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Missouri Congressman Todd Akin
Here's supposed Republican senate material Todd Akin talking about evolution (or, rather, not talking about it), in the process once again proving that he is indeed a perfect representative of his party.
I don’t see it as even a matter of science because I don’t know that you can prove one or the other. That’s one of those things. We can talk about theology and all of those other things but I’m basically concerned about, you’ve got a choice between Claire McCaskill and myself. My job is to make the thing there. If we want to do theoretical stuff, we can do that, but I think I better stay on topic.
Got that? Evolution is not science at all, because Todd Akin doesn't think millions of years of fossil records are enough to prove it. At least, not to the point where it could take precedent over, say, blind theological faith in that stuff not happening.

I think what we have here is a case of scientific illiteracy. I don't mean "Todd Akin does not know the science," I mean the more basic kind, where there are a great many Americans who do not understand the concept of "evidence," or "proof," or any of the other things that separate knowing a thing from simply declaring any other possibility to be equally true. You can prove that chickens lay eggs because you can observe a chicken doing it, but there are people who will tell you that it is equally likely that an alien race stopped time, lifted up the chicken, put an egg under the chicken and started time back up again because you cannot "prove" that version did not happen. Again, it is a case of conveniently finding God at the exact boundaries of your own personal knowledge, and then pinning those boundaries as the only God-fearing ones possible. The boundaries chosen are always peculiar ones—I have never known anyone to argue that a pocket calculator adds numbers together because God Did It, for example—but nearly always seem to exist in whatever little nooks might suggest that humans are a part of nature, and not a divine special case set apart from all the rest. Perhaps evolution does exist in dogs and cats and monkeys, many of the less ardent anti-evolutionists will tell you, but not that last link between them and us. That link is the one never to be acknowledged.

What was I going on about? Ah, right, that Todd Akin is an imbecile. And that he doesn't know how science works, but I suppose we knew both of those things already. First he declares that "legitimately" raped women can't get pregnant because of some pseudoscience he apparently read on the internet somewhere, and now he declares that all of evolutionary science is merely a "theology" because he says so. A real poster child for modern conservatism, that one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  and to think (33+ / 0-)

    he sits on the science committee.

    Die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

    by Cedwyn on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:03:13 PM PDT

  •  like that crazy lady who called Obama a communist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pvmuse, skyounkin, Pluto

    said: you need to "study it out."  You'd all believe in Creationism if you'd just study it out!

    •  I've studied about the moon too, it's made of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, Mnemosyne

      green cheese. You can't really prove it one way or another, because it's not a matter of science. The moon landings were faked, it IS made of cheese, just "study it out."

      My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me. Benjamin Disraeli

      by pvmuse on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:15:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ---and this man in on the House Science Committee. (7+ / 0-)

    He could not pass my 8th grade Science class. No wonder Congress has a single digit approval rating.

  •  What part of the country is he from? (13+ / 0-)


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:07:34 PM PDT

  •  You Can't Fix Snakehandler, Cracker, Backwoods (7+ / 0-)

    dumb ass stupid!

    I've never seen so many people so damn proud to be so damn stupid: Aiken, Santorum, King, Bachmann.

    Shitfire, Irene!

  •  that these people even exist in our society is an (6+ / 0-)

    indictment of over 100 years of public education.

    No sane voter, let alone an effective majority, could give people like this the reins of government.

    This goes beyond amusement, it is a national tragedy.

  •  This Taliban asshole (5+ / 0-)

    does not deserve a seat at the table that writes the laws that govern my life.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:09:50 PM PDT

  •  FYI, Akin's mentor on the insane idea that a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, skyounkin

    woman's body shuts down any chance of pregnancy after a rape is now flooding crucial swing state Virginia with a mailer supporting Romney and Ryan (100% lifetime rating from the group, the National Right to Life Committee) and accusing Obama and Kaine of supporting "abortion on demand," "health care rationing," "taxpayer-funded abortions," "sex-selection abortions," etc.

  •  Unfortunately rural American education sucks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, Paul Ferguson, atana, Mnemosyne

    So ignoramus Akin got elected by ignorant Republicans just like him.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:11:09 PM PDT

  •  Here are some highlights from Akin's Bio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sparkysgal, Pluto

    I found this intriguing....

    He attended Worcester Polytechnic (Massachusetts) and got a BS in Management Engineering. Later worked as an engineer for the Army, IBM and a private corporation.

    On PAPER, one might think he was a reasonable fit for the Science Committee. But no...not when Fundie Programming sets in.

    http://akin.house.gov/...

  •  I want to know what he means by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sparkysgal, gorgonza, UnaSpenser

    "My job is to make the thing there." What thing? Where? Is this English? Inquiring minds want to know.

  •  Evolution was discovered by the first herdsmen (6+ / 0-)

    who noticed that they could take a species and with selective and line breeding, make it conform to their needs.  Dogs are the best offhand example.

    However they also noted such things as species drift, such as when they bred jacks to mares, they got mules and when they bred stallions to jennies, they got hinnies.  However, though they did not know about chromosomes, they recognized that mules possessed more desirable traits than either parent.  However mules were generally sterile, which does not usually happen in hybrids.  It took until the 20th century for us to explain the chromosomal difference in the parents but we have known about it for centuries.

    This guy reminds me of a local preacher who argued if the history was not in the Bible, it did not happen, effectively wiping out 9000 years of Chinese history as he insisted there was no civilization there until the 1800s because none of his books noted such a civilization

  •  I've been questioning evolution ever since (8+ / 0-)

    I heard about Todd Akin.

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:16:54 PM PDT

  •  I wonder where he is on the germ theory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, dirkster42, Pluto

    of disease.

  •  I wonder if Akin ever thought to stop himself (4+ / 0-)

    before expounding on a discipline he clearly does not know in front of the public.  

    For anyone else, to state such silliness would cause them to be a recluse for the rest of their life.

     But for this candidate for Senator, Akin continues to embarrass himself on the national stage without shame.  Does he care that he is up for ridicule every time he opens his mouth about this subject?

    The sad thing about this affair is that he feels he is the final authority for this line of thinking. Even if a real scientist decided to sit this man down and point out the obvious, he wouldn't get it.

    If there are leaders like this handling our decisions in the government, we've got a lot to worry about.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:20:56 PM PDT

  •  This is a feature of American education, not a bug (13+ / 0-)

    US culture is founded on selling stuff. Not on truth, not on evidence -- on selling. Romney is the architypal American: the Super Salesman. Politics in this country is sales. Period. Truth is not invited to the party.

    Americans are educated to be consumers -- i.e. gullible, easily-fleeced marks for Romneys to rip off. (Ok -- the ruling class isn't educated this way, but the masses are.)
    They are not taught how to think critically, because they are sheep who exist to be fleeced. The masses are the food of the ruling class, and they are educated to be cattle.

    Someone like Akins or Romney is a saleman, a charlatan, a professional liar -- nothing else. He doesn't need to understand science. If the ruling class needs scientists, they hire them to work in their corporations. They don't have to understand science themselves, any more than they have to understand gardening. The "help" is there for that kind of stuff.

  •  No, "proof" isn't Cong. Akin's problem. It's that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leevank

    ... his belief trumps others' observation, the scientific method, commonly accepted forms of proving a proposition in science, Yes, and the concept of science itself. What he read once that some nutty doctor said about pregnancies trumps patently obvious logic in Cong. Akin's mind.

    However, I think it's even worse. Akin practices deliberate refusal. Non-acceptance. Flat out denial of demonstrable proof. Those are very dangerous intellectual flaws for a member of congress, not to mention a member of the Space, Science and Technology Committee.

    Thank God - literally - that the House Science Committee has only five subcommittees. Because the Hon. Cong. Todd Akin is the seventh ranking Republican on the full Committee (after the Chairman, who typically doesn't head a subcommittee), so he'd be second up for a chairmanship of something he could wreck havoc with! As it is, Akin is the chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on - wait for it! - Seapower and Expeditionary Forces. Which, thank God again and Amen!, does not have power over strategic weapons.

    Cong. Akin is not just illiterate. He doesn't want to learn.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:21:17 PM PDT

  •  My car starts everytime I say a prayer, whether it (0+ / 0-)

    has gas or not.
    (not really)

    I don't believe God, if he exists, is superstitious.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:22:07 PM PDT

  •  He got the Memo and The Talk (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42

    There is a time when every Republican gets taken aside by his or her funder and has to have The Talk. Only someone like Santorum -- legendarily out of office -- can get away with aiming for the rails. Only someone like Palin, who wants to be President without running, can speak in complete non sequiturs all the time.

    He's heard that he has a list of "safe words."
    1. Evolution? Can't prove it.
    2. Science? Who knows.
    3. Claire McCaskell! I ain't no scientist. I'm just on the House Science Committee.

    [Technically, evolution cannot be proven. Even if we were to reproduce it in a laboratory and see speciation and speciation in response to environmental pressures, we would only have proven that it is viable as an explanation. There is no real proof without someone actually having been there. A skeptic can play this game for a long time. . . . with all sides.]

    If money is the root of all evil, then what is Mitt Romney?

    by The Geogre on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:22:38 PM PDT

  •  Not science and bad theology. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leevank, Pluto, gorgonza, ebohlman

    I recently revisited yet another text that shows that anti-evolutionism is not only anti-scientific, but that it's crappy theology.

    Perhaps evolution does exist in dogs and cats and monkeys, many of the less ardent anti-evolutionists will tell you, but not that last link between them and us. That link is the one never to be acknowledged.
    In 1941, H. Richard Niebuhr, wrote the following words in The Meaning of Revelation:
    When the creator is revealed it is no longer necessary to defend man's place by a reading of history which establishes his superiority to all other creatures.  To be a man does not now mean to be a lord of the beasts but a child of God.  To know the person is to lose all sense of shame because of kinship with the clod and the ape.  The mind is freed to pursue its knowledge of the external world disinterestedly not by the conviction that nothing matters, that everything is impersonal and valueless, but by the faith that nothing God has made is mean or unclean.  Hence any failure of Christians to develop a scientific knowledge of the world is not indication of their loyalty to the revealed God but of unbelief.
    I showed the whole context for this kind of thinking in my chronicle of Christian affirmations of evolution since 1799.

    -9.38/-7.69 If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:23:22 PM PDT

  •  Akin strikes me as the most pure form of huckster, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin, DSPS owl, atana

    the most storied of charlatan, the snakeoil salesman with the longest and deepest of histories.

    Todd Akin is a high priest of the American Taliban.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:25:13 PM PDT

  •  Evolution is everywhere and easily proven (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42, DSPS owl, atana, JenS, cybersaur

    Not to mention observable on a familiar timescale. It's not just a nebulous idea of what happens over bazillions of years.

    Hospital staff know perfectly well that evolution exists. Drug-resistant "super bugs" are the result of evolution.

    Big Agribusiness knows perfectly well evolution exists. The need to improve pesticides and develop new ones is a result of evolution.

    It's embarrassing that we still have these people in the 21st century. They're zooming around in machines that defy gravity while playing with devices that are shockingly similar to things found on the set of Star Trek, yet they think the world is exactly the same as the one God poofed into existence 9,342 years ago.

  •  Hunter clearly never owned a TR-73Jesus calculator (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pvmuse, skyounkin, Overseas

    which DOES only provide God-fearing calculations.  Age of the earth?  6021.  Age of personhood?  Zygote.  Average god-fearing IQ?  75...  

  •  Somewhere there are chimpanzees (11+ / 0-)

    skipping in delight at the knowledge that Akin denies being any relative of theirs.

    In a dark time, the eye begins to see. Theodore Roethke

    by bibble on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:37:33 PM PDT

  •  so the brain sucking zombie from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skyounkin

    the Sci-Fi channel got to him too?

    My god do they have schools in Missouri?

  •  Language Conflation (3+ / 0-)

    Among the problems with mis-educated people is that they do not seem to understand the difference between colloquial language and discipline-specific terminology. Thus, "hypothesis," "theory" and "guess" all mean the same thing to the uneducated, just as "socialist," "communist," and "fascist" all mean the same thing from their political point of view.

    Only fools do battle in a burning house

    by Uthaclena on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:42:04 PM PDT

  •  Wired has a compilation of some other views ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrississippi, Pluto

    of Republicans on the House Science Committee:

    http://www.wired.com/...

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:45:52 PM PDT

  •  it's a "theory" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs

    the word "theory" is what many hang their anti-evolution hats upon. Home schooling never seems to teach kids the difference between a scientific theory and an untested speculation some laymens theories can be. In fact public schools don't seem to be doing too well either.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:48:42 PM PDT

  •  Small-town Nebraska in the olden days. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs

    I grew up in a small town in the middle of Nebraska, and I am pushing 67 now.  I remember religion was there, primarily Protestant and one Catholic church that I recall.  There was the occasional Bible thumper on the street corner on Saturdays but nobody listened to his rantings and religion was low key, very low key.  Science, on the other hand was highly respected and emphasized in school.  I am genuinely bewildered at what happened to the mentality in this country that such truly ignorant nuts could now wield such influence.  I have family members that have taken up the right wing fundamentalist cause.  Really, what the hell happened?    

  •  Republicans should... (0+ / 0-)

    show some decency(snicker) and withdraw Rep. Akin from the Science and Space Committee. Or whatever it's currently called.

    The guy is suspicious of facts and information to the point of paranoia. In fact, I'd bet he feels the Science committee itself is a part of a nefarious plot to undo Western Civilization and he's there just to spy on their evil-doings.

    Dude's crazeh.

  •  i believe in evolution (0+ / 0-)

    because since i found out about todd akin i do believe there might be a missing link among us.

  •  Todd Akin and Paul Broun exemplify the reason this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, Thomas Twinnings

    election is even down to the wire - Republicans are mind-boggling in their ability to attempt to have their cake and eat it. The particular intellectual crime these two commit is not that they are ignorant (which they really are), but that they simultaneously benefit from the earning potential and status accorded their scientific training while publicly denouncing the very principles underlying scientific enquiry since the enlightenment.

    The motto of the Royal Society, founded in London in 1660, is Nullius in verba, or "take no man's word for it". This was a direct repudiation of the standard church or political model where the value of a statement depended upon the authority of the person making it. The founders of the Royal Society were committed to a different principle - of empirical discovery, and reproducibility whereby any individual with the correct instructions could see for themselves the same results. This way of "knowing" is fundamental to everything we rely on in the 21st century - and we've known this for 350 years!

    This is really important - the data leads to the theory. Darwin didn't conceive evolution and then start looking for the evidence - it was the overwhelming evidence that forced him to the theory of Natural Selection. Note that Evolution itself - the obvious interrelationship of living organisms - is essentially a fact of observation - the theory is the process by which it came about.

    This is a key point in understanding the problems Obama and Democrats have in dragging America kicking and screaming into the 21st century - when 45% of Americans profess to believe in a 10,000 year old earth and creationism, that's 45% of the population who could be persuaded to believe practically anything from the right authority - because authority is the ONLY basis for such ignorance. Romney, Rove, Limbaugh - the whole sorry dangerous crew on the right - know this very well.

    In an enlightened society we would be debating which side has the best strategy for tackling climate change while keeping the economy going - instead we're talking about Benghazi and abortion.

    •  You can't debate climate change usefully (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LLPete

      in a society which regards communications majors as the arbiters of the winners of the debate. Communication majors don't study atmospherics physics and oceanography -- they study social messaging and propaganda in a capitalist society. They would watch and critique the "body language" of climate debaters and all their numbers and charts and graphs and appeals to physics would be pure white noise to them.

      This is what I meant when I said American culture is focused on sales.

  •  Bill Nye took on Akin and Broun today on MSNBC: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thomas Twinnings

    It's a bit lengthy, but well worth the viewing.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Cogito. Ergo sum ​​atheus.

    by Neapolitan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:19:50 PM PDT

  •  huh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karma13612
    "My job is to make the thing there."
  •  Can we overcome this ignorance? (0+ / 0-)

    Until the day comes where politicians, scientists, schools and the elctorate come to together in one voice and announce once and for all that this idiocy must cease; expect more of the same.

    That one voice must also address religion, more specifically Christians for taking their belief system and force feeding our students worthless "science." Creationism is not science. According to the teachings in the bible, God created the heavens and the earth.

    Ok fine. If a group of people want to believe that, so be it, but it belongs in the church, your home.
    It does not belong in our public schools.

    Until someone is willing to come out against Christians and their hijacking of education in America, chances are nothing much will happen, except our backwards slide.

    Therein lies the problem. No one wants to go up against Christians in the fear they will be labled, attacked or ostracised in the community. The Christians already believe a war is upon them and they need to fight back against the forces of evil.
    They (the fundies) have infiltrated our school boards and higher seats of government in the United States. It is a national tragedy that this has occured and little is being done to thwart the advancement.

    I know that not all Christians think and behave this way, therefore, it really is a smaller, but very vocal minority that is running roughshod over the rest of us.

    My views are beginning to harden towards Christians in general, primarily because so little concern has been given to me and other like me.
    What is strange is the fact that I support the right to a persons freedom of religion, even though I am not afforded the same respect.

    To add further insult to injury, many Republicans have loudly proclaimed Democrats as being godless and hating America, plus many other negative connotations. The divisions and the lines have been drawn in an all out effort it seems, to replace this Democracy with Theocracy.

    They say otherwise, contrary to the evidence.
    So I dare say...Christian fundamentalist and the like...Back off. It is starting to piss people off. For hells sake, why must Jesus permeate our every existence? Please worship in your churches, in your homes. You don't need to wear your faith and hit people over the head with it. We get it. Really, it's just not for some of us.

    Bottom line is seperate this religion angle to the schooling of our children and things will improve.
    My guess is the Christians will have none of that though and science will take the back seat.

    "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Louis Brandeis

    by wxorknot on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:20:24 PM PDT

  •  Akin is the Perfect choice for that Position (0+ / 0-)

    It's So Much easier to Destroy something when you
    are working on the Inside.

    Not to worry. That Science thing is only Temporary.

    They just want to keep Todd Akin Busy until they Create
    the Department of "Batshit Fucking Crazy."

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:47:13 PM PDT

  •  Foxy and Friends asks, you decide. (0+ / 0-)

    Steve Douchey asked, "If Evolution is so real, why didn't humans develop feathers and learn to fly like the dinosaurs did?"
    Wench Carlson responded, "Yah, God created Adam and Eve, angels are only supposed to be in heaven."
    Brian Justkillme wakes up from his stupor screaming, "GO ANGELS!"

    The Republican Party has been taken over by the corporatists and christian fundamentalists. The corporatists will force you into poverty, and the christian fundamentalists will force you to live under biblical law; daily gruel and scripture for all.

    by glb3 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:54:18 PM PDT

    •  Evolution, Believe It (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Overseas

      This video is Gretchen Carlson in 1989.

      This is Gretchen 20 years later.

      So much promise, but an evolutionary failure by any standard.

      The Republican Party has been taken over by the corporatists and christian fundamentalists. The corporatists will force you into poverty, and the christian fundamentalists will force you to live under biblical law; daily gruel and scripture for all.

      by glb3 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:38:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  May Todd Akin encounter evolution in the form (0+ / 0-)

    of a drug-resistant staph infection. There: evolution.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:04:47 PM PDT

  •  About God and boundaries... (0+ / 0-)
    Again, it is a case of conveniently finding God at the exact boundaries of your own personal knowledge, and then pinning those boundaries as the only God-fearing ones possible.
    If you're trapped in a black box, the boundaries of your knowledge may be well-defined, and it's not unreasonable to speculate about where the black box came from and what's on the other side of it.  Some of that speculation might be fanciful, but it all really is speculation at that point.

    So if people find God at the personal boundaries of their knowledge, that seems fair to me.  The sticking point, though, is, as you say, when they PIN those boundaries as the only ones possible and deny the existence of things that are clearly visible within the box.

    To fundamentalists like Akin, I think that being able to deny the clearly visible fact is a their testament to their greater faith in God, so great that even if the truth slaps them in the face, they can deny it.

    Funny.  You see that all the time on that show Deal or No Deal.  Some dumb fool passes up a perfectly good deal near the end which would let them get out a winner because they insist, jumping up and down, "I KNOW that million dollars is in the case! I know it I know it!" -- and the audience cheers them for their faith.  And then they lose and I get to laugh at them.

  •  Many decades from now when (0+ / 0-)

    future generations wonder what contributed most to the decline of the United States, one need only point to the the "Science" Committee filled with superstitious morons practicing rancid political religiosity.

  •  Akin's skull is packed with so much sh$t (0+ / 0-)

       that the brown stuff must be oozing from his ears and eyeballs.

  •  Eggs are from Area 51! Thanks for solving mystery. (0+ / 0-)

    I never believed those dumb clucking things could produce eggs 'cause it's not in the bibble. I mean, c'mon Big Bird? Aliens are obviously the right answer.

  •  Rubber band theory of gravity (0+ / 0-)

    It's lucky for all of us that those nomads wandering in Palestine 4000 years ago didn't ask why things fall to the ground, isn't it?

    I mean if they'd decided it was because of invisible rubber bands connecting everything to the ground then Akin would presumably now be telling us that Newton's theory of gravity is "only" a theory, and that there are plenty of respected scientists who accept the scientific truth of rubberbandism.

    Sheesh.

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