FYI August 18, 2017


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1848 – Camila O’Gorman and Ladislao Gutierrez are executed on the orders of Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas.
Maria Camila O’Gorman Ximénez (1827/1828 – 18 August 1848) was a 19th century Argentine socialite executed over a scandal involving her relationship with a Roman Catholic priest. She was 20 years old and eight months pregnant when she and Father Ladislao Gutiérrez faced a firing squad.[1]

Biography
Camila was born in Merced, Buenos Aires, the youngest daughter of Adolfo O’Gorman y Perichón Vandeuil, and his wife, Joaquina Ximénez Pinto. She was the second-to-last of six children in an upper-class family of mixed Irish, French and Spanish descent. Typical of powerful families in Argentina’s post-colonial era, two of her brothers went on to pursue reputable careers. One as an ordained priest of the Jesuit Order, and the other as a police officer and the eventual founder of the Buenos Aires Police Academy.[2]

She was also the granddaughter of Ana Perichon de O’Gorman (1776-1847), renowned lover of the Viceroy of the La Plata Santiago de Liniers, First Count of Buenos Aires. As the first British invasion occurred, Liniers was part of the defence of Buenos Aires. For heroic actions in defence of the city, Santiago de Liniers was appointed Military Governor of Buenos Aires, and Perichon de O’Gorman became the unofficial first lady. Her importance and power led to accusations intended to discredit her, including allegations that she was a spy for the French or the English. After Liniers died in 1810 she retired to a quieter life with her sons and died peacefully in 1847, at the age of 72.[citation needed]

In 1847 Argentina was governed by Juan Manuel de Rosas, a General of the Argentine Army and a politician. Rosas governed the Argentine Confederation by decree from 1829-52. Camila was considered a pillar of polite society, a close friend and confidante of Rosas’ daughter, Manuelita, and a frequent guest at the Governors Residence. In her late teens, Camila was introduced to Father Ladislao Gutiérrez, a Jesuit priest who had attended seminary with her brother.

At the time, the Society of Jesus was the only institution within Argentina’s Catholic Church which continued to speak out against Rosas’ police state tactics. This led Rosas to later banish the Jesuits from Argentina. Father Gutiérrez came from a similar background; his uncle was the Provincial Governor of Tucumán, Celedonio Gutiérrez. Father Gutiérrez had been assigned as the parish priest of Nuestra Señora del Socorro (Our Lady of Relief) and was frequently invited to the O’Gorman family’s estate. They soon began a clandestine affair.

They escaped in December 1847 and settled in Goya, Corrientes Province, where they set up the town’s first school and posed as a married couple under false names. Corrientes was at the time under the control of Benjamín Virasoro, a warlord hostile to Rosas. As the scandal broke, Adolfo O’Gorman sent a letter to Rosas accusing Gutierrez of having seduced Camila, “under the guise of religion”. Adolfo described himself and his family as heartbroken and pleaded that his daughter be rescued from the man he accused of having kidnapped her.[3]

Rosas’ exiled political opponents, and future President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento declared that Rosas was responsible for the moral corruption of Argentine womanhood. Camila and Ladislao were recognised by an Irish priest, Fr. Michael Gannon. Among others, Father Anthony Fahy and lawyer Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield “demanded an exemplary punishment of the wayward daughter that was also giving the industrious and well-regarded [Irish] community a bad name”.[4]

The couple was abducted from Corrientes Province and returned to Buenos Aires. Camila claimed she had initiated her relationship with Gutierrez and insisted on their elopement, angrily denying rumors that she had been raped. From Buenos Aires, Rosas had given strict orders – the fugitives were to be sent to the prison of Santos Lugares (today San Andrés, General San Martín, Buenos Aires Province) in separate carriages – as indicated by Foreign Relations Minister Felipe Arana in his warrant of arrest.[4]

Before reaching their final destination, Camila wrote to Manuelita Rosas, with the hope that she might persuade her father into granting clemency. Manuelita replied to her friend’s letter, promising to help. Manuelita optimistically furnished a cell in a nearby Convent with a piano and books. However, Rosas denied his daughter’s pleas and replied that this case, “needs a show of my undisputed power, as the moral values and sacred religious norms of a whole society are at stake”. At the time, Rosas had removed the administration of justice from the courts and taken it upon himself. As per protocol, he signed a decree ordering the executions.[citation needed]

Immediately after arriving to the prison, according to Canon Law, Father Castellanos, the prison chaplain, visited Camila’s cell and baptised her unborn baby. This consisted of Camila drinking holy water and placing consecrated ashes on her forehead. The next morning, 18 August 1848, O’Gorman and Gutiérrez were taken to the courtyard, tied to chairs, and blindfolded. Rosas accepted full responsibility for the execution, and said nobody had made any plea on behalf of the couple, overlooking the pleas of his own daughter, Manuelita. Many documents have survived, including a letter from Adolfo O’Gorman to Rosas, demanding “exemplary punishment for the most atrocious and unheard of event in this country”.[5]

A book published in 1883, many years after the event, by Antonino Reyes, who had served Rosas for 14 years and was his aide-de-camp, secretary, Sergeant Major, and Chief of Police at Santos Lugares Prison. Reyes was so moved that he decided not to witness the executions and out of compassion ordered both bodies to be placed in the same coffin. Only then did he write to Rosas and inform him that his orders had been carried out. In the aftermath of their deaths, both friends and enemies of Rosas claimed to be appalled by the cruel and senseless execution, including Sarmiento and his fellow Unitarios, and wrote about it using terms such as “the beautiful girl”, “the doomed couple” and “the repression of love”. Camila was 20 years old and eight months pregnant with an illegitimate child. Father Gutiérrez was 24 years old.[1][4]

 
 
 
 

1911 – Klara Dan von Neumann, Hungarian computer scientist and programmer (d. 1963)
Klára (Klari) Dán von Neumann (18 August 1911 – 10 November 1963) was a scientist, and a pioneer computer programmer.

Life
Klara was born in Budapest, Hungary on August 18, 1911 to Károly – Karl Dán and Camila Stadler, a wealthy Jewish family[2][3][4]. Her father had previously served in the Austro-Hungarian Army as an officer during World War I, and the family moved to Vienna to escape Bela Kun. Once the regime was overthrown, the family moved back to Budapest. Her family was wealthy, and often held parties where Klara would meet many different people from various stations in life. At 14, Klara became a national champion in figure skating.[3] She attended Veres Pálné Gimnázium in Budapest and graduated in 1929.[5] She married Ferenc Engel in 1931 and Andor Rapoch in 1936.[6] Klara had previously met John von Neumann during one of his return trips to Budapest prior to the outbreak of World War II.[7] When von Neumann’s first marriage ended in a divorce, Klara divorced Rapoch and married von Neumann in 1938 and emigrated to the United States. She became head of the Statistical Computing Group at Princeton University in 1963, and moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1946 to work on the MANIAC I as a computer programmer.[5] After von Neumann’s death, Klara married Carl Eckart in 1958 and moved to La Jolla, California. She died in 1963 when she drove from her home in La Jolla to the beach and walked into the surf and drowned. The San Diego coroner’s office listed her death as a suicide.[3][8]

Career
Klara was one of the world’s first computer programmers and coders. She helped solve mathematical problems using computer code.[9] Klara wrote the code used on the MANIAC machine developed by John von Neumann and Julian Bigelow at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.[10] She was also involved in the design of new controls for ENIAC and was one of its primary programmers.[11][12] She taught early weather scientists how to program.[13] Klára wrote the preface to John von Neumann’s posthumously published, influential Silliman Lectures,[14] later edited and published by Yale University Press as “The Computer and the Brain”.[15] She features significantly in computing historian George Dyson’s book, Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe.

 
 
 
 

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FYI August 17, 2017


1549 – Battle of Sampford Courtenay: The Prayer Book Rebellion is quashed in England.

Battle of Sampford Courtenay
The Battle of Sampford Courtenay was one of the chief military engagements in the Western Rebellion of 1549.

Preparations
By mid August 1549, Humphrey Arundell, the leader of the rebel troops, regrouped his forces at Sampford Courtenay, Devon, when he received a promise from Winchester[clarification needed] that 1,000 men would join his force. This would be the site of the fifth and final battle of the Prayer Book Rebellion. Unknown to Arundell was that there was a traitor in his camp – his own secretary John Kessell, who had been supplying intelligence of Arundell’s movements and plans to President of the Council of the West, John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, from the start.

Russell was under the impression that the rebels from Devon and Cornwall had been defeated already and the news interrupted his plans to send 1,000 men into the South West by ship to cut off his enemy’s retreat. His own forces had been further strengthened by the arrival of a force under Provost Marshal Sir Anthony Kingston. He now had an army of more than 8,000, vastly outnumbering what remained of his opposition.[1]

Russell moved his forces out on 16 August, camping overnight at Crediton. On the next morning, scouts from both sides bumped into each other, resulting in a skirmish and the capture of a Cornish captain named Maunder.

With the 1,000 men from Winchester failing to materialise, the main force of the rebel army had dug in on high ground just outside Sampford Courtenay, while a detachment led by Humphrey Arundell waited in the village itself. They knew that this was to be their last stand and the rebels were on their own against Russell’s army, which outnumbered them greatly.

Events of the battle and its aftermath
Lord Russell opted for a three-pronged approach. Heavy divisions led by Lord Grey and Sir William Herbert stormed the rebel encampment, while Russell himself would follow behind. This was not as simple as Russell had envisaged: the rebel camp being more strongly manned than he had thought. A vicious gun battle, lasting roughly an hour, gave time for Russell’s two other divisions to make their move. One consisted of the Italian arquebusiers under Spinola, the other being the German Landsknechte. With almost the entire government force ranged against them, the rebels withdrew into the village where they came under heavy bombardment.

Once again, the battle might have been won for the Cornish and West Devonians had they possessed any cavalry.

Contemporary Exeter historian John Hooker wrote that the rebel army would not surrender until most of their number had been slain or captured. Lord John Russell was quoted that his army had killed between five and six hundred enemy and his pursuit of the rebel retreat killed a further seven hundred.[2]

The Devon men made a vain attempt to find safety in Somerset but, one by one, they were caught and mostly hanged, drawn and quartered by troops led by Sir Peter Carew and Sir Hugh Paulet. The Cornishmen headed for home but tried one final time to stand against Russell at Okehampton. Russell planned another attack but in the morning, he received news from the traitor, Kessell, that the Cornish forces had been decimated and that the remaining Cornishmen were now back across the River Tamar.

The Prayer Book Rebellion, Prayer Book Revolt, Prayer Book Rising, Western Rising or Western Rebellion (Cornish: Rebellyans an Lyver Pejadow Kebmyn) was a popular revolt in Devon and Cornwall in 1549. In that year, the Book of Common Prayer, presenting the theology of the English Reformation, was introduced. The change was widely unpopular – particularly in areas of still firmly Catholic religious loyalty (even after the Act of Supremacy in 1534) such as Lancashire.[1] Along with poor economic conditions, the enforcement of the English language liturgy led to an explosion of anger in Devon and Cornwall, initiating an uprising. In response, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset sent Lord John Russell with an army composed partly of German and Italian mercenaries to suppress the revolt.

Background
Cranmer’s Prayer book of 1549

One probable cause of the Prayer Book Rebellion is the religious changes recently implemented by the government of the new king, Edward VI. In the late 1540s, Lord Protector Somerset, on behalf of the young king, introduced a range of legislative measures as an extension of the Reformation in England and Wales, the primary aim being to change theology and practices, particularly in areas of traditionally Roman Catholic religious loyalty – for example, in Cornwall and Devon.[2]

When traditional religious processions and pilgrimages were banned, commissioners were sent out to remove all symbols of Catholicism, in line with Thomas Cranmer’s religious policies favouring Protestantism ever more. In Cornwall, this task was given to William Body, whose perceived desecration of religious shrines led to his murder on 5 April 1548, by William Kylter and Pascoe Trevian at Helston.[2]

This pressure on the lower classes was compounded by the recent poll tax on sheep.[3] This would have affected the region significantly, the West Country being an area of sheep farming.[4] Rumours circulating that the tax would be extended to other livestock may have increased the discontent.[5]

A damaged social structure then meant this local uprising was not sufficiently dealt with by landowners nearby. The Marquess of Exeter, a large landowner in Sampford Courtenay, had recently been attainted. His successor, Lord Russell, was based in London and rarely came out to his land. It is possible this created a lack of local power, that would have normally been expected to quell the revolt.[6]

It is possible that the roots of the rebellion can be traced back to Cornwall’s own ancient wish for independence from England, meaning they were loath to accept new laws from a central government geographically distant from them.[7] More recently, the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 and the subsequent destruction of monasteries from 1536 through to 1545 under King Henry VIII had brought an end to the formal scholarship, supported by the monastic orders, that had sustained the Cornish and Devonian cultural identities. The dissolution of Glasney College and Crantock College played a significant part in fomenting opposition to future cultural reforms. It has been argued that the Catholic Church had “proved itself extremely accommodating of Cornish language and culture” and that government attacks on the traditional religion had reawakened the spirit of defiance in Cornwall, and in particular the majority Cornish-speaking far west.[8]

Immediate retribution followed with the execution of twenty-eight Cornishmen at Launceston Castle. One execution of a “traitor of Cornwall” occurred on Plymouth Hoe—town accounts give details of the cost of timber for both gallows and poles. Martin Geoffrey, the pro-Catholic priest of St Keverne, near Helston, was taken to London. After Geoffrey’s execution, his head was impaled on a staff erected upon London Bridge as was customary.[2]

Sampford Courtenay and the immediate beginnings of the uprising
The new prayer book was not uniformly adopted, and in 1549 the Act of Uniformity made it unlawful to use the Latin liturgical rites from Whitsunday 1549 onwards. Magistrates were given the task of enforcing the change. Following the enforced change on Whitsunday, on Whitmonday the parishioners of Sampford Courtenay in Devon compelled their priest to revert to the old service. The rebels argued that the new English liturgy was “but lyke a Christmas game.” This claim was probably related to the book’s provision for men and women to file into the quire on different sides to receive the sacrament, which seemed to remind the Devon men of country dancing.[9] Justices arrived at the next service to enforce the change. An altercation at the service led to a proponent of the change (William Hellyons) being killed by being run through with a pitchfork on the steps of the church house.[10]

Following this confrontation a group of parishioners from Sampford Courtenay decided to march to Exeter to protest at the introduction of the new prayer book. As the group of rebels moved through Devon they gained large numbers of Catholic supporters and became a significant force. Marching east to Crediton, the Devon rebels laid siege to Exeter, demanding the withdrawal of all English liturgies. Although a number of the inhabitants in Exeter sent a message of support to the rebels, the city refused to open its gates. The gates were to stay closed because of the siege for over a month.[2]

“Kill all the gentlemen”

In Cornwall and Devon, the issue of the Book of Common Prayer proved to be the final indignation that the people could peaceably bear. To two decades of oppression were lately added two years of rampant inflation, in which wheat prices had quadrupled.[11] Along with the rapid enclosure of common lands, the attack on the Church, which was felt to be central to the rural community, led to an explosion of anger. In Cornwall, an army gathered at the town of Bodmin under the leadership of its mayor, Henry Bray, and two staunch Catholic landowners, Sir Humphrey Arundell of Helland and John Winslade of Tregarrick.[2]

Many of the gentry sought protection in old castles. Some shut themselves in St Michael’s Mount where they were besieged by the rebels, who started a bewildering smoke-screen by burning trusses of hay. This, combined with a shortage of food and the distress of women, forced them to surrender. Sir Richard Grenville found refuge in the ruins of Trematon Castle. Deserted by many of his followers, the old man was enticed outside to parley. He was seized and the castle ransacked. Sir Richard and his companions were imprisoned in Launceston gaol. The Cornish army then proceeded to march east across the Tamar border into Devon to join with the Devon rebels near Crediton.

The religious aims of the rebellion were highlighted in the slogan “Kill all the gentlemen and we will have the Six Articles up again, and ceremonies as they were in King Henry’s time.” However, it also implies a social cause (a view supported by historians such as Guy and Fletcher). That later demands included limiting the size of households belonging to the gentry – theoretically beneficial in a time of population growth and unemployment – possibly suggests an attack on the prestige of the gentry. Certainly such contemporaries as Thomas Cranmer took this view, condemning the rebels for deliberately inciting a class conflict by their demands: “to diminish their strength and to take away their friends, that you might command gentlemen at your pleasures”.[12] Protector Somerset himself saw dislike of the gentry as a common factor in all of the 1549 rebellions: “indeed all hath conceived a wonderful hate against the gentlemen and taketh them all as their enemies.”[13]

The Cornish rebels were also concerned with the use of the English language in the new prayer book. The language-map of Cornwall at this time is quite complicated, but philological studies have suggested that the Cornish language had been in territorial retreat throughout the Middle Ages.[14] Summarising these researches, Stoyle says that by 1450, the county was divided into three main linguistic blocs: “West Cornwall was inhabited by a population of Celtic descent, which was mostly Cornish speaking; the western part of East Cornwall was inhabited by a population of Celtic descent, which had largely abandoned the Cornish tongue in favor of English; and the eastern part of East Cornwall was inhabited by a population of Anglo-Saxon descent, which was entirely English speaking.”[8]

In any case, the West Cornish reacted badly to the introduction of English in the 1549 services. The eighth Article of the Demands of the Western Rebels states: “and so we the Cornyshe men (whereof certen of us understande no Englysh) utterly refuse thys newe English”.[15] Responding to this, however, Archbishop Cranmer asked why the Cornishmen should be offended by holding the service in English rather than Cornish, when they had before held it in Latin and not understood that.[2]

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1890 – Stefan Bastyr, Polish soldier and pilot (d. 1920)
Stefan Bastyr (17 August 1890 – 6 August 1920) was a Polish aviator and military pilot, one of the pioneers of the Polish aviation. He is credited with the first military flight in the history of the Polish Air Force on 5 November 1918, almost a week before Poland officially regained her independence, at the opening stages of the Polish-Ukrainian War.

Initially he was a military pilot in Austria-Hungary during World War I. From February 1916 he served as an observer in Flik 10 reconnaissance squadron on the eastern front, from December 1917 in Flik 12D on Austro-Italian front. In 1918 he himself trained as a pilot and was assigned to Flik 37P from June 1918. He undertook about 100 sorties during the war and scored at least 1 air victory on 4 June 1916.

In the Polish Air Force, he took part in the Battle of Lwów (1918). He died in an aircrash of Fokker D.VII in Lviv (probably due to a hear failure) during the Battle of Lwów (1920) and is buried at the Łyczaków cemetery in Lwów (modern Lviv).

 
 
 
 


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Emic Films introduces us to Wanda Diaz-Merced, an astrophysicist and computer scientist from Puerto Rico who studies the stars not through sight, but through sound. Despite losing her eyesight due to diabetes, she’s as passionate as anyone else in her field.

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F.D.R. Proposes a Second Bill of Rights: A Decent Job, Education & Health Care Will Keep Us Free from Despotism (1944) | Open Culture

It’s difficult to appraise the complicated legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt. His New Deal policies are credited for lifting millions out of destitution, and they created opportunities for struggling artists and writers, many of whom went on to become some of the country’s most celebrated.

F.D.R. Proposes a Second Bill of Rights: A Decent Job, Education & Health Care Will Keep Us Free from Despotism (1944) | Open Culture

FYI August 16, 2017


1 BC – Wang Mang consolidates his power and is declared marshal of state. Emperor Ai of Han, who had died the previous day, had no heirs.
Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽, c. 45 BC – 6 October 23 AD), courtesy name Jujun (巨君), was a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin (or Hsin, meaning “renewed”[1]) Dynasty (新朝), ruling 9–23 AD. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos.

In October 23 AD, the capital Chang’an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in the battle.

The Han dynasty was reestablished in 25 AD when Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu) took the throne.

Early life and career
Wang Mang was the son of Wang Man (王曼), the younger brother of Empress Wang Zhengjun, and his wife Qu (渠, family name unknown), born in 45 BC. Wang Man died early, while Wang Mang was young, before Emperor Cheng took the throne and his mother Empress Wang became empress dowager. Unlike most of his brothers, Wang Man did not have the opportunity to become a marquess. Empress Wang took pity on his family, and after she herself was widowed, had Qu moved to the imperial palace to live with her.

While Wang Mang was obviously well-connected to the imperial family, he did not have nearly the luxuries that his cousins enjoyed. Indeed, unlike his relatives who lived expensively and competed with each other on how they could spend more, Wang Mang was praised for his humility, thriftiness, and desire to study. He wore not the clothes of young nobles but those of a young Confucian scholar. He was also praised on how filial he was to his mother and how caring he was to his deceased brother Wang Yong (王永)’s wife and son Wang Guang (王光). Wang Mang befriended many capable people and served his uncles carefully.

When Wang Mang’s powerful uncle Wang Feng (王鳳, commander of the armed forces 33 BC-22 BC) grew ill, Wang Mang cared for him near his sick bed day and night, and attended to his medical and personal needs. Wang Feng was greatly touched, and before his death, he asked Empress Dowager Wang and Emperor Cheng to take good care of Wang Mang. Wang Mang was therefore given the post of imperial attendant (黃門郎) and later promoted to be one of the subcommanders of the imperial guards (射聲校尉).

In 16 BC, another of Wang Mang’s uncles, Wang Shang (王商) the Marquess of Chengdu, submitted a petition to divide part of his march and to create Wang Mang a marquess. Several well-regarded officials concurred in this request, and Emperor Cheng was impressed with Wang Mang’s reputation. He therefore created Wang Mang the Marquess of Xindu and promoted him to the Chamberlain for Attendants (光祿大夫). It was described by historians that the greater the posts that Wang was promoted to, the more humble he grew. He did not accumulate wealth, but used the money to support scholars and to give gifts to colleagues, so he gained more and more praise.

Another thing that Wang Mang made himself known for was that he had only a single wife, Lady Wang, and no concubines. (Note that she had the same family name as Wang Mang—strong evidence that at this point the taboo against endogamy based on the same family name was not firmly in place in Chinese culture.) However, as later events would show, Wang was not completely faithful to his wife, even at this time.

Emperor Cheng appointed his uncles, one after another, to be commander of the armed forces (the most powerful court official) (see here for more information), and speculation grew as to who would succeed Wang Mang’s youngest surviving uncle, Wang Gen (王根, commander 12 BC-8 BC). Wang Mang was considered one of the possibilities, while another was his cousin Chunyu Zhang (the son of Empress Dowager Wang’s sister), who had a much closer personal relationship to Emperor Cheng than Wang Mang did. Chunyu also had friendly relations with both Emperor Cheng’s wife Empress Zhao Feiyan and his deposed former wife Empress Xu.

To overcome Chunyu’s presumptive hold on succeeding Wang Gen, Wang Mang took action. He collected evidence that Chunyu, a frivolous man in his words and deeds, had secretly received bribes from the deposed Empress Xu and had promised to help her become “left empress”, and that he had promised his associates great posts once he succeeded Wang Gen. In 8 BC, he informed Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang of the evidence, and both Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang were greatly displeased. They exiled Chunyu back to his march. Chunyu, before he left the capital, gave his horses and luxurious carriages to his cousin Wang Rong (王融) – the son of his uncle Wang Li (王立), with whom he had a running feud. Wang Li, happy with Chunyu’s gift, submitted a petition requesting that Chunyu be allowed to remain at the capital—which drew Emperor Cheng’s suspicion, because he knew of the feud between Wang Li and Chunyu. He ordered Wang Rong to be arrested, and Wang Li, in his panic, ordered his son to commit suicide—which in turn caused Emperor Cheng to become even more suspicious. He therefore had Chunyu arrested and interrogated. Chunyu admitted to deceiving Empress Xu and receiving bribes from her, and he was executed.

Also in 8 BC, Wang Gen, by then seriously ill, submitted his resignation and requested that Wang Mang succeed him. In winter 8 BC, Emperor Cheng made Wang Mang the commander of the armed forces (大司馬), at the age of 37.

First tenure as the commander of the armed forces
After Wang Mang was promoted to this position—effectively the highest in the imperial government—he became even better known for his self-discipline and promotion of capable individuals than before. As a result, the people’s perception of the Wang clan as arrogant, wasteful, and petty, began to be reversed.

In 7 BCE, Wang’s cousin Emperor Cheng died suddenly, apparently from a stroke (although historians also report the possibility of an overdosage of aphrodisiacs given to him by his favorite, Consort Zhao Hede). Emperor Cheng’s nephew Crown Prince Liu Xin (劉欣) (the son of his brother Prince Kang of Dingtao (劉康)) became emperor (as Emperor Ai). For the time being, Wang remained in his post and continued to be powerful, as his aunt became grand empress dowager and was influential.

However, that would soon change. Emperor Ai’s grandmother, Princess Dowager Fu of Dingtao (concubine of Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s husband Emperor Yuan) was a domineering woman who ruled her grandson. She greatly wanted the title of empress dowager as well. Initially, Grand Empress Dowager Wang decreed that Princess Dowager Fu and Emperor Ai’s mother Consort Ding see him periodically, every 10 days. However, Princess Dowager Fu quickly began to visit her grandson every day, and she insisted that two things be done: that she receive an empress dowager title, and that her relatives be granted titles, like the Wangs. Grand Empress Dowager Wang, sympathetic of the bind that Emperor Ai was in, first granted Prince Kang the unusual title of “Emperor Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇) and then, under the rationale of that title, granted Princess Dowager Fu the title “Empress Dowager Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇太后) and Consort Ding the title “Empress Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇后). Several members of the Fu and Ding clans were created marquesses. Grand Empress Dowager Wang also ordered Wang Mang to resign and transfer power to the Fu and Ding relatives. Emperor Ai declined and begged Wang Mang to stay in his administration.

Several months later, however, Wang Mang came into direct confrontation with now-Empress Dowager Fu. At a major imperial banquet, the official in charge of seating placed Empress Dowager Fu’s seat next to Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s. When Wang Mang saw this, he rebuked the official and ordered that Empress Dowager Fu’s seat be moved to the side, which drew great ire from Empress Dowager Fu, who then refused to attend the banquet. To soothe her anger, Wang Mang resigned, and Emperor Ai approved his resignation. After this event, the Wangs gradually and inexorably began to lose their power.

Retirement during Emperor Ai’s reign
After Wang Mang’s resignation, he was initially requested by Emperor Ai to remain at the capital Chang’an and periodically meet him to give advice. However, in 5 BC, after Empress Dowager Fu was more successful in her quest for titles—Emperor Ai removed the qualification “of Dingtao” from his father’s posthumous title (thus making him simply “Emperor Gong”), and then gave his grandmother a variation of the grand empress dowager title (ditaitaihou (帝太太后), compared to Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s title taihuangtaihou (太皇太后)) and his mother a variation of the empress dowager title (ditaihou (帝太后), compared to Empress Dowager Zhao’s title huangtaihou (皇太后)) – the prime minister Zhu Bo (朱博) and vice prime minister Zhao Xuan (趙玄), at her behest, submitted a petition to have Wang demoted to commoner status for having opposed Grand Empress Fu previously. Emperor Ai did not do so, but sent Wang back to his march Xindu (in modern Nanyang, Henan).

While in Xindu, Wang was careful not to associate with many people (to prevent false accusations that he was planning a rebellion). In 5 BC, when his son Wang Huo killed a household servant, Wang Mang ordered him to commit suicide. By 2 BC, there had been several hundred petitions by commoners and officials to request Wang Mang’s return to the capital. Emperor Ai, who also respected Wang Mang, summoned him and his cousin Wang Ren (王仁), the son of Wang Gen, back to the capital to assist Grand Empress Dowager Wang. However, Wang Mang would have no official posts and would exert little influence on politics for the time being.

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1865 – Mary Gilmore, Australian socialist, poet and journalist (d. 1962)
Dame Mary Jean Gilmore DBE (née Cameron; 16 August 1865 – 3 December 1962) was an Australian writer and journalist known for her prolific contributions to Australian literature and the broader national discourse. She wrote both prose and poetry.

Gilmore was born in rural New South Wales, and spent her childhood in and around the Riverina, living both in small bush settlements and in larger country towns like Wagga Wagga. Gilmore qualified as a schoolteacher at the age of 16, and after a period in the country was posted to Sydney. She involved herself with the burgeoning labour movement, and also became a devotee of the utopian socialism views of William Lane. In 1893, Gilmore and 200 others followed Lane to Paraguay, where they formed the New Australia Colony. She started a family there, but the colony did not live up to expectations and they returned to Australia in 1902.

Drawing on her connections in Sydney, Gilmore found work with The Australian Worker as the editor of its women’s section, a position she held from 1908 to 1931. She also wrote for a variety of other publications, including The Bulletin and The Sydney Morning Herald, becoming known as a campaigner for the welfare of the disadvantaged. Gilmore’s first volume of poetry was brought out in 1910; she published prolifically for the rest of her life, mainly poetry but also memoirs and collections of essays. She wrote on a variety of themes, although the public imagination was particularly captured by her evocative views of country life. Her best known work is “No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest”, which served as a morale booster during World War II.

Gilmore’s greatest recognition came in later life. She was the doyenne of the Sydney literary world, and became something of a national icon, making frequent appearances in the new media of radio and television. Gilmore maintained her prodigious output into old age, publishing her last book of verse in 1954, aged 89. Two years earlier she had begun writing a new column for the Tribune (the official newspaper of the Communist Party), which she continued for almost a decade. Gilmore died at the age of 97 and was accorded a state funeral, a rare honour for a writer. She has featured on the reverse of the Australian ten-dollar note since 1993.

Early life
Mary Jean Cameron was born on 16 August 1865 at the small settlement of Cotta Walla (modern-day Roslyn), just outside Crookwell, New South Wales. When she was one year old her parents, Donald Cameron, a farmer from Scotland and Mary Ann Beattie, decided to move to Wagga Wagga to join her maternal grandparents, the Beatties, who had moved there from Penrith, New South Wales in 1866.[1]

Her father obtained a job as a station manager at a property at Cowabbie, 100 km north of Wagga. A year later, he left that job to become a carpenter, building homesteads on properties in Wagga, Coolamon, Junee, Temora and West Wyalong for the next 10 years. This itinerant existence allowed Mary only a spasmodic formal education; however, she did receive some on their frequent returns to Wagga, either staying with the Beatties or in rented houses.[1]

Her father purchased land and built his own house at Brucedale on the Junee Road, where they had a permanent home. She was then to attend, albeit briefly, Colin Pentland’s private Academy at North Wagga Wagga and, when the school closed, transferred to Wagga Wagga Public School for two and a half years. At 14, in preparation to become a teacher, she worked as an assistant at her uncle’s school at Yerong Creek. Another uncle, Charles White (1845–1922), was a journalist and author of books on bushrangers.[1]

After completing her teaching exams in 1882, she accepted a position as a teacher at Wagga Wagga Public School, where she worked until December 1885. After a short teaching spell at Illabo she took up a teaching position at Silverton near the mining town of Broken Hill. There Gilmore developed her socialist views and began writing poetry.[1]

Literary career
In 1890, she moved to Sydney, where she became part of the “Bulletin school” of radical writers. Although the greatest influence on her work was Henry Lawson it was Alfred “A. G.” Stephens, literary editor of The Bulletin, who published her verse and established her reputation as a fiery radical poet, champion of the workers and the oppressed.

She had a relationship with Henry Lawson that probably began in 1890.[1] She writes of an unofficial engagement and Lawson’s wish to marry her, but it was broken by his frequent absences from Sydney. The story of the relationship is told in the play “All My Love”, written by Anne Brooksbank.[2]

She followed William Lane and other socialist idealists to Paraguay in 1896, where they had established a communal settlement called New Australia two years earlier. At Lane’s breakaway settlement Cosme she married William Gilmore in 1897. By 1900 the socialist experiment had clearly failed. Will left to work as a shearer in Argentina and Mary and her two-year-old son Billy soon followed, living separately in Buenos Aires for about six months, and then the family moved to Patagonia until they saved enough for a return passage, via England, in 1902 to Australia, where they took up farming near Casterton, Victoria.[1]

Gilmore’s first volume of poetry was published in 1910, and for the ensuing half-century she was regarded as one of Australia’s most popular and widely read poets.[citation needed] In 1908 she became women’s editor of The Worker, the newspaper of then Australia’s largest and most powerful trade union, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). She was the union’s first woman member. The Worker gave her a platform for her journalism, in which she campaigned for the preservation of the White Australia Policy[3], better working conditions for working women, for children’s welfare and for a better deal for the indigenous Australians.[1]

Later life
By 1931 Gilmore’s views had become too radical for the AWU, but she soon found other outlets for her writing. She later wrote a regular column for the Communist Party’s newspaper Tribune, although she was never a party member herself. In spite of her somewhat controversial politics, Gilmore accepted appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1937, becoming Dame Mary Gilmore.[4] She was the first person to be granted this award for services to literature. During World War II she wrote stirring patriotic verse such as No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest.

In her later years, Gilmore, separated from her husband, moved to Sydney, and enjoyed her growing status as a national literary icon. Before 1940 she published six volumes of verse and three editions of prose. After the war, Gilmore published volumes of memoirs and reminiscences of colonial Australia and the literary giants of 1890s Sydney, thus contributing much material to the mythologising of that period. Dame Mary Gilmore died in 1962, aged 97, and was accorded the first state funeral accorded to a writer since the death of Henry Lawson in 1922.

Honours
Gilmore’s image appears on the current fourth series Australian $10 note, along with an illustration inspired by No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest and, as part of the copy-protection microprint, the text of the poem itself. The background of the illustration features a portrait of Gilmore by the well-known Australian artist Sir William Dobell.

In 1973 she was honoured on a postage stamp bearing her issued by Australia Post.[5]

The Canberra suburb of Gilmore and a federal electorate, the Division of Gilmore, are named in her honour.

Bibliography
Poetry

Two Songs (1905)
Marri’d and Other Verses (1910)
The Tale inks (1916)
Six Songs from the South (1916)
The Passionate Heart (1918)
The Hound of the Road (1922)
The Tilted Cart : A Book of Recitations (1925)
The Wild Swan : Poems (1930)
The Rue Tree : Poems (1931)
Under the Wilgas (1932)
Battlefields (1939)
Pro Patria and Other Poems (1944)
Selected Verse (1948)
Fourteen Men : Verses (1954)
Men of Eureka and Other Australian Songs (1954)
Verse for Children (1955)
Poems (1957)
Mary Gilmore edited by Robert D. FitzGerald (1963)
Poems to Read to Young Australians (1968)
The Singing Tree : A Selection of Mary Gilmore’s Poetry for Young Readers (1971)
The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore edited by Jennifer Strauss (2004–07)

Individual poems
“No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest” (1940)

Prose
Old Days : Old Ways : A Book of Recollections (1934)
More Recollections (1935)
Letters of Mary Gilmore edited by W. H. Wilde and T. Inglis Moore (1980)

 
 
 
 

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FYI August 15, 2017

1248 – The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, is laid. (Construction is eventually completed in 1880.)
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus, Latin: Ecclesia Cathedralis Sanctorum Petri, English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site[4] in 1996.[5] It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day[6] and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m (515 ft) tall.

Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880.[7] The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires. The towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.[8]

Cologne’s medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” and “a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe”.[4]

History
Ancient site

When construction began on the present Cologne Cathedral in 1248, the site had already been occupied by several previous structures. The earliest may have been for grain storage, and possibly was succeeded by a Roman temple built by Mercurius Augustus. From the 4th century on, however, the site was occupied by Christian buildings, including a square edifice known as the “oldest cathedral” that was commissioned by Maternus, the first bishop of Cologne. A free-standing baptistery dating back to the 7th century was located at the east end of the present cathedral, but was demolished in the 9th century to build the second cathedral. Only ruins of the baptistery and the octagonal baptismal font remain today.[9] The second church, called the “Old Cathedral”, was completed in 818. It was destroyed by fire on 30 April 1248, during demolition work to prepare for a new cathedral.

Medieval beginning
In 1164, the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, acquired the relics of the Three Kings which the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, had taken from the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, Milan, Italy. (Parts of the relics have since been returned to Milan.) The relics have great religious significance and drew pilgrims from all over Christendom. It was important to church officials that they be properly housed, and thus began a building program in the new style of Gothic architecture, based in particular on the French cathedral of Amiens.

The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1248, by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. The eastern arm was completed under the direction of Master Gerhard, was consecrated in 1322 and sealed off by a temporary wall so it could be in use as the work proceeded. Eighty four misericords in the choir date from this building phase. In the mid 14th century work on the west front commenced under Master Michael. This work halted in 1473, leaving the south tower complete up to the belfry level and crowned with a huge crane that remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years.[10]

Some work proceeded intermittently on the structure of the nave between the west front and the eastern arm, but during the 16th century this ceased.[11]

19th century completion
With the 19th century romantic enthusiasm for the Middle Ages, and spurred on by the discovery of the original plan for the façade, it was decided, with the commitment of the Protestant Prussian Court, to complete the cathedral. It was achieved by civic effort; the Central-Dombauverein, founded in 1842, raised two-thirds of the enormous costs, while the Prussian state supplied the remaining third.[citation needed] The state saw this as a way to improve its relations with the large number of Catholic subjects it had gained in 1815.

Work resumed in 1842 to the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings, but utilizing more modern construction techniques, including iron roof girders. The nave was completed and the towers were added. The bells were installed in the 1870s. The largest bell is St. Petersglocke.

The completion of Germany’s largest cathedral was celebrated as a national event on 14 August 1880, 632 years after construction had begun.[12] The celebration was attended by Emperor Wilhelm I. At 157.38 Meters or 515 feet tall, it was the tallest building in the world for four years until the completion of Washington Monument.

(video) Cologne Cathedral in 2014

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1717 – Blind Jack, English engineer (d. 1810)

John Metcalf (1717–1810), also known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf, was the first professional road builder to emerge during the Industrial Revolution.

Blind from the age of six, John had an eventful life, which was well documented by his own account just before his death. In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles (290 km) of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England.

Early life
Metcalf was born into a poor family in Knaresborough in Yorkshire, England on 15 August 1717. His father was a horse breeder. At the age of six John lost his sight after a smallpox infection; he was given fiddle lessons as a way of making provision for him to earn a living later in life. He became an accomplished fiddler and made this his livelihood in his early adult years. In 1732, aged 15, Metcalf succeeded Morrison as fiddler at the Queen’s Head, a tavern in Harrogate. Morrison had played there for 70 years.[citation needed] Metcalf also had an affinity for horses and added to his living with some horse trading. Though blind, he took up swimming and diving, fighting cocks, playing cards, riding and even hunting. He knew his local area so well he was paid to work as a guide to visitors.

In 1739 Jack befriended Dorothy Benson, the daughter of the landlord of the Granby Inn in Harrogate. When aged 21 he made another woman pregnant; Dorothy begged him not to marry the woman and Jack fled. He spent some time living along the North Sea Coast between Newcastle and London, and lodged with his aunt in Whitby. He continued to work as a fiddler. When he heard Dorothy was to be married to a shoemaker, he returned and they eloped. They married and had four children. Dorothy died in 1778.

His fiddle playing gave him social connections and a patron, Colonel Liddell. In one much-repeated[citation needed] story the colonel decided to take him to London, 190 miles (310 km) to the south. John found the colonel’s leisurely progress slow and went ahead on foot. He reached London first and returned to Yorkshire before the colonel. He managed this on foot despite his blindness, demonstrating his determination and resourcefulness.

During the Jacobite rising of 1745 his connections got him the job of assistant to the royal recruiting sergeant in the Knaresborough area. Jack went with the army to Scotland. He did not experience action but was employed moving guns over boggy ground. He was captured but released. He used his Scottish experience to begin importing Aberdeen stockings to England.


Carrier

Before his army service Metcalf worked as a carrier using a four-wheeled chaise and a one-horse chair on local trips. When competition cut into the business he switched to carrying fish from the coast to Leeds and Manchester. After 1745 he bought a stone wagon and worked it between York and Knaresborough. By 1754 his business had grown to a stagecoach line. He drove a coach himself, making two trips a week during the summer and one in the winter months.


Road builder

In 1765 Parliament passed an act authorising the creation of turnpike trusts to build new toll funded roads in the Knaresborough area. There were few people with road-building experience and John seized the opportunity, building on his practical experience as a carrier.

He won a contract to build a three-mile (5 km) section of road between Minskip and Ferrensby on a new road from Harrogate to Boroughbridge. He explored the section of countryside alone and worked out the most practical route.

Metcalf built roads in Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, including roads between:

Knaresborough and Wetherby
Wakefield, Huddersfield and Saddleworth (via the Standedge pass)
Bury and Blackburn with a branch to Accrington
Skipton, Colne and Burnley

Metcalf believed a good road should have good foundations, be well drained and have a smooth convex surface to allow rainwater to drain quickly into ditches at the side. He understood the importance of good drainage, knowing it was rain that caused most problems on the roads. He worked out a way to build a road across a bog using a series of rafts made from ling (a type of heather) and furze (gorse) tied in bundles as foundations. This established his reputation as a road builder since other engineers had believed it could not be done.

He acquired a mastery of his trade with his own method of calculating costs and materials, which he could never successfully explain to others.

Later life
Competition from canals eventually cut into his profits and he retired in 1792 to live with a daughter and her husband at Spofforth in Yorkshire. Throughout his career he built 180 miles (290 km) of road. At 77 he walked to York, where he related a detailed account of his life to a publisher.

Blind Jack of Knaresborough died aged 92 on 26 April 1810, at his home in Spofforth. He is buried in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church, Spofforth.

Memorials
A statue of John Metcalf has been placed in the market square in Knaresborough, across from Blind Jack’s pub.[1]

Epitaph
His headstone, erected in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Spofforth, at the cost of Lord Dundas, bears this epitaph:

“Here lies John Metcalf, one whose infant sight
Felt the dark pressure of an endless night;
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind,
His limbs full strung, his spirits unconfined,
That, long ere yet life’s bolder years began,
The sightless efforts mark’d th’ aspiring man;
Nor mark’d in vain—high deeds his manhood dared,
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shared.
’Twas his a guide’s unerring aid to lend—
O’er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend;
And, when rebellion reared her giant size,
’Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise;
For parting wife and babes, one pang to feel,
Then welcome danger for his country’s weal.
Reader, like him, exert thy utmost talent given!
Reader, like him, adore the bounteous hand of Heaven.”[2]

 
 
 
 

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FYI August 14, 2017


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1893 – France becomes the first country to introduce motor vehicle registration.
A vehicle registration plate, also known as a number plate (British English) or a license plate (American English), is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle owner within the issuing region’s vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person also varies by issuing agency.

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History

France was the first country to introduce the registration plate with the passage of the Paris Police Ordinance on August 14, 1893,[2] followed by Germany in 1896.[3] The Netherlands was the first country to introduce a nationally registered licence plate, called a “driving permit”, in 1898. Initially these plates were just sequentially numbered, starting at 1, but this was changed in 1906.

In the U.S., where each state issues plates, New York State has required plates since 1903 (black numerals on a white background) after first requiring in 1901 that only the owner’s initials be clearly visible on the back of the vehicle.[4] At first, plates were not government issued in most jurisdictions and motorists were obliged to make their own. In 1903, Massachusetts was the first state to issue plates.

UK plates were first required from 1 January 1904 by the 1903 Motor Car Act.[5]

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1848 – Margaret Lindsay Huggins, Anglo-Irish astronomer and author (d. 1915)
Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (born 14 August 1848, Dublin – died 24 March 1915, London),[1] born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-authored the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).[9][10]

When Huggins was young, her mother died and her father remarried, leaving her on her own much of the time. Obituaries written by her friends attribute her interest in astronomy to her grandfather, a wealthy bank officer named Robert Murray. According to these sources, Margaret’s grandfather taught her the constellations, and as a result of this she began studying the heavens with home-made instruments. She constructed a spectroscope after finding inspiration in articles on astronomy in the periodical Good Words.[11]

Huggins’ interest and abilities in spectroscopy led to her introduction by noted astronomical instrument maker Howard Grubb to the astronomer William Huggins, whom she married on 8 September 1875 in the Parish Church at Monkstown, County Dublin.[10] Evidence suggests that Huggins was instrumental in instigating William Huggins’ successful program in photographic research.[11] She was a contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

The London Times, in the notice of the death of Huggins, mentioned that Richard Proctor referred to her as the “Herschel of the Spectroscope”. In her will she bequeathed to Wellesley College and to Wellesley College Whitin Observatory some of her astronomy collection including cherished astronomical artifacts.[12]

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
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