Bobbing Around Volume 17 Number 12

Disposability is an absurd business model that was originally encouraged as a way of increasing consumption for the benefit of the entire economy, but it is now used as a manipulative tactic to keep consumers locked into enforced consumption cycles where you have to pay for upgrades, buy the newest version, or accept the limited use option.
Lloyd Alter


Contentment is a skill you can learn, and improve with practice.
Dr Bob Rich

Bobbing Around

Volume Seventeen, Number Twelve,
June, 2018

Bob Rich’s rave

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bobswriting.com    anxietyanddepression-help.com/    mudsmith.net/    previous issues

*About Bobbing Around
subscribe/unsubscribe
guidelines for contributions

*From me to you
Hit and Run ready to fly
Great music for a great cause
Thank you
A popularity contest
Letter to a nice lady
Short stories for your enjoyment
Ted Trainer
Help my campaign at Amazon
I’m on Carolyn’s New Review Site

*Responses
Gary Clough

*Politics
Mapping war

*Environment
Everyone can make a difference
Will Melbourne follow Cape Town?
3 million years ago
Patagonia melting
Bigfoot tourists
Disaster for west coast of Alaska
Senate report: climate change is hurting NOW

*Good news
Baysanto can’t kill bees in Europe
Dugongs saved
Coal shrinks in India
Can’t patent life in India
Letter of sanity

*Inspiring people
Are you willing to have a GOOD mosquito bite you?
Rev. Jan Chase again
Also real followers of Christ
Edible town to copy
Black is brave, intelligent and modest
Senator Elizabeth Warren, on Mother’s Day

*Compassion
Louisville sparkles with compassion
Being the way you are is not a sin

*Technology
Green toilet paper
Recycling is a con game
Bikes: bright legs better than bright body

*Deeper issues
How do you explain reincarnation?
What’s the point of enlightenment?
Smart animals
Consumption is not only stuff
We all die — choose when

*Psychology
How to improve your marriage
What are the people who are supposedly lying about climate change supposed to be gaining from it?
Torn by guilt for a sexual act at 14
Is he breaking up with me?
No one would miss me if I died
I hate my life

*Health
A helpful site
The unacknowledged global epidemic
For Seniors Looking to Stay Sharp, Pick Up a New Hobby, by Janet Campbell
What’s in your homegrown food?

*Look over a writer’s shoulder
A daisy chain of scenes
The Bio

*What my friends want you to know
Big prizes in Permaculture contest
My Africa
Tasmania: Green beauty
MSF in Gaza
Climate reality project
Support abused kids by voting for my friend’s book
Weekly Peace Salon

*Reviews
Moral Panic by Kevin Ecke
Elysian Dawn by Sally Odgers


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.


Since World War II, during a supposed golden age of peace, the United States military has killed or helped kill some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 84 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries… I’m a peace activist because mass-murder is horrible.
David Swanson

Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.


From me to you

Hit and Run ready to fly
Great music for a great cause
Thank you
A popularity contest
Letter to a nice lady
Short stories for your enjoyment
Ted Trainer
Help my campaign at Amazon
I’m on Carolyn’s New Review Site

 

Hit and Run ready to fly

Some time during the next few days, Hit and Run will be available for sale.

Well, many of my friends have already received a free, prepublication copy. However, the “real thing” will be only $US2.99…

A great many people have been kind enough to email me positive reviews. No one has sent me a negative one, which encourages me for this book. During the coming weeks, I’ll contact each of these reviewers. I’ll send the review back as a reminder, with links to the exact pages where the book is listed, and ask for the review to be submitted.

I feel fortunate in my friends, and for the gift of being a writer. Writing IS the chocolate icing on the cake of life, but friends are its meaning.

Thank you.


Great music for a great cause

My country’s greatest shame is the way its government treats asylum seekers and refugees. Having been a refugee myself, I do whatever I can to help. For this reason, I am a member of the Healesville branch of Rural Australians for Refugees.

Please read my very recent blog post about our latest project: a CD of lovely music, all donated, to raise money for our brothers and sisters in detention for having committed no crime.


Thank you

Thanks to my many generous friends, I raised $715 for my charity walk. Please read my account of the walk, and how I made a new friend.

My local branch of the Australian Greens had a raffle of a beautiful pic, and again thanks to the generosity of many lovely people, I managed to sell 120 tickets.


A popularity contest

I have entered my most recently published book, Guardian Angel, in the Historical section of a contest which depends on number of votes cast. Helping me out takes about a minute, and I’ll reward you with a beautiful smile beamed through the ether.

Please go to this web page. Ignore the video thingy. There is a drop-down list with right and left arrows. Historical is page 14 of 16, so a few clicks on the left arrow will get you there.


Letter to a nice lady

(who is State Minister for Environment where I live, part of a government that has to do as the Unions tell it. That’s better than big business, but not by much.)

    We are now officially in the 6th extinction event of earth’s history. Extinction rates are currently estimated as 1000 times the “background rate,” and many not yet endangered species are suffering major drops in population due to human activity.

    Australia has the dubious distinction of being near the top of the list.

    There is convincing evidence form the team that has studied our alpine forests for 30 years that the ash forests are heading for collapse. Among other things, this will drastically affect Melbourne’s water supply. We really, really don’t want to follow Cape Town.

    In these circumstances, it is ridiculous, and even criminal, to clear-fell native forests, especially when they are turned into paper, at no profit to taxpayers.

    What’s more, the few hundred people in that industry could be employed in tree plantations on degraded land, while a Great Forest National Park would provide employment for tens of thousands.

    The logging must stop as a matter of urgency.

    Yours sincerely,
    Bob Rich
    Healesville, Victoria, 3777, Australia


Fires like this are a standard part of clearfall logging.


Short stories for your enjoyment

You will enjoy a short story I posted this month: Defeating the Blood-Red Dragon.

Also, please read a nonfiction short story by my young friend Tom Hope, Making Friends with the Opposition.

The next one is due on the 7th of June. You can keep an eye on past and future offerings.


Ted Trainer

I enormously admire George Monbiot, Guardian columnist. Ted Trainer has reviewed his latest book, and I agree with every word he wrote.

Ted has been an environmental activist as long as I have. He lives his dream: has established a small community, the members of which have one-tenth of the environmental footprint of other people in overdeveloped western countries. They live a good life.

If we don’t all follow him, we can follow the dinosaurs into extinction.


Help my campaign at Amazon

As I’ve said last time, Amazon now makes it impossible for people in one country to post on their page for another country. Why shouldn’t an American be able to post on the British site, and vice versa?

And their rules discriminate against poor people. Why shouldn’t a homeless person who’d read a book in a library be forbidden from reviewing it?

Amazon make it as difficult as they can to enable visitors to make a complaint. I’ve tracked it down:

  • Find the help link down the bottom
  • Enter “make a complaint” in the search slot
  • Choose “Prime or something else”
  • Ignoring the options, go to “2 tell us more about your issue”
  • Choose “more non-order questions”
  • Select “give Amazon feedback”
  • Then “other feedback topic”

You’re there! At last you can select “email.”

If there is a shorter passage, I haven’t found it.


I’m on Carolyn’s New Review Site

Or at least my review of What’s making our children SICK is.
Please check it out, and note the service Carolyn provides. If you like reading, her review service is a good source of leads to follow up.


Responses

Gary Clough

Hey mate, I did as you asked and made a fuss at Amazon. You reckon they’ll listen?

🙂
Gary

Sure thing, Gary. If not to you, then to a crowd of us.
Bob


Politics

Mapping war

World Beyond War has produced a very powerful display. It is a set of world maps, each showing some aspect of the greatest source of human suffering and environmental destruction: war.

I got a lot out of studying this information.


Environment

Everyone can make a difference
Will Melbourne follow Cape Town?
3 million years ago
Patagonia melting
Bigfoot tourists
Disaster for west coast of Alaska
Senate report: climate change is hurting NOW

 

Everyone can make a difference

A rather amusing cartoon sequence at EcoWatch shows what everyone and anyone can do to help save a future, without much effort.


Will Melbourne follow Cape Town?

This Guardian report refers to forests in the water catchment area of Melbourne, Australia, but the science applies to everywhere.

Destroying forests has multiple costs. Water is one of the serious ones.


3 million years ago

Estimated global temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, and sea level was 15 to 24 metres (50 to 80 feet higher) than today.

Why is this relevant? Because according to NOAA, which measures carbon dioxide concentration at its Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawai’i, our carbon dioxide levels have not been as high as now since 3 million years ago.

The earth has a somewhat large amount of water, land and air. Because of this, there is a time lag between the causes of climate change, and the actual movements in temperatures, sea levels etc. The global disasters we see now are the result of atmospheric conditions 20 to 30 years ago.

If you live within 100 feet of sea level, it would be prudent to move NOW.

And you don’t need to wait. It’s happening today.


Patagonia melting

We don’t hear much about the southern tip of South America, but it’s a cold place covered with ice. A recent report from the European Space Agency is that satellite imagery shows the Patagonian glaciers in rapid retreat. Huge amounts of water enter the sea, with ice levels lowering by 5 metres per year.


Bigfoot tourists

According to research I did now a long time ago, a tourist has 5 times the environmental footprint of a stay-at-home person, and yes, this applies to ecotourism (which can also be culturally disruptive).

A brand new study published in Nature Climate Change reports that “between 2009 and 2013, tourism’s global carbon footprint has increased from 3.9 to 4.5 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions, four times more than previously estimated, accounting for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Travel may broaden the mind, but it shortens survival.

A holiday is a brief escape from the humdrum, right? How about instead making your life enjoyable every day, at home?


Disaster for west coast of Alaska

Lack of sea ice may not seem like much of a problem to us, but for coastal Alaskan communities, it means as much hardship as, say, wildfires in California.

Jason Samenow reports in the Washington Post that ice in the Bering sea has plummeted. The same is true for the Chukchi Sea, to its north.

The cause is unprecendentedly warm water, and strong storms that broke up the ice. Both are direct consequences of climate change.

Think of those Inuit fisherfolk next time you waste fuel when using your car.


Senate report: climate change is hurting NOW

Well, it’s a report to the Australian Senate, but relevant to everyone, everywhere. This means you.

The evidence clearly shows: climate change is causing humanitarian and economic damage, right now. It is not only something to worry about in the future.


Good news

Baysanto can’t kill bees in Europe
Dugongs saved
Coal shrinks in India
Can’t patent life in India
Letter of sanity

 

Baysanto can’t kill bees in Europe

The European Union has banned the neonicotinoids that are known to have devastated pollinator species including bees.

This is great news, but… all of this planet is in a sea of toxins. In a sane world, all such things would be banned, everywhere.


Dugongs saved

Hi Bob,

I have some wonderful news to share!

Thanks to your care and generosity, we’ve now raised enough money to buy the last full-time commercial gill net on the northern Great Barrier Reef!

I can report that the net is already out of the water and is no longer harming our precious marine life. This will instantly make Princess Charlotte Bay a 385 km2 net-free haven for the gentle giants that spend their days feeding on the local seagrass.

This is such an incredible achievement and one I hope you’ll be very proud of. Not only have you helped protect one of the world’s largest populations of dugongs, you’ve also created a safe home for other threatened marine life, like sea turtles, dolphins and hammerhead sharks.

But the work isn’t over yet.

We hope you’ll stand with us when it comes time to help us urge the Queensland Government to ban commercial gill netting from Cape Flattery to the Torres Strait. This will create the largest net-free area on the Great Barrier Reef — and a net-free area the size of Tasmania!

I can’t thank you enough for stepping in to help create a safe haven for dugongs. It really goes to prove what we can achieve for nature when we all work together.

Thank you,

Dermot O’Gorman
CEO, WWF-Australia


Coal shrinks in India

We Australians have been fighting an environmental disaster for some years. This is a ginormous coal mine Indian company Adani has wanted to establish in order to “eliminate the middleman” when supplying coal to its power stations in India.

The news is, the relevant power stations are floundering. One has been shut for 10 months. Instead, solar is booming, and Adani itself has got onto the renewable bandwagon.

So, never mind thoroughly buttered-up Australian governments, there is every hope that this mine will never happen.


Can’t patent life in India

Monsanto is on a downer. Lorraine Chow reports in EcoWatch that it has lost an appeal against a court decision ruling that seeds cannot be patented.

There has been an epidemic of farmer suicides in India, because of Monsanto’s rapacious practices. This court decision is primarily of humanitarian benefit, not an environmental one. Those seeds have been genetically modified to include an insecticide. That means that any insect feeding on the plant dies. Predatory insects, and birds, then accumulate the poison. When you wear clothes made from that cotton, the insecticide may be next to your skin, with unknown effects. Read my review of What’s making our children SICK? by Michelle Perro and Vincanne Adams.


Letter of sanity

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will soon be open to oil and gas drilling.

Please read an open letter from a great many major investors that point out why this should not happen.


People who inspire

Are you willing to have a GOOD mosquito bite you?
Rev. Jan Chase again
Also real followers of Christ
Edible town to copy
Black is brave, intelligent and modest
Senator Elizabeth Warren, on Mother’s Day

 

Are you willing to have a GOOD mosquito bite you?

After reading this report from Monash University, you might well comply.

Zika, dengue and other mosquito-spread nasties can be stopped, by releasing specially bred mosquitoes into the environment. These breed true — but they need to bite animals including us in order to reproduce.

People in North Queensland have helped to eliminate local dengue fever by allowing themselves to be mossie-targets. Their motivation was to test out the project, so it could be applied in poor countries. It is: now it’s spread to 20 places and rising.


Rev. Jan Chase again

In the last issue of Bobbing Around, I featured the town of Pomona under “Compassion.” The Reverend Jan Chase was instrumental in making Pomona into a compassionate city.

Here she is again, with a wonderful message: we all belong together.

Please read her inspiring words.


Also real followers of Christ

I am not a Catholic, or even a Christian, but I do my imperfect best to follow Jesus’ injunction to give Love.

There is a Catholic organisation, started by Dorothy Day in the 1930s, that is still vigorous, effective, and growing. This newspaper article made me want to go and hug these wonderful people who demonstrate their faith not through empty words, or through going to church, but by doing as Jesus told them to: give love and compassion where it is needed.

Thank you.


Edible town to copy

This is Todmorden in Yorkshire.

Please read this lovely report by Naomi Larsson in the Guardian about a few ordinary people making a huge difference by growing free food for anyone, on public spaces.

They reckon, if it grows in Yorkshire, it’ll grow anywhere. And indeed the movement has been growing, with communities in many places copying it.

Maybe it would work where you live?


Black is brave, intelligent and modest

That’s James, who saved several lives including his own, and has now raised over $200,000 for the victims of the “Waffle House shooting.”

We should all aim to be like this young man.


Senator Elizabeth Warren, on Mother’s Day

Hi Bob,

I was just a kid when my daddy had a heart attack. I remember the night my mother said, “Betsy, we’re going to the hospital. You stay here. Eat your dinner.” By then my three big brothers had all grown up and moved out, so it was just me and my little dog, Missy.

After he got out of the hospital, Daddy looked gray and tired. He was out of work for a long time. The bills just piled up.

My mother usually picked me up from school in our bronze-toned station wagon. One day she showed up driving the old Studebaker that Daddy had been driving back and forth to work. As I climbed in the car, I asked where the station wagon was. “It’s gone,” she said. “We couldn’t pay. They took it.”

Eventually Daddy could go back to work, but his old job — selling carpeting at Montgomery Ward — was gone. My mother said they took his job away because they thought he was going to die. The store gave him a different job selling fences and lawn mowers, but he didn’t get a regular paycheck anymore — he was paid on commission. My Daddy was a quiet man, not the type who thrived in sales.

And then one day, I walked into my mother’s bedroom. Her face was red and puffy, and about a dozen wadded-up tissues were on the bedspread next to a black dress. It was my mother’s best dress – the one she wore to weddings and funerals. At first I was confused. I wondered if someone had died. She said, “We are not going to lose this house.”

She squeezed into that dress, put on her lipstick and high heels, blew her nose and wiped her eyes, and walked to the Sears Roebuck down the street. At 50 years old, she got her first job outside the home answering the phones and taking catalog orders.

My mother’s minimum wage job at Sears saved our home, and it saved our family.

(Mother is the tall one wearing the plaid dress)

When my mother put on that dress and walked out the front door, she taught me that mothers do whatever it takes to fight back. We see it every day: Women who take the T into Boston, work a shift cleaning buildings, then stay to work a morning shift at one of the counters at South Station. A woman on the North Shore told me she sleeps in her car in the parking lot in the hours between when one job ends and the other begins. When she drives to her mom’s house to pick up her baby daughter, she falls asleep on the couch the moment she gets there.

But let’s be honest: My mother’s story isn’t possible today. A family of three can’t make a mortgage payment on a minimum wage job. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage today is lower than it was in 1965 — about 24% percent lower. Mothers are working harder than ever, but today, a minimum wage job won’t keep a momma and a baby out of poverty. Over the past generation, from 1970 to 2015, wages have been flat – but housing costs have risen by 50%. Health insurance expenses have doubled. College degree costs more than tripled. And the cost of child care? It has gone up nearly 1000%.

My mother didn’t have much when she died, but she knew that her four kids had a fighting chance to build a future — and that made her life successful. Where mothers and families end up in life today is about more than hard work and good fortune – the rules for a level playing field matter too. That’s what I’m fighting for to honor my mother, on Mother’s Day and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Elizabeth


Compassion

Louisville sparkles with compassion
Being the way you are is not a sin

 

Louisville sparkles with compassion

A local newspaper article explains how and why.

In particular, there are free health services donated to poor people, and donations of food, and many other initiatives.

Well done.


Being the way you are is not a sin

Research evidence shows that some people of both sexes are simply born homosexual. This is why I am sure the myth of Sodom and Gomorrah is not God’s word, but an insertion by some human who had an axe to grind.

Pope Francis agrees with me.

He has told a gay man, “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”


This man is a true Vicar of Christ. If only all Christians were like him.


Technology

Green toilet paper
Recycling is a con game
Bikes: bright legs better than bright body

 

Green toilet paper

You’ll benefit from reading this amusing and informative article about toilet paper: recycling options, packaging, source materials…


Recycling is a con game

I was very impressed by this brief examination of what recycling is about by Lloyd Alter. For example, do you know the reason things like single-use aluminium cans, foil, TV dinner containers and the like were invented? According to Lloyd, it was to create a market for aluminium no longer needed when the Second World War ended.

Makes sense.

Switch to “refuse to use” anything that needs to be disposed of after one use. Recycling = throwing away.


Bikes: bright legs better than bright body

Research so recent it’s still waiting for publication has shown that fluorescent legs on cyclists (which of course move with pedalling) are more noticed by drivers than fluorescent jackets. Flashing lights are more noticed than steady ones, and the best trick is lights strapped to ankles or heels.


Deeper Issues

How do you explain reincarnation?
What’s the point of enlightenment?
Smart animals
Consumption is not only stuff
We all die — choose when

 

How do you explain reincarnation?

In a very real sense, how do you explain anything? How do you explain gravity, or magnetism, or the force of surface tension on a liquid?

Science can describe what is. It can suggest mechanisms — relationships between different phenomena — but it can’t answer a basic question like you have asked. What is, is, and all we can do is to determine to the best of our ability what nature is like.

So, the real question is whether there is scientifically respectable evidence for reincarnation.

There is. I have answered many versions of this question, and now refer people to one of them:

Is there any defining proof for or against reincarnation?

One of the other people who offered an answer to your question restates the common concept that karma is reward or punishment. Some versions of Hindu and Buddhist thinking agree, but for example the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra don’t.

From my personal experience, from the reports of many of my clients, and from my wider reading, I disagree. There is no Judge to condemn or reward you. My past life recalls involve a Superior Being, Who treats you with gentle but firm unconditional love, and requires you to relive your just-past life. For some reason, this appears to be from death toward birth. Only, each episode you relive is from the point of view of those other beings you’ve had an effect on. When you’ve done good for someone, you experience that person’s good reactions. When you’ve caused harm, you experience the recipient’s distress.

This is very strong motivation to build on your strengths, to choose to pay restitution for your misdeeds, and to set up situations in which you can learn the lessons you consider you can cope with in the next life.


What’s the point of enlightenment?

This, like the previous item, is an answer at Qura. Please read my brief reply.


Smart animals

This little essay by Laura Goldman at Care2.com only scratches the surface, but it does lead to several interesting things, including a very intelligent bird. It’s so entertaining that I almost classified it under “fun.”

What’s more, the evidence regarding animal intelligence almost invariably is from the human point of view. A chicken or sheep or crow or octopus doing tasks humans have evolved to do is impressive, but ask yourself: how well would a human do on a task another species has evolved to do?

This is also the attitude of people at the source of this graphic.


Consumption is not only stuff

You trash our planet whenever you spend money, on almost anything. This includes “services” as well as “goods.” A holiday, a trip to the country, a meal at a restaurant, doing whatever young people do to entertain themselves — it all uses energy, generates pollution, impacts on the future of all of us.

A survey by Credit Karma indicates that nearly 40% of youngsters put themselves in credit card debt in order to be able to brag about their experiences on social media.

This is just another version of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Naturally, as in any competition, participants need to do more and more in order to avoid slipping behind.

Maybe they should teach Buddhist philosophy in high school.


We all die — choose when

I’ve almost classed this news item under “inspiration.” A 104 year old man who had lived a good life, and achieved great things, felt it was time to go after a fall, and sensory losses that lowered the quality of his life.

He could do so legally, but only in Switzerland.

With proper safeguards, this should be possible anywhere.

Our attitudes to birth and death were formed in times when there was room for people. Now, giving birth to a child imposes guaranteed suffering on that little person given our current world, and speeds up the destruction of everything by that little bit. When someone dies, resources are released to improve our chances of saving something.

As long as the death is freely chosen by a competent person, it should be a right, for that man’s or woman’s benefit, and everyone else’s.


Psychology

How to improve your marriage
What are the people who are supposedly lying about climate change supposed to be gaining from it?
Torn by guilt for a sexual act at 14
Is he breaking up with me?
No one would miss me if I died
I hate my life

 

How to improve your marriage

A newly published study demonstrates a simple tool for improving the long term relationship between any two people.

The two of you together write something to both of you, from a hypothetical friend who loves you both and has your best interest in mind. This generous person analyses in detail a recent argument the two of you have had, and gives both of you advice on how you could have done it better.

The research shows that doing this three times a year greatly improves relationship satisfaction.

I am not surprised: it is entirely in accordance with techniques I’ve taught my clients for years.


What are the people who are supposedly lying about climate change supposed to be gaining from it?

This was a question at Quora
For the financiers of denial, it’s profits.

For us ordinary people, denial is a very good way of escaping terrible advance grieving. I have just completed the first draft of a book on dealing with depression. Here is a paragraph from it:

    A major reason for dread, despair and unhappiness for many people is that they accurately see disaster looming. For an even larger number, this knowledge is there, but suppressed, denied, unacknowledged. That denial takes tremendous effort, which makes people tired, reduces their motivation (“There is no point to anything. Why bother?”), leads them to turn to activities like gambling, addictions, expensive holidays — anything to focus on other than the danger. Such people either ignore the facts, or are missionary in their spirit of denial. Those facts cannot be true; are due to a conspiracy, or based on false science, or whatever. It goes something like this, not in thought-out words, but underneath consciousness: “If that were true, I’d have to make complete changes in how I live. If that were true, my loved ones would be in terrible danger. So, of course it cannot be true.”


Torn by guilt for a sexual act at 14

A 34 year old mother of two has sent me a long and agonised email. Her issue is a very common one: when she was 14, she’d inappropriately touched a 2 year old boy, and is now feeling terrible about herself.

Here is my answer:

Helena my dear,

I have wonderful news for you.

You are not a sexual abuser, not any kind of monster, but a normal human being who made a mistake while a kid.

Please read (or from what you wrote, possibly reread) what I have written about people in your situation.

These are my responses to many other fine people who were beating themselves up with guilt over a sexual act while they were children. They are fine people PRECISELY because they now feel guilty.

And do give your kids a hug from me. As you know, I am a professional grandfather.

With love,
Bob


Is he breaking up with me?

Hi Dr. Bob,

You helped me with anxiety when I was approaching my exams. Happy to let you know, I passed, and since then have done a Masters degree, and I am teaching senior high school students. But now I have another problem I hope you can help with.

I have (or had) a friend who was very clingy, made me feel he wanted to be with me for a lifetime. He now had to move to another country for work, and also whenever I contact him he is too busy, and now we rarely talk, even when I just wanted to wish him a happy birthday.

But then we talked on the phone when he was back home for a visit, and he cried and said how much he misses me.

So, I sent him a long message that if he is mad, he should tell me rather than pretending everything is alright. I am the type of person that if you tell me you do not want to be friends anymore with me. I’ll probably leave, but I am confused if he wants to be friends with me and he just needed space or is it a hint that I should leave him. My mind says yes but my heart still gives me hope. His last reply was: “I’m not mad, just busy. I apologize for not replying yesterday. Thanks for the greeting.” For me, it seems very formal, cold, and distant.

What should I do?

Danielle my dear,

Congratulations on getting your degree, and successfully teaching. That can be very challenging, but also very rewarding. Some of the people who steered me onto a good path were teachers when I was in high school.

My dear, naturally I cannot know what is in this man’s mind, or what choices he will make. I can offer you a few tools.

One is “clarifying questions.” If you want to know what a person thinks, ask a straight question.

We never respond to truth, but to our theory of the moment about what is true. So, you have looked at the facts: he is going abroad, he tells you he is too busy when you want contact. To you it feels like he is trying to end the relationship. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. The only way to find out is to ask in a tactful way.

You have started on this already, but since you are still puzzled, you need to let him to know this and request that he tells you his intentions.

Second, you need to work out what you really want in this situation. Do you want to be life partners with him? Or to have him around for awhile? Or he just fills a space till someone more suitable turns up?

Once you know, you can do your best to work for your aim.

But if his aim is different, if in answer to the questions he withdraws, then you can use the very powerful tool of acceptance. We do our best, and accept the result.

If the relationship is over, that doesn’t mean that life is, or that there is anything wrong with you. I once saw a beautiful picture of two sailing ships side by side. Written under it was, “We come from different ports, go to different destinations. Isn’t it lovely that we can sail together for awhile?”

All life is like that. “For awhile” may be a few months, or 50 years.

Enjoy your teaching, and as much of your life as you can.

With love,
Bob


No one would miss me if I died

I grew up in multiple foster homes until I was 18 and have no contact with my family. I am very introverted and tend to stress out a lot and get overwhelmed and anxious because I feel like I have so many things do to and am always alone and it would never matter to anyone or make a difference if I was not around.

I guess I would like to know what I could do for self care to not feel like I don’t matter, mostly because I am noticing it is affecting me to have any kind of relationship or friendship.

Dear Annie,
Your situation is, sadly, all too common. That doesn’t make it any easier to bear!

I am sure some of those foster parents did their best for you, but all the same, while growing up you must have felt abandoned, rejected, just a job rather than a beloved child.

The reason you feel like you have so well described is that this way of seeing the world has become a habit. We all create our own reality. Because of your history, understandably, the reality you created for yourself is that nobody cares if you are around, that people can be hurtful, that social situations are threatening.

You can change this reality, but it takes a lot of work. There are many tools for doing so, and they are effective. But you need a guide.

I entered “free psychotherapy California” in a search engine, and got several hits. You can do the same, and contact any that are near you.

Meanwhile, here are a few suggestions for you to try:

1. To have a friend, be a friend. This means facing your fear of people, and going out to meet them. Some will ignore you. Ignore them. Some may react negatively. Their problem, and their loss. But there will be those who receive you with friendship and kindness. Do things to make them feel good for having you around, and also, study them.

Part of your problem is that probably you have never had the chance to learn how to be a sociable person. These friendly folk can be your teachers. Do what they do, and ask their help in teaching you.

Where you seek such people depends on your interests. Church can be a good place, if you have any religious feelings. Sports, hobbies, common causes like looking after nature, politics, care for unfortunate people, whatever, offer opportunities to meet people you already have something in common with.

2. The best way to gain self-confidence and inner strength is to join Toastmasters. They don’t know it, but they are excellent group therapy for social phobia and insecurity. They will be very supportive, and in a year, you mightn’t recognize yourself.

3. Find something, almost anything, to be passionate about. This needs to be an activity, a cause, or a group with no immediate personal benefit to yourself. At first, your involvement can be over the internet, so it feels safer. The more you give, the more you get.

But the quickest way for you to climb out of your pit is to seek therapy.

Let me know how you go.

Your new friend,
Bob


I hate my life

I grew up listening to parents scream at each other till I was 8 years old. I watched my dad beat up my puppy and my mother constantly yells at me.

So, I hate my life a lot. it started recently. I’m losing all my friends, which makes school so hard. My mother is the definition of crazy, she literally stays in bed all day watching Netflix and barely even cleans. I have anxiety so I can’t handle the mess it gives me panic attacks so I’ve tried to clean my mom’s house but most of the clutter is all hers so she won’t let me touch it. She knows about my anxiety but chooses to ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. The clutter is insane I really can’t take it. My relationship with my mom and dad is just horrible and it’s not me it’s them.

My mom and dad are divorced and my dad drinks a lot of alcohol. He also won’t pay child support so I don’t have the things I want and need sometimes. My mother also loves to yell a lot. she constantly screams over everything. I also hate school because everyone is so mean and my two best friends ignore me during class now. I’m usually the only one in the class who has to work alone when the class groups into partners. I hate my life and everything about it. I’m also a teenager which doesn’t help and growing up in this day and age is so hard. If you don’t own branded clothes people look down at you and treat you badly not only that my life is just downright depressing. I don’t see a future for myself what on earth do I do?!

Cathy my dear,

Your story is the effect of the worst drug of all: alcohol. Your family’s problems are because of your father’s drunkenness. I don’t know if he admits that he is an alcoholic, or if he is in denial. Either way, he is suffering because of his addiction, and makes people around him suffer, too.

The reason is, he doesn’t realize he has choices. But he is slowly killing himself, and wrecking any chance he has of ever living a good life.

Until now, you have feared him, and maybe hated him. Perhaps you can see that he deserves your pity? Feel sorry for him, and his terrible behavior will be easier to bear.

This doesn’t excuse what he has done. He is responsible for that. But, now he is out of your everyday life, out of your mother’s everyday life. He is still having an influence, but only because unknowingly you and your mother choose to allow him. If you can let go of the negative emotions toward him, and feel sorry for him instead, both your lives will improve.

There is a wonderful organization for people affected by the drunkenness of others: Al Anon. Find their local group via the internet. You and your mother will get a huge amount of support and care by joining them.

Both of you will get great benefit from sessions with a psychologist. Look up this web site that lists cheap or free therapy in your country to find affordable care near you.

Your mother’s behavior is the result of trauma: her reaction to your father’s abuse. With the help of therapy, she can overcome it, improve her own life, and through that, yours.

So, please, pick a good moment, and show her your cry for help, and my answer.

I have worked with hundreds of people in her situation, and my clients improved. She can, too. And you can be her ally in helping her to do it.

Again, she has choices, and has had them in the past, only she didn’t know it. So, however damaging her actions toward you have been, feeling sorry for her instead of angry or fearful will make you feel better.

What has been happening in school is something I also experienced as a young person. When we feel terrible inside, this shows in facial expressions, tones of voice, how we hold our body, what we say and do, and don’t do. People react to these cues without realizing it. “You get back what you send out.”

This is why a few sessions with a psychologist will be so good for you.

But also, you can do something about this yourself, straight away.

Is there a teacher at the school you respect and trust? If so, show this question-and-answer to that person, and ask for help in improving your situation in school. And, if you are brave enough, you can turn things completely around.

Let me tell you a story.

A mother and her 13 year old daughter came to me. The daughter was carrying her little baby.

For a year, the girl’s stepfather had been raping her, and threatening to kill her and her mother if she told. She didn’t care if he killed her, but stayed silent to protect her mother.

Then an X-ray for something else showed up the baby inside. Mother contacted the police, and the man went to jail.

The girl did an incredibly brave thing. She stood up in class and said, “I am pregnant, because my stepfather has been raping me. He is now in jail. I want you all to support me.”

The reaction was wonderful. All the kids did everything possible to be there for her, and she gained friends who didn’t know she existed until then.

I don’t know what your school is like. Maybe it is unwise to do the same for you. Talk it over with that teacher you trust. But suppose you stood up in class and said something like, “My home life is terrible because my father is a violent alcoholic. He has left, thank heavens, but my mom is a wreck, and it’s up to me to run the household. Please, everyone, can you support me, just by being my friends?”

My dear, think over my suggestions. These are:

  • Show this to your mom, give her a chance to think about it, and discuss the issues. Either or both of you are welcome to email me.
  • Find an Al Anon group near you.
  • See a psychologist.
  • Talk to a trustworthy, supportive teacher in school.
  • If your mom and your teacher think it appropriate, pluck up your courage and ask the support of the other kids.

    With love from your new grandfather,
    Bob


Health

A helpful site
The unacknowledged global epidemic
For Seniors Looking to Stay Sharp, Pick Up a New Hobby, by Janet Campbell
What’s in your homegrown food?

 

A helpful site

I lady named Lily Green sent me an email, and suggested I have a look around her site Balance Me Beautiful.

I did, and found a couple of essays many people will find useful.

One is about dust mites, whose poop we breathe in (delightful?), which can be a problem, especially for people with asthma. Lily recommends using essential oils in a well argued post, listing options and the scientific evidence backing each.

The second essay is about coconut oil and its many uses. It is also useful information.


The unacknowledged global epidemic

This is cancer. Please read my blog post about it.


For Seniors Looking to Stay Sharp, Pick Up a New Hobby
by Janet Campbell

As we get older, it is smart to dedicate increasing amounts of time to activities which benefit our mental health. Crossword puzzles and other brain-stimulating games are an obvious way to give our brain a workout, but there are other activities that many do not realize greatly benefit our mental health. For seniors, picking up and sticking with multiple hobbies that provide activity both physically and mentally is a way to improve longevity and quality of life.

Benefits of Exercise-Related Hobbies on Mental and Physical Health

One general category of hobby involves light to moderate levels of exercise. Whether yoga, a walking club, a spin class, or another form of exercise becomes a hobby of choice, these activities will have great benefit to your mental wellbeing.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine documents how aerobic exercises produce significant mental boosts in addition to the more obvious physical perks. Hobbies such as jogging, swimming, gardening, and dancing are proven to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression, elevating your mood significantly.

Oxford Handbooks adds that physical inactivity is the leading cause of death, killing approximately 200,000 Americans per year. Seniors already face increased risk of health problems, so activity should be at the core of new hobbies that they pick up. Not every activity that seniors turn into a regular hobby must be exercise-based, but at least one should be.

Non-Exercise Hobbies Have Mental Health Benefits, Too

Be Brain Fit tells us that art can be an effective way to stimulate brain activity, boosting mental health as a result. Activities such as painting, drawing, and woodworking can be akin to a meditative state, creating a positive disruption of repetitive, unhealthy thought patterns.

Many seniors face daily struggles and realities that can be mentally overwhelming, so finding an activity that distracts the brain and allows one to ‘enter the zone’, if you will, is a key to a longer and more rewarding life. This is particularly true of seniors who have a past that includes any form of addiction.

Addicts need to keep themselves busy, as activity occupies their minds and helps to stave off any thoughts that may lead to a relapse. Seniors tend to have limited physical capability and a lot of time on their hands, so engaging in a wide array of hobbies is the best way for an addict in their twilight years to stay on the right track.

The University of Michigan’s Health Service suggests that those looking to improve their mental health, including seniors, maintain strong social bonds. For this reason, finding a group of friends, family members, or even strangers to engage in a hobby alongside you will provide its own inherent mental health benefits. Plus, the camaraderie and socializing will make it more likely that you enjoy and stick with a given hobby.

Conclusion

Getting older does not necessarily have to mean slowing down. For seniors who learn to love several hobbies, life is likely to be rewarding until the very end. Their mood will be better, their body will feel strong, and they will have daily activities that bring them joy and mental health benefits. Seniors cannot be complacent if they want to prolong their life and enjoy their remaining years. Remaining active and healthy means embracing the value of hobbies.

Janet Campbell is the founder of ElderSpark.com. Her mission is to encourage people of all ages to live their healthiest and happiest lives ever. She strives to provide information on senior wellness and safety as well as ideas for how to make the most of this beautiful chapter of our lives.


What’s in your homegrown food?


Ilana Strauss, writing for Treehugger reports on a lot of her research in an amusing and informative way. She asked several top experts whether growing food in her New York back garden was safe.

Well… maybe…


Look over a writer’s shoulder

A daisy chain of scenes
The Bio

 

A daisy chain of scenes

This is the title of my contribution to the May Rhobin’s Rounds.

A story can be summarised as: “Once upon a time, blahblahblah, and they lived happily ever after.”

Only, my stories are different, and I don’t write them in that order.

Please leave a comment.


The Bio

As a writer, you may be asked to provide ‘a bio’. It goes on the back of the paperback or the dust jacket of the hardcover, and is part of your e-book. It is needed when you win in a writing competition. Your book may be reviewed, or you may review someone else’s. Publish an article, essay, poem or story in a magazine or newspaper, and they will want a bio.

More prosaically, you should have one on your web site, or when joining an email list.

A bio is short. Usually 50 to 200 words are specified. The shorter a piece of writing, the harder it is, so producing a bio is often a form of torture.

What is a bio anyway?

It is a prose snippet designed to induce people to read your writing.

You are not in court, required to state the Truth, All the Truth and Nothing But the Truth. You are writing something with the theme ‘Me!’ in order to get people to read your books, stories, essays, poems, whatever.

Above all, a bio is A SAMPLE OF YOUR WRITING. Therefore, it should not consist of stodge.

    Joanie Smith lives with her husband Bill, son Jason and daughter Cindy. She has a Dalmatian named Spot. Joanie has written a romantic suspense that every reader so far has loved, and she would love to have it published.

If a publisher of romantic suspense happened to stumble across this, would she instantly dash off an email to Joanie, demanding to see the manuscript? Not on the basis of this sample of Joanie’s writing.

All right, let’s try again.

    Joanie Smith often has to deal with evil kidnappers, torturers of children, drug-crazed psychopaths. She helps young women to rescue the poor victims against all the odds. These girls start as naïve and apparently with few resources, but Joanie coaches them, and helps them to find tough, attractive allies who inevitably fall in love with them.

    Well… this is what she does when she is inside her computer. The rest of her life is none of your business.

Isn’t that more fun?

Or how about:

    Joanie Smith has always wanted to write. She remembers, as an ovum hidden within her Mom, watching this crowd of pointy things coming at her. She chose the one that most looked like a pen, and gave him all her love. But, typical male, he didn’t hold any ink.

    That’s why Joanie prefers to write on a computer.

    She is a full time writer, making up stories while helping her husband to run their business, and while he helps her, reluctantly, to run their household. She is the author of twenty-seven romantic suspense novels, though twenty-six have not been recorded yet. The one completed book is eagerly waiting for a discerning publisher. Being only twenty-two, Joanie is happy to wait for this, as much as six months, before she pickets the Publishing Industry.

Should a bio be true? I don’t see why. Read this:

    Bob Rich is from a different galaxy. He looks like a huge maggot with six suction-capped feet, a great gaping mouth with cilia around it, and no eyes or ears. He doesn’t need those because he reads electromagnetic patterns like those thoughts generate.

    Not wanting to shock humans, he hides within a Terran body, and travels through Earth’s history. Currently he is studying the most bizarre period of all time: the early 21st Century.

    One excursion took him 1500 years into the future. His report from there is in the award-winning book Sleeper, Awake.

    Another trip was to 700 BC, where he met the Ehvelen, his favourite humans. Their stories are reported within an adventure series.

    Bob’s most dangerous expedition was to the years surrounding the Second World War, in Hungary. This resulted in the multiple-award-winning Anikó: The stranger who loved me.

    Another series of Bob’s time travels is recorded in Ascending Spiral.

    Recently, he visited the mid-18th Century, where he met a wonderful Aboriginal girl. Her story is Guardian Angel.

    Look him up at bobswriting.com, but only if you have the time to enjoy a few hours of reading.

Note that this bio is exactly 200 words long.

This is true, of course it is, in the same way that Joanie’s second and third bios are true. But is it good writing? Does it make you want to read more? I hope so.


What my friends want you to know

Big prizes in Permaculture contest
My Africa
Tasmania: Green beauty
MSF in Gaza
Climate reality project
Support abused kids by voting for my friend’s book
Weekly Peace Salon

 

Big prizes in Permaculture contest


Permaculture Magazine is running a worldwide contest for permaculture projects.

There are several important specs for qualifying projects. Entry is free, but deadline is 30th June.


My Africa

It’s finally here! Conservation International’s newest virtual reality film, “My Africa,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, is now available worldwide.

Narrated by the Academy Award-winning and Kenyan-raised actress Lupita Nyong’o, “My Africa” transports viewers to Kenya, where a community is reknitting the bonds that have long enabled people and wildlife to coexist.

With the help of filmmakers Passion Planet and Vision3, made possible with support from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and distribution support from glassybaby, Conservation International brings the wild savanna to you. You’ll stand in the midst of a thundering herd of wildebeest migrating across the Mara River, in front of a lioness as she captures her prey, and later, with an inquisitive baby elephant in a community-led sanctuary in northern Kenya.

Watch “My Africa” and travel to Kenya and back in just 9 minutes.


Tasmania: Green beauty

The Australian Greens Tasmania Trek is your chance to challenge yourself like never before, and raise funds for the Australian Greens.

Every step you take, every cent you raise, will support the next Federal Election campaign.

This is your chance to spend seven days immersed in the inimitable beauty of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain National Park and Tarkine/takayna rainforest.

WHEN: 17 – 23 March 2019
HOW LONG? Seven day trip, four day challenge
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Moderately challenging

Find out more.


MSF in Gaza

Dear Bob,

Below is a story from one of our younger patients in Gaza, in his own words:

“My name is Zidan, and I’m 11 years old. Before I got hurt I really enjoyed going to school and never had grades below 95/100!

I went to the border protests with two of my brothers. I was very close to the fence when I got shot. It hurt me a lot, like an electric shock. But now, I feel a little better.

I come three times a week to the Médecins Sans Frontières clinic and I have been told that I should be able to walk again in six months.”

Please donate.


Climate reality project

The Climate Majority is made up of the millions of moms, dads, students, blue collar, white collar, and every other category out there who support climate action. Our friends are with us. Our neighbors are with us. Even the people we disagree with on almost everything else — they’re with us too.

The movement and will for climate action has never been stronger. And people like you are standing up for common sense solutions and demanding our leaders take climate action before it’s too late.

That’s why we’re more committed than ever to training climate activists from all walks of life at our Climate Reality Leadership Corps training.

By attending a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, you’ll work with former US Vice President Al Gore and field-leading experts to learn how you can use your voice to spread the truth about the climate crisis. You’ll attend sessions and learn how the climate crisis is impacting the region, how citizens and businesses can accelerate the development of renewable energy sources, and how together we can stop the fossil fuel agenda in its tracks.


Support abused kids by voting for my friend’s book


Hi Bob,

Thanks again for your help. Rarity from the Hollow was nominated, vetted, and accepted into the competition for the upcoming Author Academy Awards. Please consider voting for it on page 11, Science Fiction Books. Scroll down from the top of the main page to a big rectangle that has Nonfiction Books on top. There’s an arrow on the right. Click it ten times to get to SF Books and click on the book cover or title. It’s free and easy, a minute at most. Proceeds help abused children (50% donated).
Please vote here.

The 2018 Edition of the novel was just released. Anything that you can do to continue to promote this project would be appreciated.

Amazon Kindle page.

Of course, it is available for other types of readers.

The paperback is still in the works. I’ll let you know. As you are aware, 50% of proceeds are donated to help abused children.

Take care,

Robert Eggleton


Weekly Peace Salon

Hi Bob,

I’m excited to invite you to the #PeaceSalon, a new weekly peace forum. Every Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. Pacific (Greenwich minus 7), we “meet” virtually to talk about peace. You can join us via your computer, or dial in with your phone.

The #PeaceSalon is a platform for regular discussion, education, and activism. The format varies each week, and includes peace meditations, open discussion, guest speakers, and presentations by peace organizations.

All you need to join is your computer or a telephone.

The #PeaceSalon was founded by Susan Beaver Thompson, an independent peace journalist and host of the forum. It is the first “virtual chapter” of World BEYOND War. Thanks to technology, anyone around the world can join the discussion. It is an opportunity to share, learn, brainstorm, and strategize about ways to work towards a just and sustainable peace, in our communities, countries, and world.


Reviews

Moral Panic by Kevin Ecke
Elysian Dawn by Sally Odgers

 

Moral Panic by Kevin Ecke

The message is ancient:

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Baron Acton).

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux).

“Revenge is a hot coal you pick up to throw at someone. It is your hand that gets burned” (the Buddha).

The delivery is a page-turning thriller set only a few years into the future, with technology that probably exists in secret, right now. I won’t do a spoiler, but consider our world of bots that post on social media, and imagine them in audible form, in your voice.

An undercover CIA operative and a billionaire’s heiress both suffer a terrible tragedy, setting them on the path of making the world a better place. But their well-intentioned actions result in… moral panic.

The hero starts as a brash, overconfident executive on the road to corporate stardom, who suddenly finds himself unemployed, and hunted for terrorism. He is kidnapped before the FBI gets to him, and then…

You’d better read it.

Details

ASIN: B079TJL9RQ
ISBN: 8-0-9998651-1-897
E-book version price: $2.99
E-book link
Paperback version price: $15
Paperback link
Goodreads
Author’s website


Elysian Dawn by Sally Odgers

Very real people, with all their faults and imperfections, interact with each other in three far-flung places within the galaxy: Earth, Shiva with a rigid, secretive culture based on India, and a now hugely obsolete starship that has crashed, with some of the over 2000 occupants still alive, though with many casualties.

Despite the science fiction background, this story is about the forever dance of competing cultures, misunderstandings, romance, frustration, pride and hope… human life.


About Bobbing Around

If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don’t want a repeat, it’s simple. Drop me a line and I’ll drop you from my list.

You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article’s author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

I’d love you to follow my blog. That will automatically get you a copy of this newsletter, and other posts. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the newsletter. To do so, email me. Subject should be ‘subscribe Bobbing Around’ (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

  • Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
  • Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
  • Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
  • Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.

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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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