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Frodo
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« Reply #250 on: April 05, 2019, 10:24:29 am »

Something to think about before you build your dream home:

Transparent Wood That Can Store And Release Heat Could Be Next Trendy Material In Energy-Efficient Homes
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Frodo
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« Reply #251 on: April 08, 2019, 12:33:39 pm »

Fossil Of Ancient Four-Legged Whale Found In Peru

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Frodo
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« Reply #252 on: April 11, 2019, 09:24:41 am »
« Edited: April 11, 2019, 09:39:38 am by Frodo »

I'm sure we've all heard by now of the 'hobbits' of Flores Island in the Indonesian archipelago.  They apparently had counterparts on the island of Luzon in the Philippines:

An Ancient Human Species Is Discovered in a Philippine Cave

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In a cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered a new branch of the human family tree.

At least 50,000 years ago, an extinct human species lived on what is now the island of Luzon, researchers reported on Wednesday. It’s possible that Homo luzonensis, as they’re calling the species, stood less than three feet tall.

The discovery adds growing complexity to the story of human evolution. It was not a simple march forward, as it once seemed. Instead, our lineage assumed an exuberant burst of strange forms along the way.


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« Reply #253 on: April 11, 2019, 09:44:22 am »

Fossil Of Ancient Four-Legged Whale Found In Peru

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Hey, that looks kinda like my mom!
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Frodo
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« Reply #254 on: April 12, 2019, 09:25:02 am »

DNA Shows The Denisovans Have At Least 3 Distinct Branches

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(...) Findings reveal that interbreeding between modern humans and Denisovans occurred as recently as 15,000 years ago.

However, the researchers also noticed that the genomes of those from Papua New Guinea speak to how complex the Denisovan lineage is. Genetic analyses show that the living Papuans carry genes from two different Denisovan lineages. One has previously been identified in the genes of Papuans and South Asians, while the other has never been identified before.

Even more interestingly, these two Denisovan lineages are genetically different from the Denisovans originally discovered in Siberia.

"What we thought was a single group — Denisovans — was actually three very different groups, with more diversity among them than that seen today in modern humans," Murray Cox, senior author and a population geneticist at the Massey University in New Zealand, tells Live Science.

The newly discovered Denisovan group reportedly split from the other two as far back as 363,000 years ago. It's as genetically different from the original Siberian Denisovans as that group is to the Neanderthals, according to Cox.
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Frodo
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« Reply #255 on: April 15, 2019, 08:00:32 am »

Ice Ages triggered when tropical islands and continents collide

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University of California scientists think they know why Earth’s generally warm and balmy climate over the past billion years has occasionally been interrupted by cold snaps that enshroud the poles with ice and occasionally turn the planet into a snowball.

The key trigger, they say, is mountain formation in the tropics as continental land masses collide with volcanic island arcs, such as the Aleutian Islands chain in Alaska.

(...) In a study appearing in this week’s edition of the journal Science, the team concludes that when volcanic arcs collide with continents in the tropics — an inevitable consequence of the planet’s constantly moving tectonic plates — they trigger global cooling, resulting in a glacial climate with extensive ice caps.

Such a collision is going on now as parts of the Indonesian archipelago are pushed upward into mountains on the northern margin of Australia. The result is that there are mountains containing rocks known as ophiolites that have a high capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Over geologic time periods, there is a balancing act between the CO2 emitted from volcanoes and CO2 consumed through chemical reactions with rocks. Rocks with abundant calcium and magnesium, such as ophiolites, are the most efficient at consuming CO2. When these elements are liberated from rocks, they combine with CO2 and make their way to the ocean, where they form limestone, locking CO2 into rock, where it remains for millions of years.
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Frodo
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« Reply #256 on: May 02, 2019, 12:22:13 pm »

Now we find Tibetans can trace at least part of their ancestry to the ancient Denisovans -and their shared genes is the reason why they can live full-time at high-altitudes:

First fossil jaw of Denisovans finally puts a face on elusive human relatives

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(...) Max Planck paleogeneticists couldn't get DNA from the jaw, but Hublin's graduate student Frido Welker had found in his doctoral work that Neanderthals, modern humans, and Denisovans differ in the amino acid sequence of key proteins. Welker, now a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen, was able to extract collagen, a common structural protein, from a molar of the Xiahe jawbone. He found its amino acid sequence most closely matched that of Denisovans.

Other team members dated a carbonate crust that had formed on the skull by measuring the radioactive decay of uranium in the carbonate. They got a date of 160,000 years ago—a "firm minimum date" for the skull, says geochronologist Rainer Grün of Griffith University in Nathan, Australia, who is not a member of the team.

The date suggests Denisovans would have had tens of thousands of years to adapt to the altitude of Tibet by the time modern humans arrived in the region, some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. Encounters between modern humans and Denisovans adapted to high altitude could explain how the Tibetans of today came by a Denisovan gene that helps them cope with thin air. "It seems likely that ancestral Tibetans interacted with Denisovans, as they began to move upslope," archaeologist David Madsen of the University of Texas in Austin wrote in an email.
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Frodo
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« Reply #257 on: May 03, 2019, 07:55:15 am »
« Edited: May 03, 2019, 12:03:55 pm by Frodo »

If you think this is impressive, just wait until the James Webb Space Telescope and Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope are launched and fully operational:

New Hubble Telescope View of the Evolving Universe

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Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive “history book” of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The deep-sky mosaic, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, provides a wide portrait of the distant universe, containing 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the big bang. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe’s evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe.

This ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, also combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time.
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Frodo
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« Reply #258 on: May 10, 2019, 07:55:59 am »

Iceland turns carbon dioxide to rock for cleaner air

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In the heart of Iceland's volcano country, 21st-century alchemists are transforming carbon dioxide into rock for eternity, cleaning the air of harmful emissions that cause global warming.

The technology mimics, in accelerated format, a natural process that can take thousands of years, injecting CO2 into porous basalt rock where it mineralises, capturing it forever.

"With this method we have actually changed the time scale dramatically," says geologist Sandra Osk Snaebjornsdottir.

There's always a 'but':

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The main drawback of the method is that it requires large volumes of desalinated water, which, while abundant in Iceland, is rare in many other parts of the planet.

Around 25 tonnes of water are needed for each tonne of carbon dioxide injected.

"That is the Achilles' heel of this method," says Snaebjornsdottir.

"I agree that the process uses a lot of water, but we gain a lot by permanently getting rid of CO2 that otherwise would be floating around the atmosphere," says Aradottir.

Experiments are currently under way to adapt the method to saltwater.
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Frodo
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« Reply #259 on: May 14, 2019, 07:56:05 am »

This takes 'planning ahead' to a whole new level:

Protect solar system from mining 'gold rush', say scientists
Proposal calls for wilderness protection as startup space miners look to the stars

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Great swathes of the solar system should be preserved as official “space wilderness” to protect planets, moons and other heavenly bodies from rampant mining and other forms of industrial exploitation, scientists say.

The proposal calls for more than 85% of the solar system to be placed off-limits to human development, leaving little more than an eighth for space firms to mine for precious metals, minerals and other valuable materials.

While the limit would protect pristine worlds from the worst excesses of human activity, its primary goal is to ensure that humanity avoids a catastrophic future in which all of the resources within its reach are permanently used up.

“If we don’t think about this now, we will go ahead as we always have, and in a few hundred years we will face an extreme crisis, much worse than we have on Earth now,” said Martin Elvis, a senior astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go.”
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Frodo
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« Reply #260 on: May 15, 2019, 07:59:04 am »

'Super-Corals' From Hawaii Could Be The Secret To Saving World's Reefs

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Frodo
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« Reply #261 on: May 21, 2019, 07:51:08 am »

First Humans On Mars Will Evolve Into An Entirely New Species Quickly, Says Evolutionary Biologist

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(...) While most scientific fields are focused on making the possibility of traveling to and settling on Mars a reality, Scott Solomon, an evolutionary biologist and professor at Rice University, is contemplating about the planet's impact on the human species.

After all, a human colony in Mars would involve humans not only living on the Red Planet, but also reproducing there, Solomon pointed out in a TEDx Talks discussion in 2018. Living in conditions vastly different from Earth is expected to trigger changes in the human babies born there and Solomon has very concrete ideas on what these changes will be.

In an interview with Inverse, Solomon explained that the various evolutionary changes in humans could occur at a much faster rate on Mars than they would on Earth. Within a generation or two, he predicted that human colonizers could already display changes to adapt to the new environment.

"Evolution is faster or slower depending on how much of an advantage there is to having a certain mutation," he explained. "If a mutation pops up for people living on Mars, and it gives them a 50-percent survival advantage, that's a huge advantage, right? And that means that those individuals are going to be passing those genes on at a much higher rate than they otherwise would have."
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True Federalist
Ernest
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« Reply #262 on: May 21, 2019, 10:37:32 pm »

Where is this idiot getting his figures?  50% greater survival rate ?!?!? Any successful human colony on Mars is going to be in a sealed environment with little chance for natural section to be a factor. The only significant environmental difference will be the 0.38g gravity field.
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Frodo
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« Reply #263 on: May 23, 2019, 09:22:09 am »

So the water that first gave us our oceans didn't just come from random comets early in Earth's geologic history, but mainly from one cataclysmic collision:

All Water On Earth Originated From The Moon’s Formation, Says Study

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Life exists on Earth thanks to two things: water and the moon. Without both of these, it's likely that life would not have developed on the planet.

Now, new research from the University of Münster in Germany reveals that the origins of these two are inextricably linked. It turns out that a single crash gave birth to both the moon and water on Earth.
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Frodo
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« Reply #264 on: May 23, 2019, 09:28:31 am »

CO2 isn't just plant food -it turns out we can also use it as (liquid) fuel by mimicking nature through artificial photosynthesis:

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels

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Chemists at the University of Illinois have successfully produced fuels using water, carbon dioxide and visible light through artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into more complex molecules like propane, green energy technology is now one step closer to using excess CO2 to store solar energy—in the form of chemical bonds—for use when the sun is not shining and in times of peak demand.

Plants use sunlight to drive chemical reactions between water and CO2 to create and store solar energy in the form of energy-dense glucose. In the new study, the researchers developed an artificial process that uses the same green light portion of the visible light spectrum used by plants during natural photosynthesis to convert CO2 and water into fuel, in conjunction with electron-rich gold nanoparticles that serve as a catalyst. The new findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

"The goal here is to produce complex, liquefiable hydrocarbons from excess CO2 and other sustainable resources such as sunlight," said Prashant Jain, a chemistry professor and co-author of the study. "Liquid fuels are ideal because they are easier, safer and more economical to transport than gas and, because they are made from long-chain molecules, contain more bonds—meaning they pack energy more densely."
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Blue3
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« Reply #265 on: May 26, 2019, 12:48:01 pm »

Virgin anaconda in zoo unexpectedly gives live birth to two clones
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/anaconda-snake-virgin-birth-parthenogenesis_n_5ce99b93e4b00356fc227180
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« Reply #266 on: May 26, 2019, 01:13:15 pm »

Where is this idiot getting his figures?  50% greater survival rate ?!?!? Any successful human colony on Mars is going to be in a sealed environment with little chance for natural section to be a factor. The only significant environmental difference will be the 0.38g gravity field.

Eventually we'll most likely terraform the planet so we don't have to live in a sealed environment.
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True Federalist
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« Reply #267 on: May 26, 2019, 03:48:39 pm »

Where is this idiot getting his figures?  50% greater survival rate ?!?!? Any successful human colony on Mars is going to be in a sealed environment with little chance for natural section to be a factor. The only significant environmental difference will be the 0.38g gravity field.

Eventually we'll most likely terraform the planet so we don't have to live in a sealed environment.

Possibly, but certainly not anytime soon. Without even trying to get any particular atmosphere there, we'd have to increase the atmospheric pressure more than 10 times what it currently is just to reach the Armstrong limit (where water boils at normal body temperature) which is an absolute minimum for human survival. We don't have the technology to do that at present, and even if we did, it won't make economic sense until there is a well-established human presence on Mars.
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Frodo
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« Reply #268 on: May 30, 2019, 08:01:26 am »

Nearby supernovae (plural) exploding like firecrackers almost simultaneously in the Milky Way Galaxy (so right in our neighborhood) millions of years ago helped spur human evolution, according to this:

Exploding stars led to humans walking on two legs, radical study suggests
Scientists say surge of radiation led to lightning causing forest fires, making adaptation vital

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(...) The benefits of standing tall in the African savannah are broadly nailed down, but what prompted our distant forebears to walk upright is far from clear. Now, in a radical proposal, US scientists point to a cosmic intervention: protohumans had a helping hand from a flurry of exploding stars, they say.

According to the researchers, a series of stars in our corner of the Milky Way exploded in a cosmic riot that began about 7m years ago and continued for millions of years more. The supernovae blasted powerful cosmic rays in all directions. On Earth, the radiation arriving from the cataclysmic explosions peaked about 2.6m years ago.

The surge of radiation triggered a chain of events, the scientists argue. As cosmic rays battered the planet, they ionised the atmosphere and made it more conductive. This could have ramped up the frequency of lightning strikes, sending wildfires raging through African forests, and making way for grasslands, they write in the Journal of Geology. With fewer trees at hand in the aftermath, our ancient ancestors adapted, and those who walked upright thrived.

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Frodo
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« Reply #269 on: June 06, 2019, 11:17:09 am »

Closest-known ancestor of today’s Native Americans found in Siberia

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Indigenous Americans, who include Alaska Natives, Canadian First Nations, and Native Americans, descend from humans who crossed an ancient land bridge connecting Siberia in Russia to Alaska tens of thousands of years ago. But scientists are unclear when and where these early migrants moved from place to place. Two new studies shed light on this mystery and uncover the most closely related Native American ancestor outside North America.

(...) Based on the time it would have taken for key mutations to pop up, the ancestors of today’s Native Americans splintered off from these ancient Siberians about 24,000 years ago, roughly matching up with previous archaeological and genetic evidence for when the peopling of the Americas occurred, the team reports today in Nature.

Additional DNA evidence suggests a third wave of migrants, the Neo-Siberians, moved into northeastern Siberia from the south sometime after 10,000 years ago. These migrants mixed with the ancient Siberians, planting the genetic roots of many of the area’s present-day populations.
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Frodo
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« Reply #270 on: June 10, 2019, 07:56:52 am »
« Edited: June 10, 2019, 11:40:26 am by Frodo »

If they are going to be doing this, then it makes sense to extend the life of the International Space Station from 2024 to 2030:

NASA is opening the space station to commercial business and more private astronauts

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Today, NASA executives announced that the space agency will open up parts of the International Space Station to more commercial opportunities, allowing companies unprecedented use of the space station’s facilities, including filming commercials or movies against the backdrop of space. NASA is also calling on the private space industry to send in ideas for habitats and modules that can be attached to the space station semi-permanently.

A new interim directive from NASA allows private companies to buy time and space on the ISS for producing, marketing, or testing their products. It also allows those companies to use resources on the ISS for commercial purposes, even making use of NASA astronauts’ time and expertise (but not their likeness). If companies want, they can even send their own astronauts to the ISS, starting as early as 2020, but all of these activities come with a hefty price tag.

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Frodo
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« Reply #271 on: June 20, 2019, 07:56:48 am »

Massive Alien Hunt Finds No Sign Of Extraterrestrial Life In 1,300 Stars Closest To Earth

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Scientists have been searching for aliens for centuries, but new research reveals that if intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, it's likely not anywhere nearby.

As part of the decade-long $100 million Breakthrough Listen initiative funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, researchers conducted the most comprehensive Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program ever undertaken. The team led by University of California, Berkeley astrophysicist Danny Price looked at 1,327 nearby stars across billions of frequency channels in an attempt to detect signs of intelligent life.

Results of their search was released in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal with the researchers revealing that they came up empty.

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« Reply #272 on: June 20, 2019, 12:42:46 pm »

another one of those, "this might be a HUGE deal or we might never hear of it again" things
Quote
We have demonstrated room-temperature operation of non-volatile, charge-based memory cells with compact design, low-voltage write and erase and non-destructive read. The contradictory requirements of non-volatility and low-voltage switching, are achieved by exploiting the quantum-mechanical properties of an asymmetric triple resonant-tunnelling barrier. The compact configuration and junctionless channel with uniform doping suggest good prospects for device scaling, whilst the low-voltages, non-volatility and non-destructive read will minimise the peripheral circuity required in a complete memory chip. These devices thus represent a promising new emerging memory concept.
if this works out, it could make a future computer super fast, but more importantly, could save us a ton of energy.
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« Reply #273 on: June 20, 2019, 04:36:48 pm »

Massive Alien Hunt Finds No Sign Of Extraterrestrial Life In 1,300 Stars Closest To Earth

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Scientists have been searching for aliens for centuries, but new research reveals that if intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, it's likely not anywhere nearby.

As part of the decade-long $100 million Breakthrough Listen initiative funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, researchers conducted the most comprehensive Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence program ever undertaken. The team led by University of California, Berkeley astrophysicist Danny Price looked at 1,327 nearby stars across billions of frequency channels in an attempt to detect signs of intelligent life.

Results of their search was released in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal with the researchers revealing that they came up empty.



They found no signs of intelligent life, that obviously doesn't mean there couldn't be relatively advanced creatures living on planets that orbit those stars, maybe something comparable to dogs or cats in terms of intelligence. it's also possible there is intelligent life that's intentionally hiding from us, perhaps because they recognize how destructive us humans can be.
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« Reply #274 on: June 20, 2019, 11:17:06 pm »

There's also the anthropocentric viewpoint that an intelligent civilization would necessarily emit extra EM radiation.
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