Reporting from #AGU15

AGU-2015I’m in San Francisco at the American Geophysical Union convention and I will be reporting from here all week. Postings may be a bit erratic, as I have to juggle attendance and time for writing, but I will be live Tweeting regularly from my Twitter feed from the sessions.

The headlines here have already been humorous.


Right, if natural variation kicks in I’m sure we’ll see “we did it!” as the subsequent headline.

One of the sessions I will be attending will be this one from Dr. MIchael Mann:

U13A-02: If You See Something, Say Something…More

Scientists have a collective ethical obligation to communicate the implications of their science and to communicate it as accurately and fully as possible. Nowhere is that obligation more profound than in areas of research, like climate change, where the stakes are so great, and where societal decision-making demands the most accurate assessments of risk. If scientists remain on the sidelines, they insure that others with an axe to grind will fill the void, game the process of risk assessment, and insure sub-optimal policy decision-making. But simple participation is not adequate either. Scientists, when they communicate climate change risk, must resist the temptation to downplay high-risk and high-cost scenarios in an effort simply to avoid criticism by contrarians. Otherwise, the net affect is the same, with bad faith actors achieving their goal of minimizing the emphasis placed on mitigation efforts in the policymaking process. We will discuss some examples including the critically important case of ice sheet collapse and sea level rise.

That promises to be entertaining if nothing else.

These also look curious:

OS43B-05: Global Warming ‘Pause’ – Oceans Reshuffle Heat

  • Despite the fact that greenhouse gases are still increasing and all other indicators show warming-related change (+0.0064 °C/year since 1880 or +0.0077 °C/year during 1993-2002), surface temperatures stopped climbing steadily during the past decade at a rate of +0.0010 °C/year from 2003 to 2012. We show that in recent years, the heat was being trapped in the subsurface waters of the western Pacific and eastern Indian oceans between 100 and 300 m. The movement of warm Pacific water below the surface, also related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation climatic pattern, temporarily affected surface temperatures and accounted for the global cooling trend in surface temperature. With the Pacific Decadal Oscillation possibly changing to a warm phase, it is likely that the oceans will drive a major surge in global surface warming sometime in the next decade or two.Reference: Nieves, V., Willis, J. K., and Patzert, W. C. (2015). Recent hiatus caused by decadal shift in Indo-Pacific heating. Science, aaa4521.

BTW you can watch this also, as it will be part of the AGU on Demand streaming video:

To watch, you have to register here:

I’m not even sure this one [below] is worth attending, as we all know it will be the same set of rants we’ve all heard before. There’s likely no science in this, just the usual talking points:

U13A-03: Reticence, Accuracy and Efficacy 

  • James Hansen has cautioned the scientific community against “reticence,” by which he means a reluctance to speak in public about the threat of climate change. This may contribute to social inaction, with the result that society fails to respond appropriately to threats that are well understood scientifically. Against this, others have warned against the dangers of “crying wolf,” suggesting that reticence protects scientific credibility.We argue that both these positions are missing an important point: that reticence is not only a matter of style but also of substance. In previous work, Bysse et al. (2013) showed that scientific projections of key indicators of climate change have been skewed towards the low end of actual events, suggesting a bias in scientific work. More recently, we have shown that scientific efforts to be responsive to contrarian challenges have led scientists to adopt the terminology of a “pause” or “hiatus” in climate warming, despite the lack of evidence to support such a conclusion (Lewandowsky et al., 2015a. 2015b). In the former case, scientific conservatism has led to under-estimation of climate related changes. In the latter case, the use of misleading terminology has perpetuated scientific misunderstanding and hindered effective communication.Scientific communication should embody two equally important goals: 1) accuracy in communicating scientific information and 2) efficacy in expressing what that information means. Scientists should strive to be neither conservative nor adventurous but to be accurate, and to communicate that accurate information effectively.

I do find it curious thought that Lew is listed as being with UWA. I wonder if his Bristol gig went sour. Or it could simply be that he’s so busy finding moon landing deniers among the climate skeptics that he didn’t update his AGU profile. Anything is possible.

Here is what I’m presenting at AGU on Thursday, December 17th, at 1:40PM:


I’ll have a detailed post regarding my session that will publish on Thursday. I think it will be worth everyones time to mark their calendar to have a look.

Thanks again to everyone who helped get me here.



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Bloke down the pub
December 14, 2015 7:40 am

I hope you have a good audience.

Bruce Cobb
December 14, 2015 7:50 am

Scientists have a collective ethical obligation to communicate the implications of their science and to communicate it as accurately and fully as possible.

Only on Planet Mann, nowhere else. On Planet Mann, all the standard rules and practices of science no longer exist. Too inconvenient. Plus, on Planet Mann, he gets to proudly display his “Nobel Prize”.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
December 14, 2015 1:35 pm

I think I got one of them Nobbles.
Can’t remember when, but I was very definitely a full citizen of the “WONDERFUL” EU at the time, whenever it may have been.
Dare say I could look up what it was I’d done (or not done, etc.) – no matter.
As a citizen, I get a share in the Nobble, I think.
I note that I a – mouthy – one of 492,000,000 (ish) citizens [plus some residents, I guess, who should get credit, and sundry household pets, AI entities etc.] all of whom, like little M. Mann, rightly get some sustenance from the story. Credit – ah – credit – not my decision!

This Jim G, not the other Jim G.
December 14, 2015 7:51 am

Wow, for a PhD, he sure does struggle with grammar.
They “insure” used repeatedly instead of ensure.
“Net affect” should be “net effect”.
Does anyone proofread his work?

Reply to  This Jim G, not the other Jim G.
December 14, 2015 8:08 am

old concepts of grammar will be adjusted to comply with 97% of the new modeled grammar,

Reply to  1saveenergy
December 14, 2015 10:05 am

Yeah. Postmodern science meets postmodern language rules. It’s all flexible and open to interpretation as long as the outcome tilts to the left!

Reply to  This Jim G, not the other Jim G.
December 14, 2015 8:12 am

1st sentence: This should have been dropped: “and to communicate it”–wordy, not needed. Result after deletion: “Scientists have a collective ethical obligation to communicate the implications of their science as accurately and fully as possible.”
2nd sentence: Drop the “so” in “so great.”
3rd sentence: Too many bizarrely conflicting metaphors in: “If scientists remain on the sidelines, they insure that others with an axe to grind will fill the void, …”
[But could they not throw in the newly-ground axe to fill every appropriate void from the sidelines? 8<) .mod]

Janice Moore
Reply to  rogerknights
December 14, 2015 2:28 pm

Roger Knights, your years of promoting excellence in writing have not gone unnoticed (by many of us, here). I sure hope you do some serious writing of your own — your skills should have an outlet! And do keep on keeping us all grammatically and stylistically correct HERE — we need you!

Reply to  This Jim G, not the other Jim G.
December 14, 2015 8:15 am

Personally, I like the OTHER Jim G. better !!!

Reply to  This Jim G, not the other Jim G.
December 14, 2015 9:26 pm

Ensure and insure were, not too long ago, interchangeable. Lately, insure is used exclusively to indicate underwriting or shared risk arrangements; ensure is used in the sense of to see that something happens.

December 14, 2015 8:09 am

A critical biography of Dr. Mann is long, long over due.

George Daddis
Reply to  hunter
December 14, 2015 8:40 am

See Steyn, Mark

Reply to  hunter
December 14, 2015 4:31 pm

hunter: “A critical biography of Dr. Mann is long, long over due.”
Like this?
A Disgrace to the Profession” Kindle Edition
by Mark Steyn

December 14, 2015 8:12 am

“Right, if natural variation kicks in I’m sure we’ll see “we did it!” as the subsequent headline.”
You’re probably correct although I’m not all that sure and if they did then may well backfire badly. It’s a racing certainty that co2 ppm won’t have dropped a p which is now pretty easily measurable so all such a claim would do would be to highlight the fact that temperatures are decreasing while co2 continues to increase.

Reply to  cephus0
December 14, 2015 11:04 am

@forrest–“Or maybe they’ll just move on to the next scam. Carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen are quite inventive”
I suspect that they will raise agan the old (60-70’s) canard — burning fossil fuels is causing global cooling..

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  cephus0
December 14, 2015 12:38 pm

Forrest Gardener
Rolling on floor! If the earth cools atmospheric CO2 levels will be adjusted down!!!!!!! You definitely understand their thinking!!!!!!!!!! Great one!!!!!!
Eugene WR Gallun

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  cephus0
December 14, 2015 6:23 pm

Not sure how natural variation is going to “kick in”. Isn’t it always in play?

December 14, 2015 8:16 am

To This Gim G: he got the (shared) Nobel Prize in something other than English grammar, I guess, but it is a dead giveaway that he’s somebody who doesn’t check his facts.

Reply to  Trebla
December 14, 2015 10:08 am

Detail work and accuracy is for plebes. Mann is an idea Mann, high above all the lowly shitwork that the little people do.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  PiperPaul
December 14, 2015 8:17 pm

Dr. Fraudpants is like the little boy who cried wolf.
h/t Mr. Leahy

December 14, 2015 8:19 am

Hopefully, President Cruz will appoint Anthony Watts as Science Adviser in 2017 and put this nightmare to bed !!

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Marcus
December 14, 2015 10:32 am

Dr. Curry would be on the shortlist along with Dr. Lindzen.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 14, 2015 10:39 am

I nominate Curry, Soon and Baliunas to run the EPA, NOAA and NASA.

David Ball
December 14, 2015 8:24 am

Don’t be reticent about the uncertainties, Anthony!! Give ’em hell.

Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 8:26 am

To Our Hero for Truth in Science — ANTHONY WATTS
Enouragement for you, Anthony, Warrior for Science Truth —
{Over the centuries, many, people sacrificed dearly for truth in science. The following is a message to you from one of them, from the region outside Time.}
As from Albert Einstein:
You stand on the high ground, Anthony Watts. Your side, those who question the plausibility of the speculation about human CO2, has always been winning. The AGWers have yet to make a prima facie case for their human CO2 conjecture: the burden of proof STILL l1es solidly on their side – it has never shifted. You and your allies for truth in science must fight on only because the enemies of truth refuse to surrender to the obvious facts. Yes, certainly, a few of your ally skeptics, battle-weary and starting to give a bit too much credence to the jeers of the AGW scientist mercenaries, have grown a bit wobbly in the knees (and after such a long fight, this is understandable), and talk of conceding a bit of ground to the AGW crowd, gratis, i.e., they would give the AGWer’s limited, but significant in the scientific sense, Earth-climate sensitivity to human CO2.
There is no evidence for this. This “lukewarm” conjecture is, just as AGW is, based on extrapolating the properties of CO2 in a highly controlled laboratory setting to a virtually infinitely open, undefined, apparently chaotic, system called Earth.
These noble-but-mistaken climate warriors, for whom I yet have the deepest admiration for their undaunted dedication to this cause of such vital importance to the well-being of humanity, now speak only tentatively about a “pause in warming.” This – is – NONSENSE. Unless they have infallible prophetic abilities, the ONLY thing we know is: warming has stopped.
Thrust out that chest of yours in which beats such a noble heart and walk with confidence into that AGU-AGW arena with your head high, wielding your sword of truth with gusto, for this fact remains (in spite of NOAA’s laughable attempts to change temperature history, and I can tell you, we got a great laugh out of that up here… for we know who will win … in the end), it is the giant striding silently-but-powerfully behind you wherever you go, O Warrior Watts:
Don’t be afraid to be seen as “simple.” Truth is very simple. It is only l1es and ignorance which are complex and murky.
I was called “simple.”

What would I say to your AGW detractors?
I would LAUGH OUT LOUD and say,
“Go get ‘em, Anthony!”
Yours most sincerely,
A. Einstein
Violinist 
You wonder at this job title? Physics and math were guesses – intriguing, sometimes amusing, and very necessary in the perennial battle for truth on earth called “life.” There is for me now no more “physics” and “math.” Lol, up here, I KNOW. But, music! Ah, music. Music is eternal. Now, enough! Back to playing – and joy.

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 8:33 am

. .Awesome !

Janice Moore
Reply to  Marcus
December 14, 2015 9:03 am

Thank you, Marcus!

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 8:36 am

Speaking of great music, I have been captivated by this group. YouTube is such a great site for sharing the best in music…

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 9:17 am

Ms Moore
Thanks for the Monday inspiration.
WUWT indeed attracts an eclectic group of achievers.

Janice Moore
Reply to  knutesea
December 14, 2015 9:33 am

Thank you, Knute. I am glad that you were inspired by that.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 4:52 pm

Bear in mind, Janice that Anthony is, after all, a lukewarmer. As am I.
But you sing out swell.
And Nobody Beats the Rev!

Janice Moore
Reply to  Evan Jones
December 14, 2015 8:32 pm

Thank you.
And… I’m sorry to hear that, Evan Jones, but, good for you to fight on for what I consider to be compromised truth, even so.

Richard G
Reply to  Evan Jones
December 15, 2015 7:41 pm

I don’t mind whether someone is a lukewarmer or alarmist, only that put their work out there for others to replicate. When the alarmists are producing politics instead of science, one must be skeptical.

Reply to  Richard G
December 15, 2015 8:36 pm

I had the pleasure to meet some young up and coming geologists at a annual conference. By the second dirty martini, the laughter started rolling about the table. I asked them to identify whether they were alarmists, deniers or lukewarmers and the table went silent. I guess I got a little ahead of myself.
I ordered a round for the table as penance for introducing the subject.
We haven’t reached the point of general safety and humor yet.

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 15, 2015 1:32 am

You post so many music videos that I had assumed that this was another one, hence my reply below. Then I clicked on it later and realized my error.

December 14, 2015 8:26 am

Breaking News…
Paris teacher stabbed by ISIS sympathizer, manhunt under way..
Hey Parisians….WAKE UP !!

Reply to  Marcus
December 14, 2015 9:04 am

Not true, the teacher has just admitted he lied

Mark from the Midwest
December 14, 2015 8:27 am

Hansen’s notion of speaking about implications is, in the words of that esteemed philosopher Mike Tyson, “ludicrous.” Hansen himself apparently believes he’s now an expert on economics, (the carbon tax). The banner for AGU is equally misplaced, the notion of “transformative science” is absurd. Science is what it is. People who get caught up in this new age “transformational” nonsense tend to be very bad arbiters of reality.
And as long as we’re on the topic of grammar is “transformative” even a word?

December 14, 2015 8:29 am

If you have time and enjoy a great breakfast, check out Mama’s on Washington Square in North Beach. That is my family’s place. We have been on that corner since 1951.

Reply to  goldminor
December 14, 2015 9:08 am

What a fabulous tribute to a life well lived. You come from good stock Mr Goldminor.'s_%28restaurant%29

Reply to  Knute
December 15, 2015 12:53 am

My my, I didn’t realize that there was such a detailed write up on Mama’s history. Thanks for sharing the link. There is an error though on the year that my father’s family left Mexico. He was only two, the youngest of 7 children when they had to leave Guadalajara around 1923. When his family arrived in SF, all of the children were enrolled in St Vincent de Paul grammar school in the Marina district. When I went there in 1956 there were teachers there, the Sisters of Charity, who had taught my father and his brothers and sisters. I also had teachers at St Ignatius HS in the mid 1960s who remembered my father. My father and his 3 brothers all went into WW2, and all made it back. By coincidence all four of them disembarked in Oakland at the same time and met each other in the Oakland station, even though they all fought in different theaters of the war. My father was in the landing to liberate Italy as a forward artillery spotter. His only wound was a bullet crease across his forehead, which remained with him through his life.

Janice Moore
Reply to  goldminor
December 14, 2015 9:08 am

Oh, man, Goldminor — that food (I clicked on “Menu”) looks DELICIOUS! And reasonable prices for such good food, too.
Here’s Mama’s website — for all of you near enough to go:
If my circumstances were different, I WOULD GO THERE TOMORROW MORNING! ……. I think I need a snack… lol, boy do I love to eat!!

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 15, 2015 1:03 am

It is great food. We were always a family friendly, affordable restaurant, and used above average ingredients for everything. I miss it myself. There is a line at the door every day which sometimes stretches halfway up the street. My brother is working on opening a larger place 4 blocks south from where we are. That place will be larger and will be a full breakfast through light dinner establishment. That will ease the wait time for customers on Washington Square.

December 14, 2015 8:54 am

Anthony – you write “BTW you can watch this also, as it will be part of the AGU on Demonad streaming video”.
Did you intend to write “AGU on Demand”? I DO, however, enjoy the imagery of your original spelling.

December 14, 2015 8:57 am

“It is the world of desperate listeners, longing for a more powerful moral authority, that begs the natural scientist to say it is the science that speaks, not the woman or man. But the scientist cannnot with honour consent.” Neil Postman, Technopoly, 1992.

December 14, 2015 9:13 am

Give em hell Mr Watts.
Perhaps next year they’ll offer a course in Ethics for Climate Researchers.
The course already is halfway there by using the reconstruction of what Mann “accomplished”.
Iowahawk really does a fine job.

Alan Robertson
December 14, 2015 9:18 am

Walking among some of the zealots sure to attend the AGU meeting?
Check your six and often.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Alan Robertson
December 14, 2015 9:37 am

Some of them are so filled with venom, that I have been praying for angelic protection for Anthony and the other truth tellers, there. And not just v. a v. the human agents of the l1es, either. “We wrestle not with flesh and blood… .” Anthony’s typo was, to me, quite ironic.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 4:56 pm

I have been praying for angelic protection for Anthony
Well, I may be an atheist/agnostic, but, unlike most of my kind, I sure as heck will say, “It couldn’t hurt.”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 6:25 pm

Couldn’t hurt, perhaps, but it won’t help.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 8:38 pm

Why, Jeff Alberts (smile), … how do you KNOW that?
Take care on that drive across Deception Pass — ugh, I always get an uncomfortable feeling driving across there. Not so much the height, but the fear that the ol’ span needs refurbishing (DOT of Wash. is the in the top 5, if not the best, in the nation, imo — sure has Caltrans beaten oh, brother!!!… you should SEE how bad it is compared to WA!) or that a car will cross the center line in those narrow (*flinch*) lanes. Can’t beat the view on a nice day, though, huh?

Evan Jones
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 15, 2015 3:57 am

Maybe it will help in ways that are strictly anthropogenic.
Besides, as Bohr observed, you don’t necessarily have to believe in it for it to work.

December 14, 2015 9:23 am

Michael Mann’s command of the English language is no better than his command of science. Does he not know the difference between “affect” and “effect” or “insure” and “ensure”?

Bruce Cobb
December 14, 2015 9:48 am

Poor climate “scientists” need to stop being so “reticent”, and “communicate climate change” more. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Why didn’t they think of that before? That’s why they’re losing the climate wars. Yes indeed.
Perhaps Jimmy coal-trains-of-death Hansen could loan out his fedora.

Julian Willaims in Wales
December 14, 2015 9:49 am

The description of your presentation looks serious, balanced and well grounded beside the shrill hyperventilating trivia of Mann, Lewandowsky and Hansen. I expect all serious scientists notice the difference at a glance, we are all proud to be your supporters. .

December 14, 2015 9:51 am

Yes, James Hansen has certainly been RETICENT about speaking up.

Peter Sable
December 14, 2015 9:58 am

OS43B-05: Global Warming ‘Pause’ – Oceans Reshuffle Heat
I look forward to hearing about this one. If the oceans are indeed reshuffling heat, then we have nothing to fear from fossil fuels warming the planet.
The rationale is fairly simple. The ocean has an order of magnitude more heat capacity than the atmosphere. This means it’ll be on the order of a thousand years to warm the ocean 1degC according to IPCC numbers (additional 2W/m^2 from anthropogenic sources).
That’s longer than we have fossil fuels left to burn, in particular coal. It’s also longer than the time constant for nature reabsorbing the excess C02 we’ve put there once we find an alternative to fossil fuels. So, there’s no global warming threat from C02, no matter what you think the constant is in front of that log2 equation, if the oceans are reshuffling the heat.
We’ve got time to deal with running out of fossil fuels, and we don’t have to starve or freeze anyone to do so.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Peter Sable
December 14, 2015 10:41 am

Sadly, science left the Climate Change debate 20 years in the run-up to TAR. The only things that have been transformed is objective truths and unccertainties to false propaganda, which in turn changed climate science to climate politics.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 15, 2015 4:03 am

It didn’t exactly leave. It just changed. But fear not. PNS is no longer so much in vogue, anymore. I “project” that scientific method will be the New Black again.

Tom O
December 14, 2015 10:58 am

It would be nice to know how that only in the last 20 years was “natural variability” and the deep oceans able to overpower man’s crusade to broil the world, but it had nothing to do with the warming in the past. It just amazes me how the “believers” try to explain away their errors by blaming the planet without even realizing just how much they are denouncing their own beliefs.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tom O
December 14, 2015 11:56 am

Yup. They are self-destructing — and THAT MAKES ME LAUGH -LOLOLOLO!

December 14, 2015 12:35 pm

Os43b-05 accepts that there has been a pause
U13a-03 says there ain’t.
Shouldn’t oreskes and lewandowsky be attacking the authors of os43b-05 for heresy?

Smart Rock
Reply to  peter9381
December 14, 2015 3:15 pm

That’s the glory and the wonder of the AGW model. It can do anything, warm the earth, cool the earth, more snow, less snow, wetter, drier, windier, calmer, sunnier, cloudier, pause, no pause. And, even more wonderful, it can do all these opposite things AT THE SAME TIME!!
When has science ever had such a wonderful tool for predicting (sorry “projecting”) the future.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
December 14, 2015 1:20 pm

If scientists remain on the sidelines, they insure that others with an axe to grind will fill the void, game the process of risk assessment, and insure sub-optimal policy decision-making.

Well, that’s an Inconvenient Truth right there. Al?

December 14, 2015 1:28 pm

No one could accuse James Hansen of exhibiting “reticence,” or “reluctance to speak in public about the threat of climate change”. As for ‘irrelevance, ego and failure to predict correctly’…..not so much.

December 14, 2015 1:41 pm

From my experience visiting the poster sessions at past Fall AGU Meetings in SF, they are usually low-key and civil. Steve Mosher has done a few poster presentations in past Fall AGW Meetings in SF. He can relate his experiences to you, perhaps.
Stay circumspect.

December 14, 2015 2:04 pm

U13A-03: Reticence, Accuracy and Efficacy

Accuracy is phenomenal: atmospheric composition in parts per million, temperature in fractions of a degree, rise of the oceans in millimeters etc. All that on average per year in an Earth-sized sample.
The question is rather how not to be reticent about “crying wolf” of such magnitudes? Perhaps some meteorologists and psychologists take it seriously, but metrologists are slapping their knees.

Janice Moore
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
December 14, 2015 8:55 pm

lolololololololo — +1!

Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
December 14, 2015 9:07 pm

The Art of the Con

Evan Jones
Reply to  knutesea
December 15, 2015 4:05 am
Science or Fiction
December 14, 2015 3:04 pm

“If You See Something, Say Something”
I see something:
IPCC is governed by unscientific principles!

Janice Moore
Reply to  Science or Fiction
December 14, 2015 8:54 pm

Dear Science or Fiction,
Thank you for sharing all that hard work with us! I only read a few excerpts (getting late!) but, it looked thorough and well researched. Great expose of that body of corruption, the IPCC.
One suggestion: Putting your comments/conclusions in a different color or font would help the reader, giving us “signposts” along the way. A quick scan of a summary of (or comment on) what a given paragraph is talking about makes reading technical writing easier.
Well done!
Your ally for science realism,

Science or Fiction
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 9:38 pm

Thanks for your feedback and for good advices Janice – I will look into that. 🙂

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 14, 2015 10:53 pm

My pleasure.

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