Tracking ‘Dirty Dollars’; Pentagon defeated over bombing range

Tracking ‘Dirty Dollars’; Pentagon defeated over bombing range


David Neiwert writes—When orcas attacked sailboats off coast of Spain, they may have been reacting to harpoon attacks: “While killer whales are somewhat naturally feared by humans—they are, after all, huge, tremendously powerful, and merciless predators—the mythology around them has always been exaggerated, since no orca on record has ever harmed a human being in the wild. This is why when sailors near Galicia off the coast of Spain began reporting that their boats were being attacked by orcas this summer, scientists and observers alike were perplexed. A Spanish scientist, however, may have at least a partial explanation: Some members of the same orca pod, according to his report, may have been wounded by Strait of Gibraltar fishermen who launched harpoons at them when the whales came close to their boat. The orcas could be retaliating not so much out of revenge, but as a defense against a perceived threat.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – wild winds doth blow: “November 2020. Salish Sea, Pacific NorthwestWinter is often windy here, which kicks up waves on the more typically calm waters of this inland sea. Around this small island, winds will create different conditions at every shoreline since each has a distinctive combination of features: direction faced, fetch, slope steepness, headlands nearby, kelp beds, and so on. During some very windy storms this month we visited several nearby beaches. It was cool to see the effects of a blow at each.” 

Tracking ‘Dirty Dollars’; Pentagon defeated over bombing range
Yosemite never disappoints.

lineatus writes—Dawn Chorus: Good news at the river’s edge: “It was a do-over of a trip. My friend and I visited Yosemite in early October, a trip planned back in June. Back then the Creek fire was still months away from starting, but by the time we showed up at our Yosemite West rental, it was clear that our plans would be scrapped. Heavy smoke throughout the park made hiking difficult. We had some nice birding moments, but missed out on the overall experience of the park. On our drive back to the bay area, we began planning our return. This time we stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal. As much as we love camping in the park, it’s less practical in winter since it gets dark so early. (And on a chilly night, I gotta admit it’s nice to just roll into a warm bathroom without getting dressed up and crawling out of a tent.)  Our room overlooked the Merced River, which tumbles over boulders as it drops out of the valley (the title photo is the view from our balcony).  Even with the lower flows this time of year, it’s still impressive. Also, the rooms have kitchenettes, which meant we could cook for ourselves and avoid public dining. We knew the trip was off to a great start when literally the first bird we saw after checking in was a dipper, working the rocks below our room.”

white raptor

lostintheozarks writes—The Daily Bucket – After Many Years I Finally Got the Shot: “Douglas County, Missouri. December 1, 2020. We moved to this area in 2012 and have been driving back and forth along Hwy MO-14 between Ava and Gentryville, Missouri, a minimum of two times a week. I’m not sure when we first noticed the blob of white in the trees during late fall and winter near the bridge over White’s Creek. From a distance it looked like some Walmart bags stuck on the bare branches. No, it couldn’t be that! It was not always there and not always in the same place. It must be a bird of some kind. The creek was close by, so maybe an egret or a heron? It was always too far away to tell, and of course, no camera or binoculars at hand to look through. That is the story up until a week ago. It was our first sighting this year and again no camera! So I made a mental note to bring the camera next time — and to make sure that next time happened quickly. Every Monday morning I go to Mountain Grove to run errands — not to Ava. Ava is a little further away and the road is steep and curvy. Not a big deal. This Monday I headed for Ava with my camera on the car seat, ready for the chance to figure out what this bird could be.” 

stoller creek
Stoller Creek

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–Forgive My Trespasses: “For starters, this ‘No Trespassing’ sign isn’t on private property. It’s on Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Lands that are open to the public as the Rock Creek Greenway, west of Portland Oregon. Fortunately there are many anglers who are simply crazed about catching fish and who would wade through Hell fire for a chance at a 7-lb. bass. They’ve criss-crossed this otherwise impassible area beyond the sign with several trails. I want to look around on Park Lands behind that sign, checking for pollution. There’s just a dozen yards of privately owned parking lot between me and Park Lands. A few seconds later, I’m on the side of the sign where nothing’s written. But now a 10-foot cliff obstructs me. I’m not an Eagle Scout like my son, but I did bring a few items. […] I hear and see a few Red Winged Black Birds, crested sparrows, towhees, and robins in the creeks and their wetlands.  Mallards, widgeons, and gadwalls cruise the quiet waters.  Too many nutrias (more than zero) nuzzle each other.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Zero Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt and Sacramento Splittail Found in October CDFW Midwater Trawl: “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the October 2020 Fall Midwater Trawl results and zero Delta smelt, longfin smelt and Sacramento split tail, all once abundant native fish species, were caught, as was the case also this September. We will see the final results for the pelagic (open water) species surveyed at the end of December after the November and December totals of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, striped bass, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail caught in the annual trawl are tallied by the CDFW. Once the most abundant native fish in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, no Delta Smelt were reported in the Fall MIdwater Trawl in either 2018 and 2019, due to many years of massive water exports from the Delta through the State Water Project and Central Valley Water Project, combined with toxics and declining water quality.”

Northern Harrier

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket. Because you never know what you might see. And… Northern Harrier? Yes: “The darn cold weather has been keeping me less motivated to get up and go for my bicycle rides and nature viewing.  I gotta though, because you never know what you might see. […] There was to be a certain drama ahead, an unexpected opportunity for me to capture a ‘messier’ part of nature’s way, but the gentler views came first. The drama, and the question, begins. Trigger warning:  some messy ‘red stuff’ will show, but it’s very mild. This is the way of the natural world after all. The question: is this a Northern Harrier?”


ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Losing Climate Bet Will “Only Reinforce” Pierre Gosselin’s Denial: “Almost ten years ago, Pierre Gosselin and the deniers at NoTricksZone blog made a bet with some of their ‘alarmist’ counterparts at Skeptical Science: would 2011-2020 be warmer or cooler than 2000-2011? A couple dozen deniers pooled just over $5,000, while 11 people who were pretty sure basic physics would continue to play out put up a combined $14,080, with the proceeds going to charity. Well, apparently Gosselin has seen enough, and recently posted the results. Spoiler alert: He lost! As did the rest of humanity and the planet, as yes, the most recent decade has been hotter than the one before. But with a… to put it mildly, we’ll say ‘conspiracy-prone mindset, it’s not like Gosselin is taking this as a sign that he was wrong about climate change. Having placed a bet that fossil fuels are not causing warming, and then accepted that warming has occurred, Gosselin still can’t cross the bridge over denial. ‘In fact’, he writes, ‘the results only reinforce my view because it’s crystal clear that the 2016-2020 warming was due to the EL Niño, a natural factor, and not CO2’.” 

Angmar writes—Climate crisis: CO2 hits NEW record despite Covid-19 lockdowns: “Climate-heating gases have reached record levels in the atmosphere despite the global lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization has said. There is estimated to have been a cut in emissions of between 4.2% and 7.5% in 2020 due to the shutdown of travel and other activities. But the WMO said this was a “tiny blip” in the continuous buildup of greenhouse gases in the air caused by human activities, and less than the natural variation seen year to year. The WMO report said the monthly average CO2 for September at the benchmark station of Mauna Loa in Hawaii was 411.3ppm, up from 408.5ppm in September 2019. The same was seen at Cape Grim in Tasmania, Australia, with a rise to 410.8ppm from 408.6ppm in 2019.” 

Pakalolo writes—2020 one of the 3 warmest years on record despite a La Niña typically producing lower temperatures: “We will remember 2020 as the good old days as the climate continues to overheat due to our failure to rein in heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions. Heck, this year might even be the coolest we will experience for an unknowable number of Millenium. We have entered perilous times, and physics will not relent or show mercy as we go forward. Physics doesn’t care about us at all. We have to care for us, and we are failing at it. This year, we have had scorching temperatures, a record-breaking Atlantic Hurricane season, intensifying rainfall disruptions, and horrifying wildfires from Greenland and Siberia to Australia and the west coast of North America and South America. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization released a provisional report on the climate change impacts of 2020. The relentless rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere – a phenomenon that has continued despite a travel lull during the pandemic – will fuel temperature rise for decades to come.


Pakalolo writes—Native people and green activists defeat the GOP effort to seize refuge land for a bombing range: “In early July of 2020, GOP  Utah Congressional Representative Rob Bishop introduced an amendment to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to turn over 50 percent of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge’s southern half to the military. The House Armed Services Committee shortly passed the amendment. Eight hundred thousand acres of critical habitat for desert species, including the desert tortoise and bighorn sheep, could be bombed into oblivion by the Pentagon. Bishop was able to sneak the refuge transfer into the FY 2021 Defense Act despite the state of Nevada’s explicit recommendation that the transfer not take place, per Joan Meyers of The Spectrum. Bishop accomplished this partly by keeping the Nevada US delegation in the dark. Due to activists vigilance, the move became exposed, and Democratic Representatives introduced an amendment in the defense bill by Steven Horsford (NV-04), Dina Titus (NV-01), and Susie Lee (NV-03), and the house committee voted to keep the land within the US Department of National Fish and Wildlife Service. On December 3rd, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act officially stripped the Defense Department from transferring our public land to exploitation.”


Featheredsprite writes—Progress in addressing ocean plastic: “While I was quaking under my bed, hiding from plagues and politics, some other people were busy doing productive work out in the deep blue ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. There are other garbage patches in the world, but the GPGP is the largest. It covers an estimated surface area of 1.6million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France. An estimated 87,000 European tonnes (96,000US tons) of plastic inhabit the patch. This trash originates on land and travels to the ocean by way of rivers flowing all across the planet. It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes (1.2 to 2.7 million US tons) of plastic are entering the ocean each year in this manner. One nonprofit organization, based in the Netherlands and called the Ocean Cleanup, has developed technology to rid the oceans of this plastic debris. Their primary means of addressing this issue is through the use of a solar powered and autonomous machine that funnels river trash into a collecting bin.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Take Action: Urge Metropolitan Water District (MWD) to Vote No for Delta Tunnel Funding! “The Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will be voting at their December 8, 2020 board meeting as to whether they should move forward with Delta tunnel planning costs and which option they will pursue, according to an action alert from Restore the Delta (RTD). To send in a comment expressing your concerns with the cost and lack of reliability with the project, email this address: [email protected]. Keep your comment to about 250 words. To understand the options they are considering, please click the link below. Club California also has an online petition that you can use to send a letter to the MWD Board


annieli writes—Anti-Capitalist MeetUp – is the Green New Deal still possible: “Sadly the mention of a Green New Deal (GND) makes some people reach for their untaxed revolvers, but it remains a left issue easily reified as a slogan, and misunderstood in its implications for transforming economies. As always there is a need to transcend the sectarian struggles over how to proceed in terms of political action. It is much more than Biden endorsing GND as it is making important structural changes as the Biden administration rolls back all the crimes of the Trump era. […] Although the Green New Deal is often presented as a left-wing proposal, criticism of it has come from left-wing commentators who have argued that the Green New Deal fails to tackle the real cause of the climate emergency, namely the concept of unending growth and consumption inherent in capitalism, and is instead an attempt to greenwash capitalism. Left wing critics of the Green New Deal argue that it is not the monetization of Green policies and practices within capitalism that are necessary, but an anti-capitalist adoption of policies for de-growth.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Parler: The Hot New App For Conservative Propaganda, Hate Speech, And Outgoing EPA Admin Wheeler: “As mainstream social media companies belatedly start rolling out efforts to limit the spread of disinformation on their platforms, alternatives are popping up, offering up social media spaces with supposedly unlimited freedom of speech. Parler is one of the newest. A Twitter knock-off that’s exploded in popularity recently as a haven for Trumpworld election denial, open racism, Q-Anon-sense, and other conspiracy theories. It’s where once-popular altright figures like Milo Yiannopoulos fled to after Buzzfeed revealed his Nazi side, and where Laura Loomer went after Twitter kicked her off for her proud Islamaphobia. As a result of its growing popularity, folks have begun taking a closer look at Parler, and it turns out its Terms of Service are just as restrictive as any other site. It’s hardly a bastion of free speech, even according to an opinion piece at the conservative Washington Examiner. Perhaps more importantly, billionaire Rebekah Mercer is bankrolling the website, as a recent WSJ story reported.” 

Meteor Blades writes—Biden-Harris team reportedly down to three choices for the new post of domestic climate adviser: “Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is said to be one of three people on President-elect Joe Biden’s short list for the newly created post of domestic climate adviser. According to Scott Waldman and Jean Chemnick at ClimateWire, the other two are former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Ali Zaidi, the deputy secretary for energy and environment of New York. Former White House chief of staff John Podesta is also on the list. Gina McCarthy, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration, is said to have been considered, but sources said she isn’t interested because she became president of the Natural Resources Defense Council in January. Based on speculation of insiders who spoke to the reporters on background, Zaidi is said to be the favorite at the moment. But much remains in flux, and someone not even on the short list might still be chosen. The domestic climate adviser might either work with a Cabinet member or directly with former Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Biden has picked for the new post of climate change envoy or climate czar.


Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

e2247 writes—Action Day: Stop toxic Line 3 tar sands pipeline; Call MN Department of Commerce: 651-539-1441 e2247: “Sample Script: Hi, I’m [NAME], I’m calling from [PLACE], and I’m calling because I am extremely concerned about the possibility of construction on the Line 3 pipeline. The pipeline is still facing enormous legal challenges from tribal nations, advocacy groups, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. I’m calling to urge the Department of Commerce to advocate for a stay against construction to protect the integrity of the process, and to protect communities in Minnesota from the dangerous spread of COVID. Thank you.” Line 3 is being fiercely resisted on the ground. Last week, two Water Protectors locked themselves to Line 3 construction equipment, shutting down construction for most of the day. Follow Giniw Collective, Stop Line 3, RISE and Unicorn Riot on social media for updates on what’s happening on the frontlines. And if you can, we encourage you to donate to these organizations. We can’t stop this pipeline without a strong frontline. If built, Line 3 would release as much greenhouse gas pollution as fifty new coal fired power plants. It would violate Ojibwe treaty rights, and put the state’s water, ecosystems, and communities at risk.

Click here to see larger view

RustyRobot writes—USA Coal Consumption – Falling Fast: “Just a short update on coal consumption in America. In a fitting tribute to Trump’s promise to revive coal the trend downward has increased. The USA will finish 2020 with coal consumption rolled back to about 1965 levels. The chart shows millions of tons burned at peak in 2007 and at 2018, 2019, and projected for 2020. This is very good environmental news since burning coal releases large amount of pollutants into the air and water. Most of this reduction is due to building natural gas power plants but wind and solar are making strong gains. The 2020 projection is from data released by and covers the first eight months. Carry on greening our energy.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Breaking: Trump Administration Withdraws Plan to Deepen SF Bay Shipping Channel for Oil Tankers: “In a victory for environmental justice, indigenous, community and conservation groups, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today via public notice that it is withdrawing plans to dredge the shipping channel connecting San Francisco Bay to the Port of Stockton. Plan opponents say today’s notice is “good news for the Bay, taxpayers, and our drinking water — and bad news for the dirty fuel industry, which was the project’s only beneficiary.’ The notice states: ‘The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is issuing this notice to advise Federal, State and local governmental agencies and the public that USACE is terminating the San Francisco Bay to Stockton, California Navigation Study and withdrawing its Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for said study’.”   

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Deniers Attempt to Appropriate Black Lives Matter To Get Trump To Sell Coal To Africa:The fossil fuel industry has never been shy about using people of color as human shields against criticisms, for example Peabody Energy’s exploitation of the 2014 Ebola outbreak to push its coal as a cure for poverty and disease. Last week in the LA Times, Sammy Roth explored how gas companies are continuing the rich tradition of fossil fuel companies exploiting people of color, like using Native Americans as a front for the“Western States and Tribal Nations,” so that it looks somewhat less like the methane gas-backed entity that it is when it lobbies for more gas and less climate action. Many of the examples from the gas industry Roth describes are pretty sophisticated operations, targeting local communities and tailoring content to specific audiences, as professionals do. However, in the time since Peabody Energy went bankrupt, came out of it, and is now potentially about to go bankrupt again, the sorts of pro-coal pundits they funded are still making the same stupid arguments, but now somehow even more stupidly.

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

A Siegel writes—CE4B’s Clean Energy Summit (Innovation Evening): “Over a three-week period, the Clean Energy For Biden (CE4Biden) Clean Energy Summit has showcased dozens of proposals for consideration (and action) by the Biden-Harris transition team for action in the coming year(s). While, to be clear, these proposals are not all-encompassing of the opportunities and requirements for clean-energy action nor are they institutionally endorsed by CE4B, these proposals are uniformly thoughtful, substantive, and meriting of consideration. Tomorrow evening, 30 November, is the final Summit session focused on innovation (registration). A common theme across CE4B’s policy proposals is the need for increased funding for clean energy research, development and demonstration, accelerating domestic deployment as well as enhancing U.S. global competitiveness, consistent with the Biden Plan’s call for a $400 billion clean energy innovation investment over ten years. The proposals at this summit on innovation urge federal attention to removing barriers, enhancing U.S. competitiveness, and adopting national standards to advance clean energy deployment. ‘Innovation’ isn’t just in the laboratory but also in regulation, financing, and beyond. The 14 proposals reflect this and range from ‘tech-heavy’ industrial spaces (hydrogen production, advanced nuclear) to refocused finance (climate bank, valuing demand response) to fostering shifted acceptance of ‘clean’ options (such as regenerative agriculture).” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Don’t Assume Quick Hydropower Permits Are A Good Thing; Clean Energy Projects Need Justice, Too: “On Wednesday, Abby Smith reported House Republicans tapped Washington’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers to replace Oregon’s Greg Walden as the party’s lead on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Though her acceptance statement said a lot more about “the battles for freedom to beat socialism” and “countering the Left’s lurch toward socialism” than it said anything energy-related, Smith noted McMorris Rodgers’ potential openness to climate action vis-à-vis her support for hydropower, having introduced legislation to speed up licensing for hydropower projects and expand their development.” But before you bust out the celebratory champagne, a couple points.


wigwam writes—Porsche pursues plan to make carbon-neutral ‘e-gas’: “Porsche has no plan to make an electric version of its iconic 911 sports cars. So, how to ensure continued sale of its flagship model far into the future?  … Porsche’s answer: carbon-neutral “synthetic” gasoline that could fuel engines in any cars, not just Porsches. […] windmills in Chile would provide electricity to turn water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen. As part of the same process, carbon dioxide would be filtered from the air. The hydrogen and carbon dioxide would be combined to form methane, to be reformulated as a gasoline substitute. Because the carbon dioxide was already in the air, the resulting tailpipe emissions would add no greenhouse houses to the atmosphere.  […] A new hydrogen-based fuel that Porsche is developing would allow owners of internal-combustion cars to run them as carbon-neutral vehicles without changing out the engines.” 


Mark Sumner writes—The world’s 1.5 billion cattle are a huge problem, but one part of that problem may have a solution: “While Republicans, including Donald Trump, have falsely claimed that the Green New Deal would require eliminating raising cattle for meat, the truth is there is no such requirement in the proposed legislation, or in Joe Biden’s proposed environmental policy. Still, there’s no doubt that the over 1 billion domestic cows on planet Earth are a genuine monster when it comes to resources. Raising all that meat-on-the-hoof requires enormous tracts of land as well as tremendous amounts of water. In the United States alone, the grain that goes to cattle each year could potentially feed the entire population of the country more than three times over. Then there’s the methane. It may seem embarrassing, disgusting, or simply ridiculous, but as ruminant animals whose multiple stomachs use bacteria to help break down tough plant material, cows … fart. A lot. A single cow can put out over 200 pounds of methane in a year and as a whole, domestic cattle account for more than a third of all methane emissions from human activity. And yes, this counts as human activity, even when it’s being propelled out the backside of cows. The simplest way to reduce this assault on the environment is to reduce the number of cows. However, there are ways to preserve the burger supply while still reducing greenhouse gases. And a new one involves feeding those cows something they’re unlikely to run into in the average field: seaweed.”


Missys Brother writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog V. 16.49: lights and hyacinths can help us get through winter: “I am fortunate that I do not suffer from any type of seasonal SAD. Yet everyone needs a bit of comfort and a spirit lift while they wait anticipating spring. Lights and hyacinth bulbs work for me so that is what this diary is about. I have always read that the best way to design landscaping and gardening is from your windows. The older I get the more this holds true. I also believe a bit of exterior lighting seen through windows is an important element. Especially in winter to connect you to the outdoors. Of course, exterior lighting is a must in darkness to safely enter or exit your home. But by adding just a bit more such as a string of lights or a window candle while at home, you are extending a dimension of your world. I believe it pays dividends in helping to defend against winter gloom. This past summer I planted four Black-Eyed Susan vines to circle the wire globe in this antique brownstone urn. A string of the white lights on the globe burned out during the middle of the season.” 


Username4242 writes—Into the alien desert world of Joshua Tree National Park. Exploring the desert southwest (Video): “Utterly weird and wonderful places… it’s fascinating how the environmental constraints of the desert creates such odd plants. Like stepping into an alien world. Also starring both more modern (1920s) and ancient stone structures carved from stone in northern Arizona.”


Pakalolo writes—Biden may pull the Amazon back from the tipping point; Hague considers climate crimes at the ICC: “The Amazon is half the world’s tropics, and some areas of the rainforest in this vast expanse have tipped from a carbon sink to a carbon source. That is just one of the nine horrifying tipping points that are currently active, and the loss of this critical piece in the climate system will increase the warming of the planet and threaten a livable planet.   The possible survival of the Amazon rainforest became a possibility during a debate between Trump and the president-elect. Joe Biden criticized Brazil’s President Jair Bolonaro for his role in the destruction of the Amazon. Bolsonaro was anything but amused. He is motivated purely by greed and genocide. They don’t call him the Trump of the Tropics for nothing. He ignores science to the detriment of all.” 

Georgina Mace, shaper of the species Red List, RIP in September 2020
Georgina Mace

Meteor Blades writes—Earth Matters: ZETA pushes for all electric vehicle sales by 2030; Portuguese youths sue on climate: “ Georgina Mace, who shaped the global endangered species Red List, dead at 67: Cancer took Mace Sept. 19, but her death received little notice. One of the world’s leading conservation biologists, she developed a solid scientific foundation for the Red List  of endangered species put together by International Union for Conservation of Nature as a means of helping environmental advocates to focus their efforts. Before Mace got involved, the Red List was  “a haphazard affair” when it was created in 1964, said Simon Stuart, director of strategic conservation for Synchronicity Earth, an environmental charity, and a former official of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. No clear criteria for inclusion on the list was available at the time. Rather, “politics and personalities played a big role in decisions,” he said in a phone interview with John Schwartz at The New York Times. The list at the time tended toward “charismatic” species, like the great apes. Mace was then working for the Zoological Society of London and began developing  a practical, rigorous method quickly applicable to thousands of species. The list now includes more than 120,000 species of animals, plants and fungi of which some 32,000 are currently listed as endangered. When Mace first began her efforts, these were seen as radical. But eventually others came around. Nathalie Pettorelli, a senior scientist with the Zoological Society of London, said of Mace, “She was never the one that shouted, but she was always the one that would be listened to.” You can read a eulogy for her here.

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