Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

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Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:21 am UTC

So I looked into it a bit, and I think some states could afford to lower their age restriction on buying and consuming alchohol.

As it is, any state that allows persons under 21 to buy alchohol is penalised 10% of
its highway infrastructure apportionment funds, found here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/notices/n4510705t1.htm

I also worked out there to be approximately 12,000,000 18-21 year olds in the US, so the approximate percentage of people that age for any state is 12 million/311 million and multiplying that by the states actual population gives an approximate number of people between the ages of 18 and 21.

The basic idea is that if 18-21 year olds pay more than a certain amount each (highway revenue lost over number of 18-21 year olds willing to buy alchohol from the state)
then it will be affordable for the state to lower it's age restrictions. While this can't possibly be affordable for every state, if a small state near large ones changes its laws, it could make a profit from 18-21 year olds crossing the state border to purchase alchohol.

So, in Rhode Island, for example, which would lose $13,000,000 (10% of $137,000,000, I assume this figure is per year.) then for the approximately 350,000 people between 18 and 21 from Rhode Island and bordering states, each would have to pay on average $137,000,000/350,000=$37 worth of alchohol per year to make it affordable.

Questions? Comments? Some huge detail I missed because I'm a dumbass? Please comment.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Dark567 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

Robinsong wrote:So, in Rhode Island, for example, which would lose $13,000,000 (10% of $137,000,000, I assume this figure is per year.) then for the approximately 350,000 people between 18 and 21 from Rhode Island and bordering states, each would have to pay on average $137,000,000/350,000=$37 worth of alchohol per year to make it affordable.

Questions? Comments? Some huge detail I missed because I'm a dumbass? Please comment.
So your $37 assumes all they spend goes to the state, without considering the costs of the actual alcohol. (This also assumes the state own the liquor stores, which isn't the case everywhere)
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:So your $37 assumes all they spend goes to the state, without considering the costs of the actual alcohol. (This also assumes the state own the liquor stores, which isn't the case everywhere)


Apparently it does, I think this falls into the "I'm a dumbass" category. Okay, so that $37 is profit the state has to make from tax on alcohol sales per person. Which I think in most cases is 8-10% which would mean people need to spend $370+ per year. Hmmmm... this is looking more farfetched by the minute.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Роберт » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:32 pm UTC

Legal drinking age in the U.S. Virgin Islands is 18, as it is in Puerto Rico. But no, until you get NMDAA repealed (good luck) states are not going to do it. Maybe DC could? (Seems unlikely).
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Dark567 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

Ironically Louisiana got around this for a long time(Until 1996) by making it illegal to buy off-premises alcohol for persons under 21, but left it legal for persons to buy alcohol consumed on premises(bars and pubs) for those over 18.

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/23/us/lo ... tml?src=pm
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby firechicago » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:37 am UTC

You're also relying on an awful lot of 18-21 year olds in Connecticut and Massachusetts traveling a considerable distance I know if I were an 18 year old freshman in Williamstown, MA. I'd much rather find a senior to go buy booze for me than spend 2.5 hours in the car (if I even had a car) each way to buy legal booze in RI. Even from the Boston area you're talking about an hour's drive each way.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:05 am UTC

firechicago wrote:You're also relying on an awful lot of 18-21 year olds in Connecticut and Massachusetts traveling a considerable distance I know if I were an 18 year old freshman in Williamstown, MA. I'd much rather find a senior to go buy booze for me than spend 2.5 hours in the car (if I even had a car) each way to buy legal booze in RI. Even from the Boston area you're talking about an hour's drive each way.


That's true, but rhode island is just an example, I was thinking about this happening in any smallish state which is in a densely populated area. which is pretty much anywhere in the northeastern corner.

Actually, I think it works better in southwestern Nevada. Because It shares a long border with the most populous state California, (18-21yr olds = approximateley 1.5 million) and has a low highway apportionment ($200,000,000) it actually brings the margin back to $14 tax per person!
(This is before taking into account other surrounding states, but this would bump the total 18-21pop to maybe 2million, but barely any of that can be considered because those states are so huge.) Nevada itself has around 100,000 18-21 year olds.

You do raise a good point about lengthy drives, I'm not sure what percentage of the 1.6 million can be considered willing to travel. I also can't find anything about the tax rate on buying alcohol in Nevada.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am UTC

And there are costs besides potential loss of federal dollars-drunk 18-21 year old boys are killed at a much higher rate, especially if they are driving. And how many 18 year old boys, on then road home from buying booze, would abstain from drinking? Or maybe they would have a few before heading home, confident in their ability to judge their own impairment. I'm sure there are statistics about this, but can't be arsed to look them up.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:36 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:And there are costs besides potential loss of federal dollars-drunk 18-21 year old boys are killed at a much higher rate, especially if they are driving. And how many 18 year old boys, on then road home from buying booze, would abstain from drinking? Or maybe they would have a few before heading home, confident in their ability to judge their own impairment. I'm sure there are statistics about this, but can't be arsed to look them up.


I would've thought that 18-21 year old boys from California would be so laced up on cocaine that a couple of pints before heading home wouldn't make a difference? (I have read Less Than Zero: Once.)

Bad jokes aside, I'm not even gonna bother trying to find stats on that, it was hard enough to get an estimate on just the population of that age. (3.8%, if you're interested)

I'm really only interested in working out if this is possible for a state to do while overcoming the current fine, I never said it would be a good idea.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Ulc » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:47 am UTC

a) Could we, like, not totally assume that everyone is from the US. At least mention that it's a US specific topic instead of just sort of saying "the rest of the world doesn't exist"

b) Most of Europa have that, and generally it doesn't seem to course any problems that isn't also present in the US. And it's sort of silly to tell people "you are now legally an adult" and then not give them all privileges of adults.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Angua » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:56 am UTC

Yeah - echoing Ulc if you want to see if it would affect deaths from drunk driving, maybe look up to see the stats in similar countries. I don't have time to do so, but someone who is interested could.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby firechicago » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:59 am UTC

Robinsong wrote:Actually, I think it works better in southwestern Nevada. Because It shares a long border with the most populous state California, (18-21yr olds = approximateley 1.5 million) and has a low highway apportionment ($200,000,000) it actually brings the margin back to $14 tax per person!
(This is before taking into account other surrounding states, but this would bump the total 18-21pop to maybe 2million, but barely any of that can be considered because those states are so huge.) Nevada itself has around 100,000 18-21 year olds.

You do raise a good point about lengthy drives, I'm not sure what percentage of the 1.6 million can be considered willing to travel. I also can't find anything about the tax rate on buying alcohol in Nevada.


The Nevada example is worse, not better, for lengthy drives. California is a very populous state, but it's also very very big, and most of its population is concentrated on the coast (i.e. the opposite end of the state from Nevada.) A quick glance at Google maps tells me that Los Angeles is 3.5 hours from the NV state line, and San Francisco and San Diego are more than 4 hours. Even Sacramento is more than two hours from Nevada.

The fact is that it is not so difficult for 18,19 and 20 year olds to buy alcohol as to justfiy an 8-hour round trip to another state in order to do so.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:19 am UTC

firechicago wrote:The Nevada example is worse, not better, for lengthy drives. California is a very populous state, but it's also very very big, and most of its population is concentrated on the coast (i.e. the opposite end of the state from Nevada.) A quick glance at Google maps tells me that Los Angeles is 3.5 hours from the NV state line, and San Francisco and San Diego are more than 4 hours. Even Sacramento is more than two hours from Nevada.

The fact is that it is not so difficult for 18,19 and 20 year olds to buy alcohol as to justfiy an 8-hour round trip to another state in order to do so.


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Man, they really thought this whole '10% Highway Apportionment penalty' through, huh?

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby JBJ » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:49 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:But no, until you get NMDAA repealed (good luck) states are not going to do it.

States would also have to repeal their individual Minor In Possession laws.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Dark567 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:29 pm UTC

Angua wrote:Yeah - echoing Ulc if you want to see if it would affect deaths from drunk driving, maybe look up to see the stats in similar countries. I don't have time to do so, but someone who is interested could.
Or you know look at the US before they pushed the age up. At least in the example above it seemed pretty bad in Louisiana, which was the last state to go to 21. I suspect the US has a much larger portion of 18 year old's owning auto vehicles than most other countries and longer distances driven on average. The only country I would consider comparable in those regards is Canada, which looking at that data could be useful.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Роберт » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:35 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
Angua wrote:Yeah - echoing Ulc if you want to see if it would affect deaths from drunk driving, maybe look up to see the stats in similar countries. I don't have time to do so, but someone who is interested could.
Or you know look at the US before they pushed the age up. At least in the example above it seemed pretty bad in Louisiana, which was the last state to go to 21. I suspect the US has a much larger portion of 18 year old's owning auto vehicles than most other countries and longer distances driven on average. The only country I would consider comparable in those regards is Canada, which looking at that data could be useful.

You could also try to look up data about how many 18-20 year old U.S. Citizens get booze in Canada...
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Robinsong » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:08 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:
Роберт wrote:But no, until you get NMDAA repealed (good luck) states are not going to do it.

States would also have to repeal their individual Minor In Possession laws.


That's exactly what Роберт was talking about when he said
Роберт wrote:states are not going to do it.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby lynkyn » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:24 pm UTC

I'm not sure about the economics of it, but the drinking age should certainly be 18. Both smoking, and gorey sex with 90-year-old men with herpes, are legal at 18, and drinking is safer than either.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Роберт » Tue May 01, 2012 3:09 pm UTC

lynkyn wrote:I'm not sure about the economics of it, but the drinking age should certainly be 18. Both smoking, and gorey sex with 90-year-old men with herpes, are legal at 18, and drinking is safer than either.

It's not about how safe it is for the person choosing to do it, it's about how safe it is for third parties. The sex thing wouldn't affect third parties. Smoking might, but there's already second-hand smoking laws. Drinking might, but there's already drinking and driving laws.

The problem, I think, is more people disobey the drinking and driving laws when it's legal to drink under 21, enough so that it significantly affects the number of fatalities. There's probably a better solution than what we have, though.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 01, 2012 3:15 pm UTC

Before we make comparisons about how many people are likely to die from drunk driving, should we look at drunk driving rates for countries where the drinking age is 18?

Because I wager there's an incredibly high but difficult to properly calculate value to be had for lowering the drinking age; changing the mentality about drinking in our riskiest driving demographic.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Роберт » Tue May 01, 2012 3:22 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Before we make comparisons about how many people are likely to die from drunk driving, should we look at drunk driving rates for countries where the drinking age is 18?

Because I wager there's an incredibly high but difficult to properly calculate value to be had for lowering the drinking age; changing the mentality about drinking in our riskiest driving demographic.

I thought people already brought up how drinking laws appeared to affect traffic fatalities in the U.S., which is the country the OP is talking about.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Thesh » Wed May 02, 2012 2:58 am UTC

I've been skimming this:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/rese ... caused.htm

And it concludes that it is probably not the change in the age limit that reduced the number of drunk driving fatalities.

Canadian reductions in youth drinking and driving, measured both by fatal crash data and by surveys, followed virtually the same pattern as in the United States. But the Canadian reduction was not due to laws directed at youth: the drinking age did not change during this time, and zero tolerance laws were implemented after the reduction had occurred. This means that the changes must have resulted from some combination of the difficult-to-assess educational and motivational programs and from other factors outside of traffic safety. This conclusion suggests that a substantial portion of the reduction in the United States also resulted from these same causes.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Роберт » Wed May 02, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I've been skimming this:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/rese ... caused.htm

And it concludes that it is probably not the change in the age limit that reduced the number of drunk driving fatalities.

Canadian reductions in youth drinking and driving, measured both by fatal crash data and by surveys, followed virtually the same pattern as in the United States. But the Canadian reduction was not due to laws directed at youth: the drinking age did not change during this time, and zero tolerance laws were implemented after the reduction had occurred. This means that the changes must have resulted from some combination of the difficult-to-assess educational and motivational programs and from other factors outside of traffic safety. This conclusion suggests that a substantial portion of the reduction in the United States also resulted from these same causes.

That makes perfect sense to me.

The problem is convincing the lawmakers that sort of thing.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Chuff » Wed May 02, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

firechicago wrote:You're also relying on an awful lot of 18-21 year olds in Connecticut and Massachusetts traveling a considerable distance I know if I were an 18 year old freshman in Williamstown, MA. I'd much rather find a senior to go buy booze for me than spend 2.5 hours in the car (if I even had a car) each way to buy legal booze in RI. Even from the Boston area you're talking about an hour's drive each way.
As an 18 year old freshman in Williamstown, MA, I can confirm this. It is incredibly easy to get alcohol underaged. Now, perhaps this should suggest something to us about the point of a drinking age that falls in the middle of the average American college timespan, but you're definitely not going to get a lot of revenue from out of state 18-year-olds travelling to booze.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby mosc » Wed May 09, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Before we make comparisons about how many people are likely to die from drunk driving, should we look at drunk driving rates for countries where the drinking age is 18?

Because I wager there's an incredibly high but difficult to properly calculate value to be had for lowering the drinking age; changing the mentality about drinking in our riskiest driving demographic.

Also consider in the analysis the number of 18-20 year olds that OWN CARS in said countries. The US is car crazy. LA has more cars than people FFS where throughout most of the world, most city folk don't even OWN cars!
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Dark567 » Wed May 09, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Also consider in the analysis the number of 18-20 year olds that OWN CARS in said countries. The US is car crazy. LA has more cars than people FFS where throughout most of the world, most city folk don't even OWN cars!
That's why as a I said above, its probably better to just look at some of the states that pushed their drinking age up later(Louisiana)... And then you see the high drunk driving rates.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby danielbeaver » Wed May 09, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Legal drinking age in the U.S. Virgin Islands is 18, as it is in Puarto Rico.

And Puerto Rico gets punished for it (they take a hit in highway funding). We get along just fine with age 18 drinking - the US is the odd one out, and purely for prudish reasons.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu May 10, 2012 5:41 am UTC

I'm not sure it's strictly a matter of prudish reasons. There are non-prudish reasons to want a single national drinking age, and there are political reasons (albeit political reasons relating to the presence of prudes) that make it easier to raise the age some places than to lower it some places. The 21-year limit was partly a result of looking at a bunch of 18-year limits and 21-year limits and deciding that it was more important to have one imperfect limit than to strive for the ideal limit mañana.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby marcel » Fri May 18, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:a) Could we, like, not totally assume that everyone is from the US. At least mention that it's a US specific topic instead of just sort of saying "the rest of the world doesn't exist"

b) Most of Europa have that, and generally it doesn't seem to course any problems that isn't also present in the US. And it's sort of silly to tell people "you are now legally an adult" and then not give them all privileges of adults.

And therefore my statement is that you are not considered legaly an adult in the US untill you are 21, not matter what some other laws may say.

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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby PAstrychef » Fri May 18, 2012 8:25 pm UTC

marcel wrote:
Ulc wrote:a) Could we, like, not totally assume that everyone is from the US. At least mention that it's a US specific topic instead of just sort of saying "the rest of the world doesn't exist"

b) Most of Europa have that, and generally it doesn't seem to course any problems that isn't also present in the US. And it's sort of silly to tell people "you are now legally an adult" and then not give them all privileges of adults.

And therefore my statement is that you are not considered legaly an adult in the US untill you are 21, not matter what some other laws may say.

alas, you are considered an adult for many purposes, you just can't drink. Own property, get married, sign contracts, join the military, stay out all night long, go to jail for life (or death); all things that happen once you turn 18 in the USA. Drinking, nope, can't do that yet.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Thesh » Sat May 19, 2012 1:56 am UTC

Well, you can't be president until you are 35. You can't avoid the draft until you are 26. Although I would have no problem lowering those ages to 18 as well.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Bakemaster » Sun May 20, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

I think it would be hilarious to allow 18 year-old Americans to run for president.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby brakos82 » Sun May 20, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:I think it would be hilarious to allow 18 year-old Americans to run for president.


Still better than anything we've elected the last couple decades.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby Bakemaster » Sun May 20, 2012 11:02 pm UTC

Wow, cynicism! That's original.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon May 21, 2012 1:07 am UTC

Still better than sarcasm.
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Re: Could age restrictions for buying alchohol be lowered?.

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed May 23, 2012 3:19 am UTC

Роберт wrote:
Thesh wrote:I've been skimming this:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/rese ... caused.htm

And it concludes that it is probably not the change in the age limit that reduced the number of drunk driving fatalities.

Canadian reductions in youth drinking and driving, measured both by fatal crash data and by surveys, followed virtually the same pattern as in the United States. But the Canadian reduction was not due to laws directed at youth: the drinking age did not change during this time, and zero tolerance laws were implemented after the reduction had occurred. This means that the changes must have resulted from some combination of the difficult-to-assess educational and motivational programs and from other factors outside of traffic safety. This conclusion suggests that a substantial portion of the reduction in the United States also resulted from these same causes.

That makes perfect sense to me.

The problem is convincing the lawmakers that sort of thing.

The problem is that the electorate is pretty stupid. They like justifying things with morality and feeling rather than fact.

Besides, it's not like there'll be some huge increase in alcoholism with a raised drinking age. Just like with drugs, if you want it, it's there (and really easy if you have friends a couple years older than you)
frezik wrote:Anti-photons move at the speed of dark

DemonDeluxe wrote:Paying to have laws written that allow you to do what you want, is a lot cheaper than paying off the judge every time you want to get away with something shady.


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