Bored Out Of Your Bonkerballs? - Why Having Nothing To Do Can Be Good For You! Bored out of your bonkerballs with nothing to do? Turns out, being bored can be good for you! A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that periods of boredom are crucial for anyone looking to get their creativity on! Join Mindy and Guy Raz for the Paint Drying World Championships, and a mind-numbing fact-finding visit to the "Institute of Boredom!" It's the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Wow in the World of BOREDOM!
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Bored Out Of Your Bonkerballs? - Why Having Nothing To Do Can Be Good For You!

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Bored Out Of Your Bonkerballs? - Why Having Nothing To Do Can Be Good For You!

Bored Out Of Your Bonkerballs? - Why Having Nothing To Do Can Be Good For You!

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THE POP UPS: Stay seated. Three, two, one. Ignition.

Get ready for an adventure of magnificent proportion.

(Singing) I don't know what you've been told, but we're in a golden age. So many discoveries that are jumping off the page. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

With Guy and Mindy.

We're on our way, Houston.


OK, let's see here. 555-555-5554.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, unintelligible).

RAZ: Hello?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Hello.

RAZ: Oh, hi. Yeah, I wanted to purchase the BTN package, please.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, unintelligible).

RAZ: Oh, yeah, sure. I've got my credit card right here. Ugh (ph). Why is it so sticky? Ugh. Is this maple syrup?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, unintelligible).

RAZ: Mindy.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Sir?

RAZ: Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. I'm still here. So sorry. So the name on the card is...



Guy Raz-y (ph).

RAZ: Mindy?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Mindy?

RAZ: No, no, sorry. The name on the card isn't Mindy. It's Guy Raz-y - I mean, Guy Raz. The name on the card is Guy Raz.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, unintelligible).

RAZ: Oh, OK. OK, great. Thanks so much.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character, unintelligible).

THOMAS: Got to say, Guy Raz, it's a little rude for you to be on the phone when I burst through your door uninvited.

RAZ: Mindy, what are you doing here?

THOMAS: Well, I heard you loudly sighing from next door, and I thought you might've found the sea monkeys I left in your toilet.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: Nothing. Just don't flush.

RAZ: No, no, Mindy, I wasn't trying to be rude. I was on the phone trying to order a subscription to the BTN, and then I found this.

THOMAS: Mmm, yum.

RAZ: What? Mindy, what is my credit card doing covered in maple syrup?

THOMAS: OK. Well, technically, it's maple-flavored syrup.

RAZ: Huh?

THOMAS: Way stickier than the real stuff.

RAZ: Ugh.

THOMAS: So what did you need my pancake-syrup applicator for?

RAZ: Mindy, this is my credit card. It's not a pancake-syrup applicator.

THOMAS: Hm, that's funny because it sure looks like one, with all that maple-flavored syrup dripping off of it.

RAZ: Mindy, this is my credit card, and I was using it to buy a subscription to the BTN.

THOMAS: The BTN? Oh, the Bears and Teddy Network. Oh, man, I love that one. They have this one show on there called "Bear Devil," where these bears, they just...

RAZ: No, no, Mindy, I'm not talking about the Bears and Teddy Network. I'm talking about the Boring Television Network.

THOMAS: The Boring Television Network?

RAZ: Oh, yeah. It's got all the classics. Check it out. It should be connected right now. Great. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Now, here's the news, delivered to you, as always, by a British man in a monotone voice.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Nigel Brittwhistle) Hello, I'm Nigel Brittwhistle (ph), and here are today's sports headlines. In Newcastle, the Flighting Flompers (ph) flumped the Southwill Swandlers (ph), 32 farbing (ph) to 21 blungers (ph).

THOMAS: Oh, it's so boring. Make it stop. Make it stop.

RAZ: Oh, and then there's the music channel.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Coming up later on Bill-bored (ph) Music, a bass guitarist practicing scales for seven hours. But first, an interview with minimalist ambient musician Tired Sloth.


RAZ: Ooo (ph), I'm so excited.


RAZ: Aw.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Welcome back to the Paint Drying World Championships.

THOMAS: Paint Drying World Championships?

RAZ: Oh, yeah. Keep it on this one, Mindy. This is the whole reason I bought the channel subscription in the first place.

THOMAS: What is it?

RAZ: It's the world championship of paint drying. My favorite team is playing.

THOMAS: Your favorite paint drying team?

RAZ: Yeah, the LA Bores.

THOMAS: The LA Bores? Huh. Oh, you mean boars like the pigs. I got it.

RAZ: Yeah, they're going up against their archrivals.

THOMAS: The Kansas City Sleepers?

RAZ: Yeah, they're the underdogs.

THOMAS: I thought they were the Sleepers?

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: Never mind.

RAZ: Oh, wait. It's about to start.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) The team captains shake hands and return to their opposing sides of Freshly Painted Arena. This promises to be the most exciting wall-watching exhibition of the past decade.

THOMAS: What in the wow are they doing?

RAZ: They're watching paint dry. The last team to fall asleep from boredom wins.

THOMAS: Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) And they're off. Look at that concentration - backs straight, eyes unblinking. Very, very strong start from the LA Bores.

THOMAS: Wait a minute, Guy Raz. I don't get it. Why would anyone want to be bored?

RAZ: Well, Mindy, it turns out that being bored can actually be really good for you.

THOMAS: Yeah, like putting vegetables in brownies good for you?

RAZ: Well...

THOMAS: Because if that's the case, I'm going to take a pass on the old Paint Drying World Championships.

RAZ: No, really, Mindy. Recent research has shown that boredom can be really useful when it comes to creative problem-solving.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) And that signals the end of the first round. (Yawning) Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back after these messages.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character) Do you have an interest in the uninteresting? Are you curious about the incurious? Then maybe you should come visit us at IB, the Institute of Boredom.

THOMAS: Institute of Boredom?

RAZ: Shh.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character) Ever since inventing TV static in 1953, we've become the world leaders in boredom, apathy and monotonous research. So if you like watching paint dry, cheering a snail race or staring at a pot of water slowly coming to a boil, visit us at our grand opening today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character, yawning) Excuse me. And we're back once again at the world championships of paint drying.

RAZ: Mindy. Mindy, did you hear that?

THOMAS: What? Yeah, I had no idea that TV static was an American invention.

RAZ: No, Mindy, the opening day at IB, the Institute of Boredom.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah. It sounds - you know, it sounds really boring.

RAZ: Oh, no, Mindy, it's anything but.

THOMAS: (Laughter) You said but.

RAZ: The Institute of Boredom is the place that ran those studies I was telling you about earlier.

THOMAS: You mean the ones that said that boredom can help with creative problem-solving?

RAZ: The very same ones.

THOMAS: Oh, OK. Well, what did they find?

RAZ: Well, why don't we find out? I mean, their opening day is today. I think we should still be able to make it there on time. Let me just check. Hey, Zoodle.

THOMAS: Oh, boy.

RAZ: What time is it now?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #7: (As Zoodle) The time is currently 4:30.

RAZ: See, Mindy?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #7: ...A.m. in Vientiane, Laos.

RAZ: Ugh.

THOMAS: Guy Raz, it's 1:30.

RAZ: Well, how did you know?

THOMAS: Well, I mean, there is an actual clock on the wall behind you.

RAZ: Oh, yeah.

THOMAS: You know what that means, right?

RAZ: Maybe it's time for me to dumb down my smart home?

THOMAS: Yes. But it also means that the grand opening is still going on. We could probably still check it out if we hurry.

RAZ: I was just thinking the same thing, Mindy.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Oh, and I believe I may have just witnessed one of the Kansas City Sleepers blink. This does not bode well for them.

THOMAS: Before we go, did you want to record the Paint Drying World Championships, so you can watch it when we get back, or...

RAZ: Ah, nah, I should be fine. You know, these games usually run for, you know, three or four days.

THOMAS: Three or four days? Man, what's next, the Grass Growing World Championships?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Up next, the Grass Growing World Championships, as the Winnipeg Wait-Lists (ph) take on the Toronto Software-Updates (ph).

RAZ: OK, let's go.



THOMAS: Reggie.


RAZ: Hey Reg, you think you could drop us off at the new Institute of Boredom?


THOMAS: Yeah, I think it's right by there.

RAZ: Right next to what, Mindy?

THOMAS: Oh, the dry cleaners. He's got some clothes to pick up.


RAZ: But, Mindy, (whispering) Reggie doesn't wear any clothing.


THOMAS: I never said they were his clothes, Guy Raz. He's helping out Thomas Fingerling.

RAZ: Ah, what a stand-up bird.


RAZ: Good for you, Reg.


THOMAS: OK, come on, Guy Raz. Hop on.


RAZ: OK, I'm ready.

THOMAS: Good because here we go.


RAZ: You think I'd be used to those landings by now.

THOMAS: Thanks, Reg.


THOMAS: Yep, the dry cleaners is just over there.


RAZ: All right, Mindy, I think the Institute of Boredom is just across the road over there. Let's just wait for this last car to pass. And cross.

THOMAS: Crossing, crossing, crossing, crossing. Hey, Guy Raz.

RAZ: Yeah?

THOMAS: Why did Guy Raz cross the road?

RAZ: Oh, Mindy.

THOMAS: To get to the Institute of Boredom's grand opening. Look, there it is. Wow.

RAZ: Wow. Mindy, get a load of this place. It's massive.

THOMAS: And so boring.

RAZ: Impressively boring.

THOMAS: Yeah, look at this place - no trees, no flourish, just a nondescript, gray, rectangle, concrete building. Oh, is that a sculpture of the institute's founder?

RAZ: Roger Boredo (ph), inventor of TV static and purveyor of fine waiting rooms.

THOMAS: Huh, sounds like a real hoot. Well, come on, Guy Raz. Let's go inside.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Hello, and welcome to the Institute of Boredom. Are you being helped at all?

RAZ: No. We just arrived. It's a lovely place you have here.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Yeah, it's super boring. Can I uninterest you in some of the activities we have going on today?

RAZ: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Super. Just over there by the front yawn...

RAZ: (Laughter) I'm sorry. Did you say the front lawn?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) No, I said the front yawn. It's a concrete patch in the front of the library that's dedicated to yawning. It's super boring. Anywho, over by the front yawn, we have the sign up for our regional varsity bored game team. And over in the long-winded movies with no robots or explosions building, we have a special PowerPoint presentation on PowerPoint presentations.

RAZ: Oh. Oh, no, thanks. I can't have PowerPoints after midday. They keep me up all night ruminating.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Oh, wow. That's really boring. Well, then in about three minutes, inside our state-of-the-art homework memorial lecture hall, we have a speaker presenting on some of the scientific studies we're currently conducting here at the institute.

THOMAS: We love scientific studies.

RAZ: Seriously. It seems like it's all we talk about sometimes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) Well, then all you need to do is head down this beige hallway, take a left at the room where the grown-ups are telling stories about how hard it was back when they were your age and then it's the third door on the right.

RAZ: Great. Thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #8: (As character) No problem. Have an uneventful day.

RAZ: This is great, Mindy. Maybe they'll mention those studies that I was telling you about earlier.

THOMAS: Oh, you mean the ones that said that boredom can actually help with creative problem-solving?

RAZ: Yeah.

THOMAS: Sure hope so. Otherwise, I'm just going to hang out by that cheese board for the rest of the afternoon. Oh, she's bored. I just got it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #9: (As character) And so I said to Mabel - I said, back in my day, that would've cost us 20 shillings. Of course, we didn't have the word 20 back then.

RAZ: All right. This must be the room with the grandparents telling back when I was your age stories. So we turn right. And one, two, three. Here we are - the homework memorial lecture hall. It looks like it's about to start. Let's grab some chairs in the back.

THOMAS: Roger that, buddy. Excuse me, sorry. Coming through - just trying to grab a seat here. Hi. Nice pencil case - I love the sparkles. Thank you. Sorry, just squeezing through. And there we are.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) Since the dawn of time, man has periodically become uninterested and disengaged with the world around him. But why is this? Well, we here at the Institute of Boredom are working around the clock to uncover exactly why this is and what potential benefits it might hold.

RAZ: Yes, I knew they'd cover this.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) Over the past decade, we've conducted several experiments to answer these questions. And today, we'll be looking at one of our most recent studies, a study conducted by our colleagues over at the University of Lancashire in the United Kingdom, conducted by researchers Sandy Monn (ph) and Rebecca Cadman (ph).

RAZ: This is it, Mindy. This is the study that I was telling you about.

THOMAS: So what was it about?

RAZ: Well, the experiment took place over two separate experiments. And in the first experiment...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) A group of participants were asked to complete an incredibly boring task.

THOMAS: Oh. Oh, I know. I know. Pick me. Pick me.

RAZ: Mindy, I don't know if this is the kind of lecture where you can ask questions.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) I'm sorry. Is that a question?

THOMAS: Yes, sorry. Was it doing chores?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) What?

THOMAS: Was it doing chores - you know, the incredibly boring task you just mentioned?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) What? No.

THOMAS: Was it waiting to see the doctor?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) No, no, no - was to...

THOMAS: Wait. No, I got it. I got it. Was it when the Internet gets really slow, and you can't download any more cat pictures?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) No. It was copying out phone numbers from a phone book.

THOMAS: Well, yeah, I guess that is pretty boring.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) In any case, as I was saying, these participants performed this boring task for 15 minutes before taking a creativity test.

THOMAS: A creativity test?

RAZ: That's right, Mindy. The participants of this study, after writing out phone number after phone number after phone number, were asked to list off different uses for a cup.

THOMAS: Different uses for a cup - like the kind you drink out of?

RAZ: That's right. So for example, you could use a cup for drinking.


RAZ: But another person could say you could wear it as a hat.

THOMAS: Or another might say you would string two cups together and use them as a phone.

RAZ: Exactly. Anyway, when they looked at the results of the group that had been performing the boring task beforehand, the researchers found that this boring group was able to come up with way more examples of things you could do with a cup than a different group that hadn't done boring stuff before.

THOMAS: Yes. So they were better at divergent thinking.

RAZ: Divergent what?

THOMAS: Divergent thinking, Guy Raz. It's the type of creative thinking you do when you're trying to come up with a bunch of ideas.

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: I was always told I was a very divergent thinker. I think that's why I have so many crazy inventions.

RAZ: Right.

THOMAS: Oh, that reminds me. I have to show you my new pancake-syrup applicator when we get back.

RAZ: Ugh, you already did, Mindy. That was my credit card.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) But that was only part one of this two-part experiment. So here comes part two.

RAZ: Oh, this is the best part. OK, so in part two of the experiment, Mindy, the researchers created a third group to see what would happen if you got people really bored.

THOMAS: Oh, man. More boring than writing out the entire phone book?

RAZ: Yeah. And this third group's task was to simply read the phone book. That's it.

THOMAS: Yikes. That's more boring than listening to someone tell you about the dream they had the night before.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) After the first two groups completed their boring tasks, they then, along with the control group - which, as we mentioned earlier, was the group that didn't do any boring task beforehand - all took the same divergent thinking test that was used in the first experiment, along with two more creative-thinking tests, just to make sure the first time wasn't a fluke.

RAZ: And, Mindy, guess what they found?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) These researchers found that the most bored group...

THOMAS: ...The one that had only read the phonebook...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #10: (As character) ...Was able to score better than the group that performed no boring task and the phonebook copying group when it came to the creative test.

THOMAS: OK, now, let me get this straight. The group of people who were the most bored out of anyone performed better on the creativity test than anyone else?

RAZ: Uh-huh.

THOMAS: Which would suggest that the more bored you are...

RAZ: ...The more creative your ideas become.


RAZ: All right. Well, I think we've got the facts we need from here. Let's get out of here. I don't want to miss anymore of the world championships.

THOMAS: Okeydoke.

RAZ: Just try not to make a...

THOMAS: Bye, everyone. Sorry, we have to go now. There's a show on TV we've got to watch.

RAZ: Try not to make a scene.

THOMAS: Excuse us.

RAZ: Sorry, sorry.

THOMAS: Coming through.

RAZ: Sorry. Coming through. Excuse me.

THOMAS: Sorry, I didn't mean to step on you.

RAZ: Excuse me. Whew (ph).

THOMAS: Woo (ph). Well, that could've gone better.

RAZ: You can say that again.

THOMAS: Woo. Well, that could've gone better.

RAZ: So what did you think of the talk, Mindy?

THOMAS: Well, I would have rather been doing anything else, but I had no idea that all those days I spent just bumming around the house, bored out of my bonkerballs, I was actually filling up my brain tank with creative juices.

RAZ: Right?

THOMAS: But what I still can't figure out is, why does being bored help me get my creativity on?

RAZ: Well, no one knows for sure, but those same researchers we just heard about, well, they think that it's something known as passive boredom.

THOMAS: So like the boredom that these people went through during the experiment that put their minds into, like, a daydreaming mode?

RAZ: Exactly. When most of us get bored, we start to daydream, and that allows our minds to open up to creative thinking and ideas.

THOMAS: That's so wow.

RAZ: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, just ask any kid, Mindy. If you leave them alone for a long time, they'll come up with some pretty creative ways to keep themselves entertained.

THOMAS: You don't have to tell me, Guy Raz. I was president of Imagination Land for three whole years when I was in third grade. OK. Now let me just text Reggie here to see if he can come pick us up. After all this talk about boredom and creativity, I think I will join you in watching that Paint Drying World Championships, Guy Raz.

RAZ: Oh, really?

THOMAS: Yeah. You know, I've been trying to think of a new design for the shrink wand. And I think the old imagination tank could use a little polishing.

RAZ: Fantastic. I'll get the kale chips ready.

THOMAS: All right. So is there anything I need to know before we start watching.

RAZ: Well, I would say the first thing you have to know is that the LA Bores' star player is La-Bored James. Now, he's probably the greatest of all time. I mean, there's some debate over it - you know, players in the '70s and '80s. But, I mean, I'm talking really good at watching paint dry - acrylics...


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: WOW IN THE WORLD will be right back. Grown-ups, this message is for you.

That's it. Back to the show.


THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world.


THOMAS: Thanks for calling WOW IN THE WORLD. After the beep, get ready to record.


MOLLY: Hello, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Molly (ph). And I live in England. And my wow in world is that on Mars, there's a rover called Curiosity. And its job is to look at rocks and pick the rocks up and find out things about Mars. And that's making it one step closer to astronauts coming to Mars. Bye.


MADDIE: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Maddie (ph), and I'm from Parkland, Wash. My wow in the world is that the world has gone from 1 billion people to 7 billion people in only 200 years. Bye, Mindy and Guy Raz. Say hi to Reggie for me.


EMILY: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Emily (ph), and I live in North Las Vegas, Nev. My wow in the world is up on Io, one of Jupiter's 79 moons, there might be life underneath the frozen ice. I wonder if they get snow days. Bye.


FINLEY: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Finley (ph), and I live in Raleigh, N.C. My wow in the world, since I love cats, is that snow leopards can't roar. Wow. Say hi to Reggie for me. Bye.


ISAAC: Hi, my name is Isaac (ph). I live in Tuscaloosa, Ala. My wow in the world is when zebras run together, their stripes create an optical illusion that confuses both large predators and biting flies. Bye. Say hi to Reggie for me.


ROSE: Hi, WOW IN THE WORLD. My name is Rose (ph). And I live in New York City. And my wow in the world is that a dog breed named the basenji yodels instead of barking. Love your show. Love you, Reggie.


BELLA: My name is Bella (ph). And I live in Sheboygan, Wis. And my wow in the world is that lightning goes so fast that it breaks the sound barrier. And within a second, you will hear the roar of thunder.


CASSIA: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Cassia (ph), and I live in New York City. And my wow in the world is that the largest snowman ever made is 12 stories tall. Tell Dennis to move to the top of the snowman, so he can never annoy you again.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #11: (As Dennis) Annoy you? I'm not annoying. Reggie, am I annoying? Be honest.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #11: (As Dennis) Rebarbative? What does that mean?


CASSIA: Bye. I love your show.



THOMAS: Hey, everyone. Thank you so much for hanging out with us this week on a WOW IN THE WORLD.

RAZ: And to keep the wow rolling, check out this week's scientific conversation starters at our website

THOMAS: And, grown-ups, there you can find more info on how your kids can become members of the World Organization of Wowzers, shop our Wow Shop, upload photos and videos to us and check dates for our upcoming live events. That's

RAZ: Our show is produced by Jed Anderson.

THOMAS: Who provides the bells, whistles and silly characters. Say hello, Jed.


THOMAS: Our show is written by me, Guy Raz and Thomas van Kalken, who also provides silly characters. Tom?


RAZ: Thanks also to Jessica Boddy, Casey Koeffer, Rebecca Caban, Kit Ballenger (ph) and Alex Curley. Meredith Halpern-Ranzer powers the wow at Tinkercast.

THOMAS: Our theme song was composed and performed by The Pop Ups. For more info on their two-time-Grammy-nominated, all-ages music, find them at

RAZ: And, grown-ups, you can follow WOW IN THE WORLD on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @wowintheworld. And our email address is

THOMAS: And if you're a kid with a big wow to share with us, call us at 1-888-7-WOW-WOW for a chance to be featured at the end of the show.

RAZ: Also, if you haven't already done so, please subscribe to WOW IN THE WORLD on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

THOMAS: Yeah. Leave us a few stars, a review. Or just tell a friend about the show.

RAZ: Thanks again for listening. And until next time...




THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: WOW IN THE WORLD was made by Tinkercast and sent to you by NPR.

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