Hey Look, Solutions to All the World’s Big Problems with the Napkins to Prove It! Now Send Money.


Terry Etam

Sheesh, what’s with all the drama? The news is full of bad-news stories about doom and gloom; can’t everyone see we just need to roll up our sleeves and get to work? Most of this stuff isn’t even all that hard!

We can solve the world’s obesity/health problem in a matter of months. Start by closing all fast food chains immediately. Ban all kinds of fattening food like chocolate, or anything deep fried. Ration sugar.  Coke and slurpees and ice cream and pie – all illegal.

We can solve the world’s drug problems. It’s not that hard; it’ll just cost a few bucks. Spatially, we know where most drug problems occur. It’s not in the middle of a wheat field or a forest or a mountain or the Sahara desert. The actual problem zones are not that big as a percentage of the world’s surface. So for those regions, we will train an army of, I don’t know, say 20 million soldiers – a tiny fraction of the world’s population. We’ll place them on a grid at a rate of let’s say 11 people per acre or for high rise buildings at a rate of 1 per 19 cubic metres (preliminary estimate) in all trouble zones. They will be equipped with tasers and guns and stun grenades, and smiley face stickers so that the children aren’t too frightened

We can solve the world’s dating problems, good lord how hard can it be? It’s just data scraping and machine learning. You say you like Thai food and travel and quiet afternoons on a cool fall day with a fuzzy sweater and a good book and social events with friends? Hey, possibly there is someone else in the world with the same wild and wacky outlook on life, just need to get y’all catalogued and cross referenced and your new tailored mate will be waiting for you in your favourite first-date spot within the next two weeks at a time that doesn’t annoy you. AI will solve it all!

We can solve the world’s emissions problems by September. Immediately ban all flights except those for medical emergencies. All cruise ships will be abandoned immediately or, ok, as soon as they get back to home base if we can afford the delay. Shut down tourist resorts; everyone has to travel to get there, ergo they are a huge part of the problem. You want travel? Walk outside and turn left. Or right, it’s up to you. Keep going until you’re had your fill, then turn around.

If you don’t like the sound of those ideas, hey, there are other ways. Here’s another way to ‘save the environment’, one that will be far less disruptive and will be far more pleasant. What’s the world’s average unemployment rate? Let’s call it six percent. Six percent of eight billion people = 480 million people. Order 480 million shovels from Amazon and a hundred seedlings apiece, boom: 48 billion new trees, unemployment solved, climate saved. Next!

OK, fine. Those are all moronic ideas. Well, not so much moronic as just wildly impractical, or run counter to human necessities, or are solutions that citizens simply won’t stand for. And the main point of outlining such wild scenarios isn’t to be a smartass (that’s a secondary objective). 

The point of such a weird and silly catalogue is to highlight that, from a high level, huge problems are easily solved – in theory. Some sound easy if we just throw money at them, or just try a little harder. 

I can recall personal examples of where I learned these follies first hand. In university, in business school, one of my favourite courses was organizational behaviour. I found it fascinating how the professor could outline logical processes and programs that would vastly improve a business’s functioning. 

Like most grads, I was eager to put these practices into work at my first job out of university, at a big company. Some corporate deficiencies were obvious; I recognized them from class! But implementation? Wow did the veteran employees laugh at the suggestions. “Thanks college boy, we’d never have thought of that.” The real world has problems with budget realities, with ingrained habits/behaviours, with personal issues and personnel issues. Irrational circumstances can exist in a prolonged state simply because someone in a position of power likes it that way. And that is ultimately what one learns as they get far enough away from university: positions of power dictate everything. 

Currently, however, in the energy transition realm, human optimism, or the prevailing wisdom that we ‘have to’ transition energy sources, overrides realists. Those in the positions of power want to adopt the ideas of the theorists, because they view it as an existential necessity to change course radically – that is what an ‘emergency’ dictates. 

Consider the following three climate plans, each of which forms the backbone of at least one major government initiative, thought process, or plan. They all have major institutional pedigrees or standing: one from one of the US’s most senior politicians who very nearly led the Democratic party; one from a Stanford University engineering professor; and one espoused by the hallowed news source Bloomberg. All have substantial academic support, backing, and seal of approval.

Here’s a plan from Bernie Sanders, which has garnered much support in the US under the Green New Deal banner. It’s from way back in 2019: a $16.3 trillion plan to eliminate fossil fuel use in the US by 2050 with the standard formula: new wind, solar, and geothermal power sources across the country. The total includes a, hmm, well it’s kind of paltry in comparison, $200 billion transfer to poor nations to help them fight the good fight. Sanders announced this will be good business to boot, it will ‘pay for itself’ within 15 years. Hey, it’ll even create an estimated 20 million jobs!

Oops, sorry, that’s way out of date. Bernie was way off! Here’s one from a prominent Stanford professor: again with the wind and solar, but this one’s global and has a price tag of… $62 trillion. Quit your whining, it’s a bargain, the prof says – this one pays for itself in 6 years! And would create 28 million jobs around the world. Kind of a pathetic jobs total though; Sanders’ plan would cost about $815,000 per job, the Stanford model about $2.2 million.

Rats, there I go again, that plan is from 2022, way out of date already. Just a few weeks ago, Bloomberg came up with the latest thinking, which puts the tab for zeroing out the world’s carbon emissions by 2050 – same fight, same renewables recipe – at…$200 trillion. And, Bloomberg notes enthusiastically, that’s a bargain!

Your head should be spinning as you try to think about what $200 trillion actually is, in terms of spending power, but put those thoughts aside for a minute. They’ll break your head anyway. For now, focus on the following realities that should be pertinent.

The Geological Survey of Finland has calculated that there won’t be enough minerals in known reserves to complete the energy transition as hoped by 2050. So resource wise, it’s kind of a nonstarter anyway. But even if you poo-poo that position, as climate hawks do, consider that, per the International Energy Agency, it has historically taken 17 years for a new mine to come into production, a number that is sure to grow as regulations tighten in much of the world. Consider that that same IEA report estimates that “the energy sector’s overall needs for critical minerals could increase by as much as six times by 2040.”

Consider that the above total energy transition scenarios contemplate a complete transition to renewable energy, which means rebuilding almost everything in the energy world. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that there are enough raw materials in the world to construct all the infrastructure required for an energy transition, as inconceivable as that might be (think of replacing all hydrocarbon based industries/processes/infrastructure – the fuel that supplies more than 80 percent of global energy).

Then consider this study of major industrial projects over the past 100 years, a study covering 16,000 major projects in 136 countries, and the resulting mind-blowing statistics: 

  • 91 percent of major projects go over budget by a mean cost overrun of 62 percent
  • Less than 1 percent are achieved on time and on schedule and deliver the benefits expected

Here’s a concrete example that drives the point home rather bluntly. It is one from the bundle of initiatives critical to reducing hydrocarbon consumption in a meaningful way. California proposed a high speed rail link between LA and San Francisco in 2008 at a then-estimated cost of $33 billion, with an in-service date of 2020. A recent cost estimate is $105 billion, due to “slow land purchases, delays in environmental documents, employee turnover and litigation over the last 14 years” that has extended the in-service date to “unknown”.

And it’s actually far worse than that: the $105 billion estimate, the most current, was made in 2019 based on data known at the time – meaning that a current estimate would have to be adjusted upwards by some unknown but surely significant amount, due to the supply chain madness/shortages/financing costs that have risen substantially since. 

The US Green New Deal envisioned building high speed rail lines throughout all major population centres in the US. Tell us again about a 15-year payback, when the very first example has no completion date in site and a current cost estimate somewhere in excess of three times the original.

If you’re still paying attention after the unfortunate blast of statistics, consider California’s experience in conjunction with the professors’ plans to rewire the entire world, in conjunction with their cost estimates, in conjunction with their ludicrous timelines, and with their truly daft estimates of payback periods. Paid out within 6 years! 15 years! Whatever! The model, the model! Peer reviewed by the same people that build and use these wingnut calculators! Publish! Or perish! Above all, do not bite the hand that feeds!

In future elections, you will be faced with waves of candidates who will promise you all sorts of things. Many will rip pages from these playbooks, and promise you the moon. It’s easy to fall for them; ask the average citizen if they would rather get all their power from the wind and the sun or from dirty old oil, as if it’s just a simple choice, they will of course choose the former. Who wouldn’t? And proponents of the former will be happy to brandish studies from professors laying out how simple and cost effective this all really is.

The vision will be just like every other theory that over-simplistically solves a world problem. Don’t buy it. There are no shortcuts.

If all goes well, we will begin to value natural habitat far more than we do currrently, and act to protect it. We will reduce emissions in significant ways, using methods and techniques that recognize the reality that global citizens want a certain standard of living and will fight to the end to get it. We will integrate exciting new technological developments at a pace the system can allow, at a cost citizens can bear. Or we won’t do it at all.

Pay attention to global developments; pay attention to how billions are now voting for energy security above all; pay attention to cold hard reality. 

Stay well clear of adults promising you things that are too good to be true.

Energy conversations should be positive and, most of all, grounded in reality. Life depends on it. Find out more in  “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at Amazon.caIndigo.ca, or Amazon.com. Thanks!29dk2902lhttps://boereport.com/29dk2902l.html

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

You can find more about these utopian pie in the sky plans on our ClimateTV page.

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Bryan A
July 25, 2023 2:16 pm

At the rate of Bidenflation $16T – $62T – $200T the next iteration in 2023-4 will be close to if not over a Quadrillion

Reply to  Bryan A
July 25, 2023 3:30 pm

You’ve mastered Bidenomics.

Bryan A
Reply to  Scissor
July 25, 2023 3:45 pm

Oh great, now I’m gonna need to get my head examined

July 25, 2023 2:18 pm

My motto has always been, “Beware of those who claim to have all the answers”. That’s why I don’t subscribe to any religion, particularly that of the Church of Climate Change.

Reply to  atticman
July 25, 2023 11:30 pm

Don’t blame religion for the socialist/communist/atheistic Climate Crisis political bullies.

Reply to  PCman999
July 26, 2023 1:51 am

Don’t blame religion for the socialist/communist/atheistic Climate Crisis political bullies.

Oh, boy, where to start?
If you look closely and quietly, without startling the perpetrators into bouts of virtue signalling, you may notice that communism IS a religion, complete with persecution of the sinners and pathological urge to spread the (un)holy gospel.
Do you see the intellectual morphology resonating in climastrology?
As for atheists; put the thing in dire straits, and see it mumble prayers…

July 25, 2023 2:18 pm

Let’s not.

July 25, 2023 2:19 pm

The world can drop FF overnight. The only problem is that the world as we know it goes at the same time.

No plastic, no reliable energy, transport back to human and animal power.

If you thought the roads are bad now, wait till the bitumen and cement are gone.

Reply to  Eng_Ian
July 25, 2023 8:28 pm

wait till the bitumen and cement are gone.”

You mean like the roads around my area? 😉

Reply to  bnice2000
July 26, 2023 1:55 am

… the roads around my area…

I see your potholes, raise you one volunteer fixit crew:

P.S. That’s concrete, that. I call them not-holes.

eff roads.jpg
Reply to  cilo
July 26, 2023 7:32 am

They’re filling holes in a dirt road with concrete???
yeah, THAT’s gonna work…

Reply to  Eng_Ian
July 26, 2023 11:09 am

Yep. And all those electric cars will need to redesigned with a 15 inch ground clearance, like model T Fords, when there were no paved roads.!

Tom Halla
July 25, 2023 2:23 pm

These exercises in central planning are the typical fascist socialisms designed by retarded schoolchildren.
Jerry Brown sorta forgot California has no continuous coastal plain, and the thought of running high speed trains over the Altamont Pass or The Grapevine rather forgets trains do not handle steep grades and tight curves well. But he could imagine it!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 25, 2023 3:04 pm

People who can’t do anything well, except BS, go into politics.

July 25, 2023 2:50 pm

Apparently UK university applications are down 20% this year. Think people have realised most of the arts and humanity courses are a con.
Looks like academia is about to implode.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Sparko
July 25, 2023 5:11 pm

Looks like academia is about to implode.

Let’s hope for that. And I speak as one who spent a fruitful life there.

Reply to  Sparko
July 25, 2023 8:34 pm

“Think people have realised most of the arts and humanity courses are a con.”

There are only so many placements for baristas and burger flippers. !

John Hultquist
Reply to  Sparko
July 25, 2023 9:39 pm

In the U.S. teachers are leaving their jobs, and enrollment in “teacher training” (aka Education Majors) is down.

July 25, 2023 2:50 pm

Anthony. Pin this article for a time.

A very readable and at times humorous overview of the impossibility of the green dream. It ends with a pragmatic common sense appeal to all of us. This carries no climate “ science”, no math or graphs to confuse or simply stop the reader.

Very good.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  SteveG
July 25, 2023 10:31 pm

Terry is a great writer
Good canadian boy here in Calgary

July 25, 2023 3:08 pm

To eliminate waste shut down one third of government agencies this year. This should be easy considering all the duplicate and redundant agencies. We can do this as many times as necessary.

To ensure dependable, reliable, secure and affordable energy build new fossil fuel and nuclear reactors and remove all wind and solar from the grid.

July 25, 2023 3:26 pm

Yesterday, I quietly thanked Chinese enterprise as I purchased a 4m length of 6X50mm aluminium flatbar. This congealed electricity contains 51kWh of electrical energy just in ingot form. With current Australian retail electricity price up around 40c/kWh, the flatbar has $20 worth of electricity without any post processing. Australia used to make enough aluminium to actually export but now some comes from China and the Chinese set the price. Remaining smelters in Australia are on government life support.

The flatbar cost $59 but it is made from Australian bauxite that has to be shipped to China. It is a hard drawn product which requires extra energy and then it is shipped to Australia ready for the retail market with retail margin added on.

China may be influencing the UN and woke governments throughout the world to pursue NetZero in order to dominate the global economy but as long as they are prepared to burn their local coal at cost of extraction to underpin their manufacturing, I am happy to benefit.

NetZero policies inevitably lead to de-industrialisation. Economies pursuing NetZero are unsustainable because all the stuff needed for Net Zero based on weather dependent generators uses more energy to make than it can produce over its useful life.

Be thankful that China is doing the heavy lifting in global manufacturing.

Reply to  RickWill
July 25, 2023 7:28 pm

Be thankful that China is doing the heavy lifting in global manufacturing.“. Well, no, I won’t. The west is self-destructing, getting China to do its manufacturing so that the CO2 emissions occur in China not in the west and therefore won’t be counted. Every move that weakens the west and strengthens China brings the next world war a little bit closer.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mike Jonas
July 26, 2023 5:31 am

Yeah, we are financing our own destruction when we deal with the Chicoms.

July 25, 2023 4:17 pm

Congratulations and thanks to the maker of the striking, memorable illustration at the top of this article.
For me, it conveys horror, bad dreams and the like, which is rather hard to do when the maker sits down in front of a big new white sheet with art in mind
It would be neat to have a WUWT gallery of images that could attract more artists and add to the already high interest in the site.
The Terry Team article is excellent and deserving of a great image.
Geoff S

Reply to  sherro01
July 25, 2023 5:13 pm

Terry Etam.
Spell corrector fixed it three times, wrongly.
Geoff S

John Hultquist
Reply to  sherro01
July 25, 2023 9:45 pm

I’ve found I need to watch for the “helpful” contributions from these things, and often fix the nonsense they introduce.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  sherro01
July 25, 2023 11:45 pm

My smell connector does the same.

Reply to  sherro01
July 26, 2023 2:00 am

I find it best to set it on “Suggest corrections” rather than “Autocorrect”. And I never use the Grammar settings, Their writing has no soul.

July 25, 2023 4:22 pm

Consider a small part…the electrical grid in most countries has taken over a hundred years to develop. A lot of every country’s grid is over 60 years old. Yet the green transition requires that all this be at least tripled in capacity by 2050, starting “soon”. It is beyond the comprehension of politicians that we can’t even develop enough copper mines to make this happen in the given time frame. Nor do they understand the reluctance of investors to put money into projects that are likely to fail…..or are so huge that entire country’s economies might collapse and render government loan guarantees meaningless, or governments will allow inflation of such magnitude that the original borrowed money will pay for a coffee….

Reply to  DMacKenzie
July 25, 2023 6:43 pm

I’d just like a few potholes to be filled in.

July 25, 2023 4:35 pm

This is an easy game to play.

I think the previous Pie In The Sky energy scheme had a far better chance: Nuclear Reactors In Every Community!

I’m old enough to remember that nuclear power would be so cheap they wouldn’t have to bother metering it.

Lets pretend that fantasy was true. Would we need to be wringing our hands over CO2? inefficient appliances? where we set the thermostat? what kind of light bulbs we are allowed to use? Would EV range even be a thing? Desalination as a cheap and simple solution to watering the desert cities. The mind boggles with the possibilities.

Cheap power would leave the politicians and bureaucrats with no excuse for their existence and regulations except the will to raw power and control. With electricity so cheap and plentiful, FF would be considered extravagant and specialized.

This would solve the drug problem because a person could be continuously high on drugs until they Darwin out, and mechanization would simply replace whatever production they would otherwise contribute.

Reply to  AWG
July 26, 2023 2:43 am

I’m old enough to remember that nuclear power would be so cheap they wouldn’t have to bother metering it.

…which means you’re old enough to remember when Thatcher and Reagan ran around promising us heaven on earth, as soon as we sell all our public enterprises off to private investors. Society-built generators could run without meters, a privatised one? Never!
Which brings us to the economic situation today, where privateers are granted billions of dollars, and the population is subjected to scamdemics and corporate wars and psycho lockdowns, to force us to finance spectacular projects that used to be quietly paid by taxes only if you could prove the need. Now we are taxed twice, once to pay the government, and once more to pay the subsidies for stupid shirt like synthetic hamburgers and infantile injection-derived cardiomyopathy.
…and a third time, because our governments have to guarantee corporate profits! Oops, sorry, “ensure investor confidence”.
Yeah, I, too, remember a time I could hold a cold, sharp ballot at my local governor’s throat if the lights went out once too often this year. Now I have to phone a helpline. In Bombay.

old cocky
Reply to  cilo
July 26, 2023 4:30 am

Society-built generators could run without meters, a privatised one? Never!

The phone companies don’t charge for calls from mobiles within Australia – they cover it in the monthly fees.
Different tech and different markets, but it is possible.

Reply to  cilo
July 26, 2023 11:15 am

Well if you think socialized industry is the answer, tell us what useful or necessary product was ever developed and sold to the world from socialist countries over the past 100 years. –with the possible exception of Rubik’s Cube.

Reply to  slowroll
July 26, 2023 11:17 am

I recently heard the story of Rubik’s Cube. Apparently he had to be rather creative to get around the government restrictions to be able to get it out to the world at large.

Reply to  slowroll
July 26, 2023 2:05 pm

…if you think socialized industry is the answer…

I do not understand your terminology, but I think you accuse me of suggesting all industry be nationalised? This is a grown-ups’ site, I like to pretend I think like one. This is my point of vision:
Government only gets involved in industry when the capital outlay is beyond the capacity of private investors, but is of utmost importance to the nation. Think of power grid, railways, education, policing and defense.
A public company manufacturing baubles and toys? That’s the Bolshevik’s wet dream, not mine.
Before you point at the success of so many private power companies, see my many comments on maintenance being neglegted in favour of “using that money to make money”, which ALWAYS leads to breakdown of services. A public servant can be held responsible, a shareholder not. Think of that as you sit in the dark during your next ‘unscheduled power allocation redirection’ courtesy of revenue stream exploitation by the accountant managing the power engineering machinery.

Reply to  cilo
July 26, 2023 4:08 pm

A public servant can be held responsible

Perhaps in theory.

…courtesy of revenue stream exploitation…

As opposed to government regulations?

Seems equally screwed up either way.

Pat Frank
July 25, 2023 5:08 pm

Fossil fuel use isn’t insane and it no longer makes the air dirty — not even coal burning. We’ll never ever run out of cheap fossil fuels because long before the supply is depleted, we will go to some sort of cheaper fission.

The whole fossoil fuel problem is a non-problem. Of whatever stripe.

Fossil fuels are not a disappearing resource. They don’t cause pollution (just the opposite because fossil fuels are so energy dense that we are prosperous and can afford to clean up after them), and their use is greening up the entire world. The whole thing is net large-scale benefit everywhere.

I’d suspect that when sanity returns and eventually some sort of nuclear is used to generate energy, fossil fuels will continue to be burned for the explicit purpose of increasing atmospheric CO2. Plant and animal life will dance for joy as its level approaches 1000 ppmv.
And air temperature will be indistinguishable from unperturbed.

J Boles
July 25, 2023 5:19 pm

Inflation is hitting me hard! An egg mcmuffin is now over $5, EEK!

John Hultquist
Reply to  J Boles
July 25, 2023 9:50 pm

Likely, you can make your own for $1.25.
Noting I just saw an ad for a dozen eggs for 99¢.

Peta of Newark
July 25, 2023 5:26 pm

Wasn’t that akin to the classic description of Quantum Mechanics/Relativity

Esp that:If you think you know the answer, you haven’t understood the question”

That is ‘climate science’ – nobody understands it nor can/will they ever because it’s self-contradicting junk that predicts everything.

Hence and by definition, all the proposed answers will be wrong, there’s nothing else they can be

John Oliver
July 25, 2023 5:55 pm

Always some sort of jack boot tyrannical control scheme at the end of the rainbow. I was impressed by a couple of the “ beware of AI “ types for the last couple of weeks until I read their “ conclusion” . What is it? more tyranny! Mo Gawdat quote at the end of his interview on You Tube” the problem is capitalism “ there always seems to be communism at the end of the hobgoblin narrative usually proposed by someone who has lived a charmed life only made possible in a free and open market driven society. I’m all hobgoblined out.

Reply to  John Oliver
July 26, 2023 11:18 am

See my comment/reply above about the success(?) of socialist economies.

July 25, 2023 7:36 pm
Reply to  observa
July 25, 2023 8:33 pm

You can almost bet the “bosses” will have got their payouts + bonuses.

Reply to  bnice2000
July 26, 2023 12:55 am

Please be nice.
You could have called me a boss, once.
But I did not make off with more than my salary for a few months plus some holiday leave and the super that came from my salary anyhow. These days, all we have is happy memories and an old age pension.
Nothing nasty was involved.
Geoff S

John in Oz
July 25, 2023 10:22 pm

Perhaps the Chines can teach the Western world how to do things:


At the beginning of the 21st century China had no high-speed railways.
Slow and often uncomfortable trains plodded across this vast country, with low average speeds making journeys such as Shanghai-Beijing a test of travel endurance.
Today, it’s a completely different picture. The world’s most populous nation has – by some distance – the world’s largest network of high-speed railways.
No fewer than 37,900 kilometers (about 23,500 miles) of lines crisscross the country, linking all of its major mega-city clusters, and all have been completed since 2008.

Half of that total has been completed in the last five years alone, with a further 3,700 kilometers due to open in the coming months of 2021.
The network is expected to double in length again, to 70,000 kilometers, by 2035.
With maximum speeds of 350 kph (217 mph) on many lines, intercity travel has been transformed and the dominance of airlines has been broken on the busiest routes.
By 2020, 75% of Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more had a high-speed rail ink.

Of course, we would need to also adopt the Chinese lifestyle and CCP control of our lives

July 26, 2023 8:08 am

Not polluting the environment and ourselves is a good thing. Wind and solar are the least green energy sources on the planet, from their huge foot prints, ecological damage, infrastructure demand, maintenance, nonrecyclability, and solar panels leaking heavy metals into the ground. Furthermore, both have relatively short lifetimes, which are already creating problems regarding what to do with the detritus when they are decommissioned. Both lose efficiency over time, such that by ~10 years, they are close to being decommissioned.

HOWEVER, at the same time CO2 IS PLANT FOOD, cools the planet (impossible for it to warm anything), and any policy to decrease CO2 emissions is patently wrong. We need more not less.

It should be noted that cold kills 10 times more than warm, so what is the problem if we warm a bit? The coral reefs grow, glaciers recede, sea level rises a tiny bit (increased evaporation and more water on the continents ameliorates this), and our food supply increases. No one mentioned that global warming is NOT wanton, lethal heat. It simply means slight warmer and longer summers, mostly as warmer nights (which facilitates plant growth) and slightly shorter and possibly milder winters. Oh, I am scared now!

July 27, 2023 11:02 am

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. —Yogi Berra

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