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  #1    
Old April 2nd, 2013, 02:05 AM
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oh god i hope this isn't april fools

http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-...402-2h495.html

Quote:
Samoa Air has become the world's first airline to implement "pay as you weigh" flights, meaning overweight passengers pay more for their seats.

"This is the fairest way of travelling," chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton, told ABC Radio. "There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo."

Like many Pacific island nations, Samoa has a serious obesity problem and is often included in the top 10 countries for obesity levels. As such, Mr Langton believes his airline's new payment policy will also help promote health and obesity awareness.

"When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia]," he said. "That's a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight."

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Under the new system, Samoa Air passengers must type in their weight and the weight of their baggage into the online booking section of the airline's website. The rates vary depending on the distance flown: from $1 per kilogram on the airline's shortest domestic route to about $4.16 per kilogram for travel between Samoa and American Samoa. Passengers are then weighed again on scales at the airport, to check that they weren't fibbing online.

Samoa Air operates BN2A Islander and Cessna 172 aircraft.

Mr Langton said he believed it to be a system of the future, and added that "the standard width and pitch of seats are changing as people are getting a bit bigger, wider and taller than they were 40 to 50 years ago".

He also pointed out that families travelling with small children could end up paying far less with the pay-by-weight scheme.

"A family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids ... can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before," he said.

Public relations and marketing representative for Samoa Tourism, Peter Sereno, said he believed that the policy would also help with safety standards.

"When you're only fitting eight to 12 people in these aircraft and you've got some bigger Samoans getting on, you do need to weigh them and distribute that weight evenly throughout the aircraft, to make sure everyone's safe," he said. "At the end of the day, I don't care who they're weighing or how they're weighing them as long as it's safe."

Norwegian economist Bharat P. Bhatta proposed in a recent journal article that by implementing pay-per-kilo policies, carriers could also recoup the cost of the extra fuel required to carry larger people.

Some airlines in the United States already force obese passengers who cannot fit in a single seat to pay for two seats, but this is the first time a per-kilo rate has been used by an airline.
tl;dr, this airline charges people per kilogram and it follows that, as an overweight person weighs more, they pay more. Is this a fair and effective system for everyone involved? Are things fine as they are right now or do they need changes such as these? Anything else?

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  #2    
Old April 2nd, 2013, 02:09 AM
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Wtf. LMAOOOOOOO
Wow, this just has to be an AF prank like seriously. If it isn't though, this is the end of Samoa Air IMO. I'm still trying to process this ;-;

But let's get a bit serious here, this is crazy. Charging people by how much they weigh? Who the hell are we kidding here? This, this will not work lmao. I just seriously hope they're joking cause this is just way too stupid...
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 08:51 AM
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Not a bad prank, particularly because it's Samoa whose people are known for being, well, let's just say that if this were a real policy they'd be paying more on average. It would have been a better prank if Ryanair did this. I mean, you could believe they'd do anything to cut costs.

But really weight shouldn't make much of a difference. Not one that the airlines should charge for anyway.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 10:56 AM
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CNN reported on this last week, so it's no joke. You all better pray that the major American airliners don't do the same thing.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:00 AM
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That's odd. Hm. Well...I weigh like 100 lbs so can I just fly for free? n___n Or toss me in luggage.

But for real, I do think it's discriminatory.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:08 AM
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One one hand, as someone that is probably the closest living representation that you can find of a stickman, and as someone who always packs very light, I would save a fortune on this. On the other hand, that's terribly unfair to people with slow metabolism, or those that it takes incredible effort to lose weight. It may promote exercise, yes, but the amount of work people would have to do get to the same form-factor and price is not proportional.

I disagree with this, though, I may still fly with those airlines because of the significantly lower fares.

Last edited by Archenoth; April 2nd, 2013 at 11:16 AM.
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  #7    
Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario The World Champion View Post
You all better pray that the major American airliners don't do the same thing.
It sounds like the inevitable plot to isolate America from the rest of the world. Watch, in a few months, American Airlines will pick up on this and release a statement saying they are partners with McDonalds. And bam, only the rich people can get the hell out of here (and the skinny people, assuming there will be any left in the near future in this sad country of ours), while the poor waddle around and inevitably make America look like a giant marshmallow from outer space. Just watch.

But yes, it is discriminatory. An interesting idea, but discriminatory nevertheless assuming this isn't a prank
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:28 AM
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More weight requires more fuel, and the current pricing per seat has lighter passengers subsidizing the actual cost of heavier passengers. It turns out that airline companies can save $3000 per year per kilogram they reduce from the plane's weight.

I don't feel that the practice is discriminatory, if the people paying more are using more of the plane's resources. Especially when weight is more important to planes versus land transportation.

Let's divide $3000 per kg*year by 365, leading us to $8.21 per kg*day. Depending on the length of the flight, a pilot could do one flight a day to somewhere halfway around the world, or maybe even 4 - 5 times for local flights that are 2 hours in length or so.

The standard deviation of body weight could be around 15-20 kg, I was snooping around some studies, and that's where I feel the number lies. So if we assume body weight to fall into a normal distribution, let's just consider the upper half because they will be paying more. If you fall between the mean weight and the 70th percentile, you would be costing in fuel up to 20*$8.21 = $160 for long flights and up to $40 let's say for short flights. And for example's sake I'm taking a flight between Toronto and Vancouver, which costs around $300. It's 2 hours long, so let's tack on $50-60 for the averaged American on the 70th percentile. That's a 16-20% increase.

So take that number however you will, but keep in mind that I doubt airlines could push that cost 100% onto the customers. But it won't be terrible, unless you weigh 300 lbs plus in which case you are 6 standard deviations away and highly unusual. Again though, airlines won't push the cost completely onto consumers, and may 50% of the cost and then 70% of the population will be paying less than 10% more, which is considerably more reasonable. And there can always be a cap for ticket prices of course for the morbidly obese. And airlines would adjust the pricing to reflect current pricing, just weighted by weight and so it would be possible that most of us would see between 10% increases and decreases in ticket prices.

Of course, everything above is a thought experiment, but I just wanted to explore how outrageous the price changes could be. And auto insurance discriminates by age and sex. In contrast, your weight isn't a risk, it has a 100% chance that it will increase the weight of the aircraft by X amount. Discrimination isn't a bad thing, or else we would have freeloaders when we treat everybody equally, ignoring their very real differences. What matters is if the discrimination is fair or not, and considering how weight affects the business of flying planes, I'd say that it's fair to charge by body weight in principle.
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Last edited by Kanzler; April 2nd, 2013 at 11:33 AM. Reason: some unclear language concerning the calculations
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodex View Post
It sounds like the inevitable plot to isolate America from the rest of the world. Watch, in a few months, American Airlines will pick up on this and release a statement saying they are partners with McDonalds. And bam, only the rich people can get the hell out of here (and the skinny people, assuming there will be any left in the near future in this sad country of ours), while the poor waddle around and inevitably make America look like a giant marshmallow from outer space. Just watch.
No, I don't think that's going to happen, as one, a lot of people around here are actually paying attention to their weights & are actually doing something about it. Secondly, all the American Airports use aircraft that are capable of carrying hundreds of people, so it'll be very unlikely that they'll be implementing this method.

Now the aircraft that Samoa Air are using are smaller than the ones that we're used to seeing in our airports, & thus, don't have as much carrying capacity. It may sound discriminating to some, but if everyone actually has a mind that can be used, this method does, in a way, make sense.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blade_of_darkness View Post
No, I don't think that's going to happen, as one, a lot of people around here are actually paying attention to their weights & are actually doing something about it. Secondly, all the American Airports use aircraft that are capable of carrying hundreds of people, so it'll be very unlikely that they'll be implementing this method.
...I was joking. I figured the "America looking like a marshmallow" part would make that obvious. :I

So wait, any news if this was legit or not?
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  #11    
Old April 2nd, 2013, 11:57 AM
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It's legit. Their rate goes from $1 to $4.16 per kilogram, which is =< the 50% ballpark figure I suggested in my post.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 12:17 PM
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>_> This is BS. Then I should get a discount for being under 100lbs. But of course they wouldn't do that because companies are just trying to be moneygrubbers anyway.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
It turns out that airline companies can save $3000 per year per kilogram they reduce from the plane's weight.
Where did you get these numbers from? Is that for a plane that flies every day of the year or just one day of the year? They just seem a little high, that's all. I'd like to know what it costs a plane in general to know what these numbers mean. Like, how much would it cost for a plane without any passengers vs. a plane with half the seats filled vs. a full plane. Planes already weigh a lot. Are people really adding so much weight? It just seems a little harsh to say that the weight problem is people when people are the primary reason the planes fly in the first place.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 02:07 PM
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Of course it seems harsh, but I'm wagering that neither of us is an engineer nor have specialized much in physics. The person who made the calculations, is Bharat Bhatta, as professor at a Norwegian university. I found the paper, and it turns out he didn't do the calculations himself, but got them from an Economist article. Anyways, I think I'll do some calculations of my own:

http://www.aviation.ca/2013011614612...litre-aircraft

This tells me it takes 4 litres of fuel to carry one passenger 100km. If the average passenger is 80 kg, then 4/80 = 0.05 litres per kg*100km. Now, I find that carriers try to achieve around 12 hours of fly time per plane a day. Cruise speed for a Boeing 777 is ~900 km/h, so a 777 would fly 108x 100 km a day. Multiply this by 6 days a week and 48 weeks a year and you get 31104x 100 km a year. Then it would take 0.05 litres per kg*100km times 31104x 100km a year equaling 1555.2 litres per kg per year. Price of fuel is $3 p gallon = $0.8 p litre, leading my calculations to be $1244 per kg per year in fuel prices. Whew. Now the airliner I used is Lufthansa which is German, and German people are probably healthier than Americans (80kg vs 74 kg on average). That's not too significant, but we're not factoring in who actually flies in terms of socioeconomic status. Unscience aside, 1244 vs 3000 is a decent ballpark measure for the scope and measure I've used (log the ratio and you get 0.38 of an order of magnitude) That was exhausting. 1 kg may not be that much weight, but flying 3456 hours a year adds up.

Quote:
It just seems a little harsh to say that the weight problem is people when people are the primary reason the planes fly in the first place.
At the end of the day, the people incur a cost that the company has to deal with even though they're the customers. Somebody has to deal with it, but that's all there is to it. It takes a certain amount of fuel to get somebody's bum in the air and that's unavoidable. Besides, it's not so much charging more money, but providing a pricing model that actually reflects how much "weight" you take up on the plane. They're not solely basing the pricing model on the person's weight, but on their luggage as well. The sum total will be charged a certain amount.

At the end of a day the pricing model is a pricing model - no matter how fair or unfair it is, people will always find something to complain about it. Like how I think it's unfair that petite women purchase less material, but have to pay the same price as everybody else to provide a counterexample. I don't think it's unfair that you pay more to account for the more fuel you use. And if people think it's degrading, then I feel that it's not so much that the airline companies are degrading fat people, but how being fat is already stigmatized in society, so that when a company offers a pricing model based on weight vs. seat, all of us scream discrimination. If being fat wasn't a big deal, then one could say "If I weigh more, I pay more." No big deal.


His paper here: http://brage.bibsys.no/hsf/retrieve/...hatta_PAYW.pdf
The Economist paper here: http://www.economist.com/node/18114221
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Last edited by Kanzler; April 2nd, 2013 at 02:13 PM. Reason: to avoid double posting
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 05:16 PM
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I'm fine with paying for extra seats if you take up more than a single seat. But, paying per weight doesn't make sense. While, yes the customer is effectively just... transport, other methods of transportation somehow manage to handle their fuel consideration appropriately without treating their travellers like cargo.

The whole airline industry is so screwed up with how they run things
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 05:54 PM
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It's just a PR issue. People happen to take offence at the thought of being charged by their weight, but that's a comparison that doesn't have to be made. Airplanes have to be lightweight in order to achieve lift. For land transport, that's not really an issue because there's a normal force acting on the vehicle by the ground. And airplanes aren't heavy considered the amount of energy they can produce. If you compare the power-to-weight ratios of different kinds of transportation, you'll find that jet aircraft have a W/kg value of over 1000, whereas land vehicles rarely breach 3 digits. So if providing they have the same power in the engine, aircraft have to be at least 10 times lighter than the equivalent land vehicle.

I feel that it's just a policy that ties the amount you pay to the amount you use. You're not treated like cargo until you begin to think that. In terms of sense, it makes even more sense. Aircraft are extremely sensative to their weights. In fact, some aircraft have to do fuel dumps before they land because there's too much fuel that the pilot is afraid of landing too hard. You can't make the comparison to other forms of transportation because weight just isn't such a big deal there.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 05:59 PM
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One would think airlines that transport people would be designed with obese individuals in mind.

At least, that's how I think the design process should go.

"Okay, what's the average weight of an obese person? Okay, now design something that can fly about 200 of those for at least about 1000 miles and make it as efficient with the fuel as you possibly can. Take luggage into account as well."

I think I should mention that there are also people who aren't obese, but are just naturally heavy because of their height. Also, what about bodybuilders taking a flight? Muscle is heavier than fat. You can talk about fuel usage all you want, but in a lot of cases this can boil down to nothing more than charging people more money for something they can't change very quickly. At least you can limit the amount of luggage you bring by just leaving it at home, but unless you've got a scapel, needle with thread, and a few shots of morphine, fat and muscle isn't something you can just as easily or just as quickly leave at home.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 06:24 PM
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The prices honestly don't seem that bad though. The highest prices is between Samoa and American Samoa at $4.16 a kg. If you're an average 80kg (176 lbs) person with 25 kg of luggage, that's $436.8 plus whatever taxes. To put this in perspective, a quick google search of ticket prices between Toronto Pearson and Detroit (it's cross-border for a better comparison) gets you one from $478. People are just upset about some people paying more than others. Why should we insist on absolute equality? When you pay for seats, you pay for the seat. So even if you have 5 year old twins, there's no child tickets like they have at the movies. At least it's more fair for parents now.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 06:34 PM
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You're leaving out one detail...not all children are the same weight either. Should parents have to pay more because their child is fatter or more muscular than someone else's kid? Doesn't sound fair to me.

Again, fat and muscle isn't something you can just as quickly solve as limiting the luggage you bring.
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 07:55 PM
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It's fair to me because the your weight has its own little effect on the amount of fuel that plane has to use. It's absolutely meaningless to one person and one flight, but these things do add up. It's kind of like climate change - I know that's hyperbole - but our own individual effects can have a huge collective effect over time. And if you end up using more fuel, you pay a couple of bucks more. I don't see why everybody paying the same price is fair, because that would be communism. But realistically, if they have a different effect on the cost of the product, I feel that it's totally fare for whatever company to have pricing systems that reflect that.

I see the pricing by weight system as being more realistic. You pay the cost that you incur, instead having that cost split between people who cost more and people who cost less. Isn't that unfair? That the price that people pay doesn't reflect their cost? I don't think there's anything wrong with people not having a one-size-fits-all solution, as if that's some kind of standard that we aspire to in society.

While everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect from their mutual property of being human beings, it's unrealistic to presume that we're all equal in every respect. And there's nothing undignified about having to pay more for a certain product. I'm a young adult male, and therefore I pay higher auto insurance premiums. I don't find that undignified, even though I can't change my gender/age. We spend so much time trying to make everything equal that we sometimes forget how different we can be. What's wrong with embracing our differences from time to time?
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Old April 2nd, 2013, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
Airplanes have to be lightweight in order to achieve lift.
If they're so heavy that it puts the ability to fly in jeopardy like you say, I'd much rather they just not allow that person to board than have them pay more to board and be like "meh, we'll risk it".

So, I don't buy that argument
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 02:31 AM
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I don't think its discrimination at all. You're paying for a service that costs the company money. They're not saying "you're fat, so you must pay more", they're saying "more weight costs us more to transport and these excess costs must come from somewhere other than our employees paychecks". Air flight ticket prices should have always been this way.

Not everything is an attack on certain groups of people. We shouldn't forget that in this era of social justice.

Raising awareness of the obesity epidemic isn't a bad thing, either...
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 09:39 AM
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If they're so heavy that it puts the ability to fly in jeopardy like you say, I'd much rather they just not allow that person to board than have them pay more to board and be like "meh, we'll risk it".
Okay, so I think the order I presented my argument misconstrued what I intended to say. By arguing that aircraft rely on a lift force to keep them in the air, and arguing to hyperbole that they might fall out of the air, I meant to emphasize that the aircraft is more sensitive to its weight than other forms of transport. So it's not so much that an extra 1000 kg here or there more will put the ability to fly at jeopardy, but that extra weight translates into fuel costs that have to be paid by somebody. Realistically, some extra human weight on a plane comes nowhere close to threatening its airworthiness, I agree with you there for sure. But that, let's say 1%, increase in weight requires a corresponding amount of fuel that adds up over time on the company's income statements. This the company pushes on to consumers based on their weight - how much fuel they actually use - and I have no problem with that. Also, Samoa Air don't use jet planes, they have these smaller 10 or less seater planes and they only have three of them in their fleet. So the weight difference of any one passenger matters a lot more, and fuel costs are a significantly larger part of their expenses. In this context, their pricing scheme makes a lot more sense.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Okay, I did my own math. Looking quickly with google it seems a plan like a 747 might weigh around 800,00 lbs and might carry up to 400-500 people depending on the type. So lets say we've got 450 people, each 150 lbs and carrying 50 lbs of luggage (which is a lot of luggage, more than I think people normally bring) so 450 person/luggage units each 200 lbs is 90,000, which is a little over 10% of the weight of the plane. To me that says that the difference between one person being 120 lbs and one being 190 lbs isn't that much. If the plane were transporting a team of sumo wrestlers I could see a need to charge by weight, but since there are already weight limits on luggage and people don't vary so dramatically in weight it doesn't make much sense to me to price things based on weight.

AND how would you even buy a ticket when your weight could change by the day of your flight? I can just imagine making everyone wait (ha!) to pay on the day of the flight, standing in even longer lines to get properly weighed in front of everyone. I mean, the time wasted doing that probably would negate any extra money the airlines would make, and it would piss off a lot of people.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 11:14 AM
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You're leaving out the fact that the airline companies have to pay for fuel. And you haven't read my post about the context in which Samoa air is changing its pricing model.

Airline companies aren't responsible for how one lives their life. Think of it more like a contract: I predict myself to be X weight by Y day. If I break the contract, I pay a little more. I don't think it's difficult for somebody to stop their weight increasing, for the same reason it's difficult for somebody to lose weight quickly as well.

Waiting isn't terrible when Samoa Air planes only carry 10 or less people. Although it may make you feel more self-conscious.
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