Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 4, 2022 • 6:30 am

Welcome to non-cat Sabbath, September 4, 2022, National Macadamia Nut Day, celebrating most people’s favorite nut (cashews are second). At about $25 a pound, these are also the world’s most expensive nuts. This video (the English in the captions is wonky) tells you why. The nut has two shells, and harvesting must be done by hand:

It’s also Eat an Extra Dessert Day, National Wildlife DayNewspaper Carrier Day, and, in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Toothfish Day, described like this:

The holiday marks the end of the toothfish (Dissostichus, also called Chilean sea bass) fishing season. Locals (which at this time of year number around 16) celebrate with a toast. Some bake gingerbread toothfish cookies. The Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) celebrates with a Toothfish Day Reception at Government House in Stanley.[10] The reception includes a quiz, a toast, and a menu featuring many dishes made with toothfish. GSGSSI also holds meetings and a reception in London to mark the occasion.

Stuff that happened on September 4 includes:

A precis and their route:

The Flight of the Earls (Irish: Teitheamh na nIarlaí) took place in September 1607, when Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone, and Rory O’Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, and about ninety followers, left Ulster in Ireland for mainland Europe. Their permanent exile was a watershed event in Irish history, symbolising the end of the old Gaelic order.

On his deathbed, Geronimo said he regretted surrendering. Here’s a photo of him in 1887 with a rifle:

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The patent:

Robeson, one of my heroes, was not only black and a vociferous advocate of civil rights, but had liberal and even Communist sympathies. That was all it took to ignite a riot. Among the cars that were damaged:

One car carried Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, Seeger’s wife Toshi, and his infant children. Guthrie pinned a shirt to the inside of the window to stop it shattering. “Wouldn’t you know it, Woody pinned up a red shirt,” Hays was to remember. Seeger used some of the thrown rocks to build the chimney of his cabin in the Town of Fishkill, New York, to stand as a reminder of the incident.

Look at these protestors of the integration of Little Rock High! (They’re at the Arkansas state capitol.) This should be the illustration beside the dictionary definition of “yahoos”.

Here all all nine of his gold medal swims (he won two in 1968). The single-game record is also held by a swimmer: Michael Phelps, of course (he got 8 in the 2008 games).

It’s hard to believe that Spitz is 72 now.

  • 1972 – The Price Is Right premieres on CBS. As of 2018, it is the longest running game show on American television.

The host was originally Bob Barker, who did the job for 35 years; Drew Carey replaced him, and the show is still running.

Gazillionaires!

I don’t think this is true, as the Cleveland Indians (now the Cleveland Guardians) won 22 straight games in 2017, and they’re in the American League. The National League record is 21 games, set by the Chicago Cubs in 1935.

Da Nooz:

*Well, the launch of Artemis-1, scheduled for yesterday afternoon, was scrubbed again. This time it was a leak of the liquid hydrogen fuel that was detected seven hours before the 2:17 pm deadline.

NASA engineers repeatedly tried to staunch the fuel leak during the Artemis 1 countdown. First, they tried to warm the tank connector and chill it with cold fuel to reseat the hydrogen quick disconnect connector. Next, engineers tried to repressurize it with helium, and then returned to the warm-and-chill method to stop the leak. All three attempts failed.

The delay, the second this week for NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission, means the agency will have to wait until Monday (Sept. 5) at the earliest to make its next launch attempt. And that’s if the source of the leak can be fixed in time.

“We’ll go when it’s ready. We don’t go until then, and especially now on a test flight,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in televised comments after the scrub. “This is part of the space business.”

. . .If NASA has to roll Artemis 1’s SLS rocket back inside its Vehicle Assembly Building hangar for repairs, the launch will slip to October, Nelson said. NASA already plans to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on SpaceX’s Crew-5 Dragon mission in early October, so an Artemis 1 launch that month would be later in the month.

NASA currently has a 90-minute window to launch Artemis 1 on Monday, with liftoff occurring at 5:12 p.m. EDT (2212 GMT). If the agency doesn’t try to launch Monday, it could try on Tuesday (Sept. 6), but the launch window is slim, just 24 minutes. A Tuesday launch, if attempted, would occur at 6:57 p.m. EDT (2257 GMT), NASA has said.

As Jim Batterson has been telling us, these things are expected in crew-less tests, and NASA is really shaking down the launch. To tell the truth, though, are any of you excited about founding a colony of humans on the Moon? It seems expensive, and to me the goal isn’t that clear. It’s not going to be a place of egress from Earth when it starts melting down.

A tweet found by Matthew:

*The Washington Post editorial board has actually criticized the “divisive” speech that Biden gave the other day. The infrequent editorial-board piece is called “Democracy is in danger. Biden should invoke patriotism, not partisanship, to make that point.” First, the title already is the editorial, and they could have called it simply “Biden shouldn’t be divisive,” or something like that. With that judgment, the WaPo joins all the Republicans who, fostering divisiveness in a much stronger way, have gone extra hard at Uncle Joe for what he said. A snippet of the editorial:

It is a depressing reflection of the dangerous political situation in which the nation finds itself that President Biden felt compelled to deliver a prime-time address decrying political violence and election denialism and calling on Americans “to unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy.” Indeed, democracy is under assault in the United States. Rallying to its defense is an urgent task, and it does the nation no service to pretend that this is a problem of bipartisan dimensions. The leader of one party peddled the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, sought to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, incited his adherents to storm the Capitol, and continues to stir anger and unrest. As Mr. Biden put it in Philadelphia on Thursday night, “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.”

The difficult, perhaps insurmountable, challenge that Mr. Biden confronted — just eight weeks before midterm elections that will determine the future course of his presidency — was how to convey the message of defending democracy in a way that summons patriotism rather than partisanship. Here, as much as we agree with the president about the urgency of the issue, is where he fell short, too often sounding more like a Democrat than a democrat. You don’t persuade people by scolding or demeaning them, but that’s how the president’s speech landed for many conservatives of goodwill.

Well, who are, exactly, those conservatives of goodwill? Trumpers? Nope. And I don’t see any conservatives calling for bipartisanship, except as a kneejerk reaction to Biden’s speech. Remember too that Biden’s Inaugural Address strongly called for bipartisanship. That effort was doomed from the start.. As far as I can see, in his speech Uncle Joe simply called a spade a spade. Here’s what the WaPo wanted him to do: point out that some of his legislation was passed with Republican votes, and he should have said that lots of conservatives disagree with the binning of Roe v. Wade. The tut-tutting goes on:

Moreover, Mr. Biden’s clarion call for democracy would carry more credibility if he were willing to call out his own party for its cynical effort to elevate some of the same “MAGA Republicans” he now warns will destroy democracy if they prevail in the general election. During the primaries, Democrats spent tens of millions helping dangerous election deniers defeat better-funded “mainstream Republicans,” including in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden, not coincidentally, chose to speak.

There are times when you have to speak the truth, and the truth is that it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are endangering our republic. But the liberal media apparently can’t say that out loud.

*I didn’t know that Robert Reich, politician and now a Berkeley professor, had a Substack niche. Everybody wants to get into the act! But actually, his new piece, “What must we expect of journalism in this crisis?“, is pretty good, and takes exactly the opposite point of view of the Post above, with the WaPo’s Biden-dissing apparently shared by the New York Times. (h/t: Lenora) Emphasis below is Reich’s:

The New York Times quoted Republican House minority leader Kevin McCarthy as claiming Democrats are the ones “dismantling Americans’ democracy.” The Times failed to point out that McCarthy’s claim is inaccurate, and that McCarthy himself was one of 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election even after the attack on the Capitol.

The same article quoted Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, as calling Biden “the divider in chief” and accusing him of exhibiting “disgust and hostility towards half the country.” But there was no mention of McDaniel’s role in advancing Trump’s Big Lie. The Times also characterized a more general Republican objection to Biden’s speech — that he “was maligning the 74 million people” who voted for Trump in 2020 — again, without mentioning that Trump has illegally refused to concede the election.

It is dangerous to believe that “balanced journalism” gives equal weight to liars and to truth-tellers, to those intent on destroying democracy and those seeking to protect it, to the enablers of an ongoing attempted coup and those who are trying to prevent it.

Reich adds that CNN fired two reporters who noted that it’s not partisan to point out the truth, and shame on CNN for that! Reich’s ending is also in bold:

Why must we wait until some of our ablest journalists are sacked before they are willing and able to tell America the truth?

It is not “partisan” to explain what Trump and his anti-democracy movement are seeking. It is not “taking sides” to point out that the Trump Republicans are trying to establish an authoritarian government in America. It is not “violating journalistic standards” to tell the unvarnished truth about what we are facing today.

In fact, a failure to call out the Trump Republicans for what they are — liars, enablers, and accessories to crimes against the Constitution — itself violates the most basic canons of journalistic ethics.

*One good thing that could have come from the execrable Dobbs decision is that it’s energized Democrats to vote, along with the many Americans who suddenly realize that the Republicans are turning America into a theocracy. A new poll by the Wall Street Journal shows this heartening trend, which is coupled with a rise in support for legalized abortion:

Voters have grown more supportive of legalizing abortion following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, with a clear majority opposing restrictions, like bans at a certain point of pregnancy or barring women from traveling to get a legal abortion, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll that underscores the importance of the issue in the midterm elections.

According to the survey, 60% of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, up from 55% in March. Another 29% said it should be illegal, except in cases of rape, incest and when the woman’s life is endangered, compared with 30% in March. And 6% said it should be illegal in all cases, down from 11% in March.

Democrats are more likely to vote, and they ain’t gonna vote for Republicans:

. . . On which party is best able to handle abortion policy, 48% said Democrats, 27% Republicans, 16% said neither and 6% said both equally. A total of 41% of independents said they trust Democrats most to handle abortion policy, compared with 18% who said Republicans were best.

And here’s a poll of 1313 registered voters asking where they stand on the time limits for abortion. The “pro-life” states are clearly not in line with what most Americans think (click to enlarge):

*Finally, the AP has an “explainer” that answers your questions about the new Covid-19 vaccine that should be available next week. Should you get one? When? Are they safe? How much extra protection do they offer? Have a look, and of course consult your doctor if you have any questions (and the doc will return phone calls!). One Q&A:

HOW MUCH BENEFIT WILL THE NEW BOOSTERS OFFER?

That’s not clear, because tests of this exact recipe have only just begun in people.

The FDA cleared the new boosters based in large part on human studies of a similarly tweaked vaccine that’s just been recommended by regulators in Europe. Those tweaked shots target an earlier omicron strain, BA.1, that circulated last winter, and studies found they revved up people’s virus-fighting antibodies.

With that earlier omicron version now replaced by BA.4 and BA.5, the FDA ordered an additional tweak to the shots — and tests in mice showed they spark an equally good immune response.

There’s no way to know if antibodies produced by an omicron-matched booster might last longer than a few months. But a booster also is supposed to strengthen immune system memory, adding to protection against serious illness from the ever-mutating virus.

The second booster (yes, I got one) really offers protection for only a couple of months, so will we be getting boosters every six months forever? Even flu shots come only once a year!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Editor in Chief is chewing out Andrzej:

Hili: Will you translate this article about energy?
A: Probably not.
Hili: I thought so, you don’t have enough energy.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy będziecie tłumaczyć ten artykuł o energii?
Ja: Raczej nie.
Hili: Tak myślałam, że nie starczy wam energii.

. . . and a picture of sleeping Kulka by Paulina:

**********************

From Facebook. I don’t know who did this cartoon; it looks like Gary Larson but surely isn’t him. Anybody know?

From Mark:

From Stash Krod, one of B. Kliban‘s enigmatic cartoons:

God’s had a lot of tweets taken down lately. I think this one will stay up:

Tweets from Simon, who says, “The double standard leaps out. Not sure why he’d do that, but I guess it’s a clarification that doesn’t take the violent off the hook. In contrast, Trump never apologized for standing in front of two marines and calling Dems (“not all of them”) fascists.”

From Malcolm, who says “Amazing foresight by Bowie in 1999”:

From Luana. This paper (I haven’t read the whole thing) argues that the Moral Landscape is changing for the better:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a man who survived but five days:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a video about Biden’s “controversial” speech:

Do you know all the cat species? This one has a nice tail:

This is a fascinating paper that I’ve printed out to read:

38 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Macadamia and cashew are both fine nuts but I believe almonds are the finest (others may, of course, differ).

  2. What surprised me by the WP editorial was the statement “You don’t persuade people by scolding or demeaning them, but that’s how the president’s speech landed for many conservatives of goodwill.” Well, “conservatives of goodwill” have already left the Republican Party or need to be made aware of the dangers of MAGA fascism. When the WP says that Biden should have evoked patriotism, what the hell does that even mean? MAGA Republicans think they are patriotic. Nothing is going to change their minds, and the WP’s recommendation of appeasement will not work. The WP reminds me of Obama, who through for most of his presidency thought that he could actually work with Republicans. We can only hope that will the passage of time that the extremism of the MAGA Republicans will fade away. But, I wouldn’t count on this happening anytime soon. It is hard to deprogram cult members when they are in the grasp of a messianic, fascist sociopath, whose greatest strength is to win over very aggrieved people that are looking for enemies to blames for their woes in a changing world that they don’t understand or desire but fear greatly. MAGA Republicans are not a danger to democracy because they support the Dobbs decision and other right-wing causes. It is because they are election deniers, thereby threatening the bedrock principle of democracy – the acceptance of the results of free and fair elections and the orderly transfer of power.

    1. I underscore your last two sentences, my Historian friend. I would add that not only are they election deniers, they are all too willing to turn to violence to get their way. For them, might makes right, and that in itself is anti-democratic.

  3. It is ludicrous to say that the Democrats are not at this moment a danger to democracy. Their policies are driving the economy into the ground, especially with their crusade to destroy fossil-fuel based energy. They are colluding with Social Media to censor Americans and project their propaganda. (Did anyone see the poll this week that said 81% of American think that the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story changed the 2020 election, and Zuckerberg’s interview where he said Facebook had suppressed it at the FBI’s instigation?) They are politicizing the police, undermining education, and vastly expanding the police power of the Federal government with the FBI expansion. They have let 4.5 million illegal immigrants into the US while claiming the border is closed. The White House and the Departments routinely lie to or are uncooperative with Congressional committees. All of these policies are undertaken without their being explicitly part of the agenda that Biden ran on, and thus without the people being able to vote for them. If Biden had said “I am going to kill fossil fuels,” he wouldn’t have won the election. There have been innumerable jokes pointing out that it is the Left that has grown more extreme, and it it not clear that they believe in pluralistic government any more. I won’t argue about whether MAGA Republicans are a threat to democracy, but don’t pretend that the Left isn’t. As Bill Maher pointed out, if you are just watching MSNBC, you don’t get it.

  4. In watching the Biden speech the other day, I was struck by how much urgency he seemed to have in his voice when talking about political violence, which he brought up multiple times. I got the impression that his apparent sense of urgency might reflect the intelligence he was receiving. Could it be that the Biden is aware of threats that have not yet become public? Do others who watched the speech have the same impression?

  5. “It’s also Eat an Extra Dessert Day”*

    OMG this is such perfect timing! Two days ago, I broke down and bought a gallon of my favorite ice cream–chocolate chip. And then yesterday, I was gifted with a frozen cheesecake—my absolute favorite cake—for my birthday.

    I’ve been going crazy all morning trying to decide whether I should have the cake or the ice cream for dessert after dinner tonight. And now, thanks to your blog, I’ve learned I can have BOTH.

    *I assume this is like a “buy one, get another one free” deal, except with calories.

  6. The Russian attack of Ukraine was a kind of trolley dilemma. If a superior aggressor/occupying force attacks, you can choose not to resist, like the Czechoslovak government did in 1968, at considerable risk to themselves, as they might have ended up in a Gulag. Surrendering was clearly the choice with fewer dead, and the choice the German finance minister (who was consulted by Zelenskyy immediately after the attack) thought the obvious road to take, for which he received lots of Ukrainian and media opprobrium later. Resisting was the knee-jerk reaction, not resisting the wise thing to do. What would have died — the equivalent of the victim of the utilitarian choice in the classic trolley dilemma — was the notion of an independent Ukrainian nation, as Putin’s declared war aim was to re-russify a by now largely de-russianized Ukraine, or at least the orthodox part of it that used to be part of the Russian Empire, and he would probably have either court-martialed or imprisoned the members on the nationalist battalions, who, however, are now in Russian hands anyway, or have already died. To me at least, it is very doubtful whether “the existence of the Ukrainian nation” has a moral value. Propaganda of course says Ukraine is fighting for democracy, but that is not the impression I get from Ukrainians ever since the 2013 protests. I see old style hard core nationalism on both sides of this conflict as the major motive. Also, democracy can be reinstated in better conditions, but lives lost are irredeemable, infrastructure destroyed is hard to rebuild, and years of all out warfare is a de-civilizing agent that can poison life for the coming generation no less than being annexed by a dictatorial regime. A downside of choosing not to resist is the moral hazard of not punishing an aggressor. But lots of aggressors in history were not punished, not necessarily with bad outcomes in the long run. And brave freedom fighters against aggressors or occupiers often aren’t the nicest guys themselves.

    1. Correction: It wasn’t Zelenskyy who consulted with German ministers immediately after the Russian attack, it was the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Melnyk.

    2. “To me at least, it is very doubtful whether ‘the existence of the Ukrainian nation’ has a moral value.” To me, too, Ruth, and in fact I said as much in this forum back in February when the conflict began. I was roundly booed for that sentiment. BTW, many of those booing me confidently predicted that Russia would be routed from Ukraine in six months. Would any of those who made that prediction care to comment now that we’ve passed the six month mark? My prediction still holds, to wit, that Ukraine will be a forever war with Russia as long as Putin is alive and in power.

    3. I am now reading the linked article, which is very good. The Ukrainian war dilemma would be one of the cases where inaction is paired with utilitarianism, against a prescriptive deontological norm. The prescpriptive dontological norm here is (I think): you have to defend yourself and others against unjust attack by an evil fiend/you must stop the evil fiend from committing a crime.

    4. “To me at least, it is very doubtful whether ‘the existence of the Ukrainian nation’ has a moral value.”

      Yet to the majority of Ukrainians it does.

      “Also, democracy can be reinstated in better conditions”

      How would Russian domination of Ukraine count as a better condition?

  7. “In fact, a failure to call out the Trump Republicans for what they are — liars, enablers, and accessories to crimes against the Constitution — itself violates the most basic canons of journalistic ethics.”

    I didn’t watch Biden’s speech so my comments apply only to Robert Reich’s quote above. If by “Trump Republicans” Reich means those who stormed the Capitol and their ilk, then he has a point. If he means any Republican who voted for Trump, he’s denigrating roughly half the country. Failure to make that distinction, IMO, “itself violates the most basic canons of journalistic ethics.”

    1. “If he means any Republican who voted for Trump, he’s denigrating roughly half the country.”

      I don’t know why people always get this wrong. It’s really elementary-level math. OK, here it goes. There are approximately 258 million Americans 18 years and older. Of these “voters” 74 million voted for Trump in 2020. That leaves 184 million who didn’t vote for him. So about 35% voted for him; that’s not even close to “roughly half”. And after Jan. 6, it seems he’s lost a hell of a lot more voters, and the Mar-a-lego business isn’t helping either…yes, I’ve been calling it Mar-a-lego for some reason.

      Minor pedantry aside, Reich is referring to GOP politicians. I’m sure he doesn’t regard all Trump voters as “accessories to crimes against the Constitution”.

      1. Regardless of what goes through the minds of Trump voters including what they think of politicians that deny the election results and support overturning elections that don’t go their way (of which there are many), all nominated by Republican primary voters, these voters, are “accessories to crimes against the Constitution,” or to put it more bluntly, are aiding and abetting fascism – just as were Italians that supported Mussolini or Germans that supported Hitler. Those Republican “ordinary people” that voted for the extremists could have voted for a more moderate Republican in the primaries. Those who voted for the extremists were ignorant dupes or, more likely, actively endorsed the views of the fascist politicians. By mollycoddling the Trump supporters and their festering grievances, the mainstream media has failed in its journalistic duty to report events accurately. That seems to be changing. I’m glad to see it.

        1. At the Washington Post, Philip Bump has tried to determine how many MAGA Republicans there actually are based on how Biden described them in his speech. After analyzing various polls that asked various questions, Bump has concluded that “If one agrees with Biden that this group poses a threat to American democracy, it is reassuring that it constitutes a tenth of the public — and not, as Biden’s detractors had it — half.” Although he doesn’t state it explicitly, I am assuming Bump is referring to the voting age public. In any case, ten percent of the public means a much larger percentage of Republicans. Moreover, there is an even larger percentage of Republicans that may not endorse all of the MAGA views, but nevertheless nominate MAGA Republicans in the primaries. Those people are aiding and abetting fascism, regardless of their individual views. That is, they vote to nominate and elect fascists.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/09/02/trump-republicans-biden-maga/?itid=hp_politics

  8. I wouldn’t say democracy is good, just in general other political systems perform far worse and have even more and more serious flaws.

  9. There are times when you have to speak the truth, and the truth is that it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are endangering our republic.

    It is one thing to attack Trump, but it is quite another to start to deploy eliminationist rhetoric against Trump voters and Republicans in general. I believe the Washington Post sees the danger of this development and is trying to rein it in.

    And what is the theory of this threat that a bunch of working class bozos, half of them unemployed, pose to our country? Keep in mind that Democrats control the mainstream media, silicon valley, Hollywood, the universities, the military (at least the officers), and most of the civil service at every level.

    Exactly how do a bunch of scruffy working class types pose a threat?

    I’m sorry, but I see this as class warfare. It is exactly the same dynamic as when the laptop class, who could work safely at home during the pandemic, congratulated themselves for “slowing the spread” and looked down on the people who brought them food and kept the grocery shelves stocked.

    1. I’m sorry – but I am struggling with your assertion about the military (at least the officers) being controlled by Democrats. Where, may I ask, did you get that idea?

      Additionally, the idea that Trump voters are all scruffy working class types does not bear out. My neighbor with the F***Joe Biden flag? Not a scruffy working class type. The Trump flag car parades? Nary a scruffy working class type to be found. I see far more pro trump paraphernalia now that I live in the urban, wealthier part of my state than I did in the poorer, rural town I used to live in.

      1. Where, may I ask, did you get that idea?

        The polling showed officers have stronger negative attitudes towards Trump than enlisted members. 59.1 percent of officers polled said they had an unfavorable view of Trump, with more than half saying they strongly disapprove of his performance. Just 35.1 percent of officers viewed Trump favorably. Among enlisted respondents, 47.1 percent had an unfavorable view of Trump while around 38.7 percent had a favorable view.

        https://americanmilitarynews.com/2020/09/heres-what-active-troops-are-saying-about-trump-and-biden-in-a-new-poll/

  10. Now wait a minute. Nobody thinks that Democrats and Republicans are separate species. They are people who fall into two broad categories of ideas about social justice and the role of government. If you’re in favor of allowing the most people to vote, of opposing racism and religious extremism in government, of looking American history squarely in the face, of giving everyone equal access to health care, then which group do you join, and which do you shun? The choice is pretty clear.

    As for “the laptop class, who could work safely at home during the pandemic, congratulated themselves for “slowing the spread” and looked down on the people who brought them food and kept the grocery shelves stocked”, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve worked from home since forever and I’m very grateful to those people. But I also think we should all get vaccinated and practice simple precautions like wearing masks in public. Because failing to do so has caused untold thousands of needless deaths. So with that information, which way do you think I vote? You guessed correctly. And why on earth would I vote for any Republican?

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