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1/18/2020: TENNIS: Aboriginal bushfire art puts our Ash in a great frame of mind   


Apart from a French Open trophy, what’s Ash Barty got in her living room? “Bits and pieces” of indigenous art, she says. What bits? What pieces? “I have a feature piece that’s the story of a bushfire that’s from a family and some artists from Darwin...

A Pulmonia Ride in Mazatlan   

Monday morning bright and early we drove Willie, the Jeep, over to the painters shop. The route is almost 13 kilometers and/or 30 minutes. This is important information
The painters shop. Taller means shop. Not that the painter is taller. 

No other cars in here this time. Worker sweeping out the area. 
Leaving the Jeep behind and walking to the major street to catch a ride home. What ever comes first - bus, taxi or Pulmonia. Well a Pulmonia came first. 
Why do I mention seat belts, well because most Pulmonias do not have any seat belts. In fact they also don't have any doors. Notice he also has a Rosary hanging from the mirror and a religious picture in his glove compartment! Why is this important. Because we made it back to the RV park in about 15 minutes. What a ride. Remember no belts, no doors and no Oh Sh** Bars. 
Just some pictures I managed to take while moving at warp speed and trying to hang on. This is a school. 
He looks like he is moving as fast as we were. 
An open air vegetable market right next to the street. 
Some interesting murals, don't know what they were on - looks like a wall of some kind. 
This policeman was controlling the signal light at this corner. 
Looks like he forgot what he was doing, just standing there looking into space. Button is hanging off the box. 
Looking out the side of the Pulmonia - no doors.
Here is a video of part of the ride. It is about seven minutes long. At one point there is a glimpse of my left hand glued to the side rail of the  seat. The scenery is flying by. 

Pulmonias are only used in Mazatlan. They were first built here. There is a great article about them with pictures of the very first Pulmonias. And why they have that name. Click here to read it. Well worth it. 
We arrived home in one piece. I am not implying that the driver was reckless or unsafe. His driving was excellent. Just have never - well I did once years ago - had such a quick ride in a Pulmonia. 
We took a taxi for a leisurely ride over to the paint shop this morning. I have no idea what it will look like when finished. Bill explaining something to the painter Jamie. Jamie suggested I keep Bill at home until the car is finished... 

 Checking the graphic color outside in the sun. 
 Putting on another coat of the purple? Blue? Blueish purple?
I did take before pictures. 

Prog News, Press Releases : Vespero & Angel Ontalva   

Author: arkvespero
Subject: Vespero & Angel Ontalva
Posted: January 22 2020 at 05:52

We are glad to start pre-order of Ángel Ontalva / Vespero forthcoming album "SADA" !
Its our 2nd collaborative album, and it was really hard work for all of us :).
Official date of release will be Febryary,1st. "SADA" will released as CD/digital.
Now you can hear one track "A Sense of Clarity".


How a Hidden Parliamentary Session Revealed Trump’s True Motives in Iraq   


By Whitney Webb
Since the U.S. killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis earlier this month, the official narrative has held that their deaths were necessary to prevent a vague, yet allegedly imminent, threat of violence towards Americans, though President Trump has since claimed whether or not Soleimani or his Iraqi allies posed an imminent threat “doesn’t really matter.”
While the situation between Iran, Iraq and the U.S. appears to have de-escalated substantially, at least for now, it is worth revisiting the lead-up to the recent U.S.-Iraq/Iran tensions up to the Trump-mandated killing of Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in order to understand one of the most overlooked yet relevant drivers behind Trump’s current policy with respect to Iraq: preventing China from expanding its foothold in the Middle East. Indeed, it has been alleged that even the timing of Soleimani’s assassination was directly related to his diplomatic role in Iraq and his push to help Iraq secure its oil independence, beginning with the implementation of a new massive oil deal with China.
While recent rhetoric in the media has dwelled on the extent of Iran’s influence in Iraq, China’s recent dealings with Iraq — particularly in its oil sector — are to blame for much of what has transpired in Iraq in recent months, at least according to Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who is currently serving in a caretaker role. 
Much of the U.S. pressure exerted on Iraq’s government with respect to China has reportedly taken place covertly and behind closed doors, keeping the Trump administration’s concerns over China’s growing ties to Iraq largely out of public view, perhaps over concerns that a public scuffle could exacerbate the U.S.-China “trade war” and endanger efforts to resolve it. Yet, whatever the reasons may be, evidence strongly suggests that the U.S. is equally concerned about China’s presence in Iraq as it is with Iran’s. This is because China has the means and the ability to dramatically undermine not only the U.S.’ control over Iraq’s oil sector but the entire petrodollar system on which the U.S.’ status as both a financial and military superpower directly depends.

Behind the curtain, a different narrative for Iraq-US Tensions

Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi gave a series of remarks on January 5, during a parliamentary session that received surprisingly little media attention. During the session, which also saw Iraq’s Parliament approve the removal of all foreign (including American) troops from the country, Abdul-Mahdi made a series of claims about the lead-up to the recent situation that placed Iraq at the heart of spiking U.S.-Iran tensions.
During that session, only part of Abdul-Mahdi’s statements were broadcast on television, after the Iraqi Speaker of the House — Mohammed Al-Halbousi, who has a close relationship with Washington — requested the video feed be cut. Al-Halbousi oddly attended the parliamentary session even though it was boycotted by his allied Sunni and Kurdish representatives.
Mike Pompeo Halbousi
After the feed was cut, MPs who were present wrote down Abdul-Mahdi’s remarks, which were then given to the Arabic news outlet Ida’atPer that transcript, Abdul-Mahdi stated that:
The Americans are the ones who destroyed the country and wreaked havoc on it. They have refused to finish building the electrical system and infrastructure projects. They have bargained for the reconstruction of Iraq in exchange for Iraq giving up 50% of oil imports. So, I refused and decided to go to China and concluded an important and strategic agreement with it. Today, Trump is trying to cancel this important agreement.”
Abdul-Mahdi continued his remarks, noting that pressure from the Trump administration over his negotiations and subsequent dealings with China grew substantially over time, even resulting in death threats to himself and his defense minister:
After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened [that there would be] massive demonstrations to topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, whereby a third party [presumed to be mercenaries or U.S. soldiers] would target both the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from atop the highest buildings and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement.”
“I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement. When the defense minister said that those killing the demonstrators was a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened myself and the defense minister in the event that there was more talk about this third party.”
Very few English language outlets reported on Abdul-Mahdi’s comments. Tom Luongo, a Florida-based Independent Analyst and publisher of The Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter, told MintPress that the likely reasons for the “surprising” media silence over Abdul-Mahdi’s claims were because “It never really made it out into official channels…” due to the cutting of the video feed during Iraq’s Parliamentary session and due to the fact that “it’s very inconvenient and the media — since Trump is doing what they want him to do, be belligerent with Iran, protected Israel’s interests there.”
“They aren’t going to contradict him on that if he’s playing ball,” Luongo added, before continuing that the media would nonetheless “hold onto it for future reference….If this comes out for real, they’ll use it against him later if he tries to leave Iraq.” “Everything in Washington is used as leverage,” he added.
Given the lack of media coverage and the cutting of the video feed of Abdul-Mahdi’s full remarks, it is worth pointing out that the narrative he laid out in his censored speech not only fits with the timeline of recent events he discusses but also the tactics known to have been employed behind closed doors by the Trump administration, particularly after Mike Pompeo left the CIA to become Secretary of State.
For instance, Abdul-Mahdi’s delegation to China ended on September 24, with the protests against his government that Trump reportedly threatened to start on October 1. Reports of a “third side” firing on Iraqi protesters were picked up by major media outlets at the time, such as in this BBC report which stated:
Reports say the security forces opened fire, but another account says unknown gunmen were responsible….a source in Karbala told the BBC that one of the dead was a guard at a nearby Shia shrine who happened to be passing by. The source also said the origin of the gunfire was unknown and it had targeted both the protesters and security forces. (emphasis added)”
U.S.-backed protests in other countries, such as in Ukraine in 2014, also saw evidence of a “third side” shooting both protesters and security forces alike.
After six weeks of intense protests, Abdul-Mahdi submitted his resignation on November 29, just a few days after Iraq’s Foreign Minister praised the new deals, including the “oil for reconstruction” deal, that had been signed with China. Abdul-Mahdi has since stayed on as Prime Minister in a caretaker role until Parliament decides on his replacement.
Abdul-Mahdi’s claims of the covert pressure by the Trump administration are buttressed by the use of similar tactics against Ecuador, where, in July 2018, a U.S. delegation at the United Nations threatened the nation with punitive trade measures and the withdrawal of military aid if Ecuador moved forward with the introduction of  a UN resolution to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”
The New York Times reported at the time that the U.S. delegation was seeking to promote the interests of infant formula manufacturers. If the U.S. delegation is willing to use such pressure on nations for promoting breastfeeding over infant formula, it goes without saying that such behind-closed-doors pressure would be significantly more intense if a much more lucrative resource, e.g. oil, were involved.
Regarding Abdul-Mahdi’s claims, Luongo told MintPress that it is also worth considering that it could have been anyone in the Trump administration making threats to Abdul-Mahdi, not necessarily Trump himself. “What I won’t say directly is that I don’t know it was Trump at the other end of the phone calls. Mahdi, it is to his best advantage politically to blame everything on Trump. It could have been Mike Pompeo or Gina Haspel talking to Abdul-Mahdi… It could have been anyone, it most likely would be someone with plausible deniability….This [Mahdi’s claims] sounds credible… I firmly believe Trump is capable of making these threats but I don’t think Trump would make those threats directly like that, but it would absolutely be consistent with U.S. policy.”
Luongo also argued that the current tensions between U.S. and Iraqi leadership preceded the oil deal between Iraq and China by several weeks, “All of this starts with Prime Minister Mahdi starting the process of opening up the Iraq-Syria border crossing and that was announced in August. Then, the Israeli air attacks happened in September to try and stop that from happening, attacks on PMU forces on the border crossing along with the ammo dump attacks near Baghdad… This drew the Iraqis’ ire… Mahdi then tried to close the air space over Iraq, but how much of that he can enforce is a big question.”
As to why it would be to Mahdi’s advantage to blame Trump, Luongo stated that Mahdi “can make edicts all day long, but, in reality, how much can he actually restrain the U.S. or the Israelis from doing anything? Except for shame, diplomatic shame… To me, it [Mahdi’s claims] seems perfectly credible because, during all of this, Trump is probably or someone else is shaking him [Mahdi] down for the reconstruction of the oil fields [in Iraq]…Trump has explicitly stated “we want the oil.”’
As Luongo noted, Trump’s interest in the U.S. obtaining a significant share of Iraqi oil revenue is hardly a secret. Just last March, Trump asked Abdul-Mahdi “How about the oil?” at the end of a meeting at the White House, prompting Abdul-Mahdi to ask “What do you mean?” To which Trump responded “Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil,” which was widely interpreted as Trump asking for part of Iraq’s oil revenue in exchange for the steep costs of the U.S.’ continuing its now unwelcome military presence in Iraq.
With Abdul-Mahdi having rejected Trump’s “oil for reconstruction” proposal in favor of China’s, it seems likely that the Trump administration would default to so-called “gangster diplomacy” tactics to pressure Iraq’s government into accepting Trump’s deal, especially given the fact that China’s deal was a much better offer. While Trump demanded half of Iraq’s oil revenue in exchange for completing reconstruction projects (according to Abdul-Mahdi), the deal that was signed between Iraq and China would see around 20 percent of Iraq’s oil revenue go to China in exchange for reconstruction. Aside from the potential loss in Iraq’s oil revenue, there are many reasons for the Trump administration to feel threatened by China’s recent dealings in Iraq.

The Iraq-China oil deal – a prelude to something more?

When Abdul-Mahdi’s delegation traveled to Beijing last September, the “oil for reconstruction” deal was only one of eight total agreements that were established. These agreements cover a range of areas, including financial, commercial, security, reconstruction, communication, culture, education and foreign affairs in addition to oil. Yet, the oil deal is by far the most significant.
Per the agreement, Chinese firms will work on various reconstruction projects in exchange for roughly 20 percent of Iraq’s oil exports, approximately 100,00 barrels per day, for a period of 20 years. According to Al-Monitor, Abdul-Mahdi had the following to say about the deal: “We agreed [with Beijing] to set up a joint investment fund, which the oil money will finance,” adding that the agreement prohibits China from monopolizing projects inside Iraq, forcing Bejing to work in cooperation with international firms.
The agreement is similar to one negotiated between Iraq and China in 2015 when Abdul-Mahdi was serving as Iraq’s oil minister. That year, Iraq joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative in a deal that also involved exchanging oil for investment, development and construction projects and saw China awarded several projects as a result. In a notable similarity to recent events, that deal was put on hold due to “political and security tensions” caused by unrest and the surge of ISIS in Iraq, that is until Abdul-Mahdi saw Iraq rejoin the initiative again late last year through the agreements his government signed with China last September.
Notably, after recent tensions between the U.S. and Iraq over the assassination of Soleimani and the U.S.’ subsequent refusal to remove its troops from Iraq despite parliament’s demands, Iraq quietly announced that it would dramatically increase its oil exports to China to triple the amount established in the deal signed in September. Given Abdul-Mahdi’s recent claims about the true forces behind Iraq’s recent protests and Trump’s threats against him being directly related to his dealings with China, the move appears to be a not-so-veiled signal from Abdul-Mahdi to Washington that he plans to deepen Iraq’s partnership with China, at least for as long as he remains in his caretaker role.
Iraq’s decision to dramatically increase its oil exports to China came just one day after the U.S. government threatened to cut off Iraq’s access to its central bank account, currently held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an account that currently holds $35 billion in Iraqi oil revenue. The account was set up after the U.S. invaded and began occupying Iraq in 2003 and Iraq currently removes between $1-2 billion per month to cover essential government expenses. Losing access to its oil revenue stored in that account would lead to the “collapse” of Iraq’s government, according to Iraqi government officials who spoke to AFP.
Though Trump publicly promised to rebuke Iraq for the expulsion of U.S. troops via sanctions, the threat to cut off Iraq’s access to its account at the NY Federal Reserve Bank was delivered privately and directly to the Prime Minister, adding further credibility to Abdul-Mahdi’s claims that Trump’s most aggressive attempts at pressuring Iraq’s government are made in private and directed towards the country’s Prime Minister.
Though Trump’s push this time was about preventing the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq, his reasons for doing so may also be related to concerns about China’s growing foothold in the region. Indeed, while Trump has now lost his desired share of Iraqi oil revenue (50 percent) to China’s counteroffer of 20 percent, the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq may see American troops replaced with their Chinese counterparts as well, according to Tom Luongo.
“All of this is about the U.S. maintaining the fiction that it needs to stay in Iraq…So, China moving in there is the moment where they get their toe hold for the Belt and Road [Initiative],” Luongo argued. “That helps to strengthen the economic relationship between Iraq, Iran and China and obviating the need for the Americans to stay there. At some point, China will have assets on the ground that they are going to want to defend militarily in the event of any major crisis. This brings us to the next thing we know, that Mahdi and the Chinese ambassador discussed that very thing in the wake of the Soleimani killing.”
Indeed, according to news reports, Zhang Yao — China’s ambassador to Iraq — “conveyed Beijing’s readiness to provide military assistance” should Iraq’s government request it soon after Soleimani’s assassination. Yao made the offer a day after Iraq’s parliament voted to expel American troops from the country. Though it is currently unknown how Abdul-Mahdi responded to the offer, the timing likely caused no shortage of concern among the Trump administration about its rapidly waning influence in Iraq. “You can see what’s coming here,” Luongo told MintPress of the recent Chinese offer to Iraq, “China, Russia and Iran are trying to cleave Iraq away from the United States and the U.S. is feeling very threatened by this.”
Russia is also playing a role in the current scenario as Iraq initiated talks with Moscow regarding the possible purchase of one of its air defense systems last September, the same month that Iraq signed eight deals, including the oil deal with China. Then, in the wake of Soleimani’s death, Russia again offered the air defense systems to Iraq to allow them to better defend their air space. In the past, the U.S. has threatened allied countries with sanctions and other measures if they purchase Russian air defense systems as opposed to those manufactured by U.S. companies.
The U.S.’ efforts to curb China’s growing influence and presence in Iraq amid these new strategic partnerships and agreements are limited, however, as the U.S. is increasingly relying on China as part of its Iran policy, specifically in its goal of reducing Iranian oil export to zero. China remains Iran’s main crude oil and condensate importer, even after it reduced its imports of Iranian oil significantly following U.S. pressure last year. Yet, the U.S. is now attempting to pressure China to stop buying Iranian oil completely or face sanctions while also attempting to privately sabotage the China-Iraq oil deal. It is highly unlikely China will concede to the U.S. on both, if any, of those fronts, meaning the U.S. may be forced to choose which policy front (Iran “containment” vs. Iraq’s oil dealings with China) it values more in the coming weeks and months.
Furthermore, the recent signing of the “phase one” trade deal with China revealed another potential facet of the U.S.’ increasingly complicated relationship with Iraq’s oil sector given that the trade deal involves selling U.S. oil and gas to China at very low cost, suggesting that the Trump administration may also see the Iraq-China oil deal result in Iraq emerging as a potential competitor for the U.S. in selling cheap oil to China, the world’s top oil importer.

The Petrodollar and the Phantom of the Petroyuan

In his televised statements last week following Iran’s military response to the U.S. assassination of General Soleimani, Trump insisted that the U.S.’ Middle East policy is no longer being directed by America’s vast oil requirements. He stated specifically that:
Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy independence. These historic accomplishments changed our strategic priorities. These are accomplishments that nobody thought were possible. And options in the Middle East became available. We are now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil. (emphasis added)”
Yet, given the centrality of the recent Iraq-China oil deal in guiding some of the Trump administration’s recent Middle East policy moves, this appears not to be the case. The distinction may lie in the fact that, while the U.S. may now be less dependent on oil imports from the Middle East, it still very much needs to continue to dominate how oil is traded and sold on international markets in order to maintain its status as both a global military and financial superpower.
Indeed, even if the U.S. is importing less Middle Eastern oil, the petrodollar system — first forged in the 1970s — requires that the U.S. maintains enough control over the global oil trade so that the world’s largest oil exporters, Iraq among them, continue to sell their oil in dollars. Were Iraq to sell oil in another currency, or trade oil for services, as it plans to do with China per the recently inked deal, a significant portion of Iraqi oil would cease to generate a demand for dollars, violating the key tenet of the petrodollar system.
US China Iraq oil
As Kei Pritsker and Cale Holmes noted in an article last year for MintPress:
The takeaway from the petrodollar phenomenon is that as long as countries need oil, they will need the dollar. As long as countries demand dollars, the U.S. can continue to go into massive amounts of debt to fund its network of global military bases, Wall Street bailouts, nuclear missiles, and tax cuts for the rich.”
Thus, the use of the petrodollar has created a system whereby U.S. control of oil sales of the largest oil exporters is necessary, not just to buttress the dollar, but also to support its global military presence. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the issue of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and the issue of Iraq’s push for oil independence against U.S. wishes have become intertwined. Notably, one of the architects of the petrodollar system and the man who infamously described U.S. soldiers as “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy”, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, has been advising Trump and informing his China policy since 2016.
This take was also expressed by economist Michael Hudson, who recently noted that U.S. access to oil, dollarization and U.S. military strategy are intricately interwoven and that Trump’s recent Iraq policy is intended “to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control of the region’s oil reserves,” and, as Hudson says, “to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the U.S. dollar.”
Hudson further asserts that it was Qassem Soleimani’s efforts to promote Iraq’s oil independence at the expense of U.S. imperial ambitions that served one of the key motives behind his assassination.
America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad’s regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British “divide and conquer” ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got “out of line” meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing. (emphasis added)”
Hudson adds that “…U.S. neocons feared Suleimani’s plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi’s on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.”
While other factors — such as pressure from U.S. allies such as Israel — also played a factor in the decision to kill Soleimani, the decision to assassinate him on Iraqi soil just hours before he was set to meet with Abdul-Mahdi in a diplomatic role suggests that the underlying tensions caused by Iraq’s push for oil independence and its oil deal with China did play a factor in the timing of his assassination. It also served as a threat to Abdul-Mahdi, who has claimed that the U.S. threatened to kill both him and his defense minister just weeks prior over tensions directly related to the push for independence of Iraq’s oil sector from the U.S.
It appears that the ever-present role of the petrodollar in guiding U.S. policy in the Middle East remains unchanged. The petrodollar has long been a driving factor behind the U.S.’ policy towards Iraq specifically, as one of the key triggers for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s decision to sell Iraqi oil in Euros opposed to dollars beginning in the year 2000. Just weeks before the invasion began, Hussein boasted that Iraq’s Euro-based oil revenue account was earning a higher interest rate than it would have been if it had continued to sell its oil in dollars, an apparent signal to other oil exporters that the petrodollar system was only really benefiting the United States at their own expense.
Beyond current efforts to stave off Iraq’s oil independence and keep its oil trade aligned with the U.S., the fact that the U.S. is now seeking to limit China’s ever-growing role in Iraq’s oil sector is also directly related to China’s publicly known efforts to create its own direct competitor to the petrodollar, the petroyuan.
Since 2017, China has made its plans for the petroyuan — a direct competitor to the petrodollar — no secret, particularly after China eclipsed the U.S. as the world’s largest importer of oil. As CNBC noted at the time:
The new strategy is to enlist the energy markets’ help: Beijing may introduce a new way to price oil in coming months — but unlike the contracts based on the U.S. dollar that currently dominate global markets, this benchmark would use China’s own currency. If there’s widespread adoption, as the Chinese hope, then that will mark a step toward challenging the greenback’s status as the world’s most powerful currency….The plan is to price oil in yuan using a gold-backed futures contract in Shanghai, but the road will be long and arduous.”
If the U.S. continues on its current path and pushes Iraq further into the arms of China and other U.S. rival states, it goes without saying that Iraq — now a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative — may soon favor a petroyuan system over a petrodollar system, particularly as the current U.S. administration threatens to hold Iraq’s central bank account hostage for pursuing policies Washington finds unfavorable.
It could also explain why President Trump is so concerned about China’s growing foothold in Iraq, since it risks causing not only the end of the U.S. military hegemony in the country but could also lead to major trouble for the petrodollar system and the U.S.’ position as a global financial power. Trump’s policy aimed at stopping China and Iraq’s growing ties is clearly having the opposite effect, showing that this administration’s “gangster diplomacy” only serves to make the alternatives offered by countries like China and Russia all the more attractive.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!


Resumen DevFest Tarragona 2018   


El pasado sábado 17 de febrero organizamos la segunda edición del GDG DevFest Tarragona, después de colaborar años anteriores en las ediciones de Barcelona y Lleida. El GDG DevFest fue un evento sobre tecnología y desarrollo que transcurrió durante todo el día.

Queremos dar las gracias a todos los ponentes por participar en el DevFest Tarragona y a todos vosotros por venir y la gran aceptación que tuvo el evento. Las entradas se acabaron 2 semanas antes y tuvimos una lista de espera de 60 personas (y el aforo era solamente de 90)!

Este año como parte de la iniciativa Women Techmakers, en la cual el GDG Tarragona lleva colaborando 5 años, queríamos que este DevFest tuviera más mujeres como ponentes, en lugar de concentrarlas todas en el evento WTM que organizamos en Marzo. Al final contamos con 9 ponencias, de las cuales el 33% fueron realizadas por mujeres, y 87 participantes, de los cuales el 20% fueron mujeres. Son cifras no muy altas, pero en eventos técnicos de este tipo están más que bien para ser la primera vez que aplicamos esta filosofía en un evento de este formato.

La jornada empezó bien temprano, a las 8:30 check-in, pero los más madrugadores tuvieron premio. Los 50 primeros se llevaron un llavero Android, también conocido como Andy.

Empezamos con la presentación del DevFest Tarragona, del propio grupo GDG y sus próximos eventos, además del concurso que realizamos para repartir diferentes regalos a los asistentes más participativos y activos. Todo ello de la mano de Vanessa, nuestra Women Techmakers y organizadora del GDG Tarragona.

Las conferencias las inauguró Adrián Moreno con la ponencia sobre Bitcoin, que sin duda levantó mucho interés entre los asistentes, aunque no se regalasen Bitcoins xD Seguro que a partir de ahora, todos tenemos más claro cómo funciona esta moneda virtual y si vale la pena o no minar bitcoins.

A continuación, Almudena Vivanco nos explicó en qué consisten las vulnerabilidades Spectre y Meltdown y cómo nos afectan en nuestro día día y el porqué del pánico que causaron cuando salieron a la luz a finales del año pasado. Después de esta charla ya nos quedó más claro si tenemos o no que parchear nuestros ordenadores personales y servidores para estas vulnerabilidades.

Después del coffee break, volvimos con Rubén Serrano, organizador del GDG Barcelona. Nos introdujo al nuevo sistema operativo Fucshia y al SDK multiplataforma para desarrollo de apps móviles, Flutter. Dos grandes desconocidos que parece que tienen mucho que ofrecer, pero que todavía tienen camino por recorrer. ¿Apuesta de futuro? no lo sabemos, habrá que seguirles la pista a ver hasta donde llegan. Pero seguro que sabremos más sobre ello en el Google I/O que se celebrará en el mes de mayo.

Continuamos la jornada con Cynthia Gálvez, que nos habló de Realidad Virtual y Realidad Aumentada, pero nos hizo reflexionar sobre la importancia de la interacción y contacto con el usuario final, hecho que a veces olvidamos centrándonos más en la propia tecnología y no en su uso. Sin duda nos hizo pensar en el lado más humano de la tecnología.

Antes de hacer la pausa para comer, JuanKa Díaz nos hizo una introducción a WordPress, el conocido gestor de contenidos open source, y a algunas de sus posibilidades. Tanto si eras novato en esta plataforma, como con algo de experiencia, se agradecieron mucho las recomendaciones y consejos de tantos años de experiencia.

Después de 5 magníficas ponencias, hora de comer para cargar baterías con unas deliciosas pizzas en la zona ajardinada del recinto y unas Oreo de postre, oh yeah!

Retomamos la segunda parte de la jornada con Raquel M. Carmena, que nos presentó el movimiento Software Craftsmanship, el cual pone el foco en el desarrollador y pretende que seamos mejores profesionales en el desarrollo de software. Partiendo de esta idea, nos explicó diferentes métodos que podemos practicar para mejorar nuestras habilidades programando, por ejemplo las katas, y trucos para aplicar estas técnicas en el trabajo.

Seguimos con Andreu Ibánez, del GDG Lleida, que nos presentó las Becas de Google Summer of Code. A estas becas pueden optar estudiantes matriculados en la universidad y se realizan en verano. Pero también habló de Google Code-in, un concurso para introducir estudiantes preuniversitarios, de entre 13 y 17 años, en el desarrollo del software libre.

Turno para una pausa breve con café y chuches para encaminar las 2 últimas ponencias del día. La primera de ellas a cargo de Sergi Martínez, que nos sumergió en el mundo del Google Assistant y su interacción por voz a nivel conversacional, explicándonos cómo desarrollar nuestra primera app para esta plataforma mediante DialogFlow. Todo ello con un toque Star Wars que nos encandiló a muchos desde el minuto uno xD

Como no podía ser de otra manera, el asistente que hizo la pregunta más interesante sobre DialogFlow, se llevó un Voice Kit y una Raspberry Pi para montarse su propio Google Assistant en casa. Además, en lugar de montarlo en la caja típica de cartón, le regalamos también una caja personalizada del GDG Tarragona impresa en 3D, a que mola! El afortunado fue Stepan Chatalyan y nos consta que ya ha empezado a experimentar con ello. Felicidades!

Para acabar, pero no por eso fue la ponencia más light del día, pudimos contar con la participación de Andrés L. Martínez (Almo para los amigos). Nuestro Developer Relationship de Google nos presentó un montaje experimental que ha realizado con varias Raspberry Pi en cluster con Kubernetes para montar un distribuidor de TensorFlow, casi nada! Para los que os quedasteis con ganas de más sobre este tema, Almo recomienda este artículo.

Por último quedaba sortear los regalos que teníamos entre los asistentes más activos en twitter y facebook, y entre los asistentes que quizá sin redes sociales nos habían acompañado durante todo el día. Enhorabuena a todos!

Podéis ver las diapositivas de la jornada desde la página web del evento en el aparto 'Schedule'. En el slot de cada ponencia encontraréis un link 'Presentation available'.

Todas las fotografías del evento las podéis ver en nuestro álbum del DevFest Tarragona en G+.

Agradecer a los patrocinadores Google, Departament d'Enginyeria i Matemàtiques de la URV y Smart4Cities por su colaboración en el evento, ya que sin ellos el DevFest Tarragona tampoco hubiera sido posible. También agradecer el apoyo del Col·legi Oficial d'Enginyeria Informàtica de Catalunya.


Resumen Women Techmakers Reus 2016   

El pasado día 12 de marzo tuvo lugar en Reus la tercera edición del Women Techmakers organizado por el GDG Tarragona y Tech&Ladies. WTM es una iniciativa promovida por Google a nivel mundial que pretende dar visibilidad y potenciar a las mujeres en el ámbito de las STEM (en inglés corresponde a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).

Fotógrafa Helena Palao

Esta tercera edición despertó mucho interés y fue todo un éxito de participación. Se agotaron todas las inscripciones y acudieron a las conferencias 91 asistentes, el doble que en las pasadas dos ediciones.

Tratándose de un Women Techmakers hay que decir que el porcentaje de mujeres que asistieron al evento fue del 29%. Respecto a años anteriores ha bajado un poco debido a la gran afluencia de público masculino, que este año no se ha querido perder el evento. En valor nominal pero, también han venido más mujeres que en las pasadas ediciones, lo que demuestra que esta tercera edición ha llegado a mucho más público. Esperamos que el año que viene podamos seguir aumentando estos números.

Durante los últimos meses hemos visto dispositivos de Realidad Virtual de diferentes fabricantes (las Oculus, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, etc), pues bien, a los 40 primeros en llegar al evento se les obsequió con una de las cajas de cartón más curiosas y deseadas desde que Google la presentó en su congreso mundial de 2014, el Cardboard. Con él podemos disfrutar de la VR con nuestro móvil de una forma sencilla, barata y bastante espectacular.

Foto de archivo (Reus Google I/O Extended 2015)

En la jornada de este año se habló de un tema que cada vez despierta más interés entre la gente, por su cantidad de aplicaciones prácticas y comunidades que le dan soporte. Nos referimos a las plataformas de hardware abierto como Arduino, Intel Galileo o Raspberry Pi.

Fue la Dra. M.Àngels Moncusí, profesora del Departamento de Ingeniería y Matemáticas de la Universidad Rovira i Virgili, la encargada de inaugurar las conferencias introduciéndonos en el mundo de los sistemas empotrados en tiempo real para luego enseñarnos cómo se programa un Arduino con ejemplos prácticos y demostraciones en vivo. Podéis encontrar su presentación aquí.

La segunda conferencia fue a cargo de Maddalena Molteni, de Artificial Solutions, que nos explicó las tecnologías asociadas al lenguaje con ejemplos que podemos encontrar en nuestra vida cotidiana y el uso potencial que está teniendo la Interacción a través del Lenguaje Natural (NLI), tecnología responsable de los asistentes virtuales inteligentes. Podéis encontrar su presentación aquí.

La siguiente charla que también tuvo relación con las plataformas hardware fue la de Isabel Cabezas, Technical Evangelist en Microsoft, y Carmen Checa, de Pasiona, que nos sorprendieron con un truco de magia en directo. La gracia del asunto es que el truco lo realizaron gracias a una Intel Galileo, un smartphone, una Microsoft Band y mucho más, un buen ejemplo de la aplicación de diferentes tecnologías para resolver un determinado reto. Podéis encontrar su presentación aquí.

Las dos últimas ponencias estuvieron enmarcadas en la mejora de la gestión y desarrollo de proyectos. Davinia Garcia, de Worldline, nos habló de la metodología SCRUM y GitFlow, y compartió con nosotros sus experiencias. Podéis encontrar su presentación aquí.

Fotógrafa Helena Palao

La última ponencia del día fue a cargo de Adela Tort, coorganizadora del JUG Barcelona (Java Users Group), que explicó las ventajas de la implantación de sistemas de Continuous Integration y Continuous Delivery en nuestros entornos de desarrollo. Podéis encontrar su presentación aquí.

Fotógrafa Helena Palao

También hubo tiempo para hacer una foto 360 de la jornada. Si fuisteis de los 40 primeros en llegar al evento, podéis ver la foto en 360 con el cardboard que os repartimos. Gracias a nuestro compañero Andreu del GDG Lleida por prestarnos la cámara ;)

Spherically speaking #womentechmakers #wtm16Reus @gdg @GDGTarragona #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Gracias a la colaboración de Vermuts Miró cada ponente se llevó una botella de Vermut Miró Reserva como obsequio :)

Podéis ver todas las fotografías del evento en el Google+ del GDG Tarragona y en el repositorio de Helena Palao, fotógrafa profesional que quiso colaborar con Tech&Ladies y el WTM viniendo a hacernos unas fotos, gracias :)

En cuanto tengamos disponibles los vídeos de las ponencias os lo haremos saber para que podáis revisionarlas en casa tranquilamente.

Por último, dar las gracias a nuestros patrocinadores Ajuntament de Reus, firaReus, Diputació de Tarragona, TINET y Vermuts Miró. A la fotógrafa Helena Palao, a nuestras ponentes y a todos los asistentes. Esperamos que disfrutaseis de la jornada y que el próximo año nos volvamos a ver.


『#ミノサン 誕生秘話』熱狂を生み出したサンダル制作の舞台裏【夕刊ミノ】関西チーム   



箕輪編集室から生まれた「ミノサン」というサンダル制作の担当をしています。一部の人々には、「サンダルの人」というキャラが少し定着してきました。奈良の履物文化を発信したい! と思う私にとっては嬉しい限りで、これも沢山の方々に面白がっていただけているおかげです。


The Unbearable Cuntitude of Hillary Clinton   

     Hillary Clinton is a Cunt with a capital C. There. It's out. I said it and you can't do a Goddamned thing about it. Some of you may say that I don't have the right to reduce a woman to her genitalia (while being strangely OK with guys being called pricks and dicks) and ordinarily you'd have a case. But when you have a woman who acts exactly like the word colloquially connotes, especially one who embraced to the point of crushing ribs the identity of being "the first woman president", a woman who weaponized her gender, and still is, as Elizabeth Warren did eight days ago, then she's fair game for the C word. So let's dispense with your faux outrage and get to the bigger issue.
     A Hulu documentary that someone thought would be a good idea to make quoted Hillary as saying, "He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."
     When this dropped this morning in the hours leading up to the Trump Impeachment trial in the Senate, it immediately blew up on Twitter and elsewhere. Vagina voters one thought they'd purged from their Twitter followers and Facebook friends lists had raised their hazel maggot snouts in umbrage and had been ditched. Flame wars great and small are raging like Australian brush fires all over social media. All over something a washed-up old hack said about a man who's likely to become, finally, the Democratic nominee for president.
     In the documentary. Queen Hillary had kinder words to say about about convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein than Bernie Sanders. That alone shows how Clinton's unforgiving nature regarding slights, or perceived slights, is on a par with a certain childish squatter in the White House who also holds grudges over years if not entire decades.
     Let's take stock: This is a woman who had every, and I mean every, fucking advantage a corporate Republican-lite Blue Dog Democrat could ask for: She had backing from Wall Street, the corporate mainstream media, especially CNN, the Tammany Hall 2.0 Democratic machine, the DNC, the super delegates, women voters and more than a few obviously misguided unions. And despite all those advantages, she still lost to a washed up TV reality show host and a palpable grifter and fraud. All that remains to be seen is which she'll live down first: That humiliation or the humiliation of being cheated on by her husband who got blow jobs in the Oval Office.
     So, please, Your Highness, continue giving us tips on popularity.
     Let's take stock again: Barely a year ago, a Morning Consult poll showed Bernie was voted the most popular senator (64% as opposed to Elizabeth Warren, who polled at just 51%)... for the 11th year in a row. Bernie outraised everyone else in 2019, raising $34.5 million over the last quarter alone, and from 5,000,000 unique contributors, not a single one of whom was a Wall Street billionaire.

     His rally crowds draw massive numbers and, even in the winter, have to be held outside, such as his campaign kickoff in Brooklyn last year.

     But, please, let's keep taking popularity advice and pronouncements from a woman (or, more accurately, a bloated, misshapen pantsuit full of bile) who couldn't even keep her own husband's dick out of another woman's mouth.
     Let's not forget, people, this was the same nasty, snarling cunt who called us in that documentary "Bernie Bros" (a sneering moniker coined by Atlantic hack writer Robinson Meyer) as well as "basement dwellers." And, for those of you misinformed shitheads who think that Jill Stein and other third party candidates cost Queen Hillary her coronation, let's not forget her laughable outreach to Bernie voters, basically telling them, "Fuck off, we don't need you."
     Between Hillary and Obama, another right wing hack who just can't keep his big mouth shut and is telling the well-heeled from his hidey hole in Georgetown to contribute to and vote for Warren and badmouthing Sanders, the Tammany Hall wing of the Democratic Party is even now planning on subverting democracy even if it means giving the White House back to the shambling pedophile currently posing as our president and is being impeached in the Senate even as I write this.
     Once a Goldwater Girl, always a Goldwater Girl.

InfoCert: #JobPics - Business Compliace Consultant   





La Coordinación de Prevención del Delito de la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Municipio de Jesús María, lleva a secundarias y bachilleratos talleres de sensibilización y concientización a los jóvenes para prevenir las conductas antisociales que pongan en riesgo su integridad como personas.

Las actividades presentadas al cuerpo estudiantil, tienen una duración de tres días y durante ese periodo se le brinda información sobre drogadicción, violencia en el noviazgo, faltas administrativas y delitos, además de que se hace partícipe a toda la comunidad escolar, incluyendo directivos y cuerpo docente.

Hasta el momento, estas acciones se han llevado a cabo en secundarias ubicadas en localidades alejadas de la mancha urbana, sin embargo, gracias a la respuesta positiva por parte de los alumnos y maestros, este grupo de prevención ha visitado instituciones educativas de Rincón de Romos.

En este sentido, el alcalde José Antonio Arámbula López, expresó que el Gobierno Municipal continuará con estas actividades que significan políticas de seguridad ciudadana.

Cabe hacer mención que con estos talleres también participan Elementos de la Guardia Nacional, Policía Cibernética, Proximidad Social, Fiscalía, Instancia de la Mujer, Protección Civil, Bomberos del Estado y el Centro Estatal de Prevención Social de la Violencia y la Delincuencia con Participación Ciudadana (CEPSOVIDE), atendiendo a más de 600 personas.


Уголовная ответственность в случае повторных нарушений по статьям 12.8, 12.26 КоАП РФ   


Законодательством Российской Федерации предусмотрена уголовная ответственность за повторное совершение правонарушения, предусмотренного статьями 12.8 и 12.26 КоАП РФ. Статья 264.1 УК РФ. Нарушение правил дорожного движения лицом, подвергнутым административному наказанию. Уголовная ответственность наступает в случае управления автомобилем, трамваем либо другим механическим транспортным средством лицом, находящимся в состоянии опьянения, подвергнутым административному наказанию за управление транспортным средством в состоянии опьянения или за невыполнение законного требования уполномоченного должностного лица о прохождении медицинского освидетельствования на состояние опьянения либо имеющим судимость за совершение преступления, предусмотренного частями второй, четвертой или шестой статьи 264 Уголовного кодекса РФ. Данное деяние наказывается штрафом в размере от двухсот тысяч до трехсот тысяч рублей или в размере заработной платы или иного дохода осужденного за период от одного года до двух лет с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет, либо обязательными работами на срок до четырехсот восьмидесяти часов с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет, либо принудительными работами на срок до двух лет с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет, либо лишением свободы на срок до двух лет с лишением права занимать определенные должности или заниматься определенной деятельностью на срок до трех лет.

Отдел ГИБДД ОМВД России по городскому округу Протвино


Изменения в правилах организованной перевозки группы детей автобусами.   


Подмосковная Госавтоинспекция информирует, что в Правила организованных перевозок групп детей автобусами внесены изменения (Постановление Правительства РФ от 08 августа 2018 г. № 925), в соответствии с которыми требования пункта 3 Правил, утвержденных настоящим постановлением, в части, касающейся требований к году выпуска автобуса не применяются до 30.06.2020 г.

Вместе с тем, с 1 июля 2018 года при организованной перевозке группы детей при движении автобуса на его крыше или над ней должен быть включен маячок желтого или оранжевого цвета.


Deepstate Snipers On the Rooftops...    

Loveliest KitKats All ... The Kougaress is eternally grateful that ALL WAS PEACEFUL at the 2A Virginia Gun Rally... a yearly rally that has been happening SINCE 2003... what the Kougar saw on the various vid reports was a darn amazing love fest of ***AMERICANS*** coming together... A BIG, BIG THANK YOU TO THE DIVINE ... however, behind the scenes President Trump declared the east coast to be a war zone... he turned off GPS, and told the Governor that he had declared the state of Virginia to be an enemy of these united states. .. and also apparently countered the HAARP frequency attack on the protesters that had been designed to instigate a riot. Yeah, no kidding... this according to the inside report given to Dave Hodges of the Common Sense Show. And now, check out Mike Adam's breaking news... thus, all of us who instincts were buzzing nonstop were correct to be worried... 

Deepstate Snipers On the Rooftops... 

Date: Jan 21, 2020 5:22 PM
Breaking - Feds ran "white supremacist" group that VA Gov. claimed would commit violence yesterday
Mike Adams
Once again, it turns out the only real terrorists are the FBI itself. Breaking news reveals the FBI ran the so-called "white supremacist" terror group that VA Gov. Northam invoked to falsely claim gun owners would violently attack the capitol in Richmond yesterday.
We've also got bombshell video footage of deep state snipers on the rooftops all around the capitol grounds, ready to fire down upon the innocent Americans who were forced to be unarmed by Gov. Northam's lies.
It's now more clear than ever: Democrats and the FBI are the real terrorists in America. And no one is safe while they are in power.


Activity from Alaska volcano triggers aviation warnings after spewing ash, lava

The Shishaldin Volcano is currently listed at a Code Orange alert level.


Apocalyptic dust storm blocks out sun in Australia...


“Unconstitutional” – VA Sheriff Richard Vaughan: ‘If Democrat Gun Control Bills Go Through as Proposed, They Will Not be Enforced’ (VIDEO)


Love the two guys behind him...they look like civil war reenactors. Like you could actually get away with taking the guns away in that state.


Space Force's Secret Mission
Millennial Millie



Attendees upset with media characterizing event as a white supremacist march.

"Lying Pieces of Shit!" Man at Virginia Gun Rally Interrupts Live MSNBC Broadcast
An attendee of today’s pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia had a few choice words for MSNBC when he crashed their live broadcast to tell them they’re “lying pieces of shit.”
An MSNBC reporter was doing a piece to camera about how President Trump was tweeting about the event when an old man appeared in the background to deliver a very clear message.
“You’re all lying pieces of shit, fuck you!” the man exclaimed.

Date: Jan 20, 2020 4:23 PM
Victory in Virginia as deep state terrorists back down in presence of overwhelming patriots
Mike Adams
The deep state terrorists (Antifa, the FBI, etc.) have backed down in the presence of overwhelming numbers of patriots carrying legal firearms and recording video at all times.
This is a huge victory for patriots and a major defeat for the anti-gun Leftists, the treasonous FBI and Virginia Gov. Northam, an evil demon who wants to kill your babies and take away your civil rights.
Read the full details here. All check NN home page for new podcasts.
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MCT oil has been used in tropical locations throughout the world for thousands of years. The oil has become increasingly popular in western countries as the oil's tremendous health benefits have become more well known. MCT oil increases energy levels and is popularly used by athletes to enhance endurance during workouts. Adding the oil to your regimen will also support your overall digestive and nervous system health. Our new Chief Originals MCT Oil (C8 MCT Oil) is a great addition to your daily nutritional intake and can be easily added to your everyday meals or smoothies.
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Trump Was Right! Warehouse in Puerto Rico Discovered this week FILLED with US Survival Aid for Hurricane Maria (VIDEO)

Trump Was Right! Warehouse in Puerto Rico Discovered this week FILLED with US Survival Aid for Hurricane Maria (VIDEO)


January 19, 2020
Secret Service Removes Top Deep State Operative From White House While Leftists Threaten To Jail Anyone Voting For Trump
By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
A cautiously upbeat new Security Council (SC) report circulating in the Kremlin today discussing the decision this week to continue boosting investment in US debt securities after furiously dumping them over the past two years, notes that the affirmation by the American economic organization S&P of Russia's stable outlook BBB-rating based on the new government’s plan to maintain macroeconomic policy continuity and to broadly comply with its conservative fiscal rule is but one part of this turnaround—as the most important factor considered to begin reinvestment in the US debt security market is based on the long-term viability of its government—a long-term viability strengthened two days ago on Friday17 January, when the Secret Service escorted and threw out of the White House top National Security director Andrew Peek, who’s now been “placed on administrative leave pending an investigation concerning security matters”—an ouster coming shortly after the United States Senate took full control over the “shampeachment” of 

srcclr (3.5.2)   

Security for open-source code.


Gold Medal Earns Recognition on the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100   


News for Immediate Release

10700 Medallion Drive | Cincinnati, Ohio 45241 |
For more information about the release or images, contact Heather Gims at
800-543-0862 ext. 2384 or .

Gold Medal earns recognition on the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100
The company ranks among the top privately-held companies in greater Cincinnati

The Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100 recently released its annual ranking of the largest, privately held companies in the greater Cincinnati area. The list includes the top 100 companies by sales. Gold Medal Products Co. is pleased to announce the company ranked at No. 66 for 2019. This marks the 25th year that Gold Medal has been included on the list.

President of Gold Medal, Adam Browning emphasized the significance of this accomplishment, “It is both an honor and a responsbility to uphold the standards required to achieve recognition on the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100. We are proud of what this collection of companies shows about the strength and health of the Cincinnati business community. Gold Medal looks forward to continuing to contribute to the local area’s prosperous economic development.”

Since the launch of the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100 in 1983, the program has honored greater Cincinnati’s most recognizable private companies. The list ranks the top 100 companies by sales, as determined by a voluntarily submitted qualification form. In order to be eligible for the Deloitte Cincinnati USA 100, companies must be privately held and headquartered in the 18-county tristate area. For more information visit


Interview: Daniele interviews Tim Bruckner   


Interviews of the Sculptors Legend #1

Daniele Found interviews

Tim Bruckner

Hello everyone :-)
This is Daniele again and today I have the opportunity to share you something unique.
Something about my personal inspiration. 

Particularly people/artists who inspire me, in this case.

Since I started sculpting I always am fascinated by one of the most talented and unique sculptor all over the world : Tim Bruckner.

Tim is one of the best commercial artists on the scene today (he's looking at semi-retiring now).
I had the great privilege to ask him some different questions about his process, about his way of sculpting, about his habits and other things.
He worked for years in the toy and collecting business and has an incredible portfolio of sculptures in his catalog.

In origin I have known him basically through his incredible book, which is probably the only publication with a deep insight into the world of figure sculpting, mold making, and toys making.

Risultati immagini per pop sculpture book
"Pop Sculpture" by Tim Brickner, Zach Oat, Ruben Procopio

Enjoy and Keep Sculpting
Daniele Found

Just a little courtesy intro by  DC:

"Tim Bruckner has worked for DC Direct and DC Collectibles for close to 20 years, working under an exclusive contract with the company for over a decade. During that time he has designed and sculpted dozens of pieces and his amazingly accurate designer-specific sculpts have helped shape the line and build the brand. One of his most gratifying professional experiences was designing and sculpting the incredible DC Dynamics line of statues that were based on the art of J. C. Leyendecker.

Bruckner's earliest memory of sculpting was when he sculpted the heads of the Seven Dwarves out of wax candy tubes at seven years old. He began working professionally at the age of eighteen as a jeweler's apprentice/wax carver and in those two years, he learned the foundation of his art that would sustain him for over the next five decades.

Bruckner has appeared in the Spectrum Fantastic Artbooks (the premier juried annual of the best in fantasy art) fourteen times and has won two Gold Awards in the Dimensional category. Other awards included two Diamond Comic Distributors Statue of the Year awards as well as an award for Product of the Year. In 2009, he was inducted into the Toy Fare Hall of Fame. His most recent work for DC Collectibles has been on the popular designer series of “power couple” statues."

The Interview

Immagine correlata
Beethoven by Tim Bruckner

-Sometimes people say that behind a great man there is a great woman: Are you married? Do you have sons? if yes, what they think about your job?
I’m married to an amazing woman. We’ve been married for thirty eight years. Much of who I am and why I am, is due to her wisdom, advice and guidance. We have two kids, a girl, Anne and a boy, Errol. I think they have liked what I do and appreciate the work I’ve produced. Having a dad who is a professional artist has given them the insight and freedom to be who they want to be.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

1)I'll ask you this question because I found out that many artists are created by a singular and very personal routine:
Tell me something about your daily routine. 
These days, I’m much more relaxed about my schedule and the work I do. I semi-retired last year and so, no deadlines. When I was working, I was up at six, was in the studio by seven. Worked until six or so and then went into the house for dinner and a chance to unwind.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

How many hours do you sculpt per day? 
I used to work ten to twelve hour days. These days, I’m in the studio around eight or eight thirty and work until four or five. Much saner hours.

What time do you wake up? 
We wake up at 6:45. Let our dog out, have coffee, watch the news. Feed him about 7: 25.

Breakfast? Dinner?

Do you listen to some music while you work? If yes, what music? 
When I was under deadline, I listened to music all day long, often to the classical music station on public radio. My faves were Bach as played by E. Power Biggs, Chopin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and many others.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

Some specific and daily habits? 
I don’t know that I have any specific habits. My day is dictated by what I’m working on and the preparation for it. Doing 3D or 2D or writing, all have their specific needs. If I’m  not sure what I’m doing, much of the day is spent in preparation. These days, the thing that drives me is the challenge. I like starting a work I’m not sure I can accomplish. Finding a way to make it work is what I enjoy most.

2)When you sculpt a new figure, do you always look at anatomy and proportions references, or do you sculpt everything by memory? 
What is a practical exercise to improve the anatomy knowledge for sculpting purposes?
I always use reference. I know anatomy fairly well. But the stress and compression of various muscle groups is vital to a successful piece. An outstretched hand with the palm facing up is different when the palm is facing down. We may not always be aware of the changes, but we know when it’s not right. I want the audience to involve themselves in the composition, what the piece is trying to say, rather than pay attention to the lack of proper musculature and have that be a distraction.

3) Do you have a mentor? If not, who he should be?
My mentors have always been artists I admire, Michelangelo, Cellini, Bernini,  Rubens, N.C. Wyeth, J.C Leyendecker. They were masters of composition. Once you arrive at a place of competent and reliable skill, creating a composition that says what you want it to say is the biggest challenge.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner 

4) Going into technical questions. 
Reading your book, I was very fascinated by your process:
basically, you create a rough sculpture in oil-based clay, then you create a waste mold to cast it in Wax, then you sculpt in wax for detailing and polishing. 
Do you use this process for every size? Why you choose Wax?  
Often I rough out the piece in clay to define composition, attitude and proportion. I will make a waste mold and cast a wax to begin the finish process. I started sculpting in wax when I was seventeen, sculpting jewelry for a Beverly Hills jewelry store. It was the best education I could have received. I read Cellini’s book about process and arrived at my own wax formula. I choose wax because of its ability to give me any finish I want, from very smooth and finished to rough and carved. Large pieces I will finish in clay. A three to twelve inch figure I will got to wax. Sometimes, I may finish part of a large piece in wax. The head, hands costume detail. For me, wax is the most flexible material I could use.

5) Sincerely, do you think that a 3D artist should be considered a real "Sculptor" or better "Digital Artist"?

I’m old school. Very much so. To me, sculpting is defined by manipulating a material with your hands to create the piece you want. Physically working a material tells you things about a sculpture I don’t think you could get from a monitor. It helps you understand tolerance and how do build a piece that can be reproduced.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner
It also allows you to use light and its various effects to make the sculpture play the way you want it. A sculpture viewed in morning light with look different when viewed by afternoon light. Its character will change when viewed by direct light and be altered by low light. And the material reveals things to you I don’t think possible using digital. I can’t tell you how many times a slip of the hand will push the clay into a shape or placement I would have never considered but turned out to be just what I needed. Using traditional methods also helps you focus the piece. Digital can afford you amazing detail. Sometimes detail is distracting. Using traditional sculptural methods helps the piece arrive at a focus.

6) If you should choose only 2 tools for sculpting which they'd be?
Could you describe why they're so important and how do you use them?
Your hands. All the other stuff  just lets you use your hands to create detail and finish your fingers are just too clumsy to produce. You look at Rodin’s pieces and you can see the strength and virtuosity of an artist’s fingers at work.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

7) As a sculptor, what is the most difficult thing to sculpt in your opinion?
Beauty. It’s easy to sculpt monsters, aliens, fantasy creatures. To sculpt beauty requires a very subtle hand. Beauty and youth, both very challenging.

8) As your experience, if a sculptor should have three basic skills what they would have and why?
The sculptor needs to master a material; clay, wax, plaster, polymer clay.
The sculptor needs to know what it can do and what it can’t and figure out a way for it to look like it can do the impossible.

Risultati immagini per tim brucknerTrain your eyes. You need to be able to see past what’s presented.
A entire sculpture can rely on the smallest gesture.
Human nature helps us read even the smallest gesture.
By being aware of what we see, lets us see how to use it.

Focus and determination.
Sculpture is a lot of work. Not only creating the piece but creating a piece that can be reproduced which means understanding mold making and casting or reproducing the piece. One of the negatives of digital work is the representation of huge amounts of detail and elements are often very thin or of a small tolerance that cannot be physically be reproduced.

9) Today, in the age of 3D Printing and 3D sculpting, in your opinion, is it worth to spend time to learn traditional sculpting for job purposes?
Learning to use your hands to create something substantive will make an illustrator a better illustrator, a digital artist and better digital artists. Understanding how a piece is constructed will inform all the arts and make one more sensitive to its creation.

10) If your son should decide to be a sculptor, what best suggestion you'd give to him?
Love it. Love the hard work. Love the end product. Believe in yourself. Follow your vision, indulge you imagination. Never give up.

11) Where can we find you, your shop, and contact you?
I used to have a website. It was very heavily designed to use Flash. Flash is no longer in use and so my site died. I’m on Facebook.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner 
-How many figures have you sculpted in your career? :
I have no clue. I recently reviewed my DC work and discovered I created over seven hundred pieces for them. That doesn’t take into consideration my work with ToyBiz, Kenner, Hallmark, The Hamilton group and the various gift, toy and collectible companies I’ve worked with over the years.

-Favorite oil-based clay brand:
Chavant. The best oil based clays around. I use the NSP brown medium. They make a lot of clays to suit a variety of needs. Get a sample pack and play with all of them until you find the  one you like.

-Favorite Wax:
I make my own, it consists of Microcrystalline, bee’s wax, paraffin, injection wax and Crayola brand crayons. You’ll need to play with the proportions until you find a formula that works for you. It will take time and a lot of effort but worth every bit of it.

-Favorite Rubber for silicone mold brand and which shore (hardness of the rubber):
Si, GT 1000. The all-around best. You can push the activator to get a mold to set up more quickly. Always, always use a pressure pot to make your molds. A vacuum chamber is a waste of time. You can use a pressure pot to mold and cast and get nearly perfect results.

-Chopin or Mozart? :
Chopin. I’m kind of a romantic.

-Michelangelo, Bernini or Canova? :
There’d be no Bernini without Michelangelo. There’d be no Canova without Bernini.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

-Favorite Film? :
I was thinking about this the other day. I’m a big fan of the old Universal monster movies. I like the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies. The movie that made the biggest impact on me was Fantasia. I saw it when I was a kid. My art teacher took me to an afternoon showing. I had a huge crush on her. Being with her, just the two of us, watching that movie opened up my imagination and made my future as an artist possible.

-Favorite song/composition? :
I am the Walrus. John Lennon.

-Favorite Food? :

-What don't you resist? :
I resist all my dark sides.

Final Thoughts

What to say? I think that Tim's works speak themself.
Tim is one of my favourite artists and I feel inside his creations a deep experience, expression and a truly unique and personal style (especially in faces).

In today's world, with too many 3D sculptures with deep boring details, Tim comes back to the original silhouette of a figure and brings us what one sculpture needs to do essentially: to gift emotions.

Thank you TIM!

Link and resources:
-Tim Bruckner Site
-Tim Bruckner's Book
-Tim's Interview by Fwoosh
-Tim's Interview by AP Sculpture Studio
-Tim's Interview by Action Figure Insider
-Tim's Interview by Statue Forum

Support NOW Massive Voodoo!
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.


Review: Basing Workshop, Augsburg, Germany   


"A class with Roman is always a special event. On this weekend I learned a lot about a proper planning and how it can realise a project in a different way I would normally do. 
But the best thing was the boost of motivation. Romans teaching and the overall atmosphere on the workshop showed me why I love to paint and that's a good thing to be reminded at some point or another." - Thomas

"Apocalypse, nature returns! What a setting, how could one not join? Five fellow miniature painters followed the call. The workshop took part in the Massive Voodoo studio and what to say... the ambience perfectly fitted the topic of this workshop. As always on Romans workshops, you see familiar faces from former workshops. Long time no see, but you always remember. Memorizing names this time was even easier than in the past if 50% are called Thomas ;).

The well-structured workshop started with some theory: Composition of a base, how to read a base, hot spots and a conceptional phase. It turned out that this was the most important part, because the basic design was created. It accelerated the latter assembly massively. In earlier workshops, it was not so much important to create some nice bases. A detail more or less was not so important because the focus was different. But this workshop is all about the details! Of course, creating a base is a journey where you add/change some smaller details but not the whole story. I think the most of us who attended will never start a base without a detailed draft.

The next day was all about assembling the base. Although you may not need a training for laying bricks you may feel like a brick layer. We learned how to create a realistic theme to watch out for the details that make the difference. At the end of the day we saw our drafts come to life. 

During the last day, painting the base was the main "work". It was the step where the apocalyptic theme evolved through atmosphere, bushes, toilet bowls, cats, air conditioners and grass. A lot of grass....

It was easy to follow Roman through all the steps and the past workshops helped a lot. If you don't understand everything at a certain time, fear not. Trust Roman, everything WILL make sense at the end. This was true in the past and Roman proved it again.

The workshop was also a great opportunity for me not to learn only from Roman but also from the others. To understand their view on the base. Thank you, guys, for that!

This was my third workshop with Roman. I du(ngeo)nno what will be next, but it will be definitively not my last. I was really happy to take part in the last apocalyptically themed basing workshop. A big shout out to Roman for this awesome workshop.

Happy painting"

Not-Thomas" Florian

welcome to this review of a Basing Workshop I held back in late 2019.
The last one with the topic "After the apocalypse, nature returns".

It is about time to switch the topic to a new one as there is so much more to tell about different usage of different materials and I held this workshop several times now and can only look back on happy students and great results:

Arvika, Sweden, english language

Augsburg, english language
Augsburg, german language
Augsburg, english language

Augsburg, german language

Augsburg, german language
Augsburg, german language

Instructor: Roman Lappat
Duration: Friday/Saturday/Sunday (2.5 days)

Basing is a very important part when it comes to miniature painting.
A proper display base is the stage to tell a good story and to present your models. Creating a beautiful display base means more than just glueing material together. It is about balance, harmony and compostion rules. You can learn all this in my Basing Class:

 Main topics:
- Learn composition rules
- Learn how to use the golden ratio
- Learn about reading lines, balance and weight
- Learn to sketch your ideas with a pencil
- Learn where to position your figure
- Learn how to use different sorts of material
- Learn to make nature grow on your base
- and more ...

Student level: Advanced

For this class you should be prepared with an advanced skill level. You should know about zenital light,basic color theory, contrast range and how to create a blending.

This time was not different.
A small group of students was gathering in the MV Studio and I love to teach this class there. As a teacher I got everything I need just in handreach and with this fact I can fullfill every students individual wishes in material and tools alike.

Tons of superglue :)

Friday night was big theory night about composition rules and how to plan and concept an idea including all that was learned before ...

Minor preperations started this night too ...

Night appeared on the sky with some stars ...

It was time to put the composition rules to a test in real size ...

Saturday morning appeared faster than expected ...

We started to work in the morning in three stages of work flow that make absolute sense when it comes to large base building...

Many thanks to the support in class material goes to

Saturday was a full working day with individual training and guidance from my side ... until the night appeared again ...

Creative Chaos in the studio ...

On Sunday we started priming the bases and started painting them ...

I want to thank you, gentlemen
for the great and creative time spent together.
It has been my absolute pleasure to see your bases grow and to hear all the "click moments" in your head. One Thomas is missing on the photo though. Overall we have been one teacher, five students ...

Your basing results speak for themselves ...

Keep on happy painting!

You can find more information
about upcoming group workshops via this banner

You want to support Massive Voodoo? 
If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.


Homem é assassinado a tiros na manhã dessa quarta-feira em Pau dos Ferros    

Um Homem ainda sem identificação foi morto a tiros no Bairro Manoel Deodato em Pau dos Ferros, no Interior do Rio Grande do Norte.
O Crime aconteceu na manhã desta quarta-feira, dia 21 de Janeiro de 2020.
A Ainda de acordo com informações extra oficiais seria de que, a vítima seria natural do Estado do Ceará.
Não Se sabe a motivação do crime.

Fonte:Márcio Melo


Anthony Brown Presents CHURCH At The Club.    

Image may contain: 1 person, text
Church what yall think about the idea of “Church in the club?” Church in the club is Gospel Recording Star Anthony Brown in partnership with Bethesda which he Anthony Brown and therAPY will bring praise, worship, inspiration, and encouragement to...THE CLUB!

Nasi Kuning Sabah   

Selamat berhujung minggu.
Moga sihat-sihat sahaja dan sentiasa ceria bersama keluarga tersayang.
Apa cerita di pagi minggu ini?
Kali ini Amie nak cerita tentang nasi kuning di Negeri di Bawah Bayu.
Selalu juga Amie kongsikan sarapan nasi kuning di FB. Walaupun Amie sudah kongsikan juga resepi nasi kuning di FB dan juga blog, tetapi masih ada rakan yang keliru dengan istilah ' nasi kuning' yang Amie paparkan. Mereka menyangka nasi kuning sudah semestinya 'pulut kuning'.
Nasi kuning di Sabah bukanlah bermaksud pulut kuning seperti yang biasa kita temui dan makan di Malaya sewaktu kenduri-kendara dan sebagainya. 
Nasi kuing di Sabah merupakan hidangan popular sebagai pilihan terutamanya untuk sarapan pagi. Bahan asasnya ialah beras biasa, terpulanglah nak gunakan beras jenis apa sama ada beras biasa, beras wangi dan sebagainya. Dimasak seperti kita masak nasi lemak, bubuh santan, garam, daun pandan, halia dan jika suka boleh tambahkan serai. 
Biasanya nasi kuning dinikmati bersama sambal ikan dan telur rebus. Bagaimanapun, terdapat pilihan lauk-pauk lain yang digemari seperti sambal ayam, sambal tempe dan seumpamanya.
Untuk paparan berikutnya, Amie kongsikan hasil masakan nasi kuning dalam entri-entri lepas, dan jika berminat untuk mengetahui resepinya bolehlah klik blog link yang Amie sertakan di bawah gambar nasi kuning.

Untuk memenuhi citarasa, bolehlah masak sendiri di rumah.
Kita boleh sediakan mengikut resepi yang dikehendaki, umpamanya pilihan beras, dimasak biasa dalam rice cooker atau dikukus supaya tidak cepat basi.

Anak-anak memang cukup suka kalau Amie masak nasi kuning terutamanya di hujung minggu. Apa yang mereka suka sudah tentulah rasa sambal yang tidak begitu pedas, dan ikan segar. Rasa sambal ikan akan menjadi cacat sekiranya kita gunakan ikan yang tidak segar atau ikan lama yang kadang-kadang terasa gatal bila dimakan.

Kadang-kadang kami makan juga nasi kuning di warung atau restoran. Di sinilah kita akan temui lauk yang agak berbeza, umpamanya lauk sambal ikan seperti ikan selayang, ikan kembung, ikan tenggiri, ikan alu-alu dan sebagainya. Selalu jugalah Amie singgah beli nasi kuning bungkus daun pisang yang dijual di warung-warung tepi jalan sebelum sampai ke tempat kerja. Lain warung, lainlah pula rasa nasi kuning dan sambalnya. Kalau Amie sukakan nasi kuning yang dibeli di satu-satu warung, maka akan berulangkalilah Amie singgah beli.

Kadang-kadang di hari cuti terutamanya pagi minggu kami akan bersarapan di luar, dan pilihan menu yang pertama sudah tentulah nasi kuning. 

 Firdaus memang peminat nasi kuning nombor satu....hiks!

Biasanya kami akan makan habis licin nasi kuning itu!
Namun, kadang-kadang tidak habis juga disebabkan nasi kuning yang terlalu lembik, ada yang tidak masak dan juga ikan dalam sambal yang sudah 'monok'. Monok ini istilah sebelah Encik Suami (Cocos) yang bermaksud ikan yang hampir buruk, sudah lama dan gatal. Ada beberapa kali terjadi, dapat nasi kuning seperti yang Amie nyatakan di atas di kedai atau restoran yang sama. Jadi, pemilik kedai atau restoran perlulah ambil berat tentang rasa dan penyediaan nasi kuning tersebut. Kalau kami yang biasa makan nasi kuning di tempat tersebut, tentu lebih faham dan berharap lain kali makan di situ, ikan yang digunakan tentu lebih segar atau nasi yang dihidangkan tidak lagi terlalu lembik atau ada yang tidak masak. Sayanglah, kalau ada orang yang pertama kali nak makan nasi kuning, tapi dapat hidangan yang mengecewakan. Sudah tentu mereka akan kata, nasi kuning bukanlah sesedap seperti yang diwar-warkan.

Setiap peniaga nasi kuning sudah tentu memiliki resepi mereka yang tersendiri. Hidangan nasi kuning yang lazat sudah tentu akan terus mengundang pelanggan untuk terus berkunjung. 

Rata-rata mengakui nasi kuning enak dinikmati bersama sambal ikan dan juga telur rebus. Walaupun ada pilihan lauk lain, tetapi sambal ikan juga yang menjadi pilihan. Sambal ikan ini pula yang paling sedap kata kawan-kawan dan juga keluarga Encik Suami ialah ikan tuna. Seterusnya ikan kayu atau ikan tongkol. Bagaimanapun, ikan alu-alu dan ikan tenggiri juga sedap dijadikan sambal, selain ikan selayang @ basung, ikan tulai dan sebagainya. 

Selain sambal ikan dan telur rebus, dan adakalanya disertakan dengan sehiris dua mentimun, nasi kuning akan dihidangkan bersama semangkuk kecil sup kosong, dari masakan sup tulang atau ayam. 

Inilah serba sedikit cerita tentang nasi kuning di Sabah.
Seterusnya Amie sambung lagi paparan gambar-gambar nasi kuning yang pernah Amie kongsi dalam blog. Pagi ini sengaja nak ambil semangat untuk masak nasi kuning. Maklumlah, minggu depan in shaa Allah anak-anak bujang akan balik bercuti dari Johor dan Perak. Rindu sungguh suasana makan dan bersarapan bersama-sama! Nasi kuning sambal ikan dan telur rebus sudah tentulah menjadi santapan kegemaran mereka! Jadi, kena rajin-rajinlah masak...ahaks!

Kalau di Lahad Datu, tiada serunding di dalam nasi kuing. Amie jumpa serunding bersama nasi kuning sewaktu di Tawau, ketika beberapa kali bermesyuarat di sana. Menurut rakan di Tawau, memang mereka sediakan sekali serunding bersama nasi kuning, dan kadang-kadang mereka bubuh keropok.

Nasi Kuning Sambal Ikan Tongkol & Serunding Kelapa 

Kalau tak mahu makan nasi kuning dengan sambal ikan, bolehlah pilih lauk lain seperti sambal ayam, sotong, udang dan sebagainya.

Apa pun, setakat ini gandingan mantap nasi kuning sudah tentulah dengan sambal ikan he heheeee!



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50 Jahre TAMS in München   



Para para justificar las medidas tomadas por el gobierno de la Región de Murcia sobre la Educación afectivo-sexual con la imposición del denominado "pin parental", el líder del PP, Pablo Casado, afirmó que "en Murcia puede haber un taller de tauromaquia y hay padres que creen que sus hijos puedan ser sensibles a los toros. Hay padres que no quieren que les eduquen en tauromaquia".

Comunicado de La Tortura No Es Cultura en respuesta a Pablo Casado
22 de enero de 2020.  La Plataforma La Tortura No Es Cultura ha emitido un comunicado para responder al líder del Partido Popular, Pablo Casado, que en una entrevista concedida a la televisión Antena 3  el pasado 20 de enero afirmó para justificar las medidas tomadas por el gobierno de la Región de Murcia sobre la Educación afectivo-sexual: "En Murcia puede haber un taller de tauromaquia y hay padres que creen que sus hijos puedan ser sensibles a los toros. Hay padres que no quieren que les eduquen en tauromaquia". [Minuto 2:00 del vídeo de Antena 3].

Queremos señalar que en nada es comparable la educación en igualdad y diversidad dentro del ámbito de los derechos humanos, que lo que busca es una convivencia social libre de violencia, y la tauromaquia, actividad extremadamente violenta, en la que se tortura y mata a un ser sintiente con el único objetivo del entretenimiento público.


XBL Deals - DwG: Plague Tale, Shalnor Legends, Mordheim, Surge 2, more | DLC | GwG: Telltale Batman, Styx: SoD; Lego Star Wars II   


Date Night Drops

Some notes


Games with Gold

Deals with Gold

1/14 - 1/20



Sales and Specials


Countdown Sale Add-ons Sale - 1/14 - 1/20


50 Jahre TAMS in München   


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