1007: "Sustainable"

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby jc » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

Bunty wrote:I don't know about comfort, but there seems to have been an interesting blip in the use of the word 'internet' centred around the year 1900...

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... moothing=3


I ran across similar data a few years back, with an amusing explanation. When the authors investigated some of these "1900 blips", they found that most were an artifact of the fact that a small but significant amount of the world's online material is on "mainframes", i.e., IBM systems. Most of the date-handling libraries on such systems use 1900 as their "epoch". That is, when partial years are used in date fields (to save two bytes), the software prepends "19" to the value. New things stored on such systems are now being dated "12", which some of IBM mainframe software will expand to "1912". These date bugs are being patched, but in the dwindling world of IBM mainframe software development, this tends to be slow, and will take decades to die out. They'll probably never die out entirely, and will remain as an annoying problem for historians looking at documents from the early 21st century.

Note that the "1900 blip" in the occurrence of "internet" is roughly from 1900 to 1910 or 1911. This is consistent with the above, and represents 2-byte date fields for documents from the years 2000 to 2011, as interpreted by software that automatically adds 1900 to all 2-byte dates. That blip should be expected to slowly extend over the next few years, though it should dwindle slowly. We don't know when it'll drop below the level of noise.

I'd bet that the problem isn't entirely on IBM mainframes, though. After all, Americans continue to insist on writing 2-digit years in dates. I've even seen dates like 07/12/09 in articles that were clearly about the early 20th century, with no way to be sure that the "09" meant 1909 or 2009. Or maybe it meant 2007-12-09. If I couldn't tell, I doubt that most software would guess the century right in such cases.

Google Books also has scattered dates that are simply wrong by random amounts, for no discernible reason.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby boxtavious » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:21 pm UTC

As a transportation engineer, you have no idea how true this really is. I had my undergrad engineering classes in a LEED certified sustainable building. My masters program became part of a newly formed school before I graduated, the college of civil, environmental, and sustainable engineering. Proposals can't go through a municipality without the word sustainable somewhere in it, especially if there is federal money involved.

If you see the word sustainable, it means it costs a lot more up front.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby limecat » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:36 pm UTC

Proginoskes wrote:Did anyone else notice the levelling off between 2000 and 2008? Gee, it's almost as if ...

Hilariously for whatever point you were trying to make, that leveling off occurred in the 90s. Take a piece of paper and use it to trace the vertical axis, go ahead. In the 2000s, the trend picks up again.

Theres some kind of irony here, im just not sure what it is.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:41 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:His real name was Louis-Antoine-Cyprien Infernet.

I almost expected...

Showing results for Louis-Antoine-Cyprien Internet
Search instead for Louis-Antoine-Cyprien Infernet

...when I searched Google for him.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby jc » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:In a semi-related note, the Treaty of Tripoli tells us that the United States of America is not in any fenfe a Chriftian nation. This makes Chriftians very angry, because they like to chrift a lot, especially with fenfe. I think.

Heh. I checked that page out, and saw that the writer of the document correctly transcribed the text from the image, using a simple 's' for "long s" in the original. The ongoing confusion between f and long-s is most of the reason that the long-s was slowly dropped during the decades around 1800. The British were a bit slower to do this than were the rest of the English-speaking world, but long-s was essentially dead everywhere by around 1860.

Still, it's common for people transcribing old documents to confuse long-s with f, especially since printing technology sometimes made them look identical. Theoretically, the little horizontal dash in f should always appear on both sides of the vertical, while long-s should either have no horizontal at all or it should be a tiny nub on the left of the vertical. But poorly maintained printing presses could mess it up with dropouts and/or extra blobs of ink, and "artistic" fonts could totally confuse the two intentionally.

Of course, these days most of us only see a long-s in the form of an integral sign (which was just a standard letter in most typefaces when Leibniz invented that usage).

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby garyculp » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

DavidArmstrong488 wrote:However, what I don't know/haven't figured out is how a Logarithm came to be used. Why wouldn't just plotting the points on a timeline serve the purpose? What about the data suggested that a Logarithm would do the job, and how do Logarithms go about doing their job? This is the part I'm struggling to understand - when would you use a Logarithm and how do they work?


Many things follow a pattern of exponential growth or decay. For data like that, a logarithmic scale is a very natural choice because logarithms are the inverse of exponentiation. For graphing a phenomenon that doesn't follow an exponential growth or decay pattern, use of a logarithmic scale would still have the effect of compressing the data into a smaller space on the page, but it would be a rather arbitrary choice and wouldn't result in a straight line.

Humans are pretty good at visually comparing the heights and slopes of straight lines to each other, but not nearly so good at comparing curves. So when there is a natural, meaningful, and non-deceptive way of displaying the data as straight lines it makes sense to do so, because it aids human comprehension.

It could be argued that avoiding the need for 20-story tall sheets of paper to plot the graph is just a bonus.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby bmonk » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:16 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:Sustainable.

GOOMH, Kit!

Really, I recall a similar graph showing that the Federal budget will, IIRC, by 2060 or so, suffice to pay for one fighter jet--which will have to be shared among the military branches. The Air Force will fly it on MWF, the Navy on TThSa, and the Marine will get it on Su. The Army will, perforce, have to be disbanded.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby A_of_s_t » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:21 pm UTC

While it makes for a good joke, I don't think a linear regression was the best regression model to use.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

Double Plus Sustainable.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby enumerated powers » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:47 pm UTC

Developers developers developers developers

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby dllthomas » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

As my wife pointed out, of course Randall used a "log scale" - what other scale would you use when describing sustainability? It's not like there's an "oil scale" or a "fresh water scale"...

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby perakojot » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:15 pm UTC

i am disappoint that no one uttered the fallowing sentence..


Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo..

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby kvaks » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

This comic made me thing of something. I hope some math geeks here can understand the following question and help me a little. I've thought about this quite a few times in my life, but never sat down to really figure it out. Here goes:

I'm looking for a function that provides the same "sense", for lack of a better word, in a upper and lower limited range (codomain) of what the exponential function does in a range that is not upper bound. Let's stick to a nonnegative domain and a base > 1. Say a percentage rise within the 0-100 range. Close to the lower bound of the range, the functions should be similar: If the exponential function doubles from a value of 1 to a value of 2, the function I'm seeking should be close to that. However, while the exponential function can double from 60 to 120, that would be impossible if the upper limit is 100. I want a such limited function that respects the impact (again, for lack of better words) of, say, doubling something, yet not actually doubling it. So while doubling from 2->4 has, in the sense I'm talking about, approximately the same quality as doubling from 1->2, what would be the equivalent of "doubling" when starting at 60 and limited at 100, and what function could express that quality generally? And did this paragraph made any sense to anyone but myself?

Edit: A sigmoid function?
Last edited by kvaks on Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:20 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby zthompson » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

Ronfar wrote:Chicken chicken chicken.


Also see The Parking Lot is Full: http://plif.courageunfettered.com/archive/wc072.gif

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

kvaks wrote:I hope some math geeks here can understand the following question and help me a little. I've thought about this quite a few times in my life, but never sat down to really figure it out. Here goes:

I'm looking for a function that provides the same "sense", for lack of a better word, in a upper and lower limited range (codomain) of what the exponential function .... TL;DNR


These guys LOVE this kind of question.

viewforum.php?f=17
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby zugy » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

Google was unusually popular around the 1900's. I suspected it was recaptcha typos of googol, however a quick search and scanning of the results makes me suspect otherwise. Smells like recaptcha shenanigans to me!

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

kvaks wrote:This comic made me thing of something. I hope some math geeks here can understand the following question and help me a little. I've thought about this quite a few times in my life, but never sat down to really figure it out. Here goes:

I'm looking for a function that provides the same "sense", for lack of a better word, in a upper and lower limited range (codomain) of what the exponential function .... TL;BRA


How about the inverse tangent function?
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/InverseTangent.html
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Brutz » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:50 pm UTC

I'm more worried about phrases like "way, shape or form" taking over. At least "sustainable" actually means something and the need to use it surely accounts for at least part of its increasing frequency. Besides, as the alt text implies, "sustainable" won't be used much after the next big die-off.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby rigwarl » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:51 pm UTC

dllthomas wrote:As my wife pointed out, of course Randall used a "log scale" - what other scale would you use when describing sustainability? It's not like there's an "oil scale" or a "fresh water scale"...


+1

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby laylaholic » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:59 pm UTC

Malkovich?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=lIpev8JXJHQ#t=52s

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby ashspring » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

Unless 'sustainable' is vanquished by 'green'...

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby cmpwn » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:20 pm UTC

Reminds me of this one.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

This thread is not sustainable.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:19 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:This thread is not sustainable.


You mean:

"This sustainable is not sustainable."
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

kvaks wrote:I'm looking for a function that provides the same "sense", for lack of a better word, in a upper and lower limited range (codomain) of what the exponential function does in a range that is not upper bound.


Try a logistic function. It's exactly what you're asking for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function

The simplest form is symmetric around the point of maximum increase. It starts out just like an exponential, but as it increases it starts to increase slower. When you look at the graph its approach to its maximum is just like the departure from the minimum, only upside down. It looks just like the bottom part of an exponential function doubled and pasted together upside down.

That can easily be varied. You can adjust the parameters on the two exponentials so the two sides don't look so symmetric. I think of that as the most natural and obvious variation.

There are lots of other sigmoid curves, but this one is a natural for your question. It's like the quotient of two exponentials, with a minimum of other terms.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby whateveries » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:19 pm UTC

DoMakeSayThink wrote:
collegestudent22 wrote:And why aren't bricks sustainable, anyway? Aren't they just hardened mud and wet clay? I can hardly think that the world will run out of CLAY soon.


It's not so much the physical components of the brick, but rather the large amount of energy used in firing them. The firing process can also be responsible for the release of some unpleasant gases in to the atmosphere (chlorides, fluorides).


what is the lifespan of a domecile constructed of bricks over that constructed of haybales? and what kind of bricks? Clay bricks or concrete Bricks, what about the number of occupants that can be comfortably and safely housed in the resultant building? From what I understand, and please do correct me if I have this wrong, a haybale construction requires a much greater area, which is fine for rural retreats for the affluent weekend eco-conscience but not so good to house people in population dense areas.

In terms of overall feasble 'sustainability' I'd like to see how haybales stack up compared to bricks.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Coyne » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:01 am UTC

Actually, by 2109, the word "sustainable" will obsolete; replaced by something shorter as "tv" replaced "television". Probably: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA....!!!"
In all fairness...

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby fazz » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:04 am UTC

Its sustainable so long as we start using sustainable multiple times per word. sus-sustainable-tainable and other variations.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby skeptical scientist » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:58 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Try a logistic function. It's exactly what you're asking for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function

I was also thinking that a logistic function would probably be a better fit to the graph.

It is also better justified theoretically. The increase in usage of the word "sustainable" can be pegged to the spread of associated memes. The simplest mathematical model for meme spreading suggests that the rate at which a meme spreads should be proportional to three things: the number of "infected" individuals, the number of "uninfected" individuals, and how "infective" that particular meme is. That model implies the type of differential equation which exactly characterizes logistic growth.

Of course, this also avoids absurdities such as the ??? region of the graph.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby fernie » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:10 am UTC

whateveries wrote:
DoMakeSayThink wrote:
collegestudent22 wrote:And why aren't bricks sustainable, anyway? Aren't they just hardened mud and wet clay? I can hardly think that the world will run out of CLAY soon.


It's not so much the physical components of the brick, but rather the large amount of energy used in firing them. The firing process can also be responsible for the release of some unpleasant gases in to the atmosphere (chlorides, fluorides).


what is the lifespan of a domecile constructed of bricks over that constructed of haybales? and what kind of bricks? Clay bricks or concrete Bricks, what about the number of occupants that can be comfortably and safely housed in the resultant building? From what I understand, and please do correct me if I have this wrong, a haybale construction requires a much greater area, which is fine for rural retreats for the affluent weekend eco-conscience but not so good to house people in population dense areas.

In terms of overall feasble 'sustainability' I'd like to see how haybales stack up compared to bricks.

I worked hard for that.



Speaking of "dense" population areas, you can't really build too much more, a wider concept would be to build "hay" and "stick" houses in the more open area to avoid such dense areas in the first place. A big issue (particularly concrete) bricks is that while you *can* re use some of them to make new buildings. There are multiple hurdles both legal and safety related, can't use "used" material unless its in good condition, and brick, being brittle (i.e. not bendy) its very hard to determine if its good enough to be used, and the only way to be 100% certain that it meets building standards is to make new ones. Also you gotta take into account the machinery for making the bricks (as previously mentioned, lots of firey stuff) but also the trucks and machines it takes to make them, last I checked they're kinda heavy. Compare the construction costs and use of machinery vs hay and sticks, as well as transportation, a single truck can only carry so many bricks since they're dense, while the same size truck can be overflowing with sticks and hay enough to make a whole house while a dozen truckloads finally bring the materials for one brick house. Once the building is used up, hay and wood can be fully recycled into other materials, which the recycling process takes care of "as good as new" for structural standards. Additionally, I would think hay is a good insulator, compared to brick houses which would require a significant amount of heating to keep warm, or additional insulation.

tl; dr
Lighter material is easier to build with
Easier to "recycle"
Less machines/gas/pollutants to make it
Potential insulation 2-in-1

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Exkakx » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:11 am UTC

I think this comic is about how stupid "future predictions" that scientists make are, and that they're assuming too much.
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:04 am UTC

TomRobbins wrote:"By the third trimester, there will be hundreds of babies inside you!"

Better stock up on wedding cake, then
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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby More2Life » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:05 am UTC

I work in the environmental field, and this trend bugs me hilariously. I'd rather people use "resource optimization". :D

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby paralian » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:13 am UTC

I think there's a similar graph for the word "crisis." I predict sentences of the future will be a linear combination of the two:
Sustainable. Crisis!!1 Sustain sustainable. Crisis!!!1 SUSTAINABILITY CRISIS!!!!1

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Proginoskes » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:07 am UTC

zugy wrote:Google was unusually popular around the 1900's. I suspected it was recaptcha typos of googol, however a quick search and scanning of the results makes me suspect otherwise. Smells like recaptcha shenanigans to me!


Nope. The word "googol" was coined in 1929.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby myoilu » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:38 am UTC

neoliminal wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:This thread is not sustainable.


You mean:

"This sustainable is not sustainable."


Sustainable sustainable:

"Sustainable sustainable sustainable sustainable sustainable."

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby dotancohen » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:49 am UTC

Bunty wrote:I don't know about comfort, but there seems to have been an interesting blip in the use of the word 'internet' centred around the year 1900...

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?co ... moothing=3


That is due to the Second Boer War, during which Internet supplies were embargoed throughout the United Kingdom.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby dotancohen » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:58 am UTC

jc wrote:
Bunty wrote:I'd bet that the problem isn't entirely on IBM mainframes, though. After all, Americans continue to insist on writing 2-digit years in dates. I've even seen dates like 07/12/09 in articles that were clearly about the early 20th century, with no way to be sure that the "09" meant 1909 or 2009. Or maybe it meant 2007-12-09. If I couldn't tell, I doubt that most software would guess the century right in such cases.


Is that the 7th of December or the 12th of July? Why do Americans use Middle-Endian dates, anyway? Do American watches display the time as HH:SS:MM?

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby flamewise » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:47 am UTC

Good job Randall, accelerating the Coming of the Great Linguistic Unsustainability Disaster.

Your comic is already at least 10% sustainable, and this forum discussion doesn't help slowing down the progress one bit.

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Re: 1007: "Sustainable"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:13 am UTC

dotancohen wrote:Why do Americans use Middle-Endian dates, anyway?

Because writing dates without the year big-endian makes sense given that all our other numbers, and time notations, are big-endian. The problem came when people started caring what year you were talking about, and that got tacked on as a parenthetical after though. "It was March 14th, 1:59 AM, and I was..." - "Wait, March 14th last year?" - "No, March 14th, 1615. Anyway, I was..." That's why there's a comma there and it's not just March 14th 1615. When people started writing down that manner of speaking, it naturally came out at 3/14/15.

Brits, I imagine, probably more often used verbiage like "the 14th of March of 1615", which is perfectly comprehensible to an American when spoken (unlike "fourteen March sixteen fifteen", which is totally missing some kind of articles there), it's just when you write it down without units indicated we all get confused. "Wait, how did it get to be Decembruary 3rd? Since when it there a 14th month!?"

Do American watches display the time as HH:SS:MM?

More consistent with our screwy dates would be MM:SS:HH, like MM/DD/YY. I suspect you only reverse it because you think times are naturally big-endian and dates are naturally little-endian, so if Americans mangled our times like we mangle our dates we'd make them big-middle-endian instead of the more consistent little-middle-endian.

Really, the only notation that makes any sense is the ISO 8601 way: 1615-03-14 01:59:26.5358979... Big-endian all the way, baby. Screw you Lilliputians and your tyrannical little-endian edicts! ;)
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