NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#81  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:2 things.

1)
Any intelligent biological system will be based on a weighted network of some basic component (a neural network). A neural network is the maximum in efficiency for adaptive parallel processing. That is because the base structure is extremely simplified. There just isn't a simpler structure for data processing. Because of this, there is a lower limit to brain size vs intelligence.

Any basic component of life is going to be cell like. Without a cell structure, there is no division of function and without a division of function, there is no complexity. So it will be a weighted network of cell like components which you might as well call neurons.


Again you are asserting that things are the way they are here because that is the only way they could be. I am saying that that is not the case.


Sorry to be a pain, but he's actually explaining that these are hard limitations resulting from the physical properties of the universe, and you're ignoring them and just asserting that it could be different. How so? You need to explain why universal laws have to change to accommodate your argument! ;)


Zadocfish2 wrote:
2)
it isn't going to be anywhere near a human level intelligence in a rat sized brain.


Just throwing this out there, but a housekept rat can be a lot smarter than a housekept Great Dane.


Citation?

Your term 'smarter' suggests there's a scale we can measure this on.


Zadocfish2 wrote:They're actually extremely clever. As are octopi, and they have some of the smallest babies in the ocean.


Again, you're appealing to a nebulous definition of intelligence - how exactly do you know that octopuses are extremely clever? What tests have been performed to measure their intelligence? I'm well aware of observations made of octopuses, but positing degrees of comparative intelligence based on their behaviors is highly problematic in the field.

Generally speaking, an animal which specialises in intelligence as its method of survival doesn't produce vast quantities of offspring, but instead favours cultivating fewer - that leverages its own intelligence and also provides the potential for a learning period in the post-natal individual. Octopuses have batches of eggs consisting of around 150,000 individuals, most of which die because they are not offered parental protection after hatching. Perhaps octopuses' dexterity is being misread as intelligence?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#82  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 20, 2014 4:44 pm

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
No. I am asserting that a neural network is the most efficient configuration you can achieve for adaptive parallel processing. Saying otherwise is like saying there might be a 100% more efficient way of packing round objects into a box than we currently know.

The best that you can do is reduce the size of the balls, but then you are bound by a lower limit of how small a cell can get without removing it's life sustaining properties.

I won't argue that evolution can't find a more efficiently sized cell or that there might be a more efficient way to arrange the larger structures of the brain, but there isn't much more processing power you can cram into the confines of your skull that isn't already there. Nature has had hundreds of millions of years at trying.


Precisely - read this Zadoc and consider!
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#83  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 20, 2014 4:49 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:
Clever yes, but clever at selective rat specific tasks does not mean more intelligent. Cooperative hunting and other advanced social behaviors, including the ability for inter-species social interaction, are far more complex than finding cheese in a maze. A rat does not have the capacity for these advanced behaviors, and never will.


Have you ever owned a pet rat? Their behaviors are actually quite similar to a dog's, with enough interaction. Like a dog, the more time you spend with it, the smarter it seems to become.



I did indeed own a beautiful pet rat called Peanuts, who was later followed by a cheekier rat called Squeak - and they were dear little creatures. Not so much the 3rd rat who, because of other stuff going on in life, never got the attention the other 2 received - basically, she was a miserable bitch.

However, the key, I think is in your last sentence: 'seems to become'. The problem is that you're using nebulous unquantifiable notions to define intelligence. In this case, the fact that the rat learned your behaviors and acted in some form of accordance with them is taken as a mark of intelligence. How does this constitute intelligence over and above a Great Dane which undoubtedly could achieve the same results?

This is a big problem in the field of animal behavior - how do you know what constitutes intelligent behavior and what is just a product of anthropomorphizing perceived traits?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#84  Postby Zadocfish2 » Oct 21, 2014 2:25 am

Sorry to be a pain, but he's actually explaining that these are hard limitations resulting from the physical properties of the universe, and you're ignoring them and just asserting that it could be different. How so? You need to explain why universal laws have to change to accommodate your argument!


Any intelligent biological system will be based on a weighted network of some basic component (a neural network). A neural network is the maximum in efficiency for adaptive parallel processing. That is because the base structure is extremely simplified. There just isn't a simpler structure for data processing. Because of this, there is a lower limit to brain size vs intelligence.

Any basic component of life is going to be cell like. Without a cell structure, there is no division of function and without a division of function, there is no complexity. So it will be a weighted network of cell like components which you might as well call neurons.


I'll admit that I made assertions and did nothing substantial to back them up. But please point to the part of that sentiment where he provided evidence that a more efficient form of data transferral is physically and literally impossible.

I'll admit, as well, that the rat and octopi examples weren't worth a hill of beans. But I think you gave a little too much ground, there.

Again, you're appealing to a nebulous definition of intelligence - how exactly do you know that octopuses are extremely clever? What tests have been performed to measure their intelligence? I'm well aware of observations made of octopuses, but positing degrees of comparative intelligence based on their behaviors is highly problematic in the field.


However, the key, I think is in your last sentence: 'seems to become'. The problem is that you're using nebulous unquantifiable notions to define intelligence. In this case, the fact that the rat learned your behaviors and acted in some form of accordance with them is taken as a mark of intelligence. How does this constitute intelligence over and above a Great Dane which undoubtedly could achieve the same results?

This is a big problem in the field of animal behavior - how do you know what constitutes intelligent behavior and what is just a product of anthropomorphizing perceived traits?


So basically you're admitting that comparative analysis of animal intelligence is largely inconclusive... yet at the same time you're saying that smaller animals cannot be as smart as their larger counterparts.

Actually, there's a simpler way to go about this. Let's take the size limits of a neural network structure, and allowing for
I won't argue that evolution can't find a more efficiently sized cell or that there might be a more efficient way to arrange the larger structures of the brain, but there isn't much more processing power you can cram into the confines of your skull that isn't already there.


What is the smallest structure possible by known biology, capable of a recognizable level of intelligence?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#85  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 21, 2014 11:00 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:
I'll admit that I made assertions and did nothing substantial to back them up. But please point to the part of that sentiment where he provided evidence that a more efficient form of data transferral is physically and literally impossible.


The problems are manifold - mostly though, the efficiency of the notional system does not infer a reduction in size, just in energetic consumption to output - this is certainly possible - we most assuredly do not posit that the human brain is the pinnacle of processing efficiency - but still does not escape the absolute physical limitations. Intelligence is at least in part a function of multiplication of neurons - put more togther, and you have more processing power.

I didn't so much 'give ground' as hopefully start to convey some of the erroneous notions you are labouring under through honestly laying out the problems.


Zadocfish2 wrote:I'll admit, as well, that the rat and octopi examples weren't worth a hill of beans. But I think you gave a little too much ground, there.


I'm extremely cautious about making any assumptions about intelligence, when intelligence itself has proven an extremely difficult thing to quantify even in humans. Imposing human-style requirements on measurements of intelligence is problematic as we're effectively making ourselves the yard-stick of intelligence. Perhaps there are other very different ways of being intelligent, and perhaps within those ways, other creatures could possess far greater quantities of that type of intelligence than we possess of our type. It's a topic fraught with problems - I've recently done courses on both Animal Behavior and Astrobiology, and it's interesting to note that the latter effectively compiles the contemporary output of a number of other disciplines and is also actively engaging this question: how would we recognise intelligence in an alien species.


Zadocfish2 wrote:So basically you're admitting that comparative analysis of animal intelligence is largely inconclusive... yet at the same time you're saying that smaller animals cannot be as smart as their larger counterparts.


Well, I am not saying its inconclusive, or that we essentially know nothing about it, I am saying that it's highly problematic and we're still not sure how best to deal with the data we do have. Plenty of conclusions to specific questions are available, the point is what they're actually worth when a single operational definition for intelligence might be a flawed assumption in itself.

With regards to smaller creatures - there are, as already mentioned, physical limitations. The number of neurons you can stack together obviously depends on the volume of space, and a smaller animal has less volume. This is of course not to remotely suggest that simply being bigger equates to being more intelligent, bur rather that a larger animal (or at least a larger brain) offers more potential processing power just as larger wings provide greater lift than smaller ones.


Zadocfish2 wrote:Actually, there's a simpler way to go about this. Let's take the size limits of a neural network structure, and allowing for
I won't argue that evolution can't find a more efficiently sized cell or that there might be a more efficient way to arrange the larger structures of the brain, but there isn't much more processing power you can cram into the confines of your skull that isn't already there.


What is the smallest structure possible by known biology, capable of a recognizable level of intelligence?


The component pieces don't possess any intelligence, it's only the entire system that does. So effectively you're asking what the smallest brained creature we know of, and that's probably a nematode of some description (some of them you can barely even be said to have a central point to their nervous system - it's barely different than any other part of the system). However, we once again run into the kind of problem this topic is fraught with: some echinoderms don't even possess a brain in a manner which we would recognise (it is semi possible to conceive of their nerve nets as a distributed brain with no centralization but that's rather problematic as well in terms of understanding whence cometh intelligence), yet they manage the apparently intelligent behavior of predation, i.e. locating, identifying, then defeating prey.

Again, this points out why the notion of intelligence itself is already problematic without using arbitrary notions of it while attempting to conduct comparative measurements.

Perhaps I am failing to explain this clearly, so let's try it a different way. Why don't you attempt to provide a definition of intelligence that is universally applicable and I will show you the problems that arise from it. What are the characteristics of intelligence that would let us recognise it as such?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#86  Postby Zadocfish2 » Oct 22, 2014 5:34 am

Perhaps I am failing to explain this clearly, so let's try it a different way. Why don't you attempt to provide a definition of intelligence that is universally applicable and I will show you the problems that arise from it. What are the characteristics of intelligence that would let us recognise it as such?


I think maybe we don't understand the basic point the other is trying to make. I'm saying that what life would look like outside of earth is hard to imagine, and size is one of the things that might surprise us. More specifically, I think that a mouse-sized creature capable of "sapience" is possible. I'm under the impression that you are saying that this is physically impossible.

As for a definition of intelligence: A creature that can make something that looks like something that is in its environment. Like cave art, something that implies active thought, and I suppose that this could be called the most primitive form of "art".

The obvious problem is that a creature with human-like intelligence wouldn't necessarily be artistic or even self-expressive. The problem with theoretical biology is that predicting the mays and maybes is difficult-to-impossible... I don't think there is a "litmus test" for sapience, to be honest. However, artistry could very well be an excellent indicator.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#87  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 22, 2014 11:56 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:
Perhaps I am failing to explain this clearly, so let's try it a different way. Why don't you attempt to provide a definition of intelligence that is universally applicable and I will show you the problems that arise from it. What are the characteristics of intelligence that would let us recognise it as such?


I think maybe we don't understand the basic point the other is trying to make.


I believe I understand the point you're trying to make and that I have addressed it in detail.


Zadocfish2 wrote: I'm saying that what life would look like outside of earth is hard to imagine, and size is one of the things that might surprise us.


Yes, I know, and I am saying that there are hard limitations based on universal properties of the universe. This is something you haven't contended, yet forms 1 prong in the dual criticism I have made of your position.


Zadocfish2 wrote: More specifically, I think that a mouse-sized creature capable of "sapience" is possible.


Yet the basis for your belief is entirely internal and has no grounding in evidence. Quite the contrary to your belief, the evidence shows that intelligence is at least partly the result of the multiplication of neurons - more area = more potential neurons = more interconnections = more potential intelligence. A good example of this is the difference between say a cat and a human brain - aside from the massive neocortex in humans which amounts to 85%-90% of the brain's matter and is directly related to the type of intelligence associated with human behavior, cat brains lack the sulci - the deep ridges which increase the brain's surface area and which are most accentuated in humans of all the species we know. This relates to the point - larger brains provide more area within which functions can occur. If intelligence is the result of a number of functions cooperating, then a larger brain provides more potential intelligence.

Further, your claim rests on undisclosed assumptions - are you even aware of how the brain works? Do you know the brain's anatomy? Have you even studied comparative morphology? I am not trying to belittle you, but point out that an uneducated guess has no more value than any other grammatically correct sentence. The universe's workings are not something you can simply intuit.


Zadocfish2 wrote: I'm under the impression that you are saying that this is physically impossible.


I think I have been quite clear that a) firstly definitions of intelligence are fraught with complexity and b) that a human style intelligence would be impossible in a brain the volume of a rat's.


Zadocfish2 wrote:As for a definition of intelligence: A creature that can make something that looks like something that is in its environment. Like cave art, something that implies active thought, and I suppose that this could be called the most primitive form of "art".


Which means that only humans on our planet are intelligent according to your description.


Zadocfish2 wrote:The obvious problem is that a creature with human-like intelligence wouldn't necessarily be artistic or even self-expressive.


Yep - this is part of a sack full of problems. Taking a characteristics of human behavior and elevating it to a yard-stick of intelligence is termed, slightly tongue in cheek, as 'chauvinism'. That's particularly the case when, as with your definition, it rules out every single other organism on this planet as possessing intelligence.


Zadocfish2 wrote: The problem with theoretical biology is that predicting the mays and maybes is difficult-to-impossible... I don't think there is a "litmus test" for sapience, to be honest. However, artistry could very well be an excellent indicator.


Actually, as I've already mentioned, there is a whole body of work on this - it's not as if we know nothing. The problem is that we have no real way of evaluating the worth of our bucket list of apparently intelligent types of thinking or behavior. I can rattle off the list if you like - my area of expertise is humans rather than other animals, but it's actually quite an important part of my field because we have to account for the differences between our species and our ancestral hominid brethren, in terms of behavior, material culture, geographical distribution, and general 'success'.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#88  Postby Zadocfish2 » Oct 23, 2014 5:59 am

I suppose this is the part of the discussion where I admit that I know nothing of the subject matter and humbly retract myself therefrom... again.

In conclusion, we don't have a truly solid definition of intelligent behaviors in animals. That said, we do know that there is an absolute lower limit to how small an organism can be while still possessing enough components to reach the lowest-level definitions that we can recognize. That limit is substantially above the size of mice/cats.

Correct?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#89  Postby Spearthrower » Oct 23, 2014 10:19 am

Zadocfish2 wrote:I suppose this is the part of the discussion where I admit that I know nothing of the subject matter and humbly retract myself therefrom... again.


I don't think there's any need to retract yourself from the discussion! :grin:

Plenty of us long-timers here have stayed so long precisely because we learn so much from other people.

You should see the monumental lengths people went to in order to convince me that, mathematically speaking, 0.999 = 1. :grin: I was officially a nematode for a considerable period on account of denying it could be considered accurate.


Zadocfish2 wrote:In conclusion, we don't have a truly solid definition of intelligent behaviors in animals.


We have a bunch of working definitions - the problem is that intelligence might be multifarious, therefore any one size fits all approaches to comparing intelligences would say more about ourselves than it would about that which we try to explain.


Zadocfish2 wrote: That said, we do know that there is an absolute lower limit to how small an organism can be while still possessing enough components to reach the lowest-level definitions that we can recognize.

That limit is substantially above the size of mice/cats.

Correct?


With all the aforementioned problems of judging comparative intelligence, I don't think it's arguable that cats or rats lack any intelligence, unless intelligence is being defined in specifically human terms, such as capacity for abstract/symbolic thought, logic, and modelling future outcomes.

With cats v rats, it's important to note the vast difference here. A cat's brain is around 30g, while a rat's is around 2g.

https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/facts.html

Even more importantly, the total surface area of the cerebral cortex in a cat is vastly greater than that of a rat (including human for comparisons)

Total surface area of the cerebral cortex = 2,500 cm2 (2.5 ft2; A. Peters, and E.G. Jones, Cerebral Cortex, 1984)
Total surface area of the cerebral cortex (rat) = 6 cm2
Total surface area of the cerebral cortex (cat) = 83 cm2



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_an ... of_neurons

This thereby leaves rats with something like 15,000,000 - 21,000,000 neurons and 4.48 × 1011 synapses while humans have 19,000,000,000–23,000,000,000 neurons and something like 1014–1015 synapses - several orders of magnitude greater. Somewhere in there lies the correct answer - specifically what number of neurons are required to cross the thresh-hold and become self-reflexive is unknown, and presumably may vary depending on elements of brain structure, but it's pretty telling evidence that brain volume is directly connected to potential intelligence.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#90  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Oct 30, 2014 3:45 pm

Zadocfish2 wrote:
I'll admit that I made assertions and did nothing substantial to back them up. But please point to the part of that sentiment where he provided evidence that a more efficient form of data transferral is physically and literally impossible.


Hey Zadoc,

The problem isn't just data transfer. It's data processing. In order for an intelligent system to exist, it must do three things.

1) Sensory input.
2) Data processing of that input through weighted connections (network).
3) Respond (output) in accordance to that processing.

Each cell in the nervous system is responsible for one of these three requirements and so removing any of them to make it simpler, necessarily removes capacity for processing data.

Image

This is not just a biological limitation, it is a mathematical limitation.

Zadocfish2 wrote:What is the smallest structure possible by known biology, capable of a recognizable level of intelligence?


A "recognizable level of intelligence" would be completely subjective, but I think what you see here on this planet is probably very close to the biological minimum size/intelligence ratio.

There are very strong selective pressures against supporting a large brain. In fact, for an organ that is 2% of our body mass, it accounts for a full 20% of our metabolic rate. If there were more efficient solutions that would reduce the size of the brain (and therefore the metabolic demand) without reducing intelligence, I think we would have seen it by now.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#91  Postby Jango » Dec 18, 2014 10:29 am

CdesignProponentsist wrote:
jess22 wrote:What do you think? Is this an old ruin from an ancient civilization? That's what I've been reading around the net today.


Hey Jess,

Which do you think requires more extraordinary and outlandish assumptions:

A) An odd rock formation due to natural erosion (of which millions of Earthly examples exist).
B) An ancient vanished Martian civilization of which all that can be found is a single oddly shaped rock.

Think carefully, and choose wisely.
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It's an assumption that life has never existed on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#92  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Dec 21, 2014 7:56 am

Jango wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:
jess22 wrote:What do you think? Is this an old ruin from an ancient civilization? That's what I've been reading around the net today.


Hey Jess,

Which do you think requires more extraordinary and outlandish assumptions:

A) An odd rock formation due to natural erosion (of which millions of Earthly examples exist).
B) An ancient vanished Martian civilization of which all that can be found is a single oddly shaped rock.

Think carefully, and choose wisely.
...and welcome to Ratskep! :cheers:


It's an assumption that life has never existed on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter.


Who's making that assumption?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#93  Postby Stumped » Dec 21, 2014 8:54 am

Are those Green Peace tyre tracks?
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#94  Postby Oldskeptic » Jan 29, 2015 1:36 am

Varangian wrote:
Made of Stars wrote:
BlackBart wrote:
DougC wrote:Another strange one.

Image

I suspect this will go the way of 'The Face on Mars' once we get a high res photo.

No, that's totally a planetary defence laser cannon, dude.

Obviously not working, then.


Whatever it is it's really big because on the far left is the St George, Mormon temple.

Image
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#95  Postby Spearthrower » Aug 02, 2015 11:54 pm

Jango wrote:
CdesignProponentsist wrote:
jess22 wrote:What do you think? Is this an old ruin from an ancient civilization? That's what I've been reading around the net today.


Hey Jess,

Which do you think requires more extraordinary and outlandish assumptions:

A) An odd rock formation due to natural erosion (of which millions of Earthly examples exist).
B) An ancient vanished Martian civilization of which all that can be found is a single oddly shaped rock.

Think carefully, and choose wisely.
...and welcome to Ratskep! :cheers:


It's an assumption that life has never existed on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter.



No such assumption is necessary to respond to this point. Further, the actual working scientific assumption is that Mars was once suitable for life which is why so many experiments have been done to try to establish whether this is true or not. If the assumption was that life never existed on Mars, then it would be irrational to try to seek it.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#96  Postby Mike_L » Sep 01, 2015 12:13 pm

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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#97  Postby Alan B » Sep 01, 2015 6:04 pm

Eight legs... Mmmm! :think:

While I don't subscribe to these 'conspiracy' theories, some of these images do make one wonder. Some of them do appear to be too bizarre to be easily explained as 'natural' and surely warrant further investigation.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#98  Postby CdesignProponentsist » Sep 01, 2015 7:24 pm

Researching every instance of pareidolia is a HUGE waste of precious resources.

Here are some earthly examples that no one seems to interested in investigating. Probably because they can easily be investigated they don't make for juicy NASA conspiracy or alien influence.

Image
Image
Image
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#99  Postby tolman » Sep 01, 2015 7:40 pm

Alan B wrote:Eight legs... Mmmm! :think:

While I don't subscribe to these 'conspiracy' theories, some of these images do make one wonder. Some of them do appear to be too bizarre to be easily explained as 'natural' and surely warrant further investigation.

I wish all articles had a link back to a NASA source image.

Even then, one wonders if someone at NASA is playing with the odd image, and sitting back and seeing if anyone notices.
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Re: NASAs rover Curiosity just posted this pic of old ruins

#100  Postby Alan B » Sep 01, 2015 7:54 pm

:this:
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