back to article Belief in 5G conspiracy theories goes hand-in-hand with small explosions of rage, paranoia and violence, researchers claim

Psychologists from Northumbria University have published a research paper examining the connection between beliefs in 5G COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and the willingness to act violently upon them. Surprise surprise, if you believe 5G is part of a Soros-backed depopulation plan, you might be tempted to take up a Super Soaker in …

  1. iron Silver badge

    5G also causes missing words syndrome

    > the fifth gen tech was blamed social media-driven fake news linking 5G cellular technology to COVID-19.

    Needs some more words or it is not a sentence. I'm guessing the word "in" but it could be something else.

    1. MrBanana

      Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

      Probably just a simple typo. The kind of thing you would report through the Tips and Corrections mechanism, not posting as the first comment.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

        Cue several people explaining that they can't because: a) they are at work; b) they don't have an email address that they want to "waste"; c) it's against their religion; d) their browser isn't configured to send email; e) simply because they don't want to because it is hard.

        All bogus and self-serving excuses, of course.

        To be perfectly fair, ElReg could make it a trifle more obvious that the " Tips and corrections" button is, in fact, a button that can be pressed to do just that.

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

          My main gripe about it has always been that its a mailto: link. There is already a moderation system in place that doesn't use email on the front end.

          Having a mailto: seems like moderation with extra steps.

          Sidenote: I *have* used the mailto link previously, its not like I refuse, its just extra effort.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

          b) they don't have an email address that they want to "waste";

          I could be mistaken, but isn't there an email address involved in account creation? There's one listed in my profile, and I don't think it's optional.

    2. MarkET

      Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

      "...that claimed 5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans."

      Does this mean men aren't human?

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: 5G also causes missing words syndrome

        "Not all men"

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

    I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy. There must be another level of stupidity at work here.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

      Consider how dumb the average person is

      Then remember that 50% of the population are dumber than that.

      1. AndrewB57

        Re: explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

        Only if 'average' = 'median' which, mostly we don't mean

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

      Perhaps you might try the "Bluetooth" EMR conspiracy instead? :-) [1]

      .

      .

      [1] I mean, why wouldn't there be one? Not sure what the conspiracy would be about though. Does it make you fat? Tall? Makes your beard fall out? Grow backwards? Causes impotence? Who knows?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

        Bluetooth EMR makes your beard grow backwards!

        You heard it here first!

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

          Don't joke - some prat will quote it!

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

        Does it make you fat? Tall? Makes your beard fall out? Grow backwards? Causes impotence?

        All that, and it makes your teeth turn blue. Obviously; it says so on the tin.

        And possibly your backwards-growing beard as well.

        1. DryBones

          Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

          Comet, it makes your teeth turn green~

      3. Hubert Cumberdale

        Re: I'm prone to all of those things and yet I don't believe in the 5G conspiracy.

        Bluetooth causes me rage simply because it can be so flaky.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

      @redpawn - That's not paranoia, we are all out to get you.

    4. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

      It's that subtle blend of paranoia, stupidity, distrust of authority / experts, Dunning Kruger, alcohol, the wrong medications and a dollop of crazy that goes into making a good conspiracy kook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: explosions of rage, paranoia and violence

        Or (alcohol aside) a President.

  3. jake Silver badge

    So basically ...

    ... folks who are intentionally, willfully & even stubbornly ignorant are often willing to fight in order to somehow substantiate their beliefs, despite all evidence that suggests those beliefs are irrational?

    Tell us something we don't know ... As far back as the ancient Greeks, philosophers have been pondering the balance of knowledge, ignorance and opinion, and how it affects the individual, small groups, and society as a whole. Most have come to the conclusion that people just want to coast along, without thinking, having faith in what they think they know to be facts ... and will defend their right to do so, even to the point of taking up arms. Opinions are divided as to why, but it seems to be embedded in our genes. I suspect it's part of the "us vs them" survival function gone awry.

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." —Samuel Langhorne Clemens

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: So basically ...

      Holocaust deniers, antivaxxers, creationists, moon landing hoaxers, 9/11 truthers are all birds of a feather in that regard. They start with they conclusion they want to be true and systematically disregard or ignore evidence that leads to another conclusion.

      And since they have no facts on their side they employ the same tools to attack the established explanation - pseudo science / history, cherry picking / misinterpreting of data, quote mining, nitpicking inconsistencies, choosing the less credible evidence over the more credible etc. And if you engage in conversation and debunk their nonsense they'll play a game of whack-a-mole. Anything they can do to attack the established explanation and hope in the confusion it their crazy, evidence-lite explanation becomes true.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: So basically ...

        There's a perverse comfort in believing that the whole world is rigidly ordered and coordinated, even if the goal is evil, when the alternative is to accept that the real world is a chaotic place with many bad things that happen by chance and cannot be predicted or prevented.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          the whole world is rigidly ordered and coordinated, even if the goal is evil,

          As an evil physicist, studying mathematical models of chaos theory constructed within the rigorous confines of physical law, in order to marshall all extremist libertarian forces into a focused and indivisible unit in order to efficiently disrupt social cohesion, bring about the end of civilization, and so usher in a new era of absolute and uniform anarchy and disorder, I'm not sure whether to agree with you or not.

          .

          :-)

      2. Alumoi

        Re: So basically ...

        Hmm, kind like religious believers, when you stop to think about it. They start with the conclusion they want to be true and systematically disregard or ignore evidence that leads to another conclusion.

        You could have saved yourself the time and said: duh! Obviously, any person who trully believes in something won't listen to reason.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: So basically ...

          Obviously, any person who trully believes in something won't listen to reason.

          I truly believe in reason, which leaves me with a paradox to resolve.

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: So basically ...

          Some religious people reconcile their faith with reality. Some like Georges Lemaître managed to be both a priest and scientist.

          But yeah by definition religion is matter of faith, not evidence. And reality doesn't sit well with some of them AT ALL, e.g. creationists.

      3. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: So basically ...

        (quote)Holocaust deniers, antivaxxers, creationists, moon landing hoaxers, 9/11 truthers are all birds of a feather in that regard. They start with they conclusion they want to be true and systematically disregard or ignore evidence that leads to another conclusion.(end-quote)

        Genuine question, not seeking to start any flamewars, I really want to understand this; climate change "scientists" have repeatedly set deadlines for when we would all drown under melting icecaps if we didn't change our behaviour - by the turn of the century in the late 80s/early 90s and by 2020 in the late 90s/early 2000s. As you can see, we are all still here. I have never said we don't need to change our behaviour but every time I call 'foul' on the "scientists" and their failed projections, I get all sorts of abuse - often in El Reg's forums, so it's not simply a case of "stupid people".

        So my question is, why are so many people so quick to ridicule those who support ideas like "5G causes Covid-19" but are so happy to go along with the "if we don't stop using fossil fuels we will all drown by 2000", or whatever the current threat is?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So basically ...

          Quote: "climate change "scientists" have repeatedly set deadlines for when we would all drown under melting icecaps if we didn't change our behaviour - by the turn of the century in the late 80s/early 90s and by 2020 in the late 90s/early 2000s."

          Citation required. Seriously,

          Post a single link to a published peer reviewed scientific paper that agrees with any part of what you posted. If you can't, never mention this again, as it's obviously something you just made up.

          1. Blank Reg

            Re: So basically ...

            So you're telling me that movies like "The Day After Tomorrow", "Ice", "Sharknado" etc. aren't documentaries based on real science?

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: So basically ...

            Imagined, rather than made up, perhaps. Climate change deniers have thrown that straw man about a lot. I'd suspect that some camp followers believe it.

          3. not.known@this.address Silver badge

            Re: So basically ...

            "Citation required. Seriously,

            Post a single link to a published peer reviewed scientific paper that agrees with any part of what you posted. If you can't, never mention this again, as it's obviously something you just made up."

            You gotta be shitting me. You mean I dreamed that some professor at Cambridge University faked a load of Atlantic buoy weather and sea-state records, destroyed the originals and then lied about it all? All the stories on the TV and radio and in the newspapers where we were repeatedly warned that, unless we stopped using the infernal combustion engine and all other fossil fuels, we would cause the polar ice caps to melt? The hole in the ozone layer over the ice caps caused by CFCs and HFCs? I imagined *all that*? Damn, I should be making a fortune as a science-fiction writer!

            In the early 70s we were going to disappear under the glaciers of a new Ice Age. The hot summers of '76 and '77 saw the end of that threat to humanity and the appearance of "The Ice Caps Are Melting! The Ice Caps Are Melting!" and the impending flooding of all the low-lying land on the planet - the Nile Delta, much of the Southern United States of America, the majority of the Pacific islands, Holland and anywhere else within a few dozen feet of sea level would be gone by the turn of the century. Sorry, by 2020. Er, we meant 2050, if we don't stop using fossil fuels RIGHT NOW.

            Or did I imagine Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion too?

            If you want citations, go and read what the global warming "scientists" have been saying for the last 60-odd years. Compare what they predicted with the world around you. I think you might be unpleasantly surprised.

        2. hmv Silver badge

          Re: So basically ...

          Telling someone what they are is not quite at the same level as burning down a "5G" mast.

        3. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: So basically ...

          Genuine question

          Genuine answer: you are confusing scientists with climate change denialists who try to mislead you by exaggerating the poorest elements of non-technical reportage and who lie to you by making unsupported hyperbolic claims regarding what some other people have said.

          It's sad that you've reached your current position after exposure to 30 years of obfuscation, misrepresentation and outright lies, but perhaps understandable given such a deluge of misinformation. If you want one place to start on the road back from that snake pit, can I suggest you look into the oft-repeated claim that, back in the 70s, scientists were telling us that we were only decades away from a new Ice Age? You might start with this summary.

          1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

            Re: So basically ...

            "can I suggest you look into the oft-repeated claim that, back in the 70s, scientists were telling us that we were only decades away from a new Ice Age"

            I was there, thank you very much. Programmes like Blue Peter, Newsround, Tomorrow's World - all had stories about it. Reading what someone else says *based on what they want you to hear* is less valid than what I saw and heard personally, first-hand - sorry. Better luck next time.

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: So basically ...

              "Programmes like Blue Peter, Newsround" So you were a child in the 70s, and still claim to know all the science that was around. OK. What you are ignoring is that the science of global warming was in its infancy then, there were conflicting ideas, theories and concepts. You cite (sort of) various pieces of dodgy methodology (without actually giving citations other than "whoa, you missed that?") while ignoring the tsunami of evidence (other than the "science" funded by oil companies) that the world is indeed warming, glaciers are retreating, ice caps are becoming more fragile and thinner. Weather is becoming more extreme with the added heat in the atmosphere - in N Europe we had temperatures in the high 30s C (and above) where normal summer temps are around 25C, and this looks like a trend rather than a one-off.

              You will probably come back with "oh but the Antarctic sea ice is bigger now" - it is in terms of area but it is far thinner. Climate change denial is akin to burying your head in the sand - the "science" disproving it is very much like the science that proved smoking was actually good for you in the 1950s

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: So basically ...

        it their crazy, evidence-lite explanation

        That's quite the charitable modifier you used there.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: So basically ...

      It probably fits in with Kahneman.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

      It's perhaps easier to come to a dubious conclusion and defend it than to analyse and work out the sane probability.

    3. batfink Silver badge

      Re: So basically ...

      You mean, like (at least) some of our politicians?

    4. boltar Silver badge

      Or to put it another way

      Conspiracy theorists are generally of lower IQ, socially maladjusted and/or have mental health issues.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Or to put it another way

        Or perhaps they are having their brains controlled by rays.....

      2. My other car is also a Trabant.

        Re: Or to put it another way

        Or, and I am not being snarky, arts graduates of the kind who are feeling increasingly uncomfortable about understanding how the modern world actually works. I know several of them.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Or to put it another way

          I thought we solved the problem of arts graduates not knowing anything useful by adding the 'A' to STEM?

          Now I can do a media studies degree but still be one of these highly-valued STEM/STEAM graduates everyone is talking about

          1. My other car is also a Trabant.

            Re: Or to put it another way

            A Media Studies graduate who paid attention in class is more likely to write a paper on how social media facilitates conspiracy theorists than believe in those theories. I actually think we do need media studies graduates, but they should be working for the ICO and CPS.

    5. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: So basically ...

      "'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.' —Samuel Langhorne Clemens"

      Case in point: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/11/18/know-trouble/

  4. elDog

    And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

    I'm being totally reasonable and lucid. In fact I may be the brightest critter in the stable.

    Given how adept various governments (including and excluding 5-Eyes) are at manipulating opinions via social media, it seems logical that there are some big players out there trying to gum up the works.

    Oh, and tin is not a good shield against the 5G spectrum. Definitely cover your head with 2mm copper shielding. A spike on the top helps drive away the signals. Taking a walk in a thunderstorm should clear all those internal screaming demons out once and for all.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

      I've long thought Russia was probably behind the 5G conspiracy theory.

      I imagine the meeting discussing it started with: "How can we get Westerners to set destroy their own infrastructure?"

      ( Mine's the one with the tinfoil lining )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

        The EU agree with you.

        (cue the anti-EU brigade saying they're in on the conspiracy)

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

      No doubt they are. Bots and trolls didn't create these divisions but they certainly like to exploit and amplify them.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

      You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that its highly likely that the chinese government have "requested" that Hauwei add some extra functionality into their 5G (and possibly even 4G in the past) kit to aid out of band data collection and transmission and/or kill switches.

      1. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

        "You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe that its highly likely that the chinese government have "requested" that Hauwei add some extra functionality into their 5G"

        As no doubt the US govt did to Cisco.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: And I'm not being conspiratorial when I think state actors are fomenting conspiracies around 5G

          But the difference is that Cisco's implementation wouldn't work.

  5. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

    It's sorta-kinda like the UK one. Only ours also involves Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates.

    Hillary is secretly controlling the dosage of harmful radiation being blasted out of 5G towers, and causing COVID-19. Bill Gates is waiting in the wings. He secretly developed a COVID-19 vaccine that's not really a vaccine. It's a chip implant. Once you get COVID-19, you will be implanted. There is no escape, and resistance is futile.

    There you have it.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

      But thankfully nobody is encouraging the easily led loons to set fire to cell towers here on the left side of the pond. Probably saving their collective brain cell for the election ...

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

        The lack of 5G lunacy in the US may be more to do with the lack of 5G. It effectively doesn't exist except as a handful of ineffective pilot programs in large cities and a marketing icon on some upscale phones.

        Some cynics might even suggest that the Administration's targeting of a certain Chinese communication company may be due to a lack of any US presence in the 5G equipment supply chain. (In other words, all this 'national security' / 'spying' / 'Chinese communist party' stuff is just BS for the rubes.)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

          To be fair, 5G doesn't exist on many of the towers set on fire in Blighty, either ... Since when do facts get in the way of action when it comes to the hard of thinking?

          The whole chinese spy nonsense is just one of many attempts at deflecting the public's attention away from the fact that the current idiot in chief is in fact just that, an idiot. Thankfully it no longer seems to be working. The babbling from the Oval Office is getting shriller ...

          (That's not to say the Chinese aren't spying on all and sundry. Of course they are. So is the US, and the UK, and Russia, and Germany, and the Israelis, and Japan, and North and South Korea, and ... )

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

            Facts have never even been a minor hurdle for these loons.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

            Not sure about the UK in that list. Does Capita have a foreign spying outsource dept?

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

              Well, unless you happen to have clearance, there's no way of knowing who the UK are spying on right now. But from the Snowden leaks we know that they were spying on any country they could, just a few years ago.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

                >there's no way of knowing who the UK are spying on right now.

                But if history is any guide they will be spying on union leaders while the cheifs are all ISIS agents.

                1. My other car is also a Trabant.

                  Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

                  Philby maintained that he actually spied on the US (to get the secrets of the hydrogen bomb which the US was supposed to, but did not, share with the UK) and shared the results with the UK and the USSR. He also claimed that the detonation of the Tsar Bomba might have dissuaded the US from a first strike attack on the USSR.

                  Make of that what you will, spies are hardly the most reliable people, but I really don't think many of them would work for ISIS.

    2. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

      resistance is futile? Blimey, the Vogons are involved too! Ah, Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton are both Vogons, that explains everything about Microsoft and Bill Clinton! Sorted.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

        Didn't the Vogons say "Resistance is useless!"?

        I remember "resistance is futile" from Dr. Who in the mid 1970s, and Space 1999 a trifle later. The phrase was stolen borrowed by the Star Trek franchise in '89.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

          I hang my head in shame!

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

            Don't do that! You make the place look untidy. Have a beer instead.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

              Can't he just put it in a leakproof bag and hang it on the coat rack thusly?

        2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Resistance is useless

          The Borg were going to say "Resistance is useless" but the Brits on the cast burst out laughing and the Americans did not know why until after they were told about HHGTTG. s/useless/futile/ was done to so that a UK audience could take the Borg seriously.

        3. KarMann Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

          You must be using a Babelfish Mk ⅩⅩⅥ or earlier. The Mk ⅩⅩⅦ and later have the upgrade to translate the word 'exhabigou' as 'futile' instead of 'useless'.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

      Sorry to burst your American bubble but a particularly vapid friend of my wife's, who lives in Moscow was espousing exactly that theory but Putin is also in the gang and planning on chipping all Russians.

      I have heard the chip in a vaccine idea here in Spain too.

      If I wanted to plant nano-chips in the population i would just lace the food in every fast food joint with the things, then all you would have to do is round up the people who aren't obeying the signals after a few weeks.

      Who needs a vaccine?

      1. I like fruits
        Black Helicopters

        Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

        I don't understand one thing - if vaccines are used to inject a chip, can one just take the syringe apart, find and analyze the chip? One can't make those things undiscoverable.

        Don't mind Russians. Conspiracy theories is their goverment-sponsored sport. Ask your friend who killed Kennedy, who caused 911 and whether Americans were actually on the moon. You'll get many hours of entertainment by listening to regurgitated Putin's propaganda.

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

      If resistance is futile, why bother?

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: We have our own US-based All-American 5G Conspiracy Theory!

        Resistance is not futile, according to Ohm's Law, its simply Voltage divided by Current

  6. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Something else to consider.

    Some of these fantasists are excellent examples of the Dunning Kruger effect.

    They are so uninformed that they don't realise they are uninformed. They are so stupid they think they're smart.

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Something else to consider.

      To be fair to stupid people, many of them know and acknowledge exactly how stupid they are. The Dunning Kruger effect is universal, nobody can accurately judge their own intelligence.

      I know for a fact most posters here are brighter than me, but I like to flatter myself that a couple of regulars are even dumber. "I look up to him, but I look down on him."

      I kind of prefer stupid folk, people who I can teach things to and won't humiliate me. I think that was the aim of David Dunning and Freddy Kruger.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Something else to consider.

        I know my place.

      2. Terry Barnes

        Re: Something else to consider.

        Dunning Kruger isn’t about intelligence per se - it’s about the ability of people to accurately rate their expertise in a given field. People who are demonstrably at the top of their given fields tend to not suffer from it, it’s more often seen on the journey towards expertise - people will over and then under rate their abilities as their knowledge grows.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Something else to consider.

          I wondered how you managed to select speakers for a D-K conference

        2. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: Something else to consider.

          Hiya Terry,

          The DK effect is solely used by smart folk to label stupid, self delusional folk. Nobody "suffers from it" because few folk think it applies to them or know what it means. Many folk suffer from "imposter syndrome" though, mostly erroneously in my arrogant opinion.

          My eldest sister is a moron who has risen to civil service government by bullying. Now in the good old days she would have to pass an intelligence test to get promoted. I think that should be reinstated, and extended to politicians.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Something else to consider.

            Your sister is Priti Patel?

          2. My other car is also a Trabant.

            Re: Something else to consider.

            Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (too many PNQ to list) has described how she experienced imposter syndrome at Cambridge.

            (Mind you, so did I, and it was only later that I discovered I was quite right to do so. I did suffer Dunning-Kruger syndrome.)

            Dunning-Kruger syndrome can I think be summarised as people who don't know a great deal about anything and so think every subject is easy. Dominic Cummings and a number of barristers spring to mind - mug up a brief for a week or two and think you're an expert in some field. People who know a great deal about something tend to assume that related subjects are just as difficult.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Be careful about definitions Reg.

    You missed out the rather important word 'unreasonable' in your definition of paranoia. If someone is running toward you brandishing a machete with a maniacal scream, it is not paranoia to believe they hold (very considerable) hostile, and definitely personal intent towards you.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      And remember, just because you are paranoid it does NOT mean that they are not out to get you.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      I came here to say eactly that. Having come from a Guardian article about the Skripal poisonings a minute before, I definitely felt that 'unreasonable' or 'irrational' was necessary there.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      Unreasonable is part of paranoia by definition. If someone is running at you with a machete you believing he has malintent towards you isn't paranoia, it's a basic common sense,

    4. Alumoi

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      They could be running towards the zombie behind me who's ready to tear my jugular, See, there's always a reasonable explication.

    5. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      You missed out the rather important word 'unreasonable' in your definition of paranoia.

      Paranoia is a perceived hostility towards the sufferer; if there's someone running towards you brandishing a machete, the 'perceived' component of their ill intent should be just about absent.

    6. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Be careful about definitions Reg.

      So it's only paranoia if the machete is silent? Good to know.

  8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    60 Mhz depletes oxygen?

    I totally missed out on this hoax and opportunity. I could have convrted millions of abandoned VCR channel 3 RF modulators into digital fire extinguishers.

    1. KarMann Bronze badge
      Flame

      Re: 60 Mhz depletes oxygen?

      Would that be more or less dangerous than the halon fire suppression system? Asking for a PHB. No, it's a new one this week, due to a tragic mishap.

    2. Screwed

      Re: 60 Mhz depletes oxygen?

      When I was looking at this claim, I couldn't find any evidence that 60 GHz is actually in use in Wuhan. (Was trying to find definite evidence that would contradict the claim.)

      There again, Brazil has precious little 5G yet still wants to be world-beating at covid-19 numbers.

  9. RM Myers Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

    Really, is there a less reliable basis for a "scientific" study, other than just making the data up (which seems to be growing in popularity - check out the Retraction Watch website if you want to see some scary examples). At least they didn't just survey undergraduate students taking psychology courses. But really, how many times do people just make up answers because they are irritated at the surveyor for interrupting their day. Not that I would ever do that, of course. No, not me. Never...

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

      "Really, is there a less reliable basis for a "scientific" study, other than just making the data up"

      I read that people bothered to do a survey about wherther there would be a COVID-19 second wave. I mean, in what way can you use the 'wisdom' of the crowds to decide questions about epidemiology?

    2. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

      "people just make up answers"

      A friend of ours was doing psychology as part of her degree. Foolishly, she asked her rather reprobate friends to fill in her questionnaire for her module. The answers were so off-kilter she gave up and created some rather more mundane fake ones.

    3. Terry Barnes

      Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

      A well designed survey will ignore outliers and obvious lies. Do you think no-one has ever thought about this problem or tried to create a solution?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

        Yeah, but the goal of every survey is to get the results the person who paid for the survey asked for. So...

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

          Not every....

          There's the sponsored survey - which will mysteriously support the clients' views.

          There's the purely academic research survey, which is what scientific studies should be.

          There's the research survey done to aid the production of a paper that will be accepted by the journals and enhance an academic's career prospects.

          And, sadly, there are the, arguably numerous, scientific studies that fit in neatly with the conclusions that academic boards want to hear. Because funding for academic research, these days, is very contingent on approval from above. And that in turn is contingent on funding the kind of research that won't upset the politicians/press/donors.

          Have to declare an interest here - I'm not an academic- but my teaching used to be very informed by what the academic research was saying about how we acquire reading. Research that seemed to dry up once the Behaviourist and business lobbies were able to impose the view that Reading = =Phonics ( and a certain type of phonics that is coincidentally very easy to market). All the academic research that crossed my desk after that was pretty much useless - even for phonics teaching e.g. comparative studies of phonics acquisition between Croat and Canadian learners ( I may have got the countries wrong, though there were a lot of similar ones so it doesn't matter).

      2. RM Myers Bronze badge

        Re: Academic Psychologists and Survey Questions

        I believe many people have considered the problems. I also believe much research has shown that surveys are one of the least accurate research methodologies, particularly in psychology, although one of the easiest and least expensive, and thus very common.

  10. earl grey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans

    not true at all. However, it does shrink your brain to the size of a grain of sand so you do ever more stupid things.

    1. harmjschoonhoven
      Go

      Re: 5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans

      No, but it causes infertility in feral cats and cockroaches.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: 5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans

        If only.

      2. Giles C Bronze badge

        Re: 5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans

        What about telling domestic and feral cats apart?

        Conspiracy theorists just prove how factional people can get.

        Take this joke for example....

        Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

        He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

        He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

        Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

        It is the same with most things, there is always a smaller and smaller faction ready to grab the headlines, however the most heretical (and I use this not in a religious space) are parents complaining about mobile phone towers near schools, and then sitting outside checking their phones when picking up their offspring.

        1. Outski

          Re: 5G caused infertility in men and cancer in humans

          Emo Philips, I believe

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Irony

    5G will just speed up the transmission of conspiracy theories on social media platforms.

    Ouroboros.

  12. Dagg

    Nah, the lower frequencies are worse

    Just look at the damage caused by AM radio. In Australia all the talk back radio and shock jocks are on AM and the amount of hate and damage that is caused is considerably worse than any thing 5G can come up with.

    And then consider the ELF band! Able to bring down aircraft especially around the Harold E Holt naval communications centre.

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/navy-base-may-have-caused-qantas-mishap-20081114-66mi.html

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm always struck by

    I'm always struck by the unshakeable belief the conspiracy theorist has in the theory with so little evidence Vs the rejection they have of the actual explanation that has a mountain of compelling evidence.

    Why the unshakeable belief with so little evidence? Why the unshakeable rejection with so much evidence? Why don't people with contradictory conspiracy theories annoy them?

    One of the fellow dog walkers in the park said there were 18 COVIDs before COVID-19. Ironically she works for the government :sigh:

    1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

      Re: I'm always struck by

      In a sad way, she is correct. There were 18 before COVID-19, and then there were many millions/billions more before that. Cornoaviruses are nothing new. In fact, without them, you wouldn't be you as they are responsible for changes to DNA, as are many other viruses.

      Conspiracy theory followers are really no different to worshippers of the Kardashians or {insert-favourite-football-team} or just about any religion. We all have beliefs, but most of us manage to control our violent tendencies rather than letting them take over.

      1. Screwed

        Re: I'm always struck by

        I don't know how many coronaviruses there were before the one that causes COVID-19, but that name is from the year 2019.

        Even The Sun got it right!

        https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11245785/coronavirus-covid-19/

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: I'm always struck by

      "Why the unshakeable belief with so little evidence? Why the unshakeable rejection with so much evidence? Why don't people with contradictory conspiracy theories annoy them?"

      Because it's not a single belief. People don't get told '5G causes sunspots, which signal to the Nazis in the hollowed out Earth' and just believe it. They start off with a collection of previous beliefs. Start with a massive distrust in all forms of organization. This can be gained in one way or another, but it starts to snowball.

      Then you have the rare event issue. From an evolutionary point of view (IANAEB - I am not an evolutionary biologist), it might make sense to be afraid of things that occur with low probability. If you see ten people eat a particular mushroom and only one dies, you should think 'fuck, stay away from that mushroom, it's a killer', not 'ah, it'll probably be fine'. Thus lots of evidence that the mushrooms don't kill should be discarded in favour of the small amount of evidence that they do.

      But that sort of 'gut feeling' response might be a good idea for which foods to eat, but not when it comes to assessing other types of risks. Early man faced lots of these low probability risks, and very few of the other type. Developing a paranoia about one type of mushroom is fine even if it was a coincidence that tenth guy died.

      Early man could avoid things that were incorrectly considered risky, such as paracetamol. But this reasoning is what leads to the MMR bollocks.

    3. Dagg

      Re: I'm always struck by

      Why the unshakeable belief with so little evidence? Why the unshakeable rejection with so much evidence?

      Where do you think religion comes from...

  14. Displacement Activity

    601? Seriously?

    They surveyed 601 people. So how many loons did they find? 6? 10? Seems a pretty poor basis on which to be writing papers and drawing multiple correlations. Or are they perhaps running out of grant money?

    1. Alumoi

      Re: 601? Seriously?

      No, they surveryed 2000 people but 1399 refused to answer fearing the survey was just a plot of the government to pinpoint the .... (insert your paranoia here).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: 601? Seriously?

        At what point when creating an online survey asking people if they believe that there is a shadowy online agency harvesting personal data for its own nefarious purposes - do you realise your work is pointless?

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    Seems plausible

    Paranoia, stupidity and underlying mental issues are usually obvious in these conspiracy loons. It wouldn't surprise me if they suffer bouts of frustration and anger because their capacity to reason or understand people who can is so broken in the first place.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: Seems plausible

      I remember "discussing" a conspiracy theory about the Malaysian airlines disappearance/crash with a man who was utterly convinced it was done by the Rothschilds to gain the rights to a product, possibly worth a few million dollars. He then went on to explain that the Rothschilds had a secret vault full of gold worth 12 trillion dollars. Questions about A) why, if your net worth was 12 trillion, would you kill a couple of hundred people for a patent that would possibly net you less than a few seconds' interest on your piles of gold, and B) if they had secret vaults, how the conspiracy nuts knew about it, were simply ignored or got shrill and accusatory responses.

      There is no intelligence there, simply the desire to be part of something bigger than yourself, to have some hidden knowledge that "normal" people don't have.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Seems plausible

        Ah yes. It's a question I've asked a good few times. If it's a "secret conspiracy" how come everyone has heard of it? Still waiting for answer to that one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems plausible

        its the point i normally try to make with the Bill Gates vaccine loonies. Why would Bill, for many years the riches man in the world, want to make money from a vaccine when he is giving away his own fortune! why not just not give your money!

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Seems plausible

        "had a secret vault full of gold worth 12 trillion dollars"

        Can I just point out that, at the current spot price, that's around 210 thousand tonnes of gold. According to the World Gold Council (for there is such a thing), only 197 576 tonnes exists above ground. Obviously that doesn't count the secret gold, but the Rothschilds have the same amount of gold as everyone else in the world combined? Hmm.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Seems plausible

      Underlying a lot ( not all, I guess) of the conspiracy belief is an anger at the know-it-all clever folks that tell them their fears are nonsense. And as we were told not too long ago, we've heard too much from experts.

      These are the ones that were labelled the "elites" in the Brexit discussions by the Leave campaigners despite the fact that the people saying this were ( or were backed by) mostly Etonians and millionaires.

      Think of those stories we've read and posted in El Reg comments. The people who call in the IT experts, but then refuse to do what they tell them to. Or who's own close family* will buy a piece of over-priced useless crap because Elsie down the road tells them to, rather than asking us, with years of training and experience in using, sourcing or repairing the stuff.

      *OK this is personal. My late mother got sold a rubbish overpriced laptop and stuff she couldn't use because an Elsie told her to. And I ended up spending far too much time sorting it out for her.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Seems plausible

        "These are the ones that were labelled the "elites" in the Brexit discussions by the Leave campaigners"

        This wasn't referring to "elites" in the sense of money, intelligence, education.

        They were referring to the liberal media personalities who have appointed themselves as an elite, utilising their one skill: framing their vacuous thoughts eloquently.

        Due to the role of newspapers and television in framing debate, these people own the pedestal from which they can preach.

        That's why if you only read newspapers and watched TV but didn't know any actual people, you would think this country was far more left wing than it actually is, but spattered with handfuls of extremists who vote Tory or (gasp!) think that we shouldn't be part of a particular international organisation.

        Like most of these quips regarding the leave campaign, the "elites" (like "experts") is based on a misrepresentation of the discussion.

        1. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: Seems plausible

          "Like most of these quips regarding the leave campaign, the "elites" (like "experts") is based on a misrepresentation of the discussion."

          Uh, no. Michael Gove, for example, in an FT article claimed that "people have had enough of experts", then trued to qualify it to the BBC by claiming he meant economists. What people seem to have had enough of is actual thinking rather than relying on headline policies or slogans.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Seems plausible

            He was talking about experts in the dismal science, as well you know.

            Why do you people try to pretend he meant something else?

            Surely if your argument is right you don't need to lie?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Seems plausible

              Specifically those from dodgy US think tanks.

              If I hired a structural engineer from "The American Heritage Institute of Purity and Liberty" I would double check the calculations

            2. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Seems plausible

              "Surely if your argument is right you don't need to lie?"

              Funny. I get accused of lying when pointing out that your statement has holes you can drive a sizeable truck through. No doubt you will also say "You're lying" when I point out that Johnson did in fact unequivocally say the fictional £350 million would be spent on the NHS.

              I have a couple of questions -

              First. WTF is "dismal science"?

              Secondly, who the hell do you think you are?

              1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                Re: Seems plausible

                > " Johnson did in fact unequivocally say the fictional £350 million would be spent on the NHS."

                Well that isn't true. The £350m that could be spent on the NHS was a suggestion of how it could be spent, not a promise. And don't tell me you'd be fine with it if he said £250m ( the gross figure ) either.

                > "First. WTF is "dismal science"?"

                "The dismal science" is a common nickname for economics.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seems plausible

          disgustedoftunbridgewells "They were referring to the liberal media personalities who have appointed themselves as an elite"

          That's the best thing about such soundbites. They can be adjusted after-the-fact to fit the new narratives.

          "Elites" goes from moneyed Etonians to Liberal arty types.

          Mainstream media = enemies of the people. BBC, The Grauniad, journalists. (But not BoJo and Govey. Because they are men o'the people.) It is fantastic when you think about it. People like Bojo, Gove, Farage and Cummings all able to convince swathes of the population that they have "The People's" interest at heart. I applaud them. They have stoked this atmosphere, now they can reap the benefits of an angry, credulous mob. Game on!

        3. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Seems plausible

          "They were referring to the liberal media personalities who have appointed themselves as an elite, utilising their one skill: framing their vacuous thoughts eloquently."

          What do we call the people who frame their vacuous thoughts inelegantly then?

          Influencers? The Cabinet?

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Seems plausible

            That would be tabloid journalists.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Seems plausible

              "That would be tabloid journalists."

              Like Mrs Gove?

  16. Chris 216
    Black Helicopters

    The advert for life lied.

    Putting aside the (IMV) small number of narcissistic psychopathic conspiracy theorists, most conspiracy theorists are people that bought into religion / happyness through make-up / steroids, /happiness through retail therapy / "owning" expensive toys, etc. and then ran hard into the reality of the universe.

    Essentially, when it turned out that their parents/society could and did lie (affairs, gambling, drugs, didn't actually want kids, etc) and then the "great promise" of a better future for them as billionaire Formula 1 catwalk models, flying around in private jets making smash hit cassettes/CD's/Downloads and having enough money to buy Monaco evaporated in the banality of a humdrum existence, the brain’s Human Unhinged Bestial Response Indignation System kicked in, dialled itself to 11. And broke the knob off.

    "Listen, you KNOW you are awesome. If you only had the chance which MUST have been stolen from you (obvsz), then you would be famous AND rich AND awesome".

    "You can drive a car."

    "You have a working ****."

    "You have more money than them poor people over in Africa."

    "Proof."

    "Proof if you ever needed it (which you didn't) that you are AWESOME."

    "Dont forget how clever you are - if those politicians did what you KNOW is right then everything would work out. You don’t need proof to know you’re RIGHT. Idiots."

    "So if it's not YOUR fault, and you’re really clever, it MUST BE someone else's fault, right?".

    "HANGON!... Did you hear it? Did you hear THAT?! - Did you hear the whisper that "IT" is all being controlled by a bloke/political party/ethnic group/machine/etc?!!"

    "NO WONDER WHY YOU AREN'T FLYING AROUND IN A PRIVATE PLANE!"

    "THEY are controlling everything! Yes! Yes! That's right! You have secret knowledge! You KNOW things the sheeple DONT!"

    "How awesome are YOU?!!"

    Very awesome. Very, very awesome.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: The advert for life lied.

      And don't forget the clincher - "do your own research" when asked to substantiate their claims about 5G/covid/aliens/flat earth etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The advert for life lied.

      You just perfectly described my Brother-in-Law, he is big on the free energy suppression conspiracies and the Gates Eugenics Vaccine implant thing, and that 5G is somehow going to stop oxygen being absorbed into the bloodstream.

      One time he drove round and demanded my wife and I talk to him outside as he was convinced that Musk was goign to use Neuralink to start mentally manipulating people into suicide and that 5G was goign to be used to control all this, Musks already sent up the sattelites, at which point I asked: "Do you mean Starlink?" It was then I had to educate him on the vastly different technology that is Starlink and how it has nothing to do wiht 5G.

  17. batfink Silver badge

    As I keep saying

    These 5G conspiracy theories are all wrong.

    Obviously, the problem here is that 5G is deadly to the Lizard People. So, to cover the deaths and the source, they've invented this "Covid-19" and also put about the false theory that 5G causes it. Why else are so many humans seemingly immune?

    Therefore the Great Unwashed are tricked into helping the goals of the Lizard People by opposing any further rollout of 5G (Huawei ban?), and burning down existing masts.

    On the plus side, this might thin out the Lizard People.

    Clearly, all the other theories are misinformation, and should be disregarded.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same people who think 5G is a problem probably also want to ban Huawei - no fact, nothing substantiated, just irrational fear of the Chinese, same as irrational fear of 5G. Same people, same reason. Nonsense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Banning Huawei is genuinely a good idea. The CCP has substantial control over Huawei and letting a foreign government have control over critical communications infrastructure is foolish. Just look at what China is doing, arresting innocent Canadians just because Canada aprehended one of Huawei's executives who has an open warrant in the US (as they are bound by treaty to do.).

      1. julian.smith
        Facepalm

        If you want to play hardball

        Canada arrested a very senior Chinese business woman because she comitted an offence (supposedly) in America.

        American courts claim world juristiction. China may call their bluff.

        Canadia acted as an American poodle.

        Actions have consequences

        The Chinese (who are not necessarily good) understand the long game - look how they targeted Trumps heartland farmers, and dopey Australia's farmers.

        My advice to Canada is, if you want to double down on Ms Huawei, get your Ambassador out of China first.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: If you want to play hardball

          "Canada arrested a very senior Chinese business woman because she comitted an offence (supposedly) in America."

          Another way of saying that Canada followed through with a properly formed arrest warrant, and is currently deciding whether to extradite based on the evidence.

          "American courts claim world juristiction."

          But you yourself say that she was in America when she committed the alleged offence. Most countries (I mean all) claim jurisdiction over the acts committed in their country, regardless of the nationality of the transgressor.

          "Actions have consequences"

          Ah, so before arresting Chinese (alleged) criminals, you should check with the CCP to make sure they aren't connected. If it turns out they are Made Men, you shouldn't touch them. Are the Chinese government going to make them an offer they can't refuse?

          "My advice to Canada is, if you want to double down on Ms Huawei, get your Ambassador out of China first."

          Indeed, I would recommend all forgeiners to leave China, on the off-chance their country does something to offend the thin-skinned little pooh bear. Or you might get kidnapped and murdered.

          So glad you agree that China is a Mafia-esque thug.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If you want to play hardball

            "Another way of saying that Canada followed through with a properly formed arrest warrant, and is currently deciding whether to extradite based on the evidence."

            They've a better extradition treaty than the UK then. There is no weighing of the evidence in UK courts. "Arrest warrant valid? Bye bye."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you want to play hardball

          Ha. Are you a real life pooh-bear fan?

          Hilarious.

          ( Anonymous incase I ever have to visit China )

  19. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Hand in hand

    That's odd, I thought belief in conspiracies had a solid correlation to gullibity, ignorance and lack of empathy.

  20. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Rename it 6H

    That will convince them the danger is gone or get them burning pencils instead.

  21. Dr_N Silver badge

    There is only one way to settle the 5G question.

    There is a large section of the public concerned about 5G.

    So I propose the UK has a referendum to settle this important national and strategic question.

    Let the people hear both sides and let them decide.

    You are all welcome.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: There is only one way to settle the 5G question.

      So how did the Brexit referendum work out? It was an easy decision wasn't it with no issues at all... hahahahahaha

  22. BGatez Bronze badge

    big business, big $

    Perhaps fear of 5G has something to do with the myriad of corporate misdeeds cheating, sickening or out right killing people while they declare "everything is fine" and denying any blame. IE - tobacco, multitude of drugs, pesticides, etc.

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