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No Earth-imploding black holes at LHC this decade. Probably.

While (some of) the world watched the Large Hadron Collider power up, fault, power up again and ultimately land its first 7 TeV collisions, others may have gripped their armchairs tightly, waiting for the planet-destroying black hole that some claim the LHC is capable of creating. As one might be inclined to notice, the Earth has made it through the ordeal just fine.

However, whether these doomsday black hole concerns are credible or not, a pair of scientists from Princeton University and the University of British Columbia at Vancouver have been delving into the relativistic physics calculations just to see what might really happen. Matthew Choptuik from UBCV and Frans Pretorius from Princeton have done the grunt work to solve field equations related to soliton collisions at specific energies.

"Our calculation produced results that most were expecting, but no one had done the calculation before. People were just sort of assuming that it would work out. Now that these simulations have been done, some scientists will have a better idea of what to look for in terms of trying to see if black holes are formed in LHC collisions," explained Choptuik.

Based on string theory and its extra dimensions, Choptuik and Pretorious concluded that high-energy collisions at the LHC could indeed form black holes -- but the chances of them destroying the world are pale even in comparison to the chance that they would actually be detected by LHC equipment while they exist.

Of the events, Choptuik says, "Some are already taking this very seriously. However, I don’t think that we are likely to actually see any black holes at the LHC, even if it is possible."

Rather than directly observing such a formation, he explains that to confirm the existence of the fleeting matter-energy magnet, LHC scientists will have to study the debris from the collision rather than the particles that instantaneously exist and then disappear. A typical collision would leave jets of debris while the short-lived black hole would produce a more spherical pattern.

The duo's findings have been published in the journal 
Physical Review Letters, titled "Ultrarelativistic Particle Collisions."



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Black Holes
By therealnickdanger on 4/7/2010 8:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't they all "little" in the beginning, technically? I thought that the center of a black hole was a very small point with incredible mass that grows as it "feeds" on everything around it. All I can think of right now is what Nero did to Vulcan.




RE: Black Holes
By Goty on 4/7/2010 9:09:32 AM , Rating: 2
The center of a black hole is the singularity, and infinitely small point where the curvature of spacetime becomes infinite (there's really no need to have a lot of mass), but nothing ever technically reaches the singularity, anyhow. The part you have to worry about is the event horizon; in the case of a non-spinning black hole, this is called the Schwarzchild radius, and is the point at which the curvature of spacetime becomes large enough that there are no longer any world lines (paths through spacetime) that lead out of the black hole.


RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 9:13:12 AM , Rating: 5
We live in a box, a box called Earth.
A mighty utiopia that has so much Worth.

There once was a collider, that sat in this box.
A few people complained, the rest sat around like rocks.

We all went about our business, making our ways.
A number of scientist at the collider were betting their research pays.

Along came a black hole when the collisions became hot.
A few scientists scratched their heads and said: "Surely not!"

Perhaps our fates are entangled.
As our lives are dangled.

This conundrum? Perhaps, we think in our head.
The question is, are we alive or are we dead?


RE: Black Holes
By drycrust3 on 4/7/2010 2:00:40 PM , Rating: 5
Poetry in science, who would have thought?
Can man made black holes reduce us to nought?
I pondered the line I had just written
By the truth and simplicity was I smitten
Would the Voyagers and Pioneer ten wonder why
Radio contact ceased because we all did die
Not killed by an evil hand or too much fat
But by the world's largest doughnut
Is this fruit of knowledge that we do savour
What was forbidden by our creator?
Did life come just after light out of the dark?
Will death be by searching inside of a quark?
Should I finish pondering doughnuts and Homer
Or a man who died for us on a cross at Easter?
No, I just don't know how to convey God's absolute sorrow
If suddenly mankind wasn't there tomorrow.


RE: Black Holes
By S3anister on 4/7/2010 5:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent.


RE: Black Holes
By Samus on 4/8/2010 12:41:10 AM , Rating: 2
Haha, well, I think it'd be more appropriate to say the LHC is capable of creating a singularity, not a 'black hole'


RE: Black Holes
By TSS on 4/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Black Holes
By Goty on 4/7/2010 11:02:20 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize that without general relativity that you don't have black holes in the first place, right? You also realize that the big bang is also a singularity and that both black holes and the big bang are completely accepted by modern science, right?

I swear, we need to find some way to check that people have at least a basic knowledge of physics before they're allowed to post in threads like this.


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 3:55:59 PM , Rating: 4
Black holes can also be described by quantum mechanics, but both quantum mechanics and general relativity are not enough to describe them completely. Singularity is just something, where these theories break, because all the calculations produce infinities. This is a problem. If a theory produces an infinity at some point, the theory itself is not complete. We may not know at the moment what the singularity really is, but in reality, it most probably has no infinite property.


RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2010 10:59:51 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Aren't they all "little" in the beginning, technically? I thought that the center of a black hole was a very small point with incredible mass that grows as it "feeds" on everything around


In terms of actual size ? Yes. But imagine an entire star and all of it's mass collapsing into something the size, literally, of a pin head.

But a black hole doesn't "feed" on anything or grow in size. It simply destroys everything due to it's massive gravitational forces. Not even light particles can escape.

Mind you this is all theory, but pretty solid as far as theories go.


RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:08:54 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, they _do_ grow in size. Where do you think all that matter goes? Unless the broach the fabric of our Minkowski-space opening a door to another universe, the matter has to go somewhere.

Per the law of conservation of energy, energy is neither created nor destroyed, only converted from one state to another. Since mass and energy are exchangeable, converting one to another, it is inferrable that the matter either collects within the black hole or converts to energy within it, adding to its might.

Black holes do indeed grow larger, as there are many different sizes of these monstrosities, from microscopic all the way up to supermassive. Their size is not set in stone at their onset. The larger (well, more appropriately more dense) they are, the bigger their pull, as the dip in the space-time curve increases.


RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: 0
RE: Black Holes
By ChronoReverse on 4/7/2010 3:59:10 PM , Rating: 3
Erm, radiation cannot escape the event horizon by definition.

Relativistic jets from blackholes originate from matter falling in before they cross the event horizon. Even Hawking radiation is emitted from the event horizon and not from beneath it (although funny quantum mechanics means the energy is "taken" from inside the black hole).


RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 4:34:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation.


Wrong. Black holes, at least, once the matter passes the event horizon, emit _nothing_ at all except what Stephen Hawking theorized to be Hawking Radiation. Unfortunately, the amount of this radiation to be released is so small, it has never been observed from a black hole in deep space.

The only emission of x-rays you might see is from the accretion disc, or area surrounding the black hole, not beyond the event horizon, that is being ripped apart as it makes its way towards the event horizon. Once matter passes the event horizon, it is gone and there is no escape (except through weak Hawking radiation).

quote:
Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity and escapes the event horizon.


Define energy. I think you are terribly confused. Energy takes many states, and, through the conversion of matter, could take the form of radiation as you suggest. Unfortunately, most of this radiation would be x-rays, gamma rays and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, which, can not escape from the event horizon; except as mentioned above in the form of hawking radiation which deals with thermal and black body radiation through quantum effects. Visible light can not escape a black hole--what do you think it is? It is visible electromagnetic radiation.

Black holes are just that, black holes. They suck things in and until recently, were thought to keep it forever. Hawking Radiation will slowly dissipate a black hole, but not with enough energy, nor fast enough for us to detect it.

If a black hole were to have an assumed M solar masses, it could take:

10^71 M^3 seconds for it to dissipate. I'm sorry, I fail to see your massive amount of x-rays being emitted.

quote:
Black Holes fed and grew larger, than there might not be much of a universe left to observe would there ?


What do you think the Big Bang was? (as it is theorized) Perhaps it was a black hole that grew to such a size that through instability, it collapsed unto itself releasing all the energy we see in our universe today (both in the form of energy and matter).

Black Holes do have a theorized maximum size, and, likewise, there are some nice equations to calculate how big they are. Their size is defined as a function of the radius of the event horizon. They do widely very in this size. Supermassive black holes can be as wide as 10 AU's, or ten times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The microscopic ones predicted to possibly form in the collider can be as small as a fraction of a millimeter.

They do vary in size, and, they are very hungry.


RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 8:13:43 PM , Rating: 4
Dude, from the article you quote yourself, just a little bit more
quote:
As mentioned above, a large fraction of the energy released by the gas as it falls onto the black hole is converted into X-rays. It is thought that the X-rays come from material that is very close to the black hole (i.e. at distances of just a few times the event horizon size) . Observations with X-ray telescopes allow astronomers to test and measure the conditions in this very interesting region of space.


They clearly state those are X-rays from the matter outside of the event horizon, not from the inside. The x-rays do not escape from the inside of a black hole. They are just far enough from the black hole that their speed of light ( because they are light, with a different wavelength ) allows them to go out of the gravitational pull.

X-rays are made of the same thing as light - electromagnetic wave with different wavelenghts, which is, in the standard model, also represented by a photon particle ( as you can surely find, they can act and do act as both ).

No, he is not lying. The radiation he is referring to is Hawkings radiation, which is not the X-rays you are talking about

By the way, since when is google hit meter a valid argument?!


RE: Black Holes
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Black Holes
By ChronoReverse on 4/8/2010 1:58:06 AM , Rating: 4
Are you some kind of moron? This level of black hole knowledge isn't even college level physics. Not only are you going off of Google, but you even fail reading comprehension of the very information you're sourcing.

First off, light is radiation. The particle-wave duality is effect here. The entire electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves are all the same save for energy level. This is highschool level physics.

Second, when we refer to the "inside", it means the inside of the event horizon. By definition, the event horizon is the boundary where nothing can escape due to the intense gravity.

In fact, it doesn't matter if it's particles or waves because when you pass the event horizon, space itself is distorted so much that no matter which way you go (that is, at any velocity) there's no path that will lead out. Nothing escapes; not directly anyway.

Third, the radiation emitted from the accretion disc outside the event horizon only accounts for a small portion of the total mass. Much of it still crosses the event horizon never to be seen again.

Fourth, energy mass equivalence. I knew about this in elementary school. It boggles the mind that you'd dare to correct people without even knowing this basic principle.

Fifth, Hawking radiation is not the same thing as the xrays emitted from the accretion disc. This one is a bit tougher to understand but that's why it's named after a very smart man who theorized them.

Sixth, while there's not too much information we can get about the inside of the black hole knowing the mass (and thus the size) is trivial. The gravity well of a black hole is obviously there and easily measured. Knowing the gravity means you know the mass and thus the size.


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/8/2010 7:07:30 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
When did I differentiate between the inside and outside ?

quote:
Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity and escapes the event horizon


I'd say here. Especially when you started to differentiate x-rays and light. Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but the fact that at least 3? of us understood it the way we did means, that at the very least your explanation was not clear.


RE: Black Holes
By porkpie on 4/12/2010 12:08:56 AM , Rating: 3
"The simple fact is THEY are able to escape the Black Holes pull while all other matter cannot."

You managed to pack two separate errors into one short sentence. I salute you.

First, outside the event horizon, ANYTHING can escape a black hole. Matter, energy, EM radiation, your mother's dirty socks, you name it. You are technically "under the pull" of every black hole in the universe right now. Gravitational pull never declines to zero, no matter how far away you are. But you're outside the event horizon, so it doesn't matter.

INSIDE the event horizon, nothing can escape (excluding Hawking radiation, that is). Again, it doesn't matter whether its matter, x-rays or any other form of light, or anything else.


RE: Black Holes
By MrBlastman on 4/7/2010 11:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As the gas slowly spirals through the accretion disk towards the black hole, it releases a large amount of energy


Thank you for quoting what I said in my previous post--a different way. ;) The accretion disk is NOT the black hole itself, it is swirl of matter that is facing ultimate demise by the black hole, waiting to be gobbled up. Large is only subjective, for that matter (get the pun), as it is just a fraction of the total mass.

The hole ultimately wins gaining the lions share of the mass.

quote:
This phenomenon makes it impossible to determine, as you so surely state, weather or not a Black Hole grows or even what happens inside of it. Or even if there IS an "inside" as we would perceive


Your logic buffer has overflowed finally. ;) Normally it is functioning okay but right now it is not. Why then, if black holes do not grow as you put it, or, better yet, are unable to be determined if they grow (which we have some pretty good theory backing up that they do), are there many different sizes of black holes--and there is a direct relationship between the size of the event horizon (your black hole) and the mass it contains within.

Once mass goes in, the _only_ way we know it can go out, is through Hawking Radiation. Not x-rays. We can detect the x-rays that are potentially released prior to entry, but that is all.

quote:
Light is made up of particles, which cannot escape black holes. Massive bursts of x-ray and other forms of radiation can and DO escape, which is why we can observe this happen.


Light is both a particle _and_ a wave. This packet of energy is commonly referred to as a photon. A photon is electromagnetic radiation. The same electromagnetic radiation that makes up the electromagnetic spectrum. This is the same spectrum that contains radio waves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, x-rays and gamma rays. The reason we can only see visible light is the wavelength of that wave (or photon, or, as you put it, packet of energy).

As such, no photons, no matter their wavelength, can escape once passing through the event horizon, which, is the black hole itself. Matter that crushes after that point, might be come energy, but it is energy that is stuck.

quote:
Unfortunately, the amount of this radiation to be released is so small, it has never been observed from a black hole in deep space. Again, lie lie LIE.


Here you misunderstood me again. The radiation I speak of in the quote above is Hawking Radiation. If you don't believe me, look it up, it has been documented in many places. I'm not lying here at all. Read up some more on all of it. It is mostly theory, nonetheless, but it is fascinating for sure.


RE: Black Holes
By SPOOFE on 4/7/2010 4:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The matter doesn't "go" anywhere. It is destroyed ;utterly and broken down to it's most basic energy form.

E=MC^2. Matter is not "destroyed", it is converted to energy, and the two, for the sake of this discussion, are the same. The mass/energy, and thus the gravitational attraction of the BH, are increased, and as a result its apparent event horizon becomes larger.

quote:
This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation.

As matter falls into a black hole, it accelerates and becomes energetic; if a large amount of matter is falling in at the same time, it can become energetic and dense enough to cause the X-ray emissions we witness. No actual energy is radiated from within the bounds of the event horizon.

quote:
Except energy like radiation is NOT effected by gravity

Incorrect.

quote:
If all the energy was trapped and "adding to it's might" as you put it, we wouldn't be able to observe these energies from Earth or space satellites, which we clearly CAN and DO.

We witness the results of material interactions just prior to crossing the event horizon. The tidal stresses just outside the EH are still extreme, even if they don't trap light particles, and those tidal stresses produce some very intense and energetic reactions.

quote:
Think about it this way, some of these black holes are as old as the universe itself. If you were correct, and Black Holes fed and grew larger, than there might not be much of a universe left to observe would there ?

Nonsense. Most celestial bodies are separated by a gigantic void. Void provides no material for a black hole to feed on. It is true that some distant future of the universe is likely to be dominated by super-massive black holes, but at this point in the universe's expansion, there's no reason to believe that BH's wouldn't be anything other than an isolated phenomenon.


RE: Black Holes
By porkpie on 4/11/2010 11:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
"This is terribly false, sorry. The matter doesn't "go" anywhere. It is destroyed ;utterly and broken down to it's most basic energy form."

I'm sorry, but this isn't true. The fact is we don't know what happens to matter inside a black hole. The laws of physics break down. That's why we call it a "singularity", in fact...a place where the laws do not apply.

"This is why black holes emit massive amounts of x-ray's and other forms of radiation."

Wrong also. The "massive amounts of x-rays" are not coming from the black hole itself. They're coming from matter being accelerated into the black hole, before they reach the event horizon. Once inside -- no radiation comes out. That's why we call the hole "black". It does not radiate.

The only radiation we see from black holes is Hawking radiation...and that is (generally) negligible (except for very small black holes, which can 'evaporate' due to it).


RE: Black Holes
By Lightsider01 on 4/7/2010 11:51:04 AM , Rating: 5
Technically, yes. Black holes would increase in mass as matter gets caught in the singularity. However, another interesting phenomenon is theorized to happen. Because of quantum effects, a black hole actually emits radiation. Called Hawking radiation after Stephen Hawking, who came up with the theory, this is thought to happen along the border of the singularity, where quantum effects cause the creation of particle-antiparticle pairs. If one of these escapes, it carries energy away from the black hole. Since, of course, mass equals energy, this reduces the mass of the black hole by a tiny amount.

In large black holes (over the mass of the moon or so, from what I hear) the amount of radiation and matter that falls into the singularity exceeds the amount of mass lost to Hawking radiation. However, for very small black holes, such as the ones that would be created in the LHC, the amount of mass lost vastly exceeds the amount of mass that falls into the black hole. Such tiny black holes might only last fractions of a second.


RE: Black Holes
By therealnickdanger on 4/7/2010 2:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, thank you for that. +1


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 4:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
just a tiny correction. These processes are theorized to occur around the event horizon, not singularity


RE: Black Holes
By Lightsider01 on 4/8/2010 5:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct. My apologies. The singularity is the point at which the curve of spacetime becomes infinite. Essentially, the "center" of the black hole. The event horizon is the collection of points around the black hole at which the escape velocity is greater than the speed of light.

Thank you for the correction. ^_^


RE: Black Holes
By Smilin on 4/7/2010 11:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
Going to take a shot at answering, please forgive my mauling of physics..

So black holes cause such a high energy disturbance near their event horizon that particle+antiparticle pairs are formed. In most cases these two immediately collide and annihilate each other. Every so often though they are *just* near the event horizon so that one falls in and the other remains without annihilation. In this way mass can actually "leak" out of a black hole and they'll eventually evaporate.

The rate of evaporation is related to size. Very large black holes (like center of galaxy ones) can take many times the age of the universe to evaporate so basically they don't. Very tiny ones evaporate almost immediately.

The ones at the LHC would likely evaporate before they hit the ground, let alone reached the core of the earth. The size of its event horizon means it's unlikely to collect any mass at all before it dies let alone enough to make it's event horizon grow enough to reach nearby atoms.

So there you have it. I know my rough understanding is correct by I've surely mauled the details since I learned this about a decade ago.


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 4:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
This is one explanation of the process. There are other possibilities:

1. through quantum tuneling ( which I'm not very familiar with yet ), a particle can escape from the inside of the event horizon
2. due to Heisenbergs uncertainty principle, the virtual particle can have for a very short period of time speed higher than the speed of light, enabling it to escape from the inside of the event horizon

All 3 explanations describe the same process with same results


RE: Black Holes
By SPOOFE on 4/7/2010 5:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. through quantum tuneling ( which I'm not very familiar with yet ), a particle can escape from the inside of the event horizon

No, quantum tunneling does not indicate anything like that could happen.

quote:
2. due to Heisenbergs uncertainty principle, the virtual particle can have for a very short period of time speed higher than the speed of light, enabling it to escape from the inside of the event horizon

No, Heisenberg's principle does not indicate anything like that could happen. The only times we've witnessed particles exceed "the speed of light", it was locally, ie- situations in which light particles have beens slowed down dramatically. "The Speed Of Light", or the speed of light in a vacuum, or C, is a mathematically defined upper limit of velocities, supported by numerous experiments and observations and calculations; similarly, an event horizon is a mathematically defined region of intense attraction that matches C, resulting in the "light can't escape" descriptor.


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/7/2010 5:24:52 PM , Rating: 3
That's not true.

1. Quantum physics does not tell the exact position of a particle, it works only with probabilities. That means that particle that "is" just under the event horizon has non-zero probability of being outside of it.

2. Heisenbergs uncertainty principle states, that for a very short duration less than Planck's constant, the law of conservation of energy and momentum does not hold true. This allows the particle for this duration to obtain speed higher than the speed of light, allowing it to escape from the event horizon.

I can point you to the article and discussion I'm gathering the info from, but it's in czech language. I'm sure you can find something in english as well ( http://hp.ujf.cas.cz/~wagner/popclan/vakuum/vakuum... http://www.osel.cz/index.php?obsah=6&akce=showall&... )


RE: Black Holes
By camylarde on 4/8/2010 9:51:20 AM , Rating: 2
... and i believed that the particle-antiparticle pair is formed in a pure vacuum on regular basis, followed by their immediate annihilation.

I understood that Hawking's radiation is explained by this:

particle and antiparticle forms in vacuum just outside of the event horizont and as one of these two particles enters the black hole sooner than the other one manages to, the other one actually is being shot away from the black hole while the black hole loses the mass equivalent to the particle being "created".

Bottom line is this particle is in no way related to the contents of the black hole itself, and the only representation of it's creation is the mass loss to the black hole equivalent to the particle's mass.

I might be wrong though.


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/8/2010 10:14:50 AM , Rating: 2
Since mass is energy ( e=mc^2 ), the black hole looses energy with every such paticle it sucks in. When a virtual particle-antiparticle pair is created, it's done so out of thin air. You need to somehow pay back the energy that went into creating them. Under normal circumstances, this is paid by their imminent anihilation. But when one of them is sucked into the black hole, it's that black hole that has to pay for the energy deficit, so it looses part of it's total energy. And since it does not have an infinite amount of it, it will cease to exist over time.


RE: Black Holes
By kenthaman on 4/13/2010 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Two thoughts on this.

First, if particle-antiparticle pairs are created at the event horizon and one-half of the pair, be it particle or antiparticle is consumed by the BH, wouldn't the counterpart likely be consumed shortly thereafter? Or is the resulting energy from unbalanced pair enough to allow the part/AP to escape?

Second, assuming that the creation of these pairs is a randomly occuring act wouldn't it be equally likely that the number of particles versus the number of antiparticles consumed by the BH would overall be equal?

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form claiming to be an expert on this subject matter. Just stating a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind based on my understanding of the Universe in a nutshell ;)


RE: Black Holes
By freeagle on 4/14/2010 12:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
First, if particle-antiparticle pairs are created at the event horizon and one-half of the pair, be it particle or antiparticle is consumed by the BH, wouldn't the counterpart likely be consumed shortly thereafter? Or is the resulting energy from unbalanced pair enough to allow the part/AP to escape?


Hmm. It's very probable that the other particle will be sucked in as well, but it's not going to be in 100% of cases. Which is enough for the BH to be loosing it's energy while not sucking in anything else.

quote:
Second, assuming that the creation of these pairs is a randomly occuring act wouldn't it be equally likely that the number of particles versus the number of antiparticles consumed by the BH would overall be equal?


I assume you think this would lead to zero net-loss of energy of the black hole. I think this should not be the case, since particles and their antiparticle counterparts have exactly the same weight and are made of the "same" energy ( there is no antienergy, or at least we think so ). This means, that it doesnt matter whether particle or antiparticle is sucked in, the black hole will always loose energy when it sucks in one of the virtual particles from pair.

quote:
Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form claiming to be an expert on this subject matter. Just stating a couple of thoughts that crossed my mind based on my understanding of the Universe in a nutshell ;)


neither do I ;)


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