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Can a Computer Identify Your Urban Tribe?

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the you-are-what-you-click dept.

Social Networks 117

Zothecula writes "Whether it's fashion, a favorite football team, or a certain kind of music, humans seem to enjoy being considered part of a larger group, and often self-identify as such. With this in mind, students from the University of California, San Diego Jacobs school of Engineering are currently developing a computer algorithm that can deduce from an image whether you're a goth, surfer, hipster, or biker."

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117 comments

Your Personalized Result Here: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45767953)

Urban Tribe: Neckbeard

Tribe of slashdot (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 7 months ago | (#45768191)

I shudder to think of what this tribe would look like, and how it would be characterized.

Re:Tribe of slashdot (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#45768251)

Alas, the Slashdot tribe, whatever its merits or faults might once have been, no longer survives as an independent tribe. Through a complex intriguing, its once-leader, Cmdr. Robert "Taco" Malda, committed treachery and sold the tribe into slavery. After changing hands at several slave markets through a series of owners dissatisfied with their purchase, the entire tribe is now, believe it or not, owned by a pair of dice.

Pair of dice? (2)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 7 months ago | (#45768597)

So... this is para-dice? Not quite what I thought it would be.

Re:Your Personalized Result Here: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769231)

Urban Tribe: Terrorist. All of you.

Love and Kisses,

      The NSA

This just in (4, Funny)

chthon (580889) | about 7 months ago | (#45767957)

I sent the tribe an e-mail stating, "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any tribe that will accept people like me as a member".

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768007)

Groucho called: He wan'ts his joke back. He'd horse whip you, if he had a horse.

Re:This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768135)

Your English teacher called. She wants me to tell you that "wan'ts" isn't a word.

Re:This just in (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#45768195)

She wants me to tell you that "wan'ts" isn't a word.

But...you've just used it in a sentence! How clever of you...

Re:This just in (3, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45768437)

Your English teacher called. She wants me to tell you that "wan'ts" isn't a word.

Why a four-year-old child could understand that post. Run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can't make head or tail out of it.

Re:This just in (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 7 months ago | (#45768253)

Last night I shot an AC in my pajamas. How he got in pajamas, I'll never know!

Re:This just in (1)

chthon (580889) | about 7 months ago | (#45768349)

How he got in your pyjamas, you'll never know...

Re:This just in (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 7 months ago | (#45768543)

Gah! If only slashdot had a Preview button!

Re:This just in (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#45769267)

Communication with the Dead, I would place you as Goth.

Re:This just in (1)

houghi (78078) | about 7 months ago | (#45768275)

I see you are part of the group that likes Groucho Marx quotes [wikiquote.org]

Re:This just in (1)

chthon (580889) | about 7 months ago | (#45768367)

Allright, you got me on that one. But would the people who are members of the group that likes Groucho Marx quotes accept membership of that group?

Most people are very boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45767975)

People are so interested in looking exactly the same... It's the opposite of an ACTUAL style.

Re:Most people are very boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768127)

Maybe, but this is the wrong site for that.

Re:Most people are very boring. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#45769345)

Quite True,
I want to be different so I will go Goth, I will dress up and act like all the other people who act Goth.
Hipsters, yea those guys are just trying to fit in, it is just hip to seem like you are not trying to follow a style.
Bikers would be next on that list... However a lot of their dress is functional, leather isn't just stylish because it looks tough, but it will save you skin if you fall of the bike.
Surfers, mostly functional ware. When they are not surfing they can look different.
Formal is almost the definition of trying to fit in with the group.

I don't a hatred of Goth people, however that group seems the most hypercritical in their fitting in.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45767981)

Just take color averages.

Pseudocode:

Goth if you're wearing a lot of black or your hair is a non-standard color
--In order to distinguish from Bikers, take the average of the face and determine if it is mostly flesh-colored (facial hair and helmets)
Surfer if you're wearing bright colors
Hipster if your color average does not fall into the other three categories for largely symbolic and ironic reasons

Re:Easy (2)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 7 months ago | (#45768075)

Cosplayers might break your Pseudocode. Lots of dark clothing and non-standard hair colors as well as face make-up / lighter skin tones.

Re:Easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768099)

Cosplayers aren't real people though. They are characters.

Re:Easy (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 7 months ago | (#45768581)

Cosplayers are real people portraying characters. Their tribe is that of "cosplayers".

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769639)

But the "style" isn't unique to their tribe, it's a costume being REPLICATED. They are only trying to replicate existing characters.

There is no innovation or unique style, this is just Halloween creep. They also don't cosplay 24/7 - that MIGHT be closer to an actual style meme, if they did.

Original character cosplay (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 months ago | (#45769941)

Are they replicating if they're cosplaying their own original characters? (Do not steal :p )

Oh, goodie. (3, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | about 7 months ago | (#45767991)

Many of us are disturbed by the idea of automated facial recognition being coupled with all the video surveillance that's becoming more and more prevalent in public places, to track us wherever we go, and that's bad enough. Now you're telling us that they're taking it to the next level and developing automated video profiling software? Is the world of Minority Report just around the corner?

Re:Oh, goodie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768017)

Since when would automated profiling not have been the goal of facial recognition?
Especially in this age of "big data".

Re:Oh, goodie. (5, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45768031)

Is the world of Minority Report just around the corner?

We knew you were going to say that.

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 7 months ago | (#45768069)

God damn it, I had zounds of mod points until yesterday, and when I finally read a very funny entry... they're gone.

Yes, yes, you knew I was gonna say that :)

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 months ago | (#45768139)

"Funny" doesn't add to karma anyway.

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 7 months ago | (#45768157)

Who cares. I don't care whether it adds millions to his bank account or gives an alien a heart attack.

Re:Oh, goodie. (2)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | about 7 months ago | (#45768433)

Who cares. I don't care whether it adds millions to his bank account or gives an alien a heart attack.

And now you know why they invade us in all the movies. Every time you mod funny, you give an alien a heart attack

Re:Oh, goodie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769643)

Which brings us to our next topic: If an alien race wanted to kill us, why wouldn't they just feed us cheeseburgers?

Re:Oh, goodie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769751)

Too slow.

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 7 months ago | (#45770777)

Should I do it more often, then?

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

unitron (5733) | about 7 months ago | (#45768751)

God damn it, I had zounds of mod points until yesterday, and when I finally read a very funny entry... they're gone.

...

I wanna see the "posts from the mysterious future"-predicting algorithm they use around here to give you lots of mod points but never when you're really going to want them.

How can they possibly know ahead of time?

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#45768079)

No, the next step is they will predict what your face looks like by just looking at your social data.

Re:Oh, goodie. (2)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 7 months ago | (#45768429)

Don't you mean what products you are likely to pay double for?

It's not that hard (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 7 months ago | (#45769119)

The subculture weirdoes dress in a certain common way exactly to be easily identifiable. It's about as subtle as holding a blinking "I'm a goth." sign over their head. So while I think that the software is impressive, I wouldn't worry about the privacy implications much, it's only able to profile extroverts who want to be noticed.

Re:Oh, goodie. (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45769981)

Many of us are disturbed by the idea of automated facial recognition being coupled with all the video surveillance that's becoming more and more prevalent in public places, to track us wherever we go, and that's bad enough. Now you're telling us that they're taking it to the next level and developing automated video profiling software? Is the world of Minority Report just around the corner?

People "pigeon hole" other people on first glance, and have since the cave dwelling days.
This is just doing it by computer, and should come as no surprise to anyone, (even though it will probably be patented by tomorrow morning).

100% success rate so far (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45767999)

Right now, it's correctly indentified every one of the students who sat down in front of it as "overweight nerd"

Don't they know, everyone is unique? (2)

mi (197448) | about 7 months ago | (#45768001)

Everybody is unique. Just like everybody else...

Re:Don't they know, everyone is unique? (2)

SandFrog (1238038) | about 7 months ago | (#45769603)

I'm not!

Re:Don't they know, everyone is unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45770283)

Everybody's special. Except you.

Go for it, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768013)

I don't even know what "tribe" I'm a part of. It would be amazing if I was able to figure that out.

Re:Go for it, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768029)

I don't even know what "tribe" I'm a part of. It would be amazing if I was able to figure that out.

The result is in. You are an...

Anonymous Coward

Re:Go for it, please (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 months ago | (#45768041)

I too await our overlords to assign me to a group. Then I can finally know what it is I'm supposed to act like.

Re:Go for it, please (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#45771487)

we can ascertain your tribe by getting a response to a few questions (cause it's fun to "pigeon-hole" and label people) , but you have to answer these questions about yourself and your two closet friends who are not Significant Others:

1. Age
2. Biological Gender and then Gender you Self-Identify
3. Number of and Sexual Orientation of Your Sexual Partners in Last Five Years.
4. Children? and are some of them living with you?
5. Four Favorite Activities or Hobbies
6. Occupation and Income
7. Two Personal Heros
8. Two Favorite Kind of Music
9. Favorite system of government
10. Favorite economic system
11. Personal Religion?
12. What three causes have you donated in last year?
13. Community service or activity that benefits strangers?

I am totally like omg, omg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768027)

Now this computer thingy is figuring out who I am OMG!

Never understood this (0, Offtopic)

HalAtWork (926717) | about 7 months ago | (#45768049)

Defending something for which you have no part in its success is silly to me. Whether it be sports or being a Windows fanboy, I just don't get it. The blind patriotism some people have is also baffling. Being a groupie and making arguments on behalf of people/companies/teams as if their actions somehow reflect on you as a person is delusional, sorry.

Re:Never understood this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768131)

Defending something for which you have no part in its success is silly to me. Whether it be sports or being a Windows fanboy, I just don't get it. The blind patriotism some people have is also baffling. Being a groupie and making arguments on behalf of people/companies/teams as if their actions somehow reflect on you as a person is delusional, sorry.

Even this perspective makes you part of an "urban tribe", the "non-conformity conformists".

Re:Never understood this (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45768521)

Maybe they should come up with a uniform, like beatniks. Berets and sunglasses, Man.

Re:Never understood this (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 7 months ago | (#45768141)

I totally agree with most groups, like sports. I defend LInux like a fanboi because I support the free software movement ideologically, and I use it. Not like a sports fan to me. On another topic, is the link in your sig SFW?

Re:Never understood this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768173)

You're right, it is delusional. However the rationale is not all that complicated. One, people (well, many/most) want to identify with a group (evolutionary reasons about the merits of being part of a herd/troupe here). Two, people like to think of themselves as making good decisions; if they buy Windows or Mac or whatever, they're likely to defend that choice by defending the company that made it (and joining that flock).

But no, there's nothing really rational about it.

Re:Never understood this (4, Funny)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45768485)

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for your selves! You're ALL individuals!
The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
Man in crowd: I'm not...

Re:Never understood this (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#45768565)

Defending something for which you have no part in its success is silly to me. Whether it be sports or being a Windows fanboy, I just don't get it. The blind patriotism some people have is also baffling

(A) The people most likely to do that are the ones who have the least personal accomplishments so they outsource their pride to whatever groups they can manage to identify with. It is a sign of deep insecurity.

(B) This NYT article has nothing to do with that. It is about identifying where you grew up or otherwise lived for a long period of your life based on your word and pronunciation choices.

Re:Never understood this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769843)

Did you accidentally comment on Slashdot instead of Language Log?

I AM E !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768057)

I am E) a gothic surfer hippie hell's angel wannabe !! Now all I need to do is wear black, learn to surf, where a flower on my scalp, and kill some motherfucker !!

Re:I AM E !! (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 months ago | (#45768679)

Wouldn't that just make you EMO?

Don't understand my result (3, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 7 months ago | (#45768117)

I ran it myself and it said, "Loser."

Re:Don't understand my result (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768419)

I ran it myself and it said, "Loser."

Don't take it personally. That was just a calibration run.

Re:Don't understand my result (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768423)

Sounds like you get no respect.

Urban Tribe? (1, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#45768121)

Someone has too much time on their hands.

Re:Urban Tribe? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 7 months ago | (#45768221)

I suspect that if run against my picture, I'd be classified as either Biker or Hipster (although I'm neither). The algorithm probably fails against anyone who doesn't live in an urban environment, so I guess the results would be inaccurate anyway.

Why is so much effort placed on classifying a person. You belong to X group, or Y group or Z group - what if I don't like or associate with any of those groups? What if my long beard has nothing to do with motorcycles? I suppose it's marketing related - but I'm tired of being classified.

Re:Urban Tribe? (1)

chthon (580889) | about 7 months ago | (#45768389)

Indeed, that is why I posted the Groucho Marx quote above.

Re:Urban Tribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768601)

chthon is part of the internet narcissist tribe who like to frequently reiterate that they have previously posted what they believe to be witty comments.

I'm from this [youtube.com] tribe

Re:Urban Tribe? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 months ago | (#45768787)

I would suspect the effort to associate might be more along the lines of identifying gang members, likely drug users/pushers , terrorists, or ghe ability to target adds.

I suspect it will be used to avoid breaches of peace before it will be used to sell things. Governments and the surveilance state has more ability to take advantage of it currently and most police opperations activly look for tech that allows them to not think as much so cheaper less inteligent people can fill positions without second guessing anoyances like constitutionality or the basic right and wrong of an action.

I tried it (2, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#45768129)

It says I'm a terrorist...Hold on...Someone is at the door

"/. crowd" tribe identification: left-wing suckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768193)

Seriously guys, i tried that algorithm and it identified the tribe of slashdoters as "left-wing suckers"!?

None of the above (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 months ago | (#45768209)

whether you're a goth, surfer, hipster, or biker

As often happens, I was placed in "none of the above" when social classification came around.

Re:None of the above (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768525)

Oh my, such an individual that you have to scream from the rooftops that you're not like anyone else.
 
Let me guess, junior high?

Re:None of the above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769911)

whether you're a goth, surfer, hipster, or biker

As often happens, I was placed in "none of the above" when social classification came around.

I came up as "all of the above".

Re:None of the above (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 7 months ago | (#45770285)

As often happens, I was placed in "none of the above" when social classification came around.

Ah yes, the Picked-Last-For-Kickball-Team non-tribe. We know of it.

I'm part of a tribe (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 7 months ago | (#45768219)

called Quest.

Must be a bad picture (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 7 months ago | (#45768257)

I am not a Hynerian!

Re:Must be a bad picture (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 7 months ago | (#45768469)

I am not a Hynerian!

Then perhaps you're a Hyrulean? [wikipedia.org]

NIl Sociological Value, IMHO (4, Insightful)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 7 months ago | (#45768305)

It seems to me that the only application for this sort of this is attempting to attract venture capital to create a "business" that can be sold to Facebook/Google/Yahoo/whatever to aid in their quest to give marketers even more information which they think might help them sell more stuff.

While this is unsurprising, it's also pathetic. Sigh.

Re:NIl Sociological Value, IMHO (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 7 months ago | (#45769217)

Mod up.

Worthless (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 7 months ago | (#45768329)

So some people with (arguably) too much time on their hands have come up with an "algorithm" that will place me in one of several arbitrarily defined groups. BFD.

Several options (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#45768373)

I would consider myself a member of at least five different tribes. While there is overlap between these tribes the overlap is nowhere near complete. For example I am a crafter and a gamer. While there are many gamers who are also crafters there are at least as many who are not.

not it can't (1)

dimko (1166489) | about 7 months ago | (#45768427)

I don't belong to one, plain and simple, i am self inflicted loner. And no, you, my slash dot co readers aren't it, as i dont agree with many of you on many different topics.

Re:not it can't (2)

MacTO (1161105) | about 7 months ago | (#45768567)

Welcome to the tribe of loner, where everyone thinks that they're unique and that everyone else is the same.

I have a surprise for you: you are probably less unique than you think and other people are more diverse than you think (even when they are a part of a group).

In all likelihood, algorithms such as the one mentioned in the article can bin you just like it can bin anyone else. In all likelihood, the bin will accurately profile you within statistical uncertainties. Chances are that those statistical uncertainties are sufficiently large that it allows you to maintain your status as an individual (ditto for all of those other people who you seem to think agree on things).

Re:not it can't (1)

unitron (5733) | about 7 months ago | (#45769059)

There are no degrees of unique, so one cannot be more or less so than someone or something else.

You either is or you ain't.

But that doesn't mean that two unique things or persons cannot be almost exactly the same.

Re:not it can't (1)

dimko (1166489) | about 7 months ago | (#45769609)

I am affraid I don't agree with yoou on that. I never said i am something special. :*

Many don't adhere to the dress code (4, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | about 7 months ago | (#45768431)

I love goth and industrial music, have been to hundreds of concerts, met and was friends with many band members. But I look decidedly regular. I'm looking back at my old photos, and I see one of a standard geeky guy with regular hair and glasses, wearing an admittedly hideous blue windbreaker, partying with Nik Fiend.

So this algorithm shouldn't only associate your face with your culture, but use the faces of those around you to establish your culture. But then I have friends who are in a death metal/industrial band, and their mainstream family members come to concerts to show support. So we'd have regular people labeled as being in the death metal culture if we did that.

This is Perfect! US "Journalists" will love this. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 7 months ago | (#45768693)

Future US TV Journalists will not have to risk error or waste their time stereotyping the people in their reports! They can spend their important time investigating celebrities!

Police cameras can profile people without bias so they know who to abuse and who not to abuse! No more frivolous lawsuits over police prejudice!

Re:Police cameras can profile people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45770437)

This technology sounds great for our future robotic police force. Police robots will need these algorithms to determine who to harass and what approaches to take.

All 4 Tribes Discovered! (1)

klek (1237566) | about 7 months ago | (#45768461)

I'm impressed they were able to identify all 4 urban tribes in America and Europe! That's usually a job for anthropologists, and not all of them get it right either.

goths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768665)

Didn't the goths live in Scandinavia during 700 B.C. before moving south to Italy? What, there is another kind of goth? I've been reading too much ancient history.

Re:goths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45770745)

Wasn't funny 20 years ago, still isn't funny now.

Flawed by design: For the most accurate data - jus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768675)

While most of us value the privacy of our life choices, members of urban tribes are willing to share the information with others by making their clothing and music tastes easily identifiable to everyone. I can't help but think any corporate parties interested in this algorithm would improve their PR tenfold by actually taking the polite, sociable route of asking for this kind of information instead of aggressively profiling potential customers like criminals. It would certainly yield much more accurate data.

What about RACE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768685)

Of course, it would be 'racist' to want to identify with your own race - IF YOU'RE WHITE...

consequences... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45768935)

It surprises me CS students often fail to comprehend the potential ramifications of experiments such as these.

Proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45769597)

Nonconformity is a myth.

what about metal goths? (1)

marxzed (1075971) | about 7 months ago | (#45770179)

or biker goths...
or biker surfers
or goth surfers
all four of which would be "tribes" I've hung out with over the years.

at one point in the 80's and 90's if you had to pin me down to a "tribe" then "biker goth" would be about as good (and not a particularly good "good") and you could narrow it down to.

Now I just belong to that tribe called "boring old farts who love to tell the youth how much more authentic we were back in our day"

Re:what about metal goths? (1)

DarkVader (121278) | about 7 months ago | (#45770785)

Sure, I could see biker goths. Makes perfect sense. And well, yeah, kinda been there done that.

I could see biker surfers, I suppose, but wouldn't transporting the gear be difficult?

But goth surfers? Such a thing exists?

I'm not quite a boring old fart yet, or at least I'd like to think I'm not.

Re:what about metal goths? (1)

marxzed (1075971) | about 7 months ago | (#45770917)

do goth surfers exist? oh hell yeh (or at least they did in the 80's when Goth was a lot less narrowly defined than it is now days) ... not a big sub culture but they exist/existed within the ever so slightly larger sub group of "happy goths" ;)

as for biker surfers transporting boards.... they have a whole customising sub culture that solves that problem the most famous of which revolves around Deus ex Machina's shops in Sydney, Bali, LA and now I believe Milan (I think that last one's more a "fashion" thing there than a biker surfer subculture thing) google "deus ex machina drovers dog" for one example but the guys I hung around just used good old fashioned sidecar rigs.

blast from the past (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 7 months ago | (#45771227)

Reminds me of the interiew snippet in A Hard Day's Night.
reporter: Are you a Mod or a Rocker?
Beatle(Ringo IIRC): I'm a Mocker.

So much for tribes.
Me? I'll go w/ Zoot Suit, with side vents, 5 inches wide!

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"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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