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If this video does anything, it makes the autistic child look like a lost victim of a plague that wasn’t caught in time, the parents failures for not ‘catching it in time’ and the autistic community a group of pariahs. It uses scare tactics and I feel veiled threats that feel to me more like a marketing campaign than a personal expression of the creators (the spin that I’ve read AS has put on this). Sure. Express yourself… your anger and pain as a parent… but don’t post it on “Autism Speaks” because if you’re not on the autistic spectrum, you aren’t speaking as part of the broad diversity of autistics… you’re speaking as a parent of autistic children (according to AS), and your voice shouting loud, full of fear and negativity, merely silences us, victimizes us in the eyes of society, marginalizes our potential contribution to society, and creates a culture that can seek to further exclude us for our difference. Watch the video… do you want the child, as portrayed, playing with your children? That child is portrayed as tainted.

Autism Speaks presents us as puzzles and broken children… not the puzzle solving remarkable individuals history suggests we are.

Groups Outraged Over Video Released By Autism Speaks

A group of leading disability organizations is calling on Autism Speaks’ benefactors to end their support for the organization. The move comes in response to a video distributed by Autism Speaks which critics say depicts people with autism as less than human and burdens on society.

The video, which aired at Autism Speaks’ World Focus on Autism event earlier this week in New York, features two parts.

The first part shows young people with autism as a voice-over declares, “I am autism.” The man’s voice continues by describing autism as a disorder that works “faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined,” will ensure that your marriage fails, will bankrupt you, cause you not to sleep and make it “virtually impossible” to go out in public without experiencing embarrassment or pain.

The second portion of the video features more hopeful images. The voice-overs declare that through love for their children, parents and others will work tirelessly to overcome the challenges autism presents.

In response, disability advocates are now coming together to condemn the video, which they say is part of a pattern of behavior by the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization.

In a letter being prepared for open circulation next week, the group of advocates say the video is a “fundraising tool” that relies on “fear, stigma, misinformation and prejudice against autistic people.” The letter will be sent to Autism Speaks donors, sponsors and supporters and it will be posted publicly, organizers say.

Already the American Association of People with Disabilities, ADAPT and TASH are among the organizations that have signed on to the letter organized by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Other organizations are now reviewing the document….

The group of advocates go on to ask the public to no longer support Autism Speaks and instead find new ways to support people with autism and other disabilities.

“Autism Speaks believes that its bottom line will be helped by portraying autistic people as less than human,” says Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. “This is really damaging if you’re trying to get your child included in school or if you’re an autistic person trying to find a job or get included in society more broadly.”

When asked about the video, Autism Speaks representatives tried to distance the organization from the short film, which appears on the group’s Web site and includes home videos solicited through the organization….

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Medical Journal blames disabled people “who want to live”

An editorial appearing in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) has blamed disabled people “who want to live” for the difficulties surrounding the debate in the UK on assisted suicide. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor of the BMJ, bluntly admitted that he is in favour of assisted suicide, reports Hilary White, LifeSiteNews.com.

“The debate on assisted dying has been hijacked by disabled people who want to live. It needs to be reclaimed for terminally ill people who want to die,” he wrote.

Personally I do agree with people’s right… to live or to die, but right I think that the debate should be “hijacked by disabled people who want to live” even though I want the right to die. If my wanting to die causes other people to be forced into situations where they might die or be pressured into suicide, I’m morally and ethically complicit in their death, whether i know about their particular situation or not. And that goes for anyone who would assist my suicide.

If right to die people can’t come up with an iron-clad solution that protects the rights of vulnerable individuals, then their cause is unethical. And to deny that vulnerable individuals will be pressured into choosing suicide is to deny their vulnerable individual status, their alienation and marginalization in the first place. Untenable. Just a thought.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Spanking Kids in School Still Common, Especially Among Disabled | The Autism News

a new study by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, as reported here and here. More than 200,000 U.S. schoolchildren were subjected to corporal punishment during the 2006-2007 school year, the study shows. And the South has a big lead in whacking schoolkids, with Texas, Mississippi and Alabama holding the top three spots.Paddlings in school are still legal in 20 states, and the report suggests they are quite common, based on 202 interviews with parents, teachers, students and school officials, plus federal Education Department data. The courts haven’t afforded students in classrooms the same protection as criminals have against cruel and unusual punishment.Many pediatricians now advise against corporal punishment; some research suggests spanking makes behavior problems worse. And while I admit to having harbored now and then a fleeting wish that my kids’ teachers could smack fellow students whose behavior disrupted class, I never would seriously advocate such a thing.In the saddest finding of the ACLU study, children with disabilities, especially autism, drew corporal punishment at a far higher rate than others, the study found. Children with autism were often punished for behaviors linked to the condition, because teachers lacked the knowledge, training or patience to use other methods of behavior control.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Judge Sentences Alabama Woman To Death For Murder Of Autistic Son – WHNT

Judge Dempsey also wrote in his sentencing order, “To intentionally murder your child by burning him is shockingly evil.”

During the trial, the state presented evidence that Mason, who was autistic, had a total of $175,000 worth of life insurance when he died. Christie Scott took out a $100,000 policy the day before her son died. Someone had also removed expensive jewelry and pictures from the home. Investigators also found an undamaged smoke detector in the ashes. It was believed to have been taken down before the fire.

Defense attorney Robert Tuten argued the fire was accidental and there was no proof Scott set the fire. Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing contended Scott set the fire to collect her son’s life insurance money and to relieve herself of the burden of caring for an autistic child. Rushing pushed for the death penalty.

“To me, the fact that she chose that manner of death for a child that was scared of fire puts her in a category that not only is possible for death, it definitely deserves the death penalty,” says Rushing….

In their verdict, jurors found Scott guilty of three counts of capital murder:
Capital murder for pecuniary/monetary gain
Capital murder committed during first-degree arson
Capital murder of a person younger than 14 years of age

I just don’t know what to say. Here it is autism related, but other times you hear about it being about family honour. I don’t support the death penalty myself, and I can’t say that I support it here. Selfish criminal homicidal stupidity that allows you to not see someone as human and worthy of life… that’s what strikes me. And the ability of people to see people who are different as non-human is what astounds me, and it is something that I think is both learned and repairable over time. Not with her… but societally. That’s what is motivating me about notions of inclusive education.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Ontario fires back against woman in ad – The Globe and Mail

The Ontario government has filed a defence against a claim made by a Hamilton woman whos at the centre of the U.S. debate over health care. Shona Holmes is featured in a TV campaign in which she claims she had to mortgage her home and travel to a U.S. clinic for brain surgery in 2005, due to a six-month wait for care in Canada. The ad, which began airing about two weeks ago in all 50 states, warns Americans to reject Canadian-style health care because it failed her. In the ad, Ms. Holmes states that if she relied on her government, shed be dead.

I hope we get more information about this. I merely saw @blurky posting about it on Twitter. Other comments I’ve seen was that she did not have a malignant brain tumor, and she was at no risk. I had a nice ‘perhaps sort of tumor’ for 5 years. We watched and waited, and decided that it really wasn’t a tumor at all. Surgeon (and I saw a few) said that in the US they’d just cut it out to be safe, for the $$ too, but since it was Canada, we only cut when necessary (my words). More likely that I just have a differently shaped brain. Lots of people do. I have been told by doctors that some people freak out over something like this and demand surgery (which just gets in the way for people who NEED surgery). Sounds like this situation could be exactly that. I’m not saying, just suppozin. I do agree that people shouldn’t get whatever surgery they feel like when they feel like it, and get in the way of people who need it. I have been bumped from my MRI at the last minute for people in car accidents and once for a little old lady who had had a fall. The staff apologized and said that someone who needed it more was going ahead of me. Bloody right! That’s as it should be.

I hope the democrats create a rebuttal…

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

A screen shot from Amazon.com
The MobileReference edition of the novel, “Nineteen Eighty-four,” by George Orwell that was deleted from Kindle e-book readers by Amazon.com.
But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.”

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Facebook sez, “Don’t mind us, we’re just whoring out your photos”. So, they can use YOUR photos, even the photos of your friends and children in advertisements, and yes, you gave them permission. Read the article to see how to turn it off though… Opt out, of course.

I would not be using facebook except that it is my job to know about social media. It is a really slimy operation.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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PCs Used in Korean DDoS Attacks May Self Destruct

There are signs that the concerted cyber attacks targeting U.S. and Korean government and commercial Web sites this past week are beginning to wane. Yet, even if the assaults were to be completely blocked tomorrow, the attackers could still have one last, inglorious weapon in their arsenal: New evidence suggests that the malicious code responsible for spreading this attack includes instructions to overwrite the infected PC’s hard drive.

According to Joe Stewart, director of malware research at SecureWorks, the malware that powers this attack — a version of the Mydoom worm — is designed to download a payload from a set of Web servers. Included in that payload is a Trojan horse program that overwrites the data on the hard drive with a message that reads “memory of the independence day,” followed by as many “u” characters as it takes to write over every sector of every physical drive attached to the compromised system.

Such an order would spell certain disaster for many tens of thousands of Microsoft Windows PCs. Several experts I spoke with yesterday and today estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 systems may be infected with this potentially suicidal malware.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Gawd Bless the American Right

Republican Missouri Rep, Derides Gov. Spending to Feed Hungry Children: They can Get Free Food at Church or Get a Job!

Cynthia Davis, a conservative Christian Republican State Rep. from Missouri, is against government spending to feed hungry children during the summer, claiming if they were allowed to go hungry, children old enough would be more likely to get a job so they can eat. “Hunger can be a positive motivator,” declared Davis, in her weekly Capitol Report column that is a case study in conservative callousness towards the poor.
In a bizarre display of tone-deafness, which is extreme even by the standards of the most hard-hearted of conservatives who are against government “hand outs’ of any kind, Rep. Davis railed against an innocuous press release announcing Missouri’s Summer Food Service Program, which plans to feed thousands of low-income children during the summer months.
Taking issue with the premise that the recession makes summer food programs more important than ever, Davis believes “[t]he reverse may be true,” because families can economize by doing without twinkies and chips and thereby save money to buy beans to feed their children. She accuses government officials of using the economic “crisis” (she added the quote marks) as an excuse for more government spending of her tax dollars.
How dare the government spend her hard earned tax dollars to feed poor children? Outraged that the summer program cost $9.8 million, “[t]hat money is coming from us,” said Davis. She proposes that hungry children instead, should be forced to rely on the charity of friends and neighbors and go to church for a free meal, like “…they did when Louisiana had a hurricane,” helpfully added Davis.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Ann Bauer on autism, violence | Salon Life

The monster inside my son
For years I thought of his autism as beautiful and mysterious. But when he turned unspeakably violent, I had to question everything I knew.

By Ann Bauer

I scan the story while standing, my coffee forgotten. Trudy Steuernagel, a faculty member in political science at Kent State, has been murdered and her 18-year-old son, Sky, has been arrested and charged with the crime, though he is profoundly disabled and can neither speak nor understand. Sky, who likes cartoons and chicken nuggets, apparently lost control and beat his mother into a coma. He was sitting in jail when she died.

This happens to be two days after my older son’s 21st birthday, which we marked behind two sets of locked steel doors. I’m exhausted and hopeless and vaguely hung over because Andrew, who has autism, also has evolved from sweet, dreamy boy to something like a golem: bitter, rampaging, full of rage. It happened no matter how fiercely I loved him or how many therapies I employed.

Now, reading about this Ohio mother, there is a moment of slithering nausea and panic followed immediately by a sense of guilty relief.

I am not alone.

This is a profoundly disturbing story. I feel great sympathy for anyone who is a victim of family violence. That’s a given. But this is not an article about family violence. It is an article about autism. And that people with autism become dangerous, and should be locked up. Others say that people with Autism should be subject to therapies that will render them more social, sometimes even recommending electric shocks.

And people wonder why I never got myself assessed when I was a teen? Well, I had a wise teacher named Michael who took me aside and counseled me that it would be better to work on trying to pass as neurotypical than… well, I won’t go into that now. Anyway, it was a success, and through choosing my education very carefully, and being lucky enough to have good mentors, I am where I am.

I feel that, and I’m no expert, that the attempts to normalize people with autism is a ticking time bomb that will explode one way or another. Why wouldn’t that happen when you disrupt the way someone wants to interact with the world and ‘train’ them to model appropriate practice? The best way to cause someone to explode is to wrap them up tight, put them under stress and give them no way to release that pressure. Voila.

The notion that it would be better to have cancer rather than autism is particularly sad to hear, and personally threatening. I can see what Michael was saying when he said don’t get an assessment… that it is worse than cancer. My brother died of cancer. Died in my arms. And we did bone marrow transplants and lots of blood products sharing. So I know what that’s like.

The conclusions of the article are compassionate, “Our adult son’s behavior could be the outcome of living daily in a world where everything hurts and nothing makes sense.” and “Autism does not always equal violence. But I do believe there may be a tragic, blameless relationship.”

So the over all sense of the article is that people who are autistic must be watched for signs… whereas I wonder if there isn’t a relationship between how neurotypical people treat people with autism and violence. If you want to push someone over the edge, and need advice, perhaps the people to ask are those trying to normalize autistic individuals so that they can fit in.

jason: jason (Default)

People Who Sit In The Disability Seats When I’m Standing On My Crutches is an example of what everyone should do… call people out on their actions. Thanks for the URL A!

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Slashdot | Designer Babies

“The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life’s savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back.”

This brings whole new meaning to the notion of adaptive design. Now how about designer parents please? Here’s the full article and a link to their evil web site.

Ok, even if we do put aside the whole issue of the evils of gender selection and inconvenient disabilities, eugenics is just plain evil and stupid. It is a cultural form of short sighted hubris. It is a form of mono-cropping that will surely be detrimental. Challenges lead to innovative thinking, and innovative thinking is good. Although, here’s a thought. Set up a company like this, and whenever parents come, put them on a list for removal from the gene pool. I’m not talking about people who have very specific healthcare risks that they don’t want to pass down to their children unnecessarily… that’s a different issue. People who want designer babies have perhaps lost an understanding of the value of bio-diversity, and perhaps represent a danger to the survival of our species as much as any other eugenics enthusiast.

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Shelly sent me this: Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

ALL my students should be reading this. And people laugh at me when I say that I don’t like sites like FB where you cannot remove your content and take it with you. Content mobility is a right. IMHO. But this just makes it even worserer. If you don’t care about what happens to your content, you probably aren’t old enough to be allowed to run free on the internet.

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Slashdot points to an interesting article on the register (Slashdot | Collateral Damage as UK Censors Internet Archive and IWF confirms Wayback Machine porn blacklisting • The Register) that talks about how attempts to block “images of children which contravenes UK law (Protection of Children Act 1978)” is also causing blocking of access to entire important sites such as Archive.org and wikipedia. The debate about censorship is ongoing and interesting… do we have a right to block access to valid and legal information in the name of blocking access to agreeably dangerous information, or must be protect access to legal information and find a way to block access to illegal information that does not impinge on this other right. What is the fine line. The discussion’s ongoing, but it seems that the same heavy handed approach continues to appear from ISPs and governments.

jason: jason (Default)

Slashdot | Google’s Knol, Expert Wiki, Goes Live say “Knol’s distinctions from Wikipedia are that authors are identified by their real names (and verified), and that they can share in ad revenue if they choose to.” Knol: a unit of knowledge looks a bit funny to me. Nice to have a site like this, but of course it is pretty empty. I tried a dozen terms such as: child, education, constructivism… even anne of green gables and vampire. No content yet. So, I guess everyone’s now flocking to Knol: a unit of knowledge to write the content, become known, and share revenue. I personally don’t see that as a path to validity.

What is typical, is that only americans get a voice. That’s right. You have to be an american to participate. Of course someone can claim that this is ‘beta’, because of the name verification procedure. I would call this alpha. If Google doesn’t know how to deal with countries outside of america, what does it say for it’s validity as a global player. In some contexts this wouldn’t matter, but what it is doing is giving americans an unfair cultural advantage in the construction of knowledge. They will have all the key terms and ideas, and also will have the most hits. An example of cyber-hegemony at it’s best. Do no evil? Of course not. “We’re your big friend!”

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I saw this on Slashdot | Leaked ACTA Treaty to Outlaw P2P?
: Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007) - Wikileaks

In 2007 a select handful of the wealthiest countries began a treaty-making process to create a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement, which was called, in a piece of brilliant marketing, the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (the agreement does not cover currency fraud).
ACTA is spearheaded by the United States along with the European Commission, Japan, and Switzerland — which have large intellectual property industries. Other countries invited to participate in ACTA’s negotiation process are Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand. Noticeably absent from ACTA’s negotiations are leaders from developing countries who hold national policy priorities that differ from the international intellectual property industry.
A “Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” was reportedly provided to select lobbyists in the intellectual property industry, but not to public interest organizations concerned with the subject matter of the proposed treaty.[1]
Wikileaks has obtained the document.
The agreement covers the copying of information or ideas in a wide variety of contexts. For example page three, paragraph one is a “Pirate Bay killer” clause designed to criminalize the non-profit facilitation of unauthorized information exchange on the internet. This clause would also negatively affect transparency and primary source journalism sites such as Wikileaks.
The document reveals a proposal for a multi-lateral trade agreement of strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods hiding behind the issue of false trademarks. If adopted, a treaty of this form would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime, with new cooperation requirements upon internet service providers, including perfunctionary disclosure of customer information. The proposal also bans “anti-circumvention” measures which may affect online anonymity systems and would likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players.

It reminds me that the solution is at hand… to stop engaging in corporatist IP practices as people: open source, open license, open government and open industries, versus back room deals where we’re not allowed to participate. If we vote for governments that act like this we are ‘complicit’ in the evil. Since it is clear that corporations will respond to ‘customers’ when they won’t respond to activism, because of course they’re not customers :) there’s no question that governments and corporations will respond if properly prompted. The first step is to vote for change.

jason: jason (Default)

Slashdot | Why Does Skype Read the BIOS?
“Myria at pagetable.com, among others, noticed that Skype reads the machine’s BIOS code on startup. This probably would’ve gone unnoticed if the operation didn’t fail on 64-bit windows. From the post: ‘It’s dumping your system BIOS, which usually includes your motherboard’s serial number, and pipes it to the Skype application. I have no idea what they’re using it for, or whether they send anything to their servers, but I bet whatever they’re doing is no good given their track record… If they hadn’t been ignorant of Win64’s lack of NTVDM, nobody would’ve noticed this happening.’”

[more at pagetable.com » Blog Archive » Skype Reads Your BIOS and Motherboard Serial Number]

I have never been a fan of skype, evern since I noticed skype related things happening on my computer when I had skype turned off. But most people laughed at me… well some were laughing about other things and I just took it as read. Anyway… I don’t say skype is evil, because I didn’t do any of these tests, but if someone wants to confirm that fact and assert it publicly, I’d not be shocked.

jason: jason (Default)

Master Plan - About the power of Google is another that Jeremy ran across that I’d also recommend for (C)CLD419ers. After studying what it is all good for, we can now balance it out with someone’s impression of the dark side.

I’m strangely unbothered. Not because I don’t believe that this is true. If it isn’t google, it is someone else, or that all the pieces are already there waiting for someone to do it. As a society we have chosen this path. And as a society we have ensured that we are not putting enough resources into education for critical social democracy for our children. Apolitical voters who are swayed by attack ads and fear are the problem. This is just a symptom. Good video, btw.

jason: jason (Default)

Local boy, and ryerson grad, Cory Doctorow has a nice little article everyone should read (in my classes anyway) when they’re thinking of what we commit ourselves (and our children) to, without knowing, thinking or caring: Shrinkwrap Licenses: An Epidemic Of Lawsuits Waiting To Happen: “Vista, Microsoft’s new operating system, comes in a rainbow of flavors varying in price from $99 to $399, but all of them come with the same crummy terms of service, which state that “you may not work around any technical limitations in the software,” and that Windows Defender, the bundled anti-malware program, can delete any program from your hard drive that Microsoft doesn’t like, even if it breaks your computer.” There’s more on myspace and other items, but I’d already heard of this vista won, and was looking for a reference.

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