Wednesday, July 09, 2008

'NUFF SAID...

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

JACK IN THE BOX AD SIMULTANEOUSLY PROMOTES IDIOCY, WARNS AGAINST IT



You gotta love this ad from Jack in the Box for their new "Holiday Antenna Ball". The ad is all about a guy driving around with the ball stuck to his head. As the commercial ends, you see a legal warning flash "DO NOT DRIVE WITH BALL STUCK TO FACE." Classic.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AMERICANS SUBSIDIZING DOLLAR WEAKNESS WITH HIGHER GAS PRICES

I filled up my tank this morning... $3.51/gallon for regular... I'm talking about the cheap stuff. Of course, this is out in California where we are seeing the highest prices in the country, but I'm sure you've noticed gas prices are through the roof wherever you live.

I got curious about how much oil prices have actually increased this year so I started doing some digging... I found this chart which basically showed crude prices over 2007...



This chart showed me that crude prices had certainly increased over 2007, but I wondered if that was the whole story... I decided to map crude prices in dollars versus crude prices in euros (and, for fun, gold ounces)... I wanted to see if the price increases we were seeing on oil were occurring across all currencies or was the recent weakness in the dollar having an affect...

So, I grabbed crude oil prices in dollars for each month of 2007 (to date). I then mapped euro's and gold prices for each month using the historic currency converter at xe.com. Then, to normalize each data set, I found the percentage increase/decrease from month to month for each currency and charted it:



The fluctuations between the months looked about the same between the currencies, but you do notice that every time oil prices have spiked during the year, they have increased more in dollars than euros or gold. Interesting. Also, every time oil prices drop, they seem to drop more in euros and gold than in dollars....Also interesting. However, this really didn't show me the whole picture. I decided just to take the price of oil at the beginning of the year (in dollars, euros, and gold ounces) and compare it against the price of oil now, then see what the percentage increase was for each currency.



As you can see from this chart, the data is clear. Oil prices have increased 93% (in US$ dollars) since the beginning of the year. Compare that to a 66% increase in oil prices in euros and only a 49% increase in oil prices in gold ounces.

Which leads me to my conclusion... the American people are subsidizing the weak dollar by paying more for gas at the pump! This really hits home for me and, I expect, a lot of Americans. Many may not understand the intricacies of the currency markets and how they affect wealth, but they can certainly understand this.

I understand those which are saying that a weakened dollar is actually good for the U.S.A. because it makes our goods cheaper for overseas customers, which should help us balance the trade deficit. I get that. However, I don't want to subsidize a policy like this! It's like we are being forced to pay an export tariff for goods leaving the country!

I'm a fiscal conservative and have constantly been disappointed with this administrations monetary and fiscal policy. No matter what the MSM trys to force feed me, I can see with my own eyes that Bush is a big-government, liberal spender. I'm sick of it.

Please don't make the American people pay for your inept monetary policy Mr. Bush...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"WHO'S FRED?" "FRED'S DEAD, BABY. FRED'S DEAD." THE COLLAPSE OF FRED THOMPSON.

Building off of Tom Bevan's posts (here and here)... here is some more data to add the chorus of those now claiming Fred Thompson is done...



I think its safe to say his candidacy is just about over (it peaked way back in September, when he "officially" announced)... The only question now is who is he pulling votes away from? Who will his supporters hitch their wagons to?

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RON PAUL RISING... & THE TOP 3 REASONS HIS POLL NUMBERS ARE SO LOW...

Looking through some of the metrics I have put together for this year's election cycle, its been hard to deny the rise of Ron Paul.... In almost every metric I have tracked (except his poll numbers), Ron Paul has consistently risen over the course of 2007. There is no doubt he is a force in this election cycle.



So why the low poll numbers? His message seems to be resonating. Interest in him in the blogosphere and the web far out paces his other republican rivals. Yet, he continues to be in the single digits in poll numbers. So whats the deal? Here are the TOP 3 REASONS...

1] Traditional polls based on 'home' telephone interviews
Traditional polls are done via telephone interviews conducted at peoples homes. While in the past, this may have been an effective form of identifying interest in a particular candidate, today, this absolutely skews the results in at least 2 ways. First, it skews the results to those folks who want to spend 30 minutes doing a phone interview at home. These people will generally be older and have less going on than a younger demographic. Second, this assumes people still use a 'home' phone. More and more people are switching to a completely mobile infrastructure for their communication needs which automatically excludes them from most traditional polling. By excluding these folks from the polling the numbers will be skewed to more traditional candidates who have dominated the MSM coverage of this election cycle.

2] Polling largely based on name recognition
It is clear that the more a candidates name is mentioned and they are talked about by the mainstream media, the more likely they are to become a so-called 'top-tier' candidate. In both the republican and democratic primary cycles, the MSM has 'anointed' their top-tier candidates and given them a tremendous boost in polling by simply talking about them constantly. Would Fred Thompson or John McCain really be polling as well as they are if they had a tenth of the mainstream press coverage they are getting? Not likely. But this is the position that 2nd and 3rd candidates find themselves in. With Paul, it is much more obvious than other candidates because there is such a discrepancy between his MSM coverage and the interest in him via other forums (ie. web visits, blogs, youtube, meetup, etc.). [Note: interesting to see how Paul dominated the polling in a recent Zogby "blind poll"]

3] Some, not all, but some of Ron Paul's support is from registered democrats and independents
This is an interesting one. It really appears that Paul has positioned himself in a niche where small government republicans converge with pro-privacy democrats. As such, his support from an exclusively republican perspective may be smaller than his overall support in the general populous. Does this mean that Paul is more popular than republican polls have let on... almost certainly. Does it matter? Nope. Because those are the folks who will decide if he becomes the Republican candidate or not...


Your thoughts?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: OCTOBER MEDIA SHOWDOWN

Building off my last Media Showdown post, I updated my numbers to measure the candidates for October...

For those who didn't see the last post, my premise was simple: Measure each presidential candidate on a variety of media factors to determine if there is any discrepancies in the coverage they are receiving... The three metrics chosen were: Mainstream media mentions, Blogosphere coverage, and individual candidate web site visitors. For information on how the numbers were derived, please see my previous post for details on my methodology...

[Aside: This time around I also mapped the candidates average national poll numbers against their media mentions to see if there was any connection... The green line in each graph represents the average poll position of each candidate over the month of October]


Here is the chart for Democratic Candidates...

Some interesting trends here. First of all, it looks like the MSM is still heavily invested in Obama, mentioning him far more than even Hillary. However, interest in him from blogs and web visitors seems to be waining a bit (as do his overall poll numbers)... Has he peaked? I guess not in Iowa, where there still appears to be a race on. Hillary's rough first few weeks of November may turn this around, but we'll only see the results of that in about a month or so. On the positive side for Hillary, blogosphere mentions and her website visits are growing rapidly as we move closer to primary season. She had the most blog mentions of any candidate (on either side of the aisle) this month and absolutely shredded her democratic competition. Month on month, her blogosphere mentions have grown 100+%, while web visits are up 32%. For better or worse, it appears as if both sides of the aisle are anointing her the democratic candidate to beat. Edwards is still chuggin, but his MSM vs. Blogosphere coverage seems way off. The MSM still seems to consider him a semi-top-tier candidate, but the blogosphere may have decided that ship has sailed. Interesting side note: Overall poll averages for the month almost exactly mirror the democratic candidates blogosphere-mention percentages.


Now for the Republicans...

Just like last month... all over the map. Rudy, Mitt, McCain, and Thompson are the MSM darlings again, although Huckabee has increased his profile a bit as well. Huckabee being pushed by the MSM did increase his web visits for the month, but the blogosphere still seems to be ignoring him. The discrepancy between Giuliani and McCain's mainstream press coverage and internet coverage is astounding. Their 'base' is surely not internet savvy, otherwise, their presence online would be much higher than it is. [Aside: I have to wonder how much longer these types of candidates will be able to survive once the internet is mainstream for all age brackets... In a world where all information is available to everyone all the time, I have a hard time believing they would have the same success they are seeing today.] Thompson's numbers have dropped like a stone the month after his big "announcement". Internet visits have particularly dropped almost 50% from last month. Why is this guy even still in the race?

However, again, the big story here is Ron Paul. His dominance of the other republican candidates in terms of web visits and blogosphere mentions is undeniable. I'm preparing a separate post on his meteoric rise...


Media Mentions per Party...

In terms of party coverage, just like last month, MSM mentions, blogosphere coverage and web visits are fairly even. However, if you take Ron Paul out of the equation, the democrats clearly have more coverage than the Reps in the blogosphere and on the web. MSM coverage on the whole has, surprisingly, been very balanced.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2008 Presidential Primary Data Tracker... Polls, Money, Blogs, Web, more!

There's a lot of data out there on the 2008 Election... but it isn't always that easy to find. When I was doing my Media Showdown post a few weeks ago, I noticed that I had to do a lot of leg work just to gather the data that I needed for the analysis. I figured there had to be an easier way... unfortunately, I was wrong!. It's scattered all over the place. In an effort to consolidate this data, I decided I would put together a set of graphs & charts to help track the important data for this election cycle. So, I've pulled together, tracked, and charted what I felt were some of the most important metrics. Please note that this will be a living post... The data presented here is LIVE (thank you Google Spreadsheets!) and will continue to be updated throughout the election cycle. I hope it provides a 'one-stop shop' for 2008 Election data and charting. I would love to keep adding more charts here so please chime in with requests!

[Request from me: Anyone out there have a Lexis-Nexis account they can let me borrow for a few hours? I would love to chart out Media Mentions in the MSM over 2007, but don't have access...If you do, drop me a line!]


Polls

All the poll data which these charts are based on comes from our friends at RealClearPolitics. What I have done is just map the polls to each month to give an overall meta-monthly average for each "top-tier" candidate. Poll data will be updated about once a week or so...

Democratic Presidential Candidates - Aggregated Poll Numbers Over 2007



Republican Presidential Candidates - Aggregated Poll Numbers Over 2007




Money

Fundraising figures are a bit more complex as the reporting of these by candidates is only mandated quarterly. I have taken most of the figures here from PoliticalBase.com and supplemented this with data directly from Federal Election Committee. If anyone see's any issue with the data, I am happy to correct it!

Democratic Presidential Candidates - Fundraising Per Month



Democratic Presidential Candidates - Cumulative Fundraising Per Month



Democratic Presidential Candidates - % Fundraising Per Month



Republican Presidential Candidates - Fundraising Per Month


Republican Presidential Candidates - Cumulative Fundraising Per Month


Republican Presidential Candidates - % Fundraising Per Month




Republican vs. Democratic Fundraising Per Month


Republican vs. Democratic Cumulative Fundraising Per Month




Blogosphere

Blogosphere influence is measured using Google Blog Search with the search string for each candidate being: "firstname lastname". Measurements were taken for each month (from the first day through the last). This data will be updated at the conclusion of each month...

Democratic Presidential Candidates - Blogosphere Mentions Per Month


Democratic Presidential Candidates - % Blogosphere Mentions Per Month



Republican Presidential Candidates - Blogosphere Mentions Per Month



Republican Presidential Candidates - % Blogosphere Mentions Per Month



Republican vs. Democratic Blogosphere Mentions Per Month





Web

Web influence is measured using Compete.com's monthly "People Count" number. From their site, this metric "triangulates multiple data sources, including ISP, Panel & Toolbar to estimate U.S. traffic." Tracking was done using each candidates primary election web site.

Democratic Presidential Candidates - Web Visitors Per Month


Democratic Presidential Candidates - % Web Visitors Per Month




Republican Presidential Candidates - Web Visitors Per Month



Republican Presidential Candidates - % Web Visitors Per Month




Republican vs. Democratic Web Visitors Per Month




Search Trends

Search trends were based on searches for each candidates names using Google Trends. Unfortunately, Google does not provide numbers for me to chart, so these are just static screenshots made as of this posting. I will update these once a month or so... If you would like to pull the latest up to the second trends, please use these links: Democratic Candidates... Republican Candidates.

Democratic Presidential Candidates - Search Trends Per Month


Republican Presidential Candidates - Search Trends Per Month

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

LEAKED! SLINGCATCHER SPY PICS



I usually don't post much tech stuff, but someone close to the project, sent me these shots over the weekend... they appear to show the final pack box of the new, heralded device from the SlingMedia guys, the SlingCatcher. Release, I am told, will happen soon! Looks good! Take a look at whats inside the box here.


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Monday, October 15, 2007

2008 PRESIDENTIAL MEDIA SHOWDOWN: HOW THE CANDIDATES STACK UP IN THE BLOGOSPHERE AND THE MSM... or... RON PAUL IS FOR REAL

Let me start by saying that I have not been paying much attention to this extended presidential election cycle at all. It all feels a bit too staged and made to look like there really is a race going on, when, in fact, the outcome is all but already decided. In any event, I've been getting really curious about the so-called "Ron Paul phenomenon" and wanted to somehow see if there was some quantifiable data behind his candidacy and this web-roots internet outreach. I wanted to see if I could find out if there was a disconnect between the MSM coverage of this guy and what is happening with him on the internet (and quantify it!). To accomplish this, I decided to compare MSM mentions of the candidates vs. blogosphere mentions of the candidates vs. web visits to the candidates web sites.


My hypothesis: The percentage of MSM mentions, blogosphere mentions, and candidate web site visits should roughly correlate over an extended period (for my purpose, I chose 1 month). The reasoning is as follows: MSM coverage should reflect the peoples general interest in various candidates which should be reflected in the blogosphere at a comparable rate, which, in turn, should be able to be measured by individual visitors to each respective candidates web site. I knew going in that the numbers would not exactly align (they never do), but again, I wanted to see the difference between how the internet was treating Ron Paul versus how he was being perceived by the media.... and, while I was at it, see if there were any other discernible differences among how other candidates were being treated.


My methodology: Let me say at the outset, that this is not a scientific way to do this sort of comparison at all. However, I used the same sources for each number, so there should at least be consistency among the numbers, even though they may not be exactly correct. This was fine for me as all I really cared about was percentage. So, for MSM mentions, I did a 30 day GoogleNews search of each candidates full name (ie: "Hillary Clinton") WITHOUT duplicates. My timeframe for the search was 12-Sept through 12-Oct. I know, I know. GoogleNews includes some blogs and therefore would skew the numbers. Thats OK... At least all the numbers would be skewed to the same degree. Again, I wasn't going for completely scientific.. I just wanted to get a rough idea of the number of mentions. OK. Moving on. Next, I did a Google Blog Search for each candidates full name over the same time period (12-Sep through 12-Oct). For web site visits (individual visits, that is... not page views), I used Compete.com and got a total number of visits to each candidates main page over the entire month of September.


The Results: After plugging in all the numbers, I was able to come up with an excel chart detailing the numbers (see below). I then plotted overall MSM mentions / blogosphere mentions / visits per candidate on a graph. Needless to say, the numbers produced some interesting results...

Here is the chart for Democratic Candidates:



When I first saw this, I was pretty impressed. My hypothesis was actually fairly correct. Candidate MSM coverage, blogosphere coverage, and web visits fairly well lined up. The real exception here is Clinton, where her numbers in the blogosphere are really outshining Obama, who is still getting more MSM press coverage as a percentage of total democratic coverage. Also, it is pretty clear from this chart that it's a 2-3 dog race here between Hillary, Obama, and Edwards. However, Edwards support in the blogosphere and his web site seem to be trailing behind Obama and Clinton, which leads me to believe that Edwards is not a so-called 'top-tier' contender.

Ok.. that was interesting. Now for the Republicans.



A vastly different picture, isn't it. For the purpose of this analysis, let's toss Huckabee, Brownback, Hunter, and Tancredo from the discussion. Their numbers are all sub 6% in MSM mentions, blogosphere mentions, and web visits. Also, their numbers actually line up. However, the numbers for Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Thompson, and Ron Paul are all over the map. Giuliani is getting the most MSM mentions by far and is 2nd in blogosphere mentions. However, his web visit numbers are dismal (he comes in 5th place!). Romney and McCain are both just about even in terms of MSM mentions as well as blogosphere mentions and their web numbers are fairly well aligned. The anomaly in web visits during this period appears to be Fred Thompson (whose recently announced candidacy has no doubt attracted lots of visitors to his site - I would expect this to drop off significantly over the next few months). However, both his MSM and blogosphere mentions come in at about 17% of total republican candidate mentions. Pretty consistent. Then we have Ron Paul. He gets a paltry 3905 MSM mentions (on par with Huckabee, Brownback, etc.), but his web visit numbers and blogosphere mentions are through the roof! He beats out even the MSM darling Giuliani in terms of blogosphere mentions and comes in a close second to Thompson in web visits. Talk about a disconnect. Let this sink in: Ron Paul is the most talked about Republican candidate in the blogosphere. Yet, the MSM hardly mentions him. His web visits are through the roof, easily outstripping the top tier candidates Giuliani, Romney, and McCain; yet you wouldn't know he existed at all if you listened to the MSM.


Conclusions: It's interesting to see how aligned the MSM, the blogosphere, and individual web visitors are with respect to the Democratic Candidates. I do get the feeling, though, that the MSM is really going into Obama-Overdrive to force-feed this guy to democrat voters as a real candidate (similar to the Dean debacle in '04). I have a hunch that Hillary will win this thing in a landslide, but the MSM wants to keep up the appearance that Obama is for-real. I could be wrong... but that's the feeling I get. On the republican side, the MSM and blogosphere really seem to be pushing Giuliani (or at least discussing him / mentioning him). It appears he is the early pack leader here. It will be interesting to see how Fred Thompson affects the race as time goes by and the novelty of his candidacy wears off (I predict interest in Fred will fall like a stone from internet savvy voters). The republican race does seem to be a bit more wide open than the democrat race. Based on MSM mentions, there are four top tier candidates: Giuliani, Thompson, McCain, and Romney. However, according to web stats and the blogosphere, Ron Paul must be included here as well. He is definitely a quantifiable force on the web. Whether the interest in him comes from disgruntled republicans or libertarians (or others) can be debated, but the fact that he is a force among interested, internet-savvy voters cannot be. His message is getting out there on the web. By all accounts, the fact that his blogosphere mentions and web visits exceed all top tier candidates in the field should be a MAJOR story for the MSM... but they haven't even noticed (or have chosen not to notice). Let's see if this changes as Paul's donations continue to roll in as they did in the 3rd quarter. Last point: Media bias. I fully expected to see a huge skew in the overall numbers between republican candidates and democratic candidates in the MSM. This was patently false. Overall mentions for democratic candidates and republican candidates in the MSM turned out about even. The blogosphere: also, almost identical! Even overall web traffic between republican and democratic candidates.... almost identical. Very interesting to me considering I came in having the impression that either the MSM or the blogosphere would be skewed a bit to one side or the other.




Here is my full excel chart with all the numbers. I hope to keep this reporting up over the next few months as we move into the primary season to get some trend analysis going. Please let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear some other opinions here!




Update: Patrick Ruffini has just published an amazing analysis of where Ron Paul's donations are coming from thanks to some great stats work by the guys at RonPaulGraphs.com (Sullivan has some analysis). It is truly amazing to see the explosion of support that Paul has seen over the past quarter, not only in terms of donations, but also in terms of Blogosphere and web activity (as detailed above). It will be interesting to see if this momentum continues and how Ron Paul's funds stack up against the other top tier republican candidates going into primary season...

now linked at OTB|Traffic Jam

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

IRAN ATTACK PLAN NOW IN MOTION...

Looks like the pieces are falling into place and an Iran attack will happen sooner (ie: mid-October) rather than later based on some interesting activity over the last week...

First of all, the NY SUN pretty much says the attack has all but happened... We have the incident of Israel's first strike against Syria (which I presume was intended to draw Iran into a conflict with Israel which could then be used as a pretext for the US to enter the fray)... Now we have Russian intel all but saying the attack is a go and pulling all of their workers out of the Bhusher nuke facility...

This, of course, follows the months of sabre-rattling on both sides leading up to "the big event" (hey, these are just from September!)...



My only question: Will we see a terror attack within the US before, after, or during the attack on Iran and are we prepared (and by we, I mean us as individuals..., as the government obviously is not or chooses not to be)....

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Christmas in September?

The malls are getting more and more friggin ridiculous... I snapped this pic in Valley Fair (San Jose, CA) this past Saturday (Sept. 29th, 2007). We haven't even hit Halloween yet!!!!



Friday, January 19, 2007

CHAVEZ POWER GRAB!



Hugo Chavez finally got what he wanted... Full dictatorial control of Venezuela (at least for the next 18 months)... How much you wanna bet it becomes permanent?
Venezuela's National Assembly has given initial approval to a bill granting the president the power to bypass congress and rule by decree for 18 months.

President Hugo Chavez says he wants "revolutionary laws" to enact sweeping political, economic and social changes.

He has said he wants to nationalise key sectors of the economy and scrap limits on the terms a president can serve.

Mr Chavez began his third term in office last week after a landslide election victory in December.

The bill allowing him to enact laws by decree is expected to win final approval easily in the assembly on its second reading on Tuesday.

Venezuela's political opposition has no representation in the National Assembly since it boycotted elections in 2005.



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

'MAJOR ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL ON THEIR WAY'

According to sources at WND, terror groups aligned with Hamas are planning a series of large-scale, mega-terror attacks against Israel in the VERY near future....
Palestinian and Israeli security officials said they are aware of the attack plans. Israel said it beefed up security at Gaza border crossings.

The Palestinian officials said the threatened large-scale attacks, which they claimed may be imminent, are meant to provoke an Israeli military response in Gaza that would unite the Palestinians and thwart any attempt by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

What else will we see in the run-up to elections here in the US?


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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NEVER FORGET: ON 9/11, PALESTINIANS CELEBRATED

Special thanks to LGF for digging up this video...
Here’s some MSNBC footage shot on September 11 which was only aired on that day (and on the 5-year anniversary, when a moonbat posted it at YouTube), showing Palestinians celebrating the attacks on America. Some of the shots are familiar, but others will be new to most people. This was an important paradigm-shattering event that mainstream media almost immediately consigned to the memory hole.










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Friday, October 20, 2006

NORTH KOREAN MIND GAMES: GOOD COP, BAD COP


North Korea must be taking lessons from Hugo Chavez and Ahmedinejad. Kim Jong Il is really getting good at playing the victim roll whilst simultaneously continuing to threaten the hell out of his enemies. Just yesterday, we had reports from a senior North Korean General that war with the U.S. "will be inevitable". Now, a day later, we have Kim Jong Il himself being quoted as saying "he is sorry about the nuclear test."

I mean, come on. These fools must really think we are stupid. These are classic "two-steps forward, one-step backward" tactics. They are designed to keep us on edge, but will always pull us back just enough such that we won't act militarily. These tactics allow our enemies to continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons, but don't give us the leverage to do anything about it. Iran is playing the same game. Continuing to enhance uranium, all the while stating that they are ready to negotiate.

Our enemies have a found a tactic that we have been unable to counter. We better figure out how to circumvent this strategy soon, or we will be worse off that we can imagine.

It's time to grow some balls Mr. Bush. Sanctions and "tough" talk don't mean sh*t to these thugs! They are biding their time, all the while building their weapons capability. We look as impotant as can be. It's time to prove to the world, once again, why we are the only super-power on the planet.

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