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Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

schwit1 Re:dear us govt (142 comments)

Lockheed Martin is not the free market when it comes to government. They are closer to a lamprey.

about a week ago
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Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

schwit1 Re:Connect with a VPN (390 comments)

Not thanks to AT&T. The thanks goes to Congress and the President that made the laws permitting forced arbitration.

about two weeks ago
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New York State Proposes Sweeping Bitcoin Regulations

schwit1 Does New York have the authority to do this? (121 comments)

What could go wrong if 50 states and the feds decide on differing, possibly conflicting regulations. But maybe that's the point - regulate them into obscurity.

about two weeks ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

schwit1 Re:Ah. (752 comments)

Do we know it's a MANPAD and not an S-300? The plane was probably at ~40,000ft.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/...
max range=6000m. That's only half the distance to cruising altitude.

about two weeks ago
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Why the FCC Is Likely To Ignore Net Neutrality Comments and Listen To ISPs

schwit1 FCC doesn't have a mandate to answer to the public (140 comments)

The FCC is supposed to answer to Congress. Congress makes the laws that define the scope of FCC responsibilities. The FCC should only listen to the public as it pertains to regulated entities doing something wrong or the FCC not doing its job.

I do agree that the FCC head should never be a shill for the regulated industries.

about two weeks ago
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97% of U.S. Banks Allow Clickjacking Fraud. 44% Don't Even Use SSL.

schwit1 What banks or CUs did not fail? (2 comments)

This should be public knowledge so users can vote with their feet.

about two weeks ago
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FCC Approves Subsidy Plan to Upgrade School and Library Networks

schwit1 How is this the FCC's business? (70 comments)

Federal agencies should regulate.
Congress should subsidize.

about three weeks ago
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Maldives Denies Russian Claims That Secret Service Kidnapped a Politician's Son

schwit1 What will be the tit for tat response from Russia? (100 comments)

If I were the son of a high ranking US government official or businessman I would not travel to Russia or any nation friendly with Putin.

about three weeks ago
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Climate Change Skeptic Group Must Pay Damages To UVA, Michael Mann

schwit1 Reciprocal discovery will make the emails public (497 comments)

In Mann vs Steyn the NR will be able to troll through all of Mann's emails and data.

Mann is in favor of his proceeding with discovery against Steyn - "The fact that Mr. Steyn has not appealed the denial of the motions to dismiss counsels further against a discovery stay. Mr. Steyn, like Dr. Mann, has made clear his desire to have this Court resolve this lawsuit and to move forward with discovery immediately. As such, there is no reason for this Court to delay discovery further."

On the other hand, Mann is totally opposed to Steyn's proceeding with discovery against him - "While Dr. Mann agrees with Mr. Steyn that discovery should move forward on Dr. Mann's claims, discovery cannot move forward on Mr. Steyn's counterclaims."

about three weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

schwit1 Re:Insurance premiums can be reduced another way.. (353 comments)

#2 - Get rid of the supposed bureaucrats, doctors and pharmacists that try to second-guess real doctors and pharmacists that actually know the patients and their conditions.
#6 - The government should stop forcing people to buy coverage they don't want.

about three weeks ago
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Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

schwit1 Re:real vs pretend (353 comments)

"The government scares me less because they don't want to maximize the money they get from me."

What country do you live in, I want to move where you live because here in the USA the government thinks all money is theirs unless deemed otherwise.

about three weeks ago
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President of UT Austin declines chancellor's request to resign

schwit1 Powers abused his position to help his cronies (2 comments)

Powers has developed a tense relationship with the system chancellor and regents in recent months. The ultimatum comes as the university plans to undertake an official investigation into possible legislative influence over campus admissions. Allegations of undue influence, including the admission of family and friends of legislators otherwise not qualified, were heavily publicized by UT System Regent Wallace Hall. A House committee is drafting articles of impeachment for Hall based on his massive records requests and alleged bullying of university officials in his quest to unveil wrongdoing at the flagship.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

schwit1 The rocket to nowhere (146 comments)

The high cost and slow development of SLS will increasingly make it a loser in its political battle with the new commercial companies. Eventually legislators will recognize its impractically and unaffordability -- especially if the commercial companies continue to meet their milestones and achieve success, as they have been doing. When that happens, the influence of individual senators like Shelby to shovel pork to their particular states or districts will be outweighed by the overall political benefits for everyone in Congress to get American astronauts into space quickly and cheaply on an American-built spaceship.

about a month ago
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NASA approves Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever, for deep ... - Sydney Morning Herald

schwit1 More Pork (1 comments)

Expect the funds to run out immediately after it makes its inaugural flight, despite the wonderful pork it provides to so many Congressional districts. It just costs too much per launch.

A Washington Times editorial labels SLS “the rocket to nowhere” and condemns Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) for trying to sabotage the new commercial manned space companies in order to fund it.

The high cost and slow development of SLS will increasingly make it a loser in its political battle with the new commercial companies. Eventually legislators will recognize its impractically and unaffordability — especially if the commercial companies continue to meet their milestones and achieve success, as they have been doing. When that happens, the influence of individual senators like Shelby to shovel pork to their particular states or districts will be outweighed by the overall political benefits for everyone in Congress to get American astronauts into space quickly and cheaply on an American-built spaceship.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Chinese anti-satellite test?

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  yesterday

schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. State department is claiming that China completed a “non-destructive” anti-satellite test last week.

The State department also demanded that China refrain from further such actions. That 'oughta do it. Thanks very much, Ray.

China in turn said that the test was for a a ballistic missile defense system. According to these Chinese reports, the test was of a land-based missile designed to intercept an incoming rocket, much like Israel’s Iron Dome and the U.S. SDI systems. Such a system, however, is in many ways indistinguishable from an anti-sat system.

In the case of last week’s Chinese test, the interceptor did not apparently impact anything but instead demonstrated its ability to hit a prearranged simulated point in space."

Link to Original Source
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SpaceShipTwo flies again

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  2 days ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The competition heats up: For the first time in six months SpaceShipTwo completed a test flight today.

The article above is from NBC, which also has a deal with Virgin Galactic to televise the first commercial flight. It is thus in their interest to promote the spacecraft and company. The following two sentences from the article however clearly confirm every rumor we have heard about the ship in the past year, that they needed to replace or completely refit the engine and that the resulting thrust might not be enough to get the ship to 100 kilometers or 62 miles:

In January, SpaceShipTwo blasted off for a powered test and sailed through a follow-up glide flight, but then it went into the shop for rocket refitting. It’s expected to go through a series of glide flights and powered flights that eventually rise beyond the boundary of outer space (50 miles or 100 kilometers in altitude, depending on who’s counting).

Hopefully this test flight indicates that they have installed the new engine and are now beginning flight tests with equipment that will actually get the ship into space."
Link to Original Source

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The uncertainty of science: The Milky Way shrinks, again

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  2 days ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "New research by astronomers suggests that the Milky Way is about half as massive as previously estimated.

In the sixties astronomers claimed that the Milky Way was twice as big as Andromeda. Then it was considered half as big. Most recently it was considered about the same size. This new research makes it half as big as Andromeda again.

In other words, the data is very uncertain, and the scientists really don’t have a good handle on it. None of these conclusions should be taken very seriously. All we really know at this point is that the Milky Way and Andromeda are approximately comparable."

Link to Original Source
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SpaceX scores first in its suit against the Air Force

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  4 days ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "A federal judge has denied the motion of the Air Force and ULA to dismiss SpaceX’s suit against their block buy launch contract that excludes competition from any other company.

The judge also required the parties go to mediation to settle their differences. Both rulings give added weight to SpaceX’s main complaint, that the company as well as others should have the right to compete for this Air Force launch work."

Link to Original Source
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SLS needs more money ...

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Surprise, surprise! A GAO report finds that SLS is over budget and that NASA will need an additional $400 million to complete its first orbital launch in 2017.

NASA isn’t meeting its own requirements for matching cost and schedule resources with the congressional requirement to launch the first SLS in December 2017. NASA usually uses a calculation it calls the “joint cost and schedule confidence level” to decide the odds a program will come in on time and on budget. “NASA policy usually requires a 70 percent confidence level for a program to proceed with final design and fabrication,” the GAO report says, and the SLS is not at that level. The report adds that government programs that can’t match requirements to resources “are at increased risk of cost and schedule growth.”

In other words, the GAO says SLS is at risk of costing more than the current estimate of $12 billion to reach the first launch or taking longer to get there. Similar cost and schedule problems – although of a larger magnitude – led President Obama to cancel SLS’s predecessor rocket system called Constellation shortly after taking office.

The current $12 billion estimate for the program’s cost to achieve one unmanned launch. That is four times what it is costing NASA to get SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada to build their three spaceships, all scheduled for first manned launch before 2017. SLS not only can’t get off the ground before 2017, it can’t even get built for $12 billion!

If this isn’t the definition of a wasteful, boondoggle designed merely as pork, then what is? There is no way SLS is going to ever get the USA back into space. It should be shut down, now."

Link to Original Source

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How a solar storm two years ago nearly caused a catastrophe on Earth

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about a week ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere. These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years.

“If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA. Fortunately, the blast site of the CMEs was not directed at Earth. Had this event occurred a week earlier when the point of eruption was Earth-facing, a potentially disastrous outcome would have unfolded.

Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps. . . .

According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair.

CWG’s Steve Tracton put it this way in his frightening overview of the risks of a severe solar storm: “The consequences could be devastating for commerce, transportation, agriculture and food stocks, fuel and water supplies, human health and medical facilities, national security, and daily life in general.”"
Link to Original Source

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Computer models map out fate of Earth after nuclear war...

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "A terrible fate for the Earth awaits after a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan in which each side detonates 50 15-kiloton weapons.

Worldwide famine, deadly frosts, global ozone losses of up to 50 per cent and more would greet any inhabitants of the planet still remaining after a nuclear conflict.

And the researchers hope their study of what they call a relatively 'small' nuclear war will serve as a deterrent against such weapons being used by any nation in the future.

The unnerving consequences were laid out in a paper called ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a regional nuclear conflict.’"

Link to Original Source
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Australia repeals carbon tax

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.

Australia, the world's 12th largest economy, is one of the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. In 2011, daily emissions per head amounted to 49.3 kilograms (108 pounds), almost four times higher than the global average of 12.8 kilograms, and slightly ahead of the U.S. figure of 48.2 kilograms."

Link to Original Source
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Denver Airpot Rental Car Agencies Inundated With Pot Left Behind By Travelers

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "Rental car workers at Denver International Airport say pot tourists are regularly leaving them with marijuana that travelers don’t want to try to carry through DIA.

“It happens quite often,” a rental car employee at a national chain told a CBS4 employee. “Every couple of days. I just throw it in the trash.” At another major rental car company, an employee told CBS4 pot is handed over to employees “pretty frequently but depends on if there is an occasion.”"

Link to Original Source
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More forgotten vials of deadly diseases discovered

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "FDA officials now admit that when they discovered six undocumented vials of smallpox in a facility in Maryland they also found 327 additional vials that contained dengue, influenza and rickettsia.

FDA scientists said they have not yet confirmed whether the newly disclosed vials actually contained the pathogens listed on their labels. The agency is conducting a nationwide search of all cold storage units for any other missing samples.

Investigators destroyed 32 vials containing tissue samples and a non-contagious virus related to smallpox. Several unlabeled vials were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and the remaining 279 samples were shipped to the Department of Homeland Security for safekeeping.

The FDA’s deputy director is quoted with what might be the understatement of the year. “The reasons why these samples went unnoticed for this long is something we’re actively trying to understand.”"
Link to Original Source

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Hackers Steal Personal Information of US Security-Clearance Holders

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The article says they were Chinese but offers no evidence:

The intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management was particularly disturbing because it oversees a system called e-QIP, in which federal employees applying for security clearances enter their most personal information, including financial data. Federal employees who have had security clearances for some time are often required to update their personal information through the website.

This is a big deal. If I were a government, trying to figure out who to target for blackmail, bribery, and other coercive tactics, this would be a nice database to have. — B Schneier"
Link to Original Source

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FAA investigates congressman's drone wedding video

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The Federal Aviation Administration indicated Wednesday that it is investigating whether a video of a congressman's wedding last month violated the agency's ban on drone flights for commercial purposes. The agency's carefully worded statement doesn't mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., by name, but said it was looking into "a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions."

Maloney has acknowledged hiring a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone. The wedding took place in Cold Spring on June 21. Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA."

Link to Original Source
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I guess it had to start somewhere: Venezuela's airport 'breathing' tax

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "There is something to be said about every socialist paradise in the history of socialist paradises: they always run out of other people's money. And when they do, stuff like this happens: the biggest international airport in Venezuela is charging a fee for the right to inhale clean air.

As BBC correctly notes, we're used to a seemingly endless range of taxes and surcharges when we fly — passenger taxes, departure taxes, fuel levies. But Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further — passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax ($20) for the air they breathe.

Wait, a tax to breathe the air? Why yes — it is meant to cover the cost of a newly-installed system which uses ozone to purify the building's air conditioning system. A press release from the Ministry of Water and Air Transport says it's the first airport in South America and the Caribbean to use the technology, which it claims will eliminate bacterial growth to "protect the health of travellers," as well as deodorizing and sanitising the building.

Needless to say, the denizens of the socialist paradise are all but enthused. From BBC:

But with tickets out of the country already expensive and scarce because of Venezuela's economic crisis, many on social media have responded to the tax with both humour and outrage.

Radio presenter Daniel Martínez tweeted: "Could you explain to me the ozone thing in Maiquetia? The toilets don't have water, the air-con is broken, there are stray dogs inside the airport, but there's ozone?"

"Soon we will be charged for the 'good gas'" was another tweet — a rueful reference to the tear gas that the police often use on opposition protesters. The satirical news blog El Chiguire Bipolar ran the headline: "Maiquetia Airport unveils robot that puts you upside-down and takes your money."

"

Link to Original Source
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People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity than those who do not, a Government study has found.

Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is “too far into the future to worry about,” the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and climate change found.

That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming. However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a “weak trend” to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use.

The findings were based on the Household Electricity Survey, which closely monitored the electricity use and views of 250 families over a year. The report , by experts from Loughborough University and Cambridge Architectural Research, was commissioned and published by DECC."

Link to Original Source
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Air Force seeks bids for $550M next generation stealth bomber

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. Air Force's super-secret next generation bomber, which one day could fly unmanned sorties, has moved a step closer to the production line with the Pentagon asking top defense contractors to submit proposals.

Not much is known about the Long Range Strike-Bomber project, which has been run as a classified program since 2011. But the bat-winged stealth bombers would likely cost around $550 million each, and the Air Force hopes to contract for as many as 100. Still, the pricetag would be lower than the B-2 currently used.

Aren't they wasting enough money on the F35, which has nearly doubled in price?"

Link to Original Source
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Marines test battlefield robot in Hawaii...

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The U.S. Marine Corps. a robotic mule known as the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is taking part in military exercises in Hawaii. LS3 is designed to carry 400 pounds and travel 20 miles without refueling. The robot is operated by a Marine with a sensor strapped to his or her foot. LS3 follows the Marine using computer vision.

LS3 seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can follow squad members through rugged terrain and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal and its handler."

Link to Original Source
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Electronic health records ripe for theft

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about two weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "America’s medical records systems are flirting with disaster, say the experts who monitor crime in cyberspace. A hack that exposes the medical and financial records of hundreds of thousands of patients is coming, they say — it’s only a matter of when.

As health data become increasingly digital and the use of electronic health records booms, thieves see patient records in a vulnerable health care system as attractive bait, according to experts interviewed by POLITICO. On the black market, a full identity profile contained in a single record can bring as much as $500.

The issue has yet to capture attention on Capitol Hill, which has been slow to act on cybersecurity legislation.

“What I think it’s going to lead to, if it hasn’t already, is an arms race between the criminal element and the people trying to protect health data,” said Robert Wah, president of the American Medical Association and chief medical officer at the health technology firm CSC. “I think the health data stewards are probably a little behind in the race. The criminal elements are incredibly sophisticated.”"

Link to Original Source
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White House still insists Obama admin 'Most Transparent' in History

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about three weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "The White House on Sunday stood by President Obama's position that he continues to be the most transparent president in U.S. history, despite widespread complaints from journalists and other Americans about a lack of information or apparent misinformation.

“I have a responsibility in this job to try to help the president live up to his commitment to be the most transparent president in history,” new White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Earnest said he “absolutely, absolutely” sticks by Obama’s line about having the most transparent administration, after continued criticism about apparent attempts to not make full disclosures.

Among the criticisms are that the president and his administration misled Americans by telling them they could keep their existing health insurance plans under ObamaCare, intentionally tried to conceal what sparked the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed and prosecuted federal employees who should have been protected under the whistleblower protection act."

Link to Original Source
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Brisbane hits coldest temperature in 103 years

schwit1 schwit1 writes  |  about three weeks ago

schwit1 (797399) writes "If you are lucky enough to be reading this from the comfort of your blankets, it might be best to stay there, as Brisbane has hit its coldest temperatures in 103 years.

Not since July 28 1911 has Brisbane felt this cold, getting down to a brisk 2.6C at 6.41am.

At 7am, it inched up to 3.3C.

Matt Bass, meteorologist from BOM, said the region was well below our average temperatures.

“If it felt cold, that’s because it was, breaking that record is pretty phenomenal for Brisbane,” Bass said.

“The average for this time of year is 12C, so Brisbane was about 9C below average, it is pretty impressive really, to have the coldest morning in 103 years is a big record.”

The coldest place across the state was Oakey which got down to -6.1C, which was the coldest temperature for the town since 2011."

Link to Original Source

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