Feb 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm #1285508
I counted 29 bags of stuff sack air to fill my new Stephenson's DAM 60". That's an easy fix, some silicone along the seams of the stuff sack should more than cut that number in half. During a good squeeze of the stuff sack I could feel my hair blowing back from the leaking seams.
My Feathered Friends Jackorack was $115 on sale from Moontrail. My 4 season FF bag was $300 plus used! My McHale pack was $500 something.
I say th "H" "E" " double hockey sticks" with it and order the new Arcteryx Beta AR. Thinking the production has shifted back to Canada. Oh no, 2009 production was China, after complaints 2010 production moved to Canada, and now my 2011 Beta AR is made in China.
My iPhone and iPad is made in China, but apparently that's not an issue for me. My Samsung LCD TV, made in China. My Giant MTB, China.
My 10 year old La Sportiva boots, actually made in Italy. My 10 year old Patagonia fleece, actually made in USA.
Where do I draw the line? Where do I put the US $ on my values?Feb 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1837648
This probably should relocate to Chaff, but anyway…
My own views:
1. Generally, I really don't give one hoot about brands or where things are made. My criteria are:
o good product (design, quality, durability)
o good service (pre sale and after sale)
o good price (not necessarily cheapest but good value)
o honest, straightforward marketing.
2. I will make exceptions (i.e. pay a bit more) for local makers/sellers and boutique makers.
Something about 'patriotism' being the last refuge of the scoundrel… so makers/sellers who wave the flag will also raise my suspicion. What? Your product can't stand on its own? And in any case, tough love appropriately applied will often result in the best — be they products, services, students, or children.Feb 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm #1837649
John VanceBPL Member
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I gave up trying to decide that and spend where I get the most value, which ussually isn't the cheapest. With respect to backpacking, my pack, bags, shelters, and pads are all US but I didn't make my choices based on the country of orgin. Everything else is from everywhere, US, China, Honduras, and a number of other offshore manufacturers.
I am more inclined to purchase from a company with a great reputation for their products and service. If they can be successful with a manufacturing partner that is not domestic, I am OK with that. Long lived items I am willing to pay more for, consumables less so.Feb 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm #1837655
@footeabLocale: Pacific Northwest
$$$ on postage and letters to your congressmen and local representatives who keep increasing regulatory burden on the businessman. Overhead costs too much due to the govmnt stuffing their noses into the smallest crevice to generate fees in the forms of "permits" etc to justify their existence. Taxes are bad, but its the regulations that kill the small business.
There is no reason at all that a light fixture/electrical outlet, bathroom sink or toilet needs to have a permit costing more than the fixture in question to replace. Its ludicrous and killing small business. There is no need for a business to have to jump through 10 million hoops to install a simple machine on their premisses to manufacture goods. Its not just the $$$ represented in the fees and "permits"(bribes), but rather the amount of time said business is delayed till it can open its doors. ROI(Return on Investment) % keeps falling due to government stalling businesses before they can even start.
Workmans comp has got to be eliminated as well. 1) Its utterly ineffective. 2) Its abused nearly 100% of the time 3) It adds huge burden onto businesses making it more cost effective for them to never even hire employees, but rather contract everything out. Lets not even get into mandated health benefits or mandated insurance premiums to cover if one of your employees stubs his little toe and cry's for mama if one wants to pull a loan out from a bank.
Or how about the stupidity of the fire department ignoramouses who demand fire extinguishers be replaced yearly along with the demand that they be given access onto your premeises to inspect. Fire ext are good for 10s of years.
Or how about goverments idiocy of demanding that all outlets now be "tamper proof" just because somewhere some kid managed to stick something into one because their parents were too lazy to cover them or inattentive of their children. Now the entire country has to pay 2-3X more for every outlet in their home boosting the cost of their purchase price by another $1000. Or the idiocy required to get a UL sticker approval which doesn't actually look at the device in question, but rather just the cord in question. As if that can't be "looked" at in under 5s and see that it is stress relieved at the ends. Instead it costs manufacturers 10's of thousands of dollars to get this moronic UL sticker before they are allowed to sell a single device. So, what do they do? They build said devices elsewhere and send said stupid power cord through the expensive UL system when in reality what one really wants tested is the DEVICE not the BLASTED CORD!
Eliminate UL and we might be able to start building electronics in our country again. Or at least the possibility of it. Of course the entire industry is in Asia and said industry golden egg is entirely gone.
Food service regulation is just as bad. Its not the material said food service carts etc are made from rather it is how often the lazy employees clean it.
That is where your $$$ should be going. To fighting government shoving up prices on all domestic manufactured goods to insane levels that small companies cannot compete due to regulatory BS eating all of their profits.
In China, there are NO permits for anything. Bribes, maybe, but permits? HA! Just build and move equipment in and viola a couple months later you are manufacturing goods. Half year later here in the good ol' USoA the tin pot dictators haven't even given you your permits to build, let alone started to stuff their noses into your construction site in the form of inspections which means if you are part of the union said inspector doesn't even bother to inspect allowing one to get away with anything, but if you manage to tick off said inspector they make your life H-E-L-L. Heaven forbid if you are not part of the union thug membership club. Then you really are in for a world of hurt when these ignoramous inspectors who know about 1/2 of the regulations they are actually enforcing decide to start making up their own on the spot and won't tell you how to fix it to meet their newfound demands.
Yes, there needs to be a medium of inspectors unlike China's complete lack of them otherwise there really will be "murder" being done in the form of failing buildings, but currently as it stands now said building codes, fire codes, etc we have today are so draconian as to be insane. Buildings weren't falling down on peoples heads 100 years ago with no building codes. Today everyone has to build things for the 1 in a trillion just in case because some willful stupid person who managed to get the Darwin award for stupidity in 2009 needs to be "saved", so everyone in the country now has to modify their buildings to protect this idiot from themselves.
Sorry, let the willful idiots get the Darwin award as an object lesson to everyone else to pay attention to what the heck they are doing. You can't save everyone from themselves. Life is dangerous. For egregious breaches in human decency that is what we have a legal system for.
Right now 25% of the purchase price of a home is tied up in permits and fees. Let alone building a manufacturing facility where it is even worse. Government run amok destroying our ability to produce manufactured goods. I just got done building cheap "affordable" housing, duplex, and fees/permits totaled over $50,000 in Seattle for something that sold for $215,000 and that is before one adds up all the time spent hunting down all these regulatory tin pot dictators to get their A-S-S's in gear instead of delaying the project. Interest for several months on a business loan of $200,000 ain't exactly the 3.5% home loan lines. I also work in a small business. I would lay very good odds that 90% of small businesses have to simply "break the law" in order to survive financially.Feb 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm #1837657
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
It looks like Brian just cast his vote for Ron Paul.
–B.G.–Feb 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm #1837687
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Funny.Feb 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm #1837688
@benwoodLocale: flatlands of MO
Tell us how you really feel brian.Feb 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm #1837693
When is individual responsibility party affiliated? I don't think Austin's post is a political diatribe.
Ben 2 World,
I admire your perfect world posts, and I sincerely mean that with no disrespect but "This American Life" is the only unbiased show on NPR.
I gladly pay my $25 a year or so for BPL, well worth it.Feb 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm #1837703
I admire your perfect world posts, and I sincerely mean that with no disrespect but "This American Life" is the only unbiased show on NPR. "
Thanks for your sincerity, but why do I keep sensing sarcasm? :)Feb 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm #1837707
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I agree with Ben's first post, since by now I think I understand how he views things.Feb 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm #1837727
While I agree with some of what you've said and I hate to do this, someone has to do it lol so please don't take offense.
"There is no reason at all that a light fixture/electrical outlet, bathroom sink or toilet needs to have a permit costing more than the fixture in question to replace."
I don't know where you live and I fully trust you on this. You don't need any permit/inspection to repair any of the above listed items anywhere in the county and possibly state I live in. I know this because I work with my dad who is a licensed general contractor and I've been around a few remodels/inspections, etc.
"Workmans comp has got to be eliminated as well. 1) Its utterly ineffective. 2) Its abused nearly 100% of the time"
Ok, well here's a little story. Someone at my old job got burned in the eye from fryer oil and you can't really say it was his fault. It's just part of the job sort of. I've even taken hot oil to the eye there but it was no big deal I guess it hit the white part, and I'm not a sissy. Anyway, he went to the doctor and now has to wear glasses. His sight could be permanently damaged. My workplace didn't compensate him whatsoever for medical bills or time lost which in the past I know a manager got sent to the hospital for stitches when he sliced his finger open with a knife. This employee also never got any workman's comp or whatever either. Maybe I'm wrong but IMHO he deserves something.
"Or how about the stupidity of the fire department ignoramouses who demand fire extinguishers be replaced yearly along with the demand that they be given access onto your premeises to inspect. Fire ext are good for 10s of years."
Again, where I live not the case. Also I could always be totally wrong at any point but… Fire extinguishers are inspected once a year(big deal couldn't cost that much) and if they are good then they sign off and you keep it. NO replacement necessary. What exactly do you mean by given access to your premises? They sure don't inspect homes. They inspect places of business where peoples lives could be at risk should there be a fire. I'm down for that I don't want to go getting burned to death in the food lion or whatever. Also, I know alot of volunteer firefighters and I think they get paid some but not too respectably. I also looked into how to become a firefighter in the past and alot of places require you to volunteer before you can actually be on like the town fire dept.
Whoa! You want shoddily made products that could electrocute you(trust me 120V doesn't feel very fun) or catch fire or something? It wouldn't take a whole lot to cause such a thing especially in an unregulated environment like that where people could sell any old unsafe electronics. It's not like they have to inspect every single item right? And I could be wrong again but don't foreign products still need the UL inspection?
"Food service regulation is just as bad. Its not the material said food service carts etc are made from rather it is how often the lazy employees clean it."
Ok, I'm gonna start at the back end of this one. I never worked in fast food but I have cooked for work before and I can assure you not every cook is a stupid lazy pot smoking bum. Near the end of my employment you could say that I worked less hard. That's only because of my payment situation though. Give your employees more money and maybe they'll try harder. Or maybe if you want good food from a truly clean restaurant tip the cooks or give a compliment now and again rather than making up fake complaints to get free food!
"Then you really are in for a world of hurt when these ignoramous inspectors who know about 1/2 of the regulations they are actually enforcing decide to start making up their own on the spot and won't tell you how to fix it to meet their newfound demands."
I'm pretty sure the inspectors(and you could mean different inspectors) at least locally know the building code pretty well. I've never heard of an inspector making up his own rules. Sure everything is up to interpretation however, but so are laws. Just today as a matter of fact as well an inspector helped my dad by explaining a new regulation(and it happened to be a stupid one) but what he did was explain the options of how to correct it in time for the final inspection. The inspection today still passed regardless. You can't just act all opinionated and rude to them or of course they'll give you a hard time. I'm sure at whatever job you have if someone acted this way to you you'd bite back as well.
"Buildings weren't falling down on peoples heads 100 years ago with no building codes."
Really? I don't feel like citing anything right now but I'm pretty sure there have been plenty of historical fires/building/infrastructure failures that killed lots of people.
"Sorry, let the willful idiots get the Darwin award as an object lesson to everyone else to pay attention to what the heck they are doing. You can't save everyone from themselves. Life is dangerous."
"Right now 25% of the purchase price of a home is tied up in permits and fees.I just got done building cheap "affordable" housing, duplex, and fees/permits totaled over $50,000 in Seattle for something that sold for $215,000. I also work in a small business. I would lay very good odds that 90% of small businesses have to simply "break the law" in order to survive financially."
Without hard facts to back up some of these "statistics" I find them very hard to believe. $50,000 seems pretty unbelievable to me as well but since this is your true life experience I trust you on it. Maybe you should have just build it somewhere else less regulated than Seattle if you don't think so highly of said regulations. If you work in small business and 90% of small businesses break the law do you? I really doubt that. Maybe something like 10% or 20%.
Again don't take offense just arguing for fun.
EDIT: Also, sorry for the giant text wall, I'm sure almost no one will read it. And sorry for potentially being off-topic.Feb 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm #1837729
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"When is individual responsibility party affiliated? I don't think Austin's post is a political diatribe."
Nobody claimed that it was a political diatribe. It just read like it was from Ron Paul's platform speech.
–B.G.–Feb 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm #1837749
Theron RohrBPL Member
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
I say spend less money on gear and you won't be so disappointed. It's enjoyable to try and accomplish more with less. If it doesn't work out then it's not going to raise your blood pressure. Recreation should be relaxing, not part of the rat-race.Feb 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm #1837752
Ken T.BPL Member
with the quality of locally made doughnutsFeb 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm #1837758
"Also, sorry for the giant text wall, I'm sure almost no one will read it. And sorry for potentially being off-topic."
I read it. So why the supposed disconnect between "facts" versus perception thereof? My two cents, but several things come to mind:
1. Primarily, I blame our media –which thrives on digging up the controversial (and mostly just the controversial) — to feed its bottom line. My gut feel is that:
o There is insurance abuse, but not as all-pervasive as the flow of media reports will have us believe
o There are examples of ludicrous "product liability" lawsuits — but again not as pervasive as we are led to believe.
o There really are bombings and kidnappings out there — but the world is NOT as dangerous as portrayed. (I added this one in because my travels really show up just how twisted our media reporting has been).
I am not accusing the media of making things up. I believe the opposite — that their reporting's are mostly factual. But their focus on the sensational is so narrow that they have reduced almost every topic / country / whatever into mere caricatures!
2. Secondarily, while the web gives us "all the news from all angles" — many of us tend to gravitate to just the one or three news sources that we feel comfortable with! How many of you here are regular viewers/readers of BOTH Fox News and al Jazeera? So what we think we know, we hone in on news that support our views, while dismissing those that don't.
Not saying there isn't any problems with our country and our world — but it ain't half as bad or depressing as the media would have you believe.
But back to topic — business is competitive — and we do our industries no favors by cuddling them.Feb 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm #1837760
@pda123Locale: Eastern Mass
I don't know how old you are, but if you're something like my age then you may be familiar with the phrase "thalidamide baby". this horror came about because of lax, even non existent regulation of the safety of new drugs. I saw plenty, and believe me, I don't want to see anything so horrific, and preventable, again.
I could go on with hundreds of such horrors which have been massively reduced by sensible regulation. Buit I suspect you would side with Mr. Scrooge in suggesting that "they should die and reduce the surplus population."
Can someone tell me what this has to do with lightweight backpacking?Feb 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm #1837765
"Can someone tell me what this has to do with lightweight backpacking?"
Pack less be more!
Where do we and our gear fit in?Feb 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm #1837766
Pertaining to the topic: Some gear especially seems overly inflated in price. My finding however is that these small cottage businesses produce superior quality gear at usually pretty respectable prices. With the exception of my Nunatak quilt which was mad expensive, not to say it isn't worth it. For example I just returned a $250 Mountain Hardware 45 bag to REI and now I'm getting a 28 degree quilt from Ron at MLD for less! My backpack from Joe at zpacks costs s little over $100, I paid about the same for my heavy 65L REI pack 6 years ago(after coupon and dividend).
Pertaining to the other sub-topic: I rarely watch any news. I'm not really interested in anything they have to say. Every time I see the news I get frustrated because they ake such a big deal over everything. They try to tell people what they need to think. They try to call out celebrities and sports stars(neither of which I have any interest in like the news) for little details of their every day life that are hardly worth caring about. Things that aren't even crimes. They talk about big court cases with parents killing their children when really identical crimes happen all the time unreported(on the news). None of it really matters to me, it isn't going to affect the way I live my life.Feb 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm #1837767
Brett PeughBPL Member
You put value on the money with how you use it. If your TV is made in China and you have a problem with that, don't buy it. Having or not having a TV will not make you a better or worse person. I don't spend a lot of money on 'things' because they don't make me happy an instead I give it and my time to things like the local PBS station, the local healthcare consumers group, the guy replanting prairie and those things I feel support the inclusion of everyone. Heck, I don't own a TV and I don't feel the worse for it. I don't even own a bed but instead sleep on some decent foam I have arranged on the wood floor and put a sheet over. I still sleep as well and will recycle it when it is done. I try to buy used or with some conscience, but yeah, it is hard.
My camping gear is the clothes and gear I use. My Ti pot is what cooks me my breakfast and meal at night. My rain jacket and fleece are what keeps me warm and dry the last few days out. I don't own a lot and that is fine with me because I make do with what I have. Sometimes I go bumming for two hours in each direction and learn about the area I live in by living off of soup kitchens and what I brought with me. No big deal. Take it from the thieves, if you can't walk away from all of your physical possession, they own you, not the other way around.
I can still fit most of my possessions into my Honda Civic except my desk and beer brewing equipment and drive away. No biggie. I work and save money and buy what I feel I need and yell and scream when manufacturers don't live up to their claims and take them to task. ( You people have no idea what I am going to do to Montbell next time I am in Boulder :)
have less, be more.
I still own the Nunatak balaclava you sold me used years ago and use it when I need. Thanks! It has probably saved my cheeks a few times. (Sorry for those out there if this a bit over the place but I am listening to Metallica first three albums (the only good ones) after the Scotty Karate night).Feb 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm #1837775
Whoever is moderating this forum would do well to get rid of all this political crap and concentrate on backpackingFeb 11, 2012 at 3:42 am #1837839
@footeabLocale: Pacific Northwest
The OP was wondering why he can't buy local made products. I went into many reasons why you can't. It costs too much due mainly to government regs piled on top of government regulations on top of more government regs in order to pay just the overhead before one even buys 1 yard of cloth. Your employees need salaries and have to live and pay their homes, clothing, entertainment, food which is based on more regs and more regs… Its a never ending cycle. The materials themselves cost next to nothing compared to everything else one has to pay for. The cost of materials generally keeps dropping(except when inflated due to cost of energy) and cost of goods keeps climbing. There is a reason. Because said businesses have all these new expenses they have to not only pay for, but take time from very busy profitable activity of building jackets/sleeping bags to inact all these regs.
Someone upthread said, replacing fire extinguishers is cheap. No its certainly not. You not only have to check them all, but you then have to buy replacements, install the replacements, invite the fire marshall out, properly bow and scrap to their worships who if they take a dislike to you can shut your entire business down instantly for no reason until you sue them to get your business reinstated, and then ferry their worships around your business/home/office, properly place their buns outside your door and THEN get back to work. Now do that for workmans compensation, building inspectors where no work can be done while waiting for them to show up which can be DAYS away meaning your project is sitting and your loans are accruing interest. No, regulations are not "expensive" when looked at a monetary figure. Its expensive when looked at from a productivity perspective. If every week I can only work 4 days while the 5th I have to "work" paying regulations, it gets darned expensive Very quickly.
At some point you have to say enough is enough to get certain regs removed. Spending your life paying regulation taxes is not the way to do it. You cannot protect everyone from crooks and theives. You can't make a work environment perfectly safe. You can't make buildings perfectly safe. You can't make life a sterile hospital. Trying to make the world perfectly "safe" is ludicrous.
Yes, there have to be some basic regs, but the minuscia keeps piling up completely irradicating the original intent of said code in the first place. For instance sheet rock coming from China that was allowed in because it met the minuscia spec, but no conscientious worker bothered to ask what it was actually made of or when they found out no one bothered to sue the socks off the manufacturer. Instead another layer upon layer of minuscia was added to all local sheet rock manufacturers jacking up the cost for everyone. There was no need for the law to change or another layer of minuscia inspections to be added. Justice and the law already had the warewhithal to punish the wrongdoers. Instead the only ones really effected were a) the sheet rock manufacturers who didn't do anything wrong and b) the end users(US) who have to pay for it. This get tagged onto the cost of every building in the nation. One doesn't have to wonder why everything costs so much when one is constantly trying to placate government minuscia because some unscrupulous jerk tried to shave a penny thinner.
Its got nothing to do with politics. Punish the wrongdoers. Quit punishing everyone who is doing it right with umpteen layers of regulations and permits. Electrical permits costing $5k when an inspector is onsight for all of 3 hours total is ludicrous. Half the time there shouldn't even be an inspector needed. Far as I am concerned, the main electrical panel should be checked and nothing else. Why am I paying an inspector Hundreds of dollars an hour for a "final" inspection to make sure a cover plate is on? Anyone buying the place sure as heck won't put up without said coverplates! No one ever had problems before. Just another way for the government union employee to justify his existence so they go out of their way to invent new jobs for themselves. IF they don't their funding gets cut, oh no!
I haven't seen the justice system and its implementation of the laws on D's, R's, L's, or G's, or whomever party you chose platforms. Some just put a pat phrase, limit government regs or "limit" size of gov, or help small businesses. They all spout this line a month before election from all parties. Some spew it for longer periods of time and for some reason the generally "R's" swill it up. The truth is its nothing but hot air BS as said politicians even if they did get elected don't have the inherent power to regulate the regulators or the justice system! Its the unelected, can't be fired for life bureaucrats who run the show and I have no idea how to slow them down and neither does anyone else. Its frustrating.
Sorry if folks don't like to actually ponder WHY all the products are made in China/Korea/Japan/Vietnam instead of here and like to live in fantasy land. When you try to start your own business and have the fun and joy of "working with" the government on a daily basis as they come into your business demanding you spend your lifes blood doing "x" and "y" that does nothing for anyone, then you will understand a bit more. The average person never sees it except in the price of goods and wonders why roads can't be built quickly, or why they cost so much. A few get shocked when going to remodel/expand their houses by how much it all costs and this is the closest most people get to government overburden of regulations which always increase every year and never decrease.
PS. To the UL enamored guy up thread. UL by and large doesn't actually test anything anymore. You meet their general "specs" and it passes. They don't actually look for flaws in the design like they used to like relay's that short to ground when they fail instead of remaining open so no one can get electrocuted. They set broad general criteria for say a light fixture housing saying it has to be "enclosed". But don't look about for wiring rubbing over a sharp edge. Likewise for "stress relief" on power cords. Why all power cords have that stupid sticker to start with. Has nothing to do if you will actually get electrocuted from said cord because the manufacturer used TINNNNY wire and it will heat up causing contact problems. Yes, UL when it first was created actually TESTED equipment and looked for flaws as it was an independent outside source that one could run your designs past, now they essentially just certify stuff to meet OSHA reqs and are essentially a government regulatory company. While outside sources are needed, forcing UL stickers onto every appliance cord making it more expensive then say a bedside radio is ridiculous. All one has to do is have the laws on the books in the form of the NEC to start with. If companies buying said products to sell/use want to hire UL to check it out, fine, but forcing everyone to do so simply boosts the cost of goods for everyone.Feb 11, 2012 at 5:15 am #1837850
Well Brian, as I said I could be wrong about anything I said. It seems you just restated some things from your previous post but maybe in different wording. Pertaining to the building codes and inspectors and what not, that simply is not the case anywhere around where I live. So again I say, maybe if you don't like all these regulations and inspectors BS then build in an area with less of it!Feb 11, 2012 at 7:00 am #1837872
Drift here, but since this post went to hadies anyway. I heard on the news that over 60% of the roses we will be giving our loved ones on V.Day will have come from Brazil.Feb 11, 2012 at 7:39 am #1837885
@davidvcdLocale: Northern VA
A possible solution, "borrow" some home grown local roses from your next door neighbor.Feb 11, 2012 at 11:03 am #1837982
Not to be cavalier toward those who have lost their jobs, but…
The fact is that our country has benefited enormously from world trade (both in goods and services). While people have been fretting about the loss of entire industries (shoes, textiles, consumer electronics) — our standard of living has increased every single decade since the 1950's!! Ups and downs to be sure, but world trade — based mostly on rules that we ourselves wrote — has made us rich! Most nations haven't been so fortunate.
I am sure it's unintentional — but it just seems OBSCENE — for Americans to enjoy enormous profits from selling aircraft, satellites, advanced weapon systems, etc., etc. — and then BITCH about foreigners "stealing" our shoe and textile jobs!
So, some of the poorer countries can now turn out pretty decent backpacks and jackets. If they are putting in honest effort and turning out good value products — why do they not deserve your business? Just because they are not Americans??? If so, then that is both unfair and obscene.
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