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The roughneck US cowboys who drilled Britain’s secret WWII oil wells

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When rambunctious Oklahoman oilmen had been billeted alongside English monks, the 2 teams had been rapidly nicknamed the “rogues and robes.”

Richard Trenholm/CNET

Sherwood Forest, house of England’s legendary outlaw Robin Hood, was a good distance from the entrance traces of World Battle II. However that is the place, amid the sun-dappled woods, I encountered one of many struggle’s most extraordinary secrets and techniques.

On a vibrant September day, a veteran of that historic battle led me right into a grassy clearing, and it took me a second to identify unusual, long-abandoned equipment nonetheless camouflaged towards the forest greenery. Then, close to a mud path winding by the timber, I noticed a stout determine prepared for motion: a 7-foot statue of an oil employee geared up with a helmet and Stillson wrench and standing astride a base etched with 42 names.

Titled the Oil Patch Warrior, the statue is a monument to one of many teams that traveled many miles from house to help the besieged and ravenous individuals of Britain in what, for the UK, was World Battle II’s darkest hour. Behind the Warrior is a compelling, little-known, and infrequently even joke that is a robust and well timed reminder of the teachings historical past can train about friendship, survival and steadfast cooperation when issues are at their worst. 

Tens of millions of women and men labored and fought and died within the struggle, in their very own nations or many miles from house. Black and white, they got here from America and Africa and internationally. They need to by no means be forgotten.

But right now, many locals have by no means heard the story behind the Oil Patch Warrior. And again then, neither Hitler nor the British public knew there was treasured oil beneath English soil — or posse of cowboy-booted roughnecks was drilling for black gold within the coronary heart of England’s inexperienced and nice land. 

Black gold

“With out oil no airplane may fly, no tank may transfer, no ship may sail, no gun may hearth,” historians Man and Grace Woodward wrote of their e book The Secret of Sherwood Forest. The deliberate Allied invasion of mainland Europe would require big provides of black gold — a single armored division wolfed up 60,000 gallons of gasoline per day — and oil was important for producing warmth, gentle and clear water. Civil and army necessities like tires, street surfaces and explosives additionally required oil. It was even utilized in particular runway flares to scale back the variety of deaths from planes crashing whereas making an attempt to land amid the English fog.

Earlier than the invention of North Sea oil, Britain needed to import gasoline — and emergency reserves had been down to simply two months as Nazi submarines and bombers took a lethal toll on incoming convoys. Fortuitously, the British authorities looked for home-grown provides earlier than the struggle even began. They discovered them beneath the forests and fields of rural Nottinghamshire.

The Anglo-Iranian Oil Firm, a forerunner to BP, started drilling within the Eakring and Duke’s Wooden space. However their heavy rigs, designed for the Center East’s deep oil reserves, weren’t suited to those shallower oil fields. And with most younger males known as to energetic service, the wells had been crewed by inexperienced locals and drafted-in miners.

So in September 1942, British oilman Philip Southwell made the arduous journey to Washington, DC, to purchase more-appropriate tools. At first he was refused, however planes and trains and a rented automotive acquired him to the Oklahoma house of oil baron Lloyd Noble. Noble answered the door in his pajamas and the 2 WWI veterans struck a deal. Noble’s solely caveat: He would not take a cent of revenue.

As soon as the crimson tape was lastly handled, 42 Oklahoma roughnecks, drillers and power pushers volunteered to sail throughout the Atlantic and be part of the struggle. Southwell had just one downside: The place to cover them?

Rogues and robes

Kelham Corridor, a gothic red-brick mansion constructed within the 19th century, is now a scenic venue for weddings and enterprise conferences. Situated just a few miles from Eakring, its wood-paneled rooms are additionally house to a museum exploring the historical past of British oil.


American foreman Eugene Rosser with one of many monks at Kelham Corridor.

Kelham Corridor

The curator, Kevin Topham, lived a lot of that historical past. Now in his 90s, Topham brims with fascinating tales instructed in his delicate Nottinghamshire accent. After I arrive at Kelham Corridor, he exhibits me a badge on his blazer depicting a fish with wings, symbolizing membership within the Goldfish Club, an off-the-cuff fellowship for many who escape a watery grave. Topham earned it within the icy North Sea on Boxing Day 1965 when the Sea Gem, the primary British offshore oil rig, collapsed and killed 13. 

Earlier than his oil days, Topham labored on bomb disposal for the Royal Air Pressure, driving round in a automobile marked Hazard: Excessive Explosives. “I may park anyplace with that,” he says with fun.

As we sip tea in Kelham Corridor’s high-windowed eating room, Topham tells me about his encounters with uniformed Allies through the struggle. “We used to have large dances in Newark and Retford and Nottingham,” he remembers. “You would be dancing spherical, rubbing shoulders with the Canadians and the People. You may hear ’em anyway! It was fairly an expertise. I would not have missed it for something.”

Again then, Kelham Corridor was a monastery. And when the rambunctious Oklahoman oilmen had been billeted alongside the monks, the 2 teams had been rapidly nicknamed the “rogues and robes.”


Kevin Topham with the oil pumping equipment nonetheless standing in Duke’s Wooden.

Richard Trenholm/CNET

Cowboys, oilmen and nodding donkeys

The oil staff burst into the sleepy village of Eakring in March 1943 like rowdy cowboys using into city. Their colourful Western shirts, Stetson hats and banjos made an indelible impression on the locals within the meager, grey days of wartime. “The place do you suppose he tied his horse?” joked a Brit on assembly one of many oilmen for the primary time. 

Main the corporate had been two males who could not be extra totally different. Succesful however rough-edged foreman Eugene Rosser was dismayed to be paired with smooth-talking Don Walker, an administrator who knew nothing about oil. However the pair turned quick mates using herd on their rough-and-tumble band. They’d a job to do: drill 100 oil wells in simply 12 months.

Regardless of chilling springtime rain, the energetic People set to work at a tempo that surprised their hosts. They drilled 1,010 toes of their first 12-hour shift, however needed to report the footage to the pinnacle workplace 3 times — as a result of British officers merely could not imagine it.

In these determined instances, the existence of the oil area needed to be stored secret. It was tough hiding an operation that employed a whole bunch of individuals and infrequently choked the nation lanes with buses and heavy vans carrying workers and tools, and the locals weren’t fooled by People playfully claiming to be making a movement image. The positioning needed to be hidden from the air, too, so the seesawing pump jacks that draw the oil to the floor — often known as “nodding donkeys” — had been painted inexperienced for camouflage. It is these pump jacks, freshly repainted in recent times, that Kevin Topham took me to see.

Topham labored as a derrick man on the Eakring oil fields after he acquired out of the Royal Air Pressure, which meant climbing up an oil rig’s towering mast. “That was robust up there when it was chucking down rain,” he recollects. “You could not pop down for a cup of tea for those who’d acquired 5,000 toes of drill pipe within the gap. Some males, large robust males, they’d go 200 toes up they usually’d freeze. There was a bit of ledge midway up you could possibly have a relaxation on, however no security ropes or security traces till you bought up there and acquired a belt round you … It was a extremely harmful job. It toughens you up.”


The boys from Oklahoma: The oil staff who got here to Britain throughout World Battle II.

American Oil and Fuel Historic Society

Off responsibility, boisterous People inevitably clashed with war-weary locals. It did not take lengthy earlier than the oilmen had been consuming pubs dry of booze rations and chasing women at native dances. Two males had been despatched house for preventing. In the meantime a bust-up on the docks over contraband cigars noticed Rosser high-tailing it together with his opinion of the English monarchy ringing within the air. One other time he sped off with customs officers clinging to the aspect of his truck and a bobby on a bicycle peddling furiously after. On yet one more event Rosser was caught rushing, and was shocked that on this upside-down wartime society the police officer was a lady.


American volunteer Herman Douthit fell to his dying.

American Heritage Heart, College of Wyoming

However the greatest downside was meals. The boys labored 12 hours a day, seven days every week, but rationing was so tight they misplaced harmful quantities of weight. One of many oilmen grew greens on the monastery, though he confronted a brush with the regulation when he turned his hand to taking pictures pheasant.

Wounded British troopers ready and served meals at Kelham Corridor, and disaffection over the weight loss plan flared into extra preventing. Walker ultimately fired the stewards after yet one more punch-up, however by then Rosser had solved the issue. Storming into an enraged common’s workplace, he secured meals provides from the US army.

Because the winter of 1943 mellowed into the spring of 1944, England was filling up with troopers from world wide poised to invade Europe. Don Walker and his army contacts maintained a roaring commerce in black market whiskey. And when the boys noticed an African-American soldier from Alabama in a close-by city, they whisked him again to Kelham Corridor for dinner. 

Now that their weight loss plan was as much as scratch, the oilmen pushed the tempo all through the summer season. Since their arrival, the oil area’s manufacturing had gone up from 300 to three,000 barrels a day.

Sadly, one American by no means made it house: In November 1943 well-liked 29-year-old Texan Herman Douthit fell from a derrick to his dying. He was buried on the US army cemetery in Cambridge.

Oil patch warriors

By the point the boys left snow-covered Nottinghamshire in March 1944 they’d drilled 106 wells. Finally, the Eakring oil fields produced three million barrels of oil through the struggle, and continued producing till 1965.

Odd little tales like this might simply fade from reminiscence, just like the camouflaged nodding donkeys swallowed by the greenery. But it surely’s price remembering all these women and men of all colours who crossed the seas to face collectively in these darkish instances. Whereas Oklahoman oilmen labored in England’s forests, greater than 900 males got here to the UK from Central America to work as loggers, to quote only one instance. In all, thousands and thousands of women and men labored, fought and died on battlefields and on the house entrance internationally. 

At the moment, the Oil Patch Warrior statue stands as testomony to cooperation and comradeship. Fittingly, the British monument has a buddy on the opposite aspect of the ocean: an an identical statue in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

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Top 10 Best Tachometers With Backlit Lcds 2020

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1. NUZAMAS Digital Tachometer LCD Display RPM Test Small Engine Motor Speed Meter Gauge

  • Auto testing information saved operate, saved max pace, min pace and newest pace robotically.
  • Low battery indicator, straightforward to make use of, accuracy +/- Zero.05% + 1digit
  • Upgraded nuzamas non-contact rpm measurement measures rotational pace simply, testing vary: 2.5 – 99,999 rpm, testing distance from 50mm to 500mm
  • Further-large liquid crystal display display- as much as 5 digits displaying;
  • Extremely-durable and moveable design for simple transport and storage

2. Neoikos Digital Backlit Tach Maintenance Hour Meter Tachometer for Motorcycle Lawn Mower Generator

  • Accumulate non-resettable whole time (Zero~999,999 hours). report resettable job hours. programmable upkeep interval timer (Zero~2,000 hours)
  • Works on four stroke as much as 16 cylinder/2 stroke as much as 6 cylinder gasoline engines.
  • Digital backlit tach upkeep hour meter tachometer for bike garden mower generator small engines boat honda yamaha dust bike outboard motor motocross tractor snowboat…
  • Reads rpm when engine is on, report and recall max rpm. programmable rpm alert. rpm capability: 25,000 rpm
  • On/off change: press and maintain the “menu+set” button concurrently till show exhibits “off” icon, launch the button, the show will probably be turned off. press both menu or set button once more, the show will probably be turned on.

3. Searon Backlit Digital Resettable Inductive Tacho Hour Meter Tachometer For Motorcycle Marine Boat

  • Accumulate whole run time (tot:Zero~99,999 hours), report re-settable job time(job: Zero~99,99.9 hours). programmable upkeep interval timer(svc) from Zero to 200 hours with flash alert service alarms
  • Has on/off change:on “tot” whole hours mode, press and maintain “menu+set” button concurrently till show exhibits “off” icon, launch the button, meter will probably be turned off. press both “menu” or “set” button once more, meter will probably be turned on.
  • Backlit tach upkeep hour meter tachometer for for rc toys pwc atv bikes marine engines chain saws tractors lawnmowers…
  • Rpm studying shows from Zero to 25,000 rpm with 10 rpm decision.max rpm recall.
  • Set up battery: the cr2032 (Three volt) battery goes button down into the unit. the again of the battery is the flat facet which face up (towards the cap that screws over the battery). the cap is screwed on and off with a coin. the highest of the battery is constructive. information remained after battery change.

4. Runleader HM032R Inductive Tachometer Digital Tach Hour Meter Backlit Flash Alert Service Alarms

  • Backlight hour meter timing system:accumulating whole operating hours tot, recording partial operating time job,upkeep timer could be set freely to Zero-200 hours svc
  • Reminder service:consumer can set this liquid crystal display tach hour meter from Zero hours to 200 hours;
  • Induction tachometer for two or four stroke gasoline engine information and shows to 99999 hours/20000 rpm
  • Rpm measuring system:measuring present engine rpm,recording and viewing engine max rpm,and setting overspeed warning operate,refresh price could be set Zero.5s or 1s,the tach hour meter exhibits present rpm’s when the engine is operating;
  • Replaceable cr2032 battery,information saved robotically after changing the battery,ce & rohs certification, 2 years guarantee.

5. Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-Contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun -58℉~1022℉ (-50℃~550℃), Yellow

  • Goal faster: measure floor temperature starting from -58℉ to 1022℉/ -50℃ to 550℃, you may select the unit from ℉/ ℃; response time: ≤500ms; a inbuilt laser offers you the precision to hone in on the precise house you wish to measure
  • Versatile design: infrared expertise makes this thermometer useful to measure the floor temperature of varied objects particularly temperatures above boiling factors and beneath freezing factors; use it if you end up cooking and barbequing, performing auto upkeep, doing dwelling repairs, and a number of different duties
  • Materials kind: plastic
  • Higher accuracy: the space to identify ratio is 12: 1, that means the laser grip 1080 can precisely measure targets at larger distances in comparison with most different ir thermometers; for greatest accuracy, the space between the thermometer and object of measurement ought to roughly be 14. 17 inches (36cm)
  • Added capabilities: the liquid crystal display display screen is backlit, additionally has an auto-off operate to increase the battery life, and includes a low battery indicator so that you by no means unintentionally run out of juice (battery included)
  • Observe: the thermometer cannot measure the interior temperature of an object; temperature readings from this units are inanimate objects, the measured temperature for people or animals is not going to be right; fda, fcc, ce compliant; class 2 laser, optical energy Zero. 5-Zero. 9mw

6. Tacklife DM01M Digital Multimeter TRMS 6000 Counts Manual Ranging, Volt Amp Ohm Multi

  • Excellent measuring tool- 2-Three occasions/sec for sampling, rapidly clear up the protection issues of automotive and family electrical. information maintain and a couple of.7 inches giant backlit liquid crystal display show for visibility in dimly mild areas (built-in assist stand for hand free use)
  • Measure security: verify to the safety necessities of 600v cat iv 1000v cat iii , ceramic fuse & thermistor safety circuit present you the best safety in the course of the working
  • Massive vary measuring – 6000 counts, dc voltage to 1000v, ac voltage to 750v, ac/dc present to 10a, resistance to 60mω, capacitance to 100mf, with kind okay thermocouple to measure the temperature, continuity check
  • Ncv delicate check: if ac voltage detected, the led lights will shine in line with the sign density (low, medium, excessive), the beeper sounds at totally different frequencies to point. if robust sign, purple mild brights, excessive sensitivity
  • What you get – tacklife dm01m basic digital multimeter, check leads, k-type thermocouple, four x aa batteries, consumer handbook, 24-month service card

7. Akozon Tachometer Meter AT2150B Handheld Automotive Tachometer Meter/LCD Display Digital Multimeter

  • ❀ [multi-function multimeter] assist to measure dc voltage, present, ac voltage, present, and resistance, capacitance, temperature, crystal diode, triode parameters and circuit on-off. this product is appropriate for vehicle upkeep and debugging, and so forth. it’s your excellent measuring software.
  • ❀ [non-contact tachometer] this can be a non-contact tachometer. the non-contact design avoids contact between the instrument and the part beneath check, and solves the measurement issues of some small or unstable check parts.
  • ❀ [professional tachometer] this can be a contact kind tachometer with secure efficiency, excessive reliability and excessive security. it helps 3cyl / four/5/6 / 8cyl vary measurement(pace measurement vary: 5000-10000 / min) and maintains a excessive accuracy of ± (1.2% + 2).
  • ❀ [protection function] low energy cmos double integral a / d conversion built-in circuit, computerized zero calibration, computerized polarity show, information retention, low battery and over-range indication, and with overload safety, 15 minutes of computerized shutdown with out operation.
  • ❀ [display function] outfitted with a liquid crystal display backlit liquid crystal display show, it may also be used in the dead of night, with a most show of 1999 counts. and assist low battery show, low battery voltage indication (“” image is displayed on the left facet of the liquid crystal display)

8. Runleader RL-HM035T -20-300 Inductive Tachometer with Hour Meter Thermometer Backlit Display for All

  • Works on any gasoline engine:temp measuring system ;rpm measuring system ;timing measuring system
  • Information and inexperienced backlight shows to 99999 hours/30000 rpm,resolition 1 min ,partial hours could be reset to zero.
  • Backlight tachometer and hour meter with spark plug temp operate. temp show:-20℃~300℃ / -4℉~572℉
  • Upkeep reminder service,consumer can set it from Zero hours to 200 hours .rpm refresh could be set Zero.5s or 1s
  • Battery could be replaceable. information saved robotically after changing the battery,waterproof ip65

9. Abuycs Digital Tachometer Handheld Contact Motor Tachometer LCD Speedometer Tach RPM Tester Electrical

  • Operate: max. worth, min. worth, common worth, the final displayed worth, low battery indication, computerized energy off.
  • The liquid crystal display is backlit to permit making and studying measurements in low mild circumstances.
  • It is a contact-type digital tachometer which is utilized in purposes similar to vehicle upkeep, mechanical engineering, and upkeep of business gear.
  • Extremely correct contact digital tachometer with excessive pace operation and instantaneous readings from Zero.5 to 19999rpm.
  • A number of measurements, outfitted with 4 forms of rotating heads, appropriate for various scene measurements, to make the measurement extra worry-free and labor – saving.

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Tech News

The best cheap SSD deals and prices for August 2020

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In case you’re in search of the most effective low cost SSD offers, then you definitely’ve come to the proper place. Shopping for a Strong State Drive is a simple and reasonably priced solution to give your PC a noticeable velocity increase, and with the most effective low cost SSD offers, now it the right time to purchase one.

SSDs are a lot quicker than conventional arduous drives, so in case your PC nonetheless makes use of an outdated arduous drive, swapping it out for a brand new SSD can breathe new life into your machine. You may discover Home windows 10, apps and video games load a lot quicker than earlier than as soon as you put in your SSD.

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Top 10 Best Baracuda Pool Cleaners 2020

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1. Zodiac Baracuda G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner

  • Devours small and medium-sized particles and cleans ground, partitions and steps of your total pool.
  • Wheel deflector for motion round tight corners.
  • 36-fin disc will increase adhesion to pool floor and avoids getting hung-up on lights, drains covers, fittings and different pool options.
  • Patented quick-release cassette offers simplified routine upkeep.
  • Pool sort: in-ground
  • Quiet, highly effective suction cleaner; works with low-speed pumps for max effectivity.

2. Zodiac MX6 In-Ground Suction Side Pool Cleaner, Blue/Gray

  • Cyclonic suction for highly effective vacuuming and articulating turbine blade for aggressive wall-climbing
  • Contains computerized weir valve, 90° twist lock elbow, 7 x 1.2m twist lock hose lengths, stream regulator valve, hose float, hose protector, guarantee card.
  • Progressive low-flow design makes it ultimate for swimming pools with 2-speed or variable velocity pumps
  • Swiveling hoses are quick-connect model for simple meeting

3. Zodiac BARACUDA G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner with Additional Diaphragm

  • Quiet, highly effective suction cleaner; works with low-speed pumps for max effectivity. sturdy long-life diaphragm with dependable, one-moving-part-technology
  • 36-fin disc will increase adhesion to pool floor and avoids getting hung-up on lights, drains covers, fittings and different pool options.
  • This itemizing contains every little thing wanted to get began at the moment ~ new g3 cleaner for in-ground swimming pools, 36 ft of hose and a further diaphragm.
  • Flowkeeper valve mechanically regulates water stream to take care of peak cleansing efficiency even with decrease horsepower pumps. scuff-resistant long-life hoses remove scuffs on all pool surfaces.
  • The zodiac g3 in-ground suction pool cleaner is a quiet and highly effective suction cleaner that works with low-speed pumps to wash with most effectivity.

4. Zodiac Ranger Suction Side Automatic Above-Ground Pool Cleaner

  • One shifting half know-how, eliminates annoying hammer or flapper noise; works rapidly, successfully, and quietly.
  • Comes pre-assembled for simple set up and contains 32 ft of feed hose.
  • Flowkeeper valve and insta-skim compact self-adjusting stream management valve mechanically regulates water stream, making certain peak efficiency.
  • Successfully cleans above-ground swimming swimming pools (not advisable for intex/soft-sided swimming pools), together with dished-out bottoms as much as 72 inches.
  • Distinctive deflector wheel helps forestall it from getting caught on steps, ladders and corners!
  • Ag disc permits the ranger to glide effortlessly alongside the underside of your pool, up the edges and round steps, cleansing your complete pool.

5. Zodiac W70482 Baracuda Wahoo Automatic Pool Cleaner

  • It’s a suction cleaner and it really works in all above floor swimming pools
  • It contains 30-feet of feed hose
  • Baracuda wahoo computerized pool cleaner
  • It connects on to skimmers

6. Pentair K60430 Kreepy Krauly Kruiser Automatic Inground Pool Cleaner

  • Superior vacuum energy and extra-wide mouth seize giant and small particles with ease
  • Constructed-in bumper assures free motion round steps and ladders for complete cleansing protection and uninterrupted, hands-free operation
  • This creepy krauly cruiser computerized in floor pool cleaner have many design parts shared by the preferred suction-side cleaner in historical past
  • Superior seal design contains specifically engineered slits and “fingers” to guarantee the unit
  • Connects to your skimmer or vacuum line becoming in minutes with out instruments

7. BARACUDA G3 W03000 Advanced Suction Side Automatic Pool Cleaner with Additional Diaphragm

  • Quiet, highly effective suction cleaner; works with low-speed pumps for max effectivity. sturdy long-life diaphragm with dependable, one-moving-part-technology.
  • 36-fin disc will increase adhesion to pool floor and avoids getting hung-up on lights, drains covers, fittings and different pool options.
  • This itemizing contains every little thing wanted to get began at the moment ~ new g3 cleaner for in-ground swimming pools, 36 ft of hose and a further diaphragm and a leaf canister.
  • Flowkeeper valve mechanically regulates water stream to take care of peak cleansing efficiency even with decrease horsepower pumps. scuff-resistant long-life hoses remove scuffs on all pool surfaces.
  • The zodiac g3 in-ground suction pool cleaner is a quiet and highly effective suction cleaner that works with low-speed pumps to wash with most effectivity.

8. Zodiac MX8 Suction-Side Cleaner

  • X-drive know-how offers superior twin navigation for finest pool protection with no cling ups. totally cleans ground, partitions, and waterline of any measurement or form pool.
  • Extremely-efficient energy supply offers most torque whereas working at low stream, not burdening the pool system – appropriate with variable-speed pumps
  • Cyclonic vacuum know-how ensures the mx8 captures most particles while sustaining most cleansing energy – connects on to skimmer or devoted 1.5” vacuum line
  • X-trax tires present excessive maneuverability and climbing efficiency, even in tight corners and on vertical partitions
  • Operates in all in-ground swimming pools. best option for photo voltaic, 2-speed, and variable-speed pumps.pool floor(s)-concrete, tile, vinyl and fiberglass. the stream regulator valve is designed to constantly restrict excessive stream of water by the cleaner. when stream is appropriate, the cleaner elements are much less inclined to wreck and the lifetime of the cleaner may be prolonged. by examine…

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