Amazing Jobs! – Volunteered, Donated and FREE

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Amazing Jobs

People Do

For Free

The very nature of our capitalist society is that, for our labors, we receive monetary compensation. However, some work is unpaid. A breakdown of this unpaid labor might show that most are in the form of internships, where a person provides their services for free with the understanding that they will get paid later. The other big portion of “volunteer” labor would be forced community service, where doing work for free is a punishment for misbehavior.

There are some altruistic people who do unpaid charity work, like working with the less fortunate, but outside of charity people who do work for free are seen as odd, or being exploited somehow. With that in mind, here are 10 surprising jobs people in the world have done completely for free…

10. The Pirate of Massapequa

Two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hyman Strachman was drafted into the Army, serving in an intelligence unit in the Pacific. Being so far from home, he remembered the relief that movie night brought. Fast forward 70 years later and Strachman thought he could provide the same service to the men and women fighting overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. So then at that time, in his early 90s, for free and at his own expense, he started pumping out popular titles of bootleg DVDs. To improve his output he purchased a professional DVD copier and soon he was sending hundreds of DVDs to an Army chaplain, who would gift the pirate DVDs to the troops. His work made him a hero in the military, and until the war wound down in 2013 he pirated over 300,000 discs and sent them overseas.

Since he bought illegal bootleg DVDs off the street and then made hundreds of equally illegal bootleg copies, he was known as the “The Pirate of Massapequa.”His work made him famous and reporters lined up to interview him. While the RIAA went after single mothers and teenagers for bit or renting single songs, they dared not touch Strachman – a 90-something widower and WWII veteran supporting the troops. Even though he was committing a crime, he received many awards for his work and in 2015 Strachman was even honored by a Veterans Appreciation Breakfast hosted by Senator Michael Venditto.

Possibly due to the massive karma he received for his volunteer work, Strachman lived to the ripe old age of 97, dying on February 1, 2017, in his Massapequa, New York nursing home.

9. Maintain Guzzlers

Since the early part of the 20th century, in parched regions through Western America, the government set up water stations. Called guzzlers, these water centers support threatened animal and bird populations. Starting in the desolate parts of Oregon, they spread throughout the west, with 1,600 in Nevada alone.

They are often like larger, concrete versions of a water bottle in a hamster cage, and while some are filled with rainwater many regions are too dry and require top offs by someone who has to haul water deep into remote forests and scrubland. To keep away partying teens and unethical hunters that would camp out and shoot thirsty animals, the locations are kept top secret. Decades ago government funding for the guzzlers dried up, so now local volunteers keep them and the water they provide flowing. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) even has an “Adopt A Guzzler” program.

8. Professional Photographers Hate Him

In the age of smartphones, everyone has a camera. Already in war zones around the world, we can see citizen reports almost as soon as the incident takes place. The job of a paid photographer is changing and on the front lines is Gage Skidmore, a 20-something student who lives with his parents. Priceonomics’ Zachary Crockett calls him the “most prolific photographer you’ve never heard of.” On his Flickr account, he has over 50,000 photos that he has released under Creative Commons. Under Creative Commons, you can do whatever you want with the image, including reproduce it and sell it yourself, as long as you say that Skidmore took the photo (by the way, this feels like a good time to note that the picture used for this entry was taken by Skidmore). His most famous picture, a shot of Trump, is used on Trump’s MAGA web page.

Much like Deadheads who follow the Grateful Dead around America, Skidmore got his start following Ron and Rand Paul around the country. At first, he roped his parents into driving him around snapping shots of the Paul political dynasty. Then his friends and people with the same political beliefs chipped in, but what never changed was that he gave away his professional-grade photos. Along the way, he also took a number of shots of other candidates, further amassing his collection of public domain political photos.

Why does he give away his photos? Skidmore says, “as the Internet has become an integral part of our lives, photographers have had to adapt. Creative Commons is a vehicle that allows my photos to be received by a wide audience … I don’t need to sell my photos in order to have a meal the next day. In the long run, I’ll probably take a more traditional career path in the business world.”

7. Donating Pictures for Wikipedia and the World

Wikipedia thrives because its media, and even the text of every article, is in the public domain – meaning you can use everything on the website for free, with no copyright charges. This is fine for the text, but is telling for the visual images. Each picture has to be either donated to Wikipedia or already in the public domain. This restriction causes the quality to suffer as only very old or amateur, low quality images are copyright-free.

 Evan Amos vowed to change this by, for at least gaming articles, taking professional grade photos of gaming systems. Each of his photos is carefully staged, back-lit, beautifully captured, and then donated to Wikipedia at a high resolution (as you no doubt guessed, the above picture of a Sega Saturn – remember the Sega Saturn? – is one of his). He scours collectors across the country to track down rare, little know gaming consoles like the 1977 Bally Astrocade gaming system, and always donates the resulting pictures to Wikipedia and the world.

6. Man with the Golden Arm

When James Harrison was a young child he had a medical condition and had to get one of his lungs removed. Something happened during that operation, like Peter Parker getting superpowers when he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Harrison also received superpowers; not Spidey-sense, but life-saving blood. Harrison’s blood prevents rhesus disease – a disease that kills thousands of babies a year. Known as “The Man with the Golden Arm,” according to the Australian Red Cross blood service, Harrison and his special blood have saved over 2 million babies.

A wise man said that with great power comes great responsibility, and James Harrison believes this, too. He doesn’t charge for his blood or donate it for any sort of profit, instead donating it and his time free. Because, let’s face it… you’re not much of a superhero if you’re basically holding the health of babies for ransom.

5. Amateur Detective Hunts Down Marathon Cheats

To participate in famous running events like the Boston Marathon you need to be consistently fast, famous, or running for thousands of dollars for charity. The status achieved by just running in these races is huge, so there is an entire underground industry of cheaters that get people into these races even though they don’t have the necessary qualifying times.

One way to get into the big marathons is to cheat on qualifying races. By cutting the course or even taking public transportation for part of the race (which, believe it or not, has happened), a runner can cross the finish line with a fast enough time. Another way is bib swapping (the bib being the racing number). You can do this by either buying a faster runner’s number or just paying someone to pretend to be you and run the marathon in your place. The final way would be to just find some way to hack the results and enter a faster time for you. Seen as a victim-less crime, these practices went on for years until people started to take action.

Cincinnati Business analyst Derek Murphy was one of those people. He spends hours tracking cheaters for free, and for the integrity of the sport. He developed an algorithm to investigate people who finished the race much slower than their qualifying time. He then used photos from the race to see if the same people ran both the qualifying race and the marathon. This was how he found that a high school educator had gotten someone to run the qualifying race for her. Eventually, from the 27,167 runners who started the 2015 Boston marathon, Murphy found 47 who cheated on qualifying runs. Of those, 29 were bib swappers, 10 were course cutters, 4 hacked their results, and another 4 got someone to run the race for them.

4. Sverker Johansson: Mr. Ten Percent

Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson is an impressive individual. Not happy with being an expert in one area, he holds multiple degrees including economics, particle physics, linguistics, and civil engineering. He also has a passion for spreading this knowledge and does so through the biggest online respiratory in history: Wikipedia.

Sometimes writing up to 10,000 articles a day, he alone is responsible for about 10% of all the articles on Wikipedia. Now, he isn’t doing this himself; he has developed a team of knowledge spreading bots that create and write the articles for him, but he still spends massive amounts of time supervising his bot army and making sure they stay on task. Which sounds like the origin story of the world’s nerdiest supervillain.

3. Dutch High School Student Creates Maps of the Syrian Conflict

For years the fabric of Syria has been ripped apart by civil war. At first, the media covering the stories pushed the narrative of a large group of rebels fighting the government. The reality on the ground is that there are dozens of groups fighting the government… and each other. Frustrated by this ignorance, Thomas van Linge, at the time a Dutch high school student, started making colorful maps that showed the shifting zones of control between the major Syrian groups. He then published his work on media sharing sites like Twitter for free.

Hours of his time goes into research and creating each map before van Linge posts his images. In an interview with Newsweek, he said he puts in so much time because, “I want to inform people mostly and show people the rebel dynamics in the country … I also want to inform journalists who want to go to the region which regions are definitely no-go zones, which regions are the most dangerous, and also to show strategic developments through time.” The public and the media see the value in his work, and his maps have been used and “cited on news stories in the Huffington Post, Lebanon’s Daily Star and Vox, as well as on the University of Texas at Austin’s website.”

2. Wikipedia Superstars

Wikipedia is probably one of the greatest resources of the modern age. A world of information at your fingertips. How big? Well according to the site itself, “as of 23 October 2017, there are 5,497,372 articles in the English Wikipedia.” With just a handful of paid staff, most of the work goes to editors who volunteer their time and expand the website, check the validity of its content, or more of the hundreds of daily tasks needed to keep the website going. However, the King of Editors is one man: Justin Anthony Knapp (username “koavf”), who was the first to do 1.5 million edits. In an article titled Seven Years, One Million Edits, Zero Dollars: Wikipedia’s Flat Broke Superstar, Knapp was asked why he works for free and he responded, “I’ve never accepted any restitution for my work on Wikipedia—it’s purely voluntary … Editing these projects is relaxing and rewarding—those are both premiums in any prospective job.”

Another Wikipedia editor with a mission is Giraffedata, aka Bryan Henderson. He’s in the top 1,000 editors of Wikipedia for the sole reason of changing what he views as the incorrect usage of  “Comprised of.” Henderson thinks that instead of using “comprised of” people should use “composed of” and so he goes through millions of Wiki pages and changes each instance… one at a time. He doesn’t even use a bot or script. Which is admirable, but man… that seems like taking nitpicking grammar to an entirely new level.

1. Cajun Navy

The United States of America has a mythos surrounding its citizens’ independence and their can-do attitude. Pundits always talk about a golden age when Americans only had themselves and their community to depend on. They went out into the West and built whole towns themselves with little to no government help. Alone in the wilderness, when disaster hit they only had themselves and the community to get the job done. This attitude of coming together in times of disaster has no finer example in the modern age than the Cajun Navy.

When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and the surrounding region it also destroyed the local and regional government’s ability to help its citizens. Not waiting for the feds to reach them, people with small boats and local knowledge came to the rescue. Dubbed the Cajun Navy, this grassroots volunteer group used small boats and risked life and limb to pull victims out of the rising water. Now they and their boats are always on hand when disaster hits, deploying as recently as 2017 when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston.


Amazing Jobs!

– Volunteered, Donated and FREE

The NULL Solution = Episode 49

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The NULL Solution = Episode 49

…Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life…

“By what cosmic law is that possible?” Skaldic cannot explain the strange machinations of the silvery sphere.

⃝    is indeed a uniquely personal experience, whether in this galaxy or the next. Funny thing is, nobody but Skaldic and Sammy Mac makes a big deal about it.

“If it is alive, how does it travel 64 parsecs in the time we walk through a door? Maybe it’s not an individual. There might be a bunch of them, a fleet of shiny bowling balls whizzing around, muting Seljuk outposts and turning your Gifted into pillars of salt.”  Sam references the Holy Bible and tenpin sport in the same paragraph. How foreign these notions must be here on Eridanus, without an overt “god”. “If ⃝    had malicious intent, it/they could have destroyed those planets and turned Eridanian minds into mush. You told me that the Gifted are whole and I can attest to an alliance that was allowed to form between 4 scattered civilizations. I’m telling you Skaldy, we are not alone in the Universe.”

“Where did all the stars in the sky come from? Was there only emptiness before they came to be? And why are there so few planets with intelligent life, like you have been telling me?”

The back and forth has taken a philosophical turn. How can an Earthling convey his belief in the existential? Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life.

“I can only speak for me and my family. Those on our planet, who are of the same opinion, believe that there is one true God, a creator of all things; every star and planet, comet and asteroid, bird and animal, male and female.”

“We call that middle star  {middle star}, the star that caused all the rest to appear.”

“Okay, I get that,” Sam drinks that in. “We have an instruction manual for that, written about and by the greatest man who ever walked upon our world. It begins by telling the story about how our God created the Universe.”

“You have told me, that your planet thought it was alone in what you call the Universe, that Eridanus is the first contact you had with any others.”

“True enough, man. For 66.67 % of my life and probably to this day on Earth, we thought we were the one and only beings.”

“Did not your book tell you about the rest?”

“Not in so many words, but I’m sure the answer is somewhere in there. Not until Celeste and I stumbled upon the NEWFOUNDLANDER did we have proof. Otherwise we had no way of knowing.”

“Just like we know not what ⃝    is or what purpose it serves.”

“That is a real barn-burner my friend!” Sam uses another idiomatic phrase.

“What is a barn?”

They will get to that new word and other subjects in time. The many mysteries of life will remain.


The NULL Solution =

“Mystery” Artwork by Anton Kononov

Episode 49


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The NULL Solution = Episode 48

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The NULL Solution = Episode 48

…“Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on the lead Null, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents…

Not surprisingly, Sammy Mac and the Null named Skaldic get along famously. The Earth/Null Mutual Admiration Society declares Stardate est. 2052, the Year of Galactic Unrest. The preceding retrospective editorial is neither an official declaration nor formal organization, but it is an apt summation of the now strong bond forged by men of like minds.

His other fault{s} aside, Sampson McKinney embraces the normality of the only normal being {other than his family} he has had company of since leaving Earth 20 years ago. {That Chasonn dude was cool, but he speaks yet another strange language and he may never see him again}{Deke is Deke, his married son who spends more and more time with his mother}

In Skaldic, on the other hand, it gives him a fresh foil with which to bandy theories and concepts. “Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on him, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents.

Poor Offy {Offingga} feels like she is being squeezed out these days, retreating to the familiarity on the Null Tower.

Like new lab partners in chemistry class, there is palpable excitement about the next combination of compounds.

Skaldy has thoughts concerning recent Eridanus events.

Sammy Mac shares his thoughts on that +plus+ Seljuk, ⃝    and Earth.

Those thoughts lead to a productive collaboration.

Skaldic is a sponge, sopping up every last drop. In between drops, he plants an original thought on Sampson, “ ⃝    moves like it is alive.”

“I never looked at it that way. When I saw it, all I could think of was a silver bowling ball without finger holes… never mind that bowling bit.”

“Did not you and everyone else see their reflection in it, like it was this close?” he points to a shiny surface not far away. “By what cosmic law is that possible?”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 48


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The NULL Solution = Episode 47

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The NULL Solution = Episode 47

…Skaldic has chosen his own path, he chooses the Null way…

CHAPTER FIVE

Null Not Void

 In times of doubt, when what she sees does not compute, Deimostra McKinney will pursue it to the point of understanding. Just why the Null are labeled as inferior eludes her. And why do the so-called Gifted have the right to lord over them. As far as she can tell the Null she has met are as pleasant, maybe even more genuine than their counterparts.

It is time for Cerella to finish the subject she hurriedly brushed aside when the Null first met the Space Family McKinney. At the time, ⃝    was the topic that dominated any discussion that shed light on the Null and their secluded Tower.

That Deimostra is a societal infant and that she can identify injustice is telling for sure.

“It has always been so Deimostra. It has never been an issue. They are not intuitive of the mind. They are inferior. They are well cared for. They lack for nothing. They are Null.”

“And yet Eridanus’ welfare has been in Skaldic’s capable control until the time we got back,” she takes exception to inferiority.

Skaldic has chosen his own path. He chooses the Null way.

“Then why weren’t we banished to our own tower or the Null Tower when stepped off the NEWFOUNDLANDER? You must have thought us to be less-than-nothing. Stowaways on your precious property… that’s what we were.”

“It was Celeste who convinced us that you were intelligent beings. She communicated in the Olde Language and you were not considered a threat to us.”

“There, don’t you get it Cerella? Why can’t the Null learn what we learned? Or why do they even need to?”

“We have the left old behind and have embraced the new. The Null have no interest in the ways of the Gifted.”

Celeste is near, picks up on her daughter’s argument discussion and adds her perspective. “On Earth, we had people we called slaves. They were savages from the wilds of the continent Africa. They were bought and sold like a commodity… the Null are not slaves.”

“But until The Gifted fell silent, the Null were not allowed out of their tower, like they have some strange disease. They aren’t slaves, but there is a distinct separation going on here.”

Mother raises both arms and shrugs, “She has a good point Cerella.”

Defeating centuries of perception is like running into a brick wall; the inexorable force meets the immovable object.

“All but Skaldic and his attendant will be permitted outside the Null Tower.”

And that, is as they say, is that.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 47


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The NULL Solution = Episode 46

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The NULL Solution = Episode 46

…All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝   …

— The offended {fired upon by one Gus McKinney} Ÿ€Ð weren’t prepared for anything that offensive.

A perceived harmless bug bite turned into a nasty inflammatory welt. Ÿ€Ð controllers retreat to regroup. Their original objective was to find out whom or what was responsible for ⃝    , but instead they run into this, seemingly chaotic and overly defensive world.

But it is not the only unmanned probe that was sent out. The other {distinguishable/known} worlds in this end of the Universe have been scoped-out with varying results.

Suspect #1: Those quiet Eridanians are not merely quiet, but downright silent. On the list of possible suspects, they were the first to be visited and the least likely to produce something such as ⃝    .

To that end, they happen to immediately precede the return of the McKinneys + Cerella to Eridanus, came and went without a trace like shadows passing in the dark. So back it goes.

Suspects #2-3-4 etc..: There are several habitable systems that need to be logged for progress, but none have progressed beyond elemental physiology; plant, animal or sentient. All in all, the empty goldfish bowl remains so.

Prime suspect: The Seljuk are another matter. Before galactic peace, they and Ÿ€Ð imperialists had a healthy squabble over a cluster of Class M planets, which were in free space and ripe for colonization. It got so ugly that it left a bad taste for both groups. Fleets were decimated, billions of lives lost and in the end.

Without a clear-cut victor and not enough incentive for either party to bother continue hostilities, withdrawal to respective galaxies was in order.

Reconnaissance from Seljuk territory yields a disturbing find. The system’s sentinel outposts are electronic wastelands, short-circuited stations of no use to the builders. The force that caused this damage had to be fearsome, prompting yet another prober to head for home. They arrive after Defender leaves. It is just as well, for had they bumped into each other, blame for Seljukian misfortune would have been unduly assigned.

All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝     which they endeavored to clarify most.

The Ÿ€Ð are a reactionary bunch. IF there is a next time, they WILL send out attack crews.

“Are yea friend or foe?” That question has yet to be answered.


The NULL Solution =

Friend or Foe Album Cover – Menomena

Episode 46


page 49 (end ch. 4)

The NULL Solution = Episode 45

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The NULL Solution = Episode 45

…You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Gus! What the hell were you thinking?…

The number of interested parties is increasing by the minute, with Lorgan remaining the wildcard.

But, that SEx is coming and going like a family transport is not a secret that can be kept. That the Terran system doorbell has been rung cannot be silenced.

The Ÿ€Ð automaton is now proceeding at a reasonable pace, having slowed from the frenzy of intergalactic travel. From space-consuming monster to obstacle dodging snoop, it approaches the fourth planet like it has been there before {perhaps} and it is there that Gus and his souped-up SEx will meet. The Ÿ€Ð operators are not expecting that sort of company.

As a matter of fact, when Gus pops onto their sensors, the interlopers from Galaxy Sexta A  bring their drone to an abrupt halt, like it was pretending to be invisible.

Gus has a front row seat to the maneuver. He is at a loss for what to do. Because the technology for instantaneous communication has not caught up to SOL, he must rely on his instincts. When a bright red light on his sensing instruments shows red, he depresses one of two new choices on his navigation panel. The other selection is the untested deflector shield… which means Gus has unleashed the previously untried disruptor. The already stationary target is rocked. What Gus does not know is that there are no operators on-board.

After several minutes, undoubtedly stunned by the underestimation of the rudimentary Earth ship, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser makes an about-face and dashes away much faster than whence it came.

“That was easy, SOL Control! Whatever it was wasn’t prepared for a fight.”

A minute later, Earth’s response reaches SEx, “You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Related imageGus! What the hell were you thinking?

“It was going to shoot first… sensors picked up an energy surge… why didn’t blow it up?”

“There is an intensity adjustment he doesn’t know about,” Fletcher Fitch tells Roy.

“Why didn’t it blow up? That is not the message we want to send to extraterrestrial visitors McKinney! Whoever sent that thing can’t be happy.”

“The who in this case turns out to be nowhere near as advanced as Lorgan.”

“But it did come from a place we’ve only seen through Hubble’s eye. That means they have been flying very fast for very long. We will be lucky if we haven’t started an intergalactic war.” There is a measure of perspective in Roy’s voice. “Nukes are flying back & forth like 4th of July fireworks… we just avoided World War III and now this? We may be biting more off than we can chew.”


The NULL Solution =

Hubble

Episode 45


page 48

The NULL Solution = Episode 44

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The NULL Solution = Episode 44

…Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt…

A lone Ÿ€Ð cruiser has entered Earth’s solar system, their initial venture in search of ⃝    , or whomever set them on their {large} ears by the atmospheric disruption of their world.

Barebones, yet armed to the hilt, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser has automation as its guide. The collective authority that rules them, does not view Earth as a threat, but do not leave a single known civilization/rock unturned. And as it so happens, this watery blue planet appears to be on the verge of destroying itself by thermal-nuclear mutually-assured suicide.

For as expansive that infinity is, the number of developed star systems can be counted on one hand {with as many fingers available to the one who counts}. The oldest of these do track the progress of the fingerlings, like goldfish in a bowl. If not for those recent warp signatures, the Ÿ€Ð would not even bother to look into this seemingly insignificant parsec of the aquarium.

–That very Ÿ€Ð blip shows up on the Terran long range surveillance system.

With SOL capability, comes the need to peer further out in the neighborhood. Every direction of the compass, upside-down & sideways, there is a record of all things on the move, if for no other reason than any threatening asteroidal activity. Tracking Stellar Explorer is the modern-day priority purpose.

It is a lackluster job but somebody or something has to do it. That something suddenly makes enough hullabaloos to wake up the man-in-the-moon. The last time the warning system went off, was when a tumbling unbalanced planetoid came close enough that it singed the Man in The Moon’s whiskers. That it did not make a direct hit saved a catastrophic chain of events.

The whole of GLF is now aware that there are Bona Fide bogies loose in the Solar System. Granted, this one is not Lorgan, but it ain’t no asteroid either. Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt; they plow.

“How long would it take to get SEx off the pad, Fitch?” Prez Roy is thinking out of the box, typical Commander-in-Chief Modus operandi.

“You’re not thinking…”

“Oh yes I am. I want Gus to go out and take a close look at that ship.”

“But I’m not finished with the deflector shield array.”

“Turn it on anyway.” He turns to Gus, “Aren’t you game, my boy?”

Gus McKinney is the boy in question and the Prez’s stepson. Facing down possible intruders is not in the Astronaut’s Handbook. “I really like the way she handles! She flies more like an F-49 than a deep-space shuttle.”

“Is that a ‘yes’?”

“That’s a ‘hell yes’ Crip!”


The NULL Solution =

Related image

Episode 44


page 46