Young Star of the Year: Jennifer Lawrence

Rolling Stone Magazine called Jennifer Lawrence “The most talented young actress in America”.  Time magazine also named her in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2013. An American actress in her early twenties and best known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series, Jennifer Lawrence has already had an impressive career, and it has only just begun.

Jennifer LawrenceBorn and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Jennifer Lawrence started from humble beginnings.  She finished high school in Kentucky two years early with a 3.9 GPA.  During her high school career she decided that she wanted to pursue acting and she persuaded her parents to take her to New York City to find a talent agent.

She received a spot as a cast member in 2007 on The Bill Engvall Show where she played the role of Lauren Pearson, the oldest daughter in the series.  After the show was canceled in 2009, she guest starred on other TV shows and she also held roles in the movies: Garden Party, The Poker House and The Burning Plain.

Her breakthrough role as an actress came in 2010 as she starred in a movie titled Winter’s Bone.  For this movie she received multiple awards nominations for best actress.  At the time she starred in this movie she was only 20 years old.

In 2011, she played the role of Mystique in X-Men: First Class.  And her most popular role that has earned her the most recognition was in 2012 when she played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.  The opening weekend of The Hunger Games brought a profit of $152.5 million, which deemed Jennifer Lawrence as the highest grossing action heroine.  The Hunger Games continue with Jennifer Lawrence in the second movie, in theaters right now: Catching Fire.

After receiving some multiple MTV Movie Awards, People’s Choice, and Teen’s Choice Awards as Mystique and Katniss, she went on to play a role in the movie Silver Linings Playbook .  She received stellar reviews for this performance and won many critic’s and film festival awards before earning both an Academy Award and Golden Globe award for Best Actress.

There is much to look forward to for Jennifer Lawrence including the final installments of The Hunger Games (two more movies), another appearance in the X-Men series, and several  movies such as American Hustle. With such talent, we are sure to see her in several roles on the big screen in the future.

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Learn a Language While Traveling

College students have long dreamed of spending a year studying abroad or taking a year off before or after college to just travel the world.  Some have hesitated due to the language barrier.  They want to be able to talk to the locals when they travel.

eiffel towerNow there are programs that allow students to learn a language while they travel.

These programs are based on a total immersion model, where students will learn a language by being forced to communicate in it at all times.  The difference is that the immersion doesn’t take place in a lab, but out in the real world, as students travel the country or region of that language.

Imagine learning Italian while traveling across Italy with a group of like-minded students. Or conversing in French in Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Cannes. The ability to travel, be a tourist, and socialize with other students, all while learning a new language is quite appealing, and more and more language students are choosing this option.

The standard model places students with a local host family.  Between talking with the family, participating in guided tours and living day-to-day, there are countless opportunities to practice the language.   Students only spend a few hours a day in the classroom and the rest of the time using their new language.

Allowing for eight hours of sleep, students get to communicate in their chosen language over 100 hours each week. That’s hard to match in regular language programs.  Another advantage is the opportunity to learn local accents and be immersed in another culture.  Perhaps best of all is the chance to bring the daily practical experience of communicating in the chosen language.

Any student who wants to travel the world but lacks the language skills, should investigate these types of programs.

Lyssa Zanders is an educator and blogger.  Her posts have appeared on news, lifestyle, and educational webpages like this one where she writes about language, K-12 education, and teaching.

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Richest Race Drivers Under 30

Driving fast is associated with being young, but most of the top earning race drivers are in their late 30s and early 40s. This is a matter of arithmetic. The more years spent racing, the more money they accumulate.  There are, however a few exceptions to the rule. For every Dale Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart, there’s a Kyle Busch. For every Jeff Gordon or Scott Tucker, there’s a Travis Pastrana. For each Mark Webber or Valentino Rossi there’s Sebastian Vettel.

Here are four of the highest paid auto racers under the age of 30:

Kyle Busch, 28

Sources indicate that Kyle Busch, an American stock car racer, is worth $40 million.  This includes salary and winnings as a driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series.  Busch is also the owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports which also competes in the Camping World Truck Series. He holds multiple NASCAR records and was 2005 Nextel Cup Series Rookie of the Year and the 2004 Busch Series Rookie of the Year.

Lewis Hamilton, 28

HamiltonLewis Hamilton is a British driver for the Mercedes Formula One team.  His net worth was estimated in 2013 to be $27.5 million, with most of that coming from salary and winnings and an additional $1.5 million in sponsorship fees. Hamilton’s first win came in the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix when he raced for McLaren.  He has since won over 20 F1 races and earned over 30 pole positions. In 2008 he was the Formula One World Champion and is currently in 3rd place in the 2013 points standings.

Sebastian Vettel, 26

Sebastian Vettel is one of the hottest drivers in all of motorsports. While Forbes estimated his net worth in June 2013 to be $18 million, the young driver has already one three straight World Championships in Formula One and is on track to win his fourth when the 2013 season comes to an end. He holds a number of F1 records, including 12 as the “youngest driver to..” When he was 21 he was the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix and at 23 he added the distinction as youngest driver to win a world championship (a record previously held by Hamilton). He is currently tied for fourth place on the All-time F1 Grand Prix winners list with 32 wins.

Other Drivers

One other racer of note is Travis Pastrana, 29, who has earned $30 million dollars racing motorcyles and performing as a stunt driver.

Drivers in their early 30s who have a net worth of over $10 million include Fernando Alonso, 32 ($30 million), Danica Patrick, 31 ($15 million), and Kimi Raikkonen, 33 ($130 million)

Mark Oliver is a motorsports writer who has covered Formula One and endurance racing for a number of racing websites and blogs.  He has also written profiles of numerous race car drivers from around the world.

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Celebrities and Their Cars

Celebrities have had a reputation for enjoying fast cars over the years.  They may enjoy collecting them or racing, but it has been a common occurrence to see famous stars sporting new wheels.  For some, it is a sign of wealth or an indication that they have finally “made it” while others collect because it is their true obsession.

Celebrities through History

One of the most famous stories of celebrities and their cars is a tragedy by the legendary James Dean.  He was well-known for his love of fast cars and the passion contributed to his death as he crashed head on into another, larger vehicle.  However, Dean was also famous for his love of racing and competed in races with a first place finish in the Palm Springs Road Races.

Elvis Presley was another celebrity known for his love of cars, specifically the Cadillac.  Even today car shows are held at Graceland with hundreds of classic autos on display.  While he owned many brands of cars, including Pontiacs and Limousines, it was the Cadillac that Elvis enjoyed most.

Today’s Stars

Many young stars today also enjoy the tradition of celebrating their stardom with a cool new car.  However, those who collect them are at a whole new level.  Take David Gallagher for instance.  Many have called him a car collector in training as he adds new cars to his garage.  Some of his notable cars include a 1973 Ford Mustang convertible and a 1976 Pontiac Firebird.  Some will give cars to others (Oprah)  perhaps as Fathers Day gifts.

a Fisker Karma

Justin Beiber has joined the ranks of today’s biggest celebrities to have their own car collection.  As young as he is, Beiber know a stylish car when he sees it.  One of the most impressive autos in his collection is a Fisker Karma Hybrid worth $100,000 and a gift from Usher.  He also has a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and a Range Rover Evoque.  You’ll also spot a Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche in his collection.

Sports stars also enjoy the speed and style of sleek autos.  Dwight Howard knows cars just like he knows the basketball court and just added a Bentley Mulisanne to his growing car collection that already claims a Rolls Royce and a Porsche.

Other stars don’t just enjoy collecting the cars, but get a thrill out of racing them.  Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy fame is a serious race car driver like Scott Tucker from Kansas.  He has turned his love of fast cars into a side business with Dempsey Racing which races two cars.  He has competed in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and plans to do it again in between filming.  He finished 3rd in the GT Class.

Many celebrities love their cars and spend their money to have as many as they want.  Others love the thrill of being behind the wheel and feeling the tires racing along the track.  Whatever the reason, celebrities and fast cars have been an inseparable pair throughout history.  With the young stars following in their mentors’ footsteps, it doesn’t appear that it’s about to change any time soon.

guest contributor Alex Sheldon writes frequently for popular culture and celebrity blogs. His work also appears on websites covering subjects from literature to sports, from politics to cars, as on this site.


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Speed Racers

If there is any person that is most attracted to speed, it is the young.  Young people take more risks, especially in cars, because the need for speed is great and there is little to no self control.  There’s a fantastic reason that car and motorcycle insurance is higher for people under 25—they have the most accidents because they take the most risks.  But it’s exactly that same recklessness that attracts, and often helps, young people in the world of motorsports.

Take, for example, Zach Veach, IndyCar driver.  Unlike most other drivers, he has to do his homework before getting in the car.  Driving for the Andretti Autosport team, Veach is only 17 years old, and got his start working for Michael Andretti.  He did some time in the USF 2000, but has since moved up to Star Mazda.  Is he the most famous around?  No, but competing in the IndyCar Series is no small feat for anyone, much less a 17 year old.

Sebastian Vettel, who is currently racing for the Red Bull-Renault team in Formula 1, is an impressive figure himself.  Born in 1987, he is 25 years old, which is just the right age to love risk but understand when and where to avoid it.  As it stands he has an extremely impressive record as World Champion, as he has swept the championships for 2010, 2011, and 2012.  That makes him the youngest triple champion in the history of motorsports.

Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari

Another impressive, though lesser known, figure is Jaime Alguersuari, who is the 2008 British Formula 3 Champion, and boasts another honor; he is the youngest F1 driver to have ever started a Grand Prix.  At 19 years of age he started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, and in that, became the first person born in 1990 to ever compete in F1.  Sadly he no longer races, but you can still hear him on BBC Radio 5, commenting alongside James Allen on this year’s Formula 1 season.

Any mention of young, hot racing driver’s is incomplete without a tip of the hat to Sir Jackie Stewart.  He was born in 1939, and—well, he isn’t young anymore, but he started racing in 1965 at the ripe age of 26 and racked up three World’s Driver Championships by 1973.  And that isn’t just karting, that’s British Formula 1 racing, which in that day was not for the faint of heart.

Racing attracts all kinds, but for obvious reasons, it attracts the young and foolhardy.  The exceptional rush of speed, the spine-tingling sounds of ludicrously powerful engines, and the thrill of competition all come together to make for an experience that young men and women cannot bring themselves to deny.  These racers are testament to that, and there are countless others, professional, amateur, and arm-chair that can attest to it.

Contributed by Ray Lyons – a prolific auto and off-road blogger who also covers racing.  In addition to profiling young drivers, Lyons has covered older drivers like Scott Tucker for various racing sites and blogs.

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The World is a-twitter with Celebrities on Twitter

Social media has changed what it means to be a celebrity. Celebrities that leverage social media tend to be more successful than those that do not. This is especially true for celebrities under 30.

The advantage of social media for celebrities is that it allows them to reach out and connect with their fans. Celebrities and fans can literally talk directly to one another, which up until the last decade have been next to impossible. Sure, fans could send mail and hope for a letter back, but it was rare and impractical due to the volume of mail popular celebrities received.

Lady GagaNow all one has to do is search for a favorite celeb online, locate his or her twitter page, and send a tweet. Savvy celebrities see it as an opportunity to connect with the fans that have made them popular. Here are four of the most popular celebrities under 30 on Twitter:

  1. Justin Bieber
    You can contact Justin Bieber through his twitter account which is @justinbieber. At the time this article was written he had over 34.5 million followers. Justin Bieber’s popularity on Twitter is of course related to his popularity as a pop musician, but what fans really like is that he shares intimate details from his life such as pictures of vacations, inspirational notes, and he regularly retweets what fans say to him. Retweets are the cyber equivalent of a hug. What fan would not love a hug from Justin Bieber?
  2. Lady Gaga
    Lady Gaga is a huge presence on twitter. Her twitter handle is @ladygaga. With over 34 million followers, Lady Gaga is considered a huge social influencer. She calls her fans “Little Monsters.” Fans flock to her because she is genuine and encouraging in her interactions. Her secret to success is showing her nurturing nature and detailing intimate moments and internal thoughts.
  3. Taylor Swift
    Ms. Swift holds her own with over 24 million followers. She can be found at @taylorswift13. Taylor engages her fans by telling them what she is up to, who she is hanging out with, and her accomplishments. She tweets almost every day and shares a lot of pictures. Fans like to follow Taylor because she is genuine in her communications.
  4. Nicki Minaj
    Nicki Minaj is a colorful star of the music community and her personality shines through in her tweets. Her twitter handle is @NICKIMINAJ. With nearly 16 million followers, Nicki is a powerful influence. Her approach is a little different than other stars. She follows other tweeters more willingly and focuses on getting interaction. She ran a recent contest for $1000 cash asking her followers to “show some skin.” Followers complied in droves, tweeting back pictures of themselves, naked, holding a sign that said #Nicki over their private parts. Nicki also tweets several times a day and is generous in her retweets.

These four young celebs are just a few examples of celebrities using twitter to turn fans into fanatical followers. The key to their success is authenticity, interaction, retweeting, and sharing personal stories.

guest post by Mark Guise, an entertainment blogger who covers celebrities for pop culture sites as well as for technology and software sites like this site.

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Young and Addicted: Celebrities with Drug Problems

Fame can surely spoil even young souls. Many young Hollywood stars and athletes fail to resist the urge to try getting drunk and stoned. From drug and alcohol addictions to vehicular accidents and wrecked relationships, the public has a lasting interest on the scandals behind young icons’ juvenile destructiveness. Here are several popular celebrities who, before turning 30 years old, have already learned the hard lesson in life: that substance abuse will surely destroy not just their careers but also their lives.

Amanda Bynes

After getting involved in two alleged hit-and-run accidents in 2012, the young actress declared her early retirement from show business. The latest buzz about Bynes is that her party has already settled the case filed by her two victims, who have expressed their satisfaction in the financial deal. Some Los Angeles prosecutors want her punished for allegations of driving under the influence and driving without a license. Fortunately, under state law, a civil settlement not only dismisses charges but also protects Bynes from related cases.

shaun whiteShaun White

Professional skateboarder and snowboarder Shaun White has settled charges of public intoxication and vandalism pressed against him in Nashville. The formal complaints were dismissed after the 26-year old Olympic gold medalist agreed to complete alcohol treatment, pay restitution, and perform a 24-hour community service. White’s trouble began when he pulled a fire alarm in a hotel around 2 a.m. on September 16, causing a commotion among hotel guests. He apologized for his inappropriate behavior through Facebook, where he has over 3 million followers.

Haley Joel Osment

The 24-year old actor flipped his vehicle in July 2006 while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. At the same time, he was found to possess marijuana in his car. The former child actor, who was noted for his significant roles in the Sixth Sense and Forrest Gump, paid a fine of $1,500 and attended 26 meetings of Alcoholic Anonymous to settle his misdemeanor.

Macaulay Culkin

Being the highest paid Hollywood child actor of all time must have pushed Macaulay Culkin to substance abuse. After starring in many blockbuster family flicks like Home Alone, Richie Rich, and Uncle Buck, Culkin seemed desperate to grow up to shed his child actor skin. He drew controversy when he moved out of his parents’ home, married a girl he barely know when he was 18 years old, and became addicted to prescription pills and marijuana.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore literally grew before the public’s eye. She was hounded by the press when she was photographed puffing her first cigarette when she was 9 years old. By the time she was 11 years old, she was already getting drunk, and at 12 years old, she was getting stoned. In her teens, she got addicted to cocaine, forcing her to at least two drug rehab programs prior to her 14th birthday. Through the years, Barrymore has mellowed.

Howard Kei is a filmographer and writer who guest blogs for movie and entertainment sites. He is also covers topics regarding addiction and recovery, including 12-step programs for blogs like

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Celebrities Highlight the Vegan Lifestyle

Celebrities shine out at us from all sorts of places: the big theater screen, TV at home, and from our handheld devices. Their ever-changing presence surrounds us.  Some celebrities bring a special glow of health. Those stars just might be vegan.

Vegetarians have been around for a long time – centuries, in fact. Mahatma Gandhi himself made reference to the International Vegetarian Congress, held in London in September of 1890. He later started writing for their publications. By now vegetarianism is widely understood on the street as someone who chooses to eat plants rather than animals as food.

More recently, vegan culture has been moving into our society’s consciousness for some time. But even five years ago, many people couldn’t even pronounce the word (VEE-gun). “What does that mean?” they would ask.

Vegans Defined

A vegan decides by choice to stop consumption or use of animal foods and/or products. While vegetarians choose not to eat the flesh of animals, vegans go further by avoiding eggs, dairy, and other products from animals: leather, fur, wool, etc. Some even refuse to use chemical products or cosmetics tested on animals.

There are differences among vegans. Dietary vegans do not eat animal products but may use or wear other products from animals. Ethical vegans do not use or eat any animal products and are primarily concerned with animal rights. The sustainability of the environment through vegan diet is the primary concern of a third group. Each group believes that veganism brings benefits, but each emphasizes slightly different values or a mixture: human health, animal rights, or environmental sustainability.

Vegans Glamorized

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been glamorizing veganism over the past decade or so through polls of “hottest celebrity vegans.” HappyCow provides a long list of vegetarians and vegans on its website. Along with the latest gossip and entertainment news, Socialite Life lists 15 stars who are vegans.

President Clinton is arguably one of the most famous people who has recently chosen a vegan lifestyle. He lost weight for daughter Chelsea’s wedding and looks fabulous. He also firmly believes that the diet will extend his life span.

There is a long list of stars under age 40 who are crowding into the vegan spotlight. Rumor names Katie Holmes, notably starring as Joey Potter on the WB television teen drama Dawson’s Creek, as a real life vegan. She played a vegan in The Extra Man. 

Portia de Rossi is an Australian actress.  She played in Ally McBeal and Arrested Development.  She moved to a California farm with Ellen [DeGeneres]. That move and her subsequent experience with farm animals prompted her to become vegan.

Zooey Deschanel already has a long list of acting credits on her resume, including a 2012 Emmy Awards nomination. She enjoys eating produce from her very own vegetable garden.

 Davey Havok is a talented song writer and singer, and lives a vegan lifestyle. He also is known for his lines of vegan based clothing and shoes.

Guest post by Tina Michelle-Royse, a Colorado blogger and poet. She has contributed to numerous sites around the web from health and nutrition sites to travel magazines.

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Top Earning Young Celebrities

Those of us who consider ourselves ordinary must admit to being somewhat enamored with the celebrity elite. Their lifestyles and fame are things we can only dream of. Their scandals keep us on the edge of our seats. Their youtube accounts get millions of hits. Their fortunes… well, it seems net worth is one of our major celebrity curiosities, determining their popularity in the minds of the public. Most celebrities are well paid in comparison t the average, everyday Joe or Jane; however, some rake in more cash than their entertainment industry colleagues do. Below is an informative list of the top earning celebrities under 30.


These young musicians have quickly risen to the top since each of their careers began. Not yet 30, each of these rising stars raked in more than $50 million between 2011 and 2012.

Taylor Swift, 22, $57 million

Swift has won six Grammy awards, along with numerous other music awards during her short career. The Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame have honored this crossover star. She made her acting debut in 2009 on an episode of CSI: Miami and continues her acting endeavors in both television and film.

Justin Bieber, 18, $55 million

This award winning teen heartthrob has made waves in the music industry since his debut in 2008. Aside from singing and songwriting, Bieber has a promising acting career as well.

Rihanna, 24, $53 million

This Barbadian beauty took the R&B industry by storm with her sultry voice and enticing music. Six years later, her career is still hot with several albums under her belt, an awesome filmography, many awards and nominations, and a strong following of many loyal fans the world over.

Lady Gaga, 26, $52 million

Her head-turning look and hypnotic sound is what makes Lady Gaga a unique specimen in the music industry. With a huge following making hers the most popular celebrity Twitter account, it is easy to see that fans love her and why she ranks as one of the top earning celebrities in 2011-2012.

 Movie Stars

A box office smash, stars from the Twilight series head up the list of top paid movie stars. How long this will last is anybody’s guess. These three talented stars are sure to have bright futures ahead, even after the Twilight craze has passed.

  • Kristen Stewart, 22, $34.5 million
  • Taylor Lautner, 20, $26.5 million
  • Robert Pattinson, 26, $26.5 million


The Hottest Rising Television Stars Under 30

They may not be raking in the same big bucks as the other celebrities on this list – yet. However, these up and coming stars are already making a name for themselves in television. Something tells us to keep watching these young actors and actresses as their careers continue to skyrocket.

Blake Lively, 24

Star of the CW’s hit show Gossip Girl, Lively is also a model and has starred in films such as Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Green Lantern, and Savages.

Hunter Parrish, 24

His may not be a common household name just yet, but Hunter Parrish is a rising star with television and film credits, including starring roles in Weeds and 17 Again.

Molly Quinn, 18

Fiery redhead, Molly Quinn, is an actress you might recognize for her role as Alexis Castle on the television series Castle. She has enjoyed a few other roles in her short career, and we predict that this is only the beginning for this promising Hollywood starlet.

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Dorm Vs Apartment: Which One Do You Choose?

Your child is moving away for college and you’re faced with the decision of choosing between a dorm and an apartment. Although most colleges and universities require freshmen students to stay in university hosted dormitories and residence halls, higher level college students or those who are aged 21 and above may actually choose between living in a dormitory or an apartment.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages between the two:

Advantages of Living in the Dorm

  • Proximity to school. Dormitories or residence halls are often located within the campus, or at least very near the campus. Access to classes and school facilities is faster and more convenient.
  • Parents and guardians will be able to easily monitor their kids’ schedule and activities.
  • Since dormitories are located inside campus, the academic feel will always be there which may lead students to become more inspired with their studies.
  • No need to worry about monthly bills for utilities, dorm fees and charges, including meals are charged to university tuition fees. Student loans may even be applicable in some instances.
  • Less transportation expenses, less travel time which gives students more time to study.

Disadvantages of Living in the Dorm

  • Dormitory or residence hall fees can be more expensive.
  • Privacy is hard to get by as you will always be around fellow dorm mates.
  • Routine checks are implemented with corresponding rules and regulations that must be followed at all times.
  • Schedule will not be as flexible as that of having your own place.
  • You will have to share rooms and bathroom facilities with other dorm mates.
  • Dorm activities may distract some students making it a bit harder for them to focus on studies.

Advantages of Living in an Apartment

  • There’s more freedom to choose which apartment space will be most suitable.
  • Living an apartment also entitles you to choose the people that you want to share your space with.
  • Flexibility in schedule. You get to decide for your own daily schedule, when to take meals, when to leave or return home.
  • You get to plan and choose your meals.
  • Renting an apartment would often cost less.
  • You can avail of various utility services such as internet connection, cable, and landline.
  • Apartment living can be quieter. There will be lesser things happening around that can distract which leaves you more time to focus on your studies.

Disadvantages of Living in an Apartment

  • Parents and guardian may find it more difficult to monitor activities of their kids.
  • Students will be the ones responsible to clean their own living spaces, shop for groceries and supplies, and cook their meals.
  • There will be several monthly recurring bills to deal with, which includes not only the rent but also bills for utilities like power, water, cable, internet, and phone.
  • Since apartments will not be located within campus, issues on safety and security will also be a concern. It is best to choose an apartment unit that is located inside a nice, quiet, and safe neighborhood.

Learn more about apartment living at this site.

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