Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series – Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill Author to Speak October 30

“You go to nature for an experience of the sacred…to re-establish your contact with the core of things,…  to enable you to come back to the world of people and operate more effectively.”

-Willi Unsoeld

Renowned for his book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story, Mark Bittner is the first speaker in the Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series at The Evergreen State College, on October 30. The event, which takes place at 7pm in the campus Longhouse, follows the college’s 2014-15 academic theme of “Paying Attention.” Bittner will discuss a period when, as a street person in San Francisco, he developed an affinity with a (still-vital) flock of wild parrots inhabiting Telegraph Hill. The book went on to become a documentary film and Bittner has gone on to write his forthcoming book Street Song, a memoir.

Willi Unsoeld is a household name among mountaineers, famed for his first ascent of Mt. Everest’s West Ridge in 1963, but Unsoeld had a deep intellectual life beyond the sport of climbing. As a philosopher and founding faculty member at The Evergreen State College, Unsoeld embodied the interdisciplinary spirit of the college. After his death in 1979, the Unsoeld family, friends and colleagues created a legacy in his name for an annual seminar series to take place at Evergreen. Past speakers have included Jim Hightower, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Terry Tempest Williams, Tom Hornbein and The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.

Bittner grew up in Vancouver, Washington and graduated high school in 1969. Thus, he was intrigued by the invitation to be a Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series speaker at Evergreen. “My high school crowd (in the late ‘60s) was making a lot of noise about (Evergreen) as a place to go (to college),” he noted.

In San Francisco, where he moved to play music after high school, Bittner says he slept in “odd places,” including the roof of a hotel and a store room. While caring for the property of a Telegraph Hill homeowner, he first spied the parrots. “I knew nothing about them,” he said, “but I watched them very closely and noticed there were a lot of social interactions going on between the birds. The idea of paying attention was central to what I was doing with them.”

Interactions with birding and environmental groups have since made Bittner aware of the issues facing urban avian life. “I am sensitive to the controversy on native versus non-native species, for example,” he said.

According to Evergreen Vice President and Provost Michael Zimmerman, “the purpose of these lectures is to help us see things in new ways and across differences. Willi used to say the most important thing is how we treat each other… and by extension the way we treat our surroundings,” said Zimmerman. “Mark Bittner was seeing things in a way that others were missing. His message of discovery is important to us.”

The second speaker in the series will be Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Audrey Marrs, in late January. Famed for her 2011 Oscar winner, “Inside Job,” Marrs graduated Evergreen in 1996. A collaboration with director Charles Ferguson, “Inside Job” was a 2010 Official Selection at the Cannes, New York, Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe called it, “scarier than anything Wes Craven and John Carpenter have ever made…”  Marrs’s current project is a documentary about climate change.  She will discuss her work as a producer and show a short film drawn from her current work, which she and Ferguson screened at the invitation of the Climate Summit at the United Nations in September.  After her talk, the College will host a screening of “Inside Job,” followed by discussion.  The event will take place on the evening of Thursday, January 29th with details to follow.

In spring, Harvard social theorist Elaine Scarrywill be on campus for a public presentation related to this year’s theme and to conduct a set of workshops for faculty related to . her book, Thinking in an Emergency, which is the common read for 2015-16 when she will return to be the convocation speaker.

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    Inkwell 9: Meet the Writers

    The front cover of a book. It has a grey background with a black repeating geometric design and says "Inkwell 9"

    Inkwell 9: A Student Guide to Writing at Evergreen

    [Writing for Inkwell gave me] a sense that my words and my story matter to someone beyond myself. I think it also helped me to help others in their writing—to ask more questions that could lead to greater levels of inquiry into self, into language.
    - Roxana Bell, Inkwell author

    The newest edition of Inkwell: A Student Guide to Writing at Evergreen is done!

    In this article, Writing Center Publications Editor Thane Fay met with four of this year’s Inkwell authors to talk about their experiences writing for the publication, what they hope the Evergreen community will take from their pieces, and their goals now as alumni.

    You can pick up a free copy of Inkwell 9 at the Writing Center, read the digital version online, or come to InkFest: Wednesday October 15th, from 1-3 p.m. in the Olympia campus library lobby!

    Read the full author interviews here.

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      Derek King ’14: Saving the World One Oyster at a Time

      Derek King '14 representing Puget Sound Restoration Fund at an Olympia festival

      Derek King ’14 representing Puget Sound Restoration Fund at an Olympia festival. Photo Credit- Shayna Brooks

      Author’s Note: As a student at The Evergreen State College from 2011-2014, I was a co-coordinator of the Evergreen Shellfish Club. We both proudly graduated in March 2014.

      Later this month, Derek King ’14 will present at the annual Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association national conference in Vancouver, WA. A Program Technician with Puget Sound Restoration Fund, it’s no coincidence King is at the cutting edge of his field despite just being out of school. While he started with an environmental visual journalism focus, the common thread among his work and play was always the ocean.

      He credits The Living Shore by Rowan Jacobsen, the Evergreen program Making a Difference with Gillies Malnarich and Emily Lardner, and contract sponsors Cindy Beck and Erik Thueson, who made the work possible by providing the perfect opportunity to dive into the obscure field of shellfish restoration and community shellfish farming. Three years later, after having navigated the trials of independent learning contracts and founding the Evergreen Community Shellfish Garden, King is teaching lessons he learned at Evergreen to students, growers and ecologists from across the country.

      After King worked with student peers to start the garden, and a student club to support the community project, he turned his focus to his Bachelor of Science and Arts degree and his research on ocean acidification. King has seen the negative impacts of changing ocean chemistry on oysters, which he references as the canary in the coal mine, from the tidelands to the lab, and directed his work toward assessing and predicting the impact of ocean acidification on the effectiveness of oyster’s predators.

      Work these days for King consists of managing the only public community shellfish farm in south Puget Sound, and countless other native species and habitat projects. Despite the long hours and cold, wet nights spent on the tide flats of Puget Sound, King wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. “Our water quality directly impacts our access to healthy marine resources and the bounty it provides,” he bellows, “and I’ve seen that connection first hand change people’s behavior. That’s why I do this.” As much as any recent alumni can, Derek King is saving the world, one oyster at a time.

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        Writing in Collaboration: The Student Editors Who Create Inkwell

        This is the second article exploring the Inkwell project and how students, faculty, and alumni can benefit from its influence on Evergreen’s writing culture. The first article of this series introduced the history of Inkwell at Evergreen.


        Four students sitting together at a round table looking at a piece of writing. In the background is a colorful mural featuring abstract designs of letters from different alphabets.

        The editorial board (from left to right: Matt Turner ’15, Nicole Christian ’14, and Mary Kallem ’14) working with writer Katelyn Peters ’14.

        The Inkwell process begins each fall. Over the course of the school year and countless hours of meetings, Inkwell’s editors and writers—the student tutors at the Writing Center—hone their skills, developing articles from still-forming ideas into the finished versions that appear on paper.

        In this interview, Publications Editor Thane Fay ’13 sat down with Inkwell editorial board members Mary Kallem ’14 and Matt Turner ’15 to discuss their experience with the project.

        “Inkwell [is] a process that I immediately identified as something that would enrich my experience not only as a student, writer, and tutor, but as a human who values collaborative engagement.” – Matt Turner

        Inkwell is a publication born out of Evergreen and the Writing Center’s unique approaches to collaborative learning, student empowerment, and linking theory to practice. The in-depth cooperation between Inkwell’s writers and editors reflects the Writing Center’s value that all writers, no matter their skill level, can benefit from supportive and comprehensive guidance from their peers. With articles centered around the experiences of student writers, Inkwell serves as a fulcrum for conversations about writing at Evergreen.

        “Unlike other publications, I don’t think Inkwell’s ‘final result’ is the published artifact that sits on my shelf. The ‘results’ I’m in it for are the benefits the Evergreen community gets from reading it: the circulation of grassroots knowledge gleaned from working with students.” – Mary Kallem

        Keep your eyes out for Inkwell 9, coming soon in Fall of 2014. You can read digital copies of past editions of Inkwell on the Writing Center’s website, or find physical copies in the Evergreen Archives.

        Read the full interview here.

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          Mariella Luz ’00 Appointed to ArtsWA Board

          Mariella Luz Photo from: http://shop.krecs.com/

          Mariella Luz
          Photo from: http://shop.krecs.com/

          On August 12, 2014, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced the appointment of four new ArtsWA board members, including Mariella Luz ’00.

          Mariella’s Official Bio: Mariella Luz is the general manager at K Records, an independent record label in Olympia, Washington. K Records is one of the oldest alternative music labels in the United States, founded in 1982. She is also the founder and director of the Olympia All Ages Project, a non-profit, volunteer organization that is dedicated to bringing music and art to people of all ages. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College. (Appointed July 2014 to July 2017).

          ArtsWA is the Washington State Arts Commission, a state government agency established in 1961–a catalyst for the arts in Washington State. For more information on ArtsWA programs including Grants to Organizations, Arts In Education and Art in Public Places, visit www.arts.wa.gov.

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            Eben Greene ’91, Designing For Change

            A young Eben Greene selling E-Dog merchandise

            A young Eben Greene selling E-Dog merchandise at Super Saturday

            Eben Greene ’91 quickly became a familiar face at Evergreen. Perhaps most famous for his South African pillbox inspired hats and t-shirts, Greene started his first business, E-Dog Clothing, as a student. While E-Dog didn’t grow far beyond Evergreen, Eben Greene has owned his own business ever since.

            Eben grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and came to appreciate the reformist ideas of Horace Mann, the first president of local Antioch College. Greene describes Mann’s philosophy as a guiding factor in deciding to apply an environmental scholarship to attend Evergreen. Greene credits his mother’s health and wellness business in Ohio as a motivating factor in studying promotion. It may also have been his grandfather, the commercial artist responsible for the Yellow Pages “Let Your Fingers Do The Walking,” who was his first introduction to the power of graphic design.



            Right away, Greene got involved with Earth Day and balanced courses like Health: Individual & Community with an Individual Learning Contact to learn how to manage an art design business. After graduating, Eben leased space for E-Studio, the name of his first marketing and graphic design business. Moving away from merchandise to graphic design, Greene leased a space in the iconic Security Building in downtown Olympia, across from the Harlequin Theater. Green participated in traditions like Arts Walk, and used the space above Mix96, one of Greene’s first clients and at the time an upstart effort by two Evergreen graduates. It was during Arts Walk that he met fellow alumni Pablo Shugurensky, who he credits for getting his first booth at Seattle arts and music festival Bumpershoot; Shuguresnky was also a collaborator on a line of 24 greeting cards. Greene became entrenched in the Olympia community, and many of the clients and the network he created in three years of business in Olympia have stayed with him to this day.

            Eben’s career went in a different direction three years after graduating during a trip to Oregon’s Breitenbush Hot Springs, where he met a representative from Nike, who got his foot in the door at Brooks Sports in Seattle. Eben developed a strong (and enduring) portfolio at Brooks Sports, creating logos still in use today. But it was satisfaction from working with his independent clients, including ones from Olympia, that prompted the decision to focus on his own business and leave Brooks Sports in 1996.

            Eben Greene

            Eben Greene

            Green’s business has changed names a few times over the years. Just recently, Eben Design became United Creations, which Greene describes as more than a marketing and graphic design company. Instead, he describes it as a change agency, uniting brand culture to help companies market smarter. Greene’s philosophy  “Be You More” is a way for people and organizations to more fully realize their vision, voice, and values. Greene has been doing organizational development work as part of the branding process for years, and perceives that’s where other companies are headed.

            Despite having worked with clients including Washington State Ferries, Bartell Drugs, AT&T, Google, Microsoft, Haggen, and the City of Olympia, Greene cites the 2008 recession as a time that all designers struggled as companies cut back. Things are picking up again for United Creations, but that doesn’t mean Greene will expand his company. Instead, the vision for United Creations is to build relationships and work with socially and environmentally conscious companies and organizations.

            P1010023Eben sees the power of leveraging culture to build brands for his clients. To that end, his company will launch their own “positive brand for change” in the coming year. One of the concepts Greene is most excited about is one he conceived soon after he graduated Evergreen. He credits a financial planning class providing the necessary boredom to start thinking about the symbols people identify with, like the Peace Sign. Ever since, Greene has been motivated to develop symbols for people’s values. United Creations has developed forty two of what they call ValYou symbols, which will be first displayed at this year’s Bumpershoot festival. Which do you connect with most? Soon, Greene predicts that will be a common question.

            Learn more about United Creations on their website.

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              Recruiting Veterans is Personal for Ty Somerville

              Tyrone (Ty) Somerville is an Evergreen Admissions Counselor specializing in Veterans and Evening and Weekend Studies. Photographed in the Admissions department on Mon., Dec. 23, 2013.

              Tyrone (Ty) Somerville is an Evergreen Admissions Counselor specializing in Veterans and Evening and Weekend Studies. Photographed in the Admissions department on Mon., Dec. 23, 2013.

              Tyrone “Ty” Somerville joined the Office of Admissions at Evergreen in November 2013 and was immediately confronted with a difficult yet personal challenge: overcoming the negative impression of the college. Ty is familiar with those misconceptions because he faced them himself when he decided to transfer to Evergreen as a student and 11 year U.S. Army veteran from Green River Community College.

              When Ty talks to prospective students at Joint Base Lewis McCord, no one understands the difficult decision to enroll at Evergreen more than he does.

              “My recruiting efforts revolve around exposing our service members, their families, and veterans to the great community we have here at Evergreen. It is my duty and privilege to present The Evergreen State College to some of the greatest people who have sacrificed the most in service to this country.”

              Evergreen regularly recruits and distributes literature on the military base, but they are faced with competing against schools that offer associates degrees. According to Randy Kelley, Director of the Veterans Resource Center at Evergreen, that’s exactly what service members and veterans are instructed to pursue. The prospect of pursuing a liberal arts education goes against the advice of many career counselors in the military, who see an education at technical colleges as a more direct line to employment. This makes Ty’s job even harder- not only does he have to sell Evergreen, but he has to sell the value of Liberal Arts.

              Director of the Veterans Center Randy Kelley talks about the history of medallions in the armed forces at the Welcome Reception for Veterans and Veterans' Dependents on Fri., Sept. 27, 2013. The reception ended with the presentations of an Evergreen Veterans Medallion to each of the veterans present. From left to right: Daryl Morgan, Thomas (Les) Purce, Randy Kelley

              Director of the Veterans Center Randy Kelley talks about the history of medallions in the armed forces at the Welcome Reception for Veterans and Veterans’ Dependents on Fri., Sept. 27, 2013. The reception ended with the presentations of an Evergreen Veterans Medallion to each of the veterans present. From left to right: Daryl Morgan, Thomas (Les) Purce, Randy Kelley

              But Ty doesn’t have to do it alone. Daryl Morgan, one of at least seven members of the faculty who are veterans themselves, teaches a specially designed program called “Veterans’ Next Mission: Crossing the Bridge Between Military and Academic Life.” This course specifically helps students transition into Evergreen and understand the value of their transferable skills from military service.

              Somerville describes the Veterans Resource Center, under the leadership of Kelly, as “a resource and support hub for those who utilize The Evergreen State College, supporting them in ensuring that achieving their educational goals isn’t an insurmountable task. That support is provided in various ways and the information regarding the proper resources for obtaining the support can come in many different fashions.”

              The Veteran’s Resource Center employs student workers, veterans themselves, and guides students from the admissions process through graduation and beyond. The Veteran’s Resource Center works collaboratively with staff across the institution to bring support services under one roof, and works with external organizations like the VA to ensure students have access to all benefits available.

              For Somerville, while he knows Evergreen isn’t for everyone, it’s gratifying to connect with non-traditional students and show them the opportunities of getting their four year degree at Evergreen. Somerville himself is on track to graduate in the winter. Like many veterans, he’s a hard worker and is working full time while finishing school. So when he talked with a student with an A.A. earlier this year working at a drive-through, he felt confident as he walked him through the application process for Evergreen Tacoma and showed him a Bachelor’s Degree is possible.

              If you are an Evergreen alumni and a veteran, service member, or dependent, please complete this survey to help Evergreen better serve you.

              Read coverage of the Veteran’s Resource Center at northwestmilitary.com

              Listen to Randy Kelley, Ty Somerville, and other veteran students in this video produced by Veterans for Peace


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                Seth Frankel ’93 Designing Museums for Peace Around the World

                Seth Frankel

                Seth Frankel ’93

                Few stories are harder than the stories Seth Frankel ’93 designs and develops into exhibitions for museums across the country. As principal of his Colorado-based exhibition design firm, Studio Tectonic, he’s developed wide ranging exhibits. He’s created exhibits on watersheds, paleontology and beer (the beer and paleo exhibits aren’t the same, by the way, but he claims eyewitness account that there’s plenty of beer in paleo field camps).

                But of the exhibits he develops, few are as challenging as the telling of human atrocity, genocide and healing. Some tell of recent events, such as his work creating the national Sierra Leone Peace Museum that wrestles with the nearly unspeakable genocide ending in 2002. Others are centuries old, such as the Civil War era Sand Creek Massacre of Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples in the Colorado Territory.

                At the Sierra Leone Peace Museum, visitors look at the causes of the nation's 1991 to 2002 civil war and how they connect to healing, rebuilding and promoting a continued peace.

                At the Sierra Leone Peace Museum, visitors look at the causes of the nation’s 1991 to 2002 civil war and how they connect to healing, rebuilding and promoting a continued peace.

                “I strive to tell a balanced story. I use artifacts, media, visuals and narrative to provide the complexity of these human events in ways that the visitor can’t turn away from. It’s easy to dehumanize history’s perpetrators, but ultimately if we allow the richness of experience to grow in the visitor’s mind they’re engaged – not as observers but as partners in the humanity.”, says Seth.

                In his twenty years of working with museums he’s seen significant growth in the relationship between storyteller and visitor. “Museums of the past, and many of our still standing older exhibits, have great objects and may be quite successful in disseminating facts. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing wonderful, powerful things?”, he asks. “But facts are quickly forgotten or replaced with new details. Building experiences, and our participation in creating and sharing these experiences, are very much at the center of the new museumship.”

                Chief Niwot ~ Legend and Legacy exhibit the Boulder History Museum in Colorado challenges visitors to look at past atrocities against native peoples and asks them to consider their place today is relationship to this past.

                Chief Niwot ~ Legend and Legacy exhibit the Boulder History Museum in Colorado challenges visitors to look at past atrocities against native peoples and asks them to consider their place today in relationship to this past.

                Seth has observed changes also in the expectations of the public. Many of his exhibitions feature creating learning environments in which the visitor can both leave their mark for other exhibit goers and to the broader world through social media. In thinking about the importance of museums for promoting peace, Seth takes this work very personally.

                “We commemorate and tell of horrible pasts…hopefully arriving at overcoming these horrors to arrive at decency and celebration of human compassion. Yet, we’re seemingly programmed to look for a happy ending. But peace museums aren’t about an ending…they’re about building the capacity to envision a future. One that can only exist through connecting ourselves to the breadth and range of the human condition. Our good. Our bad. Our forgotten. Our remembered.”

                Want to see Seth’s work in person? Check out the list of exhibitions by Studio Tectonic and see if there’s one in your area.

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                  Todd Slind ’92: Global Entrepreneur

                  Todd SlindTodd Slind ’92 is a Northwestern family man.  He has been sighted taxiing his children around Ballard on his bicycle/pedi-cab and loves sailing and snowboarding in his spare time. But when Todd discovered that a friend and colleague from Trinidad had been killed last fall in the Westgate Mall terrorist attack in Nairobi, he related, “I’d always identified myself as someone from the Northwest, a native and very rooted here, but I realize that I feel like a global community member since I got that news.”

                  Although he treasures his time at home and is an active member of his local community, Todd spends a lot of time traveling the world for SpatialDev, his geospatial analysis business. From Seattle to India, Todd has developed apps and programs that help governments, organizations and people.  At Evergreen, Todd says that he learned to be a self-directed social problem solver and how to focus on details while keeping the big picture in context.  In his work, he often uses and expands on these skills.  For example, a mobile app he helped develop provides information on local invasive species while one of his programs provides web mapping of continuously updated agricultural survey information on farmers in India.

                  During Todd’s recent trip to Burkina Faso, a west-central African country with a large rural population, he had another awakening.  With the mindset of a western man from a “developed” country, he was expecting to discover a depressed and impoverished population hungry for commercial development.  Instead, he found a largely rural population that appears to be satisfied with the sustenance they provide for themselves and the little luxuries gained from sales of their modest harvests.  He was also impressed by their adoption of International Women’s Day as a national holiday.  From his original skepticism, Todd has become a Burkina Faso fan.

                  Evergreen is well represented by this smart and flexible global-community Northwest native alumnus.

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                    CommitChange Aims to Transform Non-Profit Fundraising

                    Roderick Campbell and Jay Bolton

                    Jay Bolton (left) and Roderick Campbell (right)

                    Roderick Campbell ’10 and Jay Bolton ’11 never crossed paths while at Evergreen, but with more than $700,000 in seed investment from the likes of Mark Cuban and Tim Draper, this odd couple has taken internet startup CommitChange to the Major Leagues of Silicon Valley.

                    Roderick described the way he came to partner with Jay as an “arranged marriage” by Merchant OS, now a part of LightSpeed Retail.  Merchant OS was a client of Roderick’s small web development business, which helped Campbell pay for school. Fatefully, Jay was an intern with the company at the same time. To this day, Roderick and Jay still remember the offer of a year’s salary to do whatever they wanted, as long as it was with each other, as the most bizarre offer they’ve ever received. But that’s when the seed of CommitChange was born.

                    While Roderick and Jay are business partners now, they took vastly different paths to where they are today. Roderick was a theatre student at Evergreen, studying with faculty like Sean Williams, a big influence for Roderick. While a student, Roderick was the Assistant Director of local theatre fixture Harlequin Productions. Roderick took advantage of travel opportunities while he had them, traveling to 32 countries, and spending two to three months abroad every year since high school.

                    Meanwhile, Roderick describes Jay as “the smartest guy he’s ever met,” even in the one of the world’s leading hubs for high tech innovation and development. Jay studied computer science at Evergreen, and Roderick described him as a person who can “learn a new computer programming language in a weekend; someone who can build anything.”

                    When they started working together, under contract with the booming Merchant OS, they keyed in on an app which allowed consumers to pay rent online. Several months into their work, they had something of an ‘aha’ moment and went back to the drawing board. Their goal: a billion dollar company that could help a billion people. Otherwise, they might as well work for Google, Campbell conceded.

                    They came up with an idea for supporting non-profit philanthropy efforts. The reason: Roderick estimates that over 2 billion people on the planet are directly impacted by non-profits. When they performed an environmental scan of the products and services available for non-profit development, Campbell described an industry stuck using old technology and widespread lack of innovation. With the fees companies levy on non-profits for online fundraising, Roderick discovered it is often less efficient than using direct mail! CommitChange aspires to develop a product for non-profit philanthropy in the way that Linkedin is the product for professional networking. With the right technology and product at the right price, they believe non-profits will move more of their fundraising efforts online.

                    While Roderick and Jay are far from where they were when they first started CommitChange on the top floor of the Evergreen Plaza Building in downtown Olympia, Roderick insists Evergreen is “the most underrated school in the country” and is hopeful to hire Evergreen students as his company grows in the years ahead. Roderick Campbell and Jay Bolton are definitely two young alumni worth watching for.

                    Read more about Roderick and Jay in The Olympian, linked here.

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