People on Reddit who have traveled to other countries were asked: "What was the biggest 'culture shock' you experienced?" These are some of the best answers.
Originally from India, went to Finland on student exchange. First night there, I'm at a party and everyone is going to a sauna. I'm prepared with my bathing suit and all, and then bam - find myself in a mixed gendered sauna, with all the people I've been hanging out with all evening, butt naked.
Then after 30 minutes of sweating, they all went rolling naked in the snow. Took me a while to deal with it, and finally get my swimsuit off.
In India, they do this head-bob that's part nod, part head shake. After 3 months of living there I still had trouble deciphering it. Sometimes it means yes, sometimes it means no, and sometimes it means "I don't have enough information to give you a reasonable answer at this time."
The Indian head-bob is the magic 8-ball of nonverbal communication.
Going to DR Congo where police walk around the streets with what appear to be AK-47s. The traffic is essentially lawless and you'll have piles of traffic 3-4 cars wide attempting to merge into a single lane because everybody is trying to pass each other using the footpath and the opposing traffic lane. The electricity in the city can by only on in certain areas for a few hours in the dead of night because there's not enough supply and it gets diverted to the city center during the day and evening. If you are of certain races you are considered rich by virtue of your skin tone regardless of how much money you actually have.
Wasn't really a "shock" for me because I knew before I visited that this is what it is like, but it could be a great shock for somebody who's not prepared for it. A very different place to Australia.
Went to Italy in 2011 and had no idea that some people just took an hour or two off of work in the afternoon. It dawned on me that those people were living the life.
My friend and I were walking around Reykjavik, Iceland and we came across a stroller next to a small shop with a baby in it all bundled up. It was a bit brisk but otherwise not too cold. The issue was that there was no one near this seemingly abandoned child. We walked about 50 feet up and down the road looking for the parent of this child.
Turns out the mother was just in the store across the street. It is perfectly acceptable to leave your unattended infant on the sidewalk apparently. Crime rates are so low in Iceland that the people there are much more trusting of each other I suppose.
In Beijing old men do this thing called the Beijing bikini where they tuck the bottom of their t-shirt into the neck to expose their gut. It wasn't exactly a shock but it was hilarious.
America and their weird tax system. In the UK, what price you see on the shelf is the price you pay.
"Oh sweet! This album is only $9.99, I'll buy it"
"That'll be $10.56 please."
I went to Tanzania alone for a couple months to do research. People on the street would just strike up conversations. It took me a few awkward interactions to realize that if someone you just meets says "we should do something," or "You should come visit my house," these aren't empty words, and agreeing means you're probably going right now. I didn't know a soul when I arrived, and by the time I left, I couldn't walk across town (Arusha-a relatively large city) without stopping to chat with a dozen friends.
Also, complete strangers can ask your marital status within ten seconds of meeting you.
Witnessing different funeral customs in India and Nepal. What struck me is that death is so much more hidden away in North America.
In the south of India, a funeral procession came down the street carrying the body of a young woman tied to a big pink comfy-looking armchair hung with marigolds. In the north of India, I saw bodies burning on the open funeral pyres along the riverside ghats, and even saw human bodies that had been placed in the Ganges floating by.
In Nepal I was invited to a funeral and watched as they built a wooden pyre beforehand. While my Nepali friends and I watched, they told me that it was considered good luck to see a body coming to a funeral.
It was just so out in the open. It was culture shock for me, but I liked that nobody was expected to hold back their tears or hide their grief discreetly away. In fact, my friend says that even if you are not fond of the person who died, you should try to show some tears anyway out of respect.
I was teaching a class in South Carolina (I live in Minnesota) and sat down to eat lunch with all the guys I was teaching. Took a bite of my sandwich and noticed no one else was eating yet. I paused for a minute and one of them piped in that they were ready to say grace. I had never experienced group prayer before lunch, especially in the workplace. Definitely a shock for me.
In many SE Asian countries getting caught trying to scam someone doesn't have too much a level of shame. It is just throw hands up and damn nice try, we're still good.
For example, arrive in Hanoi and tell taxi driver your hotel. He drives you while talking on phone, you arrive somewhere that isn't your hotel, and some nice guy who speaks English comes out to explain your hotel burned down last week, stay here instead. If you refuse to pay the driver until he takes you to see your burned down hotel, everyone shrugs and laughs, then you get dropped off at your perfectly intact hotel that didn't burn down after all, pay the cab, and all is good.
For me the [weirdest] was flying from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg in 2009 at the height of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe (where I'd terminated several weeks of wandering around southern Africa). At the time you had to take in all your currency to Zimbabwe that you wanted to spend because there was literally no money in the ATMs or at the banks if you wanted to buy something, and many times you just relied on the barter system altogether. The issue was though that even if you had the money there at the time more often than not you just couldn't buy what you needed as it literally did not exist- for example we traded an old pair of tennis shoes for what was ~US$150 in souvenirs, and the guy we traded them for was so excited because his wife hadn't gotten new shoes in years as the shops literally hadn't had any for a year or two. Hell I couldn't even do my simple souvenir I buy everywhere I go- a postcard- because they just hadn't printed them in years as there was no paper to print them on.
So with that, I fly to Johannesburg and damn, those few hours waiting in the transit lounge absolutely floored me like nothing else has in many ways. They had ice cream! And sushi! And the Economist! Hell, it was this week's Economist instead of a gossip rag from two months ago someone was selling for ten bucks!
The Chinese toilets that are just holes in the ground. It is even worse in the countryside, where there are no walls and you just don't look at each other when squatting, and everything falls in this smelly ditch underneath where you can actually see all the poop.
No butter on the popcorn in British movie theaters. We should not consider these savages allies.
Went to Egypt last summer. We had hired a personal tour guide because there was no way we would be walking around by ourselves in Egypt. The service came with an Egyptian government security guard to protect us, and at one point my mother asked our tour guide (not the guard) what life what he thought of the government right then, and he said it was great. Later when the guard was getting us into a site, the tour guide told my mom not to ask questions like that in front of the guard because he (the tour guide) could be punished for talking negatively about the government. Really scared me.
I live in the Netherlands. Water is all around me. From the sea, to the canals, to waterways dividing the fields between different farms. The first time I visited Iowa and drove around there it took me a couple of days to realize there wasn't any water between the fields and acres. Sure, there's a river and what not, but essentially it's just endless actual ground. It made me feel uneasy for a couple of minutes.
I spent two months in Malawi, Africa and it is not uncommon for men to hold hands as they walk together down the road. This is just an indication of friendship and not romantic involvement. It still took a little getting used to.
When partying in Reykjavik at a ground level apartment the police came around midnight and told us to be quiet. Being a tourist I was so scared we would end up in some sort of ice dungeon (or whatever they do for jail) until the cop politely suggested we take a couple of beers for the road and head to the bar.
They proceeded to joke around with us and offered some directions to their favorite watering holes.
Coming from a city where I've had a boot on the back of my neck for way less than a noise complaint, I was truly in shock.
Moving to Bulgaria from England. In Bulgaria shaking your head means "yes" and nodding means "no". You don't even realise how hard it is to reverse a lifelong habit until you try, it's really disconcerting. (Also, if you screw up - imagine asking someone if they want a bag for that and having them nod at you while saying "no".)
Going to Egypt and becoming invisible. I read the government websites, knew how to dress respectfully/ be safe and that I could expect a certain amount of verbal harassment for being a Western woman. What didn't occur to me was that I would only exist in conversation for as long as it took local men to say hello, after which they only spoke to my (male) partner. Even if they asked a question that I could answer and he couldn't, I was still ignored.
In Japan, the level of trust is incredible.
I went to a convenience store with no staff. You simply pick your items, drop your cash into a box, and get your change. There is an open box of money in the middle of the store.
I visited Morocco once and saw the walled city of Tetouan (part of the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed there). It was a bit freaky to step back in time by about 2000 years. Only part of a desert was visible from where we were but we saw a Bedouin riding a camel like they had for thousands of years. Then I noticed he was wearing a Sony Walkman and was singing out loud:
"Bottomed girls you make the rockin world go round!"
It is not necessarily a culture shock from traveling to another country. I'm from London, but am of Irish decent. I stayed with some friends (one American, the other Scottish) while I had exams in Scotland. I stayed with them for about 2 weeks. 5 days in, I called my mum and asked her if we ate potatoes more than most because the whole time I hadn't had potatoes. I ended up going 12 days without potatoes. They didn't even have baking potatoes.
Garbage trucks played "Fr Elise" as they rode around, and it sounded like ice cream truck music.
Taiwan. I sort of miss hearing it in the distance.
Life can be pretty funny. Sometimes, this comedy is seen and experienced inadvertently, such as when you see someone slip on a banana peel or fall on their butt while walking on the ice.
Hopefully the people you saw these things happen to––and maybe it was YOU!––are okay. But let's face it, people who saw it might have laughed, right?
It's the sudden absurdity that cracks people up, as we were reminded by Redditor I_am_tangible asked the online community,
"What's the most cartoony thing you've seen happen in real life?"
"Someone running in place because it was slippery."
This is definitely something from a Looney Tunes cartoon. How many times have we seen this?!
"I've seen my friend..."
"I've seen my friend slipping on a banana peel."
"I once saw a dog..."
"I once saw a dog find a chain of linked sausages unattended and then he ran away with one in his mouth, the others flapping and bouncing behind him."
This is funny and also really cute! That dog definitely had a better day than you.
"My cat drifting..."
"My cat drifting on the slippery floor when taking corners while running. She loved doing that."
"A couple of guys..."
"A couple of guys were at my place putting in new pipes. One fell through the ceiling, but only halfway, so only his lower half was sticking out of the ceiling, legs kicking."
That final part, with the legs kicking, is hilarious.
"A naked man..."
"A naked man with a cardboard box around him running down the street."
"A car spinning..."
"A car spinning 360 degrees, hitting a pole, and having smoke come out."
"The reason why it was cartoonish is that it happened in the snow so it was basically in slow motion and the least dangerous thing ever while being funny."
I chuckled, but let's be serious for a moment: This absolutely is dangerous. Hopefully the driver was okay!
"My neighbor came over..."
"My neighbor came over, drank a box of wine by himself and it took him 20 minutes for him to walk home right next door."
"It was windy as hell, like 25-30+ with gusts upwards of 40 mph. It was the most cartoony thing I have ever seen. He was tryna fight the wind all the way home. I am pretty certain I saw him crawling at one point."
This one is my personal favorite.
Nevertheless, your neighbor persisted.
Hopefully his dignity was intact.
"Someone stepping on a rake and hurting their face. That someone was me."
"I slipped on the ice..."
"I slipped on the ice a few years ago. I know it had to look like a cartoon. My feet flew up in the air and when I landed my head, neck and shoulders hit the ground before the rest of my body."
I'm pretty sure it must have been funny as f*** to see because it hurt like hell."
Life isn't always so serious, people. Sometimes it's utterly whimsical... like the cartoons we know and enjoy.
Where do you think the writers of these cartoons got their inspiration?
Have some funny experiences of your own? Have you also slipped on a banana peel and done the walk of shame? Tell more in the comments below!
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People collect art for a myriad of reasons. Some might have a particular artist they admire, maybe it's a personal investment, or maybe they want serious bragging rights.
Whatever the reason may be, there are some incredible pieces of art that may never be seen by the public because the value has made it impossible for anyone but the elite to see.
Some collections are valued at $2.2 billion and are spread across over 100 museums and galleries.
But what about the private collections that are never seen by the eyes of the public?
Redditor nessenger asked:
"What rare or historical items are in private collections which the public will never see?"
Some of these historical items have an interesting background story.
An Emily Carr painting.
"One of my old neighbors had an Emily Carr painting. He had an art book on a pedestal in front of it that talked about the painting and had the location as 'Unknown.' He had written 'Ha-ha!' next to it in the margin."
"In my opinion, it was definitely stolen. Maybe not by him but...there's no reason not to claim it as an asset at least to insure it, considering its worth millions of dollars, unless claiming it would become a problem for you."
"He's definitely a legitimate art collector. He probably got it in a private sale where the [provenance] was exclusively from private sales."
A silent short film.
"My answer is something the public will likely never see, not because it's in private hands, but because all traces of it have likely been lost:"
"On May 16th, 1912, the American silent short film Saved from the Titanic premiered in theaters starring actress Dorothy Gibson. The film was unique in that, not only was it completed literally a month after the tragedy, but Gibson was one of the survivors of the disaster, even wearing the same nightgown she wore on April 15th in the film."
"Despite some papers like the New York Dramatic Mirror criticizing the film as "revolting," due to the recent nature of the disaster, many more praised it for the same reasons. And, indeed, its use of stock footage of Captain Smith aboard the near-identical Olympic, icebergs in the North Atlantic, and of the Olympic herself as a stand-in, was able to increase the film's authenticity in ways no other film could."
"Sadly, this would be Gibson's last film, as she suffered an existential crisis during production, and all known copies of the film itself were destroyed in a studio fire in March 1914. All of them."
"Except, perhaps one."
"You see, one of the more notable fatalities in the Titanic disaster was Major Archibald Butt. While basically everything he was said to have done during the sinking was a case of media sensationalism, what could not be fabricated was his friendship and role as military advisor to William Howard Taft, better known as the President of the United States. Taft, to say the least, didn't take the news well, breaking down into tears during Butt's second funeral ceremony on May 5th. He received a personal copy of the film, and as such, it is possible that this copy still exists today, tucked away and forgotten…."
A lost room.
"The Amber Room."
"It ended up somewhere."
"As much as I would live to see it I don't believe it exists anymore. There may be pieces of it in collections but the majority of it must have been broken apart and sold to be made into other trinkets."
"The consensus among most reputable historians and journalists is that the Amber Room was destroyed during the firebombing of the building where it was held, though individual pieces might have been looted as people fled the palace and sold later, fueling rumors that the room itself had survived."
"Notably, none of these rumors have led to a plausible theory of how the room might have been moved and stored. When you take into account that:"
- "It's very common for portable items of value to be looted during the destruction of culturally significant sites without the site itself surviving;"
- "The Amber Room would have been incredibly difficult to move, hide, and store, particularly in secret;"
- "And that all leads regarding its whereabouts so far have been proven false"
"... Then there is no actual evidence that it survived, besides wishful thinking and the fact that it makes a good story."
"Also worth noting, the destruction of the Amber Room was seen as extremely bad PR for everyone involved, so there is great motivation for powerful states and figures to produce the room, if it exists, yet they have been unable to do so."
Art on rotation.
"I know there's a ton of stuff that the Nazis stole that still hasn't been recovered. Plenty of it HAS to just be sitting in somebody's living room, with the owner possibly being unaware of its origins, or maybe at least suspicious of its origins but they don't want to contact anybody about it."
"Museums also have a ton of stuff that they keep behind the scenes for various reasons - I think usually sensitivity to light and needing better temperature and air control are the main ones. Some of that stuff has really good replicas that are actually what's on display in museums, but I think a lot of the stuff doesn't so is just in some drawer in the back room somewhere where only specific employees and documentary filmmakers can see it."
"Apparently, because of how they 'rotate' exhibits & collections, museums typically have far more things in storage than on display."
"They also share with other museums, got to keep the attractions fresh."
"They have even more than that I'd say. Stuff admitted in the museum often have additional items on the side that get mixed up and unlabeled; some dresses have sample extras on the side for reparation or replication purposes for the original owner."
"My mom works at a small museum and she says that they normally have about a third of their collection on display. Also, many pieces have restrictions about how long and how often they can be displayed, especially older paintings and delicate pieces like tapestries. For these reasons, museums often borrow pieces from private collectors to 'fill out' exhibits"
"Lost" media footage.
"Lost Media footage. I know some collectors stumbled upon gems but won't release it, because the like the power of feeling like a god."
"For obvious reasons there are quite a few recordings of fatal racing accidents that are locked away forever either by the families or the racing team owners/manufacturers. I'm ok with these staying that way."
"I know this was being discussed after Steve Irwin died, since his death was caught on tape. I'd heard that the Australian government ordered the footage destroyed once the inquiry into his death was completed. Given how much of an icon Steve Irwin was, especially in Australia, I'm certain that all of the footage was destroyed, especially since all the people who witnessed it were his friends. I'm perfectly fine with that footage being destroyed."
"Well maybe not in private collections, but as someone majoring in European Medieval History it kinda pains my hard that there are some beautifully illuminated manuscripts, that almost no one but the conservators will ever be able to lay their eyes upon. The Book of Hours of Jean de Berry bursting with life and colour, the Utrecht Psalter, the oldest & most valuable manuscript located within my country, dating back to the 830's and decorated with incredibly precise and lively pen drawings and so much more. You can check digital versions online, but to hold such a piece of history and art in your hands is another experience entirely."
"It amazed me when I visited the bayeux tapestry. The colour and condition of something coming up on 1000 years old. Some of the detail they put into those old manuscripts and tapestries are unbelievable."
"Dude I cried when I saw this old a** painting from el Greco. Like how can something soooo old survive. How am I seeing this painting. Same when I saw Van Gogh paintings."
"It's pretty important that people can't just come and handle it though. The only reason it's survived this long is because it has been handled extremely carefully. It probably won't be long before a technology comes along that makes current high definition digital images look outdated, just as they make black and white photographs look outdated."
Art collecting is definitely meant for the rich elite who pride themselves on having such incredible amounts of money. It's a shame that these incredible works are going to continue to circulate amongst those select few.
It's hard to think of it as even being art if no one is around to admire it.
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Many of us think we have life all figured out.
Curious to hear what stumps strangers online, Redditor homo1ogize asked:
"What makes absolutely no sense to you at all?"
The things people do can be forever mysteries.
"Grown adults not taking responsibility for their actions/property and expecting others to clean up after them."
A Curious Culinary Process
"How people came up with baking."
"I get eating meats and veggies and fruits. That's just food that's pretty much ready to go."
"But somehow someone figured you can grind this plant into a powder, add a certain amount of water and some chicken eggs and some oil and some other crushed plant stuff and then heat it for X Minutes and now you have cake or bread or cookies or whatever."
Leaving The Bowl Full
"People that don't flush public restroom toilets."
"What's the deal with that? Do they not flush in their own homes? Is it laziness? Contempt with society? Seeing retail and other workers suffer? Just not knowing better?"
Life Insurance Loophole
"Seems like half of the true-crime shows I watch involve life insurance. What I don't understand is how the perpetrators convince themselves that being the beneficiary on a brand-new life insurance policy and then having the insured turn up dead within days or weeks is not going to put you under a detective's microscope."
"Even more suspicious are the ones who immediately make the claim for payout within a day of the death. At least sit on it for a month or two and act like you're grieving."
These trends continue to dumbfound Redditors' minds.
The Housing Market
"House price rises. How seriously can people have so much money for crappy houses? Where are all these great paying jobs that service the mortgage?"
"My partner and I have decent middle class jobs ( teacher, nurse) yet cannot afford to buy in the city where we live…. And not even close to the city where we live."
"How can a pandemic wreck an economy… throw thousands out of work needing to rely on government handouts …. Yet house prices increase?"
The Facebook Ploy
"Those Facebook photos that promise you a lot of money if you post them. Is it true that people believe it?"
"How, in what environment, under what conditions, could that possibly work? Is this some sort of inside joke that I'm not aware of? 'Write Amen.'"
"My first language was Spanish, which I learned at home. I learnt English at school and with friends outside of school. In addition, German is spoken."
"Surprisingly, when I speak in my brain, it's always in English. When I pronounce them out loud, though, they come out in the correct language."
Knowing scientific explanations doesn't necessarily mean we will completely comprehend them.
"How the moon is in perfect rotation with the earth to the point where we only see one side of the moon at all times no matter what."
Lack Of A Void
"What is the root of consciousness and why is there something instead of nothing."
"How babies just go from swimming/breathing in a pouch of goo to being born and able to breathe normal air. It makes no sense to me. How does something go from not breathing air to breathing air in like a second?"
The Vastness Above Us
"Look at the moon. Some days you can see Saturn or Jupiter out there. Look at the stars."
"You think about us… people on this rock in space all running around. We're floating in space on a rock. Spinning around. All together. One."
"And space is just soooo big. It's overwhelming. Really really big. I can't even comprehend how big."
"It doesn't even make sense how big it is."
This is something I've always chalked up to fate, but the concept of meeting people floors me.
How did I wind up with the friends in my circle? How did I get paired with my parents in this life? And how did I meet the person with whom I wound up exchanging vows?
It's terrifying to comprehend the prospect of never having met some of the most important people in my life, yet I would never know because I haven't been faced with the alternative.
It continues to blow my mind.
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It shouldn't be hard to try and stay healthy.
However, it feels like the world is against you, as most stuff marketed or sold as "healthy" could actually be hurting you.
What do people think is healthy but is actually harmful?
Seeing something on the shelves marked as "healthy" shouldn't cause you to second guess yourself. It should be easy, right? However, these products might be holding a darker secret than you realize.
For Those In The Back: Its Not The Fat, It's The Sugar
"Low fat or non fat foods tend to add more sugar than their regular fat counterparts to make up for the lost flavor."
"Edit: To clarify, for example I'm talking about something like reduced fat cheese its vs the regular cheese its. The reduced fat may seem "healthier" but it's really not."
Just Eat The Fruit
"People focus on the fact that it contains some nutrients, but not that it also contains as much sugar as Coca-Cola"
"This. The only truly healthful way to consume a fruit's juice is to eat the whole fruit. Peeling and eating an orange takes so much longer than chugging way too much juice. Plus the benefit of the fiber. Plus the benefit of fresh and natural vitamin C."
This One's A Real Bummer
"Those acai bowls are loaded with sugar."
"Ohhhh damn. I see why I've been rapidly gaining weight recently . Those damn delicious açaí bowl."
You might be doing something every day that's causing health deficiencies in your day to day living. The worst part of it all is the notion that this unhealthy thing you're doing is supposed to be "fun" or "relaxing."
From The Earth? Yes. Still Smoke? Also Yes.
"Smoking marijuana. And I say this as a daily toker. Inhaling smoke into your body is ALWAYS bad for you. It's just better than inhaling poison (cigarettes) into your body."
"This bothers so much. I smoked almost daily for 8 years, not as much now, but so many stoners refuse to acknowledge that inhaling ANY kind of smoke is bad for you. Yeah, cannabis has a lot of benefits. But putting any kind of mind-altering substance into your body it is not risk-free."
"Same with vaping. Just because it's a healthier alternative to cigarettes doesn't make it automatically healthy itself. It's just a good way to help those with smoking problems ween off it and be healthier. It's not meant to be used as a way to start an addiction. Addiction still kills."
Find That Right Balance
"Not so much anymore because there is much more awareness, but being out in the sun. My mom would force me to sunbathe when I was a child because it was "unhealthy" to be pale and that people would think I am gross. Now she's not even fifty and her face is pocked with scars from surgeries treating melanoma, and every year has to go back in to the doctor for more skin removal and to determine if she needs further, more intensive treatment."
"I have never sunbathed as an adult and religiously put on sunscreen, wear long sleeves and an "old man" hiking hat when I go just about anywhere outside. Please, everyone, protect your skin!"
"But also on the flip side, it's really common to have a vitamin D deficiency if your skin never sees the sunlight, so make sure you're taking a supplement if that's the case. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a whole host of its own issues. It feels like every health issue is some variation of a double sided coin."
The Truth Hits Like A Truck
"Being with someone because you don't want to be alone"
"Yes, but like many of the harmful things in this thread, it sure can be fun for a little while. Until the consequences start coming at you."
What can feel a little shocking about some of these things listed is the thought that you're doing something good for you. You're working out! What's the worst that can happen?
Sometimes Crushing It Every Day Can Crush You Every Day
"working out with 100% effort everyday"
"Agree. You can train different muscles, but in the end, you are still using the same nervous system. Also, Rhabdomyolysis is a thing, so….."
"In case anyone else feels the need to look it up:"
"Rhabdomyolysis is a potentially life-threatening syndrome resulting from the breakdown of skeletal muscle fibers with leakage of muscle contents into the circulation. The most common causes are crush injury, overexertion, alcohol abuse and certain medicines and toxic substances."
It's Goop. How Can You Not Trust It?
"Anything Gwyneth Paltrow is marketing."
"Hold on, you mean to tell me that shoving a jade egg up your vagina, isn't good for you?"
"The jade egg is probably the least unhealthy thing she sells, as it does absolutely nothing."
Not Doing What You Think
All of those "Detox" drinks, and gimmicks.
Take care of yourself. Don't fall for health fads. Start simple.
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