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Biodegradable Sneakers Sprout Flowers When Planted 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-and-smell-the-sneakers dept.
Zothecula writes "People may joke about their dirty old sneakers turning into science projects or mini ecosystems, but once OAT Shoes' compostable sneakers become commercially available within the next several weeks ... let's just say, those same people may no longer be joking when they make those kind of statements. Made using hemp, cork, bio-cotton, certified biodegradable plastics, chlorine-free bleach and other nontoxic materials, the shoes are designed to completely break down when buried in the ground – the first batch will even come with seeds in their tongues, so that wildflowers will sprout up in commemoration of users' planted, expired kicks."

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Biodegradable Sneakers Sprout Flowers When Planted

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  • "Made using hemp....."

    How long before teenagers start smoking their shoes?

    • by Burdell (228580)

      Right after the first hot-foot on the bus.

    • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Informative)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:17PM (#35294998) Journal

      Hemp [wikipedia.org] grown for fiber does not contain enough THC to get a fly high.

      • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Interesting)

        by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:31PM (#35295140)

        Hemp [wikipedia.org] grown for fiber does not contain enough THC to get a fly high.

        Someone wanna explain that to the Government, or are we just going to continue to deforest ourselves right out of existence because lawmakers are too fucking stupid to know the difference between hemp and weed?

        Damn, I hate it when my sig speaks so loudly...

        • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:34PM (#35295172)

          How about we stop legislating what I am allowed to consume as an adult?

          How about those supposed small government types stop worrying about what people ingest and what people do in there bedrooms.

          • Re:Obligatory (Score:4, Informative)

            by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:36PM (#35295186)

            Dammit! I meant "their bedrooms", of course.

          • by ArcherB (796902)

            How about we stop legislating what I am allowed to consume as an adult?

            How about those supposed small government types stop worrying about what people ingest and what people do in there bedrooms.

            As a "Tea Party", Fox News Watching, conservative, I agree completely.

            Hmmm. Guess that makes me more of a Libertarian.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by geekoid (135745)

              Actually it makes you a social moderate. It doesn't speak at all of your fiscal views.

              If you're fiscal view are the same as the Tea Party, that makes you a dumb ass.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by lieden (897813)
                If you use the phrase "If you're fiscal view are the same as the Tea Party", then you are also probably a dumb ass.
          • Re:Obligatory (Score:4, Insightful)

            by haruchai (17472) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @02:09AM (#35297226)

            You can't expect the judiciary of a great christian nation to not care that you might be jerking off in your bedroom with a giant dildo up your asshole for you aren't truly alone in your bedroom but are a naked offense in the sight of the LORD, the omnipotent omnivoyeur

        • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:49PM (#35295290) Journal

          Ah, so you think that marijuana was outlawed simply because it is a drug? Haha, no. The fact that hemp is so useful at producing fiber and paper is actually one of the bigger reasons it was outlawed in the first place. Basically, there were three real reasons: First, it is an effective treatment for many minor conditions, but is not patentable, and therefore, even though big pharma companies all sold it, they would rather sell patent medicines for a higher profit. Second, at the time of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, nylon had just been invented (1935) and DuPont wanted people to buy nylon rather than hemp ropes, especially with war looming. Thirdly, William Randolph Hearst's newspaper empire had begun to crumble when he flipped political positions and began viciously attacking FDR: Hearst's readership were mostly blue collar workers, and not happy with his editorial slant. But Hearst had huge timber holdings, if he couldn't make money selling newspapers, he could still make money selling paper, even more if hemp were out of the picture.

          The legislators who outlawed the demon weed Marijuana at the behest of wealthy interests probably had no idea that marijuana and hemp were the same thing.They were told that it was a drug used by Mexicans and Blacks that made them want to rape white women.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by hedwards (940851)

            You might want to lay off the stuff, I think you've had enough. Hemp is banned in the US because it's easy to conceal pot plants next to them, there is no law against importing the stuff, and AFAIK, never was, which really leads me to question the DuPont conspiracy angle.

            You can legally get a prescription for THC in the US, the trade name is Marinol and assuming that the doctor is willing to go along with it, you can get it without any trouble. Which sort of discards the view that it's about big pharma.

            At t

            • You can legally get a prescription for THC in the US, the trade name is Marinol and assuming that the doctor is willing to go along with it, you can get it without any trouble. Which sort of discards the view that it's about big pharma.

              I'll bet the trade name on the bottle makes it expensive.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                The cost difference between Marinol and marijuana is slight. on average. However Marinol id controlled, regulated dosage so you're always getting the same dose, where as marijuana is not.
                So it's isn't 'so expensive'

                Of course, if the removed it from the list and set a THC amount the constitutes 'prescription' level those problems would go away.

            • by Stregano (1285764)
              Just adding to what above poster is saying. If you truly want to use it, move your happy ass to a state that you can get it legally. There are a bunch now, and it is not that hard to get a card. Now you might ask, Well I found a doctor that helped me get a card, now where do I find it? In dispensaries, of course. After filling out paper work with one of these places (the good ones do it all electronically), you walk into a place that resembles a store and purchase what you want. Any normal dispensary
              • by morgauxo (974071)
                Even in states where it is legal licensed farmers are heavily regulated and can only grow so much. This means it cannot be grown in the quantities necessary to replace wood which grows back much slower or petroleum. Also, it is not legal in any state. That was the point that got this thread started, not getting high. Also, the federal government still officially bans it in the entire US even if a state allows it. Whether they are currently actively enforcing it or not in those states there is still the
            • You can legally get a prescription for THC in the US, the trade name is Marinol and assuming that the doctor is willing to go along with it, you can get it without any trouble. Which sort of discards the view that it's about big pharma.

              You're using a drug that was first legally allowed to be sold in 1986 as an example refuting the GPs reasoning behind a law passed in 1937?

              Who's smoking what now..

            • ...

              You can legally get a prescription for THC in the US, the trade name is Marinol and assuming that the doctor is willing to go along with it, you can get it without any trouble. Which sort of discards the view that it's about big pharma.

              ...

              You mean the fact that the only THC preparation legally available is a patented trademarked synthetic form of THC produced only by one Big Pharma company (Abbott Laboratories), and no plant-based preparation is available, discards the view that it is about big pharma?

              Oh man! What have you been smoking?

            • by tsm_sf (545316)

              You can legally get a prescription for THC in the US, the trade name is Marinol and assuming that the doctor is willing to go along with it, you can get it without any trouble.

              The problem with Marinol is that it's usually prescribed for nausea and loss of appetite associated with chemotherapy (cancer, AIDS). It's orally administered. Do you understand why that might be a problem?

              You might want to lay off the stuff, I think you've had enough.

              You'd know this if you weren't such a fucking drunk. YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              It is a common myth that one would be able hide marijuana among hemp plants, but it is an absurd myth to anyone who's read about the issue instead of watching people on TV talk about it. First off, simply comparing the pictures of Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica will show you they don't even look alike. Secondly, hemp grown for fiber is harvested before it ever flowers, as fiber quality will drop if it does. For those grown for seed or oil I am unsure, but the first point stands even if they were har

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              You might want to lay off the stuff, I think you've had enough. Hemp is banned in the US because it's easy to conceal pot plants next to them

              You have no idea what you are talking about. When you plant hemp you don't separate males and females. A pollinated male isn't commercially viable as marijuana. The market wants its weed sin semilla.

              there is no law against importing the stuff, and AFAIK, never was, which really leads me to question the DuPont conspiracy angle.

              Imported hemp with import tariffs (which contradict the constitution) cannot compete with the local alternatives, just as Mercedes (which are just another car in Germany) cannot compete with Toyota because of high tariffs against german imports as opposed to Japanese ones. (Consequently they don't compete with T

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Since I can, literally, walk 2 blocks from my work and find I whole shop of hemp gear, I'm not sure what you are talking about.

          I suspect you are wrong.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        That reminds me of a story about an Australian that liked a bit of weed going to Latvia in the summer. Hemp was growing everywhere and he cut and dried bales of the stuff. The type of hemp and short growing season combined meant that there was nothing in the way of THC at all. He was just a dope smoking rope.
        • by hedwards (940851)

          Same goes for the weed that grows wild in the midwest, it's pot, but it's so weak that nobody is likely to be smoking it. And actually, if that was typical of pot, we'd probably have legalized it by now, as it just isn't strong enough to elicit any of the health problems that people are worrying about, except possible lung damage.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            "it just isn't strong enough to elicit any of the health problems that people are worrying about, except possible lung damage"

            Eh, isn't lung damage the only "health problem" with the stuff that's worth worrying about? All the supossed evils of THC itself have got little top no backing evidence AFAIR.

          • Disinfo (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rusl (1255318) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @12:02AM (#35296666)

            The reason it is called weed is because it is and yes, it is potent. Obviously a wild plant is not going to be as intensely potent as something bred for potentcy and grown in "optimal" conditions. However, the potency is plenty sufficient. The same goes for Papovar Somniferum aka the Opium Poppy. The DEA and other anti-drug liars like to say things like it is a "fact" that these plants do not grow wild except in Colombia or some place like that. But that is just their little way of rationalising their absurd law that actually criminalises weeds. Because these plants are so prolific and common it is common for "innocent" people to be growing them in their garden - especially the poppy flower. The only difference between "evil" drug cultivation and "innocent" flower gardening is the awareness of the full use of the plant. Hence, it is the knowledge that makes it illegal. Effectively the DEA then has the job of fighting against knowledge with disinformation or "drug facts" that conflate Heroin with Opium, Hemp with THC Cannabis etc etc.

            As well, the prohibition is what leads to the higher potency as more dense narcotic effect is really most useful when you have contraband that needs to be hidden. Heroin, crack, and other high potency drugs are going to be a lot less popular if they are legal. Alcohol is a good analogy. Alcohol is partially criminalised. For underage drinkers it is, adults not. Adults mostly drink beer and wine with relatively low potency. If they drink hard liquor it is more often a sipping drink or mixed with flavours that weaken the potency. Underage drinking is a different story. The cheapest most potent gutrot is the best formula for booze when your supply is limited. Of course its not like this across the board (for instance addicts) but generally when people are allowed to take what they prefer (instead of just what they can get their hands on) they are going to choose something more moderate. One could go on.

      • Hemp [wikipedia.org] grown for fiber does not contain enough THC to get a fly high.

        The article states that it contains around 0.3% THC. I'm sure if you collected up a say an ounce of industrial hemp buds, performed an solvent extraction, and smoked the results, you would be high. People use similar methods to use up the "cabbage" leaf material from the plant.

    • by Velex (120469) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:20PM (#35295040) Homepage Journal

      Oh, good grief. Not all cannabis plants contain THC, just cannabis sativa.

      And why do teenager need to smoke their shoes? Can't the free market step in and provide a more cost-effect alternative to meet this demand...?

      Oops, I see what I did there.

      • Clearly... ...so this Indica is totally legal, right?

        If the seeds in the tongue are also 'hemp' I may just get a few pair of these to start a....garden, yeah, that's it.

        • Clearly... ...so this Indica is totally legal, right?

          ...

          This argument has actually been tried in court - when legislation carefully specified not only the species of plant being banned (Cannabis sativa) but even the botanical authority that provided the classification from a type specimen (probably included in legislation because it sounded more imposing), it was argued that C. indica was not covered since it did not conform to the specified plant ban. The great Harvard botanist Robert Schultes testified about this, but the judge (and others after) ruled that wh

  • It makes sense that they would sprout flowers considering my shoes end up smelling like fertilizer after I've worn them too long.
    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:42PM (#35295234)

      Packaged with seeds in the tongue doesn't sound too promising either.
      People wash sneakers. (Well, ok, Moms wash sneakers). And it rains.
      I'm not sure walking around with feet looking like a Chia Pet is going to be that big of a fashion statement.

      Still there is a wide variety of what people consider biodegradable. Rock is biodegradable. Years ago
      several grocery chains came out with biodegradable plastic bags which they claimed would be degraded by sunlight.

      Stapled to the side of my house, they showed not the slightest sign of weathering or degrading for
      5 years till my wife made me take them down.

      Out of sight out of mind. But how long in the ground?

  • Life Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KermodeBear (738243) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:05PM (#35294904) Homepage

    How long are these shoes expected to last under normal use? I have shoes that I bought four years ago, and aside from replacing the insoles a few times, they're perfectly fine. No reason to toss them out. I'm not sure how viable a product these would be if they need to be replaced every few months because they're disintegrating.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      What brand was that?

      I cannot get a pair of sneakers to make it more than a year tops and dress shoes never past a couple. I am not buying walmart shoes here, so a shoe that lasts 4 years would be a huge money saver.

      I used to buy doc martins, but paying $100+ for a chinese made shoe is crazy talk.

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        My $15 Starbury hightops have lasted me for 4 years.
        My $10 Starbury lowtops lasted 1 year
        My Born leather dress shoes have lasted 7 years(I have black and brown)
      • by heypete (60671)

        How about the Doc Martens For Life [drmartensforlife.com] shoes?

        Sure, they're made in Thailand, but they've held up really well for me. Not like the cheaper Chinese ones. For $20 in shipping/handling, they'll replace them for life. Not a bad deal in my view.

        The Vintage [drmartens.com] line of Doc Martens is still made in England. While not guaranteed for life, they're still better quality than the Chinese-made Docs.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          $150 for life sounds interesting. Thanks for letting me know about that. I totally stopped paying any attention to Doc Martens when they started producing shoes in China and still charged the old prices.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            With further reading it is not $150 for life. You must also pay shipping, and a $30 fee each time you send them back for repair. So this is really just normal shoes with discounted repair prices.

            • by heypete (60671)

              More or less. That said, the "for life" shoes are made a bit more tough than the ordinary shoes. There's a thicker sole, different leather for the shoe, and what appears to be heavier stitching (I'm sure the website has all the details). I'm still on my first pair of them, and they seem to be lasting quite a bit longer than my previous shoes.

              Even if I did need to replace them annually through the warranty (and, after about a year of owning them, it looks like it'd be far longer than that) I'd end up saving

        • by tsm_sf (545316)
          Got to plug a local favorite here...

          I don't know that Filson [filson.com] has an explicit lifetime guarantee, but they've repaired a jacket belonging to my grandfather, then my dad, then myself for free ever since the GP (hehe) bought it in the 40's.

          Oh wait, they sort of do:

          "We guarantee every item purchased from us. No more, no less. Your satisfaction is the sole purpose of our transaction."

          -Clinton C. Filson, 1897

      • by jshackney (99735)

        I get about 5-7 years out of my Adidas Supernova. I've been getting the Control 10 model. They run about $80 and up. I used to run a lot more than I do now and that would push the life of the shoe down to about 6-12 months.

        At $40 a pair, my work shoes [shoesforcrews.com] are now going into year three and will probably need replacing in the next six months. $40 every three years beats the hell out of my old Johnston & Murphy's [johnstonmurphy.com] which barely made it a year before falling apart.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      How are the soles doing? I usually wear down the tread in about a year.

    • Someone who runs 10 - 20 miles / week is supposed to replace their shoes at least twice / year

      • by Hatta (162192)

        How often are they supposed to replace their knees?

      • by hedwards (940851)

        That's not true, there's no particular clinical evidence to support that claim. It's something that the shoe companies tell people to justify overspending on shoes. You wear the shoes until they haven't got any traction or they start to let your legs out of alignment as you run. Depending upon the shoe that might be sooner, or later than that. Guidelines like that tend to be largely useless.

        And personally, I've found shoes to be the main source of my foot problems. It's hard to have good posture or motion i

      • by tsm_sf (545316)
        Considering that the standard running shoe design isn't really that good for you to begin with, you should probably replace them right now.
    • by wrook (134116)

      My guess is that water is needed to break down the materials. Some of the plastics might break down from sunlight, though. If you are using them a lot outdoors, then I think they will break down. If you are storing them in your closet, or wearing them around the office, I bet that they don't.

      I chew through shoes at a fairly fast rate. But I usually walk about 10 km every day in them. For a shoe similar to the ones in the photo, it usually takes only 6 months before they have enough holes in them that I

  • by iRommel (1684036) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:06PM (#35294920)
    Let's not kid ourselves, this will get you laid in the right social circles.
  • It's a trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zoobaby (583075) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:08PM (#35294930)

    Good way to introduce invasive species.

  • How much of a pollution footprint do these generate *during production*?
  • by arbitraryaardvark (845916) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (raebtg)> on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:09PM (#35294942) Homepage Journal

    Fungi fun guy paul stamets has invented and sells a cardboard box then when planted first grows a crop of mushrooms, then old growth forest trees.
    http://www.lifeboxcompany.com/ [lifeboxcompany.com]

    • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:53PM (#35295346)

      Fungi fun guy paul stamets has invented and sells a cardboard box then when planted first grows a crop of mushrooms, then old growth forest trees.

      That explains a lot. My backyard has been infested with a large number of tree-hugging hippies and I didn't know why.

      I was mildly surprised to see a large of mushrooms come up where we buried Tabby when she died. Then a bit more surprised to see my backyard turn into an old-growth forest. But the last straw has been these hippies driving spikes into the trees at all hours of the day and night.

      I should have gone down to the FedEx store and bought a real box to put her in instead of using one I had lying around.

    • Old growth forest trees for... where? I live in the Pacific Northwest, where the climax forest is very different from where I grew up in the Carolina Piedmont. New England is different from both, and much of the Midwest was prairie rather than forest... And that's just here in the United States!
       
      Nor can you just plant an old growth forest, as often they go through multiple cycles with different tree and plant species mixing before reaching the metastable climax state.

    • by Stray7Xi (698337)

      Paul Stamets had a ted talk on this subject. His research shows that fungi can cause the creation of fertile topsoil for plants to grow.

      http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html [ted.com]

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customatix [wikipedia.org]

    My friend worked for them circa 2001-2003. People thought they were going to blow up. Problem is, the kids want shoes that they have heard of. Addidas, Vans, Nike. Screw the environment if you are going to look like a dork.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Looks like they let you customize what the shoe looks like, which seems like the wrong thing to be customizing. Making shoes from molds of the wearers feet would have been at least interesting to someone.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Depends on the age. Most kids just want shows the light up, preferably with spiderman on them.

  • I think they could bring to the next level though. Tree seeds! The world needs more forests, clearly. Although I fear that implanting walnut seeds or pine-cones may too drastically affect the aerodynamics of the sneaker. But at least it would be for a good cause.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Neither walnut or pine seeds are large. They're about the size of the fingernail on your pinkie, or even smaller. But we have no shortage of forests in North America, or well really even Europe. There's been a net gain in the last 100 years by a staggering amount, and the places where you'd want forests(like parts of Africa, or South America, and Asia), no one will buy these anyway.

      • by tsm_sf (545316)

        But we have no shortage of forests in North America, or well really even Europe.

        For a given value of 'forest'.

  • Last time i tried to put my seeds on someones shoes I was put in jail for a quite a long while. So unfair :(
  • by theelectron (973857) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:20PM (#35295034)
    'Bio-cotton?' As opposed to what? Is that a way of saying organic cotton in other cultures? Also, what advantage does organic cotton have over regular cotton when used for shoes? The feel good factor, I suppose. Anyway, wouldn't the seeds in the tongue be a problem when they start sprouting from the moisture/sweat from your feet?
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I would imagine the advantage is to the people living near the cotton field more than the wearer. When we lived in Georgia as kids my bother always had "asthma" when they sprayed the cotton to kill it. Growing cotton is nasty business. As an army family we moved a lot and no where else did he ever have "asthma". I call it that as it is what the DR claimed it was.

      • I have seen the numbers cited on the news now and again. But all I could find is this shitty article with google. It is a huge problem and it is not being addressed. I guess people forget that cotton is a plant.

        Cotton is the most toxic crop on the planet. While only three percentof the world's farming acreage is cotton, these crops are sprayed withup to 25 percent of the world's pesticides and herbicides, includingsome of the most toxic ones, such as aldicarb.

        http://wafreepress.org/60/cottonWorldsMostToxic.htm [wafreepress.org]

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Ah yes, the strong voice of anecdote.

        Sigh.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          My Mom's old boyfriend did a study on anecdotes and it turned out that anecdotes are generally accurate. That's just one study, but it's pretty easy to extrapolate to a larger sample.

    • by heypete (60671)

      I suppose it's because they don't use artificial pesticides and the like on the cotton, which is intended to be better for the environment (not being an environmental scientist, I have no idea if this is actually the case). While it might not directly benefit the shoe-wearer, being able to have less of a personal impact on the environment seems like a reasonable benefit.

    • 'Bio-cotton?' As opposed to what? Is that a way of saying organic cotton in other cultures?

      Yep. Blame somewhat careless translation (from Dutch, apparently).

    • 'Bio-cotton?'

      Biocotton [biocotton.net](?):

      BioCotton is the brand name of a new semi-manufactured finished product derived from organic cotton, which is obtained using bio-dynamic cultivation techniques. This form of cultivation substitutes chemical fertilizers and pesticides with certified natural fertilizers and with a programmed rotation of the cotton fields . Bio-dynamic cultivation takes into account the lunar phases best adapted for sowing. This is preceded by the introduction of homeopathic substances into the earth (such as mineral silicon) which reinforces soil structure. From this type of cultivation comes a high quality and easily worked product. The pure biological nature of the cotton makes this fiber both non-allergic and usable without warning indications even for people who are hypersensitive or affected with special skin pathologies (it doesn't alter neutral Ph), by breastfeeding or future mothers, by hospitals.

      P.S. I'm just the messenger. Don't shoot.

  • There's flowers growin' out of 'em!

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Look on the bright side. At least your shoes will always smell like flowers instead of stinky feet. No more odor eaters needed.
  • That tread pattern looks like it's going to make your ass glide like an ice skater when you take a step on wet cement.
  • That is amazing!
  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @07:29PM (#35295114) Homepage Journal
    What will most likely happen when you plant your shoes is that you'll get a crop of plants native to Asia, which will quickly become agricultural pests in your part of the world.
  • Unless you plan to bury your shoes in a hot-house, you've only got a small window in which you can bury them and get flowers. And that can depend on the seeds involved.

    Four years may not be entirely unreasonable for my shoes either. How long would it be reasonable to expect the seeds to remain viable, given the various environments shoes have to put up with.

    I'm also curious about whether there can be problems of "early germination". If I wade through too many puddles and leave my shoes in a warm-but-hum

  • Evasive species destroying local eco system do to shoes.

    I'm just being tongue in cheek here.

  • yes, my sneakers grow things shortly after I start wearing them.

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