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How Virtual Reality Is Improving The Lives Of Senior Citizens

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Virtual reality (VR) technology enables users to don a headset and immediately become immersed in 360-degree worlds that are highly-realistic and responsive. No longer just the purview of science-fiction, this cutting-edge technology has life-changing potential for many users.

Now, researchers and entrepreneurs have begun to explore the potential for VR technology to make a huge difference in the lives of senior citizens. From making advancements in early detection of cognitive diseases, to decreasing feelings of isolation and disconnection, to encouraging healthy levels of exercise, virtual reality demonstrates incredible potential. Here, we take a look at how VR technology can improve the lives of senior citizens.

Earlier Detection for Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 1 in 10 adults age 65 or older has Alzheimer’s-related dementia. This brain disease impacts memory, decision-making, and reasoning in older adults. While there is no cure, seniors benefit greatly from early detection.

Though there is no single, conclusive test for Alzheimer’s disease, exciting research from the University of Cambridge shows that virtual reality can be a more powerful tool than currently-used cognitive tests in identifying early Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the study, researchers used virtual reality technology to test seniors with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) on their ability to navigate — since issues with navigation are an early hallmark of Alzheimer’s. The patients wore VR headsets and were tested on their navigation skills while walking. The tests were effective in identifying those at low and high risk of future dementia, suggesting that VR could play an important role at early detection of Alzheimer’s in the future.

Decrease Feelings of Isolation & Loneliness

Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly common for seniors to experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. A national study from the University of Michigan polled a sample of adults ages 50 to 80 and found that 34% felt that they lacked companionship, while 27% reported feelings of isolation from others. Feelings of isolation in seniors often go hand-in-hand with chronic illness, mental health issues, and even reduced life expectancy.

With virtual reality technology, seniors — and especially those with dementia or mobility restrictions — can recapture a sense of connection to their friends, family, and homeland. Rendever’s VR technology allows seniors to feel connected to family and social events that they are unable to attend by creating a virtual reality experience. In this way, seniors can virtually attend baby showers and weddings with their family — helping them feel a greater connection to the outside world and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

See the World, Have Fun, and Reduce Pain & Stress

Watching the sun set on a beach in Hawaii, exploring educational exhibits at a museum, enjoying the outdoors at a National Park, seeing a favorite musicians at a concert — all of these experiences become less and less feasible for senior citizens with dementia, mobility limitations, or health conditions.

New VR technology allows seniors the ability to see the world, cross items off their bucket list, and immerse themselves in memories of their childhood neighborhoods and homelands. Companies like MyndVR and Rendever offer seniors the ability to enjoy a 360 degree experience — from outer space to the tree-lined avenue of their childhood neighborhood — from the comfort of their home or assisted living facility.

In addition to providing an opportunity for seniors to see the world and have fun, VR can also help reduce anxiety, stress, and pain. Take, for example, SnowWorld — a virtual reality landscape developed to provide pain relief for people recovering from serious burns. Virtual reality provides a welcome and consuming distraction for those in chronic pain or stress, and therefore has massive potential to improve quality of life for senior citizens.

Make Exercise more Appealing

Physical activity is crucial in preventing chronic health issues, boosting mood, and extending lifespan for seniors. Despite this, a whopping 80% of American adults aren’t reaching the daily recommended amount of exercise.

Fortunately, recent research suggests that virtual reality technology can be a powerful motivating force for exercise. In a study from the Aalorg University in Denmark, researchers provided VR headsets to seniors in the activity room of a Copenhagen nursing home.

While seniors rode on exercise bikes, they used VR technology that enabled them to truly feel connected to the outdoor world. Instead of feeling confined and uninspired inside the activity room, participants reveled in the highly-realistic nature scenes offered by the VR experience. In light of this study’s success, it’s clear that VR technology could provide the extra push some senior citizens need to get their recommended daily amount of exercise.

Virtual Reality’s Promising Future for Seniors

As VR technology becomes more accessible, researchers are hopeful that that they can make serious strides in improving physical, mental, and social well-being for senior citizens both at home and in assisted living facilities. These exciting technological strides — along with crucial community-based aging resources — can make all the difference for senior citizens’ quality of life and provide a promising and exciting future of care.

How to Choose the Perfect Roof Shingle Color

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75% of American residences are roofed with asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles come in many cuts, depths, and dozens of colors. Choosing a shingle color by yourself can be overwhelming but luckily Roofcorp had advice on helping you find the perfect color. Stuart G from the Denver Roofing firm gives us some advice on selecting that perfect color.

Dark vs. Light vs. Neutral

Shingles come in three distinct tones, dark, light, and neutral. Dark shingles provide more character and matches for Victorian and manor-style homes but can absorb solar heat. Light materials reflect heat but don’t always match your exterior. Neutral shingles work for most homes. Keep your environment and the reflectivity of shingles in mind when choosing the tone of your shingles.

Earth Tones for Blending

Earth tones like gray and brown help your home blend into its natural environment. If you want your home to have a low visual impact or need it to match its natural surroundings choosing earth tones is an easy choice. Earth tones also tend to match the greatest number of exterior colors.

Bright Colors for Popping

Neutral earth tones can be boring, but roofing manufacturers also make shingles in fun and more vibrant colors. You can choose blues, reds, greens, or any other bright color to make your roof pop. Some creative homeowners have mixed different vivid shingle and ridge colors for a two-tone effect that gives their home a ton of character.

Match or Complement?

Should your shingles match your home’s exterior, or should they complement it? This is more of a personal choice but both exact matches and complementary colors look great on most homes. You can install charcoal shingles to match your dark exterior of you can install dark colors on a light interior and vice-versa. Play around with color combinations since the best match isn’t always immediately apparent.

See the Shingles Before Install

Thanks to new technology you can get a glimpse of an entirely new roof without laying one shingle. Homeowners can go to major manufacturers like GAF or CertainTeed, load a picture of their roof, and scroll through a virtual representation of how their roof would look for a variety of shingles. This is the easiest way to get a visual snapshot of your entire roof and not just one sample board against the siding.

There are many shingle colors to choose but you can whittle down your list by asking the questions above and using a roof visualizer.

FDA Warns CBD Oil Company Using False Claims

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Curaleaf Inc., of Wakefield, Massachusetts, for illegally selling unapproved products containing CBD with unsubstantiated claims that their products treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid withdraw, pain and pet anxiety, among other conditions and diseases.

“As we examine potential regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds like CBD, protecting and promoting public health remains our top priority. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims — such as claims that CBD products can treat serious diseases and conditions — can put patients and consumers at risk by leading them to put off important medical care. Additionally, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, effectiveness and quality of unapproved products containing CBD,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Today’s action demonstrates that the agency stands firm in its commitment to continue monitoring the marketplace and protecting the public health by taking action as needed against companies that deceive consumers and put them at risk by illegally selling products marketed for therapeutic uses for which they are not approved, such as those claiming to treat cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Consumers should beware of purchasing or using any such products.”


Examples of the unsupported and unapproved claims made by the company include:

  • “CBD has been demonstrated to have properties that counteract the growth of [and/or] spread of cancer.”
  • “CBD was effective in killing human breast cancer cells.” • “CBD has also been shown to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease.”
  • “CBD has been linked to the effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease ….”
  •  “CBD is being adopted more and more as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical-grade treatments for depression and anxiety.”
  • “CBD can also be used in conjunction with opioid medications, and a number of studies have demonstrated that CBD can in fact reduce the severity of opioid-related withdrawal and lessen the buildup of tolerance.”
  • “CBD oil is becoming a popular, all-natural source of relief used to address the symptoms of many common conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety … ADHD.”
  • “What are the benefits of CBD oil? …. Some of the most researched and well-supported hemp oil uses include …. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and even schizophrenia …. Chronic pain from fibromyalgia, slipped spinal discs . . . Eating disorders and addiction . . ..”
  • “[V]ets will prescribe puppy Xanax to pet owners which can help in certain instances but is not necessarily a desirable medication to give your dog continually. Whereas CBD oil is natural and offers similar results without the use of chemicals.”
  • “For dogs experiencing pain, spasms, anxiety, nausea or inflammation often associated with cancer treatments, CBD (aka cannabidiol) may be a source of much-needed relief.”

FDA has concluded based on available evidence that CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition under sections 201(ff)(3)(B)(i) and (ii) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 321(ff)(3)(B)(i) and (ii). Under those provisions, if an article (such as CBD) is an active ingredient in a drug product that has been approved under section 505 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 355, or has been authorized for investigation as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and for which the existence of such investigations has been made public, then products containing that substance are outside the definition of a dietary supplement.

Currently, consumers can Buy CBD Oil just about anywhere. With the lack of regulation and oversight, it’s becoming more difficult for consumers to decipher quality CBD Oil vs Snake Oil.

Going with a reputable 3rd party tested company like NuLeaf Naturals is a good way to go until more insight and regulation becomes available.

The Top 5 Apps for Remote Collaboration

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In today’s fast-paced world of virtual assistants, web-based teams, and remote workers, it’s no surprise that everyone is on the hunt for better ways to get things done online. Thanks to the advent of a select few remote collaboration apps, it’s now easier than ever to collaborate with your coworkers regardless of where they are located on the globe. 

To accomplish more with less, look to apps like these five, each of which offers a unique suite of benefits for newbies and veterans alike. 

#1: G Suite

‘G Suite’ is a term used to describe Google’s assortment of productivity apps. They include Google Docs (akin to Microsoft Word), Google Sheets (similar to Microsoft Excel), and Google Hangouts, which is a web-based meeting platform. 

Those new to G Suite will find each of the apps a quick learn, especially if coming from the Microsoft Office world. 

#2: Trello

Trello is a fantastic organizational tool that helps manage the multiple moving parts involved in project management. When you use Trello, you’re able to see at-a-glance the status of each ‘card’, including task next steps and time to completion metrics. 

Trello is great for web-based teams who need to have a single place to update their coworkers on assigned tasks. 

#3: Process Street

Process Street is similar to Trello but much more beefed up in the way it allows for processes to be related to one another. Using Process Street helps keep everyone accountable, because no single process can be completed with its relevant sub-processes being completed, first. 

Those who use Process Street like the way it securely keeps all process stakeholders aware of exactly what they need to do and by when. 

#4: Loom

Loom is a web-based ad-hoc video platform that allows users to record their screens for quick replaying by others. This is great for how-to videos, webinars, and instructional guides. The best part about Loom is that it’s free to use (although there is a paid level of service that offers enhanced features). 

#5: Skype

Skype is the tried and trusted chatting/video conferencing platform that has stood the test of time over and over again. A Microsoft product, Skype allows for fast communication with anyone else who has a login, and it even supports international calling with video. The only downside with Skype is that you need a Microsoft login in order to use it (although it’s free). 

We hope you’ve learned something new that can help you collaborate online with your team. Now it’s time to go forth and be productive! 

3 Tips for New Homeowners

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3 Tips for New Homeowners

You and your spouse have moved into your first home together, and you’re excited to get the next chapter of your life started. Home ownership comes with many benefits but there some items unique to owning a home that you need to watch out for. To help your future thrive read about these three tips for new homeowners thanks to The Wheaton Team.

Start Your Rainy-Day Fund

Right after you buy your home, you should start a rainy-day fund for unexpected accidents and other costly repairs that come from owning a home. When you own, you can’t call on your rental management office to fix everything for free. Even a new home could surprise you with a broken-down furnace or inefficient refrigerator, so you must be ready. You’ll have some money set aside for these emergencies or at least a good chunk before you move into your new home.

Set Up Your Professional Services

Your home is full of several appliances and units that must be maintained to remain at their strongest. One of the first moves to make as a new homeowner is setting yourself up for contractors and services you can call on as needed. This might include a plumber, electrician, roofer, HVAC service, and more. Setting yourself up with companies right away means you won’t have to research before hiring in case of an emergency or immediate need.

Follow-Through on Tax Credits and Benefits

First-time homeowners get many unique benefits that help encourage home ownership. It’s one thing to look at these benefits, and it’s another to see them through. After you buy your home talk to a financial professional like your accountant or lender about what you should do on your taxes after purchasing a new home for the first time. Failure to get the right benefits and credits could cost you hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

Owning a new home is an exciting time, but you need to protect yourself as a new owner. This includes setting aside money for emergencies, setting up a network of helpful local contractors and services, and follow-through on any first-time homeowner benefits. With these tips and a solid real estate team you’ll be ready to take on your new home and life.

4 Crazy Guitar Gadgets You Need

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4 Crazy Guitar Gadgets You Need

If you’re into guitars, you’re probably also into the things you can buy that make your guitar sound interesting. Think pedals, loopers, kill switches, and other doodads that you can add to your signal chain. Each one has an effect and vibe all its own.

But then, there are the ‘crazy’ guitar gadgets. A lot of them are gimmicks, that’s for sure, but there are a few that are just so crazy they actually are worth having. So, if you’re looking for that next awesome guitar gizmo to get, check out this quick list of of the craziest among them.

Crazy Guitar Gadget #1: The Gibson Memory Cable

What if a guitar cable could actually do something more than just transmit the signal going from your guitar to your amplifier? Well, the Gibson Memory Cable is here to save the day. This curious little cable has a built-in solid-state recorder that makes a digital copy of whatever you play on your guitar, all with the push of a button.

Do guitarists really need a recording utility on their guitar cable? Who knows? It’s just crazy enough to need!

Crazy Guitar Gadget #2: The E-Bow

The E-Bow has actually been around for more than 15 years, and it’s even been used during live performances to make some awesome sounds on the electric guitar. This small, handheld, battery-powered device generates an electromagnetic field that makes the strings resonate without needing to be plucked or strummed.

The result is infinite sustain that sounds other-worldly. Crazy!

Crazy Guitar Gadget #3: The Guitar Tuner/Capo Hybrid

Ok, so you probably already know that a capo is a useful tool to change the key of your guitar on-the-fly. But, did you also know that some capos have a battery-powered guitar tuner built right in? It’s true! And, they’re not that much more expensive than buying both devices separately. We know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy!

The only downside to the guitar tuner/capo hybrid is that if the battery does ever fail, you’re left with a needlessly clunky capo that just looks strange.

Crazy Guitar Gadget #4: The Hammer Jammer

The Hammer Jammer is a small, plastic device that installs on the guitar bridge and ‘taps’ each string on command, similar to how a piano works. The sound it produces definitely qualifies as bizarre, because the guitar wasn’t meant to sound like this!

Now matter what kind of sound you’re trying to get out of your guitar, rest assured that experimenting with these four crazy guitar gadgets will give you limitless sonic possibilities!

Why You Should Make Utah Your Next Vacation Destination

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Welcome to Utah

If you have never considered Utah for a vacation, you’re missing out. The 45th state into the union should be a contender in the race for your hard earned vacation dollars.

Whether you are a die-hard adventurer or a take-it-all-in-leisurely kind of vacationer, Utah has something to offer to everyone. With its vast landscapes and diversity, it will not disappoint. Get your camera ready!

The “Mighty Five”

Did you know that Utah has five national parks? F-I-V-E. The “Mighty Five” are none other than Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands. Utah is also home to eight national monuments that will vie for your attention as well.

Arches and Canyonlands are located in the Moab area along with Dead Horse Point State Park, which is a must see as well. Moab is a mecca for hiking, climbing, and biking enthusiasts alike. From the Delicate Arch to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon where the mighty Colorado River resides, there is a raw beauty here that will surely capture your heart.

If you travel further west, you can hit Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef in the same trip. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument are also located in this area. Being able to experience “The Narrows” of Zion is definitely worth the trouble of the permit process, and you will be left speechless at the way the sunlight plays off of the red walls in the slot canyons of Escalante.
Even More to Explore

Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Rainbow Bridge National Monument are all extremely beautiful places to consider in your planning. Rent a houseboat at one of the local marinas for the week along with a couple of kayaks in tow, and explore away. Fish a little, swim or sunbathe a little, and then take the kayaks into some of the slot canyons for a bit of adventure. Rainbow Bridge boasts some of the darkest skies in the U.S., so don’t forget to look up.

Utah has mountains – gorgeous ones that beckon to the John Muir in all of us. These mountain ranges offer a plethora of adventure and leisure options. Camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, and skiing; it’s your choice. You can make one of the mountain towns your home-base, and go from there. Park City, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, should be a consideration for downhill skiing and offers a wide variety of city-type fun as well.

Utah has the perfect balance of beauty and fun. Don’t overlook this gem for your next vacation!

3 Tips for Hiring a Local Roofer in Colorado

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Working on a roof

Colorado is in a band of the U.S. known as hail alley which means Colorado roofs are subjected to more damaging storms and hail than homes in other parts of the country. When you live in hail alley, you need a go-to roofer that you can call when hail or other issues happen. Here are some tips for hiring a roofer in Colorado.

Tips for Hiring a Roofer in Colorado

Always Choose Local (And Local Experience)

If you’re hiring a roofer in Colorado, hire a roofer that operates out of Colorado like A to Z Roofing. Colorado is known for storm-chasing roofing Denver companies and fly-by-night roofers, but you can avoid these types of companies by choosing a Colorado roofer that operates out of Colorado and has done so for several years.

Look for Registrations in Colorado Consumer Guides or Your Local BBB Chapter

Most towns in Colorado have some local consumer resource guides that advertise local and reputable companies including Colorado-based roofers. Examples of consumer guides in Colorado include TeamDaveLogan.com or the Springs Guide. The companies in these guides have been pre-screened, so you know they have a solid reputation.

Always check to see if any potential roofer is registered with your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and what their grade is. Only hire roofers that have an A or A+ rating. You can also find how long the business has been operating and if they have had complaints lodged against them.

Make Sure to Read Reviews and Referrals

The last of the tips is to do your homework. Make a short list of local and reputable roofing companies and go online to look at reviews of those companies on reputable sites like Angie’s List or Google Reviews. Read individual reviews to get the most accurate judgment of a company and if they are a good fit for your project. One company may have better reviews, but upon reviewing them, you could realize another company with slightly worse reviews is a better fit for your job.

Once you have your final three potential roofers narrowed down, it’s time to ask for references. A good roofing company will be more than happy to turn over a list of personal references that you can call. Don’t just set the list on your kitchen counter, call at the least three people on it. They can offer an insight into the roofer that you won’t get from online reviews.

By keeping your search confined to local contractors with local experience, looking for registrations or certifications in local Colorado resource guides, and doing a thorough examination of a company’s reviews and referrals you’ll be sure to nab an excellent Colorado roofer. When it comes to something as important as your roof, you only want the best.

4 Tips on DIY Outdoor Privacy Screens

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Family roasting marshmallows around a fire pit

Do-it-yourselfers are always looking for new projects and ways to spruce up their home or make things better than before. If you like using your outdoor area with a fire pit but are often a little shy due to crowded neighbors, a great solution can be found in an outdoor privacy screen. Rather than setting up a little barrier between you, your fire pit, and your neighbors, an outdoor privacy screen can also make outdoor space more livable by providing shade and protection from the elements. Let’s get some more info on a DIY outdoor privacy screen thanks to the experts at Firepit Outfitter.

Tips on DIY Privacy Screens for Your Fire Pit

Living or Non-Living?

You have three main options when building yourself an outdoor privacy screen, do you want to use living materials such as plants, trees, and barrier shrubs or do you want to non-living materials such as brick, wood or vinyl? You don’t have to pick one. Many people use a combination of living and non-living materials such as a wooden lattice with vines growing through it. Living materials will need more care, but they provide a certain atmosphere and character that you won’t get on vinyl or wood alone.

Style of Outdoor Privacy Screen

You don’t want your outdoor privacy screen to stand out over the rest of your outdoor living space so choose a style that fits in with your décor. If your patio is made up of flagstone, try to pick a material that will flow with it. Not much sense in having a privacy screen if everyone’s eyes are drawn to it.

Plan Your Job

Proper preparation prevents poor performance, and that rings especially true with DIY projects, especially when using a fire pit. Safety is paramount. So, plan out your materials, what tools you will need, how much time you think it will take and what you want it to look like before taking your first trip to the hardware store. You’ll be glad you did.

Resources

The internet is full of interesting ideas and themes for a variety of DIY projects including outdoor privacy screens. Use sites like Pinterest or other DIY websites to search what other people have done. You can get a variety of visual and structural ideas for your outdoor privacy screen.

If you feel like grilling in your underwear, but your neighbor is nosy, you should think about a DIY outdoor privacy screen. The value it can add to the look of your property is worth it alone.

Why Africa Holds More Promise for the World

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Giraffes

From rapid urbanization and technological growth to industrial development, Africa is fast developing at a rate that seems to rival nearly all other continents in the world. Until recently, there have been many arguments and concerns about the continent’s economy as it approaches a technical recession.

However, at the forefront of the harnessing its resources, Africa has shown its resilience over the years and appears to be one of the continents pushing the world towards a revolution. Here, we will be pointing out some of the reasons why Africa looks more promising for the world economy.

Tech Policies

The world today appears to be fast moving due to the rapid advancement of technology. To this effect, tech policies are fast becoming a dominant feature in the rapid development of Africa. Today, we’ve seen the Eastern and Southern part of Africa employ innovative technologies in advancing their place in the world.

The world has seen an influx of technologies such as Blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence Technology. This, for an economy all geared up for innovative adoptions, means rapid infrastructural and industrial development.

Already technology is cutting across various industries including agriculture, construction, manufacturing and so on, which sees Africa pushing towards rapid industrialization and mass employment.

This does bode well for a developing economy which, in the future, could set about a revolution in the world’s economy as a whole.

Tourism

Africa boasts a cultural existence and history that sets it apart from other continents and gives it an edge when it comes to tourism. Today, due to this, Africa has witnessed an influx of tourists, and this sector holds a significant percentage in the continent’s economy.

This significant role-play of tourism has, in turn, advanced Africa’s position in the world and could in the future advance and stabilize the world’s economy.

The Promise of Rare Earth Metals

With a portfolio of rare earth metals, Africa could be described as the proverbial land of providence flowing with milk and honey. Africa joined the rare earth metals race in 2017 and is admittedly making moves to becoming a dominant force in the global market.

The application of rare earth metals including neodymium and dysprosium in functional products such as smartphones, batteries, wind turbines and a variety of electronic consumer products already has manufacturers scouring the market for suppliers.

Already, Steenkampskraal Mine in the Western Cape province of South Africa is laying claim to one of the world’s highest grade of rare earth metals, getting Africa all geared up to become one of the key players in the market.

Looking at how far the law of supply and demand goes, the demand for these metals will become a dominant factor as Africa’s role as a supplier does bode well for its economy.

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