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News articles on green
Mongabay.com news articles on green in blog format. Updated regularly.
(05/26/2006) A new study published in Science by scientists from the University of Utah and the University of Washington indicates that the tropics have expanded farther from the equator since 1979.Analyzing atmospheric temperature measurements by satellites, the researchers say that widening of the tropics amounts to 2 degrees of latitude or 140 miles but are not sure whether the expansion is the result of natural climate variation or by human-induced global warming due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The researchers warm that the trend could expand some of the world's driest regions. "It's a big deal. The tropics may be expanding and getting larger," says study co-author Thomas Reichler, an assistant professor of meteorology at the University of Utah. "If this is true, it also would mean that subtropical deserts are expanding into heavily populated midlatitude regions."
Extreme global warming likely by end of century
(05/24/2006) Climate models predicting a 5.6 degrees Celsius increase in Earth's temperature by the end of the century may have underestimated the increase by as much as 2.3C according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley.
Venture Capitalists, China and Green Technology
(05/24/2006) A Bay Area venture capitalist with a storied past, has set his sights on "green technology" and ultimately China, after some compelling remarks from state representatives at a recent conference. Early this spring, Chinese officials named solar and clean coal technologies as two of their three pre-eminent priorities for investment and development in the near future. For a country with burgeoning energy needs surpassing what power is presently available, this is both realistic and positive news for environmentalists and economists alike. Hoping to capitalize, John Doerr and his associates are now funneling cash into the emergent green technology sector, which he, and an increasing number of other investors believe to be the next big thing.
Why does Madagascar have so many unique animals?
(05/24/2006) Scientists have developed the first comprehensive theory to explain Madagascar's rich biodiversity. Madagascar, larger than California and about size the size of Texas or France, is the world's fourth largest island. Isolated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southern Africa, about 70% of the estimated 250,000 species found on the island exist nowhere else on the globe. The island is home to such evolutionary oddities as lemurs, a group of primates endemic to the island; brilliantly colored lizards including geckos and chameleons; tenrecs, spiny hedgehog-like creatures; and the fossa, a carnivorous animal that looks like a cross between a puma and a dog but is closely related to the mongoose.
Saving Orangutans in Borneo
(05/24/2006) A look at conservation efforts in Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo. I'm in Tanjung Puting National Park in southern Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. At 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) Tanjung Puting is the largest protected expanse of coastal tropical heath and peat swamp forest in southeast Asia. It's also one of the biggest remaining habitats for the critically endangered orangutan, the population of which has been great diminished in recent years due to habitat destruction and poaching. And orangutans have become the focus of a much wider effort to save Borneo's natural environment. We are headed to Campy Leakey, named for the renowned Kenyan paleontologist Louis Leakey. Here lies the center of the Orangutan Research conservation Project. Established by Birute Mary Galdikas, a preeminent primatologist and founder of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), the project seeks to support the conservation and understanding of the orangutan and its rain forest habitat while rehabilitating ex-captive individuals. The Orangutan Research conservation Project is the public face of orangutan conservation in this part of Kalimantan, the Indonesia-controlled part of Borneo. Borneo, the third largest island in the world, was once home to some of the world's most majestic, and forbidding forests. With swampy coastal areas fringed by mangrove forests and a mountainous interior, much of the terrain was virtually impassable and unexplored. Headhunters ruled the remote parts of the island until a century ago.
Ecuador's oil nationalization may hurt environment
(05/23/2006) Last week Ecuador seized Amazon oilfields controlled by Occidental, an American oil firm which produces about 20 percent of the country's oil output and has invested about $1 billion since 1999. The decision will bring a short-term boost in government revenue while appealing to street protestors who have caused havoc for the country's politicians over the past few years. However, looking the beyond the politics, the seizure could have implications for the environment of the country which is home to some of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems.
First signs of Alzheimer's may be physical not mental
(05/23/2006) The first signs of dementia -- including Alzheimer's disease -- may be physical, rather than mental, according to a joint study between Group Health Cooperative and the University of Washington reported in the May 22 Archives of Internal Medicine. This study followed 2,288 Group Health members age 65 and older for six years. At the start, none showed any signs of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The researchers contacted the participants every two years, assessing physical and mental functioning. By six years, 319 participants had developed dementia, including 221 with Alzheimer's disease. The participants whose physical function was higher at the start of the study were three times less likely to develop dementia than were those whose physical function was lower.
14% of children in the United Arab Emirates starving
(05/23/2006) While public attention gravitates towards conflict and natural disaster, many people in countries less affected by such events struggle with some of the same nutrition problems as those in crisis. In The Lancet, Rainer Gross, UNICEF's chief of nutrition, and Patrick Webb, dean for academic affairs at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, discuss five facts about world hunger, children and wasting, a condition that represents severe malnutrition.
Central America agrees to jaguar corridor
(05/23/2006) A group of environment ministers representing the seven nations of Central America and Mexico have agreed to establish a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors to safeguard jaguar populations, according to the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society. The decision was made at the Second Mesoamerica Protected Area Congress held in Panama earlier this month.
Global warming may be worse than predicted
(05/22/2006) Climate change estimates for the next century may have substantially underestimated the potential magnitude of global warming says a new study from a team of European scientists. The paper, published in the May 26 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, says that warming may be 15-to-78 percent higher than estimates that do not consider the feedback mechanism involving carbon dioxide and Earth's temperature.
2006: Expect another big hurricane year says NOAA
(05/22/2006) The 2006 hurricane season in the north Atlantic region is likely to again be very active, although less so than 2005 when a record-setting 15 hurricanes occured, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On average, NOAA says the north Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season contained a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of these hurricanes were considered major, of which a record four hit the United States. The warning from NOAA comes after a slew of studies have indicated that climate change could increase the frequency and intensity of powerful storms. Last year, two earlier studies published in the journals Nature and Science found a strong correlation between rising tropical sea surface temperatures and an increase in the strength of hurricanes.
Indonesia to have first biodiesel plant by 2008
(05/21/2006) Indonesia plans first to complete its first biodiesel plant by 2008. The $25 million plant, built by PT Bakrie Sumatera Plantations Tbk (BSP) and PT Rekayasa Industri (Rekin), will have a capacity of 60,000 to 100,000 metric tons a year. The plant will use crude palm oil (CPO) and other feedstock.
Bush Administration misleads public on deforestation effort
(05/21/2006) The Bush Administration is misleading the American public and the United Nations about its efforts to address tropical deforestation according to analysis by the Tropical Forest Group, an environmental advocacy group based in Santa Barbara, California. The Tropical Forest Group alleges that the US Tropical Forest conservation Act (TFCA), a key initiative to reduce carbon emissions and tropical deforestation, has been neglected for a year and a half despite recent claims by the Bush Administration that it was actively supporting the program.
Shippers in Indonesia fight decree on illegal logging
(05/21/2006) According to a report from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), shippers in Indonesia are threatening to stop transporting logs if the government insists on enforcing a new decree on the transportation of illegal timber. The Indonesian National Ship-owners Association says that the Indonesian government's proposal to impound ships carrying illegal timber would cause massive losses to the local shipping industry, according to the ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report. The association contends that authorities should only confiscate illegal wood, not the ships.
China's timber imports surge in 2006
(05/21/2006) According to China Customs, China's timber imports surged during the first quarter of 2006. Log imports increased 18 percent to 8.1 million cubic meters. China customs valued these imports at $897.42 million. Most of the log imports (64 percent) consisted of softwood logs from Russia. Sawnwood imports amounted to 1.45 million cubic meters worth some $385.72 million. Separately, the ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report reported that paper multinationals are aggressively investing in China's paper industry.
Scientists endorse plan to save rainforests through emissions trading
(05/19/2006) The Association for Tropical Biology and conservation (ATBC), the world's largest scientific organization devoted to the study and wise use of tropical ecosystems, has formally endorsed a radical proposal to help save tropical forests through carbon trading. Under the initiative proposed by an alliance of fifteen developing countries led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, tropical nations that show permanent reductions in deforestation would be eligible to receive international carbon funds from industrial nations who could purchase carbon credits to help them meet their emissions targets international climate agreements like the Kyoto Protocol.
High School Students Compete in National Entrepreneurship Tournament
(05/19/2006) More than 100 high school students from six states will be traveling to New York next week to try to become the USA SAGE champion and earn an invitation to represent their country at the SAGE World Cup in Shanghai.
'Extinct' frog rediscovered in Colombia
(05/18/2006) Researchers exploring a Colombian mountain range found surviving members of a species of Harlequin frog believed extinct due to a killer fungus wiping out amphibian populations in Central and South America. The discovery of what could be the last population of the painted frog (Atelopus ebenoides marinkellei) indicates the species has survived the fungus, providing hope that other species also might avoid elimination from the epidemic caused by a pathogenic fungus of unknown origin.
New York at high risk of flooding from climate change
(05/17/2006) For many, sea-level rise is a remote and distant threat faced by people like the residents of the Tuvalu Islands in the South Pacific, where the highest point of land is only 5 meters (15 feet) above sea level and tidal floods occasionally cover their crops in seawater.
India's Himalayan forests disappearing
(05/17/2006) A new report says Himalayan forests are disappearing at such a high rate that they could be gone by the end of the century. In the May 20 issue of New Scientist Magazine Maharaj Pandit of the University of Delhi and a team of researchers report that widespread deforestation in the Indian Himalaya region threatens the region's biodiversity which includes tigers, black bears, musk deer, leopards, golden eagles and bearded vultures.
Rare Chinese alligators sent to China
(05/17/2006) The U.S. made a slight dent in the trade deficit today when a dozen rare Chinese alligators were shipped from the Wildlife conservation Society's (WCS) headquarters at the Bronx Zoo directly to China, as part of an international effort to restore populations of these highly endangered reptiles
Congress deals blow to bioenergy market
(05/16/2006) In a set back to the growing biofuels market and American energy consumers, House Majority Leader John Boehner said Monday he will not push legislation to reduce the U.S. tariff on ethanol imports. Thus, the United States will keep its 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol despite a warning from the Department of Energy that domestic ethanol supplies will fall short this summer and will need to reply on foreign fuel.
Exxon Valdez oil spill more damaging to wildlife finds study
(05/16/2006) New evidence suggests that oil from the Exxon Valdez may still causing damage to Alaska's Prince William Sound, 17 years after the ship ran aground. The study, by chemist Jeffrey Short and colleagues at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau, Alaska, appears today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society's journal.
Africa's glaciers gone by 2025
(05/15/2006) Fabled equatorial icecaps will disappear within two decades, because of global warming, a study British and Ugandan scientists has found. In a paper to be published 17 May in Geophysical Research Letters, they report results from the first survey in a decade of glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa. An increase in air temperature over the last four decades has contributed to a substantial reduction in glacial cover, they say.
Global warming may cause permanent damage to coral reefs
(05/15/2006) Global warming has had a more devastating impact on coral reefs than previously believed says a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research, the first to show the long-term impact of rising sea temperatures on coral and fish communities, suggests that "large sections of coral reefs and much of the marine life they support may be wiped out for good," according to a news release from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, an institution involved in the project.
US has low-cost alternatives to oil; peak oil frenzy and human-induced climate change avoidable says Columbia University
(05/14/2006) Surging oil prices have fueled calls for the United States to develop new sources of affordable and secure domestic energy. While renewable energy -- especially biofuels, wind power, and solar technologies -- is an area of particular interest, researchers from the Earth Institute at Columbia University say that the U.S. already has relatively low-cost alternatives to imported oil, including coal, tar sands, and oil shale. These resources can be extracted and used at a lower cost to the environment than some might expect. In a report published in the most recent issue of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Klaus S. Lackner and Jeffrey D. Sachs argue that "coal alone could satisfy the country's energy needs of the twenty-first century." They say that "coal liquefaction, or the process of deriving liquid fuels from coal, is already being used in places and with expanded infrastructure could provide gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel at levels well below current prices." Further, Sachs and Lackner suggest that "environmental constraints such as increased carbon dioxide emissions arising from greater use of coal and other fossil fuels could be avoided for less than 1 percent of gross world product by 2050," a sum far less than others have estimated.
Amazon Stonehenge suggests advanced ancient rainforest culture
(05/14/2006) The discovery of an ancient astrological observatory in Brazil lends support to the theory that the Amazon rainforest was once home to advanced cultures and large sedentary populations of people. Besides the well-known empires of the Inca and their predecessors, millions of people once lived in the forests and shaped the environment to suit their own needs. Archaeologists with the Amapa Institute of Scientific and Technological Research said they uncovered the ruin near Calcoene, 390 kilometers (240 miles) from Macapa, the capital of Amapa state, near Brazil's border with French Guiana.
What do bikini models and Merrill Lynch have to do with deforestation?
(05/14/2006) Last week a bikini-clad woman made international news wires when she disrupted a group photo shoot at a business summit in Vienna, Austria. The woman -- identified as Evangelina Carrozo, a beauty queen from Gualeguaychu, Argentina -- protesting the construction of two wood pulp plants under construction in Uruguay on the border with Argentina. The $1.8 billion project is the largest investment deal in the history of Uruguay, but has strained relations between Uruguay and Argentina, which says the plant may pollute downstream areas. Earlier this month, Argentina announced it had filed a claim against its neighbor before the International Court of Justice at the Hague, arguing that Uruguay failed to conduct a thorough environmental impact study.
Carbon savings from biofuels quantified
(05/12/2006) A British fuels company has quantified carbon dioxide emission savings made through the sale of biofuels. Greenergy Fuels Ltd, which supplies biofuels retailed through supermarket forecourts, said it supplied 17.1 million liters of bioethanol and biodiesel, saving more than 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions during the first quarter of 2006. The firm compared this savings to taking more than 50,000 average family cars off the road for three months.
Droughts in India to worsen with climate change -- study
(05/12/2006) India could face worse droughts according to a new study by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. In a study published in the May 15 issue of Journal of Climate, Chul Eddy Chung and V. Ramanathan of Scripps Oceanography say that cooler-than-normal temperatures in the northern part of the Indian ocean have weakened the region's natural climate circulation and monsoon conditions, resulting in reduced rainfall over India and increased rainfall over the Sahel area south of the Sahara in Africa,
Private sector trying to improve environmental, social performance says UN report
(05/11/2006) A growing number of business and industry groups are making efforts to improve their environmental and social performance, especially in such fields as global warming, but more still needs to be done, according to a new United Nations report released today.
More iPod capacity? Just Add Water, say Drexel researchers
(05/11/2006) Imagine having computer memory so dense that a cubic centimeter contains 12.8 million gigabytes (GB) of information. Imagine an iPodTM playing music for 100 millennia without repeating a single song or a USB thumb-drive with room for 32.6 million full-length DVD movies. Now imagine if this could be achieved by combining a computing principle that was popular in the 1960s, a glass of water and wire three-billionths of a meter wide. Science fiction? Not exactly.
Study reveals another contributor to polar warming
(05/10/2006) Arctic climate already is known to be particularly prone to global warming caused by industrial and automotive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Now, a University of Utah study finds a surprising new way society's pollutants warm the far north: the Arctic's well-known haze -- made of particulate pollution from mid-latitude cities -- mixes with thin clouds, making them better able to trap heat.
Study questions link between hurricanes and global warming
(05/10/2006) New research calls into question the linkage between major Atlantic hurricanes and global warming. That is one of the conclusions from a University of Virginia study to appear in the May 10, 2006 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. In recent years, a large number of severe Atlantic hurricanes have fueled a debate as to whether global warming is responsible. Because high sea-surface temperatures fuel tropical cyclones, this linkage seems logical. In fact, within the past year, several hurricane researchers have correlated basin-wide warming trends with increasing hurricane severity and have implicated a greenhouse-warming cause.
China and India show rapid increase in global warming emissions
(05/10/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise with a mix of old and new polluters, according to the Little Green Data Book 2006, launched today on the occasion of the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. An annual publication of the World Bank, according to this year?s edition, CO2 emissions worldwide have now topped 24 billion metric tons, an increase of 15 percent compared to the 1992 levels.
Dragonfly migration similar to that of birds
(05/10/2006) Scientists have discovered that migrating dragonflies and songbirds exhibit many of the same behvaiors, suggesting the rules that govern such long-distance travel may be simpler and more ancient than was once thought.
Copying nature could save us energy, study shows
(05/09/2006) New technologies that mimic the way insects, plants and animals overcome engineering problems could help reduce our dependence on energy, according to new research published in the Royal Society journal Interface. When faced with engineering difficulties, such as lifting a load or coping with extremes of heat, up to 70 per cent of man-made technologies manipulate energy, often increasing the amount used, in order to resolve the problem. However, new research which has compared how nature and man-made technologies overcome similar problems has shown that only 5 per cent of natural machines rely on energy in the same way.
High oil prices fuel bioenergy push
(05/09/2006) High oil prices and growing concerns over climate change are driving investment and innovation in the biofuels sector as countries and industry increasingly look towards renewable bioenergy to replace fossil fuels. Bill Gates, the world's richest man, has recently invested $84 million in an American ethanol company while global energy gluttons ranging from the United States to China are setting long-term targets for the switch to such fuels which potentially offer a secure domestic source of renewable energy and fewer environmental headaches. Biofuels are fuels that are derived from biomass, including recently living organisms like plants or their metabolic byproducts like cow manure. Unlike fossil fuels -- like coal, petroleum, and natural gas, which are finite resources -- biofuels are a renewable source of energy that can be replenished on an ongoing basis. In general, biofuels are biodegradable and, when burned, have fewer emissions than traditional hydrocarbon-based fuels. Typically, biofuels are blended with traditional petroleum-based fuels, though it is possible to run existing diesel, engines purely on biodiesel, something which holds a great deal of promise as an alternative energy source to replace fossil fuels. Further, because biofuels are generally derived from plants which absorb carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, biofuel production offers the potential to help offset carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate climate change.
Roads tied to bushmeat hunting in Africa
(05/09/2006) A new study ties the presence of roads to bushmeat hunting in the Congo rainforest and also raises important questions on global conservation approaches. The study, published in the current edition of conservation Biology, found roads and associated hunting pressure reduced the abundance of a number of mammal species including duikers, forest elephants, buffalo, red river hogs, lowland gorillas and carnivores. The research suggests that even moderate hunting pressure can significantly affect the structure of mammal communities in central Africa. The researchers, lead by William F. Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, raise an interesting point with considerably wider implications for global conservation efforts, arguing that "as a multinational conglomerate, Shell-Gabon?s interests in environmental management at Rabi... largely reflect their sensitivity to international opinion and pressures from consumers." Drawing on their personal experiences in Africa and Latin America, the team writes "smaller corporations based in developing nations are sometimes less interested and often less capable of financially investing in environmental protection." This observation leads the researchers to ask, "As conservationists, do we pressure large, multinational corporations based in industrial nations to forego major projects in developing countries in an effort to limit environmental degradation, or do we favor such firms over smaller, national companies in the hope that they will be more sensitive to international pressures?" While their question us especially pertinent to Central Africa, it really applies to conservation on a worldwide scale. Multinational corporations can be particularly sensitive to criticism on their environmental policy and, as a result, can actually serve as competent stewards of the environment is some cases. Thus pressure exerted by green groups on large corporations may be an effective means for achieving conservation goals.
California butterflies disappear, climate change have impact
(05/08/2006) 2006 is looking like to could be the worst year in memory for California's butterflies due to cold and wet conditions in late winter, says Art Shapiro, a professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis. His observations raise concerns that future climate change could lead to declines in the state's native buttefly populations.
Antarctic glaciers show Earth's climate system capable of rapid shifts
(05/08/2006) Researchers at Syracuse University have determined that glaciers once covered a much larger area of Antarctica than originally thought, suggesting that Earth's climate system is capable of rapid shifts. Looking at sediments from marine deposits and rock sources on Seymour Island, Syracuse University Professors Linda C. Ivany and Scott D. Samson along with colleagues at the University of Leuven in Belgium and Hamilton College found evidence that glaciers once covered extensive parts of the West Antarctica ice sheet. Previously, scientists had assumed that glaciers were confined to the eastern part of Antarctica, where the biggest ice sheet is today. The findings are significant because they suggest that the climatic response to the drop in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere 34 million years ago was greater than initially believed.
Concern at vanishing bananas
(05/07/2006) Shrinking numbers of wild bananas in India, the world?s premier producer, are causing concern at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. FAO is committed to preserving agricultural biodiversity.
World cereal production forecast to decrease in 2006
(05/07/2006) Worldwide, 39 countries are in need of external food assistance -- the majority required for drought-affected and chronically food insecure populations in southern and eastern Africa, according to a new FAO report released today.
Man may be responsible for prehistoric extinctions
(05/05/2006) New research suggests that prehistoric horses in Alaska may have been hunted into extinction by man, rather than doomed by climate change as previously thought. Until now the leading theory said that the demise of wild horses occurred during a period of climate cooling long before the extinction of mammoths and the arrival of humans from Asia.
Can we save the rainforests? Lessons from the Amazon
(05/05/2006) When I think back over the last month, dozens of images come to mind. I am reminded of the many things we have learned during Project Peru 2, and the challenges that our team has overcome with your guidance and help. In a way all of the plants and animals in the rainforest rely on each other to survive in the same way that Warren, Ruben, Anna, Patrick, and I rely on each other.
Carbon prices tumble 65 percent
(05/04/2006) Carbon prices tumbled 65 percent as a number of European countries announced lower than expected carbon emissions in 2005, suggesting there will be a surplus of pollution-permitting carbon credits. Several important conservation initiatives are based on the concept of a market where industrialized countries buy carbon emissions credits from developing nations in exchange for forest protection
Scientists discover Zooplankton species key to ocean food chain
(05/04/2006) Census of Marine Life scientists trawled rarely explored tropical ocean depths between the southeast US coast and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to inventory and photograph the variety and abundance of zooplankton -- small sea bugs that form a vital link in the ocean food chain -- and other life forms.
Bats Hunt Using Guided Missile Strategy
(05/04/2006) When it comes to rocket science, it looks like bats had it worked out before the scientists did. A new University of Maryland study finds that echolocating bats use a strategy to track and catch erratically moving insects that is much like the system used by some guided missiles to intercept evasive targets and different from the way humans and some animals track moving objects.
Dominican Delights - Dominica, the real Caribbean
(05/04/2006) Prepare yourself. Here, there are no white sand beaches, no golf courses. Here, you'll find a boiling lake, winding cliff-side roads, bubbling surf and waterfalls that will make your head spin. This is Dominica, and this is the real Caribbean. Our Easter holiday to this (officially) English-speaking leeward island sandwiched between French neighbors Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south gave us six days to explore enchanting coves, impressive mountains and dozens of rivers. In six short days, we were overwhelmed by Dominica's charms -- her incredible natural beauty and local creole style. Travelers looking to explore and discover, to be educated and reinvented, should consider this an ideal place for a serious Caribbean adventure.
La Nina will not affect 2006 Atlantic hurricanes
(05/04/2006) NASA oceanographers agree that the recent La Nina in the eastern Pacific Ocean is not expected to have an effect on the Atlantic hurricane season this year. That's good news, because normally a La Nina tends to increase Atlantic hurricane activity and decrease Pacific Ocean hurricanes.
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