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A Happy Coincidence

- - Thursday, June 18th, 2009 : goo

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image 33792

A webcam in Szentgotthárd, Hungary captured this curious bird looking into the camera. The webcam is set to shoot only one frame in every minute, so what are the chances?

This article has been viewed 497027 times in the last 6 years

little ukraine: what a great picture!

George: Great picture.

anon ( 18th Jun 2009 - 19:34 GMT

It depends how much time the bird flies in front of camera. Let's suppose she stayed one second in fron of camera. If that so, you have 1 to 60 chances.

Nate: this giant bird will devour us all!

Smartass: 18th Jun 2009 - 19:41 GMT


Well, well, aren't you the little genius?

anon ( 18th Jun 2009 - 19:44 GMT

i agree with smartass...
who cares?!
its a good picture :D

sodalis: 18th Jun 2009 - 19:57 GMT

I'd say taking into account the speed of the bird, the rate the aperture activates, wind speed, time of day, and Photoshop, the odds are surprisingly low.

tamas: 18th Jun 2009 - 19:59 GMT

you`d have a 1 to 60 chance in case a bird would fly by the camera 1sec of every minute :P 18th Jun 2009 - 20:19 GMT

Assuming he stayed there an entire second. Anyway, thanks to all the mathematicians! Hope you enjoyed the photo :-)

Peter: 18th Jun 2009 - 20:23 GMT

wow, astonishing photo! awesome.

also astonishing:

This article has been viewed 9097 times in the last 108 minutes

yay stumbleupon!

Luke: I, for one, welcome our new giantbird overlords.

me: 18th Jun 2009 - 22:38 GMT

i've seen a bird get fixated on its reflection in a window, and spend a LOT of time inspecting it over the course of the day. in any case, a sorta cool photo.

Rupert Murdock: 18th Jun 2009 - 22:49 GMT

Technical bollox aside: I'm down MC Big Bird

n00b: 18th Jun 2009 - 22:58 GMT


Inez: 18th Jun 2009 - 23:03 GMT

Sure, birds inspect themselves in the window, OK. But how do they do this unless they're hummingbirds and can hover? Our feathered friend here isn't standing on anything :-0

Anybody know what kind of bird she is?

Peter: 18th Jun 2009 - 23:06 GMT

looks like a black-capped to me...

image 33805

MrM: 18th Jun 2009 - 23:12 GMT

I think the chances are remote. If there was a 1 in 60 chance that you'd capture a bird in plain flight in front of a camera that only takes one picture every minute, you'd probably end up with a lot more pictures like that over a period of time. In fact you'd probably have a picture of the bird every 2 1/2 to 3 days or so. Clearly not the case here.

steve: 18th Jun 2009 - 23:32 GMT

are you sure it's not a giant bird trying to steal cars - what are the odds then ??

Gary: The bird is a European Great Tit probably a male

Graham: 18th Jun 2009 - 23:40 GMT

The bird in the picture is a male Great Tit, a common bird seen throughout Europe. Great shot. I wouldn't be surprised however if the camera was full of shots (not necessarily as good as this one mind) of the same bird, as the species is highly inquisitive and would spend quite a bit of time investigating something as interesting as a camera, especially given that the lens of the camera would be reflective.

Peter: tits and chickadees are the same thing, btw ;)

uhh what?: 19th Jun 2009 - 00:15 GMT

It'd only be a 1 in 60 chance if a bird was in front of the camera for 1 second EVERY minute. If the bird flew by there once a day (which is still highly unlikely), the chances would be much more slim.

Rosie: 19th Jun 2009 - 01:14 GMT

lol, i knida doubt this person actually wanted the chances.

Peter: 19th Jun 2009 - 01:15 GMT

maybe the bird is really a hologram and not even actually there at all :-0

Roxanne: 19th Jun 2009 - 01:26 GMT

I cant believe there are some people actually saying what the chances are. I think the question was rhetorical. But it is a cool picture :)

Somebody: 19th Jun 2009 - 01:29 GMT

1 in 86400 per day if the bird flies in front of the camera in one second.
Each day the camera is on increases the chances
1 in 43200 if it comes by once a day over 2 days
If the camera runs for a years the chances are roughly 1 in 242
If the bird flies and stays in front of the camera curiously for a minute it's 1 in 1440 per day
1 in 4 over a year assuming the minute is each time is slightly less than the minute between shots.
If it was curious enough to buz up and inspect the camera for any length of time, the odds are pretty good, not only for this shot, but I would guess several shots will be made as time goes on. You might get a bee or a fly too! :-)

EvilGentleman: 19th Jun 2009 - 05:15 GMT

Actually, if the bird stays in front of the camera for 1 second, the chances are 1 in 60 that A picture of the bird will be taken.

The actual chances of an individual person seeing that image depends on how many times they navigate to that page on that day. But each day has 1440 minutes, so divide that by the number of webcam frames they are likely to view in a day, then multiply by 60.

The chances of ANY person seeing that image depend on the traffic that the webcam usually has at any given time.

All in all, I would guess the true odds of this sort of thing being found on the web to be 1 in 100, or 1%.

But all this is assuming that a bird will pause in front of the webcam for 1 second today. It does not take into account the frequency with which curious birds pause in front of the webcam, which I would guess is quite seldom.

Unless of course, its nest is on top of the webcam. Then all bets are off.

A different Anon: 19th Jun 2009 - 23:32 GMT

Or, if the bird hung out in the window for a whole minute, there's a 100% chance that a picture would be taken of it.

joey: makes you wonder what the bird sees in the webcam 22nd Jun 2009 - 16:24 GMT

That giant bird is trying to grab the white car!!

samdot: 25th Jun 2009 - 00:28 GMT

that bird is just a narcissist. i assume it had been flying in front of that camera for days waiting for a flash. i don't blame it. thats one good lookin bird.

dglenn: 25th Jun 2009 - 19:50 GMT

What are the chances of everybody shutting-up about what the chances are?

EvilGentleman: zero

Peter: heh

zagg: 29th Jun 2009 - 23:27 GMT

I was hoping for better chances to see some tits...

boo: 1st Jul 2009 - 21:54 GMT

For a single web cam, the chances of getting an image like this is very small. But the chances are actually very good that some web cam somewhere catches an image like this pretty often, considering how many web cams there are these days. I am the great eye of the internet and I sees all, and no bird of nature can defeat me, no matter how giant!

Ruth: 2nd Jul 2009 - 08:51 GMT

Nice photography, If i wil get chance to click good birds, then i'll send some photos.

anyways nice image.

smartass2: 2nd Jul 2009 - 14:54 GMT

it's 1 in 2 change. it's either in front of the cam or not.

Lrz: 2nd Jul 2009 - 15:06 GMT

I agree with anon. If you ask a question, you should be glad to get an answer. If the question was rhetorical, well then your rhetorics suck. ;)

Nice pic, btw.

mathsucks: your guys' math is definitely wrong.

SadPanda: 2nd Jul 2009 - 15:28 GMT

not fair! I googled "tits" and "camera" and end up here. You f*cking bastards!

Big Balls: 2nd Jul 2009 - 15:48 GMT

OHMG FGS Rhetorics date back to the mayan empire, while statistics were only even mentionable back in the Chinese revolution of Ming's Dynasty. Rhetorics came first, then statistics so why dont LRZ and whoever talks about the statistics go shove a baton up your ass because this is a cool picture and im high on mescaline.

Tavro: 2nd Jul 2009 - 16:17 GMT

You have a 1 in 60 chance that it gets its picture taken when it flys in front of it, but the other Einsteins here aren't calculating in the odds of a bird flying directly in front of the camera at all.

I cannot believe I said that: 2nd Jul 2009 - 16:28 GMT

... the chances may drop slightly at night...

anon: 2nd Jul 2009 - 16:44 GMT

You forgot to ask one crucial question. What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen chickadee?

woody: 2nd Jul 2009 - 16:46 GMT

Love the pic just take pleasure of a cool shot . Learn to relax

anon ( 2nd Jul 2009 - 17:00 GMT

Stop being so technical and just enjoy the picture.

John: 2nd Jul 2009 - 17:43 GMT

With the number of webcams in the world, the chances are guaranteed.

not a math wiz: 2nd Jul 2009 - 17:46 GMT

there is no real way to get a accurate 1 in whatever number because you are missing a few critical elements. How often the bird flys by, how often its right in front of the lens, and then you have the fact that it's never going to be anything other than random. So technically there is no way to come up with an answer. So please stop bickering over such an awesome picture and just realize the LUCK of the draw.

Nate: 2nd Jul 2009 - 17:47 GMT

Is it just me or does this remind you guys of Pokemon Snap

I kinda Prof. Oak to come in Critique the shot :)

anon ( 2nd Jul 2009 - 17:56 GMT

Also consider the number of cameras and birds. More of either significantly increases the odds of this pic.

Peter: 2nd Jul 2009 - 18:30 GMT

thats right, ladies and gentlemen... someone has compared the statistical over-analysis of this photo to ... please fasten your seatbelts as we accelerate towards singularity...

foyertopp: 2nd Jul 2009 - 18:37 GMT

Peter; to be really pedantic about it: tits and chickadees are NOT the same thing. They are "cousins", you might say; they are both members of the prividae family, and are almost always seen together at feeders, birdbaths, etc., but they are two distinct species, not hatching mutual offspring.

foyertopp: 2nd Jul 2009 - 18:39 GMT

Unless of course, we're talking about different nomenclature in the UK vis-a-vis teh the US.

foyertopp: 2nd Jul 2009 - 18:47 GMT

As a long-time backyard bird feeder in Texas, and amateur bird photographer, I gotta say that is one extra sweet webcam capture. What a fine-looking shot of a damn cute little bird. Getting the highlights in the eyes of the bird-subject is always a challenge for the lens, so this is an especially fortuitous frame. I really appreciate Stumbling Upon it!

Hypno Victim: 3rd Jul 2009 - 00:14 GMT

Its the Giant European Hypno-bird. If you stare in its eyes for too long you end up worshipping it, and this particular individual (Karvalla the Great) is actually the Mayor of Szenngottard and a member of the European Parliament. In giant hypno-birds we trust. Soon you puny Americans will bend your knees to worship your new master...Karvalla the Great! Now go back and look deeply in his eyes and relax...

alienbob21: 3rd Jul 2009 - 00:29 GMT

Actually the chances are less then 1 in 60. If the camera shoots one frame every minute and a bird flies by for one second every minute of every day then the odds are most definitely 1 in 60.

But the idea of a bird flying by once randomly every minute of every day is a ridiculous idea. So I would say a shot like that is by far more rare than 1 in 60.

If it were 1 in 60 then you are saying a bird is flying by in one minute intervals and the camera is shooting frames at one minute intervals. So if its 1 in 60 you would recording one bird for every 60 frames shot. so you would be literally recording one bird an hour for 24 hours and would have 24 birds a day. And this is definitely not happening. Rethink the 1 in 60. Because that is definitely not the odds.

Now if a bird flies by once a day, every day which is far more plausable than once a minute every day. Then the odds of getting this shot for a camera recording a frame ever 60 seconds whould be.
1 in (60 * 60 * 24) because you are recording 1 frame every 60 seconds and you are doing so for 24 hours. there are 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. we do not know at what second the camera is snapping so we have to compensate for all seconds and all minutes of every day. so for a shot like this to happen in one day the odds are. 1 in 86400. That's the chances of a bird flying by that camera at the exact same time the camera is recording that frame during that minute of that day. This would mean that there would be one bird recorded a day which is not the case either. So the odds are far less than that. If this shot is so common to happen once a year then the odds are

1 in 31,536,000(60seconds * 60 minutes * 24 hours * 365 days) and of course that is one bird recorded once a year. So yeah 1 in 60 is wrong.

birdy: The bird called. He said relax.


bcs2_: The bird's hungarian name is "Cinege".

Peter Griffin : 5th Jul 2009 - 08:21 GMT

Well everybody knows, the bird is the word.
Bird, bird, bird is the word!

ari: 8th Jul 2009 - 06:11 GMT

Everyone is enjoying the picture in their own way. If they wanna be technical, then fine, quite giving them a hard time about it. I won't be giving any numbers, but thanks to all u who have. Nice picture, its really neat.

mime: Oh forget the math, it's a sweet shot.

Juanny - 26 July, 09: 26th Jul 2009 - 22:24 GMT

I hardly think anyone was interested in the mathimatical deductions, however, the chances of getting this kind of shot from a traffic cam is slim and perhaps even slimmer with any other camera situation. Not very likely that a bird would provide such a neat pose...nice shot.

joey: 29th Jul 2009 - 16:18 GMT

well, he could have seven stayed there longer then a second, black capped chickadees are known for doing odd things a regular bird would not do, like hanging upside down.

Slim: 1st Aug 2009 - 17:03 GMT

The chances are even smaller than 1 in 31,536,000 actualy. Seeing as this is the rare Giant Tit, the only one known to man as of now, yo have to compaound the 31,536,000 by the ratio of Giant Tits to the smaller sized tit.

A gambling man: 15th Aug 2009 - 15:41 GMT

I would lay $20 dollars on getting the same shot from another webcam within one month

arne: birdie nam nam

Franny Wentzel: 1st Sep 2009 - 07:46 GMT

Pretty neat that the camera got the bird's wings on the downstroke...

The analyst: nice

P: 1st Sep 2009 - 21:49 GMT

of course it's a Parus Major, Swe: Talgoxe , Eng: Great Tit. it is all over Europe, not rare at all. Great Pic from a 1 min "webbcam".

Meister: 2nd Sep 2009 - 14:39 GMT

Looks more like a "blue tit" than a Great tit. But still taking all the variables in consideration this is a very unlikely picture to happen so *thumbs up* :)!

plunker: 3rd Sep 2009 - 00:15 GMT

can that bird hover anyway? cool shot regardless

Callie: what a brilliant picture!

Julian: 13th Sep 2009 - 22:26 GMT

I live in Manchester and have just lost my car - do you think this explains it?

jethro: well what a cute little bird. :)

kim: Yes........ its a blue tit!

Jeremy: That is definitely a Great Tit

RLM: very nice pic. Thanks

Graz: 12th Oct 2009 - 22:01 GMT

What an ODD photo. Glad I got the CHANCE to see it. capture.

Dave: 10th Nov 2009 - 05:17 GMT

There's a few things to consider here.

A. proportion of time birds are in front of the camera looking into it. Probably hard to determine and probably pretty rare. Let's say .00005% as a generous guess.

B. proportion of time imaged by the camera. .00028% per hour if the "shutter" speed is 1/60th of a second.

Multiply A times B and you have the probability of this shot.

0.0000000139% or about 1 in 72 million... roughly.

However, any event with a probability greater than zero can, will and does occur, eventually.

Whatever the probability, it's a great image.

anon: Don't care what color Tit I like all Tits:) 11th Nov 2009 - 12:19 GMT

Faith can replace all that analysis. Be glad. Enjoy. Let it strengthen your faith which will serve you in other ways also.---Doug

hiho65: 12th Nov 2009 - 14:32 GMT

wonderfull thats what i call youve bin framed lol

shinny: 12th Nov 2009 - 15:41 GMT

the bird practically composed itself in the picture! amazing i love it :)

anon: OMG! It's BIRDZILLA!!!!

anona: 19th Nov 2009 - 19:45 GMT

who the hell cares what the odds are you a-holes, its a beautiful shot, and it's rare whether its one in a million or one in sixty.

dubs: i want to put him in my pocket!!!

Madalyn: @anon What a funsponge. :(

ikarios35: great photo, i like this .. ;-)

Jef: google it. It happens. This one is just realy good

smartass 2: 14th Dec 2009 - 23:55 GMT

considering most birds that size can fly at 27mph and the camera takeing a picture every 60 seconds. so lets put that into equation, 27mph into 60seconds = one hell of a fucking picture i might say

kitty: 16th Dec 2009 - 06:11 GMT

It's funny how so many people are taking offense to statistics and probability. Jealousy I suppose.
Birdy Nam Nam is one hell of a band.
And the picture is quite striking.

wardjf79: 23rd Dec 2009 - 14:20 GMT

I've been sitting here reading these posts for five minutes. In that time, exactly one second out of each of those minutes a chic tit has flown in my face. Oh there it is again. This is amazing. On another unrelated note, there is a 1/1 chance, providing of course that we're in solstice and blah blah blah that I will now get up from my computer and walk away from this exercise in ridicule. Everyone is on a mission to outwit the last and I must say on behalf of myself, mission accomplished. Thanks and good day.

...The picture is pretty cool too and I really never lent much thought to the probability, but am more impressed with the image quality on the camera.

Mollyt: 27th Dec 2009 - 12:33 GMT

Thank you to all the comments. I have just spent the last 5 or 6 minutes reading them and I haven't laughed so hard in a while. Thanks.

Loki: 28th Dec 2009 - 03:30 GMT

I must agree with Kitty. Why is everyone taking offense to people offering up statistics? One can still enjoy the picture and then consider what the chances of it are. Unless of course you take offense to such things, then I doubt you can multitask like that. Remember, breath in, breath out.

~.: 30th Dec 2009 - 23:51 GMT

i see it few times, and they write that was a some polish town. Evemt sings on the road and buldings looks very polish ;)

gregc: 5th Jan 2010 - 17:11 GMT

it depends on whether it was an african or european swallow

Hazz: 9th Jan 2010 - 21:03 GMT

What are the chances of the next pic in this series having the remains of the bird smashed into the camera lens?

Looks like a head on collision to me.

to the noobs: 20th Jan 2010 - 06:15 GMT

OMG anyone that says there is a 1/60 chance that this happens you are stupid.

Try taking into account all the space that isn't covered by the camera. The bird could've been flying 1ft farther up left right or down and it would hardly be in the picture anymore if at all.

Not to mention that a bird in flight moving past a stationary object such as the camera would take only a fraction of a second knowing that a small bird's average flight speed is 13-14 meters per second.

Franny Wentzel: 20th Jan 2010 - 07:03 GMT

I would think that if you leave a webcam pointed out into the street on long enough a bird will eventually flutter into view.

The chances would improve if the camera is pointed in area frequented by birds - like if near a feeding ground or nesting area or in a natural 'flyway' between such spots.

This will require an extensive study of the avian habitat around Szentgotthárd...

Birnadette.: I think it's cute.

kay: the birds face made me lol .. cute picture :)

Amazed: 24th Jan 2010 - 01:24 GMT

Great picture. However its the comments that completely took my off guard. I thought education was haveing a positive impact on society in general, guess not.

kmic63: 26th Jan 2010 - 19:23 GMT

that picture is almost unreal great shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alex: 26th Jan 2010 - 19:56 GMT

There's always the chance that its nest is right under the camera. If so there may be multiple pictures of the bird and its kin, not necessarily such a random shot. Great pic though! Probably the most famous bird of its kind now, lol

Reggie: 27th Jan 2010 - 19:37 GMT

Great tit, blue tit? A clear u.f.o. photograph at last.

Mariah: 28th Jan 2010 - 09:13 GMT

The chances doesnt matter. I bet it saw the reflection of the lens and wondered what it was and "click", the camera took a picture. And since they cant hover in the air it really is a nice picture!

nihilistninja: 30th Jan 2010 - 14:52 GMT

if the chances are 1 in 60 per minute, then after 60 minutes there would be a great chance for this picture to happen, you would get a picture like this every hour. how do you calculate? so what are the chances for the bird to be in front of a cam?

coconuts: 31st Jan 2010 - 04:20 GMT

To all who took on the fun of the rhetorical question....Monty Python would be proud.

Adam: 31st Jan 2010 - 16:47 GMT

In this world there is a little something called chaos, so there is no way to predict the chances of the bird flying in front of the camera. But who cares anyway, it's a great picture. People always have to ruin everything by over analyzing and criticizing.

Carrie Crews: 31st Jan 2010 - 22:53 GMT

The most amazing picture. I imagine that they find humans as facinating and funny to watch as we find them, you think?

Smrt: 1st Feb 2010 - 21:12 GMT

You guys, can
t you see, the odds are 100%! It happened!

Smrt: 1st Feb 2010 - 21:13 GMT

You guys, can
t you see, the odds are 100%! It happened!

Denon: 4th Feb 2010 - 21:02 GMT

Yeah, I'm going to have to say a one in sixty chance a minute is only true based on the assumption that a bird MUST fly in front of the camera every minute.

And with a one in sixty chance, we'd have about one shot out of every sixty that becomes one of these happy accidents.

But we don't, so it's not. So enjoy this one, yeah?

Swayla: 18th Feb 2010 - 13:47 GMT

That is just so cool. Looks awesome! Who cares what the chances are cause... uh... shit.. it happened! lol

Geoff: 19th Feb 2010 - 02:38 GMT

Everyone's chances are calculated on the assumption that the camera actually takes a picture every 60 seconds. Change your assumptions, and everyone's answer will change. It's hard to predict, so don't spend your time tryin to figure it out. Spend your time doing something to improve the world.

pheonix: 26th Feb 2010 - 03:35 GMT

it would be more like a 1 in 18763 chance of happening not 1 in 60

pheonix: 26th Feb 2010 - 03:42 GMT

by the way i just pulled that number out of my but and I'm still probably closer than you so called mathematicians, i respect that you say stuff like that but really why do you need to.

Ryushi: huhuhuh, it's a giant tit.

anon: no chance, its Bush's fault.

hasnohat: 10th Mar 2010 - 03:41 GMT

in the words of Tim Minchin.
"to assume that your 'one in a million' thing is a miracle is to seriously underestimate the number of things that there are."

Given the number of cameras in the world that can take pictures like this, the fact that one has is really not that impressive... stats, don't'cha know.

liv: 14th Mar 2010 - 03:06 GMT

i think it was a rhetorical question when they said "what are the chances?" so everyone can stop giving their math equations like smartasses.

anon ( 19th Mar 2010 - 02:12 GMT

That third poster trolled the fuck out of this comment section. Good job anon.

just bacuase your a mathamatitition doesent mean Im not smart.. : 21st Mar 2010 - 23:43 GMT

the bird had a 100% chance bacuase their is a pickture of it,

Cooper: It's a Great Tit (Parus major), a male I think

serena:: these pics are cool!

yitsack: 3rd Apr 2010 - 04:36 GMT

The bird is a blue tit. Couldn't read all replies, so here's the answer just in case it hasn't been pointed out yet.

analbeard: 19th Apr 2010 - 09:32 GMT

This time of year these types of birds are looking for small holes in which to nest and maybe the camera lens was of the correct diameter (32mm), nest box size .Insects at this time of year rest on sunny walls so he could be lining up a meal.

Peach: 21st May 2010 - 04:59 GMT

Given that we're looking at the photo of the bird, the odds are 100%. Duh.

john: 28th Sep 2010 - 14:34 GMT

That bird is all like "What the FUCK did you just call me!"

DNA: 4th Nov 2010 - 08:54 GMT

I know a tit when I see one - and this is not a tit... :)
Sorry - couldn't help myself.
It is a Great tit (talgoxe in swedish) - a male. He cracked the shell open as number 3 in his nest. He likes a good view and to read "Airial News"

anon: 12th Jan 2011 - 00:33 GMT

Well if you take into account that microseconds after the big bang probability became infinite then there is no number that can describe the chances ^_^

anon ( 4th Mar 2011 - 15:58 GMT

I agree if the bird was only there for half a second it'd be 1 in 120

Taylor: 5th Mar 2011 - 08:15 GMT

also, the bird looks like its picking up that car with its feet..... great shot!

Lindsay Marie: This is AWESOME!!!

anon ( 23rd Jun 2011 - 16:16 GMT

so aweesomeee

anon ( 23rd Jun 2011 - 16:16 GMT

so aweesomeee

tyler: 23rd Jun 2011 - 22:25 GMT

not at all correct when taking in the matter of probability you cant look at only one aspect of the scenario. if taking in only time youre assuming the THAT bird flies in front THAT camera at THAT 1 in 60 chance per minute. This event will never occur again because think of all the places a bird can be and that one bird just so happened to fly directly in front of that camera and the precise moment the photo was taken. the odds are extremely slim... amazing

Unknowable: 25th Jun 2011 - 03:25 GMT

@ sloadis you said that with Photoshop the odds are low - the inverse of that is actually true with Photoshop the odds are extremely high.

stfu: 11th May 2012 - 15:51 GMT

this photo was snapped the moment before the bird crashed into the camera lens.. Wake up people.

Durbo: Its not a fookin web cam you twats

Smartass: Yes, but is it African or European? Discuss.

Smartass: Yes, but is it African or European? Discuss.

Smartass: Yes, but is it African or European? Discuss.

Franny Wentzel: Was it carrying a coconut?

huk: excellent tits

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