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Chernobyl

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On 5/16/2019 at 5:14 AM, Lemons said:

How did they explain the accents?  Some of them have stronger British accents than others making it disconcerting.  

They basically arrived at the conclusion that when actors do accents they are acting the accents not the characters.....if I remember correctly the original plan was for accents but they felt that a lot of the performances during auditions and rehearsals didn't feel authentic! (completely contradicting my original complaint lol) .... 

It's a bit of a mishmash of different brit accents and "kind of" russian accents which is, like you said, a distraction at times but I'm starting to be won over by the choice the showrunner made?!  I honestly didn't notice it as much in the latest episode.... 

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2 hours ago, BellyLaughter said:

They basically arrived at the conclusion that when actors do accents they are acting the accents not the characters.....if I remember correctly the original plan was for accents but they felt that a lot of the performances during auditions and rehearsals didn't feel authentic! (completely contradicting my original complaint lol) .... 

It's a bit of a mishmash of different brit accents and "kind of" russian accents which is, like you said, a distraction at times but I'm starting to be won over by the choice the showrunner made?!  I honestly didn't notice it as much in the latest episode.... 

At first I thought the female nuclear physicist was supposed to be a British citizen working in Russia but then I remembered it was Soviet Union days.  I’ll get used to it I guess. 

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If you consider that all of this dialog should be in Russian, however you do it in English is ripe for criticism.  When one character in a movie is Russian speaking English, I can see a Russian accent to distinguish them.  When everybody is Russian, I'm OK with varying English accents. 

I'm trying to remember what they did in the movie The Death of Stalin where they had a mix of American and British actors but everyone was supposed to be Russian.  I think they let everybody just talk as they normally would.

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It’s been a truly shit week, so I just watched the HBO Nassar documentary and now I guess I’ll chase it with this. 

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On 5/7/2019 at 11:02 AM, proserpina65 said:

That was pretty intense.  I remember when this happened, and since I lived down river of two nuclear plants at the time (one of which, Three Mile Island, had an incident of its own), it scared me pretty badly.  This was like reliving that.

I will confess to thinking, after that first scene, "who's going to take of the cat?".

The real Legasov had a wife and son, so them.

If you listen to the companion podcast (also called Chernobyl) the writer/showrunner basically says that they didn’t include his family because they didn’t add anything to the story.

Edited by Mars477
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I’m So glad I finally found this thread! This show is freaking me out!!!

When they emptied out Pripyt (?), I’m thinking those people never came back? So their one suitcase is all they had.

no way in hell did those guys that went in survive, no way.

Edited by DrSparkles
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On 5/7/2019 at 12:02 PM, proserpina65 said:

That was pretty intense.  I remember when this happened, and since I lived down river of two nuclear plants at the time (one of which, Three Mile Island, had an incident of its own), it scared me pretty badly.  This was like reliving that.

I will confess to thinking, after that first scene, "who's going to take of the cat?".

me too! i hope someone took in his cat!

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So glad I found this thread. I saw the first 2 episodes and I. AM. SHOOK.  This is the miniseries I never knew I even wanted or needed. I love everything about it. British accents don't even bother me. The inner binge-watcher in me does wish it was bingeable but I am learning to live with getting an episode at a time. It allows me to watch twice and really digest everything. 

Not only is this show enthralling, well-written & acted and emotionally devastating but also it is quite educational. I admit that up until now, everything I knew about nuclear energy I learned from The Simpsons (don't judge me). 

With that hair, I thought Stellan was playing Boris Yeltsin. There really is a resemblance. Just me?

%D0%91%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%B8%D1%81_%D0%9D%D0

Jared Harris is a treasure. If you haven't watched The Terror, do yourself a favor and do so. 

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37 minutes ago, islandgal140 said:

Jared Harris is a treasure. If you haven't watched The Terror, do yourself a favor and do so

If you have seen him as George VI in The Crown, do yourself a favor and watch that as well.

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My kids are trying to watch this with me. My 7yo had trouble understanding the whole Chernobyl/Pripyat thing so I showed her the movie "Chernobyl Diaries." Now she's watching the series totally confused, wondering when the mutant bears and radiation zombies are coming out. 

Seriously, though. This show is amazing. One of the scariest things I've ever seen and there's almost no action. 

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18 minutes ago, ShannaB said:

Loved the head miner this ep.  Guess you don't mess with a coal miner.

I loved that, of all things, he had a Scottish accent!

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Does anyone understand what was happening when Emily Watson’s character looked horrified to find out that the emergency shutdown didn’t work after the power surge?

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She's horrified the attempt to activate the shutdown caused the explosion, which indicates some unforeseen design flaw that could affect other reactors. As various characters have said, it's supposed to be impossible for an RBMK reactor to explode. I imagine they will explain this further. 

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It is so creepy to hear the dosimeter clicking over the end credits. As someone born in the mid-‘60s, I have a visceral reaction to that noise and the entire idea of nuclear fuckups. And seeing the pregnant wife comforting her dying husband is giving me Threads flashbacks (for the uninitiated, Threads was the nuclear Armageddon tv film from the mid-‘80s, far scarier than The Day After—images from that movie are seared in my brain). 

When Legasov confronted the KGB deputy chief, I said aloud, “That took serious balls, or total idiocy.” Then Boris said it made him look like a naive idiot, so I felt vindicated.

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41 minutes ago, Sharpie66 said:

giving me Threads flashbacks (for the uninitiated, Threads was the nuclear Armageddon tv film from the mid-‘80s, far scarier than The Day After—images from that movie are seared in my brain). 

I made the mistake of watching that, three or four years ago. Never again. I haven't watched the last two episodes of this show, because of that one nightmare that I had. That movie was horrifying, which was the point, I know. I just wish that I'd never seen it.

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Yeah, I saw Threads just the one time what, 33 years ago?, and I will never forget it. The Day After, otoh, I don’t remember at all. 

I will commend the makeup artists on Chernobyl—those dying men were nearly impossible to watch by the end. 

Edited by Sharpie66
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Wow this show is one of the fastest hours on TV. Those poor people! I liked the miners-tough men that got the job done. Excellent actors all around.

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I agree that the female physicist’s reaction to “we pushed the button and then it blew up” is that she is horrified, because it means they thought they fully understood how this huge dangerous system worked ... but they have overlooked something major. (Major enough to potentially kill the whole continent.)

And there are more plants out there with the same exact design.  

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Yeah the blonde lady and her baby are doomed. Whoever did the cosmetic work on the victims really knew their stuff. And the burial scene! Holy shit! Wrap the body in plastic, put it in the box, put the box in a (I'm guessing) lead-lined outer container, then pour cement over it. Makes me wonder how many graves are over there just like it. So sad.

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On 5/15/2019 at 2:09 PM, ChicksDigScars said:

Episode 2 freaked me out so badly that I immediately Googled the mileage between my house and the closest nuclear plant (21.4 miles). 

I've known a lot of the events surrounding the disaster, but I had no idea how close they were to the doomsday scenario that the Emily Watson character described. Holy shit. 

They showed men dragging off the two loathsome idiots that ran the power plant. My guess is prison, or just straight up death squad. 

I lived in So Cal & could actually see the San Onofre domes from my house.  I always had the iodine pills in my medicine cabinet.  One time years ago the sirens went off & there was nothing on the radio or tv.  We closed all the windows & waited. Eventually they came out to say it was a malfunction of the alarm system. 

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37 minutes ago, khyber said:

I lived in So Cal & could actually see the San Onofre domes from my house.  I always had the iodine pills in my medicine cabinet.  One time years ago the sirens went off & there was nothing on the radio or tv.  We closed all the windows & waited. Eventually they came out to say it was a malfunction of the alarm system. 

I live about 10 miles from Point Beach in Wisconsin.  I few years ago the alarms went off, freaked me the hell out.  Later learned that they were testing them. I think they forgot to tell people before hand.
I love the very Soviet/Russian “ya gotta do what ya gotta do” attitude of all these people.  Even if that means digging while naked.  Well at least they kept the hats on.  I loved Jared Harris averting his eyes.

Spoiler


I think I heard that we will be shown what went wrong during that test in a future episode.  I’ve read the Wiki article for the “Accident” but as I am not really a nuclear physicist, I didn’t really understand everything.  I hope they make it understandable.

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3 hours ago, islandgal140 said:

Thanks HBO for all the male peen on display. I mean that sincerely. My stance on TV/movie nudity is  FREE THE PEEN! Far too often women have to get their tits out gratuitously (Hello GOT) so turnaround is fair play but at least this didn't seem gratuitous. 

I must admit that I rolled my eyes when I saw the initial nudity warning. Thought “well, it is HBO, so they’ve gotta get the T&A in no matter how inappropriate it may be in this story.”  After watching the ep, I owe the production (and HBO) an apology for thinking badly about something that has obviously been a total labor of love for the incredible creator, crew, and cast. It’s as fascinating as it is horrifying. 

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Okay HBO, I know we said we wanted more male nudity to balance out Game of Thrones, but that wasn't what I had in mind!

All levity aside, some of those scenes were among the most horrific things I've ever watched, only the other stuff has mainly happened to fictional people.  This was incredibly intense television.

All I can think about poor Ludmilla is that no one really explained to her how contaminated her husband was, and what that could do to her baby.  Although the nurse did tell her 30 minutes only, and not to touch him.  Obviously the staff was completely overwhelmed by the number and seriousness of the cases coming in.

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According to the podcast the local hospital was at a loss for how to treat radiation burns of any kind.  I wonder if the hospitals in Moscow were really all that better prepared for this.  Can anybody/anything ever be prepared for this?

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Along with Threads and The Day After, there was a movie along the same lines called Testament that was similarly harrowing but not quite as gory.

I grew up just a few miles from a nuclear power plant on the Iowa/Illinois border.  I was almost ten when Chernobyl occurred, but a total worrywort kid and I thought about this quite a bit.

I had to laugh for Legasov a bit in the naked miner scene.  Just two weeks prior Legasov had been a distinguished professor at a top university, doing what distinguished professors at top universities do.  In a split second he’s embroiled in the most devastating industrial accident probably to have ever happened, Soviet lies and bureaucracy, a potential environmental catastrophe, life-threatening health risks to himself and millions of others, and a key part of the plan to mitigate it all brought him to talk to a bunch of naked miners in the middle of the night.  Kudos to Jared Harris because ALL of that showed on his face.

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Once again, absolutely gripping. As someone above said, the hour flies by, and I am left desperate to know what happened next.

Legasov and Shcherbina walking along with the gradually increasing pack of stray dogs looking for treats was another stab in the heart, knowing that in short order the dogs will all be killed, or die from radiation and starvation anyway.  

The miners were a welcome dose of levity - the Minister of Coal getting his shiny new suit repeatedly slapped with coal dust will never stop being funny - but it's heartbreaking to know that all those men were exposed to life-altering danger for a might-happen.  No wonder Legasov wanted out; who wants that on his conscience?  I have to say, though, that coal miners who smoke seem hardly to be the risk-averse sort to begin with.  

I too plowed through the wikipedia article on Chernobyl and quickly found myself way out of my depth trying to understand the ins and outs of nuclear physics.  Suffice it to say that the people running those plants probably needed to be more experienced and vastly more trained in the first place.  A 25-year-old as senior engineer?  Yike.  I am looking forward to the explanation the show gives us because I think they'll do a good job reducing it to terms I can wrap my head around better than the varying rates of decay of various unstable elements, insertion and extraction of control rods, why the graphite mattered, etc., etc.  

And I have to thank this show for being my methadone to help ease me through the withdrawal from GOT.  

PS - Does anyone know the origin of the title?  It sounds like something from a burial ritual, but I can't find it.  

 

On 5/14/2019 at 5:51 PM, ilovethedark said:

Another really enjoyable episode. Lyudmilla, the wife of the firefighter was such a badass going past the soldiers at the hospital. She is my favorite of the regular folk on the ground. The podcast said she’s a real person and that she wrote a chapter in the book Voices of Chernobyl. The part where she is in the hospital and sees her friends who took their baby to watch the fire and they all had radiation burns/sickness and the man begging that she take the baby was heart wrenching. 

Same. My 14 year old lab was snoring on the couch as I watched this and I found this incredibly sad. I think someone tried to bring their cat on the bus, but a soldier took it. I saw the dead dear earlier in the episode and the bird from the first, so many animals suffered as well. 

My lab is almost 12, and spends much of his time snoozing on the couch. 🙂

Edited by Calamity Jane
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Then once you think you’ve gotten a basic grasp on Chernobyl, go try to read about Fukushima, which had three reactors melt down.

(Plus government cover ups, which some people believe are still ongoing, and the whole works.)

Edited by kieyra
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45 minutes ago, kieyra said:

Then once you think you’ve gotten a basic grasp on Chernobyl, go try to read about Fukushima, which had three reactors melt down.

(Plus government cover ups, which some people believe are still ongoing, and the whole works.)

Wasn't that eight years ago? I can't believe it didn't cross my mind, considering how there are still things being said that it's contaminated. To be careful about what you eat, etc. 

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I've had a long love of Soviet history, especially the story of Chernobyl/Pripyat.

For those of you who want to learn more, I recommend the following two books:

Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl, which includes profiles of Legasov, Scherbina, Akimov, Dyatlov, Toptunov, Ludmilla and Vasily Ignatenko, etc.  

Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl, mentioned upthread.  I haven't read it since its original release, so I will need to revisit it.

Love the miniseries so far.  

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56 minutes ago, Anela said:

Wasn't that eight years ago? I can't believe it didn't cross my mind, considering how there are still things being said that it's contaminated. To be careful about what you eat, etc. 

They are just barely starting to get robots in there that can last long enough to assess what’s going on with the remaining nuclear fuel in the reactors, and their attempts to prevent radiation from leaking into the water table etc aren’t working so well. It seems like it’s all just off the media’s radar. There’s supposedly been a huge uptick in thyroid cancers in kids there, but other research says the reports are only going up because there’s more screening.

I don’t know, this is a new rabbit hole for me.

Edit: here’s this ... https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/world/asia/japan-fukushima-radiation-cancer-death.html

Edited by kieyra
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I was thinking the whole time how the clean-up could only happen in a communist country because those miners and others could be essentially ordered to work to their death.  Who would they get to do those jobs in the US?

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4 hours ago, eejm said:

Along with Threads and The Day After, there was a movie along the same lines called Testament that was similarly harrowing but not quite as gory.

I once met Jane Alexander at a book signing for her autobiography and told her my favorite movie of hers was Testament. She said it was her favorite, too, even though it was probably the most emotionally devastating.

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1 hour ago, meatball77 said:

I was thinking the whole time how the clean-up could only happen in a communist country because those miners and others could be essentially ordered to work to their death.  Who would they get to do those jobs in the US?

I guess, to give our messed-up country some credit, emergency responders for 9/11 acted in much the same way. And this show and the associated podcast do make it sound like the Russian coal miners had a fair amount of power, and more or less chose to go and do the job.

I guess I’m trying to say I think people in the US would do what was necessary to get the job done ... but on the other hand maybe we no longer have enough of a sense of sacrifice for the greater good.

Okay, as I’m typing this out even I’m not convinced, and I’m not sure I’m not romanticizing the whole thing. I guess I do want to believe that humanity would work together to prevent a catastrophe on this level, including making personal sacrifice ... but maybe I’m kidding myself.

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The concrete burial scene was excellent, especially the way they brought in the cement truck. I will remember that scene for a long time.

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Just found this thread, the show is great. My husband describes that he feels like he has a knot in his stomach from the first till the last minute of the episode

He was almost 6 when this happened, and he remembers people were told not to stay outside for longer than 30 minutes. 

I was 1, my mother remembers being told not to go outside.

No one knew the real danger, I think. (We live in Croatia, the cloud was above us for some while)

A lot of people in our generation have thyroid problems, autoimmune diseases, infertility, and for some time I'm wondering if this had something to do with that

Edited by Snow Fairy
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Now I remember, my mom told me they were instructed not to dry the laundry outside. 

Yesterday I saw, for the first time, the video showing how the radioactive cloud spread, and is was scary for me to see. Until now it never striked me so much, we live here, and the situation was so horrific

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I wasn't expecting the nudity scene so seeing the naked miners was a slight shock. I did have to laugh at the head miner saying "We're still wearing the hats!"

The scenes in the hospital were so brutal to watch, especially poor Vasily at the end. I didn't know there was a podcast with this show, I'm going to start listening.

I had a total brain fart while watching the first episode because I actually thought "why are there so many British people working at Chernobyl?" Then I realized. Don't judge me guys.

13 hours ago, kieyra said:

I guess, to give our messed-up country some credit, emergency responders for 9/11 acted in much the same way. And this show and the associated podcast do make it sound like the Russian coal miners had a fair amount of power, and more or less chose to go and do the job.

I guess I’m trying to say I think people in the US would do what was necessary to get the job done ... but on the other hand maybe we no longer have enough of a sense of sacrifice for the greater good.

Okay, as I’m typing this out even I’m not convinced, and I’m not sure I’m not romanticizing the whole thing. I guess I do want to believe that humanity would work together to prevent a catastrophe on this level, including making personal sacrifice ... but maybe I’m kidding myself.

I guess I'm a sap, but I still believe in the good of humanity. There are a lot of horrible things that happen in this world but a lot of good as well. I'm hopeful :) 

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13 minutes ago, MaggieG said:

I wasn't expecting the nudity scene so seeing the naked miners was a slight shock. I did have to laugh at the head miner saying "We're still wearing the hats!"

Now I am thinking about that Joe Cocker song "You can Leave your hat on."

I've started wondering how much clean-up and abatement cost the Russian government. Also, I wonder if they had to pay neighboring countries and their citizens damages. 

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23 hours ago, proserpina65 said:

All I can think about poor Ludmilla is that no one really explained to her how contaminated her husband was, and what that could do to her baby.  Although the nurse did tell her 30 minutes only, and not to touch him.  Obviously the staff was completely overwhelmed by the number and seriousness of the cases coming in.

Before she went to see him, I do believe they asked her if she was pregnant and she said "no."

Edited by txhorns79
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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

Before she went to see him, I do believe they asked her if she was pregnant and she said "no."

The nurse did ask and she did say no.  I'm thinking she didn't really understand the danger, and that if she had known how bad it could be, she'd have at least not touched her husband.

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I remember the US news coverage, and while the reports concerning the spread of airborne radiation was clear about that threat, and the long term adverse risks were seemingly accurate as far as those went, I don’t think the full consequences of a core meltdown were ever as clearly or fully explained as in this miniseries. So I am learning more than I knew.

The depiction of radiation poisoning and its immediate effects are about as explicit as anything I can remember. I did think of “The Day After” (aired in the U.S. on television in 1983, and is credited to having the earliest best depiction of a nuclear winter, which influenced public opinion). And in terms of depiction of similarly horrifying incidents, I also thought of the 1978 miniseries “The Holocaust” which depicted the process by which victims were literally sent into the gas chambers at the Nazi concentration camps and the deposal of their remains.

I think in this case the depiction does serve a salutary purpose, though  difficult it may be to watch. It also made me realize that Chernobyl essentially led to the dissolution of he Soviet Union just two and a half years later. This event demonstrated the flaw in centralized rule and the tendency in a bureaucracy to tell superiors what they wanted to hear, even with dire consequences.

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20 hours ago, kieyra said:

They are just barely starting to get robots in there that can last long enough to assess what’s going on with the remaining nuclear fuel in the reactors, and their attempts to prevent radiation from leaking into the water table etc aren’t working so well. It seems like it’s all just off the media’s radar. There’s supposedly been a huge uptick in thyroid cancers in kids there, but other research says the reports are only going up because there’s more screening.

I don’t know, this is a new rabbit hole for me.

Edit: here’s this ... https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/world/asia/japan-fukushima-radiation-cancer-death.html

Another good book that is fiction but based in fact is All That is Solid Melts into Air

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14 hours ago, Superpole2000 said:

The concrete burial scene was excellent, especially the way they brought in the cement truck. I will remember that scene for a long time.

Great scene, but shouldn't the bodies be incinerated?  Sorry if that question seems harsh.

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20 minutes ago, marinw said:

Great scene, but shouldn't the bodies be incinerated?  Sorry if that question seems harsh.

Maybe that would only realize more radiation into the air?

Okay, just googled this question, and it seems that cremating bodies in a situation like this can contaminate the facility and the environment.  (Yeah, there's a website for this: https://www.remm.nlm.gov/deceased.htm.)

Edited by proserpina65
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