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The helmet thread

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The helmet thread

Old 08-14-14, 09:10 AM
  #8476  
meanwhile
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
Yeah, and I remember a bare-head advocate once telling me "Do your own research" when I asked for a link to a paper they'd previously quoted...

Someone posted a newer study -- done in 2013 or 2014 -- which indicated that helmets do reduce instances of head injuries. To no surprise at all, study found that helmets were most effective regarding less than serious injury -- most effective at mitigating mild injury; less effective with moderate injury -- but it was found that there was also some effectiveness at reducing rates of serious head injury. I don't know that anyone was able to refute the findings of that newer study, and it stands in contrast to those claiming helmets are ineffective regarding serious head injury, which is certainly why I found it notable and worth paying attention to.
Without a reference I can't say, but the MHL studies and DTI study are VERY robust - we can write in a maximum life saving value for helmets of about 10-15% with a lot of confidence. And that's maximum - 0% or a 5-10% increase in deaths aren't ruled out.
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Old 08-14-14, 09:15 AM
  #8477  
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Btw: the cheats used by the researchers working for the helmet industry are widely used for promoting new drugs too:

Bad Pharma: A Manifesto to Fix the Pharmaceutical Industry « Science-Based Medicine

*Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don’t like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients...And finally, academic papers, which everyone thinks of as objective, are often covertly planned and written by people who work directly for the companies, without disclosure.*

These are exactly the techniques the helmet makers have used to get positive results. They're easily enough debunked - if you are smart enough to read for an hour to find out how good studies are designed, or to do a google search for criticism of a particular study. But most people are too stupid and lazy and simply grasp anything that confirms what they want to believe.
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Old 08-14-14, 11:07 AM
  #8478  
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I suspect there's more hanky panky going on in studies where the conclusion is that helmets in general are useless or even worse, cause more harm than good... JMO
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Old 08-14-14, 11:09 AM
  #8479  
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Argue with the fact that helmets have prevented injury or worse in low speed accidents, and are useless in high speed accident no matter what kind of bike you are riding.

In a low speed accident where my head hit the ground while wearing my helmet, I had no injury at all. Common sense, logic, and accidents in the real world trump a whole box car load of "research papers"!!!!

Ponder the fact that anyone doing "research", the research is only as good as the people doing it and who they interview. Those learned papers you put so much stock in DO NOT cover the whole spectrum of cycling accidents. They DO NOT cover accidents such as mine, since it was never reported, as are probably 99% of the accidents like mine. The helmet did it job, END OF STORY!!!!!
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Old 08-14-14, 11:16 AM
  #8480  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I suspect there's more hanky panky going on in studies where the conclusion is that helmets in general are useless or even worse, cause more harm than good... JMO
Yes, but is that an intelligent suspicion? Well, no. Because helmet companies have a vested interest in making gullible people buy helmets, but there's no comparable interest going the other way; there's no one who makes $50 every time you have more sense than to pay $150 for a foam hat that costs $10 to make and does nothing for safety.

Plus the main anti-helmet studies are simply to robust to fake; they're the MHL whole population studies. Oh, and that DTI study - and the DTI's prior stance had been strongly PRO helmet.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-14-14 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 08-14-14, 11:22 AM
  #8481  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
meanwhile

Argue with the fact that helmets have prevented injury or worse in low speed accidents,
That's not a fact, it's a badly written claim. To be honest, we simply don't know - helmets probably do reduce scalp lacerations, but they may well increase neurological damage. (That seems to be the case in NFL helmets, which are much better studied.) How many cut scalps outweigh the loss of, say, 5 IQ points? It's complex and value dependent - and we don't have the data.

What's certain is that virtually all cyclist deaths result from high speed hits by cars where helmets are useless. So wearing a helmet can have no significant affect on on cyclist mortality - it simply is not possible. And you now agree with that, yes?

and are useless in high speed accident no matter what kind of bike you are riding.
I'm glad you now admit that. And, again, you admit that's where 85-90% of cyclist deaths occur? As the DTI says and people have pointed out to you here for years...
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Old 08-14-14, 11:29 AM
  #8482  
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..It seem "obvious" that helmets should have some sort of positive effect, doesn't it? But only stupid people confuse the obvious with the true. Neurological injuries are complex and non-intuitive. My own feeling is that if a helmet has no significant effect on mortality - and we are now agreed that it doesn't - I'd rather take a greater chance of a scalp cut and a lesser one of a minor brain injury. But mostly, if a helmet can only protect against minor injuries or super unlikely freaks - which I think everyone should now see is the case - then I just don't care!
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Old 08-14-14, 11:42 AM
  #8483  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
Yes, but is that an intelligent suspicion? Well, no. Because helmet companies have a vested interest in making gullible people buy helmets, but there's no comparable interest going the other way; there's no one who makes $50 every time you have more sense than to pay $150 for a foam hat that costs $10 to make and does nothing for safety.

Plus the main anti-helmet studies are simply to robust to fake; they're the MHL whole population studies. Oh, and that DTI study - and the DTI's prior stance had been strongly PRO helmet.
Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander too... The people on the helmets are not needed side need "proof" so... those studies saying helmets are not usefull, I suspect, and put in the same category that you put the studies that "prove" that helmets do good and are usefull, it is just a suspicion but... There's vested interest everywhere.
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Old 08-14-14, 11:58 AM
  #8484  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post

In a low speed accident where my head hit the ground while wearing my helmet, I had no injury at all. Common sense, logic, and accidents in the real world trump a whole box car load of "research papers"!!!!

....The helmet did it job, END OF STORY!!!!!
And there we have it. The Cogito ergo sum of the helmet debate. Irrefutable "common sense and logic" proof that helmets work.

I fell, I hit my head, I lived, ergo the helmet did it's job.

How can anybody refute or challenge such a compelling "logical" case???. Not me. I'm just thankful that I don't have to deal with such compelling arguments defending non use of bicycle helmets.
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Old 08-14-14, 12:35 PM
  #8485  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post

Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
Yes, but is that an intelligent suspicion? Well, no. Because helmet companies have a vested interest in making gullible people buy helmets, but there's no comparable interest going the other way; there's no one who makes $50 every time you have more sense than to pay $150 for a foam hat that costs $10 to make and does nothing for safety.

Plus the main anti-helmet studies are simply to robust to fake; they're the MHL whole population studies. Oh, and that DTI study - and the DTI's prior stance had been strongly PRO helmet.
Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander too...
Suspecting both sides in debate of bias because one side has been caught lying and has a motive is not, frankly, either intelligent or sane. It's eactly as idiotic as convicting the victim in an criminal case because the defendant is found guilty. Which is to say extremely.

The people on the helmets are not needed side need "proof" so
I hope English is a foreign language for you.

... those studies saying helmets are not usefull, I suspect, and put in the same category that you put the studies that "prove" that helmets do good and are usefull, it is just a suspicion but... There's vested interest everywhere.
Helmet makers have a vested interest in selling helmet; no one makes a profit by stopping them from being sold. Least of all helmet test engineers (more sales = more models = more tests) and the DTI (a govt body.) If you want people to believe that anti helmet studies are biased then you have to show the bias in the study and/or motive. Rather than ranting incoherently and using nursery rhyme cliches.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-14-14 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 12:38 PM
  #8486  
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Originally Posted by rydabent


In a low speed accident where my head hit the ground while wearing my helmet, I had no injury at all.
How do you know that you don't have a neurological injury?
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Old 08-14-14, 12:41 PM
  #8487  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
And there we have it. The Cogito ergo sum of the helmet debate. Irrefutable "common sense and logic" proof that helmets work.

I fell, I hit my head, I lived, ergo the helmet did it's job.
Very sad, but true. I rode crossers on often wet trails for the past two years on slicks - this definitely involves falls! During this time I didn't wear a helmet and I didn't get as much as a cut on my face. By rydabent logic, this is proof that if you don't wear a helmet you'll never get a head injury, because your head will never touch the ground. (And in fact, helmets do make head contact more likely by expanding the effective size of the head.)

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-14-14 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 01:28 PM
  #8488  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I suspect there's more hanky panky going on in studies where the conclusion is that helmets in general are useless or even worse, cause more harm than good... JMO
The "anti"-helmet people don't want me to buy anything. They also are less hysterical about the "dangers" of cycling, and generally have more insight in cycling safety. Judging from all the ABHSML stories that start basically with "I was doing something stupid/reckless and completely preventable..." and end with "Always wear a cycling helmet" many helmeteers don't even understand the basic stuff.

Last edited by CarinusMalmari; 08-14-14 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 01:46 PM
  #8489  
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Originally Posted by yugyug View Post

It came out in the very early 80s. Anyone notice the Star Wars influence? Its been pointed out in the Aussie bike forums that its basically a retro ice hockey helmet toughened up with less ventilation to satisfy the penetration test standard.
Bell also had a helmet with a very rigid and tough outer shell called the Biker and the mid 70's or so when I had one. That Biker was a tough helmet, I had to get a new one after having an accident that cracked and crushed some of the Styrofoam so I took a hammer claw to it and it didn't penetrated like other helmets I had afterwards. Then for some reason helmet manufactures decided that the lexan cover wasn't necessary, not sure why, but todays helmets don't like a hammer claw hitting them!

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Old 08-14-14, 02:27 PM
  #8490  
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Originally Posted by CarinusMalmari View Post
The "anti"-helmet people don't want me to buy anything. They also are less hysterical about the "dangers" of cycling, and generally have more insight in cycling safety. Judging from all the ABHSML stories that start basically with "I was doing something stupid/reckless and completely preventable..." and end with "Always wear a cycling helmet" many helmeteers don't even understand the basic stuff.
Yes but now you are talking the risk of having an accident where the head hits the pavement... I have no problem at all accepting that the risk is small, thus one would be willing to risk not wearing a helmet, just like one risks not wearing a helmet walking, taking a shower, going up or down stairs... But to say a helmet does nothing and may even increase the chance of head bouncing off the pavement is wrong on average, sure there are exceptions but really... Not to wear a helmet because it wont help in every case is not the right reason to not wear one... Again, willing to take the risk is an exeptable reason to me.. Just how I see it.

EDIT; Oh, and another reason I find hard to understand to not wear a helmet is "I do everything right to make sure I have a safe ride and am a good rider... Great, but to think your head will never bounce off the pavement because of that...? You are still taking a risk, even tho you lowered it for sure by riding in less risky ways, It's not a given you will never crash, you are still taking a risk, saying you are not is ?

Last edited by 350htrr; 08-14-14 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 02:58 PM
  #8491  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Bell also had a helmet with a very rigid and tough outer shell called the Biker and the mid 70's or so when I had one. That Biker was a tough helmet, I had to get a new one after having an accident that cracked and crushed some of the Styrofoam so I took a hammer claw to it and it didn't penetrated like other helmets I had afterwards. Then for some reason helmet manufactures decided that the lexan cover wasn't necessary, not sure why
Modern helmets are cheaper to produce, cooler, and lighter. They stand less chance of protecting against non-rotational forces, but that doesn't hurt sales because 99.99% of people buying helmets are too lazy to check what the spec is on the helmet they buy.

The biggest advantage of the lexan shell is not pentration resistance but that will will maintain integrity when it hits a rough road surface at 20mph: if it doesn't, then the liner won't absorb energy.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:02 PM
  #8492  
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rekmeyata

Yes I remember the Bell Biker, and as I have posted later they made the Tourlite that I had. It too had the lexan cover. I still wish I could buy a new one just like it.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:07 PM
  #8493  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Yes but now you are talking the risk of having an accident where the head hits the pavement...
This is not exactly sane or intelligent. Because

1. You both take that risk, you just reduce it by wearing a helmet - probably not very much, because helmets are only tested in impacts against smooth, non-moving surfaces - roads otoh are rough and move (or rather the bike does) and this tends to tear helmet shells apart before liner compression occurs

2. Rotation is the main instrument of brain damage, and helmets are NOT designed to reduce it and may increase it

..So you're reducing the chances of cut scalp - as long as you fall off the bike when it isn't moving at least - probably increasing the chances of brain damage, and seem to believe that people who don't act like you are acting oddly. Hmmm...

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-14-14 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:07 PM
  #8494  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Yes but now you are talking the risk of having an accident where the head hits the pavement... I have no problem at all accepting that the risk is small, thus one would be willing to risk not wearing a helmet, just like one risks not wearing a helmet walking, taking a shower, going up or down stairs... But to say a helmet does nothing and may even increase the chance of head bouncing off the pavement is wrong on average, sure there are exceptions but really... Not to wear a helmet because it wont help in every case is not the right reason to not wear one... Again, willing to take the risk is an exeptable reason to me.. Just how I see it.
Exactly right. It only remains to estimate the risk in order to make an informed decision.

There are several ways to go about that. Maybe the most straightforward: we are about 5 times as likely to have an injury accident cycling as in a car. 20% of the cycling accidents involve other vehicles (11% auto, 9% other cyclist). Most of the rest is a fall. When you do have a collision accident, you are 1.6 times as likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury on the bike as you are in a car accident. So, putting them together if I'd wear a helmet driving given 1.6 times greater danger, then it would make sense to wear one biking. If on the other hand that 1.6 times greater risk is acceptable driving, then the same risk is acceptable while cycling.

I left the non-collision cycling injuries separate, since there are a lot of other individual variables there. Basically, if you rule out collisions with bikes and cars what is your risk of a fall and of a resultant head injury? For me, that's a situational decision that can go either way. I am much more concerned about someone forcing me into a situation that overloads my skills than I am about just doing something foolish and taking a spill, so my judgment tends to be skewed towards my evaluation of traffic.

Another more general way is to simply look up statistics of traumatic head injury by cycling in my age tranche, grant that I'm similar to the mythical average rider, and evaluate the risk level. Objectively it's so small that I feel no qualms at all when hopping on the bike for a utility ride, and when I wear one for recreation and training it's more a part of the costume than anything else. But you're right about the bottom line: it all depends on an individual's risk assessment and risk tolerance based on the specific activity.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:09 PM
  #8495  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
rekmeyata

Yes I remember the Bell Biker, and as I have posted later they made the Tourlite that I had. It too had the lexan cover. I still wish I could buy a new one just like it.
And the reason you can't is people like you propagandizing that the current low spec helmets work. Whereas I want helmet specs that differentiate between helmets that offer some chance of protection (lexan shells + anti-rotation) and those that don't, with said level clearly labelled.

Last edited by meanwhile; 08-14-14 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:21 PM
  #8496  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Exactly right. It only remains to estimate the risk in order to make an informed decision.
..Which you will now make a complete mess of.

There are several ways to go about that. Maybe the most straightforward:
..But incorrect.

we are about 5 times as likely to have an injury accident cycling as in a car.
Per mile travelled or per hour? There's a VERY big difference! (In fact, cycling PER HOUR is as safe as driving - which is what matters in calculating risk exposure.)

20% of the cycling accidents involve other vehicles (11% auto, 9% other cyclist). Most of the rest is a fall. When you do have a collision accident, you are 1.6 times as likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury on the bike as you are in a car accident. So, putting them together if I'd wear a helmet driving given 1.6 times greater danger, then it would make sense to wear one biking.
Yes: if you were an idiot, this is the logic you would apply. However, if you were not, then you would ask whether the helmet would actually reduce the danger. Which is why intelligent people wear seat belts to drive, but do not wear cycling helmets - the seat belt reduces an already low level of danger of death, but the helmet has no effect. I think you don't have to be very smart to understand this strategy, but it seems to be beyond you - you literally just proposed taking safety "precautions" according to the level of danger without considering whether the precautions work.

Another more general way is to simply look up statistics of traumatic head injury by cycling in my age tranch
Ah, Big Word Time! Which has resulted, as is usually the case, in nonsense - ie "traumatic head injury". Really: you just say "head injury" or "head trauma". Because the set of non-traumatic injuries is, by definition, zero. Look up "tautology" in a dictionary while you are in the mood for vocabulary building.

...And again you miss the point that you can't evaluate whether you should use a safety measure by the risk without it alone - you have to consider whether it reduces the risk.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:32 PM
  #8497  
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I do have apologize about one thing: I've overstated the amount of energy a current helmet can take. I said 150, but it's actually more like half that. Eg

Helmet standards and capabilities
In a recent Court case, a respected materials specialist argued that a cyclist who was brain injured from what was essentially a fall from their cycle, without any real forward momentum, would not have had their injuries reduced or prevented by a cycle helmet. This event involved contact against a flat tarmac surface with an impact energy potential of no more than 75 joules (his estimate, with which I was in full agreement). The court found in favour of his argument. So a High Court has decided that cycle helmets do not prevent injury even when falling from a cycle onto a flat surface, with little forward momentum. Cycle helmets will almost always perform much better against a flat surface than any other.


..In theory, a helmet should take up to about 100J. To give an idea of how little this is, a Snickers bar contains about 1,000,000J.
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Old 08-14-14, 03:35 PM
  #8498  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
This is not exactly sane or intelligent. Because

1. You both take that risk, you just reduce it by wearing a helmet - probably not very much, because helmets are only tested in impacts against smooth, non-moving surfaces - roads otoh are rough and move (or rather the bike does) and this tends to tear helmet shells apart before liner compression occurs

2. Rotation is the main instrument of brain damage, and helmets are NOT designed to reduce it and may increase it

..So you're reducing the chances of cut scalp - as long as you fall off the bike when it isn't moving at least - probably increasing the chances of brain damage, and seem to believe that people who don't act like you are acting oddly. Hmmm...
I'm talking average falls where head hits pavement, probably around 90%, (made up number), you are talking about a much smaller % of falls that the helmet may increase injury instead of helping...
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Old 08-14-14, 03:52 PM
  #8499  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
I'm talking average falls where head hits pavement, probably around 90%, (made up number), you are talking about a much smaller % of falls that the helmet may increase injury instead of helping...
There are no data that I know of that demonstrate this increased risk. It's one thing to reason that there should be a certain amount of increased risk of rotational injury, but quite another to demonstrate that there really is one. Although this pops up from time to time, it remains to be seen that there are any percentage of falls where the helmet increases the injury.

We can imagine a scenario where a specific impact vector along with friction imparts greater torque with the helmet. We can imagine scenarios where rotational force is mitigated by the helmet. Until someone investigates what actually happens in real or simulated accidents it's all speculative.
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Old 08-14-14, 04:16 PM
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350htrr
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I don't know, just giving it the benefit of not doubting that sometimes a helmet actually could increase injury a small % of time...

Last edited by 350htrr; 08-14-14 at 08:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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