Saint Petersburg, FL, United States
Saint Petersburg, FL, United States

Eckerd College is a private four-year coeducational liberal arts college at the southernmost tip of St. Petersburg, Florida, in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017

When Elliott, now 19, was a junior in high school, here’s what an average day looked like: He’d wake up at 5:30, shower, get dressed, eat a quick breakfast, and then ride his bike to the bus stop, which was marked by a roughly built wooden hut. Once there, he’d reach up to the roof of the hut, where he’d stashed a bowl and a baggie of marijuana. “I hate school, so I always smoked right before the bus picked me up at 6:20,” Elliott tells Yahoo Beauty. “It calmed me down.” In the afternoon, he’d finish up his homework and then head out onto the back porch to 420, assured that no one other than his single mom would see him, since he lived on a dead-end street. “My mom doesn’t really care,” Elliott says. “She’d rather I smoke than do heroin.” His love affair with weed kicked off on Halloween night in 2014, when Elliott, then 16, lit up for the first time with friends. Although he didn’t feel anything, he was still curious, so he tried it again. And the second time, he got high. “It was pretty great,” Elliott says. “Weed is the best drug because you are in control of yourself and what’s going on.” Elliott claims he hasn’t noticed any negative side effects from marijuana use — and that he could stop anytime he wanted. Meanwhile, there’s Liz, now 18, who started smoking weed regularly at the age of 12 as a coping mechanism, as she puts it, for the upset she felt around her parents’ divorce. “At first I kind of just felt, like, very… relaxed, spacey,” she says. “After a while, after I started using day after day, I kind of just felt more lethargic. No motivation for anything. Very apathetic. And I felt, like, a lot of paranoia along with that.” By her early teens, Liz had developed a pot habit — not to mention an eating disorder and a self-harming problem — severe enough to land her in a residential treatment program, the Newport Academy. “I realized that I had a problem with marijuana when I found that I couldn’t be comfortable when I was sober,” she tells Yahoo, adding that the softening marijuana laws across the country are sending what feels to her like “a mixed message” about the safety of weed. Many Americans feel similarly conflicted about marijuana and its effects on physical and mental health, caught somewhere between Elliott and Liz. According to a new exclusive Yahoo News/Marist Poll, a slight majority of Americans — 51 percent — think using marijuana poses a health risk, while 44 percent think it does not, and 5 percent remain unsure. When it comes to teens, that narrative has begun to shift, due to a series of studies pointing out that the vulnerable, still-developing brains of adolescents do not mix so well with marijuana. But definitive research about how cannabis specifically affects teens still remains frustratingly elusive, as for every study out there suggesting that pot has deleterious effects, another analysis affirms its harmlessness. In fact, the lack of conclusive answers is what triggered the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to recently embark upon a large-scale longitudinal study that will track 10,000 adolescents into early adulthood to look at how use of illicit substances, including marijuana, affects their developing brains and shapes their lives. In the meantime, Yahoo Beauty spoke with top researchers to get as clear a picture as possible of what we do know about weed and the teenage brain. First, a quick synopsis of how marijuana operates: The body’s endocannabinoid system regulates intercellular communication via cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and brain. “The endocannabinoid system is the master regulator of homeostasis,” Gregory Gerdeman, assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College, tells Yahoo Beauty. “If our electrical system gets too excited, it dampens it down; if cells are moving sluggishly, it speeds things up.” When an individual uses marijuana, its THC molecules attach to these cannabinoid receptors, altering their activity and triggering a blissed-out sensation, as well as potential paranoia and anxiety. (CBD molecules, also found in weed, give users a mellow feeling that counteracts the high and are the main source of marijuana’s medicinal benefits.) Cannabinoids are intimately involved in the growth and development of the brain, guiding the wiring of the neural network. And just as a house under construction is not as solid as a completed building, the teen brain is more sensitive than its adult counterpart. “In this period of critical neural vulnerability, exposure to things like THC can change the trajectory of how the brain develops over time,” Staci Gruber, director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., tells Yahoo Beauty. Or, as NIDA director Nora Volkow, MD, puts it, the fully grown-up brain has a degree of resiliency that younger brains lack, so “marijuana may have unique, negative effects that may not be present in an adult.” The pothead slacker spacing out in class is a common stereotype. And evidence does suggest that herb might diminish intellectual capacity. “When individuals smoke marijuana, we see changes within the prefrontal cortex, which is a critical part of the brain right behind your eyebrows, responsible for things like decision making, consciousness, and abstract reasoning,” Gruber says. During adolescence, the brain eliminates unneeded neurons so that it can operate more efficiently, in a process called synaptic pruning. “When a child is born, he or she has many more neurons than an adult brain,” Volkow says. “It’s almost like a sculpture, where the artist chips away at the stone until it [forms the desired] shape. [The brain] gets rid of some neurons and creates connections that maximize the functions that a particular child is going to need in order to be successful as an adult.” Marijuana disrupts glutamate receptors, neurotransmitters involved in synaptic pruning; as a result, extraneous neurons may not be effectively phased out and can drag down our cognitive capacity, affecting everything from memory to executive control. Volkow likens it to the operation of an airport. “The more connections you have, the more communication there’s going to be from one place to another. But too many connections clog the system,” she says. “Of course, too few connections also interfere with your ability to transfer people place to place — and studies have shown that people who consume large quantities of marijuana during adolescence have far fewer connections into the hippocampus, which is one of the main brain regions involved with memory and learning.” In particular, says John Kelly, MD, professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Recovery Research Institute, “it can impact memory consolidation, which is the encoding of short-term information into long-term memories. We learn by contextualizing new information and relating it to other memories in our memory bank. If the information hasn’t been properly encoded, we won’t be able to draw upon it as a resource.” Marijuana can also decrease myelin, a protective coating around axons of neurons that increases the speed at which electrochemical impulses travel in the brain. “If you don’t have enough myelin, you may be scatterbrained and suffer from attention problems,” Kelly says. “Basically, you’re on the slow train.” A study from Northwestern Medicine found that young adults who smoked marijuana daily for about three years as teens had an abnormally shaped hippocampus and performed poorly on long-term-memory tasks — two years after they stopped using the drug. Compared with a control group, they scored 18 percent worse on a test of memory processes used for daily problem solving and to sustain friendships. And research out of Duke University linked long-term marijuana use before age 18 to a lasting drop in IQ. At age 38, subjects scored an average of eight points lower compared with their results when they were 13 years old. Yet Gerdeman cautions against jumping to conclusions. “The human brain is a plastic structure that undergoes small morphological changes with time, learning, experience, stress, trauma, meditation, exercise, medication, and yes, cannabis,” he says. “I’m not going to tell you there is no reason to be concerned, but these findings should be viewed with nuance.” He points out that some studies portray a cautionary tale based on brain imaging without showing a corresponding functional deficit, while others fail to control for influential variables like binge drinking. It’s not only intellect that bears the brunt of ganja use at a young age. Research suggests that pot can affect EQ, or emotional intelligence, as much as IQ, thanks to the fact that heavy users have trouble pulling up memories that can inform current decision making. When navigating a relationship or social interaction, “your prefrontal cortex will scan the rest of the brain to see if you have been exposed in the past to a similar situation that can guide you or predict what’s going to happen,” Volkov says. And if someone doesn’t have ready access to that feedback, he or she is at a disadvantage. What’s more, brain-imaging research has shown that THC targets the prefrontal cortex, the area associated with emotional regulation and social skills. “The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s brake system; it triggers us to look before we leap,” Kelly says. “Inadequate synaptic pruning in this region can increase impulsivity and disinhibition.” When a person’s prefrontal cortex isn’t operating at its optimal level, he or she might react inappropriately, from losing his or her temper at a friend to engaging in unprotected sex. On the other hand, research from the University of Kentucky, Lexington supports Elliott’s experience: Lonely teens who hit herb had higher levels of self-worth, better mental health, and a lower risk of depression than those who abstained. It may reek of reefer madness, but some of the most alarming research points at a link between marijuana use and psychosis. According to a recent paper published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, daily pot use in teens can increase the risk of psychosis from 1 percent to 3 percent. And a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that for each year that adolescent males engaged in regular marijuana use, their chances of experiencing psychotic symptoms surged by 21 percent, even a year after they’d stopped using the drug. “Some people may have a genetic propensity for mental illness like schizophrenia that only manifests under certain conditions,” Kelly says. “In these individuals, chronic exposure to THC over time might trigger a switch that turns on the genes that promote psychosis.” Again, there’s debate about whether weed is truly at fault. A Harvard study failed to find a causal link between schizophrenia and cannabis use, suggesting instead that family history was the deciding factor; and a review in the journal Schizophrenia Research revealed that although cannabis use is increasing in the U.K., rates of schizophrenia and psychosis are falling. There’s also the chicken-and-egg question — people prone to psychiatric disorders might be more likely to turn to substances in the first place. Although the matter is still up for debate, Gerdeman has found that “teens with preexisting signs of psychotic tendencies or genetic predispositions who go on to use cannabis heavily are at a greater risk of developing schizophrenia.” Is It Addictive or Not? While it’s true that pot’s got nothing on harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, some people do get hooked — and the risk is greater for teens. “Approximately 9 percent of individuals who are exposed to marijuana will become addicted, but if you take marijuana as a teenager, it goes up to 19 percent,” Volkov says. “And 50 percent of teens that use marijuana on a daily basis will become addicted.” Marijuana activates a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which is a key player in the brain’s reward circuitry, and this can lead to a dependency. “The earlier a person’s brain is exposed to chemical substances, the likelier it is to become sensitized to them,” Kelly says. “When you prime the pump during adolescence, the neurons become adapted to the drug and are altered in such a way that they start to expect its presence.” While the jury is out on how harmful marijuana actually is for adolescents, the majority of researchers agree that the two biggest risk factors are the age of the onset of use and the frequency of use. Basically, the younger someone starts burning one down and the more often they get blazed, the greater the potential harm in terms of brain damage, mental illness, and addiction. As Gruber says, the message for teens should be, “Just say no for now. It’s worth the wait.” As for Elliott and Liz, they both report that they’re doing well, although their relationship with weed is very different. Elliott, now a host at a high-end restaurant, still wakes and bakes. “I could quit any day if I wanted to, but I don’t want to,” he says. “Parents are so hard on their kids about it, but it’s not a terrible thing.” Liz, on the other hand, has steered clear of marijuana since rehab and is focused on graduating from high school. “That’s a really big thing that I never thought I would do,” she says. “I’m thrilled about my future … and I have more faith in myself … and can advocate for myself in ways I couldn’t before. … I don’t need to use marijuana in order to be the person that I want to be. I can just be that person authentically.” Read more from the Yahoo Weed & the American Family series: Americans families defending pot as never before, Yahoo News/Marist Poll finds How Republicans and Democrats in Congress are joining forces to defeat Sessions’ war on weed Cannabis advocate Melissa Etheridge: ‘I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink’ These mothers of suicides don’t think marijuana is harmless ‘Cannabis has made me a better parent’: One mom’s confession Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyle and@YahooBeauty.

Foltz B.V.,Eckerd College
Christian Bioethics | Year: 2017

When the elite of German culture discovered that they no longer understood what the belief in God had been about, they earnestly set to work seeking an answer to this puzzle: what had once animated religious belief? What had been the point of it all? What had been its true meaning? The first answer came from Kant, who sought to show that religion, or at least what he considered the legitimate exercise of religion, had all along been about morality. A second answer came from Schleiermacher, who addressed the "cultured despisers" of religion to demonstrate that the true content of the Christian religion had been not propositions of morality, but certain kinds of intuition or feeling. And, yet a third answer came from Hegel, who concluded that revealed religion had been one of three cultural manifestations of absolute knowledge. In one form or another, these three reductions (morality, feeling, and culture) continue in various permutations to be the principal ways that religion is understood today, even by self-identified believers. With ongoing reference to bioethics as a sort of Rosetta Stone for deciphering secular culture, Engelhardt shows at length how the Enlightenment project-the attempt to lay a new foundation for morality and politics drawing upon a universal, secular, discursive rationality rather than the Experience of God-has failed so miserably that there can be no hope for its fulfillment. The secular project-the attempt to live "after God," to find secular substitutes to which Christianity can be reduced-has failed miserably, even if the darkness from this failed star has yet to reach the enthusiasts of secular society: "Morality has been utterly deflated. Culture is cheap. Feelings are quarantined as matters of personal taste to be overridden by secular obligations. The only solution is to return to the ascetical disciplines of the Church of the Apostles and the Fathers, which aid in turning one from self-love to the transcendent God and to a noetic experience of his will" (Engelhardt, After God, 443 n. 14). © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of The Journal of Christian Bioethics, Inc.

News Article | December 13, 2016

FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ellucian, the leading global provider for higher education software and services, announced today the availability of Banner by Ellucian and Colleague by Ellucian as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions for higher education institutions. Ellucian now offers the first and only complete SaaS Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions designed specifically for higher education administrators, faculty and students. Ellucian made significant investments in Banner and Colleague over the last two years to create a best-in-class user experience—with enhanced mobile, self-service and extensibility tools—while maintaining the features users love. The Ellucian Banner and Colleague SaaS solutions enable institutions to take advantage of market-leading innovation while increasing IT efficiency and effectiveness. “As colleges and universities continue to evolve to meet changing student expectations, senior institutional leaders want to help students access advanced, easy-to-use solutions anytime, anywhere,” said Nicole Engelbert, Director of Research & Analysis at Ovum. “Cloud technology is essential to innovating more rapidly and delivering a modern student experience and improving student success.” “With the release of Ellucian’s Banner and Colleague SaaS offerings, we have become the first provider to offer a complete SaaS ERP solution for higher education,” said Jeff Ray, President and CEO of Ellucian. “Our clients rely on Ellucian’s rich, deep functionality, which was built specifically for higher education; they now also have access to the security and scalability of a world-class cloud platform.” Ellucian began working with AWS to provide the most secure, best-in-class cloud infrastructure to its more than 2,400 customer institutions around the world. The new Banner and Colleague SaaS offerings provide: “Moving to a SaaS cloud solution with Ellucian gives us the ability to reassign IT resources to process improvement so we can better meet our customers’ needs,” said Frank Abney, Assistant Director of IT at Eckerd College. “Ellucian has been a great partner, constantly evolving and expanding product offerings that fit our changing needs. We are looking to Ellucian cloud for solutions built with students, faculty and staff like those at Eckerd in mind.” “We strive to be a student-centered institution of higher education and we find a great partner in Ellucian,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, President of Mercer County Community College. “We are very excited to be working closely with Ellucian to bring our existing ERP system to the cloud. This will enhance our ability to deliver services to our students wherever they are, whenever they want.” Ellucian is the worldwide leader of software and services designed for higher education. More than 2,400 institutions in 40 countries rely on Ellucian to help enable the mission of higher education for over 18 million students. Ellucian provides student information systems (SIS), finance and HR, recruiting, retention, analytics and advancement software solutions. With more than 1,400 unique deployments of Ellucian’s cloud and SaaS offerings, the company is one of the largest providers of cloud-based solutions to the higher education community. Ellucian also supports the higher education community with a range of professional services, such as application software implementation, training, education, and management consulting. Visit Ellucian at

Seifert M.D.,Indiana University | Seifert M.D.,Eckerd College
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

I present a topological defect solution that arises in a theory where Lorentz symmetry is spontaneously broken by a rank-two antisymmetric tensor field, and I discuss its observational signatures. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Ormsby A.,Eckerd College
Conservation and Society | Year: 2013

The sacred groves of India represent a long-held tradition of community management of forests for cultural reasons. This study used social science research methods in the states of Meghalaya and Karnataka to determine local attitudes toward the sacred groves, elements of sacred grove management including restrictions on resource use, as well as ceremonies associated with sacred groves. Over a seven-month period, 156 interviews were conducted in 17 communities. Residents identified existing taboos on use of natural resources in the sacred groves, consequences of breaking the taboos, and the frequency and types of rituals associated with the sacred groves. Results show that numerous factors contribute to pressures on sacred groves, including cultural change and natural resource demands. In Meghalaya, the frequency of rituals conducted in association with the sacred groves is declining. In both Meghalaya and Karnataka, there is economic pressure to extract resources from sacred groves or to reduce the sacred grove size, particularly for coffee production in Kodagu in Karnataka. Support for traditional ceremonies, existing local community resource management, and comprehensive education programs associated with the sacred groves is recommended. Copyright: © 2013. Ormsby.

Sneed J.M.,Eckerd College
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2014

Microbial biofilms induce larval settlement for some invertebrates, including corals; however, the chemical cues involved have rarely been identified. Here, we demonstrate the role of microbial biofilms in inducing larval settlement with the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides and report the first instance of a chemical cue isolated from a marine biofilm bacterium that induces complete settlement (attachment and metamorphosis) of Caribbean coral larvae. Larvae settled in response to natural biofilms, and the response was eliminated when biofilms were treated with antibiotics. A similar settlement response was elicited by monospecific biofilms of a single bacterial strain, Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5, isolated from the surface biofilm of a crustose coralline alga. The activity of Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5 was attributed to the production of a single compound, tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), which has been shown previously to induce metamorphosis without attachment in Pacific acroporid corals. In addition to inducing settlement of brooded larvae (P. astreoides), TBP also induced larval settlement for two broadcast-spawning species, Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) franksi and Acropora palmata, indicating that this compound may have widespread importance among Caribbean coral species. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

India is home to thousands of community-protected forests, called sacred groves. Sacred forests or groves are sites that have cultural or spiritual significance to the people who live around them. These areas may also be key reservoirs of biodiversity. In India, most sacred groves are managed by a community group, not by a government agency. They are often private or community land, not formal protected areas or parks. This poses an interesting challenge in terms of future management and possible policy relating to the sacred groves. On the international level, organizations such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and UNESCO have created guidelines for management of sacred sites. On the national level, India's past Forest Acts and recent Forest Rights Act have relevance to the sacred groves. Local differences in land tenure also affect the groves. Ethnographic research conducted in 2009 and 2010 in the states of Meghalaya and Karnataka, India, evaluated the historic and current management and beliefs associated with sacred forests. Cultural change and pressure to use natural resources within the groves is leading to reduction of these forest areas. In the future, a creative combination of policy approaches to conserve groves that respects their spiritual values is recommended. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Speier A.R.,Eckerd College
Reproductive BioMedicine Online | Year: 2011

North Americans who suffer infertility often reach an end to treatment options at home, whether it is due to a lack of egg donors in Canada or the high cost of treatment in the USA. Patients navigate their way onto the internet, seeking support and other options. As women and couples 'do the research' online, they conduct endless Google searches, come across IVF brokers, join support groups, read blogs and meet others on the road of infertility. This paper considers the journeys that North American patients make to clinics in Moravia, Czech Republic. Along these travels, patients engage with support groups, other patients, IVF brokers and clinic co-ordinators. Since the distance travelled between North America and Europe is extensive, reproductive travels may be arranged by clinical staff, travel brokers and patients. Acting as consumers, North Americans make different 'choices' along their journeys - the use of a broker, if and when they should join online communities, which clinic to visit and where to stay. This study focuses on the question of how patient choices often determine the success of brokers and clinics, thus influencing the structure of cross-border reproductive care in the Czech Republic. © 2011, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 107.25K | Year: 2012

Dr. Zhao will work on a number of problems in arithmetic algebraic geometry and number theory. His main focus is on the study of arithmetic, geometric and analytic properties of the multiple polylogarithms and the multiple zeta functions which are generalizations of the classical polylogarithms and the Riemann zeta function, respectively. In recent years, these objects and their various generalizations have appeared prominently in a lot of areas of mathematics and physics. The theory of their special values, in particular, has provided and will continue to provide answers to important and far reaching problems such as those in algebraic geometry involving motives over number fields. Dr. Zhao will utilize the theory of motivic fundamental groups of Deligned and Goncharov, Hopf algebra techniques and Rota-Baxter operators developed by Guo, Kreimer and their collaborators, (quasi-)shuffle algebras studied by Hoffman, and computer-aided computation to investigate the fine structures of these special values.

Number theory is one of the foundations of mathematics since the beginning of recorded human history, and it serves nowadays as the basis for many applications, including cryptography and coding theory.
Arithmetic algebraic geometry, one of the newest and most active fields of modern mathematics, studies the arithmetic nature of geometric properties of solutions to systems of polynomial equations in several variables. Its application in number theory has both enriched algebraic geometry and revolutionized the study of number theory. The proposed research considers questions involving objects that deeply reflect some fundamental information about fields of algebraic numbers over which these objects are defined. Such questions have their genesis in the work of Goldbach, Euler and Gauss, and mathematicians in generations continue to invent new techniques to try to solve their mysteries. Many parts of the project offer significant research opportunities for undergraduate students through both advanced course works and the summer research programs. Dr. Zhao plans to utilize these opportunities to attract more advanced undergraduate students to study math by involving them in mathematical research in all the stages, from the initial computation to the final presentation of their results in various professional meetings.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 579.24K | Year: 2012

The Quantitative Excellence in Science and Technology (QuEST) Scholars program is facilitating the academic success of transfer students who enter the college intending to major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). It is designed to (1) create and nurture cohorts of STEM transfer students through specifically designed and carefully monitored academic and social-support activities; and (2) create the College Student Tutors and Resources for Science (C-STARS) peer tutoring program to help students struggling with quantitative subjects presented in STEM courses.

Scholarships of up to $8,000 are being offered to transfer students from their initial matriculation as sophomores or juniors through graduation in one of the STEM majors at the college: Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Marine Science, Mathematics, or Physics. STEM faculty help select QuEST Scholars based on financial need, academic potential, and demonstrated dedication to a STEM subject. Seven new QuEST Scholars are being chosen in three consecutive academic years; continued funding for each selected Scholar is based on continued financial need, positive academic performance, and progress towards completing a STEM major.

Intellectual Merit: Four STEM faculty members are teamed with the Associate Dean for Institutional Effectiveness to implement the QuEST and C-STARS programs to improve STEM student learning and retention at the college. In their first year, STEM transfer students participate in a new QuEST Seminar course, which focuses on the roll that quantitative materials play in all STEM majors, thereby creating a true cohort over diverse disciplines. In addition, the seminar explores STEM learning strategies, science ethics, interdisciplinary research, and career development. To improve academic success in STEM courses, the project is also creating the C-STARS program, in which carefully screened and continually trained upper level STEM majors assist students who are experiencing difficulty with quantitative elements of STEM courses. C-STARS peer tutors participate in weekly instructional sessions on successful pedagogical approaches. The faculty team is developing the seminar course, increasing QuEST Scholar learning through new support services including study groups, peer mentors, and an intervention network to respond to transfer student needs, and transforming the STEM learning environment for all students by creating the C-STARS peer tutoring program.

Broader Impacts: The research-based initiatives, directed by experienced and informed faculty, are helping to improve the retention of transfer students intending to major in STEM areas at the college. The project is broadly disseminating findings from the QuEST Scholars, Seminar, and C-STARS programs to help other institutions enhance STEM student retention at the undergraduate level.

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