Guest Post || Italian coffee culture by Emma..

The history of the appearance of the French press

In 1852, the French inventors Mayer and Delforge presented an interesting novelty to the public: a cylindrical vessel with a press designed for brewing coffee. But the adaptation was not successful: due to the imperfection of the press, too much coffee grounds slipped into the cup.

It wasn’t until 1928 that Italian designers Atilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta patented an improved French press. In the new model, not just a metal plate was attached to the piston, but a filter mesh, which made it possible to carefully separate the liquid from the thick. In the following decades, the design of the fixture was improved by attaching a safe handle and a stable base to protect the tabletop from heat.

The real popularity came to the manual coffee maker in 1958, when its design was finalized by Faliero Bondanini, and two European companies were engaged in production at once: the French – Martin S.A. (Chambord brand) and English – Household Articles (La Cafetiere brand). The original owner of Household Articles, L.J. de Ville-Castel, was one of the investors in Martin S.A., but in the 90s of the XX century, the French company was bought out by the Danish holding Bodum.

How Italians choose the French Press

flask material: glass, stainless steel, ceramics. Heat-resistant glass flasks are most often found, but they are fragile, and cheap models are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. Therefore, it is good if the kit includes a spare glass container. The vessels made of stainless steel and ceramics are stronger, but the color of the drink is not visible when brewing. It is believed that the most delicious coffee is obtained in French presses with ceramic flasks;

1. Double-walled flasks retain heat better, which is very important for correct coffee extraction;

2. The stainless steel filter is designed for medium and coarse coffee. Fine powder can be brewed with a nylon filter;

3. The handle of the french press must not heat up. Polymer coated handles are preferred. Sometimes on sale there are teapots with bamboo handles;

4. The base of the French press must be stable.

How coffee is made at the French Press in Italy

A classic French press is a cylindrical container made of heat-resistant glass (less often – made of stainless steel or ceramics) with a lid, where a piston (plunger) with a filter is inserted. It would seem that everything is simple. Ground coffee needs to be poured into a vessel, closed, lower the press – and an invigorating drink is ready. But the taste of coffee brewed in a French press depends on many little things: the type of beans, the method of roasting, grinding, water quality, brewing time.

Choosing coffee for a French press

The coffee made from a blend of Arabica and Robusta, prepared in a French press, is too bitter. But even bitterness lovers are not recommended to use blends that contain more than 10% robusta. The best coffee for  French press which you can find at MyFriendsCoffee is made up 100% Arabica, and experienced baristas prefer single varieties, although mixtures are also acceptable. Delicious coffee is made from medium roasted beans: Vienna, Full City. If you like sourness, then you can use coffee and a lighter roast.

Burr coffee grinders grind beans much more evenly than knife grinders. If you have a choice, then it is better to grind coffee for brewing in a French press on a grinder.

In stores, ready-made ground coffee is sold, but the drink from the beans, ground immediately before preparation, turns out to be more aromatic. At home, ground coffee is stored in hermetically sealed vessels for no longer than 2 weeks

Selecting water for coffee

Tap water, even boiled water, is not suitable for brewing coffee in a French press. In extreme cases, such water can be purified using an aquafilter or ozonizer. But bottled water with a mineralization index of 150 mg / l (or at least in the range of 70-200 mg / l) is much more preferable.

Step-by-step recipe for preparing iconic coffee in the French press

1. Before brewing coffee in a French press, rinse the flask of the French press with hot water at a temperature of about + 70 ° C (it can be slightly lower or higher, but in no case with boiling water).

2. Put in a flask 7-9 g of ground coffee per 100 ml of water. In one teaspoon without a slide, about 3 g of crushed beans is placed, with a slide – up to 5 g. If you need to prepare a full container of the drink, it is easier to focus on the handle of the French press: pour coffee powder exactly to the level where its lower part is attached …

3. Pour some room temperature water into a flask (just to moisten the ground coffee) and stir.

4. After 15–20 seconds, add hot water with a temperature of +85 to +9 to the flask 2 ° C. The water level should not be higher than the top edge of the handle. Under no circumstances should you brew coffee with boiling water! If the vessel is glass, then before pouring hot water, put a metal spoon in it: even heat-resistant glass does not always withstand temperature drops

5. Stir coffee and cover. Do not lower the piston. The filter should be 1 cm above the water level.

6. The brewing time is 4-7 minutes. After 4–5 minutes, a moderately strong, aromatic coffee with a noticeable acidity is obtained. If you want to get a stronger drink, it is allowed to extend the brewing for a few minutes. But starting from the 4th minute of brewing, the bitterness of coffee increases significantly, the concentration of not only caffeine, but also harmful substances increases in it.

7. Slowly lower the plunger and immediately pour the brewed coffee into the cups, it cannot be left in the flask. Add sugar to taste.

8. After making coffee, the French press should be washed as soon as possible: no matter whether in the dishwasher or under the tap. If there is no time to wash the dishes, then you need to at least leave the flask open: let the coffee grounds dry better than the vessel and filter acquire a musty smell, which is difficult to get rid of !!

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Guest Post || 7 Things Not To Miss in Rome by Always Fly Business

There’s no place like Rome. The impressive showcase of ancient history, celebrated monuments, and bustling city vibes are the ingredients for an ideal city break for anyone with an appetite for world culture.

There are relics of old worshiped gods dispersed across the city and cafe bars where both young and old take their espresso exchanging the latest news. Morning traffic is colored up by well-dressed business people on Vespa scooters, and upscale locals stroll the elegant shopping streets looking for the most recent design pieces. Rome is full of stereotypes and of world-famous attractions that visitors want to see with their own eyes, from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to the Pantheon, and the Vatican; they are all extraordinary sights you can’t miss when you are in Rome because each of them is unique. We suggest however, also to go off-the-path for a little while to uncover alternative things to do beyond the famed churches and museums and archeological ruins. It will show you a different aspect of the city and you experience what Rome is about and what it feels like.

Here our recommended seven things you cannot miss on your next trip to Rome.

  1. The Colosseum & Roman Forum

The Colosseum is the most abiding sight in Rome and still remains in its perfect condition after about 2,000 years. Back then, it was the largest amphitheater, seating up to 80,000 Romans. The design of the magnificent three-tiered structure conveyed the wealth, might, and power of the city of Rome and the Roman Empire. Holding lots of history about the city, The Colosseum is such an important landmark that you simply must visit when in Rome.

There is likely to be long lines to enter the Colosseum, so to save time choose the Palatine Hill entrance at the Roman Forum (at a less than 5 minutes walk). Here you can purchase a combined ticket for the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum, which is valid for two days. The Roman Forum is one of the most prominent archaeological sites on earth, as it was once the epicenter of the massive Roman Empire. Here elections, public speeches, and important events took place.

As there is not that much of information we would recommend investing in an audio guide when visiting the Roman Forum, to help give you some context of the impressive sprawl of ruins in front of you! Also, we advise to visit the (fully intact) Pantheon first, so you get a better feeling of the grandeur this ancient Rome’s center used to be.

Photo by: Bjarki Sigursveinsson / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: Public Domain

  1. The Pantheon

The Pantheon is an architectural marvel, that looks today – inside and outside – much the way it has been for almost 2,000 years. Imagine that on the marble floors people have been walking for two thousand years and that the building still possesses its original bronze doors! When you are inside (entrance is free) gaze at the domed ceiling and watch the sunlight entering the room.

Photo by: Ian Monroe / Wikimedia Commons
Dual-licensed as GFDL and CC BY-SA 2.0

  1. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican has a lot to offer to visitors, particularly if you are interested in the history of the Catholic religion. Inside the city walls, there are some fantastic museums with a seriously impressive collection of artwork and it is the home of the Sistine Chapel famous for its breathtaking ceiling painting by Michelangelo.

Laocoon Sculpture in the Vatican Museum, Rome.
Picture by Benutzer / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: CC BY-SA 3.0

For most travelers, visiting the Vatican is one day out of their city trip to Rome, and that’s what we believe is the right time to spend in Vatican City. In addition to dedicating a day for the Vatican, we also recommend reserving a good guided tour here. This will not only facilitate navigating the labyrinth of the Vatican Museums but will also help you understand the context of what you see as well. Be aware that there is some serious walking involved on this day, so make sure to get out in the morning with your comfy shoes! If you book online for the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, you will be able to skip most of the lines to make your way inside.

  1. Get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the historic center

Rome’s medieval “Centro Storico” (historic center) is a maze of narrow alleys and cobbled streets filled with churches and palaces dating from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The only way to explore it is on foot, and the best time of the day to do that is in the evening. Its heart is the bustling Piazza Navona, home to Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. It is a beautiful place to enjoy an excellent meal and a delicious “Tartufo” (a traditional chocolate ice-cream dessert) at Bar Tre Scalini. The wine bars and cafés around Piazza Navona are definitively chic, trendy and as well excellent spots to watch people. Head over the Trevi Fountain, Italy’s largest and most famous Baroque fountain, an ensemble of mythical figures and wild horses that is dominating the small Trevi Square located in the Quirinale district. Toss a coin in the fountain to ensure a trip back to Rome, as the original legend says. Continue your walk to the square in front of the Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda) which is a cool hangout spot on a warm summer day.

  1. Explore the Trastevere streets

If you need a break from the city vibes of Rome, go to the relatively peaceful Trastevere neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber. Trastevere is a little unconventional, has a real Roman appearance, but is at the same time very international. The cobblestone streets are mostly car-free, the restaurants serve up excellent (and cheap) dishes, and there a plenty of good pubs and wine bars for an aperitif. The piazza in front of Basilica of Santa Maria (which is beautiful) is as charming and splendid as you would find in any Tuscan hilltop village. After nightfall, the Trastevere becomes the place to be for young locals and travelers alike, who love its original scene and relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Stroll Rome’s food markets

Rome is a perfect city for a picnic lunch, and its food markets are ideal places for filling up your basket. The oldest market in all of Rome, and undeniably one of the most famous, is the open air market, Campo dei Fiori. Colorful vegetables and fruits, beautiful flower shops, ham and cheese to enjoy at your picnic, as well as clothes, and souvenirs. You can find all kinds of goods in this market. In the heart of Rome’s most multi-ethnic neighborhood, nearby the Termini train station, you find Nuovo Mercato Esquilino. Here you feel the atmosphere of a multicultural hub; usual grocery stands are complemented by exotic produce, perfect for an international meal.

Then there is the Mercato in Testaccio where you will experience a real taste of Rome’s authentic food and soul. Get some olives, fresh mozzarella, and bread before heading out to the gardens of Villa Borghese – the largest public park in Rome – for your picnic.

Cultural lovers should not miss the Borghese Gallery inside the park, featuring some of their most exquisite (and famous) works of Bernini and Caravaggio and offering one of the best collections of art related to sculpture, painting, and architecture (the building itself is one of the attractions.) If you plan a visit to the Gallery, buy your ticket online to avoid the long, long wait to enter.

  1. Go shopping

Rome is well known for its luxurious shopping; the city has many beautiful streets that are home to glamorous designer boutiques and flagship stores, while in others small exclusive stores with an authentic style are hidden. For the best upscale shopping head to the prestigious and famous Via dei Condotti and Via Borgognona near the foot of the Spanish Steps. Wander to the lively Via del Governo Vecchio for trendy boutiques and to beautiful Via Giulia for art and antiques. When it’s time to take a breath, go to Via Vittorio Veneto. Walking down this elegant boulevard – as well renowned for its stylish hotels and lively bars – it will showcase some truly unique and exclusive stores from high fashion to authentic Italian boutiques.

Piazza Venezia with Trajan’s Column, seen from Vittorio Emmanuele II monument
photo by Markus Bernet / Wikimedia Commons
Licensing: CC BY-SA 2.0

logoAbout the author: Always Fly Business is a new web community built for travelers interested in premium traveling options. Our goal is to share our travel tips, luxury hotel and business class flight reviews as well as best practices how to find the premium deals.

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Guest Post || Walking the way of St. James through Portugal and Spain – by Kay Bolden

El Camino de Santiago — The Way of Saint James — is the pilgrimage on foot to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where Saint James the Elder are entombed. The Camino has existed as a spiritual pilgrimage for well over 1,000 years. In medieval times, completing the arduous journey could “pay off” a debt of sin, making amends for any wrong the pilgrim had done.

On the Camino de Santiago
On the Camino de Santiago

The medieval peregrino (pilgrim) almost always walked the Way for serious religious reasons, finding lodging and food where he might, and depending upon the kindness of strangers. But today, modern peregrinos have more varied goals, such as physical challenge or self-discovery. We sleep in hostels with hot running water, instead of in stables or under the stars. A popular route is the Camino Francés, with a starting point in St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, although there are many other routes. 

Gifts for Pilgrims
Gifts for Pilgrims

          

I chose the Camino Portugués, a 150-mile trek up the rocky coast of Portugal and into Spain. I was not seeking spiritual enlightenment … only solitude and physical challenge. The route required 10-12 miles of walking daily, on paths as varied as rough cobblestones, muddy hillsides, tree-lined sidewalks and dangerous roads. Without a map, a pilgrim simply follows the yellow arrows and scallop shells painted onto trees and boulders and sidewalks, trusting that the route will lead them to Santiago de Compostela.

Coast of Portugal
Coast of Portugal

           

So at age 55, I set off alone from the coastal town of Porto. I hugged the untamed Portuguese coastline in almost complete silence, encountering few others on the journey. Wearing my backpack and my scallop shell – the symbol of a pilgrim – I wandered through fishing villages and small towns, where people seemed to still live in the 19th century. Old men bringing in their catches on wooden boats, grandmas cleaning oysters by hand, children squealing as they played on the docks, the mournful lighthouse foghorn, calling the fishermen in from the sea.

They would see my scallop shell, hanging from my backpack, and smile at me. The children would wave shyly, peering at my funny hat and my heavy hiking boots. The old ones would tell the young ones, “She is on her way to Santiago. God bless her. Bom Caminho (Good Journey).”

Follow the Yellow Arrows to Santiago
Follow the Yellow Arrows to Santiago

The people who live in the cities and towns dotting the Camino have a long relationship with the legend of St. James. They believe that a pilgrim on the Way is under his protection; to harm a pilgrim is a terrible sin. To help a pilgrim – to offer food or libation or lodging – will please St. James, and result in more blessings for their families.

In the beginning, I found this attention rather quaint, but pointless. After all, I was working on the mental and physical challenges of the trek; the religious or spiritual aspects didn’t seem connected to me at all.

As I passed through a tiny village on the third day, a man dressed in rags stuffed chunks of fresh baked bread into my hand. I tried to give him money, but he shook his head, aghast that he should be rewarded. “St. James will provide for me,” he said happily in Portuguese. “Bom Caminho.” A thin little girl threw her arms around my legs, slowing me down to give me apples and cheese. A priest standing in the doorway of a tiny stone church blessed me as I walked by.

It wasn’t until I crossed the International Bridge into Spain on the sixth day that the spiritual power of the Camino was revealed to me: I got lost. Somehow, I’d made a wrong turn, missed a yellow arrow, and was now wandering in the woods, the sun sinking fast, with my hostel nowhere in sight. My phone battery had long since died, and I was exhausted, having already walked 14 miles.

I sat down under a tree, growing afraid for the first time since I left Chicago. How far from the city was I? I didn’t know. Where had turned wrong? I couldn’t tell. I fingered my scallop shell and thought about all the pilgrims through the ages who had found themselves lost in the dark, but found the will to keep going. I snacked on grapes and bread, the gifts of strangers. And after resting a bit, I got to my feet. I would do as all pilgrims had done for thousands of years; I would trust St. James, and keep walking.

No sooner had I made that decision, four elderly gentlemen came out of the woods, laughing and talking and sharing a bottle of wine. They came to me at once, and although we couldn’t speak each other’s language, they understood that I was lost. They gathered me into the center of their little group and walked with a little way deeper into the woods, where they showed me a footbridge, an underpass and the route to the city of O Porrino. “Buen Camino,” they called out in Spanish, as they disappeared back into the forest.

It was many more days until I arrived at the grand Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. I found that my entire attitude had changed as I walked the Way. I was filled with gratitude for all the people who had so little themselves, but shared their food and love with me. Instead of keeping to myself, I waved to fisherman and other pilgrims, taking pictures of their beautiful boats and farms.

Sunrise Just Outside Santiago
Sunrise Just Outside Santiago

At the Cathedral, I visited the shrines and dodged the crowds. Tourists gushed about how sacred the golden artifacts were, but I knew the truth. The real transformation had already happened, as I walked on the Way.

Kay Bolden, Travel WriterAbout the Author:

Kay Bolden is a travel writer, blogger and newspaper columnist who encourages women to travel solo and discover their inner strengths. Follow her travels on her blog, KayBolden.com, or on Twitter @KayBolden.

She has successfully published 2 books(Check links below) and the 3rd one about  Camino de Santiago will be available on Amazon on August 11.

iii) More Wine, Please

At age 55, I set out alone on the Camino de Santiago. Unlike religious pilgrims, I was not seeking God, but three weeks of silence and solitude. The Camino, however, had other plans for me. Available on Amazon August 11, 2017.

ii) Veggie Casserole: Kids Cook the Darndest Things 

When kids grow their own veggies, they eat them, too! Veggie Casserole is filled with recipes, gardening tips and ideas for reconnecting our kids to whole, healthy food.

https://www.amazon.com/Veggie-Casserole-Kids-Darndest-Things/dp/150872038X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500466803&sr=8-1&keywords=veggie+casserole+bolden

i) She Lives in You! The Kathleen Bolden Story is a memoir of community organizer, civil rights activist and social justice warrior, the late Kathleen Bolden.

https://www.amazon.com/She-Lives-You-Kathleen-Bolden-ebook/dp/B00I8M9P7G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500466913&sr=8-1&keywords=she+lives+in+you+bolden

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

** All pictures by Kay Bolden

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Guest Post || On a tour to Germany: Düsseldorf – by Melisa

Hearing about Germany, two things normally come across the mind of an average person – beer and sausages. Although Germany is more than that. Of course, its beer and sausages are famous all over the world and every aware person would want to try them at least once in a lifetime. Apart from that, it is a land of poets and philosophers and a country with beautiful architecture.

Düsseldorf. It is the seventh city of Germany by its size. It is chic, fashionable and business. There is plenty of things business elite and people of fashion would find inviting and engaging for themselves. Along with its deep gratitude for art, high cuisine and exceptional stores. The city buzzes with cultural events as long as its citizens live according to the standards of high life. There is a boulevard of shopping, which is called Königsallee. You can find the stores of such worldwide famous fashion brands as Prada and Louis Vuitton. For those ones of you, who are into retro style jewelry, you will be happy to find out about the stores on here to make some based on the pieces of artists from 19th and 20th century. Some are so unique being manufactured in here and Munich only so the guests of the city might find something really distinguished from every other.  Dusseldorf1

If to speak about its architecture, it does have its moments. The old city should be mentioned here. You will find a huge variety of restaurants and pubs, markets and museums, decorated in classic for Germany style buildings. There is also the biggest in Germany Japanese community with places to eat traditional food accordingly. Düsseldorf`s biggest church is called St. Lambertus Basilica. You will easily recognize it by its twisted spire. It is its famous feature. Also, there is tower on its central square Burgplatz. This tower is everything what has left after the fire in 1872. Originally, there was a palace built in baroque style. Among the places of interest, are also the Neander church and St. Andrew`s church. This is one more church, which is worth seeing once you visit Düsseldorf.Dusseldorf travel guide

Going back to the theme of beer, “Atlbier” (alt is German for old) is traditional for Düsseldorf. It is dark and hoppy. Back in the 20th century, there were nearly 100 breweries making Altbier while today – less than ten unfortunately. Altbier is considered to be an ale and even though it is hoppy, the taste of fruit is felt less than in other light ales.

The night-life of the city is really something. As has already been mentioned, the largest amount of beer houses are located in the area of the old city but its beer is not the only “treat” you may get visiting Düsseldorf. I am talking about herb-infused liquor, which is called Killepitsch. There are more than 90 kinds of fruit, herbs and spices. Quite often, it is compared to Jagermeister but it is stronger.

The trip is nothing without a souvenir for your family and friends apart from taken pictures and re-corded videos. If to talk about something traditional, a typical for Düsseldorf souvenir, draw your attention kindly to store of spices. It is a business run by a family. You will find hundreds of jars in there full of spices. Those jars are ceramic and decorated by hand. Its mustard is well known.

for author bioAbout the author: Melisa Marzett is the author who has an outstanding blog available for your viewing HERE, where you may find interesting posts on traveling and look through the tips for those ones of you, who are eager to travel and has traveling in plans some time soon. The information is given clearly and wisely so there is no way you could get lost but will be well-versed in the area of traveling.

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

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Guest Post || TOP 5 PLACES TO GO CAMPING IN EUROPE – by Shawn

Breathtaking landscapes, challenging heights, vibrant scenery – the world’s best camping sites offer something to everyone. That said, there’s no better assortment of camping places than those wended through Europe, covering the world’s most beautiful sites, from the Swiss Alps to the Scandinavian fjords. While there are many places to go camping in Europe, the list we’ve compiled mentions only the most adventurous, beautiful, and iconic spots to set up your RV or tent on.

  1. Chateau de Monroeville – France

France’s west coast has some good old fashion camping fields, and this is one of them. There’s no space for caravans or RVs, so be prepared to set up a tent. But there’s a swimming pond and fire pits around the property. If you make your way to this camping site, do check out the Irish gypsy caravan The Roulette. It’s customized to make for space; it can sleep around four people with two single beds and one double bed. The cellar of the chateau is where you’ll find toilets and hot showers.

Camping_on_unnamed_lake_in_Brooks_Range

  1. Camping Ca’Savio – Italy

This is a big but laid-back family camping site with two large pools and access to a beautiful sandy beach with trained lifeguards. If you want more of the aquatic fun, there’s one of Italy’s biggest waterparks situated just 20 minutes away from the location. Nearby, there are opportunities to try surfing and windsurfing. Those who can drag themselves away from the water can take a day-trip to Venice. The camping site also offers something yummy for your tummy –a famous eatery that bakes pizzas in a brick oven.

  1. Camping Village Simuni, Pag, Croatia

This is the place to be if you want direct access to multiple beaches – there are six at this location. While there is no pool at this European camping site, campers won’t need access to one as there’s the clear Adriatic to go for snorkeling. There is also a wide range of boat excursions and water sports adventures that can be booked by arriving guests. The location has its own tennis courts, climbing wall, shop and restaurant, pizzeria, and more. So, do not forget to pack your top-quality climbing boots on the go.

  1. Camping Tonnara, Sardinia

Sant’Antioco Island is attached to Sardinia’s south-west coast with a causeway and is popular for blue waters and breathtaking beaches. Camping Tonnara is located over there; it’s a tiny, peaceful location that offers direct access to a bay. However, this isn’t the place to pick for families looking for children clubs or around the clock entertainment. It has fairly low-key facilities – tennis courts, a bar, supermarket and restaurant. The ice cream and coffee served by outdoor cafes are a must have.

  1. Lake Shkodra Resort – Albania

This is a family oriented camping ground for those who are traveling on a budget. Albania is untouched by most tourists, which means there is an opportunity to explore the gleaming natural beauty of the camping places in this country while avoiding the crowds. This campsite is present on the lake and features an on-site restaurant and bar. There’s also a private beach with umbrellas and sun beds available. Budget-friendly campers would love Lake Shkodra Resort.

About Guest Author:   Shawn Michaels is a blogger who loves to write about his outdoor experiences. He is also a shawn-michaels-300x300passionate rock climber and loves travelling. He is currently studying and spends his free time reading reviews and gear shopping! He regularly blogs at TheSmartlad.com

 

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

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