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I think what is going on here is that we're getting invalid random data on startup (
We use different parts of the startup random data to make the hash length-dependent. If the startup random data is not random (all zero, probably) then the length-dependence of the hash goes away, and that's the behavior we're seeing (the 256 length 1 hashes are colliding with some of the 256^2 length 2 hashes).