Archive for category Neptune in Aquarius

Neptune in Aquarius – Let’s Get Connected (Redux)

Dear Readers – this is a reprint of an earlier article published on this site.  As I’m travelling this week, and in keeping with Mercury Retrograde, I’ll be posting articles of interest from the archives.  This was the first in a series of articles on Neptune in Aquarius.  There are links to the others below.

I found a great quote by Mikal Gilmore in the Rolling Stone Commemorative Issue on Michael Jackson.  Although he wasn’t describing Neptune, these words are particularly descriptive of Neptune’s energy:

In my mind, Michael Jackson, [Elvis] Presley and the Beatles all shared one virtue:  they bound together millions of dissimilar people in not just a quirk of shared taste, but also a forceful, heartfelt consensus that spoke to common dreams and values.”

This is a perfect quote for the activity of Neptune:  a forceful, heartfelt consensus that speaks to common dreams and values.  (To see my post on Neptune, use this link Neptune/) Neptune has been transiting the sign of Aquarius (Aquarius/) since 1998.  What are the common dreams and values that are inspiring us with Neptune in Aquarius? 

The Aquarius common dreams and values are

  • the equality of the common man;
  • responsibility to the group;
  • the ascendancy of man based on knowledge, rather than other types of power;
  • the right of humans to progress technologically;
  • the right of each person to contribute to the base of knowledge. 

Neptune in Aquarius – connecting, binding together through the dissemination of knowledge and information.  Aquarius is an air sign, so it’s through the realm of thinking and ideas that the Neptunian urge to merge takes root in the world. 

What does this search for connection look like?  Think of internet dating.  This hugely popular and successful way to connect to other people is done entirely through databases of attributes – bits of knowledge about other people matched electronically with bits of knowledge about you.  Mind to mind connection.  The bits of knowledge may be about your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, what makes you smile, how you feel, all little pieces of information that you choose to key into the screen – effectively turning your need for connection into bits of information.  No physical contact, no physical environment for meeting and yet thousands of successful matches. 

How else do we search for connection these days?  Facebook has become a phenomenon during Neptune’s transit of Aquarius, becoming more and more ubiquitous every day.  It has become unnecessary for any physical contact to keep up with friends and family and in fact this electronic connection has allowed more contact with a wider group than ever before.  No need even for telephones to transmit our personalities, we can just reach out and touch each other virtually.  And it really does feel like connection, more connection than ever.

Blogging is also a very Neptune in Aquarius activity.  The right of the common person to contribute to a base of shared knowledge across countries and cultures is a trend that has never been seen on this scale.  And twittering, blogging in fewer than 140 characters, is changing and some would say redefining our communication skills to match the lighting pace of our world.  The right to change centuries of grammar and punctuation rules with the abbreviations and short bursts required for text messaging is a purely Aquarian liberty.  Revolutionize!  Break the rules!

I’m interested in hearing from you.  How are you including these trends in your business plans?  In the comments section below, let’s begin sharing ideas about aligning with Neptune in Aquarius, a very Neptune in Aquarius thing to do!

See the rest of the series in these posts:

Neptune in Aquarius – mind to mind connecting

Neptune in Aquarius – Inspired Minds

Neptune in Aquarius – Free

Neptune in Aquarius – Free, the Radical Price

Neptune in Aquarius – How to Compete with Free

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The Bank of Facebook

Hello, everyone.

This is really interesting. For the week ending March 13, Facebook surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week.

We’ve been talking about the breakdown of the banking industry coincident with Pluto in Capricorn and the rise of social media coincident with Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius. In the short video below, Thomas Power of posits that Facebook is a prime platform for peer-to-peer banking. With over a billion users expected by 2012, the capacity for all of us to invest in, loan to, and borrow from each other could annihilate the current banking industry business model. Have a look and let me know what you think.

For more information on Neptune in Aquarius, Uranus in Pisces, or Pluto in Capricorn, see the categories at the right.

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Google throws the Gauntlet

Hello, everyone.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Google and China – Heading for a Divorce?”  In that post I compared the astrology charts of the two giants to examine the underlying factors in the relationship.  I was curious as to what astrology could reveal about the long-term prognosis for a continuing partnership.

It looked good.  My conclusion in that post was that “there are many benefits to both parties and strong Saturn connections that lead to permanence.  It depends on how they handle this juncture, though.  If they let it devolve into a battleground, they can be formidable opponents.”

The Gauntlet is thrown

Yesterday, Google threw down the gauntlet.  Quoting from their official blog:  

“Earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from”

Of course the People’s Republic of China (PRC) responded, defending its internet censorship laws and playing down any effect this move may have on China-U.S. diplomatic relations.

What is happening astrologically? 

Both Google and the PRC are experiencing a major Neptune transit and in each case it is virtually the only major activity in their respective charts during 2010.  Neptune crises bring to a business (and a country) trends that sweep over the entity and cause it to lose its footing.  Lines of business dissolve, not in response to competition or new technology, but because of a sea change in consciousness of the public. 

In Google’s case, Neptune is opposing its natal Venus, which rules social instincts, long-term professional relationships, public relations, markets, and money.  In PRC’s case, Neptune is squaring the highest point in the chart, the Midheaven, which indicates the country’s reputation on the world stage, and their growing position as a major player in the world markets, “too big to ignore.”

Both parties confused

Often Neptune transits indicate that a company’s leadership is confused about exactly how to address the crisis.  A move of Google’s search functions to Hong Kong seems more like a symbolic statement than a solution.  The Chinese government has already indicated it will assert its filtering functions to keep banned information from entering China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that no harm has been done to China’s image, but this indicates the delusion that is so common during a Neptune transit.  Both internally and externally, China has again made it clear to the world that they don’t trust the individuals of the Republic to handle uncensored information in a way that is supportive to the state.  In fact, China’s censorship policies have increased in quality and scope over the last few years as it’s opened its markets to foreign investment. 

The impact of Neptune in Aquarius is sweeping through the entire world and China is not immune.  This influence represents a global desire to connect with each other on equal footing through Aquarian means:  electronics, virtual space, airwaves, social media, and innovation.  These developing social media serve an essential role in the ongoing development of our world and China won’t escape it for long. 

We’ll keep watching Google and the People’s Republic in their not-too-elegant dance.  I still think the compatibility indicated in their charts will pull them through this crisis, once all the dramatics simmer down.  But both need to take the lesson of Neptune, which is to focus on what is the same rather than what is different, and to listen for underlying currents rather than what is apparent on the surface.   Their relationship has benefits for each other and the world.

For further insight on Google and China, see this post:
Google and China – Heading for a Divorce?
To deeply explore Neptune in Aquarius for business, see the sidebar at the right, or get started with these posts:
Neptune in Aquarius – Let’s Get Connected!
Neptune in Aquarius – Free

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Signs of the Times – the for-profit nonprofit

Hello, everyone. 

Have you heard about the new “low-profit limited liability company?”  This new form of organization, enacted in Vermont, blends elements of for-profit and nonprofit corporations. 

Ben and Jerry’s 

The plight of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is an example of why this is needed.  When a small business gets to the point where additional investors are needed for expansion, one way of raising capital is to become a public corporation.  However, once a public corporation, the key goal of the business becomes maximizing shareholder value.  In other words, anything that can be done to increase the value of the stock, must be done. 

When a European corporation, Unilever, stepped in with an unsolicited bid to buy Ben and Jerry’s for far more than the current value of their stock, the Board was forced to sell or face a potential lawsuit from the shareholders. 

This case highlighted several issues.  Ben and Jerry’s, as well as many other small businesses, had a philanthropic purpose as well as a financial purpose.  However, once a business takes on outside capital, the shareholders can decide whether or not the philanthropic goals can be pursued.  Yes, Unilever agreed to continue to give 7.5% of Ben and Jerry’s profits and to fund the Ben and Jerry Foundation with an upfront $5MM as part of the deal.  But what happened to the other social principles, like BHT-free milk and fair trade practices with Mexican and Brazilian farmers? 

Vermont steps in 

Vermont, the home state of Ben and Jerry’s, recognized the need for a form of organization that would meet the current social enterprise trend in the business world: philanthro-capitalism, venture philanthropy, green technology, and fair-trade practices, to name a few examples of this trend.  This hybrid model, the L3C, applies to companies formed for charitable or educational purposes, but it can generate profits for the owners as long as those profits are not “a significant purpose” of the company.  

However, there is no sanction against profits, even significant profits.  And since it is based on the Limited Liability Company model rather than corporate law, there are no stringent laws pertaining to the buy/sell decisions of the owners. 

It remains to be seen how this initial statute will morph as other states take it up and as the public begins to use it.  There is also the issue of the IRS and how they will regard the entity.  But I think it is an interesting example of the times: 

  1. With Pluto in Capricorn, traditional forms of business that no longer serve are breaking down, and new forms are emerging.
  2. With Neptune in Aquarius, the rights of people to transact business as they wish without interference from government or shareholders, has gained strength.  Connections between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are being formed and distinctions between the entities are blurring and merging.  And entrepreneurs are recognizing more and more their individual responsibility to the whole.
  3. With Uranus in Pisces, we see innovation to overcome the mature stage in the business life cycle where shareholders and the public have more power than the original owners.  We see a movement toward collaboration with other forms of business, such as foundations and non-profit entities.
  4. With Saturn in Libra, we see the support of the law to implement structures of partnership, fairness, and balance.  Saturn in Libra bridges two independent entities, making a stronger prototype through a hybrid entity. 

A step in the right direction, I’d say.  What do you think? 

For further reading on this subject, check out the Neptune in Aquarius, Saturn in Libra, and Uranus in Pisces categories at the right.  Here are some other related posts:

Business life cycle – mature stage

The Globalization of Ben and Jerry’s

Vermont Secretary State – L3C

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Management Tip – Encourage use of social media at work

Hello, everyone.

Segment of a social network

Segment of a social network

For some time now I’ve been receiving daily emails from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) with their “Management Tip of the Day”.  Occasionally I’d like to pass a tip on to you with an astrological perspective, especially if it highlights a planetary aspect we’ve been considering in these pages.

On February 3rd, the HBR Tip was “Encourage the use of Social Media at Work”.  The gist of the article was that reasonable employee use of social media has actually been shown to benefit companies.

Blame Neptune in Aquarius

Social media is here to stay for a long while.  Astrologically, with Neptune, which represents our desire to connect with each other, in Aquarius, which rules electronics, virtual space, airwaves, and innovation, these social media serve an essential role in the ongoing development of our world.  When Neptune’s involved, the actual productive outcome of all this interaction can be a little vague, but it’s still important to be participating in the trend.

On the other hand, we have Saturn travelling through Libra.  This planet of limitation in the sign of relationship may unfortunately signal a desire to limit social interaction.  As employers, we may feel that our employees are wasting time; we may even criticize ourselves for not being more productive when we check Twitter or Facebook or our email every time we hear that familiar ping.

It’s good for your business

Maintaining an attractive workplace helps us to retain the best employees, especially now when large raises or bonuses are probably not in the picture.  The HBR Tip notes that especially the younger generations see social media as a staple of work life and will seek out employers who acknowledge the critical role they play.  It also notes that research has shown that employees who take breaks to surf the net are ultimately more productive to the goals of the company.  Furthermore, you and your employees use these media to do business:  to connect with colleagues and customers, to improve communication, and to speed up decision making processes.

Develop some guidelines

So next time your hackles come up when you see someone “wasting time” on social media, even if that someone is you, take a minute to remember this tip.  And there is nothing to say you can’t establish some rules about it; better yet, ask a team of young people to come up with some guidelines for the whole group.  That will please Saturn in Libra, who likes rules of engagement, and Neptune in Aquarius, who loves collaborative problem-solving.

Leave a comment if you like:  do you engage in social media too much, too little, or just about right?

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started! 

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Celebrating Neptune

North Shore, Oahu, oil on panel painting by Lionel Walden, c. 1915.

North Shore, Oahu, oil on panel painting by Lionel Walden, c. 1915.

This morning when I woke up I could hear the sea.  I live just steps from the sea, but I can’t view it from my home.  But when the tide is in, and the sea is big, I hear it well.  When I woke my first thought was, ahh, Neptune!  Neptune resumed direct motion yesterday and it was as if she was whispering, wake up!  Wake up!

This beloved planet, the Muse, went into retrograde motion at the end of May at 26 degrees of Aquarius.  It has regressed to 23 degrees and won’t be covering new ground until after it returns to the position it was in when it went retrograde.  So in a sense we’re still covering old ground until late February and now’s our chance to get it right! 

Common Ground

Neptune in Aquarius is concerned with finding common ground through ideas, technology, and invention.  You can expect that the door to inspiration will open again in these areas now; you will have more understanding of what your customers and clients desire; and you will have better ideas about how to use your personal inspiration and creativity in ways that serve people and further your business goals.

Neptune can be subtle, though, and she often speaks to us in impressions, dreams, daydreams, synchronicities, and through our senses.  She is completely free and generous, yet she doesn’t make herself available on demand.  It’s like we have to maintain an open space in our mind and then, often when we least expect it, whoosh, the exact missing piece.

Celebrating Neptune

I thought I would celebrate Neptune today by recording an audio version of a favorite prior post on the planet.  And just to try something new, I’m going to try to put an audio background of the sounds I heard this morning.  We’ll see how it goes.  Let me know what you think! Neptune in Aquarius – Inspired Minds

Joni Mitchell’s For Free, by Luke Sandoval

All week as I’ve been blogging about Free, this song has been in the back of my mind.  I hope you enjoy it.

There’s a beautiful 1970 BBC version of this song on YouTube with Joni Mitchell playing and singing, but I thought I’d share this one by Luke Sandoval, since by putting it on YouTube, he’s giving it to all of us, For Free.

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Neptune in Aquarius – How to Compete with Free?

According to Chris Anderson in his book, Free:  The Future of a Radical Price, free is not going away but there are things people will still pay for.  He says people will still pay to

  • Save time
  • Lower risk
  • Purchase things they love
  • Achieve status
  • Keep using something you’ve got them hooked on

It’s time to innovate and the real innovation in this economy, Anderson says, is finding new and unique ways to charge for your goods and services.  He refers to two groups of consumers: 

  • price sensitive consumers who will like the free version (think Linux);
  • risk sensitive consumers who will like the paid version (think service level agreements from Microsoft). 

In other words, when you reach new customers, it doesn’t mean you can’t charge some of them.  But you’ve got to either match the price of free or ensure that the differences in quality overcome the differences in price.

And to my reader from yesterday’s post who hasn’t figured out how to compete with free, you’re in good company.  Neither has YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and many other companies with outstanding reach.  They still lack a business model that actually makes a profit. In fact, Google, the godfather of free, is beginning to be dragged down by the increasing investment in computers and data storage equipment needed to keep up with the 20 hours of video per minute being uploaded to YouTube, for free.

A couple of more gems from Anderson’s book:  he says that you can shift your company culture, or personal mindset, from “Don’t screw up” to “Fail fast”.  This is a freedom of Neptune in Aquarius.  Since effective efforts are not so much personal but collective these days, we are freed from the mental block of thinking it is up to us to find the correct answer to a problem.  The community is there like never before.  I love music sites like Jamglue where you can upload your songs and let the community work out the backgrounds and mixes.   Or Sound Cloud,where you can put up a demo and let people give feedback on your work. 

When the marginal cost of trying new things is zero, we are free to throw ideas against a wall and see what sticks.  Not that the marginal cost of our time is zero.  The time you spend experimenting may be time wasted if the idea goes nowhere.  And in the meantime, there’s that constant requirement of eating and shelter to take care of.  But I like this “fail fast” idea – I think it’s very Neptune in Aquarius.  Seems like a good idea?  Try it.  Another good idea?  Try it.  A totally different good idea?  Try that one too.  An off the wall idea?  Yes, that one too.  Neptune’s inspiration doesn’t always come in familiar forms.  But one way to be successful is to be a conduit for what she is trying to bring into the world today. 

The other gem from Anderson’s book I want to pass along is, “Every abundance creates a new scarcity.”  What has become scarce in this environment of zero cost for marginal bits?    

An excerpt from my blogging mentor, Yaro Starak gives the clue:

… Being open, honest and demonstrating your personality in everything you publish on your blog is the key to developing rapport… I want you to be very open, honest and real with your readers.

This reminded me that what can be scarce with Neptune in Aquarius is the very opposite of the Aquarian energy – the individual personality.  Even in this time of the ascendancy of the group you can find a platform on which to stand out, to demarcate yourself with your individuality.  The quotes above from Anderson and Starak apply to any product or service.  What is in abundance?  Digital bits.  What is scarce?  Face to face personal contact.  And personal responsibility.

My tax clients know they can take their taxes to H & R Block, or do them on TurboTax.  Even my astrology clients can buy computerized, very accurate reports about their strengths and weaknesses, or coming days.  Why don’t they?  Because personal interaction is vital to many kinds of problem solving.   And they know I will consider their unique situations compassionately and with commitment to their personal success.

What are you doing that the internet cannot do?  Let’s create a forum for how to compete with free.

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Neptune in Aquarius – Free, the Radical Price

Back to Free, The Future of a Radical Price, the book by Chris Anderson.  I heard Chris speaking with Terry Gross on NPR (Listen) and it was so intriguing I listened twice and started reading the book, which, of course, is free.  His idea/observation is that free can be a profitable business model and the first new business model based on the internet.  And the model is this:  making lots of money charging nothing. 

Free is not new as a business marketing strategy.  It’s long been known that giving away one thing free can create demand for something people are willing to pay for.  But in this internet kind of free, 99% is given away and a tiny majority pays for everyone else.

One example Chris cites is the Wall Street Journal.  Their website is free and is full of useful information.  But the archives and more specific data are only available to those who pay for it.  Google is another example.  Google’s services are available almost completely for free and yet the company is making a huge profit.  How is this possible?

There are some standard economic principles that play into this equation:

  • In economics 101, you learn that the entire supply and demand cycle is based on having to make choices in the face of scarcity.  Not in the freeconomy.  Free is driven by abundance.  Abundance of what?
  • Bits, digital goods.  Moore’s law says that the digital world gets cheaper, 50% each year.  (Actually, Moore was talking about transistors, but his basic axiom has become applicable to the digital world.)
  • Marginal cost – unlike atoms, which are inflationary, based on the scarcity principle, bits get cheaper and cheaper until the marginal cost of producing products digitally becomes zero.  Take this blog for instance.  Does it cost me anything more to have 10,000 people read it than 1 person?
  • Barriers to entry – when marginal cost is zero, standard barriers to entry into a market are virtually zero.  Not that long ago, a writer would have either had to self-publish at considerable cost or spend many, many hours submitting manuscripts.  Now, publish on-line, for free.

So, with marginal cost of production down to zero, anything that becomes digital will become free, or available in a free version.

What does this mean for us as business people?  If your product can be digitalized and you don’t make it free, someone else will.  As Anderson says, either you’re giving it away for free or you’re competing with free.

One of my regular readers commented on the Neptune in Aquarius trends.  Some excerpts:

My work (commercial art, illustration) has been seriously affected by the internet, both positively and negatively. Over the past decade or so the computer has allowed me to reach clients all over the world, has introduced me to markets I couldn’t have even imagined, and has streamlined the research I do in preparing my graphics.

On the other hand, competition has gotten more and more fierce, availability and quality of “stock art” has gotten progressively better, and my asking prices are being driven down by this culture of “free.” In the arts, which is the area I know about, the internet has created a situation where “professionals” and “amateurs” can compete on almost-level ground. For example, there was recently a Superbowl ad done for free by an amateur. These usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and the sponsoring company in this case basically got the work for free. So we who have been considered professionals in the arts are suddenly threatened by throngs of amateurs, do-it-yourselfers who have access to technology that enables them to make a fine looking product that in the old days only a pro could produce.

So what’s an old pro to do? As you mentioned in your last post, we’ve got to find a way to distinguish ourselves beyond just craft. We have to have better ideas, or a better ability to address the real needs of our clients, or … I don’t quite know what. That’s the problem!

The downside of free.   Have you experienced the downside of Neptune in Aquarius?  Let us know in the comments section below.

More on Free, tomorrow.

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Neptune in Aquarius – Free

I’ve been thinking about Free lately, as in Chris Anderson’s book, Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.  Chris is the Editor-in-Chief of WIRED magazine, my favorite monthly read.  He is also the author of the megahit, The Long Tail and was previously the U.S. business editor at The Economist.

I did my own research on the word free and found that it has many different meanings.  I’ve decided  to personally append the following meanings to the sign Aquarius.  From the Encarta Dictionary:

  1. Costing nothing, a free meal
  2. Not restricted in rights, a free country
  3. Self-ruling, a free people
  4. Not regulated, free to choose
  5. Not attached, the free end of the rope
  6. Disregarding traditional limitations, free verse
  7. Not blocked, free flow of electricity
  8. Giving something readily, free with advice
  9. Open and honest, a free manner
  10. Favorable, a free wind

And then there’s freedom, free will, free lance, free trade, and the newer freemium, and freeconomics.  This word free has some big shoulders!

I went to my The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language because I couldn’t figure out how this same little word could contain meanings as diverse as costing nothing and self-ruling.  What I found was fascinating.  The word free comes from the root pri, which means love, beloved, belonging to the loved ones, dear, precious, peace, noble, joyful.  The etymology cites that the primary sense seems to have been “beloved, friend, to love;” perhaps from the terms “beloved” or “friend” being applied to the members of one’s clan – the people free to come and go through your territory at will.  The sense of free as “given without cost” was first seen in 1585, presumably from “free of cost” to members of your clan.

Isn’t Free a great concept for Neptune in Aquarius?  Neptune is the connector, the urge to merge with a beloved ideal, and Aquarius, the group, the extended clan.  The word free goes right to the root of our time in all of its senses:  costing nothing because you don’t charge your kin, the extended, global community; not restricted in rights, as in open-source software; self-ruling, like the agreements on how to use the social networking sites; disregarding traditional limitations, abbreviate those tweets; giving something readily, the law of reciprocity.

We have utilized this concept for ages, of course.  I don’t charge my son for tax or astrological advice; he doesn’t charge me for computer and internet advice.  He is my kin; we exchange our skills and talents freely.  What has morphed with Neptune in Aquarius is who we call kin: now people across the globe who we’ve never met in person support our endeavors and we support theirs.  There are forums in every imaginable subject in which people freely share with each other the best of their wisdom.  I can call on the community, the global community, to answer any question I have with a simple Google search.

My son uses this often in his work.  When he has a thorny technical problem to solve, first he looks on line to see if anyone else has resolved it.  He often finds the answer or at least a clue that provides the opening for him to successfully resolve it.  If the answer is not online, when he has resolved it, he posts it.  The next person that runs into the same issue can access his best thinking, instantly and free of charge.  Why does he do it?  Reciprocity, certainly, but also for the pure satisfaction of contributing to the advancement of shared knowledge.  This is kinship of another kind, Aquarian kinship, based on a deep understanding of who are our kin:  those who love the same knowledge as we and who share the desire to advance its frontier.

More on free in the next posts…

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