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Old 21st December 2012, 12:36 AM   #1
epix
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x + y = z

There is provably no unique solution to the equation x + y = z. As a matter of fact, there are "infinitely many" solutions and all of them are equally possible, even though 1 + 1 = 2 may eventually become the preferential choice. How many people would choose this option?

A team of psychologists got actually curious about that, and the equation x + y + z showed up among a few placebo questions in a test related to the making of preferential choices. But the result turned up a big puzzle for the administrators of the test: a statistically significant majority of respondents chose their solution as

39 + 13 = 52

Another test showed, and predictably so, that the choice wasn't a result of a freaky coincidence. Accepting that, the researchers started to look for a reason behind the choice, but to no avail - not even with the help provided by the folks from the math faculty of the local university. That was kind of embarrassing, because the more people agree on something, the more obvious is the reason for it. Since the test was anonymous, it was difficult to locate those who agreed on that particular solution and ask them.

The test was administered and the result processed a few days ago and there is still not even remotely possible explanation among the Ph.D.s who got involved in it.

Does anyone see something familiar in the solution, or see some "logic" in it that would defeat the expected solution 1 + 1 = 2?
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:40 AM   #2
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I notice that there is not a single citation in that word salad.
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:46 AM   #3
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Why would X and Y being the same number be an "expected" solution??

That doesn't make any sense to me.

People attributing the same number to two of the variables would seem like an atypical occurrence to me!!

IMO, that (1 + 1 = 2) would only be a typical "simple" answer if the question was X + X = Y

If I understand your logic (that we should assume that people would pick the simplest answers that fit) then that would be:

1 + 2 = 3


Perhaps you would like to rephrase the OP and exchange 1 + 1 = 2 with 1 + 2 = 3?

Without that change I am not following your logic.
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
I notice that there is not a single citation in that word salad.
This.

Also, why isn't the expected solution x + y = z? It's obviously the more general case. And it's easily accessible to anyone who's studied basic algebra. What, were these studies of 2nd-graders?
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mijopaalmc View Post
I notice that there is not a single citation in that word salad.
Googling "39 + 13 = 52" and "psychologists" together didn't seem to yield any gold. epix, are you pulling our leg? Did you report this correctly?
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by OnlyTellsTruths View Post
If I understand your logic...
You misread the OP. It's not a theoretical (logical) claim. It's a factual claim. The OP is claiming there is actually experimenatal observations of a specific outcome.

Logic has nothing to do with it. It's all about citing the experimental documentation. Which the OP does not do.
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:14 AM   #7
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I looked in google all i found were card related stuff, and mathew citation.

Knowing epix i get the feeling he will do some major hand waving then conclude "therefore :god".
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:23 AM   #8
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I googled all possible combo of x+y=z , 13,39,52, and all other phrase combo from epix post as it could have been copied from an article and found nothing. I am now waiting for the "pointe" of the joke.
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:48 AM   #9
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it's really fairly obvious:

39 is the number of the NWO ! this number is very important as it represents the number 13 (the day of the purge of the Knights Templar (this is why we consider friday the 13th bad, and 13 an unlucky number)) multiplied times the 3 ruling kings . (who I am not obliged to name at this time)

13 is obvious, and in this case the 4th 13 is symbolic of the totality of mankind, being ruled by the Order itself.

The resulting 52 is the most sacred number in the Order as it represents the union of the common man and the Order. All working together towards the common goal.

Helping the Jooz!





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Old 21st December 2012, 02:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by epix View Post
Does anyone see something familiar in the solution, or see some "logic" in it that would defeat the expected solution 1 + 1 = 2?
Yes, I see something familiar in the solution: the number of cards in a pack and in each suit. Which in turn is supposed to represent the weeks in a year and in each season.

Why do you think "1 + 1 = 2" is the expected solution?
Why do you say it was 'defeated'?
What was the actual question people were answering?
How comparatively popular was the '39 + 13 = 52' answer?
Was there anything in the 'placebo' questions to put subjects in mind of the number of cards in a pack?
Did this really happen, or did you just dream it up?
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Old 21st December 2012, 02:43 AM   #11
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back to serious time now. Without the actual test results to look at , we are very limited on what we can comment on.

If 200 people took the test, 180 gave individually different answers, 8 gave 39+13=52 , 4 gave 23+57=80 4 gave 69+69=138 and 4 gave 3+2=5 then it's hardly significant

but if 200 people took the test and 140 gave 39+13=52, perhaps you'd have something there.
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Old 21st December 2012, 03:51 AM   #12
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a+b=c
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:00 AM   #13
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The first thing I would look for was the presence of any or all of these numbers in previous questions.

Wait, no. The first thing I would look for is evidence that the whole thing was not fabricated. Let me know if any shows up.
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:23 AM   #14
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x = gin
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z = martini
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:53 AM   #15
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Maybe, as Aepervius and Jack by the hedge suggest, a significant majority were card players or had been involved in some card-related activity involving individual suits in a standard pack.

Without any references to the study, we can't tell who the subjects were, but IME quite often they are students who are willing to participate in such experiments. Perhaps many of these subjects were students who'd earlier been involved with a card-based experiment.

IOW it may have been a biased subject selection.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:05 AM   #16
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I am beginning to think Epix is a post grad student doing doctoral research on how to get otherwise sane, intelligent people to discuss total nonsense on internet bulletin boards.

Dale H
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dale H View Post
I am beginning to think Epix is a post grad student doing doctoral research on how to get otherwise sane, intelligent people to discuss total nonsense on internet bulletin boards.

Dale H
I think that you are correct.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:31 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
I looked in google all i found were card related stuff, and mathew citation.

Knowing epix i get the feeling he will do some major hand waving then conclude "therefore :god".
I suspect that is what is being alluded to.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:31 AM   #19
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Wink

Originally Posted by dlorde View Post
Maybe, as Aepervius and Jack by the hedge suggest, a significant majority were card players or had been involved in some card-related activity involving individual suits in a standard pack.

Without any references to the study, we can't tell who the subjects were, but IME quite often they are students who are willing to participate in such experiments. Perhaps many of these subjects were students who'd earlier been involved with a card-based experiment.

IOW it may have been a biased subject selection.
The study was done with a random sample of 200 people all randomly taken at the exit of the Palace Casino in Las Vegas.
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:14 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by epix View Post
There is provably no unique solution to the equation x + y = z. As a matter of fact, there are "infinitely many" solutions and all of them are equally possible, even though 1 + 1 = 2 may eventually become the preferential choice. How many people would choose this option?

A team of psychologists got actually curious about that, and the equation x + y + z showed up among a few placebo questions in a test related to the making of preferential choices. But the result turned up a big puzzle for the administrators of the test: a statistically significant majority of respondents chose their solution as

39 + 13 = 52

Another test showed, and predictably so, that the choice wasn't a result of a freaky coincidence. Accepting that, the researchers started to look for a reason behind the choice, but to no avail - not even with the help provided by the folks from the math faculty of the local university. That was kind of embarrassing, because the more people agree on something, the more obvious is the reason for it. Since the test was anonymous, it was difficult to locate those who agreed on that particular solution and ask them.

The test was administered and the result processed a few days ago and there is still not even remotely possible explanation among the Ph.D.s who got involved in it.

Does anyone see something familiar in the solution, or see some "logic" in it that would defeat the expected solution 1 + 1 = 2?
Could you show us the actual question? Was it a write in answer, or was it multiple choice. If it were multiple choice with no "no answer" selection, then you'd probably want to look at where the popular answer was located.

I strongly suspect that it was multiple choice, with no option for "no solution" given. The people who come up with these things either don't know jack about math OR they were testing something else - like possibly which answer is most selected when all answers are wrong.

Actually, 1+1=2 is the last thing I would think of a possible solution. There being an x and a y implies for me that there are two seperate numbers expected. Were a single number expected, then I would expect the question to have been written as x+x=y or more simply 2x=y. That still has no single answer. Of course, in x+y=z there is nothing that says that x and y have to be different numbers. It's just that a person writing the problem who knows that there are really only two variables wouldn't normally throw in a third variable because it wouldn't be of any use.

Last edited by MortFurd; 21st December 2012 at 06:33 AM. Reason: Lots of stuff I thought of after posting
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:34 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dale H View Post
I am beginning to think Epix is a post grad student doing doctoral research on how to get otherwise sane, intelligent people to discuss total nonsense on internet bulletin boards.

Dale H
Either that, or he is just posting whatever voices in his head are telling him -- like this non-existent "study".

I am inclined to the latter.
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:51 AM   #22
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z = 42, of course.
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:55 AM   #23
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It's pretty clear. Googling study 13 39 52 quickly leads us to Matthew 13:52, which says :

"He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."

Then just slap in the 39 to make it an equation. Many of those tested were probably devout law teachers and had storerooms with treasures in them that they like to bring out sometimes, so this just sprang to mind.

(what made me laff about that webpage is that it says "Scripture quoted by permission" )

eta: Whoa .. it might run deeper. Add 13,39 and 52 you get 104, which adds up to 5. This is the number of books in The Pentateuch. Spooky.

Last edited by GlennB; 21st December 2012 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
... mathew citation.
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I suspect that is what is being alluded to.
OK, so I looked up Matthew 13 39-52 but didn't find any relevance.
Is that what you meant?
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Old 21st December 2012, 08:05 AM   #25
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Assuming said study actually exists, was the question multiple choice? Perhaps people, in a forced-choice scenario, would naturally pick the biggest numbers that satisfied the equation.
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Old 21st December 2012, 08:38 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Assuming said study actually exists, was the question multiple choice? Perhaps people, in a forced-choice scenario, would naturally pick the biggest numbers that satisfied the equation.
That makes sense.

Otherwise, normally being pressed for time, one would expect the simplest answer.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Otherwise, normally being pressed for time, one would expect the simplest answer.
Which is 0+0=0, not 1+1=2!
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Old 21st December 2012, 10:27 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
That makes sense.

Otherwise, normally being pressed for time, one would expect the simplest answer.
I would expect single digit x and y, no zeros, and different x and y.
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Old 21st December 2012, 03:49 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
Which is 0+0=0, not 1+1=2!
Can't disagree with that being the most 'efficient' answer...yet, if the test was for highschool kids, that answer would show too much sophistication.
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Old 21st December 2012, 03:53 PM   #30
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it seems that due to algebraic training we would put two different variables as x and y (and in such a manner as to get a completely different variable in Z)

so 1+2=3 is what I would expect to see.

but people doing math can be cheeky and creative. (especially when there is no grade)

they might put their birthday (M+D=Z) or SSN or wtvr.
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:05 PM   #31
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It is interesting that the two summands are multiples of 13. It is, however, also less interesting that the sum is a multiple of 13, and you don't need a psychologist of the faculties of local university math departments to tell you why that is.
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:12 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
OK, so I looked up Matthew 13 39-52 but didn't find any relevance.
Is that what you meant?
How about Mat 1:3,4?

ETA: That's part of the genealogy.

Last edited by mijopaalmc; 21st December 2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:19 PM   #33
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I can't believe there's a whole side show of bible quote algebra.

What's next?

Disco?
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Old 21st December 2012, 04:23 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I would expect single digit x and y, no zeros, and different x and y.
Same here.
Yet, I was responding to Beerina's suggestion that it was a multiple choice test; in which case, the poor kid's prejudice might go for the most complicated-looking choice.

Too bad we still don't know if any such test took place.
But it's a cool idea.
I'd like to see this sort of test, and its results.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:21 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You misread the OP. It's not a theoretical (logical) claim. It's a factual claim. The OP is claiming there is actually experimenatal observations of a specific outcome.

Logic has nothing to do with it. It's all about citing the experimental documentation. Which the OP does not do.
As I said, the test was administered a few days ago with the description and the result not hitting the Internet. I learned about it from a phone call in a btw manner. Hence no citation.

I became really curious too and so I left a message to call me if they succeed in finding some of the guys who participated in the test and who decided on the substitution x = 39, y = 13, z = 52. It's actually interesting that the administrators of the test preferred looking for the participants rather than to tend to the Christmas shopping. I guess science breeds a nudging case of curiosity. And guess what... About two hours ago, I got a phone call and learned that the reason for the particular substitution is known and being contemplated. Unbeknownst to the researchers, the guys who created the mystery based their decision on a coincidence that they became familiar with in the case of another test conducted about a half a year ago by a different team of psychologists. I get to it after I describe the reasoning that fetched the solution 39 + 13 = 52. I hope that I understood it well enough to pass it on. So here is how it went supposedly down...

The equation x + y = z is not made of randomly chosen letters: There is a convention among mathematicians according to which they use the last three letters in the alphabet to define the magnitutes of 3-dimensional objects.

The letters x, y, z themselves do not support some association that would help to form a particular criterion of choice for the numerical substitution. But if you take into the account their position in the alphabet, you can form logically congruent equation using different variables, because x, y, z are the ending letters of the alphabet:

(x + y = z) <=> (e + n = d)

The difference between both equations is that when the variables are positioned next to each other, xyz doesn't form a word, whereas end does. That means you are trying to solve equation e + n = d and your choice for the numerical substitution is guided by the concatenated form end which has meaning.

Now when you look at the result again w.r.t. the above you see

x = e = 39
y = n = 13
z = d = 52

But since the concatenation of e, n, d yields a comprehensive word form end, the concatenation of 39, 13, 52 should yield a comprehensive number form 391352. Like hell it does, because

391352

doesn't ring the bell at the slightest. How, in the world, does number 391352 associate itself with the meaning of the word end? Lol. Gimme a break...

The fact is that it really doesn't without a simple logical transformation. First thing first: 391352.

Number 391352 has been made of THREE numbers - 39, 13 and 52. Being a decimal number (base 10), what would happen if it is converted into a number in TERNARY notation (base 3)?

Let's do the conversion and pray to the god of sheer luck...

39135210 = 2012122111123

The last step is to adjust the ternary number with respect to the variables that form the word end:

f[end:201212211112] = 2012, 12/21, 11:12

The winter solstice in the year of 2012 falls on December 21 and takes place at 11:12 UTC. The event coincides with the end of the world heavily predicted by some Homo sapiens.
http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/...-solstice.html

Once you go the opposite way using the date and the time as a initial condition, then, depending on the degree of imagination, you can eventually get to the x + y = z question - if it ever presents itself. But it actually did!

My opinion? There is no way that a bunch of folks could form such a straightforward type of association-based transformations and get so lucky at the same time! But they acted on an important clue that the researchers didn't know about.

So... have a nice end of the world.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:28 PM   #36
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Thanks for that post. I can now feed my Rose Bushes for the next 6 months.

Norm
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:31 PM   #37
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It's probably not a good idea for you to carry on these extended conversations with the voices in your head, then posts the results here.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:37 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
Thanks for that post. I can now feed my Rose Bushes for the next 6 months.

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nominated for pith!
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:47 PM   #39
Kid Eager
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I'm still stuck at the "cool story, bro" point: there's no evidence, cites, references, methodology......
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What do Narwhals, Magnets and Apollo 13 have in common? Think about it....
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:53 PM   #40
Sledge
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This thread is all rubbish. You can't add letters. epix has confused letters with numbers.
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