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The other day I was watching one of my beloved cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want

The other day I was watching one of my beloved cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want

While I don't believe everything I've read about the Law of Attraction — I don't think you can't just think something and hope it will happen; you have to take positive act — I do believe there's something to be said for putting into words the things you want in your life. We often think we know what we want, but when you sit down and actually write down what you want, it can be an eye-opening practice. Your priorities are made clear; your desires are put into words. 

So, ridiculous as it sounds, I'm writing a letter to Santa for the very first time in decades. I'm sitting down and thinking about what I indeed want this year (aside from all of these material things ). I thought about writing about what I want in the year ahead, but that seemed like a big job — more New-Year's-resolution than letter-to-Santa — so instead of focusing on what I want in general, I'm focusing on what I want for the holidays. Here's what I'm asking for.

As you can see from the list, a lot of those things are within my control — patience, mindfulness, etc. — but writing them down is a fine reminder to me about how I want to act and feel during the holiday season. (And I'm sure it'll be a lovely reminder for my family members too — they can pull up this list when I embark hurrying through meals or cleaning up wrapping paper before the presents have been opened.) Writing a letter to Santa as an adult sounds ditzy, but I actually found it to be a good way to truly think about how I want to make the holidays as positive and present as possible. 

It's most likely been a long time since you wrote a letter to Santa, but why not give it a attempt? (Or, if the entire Santa thing is too stupid for you, why not write a letter to yourself or the Universe or whatever entity seems like it might be interested in hearing about your desires?) Click below to download a full-size (8.5x11in) blank letter to Santa that you can pack in with your desires.  

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, packed with all the things you ask Santa for! 

Having trouble thinking about what you indeed want to ask Santa for? You might want to detect more about yourself and what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery . Packed with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here  and purchase your very own soul-searching copy here .

The other day I was watching one of my dearest cheesy holiday films in which a kid wrote Santa asking for a fresh wifey for her dad, and I thought to myself, I wish I could write a letter to Santa asking for what I want.   A bit foolish, I know, the idea of writing to Santa, but then it struck me: I could write to Santa. Sure, I couldn't expect him to produce the goods on Christmas morning, and I couldn't rely on a Hallmark-movie ending, but it might actually do me some good to take a moment to think about what I indeed want and put it in writing.

While I don't believe everything I've read about the Law of Attraction — I don't think you can't just think something and hope it will happen; you have to take positive act — I do believe there's something to be said for putting into words the things you want in your life. We often think we know what we want, but when you sit down and actually write down what you want, it can be an eye-opening practice. Your priorities are made clear; your desires are put into words. 

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German government creates 1000 tenure-track positions for youthful researchers

German government creates 1000 tenure-track positions for youthful researchers

The German government has signed an agreement to fund 1000 fresh tenure-track positions in an attempt to improve the job situation in the country. This announcement, made on June 16 by President Angela Merkel, reflects the federal government’s efforts to retain youthful talent within the country.

Germany is one of the leading nations in science and research, but there is a dearth of permanent academic positions in the country. About 28,000 PhD and medical students graduate from German universities every year, but only some of them manage to get employed as professors. Moreover, the universities in Germany hire a limited number of permanent professors, which compels many youthful researchers to take up improvised positions. By the time they become eligible to secure a permanent post, they are in their 40s and find it difficult to carve a strong career path for themselves.

According to the agreement, which will last from 2017 to 2032, the federal government will fund a professor’s position for the very first six years. It will extend the support for up to two more years for those who earn tenure. However, after this time framework, the state-funded universities will need to take on the financial responsibility. Since the agreement fund will mainly cover the costs of the salaries, the researchers will have to acquire grants to support their research. The researchers will be hired in two swings in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

This budge by the government has brought hope among the German academics. Christian Schafer at the German Academic Exchange Service said that, “It’s the very first time that the federal government, as far as I know, is investing such a lot of money into the careers of youthfull scientists.” However, some researchers have pointed out that 1000 positions are too few and that the government should create more positions in order to accommodate all the youthfull researchers in the country. Andreea Scacioc, a structural biologist in Gottingen, mentions that the pact does not reserve a quota for women, and this could lead to a disproportionate hiring ratio inbetween masculine and female researchers.

While the federal government has taken steps to support academia, universities will have to join in the efforts to bring a positive switch in the current academic landscape in the country.


University jobs: Germany to fund tenure-track posts

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Ask The Desk: Stationery

Ask The Desk: Stationery

Yesterday on Twitter Roxtime asked

Where do you buy writing paper?

When she asked, I had just posted a photo of my outgoing mail on Instagram so I assumed she meant stationery rather than tied notebooks and the like.

There are lots of lovely options for stationery and writing paper but, like notebooks, each option has its own set of criteria, costs and advantages. I hope to cover a few but please leave comments and questions if I missed something.

If you’re looking, very first and foremost, for paper for fountain pens then I would recommend purchasing Original Crown Mill ($9 for a pad of 100 half-sheets) or G. Lalo ($12 for 50 half-sheet pad) paper and envelopes ($9-$14.50 for pack of 25), both available at Goulet Pens and other fine shops that sell fountain pens and stationery.

Paper Source sells utter 8.Five″x11″ sheets of paper (a 10-pack is about $Two.50 however I’d avoid the metallics which tend to stand against ink more so than plain paper) in packs and could be cut in half for a more classic letter size in an array of colors. Not of all the paper will be fine for fountain pens but its a puny investment and most papers should work well with other sorts of writing devices like gel ink pens, ballpoint or rollerball. Or you could order paper directly from a paper company like French Paper — straight from the source.

If you’re feeling particularly decadent, you could purchase some of Smythson’s fine writing paper ($25 for 50 sheets) Crane and Co. carries letter sheets, some can be personalized as well but this is not an inexpensive option.

If you’re looking for vapid cards, Greer Chicago carries some Original Crown Mill and G. Lalo card sets with tissue-lined envelopes and deckle edges — fairly sumptuous! The Vickerey also sells a lot of European style notecard sets.

If what you’re wanting is something with decorative designs on it, very first I’d recommend Rifle Paper Co. They have some lovely stationery sets and various vapid and folded notecards. Chronicle Books also carries lots of paper sets and blank notecards with a broad array of designs. The paper is not always the best for fountain pens, if that’s a concern but the sets are lovely and often come with stickers to seal or use to address your envelopes.

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for I’d recommend heading to Etsy. Some of the superb options I found were letterpress lined papers from Ilfant Press. playful letter sets from La Paperie. and lots of vintage stationery and letter sets. Just do a search for «vintage writing paper» or «vintage letter sets» and you should find lots of options to choose from.

And eventually, if you’ve determined to go with a plain paper option but would still like to add some flourish to it, you can look about the internet for downloadable PDF files that you could copy onto your stationery. I would recommend copying one sheet very first and testing to make sure that the copier did not glaze your paper in fuser oil of other ink resistant goo before copying onto all of your lovely paper. A fine example of well-designed, free downloadable stationery is from How About Orange (showcase above).

The latest Uppercase Stationery Guide is a excellent resource for finding a stationery shop or custom-built printer near you.

(shoutout to Letter Writers Alliance for the Uppercase Stationery Guide peak)

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How to Write a Bibliography

How to Write a Bibliography

Do I need a bibliography?

If you read any articles or books in preparing you paper, you need a bibliography or footnotes .

  • If you cite the arguments of “critics” and “supporters,” even if you don’t name them or quote them directly, you are likely referring to information you read in books or articles as opposed to information you’ve gathered firsthand, like a news reporter, and so you need a bibliography.
  • If you quote sources and put some of the reference information in the text, you still need a bibliography, so that readers can track down the source material for themselves.
  • If you use footnotes to identify the source of your material or the authors of every quote, you DO NOT need a bibliography, UNLESS there are materials to which you do not refer directly (or if you refer to extra sections of the materials you already referenced) that also helped you reach your conclusions. In any event, your footnotes need to go after the formatting guidelines below.
  • How to write a bibliography

    These guidelines go after those of the American Psychological Association and may be slightly different than what you’re used to, but we will stick with them for the sake of consistency.

    Notice the use of punctuation. Publication titles may be either italicized or underlined, but not both.


    Books are the bibliography format with which you’re very likely most familiar. Books go after this pattern:

    Author Last Name, Author Very first Name. (Publication Year) Title. Publisher’s City: Publisher. Page numbers.

    Alexander, Carol. (2001) Market Models: A Guide to Financial Data Analysis. Fresh York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 200-220.


    Periodicals liquidate the publisher city and name and add the title of the article and the volume or issue number of the periodical. Notice article titles are put in quotation marks and only the publication title is italicized or underlined.

    Author Last Name, Author Very first Name. (Publication Date—could be more than a year) “Article Title.”PublicationTitle, Vol. #. (Issue #), Page numbers.

    Salman, William A. (July-August 1997) “How to Write a Good Business Plan.” Harvard Business Review 74. pp. 98-108.

    Web versions of printed material

    Because web sources are time-sensitive, meaning that web content can switch day by day, it is significant to include the day of retrieval and the URL from which you quoted the material. You include this in a retrieval statement.

    The format for online versions of print publications should basically go after the same format as above, meaning if you’re referencing an online book, you should go after the book format with the addition of the retrieval statement. If you’re referencing an online periodical, you should go after the periodical format with the addition of the retrieval statement.

    Note that you should not break the Internet address of the link, even if it requires its own line. Very long URLs, such as those that occur when using an online database, can be shortened by removing the retrieval code. (The retrieval code usually consists of a long string of unintelligible letters and numbers following the end point “htm” or “html.” Eliminate everything that occurs after that point to shorten.)

    Author. (Date of Internet Publication—could be more than a year) “Document Title.” Title of Publication. Retrieved on: Date from Total Web Address, embarking with http://

    Grant, Linda. (January 13, 1997) “Can Fisher Concentrate Kodak?” Fortune. Retrieved on August 22, 1997 from

    The above is just one example of citing online sources. There are more extensive bibliographic guidelines at .

    How to cite sources in the text

    In-text citations alert readers to cited material and tell them exactly where to go and look. These citations work in conjunction with a bibliography.

  • Usually, an in-text citation is a combination of a name (usually the author’s) and a number (either a year, a page number, or both).
  • For Internet sources, use the original publication date, not your retrieval date.
  • Internet sources also do not have page numbers, so use your discretion in the format that will direct the reader closest to the relevant section. You can number the paragraphs (abbreviate “par.”) or chapters (abbreviate “chap.”) or sections (abbreviate “sec.”).
  • If there is no author listed, the document’s title should be used in place of the author’s name. Use the entire title but not the subtitle. Subtitles are anything appearing after a colon (:).
  • Use a signal phrase

    A signal phrase alerts the reader to the fact that you are citing another source for the information he or she is about to read.

    Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit treatment, are designed to concentrate the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”)

    Note that the date goes with the author, directions within the document go with the quote.

    Later on, same source, different section:

    According to one investigate (Myers, 1997), inexperienced auditors from a structured hard will demonstrate higher audit effectiveness in the typical audit situation than inexperienced auditors from an unstructured rigid. (sec. Two, “Structure and Audit Effectiveness”)

    Utter parenthetical citation after the material cited

    Another method is to end the quote with the utter citation:

    The primary controversies surrounding the issue of accounting for stock-based compensation include whether these instruments represent an expense that should be recognized in the income statement and, if so, when they should be recognized and how they should be measured. (Martin and Duchac, 1997, Sec. Trio, “Theoretical Justification for Expense Recognition”)

    For long quotes, use a previewing sentence and a parenthetical citation

    Long quotes are 40 words or longer and should be single-spaced even in double-spaced papers. The previewing sentence tells the reader what to look for in the quotes (and helps the reader switch gears from you to another author).

    Martin and Duchac (1997) reiterate the problems with stock-based compensation and accounting issues:

    While it is true these estimates generate uncertainties about value and the costs to be recognized, cost recognition should be the fundamental objective and information based on estimates can be useful just as it is with defined benefit pension plans.

    Given the similarities inbetween stock based compensation and defined benefit pension costs, an expense should be recognized for employee stock options just as pension costs are recognized for defined benefit pension plans. The FASB agreed with this assessment in their exposure draft on stock based compensation, noting that nonrecognition of employee stock option costs produces financial statements that are neither credible nor representationally faithful. (sec. Two.1, “Recognition of Compensation Cost”)

    Note the consistent indentation and the paragraph break inwards the quote. Also note that the parenthetical citation falls outside the closing period.

    Source-reflective statements

    Sometimes, summarizing arguments from your sources can leave the reader in doubt as to whose opinion he or she is eyeing. If the language is too close to the original source’s, you can leave yourself open to charges of low-level plagiarism or “word borrowing .” Using a source-reflective statement can clarify this problem, permitting you the freedom to assert your voice and opinion without causing confusion. For example:

    Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit treatment, are designed to concentrate the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”) Thus, audit pricing by firms with a structured audit treatment is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit treatment.

    Is the observation in the last sentence Myers’s or the author’s? We aren’t sure. So insert a source-reflective statement to avoid confusion.

    Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit treatment, are designed to concentrate the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”) Myers’s observation suggests that audit pricing by firms with a structured audit treatment is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit treatment.

    When and how to use footnotes

    You may determine to substitute footnotes for in-text citations and a bibliography. Footnotes are thorough, like entries in the bibliography, and yet specific, like in-text citations. However, depending on the thoroughness of your use of footnotes, you may also need a bibliography .

    If you determine to use footnotes, you should go after the format outlined above for the information to include in your entries and should number each footnote separately (1, Two, Three, etc.). You should NOT use the same number twice, even when referencing the same document. Check out guidelines such as those in the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook for more information about how to number your footnote entries.

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    Assets clock disruptions affect human susceptibility to viruses

    Assets clock disruptions affect human susceptibility to viruses

    Researchers at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, have found that the time at which our assets is invaded by viruses has an influence on our susceptibility to infection. Conducting a probe on mice, the researchers exposed the mice to herpes virus at different times of the day and found that when the circadian rhythms of the mice were at a resting phase, they were more susceptible to the virus. This led the researchers to conclude that when a virus comes in our assets at a time when our figure clocks are disturbed or are resting, there are higher chances of the figure giving way to an infection. This is the reason shift workers are more prone to health problems since their bod clocks are permanently in flux. Moreover, it was also observed that the gene Bmal1 played a vital role in defending the bod from infection. The mice lacking Bmal1 were found to have high levels of infection irrespective of the time of infection. The activity of Bmal1 switches with the season; therefore, infections spread actively during winters when Bmal1 is less active, researchers stated. These findings are likely to provide insights into fresh ways of defending infections.

    Read more in Science Daily.  

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    The 20 Best Notebooks for Designers

    The 20 Best Notebooks for Designers

    Albeit most of us spend our days hammering away at a keyboard and clicking our mouse furiously, there’s something to be said for going back to our roots with pen, pencil, and paper. It’s the tactile feel of a writing implement sliding across quality paper that helps bring ideas to life in a clean and ordinary way. And sure, you could grab some printer paper out of the drawer and use that, but wouldn’t you like something clean and ordinary designed for what you do?

    With that in mind, we found 20 notebooks made for designers. These are the best ones on the market today that work for you and what you do, and they range from the inexpensive to the pricey, so there’s one for every budget.

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    If you’re looking for a notebook with a mouthhole of a name, commence with the Moleskine Wise Notebook, Creative Cloud connected. And what makes a Brainy Notebook so wise? Draw anything on the book’s blank pages, then, using the Moleskine, a Creative Cloud connected app wfquytrfdxcdabttbzarctwzauvadx for your iPhone, take a picture of the page. The app processes the pics as a JPG and SVG, and syncs them with your Creative Cloud account so you can edit them in Illustrator or Photoshop. It may sound like magic, but it’s not, it’s just super cool.

    Leuchtturm1917 makes quality notebooks for sure, but the Whitelines Link system takes them up to the next level. The paper is a light gray color with white lines, and you draw or write on it like any other notebook. When you’re done, open up the Whitelines Link app on your iPhone or Android device, take a picture, and the resulting photo is free of all grays and lines. It’s like you’ve captured your text from a notebook without having any distracting black lines in your way. Plus, you can send your sketches to Evernote, Dropbox, or your email quickly by either using the app, or checking off a box on the bottom of the page before you take your picture.

    I will loosely admit that the Leuchtturm1917 line of notebooks are my individual favorites for a few reasons. Very first, they’re paginated and include a table of contents, which makes it effortless to refer to find your stuff later on. You can buy them in numerous colors and four standard page types: lined, blank, grid, and dots. Plus, the paper feels sleek to write or sketch on, which always makes using it a joy. But the real kicker? You can buy a Pen Loop for your notebook, too, ensuring that your dearest writing implement is always handy.

    Look, there’s nothing about these particular Moleskine notebooks that make them better for designers. Yes, they use the same quality paper as traditional Moleskine notebooks, and they’re available in blank or ruled, but … COME ON, this is BATMAN we’re talking about here, right? Each book’s cover features art from either Jim Lee or Frank Miller, both of whom are legendary Batman artists. And then on the inwards, there are special pictures as well, plus you get some Batman stickers. Plus, like any comic book related item, it’s a limited edition, so make sure to order yours soon. And you can’t have #2767 because that one’s mine.

    If you want a notebook made for a designer, consider getting ones made by a designer. Aaron Draplin. uber-fan of Futura Bold, built Field Notes because no one else made the style of classic book that fellows used to carry in the 20th century. They’re lightly pocketable at Three.Five X Five.Five inches, and feature 48 graphed, ruled, or plain pages. You buy them in three packs for $9.95, but the real kicker are the limited editions. For the same price, you can get your three pack in variations that switch over the seasons, and will never come back again. These become collector’s items, which is why they’re suggested with a subscription, too.

    If you use a Livescribe pen. then it’s likely you’ll want (or already have) a Livescribe notebook by Moleskine. These books are just like any other Moleskine notebook, but on the bottom of each page are three controls for Livescribe+ features. Need to know what those controls are? Just look on the two bookmarks included with the book, and you’re on your way. For $30 plus the price of the pen it’s not a cheap way to jot down your thoughts, but if you’re a fan of the system, it’s arguably your best way.

    I very first found these notebooks a few years back while looking for something elementary that I could use for my to-do lists. See, they use this interesting system for jotting things down, which makes it clear when things are done, in progress, or need to be done. They’re built and sold just like Field Notes brand, but those little circles on the side of each page do make things fairly efficient.

    So … this one is kind of self explanatory, right? It’s a notebook that says, as noisy and proud as it can, that you have a to-do list and you’ve got stuff to accomplish. I’ve got a pair of these myself, and they’re just clean, plain notebooks with a basic cover. There’s nothing fancy about them but the cover — and yet, that’s enough, right?

    You might have heard of the Baron Fig notebook from their successful Kickstarter campaign, or maybe just because it’s a cool notebook. You can buy it in blank, ruled, or dot grid, it opens plane, and it clocks in at 192 pages. Plus, it’s a good looking notebook, with a clean cover and quality paper.

    A lot of these notebooks go after the same basic format, and the Piccadilly is no different in that respect. However, it does come in a multitude of different colors that most don’t have available, like a sweet Mint and a nice looking Coral. But they also sell other interesting lumps like Inspiration Journals and sketchbooks, too.

    If you work with UX design all the time, here’s a handy idea to get things treated. The EDC UX Kit comes with a Pocket Stencil that’s packed with cool symbols and gestures. Then there’s the 48-page notebook (a three-pack, no less) that has iPhone designs laid out in the background. And, of course, there’s a Zebra Pencil and a pair of stickers, because everybody loves stickers.

    The Web Design Sketchbook violates the norm by providing you a lightly gridded paper with a glossy cover that stands out from the rest. Inwards you can pack the pages with tons of ideas for your next big website, or whatever other cool things you want to do. If you want your notebook to be a step above the opposition, you might want to begin here very first.

    Alright, now this one is fancy. The Rhoda Webnotebook line comes in both A5 and A6 sizes, but here’s the twist: A5 comes in both portrait and landscape orientation. That’s right, layout your website on 96 sheets of pH neutral, acid-free, ivory paper, at 8 1/Four inches broad. That’s better than turning your old notebook on its side, right?

    Ever want to do some work outside? Maybe get inspired by nature? The Trussed Book by Rite in the Rain may look like other notebooks, but this one was created to be durable in outdoor conditions. That means that if the cover gets raw, no worries, you’re fine. Paper on the inwards get raw? No worries, keep on working, it’ll hold up to your pencil. It may have been designed for the logging industry, but if you want durable, this is your huckleberry.

    So now this one is an interesting concept. The Mod Notebook is like most of the others on here, in that it has a rubber band closure, opens plane and all that. But when you’re done with it, ship it off to Mod and they’ll scan and digitize the entire thing in Five days. Then, all of your notes are stored in the Mod app (albeit you can also sync them with Evernote, Dropbox and OneNote), ready for you to access anytime you have your computer, phone or tablet on forearm. makes notebooks that feature pages using a dot grid system, which is one of my private favorites. This particular book is spiral strapped, and features a quote from Steve Jobs circa 1982/7 (depending on where you cite your sources) — “It’s more joy to be a pirate than to join the navy.” Why not be inspired by one of the best while you put down your best work?

    Albeit tied books claim to lay plane, not all of them acutally do. That’s part of why I like this Web Book by Gridbooks. It’s spiral trussed, so of course it lays plane, which comes in handy since you’ll likely be using it as you sit at your computer. It consists of 32 pages with a dot grid that you can divide into columns, and since it’s spiral trussed, you can lay it sideways to plan in landscape mode.

    The CIAK line is sold by Florentina, which sells leather products and accessories, so you’ve likely got a good idea of where we’re going with this one. It’s go a soft feel outer cover, sits at 5X7, and also has a rubber band to keep it shut, but this one is horizontal. Fancy, right? Yup, sure is. And it’s also expensive, since not only do they not list a price, but the minimum opening order at Florentina is $300. But if you want your ideas to be in the most luxurious place, this is your book.

    Here’s another pricey entry, but not fairly as high end as the CIAK. Made with a lambskin cover and featuring 128 gilt-edged, Featherweight paper, this is a nice notebook to have. But better yet, it’s the stuff on the cover that makes you feel special, as it reads, “Make it happen.” Oh, and if you’re not a fan of pink, it’s also suggested in blue and yellow.

    We’ll end this list with yet another Moleskine, but this one is different. If you use Evernote — and lots of people do — then this is your notebook. Write what you want, then use one of the included stickers to tag your page. Take a picture of the page with the Evernote app on your iPhone or Android device, and the content goes right into your Evernote account. It’s pretty magical stuff, particularly if you’re an Evernote user. And if you want something that will fit in your pocket, they do sell smaller sizes as well.

    Free lettering worksheets

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