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Study: Universe 13 Billion Years Old
AP | Wednesday, April 24, 2002; 4:21 PM | Paul Recer

Posted on 04/24/2002 6:30:34 PM PDT by longshadow

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To: 4ourprogeny
I don't know how much independence was there if one knew of the other's study. Surely, the first's study must have influenced the second's.

The independence lies in the methodology used to obtain and analyze the data; they are based on completely different physical processes. If they were "cheating the data" their peers would point it out, and wouldn't be able to duplicate their results.

151 posted on 04/25/2002 8:12:11 AM PDT by longshadow
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To: avenir
Why don't we ever hear a modern scientist say this: “The silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me”?

Because they stand on the shoulders of giants.

152 posted on 04/25/2002 8:16:01 AM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
Given that universal expansion is accelerating, it's difficult to determine how much of the universal expansion is due to initial conditions (ballistics of the "big bang") and how much is due to a continual expansion of empty space itself. It could have been a "big whoosh" instead, perhaps. To extrapolate everything back to a "small" point may be possible, but what science can say about the nature and history of things around that point is more severely limited than some scientists seem willing to admit. It is not possible to create (or find) and make measurement on objects that even remotely approach such conditions, by many, many degrees of magnitude.
153 posted on 04/25/2002 8:27:09 AM PDT by apochromat
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To: Junior
You seem to think the entire scientific community should concentrate on a single topic at a time. This is highly unreasonable, don't you agree?

What makes you think that? The topic of the post is the conclusions the scientists are drawing with regards to the age of the universe. I certainly hope if taxpayer money is being used to fund these projects they're spending the bulk of their time on events closer to home, like our solar system. We need to be awake to whatever dangers are out there. And exploring Mars for possible colonization in the future should be high on the priority list as well.

154 posted on 04/25/2002 8:38:57 AM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
And the researchers devoted to things "closer to home" are doing just that, while researchers devoted to understanding the universe, its age and its makeup are doing what they do best. The two need not be mutually exclusive.
155 posted on 04/25/2002 9:08:16 AM PDT by Junior
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To: longshadow
Time to change it's shorts?
156 posted on 04/25/2002 9:09:33 AM PDT by RckyRaCoCo
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To: Joe Hadenuf
where did it come from?

Why does it exist?

157 posted on 04/25/2002 9:20:21 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: PatrickHenry
such galaxies would have had to exist 100 billion years ago

Inflation allows for recession speeds greater than lightspeed.

158 posted on 04/25/2002 9:24:54 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale
Me: "such galaxies would have had to exist 100 billion years ago"

You: Inflation allows for recession speeds greater than lightspeed.

Yes, but the inflationary period ended early, before the formation of galaxies began. I was asked if we could see a galaxy 100 billion light years away from us. It's light wouldn't have had time to get here.

159 posted on 04/25/2002 10:06:00 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: PatrickHenry
Add to that, the universe appears to be expanding even after the inflation phase. Someone above pointed out that the distant objects are receeding at faster than light speed and so can't be seen. This would put the observable limit of the universe at a particular distance from the observer
160 posted on 04/25/2002 10:28:45 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: longshadow
Study: Universe 13 Billion Years Old

This from the same group of minds which cannot predict a major earthquake 5 minutes before it happens, even though most animals can.

161 posted on 04/25/2002 10:32:49 AM PDT by ctdonath2
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To: RightWhale
Someone above pointed out that the distant objects are receeding at faster than light speed and so can't be seen. This would put the observable limit of the universe at a particular distance from the observer

I recall that post, but I don't know ... it needs some clarification. I've read that the most distant objects are receding from us at about 70% of lightspeed, judging by their redshifts. (Perhaps those estimates are higher now, it's been a while since I read that.) But let's go with 70%, which means that if you look in the opposite direction and see another such object, those two objects are separating from one another at 140% of lightspeed. So the universe is expanding faster than c, but nothing seems to be receding from us at that speed. At least that's my understanding. I'm sure that if I've got it wrong -- as I often do -- a tactful correction will appear in due course.

162 posted on 04/25/2002 11:37:03 AM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: PatrickHenry
If the objects were moving then none would appear to be moving away at over lightspeed. But if space itself is expanding, the rules of relativity don't apply, even though the rule of redshift, for some reason, does. I probably have this pretty well confused. That's why Fred Hoyle is missed. He could explain things clearly, even if not accurately.
163 posted on 04/25/2002 11:41:56 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale
Inflation allows for recession speeds greater than lightspeed.

Is this the Clinton or Bush recession...;-) Sorry, as an economist/financial analyst, this is the only way I can contribute to this discussion...

164 posted on 04/25/2002 11:54:54 AM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: Wyatt's Torch
Who knows, perhaps the next theory of the origin of the universe will come from the field of economics. A lot of modern astronomy is just number-crunching anyway. :)
165 posted on 04/25/2002 12:01:09 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale
Who knows, perhaps the next theory of the origin of the universe will come from the field of economics.

Let's hope not...As the economist joke (applied to this situation) goes, "Assume a ball of matter with infinite mass...."

Also, the current recession was caused by deflation, not inflation. If that applies to the universe, I guess we're screwed...

166 posted on 04/25/2002 12:11:23 PM PDT by Wyatt's Torch
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To: Doctor Stochastic
Why do you find infinite spaces terrifying? Maybe glorious or wonderful or beautiful, but not terrifying.

Actually they are both. But my point was that a scientist of old (Pascal) trembled before the God who made the "infinite spaces" and found them terrible apart from God. For Pascal there was no contemplation of the creation apart from contemplation of the One who created.

THIS is what seems missing from so much science today: not an "it", but a "He".

167 posted on 04/25/2002 12:31:19 PM PDT by avenir
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To: RckyRaCoCo
Time to change it's shorts?

Ah; so THAT'S what that smell is that permeates everything!

168 posted on 04/25/2002 12:40:45 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
Happy Birthday TO YOUUUUUUUU...
169 posted on 04/25/2002 12:41:57 PM PDT by Mr. K
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To: avenir
For Pascal there was no contemplation of the creation apart from contemplation of the One who created. THIS is what seems missing from so much science today: not an "it", but a "He".

The Creator isn't a scientific topic, strictly speaking, as He can't be observed or tested. Pascal would have been combining science and theology, which is okay at a personal level, but it's not the way science is done.

170 posted on 04/25/2002 12:44:25 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: ctdonath2
This from the same group of minds which cannot predict a major earthquake 5 minutes before it happens, even though most animals can.

Last time I checked, Astrophysicists and Cosmologists weren't in the business of studying earthquakes, let alone predicting them.

I could just as well ask you how many animals are able to build telescopes, rockets, and satellites.

Lastly, no one can accurately predict the weather more than a week in advance. Does that imply that scientists CAN'T measure the age of the Universe? Not for a minute. It merely is a reflection of the reality that some phenomona are dynamical and inherently sensitive to initial conditions; hence they are unpredictable beyond the short term, which has nothing to do with the article posted here.

171 posted on 04/25/2002 1:01:06 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
......scientists are able to devise observations that measure the age of the Universe using multiple independent methods, which indicate very similar results.

Hmmmm...then why is it that, every so often (yearly or more, it seems), the processes yielding "similar results" change by a few billion years?

In my under 40 lifetime, the state-of-the-art guesses of the universe's age have varied by several fold.

172 posted on 04/25/2002 1:03:46 PM PDT by stillonaroll
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To: PatrickHenry
So the universe is expanding faster than c, but nothing seems to be receding from us at that speed.

As it is to be expected. The distance at which the recessional velocity (caused by the expansion of space-time) is equal to "c" defines the boundary of an imaginary sphere around the point of observation, within which it is possible to observe objects. Objects beyond the boundary (if they exist?) would not be observeable to someone at the center of the sphere defined above, though they would still be part of the Universe, and would be observable from points located less than the previously defined boundary distance away from such objects.

I think "Physicist" referred to this distance as the "light horizon." It defines in a very practical way the limits of the observeable Universe, from a particular point of observation.

That was probably as clear as mud....

173 posted on 04/25/2002 1:12:38 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: stillonaroll
Hmmmm...then why is it that, every so often (yearly or more, it seems), the processes yielding "similar results" change by a few billion years?

Because the lay journalists don't bother to explain the error associated with the estimates of the age of the Universe, and because our ability to makes such measurements gets better with time.

20 years ago, the best estimate of the age of the Universe was about 10-20 billion years, or 15 +/- 5 billion. They weren't able to be more precise than that.

Today, we have a result that pegs the minimum age of the Universe at 13.7 +/- 0.5 billion years. Not only is it much more precise, it lies entirely within the range estimated 20 years ago.

In other words, the current age estimate is entirely consistent with that from 20 years ago.

174 posted on 04/25/2002 1:18:54 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
Objects beyond the boundary (if they exist?) would not be observeable to someone at the center of the sphere defined above, though they would still be part of the Universe, and would be observable from points located less than the previously defined boundary distance away from such objects.

I'm not getting that at all. The age of the universe is greater than the age of the luminous objects within it. So the oldest and most distant of luminous objects have had, as it were, all the time in the world to send their light to us. (The only exception I can think of would be a recently formed objects at a great distance.)

175 posted on 04/25/2002 1:18:57 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Mr. K
Happy Birthday TO YOUUUUUUUU...

Thank you.

You may leave your gift by the door as you exit....

176 posted on 04/25/2002 1:20:14 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: PatrickHenry
The age of the universe is greater than the age of the luminous objects within it. So the oldest and most distant of luminous objects have had, as it were, all the time in the world to send their light to us.

The time available for the photons to get here can't exceed the age of the Universe, so if an object is Age of the Universe + 10 lightyears away, assuming we have a big enough telescope, we wouldn't even be able to detect it for another ten years.

But if the distance is so far away that the recessional velocity due to the expansion of space is greater than "c", we can't see it at all. It is outside our "light horizon" or observeable Universe. And it can't see us, for exactly the same reason.

177 posted on 04/25/2002 1:27:12 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
......no one can accurately predict the weather more than a week in advance. Does that imply that scientists CAN'T measure the age of the Universe? Not for a minute. It merely is a reflection of the reality that some phenomona are dynamical and inherently sensitive to initial conditions; hence they are unpredictable beyond the short term.....

Your argument hurts your case. With weather forecasts, we can evaluate predictions against actual results, and thus gain an understanding of the limitations of meteorological sciences. The ability to observe the actual establishes the limitations of predictive technology, thus giving an objective measure of reliability.

If a particular scientific endeavor lacks predictive reliability, then it would seem an inefficient allocation of scarce educational resources and a waste of brain power. We should defund such pursuits at universities and send the $ to economically productive areas such as mechanical or electrical engineering. In fact, I'd just as soon fund wymyn's studies as quantum physics.

178 posted on 04/25/2002 1:28:33 PM PDT by stillonaroll
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To: avenir
Why don't we ever hear a modern scientist say this: “The silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me”?

Because they are neither infinite nor "silent".

179 posted on 04/25/2002 1:38:32 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: longshadow
no one can accurately predict the weather more than a week in advance. Does that imply that scientists CAN'T measure the age of the Universe? Not for a minute.

A better analogy is that no one can accurately measure what the weather was a week ago, or tell when the last hailstorm was, solely by looking at today's weather. Sure there are indicators which give a pretty good idea, but not to the accuracy claimed about the age & origin of the universe.

And yes I know that cosmologists don't really study earthquakes - but they DO use practically the same scientific methods and few ounces of grey matter.

180 posted on 04/25/2002 1:38:58 PM PDT by ctdonath2
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To: stillonaroll
In fact, I'd just as soon fund wymyn's studies as quantum physics.

Then I'd say that the anti-intellectual left has achieved its purpose.

181 posted on 04/25/2002 1:42:59 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: stillonaroll
The ability to observe the actual establishes the limitations of predictive technology, thus giving an objective measure of reliability.

Which is exactly what the Astronomers have done here:

First, several groups of astronomers developed methodologies based on the Hubble expansion to estimate the age of the Universe. There value was about 14 billion years, plus or minus a billion or so.

This is then used as the basis of a prediction: the prediction is that a completely different methodology (one that does NOT rely on measuring the expansion of the Universe, or things related thereto) for measuring the age of the Universe should give the same result.

The experiment conducted by the Canadian scientists (when they weren't busy at "curling practice" at the local ice arena) was to see if this prediction is correct.

The result: it IS correct!

[snip] In fact, I'd just as soon fund wymyn's studies as quantum physics.

Who's stopping you?

182 posted on 04/25/2002 1:57:46 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: ctdonath2
.... but not to the accuracy claimed about the age & origin of the universe.

If you have a beef with the claimed accuracy of the measurements regarding the age of the Universe, by all means post the evidence. This thread is over 150 post long, and not a single naysayer has provided a scintilla of evidence that the methods used by the scientists were defective.

183 posted on 04/25/2002 2:02:54 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: ctdonath2
Exactly. Neither can they predict weather with any real accuracy, nor control it. They can't cure cancer, AIDS, or even the common cold. There are so many basic things science has not yet figured out, but they pretend to have some clue about the age of the universe. I certainly hope they are willing to accept skepticism of their claims.
184 posted on 04/25/2002 2:12:00 PM PDT by MEGoody
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To: MEGoody
I certainly hope they are willing to accept skepticism of their claims.

The skepticism would be much more useful if the skeptics could specify which of the observations of astronomy and cosmology they dispute, and state the specific reasons for the dispute. If you accept the observed data but doubt the conclusions, it would be very interesting if you would provide us with an alternative model which better accommodates the data. That's how the game is played.

185 posted on 04/25/2002 2:59:37 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: longshadow
Do you think the same skepticism would be visible on this page from the same players if the results of this study were that the universe is 6,000 to 10,000 years old?
186 posted on 04/25/2002 3:19:01 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: Reaganwuzthebest
Until {was it} Copernicus came along, scientists agreed the sun revolved around the earth.
187 posted on 04/25/2002 4:08:29 PM PDT by Osinski
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To: MEGoody
Neither can they predict weather with any real accuracy, nor control it. They can't cure cancer, AIDS, or even the common cold. There are so many basic things science has not yet figured out, but they pretend to have some clue about the age of the universe.

First of all, weather prediction, cancer, AIDS and the common cold are all very hard problems compared to measuring the age of the universe. The latter is simply a matter of undergraduate math and a sufficiently powerful telescope. Second of all, the scientists who work on one problem are not the same people who work on any other. What you've said is rather like upbraiding a dentist for the slow pace of research into treating pancreatic cancer.

I certainly hope they are willing to accept skepticism of their claims.

Certainly, as long as it's backed by substantive thought.

188 posted on 04/25/2002 4:16:50 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: Osinski
Until {was it} Copernicus came along, scientists agreed the sun revolved around the earth.

Forsooth, the Church forbade them from thinking otherwise.

189 posted on 04/25/2002 4:20:33 PM PDT by Physicist
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To: Osinski
Until {was it} Copernicus came along, scientists agreed the sun revolved around the earth.

As a practical matter, there really weren't any scientists around before Copernicus. Stargazers, yes; mathematicians, yes; but not scientists -- as we use the term. Not too many were around after Galileo either, certainly not in the lands ruled by the Inquisition, as they all fled to the north. Science is a relatively new human endevour.

190 posted on 04/25/2002 4:28:10 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: longshadow
[my post] ....In fact, I'd just as soon fund wymyn's studies as quantum physics.

[to which you replied] Who's stopping you?

Actually, I already pay for both. So do you, if you're a taxpayer.

Through coercive taxation and overflowing government grants, I am forced to fund both wymyn's studies and quantum physics. All education should be privatized.

In my view, both departments--wymyn's studies and quantum physics--produce drivel of similar uselessness. Both contribute equally (i.e., nil) to the betterment of man.

191 posted on 04/25/2002 5:18:00 PM PDT by stillonaroll
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To: Physicist
[my post] ....In fact, I'd just as soon fund wymyn's studies as quantum physics.

[to which you replied] Then I'd say that the anti-intellectual left has achieved its purpose.

Hmmm...I must disagree. Is it not well established that most major universities are replete with leftist professors?

Further, wasn't one of physics' icons, the late Carl Sagan (currently a resident of Hades, in my estimation), an avowed anti-Reagan leftist?

Isn't Steven Hawking a bit of a Clintonista?

192 posted on 04/25/2002 5:21:01 PM PDT by stillonaroll
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To: stillonaroll
wasn't one of physics' icons, the late Carl Sagan

Sorry, no one of that name is or was an icon of physics.

193 posted on 04/25/2002 5:24:36 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: VadeRetro
Do you think the same skepticism would be visible on this page from the same players if the results of this study were that the universe is 6,000 to 10,000 years old?

I doubt we will ever find out.......

194 posted on 04/25/2002 5:27:45 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: longshadow
This thread is over 150 post long, and not a single naysayer has provided a scintilla of evidence that the methods used by the scientists were defective.

That's probably because they aren't. I personally don't doubt the intelligence of these people and what they're doing. My only argument that hasn't been refuted either is that they're only measuring what they can see. If there are galaxies or other objects in space farther out than what we can now detect, objects whose light is too faint, or hasn't reached us yet, that would throw their whole discoveries out of whack, because that would mean the universe is older than what they're saying. That's why I'm skeptical of stories like this.

I say wait 20 or 30 more years when technology advances with even better telescopes. You'll be hearing the universe is at least a 100 billion years older or more.

195 posted on 04/25/2002 5:34:53 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: stillonaroll
All education should be privatized.

On this, I am in full agreement with you.

In my view, both departments--wymyn's studies and quantum physics--produce drivel of similar uselessness. Both contribute equally (i.e., nil) to the betterment of man.

Well, one out of two isn't bad. I agree that "wymyn's studies" and other PC claptrap is essentially useless garbage.

But QM on the other hand is extremely useful. Do you think we would have personal computers, the internet, and a myriad of other electronic devices and technologies if we did NOT study and understand QM?

196 posted on 04/25/2002 5:39:20 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: PatrickHenry
Placemarker.
197 posted on 04/25/2002 5:44:44 PM PDT by PatrickHenry
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To: Reaganwuzthebest; Physicist
If there are galaxies or other objects in space farther out than what we can now detect, objects whose light is too faint, or hasn't reached us yet, that would throw their whole discoveries out of whack, because that would mean the universe is older than what they're saying.

How so? IF there were objects further away that we can't see, how does that make the Universe older that what has been measured?

I say wait 20 or 30 more years when technology advances with even better telescopes. You'll be hearing the universe is at least a 100 billion years older or more.

I dare say that would be extraordinarily unlikely, as I'm quite sure there are observational data that place an UPPER bound on the possible age of the Universe, and that bound is much lower than 100 billion years. I wish I could remember the exact observational data that tell us this, but at the moment I can't recall what it is. Perhaps "Physicist" knows.....

198 posted on 04/25/2002 5:48:22 PM PDT by longshadow
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To: Osinski
Until {was it} Copernicus came along, scientists agreed the sun revolved around the earth.

Yeah and when he made his discovery they all probably thought he was a nut case who should be committed to a mental hospital.

199 posted on 04/25/2002 5:48:47 PM PDT by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: PatrickHenry
Placemarker.

Like h*ll it is, you SLIMER!

WE all know you're just positioning yourself to get reply # 200!

;-)

200 posted on 04/25/2002 5:50:52 PM PDT by longshadow
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