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Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practicing, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism.In 1974, the International Naturist Federation (INF) defined naturism as:
Several other terms ("social nudity", "public nudity", "skinny dipping", "sunning", and, recently, "clothes-free") have been proposed as alternative terms for naturism, but none has found the same widespread public acceptance as the older terms "naturism" and (in much of the United States) "nudism".
People interested in social nudity can attend clothes-free beaches and other types of ad-hoc nudist events. At these venues, participants generally need not belong to a naturist club.
Many contemporary naturists and naturist organisations feel that the practice of social nudity should be asexual. For various social, cultural, and historical reasons the lay public, the media, and many contemporary naturists and their organisations often oversimplify the relationship between naturism and sexuality. Current research has begun to explore this complex relationship. 
The International Naturist Federation explains:
The usage and definition of these terms varies geographically and historically.[a] Though in the United States, naturism and nudism have the same meaning, in Britain there is a clear distinction. [b] [c] [d] Nudism is the act of being naked, while naturism is a lifestyle which at various times embraced nature, environment, respect for others, self-respect, crafts, healthy eating, vegetarianism, teetotalism, non-smoking, yoga, physical exercise and pacifism as well as nudity.
In naturist parlance, textile or textilist is a non-naturist person, non-naturist behaviour or non-naturist facilities. e.g. the textile beach starts at the flag, they are a mixed couple - he is naturist, she is textile. Textile is the predominant term used in the UK ('textilist' is unknown in British naturist magazines including H&E naturist), although some naturists avoid it due to perceived negative or derogatory connotations. Textilist is said to be used interchangeably, but no dictionary definition to this effect exists, nor are there any equivalent examples of use in mainstream literature such as those for textile. Clothing optional and nude optional (US specific) describe a policy or a venue that allows or encourages nudity but tolerates the wearing of clothes. The opposite is clothing compulsory; that is, prohibiting nudity. Adjectival phrases clothes free and clothing free prescribe where naturism is permitted in an otherwise textile environment, or define the preferred state of a naturist.
The social nudity movement includes a large range of variants including "naturism", "nudism", "Freikörperkultur (FKK)", the "free beach movement" as well as generalized "public lands/public nudity" advocacy. There is a large amount of shared history and common themes, issues and philosophy, but differences between these separate movements remain contentious.
Naturism is practised in many ways: Marc Alain Descamps, in his study written in French, classified the types as: individual nudism, nudism within family, nudism in the wild, social nudism. To that we can add the militant naturist, campaigning or extreme naturists.
Many people are often nude in the privacy of their home or garden, either alone or with members of the family. This may be occasional nudity or as a lifestyle. There are differences of opinion as to whether, and if so to what extent, parents should appear naked in front of their children, and whether children should be nude within the home in the view of their family as well as visitors. This has attracted a great deal of academic study:
The historic United States study by Alfred Kinsey, (1948-1953) found that 75% of the participants stated that there was never nudity in the home when they were growing up, 5% of the participants said that there was "seldom" nudity in the home, 3% said "often", and 17% said that it was "usual". The study found that there was no significant difference between what was reported by men and by women with respect to frequency of nudity in the home.
Gordon and Schroeder in 1995 reported that parental nudity varies considerably from family to family. They say that "there is nothing inherently wrong with bathing with children or otherwise appearing naked in front of them", noting that doing so may provide an opportunity for parents to provide important information. They note that by ages 5 to 6 children begin to develop a sense of modesty, and recommend to parents who wish to be sensitive to their children's wishes that they limit such activities from that age onwards.
Barbara Bonner in 1999, cautions against nudity in the home if children exhibit sexual play of a type that is considered problematic.
In a 1995 review of the literature, Paul Okami concluded that there was no reliable evidence linking exposure to parental nudity to any negative effect. Three years later, his team finished an 18-year longitudinal study that showed that, if anything, such exposure was associated with slight beneficial effects, particularly for boys.
Social nudism is nudism in a social context, either at one's home with friends or with acquaintances at a nudist facility or event, such as a naturist club, community center, resort, or other facility. (The terms are loosely defined and there are some regional differences.)
At naturist organised events or venues clothing is usually optional, except by swimming pools or sunbathing lawns where complete nudity is expected, weather permitting. This rule is sometimes a source of controversy among some naturists. Staff at a naturist facility are sometimes required to be clothed due to health and safety regulations.
Facilities for naturists are classified in various ways. A landed or members' naturist club is one that owns its own facilities, while non-landed (or travel) clubs meet at various locations, such as private residences, swimming pools, hot springs, landed clubs and resorts, and rented facilities. Landed clubs can be run by members on democratic lines or by one or more owners who make the rules. In either case, they can determine membership criteria and the obligations of members. This usually involves sharing work necessary to maintain or develop the site.
Some clubs have stricter entrance requirements than some traditional 'country clubs', including the requirement to supply references, a sponsoring member, a trial membership, committee approval and/or, criminal background checks. UK clubs are now required to have child-protection policies in place, and designated child-protection officers. Many clubs promote frequent social activities.
The international naturist organizations were mainly composed of representatives of landed clubs. Nudist colony is no longer a favored term, but it is used by naturists as a term of derision for landed clubs that have rigid non inclusive membership criteria, and in meta-data on naturist websites.
A holiday centre is a facility that specializes in providing apartments, chalets and camping pitches for visiting holidaymakers. The center is run commercially, and visitors are not members and have no say in the management. Most holiday centers expect visitors to hold an INF card, that is be a member of their national organization, but some have relaxed this restriction, relying on the carrying of a trade card. Holiday centers can be quite small, just a couple of hectares or large occupying over 300 hectares.[e] In a large holiday centre there will be swimming pools, sports pitches, an entertainment program, kids' clubs, restaurants and supermarkets. Some holiday centres allow regular visitors to purchase their own chalets, and generations of the same families will visit each year. Holiday centres are more tolerant of clothing than members-only clubs; total nudity is usually compulsory in the swimming pools and may be expected on the beaches, while on the football pitches, or in the restaurants in the evening, it is rare.
A naturist resort is, to a European, an essentially urban development where naturism is the norm. Cap d'Agde in France, naturist village Charco del Palo on Lanzarote, Canary Islands, and Vera Playa in Spain are examples. Here there are apartment blocks, with privately owned and rented apartments. For some residents this is their year-round home. One finds all the usual facilities of a small town. In the US usage, a naturist resort can mean a holiday centre.
Freikörperkultur (FKK) literally translated as free body culture is the name for the general movement in Germany. The abbreviation is widely recognised all over Europe and often found on informal signs indicating the direction to a remote naturist beach.
Clothing is optional at nude beaches (or "free beaches"). In some European countries, such as Denmark, all beaches are clothing optional, while in others like Germany there are also naturist sunbathing areas in public parks, e.g., in Munich and Berlin. Beaches in some holiday destinations, such as Crete, are also clothing-optional, except some central urban beaches. There are two centrally located clothes-optional beaches in Barcelona.
A feature of bathing on a nude beach is the anonymity it offers, where membership of a club is not required with detailed application processes, nor pre-booking of visits.
Naturism encourages a healthy life style, and many naturist clubs at times organize and encourage members to take part in local and international sport events and competitions. The German Association for Free Body Culture (DFK) promotes recreational sports and is a member of the German Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB).
The series of 1970s Nambassa hippie festivals held in New Zealand is a further example of non sexualized naturism. Of the 75,000 patrons who attended the 1979 Nambassa 3 day counterculture Festival an estimated 35% of festival attendance spontaneously chose to remove their clothing, preferring complete or part nudity.
Naturism had many different philosophical sources and means many things to different people. There is no one definition. In 1974, the INF defined naturism as:
At one end of the spectrum are the nudists who just enjoy a nude life style, and at the other are the naturists, who have deeply held beliefs and see communal nudity as just one of many important principles.
The naturist philosophy has several sources, many of which can be traced back to early 20th century health and fitness philosophies in Germany and England, although the concepts of returning to nature and creating equality have much deeper roots.
Individuals have formed nudist groups for a variety of specific purposes. It is generally agreed by naturist organisations that eroticism and blatant sexuality have no place in naturism and are, in fact, antithetical to its ideals.
Walt Whitman American writer, A Sun-bathed Nakedness:
Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me... Nature was naked, and I was also... Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! - ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.
We cannot adequately appreciate this aspect of nature if we approach it with any taint of human pretense. It will elude us if we allow artifacts like clothing to intervene between ourselves and this Other. To apprehend it, we cannot be naked enough.
Naturism was part of a literary movement in the late 1800s (see the writings of André Gide) which also influenced the art movements of the time specifically Henri Matisse and other Fauve painters. This movement was based on the French concept of joie de vivre, the idea of revelling freely in physical sensations and direct experiences and a spontaneous approach to life.
Sunlight has been shown to be beneficial in some skin conditions and enables the body to make vitamin D, but with the increased awareness of skin cancer, wearing of sunscreen is now part of the culture.
Many people say that being nude in groups makes them feel more accepted for their entire being — physical, intellectual and emotional. They say that they tend to be more accepted, in spite of differences in age, body shape, fitness, and health. Without clothing, one's social rank is generally obscured. They report feeling more united with humanity, with less regard to a person's wealth, position, nationality, race, and sex.
Nudity in social contexts has been practised in various forms by many cultures at all time periods. In Western society nowadays, social nudity is most frequently encountered in the contexts of bathing, swimming and in saunas, whether in single-sex groups, within the family or with mixed-sex friends, but throughout history and in many tropical cultures till now, nudity is a norm at many sports events and competitions.
It is difficult to nominate exactly when naturism started as a movement. The word 'naturism' was used for the first time in 1778 by a French-speaking Belgian, Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734–1781), and was advocated as a means of improving the 'l’hygiène de vie' (natural style of life) and health. [f]
The earliest known naturist club in the "western" sense of the word was established in British India in 1891. The 'Fellowship of the Naked Trust' was founded by Charles Edward Gordon Crawford, a widower, who was a District and Sessions Judge for the Bombay Civil Service. The commune was based in Matheran and had just three members at the beginning; Crawford and two sons of an Anglican missionary, Andrew and Kellogg Calderwood. [g] The commune fell apart when Crawford was transferred to Ratnagiri; he died soon after in 1894.
In 1902, a series of philosophical papers was published in Germany by Dr. Heinrich Pudor, under the pseudonym Heinrich Scham, who coined the term Nacktkultur. In 1906 he went on to write a three volume treatise with his new term as its title, which discussed the benefits of nudity in co-education and advocated participating in sports while being free of cumbersome clothing. Richard Ungewitter (Nacktheit, 1906, Nackt, 1908, etc.) proposed that combining physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributed to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view. Major promoters of these ideas included Adolf Koch and Hans Suren. Germany published the first journal of nudism between 1902 and 1932.
The wide publication of those papers and others, contributed to an explosive worldwide growth of nudism, in which nudists participated in various social, recreational, and physical fitness activities in the nude. The first organized club for nudists on a large scale, Freilichtpark (Free-Light Park), was opened near Hamburg in 1903 by Paul Zimmerman. Naturism became a more widespread phenomenon in the 1920s, in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and other European countries and spread to the United States where it became established in the 1930s.
By 1951, the national federations united to form the International Naturist Federation or INF. Some naturists preferred not to join clubs, and after 1945, pressure was put to designate beaches for naturist use. From the middle of the 20th century, with changing leisure patterns, commercial organisations began opening holiday resorts to attract naturists who expected the same - or better - standards of comfort and amenity offered to non-naturists. More recently, naturist holiday options have expanded to include cruises.
|Do you believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose?||72||24||80||17|
|Local and state governments now set aside public land for special types of recreation such as snowmobiling, surfing and hunting. Do you think special and secluded areas should be set aside for people who enjoy nude sunbathing?||39||54||48||48|
|Have you, personally, ever gone "skinny dipping" or nude sunbathing in a mixed group of men and women at a beach, at a pool, or somewhere else?||15||83||25||73|
|Beach in UK||20%|
|Bed and Breakfast||6.6%|
In 1903 la Revue des deux mondes published a report on German naturism and S. Gay created a naturist community at Bois-Fourgon. In 1907, supported by his superiors, Abbé Legrée encouraged the students at his catholic college to bathe nude on the rocky beaches near Marseille.
Marcel Kienné de Mongeot is credited with starting naturism in France in 1920. His family had suffered from tuberculosis, and he saw naturism as a cure and a continuation of the traditions of the ancient Greeks. In 1926, he started the magazine Vivre intégralement (later called Vivre) and the first French naturist club, Sparta Club at Garambouville, near Evreux. The court action that he initiated, established that nudism was legal on private property that was fenced and screened.
Drs. André and Gaston Durville bought a 70 hectare site on the Île du Levant where they established the village of Héliopolis. The village was open to the public. In 1925 Dr François Fougerat de David de Lastours wrote a thesis on heliotherapy. and in that year opened the Club gymnique de France. In 1936, the naturist movement was officially recognised.
Albert and Christine Lecocq were active members of many of these clubs, but after disagreements left and In 1944 Albert and Christine Lecocq founded the Club du Soleil with members in 84 cities. In 1948 they founded the FFN, nn 1949 they started the magazine, Vie au Soleil and in 1950 opened the CHM Montalivet, the worlds first naturist holiday centre where the INF was formed.
The Quartier Naturiste at Agde offers a different form of social nudity. Euronat is the largest holiday centre (335ha) situated 10 km north of Montalivet. Naturism employs more than 3000 people, and is estimated to be worth 250 million Euro to the French economy. France is represented on the INF by the FFN.
German naturism was part of the Lebensreform movement and the Wandervogel youth movement of 1896, from Steglitz, Berlin which promoted ideas of fitness and vigour. At the same time doctors of the Natural Healing Movement were using heliotherapy, treating diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight.
The Nacktkultur refers to a network of over 200 private clubs in Germany which promote nudism as a way of connecting the individual to nature. The term was coined in 1902 by Heinrich Pudor, who published a 3-volume treatise in 1906 connecting nudism, vegetarianism and social reform. However, its roots might go back as far as the 1870s. Its major promoters were Adolf Koch and Hans Suren. Germany published the first journal of nudism between 1902 and 1932.
The movement went on to gain prominence in the 1920s, portrayed as both health giving but also for its Utopian ideals. It became politicised by radical socialists who believed it would lead to a breaking down of society and classlessness. It became associated with pacificism. In 1926, Adolf Koch established a school of nudism encouraging a mixing of the sexes, open air exercises, as part of a programme of "sexual hygiene". In 1929, the Berlin school hosted the first International Congress on Nudity.
During the National Socialist Gleichschaltung era, naturism both benefited from official recognition and sponsorship for its health benefits, and was persecuted as officials argued over the concept of Nacktkultur. In March 1933, Prussian Minister of the Interior Hermann Göring passed laws limiting mixed sex nudism, as a reaction to the increasing immorality of the Weimar state. In January 1934, Reichmeister for the Interior, Wilhelm Frick passed edicts restricting naturism due to fears that it was a breeding ground for Marxists and homosexuals .
Reichmeister Frick's ban lasted one month. Within a year nudism was being practised with full state support again. However, prohibition did not mean the end of nudism and supporters including even SS leaders. The rules were eventually softened in July 1942. Nevertheless, all naturism clubs had to register with Kraft durch Freude, which meant excluding Jews and Communists. Also, they had to keep all activities well out in the countryside so there would be virtually no chance of being seen by others.
After the war, East Germans were free to practice nudism, chiefly at beaches rather than clubs (private organizations being regarded as potentially subversive by the government). Nudists became a large element in German Left Wing Politics. The Proletarische Freikörperkulturbewegung subsection of the Workers Sports Organisation had 60 000 members. In the West Germany, and today, united Germany there are many clubs, parks and beaches open to naturists. Since reunification, however, nudity has become less common in the former eastern zone. Vacationing in Mediterranean France at the large Cap d'Agde resort also became popular for Germans when it opened in the late 1960s, and Germans are typically the most commonly seen foreigners at nude beaches all around Europe.
First reported naturist society was established in 1897 in Grudziądz. In pre-war and post-war Poland, naturism was practised in closed and secluded areas. Reported places for naturism were Zaleszczyki (in today's Ukraine) and Otwock. Under the communism regime, Poland's naturism became unofficial and was practiced mostly by the artistic boheme near Krynica Morska, Międzyzdroje and Dębki.
In the early 1980s naturism became popular mostly due to increased interest in media. As the pop song "Chałupy Welcome To" (about the naturist beach in Chałupy, featuring beach nudity in the clip) became the 1985 summer hit in Poland, the nude seaside locations like Chałupy or Rowy became known to an average Polish sunbather. Polish Naturist Society was formed and after the number of lawsuits, naturism became tolerated in selected "unofficial" beaches and distant spots.
In today's Poland naturism is practiced in number of the seaside and inland beaches. The most of Polish beaches are actually clothes-optional rather than naturist. Among the most popular locations are Międzydroje-Lubiewo, Grzybowo, Rowy, Dębki, Gdańsk-Stogi and Piaski. The most popular inland locations include Warsaw (Wał Miedzeszyński), Kazimierz Dolny and Kryspinów near Kraków. In the winter season, naturism is practiced by organized groups in Warsaw and Tri-City. Public naturist events are held bi-monthly in Poznań-Koziegłowy and Łódź waterpark.
Naturism in Portugal had its first historical record around 1920, linked to Portuguese Naturist Society, of which the anarcho-syndicalist José Peralta was a prominent member. Nudity was already being practiced on “Costa da Caparica” beaches. With the deployment of the dictatorial regime, the naturist movement were limited to vegetarian and alternative medicines, since nudity was banned, and associated with the crime of "indecency". Only after the end of dictatorial regime in 1974 (April, 25th) the activities linked to the practice of nudity was resumed.
The FPN- “Federação Portuguesa de Naturismo” (Portuguese Naturist Federation) was founded on the 1st of March,1977, at a meeting in Lisbon.
In the United Kingdom, the first official nudist club was established in Wickford, Essex in 1924. According to Michael Farrar, writing for British Naturism the club adopted the name "Moonella Group" from the name of the owner of the ground, Moonella, and called its site The Camp. Moonella, who was still living in 1965 but whose identity remains to be discovered, had inherited a house with land in 1923 and made it available to certain members of the New Gymnosophy Society. This society had been founded a few years before by H.C. Booth, M.H. Sorensen and Rex Wellbye under the name of the English Gymnosophical Society. It met for discussions at the Minerva Cafe at 144 High Holborn in London, the headquarters of the Women's Freedom League. Those who were permitted to join the Moonella Group were carefully selected, and the club was run by an "aristocracy" of the original members, all of whom had "club names" to preserve their anonymity. The club closed in 1926 because of building on adjacent land.
By 1943 there were a number of these so-called "sun clubs" and together they formed the British Sunbathers Association or BSBA. In 1954 a group of clubs unhappy with the way the BSBA was being run split off to form the Federation of British Sun Clubs or FBSC. These two organisations rivalled each other for a while before eventually coming together again in 1964 as the Central Council for British Naturism or CCBN. This organisation structure has remained much the same but it is now called British Naturism which is often abbreviated to BN. BN is currently converting to a company limited by guarantee.
In 1961, the BSBA Annual Conference agreed that the term nudist was inappropriate and should be discarded in favour of naturist.
The first official naturist beach was opened at Fairlight Glen in Covehurst Bay near Hastings in 1978 (not to be confused with Fairlight Cove, which is 2 km to the east) followed later by the beaches at Brighton and Fraisthorpe. Bridlington opened in April 1980.
In Canada, individuals around the country became interested in nudism, skinny-dipping, and physical culture in the early part of the 20th century. After 1940 they had their own Canadian magazine, Sunbathing & Health, which occasionally carried local news. Canadians had scattered groups in several cities during the 1930s and 1940s, and some of these groups attracted enough interest to form clubs on private land. The most significant clubs were the Van Tan Club, formed in 1939, and continues today in North Vancouver, BC., and, in Ontario, the Sun Air Club.
Canadians who served in the military during the Second World War met like-minded souls from across the country, and often visited clubs while in Europe. They were a ready pool of recruits for post-war organizers. A few years later, the wave of post-war immigration brought many Europeans with their own extensive experience, and they not only swelled the ranks of membership, but often formed their own clubs, helping to expand nudism from coast to coast.
Most of those clubs united in the Canadian Sunbathing Association, which affiliated with the American Sunbathing Association in 1954. Several disagreements between eastern and western members of the CSA resulted in the breakup of CSA into the Western Canadian Sunbathing Association (WCSA) and the Eastern Canadian Sunbathing Association (ECSA) in 1960. The ECSA endured much in-fighting over the next decade and a half, leading to its official demise in 1978. The WCSA continues today as the American Association for Nude Recreation - Western Canadian Region (www.aanr-wc.com), a region of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) which itself was formerly known as the ASA.
In 1977 the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) was founded in Quebec, by Michel Vaïs, who had experienced European naturism at Montalivet. In 1985 the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) was formed with the support of the FQN. In 1988 the FQN and FCN formed the FQN-FCN Union as the official Canadian representative in the International Naturist Federation (INF).
In 1925, Katherine and Herman Shoshinki were familiar with nudism from Germany from 1918 to 1923. Kurt Barthel founded the American League for Physical Culture in 1929 and organized the first nudist event.They joined the and in about 1930, the they organized the American Gymnosophical Association. Barthel founded America's first official nudist camp, Sky Farm in New Jersey, in May, 1932. Around 1932, AGA established the Rock Lodge Club as a nudist facility in Stockholm, New Jersey and Ilsley Boone, a Dutch Reformed minister, formed the Christian naturism movement. Naturism began expanding nationwide. Nudism venues were teetotal until 1970, The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) is the national naturist organisation.
In 2009, a campaign to promote Nudism in the United States occurred with an effort by AANR to record the largest simultaneous Skinny Dip at several U.S. Clubs and beaches, occurring on July 11 of that year.
There are two nudist or naturist magazines are published in the United States—NUDE & NATURAL, more commonly known as N magazine from The Naturist Society, and Naturally magazine from Internaturally.
The AANR withdrew from the INF in 2010, claiming it was too eurocentric.
Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects: stereotypes and mores relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed sex nudity, personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia, modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent. It can thus be controversial. Descamps assembled a list of criticisms of naturism: it is too cold; normal bodies look ugly—it is only for the physically beautiful; it is too embarrassing; it is against the laws of nature, against the law, or against religion; "nudism makes me think of sex"; it is for primitive people or animals.
Naturism can sometimes contain aspects of eroticism, although the debate about this is often simplified and seen negatively in the media and the public mind and by many modern naturists and naturist organisations. Historically the experience and discussion of erotic feelings during naturist activities such as dance and gymnastics played an important part in early Germanic naturism and formed part of its 'positive' connection with nature. However, it was when naturism arrived in the more sexually conservative cultures of the UK and the United States that the expression and discussion of eroticism within naturism became frowned upon.
Any social group is said to go through four phases: forming, storming, norming, performing, wrote Bruce Tuckman in 1965. In this context one can understand some of the current pressures on various aspects of naturism:
Magazines in the third grouping here do carry naturist columns (such as Sunny Trails in Sunbathing for Health) and advertisements for genuine naturist clubs and societies when no mainstream publication would include these. Many clubs and groups are indebted to them for that. This has been a dilemma for some naturists, who feel they need the editorial content in some magazines while disapproving of some of their photographic content. Writers who produce copy for magazines in the fourth grouping are not widely respected by naturists, though they are often quoted as authoritative sources by the news media.
Naturist clubs were willing to allow filming by the media on their grounds, though the content that proved not to be of genuine naturism ended up being parodied by the media as the norm.
Photo shoots are done on public beaches.[h]
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