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Even Carl Sagan conceded that there were some parapsychological fields that he felt warranted serious research. Many of these skeptics are just staunch in their views and nothing short of someone levitating a chair in front of their very eyes would convince them.

Sometimes, I wonder if even that would do it.

Might I add that I also call myself a "skeptic" but I'm not a "Skeptic" if you understand what I'm saying. I love science and I believe science is the key to mankind's continued improvement, I'm just interested in what the "fringe" sciences have to say. It's interesting when you realize that the "delusional people" have to say and what data they have, and that they're just not people who are having wild mystical who have no data to back it up. I, myself had an experience lately.

A friend of mine said he had a very bad feeling; like an omen and that he felt like something very terrible was going to happen. The very next day, in fact under 24 hours later, his father pretty much lost his mind; talking about how he kept being watched by a secret organization, and how everyone he knew was in danger, and how he had to get everyone to the "safe place" that could have been god knows what. His craziness actually reached such a disruptive peak that he had to be arrested. While he was always eccentric, he had never showed signs of being outright crazy. I know it's almost certainly a coincidence that my friend felt this way, and that it's likely a case of "remember the hits, forget the misses" but you always have to wonder about these sorts of things.

Michael! You would argue with the Flat Earth Society? Why, for shame! Everyone can see that the earth is flat. Just cranks and delusional people believe otherwise. Copernicus? An obvious fraud. Astronauts? Silly government propaganda. Evidence? Oh, ho hum...

Your response to the skepticisms of the type and quality you cite is perfectly understandable, Michael. My own attitude mirrors yours, and I find myself uninterested in wasting time and energy on such worthless commentary as is offered by those types of people. At this point, I seek only further understanding of those phenomena which I have directly experienced and have been experienced by others, phenomena that tends to get grouped under the (somewhat) pejorative label of "paranormal". As a new generation comes of age and approaches these phenomena with an open curiousity, an older generation, with their entrenched biases, gets pushed to the side, their prejudices with them. There are so many large questions which have yet to be answered, but the history of knowledge shows repeatedly that the academic attitude which has frequently been displayed just before revolutionary discoveries and changes in the prevailing paradigm can be summed up in the phrase "We have a pretty thorough understanding of just about everything". To anyone who has had any experiences unexplainable by the "generally accepted theories" of the entrenched, to those whose experiments produce observations and data beyond the scope of obsolete theories and hypotheses, that "thorough understanding" amounts to an intellectual blindfold willingly worn by these supporters of unsupportable hubris. Sadly, the firing squad of history can't be put off forever.

“Her subjects had neatly "divided themselves into 49.4% past lives as women and 50.6% as men -- a biological fact in past time periods."”

I must admit that when I first read about those results of hers I got very suspicious of her findings and her research. I must further admit that because she stated those very numbers not showing any variation from biological birth rates in her research I gave her research little validity. Although she had a large sample size that could account for those nice neat perfect results, I suspect otherwise. When the results appear too good to be true then much more research is needed.

I am in no way implying that all of her research is fraud but numbers like that raise a very high red flag for me. As a consultant for 20 years I could usually smell, taste, see, and intuit fudged data. At a company I worked with the CEO at the corporate level came out and stated everything was to be six-sigma (99.9997) accurate by a certain date. The rush to fudge the data was overwhelming and yes even by PhD’s.

This CEO had a PHD in of all things mathematics. That one directive killed the six sigma program at that company and turned a lot of employees into makers of fudging the numbers. When dealing with statistics there are so many ways to fudge the numbers.

Here I go again but ultra skeptics and religious fundamentalists are two sides of the same coin entitled “fear”. It is less painful to support your cherished belief than even consider the evidence.

Many people have been disappointed with the skeptics. I've read skeptical literature for years, and I thought "this is the scientific alternative to the paranormal". It's wrong. As I've said, most of them have ideological motivations and strong worldview convictions about the paranormal. Most of them can't be convinced using rational argumentation and evidence. (Many of them don't know that. They really see themselves as objective and rational persons).

In fact, their typical "black or white" thinking motive them to see your criticism towards them as a "defense of paranormal". I've known people who doesn't believe in paranormal phenomena and also are critics of skeptics. These people is accused of "credulous", "irrational", etc. by skeptics if they critize them.

For me, it's fascinating the psychology of skeptics as a field of scientific research.

Skeptics' tricks and tactics have been exposed for years, only that most skeptics don't take the time to read criticism against skepticism with an objective and autocritical mind (because it causes strong cognitive dissonance to them). I'm sure most of you are familiar with critical articles about skepticism, but I'd like to refer some of them:

Maybe most of you don't know that Edgar Wunder, a former top member of GWUP (the German equivalent of CSICOP) wrote extensive criticism of organized skeptical movement. As insider, he exposed the agenda, motivations, and ideology of most of his members. He wrote the excelent article Das Skeptiker-Syndrom you can read here:

You can translated it to english using this online translator:

More info in German language here:

I understand that you're bored with skepticism, Michael. Me, I'm pretty much bored with everything that has to do with the paranormal. Starting out as an agnostic, this last year I've read perhaps some 50 books on the topic, and have went from being a skeptic after reading some of Susan Blackmore's work, back to being an agnostic after reading some pro paranormal books, to being a believer, and finally back to being an agnostic again, with a slight bent toward believing in some paranormal phenomena.

I'm just sick of exploring this topic. I want to leave all these questions alone and live my life in the now without having to bother too much about things like whether there is life after death. I feel you just get kinda sucked up if you get too involved it those matters. You forget that there's a life to *live*, not only to ponder.

On the other hand, having explored things like parapsychology, I feel a lot more hopeful about life after death and, well, life in general, so I guess it has been worth the while after all.

"When dealing with statistics there are so many ways to fudge the numbers."

I'm also extremely skeptical of positive statistical inferences and that is the reason why I don't take Radin's research or the RNG research seriously. If people are going to study these phenomena, then they should study it in its strongest forms as exemplified in the examinations of Leonora Piper and Gladys Leonard. Radin is crazy if he thinks the weak "effects" of "intentional chocolate" are convincing.

I will be sure not to name any future children of mine "Ray".

"In fact, Dave, I did read a book on the matter called "Reliving Past Lives" written by some chick named Helen Wambaugh who claims a PhD, and predictably, resided for many years in California."

Holy condescension, Batman. This guy manages to bash women, people with PhDs, Californians, and anyone with interest in the paranormal all in one review. And sure, California has Scientology, but does this warrant an unjustified attack?

Alex I did not mean to imply that statistics and statistical tools cannot be useful indeed very useful.

A simple process behavior chart that Deming taught, but Walter Shewhart discovered, is one of the most profound statistical tools ever discovered by humankind. From my point of view this “simple” statistical chart may be the most robust and profound statistical tool ever discovered.

Even today 70 years after its discovery most of the world knows the few benefits of these charts not only for statistical quality control but also for the profound insights on how to manage and lead an organization.

Because most organizations have failed to learn the inherent knowledge these charts can provide many if not most organizations are still attempting to solve the same problems they had 30 or even 60 years ago. And the destruction that is done in human morale and development because organizations lack of knowledge of variation is beyond measurement in human suffering and profits.

My only point was if the numbers are too good to be true then maybe we need to look at those numbers as an indicator that further research is needed.


Once most people make up their minds on an issue it's extremely difficult to get them open again. Your arguments have to be very persuasive. What's ironic is that even Science is that way. It seems to be an inherent human attribute. - Art

"It seems to be an inherent human attribute. - Art"

I have always felt much research is needed to find out why it is such an inherent human attribute.

>"In fact, Dave, I did read a book on the matter called "Reliving Past Lives" written by some chick named Helen Wambaugh who claims a PhD, and predictably, resided for many years in California."

>Holy condescension, Batman. This guy manages to bash women, people with PhDs, Californians, and anyone with interest in the paranormal all in one review.

Actually, all in one sentence. That's talent.

Yeah I am getting tired of arguing too with closed minded skeptics

Here's pessimist words from Louie Savva

Since everything is pointless, what do they really matter? Am I cutting my nose off, to spite my face? Having watched quite a lot of reality-TV singing competitions, I think most people do believe that they are the best, not fat, not ugly, and not stupid. Whereas in reality, most are stupid and ugly (or combinations thereof). I've mentioned before on this blog, that depressive people may be more realistic in their views of the world. Understanding that death is the end of everything, that we're not going to see our loved ones again, after they and we have died, and that everything that you get out of bed for in the morning, is pointless; that hard fought knowledge about the universe, cannot help but have an influence on behaviour. I won't argue that delusion isn't happier, but then science is about the truth, regardless of whether the answer is to the liking of humanity.

See yes science is about truth but ignoring personal experiences using our five senses and saying that everything is pointless is bold words

Luke warm had to smile when I read your "yawn" remarks. One person's passion is another's yawn. That is what makes us all so unique. God must like unique because we humans are that.

As far as yawn most organizations in the world feel the same way you do and the outcome of that yawn for them is sub optimization.

This sub optimization directly affects the success or decline of a nation. Especially the middle class. General motors yawned and Toyota listened to Deming and we all know how that turned out. How many billions of dollars did GM lose last quarter? How many American jobs have been lost due to GM’s yawns.

MP said:>The reason is that I'm bored with skepticism.<
Thank goodness! I liked this blog much better when you posted on diverse topics. It was always a treat to see what interesting topic you were going to bring up.

Michael, there are - still - some good skeptics! Look this:

It is disappointing to hear the skeptics on this subject, and the way the media writes merely one side of the argument.

Also, as you pointed out, Michael, it's the faux concern they show. "Show me good evidence for cold fusion and we'll gladly look at it". Hardly the case as can be seen on the wbsites of Richard Milton and Brian Josephson.

Or "religion is dangerous as it causes so many wars". Well, if religion is to be banned for this reason, then we must have to abandon science as well, as although it has brought many great benefits to mankind, it has also given us the capability to destroy every living thing on this earth.

This isn't a view I agree with, as I think science is very important to us, but you can't use one side of the argument without the other.

Dawkins will say science is truth, and not dogmatic and then says Milton's book with arguments of evolution should be burnt. It's unbelievable how that sounds. Just like the worst of the religious leaders.

It's the way of the world today I guess.

You quoted a self-described skeptic:

"No one among skeptics that I have met would refuse a fair hearing on a subject such as Cold Fusion even though it does seem kind of unlikely at this point in time. That is, if there is some reason to believe that the claimant is credible and actually has some evidence to share, even thin evidence."

That is completely wrong. Utterly, fatuously wrong.

First of all, cold fusion was replicated at high signal to noise ratios by hundreds of world-class laboratories such as Los Alamos and BARC, and these replications were published in over 1,000 mainstream, peer-reviewed journal papers. When I say high signal to noise, I mean 100 W of excess heat with no input, and tritium a million times background, in some cases. The evidence is indisputable. If you have any doubt at that, you will find a list of 3,000 papers and the full text of 500+ papers at our website:

Second, well known people who describe themselves as skeptics such as the editors of Scientific American told me they have never read a paper on cold fusion because it is "not their job" and they are absolutely certain the effect does not exist. They often ridicule the research, and their statements about it reveal that they know nothing about it. See:

Officials at the APS and writers at the Washington Post, Time and elsewhere are equally ignorant, and they have often stated that the effect was never replicated and that all cold fusion researchers are either criminal frauds or lunatics "baying at the moon." Several of them have told me that they have never read a paper, and some were surprised to hear that any papers were ever published.

These people reject cold fusion based on theory alone, a priori, without reference to the data. A true skeptic is skeptical most of all about his own views and about theory, but these people are as closed minded and self satisfied as a fundamentalist religious person is.

- Jed Rothwell

“Michael, there are - still - some good skeptics! Look this:”

This report appeared in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research:

Victor this journal is not accepted I think from most scientific journals as creditable. If the name psychic is in he name I suspect they automatically reject it.

Cognitive dissonance or paradigm paralysis? Could it be both?

Michael, what do you think of this article? It claims there there can be no objective proof of life after death:

I'm not sure about it. The author, especially when pondering a number of possible 'paranormal alternatives', comes up with some wild theories that sound like he has no respect for it.

For a site that had a well-written article on how to improve testing procedures for mediums, you'd think there'd be some kind of screening process for these articles.

Hi, Michael what is your opinion on the studies that were carried out on ndes where people who had near deathe experiences did not report seeing hidden messages just above there beds which you could have seen looking down.

Why give in to skeptics? The truth be known aren,t they denying some fundamental fact of our inherent nature to "explore" and try new avenues of our inner desire to reach further and higher goals regarding frontiers that some may feel are only on the "fringes" of accepted principles of the science community, tried and proven in some cases only by theory or hammered out to be the most hypothetical choice among graded factors, thus protecting cherished beliefs that stand stagnant as opposed to taking a risk and plunging ahead into something wonderous and new that is a simple response to the brain's ability to expand its consciousness to its full maximum and diverse quest of its many potentials. How else are we humans supposed to evolve into the mind's capabilities if we listen to tired old warn statements that go back to systems of un-enlighten era of the past? They hold no promise but things which broke away from those belief in the held and true. we wouldn,t have come this far if not for the pioneers that paved the way inspite of ridicule from their peers and foisted on the public for re-inforcement, partly fear and perhaps envy that a new thing turned the corner and they couldn,t take credit because of their closed minds to something *Unknown* is finally discovered because of research that the public wants and is clamoring for exciting broad bold approach to mysteries concerning the mind and any breakthrough how little means the later will soon also come into focus to its marvels. I could call myself a skeptic but not a hardline one. I leave a reservation that not everything can be made manifest to the sensory at once, and things that do manage to bypass the filters will not be cognized until something triggers such episode or event rather in a dream, which I frmly hold as a key to your inner self and expectations or verification of its validity you and only you will know its meaning.

lucyjane D.

Leo: that is an interesting question. Some have suggested that when the consciousness leaves the body electronic messages do not attract the attention of the consciousness. But yet this consciousness can see an old tennis shoe on the ledge, a penny on the top of the cabinets, family in the waiting room and even what they have said, people in the next room, etc.

Oh the mysteries just keep on coming. What would life be like if these mysteries did not keep on coming?

Lucy Jane I agree with you we must continue to explore into the depths of the mysteries all around us rather than stay in a flat earth state of mind. I call this the journey of the soul and the evolution of our soul’s consciousness. We explore, we suffer, we find joy, we struggle, we achieve, we learn, we fail, we win, we lose, what better process to bring compassion (love in action) and divine intelligence into our lives.

The skeptics would have made great flat earth believers when a courageous few suggested the earth was shaped more like an egg.


about NDE, look this site:

I'm pretty skeptical about a lot of paranormal stuff, because it leads to such emotional nonsense so much of the time. But I'm also skeptical of the professional Skeptics. Let's face facts: James Randi, one of the more obnoxious people on the planet, has turned his personal bete noir into a very lucrative profession. But how anyone who claims scientific objectivity can dismiss and explain away every single paranormal/unusual event, most of the time without ever visiting the site, interviewing the people involved, or even doing basic research, is beyond me. More beyond me is why anyone would listen when he does this. But we are the creatures of our prejudices, and happily subscribe to any nonsense that bolsters them.

Regarding reincarnation: I confess there's an intellectual interest to the subject. I would dearly love to have lived before and have seen the original Greek tragedies, the first operas, the plays of Shakespeare and Marlowe and Kyd; heard Cicero and Demosthenes; listened to Confucius and Lao Tzu and the Buddha; seen Raphael's and Michaelangelo's works when they were first unveiled. I wouldn't particularly have enjoyed living through the massacres of Timur, the seiges of Rhodes and Corinth, the 100-Year War, or any of the other bad things humanity's done to itself over the millenia. But I don't pay much attention to claims of reincarnation for three reasons: (1) belief in reincarnation seems to be a very handy way to stave off the fear of death, as are the religions that tout an afterlife, and I think a fear of death (or the possibility of annihilation) is an invitation to blinkered thinking; (2) if we do reincarnate, then we don't remember past lives because we're supposed to deal with *this* life, so stop thinking about the past and deal with the present; (3) if we don't reincarnate, then we're supposed to deal with *this* life, so stop thinking about the past and deal with the present.

Whatever one's beliefs, to oppose any area of study with rabid vehemence speaks volumes about the skeptic's psychological issues. While some investigations may be a waste of resources, there should be no intellectual or philosophical objections to any realm of investigation. That is just good science.

Hi Michael – I’ve been lurking about for a while now, and decided to toss my two-cents in. I think you’re right that it’s pointless to argue such things with such people. It is too exhausting.

What is really troubling to me is not so much the angry, bitter and marginally intelligent “skeptics” who incessantly post drivel all over the web. What troubles me is the significant population of intelligent researchers, those with advanced degrees who are so easily dismissive of empirical evidence.

Neal Grossman relates this conversation with a colleague regarding NDE’s in his excellent piece “Who’s Afraid of Life After Death?”:

I asked, “What about people who accurately report the details of their operation?”

“Oh,” came the reply, “they probably just subconsciously heard the conversation in the operating room, and their brain subconsciously transposed the audio information into a visual format.”

“Well,” I responded, “what about cases where people report veridical perception of events remote from their body?”

“Oh, that’s just a coincidence or a lucky guess.”

Exasperated, I asked, “What will it take, short of having a near-death experience yourself, to convince you that it’s real?”

Very nonchalantly, without batting an eye, the response was: “Even if I were to have a near-death experience myself, I would conclude that I was hallucinating, rather than believe that my mind can exist independently of my brain.”

The entire article (which is excellent) can be found here, Volume 1, Issue 1, no fee but registration required:

What strikes me as interesting about this exchange is its dismissive nature. What those skeptical of NDE’s in particular are apparently ignorant of, or completely unwilling to acknowledge, is the long-term effect the experience has on those who have these experiences. Nearly every single NDE survivor reports an ongoing, permanent sense of certainty of a deeper reality, with an accompanying loss of the fear of death and a tendency to treat others with more love, respect and understanding than before.

Though I have not experienced an NDE myself, I have directly experienced a higher level of consciousness which also permanently altered my outlook on reality (which came as quite a shock to a former Objectivist). What Grossman’s colleague and other skeptics miss is that the experiential aspect, primarily the emotions, the “feeling” state, of these events are so profound that one has no other choice but to adopt an altered worldview. I can assure you that if Grossman’s colleague actually experienced an NDE or some other profound mystical experience, it would be impossible for him to just dismiss it as “hallucinogenic”.

The same is true for the skeptics you reference here. Until such people have a direct transcendent experience themselves, they will forever be skeptical. I was. And I understand the futility of engaging them.

re: Sagan. i hear that he was privy to most info on ET and UFO.. he had to keep his mouth shut or the gov't would deny him Cornell grant money... and sick the IRS on him etcetc...

I have nothing wrong with honest doubt, but what really infuriates me is that many Skeptics do not even allow for the possibility of life after death. They would rather the billions of humans throughout history who have died meaningless, ignomious deaths before their time remain dead, just so they can be right!

"(1) belief in reincarnation seems to be a very handy way to stave off the fear of death, as are the religions that tout an afterlife, and I think a fear of death (or the possibility of annihilation) is an invitation to blinkered thinking"

"Omni: Scientists usually dismiss reincarnation as some sort of wishful thinking. Yet William James noted that our desire to believe in survival after death does not automatically negate its possibility. We do want to believe in it, don't we?

Stevenson: No, in fact we don’t. That's a misunderstanding concerning Hindus and Buddhists. They believe in it, but they don't particularly want to. Hindus see life in terms of a constant cycle of births in which we are doomed to struggle and suffer until we have reached perfection and can escape."

>Until such people have a direct transcendent experience themselves, they will forever be skeptical.

Michael H, I've often thought the same thing. I myself am deeply grateful for the experiences I've had in altered states. (Triggered by psychedelics, in my case.) Without those stunning, ecstatic, events—experiences that totally shattered my worldview—there's no way I'd be open to the "crazy" optimism that is the spiritual viewpoint.

Hi Leo,
This article by Chris Carter argues against Keith Augustine

By the way about people who have out of body experiences not seeing signs down below that have a hidden message i found out that three to four may have seen the messages however it was decided that they may have seen them from there of there bed.

just got this site from kevin williams about an OBE that a woman was able to leave her body and read a 5 digit number at another location correctly in a lab condition.

is this the white crow? just kidding much more research is needed but it suggests that the consciousness can leave the bodyand read numbers in a lab condition.

Thanks for the information on topics.I was excited by this article.
Thank you again

College online for good ideas.

We need "skeptics" that are nevertheless somewhat open-minded (for real, not just in their own self-image) and "believers" that make use of their critical minds.
Open-minded skeptics and sceptic believers.

Teabinge wrote: (We need) . . . Open-minded skeptics and skeptic believers.

There’s great truth to that. It strikes me that both camps are hoodwinked by their very belief systems. We all need to be skeptics in the truest sense of the word, but today’s internet “skeptics” are generally hard-line materialists masquerading as “open-minded”. What’s interesting is that they genuinely believe that, they are completely oblivious to their own self-chatter that has convinced them of their epistemological superiority, and philosophically are on an alarmingly similar plane to those “believers” who ultimately determine that their beliefs give them the right to fly planes into buildings. Both camps are operating through a lens clouded by their very beliefs.

Bruce Siegel wrote: Without those stunning, ecstatic, events—experiences that totally shattered my worldview—there's no way I'd be open to the "crazy" optimism that is the spiritual viewpoint.

Great truth to that, too. Though my experience occurred without the use of psychedelics (on the contrary: I was at the healthiest period of my life at the time), there are some researchers (Stan Grof is perhaps the most prominent) who are convinced that hallucinogens operate by opening a portal to higher levels of consciousness, that the effects cannot be fully explained by alteration of brain chemistry. “Skeptics” would scream about that idea as well, but a true skeptic would consider it worthy of further investigation.

Regardless, a direct personal experience of a higher level of consciousness, whatever the trigger, will ultimately force one to humbly ask: What exactly do we really know, individually and collectively?

"What exactly do we really know, individually and collectively? "

My response very little.

The ultra skeptics and most scientists have turned science into scientism. This scientism has turned their beliefs into a religion of materialism.

My interest is both the religious and the ultra skeptics talk with such certainty but I have always suspected that their certainty and often very demeaning remarks towards those that do not share their beliefs are very deep well hidden inner doubts not certainties.

Could the spirit within us be “whispering truths” but our egos knowing its temporal reality profess to know its own truths. I spend a lot of time blogging with advaita types and they profess to know the truth of their nonexistence but their level of understanding of such simple concepts as the difference between compassion and sympathy is lacking.

I suspect they are speaking intellectually about their nonexistence rather than with wisdom or as the Buddhist often state a knowing beyond knowing.

>there are some researchers (Stan Grof is perhaps the most prominent) who are convinced that hallucinogens operate by opening a portal to higher levels of consciousness

Michael H, I appreciate your willingness to re-visit a controversial topic. I hesitated before bringing up my experience because of the prevailing notion that mind-altering substances (other than officially-sanctioned and much less interesting agents like alcohol) are paths to self-destruction.

And Grof is most definitely one of my heros. A remarkable man who's done important work.

But I smiled when I read:

>Though my experience occurred without the use of psychedelics (on the contrary: I was at the healthiest period of my life at the time)

I'll just say that I, like the members of countless indigenous cultures over the millennia, consider the prudent use of certain "power plants" to be a remarkable AID to health, in the largest sense of the word.

The very word "hallucinogen" is misleading, in my opinion. My own experiences under the influence gave me the impression that I was, at long last, leaving my hallucinations behind and discovering how things REALLY work.

Hi Bruce – I wasn’t implying that the use of psychedelics was unhealthy, only that I had glimpsed a deeper reality without their use, at a time in my life when my overall health was exceptional. If the psychedelic experience is in fact a means to access higher levels of consciousness, as Grof and others suspect, then their prudent use would have to be considered beneficial to overall health.

And I think you’re right that the very term “Hallucinogen” is an artifact of the current paradigm, it carries the implication that the everyday reality we’re stuck in is the “true” reality. Yet those who have experienced altered states of consciousness report repeatedly that there are levels of reality “realer” than this one. This, interestingly enough, is exactly what all of the mystical traditions state as well, globally, without exception. Must just be a coincidence.

I think arguing against entrenched and unfair skepticism is futile. Some people are curious about the unknown, and willing to explore, to consider possibilities. It's a form of natural curiosity about our universe, the same curiosity that feeds the work of greats like Einstein, people who dare to discover. Every smart kid asks questions in order to learn. Entrenched skeptics are like schoolyard bullies. They mistake the field of discovery for the field of conquest. They want to believe they're better than the rest of us and call us gullible. They think they can simply claim the truth as theirs, and defend it, rather than actually prove it. No one's opinion can be changed when they have that attitude. Besides, they love the attention a little too much. Yes, it's boring.

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