Timothy Jones

April 16, 2002:

Hi. I prefer to engage in tech debates in their respective forums. Therefore, please submit posts to the newsgroup, and not to my inbox. Thanks.

No. Your fingers work. Your E-mail client works. Use them.

What Timmy "Forgot" to Tell Me

[Editor's note: I never heard anything more from him. I assumed this meant that he either had no response to offer, or he was ignoring the post because I didn't post it to the newsgroup as he demanded. Nice, eh? He E-mails me out of the blue, gives me a return E-mail address, and then refuses to accept my E-mail response! Or at least, that's what I thought. You see, it turns out that he did read my response, and he did reply to it, but not to me. He quietly posted it in a week-old thread on the newsgroup the day before the above E-mail, in whic he didn't even hint that he'd done such a thing! Worse yet, he chose to put it in a thread called "Timothy Jones: Read This", which was hardly an obvious place for me to look even if I tried. In short, he tried to hide his rebuttal from me!]


Timmy's Secret Rebuttal

[Editor's note: Luckily, Rob Dalton informed me of Timmy's secret little rebuttal, and gave me a Google link to it. I present it here now, even though it was technically never sent to me so it's not really "hate mail". Take note of the way he spends most of his time playing politics, trying to make himself look like Mr. Nice Guy while quietly glossing over his massive distortions of the facts.]

[Also take note of the very careful, selective way in which he quotes my text. I don't demand or expect full quoting from every person I debate with (indeed, it would be a waste of time), but there's a difference between cutting to save space, and cutting in order to deliberately misrepresent or obscure an opponent's argument. Look at the way he selectively deletes my text (I took the liberty of adding notes in which I restored deleted sections, so you won't have to go back and cross-reference it yourself), and then decide for yourself what he's doing. And finally, take note of the way he evades my criticism that his conclusions defy the facts by simply dismissing those facts as "inaccurate SFX"; I guess he figured it was more convenient to judge evidence based on theories, rather than judging theories based on evidence :)]

April 15, 2002 (yes, according to Google he posted this a day before the above E-mail, in which he made no mention of it):

The following is a reprint of Mike Wong's response to my submission to his website, which I reprinted here yesterday, and my redirect to that response.


The fact that the ISD in ESB has to shoot down those asteroids at all in the first place, as I've often had to point out, indicates very weak (compared to Trek starships anyway) weapons, albeit indirectly.

And it obviously hasn't occurred to you that if their weapons were as feeble as you think, they would not have been able to destroy those asteroids at all (perhaps you think the asteroids were constructed out of photocopier toner, thus disintegrating into invisibly small particles upon the slightest touch).

Yes, that also occurred to me. Which is why I account for that notion in the last part of what I wrote originally. You might want to work on reading with a bit more patience. As I said, I think the asteroids weren't destroyed at all, merely fragmented with inaccurate SFX. Hence, my treatment doesn't create a dilemma like your does.

Why? Because, if the weapons were as powerful on an ISD as this site argues for, and if the ISD is yet vulnerable to the much lower threat energies from colliding with those small rocks (which are also calculable, though I notice the conspicuous absence of such calculations from this site)

Obviously, you never learned to read. The implications of this constant hail of asteroid impacts are quantified and discussed on my Shield pages.

I was looking at your star destroyer page, Mike. It doesn't mention let alone have links to any other pages. And really, such related things should at least be mentioned in arguments you made there, which are endangered by the asteroid collision energy figures. In other words, you need to address and respond to them on the same page where they become a problem for you, the star destroyer page. You might also try reprinting them here in the NG.

You assume that these asteroids represent a small threat despite their sheer numbers and density, but you provide no figures to back up that claim. Instead, you accuse me of not having provided such figures to deny your claim in advance, even though I actually have provided the figures!

You made the original claim, so it is your responsibility to back it up with such supporting figures. And again, I saw nothing of the kind on the only site of yours I had been made aware of. And really, it's common sense, since the SW side is trying to argue for TL energy figures which are far greater than the KE figures would be for those small and quite slow-moving rocks in the ESB scene in question. So, no, I don't think I'm neglecting anything. Remember, some SW proponents have actually tried to claim gigaton energy figures for TL bolts. Not only do the visuals never support anything of the kind, you can easily tell no small rock contacted at less than 2 kps would ever reach such an energy figure. Therefore, one can quickly conclude that, since ISDs are indeed vulnerable to the rock collisions, they cannot be producing TL bolt energy amounts anywhere close to the GT figures some have argued for. Or else TL bolts would destroy even an ISD with just one shot, or at most a few shots, and this is something we simply never see, whereas we do see contrary visuals.

then we are faced with the unavoidable logical implication that the ISDs must therefore have very weak shields and hulls.

Either that, or I find myself faced with yet another know-it-all ignoramus who doesn't understand simple geometry, physics, etc. Try crunching the numbers instead of just blathering qualitatively about them.

Mike, your rudeness is becoming annoying. If you cannot debate civilly, I shall assume it is because you cannot. Whether it's a maturity problem or you just have no real case to make, or both, I will not respond to or read your posts unless you can manage to control yourself a little better. And you know, your position and arguments are nothing new to me, either. Yes, I too have long been a part of these debates, off-and-on. And I am well aware you your reputation for claiming intellectual authority you don't really possess (that whole "I have a 'physics.org' address [Editor's note: the ultimate disrespect; not only did he not bother to read my site before claiming to have refuted its conclusions, but he didn't even bother to find out my name; he's got me confused with Mike Griffiths, aka Lord Edam! But of course, he's superficially polite, so I'm the bad guy if I respond to this astounding disrespect in kind], so I'm a physics authority!" debacle, where it was proved, and admitted that your membership doesn't establish that, as well as your reputation for attacking arguers instead of arguments as you're trying to do to me. I must say, you will have to work harder if you want to impress or convince anyone that doesn't already agree with you.

Otherwise, they wouldn't need to destroy those small rocks. Since they do, though, this would therefore also mean that their weapons, including their turbolaser weapons simply cannot be as powerful as has been argued for here on this site as well as on the newsgroup debate threads, in which I have long taken part.

[more irrelevant ad hominization snipped] [Editor's note: the snipped portion was "This isn't the Post Office, Timmy. Seniority doesn't mean anything. And by the way, not only have you failed to provide a shred of quantitative evidence to back up your claim (and erroneously accused me of also failing to do so), but you have also implicitly assumed that heat transfer weapons and physical impacts are precisely identical in mechanisms and defensive difficulties, which is completely nonsensical."]

This is because of the conflict created by the duel premises of powerful weapons and [vulnerability to small rocks at slow speeds, indicating weak hulls and shields.]

False dilemma. [Editor's note: he snipped "You have made no effort whatsoever to produce a quantifiable justification for your gut-feeling analysis of the TESB visuals. I hate to break it to you, but gut-feeling analyses are utterly worthless."]

You don't seem to have made an argument to demonstrate just why the dilemma is false. All you can seem to do is made personal attacks. This will compel noone who doesn't already agree with you. The dilemma is quite real, since you cannot have a lesser threat that is yet more potent that the implications of the means by which it is neutralized, when said means of neutralization do not show equal or greater performance upon the same subject.

The arguments of this site and threads on newsgroups like ASVS try to establish the first premise. But the visuals from ESB that such arguments rely on, ironically, clearly imply the second premise.

They imply that to you, because you obviously haven't a clue what you're doing. You would rather construct a theory which is blatantly contradicted by the evidence.

They imply it, because that is what the logical impetus indicates. If it is just "to [me]," though, you ought to be able to say something that would actually engage my reasoning. So far, you've not done this.

Since we cannot reject this second premise, the first one is jeopardized by the its conflict with the second.

Jesus Christ, are you always this long-winded and repetitive? See above.

Are you always this ad hoministically irrelevant and petty? See above.

[additional ad hominization snipped] [Editor's note: the snipped portion was "How long can one post ramble on about just one completely unsupported point? Here's a hint: to avoid unnecessary run-on posts, try stating your point just once next time. And try backing it up; that will make it so much more interesting!"]

If we refuse to abandon the first premise, the only other way to resolve said conflict is to say the ISDs must have weak hulls and shields. Otherwise, since lesser energies from low speed impacts with small rocks are so devastating (as ESB visuals clearly show), obviously the supposedly greater energies from turbolaser bolts would destroy capital ships in just one or two hits, or at least cripple them, by smashing whatever part they contact.

Actually, since each ship withstood a constant hail of impacts on its hull

There is no evidence they withstood any impacts at all. Every collision we ever see or are told about is a significantly damaging one. Again, you cannot assume what is not in evidence, just because your position needs to.

because it only destroyed the biggest asteroids,

The ones I saw destroyed were hardly big, mike. In fact, they were not much bigger than the mere widths of the TL bolts that struck them! If those are a navigation and safety hazard to ISDs, clearly they cannot compete with starships which would not be threatened by them. Trek ships are not threatened by them, whether at the under 2kps speeds we see in ESB, or even at many times the speed of light. Ergo, Trek ships must have far better shields and/or hulls. By extension then, their weapons are indirectly shown to likewise be stronger than those of SW ships like ISDs. You can insult me all you wish, but until and unless you say something to directly engage this argument, as far as I and other reasonable people are concerned, it stands. Any point you cannot or do not address is a point against your position, and/or for the other position.

the facts lead to a much different conclusion. Everyone can see asteroids vaporizing against the ship's hull in the movie,

As I already argued, there is more reason to believe this "visual" is not accurate than to have to face the irrefutable contradiction its being accepted without question would lead to. I choose the more reasonable path of parsimonious thought and conclusion.

[personal attacks snipped] [Editor's note: the snipped portion was "thus putting the lie to your ridiculous claim that they cannot withstand such impacts (well, everyone but you can see this; perhaps you should see an optometrist). Obviously, given thousands of such impacts, systems will eventually wear down. However, your claim that the ship was incapable of withstanding any such impacts is a bald-faced lie."]

Mike, any good, authoritative, rational, reasonable scientist or philosopher would not need to resort to your style of infantile behavior. The more you do it, the more you hurt your case, and your image. It is only impressive to other dishonorable individuals.

However, not only would this choice be unwise for the SW proponents, it would in fact be in conflict with the overall preponderance of the visual evidence from the SW films. Simply put, turbolasers do not disable or destroy capital ships such as corvettes or other ISDs in just one or a few hits.

[more ad hominization snipped] [Editor's note: the snipped portion was "Oh really? Open your eyes before you open your mouth."] In the beginning of ANH, a turbolaser bolt splinters off the Tantive IV's shields, and the remnants blow a chunk of the ship clean off.

I beg to differ. What I saw, and saw clearly, were several hits being absorbed by Leia's ship, the Tantive IV, and the one that got through destroying only a portion of the middle of the ship. Hardly what I would call "gigaton" performance. Considering the KE of a small rock contacted at less than 2 kps did more damage to the bridge superstructure of an ISD in ESB (you remember, just before we see the officer put up his hands and vanish from the holographic communication with another officer and Vader), I am hardly going to conclude something in defiance of all this evidence. To do so would be illegitimately ad hoc...something no respectable scientist or philosopher would knowingly do.

So we actually cannot take that way out of the dilemma, even if we wanted to. Therefore, the first option becomes logically unavoidable. Turbolasers cannot be and simply are not as powerful as has been asserted on this site and in the newsgroup discussion threads, all calculations and "observations" (well thought out though they are) notwithstanding.

In other words, you decide that you can ignore all of the evidence because of your purely qualitative assessment of TESB, in which thousands of multi-megaton asteroid impacts against the hull of each ship represent proof of weakness rather than strength.

No, but because the preponderance of evidence shows the exact opposite of what you're claiming. For example, a small rock contacted at a relative velocity of under 2 kps will hardly be a "multi-megaton" event. And I never saw any ship in ESB, including any ISD, take even one such impact with sustaining substantial damage. I did, however, see many instances in all the SW films of turbolasers and other large SW ship weapons being used on other ships, which managed to absorb one or even several hits before or even without loosing their shields. I'm sorry if it makes you upset, and I'm sorry you feel the need to take your anger or frustration out on me. But the fact remains the majority of the evidence (in fact, all of it except the single visual you refer to, which as has been argued is questionable in its validity) shows that the strongest weaponry in SW other than the DS superlaser simply isn't all that strong, at least not when compared to Trek level weapons.

It must be nice to be able to perform analyses without having to bother analyzing anything!

Indeed, as when, say, someone just writes a string of insults to the person they're "arguing with," instead of returning courtesy with courtesy, and reason with reason? If you want to "win," Mike, you have to earn it, not just browbeat it out of those on the other side. This is why I'm so proud to be on the Trek side. Win or loose, we don't generally feel the need to do that nearly as often. Try it some time. You'll feel better, be less bitter and have more to think about. Or I suppose you can just hold true to your present form, and respond to this with angry quips like "Oh, gee, thanks doctor! I suppose you're a fucking psychologist now. What a laugh, to think you know all about everything and can give advice to someone who's obviously done the work you're too stupid to do, etc etc etc." It's up to you. One way though, you'll find, is more productive....if that's even of interest to you.

There must then be some flaw in either the observations that the SW proponents have made, or else in the calculations they have made based on them. Given the verifiability of the calculations themselves, I doubt this second area is where the flaw rests. And indeed, it would seem more plausible to suppose that it is the basic observations and resultant assumptions that are in error. This means that, something that the SW proponents take themselves to have seen, simply is not so.

Ah, so you cannot resolve the false dilemma you have created with your laughable gut-feeling analysis of TESB, but you're sure that whatever the answer is, it must be that all of our carefully thought-out observations and calculations must be wrong, eh?

Not the calcs, as I said, but that you are misinterpreting the visuals, thus deriving an implication that leads to the calcs; it is this implication that I am questioning.

It is my contention that, as has occurred before (and therefore can be argued from a basis of precedent), George Lucas and/or his special effects people simply took too much cinematic license with the visual production of the scene being referred to.

In other words, you defy Lucasfilm's claim that the films ("film" being explicitly defined as an visual medium, thus excluding visuals only if you're a blithering idiot) are canon. Why should anyone accept your personal re-definition of Star Wars canon?

Because my re-definition is anything but personal, but based on the very same, canonistic medium. I witness simply that there is more of it telling against your position than for it. When visuals belie each other, we have no choice but to take the preponderance of data as overriding of the minority. This is especially so when we have reason to suspect the knowledgeability of those that produced it.

In other words, those rocks were not, in fact vaporized, but merely blown apart, and at slow enough speeds so as not to render said fragmentation "a moot point." The special effects crew simply didn't bother to draw in the rock fragments (which would've been just dust particles and pebbles and such), because they didn't want to take the time over what they considered to be a minor detail.

Not only are you defying the fact that Star Wars is a canon film,

Hardly; on the contrary, I am taking a larger portion of what is canon over a smaller, highly anomalous portion.

but you are also ignoring the fact that you can see an asteroid being shattered into debris in the Millennium Falcon's cockpit window, earlier in the very same asteroid field. They obviously did have the time and inclination to show rock fragments, if they thought these fragments should be there.

That was two asteroids hitting each other, if we're thinking of the same shot. It was in their interests to draw in the fragments in that case, to highlight the spectacular nature of the collision, and the effect the debris had. And you know, now that you mention it, that shot only adds weight to my point. After all, there it was just a small dusting of micrometeorites that the Falcon flew through, and even those managed to rock the ship! And yet, as some would have it, I am yet expected to somehow believe that this same ship can take hits from TL bolts (which we saw it do), that would supposedly be "gigaton" powered? This is a clear contradiction, and yes, a real, not false dilemma. The simplest, most parsimonious solution to which is to yield to the implications of the reigning preponderance of data, both visual and spoken, which establishes that nothing has even been "vaporized" by any SW conventional weapons fire, and than the one, isolated, standout visual used to try and say it has happened, is an exaggerated 2-to-3 second shot that has been mishandled by the film's FX crew, and taken egregiously out of context by some of the film's more ardent proponents.

Or they may have thought (correctly I would think) that such would not be visible against the pitch black backdrop of space. In other words, they goofed. It would be no different than when Han Solo spoke to Luke and Ben about having "...made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs," referring to a parsec as a unit of time, when it's actually a unit of distance.

A mistake by an onscreen character is entirely different than saying that a portion of the canon film is no longer canon because you don't like it.

Considering both points come from the same source, and the former establishes credibility for claiming the latter is likewise erroneous due to its conflicting with the bulk of available data, it means that it is a similar enough type of mistake; namely, a mistake borne out of the lack of scientific training on the part of the filmmakers. This is quite understandable, since they are after all filmmakers and not scientists. But at the same time, one cannot ignore it when a conflict arises because of it. I have the forthrightness to accept it. You should too.

The Rule Of Parsimony, or Rule Of Simplicity (A.K.A. "Occam's Razor,") says that one should take the simplest explanation to be the best one, pending further input.

I know all about Occam's Razor, Timmy. It demands that we pick the simplest theory, not the most simple-minded theory. There's a difference.

I would say being ad hoministic is more "simple-minded" than taking the greater sum of canon data over the lesser sum of it, which is all I have done.

A simple theory must still fit the facts. It must be shown to fit the facts.

The fact that the SW production crew is imperfect is accommodated for in my explanation.

A simple-minded theory, on the other hand, lacks analytical rigor and/or accuracy to observations, and its sole benefit is that simple-minded people like it.

Ah, like the way personal abuse lacks analytical rigor. Yes, I see your point only too well. Now, you should try learning from it. I mentioned Occam's Razor, because your treatment of this issue on your web site violates that principal, and because my argument utilizes it in a way that I thought ought to be made clear to interested readers. Especially if anyone that reads it hasn't been formally educated in philosophy. It was not meant to be condescending.

Here, our choices are to deal with the conflict between the dualistic implications from the same scene in ESB, namely, that ISDs definitely have comparatively weak hulls and shields (that is, compared to Trek ships, whose navigational deflectors easily protect them from such small objects at such slow contact speeds, and even at high warp)

Then why were Klingon heavy cruisers destroyed so effortlessly by Jem'Hadar fighter ramming attacks in DS9?

Jem'Hadar ships are substantially bigger than small asteroids, and they impacted at higher speeds. It is you that seems to have the penchant for creating false dilemmas, not I.

Why was the Odyssey destroyed so easily by a single impact?

See above. Also, remember what happens to a starship when it is destroyed by running into another; its warp core would obviously breach, releasing a tremendous amount of energy. This would also occur on the other ship, so it's not at all hard to see why colliding ships are often destroyed.

Why can't Federation ships warp through dense asteroid fields?

Because there are much bigger asteroids there, far bigger than those small rocks the ISD in ESB was so threatened by.

Has it ever occurred to you that the nav deflectors are only good for interstellar dust, not asteroids massing hundreds of thousands (or in some cases, millions) of tons?

I know what the E-D Tech Manual says; the nav deflector works from objects ranging in size from particles and micrometeorites up to and including small asteroids, even at high warp, where the kinetic energies from even dust particles would be astronomical. I never tried to say they could deflect asteroids massing "thousands or millions of tons."

and yet supposedly have such powerful weapons, that we would then expect to see one-hit kills/neutralizations of capital ships -- which we never do --

False dilemma.

Not based on the majority of the evidence, it isn't.

There is no reason that a Star Destroyer must be able to score a one-hit kill on another Star Destroyer with a multi-megaton light turbolaser just because it cannot take thousands of multi-megaton physical asteroid impacts.

But there is a reason to think it cannot take even a single hit from a primary turbolaser discharge that supposedly has more energy than the kinetic energy of the singular (not thousands, Mike, singular, which is all we've ever seen) impacts of small rocks that do serious damage, when contacted at relative velocities of less than 2 kps.

or the choice of interpreting the asteroid destruction visuals in ESB with a bit of leeway for the fact that those who created them were not as scientifically astute as those who've since tried to hold them up as evidence of weapons power. Occam's Razor clearly directs us, in this case, to the latter choice. Therefore, that is my conclusion.

Occam's Razor directs us to the theory which is consistent with the facts, and the facts support me, not you. [Editor's note: he snipped the following: "Every "fact" that you have tried to present in favour of your obviously pre-ordained conclusion has been completely inaccurate, and if you insist on being obstinate enough to cling to your bizarre lies about the films, I'm perfectly willing to embarrass you further by posting video clips. I recently digitized my laserdiscs to Divx5 format, so it would be very easy, and you can't simply hope that I won't want to bother."]

You aren't even acknowledging or responding to the facts, Mike. Being dismissive is no substitute for being thoural or forthright. The facts are that we've seen a lot of effect from something that has far less energy than what's claimed to be present in something else from which we've seen much less effect.

By the way, I notice that you have no explanation for the Death Star; is that supposed to be non-canon special effects too?

The superlaser is not at issue here. I don't need an explanation.

The clearly shown weakness of SW ship shields and hulls (compared to Trek ships' shields and hulls) prevents arguing for SW ship weapons power levels that are close to or beyond that of the lesser threats (such as small asteroids) which we've seen do greater damage than said SW ship weapons.

All right, since you insist on repeating this single, feeble point ad neuseum, I might as well explain what's wrong with it in the sort of childishly simplistic manner that you might understand:

I define your behavior as childish. Not my reasoning. But by all means, do indeed give a real argument for a change.

Your logic is as follows:

1) An ISD cannot score a one-hit kill on another ISD.

This is a fact. It never happens, not even to a corvette.

2) Therefore, a turbolaser blast must be less powerful than anything that can score a one-hit kill on another ISD.

Or at least do more damage than we've ever seen a single TL blast do.

This is actually true, but an argument must apply logic to facts, and your facts are so hopelessly wrong that I can only suspect either brain damage or deliberate deception:

Your being insulting is no refutation, Mike.

1) Timothy says that a typical TESB asteroid could score a one-hit kill on an ISD.

Actually, no, I never said that. I said it does significant damage. If you can produce a quote of me claiming a one-hit kill of an ISD by an asteroid, by all means do so. I just said damage...a lot. {If I'm really so repetitive, you shouldn't be making such obviously fallacious miss-quotes, now should you.}

Therefore, using the aforementioned logic, a turbolaser blast must be less powerful than a typical TESB asteroid.

[ad hominization snipped] [Editor's note: the snipped portion was "Sorry Timmy, but no one with an intact brain stem could possibly agree that the TESB asteroid field was a one-hit kill. Those ships were in that field for hours, possibly days. They were sustaining a constant rain of asteroids against their hulls."]

Video clips from the film's asteroid vape sequence show roughly one asteroid striking the ship every two seconds (with greater energy than the asteroid which struck one ship's bridge tower), [Editor's note: he deleted "and that's only the impacts on the side facing us which are large enough to create a bright flash. How many seconds are in an hour, Timmy? We are talking about thousands of impacts, not one. Get it through your head."]

I saw only one instance of a rock hitting an ISD, and that was the one that destroyed its bridge superstructure...all quibbling about "the spine" of it to one side. None struck the ship that was shooting them down, because they were moving so slowly so as to have time to steer around or fragment them with TL fire.

In other words, TESB only proves that a single light turbolaser blast is less dangerous to an ISD than many thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of asteroid impacts, each with kinetic energy content comparable to a nuclear weapon. [Editor's note: he snipped "That's a far cry from YOUR conclusion, which is not only based on bad data but which is directly contradicted by the visuals (which you naturally dismiss as non-canon special effects, using your power as sole arbiter of Star Wars canonicity)."]

No, it proves that a single turbolaser blast is less powerful than the individual rock impact we actually witness.

Ergo, they are substantially less powerful than have been argued for by the SW proponents based on ESB visuals, said visuals therefore being less well thought out than they should have been, based on the overall preponderance of evidence (both visual and spoken dialogue) of their performance. Thank you.

At least you were polite enough to thank me for suffering through your poorly thought-out arguments. [Editor's note: he snipped "Maybe next time, you'll be polite enough to put some genuine effort and honesty into those arguments (unless this was the best you could do, in which case you have my pity)."]

If only you were as polite for my enduring your abuse. Mike, no offense, but you need to learn how to better interact with people if you want to be taken seriously. If you cannot, you have my pity, but not much more of my patience. I'm sorry, but if your next post replying to this one is as hostile, I will not read or reply to it, no matter how many time you or others grand stand on that refusal to claim "victory." If this is how you customarily "win," you are welcome to it. But I for one don't envy you it. Just argue the arguments. Straightforwardly, honestly, and without side commentary. If nothing else, you'll be done sooner. Thanks.

[Editor's note: just FYI, he always ends newsgroup posts with "Thanks". It's part of the Sophist's method of always trying to seem more polite and courteous than your opponent, because superficial manners are more important to a Sophist than being correct, rationally consistent, or honest. And in case you're curious, yes. He is known far and wide for his use of selective, deceptively marked (or completely unmarked) text deletions when answering an argument, and for pretending that he has evidence when he does not. Not for nothing did Star Trek and Star Wars fans both start giving him the silent treatment].

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