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Berkeley Lab Currents

April 17, 1998


Bill Brobeck Remembered for Designing Lab's Historic Particle Accelerators

By Monica Friedlander

It was Ernest Orlando Lawrence who invented the first cyclotron back in 1930. But it was his colleague, a young mechanical engineer by the name of William Brobeck, who built on Lawrence's concept to design the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerators of their era, thereby playing a key role in inaugurating the golden age of nuclear science. Last Friday Bill Brobeck died in Walnut Creek, leaving behind a lifetime of contributions to the field of accelerator physics. He was 89.

"Bill was one of the great persons who helped Lawrence organize a pioneering science institution which became the prototype for science laboratories the world over," said retired Berkeley Lab physicist Ed Lofgren, who headed the development and operation of the Bevatron and knew Brobeck in his early days.

From 1937 to 1957 Brobeck was assistant director and chief engineer of the Lab--then the UC Radiation Laboratory. He joined the best and the brightest in the field of particle physics when he was only 29 years old, and went on to oversee the construction of what were then the most famous atom smashers in the world--the 60-inch and 184-inch cyclotrons, and finally the Bevatron.

Brobeck was the first person to marry science and engineering by applying professional engineering techniques to accelerator design--something that became standard procedure in all future accelerator construction. The instruments he created represented major technological advances and were subsequently associated with important discoveries in particle physics. The Bevatron, for example, which could accelerate protons to energies of 6.5 Gev, made possible the creation of antiprotons, a discovery that earned Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segrè the Nobel Prize in 1955.

Former Lab director and Nobel laureate Edwin McMillan once referred to Brobeck as the "master of the confluence of engineering and physics," who "transformed homemade toys into superb tools of the intellect," and "helped open to human understanding the worlds of the atom and of subatomic particles."

Brobeck's first large-scale assignment was to design the 60-inch cyclotron in 1939--then the largest and most powerful accelerator in the world. Brobeck scaled up Luis Alvarez's model to devise the historical machine. "To him, more than to any other one individual, goes the credit for the success of the 60-inch cyclotron and all subsequent developments," said Lab founder Ernest Lawrence in 1951.

The 60-inch cyclotron was used for the discovery of the early transuranium elements and established the Laboratory's preeminence as a world leader in accelerator design. Subsequently, Lawrence put Brobeck in charge of designing its successor, the 184-Inch Cyclotron, which inaugurated the field of experimental high energy physics using accelerator beams.

Soon thereafter Brobeck proposed a practical method of applying the principle of "phase stability," discovered by Ed McMillan, to accelerate protons to energies in the billion-volt range and higher in ring magnets. Brobeck successfully embodied this revolutionary concept in the construction of the Berkeley Bevatron, which would dominate the field of particle physics for years to come and further accelerate man's understanding of energy and matter.

After retiring from the Lab in 1957, Brobeck continued his contribution to the field of accelerator design by establishing his own consulting firm in mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering. In 1971 Brobeck was awarded an honorary degree from UC Berkeley for his lifelong contributions. Brobeck held engineering degrees from Stanford University and MIT, and was also a renowned scholar of English literature.

Brobeck's professional interests and bursting ingenuity extended way beyond the field of accelerator design. In 1972, for instance, he was hired by the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop pollution-free vehicles. Even in his retirement years Brobeck continued to design gadgets that made him as famous in his neighborhood as accelerators did in the world of science. Among them: an automated lawn mow-er that could start up by itself, head out onto the lawn and mow it before going back, turning itself off and recharging its battery. He also invented an automatic record changer and a car that ran on both gas and electricity.

A memorial service for Bill Brobeck was held on April 9 at the Orinda Community Church. Brobeck is survived by his wife, Gloria Brown Brobeck, daughters Kathy Brobeck and Betts Coury, son Bill Brobeck, and two grandchildren. Memorial gifts may be sent in his name to the Alzheimer Association, Greater San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, 330 Distel Circle, Suite A, Los Altos, CA 94022.

Photo: Bill Brobeck, 1908-1998

Photo: The 184-Inch Cyclotron in its early days

Photo: Bill Brobeck (right) shows a model of the Bevatron to Donald Cooksey (left) and former Lab Director Ernest O. Lawrence (middle).


Secretary Peña Resigns, Cites Family Reasons

By Ron Kolb

Department of Energy Secretary Federico Peña, in a hastily called news conference on April 7, announced that he will leave the DOE on June 30. Citing "personal and family reasons," he said he and his wife "have three wonderful children, and it is now time for us to focus on their futures."

Peña has been at the DOE for about one year, having formerly served as the Secretary of Transportation. He said Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Moler was on the short list of replacements, although he emphasized that the decision on a successor is President Clinton's to make.

"There is never a perfect time for a decision like this, but I believe that after five and a half years as a member of the Clinton cabinet, the time is now," Pena said at the press conference.

In his three-page statement, he touched on a number of issues, achievements and challenges he experienced during his tenure at the Energy Department. Prominent among those, he said, was his commitment to streamline and strengthen management.

"I have been requiring good management, that our sites be good neighbors to the communities in which they live, that we be open and honest and that environment, safety and health be a priority," Peña said. "Today, we are requiring our contractors to perform (as in the case of Brookhaven). We have a new head of contracting and privatization, we are a year ahead of schedule for restructuring our workforce, and we are preparing our team to better supervise and execute major contracts more effectively."

Peña especially pointed to the President's call for American leadership in science and technology, which is being implemented in our national laboratories. "Whether it was a DOE-supported scientist who helped discover water on the moon, our discoveries of the third form of life, and the third family of quarks, or our development of seismic techniques of increasing oil production, or our work on cancer research and the human genome, our scientists continue to lead the world in R&D awards and Nobel prizes," Peña said. "DOE is an engine for American technological innovation.

"I am proud that DOE has developed and operates the fastest computers in the world, and that we are on track to achieving three trillion operations per second this year. We have no intention of slowing down and plan to reach 100 trillion operations per second by 2005. New scientific tools like the National Ignition Facility in California or the National Spallation Neutron Source in Tennessee will ensure that the U.S. continues world leadership in these areas of great science."

Berkeley Lab Director Charles Shank indicated how pleased he was that Secretary Peña embraced the DOE science mission. "He was a remarkable advocate," Shank said. "I also greatly appreciated his visit to our Laboratory (to dedicate the Genome Sciences Building last December), and I was touched by our experience in the Oakland schools, where he expressed a deep commitment to our educational efforts in support of our community."

In his resignation announcement, Peña said he is proud of the pivotal role DOE played to support the President's commitment to address global climate change through a technology-based effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He noted that nonproliferation efforts have been strengthened through a solid Stockpile Stewardship program to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

"Our greatest challenge," he noted, "has been cleaning up our own contaminated sites once used for our nuclear program. We have fashioned a national blueprint to accelerate the closure and cleanup of numerous sites across our country."

Peña added that the DOE has an obligation and role in supporting the President's goal of improving science and math performance of America's youth. He urged that DOE scientists and technicians mobilize to help students and teachers "produce the next generation of American scientists and engineers."

Photo: Secretary Federico Peña, shown here with Director Shank and Mina Bissell during a recent visit to Berkeley Lab, announced his resignation from the Cabinet last Monday. (XBD9804-00878) Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt


Lab on a Chip: New DNA Sequencing Technique Can Test for Genetic Disease

By Paul Preuss

Richard Mathies of the Lab's Physical Biosciences Division has done it again. He and his colleagues, with support from the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Research, have come up with a revolutionary new way of sequencing DNA for the second time in less than ten years--this time using a device that can analyze 96 samples in under eight minutes. That's 50 to 100 times faster than conventional methods of DNA sequencing and analysis used for the past two decades.

"To complete the Human Genome Project, we have to map a hundred thousand genes and sequence ten-to-the-ninth base pairs," Mathies says, "and if that information is going to be useful in health care and biomedical research, we must also be able to reprobe this information rapidly and cheaply."

The new device, called "capillary array electrophoresis microplate," has already been put to work. Mathies has collaborated with George Sensabaugh, a professor in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, to test patients at the Oakland Kaiser Permanente Hospital for iron overload, a common disease caused by a double-recessive mutant gene identified less than two years ago.

People with the disease absorb and retain too much iron from an ordinary diet, but serious complications can be averted if treatment starts early. In less than seven minutes Mathies' miniature analyzer can screen samples from 96 people and identify those at risk. The new screening method received popular attention nationally this year when Ann Landers published news of it in her column on Feb. 7.

It was in 1975 that the British biochemist Frederick Sanger first combined the use of restriction enzymes, DNA polymerases, gel electrophoresis, and radioactive labeling to read the sequences of DNA fragments up to 500 base pairs long. After months of work Sanger succeeded in solving the genetic sequence of a virus whose entire genome tallied 5,386 base pairs. The human genome, by contrast, contains some three billion base pairs. Yet until a few years ago Sanger's method was almost the only one used to determine DNA sequences.

In the basic technique, numerous copies are generated from a single template strand of the DNA to be sequenced. These copies are produced using four special reagents that randomly stop the formation of complementary strands at different bases, depending on which reagent is introduced.

For example, one chemical stops the reaction whenever it encounters a cytosine base in the sequence. The low concentration of this chemical ensures that somewhere among the fragments of many different lengths every cytosine in the sequence will be represented by a fragment terminus.

The same process is repeated for all four bases. The four sets of DNA fragments, or "ladders," are then drawn through a porous gel by an electric field; the smaller pieces move readily, while the larger pieces may hardly move at all, and the whole process may take hours.

With the ladders side by side the different bases can be read out sequentially, allowing the DNA sequence to be determined in a straightforward way.

In 1992 Mathies, who is also a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley, teamed with other researchers to develop an improved technique called "capillary array electrophoresis." In its original form, hair-fine tubes or capillaries filled with gel replaced slab gels. Because the capillaries are so small, a strong electric field can separate sequencing fragments inside them in a few minutes instead of several hours. The fragments are labeled with fluorescent dyes--a different color for each base--and can be identified by a laser-excited scanner capable of tightly focusing the laser beam on each tiny capillary. Hundreds of capillaries can be bundled together for simultaneous treatment of numerous samples. The device is now sold commercially for swift, automated fragment-sizing and sequencing of large amounts of DNA. Mathies is at work on a 1,000-capillary version, which is being tested in collaboration with the Stanford DNA Sequence and Technology Center.

Mathies's new microfabricated microplate, also based on capillary array electrophoresis, is a glass wafer smaller than a tea cup's saucer. The capillaries begin as microchannels or grooves engraved in the glass by the same lithographic techniques used to engrave integrated circuits.

Over this layer another glass wafer is tightly sealed, converting the microchannels into tubes. Holes in the lid allow samples and reagents to be introduced. Platinum wires, also shaped by photolithography, form electrodes connected near the ends of the channels.

Presently, the separated DNA fragments inside the microchannels are labeled with fluorescent compounds and viewed through the top by the same kind of confocal laser-microscope detection system used with the capillary-bundle system.

"A detection system that is orders of magnitude larger than the analysis device reduces the benefits of miniaturization," Mathies says ruefully. He hopes to do away with the clunky confocal fluorescent detector and substitute a miniaturized electrochemical detector built right into the chip--"no lasers, no optics." Soon, an entire "lab on a chip" may fit into a shirt pocket.

"You could take one into the field and plug it into your laptop," says Mathies, "and use it to identify viral DNA and pathogens, or to perform forensics"--identifying DNA right at the scene of the crime, for example--"or even send it to very remote areas."

Such as Mars.

With Jeffrey Bada of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and others at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mathies is already working on a variation of the "lab on a chip" for NASA, one that may be used to determine the chirality of amino acids. A preponderance of left- or right-handed acids could be a tell-tale sign of extraterrestrial life.

Meanwhile, to discover unknown genes, identify genes already known and probe their variation, researchers on Earth have to find faster ways of sequencing DNA, a challenge the capillary array electrophoresis microplate goes a long way toward meeting.

Mathies's work is described in the March 1998 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and in the Feb. 15, 1998 issue of Analytical Chemistry.

Photo: Richard Mathies holds his new "microplate analyser" that can rapidly sequence many DNA samples. (mathies.pict) Photo by Wesley Wong


Tritium Group Has Still Not Implemented Testing Program

By Ron Kolb

On the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Tritium Issues Work Group, the City of Berkeley has been told that the work group has yet to implement an independent tritium sampling plan as chartered.

The Berkeley City Council had requested a progress report from the group at its March 31 meeting. The work group, co-chaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state's Department of Health Services (DHS), was established as a way to resolve community concerns about the impact of emissions from Berkeley Lab's National Tritium Labeling Facility. Its primary purpose was to develop an independent testing survey of tritium emissions.

Laboratory Director Charles Shank has committed $100,000 to work group sampling activities as a supplement to the Laboratory's own rigorous monitoring program.

To date, not a penny of the money has been spent, although the Depart-ment of Energy has transferred $24,000 to the EPA to facilitate continuation of the work group process. This lack of progress frustrated several City Council members who listened to the 30-minute discussion. Mayor Shirley Dean urged the group to "work out the next steps we need to take" and "get this off of square one."

Berkeley Lab Environment, Health and Safety Division Director David McGraw told the Council that the Laboratory has already invested 80 days (640 hours) of staff time to respond to requests from the work group, including 40 informational requests that generated thousands of pages of documentation.

"We are concerned about a process that is not responding to the fears of concerned citizens in a timely fashion," he said. "We continue to be willing to engage with the community and the regulators through the work group, but critical improvements need to be made to ensure progress."

Among those, he noted, are a strict adherence to ground rules that would keep discussions focused, a firm schedule of milestones, and a "partnering session" with an outside facilitator to resolve differences and recommit to the goals of the group.

EPA representative Perianne Wood acknowledged the hard work of all participating members, which include representatives of the city staff, the environmental advisory commission, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, and citizens' groups. She called the effort "amazing and inspirational" and cited as next steps the need to complete a review of existing data and to develop a sampling and analysis plan.

Wood noted that the EPA and the DHS had already begun air station sampling at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), although members of the Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste, a community environmental group whose members participate in the tritium work group, emphasized that they did not support such sampling. Wood said the LHS sampling results and an EPA review of Berkeley Lab's current monitoring program are due in April and will be shared with the City Council.

Gene Bernardi, one of two speakers for the Committee to Minimize Toxic Waste at the Council meeting, criticized the Laboratory for not having provided all requested data and said the work group was created "as a public relations tool to mollify the public about its mounting concerns over safety."

Another committee member, Pamela Sihvola, called the Labora-tory's data "far from convincing" and said her group "doubts the accuracy of the reports. Amounts [of tritium] are much higher than actually reported."

"We hope this process will continue to its logical conclusion--zero emissions and permanent closure of the [tritium labeling] facility," Sihvola told the Council.

Mayor Dean apologized to all participants for having shortened their time due to other Council business and suggested that they return for a follow-up report. Councilwoman Margaret Breland concurred, saying, "Come back with the answers."

Councilwoman Polly Armstrong questioned Sihvola's claim that the Laboratory is only recycling 30 percent of its tritium in the labeling process. McGraw corrected the statement, noting that the facility actually recycles 80 percent of the waste.

"Berkeley Lab remains confident that there is no significant risk to the public's health," McGraw concluded. "In fact, living next to the NTLF for a year would create much less risk than a single dental X-ray or a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles."

A comprehensive health risk assessment, commissioned by Berkeley Lab in 1996 and reviewed independently by three regulatory agencies, has shown that there is no significant risk to the public's health or environmental safety from the minute amounts of tritium released through operations at the NTLF. The facility operates well within all applicable state and federal safety guidelines.

Tritium emissions to the environment are closely regulated by the U.S. EPA. The dose limit is 10 millirem per year to the maximally exposed off-site individual. The Lab's tritium emissions have always been far below the EPA standard. Annual emissions have been less than 3 percent of the EPA dose standard for the past five years. Currently, annual emissions are at about 1 percent and have never exceeded 10 percent of the EPA standard.

Armstrong said she was "thrilled" to hear that the EPA has been doing some sampling in addition to the Laboratory's ongoing program.

"I would love to see the $100,000 spent on actual monitoring," she said. "I feel we are still arguing about the size and shape of the table. We need to get some figures to tell whether or not the community is really at risk."

The Tritium Issues Work Group is scheduled to meet monthly until its work is concluded.

The National Tritium Labeling Facility, funded by the National Institutes of Health, contributes to the development of radiotracers for the study of stroke, AIDS, breast cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other medical problems.

More information on the issue of tritium emissions at Berkeley Lab can be found in the June 13, 1997 issue of Currents (available online at


Washington Report

DOE unveils national energy strategy

The Department of Energy has released a comprehensive national energy strategy it says will help ensure that the United States will have "affordable, technologically advanced, clean and secure energy supplies" into the next century.

"This strategy is just a beginning of what I believe is a journey toward energy security, economic expansion, and greater protection of our environment," said Energy Secretary Federico Peña in announcing the plan last week. "To meet future energy needs, we must apply a new focus and discipline to the task of more efficiently producing and using energy that is such a vital part of our lives and economy." The 25-page strategy report is the eighth issued by DOE since it was established as a Cabinet agency in 1977.

In the works for more than a year, the plan contains what DOE described as five "common-sense goals"--reducing energy use by widely deploying more efficient technologies; ensuring against energy disruptions by increasing production of domestic sources and the number of foreign suppliers; promoting environmentally sound energy production; expanding future energy choices through R&D into new technologies; and cooperating internationally on global energy and economic issues.

The 25-page report can be downloaded off the Internet at

DOE vows its computers will be ready for the millenium bug

In response to criticism from the Office of Management and Budget that DOE is moving too slowly to head off year 2000 computer problems, a department official has promised that the agency's most important computer systems will work properly when 2000 arrives.

S.W. "Woody" Hall Jr., DOE's deputy assistant secretary for information management, says that DOE expects to have all of its "mission critical systems" reconfigured or replaced by February 1999, one month before the OMB deadline. Hall defined "mission critical" systems as those essential to a facility's operation, such as environmental safety and health programs and security systems at the national laboratories and other locations.

Of the 370 mission critical systems identified by DOE, 125 have already been modified to function in 2000. Of the remaining 245 systems, 114 are being replaced, while 120 are being upgraded. The department plans to replace the remaining 11 with new equipment.

Hall says DOE expects to spend $130 million to fix its computers by the FY 2000 deadline, including $42.1 million in FY98 and $44.3 million in FY99. The money will come from the department's $1.3 billion information technology program.

--Lynn Yarris


Priority Service for Internet Traffic Tried Out Successfully Between Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratories

By Jon Bashor

Computer scientists at Berkeley Lab have successfully marked selected Internet traffic for priority service over unmarked, lower-priority traffic in a cross-country demonstration.

This demonstration is a key milestone in the development of a broad set of capabilities called "differentiated services," which are required for the Internet to be able to give different levels of service on demand to network customers. The demonstration of such capabilities for production-mode scientific research between Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratories will pave the way for more reliable and constant connectivity via priority bandwidth on the Internet.

The demonstration involved sending two video streams over the Internet. The priority-marked stream moved at eight frames per second, while the standard version transmitted just one frame per second.

Typically, Internet users encounter a wide variety of cybertraffic conditions, ranging from free-flowing traffic to peak-hour jams and complete stalls. With Internet traffic growing by 400 percent annually, such congestion will continue to be a problem. This situation has left many users wishing for a more reliable level of Internet service. The current quality of service, called "best effort," often leaves room for improvement.

Differentiated services will replace "best effort" by providing specialized services for Internet users who need it and are willing to pay for it. The idea behind differentiated services is similar to reserving a first-class, business class or coach seat on a commercial airline. Currently the most promising means to deliver this differentiated service is "class-based queuing," a technology developed at Berkeley Lab.

This new technology is expected to demonstrate to industry how different levels of quality of service can be implemented and deployed on a practical basis. Differentiated service is also expected to make the sending of audio and video signals across the Internet significantly easier.

Achieving this improved level of service is essential to the work of the Department of Energy, which is pioneering the use of various technologies to allow scientists at more than 30 DOE national labs to share access to some of the nation's most advanced research facilities.

The DOE already has one of the fastest and most reliable "backbone" networks of the Internet--the Energy Sciences Network, or ESnet. Scientists at Berkeley and Argonne regularly rely on ESnet to conduct collaborative research in structural biology, materials science and physics.

"For more than a decade, DOE computer scientists have helped develop technologies that have brought the Internet to the level it is today, and differentiated services are another key step toward tomorrow's network capabilities," said C. William McCurdy, head of the Computing Sciences organization at Berkeley Lab. "The fact that Berkeley Lab operates DOE's primary network and has a world-class network research group gives us the chance to make developments like this one and then to test them in a real network."

Although the idea of differentiated services is simple, coming up with the enabling technology was more difficult. Because the Internet is actually made up of millions of interconnected networks, the technology had to be able to scale up to work across the entire system. Hardware also had to be developed to distinguish between different levels of priority for Internet traffic.

The link between Berkeley and Argonne uses new software to recognize specially marked data packets so that the various networks and Internet routers will give them priority over packets which are not similarly labeled. In limited tests last November, Berkeley Lab computer scientists successfully proved that the priority-marked packets were routed through points of congestion, while similar data in unmarked packets were lost.

The software for marking and recognizing the priority packets was developed at Berkeley Lab. Using this software, a policy decision of how to assign priority is translated into special router commands to mark the appropriate packets for priority delivery. This work as well as many of the original key ideas for differentiated service stem from work done by Van Jacobson and his Network Research Group at Berkeley Lab.

Last week's demonstration fits together various technologies at Berkeley and Argonne labs, Cisco Systems and Sprint Telecommunic-ations. It also culminates a decade of research into Internet quality of service. Two years ago, the Internet community began to pursue differentiated service, which resulted in the approach taken in the demonstration.

The successful demonstration also signifies the coordination of computer networking research and network operations at Berkeley Lab. Two years ago, DOE moved ESnet operations and administration and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center to the Lab to foster greater collaboration between the research and production organizations.

"By giving scientists capabilities that are not yet available on commercial networks, ESnet is both creating new opportunities for scientific research and also contributing to the evolution of the Internet," said Jim Leighton, head of ESnet and the Networking and Telecommunications Department at Berkeley Lab. "This demonstration is the precursor to better service for nearly anyone who relies on the Internet."


Livermore Scientist Says Man and Nature Play Role in Global Climate Change

By Paul Preuss

On Thursday, April 9, the Bldg. 50 auditorium was filled with people curious to hear what a former weapons researcher would have to say about global warming.

"In fact, my career as a nuclear physicist led directly to my involvement in issues concerning the Earth and the environment," said Jay Davis, Associate Director for Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Among Davis's specialties as a physicist is using ion beams to study nuclear isotopes.

In the course of developing Livermore into one of the leaders in signature analysis of atmospheric gases, Davis said, he came to believe that climate change is an issue comparable to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in importance for the nation's security.

Much of Davis's effort has been to clarify what part of climate change is due to human activity rather than to nature. "It's easy to mistake weather, which varies rapidly, for climate, whose effects are long-term," he said, citing the effects of human perturbation of the carbon cycle. Human-produced carbon is small by comparison to natural sources but is concentrated in the atmosphere, and is difficult to distinguish from natural carbon--with one notable exception.

"From 1945 through 1962 the weapons program doubled the carbon-14 in the atmosphere," Davis said. This allows cycling atmospheric carbon dioxide to be followed into sinks such as the Pacific Ocean.

Davis attributed a clever measure of ocean absorption to a young colleague who measured the carbon-14 signature in the scales of four species of Pacific salmon in museum specimens--from historic times before the weapons tests through to the present. The curve of the isotope's signature rose sharply and decayed slowly in each of the species, whose territorial waters are well known.

As a caution that we don't know enough about natural processes to make detailed predictions, Davis cited a study that dated the rings of stranded tree-stumps from sites in California and Patagonia, leading to the discovery of two periods of intense drought in the last 1,000 years "worse than any we have lived through"--one 100 years long, another 200 years long. The trees had grown in dry weather, were drowned in wet periods, then left high and dry again; the droughts corresponded to periods when some Native American tribes were unable to find enough food to inhabit high mountain regions.

"My personal bottom line is that humans are having an effect that, combined with natural processes, has the potential for destabilizing change," said Davis. "On the other hand, I don't think the sky is falling. The biggest problem we face right now is that extreme advocates on both sides of this issue are talking right past each other."

A lively question and answer period followed, in which Davis emphasized the need for more and better data and harder tests of improved climate models.

Photo: Jay Davis


Computer Class Gives Parents a Head Start in Life

By Monica Friedlander

Expanded program helps participants transition to job market

Like most people who have never worked on a computer, Avary Allen had a natural apprehension about new technology. It was her 18-year-old daughter who opened her eyes to the world of opportunities that computer literacy can provide.

"She even shops on the Internet," said Allen full of enthusiasm. "I saw the knowledge she had and decided I wanted to catch up with the times, with what's going on in the world. Then I discovered this program through my three-year-old son's Head Start program. It opened a whole new world for me."

The six-week-long LBNL Techno-logy Outreach Program, run by Berkeley Lab's Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE) in collaboration with the Berkeley YMCA Head Start program, offers free computer and job-skill classes to parents of children enrolled in Head Start programs in the Berkeley-Emeryville area. This year the program, which started in 1996, expanded from three to six weeks and formed a partnership with Project Transition, a non-profit professional and training organization based in Oakland.

In addition to providing training in basic computing skills, Project Transition introduced training in other areas that can help participants transition into the job market, such as customer service skills and advocacy training.

Just weeks into the program, Allen, who hopes to work for a financial corporation, has filled out a few job applications and is already scheduled for an interview.

"The program provides participants with career information and the skills they need to fill specific jobs," says Joaquin Wallace, who runs Project Transition and teaches the Head Start class at Berkeley Lab's downtown Berkeley office on University Avenue. "It encourages them to go out and seek new work opportunities and puts them in a position to succeed in life."

The Technology Outreach Program, held four times a week, takes students from the basics of turning on a computer and using a mouse, to using various software applications widely required in the job market, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Participants in the program are also introduced to the Forum Customer Service module, which encompasses a variety of life and work skills.

Perhaps most importantly, says Marva Wilkins, Berkeley Lab's education outreach coordinator, the class encourages young parents to find out what they want to do in life and then gives them the self-confidence they need to pursue those goals.

"I see an incredible transition," Wilkins says, pointing to the young woman sitting at the computer across from her. "Lisa Lewis is the prize of the class. When she first came here she was very shy and lacked the confidence to communicate with other members of the class. Now she is the one who helps others. You should have seen her face when we talked about customer training and did role playing. She had no idea she could realize her dreams. Now she knows what she wants to do, what she is capable of doing, and has set goals to achieve her dreams."

Lewis, who has three children, would like to find a job in accounting and hopes to eventually establish her own daycare business. "I'm at a point in life when I'm ready to expand," she said. "I work part time, and this class makes it possible for me to go to class at the same time my kids are in school. It's never too late to work and learn something new."

Classes are offered throughout the academic year, with the next session starting on April 27. Funding for the project comes form the Berkeley Head Start program, with in-kind contributions from Project Transition.

Wilkins and Wallace said they hoped the program would continue to expand and broaden its collaboration in the future. For now, it gives Head Start parents a new start of their own in life.

"We have only touched the surface," Wallace said. "Now they have the thirst to continue and push on their own."

Photo: Avary Allen types a letter using skills she learned in a class run by Berkeley Lab and the Berkeley Head Start program. Photo by Monica Friedlander


Lab Life

Keeping Michael's Memory Alive

Suzanne Stroh would like to express her appreciation to her Lab colleagues for their support following the accidental death of her only child, Michael, on March 18. He was only 22 and had just graduated from Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo summa cum laude. "I am touched and gratified by the concern that my Lab colleagues and friends have shown," Stroh said. "Their generosity will help to keep Michael's memory alive."

Three memorial services have been held, the first of which was attended by many of Stroh's Lab colleagues and friends. Some of the donations made helped underwrite the cost of a memorial bench on the Cal Poly campus on a spot overlooking Mt. Madonna and the campus. "To me this symbolizes Michael's approach to life--looking both upwards towards his ideals and at the pragmatics of getting there."


Fleet Services

On April 1 Fleet Services relocated from the Building 76-212 Facilities office suite to a more suitable area downstairs at 76-123B. The new Fleet office, located adjacent to the LBNL fueling station parking area, provides easy access for employees reserving and returning pool vehicles. All questions regarding vehicle reservations, returns, services, repairs and cost should be directed to Fleet Services at X5475.


Furniture Sale

Over the next two Wednesdays and Thursdays, the Lab warehouse will sell to Lab employees miscellaneous furniture items, including storage cabinets, drawer units, shelving, work-benches, safety cabinets, and other furniture. Checks only will be accepted. The sale is held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information call Paul Stagnaro at X4177.


LHS Summer Camps

Registration has begun for Lawrence Hall of Science's series of summer camps for children aged 4 to 15. More than 75 day camps (half or full-day) and residential camps are offered. They include:

For more information, call 642-5132. To register for camp, call 642-5134.


Courier Available 24 hours a Day

IDS Couriers, the Lab's contract courier service, operates 24 hours a day and provides pick-up and delivery service anywhere in the Bay Area and in portions of northern and central California. Delivery time can range from two or four hours, to same day, rush, or scheduled service.

Special rates are available for the Laboratory. For service, call 548-3263 with pick-up/delivery locations, time requirements, and a valid Lab account number. For further information, call Linda Wright at the same number.


UC Jazz Band Will Play at Berkeley Lab Next Friday

Photo: UC Berkeley Jazz Ensemble's "Wednesday Band" will provide lunchtime entertainment on the stage in front of the cafeteria on Friday, April 24. The student band, directed by Dave LeFebvre, has given annual performances at Berkeley Lab since the early 1970s. The event is arranged by Don Krieger, a facilities supervisor in Mechanical Engineering.


Energy Efficient Torchieres Now Available to Lab Employees

Through a special arrangement with Berkeley Lab, the energy efficient torchiere developed by researchers in Environmental Energy Technologies is now available for purchase to Lab employees at the discount price of $92. The torchiere is brighter than the regular 300-Watt halogen torchieres on the market while using one fifth of the power. This lamp uses a bulb that is 500 degrees cooler and lasts five times as long as the halogen bulbs.

The torchiere, now produced by a major manufacturer, won Popular Science's "Grand Prize for Home Technology" in the magazine's 1997 "Best of What's New" awards.

To purchase the torchiere, place an order with the Employee Buying Service in the lobby of the cafeteria.

Photo: Lamp


Computer Training Includes E-mail Class

The Computing Infrastructure Support Department in conjunction with AIM Computer Training offers the following classes during April and June: Netscape E-mailing (new), Netscape Communicator 4.x, Windows '95 Transition to Power Users, Word 7.0 (beginner, intermediate, advanced), Excel 7.0 (beginner, intermediate, advanced), Power Point 7.0 (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and Access 7.0 (beginner, intermediate).

More information and online registration can be found at


Daughters & Sons to Work Day Reminders

On Thursday, April 23, Berkeley Lab will host this year's "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." The 240 young people will participate in a variety of career-related workshops, demonstrations, and opening and closing ceremonies.

Please escort the children to the Bldg. 50 auditorium by 9:30 a.m., where they will be seated with their assigned groups. Bring your confirmation letter to the opening ceremony to insure correct seating.

Due to space limitations, parents will be unable to attend the opening ceremonies or to join the children for lunch. Lunch will be served at the workshop sites following the morning session. Partici-pants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.

T-shirts may be purchased for $5 each. To place an order, please send e-mail to [email protected] or call X6813 no later than noon on Monday, April 20. The T-shirts should be available in time for the event. Should the supplier not provide them by event time, your order will be mailed to you as soon as possible. Your cooperation in this effort is sincerely appreciated.


Disposing of Files and Other Documents

The Excess and Salvage operation at Bldg. 903 has recently been receiving large shipments of binders and file folders containing various documents. Excess and Salvage handles the salvage and recycling of Laboratory property, not personal files or Laboratory documents. Please read the Archives and Records Management section (1.16) of the RPM for guidelines for proper disposal of Lab documents.

All Laboratory records must be reviewed by Archives and Records prior to disposal. Each building has recycling bins for paper recycling. To dispose of large quantities of paper you may request a special pickup through the Facilities Work Request Center. For further information contact Monte Clevenger at X4587.


Calendar of Events at Berkeley Lab


The Berkeley Lab Calendar is published biweekly here on the World Wide Web and in Currents by the Public Information Department. Employees can list a meeting, class, or event in the Calendar by using this submission form. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday in the week that Currents is published.

In addition to the events listed below, Berkeley Lab's Washington, D.C. Projects office is hosting a Science and Technology Seminars series. 

Scientific Conferences


APRIL 1998

General Interest

18 Saturday

All day open house on UC Berkeley campus and at the ALS

23 Thursday

LBNL Postdoctoral Society
Workshop on "The Academic Job Search," 4-7 p.m., UCB campus

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
9:30 a.m.-3:15p.m., various sites Registration required.

7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Bldg. 54 parking lot

30 Monday

LBNL Postdoctoral Society
Workshop on "The Academic Job Search," 4-7 p.m., UCB campus

Items for the calendars may be sent via e-mail to [email protected], faxed to X6641 or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the May 1 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, April 27.


Seminars & Lectures

APRIL 20, Monday

UCB Physics Department Colloquium
"Nuclear Disarmament?" will be presented by Michael M. May of Stanford University.
4:30 p.m., 1 LeConte Hall

ALS/CXRO Seminar
"From X-Ray Speckle to X-ray Twinkle: Probing Molecular Dynamics Using Coherent Soft X-rays from the ALS" will be presented by Larry Sorensen of AFRD.
3:30 p.m., Bldg. 2-100B

APRIL 21, Tuesday

Life Sciences Division Seminar
"Charting the Fate of the Good Cholesterol: Physiologic & Genetic Analysis of the HDL Receptor SR-B1" will be presented by Monty Krieger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
4 p.m., Bldg. 66-316. Refreshments will be served.

APRIL 23, Thursday

Surface Science and Catalysis Science Seminar
"Design and Development of a New Class of Heterogeneous Catalysts: Supported Molten Metal Catalysts (SMMC)" will be presented by I. Halasz of the University of Iowa.
1:30 p.m., Bldg. 66-317

APRIL 27, Monday

ALS/CXRO Seminar
"Challenging Little Problems and Opportunities in the Earth Sciences" will be presented by Sally Benson of Earth Sciences.
3:30 p.m., Bldg. 2-100B

UCB Physics Department Colloquium
"Top Matters" will be presented by Chris Quigg of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
4:30 p.m., 1 Le Conte. Tea at 4 p.m. in 375 Le Conte.

APRIL 28, Tuesday

Nuclear Science Division Seminar
"The CERES Experiment: Probing Hot and Dense Nuclear Matter with Di-Electrons" will be presented by Itzhak Tserruya of Israel.
2 p.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium

Life Sciences Division Seminar
"The Regulation of a Neuron-Specific Exon" will be presented by Douglas V. Black of UCLA.
4 p.m., Bldg. 66-316

Center for Environmental Biotechnology Seminars
"Methanotrophic Communities in Nature: Who, What, Where and Why" will be presented by Mary Lindstrom of University of Washington.
Noon, Bldg. 50A-5132

APRIL 29, Wednesday

Nuclear Science Division Seminar
"Microscopy with Soft X-Rays" will be presented by Janos Kirz of SUNY Stonybrook.
11 a.m., Bldg. 50 auditorium

NERSC Seminar
"Computational Plants" will be presented by David Greenberg of Sandia National Laboratories.
10:30 a.m., Bldg. 50D conf. room

MAY 1, Friday

Earth Sciences Division Seminar
"Characterization of Flow in Fractured Basalt" will be presented by Boris Faybishenko.
11 a.m., Bldg. 90-2063

UCB College of Chemistry Seminar
Seaborg Lecture on "Metal-Ligand Bonding Energetics and the Design of New Homogeneous Catalytic Transformations" will be presented by Tobin Marks of Northwestern University.
4 p.m., Pitzer Auditorium, Latimer Hall

Please note: All items for inclusion in the Seminars and Lectures calendar must be sent via e-mail to currents_ [email protected], faxed to X6641, or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the May 1 issue is 5 p.m. Monday, April 27.


CAL Day Tomorrow

On Saturday,, April 18, UC Berkeley will open its museums, labs, classrooms, libraries, gardens, and athletic facilities to the world. From 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. UCB faculty, staff and students will host a variety of activities, including lectures and demonstrations, music, drama, and dance performances.

The Advanced Light Source and the Center for X-Ray Optics at Berkeley Lab will also host visitors. For more information, call 642-5215 or visit the Cal Day website at


LBNL Golf Club Results

The tournament was held on Saturday, April 4, at the Windsor Golf Course in Sonoma Valley.


Flea Market

Autos / Supplies

`78 CADILLAC Coupe de Ville, 52K mi, a/c, white w/ burgundy leather interior, new tires, exc cond, $2900/b.o., Monte, X4587, 680-0705

`79 VW BUG Convertible, new top, CD player, good cond, $5200/b.o., Stu, 525-2367

`85 HONDA CIVIC S - 3 dr, manual, am/fm/cassette, a/c, 66K mi, 30+ mpg, new parts & recent service, runs great, interior good, outside ok, $2000 firm, Craig, 547-0697

`86 SUBARU GL-10 SW, pw/pl/ps/pb, at, cc, luggage rack, 120K mi, fwd, sunroof, avail May, $1300/b.o. Luis, X6032, 558-9140

`89 TOYOTA Corolla deluxe, 5 dr wagon, 84K mi, a/c, p/s, roof carry rack, am/fm radio, exc cond, $5000, Henry, X4261

`90 HONDA CIVIC EX, power steering, brakes, locks, windows, ac, cd player, 83K mi, complete maintenance records, exc cond, 5 spd, one owner, $7,000, Doug, X4933

`91 PONTIAC LE MANS, 2D, 93K, a/t, good cond, 2nd owner, $2500, avail, 4/23-23, Guiseppe, X5446

`93 TOYOTA DLX extra cab truck, 4 cylinder, 4x4, 5 spd, 38K mi, ac, power steering, tilt wheel, new Michelin m/s tires, exc cond, no dents, garaged, all records, $13,700, Robert, 233-3862

WHEELS & TIRES, 4 Al Mag wheels w/BF Goodrich tires, 245-50R14, 75% tread, $400/b.o., Stephen 428-3641, 527-8210


ALBANY, 2 bdrm, 2 bth apt, bay view, close to AC transit, BART, tennis, swimming pool, laundry, avail 5/1, $1100, Sherry, 631-9634

BERKELEY, room w/view in shared hsg, furn, avail for sublet from June-Sept., close to campus, wooden floors, quiet, non smoker, $450/mo, Wilk X5942

BERKELEY, sublet 1 rm in 2 bdrm apt from 6/1- 8/15, at Hillegass and Parker, very close to the LBNL shuttle, 10 min walk from UC campus, $550/mo, but can help $100/mo, Sang Hun, 665-1466

BERKELEY HILLS, 1 bdrm in-law apt, beautiful & spacious, fully furn, recently remodeled, marble bthrm, private patio, $895 + util, nonsmoker, Helga, 524-8308

EL CERRITO, furn studio in house avail for scholars, visitors, kitchen & dining area, full bth, nr public transportation & shopping ctr , 1 mile from I-80 & I-580, new refrigerator, stove, all cooking equipment, TV in rm, off street parking, no fee, tennis courts, swimming pool & theater are located end of block, no smokers, no pets, deposit fee $600, $480/mo, Ming 524-3780

KENSINGTON, furn, 3 bdrm house, quiet neighborhood, 1 cat, avail during summer, approx 6/15-8/16 for visiting scientist, $1350-$1600/mo depending on family size, Ruth, 526-6730

NORTH BERKELEY, lg furn rm in historic brown shingle, easy walk to campus & shuttle, kitchen privileges, ideal for visiting scientist, post doc, $425/mo, avail immediately, Rob 843-5987

SO BERKELEY HILLS, Apt, completely furn, separate apt in lab scientist's home, quiet neighborhood nr Claremont Hotel, 1 bdrm, 1 bth, office, lg living rm, sm kitchen, deck, bay view, private entrance, easy street parking, security system, 10 min drive or 25 min walk to LBNL, 5 min walk to #7, #51 bus, non smoking, no pets, avail thru Oct, all util, cable TV incl, ref, sec dep, $950, Tom, X7347, 549-0967

SO BERKELEY HILLS, lg rm w/separate sleeping loft, own bath, share kitchen in lab scientists' home, quiet neighborhood nr Claremont Hotel, deck, bay view, easy street parking, security systems, 10 min drive or 25 min walk to LBNL, 5 min walk to #7, #51 bus, non smoking, no pets, avail thru Oct, all util, cable TV incl, ref, sec dep, $550/mo, Tom, X7347, 549-0967


COFFEE TABLE, round; antique inlaid game table; burl walnut top lamp table; antique Mobier clock; moss green upholstered chair; oil paintings; dinette set; etched China crystal; Thai flatware set for 12; housewares & much more, reasonable, John/Luda, 256-7798

EASTER BUNNIES (2), Netherland Dwarfs, male, black & white, hutches incl, you must haul, $25; Futon bed, full size, 2 mattresses on 1 frame, frame makes bed only, $150, Robert, 495-2278, 741-8117

ENTERTAINMENT CENTER, 5 pc solid oak w/mirrored hutches, interior lights, beveled glass dbl doors, lots of storage drawers & cabinets, brass handles, can use 5 pc together or separately, $1950; sofa & loveseat, Victorian style, exposed carved solid oak, beautiful embroidery type upholstery, muted floral pattern, claw-foot style feet, very comfortable, $1150; matching coffee table, carved solid oak, claw-foot style, $150; bedroom set, solid wood, cherry wood strain, queen size bedboards, dresser, mirror, 2 night stands, lots of storage room, no mattress/box spring, $950; bookshelf, solid oak, 7 adjustable shelves, classic style, $150; dresser, carved solid oak, $175; entryway hat/coat/umbrella rack, carved solid oak, antique look, mirrored, brass hooks, 7 ft tall, $280; country rug, flat-braided colonial, oval 6'x9', dark green, brick red & beige, photos available, $85; Susana, 548-9315

GARAGE SALE, multi-family fund-raiser, Saturday, 4/25, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St, Berkeley, Jon, X4859, 527-0285

LATHE WOOD, benchtop, 27" CToC,7" swing, 54" log, b/o; stainless steel drum 55 gal w/lid, b.o., Paul, X4177

MACINTOSH Centris 610, 68040 processor, 20 mb built-in RAM, two internal 510 Mb Quantum HD, 15" Mac Color Display, keyboard, mouse, 100 Mb ext. I-Omega ZIP drive, ext. 8xCD-ROM drive, US Robotics Sportster Voice 28.8 V34 & 33.6 faxmodem w/ speakerphone & personal voice mail, MacOS 7.6.1, software, $750, Andre, X6745

MOVING SALE, platform bed (dbl), wood frame, easy assembly, foam mattress, wood stereo cabinet, antique gold chair, JBL speakers, plants, other items, prices negotiable, northside Berkeley, Steve, X6941

SPEAKERS, Yamaha NS-A636, 3-way, 140 watts per channel, acoustic suspension, 8 inch woofers, magnetic shielding, local retail $149, Consumer Report best buy, brand new in original cartons, $115 for both, Oscar, X7917

STOVE, electric, 30" wide (standard size), clock/timer, almond w/black front, exc cond, $125/b.o., Nance, X7328, 524-1259

SUPER NINTENDO SYSTEM (16 bit), incl joystick, super gameboy accessor, 9 games & guidebooks, Donkey Kong, 1,2, & 3, $160, Rosario, 233-0734

TEAC TAPE DECK, reel to reel, 3 heads, 3 motors, + blank & pre-recorded tapes, $75; Mountain bike, specialized "Hard Rock," $150, David, 525-4470

TOWEL RACK, 6 ft high, made to fit over toilet, paid $60, asking $30/b.o., Marlene, X6005

TRAMPOLINE, 14 ft. diameter, $100; Schwin Starlet girls bicycle, exc cond, $75, Carol, X5060, 528-0683

TYPEWRITER, Silver Reed electric/correcting, model ex 30, ribbons & manual incl, $30; Sharp calculator, EL1192C, desk, ten digit/print, display, $20; Goldstar microwave, incl turntable, $40; miscellaneous brassware, $1 & up, V.J., 831-9172

TYPEWRITER, Panasonic electronic w/correcting function, light weight, rarely used, $70, Jia, 845-5254

TV, 20" Hitachi, very good reception, $45, Jia, 845-5154

UNIX WORKSTATION (HP-712), 15" color monitor, 32 MB RAM, 3.5 Gig SCSI-II hard drive, CD-ROM, HP-Fortran, GNU-G++ and other shareware installed, $2499/b.o., Mark, X2378

SPEAKERS, BSR 3 way, approx. 3' tall, $50 for pair, Debbey, X6430, 527-8210

WOOD PLANER, 12" Craftsman (Sears) Heavy cast iron, 3 blade surface planer, Model 11223490, 1 HP motor, 220 single phase, extra blades, needs some work, $200, Conway, 527-7898


BAHAMAS, luxurious condo, spacious 1 bdrm, Taino Beach resort, sleeps up to 4, every amenity on beautiful beach, pool/tennis, maid service, $500/week, Marlene, X6005

HAWAII, unfurn, 2 bdrm, 2 bth house for rent, 20 mi below Hilo on rainy side of Big Island, convenient to Univ of Hawaii & orchid plantations, nr schools, shopping, 1 mi to ocean bluff, $450/mo or purchase for $55,000, Marlene, X6005

Real Estate

KENSINGTON, 4+ bdrms, in sheltered, sunny backyd, spectacular view, $420,000, Jeanne, 525-7543


APT, 1-2 bdrm for visiting postdoc & wife, nr campus or transportation preferable, 5/15 - 6/1 start for 1 yr or longer, Tim, e-mail: [email protected], Rick, X4459

CAGES, small animal (hamster); transcriber or dictaphone, used preferably, Mari, X5932

DESK, for 10-12 yr old student, Ruth, 526-6730

MATTRESS, used queen size & box spring, for kids' play area, not too ratty, Rich, X5896, 524-8897

STUDIO/COTTAGE/IN-LAW to rent, begin 6/1, up to $600/mo, safe location, exc local refs, Rebecca, X4329, 530-5196

HOUSE TO RENT, 2-3 bdrms, north Berkeley or Elmwood, quiet older prof woman, longtime local resident now selling home, Jeanne, 525-7543

PICK UP TRUCK, `84 or younger, good cond, automatic & a/c preferred, can pay, $2500, Kira, X437

FLEA MARKET items may be e-mailed to [email protected], faxed to X6641, or mailed to Bldg. 65B. The deadline for the May 1 issue is Friday, April 25.




Flea Market ad policy

Due to the large volume of ads received each week, ads are accepted only from LBNL employees, retirees, and on-site DOE personnel. No other ads will be accepted. We encourage past contributors to the Flea Market to use other local services, such as LBNL's online housing listing (call X6198 for information), and the UC Housing Office.

Please note also:


Currents/The View and the Communications Department Staff

Published once a month by the Communications Department for the employees and retirees of Berkeley Lab.

Reid Edwards, Public Affairs Department head
Ron Kolb, Communications Department head

Pamela Patterson, 486-4045, [email protected]
Associate editor
Lyn Hunter, 486-4698, [email protected]

Dan Krotz, 486-4019
Paul Preuss, 486-6249
Lynn Yarris, 486-5375

Ucilia Wang, 495-2402
Allan Chen, 486-4210
David Gilbert, (925) 296-5643

Caitlin Youngquist, 486-4020
Creative Services Office

Berkeley Lab
Communications Department
MS 65, One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley CA 94720
(510) 486-5771
Fax: (510) 486-6641

Berkeley Lab is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Flea Market is now online at


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