Archives

I’m not pleased with how WordPress handles archives and am still busily trying to figure out how to change it.

In the meantime here is a comprehensive list of all of our articles (as of 16/03/2021), organised as best as I can by topic/series/date of release with a short description of what the article is about.

Skip ahead to a particular topic;
ASTRONOMY
CELESTIAL CLASSICS
HISTORY
ENGLISH LITERATURE
PSYCHOLOGY, NEUROLOGY AND/OR BEHAVIOUR
NATURE, BIOLOGY AND WILDLIFE
ART
CULTURE AND THE ‘CULTURE WARS’
RELIGION
MISCELLANEOUS

Astronomy

The belt-stars of the Orion Constellation (Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka) with the Orion Nebula visible (Credit: Jean-Daniel Pauget CC BY 2.0)

Hints of Life on Venus? – Discussing the discovery of evidence for phosphine gas compounds in the Venusian atmosphere.

Top Ten Venus Memes – A roundup of the top ten memes around the discovery of evidence for phosphine gas on Venus.

Space: What’s the Fucking Point? – A discussion on why liking space and amateur astronomy should not just be for nerds.

Why Mars Anyway? – What makes Mars such an important planet to us Earthlings, how it changed our views on astronomy and captured the public imagination for so long.

The Ignorant and Bumbling Beginner’s Guide to Looking at Things in Space, from Earth, with Eyes – A very basic introduction as to how to get started in skywatching and amateur astronomy with nothing but your own eyes or £20 for some binoculars.

The Ignorant and Bumbling Beginner’s Guide Part 2: Psychological Preparation – How the very act of gazing up at the sky and considering the beauties, wonders and scales involved can (and should) change you.

The Ignorant and Bumbling Beginner’s Guide Part 2: So You Think You Want a Telescope? – Discussing the pros and cons of telescopes, whether or not you ‘need’ one, and if you absolutely must buy one, how you can get the best bang for your buck on a budget.

Orion – A breakdown of the things you can see in the constellation of Orion, including discussions on the stars Betelgeuse and Rigel.

The Moon – One of the first things you will look at in space. Not even as an amateur astronomer, but as a human with functional sight. Discusses the astronomical history of the moon and the impact it has had on human history.

The Importance of Perserverance – Why NASA’s latest mission to Mars is an important step in human space travel and the significance it has to all of us.

Celestial Classics

Ceres – The largest asteroid in the Main Asteroid Belt such that it is effectively a small planet (or protoplanet) (Credit: NASA, Public Domain)

Introduction – What can the Ancient cultures teach us about the stars and planets? Very little. What can the stars and the planets teach us about the Ancients? Quite a lot actually, all discussed here.

Vesta – Roman Goddess of hearth and home and a remarkable asteroid in the main asteroid belt. Learn more about both here.

Ceres – Roman Goddess of agriculture, crops and cereal and an incredible asteroid/protoplanet. Find out about them here.

Proserpina – Roman Goddess of the Underworld, equivalent to the Greek Persephone whose myth we look at. Also a tiny asteroid in the main asteroid belt. Less focus on the space rock and more on the myth.

Orion – Another discussion Orion, with less focus on the astronomy (because we already covered that) and more on the ancient myth and it’s relation to many other myths connecting human cultures through history.

Pluto and Orpheus – Discussing the God of the Underworld (and husband of the aforementioned Proserpina) and the dwarf planet namesake, as well as the legend of Orpheus and his journey into the underworld and the concept of Katabasis – a journey down to greatness.

Venus – The hottest planet, and the hottest Goddess all rolled into one! You bet! An astounding planet of extremes and a Goddess of love who managed to hold sway and authority as a feminine figure even in the sexist Greco-Roman society. Also a little discussion about how Lucifer came to get his name, stolen from The Morning Star, another name for Venus.

HISTORY

The Roman Forum – It is hard to believe this small square was once the centre of the known world for all European culture (Credit: Credit: Kimberlym21)

Introducing: Bad History – an introduction to the basics of what people can get wrong when they are thinking about and discussing history.

Bad History: Boudica and Bullshit Nationalism – How historical narratives/figures can be politically co-opted in the present to affect our futures and why we should always question our past and what it should mean to our current identities.

Bad History: One Damn Thing – Is history just ‘one damn thing’ after another, or is it more complicated than that? We discuss those ideas here.

Bad History: Did Rome Ever Fall? – The narrative of the ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ is so pervasive. But was there a decline? Did Rome ever, actually, fall? We discuss it here.

Bad History: Great Men – Questioning the idea that ‘history’ is made up of huge events led by ‘great men’ or great figures throughout time. Can an individual really shape history so much, or are they merely the surfer of a bigger wave? We question that here.

Bad History: Presentism – Assessing events of the past with our modern eyes is often problematic when we apply our modern sensitivities and ideas to what happened in the past. Is this okay? Can this be problematic? We ask those questions here.

Bad History: Presentism and So-Called ‘Cancel Culture’ in History – Further to our last article, is holding historical figures to account for their past mistakes such a bad thing for how we interpret history? Can we, indeed should we, reconcile a troubled past with historical achievement? We discuss that here.

A New Lease of Life? – Discussing the plans for renovation of the Flavian Amphitheatre – the Colosseum – to turn it into a modern day venue and what the Romans, especially the comissioner of the building, Vespasian, would make of it.

Top Ten Aspects of Modern Life Romans Would Love – Introduction – A discussion on perceptions of Roman culture and how they may be…a bit misguided.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #10 – Easily Available Abortion – Controversial? Maybe, but the Roman ways of dealing with unwanted pregnancy were a lot harsher.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #9 – Drawing Dicks – Putting dicks, images of dicks, sculpting dicks, is a phenomenon we can trace back to the dawnings of human culture 40,000 years ago. The Romans loved dicks too, find out how much here.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #8 – Energy Drinks – Empires don’t run themselves and the Roman day, from the lowliest slave to the most August Emperor was a long and busy one. Find out why they’d have loved a can of Red Bull!

Modern Things Romans Would Love #7 – Gender and Sexuality Liberation – The idea of Rome as a Manly Man’s Paradise is actually kinda wrong. Homosexuality was common, transgender people existed and woman were capable of rising to great heights if they could prove their potency.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #6 – Travel and Tourist Tat – Opening up a large part of the world to commerce and travel, as well as invading all over the place, gave many Romans the opportunity to borrow cultural aspects or acquire foreign trinkets from all over the world. Find out about it here.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #5 – AirBnB – A great follow up to the previous entry, we discuss the notion of ‘hospitium‘, or sacred hospitality. It was a duty that Romans held to look after travellers.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #4 – Bi-Partisan Politics – We might think of the Red-and-Blue two-party systems of being a characteristic of Western democracies like the United States and the UK, but the Romans had been dividing themselve in two going back years. Find out all about it.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #3 – Fast Food – Find out about Roman street-food habits and the Thermopolia, the stalls selling hot and cold foods to hungry Romans.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #2 – Pro-Wrestling – Millennia before Vince McMahon would betray the territories and put on a stranglehold on the wrestling business, the Romans were already running systems of organised, choreographed fights. Find out why ‘Gladiators’ may not have been the remorseless life-or-death fighters we have been led to believe.

Modern Things Romans Would Love #1 – Social Media (Especially Instagram and Twitter) – For Romans, privacy was a luxury and life was lived very much publicly, not unlike today’s social media ‘influencers’ they would have faked, postured and advertised their very selves. They’d fit right in with a smartphone in hand!

The Fan -tas Tic Virtues of Rome – Dignitas is more than just a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland, it is also a Roman virtue akin to dignity. Find out about some of the most important virtues to Romans.

Mother of Rome – Livia Drusilla – A remarkably powerful woman in her time, her genetics propped up the Julio-Claudian dynasty and she demonstrated herself to be an effective and capable politician. Reduced to the status of “Augustus’ wife” in a lot of discussions, I believe history does her a disservice. Find out why.

The Pleb who Built Rome – Marcus Agrippa – The other third of my Unofficial Third Triumvirate of Livia, Agrippa and Augustus. If Augustus’ wife influenced his politics, his friend, confidante and general, Agrippa, influenced how he built and managed his Empire. Find out why Marcus Agrippa is my favourite figure from Roman History.

What are the ‘Ides of March’? – Explaining what the ‘Ides’ are traditionally, and also the significance they took on due to the assassination of Julius Caesar on that specific day.

For the Love of C*nts – Having explored aspects of genital cult worship in prior articles about Romans (specifically the breasts of the Artemis of Ephesus, or the Magna Mater, and cock-worship such as with happens in Vestal cults, or with the protective fascinus) I ask the question…Where are all the vaginal, or vulvic cults?

ENGLISH LITERATURE

A gorgeous representation of Act I, Scene I of Shakespeare’s King Lear, done in a very pre-raphaelite style by Edwin Austin Abbey. (Credit: Public Domain)

The Curious Idiot’s™ Introduction to Shakespeare – We discuss how Shakespeare became so popular, the cultural significance of Shakespeare and whether or not he was actually that good.

Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare’s Finest Comedy – I make the argument that far from being the ‘tragic romance’ it is made out to be, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is actually a sardonic and satirical look at relationships in the Elizabethan era and is his finest, defest work of comedy.

King Lear: Part I – In Defence of Bastards – A full analysis of King Lear, in Part 1 we focus mainly on the representation (or misrepresentation) of the figures of Cordelia and Edmund, and their similarities.

King Lear: Part 2 – Reason Not the Need – The second part of the our King Lear analysis starts to focus on the King himself and his inevitable breakdown.

King Lear: Part 3 – Gimme Your Best Shot! – The third part of our King Lear analysis sees us witness the power of Lear as he challenges the Gods and yet is, himself, challenged by a Fool. A true representation of the duality of the human self.

King Lear: Part 4 – “It smells of mortality.” – The forth part of our King Lear analysis sees Lear descend into madness and his Kingdom begin to crumble, mainly as a result of his own actions. What is to become of everyone!?

King Lear: Finale – Exeunt, with a Dead March – The fifth and final part of our King Lear analysis as we discuss the fallout, quite what makes King Lear such a universal and impactful play and why I consider it Shakespeare’s finest work.

The Unintentional Innuendoes of Tess of the d’Urbervilles – The first of our analyses of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a silly look at 19th century rural life by taking the piss out of all the unintentional sauciness.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Introduction – An introduction to our analysis of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ is mainly an overview of the plot, context and main themes.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles: Part 1 – The Virgin Eve – Dealing with the first part of the book, up until Tess loses her baby. We discuss the role of innocence and virginity and the presentation of youthful sexuality.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles: Part 2 – The Wessex Artemis – Dealing with Tess’ time at Talbothays Dairy up until her ill-fated marriage with Angel Clare. We explore the hellish nightmare that is a ‘pastoral romance’ and why I think it’s a little dreary at this point.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles: Part 3 – The Sepulchral Persephone – We deal with Tess’ life after her marriage falls apart and she has left the ‘starve-acre farm’ she was working on. This gothic ending to the novel gives us some great stuff to work with.

PSYCHOLOGY, NEUROLOGY AND/OR BEHAVIOUR

The brain. The only organ capable of thinking about itself. Isn’t that weird? (Credit: Pixabay)

My Life and Learned Helplessness – In which we explore the concept of ‘learned helplessness’, the idea that an organism can literally learn to give up, and how it has affected my life.

My Life and the Halo Effect – In which we explore the concept of the Halo Effect, and it’s reverse, the Devil Effect – The idea that something that presents itself as good or bad in one way must be good or bad in others – and how it has affected my life.

My Life and Executive Dysfunction – Executive Dysfunction is what happens when you literally cannot do anything. Your mind and body are overwhelmed and you have no capacity to do anything. It can happen to anyone, indeed it is likely all of us will get it at one point. It is particularly prevalent in depressive, ADHD and ASD communities. I discuss how it has affected my life.

My Life and Autism – Exploring what autism is, and then going on a long, autobiographical discussion about how having autism, diagnosed late in my life (in my 30s) has allowed me a new perspective on my so-called ‘failures’ and come to terms with who I am and where I am.

My Life and Intolerance to Uncertainty – Fear of the unknown, of uncertainty, is common in people. In people with mental health issues or neurodivergence, however, it becomes a beast of all of its own. Find out about it here.

My Life and Rejection – Rejection and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria can be some of the most difficult things to deal with as a neurodivergent person. Find out how I, as an autistic person, deal with rejection and the painful feelings around it.

“A Problem Shared…” The True Cost of Damage – A discussion about how humans are capable of reflecting, mirroring, a person’s problems back at them and causing them to remember and re-feel their traumas and how we need to be mindful of it.

Wanna Play? Why Games are Important – An introduction to Ludism, or the study of play, and how it can have a positive effect on the human psychology.

We Need to Talk About Love… – A discussion about what ‘love’ is as a concept, both biologically and philosophically, and how ‘romantic love’ has come to dominate discussions of ‘love’ despite most love being non-romantic.

Thinking to Hell and Back – Wicked Problems – Discussing ‘wicked problems’ the sociological phenomenon of issues that can’t be easily solved and don’t have a necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.

NATURE, BIOLOGY AND WILDLIFE

The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) wading in the water. (Credit: catlovers CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nature: The Abusive Mother – An introduction to my…philosophies, I suppose…On nature and how it affects us and our lives. I effectively argue that most of nature’s intent towards us is to harm, and it is our role as living organisms to defend ourselves from harm.

Consciousness: The Saviour? – A counterargument to Nature: The Abusive Mother in which I argue that the adaptation of conscious intelligence could be the perfect counter to the mindless, harmful aspects of most natural processes.

Top Ten Cats: An Introduction – An introductory discussion that details the evolution, biology and behaviour that makes a feline a feline.

Top Ten Cats #10: Pallas’ Cat or Manul, Otocolobus manul – A small, fluffy, camouflaged cat from Asia that eats small animals like pika.

Top Ten Cats #9: Jaguarundi, Herpailurus yagouaroundi – An enigmatic, seemingly primitive cat from central and south America.

Top Ten Cats #8: Clouded Leopard, Neofelis nebulosa – An absolutely gorgeous Asian jungle cat with striking colouration.

Top Ten Cats #7: Jaguar, Panthera onca – A muscular, stealthy hunter with a passion for cracking skulls with its powerful bite.

Top Ten Cats #6: Lion, Panthera leo – Emblematic, legendary, majestic and one of Africa’s greatest predators. We discuss both lion biology and what it means to humans.

Top Ten Cats #5: Black-Footed Cat, Felis negripes – One of the smallest cats in the world and looking like a tabby kitten, the black-footed cat is potentially the most effective feline hunter in the world.

Top Ten Cats #4: Smilodon sp. – The sabretoothed cats have gone down in myth as beastly man-hunters. Here I try to explore the majesty, adaptation and interesting potential behaviours of this scary and exciting cat.

Top Ten Cats #3: Tiger, Panthera tigris – One of the most upsetting to write, because persecution of tigers has led to the extinction, in living memory, of multiple sub-species. One of the most beautiful animals in the world, I explain their biology, their behaviour and the necessity of their protection in the wild.

Top Ten Cats #2: Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus – In my opinion the perfect form of land predator, an effective hunter, ineffective parent, but surely one of the world’s greatest animals. The fastest land animal at full sprint, but that speed is nothing without their remarkable agility, we explain it all here.

Top Ten Cats #1: The domestic cat, Felis catus – For reasons of historical pest control, their co-evolution with us during this agricultural revolution, and their love and companionship that seems them share our homes. We explore all that makes our housecats wonderful animals, incredible predators, canny tricksters and loving companions.

Fat versus Fiction – Exploring myths about obesity, and the phenomenon of fatphobia and body-shaming and why they might be somewhat misguided.

Happy Birthday Darwin – A discussion about Charles Darwin, the role of Natural Historians in modern science and philosophical discussions and what Darwin means to me.

Caturday Special – The Origin Story: Proailurus and Pseudaelurus – The ancestral species of all current cats, we explore the natural history of felines, how they evolved and what their ancestors were like.

Caturday Special – The Snow Leopard, Panthera onca – ‘The Ghost of the Mountains’ introduced with an original poem by me, and discussing why this unbelievably gorgeous cat is one of nature’s finest creatures. Exploring their behaviours, their enigmas and what makes them so charming.

Caturday Special – The Scottish Wildcat, Felis silvestris grampia – A once noble emblem of many Scottish clans, the wildcat population is dwindling. Under increasing pressures from persecution and interbreeding with domestic cats, we ask what is the best way to help this amazing animal.

Caturday Special – The Serval, Leptailurus serval – A beautiful and majestic medium-sized African wildcat, the serval looks every bit the elegant feline. It is coming to the fore more recently as the ‘savannah cat’ takes off as a breed, a cross of serval and domestic cats.

Caturday Special – The Kodkod, Leopardus guigna – The smallest cat in the Americas, seemingly endemic to only Chile and bordering parts of Argentina, it is an elusive little cat about which little is known. I explain complex interdependent mutualisms in nature using the example of the Brazil nut tree to justify why knowing more is better than knowing less!

Top Ten Sharks – An Introduction – Discussing shark natural history, biology, evolution and the overwhelming diversity of what constitutes a ‘shark’.

Top Ten Sharks #10 – Megalodon, Otodus megalodon – A prehistoric monster, likely the largest predatory fish to have ever existed and we explore the power of its teeth, bite, body and myth.

Top Ten Sharks #9 – The Blue Shark, Prionace glauca – Proof positive that sharks are cute, but we delve into the lives and behaviours of the blue shark and find out it is also a breeding factory and a migratory machine! Learn about them here.

Top Ten Sharks #8 – The Buzzsaw Shark, Helicoprion sp. – If ever you wanted to believe in intelligent design then this spiral-toothed prehistoric beast should make you think again. An incredible feat of evolution and a bizarre specimen of sharkhood.

Top Ten Sharks #7 – The Frilled Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus and C. africana – Giving is remarkable insight to sharks of the past, this so-called ‘living fossil’ species features primitivisms of shark biology thought to have died out millions of years ago. It is a remarkable animal with much to tell us about sharks.

Top Ten Sharks #6 – The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias – Probably the most misunderstood of all sharks, the great white, or white shark, is the poster-child for sharp-toothed, man-eating monsters. But there is so much more to them than the image basically put into pop-culture by the movie Jaws and we examine this intelligent, exceptional hunter to dispel those myths.

Top Ten Sharks #5 – The Megamouth Shark, Megachasma pelagios – A shark that is put on the list for what it teaches us about what we don’t know, rather than what we know about it. Previously undescribed and undiscovered until 1976, this elusive filter-feeder reminds us there are mysteries waiting to be solved in our natural world.

Top Ten Sharks #4 – The Hammerheads, Family Sphyrnidae – A whole shark family! Yup! Since many of the species have similar lives we cover the whole family but pay particular attention to conservation and protection of the Great and Scalloped Hammerheads – who are massively overfished for their fins and the small bonnethead shark, which has been shown to be omnivorous!

Top Ten Sharks #3 – The Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus – The second largest fish in our seas today, and it is a gentle, placid, filter-feeder. Far removed from the image of sharks as monsters, there’s a zen-like aspect to the basking shark that makes it so remarkable. Indeed, in this examination we give you the basics of the basking shark’s biology and then explain why we could all do with behaving a little more basking shark.

Top Ten Sharks #2 – The Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus – One of the weirdest, most amazing animals living today. It can reach sizes up to 7m in total length (around 20 feet) it lives in the frigid waters in the arctic circle, or down in the depths, and it has been found to have stomachs full of fish, squid, seal, moose, a whole reindeer and polar bear. Oh, and they are the oldest living vertebrates that we know of, with lifespans of around 300 years, on specimen could have been as old as around 500 years.

Top Ten Sharks #1 – The Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus – Everything you’d think a shark isn’t. This elegant and beautiful filter-feeder should be one of the most monstrous animals on the planet. It isn’t, though, and is instead a gorgeous example of sharks for their evolutionary ingenuity, placidity, elegance and delicate balance with their ecosystems. The whale shark is the largest fish on Earth and that record is unlikely to be broken, the largest reliably measured specimen was 18m. An absolute titan, but a gentle giant.

The Origin of a Species: The Saltwater Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus – A new series for random animals I want to talk about. Similar to how I do my Top Tens only for random species, we explore the gorgeous hunk of predator that is the Saltwater Crocodile and look at what makes it so amazing and successful (with a little hint of how it will hunt humans for fear and good measure…).

Introduction to Biology – Grow, Fuck, Age, Die! – A slightly bleak introduction to the fundamentals of biology which consists of questions of reproduction, growth, senescence and death. We ask why these things and discover the consensus answer is, basically, we don’t know!

Why Every Biologist Should Oppose Racism – That all of biology runs counter to racist doctrine should be self-evident, however through the years scientific or biological racism has attempted to use data, biology and bullshit to justify the marginalisation and persecution of non-whites. Find out why I think that’s absolute nonsense and why every biologist should oppose racism here.

ART

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s ‘Proserpine’ – Truly one of the most beautiful paintings out there (credit: Public Domain)

Why I love the Pre-Raphaelite Style – A discussion the the Pre-Raphaelites, who they were, what their ideas and philosophies were and quite why their work resonates so much with me.

Etched into my Mind – Gustave Doré – I give a few examples of some of my favourite works by French painter, etching artist and illustrator Gustave Doré and explain why I like them. To my mind nobody does Christian imagery quite like Doré!

CULTURE AND ‘CULTURE WARS’

The Sopranos Vs. Sex and the City – A topic that took over social media for a little while, I explain my perspectives and ideas and why the argument and comparison itself is quite redundant.

Silence is Golden: An Assassination of Sia’s ‘Music’ – the Review – A movie review of Sia’s portrayal of autism, ‘Music’ – an obnoxious and dull movie with little to do with being a good movie, having a good plot or autism.

Silence is Golden: An Assassination of Sia’s ‘Music’ – The actual assassination, I explain how the movie itself is effective autistic fetishism and does little to help the cause of neurodivergent people.

The ‘Culture Wars’, ‘Attack on Britishness’ and the ‘White Working Class Problem’ – Discussing the artificial narratives driving a cultural divide, and how certain terms and concepts are politically motivated, more than representing an actual problem.

Why Does ‘We Lack Discipline’ Engage with Academics? – Following engagements with some quite well known academics we answer the question of why an organisation that encourages curiousity for its own sake, deplores academic institutions and doesn’t believe you need qualifications to prove you’re ‘smart’ enjoys engaging with the academic community.

Under Your Bed: The Need for Monsters – I decided to throw this in the ‘culture’ section, even though it is sort of a mythological/psychological/cultural intersectional piece. I think it deals a lot more with pop-culture issues and presentations of monsters in popular culture, so here it is.

The Fire Still Burns: The Enduring Legacy of Dark Souls – A little retrospective of Dark Souls, how it came about, why I feel it is valid as a work of art from the videogame world and quite how it has been so deeply, culturally ingrained.

RELIGION

A Doré etching of the ‘Great Flood’ from Genesis. (Credit: Public Domain)

We Lack Discipline Preaches: The Bible – Introduction – Yup, I’m going to read The Bible and analyse it for the site! Find out why I think reading the bible, or any religious text, is important even for atheists and why the bible is particularly worthy of study.

We Lack Discipline Preaches: Genesis Chapters 1-5 – God immediately rubs me up with wrong way by making stuff, which, as Douglas Adams once opined “Is widely considered a bad move.” He continues to rub me the wrong way by acting like a tool, persecuting Adam and Eve and having tantrums.

We Lack Discipline Preaches: Genesis Chapters 6-11 – God continues rubbing me the wrong way! Here he decides that everything isn’t ‘very good’ like he said it was, but is actually rubbish and needs to drown. We do have a good discussion about the origins of flood myths and their pervasiveness through human history.

MISCELLANEOUS

To Mum – Literally a post for my mum, about my mum, for Mother’s Day 2021.

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