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This fall the University of Pennsylvania Law School will install a plaque in memory of a member of its Class of 1924: Theodore Milton Selden of the Dartmouth Class of 1921. Selden finished second in his class at the College with a 3.8 GPA, winning Dartmouth’s Barger Gold Medal for Original Oratory, and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He had come to Hanover for one year after graduating first in his class from historically black Lincoln University, because, as a Dartmouth administrator put it at the time, he “desired [a second B.S .degree] from an institution of better standing.”

Selden was killed in 1922 in a train crash. Working as a Pullman porter, he was in the car immediately behind the engine. In the incident, his car rode up over the steam engine, and when the latter exploded, Selden was killed instantly and his body disfigured beyond recognition. He was identified only by his Dartmouth Phi Beta Kappa ring.

Theodore Selden Comp.jpg

Penn has long noted the demise of its active students. The plaque will be installed in Silverman Hall:


Addendum: The above photo of Selden comes from the July 1919 edition of W.E.B. Dubois’ magazine, The Crisis, A Record of the Darker Races, which was published by the NAACP. It noted Selden’s graduation from Lincoln University. An article on The Year in Negro Education by Dubois lists African-Americans receiving bachelors degrees from only three Ivy League schools in that year: Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth.

Addendum: After his death, an obituary for Selden was published in The Phi Beta Kappa Key, Vol. 5, No. 1 (OCTOBER, 1922) on page 69:

Selden Phi Beta Kappa Obit.jpg

The Phi Bets had an error in their document: the accident took place at Winslow Junction, New Jersey — not New York. The train was travelling from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.

Addendum: Penn Law’s current Dean of Students, Gary Clinton, is responsible for bringing Theodore Milton Selden’s history to the attention of the Penn community. Read his well researched article here.

Paul Mirengoff ‘71 at Powerline blog riffs on the profiles of many of the College’s newly hired professors — as self-depicted in the print publication Dartmouth Life, which is mailed to alumni. He sees a pattern of radicalism and a departure from traditional seriousness:

Powerline Hiring.jpg

His conclusion:

The good news is that Dartmouth has hired three new Economics professors, none of whom tips off his ideological leanings. Perhaps there’s a causal relationship here: the Economics department is beefing up because students like taking courses about non-quirky subject matter from professors who aren’t on a political/ideological mission.

Unfortunately, unless you want to major in Economics, Mathematics, or a hard science, it’s probably even more difficult now than it was in my daughter’s time (2006-10) to fill one’s schedule with such courses.

Our new Provost, Carolyn Dever, seems fixated on the problematic subject of diversity, even though the College is deluged with more pressing concerns, but she has not revealed an ideological agenda. I know, I know, the two go together, but let’s cut the lady a little slack. For the time being we will trust but verify.

Katie Van Syckle.jpgFreelance journalist Katie Van Syckle ‘05 will be coming to Dartmouth next week to work on a story about Phil Hanlon’s Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative. As her website notes, “She contributes regularly to New York Magazine and Rolling Stone. She has written for Bloomberg Business Week,, Nylon, the New York Daily News, The Daily,,, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.” Over the last year she has focused her writing on sexual assault on campuses.

Needless to say, Bored@Baker’s energetic tipsters had the story first:

RS B@B1.jpg

Katie can be reached by e-mail at:

Addendum: An alert read notes that last year Katie Van Syckle published an extensive report in Cosmopolitain on cyberbullying at Dartmouth entitled: How Cyberbullying Is Making Sexual Assault on College Campuses Even Worse, As Dartmouth makes efforts to combat sexual assault, posts on an anonymous online forum have students terrified.

AD’s attorney George Ostler ‘77, who frequently represents students in their disciplinary disputes with the College, has issued a statement to the press regarding the branding incident that is receiving so much attention:

AD Statement.jpg

The Valley News has an extensive story today on the ongoing drama.

Addendum: ABC News reports on the story, beginning with a regrettable lead:

Dartmouth College is cracking down further on one of its most notorious fraternity houses in response to accusations of the branding of new members.

Addendum: A faculty member notes that branding is common among black Greek houses across the country.


Esserman New Haven Comp.jpgWhile we are on the subject of outstanding members of the Class of 1979, on March 12 the Wall Street Journal ran a profile of New Haven Chief of Police Dean Esserman ‘79 entitled Putting Police Officers Back on the Beat. Dean is a recognized expert on community policing, a concept that he has supported since his days working closely with then-and-now NYC Chief of Police Bill Bratton. The idea involves taking police officers out of their hermetically sealed squad cars and having them walk a regular neighborhood beat, where they can interact with and earn the trust of citizens.

After working in New York City with Bratton, Dean first put the concept into practice on his own as chief of police in Stamford (CT), followed by Providence (RI), and New Haven (CT). In each place crime of all types dropped in a manner completely out of synch with local and regional trends. As the Journal notes: “In New Haven… the total number of crimes in seven categories shrank 17% from 2010 to 2013, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. The U.S. had a decline of 3.8% in the same period.” And “Overall crime in Providence fell 30% during his eight years there.”

Dean took over the New Haven Chief’s position in October 2011, and the two histograms on this page tell the tale in more detail: since his arrival homicides are down by almost two thirds in Yale’s hometown, and violent crime of all types has fallen:

New Haven crime WSJ.jpg

Beyond his responsibilities as chief, Dean sits on three national boards: the National Police Foundation (NPF), the VERA Institute of Justice, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. He works closely with the Justice Department, consulting and advising on troubled police departments. He’ll soon be part of a team from the NPF that has been contracted by the Justice Department to work on policing issues with the St. Louis County Police Department — which encompasses the town of Ferguson, Missouri and surrounding jurisdictions. In addition Dean teaches courses to students at Yale College, the Yale Law School, and the criminal justice program at the University of New Haven.

Addendum: Dean likes to say than when he is faced with a particularly difficult policing problem, he gathers together all of America’s Ivy-League-educated, Jewish police chiefs to discuss the matter at hand. Needless to say, he is the only member of that club.

Addendum: A old friend from Hanover writes in:

You never mentioned that Dean was never a “beat” cop.

True. Dean went to NYU Law and worked in the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office before becoming Assistant Chief in New Haven at the start of his law enforcement career.

Bemis Photo.jpgThe College has a new Chief Human Resources Officer (but no Dean of the College): Scot Bemis has come to Dartmouth from Brandeis, located in the Boston suburb of Waltham. Interestingly enough, Bemis is neither a creature of the academy nor the private sector, as Dartmouth Now reports: “Prior to his work at Brandeis, Bemis held three senior human resource positions with the U.S. Army. He was a director of the National Guard Human Resource operations in Washington, D.C.; Director of the Leadership Center in Tikrit, Iraq; and Senior Director of Human Resources in Baghdad, Iraq… From 1999 through 2002, Bemis was an associate professor of studies in leadership and management at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.”

The Dartmouth Now announcement has another nugget worth discussing:

Bemis Brandeis.jpg

Brandeis details on its website that it has 504 faculty members (its Common Data Set notes 498 professors), leaving it with over 1,500 staffers according to Dartmouth Now (though Brandeis itself says that it has 1,150). But let’s stick with the 2,000 total employees number, and compare Brandeis to the College.

Dartmouth has 3,443 staff members and 1,059 professors according to the Dartmouth Factbook. However the structure of Geisel inflates that number with 233 non-tenure track clinical professors — practicing physicians who assist in the training of young doctors but who are not paid by Geisel. So the College really has about 826 professors. Based on those numbers, the College has a total of 4,269 employees. That figure is 2.13 times the number of employees at Brandeis.

Now if we start with Brandeis’ total compensation figure of $140 million (a figure that Dartmouth Now put forward, even though the details of employee compensation do not appear in Brandeis’ 2014 financial statements), let’s take a rough whack at estimating what Dartmouth’s annual compensation might be. Of course, keep in mind that the cost of living in suburban Boston is higher than rural New Hampshire: Massachusetts’ personal income tax (5.15%) and sales tax (6.25%) and the cost of Boston-area real estate see to that.

On the other side of the ledger, the College has a medical school, a business school and a large Economics department, so we can assume that the number of well compensated faculty members at the College is higher than at humanities/undergraduate-focused Brandeis.

Given that Dartmouth has more high-priced professors, I’d say that even though we have 2.13 times more employees than Brandeis, our wage bill should probably be 2.5 times higher. That would provide for an extra $35 million of compensation for our expensive profs (assuming there are 200 stars at Geisel, Tuck and in Econ and we pay them an extra $175k each — a absurdly high figure, I know).

An estimate based on a 2.5 times co-efficient would bring us to a total compensation budget at Dartmouth of $350 million ($140 million times 2.5).

What’s the real figure in the College’s 2014 accounts? Total compensation was actually $492 million — an excess of $142 million over our estimate. We are overcompensating the staff the we have chosen to hire by about 50%.

The good times continue to roll in Hanover.

Addendum: We’ve looked at this kind of metric before. Schools comparable to the College like Brown, Tufts, Boston College and Williams spend far less money on per-employee compensation than we do.

Addendum: The Dartmouth Now story also noted:

During his time in Baghdad, Bemis oversaw human resources for a 4,000-soldier task force under wartime conditions and was recognized for improving personnel retention rates by 64 percent. He was also recognized for his ability to perform under extreme duress while conducting all human resources operations, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious performance.

Yikes. A Bronze Star for personnel management? I am going to have to ask Bemis about that one. Maybe there is more to the story than Dartmouth Now is letting on. After all, the last time we talked about someone from Dartmouth winning a Bronze Star, we referred to Joseph Young ‘45 charging across the bridge at Remagen in March of 1945.

Addendum: A Dartblog reader writes in about Army commendations:

Hey Joe — I do so enjoy your website — it’s a hoot and very informative.

As to the Bronze Star award for “Meritorious Performance” — I got one of those as well and it went something like this. Awards Clerk: “We’re gonna give you an award. Do you already have the Army Commendation Medal?” Me: “Yes, I do.” Clerk: “Ok — we’ll get you the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.” Me: “Cool.”

What was I doing that was so meritorious at that time? — playing trombone in the 1st Division Army Band — but I had a little rank (E5) and we were in Vietnam after all. Officers got an even better shot at these kinds of awards, and they were often given out for being present and not screwing up too badly. Bronze Star with “V” for valor is a different animal all together, one that I respect tremendously. That’s likely the award given to Joseph Young — and what a great story that is.

Lest you think that my service in Vietnam was all rosy, I did spend the first six months in an infantry unit, and while I wasn’t in direct combat, we did get shelled routinely — not a fun experience and detrimental to the health of those caught in it. So, I get the Bronze Star for playing in the band — doesn’t surprise me that Bemis would have gotten such a low-level award for keeping his hands clean.

Addendum: Another veteran reader comments:

Reference the Bronze Star - I can tell you from my own army experience, that the Bronze Star is authorized for meritorious conduct/performance while deployed in the war zone, even for administrative or clerical excellence. This is to recognize the contributions or merits of the deployed soldiers who might have been called REMFs back in the day ( or more recently had be coined “Fobbits”). Let me know if you’d like definitions of either term.

Anyway, the “V” device for valor is awarded along with the Bronze Star when there is need/desire to distinguish the award for soldiers who actually faced enemy fire or hazard.

Essentially, the Bronze Star can be had in lieu of the more traditional Army Commendation medal (ARCOM) given Stateside, merely by virtue of being in the combat zone.

[My only regret is I never had the appropriately considerate chain of command to award me one..]

Gawker is reporting (and the College’s spokesman Justin Anderson has confirmed) that the ongoing suspension of AD has been extended after a pledge was discovered to have been branded on the backside last fall. It seems that the brand became infected, and when the pledge sought medical care, word got back to the administration. Gawker was informed of the incident by a tipster, and chat about the event has been extensive on Bored@Baker.

Gawker branding.jpg

Addendum: An AD alumni advisor writes in:

The Gawker article you cite is so full of misinformation that we are discussing the possibility of a libel suit. I don’t want to point out the inaccuracies at this time, but they are many.

Addendum: The Daily News has picked up the story, and it has included an amusing photo juxtaposition in its article:

Belushi Hanlon1.jpg

The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mail, The Independent, and many papers subscribing to the Associated Press feed have run stories on AD’s conduct.

Or perhaps the College has inaugurated a special Interim President’s area for portraits in the Rauner Special Collections Library? The more recent members of the Wheelock Succession are grouped together to overlook the main room at Rauner:

Rauner Presidents1.jpg

Carol, in contrast, is off by her lonesome to the right of the Rauner stacks:

Folt Rauner1.jpg

Personally, I’d recommend a back staircase at Baker.

After Rolling Stone magazine ran an extensive piece alleging the horrific, premeditated gang rape of a UVA undergraduate by fraternity brothers, the magazine withdrew its story, citing reportorial lapses. Yesterday the Washington Post published the results of the Charlottesville Police department’s investigation of “Jackie’s” allegations. The police found no evidence to corroborate her accusations, and it noted numerous factual inconsistencies in her story. The investigative report concluded as follows:

Based on the information known to investigators at this time, we find no substantive basis of fact to conclude that an incident occurred that is consistent with the facts as described in the November 19, 2014, Rolling Stone Magazine article.

The department’s investigation cannot rule out that something may have happened to “Jackie” somewhere and at some time on the evening of September 28, 2012. Yet, without additional evidence we are simply unable to reach a definitive conclusion.

This investigation remains open, yet suspended in the event additional evidence should come to light.

Rolling Stone has undertaken an analysis of its reporting of the incident, which should be published in the next few weeks.

Addendum: The NYT report is here:

After a review of records and roughly 70 interviews, Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. said at a crowded news conference here, his investigators found “no evidence” that a party even took place at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, when the rape was said to have occurred. Instead, he said, there was a formal that night at the house’s sister sorority, making it highly unlikely that the fraternity would have had a party on the same night.

Despite “numerous attempts,” he said, his officers were unable to track down the man Jackie had identified as her date that night. And several interviews contradicted her version of events. The chief said he was suspending, but not closing, the investigation, and he left open the possibility that some kind of assault might have occurred, saying additional information could still come to light.

Folt Portrait Text1.jpgHow the heck does an interim President merit a presidential portrait and wall space in Rauner? When Jim Wright spelled Jim Freedman for a year in the late 1990’s, and then Freedman returned from his cancer treatments, even a man as vain as Wright did not plump for a painting (of course, he did have his eye on the bigger prize). But Carol?

The IP wasn’t even in office for a full year, and then she was passed over when she tried for the brass ring. How does she rate an immortalizing portrait that undergrads will be admiring centuries hence?

What interpretation does artist Ying-he Liu offer us? Sunshine and chirpy cheerfulness as we look out on Occom Pond. A sea of Dartmouth green, flowers, a closed book, an expensive vase, some kind of framed diploma or attestation, Carol’s best outfit and two strings of pearls. It’s all there — except intelligence and any legacy of achievement.

Folt Portrait2.jpg

Addendum: Recent word from North Carolina is that on the ground Carol is widely disliked as bubbly and false. At the top the Board of Governors realizes that it has made a mistake (several members said so from the start; they wondered why Dartmouth passed on the IP for the top job): Carol handled the Mary Willingham scandal most maladroitly and she has brought nothing to the table in the way of innovation. However, the consensus on the Board is that the turbulence that would result from Carol’s dismissal is not worth the benefit of letting her go. That’s not that way I manage things in the real world. A leader always has great impact, either positively or negatively — too much so to allow a Board to abide a mediocrity.

Normally we don’t go in for canned tourist experiences, but the opportunity to walk with lions in Mauritius’s Casela Nature Park was too interesting to pass up. At first my attention was drawn to the notice that “Participants must be at least 1m50 tall”; I guess that anyone smaller than that height ceases to be a spectator and possibly becomes prey to the two three-year-old lions with whom we walked for about 20 minutes. Most striking is the raw power of the animals: their torso seems proportionately longer than that of a house cat, and the musculature of their legs is daunting. Their fur and underlying muscle is hard, as if designed to protect against the defensive blows of rivals and prey.

White Lion1.jpg

My new friend is a white lion from a group found indigenously in the Timbavati area of South Africa. White lions — of Siegfried & Roy fame (and infamy) — possess a recessive gene related to albinism

Nice kitty.

Addendum: Mauritius is an example of multiculturalism that works. The island was under Dutch control until 1710 — hence its name taken from Prince Maurice van Nassau. The French held sway until 1810, when the British took control in the Napoleonic Wars. The Brits allowed the Mauritian people to keep the French language and much French law. The colony became an independent republic in 1968. Functionally, it seems that almost everyone is tri-lingual, speaking French, English and Mauritian Creole; and the large Indian-origin segment of the population speaks Hindi, too.

joseph young.jpgJoseph Young ‘45 served honorably as a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for 31 years. He earned his JD at UVA, and then he worked in private practice as a trial attorney. Among many other clients, he represented rioters accused of looting in the the April 1968 Baltimore riots. As a judge appointed by Richard Nixon he decided on lenient sentences for four men who described extortion by the administration of Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew — evidence that led to Agnew’s prosecution and to his resignation as Nixon’s Vice-President. He later found a pattern of racial discrimination in the Baltimore Fire Department, and ordered redress for years of bias. During that 1973 case, he received death threats. His most famous trial involved the prosecution for taking kickbacks of Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson. The case attracted national attention in revealing deep and thoroughgoing corruption in the Maryland state government, and Young condemned Anderson to five years in jail, an unprecedented sentence.

However, Young stands out for me for events that took place years prior to his work as a lawyer and judge — in March of 1945. An infantry man in WWII, he was one of the first soldiers to cross the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine at Remagen.

Young and his comrades were ordered over the bridge despite fears that it might be blown up at any moment by the Germans. The structure was still defended by Wehrmacht machine gunners in its support towers, and it was larded with demolition charges. However the prize warranted the risk — it was the only bridge over the 300-yard-wide Rhine that American troops would be able to secure during the war — and in seizing it on the run, dismantling German explosive charges as they moved forward, Young, his comrades, and the U.S. military accomplished one of America’s greatest feats of arms, an action that shortened the war and saved many lives. For his exploit, Young received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for “his continuous reconnaissance reports from behind the lines after having been wounded.”

Remagen Bridge.jpg

Young died last Saturday at the age of 92, seventy years and one week after he sprinted under fire across the bridge at Remagen. His survivors include his wife of 67 years, the former Doris Oliver.

Addendum: The large clouds of smoke in the picture of the Ludendorff Bridge above are the explosions of German artillery rounds as the Wehrmacht sought desperately to destroy the vital bridge.

Addendum: Wikipedia reports that “the [Remagen] crossing was only 18 kilometers (11 mi) north of where Caesar had first crossed the Rhine in 55 BC.” and that the American troops who set foot on the east bank of the Rhine on March 7, 1945 were the first foreign troops to so since the time of Napoleon.

We have a good class, but it was a special moment to see one member, Peter Robinson ‘79 (host of the Hoover Institution/WSJ webcast “Uncommon Knowledge” and author of Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev” speech) interview another classmate, an erstwhile venture capitalist who has set up an original and important organization: Jim Hake ‘79, founder of Spirit of America, a social entrepreneurial venture designed to help U.S. troops overseas assist and establish relationships with local people. Jim’s organization gives American soldiers the means to establish and equip schools; and provide medicine, clothing, sports equipment and productive items like sewing machines. It even puts schools in overseas theaters in contact with American high schools. In short, his outfit is a venture capitalist for the entrepreneurial projects proposed by American troops on the ground. Not only do these efforts improve the lives of local people, but the trust generated in new-found relationships allows American troops to gather important, sometimes life-saving intelligence about enemy forces.

Joining Peter and Jim in their discussion is Marine Corps four-star General Jim Mattis (ret.), who talks about the armed forces’ twin missions of inspiration and intimidation. Mattis visited the College in July of 2013.

According to the Spirit of America website, Jim is:

…a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an Honorary Member of the US Army Civil Affairs Regiment. He has lectured on entrepreneurship at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, the SMU Cox School of Business and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. He has given talks at the TED Conference, the Aspen Institute, the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. See Jim’s TED talk here.

Jim received a BA and graduated with distinction in Economics from Dartmouth College. He earned an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Addendum: A longtime reader and friend of Dartblog writes in:

In case you have not watched it, Peter Robinson did a companion solo interview with General Jim Mattis on the nature of war (in general) and today’s unconventional war against radical Islam/jihadism (in particular). I found it fascinating and articulate. I learned a lot, and it demonstrates the level of big-picture awareness, historical reflection and personal concern that occurs among the best military people.

Mike Mastanduno1.jpgThis space has never had much enthusiasm for Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno, and Phil’s decision to keep him on for two years after his five-year term runs out this June strikes me as a weak compromise. After all, there have been few, if any, notable academic initiatives over the past half-decade, and as regular readers know, the College continues to hemorrhage top faculty members (here, here, here and here). Mike is a nice guy with a sense of humor, but he is not getting the job done. Will things improve? Not if Mastanduno spends time on a radio program:

SiriusXM Comp.jpg

What the heck is the point of this activity? PR for the College? An effort to take Mastanduno out of the loop? Just how is this kind of thing going to improve Dartmouth? After all, it’s not like Mike has time on his hands these days. There are existing faculty members to support, and great new ones to attract.

Let’s just stare in wonder and ask who approved this silly waste of time.

Addendum: The Dartmouth Now announcement of the radio show includes this inspiring picture of Mike:

Mike Mastanduno2.jpg

Addendum: A former administrator writes in to provide some background on Dartmouth Broadcasting, even if he wonders why the Dean of the Faculty has decided to spend his time one the air:

The photo of Mike Mastanduno in your Dartbog post this morning was taken in Dartmouth Broadcasting’s studios in Robinson Hall. That Dartmouth is the first Ivy to forge such a relationship with Sirius represents a big win for Dartmouth Broadcasting, which is probably the most successful student organization on campus, if the multiple awards that it has received in recent years from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters — in direct competition with its commercial competitors, including many with nationwide network affiliations — is used as the measuring yardstick.

Rescued from financial near-death and efforts to put it on-the-chopping-block to save money during the days of the Wright and Kim administrations, Dartmouth Broadcasting has thrived under the leadership of its full-time Director, Heath Cole, its active and engaged Student Directorate, and a supportive alumni Board of Overseers. Financially independent of the College, Dartmouth Broadcasting funds its solid six-figure annual operating budget from the revenue it generates from local and national advertisers: Entrepreneurship 101. If managed well, its new Sirius connection could be valuable for both the faculty involved and the College, since, in the media business, the value is all in the content, and at Dartmouth great content is created and delivered every day. Although virtually all of it now vanishes into the ether, if this show redirects and preserves only some of it, it is a big deal. Where is Harvard, Princeton, Yale? Not on your car radio nationwide….

The U.S. News grad schools rankings are out, and while the College’s PR people might say nice things about our grad schools, both Geisel and Thayer are a long way out of the running among the Ivies. Only Tuck acquits itself well, with a ranking that I’d consider unfairly low, given the fine ├ęsprit de corps that rules at the bottom of Tuck Mall.

U.S. News 2016 grad school rankings Comp.jpg

To give you some sense of context regarding Thayer’s position, the two engineering schools tied ahead of Thayer with a #59 ranking are SUNY-Buffalo and UMass-Amherst. Yearly in-state tuition at UMass-Amherst is $2,640 and out-of-state is $9,937; the corresponding numbers at SUNY-Buffalo are $10,370 and $20,190. Last year, equivalent tuition at Thayer was $48,120.

Regarding Dartmouth’s med school, the administration is rushing to unwind Jim Kim’s pie-in-the-sky financial commitments. As with so many things, there was a disconnect between Kim’s ambition and his ability to get things done. The plans that our departed President put into place would have eventually bled Dartmouth dry.

Addendum: Tuck fares better in other rankings. The Economist placed it in the #2 position last October.



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