Archive for Energy

Rising Oil Prices Gonna Put a Whole New Hurt on People’s Lives

It looks like it will soon cost me $80 per week to commute to my (low paying) job. If I were paying day care costs, I couldn’t afford to go to work now, for my pay before taxes is considerably less than what I was bringing home 30 years ago even before a college degree. Did I mention that sad sum purchases way, way less now? Oh, yes. I’m in the ranks of the underemployed.

Luckily, Swampman is adept at keeping my old vehicle going. Other people at work are not so lucky. Some people are depending on riding with others for they can’t afford to pay for repairs to their vehicles. This often involves getting to work two hours early and leaving an hour or more late.

What a lot of people that are struggling to pay their bills every month do not know is that they’re about to be hit by another round of disastrous (for them) price increases. Livestock growers are reeling NOW from the price increases in forage and grain for livestock. Hay is almost impossible to come by here. The pastures are dry. The cost of making eggs, farmed catfish, beef, pork, and chickens is skyrocketing here, and it will be passed on to consumers. The increased price of oil means that fertilizer prices are going to shoot higher. Grain prices will be higher. Produce prices trucked across the country (or from other countries) will be higher.

Last time this happened, there was a huge increase in defaults as people had to decide whether they needed to buy food, pay for gasoline, pay for daycare and clothing for their children, pay for transportation, or pay their mortgage. Think that will happen again this time?

I’m delighted to see that I, as a taxpayer, will be paying for Michelle’s transportation costs as she hits the ski slopes. Of course, I won’t be going anywhere for vacation again this year. I won’t be able to afford the gas. I had to buy Michelle’s.

Of course, this is all according to Obama’s Grand Plan:

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Financial Sequelae of Prolonged Cold Snap

My former DIL called me to tell me how shocked she was over her power bill (it was over $400). It has been so much colder than normal, and she has small children recently sick with the flu, so the heat is on 24/7. An air to air heat pump just doesn’t work that efficiently when the weather turns so cold! She thought she had it bad but her sister’s power bill is $600. They aren’t sure how the bills will get paid due to employment issues.

I don’t think ours will be that high…at least, I hope not! We’ve only been turning on the heat when we arrive home and then turn off the heat when it is time to go to bed, something that parents with little ones can’t do.

Are y’all’s power bills under control?

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Green Power is Safe Unless It Falls On You

FENNER, N.Y. (AP) – Authorities are investigating the collapse of a 187-ton windmill in an upstate New York cornfield where it once stood. No one was hurt.

Marvin DeKing lives across Buyea Road in Fenner and says he heard a loud bang about 3 or 4 a.m. on Sunday.

He says it wasn’t until daylight that he learned that the more than 200-foot windmill across the road had fallen.

The windmill is 1 of more than 20 that generate electricity at a windfarm in this rural town about 33 miles east of Syracuse. It is operated by Enel North America.

Enel spokesman Hank Sennott said the company is investigating, but doesn’t believe the collapse was caused by sabotage.

He estimates it could cost $2 million to $3 million to replace the turbine

Hope that doesn’t happen often.

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Just How Batshit Crazy Is Our Government?

Well, check Unqualified Reservations to find out. Excerpt:

In reality, there’s no way a cost like the cost of carbon action can be measured in mere money. Consider one mainstream proposal of today, endorsed by President Obama and many other world leaders: reducing carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels, by 2050.

Presumably a proposal like this corresponds to said “trillions of dollars” – a completely empty soundbite, of course, but something an innocent person might read as “a few trillion dollars.” Say, perhaps, “7.5 trillion dollars.” I’m just guessing here, of course.

Knowing as we now do what goes into the sausage, we feel perfectly entitled to sneer at whatever study, process or press-release could possibly have produced whatever ridiculous non-number lies behind the ridiculous non-number “trillions of dollars.” First, this entire information pipeline is clearly sweating it to produce the smallest possible number in the reader’s mind. Second, it implies a capacity for predictive macroeconomic modeling which does not exist. Third, what on earth will a dollar buy you in 2050, anyway?

In reality, to consider an action of this impact through the lens of antiseptic monetary exponents, churned out by some irreproducible spreadsheet, is to avoid considering it at all. Since the planned carbon action is a significant event on a significant historical scale, it must be considered as history. It must be analyzed with the tools of the narrative historian.

Now, I have an easy way to picture 2050: my daughter, Sibyl, will be 42 in 2050. As a student of history, I also have an easy way to picture an 80% reduction in fossil-fuel use: Germany and Japan in, say, 1944. The little Nips, for instance, had a very active alternative-energy program. I believe turpentine from pine trees was a key component. The primary sources display little fondness for this weird fuel.

An 80% energy cutoff goes beyond any mere economic calculation. It is a punitive measure of military proportions – to which one might subject a defeated enemy nation – for the purpose of collective penal subjugation.

H/T Fresh Bilge, an excellent blog that I recommend highly.

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Couldn’t Put “Patriots” Down Yesterday

I bought “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse” by James Wesley Rawles yesterday, started reading it aloud to SwampMan on the way home, and didn’t stir out of my chair until I had finished it, ignoring the plaintive cries of SwampMan about “What’s for dinner?” “Am I even getting dinner?”

*sigh* Close to work, or far enough away from a city to avoid being overrun? Defensibility versus sustainability? How much food to store? Who to choose to fort up with? Whether to and where to cache emergency supplies? All those things will be seriously discussed by people that read the book. It is a discussion that has been ongoing in our household throughout the summer.

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White House Releases Hysterical “Climate Change” Report

Obama needs lots more tax revenue to completely subjugate the country, so he’s released a paper detailing all those horrible things that are happening “right now!” from climate change. Rainfall! Ohmygawd, climate change causes torrential rainfall! Nobody ever had torrential rainfall before climate change. Or not enough rainfall. Oh, wait, yes they did. California has suffered from droughts lasting 200 years, but don’t let little things like “facts” get in the way of activism. Apparently the politicians and “environmentalists” think that we’re as stupid as they are.

WASHINGTON(AP) — Harmful effects from global warming are already here and worsening, warns the first climate report from Barack Obama’s presidency in the strongest language on climate change ever to come out of the White House.

Global warming has already caused more heavy downpours, the rise of temperatures and sea levels, rapidly retreating glaciers and altered river flows, according to the document released Tuesday by the White House science adviser and other top officials.

Dogs and cats sleeping with each other….it’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine…..

What the HELL are these people talking about? Glaciers retreating? That has been proved over and over to be because of land use changes. The Antarctic ice shelves aren’t showing any sign of climate change. The torrential downpours here that caused so much property damage was because a *very* unseasonable cold front clashed with a warm front.

“There are in some cases already serious consequences,” report co-author Anthony Janetos of the University of Maryland told The Associated Press. “This is not a theoretical thing that will happen 50 years from now. Things are happening now.”

The White House document — a climate status report required periodically by Congress — contains no new research. But it paints a fuller, more cohesive and darker picture of global warming in the United States than previous studies and brief updates during the George W. Bush years. Bush was ultimately forced to issue a draft report last year by a lawsuit, and that document was the basis for this new one.

One administration official, Jane Lubchenco, called the new report a game changer that would inform policy but not dictate a particular solution.

“This report provides the concrete scientific information that says unequivocally that climate change is happening now and it’s happening in our own backyards and it affects the kind of things people care about,” Lubchenco said at a White House briefing. Her agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was among the key contributors to the document.

The “major disruptions” already taking place will only increase as warming continues, the authors wrote. They project the average U.S. temperature could rise by as much as 11 degrees by the end of the century.

These f***ing clowns can’t predict what temperature it will be on Monday of next week, so why in the hell should they be considered some kind of experts on what temperature it will be after they’re dead? The temperature trend is DOWN, you morons! Somebody’s momma didn’t slap the shit out of ’em near enough when they were little and look what happens. Shit spilling out everywhere.

“Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems,” the study said in one of its key findings, adding that it could affect the survival of some species.

Species have thresholds? Which species? Where are the thresholds? Who is crossing them?

For example in the past few decades, winters in parts of the Midwest have warmed by several degrees and the time without frost has grown by a week, according to the report.

Which parts? Seems to me that in the past few years frosts have been much earlier in the fall and later in the spring, so much so that planting and harvest is affected. Georgia lost a lot of the blueberry crop due to unprecendented cold weather in the spring, for cryin’ out loud. Brazil’s grapes froze on the vine!

Shorter winters have some benefits, such as longer growing seasons, but those are changes that require adjustments just the same, the authors note.

Yeah, that whole “having longer planting seasons with the ability to double crop and produce more food from the same land” has GOT to be stopped! It causes obesity or something.

“We’re already seeing impacts across the nation,” said co-author Virginia Burkett, coordinator of global change science at the U.S. Geological Survey. “The evidence is much stronger than it has been.”

Sounds like there wasn’t any evidence before and lots and lots of data falsification has been going on because they know that the Democrats aren’t actually going to check the facts. Hell, they won’t even bother to read the paper. They’ll just have somebody give them a synopsis using one syllable words. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that somebody whose job title is “coordinator of global change science” would find evidence of impacts from climate change. For the sarcasm challenged, yes, that is sarcasm dripping off the keyboard and pooling on the floor in a large, glowing puddle.

White House science adviser John Holdren said in a statement that the findings make the case for taking action to slow global warming — both by reducing emissions and adapting to the changes that “are no longer avoidable.”

Wait a minute….I thought it was climate change, not global warming. Now we’re back fighting global warming when there’s global cooling going on. Get with the program, dumbass!

It tells us why remedial action is needed sooner rather than later,” Holdren said.

Yeah, it DOES. A couple more cold years and even the morons that stay inside staring at their computer models instead of venturing outside into actual weather will realize that the jig is up.

Jerry Melillo, one of the report’s authors, said at a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon that if action is taken soon to reduce heat-trapping gases, chances improve for avoiding some of the effects detailed in the report.

Translation: “Please, oh please let this thing pass so that nobody knows that it is the sun that controls the weather, we can take credit for it, and we can continue sucking off the taxpayer teat! Amen.”

“There are a lot of things that are potentially possible if we don’t bring climate change under control, and we would like to see them avoided,” said Melillo, a biologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

Well, potentially I could win the lottery. Even better, potentially I could actually develop a singing voice, go on to win American idol, and be worshipped as a goddess incarnate everywhere I go because my angelic singing voice causes an immediate end to strife with world peace occurring wherever it is heard. Then I would be showered with money because shithole countries everywhere will be buying my CDs and playing them 24/7. The world economy would immediately leap into overdrive because no nation would have to fund their police, prisons, or military. I could take all my trillions, use it to fund a cure for death, and live forever. Potentially.

The report compiles years of scientific research and updates it with new data. It was produced by the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program, relying on government, academic and research experts.

Water — too much or too little — is a dominant theme through much of the report, which says that resource will continue to be a major problem in every region of the country.

“Water permeates this document,” Burkett said. She said the U.S. Southwest will get drier and hotter and that will be a crucial issue.

Oh, shit! A drought in the desert? Who the hell could see that one coming?

The nearly 200-page report has chapters examining the effects of global warming in each region — from coastal zoning officials who must consider sea rise to Midwestern farmers recalculating their planting seasons.

Oh God NOOOOOO! Don’t make the farmers recalculate their planting seasons! How could they possibly be competent enough to add or subtract a week on either end of the season?

Federal law requires comprehensive reports on global warming’s effects every four years. An environmental group sued to force the Bush administration to issue an early draft of this report last summer because one had not been written since 2000. Since that time, the language has become stronger, but mostly because of fresher research, scientists said.

Guess that “fresher research” didn’t reveal that we were getting colder, not warmer.

No wonder we’re in such a freakin’ budget mess with the Federal government spending so much money on incredibly stupid studies from environmental activists who would like nothing better than if people would just die already.

“The emphasis has shifted from just looking at the physical climate science to adapting to change,” Burkett said in an interview.

How about if you adapt to change when the government cuts you off the Federal teat? What in the hell do you idiots think will happen when people are starving because they can’t afford food and freezing because they can’t afford fuel? Do you *really* think that they’re going to say “oh, my, I guess we’ll just have to let mom and the kids die because it’s good for the environment”?

I’m all in favor of renewable fuels, of course. Somebody go harpoon a damn whale already. Or the authors of this ridiculous paper.

*sigh* I could make fun of this stupidity all day but I have other things I need to do. Y’all give it your best shot and post your views later.

Update: I consulted the weather report yesterday and, upon being assured that the rain chance was 20% for afternoon thundershowers and the temperature would be 99 or 100, I woke at the buttcrack of dawn. I needed to get the feeding out of the way so I could concentrate on mowing grass before the temperature got too high.

Imagine my surprise when, instead of the day growing lighter, it grew darker and started raining. Checking the weather report, I found that the afternoon temperature forecast had been revised downward.

Yet climate change scaremongers “scientists” shills advocating for huge tax increases can accurately forecast the temperature at the turn of the century. Riiiiight.

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How Do You Prepare for If the Sh** Hits the Fan?

A few years ago, we were merely concerned with paying the house off and then putting more money into savings for retirement because social security was not going to be viable when we retired.

Now, SwampMan and I are really worried about the future. The emphasis on “green” energy means that our power bills will increase exponentially, perhaps out of our price range, while supply will decrease. High energy costs will drive what little remains of our manufacturing industry overseas. The only thing the stimulus plan will stimulate is rampant inflation. After all, there isn’t any point to saving if you expect your money to be worth far less in the future.

Now we wonder what is going to happen when the state can no longer afford the pension checks (that SwampMan would be the recipient of), welfare checks, and the unemployment benefits run out? This is not an idle worry. Pension plans are massively underfunded in most states. The present government (yeah, the one that continually reminds us of the “crisis” we’re in and talks down the market daily) is “hoping” to bring the unemployment rate down to 9 to 10% in 2 years by funding their favorite causes. Then there are the plans afoot to cripple the medical care system.

First things first, I suppose. Make sure food, water, shelter, and protection (maybe not in that exact order) are secured before moving on to what to do about energy.

Eastern European currencies crumble…..

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Cellulosic Ethanol Plant to Be Built Near Lake Okeechobee

TALLAHASSEE — A Massachusetts company on Thursday announced plans to build Florida’s first ethanol plant, and one of the first cellulosic ethanol plants in the nation.

Verenium plans to build a 36-million-gallon-a-year plant in Highlands County, northwest of Lake Okeechobee, fueling it with a fast-growing plant similar to sugarcane. The $250-million project relies on a pioneering technology developed by University of Florida scientists which unlocks the energy potential of plants other than ethanol’s traditional feedstocks like sugar and corn.

“We’re thrilled,” said Lonnie Ingram, the University of Florida professor who led the research. “The university is just delighted with the achievements of Verenium, even more so because it’s going to be in Florida, our home state.”

Construction on the project is slated to begin this year, with production expected to begin in 2011. The feedstocks will be sweet sorghum and a crop that Verenium has dubbed “energy cane.” Lykes Bros Inc. has agreed to grow the cane on 20,000 acres next to the plant. The project won a $7-million farm to fuel grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It is expected to create 140 full-time jobs. Read the rest at St. Petersburg Times

I wish them the best of luck and hope it works out. In the meantime, I suppose when I sideline the 20-year-old vehicle, I’ll look at one of the flex fuel vehicles from GM (assuming it still exists).

“SwampWoman”, you may ask. “Why are you driving a 20-year-old vehicle?”

Well, it’s PAID FOR, the insurance cost is low, it’s PAID FOR, nobody tries to carjack me, it’s PAID FOR, it’s mechanically sound, it’s PAID FOR, and I don’t worry about getting a ding from a shopping cart in the parking lot. Oh, yeah, and it’s PAID FOR.

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“How to Make 4 Alternative Fuels at Home. Goodbye, Big Oil?”

…is the name of the article in Popular Mechanics. Hey, I like to be as self-sufficient (within reason) as possible, so I went to check it out!

The automated still (Efuel 100 MicroFueler) which produces ethanol costs roughly $10,000. The ingredients needed are 10 to 14 lbs. of sugar (plus yeast) to produce a gallon of ethanol, and produces 35 gallons per week that can be burned in flex-fuel engines. On to the next one!

The Fuelmeister II produces fuel from vegetable oil mixed with lye and methanol. The price is @$3,000, and can produce 40 gallons of biodiesel that can be used in any diesel engine in 5 hours. If you could sneak around and steal used grease from restaurants, the price per gallon would be fairly low, assuming that you weren’t caught and prosecuted. If you owned a restaurant, now, recycling the vegetable grease to fuel could be a nice little revenue stream out of what was a waste product.

Electricity: $45,000 to make one’s carport electric? Completely outta my reach.

Hydrogen: Not yet ready.

Conclusion: I wouldn’t exactly be digging a grave for big oil anytime soon.

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T. Boone Pickens’ Real Plan

We’ve all seen the heart-warming ads on television about how private industry is going to break our chains of oil addiction through wind power, right? I have to admit that I was quite sceptical, knowing the problem with wind-generated electricity, to wit: It isn’t reliable. The power plants have to have power generated through fossil fuel anyway to make up for the variances in wind power. As it turns out, I was right to wonder what the “real” motive was:

Simply put, Pickens’ pitch is “embrace wind power to help break our ‘addiction’ to foreign oil.” There is, however, another intriguing component to Pickens’ plan that goes unmentioned in his TV commercials, media interviews and web site — water rights, which he owns more of than any other American.

Pickens hopes that his recent $100 million investment in 200,000 acres worth of groundwater rights in Roberts County, Texas, located over the Ogallala Aquifer, will earn him $1 billion. But there’s more to earning such a profit than simply acquiring the water. Rights-of-way must be purchased to install pipelines, and opposition from anti-development environmental groups must be overcome. Here’s where it gets interesting, according to information compiled by the Water Research Group, a small grassroots group focusing on local water issues in Texas.

Purchasing rights-of-way is often expensive and time-consuming — and what if landowners won’t sell? While private entities may be frustrated, governments can exercise eminent domain to compel sales. This is Pickens’ route of choice. But wait, you say, Pickens is not a government entity. How can he use eminent domain? Are you sitting down?

At Pickens’ behest, the Texas legislature changed state law to allow the two residents of an 8-acre parcel of land in Roberts County to vote to create a municipal water district, a government agency with eminent domain powers. Who were the voters? They were Pickens’ wife and the manager of Pickens’ nearby ranch. And who sits on the board of directors of this water district? They are the parcel’s three other non-resident landowners, all Pickens’ employees.

A member of a local water conservation board told Bloomberg News that, “[Pickens has] obtained the right of eminent domain like he was a big city. It’s supposed to be for the public good, not a private company.”

What’s this got to do with Pickens’ wind-power plan? Just as he needs pipelines to sell his water, he also needs transmission lines to sell his wind-generated power. Rights of way for transmission lines are also acquired through eminent domain — and, once again, the Texas legislature has come to Pickens’ aid.

Earlier this year, Texas changed its law to allow renewable energy projects (like Pickens’ wind farm) to obtain rights-of-way by piggybacking on a water district’s eminent domain power. So Pickens can now use his water district’s authority to also condemn land for his future wind farm’s transmission lines.

Who will pay for the rights-of-way and the transmission lines and pipelines? Thanks to another gift from Texas politicians, Pickens’ water district can sell tax-free, taxpayer-guaranteed municipal bonds to finance the $2.2 billion cost of the water pipeline. And then earlier this month, the Texas legislature voted to spend $4.93 billion for wind farm transmission lines. While Pickens has denied that this money is earmarked for him, he nevertheless is building the largest wind farm in the world.

Despite this legislative largesse, a fly in the ointment remains.

Although Pickens hopes to sell as much as $165 million worth of water annually to Dallas alone, no city in Texas has signed up yet — partly because they don’t yet need the water and partly because of resentment against water profiteering.

Enter the Sierra Club.

While Green groups support wind power, “the privatization of water is an entirely different thing,” says the Sierra Club. Moreover, the activist group has long opposed further exploitation of the very groundwater Pickens wants to use — the Ogallala Aquifer.

“The source of drinking water and irrigation for Plains residents from Nebraska to Texas, the Ogallala Aquifer is one of the world’s largest — as well as one of the most rapidly dissipating… If current irrigation practices continue, agribusiness will deplete the Ogallala Aquifer in the next century,” says the Sierra Club.

In March 2002, the Sierra Club opposed the construction of a slaughterhouse in Pampa, Texas, because it would require a mere 275 million gallons per year from the Ogallala Aquifer. Yet Pickens wants to sell 65 billion gallons of water per year — to Dallas alone. In a 2004 lamentation about local government facilitation of Pickens’ plan for the Ogallala, the Sierra Club slammed Pickens as a “junk bond dealer” who wanted to make “Blue Gold” from the Ogallala.

But while the Sierra Club can’t seem to do anything about Pickens’ influence with state legislators, they do have enough influence to make his water politically unpotable. This opposition may soon abate, however, now that Pickens has buddied up with Sierra Club president Carl Pope.

As noted last week, Pope now flies in Pickens’ private jet and publicly lauds him. The two are newly-minted “friends,” since Pope needs the famous Republican oilman to lend propaganda value to the Sierra Club’s anti-oil agenda and Pickens needs Pope to ease up on the Ogallala water opposition.

This alliance isn’t sitting well with everyone on the Left.

A TreeHugger.com writer recently observed, “… I am left asking myself why the green media have neglected [the water] aspect of Pickens’ wind-farm plans? Have we been so distracted by the prospect of Texas’ renewable energy portfolio growing by 4000 megawatts that we are willing to overlook some potentially dodgy aspects to the project?”

It shouldn’t sit well with the rest of us either. Pickens has gamed Texas for his own ends, and now he’s trying to game the rest of us, too. Worse, his gamesmanship includes lending his billionaire resources, prominent stature and feudal powers bestowed upon him by the Texas legislature to help the Greens gain control over the U.S. energy supply.

I highly recommend reading the other articles about this sham at JunkScience.com.

Thanks to Robert D at Bob’s Bites for bringing this issue to my attention. “This is happening in TEXAS”, you’re probably saying. “It doesn’t concern US.” Uh huh. Do you really think that the outcome would be any different if ol’ T. Boone started some “renewable energy” rip off project in Florida?

Texanna provided some further clarification in the comment section:

I am so glad that the water issue is finally coming out. Just a couple of expansions and clarifications.

First, Pickens doesn’t own the all land where he is pumping the water. He made a deal with land owners to lease their water rights. A couple of years ago, he was paying land owners $500 per acre up front, plus another $500 when the wells are drilled. One land owner I spoke with stood to earn $2 million in water lease.

Second, with his water rights, and under current water conservation district rules( 1.5% of available water per well per year; the amount varies depending on how much is available at that particular well site) , he can pump up to 200,000 acre feet of water per year. That is 200,000 acres of land covered with a foot of water. One acre foot of water is 325,851 gallons. That is nearly double what the cities of Amarillo and Lubbock use combined per year.

Third, Roberts County officials DID NOT collude with Pickens. They attempted to prevent the creation of Roberts County Fresh Water Supply District #1 through delaying tactics, but when a county’s population is only about 2,000 and the big guns of a billionaire are threatening lawsuit, they had no choice.

Fourth, the legislators who sponsored the offending laws swear they were not contacted by TBP and had no idea what the consequences would be. Both the law and the amendment were passed during the last crazy days of session, so most lawmakers probably didn’t know what they were voting on.

Finally, for those who say this has no affect on them personally, I’d like to make two points. First, the Ogallala Aquifer makes it possible for the United States to lead the world in agriculture production. Without the water it provides, the corn, wheat and beef industries will be demolished. Second, if a person like TBP can do this is Texas, what will protect you where you live?

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