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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes a team of students who caught footage of the August solar eclipse from a high-altitude balloon.

  • D-Brief notes the discovery that the early Moon apparently had a very thin atmosphere for tens of millions of years.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to Elon Musk's descriptions of his space ambitions.

  • Hornet Stories notes that many on the alt-right are upset that game Wolfenstein is all about shooting Nazis.

  • The LRB Blog notes the almost ridiculous irony of Conservative Theresa May wearing a bracelet with the image of radical leftist Frida Kahlo.

  • Russell Darnley looks at efforts to get Singapore restaurants to shift away from using environmentally damaging palm oil.

  • The NYR Daily looks at the overwhelming power of the NRA in the modern United States.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers ways we can do SETI better by having a less Eurocentric understanding of our own history.

  • Window on Eurasia wonders if Uzbekistan and Kyrgzystan could solve border issues through swapping enclaves.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the corrosive effect of Bannon, and journalistic culture generally, on politics.

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  • Lake Erie, National Geographic notes, is experiencing regular massive algae blooms.

  • Adria Vasil talks about her experience taking part in the recent Great Lakes Water Walk, over at NOW Toronto.

  • Atlas Obscura has more about that drone-harvested field of barley in England.

  • The early Earth got much less carbon than it might have been expected to from the early solar system. Universe Today reports.

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  • Anthrodendum takes a look at the way community knowledge is now being subject to a privatization.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlyn Kelly starts a discussion about what makes home.

  • Bruce Dorminey suggests a pre-Theia, Moon-sized impactor gave the Earth its metal crust.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the current state of knowledge about Proxima b.

  • The Dragon's Tales notes that Russia is apparently testing advanced nuclear weapons.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas considers the religious impulse in so many technophiles' view of the world.

  • Language Hat considers the dynamics associated with learning minority languages in Europe.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money shares a classic traffic safety clip from 1913.

  • The LRB Blog mourns the loss of Glen Newey, long-time contributor.

  • Lovesick Cyborg notes a NASA study into the economics of a viable space-based solar power project.

  • Roads and Kingdoms takes a look at the açorda of Portugal, a bread-based broth that was a long-time food of the poor.

  • Cheri Lucas Rowlands celebrates the passage of summer into fall through photos of her vegetable garden.

  • Drew Rowsome takes a look at the representation of LGBTQ people on television, and sees much reason for cheer.

  • Science Sushi notes that different dolphin groups seem to have different dialects.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at Robert Merton's refinement of social functionalism.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that many ethnic Russians in Belarus, as in Ukraine, have shifted identity to that of the titular nation.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes one mistake made about artificial intelligence: it is not automatically more accurate.

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io9 looks at the surprising things we are continuing to learn from Tycho's supernova, SN 1572. https://gizmodo.com/a-famous-supernovas-mysteries-are-still-unraveling-hund-1818816208

Anthrodendum has a thoughtful interview between two anthropologists about their experiences as ethnographers. https://savageminds.org/2017/09/25/explaining-ethnography-in-the-field-a-conversation-between-pasang-yangjee-sherpa-and-carole-mcgranahan/

Centauri Dreams reports on the LIGO/VIRGO detection of gravitational wave #GW170814 https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=38557
D-Brief also notes the detection of #GW170814 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/gravitational-wave-virgo/
as does Starts With A Bang https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/09/27/ligo-virgo-detects-the-first-three-detector-gravitational-wave/

The Crux notes how ancient rocks on the Québec-Labrador frontier have preserved traces of very early life. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/09/27/earth-oldest-rocks-life/

D-Brief notes the potential discovery of a biomarker for CTE, something that may well help professional athletes. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/09/27/cte-biomarker/

Dangerous Minds looks at the time the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minelli collaborated on an album. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/results_when_the_pet_shop_boys_met_liza_minnelli

The Dragon's Gaze looks at evidence that a sub-Saturn gas giant is forming around T Tauri star TW Hydrae. http://thedragonsgaze.blogspot.ca/2017/09/tw-hydrae-is-forming-subsaturn-gas-giant.html

Hornet Stories looks at the four lessons a professor took from gay porn, about sexuality and its representation. https://hornetapp.com/stories/gay-porn-professor/

Language Log looks at how Joseon Korea once used the wrong Chinese dialect to talk officially to China. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34693

Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an odd defense of Hugh Hefner by a conservative. http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/09/hugh-hefner-good-now

The LRB Blog notes the oddly convention nature of Hugh Hefner. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/09/28/august-kleinzahler/the-conventional-mr-hefner/

The Map Room Blog argues that faults found with fantasy maps actually reflect deeper issues with fantasy literature. http://www.maproomblog.com/2017/09/the-territory-is-not-the-map/

Marginal Revolution notes that IBM employs more people In India than in the United States.
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/09/india-fact-day-3.html

The NYR Daily notes a new art exhibition of work by Peter Saul dealing with Trump. http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/09/27/a-carnival-of-desecration-peter-saul-trump/

The Planetary Society Blog notes the Earth pictures taken by the OSIRIS-REx probe. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2017/0928-earth-flyby-osiris-rex.html

The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes a worrying new analysis justifying an American strike on North Korea, despite Seoul. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2017/09/the-hawks-make-their-case-to-fight-north-korea.html

Drew Rowsome notes an amusing-sounding mystery, Undercover, playing at the Tarragon. http://drewrowsome.blogspot.ca/2017/09/undercover-case-of-comic-mystery.html

Towleroad links to fascinating ethnographic work of LGBT members of American street gangs. How do they do it? http://www.towleroad.com/2017/09/gay-gang/
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  • Centauri Dreams notes one source suggesting red dwarf stars may produce too little ultraviolet to spark life on their planets.

  • Hornet Stories notes how LGBTQ Dreamers will be hit badly by the repeal of DACA.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money approves of Frederick Crews' critical takedown of Freud as a scientist.

  • The LRB Blog looks at a new South Korean film examining the Gwangju massacre of 1980.

  • The NYR Daily notes that China seems set to head into a new era of strict censorship, with calamitous results.

  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the 40th anniversary of the Voyagers in the light of the Pale Blue Dot of Carl Sagan.

  • The Signal reports that, for archivists' purposes, online newspaper sites are actually very poorly organized.

  • At Spacing, Adam Bunch notes how Upper Canadian governor John Simcoe's abolition of slavery was not quite that.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the continued official contortions around Circassian history in Russia.

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  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.

  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?

  • Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.

  • Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.

  • The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.

  • The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.

  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.

  • Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.

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  • Centauri Dreams notes evidence that pitted terrain, as found on Ceres and Vesta, indicates subsurface ice.

  • Dead Things links to evidence suggesting insomnia and poor sleep are not disorders, but rather evolutionary inheritances that were useful in the past.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the critical human role in the ongoing sixth extinction.

  • Language Hat links to speculation that the Afroasiatic language family has its origins in the Natufian Levant.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a fascinating French show about espionage, Le Bureau des légendes.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw reports on an important speech by Malcolm Turnbull on politics and Australia's Liberal Party.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares Marc Rayman's report on the latest discoveries of Dawn at Ceres.

  • Spacing' Sean Ruthven has a review of a beautiful book on the Sea Ranch, a northern California estate.

  • Back in May, Septembre Anderson argued at Torontoist that rather than embracing diversity, Canadian media was more willing to wither.

  • Window on Eurasia shares an argument suggesting Baltic Russians would not follow the Donbas into revolt because the Baltics are much better off economically.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the potentially deadly effect of the stellar flares of red dwarfs on potentially habitable exoplanets.

  • Charley Ross notes the strange 1957 disappearance of William ad Margaret Patterson from their Texas home.

  • D-Brief notes the evidence for a second planet at Proxima Centauri, a super-Earth Proxima C with a 215 day orbit.

  • Tom Yulsman of ImaGeo shares shares photos of the active Sun.

  • The argument made by Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money that Americans were learning to love Obamacare and Republicans wanted to take it away before they got used to it ... well.

  • Marginal Revolution notes that, and why, restaurant servers in Maine wanted their minimum wage lowered. (Tips.)

  • Roads and Kingdoms shares the story of Na De Fo, a rare Korean restaurant in Mexico City.

  • The NYR Daily looks at how Macron might try to "California-ize" France, and whether he could pull this off.

  • Unicorn Booty notes studies noting bisexuals have a lower quality of life than gays, and wonders why. (Stigma is an issue.)

  • Window on Eurasia notes that global warming, by leading to permafrost melt, is literally undermining the infrastructure of Russia.

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Consider this post a consequence of a consolidation of my blogroll, with three posts from older blogs I've added previously and two new posts from new blogs.


  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross shares the strange story of five people who went missing in a winter wilderness in 1978.
  • Roads and Kingdom shares an anecdote by Alessio Perrone about a chat over a drink with a Cornishman, in a Cornwall ever more dependent on tourism.

  • Strange Company shares the story of Kiltie, a Scottish cat who immigrated to the United States in the First World War.

  • Starts With a Bang, a science blog by Ethan Siegel, argues that there is in fact no evidence for periodic mass extinctions caused by bodies external to the Earth.

  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, a group blog by Canadian economists, considers the value placed on Aboriginal language television programming.

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  • Anthropology.net reports on the recent discovery in China of two skulls a hundred thousand years old, possible remnants of a hitherto-unknown hominid species.

  • blogTO reports on the boom in the Toronto tech community.

  • Language Log breaks down the linguistics, specifically word lengths, of audiobooks.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the difficult position of indigenous peoples in Nicaragua.

  • Marginal Revolution reports on the potential health benefits of substances in the blood of the Komodo dragon.

  • The NYRB Daily reports on the modernist photography of Berenice Abbott.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports on the adventures of the Mars rovers.

  • Supernova Condensate takes a quick look at Jupiter's moon, Io.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at a new Russian film that transposes the superhero genre with the Soviet era, and argues that Russia is acting these days not as a constructive power but as a spoiler.

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  • James Bow calls for an end to the US-Canada Safe Third Country agreement prohibiting people coming from American soil from claiming refugee status in Canada.

  • D-Brief reports on the vast array of man-made minerals appearing in what is now being called the Anthropocene Era of Earth.

  • Dangerous Minds notes the efforts of the Disco Preservation Society to preserve DJ mixes from 1980s San Francisco.

  • Language Log takes issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson's argument that cryptographers, not linguists, would be needed in Arrival.

  • The LRB Blog notes impunity for murderers of civil society activists in Honduras.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen talks about Joyce Gladwell's autobiography Brown Face, Big Master.

  • The NYRB Daily celebrates the work of Hercules Segers.

  • The Planetary Society Blog is skeptical of the Space X plan to send tourists past the Moon by 2018.

  • Supernova Condensate lists 8 things we know about Proxima Centauri b.

  • Towleroad reports on new walking tours being offered of gay London.

  • Arnold Zwicky engages with a California exhibition comparing paintings with movies.

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In an interview with the discoverers, Meagan Campbell of MacLean's explores how fossils 3.8 billion years old were found in a rock formation in northern Québec.

The oldest proof we have of life on Earth is in Quebec, according to a team of international researchers. On the edge of the Hudson Bay, geologists and biologists from England, Australia, the United States and Canada collected fossils of microscopic lifeforms. On March 1, they published an article in the journal Nature, suggesting that these lifeforms existed 3.7 to 4.3 billion years ago, before the planet had oxygen or oceans—meaning life could begin in other barren parts of the universe, too. For a look behind the scenes of the discovery, Maclean’s spoke with Jonathan O’Neil, a geologist at the University of Ottawa who dated the fossils.

Q: Can you describe the moment of discovery?

A: I was with some of my colleagues at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. The first moment, you don’t even believe it. You say, “that can’t be.” So you reanalyze it, and you get the same result. You redo it again, redo it again, redo it again, and you start coming back with the same data, same results, same numbers, and you start to believe it. It’s a weird feeling. It pushes everything back.

Q. Why is the finding controversial?

A: Rocks are always dated with radioactivity. We use that as a timer. The golden standard for us is we’re trying to date a certain mineral, a Zircon. We’re excellent at it. We can get super nice and precise and robust dates. The only drawback is you need Zircons to do it. These rocks from northern Quebec, they don’t have them. We used a different clock. It’s only good for rocks that are 4 billion years old. We’ve done it for some rocks from the moon, but it’s the first time we’ve done it on Earth.
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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith wonders why so many stories featuring gay children kicked out of their families feature the children later reuniting with these same people.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly draws from her own experiences growing up in a family marked by abuse to argue that Trump is treating Americans as any abuser treats their dependents.

  • D-Brief notes how the Moon is being bombarded by a wind of oxygen from Earth.

  • Joe. My. God. reported rumours that the Trump administration is set to remove employment protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the firing of the US Attorney General for refusing to defend Trump's anti-Muslim visa ban.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at how medieval people read maps.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders how the Trump presidency will end up, if he will self-destruct or if he will manage to threaten American democracy.

  • Torontoist interviewed some of the Torontonians protesting the US visa ban outside of the American consulate.

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  • blogTO notes the rapid expansion of A&Ws across Toronto's neighbourhoods.

  • Centauri Dreams reports that none of the exoplanets of nearby Wolf 1061 are likely to support Earth-like environments, owing to their eccentric and occasionally overclose orbits.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper looking at high-temperature condensate clouds in hot Jupiter atmospheres.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on Trump's unsecured Android phone.

  • Language Log reports on Caucasian words relating to tea.

  • The LRB Blog notes the emerging close links connecting May's United Kingdom with Trump's United States and Netanyahu's Israel.

  • Marginal Revolution shares an interview with chef and researcher Mark Miller and reports on the massive scale of Chinese investment in Cambodia.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the idea of choosing between the Moon and Mars as particular targets of manned space exploration.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the mechanics of imposing a 20% tax in the United States on Mexican imports. (It is doable.)

  • The Russian Demographics Blog reports Russian shortfalls in funding HIV/AIDS medication programs.

  • Supernova Condensate warns that Trump's hostility to the very idea of climate change threatens the world.

  • Towleroad shares the first gay kiss of (an) Iceman in Marvel's comics.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the constitutional problems with Trump's executive order against sanctuary cities.

  • Window on Eurasia argues Ukraine is willing to fight if need be, even if sold out by Trump.

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  • blogTO notes the continued rise in rental prices for apartments.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at a time in the Earth's history when there was a lot of atmospheric oxygen but not much life.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper suggesting there is an authentic lack of gas giant planets beyond 10 AU.

  • Itching for Eestimaa notes the British politicians who favoured the recognition of the Soviet annexation of the Baltics, and notes that those imperialist times of old are back.

  • The Map Room Blog notes that Trump voters tend to prefer Duck Dynasty and Clinton voters preferred Family Guy.

  • Marginal Revolution notes California's ban on funding travel to jurisdictions which discriminate against people on grounds of sexual orientation or gender.

  • Peter Watts describes a trip on hallucinogens.

  • The NYRB Daily shares Masha Gessen's concerns about the threat of moral authority.

  • Spacing links to some article about improving bike infrastructure.

  • Window on Eurasia warns of a new consolidation of Russian federal units.

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  • Bad Astronomy shares a photo of the Earth and Moon taken by a Mars probe.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money responds to a baffling claim by a New York City policeman that stranger rape is more of a concern than acquaintance rape.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw, returned from Denmark, wonders
    about the extent to which social happiness is maximized by stability and security.

  • Progressive Download's John Farrell argues that scientists should approach the theory of evolution in a less mechanistic light.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on the transformation of United Russia into a parallel structure of government akin to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and engages with the possibility of a pro-Russian Ukrainian government-in-exile.

  • Alex Harrowell of Yorkshire Ranter looks at the problems of an independent central bank, finding that failings attributed to these are actually faults of government.

  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the highly evolved fashion sense of faggots, in the context of Italy's divides and celebrities.

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  • Bad Astronomy reports on the astounding scientific illiteracy of Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci.

  • blogTO compiles a list of the best tobagganing hills in Toronto.

  • Citizen Science Salon looks at what we can do in the redwood forests.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes a gap in the disk of TW Hydrae.

  • Imageo notes that 2016 is the warmest year in the records.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that a pride parade protected by police went off in Montenegro.

  • Language Hat shares the story of Lazer Lederhendler, a son of Holocaust survivors in Montréal who became one of the leading translators into English of Québec literature.

  • Language Log looks at the distant origins of Japanese terms for "dog."

  • Marginal Revolution notes the rising popularity of Vladimir Putin on the American right.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at the links between Russia and the "Calexit" movement.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy celebrates Saturnalia.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia's use of genetics to disentangle the Tatar peoples and argues that the definition of Russians and Ukrainians as fraternal is dangerous to the latter.

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto's housing market is now hotter than Vancouver's.

  • The Crux looks at progress in human reproductive technology, including in ectogenesis.

  • D-Brief looks at a new simulation of an asteroid impacting the ocean.

  • Dangerous Minds reports on a French cement truck made into a giant mirrored disco ball.

  • In Media Res' Russell Arben Fox writes about the benefits of reading the Old Testament.

  • Language Hat considers the experiences of one man trying to learn Avar.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests Obama's evaluation of his historical touchstone personalities is off.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at Soviet spy maps.

  • The Planetary Society Blog tries to figure out space policy under the Trump Administration.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's loss of sporting events and argues that Circassian language and culture are threatened with extinction.

  • Arnold Zwicky talks about two unusual flowers.

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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith writes about what he has learned from his huskie.

  • Bad Astronomy shares some gorgeous Cassini images of Saturn's polar hexagon.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at L2 Puppis, a red giant star that our own sun will come to resemble.

  • D-Brief notes climate change is starting to hit eastern Antarctica, the more stable region of the continent.

  • Dangerous Minds looks at some of the cool pins put out by supporters of LGBT rights over the decades.

  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at Susan Faludi's account of her life with her newly trans father.

  • Far Outliers examines the War of American Independence as one of the many Anglo-French global wars.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders why the Los Angeles Times allowed the publication of letters defend the deportation of the Japanese-Americans.

  • Marginal Revolution's Alex Tabarrok argues that we are now moving beyond meat production.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at Mexico as a seedbed of modernism.

  • Savage Minds shares an article arguing for a decentering of the position of human beings at the interface of anthropology and science.

  • Understanding Society has more on the strange and fundamentally alien nature of the cephalopod mind.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that the North Caucasus is set to go through austerity.

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes how astronomers are now collecting dust from space in their gutters, without needing to go to Antarctica.

  • blogTO notes the many lost dairies of mid-20th century Toronto.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at how volatiles freeze out in protoplanetary disks.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper considering the exploration of ocean worlds.

  • Far Outliers links to a report of a Cossack mercenary working in North America for the British in the War of American Independence.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the grave and the life of Homer Plessy.

  • Steve Munro looks at some possibly worrisome service changes for the TTC.

  • pollotenchegg notes trends in urbanization in post-1970 Ukraine.

  • Strange Maps looks at a scone map of the British Isles.

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