0663: "Sagan-Man"

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:25 am UTC

I think Sagan-Man would be an awesome superhero. Think about it: Other superheroes beat people up and get them locked up in jail, but Sagan-Man gives them a nobler purpose in life. It's a far better solution in the long run.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby frey553 » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:07 am UTC

NorthLondon wrote:We've got TV on our iphones, but we couldn't replicate something that first happened when our grandparents were in their prime.


It's not a technology issue, its a funding issue. A lot of people hold the point of view that if a robot can do it, why spend 10 times the money and have a human do it. NASA has been underfunded since the cold war ended (in my opinion). I mean that was really the main motivation for many of the early accomplishments in space, including the moon landings. I seem to remember watching something on the history channel that even quoted Kennedy as saying (in private) that the primary reason to spend so much money on something like landing on the moon was just to beat the Soviets.

In summary, less motivation=less money=things happen more slowly.

NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?


I pray to god this is sarcasm.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby libra » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:48 am UTC

eviloatmeal wrote:
Skythe wrote:LOL, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what this comic is saying. Explanation please?

It is demonstrating something commonly known as the Johnstons effect, a concept in which you can utter a sentence so profound, it will literally stop people dead in their tracks, for want of more brain power to process what you just said.

The Greeks termed it aporia - literally, "a state of being at a loss." It was one of Socrates' favourite tools. Zen Buddhism calls them koans.
I love inducing that state in the people to whom I speak. :)

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Vieto » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:57 am UTC

If you wish to catch a thief...

you must first... invent, the universe!

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Christo » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:59 am UTC

Sagan-Man With the proportional strength, speed, and eyebrows of the renowned physicist, our hero has defeated a lot of villains; I dare say, billions and billions.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby pyxzer » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:20 pm UTC

"...billions upon billions..."

At least be right about it.

http://is.gd/4Wce6 wikipedia is always right

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby jeszjesz » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:33 pm UTC

frey553 wrote:
I pray to god this is sarcasm.


I pray to Sagan this is sarcasm.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Minerva » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:29 pm UTC

NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?


Please, Raptor Jebus, tell me that he isn't serious.

The Boz wrote:It's Agent Sagan, not Saganman.

EDIT: And yeah, that would be an effective superhero. Imagine a thief stealing a diamond, only to have Agent Sagan stop him to say "Matter is composed primarily of nothing." Mind=Blown for the materialist.


For anyone who hasn't seen it before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlpyGhABXRA

pyxzer wrote:I seriously don't understand this Sagan-worship that's poking around in everywhere. :/


Go and watch all of Cosmos, and read Sagan's stuff, and then you'll understand :)
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:I think Sagan-Man would be an awesome superhero. Think about it: Other superheroes beat people up and get them locked up in jail, but Sagan-Man gives them a nobler purpose in life. It's a far better solution in the long run.


But is this really just a form of mind control? Isn't that unethical? Permanently altering the predilection of the evil doers? I think this wouldn't fly in our current legal system. Rehabilitation doesn't happen now. No, what you need is Shut-inMan, who explains the problems with life and all those..."people". This would be equivalent to prison.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby davidhbrown » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

Now I'm wishing I could be bitten by a radioactive Donald Knuth...

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby NorthLondon » Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:
NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?


Please, Raptor Jebus, tell me that he isn't serious.

...


Raptor Jebus can rest easy. I'm a big fan of Hollywood educating us about the history of near-disastrous-but-redemptively-rescued space exploration. (If someone could show me the sarcasm button that would be great).

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby ctristan » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

When I first read the comic I thought it said "Carl Sagat", and then I read the punchline and really didn't understand. Then I looked again and realized my mind somehow mixed up Carl Sagan with Bob Saget. :|

JustMe wrote:Do you know how amazing it is that we've been to the moon? And we haven't been back in decades? But we've bombed it?

(Of course, everyone knows bombing is the first step towards establishing a base!)

((And, yes, I know this bombing had more purpose than probably any other bombing in history, but still - seems odd))


I understand you may be using the term for humor, but it's not really accurate to call it "bombing" since that implies that explosives were used. I guess you could say we violently assaulted the moon?

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

I believe the proper term is 'shelled'(as in those huge sixteen-inch slugs the Iowa class tossed around).
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Dobblesworth » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:19 pm UTC

Hmm, having glanced at wikiquote, it doesn't look like the comic's playing the direct quotation card, so I guess Randall decided to stick with "evoke his aura with something profound & thought-provoking like the Pale Blue Dot" and/or give a loose paraphrasing.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Ridcully » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

:)
This warmed my heart. I am a big fan of Carl Sagan, and it sounds like something he would do.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby exchequer » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:07 pm UTC

Aw, I loved this one. Sagan had a wonderful ability to make space accessible and still mind-boggling.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby ubikuberalles » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:17 pm UTC

skine wrote:"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc


Meanwhile, in the "Sagan-Man" universe, thousands of Bakers - well known for their home-made apple pie - are scouring bookstores for cosmology books so they can figure out how to invent the universe.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Khalid » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:58 pm UTC

Oh great. The only thing this will do is stop petty thieves, but in turn it will create mad scientists who cause much more damage in the long run.

Yeah, that is MUCH better...

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby DonSasquatcho » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:58 pm UTC

I guess you would have to grow up with him on TV like I did to understand the huge impact he had on our generation.

As I was telling a younger friend as a result of today's comic:

He contributed to shape my life. He made me want to be an astronaut, a scientist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a better person, a person with perspective, a computer scientist :) (which is what I am now) , etc...

A truly inspiring person. We need more of him.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby pyxzer » Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:
pyxzer wrote:I seriously don't understand this Sagan-worship that's poking around in everywhere. :/


Go and watch all of Cosmos, and read Sagan's stuff, and then you'll understand :)


It's more these ever-repeating quotes and saying, "damn, wasn't he just a jolly good fella" all the time.
No doubt he was, but it's getting a bit old. What about actually doing something useful, like maybe, science, instead of praising him without end. It's almost religious.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Sizik » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

eviloatmeal wrote:
doctordestiny wrote:
eviloatmeal wrote:
Skythe wrote:LOL, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what this comic is saying. Explanation please?

It is demonstrating something commonly known as the Johnstons effect, a concept in which you can utter a sentence so profound, it will literally stop people dead in their tracks, for want of more brain power to process what you just said.


Except that I can't find the "Johnstons effect"...

You don't "find" the Johnstons effect, it's just one of those things where you have a deep moment of thinking about what someone said. It's not something that is easy to replicate of course, that's part of the point of the comic, this "superhero" has the ability (knowledge) to say something to someone which will make them phase out for a moment.


He means like on Google. The two top results (out of three) for "johnstons effect" are this thread.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Mo-velocipede » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

Khalid wrote:Oh great. The only thing this will do is stop petty thieves, but in turn it will create mad scientists who cause much more damage in the long run.

Yeah, that is MUCH better...


No, he might create mad scientists, but not angry scientists! Saganman and his teachings are the epitome of benevolence!

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Yakk » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112384/

Honestly, if you are at all interested in space travel, I'd stop reading about this right now (and I mean RIGHT NOW), go to the video store, pick up the movie "Apollo 13", don't look at any details about it, don't talk about it with anyone, pay for it, take it home, and watch it.

Then go on the web and read about it/return to this thread and report back.

And it doesn't matter if you are being sarcastic. If you are being sarcastic, you should do the above in penance.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Mo-velocipede » Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

Yakk, that already was resolved.
NorthLondon wrote:
Minerva wrote:
NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?


Please, Raptor Jebus, tell me that he isn't serious.

...


Raptor Jebus can rest easy. I'm a big fan of Hollywood educating us about the history of near-disastrous-but-redemptively-rescued space exploration. (If someone could show me the sarcasm button that would be great).


See?

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby doctordestiny » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:19 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:
eviloatmeal wrote:
doctordestiny wrote:
eviloatmeal wrote:
Skythe wrote:LOL, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what this comic is saying. Explanation please?

It is demonstrating something commonly known as the Johnstons effect, a concept in which you can utter a sentence so profound, it will literally stop people dead in their tracks, for want of more brain power to process what you just said.


Except that I can't find the "Johnstons effect"...

You don't "find" the Johnstons effect, it's just one of those things where you have a deep moment of thinking about what someone said. It's not something that is easy to replicate of course, that's part of the point of the comic, this "superhero" has the ability (knowledge) to say something to someone which will make them phase out for a moment.


He means like on Google. The two top results (out of three) for "johnstons effect" are this thread.


Thanks for actually understanding what I meant :) When I read his response, I wasn't sure if I was being trolled or not. Still not sure actually.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Jumble » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

I understand your concern - hero worship is usually misplaced. However, Dr Sagan was clearly a rare creature - he was a polymath. Humanist, philosopher, historian, entertainer, communicator and scientist, he managed to combine his interests to convey awe and humility with respect to both science and the cosmos that he saw around him. The fact that he was able to communicate his sense of perspective and wonder to such a broad, and largely non-scientific, audience was a rare gift. There are popular media advocates for art, music, literature, sport, etc., but I scratch my head to think of anyone who has filled Dr Sagan's shoes in the field of science. If, as a scientist, I declared complete ignorance of literature or art then I would be correctly considered a fool. However people I meet every day take this attitude with regard to science. I personally think that the world is poorer (and more dangerous) because of this.

Plus, he did come out with some great quotes.

(On the acknowledgements page of my PhD I remember using my favourite: 'Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another.' )
pyxzer wrote:
Minerva wrote:
pyxzer wrote:I seriously don't understand this Sagan-worship that's poking around in everywhere. :/


Go and watch all of Cosmos, and read Sagan's stuff, and then you'll understand :)


It's more these ever-repeating quotes and saying, "damn, wasn't he just a jolly good fella" all the time.
No doubt he was, but it's getting a bit old. What about actually doing something useful, like maybe, science, instead of praising him without end. It's almost religious.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Minerva » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:16 am UTC

Khalid wrote:Oh great. The only thing this will do is stop petty thieves, but in turn it will create mad scientists who cause much more damage in the long run.

Yeah, that is MUCH better...


Although very constructive in fostering the next generation of scientists, Sagan's philosophies and works were never likely to give us the next Edward Teller, say. (Even though, of course, Sagan and Teller were both very good scientists, they couldn't have been more diametrically opposed politically.)
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby 10nitro » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:29 am UTC

Minerva wrote:
ballos wrote:on topic: can you imagine that carl sagan is dead? and that we're talking about the words of a man who's lying some five feet underground in some grave?

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person – perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.
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This gave me the image of stumbling across a tape drive in a box in a basement somewhere, inserting it and finding text documents. They contain the drivels of some unknown person from the early 70s typing from a UNIX terminal. Reading these logs, I find something profound, and yet I will have never, and will never know this person. All I do know is that they had UID 514; I don't even know the year, there were several different epochs in use at the time.

... I really failed at conveying how epic that seemed in my head.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Minerva » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:32 am UTC

Yakk wrote:
NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112384/


A very good film :)

From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. And it's not a miracle, we just decided to go.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby SEE » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:17 am UTC

frey553 wrote:NASA has been underfunded since the cold war ended (in my opinion)

That's nice. Your opinion is wrong. NASA has had about the same inflation-adjusted annual funding in the years since the end of the Cold War that it had when it was launching two Saturn V trips to the moon a year.

NASA Funding in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars during the late Apollo program:
1971: $15.717 billion
1972: $15.082 billion

NASA Funding in inflation-adjusted 2007 dollars since the fall of the Berlin Wall:
1990: $18.019 billion
1991: $19.686 billion
1992: $15.310 billion
1993: $18.582 billion
1994: $18.053 billion
1995: $16.915 billion
1996: $16.457 billion
1997: $15.943 billion
1998: $15.521 billion
1999: $15.357 billion
2000: $14.926 billion
2001: $15.427 billion
2002: $15.831 billion
2003: $16.021 billion
2004: $15.559 billion
2005: $16.016 billion
2006: $16.085 billion
2007: $15.861 billion
2008: $17.138 billion
2009: $17.200 billion

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Alkalurops » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:49 am UTC

I'm digging his pale-blue cape.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Jumble » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:03 am UTC

Alkalurops wrote:I'm digging his pale-blue cape.

Its only there to cover his dodgy corduroy jacket.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby makc » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:59 am UTC

skine wrote:"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc
this one is funnier ;)

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:20 pm UTC

Hey, I like Carl Sagan too! And I don't need a webcomic strip to feel validated!

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby bennyprofane » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

Maybe it's just me, but didn't Sagan discover he was sick around 1995? I don't think he went through radiation treatment, but still, it adds an odd dimension to the comic.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby The_Duck » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:24 pm UTC

SEE wrote:NASA has had about the same inflation-adjusted annual funding in the years since the end of the Cold War that it had when it was launching two Saturn V trips to the moon a year.


Arguably, space is much more important to the country these days than it was in 1971-2, and so the fact that we're spending the same amount on it is evidence that NASA is underfunded. I would guess that a good chunk of the budget during the Apollo years was spent on Apollo. But these days there are so many things to spend it on: tens of satellite missions (space telescopes, weather/climate satellites, etc.), the Moon, Mars, the ISS, missions to the outer planets, and so on. But by your numbers, NASA's funding has not expanded since Apollo, even though many more things (and much more useful things) are being done.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby oblivimous » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

The Pale Blue Dot quote reminded me of this photo taken by Cassini.

We are
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just beyond the brightest ring, at about 10 o'clock.

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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:17 pm UTC

frey553 wrote:
NorthLondon wrote:Although, NASA did go back to the moon another five times after Apollo 11 - with Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, it's just that people stopped caring. I wonder what happened to Apollo 13? Why didn't that make it to the moon?


I pray to god this is sarcasm.


To be fair (although the sarcasm was already well noted), I am not personally well versed on the exact technical issues involved in the problems with Apollo 13...
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:48 am UTC

Vieto wrote:If you wish to catch a thief...

you must first... invent, the universe!


It took a while for the full implication of: "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe." to sink in with me.

It is not a nonsensical statement. It is a literal statement of fact; taking the meaning of the phrase "from scratch" to the extreme.

So, to summarize, you butchered it.
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Re: "Sagan-Man" Discussion

Postby HighSpeedFallingObjects » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:13 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
Vieto wrote:If you wish to catch a thief...

you must first... invent, the universe!


It took a while for the full implication of: "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe." to sink in with me.

It is not a nonsensical statement. It is a literal statement of fact; taking the meaning of the phrase "from scratch" to the extreme.

So, to summarize, you butchered it.


Not necessarily. For the vigilante and the thief to be caught, they must first exist. In that sense, the universe would have to first be created. I don't think that he was implying that the quote was nonsensical, he was simply applying it to the comic in his own take. At least that's what I got from it.


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