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Old 01-29-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
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The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

This age old debate may finally be solved tomorrow night (Weds, Jan 30) when Mythbusters puts it to the test. Here is a preview of the show:



It appears they go full scale with this one...

As long as they don't mess something up...it will be nice to finally put this debate to bed as it seems to show up on a few forums I'm on at least once a year.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

I've been waiting for this for a while. It'll probably be the highest watched mythbusters ever.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:04 PM   #3
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Thats not gonna work your gonna need a plane with a massive propeller.

Ill watch it though.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiljosh View Post
Thats not gonna work your gonna need a plane with a massive propeller.

Ill watch it though.
Out of curiosity...why?

I haven't watched the vid due to ****ty state internet speeds (they use 10 mb routers...WTF???) so it might pertain to something in the vid...why won't it work without a massive prop?
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:11 PM   #5
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

i love mythbusters... great show.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiarumas View Post
i love mythbusters... great show.
Actually...I think it is better put as....Mythbusters...Dream Job.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureVenom View Post
Out of curiosity...why?
I dont think they will get enough air under the wings with it sitting still i think that what kiljosh is refering to
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Two Things:

(1) Mythbusters is a good TV show, but their science sucks...when they test a "myth", they only ever test one "case" or "scenario" of the given myth...They set certain variables constant that really shouldn't be set constant, that if they left them as variables, would really result in a more "true" answer than the ones they come up with...Again, the show in itself is quite entertaining, BUT in most cases there so-called proving or disproving of myths is not very accurate to say the least...Case in point, the myth about the tailgate up or down is a perfect example of how they don't test nearly enough variables...

(2) The prop size will have nothing to do with this experiment...If I am understanding the premise correctly, the aircraft can NOT possibly take off...This is the old "throwing a ball off a moving vehicle" trick...If you are going 60 mph in one direction and throw the ball in the opposite direction off the back of the truck at that exact 60 mph velocity, the ball will do nothing more than "float" in mid-air...It will actually fall to the earth because of gravity, but the ball will not have any horizontal net velocity...

The same will be true for the airplane...Say for instance the takeoff speed of the airplane is 100mph...that means the treadmill will be set at 100 mph in the OPPOSITE direction....the resulting velocity will be 0 mph...

Lift = .5*density*Velocity^2*Wing Area*Coef. of Lift

With the net resultant velocity being zero, the lift will be zero and therefore the plane will not take off...The prop size has no part in that equation....

That hardest variable for them to overcome is the fact that the treadmill will be almost impossible to get at the exact same speed as the plane at the exact same instant...Because the both won't be able to go say from 0 to 100 mph instantaneously...they will need some length of time to reach the necessary speed...It will again probably be a typical mythbusters experiment where they leave out variables like that and they make some generalization that it is "true" of "false"...

In any event, it should be entertaining tv...nothing more...

/rant
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:56 PM   #9
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Ok, let me throw this argument out there and see if it makes sense to anyone.

When the engines..whether prop or turbine...spin...they produce thrust. When this thrust is applied to the air, the plane moves forward. When the plane moves forward at the correct speed, the amount of lift generated causes the plane to leave the ground.

Notice I did not, in any way, mention wheels in that description. Reason being, they serve no purpose. Wheels do not drive the plane forward. Wheels are only there to allow a resistance free method of contacting the ground. Case in point, when the plane is in the air, how does it continue to move forward? Or how about sea planes?

Ok, here is an analogy for everyone. If you are running/walking (hell, standing still with roller skates on for an apples to apples comparison) on a treadmill you are not moving forward at all...you are matching the speed of the treadmill. Ok, now a buddy walks up behind you and pushes you in the back (ie...thrust), will you stay in place or will you go forward?

Basically, engines produce thrust. Thrust acts upon the wing. The wing is attached to the plane...the thrust applied to the wing causes the plane to move forward...wheels or not...plane takes off.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #10
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

But the ****ing plane is not moving. Place your phone on the desk. Does it take off? Does it move? Exactly, the plane will not take off.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #11
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureVenom View Post
Ok, let me throw this argument out there and see if it makes sense to anyone.

When the engines..whether prop or turbine...spin...they produce thrust. When this thrust is applied to the air, the plane moves forward. When the plane moves forward at the correct speed, the amount of lift generated causes the plane to leave the ground.

Notice I did not, in any way, mention wheels in that description. Reason being, they serve no purpose. Wheels do not drive the plane forward. Wheels are only there to allow a resistance free method of contacting the ground. Case in point, when the plane is in the air, how does it continue to move forward? Or how about sea planes?

Ok, here is an analogy for everyone. If you are running/walking (hell, standing still with roller skates on for an apples to apples comparison) on a treadmill you are not moving forward at all...you are matching the speed of the treadmill. Ok, now a buddy walks up behind you and pushes you in the back (ie...thrust), will you stay in place or will you go forward?

Basically, engines produce thrust. Thrust acts upon the wing. The wing is attached to the plane...the thrust applied to the wing causes the plane to move forward...wheels or not...plane takes off.
Not quite...

If the plane is sitting still, no engines turning...the plane will move backwards at the same speed of the treadmill...

Once the thrust is applied, therefore its "takeoff" velocity reached, the plane will do nothing more than maintain its original spot on the treadmill....
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:03 PM   #12
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Also...

Quote:
Lift = .5*density*Velocity^2*Wing Area*Coef. of Lift
I don't see in there anything that mentions how fast the wheels need to spin in order to cause liftoff.

The wheels are just a rim and a axel...like the front wheels on our cars...they do nothing...spin freely. If the treadmill matches the plane speed of 100 mph...then the wheels will just be spinning at 200 mph.

Oh yeah, there are mini tests on youtube showing the plane will in deed move forward.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:03 PM   #13
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

wow...double post...that's a first.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

I'm glad someone finally agrees with what I've been arguing for months lol. I mean, maybe we're just seeing it wrong or something.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:05 PM   #15
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureVenom View Post
Also...



I don't see in there anything that mentions how fast the wheels need to spin in order to cause liftoff.

The wheels are just a rim and a axel...like the front wheels on our cars...they do nothing...spin freely. If the treadmill matches the plane speed of 100 mph...then the wheels will just be spinning at 200 mph.

Oh yeah, there are mini tests on youtube showing the plane will in deed move forward.
I agree, wheels have nothing to do with it. All the wheels will do is allow the plane to stay in the same spot. Hence no air movement, hence no lift, hence the plane will stay on the ground.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:07 PM   #16
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Y2E0L0L5OGWT View Post
Not quite...

If the plane is sitting still, no engines turning...the plane will move backwards at the same speed of the treadmill...

Once the thrust is applied, therefore its "takeoff" velocity reached, the plane will do nothing more than maintain its original spot on the treadmill....
The plane will move backwards as fast as the friction from the wheel bearings cause it to move. Set a skate on a treadmill and see how fast it goes backwards. It won't match the tread mill. To match the tread mill, that would mean the wheels are not spinning at all and all force is applied to the object.

Once the plane exerts enough thrust to over come the friction of the bearings...which will be minimal, any additional thrust will push the plane forward.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:10 PM   #17
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Both the following examples show clearly what happens...in fact, the tread mill is probably moving faster than both those plans could fly...however, since the thrust of the engines have over come the friction from the wheels...they move forward.

Exibit A:



Exibit B:

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Old 01-29-2008, 03:12 PM   #18
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

An hour of watching a plane not take off? I am so excited!!!!!
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:22 PM   #19
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

science is about having all controled items minus one that changes. You can not have 100 different variables going on that all have to be accounted for. You must control all things but the item you are testing.

My concern is people will argue that a jet vs a propeller plane will differ.. they need to do both.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:23 PM   #20
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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Originally Posted by SpectorV View Post
science is about having all controled items minus one that changes. You can not have 100 different variables going on that all have to be accounted for. You must control all things but the item you are testing.

My concern is people will argue that a jet vs a propeller plane will differ.. they need to do both.
People may argue that, but those people would also be wrong. Whether prop or jet, both engines produce thrust which is what actually moves the plane....but I know what you're saying.

Also, it appears in the preview video in the first post, the treadmill speed is going to be generated using a truck pulling on something...so they should at least be able to control the speed of the treadmill device.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:18 PM   #21
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

It won't fly [/thread]
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:20 PM   #22
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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It won't fly [/thread]
****....now we have to throw the science out..Nate spoke...it's over now.

Dammit...and I wanted so badly for science to be right on this one. Oh well...can't win em all.
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:40 PM   #23
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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****....now we have to throw the science out..Nate spoke...it's over now.

Dammit...and I wanted so badly for science to be right on this one. Oh well...can't win em all.
You speak of thrust and such like crazy, but you always leave out the one key element and really the most important... lift. There is no lift when the plane is moving on the tread mill. Thrust pulls the plane across the ground on its wheels in order to obtain lift from moving through space, this can not be achieved on a tread mill as the plane is not moving through space.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #24
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by n8r View Post
You speak of thrust and such like crazy, but you always leave out the one key element and really the most important... lift. There is no lift when the plane is moving on the tread mill. Thrust pulls the plane across the ground on its wheels in order to obtain lift from moving through space, this can not be achieved on a tread mill as the plane is not moving through space.
The treadmil is unable to prevent the forward movement of the plane. The plane will move forward. The plane flies.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:44 PM   #25
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

it flies

if you think it doesnt, modern aviation as we know it is moot. what keeps a plane moving forward while in the air? sure in the hell aint wheels......

thrust created by the propeller or jet engines or whatever is not being negated. if you think a conveyor running backwards under a plane is going to stop it from taking off, you have obviously not seen a seaplane take off against a current.

there is nothing negating thrust which is what propels a plane forward, which creates lift. the negating force is a conveyor acting on free spinning wheels, which means they equal eachother out to nothing.

you can youtube many small scale scenarios of people attempting the experiment, each time the plane moves forward no matter how fast their treadmill moves against it.

its not that hard a concept. wheels dont move a plane, a propeller does (or jet engine, or rocket, etc).

lol @ aerospace engineers who dont understand simple physics......
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:48 PM   #26
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas91169 View Post
you can youtube many small scale scenarios of people attempting the experiment, each time the plane moves forward no matter how fast their treadmill moves against it.
I provided the videos .... and yet there is still debate.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:02 PM   #27
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

It flies. /thread

The wheels have absolutely nothing to do with the plane flying.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:37 PM   #28
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

I am with bbunt...thise is a dumb thread...and an even dumber argument...
Planes don't generally fly off treadmills anyway lol....
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:14 PM   #29
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

I drive a Jeep. It won't fly.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:18 PM   #30
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Y2E0L0L5OGWT View Post
Two Things:

(1) Mythbusters is a good TV show, but their science sucks...when they test a "myth", they only ever test one "case" or "scenario" of the given myth...They set certain variables constant that really shouldn't be set constant, that if they left them as variables, would really result in a more "true" answer than the ones they come up with...Again, the show in itself is quite entertaining, BUT in most cases there so-called proving or disproving of myths is not very accurate to say the least...Case in point, the myth about the tailgate up or down is a perfect example of how they don't test nearly enough variables...

(2) The prop size will have nothing to do with this experiment...If I am understanding the premise correctly, the aircraft can NOT possibly take off...This is the old "throwing a ball off a moving vehicle" trick...If you are going 60 mph in one direction and throw the ball in the opposite direction off the back of the truck at that exact 60 mph velocity, the ball will do nothing more than "float" in mid-air...It will actually fall to the earth because of gravity, but the ball will not have any horizontal net velocity...

The same will be true for the airplane...Say for instance the takeoff speed of the airplane is 100mph...that means the treadmill will be set at 100 mph in the OPPOSITE direction....the resulting velocity will be 0 mph...

Lift = .5*density*Velocity^2*Wing Area*Coef. of Lift

With the net resultant velocity being zero, the lift will be zero and therefore the plane will not take off...The prop size has no part in that equation....

That hardest variable for them to overcome is the fact that the treadmill will be almost impossible to get at the exact same speed as the plane at the exact same instant...Because the both won't be able to go say from 0 to 100 mph instantaneously...they will need some length of time to reach the necessary speed...It will again probably be a typical mythbusters experiment where they leave out variables like that and they make some generalization that it is "true" of "false"...

In any event, it should be entertaining tv...nothing more...

/rant
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(Sorry, my bachelor's is in Aerospace Engineering if anyone cares lol)
no.. the wheels spin freely, the velocity is dependent on the air speed vs. the thrust.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:30 PM   #31
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

So, after much internal debate, deep thinking, and much consideration, I think I am going to have to switch sides on this debate. I think, with a treadmill long enough, no matter how fast you turn it, the plane will still proceed as normal, with one exception... the tires will be moving a hell of a lot faster than they usually do on take off lol.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:37 PM   #32
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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So, after much internal debate, deep thinking, and much consideration, I think I am going to have to switch sides on this debate. I think, with a treadmill long enough, no matter how fast you turn it, the plane will still proceed as normal, with one exception... the tires will be moving a hell of a lot faster than they usually do on take off lol.
Good call :beer:
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:40 PM   #33
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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I provided the videos .... and yet there is still debate.
thanks, i scrolled down before it even loaded the links (i was at work) but yeah, those were the ones i have seen the most of.

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Originally Posted by n8r View Post
So, after much internal debate, deep thinking, and much consideration, I think I am going to have to switch sides on this debate. I think, with a treadmill long enough, no matter how fast you turn it, the plane will still proceed as normal, with one exception... the tires will be moving a hell of a lot faster than they usually do on take off lol.
pretty much. the wheels will just be rotating at twice the speed as normal. at most the pilot might have to apply a few hairs more throttle to overcome the frictional drag, if thats even an issue.

if mythbusters fails at properly putting together the problem, i plan on buying a model airplane, some small rpm sensors and trying to find a used treadmill and rig something up.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:45 PM   #34
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

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Originally Posted by n8r View Post
So, after much internal debate, deep thinking, and much consideration, I think I am going to have to switch sides on this debate. I think, with a treadmill long enough, no matter how fast you turn it, the plane will still proceed as normal, with one exception... the tires will be moving a hell of a lot faster than they usually do on take off lol.
When I first read the question, I was in the not-fly camp. The treadmil is theoretical, I reasoned. It can move as fast as it needs to impart as much resistance on the wheels and bearings as it needs to in order to keep the plane still. If you actually read the question, though (as it's typically worded) the treadmil only moves as fast as the plane.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:50 PM   #35
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Re: The ol' Plane vs treadmill debate

and yet another... thread where decorated engineers seem to somehow miss basic theory of relativity. wow..

the plane will fly.
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