Saturday, June 25, 2011

California’s Green Jihad

Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.

Then there’s California, rich in everything from oil and food to international trade and technology, but still skimming along the bottom of the national economy. The state’s unemployment rate is now worse than Michigan’s and ahead only of neighboring Nevada. Among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan regions, four of the six with the highest unemployment numbers are located in the Golden State: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In a recent Forbes survey, California was home to six of the ten regions where the economy is poised to get worse.

One would think, given these gory details, California officials would be focused on reversing the state’s performance. But here, as in Iran, officialdom focuses more on theology than on actuality. Of course, California’s religion rests not on conventional divinity but on a secular environmental faith that nevertheless exhibits the intrusive and unbending character of radical religion.

As with its Iranian counterpart, California’s green theology often leads to illogical economic and political decisions. California has decided, for example, to impose a rigid regime of state-directed planning related to global warming, making a difficult approval process for new development even more onerous. It has doubled-down on climate change as other surrounding western states — such as Nevada, Utah and Arizona — have opted out of regional greenhouse gas agreements.

The notion that a state economy — particularly one that has lost over 1.15 million jobs in the past decade — can impose draconian regulations beyond those of their more affluent neighbors, or the country, would seem almost absurd.

Californians are learning what ideological extremism can do to an economy. In the Islamic Republic, crazy theology leads to misallocating resources to support repression at home and terrorism abroad. In California green zealots compel companies to shift their operations to states that are still interested in growing their economy — like Texas. The green regime is one reason why CEO Magazine has ranked California the worst business climate in the nation.

Some of these green policies often offer dubious benefits for the environment. For one thing, forcing California businesses to move to less energy-efficient states, or to developing countries like China, could have a negative impact overall since shifting production to Texas or China might lead to higher greenhouse gas production given California’s generally milder climate. A depressed economy also threatens many worthy environmental programs, delaying necessary purchases of open space and forcing the closure of parks. These programs enhance life for the middle and working classes without damaging the overall econmy.

But people involved in the tangible, directly carbon-consuming parts of the economy — manufacturing, warehousing, energy and, most important, agriculture — are those who bear the brunt of the green jihad. Farming has long been a field dominated by California, yet environmentalist pressures for cutbacks in agricultural water supplies have turned a quarter million acres of prime Central Valley farmland fallow, creating mass unemployment in many communities.

“California cannot have it both ways, a desire for economic growth yet still overregulating in the areas of labor, water, environment,” notes Dennis Donahue, a Democrat and mayor of Salinas, a large agricultural community south of San Jose. Himself a grower, Donahue sees agricultural in California being undermined by ever-tightening regulations, which have led some to expand their operations to other sections of the country, Mexico and even further afield.

Other key blue collar industries are also threatened, from international trade to manufacturing. Since before the recession California manufacturing has been on a decline. Los Angeles, still the nation’s largest industrial area, has lost a remarkable one-fifth of its manufacturing employment since 2005.

California’s ultra-aggressive greenhouse gas laws will further the industrial exodus out of the state and further impoverish Californians. Grandiose plans to increase the percentage of renewable energy in the state from the current unworkable 20% to 33% by 2020 will boost the state’s electricity costs, already among the highest in the nation, and could push the average Californian’s bill up a additional 20%.

Ironically California, still the nation’s third largest oil producer, should be riding the rise in commodity prices, but the state’s green politicians seem determined to drive this sector out of the state.. In Richmond, east of San Francisco, onerous regulations pushed by a new Green-led city administration may drive a huge Chevron refinery, a major employer for blue collar workers, out of the city entirely. Roughly a thousand jobs are at stake, according to Chevron’s CEO, who also questioned whether the company would continue to make other investments inside the state.

Being essentially a religion, the green regime answers its critics with a well-developed mythology about how these policies can be implemented without economic distress. One common delusion in Sacramento holds that the state’s vaunted “creative” economy — evidenced by the current bubble over surrounding social media firms — will make up for any green-generated job losses.

In reality the creative economy simply cannot make up for losses in more tangible industries. Over the past decade, as the world digitized, the San Jose area experienced one of the stiffest drops in employment of any of the 50 largest regions of the country; its 18% decline was second only to Detroit. Much of the decline was in manufacturing and services, but tech employment has generally suffered. Over the past decade California’s number of workers in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields actually shrank. In contrast, the country’s ranks of such workers expanded 2.3% and prime competitors such as Texas , Washington and Virginia enjoyed double-digit growth.

So who really benefits from the green jihad? To date, the primary winners have been crony capitalists, like President Obama’s newly proposed commerce secretary, John Bryson, who built a fantastically lucrative career (he was once named Forbes’ “worst valued chief executive”) while running the regulated utility Edison International. A lawyer by training, Bryson helped found the green powerhouse National Resources Defense Council. He’s been keen to promote strict renewable energy standards that also happen to benefit solar power and electric car companies in which he holds large financial stakes.

Other putative winners would be large international companies, like Siemens, that hope to build California’s proposed high-speed rail line, the one big state construction project favored by the green-crony capitalist alliance. Fortunately , the states dismal fiscal situation and rising cost estimates for the project, from $42 to as high as $67 billion, as well as cuts in federal subsidies, are undermining support for this project even among some liberal Democrats. Even in a theocracy, reality does, at times, intrude.

Finally, there are the lawyers — lots of them. A hyper-regulatory state requires legal services just like a theocracy needs mobs of mullahs and bare knuckled religious enforcers. No surprise the number of lawyers in California increased by almost a quarter last decade, notes Sara Randazzo of the Daily Journal. That’s two and a half times the rate of population growth.

The legal boom has been most exuberant along the affluent coast. Over the past decade, the epicenter of the green jihad, San Francisco, the number of practicing attorneys increased by 17%, five times the rate of the city’s population increase. In the Silicon Valley, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties boosted their number of lawyers at a similar rate. In contrast, lawyer growth rate in interior counties has generally been far slower, often a small fraction of their overall population growth.

If California is to work again for those outside the yammering classes, some sort of realignment with economic reality needs to take place. Unlike Iran, California does not need a regime change, just a shift in mindset that would jibe with the realities of global competition and the needs of the middle class. But at least with California we won’t have to worry too much about national security: Given the greens anti-nuke proclivities, it’s unlucky the state will be developing a bomb in the near future.


Alarm from Russia -- about an ice age

A grim secret report prepared by the Russian Foreign Ministry for President Medvedev is warning that American fears of an “Ice Age Doomsday” caused by the Sun could ‘very well likely’ lead to open Global conflict between the US and China as both of these Superpower Nations have begun a vicious fight for farm land in South America and Africa.

According to this report, new research led by the United States National Solar Observatory and Air Force Research Laboratory (NSO) on the long expected major solar cycle expected to climax in 2012 has lead to findings that have shocked American scientists leading them to claim our planet is fast approaching an “ice age” on a scale not seen since the 17th Century; an event that was so catastrophic it plunged the pre-industrial Earth into total chaos shattering forever the then existing Old World Order.

According to three studies released by the NSO in the United States yesterday, American experts believe the familiar sunspot cycle may be shutting down and heading toward a pattern of inactivity unseen since the 17th century. The signs include a missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles, said these NSO experts. “This is highly unusual and unexpected,” said Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, who further added “…the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It is conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, though climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. NASA defines the term as a cold period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.

The main historical event caused by the 17th Century LIA is commonly referred to as “The Second Wave,” a term popularized by the American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, who stated in his research that with the destruction of European farming due to this extreme cold event the Monarchies who were then in power were forced to expand their empires throughout the world, a move which ultimately led to their destruction as they were forced to switch their economies from ones of agriculture to industrial thus causing massive changes in the way their societies were governed.

Unlike the European Monarchies, however, China and the United States of today, this report says, have no “new land” to conquer and have opted, instead, during this “early stage” of the crisis to begin a “conquest” of vast farm lands in South America and Africa they will be able to utilize to feed their soon to be starving populations.

China, this report continues, is in worse shape than the United States as it has roughly 20% of the World’s population, but only 7% of the World’s arable land to grow food upon…and what little it does have is now disappearing at an alarming rate. With China, also, being the World’s largest wheat producer the United Nations was forced this past February to issue an alert warning that this Communist Nation was fast nearing a point where it would no longer be able to feed its people from the food it produces for itself.

Though the United States, this report continues, is better positioned than China, it nevertheless is suffering through one of its worst droughts in decades in its Southwestern and Lower Midwest Regions with vast areas of its Middle and Upper Western “heartland” areas suffering catastrophic floods affecting nearly half of its Nation leading to a soaring rise in food costs that Russian economists warn are ‘recipes for rebellion’ as millions of poor will be unable to feed themselves.


NASA Scientist Accused of Using Celeb Status Among Environmental Groups to Enrich Himself

The NASA scientist who once claimed the Bush administration tried to "silence" his global warming claims is now accused of receiving more than $1.2 million from the very environmental organizations whose agenda he advocated.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington, D.C., a group claims NASA is withholding documents that show James Hansen failed to comply with ethics rules and financial disclosures regarding substantial compensation he earned outside his $180,000 taxpayer-paid position as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"Hansen's office appears to be somewhat of a rogue operation. It's clearly a taxpayer-funded global warming advocacy organization," said Chris Horner, a co-founder of The American Tradition Institute, which filed the lawsuit. "The real issue here is, has Hansen been asking NASA in writing, in advance, for permission for these outside activities? We have reason to believe that has not been occurring."

The lawsuit claims Hansen privately profited from his public job in violation of federal ethics rules, and NASA allowed him to do it because of his influence in the media and celebrity status among environmental groups, which rewarded him handsomely the last four years.

Gifts, speaking fees, prizes and consulting compensation include:

-- A shared $1 million prize from the Dan David Foundation for his "profound contribution to humanity." Hansen's cut ranged from $333,000 to $500,000, Horner said, adding that the precise amount is not known because Hansen's publicly available financial disclosure form only shows the prize was "an amount in excess of $5,000."

-- The 2010 Blue Planet prize worth $550,000 from the Asahi Glass Foundation, which recognizes efforts to solve environmental issues.

-- The Sophie Prize for his "political activism," worth $100,000. The Sophie Prize is meant to "inspire people working towards a sustainable future."

-- Speaking fees totaling $48,164 from a range of mostly environmental organizations.

-- A $15,000 participation fee, waived by the W.J. Clinton Foundation for its 2009 Waterkeeper Conference.

-- $720,000 in legal advice and media consulting services provided by The George Soros Open Society Institute. Hansen said he did not take "direct" support from Soros but accepted "pro bono legal advice."

Hansen did not respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Federal rules prohibit government employees from receiving certain types of income outside their job. Employees are required to file Form 17-60 in writing before any outside activity. And annually, they're required to submit Form SF 278, after receiving outside compensation.

The American Tradition Institute filed a Freedom of Information Act request for those two documents for Hansen. The lawsuit claims NASA has "repeatedly and unlawfully refused to produced the requested materials."

"Should the taxpayer know what's going on? Should, as FOIA intends, NASA disclose documents to shed light on its operations and its compliance within the law? We say yes. The law says yes. NASA says no," Horner said.

Mark Hess, chief of communications for the Goddard Space Center, sent Fox News NASA's response to Horner's FOIA request. It said in many cases the documents Horner requested did not exist. Horner claims they should, if Hansen was complying with the law.


Findings of sea-level magicians not generalizable

A recent study has attempted to use a long-term (~2,100 years), local (coastal North Carolina), determination of sea level derived from the build-up of salt marsh sediments to better characterize the behavior of global sea level (and by proxy, global temperatures) over the same multi-millennial time period. Based upon the results of this investigation, the research team led by Andrew Kemp from the University of Pennsylvania, concludes that there were four rather distinct periods of sea level rise over the past 2,100 years. Here is how they describe the first three:

Sea level was stable from at least BC 100 until AD 950. Sea level then increased for 400 y at a rate of 0.6 mm/y, followed by a further period of stable, or slightly falling, sea level that persisted until the late 19th century.

And then, and here’s the kicker (and why this paper received all the press coverage that it did, with headlines such as “Fastest Sea-Level Rise in 2,000 Years Linked to Increasing Global Temperatures“):

Since then, sea level has risen at an average rate of 2.1 mm/y, representing the steepest century-scale increase of the past two millennia. This rate was initiated between AD 1865 and 1892. Using an extended semiempirical modeling approach, we show that these sea-level changes are consistent with global temperature for at least the past millennium.

But can a paleo-record of sea level rise from basically one locality (e.g., coastal North Carolina) provide a good indication of the long-term history of global sea level rise? Obviously, the authors think so, but others are not so sure.

Following the publication of the Kemp paper in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (a journal with rather questionable peer-review procedures), the German magazine Der Spiegel ran an article which reflected some of the skepticism of the methods/results. The article begins:

After reconstructing sea level patterns over the last 2,000 years for the first time ever, researchers have found that the dawn of the industrial age initiated an unprecedented rise in waters. But critics complain the study is too narrow.

Der Spiegel goes on to explain the problem:

But other experts are doubtful. They see the new study’s limited data as its primary drawback, and question whether something based on findings from the North Carolina coast alone can be applicable for the whole world. “This study is, therefore, not at all suited for making predictions,” says Jens Schröter of the Alfred Wegener Insitute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.

But the study’s authors, among them Stephan Rahmstorf, attempt to reassure us that the findings are robust:

Rahmstorf and his colleagues concede that local sea level fluctuations can differ from global trends. Nevertheless, the scientists conclude that their data, by and large, reflects the changes in global sea levels.

But do they really?

A paper published a few years ago by Alexander Kolker and Sultan Hameen “Meteorologically driven trends in sea level rise” (and covered by World Climate Report) seems germane.

In this paper, these researchers investigated whether the variability and trends in sea level rise along the North American and European costs of the Atlantic Ocean could be at least partially explained by variations in the strength and position of the dominant atmospheric circulation patterns that characterize the Atlantic region.

And not only did they find that they were, but to quite a sizeable degree. In fact, they found that nearly 70% of the observed long-term (~century) trend in the five tide gauge locations in their study could be explained by meteorological variability (as opposed to say, anthropogenically-forced climate change). For instance, at the location (Charleston, SC) that was closest to the Kemp et al. study sites in North Carolina, Kolker and Hameed determined that meteorological variability could explain 73% of the observed trend in sea level rise for the period 1920-2003.

So while Kemp et al. assume that the influence of “natural climate modes” is only large “over short time scales” and “become progressively smaller as longer time scales are considered” (an assumption which allows them to link sea level rise changes in North Carolina to global temperatures), Kolker and Hameed find that for time periods at least as long as a century (the full length of the period that they studied) that meteorological variability (i.e., the influence of natural climate modes) can dominate the sea level rise signal. In fact, Kolker and Hameed find that meteorological variability has acted to more than double the rate of sea level rise caused by other factors (of which “global warming” is one potential factor—Kolker and Hameed list several other including “sediment compaction” and “volcanically induced changes in ocean heat content”).

All which goes to show that the sea level rise from a single location may not be that representative of global behavior—supporting the critical comments in Der Spiegel.

Has sea level risen over the past two millennia? Almost certainly. Is the rate of global sea level rise tied to global temperatures? Yes. Will future global warming lead to rising seas? Yes again. But, as with all other questions about global warming and its impacts, the important questions are not really whether it is happening, but rather how great are the impacts. The rate of global warming is rather pokey. So too is the resultant sea level rise. And as such, natural variability (in all aspects of the climate system) still is a major force to be reckoned with—acting with a magnitude and over timescales probably much greater than it is generally given credit for (at least by the humans-are-responsible-for-everything crowd).

So the take home message here, is that what happens in coastal North Carolina (or any other specific locale) does not well-reflect the world, nor vice versa.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Batty Norwegian dame tries to paddle to the North Pole -- reality intervenes

After 13 days Cecilie Skog canceled her attempt reach the North Pole with a canoe. "It is really no disgrace," is the title of the North Pole expedition blog post that Cecilie Skog and Rune Gjeldnes published on Tuesday.

The woman thought they had a realistic timetable to be first to reach the North Pole in summer without the addition of supplies.

"If we continue north now, the consequence will be that we set in motion a rescue operation in the middle of the Arctic Ocean in about 4-5 weeks, and we do not want that", they write on the Expedition blog on Tuesday.

The expedition had an appointment with an icebreaker to get them at 90 degrees north on 27 July. However, because ice conditions were worse than expected, and leads to paddle did not materialize, they have the past few days only managed to travel a daily distances of around ten miles.

Skog believes that this is only half of what they should do in this phase of the trip. In recent days, Skog and Gjeldnes described how they have fought their way through ice, slush and water, under very strenuous conditions. "It's thick ice in front of us for hundreds of kilometers, and it does not appear that it will change significantly, they write.

However, there have also been good moments and Skog reports both ice bathing in good weather, and other adventures along the way.

"Now we will enjoy ourselves on the trip back. We have food and supplies enough to get back without having to stress, and it may be that we need both supplies and time to the fullest, they write.

As conditions have gotten worse in recent days, she is still excited about what the return trip will be.



Three current articles below

World Government: Not a conspiracy it's actually Greens policy

Like Germany but unlike most other countries, Australia has a "Green" party that is politically influential. Their policies (below) are therefore instructive

To the people who say that those pushing the global warming agenda are using it and carbon taxes for "World Government" is a conspiracy theory, I think should take a look a "The Greens" policy titled: Global Governance. (see here)

I want to basically abolish the UN or at least remove any legal powers it has. I want to ensure the sovreignty of Australia and want Australians to be governed by a democratically elected Australian government. The Greens want to strengthen the UN and want a world government. Here are some points their policy covers:

* The system of global governance must be reinvigorated.

* A stronger UN capable of dealing with threats to international peace and security.

* Support the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and ensure that all nations are subject to its decisions.

* Major structural reform is needed to provide stronger, more effective and more representative multilateral institutions.

* The leading role of the United Nations (UN) in the maintenance of International peace and security must be recognised and respected by all countries.

* The international financial institutions that govern aid, development, trade, and transnational financial movements require extensive reform to enable them to provide global economic justice
A stronger UN capable of dealing with threats to international peace and security.

* Support the establishment of an international environmental court and an environmental council at the UN, with similar decision-making powers to the Security Council to deal with environmental issues of global significance.

These very fighting polices must be kept in mind when they move to give land to the United Nation when they list "word heritage" areas, When they want open borders with some of their refugee policies and when our carbon taxes are paid to the United Nations.

And to those who will email me saying is says governance not government, here is the dictionary definition of both words.

Governance: The action or manner of governing.
Government: The governing body of a nation, state, or community
They are one and the same.


Blow for wind farms as senators push probe into noise and health fears

URGENT research should be undertaken into the potentially damaging health effects of wind farms on nearby residents, says a landmark Senate report released yesterday. In a dramatic win for residents' groups who have raised widespread concerns about the impact of wind farms on rural communities, the committee recommended that noise measurements be expanded to include low-frequency noise, or infrasound.

Campaigners welcomed the report and said there should be an immediate halt to wind farm developments until the potential health impacts were better understood.

According to the Clean Energy Council, there are 53 wind farms operating in Australia, with 1089 operating turbines that can reach the height of a 45-storey building and have blades up to 50m long. Wind turbine capacity has increased by 30 per cent a year over the past decade and wind now supplies about 2 per cent of Australia's electricity needs.

There are more than 9000 megawatts of large-scale wind farm energy projects proposed around the country, propelled partly by the federal government's Renewable Energy Target scheme, which subsidises power from renewable sources.

The majority Senate report yesterday called for tougher rules on noise, new rules to govern how close wind farms can be built to houses, and an independent arbitrator to hear complaints. It said arbitrary setbacks - the distance that a wind farm must be built from a residence - may not be adequate and each situation may need to be considered on its merits.

But the most dramatic findings were in the area of potential harm from low-frequency noise. The committee said the commonwealth government should initiate as a matter of priority "thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies of the possible effects of wind farms on human health".

"This research must engage across industry and community, and include an advisory process representing the range of interests and concerns," the committee said. It said a National Health and Medical Research Council review of research should continue, with regular publication.

The committee recommended that the National Acoustics Laboratories conduct a study and assessment of noise impacts of wind farms, including the impacts of infrasound. It said the draft National Wind Farm Development Guidelines should be redrafted to include discussion of any adverse health effects.

The Senate inquiry was initiated by Family First senator Steve Fielding and attracted more then 1000 submissions both for and against wind farm developments. The inquiry was chaired by Greens senator Rachel Siewert and included Labor senators Claire Moore and Carol Brown and Liberal senators Judith Adams, Sue Boyce and Helen Coonan.

Sarah Laurie, medical director of the Waubra Foundation, a national organisation set up to raise awareness of the health effects of wind farms, said an immediate moratorium should be called for wind farm developments. "Given the Senate recommendations and strength of evidence to the inquiry, the precautionary principle should be adopted," Dr Laurie said.

She said the report's recommendations were exactly what concerned health professionals had called for. "Investigation of low-frequency noise, or infrasound, had not been properly conducted anywhere else in the world," Dr Laurie said.

The Senate committee was told that Denmark had flagged regulation of infrasound at wind farms and that Japan last year started a four-year study into the effects of infrasound from wind farms.

Sheep farmer Dean West and his partner Geri McHugh live in the shadow of the Starfish Hill Wind Farm at Delamere, 100km south of Adelaide, and often hear the turbines on a windy day. Mr West, whose sheep wander the paddocks under the 100m-high turbines, is in the paddocks daily, but has no concerns for his health. "I can't see that more studies would do any harm, though," Mr West said.

The couple moved to the farm 10 years ago, at the same time as the 23 turbines were being built on the grazing land. The closest tower is 500m away. Although they do not think they suffer because of the turbines, Ms McHugh has tinnitus and is sensitive to the turbine noise. "It's just a woof, woof, woof sound, you just can't tune out," Ms McHugh said.

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the renewable energy industry believed the Senate inquiry report was a balanced review of issues. "It acknowledges the important contribution that wind energy makes to employment and economic development," Mr Marsh said. "There is no reason to slow the development of new wind farms based on this report."


Meltdown imminent, solar industry warns

The solar industry has warned it will cease to exist in New South Wales within eight weeks without action from the State Government.

Lobbying by the industry, along with disquiet on the Coalition's own backbench, contributed to the Government's backdown earlier this month on changes to the Solar Bonus Scheme.

The Government had announced it would retrospectively cut the tariff paid to households with solar from 60 cents per kilowatt hour to 40 cents. That plan was abandoned but the industry is still crying foul after the Government closed the scheme to new applicants.

Energy Minister Chris Hartcher says alternative proposals for keeping the industry afloat will be considered at a second solar summit in a week. He says one option would be for electricity retailers to pay for the solar energy they receive.

But John Grimes from the Australian Solar Energy Society says by then it may already be too late. "We've seen companies that have gone from 19 employees to two. They're holding on to see what's going to happen," Mr Grimes said. "If we don't get a one-for-one feed-in tariff in place in NSW immediately those companies will close altogether and that would be a huge tragedy."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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