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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > With US youth growing into a exporting nation, does the metric system have a chance?

View Poll Results: Do our children have what it takes to make a producing country (metric or not)?
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Yes 6 votes (54.55%)
No 5 votes (45.45%)
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll
With US youth growing into a exporting nation, does the metric system have a chance?
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The Godfather
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Aug 20, 2011, 12:20 PM
 
Do our children have the brainpower to convert our inches, miles, gallons, pounds into the metric equivalencies, required to make products that China, Africa and India can buy?
     
Doofy
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Aug 20, 2011, 12:45 PM
 
What exactly are you exporting that's measured in kilometres?

And what exactly are you going to be exporting that China, Africa and India want to buy? Almost everything you make these days isn't up to the quality standards the Chinese themselves come out with.
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Cold Warrior
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Aug 20, 2011, 02:48 PM
 
Something like this could be measured in square kilometers annihilated. At least our military hardware still proves popular.

     
WhaMe
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Aug 20, 2011, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
What exactly are you exporting that's measured in kilometres?
Optical fiber (or fibre)

While there may be many people in the US who do not have a grasp of the metric system, our schools produce many who do. All of my science and engineering classes, in public universities, stressed the metric system. (I can't imagine trying to understand chemistry using english units). As a result, I can do approximate metric-english calculations in my head. And when traveling abroad, everything makes sense.

Now I work for as an engineer for a US-based, multi-national manufacturing company. Most of what we do is in metric units, a little in english, and I'm not aware of any Mars orbiter type mishaps within the company.
     
moonmonkey
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Aug 20, 2011, 05:56 PM
 
Metric system already won, I think your memo just got lost in the US postal system, Myanmar does't have a postal system, so can only guess the telex is broken in Rangoon.

( Last edited by moonmonkey; Aug 20, 2011 at 06:19 PM. )
     
Andy8
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Aug 20, 2011, 06:09 PM
 
So what are you waiting for?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 20, 2011, 06:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by WhaMe View Post
Optical fiber (or fibre)

While there may be many people in the US who do not have a grasp of the metric system, our schools produce many who do. All of my science and engineering classes, in public universities, stressed the metric system. (I can't imagine trying to understand chemistry using english units). As a result, I can do approximate metric-english calculations in my head. And when traveling abroad, everything makes sense.

Now I work for as an engineer for a US-based, multi-national manufacturing company. Most of what we do is in metric units, a little in english, and I'm not aware of any Mars orbiter type mishaps within the company.
Its called Imperial.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
moonmonkey
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Aug 20, 2011, 06:22 PM
 
Should really be called "Burmese, Liberian and US measurements".
     
chabig
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Aug 20, 2011, 06:25 PM
 
It's not a matter of intelligence. We can all "do" metric. The issue, I think, is cost. Commercial products are already built in sold using the metric system. But to convert all highway and road signage to metric would be a huge expense.
     
The Godfather  (op)
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Aug 20, 2011, 06:30 PM
 
Shovel ready jobs, I'd call them.
     
bstone
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Aug 20, 2011, 09:35 PM
 
As a scientist I only use the metric system. The only thing that makes sense is fahrenheit, on the 0 to 100 scale.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 21, 2011, 03:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
It's not a matter of intelligence. We can all "do" metric. The issue, I think, is cost. Commercial products are already built in sold using the metric system. But to convert all highway and road signage to metric would be a huge expense.
Not at all. Road signage is replaced in regular intervals, anyway. Net cost $0.
     
Doofy
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Aug 21, 2011, 06:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by WhaMe View Post
All of my science and engineering classes, in public universities, stressed the metric system. (I can't imagine trying to understand chemistry using english units).
But you don't even use English units over there. Here in England, a gallon is 4.54 litres.
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ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 21, 2011, 06:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
As a scientist I only use the metric system. The only thing that makes sense is fahrenheit, on the 0 to 100 scale.
Hahaha - not this again?!?

(Cue the pointing out that it's not a 0 to 100 scale... )
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Spheric Harlot
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Aug 21, 2011, 06:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
As a scientist I only use the metric system. The only thing that makes sense is fahrenheit, on the 0 to 100 scale.
Of all the Imperial units, that's the one to give up, dude.
     
Face Ache
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Aug 21, 2011, 07:01 AM
 
Until you can correctly spell metre, I hope you leave the metric (meteric?) system alone.

Stick with what you can spell.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 21, 2011, 07:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
Until you can correctly spell metre
Huh.

I just call him "Chef" and send him back into the kitchen.
     
Atheist
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Aug 21, 2011, 09:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
Until you can correctly spell metre, I hope you leave the metric (meteric?) system alone.

Stick with what you can spell.
Why isn't H₂0 spelled watre?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 21, 2011, 10:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why isn't H₂0 spelled watre?
Because the word water doesn't have its roots in french.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Kerrigan
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Aug 21, 2011, 11:06 AM
 
It's just one lettre.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 21, 2011, 01:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why isn't H₂0 spelled watre?
Ze watre iz what I send to ze metre in ze kitchen, to go get ze food.

(Riffing on a bad theme, I know)
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 21, 2011, 02:00 PM
 
Don't forget the other proper examples litre and centre.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
olePigeon
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Aug 21, 2011, 02:24 PM
 
Theatre.
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you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
Salty
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Aug 21, 2011, 03:49 PM
 
The only good thing about fahrenheit is that at least it matches up with the right way on -40. So in winter when friends from the states ask how cold it is, I say -40 and they don't' need to convert it.
     
mattyb
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Aug 22, 2011, 04:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
As a scientist I only use the metric system. The only thing that makes sense is fahrenheit, on the 0 to 100 scale.
Ice 0°C, boiling water 100°C. How is that not simple?
     
bstone
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Aug 22, 2011, 04:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Ice 0°C, boiling water 100°C. How is that not simple?
I meant for relative human temperatures. Fortunately we don't usually experience 0 C or 100 C on a regular basis.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 22, 2011, 04:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
I meant for relative human temperatures.
Except that the values Fahrenheit used aren't technically correct.

Either way, Fahrenheit vs. civilized has been discussed at length fairly recently in its own thread.
     
bstone
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Aug 22, 2011, 04:18 AM
 
F is probably entirely incorrect, but it's more useful to me when describing the temp.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 22, 2011, 04:44 AM
 
Sure — force of habit is a powerful thing.

Anyway, been there, done that:
http://forums.macnn.com/89/macnn-lou...-too-damn-hot/
     
ghporter
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Aug 22, 2011, 06:48 AM
 
Spheric appears to have hit the nail on the head. If you were brought up thinking in meters and grams, that's "normal" for you, while if you were brought up thinking feet and ounces, that's your own normal. I can fairly well "feel" a meter, a kilometer, a kilogram, etc., but speeds I still have to convert mentally. I was glad the speedometer in the car I was driving had both MPH and KPH on the dial when I drove in Ontario recently, because it would have been a lot of work to both attend to my speed while converting numbers in my head and navigate in an unfamiliar area (Windsor from the Ambassador Bridge is not a particularly friendly drive).

Temperatures are another issue where I am less than comfortable dealing with metric; I grew up experiencing swings from below freezing to about human body temperature (Southeast Michigan-so it was also humid when hot), and that sort of conditioning sticks very strongly.

On the other hand, if I have the tools, I can easily and accurately measure in ANY unit. Calipers that give me 0.01mm resolution are no problem, centigram balance for mass-trivial, any thermometer with proper indications: piece of cake. I just don't "think" in metric units all the time. And I think that is precisely where the argument of the original thread idea breaks down: it is NOT about the units something is made with, it is about whether or not the people who make the product can use their tools accurately and appropriately. For the most part (I have a little manufacturing experience), that is completely up to the designers and toolmakers. The guy on the line putting "Bracket A" onto "Chassis L3" with the fasteners and tools he has at hand has nothing to do with the units the product is designed or built with. The engineer that designed the bracket and chassis, and who specified the fasteners to be used and how they were to be assembled, is the one responsible for the units. As long as that engineer (and his/her software) are oriented to the correct units, everything works.

Evidence suggests that any design and development effort that includes conversion from "we started in these units" to "the final product has to be in these other units" is problematic. There's a large amount of very expensive and now useless scientific debris on Mars because the whole project was not in only ONE measurement system. The flaw? Not using one or the other units! It was NOT using ONLY ONE system throughout the project. This is a basic concept in project management and product development: simplify to the point where everyone uses the same "yardstick" (see, it's built into my language!) throughout the project before you get anything past the bar napkin drawing stage.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Eug
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Aug 22, 2011, 03:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by bstone View Post
I meant for relative human temperatures. Fortunately we don't usually experience 0 C or 100 C on a regular basis.
?

After a nice brisk walk on the icy roads in Chicago, go back inside and make hot chocolate.
     
Face Ache
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why isn't H₂0 spelled watre?
So a thermometer is the average temperature of a meter?

And why do American altimeters measure in feet?

How long is a parking meter?



A meter measures.

A metre is 100cm.

Two different things. Why confuse the issue?
     
ghporter
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Aug 23, 2011, 06:50 AM
 
We confuse them because Noah Webster decided that English was inconsistently and "unscientifically" spelled, and he "reformed" American English spelling, establishing that in the US we would no longer use a French-influenced spelling of words like color and honor... It was actually an application of the same principles that were applied in building the Metric system in the first place...

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Athens
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Aug 23, 2011, 01:01 PM
 
I would love for Canada to switch back to mph. Its much easier to maintain speed because the units of measurement is further apart. And the accepted speed limits are some what a little faster.
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ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
I would love for Canada to switch back to mph. Its much easier to maintain speed because the units of measurement is further apart. And the accepted speed limits are some what a little faster.
...what? How does this make sense? You're maintaining the same speed either way - be it 59-61mph or 98-102kmph (or whatever's the rough equivalent). And the "accepted speed limits" are an arbitrary choice - whether it's 50, 80, 100, 110kmph. And then doesn't this invalidate the entire point of using kilometres - because it's part of the metric system? Why do what the US does and us metric for technical applications and imperial for everyday use - thus making everyone convert?
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The Final Dakar
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:37 PM
 
Going 100 kph sounds more awesome anyway.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:51 PM
 
Ahhhh, the inverse of the classic "100F is better than 38C" argument. Well played, sir.
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Athens
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:54 PM
 
1 mph = 1.609344 kp/h, drifting a few km over in kp/h is much easier because its a tighter unit of measurement then in mph. On top of that the typical speed limits are faster too. Driving under mph leads to more constant driving while in kp/h people are breaking a little a lot more to maintain a speed within a tighter unit of measurement. Try it, go for a drive and stay at exactly 50 kp/h see how many times you find yourself correcting yourself. Then follow your US units and drive 35mp/h see how much less you correct yourself. I would love if we switched back to MPH because speeds would be a little faster and people would spend less time always hitting there brakes correcting themselves.

Our Typical Speed limits

School Zone 30 km/h = 18.6 mph
Typical Roads 50 km/h= 31 mph
60 kp/h = 37 mph
70 kp/h= 43 mph
80 kp/h = 49 mph
90 kp/h = 55.9 mph
100 kp/h = 62 mph
110 kp/h = 68 mph

Under MPH and Typical speed limits in Washington

School Zone 20 mph = 32kp/h
Typical Roads 35 mph = 56kp/h
40 mph = 64kp/h
45 mph = 72kp/h
50 mph = 80kp/h
55 mph = 89kp/h
60 mph = 97kp/h
70 mph = 113kp/h
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Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
The Final Dakar
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Aug 23, 2011, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Ahhhh, the inverse of the classic "100F is better than 38C" argument. Well played, sir.
I was being honest, but yes, I suppose that's true.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
kp/h [...] mph
the slash denotes fraction (i.e. proportion). mph=miles/hour

It's "km/h".
     
paul w
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:03 PM
 
Indeed, clicks and kilos are cooler to say then their imperial counterparts.

I've been dealing with both measurements for the past 15 years or so and it's all good. It's not like we can't all just convert back in our heads:

A kilo is a bit more than two pounds. A mile is about one and a half kilometers. I use the 100/40 90/30 80/25 70/20 60/15 50/10 40/5 30/0 F/C rule of thumb. I buy my diesel fuel in litres and I don't even try to convert that because who cares.
     
The Final Dakar
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:04 PM
 
The term clicks makes me think of my days playing Wing Commander on my SNES.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:08 PM
 
...what? You didn't address my answer, at all. I pointed out that the exact same speed is being maintained - there's just a wider variability in the actual numbers in metric. Do you really think people are focusing on keeping within a 1kmph range of 100?! Is that how you drive?? That's a patently ridiculous argument. Are you saying if we changed the speed limit to metres/min - 100kmph is ~1667m/m - that people would then be obsessing over trying to keep within 1m/m of 1667m/m? Hahaha, that's just ridiculous.

As for the speed amounts - again you make no sense. The numbers are entirely arbitrary. The limits could have been set to be higher than the American counterparts. They were not. They were lowered. That was deliberate.
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Spheric Harlot
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:12 PM
 
speed limits are a slightly thicker stripe on the speedometer dial. You hover around them or just below.

Tolerances when radar-gunning for speeding are calculated differently, but using metric doesn't mean that people are somehow magically unable to drive.

Typical speed limits here in Germany, btw, are

50 km/h= 31 mph
70 km/h= 43 mph
100 km/h = 62 mph
120 km/h = 75 mph

regular "recommended" cruising speed on the Autobahn is 130 km/h = 81 mph
     
Athens
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:13 PM
 
Dyslexia alert..... I started at km/h ...... It happens, not the end of the world...... I hope this has not caused you to much emotional trauma....
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
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The Final Dakar
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:15 PM
 
More importantly, human nature (well at least with the males) is to speed. Raising the speed limit in area will not have much of an effect on the amount of people speeding (or braking). It could actually exacerbate the latter, in some cases.
     
Athens
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
...what? You didn't address my answer, at all. I pointed out that the exact same speed is being maintained - there's just a wider variability in the actual numbers in metric. Do you really think people are focusing on keeping within a 1kmph range of 100?! Is that how you drive?? That's a patently ridiculous argument. Are you saying if we changed the speed limit to metres/min - 100kmph is ~1667m/m - that people would then be obsessing over trying to keep within 1m/m of 1667m/m? Hahaha, that's just ridiculous.

As for the speed amounts - again you make no sense. The numbers are entirely arbitrary. The limits could have been set to be higher than the American counterparts. They were not. They were lowered. That was deliberate.
No that's not how I drive, but it is how the dam Asians who immigrate here drive. The gap between each mile per hour is larger, its easier to stay with in the range of 1 mph then it is in 1 km/h.

(Insert Asian English Accent) Oooh Nooo must slow down "tap brake" "Tap brake" few seconds later Oooh Nooo must slow down " tap brake" and repeat endlessly .....


Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
More importantly, human nature (well at least with the males) is to speed. Raising the speed limit in area will not have much of an effect on the amount of people speeding (or braking). It could actually exacerbate the latter, in some cases.
Speed limits only address one thing (most of the time) which is survivability of a crash. Most accidents are not caused by speeding though many accidents are caused by a combination of more then one thing which speed is involved with. Not paying attention, driving to close, not knowing how to merge into traffic, not getting up to speed in traffic, drinking and driving or being under any kind of influence, being to tired, doing your hair, trying to text, not looking when changing lanes, and the sort are what causes accidents. Speed plays a roll in how badly your hurt. Seems regulators are more interesting in lowering the speeds to the lowest common denominator of drivers then actually doing more to make sure people driving are qualified and safe.
Blandine Bureau 1940 - 2011
Missed 2012 by 3 days, RIP Grandma :-(
     
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:23 PM
 
I'm...not even sure...don't even know
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The Final Dakar
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Athens View Post
Speed limits only address one thing (most of the time) which is survivability of a crash. Most accidents are not caused by speeding though many accidents are caused by a combination of more then one thing which speed is involved with. Not paying attention, driving to close, not knowing how to merge into traffic, not getting up to speed in traffic, drinking and driving or being under any kind of influence, being to tired, doing your hair, trying to text, not looking when changing lanes, and the sort are what causes accidents. Speed plays a roll in how badly your hurt. Seems regulators are more interesting in lowering the speeds to the lowest common denominator of drivers then actually doing more to make sure people driving are qualified and safe.
     
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Aug 23, 2011, 04:42 PM
 
Athens is right about speed limits. And if you disagree with that, you're a big nancy.
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