Good News in History, November 18 – Good News Network


Happy 48th birthday to David “Big Papi” Ortiz. The Dominican-American slugger spent nearly his whole career at the Boston Red Sox where he played a key role in breaking the 86-year World Series drought. He was elected into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2022, at the first year of his eligibility. READ some of the stunning numbers he put up… (1975)

David Ortiz in 2009 – CC 3.0. Parkerjh

Upon his retirement, Ortiz ranked sixth in American League history with 541 home runs, fifth in doubles (632), and ninth in RBI (1,768). Used almost exclusively as a Designated Hitter, Ortiz holds many records for the position, including for career home runs (485), RBI (1,569), and hits (2,192).

Along with these stunning numbers, one needs only comb through his Herculean heroics during the Red Sox’s run to the 2004 World Series to see why Big Papi will forever have a place in fans’ hearts.

In the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees, the Red Sox quickly fell behind 0 games to 3, a deficit that had never been surmounted in baseball history. Ortiz almost single-handedly paved the way for history, as he hit a walk-off two-run home run against Paul Quantrill in the 12th inning of Game 4 and a walk-off single off of Esteban Loaiza in the 14th inning of Game 5. His heroics—namely batting .387 with three home runs and 11 RBI in the series—earned him AL Championship Series MVP honors, the first time a DH had ever won that award, as the Red Sox came back to win in seven games.

In the 2004 World Series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, Ortiz set the tone for the four-game sweep as he hit a three-run home run off Woody Williams in the first inning of Game 1 at Fenway Park. He hit .308 in the series with a home run and 4 RBI as the Red Sox swept the Cardinals to end the Curse of the Bambino by winning their first World Series Championship in 86 years. Overall, Ortiz batted .400 in the 2004 postseason with five home runs and 23 RBI.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Five standard continental time zones were instituted by US and Canadian railroads to end the confusion of thousands of local times (1883)
  • Latvia declared its independence from Russia–Independence Day (1918)
  • Mickey Mouse first appeared on the big screen in the first Disney production with synchronized sound, the animated film Steamboat Willie, starring a cartoon mouse drawn—and voiced—by animator Walt Disney, which eventually became the company’s famous mascot (1928)
  • Happy 55th Birthday to screenwriter and actor Owen Wilson, best known for his Wes Anderson film roles (as in The Royal Tenenbaums), Wedding Crashers, Night at the Museum, Zoolander, and Midnight in Paris (1968)
  • The Soviet Union worked with the United States to deliver aid shipments of American wheat to Ethiopia during the famine (1984)
  • 50,000 Bulgarians take to the streets demanding political reform (1989)
  • Terry Waite, a Christian who was kidnapped after negotiating the release of other British hostages, was finally released by the Islamic Jihad Organization after 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in solitary confinement (1991)
  • South Africa‘s 21 political parties approved a new constitution (1993)
  • The UK repealed a controversial anti-gay amendment that barred schools from portraying gay relationships as anything other than abnormal (2003)
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the state constitution guarantees gay couples the right to marry (2003)

72 years ago today, the pioneering newsmagazine series, See It Now, was first broadcast. Running for seven years on CBS, it was created by iconic newsman Edward R. Murrow, along with CBS News President Fred Friendly.

Murrow hosted the show, which won four Emmys and also a Peabody Award, which honors the most powerful stories in television and radio.

Murrow produced a number of episodes of See It Now that dealt with the Communist witch-hunt hysteria in the U.S. Senate led by disgraced Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy, bringing to light his bullying persecution of artists, writers, and political opponents. One of the more notable episodes resulted in a U.S. military officer, Milo Radulovich, being acquitted, after being charged with supporting Communism.

Nine months later—and following the suicide of Democratic Senator Lester Hunt, after McCarthy threatened to smear his son if he ran for re-election—the Senate voted to censure McCarthy by a vote of 67–22, making him one of the few senators ever disciplined in this fashion. (1951)

And on this day in 1307, the Swiss marksman and patriot William Tell is said to have successfully shot an apple off his son’s head.

In resistance to the Habsburg Empire’s bid to rule central Switzerland, Tell refused to bow to a hat and was arrested. The story goes, he was offered his freedom if a single crossbow shot at the apple was successful. His blow for liberty sparked a rebellion in which he played a leading role in the ultimate creation of the Swiss Confederacy.

The William Tell Overture, composed by Rossini in 1829 is one of his best-known and most frequently imitated pieces of music—you may know it as the theme for the television show, the Lone Ranger. WATCH a 1-min animated history below…

And, 158 years ago today, Mark Twain’s first successful short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog, was published in the New York Saturday Press. It was his first great success as a writer and brought him national attention.

In the story, the narrator retells a story he heard from a bartender, about the gambler Jim Smiley: “If he even seen a straddle bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get to wherever he going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle bug to Mexico…”

The story was developed further as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was also the title story of Twain’s first book, a collection of 27 stories that were previously published in newspapers and magazines. (1865)

And, 64 years ago today, the film Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, premiered. The fictional historical drama set in the time of Jesus is centered around a wealthy Jewish prince who is condemned to slavery on trumped-up charges by a childhood friend, who also throws Judah’s family in prison. Judah Ben-Hur swears to come back and take revenge.

The Oscar-winning film had the largest budget ($15 million) and the most massive constructed sets of any film produced until then. Over 200 camels and 2,500 horses were used in the shooting of the film, with some 10,000 actors. The nine-minute chariot race scene has become one of cinema’s most famous action sequences.

Based on the book, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew Wallace, the film won a record eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (for Heston), Best Supporting Actor, and Best Cinematography. WATCH the scene when Judah returns and demands the return of his family, surprising the deceitful Roman from whom he eventually exacts revenge during the chariot race… (1959)

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Satellite Images Bring Serbia’s Hidden Bronze Age Settlements to Light–100 Previously Unknown Sites ‘connect the dots’


In 2015, a research team got the idea to use aerial surveying and satellite imagery to map the expanse of Bronze Age settlements in Northeast Serbia’s Pannonian Plane. What they found was shocking—over 100 previously unknown habitations that pull the history of the Balkans down squarely into the time of the Myceneans, the ancient Egyptians, and Babylon.

The character of society on the Pannonian Plane 3,000 years ago, the authors write, was almost unique in the world, as it consisted of dozens of large enclosures protected by ditches and earthen ramparts, some of which were over 2,400 acres in internal area, with over 15 miles of defensive works.

These enclosures were built close to major rivers like the Tisza, Bega, and Timis, and ran about 100 miles along a north-south corridor which the researchers believe was part of a key trading network for bronze that was going down to the Mediterranean, part of what is now being called the Lower Pannonian Network, and which crosses into Romania as well.

So that’s the macro element of the discovery, but what about the micro; who were the people who made these enclosures and what were their lives like?

The discovery was made by a large international team from Serbia, Ireland, England, and Slovenia, and it started in 2015 when they began to use satellite photos to look at the flat agricultural area in the northeast of the country. Once they identified unusual shapes in the land, the team used a small aircraft to survey them from the sky before visiting some on foot and conducting excavations.

The excavations turned up a lot of household refuse, animal bones, pottery shards, and other everyday elements that provided a way to radiocarbon date the sites, which produced the timeline of about 1,600 BCE to 1,200 BCE.

Aerial surveys made it possible to see the long-degraded sites. credit – BARRY MOLLOY AND DARJA GROSMAN

“It’s a new story that changes our knowledge of the late Bronze Age and the Balkans,” study co-author Dragan Jovanović, an archaeologist at the City Museum of Vršac, told Science Magazine. “It’s pretty amazing it remained hidden until now.”

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Hard details about the people and their culture remain unknown, including evidence of buildings, and so historians are hesitant to ascribe any certainty to the character of the sites. They could be ceremonial centers or even a way to protect cattle or sheep.

However, one aspect which is noteworthy is the proximity of each one to all the others. From the top of the raised earth walls, a Bronze Age Serb would have been able to see another such enclosure or even several others. The researchers hypothesize that they were made and maintained by something like a clan, or a small collection of families, that may have collectively been involved in the bronze trade.

A recent analysis of tin collected from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean found that in order to satisfy the market demand for bronze in the civilizations of the time, tin to make bronze had to be imported all the way from Uzbekistan.

This necessitated a network of small-scale local communities of middlemen or nomads, or both, that had to be able to negotiate, protect their goods, and travel within a vast, disparate network that relied on inter-lingual, inter-cultural, and inter-geographic exchange.

MORE ON THE BRONZE AGE: Historians Stunned: Uzbekistan Nomads Supplied a Third of the Bronze Used Across Ancient Mediterranean

Certain evidence of warfare is present, such as a bronze sword and clay models of chariots discovered in cemeteries in the enclosures, but the builders of the enclosures were doing their construction within sight of their neighbors.

“They’ve opened up a whole new avenue for excavation and research,” University College London archaeologist Miljana Radivojević, who was not part of the new research, told Science. “These dots weren’t connected before, which makes this research valuable.”

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Iowa Teen Has Donated 7,000 Pounds of Produce from Her Own Garden to Foodbanks in Quad Cities

Lauren Schroeder – FFA, Facebook.

When Iowa teen Lauren Schroeder showed up to a community food drive during COVID, she didn’t see a lot that actually nourished people—just a lot of boxed and canned goods.

She decided to become the change she wanted to see, and after receiving a half-acre of land from her parents, she grew 7,000 pounds of produce with a market value of around $15,000 and gave it all away to food banks and non-profits in the Quad Cities area.

The senior from Calamus-Wheatland High School likes to tend cattle and play softball, and had never managed a garden before, but according to her mother Katie Schroeder, she took studies of agronomy and gardening to heart.

Her work drew the attention of the education-industry organization called Future Farmers of America, which gave her a small grant for supplies and seeds. She received help from her younger siblings, but still put in the hard yards of watering and deweeding—2 to 3 hours in total every day.

MORE BRILLIANT TEENS: Teens Transform Liquor Store into a Needed Food Market, Choosing The Best Way To Serve Chicago

Her work, and FFA’s trust, soon bore fruit, and she began donating 15 types of veggies to organizations like Carroll Assistance Center, Wheatland Nursing Home, Café on Vine, River Bend Food Bank, Lost Nation Food Pantry, Family Resources, Lady of the Prairie, and Community Action of Eastern Iowa.

“It was a really good feeling to know that anyone who wanted fresh vegetables would be able to get them,” Lauren told the Washington Post. “I knew that I wanted to keep going.”

After receiving a second grant from Future Farmers of America, she turned her half acre into a full acre, and expanded the number of vegetables to 20 different species.

MORE NEWS FROM THE HEARTLAND: Minnesota Teens Hook Wallet Full of Cash on a Lake Then Return it to Iowa Farmer–WATCH

Her goal is to donate 20,000 pounds of vegetables by the time she graduates next June.

“How could you not be proud,” said her mother Katie, “she really chose to focus on learning about agronomy, learning about gardening, learning about vegetables, but just really taking it to the next level and actually helping people out with it.”

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Good News in History, November 17 – Good News Network


150 years ago today, the Rival cities of Buda and Pest put their differences aside and their names together to form Budapest—the capital of Hungary still to this day. Divided by the Danube, the two cities were very different despite their proximity. The residents of Pest, on the eastern bank, were primarily Hungarian, while the residents of Buda, on the western bank, were of German origin. Two-thirds of the population of Budapest today live in what was Pest, where can also be found Parliament, while the President’s office and old king’s palace are found in Buda. READ more… (1873)

Buda, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicles from the 15th century.

Despite its location as the capital and seat of power of Hungary in the 12th and 13th centuries and Pest as the economic center, Buda would become extremely diverse. Built originally as a fortress, there was a great influx of Turkic people during the Mongol invasions in the Middle Ages. After that, it was conquered by the Ottomans, who filled it with Muslims from the Balkans.

In 1686, an army containing over 74,000 men, including German, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, French, Croat, Burgundian, Danish, and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artillerymen, and officers, took Buda from the Ottomans and rechristianized it.

In 1849, the first suspension bridge, the gorgeous Széchenyi Chain Bridge, was constructed across the Danube connecting Pest with Buda, bringing about a much freer relationship between the two cities. In 1873, Buda, Pest, and the third connecting town of Obuda, all united to form Budapest.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The U.S. Capitol building held its first session of the U.S. Congress (1800)
  • The Suez Canal opened, linking the Mediterranean and the Red Seas (1869)
  • SALT I negotiations in Helsinki began aimed at limiting numbers of strategic nuclear weapons (1969)
  • Happy 84th Birthday to Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot, known for his 1974 hit, If You Could Read My Mind (1938)
  • Actor Danny DeVito turns 78 years old today (1944)
  • U.S. Rep. John Murtha, one of Congress’ most hawkish Democrats, called for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq (2005)
  • Musician–poet Patti Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids (2010)

274 years ago today, Nicolas Appert, the inventor of airtight food preservation was born in Châlons-en-Champagne, France.

The French inventor known as the ‘father of canning’, worked at his family’s inn until age 20, when he opened a brewery with his brother, and then was a head chef for 13 years.

Nicolas Appert’s canning bottle by Jean-Paul Barbier; and modern jars by Laura Burns – CC licenses

At age 46, he began experimenting with ways to preserve foodstuffs, succeeding with soups, vegetables, juices, dairy products, jams, and syrups. He placed the food in a thick, large-mouthed bottle (pictured), leaving air space at the top and firmly sealing it with cork using a vise. After sealing it with wax, the bottle was then wrapped in canvas to protect it, then placed in boiling water for as much time as Appert deemed thorough for cooking the contents.

The first to do this on an industrial scale, by 1804 his House of Appert (La Maison Appert)—in Massy, near Paris—became the first food bottling factory in the world, years before Louis Pasteur proved that heat-killed bacteria. In honor of Appert, canning is sometimes called ‘appertization’.

6 years later, France gave Appert 12,000 francs on condition that he make his process public, so he published a book describing it. The first of its kind on modern food preservation methods, it had instructions so simple that the practice quickly became widespread.

6,000 copies of L’Art de conserver les substances animales et végétales (English: The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances) were printed that year. Appert never truly understood why his method worked—as it was years before the science of bacteriology was developed. (1749)

And, 61 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy inaugurated Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) serving the nation’s capital and Northern Virginia. The gorgeous facility is named after John Foster Dulles (1888–1959), the 52nd U.S. Secretary of State who served under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Dulles main terminal, with its peaked officer’s cap roof of cement and glass, is a well-known landmark designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, who also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the TWA Building (now hotel) near JFK Airport.

Dulles Airport – CC 4.0. SA Joe Ravi

For those living and working in Northern Virginia’s suburbs, there are no words to summarize the convenience Dulles offers in place of Reagan National Airport in the heart of D.C.

Being close to both the Udvar-Hazy Center and the National Air and Space Museum, Dulles is often a transit location for space shuttles, including in 2012 Space Shuttle Discovery on its way to Udvar-Hazy, and in 1983 when the Space Shuttle Enterprise arrived at Dulles atop a modified Boeing 747 after touring Europe. It sat in a hangar until its installation at the Air and Space Museum. (1962)

And, on this day 73 years ago, the 14th His Holiness the Dalai Lama became Tibet’s official head of state at the age of 15.


Tenzin Gyatso was chosen to become the Dalai Lama when he was two, but had to flee his country for India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China. He has since received the Nobel Peace Prize and traveled the world, advocating for the welfare of Tibetans, teaching Tibetan Buddhism, investigating the interface between Buddhism and science, which enthralls him, and authoring books about the importance of compassion and how to live a happy life. (1950)

CHECK Out: All the Dalai Lama News Stories on Good News Network

And, 34 years ago today, the Velvet Revolution dawned in Czechoslovakia when a peaceful student demonstration in Prague was brutally beaten back, and it sparked the biggest wave of public protests in decades. Soon afterward, it resulted—without the use of weapons—in the successful overthrow of the oppressive communist regime. The Gentle Revolution unfolded in an astonishing 10-days—through a series of non-violent events that were smooth as velvet.

Vaclav Havel and protestors at a memorial for the fallen in Prague – CC license, Irmojohnny / Havla

After only three days, the number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague had swelled from 200,000 to an estimated half-million. A general two-hour strike involving all Czech citizens was then held on November 27—and the next day the Communist Party announced they would give up their monopoly on political power.

The barbed wire was removed from the border with West Germany and Austria in early December, as other communist governments were falling and the Berlin Wall opening. On December 10, Communist President Gustáv Husák appointed the first largely non-communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, then resigned. Before the year’s end, Alexander Dubček was elected speaker of the parliament and playwright Václav Havel the president. The first democratic election in 44 years was held in June, 1990, and the one-party rule was no more.

On a memorial to the Velvet Revolution in Bratislava (Námestie), Slovakia, is inscribed: “Only those who struggle for their freedom are worthy of it.” At this place in November 1989 we decided to take our responsibility for the future into our own hands. We decided to put an end to communism and to establish freedom and democracy. (1989)

And, 53 years ago today, a patent on the first computer mouse was presented to the engineer and inventor Douglas Engelbart.

Photos by SRI International; and Alex Handy – CC licenses

He became an internet and computer pioneer at the Stanford Research Institute spearheading the creation of not only the computer mouse, but the development of hypertext, networked computers, and early graphical user interfaces. Using his own strategy to accelerate the rate of innovation, these advancements came decades before the personal computer revolution

Engelbart never received any royalties for the invention of the mouse, and later said “SRI patented the mouse, but they really had no idea of its value.” Some years later it was learned that they had licensed it to Apple Computer for something like $40,000.

Described in the patent application as an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”, it consisted of a wooden shell with two metal wheels, and was nicknamed the ‘mouse’ because the tail came out the end.

Engelbart wanted to focus his career on making the world a better place by harnessing the collective human intellect of all people to contribute to effective solutions. He reasoned that if you could dramatically improve how we do that, you’d be boosting every effort on the planet to solve important problems—and computers could be the vehicle for dramatically improving this capability.

His Bootstrap Institute – later known as The Doug Engelbart Institute – promoted his vision, which was touted at the 1968 “Mother of All Demos”. (1970)

2016 photo by Gage Skidmore, CC license

Happy Birthday to the versatile actress Rachel McAdams who turns 44 today. Ever since her breakthrough 2004-05 run of Mean Girls, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, Red Eye, and The Family Stone, the Canadian has charted her own course outside Hollywood norms. She walked out on a cover shoot for Vanity Fair that involved two other female superstars when she discovered it would be a nude photo; and later took an unusual two-year sabbatical.

But she reclaimed her momentum by starring with Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, and Ben Affleck in the 2009 political thriller State of Play; with Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes; in the HBO crime drama True Detective; and, most notably, with her 2015 portrayal of the Boston journalist in Spotlight—which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. McAdams returned to comedy to co-star with Jason Bateman in Game Night, a film that was released in January 2018, and she ‘premiered’ as a mother for the first time that year, giving birth to a son in Toronto where she resides.  WATCH a video of her Top 10 performances, and see what’s new… (1978)

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Young Inventor Surprised With 2023 Dyson Award for ‘The Life Chariot’ Designed to Save Lives in Ukraine

Life Chariot and its inventor Piotr Tłuszcz – James Dyson Foundation

As he watched the conflict unfold in Ukraine, young Polish inventor Piotr Tłuszcz observed the challenges of medical evacuations across the rough terrain of the frontline.

This inspired him to design The Life Chariot, a MEDEVAC off-road ambulance that can attach to any vehicle with a towing hook or eye.

The vehicle’s low weight and suspension make it safer for a casualty to travel in than the boot of a car—the typical method for the often-stretched Ukrainian Defense Forces.

Piotr’s interest in designing trailers started with off-road trips with his family through the Balkans and Pyrenees. He then spent the next 10 years and the course of his bachelor’s and master’s degrees designing off-road and cave rescue trailers, before creating The Life Chariot which debuted at the Łódź Design Festival this year.

The Life Chariot increases the evacuation capabilities of rescue teams by adding room for one injured person on a stretcher and two more seats for medics or the lightly wounded. (Watch it in action in a video below…)

The first two trailers were given to the Ukrainian Medical Military Unit and the Polish Voluntary Medic Unit of Damian Duda “W Międzyczasie” Foundation, having been tested in terrains such as mountain trails, forests, caves, and mines. Their feedback provided and informed weatherproofing upgrades.

SHE WON A 2022 DYSON AWARD: New Scoliosis Brace that Grows With Patients Wins Dyson Award For Grad Student Who Wants to Make a Difference

“This year the James Dyson Award gives a special Humanitarian prize to Piotr, who has designed an ingenious way of recovering injured people from challenging terrain,” said Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson in a statement.

“The Life Chariot can be towed by anything—allowing medics to do their life-saving work with the resources they have at hand. It’s also brilliant to see his iterative design process continue in response to feedback from those using it on the ground.”

GREAT YOUNG INVENTOR: 12-year-old Develops Fire Detection System That Wins Her $25,000 and Top Junior Scientist Award

Piotr is continuing to implement upgrades to The Life Chariot based on feedback received from medics working on the front line. He is also working on adapting the vehicle for mountain rescue purposes.

“I hope that The Life Chariot, with support from the James Dyson Award, will continue to save lives, whether in frontline evacuations or rescues from accidents in inaccessible places,” Piotr said on the occasion of the award.

SEE Piotr’s invention and THEN his reaction to his recognition by Dyson…

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Bumper Snowfall to Start Early Ski Season in Europe: ‘One of the best starts I can remember’

The slopes in Cervinia, Valle d’Aosta. © Andrew Corbley

Last week, ski resorts from the French Alps right the way down to the Dolomites are reporting over 3 feet, or a meter of fresh powder, kicking off an early start to the skiing season.

It was assumed that Europe’s favorite winter pastime was going to be delayed after a persistently warm October, but November temps fell to a crisp 1990s sort of climate.

In dozens of locations across the Alps, towns and communes experienced 2 meters of snow, or over 6 feet, falling on them in just 24 hours.

Big resorts in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria have all moved the opening date of the season up at least a week to November 18th. This includes big resorts like Tignes and Val Thorens in France, Passo del Tonale, Temu, and Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, Kitzbühel in Austria, and Davos, Zermatt, and Verbier in Switzerland, with the latter opening three weeks earlier than last year.

“Storms have been piling into the Alps for the last two weeks, with snow accumulations of more than 100cm quite widespread now on the upper slopes,” managing director of Ski Solutions holiday company, Ian McIlrath told Travel Weekly.

CHECK OUT: Minnesota Snow Sculpting Team Takes First Over Artists From Germany, Finland in World Championships–LOOK

“This will ensure a solid base for the winter ahead, and with a lot more snow in the forecast, it’s shaping up to be one of the best starts to the winter ski season that I can remember.”

Some ski resorts lower down the mountains have been forced to close as the climate changes, and like the record snowfall in California and Utah last spring, the news comes as a nice reminder that you can always count on the weather, precisely because you can never count on the weather.

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