The X stands for
+1,810|6096|eXtreme to the maX
I think deep understanding comes later in life, trying to analyse every sentence of "Hamlet" in its historical context when you're 14 just isn't going to work.
Or it didn't work for me, and nearly put me off reading forever, that and having the bigoted English teacher throw 'Tiger! Tiger!' out of the window, literally.

Which reminds me:

'Tiger! Tiger!' AKA 'The Stars My Destination' by Alfred Bester - Not sure why I like it, not well written and doesn't really hang together, but I like the style, it has imaginative ideas and kind of grabs you. Similar comments on 'The Demolished Man'

'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest' by Ken Kesey- Good book, odd style of writing (author was a stoner), liked it a lot. If a book can make you care about the fate of mental patients there must be something in it.

Last edited by Dilbert_X (2009-01-15 00:51:23)

Русский военный корабль, иди на хуй!
+488|6560|Portland, OR, USA
Any of Michael Chrichton's latest stuff and..

The God Delusion -- Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins, in The God Delusion, tells of his exasperation with colleagues who try to play both sides of the street: looking to science for justification of their religious convictions while evading the most difficult implications—the existence of a prime mover sophisticated enough to create and run the universe, "to say nothing of mind reading millions of humans simultaneously." Such an entity, he argues, would have to be extremely complex, raising the question of how it came into existence, how it communicates —through spiritons!—and where it resides. Dawkins
is frequently dismissed as a bully, but he is only putting theological doctrines to the same kind of scrutiny that any scientific theory must withstand. No one who has witnessed the merciless dissection of a new paper in physics would describe the atmosphere as overly polite.
http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Rich … 0618680004

I wish that everyone would read a book like this before conforming to any religion, he's a way over-the-top atheist, but I found it entertaining.
+42|5842|Flyover country

FEOS wrote:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Violence, in McCarthy's postapocalyptic tour de force, has been visited worldwide in the form of a "long shear of light and then a series of low concussions" that leaves cities and forests burned, birds and fish dead and the earth shrouded in gray clouds of ash. In this landscape, an unnamed man and his young son journey down a road to get to the sea. (The man's wife, who gave birth to the boy after calamity struck, has killed herself.) They carry blankets and scavenged food in a shopping cart, and the man is armed with a revolver loaded with his last two bullets. Beyond the ever-present possibility of starvation lies the threat of roving bands of cannibalistic thugs. The man assures the boy that the two of them are "good guys," but from the way his father treats other stray survivors the boy sees that his father has turned into an amoral survivalist, tenuously attached to the morality of the past by his fierce love for his son. McCarthy establishes himself here as the closest thing in American literature to an Old Testament prophet, trolling the blackest registers of human emotion to create a haunting and grim novel about civilization's slow death after the power goes out.
Very interesting writing style...something I've never seen from another author. The internal struggle of the main character is very moving.
I have a Barnes and Noble giftcard left over from the holidays and I might just go get this; could be a good break from all the middle east/iraq/afghanistan stuff I have been reading.

I did pick up No Country for Old Men
a while back, good read (of course everyone knows the movie, and reading it, it's clear the film was a faithful representation)

Another McCarthy book that I read years ago; the truly twisted and creepy Child of God
Yes, it's a novel about a serial killer who has strange proclivities beyond just killing -- disturbing to say the least.

Last edited by Vax (2009-01-15 14:59:30)

Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush


Five Points
http://www.amazon.com/Five-Points-Tyler … 0452283612

All but forgotten today, the Five Points neighborhood in lower Manhattan was once renowned the world over. It housed America's most impoverished immigrants-the Irish, Jews, Germans, Italians, and African-Americans. Located in today's Chinatown and Little Italy, Five Points played host to more riots, scams, prostitution, and drunkenness than any other neighborhood in America. But it was also crammed full of cheap theaters, dance halls, prizefighting venues, and political arenas that would one day dominate the national scene. From Jacob Riis to Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett to Charles Dickens, Five Points horrified and enthralled everyone who saw it.

Drawing from letters, diaries, newspapers, bank records, police reports, and archeological digs, award-winning historian Tyler Anbinder has written the first history of this remarkable neighborhood. Beginning with the Irish potato famine influx in 1840 and ending with the rise of Chinatown in the early 20th century, the story of Five Points serves as a microcosm of the American immigrant experience.
An absolutely amazing book.. history truly is better than fiction.

(1927)The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld
The Gangs of New York has long been hand-passed among its cult readership. It is a tour through a now unrecognizable city of abysmal poverty and habitual violence cobbled, as Luc Sante has written, "from legend, memory, police records, the self-aggrandizements of aging crooks, popular journalism, and solid historical research." Asbury presents the definitive work on this subject, an illumination of the gangs of old New York that ultimately gave rise to the modern Mafia and its depiction in films like The Godfather. "A universal history of infamy [that] contains all the confusion and cruelty of the barbarian cosmologies...."—Jorge Luis Borges "The tale is one of blood, excitement and debauchery."—The New York Times Book Review "The Gangs of New York is one of the essential works of the city...."—Luc Sante, The New York Review of Books
http://www.amazon.com/Gangs-New-York-In … 1560252758
Also awesome. .. do not confuse this with the movie. The movie used it "as a base".. but the movie was, well, Hollywood. Trust me on this one. Great read!
Xbone Stormsurgezz
+226|6733|Tír Eoghan, Tuaisceart Éireann
at the minute i'm half way through "Lords of the bow" the 2nd book in Conn Iggulden's fictional trilogy about Genghis Khan, and it's brilliant, i'd highly recommend  "emperor " his fictional series about the life of Julius Caesar.  10/10 all the way..


Also  Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" series is well worth a visit too

Confused Pothead
+1,101|6572|SE London

Anything by Dumas is awesome.

The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers are particularly brilliant.

The Flashman series is highly entertaining.

All Iain M. Banks Sci-Fi stuff is great.
Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush

Recommend: Lord of the Flies

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp … k6tCpFdmZk

Pretty much mandatory reading.

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: "He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet." Golding's gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.
Xbone Stormsurgezz
Well butter my buscuit
Recommend: Angela's Ashes



"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy - exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling - does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

I read this book in my lit class, and I have to say that it is probably one of the best books I've had to read for school. I really enjoyed Frank McCourt's writing style thought the memoir, always talking in the present tense, and not using any quotations thought. This memoir really showed me how terrible life could be.

Last edited by Runs_with_sciss0rs (2009-01-30 20:47:54)

Pendulous Sweaty Balls
+1,538|5692|College Park, MD
Currently reading The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway) for my English class. Good book.

A non-fiction book that's still a very interesting read: The Science of Fear.
Bellicose Yankee Air Pirate

Recommend "Blasphemy" by Douglas Preston.

It seems at first to be just brain candy (as most of his and Lincoln Childs' books are)...but it is actually quite an interesting examination of religion and science and the conflict between the two.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein

Doing the popular thing is not always right. Doing the right thing is not always popular
Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush

I have an audible credit. I'm thinking about:
What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815 - 1848
http://www.amazon.com/What-Hath-God-Wro … 0195078942

In the latest installment in the Oxford History of the United States series, historian Howe, professor emeritus at Oxford University and UCLA (The Political Culture of the American Whigs), stylishly narrates a crucial period in U.S. history—a time of territorial growth, religious revival, booming industrialization, a recalibrating of American democracy and the rise of nationalist sentiment. Smaller but no less important stories run through the account: New York's gradual emancipation of slaves; the growth of higher education; the rise of the temperance movement (all classes, even ministers, imbibed heavily, Howe says). Howe also charts developments in literature, focusing not just on Thoreau and Poe but on such forgotten writers as William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, who helped create the romantic image of the Old South, but whose proslavery views eventually brought his work into disrepute. Howe dodges some of the shibboleths of historical literature, for example, refusing to describe these decades as representing a market revolution because a market economy already existed in 18th-century America.
Xbone Stormsurgezz
Moderating your content for the Australian Govt.
+879|6712|Sydney, Australia
3 PARA, by Patrick Bishop.

Description wrote:

Afghanistan, Summer 2006. This is war. Afghanistan in the summer of 2006. In blazing heat in remote outposts the 3 Para battlegroup is pitted against a stubborn enemy who keep on coming. Until now, the full story of what happened there has not been told. This is it. In April 2006, the elite 3 Para battlegroup was despatched to Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. They were tasked with providing security to reconstruction efforts, a deployment it was hoped would pass off without a shot being fired. In fact, over the six months they were there, the 3 Para battle group saw near continuous combat -- one gruelling battle after another -- in what would become one of the most extraordinary campaigns ever fought by British troops. Around parched, dusty outposts reliant on a limited number of helicopters for food and ammunition resupply, troops were subjected to relentless Taliban attacks, as well as energy-sapping 50 degree heat and spartan conditions. At the end of the tour, the Taliban offensive aimed at driving the British and Afghan Government troops out of Helmand had been tactically defeated.But 3 Para paid a high price: fourteen soldiers and one interpreter were killed, and 46 wounded. '3 Para' will tell the stories of the men and women who took part in this extraordinary and largely unreported saga. Best-selling author Patrick Bishop has been given exclusive access to the soldiers whose tales of courage and endurance provide an unforgettable portrait of one of the world's finest and most fascinating fighting regiments, and a remarkable band of warriors. Their bravery was reflected in the array of gallantry medals that were bestowed on their return, including the Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Bryan Budd and the George Cross won by Corporal Mark Wright, both of whom were killed winning their awards. 3 Para's saga of comradeship, courage and fortitude is set to become a classic.
I read this after I found out a guy I knew through cadets was killed serving with 1RIFLES in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, the same area that this book talks about. Just wanted to see if I could get an idea as to what it was like over there...

The Year of the Cow!

Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy

“Success is uncommon, therefore not to be enjoyed by the common man.
I’m looking for uncommon people.”  --Cal Stoll

In a culture that defines success by the size of your salary or by the media frenzy surrounding you, Tony Dungy offers valuable insights on achieving uncommon success and real significance. They just may be the most important lessons—on and off the field—that can be applied to your life today.
A great read for those trying to find inner strength and great examples of how to live a fulfilling life.

*Warning*  Bible based ideals.  *Warning*

If you know anything about Tony Dungy he is a very respectable person that a lot of people admire and try to emulate.
"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation" - Barack Obama (a freshman senator from Illinios)

While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within

http://www.amazon.com/While-Europe-Slep … 0385514727

Like it a lot.  I read this one aftert reading this...

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghan … 1594200076
Just read 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck & 'The Ramayana', a Hindu epic. Currently reading 'Das Kapital' by Karl Marx. Just ordered 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand.

Last edited by CameronPoe (2009-02-09 03:39:36)

Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush


You're gonna laugh 'cause it's by Dr.Seuss.
I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew
Solla Sollew is a tale of a young person who discovers the "troubles" of life and wishes to escape them. Through a series of adventures experienced when trying to reach the mythical city of the title ("where they never have troubles/at least very few") the protagonist comes to realize that he must face his problems instead of running away from them. In the end, it is revealed that the mythical city has just one problem: A Key-slapping Slippard, a creature given to slapping keys out of keyholes, has taken up residence in the gate to the city, and it is considered extremely bad luck to kill this kind of creature. Thus, the only problem with entering the city that has no problems is that you cannot get in. The doorman leaves to move to another city called Boola Boo-Ball, "where they never have troubles/no troubles at all." The young person goes back home to his "troubles", accepting life the way it is.
Awesome book to read to your kids if you've gotem.
Xbone Stormsurgezz
Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush

Want to read: Why we suck

Dennis Leary is .

"I am here to debunk and declassify and otherwise hold up a brutally honest mirror to our fat, ugly, lazy American selves."
Listen to an excerpt: http://www.audible.com/adbl/entry/offer … ENG_001092
Xbone Stormsurgezz
Fudgepack DeQueef
+3,253|6528|Long Island, New York
Haha, he's got a Ph.D?

1) What college gave him a doctorate?
2) What could he possibly have the doctorate for?

I'll check it out though. Sounds interesting.

I've got a book lying around called "Assholes" which divulges into the world's worst people in politics, sports, the media, etc. Quite funny.

Last edited by Poseidon (2009-02-16 23:52:39)

Truth is my Bitch
+5,695|6591|132 and Bush

I just finished The Founding Fathers on audiobook.

It was pretty good but looong. Lots of information about the founding fathers. Some of it was really mundane and bleh.

Yea, long
Xbone Stormsurgezz
The very model of a modern major general
+794|6675|United States of America
Recommended: Thank You For Smoking by Christopher Buckley
Nick Naylor is basically the spokesman for the tobacco industry. Read through to see how he addresses the problems that he encounters.

"Mmmm---that's good satire" - Semi-unrelated quote
http://www.amazon.com/Thank-You-Smoking … 0060976624

I was honestly surprised no one had suggested this yet
I am all that is MOD!

Flaming_Maniac wrote:

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g44/F … tliers.gif

Outliers: The Story of Success


Malcom Gladwell, someone I would consider to be a contemporary genius, has also written The Tipping Point and Blink, the likes of which I hope most of you are familiar with. In a similar style Gladwell takes on the idea of success this time, taking some common and some uncommon examples of what most would consider success and examines just what exactly made them successful. Was it innate talent that made the Beatles what they were, or did they just play an awful lot? Are the players on the Canadian junior hockey leagues really the premiere, up and coming stars, or is the country using only roughly half of their talent? These are the kinds of specific examples Gladwell brilliantly uses to show us that while there are very specific, measurable variables that cause success at the micro level with little doubt, these same principles can apply at a macro scale as well. If taken to heart, the ideas put for can and should change the way society looks at success, to make more people more successful more often.

Quite frankly, if you have not bought this book or other books by this author, you are in for a treat. His books are stimulating and thoroughly entertaining, often in the same style of Freakonomics of taking seemingly obtuse example and making a very clear case out of it. It's a fairly short read, but one that will keep you entertained from cover to cover while giving you ideas that if taken to heart could very well change your outlook on life for the better.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ … k_code=as1
I just finished reading this book a few days ago.  Calling Gladwell a contemporary genius would be a stretch lol.  The book is a light read and Gladwell's ideas are written very clearly and easy to understand.  I would classify the idea of this book as, "something obviously true that you've thought about before" but Gladwell does do a thorough job making it simple and easy to understand.  I kind of found myself saying, "Duh" a lot during the reading.  To me this book is interesting not for the main point it puts across (that there are many factors besides will, drive and intelligence that shape "outliers") but more for the lessons we learn from stories of sucess and how we can apply them in different arenas.  Gladwell uses an example of a Korean Airlines crash to explain how Korean cultural attitudes needed to be addressed and updated for the 21st century and I think this idea and others mentioned in the book could be applied to many different areas of our own culture and institutions.  In that regard I think the value of the book is not in the explanation of steps to success but in the way we can apply the lessons to other areas of life and interaction.

I recommend the book to all because it is a good read, I just don't worship the ground that Gladwell walks on like FM

Next up is a re-read of Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (mostly because I've run out of new books at this moment).
+302|6726|Salt Lake City

Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston

Chapter 3 - 132kb Requires PDF reader Available from Adobe

How did the very rich gather so much of the income and wealth in the past three decades?

Why are so many millions of Americans working harder, but falling behind?

From the inside cover

*Roberto Goizueta, CEO of Coca-Cola, built a billion-dollar fortune without paying a dime in taxes on it.

*Tom and Cindy Toth, a corporate trainer and stay-at-home mom, live on $90,000 a year. But the alternative minimum tax will take back much of the tax cuts Congress voted them in 2001 and 2003. By 2010, 35.6 million households will pay this “stealth tax.”

*Ingersoll-Rand pays $26,000 a year to maintain a Bermuda post office box as its legal headquarters. That little trick lets them escape $40 million in corporate taxes each year.

*The IRS unjustly came after Maritza Reyes, a cleaning woman in East Los Angeles who earns $7,000 per year, but ignored the fact that billionaire art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn never filed a tax return in three decades

    The rapidly widening gulf between the super-rich and everyone else is an American tragedy. Pundits have raged about it, but until now, no one has explained exactly how it happened, why it’s not a normal part of capitalism, or how much damage it’s really causing—not just to the poor, but to 99 percent of all Americans.

    Whether your family makes $30,000 or $300,000 a year, you are being robbed because the IRS and other institutions have been systematically corrupted—under both Republican and Democratic administrations—to serve the needs of people who make millions. Your future is being undermined and chances are you will never come out ahead.

    If you’re the kind of person who works hard and plays by the rules, prepare to be outraged. Perfectly Legal will show you why the American Dream is turning into a lie. This explosive book, by an award-winning investigative reporter, reveals exactly how the tax code and many other laws have been twisted over the past three decades to subsidize the incomes and extravagant lifestyles of the richest and most powerful fraction of 1 percent of our country.

    For nine years, David Cay Johnston has been exposing this covert campaign, piece by piece, on the front page of The New York Times. His scoops about outrageous tax scams have ruffled the feathers of powerful business leaders, politicians, and members of the political donor class. He routinely exposes the CEOs who fly free corporate jets to Myrtle Beach for a day of golf and stick you with the bill; the business owners who build overseas factories to earn tax-free dollars; the former IRS employees who now teach multimillionaires how to hide their assets from the government.

    Now Johnston offers a raft of compelling new stories, about real people across all areas of society. In Perfectly Legal, you’ll meet sleazy accountants and brazen tax cheats, clueless congressmen and crafty lobbyists. You’ll meet frustrated IRS agents who have been handcuffed from pursuing the most blatant lawbreakers. And you’ll meet ordinary Americans who are struggling to make a decent living with the system stacked against them, in ways they don’t even realize.

    Compared to thirty years ago, every American now lives in a society much less equal and much more fraught with financial risk. Perfectly Legal lays out the details in plain English, and shows how we can stop these trends before it's too late.

Last edited by Agent_Dung_Bomb (2009-03-09 11:08:59)

+171|6652|The Outer Circle
SNIPER ONE by Dan Mills


Synopsis wrote:

We all saw it at once. Half a dozen voices screamed 'Grenade!' simultaneously. Then everything went into slow motion. The grenade took an age to travel through its 20 metre arc. A dark, small oval-shaped package of misery, the size of a peach...April 2004: Sgt Dan Mills and his platoon of snipers fly into southern Iraq, part of an infantry battalion sent to win hearts and minds. They were soon fighting for their lives. Back home we were told they were peacekeeping. But there was no peace to keep. Because within days of arriving in theatre, Mills and his men were caught up in the longest, most sustained firefight British troops had faced for over fifty years. This awe-inspiring account tells of total war in throat-burning winds and fifty-degree heat, blasted by mortars and surrounded by heavily armed militias. For six months, they fought alone: isolated, besieged and under constant enemy fire. Their heroic stand created a modern-day Rorke's Drift.

Andy McNab wrote:

"One of the best first-hand accounts of combat that I've ever read."
Times Online Review
Bellicose Yankee Air Pirate

Human Smoke by Nicholas Baker

Very interesting viewpoint, focused on the pacifist movement of the 20s-40s. Writing style is similar to The Road by McCormack. I think it's fair to say that the pacifist movement of the period doesn't get much press in history books or other accounts of World War 2. I'm about halfway through it, will likely finish it on the plane today.

Definitely a recommend.

NYT Review

The novelist Nicholson Baker’s customary style in books like “The Mezzanine” and “Room Temperature” is to observe the world in slow, painstaking detail, relishing the tiny moment, enjoying the aside for the sake of accuracy, insisting on charting the precise state of things. He has now applied this system to history, to the few years before the United States declared war on Japan and entered into World War II as a full participant. It is clear Baker has not done this as a literary exercise, nor as a new way of amusing himself and his readers, but because of a passionate view of how the war against Germany was conducted by Britain under Winston Churchill.

There is, it seems at first, a sort of madness in his method. He does not offer a straightforward narrative as a historian or a polemicist might do, but instead his book is made up of a set of vignettes, each containing a fact or a quotation from one of the main participants, or from someone who kept a diary. Most vignettes carry a date. Sometimes these entries come three to a page, sometimes they are slightly longer. Slowly, as you read, because of the variety in the tone and the shocking or tragic nature of the quotation, and because of how well chosen they are, “Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization” becomes riveting and fascinating. It is as though a brilliant film editor, with an urgent argument to make, began to work with gripping newsreels.
Amazon.com Review
Bestselling author Nicholson Baker, recognized as one of the most dexterous and talented writers in America today, has created a compelling work of nonfiction bound to provoke discussion and controversy -- a wide-ranging, astonishingly fresh perspective on the political and social landscape that gave rise to World War II.

Human Smoke delivers a closely textured, deeply moving indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and '40s. Incorporating meticulous research and well-documented sources -- including newspaper and magazine articles, radio speeches, memoirs, and diaries -- the book juxtaposes hundreds of interrelated moments of decision, brutality, suffering, and mercy. Vivid glimpses of political leaders and their dissenters illuminate and examine the gradual, horrifying advance toward overt global war and Holocaust.

Praised by critics and readers alike for his exquisitely observant eye and deft, inimitable prose, Baker has assembled a narrative within Human Smoke that unfolds gracefully, tragically, and persuasively. This is an unforgettable book that makes a profound impact on our perceptions of historical events and mourns the unthinkable loss humanity has borne at its own hand.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
― Albert Einstein

Doing the popular thing is not always right. Doing the right thing is not always popular

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