Serious Words To Think About

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There is more than enough hyperventilation going on right now about global warming or global climate change or whatever you want to call it. But NPR interviews NASA Administrator Michael Griffin who makes an excellent point that really requires a bit of thought:

Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America's National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep that will air in Thursday's edition of NPR News' Morning Edition, Administrator Griffin explains: "I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."

Earth's climate has varied – widely – through the years. Greenland got its name because when it was discovered it was actually green. The original colonists there died off when the climate changed and it got very, very cold. It was not the ice-swept desolation it mostly is today. 10,000 years ago, the glaciers reached well into the heartland of America. 2,000 years ago, North Africa, now desert, was the grain basket for the Roman Empire.

Who is to say this particular climate, at this very moment, is the be-all and end-all of perfection? Al Gore and his sycophants? The UN with its staggering record of incompetence? Really?

"I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take". Think about that. Seriously.

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39 Responses to Serious Words To Think About

  1. Richard Peterson says:

    The choice of words seems to suggest that all of Greenland was “green,” that is, free of ice and snow. Since they have been digging ice cores to determine the air quality thousands of years ago, that would be inaccurate.

    However, the question of who decides what the climate iwill be, that is a point well taken. The UN is asicly set up to ensure that nothing will be done, and if something is done, it will be done badly. Giving 5 nations veto power is a recipe for inaction.

    I just wonder why it is a good idea to discard habeous corpus, and attack a nation which had not attacked us, as part of a policy of preventing a “one percent chance” of a nuclear attack on the US, but it is not necessary to try to prevent possible climate change that could be much more devastating than the incineraton of a single city.

    Anyway, it will be easy to reverse the warming trend; just an all out nuclear exchange will trigger a “nuclear winter” and set everything right.

  2. Gaius says:

    No, all of Greenland was not green – but more than enough for a rather healthy farming colony to exist.

  3. syn says:

    Well Richard, Hitler’s Germany never attacks us either but fortunately FDR saw past the blind Americans who needed to isolate themselves in condescending pacifism.

    ‘it will be easy to reverse the warming trend’

    Thing is no human being can keep the climate from changing, humans simply do not have the force of nature on our side.

  4. Sissy Willis says:

    But of course. Arrogance is where Al Gore & Company live.

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  6. madmatt says:

    Then you agree that people being aware that climate change happens is a good thing and taking steps to be prepared for that eventuality are necessary…so why are you against the movie?

  7. Bern says:


    Do you know history at all or do you just listen to Rush & Friends? Hitler/Germany declared war on the US. It also helped that they had been steamrolling our allies and about to take out our greatest ally, Britain. Nice try at comparing Dubya to FDR.

  8. syn says:

    Bern from your comment I gather you don’t consider Israel an ally?

    Funny despite what Hilter was doing to the Jews in Poland the British elite intellectuals and artists at the time didn’t see Hilter’s threat until he came knocking at their door at which point they threw Chamberlain off the bus and embraced Churchill as their savior.

    Bern, I’m not comparing GWB to FDR I am comparing today’s American elite intellectuals to the pre-1940 British elite intellectuals.

    That said, Saddam hated America, called for the assassination of an American President, aided Islamic Jihadist in Iraq, gave money to Palestinian bombers, and according to President Clinton’s 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, Saddam was a threat to the West. Of course, between 1998 and 2000 the NY Times printed numerous editorials on the reasons why following through on the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act was a wise move.

    Now what this thing you have about Rush?

  9. ibfamous says:

    well lets start with rush lies for a living… now about – “British elite intellectuals and artists at the time didn’t see Hilter’s threat until he came knocking at their door” – it would be nice if people who made broad statements had some sourcing to back it up. was it the “elite intellectuals and artists (artist?)” or was it the CONSERVATIVE prime minister who had a policy of appeasment. don’t remember any artist meeting with hitler in ’38…

  10. Clay says:

    To say that Greenland was green several hundred years ago is very misleading. A very small area at the southern tip was green in the summer. You make it sound as if there was no ice there at all.

    No one is arguing that there have not been climate changes in the past. What the world’s scientists are telling us is that the changes they are observing now may be the beginning of a rapidly accelerating climate change that is unprecedented in the history of civilized humanity. They are also saying that this rapid acceleration is man made and that we may be able to do something about it if we can arrest our rapid increase in atmospheric carbon production.

    No one says that we are living in the ideal climate, but your example of Greenland perfectly illustrates the point I want to make. It’s very easy for a colony of a thousand people to adapt to a local climate change. What do you think it’s going to be like for cities of millions if the water moves away or the oceans rise and flood the city.

    This may not be the perfect climate, but this is the one we built our civilization on. If we have the power to stop this rapid climate change, we should do it.

  11. jpe says:

    I assume his comments were parody; if only he had signed off as Pangloss, we’d know for sure.

  12. daveinboca says:

    The Middle Age Warming Period when vineyards thrived in England and Greenland was suitable for farming on a large scale has been COMPLETELY ERASED in a Soviet-style historical redaction worthy of Joe Stalin. A hundred years of scientific study with historical records verifying this four-hundred years of abnormal [by today’s standards] warmth has been rendered nugatory by a bunch of quacks and frauds posing as “scientists.”

    To get a graph called “the hockey stick” that shows today’s warming trend as absolutely unique. What is unique is the hybris and chutzpah of “climatologists” posing as “scientists” who are pursuing an agenda of vying for funding and grants from NGOs and big governments.

    Al Gore’s assault on sanity is the vanguard of superficial twaddle that makes the AGW movement a laugh. Taxing the air we breathe is a Democrat’s wettest dream!

  13. Phil says:

    “I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take”.

    So I notice nobody actually answered the main point.

    Does this mean you don’t mind being arrogant on behalf of the other 6 billion people?
    Maybe you think, as illustrated by the natural conclusion of “man made global warming” ideas, that there are too many people?
    Perhaps you, being so proudly arrogant to speak for the rest of us, would be willing to help solve the problem and quit breathing voluntarily?
    Or is it that you would arrogantly wish for some great portion of the real problem to simply vanish?
    someone said nuclear winter… I think there’s a solution to both problems, eh?

  14. Chris says:

    There is no historical data to support Michael Griffin’s claim that Greenland got it’s name because it was green when it was discovered. Though it is true that the climate has changed since then, only a very small portion of Greenland was actually inhabitable at the time it was discovered and settled by Erik the Red. Most historians believe he named it “Greenland” to attract more settlers. It’s hard to take any of Mr. Griffin’s arguments seriously when he make such a deliberate attempt to distort the facts.

  15. Phil says:

    Okay Chris, he’s a blowhard. Nice deflection, but no dice. You are ignoring the point he makes, arrogantly I might add.

    “It’s hard to take any of Mr. Griffin’s arguments seriously when he make such a deliberate attempt to distort the facts.”

    Greenland has nothing to do with the point, could you address this, any of you? What temperature should the Earth be? What do you base this on? A nice day in your neck of the woods?

    Maybe some other people would like a better growing season, more food is good, unless you wish for starvation which would help out mother earth in your book?

    Can you show a warm period in Earth’s history which was BAD for human beings? Didn’t think so…

  16. Gaius says:

    Those weren’t Griffin’s words, they are mine. I had that stupid WordPress bug act up again. It is corrected now.

  17. Steve says:

    “It’s hard to take any of Mr. Griffin’s arguments seriously when he make such a deliberate attempt to distort the facts. ”

    And yet, people still take Al Gore seriously, even though he deliberately distorts data.

  18. madjoey says:

    DaveInBoca: “What is unique is the hybris and chutzpah of “climatologists” posing as “scientists” who are pursuing an agenda of vying for funding and grants from NGOs and big governments.”

    Riiiiiggghhhhtttt… That big ole gravy train called “funding and grants from NGOs and big governments.” That’s big money, fer sher — I’m sure it totally eclipses the funding available from the oil industry and their astroturf efforts. It must tell you something, DaveInBoca, that even given the prospect of suckling at the swollen teat of Mammon, 99 out of 100 “scientists” and “climatologists” would rather root at the withered nipple of “science” than sell out their consciences to advance an ideology called “anthropogenic global warming is a hoax.”

    What do AGW deniers get out of it, anyway? You get to relive your high school days — “No way, Poindexter, you ain’t gonna make me look stoopid again?”

  19. Chris says:

    Jeez Phil, don’t you remember that heat wave in Europe in 2003 that killed almost 15,000 people in France alone? Wouldn’t you agree that that warm period was bad for people? The fact is, people die from warm weather all of the time, as well as other weather related phenominum. There are plenty of other examples, but I won’t waste my time. Changes in weather can affect nearly anyone, in ways both positive and negative. If the temperature of the planet continues to increase, there will no doubt be some negative consequences.

    Sure, there may be some benefits if some parts of the world get warmer weather, but at the same time, there are also many adverse affects of warmer periods of weather.

    So you may think I’m arrogant, but I’d have to argue that you are ingnorant. If you want to base your opinions on the creative writings of a NASA Administrator (did you even bother to find out if he’s actually a scientist?), than go at it. I’d prefer to base my opinions on proven science and historical data.

  20. Gaius says:

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    I can always tell when the artist formerly known as the Daou Report links. Same crowd flutters in.

    The vast majority of greehouse gas is water vapor – not CO2. You are believing projections of what will happen in 10-50 years when you cannot get an accurate weather forecast for a few days from now. The "hockey stick" has been debunked because it falsified data to get the result it showed.

    Again, the point: who decides what the perfect climate is? People like Al Gore who use 20 times more energy than the average? Who also has a huge financial stake in selling indulgences – er – carbon offsets to true believers. Who's got a financial dog in the race? (Hint it sure isn't this blog).

    Yet you swallow what he's peddling without even wondering about it. And try to stifle anyone who refuses one of Gore's pills.

  21. psmarc93 says:

    There’s little I can add that’s better said than “comments by Chris” — except to again and again and again point out the persistent “straw man” fallacy held up by this post and so many man-made global warming scoffers.
    The point is that the current global warming is the result of polluting industry changing the climate, the VAST majority, indeed the CONSENSUS of research bears up this fact. In geological time, this warming has happened overnight CONCURRENT with the massive spike in industry — unlike the past receeding ice ages! This is not the result of a polar shift ice age or a meteor or any other cataclysm.
    The point is that the warming will make rainforests of some new areas, new ice ages (especially if the Gulf Stream shuts off) deserts of other new areas and flood others — it’s not just a general “heating up” everywhere.
    You can quote the handful of quacks that have NOT published peer-reviewed studies on the subject, have NOT presented data worthy of testing or scientific debate, all you want — but stop calling them “authorities.” The authorities have spoken and continue to warn us we must change our pollution of the air.
    No one has suggested we’ve had the “best of all possible climates” and trying to maintain it. The VAST MAJORITY of authorities ARE telling us that the climate we’ve had is dying because of our MASSIVE abuse. The arrogance is only on the side of those who ignore the vast research in favor of the discredited schills of the petroleum industry who will sell our children’s lives for their present monetary gain!

  22. jay k. says:

    no one that i have read denys there are natural cycles like you describe. the problem is that humans seem to be greatly accelerating the natural cycles.
    and for gaius to make a link between predictions of 10-50 years out and his/her local forecast for tomorrow is typical of the folks who have no idea what the argument is, but they know they are right.

  23. phil says:


    So a heat wave is the same as “a warm period”.
    Try to answer the actual question.

    Those people died because they were old and useless(and the young socialists couldn’t even be bothered to come back from the beach to claim them). That tragedy had to do with a few warm days and the Brave New World.

    Please submit some historical data showing human populations adversely affected by warm periods mr expert “I don’t need to bother backing up my claims”.
    As I recall, it was an ICE AGE that nearly did in our ancestors.

    Ooh, I forgot. It was hot yesterday and I was uncomfortable. See, you folks look at one heat wave and claim “proven science and historical data” is on your side. Prove it for real. Name the Heat-Age that almost wiped out humanity. Can you?

  24. cbmc says:

    Folks, don’t get your panties twisted about this – now that the President has come out on the side of what well over 90% of scientists believe (that global warming is attributable in part to human activity, and it’d be in our best long-term interests to stop contributing to it), this blog, and most of the other right blogs, are going to experience miraculous conversions, citing “new evidence” or other such nonsense instead of eating the crow that is theirs by right.

  25. Randy says:

    “Those people died because they were old and useless(and the young socialists couldn’t even be bothered to come back from the beach to claim them).”

    What a statement. You combine your contempt for the less-fortunate with a chance to create a straw man argument. I suppose a fine conservative like you would have taken the time out from your summer holiday save the old and useless.

  26. bazzat says:

    “Please submit some historical data showing human populations adversely affected by warm periods…”

    This isn’t historical data, but I think those of us living through the current Australian drought have a pretty good idea what a “warm period” can do. The devastation of Australia’s farming community is overwhelming, and the stories of personal loss seem endless. And keep in mind that we have the luxury of developed-world wealth to soften the blows, so what happens here is only a mild prelude to what may happen in poorer countries.

    No-one can say for certain at this point if the drought is a direct consequence of global warming trends but that isn’t the point. The point is that relatively small changes in climate can have consequences that won’t be fixed by cranking up the air conditioning a notch.

  27. Gaius says:


    That would be weather. Any link to climate change is complete speculation. (And downright silly). Where I live in the Midwestern US, we had a several year long drought. Farming here was severely stressed.

    Until this year. Now we have flooding. (Farming here is severely stressed, yet again, because they can’t get into the fields.)

  28. Fred Garvin says:

    “You are believing projections of what will happen in 10-50 years when you cannot get an accurate weather forecast for a few days from now.” (Gaius)

    Gaius, this argument is ridiculous. Climate predications are based on actual measurement of temperatures and effects we’re seeing now in sea temperatures, growing seasons, and surface ice, among other things.

    Over 90% of climate scientists (not meteorologists – there’s a very big difference) say that 6.5 billion people burning lots of stuff every day will have a serious effect.

    How can you equate that with the three-day weather forecast, which is based essentially on looking up at the sky and predicting where masses of air will move tomorrow?

  29. gil says:

    Home Page.

    You are right. Who is to say that climate change will not affect us for the better.

    Let’s see…. I am from Texas and on a routine Summer we go to the 100’s, so with Global Warming we can now look forward to say … 140 degrees in the shade, if you can find one because by then all the trees would have died.

    But if on the other hand you live in Canda you can now have winters that only last 6 months, not 10 and you can change your economy to produce sugar cane, tobacco, and bananas. Your polar bear as well as all Artic animals will be no more, but no problem you can now replace them with Rattle snakes, Coyotes and Chimps.

    New York, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, etc will be under water but they can change there economies too. That Southern accent will sound so nice when accompanied with bubbles!!!

    The Shara will extend itself all the way down to South Africa, but who needs Africa anyway. The entire continent can be used to store nuclear waste, old coal plants, all kids of toxic materials, extinct animals, tires, Neo-Cons, and Al Gore books.

    Of course Greenland will be green again and look like Can Cun, and that’s a good thing because Can Cun will be under water along with half of the Yucatan, and a bunch of pissed off Mexicans. It’a good thing we are building a wall, because after the “Pinches Greengos Pendejos” remarks we are sure to get, guess what Mexicans are going to try to do after thier country turns into a big version of Lawrence of Arabia at the Rio Grand.

    Lovely little world we can expect. You are right home page, absolutely right. I am going out now to get myself a Hummer and set some trees on fire.

  30. Gaius says:

    Please ask yourself why if man is the cause of all the global warming on earth why it is that Mars is showing an almost identical rise in global average temperature.

    Please ask yourself why the rise in CO2 is of more importance than the water vapor – which, despite the hyperbole, constitutes the overwhelming amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

    Please ask yourself why there is a desperate attempt to shout down any voice who asks those questions – even when they are genuine experts in the field. And despite the denigration of the shouters, there are genuine experts who vehemently disagree and are not paid tools of the oil companies.

    Please ask yourself why “90% of climate scientists” means any more than the virtually 100% of physicists who firmly believed that Einstein was insane with his silly theory.

    Ask yourself. Seriously. Virtually every lay (as in non-scientist/non-engineer) supporter of global warming theory relies on imparted wisdom – not individual thought about it. They get their science from the likes of Al Gore – energy hog, strip miner and a man with a huge financial stake in acceptance of global warming.


  31. bazzat says:

    “That would be weather. Any link to climate change is complete speculation. (And downright silly). Where I live in the Midwestern US, we had a several year long drought. Farming here was severely stressed.

    Until this year. Now we have flooding. (Farming here is severely stressed, yet again, because they can’t get into the fields.)”

    Sigh. I take it you didn’t bother to read the bit where I said there was no proof that Australias’ drought is related to global warming and that that wasn’t my point? My point was that even small changes in weather patterns can be extremely destructive. And while I know you think the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are incompetent and corrupt fools surely you’ve heard that they aren’t predicting a uniform global increase in termperature by a few balmy degrees – they’re predicting increases in weather extremes. That means all of hotter, colder, wetter and drier are likely in different parts of the world. But whatever the local variation is you can bet that for most people on this planet it will lead to disruption of agriculture and thus even more people will starve.

    But that’s ok. It’s only the weather.

  32. bcw says:

    Gaius is wrong on most things:
    1. The “Hockeystick” refutation was constructed from a deliberate misreporting of the original paper.
    2. The Middle Ages warmup was limited to Europe, not a world phenomenon.
    3. Examples of historical climate effects include the African Sahara expansion, the cold winters of the late 1600’s, American Indian societal collapses (Mayan + Anastazi), probably the collapse of ancient Sumeria, on a smaller scale the Dustbowl years.
    4. Einstein was not mocked, there was a rush to find data supporting him, including measurements of the precession of Mercury.
    5. The climate change issue isn’t change but rate of change. As plant zones shift agriculture and cities will have trouble keeping up. The issue is that the costs to adapt are almost certaintly bigger than the costs to reduce the change. Many efficiency efforts are cost effective if capital is available.

  33. Gaius says:


    The statistical methods used by Mann and his colleagues have been the subject of much recent scrutiny. Based on our own research and a detailed comparison with the published evidence, Willie Soon and I raised the spectre of flawed statistics in the Hockey Stick when we testified with Mann at a U.S. Senate committee hearing in 2003. Subsequently, two Canadians with strong statistical training—energy analyst Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick—attempted to replicate Mann’s results using the data he had supplied them. They found a number of errors, improper calculations, and misrepresentations of methodology. In the refereed literature, other researchers have expressed concerns about and demonstrated problems with the Hockey Stick. The McIntyre and McKitrick study led to a corrigendum in Nature, where Mann and his colleagues admitted to various inaccuracies in their original description of their data and analysis. Nature took the extremely unusual step of requiring Mann and co-authors to provide a new archive of data and a new verbal description of their methodology. But even with this revised release, key aspects of the Hockey Stick remain impossible to replicate—and replication is a hallmark of scientific inquiry. Mann continues to refuse requests for full disclosure, telling The Wall Street Journal that to do so would amount to “giving in to intimidation.”

  34. Rah says:

    Why don’t we try this: On a hot sunny day, shut all the windows and doors in your house. Go into your garage, leaving the door open between house and garage. Turn on your car. Leave car on and return to the house.

    Does the house heat up faster or slower? Or maybe you can’t tell because you’re dead?

    Anyways, you’re absolutely right about climate change coming completely down to economics. It’s all a question of risk. So, is it worth betting on the chance that human activity will have no impact on our lives or our planet? In the scenario above, you are betting that your car will run out of fuel before filling your house with enough carbon mono and dioxide to kill you. There are a number of variables to how long you have – how airtight is your house and if it’s a bit drafty, is it a windy day, how large is the interior volume of the house, how many houseplants do you have, etc? In this case a scientist might be able to give you an idea. You might last if the tank was half full, but not if it was 3/4 full.

    Climate change is the same type of predicament on a global scale. How much stuff can we burn? how much can our planet reabsorb? The behavior of carbon dioxide is the most basic chemistry, not rocket science. carbon dioxide is good at trapping heat – it is the warm blanket that makes life possible on this lonely rock floating about space. But carbon dioxide takes a long time to dissepate back into the soil. Water vapor, which you cite as the key warming gas, has zero net effect on the temperature of our atmosphere and actually helps keeps surface temperatures low. It does not insulate. Our planet is covered in the stuff and as it heats, it turns to gas which rises into the atmosphere, cools, condensces into clouds and returns to the surface in the form of precipitation. It’s just like boiling water on the stove – the water never gets above 100C as long as there’s still water in the pot.

    Increases in global average temperature create severe weather, like drought/flooding cycles because they speed up and intensify the water cycle. While our exhalations of carbon dioxide are basic life processes, excessive carbon dioxide emision clearly become pollutant when they are out of natural balance.

    If we return to the most basic economics again, the adaptations required to hedge against the risk of climate change will themselves drive innovation and economic growth. But these are the very arguments for doing nothing, right?
    The main problem is the current winners (oil, natural resources) may no longer be winners in a world less dependant on their products. I’m sure Al Gore might be a winner in any new status quo… perhaps, instead of being beholden to keeping the profits of the resource exploiters nice and high by paying $3.20 for gasoline and turning the AC powered by burning coal up nice and high, you too could profit from a small risk, estimated cost at .1% of global GDP per year over the next 50 years or so.

  35. Gaius says:

    And bcw ignores recent downsizing of projections by the IPCC itself.

    Or a just released study that says models that predict drought are wrong (mind you, they now say the problem is flooding, but it speaks to how accurate a lot of this stuff really is.);_ylt=Aj98GFboqrqTL2_CM2ZvwanMWM0F

  36. George Washington says:

    In Jared Diamond’s book “Collapse” he spends dozens of pages analyzing the end of the Norse community on Greenland. Ice cores, tree rings, building ruins, etc have all been studied for clues to how this community ended after lasting 400 years.

    According to Diamond, Greenland was named that by one Norse leader who had to leave Iceland and wanted to bring followers with him, but it was never very green. So sorry but the data refutes your “theory” about Greenland’s name reflecting its climate.

    According to Diamond, a few bad winters killed off the last of the Norse Greenlanders, but it wasn’t so simple (there was also a loss of trading relations with Iceland). Inuit people on Greenland continued to thrive. According to Diamond, the Norse would only eat meat, and refused to eat fish. When a few bad winters limited seal or walrus hunting (sorry, I’m forgetting the details), the Norse began to starve. Ice fishing would have provided plenty of good food, and over the period of 400 years, the Norse doubtless observed the Inuit eating fish, but to the Norse, it was culturally unacceptable to have such a diet. According to Diamond, they literally starved amidst plenty.

    Perhaps you should go see Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” He actually presents data from tens of thousands of years of ice cores from Greenland, and hundreds of thousands of years of ice cores from other sites. Gore is merely parroting climatologists’ consensus. How inconvenient.

  37. Dandaman says:

    I’m certain the people who can say for sure must be the Oil and Gas Industry/Lobby rather than 95% of the world’s scientists.

    Obviously if you have to pick a group that is more money hungry, it would be the scientists.

    Yep, makes perfect sense.

    Why people pretend when our future is at stake..over stupid politics is just stunning to me and I have to wonder what has to happen for people to wake up. I’ve actually heard people make the illogical claim above. Scientists are greedy, not the oil and gas lobby and there’s a massive conspiracy afoot by the world’s scientists and actually the GOP knows better.

    How dumb.

  38. Grovertdog says:

    Not only is the original assertion that Greenland was “actually green” a gross distortion, as the southern fjords have ALWAYS been green, but the majority of the country now, and in the past has not been, but so too is the contention that the name “Greenland” was due to this. As far back as we can tell, a substantial majority of Greenland has ALWAYS been covered by glacier.

    There are different interpretations as to the origin of the name Greenland. Early nautical charts term the area “Gruntland” or “Groundland” which is a reference to shallow bays. “Greenland” could have evolved from this name, or from the usage of Eirik the Red who reportedly was exiled there (from Iceland) and according to legend termed it Greenland to attract more visitors.


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