#101 2009-04-04 15:57:28

Here's Amazon's permalink for an info-video about Kindle. It looks appealing, but I think I still prefer books. I also dislike the idea that all your purchases end up going through Amazon.com; there a few bookstores in my neighborhood that I visit at least once a week and, often, more. I'll give my money to the local guys; Amazon doesn't need it. If the bookstore doesn't have what I need in stock, I rarely need it that quickly anyway, and I can order it.

By the way, indiebound.org will track down a title for you and then direct you to your nearest independent bookstore to buy or order it.

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#102 2009-04-04 16:18:04

Taint wrote:

Here's Amazon's permalink for an info-video about Kindle. It looks appealing, but I think I still prefer books. I also dislike the idea that all your purchases end up going through Amazon.com; there a few bookstores in my neighborhood that I visit at least once a week and, often, more. I'll give my money to the local guys; Amazon doesn't need it. If the bookstore doesn't have what I need in stock, I rarely need it that quickly anyway, and I can order it.

By the way, indiebound.org will track down a title for you and then direct you to your nearest independent bookstore to buy or order it.

One thing that a video can't show you is how much easier it is to read off of an e-ink display than a computer screen, which is what I automatically thought of when I first heard of it.  I've tried reading a book off of a computer screen, and it's not great.

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#104 2009-04-12 01:54:03

Is there any reason newspapers couldn't have provided what Craigslist did? Other than thinking of it, I mean? They could have done Google too, for that matter. And now they're mad because others thought of things they could have thought of but didn't, because they didn't know how. . . .
If AP succeeds in getting a rule that you can't use a headline and link to it any more without paying someone, it's the death of the Internet. No. Really. Think about what the Internet is: a lot of computers *voluntarily* linking up to share information.

Which points to this:

To date, most publishers have elected to buttress their profitability as much as possible by attacking the two most elastic expense categories: staffing and paper consumption. But this short-sighted effort may be compromising the quality of the core product to such a degree that it actually may speed the decline of the industry as publishers attempt to transition to a new, more sustainable business model - assuming one is out there.

And this fun little tale of incompetence; a business news source can't accurately list the directors of a publicly-traded company:

BusinessWeek just sent a note apologising for the error [over 48 hours after being informed of it] and saying correcting the error "involves a team in India removing it from a data feed, so it may take a day or two to show up on the site."

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#107 2009-04-12 09:23:45

Aw, fuck this guy.

Indeed, all the qualities that make them appear menacing when they’re alive, and admirably larger than life when they’re dead, contribute to their ability to constitute a genuine Fourth Estate. A power-hungry media mogul is an independent social force—more independent, of course, when politicians he disapproves of are in power. That ought to count for something. And if, in the bargain, we get news, or entertainment, or even higher blood pressure from being infuriated, that’s another benefit.

In the ass.

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#108 2009-04-18 17:01:41

Trickle down theory

Thousands of employees of debt-laden AbitibiBowater Inc. face months of uncertainty about their jobs and pensions while the newsprint producer operates under bankruptcy protection.

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#109 2009-04-19 16:47:22

What's Missing from the Google/Newspapers Discussion

For anyone who is interested in following the whole "Newspapers vs. the Internet", this is an interesting article, and the one that it links to when talking about the discussion portion has essentially the same opinion, but the comments are pretty interesting, the comment that I just linked to being from the author of the article that it purports to rebut.

Here's another question to add fuel to the fire: 

Does the nature of the Internet just create a basic econ 101 supply/demand issue by making all of these geographically isolated distribution channels suddenly compete with each other?  Is this just plain old oversupply as soon as the Internet is added to the equation?

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#110 2009-05-04 09:36:38

Another one buys the farm.

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#112 2009-06-09 12:21:44

orangeplus wrote:

choad wrote:

The were working stiffs who gave a shit. Sorry, O+, they're gone now and you got nobody.

They were working stiff who gave a shit about their job, not about my back. I am far far better informed with a far better amount and quality of opinion and news than I ever got from dead trees.

You're welcome to your feelings, but I do not morn, and do not see an apocalypse. What I see are professionals decrying the death of the medium they were comfortable with, nothing more.

Gotta agree with O+ here.

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#113 2009-06-09 13:51:08

Roger_That wrote:

orangeplus wrote:

choad wrote:

The were working stiffs who gave a shit. Sorry, O+, they're gone now and you got nobody.

They were working stiffs who gave a shit about their job, not about my back. I am far far better informed with a far better amount and quality of opinion and news than I ever got from dead trees.

Gotta agree with O+ here.

So do I but he's comparing apples and oranges. What remained of the news industry 20 years ago wasn't worth blowing to hell. And what you were reading there, posted a year ago, was nostalgia for a time when most of my fellow tradesmen, most of them under educated, all of them underpaid, actually did give a shit. Then they got married, bore crotchsprog and became the assholes they despised. Or they got out of the business altogether.

There aren't tangible rewards for channeling your neighbor's pain.

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#115 2009-06-12 15:19:03

No, your balance sheet.

BWAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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#116 2009-06-12 15:38:29

Yeah, between that and the "aged news" crack I was in Heaven.

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#117 2011-01-25 11:58:23

http://warehamwater.com/img/short-spacer.gifhttp://high-street.org/sidepic/flushed.jpg

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#118 2011-06-20 16:06:59

NYT: Ugly Details in Selling Newspapers
By DAVID CARR
Published: June 19, 2011

Any look behind the curtain of Wall Street is not going to be pretty. But there is not pretty and then there is plain ugly.

James O’Shea, the former editor in chief of The Los Angeles Times, found a classic of the genre in the course of reporting out “The Deal From Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers,” his deep dive into the two deals that tipped over the companies that owned, among many other newspapers, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune.

Here’s the capsule version: in 2000, The Tribune Company, owner of the Tribune and many other papers, bought the Times-Mirror Company, owner of The Los Angeles Times, for a then-record $8.3 billion. The merger never yielded much in the way of synergy, and the combined company put itself in play in 2007, when there were few buyers left.

Enter Sam Zell, a real estate tycoon with a fondness for distressed assets, who took over the business with the help of an Employee Stock Purchase Plan that saddled Tribune with $13 billion in debt. The company is now mired in a two-year, hugely expensive bankruptcy.

That’s all known. What Mr. O’Shea focused on was how the bankers — who he said should have known the deal would render the company insolvent — seemed to be too busy counting their fees to care. Here’s a note he found buried deep in court records from Jieun Choi, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Company, that demonstrated a breathtaking level of cynicism and self-dealing:

“There is wide speculation that [Tribune] might have so much debt that all of its assets aren’t gonna cover the debt in case of (knock-knock) you know what,” she wrote to a colleague, in a not very veiled reference to bankruptcy. “Well that’s what we are saying, too. But we’re doing this ‘cause it’s enough to cover our bank debt. So, lesson learned from this deal: our (here I mean JPM’s) business strategy for TRB but probably not only limited to TRB is ‘hit and run.’ ”

She then went on to explain just how far a bank will go to “suck $$$ out of the (dying or dead?) client’s pocket” in terms that are too graphic to be repeated here or most anywhere else.

The court-appointed bankruptcy examiner, Kenneth Klee, was skeptical of her ability to make such a judgment, saying “Choi’s e-mail reflects a misunderstanding by a junior analyst who failed to understand the nature and purpose of the analysis she was asked to perform.” Mr. Klee sought to interview her, but she declined and has since returned to her native Korea. Mr. O’Shea said her e-mail reflected an overall mentality that was pervasive among the banks.

JPMorgan ran the deal, but other banks, including Citibank and Bank of America took part. There were two separate rounds of funding to raise the approximately $12 billion that Mr. Zell borrowed to take the Tribune Company private. The banks received an eye-popping $161 million in fees for just the first round — a number sufficient to run The Los Angeles Times newsroom for a year, as Mr. O’Shea points out — and a total of $283 million in fees for both rounds.

He also reports that Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan expressed some doubts about the fundamentals of the deal based on his firm’s analysis, but ultimately the bank decided to keep Mr. Zell’s business. JP Morgan was a substantial lender in the deal as well, lending hundreds of millions of dollars, and will share in the pain of the bankruptcy.

JPMorgan’s lawyers declined to comment, but the bank has said in the past that both it and Mr. Dimon were obligated by contracts signed during phase one of the lending, and that they did so based on a solvency opinion that later came into dispute.

Mr. O’Shea said in a phone call that he “was stunned by how this small group of powerful bankers, all of whom seemed to know each other, lined up to get Mr. Zell’s business. Like him, they didn’t know much about the news business, but they were basically doing billion dollar loans with a wink and nod.”

Mr. O’Shea said that Jimmy Lee, a vice president and longtime deal guy at JPMorgan, laid out the blueprint after a conversation with Mr. Zell, including who would be on the board, who would run the divisions and who was out the door.

“The bankers were calling all the shots,” Mr. O’Shea said.

Others would argue that he was simply doing what senior executives are expected to do in a deal of this magnitude and was not involved in any granular way in running the company.

“The Deal From Hell,” which goes on sale next week, combines Mr. O’Shea’s original reporting with his own experience as managing editor of The Chicago Tribune and later editor at The Los Angeles Times. He has since gone on to found the Chicago News Cooperative. (The New York Times has a partnership arrangement with the Chicago News Cooperative to buy local content for two pages a week in its Chicago edition.)

In the book, Mr. O’Shea explains that the Chandlers, long stewards of The Los Angeles Times, were antsy about the dim prospects for the industry as a whole and like other newspaper families — the Cowles and Ridders, and later, the Bancrofts — began looking for an exit.

In particular they were upset that Mark H. Willes, then the chief executive of Times Mirror, had named himself publisher of The Los Angeles Times. The Chandlers, he wrote, “didn’t like the way he ran around acting like he owned The Los Angeles Times.”

And in a surprise in a book that has its share, it turns out that the so-called Staples scandal, was the event that convinced the Chandlers it was time to sell out. As part of a partnership the brand new $400 million sports and convention complex, The Los Angeles Times had agreed to publish a huge Sunday magazine about the center in October of 1999.

But a scandal mushroomed after it was learned that the newspaper has agreed to split the $2 million in advertising revenues with the Staples Center. Sharing revenues with a subject was and is taboo, and the newspaper ended up with a huge black eye with readers. The Chandlers had had enough and after rebuffing earlier overtures from John Madigan at the company, renewed the discussions and eventually sold out to the Tribune Company.

And Mr. O’Shea acknowledges that he was at first taken by Mr. Zell and the possibilities of the new ownership. “Like a lot of people at the time, I was willing to try something, anything, other than what we were doing, which was to just keep cutting costs as the products became less and less appealing to our readers,” he said. “I thought at the time that maybe Zell could be the answer.”

Instead, Mr. Zell staffed the debt-ridden enterprise with radio executives from his past who knew very little about the newspaper business. Many of those same bankers now find themselves in Delaware bankruptcy court, fighting over who will get a haircut for the busted deal.

To begin the book, Mr. O’Shea steps back and suggests that if newspapers had been able to collaborate, selling advertising nationally and charging consumers no matter how they accessed content, the myth of expensively produced “free” content would not have taken hold, Google would not have gained traction and the ensuing alliances with bankers, mergers, and bankruptcies may not have taken place.

“None of this had to happen,” he said, pointing out that the newspapers involved now have just over half as many reporters as they did before the busted deals. “The stakes here are different. This isn’t just a bunch of companies going under. We are headed into uncharted waters where the availability of reliable local news is under threat and there is a social consequence far beyond a deal going bad.”

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#119 2011-06-20 19:44:17

Hey Val, I think I hear your Daddy calling you......

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#120 2012-06-23 01:35:28

Clifford Burchfield sleeps in an abandoned building in the Algiers section of New Orleans, with no plumbing, electricity or running water. He can't afford television, much less the Internet. But Burchfeld still devours the news every day from The Times-Picayune. Or at least he will until this fall, when New Orleans becomes the largest metro area in the nation without a daily paper.

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#121 2012-06-23 11:43:16

The Times-Picayune is, was and will no doubt remain the newspaper poster child of whatever ills the industry. Mark Twain delighted himself 130 years ago lampooning its florid prose and chivalric code.

Newspapers will adapt and evolve or croak. What they offer today few will miss.

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#122 2012-06-23 18:31:41

choad wrote:

What they offer today few will miss.

Husband™ uses newspaper to get the charcoal alight when he uses the grill.  He absolutely refuses to use lighter fluid (thank god) or any other kind of paper; only newsprint will do.  If the day should come when he can't get his hands on newsprint, Husband™ would be a very sad spouse indeed.  We would probably never taste steak again.

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#123 2012-07-01 21:33:31

Don't worry, by then there will be plenty of extra $1 bills littering your yard and filling your junk drawer.

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#125 2012-08-15 16:58:59

choad wrote:

http://blogs.canoe.ca/parker/general/when-newspapers-were-newspapers-and-men-were-men-and-oh-cut-the-crap/

Good read, Choad - both our local papers (The Province & The Sun) are owned by the same company.  The Province is a piece of tabloid dreck that publishes...well...hockey scores...sensational crime stories...and that's about it. The Sun used to have pretentions to journalism, but when the Province overtook the Sun's circulation numbers some ~20 years ago, the Sun responded by downgrading the quality of its reporting, and by focusing more on...you guessed it...hockey scores. Now Vancouver has a really shitty tabloid and an extremely shitty broadsheet. The lesson here is that market forces do not not spiral upwards with the winds of progress and culture, but downwards into the democratic shithole. In the absence of intelligent decision-makers, unrestrained market forces are extremely destructive, their effects creating positive feedback loops that ripple out into every facet of our social structure, laying waste to the high points of thought, art and culture that were skillfully planned, built, scaled and maintained in bygone, elitist, aristocratic times.

On a personal note, I went for an interview at the Sun in the early '80s. I was told I was "too literate for the Vancouver Sun" - they didn't use copy editors anymore and they had no use for a walking thesaurus who wrote [at the time] with a 19th century accent. More to the point, I don't think the editor interviewing me was very impressed with the 13 typos and 6 grammatical errors I'd circled on the day's front page while waiting to talk to him - and that, for me, was an enormous stroke of luck.

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#126 2012-09-11 12:31:06

From What 14 Corporations Would Look Like in Human Form

http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/photoshop/7/7/3/136773_slide.jpg?v=1

Last edited by lechero (2012-09-11 12:52:33)

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#127 2012-09-11 13:22:05

That whole "Old Grey Lady" think makes a lot more sense now.

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#129 2012-10-01 17:43:31

Have you read the Times-Picayune recently? On my last trip to the Big Stinky a couple of months ago I grabbed one to read with breakfast and I was convinced they fired all of the reporters already. Another paper that reads like USA Today assembled from rehashed wire reports and faxed in police blotters.

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#130 2012-10-06 13:09:00

"We are watching a death blow to the free press in Israel," said Sharon Avishay, a former journalist with Maariv. "A free and vibrant press should be of the utmost importance in a country like Israel. Instead, politicians and businessmen have done everything in their power to shut us down."

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#131 2012-10-07 16:42:49

http://high-street.org/uploads/13_newspaper_folded.jpg

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#132 2012-10-09 00:32:01

http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g470/ridenm/Ewww-WTF.jpg

Any questions?

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#134 2012-10-24 20:58:30

Apathy. The one thing Superman can't battle.

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#138 2013-03-08 04:12:33

choad wrote:

http://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-freelance-journalist-2013/

Some assholes can be entertaining, but by the end of that exchange I just found myself rooting for his family to starve.

Anyway, back to the topic, looks like new media is dispensing with old media.

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#139 2013-03-08 08:18:32

square wrote:

Some assholes can be entertaining, but by the end of that exchange I just found myself rooting for his family to starve.

I felt the same way. I thought the editor was forthright with their terms, even if they were unacceptable to the author. As a software developer I get propositioned like this all the time. "It will look great on your resume" and "Get in at Day 1 because it will be the next Twitter" or "I can't pay you now, do you need some custom cakes?" (Really happened).

Ironically, a few years back I was offered a staff job with the Atlantic to write 6 articles a year for a retainer of $125,000, with the right to publish elsewhere in addition.

I hope he thinks about that offer every day. He should have jumped on it.

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#141 2013-03-18 19:53:47

And this is why most churches in American should lose their tax exempt privileges.  They're either country clubs or political organizations.  And not even beneficial political organizations, but one controlled by a small group of individuals.

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#142 2013-03-18 20:11:36

Baywolfe wrote:

And this is why most churches in American should lose their tax exempt privileges.  They're either country clubs or political organizations.  And not even beneficial political organizations, but one controlled by a small group of individuals.

I'd argue they are pretty much simply networking social clubs.

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#143 2013-03-18 22:01:55

OK, guys, I call foul on this one, realizing I will be, dare I say, crucified for it.

I've been associated with three churches in my community over the past 50 years.  All three had very strong community outreach programs, and donated countless hours and funds to the local community.  The one I'm in now has a well stocked food cupboard that serves hundreds of families each week, and they also provide funds for missions to Africa and Central America where church members build/rebuild schools and homes for the poor.   

I'm not saying all churches are set up this way - I have indeed seen a few 'country club' churches - but I really do think they are in the minority, and to make a blanket statement is overlooking a huge amount of good that US churches really do provide.

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#144 2013-03-18 22:59:03

whosasailorthen wrote:

OK, guys, I call foul on this one, realizing I will be, dare I say, crucified for it.

I've been associated with three churches in my community over the past 50 years.  All three had very strong community outreach programs, and donated countless hours and funds to the local community.  The one I'm in now has a well stocked food cupboard that serves hundreds of families each week, and they also provide funds for missions to Africa and Central America where church members build/rebuild schools and homes for the poor.   

I'm not saying all churches are set up this way - I have indeed seen a few 'country club' churches - but I really do think they are in the minority, and to make a blanket statement is overlooking a huge amount of good that US churches really do provide.

OK, let me reset that a bit:  Churches are a tribal organization which both provides networking and social support.  I'm not actually anti-church but have become annoyed by the super churches and their attempts to bend the rest of society to their desires.  Community churches are in my mind an incredible support unit and provide huge benefits to the local society; including impressive support for the unfortunate.

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#145 2013-03-19 08:26:43

And don't harsh on my retirement plan of starting my own church, one so boring and inimical that nobody would ever want to join, yet lets me put all of my land and financial holdings into a "trust" managed  by the church and it's board, which consists of me and my wife. Ta da!

Services are on Friday nights, around the campfire.

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#146 2013-03-19 15:41:12

When you guys are done with church, here's some recent research stating that newspapers might not all go extinct:

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspap … hreatened/

I post it merely for those who are interested in the topic of newspapers.

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#147 2013-03-19 16:00:12

lechero wrote:

When you guys are done with church, here's some recent research stating that newspapers might not all go extinct:

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspap … hreatened/

I post it merely for those who are interested in the topic of newspapers.

The only newspapers showing growth or holding even are local dailies or smaller weeklies. Those make money because they typically have very, very low overhead and small staffs. "Reporting" consists of rewriting police and business press releases and publishing reader's pictures and church bulletins. They aren't paying for a seat on Airforce Two, sending anyone to war zones, spending weeks chasing leads or doing any of the other "big paper" kind of stuff.

If we could get a reliable, socially neutral micropayment provider to handle the paywall issues for "real" prices (ie don't make me buy a $5 1 month subscription just to read an article. Charge me 3 cents for 24 hours access, per article) it would breathe some life back into the profession. But as long as 47% of the population are used to getting something for nothing, subscriptions are going to suffer.

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#148 2013-03-19 18:59:52

lechero wrote:

When you guys are done with church, here's some recent research stating that newspapers might not all go extinct:

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/newspap … hreatened/

I post it merely for those who are interested in the topic of newspapers.

Funny - Buffet seems to be all in on the medium circulation papers, he does make mistakes occasionally but not often.  I am strong on the analysts at Berkshire.

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#149 2013-03-19 21:52:01

whosasailorthen wrote:

OK, guys, I call foul on this one, realizing I will be, dare I say, crucified for it.

I've been associated with three churches in my community over the past 50 years.  All three had very strong community outreach programs, and donated countless hours and funds to the local community.  The one I'm in now has a well stocked food cupboard that serves hundreds of families each week, and they also provide funds for missions to Africa and Central America where church members build/rebuild schools and homes for the poor.   

I'm not saying all churches are set up this way - I have indeed seen a few 'country club' churches - but I really do think they are in the minority, and to make a blanket statement is overlooking a huge amount of good that US churches really do provide.

Which is why I said, "most". 

Living down here on the Buckle of the Bible Belt, I see way more Mega-Churches, than I do ones that are doing what their Lord told them to do (something about pure religion, and helping widows and orphans in their affliction, I believe).  I got no beef with these churches and wouldn't even have a problem with Government assistance to help the cause.  But these are becoming few and far between.  The rest of these "Christian" churches either pour through the Old Testament looking for ways to condemn people, or they are the "too rich to give a shit" social clubs.

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#150 2013-03-20 01:07:37

What was that shit about camels and needles?

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