43 responses

  1. a. mcewen
    July 11, 2008

    good job in catching this. i will link to you from my blog.

  2. Rob
    July 11, 2008

    I’ve sent an email to Kanetix (a Canadian online insurance broker, with a link from insure.com) to ask them if they agree with the homophobic propaganda and outright lies and fabrications put forth by insure.com.

  3. Jason D
    July 11, 2008

    I’ve noticed numerous awards/honors/credentials at the bottom of the insure.com home page, anyone tried contacting these people? The BBB probably can’t do anything, but the rest may care about being connected with that sort of lying.

  4. dave b
    July 11, 2008

    Excellent article. My only criticism is that accommodate has two ‘m’s in it.
    :)

  5. Timothy Kincaid
    July 11, 2008

    It sure does, dave b. I’ve fixed it.

    Onne of theze yeers Im gunna lern how to speal

  6. Brady
    July 11, 2008

    I followed yall’s lead and emailed Mr. Bland as well. Nice work, guys.

  7. Ephilei
    July 11, 2008

    @Timothy
    I’m disappointed at the male-centeredness of this article. Half of homosexuals are female, right? Give or take. Was insure.com only include males? If so, it would be nice if you had pointed that out. It’s extremely relevant because lesbians have lower HIV rate than heterosexual women.

    I’m not in the community that much, but my impression is gay men have a healthier diet and exercise more than heterosexual men.

  8. Robert Bland
    July 11, 2008

    Box Turtle Bulletin is too anxious to bash Insure.com and you posted private e-mails from me to you without my permission, which says more about you than me. I’ve been open and forthright in dealing with Box Turtle’s many recent inquiries.

    The article(s) you’ve referenced are but one or two over 3,000 that we have posted at Insure.com since 1996.

    This particular article talks about third party studies that have claimed that homosexuals have a markedly different life expectancy than heterosexuals. We posted this as a human interest story from an actuarial standpoint and without any political agenda whatsoever and without comment as to the accuracy of the third party research.

    One’s sexual orientation has no bearing on how a life insurance agency, including ours, would go about quoting life insurance.

    We represent 35 leading life insurance companies and do not know of any that ask about sexual orientation at the time of quoting or at anytime during underwriting. Furthermore, sexual orientation is NOT considered or asked about in the quoting or underwriting of a life insurance policy. When quoting a life insurance policy, we, as an agent and broker, ask only those questions that are required to be asked by each life insurance company, which is typically an exhaustive set of 50-100 questions about one’s health history, past and current. Every U.S. life insurance company that I know of does ask each applicant if they are HIV positive and, to the best of my knowledge, each company will automatically then decline such an applicant, so apparently the life underwriters are convinced that that medical condition is somehow relative to one’s longevity.

    As I explained to you earlier this week we’ve been delayed in having our writers and editors take a another look at this article, but still expect to do so over the next 4 weeks because we want to make certain that we encompass all available current research on this topic.

    Once again, Insure.com has no political agenda on this issue and never has had any such agenda.

  9. a. mcewen
    July 11, 2008

    I understand what mr. bland is saying but he has to realize just how pernicious lies like what was printed in that column are.

    Someone can now claim that an insurance company has problems with selling policies to gays because of that column. I know it sounds farfetched but I have seen members of the anti-gay industry take wrong claims and manipulate them for their own agenda.

  10. Jayson
    July 11, 2008

    To me Mr. Bland’s response seems like a red herring. He says the article was only a “human interest story” and meant to be read by actuaries. Would they have published the same type of story about African American males? Life Insurance companies historically charged African American males (and females) more until they realized it was not the color of a person’s skin that dictated longevity. Saying this factually incorrect article is merely “human interest” is meant to divert attention from its true anti-gay purpose. Once Insure.com starts posting articles on other ethnic groups having short life expectancies then I will believe his statement that they have “no political agenda.” They will not do so and his statement is blatently false.

  11. Robert Bland
    July 11, 2008

    Jayson,
    We have no anti-Gay purpose or agenda here at Insure.com and I did not write that our article on Gay mortality was meant to be read by actuaries; I wrote that it was a “human interest article from an actuarial standpoint.”
    Insure.com is devoted to providng information to consumers, not professionals, and we have no political agenda of any kind.
    And speaking of the subject of increased mortality of African-Americans vs. white Americans, and how life insurane companies can no longer charge by race, we have written on this subject many times and have several of our 3,000 articles devoted to this subject going back many years. It’s well established in the medical literature that significant differences between Black mortality vs. white in America exist. It’s also true that no life insurance company today will dare charge for this disparity because of political correctness or state regulations specific to this issue, but that does not change this sad scientific fact.
    Significant differences in mortality also exist between males and females, but a few states prohibit such rate differences, again for political purposes.

  12. Willie Hewes
    July 12, 2008

    So then why didn’t the “top 5 ways” article not say “be a black male” rather than “be gay”, if the data for those catagories are so robust?

    Oh, right, because that’s the kind of insulting generalisation we DON’T accept anymore. Writing gays die early is OK though, because you can diss the gays and get away with it, even if the data your human interest article is based on is shaky as hell.

    I believe Bland has no agenda. I also believe he has no sensitivity whatsoever on this issue and is acting like an a-hole.

  13. Robert Bland
    July 12, 2008

    Willie,

    The Insure.com articles first cited by the Box Turtle writers were about gay mortality vs. the general population, not black mortality vs. the general population.

    We expect to take another look at this article over the next 4 weeks because we want to make certain that we encompass all available current research on this topic. We think that there’s a human interest story to be researched here on why all U.S. life insurers decline HIV-positive applicants (many of whom are healthy and have been for two decades) but will not even attempt to segregate gays who, according to a growing body of evidence, may have a much shorter lifespan than non-gays.

    Once again, Insure.com has no political agenda on this issue and never has had any such agenda and does not conduct any scientific research on its own. And we do think that the results of our research will be of interest to many people, regardless of what side you may be on from a political perspective.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Bland, CEO
    Insure.com

  14. Priya Lynn
    July 12, 2008

    Robert Bland said “…will not even attempt to segregate gays who, according to a growing body of evidence, may have a much shorter lifespan than non-gays.”.

    As the writers at Box Turtle Bulletin have shown, you have not demonstrated that. Please stick to the facts.

  15. Robert Bland
    July 12, 2008

    Priya,

    The writers of Box Turtle have shown nothing to discredit or refute the accuracy of any of our 3,000 articles about insurance; they seem to simply want to harm us and embarrass me personally ad hominem. I’m an easy target because our company is publicly-held.

    In 2005, Dr. Paul Cameron, president of the Colorado-based Family Research Institute, published a study in Psychological Reports that confirmed a 20-year life expectancy gap for actively gay men. Researchers performed the study by examining gay obituaries and comparing them with data from the Center for Disease Control. Both data sets put the average age of death for gay men about 20 years younger than average.

    Immediately, critics objected to this study, claiming that only gay men who had died were included, which would skew the results toward shorter life expectancy. The numbers would only work out, according to critics, if every gay man died of AIDS, which is obviously a faulty premise.

    Then, in early 2007, Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron reported at the Eastern Psychological Association convention that married gays and lesbians lived about 24 fewer years than their married heterosexual counterparts. This time, the Camerons extracted official data from Denmark, the country with the longest history of gay marriage, for 1990-2002. Married heterosexual men died in Denmark die at a median age of 74, while 561 partnered gays died at an average age of 51.

    The Drs. Cameron also looked at official data from Norway and re-confirmed that their data was gleaned from official census bureau data of both counties.

    Eerily, the 2007 Cameron findings of official Scandinavian gay mortality statistics closely matched that of their earlier 2005 research derived from U.S. obituaries.

    Canadian Doctor Anarag Markanday, who recently testified in a February 2008 court case involving HIV said this: “It’s like a death sentence… while we can keep the virus suppressed, we are going to run out of options.” Once diagnosed with HIV, the average lifespan of such a person is 8 to 10 years he testified.

    None of this is being made up by Insure.com and none of this is Insure.com’s research. But it does seem to underscore that more research is needed and perhaps less personal attacks.

  16. a. mcewen
    July 12, 2008

    Mr. Bland,

    I really don’t think you investigated Paul Cameron. Box Turtle Bulletin has given you a complete picture regarding Cameron’s distortion. You should take it upon yourself to either research from this site or google “Paul Cameron” to see that the claims made about him are correct.

    Regarding this new one about the 2007 conference:

    The Eastern Psychological Association rebuked Paul Cameron for misrepresenting his appearance at one of their meetings. Cameron claimed he presented a paper when in actuality, he took part in a 70-person poster presentation.

    And I think that Box Turtle Bulletin goes into detail about this also.

    Box Turtle Bulletin is not trying to make personal attacks on your person or your company. The fact of the matter is that you are not only using bad research but now you are refusing to admit any wrongdoing when it is obvious that the data in question is incorrect.

  17. Jim Burroway
    July 12, 2008

    Robert Bland

    I suggest you take a deep breadth. We have had no interest whatsoever to attack you or harming your company. This is why Timothy first wrote you back on June 1. If we were bent on embarrassing you or your company, we could have gone public then. But we recognize that many people who aren’t familiar with Paul Cameron may mistake his brand of “science” for the real thing.

    This isn’t personal against you. In fact, I personally tried to reassure you when I wrote on June 2:

    As editor of the web site, please be assured that we are not prepared to publish anything without giving you and your company a reasonable amount of time to verify the problems with Cameron’s research. I’d also like to add that if there is any way in which we can be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    We look forward to working with you and your company in resolving this situation.

    You responded cordially and asked for some information, which we supplied. You asked for more time, saying that “other priorities” were getting in the way. We understood and waited. Five weeks after first contacting you, we were concerned that this was never going to become a priority so Timothy contacted you again. Finally, Timothy’s article appeared on July 11, just one day shy of six weeks after we brought this to your attention.

    Now that this is public and you continue to defend Cameron’s pseudo-science, I suggest however that you take a closer look at his work, which we encouraged you to do back when Timothy first contacted you. That 2007 study you cite was debunked as bad science on our web site, which Timothy provided your company on his very first email on June 1. But we weren’t the only ones to identify problems with it. It was also debunked by American psychologist (and social conservative) Dr. Warren Throckmorton, and Danish epidemiologist Morten Frisch described the report as having “little to do with science… The methodological flaws are of such a grave nature that no decent peer-reviewed scientific journal should let it pass for publication.”

    And indeed, none has. Citing a publication like Psychological Reports is likely to impress someone not familiar with the publication, but it is, in fact, a pay-to-publish journal — which means that they will publish virtually anything for a fee. (That fee is $27.50 per page in multiples of four pages, plus additional fees for tables and figures.) No legitimate peer-reviewed journal does this due to the obvious conflict of interest this presents. It’s why Psychological Reports is virtually the only journal which publishes Cameron’s work.

    As for what Drs. Cameron “reported” at the Eastern Psychological Association convention, we contacted Dr. Phil Hineline, president of the EPA, in April 2007, and he wrote a public letter condemning the Camerons for misrepresenting their participation at the convention. They did not present a “report” at all. All they did was participate in a “poster session,” in which they were among dozens of others maning a table in a large hall with a poster of some of their data. According to Dr. Hineline, the data they submitted to the EPA had nothing to do with lifespans at all — it had been added later.

    Fast moves like these are nothing new for Cameron. On Timothy’s first email contact on June 1, he provided you with information on Cameron’s 1983 expulsion from the American Psychological Association, his censure from the Nebraska Psychological Association (where he lived at the time) in 1984, and his two censures from the American Sociological Association in 1985 and 1986.

    As for Cameron’s many “obituary” studies, they essentially follow the same old methodology that has been rejected by epidemiologists for decades. His methods have been debunked repeatedly . Nick Eberstadt at the American Enterprise Institute described Cameron’s methods as “ridiculous,” and John Karon, statistician for the CDC also found his methodology flawed. Bill Bennett, not exactly a friend of the gay community, cited a nearly identical study in 1997, but once he learned of how it was done, he wrote, “Given what I now know, I believe there are flaws with Paul Cameron’s study. One cannot extrapolate from his methodology and say that the average male homosexual lifespan is 43 years.”

    Even Exodus International, which works closely with Focus On the Family to lobby against civil rights for gays and lesbians, has pulled their references to Paul Cameron. Focus themselves scrubbed their materials of anything associated with Cameron more than a decade ago.

    And finally, we also sent you this about Cameron, his own admitted admiration for how the Nazis “dealt with” homosexuality, written from his own hand. It is this mindset which drives virtually everything he writes.

    I highly recommend that you please reconsider where you’re getting your information. It is clearly tainted. The CDC — despite Cameron’s protestations — does not back your data. And as for Dr. Markandy, he should read this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that life expectancy of those with HIV is actually approaching something closer to normal.

    Mr. Bland, you reassured us on June 2 that you have no political agenda, and that in your 24 years in business you have never asked about anyone’s sexual orientation before hiring them. We take you at your word and commend you. We have tried to work with you. You asked for information, and we provided it. You asked for time, and we provided that as well — six week’s worth.

    But since Friday, you have written several comments on this web site, and you have left comments on at least one other web site as well, claiming that we are “too anxious to bash Insure.com.” You have decided it was a priority to take the time to write these comments, and yet you haven’t found it to be a priority to simply have someone hit the delete button on the offending article. The remedy for all this is incredibly simple. We haven’t even asked for an apology because we didn’t think one was necessary. But instead you stake your reputation and that of your company in defending it. I frankly find this puzzling.

  18. Robert Bland
    July 14, 2008

    The writers of Box Turtle have shown nothing to discredit or refute the accuracy of any of our 3,000 articles about insurance; they seem to simply want to harm us and embarrass me personally ad hominem regarding a single article on homosexual longevity, admittedly a hot topic, but worthy of debate and research.

    I’m an easy target because our company is publicly-held. We are not endorsing or passing judgement on the accuracy of Dr. Cameron’s research as that job belongs to qualified scientists. I’ve not seen the resumes of Tim Kincaid or Jim Burroway.

    [The remainder of this comment is a word-for-word copy of this comment left earlier on this very same thread. Cut-and-paste dialog is not dialog at all. It's a monologue. We will be happy to host original comments which carry the dialogue further. We will not host a stuck record. -- Jim B.]

  19. Jason D
    July 14, 2008

    “The writers of Box Turtle have shown nothing to discredit or refute the accuracy of any of our 3,000 articles about insurance;”

    Actually, they have, the article on homosexual lifespans is in dispute and is gathered from biased and unreliable “”research”” (double quotes, double warning) by a thoroughly discredited nazi-sympathizer.

    “they seem to simply want to harm us and embarrass me personally ad hominem regarding a single article on homosexual longevity, admittedly a hot topic, but worthy of debate and research.”

    Please delineate the ad hominem attacks, I’ve seen none. Is the “single article” you refer to not part of the 3,000 articles about insurance? because if it is part of them, your first statement is a boldfaced lie.
    Keeping this article on your website not only endangers your reputation, your company’s reputation, and the 35 insurance companies you utlize, it also calls into question the accuracy of the other 2,999 articles on your website. As CEO you should be concerned about protecting your company’s integrity, clearly you don’t.

  20. Jim Burroway
    July 14, 2008

    Mr. Bland.

    Did you not read my immediately above yours? I have answered every single one of your points. You are now just commenting blindly — and embarrassing yourself in the process.

  21. Robert Bland
    July 14, 2008

    Jim,
    The sour writers of Box Turtle…

    [The remainder of this comment is a word-for-word copy of this comment left earlier on this very same thread. It is now clear that Bland is not bothering to read anything anyone else is saying on this thread. Cut-and-paste repetition in lieu of dialogue and addressing specific points raised on this thread is both rude and unacceptable. If this behavior continues, we will place Mr. Bland on moderation and post only those comments which are not repetitious of other comments left on the same thread. -- Jim B.]

  22. GaySolomon
    July 14, 2008

    Dear Mr. Bland:

    In your company’s Code of Ethics, Insure.com requires that:

    “As part of the corporate leadership team, financial officers are vested with both the responsibility and authority to protect, balance, and preserve the interests of all of the Company’s stakeholders, including stockholders, clients, employees, suppliers, and citizens of the communities in which business is conducted.”

    It would seem to me that you have failed to protect, balance, and preserve the interests of several stakeholders of your company. The LGBT people in the communities in which you operate are perhaps the most obvious group that you have let down – but they are certainly not the only group. If I were an employee or shareholder I would find your defence of Paul Cameron inexcusable!

  23. Paris
    July 14, 2008

    Wow, every company has the odd idiot that does something stupid, but generally CEOs know how to deal with such personnel issues.

    Presenting research as fact does, in fact, equal endorsing it. Moreover, one doesn’t have to be a scientist to recognize that.

  24. a. mcewen
    July 14, 2008

    Mr. Bland,

    Since you want to repeat statements, allow me to do such also

    Let’s talk about the alleged 2005 Paul Cameron study. This is not a new study because Cameron had been pushing this lie since the 80s. It was originally called the Longevity of Homosexuals.

    Like pretty much all of Cameron’s work, the study, The Longevitity of Homosexuals, derives from his infamous 1983 survey regarding gays and lesbians. The survey contained many errors. Of over 4,000 people asked questions regarding sexual behavior, only 65 claimed to be gay or lesbian. Even before the study was completed, Cameron had publicly said it will prove negatives about gays and lesbians.

    Also, what would you say when it is pointed out that one of the “critics” of Cameron’s 2005 “study” was the Centers for Disease Control, the very place where he claimed to have gotten some of his research:

    Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV,
    STD, and TB Prevention, said:

    “[The CDC] does not collect statistics on the life span of gay men. While gay men continue to be severely impacted by HIV and AIDS, AIDS-related death data cannot be used to indicate that homosexual men live shorter lives than heterosexual men overall.”

    In addition, Cameron has been accused (and righfully so) of having a slant and bias in his research on many occasions:

    1982 – He invented a story about a child being mutilated in the bathroom by a gay man. When the police investigated and found the story to be false, he admitted to making it up.

    1983 – He was kicked out the American Psychological Association after an investigation that he distorted the work of six researchers to prove negative theories about gay men.

    1984 – A. Nicholas Groth, director of the Sex Offender Program at the Connecticut Department of Corrections, complained to the Nebraska Board of Examiners of Psychologists about Paul Cameron’s usage of his work to make the claim that gays molest children at a high rate.

    1985 – The Midwest Sociological Society censures Paul Cameron. Also, the American Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems both pass resolutions against him.

    I find it sad that you as a professional would claim that any work by this man is accurate.

  25. Patrick ONeill
    July 14, 2008

    Hmm – Bland is a licensed dealer in bothe MA and CA

    “Robert Bland, licensed agent/broker, CA agent #0A13858, LA agent #200696, MA agent #333509159. In California, Insure.com, Inc. dba Insure.com Insurance Services under agent #0827712, in LA as agent #205078.”

    I wonder if he is in violation of anti-discrimination laws in those states ?

  26. Robert Bland
    July 16, 2008

    Paul Cameron, one of the nation’s leading researchers on the health dangers of the homosexual lifestyle, was the first scientist to document the health effects of second-hand tobacco smoke (1967), the shortened lifespan of those who engage in homosexuality (1992), and the more frequent molestation of charges by homosexual foster parents (2003).
    He has served as an expert for the federal government and 5 states. In addition, he has testified as an expert witness regarding homosexual parents in 11 states.
    His website is: http://www.familyresearchinst.org/.

  27. Rob
    July 16, 2008

    Mr. Bland,

    Perhaps you should read Mr. Cameron’s full bio. it is available here:

    http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/HTML/facts_cameron_sheet.html

    I somehow doubt that you would be quoting an actuary, financial specialist, or any other so-called professional with the same history. It leaves me curious, Sir, as to why you then defend Mr. Cameron?

  28. Emily K
    July 16, 2008

    I can’t believe this guy is defending a Nazi sympathizer. What the hell? Does he despise gay equality that much that he feels he needs to align with anybody who agrees, no matter how f***** up they are?? “No Agenda” my ass.

    Robert, LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE. Don’t just take some nutcase’s website for its word. BTB provides PLENTY of it. Even people with anti-gay agendas who SAY they have anti-gay agendas don’t use Paul Cameron’s “research” anymore.

    You’re out on a limb with this one. You’re alone.

    And please, PLEASE, actually look at the comments being posted in response to you. They provide valuable resources.

  29. cowboy
    July 16, 2008

    I don’t think he is reading, Emily. All the comments are just visual blah blah blah…yaddah yaddah yaddah. In one eye and out the other.

    How could a business or businessperson be taken seriously when they opt to reference a website with “family” in the URL. Most people would be suspect this URL is just another nutty organization with extreme biases. I know my business associates would be skeptical and keep their distance in case some embarrassing ties might be made. It could negatively affect their careers. But, I guess Mr. Bland is not too worried about that.

  30. Jayelle
    July 18, 2008

    So how come Mr. Bland has time to keep coming back to and writing (or at least c/p-ing) long responses at this blog, but not enough time to author new articles, find new articles, or edit the site?

    Curious and curiouser.

    I came late to the party, Jim, but I thank you very much for letting the community know where not to go for insurance. And to think, people accuse us bisexuals of wanting things both ways, when Mr. Bland defines trying to have things both ways right here. Those rambles he’s posted all boil down, to my eyes, to “Oh, let me insult you, but give me your money anyway.”

    Incidentally, I think “sour” flavors are tasty.

  31. Jason D
    July 19, 2008

    I think it’s clear that Bland truly believes his reputation, the reputation of his company, and the insurance companies that does business with is all worth gambling for Paul Cameron.

    I think we all know what’s next, alerting his clients.

  32. Dysperdis
    July 19, 2008

    Mr. Bland, it is very rare that I hope that someone is acting out of ignorance, but in your case, the alternative would be that you are a blatant homophobe.

    The Family Research Institute is headed by Cameron- it is no surprise that he fails to mention that no reputable scientific organization wants anything to do with him.

    Alternatively, there have been a number of links provided for you which display the multitude of issues with his work, including the following:

    http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/HTML/facts_cameron_sheet.html
    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2007/04/11/288
    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,009/000,008.htm
    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,010.htm
    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,018.htm
    http://wthrockmorton.com/2007/04/24/only-the-gay-di…eron-2007/
    http://wthrockmorton.com/2007/04/13/only-the-gay-di…ron-study/

    Additionally, a quick Google search for Paul Cameron turns up this information:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Cameron#Criticism_…onizations
    http://www.rslevinson.com/gaylesissues/resources/gl…meron.htm

    In short, Cameron’s studies have been refuted numerous times. His shoddy methodology and tendency to misrepresent his sources has gotten him kicked out of the APA, and has inspired other professional associations to release statements distancing themselves from his research. All of this is a matter of public record, and all of this can be verified with fairly little effort on your part.

    Do yourself a favour and examine the sources provided here. At this point, your obvious lack of information reflects poorly not only on yourself, but on your company.

  33. Rob
    July 20, 2008

    Wow, this is beyond the pale. Talk about losing business. Very unprofessional. I’ll make sure insure.com gets blacklisted from my end.

  34. Michael Kensinger
    July 21, 2008

    I was led to Box Turtle by The Southern Poverty Law Center and their Hatewatch newsletter. I very much appreciate the information you have provided and the civilized tone of the comments. I believe it is time to begin disseminating more widely the information about this company, its clients and the now obvious political agenda of it’s CEO, Mr. Bland. Like Coors and Cracker Barrel, Insurance.com must be held accountable for its actions.

  35. Timothy Kincaid
    July 21, 2008

    Michael,

    Thanks for your comments. However, please note that the company with which we have concerns is Insure.com. I believe Insurance.com is another business altogether.

  36. Tom
    July 22, 2008

    I am surprised that nobody has mentioned that according to Mr. Bland’s profile on insure.com, he currently serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Right to Life Committee.

    I think this is relevant to note, because the Illinois Right to Life Committee has links to many organizations that would not be considered gay-friendly.

    Maybe insure.com has “no political agenda,” but that doesn’t mean individuals who can control content on the site aren’t influenced by their personal beliefs.

  37. Bill
    November 9, 2011

    Bland is concerned about his money, his agenda, and vilifying gays. He is a counterfeit “truthbearer.” Beware! “I’d turn back if I were you! (Wizard of Oz, MGM).

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