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Apple Sells More Than 10 Million New iPhones In First 3 Days

nine-times Re:Android sells one and Half Billion every day (137 comments)

We're what, 9 billion people on this Earth and closest part of space and you want us to belive that 1 billion Android devices are sold every day?

Actually it's more like 7 billion (I think 6.9?) people on Earth, and he's saying that 1.5 billion Android phones are sold every day. I had no idea, but that's pretty impressive.

5 hours ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

nine-times Re:You can debate without taking a side (104 comments)

Unless what you are interested in is something other than the sides of the debate, in which case, you may be neutral to the sides of the debate

And to repeat, "Ah, I see, you're thinking of some kind of high-school debate format..." Which is nice and all, but not terrifically helpful. Debates and arguments in the real world aren't so easily broken down into two sides. Like if I said, "Let's debate the following idea: America should go to war with other countries. Either you're in favor of this idea, meaning you want America to always go to war with all countries, or you're against, and believe that America should never go to war with any other country under any circumstances." That's a great little nice dumb false dichotomy.

Now you probably don't agree with either side, but you probably also aren't actually neutral. You have an opinion. You have a position. If opinion doesn't fall neatly into the false dichotomy as presented, that doesn't mean you're neutral.

I think what's unimaginative is, you seem to think that opinions fall on a neat, nice little spectrum, and being "neutral" is falling dead in the center between two endpoints on the spectrum. The reality is that, if you're involved in the debate and you care about the income, then you've got something at stake. All kinds of people have different things at stake. Not everyone in favor of net neutrality have the same interests, and neither do all those who oppose it. People will be in-favor or against for different reasons and to different degrees, with different degrees of passion. There will be those who are undecided, or people who are in favor of some other solution, some "middle road" solution. They may be passionately in favor of a "middle road solution", or even passionately "undecided", feeling that there are just too many complex factors to make a real decision right now. Those passionate positions are not "neutral".

What's more, you could be arguing in favor or against, not because you genuinely believe in either side, but because you want to sound smart, or because you have some other agenda you're interested in pushing. Those people aren't neutral, but the people who refuse to alignment themselves with one side or the other, for those same reasons, are equally not-neutral. They've taken position in the argument, and may be just as hard to sway from their position.

If it helps, how about a metaphor: Each of the two "sides" of the argument are like a team playing tug-of-war. One side pulls in one direction, one side pulls in another. You're saying that their are "neutral" people in between, because they're sitting in the middle, holding onto the rope, but not pulling in either direction. My point is, if they're holding on tightly, then they're not neutral. They're still having an effect on the game by adding inertia to the system, making it harder for either side to win. The only way to be truly neutral would be to let go of the rope.

6 hours ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

nine-times Re:You can debate without taking a side (104 comments)

Ah, I see, you're thinking of some kind of high-school debate format, where I take the pro- position and you take the against- position, and we have a formal silly little discussion that gets graded by an English teacher, or some nonsense. That's not what I'm talking about. In fact, my point in my original post was partially to point out how silly it is to approach an argument/debate that way.

There's no such thing as being truly neutral without being indifferent and disinterested. If you are not disinterested, then you must have some aspect of the debate which interests you and which you care about. Everyone who cares is going to have specific points of the debate that they care about, and reasons why they care about those things. That doesn't necessarily mean that they have a strong binary position on the issue that's being discussed, either 'yes' or 'no'. The fact that someone has some kind of interest in the debate is not a good reason to dismiss their arguments as biased, since if they had no interest, they wouldn't participate.

A position in an argument may be subtle, complex, conflicted, ambivalent, and altruistic. That's still a position.

8 hours ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

nine-times Re:Yes you can be neutral (104 comments)

To give a rather silly example I genuinely do not care one way or the other about the relative merits of emacs versus vi. I understand the arguments and can articulate them if someone seems to misunderstand something but I genuinely do not care about either side of that debate

So then you won't participate in a debate, because you don't care at all.

Like ask me whether I think the best college football team is, and I'll tell you, I don't care. I just don't. If you say it's the University of Alabama, I'll say, "Yeah, sure. Whatever." I don't care. If I engage, it's because I care and have some kind of position.

(Actually my opinion is something along the lines of "a pox on both your houses")

Ok, so that's still a position. If there's a debate between emacs and vi, and I say, "I don't like either," that's a definite position, even if it's neither pro-vi nor pro-emacs. If I bother to argue that position, then it must mean that I have some interest, I have something at stake in the argument, even if it's not really about emacs or vi. In fact, when people argue about things, it's very common for them to not-really be arguing about the thing that they're officially arguing about.

8 hours ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

nine-times Re:The article is more extreme than the summary (613 comments)

Absolutely not. Science is indeed in pursuit of Truth.

It's not. It's a process for developing improved models our material world. "Truth" is a much broader field.

This is completely incorrect. A core goal of science is to understand the cause of things by developing abstracted understandings of them (i.e. theories).

Not necessarily the "ultimate cause", though, depending on what you mean by that. I mean, I don't necessarily know what the original author means, but I could make some guesses. At least one of those guesses would basically amount to "God". But regardless of that question of "what exactly does he mean?" it's true that science inquires into some kinds of causes, but perhaps not others. Just to give a completely weird example, proper science wouldn't begin to tell us why Brutus participated in the assassination of Caesar. You could use science to try to model psychology to determine reasons why people betray their friends, but there's no scientific experiment to determine a historical or fictional character's motivation.

All this just to say, there are different kinds of causes.

9 hours ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

nine-times Re:I've been saying the same thing for a while now (613 comments)

I agree with you somewhat, but on the other hand, there's a real problem with "basing words on usage" without clarifying what each usage is, and which one you're using. People confuse concepts quite a lot because they use the same word for multiple concepts, without ever understanding that's what they were doing.

So if you want to say, the word "science" has multiple definitions, including these 4 (listed above), I have no problem with that. But keep them straight. When you use the word, be clear about which meaning you're using. Because according to those definitions, I could say any of the following: I think science is the most important development of the past few hundred years. I think science is often quite stupid. Science constantly brings people to incorrect conclusions. Science is unreliable. Science is in terrible shape these days, and doesn't really work. Science is essentially a religion to most people.

I can say all of those things honestly, and you don't actually know what I mean well enough to argue. Which sense of "science" do I mean, and what do I then mean by each statement? The result of such muddled language is that people go around either thinking that science (in all 4 senses you list) is either stupid and unreliable, or completely infallible-- so much so that I'm probably going to get flamed for a lot of those statements, even though the people responding won't understand what they mean.

So sure, we can go with words having a bunch of unclear definitions that nobody knows what they mean. I keep trying to clarify the situation, but I know there are a lot of people who will resent that effort for a lot of different reasons.

9 hours ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

nine-times Re:You can debate without taking a side (104 comments)

Usually I do this to point out that there is another side to an argument that has some validity that the person I'm debating is not acknowledging.

So you're not neutral. You're picking a side that you feel is under-represented, and you're taking that position. You're doing so... probably either to educate, or because you have some feeling that the under-represented side is important somehow.

I'm not saying that, in order to debate, you need to be biased and serving selfish ulterior motives. It's just that, on some level, you need to be interested, and you need to have some kind of agenda-- even if that agenda is just "entertainment at flexing my intellectual capacity".

10 hours ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

nine-times Re:The article isn't any better. (613 comments)

Engineering and science are linked, at least. Science could be described as a sort of "engineering of our understanding". It's improved through a lot of trial and error, and we pick a solution that "works" in providing predictive results.

Also, engineering is generally performed with some level of scientific understanding. The first airplane may have been a bit stumbled-upon, built without understanding exactly all of how it worked. However, the Wright brothers were working within a certain level of scientific understanding. Also, once the airplane existed, it was studied, and an understanding of the forces at work were refined using the scientific method. New designs were proposed based on those new understandings.

So he's not wrong, there. An engineer working on a new vaccine will be making use of the scientific process, and making use of prior scientific knowledge.

11 hours ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

nine-times I've been saying the same thing for a while now (613 comments)

I'm not going to go on a full rant, because this is something that people here on Slashdot have gotten very angry with me for in the past, but I very much agree with the author of this article.

I would say it this way: People make the mistake of talking about "science" as "a body of knowledge that is certain, due to having passed through a set of processes." But science is not the body of knowledge, "science" is the process. It's actually not the whole process even-- the processes of peer review and developing consensus within the community are not scientific. They're social/political processes that we've developed to help us judge whether someone else's scientific process was valid.

And science does not provide all kinds of knowledge. It doesn't deal with "truth", or even really "fact". It doesn't deal in particulars. Science can't tell us what happened in a particular historical instance, but only helps us develop general causal interpretations of material processes. For example, medical science's aim is not to tell you that your granfather developed cancer because of smoking. The aim is to develop the general idea that "smoking causes cancer" into a theory that provides improved predictive capabilities.

And science does not provide certain knowledge. It just provides (hopefully) improved interpretations. Hopefully the interpretations will continue to improve, but science doesn't have the capability to tell you that an interpretation is "correct", even if there is such a thing.

I would not, however, agree with this:

Aristotelian "science" was a major setback for all of human civilization. For Aristotle, science started with empirical investigation and then used theoretical speculation to decide what things are caused by. What we now know as the "scientific revolution" was a repudiation of Aristotle...

That's a pretty poor understanding of what happened. It's pretty clear from reading Aristotle that he in fact did perform experiments of various kinds, but his focus was broad enough to include topics that we would now split between "scientific" and "philosophic" realms. A lot of our heritage of science and logic can be traced back to Aristotle. The problem was that, for a few hundred years, scholars were inclined to take Aristotle's writings dogmatically, as though they were religious texts.

For example, Aristotle does say that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects-- which is, to some extent, true. Drop a rock, and drop a sheet of paper, and the rock may very well hit the ground first. So Aristotle accepts this without testing extensively, but there's no real evidence he intended that to be the be-all-and-end-all explanation. I don't recall any passages saying, "don't study things for yourself, just take my word for it all" It was just the best understanding that he could offer, as an individual man studying almost every subject rather than focusing on one or two intensely.

People took that understanding as authoritative. They didn't study it for themselves. And then after several hundred years, due to social changes that enabled greater scientific investigation, people started finding that not everything Aristotle said was true. When they suggested Aristotle might not be correct, they were met with a stubborn refusal to entertain new theories, which lead to a backlash against Aristotle.

So yes, there was a backlash against Aristotle during the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Some scholars/authors (e.g. Bacon) talk about how stupid they think Aristotle is, but if you pay attention to their thinking, it's also very clear that they're informed by Aristotle. Rather than dismissing Aristotle and starting from scratch, as they claim, they're taking Aristotelian ideas and methods as a starting point, and expanding/refining/fixing/improving them.

Saying that Aristotle is "a major setback for all of human civilization" is a bit like saying that, "Shakespeare was a huge setback for the English language. I find his writing impossible to understand. Thank god no modern writers follow his example."

11 hours ago
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Nobody's Neutral In Net Neutrality Debate

nine-times Everyone has an interest (104 comments)

Whenever you enter into a debate on any issue, no one debating is neutral. If they're neutral, they wouldn't debate. They need to have some level of interest, and some set of concerns about the outcome of the debate. You can't expect people to be neutral, but you should know what their interests are and let that information inform your understanding of their argument.

Me, for example. I have an interest in the net neutrality debate. I'd like to have a good/fast internet connection that is not filtered/throttled based on business interests that don't align with my personal interests. I'd like to have access to things like Netflix. I also work in IT, and I don't want to have to deal with, fix, or work around any random/stupid restrictions that I might face due to Verizon deciding that some kinds of traffic don't suit their profit targets for this quarter. Beyond that, I also believe that free and unfettered access to the Internet has become a 'free speech' issue, to some extent. I'm in favor of net neutrality because I'd like to live in a free and well-functioning society.

So those are my interests. What are the interests of some of the people who oppose net neutrality?

12 hours ago
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Kickstarter Lays Down New Rules For When a Project Fails

nine-times Re:Contribute for fun; accept the risk (178 comments)

Agreed.

Even if they have a great idea and the best of intentions, the people running the project may not be successful. Running a business is more difficult than most people imagine, and it may be even harder to run a business with discipline after receiving millions of dollars in free money, donated with no strings attached.

When you donate to Kickstarter, you are neither making a purchase nor investing in the business. You're making a donation.

12 hours ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:WTF? (182 comments)

BTW. I am aware that Adobe's Creative Suite is a collection of software of which one is "Photo Shop" which can be reasonably compared to "The GIMP" (Key the flames),

I specifically don't want to get into this conversation.

12 hours ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:Some criticism (182 comments)

Above you said you never come across one. Maybe you're now being honest

Oh, you got me, I was lying before to serve my personal interests of keeping Linux off of the desktop in order to preserve my job.</sarcasm>

Or maybe that's not quite what I said. I don't think I've ever met one who makes things harder for himself for the sake of job security. I've met one or two who try to obscure what they're actually doing in order to maintain job security. And in those instances, it hasn't worked.

Also, I'll note that if these statements had been contradictory, I said in the earlier post that I didn't *think* I'd met one who made things difficult. It might have simply been that someone telling stories of an inept IT person jogged my memory of a similar person. However, I stand by my statements. I can't recall a single one that would intentionally create work for themselves, or one that would fail to eliminate problems if they could, for the sake of job security. I can think of at least one who was completely full of shit and would hide a lot of things for the sake of job security. I can think of a few outsourced/consulting companies who became uncooperative and unhelpful towards attempts to replace them or render them unnecessary. Those things generally didn't work either.

Isn't that everyone?

Sort of, maybe...? It's not always clear that's a bad thing, either. I think ultimately, we all have to pick our battles.

12 hours ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:Some criticism (182 comments)

Your post makes the mistake of conflating professional IT Department staffers with Geek Squad. IT people maintaining corporate infrastructure

Well first, I would respond by pointing out that my post was in a response to someone talking about "sysadmins". It's quite clear from the context that we're not talking about the Geek Squad.

Second, I would argue that if you think switching to Linux would significantly lower the need for IT support for personal individuals, then you probably haven't had much exposure to that market. It might slightly diminish the number of calls for malware infestation, but an awful lot of malware comes from people running/installing things themselves. If Linux became the dominant OS, the malicious executable would just need to be for Linux instead of Windows, but if your user is running any attachment they receive without regard to whether it might be malicious, then they're still going to get infected.

Aside from all that, a lot of personal IT comes down to really dumb stuff. I never worked for the Geek Squad, but I've done similar work and also worked for businesses that provide similar services. A lot of the calls end up being for things like, "I got a new printer. Can you come set it up for me?" So you unbox it, plug it in, and *maybe* install drivers. It's my understanding that Geek Squad doesn't even attempt to clean malware, but they'll just back up your documents, wipe your system, and have you start fresh. None of this is rocket science. It's just that there are a lot of people out there who need help for even basic computing tasks.

Really, there might be some IT people who love the stupid little problems that people have for the sake of "job security", but it's silly to think that IT people in general are holding back a mass exodus to Linux for the sake of "job security". As though the Linux desktop experience is so trouble- and confusion-free that we'd all just be out of a job, and we're scared that the general population might find out. I'd say it's more common that I meet IT people who would prefer that we all use Linux for ideological reasons, but who are disappointed that they can't figure out a way to make the migration feasible.

13 hours ago
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Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

nine-times Re:They want it but don't understand it. (387 comments)

Then he says we're going to do that by hiring an undergrad design major part time from a local college once we finish our mechanical and board designs. He will polish it up and make it great.

In fairness, that implies that you currently don't have anyone with design experience looking at your product designs. Maybe getting some input from a designer, even a student, could be helpful? Admittedly, a student might make things worse by trying to push silly ideas.

Especially in the context of this (which I agree with):

This is especially true for engineers (of which I am one) who tend think to since it's not technically hard to do, it must mean that designers don't bring much to the table. "I can bevel that edge", "That rounded corner isn't hard to do", etc etc. We also tend to think that function is most important and that form is an afterthought... even though we don't actually say that.

The sort of design that Apple does is not just about beveling the edge. Because first, you need someone capable of understanding whether the beveled edge will make it more or less attractive than a nice, clean, straight edge. Will it look dumb? Will it feel cheap? But then also, because you need someone who can look at the whole package and evaluate what effect that beveled edge will have on the usability of the device. Not just bare function, i.e. it successfully performs [function X], but usability, i.e. it performs [function X] in a way that's intuitive, easy, understandable, and pleasant. It's not easy to balance form, function, and usability.

2 days ago
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Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

nine-times Re:Apple REULEZ! (387 comments)

To some degree, I think it's an implied response to the latent, often heard criticism that people who use Apple are a bunch of idiots who don't know anything about computers. Especially in the context of responding to someone calling Apple fans "sheep", which implies that they're stupid followers and that their opinions are thoughtless and uninformed.

I've found that if you say anything positive about Apple in a public forum like Slashdot, there's a decent chance you'll get a response that implies that you don't understand computers very well. As a result, I'll admit that I sometimes feel the need to throw out something that explains that, yes, I'm very familiar with other systems and can provide praise and criticism of all of them.

2 days ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:Some criticism (182 comments)

Like I said, I'm speaking generally, and from my own anecdotal evidence. In my career, including consulting with a variety of companies with their own IT people, I've known maybe one or two that seem to be trying to hide things to create "job security". They were generally incompetent, and were fired before too long, in spite of their "job security". I'll note that I operate within a fairly competitive market.

Least resistance to what? THAT is the question.

That is a good question. The answer is basically "many things". My point is, they may be lazy and worried about losing their jobs, but it often manifests as a reluctance to take on new projects or make big changes, and general neglect for maintenance and upgrades. But you have 'resistance' in various forms. You might be looking at a crappy old 12 year-old server that's bound to fail soon, and you think, on the one hand, I don't want to catch hell when this thing dies. On the other hand, I don't want to argue with management, who will claim that the upgrade isn't really necessary because things are currently working, and they'll say that the price of a new server is unjustified. Plus, it'll take a lot of work for me to perform the upgrade, and if anything goes wrong I'll be blamed. Some of the blame will be justified due to the fact that I'm not actually familiar with the new hardware and software that we'll be using if I upgrade. And does the new version of our business-critical app include all the features that we need? How much training will be required for the staff to adjust to the new system?

So you put all of that together, and sometimes the IT guy picks the path that seems less scary. That's more or less what I mean by "the path of least resistance".

2 days ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:Some criticism (182 comments)

Perhaps it is rooted in system admin's job security fears?

I see this kind of idea floated in various situations, and it always seems bizarre to me. As someone who has worked in quite a few IT roles in quite a few different companies, I don't think I've ever run into a sysadmin who was making things more difficult for the sake of job security.

I've seen sysadmins do counter-productive things out of pride and stubbornness, unwilling to entertain a new way of doing things. I've seen them continue to use ineffective solutions out of fear, believing that the alternatives are too difficult to learn, too difficult to implement and support. Speaking generally and anecdotally from my own experience, sysadmins will enthusiastically welcome anything that means less work for themselves.

And "If everyone used Linux, there would no doubt be less demand for cleaning up PCs"...? No. People make that mistake all the time. "The IT department is pushing back on our goal of moving all of our servers to the cloud. It must be because they know it will mean there won't be any more IT work to do maintaining the servers, and they'll be out of a job!" Or "The IT department doesn't want to migrate to an all-Mac environment. It must be because Macs 'just work' without any problems, and they'd then be out of a job!" Sorry, no. Unfortunately, there's nothing that will get we IT people out of our jobs.

Speaking for the sysadmins, we'd almost welcome the soul-crushing unemployment if it actually meant things would work properly. But no, really you're just changing the nature of the work we need to do. Instead of maintaining our own servers, we then have to figure out which cloud service will work for the business needs, work out an implementation, and then manage and troubleshoot the cloud service on an ongoing basis. Moving to Macs or Linux machines, it just means we now need to figure out how to replace all of the Windows-only business-critical applications that your business is running, and then come up with a scheme to protect and manage all of those Mac/Linux workstations. Believe it or not, a Windows DC with Group Policies is a pretty effective way of managing a lot of desktops/laptops.

So either way it's work, and it'll require someone with expertise. And no matter what, it's not going to quite work properly. We're usually just looking for the path of least resistance.

2 days ago
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KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

nine-times Re:WTF? (182 comments)

Going way off-topic, I don't know if I'd say that people like it, but I also don't know that I'd say that it's just because it comes on computers when you buy them. I think it's more that, over the course of the ownership of the system, you'll probably have fewer problems.

And that happens for a variety of reasons. One of the big ones is that it's more widely supported by hardware and software vendors. I think that is a major point. If you could get Microsoft Office and Adobe CS on Linux, I think you'd see a significant increase in adoption just from that. Yes, I know there are alternatives, but when people decide they want a particular application or a specific peripheral, they aren't going to like finding out that they can't use it because they have "the wrong kind of computer".

But getting slightly closer to the topic at hand, I think part of it is also just that they more or less know what to expect. Until the Windows 8 debacle, they knew which buttons to press and what would happen when they pressed them, more or less. People usually don't want to figure out how to operate their computer. They just want to know which buttons to press in order to get the result they want, and any change that moves or renames those buttons is unwelcome. If you must move or rename things, you'll get a better response from most people if the new way of doing things is so intuitive and obvious that they don't need to actually learn anything.

2 days ago

Submissions

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What's holding back encryption?

nine-times nine-times writes  |  more than 4 years ago

nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?

What challenges have you faced in trying to increase your use of encryption, and what do you think we can do about it?"

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