Left Behind and Trumpism

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:48 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

The Left Behind series sold more than 65 million copies. I can't offer a precise Venn diagram comparing those 65 million readers with the just-under 63 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, but I would imagine the overlap in the middle would be pretty big. Their appeal is the same, and so is the audience.

On the other hand

Aug. 17th, 2017 06:32 pm
cupcake_goth: (Default)
[personal profile] cupcake_goth
I need to try to remember that I have a few chronic health issues, which means that even if the changes in diet and the injections have greatly reduced my daily pain levels, I still don't have have the reserves of energy that I wish I did.

Hi, I've been Doing A Lot Of Things since last week. And will be Doing A Lot Of Things for at least a few days going forward.

You all can stop giving me that terribly patient look. I know what you're thinking.

Bridal Update + August Shirtmaking!

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:22 am
[syndicated profile] malepatternboldness_feed

Friends, with all the MPB Day excitement, you may have forgotten about my wedding gown projects.

Here's a brief update:

As you can see up top, Christina's gown now has a very full skirt.  It's a circle, cut in four quarters.  I've also purchased the fabric: a stiff ivory silk taffeta.  It's going to be gorgeous.

Meanwhile, Val and I have also had an additional fitting -- actually more than one.  Here's the back with some of the alterations that were necessary from the original muslin.  The center back is open above the waist.

I started making some samples with the lace we purchased (at Metro Textiles).  On most of the dress the lace will be underlined with a lightweight poly charmeuse.  I experimented with silk organza (immediately below) on the portion above the bust, but while it looked lovely on the dress form, it didn't flatter Val.  (That's the pattern envelope on the right.)

Instead, we're going with full-on lace, with the bust area underlined and the rest left nude.  It looks lovely against Val's skin.

Val's wedding is at the end of the September so it's really time to get cracking on the final garment.  Now that we've got the fit down and our fabric choices made, we're good to go.

I have found some time to make a shirt for Michael.  You'll see the finished product very soon but here's a sneak preview.  My shirting is a very lovely ribbon-print from Mood Fabrics -- very Liberty of London-like, though it isn't true Liberty.

Sleeve placket.
Collar with contrasting inside collar stand.

Finally, I was left with more than 85 patterns after last Saturday's MPB Day pattern swap.  How could anyone have left behind these highly collectible classics?

Fortunately, a friend from FIT expressed interest and was willing to take these treasures off my hands.  I am confident they will be put to good use.

And that's it, readers.  I'll keep you posted on my wedding gowns as things progress.  In the meantime, I hope you're all enjoying these last few weeks of summer.  I know I am.

Have a great day, everybody!

Free Speech and Nazis

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.

But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:

  • Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
  • Making/distributing obscene materials.
  • Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Now let’s look at some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.

Nazi flag Nazi armband  Nazi salutes Hitler quote on shirt Nazi salute

These people here? The ones wearing swastikas, waving Nazi flags, marching in T-shirts with Adolf Hitler quotes, and throwing Nazi salutes?

This isn’t protest. This is a threat.

The message here is not, “I don’t want you to take down a statue.” It’s “I believe in ethnic cleansing, in the murder of millions of Jews, Romani, and other non-white people. I believe people with disabilities should be forcibly sterilized or put to death. I believe non-heterosexuals should be imprisoned and killed.”

These people are pledging allegiance to a movement of mass murder. We know what the Nazis stood for. We know what they did. When people stand up in 2017 and proclaim themselves Nazis, we know what they’re saying. We know what they’re promising.

I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t believe freedom of speech protects the incitement of violence. I don’t believe it protects threats of genocide.


Maybe you don’t personally feel threatened by this. In many ways, neither do I. I’m a straight white man, unlikely to be a primary target of these hateful people.

Now imagine you’re Jewish. Imagine you’re black. Imagine you’re gay. Imagine you’re Romani. Imagine your ancestors were among the millions of people murdered by Nazis. Now look at those photos and tell me you’re not looking at a very real threat.

“But not all of the ‘Unite the Right’ marchers were openly wearing Nazi symbols!”

You’re right, and if you’ll read a little more carefully, you’ll see I never claimed otherwise. But they marched alongside Nazis. They chanted “Jews will not replace us!” alongside Nazis. They stood side-by-side with Nazis.

“Isn’t it so convenient for you to exclude speech you don’t like from the free speech umbrella? Free speech is an absolute right, and the true test is whether we’ll stand up for speech we disagree with!”

As established earlier, legally speaking, free speech is not an absolute right. Ethically–well, do you believe people have the absolute right to harass others? To threaten? To leak private information? To incite violence and murder? I don’t. Which means ethically, free speech isn’t an absolute right either.

I struggled with this. But in the end, I look at the photos and videos from Charlottesville, and I see deliberate intimidation. I see the threat and promise of violence. I see people proclaiming their loyalty to an enemy our country went to war against.

I see no reason to tolerate or accept that enemy.

Nor do I have any respect for those who knowingly collaborate with them.

Even the Joker hates Nazis

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Erosion After the Fire

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:00 am
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Erosion After the Fire
Hillslope-scale erosion maps helped response teams decide how and where to focus recovery efforts following the Soberanes fire in California.

Zoo Hatches First Horned Puffin Chick

Aug. 17th, 2017 05:16 pm
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Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Puffin chick 3

A tiny Horned Puffin is doing well at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The chick hatched in July at the Rocky Shores habitat for sea birds.

This is the first Horned Puffin ever hatched at the zoo, which has been home to four adult members of this species since October 2014.

The chick will be visible, periodically. However, zoo guests are likely to only catch glimpses of its tiny beak as it ventures to the front of its nesting area.

“The chick’s parents take turns feeding it, and visitors can see them going to and fro with food, or watching over the nest box,” said staff biologist, Cindy Roberts.

2_Horned puffin chick

3_Horned puffin chick 2

4_Puffin 4Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (1-4) / Ingrid Barrentine (5-7)

Earlier this year, zookeepers took the initiative to build nest boxes for the Horned Puffins. They consulted with experts at the Alaska Sea Life Center to build boxes for the mating pair.

Zookeepers at Point Defiance Zoo give daily feeding presentations and talk to visitors about Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins and Common Murres.

“Staff won’t know whether the chick is male or female, until it’s old enough for staff to collect a small blood sample from which gender and general health status can be determined,” Roberts continued.

A “well-chick-check-up” from a zoo veterinarian recently found the baby Puffin to be in good health.

The Horned Puffin (Fratercula corniculata) is an auk, similar in appearance to the Atlantic Puffin. It is a seabird that feeds primarily by diving for fish, and it nests in colonies, often with other auks.

They are found on the coasts of Japan, Russia, British Columbia and Alaska. They spend winters in the ocean, as far south as the Washington coast.

Like all sea birds, Horned Puffins face a number of threats in the wild, including predators, oil spills, plastic pollution, over fishing and entanglement in fishing nets.

The incubation period for a Horned Puffin is about 40 days. After hatching, the chick spends 40 more days in the burrow until it fledges and has gained the necessary strength and feathers to go out on its own.

At its current stage, the zoo’s new puffin chick looks like a black-and-gray ball of fluff with a dark gray beak. However, as it grows, it will take on the full black-and-white body of a Horned Puffin, and its beak will turn a distinctive yellowish-orange with a red tip.

Adult Horned Puffins also have bright orange feet and legs. During breeding season, they have characteristic “cheeks” with a “horn” above the eyes.

In addition to its Horned Puffin colony, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has a complement of 21 Tufted Puffins and seven Common Murres living in the Rocky Shores sea bird habitat.




Not slowly going mad, and YARD SALE!

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:44 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Apparently the key to me not slowly losing my mind from multiple nights of unsettled sleep while The Husband is away is to have people come stay with me. Kambriel and C. are here! And C. is being very understanding about his sleeping in the living room while I steal Kambriel to snooze in the bedroom with me. I've slept soundly for the past few nights, and it has been AWESOME. Also, y'know, they're some of my favorite people, so just having them around (even while I'm laboring in the tech content mines during the day) is a delight.

Because they're out here, we organized a super-last-minute yard sale! Because I have, um, a LOT of clothes to sell (yes, even after last year's epic yard sale), Thea has things to sell, and Kambriel brought goodies to sell! (I swear I will not buy up all of her bat pillows.)

Anyhoodle, in case any Seattle-area peeps are interesting in checking out the sale:

Saturday, August 19th
11:30am - 6pm.
122 N 105th St WA 98133
[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

Because Donald Trump long ago gave up on caring about the difference between fact and fiction, he has a myth he believes can help address terrorism.
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Posted by Steve Benen

Much of the American mainstream has recoiled in response to seeing a president defend racist activists, but we're not the only ones who've noticed.
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Posted by Phil Plait

The Sun is the closest star to us in the entire Universe, so you’d think we’d know the most about it. And in many senses we do; we can view the surface in high resolution and see details there we cannot in other stars.

But there’s still a lot about it we don’t know, and lots of questions remain unanswered. Some seem simple enough. For example: How fast does the Sun’s core rotate?

Now we know: It spins around almost exactly once a week. The weird thing is, that’s four times faster than the Sun’s surface rotation! The Sun’s insides spin faster than its outsides.

So there’s a bit to break down here, but it’s pretty cool. OK, fine: It’s hot. But the news is cool.

This cutaway diagram shows the internal layers of the Sun, and how pressure waves (p-waves) bounce around under the surface and through the Sun, while gravity waves (g-waves) don’t make it from the deep interior to the surface.

This cutaway diagram shows the internal layers of the Sun, and how pressure waves (p-waves) bounce around under the surface and through the Sun, while gravity waves (g-waves) don’t make it from the deep interior to the surface. Credit: ESA; (Sun’s chromosphere based on SOHO image; credit: SOHO (ESA & NASA))


The Sun is not a solid ball, but is instead a gigantic sphere of gas (technically, it’s a plasma, a gas in which the atoms have lost one or more electrons; that’s actually important, as we’ll see in a sec). Overall, the Sun is about 1.4 million kilometers wide. At the center, the temperature and pressure are so high (15 million degrees C and hundreds of billion times Earth’s atmospheric pressure at sea level!) that hydrogen atoms slam into each other and through a complicated process fuse into helium. This releases a lot of energy — a lot — and that’s why the Sun shines. This energy works its way out of the solar interior and radiates away from the surface as light.

The region where hydrogen is transmogrified into helium is called the core, and it’s about 1/5th of the Sun’s diameter: roughly 280,000 km wide (somewhat less than the distance from the Earth to the Moon, for comparison). We know it’s there, despite being buried under a half million kilometers of raging plasma, due to the physics of how the Sun works — the discovery of nuclear fusion was a huge breakthrough in understanding solar dynamics.


When we look at the Sun from the outside, we see it spinning. Even though the surface isn’t solid and is always changing, there are a few ways to measure the rotation rate: For example, you can watch sunspots and use them as landmarks (well, plasmamarks, I guess). When you do, you find that the Sun rotates once every few weeks or so. Moreover, it rotates at a higher rate at the equator versus the poles; 25 versus 35 days. That “differential rotation” is again because the Sun isn’t a solid body, and sloshes around a bit.

But how fast does the core rotate? That number has been long sought, and has been maddeningly elusive. However, a new method has finally revealed the answer ... and it’s because the Sun is vibrating.

Between the core and the surface is a region of the Sun called the convective zone, where hot plasma rises and cool plasma sinks, similar to water boiling in a pan. There are thousands of these cells of plasma moving up and down inside the Sun, and they agitate the material around them. This creates a pressure wave, similar to a sound wave. When these reach the Sun’s surface they cause it to vibrate, and these vibrations can be measured. The physics of waves is well enough understood that the properties of these waves can be used to measure conditions inside the Sun, so we can figure out what’s going deep beneath the surface without ever seeing it directly. The science of this is called helioseismology.

The problem here is that these pressure waves (also called p-waves) travel pretty rapidly through the dense regions deep inside the Sun, so they’re not sensitive to the core’s relatively slow rotation. They can’t be used directly to measure how quickly the core rotates.

Ah, but there’s another type of wave, called a gravity wave (or g-wave, not to be confused with gravitational waves, which are very different). This is the same kind of wave you get when you move around in your bathtub: Water gets pushed up, and gravity pulls it back down. The water picks up speed as it falls and overshoots a little, dipping down and creating a trough between crests. Those crests get pulled down, and so on, creating the g-wave.

With the Sun, these waves are generated at the core, but they don’t make it out to the surface, so they can’t be measured directly. Arg!

As p-waves move through the Sun the surface oscillates, as shown in this physical model of how the surface moves up and down.

As p-waves move through the Sun the surface oscillates, as shown in this physical model of how the surface moves up and down. Credit: NSO/GONG

But wait! There’s a solution here. It turns out that when p-waves pass through the core, the material moving under the influence of g-waves interacts with them, changing the way p-waves move through it. The effect is incredibly subtle, but with careful measurement it can be seen.

And it finally has been, using the venerable Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a space-based observatory dedicated to observing the Sun. An instrument on board SOHO, called Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies (or GOLF), was designed to look at solar p-waves. By taking measurements over a staggering 16.5 years (SOHO launched in 1995), astronomers were able to see the subtle effect of g-waves on them. It’s these measurements that indicate the solar core rotates much faster than the surface.

This has been suspected for years, and it’s nice to see it confirmed. And I have to admit, as soon as I heard this I did a mental forehead slap. I should’ve known the core would spin faster!

Why? From physical theories, we think stars spin rapidly when they’re born. We see lots of confirmation of this by observing young stars, too. But the Sun’s surface spins only once a month or so. This is most likely due to its magnetic field: the powerful magnetism generated inside the Sun. It’s not well understood exactly where the magnetism is created, but it’s certainly above the core, in or just above the convection zone. A very well-known property of physics is that moving charged particles create a magnetic field, and the plasma moving up and down in the Sun’s convective region therefore does just that.

Above the Sun’s surface, the magnetic field acts like a gigantic net, sweeping up subatomic particles emitted from the Sun and speeding them up, like a fishing net picking up fish. As it does, the particles push back a little bit on the magnetic field. Since the magnetism is anchored in the Sun’s material, this acts, over billions of years, to slow the Sun’s rotation down

But the magnetic field isn’t anchored in the core. The outer layers slow down, but the core is still free to spin faster. Sure, friction will slow it down, but even after 4.5 billion years it will still be rotating faster than the Sun’s surface — a ball of plasma nearly 300,000 km across has a substantial amount of momentum. I don’t study the Sun specifically, but I knew all this, and I should’ve been able to piece it together myself. It never occurred to me, but it seems obvious now. Ah, well.

So, anyway, this is pretty nifty. We don’t have a lot of ways to study the Sun’s core, and now we have a new one that looks very promising. Rotation is just one of many properties of the core we can learn about using this method. It’s like a window that allows us to see past the septillions of tons of plasma in the Sun and get information on the depths below.

We’ve been studying the Sun for centuries, but there’s still so much to learn about it! It’s very welcome to have a new tool to use to study it.


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A huge eruption of material blasts away from the Sun on Aug. 31, 2012, caused by fierce magnetic activity generated deep within our star. NASA/GSFC/SDO

Historical Romances on Sale!

Aug. 17th, 2017 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Sarah: Today and tomorrow, 40% off Accessories at Zazzle, with ZACCESSORIES. The code expires 8/18/2017 at 11:59 PM PST.

The accessory sale includes water bottles! And we have some of those:

Waterbottle 1: Disrupt the Patriarchy, Read Romance

Water bottle 2: Slayer of Words (all profits to Doctors Without Borders)

Destiny’s Surrender

RECOMMENDED: Destiny’s Surrender by Beverly Jenkins is $2.99! This is the second book in her Destiny series and follows Andrew, Logan’s brother. He has a particularly unique relationship with a courtesan named Billie, who shows up on his doorstep with a child she says is his – and with the intention of leaving her son there so he can have a better life and escape the danger that’s closely following Billie. This book has an impressive 4.2-star rating on GR. 

The child he didn’t know he had . . .

Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it’s time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn’t as simple as he’d hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina “Billie” Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!

The woman he didn’t know he loved . . .

Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she’s willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she’s saying “I do” in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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Moonlight on My Mind

Moonlight on My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston is $1.99 at most vendors and $2.99 at Barnes & Noble! This is an enemies to lovers historical with a marriage of convenience. Readers really loved the heroine’s redemption arc, but found the suspense/mystery element took away from the romance a bit.

To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.

To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.

Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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Temptations of a Wallflower

RECOMMENDEDTemptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh is $3.99! The previous book is also $3.99. Elyse read this one and gave it an A-:

Temptations of a Wallflower is very very sexy (people talking openly about sex and finding what works for them together is sexy) and it’s also very smart. There were a few things I still wanted, though. Overall, I found the third book in the Wicked Quills of London series to be eminently readable and very hot, and I highly recommend it.

Eva Leigh’s deliciously sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues as a Lady’s secret career writing erotic fiction is jeopardized by real-life romance . . .

In society circles she’s known as the Watching Wallflower—shy, quiet, and certainly never scandalous. Yet beneath Lady Sarah Frampton’s demure façade hides the mind of The Lady of Dubious Quality, author of the most titillating erotic fiction the ton has ever seen. Sarah knows discovery would lead to her ruin, but marriage—to a vicar, no less—could help protect her from slander. An especially tempting option when the clergyman in question is the handsome, intriguing Jeremy Cleland.

Tasked with unmasking London’s most scandalous author by his powerful family, Jeremy has no idea that his beautiful, innocent bride is the very woman he seeks to destroy. His mission must remain a secret, even from the new wife who stirs his deepest longings. Yet when the truth comes to light, Sarah and Jeremy’s newfound love will be tested. Will Sarah’s secret identity tear them apart or will the temptations of his wallflower wife prove too wicked to resist?

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The Trouble with Honor

The Trouble with Honor by Julia London is $1.99! This is the first book in her Cabot Sisters historical romance series. The heroine makes a deal with the hero for him to seduce her stepbrother’s bride-to-be and of course, they fall in love while he’s supposed to be wooing someone else. Readers loved the heroine, but felt the last quarter of the book didn’t fit with the rest.

Desperate times call for daring measures as Honor Cabot, the eldest stepdaughter of the wealthy Earl of Beckington, awaits her family’s ruin. Upon the earl’s death she and her sisters stand to lose the luxury of their grand home – and their place on the pedestal of society – to their stepbrother and his social-climbing fiancée. Forced to act quickly, Honor makes a devil’s bargain with the only rogue in London who can seduce her stepbrother’s fiancée out of the Cabots’ lives for good.

An illegitimate son of a duke, George Easton was born of scandal and grows his fortune through dangerous risks. But now he and Honor are dabbling in a perilous dance of seduction that puts her reputation and his jaded heart on the line. And as unexpected desire threatens to change the rules of their secret game, the stakes may become too high even for a notorious gambler and a determined, free-spirited debutante to handle.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

As a rule, the White House's media strategy follows a predictable path. Once in a great while, though, a curve ball crosses the plate.

The REAL King Cake

Aug. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, so I thought I'd feature some appropriate cakes. However, I realize many of our younger readers may not be familiar with The King. So listen up, whipper snappers! Picture an older, more talented, better looking, Southern Justin Bieber wearing a white, bedazzled jumpsuit.


Also, he may or may not be dead.


Maybe don't picture that part.


Right. All together now? Then let's get started!


This is Elvis:

Rawr! Ffft ffft...



...is not Elvis.  I'm thinking either Ray Liotta or Wayne Newton.



Not Elvis:

John claims this looks like Jimmy Durante. It's like I don't even know who he is anymore. (John, I mean. Jimmy I had to wiki.)





I'm going with Liza Minelli.



Oh! Wait! I know this one!

The Brawny paper towel guy!


And finally, Elvis:


Queen Amidala. Or maybe one of the guys from Menudo. (Thanks, John!)

No, no, I'm staying with Amidala.


Thanks to Paula H., Diana C., Connie B., and Chrissy K. who are all, collectively, nuthin' but hound dogs. And oh! The crying! ALL the TIME! Enough, already!

Ah thank you. Thankyouverramuuuch.


Update from john: The Munsters! The last one looks like the kid from The Munsters! I knew it was something with an "M" from my childhood.


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

How isolated is Donald Trump? Even U.S. military leaders are making clear their reactions to violence in Charlottesville are not in line with the president's.
[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

Aside from vague tweets, a congressional censure resolution is the least congressional Republicans can do in response to Donald Trump's defense of bigots.


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