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Belgian Diamond Theft estimated at $100 Million

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Bloogleplications

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Creating a Diamonds category for Reversible.org

Man posing as Police Officer stops Colorado Driver

Fuselage blended in with the Wing: Airplanes of the Future

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Diamonds are for Never

PBS Frontline: The war behind closed doors

Nigerian Scammers How to reply

Poachers shoot and kill Condor

JCK (Jeweler's Circular Keystone) opens Research & Data Yahoo Store

Academy Awards Diamond Anniversary

Colonel David Hackworth

Michael Waltrip wins Daytona 500

Update on the new national Do Not Call

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Canada will soon supply 20% of World's Diamonds, up from 10%

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Archive for February 2003: « January 2003 | Up a level | March 2003 »

February 28, 2003

Blogger and Google FAQ

Here's the F.A.Q. on the Google purchase of Blogger.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Google innovates again

Very impressive.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


How the first BBS was created

Rupert Goodwins of ZDnetUK has written an excellent article on how a Blizzard prompted creation of the first BBS in 1978. BBS's were the precursor to Compuserve, then AOL and finally the Forums in so much use today. I remember joining my first bulletin board in 1980. It was still pretty clunky and wild back then...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


February 27, 2003

Belgian Diamond Theft estimated at $100 Million

ABC News reports: Belgian Diamond Theft Estimated at $100M.

Here's an excerpt:

Authorities put a price tag of $100 million Thursday on the jewels, gold and securities stolen this month in what is widely considered to be the theft of the century in Antwerp, the world's diamond-cutting capital. Police are still looking for the goods taken from 123 of the 160 high-security vaults at Antwerp's Diamond Center and the burglars who actually broke into the building Feb. 16.
  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (2) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


University of Arkansas Sociologists Study Why Americans Covet Deadly, Dazzling Diamonds

Why do Americans covet Diamonds? is a study by University of Arkansas Sociologists. The study involves conflict diamonds, here's an expert:

Researchers at the University of Arkansas say women who received diamonds this Valentine's Day may have gotten more - and less - than what they bargained for. In a study examining the social value of this coveted stone, UA sociologists declare that a diamond's worth has become largely symbolic. They also assert that cultural symbolism hardly justifies the political and personal atrocities committed by portions of the diamond industry.
  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


February 26, 2003

Water in Space

Don Petit, NASA scientist, discovers Elastic Water on the ISS

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Science


February 25, 2003

Sri Lankan customs officials nab 2 Thai men trying to smuggle gems placed inside condoms and swallowed

Yahoo Reports: Smugglers Eat Gem-Filled Condoms.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


Big Search Engine News

Following quickly on the heels of purchasing AltaVista, Overture has now bought FAST, otherwise known as All The Web, the only search engine that is better in terms of search results than Google (even if Google is much better at PR and has a MUCH larger market share). It only cost them $70 million whereas Alta Vista cost much more.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


February 24, 2003

Online Etymology Dictionary

There's a new very cool Online Etymology Dictionary.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (3) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


February 23, 2003

Bloogleplications

Check out EVHEAD, where you can read a bit about the sale of Blogger to Google, written by the (previous) owner of Pyra/Blogger.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Sotheby's Not Auctioning itself

Sotheby's was on the verge of selling, but decided to hold back.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


Creating a Diamonds category for Reversible.org

Reversible.org stopped working the way I expected. They don't seem to accept pings anymore and I don't understand the sort order. Here's another test to create the Jewelry/Diamonds category...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Man posing as Police Officer stops Colorado Driver

Yahoo! News - Phony Police Officer Stops Colo. Driver

A woman was stopped on Interstate 76 by a man posing as a police officer, police said Saturday.

This follows reports that a man impersonating an officer abducted and killed a 20 year old woman from Fort Collins. This is very scary...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


February 22, 2003

Fuselage blended in with the Wing: Airplanes of the Future

Xanadu has a great entry about an episode on my new favorite channel, The Science Channel. The entry is all about the next generation of planes and how they will borrow the concept of the B2 minus radar absorptive material.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Ready.Gov

Idlewords has some info on how to prepare for terrorist attacks: Ready.gov - Be Informed - Killer Germs - Visual Guide.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


Diamonds are for Never

Anil Dash has quite a discussion going on at his blog about DeBeers and Diamonds....

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


PBS Frontline: The war behind closed doors

PBS's Frontline has a story on: The war behind closed doors.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


Nigerian Scammers How to reply

Someone has created an automated Nigerian email reply generator that you can use anytime you get an email from a Nigerian scammer.

P.S. I just read that a Nigerian Diplomat has been Slain Over E-Mail Scam.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


Poachers shoot and kill Condor

This Condor has been shot by poachers....

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


JCK (Jeweler's Circular Keystone) opens Research & Data Yahoo Store

JCK, founded in 1869, has launched the JCK's Research & Data Store.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


February 18, 2003

Academy Awards Diamond Anniversary

The Academy Awards will be celebrating their Diamond Anniversary this year and you can expect to see a Diamond-related theme this year.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Entertainment


Colonel David Hackworth

Remember Colonel David Hackworth, a military man and reporter making the rounds of the news shows during the first Gulf War? Well you can probably expect to see more of him shortly. His columns contain the kind of info I haven't really seen anywhere else. He gets people in the military sending him letters and it provides an insight into the military that you can't find on TV.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


February 17, 2003

Michael Waltrip wins Daytona 500

Michael Waltrip has won the Daytona 500.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Sports


Update on the new national Do Not Call

The FTC has released some information on the upcoming "Do Not Call" Registry

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) |


OPT OUT of Doubleclick's cookies

I just found out that DoubleClick offers an AD-SERVING COOKIE OPT-OUT feature. I highly recommend performing this action. You may think you are browsing anonymously, however you are not. Doubleclick advertisers can figure out who you are as long as you have ever bought anything online or filled out a form from one of their client sites...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Canada will soon supply 20% of World's Diamonds, up from 10%

NATIONAL POST Reports that Canada will soon be the third largest diamond supplier in the world. An excerpt:

Canada will supply more than 20% of the world's diamonds within 10 years, if the leading development projects proceed according to plan. The Ekati and Diavik mines, both located about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, have already given Canada about 10% of world's market for rough gems. Those familiar with the diamond business know that is only the beginning.
  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


RIO to take $70 million to consider not closing Argyle

Townsville Bulletin reports: Rio's deep-pocket dig [ 18feb03 ]

Here is an excerpt:

RIO Tinto is about to take a $70 million punt it can head off the plan to close Argyle, the world's largest diamond mine, by its present 2007 deadline.

The key is whether there are enough diamonds at depth to justify the expense of underground operations.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


February 16, 2003

Johnny Carson on 60 Minutes: TVLand

Johnny Carson is on TV Land right now. Enjoy!

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (2) | Links to this entry (0) | Entertainment


Google buys Pyra

In what is the pinnacle of achievement in the world of blogging, Google Buys Pyra. Pyra is the company behind Blogger. Stay tuned.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


February 15, 2003

Congress

I don't know where these Congress Statistics come from, but it wouldn't surprise me. How sad that these are the people making our laws...here's an excerpt:

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics: 29 have been accused of spousal abuse 7 have been arrested for fraud 19 have been accused of writing bad checks 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (2) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


February 14, 2003

A Soldier's Viewpoint on Surviving Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Attacks

A Soldier's Viewpoint on Surviving Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Attacks is something a lot of people are reading these days with a war in Iraq imminent.

He kindly allowed reproduction of his letter (With attribution) so here's the full test:

A Soldier's Viewpoint on Surviving Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Attacks From: SFC Red Thomas (Ret) Armor Master Gunner Mesa, AZ

Unlimited reproduction and distribution is authorized. Just give me credit for my work, and, keep in context.

Since the media has decided to scare everyone with predictions of chemical, biological, or nuclear warfare on our turf I decided to write a paper and keep things in their proper perspective. I am a retired military weapons, munitions, and training expert.

Lesson number one: In the mid 1990s there were a series of nerve gas attacks on crowded Japanese subway stations. Given perfect conditions for an attack less than 10% of the people there were injured (the injured were better in a few hours) and only one percent of the injured died.

60 Minutes once had a fellow telling us that one drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people, well he didn't tell you the thousand dead people per drop was theoretical.

Drill Sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff was to keep the recruits awake in class (I know this because I was a Drill Sergeant too). Forget everything you've ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in a novel about this stuff, it was all a lie (read this sentence again out loud!). These weapons are about terror, if you remain calm, you will probably not die. This is far less scary than the media and their "Experts," make it sound.

Chemical Weapons

Chemical weapons are categorized as nerve, blood, blister, and Incapacitating agents. Contrary to the hype of reporters and politicians they are not weapons of mass destruction they are "area denial," and terror weapons that don't destroy anything. When you leave the area you almost always leave the risk. That's the difference; you can leave the area and the risk but soldiers may have to stay put and sit through it and that's why they need all that spiffy gear.

These are not gasses, they are vapors and/or air borne particles. The agent must be delivered in sufficient quantity to kill/injure, and that defines when/how it's used. Every day we have a morning and evening inversion where "stuff," suspended in the air gets pushed down. This inversion is why allergies (pollen) and air pollution are worst at these times of the day.

So, a chemical attack will have it's best effect an hour of so either side of sunrise/sunset. Also, being vapors and airborne particles they are heavier than air so they will seek low places like ditches, basements and underground garages. This stuff won't work when it's freezing, it doesn't last when it's hot, and wind spreads it too thin too fast. They've got to get this stuff on you, or, get you to inhale it for it to work. They also have to get the concentration of chemicals high enough to kill or wound you. Too little and it's nothing, too much and it's wasted.

What I hope you've gathered by this point is that a chemical weapons attack that kills a lot of people is incredibly hard to do with military grade agents and equipment so you can imagine how hard it will be for terrorists. The more you know about this stuff the more you realize how hard it is to use.

We'll start by talking about nerve agents. You have these in your house, plain old bug killer (like Raid) is nerve agent. All nerve agents work the same way; they are cholinesterase inhibitors that mess up the signals your nervous system uses to make your body function. It can harm you if you get it on your skin but it works best if they can get you to inhale it. If you don't die in the first minute and you can leave the area you're probably gonna live. The military's antidote for all nerve agents is atropine and pralidoxime chloride. Neither one of these does anything to cure the nerve agent, they send your body into overdrive to keep you alive for five minutes,
after that the agent is used up. Your best protection is fresh air and staying calm.

Listed below are the symptoms for nerve agent poisoning:

Sudden headache, Dimness of vision (someone you're looking at will have pinpointed pupils), runny nose, excessive saliva or drooling, difficulty breathing, tightness in chest, nausea, stomach cramps, twitching of exposed skin where a liquid just got on you.

If you are in public and you start experiencing these symptoms, first ask yourself, did anything out of the ordinary just happen, a loud pop, did someone spray something on the crowd? Are other people getting sick too? Is there an odor of new mown hay, green corn, something fruity, or camphor where it shouldn't be? If the answer is yes, then calmly (if you panic you breathe faster and inhale more air/poison) leave the area and head up wind, or, outside.

Fresh air is the best "right now antidote." If you have a blob of liquid that looks like molasses or Kayro syrup on you; blot it or scrape it off and away from yourself with anything disposable. This stuff works based on your body weight, what a crop duster uses to kill bugs won't hurt you unless you stand there and breathe it in real deep, then lick the residue off the ground for a while. Remember they have to do all the work, they have to get the concentration up and keep it up for several minutes while all you have to do is quit getting it on you/quit breathing it by putting space between you and the attack.

Blood agents are cyanide or arsine which effect your blood's ability to provide oxygen to your tissue. The scenario for attack would be the same as nerve agent. Look for a pop or someone splashing/spraying something and folks around there getting woozy/falling down. The telltale smells are bitter almonds or garlic where it shouldn't be. The symptoms are blue lips, blue under the fingernails rapid breathing.

The military's antidote is amyl nitride and just like nerve agent antidote it just keeps your body working for five minutes till the toxins are used up. Fresh air is the your best individual chance.

Blister agents (distilled mustard) are so nasty that nobody wants to even handle it let alone use it. It's almost impossible to handle safely and may have delayed effect of up to 12 hours. The attack scenario is also limited to the things you'd see from other chemicals. If you do get large, painful blisters for no apparent reason, don't pop them, if you must, don't let the liquid from the blister get on any other area, the stuff just keeps on spreading. It's just as likely to harm the user as the target. Soap, water, sunshine, and fresh air are this stuff's enemy.

Bottom line on chemical weapons (it's the same if they use industrial chemical spills); they are intended to make you panic, to terrorize you, to heard you like sheep to the wolves. If there is an attack, leave the area and go upwind, or to the sides of the wind stream. They have to get the stuff to you, and on you. You're more likely to be hurt by a drunk driver on any given day than be hurt by one of these attacks. Your odds get better if you leave the area. Soap, water, time, and fresh air really deal this stuff a knock-out-punch. Don't let fear of an isolated attack rule your life. The odds are really on your side.

Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear bombs. These are the only weapons of mass destruction on earth. The effects of a nuclear bomb are heat, blast, EMP, and radiation. If you see a bright flash of light like the sun, where the sun isn't, fall to the ground! The heat will be over a second. Then there will be two blast waves, one out going, and one on it's way back. Don't stand up to see what happened after the first wave; anything that's going to happen will have happened in two full minutes.

These will be low yield devices and will not level whole cities. If you live through the heat, blast, and initial burst of radiation, you'll probably live for a very, very long time. Radiation will not create fifty foot tall women, or giant ants and grass hoppers the size of tanks. These will be at the most 1 kiloton bombs; that's the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT.

Here's the real deal, flying debris and radiation will kill a lot of exposed (not all!) people within a half mile of the blast. Under perfect conditions this is about a half mile circle of death and destruction, but, when it's done it's done. EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse and it will fry every electronic device for a good distance, it's impossible to say what and how far but probably not over a couple of miles from ground zero is a good guess. Cars, cell phones, computers, ATMs, you name it, all will be out of order.

There are lots of kinds of radiation, you only need to worry about three, the others you have lived with for years. You need to worry about "Ionizing radiation," these are little sub atomic particles that go whizzing along at the speed of light. They hit individual cells in your body, kill the nucleus and keep on going. That's how you get radiation poisoning, you have so many dead cells in your body that the decaying cells poison you.

It's the same as people getting radiation treatments for cancer, only a bigger area gets radiated. The good news is you don't have to just sit there and take it, and there's lots you can do rather than panic. First; your skin will stop alpha particles, a page of a news paper or your clothing will stop beta particles, you just gotta try and avoid inhaling dust that's contaminated with atoms that are emitting these things and you'll be generally safe from them.

Gamma rays are particles that travel like rays (quantum physics makes my brain hurt) and they create the same damage as alpha and beta particles only they keep going and kill lots of cells as they go all the way through your body. It takes a lot to stop these things, lots of dense material, on the other hand it takes a lot of this to kill you.

Your defense is as always to not panic. Basic hygiene and normal preparation are your friends. All canned or frozen food is safe to eat. The radiation poisoning will not effect plants so fruits and vegetables are OK if there's no dust on em (rinse em off if there is). If you don't have running water and you need to collect rain water or use water from wherever, just let it sit for thirty minutes and skim off the water gently from the top. The dust with the bad stuff in it will settle and the remaining water can be used for the toilet which will still work if you have a bucket of water to pour in the
tank.

Biological Weapons

Finally there's biological warfare. There's not much to cover here. Basic personal hygiene and sanitation will take you further than a million doctors. Wash your hands often, don't share drinks, food, sloppy kisses, etc., .... with strangers. Keep your garbage can with a tight lid on it, don't have standing water (like old buckets, ditches, or kiddie pools) laying around to allow mosquitoes breeding room. This stuff is carried by vectors, that is bugs, rodents, and contaminated material. If biological warfare is so easy as the TV makes it sound, why has Saddam Hussein spent twenty years, millions, and millions of dollars trying to get it right? If you're clean of person and home you eat well and are active you're gonna live.

Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you'd take for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this stuff and I'm not getting one and I told my Mom not to bother with one either (how's that for confidence). We have a week's worth of cash, several days worth of canned goods and plenty of soap and water. We don't leave stuff out to attract bugs or rodents so we don't have them.

These people can't conceive a nation this big with this much resources. These weapons are made to cause panic, terror, and to demoralize. If we don't run around like sheep they won't use this stuff after they find out it's no fun. The government is going nuts over this stuff because they have to protect every inch of America. You've only gotta protect yourself, and by doing that, you help the country.

Finally, there are millions of caveats to everything I wrote here and you can think up specific scenarios where my advice isn't the best. This letter is supposed to help the greatest number of people under the greatest number of situations. If you don't like my work, don't nit pick, just sit down and explain chemical, nuclear, and biological warfare in a document around three pages long yourself. This is how we the people of the United States can rob these people of their most desired goal, your terror.

SFC Red Thomas (Ret)
Armor Master Gunner
Mesa, AZ


  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


What is a Moblog?

I've seen this term all over but not the definition, so can someone tell me what a Moblog is?

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (1) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Gettysburg Powerpoint Demonstration

Had important matters of the past been handled with the current technology, this is what The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation might have looked like.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


Gulf War 2

Everyone is talking about gulf war 2, a new Flash take on the war...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Miscellaneous


More testing Reversible

Hmm, someone created a reversible: testing category, but there is nothing in the category. Let's see if anything will show up now...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Testing "children" and "siblings" on Reversible

Please excuse me while testing the hierarchy of reversible....

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


The WOZ

Wired has a great story on The House That Woz Built

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Reversible.org

Reversible is a clever idea. Self named categories. It has tremendous potential, however, spammers tend to do a great job killing off wonderful ideas with self-serving behaviour. Well, it should be fun until it gets enough traffic to attract too many spammers. So here, let's contribute to the project with a reversible: Jewelry category.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


Diamonds exhibition in Quebec City

Although this DIAMONDS exhibition at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City is long over, there is some content and pictures worth looking at.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Jewelry


February 12, 2003

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe

In the article: Are all wedding traditions necessary?, Emilie Cassan does some great research into wedding traditions. It's a great read, here's a small excerpt:

I mean, why the big, gaudy diamond just to say you are engaged to be married? Why the fancy, white dress? And who decided we have to stand in a line for four hours with the groom on the left and the bride on the right with bridesmaids and groomsmen at the reception (of course with the lovely ambiance provided by basketball hoops and everything else that comes with the church gymnasium)? All of these traditions have become an important part of American weddings (well, maybe not that part about the basketball hoop ambiance). But many times, we adhere to these traditions because, well, it's tradition. In reality, we don't have a clue why we do them. With the season of love and twitterpation coming upon us, I decided to get down to the bottom of this wedding tradition stuff and find out why in the world we do these things.
  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (3) | Links to this entry (0) | Wedding Journal


February 07, 2003

Most impressive scientific feat: Invisibility

Tokyo Professor Working on Invisibility

This is the most amazing scientific achievement I've seen in a very very long time. I always wondered if it would be possible to kind of come up with some way of making something appear kind of invisible bt placing a 360degree camera behind a transparent shield one day and deliver the result kind of like a tv to the flat screen on the other side to kind of mimic invisibility... But I thought if it wasn't a pipe dream that it would be many many years away and work with very expensive equipment and in few real ways...

This is just amazing. No cameras and it's already here....kudos to the folks behind this one...

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (2) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


Do Not Email List

States Still Trying to Stop Spam

Since the feds are doing nothing, the States are working on Do Not Email lists similar to the Do Not Call lists for telemarketers which are pretty effective. Somehow I think the emailers are more sophisticated and they will wind up getting a copy of the list and putting yourself on it will wind up getting you more email not less, but we'll see. I still think the Feds need to take care of this scourge.

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (0) | Links to this entry (0) | Technology


February 04, 2003

Mr. Bean: The Cartoon

Mr. Bean the cartoon is here.... Enjoy!

  by GilbertZ | Leave or Read Comment(s) (6) | Links to this entry (0) | Entertainment








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