Thursday, December 31, 2009

The H.S.T. Tax

For anyone who hasn't been following this, the H.S.T. is the "Harmonized Sales Tax". It's a new consumption tax that they're trying implement. Ontario's one of the provinces pushing to make this happen. The point of the tax is to eliminate costs by blending the PST (8%) and the GST (5%). The theory is that by blending the two taxes together, less paperwork and administration will be needed - in turn, saving Ontario money.

This all sounds great in theory though, but "progress" comes with a price! Guess who's shouldering the increased costs? Not the corporations or businesses, but we are.

Here's an e-mail that I sent to my MP:


I would just like to know how the HST tax benefits anyone within your constituency...

The way I see it, it's just a way of shorting out costs & administration, while we face a slight increase in taxes - it's a money grab. If the benefits are supposed to trickle down from this years after, I'd rather hold on to the money I could be saving. Regardless of what incentives, vouchers, or discounts you guys may offer...they'll be useless within a couple of years as the standard of living continues to go up. I can't see this as positive in any way for your respective constituency, the people who voted you in.

Please tell me I'm wrong.


- knowledge

The problem with the HST is that it either charges us taxes on things that we didn't used to get taxed on, or it slightly raises what we did used to get taxed on. Here are some things that we'll be paying more for:

- Gasoline

- Utilities (heating/hydro/natural gas)

- Internet bills

- Magazines

- Adult footwear under $30

- Admissions under $4 (e.g., swimming pool, skating rink)

- Veterinary care

- Personal services (e.g., hair stylist, massage)

- Professional services (e.g., legal, accountant, mutual fund fees)

- Membership fees (e.g., gym)

- New homes over $400,000

- Real estate commissions

- Commercial property rentals

- Condominium Fees

- Landscaping

- Vitamins

- Most admissions to live theatres

- Taxi fares

- Conferences and seminars

- Dry cleaning

- Carpet cleaning

- Labour costs related to home renovation

- Motor vehicle services (towing, car washing)

- Ice rink rentals

- Hotels

- Overnight summer camps

- Domestic air travel

- Domestic rail travel

- Bus tickets

- Christmas trees

- Electrical and plumbing services

- Snowplowing

- Bicycles

- Funeral costs

- Postal stamps and courier fees

- Green fees

If you can break down what your family spends on these things, you'll realize that their $1000 incentive doesn't do anything. We're already facing a flurry of green fees (think of all the ridiculous "environmental taxes" that we get). Homeowners are going to have to shell out a lot more. Condo owners will have to pay more. People doing home renovations are going to be ridiculously taxed. Furthermore...heating, hydro, and gas bills are going up (as if they didn't go up enough when Harris privatized them in the 90's).

The Irony is that the Liberals are the ones implementing this, not the Conservatives. The only ones really opposed to this are the NDP. Elections are in October 2011 - make sure to vote. I'm still trying to figure out which party I agree with, but I guess I'll decide when that time comes.

But we can definitely add another lie to McGuinty's list. Instead of saying "this will be better for you" why didn't he just say that "we got hit by the recession, are in deficit, and need the extra money?" or that "Ontario sucks at managing money". But then he'd have to admit that he made a mistake...which means that he told the truth. That's something that he doesn't like to do

Toronto, I love you and all...but I'm scared to see where the city's headed when I'm in my mid-20's.

Oh, and this is only part one of my piece on ridiculous taxes. Wait 'til I get to the things they've BEEN adding or raising.

However, I did manage to find a report(Toronto Star: "HST won't hurt much, report says") that "shows" how the HST is "virtually revenue neutral". It's a good thing that report was paid for now, because they saved 8% on taxes.


- knowledge

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Everything Happens For A Reason

So...I've figured out how to make a deterministic quote, a free will quote.

I'm sure you've heard of the saying: "
everything happens for a reason". I happen to agree, but not with the popular interpretation of it.

The quote is intended to mean that it's all part of the master plan, for the greater good, to teach you a lesson, etc.
If we were to put this into perspective: you got dumped because there must be someone out there who's better for you/that person wasn't "the one".

I look at the quote & infer that there's a purpose to everything. Not a divine purpose, or a cosmic purpose, but simply that there's a purpose for it. Something "happens" because someone has willed for it to happen. There was a cause, and this is an effect. Similarly, if we put this one into perspective, using the previous example: you got dumped because the person wanted to dump you. End of story.

That's it. Maybe my way's pessimistic...or maybe it's real. Maybe there is no grand agenda that "god" has planned out for us. Things happen for a reason...but that reason isn't to serve YOUR purpose - it's to serve the purpose of the person who made it happen. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I think that we need to quit with the ego-centric inflation that we give ourselves by comforting ourselves when we say that it serves us or was meant to teach us a lesson.

It doesn't work that way, it never has, and it never will. Sometimes, we're just shit out of luck.

This sort of goes to show how easy it is to see a quote & interpret it as how everyone else has always interpreted it. Perspective plays a huge role in understanding (or lack of it). You should always be able to break down maxims(no, not the magazine, you nasty) thrown at you.

It also goes to show that in the grand scheme of things, not every thing is a lesson or even should be. I don't know about you...but I'd be pretty angry if I potentially lost the greatest person I've ever met because god/alpha/the universe/the cosmos wanted me to learn a lesson.

But then again, maybe it's just me.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Freaky Signs & Miracles

A couple of nights ago, I was typing a piece when all of a sudden, "Life without knowledge is death in disguise" just appears onto my phone's screen. It's close to 3 in morning, so I'm spooked as hell. I try to find a logical explanation for how it might've happened. A software glitch, maybe? I look at the other pieces I've written on my phone, and the only one that had that quote was deleted months ago. It couldn't have been a copy & paste function, because I never copied OR pasted that.

Fast forward to a couple of days later: I was messaging someone and it happened again! I found out that "sig" = a hot key to post my homescreen quote.

This set me off and got me thinking about a bunch of different things (crazy how this one thing does so much for me, huh? Imagine when I actually have a conversation with someone...) Maybe there's an explanation for EVERYTHING, it's just a matter of finding it.

How naive of me to think that miracles actually do happen...

You know what miracle I would like to happen though?
...nevermind =/

I gotta admit, it was a pretty dope "sign" while it lasted.


- knowledge

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Beauty of Toronto

"I said there ain't no love, in the heart of the city."

Toronto - the screwface capital. The city with 2.48 million people (or 5.5 million of we count the GTA).

I love this city and have no clue where to begin...

- It's a cultural mosaic

- The city's truly "24 hours"

- Huge fashion district & variety

- There's a following for every single musical genre, sport, and hobby

- Large entertainment industry: from theatres, to musicals, to concerts, to shows.

- We get to enjoy 4 seasons...some argue that's a bad thing, but I love it.

- Also home to an amazing skyline, numerous parks, beaches, and spots to just kick it.

Yes, I'm aware that this is a pretty shitty post. Sorry about that, but it was necessary to set it up as an intro to a series I'm planning to start about the short-comings of Toronto. I promise you that the next couple will more than make up for it.

I'd also like to note that despite any future posts...I still love Toronto - at least until the day when I decide that it isn't worth living here, and move out (which probably won't be any time soon. Or will it? Tun tun tun. Just playin'. Or am I? Tun tun tun.)


- knowledge

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Craigslist Missed Connections: "To The Guy In My Closet: You Don't Have AIDS"

Haha...It's not what it seems like, guys.

Here's an awesome missed connection from craigslist. Dude catches his wife cheating on him & decides to get even.

"First off I want to relieve your fears that you probably don’t or at least I hope you don’t have AIDS.

When I came home 3 days ago I heard what was obviously mediocre sex going on in my bedroom. Since I quickly made the deduction that someone had probably not broken into my apartment for some quick copulation I figured I had just caught my wife cheating on me which I had long suspected. Your ofish grunts were so loud that I actually had to reopen the door and slam it again for you two to hear me. I stood in the entry for a while as I heard you both scramble before calling out that I was home.

When I walked into the bedroom my wife had some excuse about having a headache and when asked about the nighty she was wearing she said it was the most comfortable thing she could find. Oh…and btw, I don’t know how many affairs that you participate in but a word of advice is that when you hide in the closest from an angry husbands you shouldn’t leave a few toes hanging out from under the door. At this point I am in a bit of a predicament…. I could have the typical masculine response and open the door and beat the piss out of you but then you might file charges and quite frankly I just don’t really care enough. Not to mention I don’t know how big you are and I couldn’t think of anything much worse than finding your wife cheating on you and then get pummeled by her new lover. It entered my mind to have some marathon sex and make you stand and watch the whole thing but seeing how she is a dirty whore the idea grossed me out a little. I came pretty close to just hanging out and masterbating but I am glad I went the direction I did.

So in liue of those options I thought of the funniest thing I could do for my own personal amusement. I sat her down on the bed and looked deeply in her eyes and told her that I had been diagnosed with early stages of AIDS. Recently I have had a series of colds and went to the doctor who told me it was probably just a string of bad luck and it was going around a little bit. The whole thing took about 2 hours and involved a lot of yelling, accusing and crying.

I felt like I hadn’t punished you quite enough, even though I fully acknowledge that it really isn’t your fault at all, so I told her that the illness was making me tired so I needed to lay down. I could hear her on the phone making an appointment with the doctor and I could hear you rustling around in the closest. You did a great job holding still seeing how you probably aren’t used to standing in a 3′x4′ closest for hours and hours on end but if I hadn’t already known you were there you would have been caught for sure.

After about another hour of laying in bed thinking of what I was going to do I felt sorry for you to be mixed up in this crazy thing so I said I was going to go fill the prescriptions the doctor gave me and left the apartment so you could leave. I hope that you weren’t too uncomfortable in there and actually felt a little guilty about it later.

Anyways, I put this in missed connections because I actually wouldn’t mind taking you out and buying you a drink. After all that is some funny stuff to laugh about and you are saving me thousands in alimony since my wife cheated and the least I can do is repay you for a $4.00 beer.

Again no hard feelings and best of luck!

BTW, you might still want to get your self tested since my wife is a dirty whore."

Here's the original link:


- knowledge

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arranged Marriages Make Sense?!

I was talking about "the future" (in terms of families, careers, education, etc.) with a full-timer at work and we sort of went off on a tangent when he mentioned that his marriage was arranged. I've only actually known a couple of people who got an arrange marriage (and the shift just begun), so I figured I'd ask him everything that I've always wanted to know about arranged marriages.

The whole concept of arranged marriages didn't sit with me. It also didn't help that my westernized mind wasn't really cultured to accept it.

Basically, your parents choose who YOU'RE going to spend the rest of YOUR life with. It sound's absurd, doesn't it? I was actually really surprised when thought about it... 'cause it makes a lot of sense.

Would YOU want an arranged marriage? Why or why not?

Is it even really "love" if the arranged marriage is actually successful?! If "love" can come out of two random people chosen by one's parents, then how is choosing (ourselves) any more different or real?

Arranged marriages make so much sense, once you actually think about it. I realized a couple of things after our discussion...

The North American population places so much importance on the self. It's all about the "me". Everything about North America stresses the importance of the self before others (not that I'm against it :D). Now, contrast that with the south-Asian cultures - they place much more importance on collectivity, community, and family. From those points, it would be safe to assume that their culture deems it more important for a family to be generally happy, than just the couple by themselves. My co-worker even demonstrated this by using the hand analogy: (bend one finger back. Does it hurt? Now bend four fingers back at the same time. The pain is drastically reduced).

If the primary goal is to create a family, then maybe "love" is only a by-product that may or may not come out of the marriage. In other words, love isn't exactly the point of getting married (*gasp!*). The purpose of marriage (for them) is primarily to establish their future (through children) with the creation of a family. In our society, it's the other way around - we marry for love, and eventually want to get settled down & start a family.

If we look into it, the Canadian track record of marriages hasn't been so great (1222 divorces for ever 100 000 marriages). India hasn't been doing too bad (at about 1100 for every 100 000 marriages). Keep in mind that India also has a significantly higher population - Canada has 33 311 389 vs. India's 1 139 964 932 (millions vs. a billion+ ).

Cultural values have a HUGE influence on this, so I can't really say that it's being an arranged marriage (by itself) that makes it work. BUT, for the most part, the Western society is more likely to get divorced (regardless of whatever reasons may factor in). I'd also like to point out that there's a big difference in the value of marriages between Canada and India. Canada, for the most part, is accepting of divorces (since it was made legal in 1968)'s not even really frowned upon by society ("oh, you got divorced? It's cool, I got a friend that I'd like you to meet and no, it's not me.") In India, on the other hand...getting married and divorced ruins a woman's reputation. It's sad to say...but they sort of become like "damaged goods" that no one wants (for the people who need an analogy: think of any electronics that you returned because there was something wrong with it. Now, best buy has to sell it as an open-boxed item which no one really wants...unless that "thing" makes good sandwiches. I'm joking)

I know that there are too many factors to consider but the idea still can't be completely discredited because it's still a fact that a Western marriage is less likely to be successful than an Eastern one might be.

My co-worker also said that arranged marriages often have extensive background checks - that makes sense too. Why give the pride of your life (your daughter/son) away to someone you can't trust, doesn't have a good history, is a known goat-stealer, has taken water from your well when you weren't looking, etc. What's interesting is that when I thought about it, this ALSO makes more sense than us randomly dating someone - we meet people to take them out on a date and get to know them little by little. Who knows? They might even turn out to be a little bit crazy. My co-worker's family does the background check before deciding whether they should even begin to see each other. Once that got okay'd, he flew over to Canada & married her 20 days later.

Arranged marriages also try to minimize baggage: all the cards are laid out on the table - the family basically picks the criteria and weeds out the "unworthy" or unsuitable person for you ("oh, she once picked her nose in public when she was 3? Next!") In the western world, this is like the trial & error until finding someone that you want to marry, except our feelings get involved and we risk getting hurt. Years could even be said to be wasted if it doesn't work out.

I think that it's also important to note that feelings cloud our judgment. We all know that when feelings get involved, we tend to make mistakes because we can't choose or decide objectively. Parent's aren't emotionally involved with the actual partner they're setting you up with, so it can be argued that they're more likely to see things objectively than you can. If they're not choosing based on the reputation or money that it'll bring, then they're truly from the "outside looking in."

My co-worker says that it turned out well. He also says that most of them turn out well. He even says that he loves her. In the end, it's just another method - and it can be argued that it works just as well as dating to eventually get married.

I never used to think that arranged marriages were justified, but as of now... I'm pro-arranged marriages (given the right premises & intents). Would I personally want one? HELL NO. I'd rather do the choosing myself...but at least I can sort of understand them now. I hope you can too.


- knowledge

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Win Arguments & What to Avoid Doing (In Order To Win)

Inspired by my Critical Thinking course,being on a forum with some people that suck at arguing(if you're on that forum and I've linked you this, then you're most likely not one of them), and talking to random people who think they're right ...I've decided to do a piece on how to argue/logical fallacies. I have a midterm tonight, so this is also a way of me studying for my test.

It's not hard to argue, all you have to do is make sense. It sounds easy enough, but people seem to have issues grasping that concept. Think about it this way: if two people have good ideas, the one that makes more sense is more valid.

A good debater can argue any point and do well with it. A good debater can win. switch sides, and win from the side that previously lost. A good debater knows what he/she wants to say, and does it concisely. You can throw in big words, but when people find out that those words don't mean're screwed.

Here's the basic structure of an argument:

Premise 1:

Premise 2:



The two premises MUST prove the conclusion. If you have an invalid premise, then the conclusion becomes invalid (and believe me, you don't want that...unless you like losing arguments). If you prefer losing arguments, then I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with you and I legitimately hope that you die.

This is the simple stuff, I'd like to move on to the things that people do wrong (ALL THE TIME) when arguing. A bunch of these things I've discovered on my own (if you know me, then you know that I love to argue/debate/discuss/kick the shit, for fun), but taking this course has let me put names on what they are.

The only people that ever use these are:

- people who know how to argue, looking for a sleazy win


- people who don't know how to argue. This shit doesn't fly with me.

Let's get moving to *clears throat and says in a booming voice*:

Logical Fallacies of Relevance:

These are distractions & things irrelevant to the argument or the progression of the argument.

1) Ad Hominem: Personal Attack - rejecting a claim by insulting the person


knowledge: I'm telling you...he's not going to win if he runs for mayor!

dumbass: Yes he will. You're being a jackass.

knowledge: Okay, that's great...I may or may not be a jackass...but that doesn't prove whether or not he's going to win if he runs for mayor. My being a jackass doesn't determine whether or not the candidate wins the election.

2) Ad Hominem: Attacking The Motive - when you criticize why the person might be arguing for a certain side, instead of criticizing the argument itself.


knowledge: All women should be chained and never allowed to leave the kitchen, so they can stay there and cook.

dumbass: Women should be free to make that choice, you're just a mysogynist.

knowledge: No...I'm not mysogynistic. As wrong as my intent might's STILL irrelevant to the argument whether or not women should stay home and cook. You're not disproving my argument, you're disproving/proving whether or not I'm a mysogynist.

3) Ad Hominem: Tu Quoque ("Look who's talking") - When an argument is rejected because the person doesn't "practice what they preach".

dumbass: Wearing leather supports animal cruelty

knowledge: then don't wear leather if you're against it

dumbass: but you're wearing a leather jacket

knowledge: It doesn't matter if I'm wearing leather chaps...that doesn't prove whether it's right or wrong.

4) Ad Hominem: Genetic fallacy - When an argument is rejected because of its source


knowledge: May Ping Pang told me to make a left on bay street

dumbass: but why would you listen to an asian, we all know that they can't drive!

knowledge: Although I'm asian, you raise a very valid point...

5) Strawman Fallacy - When the opponent distorts the original argument, and attacks the distorted version.

knowledge: Man, that cop's such a tool. He only pulled me over because I'm black

dumbass: First of all, you're not even black. And not all cops are tools, you know. Just because you had one bad experience, doesn't mean that they all don't know how to do their job...

dumbass: Way to completely ignore my original statement that "this specific cop is a tool". All you did was morph it to "all cops are tools" and then you addressed that morphed argument.

6) Red Herring Fallacy - When the opponent tries side-tracking by raising an irrelevant issue, then claiming that the irrelevant diversion answers the original issue.

dumbass: Thomas Jefferson was all about equality.

knowledge: Thomas Jefferson was fully a slave master when he was president!

dumbass: Sure, he owned slaves...but he was also one of the greatest presidents. He played a role in the declaration of independence, which led way to freedom & democracy

knowledge: Thanks for the history lesson. Have you noticed that you didn't disprove whether or not he owned slaves? You could've saved us both time by saying "you win" instead.

7) Scare Tactics - Threatening in order to win an argument

dumbass: If you don't agree with me, you've got to agree with my fist

knowledge: Believe me, I'm shivering in fear...but as threatening as that sounds, you still haven't managed to prove why I'm wrong.

8) Appeal to pity - Attempting to evoke emotion in order to win the argument (this is one of the most common irrelevancies)

dumbass: There's no need to be blunt, she's been having a bad week

knowledge: I said that it was stupid of her to drive that aggressively with passengers in the car who she's responsible for. Is what I'm saying not true?

dumbass: It's true...but how would you feel if your mom died, you got kicked out of the house, and you just got dumped?

knowledge: I'd probably feel horrible, but the world doesn't revolve around her and those circumstances don't change the fact that she's driving aggressively.

9) Jumping on the Bandwagon - Appealing to a person's desire to conform to the norm

Retail salesperson: Try these jeans on

knowledge: Sorry, I don't like the fit

Retail salesperson: I'd still recommend them, everyone's buying these!

knowledge: I personally don't give a damn if Edward Norton likes those jeans. Unless they somehow transform into the fit I like, I'm not gonna buy these.

10) Equivocation - Committed when a key word is used in more than one sense (ambiguously)

KRS-ONE stands for "Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everbody". Wait a minute...I'm knowledge. Therefore, I'm supreme over nearly everybody.

11) Begging the question: Simple Restatement - Rewording the premise/conclusion (A because of B, and B = A)

dumbass: Miracles don't happen often because they're very rare

knowledge: Congratulations, you've given my the definition of what a miracle is...but you haven't told me why they don't happen.

12) Begging The Question: Circular Reasoning - Assuming that the conclusion in the supporting premise (A because B, B because A)

dumbass: God wrote the bible

knowledge: How do you know?

dumbass: Because it says so in the bible, and what the bible says is true!

knowledge: But how do you know that what the bible says is true?

dumbass: Because god wrote the bible

knowledge: If you weren't 5 years old, I'd throw you down the stairs

13) Begging The Question: Problematic Premise - When the premise is more problematic than what it's actually proving

I would never date a Filipino girl because they all act the same. Therefore, I would never date you.

Logical Fallacies of Insufficient Evidence

14) Inappropriate appeals to authority - Citing a witness or authority that is most likely unvalid. This includes hearsay or citing an authority in something where there's no real consensus.

Hey guys, I'm George Foreman. After a long day of getting boxed in the face, I like to cook with my ridiculously massive forearms. This is my grill, you should buy it because I'm a good boxer. You should also buy it because the smallest part of my forearms are bigger than knowledge's thighs...and also, because I like to cook. Don't forget to buy my product because I'm famous and know what I'm talking about. After all, ALL famous people/celebrities know what they're talking about when they endorse products.

15) Appeal to ignorance - Claiming that something is true because there is no evidence against it; or claiming that something is false because there's no evidence against it.

dumbass 1: god exists because it hasn't been proved that it doesn't exist.

dumbass 2: god doesn't exist because it hasn't been proved that it does exist.

knowledge: you're both stupid and your logic's erroneous :)

16) False alternative - Giving an either/or choice when there doesn't need to be.

dumbass: If we don't elect a conservative as our next premier, we're all screwed. Obviously, we don't want to be we need to elect a Conservative.

knowledge: Should I even bother answering that?

17) Loaded question - Asking a question which clearly contains statements, or has implications

knowledge: Hey man, do you still drive your shitty Bimmer?

Adrian: No

knowledge: So you've stopped driving your shitty Bimmer?

Adrian: Whoops, I meant yes

knowledge: So you STILL drive your shitty Bimmer?

Adrian: My Bimmer was never shitty

knowledge: Yeah, until it got trashed in your car accident!

Adrian: Too soon man, too soon.

18) Questionable cause - Claiming that something happened because of another thing happening (without sufficient evidence)

Jen: Man, I got food poisoning from that sushi we ate..

knowledge: But we went to the restaurant 4 days ago...

Jen: I know, but I can't think of anything else that would make me throw up

knowledge: ...

19) Hasty Generalization - when a conclusion is drawn from a biased sample

Gelline: Love doesn't exist

knowledge: oh yeah, why's that?

Gelline: Because it's never worked for me. It's never worked for any of my other friends either.

knowledge: yes, because at 16 years old, you're very likely to find an everlasting, undying love. And also, you and your friends represent an entire world of people.

20) Slippery Slope - When a causal chain is provided (which may not be necessarily true)

Deb: Dad, do you mind if I go out tomorrow?

Dad: No. If you go'll get raped. If you get raped, you'll be traumatized for life. If you're traumatized for life, you'll never grow up to be a normal person. I just want what's best for you - you'll thank me when you're older.

Deb: But I'm getting picked up in an armoured car, which is escorted by 50 police officers and the likelihood of anything going wrong is very small

Dad: That's a risk I'm not willing to take. Get back in your bubble!

21) Weak Analogy - Comparing things that aren't even that similar.

dumbass: Being in love is like dancing in the spring rain. It brings refreshement to one's body.

knowledge: That's such a great analogy. Does love also produce thunderstorms and electrocute people?!

22) Inconsistency - When an arguer asserts inconsistent or contradictory claims

Sign in a church vestry: "Will the last person to leave please see that the perpetual light is extinguished. Thanks for your cooperation"


- My Critical Thinking Professor: T.F. (full name withheld)

- Critical Thinking: A student's introduction - G. Bassham (if this textbook didn't cost 80 bones, I'd recommend you all to buy it. It's filled with great quotes, good excerpts, and is generally just well-written.


It's easy to use common sense, folks. Do it.

What's surprising is that people are easier to convince if you use reason, instead of appealing to emotion, pity, or anything else - but they always try to do that first. Humans are meant to be rational...but so many people forget that (oh, the irony).

Sorry for the long-ass post, hopefully you can put this all to good use.

I've also numbered the fallacies so that the next time you argue with a dumbass, you can link this and tell them what they did wrong ;).

Lastly, if I used you as an doesn't mean that you're a tool. It just means that I caught you slippin'.

Feel free to post links as examples to people who use these fallacies - think of it as a wall of shame :D.


- knowledge


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