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Who Are the Real Climate Deniers?

Both style and substance bespeak the weakness of climate-warmist arguments.

by
David Solway

Bio

May 24, 2013 - 10:31 pm
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I recently attended a fascinating and informative talk by Tom Harris, director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), delivered at a branch of the Ottawa Public Library. The lecture was, in part, framed as a response to a presentation held the week before by Dave Rhynas, an Al Gore-trained speaker, who followed the warmist party line faithfully. As Harris wrote afterward about it in a circulating email, “The talk was very ‘canned,’ no significant new material from what we are all used to hearing from Gore, so it would have been very easy to take it apart scientifically” — which is precisely what Harris proceeded to do during his subsequent presentation.

Harris is a genial and soft-spoken man, carrying the heft of his encyclopedic knowledge of climate science with effortless good humor and a reluctance to traffic in mere polemics. He weighed both sides of the argument with scrupulous fairness and conceded that many of those on the other shore of the climate divide approach the subject with undoubted moral concern, though not, regrettably, with scientifically valid objectivity. Harris is always willing to give the benefit of the doubt respecting the ethical character of his opponents, even when it is not entirely warranted. His adversary, I’m sorry to say, who sat in the audience two chairs down the row from me, was the polar opposite: dour, grim, portentously solemn in his demeanor, patently disapproving, interrupting more than once, listening as if he were painfully unwilling to listen and taking copious notes as if he were stockpiling ammunition. The body language and general comportment of the two men spoke volumes; one, accommodating and engaging, the other, stiff and piliated, as if underscoring the difference in their philosophies.

Harris’s main point is that the science is far from settled and that if we were honest with ourselves and wished to approach the subject with scientific rigor and impartiality, we would have to modestly agree, in his own words, that “the more we learn, the more we realize that we just do not know. Climate change and extreme weather have always happened and always will, no matter what we do. Perhaps instead of trying to stop it from occurring, we need to adapt and promote a sensible approach to a range of energy and environmental topics.” We plainly need “to learn more about the vast uncertainties in the field of climate change and discuss sensible policy actions.”

Uncertainty, however, is not synonymous with confusion or ignorance. We do not know everything or even enough, but we still know a fair amount about climate realities, as Harris’s discourse made clear. We know the long history of climatological variations, the many different factors that impinge upon and largely account for vast fluctuations in weather over the centuries and millennia, and the response of the scientific community, often, it must be said, disingenuous and repressive, to the data at its disposal.

We know, via proxies like ice core samples, fossil remains, marine specimens, temperature-dependent remanence measurements, as well as historical documents, etc., that there were periods in history when the earth was significantly warmer than it is today, though human beings were not pumping CO2 into the atmosphere — CO2 levels during the Ordovician Age 440 million years ago were ten times higher than they are at present and happened to coincide with an ice age; closer to home, during the Medieval Warm Period the Scandinavians farmed Greenland and in the Roman Warm Period olive groves flourished in Germany. We know that the Northwest Passage was open during the early part of the 20th century and that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, as recounted in his The North West Passage, navigated the strait between 1903 and 1906. (Its “gates” have been “forced…ajar,” he writes, and “traced from end to end by one ship’s keel” — his own.)

We know that solar activity is a primary driver of climate change. We know that temperatures have stabilized since 1998 and may possibly have declined by a fraction of a degree, and that we are currently in what is defined as an “interglacial” — and in fact, temperatures recorded at the American base at the south pole show it to be colder today than when the base was established over 50 years ago. We know, as Harris explained, that there is no “hotspot” in the troposphere, indicating that an increased greenhouse effect cannot be a cause of global warming.

We know, too, that Michael Mann’s celebrated “hockey stick” graphs depicting an abrupt spike in temperatures in the recent era are fraudulent and are in process of being retired; that computer models are notoriously unreliable and are unable even to retrodict the past; that temperature reading stations are both too few and egregiously misplaced, often in urban areas and near man-made structures that capture or produce heat, thus recording misleading data; and that the media contention that the majority of the world’s scientists are firm adherents of the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) thesis is simply false.

No mention is made in mainstream media reports of the more than 31,000 scientists who added their signatures to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine “petition project” in 2008, repudiating the 600 or so scientists who have signed on to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warming consensus. Further, it seems, as the petition states,that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth,” a subject Harris also touched on but one studiously avoided by the warmists.   

We know that a number of major players in the climate game, such as Canada’s David Suzuki, Rajendra Pachauri who heads the IPCC, and Al Gore, have all grown obscenely wealthy huckstering the global warming canard. Suzuki, as Ezra Levant of Sun News Network has shown, profits handsomely from various multi-national organizations that finance his campaigns, including Canada’s Power Corp that operates in totalitarian China, one of the world’s leading carbon emitters. Suzuki has been intensely busy franchising himself.

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Top Rated Comments   
PJM recently changed the format for commenting. We used to be able to post with hypertext. They've screwed it up royally and refuse to do anything about it. Most of us are getting pretty good at copying the pertinent pieces of a link and finding the target web page. All requests to enable hypertext posting has fallen on deaf ears.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some where - some time - some one is going to finally use the 'word' meant to end all argument - the word used to silence conservatives when the argument seems otherwise lost. The knuckle-draggers will be called RACIST! for doubting AGW. Its about all the argument the left has remaining. Its apparent to just about any thinking person how stale the argument for AGW has become in the face of mounting evidence that warming has seemingly taken a vacation. When is the last time The Goracle has argued any of the points he so passionately (tongue in cheek) spews out? I think a good high school debater could take Gore's argument apart - and Gore knows it - which is why he shies away from confrontation - however mild it might be.

We must continue to beat back their weak claims. These true believers are in the schools preaching to the youth of our country. They train teachers how to present these lies to our youth. Sooner or later a tipping point will be reached where the youth begin to pay attention to current events - and begin en mass to vote. Unless we are all waddling around assh*le deep in snow in mid June these persistent morons may well have their way. And their end game? A society free of oil and all the products that it delivers - a wide spectrum of products that currently cannot be made by any other means. Products that make our lives more convenient and make living more comfortable. In other words we'll be heading back to caves to live. You don't need to get off your butt to see something in your home that was made from oil. Imagine if you could strip out everything made from oil that is in your home - and the products that your home is built of. What would be left? Thats what these true believers are wishing upon you and I.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have Google alerts activated so I know when things are being written about me and ICSC. Normally we are being attacked in one way or another with childish statements about us being deniers, etc., so imagine my happy surprise when I saw the above article. What a great way to end the day!

To end off the above story about CFRA radio and the Al Gore-trained speaker, David Rhinas, the radio show host, John Counsell offered David the chance to have another open debate on radio with me, this time with both of us bringing in scientists of our chosing to be on radio with us. Mr. Counsell offered a whole 2 hour slot on live radio with himself acting as a neutral moderator.

The Al Gore rep declined because he said that holding such a public debate would give the impression that there is any debate at all about the causes of the "climate crisis". The host was pretty mad and blasted him on air, as you can hear at the beginning of the following audio:

http://www.fcpp.org/media.php/2321

Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.)
Executive Director,
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)
Ottawa, Canada

www.climatescienceinternational.org


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (79)
All Comments   (79)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
480 million years ago, when plants began to lay down fossils, CO2 was at least 20 percent of the atmosphere. Photosynthesis converts one CO2 to one O2. Yet atmospheric temperature then was in a range such that plant life thrived. Heavy jungles covered much of the earth.

Compare 20 percent CO2 480 million years ago with 0.04 percent CO2 today.
The explanation why far higher CO2 content long ago did not heat the atmosphere is found in the Stephan/Boltzmann black body rule: If the temp of a black body in equilibrium with its heat source (the sun) and black body cold space heats a small amount above the equilibrium temperature, then long wave radiation to space increases, causing the body (the earth) to cool to equilibrium temperature.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can any of the scientist her explain why the major player in CO2 emission is never spoke of. Namely insect respiration. We don't even generate half.
Where is the balance Al is letting all these cockroaches have a pass.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To claim that the "Northwest Passage" was open early in the 20th Century based on Amundsen's trip across the Artic Ocean is a real stretch. I almost doubt that Mr. Solway actually read Amundsen's account. The Gjoa was locked in the ICE FLOE for roughly two and a half years. The westward drift of the ice carried Amundsen (and crew) in their boat from open water on the east where it froze in to open water on the west where it thawed out and then the boat sailed to San Francisco where it mouldered at Ocean Beach for a number of years. The point being that Amundsen's drift (not voyage) across the "Northwest Passage" does not demonstrate anything about global warming and certainly would not prove to even the most vigorous anti-Goracle that the "Northwest Passage" was, in any real sense, open.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting and useful.I'm an MD who stopped my PH.D I don't have a strong feeling either way,because I have better ways to spend my time than on this. I recall a Thanksgiving dinner at Lake Forest where I asked my aunt -by marriage aka Mrs Wealthy Orthodontis-was so angry when asked to convert40 F to C that she banned me from the dinner
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your aunt could have figured it out even if she did not recall the conversion equation:
100 C = 212-32 or 180 F (0C starts at 32F)
1C=1.8F
1F = 1/1.8 C
40F = 0C plus 8F
8F converts to 8x1/1.8 C or 4.44 C
40F = 4.44 C
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, 40F to centigrade is easy to do in your head. Why didn't you work it out for yourself? Or were you just trying to be a smartypants, but missed off the minus sign?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
randomengineer
>>>who are the real climate deniers?<<<

Both extremes. Climate change is not a hoax.

"Model-predicted differentials between decadal rates of increase in temperature at the surface (TS) and in the lower troposphere (T2LT) from latitude 20º N – 20º S in response to anthropogenic enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect by emission of carbon dioxide and other well-mixed greenhouse gases (pink hatched rectangle) do not overlap at any point with real-world observations from RATPAC radiosondes (purple circles); HadAT2 radiosondes (green circles); University of Alabama at Huntsville satellites (blue squares); and RSS satellites (red squares)"

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/greenhouse_warming_what_greenhouse_warming_.html
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>who are the real climate deniers?<<<

Both extremes. Climate change is not a hoax. Meanwhile the Al Gore chicken little crowd is also wrong. As with all things, the middle position is the correct one.

We know radiative physics as Harrison has posted. If the physics were wrong, your TV remote would not work. So all things being equal CO2 is in fact a greenhouse gas and does in fact make the world warmer. We also know man has an effect on weather and climate. Poor pollution control in chinese coal plants results in soot that travels to the northern ice cap and causes premature melt. This disrupts the weather patterns. Land use changes affect the albedo. Urban areas are heat islands averaging 2 to 4 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. These things add up. Man does affect the climate.

That said, the best estimates -- i.e. the ones that are actualy listened to and considered by congress via testimony by the likes of Dr Judith Curry -- are that temps will rise 1 to 2 degress outside by the end of the century, hardly a calamity. This means that climate change is real. It also means that Al Gore and his ilk are shrieking idiots. It also means that the far rights' "it's a hoax" position is also silly and wrong.

Do Curry et al advocate massive tax programs and bankrupting the west? No. They advocate better sensing and measurement so that local communities -- if they feel they are affected -- can legislate as needed for local adaptation (e.g. requiring homes to be built further back along beachfronts.) This accusation by the far right looney tune crowd that climate change is about power etc is aimed at the Al Gore crowd who simply isn't being taken seriously by the US government. The vast majority of cllimate science however is unaffected.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"As with all things, the middle position is the correct one."

Presumably, you're in the middle between vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism and you don't drive on the left or on the right, but straight down the centre of the road.

Yes, climate changes. It always has. The significant thing about "climate change", however, is the way in which the term "global warming" itself metamorphosed into "climate change", when the promised warming plainly wasn't happening. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but exists in such tiny quantities that its genuine ability to affect atmospheric temperature to a measurable extent has never yet been proved. Carbon dioxide, categorized as a "pollutant" by the ideologues of the EPA, is essential to life on Earth. Life on Earth has comfortably survived many periods in which the CO2 content of the atmosphere has been far higher than it is now. Furthermore, there is an abundance of evidence that the only connection in prehistory between global temperature and CO2 levels is that significant rises in CO2 levels follow significant rises in temperature - not the other way round.

Your comment about Chinese soot is so laughable that it barely deserves a response. It's just an attempt to justify the anti-scientific tactic of confusing "carbon dioxide" with plain old "carbon". Please visit Jo Nova's site, where she eviscerates a company claiming to be selling "carbon-free" sugar.

It's ironic that you mention "urban heat islands", because your alarmist partisans usually deny that they exist, when the suspicious location of their weather stations (e.g. in conurbations, or on concrete airport surfaces) are drawn to public attention. Such skewed temperature readings underly the warmists' claims of continued warming. The inhabited area of the planet is surprisingly small, so the notion that localised heat islands can swamp the temperatures from the vastly larger uninhabited areas is ridiculous; an honest set of temperature readings, taken from a properly distributed set of locations around the globe, would establish that fact very quickly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>It's ironic that you mention "urban heat islands", because your alarmist partisans usually deny that they exist, when the suspicious location of their weather stations (e.g. in conurbations, or on concrete airport surfaces) are drawn to public attention.<<<

Your assumptions are breathtaking. I was contributing data to the surfacestations project right after Anthony Watts first started questioning IR reflective paint on Stephenson Screens over at McIntyre's Climate Audit site.

Stick to the kiddie pool. It's your speed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You don't come close to answering the point. By the way, since you're so keen to define yourself as an "engineer", you didn't put up any bridges in Washington State, did you?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think we'll be damned lucky if we get away with 2°. Keeping the increase under 2° was the Kyoto goal, but very little has been done to meet it and China and other developing countries have been burning coal at a furious pace since. It's also a bit disconcerting that so much new petroleum production is coming on line in the U.S. from tar sands and new drilling techniques. Thing is, though, even 2° has serious consequences. I don't understand why you wave them away. If you really are an engineer, you should understand that it isn't the middle of the distribution that's hard to deal with but the tails. It doesn't work to design bridges to carry the average load. Moving the average temperature a couple of degrees also moves the extreme temperatures. Similarly, a two feet increase in sea level—the current conservative projection of what's coming in the next century—doesn't sound so bad until the next Sandy comes along.

I understand that lots of folks on this site are at the "thunderstick go bang, friend die!" level of technical sophistication, you at least understand that there is nothing controversial about the atmospheric physics of CO2. Why not go a bit further and lose the weird Gore obsession. What on earth does he or any other individual have to do with things?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Similarly, a two feet increase in sea level—the current conservative projection of what's coming in the next century—doesn't sound so bad until the next Sandy comes along."

Except that only the alarmists (that would be you) are predicting an increase of two feet, or anything like it. There's nothing at all "conservative" about that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Abandoning carbon fuels other than transportation (i.e. power grid infrastructure) is positive; I am all for increased nuke plant construction and having the gubmint make it simpler for solar spaceborne power to get moving (X prize thinking as per Pournelle and that crowd.) Terrerstrial PV and windmills don't work well enough and can't be scaled. Spaceborne solar meanwhile is not limited to 50 gazillion acres of PV panels in space as per popular belief. There are plenty of stirling engine style options (think of the ISS heat radiator configuration.) These are things that are NOT a tax, NOT a "slapdown of western way of life" and NOT regressive by any measure. They're job creators and SPS is the wave of the future anyway.

Meanwhile, transport fuels are what we have for now. It's not as if we have a choice between gasoline and unicorn fart stations to choose from. These ought to be left alone. Somebody needs to look at the honda clarity hydrogen concept and verify that this is reasonable. Could be a decent alternative.

>>>Why not go a bit further and lose the weird Gore obsession<<<

Gore was being used as the equally insane antipodal position to "hoax." It's something like a metaphor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You obviously don't speak English. Would you be more comfortable in French?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But all things aren't equal. This entire discussion is based off of computer models of a chaotic system. That alone should be enough for any real scientist to stop listening. Add in the fact that until very recently we were ignorant of a significant contributor to cloud formation, a major driver of climate, and even our models are garbage. To claim that the main point is still true in the face of logic and evidence simply serves to torpedo the warmists' credibility.

It's all well and good to say that CO2 absorbs IR photons, but it ignores the fact that CO2 is a minor constituent in the atmosphere, and that there are complex and poorly understood feedback mechanisms, both positive and negative, that will ultimately determine the equilibrium temperature of the atmosphere.

Yes, the climate is changing. But we know that the climate has changed significantly in the last 16,000 years, let alone the past 4 billion. Is the climate change we are seeing the result of human activity or natural phenomena? That's the major question the "do something" brigade has been assuming the answer to for decades, even before the current global warming fad.

Actually, determining if the change is anthropogenic or natural is largely irrelevant. The bigger question is: Can we stop it? Obviously it's easier to stop an anthropogenic phenomenon than a natural one. But even more importantly, would stopping the change be less expensive than dealing with the change? Given the costs, both real and opportunity, of abandoning carbon fuels I don't think anyone advocating altering energy policy in response to climate change has a rational leg to stand on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>Actually, determining if the change is anthropogenic or natural is largely irrelevant. The bigger question is: Can we stop it?<<<

We are now at 400ppm vs 230ppm (estimated) 200 years ago re CO2 concentration. Most of this increase is due to us. We are running an open ended experiment and we do not have a way of predicting the outcome. We are OBLIGATED to investigate the possibility of adverse effects.

There is a lot of climate change, perhaps much of it, that is undoubtedly the result of humans. We humans have tens of thousands of dams etc diverting river flow, each of which affects the microclimate of the local area, all of which in the aggregate have an effect globally. And that's just *one* tiny example. The notion that everything climate related is limited to CO2 is simply wrong. There's more to it than that.

Obviously nobody (nobody sane anyway) is suggesting tearing dams down. The point is that you/we need to acknowledge that we humans do in fact affect the climate. This notion that we do not and cannot is simply absurd.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Try reading it again, this time pay attention to what I wrote after the part you quoted.

I'm sure we can have some effect of the climate. The question is whether or not that effect can be discerned from the noise in natural phenomena. You say that CO2 has gone from .023% of the atmosphere to .04% and that we are the cause. But both numbers are well within the known range of concentration. We simply don't know if that variation is man-made or natural, natural processes caused .04% CO2 concentrations before, why not now? You're begging the question.

And you're completely ignoring the economic aspects. If it costs 10x as much to fix the climate, regardless of the cause, than it does to deal with the changes we have an OBLIGATION (to use your phrasing) to conserve our resources for the betterment of mankind.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, it's funny you mention rivers. Didn't you see the discovery that vast quantities of CO2 are released by the world's biggest, the Amazon? Damming the Amazon, at the cost of drowning half of South America, might lower the atmospheric CO2 by a few PPM, but, then, you say that dams are bad...

There is absolutely no significance to the fact that the CO2 "concentration", as you rather quixotically call it, is now measured at 400 ppm (let's be clear as to what that actually means: four hundred parts per MILLION). The world didn't end when the number was 399 and it'll still be going, when it's 401.

For future reference, you really should avoid using "perhaps" and "undoubtedly" in the same sentence.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>but, then, you say that dams are bad...<<<

This is a common problem on this site and those like it, this silly business of reading with ideological blinders on. One can note for example that Obama said something clever or correct, and someone will then inevitably make the automatic kneejerk assumption that the writer is an Obama fan.

At *no* time did I imply, infer, or otherwise remotely say *anything* about dams being "bad." It seems necessary to repeat the point: dams change downstream ecosystems which then change the downstream microclimate which then in aggregate (i.e. add these up) affects the global climate. This is not a political point and is not something contentious or ideological. It is simply a fact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"It is simply a fact."

It isn't. You can't tell the difference between the truth and an outright lie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can't defend any other of the silly comments which you have made, then? You had to single out this one? You're a fine one to talk about "ideological blinders". "This site and those like it"? You gave the game away a bit, there, didn't you?

Well, a dam may be expected to make areas downstream a degree drier (not necessarily, as anyone who has been to Scotland will know), but why should it make the Earth as a whole warmer? After all, the dam doesn't have an effect only downstream. The environmental effect of dams is trivial, where climate is concerned, much more substantial in other respects.

Even on a dammed river, most water is delayed, rather than stopped. You can't just stop the Euphrates. I challenge you to prove any climatic effect from the Turkish and Iraqi dams on the Tigris and Euphrates, or from the Aswan dam in Egypt.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>>Well, a dam may be expected to make areas downstream a degree drier (not necessarily, as anyone who has been to Scotland will know), but why should it make the Earth as a whole warmer? <<<

Reading comprehension. Who said it would be warmer? I certainly didn't. I said that it affected downstream climate.

Deniers claim that man cannot affect the climate. I'm saying that something even as mundane as dams do exactly that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I live in Britain. I really hope that you aren't "engineering" anything on my island. If I found out that you were, I'd have to recommend the neighbours to sue.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you "middle-handed, too?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Deniers" - there you go with that giveaway language, middle-of-the-road-boy.

I pointed out that there was no reason to think that dams would have a significant global effect on climate, since any effects downstream would be counter-balanced by effects upstream. The amount of water doesn't significantly change - or is that too complicated a concept for a supposed "engineer"?

As I observed before, there are numerous other points which I have made, from which you have scurried like a terrified vole. You still seem to be reluctant, to say the least, to engage with them. There was, for instance, your idiotic comment about Chinese soot (apparently, you can't tell the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide - or methane, presumably). Do, please, respond to that.

Otherwise, run away to Trollheim.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In May 2007, Professor Reid Bryson, the father of climate science, gave an interview to the Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News including the following Q&A:

Q: Could you rank the things that have the most significant impact and where would you put carbon dioxide on the list?

A: Well let me give you one fact first. In the first 30 feet of the atmosphere, on the average, outward radiation from the Earth, which is what CO2 is supposed to affect, how much [of the reflected energy] is absorbed by water vapor? In the first 30 feet, 80 percent, okay?

Q: Eighty percent of the heat radiated back from the surface is absorbed in the first 30 feet by water vapor…

A: And how much is absorbed by carbon dioxide? Eight hundredths of one percent. One one-thousandth as important as water vapor. You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.

One may read the entire piece, "The faithful Heretic" at

www.wecnmagazine.com/2007issues/may07.html.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I keep on asking, how exactly does one count or poll "scientists"? How would you define them, and how would you find them, particularly those in induistry?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I would leave out the "earth is flat" argument; the Greeks had already worked that out. I would be more inclined to compare it to the idea that overwhelmong majority of the UN declared there is a state called "Palestine".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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