New Life Form Found

#1
A quick back drop.

I believe in evolution. I think people that don't are imbeciles or ignorant of the science. No offense.

OTOH, I have disagreed with proponents of the idea that life forms easily. The argument that life is present in millions of worlds statistically seemed flawed to me. In fact the argument against it is so obvious that I have felt that only wilful ignorance or a desire to dissemble the facts would lead anyone to the conclusion that life in the universe is common.

My argument was that life on earth appears to have formed ONCE in billions of years. All life on earth uses the identical building block molecules (the same base pairs). If life could form easily, it seemed obvious that life should have formed multiple times on earth. We should see species that are so alien from each other that they must be unrelated.

This has not occurred. Until now.

Discovered in the poisonous Mono Lake, California, this bacteria is made of arsenic, something that was thought to be completely impossible. While she and other scientists theorized that this could be possible, this is the first discovery. The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don't have to be like planet Earth.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/nasa-new-life-arsenic-bacteria_n_791094.html
 
#2
I was expecting a little alien creature and not a bacteria. This is way over my head as to the importance of bacteria compared to humans. Pretty weird to think that this could help clean up toxic spills hardly the job I would think an alien species would have but hey if they need the work we have it. I wonder if they'll set up banking accounts and be able to get benefits for their parnters? In all honesty this is pretty cool stuff and I should do some more reading but science journals are once again above my head. I need my information dumbed down a bit.
 
#3
A quick back drop.

I believe in evolution. I think people that don't are imbeciles or ignorant of the science. No offense.

OTOH, I have disagreed with proponents of the idea that life forms easily. The argument that life is present in millions of worlds statistically seemed flawed to me. In fact the argument against it is so obvious that I have felt that only wilful ignorance or a desire to dissemble the facts would lead anyone to the conclusion that life in the universe is common.

My argument was that life on earth appears to have formed ONCE in billions of years. All life on earth uses the identical building block molecules (the same base pairs). If life could form easily, it seemed obvious that life should have formed multiple times on earth. We should see species that are so alien from each other that they must be unrelated.

This has not occurred. Until now.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/nasa-new-life-arsenic-bacteria_n_791094.html
I saw this and found it intriguing yet not surprising. I, too, believe in evolution and while I may not go to the same lengths as your first couple sentences, we are on the same page.

I also think life does not form easily, but the sheer numbers of planets in the universe also makes me strongly believe that "life" is out there in vast numbers.

I've posted this before, but worth the watch again:





One tiny spot in the sky where "nothing" appears there are thousands of galaxies. Each galaxy has BILLIONS of stars. Not all those stars have planets, but some do. Not all those planets can even possibly contain life, but some do. All this, and that is one infinitesimal spot in the sky. Extrapolate that to the whole sky and, well, you see what I'm getting at.

Humans have no concept of time, space, or size. It's not our fault, we just don't. If you can begin to understand these things, you understand the universe much better.
 
#4
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I absolutely believe that life exists outside of our own solar system somewhere. It is just too vast for it not to be out there. Now INTELLIGENT life is a different story. It took 600 million years of evolution under the right conditions, including survival of several mass extinctions and cataclysmic events for life to finally evolve that was not only self-aware, but able to even conceive of their own creation and place in the universe. The chances of it happening are ridiculously remote. The chance of intelligent life existing and creating technology able to span vast distances of time and space to make contact with life on other planets in other solar systems is even more remote, so much so that I really laugh when people come up with so many crazy alien conspiracy theories.
 
#5
Thanks for the video Razor. I'm a pretty simple guy but outer space has always been something I've been interested in. I had a buddy showing me one of his new Ipad applications which showed all the planets, constellations, etc in our solar system. It's a really cool application and with each planet, etc had information on them. I playfully said man I've seen other galaxies before of course only in pictures and not just our solar system. To my surprise he had never seen a picture of another galaxy before. Do we have the technology to not only get pictures of the gasses that make up the galaxies but what's actually inside of them yet?
 
#6
I absolutely believe that life exists outside of our own solar system somewhere. It is just too vast for it not to be out there. Now INTELLIGENT life is a different story. It took 600 million years of evolution under the right conditions, including survival of several mass extinctions and cataclysmic events for life to finally evolve that was not only self-aware, but able to even conceive of their own creation and place in the universe. The chances of it happening are ridiculously remote. The chance of intelligent life existing and creating technology able to span vast distances of time and space to make contact with life on other planets in other solar systems is even more remote, so much so that I really laugh when people come up with so many crazy alien conspiracy theories.
I don't know that the chances are ridiculously remote, but they certainly aren't as likely as simple life. Think of this, though. Assume for a second that a similar life form to us evolved around the same time that we did, but in a galaxy 50 million light years away (relatively close by universe size). Assume their technology is at least equal to ours, and they are looking for us like we are looking for them. Now, just exactly how far away from traveling to another planet 50 million light years away are WE? And even if we WERE, it would take us 50 million years to get there (traveling at the speed of light, which is not even remotely possible now), and another 50 million years to report back to Earth that we actually found something. So, I'd say it's possible there is even advance life out there, but even if there is, they probably haven't found us yet.

Thanks for the video Razor. I'm a pretty simple guy but outer space has always been something I've been interested in. I had a buddy showing me one of his new Ipad applications which showed all the planets, constellations, etc in our solar system. It's a really cool application and with each planet, etc had information on them. I playfully said man I've seen other galaxies before of course only in pictures and not just our solar system. To my surprise he had never seen a picture of another galaxy before. Do we have the technology to not only get pictures of the gasses that make up the galaxies but what's actually inside of them yet?
When we look at a picture of a galaxy, we aren't looking simply at the "gases", those are all stars. All of them. It looks like a gas, but it's actually billions of stars. That's how tiny they are compared to the size of the galaxy. All these stars are affected by gravitational forces, just like our planets are within our solar system. That's why they look like swirling gases. They are actually swirling stars (usually).
 
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#7
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I don't know that the chances are ridiculously remote, but they certainly aren't as likely as simple life. Think of this, though. Assume for a second that a similar life form to us evolved around the same time that we did, but in a galaxy 50 million light years away (relatively close by universe size). Assume their technology is at least equal to ours, and they are looking for us like we are looking for them. Now, just exactly how far away from traveling to another planet 50 million light years away are WE? And even if we WERE, it would take us 50 million years to get there (traveling at the speed of light, which is not even remotely possible now), and another 50 years to report back to Earth that we actually found something. So, I'd say it's possible there is even advance life out there, but even if there is, they probably haven't found us yet.



When we look at a picture of a galaxy, we aren't looking simply at the "gases", those are all stars. All of them. It looks like a gas, but it's actually billions of stars. That's how tiny they are compared to the size of the galaxy. All these stars are affected by gravitational forces, just like our planets are within our solar system. That's why they look like swirling gases. They are actually swirling stars (usually).
Right. And at the center of every large galaxy is a black hole. That is why all galaxies are brighter in the middle, because the black hole is slowly sucking in and condensing the matter. The closer to the middle, the higher the density of matter and number of stars. There are twin stars that rotate around each other in close orbits at high speeds. Sometimes one will get eaten by the black hole but the fact that it has a twin orbit means the other star is flung at very high speed away from the center of the galaxy and is able to escape into the nether regions of space.

Also, a majority of the mass of the galaxy is in the form of dark matter, a phenomenon that has been theorized about and studied more in recent years but that is still widely misunderstood. Dark matter is a fast emerging area of research in astrophysics.
 
#8
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
By the way, I'm not an astronomer or astrophysicist by profession, but I do read about it a lot and one of my best friends is getting his PhD here at U of I in physics, with a particular focus in dark matter research. We talk about these things quite often.
 
#9
By the way, I'm not an astronomer or astrophysicist by profession, but I do read about it a lot and one of my best friends is getting his PhD here at U of I in physics, with a particular focus in dark matter research. We talk about these things quite often.
Yeah, I'm about like you. This dark matter research is very interesting (well, not the research, but the findings I guess :)). Getting some answers on that front will explain a lot of things.
 
#10
Orange Krush Class of 2013
Stanford, CA
I had a class on E.T. life last semester, it was really interesting. This is a pretty exciting discovery.

I know people are talking about life elsewhere in the universe, I see that as essentially a certainty, since for all we know the universe is infinitely large. In the class we only considered life elsewhere in the Milky Way (still pretty big), we ended up with a pretty optimistic prediction for how much life should be around although I don't remember what it was. Life elsewhere in the galaxy would be amazing since it's the only way we could even really conceive of ever possibly interacting with them (and I'm talking way way after we're all gone).
 
#12
Razor - that video is some of the best 4 minutes I could spend today. Thanks for posting that.

Juxtaposing that video with the picture I posted a few months ago of an individual molecule shows the gigantic scope of our universe.

It also removes the dire exigency of our lives so completely as to make us utterly irrelevant. Our actions, no matter how seemingly important, pointless. What matter a man saving another's life? Or taking another's life? The difference becomes devoid of meaning.
 
#14
I had a class on E.T. life last semester, it was really interesting. This is a pretty exciting discovery.

I know people are talking about life elsewhere in the universe, I see that as essentially a certainty, since for all we know the universe is infinitely large. In the class we only considered life elsewhere in the Milky Way (still pretty big), we ended up with a pretty optimistic prediction for how much life should be around although I don't remember what it was. Life elsewhere in the galaxy would be amazing since it's the only way we could even really conceive of ever possibly interacting with them (and I'm talking way way after we're all gone).
For the record, Stephen Hawking also believs that life out there certainly exists, but doesn't believe it wise for us to try to make contact with it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/...-alien-life-is-out-there-scientist-warns.html
I wasn't trying to argue that life DOES NOT exist outside of earth. My point had been that for a scientist to say that it must based upon probabilities relies on multiplying a finite number by an infinitely large number to get a high probability of success. That assumes that life occurs at a rate that does not approach zero. If the chance of life kindling randomly is zero things take an unexpected turn. A number that is zero times a number that is nearly infinite becomes an abstract argument with little substance or merit. More of a debate than a mathematical equation. In the former, the scientist carries no more authority than the theologian.

If however, life occurs more frequently, even by a little bit, we end up with the type of math that Carl Sagan popularized. Today's announcement suggests that life did not develop singularly on this planet. If it occurred more than once on a single planet, it must exist elsewhere. The mathematician can no longer be dismissed.
 
#15
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
Wasn't disagreeing with anything you said, Dayton. I was just putting an interesting perspective out there from a respected name that has to do with this topic to some degree.
 
#16
Wasn't disagreeing with anything you said, Dayton. I was just putting an interesting perspective out there from a respected name that has to do with this topic to some degree.
Oh I know Banana. I was just justifying my first post a bit. Personally, I agree that it is unbelievably likely that there is life and I agree that it very well may be intelligent.

When I read your post about intelligence I was stuck thinking about that part. If we found something like a field mouse on a planet, would that be intelligent life? How about a dolphin?
 
#17
A quick back drop.

I believe in evolution. I think people that don't are imbeciles or ignorant of the science. No offense.

OTOH, I have disagreed with proponents of the idea that life forms easily. The argument that life is present in millions of worlds statistically seemed flawed to me. In fact the argument against it is so obvious that I have felt that only wilful ignorance or a desire to dissemble the facts would lead anyone to the conclusion that life in the universe is common.

My argument was that life on earth appears to have formed ONCE in billions of years. All life on earth uses the identical building block molecules (the same base pairs). If life could form easily, it seemed obvious that life should have formed multiple times on earth. We should see species that are so alien from each other that they must be unrelated.

This has not occurred. Until now.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/nasa-new-life-arsenic-bacteria_n_791094.html
As someone from another forum said... this makes the Drake Equation (an estimate of the number of planets with life in the galaxy) a low estimate.

its really a fundamental shift in how we think about life... the idea that life can exist in a completely different chemical structure is groundbreaking, to say the least.
 
#18
I saw this and found it intriguing yet not surprising. I, too, believe in evolution and while I may not go to the same lengths as your first couple sentences, we are on the same page.

I also think life does not form easily, but the sheer numbers of planets in the universe also makes me strongly believe that "life" is out there in vast numbers.


One tiny spot in the sky where "nothing" appears there are thousands of galaxies. Each galaxy has BILLIONS of stars. Not all those stars have planets, but some do. Not all those planets can even possibly contain life, but some do. All this, and that is one infinitesimal spot in the sky. Extrapolate that to the whole sky and, well, you see what I'm getting at.

Humans have no concept of time, space, or size. It's not our fault, we just don't. If you can begin to understand these things, you understand the universe much better.
I get everything you're saying but if we can't grasp time, space, or size how is this good discussion happening?

I absolutely believe that life exists outside of our own solar system somewhere. It is just too vast for it not to be out there. Now INTELLIGENT life is a different story. It took 600 million years of evolution under the right conditions, including survival of several mass extinctions and cataclysmic events for life to finally evolve that was not only self-aware, but able to even conceive of their own creation and place in the universe. The chances of it happening are ridiculously remote. The chance of intelligent life existing and creating technology able to span vast distances of time and space to make contact with life on other planets in other solar systems is even more remote, so much so that I really laugh when people come up with so many crazy alien conspiracy theories.
Why do you think it can't happen if it can? Like you said the probability of life out there exist but in a severely low percentage. Then with the vastness, size, and space there isn't intelligent enough life as to be capable of something almost imaginable even in the the lowest imaginable percentage.

I don't know that the chances are ridiculously remote, but they certainly aren't as likely as simple life. Think of this, though. Assume for a second that a similar life form to us evolved around the same time that we did, but in a galaxy 50 million light years away (relatively close by universe size). Assume their technology is at least equal to ours, and they are looking for us like we are looking for them. Now, just exactly how far away from traveling to another planet 50 million light years away are WE? And even if we WERE, it would take us 50 million years to get there (traveling at the speed of light, which is not even remotely possible now), and another 50 million years to report back to Earth that we actually found something. So, I'd say it's possible there is even advance life out there, but even if there is, they probably haven't found us yet.



When we look at a picture of a galaxy, we aren't looking simply at the "gases", those are all stars. All of them. It looks like a gas, but it's actually billions of stars. That's how tiny they are compared to the size of the galaxy. All these stars are affected by gravitational forces, just like our planets are within our solar system. That's why they look like swirling gases. They are actually swirling stars (usually).
What happens when an object leaves or enters our galaxy? When looking at pictures of galaxies I notice they are actually seperated by darkness. What's in that darkness? Is it like you said when looking at stars in our galaxy and the darkness between them? It is not just more stars we can't see but really are galaxies? I'm I being too extreme in that thought because this is confusing me what is in that empty space in the pictures?

Right. And at the center of every large galaxy is a black hole. That is why all galaxies are brighter in the middle, because the black hole is slowly sucking in and condensing the matter. The closer to the middle, the higher the density of matter and number of stars. There are twin stars that rotate around each other in close orbits at high speeds. Sometimes one will get eaten by the black hole but the fact that it has a twin orbit means the other star is flung at very high speed away from the center of the galaxy and is able to escape into the nether regions of space.
Also, a majority of the mass of the galaxy is in the form of dark matter, a phenomenon that has been theorized about and studied more in recent years but that is still widely misunderstood. Dark matter is a fast emerging area of research in astrophysics.
Where's the Milky Way's black hole? Do we have pictures of it or is it just supposed because of the research done on other galaxies? Does the black hole somehow stabalize the galaxy because of the higher density of matter around it. The twin star thing is neat. Any pictures? I'm positive if I read Dark matter research I wouldn't understand it but what's the main thinking behind it? Could it help in space travel?

Razor - that video is some of the best 4 minutes I could spend today. Thanks for posting that.

Juxtaposing that video with the picture I posted a few months ago of an individual molecule shows the gigantic scope of our universe.

It also removes the dire exigency of our lives so completely as to make us utterly irrelevant. Our actions, no matter how seemingly important, pointless. What matter a man saving another's life? Or taking another's life? The difference becomes devoid of meaning.
I'm watching the video if Dayton puts his stamp of approval on it. I missed on the molecule thing. The last part is somewhat true. We aren't really irrelevant when we are relevant. I know people care about me with my reciprocation of feelings back. That's something to me. Sure just as long as you're clothed, feed, and your loved ones are safe is all that really matters. Not if you have the fastest car or biggest house even though those luxuries are nice and what America is based on. I like it because I put a high tag on entertainment and it makes the economy go. Those last three sentences are complexing and terrifying all at once to me.

I wasn't trying to argue that life DOES NOT exist outside of earth. My point had been that for a scientist to say that it must based upon probabilities relies on multiplying a finite number by an infinitely large number to get a high probability of success. That assumes that life occurs at a rate that does not approach zero. If the chance of life kindling randomly is zero things take an unexpected turn. A number that is zero times a number that is nearly infinite becomes an abstract argument with little substance or merit. More of a debate than a mathematical equation. In the former, the scientist carries no more authority than the theologian.

If however, life occurs more frequently, even by a little bit, we end up with the type of math that Carl Sagan popularized. Today's announcement suggests that life did not develop singularly on this planet. If it occurred more than once on a single planet, it must exist elsewhere. The mathematician can no longer be dismissed.
If someone told me I only had a 1% chance of winning but could bet as many times as I wanted with no limit and an infinite amout of money to bet with than I would bet as many times as possible. How much money do you need really unless it's life or death at that point because you need two times the infinite amout of money you had? Space is that vast right?

Will we be able to tell how this new life came to life in the California Lake? How the planet I imagine produced it? In the article it said we sped up its development but it keep progressing after they stopped "feeding"it. I can't remember the exact lines I read.

As someone from another forum said... this makes the Drake Equation (an estimate of the number of planets with life in the galaxy) a low estimate.

its really a fundamental shift in how we think about life... the idea that life can exist in a completely different chemical structure is groundbreaking, to say the least.
Chemical structure is the main thing out of this post I'd like to know more about. Is that why this new bacteria is so amazing?
 
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#19
I get everything you're saying but if we can't grasp time, space, or size how is this good discussion happening?
Well, I mean in general. I know that some of us have some concept, but the "person" has no real concept.

What happens when an object leaves or enters our galaxy? When looking at pictures of galaxies I notice they are actually seperated by darkness. What's in that darkness? Is it like you said when looking at stars in our galaxy and the darkness between them? It is not just more stars we can't see but really are galaxies? I'm I being too extreme in that thought because this is confusing me what is in that empty space in the pictures?
No, certainly not too extreme. In practical terms, the space between galaxies is pretty much "nothing". Now, that's where some of this discussion about Dark Matter comes in. It's far to complex for me to try and describe, maybe Banana can tackle it better. A lot of the stars we see in the sky are actually individual stars, all of which are in our own galaxy. Some of the "stars" in the sky are actually other whole galaxies, but they are small enough they will of course look like a single star in the sky.

Where's the Milky Way's black hole? Do we have pictures of it or is it just supposed because of the research done on other galaxies? Does the black hole somehow stabalize the galaxy because of the higher density of matter around it. The twin star thing is neat. Any pictures? I'm positive if I read Dark matter research I wouldn't understand it but what's the main thinking behind it? Could it help in space travel?
Some of your answers can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_way_galaxy

It's hard to visualize our galaxy because we are in it, but we can see the brightness around our black hole at the center. Yes, the black hole has more mass than anything else, just like our planets go around the sun.

Chemical structure is the main thing out of this post I'd like to know more about. Is that why this new bacteria is so amazing?
I think the point is that it completely changes how we think about "life". Most people up until now look for life that lives the same way we do, generally. Water, oxygen, carbon, etc. Pretty much every living think on Earth is poisoned by arsenic, and these organisms live off the stuff. So, essentially it means that "life" may live off of stuff that we had no idea stuff could "live" off of.
 
#20
The paign born and raised
Meh, i dont really care if there's other life out there, i'm only here for a short time so i'm going to concern myself with what i can control.
 
#21
One quick point. The story I linked to is changed from when I linked to it this afternoon.

It said that it used a different genetic structure earlier. I don't see that now.
 
#24
A quick back drop.

I believe in evolution. I think people that don't are imbeciles or ignorant of the science. No offense.

OTOH, I have disagreed with proponents of the idea that life forms easily. The argument that life is present in millions of worlds statistically seemed flawed to me. In fact the argument against it is so obvious that I have felt that only wilful ignorance or a desire to dissemble the facts would lead anyone to the conclusion that life in the universe is common.

My argument was that life on earth appears to have formed ONCE in billions of years. All life on earth uses the identical building block molecules (the same base pairs). If life could form easily, it seemed obvious that life should have formed multiple times on earth. We should see species that are so alien from each other that they must be unrelated.

This has not occurred. Until now.

I haven't read the thread, but I'm not surprised by this finding.

I completely disagree with you regarding the statistical likelihood of other evolutions. Your comments completely ignore the time dimension. Just because there isn't recognizable intelligent life today, does not mean it wasn't there 1 million years ago nor does it mean it won't exist in 1 million years. Add in the shear size of the universe and it's almost impossible for me to accept that life does not exist elsewhere. Life may not form easily, but it isn't so impossible that it won't form regularly over the space and time that exist.

Toward the specific finding, I'm not sure why it's so shocking. I've long thought our focus on looking for oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur was limiting our abilities to detect "life" and have said so in threads on this board. When you consider the chemical properties of those elements, many can be similarly achieved by other elements. But I guess I can't expect a doctor to think outside the box and see the big picture;):D:D.

Still, an extremely exciting finding.
 
#25
I haven't read the thread, but I'm not surprised by this finding.

I completely disagree with you regarding the statistical likelihood of other evolutions. Your comments completely ignore the time dimension. Just because there isn't recognizable intelligent life today, does not mean it wasn't there 1 million years ago nor does it mean it won't exist in 1 million years. Add in the shear size of the universe and it's almost impossible for me to accept that life does not exist elsewhere. Life may not form easily, but it isn't so impossible that it won't form regularly over the space and time that exist.

Toward the specific finding, I'm not sure why it's so shocking. I've long thought our focus on looking for oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur was limiting our abilities to detect "life" and have said so in threads on this board. When you consider the chemical properties of those elements, many can be similarly achieved by other elements. But I guess I can't expect a doctor to think outside the box and see the big picture;):D:D.

Still, an extremely exciting finding.
Two things. First, I don't think I ignore the time dimension. Rather the time dimension appeared to be working against the idea of life being 'easy'. It seemed to be working towards life possibly being unique.

Consider, that the earth is a little older than 1/3 the age of the universe. In other words, no planet has had more than three times as long to develop life than Earth. Further, it seems unlikely that a small but significant portion of the early lifespan of the Universe could possibly support life.

Consider, that it is almost impossible to extinguish life once it takes root. Life can survive in the most precarious situation. There are calculations about life surviving even the hellstorm of a "planet killing" asteroid. There are suggestions that life can survive the cold heartless vacuum of space. I think you too easily reach the conclusion that life could have started and extinguished on Earth in the past. Extinction is a difficult thing to achieve. Sure, it is possible and I cannot rule it out but there is no evidence that such a thing occurred. To expect it to happen requires you to first accept the hypothesis that life is 'easy'.

Given that we had not found life that had developed twice on a planet with an age roughly equal to 1/3 the age of the Universe (with near perfect conditions for life) it is not hard to make the argument that life might be so uniformly unlikely as to have occurred only once.

Now of course all of this assumes that life follows our template. While I would not doubt that other life types could exist, it seems unlikely that they could have formed in an environment without active chemistry. That tends to suggest that you would not see life arising spontaneously in frozen states or plasma states or in areas absent of significant amounts of building blocks of whatever type. The Universe is still large when ruling all of those places out but it shrinks quite a bit when you require some form of liquid (certainly less than the merest fraction of one percent of the volume of the universe).

Item 2. I am no longer certain that this represents what I thought at first. If this bacterium uses DNA with the same base pairs and is actually just an evolved life form, it is not that big of a deal to me. In other words, it might well suggest that life can exist in a variety of environments that we did not conceive of. It would not suggest though that it evolved separate from the solitary Tree of Life that we see on Earth today. We already knew from our study of chemoautotrophs that life can exist in places that we would not first have thought possible (think no sunlight as an energy source).
 
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