Designing The Future (With Lessons From Interstellar)

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Metadesign for Murph John V Willshire @willsh dConstruct 2015 Designing the future with lessons from Interstellar

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773 days and 1.3 miles ago… pic: nasa.gov

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I decided to go to the cinema pic: wikipedia.org

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MAN OF STEEL 2013 dir. Zac Snyder

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Most of my childhood superhero knowledge comes from here, Hamilton Library

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Superhero films since I was born… Avengers: Age Of Ultron Kenneth Branagh’s Thor Iron Man Man of Steel The Schumacher-Clooney near-extinction event Batman Superman 1975 1980 1978 Spiderman 1985 1982 1986 1990 1990 1995 1994 2000 1998 2005 2002 2006 2010 2010 2015 2014 Worldwide admissions 2

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It’s the first Superman film I’ve watched as a dad…

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I’m suddenly paying lots of attention to what the dads are doing.

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My child with my instructions A place where my ideas will save everyone Me, my ideas, and fools who didn’t listen

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It’s a film about parenting, and heroing

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Metaphorical Parenting: You’re a parent not just to children But also to people you work with Friends have have Peers you know Clients you create for

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Who’s doing the designing? Whose future is it anyway?

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Who ARE we? http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk

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“Suddenly, here was an entire generation crying out for an evolved version of the things they were consuming as children” Simon Pegg

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EVOLVED http://simonpegg.net/2015/05/19/big-mouth-strikes-again/

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In The Night Kitchen Maurice Sendak

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saraelin.com EVOLVED

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Hey, can we get some Superhero films now too..? 1975 1980 1978 1985 1982 1986 1990 1990 1995 1994 2000 1998 2005 2002 2006 2010 2010 2015 2014 *Worldwide admissions, calculated using box office adjusted for ticket price inflation 2

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Catholic Guilt Batman

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Bro-bin Hood

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These aren’t films. They’re franchise wormholes. 1975 1980 1978 1985 1982 1986 1990 1990 1995 1994 2000 1998 2005 2002 2006 2010 2010 2015 2014 *Worldwide admissions, calculated using box office adjusted for ticket price inflation 2

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Now we’re repackaging and sanitising it for our children too

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“I want to be batman”

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No. I’m trying to fight crime on the streets of Gotham.

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No. I’ve centred my fighting style on a ninja-like darkness. Sparkles won’t help.

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Are we trapped in a now-endless superhero culture?

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Is it helpful to live in a cultural universe where science and magic are so wilfully muddled?

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“Hey babe, your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science, but I come from a place where they’re one and the same thing” http://andyparkart.deviantart.com

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If we’re talking ‘designing the future’, it's better to leave that superhero universe and explore fiction grounded in reality

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interstellar inception

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"I liken it to the blockbusters I grew up with as a kid: edgy, incisive, challenging." Christopher Nolan

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Contains Spoilishes (Spoilers you will only know are spoilers if you’ve seen the film)

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“In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable.” Source: Google Description

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“Professor Brand, a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth's population to a new home via a wormhole.” Source: Google Description

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“But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind's new home.” Source: Google Description

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We’ve seen this movie before…

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It’s a film about parenting, and heroing

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Prof. Brand has a massive equation

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My child with my instructions A place where my ideas will save everyone Me, my ideas, and fools who didn’t listen

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“I thought I was prepared. I knew the theory. Reality’s different”

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Prof. Brand Dr. Mann Mannsplaining

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Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas

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How do we design for a future we can’t see? ‘We’ don’t…

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Different daughters This is a much more interesting parent/child relationship…

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Timey-wimey, wibbley-wobbley

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How do you design a world of designers?

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METADESIGN “to nurture the emergence of the previously unthinkable through interdisciplinary collaboration” Wikipedia

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“to nurture the emergence of the previously unthinkable through interdisciplinary collaboration”

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Metadesign “Here - off you go…” Participative design “Let’s do it together” User-centric design “You start, I’ll finish”

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Interdisciplinarity Diagrams Topologies METADESIGN Synergies Emergence Procedural Languaging

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Eh? A lot of the writing & terminology currently around metadesign is quite hard, specialist and academic.

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Instead, I thought I’d explore it using three stories…

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I ran a workshop at UX London in May. Part of it was a game we’ve played lots before…

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exploring Cards, which we make: It uses Artefact artefactshop.com These help people play with ideas more easily and intuitively

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Popular Thing For Broken Thing

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Write two cards with ‘popular things’ These are services you ove, and why you love them.

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Then write two cards with ‘broken things’ These are issues you, or others, have with a particular thing

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Then in teams of four, line up your eight popular things, and eight broken things. You now have TEN minutes to make EIGHT startups - ‘popular thing for broken thing’

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Each person then takes ONE idea, finds a partner from a different team, and pitches them their idea for a minute. Then the other person pitches back for a minute. You have a minute to think about your pitch again, then you find a new partner, and repeat three or four times. What happens is each idea either gets better, or gets worse. They just don’t remain UNKNOWN….

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I’ve always wondered why this works so well…

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The creative quartet Prof. John Wood https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9dIQOrVhM5E - Prof. John Wood, TED, on Synergies

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If I had two cards, I’d have 1 synergy. 1 3 5 6 2 4 But with four cards, I can find 6. With eight cards, it becomes 22. With twelve cards, it’s now 66… Prof. John Wood https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9dIQOrVhM5E - Prof. John Wood, TED, on Synergies

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Such a simple principle, but with massive exponential benefits

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Second story…

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This guy is Dmitri Mendeleev. He invented (well, discovered) the periodic table.

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In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev published a periodic table. Mendeleev also arranged the elements known at the time in order of relative atomic mass, but he did some other things that made his table much more successful.

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To get to this, Mendeleev had created a card deck with all the elements, their properties, and the atomic weights on them. On long train journeys, he played what he called ‘element solitaire’ - sorting through the cards, exploring orders and connections… just finding patterns in the individual elements.

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What’s fascinating about Mendeleev’s table is not just the correct order he found for KNOWN elements, but the spaces his table had created. These spaces allowed him to deduce that there were other elements we had not yet discovered and should look for. He correctly predicted five elements we would discover, three of which were found before his death.

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I thought about this in the context of something else Dennett brought out in his book ‘Intuition Pumps’… Dan Dennett

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The Cartesian Coordinates, the simple X & Y axes Dennett reminds us, are an invention, a discovery Rene Descartes

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It’s one of the most useful tools, and so widely applicable beyond the specific disciplines we’re taught it in (Maths, Physics etc)

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Oboist’s ‘Mapping It Out’ really demonstrates the wide applicability of this simple mapping idea. Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2014

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Like Tim Berners-Lee’s map of the internet

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Or Bruce Sterling’s map of the reading habits of Bruce Sterling readers…

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It’s so simple, you can do it with kids…

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We did it in various ways when we taught this course in the summer Scott Smith - @changeist John V Willshire -@willsh Laura Clèries - @lcleries Andrew Colmenares - @colmenares Christina Bifano

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“TIME AS A SPACE” Scott Smith, @changeist

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We made maps of people in the IED courtyard

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We made maps of the things we discovered in the Barcelona streets…

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The students used these maps to create fantastic prototypes for these future worlds they could see

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Again, a super simple tool with applications wherever you choose to apply it

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Third story…

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@fraser_hamilton http://www.onyerbike.cc/donate/

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When we started working together, Fraser asked “what do you actually do…?” (it’s a good question)

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I’d just started exploring it more, thanks to two books that two different friends had recommended to me in the same week, by the same author. I like coincidences like this.

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but this year…

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1994 1999 1998 1995 1997 1996 The books were written five books apart, but I was looking at them at the same time. As a result, I saw something that connected the two…

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What if these two models went together, somehow? What if people and space were intrinsically linked?

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slow moves slow fast moves fast

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This part is the gearbox

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When I looked closely at the gearbox, it occurred that there may be a way to think about the nonobvious connections between people and space

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S5 S4 S3 S2 S1 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 Firstly. there’s the line of best fit, where slow moves slow, and fast moves fast

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The line of best fit…

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The slow drift east In London, over the last ten years creative company have moved to new buildings around Old Street S5 S4 S3 S2 S1 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 You look on the desks of these companies, and you can tell from the foodstuffs what is currently fashionable Cronuts for lunch

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Look away from the line, and you see other more interesting uses, often powered by technology

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S5 You can use fast people actions (sales,productivity, noise) to chance the look and feel inside and outside of the building through lighting Lighting displays based on actions P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1

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S5 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1 The cultural judo of iPads for all Changing the way that everyone accesses the company in their personal space could created a massive cultural shift nearly overnight

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S5 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1 This system view allows us to think well about the sorts of problems, and first initial solutions, might pop out from thinking about people and space as a whole

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We have a simple version we can quickly sketch out as a tool for thinking…

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But we also needed a way to access the depth of possibility contained in the system view

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S5 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1 What could we use to populate each of these cells?

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“I just don’t think your bookshelves are trying to talk to you, Murph” Coop

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I spent a weekend dancing around stacks of books, making a physical representation of the system of our practice

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just in time… 31 posts image?

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“The acquisition of books is by no means a matter of money or expert knowledge alone. Not even both factors together suffice for the establishment of a real library.” - Walter Benjamin

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It’s not having the ability to buy books, nor the knowledge of which books to buy, that makes a library

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It’s knowing how all the books relate to each other.

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What matters is what’s between the covers, but not on the pages

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All libraries are five-dimensional

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S5 P5 System views as shared mental models P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1

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Map views, as reads on certain circumstances

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Element views, to quickly explore connections

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S5 P5 P4 P3 P2 P1 S4 S3 S2 S1 It's pretty simple…

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METADESIGN …and contains a lot of the composite parts of Metadesign

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We know this is a thing When you look for it, we see it in the practices we all value everyday userresearch.blog.gov.uk

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But why don’t people present this as simple? Why present it as a difficult thing instead…?

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Is wireframing really heroic?

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We’re driven by the systems we work in to value ‘specialisms’

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Superheroes are specialists

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Specialists face off against specific problems

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When we do find superhero who are generalist, who can assume all the powers, it breaks the narrative. There’s no tension.

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IRL, we don’t get to write our own villains

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We don’t know… …what they’re going to face

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We don’t know what jobs future generations will want to do,or have to do

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We can’t see the knockon effects of the world we’re leaving for them

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“How do we create adaptive, living people?” Prof. John Wood

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Interdisciplinarity Diagrams Topologies METADESIGN Synergies Emergence Procedural Languaging

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Metadesign is not rocket science

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Metadesign is not a superpower

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Metadesign is a vital, basic skill set

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It's what we can pass on - designing the future is not defining their future

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Help them create a future that’s edgy, incisive, challenging

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Leastmodernism? Apply the attitude and belief of modernism, but to the intention of doing less, not more

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A manifesto for leastmodernism How can we do less? How can we have one client instead of ten? Work with five colleagues indeed of five hundred. Find customers who only want to buy once? How can we have one car instead of two? Three bedrooms instead of five? Buy two, leave the third where it is? How can we do this in a day and not a week? Write one sentence, say ten words, make one thing once? How do we create the most value from doing the least we can? More is less, more or less.

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If you want to find out more about Metadesign, please visit: metadesigners.org

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Thank you John V Willshire @willsh

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