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Thread: Letters from Wrocław

  1. #71
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    Default Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by Henning 4148 View Post
    It may well have been a common decision between architect and owner - either to make the history of the building visible or for practicality reasons to proceed with available material and not to try and obtain specially made brick shapes and colors. If it is war damage repairs, availability of materials in Poland which was Soviet at the time might have been very problematic.

    No doubt.

    "Blame", in this context, is not pejorative. The post-WW2 repairs just add to the fabric of the thing. It's had a hard life and its scars show. "Restoring" it to its 13 century appearance would be fake — the ground floor has been disappeared due to subsidence, the buttresses are gone for better or worse. And she shows the scars of 700-800 years of existence.



    One of the general rules of doing a "museum restoration" is that

    - the work should be obvious to those in the know, and
    - should be labeled as to who/when/why for future reference.

    The first point is relatively malleable — if you're repairing a damaged Rembrandt or Stradivarius, the repair should be largely invisible insofar as possible.

    - The second point, not so much. In the case of the above repairs to the Rembrandt or Strad, the repairer should document the repair work on the back of the canvas or on the inside of the fiddle.
    Last edited by Nicholas Carey; 08-13-2022 at 01:32 AM.
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Intersting about the museum restaurations. My point is just, that even for the church it may have been difficult to meet museum restauration standards in post war soviet Poland. If it was similar there to East Germany, life for the church may not have been that easy. Which would make the fact, that a comprehensive and solid repair had been carried out all the more remarkable. But I am just guessing.

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    Good luck on this new chapter!

    Kevin


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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    It is interesting that the buttresses have not been rebuilt/replaced. I was under the impression that they were structural elements on old buildings.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    My understanding is, that you use buttresses when you have vaulted stone ceilings. If you go for (or convert to) flat timber beam ceilings, they might become obsolete. Having said this, we might have a bit of a threat drift. I am certainly interested in hearing more about Poland from WI-Tom.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    This will be a very interesting thread to follow

    A floating EBS in Berlin sounds great. Just, please, not before October...


    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    And most recently, this lion-riding dwarf not far from an English-language bookstore (well, a bookstore with a shelf of English-language books) in the market square: Tayne Komplety (TIE-ne kom-PLET-ee), which means something like “secret sets":
    "tajne komplety" (tayne is pre-war spelling) mean "secret gatherings"
    komplet, plural komplety - set
    kompleta, plural komplety - gathering


    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    No, that ornate building is not the pub--it's the Museum of Bourgeois Art (isn't art supposed to embody a rejection of bourgeois values?). The pub--Spiz (translates to "bronze") is just behind it.
    Tthat ornate building is the town hall. It does host the mentioned museum, you could say it's the main exhibit of it.
    Nitpicking: Spiż is red brass (gunmetal). Held in much higher esteem than common bronze since ancient Rome.
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  7. #77
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WszystekPoTrochu View Post
    This will be a very interesting thread to follow

    A floating EBS in Berlin sounds great. Just, please, not before October...
    I have a school break from October 29 to November 1... EBS in Berlin? Or elsewhere near-ish?

    Quote Originally Posted by WszystekPoTrochu View Post
    "tajne komplety" (tayne is pre-war spelling) mean "secret gatherings"
    komplet, plural komplety - set
    kompleta, plural komplety - gathering

    Tthat ornate building is the town hall. It does host the mentioned museum, you could say it's the main exhibit of it.
    Nitpicking: Spiż is red brass (gunmetal). Held in much higher esteem than common bronze since ancient Rome.
    "Secret gatherings" definitely makes more sense--I appreciate any language lessons you want to provide on this thread! As does "red brass," I guess (if either makes sense for the name of a pub--I guess if the UK has the "Slug and Lettuce" then Wrocław can have "Red Brass."

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    wratislavia-1735.jpg

    Have a map from 1735. How many places do you recognize?

    full res (40 MB, not phone friendly): http://igrek.amzp.pl/details.php?id=11840273
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    I will be there, the end of October would be fine. Looking forward to meet you. Frank

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    ^^I like the way the city is built around a bifurcation of the Oder.
    On the recent map the old defense wall/canal seems to have survived as well( the Podwale), cool!

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WszystekPoTrochu View Post
    wratislavia-1735.jpg

    Have a map from 1735. How many places do you recognize?

    full res (40 MB, not phone friendly): http://igrek.amzp.pl/details.php?id=11840273
    Off the top of my head:

    The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
    The Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew
    The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Sand
    The Rynek
    The Church of St. Mary Magdalene
    The Church of St. Elizabeth
    Most Piaskowy
    Most Tumski
    The University of Wrocław

    Fun game!

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    I will be there, the end of October would be fine. Looking forward to meet you. Frank
    Excellent! I just have to confirm with my wife that a weekend in Berlin will fit her vision for that long weekend.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Found this yet Tom?

    IMG_20220702_171836_466.jpg

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Found this yet Tom?

    IMG_20220702_171836_466.jpg
    Yep! It's right on Swidnicka, I think--the main(ish) street that runs past the market square (the street I will walk to work each day). But at first I didn't see its counterpart, on the other side of the street. The combined effect is neat--the ones in the picture above are breaking through the pavement to go under the (busy) street, while the ones across the street are breaking through the pavement to come back up to the surface after their underground crossing.

    Lots of cool sculptures around Wrocław--time for a couple more posts soon.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Since we're discussing sculptures now, a few more krasnale. Here's one in the window of the former city jail that I just discovered this weekend:

    5.JPG

    That's the fun thing--each gnome somehow fits the context of its location. Here's another one--one of my favorites--mirroring the pose of the full-sized statue that tops a fountain near the University of Wrocław:

    fountain.JPG

    And this one--a scholar gnome at the University:

    scholar 2.JPG
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  16. #86
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Then there's this hotel porter gnome (outside a hotel, of course):

    hotel porter.jpg

    And this pair of gnomes (another of my favorites) pulling off a heist from an ice cream shop in the Stare Miastro (old city):

    8.JPG

    A closer look at the second story gnome:

    8a.JPG

    And his accomplice:

    8b.jpg
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    One more for tonight--another pair. This one is at the main entrance to Pasaż Grundwaldski (a big mall near my neighborhood--Wrocław has lots of shopping malls).

    peregrin 2.JPG

    The inscription on the bronze plaque at the foot of the full-sized knight (Peregrine of Wrocław) tells the story of a knight who returns home after wandering the world, realizing that his grandfather was right all along: "Better bread and cumin at home, than elsewhere a plump chicken" (in Polish, German, and English):

    IMG_0424 (2).jpg

    The accompanying gnome at his feet (kind of hard to see in the image above) also seems to be a wandering knight, carrying a huge (for gnomes) sword.

    A city with many many sculptures. I find a few new ones every day, seems like. How nice to be living without any need for a car!

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 08-16-2022 at 02:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    One of my friends on a fountain pen forum lives there. She came from another country in Europe, not sure which, to live with her sweetheart, and learned to speak Polish.

    Looks like a beautiful city.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    About living without a car, a Flixbus ticket from Groningen, where I live, to Berlin, costs less than 40 euro, a fraction of the cost per car. For 10 euros more, and a couple of hours, I could be in your beautiful city. Frank

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    The Oder seems to be heavily polluted! Tons of dead fish, also dead beavers. What is going on? Frank

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I have a school break from October 29 to November 1... EBS in Berlin? Or elsewhere near-ish?
    Sounds good to me. Not knowing yet if my boat will be in the water at that time. But regardless of it I would like to take part if possible.
    Gruß, Günter

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    The Oder seems to be heavily polluted! Tons of dead fish, also dead beavers. What is going on? Frank
    '

    Nothing good, I'm afraid. There are warnings out not to drink or bathe in the river right now. I don't know many details, but fortunately the municipal water system is still safe according to reports--it doesn't rely on the river.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    The Oder seems to be heavily polluted! Tons of dead fish, also dead beavers. What is going on? Frank
    Nobody knows yet and it's possible we won't know at all. There's a lot of information chaos, the thing became politics heavy. It's a middle of non-news season, there are elections next year, every expert, politician and their dog have something to say on the matter. As a chemistry graduate I can tell you that 90% of news on the subject are utter nonsense. It may very well be we'll never know, especially since the first reaction was about two days late. Whoever did something, if there even was a single culprit, had plenty of time to lay low.
    With current severe drought, low river levels, very warm summer it may well be there's no single factor to find at all. Several other rivers, both in Poland and Germany, suffered fish die-offs due to common oxygen depletion. You normally wouldn't even hear about that if not for whatever is happening with Odra. We do know Odra did not suffer from oxygen depletion during the event. Dead beavers seemed to be isolated cases, reports of burns on humans remained unconfirmed. You can see the anti-government media warning against even getting close to the river and reporting nigh-apocalyptic scale with the government taking no real action, and the pro-government media claiming it all might be even natural, pointing at oxygen depletion events in other Polish and German rivers, overvaluing the actions that the government did do. Same newspapers report on total kill-off and numerous live healthy fish sightings within hours.

    The theory I like is that Silesia started pumping water from the older mines sections, anticipating increase in demand for domestic sourced coal. This, combined with low water levels, resulted in (reliably measured, unlike a myriad of toxins you'll find in news) salinity spike. The extra stress put in a system already finding itself under a lot of it resulted in algae growth, resulting in short oxygen spike (also reliably measured) but also a release of biotoxins (not measured). Some German sources suggest it might be a new algae species, thus partly blaming global warming.

    While blaming Putin for unplanned hasty reactivation of mines and global warming for biotope changes is attractive, it's too early to say what is/was going on. We don't know. The river is not entirely dead, there are no alarming mercury or other heavy metals readings, there is no oil spill. There may or may not have been an accidental/deliberate discharge of industrial waste. The damage is serious, but most probably nothing happened that would require basin cleanup other than collecting the rotting remains. This is the good news. The bad news is that reaching previous biomass will take even decades.
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Thanks for your elaborate answer, Mikolaj
    Frank

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Hi Tom --

    Polish pronunciation had always eluded me, until I realized that their Slavic language had for some reason been afflicted with the Roman alphabet. That has helped me a tad bit.
    He was one of the most supremely stupid men I have ever met. He taught me a great deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webishop14 View Post
    Hi Tom --

    Polish pronunciation had always eluded me, until I realized that their Slavic language had for some reason been afflicted with the Roman alphabet. That has helped me a tad bit.
    Pronunciation is something to work on for sure, but it's not as bad as I feared. Almost all of the sounds in Polish are also present in English--it's just that English doesn't commonly put some of those sounds in the same order that Polish does. So, it can be a bit of a tongue twister.

    The most obvious new sound is the ą character (which forms the 3rd person plural present tense for one common verb conjugation, and appears in many other places as well), which (to my ear) sounds quite a bit like the "ohn" sound as in the French "Bon appetit"--a nasalized "O" with a soft "N" at the end.

    Accents are easy--virtually every word gets the accent on the second-last syllable. And all of the strings of consonants (czyz) and so on are not difficult to pronounce once you know what sounds they make. It is much more consistent in pronunciation than English is, that's for sure!

    I'm learning slowly, but pretty steadily. DuoLingo helps a lot (basic rote learning), along with an English-Polish dictionary and a good grammar book (I'm using Polish for Dummies right now, which is pretty good) to create actual understanding.

    I've also bought a beautiful illustrated edition of Harry Potter i Kamien Filozoficzny and plan to work my way through it a paragraph at a time.

    I'm really enjoying learning a new language. Arabic completely defeated me, but Polish definitely seems attainable.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Pronunciation is something to work on for sure, but it's not as bad as I feared. Almost all of the sounds in Polish are also present in English--it's just that English doesn't commonly put some of those sounds in the same order that Polish does. So, it can be a bit of a tongue twister.

    The most obvious new sound is the ą character (which forms the 3rd person plural present tense for one common verb conjugation, and appears in many other places as well), which (to my ear) sounds quite a bit like the "ohn" sound as in the French "Bon appetit"--a nasalized "O" with a soft "N" at the end.

    Accents are easy--virtually every word gets the accent on the second-last syllable. And all of the strings of consonants (czyz) and so on are not difficult to pronounce once you know what sounds they make. It is much more consistent in pronunciation than English is, that's for sure!

    I'm learning slowly, but pretty steadily. DuoLingo helps a lot (basic rote learning), along with an English-Polish dictionary and a good grammar book (I'm using Polish for Dummies right now, which is pretty good) to create actual understanding.

    I've also bought a beautiful illustrated edition of Harry Potter i Kamien Filozoficzny and plan to work my way through it a paragraph at a time.

    I'm really enjoying learning a new language. Arabic completely defeated me, but Polish definitely seems attainable.

    Tom
    for ą think o + jew's harp sound
    for ę think e + as above. I see you often mix ę and en, don't worry - my kids do too..



    It may or may not help you that Czechs use -ou- to write down what gramatically functions exactly like ą. Their -ou- is more literally o + u, less nasal and 'springy' than ą, but still very similar

    My tip for learning any language - netflix. They have so, so many dubbed programmes. My goto for beginners is peppa pig. Yes, adults too.
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I have a school break from October 29 to November 1... EBS in Berlin? Or elsewhere near-ish?



    "Secret gatherings" definitely makes more sense--I appreciate any language lessons you want to provide on this thread! As does "red brass," I guess (if either makes sense for the name of a pub--I guess if the UK has the "Slug and Lettuce" then Wrocław can have "Red Brass."

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    I find that Duolingo works for me and I use it to refresh my French and also German now, for I have a German daughter in law, since last winter, and Germany is only 40 minutes by car. When at school it was considered cool to make jokes about German, also governmental policy, but nowadays that is completely changed. I would love to learn Italian, but I decided I 'd better spend more time on the languages that I studied, and mostly forgot, at school, English, French and German.
    Tom, learning a completely new language seems a real challenge to me, and very appropiate with your European adventure. I admire it.
    Btw, if you happen to go to the BNP Paribas Green Film Festival in Krakow you might meet my youngest son: He is there and submitted his film 'Grandfathers Century, by Sam van Zoest.
    A very proud father.
    Frank

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Tom, learning a completely new language seems a real challenge to me, and very appropiate with your European adventure. I admire it.
    Btw, if you happen to go to the BNP Paribas Green Film Festival in Krakow you might meet my youngest son: He is there and submitted his film 'Grandfathers Century, by Sam van Zoest.
    A very proud father.
    Frank
    Very cool! But I think the festival runs this weekend, right? I'm going to be busy planning curriculum and lessons, and also have an article to finish writing.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    thx for the updates. Any good meal stories?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    thx for the updates. Any good meal stories?
    I've been eating pretty simply, at home, for the most part. But I've eyed up a lot of good restaurants that I'll start trying out when my wife arrives in Wrocław on Monday. That said, these have been the hits so far:

    1. avocado-gorgonzola scrambled eggs (er, sorry, that's "awocado-gorgonzola ser jajecznica," I think)--this is a staple of my home kitchen. Smaczne!

    2. A starter plate at a pub in the market square: bacon-wrapped baked plums (Bardzo smaczne!), and breaded cheese curds (which, as it turned out, were also wrapped in bacon inside the breading).

    3. A couple of über-frothy lattes at Le Bistrot Parisien

    4. Grilled haloumi cheese with eggplants/tomatoes

    On the more iconically Polish side of things, some kielbasa (of course), and also a jar of pickled horseradish. Pickled vegetables not often seen in the U.S. seem to be prevalent in the little fruit shops (they sell only fresh produce and canned fruit and veg). The horseradish was surprisingly compelling--the pickling makes them milder, but they still have that nice horseradish zing, with a good texture.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    This past week has been teacher training--students don't arrive until 1. September. It's a bit more hectic than the typical start to a school year because the school is starting a brand-new Upper Secondary campus and curriculum this year--it started as a preschool in 2011, and has been adding grade levels gradually over the years as the students got older. So this year will be their first with a Grade 9 (grade 8 will be on the new Upper Secondary campus this year as well, but next year will go back to the Primary School when grade 10 is added).

    I'll be teaching grade 8 and grade 9 English (literature and language). The school uses the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum, which features high-stakes national exams (the O levels) after grade 10, and more high-stakes national exams (A levels) after grade 12. Kind of similar to AP English in the U.S. from what I've learned so far--a fairly rigorous curriculum where external moderators will score your students' exams, so you have to prepare them well.

    The new Upper Secondary "campus" is located in a modern tall office building near downtown--it's just over 2 miles from our apartment (a 45-minute walk):

    Map.jpg

    The school inhabits a corner (the nearest corner in the photo below) of the ground floor (reception/main office, principal's office, conference room, computer servers, and the science lab classroom), with the rest of the classrooms and the canteen/lunch counter on the second floor (what we'd call the third floor in the U.S.):

    Building.JPG

    Some of the second floor (3rd floor U.S.) windows in the photo are the classroom windows.

    You enter the building at a sleek fancy lobby:

    Lobby.JPG

    From here, a key card takes you into the ground floor office area (just to the right in the photo), or to a set of lifts (I'm trying to de-Americanize my English) that take you to whichever floor your card is keyed to--no pressing buttons or choosing another floor. There's also a stairwell, with another key-card door at the top (you can't enter any other floors from the stairs, either).

    Upstairs, the school is laid out as one wide hallway with student lockers on the walls, and classrooms along one side (my classroom door is just visible on the right-hand edge of the photo below):

    Hall 1.JPG

    At the other end of the hall is a foosball table, lunch seating, and the lunch counter (student meals will be delivered via catering service):

    hall 2.JPG
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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    The school uses the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum, which features high-stakes national exams (the O levels) after grade 10, and more high-stakes national exams (A levels) after grade 12. Kind of similar to AP English in the U.S. from what I've learned so far--a fairly rigorous curriculum where external moderators will score your students' exams, so you have to prepare them well.
    High stakes testing is the work of the devil.

    But I know that lots of countries use it - China, Germany, France and many others.

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    Default Re: Letters from Wrocław

    Everything is all sleek and shiny and new--so new that things are still being put together. The classrooms are pretty small (maybe 2/3 the size of a standard U.S. classroom), but class sizes are capped at a max of 18 (30-ish is typical in the U.S. public schools I've taught in). There's lots of natural light:

    Attachment 116993

    The school definitely views itself both as a school (I think it's very strong academically) and as a business--and sleek, brand-new, and high-tech is what the "market" they are aiming for demands. So, there's a smart board/screen that can do all kinds of groovy things (draw on it with a finger, connect to a laptop, browse the Internet, import documents, save whatever's written on the screen as a PDF, etc) but no means of manual writing--not even a white board. I've been gently suggesting that a wall-mounted whiteboard or two might be a good idea for days when the tech doesn't work, but it's going to be a process of slow persuasion to make that happen (if it does).

    I think it'll be really fun to teach here. There are just 4 core teachers--an Australian teaching history/geography/global perspectives, a Polish math teacher, an American teaching science, and me teaching English. There's also a school counselor who'll be teaching health/PE/mindfulness/social-emotional learning, and an American principal (previously a high school English teacher brought in to create an Upper Secondary program). A small team of what seems like really nice people to work with.
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

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