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Apple Is Developing a TV Show Based On Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 01:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's galaxy-far-far-away department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Deadline: In a competitive situation, Apple has nabbed a TV series adaptation of Foundation, the seminal Isaac Asimov science fiction novel trilogy. The project, from Skydance Television, has been put in development for straight-to-series consideration. Deadline revealed last June that Skydance had made a deal with the Asimov estate and that David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman were cracking the code on a sprawling series based on the books that informed Star Wars and many other sci-fi films and TV series. Goyer and Friedman will be executive producers and showrunners. Skydance's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross also will executive produce.

Originally published as a short story series in Astounding Magazine in 1942, Asimov's Foundation is the complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. The protagonist is a psycho-historian who has an ability to read the future and foresees the empire's imminent collapse. He sets out to save the knowledge of mankind from being wiped out. Even the Game of Thrones' creative team would marvel at the number of empires that rise and fall in Foundation. Asimov's trilogy has been tried numerous times as a feature film at Fox, Warner Bros (with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, who greenlit The Lord of the Rings), and then at Sony with Independence Day director Roland Emmerich. Many top sci-fi writers have done scripts and found it daunting to constrict the sprawling saga to a feature film format. Most recently, HBO tried developing a series with Interstellar co-writer and Westworld exec producer Jonathan Nolan, but a script was never ordered.

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How Will Automation Affect Different US Cities?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Casino dealers and fishermen are both likely to be replaced by machines in coming years. So which city will lose more of its human workforce -- Las Vegas, the country's gambling capital, or Boston, a major fishing hub? From a research: People tend to assume that automation will affect every locale in the same, homogeneous way, says Hyejin Youn, an assistant professor of management and organization at Kellogg. "They have never thought of how this is unequally distributed across cities, across regions in the U.S." It is a high-stakes question. The knowledge that certain places will lose more jobs could allow workers and industries to better prepare for the change and could help city leaders ensure their local economies are poised to rebound. In new research, Youn and colleagues seek to understand how machines will disrupt the economies of individual cities. By carefully analyzing the workforces of American metropolitan areas, the team calculated what portion of jobs in each area is likely to be automated in coming decades. You can run your city's name, and also the job position you're curious about here.

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The US Military Desperately Wants To Weaponize AI
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology, and US generals already see it as the next big weapon in their arsenal. From a report: War-machine learning: Michael Griffin, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, signaled how keen the military is to make use of AI at the Future of War 2018 conference held in Washington, DC, yesterday. Saber rattling: "There might be an artificial intelligence arms race, but we're not yet in it," Griffin said. In reference to China and Russia, he added, "I think our adversaries -- and they are our adversaries -- understand very well the possible future utility of machine learning, and I think it's time we did as well."

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AMD Releases Spectre v2 Microcode Updates for CPUs Going Back To 2011
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's take-note department:
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: AMD has released CPU microcode updates for processors affected by the Spectre variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715) vulnerability. The company has forwarded these microcode updates to PC and motherboard makers to include them in BIOS updates. Updates are available for products released as far as 2011, for the first processors of the Bulldozer line. Microsoft has released KB4093112, an update that also includes special OS-level patches for AMD users in regards to the Spectre v2 vulnerability. Similar OS-level updates have been released for Linux users earlier this year. Yesterday's microcode patches announcement is AMD keeping a promise it made to users in January, after the discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre (v1 and v2) vulnerabilities.

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Mark Zuckerberg Denies Knowledge of Non-Consensual Shadow Profiles Facebook Has Been Building of Non-Users For Years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's whatever-you-say-mark department:
It has been widely reported that Facebook builds profile of people even if they have never signed up for its services. However, in a hearing with the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Wednesday, when New Mexico Representative Ben Lujan asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg if he was aware of the so-called practice of building "shadow profiles", Zuckerberg denied knowledge of it. Here's the exchange: Lujan: Facebook has detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook, yes or no? Zuckerberg: Congressman, in general we collect data on people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes to prevent the kind of scraping you were just referring to [reverse searches based on public info like phone numbers]. Lujan: So these are called shadow profiles, is that what they've been referred to by some? Zuckerberg: Congressman, I'm not, I'm not familiar with that. Lujan: I'll refer to them as shadow profiles for today's hearing. On average, how many data points does Facebook have on each Facebook user? Zuckerberg: I do not know off the top of my head. Lujan: Do you know how many points of data Facebook has on the average non-Facebook user? Zuckerberg: Congressman, I do not know off the top of my head but I can have our team get back to you afterward. Lujan: It's been admitted by Facebook that you do collect data points on non-[Facebook users]. My question is, can someone who does not have a Facebook account opt out of Facebook's involuntary data collection? Zuckerberg: Anyone can turn off and opt out of any data collection for ads, whether they use our services or not but in order to prevent people from scraping public information ... we need to know when someone is repeatedly trying to access our services.

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Trump Signs Law Weakening Shield For Online Services
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-happens-now department:
President Donald Trump has signed a new law aimed at curbing sex trafficking. From a report: The bill -- a mashup of the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which is commonly referred to as the latter -- passed Congress in March. It makes websites liable for what users say and do on their platforms, and many advocacy groups have come out against the bill, saying that it undermines essential internet freedoms. It could be months -- or as late as January 2019 -- before FOSTA is enacted and anyone could be charged under the law. But even in the days immediately after the bill passed in Congress, platforms started scrambling to proactively shut down forums or whole sites where sex trafficking could feasibly happen. Fringe dating websites, sex trade and advertising forums, and even portions of Craigslist were taken down in the weeks following, while companies like Google started strictly enforcing terms of service around sexual speech. Commenting on the development, EFF said, "As we've already seen, this bill silences online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users."

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Dubai To Launch Digital Vehicle Number Plates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Drivers in Dubai may soon be using digital number plates under new plans. In a trial starting next month, vehicles will be fitted with smart plates with digital screens, GPS and transmitters. From a report: The new plates will be able to inform emergency services if a driver has an accident. Dubai has recently spearheaded a number of new transport initiatives as it seeks to become an international technology hub. According to Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, the head of the Vehicle Licensing Department at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the plates will make life easier for drivers in Dubai. As well as contacting the police and ambulance services if the vehicle is involved in a collision, the technology allows real-time communication with other drivers about traffic conditions or any accidents ahead. The number plates can also change to display an alert if the vehicle or digital plate is stolen.

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Microsoft Removes Antivirus Registry Key Check for All Windows Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 08:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's some-relaxation department:
Microsoft has decided to remove a mandatory "registry key requirement" it introduced in the aftermath of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability disclosure. BleepingComputer: Microsoft used this registry key to prevent Windows updates from being installed on computers running antivirus software incompatible with the Meltdown and Spectre patches. Antivirus vendors were supposed to create this registry key on users' computers to signal that they've updated their product and will not interfere with Microsoft's patches. This was a big issue because incompatible antivirus products would crash and BSOD Windows systems. [...] The OS maker removed the registry key check for Windows 10 computers last month, in March, and has announced yesterday that the key is no longer necessary for other Windows operating system versions -- 7, 8, 8.1, Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012.

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Spotify Is Planning a New Version of Its Free Music Service
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 08:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Spotify Technology is developing a new version of its free music service, the first big product change since the streaming company went public last week, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is tweaking the free service to make it easier to use, especially for customers on mobile phones, said the people. An announcement is expected within a couple weeks. Spotify needs to attract large numbers of new listeners to satisfy investors who value the newly public company based on user growth. The free service generates customers that the company can steer into its paid offerings. The paid version accounts for less than half of Spotify's customer base, but generated about 90 percent of its 4.09 billion euros in 2017 revenue. [...] With the updated service, free mobile listeners will be able to access playlists more quickly and have more control over what songs they hear on top playlists, mimicking Spotify's ad-free subscription product. The basic package is $9.99 a month.

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AV1 Beats x264 and Libvpx-Vp9 in Practical Use Case
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a blog post by Facebook engineer: We tested AV1 (a new open-source, royalty-free media codec) under conditions that closely match the most common real-world use cases for Facebook video. Our test examined AV1's performance vs. practical open source video encoders that can be deployed to a practical production system, rather than merely testing efficiency vs. standard reference software encoders (i.e., H.264/AVC Joint Model or JM). By structuring the test this way, we were able to show how the codec will perform in a true production environment compared with current widely used alternatives, such as x264 and libvpx-vp9. Our testing shows AV1 surpasses its stated goal of 30% better compression than VP9, and achieves gains of 50.3%, 46.2% and 34.0%, compared to x264 main profile, x264 high profile and libvpx-vp9, respectively. The new codec requires longer encoding times vs. current alternatives, however, due to increased complexity. Our tests were conducted primarily with Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) video files, because those are currently the most popular video formats on Facebook. But because AV1's performance increased as video resolution increased, we conclude the new compression codec will likely deliver even higher efficiency gains with UHD/4K and 8K content.

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Tech Giants Like Amazon and Facebook Should Be Regulated, Disrupted, or Broken Up: Mozilla Foundation
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
The Mozilla Foundation has called for the regulation of tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. From a report: Though tech giants in the U.S. and companies like Alibaba and Tencent in China have "helped billions realize the benefits of the internet," the report calls for regulation of these players to mitagate monopolistic business practices that undermine "privacy, openness, and competition on the web." They box out competitors, restricting innovation in the process, Mozilla wrote today in its inaugural Internet Health Report, "As their capacity to make sense of massive amounts of data grows through advances in artificial intelligence and quantum computing, their powers are likely to advance into adjacent businesses through vertical integrations into hardware, software, infrastructure, automobiles, media, insurance, and more -- unless we find a way to disrupt them or break them up." Governments should enforce anti-competitive behavior laws and rethink outdated antitrust models when implementing regulation of tech giants, the report states.

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Intel Reportedly Designing Arctic Sound Discrete GPU For Gaming, Pro Graphics
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 05:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's currently-in-the-works department:
MojoKid shares a report from HotHardware: When AMD's former graphics boss Raja Koduri landed at Intel after taking a much-earned hiatus from the company, it was seen as a major coup for the Santa Clara chip outfit, one that seemed to signal that Intel might be targeting to compete in the discrete graphics card market. While nothing has been announced in that regard, some analysts are claiming that there will indeed be a gaming variant of Intel's upcoming discrete "Arctic Sound" GPU. According to reports, Intel originally planned to build Arctic Sound graphics chips mainly for video streaming chores and data center activities. However, claims are surfacing that the company has since decided to build out a gaming variant at the behest of Koduri, who wants to "enter the market with a bang." Certainly a gaming GPU that could compete with AMD and NVIDIA would accomplish that goal. Reportedly, Intel could pull together two different version of Arctic Sound. One would be an integrated chip package, like the Core i7-8809G (Kaby Lake-G) but with Intel's own discrete graphics, as well as a standalone chip that will end up in a traditional graphics cards. Likely both of those will have variants designed for gaming, just as AMD and NVIDIA build GPUs for professional use and gaming as well.

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Steam Spy Announces It's Shutting Down, Blames Valve's New Privacy Settings
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 03:00 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's finger-pointing department:
Steam Spy, the world's most comprehensive game ownership and play estimator available to the public, announced that it "won't be able to operate anymore" thanks to recent changes to Valve's privacy policy. "Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default," the site's operators announced on its official Twitter account. "Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default." The creator of the website, Sergey Galyonkin, suggested that the site will only remain as an "archive" from here on out. Ars Technica reports: Indeed, Steam's new private-by-default setting is the kind of proactive, data-protective move that sites like Facebook have faced repeated scrutiny about over the past decade. However, as of press time, we could not confirm exactly how these updated settings will work, thanks to the service's "edit privacy settings" page currently appearing blank. (This can be found in the Steam interface by selecting the word "profile" under the menu that appears when mousing over your username.)

< article continued at Slashdot's finger-pointing department >

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Zuckerberg: Facebook Doesn't Use Your Mic For Ad Targeting
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '18 at 12:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's uneasy-feelings department:
During today's joint hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, CEO Mark Zuckerberg fully denied the idea that Facebook listens in on your conversations via microphones to display relevant ads. Engadget reports: Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) asked him to answer "yes or no" whether Facebook used audio from personal devices to fill out its ad data, and Zuckerberg said no. The CEO explained that users can upload videos with audio in them, but not the kind of background spying that you've probably heard people talk about. Peters: "I have heard constituents say Facebook is mining audio from their mobile devices for the purpose of ad targeting. This speaks to the lack of trust we are seeing. I understand there are technical and logistical issues for that to happen. For the record, I hear it all the time, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about its users?"

Zuckerberg: "We do not. Senator, Let me be clear on this. You are talking about the conspiracy theory passed around that we listen to what is going on on your microphone and use that. We do not do that. We do allow people to take videos on their device and share those. Videos also have audio. We do, while you are taking a video, record that and use that to make the service better by making sure that you have audio. That is pretty clear."

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Eating World's Hottest Pepper Sparks Brain Disorder, Thunderclap Headaches
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 08:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's too-hot-to-handle department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Extremely hot peppers don't just blister your mouth and bum -- they can also spark fiery havoc in your brain, according to a report published Monday in BMJ Case Reports. An otherwise healthy 34-year-old man developed a blood-flow disorder in his brain and suffered several debilitating "thunderclap" headaches after entering a hot pepper eating contest, U.S. doctors reported. The man had managed to get down a Carolina Reaper pepper, which in 2013 earned the title of the world's hottest chili by Guinness World Records.

The searing pepper didn't sit well in the chili-eating contestant. Immediately after slaying a Reaper, the man began dry heaving and developed pain in his neck and the back of his skull. That morphed into a diffuse, painful headache. Over the next few days, he experienced thunderclap headaches at least twice -- but likely more, he just couldn't recall exactly. Thunderclap headaches are severe, sudden, with quick pains that strike like a clap of thunder rumbling through your skull. They tend to peak within 60 seconds and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, altered mental state, seizures, and fever. Their stormy aches can be a sign of serious problems, like bleeding in the brain, a brain infection, or a cerebrospinal fluid leak. The pain was excruciating enough that the man went to the emergency room. But doctors didn't find any immediate problems with him to explain the episodes. He didn't have any slurred speech, loss of vision, neurological deficits, muscle weakness, or tingling. His blood pressure was a little high, but not extremely so, at 134/69 mmHg. Initial CT scans found no problems in his neck and head.

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Japan Could Have More Than 3 Million Cryptocurrency Traders
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 07:00 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-where-that-came-from department:
According to Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), the country has at least 3.5 million individuals that are trading with cryptocurrencies as actual assets. "Among them, crypto investors in their 20s, 30s and 40s make up a major share, accounting for 28, 34, and 22 percent, respectively, of the total crypto trader population in Japan," reports CoinDesk. From the report: Announced at the first meeting of a cryptocurrency exchange study group established by the FSA in early March, the data release marks the latest effort by the financial watchdog in bringing greater transparency to the industry following a recent hack of one of the domestic exchange Coincheck. According to the FSA, the study and disclosure of the domestic trading statistics is a first step towards a more comprehensive examination over institutional issues in the cryptocurrency trading space in Japan. In comparison, the financial regulator also disclosed in the latest report that the number of traders investing in cryptocurrency margins and futures is about 142,842 as of the end of March. What's perhaps notable is the major contrast in the growth of yearly trading volume drawn to these two different types of investments. According to the FSA's data, for example, yearly trading volume of the actual bitcoin cryptocurrency has grown from $22 million as of Mar. 31 in 2014 to $97 billion in 2017. Yet at the same time, trading on margins, credit and futures of bitcoin as an underlying asset has surged from only $2 million in 2014 to a whopping $543 billion just in 2017 alone, the agency said.

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Facebook Data Collected By Quiz App Included Private Messages
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 05:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-to-this-than-meets-the-eye department:
In addition to the public profile data of up to 87 million Facebook users, political data firm Cambridge Analytica also reportedly harvested people's private messages, too (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The New York Times reports: On Monday, Facebook began informing people whose data may have been compromised by Cambridge Analytica through an app developed by the researcher Aleksandr Kogan. In its notifications, Facebook said that while the information harvested was largely limited to what was on people's public profiles, "a small number of people" also shared information from their Facebook timeline, posts and messages. Facebook did not specify how many people's messages were gathered and said it was taking as broad a view as possible when notifying people that their data may have been taken.

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Apple Must Pay Patent Troll More Than $500 Million In iMessage Case
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 05:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drop-in-the-bucket department:
A federal court in Texas today has ordered Apple to pay $502.6 million to a patent troll called VirnetX, the latest twist in a dispute now in its eighth year. "VirnetX claimed that Apple's FaceTime, VPN on Demand and iMessage features infringe four patents related to secure communications, claims that Apple denied," reports Bloomberg. From the report: The dispute has bounced between the district court, patent office and Federal Circuit since 2010. There have been multiple trials, most recently one involving earlier versions of the Apple devices. A jury in that case awarded $302 million that a judge later increased to $439.7 million. Kendall Larsen, CEO of VirnetX, said the damages, which were based on sales of more than 400 million Apple devices, were "fair." "The evidence was clear," Larsen said after the verdict was announced. "Tell the truth and you don't have to worry about anything." For VirnetX, the jury verdict in its favor could be a short-lived victory. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has said the patents are invalid, in cases that are currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. The Federal Circuit, which handles all patent appeals, declined to put this trial on hold, saying it was so far along that a verdict would come before a final validity decision.

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Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook AI Will Curb Hate Speech In 5 To 10 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 04:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's curb-your-enthusiasm department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Inverse: After a question from Senator John Thune (R-SD) about why the public should believe that Facebook was earnestly working towards improving privacy, Zuckerberg essentially responded by saying that things are different now. Zuckerberg said that the platform is going through a "broad philosophical shift in how we approach our responsibility as a company." "We need to now take a more proactive view at policing the ecosystem," he said. In part, Zuckerberg was talking about hate speech and the various ways his platform has been used to seed misinformation. This prompted Thune to ask what steps Facebook was taking to improve its ability to define what is and what is not hate speech.

"Hate speech is one of the hardest," Zuckerberg said. "Determining if something is hate speech is very linguistically nuanced. You need to understand what is a slur and whether something is hateful, and not just in English..." Zuckerberg said that the company is increasingly developing AI tools to flag hate speech proactively, rather than relying on reactions from users and employees to flag offensive content. But according to the CEO, because flagging hate speech is so complex, he estimates it could take five to 10 years to create adequate A.I. "Today we're just not there on that," he said. For now, Zuckerberg said, it's still on users to flag offensive content. "We have people look at it, we have policies to try and make it as not subjective as possible, but until we get it more automated there is a higher error rate than I'm happy with," he said.

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LG's Upcoming 'G7 ThinQ' Smartphone To Feature Almost-Bezel-Less Display With Notch, Launch On May 2nd
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '18 at 04:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drum-roll-please department:
Earlier this morning, LG announced in a blog post that it will be hosting an event on May 2nd in New York City, where it would unveil its upcoming "LG G7 ThinQ" Android smartphone, with a public event in Korea on May 3rd. While LG has yet to confirm any other details of the phone in this post, we do have a pretty good idea as to what this flagship smartphone will feature thanks to some recently-leaked renders courtesy of Android Headlines. 9to5Google reports: This latest shot of the phone gives us a clear look at the design on the front and back. Up front, there's the same notched display we saw at MWC with questionably thick bezels on the bottom and top. With those bezels and the notch, users are undoubtedly going to be questioning LG's design choices this time around. There's also a glass back that comes in several colors with a fingerprint sensor and vertically oriented camera in tow. According to the report, LG will be launching the phone in Aurora Black, Platinum Grey, Moroccan Blue, Moroccan Blue (Matte), and Raspberry Rose, but it's unclear which markets those colors will be available in.

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