Sarah Palin is the “other” whom Yoda spoke about.

calendar   Thursday - November 26, 2009


I think this is gonna be my only post for today.  Grumble.  Now that the wife has a cold too (misery just loves company) and has my cough as well, it sounds like a TB ward in here.  scuse me. cough,cough.

Blind man fitted with ‘bionic’ eye sees for first time in 30 years

By Liz Hull
Last updated at 3:30 PM on 26th November 2009

A blind man who thought he would never be able to read again has had his vision partially restored after being fitted with a ‘bionic’ eye.

Peter Lane, 51, is one of the first people in the world to have electronic receivers implanted into his eye which send signals mounted in a pair of glasses to the brain.


The technology has allowed Mr Lane, from Manchester, to see the outline of objects, such as doorways and furniture, and to read letters through a series of dots of lights for the first time in almost 30 years.

Last night Mr Lane, who suffers from a degenerative genetic disease which caused his sight to fail when he was in his mid-20s, said: ‘After not being able to see anything for so long it was an amazing feeling to see letters and words on a special screen. I was there reading “dad, mat, cat”.
‘I’m just reading small words at the moment, but it’s a start. The doctors have said they’ll get me a screen so I can read at home and I’m hoping I’ll be able to read letters I get in the post by myself eventually.

‘I get around inside my flat okay without the glasses because I know where everything is, but outside they give me more confidence and a bit more independence.

‘The images I see move and that takes a bit of getting used to, but I can see cars - they look like cotton wool. It’s exciting to be part of the trial.’

Mr Lane is one of just 32 people taking part in a worldwide trial of the technology which aims to help those with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of genetic eye diseases affecting the retina which cause progressive loss of vision over decades.

Around 25,000 people are affected by the conditions in Britain alone.

It works by fitting a camera in a pair of glasses, which then captures the image and sends the information to a video processor worn by the patient on a belt.

Breakthrough: Mr Lane is taking part in a trial of technology designed to help people with the condition retinitis pigmentosa

The processor converts the image into an electronic signal which is then sent to a transmitter, also fitted to the glasses.

The transmitter, in turn, sends a wireless signal to a wafer-thin electronic receiver and electrode panel implanted on the patient’s retina.

The electrodes stimulate the remaining retinal nerves, sending electrical pulses along the optic nerve to the brain.

Patterns of light and dark spots are then ‘seen’ by the patient, who also wears a battery pack on their belt to power the entire device.

The implant was developed by American company Second Sight and is being pioneered by just 11 doctors worldwide.

Mr Lane, a father-of-two grown up children, was one of three patients to undergo a four-hour operation to implant the receiver into his eye at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital earlier this year.

He had to wait a further two months for his eye to heal before trying out the device.

His sight began to return earlier this month.

Doctors have been thrilled by the progress of all three patients. One of them was able to see fireworks on November 5 for the first time in 40 years, while the other, like Mr Lane, was able to recognise some letters.

The hospital is now arranging for Mr Lane, who had been completely blind, to have a special projector and screen installed at home which will enlarge letters and allow him to read his own mail for the first time in years.

Mr Lane’s brother, John Lane, added: ‘What the doctors have done doesn’t sound possible, but I think it’s great. 

‘It’s good we have world experts here in Manchester who are trying to improve things for people like Peter.’

Researchers at the eye hospital said patients’ experiences had been ‘very moving’. 

Consultant ophthalmologist Paulo Stangaat said: ‘The patients are progressing much faster than we at first thought. 

‘A lot of work still needs to be carried out, but this is certainly very encouraging for both the patient and the scientific community.’



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/26/2009 at 11:11 AM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesHealth-MedicineOUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT •  
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Something to be thankful for

Freedom and capitalism. Most awesome combination ever.

They allow you to do pretty much whatever you want, like this guy. He wanted a P-38. But there aren’t any. So he built his own. Ok, it’s a 2/3 scale replica, and he stuck in a backseat for his wife ... but ... WOW.


Jim O’Hara is a member of EAA chapter 493 in San Angelo .. He is a retired college professor (I believe in Aeronautical Engineering) who learned to fly when he was about 60 years old. He’s now 81 years old. 15 years ago, he began construction of a 2/3 scale P-38. Using information he obtained from various sources about the P-38, he drew up a set of plans using a computer aided design program. Jim and his wife Mitzi built the entire aircraft by themselves. He first flew his plane in July of last year, and has just completed flying off the time (I believe it was 50 hours). He designed the plane to have a small jump seat behind the pilot for his wife. She’s tiny, and it’s a good thing; the jump seat doesn’t have much room. He made his first cross-country with Mitzi from San Angelo to Fredericksburg Saturday, accompanied by many of his friends from Chapter 493.

Lotsa links for this ...

Close up photos:

h/t to Theo’s

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/26/2009 at 11:02 AM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Turkey Turkey Turkey, Every Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!

Rancino sends us a link to a little Turkey’s Revenge game. It’s simple and a bit slow, just like you’ll be after all that food and drink.

For those few who feel a bit more energetic and coordinated, here’s a link to Turkeyroids, a total steal of the old Asteroids game but with a Thanksgiving motif. Just watch out for Chuck Norris; he’s gunning for you.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/26/2009 at 10:20 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffHolidays •  
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calendar   Wednesday - November 25, 2009

Higher MPG For Big Trucks

Low Speed Aerodynamics and the Coanda Effect

Which saves more fuel - improving an 8mpg vehicle to 10mpg, or a 25mpg vehicle to 50mpg? Run the numbers and you’ll see that you save the most from improving the 8mpg one. Naturally, you use the least fuel with the 50mpg job, but that’s not the question.

And what kind of vehicles are out on the roads that get 8mpg? Tractor trailer trucks. Those great big rigs that bring us everything from everywhere. The ones that, while cars have become slipperier, have only been partially streamlined at the tractor end, and still very much resemble their original giant rectangular box on wheels shape, especially at the trailer end. Is that ever going to change? Maybe so. Several lines of research have been going on for quite a long time, and the fruits of those labors might be about to blend together into a tasty pie.


Once upon a time, trucks looked like the one above. That’s a COE, a cab over engine design. They were made that way because of rules and regulations that limited the length of the tractor trailer to 42 feet overall. That was around 1932, and things stayed that way until deregulation occurred in the early 80s. While the COE design maximized the amount of trailer you could pull, it was about as
aerodynamic as a billboard.

When the price of oil started to go up, and the price of diesel along with it, people started looking at ways to make these things more efficient. Early designs put deflectors up on the cab roof. Those grew into wedges. Wedges grew into full on fairings. The Peterbuilt company also tried rounding the corners, which resulted in their 374 model, which many people thought looked like a football helmet:


But it worked. Rounding out the corners, smoothing the edges, and getting the airflow smoothly over the cab and out over the trailer helped fuel economy a good amount. Deregulation, in the form of the Motor Carrier Act, and later the Surface Transportation Act of 1982, eliminated the overall length rules, and set maximum lengths for the trailers only. The cab over design faded away over the next decade, and now we have long nose trucks hauling 52 foot trailers everywhere. Almost all of them have the air wedge up on the roof, but
the aerodynamics have only come so far:


What’s left to do? Actually, quite a lot. The two models pictured above are the top of the heap in terms of aerodynamics. But the tanks are still exposed, the wheels aren’t covered over with fairings, there’s still that big gap between the back of the cab and the front of the trailer, etc.

And the trailers themselves? Very little has been done to them in the real world due to practicalities. But there have been studies for both tractors and trailers. And it all began with a rocket scientist on a bicycle ...

It was in the 1970s when researchers at the Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, began conducting numerous tests to refine the shape of trucks to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve efficiency.

Already working on the effects of drag and wind resistance on different kinds of aircraft and the early space shuttle designs, the researcher transferred their considerable knowledge to the design of large trucks.

Aerospace Engineer Edwin J Saltzman and his team found that rounding a tractor’s edges, placing a smooth fairing on its roof, and extending the sides back to the trailer could cut drag by more than 50%, increase highway fuel economy by more than 20%, and help with vehicle handling.

Assuming a typical truck drives 100,000 miles annually, these modifications translated to fuel savings of more than 6,000 gallons per year per vehicle. The research revolutionized truck design. The modifications the engineers tested have now been widely adopted around the world.

I wondered why Saltzman decided to investigate truck design in the first place.

I discovered he was motivated while bicycling through the California desert. He noticed the push and pull of large trucks at highway speeds while riding to work.

As a tractor trailer overtook him, he first felt the bow wave of air pushing him slightly away from the road and toward the sagebrush. Then, as the truck swept past, its wake had the opposite effect, drawing him toward the road and even causing him and his bike to lean toward the lane. This got him exploring the flow of air around a moving truck.

Learning Saltzman’s story brings to mind the quote: “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.

Since the internet is forever, that study is still kicking around. It seems a bit primitive today, but they came up with some good ideas.

The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (Edwards, California) became involved with ground vehicle aerodynamics during the “oil crisis” of the early 1970’s. At that time, most designers of motor homes, buses, and heavy-duty trucks ignored aerodynamic considerations when determining vehicle shape. Primary emphasis was given to ease of fabrication and avoiding rounded corners that would diminish inside volume. The resulting configurations were box-like and represented great opportunity for aerodynamic refinement.


data acquisition in the pre-computer age: build one and try it out

And what did they come up with? This little bugger, to which the Peterbuilt 372 bears an uncanny resemblance:

State of the art, circa 1974

But they didn’t stop there. Further study showed that the conventional, or long nosed, truck was almost always more aerodynamic than the older cab over engine design, simply because it’s frontal cross sectional area - the parts that get pushed into the slipstream - are multiphasic. “Significant forebody slope discontinuities”; that’s rocket science speak for “it’s in two parts”: the bumper/radiator hits the air first, then throws it up and over onto the windshield. Moving the air this way is less work than the “one big billboard” that the COE design has. And what do you know ... you hardly ever even see a COE truck anymore.

Further research showed them that smoothing out the underbody, and even adding a boattail to the back of the trailer all contribute to better laminar airflow. They were able to lower the coefficient of drag from the typical COE rig’s CD of 0.89 all the way down to a CD of 0.238. That’s a huge amount less than the .30 figure for the current Infiniti G37, which is a very slippery vehicle. Impressive!

But not really practical. You can’t go around with a trailer with a giant point on the back that sticks out 10 feet. Plus, it’s a real pain to move the thing to open the back doors. So they claimed success, concluded that more research was needed, published, and pretty much walked away from it all. But they did prove that the various drag factors had shifted: as forebody drag decreased, base drag increased. Um, well, yeah. Nobody could determine base drag when the old big flat truck noses were pushing the air all over the place.

But free enterprise took over, albeit slowly. If you and I both sell a truck of equal size, power, comfort, price, and durability, and mine gets another 2mpg, then you’ll be out of business pretty soon.
We’ve seen wheel and fuel tank fairings come and go. They work, but I guess they get in the way a lot. We’ve seen amazing amounts of aerodynamic progress for race cars, but not much more than that for the big trucks. But that’s about to change.

From what I’ve been reading it looks like side fairings on the trailers will soon be allowed here in the US. I think it’s a great idea. I’d like to see full wheel fairings on the trailers too, just because those back wheels spew so much water onto my car when it’s raining on the highways.


the shape of things to come

Freight Wing Incorporated is a company that sells fairings for trailers. They have a full line of products, made from strong but flexible HDPE plastic. They have a fairing that fills the cap between the cab and the trailer. They have several fairings that clean up the underside of the trailer. Their products are all tested to approved standards, and their best under fairing, the AeroFlex, is worth a 7.5% fuel savings alone. Tests have shown that a trailer with all their products attached can save over 1500 gallons of fuel per year.


Freight Wing Incorporated’s AeroFlex fairing, left, and gap fairing, right

Pretty neat. Combine all this airflow management with today’s improved engines, stronger yet lighter bodies, and all sorts of high tech computer controls, and you’d think these big jobs would be getting 30mpg on the highway. Right? Well, no. Still no fairings over the wheels. And remember that impractical boattail that NASA developed? It covered the back of the trailer and came to a giant, intimidating point. But the flat back end of the trailer is the source of a huge portion of the overall drag. What to do?


boattail prevents tailgating and improves mileage, but it sucks at the loading dock.

It’s too bad too. That thing is worth another 7.5% fuel savings according to Dutch engineers. Under fairings, wheel covers AND a boattail add up to at least 15%. Well, how about a virtual boattail instead? You don’t have to actually build one. Air is laminar; it flows in layers, and each layer is affected by the layer above and below it. So point the air in the proper direction, and it will act as if you’ve got such a goofy extension off the back.


Note how the loading dock bar is now a wing, and the fairings behind the wheels

And it works just fine! It’s actually a direct conceptual steal from the flaps on an airplane wing. But you know how those aeronautical engineers and rocket scientists are. They can’t just have a fixed flap. No, they want a movable one. Then they realize that they could hook it up to a computer and a couple of servos, and use these back flaps to counteract the trailers being pushed around by crosswinds. And then they dawn on the idea that More Is Better, and realize that if they blew their own air over such a device, they’d have real time vectored thrust control. Awesome. Jobs for all those out of work missile designers, woo hoo!!

And that finally (FINALLY!!!) brings me to what I wanted to post about in the first place. I read the “aero blows” article in this month’s Motor Trend last night and found it impressive. Using compressed air to extend the laminar flow of a moving body is called the Coanda Effect. It’s been around a long time. Since the first jet propelled airplane in fact. Which was during World War I. It crashed on takeoff though. But the idea was sound. And it’s so cool.

The Coanda Effect is the tendancy of a fluid (like air) to stay attached to an adjacent curved surface, which causes natural airflow above it to also attach, reducing turbulence and providing the lift effect of a wing shape without the wing shape.

-Motor Trend, 12/2009

Certain helicopters use it on their rotors. Instead of building an airfoil into the rotor, just round out the back and put in some air vent slots. The harder you blow air out the back, the longer the virtual chord of the airfoil is, and the more lift it generates. You don’t even need to build pitch controls for the blades; just vary the compressed air pressure.

So Motor Trend ran a one pager on this, about the work Robert Englar and his team are doing at Georgia Tech Research Institute. You can read more about that here. The take away money quote:

“ We have shown that this technology now works quite successfully, and we expect that the industry will find a potential 12 percent fuel economy improvement worth pursuing,”he adds. “At highway speeds, each 1 percent improvement in fuel economy results in savings of about 200 million gallons of fuel for the U. S. heavy truck fleet.”

So a 12 percent improvement would save 2.4 BILLION gallons of diesel fuel. How much does that go for these days? $3 per? So we’re talking $7.4 BILLION? That’s getting to be real money, even in government bailout terms.

The problem lies in the source of the compressed air. Do you hook up another pump to the engine? Drive an air compressor off of one of the trailer’s wheels? Mount a little engine underneath somewhere? It’s a sticking point, for now. But maybe not for long ...

Renault has been researching this exact same thing on their cars for several years now, and it seems to work quite well on their bluntly shaped Altica hatchback:

One of the more unique features of the car is the “Synthetic Jet” subsystem designed to optimize the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance—which, in turn assists in lowering fuel consumption.

Located at the rear edge of the roof at the point where the vehicle and the passing air flow separate, a discreet mechanical system generates jets of air which are alternately blown and sucked through a 2mm wide slit.

The Synthetic Jet system actively controls the separation of the air flow according to the vehicle’s speed, reducing drag and controlling the structure of the air flow. The Synthetic Jet, patented by Renault, can reduce the car’s Cd at 130 km/h by 15% at an energy consumption of just 10 watts.


At 745.7 watts per horsepower, 10 watts doesn’t seem like that big a price to pay. Actually it seems like just about nothing.  Even if it took 100 times as much to power such a system for a tractor trailer, it’s still nothing compared to the 600 or more horsepower that those things make.

Saves money, saves fuel, lowers emissions, more stable on the highway ... useful aerodynamics looks like a great way to go. And I’d bet a fully faired truck with it’s little air pump going doesn’t kick up nearly as much spew on a rainy highway either. And that makes it much safer for the rest of us to share the road with them.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/25/2009 at 04:43 PM   
Filed Under: • High TechMiscellaneous •  
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Linky Luck

So I was just browsing through Stoaty the Weasel’s blog, where she has some cool new blogshirt designs up at Zazzle and I clicked on a link on her sidebar. Fun!

Introducing ... Savage Chickens, the one panel cartoons on a Post-It™. New to me, but they’ve been around for years. Twisted chickens who work for a robot. Very little violence, not much sex, not too many fart jokes. Often cute, usually amusing. Habit forming. Pretty swell overall.





Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/25/2009 at 10:27 AM   
Filed Under: • Humor •  
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I wasn’t looking for this and it wasn’t even on my radar.  It’s just a coincidence that it’s in the morning Telegraph.
What brings it in focus however was a comment, made only in passing, by Christopher a day or two ago.  I think we were talking about the Romans and Latin.
So then ... this might be of interest only to us. Hope not because I found it to be worth the time reading it.  A break you might say from the usual crime/gypsy/ law and disorder stuff.

City boss ‘shocked woman with vile email’ quoting Latin poet

Mark Lowe, a multi-millionaire financier at the centre of a sex discrimination case, sent a “vile” email to a young woman seeking work experience in which he quoted a first century Latin poet, a tribunal has heard.

She is suing for £4 million for sex discrimination, unlawful deduction of wages, unfair constructive dismissal and disability discrimination, which Mr Lowe contests.


With regard to the above story. Interesting that the woman in question stayed with the company for six years, was raised over time to a half million pounds, but due to “distress” and heaven knows what, she now wants 4 million. Disability?  I guess maybe so. If it means she won’t now be able to find a cushy job. Of course if she wins her case she won’t need a job. Probably doesn’t even need one now.  Deep pocket law suit.

Mark Lowe is right: The Romans said it better

Mark Lowe’s eye-watering Latin email is proof of the lasting value of the supposedly dead language, says Harry Mount.
By Harry Mount
Published: 7:51AM GMT 25 Nov 2009

Next time you curse a flashing speed camera or are undertaken on the inside lane of the M40, here’s a little tip: say your rude words in Latin. That’s what Mark Lowe, the millionaire hedge-fund boss being sued for wrongful dismissal, did when he sent an email quoting one of the filthiest expressions ever written in Latin – or in any other language, for that matter.

Ariane Gordji, a young woman seeking work experience, had asked Mr Lowe, an Oxford classics graduate, the meaning of: “Ego autem dico vobis: diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos.”
It’s actually from the New Testament (Matthew 5:44) and means, “But I say to you: love your enemies; be kind to those who hate you.” Mr Lowe didn’t bother with a translation and instead answered with a chunk of Catullus’s Carmina (or “songs"), which is so sexually explicit that it wasn’t openly published in English until the late 20th century.

“Irrumabo vos et pedicabo vos,” wrote Mr Lowe, before kindly adding, “It’s Catullus, not very polite.”
Too right, it’s not polite; in fact it’s so rude that the English translation still can’t be printed in a family newspaper without using dashes. For those of a sensitive disposition, turn away now. Even with dashes, it’s pretty graphic stuff – “I will b----- you and face-f--- you.”

Mr Lowe may or may not be the most enlightened of bosses. Another young woman, the one suing him for claiming he hounded her out of her job, also claims he brought prostitutes to business functions and made her attend strip clubs.
But I’m with him when it comes to Catullus. As he said in court, Catullus’s poetry “is not vile. It’s burlesque. It was always light-hearted in the first century and it is now.”

The poem was indeed a light-hearted skit, aimed at two critics of Catullus’s verse: “Aureli pathice et cinaede Furi”. More dashes, I’m afraid; this means, “----sucker Aurelius and catamite Furius.”
Mr Lowe’s response, like Catullus’s poem, was also light-hearted. He took the bother to warn Miss Gordji that the translation wasn’t very polite. And he wasn’t insulting her personally; he says he was giving a jokey summary of his general philosophy on how to deal with your enemies. He also knew she knew no Latin, and so would only find out the meaning if she went out of her way to look it up.

But the Latin itself wasn’t rude to someone who couldn’t understand it. That’s one of the wonders of Latin – and why you should use it on the speed camera or that fool driver careening down the inside lane. Because it’s a dead language, understood by only a few Latin fans, and because it’s drenched in high-minded, august connotations, you can describe the most degraded sexual act, and most people will think you’re quoting from Virgilian epic poetry in iambic hexameters.

There is no other language quite like Latin that can pull this off. An obscenity in a modern, living language would be too close to the bone. An insult in another dead language – say, ancient Greek or Assyrian – would simply be too obscure. No wonder, then, that Latin crops up the whole time as a supple device for advertising your wit, intelligence or evasiveness.

The Labour MP Denis MacShane was at it only last week, in his response to the Queen’s Speech. “Let me finish by saying that, as a House,” Mr MacShane told the Commons, “we are not rising to the geopolitical and national economic and social changes that face us. As Horace put it: ‘Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus’.”

No dashes needed here. This is from Horace’s Epistle to the Pisones, and means, “The mountains will go into labour, and give birth to a ridiculous mouse”, a neat expression to describe huge efforts that amount to very little. Poor old Denis got the tense wrong in his translation – he put it in the past, not the future – but he’d made his point. “I know Latin,” was the undertone. “I’m awfully clever and, by finishing on this quote, I know all about Ciceronian oratory and the need to end my speech with a flourish.”

The master of the well-deployed Latin quote is the Mayor of London. By injecting just the right squirt of self-mockery and gags, Boris Johnson can spray Latin allusions all over the place, without being pompous, but still, almost as if by accident, end up revealing the generous dimensions of his planet-sized brain.

When asked if he wanted to be prime minister, Boris said: “Were I to be pulled like Cincinnatus from my plough, then obviously it would be an absolute privilege to serve.”
Beautifully done. Just the right measure of braininess – Cincinnatus was the Roman leader called from his farm to take charge of Rome in 457 BC in the battle against the Aequians. In 16 days, he defeated the enemy and returned to the plough. But also, just the right measure of modesty. By placing his bid in those mock-highfalutin, comical, ancient Roman terms, Boris built himself an ejector seat from charges of overweening ambition.
The list of those who turn to Latin for its echoes of big brains and ancient grandeur includes Angelina Jolie, who has a tattoo on the lower slopes of her belly that reads “Quod me nutrit me destruit"– “What nourishes me destroys me”. It’s a kind of ancient anorexic’s slogan, a Roman version of Kate Moss’s “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.

Elizabeth II looks a lot more impressive than Elizabeth 2; ditto the 7 on the back of Beckham’s football shirt, which is commemorated on his right arm with a tattooed VII. (Even “ditto” comes from the Latin “dictus”, meaning “said”.)

For centuries, Latin’s ancient grandeur has appealed like this to people who want to come across as a little bit special. Precisely because it is a dead language and has no practical use, from the Norman Conquest onwards it won kudos among those who could afford to dedicate their time to fine prose, poetry and history rather than money-making disciplines such as science or engineering.

So the study of Latin flourished in grammar schools, Catholic schools and public schools for half a millennium. After nearly disappearing altogether in comprehensives over the past half century, it has – mirabile dictu ("wonderful to say") – had a recent recovery.

The number of comprehensives doing Latin has doubled in the past decade, helped by a revival in the study of grammar, thanks to Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Harry Potter has chipped in, too. The Hogwarts curriculum is rich in Latin; its motto even includes a tricky gerundive – “Draco dormiens numquam titillandus” ("Never tickle a sleeping dragon").

Thank God for this revival. And not because Latin is a pompous, grand or show-off language, or one in which you can write rude words safely. But because some of the best prose and poetry ever written was in Latin; not least by Catullus, who went way beyond sexual insults to produce the most stirring love poems to his beloved Lesbia.

Throw in satire, comedy, architecture, Roman numerals, Roman history and the correct use of Latinate English words, and the thrilling vitality of Latin never fades, centuries after its supposed death.
‘Amo, Amas, Amat and All That – How to Become a Latin Lover’ by Harry Mount is published by Short Books.|



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/25/2009 at 09:34 AM   
Filed Under: • MiscellaneousUK •  
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What a crock

Navy SEALS capture Iraq’s Most Wanted Terrorist

SEAL team now faces court martial charges because the terrorist was punched. Once.

Helluva way to run a railroad.

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told

The three, all members of the Navy’s elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral’s mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named “Objective Amber,” told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.

United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.

The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that “Objective Amber” planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and “they had been tracking this guy for some time.”

Hey idiots, it’s a war, m’kay? Extreme violence by definition. I am so sick of this fawning white glove treatment that is expected from our side. Can’t even look sideways at these bastards, have to waste millions to use precision minimal munitions in case a nearby kitten could be upset, can’t even shoot back until our side has taken hits, etc. BS. Blow them all to kingdom come and leave the pieces for the crows. Their side can burn, torture, and mutilate anyone they want, do seriously nasty shit like Fallujah and get away with it. Our side has to be gentle Prince Charming 24-7 for everything.

Assault charges. Filed for actions thought to occur during a military operation during a war. Against an enemy who plays by no rules, especially not those of Geneva. Then you go out of your way to let him use your own system against your own troops. Asinine.

Sometimes I’m amazed that anyone re-enlists in the military at all. 


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/25/2009 at 08:21 AM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryWar On Terror •  
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Minarets could be banned this weekend as Swiss voters go to the polls.


The Swiss get referendums?  Wow. 

Be nice if they did.  I guess we will wait and see if their left wing pc crowd manages to stop this very worthwhile cause. 

Good luck and good wishes to The Swiss People’s Party.  Maybe if successful, they can go after the mosques as well. Bottom line, this group is on the outs with the UN.  It therefore follows that this must be a splendid group of fellows and ladies.  I hope.

Personal Note:
Feeling as bad as the weather again. This damn bug seems to be doing a rebound, so my posts today are likely to be few. Just can’t shake this thing fast enough. Feel like I cracked a rib as well. Not saying I did. Just feels like it even when not coughing or sneezing.

Will the Swiss vote for a ban on minarets?

By Alexandra Williams
25th November 2009

Minarets could be banned this weekend as Swiss voters go to the polls for a controversial referendum.

The Right-wing Swiss People’s Party argues that the distinctive mosque features are a symbol of Islamic intolerance.

The party has led an emotive campaign to outlaw them. Posters depicting a woman in a burkha in front of minarets shaped like missiles, against the background of a Swiss flag, have been put up around the country.


Ulrich Schüler, an SVP parliamentarian and leading member of the anti-minaret movement, says the towers are political rather than religious.

‘They are symbols of a desire for power, of an Islam which wants to establish a legal and social order fundamentally contrary to the liberties guaranteed in our constitution,’ he said.

In 2007 elections his party won its largest ever share of the vote after mounting an anti-foreigner campaign denounced by the United Nations as racist.

One of its campaign posters showed a flock of white sheep kicking a black sheep out of Switzerland.

In 2007 elections his party won its largest ever share of the vote after mounting an anti-foreigner campaign denounced by the United Nations as racist.

The debate is particularly sensitive in a country with a large immigrant population and where 20 per cent are considered foreign.

About 400,000 - 5 per cent - of Swiss residents are Muslims.

If the majority of the electorate and states vote Yes on Sunday, the words ‘The construction of minarets is forbidden’ will be added to the country’s constitution.

Existing minarets will not be torn down.

The vote was triggered when almost 115,000 signed a people’s initiative handed to parliament last year in favour of the ban - 100,000 is enough to force a referendum.

And according to the latest opinion poll, support for the proposal is gaining momentum.

It is popular among residents of rural areas and towns in the German-speaking part of the country, a survey of 1,200 citizens showed earlier this month.

German is the most common language in Switzerland.

The latest figures show that 37 per cent would vote in favour of the ban, while 53 per cent said they would reject it. A further 10 per cent were undecided.

Both the cabinet and parliament are recommending voters turn down the initiative, with Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey describing it as ‘dangerous for foreign policy and Switzerland’s relations to other countries’.

Controversies have erupted in Switzerland over Muslims’ place in society in recent years. In 2004 two supermarket chains banned employees who deal with the public from wearing headscarves.

There are an estimated 160 mosques and cultural centres in Switzerland, but only four with a minaret.

They are normally used by religious leaders to call Muslims to prayer.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/25/2009 at 07:51 AM   
Filed Under: • Illegal-Aliens and ImmigrationNews-BriefsPoliticsReligion •  
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calendar   Tuesday - November 24, 2009

pity poor Greece ……..  no Spartan king to hold the pass …


They just keep on coming and they invade on many fronts. And they usually get to stay, sucking the lifeblood out of every place that makes a place for them.  They are like an army of ants but not as interesting.  Their goal I believe , is to make the place they find, as much like the place they left as they can are allowed to.

Greece is Being Systematically Invaded by Mohammedans


November 2009

LESBOS - “Stop the boat! Stop the boat now!” the captain of the Greek Coast Guard patrol vessel yelled over the bullhorn, turning a spotlight on the flimsy dinghy as it chugged toward this island in the Aegean Sea.

As the dinghy sputtered to a halt, a crowd of frightened faces squinted up into the light. Squeezed onto the 6-meter, or 20-foot, vessel were 30 Afghan migrants — men, women, children including babies — and their smugglers: two Turkish boys.

The interception occurred one Saturday night earlier this month. But the migrants, the smugglers and the coast guard officers are protagonists in a daily drama played out in this seven-kilometer-wide strait separating the island of Lesbos from the Turkish coast, one of the narrowest sea crossings between the two countries and a favored route for smuggling.

Hampering European Union efforts to curb a relentless influx of desperate people seeking to enter the bloc through this slender channel are age-old tensions between the E.U. member Greece and the E.U.-hopeful Turkey and the ever inventive tactics of opportunists profiting from the situation.

“It’s kids like these that smugglers are sending over to do their dirty work,” the coast guard captain said as his colleagues handcuffed the two boys to the deck of the patrol boat. The youths said they were Turks, age 16 and 17, and nodded sheepishly when asked if they were doing it for the money.

“We’ve seen one kid three times,” the captain said, noting that minors, who cannot be prosecuted under Greek law, were sent back to Turkey, but often tried to return to Greece a few weeks later. The captain asked not to be identified by name for security reasons.

The dinghy piloted by the teenagers was one of hundreds of boats that were stopped in waters off Lesbos in patrols organized by the island’s coast guard in association with the E.U.’s border monitoring agency, Frontex. A total of 7,745 migrants have been detained on the island this year. This is partly because the patrols, ostensibly aimed at pushing back undocumented immigrants, often turn into rescue exercises.

“Smugglers often burst the dinghies as they know we will have to save the migrants while they escape,” the captain said. He said the Turkish teens might have been planning to do the same: They were wearing wet suits under their clothes which, when searched, revealed mobile phones but no weapons or identification documents.

Some migrants are not lucky enough to be spotted. On Oct. 27, 10 Afghans, including eight children, drowned when their boat hit a rocky outcrop off the northeastern coast of Lesbos.

Escape tactics by smugglers and the failure, reported by Frontex, of Turkish officials to stop suspicious vessels as they leave, ensure that a steady stream of migrants reaches Lesbos and other islands in the Aegean.

Until last month, those arriving on Lesbos were put in a temporary reception center. But the facility, near the village of Pagani, was closed after overcrowding reached such levels that migrants started to riot, sparking protests by human rights groups. Of the hundreds of migrants released, some were given ferry tickets to the major port of Piraeus, near Athens, and deportation slips ordering them to leave Greece within 30 days. Others were transferred to a facility, now filled beyond its capacity, on the nearby island of Chios.

Detention centers across Greece had been accommodating some of the overflow, but unions representing the Greek police say that these holding cells also are now packed.

There is no sign of the influx ebbing. According to Frontex, 14,000 migrants were intercepted at sea between Greece and Turkey in the first six months of this year, up 47 percent from the 9,500 stopped in the first half of 2008. In contrast, arrivals by undocumented migrants to Italy and Spain, also considered external E.U. border states, dropped by 70 percent. A reception center on the Italian island of Lampedusa was crammed this time last year and is now empty.

“A trend of reduced migration flows in the Mediterranean region is not reflected in Greece, which remains the main entry point to the E.U. for illegal immigrants,” said Gil Arias Fernández, the deputy executive director of Frontex. The problem will persist, he said, “as long as Turkish authorities do not stop migrants near their border.”

Afghans dominate the influx of migrants, joined by a growing number of people from countries in North and West Africa, shunning routes via Italy and Spain because of repatriation pacts in force between these nations and their countries of origin. A similar agreement exists between Greece and Turkey, but the authorities in Greece complain that it is not being enforced by Ankara, despite pressure from the European Union. This hampers the patrols.

The rest of the article is at EUROPE NEWS



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/24/2009 at 03:43 PM   
Filed Under: • Border SecurityIllegal-Aliens and ImmigrationOBITITUARIESRoPMA •  
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Goodbye, Cruel World

Goodbye, cruel world,
I’m leaving you today.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
Goodbye all you people,
There’s nothing you can say,
To make me change my mind.

—Pink Floyd


The crescent Earth as seen by the departing Rosetta probe

Explanation: Goodbye Earth. Earlier this month, ESA’s interplanetary Rosetta spacecraft zoomed past the Earth on its way back across the Solar System. Pictured above, Earth showed a bright crescent phase featuring the South Pole to the passing rocket ship. Launched from Earth in 2004, Rosetta used the gravity of the Earth to help propel it out past Mars and toward a 2014 rendezvous with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Last year, the robot spacecraft passed asteroid 2867 Steins, and next year it is scheduled to pass enigmatic asteroid 21 Lutetia. If all goes well, Rosetta will release a probe that will land on the 15-km diameter comet in 2014.

This makes an awesome desktop picture/wallpaper.


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 11/24/2009 at 04:22 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and Discoveries •  
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Ark unto this!

And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.  And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

- Genesis 6:13-22

This one isn’t exactly to scale. It’s only 150 cubits long and a mere 20 cubits wide, but it’s the proper 30 cubits tall. No word on whether it’s pitched within and without either. But it’s still really impressive. Noah’s original would have had about 5 times the volume of this model. That’s a whole forest full of gopher wood, no matter how you slice it.


4/30/2007 SCHAGEN, Netherlands — The massive central door in the side of Noah’s Ark was thrown open Saturday — you could say it was the first time in 4,000 years — drawing a crowd of curious pilgrims and townsfolk to behold the wonder.

Of course, it’s only a replica of the biblical Ark, built by Dutch creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible.

Reckoning by the old biblical measurements, Johan’s fully functional ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That’s two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house.



Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.

“The design is by my wife, Bianca,” Huibers said. “She didn’t really want me to do this at all, but she said if you’re going to anyway, it should look like this.”

A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine — biblical scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.

Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005.


Visitors on the first day were stunned.

“It’s past comprehension,” said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.

“I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.”

In fact, Noah’s Ark as described in the Bible was five times larger than Johan’s Ark.

But that still leaves enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater, where kids can watch the segment of the Disney film “Fantasia” that tells the story of Noah.

Another exhibit shows water cascading down on a model of the Ark. Exhibits on the third level show ancient tools and old-fashioned barrels, exotic stuffed animals, and a wax model of an exhausted Noah reclining on a bed in the forecastle.


Under sunny clear skies Saturday, Huibers said he wasn’t worried about another biblical flood, since according to Genesis, the rainbow is the sign of God’s promise never to flood the world again. But he does worry that recent events such as the flooding of New Orleans could be seen as a portent of the end of time.

Huibers said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where churchgoing has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.

“If You Need Help, Ask God. If You Don’t, Thank God” says Huibers.


If you wrongly imagine the Ark looked like some of those little cartoon boats in children’s story books, with a couple of elephants’ trunks and giraffes’ necks sticking out the top, think again.
Noah’s Ark was three stories high (Genesis 6:16). Its total deck area was equivalent to the area of about 20 standard college basketball courts or 36 lawn tennis courts. The world had to wait until AD 1884 before the Ark’s size was exceeded, when the Italian liner Eturia was built.

The rectangular dimensions of the Ark show an advanced design in ship-building. Its length of six times its width and 10 times its height would have made it amazingly stable on the ocean. Remember it was made more for floating than sailing, because it wasn’t headed anywhere. The Ark was made to withstand a turbulent ocean voyage, not to be at a certain place at a certain time.

I think Huibers’ Ark is mighty impressive, even if it’s quite a bit smaller than the biblical one. There are a whole pile of websites on this thing, with lots of pictures. I don’t think the ship actually floats on it’s own; it was built on a metal barge to begin with. And I’m not 100% that Huibers’ pole barn construction is what you’d want to use to build a sturdy ship ... I’d make the walls about 6 times thicker too, to better withstand the tempest.


A very nice photo page can be found here, where Paul the Dane reminds us that the capacity of the original was about equal to 570 modern railroad boxcars. Another link here, to a bible study page that looks at the displacement, volume, and deck area of the fabled boat, and realizes that it’s dimensions were proper for a well built ship:

The displacement tonnage of the ark, which is the weight of water it would displace at a draught of 15 cubits, would be more than 22,000 tons. By comparison the U.S.S. Salem, a 716-foot-long heavy cruiser commissioned in 1949, has a displacement tonnage of 21,500 tons. The ark’s gross tonnage which is a measure of cubic space (100 cubic feet is one gross ton) would be 15,100 tons. The ark’s total volume would have been 1,518,000 cubic feet. This would equal the capacity of 569 modern railroad stock cars. The standard size for a stock car is 44 feet long and a volume of 2670 cubic feet. This would make a train more than 5 ½ miles long. The floor space for the ark would be over 101,000 square feet. This would be more floor space than 21 standard college basketball courts. By comparing the measurements of the ark it is easy to see that it would be comparable to today’s ocean going vessels. It was probably the largest vessel of its type built until the late 1800’s when metal ships were first constructed.

The ark was built on a 1:6 ratio (50 cubits: 300 cubits). The science of naval architecture reveals that the most stable ratio for an ocean going vessel is 1:6. All modern day ocean going vessels use this same length to width ratio. It is estimated that the ark could easily have survived even the largest of ocean waves. If the ark were equipped with a dragging stone anchor, it would have been properly positioned to meet any size ocean wave. The design of the ark would have made it almost impossible to turn over.

Thanks once again to Carol for the tip. This was a fun post to delve into.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/24/2009 at 12:56 PM   
Filed Under: • Religion •  
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may as well laugh at it

A Harley biker is riding by the zoo in Washington , DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, ‘Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.’

The Harley rider replies, ‘Why, it was nothing, really. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted as I felt was right.’

The reporter says, ‘Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page… So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?’

The biker replies, ‘I’m a U.S. Marine and a Republican.’ The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:


thanks to Rich K !


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/24/2009 at 12:30 PM   
Filed Under: • HumorMedia-Bias •  
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Not so sure this is a great idea.  Except for MSFT (mis-fit) if it works.

Microsoft (MSFT) kinda reminds me of the old Al Capp cartoon with General Bullmoose.
“If it’s good for General Motors, it’s good for the USA.” Bah.  Most of you too young to recall that.

Hey ... finally felt well enough to get my butt in gear and go see the doctor.  They have just moved to new and more modern offices less then a mile down the road. Or maybe almost a mile. Trouble is, there isn’t any bus from our general area that goes anywhere near there. Forget walking in this weather and anyway, all the damn coughing has played havoc with ribs and stomach. Not to mention chest. Walking is not an option as well when your feet don’t alway perform the way nature intended them to.  So, the wife had to drive me there and sorry to say, she’s now developing what I just had. And she refuses to see a doctor.  Who kind of gave me what for, for waiting so long to see him as I have this chest infection for which the over the counter stuff does nothing.  I’m being long winded again but the reason for all this is my way of leading up to what I read in the instructions that came with the 50mg Doxycycline I was given. I think it’s funny. Here’s exactly what they say.  You couldn’t make it up.


So I guess I can’t take em while laying flat on my back while reading a book. Which isn’t at all how I read a book anyway.
Standing up or sitting down.  ???  What exactly have I missed?  Must be here somewhere.

OK, bad news on the leaky roof thing and btw, we have a bad “rising damp” problem too. More on those later.

Microsoft makes move on the news

23rd November 2009

Rupert Murdoch has accused search engines such as Google of ‘stealing the news’
Microsoft has held secret talks with some of the world’s biggest media groups over a plan that could see millions of news stories pulled from Google.
In its most direct attack on Google yet, the software giant is understood to have offered to pay news organisations for providing their content exclusively through Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Microsoft has held discussions with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns The Times and The Sun newspapers, along with a number of other media groups, sources said.
The move would see millions of news stories and feature articles blocked from the Google News service.
Severing his links with Google would represent a huge gamble for Murdoch, who like many other media owners is struggling to adapt to a world where consumers are used to getting news for free.

Google brings millions of visitors to News Corp sites, which in theory should boost the conglomerate’s online revenues.
But Murdoch believes that Google gets the better end of the deal, recently accusing search engines of ‘stealing our stories’.
‘It costs us a lot of money to put together good newspapers and good content,’ the media mogul said last week.

The Times will start charging visitors to its website in the spring, with other titles across the Murdoch empire expected to follow suit.
Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times already charge hefty subscription fees for access to their websites. But experts say this works only because business executives are prepared to pay for their specialised content.

The case for getting consumers to pay for general news is less clear cut.

Online advertising revenues have so far come nowhere near to off-setting the collapse in newsstand and advertising revenues.
One possible solution is a system of micro-payments, where consumers would pay a small sum for each article or story they view.
For Microsoft, the friendly approach to the media industry is a bold statement of intent.

Microsoft re-launched its search engine as Bing this year and looks to be prepared to pay out hundreds of millions to unseat market leader Google.
Microsoft and News Corp declined to comment.


Not too sure about Mr. Murdoch. Are you? 


Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/24/2009 at 11:00 AM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessEconomicsUSA •  
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T-Day Crowder

Typical Holiday Dinner and the reaction you’ve always dreamed about

No actual turkeys or hippies were harmed making this video. It’s acting, m’kay?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/24/2009 at 09:12 AM   
Filed Under: • Humor •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner

GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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