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[flagged] Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Pedophile (futurism.com)
30 points by moelf 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 89 comments

The article says that 14 and 17 year old are pedophilia, which is a range that is not widely considered pedophilia but underage, being only punished if there was intent for exploitation. Pedophilia is heinous because it takes advantage of people(children) who are not yet able defend against exploitation. It would be on the same level of rape, but with even worse circumstances due to general helplessness by the child.

The age of consent in most of the world is averaging 16 but can go down all the way to 14 in, you guessed where: Germany.

Only India, US and a bunch of African countries had 18 or higher as age of consent. Even Ireland has 17. A sensationalist article. How can impregnating a 17 year old in the beginning of the XX century be considered pedophilia is beyond my understanding. It also has the negative effects of diluting the evilness of a terrible thing, into something that is not so outlandish.


The problem is that people still can't detach age of consent from pedophilia. Being a pedophile is about being attracted to kids, meaning you get aroused from the bodily characteristics of prepubescent people. If you are attracted to a 13yo that looks like a 18yo then you aren't a pedophile, but if you are attracted to a 13yo who looks like a 13yo you might very well be. Having said that, you still should be banned from interacting sexually with such young people because of the extremely imbalanced power dynamic that can arise, plus the fact that we rightfully consider children of such age still not able to decide for themselves.

All pedophiles break the age of consent, but not everyone who brakes the age of consent is a pedophile.

You're right up until your last sentence, which is totally wrong and illustrates another important thing people misunderstand - there is a difference between a pedophile and child molester.

The age of consent is about consenting to sexual activity. A pedophile is someone who feels attraction. If you're a pedophile, that is, you feel attraction to young children, but you seek out treatment and never act on it, then you're not a child molester and haven't broken the age of consent.

It's an important difference, because pedophilia is a mental illness, but because people think of pedophiles and actual child molesters as one in the same, pedophiles are often discouraged from seeking out treatment. We should acknowledge that feelings of attraction to children are beyond one's control, like the urges of an alcoholic to drink.

Given that, we should celebrate alcoholics who recognize that they have a problem, seek out treatment, and stop drinking. They are fighting a difficult battle against a condition they did not ask for. The same with pedophiles - those who seek out treatment and do not harm children should be applauded, not shunned.

Important and relevant: https://www.vice.com/en/article/j5y8zy/the-men-who-call-them...

> because pedophilia is a mental illness

Is it? I wouldn't think it is any more of a mental illness than having a foot or rape fetish.


> Pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.[4] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines it as a "sustained, focused, and intense pattern of sexual arousal—as manifested by persistent sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, or behaviours—involving pre-pubertal children."[6]

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedophilia

> Pedophilic disorder is characterized by recurring, intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behavior involving children (usually 13 years old or younger).

* https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mental-health-disorders/pa...

Sure, if it causes intense distress or interpersonal difficulty then just about anything is a mental illness. For every person like that I'm sure there are many for whom it's just a fantasy that excites them to think about but they'd never actually act upon and isn't really a big deal. There are a lot of fantasies (not necessarily sexual ones) similarly enjoyed by mentally healthy people every day.

It is pretty culturally determined what constitutes mental illness. The underlying cause might not be more different to foot fetish, maybe even treatment is similar.

One is just morally not questionable.

You got me there on that technicality, but since I already defined at the beginning of my post that being a pedohpile is only about arousal I think it was clear that the last sentence referred to pedophiles who actually enact on their desires. But if we want to be pedantic, a child molester can also not be a pedophile since you can have sex with people that you don't actually feel attracted to.


> Schrödinger repeatedly sexually abused young women.[42][43][44][45] "The poor things," Schrödinger wrote about the young women and girls he had sexually abused. "They have given me the moments of happiness in my life and themselves the sorrow. Such is life."[verification needed] Schrödinger recorded his sexual "conquests" in a diary he called "Ephemeridae" (mayflies).[citation needed] He justified his preference for young girls by saying that their innocence was the ideal counterpart to his natural genius

The Futurism piece links to https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/how-erwin-s... which starts:

> How Erwin Schrödinger indulged his ‘Lolita complex’ in Ireland / Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who spent 17 years in Ireland, was a serial groomer of girls

I don't have an account to read it.

Good catch, problem is what are the citations:

[42] https://taz.de/Missbrauch-und-Missachtung/!5823374/

[43] Joe Humphreys (11 December 2021). "How Erwin Schrödinger indulged his 'Lolita complex' in Ireland". The Irish Times.

[44] staff (January 2022). "Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Pedophile". Futurism. Retrieved 14 January 2022.

[45] Johnson, Lacy M. (2 August 2021). "Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: "I'm one part of the universe, trying to figure out another part of the universe."". Guernica Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2021.

[42] An article referring to the Irish times article.

[43] is the Irish times original article i called sensationalist, due to the conflation of 14 to 17 sexual affairs being called pedophilie.

[44] Is the a re-quote of the article of [43]

[45] Is an interview with a third party account with the following to say:

" I can’t remember exactly how he says it, but it’s something like “an unusual interest in pre-teenage girls,” which is new information for me. Literally, 90 percent of the work that I do right now is using the nonlinear Schrödinger-Poisson equation.? " . What’s interesting to me about this is nobody’s going to write about Rovelli’s book and call it a memoir unless that’s what I decide to say in my review. Nobody’s going to call it a biography of Schrödinger. I might say it’s a biography of quantum mechanics, but nobody’s going to say it’s a biography of a person, nobody’s going to say it’s a memoir, nobody’s going to say it’s an autobiography, none of that."

Yes, many of them go back to the same primary source.

But the [42] you mention seems entirely on point, eg, with 'That was a mistake, Humphreys admitted three weeks ago: "The evidence was obvious," he wrote. "Schrödinger was a serial abuser." '

That's certainly enough to suspect that this is not meant to interpret a cultural difference in the age of consent as pedophilia, but is actually the "the evilness of a terrible thing" you opposed.

I don't know why you thought it was more likely the former.

The original article Irish Times articles is not even available without a paywall, yet it is quoted by the topic of this argument without further evidence.

Great claims require, great evidence, especially on such a delicate topic. If a household scientific name will be judged as pedophile, so be it! But please, get historians and primary source evidence; not a newspaper article behind a paywal.

The sentence you quote is from Joe Humphreys[1] a journalist for the Irish Times itself. I could not find any biography or peer reviews work on Schrodinger by him[1]. Again it is not about whether it is not true or not. The whole article makes a lot of claims which touch very sensitive topics that should be accurately and precisely described with at least mention of original sources or authorities. Unfortunately it seems we have Joe Humphreys' word :(


> especially on such a delicate topic

Which is why jumping to the hypothesis that it was an age-of-consent issue is surely premature.

Not sure what to think but I went and briefly checked all the references cited in that paragraph... and they were all written within the last few months, most of them news articles from the past week or two. Curious...

Because it's newly published.

The https://taz.de/Missbrauch-und-Missachtung/!5823374/ links, according to Google Translate at https://taz-de.translate.goog/Missbrauch-und-Missachtung/!58... says:

> That he was a parthenophile and abusive of girls is absent from most biographies . While his biographers Walter Moore and John Gribbin mention it in their books on Schrödinger, it has been largely ignored. Wikipedia has no reference whatsoever: "Schrödinger and his wife Annie lived in an open relationship - Schrödinger openly had extramarital relationships, for example with the wife of his colleague and friend Arthur March," it says there only.

and mentions:

> Barbara, whose married name was McEntee, died in 1995. Her family only found out about Schrödinger's unwanted attention long after her death. "The subject never came up with my mother, as you can imagine," says her son, Bernard Biggar. He had come across Moore's biography while following a cross-reference to his great-uncle de Brún. In September, after reading an article in the Irish Times about an official cycle route that follows Schrödinger's footsteps through ten stops in Dublin, he asked author Joe Humphreys why he hadn't mentioned Schrödinger's parthenophilia. That was a mistake, Humphreys admitted three weeks ago: "The evidence was obvious," he wrote. "Schrödinger was a serial abuser."

The article mentions one girl was 12.

> The article says that 14 and 17 year old are pedophilia, which is a range that is not widely considered pedophilia

“Pedophilia” in common use includes both “pedophilia” and “ephebophilia” in the strict sense. There's not a whole lot of value on being excessively particular about this in common speech except when scientific research about things like the immutably of (certain patterns of) pedophilia in the strict sense is used to justify arguments, and particularly public policy, addressing “pedophilia” in the expansive sense. It’s fine for words to have different meaning in different contexts.

There would maybe something valuable in your response here, but the fact that it doesn't speak to all the details of the article kinda makes it seem a little kneejerk; it "protests too much". And the fact you even have that reflex is probably something to work on with such sensitive matters. At the very least, realize it makes you look really bad dude.

article says he also went after a 12 year old.

There's always someone with an extensive understanding of age of consent laws ready to chime in and explain why this particular case of abusing and exploiting children isn't weird.

Why? This isn't an intellectual debate. We don't need to understand the severity of different types of exploitation to understand that Schrödinger's love for a 12 year old child is heinous.

He was also that girl's tutor, which would have made it an abuse of power even if she was older.

No, I agree that this was clearly child abuse. The real stinker in this article is using real abuse to legitimize the swipe at James Webb on the end. The real culture war payload.

(James Webb was falsely accused of doing anti-gay purges based on a misattributed quote, but from this article you'd think he was a pedophile too).

Why is there always someone eager to demonstrate a weirdly expansive knowledge of ages of consent?

Sometimes it's for suspicious reasons, but sometimes the focus on legal age of consent is just a misguided reaction to the opposite irrationality.

Generally this topic perhaps more than any other suffers from semantic ambiguity, due to an unwillingness to put a lot of thought into it and bad faith arguments, which both stem from how incredibly uncomfortable and emotional the real consequences surrounding the topic are.

Examples of distinctions that are usually not made clear in contexts where they should be:

- Abuse vs pedophilia.

- Colloquial vs objective definitions of pedophilia.

- Legal vs moral.

- Feeling vs acting.

- "Prepubescent child" vs "person who has secondary sexual characteristics and/or is fully sexually developed, but whose mind may not yet be - or certainly is not - physiologically and/or sociologically developed enough to express independence in the face of even mild sexual advances from an adult, or to make sound decisions about sex (for sometimes undefinably subjective meanings of 'sound decision')".

People opining on age of consent sometimes have a good point, often not, but I think in either case they are usually honestly trying to bring more clarity to an important topic.

Honestly, my only gripe is conflating pedophilia and child abuse. One can be both a pedophile and a child abuser, but the first doesn't imply the other. Or maybe I'm just lamenting over another word losing a useful distinction in modern usage.

Either way, it would seem in this case it may be both.

because cultural imperialism irritates people

The most charitable hypothesis here is just libertarianism I think, especially because of its ideological prevalence in this crowd.

There's a libertarian-socialist horseshoe on age of consent laws. The more ideological one becomes, the more passionate they are about lowering the age and distinguishing between the different paraphilias relating to sex with minors. At this point I assume that all political theories are invented to justify their proponents' sexual desires.

> There's a libertarian-socialist horseshoe on age of consent laws.

Not really.

First, because “libertarian” and “socialist” aren't opposing poles (libertarian socialism is a thing), and, second, because non-libertarian socialists aren't particularly against (or for reducing the age set in) age of consent laws. And, third, even anarchists, who are the polar extreme of libertarian socialist tend to support age of consent laws, there only consistent opposition to current ones is, as with other laws of current societies, objection to the structural basis on which they are made and enforced, content of the laws aside.

EDIT: Similar things may also be true of libertarians not being as anti-age-of-consent as portrayed as I have noted about socialists; I have had somewhat more contact with broad leftist communities than broad libertarian ones outside of their overlap, so I may be more susceptible to misestimating the prevalence of certain views in the libertarian community because they are highly visible when espoused because of how transgressive they are.

My comment was tongue in cheek, but is based on my experience with both groups, especially as they exist online.

Part of what's strange is how often age of consent comes up in these circles. It's not something most people think too much about. Last time I was worried about age of consent laws was when I turned 18 a few months before my girlfriend.

> tend to support age of consent laws > objection to the structural basis on which they are made and enforced

You'll get a laundry list of reasons why our existing laws are oppressive, passionate assertions that adults and minors can have positive sexual relationships with each other, delineations of pedophilia, ephebophilia, etc. All followed up with a vague caveat that age of consent laws might not be inherently bad, but usually with no attempt whatsoever at suggesting what they should be. Seems a strange place to just stop your little thought experiment.

Then you have people like Vaush who just can't stop saying things like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50Cjw7Fq6VA

> Part of what's strange is how often age of consent comes up in these circles.

Age of consent comes up a lot in libertarian (including both right-libertarian and anarchist/libert5-socialist) circles because it's an easy emotional “think of the children” gotcha that the groups are, because of their opposition to status quo government authority subjected to continuously.

It also comes up a lot because libertarian groups (on both left and right) are about fundamentally reorganizing the structure of authority in society, and it's an obvious and (for most) important issue addressed by the status quo system.

People reimplementing (or designing a reimplementation of) a system should spend a lot more time thinking about things the current system treats as a solved problem than end users of the existing system do.

> All followed up with a vague caveat that age of consent laws might not be inherently bad, but usually with no attempt whatsoever at suggesting what they should be.

I've rarely found anyone in either community that wouldn't state their preference on age of consent laws when asked, what they tend not to do is express what they should be for all communities, because they tend to oppose the idea of centralized legal standards for all communities (both left and right libertarians have frequently spoken up to support intervention if the practice in another community is seen as widespread violation of moral consent, but not reducing that to some legalism. I think people have trouble understanding that libertarians have a different view on the relation between morality and law than people who are less libertarian, and therefore mistake libertarian reluctance to demand universal legislation on certain issues with libertine moral neutrality on them.

> Then you have people like Vaush

Vaush is a rather controversial figure among anarchists.

You seem to be implying that this is secondary effect of being "more ideological," and not following from the ideology itself. The point is rather that libertarians say that the state should not have a right to define such limits at all on people. Not sure where the parallel would be for leftists/socialists?

Also small nitpick but one cannot be "more" or "less" ideological, we all are whether we like it or not, it's just the question of which ideology you are. You might say, "well I am not one of those fanatics on either side of the horseshoe," but that doesn't make you "less" ideological, it just defines your ideology.

Ideology =/= belief system. It is rather the implicit, subconscious framing you have to the world that informs the belief system you arrive at ("rationally" or otherwise). So, in fact, denying you have ideology, or having "less" ideology than the radicals, shows that the influence of ideology on you is stronger than otherwise :).

It's just an idiom. But to clarify I'm not on this particular horseshoe at all.

Looking at history with our current perspective, so were: Edgar Allen Poe, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mohammed, Henry VIII, ...

Between 2000 and 2015 there were at least 207,468 child marriages in the United States of which over 1,000 marriage licences were for children under 15, some as young as ten years old.


I'm not sure why we feel a need to look at history through this particular lens. I think that Schrodinger's work, or Poe's writing, should be appreciated for the great achievements they are, and we don't need to consider the person from whose minds they sprang.

Does creating a list of past greats who did naughty things accomplish anything except maybe to broaden the Overton window for those naughty things? (Hey, if this person's so great and they did it, why shouldn't I?)

"The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935 raised the age to 17, with more severe penalties under age 15, and disallowed a defence of mistake."

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_Europe#Hist...

Seems to be the perspective of his contemporaries as well.

and even in recent history: David Bowie, Fergie, Jerry Seinfeld, Joel Madden, Kobe Bryant, Luc Besson, Steven Tyler, Paul Walker, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many, many more.

I mean most rockers from the 80s and 90s. People don't really talk about it much, but it's in their autobiographies and everything. They were all with underage groupies and it's no secret-- people just really like their work so they try to avoid thinking about it too much. Which is how Steven Tyler can be a host on American Idol

He was a monster.

Yeah, and it's even in a section of the website called "Big Yikes". Ok I get, pedophilia == bad.

But my, aren't we being slowly trained to be hapless outrage porn junkies these days, by the continual barrage of manipulative trigger-articles like these.

If you want a more "sober" version, here's the relevant section from the Wikipedia article on him :

>Schrödinger repeatedly sexually abused young women. "The poor things," Schrödinger wrote about the young women and girls he had sexually abused. "They have given me the moments of happiness in my life and themselves the sorrow. Such is life." Schrödinger recorded his sexual "conquests" in a diary he called "Ephemeridae" (mayflies). He justified his preference for young girls by saying that their innocence was the ideal counterpart to his natural genius. One of his victims, aged between 12 and 17, became pregnant by him, had an abortion and became infertile after the abortion. These acts of abuse were reported in 1989 by Walter J. Moore (1918-2001) in his biography of Schrödinger as a "lolita complex", and described by John Gribbin in his 2012 book as "fondling and cuddling".

yeah this fits the description of a monster for me.

Infinitely better.

You're right. We are being manipulated.

I make the claim that rational thought evaporates completely when sex and/or sexuality in any form is the basis of public discourse.

There is always a risk of attempted out-of-context cancellation for people who attempt to discuss the quirks of philosophy, law, or policy regarding taboo subjects.

I learned last night that Richard M. Stallman (RMS) has articles about him on Vice that are narrowly focused on some of his weighing in on the Epstein case.

While I cannot defend what RMS may have said just as I cannot defend what Schrodinger may have done, I still wish to highlight the absolute toxicity of taboo topics.

On the one hand: These sorts of things become the narrow fixation of moral crusaders who pursue their cause to the extremes.

On the other hand: Outsiders weighing in can be caught in the crossfire and find themselves cancelled by the crusade if they start asking questions or trying to discuss the wider meta of, "What defines this rule? Is it not possible that they are innocent? Does this rule help society? What of false positives?"

... As a result, outsiders know to avoid discussing the moral crusade or the rule for fear of being on the recieving end of the legacy destroying mob's righteous wrath.

We all self censor and avoid asking critical questions to improve our understandings of these events. We live in an age where the devil's advocate as well as the devil are both put on trial.

> I learned last night that Richard M. Stallman (RMS) has articles about him on Vice that are narrowly focused on some of his weighing in on the Epstein case.

If you mean https://www.vice.com/en/article/9ke3ke/famed-computer-scient..., please note that that article misconstrues what was said.

Both the headline and the article claim that Stallman said Giuffre was "entirely willing;" a read of the provided emails shows otherwise. He said that she probably appeared to Minsky to be "entirely willing;" that Minsky would have been unaware of coercion, not that there was none.

There are absolutely things to object to in what he said, but we should be objecting to what he said, not the words some (apparently) shoddy journalists are putting in his mouth.

The bigger picture was that these moral crusades create an environment in which few are willing to openly discuss the facts, what lines are crossed, their thoughts on those lines, etc.

I abstain from defending RMS, but it is amazing to me how damaging these moral crusades are. I wonder if my feelings currently are similar to those of the public audience during a witch trial. If the imaginary members of the audience stood up to say that the witchness is a bit absurd, they too would be accused of some relationship to dark magic, etc.

Don't you feel, to some extent, worried that by discussing Stallman's comments and their nuance, you yourself may one day be roasted in the same way the RMS is?

Its incredible.

Is this a pet peeve with little to do with the article itself or are you actually reacting to what is going on in this comment section where a discussion is taking place of:"but is this wrong?"

All the while ignoring that Schrodinger had a diary in which he condemned his own actions and was aware of the hurt he was doing.

This just screams bias.

Less about Schroedinger or Stallman, more of a meta commentary on the way people talk about these things combined with the way others threaten to make it a crusade against commenters.

I find these sorts of engagements interesting at the meta level.

Finally, we can cancel quantum mechanics and go back to determinism!

Interestingly, quantum mechanics is already sort-of fully deterministic. It's only the not-quite quantum mechanical Born rule that's interpreted as probabilistic (unless you believe in eg the many worlds interpretation.)

My understanding is that the evolution of the wave function is deterministic. Upon measurement, the wave function collapses to an eigenstate of the measurement operator. Which eigenstate is observed is random, with probability based on the corresponding eigenvalue. So the measurement process/wave function collapse is random.

Admittedly it's been a long time since I've studied quantum mechanics! Has the thinking changed?

Yes, that's basically the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, and a perfectly valid way to interpret the math.

The Many Worlds interpretation doesn't have the collapse, it says that all the possibilities happen.


> In contrast to some other interpretations, such as the Copenhagen interpretation, the evolution of reality as a whole in MWI is rigidly deterministic.

There's some wrinkles in that interpretation to preserve the Born rule of observed frequencies.

Every time something like this comes up, I am reminded of the phrase "There is a fine line between genius and insanity." I would not be surprised at all if everyone who had made great contributions to the advancement of society also had a "dark side" which may or may not eventually become known.

In this case Schrödinger appears to have used his genius to justify his pattern of abuse.

Dirac, by all accounts, did not have anything like this sort of dark side. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Dirac#Personality

Yet Einstein referred to Dirac as "balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness". ... without it being a dark side.

I miss the days when the articles you read were written and edited by professionals. "Absolute scumbag" might be an apt description of Schrodinger but it is one the reader should make. Not the writer.

I presume Schrödinger's cat will be issuing a statement shortly.

Maybe something along the lines of "I wouldn't be caught dead sitting on his lap".

"I wouldn't be caught in a superposition of dead and alive sitting on his lap"


> the physicist kept a record of his abuse in his diaries, even justifying his actions by claiming he had a right to the girls due to his genius.

Well, never meet your heroes. Its sad to see this a recurring theme in among elites, they think they're special and therefore the rules don't apply to them.

Would be interesting to read the primary source if someone can find it.

Article reads like it was written by a child who's just discovered adverbs, or at the very least is bring paid to promote them by Big Adverb.

The tone of those adverbs is also entirely unnecessary. We already understand: Child sex abuse isn't nice! You don't need to label his every action as diabolical, stomach-churning, and horrifying. Certainly not all within a few sentences of each other.

I hope this isn't the future of science writing.

I can understand the disgusted sentiment, but this article read like an angry Twitter rant. I'd very much like to read the original article from the Irish Times, but it appears to be behind a paywall. When I searched for alternatives, I was only able to turn up articles with the same title as this one, none of which had a hint of reputability to me.

I fear that the worst case for paywalls is coming to fruition, where the best that will be available for free are articles about articles. If anybody knows of somewhere that I can learn more about this matter, please sound off.

While adults abusing underage children is deeply disturbing to us, morality is a shifting metric that can change very fast, while biology doesn't moves much slower.

Whatever reason some people are attracted to children, is hard wired into them. It shouldn't be a surprise anymore that some percent of people are like this. That's why I would never allow my daughter to be in the room alone with another adult man. You just can't trust people.

> That's why I would never allow my daughter to be in the room alone with another adult man.

I get what you're saying but another approach to this would be to teach your child an understanding of how to say "no" and give them the confidence to handle such situations. Obviously if they're like 6 then this may not work well, but a teenager should be able to confide with their parents if they believe they are being groomed.

> That's why I would never allow my daughter to be in the room alone with another adult man. You just can't trust people.

No one? There are some terrible people out there who hide it really well, but this seems like a terrible way to live.

Why even have kids if this is how you feel about humanity?


Tell me, are you surprised? Absent some framework for morality that people submit to and elevate to the status of the ultimate authority in all things ethical — where will people draw ethics? Everything consistently ethical in one philosophy is reprehensible to another.

I was not sure if this website was not some reaction to a reaction when I saw the word "ackshually" written. I immediately closed it. And here was I ashamed at my typos.

Yep, it’s blatant right-wing propaganda.

This comment was linking to Twitchy, a right-wing propaganda site. Likely why it was flagged by someone.

SARCASM: ON It's time to cancel Quantum physics and wave equation in particular. Almost nobody understand it anyway. Along with macBooks and iPhones. SARCASM: OFF

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