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war, propaganda, long 

Sadly, it looks like russian propaganda achieves its goal even among seemingly nice people on fedi.
Mind you, the goal of russian propaganda is not to make russia look good.
Instead, the major goal is to muddy waters enough so that people will think even of the simplest most obvious things that they are so complicated that we'll never know the truth (even if we know it already). As happened with MH-17 for example, where russian propaganda spun up a dozen of different contradicting conspiracy theories, not to make people over the world believe one of them, but to make them feel like they'll never learn which of the theories (including what actually happened: which is that it was shot down by a russian missile) is true.
And another goal is to make people focus on deficiencies of russian adversaries, to publish as many lies (some of them even with the grain of truth) dehumanizing their adversaries, painting them as nazis. Because then it does not matter that russia itself is a copycat of nazi germany. Then it's not a russian aggression against a peaceful country; then it's two nazis fighting, while ordinary people suffer. So you have to be above the fight, or apart from it, and not take sides, and either try to draw far-reaching conclusions about russian adversaries indeed being nazis even from the tiniest things completely distorted by russian propaganda, or just avoid thinking of this war altogether.

Ultimately, some people will just say "we'll never know the truth" or "we'll never know who is right and who is wrong", or "they both are wrong".
While some others will boost bullshit invented by propaganda, like "these soldiers are instead nazis, look, in this post they call muslims from Chechnya orcs because of their external appearance" (ukrainians call all russian invaders orcs because of their actions, and in that post some soldiers just happened to mention thugs sent by Kadyrov, and of course russian propaganda noticed and made a big deal of this) or "eurovision supports nazis because look, these performers from ukraine did a nazi salute" (because they waved at a crowd but of course russian propaganda noticed that from a certain shooting angle it may look somewhat similar to a nazi salute and made a big deal of this and nobody cares anymore that there were other shooting angles as well), or "because look, these performers declared their support for azov nazi militia" (they said "save azovstal" and azovstal is the name of a place where a lot of civilian people who fled russian shelling of mariupol are being further shelled by russia for the past two months, and "azov militia" is not even a thing since like 2015, but of course russian propaganda cut off the last part of the word and made a big deal of it).

"These are just two nazis fighting each other, I do not support either side, I feel for the ordinary people who suffer but in the same breath criticize these very same ordinary people when they dare to express support for one of the sides and criticize those who platformed them" is a very convenient position. And extremely convenient for russia, because it helps to reproduce itself.

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trans-exclusionary "feminism", new law/adage 

Every TERF, sooner or later, will logically arrive to a conclusion that cis women are biologically inferior to cis men (they're not as smart etc), will never be able to compete with trans women on equal ground anywhere, and therefore need to be isolated from trans women.
And that TERF will not have any second thoughts before saying the first part out loud.

(Inspired by me seeing various TERFs separately claiming that women are intrinsically incapable of doing math on men's level, that they're innately incapable of writing code on men's level, and that women are just biologically unable of advancing science as men do, over the last few days. That's their "feminism" 🤷‍♀️)

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politics / economy, long (from drafts) 

(publishing something that was in drafts for some time)

OK, time to try and make things clear.

I believe that nobody deserves to suffer or to struggle.
I believe that nobody should be forced to work in order to survive.
I believe that everybody should have their basic needs met regardless of what they do, if they do anything.
I believe that the current system destroys the planet.

I also believe that nobody "deserves" more than the other and that everybody should have their non-basic needs met (within reasonable limits), without being forced to work. Maybe this is called "equality".
Unfortunately, we, as a humanity, are not there yet. I hope that one day we will be, will reach that bright future.

Meanwhile there is a question: how to allocate limited resources, services and products, if it is known that their aggregated supply does not cover the aggregated reasonable demand?
I do not see any way to do that so that some "equality" definition is satisfied. Different people have different wants, and these are not always directly comparable.
I happen to think that the best solution to that is free markets; and that using free markets improves our odds of reaching the bright future, as soon as possible.

However, the system that we have now is not just "free markets".
Sure, it has some market elements in some of its aspects.
But at its core it is built on coercion.

People are coerced to work, coerced to accept whatever happens on that work, in order to survive, in order to have roof over their head.
Indigenous people are coerced to give up their land so that yet another pipeline could go through it.
The entire humanity is coerced to bear the environmental consequences of yet another barrel of oil extracted by someone so that someone else could drive their car.
Not to mention the actual murders.

This has nothing to do with free markets. If anything, it's what stops markets from being actually free.
Free market is when you can choose today to buy apples for X or oranges for Y or nothing at all.
Free market is when you can choose to work as a cashier for X or as a courier for Y or not to work at all.
Free market is when you can choose to buy a liter of gasoline for its actual market price or not to buy it.

When you are forced to choose to work as a cashier for a minimum wage or as a courier for a minimum wage, or die in the cold on the street, not being able to feed your children - there is nothing free in that choice.
When you can choose to buy a liter of gasoline for 10% of its actual _cost_, with the rest of the people subsidising the entire 90% for gasoline _you_ chose to buy (in the form of its environmental impact) - there is nothing free in _their_ choice.

And these problems are not even specific to our current system; at least some non-capitalistic systems had the very same problems (see next post).

But there is an obvious solution for how they can be fixed, without giving up on the markets which, again, I happen to think can make the whole situation better and get us to the bright future.
There should be an universal basic income (e.g. 50% of the entire GDP), so that people are not coerced to do something in order to survive; so that everybody will have access to shelter, food, healthcare, education, etc. (This will also drive the wages at jobs that are now the most taxing and the lowest paying up, much higher than the present minimum wage, because who would like to work there for scraps if they already have their basic needs met?)
And there should be environmental tax on things with negative externalities, matching these externalities (e.g. for every liter of oil extracted, the extractor should pay 10 euros in environmental tax which is then spend on, say, planting trees to offset for that amount of carbon; and then it's up to the market, whether it makes sense for the extractor to extract oil and try to sell it at a price high enough to make them a profit).

These views are purely utilitarian for me, I don't think these suggestions are fair or morally superior, I just think that they're a best tool to achieve the goal of ending human suffering right now and of improving human well-being in the future. It's not something set in stone, they can change if there are compelling arguments.
If you think these views are abhorrent, repulsive and indefensible, I would very much appreciate to hear why exactly.
If you have some practical counterarguments, we could discuss it sometime (not now though, right now I just don't have spoons for that).

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my pet project, how to avoid being creepy towards someone you're into, :boost_ok: (1/2) 

It seems that a lot of people have this problem when they're into someone but do not know if the feeling is mutual, and do not want to ask to avoid being seen as creepy. So it could be that two persons are into each other but each is afraid of saying that in case it is not returned, and it leads to lost opportunities to both.

But I have a partial solution to that problem: t.me/MutualSympathyBot

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freedom of expression 

And so the freedom of expression as a core principle of liberal democracy boils down to the following:

One from a privileged group can promote hatred and xenophobia towards already-marginalized group.

One from a marginalized group cannot take offense at that.

And one from a marginalized group cannot speak up against government's foreign policy.

And all people from a marginalized group are ignorant and ill-manered.

Such is a liberal democracy apparently.

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Pinned post

Unpopular opinion.
Just that someone opposes USA does not make them a good person.
Just that some ruler opposes USA does not mean they're not a dictator, does not mean they do not oppress their own people, and does not mean people don't have a right to rise against that dictator.

Not sure why it is unpopular. I thought it is so obvious that it should go without saying.

book quote (Terra Ignota, spoilers but they don't actually spoil; mentions (negatively) in-universe phobia of neurodiversity), long, "free speech" 

(Ada Palmer, "Perhaps the Stars"; Ninth Anonymous' description of the events in December 2454, as they were stranded in Romanova and maintained the limited interim communication network.)

December 10: Just had our first big argument over the network. Not me and the kids—Kenzie and Minlu are on my side—it was with the grown-ups who run the major links. U-beasts sparked it. The Gibraltar broadcast today devoted eight whole minutes to ‘helpful’ tips on how to ‘deactivate’ ‘dangerous’ U-beasts. In tonight’s state-of-the-network back-and-forth, I criticized it, and got jumped on by the team at the Orvieto hub:

You really can’t see it? The Cousins are right! The U-beasts are the most dangerous thing in this war! Killing machines disguised as harmless toys! Wake up, Anonymous! The Utopians are lying to you! They did plan Operation Baskerville! They’re using you to spread their propaganda! They’re behind the blackouts! The Maldive Ridge Massacre! Those Bluesmocks are Utopians too! They broke the Olympic peace, pretending to protect us while they seized their monopoly on mass destruction! Now they have a thousand nukes on the Moon ready to wipe out any side they like! Utopia is perverting good J.E.D.D. Mason’s war! Break free, Anonymous! They’re using you! They always have been! Ever since the Mitsubishi set-sets got into the Censor’s office and perverted Ancelet!

I didn’t face this diatribe alone, the Ladispoli hub spoke up for me, and Bologna, but they got jumped on too—Bias! Sabotage! Conspiracy!—and out came all the dirty laundry. I had dirty laundry too, I do admit it. I’ve been suppressing the Mitsubishi announcements. As soon as Pass-It-On got some momentum, factions started asking me to pass on official statements: Cousins’ good advice, Isabel Carlos’s pleading calm, MASON’s “Peace shall not come while the Sanctum Violators live in breath or memory.” I even passed on some one-liners supposedly from Sniper. But these Mitsubishi announcements, I couldn’t. They’re too gross. Turns out it wasn’t garbled after all, that message out of Samarkand: “Our fleet’s mission is to rescue Xiao Hei Wang from Alexandria.” How could anyone pass on that drivel? That the purpose of all these Mitsubishi fleets, in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, North Africa, the attack on the Almagest, they’re still claiming it’s all to get to Alexandria to ‘rescue’ the Prince. As if MASON is holding them prisoner! As if They want to be in Asia—Andō’s poor little ‘Tai-kun’ calling out for liberty. As if the Mitsubishi are the true Remakers, and the Masons holding back Their good new world. It’s lies! Raw lies! Engineered to rip the Remakers in half. Possessive Dominic planned this, and the possessive Mitsubishi wanting to own the Prince like they want to own the Earth. Rescue the Prince from MASON?! I will not pass it on. But this is bias, and I am guilty, and the Orvieto team jumped on me, and Bologna jumped on them in my defense, and everyone was clogging up the lines with packets of raw anger, and then someone used the old hate phrase ‘Free Speech’ and it exploded.
That’s what we’re afraid of really, that, in our information efforts, we’re going to poison this war like the free-speech-mongers poisoned the last centuries of the Exponential Age and vomited out the Church War. Free Speech, that old tool of plutocracy, the intoxicating, rosy blossom under whose petals parasite lies can breed and multiply until they devour all the garden. None of us wants that. I hope none of us wants that, but there are still Free Speech zealots in this day and age, and they’re just the type to have communications tech, to build a radio or study Morse code, and volunteer to join our network as a link and pass on . . . ​death. I’m panicking, I know it. Everyone understands why we need censorship. We’ve just relearned that very lesson from what started this: Joyce Faust discussing religion, Julia Doria-Pamphili exposing a Gag-gene’s parentage, Sniper exposing the Prince’s, and then the Point of No Return when the Sanctum Violators published the Imperator Destinatus, and the Oath. All our defensive silences breached, one by one, and here we burn. Mycroft made me read an essay once, a Free Speech piece, American or maybe British, early Enlightenment I think. Milton?
Hobbes: “Perhaps my sad apprentice, Charles Blount?”
Maybe. Anyway, Mycroft wanted me to see what the concept felt like back when it was new, and beautiful, before America’s hypocrite death fits and the Church War’s cruel recruitment lies poisoned it all. The essay Mycroft showed me had all the exquisite rhetoric of its rose-tinted, genteel age, imagining humanity nobler than we really are. I couldn’t get through it, couldn’t feel the beauty Mycroft felt, not for something so soiled. I do believe it was a pretty thing once, Free Speech, such a lofty notion, but we outgrew it with our communications revolution, as with our machine guns we outgrew pretty chivalry. But what if someone out there on my network feels like Mycroft? Still buys into it? Wants it all back? There are a hundred hubs in Pass-It-On, and any one of them could harbor the old illusion, and still think it good.

every bigotry imaginable, right-wing talking points, nerd culture 

Just saw a guy on reddit complain that Netflix's “total inclusivity policy ruins everything”.

When people say stuff like that, they're telling you who they are, plain and simple. Listen, and act accordingly.

The claim that marginalised characters are “shoehorned” or “forced” into narratives falls apart at the slightest scrutiny. America is roughly 50% black, the world is roughly 50% female, around 15% of the population are disabled, up to 20% of younger generations are queer.

There are far more marginalised people in the world than representation in shows and films.

What these people are really objecting to is having to see us. Even the tame representation Netflix offers, ten gay characters of a thousand, five black leads of hundreds, is too much.

And now think about it: if having to look at one or two marginalised people on screen is too much for them – how do you imagine they feel about the millions of us in the real world?

Every one of us is too much for them.

It's exterminatistic rhetoric.

Punch a nerdbro today.

re: social (fedi), subtootish (they won't see this), leftism can be very toxic, rant about our bad landlord (long) 

It's especially fun when people, leftists, anarchists, actually apologise huge corporate landlords owning hundred thousands apartments, yet get their pitchforks ready any time any individual suggests that the issue might not be so black-and-white.

Like this person, who I thought was a semi-friend, and who blocked me presumably over suggesting that, if someone got fired and found a job in another city yet their current rental contract conditions don't allow them to terminate it, they might have a moral right to consider subletting it (because what other options do they have? They cannot pay rent for the apartment in the city they don't have a job in!), as other people said: because this would make them an exploitationary bastard, no better than their actual landlord.
And the very same person, when we were chatting earlier and I complained to them that our landlord (which controls 100k apartments in this city) literally rented out unfinished apartments in a building still under construction and charged us full rent for the entire period it was under construction, replied that this is Good Actually, because it's better to rent these apartments out than let them stand empty, and that we shouldn't complain because nobody forced us to sign that contract. They expressed zero support or sympathy for tenants, all support for landlord.

("Unfinished apartments in a building still under construction" means that:
* by the keys handover (when they started charging rent), significant share of the apartments didn't even have their windows installed;
* they installed the last windows in our apartment 5 weeks after the keys handover;
* the building only got _any_ internet connection 5 weeks after the keys handover;
* even now, almost four months later, the backyard is still a construction site where you have to thread your way on dirt carefully between heavy machinery to get to the garbage container; there is still nothing else there besides dirt, heavy machinery and a giant container for unsorted garbage.
* for the first three months we only had lukewarm (I think around 40 degrees?) water in hot water supply (which is a huge health issue with legionella and should probably be against the law); turns out they installed a broken heat exchanger in our apartment, and they knew even before the handover it was broken, but were too busy with other stuff and scheduled the replacement for three months after the handover;
* two out of three elevators are often allocated to construction workers who are still doing a lot of construction work on the roof, leaving only one elevator for everyone else in this 400-apartment 20-story building;
* this apartment is full of issues construction company knew about but didn't have time to fix them before the keys handover, so they visited us dozens of times afterwards fixing this and that. IIRC there was a week when we had a visit from somebody every day - and this was not for the issues we reported, this was for the issues they already knew about!
* oh and the shower was not finished, rendering it completely unusable until they came two months later and did a half-ass job finishing it. Good thing this apartment also has a bath tub.
* probably a lot of other stuff I didn't remember now)

So:
A huge corporate landlord renting out unfinished barely livable apartments on the construction site for the full price, for profit, is Good, because it provides shelter for people, and nobody forced tenants to sign this rental contract.
A poor person who has no other choice but to sublet the apartment in the city they're moving out from (because they lost the job), without getting anything out of it except the risks associated with being a proxy between the subtenant and the landlord, is Bad, because that would technically make them a landlord. And this person is so unimaginably Bad, that even suggesting that they might have a moral right to do this is so extremely Bad that it warrants a block. (And don't even think of saying that this scenario too provides shelter for subtenant, and that nobody forced subtenant to sign this rental contract!)

I guess this is solidarity and empathy and leftism and integrity for you.

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Domain squatter is a bad term.

Real life squatters are taking something held out of use and returning it to use. That's pretty cool.

What we call "domain squatters" are really "domain speculators."

Speculators in real life hold things away from use to try to extract value from people who want to make good use of it. They're bad and should be eliminated.

This is what domain speculators do. They are also bad and should similarly be eliminated.

yet another thought experiment about landlords=bad 

Assume someone is living in a rental apartment on a long-term contract. They somehow managed to save enough money to buy an apartment, and by a pure chance they purchased an apartment identical to the one they're renting, in the same building, just one floor higher or lower.

Now their rental contract, being a typical long-term rental contract, has a minimum length of two years and a notice period of three months (meaning that they have to pay rent for at least 27 month). And maybe they only started renting it half a year ago.

Which means that there are two obvious options:
1a. Sublease the apartment they're renting, for the rent identical to what their landlord is charging; move into the apartment they've purchased.
1b. Rent out the apartment they've purchased, for the rent identical to what their landlord is charging; stay in the apartment they're renting.
Because the alternative is:
2a. Move into the apartment they've purchased, continue paying rent for the first apartment for 21 more months, while it stays empty.
2b. Stay in the apartment they're renting, continue paying rent for 21 more months, while the apartment they've purchased stays empty.

Can the option 1a really be called unethical? If it can, will it suddenly become ethical if the original landlord agrees to replace the tenant in the original contract with the subtenant?
And a lot of people's arguments under the previous posts about how renting out an apartment one owns is bad and how all landlords should be guillotined seem to apply to 1a, too.

Some people suggested in the previous discussion that if one rents out an apartment their own, they should transfer some part of the ownership to the tenant. Meaning that under option 1b, their would end up only owning 90% of the apartment they purchased, while their tenant would get 10%, by the virtue of paying rent for these two years.
But how is this different from option 1a? Should the new homeowner transfer part of the ownership of the apartment they've purchased to the person who subrents the identical apartment from them? Does this mean that subrenting (on the conditions identical to the conditions of original rent) in general is OK and does not require any further compensation, but if the original tenant happens to own some other apartment (they now live in), they are obligated to give its part to the subtenant just because they happened to be a homeowner?

And generally, applying the arguments from the previous discussion to this case, it starts to seem that the sin is not landlording, but homeownership? That the one is guilty not because they're renting out (or subrenting out) something, but because they happened to own a home, even when it's the one they live in? That people should be guillotined as soon as they get anything they can call their own?
I don't think that a lot of people actually mean this, but I don't see how else to reconcile their arguments with this thought experiment.

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twice a week sff queer fiction in your inbox across a wide variety of sub genres

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Warning: This book contains references to characters identifying as the gender they were assigned at birth. Parental discretion is advised.

In front of you is a ballot with three candidates.
When you hover the pen over one of the boxes, election official exposes one of the remaining two candidates as an abhorrent racist and fascist.
Should you vote for the candidate you originally picked, or should you change your choice?

But also, have you ever seen any other fantasy TV show where men have, like, maybe five minutes of screen time _total_ over the first season? (Which means that for 98-99% of the time, there is not a single man on screen, and nobody even talks about men)
The first season fails the reverse Bechdel test with flying colors. There is only a couple of times when two men are present, and the only time they talk semi-offscreen, that's because one of protagonists asked one of these men to fetch her another (to get double the fun in Beltane)

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Oh nice, there is even an major explicitly non-binary character (portrayed by a non-binary actor) in Motherland: Fort Salem, as a big "fuck you" to TERFs.
And the TV series which has its entire premise based on matriarchal society and on how women can be witches and men cannot, could have easily descended into transphobia or at least give fertile material to TERFs, but with this character they clearly declare that even in their female-dominated world with clear gender division, gender still is a choice, and still not binary.

[ESRI wakes up and stretches.]

ESRI: Gods, what a night. I should tell my parents that I'm quitting the family business more often. I wonder where I am?

[SAE throws the pillow on her face onto the floor.]

SAE: Oh, I can answer that for you. You're in my bed. Now, as to the who, and the why, and the how? I'm as curious as you are to get to the bottom of those particular mysteries, half-naked stranger.

ESRI: The who is, I mean, I am Esriara Oberhauser! My friends call me Esri! I remember that much. The why is fuzzier. Mom and Dad said they were bored one cold winter night…

SAE: Esriara, why are you in my house and how did you get in here?

ESRI: Oh. The why is that I definitely shouldn't mix moonshine and pixie dust and equally definitely did, and the how is that I just end up in places when I'm turnt. It's a gift! Also your window wasn't brick-proof.

[The door slams open. ALLIE enters.]

ALLIE, cheerful: Found you! Heck, Esri, I had to check every building, barn, ditch, and well in town before I thought to try out here. What possessed you to break into the abandoned atelier?

ESRI: Moonshine and pixie dust. At least.

SAE: It's not abandoned, dipshits! It's my atelier! I live here! You. New, less-naked stranger. Is this yours?

ALLIE: Oh, yeah, we've been best friends for half of forever; this isn't the first time I've had to track her down to tell her where she woke up. And Esri, I don't think you should use her kitchen without asking.

[ESRI is doing something offscreen that's producing a lot of smoke.]

ESRI: I'm just making breakfast. When you wake up in someone's bed, it's the polite thing to do, yeah?

ALLIE: That's true…

SAE: That's weird… what are you making breakfast in? I don't have a kitchen. Oh no. Look, stay away from that, it's not for cooking—

ESRI: Pancakes!

SAE: Those… those are pancakes.

ESRI, munching: Yeah, what's the matter? They came out fine. You hungry? I made plenty.

SAE: You made them in my cauldron.

ESRI: Okay, and?

SAE: It's for alchemy, not cooking! You can't make pancakes in a cauldron!

ESRI: Huh. I mean, I just put some pancake mix in, from the jar on the shelf, and there were some berries, and—

SAE: Yeah, that jar is full of iron filings. And I don't have any berries. Although there was an old paper wasp nest up there that I hadn't gotten around to cleaning out.

ESRI: Huh.

SAE: And yet these pancakes taste just like pancakes. Actually pretty good.

ALLIE: Huh. Hers are usually pretty awful.

SAE: Esriara, I think you could be an alchemist.

ESRI: What? Me? Why?

SAE: I've studied alchemy for years, and even I can't make that thing work more than half the time!

ESRI: Wow, sucks to be you. Get good, I guess?

SAE: Maybe I don't have the talent. But apparently you do, because you just turned junk into breakfast on pure instinct. I can teach you what I do know, and then I won't have wasted all that time!

ALLIE: Plus your parents are probably never going to stop with the whole "you should do something with your life, wastrel daughter" thing, unless you get a job.

ESRI: Yes, yes, these are are all good points. How much does alchemy pay?

SAE: How about I don't kick your ass for breaking my window and invading my bed?

ESRI: All right, you have a deal!

SAE: Great. Now please put some pants on.

ESRI: That wasn't part of the deal! Now what did you say this place was called again?

[Fade to ATELIER ESRI title screen]

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TIL that eight-track tapes used to be stored in cartridges?
Where I'm from, we only ever had them on reels.

'No, I don't suffer from freckles,' said Pippi.

Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, 'But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!'

'I know that,' said Pippi, 'but I don't suffer from them. I love them.'

blog.plover.com/brain/add.html

"The dimensions of the @owl are: 2.15 m high x 1.25 m wide x 58 cm deep" :blobcatthinking:

trans girl needs help w bills, pls boost 

i have a power bill due in a few days and if im still about a hundred dollars short, if i cant pay this on time ill lose my power

pls boost, anything helps!

paypal: tgrehawi@gmail.com
cashapp: $digitalcreature

#mutualaid #transcrowdfund #MutualAidRequest

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Inga stands with Ukraine's choices:

Embracing space

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