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Giving Women the Access Code
New York Times ^ | April 2, 2012 | KATIE HAFNER

Posted on 04/03/2012 5:37:44 AM PDT by reaganaut1

...

[Computer science] students are overwhelmingly male. In 2010, just 18.2 percent of undergraduates in the field were women, according to the National Center for Education Statistics — in spite of gains in chemistry, biomechanical engineering and other so-called STEM fields (the acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“It must be the unique area of science and technology where women have made negative progress,” said Nicholas Pippenger, a mathematics professor at Harvey Mudd, who is married to Dr. Klawe.

Dr. Klawe and others say the underrepresentation of women in the field is detrimental in a larger sense. Computer science, they say, is as vital to propelling society forward in the digital era as mechanical engineering was in the industrial age.

“If we’re not getting more women to be part of that, it’s just nuts,” Dr. Klawe said. At Mudd, she continued, “we’re graduating 20 female computer science majors a year, and every one of them is a gem.” In 2005, the year before Dr. Klawe arrived, a group of faculty members embarked on a full makeover of the introductory computer science course, a requirement at Mudd.

Known as CS 5, the course focused on hard-core programming, appealing to a particular kind of student — young men, already seasoned programmers, who dominated the class. This only reinforced the women’s sense that computer science was for geeky know-it-alls.

“Most of the female students were unwilling to go on in computer science because of the stereotypes they had grown up with,” said Zachary Dodds, a computer scientist at Mudd. “We realized we were helping perpetuate that by teaching such a standard course.”

To reduce the intimidation factor, the course was divided into two sections — “gold,” for those with no prior experience, and “black” for everyone else.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: college; computerscience; harveymudd; programmers
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It's a problem when more men than women are interested in or good at something. Let's denigrate the guys as "geeky know-it-alls" and water down the courses they excel at.
1 posted on 04/03/2012 5:37:45 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1
I guess the goal is to have women dominate all fields.

Women good, men bad.

2 posted on 04/03/2012 5:39:42 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Over half of U.S. murders are of black people, and 90% of them are committed by other black people.)
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To: reaganaut1
The problem that the secular "social justice" elites have with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (so-called STEM) is that unlike all the other pabulum in faux disciplines such as gender studies and sociology, STEM can't be "dumbed down".

These disciplines require mastery, at least to a certain level. Yes, computers help a great deal, and in engineering, there are companies that specialize in doing a lot of the low-level "grunt" work.

But STEM stands in stark contrast to rest of the made-up world of academia. Its demands on the mind are rigorous, and there are those who can't cut it. That sticks in the craw of these elites.

Too bad for them.

3 posted on 04/03/2012 5:45:43 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: reaganaut1
I had to check the date on this article... Hmmmm, April 2?

Harvey Mudd? As in Harcort Fenton Mudd? From Star Trek?

FWIW, in 1987 my CS-101 class at SUNY Stony Brook had hundreds of students, and just a handful were female. This isn't anything new.

Mark

4 posted on 04/03/2012 5:47:29 AM PDT by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: backwoods-engineer

http://greenchem.uoregon.edu/


5 posted on 04/03/2012 5:47:51 AM PDT by narses
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

“I guess the goal is to have women dominate all fields.”

It is. That way they stop having kids, and Western Society withers on the vine. We may laugh at Muzzies for being so backwards regarding their treatment of women - but there are CHILDREN in those societies, and demographically they’re heads and shoulders more healthy than ANY Western Society.

And barring a global religious war that they lose, they WILL start taking countries in Europe by 2030 and they will keep getting stronger in other countries.


6 posted on 04/03/2012 5:48:32 AM PDT by BobL
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I guess the goal is to have women dominate all fields...

...absolutely that is the cultural ideal, but all the while this dominance is being built, they must maintain their status as underpriveleged, lest the scheme be exposed for the social engineering that it is...thus, the notion of underpaid women in the work force is aggressively pushed, the illogical idea of employers hiring men when they supposedly could hire women at half price notwithstanding...


7 posted on 04/03/2012 5:49:26 AM PDT by IrishBrigade
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To: MarkL

Harvey Mudd is a really, really good school. Small and focused on math and science, so it doesn’t make headlines.

The number of women in CS has actually gone down since the 80s, probably because of the introduction of “computer information technology” type degrees. There were always a few other women in my CS classes but most of them were interested in web or database design. By the time I got to grad school I was usually one of maybe 2 or 3 American women in my classes.

Didn’t bug me, I don’t like being around other women much either. There’s a lot of good reasons women don’t go into computer science, most of which say more about our school systems or the industry than anything else.


8 posted on 04/03/2012 5:51:28 AM PDT by JenB
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To: reaganaut1
"negative progress."

I don't think I'd have gotten out of third grade if I put that on a paper.

9 posted on 04/03/2012 5:51:45 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand
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To: reaganaut1

This was tried back in the mid-nineties during the dotcom boom. I went to engineering school back then and there was a big push to get young women interested in engineering at the high school level. They did a good job herding the gals into the engineering schools, but they hit what’s called “The Physics Barrier” and dropped out into other kinder, gentler degree programs.


10 posted on 04/03/2012 5:52:49 AM PDT by randog (Tap into America!)
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To: reaganaut1

Isn’t it all about “choice” for women? It looks like they are not choosing this career path. No harm, no foul, I say.


11 posted on 04/03/2012 5:53:29 AM PDT by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
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To: reaganaut1

The first computer programmer was a lady.

Ada Lovelace didn’t require affirmative action: why should her heirs?


12 posted on 04/03/2012 5:54:51 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: MarkL
Harvey Mudd (who founded an engineering college):

Harry Mudd (who got the robots he deserved):


13 posted on 04/03/2012 5:56:18 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: randog

my 20 yo tall blonde pretty niece is a junior in the honors program at the U of Akron in mechanical engineering. She has had co-op jobs with GE for the last two summers and will be co-oping with Proctor and Gamble this summer. she’s extremely bright. She must have surmounted the Physics barrier.


14 posted on 04/03/2012 5:57:31 AM PDT by xsmommy
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To: reaganaut1
Geeks had more style in 1849.


15 posted on 04/03/2012 5:59:39 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: reaganaut1

Black and Gold grouping sounds very familiar.
A and B Sections
College and Career Tracks
Robin and Bluebird Study Groups

It all amounts to the same thing.


16 posted on 04/03/2012 6:00:11 AM PDT by Makana
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To: xsmommy

Heys! I am female with TWO comp sci degrees. But I already proved I am smart......I am a Freeper.


17 posted on 04/03/2012 6:01:28 AM PDT by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: agere_contra

From Ada to Linda. What a difference a century makes.


18 posted on 04/03/2012 6:05:03 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: reaganaut1
Why is it so bad if guys excel at something?
It's not like the women are barred from those classes.
It's their choice. Self-selection is still legal and I hope it stays that way.

19 posted on 04/03/2012 6:06:30 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Explorer89

Yeah well there are always freepers on these threads who opine either: that women can’t make it in a math/sci field OR that if one doesn’t major in math/science one will be a burden on society and should basically just off themselves immediately. So sometimes being a Freeper isn’t the best credential ; )


20 posted on 04/03/2012 6:06:44 AM PDT by xsmommy
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To: agere_contra

This woman spoke at my graduation...enjoyable speaker, and very talented too...

All this stuff about women in the sciences is complete and total BS. If women want to go into the sciences, there is not only nothing to stop them, there are scads of benefits to encourage them.

This "Women are discouraged from entering the sciences" is the Via Dolorosa of the feminist movement...or at least just one of them.

I am sick and tired of seeing it. Sciences is one of the few areas where you can still be judged on your ability, and faking it is difficult in some aspects and impossible in others. If you can't do the math, you can't do it. If you can't code...you can't do it.

21 posted on 04/03/2012 6:07:08 AM PDT by rlmorel (A knife in the chest from a unapologetic liberal is preferable to a knife in the back from a RINO.)
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To: xsmommy

I, female, managed to “survive” the physics barrier, it was rough. Intentionally so, I think. Years ago I had a female classmate majoring in chemistry, I believe, that changed her major to physics during her first year. She excelled at it, thrived, really.


22 posted on 04/03/2012 6:07:17 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit (Washington,DC is FULL of people with Political Experience... How's that Working out for you??)
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To: randog

Actually from my personal observation a lot of the women who dropped out of engineering degrees, especially computer science, could do the math. What they couldn’t do was see a way to have a career in the field and a family. In comp sci if you let your resume get five years out of date, that’s it, you’re done. Taking time off for a kid can be career killing. Or even downgrading to fewer hours is tough. This is an industry where 60 hour weeks are not uncommon. It’s hard to do that and be a mom and contrary to what feminists say, most twenty something college educated women do want kids.

It’s hard to look at all the hard work you’re doing and say “I guess this is going down the toilet in five years”. It’s discouraging.


23 posted on 04/03/2012 6:08:26 AM PDT by JenB
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Women good, white men bad.
24 posted on 04/03/2012 6:08:28 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand
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To: reaganaut1

“Giving” it to them?

Shouldn’t they work for it like everyone else?

Real sciences have no need for affirmative action


25 posted on 04/03/2012 6:09:02 AM PDT by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: rlmorel

Nice post.

IIRC she invented the term ‘computer bug’, from a literal encounter with one.


26 posted on 04/03/2012 6:11:00 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: ican'tbelieveit

i think it has far less to do with gender than just how your brain is wired. My husband and i are both lawyers, neither one of us was cut out for a scientific field. i was pre-med my first year of college, but i knew getting Cs wouldn’t get me into med school, so i switched. my brother is a ChemE and while no smarter than I am, he gutted his way through a year behind me. Maybe i could have scraped my way through in engineering, but it wasn’t what i was interested in. Though i have to say those i respected most of my law school classmates were those who were engineers, there were only a handful of them, but to be adept at language and math/sci is a bit more rare.


27 posted on 04/03/2012 6:12:47 AM PDT by xsmommy
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To: reaganaut1
Known as CS 5, the course focused on hard-core programming, appealing to a particular kind of student — young men, already seasoned programmers, who dominated the class. This only reinforced the women’s sense that computer science was for geeky know-it-alls.

The idea that someone will be able to succeed as a programmer without enjoying programming for its own sake is patently absurd.

It's not that any professional programmer must be able to handle "hard-core" programming classes, any effective programmer must relish this sort of material. It's part and parcel of being a programmer.

28 posted on 04/03/2012 6:15:26 AM PDT by jdege
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To: reaganaut1
“If we’re not getting more women to be part of that, it’s just nuts,” Dr. Klawe said.

QED

29 posted on 04/03/2012 6:15:28 AM PDT by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: reaganaut1

I’m sure the article could have been written the exact opposite way. Women dominate X field and Y field. Men are losing ground.

Of course that must be okay, since you never hear of such things! But since more women graduate college now, and men do dominate certain professions, it only stands to reason that there are female dominated professions. Women are spoiled in this country. It would be nice to see somebody say it. Women can do what they want to do. They can work and be at par with men. Or they can stay home and raise a family. All the while the popular culture reinforces how special women are. Is it asking too much for society to acknowledge how lucky the modern woman is?


30 posted on 04/03/2012 6:18:32 AM PDT by BJ1
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To: reaganaut1

Oddly enough, 25-ish years ago when I worked in an IT dept of 300+ people, the majority of programmers & analysts were women. At the same time, at the area universities it was a pretty even split between men and women in the classes.

I wonder what changed. (Maybe I should click?)


31 posted on 04/03/2012 6:18:31 AM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: reaganaut1

Why would a woman want to enter a STEM field when she can make more money for less work in traditionally women-dominated fields such as education and nursing?


32 posted on 04/03/2012 6:18:32 AM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Romney ruined Massachusetts. Now he wants to ruin the nation.)
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To: reaganaut1

i fail to see the point in convincing peopel to go into fields for which they have no interest nor inclination - what ever their grnder. isn’t it far better to encourage people to do what thet want to do?


33 posted on 04/03/2012 6:20:31 AM PDT by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: reaganaut1

“Most of the female students were unwilling to go on in computer science because of the stereotypes they had grown up with,”

Couldn’t be that, in general, a female’s brain “wiring” is not conducive to being attracted to the thought process that meshes well with computer programming? No?

Oh, wait! I get it! Computers were designed by males, so the way they operate is inherently “sexist”!


34 posted on 04/03/2012 6:22:40 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: camle

The leftists want it like it was in the former Soviet Union, where your career path was already decided for you by the State, by the time you were 10 years old.


35 posted on 04/03/2012 6:24:57 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: BJ1

Actually, my younger brother is getting a free ride to nursing school. They’ve got a huge shortage of men there. The way they’re tossing money at him reminds me of my experience in computer science.

But other fields, nope, there’s no extra incentives to see equal representation for guys.

In grad school I got an extra fellowship. All us American girls got the same one. And my African-American female friend got one that was twice as big. We made lots of jokes about it... but you know, it enabled us to live in safer apartment buildings than where our male classmates were living and it might just have made the difference to some of us in whether or not to go.


36 posted on 04/03/2012 6:25:06 AM PDT by JenB
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To: rlmorel

I’m green with envy. I never had the pleasure of hearing Adm. Hopper speak live. I had several opportunities, but always learned about them too late to take advantage.


37 posted on 04/03/2012 6:25:21 AM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: rlmorel
This woman spoke at my graduation...enjoyable speaker, and very talented too...

Do you still have your "nanosecond"?

38 posted on 04/03/2012 6:28:35 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: JenB
This is an industry where 60 hour weeks are not uncommon

I sure as heck don't work 60 hours weeks. Maybe twice a year. I do muse over things quite a bit though... perhaps that is billable ;-)

39 posted on 04/03/2012 6:34:06 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: jdege
any effective programmer must relish this sort of material

Indeed. But getting caught in infinite loop dreams s*cks.


40 posted on 04/03/2012 6:34:53 AM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: jdege
More from the article:

To reduce the intimidation factor, the course was divided into two sections — “gold,” for those with no prior experience, and “black” for everyone else. Java, a notoriously opaque programming language, was replaced by a more accessible language called Python. And the focus of the course changed to computational approaches to solving problems across science.

“We realized that we needed to show students computer science is not all about programming,” said Ran Libeskind-Hadas, chairman of the department. “It has intellectual depth and connections to other disciplines.”

With regard to Python vs. Java: Python is a simpler language to get started in - it needs less boilerplate, and requires less rigor with regard to declaring variables and types. But from a conceptual point-of-view, Python supports far more sophisticated programming concepts - list comprehensions, coroutines, lambda expressions, etc., than does Java.

And as to those connections to other disciplines - they are various disciplines of mathematics - computation theory, discrete math, logic, etc. In other words, the other disciplines require more discipline, and more intellectual rigor, than does Comp Sci.

41 posted on 04/03/2012 6:39:40 AM PDT by jdege
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To: BobL

“That way they stop having kids, and Western Society withers on the vine.”

Bull. Successful conservative women have kids. That’s just obnoxious.


42 posted on 04/03/2012 6:40:36 AM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: MarkL
Harvey Mudd? As in Harcort Fenton Mudd? From Star Trek?

That was Harry Mudd, and I always do a double-take on that school's name, too.

I got my CS degree in 1980, and including the grad students, we numbered 17 or 18.

There may have been 2 women in the graduate class, and 5 in the undergrad class. All were competent, and one even got a double major in Math.

43 posted on 04/03/2012 6:41:48 AM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: rlmorel

Phenomenal woman! And an incredible speaker also. I’ve heard her speak a couple times.

The Navy was so fond of her they brought her back from retirement twice and named a ship after her.

Somewhere, in my many boxes of things, I still have one of her “nanoseconds”


44 posted on 04/03/2012 7:00:52 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: reaganaut1

My own experience with women in the computer Sci field has been very good. Most of them were superior programmers and had good critical reasoning at problem analysis.

On the other hand in College I would say that my class in 1982 started out around 50% women and ended up around 10% by graduation. I would say that the number one reason for that decline was the number of hours required to do the required work and quite frankly Computer Lab time was difficult to get at times and that required a very flexible schedule including a few all-nighters.

Social time suffered or was non-existant earning CS majors the title of geeks.


45 posted on 04/03/2012 7:23:30 AM PDT by The Working Man (+)
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To: rlmorel

She is truly “Amazing Grace” and she didn;t need no damned social justice to get where she got, she proves that if you want something you have to pursue it and while doing so you make the obstacles a badge of honor rather than an excuse.


46 posted on 04/03/2012 7:28:24 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: glorgau

I don’t work 60 hour weeks either, never have, but in college when you’re looking at jobs... and all the guys want to go work for Google or Microsoft or Blizzard or some other big infotech or gaming company, and that’s the kind of pace they set there, it can be daunting.

There are women in CS and I don’t think we need more affirmative action, but there are reasons beside “girls are dumb” why a woman wouldn’t necessarily take that path.


47 posted on 04/03/2012 7:34:30 AM PDT by JenB
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To: MarkL

“FWIW, in 1987 my CS-101 class at SUNY Stony Brook had hundreds of students, and just a handful were female. This isn’t anything new.”

My Assembler language programming course in 1990 started with 58 students. 17 men and 0 women took the final exam.


48 posted on 04/03/2012 7:38:05 AM PDT by Syntyr (Happiness is two at low eight!)
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To: xsmommy

I get math, I get computer programming, I get software & hardware, for the most part, I get chemistry & biology. As I am getting older, I enjoy writing more, and I can help write work SOPs, etc. I don’t get physics. It was truly a struggle.


49 posted on 04/03/2012 8:09:51 AM PDT by ican'tbelieveit (Washington,DC is FULL of people with Political Experience... How's that Working out for you??)
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To: SuzyQue

“Bull. Successful conservative women have kids. That’s just obnoxious.”

Perhaps you haven’t seen the birthrates in countries where women are ‘liberated’ compared to the birthrates in countries where women are not ‘liberated’. And perhaps you haven’t compared either of those rates to the required 2.1 children per women necessary to maintain population.

Stop being brainwashed by the radical feminists and open your mind a bit, please.


50 posted on 04/03/2012 4:07:39 PM PDT by BobL
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