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Oct

26

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Words, words, words…

Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets loves Beat poetry and strong female characters. Naturally, she has a lot to say about NOMADS’ “The Other Side,” a new original musical by Eden Gordon (BC ’19), after attending the show’s first performance last night.

Two weeks ago, my American literature class read “Howl and Other Poems” by Allen Ginsberg. During one of our class discussions, Professor Vandenburg asked: Does Ginsberg’s verse exclude women? I raised my hand and said something like, “As someone who’s read Ginsberg’s entire biography and knows about his homosexuality and his tumultuous relationship with his mother, I think he’s just writing about his own experience, not anyone else’s, so I can forgive him for mostly leaving women out of it.”

After seeing NOMADS’ “The Other Side,” I now realize I was too kind. This production, a new musical by Eden Gordon, BC ’19, about two women left behind by the Beats Generation, delivers a raw, emotional picture of what happens when men preach unity while failing to practice it, driven by strong characters and gorgeous music.

In the first scene, self-described narrator, poet, and “wolf mother” Diane di Prima (Elli Furukawa, BC ’19) introduces the Beats and the “women who stood behind them”: Joyce Johnson (Taylor Faires-Cordona, BC ’19) and Elise Cowen (Daisy Mayer, BC ’22). Both women attended Barnard College in the 1950’s; Elise dropped out her junior year, while Joyce failed her graduation by one class. The musical, inspired by Joyce Johnson’s memoir Minor Characters, follows these two women from their experiences at Barnard, through their romantic involvement with prominent Beat poets (Elise with Allen Ginsberg, Joyce with Jack Kerouac), and into the early 1960s, concluding after Elise commits suicide in 1962. The women are close friends and their lives run in parallel to each other. Both of their relationships fail – Elise’s because Allen Ginsberg is homosexual, and Joyce’s because Jack Kerouac is an alcoholic who can’t manage to stay in one place – yet lingering attachments prevent the women from pursuing their own creative careers.

How was the acting? The music? The set?

Oct

22

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Fall friend spotted at Garden of Eden

Despite a rather warm Homecoming, the temperature is dropping, the winds off the Hudson are blustering, and Alma’s nose is beginning to take on a slightly reddish tint – all sure signs that fall is here. Not everyone can escape to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard upstate, so Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets has compiled a list of ways you can celebrate the season in the middle of MoHi.

  • The farmers’ market, set up on Broadway every Thursday and Sunday, has stalls full of apple products. Apples, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple turnover… you can get it all there. Pretend you’re going apple picking as you go through the wooden boxes to grab the ripest fruits.
  • If you can’t make the farmers’ market, there are other great apple vendors in the neighborhood. Garden of Eden, a lesser-known grocery store on Broadway and 107th Street, sells apples from local orchards for 99 cents a pound. (And with their 10% student discount, it’s really 89 cents a pound. What a deal!)
  • The Hungarian Pastry shop sells hot cider. I’m from Farm Country, Connecticut, so I’ve tried a lot of cider  you can trust me when I say Hungarian’s is the best.
  • There’s more cider than just hot cider, though: 1020 has hard cider on tap right now. Next weekend, try a glass of cider instead of your usual beer!
  • Spend an hour on Low Steps, while the weather is still remotely bearable. Pretend you’re at the top of a mountain instead of shivering on stone stairs.
  • Spruce up your room with some pumpkins and gourds. You can get these at the farmers’ market or Garden of Eden, or at Fairway Market if you’re willing to make the trek north. Fairway offers gourds with faces (some friendly, some creepy) painted on, if that’s something you’re into.
  • If there isn’t room for pumpkins in your dorm, walk by the garden between 118th Street and 119th Street on Amsterdam. Look for Halloween friends.
  • Organize an “Over the Garden Wall” viewing party in your dorm. Make hot buttered rum (or potatoes and molasses) and trick all your friends into thinking you’re classy.
  • Go to a park (Riverside Park, Morningside Park, Central Park – you have so many options!) and look for leaves changing color. If you see any particularly picturesque trees, send photos to Bwog’s Instagram.

Spoopy via Betsy Ladyzhets

Oct

12

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HARDWARE university HOUSEWARES

Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets needed a vacuum cleaner. In order to solve this problem, she walked a couple of blocks to University Hardware & Housewares, then wandered through the store. During her journey, she noticed that the store sells a lot more than meets the eye. This post is part of our new ShopHop series highlighting unique businesses in Morningside Heights.

My roommate and I needed a vacuum cleaner. Like, really needed a vacuum cleaner. Like, our floor was starting to look like the aftermath of a kindergarten class’ arts and crafts hour needed a vacuum cleaner. I could’ve ordered one online or taken the subway down to Bed Bath & Beyond, but I had a suspicion that I could find one with much less shipping and handling required. So, I headed out of Woodbridge, up to Broadway, and over to 114th Street.

University Hardware & Housewares (or H&H, as I like to call it) is located on Broadway between 114th and 113th Streets, right next to the New York Public Library. Before last summer, this store was split in two: University Hardware and University Housewares, both run by the same owner, and both occupying smaller spaces on the other side of Broadway next to International. The stores combined in July and moved across the street. This new location (the former home of Spirit Halloween) is much larger, allowing H&H to diversify their stock and make their store more easily navigable.

What does “hardware and housewares” encompass? H&H subscribes to a pretty broad definition. As I wandered through the store, I came across the expected pots and pans, glassware, cleaning supplies, and basic repair equipment. But I also found some less conventional sections, including greeting cards, party supplies, multiple rows of keychains, and a few shower shoes. Even on the shelves of normal “houseware items,” I found a few surprises: superhero water bottles among the camelbacks, leopard-print masking tape among the packing supplies. H&H is also carrying on the spirit of Spirit Halloween with a costume section. Everything is well-organized on wire shelves stretching up to the ceiling, clearly labeled with prices more reasonable than you would find at a larger store.

More H&H love and more photos after the jump

Sep

29

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A poor quality photo to reflect our poor quality team

Were you at the football game yesterday? If you weren’t, take it from someone who sat through the whole thing: you didn’t miss much. The Princeton Tigers trounced your Columbia Lions, 45 to 10.

I’m not gonna lie, it was a little sad to see our boys on the field fumble one pass after another. It was a little sad to see the stands – so full of tipsy sorority girls and guys with “WE WANT BAMA” painted on their chests at the start of the game – empty out as everyone realized we had dropped the ball. And it was a lot sad to hear the Princeton Marching Band play their fight song approximately ten million times as their team kept scoring touchdowns.

But at the same time, it was nice to be on the losing side again. It was comforting. Like a warm sweater draped around my shoulders, ushering in the rest of autumn. It was as though some cosmic fissure, cracked when the team miraculously managed to win eight of their ten games last year, has now been repaired. We students can now be safe in our knowledge that we don’t go to an athletic school.

Also, as a member of the Marching Band, I only had to do thirteen push-ups the whole game.

yet still iconoclastic via Betsy Ladyzhets

Sep

4

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Our friends with A/C (left) versus us (right)

Despite the weather imprisoning us all in our own sweat, today is the first day of classes – meaning it’s also the first day of Bwoglines! First-years: it’s okay if you don’t have your schedule figured out yet. Shopping period exists for a reason. And upperclassmen: welcome back to campus! We’re sorry it’s so gross.

Happening in the World: The National Museum of Brazil was destroyed by a fire yesterday. The museum held 20 million books, pieces of art, and artifacts, and was considered the most important such institution in Latin America. (CNN)

Happening in the US: Tropical Storm Gordon, the newest contender in this year’s hurricane season, is moving into the Gulf of Mexico and “dumping rain on” Florida. The storm may expand into a hurricane and land in Mississippi tomorrow, bringing rain from Florida to eastern Texas (but nowhere near New York.) (Business Insider)

Happening in NYC: The NYC Metro paid a tribute to Aretha Franklin earlier this week by installing signs reading, “Respect” at two Franklin Avenue stops: one on the A/C line in Brooklyn, and one on the 1 train in Tribeca. (WENY)

Happening on Campus: Back@Barnard, a series of events and workshops to help Barnard students start their new school year strong, begins today! Most notably, today will be the Barnard Block Party, Student Life’s yearly barbecue held in the quad from 5 to 7:30 pm. Auditions for numerous performing arts groups also begin today – keep an eye out for a post on those this afternoon.

Overheard: Bwogger on the phone to her sister: “Is it cold where you are? I need to live vicariously through you.”

Way to stay cool: Jump in one of the penis fountains. It might be embarrassing at the time, but it’ll make for a great story later.

We’re melting! via Wikimedia Commons

Sep

3

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All the Barnard meal plans in one convenient chart

This afternoon, Barnard Dining sent an email to students announcing changes expanding the College’s meal options for the coming school year. Two of these changes were announced with this year’s tuition increase in May, but you probably weren’t paying attention back then, so Dining is happy to remind you of its feats now.

Here’s the official list of Barnard Dining improvements from their email, excessive exclamation points and all:

NEW THIS YEAR!

  • Liz’s Place will now take meal swipes! See signs in Liz’s Place for details on the meal swipes.
  • Diana Center Café will now open at 8:00 AM for breakfast!
  • You can now use your own meal swipes for guests!
  • JJ’s Place is now accessible to Barnard students during all hours they are open!

Bwog is pretty excited about all of these changes, although we’re unsure what students will be using their Liz’s Place swipes for. Barnard students are finally able to use their own swipes for guests and get 2 am omelets at JJ’s with everyone else. However, Dining’s biggest accomplishment – bringing Hewitt up to A levels of cleanliness – is surprisingly absent from their email.

Barnard students have until Friday, September 7 to select or change their meal plans, which are still required for all students despite some controversy earlier this summer.

Aug

29

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Yesterday morning, an anonymous student at the Columbia School of General Studies filed a lawsuit against Columbia University and former GS Dean of Students Tom Harford. The anonymous plaintiff (Jane Doe) “alleges that Dean Harford engaged in inappropriate and manipulative sexual behavior with her,” according to a press release from the firm representing this student. Columbia University is also implicated in the suit for failing to follow Title IX and protect the student.

According to Wall Street Journal, the plaintiff “alleged that she was referred to School of General Studies Dean of Students Tom Harford by a campus crisis center after she reported being raped by an acquaintance, with the expectation that he could help find emergency housing and other assistance.” Harford allegedly took advantage of the student’s vulnerability by giving her money and subjecting her to unwanted sexual activity. He allegedly “told [the student] stories about his violent past to intimidate her, and used her need for scholarship funds as bait to keep her bound to him.”

Harford was removed from his position as Dean of General Studies last week. The email to GS students announcing this removal cited simply “unacceptable conduct.”

“Columbia pays lip service to the ideals of a safe campus, but it has a well-documented record of violating Title IX in preventing and responding to reports of sexual misconduct,” said David Sanford, one of the attorneys representing this case. Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, has brought three cases on the grounds of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against Columbia in the past year, including a suit against Business School professor Geert Bekaert and a suit against history professor Dr. William Harris. Columbia was found liable for retaliation in the first of these cases, and Dr. Harris retired as part of the settlement of the second.

Update August 29th, 2018 12:13 pm: Columbia University’s statement about Harford is as follows:

Mr. Harford was promptly removed from his position as Dean of Students when we learned of behavior that was unacceptable in light of his responsibilities. While we cannot comment on the specifics of this litigation and will respond in the appropriate forum, we take these matters very seriously. Our priority is providing a safe and supportive learning environment that fosters the intellectual and personal fulfillment of our students.

Aug

27

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Riverside Park, down by the Hudson

New York City is the biggest city in the U.S. and one of the biggest cities in the world. While all the chaos of eight million people coexisting in only a couple hundred square miles is incredibly exciting, it’s easy to feel trapped – especially when it’s ninety degrees outside and you’re living in a double without A/C. When claustrophobia strikes, you can get a quick breath of fresh air by heading to a park. And luckily, there are several great ones within walking distance of Columbia’s campus. This guide will help you figure out which park to visit and how to get there.

Riverside Park:

  • Why go? This park is perfect for long walks, runs, or bike rides, because it connects into a network of parks along the Hudson River called the Hudson Greenway. You can start at Columbia and bike all the way to Battery Park without ever needing to ride on the street. Plus, Riverside has a dog park, making it your best place to spot good dogs near campus.
  • How do you get there? From anywhere on campus, go west. You’ll run into it. Then, you can go down into the middle level of the park at 116th, 108th, or 103rd Street, and down into the lower level (which runs directly along the Hudson River) at 96th Street.
  • What do you do there? Walk, run, bike, look for good dogs, find a nice bench and get ahead on some reading. Visit Ellington Bar’s park location before it closes for the fall. Riverside Park is also a common spot for another certain social lubricant – you can probably guess which one.

More parks after the jump!

Aug

21

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Last night, our Managing Editor was wandering through the basement of her new dorm when she noticed something unusual.

Hello, Dinosaur.

Woodbridge Basement, 10:41 pm

This basement is definitely haunted. I’ve only been down here twice, first to start my load of laundry and then to move it to the dryer, but that’s enough for me to be sure. There is something about the exposed pipes and the peeling paint, the overturned desk chairs and the taped-up ovens. There is something ancient, something wild, something –

Hello, Dinosaur.

Where did you come from?

Why are you hanging from this beam in the basement? Who strung you up and left you out to dry?

I’m asking the wrong questions.

Dinosaur, my dear Dinosaur, what is your name? How do you count the passage of time? What can you see from your perch up there above the trash? Do you believe in God?

Closeup on Dinosaur

10:52 pm

The discovery of the Dinosaur is too great to be kept to one person. You deserve an epic poem, a series of paintings, or, at the very least, a Bwog post.

10:59 pm

Dinosaur. My dear Dinosaur. I have known you for barely half an hour, and yet I feel that your piercing, cartoon-red eye can split open my skin and pierce the lining of my heart.

Is this what my postmodernism professor meant when she lectured us about “the human connection?”

Imagine Youngweon as the devil on Betsy’s shoulder

11:15 pm

Pros of stealing Dinosaur: Freeing a beautiful beast with whom I have formed a powerful and inexplicable bond. Also, cool centerpiece at parties.

Cons of stealing Dinosaur: Possibly haunted.

11:18 pm

No, this Dinosaur will not haunt me. This Dinosaur is my friend.

11:23 pm

Photos via Betsy Ladyzhets

Jul

29

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This past Thursday, a Manhattan federal jury ruled that Geert Bekaert, a professor of economics at the Columbia Business School, is liable for retaliation against Enrichetta Ravina, a former researcher and assistant professor in the department, after she refused his sexual advances.

As reported in the New York TimesBekaert worked with Ravina on her research, which involved data to which Bekaert had access. During meetings on this research project, Bekaert delayed Ravina’s work and made sexual advances towards her. Bekaert allegedly “told her of his sexual exploits and preferences, touched her inappropriately and asked that she call him ‘sexy.'”

Ravina reported this behavior to Columbia administrators. Columbia first gave Ravina a paid leave for the 2015-2016 academic year and accelerated her tenure process, then revoked that leave and denied her tenure a couple of months later. Meanwhile, Bekaert disparaged Ravina in emails to colleagues, calling her “incredibly evil,” “insane,” “unstable,” “schizophrenic” and an “incredibly mean b.”

Ravina filed two lawsuits in March 2016, accusing Bekaert and Columbia of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation and seeing up to $30 million in damages. Last week, a Manhattan jury ruled that Bakaert is liable for retaliation and the university is liable for responsibility in that retaliation. However, the jury did not find Bakaert or Columbia liable for gender discrimination.

In the next week, the jury will hear arguments on emotional and economic hardship Ravina suffered due to Bekaert and the university’s actions, and damages will be determined.

May

30

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On May 3, in the Barnard administration’s annual “tuition and fees” update email, COO Robert Goldberg and (soon-to-be-departing) Dean of the College Avis Hinkson informed students that there would be “several important changes” to Barnard’s meal plan. These changes, the email read, “resulted from discussions with students” and were purportedly intended to “address the issue of food insecurity.”

The email went on to describe these changes. First, rather than having a set amount of guest swipes, Barnard students will be able to swipe in guests up to the total number of swipes in their plans (which is how Columbia meal plans currently operate). Second, Barnard students will have 24-hour access to JJ’s place. And third, meal plan options will be “consolidated,” and students will be able to add points and swipes throughout the semester in small increments.

This initial message did not outline the actual, new consolidated meal plans or their costs. However, students were quick to find these new plans on Barnard’s tuition and fees page and point out issues these changes pose. Last year, Barnard offered about 15 different meal plans, including the Platinum Plan for first-years, Quad Upperclass Plan for upperclassmen living in the first-year dorms and Hewitt, and three “Basic” and “Convenience” plans for other upperclassmen and commuters. All of these plans, except for the Platinum and Quad Upperclass plans, cost under $1,000 per semester. (As of the writing of this post, all of these old plans are still visible on the Dining at Barnard website.)

Read about the new options and students’ concerns after the jump

May

11

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Fancy rendering of the fancy new Milstein center

Starting in the next academic year, Barnard is going to have a computer science department, led by a new chair for which a hiring process is well underway. Betsy Ladyzhets talked to Barnard’s Provost, as well as a professor and student involved in CS, to find out more on the impetus for creating this department, the process so far, and what it might look like in the future.

As of this April, there are 84 declared Computer Science majors at Barnard College. Although this may seem like a low number, it is comparable to the numbers of students in Biology, Chemistry, and other similar science departments at Barnard. And the number is growing every year. Yet while bio and chem majors have departments of committed staff members and entire floors of Altschul dedicated to their programs of study, CS majors are lost in a veritable sea of students across the street.

“Starting my freshman year, it felt like there were not a lot of administrators I could talk to for advice about classes and internships,” CS major Surbhi Lohia, BC ’19, told me. Although students entering the CS track have support from professors on both sides of the street, they primarily rely upon older students. The lack of administrative support and tangible locations at Barnard for students to study CS can make an already challenging course of study even more daunting. “It’s very easy to get lost in a major,” Lohia said.

However, Barnard is well on its way to giving its CS majors a home on the west side of Broadway. For several semesters, administrators, professors, and students have been working to create a computer science department at Barnard that will offer students new classes to supplement their coursework at Columbia, a more robust advising system, and a center for the kind of community that makes Barnard academics so valuable. In order to get a sense of how this department has been developing and what its future might look like, I talked to Provost Linda Bell and Mathematics Professor David Bayer.

So how has the department been developing and what might its future look like?

May

11

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“I’ve only known these people for two semesters, but…”

In the past two semesters as Managing Editor and EIC, Betsy Ladyzhets has learned one very important thing: she would die for any and all of the Bwog first years. Here’s why.

Zack: Zack’s superlative for this semester was “human Bwoglines,” which is incredibly accurate because, like Bwoglines, he is filled of knowledge that I never knew I wanted but, once I have acquired it, suddenly cannot live without. A detailed description of why Black Panther probably won’t get too many Oscars? A bot that randomizes and imitates Bwog’s twitter? A desktop app that will tell me exactly how many people are in each Columbia library at any given time? Yes, these things all came from one human brain. All this and more.

Jenny: I have honestly lost count of the number of times Jenny has Stepped Up(TM) this year, especially this past semester. She’ll tackle multiple investigative pieces at once, offer to fill in dailying in a heartbeat, write up a breaking news post when nobody else is free… tl;dr she is the wind beneath my wings. Also, I’m still not over that one time she met Steve Buscemi.

Thomas: Thomas is a quiet, comforting presence at weekly meetings. Whenever the discussions get too high-energy, I look to the back and find him, perched on a blue armchair, listening intently. I see that this Bwog meeting is only a spec of dust in the vast universe of life, and if we get distracted for a moment, well, we get distracted for a moment. I return.

more love after the jump

Apr

26

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Betsy’s two new best friends

Yesterday morning, around 11 am, our fearless EIC sat down in Butler to begin work on a presentation which was supposed to be the culmination of several weeks of data collection and analysis, as well as a semester’s worth of self-led computer science tutorials. Naturally, she was set to give the presentation at about 10:30 am today. The following ensued.

11:15 am: Even though I’ve been up for a few hours already (thanks, Wind Ensemble obligations), I just sat down in Butler. Since I don’t study in this library much, when I do go here, I tend to guide my actions with the adage What Would Finn Klauber Do – which usually leads me to either the eighth floor or the sixth floor reading rooms. Right now, it’s the latter. The room isn’t too crowded, the natural light from the windows is nice, and I am… already procrastinating. I have 22 hours and 45 minutes until my 10 am class tomorrow, when this presentation is due. Let’s get down to business.

11:25 am: Actually, scratch that, I need to go to the bathroom again.

11:28 am: I was going to write something making fun of the girl sitting next to me who has three (3) “Friends” stickers on her laptop, but then I remembered that I spent a half hour of my morning reading an article on “the top 100 pairings on AO3, ranked” earlier, so I really have no leg to stand on here.

12:01 pm: Have installed approximately 15 R studio packages. Not entirely sure what all of them do or if anyone will be useful for my project, but uh… I have them?

1:20 pm: Figured out how to do one (1) successful thing. Still feeling very proud of myself. Going to take a lunch break.

2:50 pm: Lunch break turned into an impromptu covering a protest break. I love Columbia.

The lack of productivity doesn’t stop there…

Apr

18

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Soon all those campaigning posters will be cleared away…

At 5 pm today, the results of Barnard’s Student Government Association’s 2018 elections were released in an email to Barnard students, as well as on MyBarnard. The election concluded with a record 49.9% voter turnout.

These results also included the verdict of the referendum on whether or not SGA should write a letter to the Barnard trustees encouraging Barnard’s divestment from eight companies that are associated with or support Israel. The referendum passed with 741 votes (64.3% of the students who voted). SGA’s Executive Board will draft this letter over the course of the next week, and the full council will vote on it during the council’s final meeting on Monday, April 30. A full statement about these referendum results can be found after the jump.

The incoming officers of the 2018-2019 Barnard College Student Government Association Representative Council are:

  • SGA President: Nicola Kirkpatrick
  • Vice President for Policy: Mia Lindheimer
  • Vice President for Campus Life: Hannah Stanhill
  • Vice President for Communications: Kim Samala
  • Vice President for Finance: Rachel Nordlicht
  • Jr. Representative to the Board of Trustees: Jessica Cruz
  • Representative for Inclusion and Equity: Tirzah Anderson
  • Representative for Campus Affairs: Chelsea Sinclair
  • Representative for Information and Technology: Yasmine Kaya
  • Representative for Arts and Culture: Phanesia Pharel
  • Representative for Health Services: Ava Adler
  • Representative for Food and Dining Services: Yeliz Sezgin
  • Representative for Seven Sisters Relations: Idris O’Neill
  • Representative for Sustainable Initiatives: Caroline Cutlip
  • Representative for Academic Affairs: Solace Mensah-Narh
  • Sr. Class President: Rhea Nagpal
  • Sr. Class VP: Hannah Yoo
  • Jr. Class President: Gabi Garcia
  • Jr. Class VP: Celine Zhu
  • Soph. Class President: Tina Gao
  • Soph. Class VP: Norah Hassan

Statement from SGA on the referendum results after the jump

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