* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

8511 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Not the Wright stuff: Bitcoin 'inventor' loses bid to sue YouTuber who called him a liar

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Re: Judges names

None as good as, the I think now retired, Judge Judge.

Now if only we could find and promote a lawyer called Mr Dredd...

They've only gone and bloody done it! NASA, SpaceX send two fellas off to the International Space Station

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Re: Naming

He still delighted in the silliness though. For example in Excession there are lists of silly ship names. He wasn’t above a bit of pisstaking, as well as driving the plot.

I can’t think of any of Banks' books that aren’t full of humour. It’s just that in the darker and more serious ones, the humour is distinctly blacker to match...

Software bug in Bombardier airliner made planes turn the wrong way

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Re: Not so bad a function if you are on your way back into the UK...

Surely it’s nicer than Luton...

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Re: "turning left by turning right through 270degrees."

Also remember the guy on the throttles was a spare pilot travelling as a passenger. Who sacrificed a relatively safe seat in the cabin for kneeling on the floor with no seat, let alone a seatbelt. In the cockpit where the occupants are a highest risk in a crash.

He flew the plane on the throttles, while the original pilots wrestled the controls for what little they could get out of them.

Didn’t they land at something stupid like 300 knots, because they had no working flaps and slats?

There was also a cargo flight that copped a missile over Baghdad that had to do something similar and doing lots of right turns.

Guess who came thiiis close to signing off a €102k annual budget? Austria. Someone omitted 'figures in millions'

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Land is a tad optimistic. Plummeter perhaps?

International space station testing Wi-Fi links with incoming craft, with an eye on autonomous docking

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Re: "made available to the public"

One also hopes the "kill" command will be disabled when under the control of the general public.

Beer rating app reveals homes and identities of spies and military bods, warns Bellingcat

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Re: We've reached peak fuckwit

We were approached on the street in Barcelona, must be 15 years ago now, by what turned out to be a perfectly legit company that organise your drinking for you. Bascially any large party of tourists will be assigned a person in a yellow t-shirt, whose job is to take you to the best bars (well the ones that hand the company the best kickbacks anyway) - and to talk to you in whatever language you can cope with and organise ordering your drinks for you.

As I said at the time, the day I can't organise my own trip to the pub* is the day I'll ask someone to put me out of my misery. It's not like it's hard. I mean even if you can't manage a couple of very basic local words (please, thankyou, bill and names of drinks / food items) - there's always pointing. A smile and an effort, plus a willingness to look a bit silly will get you what you want. After all, they know you've gone there to drink, and they have the stuff they sell on display. So pointing and waving money will usually get you what you want.

The skill is knowing what places not to go into, and there are usually pretty clear visual clues. But that is a reason to check reviews of places, if you're not local and have nobody to recommend decent places to you.

*"Organised fun" is a horrible contradiction in terms. Hiring a party organiser is perfectly acceptable if you're doing PR for a sales event or I suppose if you're rich and have a huge family wedding or something. But needing a party organiser to go to the pub is a terrible indictment of your social skills.

A real loch mess: Navy larks sunk by a truculent torpedo

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I was right in guessing the OP's list had missed North Korea. I also guessed India vs China for the earliest one, so right victim, wrong war. It was Pakistan, with the french submarine in the drawing room.

There’s been surprisingly little naval conflict since WWII. Compared to the amount of land and aerial warfare that’s happened.

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North Korea?

I could look it up, but that’s cheating. Also that incident might be too recent to make the lists, and the DPRK haven’t admitted it.

Dutch spies helped Britain's GCHQ break Argentine crypto during Falklands War

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The Tories didn’t say anything. The guy mentioned in the article was a Labour MP.

As to your bizarre conspiracy theory, I’ve seen no evidence for it. Also the surprise and confusion of the government detailed in the couple of histories of the war I’ve read strongly suggest cock-up, rather than conspiracy. As is almost always the case.

Plus reports by military top brass of the first meetings after the invasion were that the Conservative Defence Secretary, John Knott, was for giving up because he didn’t believe recapture of the islands was possible. So it would have to be a "conspiracy" involving Thatcher without anybody else.

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Re: Remember Goose Green

The storming of the Iranian embassy in London ended up going out on live TV. Fortunately the people inside didn’t have time to react. As the SAS were already going through the windows.

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Re: Breaks it angle

Caspar Weinberger generously offered to lend us an aircraft carrier, if we manned it. Though I don’t know whether he’d got approval for that from Reagan. He did get various other kit, like Sidewinder and Stinger transferred across though.

The Navy decided it wasn’t practical. The US carriers have huge crews and there wouldn’t have been time to train them, let alone the poor pilots.

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Re: There is no such verb as "to author"

Mr Dogshit,

Verbing of nouns has a long tradition in the english language. As do many americanisms. For example all those z spellings, e.g. realize, are actually the usual english spelling from the seventeenth century. They kept it, we swapped in the esses later. Dropping the u in colour was a US idea though.

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Re: Should have been shot...........

It could be that we’d broken their diplomatic cypher. Often less clever than military codes, because really secret traffic can go by personal messenger or other means.

Earlier in the 70s, maybe more than once, the British government had got word of a possible Argentinian invasion and despatched a submarine, then arranged to leak the info that it was en route. The Argentinian navy knew they didn’t have the ASW capability to protect a landing force from a modern sub.

As that was under the preceding Labour government, he could well have known. Assuming that was the source of the intelligence. Lot of "if" there admittedly, but I’ve not read about the intelligence side of the conflict.

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Remember Goose Green.

The paras marched overnight to a farm within range of the Argentinian position. Carrying up to 130lb of kit. Since the loss of the helicopters on Atlantic Conveyor, they had to carry all their own mortar rounds. Plan was to sleep that day, and attack the next night.

Then there’s a BBC news bulletin, that elements of the Parachute Regiment had reached the Argentinian airfield at Goose Green. Cue emergency day attack with no sleep - on a garrison that outnumbered them by about 3 to 1!

Some enterprising Argentine mechanic took a ground attack rocket pod, and mounted it on a children's slide from the playground, and started using it as rocket artillery.

Microsoft has speedy portable treats for locked-down princes and paupers alike with Surface Book 3 and Surface Go 2

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Well done El Reg for the return of lappy. Even though much-hated by many readers. Now if you could start referring to desktop PCs as deskies, that would be perfect.

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Re: Exchange Rate

Ever heard of 20% VAT? Sales tax isn’t added to US prices. Given it's different everywhere it couldn’t be.

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

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A bunch of crusty old gits with ribbons in their hair, in a desperate attempt to still look cool, like in the good old days. But probably smelling slightly of wee...

How about Grandad? Grandad Redmond? As in:

Oh Grandad! You’ve made me reboot the computer! AGAIN!

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Re: The wolf enrobed in penguin feathers.

To fit your brief, how about The Trojan Penguin?

'A' is for ad money oddly gone missing: Probe finds middlemen siphon off half of online advertising spend

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Re: No surprise, but what to do about it?

The problem with the publishers serving the ads, is that they don’t have the creepy user data collection that the advertisers want for ad targeting. Not that I see much evidence that this is effective from Google and Facebook. But the advertisers still appear to believe that it is.

So I’m sure what they’ll try to do is to drive down Google and Facebook's profits a bit. And maybe try to force them to deal with the click fraud that they facilitate and profit from. So that should mean a bit more cash for publishers eventually. But I don’t see major change happening until the next big buzzword comes along to replace big data in advertisers' dreams of perfect targeting.

SpaceX's Elon Musk high on success after counting '420' Starlinks in orbit and Frosty the Starship survives cryo test

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Re: Would China, North Korea be scared of starlink ?

They could play a real-life version of Space Invaders.

There's a good argument that Starlink satellites cost Musk less than the cost of the missiles to shoot them down. Plus he could put up even cheaper decoy ones.

Does anyone know the cost of the charges for that chemical laser the US had flying around on a 747? Which would seem the better bet - and much more in the spirit of Space Invaders anyway.

Then Musk would have to built satellites capable of firing back...

Anyway, I guess jamming the radio frequencies would be a lot easier and cheaper. Just more boring.

Microsoft decrees that all high-school IT teachers were wrong: Double spaces now flagged as typos in Word

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I can never be arsed with paragraph styles. But then that's because the only time I've ever done any serious amounts of writing that wasn't emails was at university for essays (when I did use styles). Well I suppose there was the time I first started to write letters to family and friends - before everyone got email, but that was done in longhand with a fountain pen.

If I seriously needed to use word processors, I'd probably make the effort to learn to use the tools properly.

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Re: spare disk space

Geoffrey W,

I always type in the dark. In the sense that I'm not looking at my hands, and my keboard is usually hidden on a little shelf underneath my monitor. Moving my keyboard out of the office, when shutting it down and bringing the computer home a few weeks ago - I noticed that only half the keys now have writing on them to tell you what letters they are. Because the thing's 20 years old, and well used. But that doesn't matter, because the F and J keys have bumps on them, which marks the position for the index fingers, and leaves your fingers on the home keys - ready to touch type.

As jakes says, shutting your eyes was part of the course. I did it old skool, in a massive old Imperial typewriter. And you learned with boring exercises like juja[space], which was right index finger, on home key, then up, then back then left little finger then right thumb for space. And you typed that lots, until you'd got it stuck in your brain and could type while looking at the text you were copying and not the keyboard.

In fact if I look towards the keyboard when typing, even though I can't read it without my glasses, my brain tries automatically to take over the process, and I slow down to about 40 words per minute - which is about the most I could do until the point where I was forced to type with my eyes shut - and suddenly started to double in speed (admittedly with lots of errors at first). It's funny how the brain works.

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My favourite science fiction writer, C. J. Cherryh, used to go off on a big old rant about the Chicago Manual of Style - and how it was used by evil editors as a way to try and destroy her books. And change stuff that she meant to be like that dammit.

But it's not something that reared its ugly head this side of the pond. I've never been all that personally attached to my writing style, so I've never cared enough to get upset. I'm happy to change my style to suit, if there's sufficient reason to make the effort.

The only thing that annoys me is that if I'm trying to do something, I don't want my bloody computer to interfere, because the idiots who wrote the software think they know better. I'm happy to use a spell checker to make sure I've not made a mistake, but once I've been through and sorted that out, I don't expect stuff to still be underlined as wrong. And equally having the computer format stuff for me could be quite usefu, but having things changed as I do them is bloody annoying, as I want stuff to stay how I put it there, unless I knowingly change it. Because the computer might be wrong, and is too stupid to know! So I need the programmers, who think they are so clever, to ask my permission first - in case I'm in a hurry and not going to have time to go back and check they haven't fucked things up while I wasn't looking.

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MY EYES!!!!!!

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Three Spaces for the Civil Service, under the sky.

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.

One Space to rule them all, One Space to find them,

One Space to annoy them all, and in the darkness bind them.

sorry, I've spent all day trying to finish the end of year books to send to the accountants - and I think it might be starting to have an effect on me. I'll get my coat - the one with the, well you'll never guess what I've got in my pocketses...

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Re: Skype

I heard a semi-professional podcaster talking about it last week. Saying how much he liked Zoom and how he was slightly annoyed that this lockdown had caused loads of people to use it, becuase it had been his little secret before. His comment on Skype was, "how can they have failed to improve their product in 15 years?"

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Re: I don't know what you Brits got taught at school

'Tis an age thing I think. Not that I was taught how to use computers until I'd already been working for several years - and most of that was related to nearly sliding into becoming a database admin (the company went bust before I could start the job). So I got taught to do it on a touch typing course 35 years ago- on a typewriter. Presumably if it gets taught now, it's by people who learned the same way I did?

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Re: spare disk space

My primary school teacher taught me two spaces, because we learnt on typewriters. The school did have one BBC Micro - but I'm not sure I ever got to use that, because it was actually one of the teacher's, he only let the kids he liked use it, and he didn't like me.

35 years later, it's an ubreakable habit. I remember how much effort it cost me to type on other peoples' PCs when I lived in Belgium, and they used the Devil's own AZERTY keyboards.

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I very nearly failed a piss-easy basic Word course I was forced to do. Because I used minimal effort for my coursework - naturally. Asked to bang out a letter, I did exactly that because I could write the address after tabbing across each line to the right side of the screen quicker than I could take my hand off the keyboard to highlight it all and hit the right justify button. The legacy of learning on a massive old typewriter - back in the day. But then it got even sillier as I think I was marked down for doing the old skool Dear Sir / Yours Sincerely thing, rather than something more modern - as if that's anything to do with my competence in using word processors. Excel is all the word processor anyone needs anyway...

I did get a free copy of Lotus Smart Suite with my IBM 386, back in the early 90s. So I suppose Word can never be my least favourite word processor.

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Re: It may be a US "standard", but...

The two are separate entities?

The zombie apocalypse actually has upsides. Such as increased camaraderie and regular cardio workouts.

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Re: I chose "I don't care"

It doesn't matter - who uses Word anyway? I write all my letters in Excel. Plus use it for my shopping lists, notes and even once built a £20m invoicing system in it that connected to a massive database of all our purchasing contracts (Excel of course) that also linked up the management accountants clever stuff to work out how we could maximise our discounts by moving purchases around in time - plus printing quarterly invoices notn hideous spaghetti code because IT were too cheap to give me proper tools to do it... It took me 2 weeks, a pack of highlighter pens and a whiteboard to check all the formulae were correct. Mumble, mumble, I've used Excel for printing posters as well - double-spaced mumble, mumble...

One space after commas, 2 after full stops! Not that I really care, but I've hammered touch typing into my muscle memory and I can't stop it now after 35 years of repetition.

Royal Navy nuclear submarine captain rapped for letting crew throw shoreside BBQ party

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Always good to post on here, because you'll get corrected if you get it wrong. I'd completely forgotten about Blue Steel, basically assuming the V force hadn't had any stand-off capability, because Skybolt got cancelled.

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The Royal Navy have Tomahawk. But not the nuclear version. We only acquired it after the US had retired the nuke version as part of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. We withdrew all our tactical nukes about the same time, after the Cold War.

So far as I remember the UK has only ever deployed gravity nuclear bombs, nuclear artillery shells and the warheads for Polaris and then Trident. I don’t think we ever deployed tactical nuclear missiles or torpedoes.

Trump pulled out of the INF treaty last year, so they could have nuke Tomahawks again pretty easily. Or spend loadsa money on a new system.

In case you need more proof the world's gone mad: Behold, Apple's $699 Mac Pro wheels

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Re: Great value

Why would you want to lift just your machine shop floor, without lifting the whole machine shop?

Apollo 13 set off into space 50 years ago today. An ignored change order ensured it did not make it to the Moon...

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Re: 13 Minutes To The Moon

That’s not really fair though. For example the guy who worked out the Apollo 12 fault did it by saying, all these things can’t go wrong at once, therefore perhaps it’s faulty readings caused by a lightning strike? And they fixed it with one setting change.

Diagnosing multiple failures in independent systems is hard, and sensor error is one probable cause that needs considering. There reaches a point where it’s almost more likely, because physical damage sufficient to break so many systems is likely to destroy the spacecraft.

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Re: Lucky 13

Kevin Fong is a selfish bugger! Being an expert in emergency medicine, he’s buggered off to help deal with the Coronavirus crisis, and not finished the final episode of the podcast.

How am I going to know if they got them back to Earth safely or not?

Seriously, I think the Apollo 13 series is even better than the moon landing one. Top work!

Stop us if you've heard this before: Boeing's working on 737 Max software fixes for autopilot, stabilization bugs

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Re: Flying less

Surely you put the emergency exits in the floor? Then either have slides that go downwards, or just equip the passengers with very bouncy shoes.

Upstart Americans brandish alligators at the almighty Reg Standards Soviet

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Re: Retrievers?

My Mum's old golden retreiver had the amazing ability to look sad, pathetic, hungry and unloved at whatever time the fridge door was opened. In particular - he could hear the opening of the box the cheese was kept in from several rooms away.

This ability was unaffected by how hungry he actually was. He could look up from licking his bowl clean - normally a happy state - but if you were holding cheese he could still look starved.

Europe calls for single app to track coronavirus. Meanwhile America pretends it isn’t trying to build one at all

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Re: Checks?

Surely the US get to decide the spelling of cheque nowadays? Given so many other countries have pretty much stopped using them.

Grsecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens' legal bill in row over GPL

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Re: Gresecurity or Grsecurity?

Or, is it GRRRRR!Security - as in a very bitey guard dog?

Announcing the official Reg-approved measure of social distancing: The Osman

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Re: Tallest men in British TV

Back in the good old days, when England's locks were all policemen. Bayfield, Ackford, Dooley. And Rob Andrew kicks for touch, the ball is won at the lineout by Bayfield - rinse repeate bore our Celtic neighbours to victory...

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Re: "two metres (six and a half feet)"

Australia have settled on "the Kylie" as their metric of social distancing - which is considered by scientists to be highly dangerous.

Personally I prefer the Morgan. I imagine that everyone I see is Piers Morgan, and keep as far away as I would from him. However this is of dubious benefit, as I've so far punched 15 pedestrians, two chemists and a GP...

After 20-year battle, Channel island Sark finally earns the right to exist on the internet with its own top-level domain

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I could phone up their doctor and ask?

I know someone who went over there as cover for the doctor for a few weeks last year, and was asked back for 13 weeks in January - so is probably still there. I think I've still got her number on my phone.

the bit in the article about Sark registering their own vehicles was a bit off. They don't really have many. No cars allowed. Not even for the doctor, who I believe gets a bike. And the ability to call on the assistance of one of the tractors - if it's urgent enough she can't cycle but not enough to call for a helicopter. The tractors also cover fire engine duty, and presumably everything else, as well as everyday tractoring.

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Re: /S

The music industry need to worry as well. I hear that Michael Buble has been spreading the croonervirus...

Facebook does the right thing for once: Joins Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube to clean out dodgy COVID-19 info

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Re: Facebook does the right thing...

It's not quite that serious yet. After all, Facebook have said they're going to do the right thing. Which they do all the time. That's no guarantee that they'll actually do it. When there's always the option of saying you planned to do the right thing but accidentally designed an algorithm that did something totally different instead...

BT CEO tests positive for coronavirus, goes into self-isolation after meeting fellow bosses from Vodafone UK, Three, O2 plus govt officials

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Re: It's getting the 1% as well


There is no point testing people anymore. Except for clinical reasons.

This is a global pandemic - which means that it's able to spread on every continent on the its own. I'm presuming the WHO don't count Antarctica - because the British Antarctic Survey have done a truly amazing job of self-isolating!

The symptoms of this disease that most people will get will be very mild. And so there's no need to waste time on testing them. Seeing as the plan always assumed that trying to isolate people after they became symptomatic wouldn't work in the long term - it's no surprise that they targetted it.

In this country (as of yesterday) we'd done 28,000 odd tests and found 4,000 odd cases. And we've had 6 deaths. If there were loads more cases working away hidden, then we'd know because we'd have had more deaths.

But now testing has moved to the clinical stage of making sure people in hospital get tested and get the right treatment and also don't infect the people who don't have it.

Tinfoil hat brigade switches brand allegiance to bog paper

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Copies of War & Peace should sell very well. 900 pages in a global toilet roll shortage? Perfect! What reading matter do you plan to sell though?

It's supposed to be a classic, and I forced myself to finish it. But really?

US prez Donald Trump declares America closed to those flying in from Schengen zone over coronavirus woes

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Re: @ I ain't Sparticus -- Green card holders and the immediate family of US citizens get a pass.

Five bob seems pretty reasonable for that pair. You don’t get many of those to the pound...

Good luck pitching a tent on exoplanet WASP-76b, the bloody raindrops here are made out of molten iron

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My abiding memory of 70s/80s caravan holidays was sitting inside because it was pouring, listening to the drumming of the rain on the roof and my Mum's New Seekers tapes. So I guess the upside of iron rain is that the noise might drown out the music.


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