Author Topic: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive  (Read 195576 times)

Offline arachnitect

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #220 on: 05/01/2015 06:26 PM »
A Hall thruster is just a rocket and like any rocket it takes its reaction mass with it so it can have constant acceleration with (apparent) constant power. That would suggest that it does better than a electric car which can't accelerate constantly with constant power. But that is an illusion. The Hall thruster is using massive amounts of energy to accelerate its reaction mass and as a result it will always do much worse than the car. A rocket will always run out of fuel long before its kinetic energy exceeds the energy content of its fuel.
Ion drive / Hall thruster / Vasimr uses fuel & electrical power. As long as it has fuel and electrical power, it can continuously accelerate or decelerate. Initially increasing craft velocity & kinetic energy, until it must turn 180 deg and decelerate to obtain orbit.

EMDrive does the same.

Gosh.

IT IS NOT THE SAME!!!!!!

Having reaction mass expelled *changes everything*! For one, now you need to include reaction mass' kinetic energy into energy balance.

Constant acceleration reactionless drive of any type violates COE.
EMDrive violates the Rocket Equation as no ISP from expelled high velocity fuel mass but not overall COE.

The kinetic energy gain of the accelerated mass is matched by that drawn from the primary energy source, minus losses.

See Shawyer's equations for dynamic operation:
http://www.emdrive.com/theorypaper9-4.pdf

Apologies if my explanations fails to convey how EMDrive works different to expelled mass rocket engine. Suggest need to stop comparing to conventional rocket engine and focus on overall primary energy input to final accelerating mass kinetic energy gain.

Actually he seems to be claiming that there is no constant acceleration with constant power input. If so then there may be no COE violation but we are back to the problem of a preferred frame of reference. And your ship will preform very differently in December than in June because of the orbit of the earth putting it in a different inertial reference frame.

This is only a problem if you stubbornly insist that the increasingly dubious heliocentric THEORY is correct. There's a lot of empirical evidence that we actually live in a geocentric universe... maybe this device will help settle the question.

(teach the controversy!)

Offline Mongo62

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #221 on: 05/01/2015 06:27 PM »
The kinetic energy gain of the accelerated mass is matched by that drawn from the primary energy source, minus losses.
This implies that there's a preferred frame of reference, which in turn implies that the thrust and the efficiency of the EM drive depends on it's orientation (because the Earth is moving through space) and on the time of day (because the Earth is rotating and thereby changing the experiment's velocity relative to the preferred frame of reference).

Couldn't it be a local inertial frame instead? With the inertial frame at any given point in space being tied to the local gravitational potential at that point (in this case, that of the Earth being dominant)?

(Actually the local inertial field, defined in this way, might just be the definition of the local gravitational field.)
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 06:33 PM by Mongo62 »

Offline AdrianW

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #222 on: 05/01/2015 06:38 PM »
Couldn't it be a local inertial frame instead? With the inertial frame at any given point in space being tied to the local gravitational potential at that point (in this case, that of the Earth being dominant)?
Only if that frame rotates with the Earth, I guess, otherwise the effect depends on the orientation of the device (I seem to remember that different orientations gave the same measurements, though I might be mistaken).

Offline ppnl

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #223 on: 05/01/2015 06:54 PM »
The kinetic energy gain of the accelerated mass is matched by that drawn from the primary energy source, minus losses.
This implies that there's a preferred frame of reference, which in turn implies that the thrust and the efficiency of the EM drive depends on it's orientation (because the Earth is moving through space) and on the time of day (because the Earth is rotating and thereby changing the experiment's velocity relative to the preferred frame of reference).

Couldn't it be a local inertial frame instead? With the inertial frame at any given point in space being tied to the local gravitational potential at that point (in this case, that of the Earth being dominant)?

(Actually the local inertial field, defined in this way, might just be the definition of the local gravitational field.)

You could postulate a mechanism to react against the local gravitational gradient. This would solve the preferred frame problem and COE problem. But that isn't what the inventor claims, it isn't the theory he puts forward nor is there any other theory that would allow such a thing. It is more of an SF plot than a scientific theory.

For example I could claim that the moon is made of cheese by postulating a relatively thin crust of rock on top. You can always postulate some bogus mess that allows you to believe what you want. But when you do that you are doing science backwards.

Since Eagleworks started doing real work on the EM Drive, there has been growing interest from outside in finding ways to support their work. So far this has been frustrated largely due to NASA regulations (you can't donate money, equipment, etc. directly to a NASA project). There are some work-arounds ([through the SSI](www.ssi.org)) but these are uninspiring.

I have a strong interest in this effort and have been looking at different approaches that might be able to move the work to a more powerful foundation.  My sense is that the strongest platform would empower the assembly of the right people to work the problem and resource them with the tools to do it right, without either hamstringing them with bureaucracy or the narrow interest of typical "VC-funded" enterprise.

Given that, I can see three more aggressive approaches to funding EM Drive research:

1) Convince the Eagleworks crew to take their work outside of NASA and fund the efforts directly. After some research I'm reasonably confident that some form of crowdfunding could be expected to be able to raise $2.5M to $5M for this kind of effort. Would that be enough to a) get the Eagleworks crew feeling safe to make the leap; and b) provide the materials and resources necessary to really kick the tires on this thing? Hard to say - but we should note that an effort like this would also open the doors on allowing interested allies loan equipment. Which is to say that you could likely get a nice multiplier on actual cash contributions.

2) Assemble some other team than the Eagleworks team and fund them to do the research in a similar manner to the above. This could be a sort of public/private combo where two teams collaborate to enhance each-other's work. The gating item here, of course, would be the team - what is the right mix of people to get this done right? 

3) Work the other way around - crowd-fund an X-prize for some key milestone in EM Drive research. Say a $5M bounty for the first team that can generate material (say 1N) thrust.

Notably, we could really be innovative and use something like a cryptofunding mechanism. Why not? A "decentralized collaborative organization" might be precisely the thing necessary to resource research on the EM Drive while keeping the results open to the public.

I am in a position that I could organize any of these three and would be delighted to collaborate to make any of them happen.  Obviously, #1 is gated by the eagleworks team and #2 is gated by identifying and assembling an alternate team. 

I'm interested in the thoughts of those folks who have been close to the developments (and the people) so far.

Offline Rodal

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #225 on: 05/01/2015 06:59 PM »
....
I have a strong interest in this effort and have been looking at different approaches that might be able to move the work to a more powerful foundation.  My sense is that the strongest platform would empower the assembly of the right people to work the problem and resource them with the tools to do it right, without either hamstringing them with bureaucracy or the narrow interest of typical "VC-funded" enterprise.

....
Can you please further elaborate as to why you think this approach would be better than the present program to eventually have these tests replicated at NASA Glenn, JPL, John Hopkins or other academic institutions?

Is there an argument that can be made that this is a better approach than conducting the research at institutions like NASA and Universities, and proceeding to private funding once it has been scientifically replicated?

How would the effort differ from Roger Shawyer's setup at SPR in the UK for about 15 years?
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:05 PM by Rodal »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #226 on: 05/01/2015 07:01 PM »
While your cavity and ours arn't exactly the same one could say the situations are quite similar.  The NASA Eagleworks system operated at 935MHz at (?)W, Roger Shawyer 2.45GHz at 850W, and Dr Yang at (?)MHz at 2.5KW (apologize if these missing values have been published, I didn't immediately see them).   
Welcome to the thread and the site.

Eagleworks studies were done around 100W power level. However they did comment that it needed an HDPE insert in the cavities to make it work.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline jknuble

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #227 on: 05/01/2015 07:02 PM »

Good luck, I can pass you some names off-line if that is of interest.   If you havn't already, it would be useful to consult a high-power RF engineer, not necessarily and EM physicist (sorry guys!  :) ).  As stated, I am not an expert on this phenomenon but if there are further questions I can perhaps pass them along.

-Joseph Knuble

(Also, I hope I'm wrong!)
My understanding is the current setup is a little over 1.9 GHz @ 50 watts.

From what I can find out online, the end caps of the cavity are single sided FR4, but I couldn't find out if they were baked and post coated or not. Do you think they could be getting some out gassing or other effects from the FR4? Would glass Teflon be a better choice of dielectric?

Is there a photo, drawing or block diagram of the current resonator I could see?  50W is lower than I expected to hear but that is still a large amount of power in the RF world and high power design techniques would still need to be employed.  FR4 and Teflon would both out-gas to some degree and I don't believe one is necessarily better than the other.   For either, the materials would need to be in the chamber for sufficient time to outgas enough prior to applying high power.

-JK

Offline LasJayhawk

If you do a yahoo image search for "emdrive frustum" there are a few drawing by Dr. March ( the link didn't copy for me)

Largely to unconstrain the research from:

A) Resources allocated by these specific institutions;

B) Institutional politics

There is absolutely no reason why the efforts at Glenn, JPL, etc. couldn't or shouldn't be run in-parallel, but the ability to combine material resources with the open contribution of everyone in the world who is interested in the project ("open source R&D"?) presents a potentially powerful addition.  We have reason to believe (cf the original X-prize, the work at SpaceX, etc.) that these kinds of "entrepreneurial" R&D can do things that existing institutions can't.

I'd suggest, for example, that the synergy of many of the good folks on this forum with the work at Eagleworks (including notably your recent excellent article) is a sample of what could be done.  A properly architected crowd/funded + crowdsourced R&D effort could be extremely powerful.

It would differ from Dr. Shawyer's work in several ways:

1.  All results would be open and available to the public.  (In principle, any intellectual property would be public domain.) 
2.  There would be deliberate architectures in place to both engage and utilize the capacities of anyone who would be interested.  e.g., small teams who could take specific problems and run their own efforts supporting the broader effort.
3.  There would be substantial resources to enable the team to be relatively unconstrained in doing the necessary work. 
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:27 PM by jordan.greenhall »

Offline SH

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #230 on: 05/01/2015 07:12 PM »
In order for White's proposed explanation to make any sense at all, you need to assume 3 things:

(1) momentum can be stored and propagated through virtual particle pairs that are created in the vacuum fluctuations of free space.  Call this the QVP.  Obviously this is White's controversial claim, but let's entertain the idea.

(2) storing momentum int the QVP must be "difficult".  If it were easy, then momentum would be lost into the QVP all the time, from all different types of interactions, and we wouldn't observe conservation of momentum in general.  For some reason, we must accept that the situation of standing waves in a specially shaped resonant cavity is a special situation that does enable momentum transfer into the QVP.

(3) it must be similarly difficult for the QVP to transmit momentum back into conventional particles.  If the QVP could easily give back momentum, then any virtual particles in the cavity that absorbed this momentum would just give it back when it interacted with the cavity walls, and there would be zero net thrust recorded.

Given assumptions (1) and (2) and (3), we can finally imagine that the EmDrive creates a sort of "wake" in the QVP behind it as described by White...in other words, momentum is transferred through the QVP from one virtual particle pair to the next, as a wave.

Honestly, these assumptions seem very implausible to me.  In particular, (3) seems even more difficult to accept than assumptions (1) or (2).

Offline LasJayhawk



Dr. Rodal:

"That amplitude, frequency and phase modulation of the carrier wave results in greater thrust force is a prediction from Dr. White's computer code, and not yet an experimentally proven fact."

I think I may have verified today the need for large time rate of change of the resonant circuit phase changes as the RF amplifier driven 1,937.088 MHz, +/- ~25kHz sine wave oscillates back and forth through the resonance frequency of the frustum cavity.  Through a methodical tuning campaign using our triple stub Z-matching tuner and 2 feet of RG-8 coax as the main transmission line to the frustum, I marched the Smith Chart solution circle around its impedance space while checking the thrust output for each over a dozen stub tuner configurations.   Only those tuning solutions that maximized the phase change through resonance over the smallest frequency span generated the largest thrust signatures and in fact it overcame its lower Q-factors that those solutions provided.  In fact a running solution that yielded Q-factor solutions as high as 7,500 were out performed by two or even three to one in thrust output by tuning solutions that had half these peak Q-factors, but maximized the resonant phase change per kHz.  And yes, the input power was maintained at around 50W for all tests.  More data later this week as I continue this investigation.

BTW, our Eagleworks Dynamics of the Quantum Vacuum paper has finally been published on the NASA/NTRS server.  You can find it here: 

http://tinyurl.com/mw64rsn

Best, Paul M.
JK: an earlier post by the good doctor with some details on the test setup.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #232 on: 05/01/2015 07:21 PM »
"For example I could claim that the moon is made of cheese by postulating a relatively thin crust of rock on top. You can always postulate some bogus mess that allows you to believe what you want. But when you do that you are doing science backwards."

Except the Apollo lunar seismic experiment proved it was rock! (Sorry, couldn't help myself. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.)

Offline flux_capacitor

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #233 on: 05/01/2015 07:24 PM »
While your cavity and ours arn't exactly the same one could say the situations are quite similar.  The NASA Eagleworks system operated at 935MHz at (?)W, Roger Shawyer 2.45GHz at 850W, and Dr Yang at (?)MHz at 2.5KW (apologize if these missing values have been published, I didn't immediately see them).   
Welcome to the thread and the site.

Eagleworks studies were done around 100W power level. However they did comment that it needed an HDPE insert in the cavities to make it work.

No, actually Eagleworks' RF power amplifiers has now power ranges of up to 125 W, but they used powers ranging from a few watts to 17W in experiments conducted in ambient air (see the original full paper) then up to 50W in a hard vacuum (510−6 torr) but with a failing (arcing) RF amp, as stated in this post by Paul March aka Star-Drive.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:30 PM by flux_capacitor »

Offline Art Harmon

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #234 on: 05/01/2015 07:25 PM »
So let's assume the EM drive works as described and Alpha Centauri can be reached in approximately 130 earth years accounting for acceleration, cruising and  deceleration. Can anyone calculate the approximate time dilation spent? (i.e. the theory of relativity that shows  time slowing down relative to earth time and stops at light speed.) Obviously gravitational effects on time dilation would probably be impossible to factor in.

If time were slowed down enough would it allow reaching Alpha Centauri in a generation or two? Assuming one didn't die of radiation poisoning, a spec of dust piercing a hole through  them at that speed, or outright insanity.  ::)

Offline Rodal

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #235 on: 05/01/2015 07:25 PM »
Largely to unconstrain the research from:

A) Resources allocated by these specific institutions;

B) Institutional politics

There is absolutely no reason why the efforts at Glenn, JPL, etc. couldn't or shouldn't be run in-parallel, but the ability to combine material resources with the open contribution of everyone in the world who is interested in the project ("open source R&D"?) presents a potentially powerful addition.  We have reason to believe (cf the original X-prize, the work at SpaceX, etc.) that these kinds of "entrepreneurial" R&D can do things that existing institutions can't.

I'd suggest, for example, that the synergy of many of the good folks on this forum with the work at Eagleworks (including notably your recent excellent article) is a sample of what could be done.  A properly architected crowd/funded + crowdsourced R&D effort could be extremely powerful.

Quote from: MIT physicist Marc Kastner
Competitors around the world are increasing their investment in basic research, but science funding in the U.S. federal budget is at "the lowest it has been since the Second World War as a fraction of the federal budget," says MIT physicist Marc Kastner, who led the committee that wrote the report. "This really threatens America's future."

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2917200/government/mit-report-cuts-to-federal-funding-threaten-the-countrys-future.html
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:30 PM by Rodal »

Offline SH

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #236 on: 05/01/2015 07:27 PM »
3) Work the other way around - crowd-fund an X-prize for some key milestone in EM Drive research. Say a $5M bounty for the first team that can generate material (say 1N) thrust.

Notably, we could really be innovative and use something like a cryptofunding mechanism. Why not? A "decentralized collaborative organization" might be precisely the thing necessary to resource research on the EM Drive while keeping the results open to the public.

This option is the best.  It encourages more people to collaborate and work on the project and prevents you from needing to identify and specifically put together a "dream team" or worrying about giving away the money to crackpots.  Also, I highly doubt that the Eagleworks team would accept quitting their jobs to temporarily work under some ad hoc crowdsourced funding.

While we are on the subject, I've been thinking about this lately and I would be even more interested in contributing to an independent campaign or prize to send a probe to explore the oceans of Titan for signs of life.  Titan is the only body in our solar system that might actually harbor macroscopic and prolific life on the surface, and yet we would never know it from the limited imagery gathered by Cassini-Huygens.

The Titan Mare mission was estimated to cost $425 million, less than the cost a single 747 aircraft, and would probably be capable of revealing to us whether or not there is macroscopic life "not as we know it" there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Mare_Explorer

Offline cfs

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #237 on: 05/01/2015 07:27 PM »
Largely to unconstrain the research from:

A) Resources allocated by these specific institutions;

B) Institutional politics

There is absolutely no reason why the efforts at Glenn, JPL, etc. couldn't or shouldn't be run in-parallel, but the ability to combine material resources with the open contribution of everyone in the world who is interested in the project ("open source R&D"?) presents a potentially powerful addition.  We have reason to believe (cf the original X-prize, the work at SpaceX, etc.) that these kinds of "entrepreneurial" R&D can do things that existing institutions can't.

I'd suggest, for example, that the synergy of many of the good folks on this forum with the work at Eagleworks (including notably your recent excellent article) is a sample of what could be done.  A properly architected crowd/funded + crowdsourced R&D effort could be extremely powerful.

Quote
Competitors around the world are increasing their investment in basic research, but science funding in the U.S. federal budget is at "the lowest it has been since the Second World War as a fraction of the federal budget," says MIT physicist Marc Kastner, who led the committee that wrote the report. "This really threatens America's future."

http://www.infoworld.com/article/2917200/government/mit-report-cuts-to-federal-funding-threaten-the-countrys-future.html

The question is how do you convince enough people to donate to your cause via crowdfunding when the underlying science isn't even established?

Offline Mulletron

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #238 on: 05/01/2015 07:29 PM »
I like the X Prize idea.

That's exactly what I would do if I could.
Challenge your preconceptions, or they will challenge you. - Velik

Offline ragingrei

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #239 on: 05/01/2015 07:30 PM »
Since Eagleworks started doing real work on the EM Drive, there has been growing interest from outside in finding ways to support their work. So far this has been frustrated largely due to NASA regulations (you can't donate money, equipment, etc. directly to a NASA project). There are some work-arounds ([through the SSI](www.ssi.org)) but these are uninspiring.

I have a strong interest in this effort and have been looking at different approaches that might be able to move the work to a more powerful foundation.  My sense is that the strongest platform would empower the assembly of the right people to work the problem and resource them with the tools to do it right, without either hamstringing them with bureaucracy or the narrow interest of typical "VC-funded" enterprise.

Given that, I can see three more aggressive approaches to funding EM Drive research:

1) Convince the Eagleworks crew to take their work outside of NASA and fund the efforts directly. After some research I'm reasonably confident that some form of crowdfunding could be expected to be able to raise $2.5M to $5M for this kind of effort. Would that be enough to a) get the Eagleworks crew feeling safe to make the leap; and b) provide the materials and resources necessary to really kick the tires on this thing? Hard to say - but we should note that an effort like this would also open the doors on allowing interested allies loan equipment. Which is to say that you could likely get a nice multiplier on actual cash contributions.

2) Assemble some other team than the Eagleworks team and fund them to do the research in a similar manner to the above. This could be a sort of public/private combo where two teams collaborate to enhance each-other's work. The gating item here, of course, would be the team - what is the right mix of people to get this done right? 

3) Work the other way around - crowd-fund an X-prize for some key milestone in EM Drive research. Say a $5M bounty for the first team that can generate material (say 1N) thrust.

Notably, we could really be innovative and use something like a cryptofunding mechanism. Why not? A "decentralized collaborative organization" might be precisely the thing necessary to resource research on the EM Drive while keeping the results open to the public.

I am in a position that I could organize any of these three and would be delighted to collaborate to make any of them happen.  Obviously, #1 is gated by the eagleworks team and #2 is gated by identifying and assembling an alternate team. 

I'm interested in the thoughts of those folks who have been close to the developments (and the people) so far.

There are plenty of things in science that don't have an explanation for using modern understanding but that we find applications for -- the placebo effect, for example -- but I highly doubt anyone would have accepted as science any research into confirming the placebo effect if it hadn't been done in a completely academic setting.

Even if an independent group succeeds in replicating and isolating the phenomenon, it might take another Harold White to convince a reputable institution to take it seriously again -- and there aren't that many Harold Whites.

Ultimately the only reason people (myself included) are taking this seriously at all right now is because the experiments confirming the phenomenon were done at NASA. Once the major objections to the existence of a new phenomenon have been weeded out, I think people at more institutions will naturally begin to attempt to replicate and advance the experiments.

Crowdfunding might or might not work financially, but I don't think it'd be safe reputation-wise until everything can be ruled out that might potentially say the observations were all some kind of mistake. People will become even more skeptical than they are, and they'll begin to wonder if the crowdfunding money was the real motivation for the project all along.

I personally have nothing against crypto, but I do worry that working on what many consider to be alternative science using what most consider to be alternative currency would just bring the alternativeness of the project over the edge and turn a lot of people off. I also don't think there are any political impediments to the project. No one is trying to shut it down or hide it or anything (at least for now), so half of the value of crypto is moot.

Lastly, the research is slow-going, but it's not stalled. I'm as eager as anyone -- naysayer or not -- to see more come out of this, but the phrase "don't fix what isn't broken" comes to mind.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:37 PM by ragingrei »

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