Another Dark Little Corner

moon phases

Started this before change to "New Blogger", as backup in case of trouble with digiphoto blog "In a Small Dark Room", or rants & links blog "Hello Cruel World" . Useful - at one stage Dark Room was there, but like the astrophysical Dark Matter, we could't see it ... better now, but kept Just In Case.

Your ABC

Click here to find out why.

There is nothing. There is no God and no universe, there is only empty space, and in it a lost and homeless and wandering and companionless and indestructible Thought. And I am that thought. And God, and the Universe, and Time, and Life, and Death, and Joy and Sorrow and Pain only a grotesque and brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that same Thought.
Mark Twain (letter to Joseph Twichell after his wife's death)
[me, on a bad day]

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Antigua & Barbuda
Czech Republic
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
The Gambia
Hong Kong
The Netherlands
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
United Kingdom
United States of America

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs.
[Apologies: I've tried to put this into a table so it fits into columns, but it doesn't work well nested within the blog template table.].

This information is the original list. Looking at other lists later on, the total varies, tho' one is 68 different countries. I will put the links in to my research at some stage.

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Missing Birfdaze  
Gee. I put a bunch of stuff about Goethe & Donald O'Connor & so forth up on my birthday - they all share my birthday, or are things with a relationship to that date. They've all disappeared!
Hope this isn't a bad omen. At least the other things that are on Hello Cruel World about August 28th are there.

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Might be useful - some anti-worm instructions  
W32/Blaster-A disinfection instructions and FAQ
At the time of writing, W32/Blaster-A </virusinfo/analyses/w32blastera.html>
(also known as: W32/Lovsan.worm, W32.Blaster.Worm, WORM_MSBLAST.A) is
spreading in the wild. W32/Blaster-A is a worm that scans networks looking
for computers vulnerable to Microsoft's DCOM RPC security exploit. On
finding a suitable victim the worm causes the remote machine to acquire a
copy of the worm using TFTP, which is saved as msblast.exe in the Windows
system folder.
1. How do I prevent W32/Blaster-A spreading on my network?
2. How do I remove W32/Blaster-A automatically?
3. How do I remove W32/Blaster-A manually?
4. Which systems are affected?
5. How did my computer become infected?
6. Background technical information
7. Where should I put the W32/Blaster-A virus identity (IDE) file?
8. My computer is continuously rebooting, how can I download RESOLVE?
1. How do I prevent W32/Blaster-A spreading on my network?
Network administrators are strongly advised to perform the following
operations to limit the impact of the worm
* Download and deploy Microsoft patch MS03-026
W32/Blaster-A exploits a vulnerability that can be patched. To read more
about the vulnerability and download the patch for deployment, go here On
standalone computers, update with all relevant security patches from Windows
Administrators are advised to deploy the patch to internet enabled
workstations and internal company networks, paying particular attention to
proxy/gateway computers.
* Rename tftp.exe
The worm utilises tftp.exe, a Windows native program. If tftp.exe exists on
your network, and you have no business need for it, rename it (e.g. to
tftp-exe.old). You should not delete it as future legitimate software may
require it.
* Block traffic to certain ports on your firewall
Administrators should block incoming traffic on the following ports:
* tcp/69 (used by the TFTP process)
* tcp/135 (used by RPC remote access)
* tcp/4444 (used by this worm to connect)
This should primarily be implemented on your internet
firewall. Where appropriate, you should also block access to these ports to
prevent access from potentially infected non-trusted networks.
2. How do I remove W32/Blaster-A automatically?
W32/Blaster-A can be removed from Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP computers
automatically with RESOLVE
* download the RESOLVE W32/Blaster-A self-extractor and double-click it (the contents
will extract to C:\SOPHTEMP)
* select Start|Run then type cmd (on Windows 95/98/Me type command) to
open a command prompt
* click OK
* to remove the worm non-interactively type
and press the Enter key
* .
The above process will remove the infected file from memory, clean the
registry and remove the infected file from the system.
After removing the worm you should install the patch mentioned above.
You can find detailed instructions on running RESOLVE in the notes enclosed
in the self-extractor.
To remove W32/Blaster-A on other platforms please follow the instructions
for removing worms. >/support/disinfection/worms.html<
3. How do I remove W32/Blaster-A manually?
To remove W32/Blaster-A manually on Windows 95/98/Me and Windows NT/2000/XP
* ensure you have installed Microsoft patch MS03-026 and
implemented as many of the steps mentioned above as is feasible.
* press Ctrl+Alt+Del
* in Windows NT/2000/XP click Task Manager and select the Processes
* look for a process named msblast.exe in the list
* click the process to highlight it
* click the 'End Process' (in Windows 95/98/Me 'End Task') button
* close Task Manager.
In Windows NT/2000/XP you will also need to edit the following registry
entry. The removal of this entry is optional in Windows 95/98/Me. Please
read the warning about editing the registry </support/faqs/tpti.html>.
* At the taskbar, click Start|Run. Type 'Regedit' and press Return.
The registry editor opens.
* Before you edit the registry, you should make a backup
</support/faqs/tpti.html>. If in doubt, contact your network administrator.
Incorrect editing of the Windows Registry can cause system failure.
* Locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE entry:
in the righthand pane select
windows auto update = msblast.exe
and delete it if it exists.
* Close the registry editor.
You should reboot your computer and repeat the above process to ensure all
traces of the worm have been removed from your system.
If you have any problems removing W32/Blaster-A after following these
instructions, please contact technical support >/support/queries/<.
To remove W32/Blaster-A on other platforms please follow the instructions
for removing worms. >/support/disinfection/worms.html<
4. Which systems are affected?
* Windows 95/98/Me and Windows NT/2000/XP are potentially affected
* Apple-based workstations, Unix and other platforms (including PDAs
and games consoles) cannot be infected with W32/Blaster-A
If a W32/Blaster-A file is found on a computer, it has been dropped there by
an infected computer, or it has been executed locally.
5. How did my computer become infected?
W32/Blaster-A scans the internet and local networks looking for computers
vulnerable to Microsoft's DCOM RPC security exploit When it
finds one it causes the remote computer to use TFTP to download a copy of
the worm. This is saved as msblast.exe in the Windows system folder and the
registry on that computer is changed so that the worm will be run when the
computer restarts.
6. Background technical information
The TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol) process uses port 69 by default.
Blocking access to this port will prevent outgoing TFTP requests. RPC
(Remote Procedure Calls) packets normally connect on port 135, preventing
access to this port will stop infected machines requesting connections.
Computers infected with W32/Blaster-A will attempt to connect to port 4444
and send a command to initiate the transfer of msblast.exe and start it.
Blocking access to this port will prevent the attacking machine connecting to the victim computer.
7. Where should I put the W32/Blaster-A virus identity (IDE) file?
If you have a single computer:
* Windows NT/2000/XP -> C:\Program files\Sophos SWEEP for NT
* Windows 95/98/Me -> C:\Program files\Sophos SWEEP
then reboot the computer.
If you are maintaining a network, see How to use virus identity (IDE) files
8. My computer is continuously rebooting, how can I download RESOLVE?
Often when a computer is infected with W32/Blaster-A it restarts every few
minutes, usually with a message similar to "Windows must now restart because
the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Terminated Unexpectedly". This prevents the
required patches and files from being downloaded.
On Windows XP you may be able to prevent the computer from rebooting by
turning on the inbuilt firewall.
To do this:
* go to Network Connections,
* click on your internet connection (LAN or dial-up),
* on the lefthand window click 'Change settings of this connection',
* click Advanced,
* click 'Protect my computer.....',
* you will probably then be able to download the files you need.
Where possible, download the RESOLVE W32/Blaster-A self-extractor </misc/blastsfx.exe< on another computer. Save it to floppy disk and run the self-extractor on the affected computer.
If you cannot download on another computer, disable Distributed COM to prevent this rebooting.
Windows XP
* Select Start|Run and type
* Select Console Root|Component services.
* Open the Computers subfolder.
* Right-click on My Computer|Properties.
* Click the Default Properties tab.
* Deselect 'Enable distributed COM', click Apply then click OK.
* Restart the computer.
Set the options back to normal after applying relevant patches and IDEs.
Windows NT/2000
* Select Start|Run and type
* Select the Default Properties tab.
* Deselect 'Enable distributed COM on this computer', click Apply then
click OK.
* Restart the computer.i
Set the options back to normal after applying relevant patches and IDEs.
Windows 95/98/Me
Clean boot or go into DOS Mode (Windows 95/98) and use SWEEP with the W32/Blaster-A IDE to disinfect.
Use a firewall or disable 'File and print sharing' to protect the computer from further infection.

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The Millenium Project - Quintessence of the Loon  
The Danger of Knowing for Sure
A special joint edition of The Millenium Project and Quintessence of the Loon (September 12, 2001)
Skepticism; Jacob Bronowski on "Knowledge and Certainty"; the attacks of September 11th, 2001.
As we reach the 2nd anniversary of the beginning of the Tampa Incident in Australia (dampen my birthday for a while, that will) and come towards 2nd and 1st anniversaries of the "9/11" attacks and the Bali Bombing, a reminder that not all the responses were as polarised & unthinking as some seem to say they were.
Jacob Bronowski Quote From the "Knowledge or Certainty" episode from the 1973 BBC series "The Ascent of Man", transcribed by Evan Hunt (extracted)
... It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. *This* is where people were turned into numbers ... And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality--this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge or error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we *can* know although we are fallible ...

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From - I'd better not comment on this; just let you contemplate the scene you've imagined from this entry ...

Adequately Essential
Sunday, August 17, 2003
oh yea and I dropped my portable phone in the tub this morning while I was shaving my legs.

ΒΆ 5:32 PM

Is Australia keeping up with World's Best Practice in "Railroading the Punters"?
Suruj Dutta's Railway Tales from the United Kingdom show the standards are being kept high.
I note he also has been feeling very Orwellian chills in the last few years' events.


Saturday, August 23, 2003
Suruj / 8:33 PM [postCount('106166721601472337')]

The August Bank Holiday weekend is the busiest of the year. There are the Reading and Leeds music festivals, the Notting Hill Carnival and dozens other sundry events across the country. Its also the last summer bank holiday, so thousands flock to the beaches for a last weekend in the sun.

So what does the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) - nee Railtrack ( ) - do to make people's journeys easier ? Why, shut down three of the busiest lines in Britain, of course! ( ) The Great Western Main Line is closed between Reading and Paddington, the West Coast Main Line is closed between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes. And for the convenience of the thousands of Britons returning from Mediterranean holidays, the Stansted airport to London line is closed as well.

Unfortunately, I had an appointment in London today, and since my car is on the fritz, I had to fall back on the trains. The Newbury - London journey, which takes me an hour and fifteen minutes even on a slow train, stretched to five bloody hours on a Southwest Trains service to Waterloo. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. A cracked rail was discovered somewhere in Surrey, and we had to wait ages at Ascot before we were allowed to proceed. A signal failure at a crossing meant another wait, and while we were waiting the train's onboard computer crashed, automatically locking the doors and turning of the lights and airconditioning for few panicky moments. The last straw was when a deer decided to take a leisurely stroll on the tracks, and we had to follow it at a crawl for miles !! I am no expert on the subject, of course, but I am fairly certain that if a bunch of mentally retarded chimpanzees were told to run the country's railways, they would probably do a better job than the lot at the SRA.

Worse, stuff like this is going to keep happening for the next 10 years, we are told. That is how long it takes, apparently, to carry out a few track and signal repairs !! Isambard Kingdom Brunel laid the entire West Coast Main Line in a week (or was it 3 days) in the nineteenth century. He must be turning in his grave now.

Saturday, August 09, 2003
Suruj / 1:17 PM
I guess I should make a small footnote about my last couple of posts. I've been reading George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and my mind seems to have passed on to a really dark place. Not that I had a very bright view of the human race anyway.

What I find most depressing are the echoes of many of the ideological constructs in today's post-Communist world. The spin in the American media and (to a lesser extent by the British government) to justify the war with Iraq, for example, could easily be mistaken for a Ministry of Truth production. The Total Information Awareness (TIA) initiative and the ever-greater intrusion of the government into people's private lives; how is that different from the Thought Police ?
Meanwhile, Perle, Wofowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney and their cronies at the American Enterprise Institute (a.k.a the Ministry of Peace) are deciding whether they should go to war with Eastasia or Eurasia next. The Department of Homeland Security, aided by the Murdoch-press, help maintain a sense of insecurity to keep the war frenzy at a fever pitch. This also makes the American people more willing to give up even their most-cherished freedoms in the name of security.

Freedom is Slavery. War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength.

Chuck's Blogumentary

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


You heard it here first, folks. I won the coveted virtual seven-piece Ratchet Up tool set for finding the coolest conceptual clock. I chose the incredible Ambient Orb Device ( ), which quietly changes color based on the weather or your stock portfolio, or whatever you want. Wouldn't it be cool if you could correlate it to a biological function? Like how hungry or horny I am? I would want a giant one perched on our house. Giant red orb = CHUCK IS HORNY. Giant blue orb = CHUCK IS FRIGID. Giant rainbow orb = CHUCK WANTS GAY PORN. And so on.

Today I had a CT scan ... I was inserted into a large white ultramagnetic doughnut - straight out of 2001 ... the hyperdoughnut scans cross-sectional slices of my head. My mind drifts... This is everything I've ever wanted. The contents of my head can now be preserved and studied by scientists around the world for ages to come. The mystery of my genius will slowly be revealed and celebrated. I am, at last, immortal.

posted by Doktor Millennium

Another kind of Immortality
Over the last year and a half I had a few CT scans (and a buncha other
stuff). One in particular was a thing they do before you have a course
of radiotherapy. The RT machines now have this method where they shoot
the rays through you from three different angles which intersect where
the tumour is, so your healthy tissues around it only get 1/3rd of the
dose it does. You get put into a special cradle for whatever the body
part is (the ones for heads are a bit spooky-weird) and they tattoo
little dots for the laser-sighting beam so it's lined up precisely for
every treatment (which goes on for many weeks).

They get a very accurate closeup view of the area and create a 3D
computer model of your insides to work out the exact angles & strength.
This is stored in the hospital system for perpetuity (historic records!). Like Chuck/Doktor Millennium & Henrietta Lacks* I can feel proud a part of me is preserved for the future. Only problem is that while his is a pretty classy bit to preserve, my gift to posterity was a rectal cancer :(

*For Henrietta Lacks' story - see different versions at:

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It's just been announced that Idi Amin has died. Peacefully & with the best of care, after a long comfortable retirement.
Charles Taylor must be comforted by that. I wonder if Baroness Thatcher will visit & offer her condolences to the grieving family & friends? After all, she's been such a tower of strength for others.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...  
OK. Things seem to be working out - still a bit fluid.
Current situation:
  1. Hello Cruel World [HCW] still has new ('temporary') template (it's not bad following some modifications.) It may stay.

  2. In A Small Dark Room [Darkroom] was overwritten by the old HCW template, but has been restored to an older version of its proper template

  3. Another Dark Little Corner [Corner] (i.e. where you're reading now) has the old version of the old HCW template.

I'm sure that's perfectly clear to you all :)
(Assuming here that anyone is at all interested in this. Maybe one day the forensic psychologists will be combing through this stuff looking for clues to what led to the incident ... )

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I've substituted one of the NewBlogger templates temporarily for the missing HCW one, as without one at all, you can't publish any new posts.
So, if you're looking at Hello Cruel World , just admire the content, rather than trying to be swept away by the colour & movement & general gorgeousness of the thing :)
"She has a lovely personality."

Hey. Just listening to someone talking about situation in California with new "recall" election.
We thought we had troubles with the 'tablecloth' ballot paper for the New South Wales Upper House.
There are apparently about 250 candidates for the Governorship of California. AND THEY HAVE FIRST-PAST-THE-POST VOTING. Omigoddd!
In Australia we have preferential voting, where you number from 1 to however many (more explanation in another post if I get to it). If no single candidate gets a majority of "first preference" votes, the lowest candidate gets knocked out of the running and their votes are distributed according to what their second preference is.
Example: if there are two left-leaning & one right-leaning candidates, and the vote splits, say,
L1 - 25%,
L2 - 35%,
R1 - 40%;
A first-past-the-post system would give the election to the 40%, even though the majority of the voters voted against him or her.
The Australian preferential system would distribute the votes of L1 - probably most would prefer the other left candidate to the right one, say 80/20. On redistribution, the remaining two would have:
L2 - 55%
R1 - 45%
So in general (there are all sorts of examples that might do funny things) this means the preferences of the electors are more fairly represented.

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Worrying. There may be some problems over at Blogger/Google/Pyra. The last few times I've tried to publish entries, an error message comes back like "There Were Errors in Publishing. 550 Could not open: No space left on device." I assume that's on their side, not mine (tho' I do have space "issues"). And you get hung up in some sort of loop, and can't get out of Blogger properly.

Two posts from an excellent (now closed-off) commentary.

A Hail of Dead Cats

A weblog by Don Arthur ( donarthur at )

Saturday, November 30, 2002
Too green on one side, too dry on the other - Adele Horin looks for a way forward in the debate over poverty

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

News from Planet Janet

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Sent notification of problem to Pyra/Google/blogstaff. No reply so far. They were helpful with other problems earlier, but there's a lot happening for them right now.
Had spent several nights polishing & modifying the template recently, adding features & improving style (well, what I like anyway). Naturally, altho there is a backup on my machine of the original template (& perhaps one of the earlier trial modifications) I can't find a copy of the template as it was. Not looking forward to having to remodify the old one all over again & reinstalling it.
I've tried to modify the template for this blog & it's been quite difficult. I'm not very happy with the look (there's only a small selection available on the New Blogger).

Sigh. Aren't there enough difficult things in life without all this being added too?

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Latest news on an old idea - 'evolving' circuits & software
New Scientist | AI and A-Life | Creatures from primordial silicon

Freakout! Went back to template to look at why the entry titles aren't showing (BlogItemTitle) tag. It does make some of the entries sound a bit weird, because there are flow-ons or references back to the title. But template has disappeared! Logged in & out; left it overnight; still the same. Not sure if the most recent (New! Improved!) version has been backed up on my disc. :( There's always something...

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GLITCH @ Hello Cruel World

TechProb stopping new entries displaying - transferring unseen ones to here

Will add odd new ones here until fixed

Hope this isn't "subtle" way to move people over to NewBlog

The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

Rainbow Warrior Bombing - On the night of 10 July 1985

About the book Romance of Three Kingdoms:

Moss Roberts (Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel): The English translation of ROTK by Moss Roberts is the best translation I have ever seen. It is more enjoyable than the original Chinese text, I truly agree. Here is the one reason: Professor Roberts provides us 250 extra pages of notes, which come from various sources, from both history and traditions.

C.H. Brewitt-Taylor (Romance of Three Kingdoms): The English translation of ROTK by Brewitt-Taylor is very old. Therefore, it uses the Yale name system (names like Tsao Tsao, Liu Pei, and Sun Chuan), which is less popular today. A disadvantage of this translation is that it does not provide background information like Roberts' version. This translation is like a pure novel, from page 1 to ending page---no maps, no notes. But one important thing is that the translation of Brewitt-Taylor is very beautiful in literature style. The language in this version is fluid and suitable to ROTK, perhaps partly due to its old English. Here are some of its covers (be careful, the books are sold separately in 2 volumes)

About this web site: publishes the full translation of ROTK by C.H. Brewitt-Taylor on the web free for all internet readers. We incorporate the literature style of Brewitt-Taylor, and at the same time we use the modern Pinyin name system. Moreover, we have corrected the many mistakes the paper book has. And the best thing of all, we include many notes, backgrounds, as well as maps with more details than in any ROTK book.

From The Independent (a UK newspaper)
Refugees are 'escaping persecution, not poverty'
By Nigel Morris Home Affairs Correspondent
25 April 2003

'States of Conflict: Causes and patterns of forced migration to the EU and policy responses', published by the IPPR on May 13, 2003.

The IPPR (The Institute for Public Policy Research, a Blairite think-tank) says EU governments have concentrated on restrictive measures to deter applicants, rather than tackling the factors that drive people to leave their homes and seek asylum. "Unfortunately governments tend to have a rather short-term policy horizon and are not willing to pursue the desirable long-term aid, investment and trade policies."

As an example, it points to the increase in British arms sales to Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia in 2001, despite "the high levels of conflict and human rights violations in these regions".

No reference for this (below) - must check
[I think it's from a column by Alan Ramsay from the Sydney Morning Herald]

Janet Albrechtsen is a social conservative. She also wants to be a classical liberal. If circles could be square there'd be no problem with this, but in the real world the principles of social conservatism and those of economic liberalism can't be reconciled. Not so on Planet Janet...

John Quiggin, the bearded economist from Queensland, homed in on this quote from Janet's most recent column:

"Union ideology chafes at the suggestion of healthy inequality. It champions a collectively dumb group-think vision that reflects an unease over the natural layering that emerges from disparities in talent."

This is Janet in conservative mode - the key word here is 'natural.' Equality of opportunity used to be one of the cornerstones of progressive thinking. Interventionist reformers wanted to tear down the barriers of class and nepotism and establish a meritocracy. In practice this meant an expansion of government - greater investments in schooling for working class children and recruitment to public service based on merit rather than social connections.

However, for conservatives the established social order is a 'natural' order. It's the way things are meant to be. So when governments meddle in the business of nepotism and cronyism, when they pass laws which prevent employers from refusing to hire and promote women, jews, gays, or Catholics, then they are upsetting what's natural and good. Social conservatism is a lot like radical environmentalism - except it's the existing social environment which is natural and must be protected (women at home with the kids etc).

Like radical greens, social conservatives often feel the need to add a layer of myth to their descriptions of society. Just as the more sentimental eco-thinkers can't bear to think of cute, grinning dolphins as senseless killers or gang rapists many conservatives baulk at the idea that markets and traditional institutions don't produce a social hierarchy which is morally justified by effort and innate talent.

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This should be the "permalink" to an entry in the "In a Small Dark Room" blog for an entry last month.
Checking if it works from here.

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702 ABC Sydney Breakfast KNIT IN

Please ignore the colour scheme of this blog. It's proving rather resistant to easy editing & is currently somewhat akin to the canine morning meal :) Some of the knitted things at the ABC Knit In are not unlike that either .... <g>

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