The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - May 13, 1998

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

May 13, 1998

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue
The Scout Report
* Research * Current Awareness
* Learning Resources * New Data
* General Interest * In the News

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Six federal agencies have worked together to develop an efficient system for naming and classifying all of nature's living organisms. As the basic currency of scientific research, management, and education, the newly released Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is "a database of the current names and classifications of all biota." The website is organized into three main sections: About ITIS (general overview), Data Access (how to query the ITIS database), and TRED (the taxonomic experts behind the ITIS database). The core of the site is the 'Data Access' section, which describes how to locate, access, and download scientific names and other information for a taxon. The ITIS database may be queried by full or partial Scientific Name, Vernacular (Common) Name, or TSN (Taxonomic Serial Number). Typical returns are Scientific Name, Vernacular (Common) Name, TSN, Author, Taxonomic Rank, and Synonym (Scientific) Name or TSN; note that the review process is still underway, and information is constantly being added. In addition to the database, users are instructed on how to submit data to the ITIS database or match a list of taxa to the ITIS Database. A final, useful feature is the Taxonomic Workbench (free for downloading), a "windows-based software tool for entry of taxonomic information into ITIS's relational database format." Information on how to participate in this extraordinary and ambitious effort is provided at the site. [LXP]
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Distributed Object Computation Testbed
The San Diego Supercomputer Center hosts the Distributed Object Computation Testbed (DOCT), a system for "handling complex documents on geographically distributed data archives and computing platforms." The site is highlighted by its data and publications section, which contains a series of project and progress reports. Seven new documents are available for viewing and printing on the web. The site also contains information about DOCT, including contact information for project investigators. [KH]
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The National Park Service Water Resources Division
This newly updated website details the National Park Service's (NPS) programs in water resources. Categorized into six sections, the site covers such topics as Water Quality and Groundwater Analysis, Wetlands, Water Rights, Fishery Programs, the National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Within each category users will find research tools and fact sheets, including the newly released, searchable Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia (discussed in the April 17, 1998 Scout Report). Although targeted at the general public, much of this information will be of use to educators and students. [LXP]
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This Dynamic Planet: World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics--USGS [.pdf, 9p.]
Published by the US Geological Survey (USGS), this Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) document contains text and figures depicting volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters, and plate tectonics located around the world, as well as a 44 inch wide world map. The text explains the geological reasoning for the distribution of volcanoes and earthquakes (shown in the figures) and the formation of impact craters, and describes the preparation of the complex This Dynamic Planet world map. A hardcopy version of the map may be ordered from the USGS. Selected references contain additional editor's notes throughout the document. [KH]
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The Fire Effects Information System--USDA FS
This impressive website was developed at the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Fire Sciences Laboratory (IFSL) in Missoula, Montana. Full of information and free of clutter, the site offers species-by-species synopses of general ecological information, fire ecology, and fire case studies. Information includes distribution and occurrence, ecological characteristics, human value and use, and fire effects for hundreds of species of wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) and plants (trees, shrubs, vines, graminoids, forbs, cacti, ferns and their allies, bryophytes, and lichens). An additional asset of the site is the extensive bibliography of scientific articles, provided in separate parts, at the end of each species summary. [LXP]
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Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
Recently relocated to Case Western Reserve University, the Ethics Center serves as a primary resource for students and teachers studying the ethical dilemmas that often occur in the fields of engineering and science. A wealth of examples provide insight into the application of the codes of ethics from a variety of scientific and engineering societies. The Codes of Ethics for 20 different organizations are provided. The site also strives to increase awareness about diversity issues in engineering and science by including links to multiple diversity-related resources. A bibliography of articles and materials on ethics in engineering and science completes this tremendous resource. [KH]
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Learning Resources
Division M: Bacteriophage--ASM
This website from the American Society for Microbiology provides current information on Bacteriophages ('Phages' for short), the tiny, microscopic viruses whose hosts are bacterial cells. The site is organized into five sections: general information, resources for teachers, images (micrographs, diagrams, etc.), upcoming meetings and events, and related links. Uncluttered but full of information, the site is an excellent resource for educators and students. [LXP]
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Space Day (RealPlayer, Shockwave, .pdf)
Space Day '98, to be held on May 21, 1998, celebrates and honors the people who have made space exploration possible. The highlight of the Space Day homepage, maintained by Lockheed Martin Corporation, will be a live interactive webcast all day on May 21. Features of the webcast include experts in the fields of space discussing issues ranging from global collaboration to mysteries that remain. In addition to the webcast, the Space Day '98 home page provides resources for teachers and the curious alike. Mission: Fun allows visitors to test their space knowledge through interactive Shockwave games and quizzes while Teachers' Space provides educators with downloadable lesson plans (Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format). [KH]
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Botany Course Materials--UW
Gopher to:
Select: Course Materials and Other Educational Resources/Botany Course Materials/
Though humble in appearance (gopher menu), this outstanding quintet of resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Botany Department is one of the best laboratory learning tools available on the web. Separated into five sections (General Botany, Dendrology, Fungi, Plant Systematics Teaching Collection, and Vegetation of Wisconsin), each resource becomes progressively more specific with every click of the mouse; at the final, species level, there are clear images illustrating a particular feature. Although all sections provide abundant information, the Teaching Collection is an exceptional resource, since clear photographs of plants are excellent substitutes for fresh specimens in areas of the country or at times of the year when such materials are not available. Organized into nine taxonomic headings (Coniferophyta through Sphenophyta), the user clicks down to the species level; there, the user will find spectacular color photographs of distinctive plant family characteristics (leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.). The photographs and images are not accompanied by text, so additional information will be necessary for beginners. [LXP]
[Note: Originally reviewed as a gopher site; gopher site has been replaced by web site.]
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Maple Explorations for Differential Calculus [Java]
Information on Maple
This collection of Maple programs was written and compiled for a mathematics course at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Maple is a mathematical problem solving tool commonly used in mathematics and engineering course work. Programs are divided into the different divisions of calculus, differential, integral, multidimensional differential, and multidimensional integral. A few java applets are also available for studying integral calculus. [KH]
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General Interest
Moths of North America--USGS NPWRC
This newly expanded resource from the US Geological Survey's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (discussed in the October 15, 1997 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) includes data on "more than 550 species of moths from seven families." Recent additions include data from northern Mexico. Organized by family, the website features excellent color photographs of most species; full descriptions of range, feeding habits, and life history; and a detailed color map of distribution and abundance in North America, noting areas of confirmed records, dubious records, and data not yet available. For both teaching and research, this is a remarkable resource. [LXP]
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Steel Recycling Institute
The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) provides information and statistics on steel recycling; it was founded by a group of steel companies and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). Originally a grassroots effort focused only on the recycling of steel cans, the SRI now promotes the recycling of all steel products. The SRI homepage provides online access to its three publications, The Dockside Recycler,The Recycling Magnet, and The Appliance Recycler. Recycling information is divided into four categories: cans, cars, appliances, and construction material. Users can use the recycling database to find the nearest steel recycling location. Links provides a large list of both commercial and non-commercial steel sites. [KH]
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Science in the National Parks--NPS
This new addition to The National Park Service's website provides an overview of a huge array of research projects being conducted in US National Parks. Scientific studies are listed and summarized here (by Park), and include research on Nitrogen fixation, Neotropical migratory birds, meadow restoration, glacier research, and monitoring of wolf populations, to name a few. In addition, a list of Partners in Scientific Research is available at the site, as are current and archived copies of the agency's quarterly research and resource management bulletin Park Science. The exceptional value of the site is that it provides what most researchers don't have: detailed insights into different components (and scales) of the same ecosystem. Application procedures are included for those interested in conducting research at National Parks. [LXP]
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Charge Across America [QuickTime]
In the first attempt of its kind, Kris Trexler will drive a GM EV1, an electric car developed by General Motors, 3,000 miles across the US. Visitors can join Trexler on the internet as he begins his journey May 13, 1998. Daily updates, including maps, logs, diaries, and photos, will be provided at the web site. In addition to QuickTime movies and audio files, the goodies page provides links to supporting organizations and interested individuals. The daily diaries and maps section will recap the highlights of each day's adventures. Maps will be available at both a local and national level. Note that QuickTime 3.0 is required to view multimedia files. [KH]
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The Society of Women Engineers
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a well-known organization whose goal is to increase women's role in the engineering profession. SWE's homepage provides links to each regional association in addition to information for the society at large. Included in General Information are member profiles, organizational information, and web sites concerning women and minorities in science and engineering. Additional features include a table of contents for the SWE magazine, available in print by subscription, frequently asked questions, and the president's newsletter. [KH]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

"Global-scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing Over the Past Six Centuries" [.pdf, 15p.]
University of Massachusetts geoscientists Drs. Michael Mann and Raymond Bradley published this news-breaking research paper in the April 23rd, 1998 issue of Nature. The authors examine climate data in detail and conclude that three recent years were the warmest since 1400 AD. In addition to the paper (Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format--click on "Study"), the site contains a news release, two of the figures from the paper, and a FAQ about the paper. Note that print quality of the paper is considerably better than viewing quality. [LXP]
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Science News Sources
Science in the Headlines--NRC/NAS
Offered by the National Research Council (NRC), the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Academy of Engineering, this website features brief summaries on "a range of issues from AIDS to obesity to science education, nuclear waste, and more." The features cover issues in the news and include links to related reports "written by volunteer committees of the nation's top experts." A current feature on Plant Diversity summarizes findings from a 20-year international study on plant diversity, and provides links to the Smithsonian Institution's "Biodiversity Forum," the NAS "Forum on Nature and Human Society," and NRC reports on "Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundry Protected Areas: Proceedings of an International Workshop," "Understanding Marine Biodiversity," and "Conserving Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for Development Agencies." [LXP]

Genomics Today--PhRMA/AIBS
Provided by PhRMA, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and AIBS, The American Institute of Biological Sciences, Genomics Today offers daily news from the cutting edge of scientific research. As a service of Genomics: A Global Resource, Genomics Today provides free news articles and press releases ranging from the present day back through December 1997. Topics range from edible vaccines to animal cloning, to new evidence that mammals may have coexisted with dinosaurs. This site keeps a pulse on news-breaking scientific research. [LXP]
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New Reports and Publications
Twelve New CRS Reports--NLE
Twelve new Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports have been posted at the National Library for the Environment's website. The reports, which cover such diverse topics as "Fishery, Aquaculture and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 105th Congress," "Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs," and "Global Climate Change Treaty: Negotiations and Related Issues," are available in full text with hyperlinks to referenced materials. [LXP]

A Report on the Evaluation of the National Science Foundation's Informal Science Education Program--NSF [.pdf, 42p.]
This latest report from the National Science Foundation details the findings from an independent study performed to examine the NSF's Informal Science Education Program (ISEP). The ISEP stresses the learning of science through non-traditional educational means, where "learning is... motivated mainly by intrinsic interests, curiosity, exploration, manipulation, fantasy, task completion, and social interaction." The report includes a descriptive summary of informal science education, NSF's role in ISE, and an evaluation of the ISEP. [KH]

The Northeast States and Eastern Canadian Provinces Mercury Study--EMAN
The Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network has recently made available the full text of this report on mercury in eastern North America (Canada and the US). The report deals with mercury emissions, mercury monitoring, and the effects of mercury on human health and the environment; recommendations for action are provided at the conclusion. [LXP]

New Papers in Living Reviews in Relativity
Living Reviews in Relativity (discussed in the March 18, 1998 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) recently added three new articles. The articles cover the topics of evolution and matching, stationary black holes, and spacetime singularities. [KH]

New Online Access to Wiley Journals [.pdf]
Wiley-VCH, a branch of Wiley publishing, has provided on-line access to five new journals at this site. The journals, which offer online table of contents, abstracts, and some articles in [.pdf] format, include: Angewandte Chemie;Electroanalysis;Euromaterial;Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics; and Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationships.[KH]

Academia Book Releases--Baker & Taylor--May 1998
Baker & Taylor has announced their book releases for titles scheduled to be available to the public in June 1998. New titles are available in Agricultural Sciences; Biological Sciences; Chemical, Biotechnological, and Petroleum Engineering; Earth Sciences; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Mathematical Sciences; Mechanical Engineering; and Technology and Material Sciences. See the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Meta Page for links to individual new books sections. [KH]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education[JS]

Wetland-related Jobs--SWS
Several dozen wetland-related jobs are posted at this page, which is maintained by the Society of Wetland Scientists. The listings include a whole host of positions from Post-docs, Graduate Research Assistants, Water Quality Planners, Wetland Scientists, Environmental Consultants, and Aquatic Ecologists, to Conservation Administrators. Additional links to other job sources are provided at the site. [LXP]

American Society for Microbiology Employment (ASM)
ASM's employment page lists opportunities in microbiology from Ribosomal Database Curator to Microbial Geneticist, to a whole host of Postdoctoral and Faculty positions. Job descriptions, application deadlines and contact information are provided at the site. [LXP]
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Watershed Assistance Grants--Request for Pre-proposals--EPA
The US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) is seeking pre-proposals for group's working to "protect and restore watersheds." Proposals, due June 1, 1998, will be judged according to the organization's "expertise in watershed management," ability to work with other organizations, history of success, and the organization's monetary efficiency. [KH]

The Eugene Garfield Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Scientific Information--CHF
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) is soliciting applications for the 1999-2000 Eugene Garfield Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Scientific Information (deadline December 1998). During a nine month residency at CHF, the Garfield Fellow "will create a historiographical and bibliographical guide to the field, with emphasis on twentieth-century developments; conduct oral histories with two to four pioneers in the development of scientific information; and identify emerging research opportunities in the field." Further details are available at the site. [LXP]
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1998 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference and Exposition
The focus of this year's ASEE annual conference, held June 28 to July 1, 1998, will be "Engineering Education Contributing to US Competitiveness." The conference's homepage provides information on the main plenary and other talks, social events, family activities, and Expo 1998. In addition, users can find links to places of interest in and around Seattle. Conference registration may be done via the web. [KH]

International Conference on the Role of Science and Technology in Development
To be held at the University of Malawi in Zomba from December 7-11, 1998, the goal of this conference is "to promote the role and importance of science and technology in socio-economic development." Special attention will be focused on "the following themes: 1) industries and scientific research; 2) making science and technology relevant to the society; 3) highlights of research results on mathematics, science and technology (including agriculture, environment, health sciences, natural and applied sciences); 4) female participation in science and technology; 5) youth involvement in science and technology; and 6) dissemination and utilization of scientific results." Registration information is provided at the site. [LXP]

Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference
The theme of the SWCS annual conference will be "Balancing Resource Issues: Land, Water, and People" with an emphasis on "the issues facing natural resource management in a context of an increasing population and world food supplies." The conference will be held in San Diego, California, from July 5-9, 1998. [LXP]
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New Data
Galileo Solid State Imaging Full Data Releases--G7
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released updated Solid State Images (discussed in the September 12, 1997 Scout Report) of Galileo's seventh orbit of Jupiter (G7). Data sets and images are available through the Planetary Data System. [KH]
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Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum Database--OSU
Ohio State University's Department of Microbiology offers this website, which provides genome sequence information on methane-producing bacteria. The objective of the project, funded by the US Department of Energy, is to understand "the microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology of methane production with the twin goals of 1) maximizing the use of this biotechnology to convert waste materials into methane as an alternative to fossil fuels, and 2) determining how methane generation and methane release to the atmosphere can be appropriately controlled as a key step in global carbon management." At the site, users may retrieve the entire genome sequence or search by gene number, blast data, ORF, or any "other information derived from the predicted coding regions." In addition, an M. thermoautotrophicum gene classification table is provided. [LXP]
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The CIMSS Realtime GOES Page--UW
The Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is home to the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS). This site provides real time images and data for the GOES satellites. Data include precipitable water, lifted index, cloud top pressure, sea surface temperature, displays of sounder channels and bands. A recent addition to the page is the hourly display of "all 19 spectral channels from the GOES-8 Sounder." [KH]
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Trypanosoma brucei Genome Sequencing Web Site--TIGR
This new website from The Institute for Genomic Research represents a large-scale sequencing initiative of the African trypanosome genome. Results of the ongoing project, which is taking place in two phases, are posted at the website; results include all completed sequence data (analyzed and annotated) as well as raw sequence data (in FASTA format). The site is organized into three sections: Similarity Searching (homology searches of nucleotide or protein sequences against the T. brucei local individual sequence reads database); Retrieval of End Sequences for a P1 Clone; and FTP Sequence Data File (Retrieval of T. brucei complete raw sequence data file/s). Also included is a link to the Trypanosoma brucei genome project web page at Cambridge University, UK. [LXP]
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In the News
The Invasion of Exotic Plants
1. Invasive Weeds Pose Major Threat to American Landscape
2. What's Wrong With This Picture--BLM
3. America's Least Wanted--TNC [QuickTime]
4. The Environmental Weeds Home Page
5. APHIS Weed Policy Implementation Plan--USDA APHIS
6. Draft IUCN Guidelines for the Prevention of Biodiversity Loss due to Biological Invasion
7. Hawaiian Alien Plant Studies
8. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species
In a news announcement last week, US Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt stated "the invasion of noxious weeds has created a level of destruction to America's environment and economy that is matched only by the damage caused by floods, earthquakes, wildfire, hurricanes and mudslides." Given recent media attention to the loss of native species, this week's In The News focuses on the spread of exotic plants across the globe, considered by some experts to be "the second-most important threat" behind habitat destruction. These eight resources offer information on exotics, from local case studies to international examples, with comprehensive discussions of the topic.

(1) This recent news release from the US Department of the Interior (USDI) highlights the impacts of invasive plant species across America and "on every continent except Antarctica." The USDI's findings corroborate a recent report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), documenting that 1 in 8 plant species is now globally threatened with extinction. (2) Geared toward the general public, the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Environmental Education Homepage provides a general introduction to the biology and economics of exotic invasive plant species in America. (3) The Nature Conservancy provides this web page, which includes video reports (QuickTime) on "the dirty dozen" -- from purple loostrife to zebra mussels. Also at the site are special sections entitled "containing the invasions" and "hard hit ecosystems." (4) Maintained by the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in Western Australia, this website provides detailed information, links, and proposed control projects for exotic plants in Australia and elsewhere. (5) This website details the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) strategy for preventing the introduction and spread of non-indigenous weeds into and throughout the United States. The site is geared "for policy makers and other personnel who are accountable for implementation of various aspects of the program." (6) Created by the IUCN Invasive Species Group in October 1996, this document details the massive effort and international cooperation needed in order to reduce "the risks of biodiversity loss caused by alien species." (7) Provided by the University of Hawaii's Botany department, this website offers the full text of a report on Hawaii's invasive plant species, as well as a section on biological control of invasive plants, and information and photographs of a long list of pest plants threatening Hawaiian native ecosystems. (8) The last site, from the US Geological Survey, is an excellent information resource on Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS). From plants to exotic diseases, invertebrates to vertebrates, this site is a central repository for "accurate and spatially referenced biogeographic accounts" of nonindigenous aquatic species. [LXP]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-1998. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the Scout Report for Science & Engineering provided the copyright notice and this paragraph is preserved on all copies. The Internet Scout Project provides information about the Internet to the US research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material.

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