The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov

The Story of Stalin's Persecution of One of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth Century

Author: Peter Pringle

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781416566021

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 5464

In The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov, acclaimed journalist and author Peter Pringle recreates the extraordinary life and tragic end of one of the great scientists of the twentieth century. In a drama of love, revolution, and war that rivals Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago, Pringle tells the story of a young Russian scientist, Nikolai Vavilov, who had a dream of ending hunger and famine in the world. Vavilov's plan would use the emerging science of genetics to breed super plants that could grow anywhere, in any climate, in sandy deserts and freezing tundra, in drought and flood. He would launch botanical expeditions to find these vanishing genes, overlooked by early farmers ignorant of Mendel's laws of heredity. He called it a "mission for all humanity." To the leaders of the young Soviet state, Vavilov's dream fitted perfectly into their larger scheme for a socialist utopia. Lenin supported the adventurous Vavilov, a handsome and seductive young professor, as he became an Indiana Jones, hunting lost botanical treasures on five continents. In a former tsarist palace in what is now St. Petersburg, Vavilov built the world's first seed bank, a quarter of a million specimens, a magnificent living museum of plant diversity that was the envy of scientists everywhere and remains so today. But when Lenin died in 1924 and Stalin took over, Vavilov's dream turned into a nightmare. This son of science was from a bourgeois background, the class of society most despised and distrusted by the Bolsheviks. The new cadres of comrade scientists taunted and insulted him, and Stalin's dreaded secret police built up false charges of sabotage and espionage. Stalin's collectivization of farmland caused chaos in Soviet food production, and millions died in widespread famine. Vavilov's master plan for improving Soviet crops was designed to work over decades, not a few years, and he could not meet Stalin's impossible demands for immediate results. In Stalin's Terror of the 1930s, Russian geneticists were systematically repressed in favor of the peasant horticulturalist Trofim Lysenko, with his fraudulent claims and speculative theories. Vavilov was the most famous victim of this purge, which set back Russian biology by a generation and caused the country untold harm. He was sentenced to death, but unlike Galileo, he refused to recant his beliefs and, in the most cruel twist, this humanitarian pioneer scientist was starved to death in the gulag. Pringle uses newly opened Soviet archives, including Vavilov's secret police file, official correspondence, vivid expedition reports, previously unpublished family letters and diaries, and the reminiscences of eyewitnesses to bring us this intensely human story of a brilliant life cut short by anti-science demagogues, ideology, censorship, and political expedience.
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The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov

The Story of Stalin's Persecution of One of the Gr

Author: Peter Pringle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781451656497

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 384

View: 5435

Documents the early years of the genetic revolution as a period marked by one of the most relevant scientific scandals of the twentieth century and the tragic murder of leading Soviet geneticist Nikolai Vavilov by the Stalin regime. 35,000 first printing.
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The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov

The Story of Stalin's Persecution of One of the Great Scientists of the Twentieth Century

Author: Peter Pringle

Publisher: Aurum

ISBN: 9781906217914

Category: Plant breeders

Page: 370

View: 8498

In a drama of love, revolution and war that rivals Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago, author and journalist, Pringle, tells the true story of a young Russian scientist, who travelled the world to collect seeds and plants unavailable in Russia in order to transform Soviet, and even world, agriculture and ensure the survival of humanity through adequate food supply. To the leaders of the Soviet state, including Lenin, Vavilov’s dream fitted perfectly into their larger scheme for a socialist utopia. But when Lenin died in 1924 and Stalin took over, the handsome and seductive young professor’s dream turned into a nightmare. Stalin chose collectivization of farmland, causing chaos and famine, and it soon became impossible for Vavilov to implement his plan. Worse, Stalin’s secret police began to build up a file against him, as they systematically suppressed geneticists, which would eventually include false charges of sabotage and espionage, leading to imprisonment, torture and death. This is the intensely human story of a brilliant life cut short by anti-science demagogues, ideology, censorship and political expedience. Pringle’s sources include newly opened Soviet archive material, family letters and diaries, official correspondence and eyewitness statements, as this book follows the life, loves and trials of one of the leading geneticists, during the birth of modern genetics. Peter Pringle has been foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times and the Observer and was former Moscow bureau chief for the Independent. He has written The New York Times and The Washington Post amongst others and is the author or co-author of nine previous books. ‘A well researched and well-written study’ Publishers Weekly
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Where Our Food Comes From

Retracing Nikolay Vavilov's Quest to End Famine

Author: Gary Paul Nabhan

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 1597265179

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 6470

The future of our food depends on tiny seeds in orchards and fields the world over. In 1943, one of the first to recognize this fact, the great botanist Nikolay Vavilov, lay dying of starvation in a Soviet prison. But in the years before Stalin jailed him as a scapegoat for the country’s famines, Vavilov had traveled over five continents, collecting hundreds of thousands of seeds in an effort to outline the ancient centers of agricultural diversity and guard against widespread hunger. Now, another remarkable scientist—and vivid storyteller—has retraced his footsteps. In Where Our Food Comes From, Gary Paul Nabhan weaves together Vavilov’s extraordinary story with his own expeditions to Earth’s richest agricultural landscapes and the cultures that tend them. Retracing Vavilov’s path from Mexico and the Colombian Amazon to the glaciers of the Pamirs in Tajikistan, he draws a vibrant portrait of changes that have occurred since Vavilov’s time and why they matter. In his travels, Nabhan shows how climate change, free trade policies, genetic engineering, and loss of traditional knowledge are threatening our food supply. Through discussions with local farmers, visits to local outdoor markets, and comparison of his own observations in eleven countries to those recorded in Vavilov’s journals and photos, Nabhan reveals just how much diversity has already been lost. But he also shows what resilient farmers and scientists in many regions are doing to save the remaining living riches of our world. It is a cruel irony that Vavilov, a man who spent his life working to foster nutrition, ultimately died from lack of it. In telling his story, Where Our Food Comes From brings to life the intricate relationships among culture, politics, the land, and the future of the world’s food.
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Stalin and the Scientists

A History of Triumph and Tragedy, 1905–1953

Author: Simon Ings

Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic

ISBN: 0802189865

Category: Science

Page: 528

View: 3424

Scientists throughout history, from Galileo to today’s experts on climate change, have often had to contend with politics in their pursuit of knowledge. But in the Soviet Union, where the ruling elites embraced, patronized, and even fetishized science like never before, scientists lived their lives on a knife edge. The Soviet Union had the best-funded scientific establishment in history. Scientists were elevated as popular heroes and lavished with awards and privileges. But if their ideas or their field of study lost favor with the elites, they could be exiled, imprisoned, or murdered. And yet they persisted, making major contributions to 20th century science. Stalin and the Scientists tells the story of the many gifted scientists who worked in Russia from the years leading up to the Revolution through the death of the “Great Scientist” himself, Joseph Stalin. It weaves together the stories of scientists, politicians, and ideologues into an intimate and sometimes horrifying portrait of a state determined to remake the world. They often wreaked great harm. Stalin was himself an amateur botanist, and by falling under the sway of dangerous charlatans like Trofim Lysenko (who denied the existence of genes), and by relying on antiquated ideas of biology, he not only destroyed the lives of hundreds of brilliant scientists, he caused the death of millions through famine. But from atomic physics to management theory, and from radiation biology to neuroscience and psychology, these Soviet experts also made breakthroughs that forever changed agriculture, education, and medicine. A masterful book that deepens our understanding of Russian history, Stalin and the Scientists is a great achievement of research and storytelling, and a gripping look at what happens when science falls prey to politics.
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Day of the Dandelion

An Arthur Hemmings Mystery

Author: Peter Pringle

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1416556451

Category: Fiction

Page: 320

View: 7803

Seeds of a new corn plant are stolen from Oxford University's botany lab, and the professor, Alastair Scott, and his Russian assistant, Tanya Petrovskaya, are missing. Alarms ring in London and Washington, where intelligence officials know that Scott was working on a supergene that could allow control over the world's entire food supply. The British government calls in Arthur Hemmings from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. To his coworkers, Hemmings is just another researcher in the herbarium, but for many years he has been a secret service agent, an outwardly rumpled but dashing covert adventurer. Officials see a Moscow plot. Has Scott been kidnapped? Is he dead? Have Scott and Tanya fled to Russia? And why is Oxford's vice-chancellor withholding vital information? The intrepid Hemmings follows a series of clues into the cutthroat world of international patents, where the hunt for priceless genes is always nasty and often deadly. In Arthur Hemmings, Pringle has created an original heartbreaker of a hero, a botanist detective with a dash of James Bond. Facing murderous threats, Hemmings investigates fearlessly and with devastating precision. Handsome, witty, an ambitious cook, and a wine lover, he is irresistible to a much younger American female researcher. Day of the Dandelion is a seductive modern hybrid of the thrillers of Graham Greene and the adventure novels of Ian Fleming, filled with political, scientific, and commercial intrigue, and laced with miracle plants, deadly toxins, kidnappings, and car chases. It will keep the reader in suspense and amused from prelude to postscript.
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Food, Inc.

Mendel to Monsanto--The Promises and Perils of the

Author: Peter Pringle

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781439103845

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 6065

For most people, the global war over genetically modified foods is a distant and confusing one. The battles are conducted in the mystifying language of genetics. A handful of corporate "life science" giants, such as Monsanto, are pitted against a worldwide network of anticorporate ecowarriors like Greenpeace. And yet the possible benefits of biotech agriculture to our food supply are too vital to be left to either partisan. The companies claim to be leading a new agricultural revolution that will save the world with crops modified to survive frost, drought, pests, and plague. The greens warn that "playing God" with plant genes is dangerous. It could create new allergies, upset ecosystems, destroy biodiversity, and produce uncontrollable mutations. Worst of all, the antibiotech forces say, a single food conglomerate could end up telling us what to eat. In Food, Inc., acclaimed journalist Peter Pringle shows how both sides in this overheated conflict have made false promises, engaged in propaganda science, and indulged in fear-mongering. In this urgent dispatch, he suggests that a fertile partnership between consumers, corporations, scientists, and farmers could still allow the biotech harvest to reach its full potential in helping to overcome the problem of world hunger, providing nutritious food and keeping the environment healthy.
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The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin's Secret Service

Author: Andrew Meier

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393070156

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 9116

Filled with dramatic revelations, The Lost Spy may be the most important American spy story to come along in a generation. For half a century, the case of Isaiah Oggins, a 1920s New York intellectual brutally murdered in 1947 on Stalin's orders, remained hidden in the secret files of the KGB and the FBI—a footnote buried in the rubble of the Cold War. Then, in 1992, it surfaced briefly, when Boris Yeltsin handed over a deeply censored dossier to the White House. The Lost Spy at last reveals the truth: Oggins was one of the first Americans to spy for the Soviets.Based on six years of international sleuthing, The Lost Spy traces Oggins's rise in beguiling detail—a brilliant Columbia University graduate sent to run a safe house in Berlin and spy on the Romanovs in Paris and the Japanese in Manchuria—and his fall: death by poisoning in a KGB laboratory. As harrowing as Darkness at Noon and as tragic as Dr. Zhivago, The Lost Spy is one of the great nonfiction detective stories of our time.
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Lysenko's Ghost

Epigenetics and Russia

Author: Loren Graham

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674969049

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 1928

Lysenko became one of the most notorious figures in twentieth-century science after his genetic theories were discredited decades ago. Yet some scientists now claim that discoveries in epigenetics prove that he was right after all. Loren Graham reopens the case, to determine whether new developments in molecular biology validate Lysenko’s claims.
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In the Line of Fire

Author: Pervez Musharraf

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1847395961

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 368

View: 7982

It is almost unprecedented for a head of state to publish a memoir while still in office. But Pervez Musharraf is no ordinary head of state. As President of Pakistan since 1999, his is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and he continues to play a crucial role in the global war on terror. A one-time supporter of the Taliban, a general who fought in several wars, President Musharraf took a decisive turn against militant Islam in 2001. Since then he has survived two assassination attempts; rooted out militants in his own government; helped direct countless raids against al-Qaeda both in his cities and in the mountains; and tracked Osama bin Laden with technical and human intelligence. IN THE LINE OF FIRE is astonishingly revealing and honest about dozens of topics of intense interest to the world. Among its many revelations: exactly how Pakistani authorities tracked down and smashed three major al-Qaeda control centres in the mountains; how al-Qaeda's many-layered structure was revealed after the assassination attempts; Bin Laden's current position within the al-Qaeda hierarchy; what it has been like to deal with Bush and Blair; how Pakistan and India have avoided nuclear confrontation; and much more. The terrible earthquake of 2005, killing nearly 40,000 Pakistanis, is just one chapter in a life and career that has been filled with danger and drama. The worldwide launch of President Musharraf's memoir promises to be a sensation.
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Critical Encounters

Reference and Responsibility in Deconstructive Writing

Author: Cathy Caruth,Deborah Esch

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780813520889

Category: Criticism

Page: 305

View: 5686

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Those Are Real Bullets

Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972

Author: Peter Pringle,Philip Jacobson

Publisher: Grove Press

ISBN: 9780802138798

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 4103

The 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre in Derry, Ireland, is chronicled in detail, using interviews, period photographs, and recently declassified information to tell the entire story of the event in which British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed Irish Catholic demonstrators. Reprint.
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The Unknown Stalin

Author: Zhores A. Medvedev,Roj Aleksandrovič Medvedev

Publisher: I.B.Tauris

ISBN: 9781850439806

Category: Heads of state

Page: 326

View: 6794

This biography of Stalin studies the material from secret Soviet archives that was released when the Union collapsed. In some cases, long-held assumptions are questioned and revised, in others, rumours are put to rest.
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Strange Brains and Genius

The Secret Lives Of Eccentric Scientists And Madmen

Author: Clifford A. Pickover

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0688168949

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 352

View: 875

Never has the term mad scientist been more fascinatingly explored than in internationally recognized popular science author Clifford Pickover's richly researched wild ride through the bizarre lives of eccentric geniuses. A few highlights: "The Pigeon Man from Manhattan" Legendary inventor Nikola Tesla had abnormally long thumbs, a peculiar love of pigeons, and a horror of women's pearls. "The Worm Man from Devonshire" Forefather of modern electric-circuit design Oliver Heaviside furnished his home with granite blocks and sometimes consumed only milk for days (as did Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison). "The Rabbit-Eater from Lichfield" Renowned scholar Samuel Johnson had so many tics and quirks that some mistook him for an idiot. In fact, his behavior matches modern definitions of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's syndrome. Pickover also addresses many provocative topics: the link between genius and madness, the role the brain plays in alien abduction and religious experiences, UFOs, cryonics -- even the whereabouts of Einstein's brain!
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The Great Terror

A Reassessment

Author: Robert Conquest

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780195316995

Category: History

Page: 574

View: 7971

The definitive work on Stalin's purges, the author's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. It was "hailed as the only scrupulous, nonpartisan, and adequate book on the subject". And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the Soviet Union, where it is now considered the authority on the period, and has been serialized in Neva, one of their leading periodicals. Of course, when the author wrote the original volume two decades ago, he relied heavily on unofficial sources. Now, with the advent of glasnost, an avalanche of new material is available, and he has mined this enormous cache to write a substantially new edition of his classic work. It is remarkable how many of the most disturbing conclusions have born up under the light of fresh evidence. But the author has added enormously to the detail, including hitherto secret information on the three great "Moscow Trials," on the fate of the executed generals, on the methods of obtaining confessions, on the purge of writers and other members of the intelligentsia, on life in the labor camps, and many other key matters. Both a leading Sovietologist and a highly respected poet, the author blends research with prose, providing not only an authoritative account of Stalin's purges, but also a compelling chronicle of one of this century's most tragic events. A timely revision of a book long out of print, this is the updated version of the author's original work.
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Comrade Haldane Is Too Busy to Go on Holiday

The Genius Who Spied for Stalin

Author: Gavan Tredoux

Publisher: Encounter Books

ISBN: 1594039844

Category: Political Science

Page: 464

View: 4191

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane F.R.S. (1892–1964) was one of the leading scientists of the twentieth century, renowned for helping, through statistical wizardry, to reconcile Darwin’s theory of natural selection with Mendel’s discovery of genes. The product of a distinguished family of scientists and public figures, “JBS” trained and influenced a swathe of students and colleagues at Oxford, Cambridge, and University College London, many of whom, such as the evolutionary theorist John Maynard Smith, went on to distinction in their own right. As a widely known left-wing “public intellectual,” Haldane gained fame as a popularizer of science and commentator on public affairs, broadcasting often on the BBC and publishing extensively in newspapers and magazines. His collections of popular scientific essays influenced a generation of upcoming scientists and remain in print today. On his death in 1964, he was accorded the rare tribute of a televised self-obituary on the BBC. Celebrated for his ability to connect seemingly disparate subjects, during the Second World War Haldane was extensively involved in scientific research to aid the British war effort. Using evidence gathered from VENONA Signals Intelligence intercepts, MI5 files, and the Haldane papers, this book reveals that Haldane was also a Soviet spy—a member of the “X Group,” an espionage ring that was run out of the Soviet Embassy in London. His interlocking associations with other spies, such as Ivor Montagu and Hans Kahle; his role as a hardline Stalinist propagandist through the onset of the Cold War; his betrayal of his colleague and friend, the Soviet geneticist Nikolai Vavilov; his long-standing support for the charlatan Soviet “scientist” Trofim D. Lysenko; and his concealed stalemate with the Communist Party of Great Britain once his ability to finesse Lysenko was extinguished, are unraveled here for the first time.
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The Jasons

The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite

Author: Ann Finkbeiner

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101201282

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 7355

The Jasons are a well-guarded group of world-class scientists, briefly outed in the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, who have been meeting every summer since 1960 to tackle classified problems that the Defense Department cannot solve. Among many stunning innovations, they helped invent our electronic battlefield and Star Wars missile defense technology, and are now looking into ways to improve our intelligence gathering. Recounting the unknown story of these brilliant, stubbornly independent thinkers, Ann Finkbeiner takes advantage of her unprecedented access to this elite group to explore the uncertain bargains between science and politics. It is a story older than Faust and as timely as tomorrow’s headlines.
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Dinner with Darwin

Food, Drink, and Evolution

Author: Jonathan Silvertown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624539X

Category: Cooking

Page: 240

View: 2476

What do eggs, flour, and milk have in common? They form the basis of crepes of course, but they also each have an evolutionary purpose. Eggs, seeds (from which flour is derived by grinding) and milk are each designed by evolution to nourish offspring. Everything we eat has an evolutionary history. Grocery shelves and restaurant menus are bounteous evidence of evolution at work, though the label on the poultry will not remind us of this with a Jurassic sell-by date, nor will the signs in the produce aisle betray the fact that corn has a 5,000 year history of artificial selection by pre-Colombian Americans. Any shopping list, each recipe, every menu and all ingredients can be used to create culinary and gastronomic magic, but can also each tell a story about natural selection, and its influence on our plates--and palates. Join in for multiple courses, for a tour of evolutionary gastronomy that helps us understand the shape of our diets, and the trajectories of the foods that have been central to them over centuries--from spirits to spices. This literary repast also looks at the science of our interaction with foods and cooking--the sights, the smells, the tastes. The menu has its eclectic components, just as any chef is entitled. But while it is not a comprehensive work which might risk gluttony, this is more than an amuse bouche, and will leave every reader hungry for more.
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Moscow Stories

Author: Loren R. Graham

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 9780253000743

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 4510

"Graham has brilliantly encapsulated and interwoven the major features of Soviet and post-Soviet history in his riveting stories.... a splendid and extraordinary work." -- Edward Grant, author of God and Reason in the Middle Ages "A very lively read, indeed a real page turner... Graham's discussion of pressing ethical dilemmas displays a sureness of hand and a refreshing candor about his own struggles with the issues." -- Susan Solomon, University of Toronto The distinguished American historian of Russian and Soviet science Loren R. Graham recounts with warmth and wit his experiences during 45 years of traveling and researching in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, from 1960 to 2005. Present for many historic events during this period, Graham writes not as a political correspondent or an analyst, but as an ordinary American living through these years alongside Russian friends and critics. Graham befriended some of the leading scientists and politicians in Russia, but his most touching stories concern average Russians with whom he lived, worked, suffered, and exchanged views. Graham also writes of the ethical questions he confronted, such as the tension between independence of thought and political loyalty. Finally, he depicts the ways in which Russia has changed -- visually, politically, and ideologically -- during the last 15 years. These gripping, sometimes humorous, always deeply personal stories will engage and inform all readers with an interest in Russia during this tumultuous period of history.
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Young Mandela

The Revolutionary Years

Author: David James Smith

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 9780316122245

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 416

View: 4283

Nelson Mandela is well-known throughout the world as a heroic leader who symbolizes freedom and moral authority. He is fixed in the public mind as the world's elder statesman--the gray-haired man with a kindly smile who spent 27 years in prison before becoming the first black president in South Africa. But Nelson Mandela was not always elderly or benign. And, in YOUNG MANDELA, award-winning journalist and author David James Smith takes us deep into the heart of racist South Africa to paint a portrait of the Mandela that many have forgotten: the committed revolutionary who left his family behind to live on the run, adopting false names and disguises and organizing the first strikes to overthrow the apartheid state. YOUNG MANDELA lifts the curtain on an icon's first steps to greatness.
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