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Søren Rafn
Posted: August 29, 2008 08:09 pm
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Hi there ;-)

I've been away on a biological field trip this week, so first became aware of this thread today. First I will say that I am sad that this personal discussion entered the forum, why not answering the mails instead? However ... let me present my view on this:

I have followed the code of biological ethics as defined by ICZN 100%. I have approached von Wirth and Striffler with a plea for cooperation, but met great reluctancy from one part. I then communicated my intentions to work taxonomically (do not confuse the systematics and the taxonomics) with the arboreal ornithoctonines, thus following ICZN - giving von Wirth and Striffler a year to publish their findings on these groups as not to accidently publishing findings they have been working on in effect wasting their time and effort (as von Wirth is apparently worried about - even with my guarantees in private communications that I do not intend to do so and that I will await the publication before supplementing it). I do not intend to steal or destroy their work - on the contrary - I feel I can contribute with additional insights - either in cooperation or in supplementing publications. But if the wish to cooperation is not there - I do not wish to force it on the team either. All is fair and by the book. I have good support from academic biologists and curators that see no problem with the way or approach. There is in my eyes absolutely no problem - because even if we choose to work parallel then the discrepancies or conformities of the findings will work to either validate or challenge our understanding of these spiders - thus in the end even parallel research will help consolidating our understanding by giving the general consensus more mileage. This is the essence of scientific approach. So for me - no problem.

And - yes I know very well that "the arboreal ornithoctonines" is not a monophyletic group, but they are at present more or less three genera that are very closely related and at present quite a mess (until von Wirth and Boris publish their phylogenetic revision). However - the main thing to remember with phylogenetic revisions is that they are merely representations of the researchers interpretation of characters. Thus different researchers can come up with quite different phylogenies - even when working on the same taxa. But if the interpretations of the characters are good, there should be strong correlations between two different researchers trees, even when using different characters ... thus parallel research can be a validating procedure. For me - again no problem.

But. I must underline that I intend to work primarily taxonomically - not phylogenetically, though it is not unthinkable that I will present my interpretation of a natural grouping. The reasons I wish to do this personally is first and foremost due to the accumulated field data, specimens and possible new species our team has collected in our free time and for our own money for many years now - the difficulty to work closely and communicte effectively with von Wirth and team - and furthermore due to an invitation to work under the mentorship of the curator of the arachnid section at ZMUC - not exactly an offer it's wise to refuse ;-). Here I need to underline that I have in many years had enlightening discussions with Volker and Boris and do in no way disregard how the vast knowledge they have presented - and the stimulus that these discussions has been in establishing my own understanding of these spiders. And it is no secret that Volker has reckognised and explained to me the utility of a key character (not the existence of the character, as Pocock and Abraham both mention this character) to define these groups with which has helped me in validating other unique characters based on morphology and statistic cluster analyses based on my own research that indicates some fairly stable groups. I have returned this favor (among many others) by donating loads of specimens, sharing informations and my findings to von Wirth and Striffler as we have all worked with these animals from different approaches. So - of course researchers share materials, ideas and data. Also if I wish to quote these discussions in a publication I need their personal consent - of course! If they do not consent I will have to leave out the quotes and use only my own findings. But my synthesis of the dialogues in combination with my interpretation of the findings of my research is still my own. And either way their publication will validate or challenge my subsequent interpretation anyway ;-). For me - absolutely no problem - it's the publications that will stand the wear of time - not the chit chat of the fora.

And just to put it straight - to describe a species you don't need to have the genus straight (and you know that Volker!) as we are working with terminal taxa and the genus is merely a shoe-box to sort the species ;-) Actually I have been suggested by prominent biologists to describe the new species we have with pro forma generic placement and place them in their prober genera subsequently. This is done all the time. But - I wholeheartedly agree that it is more elegant to sort out the genera first and then describe new species subsequently. All I wish to do is to present the new species from our field work taxonomically described in descriptions with our research data. I really don't need a phylogeny to do that and I really don't think it's a crime for a researcher to publish his own findings.

So I have reached out to invite to join research efforts in order to combine the field data and the lab data in cooperation with Volker and Boris. I bear no grudges and I am still open to work mutually on these spiders. If this is not accomplished I am still excited to see if our results based on different characters and approaches will validate or challenge each others interpretations. For me parallel research can never be a competition - only a tighter knitted fabric of understanding ;-)

And finally - there is no need to bring Schmidt into this discussion - I am not Schmidt ;-)

Friendly regards
Søren


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Marc Meyer
Posted: August 30, 2008 08:39 am
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Hi there,

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but isn't it wanted to have more opinions on everything in sciences? Isn't it the diversity of opinions, which makes sciences to what it is? So, where is the problem then, when 2 people work on the same topic?

@thorelli: In my honest opinion, you cannot compare a Pharma giant with the personal/public scientific researches, there is a much different intention behind a completely different amount of money.

Ciao,
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RichardG
Posted: August 30, 2008 10:38 am
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I'd like to recount my own experience here.

When I started researching Pterinochilus my intention was to undertake a full and comprehensive revision. As months turned to years, and years turned to several-years it dawned on me that all my work had produced nothing of use (i.e. a revision in a scientific journal).

I happened to speak to a Botany Professor and told him I'd been working on a revision for the last 6 years. Well, this giant of academia gave me some extremely useful advice:

"You'll never publish if you can't draw a line under your research."

He was right - you could easily spend decades (or a lifetime) undertaking research, always waiting for that next specimen or new piece of evidence. Research is like the horizon, you can walk towards it forever and never reach it!

Unpublished research is worthless. If you get run over by a bus tomorrow it's been a total waste of your time.

To ensure against that bus, you need to carve your research into realistic manageable chunks which can be published within a reasonable time scale.

If I hadn't listened to that Prof I'd still be working on Pterinochilus and no real progress would have been made.

Volker - you need to start publishing your research without delay. If you were to be splatted by a bus tomorrow all that hard work will have been for nothing wink.gif

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Volker von Wirth
Posted: August 30, 2008 02:10 pm
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QUOTE (RichardG @ August 30, 2008 10:38 am)
Volker - you need to start publishing your research without delay. If you were to be splatted by a bus tomorrow all that hard work will have been for nothing wink.gif

gallon.gif

Very wise words, Richard, but that is exactly what I'm doing now. For several months now I'm working as hard as I can (getting up at 5:30 o'clock in the morning to have one hour more time the day to work and examine before going to my job) on different groups of Ornithcotoninae (making a synonymisation and description of new Species within Haplopelma together with chinese colleagues, revising the genus Ornithoctonus with a description of new Species and try to clear the situation concerning the "arboreal" Ornithoctoninae, which are definitely not a monophyletic group). In the past, I'd thought the advices concerning the Work within zoological Systematic, given by Prof. Ernst Mayr in a lot of his books and publications, were very good advices and I've tried to work in his way. Unfortunately, with the Years, I had to recognize that it is obviously impossible to produce a good scientific revision work which based on the examination of ALL available Typematerial (proposed by Mayr), because that is the only reason why I haven't published a general phylogenetic revision of the Ornithoctoninae up to now together with Boris Striffler, because we miss to examine the Types of Haplopelma minax, Haplopelma doriae and Cyriopagopus paganus. All the other Types were examined!
Your botanical Professor is right in his statement, but it's not comparable with our situation, because we can see the end of the tunnel and the work is nearly done, we just wait to get access to the mentioned Types, then we will finish and publish the whole work. The analysis with the dendrogramm is also nearly finished (I've showed it to you in the past), and the 3 not examined Types must only be sorted in into the tree. We are not waiting with the publication because of the reason to bring all the known new Ornithoctoninae Species (within the hobby or which I have examined in different Museums) into the analysis (but this would be the situation described by the botanival Professor)!

Cheers, Volker
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Damian G.
Posted: August 30, 2008 04:04 pm
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Hello Volker.

QUOTE
...because we miss to examine the Types of Haplopelma minax, Haplopelma doriae and Cyriopagopus paganus.

QUOTE
...we just wait to get access to the mentioned Types, then we will finish and publish the whole work.

I thought the Holotype of Cyriopagopus paganus is lost? It isn't?! Can't await your publication! unworthy.gif

BR, Damian


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Volker von Wirth
Posted: August 31, 2008 07:57 am
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QUOTE (Søren Rafn @ August 29, 2008 08:09 pm)
...
And finally - there is no need to bring Schmidt into this discussion - I am not Schmidt ;-)

Friendly regards
Søren

Hi Sören,

yes, that is true. Schmidt never used my findings on key characters and my examination results on Holotypes to start his own work within he same group I am working. He independently published his Papers on Ornithoctoninae and often based his findings and results on the informations given in the original descriptions. That's the difference!;-)
I can remember that we both, Sören, sittin' for years every Friday (before the Stuttgart Theraphosid meeting) and Saturday (after the Theraphosid meeting) in the restaurant in Ludwigsburg on the tables that are on the left side of the room in the niche and I've showed to you the newest pictures and examination results of the actual examined Typematerial. Please remember that you wouldn't be able to know what Lampropelma nigerrimum or the members of the Genus Phormingochilus are in reality at that time, without the informations I have given to you from the Typeseries. Furthermore I've showed to you, during our meetings, the actual version of the phylogenetic tree. We've done this for Years now. I can remember a Sören, which had not much knowledge about this group when we met together the first time and wenn you've started your strong interested of this group. Then one day you started with travelling to south east asia and collecting the tarantuals of this Area. Often you've send the dead Material to me and I've tried to indentified it as best as I could do at that time and I'd explained to you why I was of the opinion that this or that Specimen belongs to Species A or B. Then one day you decided to start your own research and now you'll publish a substantial part of our phylogenetic research. It's not the problem for me that you'll do this. As I've told before, I had this a lot of times before from my special german "friend", so I'm used to it! But I'm angry about the fact that the knowledge you will use, in most cases based on my support of the last Years - and I think you won't deny this! Of course you can now also examine all the Typematerial of "arboreal" Ornithoctoninae, but this won't change anything to the fact that you've often heard the first time of the relevancy of Characters or of the characters itself (for example remember the unusual strong spines of Met. IV in Citharognathus ) from me.
BTW, I'm not of the opinion that it makes sense to describe new Species in "a" Genus, if you have the possibility to clear the situation with the examination of the Holotype of the Typespecies. Probably the Cyriopagopus paganus Type is available in India, where it should be deposited following the "history" of this Type. Without this Type it is not clear how the different groups of arboreal Ornithoctoninae can be differentiated. The examination of this Type is a MUST if you want to revise this Genus, unless the Type is definitely lost! And we both know that it is highly likely that Cyr. paganus has not much to do with the rest of this Genus (the same Problem we have with Haplopelma), but this must be verified with the examination of the necessary Types. But because of the fact that I couldn't examine this very important Types, I haven't published my results (following the advices of Prof. Mayr). If I would have the same position to taxonomical work like you have "...to describe a species you don't need to have the genus straight , I would have published our phylogenetic revision on Ornithoctoninae since long, and this discussion here wouldn't exist! wink.gif

Cheers, Volker
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Søren Rafn
Posted: August 31, 2008 09:12 am
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Hi Volker ;-)

Can you please cite any publication I have done that is based on your characters? And if Schmidt did his work so nicely - should I then take your slandering by comparing me with him as a pad on the shoulder or an insult? ;-)

I am glad you enjoyed our discussions at KWH as did I. I had the distinct feeling that we were sharing working hypotheses in order to enhance our mutual understanding of the groups were discussing - not that you were merely showing of. I might have been mistaken. I had the strong impression that we did benefit from each other - you with your type-research me with my field research. I can remind you about the Lyrognathus we presented to you. It seemed as if they did make a few taxonomists happy...

You are also wrong about stating that I am going to publish a "substantial part of our phylogenetic research". I have in no way disregarded the impact our discussions have made and I surely appreciate them. Nor do I intend to publish a phylogenetic revision based on your results. This understanding of yours is not based on reality ;-)

I have intended to describe the new species from our field trips with the field data. Preferably in cooperation with the leading systematist in this field. Period.

I can refer to a quote from the book "Describing species" by Judith E. Wilson former curator at AMNH that might help you and others to understand why I eventually wanted to do this myself (p. 10):

"If you find yourself working on what you think may be an undescribed species, your first choice, of course should be to consult a professional systematist ... But that course of action may not be feasible or even possible for two reasons. In the first place, despite common opinion (even among other scientists), professional systematists do not spend most of their time identifying specimens for other people, nor do they usually write descriptions of new species on request. They have their own research programs to carry out, to which they are probably already overcommited."

For some reason this quote sounded strangely familiar. And since I learned from our last discussion that you had forgotten all about the pair of adult Lampropelma sp. "Borneo Black" - even stating that you had never received the material - I became worried about the other unique wild caught material we have donated to you through the years - not just "some" - but hundreds of specimens. As I furthermore received quite sporadic communication from you about being busy with Orphnaecus, Haplopelma schmidti-group, the Chilobrachys, the Selenocosmia/Phlogius debate etc. I found it hard to even discuss my findings with you. In other words it appeared as if your vast field(s) of work seemed to be a hindrance for the clarification of the material we discovered and we honestly couldn't wait until you had resolved the entire asian theraphosid fauna ...

Therefor I approached you privately in all sincerity about my wish for a cooperation on the work on the Cyriopagopus, Phromingochilus, Omothymus, Lampropelma or whatever we wish to call them in order to be able to describe these new species. I only met willingness and positivity about the project from Boris - but to my great surprise not from you?. Therefore to follow ICZN I stated my intentions to work individually with this group to you in order to give you a good window of time ("no less than a year" to quote the code) to publish your findings about these spiders. Additionally I promised you that I would await your publication before starting to publish my own findings. I have never intended to publish your findings and your logic in this regard seem a bit arrogant as you yourself are standing on the shoulders of Pocock, Abraham, Smith, Raven and all the rest of the past and present researching community of theraphosids. I have never disregarded your influence or tried to miscredit you - on the contrary. And just to underline - you are not the only influence and definitely not the only one to form my perception on these spiders.

And I find it good to hear that you have your own opinion about how to proceed. I think I will listen more to the advises of professional biologists. It's possible to describe a species with a pro forma genus, but it is not possible to perform a phylogenetic analysis without a definition of clades and taxa. Be aware that you are mixing up two different approaches. I am going to do my taxonomical work at species level and up. You are doing your work on clades and taxa. Two different ball games which should be understood by both parties which is the primary reason why this discussion shouldn't exist! ;-)

So bottomline is that I am looking forward to your and Boris' publication within the next year, so I can start to work sensibly with the specimens our team has uncovered.

Finally I find it silly to take this discussion in a public fora. So consider this the last reply in this matter on a public forum unless you throw more lies, allegations and injuries at me publicly. So if you have more of this sort please feel free to communicate with me pr. private mail.

Friendly regards
Søren


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RichardG
Posted: August 31, 2008 09:49 am
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OK, from what I read as an impartial observer it appears that Volker & Boris will be publishing their results very soon and that they are in the final stages of writing up their research (which is excellent news).

Søren's museum project sounds like it's in its infancy and I assume some way off being published (he is still in the research phase - it'll take months for him to go through the existing type material).

By the time Søren is at a stage to publish, Volker & Boris's work will have been published. Therefore Søren will have the opportunity to reference Volker and Boris's work.

From what I see this predicted course of events will satisfy both parties. Volker's hard work and research findings will be acknowledged to him, and Søren will have the opportunity to augment Volker's research with his own findings and specimens.

End result - peace and harmony descends on Ornithoctoninae taxonomy once more smile.gif clap.gif

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Chris Hamilton
Posted: August 31, 2008 06:58 pm
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Yeah!!! Peace has spread through the world!!!

I like both parties involved...let's just get along and love each other and put out good science... f1.gif

Chris


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Chris Allen
Posted: August 31, 2008 07:05 pm
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i feel like i shouldnt even comment on this situation again but i will say im
really looking forward to this revision.the Ornithoctoninae are without a doubt my favorite group of spiders and i hope you guys can work out your differences together.
-Chris
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Volker von Wirth
Posted: September 01, 2008 08:21 pm
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Hi there,

Sören and I had a large phonecall before some minutes ago. We kicked our assess, and when we've finished that, we started a very intense and good discussion and came to the conclusion to go on with our friendship and will work together within this topic to use our knowledge together as best as we can! cheers.gif

Cheers, Volker + Sören

This post has been edited by Volker von Wirth on September 01, 2008 08:25 pm
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Tescos
Posted: September 01, 2008 08:28 pm
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WHAT!!! You mean your not going to have a good old punch up at KWH in October now?
Think I will stay at home now! rolleyes.gif

All the best
The Clever One wink.gif
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HIGHLANDER
Posted: September 01, 2008 08:32 pm
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QUOTE (Volker von Wirth @ September 01, 2008 08:21 pm)
Hi there,

Sören and I had a large phonecall before some minutes ago. We kicked our assess, and when we've finished that, we started a very intense and good discussion and came to the conclusion to go on with our friendship and will work together within this topic to use our knowledge together as best as we can! cheers.gif

Cheers, Volker + Sören

All's well that ends well, nice one guy's thum-up.gif
Now get back to work the pair of you whip.gif laugh.gif

All the Best

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Phil Rea
Posted: September 01, 2008 08:38 pm
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Good news guys clap.gif

Now hurry up and publish so we can all see what you were fighting about punnish.gif biggrin.gif


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alex88
Posted: September 01, 2008 08:40 pm
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wow thats one pretty intence conversation, good work guys glad to hear you too get along now =), alot of it i dont understand but if you can type that many words it must be awsome.

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Chris Allen
Posted: September 01, 2008 10:20 pm
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QUOTE (Volker von Wirth @ September 01, 2008 08:21 pm)
Hi there,

Sören and I had a large phonecall before some minutes ago. We kicked our assess, and when we've finished that, we started a very intense and good discussion and came to the conclusion to go on with our friendship and will work together within this topic to use our knowledge together as best as we can! cheers.gif

Cheers, Volker + Sören

clap.gif great news!glad to see everything worked out :]
now i will wait patiently for the revision!im really excited to see where some of these spiders are gonna end up.Volker will the Malthai species be described in the new publication?
-Chris
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jmverdez
Posted: September 02, 2008 02:02 pm
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Hi

Volker, Soren, i will offer you a big beer at the restaurant before the Stuttgart show cheers.gif

good sound to read this

i was ready to stop Asian tarantulas and begin African tarantulas because no harmony between you , you understand how bad i was angry2.gif

see you in october

JM



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Leon Lane
Posted: September 02, 2008 04:06 pm
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QUOTE (jmverdez @ September 02, 2008 02:02 pm)
i was ready to stop Asian tarantulas and begin African tarantulas because no harmony between you , you understand how bad i was

This is bad news, African spiders are angry2.gif

Harmony is good. No kissing though, please.

This post has been edited by Leon Lane on September 02, 2008 04:06 pm
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JakubV
Posted: September 02, 2008 04:44 pm
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QUOTE
African spiders are ...


beautiful smile.gif

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FryLock
Posted: September 07, 2008 01:03 pm
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Almost as big a scallywag as Tescos but not worth a big mention
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Ah yes i do indeed know of Plowes and Bruyns well dispite not having much increased my Apocynaceae holdings of late and they should perhaps think about doing a slap stick sit com along the lines of "Bottom" im sure they would use a lot of frying pans wink.gif (that said Bruyns last book looks great but it's a lot of money to pay but then again think of the money on new lables saved laugh.gif )

Pity this blew over before i could post pic's from the end of SW:Rots head.gif


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Chris Allen
Posted: October 04, 2008 04:18 pm
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back on topic here biggrin.gif

found this last night

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zLOST
Posted: October 04, 2008 06:43 pm
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Congrats, Chris smile.gif


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Sietse Visser
Posted: October 04, 2008 07:57 pm
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Nice one Chris!
Good luck with it! goodluck.gif

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Chris Allen
Posted: October 04, 2008 08:25 pm
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thanks guys!
Hoping all go's well with this here :]
Will be nice to see more of this beautiful species around.
-Chris
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Emmanuel Lainé
Posted: October 06, 2008 01:46 pm
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Congrats Chris,

We cross fingers for you !


wink.gif

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