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  #21  
Old 05-20-2010, 03:00 PM
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So word on the street is that a giant oil spill exists and is predicted to bring oil to the keys. 20 tar balls happen to wash up in an area expected to get hit by oil yet these are unrelated? I'm not buying this one...
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:01 AM
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Lots of oil in the ocean, finger printing crude is usually fairly easy to do as well. Any reports of rafts of tar balls off the Keys or new reports of tar balls on the beach? Seems like it is a matter of time but a lot depends on what quantity makes it into the Straits along, consistency of it and local weather conditions.

and

"Loop Current might swing west, lessen Keys oil threat

With Monroe County newly added to Florida's list of areas under a state of emergency because of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Florida Keys residents can do little but watch the meandering of the Loop Current.

But some good news: Oceanography researchers at the University of South Florida told the Tampa Tribune Friday that the Loop Current that would carry oil or tar down to the Keys could be shifting to the west, which could potentially direct the spill away from the Keys. Chuamin Hu, a UCF oceanography associate professor, called the perceived shift "absolutely good news for the Florida Keys. But that's not a 100 percent certainty. It's a possibility."

Earlier this week, experts concluded that some oil from the month-old spill had entered the Loop Current, which normally circulates through the Gulf of Mexico. The current tends to carry gulf water down the state's west coast to the Florida Straits, which run eastward past the Florida Keys. A "tendril" of oil apparently had become caught in the outer bands of the current, which means some oil could reach Keys waters in days. Tar balls were found at seven locations in the Lower Keys Monday and Tuesday -- and since then some have been found as north as Islamorada -- but tests conducted at a U.S. Coast Guard laboratory concluded the chemical makeup of the Lower Keys balls proves they are not from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Information on the ones found in Islamorada wasn't available. However, tar balls similar to those could be the most visible sign of the spilled oil reaching the Keys, officials acknowledged.

Some businesses have reported cancellations. The Key West Chamber of Commerce launched a survey on Friday asking how the spill has affected local businesses. The "Deepwater Horizon oil spill has created uncertainty in the minds of potential visitors," the chamber says. Islamorada offshore charter captain Larry Wren said one customer canceled his booked motel for a July trip and changed his fishing reservation "from a definite to a maybe," depending on the spill situation.

"Another customer called to ask if we were still going out" Friday, Wren said. "I told him everything is fine." "There is definite worry about there" on local fishing docks, Wren said. "We were already impacted this year by the economy, and now this comes along. It's craziness.""

Complete article at:
http://www.keysnet.com/2010/05/22/22...wing-west.html
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:27 AM
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"Oil stays away from South Florida for now

South Florida has gained a temporary reprieve from the danger of globs of oil arriving from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the state's top environmental official.
Michael Sole, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said that two disruptions in the loop current, which leads from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf Stream off the southeast Florida coast, should keep the oil away, at least for now.

An eddy at the top of the current has drawn away the portion of the slick that had been caught in the current. And at the south end, another eddy has pinched off the current entirely, he said. "This is great news," Sole said, speaking at a news conference with Gov. Charlie Crist at the state's emergency operations center in Tallahassee. "And what it does is keep the oil from getting into the Florida Straits."

Oil — at least in the degraded congealed form of tar balls — had been expected to arrive in the Keys and South Florida within the next two weeks or so, but Sole said the disruptions in the current have stopped any movement of oil to the area. But the main part of the slick, which remains dozens of miles from the loop current, could constitute a much greater threat to South Florida if it got caught in the current. Also there is an unknown amount of oil beneath the ocean surface from the still-leaking well."


Continued at:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/bro...,6559446.story


... and where's Waldo the AUV?



"What will 'Waldo' find: Mote Marine releases robot into Gulf to search for oil
By KATY BISHOP
KEY WEST — This time, we know where Waldo is — it’s his turn to look for something.
Researchers hope that a robot named Waldo will help them track oil in the Loop Current in waters off Key West. Scientists and engineers with Mote Marine Laboratories released the yellow, torpedo-shaped autonomous underwater vehicle into the waters about 25 miles northwest of the island Tuesday afternoon.

The robot, programmed by researchers, will swim along a designated course, diving deep and rising again and again, looking for oil in the water. If it finds oil, it will record the geographic position and depth, as well as the concentration — and then send that information by satellite to researchers who are monitoring it."

"The robot detects pure oil, oil with dispersants and weathered oil. Two similar robots are already deployed in the waters closer to the spill. Mote put another one in the Gulf last week off Venice and plans to put another one in the waters off the Keys. “The biggest value that this thing has is it’s 24/7 data,” said Alan Hails, an oceanographic instrument engineer with Mote. Over a period of about three weeks, Waldo will travel almost due west to a point about 50 miles north and 30 miles west of Dry Tortugas, sending information each time it surfaces."

"Experts predict by the time the oil reaches the Keys it will be weathered into tar balls, which float on the surface, said David Vaughan, director of Mote’s center for coral reef research, who is captaining the boat. Tar balls probably wouldn’t affect the coral reefs as much, since the reefs are on the bottom, but they could get stuck in sensitive mangrove shorelines or sea grass beds. More concerning for corals is the chemical dispersant used by British Petroleum, he said. It’s been shown to be highly toxic to both hard and soft corals, with a 85 to 100 percent mortality rate."

"When it’s time to dive, Waldo takes on water, making itself heavier, and when it wants to rise to the surface, it pushes that water out, Hails explains. At the surface, a bladder inflates with air, popping the tail out of the water so the antenna can communicate with the satellite. The scientific instruments are clustered in the center of the robot’s torpedo-shaped body, where there are four windows for Waldo to send out LED light beams. Sensors read the light reflected back from the water, calculating if there’s oil in the water by the amount reflected back. And that’s just the start — there are also other sensors that make sure that organic matter isn’t misidentified as oil, and devices that log temperature and depth and more."


http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/...ase-robot-gul/
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  #24  
Old 06-02-2010, 10:05 PM
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Fishery Closure area is almost over the Florida Keys. This area represents "the area the oil is projected to cover two days out." Not much commentary about this in the media yet. I wonder how accurate this is? HOW MUCH or how little does it take for NOAA to close an area to fishing anyway?




NOAA animation of plume. Arrival at the Dry Tortugas forecast by June 4, 2010.


"NOAA has extended the northern and southern boundaries of the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to capture portions of the slick moving into waters off eastern Alabama and the western tip of the Florida panhandle, as well as some large patches of sheen moving onto the west Florida shelf and southward to Cuban waters.

This federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers."

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Federal Fishery Closure
Frequently Asked Questions
June 2010
Why is NOAA Fisheries Service prohibiting fishing in certain areas? NOAA Fisheries Service prohibited fishing in the area as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety and assure consumer confidence in Gulf of Mexico seafood. The goal of the closure is to encompass the area the spill has actually covered (based on a combination of satellite and overflight data) as well as the area the oil is projected to cover two days out. NOAA Fisheries Service strongly advises fishermen not to fish in areas where oil or oil sheens (very thin layers of floating oil) are present, even if those areas are not currently closed to fishing. A process to expedite modifications to the fishing closed area in the Gulf of Mexico has been established. Boundaries of the fishing closed area can be modified daily, based on dynamic oil spill conditions.



The current Roff's chart of oil spill distribution:


http://www.roffs.com/deepwaterhorizon.html

...

Barbie posted an interesting discussion of the physical and biological interaction of the spill in Gulf waters from RSMAS. It is well worth reading, could provide some insight on things to come.

http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/oil-spill...rspective.html

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  #25  
Old 06-03-2010, 06:04 AM
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Spill Meeting on Monday at the IGFA in Dania, FL to discuss impacts on Diving, fishing, tourism, marine properties on the SE Coast. Listed as for captains, crew, property owners, hotel and restaurant owners. Two marine scientists, various captains will be presenting. Oh, there is an attorney sponsor who will be presenting as well likely discussing law suit opportunities. This was on a link that Barbie put up.


CLICK FOR FULL SIZED IMAGE

...

"Oil sheen closes in on Tortugas

Fishing is banned in parts of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary west of the Dry Tortugas, where an oil sheen was 100 miles away and closing in on the area, federal officials declared Wednesday. Nearly 38 percent of the Gulf of Mexico, or 88,502 square miles, is now closed to fishing because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said Roy Crabtree, the National Marine Fisheries Service's southeast regional director.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded its fishing ban in federal waters effective at 6 p.m. after projecting the sheen would be within 50 or 60 miles of the Tortugas by Friday, Crabtree said. A spawning area for grouper and snapper that includes the Tortugas Ecological Reserve South and Riley's Hump is now in the closed area, according to a satellite overlay of the closure coordinates. While fishing already was banned in the reserve because it is an environmentally protected area, Florida Keys-based commercial and recreational fishermen often fish just outside the reserve.

The closure comes at the height of the dolphin fishing season and as mutton snapper are congregating on the reef to spawn. "This is a very grave situation," said Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association Executive Director Bill Kelly. Crabtree called for more sampling of water, fish and shellfish to see if they are being contaminated by oil, he said. "We need first-hand knowledge of what's going on," Crabtree said.

A Mote Marine Laboratory underwater drone has not uncovered any traces of oil in the Tortugas, spokeswoman Nadine Slimak said Wednesday. The drone, called Waldo, was brought back to Mote and substituted with a new one this week after it had problems navigating the currents. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist requested the U.S. Department of Commerce declare a federal fishery disaster for Florida on Wednesday, as an oil sheen and tar balls were within 10 miles of Pensacola beaches. Crist cited the impact on the state's fishing industry in his letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke."
More at: http://keysnews.com/node/23778
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:53 PM
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Some tar balls arrive at Pensacola in Panhandle of Florida. Just heard on NBC that the oil sheen is about nine miles offshore currently.

"Cap collects some Gulf oil; crude washes into Fla.
By MELISSA NELSON and JAY REEVES (AP) – 35 minutes ago
PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. — Waves of gooey tar balls crashed into the white sands of the Florida Panhandle on Friday as BP engineers adjusted a sophisticated cap over the Gulf oil gusher, trying to collect the crude now fouling four states.

Even though the inverted funnel-like device was set over the leak late Thursday, crude continued to spew into the sea in the nation's worst oil spill. Engineers hoped to close several open vents on the cap throughout the day in the latest attempt to contain the oil.
As they worked on the system underwater, the effect of the BP spill was widely seen. Swimmers at Pensacola Beach rushed out of the water after wading into the mess while children played with it on the shore and others inspected the clumps with fascination, some taking pictures. Brown pelicans coated in chocolate syrup-like oil flailed and struggled in the surf on a Louisiana island, where the beached was stained in hues of rust and crimson, much like the color of drying blood.

"In Revelations, it says the water will turn to blood. That's what it looks like out here — like the Gulf is bleeding," said P.J. Hahn, director of coastal zone management for Plaquemines Parish as he kneeled down to take a picture of an oil-coated feather. "This is going to choke the life out of everything.""


http://www.sun-sentinel.com

...

Jeff Masters speculates on where to from here with regard to the spill:

"Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over through Tuesday, resulting in a continued threat of landfalling oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday through Tuesday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Panama City, Florida, by Wednesday. Long range surface wind forecasts from the GFS model for the period 8 - 14 days from now predict a return to a southeasterly wind regime, which would bring the oil back over Louisiana by mid-June. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Long range oil spill outlook
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) issued a press release yesterday showing 4-month model runs (Figure 1) of where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might go. The model runs show that given typical ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico, we can expect the oil to eventually affect most of the Florida Panhandle, Keys, and Florida East Coast, as well as coastal areas of South Carolina and North Carolina. Very little oil makes it to the West Florida "Forbidden Zone", where offshore-moving surface currents dominate. The oil may eventually affect three foreign countries: Mexico along the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cuba near Havana, and the Bahamas in the Bimini Islands and along the western side of Grand Bahama Island. Once oil does get into the Loop Current, it will probably reach the coasts of France, Spain, and Portugal in about a year. The oil will be too dilute by then to be noticeable, though."
Continued at:
http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html


...


It has to go somewhere, here is what one model shows. This mistake could go a very long way impacting a tremendous area.

"Ocean currents likely to carry oil along Atlantic coast
June 03, 2010
BOULDER—A detailed computer modeling study released today indicates that oil from the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico might soon extend along thousands of miles of the Atlantic coast and open ocean as early as this summer. The modeling results are captured in a series of dramatic animations produced by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and collaborators.
"Oil has been pouring into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20 from a blown-out undersea well, the result of an explosion and fire on an oil rig. The spill is located in a relatively stagnant area of the Gulf, and the oil so far has remained relatively confined near the Louisiana and Alabama coastlines, although there have been reports of small amounts in the Loop Current.

The model simulations show that a liquid released in the surface ocean at the spill site is likely to slowly spread as it is mixed by the ocean currents until it is entrained in the Loop Current. At that point, speeds pick up to about 40 miles per day, and when the liquid enters the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream it can travel at speeds up to about 100 miles per day, or 3,000 miles per month.""

Continued at: http://www2.ucar.edu/news/ocean-curr...atlantic-coast

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  #27  
Old 06-06-2010, 12:23 PM
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NOAA pulls Fishery Closure zone back westward into the Gulf away from the Dry Tortugas and the Florida Keys while moving it eastward into Florida's Panhandle.



Details: "NOAA Opens 16,000 Square Miles of Fishing Closed Area in Gulf of Mexico
Closes 2,200-square mile stretch
June 4, 2010

NOAA has opened more than 16,000 square miles of previously closed fishing area off the Florida coast. The most significant opening is a 13,653-square mile area just west of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. It was initially closed on June 2 as a precaution because oil was projected to be within the area over the next 48 hours. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data indicated that oil had not moved into the area.

Additionally, the agency closed a 2,275-square mile area off the Florida panhandle federal-state waterline, extending the northern boundary just east of the western edge of Choctawhatchee Bay. For what it is worth, not much at this point, I was out a couple of miles offshore between Hillsboro Inlet and Hallandale Beach Blvd. yesterday. Fair quantity of sargassum mats but no overt evidence of tar balls or unusual oil slicks. Hope it stays that way."
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories...4_opening.html

...



"Efforts to contain the flood of oil into the Gulf of Mexico showed the first signs of progress as 6,000 barrels of oil were pumped to the surface after the fitting of a containment cap over the blown well, officials said Saturday, but it was an incremental step that offered no guarantees of long-term success.

At a morning news briefing, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, commander of the national response to the disaster, said BP officials still had not closed the four vents of the containment cap, which would allow the well to begin pumping oil to the surface at far greater capacity.

In the meantime, thousands of gallons of oil are flowing into the sea as the massive slick hits shorelines and marshalnd in areas including Louisiana’s fishing towns and Florida’s white-sand beaches, where rust-colored globs are began washing ashore.
Allen said it was crucial to close the vents slowly to avoid putting too much pressure on the cap, which is being held in place with the help of a rubber gasket. “They’re easing the pressure up to the vessel … so they can maintain control of the oil,” said Allen.
As the vents are closed, officials must also ensure that water is not filtering in to mix with the oil and create hydrates, which led to the failure of an initial capping effort last month.
That requires the pumping downward of methanol, meaning officials must maintain a delicate balance at depths of 5,000 feet in conditions that could be disrupted in the event a major storm or hurricane forms. Hurricane season began Tuesday.
Allen said the full closure of the vents and the ramping up of oil production would depend on various conditions.
“They’re making sure they don’t increase the production rate until it is safe to do so,” said Allen. He also noted that the containment cap was only an interim, partial solution that was never guaranteed to fully plug the leak. A cap can only go so far – the only real solution is the completion of two relief wells currently being drilled. When they are finished, it will enable BP to plug the blown well and stop the spill, the worst in U.S. history.
One of the relief wells has been drilled to about 7,000 feet beneath the sea floor, less than half the distance it needs to go. The wells are not expected to be finished until early August."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gree...-cautious.html

...


"Containment cap on spewing Gulf oil well offers hope even as slick spreads to new shores
RAY HENRY, 12:38 p.m. EDT, June 6, 2010

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A device sucking some of the oil from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico offered a bright spot Sunday for a region that has seen its wildlife coated in a lethal muck, its fishermen idled and its beaches tarnished by the nation's worst oil spill. The containment cap placed on the gusher near the sea floor trapped about 441,000 gallons of oil Saturday, BP spokesman Mark Proegler said Sunday, up from around 250,000 gallons of oil Friday. It's not clear how much is still escaping; an estimated 500,000 to 1 million gallons of crude is believed to be leaking daily.

While BP officials registered optimism, government officials monitoring the response to the spill were more cautious, wary of drumming up promises they couldn't deliver on. BP chief executive Tony Hayward told the BBC on Sunday that he believed the cap was likely to capture "the majority, probably the vast majority" of the oil gushing from the well. The gradual increase in the amount being captured is deliberate, in an effort to prevent water from getting inside and forming a frozen slush that foiled a previous containment attempt."
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/flo...,7641682.story
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:08 AM
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"In Florida Keys, Residents Plan Their Own Spill Cleanup
By Nathan Thornburgh / Key West Monday, Jun. 14, 2010

A small island in the middle of a big ocean, Key West has always made a virtue of its isolation. In 1982, for example, an onerous Border Patrol checkpoint on U.S. Route 1, which links the Keys to mainland Florida, resulted in the island's declaring itself the autonomous Conch Republic. This was, of course, mostly a joke ("We Seceded Where Others Failed" was its e pluribus unum), but the mayor's declaration of independence did include a twinge of real anger and a vow that "we have no intention of suffering in the future at the hands of fools and bureaucrats."

Now, facing the possibility that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill could arrive on its reefs and beaches in the coming weeks, many in the Florida Keys are once again angry about perceived fools and bureaucrats. In particular, they've watched how BP has monopolized and, in the eyes of many, mismanaged the oil cleanup in the northern Gulf of Mexico and are frantically trying to organize an independent local response.(See pictures of the oil spill.)

"We cannot wait. We have to be prepared," says Dan Robey, whose website KeysSpill.com has gathered 4,000 volunteers, including 300 boat captains, who have offered to help before and after any potential arrival of oil. As Patrick Rice, dean of marine science and technology at Florida Keys Community College, puts it, "We will not allow the inept responses that have been happening up north to happen here."

But there's a problem with their plans for grass-roots activism: BP (and the Deepwater Horizon's Unified Command, which BP runs with the Coast Guard and other agencies) has so far insisted on complete control of the cleanup operations. A BP spokesman told TIME that the only appropriate way for interested boat captains to become involved would be to register with the Unified Command's Vessels of Opportunity program. Never mind that according to BP's numbers, only a third of the 7,200 boats "under contract" through the program are in active service. Robey says captains in the Keys haven't even been able to register. "It's a joke, a total joke," he says. "Our people have called them for over a month. They don't return phone calls."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...996441,00.html




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Old 07-08-2010, 06:50 AM
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You can download the original pdf files at:
http://response.restoration.noaa.gov...uthflorida.pdf


and regarding reefs:

What Happens When Oil Collides with Coral?
As Researchers Struggle to Bring Dying Reefs Back to Life, They Worry about Threat of Approaching Oil By Kelly Cobiella June 15, 2010


Click image for CBS video
(CBS) Marine scientist Meaghan Johnson is fighting a battle few ever see - she's slowly bringing Florida's coral reefs back to life, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella. Thirty feet below the surface Johnson showed Cobiella row after row of coral alive and growing after decades of being battered by disease and warmer water. All of it was planted here by scientists and each fragment started out as only a couple of inches tall.

It all started in Ken Niedemeyer's backyard in the Florida Keys. His daughter needed a 4-H project so they decided to try growing coral. "Good thing I never read about it because everyone said it couldn’t be done," Neidermeyer said. Their technique worked. They took it to researchers and nine years later it has blossomed to this - the largest man-made nursery project with 5,000 coral colonies growing underwater from Fort Lauderdale to the Virgin Islands. Scientist clip and plant new coral just like pruning a tree, and anchor it with underwater glue. When the coral is big enough, it's moved to a reef to replace dead or dying coral.

"It's just amazing what happens," Neidermeyer said. "A lot more habitat for fish, for juvenile fish, for large fish, for invertebrates." But they're now facing a new threat - BP oil. Every day, Johnson anxiously checks the forecast for the Gulf "loop current," the system that seasonally carries water, and anything in the water, eastward through the Florida Keys.

"It's definitely devastating to watch what's happening in the gulf and know that it could come here," Johnson said. "I think we are all worried about what's going to happen in this project." There's little they can do to protect the nurseries. If the oil is weathered and weakened enough, Johnson thinks the young coral just might pull through. "Those are our little babies, you know," Johnson said. "We put those guys out there. And it's nice to come back in a month or two and see them actually growing. And feel like, 'Wow, I did that. You know, I'm helping. I'm doing something good.'" With oil coming a little closer every day, she's hopeful at least some of that "good" will survive. "
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/...n6585811.shtml

More about the Florida Reef Resilience Program at:
http://frrp.org/

and warmer waters at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=14212267
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