1. says

    Well, I did not strain any muscles at work today, the hayfever suprisingly receded and I only mildly cut one of my fingers with bonsai shears. But in the evening when I went into my workshop to do some work on a new knife, my tiny hobby belt-grinder gave up for good. The stator burned and it is not repairable anymore. Damn. I would love to buy a really good belt grinder, and I could afford it financially, but unfortunately my workshop is too tiny for that. Damn again. Back to manual grinding untill I figure out something better.

  2. says

    I’m starting to think I cracked a rib. I hate pain.

    Giliell, *love* those shots, the textures in particular!

  3. says

    What rq said, I hope the ribs are fine.
    Glad you like the pics.

    Also, photographer’s law: whatever lense you choose, it’s the wrong one.

    Why do people think that shouting “stop this” at a crying child will actually work, no matter how unjustified a temper tantrum they are throwing?

  4. blf says

    Why do people think that shouting “stop this” at a crying child will actually work…?

    Because almost all children don’t have their finger on the big red button, so if it doesn’t work, the consequences are not a smoking, charred, glowing-in-dark planet. Basically, there’s less mess to clean up. And, as the mildly deranged penguin points out, most of the cheese is still intact. (Unfortunately, the peas are also intact.)

  5. says

    My alarm clock lives, and it went off this morning as it should. Okay, get tea made, wander into my studio, where I see the time on my computer is an hour ahead. I get that momentary panic of “what did I miss?”, checked my clock, checked my tablet, they matched. Put the time back on the computer.

    Fuck, Athena is one month old. I can’t be dealing with another machine meltdown now. And, no, wasn’t rats, I turn off the mouse and put it and keyboard out of reach every night. It would be one hell of a feat for them to accidentally change the time to exactly one hour ahead.

  6. says

    @Caine, do you have correctly set area? Because it might be that your computer got confused by the transfer to summer time.

  7. says

    Charly, it handled the daylight saving changes just fine. There’s just no reason it should have jumped ahead, but here’s hoping it’s a onetime glitch. I can’t afford another computer so soon.

  8. says

    Just leaving this here for anyone who has 40 minutes of time to watch a youtube video by TheraminTrees about islamophobia. Suitable as a background to some works, what really counts is the audio.

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Three* free chamber music concerts and two floors of installations in the museum of modern art (half of the ARS17 exhibition, they also have part of the exhibition online, which I’ll have to check another day). I’m pooped just from listening and watching.

    A fun day.
    * = It’s Chamber Music Week during which Sibelius Academy holds one free concert/day, also there was a Master’s exam concert and a small (collaboration between the Academy and Helsinki Philharmonic) concert with a student and two Philharmonic musicians.

  10. says

    OK, tomorrow I’ve got an “exam”. Hard to explain to anyone not familiar with German teacher training. Basically I have to teach a lesson, but I also had to write like 15 pages about the lesson explaining every what and why. The “trial” didn’t go down well so I am pretty nervous.
    And now for the fun of being fat woman in this world. Last week I wore a pair of jeans that is kind of low sitting and a T. Usually there’s always a generous overlap, it’S not like I wear crop tops but when I bend low you could, heavens forbid, see some of my backside. I got told so twice*. I’m in a very conservative part of the country apparently. Do I need to mention that it’s the town with the highest teen pregnancy rate?
    Anyway, since there’s no use fighting with those people I decided it was a perfect excuse to order some nice new clothes. And really, the top that arrived today is pretty, it fits, it’s long enough, but I really didn’t notice it’s see through.
    I don’t even manage to be nicely conservative when I try to…

    *I doubt anybody told my male colleague that the whole school knows the pattern of his briefs by now

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 16

    Hoping for the best for you! That 15-page writing sounds an absolutely horrible task.

    A kind of an aside: Black see-through clothing over opaque clothing or partially see-through clothing seems to be very common for women playing classical music, students, instructors as well as various instrumentalists in the symphony orchestra.

  12. rq says

    That’s a beautiful top, I hope you wear it with great abandon and zest!
    I think I know a lot more about male brief patterns in the workplace than I need to. But we all know no one ever stares lustfully at men, right, so it’s not indecent because there’s no induction of temptation involved.
    Or something.
    Anyway, good luck with your exam!!!! *thumbs*

    Ice Swimmer
    It’s often because the opaque clothing under is close-fitting, almost athletic-wear, and the filmy layer over top makes you decent for the opera hall but doesn’t inhibit your movements while playing or conducting. At least, that’s been my rationale for wearing similar kinds of outfits. Then again, it also just plain looks kind of pretty, with a floaty effect to go with your music…

  13. says

    Well, nobody suggested I should switch to landscaping, so let’s call it some sort of success…

    I basically did just that: put on a really tight white T underneath. In normal circumstances I’d say a bra is enough, but well…

  14. says


    OK, tomorrow I’ve got an “exam”. Hard to explain to anyone not familiar with German teacher training. Basically I have to teach a lesson, but I also had to write like 15 pages about the lesson explaining every what and why. The “trial” didn’t go down well so I am pretty nervous.

    Now I am glad that I never tried to aply for teaching job in Germany. This on top of the nightmare to have to learn all chemistry and biology in another language? Thank you but no thank you.

    Fingers crossed.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    On of those strange days. Went to the bank this morning to order new checks without the Redhead’s name on them (her personal account, which will go to me once I file some paperwork, is still active for any delayed checks in her name.). This afternoon, went to the cemetery to see if our headstone had been delivered. It had and I was able to take a pic to send out.
    Both our names, birth dates, our wedding date, and her date of death, with a space for my date of death. Still trying to put into perspective the finding.

  16. says

    That’S something I always find really weird


    No shit. All teachers say the training period was the worst time of their lives and I know more than one person who didn’t make it (current favourite song: Sia: Never give up).

    Usually when I drive home there is a falcon “standing” over a field, beating its wings but usually I have neither time nor camera. Today is the last day before the holidays so I had a little time and decided to take the cam. Guess who wasn’t there?
    But then I said to myself “nobody’s got the right to keep a girl from enjoying herself with her camera and halted at the rest area at the Autobahn and walked into the fields behind it*. Got some very unexpected pics, but I won’t spoil the surprise…

    *Not a nice experience for the first few hundred meters as you can imagine…

  17. jimb says

    Nerd -- please accept my very belated condolences on the passing of the Redhead. I was avoiding blogs/news/etc when that happened, so didn’t hear the news until much later. I’m very sorry.
    It’s been a pretty crap-tacular week, on many fronts, so I’m just trying to get through the end of the day and get to the safety and comfort of home for the weekend.

  18. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Jimb #24, thanks for the condolences. Needless to say, there is a large hole in my life.

    Gilliel #23, it’s part of our prepaid cremation/burial plan (my cremains, in an urn and small vault, end up on top of her vault in the same grave). The sandblasting of the stone for my DoD is already paid for.

    Meanwhile, now is a good time to visit my parents after after five years of care-giving when we only talked by phone.

  19. says

    I swear brambles are the worst. We’re in a continued fight for the survival of “The Old One”, an old apple tree in the not yet rented part of the garden which has been suffocated for ages by ivy and brambles. Today I cut the remaining brambles offso the tree can get light and air again, but brambles, they suck. And I really need to get myself a machete.

  20. Ice Swimmer says

    A capercaillie cock has been trying to find a mate in human-inhabited areas, in the northern suburbs of the Helsinki Area. These birds typically live in large forest areas, not near human settlements and their numbers have gone down in the last few decades. Luckily this individual hasn’t been as overly testosterone-crazed as they can sometimes be.

    In the article, a biologist they consulted said that if anybody tried to move the capercaillie to a more suitable area, that might result in both the person trying to move the bird and the bird getting injured. A bird hobbyist also stated that when they moved a capercaillie cock in a similar case deep in to the woods, he came back just in a few days.

  21. says

    Ice Swimmer @ 27:

    They’re beautiful! This video has a very good look at them. I love they way they do the side-sweep run, that’s impressive.

  22. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 28

    We don’t have peacocks (outside of zoos) here, but we have the capercaillie (metso in Finnish). They’re about the half the weight of a turkey (cocks, hens are half the weight of the cock and brown camouflage coloured), but the biggest landfowl here.

    I wonder if the guy filming the video you linked to made it to the moose hunt or caught anything. (The title is “Hunting moose with a capercaillie”) The dinosaur might have ruined his chances 8-).

  23. chigau (違う) says

    We’re setting up for the pot-luck at the community centre.
    Sadly, the liquor licence doesn’t start for an hour and a half.
    I want a drink! It’s my birthday, dammit!

  24. Ice Swimmer says

    Happy Birthday, chigau!

    My program today: Voting in the local elections (the corrupt right-wingers and zero-sum-game racists aren’t getting my vote, dammit) and the last free chamber music concert (seventh concert of the Chamber Music Week; Mozart, Debussy, Bloch and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) this week.

  25. rq says

    Many happy returns, chigau!
    *raises glass*
    I hope you survived that hour and a half. Also I hope those around you survived that hour and a half. ;)

  26. Ice Swimmer says

    Voting done, concert attended. A one-person queue at the voting place. The concert was good, the students played fine like they did all the week.

  27. Ice Swimmer says

    Yes, the way the capercaillie cocks move is interesting.

    Here is a link to an almost ten-minute video of capercaillie lek (mating rituals, soidin in Finnish). The smaller brown/black/white birds are capercaillie hens.

  28. lumipuna says

    Ice Swimmer,
    I voted in the morning and then went too see Disney’s Vaiana (Moana) in 2D Finnish dub, day showing. The theatre hall had about 100 seats, only ten of them were occupied by young children, their parents and this one 34yo guy :)
    The movie was great, but a little spoiled by a) me watching too many clips on YouTube beforehand b) voice acting not quite on par with the original. Also I’m too spoiled for Ghibli style to truly love Disney style.

  29. Ice Swimmer says

    lumipuna @ 40

    I think the chamber music concerts had a complementary audience, old folks, Sibelius Academy students, their friends and relatives, SibA professors, and this one guy a bit over 40. Very few small kids.

    I’m not much of a movie guy. Live music is more like my thing and after getting the Museokortti, I’ve been going to both art and historical museums a lot.

  30. says

    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday. It hurts.
    Also, the one and only reason why stinging nettles* aren’t my gardening arch nemesis is that this job is already taken by the wild brambles.

    *PLease don’t start about butterflies. I know. There’s a huge area around and behind where tons of stinging nettles can grow. Weeding them in my garden doesn’t even affect % of those I can see.

  31. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 42

    Get well soon, Giliell! Also the quickest and most painless healing process to all of the others with various injuries, seems there has been plenty of them recently.

    I don’t think nettles are the first plant species to go extinct and if they’re getting too rare somewhere, a little pee goes a long way to make them grow.

  32. says


    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday. It hurts.

    Oh no, you too? Take care, and yes, they really really hurt.

  33. Ice Swimmer says

    A correction:

    And, quickest and most painless healing process to Giliell as well as everybody else.

  34. blf says

    Wanted to do some plastering, but apparently I tore a muscle in my forearm yesterday.

    The mildly deranged penguin shruggests this is very similar to Grunthos the Flatulent’s own major intestine strangling him, meaning your desire to do plastering is similar to Vogon poetry. Do you have to strap your audience into special Plastering Appreciation Chairs?

    (Since she didn’t invoke peas, this probably counts as a “get well soon”.)

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Weird day weather wise here at Casa la pelirroja. The average temperature is over 70 F. Have the downstairs doors and upstairs windows open to allow for airing of the house. Keep getting fluctuations between warm and cool. Evidently the southerly winds are varying enough to both bring in air from the Lake (cool), and off the Prairie (warm).

  36. Kengi says

    Someone finally wrote an article about the United Airlines incident that sums up how I feel about it. Sure, it was bad PR and poorly handled, but the real problem was how it clearly demonstrated the American attitude of “shut up and do as you’re told -- especially if you are a minority”.

  37. Kengi says

    I don’t care how “disruptive and belligerent” the doctor was. The United employees were disruptive and belligerent for demanding he be ejected because they screwed up. The Chicago cops were seriously disruptive and belligerent by defaulting to violence. The only person with a valid excuse for being belligerent was the one who got beat up by the thugs and mistreated by screw-ups.

  38. blf says

    I don’t care how “disruptive and belligerent” the doctor was.

    I essentially concur. Re-reading @51, I see I should clarify: My “highly enraging” remark at the end was intended to refer to “CEO Oscar Munoz‘s highly dubious and unevidenced claim”, not whether or not the doctor was disruptive. However, I now see how what I wrote could be construed the other way around. My bad.

  39. Kengi says

    Sorry, blf, that was my fault. I was agreeing with you and reacting negatively to idiot who wrote the Guardian piece you linked to. I didn’t make that clear at all. Yeah, I’m steamed as well by the way most of the media has covered this.

  40. Kengi says

    Of course, that’s the media’s job. Help the ruling elite maintain control over the peons.

  41. says

    Someone on Twitter posted an attorney’s take and UNited doesn’t have a leg to stand on since the guy had a valid boarding pass with a seat in which he actually sat.
    Here’s an idea: if you offer someone 800 bucks and a free hotel stay if they fly the next day and they decline it’s because they got to be somewhere.

  42. blf says

    I’m a bit confused by the “reacting negatively to idiot who wrote the Guardian piece” thing(@55/56) — to me, the article about Oscar Munoz‘s bullshite is just a news report. I have yet to see any interview or whatever with the doctor, so yeah, that and other reports can be construed as being one-sided. However, I don’t currently see that report as taking sides.

  43. Saad says

    When that passenger turned down the offer to give up his seat, why did they not move on to another passenger?

  44. Kengi says

    blf, the piece was part and parcel like the vast majority of coverage on the incident. A giant list of reasons why it was perfectly reasonable to kick the “disruptive and belligerent” off the flight. Again, just follow the orders of the elite and all will be well. Rock the boat and deservedly get a beat-down. That’s why I liked the Guardian piece I linked to. That piece also didn’t get an interview with the doctor, but also didn’t automatically bow down to our glorious ruling class.

  45. blf says

    I just noticed the @10/11/12 discussion about a computer suddenly being one hour off. The sensible suggestion was made to check the timezone (area) setting, to which the understandable answer was the recent Daylight Saving Time change was handled correctly.

    To paraphrase a long-time friend of mine, who, when he made the comment, did technical customer support, “That only proves the computer isn’t on fire.” Or, in this specific case, that (broadly speaking) at the time of the time change, the timezone setting was correct. It says nothing about what the area setting was when the problem was noticed.

    As it so happens, I had a very similar problem recently. My precise problem is unlikely to the above problem, since I am using Linux, but an analogous thing might have happened. (There are also other possible causes, all(?) of which I ignore in this comment.)

    I noticed one day the time being displayed was not for “Paris” but “New York”. A quick check of the time showed it was correct. Puzzlingly, so was the area. Yet the displayed time was clearly in the wrong zone, New York (but had the correct value for New York). Huh?

    First I checked if the area was being overridden by the clock display program’s settings. It was not. So why was the wrong zone apparently being used?

    That particular check reminded me I had set up the program in question to have a dropdown list of “interesting” times & zones I could quickly examine, of which “New York” was one. That suggested possibilities, albeit I wasn’t able to, at first, connect the dots (so to speak).

    A bit of playing around found that that particular clock program had a feature I didn’t know about: It was possible to select a zone from that “interesting” list to be the displayed zone. Other than the actual displayed time, there was nothing displayed that indicated that particular configuration (which is why I didn’t work out what had happened at first). Sure enough, reverting from a zone on my customized list to back to “the current system area” fixed the problem. It was an easily-done mouse-click, and I speculate I had inadvertently done so earlier, selecting New York, without noticing. (I make Typos-like offerings as often with the mouse as I do the keyboard.)

    Upshot is whilst the time and zone settings were all correct, an unnoticed-when-done customization altered the displayed time — and only the displayed time as displayed by that one particular program (which itself was a clew: all the other clock programs were Ok). Nothing was “wrong” per se, other than (very probably) yet another case of fat fingerism.

    So I too had a case of “handled the time change Ok, but later showed the wrong time”. I first did essentially what was suggested — checked the zone setting — but since it was Ok, I then had to do a bit of digging to root out what was wrong. Once determined and fixed, it became fairly clear what happened.

    And my computer wasn’t on fire either, despite the best(?) efforts of the mildly deranged penguin.

  46. Kengi says

    Argh. Just read another piece of excrement on the United Airlines saga. This one says you unquestioningly have to follow the orders of your corporate masters because they are sad/angry/whatever over 9/11.

  47. blf says

    Kengi@60, We don’t seem to be reading the same article, then. Or actually, we probably are, but are interpreting it differently.

    I interpret it as a summary of what the CEO asserted, liberally sprinkled with actual quotes from Oscar Munoz. The list / quotes are then followed by a potted history, and a short description of the contract of carriage plus the DOT’s public reaction. I note it is not an opinion piece.

    I speculate you are doing some sort of “between the lines” interpretation. That’s perfectly understandable, we all do, and I presumably am also doing so. My problem is, I think, the jump from quotes (content of which is verifiable in principle) and contract (content obviously verifiable) to, as you put it, “[a] giant list of reasons why it was perfectly reasonable to kick the ‘disruptive and belligerent’ off the flight.”

    Uh, no. The quotes are a set of assertions by an obviously biased participant (CEO Oscar Munoz). Whilst the content of the quotes are factual (verifiable), the meaning of the quotes, as intended by Mr Munoz, are not facts — they are his opinions as reported by the Granuiad.

    Yes, his opinions are, as you put it, “just follow the orders of the elite and all will be well. Rock the boat and deservedly get a beat-down.” And the article can be construed to be about his opinions. I think we are both construing it in essentially that manner.

    I speculate where we diverge is I don’t see it as anything more than a report of his opinions, whilst you see as an endorsement of those opinions. Well, maybe not “endorsement”, that is perhaps too strong, more like disappointment the article (and others) didn’t point out how dunderheaded those opinions are.

    Which is probably where we rejoin, those opinions are, at the very least, dunderheaded.

  48. Kengi says

    Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse. “We just report the facts (quotes)!” BS. When they actually use the BS quote as part of their article title, making the assertion the passenger was belligerent, they are contributing to press release the corporate overlords want put out. A better story title would have been “Dunderheaded CEO Blathers Lame Excuses” or “Here’s What Our Overlords Told Us to Publish”.

    Or that despicable CNN article I linked to. The guy couldn’t stop repeating how wrong the passenger was for not just obeying orders. It was like victim blaming tourette syndrome.

    I keep looking at articles (which just aggravates me more) because I still don’t know what happened to the poor guy. Is he in jail? Still in the hospital chained to a bed? Have charges been filed? These questions would require digging and reporting, not press-release republishing.

  49. Kengi says

    Another thing that just struck me. O’Hare Airport to Louisville KY is less than a five hour drive. I seem to recall the dicking around caused a three hour delay at O’Hare, and who knows how much extra time in Louisville. Why didn’t United just send their four people (or four passengers) in a rental car? Why haven’t these so-called reporters asked the CEO this question?

    Of course I’ve already answered my own question. Because most of the reporters and newspapers are nothing more than a system to publicize corporate press releases…

  50. rq says

    (Yes, we are totally sucking at this long-term health thing as a family for several months now. I’m out of ideas.)

  51. Kengi says

    Geez, I didn’t know kids could get shingles either. My dad’s doctor told us to get him a shingles vaccine last year and I was shocked it would be several hundred dollars everywhere I called. Fortunately, after a bit of digging around I found out the VA would give him the vaccine for free.

  52. rq says

    It’s basically recurring chickenpox, apparently -- so don’t let anyone ever fool you into thinking it’s a harmless childhood disease that should just be suffered through.
    Then again, this is the kid who had his chickenpox vaccine, and still got the chickenpox, and now is showing symptoms of shingles. So maybe it just didn’t take, with him. When we go back next week, I want to ask the doctor about chickenpox revaccination (which is probably something like the shingles vaccine?), even though apparently it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime injections.
    Honestly, though, as soon as we think we’ve dealt with one health crisis, another one shows up. I’m so tired of it (and yes, this shingles diagnosis is close on the heels of a minor rotavirus infection just survived by Youngest).

  53. Kengi says

    I’m sure you are tired of it, and just plain tired. Watch your own health when others rely upon you, and best hopes for all.

  54. Kengi says

    I see the United CEO has changed his tune. When it was just an elderly Asian man being beat up and dragged off his plane it was all OK, and his staff did everything right. Now that his stock has shed $600 million in value, it’s all about doing investigations and figuring out what went wrong! OMG!

    Yeah, we know what the priorities are there…

  55. blf says

    Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse.

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    I stand by my speculative analysis: You are conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion.

  56. Kengi says

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    You don’t need an interview with the doctor to present a nuanced viewpoint of what happened. Reporting should be much more than just “He said” “She said”. To just rely upon quotes and press releases is not reporting. It’s PR.

    I stand by my speculative analysis: You are conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion.

    Want to see how to report on this without just being a stupid PR mouthpiece for your corporate overlords? Take a look at Derek Thomson’s piece in the Atlantic. It isn’t just a forum listing “one side” of an argument since they can’t get the “other side”, which, by your very weird reasoning can only come from the mouth of the doctor. The article looks at several aspects of the issue, recognizing something you haven’t yet grasped, which is that there aren’t just two “sides” to this story. There are several underlying issues that need investigation, thought, and clear presentation.

    You know, reporting. Or at least what once passed for reporting…

  57. blf says

    your very weird reasoning can only come from the mouth of the doctor.

    What I said was(@75) “as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported”. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think I’ve ever insisted on an interview with the doctor, only that such an interview is the most obvious way of obtaining his perspective.

    I am uncomfortable here in that there seems to be a willful and deliberate misreading of what I wrote; and that my speculation — “conflating reporting on expressed opinion without critical commentary as being supportive of that opinion” — has not been directly addressed. Counter-examples have been offered, but the speculation is being ignored.

    I am trying to be honest here and, as one example, carefully labeling my thinking as “speculation”. What I am seeing in return is evasion, plus misreading that seems to be deliberate.

  58. Kengi says

    OK, lets talk about deliberate misreading.

    I pointed out “Your explanation sounds, to me, like yet another false balance excuse.”

    I thought I was clear with the words “your explanation”. You “misread” that to mean I was accusing the Guardian article of false balance.

    False balance is impossible here since, as we both agree, the doctor’s side hasn’t been reported.

    No, I didn’t mean the Guardian article was an example of false balance. The Guardian article was a piece of shit hit piece on the victim primarily comprised of PR quotes from the airline, including in the title. You were playing the false balance game pretending the Guardian was just “reporting the facts, maam”, and trying to reduce this into a simple two-sided argument between what the airline’s position is and what the doctor’s position is.

    After all, we can’t expect real reporting when they can’t get a statement from the “other side”.

    So no, I don’t think you are trying to be honest any more than the piece of shit reporters at the Guardian were trying to be honest.

    To directly address what you have accused me of as evasion, let me restate what I was saying earlier. “Reporting on expressed opinion” in the way the Guardian article did was, very specifically, avoiding most of the issues in this story. The lick-spittle reporters purposely chose a one-sided presentation comprised of nothing but PR bullshit. So yes, I’m “conflating” the reporters’ deliberate one-sided bullshit with being supportive of the PR crap spewing out of United Airlines because that’s how the reporters wrote the story.

    Because they can’t get a quote from the doctor they should be excused from looking into the story beyond the press releases? No, I expect reporting, not parroting the party line from the airline. And you should be ashamed for defending such crap reporting.

    That should be obvious with the counter-example I gave with real reporting from the Atlantic. I didn’t post that link to evade your “speculation”. I posted that link as a clear, resounding example of how you can report on a story that is complex and has far more than just two sides, even without an interview from the victim. As an example of how miserably the Guardian reporters failed.

  59. says

    In recent days, somebody either here or on pharyngula posted a link to an article (blogpost?) listing similarities between Hitlers rise to power and what Trump is doing now. I cannot find the link now. Does anyone else remember it and post it again? I could not read the article at that time and I would very much like to.

  60. says

    Thank you, Caine, alas that is not it. I read that essay when you posted about it.

    This was somewhere in comments, and not more than a few days back.

  61. Saad says

    CN: video clip of police racism/violence

    Two Georgia officers fired after video of punching and stomping

    They say there’s a criminal investigation pending, but I have a feeling the focus of the investigation will be what a horrible person the victim is. I’m sure the slaps on the wrists to the officers will sting horribly.

    Also, they decide not to mention the victim’s race, since there’s nothing racial about white cops assaulting a young man of color and mentioning race would just be divisive.

  62. StevoR says

    @ 86. chigau (違う) :

    Hey everyone!
    It’s Jesus on a stick day!

    Which means World Tapir day is getting closer! Only twelve days till April 27th :

    All tapir species face the threat of extinction. Saving tapirs helps to save rainforests and other habitats, thereby helping to save the planet and mitigate the effect of climate change.

    Tapirs sound like this :


    Oh & good news :

    A group of four birdwatchers from Broome has photographed Australia’s most mysterious bird, the night parrot, in Western Australia.

    The sighting is all that more remarkable when you consider that the night parrot was not confirmed as still alive in Australia until three years ago, and that the photograph was taken in a patch of spinifex 2,000 kilometres from where the bird was rediscovered in Western Queensland.

    Seems apt to share this different and more factual -- and fragile -- resurrection story at this time of year.

  63. StevoR says

    An idea and a suggestion I’ve got about my nations’future (& recognition of its past) which I’d like to see people think about here.

    There are a couple of huge albeit symbolic* and cultural issues about our Australian nationality that have badly stalled over past decade or so. One is Australia becoming a Republic and the other is Reconciliation with our First, Indigenous Peoples. Since Rudd’s apology in 2007 and the Republic referendum in 1999 (hmm.. wonder if Turnbull recalls that now?**) it seems these ideas and movements towards us becoming a better nation have fallen off the radar and been overlooked and failed to go anywhere if anything gone backwards. Several proposals to recognise Indigenous people in the Constitution have been raised but nothing much – certainly that I’m aware of. (So, yes, I could be mistaken here.)

    So, my idea is, let’s at least partly combine them by becoming a Republic where the combined symbolic roles of the Queen and of the Governor-General is replaced by having not a Monarch, Governor-General or President (a title that’s foreign and used throughout the world and tarred with a lot of bad examples -like the titles king, Emperor, Caesar& variants etc ..) but instead our own unique office of “First Elder“ elected solely by our Indigenous Peoples.

    This First Elder would have to be an Indigenous Australian (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) in background and recognised as such by our First Peoples and could only be voted for by Indigenous Australians -- not European migrants or those of various post-Colonial arrival backgrounds. Just our First people, voting for the symbolically top position in our country -and having the rest of Australia acknowledge and respect that as a sign that we do appreciate the oldest, unwritten first long part of our nation’s history, culture and heritage.

    They, the First Aussies, would be in complete charge of the process, the election, the ceremonies afterwards for appointing and swearing in / welcoming and so on. (I like to think the ceremonies would involve being out Bush in the First Elder’s Country with campfires and Corroborees but that’s just my imagination and hope – it should be totally up to them.)

    Australia’s Prime Minister would still be the de facto leader of our nation and still be elected by everyone as of now with nothing changing there but Indigenous Australians would be able to say that we recognise and acknowledge them -- rightly -- as the rightful rulers of our Country. It would be giving them something that shows respect and honours them and empowers them whilst making a minimal political powers change. Without the possibility of a divisive clash between say popularly elected President and PM as used by the Minimalist monarchi-sorry republicans to destroy the Yes case for a Republic in 1999 and the idea of having politicians choose our figurehead prime as used by the Direct Election monar-er- republicans to destroy the Yes case for the Republic in 1999.

    The First Elder would then be a symbolic handing back of power and recognition and one part of our reconciling with our past historical wrongs as well as enabling us to claim that our head of state is totally Aussie -- couldn’t be more Aussie or from a more truly Australian culture -- born here and cheering for our side in events such as the Ashes. It would be more Democratic than the hereditary monarchy we now have as well as uniquely Australian and, well, I like it and think its an apt and powerful fusion of these causes -- not a single solution for reconciliation which is much broader but at least a good start and something towards that on-going process?

    So what do y’all reckon? Is this a good idea and suggestion? Do you have any other ideas or comments on this notion? Might it be worth trying? Could it at least spark more discussion and get things moving maybe? Thoughts please?

    * These issues being “merely” symbolic & not immediately practical /economic doesn’t mean they don’t matter in my view. I do think this would change who we are much for the better.

    ** See :,_1999

    PS. FWIW Not Indigenous myself, living on Kaurna / Peramangk land.

  64. StevoR says

    In other news in hope folks find these interesting :

    The discovery overturns widely-held preconceptions about the morphology of early dinosaur relatives, with many paleontologists anticipating that such creatures would be smaller, bipedal and more ‘dinosaur-like.’

    Teleocrater rhadinus fundamentally challenges our models of what the close relatives of dinosaurs would have looked like,” said Richard Butler, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Birmingham, UK, and co-author on the paper.

    Cassini sniffs out hydrogen from the plumes of Enceladus :

    Oh & also :

    A remarkable case where dogs finding echidna poo may reveal an extinction didn’t happen.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Been making plans to visit relatives unseen for the five years since the Redhead’s stoke. Planning on how to make the trip alone caused me to buy an I-Pass for the road tolls. Adjustments are being made.
    Also, bought a kitchen scale to help me with portioning food when I eventually cook something like goulash or a roast, so it can be packaged in meal sized containers. I got a cheap version of the lab scales we used at work.

  66. Saad says

    From the Trump 24/7 Twitter page

    Look at the responses to that tweet.

    The most gullible of the gullible Americans. These are probably the people who send their bank accounts so they can get their inheritance transferred to them from a mine owner somewhere in Africa.

  67. Saad says

    Wait, now I’m totally confused.

    Is that whole thing a Poe?

    Because this is the first commenter’s Twitter page description:

    Donald Trump is an amazing person to leave his comfortable life to fight for us

    I can’t….I don’t know what’s real anymore.

  68. says

    Here too is expected a bout of frost. It will be a disaster for many plants that started to grow too soon. I will need to cover some bonsai trees with foil and hope for the best.

    I had today a rare occasion of joy. It was too cold to re-pot bonsai trees, near freezing and snow with rain.

    So I spent the day with my own recycling project I was able to scramble together fully functional belt grinder for 50x1500 mm belts (2x60″). I used a 400 V, 1.500 W motor from old water pump, wheels gutted from two other belt grinders (one from the burned out one, two from a 59,- € cheapo new one that I bought purely for these parts) and a bunch of particle board cut-offs that were left over from the furniture I built a few years ago.

    The result is “ad-hoc” built machine, I did not bother with any plans or measurements, I just sawed, bored and screwed around until it all fitted together and worked.

    It is a little finicky to get the belt running in line, some minor adjustments still might be required, but it seems to be safe (safe as any other rotating wheel machinery) and it cuts through steel like through butter. I am going to splurge big on abrasives and go mental making knives. And a machette for garden.

  69. says


    I am going to splurge big on abrasives and go mental making knives. And a machette for garden.

    Take photos for us!

  70. says

    @Caine, I will, if things go well. But it won’t be any time soon, because I have a week of work now and I simply must spend as much of it as possible to re-pot my trees.

  71. jimb says

    I know you’ve read & recommended Library-themed books before, are you familiar with The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman (the first book is the April pick for the Sword and Laser podcast)?

    I just started it yesterday, enjoying it so far. IIRC, there are 5 planned books so far, 3 out now with #4 due later this year.

    (I’m waiting for Rachel Caine’s “Ash & Quill” in July before starting that series.)

  72. says

    Jim @ 104, I am, and have read them all, next one is out in September, I think. I was quite pissy about having to wait on it almost two years as American publishers didn’t want to handle it when it was first published in the UK.

  73. says

    The blade is 55cm, that’S like 22″. The handle could have an inch more or so, but it fits my hands nicely. And the brambles don’t stand a chance.

    Oh dear, parents and computers…
    My dad told me about him having a problem copying an article. He apparently has something that is the digital equivalent of newspaper clippings and since the article he was trying to copy via marking and copy pasting was 23 pages the computer got a hickup. Me: Dad, why don’t you just save an offline version? Him: That’s possible???

  74. says

    @Giliell, my dad fears the computer like a plague. He has mastered to check on the internet the weather forecast and that is about it. He does not have an e-mail and uses computer very sparingly.

    My mother on the other hand occasionaly stuns people with her internet smarts. The shopkeeper did not have some item on stock and offered to order it over the internet. To which my mum replied, “that I can do myself”. And when a repairman failed to get a spare part for our washing maschine, she browsed the webs and ordered it for him. And she regularly exchanges e-mails with ther older sister and chats over skype with a few relatives.

    She is no computer whiz, but people expect someone of her age to have no PC know-how at all, so they are always suprised.

    We had a big snowfall today. I had to take my work indoors, because it was not possible to work outside, it is wet and freezing cold. This is again a case of the weather fouling up the moment I take a week of for garden work.

    My collague had a week of the previous week. I am sure he steals the weather from me, the sodding basted! Aaargh!

  75. says

    My dad’S been using the computer since I got my first one in the early 90s* but boy it’s been fun ever since. From the day he mistook the screensaver for a virus to the day he managed to delete the autoexec.bat file.

    He is also totally not a fan of mobiles and hates smartphones and doesn’t get tired of complaining about those young people being on their phones all day. Oh, did I mention that he sent my father in law on a manhunt last week because I didn’t answer the phone?

    My mum mostly uses the net to print out recipes…

    *That thing had a full 80 MB hard drive. My cousin was jealous and said nobody ever needs that much storage space.

  76. jimb says

    Caine @ 105:
    Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve read them. :-)
    And, regarding reading 2-4 books a week…that’s just another reason I’m looking forward to retiring (at some point). Time to read everything.

  77. says

    Talking about books, Humble Bundle’s got a <a href=" Bundle including two by Peter S. Beagle who is one of the best fantasy authors I know. If you can ever get your hands on The Innkeeper’s Song, get that book!

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gilliel #109

    That thing had a full 80 MB hard drive. My cousin was jealous and said nobody ever needs that much storage space.

    *checks out ~15 TB of storage attached to the iMac*

    Completed the last big item on my list for my loop around the bottom of Lake Michigan to see my relatives on the other side. Bought a cheap flip phone and got limited voice/data plans with an AARP discount. (The Redhead’s ghost is now officially haunting me;)) The phone is all set up, and its bluetooth will connect with the bluetooth in my new car, allowing handsfree call receiving/initiating during driving (tested that successfully today). The car has voice recognition software to find a contact to call. The contact list is downloaded when the bluetooth connection is made. Very sninny.

  79. Ice Swimmer says

    The Ranua Wildlife Park in northern Finland has installed a cam in their Ural owl (viirupöllö, streaked owl) nest box. The couple, are in the process of incubating their eggs, Blondi brooding and Elias feeding her. The first young ones may hatch around the beginning of May.

    Ural owls are fairly big (bigger than a crow, smaller than a common raven) and usually very aggressive and will attack humans who come close to their nests if young ones are there.

  80. StevoR says

    Hopefully of interest here, Tasneem Chopra on a recently screened debate on “Political Correctness” & its excellentkly surprisingly positive results :

    You can listen to the debate in full here with Tasneem’s speech starting at 32 minutes 25 seconds in

    WARNING Some offensive language & also Chris Kenny,

    Plus :

    Lateline interviews Civil Rights leader and singer Mavis Staples.

  81. StevoR says

    ^Note the post debate poll difference.

    Full debate is 53 minutes long, Tasneem (& each debater) speaks for about ten minutes and there’s a question session at end. I think what Tasneem Chopra says is pretty good (hence the share) and hope you like it here. Quite afew Aussie references so hope not too confusing.

  82. StevoR says

    So about these “Australian values” my govt now wants to test for?* (Reading very ugly echoes between the lines.)
    What are they precisely and who chooses and gets to define what they are? And why them? (All of the different implied “thems” here.) Really.

    “We do?” So who is “we” here?

    We are a nation founded on too oft hidden & forgotten truths -- the history of the Frontier Wars** and genocides against our First Peoples, “dispersing the blacks”, endless stolen rivers -- as well as our well known and proclaimed and rightly respected truths too -- & so much more.

    Not *_only_* “black armband” history & certainly _*NOT*_ simply “whitewashed history either but a mixture of everything and so many complexities and individual and collective stories as well.

    We are a nation of immigrants from the First Fleet through second fleet and other convict transport ships under Royal British guard, from Ten Pound Poms, to Vietnamese boatpeople to the Syrians fleeing here now. We are one and -*and_* we are many and from all the lands of Earth we come. That’s our song (my personal nationalistic favourite anthem)*** in my view, that’s who we are.

    Let’s be the best of all that please.

    I am a very proud Aussie.

    I came here as a migrant. Became a citizen and love my country.

    I welcome refugees. I reject racism and hatred.

    My Australian values tell me Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott, Cory Bernardi and co are bloody well un-Australian and represent the worst of us.

    Give people, all people, a fair go.

    That really so much to ask? (Wouldn’t have thought so.)


    * Read please :

    (Echoes twixt lines wiki /google : White Australia policy, anti-Chinese riots e.g. Lambing Flat, Cronulla riot -- I wish we’d been better & didn’t have to cite these. (Plus know there’s so much more too. But fact is fact. Painful as it is is and, yes, it is. Becoz fact.)

    ** See :

    *** Listen to and watch and enjoy :

  83. quotetheunquote says

    @ #118:
    I heard about this on CBC radio this morning, could not believe my ears!

    Ugh, “Australian values” -- tweet, tweet, is that a dog whistle I hear? (oops, should I have said “a fair dinkum dingo call” ?) We’ve had our run-ins with “Canadian values” tests being proposed on this side of the Big Pond, fortunately the candidate proposing them (the infamous Ms. Leitch) is not likely to get anywhere near the Tory leadership. But it sounds like it’s getting far closer to the mainstream over there.

    *I don’t think I’d stand a chance of passing an “Australian values” test -- don’t like Aussie Rules, and couldn’t down enough Foster’s in one go.
    (Couldn’t down ANY Foster’s, for that matter; I hate beer.)

  84. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bluetooth connection is also pretty nice for playing music, especially if radio stations tend to drive you up a tree.

    The entertainment center also controls my iPods through USB. It can also pick up Sirius XM, but their subscription is a little pricey for the small amount of road driving that I do.

  85. rq says

    The Universe just may be trying to tell me something: either “give up already, this isn’t for you” or “mwahahaha here’s another quick test to test your resolve in the face of stress!!!”. I’m thinking the latter, but you can never tell with that Universe.

  86. says

    As Pratchett once noted: If you want something to get done, give it tp someone who is already busy.

    Fuck I hate my body sometimes. Last month my period was 5 days late which of course freaked me out. This month, it decied to be on what would have been on time if it had been on time last month….

  87. rq says

    Yours does that, too?
    A loving god would have never invented the uterus in its current incarnation. Oh wait…!

  88. rq says

    I’m just going to find a new way to be special, ha!

    I’ll get back to you about that.

  89. says


    Me, now: fuck plaster, fuck mortar. I can’t feel my arms anymore. Somebody give me money so I can pay someone else to do this.

    Welcome to the club of house owners :) I feel your pain.
    I have the same problem even more exacerbated by the fact that there is a building boom around here. So the electricians, plumbers, masons etc. are all booked in advance for months, sometimes years, and it is actually difficult to get someone to do the work, even when I have the money.

  90. says

    Thankfully we got the professionals to do all the must have professionals jobs. But yeah, it’s now a year since we first visited the house.
    But we found out that one of the little one’s dad does all kinds of renovations so we can hopefully hire him for some work.

  91. Ice Swimmer says

    Also the thing with building and renovation seems to be that quality and timeliness of the work may not be the highest priority of some contractors. If this isn’t an issue somewhere, I’d like to hear what kind of public policies have made that possible.

    Random language note: As a non-native speaker of English, I find the word mortar a bit funny in that you can use mortar to build walls and a mortar to take them down. In Finnish the former would be laasti and the latter mörssäri. And then there’s mortar and pestle to crush things (those would be mortteli or huhmare and survin or petkele).

  92. says

    Ice Swimmer, the word “mortar” refers to a receptacle for pounding something into dust. Mortar for walls would have been made in a “mortar” and a mortar for shooting down walls is shaped like one. See Mortar and Pestle in Wikipedia.
    Origins of words fascinate me.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Had to bring in a pro to “upgrade” the electrical panel at Casa la Pelirroja. Not only got a new electrical panel with a 100 amp main circuit breaker, with thirty possible subcircuits, but also had the electric meter moved outdoors so ComEd can read the meter without knocking on my door. ComEd should be installing a “smartmeter” sometime in the next month. They can then get the readings from either a drive-by or cellphone linkage. Worth the money.
    Now I can install a HVAC (no AC at present) system, once I clear out the debris from around the old furnace.

  94. Ice Swimmer says

    Nerd of Redhead @ 132

    Congrats on the new panel and lots of amperes!

    Outdoors it may be a bit more complicated, but years ago, when they changed the mechanical meter to an smartmeter in the flat I was living in, the actual swap took a just few minutes (a few screws and old meter out, new one in, screws and seals). Of course the whole process of swapping the meters of hundreds of thousands of households takes a lot of time.

    Before the time of the smart meters the electric utility in Helsinki sent forms once a year and had us customers read the meters ourselves and send the readings to them as a postage paid letter (but reserved a right to drop in and check the readings, also they would send somebody if you asked them, though that may have cost something).

  95. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Before the time of the smart meters the electric utility in Helsinki sent forms once a year and had us customers read the meters ourselves and send the readings to them as a postage paid letter (but reserved a right to drop in and check the readings, also they would send somebody if you asked them, though that may have cost something).

    I’ve been reading the meter since we bought the house, but now, that a ComEd representative, knows that the meter is outside, it lets me off the hook. Except I will monitor the reading until the SM is installed.

  96. says

    @Giliell #135 Very interesting article indeed. I completely agree that the elephant in the room vis-a-vis environmental impact of human diet is the waste we produce and not the finesses of whether teh food is vegan or non-vegan.

    Even so I have always been puzzled by the whole debate whtether meat production is more or less “environment friendly” than vegetables because It seems so clear cut (to me). I have grown up in an agricultural area, where meat was produced often in non-mass producing ways. That is, pigs were fed waste, rabbits were fed mown grass and cows were in pastures. So the meat was produced via the animals converting inedible (for humans) into edible. Therefore with limited space available, the best strategy to maximize the caloric output of an area has always seemed to me to be a mixed diet heavily veighted towards the vegetarian end, but not all the way on the vegan end. Since the earth has limited space and we should be trying not to use more and more of it, this should also be the best stragegy globally. I have seen a study saying such, but I cannot find it now.

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture. And then the insects came back, and the birds, and some rare plants popped-up again in greater numbers. And it seems that runoff from artificial fertilizers together with silt is much more dangerous for water dwellers than occasional runoff from a manure heap.*

    There is no dispute that feeding livestock with food fit for human consumption grown on top soil is not environment friendly, but that is only necessary because we in western world eat far more meat than is good for us. However the opposite extreme has ist own problems, because not all soil in use is fit for growing human-edible food etc. So it is not a straight line between “veggies100% = 0%bad” and “veggies 0%=100%bad”. I think it is more like a swoosh for where the optimum is “mostly veggies = least bad”.**

    *I also live in an area with one of the last remaining populations of the freshwater pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera and it has been found that the population is totaly dependent on the grass being mown/grazed around where the mussels live, but a field-runoff is dangerous to them because it clogs up their food filtering system.

    **I have read the discussions, but rarely commented on this issue over the last years whenever it popped up on pharyngula. I have always found the arguments for “veganism is most environmentaly friendly” underwhelming and I am unconvinced even about the automatic ethical superiority of veganism.

  97. says

    I found the article an good demonstration of “shit is complicated”. We live in a global economy where shit has consequences. It’s a reason why I never do these “health food” stunts. Quinoa and Chia and what have you not may be nice, but white people “discovering” them usually has devastating effects on local food distribution.

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture.

    This. By now cities have a higher biodiversity than lots of the countryside, the bees in Berlin are more numerous and healthier than those in Brandenburg.
    Also the issue of frozen food: Yes, it means energy for cooling. It also means practically no waste food at home and less in the production process. And again, I always find all “solutions” that solely work on the consumer end and then pretend it will “trickle down” fraudulent.

  98. says

    As to Veganism, I find many of the environmental claims pretty simplistic and most of the health claims not only fraudulent but also dangerous. And I’m not going to debate “you just make up your health claims so you don’t have to go vegan” anymore.

  99. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 136

    Got curious if the freshwater pearl mussel is the same species (called jokihelmisimpukka [river pearl mussel] or raakku) we have here and Wikipedia confirmed, yes it is. Those fellows grow very slowly and have a great longevity, they can live 100 -- 200 years. Also, their larvae have to live in salmonid fish gills for a few years (not as parasites, just hanging in there, enjoying the benefits of good water flow around them). Yet another fascinating creature.

  100. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 137

    Also, the large frozen food warehouses may use the waste heat they necessarily produce for heating (heating the offices, water or selling the heat for district heating), so a part of the energy may be used again.

  101. rq says

    I see first hand out of my window the biodiversity of pastures and how the topsoil erosion effectively stopped once a field that was never able to really effectively grow food fit for human consumption without heavy use of artificial fertilizers is converted to a pasture.

    This is why we’re quite happy with the return of dairy and meat cow farming in the area around Husband’s country ‘estate’ -- the fact that pastures are left to flower naturally leaves so much more diversity for the bee population, which in turn makes the fruit harvest, come autumn. If it were grain fields all around, we would not have such healthy bees (a combination of lower diversity of flowers + pesticides). Mixed vegetable farming, however -- esp. things like peas and beans with their wonderfully sweet flowers, would be a good middle option. But in my opinion, nothing beats wildflowers when it comes to honey, except maybe lyme-trees. :)

    Thank you for that article, Giliell. I think I mostly share a view with Charly on this issue, but then, I also live in a country where major factory-farming is still commercially unviable, and most meat that we do get comes from animals fed on compost scraps, real grain and grass and the like. If I wanted to, I could go and meet the pig I will be eating later in the year. (Interestingly (and with the assistance of a giant freezer!) a good portion of winter meat comes from wild boar and moose, hunted during the appropriate season and within population control regulations (populations that I know will be observed and cared for during the winter as well).)

    re: the mussels
    We have the same species here, I don’t think it’s endangered yet but it’s extremely protected, to the point where locations of viable populations are kept secret. Back in 2004 they put together a document about measures to take for their protection and renewal in the wild (pages 3 -- 5, the Introduction, are in English). I have no idea what their status is now.

  102. says

    Partner and I live mostly by the principle of eating local and in season. Our weekly fruit and veg comes mostly from a roadside stand of a farmer who grows what he sells. What little meat we eat, mostly lamb and chicken comes from a local independent butcher, not a supermarket.
    On the other hand, there’s a new operation in our state that grows fresh tomatoes all year round using sea water and solar desalination on site. It’s called Sundrop Farms. I suppose if you have to supply supermarkets at least you can try to do it sustainably.

  103. says

    Blasted weather caused me a delay in work. The week off is almost gone and I am still not done. I wanted to rest tomorrow in order to be fit on monday for work, but I will have to continue oto replant the trees, because they started growing and I have only about one week more before touching them would mean killing them.


  104. says

    Welcome to the end of holidays. Not that I had much of them.
    Today and tomorrow is preparing for school again.

    My 12th graders had to do some presentations and hand in their handouts. They’re due today. I got 9 out of 20. It would be so easy for the weaker ones to get passing grades in this class and then they don’t hand in shit. Some people can’t be helped.

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