Friday, September 30, 2011

Same Old story, Same New song and dance

I had a mini-epiphany while surfing the internet this morning.
My friend Hemant, the Friendly Atheist,  had a little piece about why young christians are leaving the church.  While I thought it was mildly interesting it made me think about the similarities between then and now.

It occurred to me that since the beginning of this book, God's human confederates have had to deal with the constant battle of people not wanting to follow the rules and not buying into the dogma of an organized religion.  And that like today it was probably the youngsters that turned against them.
It's not a long shot to assume they have the same basic reasons for turning against the status quo.  Rebelling against authority and looking for their own identity seem to be timeless traits in humans.

I know this is nothing new in the way of insight but it gave me a little appreciation for what Moses and the rest of the guys had to deal with.  My nieces, nephews (and I) would have been stoned and burned at the stake if we lived back then.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book of Isaiah 56-58 Behold, I am a dry tree

Isaiah 56-58

I'm guessing believers will say the first verse in this chapter is predicting Jesus.

56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

I like this odd bit;

56:3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

I also like this verse.  Makes me feel warm inside.
56:12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

Chapter 57 sees god punishing the children of the wicked but this time it's for their own wickedness.

Chapter 58 shows us a God we've never seen before.  Kind, loving, telling us to be nice to others.  He tells us that if we love and obey him, he'll take care of us.  Nice guy.

42 Fallacies

I thought it would be useful to post a link to the free online book, 42 fallacies by Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere.  If I knew it existed, I would have posted it at the beginning of the year.

What fallacies have you noticed in the posts and comments?*

*Any comments that argue against the blog author will be deleted because I'm the authority here and therefore right.  ;-)  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Here is an interesting article on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are now online in complete form with translations thanks to a partnership between Google and the Israel Museum.
The article talks about the control of information as a source of power, even in the digital age.

You can find the project online here

A story about getting them online is here.
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Book of Isaiah 52-55

Isaiah 52-55

I guess I should pay closer attention to what Isaiah is saying but he's lost me as a writer.

Isaiah/God continues to tell us how great he is, why it's wonderful that he likes the Israelites (imagine if he DIDN'T like them!) and says something about how barren women, or women who have lost a child, or both should be ok with it because HE (God) is their husband.  Or, did I miss the point because I just don't care??

Chapter 53 has me very confused.  Is Isaiah trying to tell us we're supposed fel sorry for God?  Or am I reading this wrong and we're supposed to feel sorry for the unsaved man?   Or, did I miss the point because I just don't care??

Considering this is the inspired word of god almighty, it's not very clear sometimes.  When missionaries handed out bibles to tribes back in the day, did they really expect these people to catch on to christianity based on the Bible?   Or, did I miss the point because I don't care??

What do I care about?  The Viking Kittens!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book of Isaiah 49-51 from the bowels of my mother

Isaiah 49-51

I think Isaiah is out boring even Job!  Make it stop!

There's something about dead kids and cannibalism.

I have noticed that Isaiah likes to bring up the old school characters from Genesis.

Five more days of this and then we get a small reprieve with the light-hearted Lamentations.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book of Isaiah 46-48

Isaiah 46-48

Once more, nothing much to report from these passages.

Isaiah/God does give us a rather lengthy but clear idea of why the Israelites are in the situation they're in.
He sounds like a tired old parent (which I guess he is), reminding the offspring that "Yes, I still love you and yes, you can continue to live in my basement without paying rent.  But, if you listen to me and straighten out and get a job, I'll let you live in the finished attic, or better yet, I'll loan you money tot get your own place!"

The seed O Jacob seems to be ok with the basement.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Someone has asked when I think we'll finish up the Old Testament and start on the New Testament.
I can't give an exact date but I'm guessing it will be close to November 1st.

Once we finish Ezekeil, the last 12 or so books are very short.  1-7 chapters each.  My plan is to read write one blog post per book.  I'll probably post every other day for the longer of the reading so as not to bog people down.

My original plan was to read the entire KJV bible in one year but that ain't gonna happen.  I didn't take into account work load, family events and lack of motivation slowing my reading.

I think it's just as well that we finish sometime in february 2012.  Nobody wants to be reading the Book of Revelations during the Christmas holidays!

Book of Isaiah 44-45 The records skipping again

Isaiah 44-45

This is the problem with these longer works.  Isaiah/God starts to repeat him/themselves after a certain point.  You'd think God would have picked better writers and editors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creation - The Proof is in the Gaps

Last one for the day.  We'll now return to our regular Bible reading, already in progress.

Electricity- The Eternal Mystery

To  be fair, this book was most likely written by a time traveling caveman, thrown into a world he could never comprehend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Magnets - How do they work?

EDIT: This entry comes off as a personal attack on commenter Edward.  I was/am very frustrated with his views on science and critical thinking.  I'm sure he feels the same way about my views on faith.
I want to apologize to him for the tone, the personal attacks and the way it was presented but I still firmly stand by my statements.

I'm responding to commenter Edward regarding a string of comments from the blog entry

You may want to read through that thread if the following is confusing.

I feel that my response needs its own entry rather than a reply in comments because Edward seems to have a willful disregard for critical thinking.  And besides, it's my blog and I can do what I want with it.
I won't go through every point but only hit on what I feel are the important pieces.  Edward, I'm sure you will disagree with me!

When Edward asked why I listed my educational background and asked for his, I respond:
My point is that yes, by getting an education in a certain field, you have acquired specialized knowledge in that field.  Therefore your words have weight and some authority.  I would expect EVERYONE to listen closer to a doctor of theology then to me when it comes to the Bible!
If you have no direct or studied knowledge in a subject and only repeat what others have stated, your view should have less weight and authority.  You are not presenting from a position of knowledge, only passing along what you heard from others.  
Edward, you tend to quote bad science that is demonstrably false and out of date.  Quoting the laws of thermodynamics and asking where the transitional fossils are shows that you don't really know the laws of physics or the fossil record.  What high school science classes did you take?  And the tired jet from a junkyard analogy?  Really?  What a horrible explanation of entropy!  As for how babies are made, I think that's generally covered in junior high.  Ask any 12 year old.
Do you believe that the banana is an atheists nightmare? :-)
Just because you don't understand the science and the natural world doesn't mean it's wrong.

Edward states that the King James Version of the Bible has been peer reviewed for 400 years.
As for the KJV being peer reviewed, I was kind of kidding.  I was visualizing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John sitting around comparing their papers on Jesus.
But, Since the KJV Bible is a work of literature from antiquity, I feel that it can't be reviewed scientifically as a work of knowledge.
It can be and has been studied historically and religiously.  For centuries, academics have sifted through the Bible to find the parts that line up with known historic happenings and they've found several.
As far as religious study, that enters into philosophy and faith and that leaves it wide open to interpretation.
I could argue that religion HAS peer reviewed the bible and that's why there are so many sects of christianity!

Edward, you said:
"This book (The Bible) is the foundation that I stand upon, it's been tested and survived greater minds than yours or mine. And you throw up science that is like a fog over the land. You are free to shape it in whatever way you want. The only authority in your belief system is you.
I have checked "science" alone Bruce and found it lacking."

How is science "a fog over the land"?  Do you find all aspects of science lacking Edward, or just the fields that conflict with the Bible?  I know how you feel about biology, but, do the Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun?  Do you believe in germ theory?  Do you understand electricity?  Magnets, how do they work?  Are the simple machines on your approved list?  

So, how do I explain science to someone who has no real knowledge of it?
As for hiding behind my 'bunch of letters' (which aren't all that special), I asked for YOUR credentials because I wanted to see how to address my response to you.  I see that I should use small words so as not to confuse you further.

Simply put, Science is a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.  
Scientists observe something, repeatedly, make note of their observations (data) and then try to make sense of the data.  They report their finding to others.  Good science is peer reviewed.  This means that the scientist will present his study to other experts in the field.  The other scientists will question and challenge the data presented.  It is often contentious and uncomfortable to watch.  I've observed several peer reviews and they can be a brutal run through the gauntlet.
In these reviews, new information is never blindly accepted.
The 'authority' of scientific knowledge comes from long observation, data collection, collaboration, and repeatable results when subjected to tests.  This is not the case with religion.  By your own admission, it is based on faith.  Faith that an ancient book is the inspired work of an infinite, timeless god.
In order for your extraordinary claim to be accepted by critical thinkers, it will have to come up with some extraordinary proof.  But then, that would negate the need for faith.

Oh, and this is how magnets work;

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Book of Isaiah 40-43 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40-43

We get another early (pre-New testament) reference to shepherds, lambs and flocks that will become the running theme in Christianity.

40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
A ton of people think Eric Clapton is God.

I personally prefer Bob Mould.

We learn that Isaiah himself is the LORD God!
41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
This is in the first person form and the Bible is all true, so....  ;-)

God makes the bold statement that he is the one and only God in existence but, he he proclaims that his existence is finite!!!  He's mortal!!!

43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
He goes on to proclaim that he is the only way to be saved.

Chapters 42-43 are stuffed with meaty goodness but rather confusing to this humble reader.
God seems to be saying 'I love you Israel.  You are my favorite people and I'll bless you, even though you are sinners and repeatedly disobey me.'

What do you think?  Is God getting a soft heart for the blight of the Israelites?  Is he still disappointed in them but like a parent, helping them out begrudgingly?

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book of Isaiah 36-39 and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

Isaiah 36-39

Story telling returns.  And what incredible detail.  I guess we can thank Shebna the scribe and Joah the recorder.
Did this actually happen or is it a parable?  Regardless, the king of Assyria is pretty cocky.  Will Hezekiah win the LORD's favor?  Why would God want to help now?

Anyway, he sends an angel to kill thousands of Assyrians.  They all wake up the next day and they're dead!

37:36 Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

How come we don't know anything about the Assyrian god Nisroch?  I like the name and he/she looks pretty cool.  Not as commanding a name as The LORD though.

Isaiah predicts (?) that Hezekiah will die but the king cries about it and God gives him 15 more years of life.  God can be a soft touch sometimes.
God REALLY likes Hezekiah because he reverses the orbit of the Earth to prove he's on the level, adding 2.4 hours to a single day.  Almost like Superman!

The last bit confuses me;

39:7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

39:8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days

Any ideas?

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Book of Isaiah 33-35 And the unicorns shall come down with them

Isaiah 33-35

34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them...

We haven't heard from the unicorns in a while.  I found this explanation of biblical unicorns pretty interesting.
Dragons and Satyrs come to visit also.

35:8 seems to be the antithesis to AC/DC's Highway to Hell

Other then that, nothing really stood out for me.  How about you?
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book of Isaiah 30-32 to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity

Isaiah 30-32

Seems like only last week that Isaiah said that Egypt, Assyria and Israel would all join together and praise the LORD.
30:31 For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, [which] smote with a rod.
Guess they have to get their collective asses kicked first.

Will the Conservative Bible Project change these lines?
32:5 The vile person shall be no more called liberal
32:8 But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Does God punish the descendants of the sinner?

I really don't know why I need to ask the question since it's stated clearly several times in the Bible we're reading now but I thought I 'd put it up for a discussion.

A few examples that God DOES punish others;

Exodus 20:5
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

Deuteronomy 23:2

A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

1 Kings 2:33
Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever.

Isaiah 14:21Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

I'll expand on the question a little bit;
Does God punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty?
Let's not dwell on the issue that some of you don't believe that any man, woman or child is ever innocent.  Let's just assume they are not directly connected to the sin that God feels needs punishing.

Feel free to discuss biblical and real world examples.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book of Isaiah 28-29 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness

Isaiah 28-29

28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim
Man, Isaiah makes it personal!
The people of Ephraim are a bunch of winos and Isaiah seems to think this is a bad thing.

29:6 is a great example of how a generic prophesy can be applied to almost any situation.

"Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire."
This can be applied to the recent events on the American east coast or to the Japanese earthquake at the beginning of the year.  It probably matters little that the prophesy was intended for Ariel.

I love the writing here.  poetic and deep;
29:10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

29:11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:

29:12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men

Unfortunately, it's followed by this;
29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Why is it "a marvellous work and a wonder" to make people stupid?

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Old Testament Recipes?

I just got it into my head that I want to try some of the food that is mentioned in the Bible.
I'll check Google but does anyone know a resource for this?

In Exodus it mentions how to make unleavened bread.  Is it that simple?

What's the best way to slaughter a lamb if I live in a condo?

Is there a Bible recipe book?
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Book of Isaiah 24-27

Isaiah 24-27

Isaiah gets grim and gives us a little proto-revelations gloom and doom.

He then turns an emotional 180 and gets into worship mode.

The writing is a little less poetic here and there but I still like the feel.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book of Isaiah 21-23 I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place

Isaiah 21-23

I think the style here is much different from the previous Isaiah writings.  Sorry Edward, multiple authors is once again a real possibility!  ;-)

These chapters reads as a great poem.  Some of the best writing we've read so far.  I love the text!

21:4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

21:5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

21:6 For thus hath the LORD said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

22:13 is a timeless line, co-opted by countless future writers.

And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.

What the hell does this mean?

23:17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book of Isaiah 17-20 as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit

Isaiah 17-20

Isaiah continues his rants against other nations.  I imagine him as a Ted Kaczynski type loner living in a cave, making empty threats against all those he thinks have wronged him/Israel in the past.  Damascus and Egypt are the focus for this reading.
Women are insulted when they are portrayed as weak creatures;
19:16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.

He seems to think that Egypt will become friendly with Israel and Assyria or possibly become a jewish (or christian?) nation.  Better hurry up the end of times is coming fast!  oh, and Assyria no longer exists according to Wikipedia.

That's the problem with prophesies. Those of us living here in the future have actual history to judge them against.  The key is to make a prophesy of a past event in private without dating it, wait several decades for it to be released, and then let the world think you're a freaking great prophet.

Here are some examples from my personal, handwritten journal that will be released on my 100th birthday in the year 2061;

1. In the autumn, those who follow the prophet Mohamed will cause the towers of the great city to erupt in flame.  America, the Great Satan will run in fear and confusion.  But, their wrath shall be swift and bring death and destruction to the innocent in the land of Allah.

2. The dictator of Babylon shall thump his chest and  proclaim to be invincible, but the great army of the west shall drive him into a hole.  He shall find final justice at the wrong end of an asp. (see what I did there?  I used a metaphor!)

3.  God shall exact revenge on the great island nation for the false worship of Hello Kitty.  The earth shall open up under their feet, the sea shall wash away the sinful and God's wrath shall glow and spew from their places of great power.  Microchip production maybe affected and God will cause longer then usual shipping times for the iPad.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Bad news; I'm slammed with work right now and behind in the reading.

Good news; I have the official Blogger app for the iPhone to tell you this!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book of Isaiah 13-16 The weapons of his indignation

Isaiah 13-16

Isaiah brings back the war mongering god we all know and love!!!

God's scorched earth policy is in full effect.  Men are run thru, children are dashed before the eyes of their parents and the women will be raped.

The name Lucifer gets a quick mention in 14:3, but it doesn't seem to apply to the devil.
We are also once more reminded that God will punish the children for the deeds of the father.

We learn about a rare animal, the Cockatrice!  I'll have to go to the museum of natural history to see one because I think they're extinct now, I mean, the Bible doesn't have any fallacy in it.
I wonder why the new translations of the Bible changed it to viper or asp?

Money line:
16:11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab

Bottom line, Babylon and Moab are f@&ked.
Who's gonna be next?

EDIT:  Speaking of Babylon, I just found this in my Facebook feed.  It also has a piece on the Catholic Church!  God is indeed guiding me!

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This Makes Everything Crystal Clear

I was link hopping on the internets this morning.  I started at and ended up here.
The LORD must have been guiding my mouse because this site clearly explains why the Bible is the word of God!

As an aside, I have to admit that I felt a little defensive when I realized that the site "What Every Catholic Should Know" was actually, for the lack of a better term, anti-catholic.
I guess even after I quite the team, I still get mad when they're boo'd!  The brainwashing runs deep!

EDIT:  Speaking of the Catholic Church, I just found this in my Facebook feed.  It's the third piece down.  It also has a piece on Babylon!  God is being freaky today!
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book of Isaiah 10-12

Isaiah 10-12

It's a holiday weekend in the U.S.A..
Nothing really exceptional stood out in this section so I think I'll have a cool, refreshing beverage.

Vod Kanockers anyone?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book of Isaiah 7-9 ...shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7-9

7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I'm guessing that several passages in this section will make my Christian readers jump up and down and yell at me "See this?  This is prophesy that predicts the birth of Jesus!!!!  Told you so!!!"

Well, go ahead.

But aside from the inconsistency of the name, Emmanuel (which happens again in the Gospel of Matthew), the prophesy is fairly general and isn't it more likely that the story of Jesus was rooted in these passages as a way to tie him into the Old Testament?

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hitler, McCarthy and Pastor Mike

What do you do when the ideology of one group conflicts with your ideology?  Well, if you're part of the majority rule, you try to outlaw that group and make them criminals (Nazis, Communists, Medieval Catholic Church).

But, what if you live in a country that holds freedom of speech and freedom of belief to be the highest of it's social truths?  Well, you can only hope to keep track of the rabble 'just in case'.

Enter Pastor Mike Stahl.  He feels that Atheists need to be put on a national registry so "we" can keep track of them.

From his blog;

"I mean, think about it. There are already National Registrys [sic] for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc.."

"This type of 'National Registry' would merely be for information purposes."

"I mean, in the City of Miramar, Florida, where I live, the population is approx. 109,000. My family and I would sure like to know how many of those 109,000 are ADMITTED atheists! Perhaps we may actually know some. In which case we could begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism. Or perhaps they are radical atheists, whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh's, in that case, if they are business owners, we would encourage all our Christian friends, as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be "feeding" Satan. "

He seems to be unaware that GOD hardened Pharaohs heart several times after Pharaoh repeatedly agreed to let the Jews leave Egypt.  ;-)

I have to link to the article about Stahls blog because he's made it invite only since it hit the news.
When the lights go on, the cockroaches run and hide.

I'll gladly invoke Godwin's law here.  Pastor Mike's idea certainly mimics Hitler's practices against Jews, gays and atheists, but McCarthyism is a more appropriate comparison.

I really don't have a point to make here, Pastor Mike makes it for me.  I just wanted to shine another light on a cockroach.
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