Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Response to Critiques of U.S. Senate 'Consensus Busters' Report by Eli Rabett, Andrew Dessler and Raymond Pierrehumbert

The following comments by Marc Morano appeared on the NYT climate blog -- as comment 264. As Marc says, their nitpicking really is pathetic. In true Green/Left style, they are reduced to "ad hominem" attacks rather than addressing any of the substantive issues involved. A true scientist would say "X is wrong because...". All these guys can say is "X does not meet with my personal approval". And even then they confine their attacks to just a few people in the report -- ignoring the large numbers whom they cannot find any grounds to attack. It is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. They are pushing a barrow rather than being seekers after truth.

Simply stated: By focusing your attack tactics on picking out a few members in the Senate report and smearing them and raising the most trivial of issues, you have implicitly acknowledged defeat.

First, sorry to disappoint you Rabett, but your basic problem with your latest critique is your poor math skills. There are well OVER 400 scientists in the Senate Report. In your zeal to throw as much mud at the report as you can muster, you tripped up on simple arithmetic. Even if YOU disqualify one scientist in the report, the number does not drop to "399" as you erroneously claim. We will forgive your little embarrassment for now.

Second, you mentioned the Senate report had "TV garden show guys." Once again, you reveal more basic mathematical woes. Is there more than one individual that you denigrate as a "TV garden show" guy in the report? It appears you have serial addition deficiency. Let's examine your "TV garden show guys" charge carefully. By calling someone a "TV gardener," I gather that is your low brow way of mocking them?

It appears you are referring to Alan Titchmarch, a prominent award winning UK horticulturist/naturalist in the Senate report. Oh, and he also hosts a TV show. Using your tactics, you could downgrade anyone you wish. If any scientist hosted a weekly TV show on climate, would you refer to him as a "TV Host" only? (the answer is obviously yes if their views differed from yours). Understandably from your point of view, you would not want to highlight anything but a horticulturist's "TV" work.

By your condescending tone, you also seem to think climate science can have nothing to do with horticulture. But let me quote atmospheric scientist William R. Kininmonth. (His short bio: He headed Australia's National Climate Center from 1986 to 1998 and coordinated the scientific and technical review of the 1997-98 El Nino event for the World Meteorological Organization and its input to the United Nations Task Force on El Nino.) (Quick, Rabett, Dessler and, Pierrehumbert, you have another scientist to smear!)

Kininmonth explained the research horticulturists have conducted as it relates to CO2: "CO2 is an essential component of photosynthesis: Increased CO2 in the atmosphere is an effective fertiliser of the biosphere as shown by horticulturalists artificially increasing the CO2 content within glasshouses. CO2 is NOT a pollutant," Kininmonth said in a May 30, 2007 article." End excerpt. Including a horticulturist/naturalist in the Senate report to comment on his area of expertise makes perfect sense. Titchmarch is quoted in the Senate 400 plus report discussing his views on climate change as it relates to vineyards and the potential impact on the natural world.

Rabett, you are so desperate to ridicule and foment your brand of nastiness that you do not tell your web readers any of this basic information. Why don't you give a complete and accurate picture Rabett?

Rabett, and Andrew Dessler have both also attempted to ridicule meteorologists included in the Senate report. Once again they use the obvious tactic of they are on "TV" as a way to denigrate them and imply they cannot understand atmospheric science. What Rabett - the math challenged critic - fails to note is the meteorologists are certified by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) or the National Weather Association. (Yes, the AMS, the same group so many in this forum hold in such high esteem) Many of them have masters degrees or PHD's in meteorology.

The meteorologists in the Senate 400 plus report stand out as prominent skeptical members of the AMS, in stark contrast to the two dozen or so governing board members of AMS who approved the so-called `consensus' statements.

The attempts to discredit the Senate report are growing more bizarre. We even have the hilarious scenario of Andrew Dessler trapping himself by his own logic. Dessler in his blogs at Grist.org rejects broadcast meteorologists as unqualified. But when Dessler erroneously thought he found one TV weatherman who agreed with his climate views, Dessler proclaimed that the TV weatherman was now suddenly qualified to have an opinion on man-made climate fears. How convenient Dessler.

Dessler's "research" of the Senate report has also uncovered a meteorologist who believes in God. Dessler attempted to besmirch the meteorologist for his religious comments. But Dessler never once printed the meteorologist's scientific reasons for rejecting claims of a "climate crisis."

Rabett also wrote that the Senate report contained "web site owners who think they know everything about climate." Now Rabett, no wonder your critiques have gained no traction. The "web site owners" you refer to are scientists who happen to have a website. Once again, you are caught in grade school level intellectual bullying.

Rabett also singles out the signers of the German Climate Manifest as being "totally clueless." Rabett, have you even read the Senate report? The signers of the German Manifest include: Physics Professor Hubert Becker; Professor of physics Dr. Ludecke Horst-Joachim; Peter Martin; Chemical and environmental engineer Donald Clauson; Physicist Dr. Theo Eichten; Biochemist Flick Hendrikje; Chemist Dr. Hauck Guenther; Professor of environmental and climate physics Dr. Detlef Hebert; Astrophysicist Dr Peter Heller; Chemist Dr. Albert Krause; Chemist Dr. Hans Penner; Mathematician Dr. Paul Matthews; Chemist Dr. Wuntke Knut; and Meteorologist Klaus-pulse Eckart.

Mr. "Eli Rabett", it may be easy for you to label all of the above scientists "totally clueless" as you hide behind your pseudonym. But anyone who actually uses their real name in public and has to be held accountable for what they write would not make such baseless comments. Rabett also claims that one of the 400 plus scientists "sent a clear email asking to be taken off the list." Really Rabett. Where is your proof or do we have to just take your word for it? The scientist in question never responded to multiple emails or a voicemail trying to confirm he actually did send an email. Here (comment 185) is the full story behind Rabett's claim.

Rabett's desperation to find ONE scientist he can claim does not want to be in the Senate report out of WELL OVER 400 provides endless humor. Go ahead Rabett, hang your hopes on your ONE scientist to discredit the entire report of over 400. If you actually do find ONE scientist out of over 400, by all means, pop the champagne corks!

Rabett also brings up my challenge to Andrew Dessler to name the names of the only "two dozen" skeptical scientists that Dessler deems "qualified' to comment on climate change. It is a fair challenge. The U.S. Senate released its report detailing the 400 plus (and growing) skeptical scientists for public scrutiny (and derision by you three.) Why won't Dessler name the names of the only "two dozen" skeptics he deems "qualified" to have an opinion? It's very easy for Dessler to bloviate about who is "qualified", but when publicly challenged to name names, he predictably shrinks away and suddenly goes silent. Dessler knows once he lists his "two dozen" skeptical scientists he deems "qualified;" he will be further ridiculed for his baseless and absurd assertion. Alas, that is the reason we will continue to hear nothing but the sounds of crickets chirping as we await Dessler's response to the public challenge.

The Senate list of 400 plus scientists (and growing) has the same make up of scientists as your fabled UN IPCC "thousands" of scientists. Again, read this report to find out about the backgrounds of scientists who make up the UN IPCC.

The Senate 400 plus report has many current and former IPCC scientists from all types of disciplines. Excerpt from Senate `Consensus Busters' Report : The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are experts in diverse fields, including: climatology; geology; biology; glaciology; biogeography; meteorology; oceanography; economics; chemistry; mathematics; environmental sciences; engineering; physics and paleoclimatology. Some of those profiled have won Nobel Prizes for their outstanding contribution to their field of expertise and many shared a portion of the UN IPCC Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore.. Have you ever spent any time researching whether IPCC scientists meet your "standards?"

Pierrehumbert, you wrote to me: "You seem to be saying that peer review is worthless." Once again Pierrehumbert, this is another example of your failed attempt at distortion. I used Cockburn's writing to expose your tactics of claiming peer-review is the "only" standard by which to judge a scientist. Please take the time to actually read what is being written before you shoot from the hip.

As I have written, you seem to believe that unless someone published a study in a publication of your approval, they are not qualified to have a view on climate change. What about field research, university research, professional papers, advanced degrees, certifications, real world observational data? None of these criteria seems to matter to you if the scientist does not meet your arbitrary criteria.

The Senate `Consensus Busters' report embraces the latest peer-reviewed studies. Our award winning Senate website (thanks National Science Foundation and JFK School of Government at Harvard U. for making award possible!) is chock full of recent peer-review scientific studies debunking man-made climate fears.

Excerpt from August 20, 2007 Senate report: An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming "bites the dust" and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be "falling apart." The latest study to cast doubt on climate fears finds that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have the previously predicted dire impacts on global temperatures. This new study is not unique, as a host of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast a chill on global warming fears. Recent scientific studies may make 2007 go down in history as the "tipping point" of man-made global warming fears. See weblink here. The Senate `Consensus Busters' report also has an entire section detailing the new peer-reviewed studies.

The 400 plus scientists Rabett labeled "sad souls" (getting a bit close to sounding theological there Rabett) must really be troubling you three. The bottom line: Rabett, Pierrehumbert and Dessler - you gentlemen are spending literally hours of your life poring over every name in the Senate report looking for any angle to smear and belittle the scientists. Mr. Pierrehumbert, I believe the appropriate term you would use to describe your attacks on these scientists would be "swiftboating."

It is obvious that you all are very worried that your huge personal investments in climate activism are being seriously threatened by the mere existence of the Senate 400 plus report. Your previous claims that the "debate is over" and there are only "two dozen" skeptical scientists have been exposed for the world to see. When faced with a Senate report featuring eight times the number of scientists who participated in the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers, you have no option but to invent any means necessary to besmirch the scientists and their reputations.

Your attacks were expected. What was not expected was how weak and petty your challenges to the Senate report have been thus far. My only request to the three of you is please take a bit more time and actually do some real research before you post again about the Senate `Consensus Busters' report. Spending more time and crafting thoughtful responses would go a long way to making your attacks effective. I leave with a quote from Alexander Cockburn (yes, not a scientist, but he does not need to be one to refute the activist attacks of Rabett, Dessler and Pierrehumbert.)

Cockburn Excerpt: There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.

For more rebuttals to critics of Senate report: see: here (Comment 96) & here (Comment 72)


Last March, global warming fanatic Al Gore used a picture of two polar bears purportedly stranded on melting ice off the coast of Alaska as a visual aide to support his claim that man-made global warming is doing great harm to Mother Earth. The one he chose, but didn't offer to pay for right away, turned out to be a photo of a polar bear and her cub out doing what healthy, happy polar bears do on a wave-eroded chunk of ice not all that far from shore in the Beaufort Sea north of Barstow, Alaska.

The picture, wrongly credited to Dan Crosbie, an ice observer specialist for the Canadian Ice Service, was actually taken by Amanda Byrd while she was on a university-related research cruise in August of 2004, a time of year when the fringe of the Arctic ice cap normally melts. Byrd, a marine biology grad student at the time, was gathering zooplankton for a multi-year study of the Arctic Ocean.

Crosbie, who was also on the trip, pilfered the polar bear photo from a shared computer onboard the Canadian icebreaker where Ms. Byrd downloaded her snapshots; he saved it in his personal file. Several months later, Crosbie, who is known as an avid photographer, gave the photo to the Canadian Ice Service, which then allowed Environment Canada to use it as an illustration for an online magazine.

Today that photo, with credit given to photographer Dan Crosbie and the Canadian Ice Service, can be found all over the Internet, generally with the caption "Two polar bears are stranded on a chunk of melting ice".

It's a hoax, folks. The bears, which can swim distances of 100 miles and more, weren't stranded; they were merely taking a break and watching the boat go by when a lady snapped their picture.

On Feb. 2, 2007 Denis Simard, a representative of Environment Canada, distributed that lady's photo to 7 media agencies, including the Associated Press, and timed it to coincide with the release of the United Nations' major global warming report in Paris, France on Feb 3rd. When the press called Simard in Paris to ask if it was his picture and could they print it, he says, "I gave them permission because Dan said it was his picture."

Al Gore saw the picture shortly thereafter and contrived to use it in a presentation about man-made global warming that he staged at a conference of human resource executives on March 22, 2007 in Toronto, Canada. With an enlarged version of Amanda Byrd's polar bear picture on the screen behind him, Gore said, "Their habitat is melting. beautiful animals, literally being forced off the planet. They're in trouble, got nowhere else to go."

Of course, after those words were spoken, the audience, being under the impression that polar bears are in imminent danger, gasped with concern and sympathy for the plight of the poor, pathetic polar bear population, whose diet, by the way, can include convenient humans, though attacks, like wolf-human attacks, are said to be rare.

According to Ms. Bryd, when she took the picture, the mother bear and its cub didn't appear to be in any danger and Denis Simard seems to have backpedaled when quoted by Ontario's National Post as saying that you "have to keep in mind that the bears aren't in danger at all. It was, if you will, their playground for 15 minutes. You know what I mean? This is a perfect picture for climate change, in a way, because you have the impression they are in the middle of the ocean and they are going to die with a coke in their hands. But they were not that far from the coast, and it was possible for them to swim." (The "Coca Cola Polar Bears" were introduced in 1992, and it would seem that Mr. Simard believes polar bears drink it after a swim.)

Al Gore, who was awarded a 2007 Nobel Prize for drawing the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, as well as a coveted Hollywood Oscar in `07 for his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", stands to make millions of dollars selling carbon offsets through his London based corporation, Generation Investment Management.

Gore, who apparently can't tell a polar bear with nowhere to go from one that's playing on an over-sized and wave-beaten ice cube, offered to pay non-Canadian Amanda Byrd for the use of her photo after the fact. Perhaps the former University of Alaska-Fairbanks grad student and managing editor of "Mushing Magazine" let the world's Global Warming Czar off the hook for super-sizing her photo, but others who used it without permission may not be so lucky. Though she now charges from $500 to $700 for its use, Canadian courts will award photographers as much as $20,000 for each time one of their photos is published without permission, and it's almost certain that Simard and Crosbie will be paying off Amanda's school loans.

So there you have the real story about Gore's endangered polar bears, but there's more balderdash to come.

It's predicted that during his January 28th State of the Union address, Pres. Bush will mention the plight of the polar bears whose habitat is purportedly melting due to man-made global warming. Perhaps he'll surprise the environmentalists and claim otherwise, but either way, shortly after his address, Sec. of the Interior Kempthorne stands ready to announce his decision about whether or not to list polar bears as "threatened" according to Endangered Species Act (ESA) guidelines.

You may think what happens in the artic won't concern you, but if polar bears are listed as threatened, as the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned them to be, it will substantiate the global warming claim and adversely affect the lives of everyone in the United States. The claim that global warming is largely man-made is based on computer modeling and supposition, and it's being used as a manipulative tool to force us to restructure our nation's industriousness and greatly curtail our personal energy consumption. Moreover, because other countries, i.e. China and India, won't have the same onus, US citizens will have to mitigate bogus man-made global warming for them, too.

According to information from the American Land Rights Assoc., under the ESA any activity regulated by the Federal Government (i.e. air or water quality) would be subject to further regulation because of claims that "greenhouse gas" emissions have a potentially adverse effect on polar bear habitat.

Virtually everything people do involves fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and since 85% of our energy comes from fossil fuels, almost every heating, cooling, transportation (including shipping) and electricity decision will be affected. Utility and manufacturing companies will be required to slash CO2 emissions, forcing an increase in prices to cover escalated new costs.

But it won't stop there. All other sources of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases will also be regulated and restricted by environmental alarmists; bakeries, breweries, chicken and dairy farms, cattle ranches, dry cleaners, auto manufacturers, cement and other industrial facilities, and on and on, ad nauseum. As their costs go up, so will consumers' costs to heat and cool homes, drive cars, and clothe and feed their family. And, as costs go up, companies may further reduce their workforces or outsource jobs to other countries so as to stay in business.

Blue collar, poor, and fixed income families will be hit the hardest, but everyone's jobs and cost of living will be affected. However, the likes of Al Gore and other elitists will still be flying around in private jets and cashing in on their investments in a newly created multi-billion dollar alternative energy industry and carbon offset scheme designed to supposedly mitigate the man-made global warming scam.

Just as Gore's endangered polar bear picture was a hoax, so is the assertion repeated by politicians and global warming/climate change criers that "2,500 scientists of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisis". According to an article authored by John McLean and Tom Harris, published in the Dec. 14th Canada Free Press, only 600 of the 2,500 IPCC scientists reviewed the specific multi-chaptered report related to the possibility of man-made global warming adversely affecting the environment. Of those 600 scientists, 308 made comments, but only 62 reviewed and made comments regarding the critical Chapter 9 related to man and his activities being the primary cause of climate change. Of those 62, fifty-five are said to have a serious vested interest, which leaves very few credible IPCC scientists out of the 2,500 who supposedly agree that global warming is man-made.

Virtually hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified and well respected scientists who have studied global warming and its causes and effects disagree with the IPCC scientists who were hand-picked by the notoriously corrupt United Nations organization to come to a consensual agreement regarding global warming. However, for the most part, those who disagree are being ignored by mass media, appointed bureaucrats, and our elected government officials.

The truth of the matter is that the man-made global warming fear factor is based on little but computer modeling, conjecture, hype, contrived hysteria, and the desire of bureaucrats, politicians and radical greenies to eliminate the use of fossil fuels and gain control of people's lives. Regardless, SB-2191, a bill to lower the boom on "greenhouse gas" emissions and people, is pending in the Senate.

It's you or the polar bears, folks, and you're out of time. Call the White House, the Interior Department and your Congressmen now and politely tell them you do not believe man and his activities are the principal cause of global warming; that you do not want polar bears listed as threatened and do not want regulatory Senate Bill-2191 passed.


Research shows heightened CO2 boosts tree growth

Fall color may start later, but trees may grow faster, as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases. Results of a decade-long study on primarily aspen trees near Rhinelander, Wis., suggest that elevating carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may prolong the growing season for northern forests. Additionally, projected 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels appear to speed trees' rate of growth. "We're seeing about a 30 to 40 percent enhancement in growth and that's been maintained pretty much throughout the 10 years of the experiment," Michigan Technological University Forestry Professor David Karnosky said.

Karnosky is the director of the Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) study. At a facility outside Rhinelander, Wis., he and other scientists have been simulating projected 2050 atmospheric CO2 levels by infusing the air at trees' canopy level with the gas. The CO2 is added through rings of vertical vent pipes encircling stands of aspen, paper birch and sugar maple. "We've noticed that basically all 10 years of the experiment, trees in those rings keep their leaves longer into the fall," Karnosky said. "They also grow faster and photosynthesize at a greater rate than the control rings."

He and 13 other researchers, including scientists doing research at a similar facility in Tuscania, Italy, published a paper documenting these findings in the current issue of the journal Global Change Biology. The title is "Future Atmospheric CO2 Leads to Delayed Autumnal Senescence." "Senescence" is the scientific term for the fall cessation of photosynthesis and color change in leaves. Karnosky said while the study shows increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will make the color change start later, it doesn't appear it will affect the extent or duration of color change.

Increased CO2 in the atmosphere could be beneficial for the forestry industry. Stands of trees may grow to a harvestable stage at a greater rate. "The rotation age may be reduced by a number of years," Karnosky said, referring to the interval of time between harvests within a stand of trees. But he cautioned the results of the experiment may not apply to more mature forest types. "The work we report in this paper is done with very rapid-growing, early-forest-stage trees," Karnosky said. "How that translates into a 30- or 40-year forest is much more difficult." He also said the increased rate of growth increases the forests' nutrient demands, so the impact of boosted CO2 levels may vary regionally depending on local soil types.

The study will continue in Rhinelander. Karnosky said the final harvest of the trees there is slated to begin in 2009 and 2010. The harvest will allow scientists to assess the impact of heightened CO2 on the forest's processes underground.


Hatred of plastic bags

They are so convenient to so many people that the Greenie elitists HAD to be "agin" them

Eradicating those unsightly plastic bags that hang in trees and clog landfills may not be in the bag just yet but the idea is reaching a fever pitch in Canada and around the world. On Tuesday, Whole Foods Market, the world's largest natural-food retailer, announced it would stop giving out disposable plastic bags at the checkout counters. All of the retailer's 270 U.S., Canadian and U.K. stores aim to be free of bags by Earth Day on April 22 of this year.

And earlier this month China launched a countrywide ban barring shop owners to hand out single-use bags. Slowly ideas are changing about the need for plastic bags. But could they go the way of the VCR or at the very least become taboo like cigarettes?

"There is a shift in perception," says Tracey Saxby, a 30-year-old environmentalist who lives half of the year in Rossland, B.C., and the other half in Whistler, B.C. "We just don't need them." [We don't need clean clothes every day either. First they came for the plastic bags, then they came for daily clean clothes. Think of all the energy we would save by washing less!]

Saxby, an Australian native, was one of the first people in North America to champion a ban in her adopted home of Rossland. About 10 years ago, the budding environmentalist worked in a retail store in Australia, where incidentally the federal environment minister is currently seeking to ban all ultra-thin plastic bags by the end of the year.

She said she would question why she had to give customers a bag even for the tiniest item. It was on a trip to Coles Bay in Tasmania that she became really passionate about doing something about the problem. "It was really cool what was happening there because it's such a tourist attraction and all of these thousands of tourists who came to see the national park were also witnessing a town without plastic bags and really seeing it work, she said by phone from her family home in Brisbane.

The village of Coles Bay, which attracts about 25,000 tourists a year, became the first community in Australia to ban the bags in 2003. The move was copied by dozens more communities in Australia and across the globe. So Saxby brought the idea home. She took the idea to city council last year in Rossland. "I said Rossland, let's do this and the whole town got excited," she said. "There was an overwhelming fervour."The town vied to be the first town in North America to go bag free, but that honour landed in the lap of the small community of Leaf Rapids, Man., on April 2, 2007.

With just over 500 residents, city officials handed out more than 5,000 free cloth bags. Leaf Rapids is about 980 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

San Francisco became the first U.S. city to adopt a ban in March after efforts to impose a tax failed, while New Jersey is seeking to be the first state to phase out bags after government implemented a bill in November. Large global cities are also jumping on board. London's 33 municipal authorities are pushing for an outright ban on plastic bags, and city council in New York trying to pass laws to bar the so-called white pollution. "It's happening everywhere now," says Saxby, "Vancouver, Toronto, Whistler - all these places are looking at options and are committed to reducing or eliminating them. Reusable bags are everywhere."

The idea is gaining worldwide momentum. There are now restrictions or bans in Ireland, Taiwan, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and South Africa, among others.... The tricky part of the equation for many Canadians is the perennial question: plastic or paper? But environmentalists say using paper isn't the answer either. Opponents say they use too many trees, create more greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and take up more space in landfills.

Environmentalists argue that consumers must look at other options."We wouldn't oppose a ban, but we currently propose a tax," said the leader of Canada's national Green Party Elizabeth May, noting a federal ban is highly unlikely in Canada. "We need to convince consumers that, on so many levels, these are not essential products," she says. "It's a created false need."

More here


One in six British households is living in fuel poverty, the highest for almost a decade, according to new figures that threaten the government's target to eradicate the problem in England by the end of the decade.

Fuel poverty is defined as when a household spends more than a tenth of its income on utility bills. The consumer group Energywatch said yesterday there are now about 4.4 million of these in the UK, with just over 3 million in England alone.

Charities and other groups, led by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, are preparing a legal challenge in the next few weeks to force the government to meet the 2010 target, to which it is committed by law.

The figures came at the end of a week in which the UK's largest energy supplier, British Gas, said it was increasing bills by 15 per cent. This month EDF Energy and Npower raised prices by up to 27 per cent, and two-thirds of British households will have to pay higher tariffs. Other suppliers are likely to follow suit soon.



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