Conversation, Definition, Real Men, Thinking about what you say, Words

What do REAL MEN do?

Dear Diary,

Sometimes I feel alone on an island where I’m the only one thinking about the words I say. What do they mean? Do they mean what I really think they mean? Or are they some cheap way to get across a point with horrible side effects? We often judge things that get the job down but have horrible side effects… like laws with horrible side effects, medicine with horrible side effects, corporations with horrible side effects but people don’t take a second to see that our words have side effects we couldn’t even imagine? Words that are trying to get at the heart of being a “good” person, sentences put together to tell people to be faithful to their spouses, to not bully, to dress however you want, with the side effects of saying some truly destructive things and often times false.

So to give an example of the most prevalent and my most hated I’ll use the “Real Men” example. This takes roots somewhere in society or societies where it was decided that men don’t cry, they don’t wear pink? they don’t hug, they want to have sex with as many women as possible, they are strong or not a man at all, this sort of BS that’s commonly agreed upon as bad set’s of rules for men. However then to combat these problematic ideas they use the very thing that starts them, saying “Real Men do so and so.” Real men wear pink, real men stay faithful, real men don’t bully, real men cry, what in the world is all this BS? I’m not saying Men SHOULDN’T wear pink, stay faithful, not bully, and cry… I certainly wear pink, am monogamous, don’t bully people, and cry when I have the need to but…. why are we dictating this is what men do? Some men don’t cry, some men don’t like pink, why are we trying to shame them? Not to mention, being a man is simply defined by either gender or sex…. so meaning you either were born with the parts or you identify as someone who would have liked to be born with the parts. What in the world are we adding on all these FALSE clauses? It’s not helpful, it’s just setting more ridiculous rules that aren’t accurate.

This goes down to the “No True Scotsman Fallacy.” It goes something like this (I heard it from a youtuber TheraminTrees).

Marv is Scottish and so is Brad. Marv says, no Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. Brad points out that Tim is born and raised in Scotland, Scottish by blood, but puts sugar on his porridge. Then Marv says “Ahh, but no TRUE Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge. This extra clause doesn’t actually fit…. no where in the definition of “Being Scottish” does it say, not putting sugar on your porridge. This simple is just untrue!

So the point is, being a “Man” has a simple definition. Let’s stop saying “Real” or “True” men do things… let’s just say “It’s a good idea to do X, Y, and Z and your gender or sex shouldn’t inhibit that.” I can see it’s well meaning, but it’s counter productive. Actions don’t make a man the sex or gender he is…. his biology and identification as being a man does.

So, what’s the big deal? Well when we try and attribute good moral ideas to “Being a man” it’s almost like we’re implying that being womanly is well… the less moral stand point. This being something you’re born into should show the huge misstep of it. I know people don’t mean it this way, but we can’t give these subtle messages to society, to our children, to our friends, that being a woman is somehow inferior to being a man… You might be able to argue the biology of strength and agility, or ability to get pregnant, but moral compass as far as I’m concerned isn’t determined by your gender or sex.

So yeah…. I guess the lesson, as always, is think about what you’re saying. Seriously look at the words you say. This is a really easy thing to avoid doing.

Sincerely

CarefulReadersSayLessStupidShit

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Art, Connotation, Conversation, Debates, Definition, Fun, Music, Thinking about what you say, Words

Using the Correct Word

Dear Diary,

I got into an interesting conversation the other day. So, let’s set the scene:

I’m a musician. Not an amazing one, but I think I’m better than someone who knows a couple chords on a guitar ya know? And in high-school I played music with my best friend at the time. We’ve grown apart, but we still sometimes collaborate ya know? So I sent him a text about my thing, feeling embarrassed about my bad vocals I sent him and said something like.

“But I think it’s fun.”

And he responded. “All Music is fun”

We quickly got into a debate about this as I challenged him. But, as a musician, shouldn’t I like music as a whole? Yes. So don’t I think all music is fun? No.

Here’s the problem, fun is a very vague word. It generally means like “Amusement” but it can also mean more vague things than that, like, “Entertaining” or “Enjoyable.” Enjoyable? That’s INCREDIBLY vague.

So, do I think all music is “Enjoyable?” This is harder to access. I don’t think atonal music is general enjoyable in a direct sense. Like, I’m enjoying hearing the music for musical pleasure. However as musician I think it could be enjoyable to think about and take in for intellectual stimulation. So, I think enjoyable can apply…. but I think this is painting the wrong picture. So, that’s my general complaint.

Is all music, fun? Does all music bring amusement?

No, I don’t think so. I think A LOT of the time it does. Music is an easy way to bring fun to the world, it just is. So, most music is done for that. But here’s the thing, there are other better words to describe lots of music.

For instance, music can be cathartic, meaning like psychological relief through the expression of strong emotion. This usually means anger or sadness. So here’s some cathartic songs that I don’t bounce around having “fun” too, but have or still do bring me a level of catharsis that I often needed.

“Dreaming with a Broken Heart” by John Mayer.

He describes something that I genuinely felt all the time at one point in my life. At one point in my life everything seemed to take a turn for the worse. It was really easy to pin this on a break up that just recently happened, but that wasn’t the center of the problems. Either way, I’d fall asleep and be back together with my ex partner at the time. I’d be SOOO happy, then I’d wake up and instantly feel this wave of agony and sadness. John Mayer perfectly (or at least rounded up to) got this idea down in his song.

“Pictures of You” by The Cure

This actually stems from the same time in my life for similar reasons. Even if the lyrics weren’t as perfectly captured as John Mayer’s dreaming with a broken heart, the tone and subject matter really felt so similar to the feelings I had. When I was going through this, I’d be sobbing alone in my basement listening to this song on repeat. Either way, fun was not the experience I was having then.

“Friend” by Coal Chamber

This actually, in my opinion, was a pretty weak song. However, at the time I had someone who was a friend who betrayed me and I’d listen to this song and deal with my anger I felt from the betrayal. Either way, it certainly was CATHARTIC, but not fun.

However, some songs can be cathartic and fun all together. For instance, “Move Along” by the All American Rejects can be very cathartic if you listen to the lyrics. However, the tone of the song doesn’t have a incredibly sad one. It’s actually a little upbeat even. I could see myself jumping around having fun to this song, but also feeling cathartic and maybe a little sad to it.

Now, this isn’t to say that there isn’t subjectivity that plays into this. Some people have darker senses of humor so songs can feel fun that most people might scrunch up their face to in thought to calling it fun, but on the whole this subjectivity plays less into than you’d think.

Another aspect to this is that a song is really multi-dimensional. Saying a song is “Fun” reduces it to a level of simplicity it just doesn’t have. If you pulled apart each track, each verse, each instrument, you’d find parts that are darker, parts that are lighter, parts that are more fun, and parts that are more cathartic. Trying to pin down an entire song with one verb is just an inappropriate goal. However though, songs put together will have a certain tone to them and because of this you might be able to say the general tone of a song is “fun” or “cathartic” or some other verb.

So, now for the thesis I’m trying to make here with this post, using the right word. Even if we can stretch out a word’s vague definition to apply it to every song, track, or piece of recorded sound to be included into the word “fun” it still wouldn’t be painting the right picture. I was having a conversation earlier about people calling their pets their “Children.” Without proper context, if someone just started talking about their “Children” people are instantly going to imagine someone having either adopted or had a kid. This isn’t an inapplicable word, but it is misleading! Just like calling an atonal, experimental, or extremely avantegarde song fun sort of paints the wrong picture here. Other words better describe the music and if you say “This piece of atonal music is fun” someone might get a bit confused about what you’re trying to imply because the connotation of the word fun just doesn’t paint an accurate picture.

So, in retrospect I think people take this tactic to deal with criticisms of the genres. There is nothing wrong with atonal, experimental, or avantegarde music. Sometimes they might even be rightly labeled fun. However if someone is trying to say they’re “not music” or they’re “bad music” use the right ways to argue their points down. Music is the purposeful arrangement of sound and silence, it’s obviously music. Good and bad music may be discussed in terms of quality, but ultimately this tends to be a subjective matter and it’s hard to quantify what “good” music would be or what “bad” music would be because again…. it’s multi-dimensional. Labeling it fun to try and chase off critics of the genres is just a DISHONEST way to try and fight back against this unfair criticisms, so don’t fall into this trap. You only make it easier for them to say it’s bad music because there is a grain of truth to them saying “No it’s not fun” since it’s just not the optimal adjective to describe it.

Sincerely

YourFriendHenryTheEnemy

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Burden of Proof, Conversation, Debates, Dishonest Tactics, Idiots, Internet, Thinking about what you say

Citing YOUR sources on the internet

Citizens of the world, a very new update has been found about the world! A meteor shower of shit and poopie is coming down this very second and will crush fucking everything! How I know this? Well if you don’t believe me you fucking look it up, you have fingers, why can—-

Dear Diary,

Have you ever noticed that people on the internet are some of the laziest assholes ever? I feel like the internet gives us the power to be more educated and put our ideas out there for everyone to see. However seriously everyone wants to be taken, at the same time no one wants to seem to do the work to be taken seriously.

Increasingly I find if someone makes a claim that is either interesting, unbelievable, or clearly a flat out lie when I ask someone to say…. CITE THEIR SOURCES…. they refuse.

In fact when I ask not only do people not cite their sources but they tend to make the most ridiculous claims I’ve ever heard. Even though they made the claim that needs proof the lazy fucks demand  sometimes that I cite their sources for them. They say if I want proof I should look it up, that I have fingers, that I’m a poor baby I need to google, or something like that. Isn’t this… something they should be saying to themselves? What we have here is a misunderstanding of how the burden of proof works.

How does this work? Well if someone makes a claim they basically have to prove their claim, not demand someone else disproves it. Now if someone doesn’t have support for their claim they may make that clear… that they can’t prove it. This humble position is fine. However, people often result to other tactics, like the one mentioned above demanding someone else get their proof for them.

Some other tactics I’ve ran into are trying to then demand proof be raised for claims earlier made in the discussion. Now, if a claim has been made and it’s truthfulness has been questioned then yes…. that claim should be then verified with proof by the holder of the burden of proof. However it is a dishonest tactic to pretend you are skeptical of a claim that was made to distract people from the fact that your claim has come into question. It’s kind of an order of operations problem here, your claim was questioned first…. deal with that claim then move onto the others. I even once had someone demand I give proof for a claim that he earlier mentioned HE AGREED WITH.

So why would people be so insistent on avoiding giving proof for their claims? I can simplify this into two categories and then expand the categories a bit into sub categories.

They either are LAZY or LYING.

Now, this is an over simplification a bit, so let’s deal with each category one at a time. Let’s start with being lazy.

So in the lazy category we have several situations kind of on a spectrum. One is that the person is actually remembering the source they had, have seen and have looked it over, but either doesn’t want to or can’t find the source. I can understand this to a degree in terms of can’t find or it’s damn hard to find and not worth the time, but then this should be admitted. If you can’t find the source say you can’t find it. If you tried to find it and said this is too big of a hassle, then say you can’t find it. If you simply do not want to find the source, then say you don’t want to. If you make a claim, don’t put it on the other person, either admit you won’t find the source and say it’s reasonable for them to not accept your claim or go find the fucking source.

In terms of the lying, this can’t be broken down in a way that’s at all helpful to understanding the situation. And by lying, I mean, knowingly deceiving someone. I don’t mean saying something you didn’t realize wasn’t true. So, if someone is trying to not cite their sources because they know it’s not true they are clearly just being a scumbag in that particular case, if not a walking monstrosity in their entirety. I mean let’s think about this for a second…. if there is no proof for their claim out there and they’re asking you to find the proof this is basically a wild goose chase. This is why anytime someone asks YOU to find the proof for their claim, you can simply point this out how ridiculous it is for you to find the proof or disproof of their claim.

Cite your damn sources or show some humility, you have the fucking internet at your fingertips. If you’re talking on the internet then…. you can find your sources most of the time. This is really simple and if you refuse to do it you’re painting yourself as lazy or a liar and neither is a flattering picture.

Sincerely

CentWothADollar

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Conversation, FaceBook, Holidays, Idiots, Internet, Presentation, Thinking about what you say, Words

Facebook, we need to talk

Dear Diary,

It’s come to my attention, that like most parts of my life, I have a love hate relationship with a certain entity known as Facebook. Except this like having a love hate relationship with a drunken person telling horrible stories, showing me great pictures, and introducing me to people… all while feeding me crack. You see, it’s really hard to quit Facebook. It’s not that I need to though, that’s the one problem with the analogy. It doesn’t quite suck the life out of me or anything it just… never fails to disappoint me.

Facebook has it’s charms. People post political stuff and since I get to choose what people’s post I see and what pages I have I tend to mostly see things affirming my already hard to move political position. People post funny pictures I can laugh at or cute pictures. People post updates that are generally important, like my minecraft friend posts things about the server. I also get to stay connected vaguely with people I never would. Not that I need this or any of these things mind you, but  it’s generally nice.

Then there’s Facebook’s dark side. Southpark did it well when they made fun of the obvious faults which is people posting what they ate for dinner and how it was good, but it’s evolved beyond that point. I learned the hard way this new years eve that holidays bring out the worst in everyone’s Facebook use. People saying “Bring it on 2015!” or people telling me their new years resolutions… giving vague shout outs to friends and family, I just couldn’t care less. These things are NOT interesting and no one really cares. However people feel they need to do this to reaffirm the people around them that they’re important or something. Even my close friends and family, whom I respect greatly, post this nonsense. It’s like personal thank yous are too much work so they need to give a vague shout-out so that anyone who wants to be thanked can then feel thanked. I guess it’s efficient, but it seems so cold.

Facebook also is a battleground for wars that don’t seem to have purpose or goals. People posting hearts truck things and then getting into raging arguments where they basically just bash each other. I’ve seen some of the calmest smartest people I know get into raging arguments where they can’t act like adults and say nothing productive. It’s like watching two monkeys at a zoo throw poop at each other. And I probably will make a whole post about this but at the moment will just touch this idea that NOBODY cites their sources or thinks they should have to. People will even delete posts if the other person makes too strong of a point…. this is the worst place for discussion but it makes people feel like some sort of warrior.

Now I’ve seen the poem about Facebook and the internet and how we NEED to spend more time in the real world and although I think that CAN be good I don’t fully agree. People spending time on the internet is totally valid if that’s their life, it’s where I get the majority of my social contact. I won’t go as far as to say people need to STOP using Facebook or they need to spend more time face to face. However I will say it’s the people on Facebook that make it so unbearable. People need to THINK about what they say, THINK about whether or not it matters and post things wisely.

So Facebook I suppose WE didn’t need to talk at all… I just wish the users would be smarter about their use. One can dream. Last night i dreamed of insects erupting out of my hand like an ant hill and a cockroach somehow got stuck under my fingers. I woke up and checked my hands to say the least.

Sincerely

~TheManInYourWindow

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Art, Idiots, Poetry, Presentation, Thinking about what you say, Words

Poetry, my long friend and enemy

Dear Diary,

You know what poetry is? It’s often an artistic thing people do when they want to say one thing so they purposefully say another. No no no! Not being a complete idiot, although similar, poetry has merit. When poetry says another thing it’s usually to paint a picture in a way you haven’t seen or simply display the information in a way that hasn’t been considered. Here here here, this is confusing, let me give you an example. Let’s say I want to say someone smells and also take a shot at their sister, I can say “You smell like the rotting fetus in your sister’s toilet.” Now, he doesn’t actually smell like that… and his sister didn’t actually abort a fetus. The point is it’s poetry! It’s painting a picture that’s much more invoking of emotions than truthful statements are. Not that it’s always needed. If I were to try and paint an evocative picture than what happened during the witch and Jewish people hunting’s that Christians did during medieval times then there’s nothing more that I need than the informative truth. For instance to say they put someone’s abdomen on a pot filled with mice and then heated up the pot so that the mice tunneled through the person looking for an escape…. that is what happened and it gave sufficient emotion just by being the truth. I could lace it with metaphorical poetry but, what’s the point? It’s completely unnecessary.

So now that you know what poetry is, let’s talk about a couple things that has been intensely bugging me about poetry….

Poetry doesn’t know it’s place. It has merit, it’s great for invoking emotion where emotion might be missed, it’s funny and brings color to things that sometimes is lacking any sort of intrinsic interesting awe, disgust, or laughter. However, sometimes I’ll be discussing something philosophically and poetry will rear it’s head and fuck everything up. For example, let me tell you a story I’ve had for a while now:

Once I was on facebook and someone posted the very clever “The earth would just be eh without art.” Take out those letters you get eh, they’re also expressing their love for art by saying it is so intensely needed that the earth would lack basically all value without it. So I said “Although I love art and generally agree, I find that nature would be enough for me.” (Paraphrased, I didn’t save the actual conversation) So she responded “I would argue that nature in itself is art.” So I responded “Well,  you’d be wrong. Art is defined by something that is intended to be art. Nature not having intent therefore can’t be defined as art, so it’s not art.” My comment was deleted and then the person scolded me in a private message (Which her comments accumulated likes by the masses of mindless idiots who didn’t see my very reasonable response) that she was a poet and she could make words more than their definition.

So what’s the problem here? She said “I would argue” and “In itself.” The in itself makes it impossible to fit the definition and the I would argue says she’s moving from poetic talk to philosophical discussion. In philosophical discussion definitions are important and if she can’t be trusted to use actual definitions of words and at any moment and without warning change the definition of a word from a poetic standpoint means she’s  completely worthless in a philosophical discussion. Now poetry certainly can be used to paint a philosophical point and people can change the definition of a word in a philosophical discussion from the popular use, but these two things have specific timing and rhetoric to them. The poetry to display a point must be contained so it doesn’t leak out to every aspect of the discussion. The definitions must be clearly defined if getting away from popular understanding. If you’re not following these rules you’re simply using dishonest tactics. Poetry needs to know it’s place, using metaphors and misusing words is great in poetry but not in philosophical discussion. This is a complete misuse of poetry.

My second thing I dislike about poetry is that people don’t understand that being confusing isn’t a merit in poetry. Certainly good poetry can be confusing, but that doesn’t mean being confusing is a good thing. It’s happenstance. Being confusing for no reason doesn’t make it good poetry I’d argue that it actually makes it bad poetry. If there’s a point to the poetry and I can’t dig it out of the riddling language and convoluted mess of words than I get nothing out of it. Sometimes it might be pretty to read, the words are well chosen, and then it might be good poetry for that. However I often see that not only is the poetry not pretty to read or look at but also at the same time it has hidden it’s meaning so well that it’s completely lost for readers to find.

So poetry my good friend and enemy, how I love and despise you. But really, if I’m honest, it’s not you who I despise. The fucking morons who misuse and abuse you is where my disgust goes. You poor broken soul how I’ve never seen a more clear case of abuse of one’s entire entity than poetry’s unhealthy relationship with people who want to be seen a master worker of words. Let us all take a moment of silence for poetry.

Sincerely

Iloledatyourmom

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Debates, Idiots, Presentation, Thinking about what you say

Presentation of ideas

Dear Snow,

I’m sorry I’m melting you to write this message, but I have to write it down now. It’s lucky I have three gallons of orange juice and drank seven cups of coffee earlier, otherwise I’d have to make my message much shorter.

I wanted to talk about this odd circumstance I’ve been having lately. I end up having a discussion with an intelligent person who disagrees with my political ideology. Honestly, this is great! How much I respect when I post something on my facebook that he greatly disagrees with me and tells me why. This is sincerity too, not sarcasm. I Sincerely respect the fact that he doesn’t back down when he thinks I’m wrong. I love this. However there is this sort of… problem. It’s the way he talks to me. It’s not that he’s not intelligent, but it’s so 100% clear that he obviously thinks he’s much smarter than me. This is deeply troubling because I sincerely respect him. What am I supposed to do? Every time he talks he clearly explains his points, I most of the time understand what he’s saying… but he doesn’t seem to respect me. Once he even said “Much better” like he was my teacher. Like I was really lost in my own stupidity and ability to discuss things and he was proud that I revised my essay and finally got better. Not that it isn’t true that maybe I had to present my ideas better but… really? Why am I being talked down to? Do I really deserve such disrespect? Then once he completely misrepresented my ideas and it took a symbolic crowbar to pry the apology out of him. I repeated myself three times and he only then finally realized I wasn’t saying what he thought I was saying. Even then he went on to say that he apologized when he didn’t. Only then, when I asked him to show me his apology, did he realize he had not done it and I got an apology out of him. It shouldn’t take this much work to get a little respect.

What’s going on here? Well it’s presentation. It’s fine for him to think he’s smarter than me… I often think I’m smarter than the person I’m debating. It’s hard not to when you see someone make logical fallacies that are obvious to you but they’re oblivious to. But, first off I don’t always do this and second off I don’t try and throw this in their face. Not that he was trying but… he seems oblivious to how he’s doing it. And it’s all about presentation. If I’m wrong I should be convinced I am, but if he presents it in a way that more seems like he’s patting himself on the back then it’s really hard to not feel like he’s seeing you as some sort of idiot child. In the end I just really feel bad, because, it’ll hurt him if he keeps treating people like this. So really this is more venting my sadness than frustration. I really hope he realizes the kind of person he’s become, because he’s not a bad person… what am I supposed to do?

Sincerely

AnIdiotChild

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Conversation, Presentation, Thinking about what you say, Words

Assuming the worst

Dear Diary,

I knew you couldn’t stay away from me, thanks for coming home. I wanted to say that all this time I didn’t assume you were trying to hurt me, that I thought it was possible but I tried to wait for some evidence for it before I really took faith in the idea….

It reminds me of something I saw recently. Someone on facebook posted the status “If you don’t walk DOWN an escalator, you’re just a lazy fuck.” Let’s analyze this for a second. Does that really make any sense? Certainly, lots of people who use escalators are lazy and might even be lazy while using it… but can we really say that if you’ve done this you’re a lazy fuck? Now his point is, that walking down an escalator is less energy intensive. Walking up requires you to spend energy, walking down it doesn’t. Technically that’s not correct, but his general idea is that it’s so little you might as well round it down to nothing. I’m willing to agree with that, but let’s think about this for a second… while you’re thinking read this story I just wrote for you.

Josh Gregman had been with his girlfriend Francine for three years. He loved her with all his heart and so she did him. However, she had gotten a job to move to an entirely different country. They both didn’t believe in the idea of “the one” but they loved spending their life together. However, Francine firmly believed that a long distance relationship wouldn’t work. Ya know what, Josh agreed, but he just got his dream job right in the very town they were living in. What were they going to do? Well Josh was willing to give it up for Francine. He rushed to the airport before she was going to leave, his grandmothers engagement ring in his hand. He found her right after he got up the escalator and professed his love for her. He said he’d stay here, he’d move with her, but she should marry him. Francine however told him she couldn’t take away his dream job. After much tears, begging, Francine pulled away from him and drifted off into the crowd. Josh Gregman had lost her forever… so as he turned and got on the escalator he could barely move. He just stood there, thinking on the life he could have had but would never have now…

What a lazy fuck right? Wait, no, that doesn’t really apply. He wasn’t being lazy, he was in shock! This is probably the minority of people using escalators but… it probably isn’t an impossibility. Let’s use more realistic examples. What if I have terrible knees and going down stairs and slopes hurts them? I know someone who has this difficulty. What if you’re exhausted from running around all day looking for your lost child and finally found it (Or didn’t) and just didn’t have the energy at that moment to walk down the escalator, needed to take a moment to breath. WHAT IF you just wanted to relax? Take the day slow? NOT hurry to the next point in life? If you’re AT ALL creative you can come up with millions of COMPLETELY VALID stories why someone might not be walking down the escalator. I mean seriously, you need just enough creativity to come up with at least ONE other explanation other than “Lazy fuck.”

I want to take this beyond this example though. I see it all the time in everyday life. Someone cuts you off in traffic, or on the sidewalk. Someone doesn’t say bless you. Maybe someone just mumbles out a hi rather than being excited to you. Maybe there are explanations you don’t see behind these actions you instantly deem negative. Certainly there are people being lazy, mean, cruel, insensitive, ignorant, arrogant, condescending…. but maybe sometimes you’re just missing all the details to make a correct assessment.

Either way, that Josh guy is a lazy fuck.

Sincerely

TheBirdHumpingGyrocopter

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