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Watt a mess! Power lines hit homeowner with financial jolt(Stupidity alert)
Boston Herald ^ | Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Jay Fitzgerald

Posted on 12/28/2006 5:17:17 AM PST by GQuagmire

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To: JimRed

Get within 5 feet of a High Tension Wire and it will Arc Out to you.


51 posted on 12/28/2006 6:07:39 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: JimRed
I should think they'd be well insulated.

High voltage lines are not insulated at all.

52 posted on 12/28/2006 6:10:02 AM PST by CharacterCounts (-)
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To: GQuagmire; al baby

So, it sounds like he doesn't even have to plug in his Beeber to recharge it.


53 posted on 12/28/2006 6:11:13 AM PST by Professional Engineer (As far as we know, all numbers are imaginary. some just hurt your brain more than others. ~ lepton)
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To: GQuagmire
Brings a whole new meaning to current events. I don't know about this story. I don't see how it's possible to be as bad as they claim. A $400K home is going to take at least 4 months to build. No one noticed this and complained.  Trusses were set using a boom truck. You'd think contractor saws, routers, skill saws etc. would have also been effected during the build.

With as much press as high power lines have had over the years in "Erin Brockovich" type of stories, this guy had to be a moron to spend this kind of money 27 feet away to begin with.  Just because the city gives one a permit to build a home on top of a swamp, doesn't mean it's a guarantee things will be fine.

There will be a lot of ohm chanting in the near future with this guy, but I'm not sure it will have anything to do with Karma.


54 posted on 12/28/2006 6:12:06 AM PST by HawaiianGecko (Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.)
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To: JimRed
Couple of things going on here.

First, I think the guy is an idiot!

Second, this is an interesting challenge thrown down to the power company(s). For years, the power companies will tell you that there is nothing harmful about their lines. They do so, because of the devastating effect that it would have on all developed countries with overhead power. So if that were true, then the house underneath would be just fine (only an idiot would push the edge of the envelope) according to theory. I'd be interested in who all is behind this clown (and what is going on behind the curtain).

I have some ulterior motives for watching this case as I'm part of the electrical community. The question that exists in my head is "What the hell was wrong with "the authorities" for letting him build it? Need to clean the city up of "the powers that be"! They do make cease and desist orders.
55 posted on 12/28/2006 6:17:20 AM PST by Issaquahking (Trust can't be bought)
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To: GQuagmire
A spokeswoman for National Grid, which owns the transmission lines, said Zagami has no one to blame but himself for proceeding with construction last year without getting the company’s permission. Debbie Drew, the spokeswoman, said Zagami built his home on National Grid’s easement and ignored its repeated warning to stop.

So, he's told to stop and he doesn't, and now somehow it's not his fault?

56 posted on 12/28/2006 6:21:15 AM PST by SoftballMominVA
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To: reagan_fanatic
AC come, DC go.

Now that is clever. Best pun on this thread.

57 posted on 12/28/2006 6:22:53 AM PST by Jeff F
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To: Mark was here
If his property is close enough I wonder if he could be inductively coupled to the power lines. Say the power line is the primary side of a transformer, he could run a parallel length of wire and treat it as a secondary side of a transformer and have it drive a load. Free power!

Mark,

This is known as theft of services. It is one of the charges the government(s) use when people go skiing at a ski resort, and then ignore the boundaries, and ski in closed areas. Can be good for jail, and/or fines.
58 posted on 12/28/2006 6:23:01 AM PST by Issaquahking (Trust can't be bought)
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To: DB

According to the article, he built his house on the easement. Seems to me a pretty simple survey would have shown the problem and could have moved the house back.


59 posted on 12/28/2006 6:23:19 AM PST by SoftballMominVA
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To: GQuagmire

http://data.visionappraisal.com/northattleboroma/(S(uldpnwfoj2yqhd555xijjo45))/findpid.aspx?iTable=pid&pid=8790

Ownership History Owner Name Book/Page Sale Date Sale Price
ZAGAMI CHRISTOPHER J 15032/0242 7/29/2005 100,000
DESVERGNES JOHN 08836/0292 6/14/2000 1
HERITAGE HOMES OF ATTLEBORO 08608/0015 12/21/1999 0
TOWN OF NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH 06884/0176 9/17/1996 0
HERITAGE HOMES OF ATTLEBORO IN 01542/0398 1/19/1969 1

There is a fellow out there by the name of John who has some splainin' to do. This property was changing hands for a dollar or less since 1969 until this guy sold it to his mark. Like to see some of the seller's documents and hear his argument against title insurance.


60 posted on 12/28/2006 6:30:01 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: JimRed

my attempt to answer your actual question......

1. magnetism makes electricity

2. electricity makes magnetism......both statements are true

power lines are surrounded by magnetic fields, which induce "electricity" into conductive objects.

an ignition coil or common power-pack/transformer is one example of induction at work.....i.e. no actual physical connection


61 posted on 12/28/2006 6:34:22 AM PST by Vn_survivor_67-68
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To: Issaquahking
This is known as theft of services. It is one of the charges the government(s) use when people go skiing at a ski resort, and then ignore the boundaries, and ski in closed areas. Can be good for jail, and/or fines.

If you constructed your half of the xfmr on their easement, yep your stealing, if the equipment is on your property, the issue may not be so clear cut. You are in essence just receiving a signal they are broadcasting onto your property.

62 posted on 12/28/2006 6:35:39 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: JimRed
Can a tech savvy FReeper explain how power "leaks" from transmission lines? I should think they'd be well insulated.

Transmission lines are not insulated at all. But that is not the problem. The problem is caused my the magnetic fields surrounding the conductors which is huge on the high voltage lines. If you remember from science class, to generate electricity you need a moving conductor and a magnetic field or a moving magnetic field and a conductor.

Because the power lines are AC the magnetic field is building, collapsing and changing direction with every cycle of the current.

Huge, strong, moving magnetic field + stationary metal objects and wiring in the house = generated electricity

63 posted on 12/28/2006 6:41:19 AM PST by OSHA (Sarcasm detector overload!)
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To: Mark was here
That's been tried - in court - and to my knowledge the power companies have won every case.
64 posted on 12/28/2006 6:44:57 AM PST by DB
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To: DB
Either the home owner built his home on the easement or the power company put their tower on his property

Not necessarily. The power company's easement may include a buffer to account for the maximum allowable field strength. They "could" have built on the edge of the easement, creating a hazard that extends beyond the easement itself, in which case they would have to indemnify him. From the account, (they warned him several times) it sounds like the homeowner got something past the building inspector, but now he's up against the laws of physics, and Maxwell wins everytime.

65 posted on 12/28/2006 6:45:46 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The artist doesn't have to have all the answers; he must, however, ask the right questions honestly.)
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To: GQuagmire
Probably a life time voter for Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry too.
66 posted on 12/28/2006 6:47:51 AM PST by The South Texan (The Democrat Party and the leftist (ABCCBSNBCCNN NYLATIMES)media are a criminal enterprise!)
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To: SoftballMominVA

Correct. But that seems to be a disputed point. As in the claim the tower and/or wires are not properly on the easement.


67 posted on 12/28/2006 6:48:43 AM PST by DB
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To: GQuagmire

NICE! no electricity bills- if he can just figure out how to turn things off.


68 posted on 12/28/2006 6:49:52 AM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them over THERE than over HERE)
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To: RGSpincich

Mr.Zagami clearly is a dope.

Website for appraisals will come in handy.


69 posted on 12/28/2006 6:51:36 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire

Interesting senario this guy has gotten into. There is a National Electric Code which specifies recommended clearances between wires and structures.. Most governing agencies that have code enforcement in their venue incorporate some form of a National code if not the NEC itself.

I can't see how he got a building permit, passed rough in inspections, got a loan without a survey showing easements and encroachments, etc. I suspect there is much more to this story than is being presented in this article....


70 posted on 12/28/2006 6:55:31 AM PST by deport
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To: DB
That's been tried - in court - and to my knowledge the power companies have won every case.

As a practical mater I could understand why the power companies would have to win.

I would like to see a setup that actually worked, just for kicks.

71 posted on 12/28/2006 6:58:46 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: GQuagmire

Resistance is futile!

72 posted on 12/28/2006 6:59:12 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with EPI, you're not a conservative!)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Generally the site plan is done based on what some map on file with the county shows the legal lot boundaries are along with any legal easements. They're based on fixed measurements and markers that document what is what.

If the official survey map doesn't match where the actual easements/towers/wires are then there's big problems. And the problem may not be obvious until after something actually gets built. There's a number of people and steps required between wanting to build a house and getting a permit to do so. Generally it isn't the person that's paying to have his house built problem to know all the codes and setback requirements. That's the city's/county's problem along with the civil engineer that created the site plan.
73 posted on 12/28/2006 7:00:10 AM PST by DB
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To: Mark was here
Mark,

I'm an electrician, I'll get a couple of buds and we'd have you for lunch in court. When you get ready to take on a utility company, you have to understand the golden rule. He who has the gold, makes the rules. So unless you can prove the power company somehow wronged you,they will use you for and example, and for the kind of action your talking about, it's theft, plain and simple.


How about we just turn off the power to your house, because you have a lawsuit against the power company? Maybe, if you lived off-grid (getting to be more common now-a-days) then I would have a whole different view, however, I think you have power lines coming to your house.
74 posted on 12/28/2006 7:00:41 AM PST by Issaquahking (Trust can't be bought)
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To: Mark was here

It does work...


75 posted on 12/28/2006 7:01:42 AM PST by DB
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To: massgopguy
Get within 5 feet of a High Tension Wire and it will Arc Out to you.

On a 345kv line, keep going. According to NASH and the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) the "Limited Approach Boundary" is 15 feet, 4 inches (unqualified personnel). Even for QUALIFIED personnel the restricted approach boundary is 8 1/2 feet.

27 feet from this guy's house? What, he couldn't find ANY land ANYWHERE else? Sorry, but dude is a MO-RON.
76 posted on 12/28/2006 7:01:54 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Mark was here
Mark,

There have been some very clever power thefts, which I'll not reveal, but ya, there are some very sharp thieves out there. Because of them, that was what made my previous post towards you seem vicious. I have no patience for "new and improved" theft.
77 posted on 12/28/2006 7:05:05 AM PST by Issaquahking (Trust can't be bought)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

No full body pic?


78 posted on 12/28/2006 7:07:23 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire

79 posted on 12/28/2006 7:09:41 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with EPI, you're not a conservative!)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Much better!


80 posted on 12/28/2006 7:11:01 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire

Development of property adjacent to power line tower easements is big biz for builders because that land is cheaper to obtain. 100' away from the lines and off the easement seems to be the norm around here. First time home buyers snap up these new homes as they are usually priced below competing subdivisions.


81 posted on 12/28/2006 7:11:11 AM PST by Rb ver. 2.0
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To: GQuagmire
The building inspector who issued the permit no longer works for the town. John Rhyno, a town selectman, said he wants to know why the town issued a building permit in the first place, though he maintained there’s nothing in state statutes that sets guidelines for building homes close to transmission lines.

The guy is an idiot .. but also sounds like he MIGHT have a case to sue because the zoning board/township didn't prevent this house from being built and issued a permit

82 posted on 12/28/2006 7:14:17 AM PST by Mo1
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To: Issaquahking
There have been some very clever power thefts, which I'll not reveal, but ya, there are some very sharp thieves out there. Because of them, that was what made my previous post towards you seem vicious. I have no patience for "new and improved" theft.

I do not want to condone stealing of power. Yes I understand that it is wrong. From a technical point of view, it is pretty amazing that usable amounts of power can be captured outside of the easement. Magnetic fields drop off rather quickly, I would think all you would get would be along the lines of a radio signal in strength.

83 posted on 12/28/2006 7:14:54 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: GQuagmire

I find this very difficult to believe; I'd be checking for "open ground" connections in the house wiring myself.


84 posted on 12/28/2006 7:21:15 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp

Rural legend.


85 posted on 12/28/2006 7:23:57 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: JimRed
I should think they'd be well insulated.

Not to pile on, but power lines have associated magnetic and electrical fields. Insulation does not effectively confine the electric field, it only prevents current flow from the conductor. Insulating high voltage lines would not be practical.

Both the Electric and Magnetic fields associated with balanced power lines fall off as the inverse square of distance. Most of the energy stored in a power line is in the magnetic field (power lines look like inductors) but close to the lines the electrical field can be objectionable as well. If you stand close enough to a power line and hold a florescent bulb so that it glows, that's the effect of the electrical, not the magnetic field. This effect would occur even if the lines were DC.

The magnetic field couples to loops. If you were to fashion a transformer by looping some Romex around a piece of rebar and connecting the ends to an AC voltmeter, you would see a voltage that would fall as you moved further from the lines. The most common manifestation of the magnetic field in a power line is when they saturate the core of an automobile AM antenna, causing objectionable "static". (FM can be made more immune, it depends on the design.)

The health effects of these fields at the foot of the tower is probably neglible; we drive under power lines all the time. The right of way extents far enough from the lines so that interference with household electronic and electrical devices is not objectionable.

86 posted on 12/28/2006 7:24:52 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The artist doesn't have to have all the answers; he must, however, ask the right questions honestly.)
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To: GQuagmire

Does it really cost $360,000 ($290,000 + $79,000) to build a 1700 square foot home? That is around $212 a square foot. My home (purchased a few years ago only cost around $38 a square foot.

I am not in constructions, so this may be normal, but it would seem to me that someone was being taken for a ride on this one.


87 posted on 12/28/2006 7:28:56 AM PST by CIB-173RDABN
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To: Mark was here

Number 2 might work on D.C.

Number 1 is my guess; I searched for two hours inside a room inside a hangar for a loose ground one day, I was able to measure 95VAC from the concrete floor mounted drill press leg to ground at the outlet and the fluorescent lamps had a mind of their own.

I finally tracked it down to a 4square box on the roof of the room that the neutral had gone open.

Couldn't find the break, so I simply ran 20 feet of #12 over to a J-box and connected neutral there.

Repowered the breaker and problem fixed.


88 posted on 12/28/2006 7:29:52 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: massgopguy

That's why they're a hundred feet above ground.


89 posted on 12/28/2006 7:30:56 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: YouPosting2Me
This story has POTENTIAL!

Ouch! That hertz

90 posted on 12/28/2006 7:31:24 AM PST by Colorado Doug
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To: CharacterCounts

Air.


91 posted on 12/28/2006 7:31:30 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: GQuagmire

92 posted on 12/28/2006 7:31:46 AM PST by Fresh Wind (All we are sa-a-a-ying, is give Beast a chance.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
If you stand close enough to a power line and hold a florescent bulb so that it glows, that's the effect of the electrical, not the magnetic field. This effect would occur even if the lines were DC.

Florescent bulbs glow when the energy stored in the gas is released. With AC the gas is constantly being charged and the energy is released. I'm not getting how a DC current could make a bulb glow, maybe just flash once.

93 posted on 12/28/2006 7:33:16 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: Vn_survivor_67-68

An ignition coil is an autotransformer, the primary and secondary windings are indeed tied together.

A field isn't enough; one must break the lines through motion; close coupling of currents that are making and breaking contact will induce counter currents but this effect falls off on the square of the distance.


94 posted on 12/28/2006 7:36:21 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: DB
Generally it isn't the person that's paying to have his house built problem to know all the codes and setback requirements.

I've "pulled a building permit" in Massachusetts; most towns follow pretty much the same template. The plot plan shows utility easements, fire hydrants, leeching fields, etc. If there's any doubt about the building meeting set backs you need to have a licensed surveyor perform a survey to ensure that the building does not infringe before a permit is issued. The building inspector may have been negligent, the plot plan may have been defective. It sounds more like the prior, since the power company warned him not to build. During a visual inspection the power company must have noticed his infringement. The guy's just a dope.

95 posted on 12/28/2006 7:36:30 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The artist doesn't have to have all the answers; he must, however, ask the right questions honestly.)
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To: OCCASparky

The tower may be 27 feet but the wires are much higher than that overhead; this has all the markings of a building urban legend.


96 posted on 12/28/2006 7:40:44 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Mark was here

Think along the lines of capacitance, and inductive coupling...


97 posted on 12/28/2006 7:44:58 AM PST by Issaquahking (Trust can't be bought)
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To: GQuagmire
With proper shielding and a ground grid, this induction problem could be solved IMO.....

But, building a home so close to the power company easements is not a smart investment.

98 posted on 12/28/2006 7:47:48 AM PST by Cold Heat ("Ward!.........Go easy on the beaver"!)
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To: CIB-173RDABN

$38 a square foot? Are you sh**ting me? Does that house have wheels? Electricity? Running water?

To put it into perspective, I just bought my house here and while it does have significant land (over an acre), the cost per square foot is still in the $140/sqft range. The one I just sold in CA went for roughly $430/sqft. Such is life.

And Professor, sometimes yes, sometimes no. I work at a power plant serving that grid, and some of the 345kv lines aren't nearly 30 feet high, even once they leave the switchyard. Even assuming a 45-degree angle, he's still barely 40 feet from energized conductors.

Yes, he should be checking for open grounds, but I can show you pole guy-wires which are firmly grounded over 100 feet from the nearest 345kv line which will still give you a nasty little bite under the right weather conditions.


99 posted on 12/28/2006 7:52:34 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Mark was here
The energy comes from the external field. I thought that the principle was that it accelerates naturally ionized gas, the accelerated ions collide with other gas molecules generating more far more than the natural number of thermally ionized molecules. The glow is from the recombination of the electrons and ionized molecules. (The ionization engery is supplied by the external field, remember.) Thermal agitation will overwhelm the relatively small number of ionized molecules, (neutral molecules diffuse rapidly) so that there are always plenty of ions throughout the tube. The density of the gas is adjusted so that the mean free path of the molecules (at the design voltage) is much less than the tube length but long enough to allow collisions to result in more ions, and the recombination time is much much smaller that 1/120 seconds. Effectively the 60 Hertz is much greater than the time constant of the tube.

The Point is, it's the E-feild, not the B-field that couples to a florescent lamp.
100 posted on 12/28/2006 7:53:19 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The artist doesn't have to have all the answers; he must, however, ask the right questions honestly.)
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