection, even if the result of that process is a re-appointment. Given the World Bank Staff Association’s recent open letter, it is clear there is not a broad and deep consensus on Jim Kim’s performance, which makes the legitimacy of the process even more important.
Addendum: Slightly below the radar, a WB staffer has written to me to note the repeated accusations that Kim has engaged in racist and sexist hiring practices while at the Bank. See: I can no longer remain silent about racism in the World Bank and Diversity Challenge At World Bank: How An “Exceptional” Confidential Assistant Was Ousted By President Kim. My correspondent asserts that there have been “over 20 articles” of this nature about Kim.
Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:
Lorenza Viola is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Quantum Information Science Initiative at the College. She’s a theoretical physicist whose stellar work on quantum mechanics, and specifically quantum information science, largely surpasses my ability to understand, let alone explain. But at the most basic level, she studies how tiny particles move and interact, and their complex behavior understood and harnessed for useful quantum tasks.
Viola grew up in Trento, Italy, where she graduated summa cum laude at the University of Trento with a undergraduate/masters degree in physics. She had originally considered astrophysics or even becoming a medical doctor, but as a junior fell in love with a year-long course on quantum mechanics and never looked back. Viola went on to the University of Padua, also in Italy, for her Ph.D. Her thesis was titled “Relativistic stochastic quantization through co-moving coordinates” — a mouthful, but one that came out of her work examining how the theory of quantum mechanics can be made to coexist with Einstein’s relativity theory that describes our Universe at the macro scale. While quantum theory is unquestionably necessary to explain physical behavior at the level of the the smallest particles in the world, as objects grow bigger they tend to lose their quantum qualities and behave according to the more familiar rules of classical mechanics instead. Making those rules come together in this “quantum-to-classical” transition is a difficult quest for physicists, one that she continues to explore today.
After earning her Ph.D. at Padua, Viola came to the U.S. and spent three years as a postdoc fellow at MIT. There she began working in the nascent field of quantum information science. Within this arena you find quantum computing, building a machine that works by quantum rules rather than the binary bits of our standard laptops and smartphones. Such quantum computers may eventually solve more complicated mathematical problems than our current devices, help simulate the complex quantum world itself, and make breakthroughs in cryptographic security.
Viola then spent nearly five years at the Los Almos National Laboratory, both in the theoretical division and in the computer and computational sciences division, before joining the Dartmouth faculty in 2004, along with her husband, physics professor Roberto Onofrio. Since arriving on campus, Viola has continued advancing and expanding her research, both in quantum information science and its implications for quantum matter. She boasts more than 7,500 individual citations and a h-index of 41, according to Google Scholar, giving her bragging rights at home over Onofrio, a formidable scholar in his own right.
We may not understand all of her work, but the source of Viola’s research grants shows how valuable they are. In the past few years, she has worked with grants from not only the National Science Foundation, but also the Department of Energy, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, and the Army Research Office & National Security Agency.
Two of Viola’s most impactful papers, with over 1,000 citations each, are “Dynamical suppression of decoherence in two-state quantum systems” and “Dynamical Decoupling of Open Quantum Systems.” For a (possibly) easier window into her work, here is a lecture she gave on quantum control theory in 2012:
While Viola says she wishes there were more professors at Dartmouth to explore the budding world of quantum physics, she enjoys teaching students of all levels. In her lab she currently works with two postdocs and three grad students, yet her favorite courses allow her to explain quantum mechanics to undergraduates for the first time, seeing some of them emerge from class with a spark of curiosity and the desire to learn more. This summer she’s teaching Physics 109: Statistical Mechanics II, then she’ll break in the fall and winter, and come back in the spring for another Statistical Mechanics course.
Addendum: Here’s a recent interview Viola gave to the Journal of Physics.
Brown’s expenses run to $89,381/student each year; we pay out $140,382/student. We spend $51,001/year/student more than Brown. However, part of that difference lies in our extra research spending — just under $12,000/year per student). After deducting research, we still spend approximately $39,000/student/year more than Brown.
A professor writes in:
Just came across your article and wanted to point out something. The $182,118,000 number quoted under Sponsored research is actually a revenue and not expense (i.e., this number is not part of the $891,428,000 total expense you quoted)! This is the total amount of money faculty bring in through grants. So we are actually pulling in 30 million more than Brown. And this is actually lowering the expense per student/year.
My correspondent is correct that the amount of research funding is listed as revenue in Dartmouth’s P&L, but I used this figure as a shorthand for research expenses. This is back of the envelope accounting, but it is not inaccurate, absent better figures. That said, while it is conventional wisdom that externally funded research generates a kind of operating profit for an institution, outside analysis indicates that sponsored research really does not cover its own direct and indirect costs. This point has been supported to me by people at the College.
Another correspondent raises some questions:
Playing devil’s advocate here: Dartmouth has fewer students than Brown and spends more per student than Brown. Some of that difference is expected due to economies of scale. How much of the difference in spending per student IS due to that factor? How do you quantify that? Some of the costs are fixed and would be the same between both schools no matter how many students they have enrolled. One example of this would be intercollegiate athletics because they are both in the same league and have to field the same number of teams and the same number of players per team.
Some of the cost difference between the College and Brown is due to economies of scale, but it is self-evident that if we increased the number of students in Hanover from our current 6,350 to Brown’s 9,073, the cost of running Dartmouth would not drop by $80,471,000 — so that Dartmouth would then have the same operating expenses as Brown. It is true that each school has one President, Provost, Athletics Director and hockey coach, etc., but my estimate is that in the grand scheme of things, the savings of scale would be minor, and would be less important than some of the real world differences between Dartmouth and Brown: for example, Brown has 80 armed police officers on its payroll; we have 40 security guards, and so forth.
More to the point, let’s look at the number of classes offered to undergrads at Dartmouth and at Brown, statistics that are available in the Department of Education’s university Common Data Set. Classes are defined as follows:
While Brown has 40 courses with 100+ students (does the College really only have four?), it offers a total of 1,149 courses, a hair under double Dartmouth’s 575. And Brown proposes 806 (397+409) different courses with under 20 students — the College has 367 (122+245) small courses.
It does not appear that Brown is scrimping on instruction.
Addendum: I argue frequently that the College needs to reduce its non-faculty staff headcount significantly — at least by the 447 staffers added since 2010, if not by the 1,100+ people added since 1999. But where would these people find work? Look to this recent tidbit in the Valley News:
“What I hear a lot of is ‘I can’t find housing,’ ” said Amy Smith, the director of care management at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Across DHMC’s entire system, there’s about 1,000 job openings, she said, and a 30 percent vacancy rate in the environmental services department alone.
Note that this is the DHMC “system” — not just the campus in Lebanon, but still. There are hundreds of empty jobs in the Upper Valley right now: the Co-ops advertises for people on the radio, and various employment agencies are offering signing bonuses if you find a job with them. A real leader would seize this opportunity.
Phil will be away from Hanover for well over a month this summer — the Arctic, Peru, a few weeks of vacation — but one would think that he could have sent out a word or two to the campus about Abbey D’Agostino ‘14. Abbey’s admirable sportsmanship (are we allowed to say that anymore?) at the Rio Olympics is all over the press, and our President might have used his bully pulpit to highlight her expression of some of the values that many people see as quintessentially Dartmouth. I sure do. Take a look at this post from a few years ago: The Sweet Students of Dartmouth.
Addendum: I imagine Provost Dever is preparing yet another missive about inclusivity and diversity. Isn’t she always? Could she add a note about Abbey to it? That said, maybe Carolyn is too busy interviewing for jobs at other schools. Judging by recent standards, she seems fully qualified to run the World Bank.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
In answer to your musing about Hanlon sending out a note about Abbey… No doubt, he will post something on his President’s Blog, when he does his next quarterly (semi-annual?) update.
Addendum: Per ESPN, Abbey described her motivation as follows:
Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way. This whole time here he’s made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance — and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it.
Lots to think about there, Phil.
Beyond the self-calls, note Kim’s familiar tone with Mills. Self-evidently, Kim is intimate with the corridors of power in Washington.
With a gesture that will become part of the collective memory of the Rio Games (and the College’s sports history), Abbey d’Agostino ‘14 gave the world an Olympic moment when she inadvertently clipped a runner striding in front of her in the second heat of Round 1 of the 5,000 meters. Down went New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and so did Abbey. But Abbey didn’t leap up to continue the race; her concern lay with her fellow runner, and she stopped to help Hamblin. Both runners, though injured, finished the race.
Abbey ended up placing 16th, but she inspired the world with her instinctive kindness. NBC does not allow embedding, but you can view the event here.
Addendum: USA Today has a full account.
Addendum: The Times reprinted AP’s take on Abbey’s graceful support of a fellow athlete: Runners Help Each Other After Fall, Lifting Olympic Spirit:
In an Olympics that has seen a few unsavory incidents — the Egyptian judoka who refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent, the booing of a French pole vaulter by the Brazilian crowd — Hamblin and D’Agostino provided a memory that captured the Olympic spirit.
Olympic officials also decided that both runners, and Austria’s Jennifer Wenth, who was also affected by the collision, would have places in Friday’s final.
“I’m never going to forget that moment,” Hamblin said. “When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years’ time, that’s my story … That girl shaking my shoulder, (saying) ‘come on, get up’.”
Addendum: An MRI has shown that Abbey sustained a “complete tear of the ACL, a meniscus tear and a strained MCL” when she fell in the race. After helping Hamblin, she started up again; she ran over a mile and finished despite her injuries.
Abbey’s coach, who was also her coach at Dartmouth, adds a sweet coda to the race:
“She did pretty much the opposite of what I told her,” D’Agostino’s coach Mark Coogan told USA TODAY Sports. “And I am so glad she did.”
Coogan has known D’Agostino for six years, ever since she joined Dartmouth as a freshman and he was the women’s cross-country coach there. From the beginning he marveled at her work ethic but also noticed her kindness. Everyone notices D’Agostino’s kindness. Talk to people she knows and the word leaves their mouths within the first sentence.
Under Coogan’s mentorship, she became the most decorated athlete in Ivy League history, winning seven NCAA titles. Over the years with Coogan, she would discuss race strategy, tactics, and yes, what to do if the worst-case scenario of a fall happened mid-race.
“I always told her, ‘if you go down, here is what I want you to do,’ ” Coogan said. “I told her to get up, dust herself off, have a quick look around and then get right back to running. Obviously she did pretty much the opposite of that, and the world got to see the kind of person she is. She did the right thing.”
Of course she did the right thing. She always does. At her training group — she is a pro athlete with New Balance — the rest of the squad often reacts to mental dilemmas by asking aloud “what would Abbey do?”
I guess that Phil thinks that fundraising and administration are going so well in Hanover that he can take on an extracurricular activity: he has just joined the educational advisory board of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a four-year term:
The Guggenehim board is made up of university professors, a smattering of artists and writers, Phil and Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. Dartmouth Trustee Annette Gordon-Reed joined the board this year, too.
Addendum: Ecclesiastes 1:2: “All is vanity.”
Addendum: Phil is now about at the end of his Arctic trip with Environmental Science Professor Ross Virginia.
College counsel Bob Donin, Dartmouth’s top lawyer, has announced his retirement, effective June 30, 2017. A 1971 graduate of Colgate, which would make him about 66 or 67 years of age today, he has been at the College for sixteen years, having previously worked at a small school in Cambridge. The General Counsel’s office currently comprises Donin, four attorneys and three assistants.
I have interacted obliquely with Donin on a couple of occasions, when College entities have reflexively refused to allow advertising by my health club business on the grounds that the College is a competitor. I wrote to the folks concerned, with a copy to Bob, letting them know that they don’t compete with my company because as a non-profit they don’t and can’t compete with a private sector business (not if they want to keep their tax-free status). Bob sorted things out in short order.
Though it is tough to know how much Bob has been involved, the Counsel’s office has a reputation among many members of the faculty for not allowing anyone to run the slightest legal risk. As we have noted, at least until recently the College has cut down much loved river ropeswings almost as fast as students can put them up; and softball games, when rarely played on the Green, have two levels of defensive perimeter. Sheesh. Rather than playing CYA all day, the College’s lawyers could take a more real world approach to student activities.
Donin was fairly compensated for his work, earning $509,904 in the 2014 calendar year. That made him the eleventh most highly paid employee of the College:
Actually, such a salary is modest for the senior lawyer in an operation with expenses that totaled $891,428,000 in 2015. In New York the current going rate at top law firms for fresh-from-law-school, first-year associates is $180,000.
Addendum: A former member of the College’s Board of Trustees writes in:
Donin always struck me as an exception to the usual “yes men and women” in Hanover — one of the few administration officials who didn’t treat petition trustees as evil incarnate. Though he obviously couldn’t say so, I think he understood that we were doing our part to make Dartmouth an even better place for students and faculty. The College was fortunate to have such a skilled and fair-minded person as Donin handling its legal affairs over the last sixteen years.
Addendum: A senior faculty member writes in:
I can’t comment on Bob Donin’s legal work for the College per se, but I can say that he was always a pleasure to work with: reasonable, informed, and never confrontational. I think I can say that he was a gentleman in the best senses of that word.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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