Table of Contents       





programs recorded prior to 2007 may be found in the Index

2007 2007

Francine du Plessix Gray 

Style and Substance

A certain madness seems to haunt the fashion trades. Francine du Plessix Gray achieved "sanity and balance" by virtue of the extended family, her tribe, which raised her. The contrast to her mother and step-father is striking.

Writer Francine du Plessix Gray has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker for decades. Ms. Gray is author of many noteworthy books. In Them: A Memoir of Parents, she recalls her parents: mother, Tatiana Iacovleff du Plessix Liberman, fashion icon in New York in the 1950s (“Tatiana of Saks”) and muse to the Russian poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky; step-father, Alexander Liberman who presided over the Condé Nast publishing empire for 4 decades and was a well-known artist; and her blood father, Bertrand du Plessix, a French diplomat who died fighting for the Free French during the Second World War. Ms. Gray’s At Home with the Marquis De Sade, was on the Pulitzer Prize short-list.

[December 22 — December 29]

Simon Schama  

Promises of Freedom

Who owns the notion of "freedom"? In the British cultural tradition, was it John Stuart Mills or Thomas Jefferson? Simon Schama says that discovering where custody lies requires a detour from the traditional stories about the American Revolution.

Simon Schama is an historian, author, critic and broadcaster. He is the bestselling, prizewinning author of Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution, Rembrandt’s Eyes, The Embarrassment of Riches, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution and more. Dr. Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. “A History of Britain,” his 15-part television series, was nominated for an Emmy and has two companion volumes; his BBC/PBS 8-part series, “The Power of Art,” is also accompanied by a book. Since 1994, he has provided art criticism and cultural essays for the New Yorker, and regularly contributes to New Republic, Guardian and the New York Review of Books.

[December 15 — December 22]

Aminatta Forna  

The Stories of Existence

Women’s work in Africa includes preserving stories from cultures predating both Islam and Christianity. Aminatta Forna’s prize-winning books, grounded in her own European-African heritage, place her in the forefront of an ancient line of story-tellers illumining past, present and future. In the upper latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, spiritual celebrations timed to the winter solstice are prevelant. In lower latitudes, the timing and manifestations of celebrations is different.

Aminatta Forna’s The Devil That Danced on the Water focused on her African-Scottish family, including her father’s execution for defending democracy as Sierra Leone’s Finance Minister in the 1970s. Now her Ancestor Stones resurrects ancient African culture and stories. A former BBC reporter, Ms. Forna is a full time writer, sharing her time between London and her native Sierra Leone, where she and her father's family have created a school and a cashew plantation.

[December 8 — December 15]

Robert A.G. Monks  

Corpocracy:  Failures of Trust

Corporations now are so powerful they threaten democracy and capitalism itself, says Robert A.G. Monks, author of Corpocracy. A true capitalist-insider, Mr. Monks is the world’s leading “shareholder activist”. What to do? Enforce existing laws, he says. Here’s how.

Robert A.G. Monks is a shareholder activist, lawyer, businessman and author of Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World's Greatest Wealth Machine -- And How to Get It Back. He’s founded a number of investment funds and asset management companies; started Institutional Shareholder Services, Trucost, and The Corporate Library; served on the board of a dozen publicly-held companies; headed Boston Trust; and held several influential government positions in the Reagan Administration.

[December 1— December 8]

Alan Wallace  

Happiness — a Science of Mind

It's time for a new science of the mind, says Alan Wallace. That science, he says, will allow us to explore and build on our own internal resources and to create "genuine happiness."

Alan Wallace is ascholar of science, Buddhist teacher and practitioner. With degrees in physics and the philosophy of science from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Stanford University, Dr. Wallace spent 14 years training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He was ordained by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Dr. Wallace's several influential books include Genuine Happiness: Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment. He founded and is President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and is on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of the Mind & Life Institute.

[November 26— December 1]

Susan Faludi   

Myths, Lies & 9/11

For more than 6 years, American Media and American politicians have applied a myth to the events of 9/11 and their aftermath, says Susan Faludi.   The myth is one of American invincibility, macho men, damsels in distress and redemption through violence.  The archetypal hero is John Wayne in John Ford's archetypal movie The Searchers. Rather than face the truth, Americans have sought comfort in a corrupted myth.  By avoiding and supressing the truth, we've taken actions based on false premises and lies.

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and cultural observer. In her book The Terror Dream, Ms. Faludi analyzes the roots of and antidotes for fear and fantasy in post-9/11 America. Her 1990s books Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics circle Award for Nonfiction, and Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man were best-sellers. Formerly a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, other publications for which Ms. Faludi has written include The New Yorker and The Nation, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

[November 18 — November 26]

Ann Harrington  

Minds, Bodies and Stories

Stories are more powerful than we can possibly imagine, knitting our bodies to our cultures. We may be on the verge of a long-awaited story with which to stitch our communities back together in entirely new ways. Noted historian of science Anne Harrington…tells the story.

Historian of science Anne Harrington is author of The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine. Specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience and other mind sciences, Dr. Harrington is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard, Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, co-directs Harvard's "Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative” and was a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions. She serves on the Board of the Mind & Life Institute.

[November 11 — November 17]

John Eidinow  

Celebrity Dustups

Each of John Eidinow's three books are about "a knock-down, drag-out struggle between men of enormous, of supreme, talent," between a genius and someone considered quite normal. And then the surprises begin along with the search for elusive truths.

John Eidinow is a journalist. He and David Edmonds have co-authored three books exploring the stories behind “celebrity dustups”: Rousseau's Dog (David Hume & Jean-Jacques Rousseau); Bobby Fischer Goes to War (chess-masters Fischer & Boris Spassky); and international best-seller Wittgenstein's Poker (Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper). Mr. Eidinow was and Mr. Edmonds is with the BBC, both have won many awards for their work.

[November 3 — November 10]

Daniel Silva   

Who's Running America

America must confront the ideological hatred pouring out of the Middle East -- particularly Saudi Arabia and Wahabbism – if it is to win its war against terrorisms, says Daniel Silva. In The Messenger and this conversation, Mr. Silva makes the reality intriguingly clear, using fiction.

Daniel Silva is international intrigue novelist. With The Messenger, Mr. Silva adds another best-seller to his long list of widely admired suspense novels. In it, he exposes the powerful connections between Saudi Arabia's rulers and the U.S. government; Israel, terror and puritanical fundamentalists; oil and money. Often favorably compared with John le Carré and Graham Green, Mr. Silva's carefully researched stories have been translated into more than two dozen languages and published around the world. Mr. Silva is a former reporter trained and experienced in international relations and is strongly connected to the power elite in Washington, D.C., where he lives.

[October 27— November 3]

John Dean    

A Very Different Country

"They just need one more vote and then we have a very, very different country," says John Dean.  He's talking about the United States Supreme Court which he views as the most endangered of the three branches of the U.S. Government. There are serious problems with the legislative and judicial branches as well.  How did this come to pass?  For starters, Americans don't like being taken for suckers, so they don't vote and don't participate in the electoral process; and "process," Mr. Dean says, is at the heart of the solution.

Attorney and author, John Dean was a key “Watergate” witness. He is the author of Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. That book joins Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, and Conservatives Without Conscience to form a trilogy based on 40 years inside his “former tribe,” the Republican Party. Once White House legal counsel to President Richard Nixon, Mr. Dean wrote Blind Ambition in 1976. He had also served as chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and an associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice. Following a successful career as a corporate attorney, he is now a columnist for and lives in California.

[October 20 — October 27]

Arianna Huffington



Challenging Republican fearmongering, Ms. Huffington champions our better selves. She voices her outspoken criticism of the conservative politics she embraced, until its harsh realities intruded.

Ms. Huffington is a well-known syndicated columnist, television and radio commentator and author of 11 books including On Becoming Fearless. Her ““ is a highly regarded source of news and opinion in the Internet blogosphere. Growing up in Greece under “The Colonels”, Ms. Huffington was president of the famous debating society at Cambridge University, from which she graduated, and is the mother of two teen-aged daughters.

[October 13 — October 20]

Kevin Baker



Good fiction often helps us better understand the context and complexity of history and of places.  “That turbulent, bloody little patch of America“ is one way Kevin Baker characterizes New York City, one of “the most fought over place in the history of the United States.“ He brings to life The City and its history in this conversation and in his City of Fire trilogy, which concludes with Strivers Row — World War II Harlem from the perspective of a young Malcolm X.

Kevin Baker, a writer, editor and walking encyclopedia on New York City, was the chief historical researcher on The American Century written by (Sir) Harold Evans.  Mr. Baker writes a monthly column for American Heritage magazine, and, among others, has written for The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Frankfurter Rundschau and Harper's Magazine. Naturally he lives in New York City with his wife, Ellen Abrams (also a writer), and Stella, their cat.

[October 6 — October 13]

Robin Meyers


Dignified Indignance

The damage to America's political and spiritual body becomes more manifest each day, and increases. For decades, our core values have been under sustained attack by religious and political fundamentalists, authoritarians who are hostile to the Constitution and to America's people. Anger toward these fundamentalists is self-consuming, says Robin Meyers. "Indignation means you're feeling something on behalf of someone else to whom an injustice has been done. Indignation is really a righteous thing and it is a holy thing."

Robin Meyers is a minister and peace activist. Author of Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future, Rev. Dr. Meyers is a United Church of Christ minister in Oklahoma City. He writes a regular newspaper column and for The Christian Century and is a professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University.

[September 29 — October 6]

Claudine André


Sanctuary: a Love Story


There are five great ape species: bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans. Excluding the latter (arguably), all are threatened with extinction in the wild. With courage, tenacity and love, Claudine André has worked since 1994 in the Congo to save bonobos. Starting with orphaned baby bonobos (frequently their parents were victims of the bush-meat trade) Mme. André has built a community of 52 bonobos.

Claudine André is the founder/president of Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo (The Friends of Bonobos in Congo). Bonobos -- one of humanity's closest living relative, once known as pygmy chimpanzees -- are indigenous only in the Congo. In the midst of Congo's devastating civil war in the early 1990s, Mme André began rescuing orphaned Bonobos and has now created Lola Ya Bonobo ("paradise of the bonobo" in Lingala,) a sanctuary for a growing number of orphaned and adult Bonobos just outside Kinshasa.

[September 22 — September 29]

Frank Partnoy



"Wall Street's been bilking Main Street for a long time," says Frank Partnoy. As a former investment banker Mr. Partnoy knows how. Whether it's your investments, your retirement or your home, caveat emptor remains the rule. The current problem which started with America's sub-prime mortgage loans and spread to global financial markets is only the latest example.

Frank Partnoy is a lawyer, former investment banker and now teaches at the University of San Diego School of Law. Mr. Partnoy was a Wall Street trader at Morgan Stanley before writing his books, F.I.A.S.C.O. and Infectious Greed. In these books, Partnoy exposes the dark side of today's financial and political world. Shedding light on secret deals your broker and pension fund manager do not want you to know about, Mr. Partnoy explains profoundly disturbing financial practices which impact everyone in today's entire global economy.

[September 15 — September 22]

Peter Galbraith


Incompetents:  Faith-Based Foreign Policy

Failures of intelligence and planning virtually assured that the American adventure in Iraq would fail according to Peter Galbraith. He says that partition of some type into Shia, Sunni and Kurdish dominated regions is one of the likely results.

Peter Galbraith is a foreign policy expert and former U.S. Ambassador. The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End is Mr. Galbraith's first-hand account of Bush Administration "arrogance and ignorance" in foreign policy, particularly in Iraq. A 23 year veteran of government service, Mr. Galbraith served as professional staff to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was the first U.S. Ambassador to Croatia and is currently the Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. He contributes regularly to The New York Review of Books.

[September 8 — September 15]

Amory Lovins


Hyper Efficient

America's thoughtless and wasteful use of energy is dangerous. Damage to the global climate, toxic air and acute dependence on anti-democratic and hostile nations are the consequences. Amory Lovins says effective responses to these dangers are readily available if only we get out of our political ruts and develop the will to embrace the solutions.

Amory Lovins is co-founder and CEO (Research), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI); Chairman of the Board of Hypercar, Inc., an ultra-light hybrid automobile. A pioneer known world-wide for his ideas about alternative resource production and use, Mr. Lovins' publications include Natural Capitalism, co-authored with Paul Hawken and L.Hunter Lovins. Mr. Lovins' work across public and private sectors promoting more effective uses of and innovations in resource generation and conservation has generated many major awards around the world. RMI celebrated its 25th anniversary in August.

[September 1 — September 8]

Lassi Heininen


Lost and Found

As the polar icecap melts, interest in exploiting the far North for transportation and energy has intensified. Nationalist rhetoric has followed. Finnish scientist Lassi Heininen takes a larger view, looking for cooperation rather than conflict, suggesting their is much we can learn from the indigenous people of the region.

Dr. Heininen is a senior faculty member and Political Scientist at the University of Lapland. He is also Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Northern Research Forum, and is a leader in studying the issues, concerns and promise of the 8 nations who comprise the Circumpolar North.

[August 25 — September 1]

Doris Kearns Goodwin


The Sovereign People

Did Abraham Lincoln lead America into and through its Civil War to save the Union or to assure the Emancipation of America's slaves? Doris Kearns Goodwin says it was an even bigger idea: to demonstrate that ordinary people can govern themselves and to maintain America's role as a beacon to the world. The struggle is ongoing.

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a narrative historian. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time focused on Franklin Delano Roosevelt during Word War II, Ms. Goodwin adds the remarkable Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln to her bestseller Wait Till Next Year, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. She has for many years brought her historical perspective and analyses to television audiences and now serves as an NBC-TV news analyst. In addition, she lectures around the world.

[August 18— August 25]

Alexandra Fuller


Lost and Found

When you create soldiers, they are your responsibility forever, Alexandra Fuller says.  By telling a soldier's story, she shows the weight of those responsibilities and the dangers of treating them lightly.

Ms. Fuller is a writer. Born in 1969, she grew up White in apartheid Rhodesia as members of her family fought on the losing side of the war from which Zimbabwe emerged. She retraces her experiences in the midst of that war in her best-selling memoirs: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight in which she recreates her childhood in Rhodesia, Malawi and Zambia; she describes her adult confrontation with racism and war in Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier. Ms. Fuller is also published widely in newspapers and magazines including The New Yorker and National Geographic. She lives with her husband and children in Wyoming.

[August 11 — August 18]

Karin Ryan


Torture is Bad for People and Nations

America's use torture, indefinite detentions, murder and denial of the right to habeus corpus has undermined American credibility and damaged the work of human rights activist all over the world, says Karin Ryan.

Karin Ryan is a human rights activist. Joining The Carter Center's Human Rights Program in 1988, Ms. Ryan has assisted former U.S. President Jimmy and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter on a range of issues, from personal interventions regarding urgent human rights abuses to addressing generally abusive policies and practices. Ms. Ryan has represented the Center in many international negotiations including on the International Criminal Court. She has worked with the U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) and participated in election observations. Her special interest is in conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she has lived.

[August 4 — August 11]

Jonathan Rauch


Gay Marriage

What America needs is more marriages, not fewer, says Jonathan Rauch; which is why he encourages his conservative friends to support gay marriage.

Jonathan Rauch is a reporter, author and gay marriage advocate. The author of Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, Mr. Rauch's previous books have been on public policy, culture and economics. Also a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and a senior writer for the prestigious National Journal, Mr. Rauch reports for a wide range of major publications and is writer in resident at the Brookings Institution. He has served as vice president of the Independent Gay Forum.

[July 28 — August 4]

Christine Loh  


Changing China

A decade has gone by since Hong Kong was returned to the control of the Peoples' Republic of China. Opting for optimism about the future, activist Christine Loh argues that Hong Kong serves as a laboratory for the whole of China.

Christine Loh is a Hong Kong activist. After a successful career in the private sector, Ms. Loh was active in Hong Kong politics, helping shape the public debate as power was transferred from Great Britain to China, and having been appointed, was then elected to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. An advocate for democratic reform as well as an international voice for sustainable environmental policies, Ms. Loh left electoral politics to found and direct "Civic Exchange," an independent public policy think-tank.

[July 21 — July 28]

Kevin Phillips  


American Trinity:  Religion/Oil/Debt

As American policy in Iraq unravels, Kevin Phillips points to a set of deeper more systemic problems.  America's "empire" is threated by the influence of religious fundamentalist, by dependence on oil and by growing and unsustainable debt.

Kevin Phillips is a political and economic analyst. In American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, Mr. Phillips articulates America's current volatile circumstances with devastating comparisons to prior economic empires. A former Republican strategist, Mr. Phillips first became known for The Emerging Republican Majority in the late '60s. He has subsequently written more than a dozen highly regarded books, including bestsellers American Dynasty, The Politics of Rich and Poor and Wealth and Democracy. He writes for the Los Angeles Times, Harper's Magazine and Time.

[July 14 — July 21]

Nick Bryant


... BBC reporter & author. Author of The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality, Mr. Bryant currently covers South Asia for the BBC. He holds a M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. Mr. Bryant is based in New Delhi, India, and Sydney, Australia.

[July 7 — July 14]

Andrew Weil


  . . .  clinical professor of medicine and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being is Dr. Weil’s 11th book. Others having addressed subjects from The Healthy Kitchen (with Rosie Daley) to natural medicine, spontaneous healing and a revolutionary approach to the drug problem. He writes “Self Healing,” a monthly newsletter, makes his ideas available at and supplements his ideas about aging at He graduated from Harvard Medical School.

[June 30 — July 7]

Paul Hawken


... pioneering environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist and author, Mr. Hawken is one of the world’s foremost environmental leaders, having spent his life putting his commitment to justice into action. Starting his activism in Selma, AL, when he was 19 years old, he has founded multiple businesses including Smith&Hawken and now heads the Natural Capital Institute . He is an widely sought speaker internationally, has contributed to and appeared in countless media outlets, has written international classics include The Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism (with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins), and Growing a Business, which Mr. Hawken also took to television. He calls California home.

[June 23 — June 30]

Leonard Susskind


  . . .  physicist. In The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, Dr. Susskind offers non-specialists access to ideas he (and, independently, two others) discovered in 1969. Dr. Susskind's further contributions to theoretical physics span over 40 years, from quantum optics, elementary-particle physics, condensed-matter physics and cosmology to gravitation, from quark confinement to baryogenesis, and from the Principle of Black Hole Complementarity to the Holographic Principle. Before studying engineering at City College of New York and earning his PhD at Cornell, he was a plumber and steam fitter in his native South Bronx. Since 1978, he has been Professor of Physics at Stanford.

[June 16 — June 23]

Sy Montgomery


  ... naturalist, explorer and writer. The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, a best-seller, focuses on the importance of family and home as Ms. Montgomery continues in her quest to give humans a better understanding of our deep connections to all life. Her books for adults include Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Spell of the Tiger and Search for the Golden Moon Bear; for children the award-winning The Snake Scientist, The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans, The Tarantula Scientist and Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. Also a newspaper columnist, documentary scriptwriter and radio commentator, she and her husband, writer Howard Mansfield, make their home in New Hampshire.

[June 9 — June 16]

Mia Bloom


  . . . political scientist. As acts of terror grab headlines and influence domestic and foreign policy, worldwide, Dr. Bloom analyzes the current international environment, what can be learned from the past and actions that might have positive influence on the future in Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror. She is assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, a consultant to the New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has appeared on PBS, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Fox News.

[June 2 — June 9]

John Hope Franklin


  ... distinguished historian. Among the United States' preeminent historians, Dr. Franklin is an American historian and scholar. Also a life-long activist, Dr. Franklin was awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his enduring commitment to civil rights. His autobiography, Mirror to America, written at age 90 combines his experience as an African-American with his professional assessment of America's 20th century fight for civil rights. Earning his PhD at Harvard in 1941, Dr. Franklin is now Duke University's James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History. He served his profession as President of all three of its major historical associations, has countless awards from around the world and chaired the advisory board to President Clinton's Initiative on Race.

[May 26 — June 2]

Reza Aslan


  . . . scholar of comparative religions and writer. Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam, Reza Aslan has studied religions at Santa Clara and Harvard Universities and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Born in Iran and a thorough-going Californian, in addition to earning an MFA in fiction from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa, he was visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies there. "USA Today," "U.S. News & World Report" and "The Chronicle of Higher Education" have all published profiles of him.

[May 19 — May 26]

Thomas Laird


    ... journalist. The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama is the result of 60 hours of intense conversation between this veteran journalist and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. The remarkable Mr. Laird was based in Katmandu for thirty years, was Nepal correspondent for Asiaweek for a decade and a regular contributor to Time and Newsweek. The author of three additional books, Mr. Laird's photography has appeared in two books and more than fifty magazines. He now divides his time between Kathmandu and New Orleans.

[May 12 — May 19]

Sandra Mackey


. . . Middle East observer, author, commentator. This widely respected journalist has covered the Middle East since the oil boom of the 1970s.  Her books focus on the Arab world, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq (The Reckoning) and Saudi Arabia (The Saudis.) Ms. Mackey has written hundreds of articles for the "New York Times," "Los Angeles Times," "Wall Street Journal," "Chicago Tribune," "Christian Science Monitor," and "Washington Post," and she is a frequent commentator on the Middle East for CNN, "Nightline," "ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings," the BBC, CBS, NPR and Monitor Radio.

[May 5 — May 12]

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