Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby yurell » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:31 pm UTC

You're in such a dire need of soldiers that you are forced to equip unwilling people with weapons, I don't think you're going to sniff at doubling the pool of applicants like that, especially since you've already expanded it by orders of magnitude to include non-volunteers.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:51 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:Because of the cost?
The cost is already a given; we already do this. All we're talking about is increasing the size of the selection pool.

If the idea that more women would be judged unfit actually holds water (I find this position highly suspect), you wouldn't see an increase in cost (we're dealing with the same numbers; only the demographics have changed), just a decrease in the number of fit soldiers who pass through the program. Would it even be a significant decrease?

Mind you, I oppose the draft, but I find justifications for excluding women from it to be bizarre.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby aoeu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:19 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
aoeu wrote:Because of the cost?
The cost is already a given; we already do this. All we're talking about is increasing the size of the selection pool.

If the idea that more women would be judged unfit actually holds water (I find this position highly suspect), you wouldn't see an increase in cost (we're dealing with the same numbers; only the demographics have changed), just a decrease in the number of fit soldiers who pass through the program. Would it even be a significant decrease?

Mind you, I oppose the draft, but I find justifications for excluding women from it to be bizarre.

I think just the number of women that are too short for service is large. Finding people unfit doesn't cost you only the price of the testing, it also costs you the price of the time the unfit people spend getting tested instead of doing something productive.

Passing the preliminary checks does not make everybody equal. The average man is not just more physically fit and easier to train to a given level of fitness, he also has more skills of interest. Male electricians, plumbers and engineers are far more common. It adds up to a cheaper and shorter training.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:I think just the number of women that are too short for service is large. Finding people unfit doesn't cost you only the price of the testing, it also costs you the price of the time the unfit people spend getting tested instead of doing something productive.
You're worried about the fifteen seconds it takes to stand next to a ruler and figure out that you're under the necessary height?
Passing the preliminary checks does not make everybody equal. The average man is not just more physically fit and easier to train to a given level of fitness, he also has more skills of interest. Male electricians, plumbers and engineers are far more common. It adds up to a cheaper and shorter training.
Could you actually cite some sources concerning men being more physically suited to passing through bootcamp in America? As I recall, it was actually a contentious issue; I seem to remember reading that physically fit women tended to have less strength, but greater endurance and higher pain tolerance.

Which brings me to the second point: Do you know what actually makes an organization more effective? Diversity. And I'm not talking some sort of 'magical diversity rainbow' here; I mean having a unit that comes from a diverse set of backgrounds, with a diverse set of skillsets, experiences, and physical qualities ('Charlie can outrun everyone in a sprint, but Terrence can keep marching till everyone's feet are just burger') is a highly desirable trait.

So hey, what do you think we could do to foster diversity in the military? Where could we find a large, accessible portion of the population with divergent experiences and skills?

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby EverVigilant » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:42 pm UTC

Testing...
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

EverVigilant wrote:Makes sense to me. Men explored and subjugated the world.


Unless you're charting the end of mens' usefulness as being around 12000 years ago, I assume by "the world" you mean "other people".

There's still plenty of subjugation of other people going on. It's just a shitty thing to define an entire gender by. Not that being a horrendous, demeaning essentialist seems to trouble you.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby aoeu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
aoeu wrote:I think just the number of women that are too short for service is large. Finding people unfit doesn't cost you only the price of the testing, it also costs you the price of the time the unfit people spend getting tested instead of doing something productive.
You're worried about the fifteen seconds it takes to stand next to a ruler and figure out that you're under the necessary height?
Passing the preliminary checks does not make everybody equal. The average man is not just more physically fit and easier to train to a given level of fitness, he also has more skills of interest. Male electricians, plumbers and engineers are far more common. It adds up to a cheaper and shorter training.
Could you actually cite some sources concerning men being more physically suited to passing the military training tests in America? As I recall, it was actually a contentious issue; I seem to remember reading that physically fit women tended to have less strength, but greater endurance and higher pain tolerance.

Which brings me to the second point: Do you know what actually makes an organization more effective? Diversity. And I'm not talking some sort of 'magical diversity rainbow' here; I mean having a unit that comes from a diverse set of backgrounds, with a diverse set of skillsets, experiences, and physical qualities ('Charlie can outrun everyone in a sprint, but Terrence can keep marching till everyone's feet are just burger') is a highly desirable trait.

So hey, what do you think we could do to foster diversity in the military? Where could we find a large, accessible portion of the population with divergent experiences?

The difference in testosterone levels is a big cause. It's not impossible that there is a place in the world where lifestyle choices have undone all that, of course. I do believe men are already diverse enough. Strict homogeneity is something that can make an organisation shine, so it's not even that clear that an increase in diversity leads to an increase in performance.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:05 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:The difference in testosterone levels is a big cause.
Estrogen has been linked to increased pain tolerance; women also tend to have higher body fat, which provides other benefits. I wouldn't make the absurd claim that the advantages and disadvantages line up in such a way to balance men and women equally, but your argument seems to be summarized as 'testosterone makes men awesome soldiers, so we shouldn't draft women'.
Strict homogeneity is something that can make an organisation shine, so it's not even that clear that an increase in diversity leads to an increase in performance.
No, making sure everyone in an organization meets basic requirements--training, emotional maturity, physical capability, etc--makes an organisation shine. After that, having a group of highly competent people also come from a highly diverse set of backgrounds, with equally diverse experiences and secondary skills--that makes an organization glow.

The world is full of organizations that failed because of an over-abundance of homogeneity and a limited experience set.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby aoeu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
aoeu wrote:The difference in testosterone levels is a big cause.
Estrogen has been linked to increased pain tolerance; women also tend to have higher body fat, which provides other benefits. I wouldn't make the absurd claim that the advantages and disadvantages line up in such a way to balance men and women equally, but your argument seems to be summarized as 'testosterone makes men awesome soldiers, so we shouldn't draft women'.

It also makes them achieve consistently better results in sports. It's clear to me that this is a better indicator for combat performance than body fat or pain tolerance.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:24 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:It also makes them achieve consistently better results in sports. It's clear to me that this is a better indicator for combat performance than body fat or pain tolerance.
Again, this is just 'testosterone makes men awesome soldiers, so we shouldn't draft women'. You need a stronger, more detailed argument. How much better? To what consequence? Otherwise--hey, look! Black men tend to do better than white men at sports. Maybe we should exclude all white males from the draft, too.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby EverVigilant » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:35 pm UTC

Testing2
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Zamfir » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:It also makes them achieve consistently better results in sports. It's clear to me that this is a better indicator for combat performance than body fat or pain tolerance.

In how many sports would a men's team beat a men's team plus a women's team playing together? Or just a men's team with a few female players extra? You can to cheat in warfare, you know.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:48 pm UTC

EverVigilant wrote:While aspects of what I am have troubled me to one degree or another, denial of one's own reality has never moved a man forward, and so name calling is nothing I can't handle, especially from somebody who would presume to know me well enough to characterize me after reading a single brief forum post. Nevertheless, I've never been called a "horrendous, demeaning existentialist" before; that's one to chew on!
Essentialist, not existentialist. It means you're assuming all groups exhibit properties that allow for the grouping.
EverVigilant wrote:Of course the issue is more complicated than I put it. I was not so much trying to expound a theory as a perspective. What I am trying to say is that with our interconnection the modern world is becoming increasingly tamed and domesticated (no matter how many counterexamples you throw my way), and that in the psyche of many men (maybe not you), this ultimately results in a certain boredom.
Emphasis mine. So regardless of how many examples we find that contradict your argument, you're still not wrong? Don't you think that's a little too convenient?

Anyway, has it occurred to you that the grossest acts of murder, mayhem, and genocide actually belong to the modern 21st century? That industrialization--modernization--may have actually created an environment of hyper-masculinity--where the soldier is worshipped, violence is enshrined (and mass-produced!), and wars are sacred?

I don't believe that myself; I think the reality is far more complex. But it's an alternative view you might consider.
It's obvious that what I wrote was inflammatory. In my original attempt to post I had tried to elaborate by linking to an article that provides the perspective much better than I can, but the mods disapproved the post as being an advertisement, even though I have no affiliation whatsoever with the article's author or anyone else involved in its production. If the mods will excuse these instructions, if you google "Playing at Adventure", quotes included, it should be at the top of the list.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby aoeu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:48 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
aoeu wrote:It also makes them achieve consistently better results in sports. It's clear to me that this is a better indicator for combat performance than body fat or pain tolerance.
Again, this is just 'testosterone makes men awesome soldiers, so we shouldn't draft women'. You need a stronger, more detailed argument. How much better? To what consequence? Otherwise--hey, look! Black men tend to do better than white men at sports. Maybe we should exclude all white males from the draft, too.

Even if that was true, blacks, being a minority, would probably start to have too many questions about what they are fighting for.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

EverVigilant wrote:I could also talk about how this is hurting women in an unexpected sort of way: by diminishing the pool of men they genuinely respect. However the articles already sort of hinted at this.

Yes, because it's important to remember that all women respect men for the same thing, and that thing, of course, is whether or not he can beat another man in a bare fisted fight to the death. Also, whether or not he can bludgeon a wooly mammoth to death with his cock. Woe is men, and women!, today, who cannot revel in the testosterone soaked proving grounds that was true manliness.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Zamfir » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Anyway, has it occurred to you that the grossest acts of murder, mayhem, and genocide actually belong to the modern 21st century? That industrialization--modernization--may have actually created an environment of hyper-masculinity--where the soldier is worshipped, violence is enshrined (and mass-produced!), and wars are sacred?

You sure you don't mean 20th? I'd say that overall, modernity has lately been backing away a bit from the mass warfare and soldier worshipping. It's not gone, but definitely reduced compared to, say, a century ago. Perhaps because TV and strategic bombing have made it harder to paint warfare as a game for soldiers only.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:You sure you don't mean 20th? I'd say that overall, modernity has lately been backing away a bit from the mass warfare and soldier worshipping. It's not gone, but definitely reduced compared to, say, a century ago. Perhaps because TV and strategic bombing have made it harder to paint warfare as a game for soldiers only.
Er, yeah, actually, I did mean 20th--pardon, I always get the century thing confused. I was thinking of genocides committed within the past century or so.

As for it slowing down--I don't see that. Darfur? Cambodia? Rwanda?

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Dark567 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

Steve Pinker just wrote an 800 page book on how all of that is wrong, and the 20th and 21st centuries have actually been the most peaceful in human history.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby EverVigilant » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

Testing3
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:13 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:Steve Pinker just wrote an 800 page book on how all of that is wrong, and the 20th and 21st centuries have actually been the most peaceful in human history.
I'd be very curious to know more; I could see an argument made about there being less wars in the modern era, but less democide? Millions of people killed by their governments in the span of years--not even decades?

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Soralin » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:33 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Dark567 wrote:Steve Pinker just wrote an 800 page book on how all of that is wrong, and the 20th and 21st centuries have actually been the most peaceful in human history.
I'd be very curious to know more; I could see an argument made about there being less wars in the modern era, but less democide? Millions of people killed by their governments in the span of years--not even decades?

I saw something on that on TED before, seems it's from the same person: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/steve ... lence.html Basically that despite all that has happened in the last century, the percentage of people that died from warfare/violence now is still significantly less than it has been in the past. The past was very violent indeed.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Torchship » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I'd be very curious to know more; I could see an argument made about there being less wars in the modern era, but less democide? Millions of people killed by their governments in the span of years--not even decades?


I suspect that they are referring to violent deaths as a percentage of total population. Obviously the number of violent deaths will increase as your population increases, but this won't tell you very much about relative violence levels.

The Great Hippo wrote:As for it slowing down--I don't see that. Darfur? Cambodia? Rwanda?


Are all places who's views on violence have not progressed significantly in the last century compared to the developed world. Additionally, you'd still expect some wars to continue, even in the most peaceable societies; it's all a question of relative numbers and relative casualties. I don't know any actual numbers, but it does seem likely that the stabilizing influences of large modern nation-states and globalization and instantaneous communication have served to make the recent century or two the most peaceful overall.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby jules.LT » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:44 pm UTC

Ninja'd :P

Higher information and our lower tolerance to violence might deceive us, but things are still much better than they ever were.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:56 pm UTC

Watching the TED talk and reading through some of the data, I can see his (Steven Pinker's) point concerning the decline of violence, though my position wasn't that uncivilized societies are less violent; only that industrialization supplies the tools for humans to kill with far greater efficiency in any given war. I'm not surprised to see homicide rates or capital punishment decrease drastically--and I'm mildly miffed that there's no comparison of death rates for given wars throughout the past century.

This does seem like something I should look more into--as someone who's always been intensely interested in genocide, it's long been a habit to assume that the 20th century contained the most egregious examples, at least numerically. Thanks for the link!

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby aoeu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:14 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
aoeu wrote:It also makes them achieve consistently better results in sports. It's clear to me that this is a better indicator for combat performance than body fat or pain tolerance.

In how many sports would a men's team beat a men's team plus a women's team playing together? Or just a men's team with a few female players extra? You can to cheat in warfare, you know.

Well I could look up the women's WR and see how many men regularly break it. How'd you go about with constructing this dream team when you are in a war and have finite resources? Send them to die and see who doesn't?

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

aoeu wrote:Well I could look up the women's WR and see how many men regularly break it. How'd you go about with constructing this dream team when you are in a war and have finite resources? Send them to die and see who doesn't?
You're missing the point by several miles.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Vash » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:26 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Watching the TED talk and reading through some of the data, I can see his (Steven Pinker's) point concerning the decline of violence, though my position wasn't that uncivilized societies are less violent; only that industrialization supplies the tools for humans to kill with far greater efficiency in any given war. I'm not surprised to see homicide rates or capital punishment decrease drastically--and I'm mildly miffed that there's no comparison of death rates for given wars throughout the past century.

This does seem like something I should look more into--as someone who's always been intensely interested in genocide, it's long been a habit to assume that the 20th century contained the most egregious examples, at least numerically. Thanks for the link!


The only death table by evolutionary psychologists was in my evo psych textbook. It showed far lower deaths proportionally in Europe and the US than in tribal societies, but it didn't look at modern societies overall. I didn't look at the actual paper, however. I can get a citation if anyone is interested.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby IcedT » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:52 pm UTC

Regarding the draft, I'd just like to point out that women being exempt has nothing to do with population theories or anything like that, it boils down to the fact that until fairly recently women were not allowed in the military at all, and currently they're not permitted in combat units for physiological and psychological reasons. The draft's main purpose is to make up for high attrition in combat units, meaning there would be very few positions available for women if they were to be drafted. It would not "double the pool" or really enlarge it in any significant way.

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:54 pm UTC

I believe most of these ideas are assuming that the combat restriction would also be lifted, as that restriction is stupid.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Vaniver » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

Belial wrote:I believe most of these ideas are assuming that the combat restriction would also be lifted, as that restriction is stupid.
While I think allowing female volunteers who meet sensible requirements to serve in active combat duty is probably a good plan, I think a draft that might put unwilling females in active combat duty is unlikely to be socially acceptable, and is more likely to topple than sustain any government that attempts to enact it. It seems odd to assume the two ideas would go together when their combination is so negative.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Dark567 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:05 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Belial wrote:I believe most of these ideas are assuming that the combat restriction would also be lifted, as that restriction is stupid.
While I think allowing female volunteers who meet sensible requirements to serve in active combat duty is probably a good plan, I think a draft that might put unwilling females in active combat duty is unlikely to be socially acceptable, and is more likely to topple than sustain any government that attempts to enact it. It seems odd to assume the two ideas would go together when their combination is so negative.

Israel hasn't exactly toppled....
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Vaniver » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:Israel hasn't exactly toppled....
It does not appear that women are involuntarily assigned to combat duty, but the article is unclear. Does that happen?
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Dark567 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Dark567 wrote:Israel hasn't exactly toppled....
It does not appear that women are involuntarily assigned to combat duty, but the article is unclear. Does that happen?
Each year, 1,500 female combat soldiers are drafted into the IDF.
I had assumed that when it said drafted, it meant forced... but that might not be the case. Its possible the article is saying they are drafted in general, and then choose combat.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby IcedT » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote: I had assumed that when it said drafted, it meant forced... but that might not be the case. Its possible the article is saying they are drafted in general, and then choose combat.

Unless I'm mistaken, Israel has constant, nationwide conscription in place, so in social terms their draft is very different than any American draft has been (in that most Israelis expect to be drafted and understand what their rights and obligations are regarding the draft, whereas in the US it's always been an emergency measure).

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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Cathy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:37 am UTC

As I recall, Israel has a required term of service (unless you're Hasidic or disabled or whatnot) for every citizen of their country. Age 18-20 or something like that.
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Re: Why men are in trouble (CNN Op-Ed)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:05 am UTC

They also don't require Arabs to serve in the IDF, but that's a discussion best held in the Israel/Palestine quarantine thread.


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