Tag Archive: USA

Robots and Fuel Strikes – What Are People Supposed to Do?

The Role of Work – What Is It?

  • Robot waiters in China

    Robot waiters in China

    The role of work is at the heart of many societal norms, take the so-called “protestant work ethic”.

  • The current strikes in France, inspired by the fuel tanker driver strike, will have many of a “work ethic” mindset secretly envious but openly tut-tutting.
    •  http://www.thelocal.fr/20160526/french-fuel-crisis-4600-petrol-stations-run-dry
  • China, despite its vast available workforce, is expanding the world of robotics at a rate of 40% annually.
    • https://www.therobotreport.com/news/40-annual-growth-forecast-for-chinese-robotics

But what’s it about?

France

At the heart of the French issue is the unilateral imposition, without a vote, by the apparently socialist (but in reality just as no-liberal as the rest of the West) French government.  This imposes a relaxing of the 35 hour weekly work-time rule.

This is said to be good for employers.

China

Foxconn, one of the world’s largest computer & electronic equipment makers is ditching 60, 000 people, for robots!

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36376966

This is said to be good for…. erm….

Not Only That, But Also

Well, Big Mcdonald’s in the USA may be ditching workers for robots

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2016/05/24/fmr-mcdonalds-usa-ceo-35k-robots-cheaper-than-hiring-at-15-per-hour.html

Munch & Sleep

We all have to eat and in The West we use money to pay for it all.  We also pay for our dwellings and all the knick-knacks that make our lives what they are (studies thumb while blundering down high street with little box in hand).

The role of money in our lives and how we get it is paramount.

Now let’s consider those workers striking to keep their hours down, their money up and the role of robots in all of this, because it affects us all.

Sooner or later, most of us will have to consider our place in this robotic world.  Really.  What will you do?

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

French petrol staion queues, 2016

Workers Going Nowhere in France

  • Work is NOT the be-all and end-all of everything.
  • Happiness is the be-all and end-all of everything.  (n.b. not the pursuit of happiness, just your average, every day happiness.  Goddit?)

So if:

  • McDonald’s and other fast food outlets ditch real human workers for robots (maybe just a food window like on the Star Trek Enterprise?),
  • waiters are replaced by robots,
  • computer makers ditch real people for robots,
  • doctors and even surgeons are replaced by robots,
  • trains, planes, buses and cars are all driven by robots…

…then we will all have much more free time.

BUT, and it is a big but,

  • How will we pay for our free time?

And for all those tut-tutting about the French workers on strike and jealous of a fully paid 35-hour working week

  • Where will your job be?
  • Where will you get your money?
  • Where’s your protestant work ethic now?

How will universal happiness be attained?

Because:

  • Not everyone is blessed with the muses.
  • Not everyone can be a politician.
  • Not everyone can run quaint tea shops and sell tat to tourists.
  • Not everyone can be a plumber.

Don’t start the argument that people will be needed to fix the machines, the phones, the computers.  Electronic devices are consumables now and do not need fixing.  They just get replaced. The people that currently devise new machines have been redundant for many years.

In fact, most new computer circuitry is designed…by computer!

Terminated

…and with robots creating robots that do all the work, what place for people?  With decision-making robots, maybe the Terminator series are closer than we think?

Terminated

Terminated

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Strange Sights in Australia

Introduction

Funnel Web Spider in Mail Box

Funnel Web Spider in Mail Box

These are a few of the odd things that set Australia apart from the mother country (i.e. the UK!)  Similar, yet different, eh?

The Spider Mailbox

The Spider Mailbox

Most suburban houses follow the USA mailbox style, with some sort of box on the edge of the property.  But watch out for spiders when fetching the post!

Yet funnel web spiders, some of which can kill you in hours, aren’t the only strange, odd, things.


Merry Christmas in Rye, Victoria

Merry Christmas in Rye, Victoria

Because just across the road, Santa awaits…  inflated to gigantic proportions in an expensive house, built on sand dunes, made in the style of a 19th century colonial house, filled with all the gadgetry and labour-saving devices of the modern world.


A walk in the country can provide a host of oddities, from the deadly to the silly.

 

More Pictures

These are a few I came across.  Places include Melbourne, Port Douglas in tropical Queensland and various sites across the Mornington Peninsular.  I’m fascinated by the signs that are put up for public information.  A real clue into everything, I think.

Japanese Bomb Sculpture - note the guy mowing the grass in the background. That was a noisy machine I can tell you!

Japanese Bomb Sculpture – note the guy mowing the grass in the background. That was a noisy machine I can tell you!

Japanese Bomb Sign

Japanese Bomb Sign – little girl was the only casualty of WW2 on the East Australian mainland. (This contrasts sharply with the tens of thousands killed NOT on the mainland)

Crocodiles and Stinger Signs Next to Each Other!

Crocodiles and Stinger Signs Next to Each Other!
Just off the Captain Cook Highway.

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery - contrasts to the large sculptures...

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery – contrasts to the large sculptures…

Tourism is Big - this is the Puffing Billy train in the Dandenongs

Tourism is Big – this is the Puffing Billy train in the Dandenongs

Big, forward control lorries are common in Australia even in urban areas. They hammer along everywhere, apparently in all lanes.

Big, forward control lorries are common in Australia even in urban areas. They hammer along everywhere, apparently in all lanes.

Graffiti All Over Melbourne

Graffiti All Over Melbourne – despite the sun and wealth, many of man’s creations are amended with random ink. Cops go on trains in fives.

Even Cats Get Banned from a Vineyard

Even Cats Get Banned from a Vineyard

Man-made Floating Island - this is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is The Coral Sea

Man-made Floating Island – this is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The breaking surf is The Coral Sea

View from a Yacht

View from a Yacht – Queensland and it’s hills round Port Douglas. You just point and click, there are views everywhere.

More Views - from near Cpt Cook Hwy. Banana and Cane fields just out of sight.

More Views – from near Cpt Cook Hwy. Banana fields just out of sight.

Fascination with Olden Days

Fascination with Olden Days – signs all over, this is Daintree

Daintree River Crocodile Sign - no paddling and keep your eyes open - they've had crocs in excess of 5m long here.

Daintree River Crocodile Sign – no paddling and keep your eyes open – they’ve had crocs in excess of 5m long here.

Humourous Daintree Crocodile Signs on the WC Publics

Humourous Daintree Crocodile Signs on the WC Publics

My own image of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

My own image of Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

Cape Tribulation - here the tropical jungle hits the Great Barrier Reef via the mangrove swamps and beach.

Cape Tribulation – here the tropical jungle hits the Great Barrier Reef via the mangrove swamps and beach.
It’s where Cook’s ship “Endeavour” was dragged ashore to be fixed after crashing into a coral reef (now named after the ship).

Cassowary v Range Rover

Cassowary v Range Rover; not so fair.

Dangerous Pedestrians!

Dangerous Pedestrians! They can injure and kill people when provoked.

Views! Along Captain Cook Highway. Australia is full of views. Loads. All over the place.

Views! Along Captain Cook Highway. Australia is full of views. Loads. All over the place.

Tropical Rain Forest, Hot. This is Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

Tropical Rain Forest, Hot. This is Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

Garbage Recycling, Queensland Style

Garbage Recycling, Queensland Style.
In Packers Creek, upstream from Port Douglas, they just dump their boats and leave them to the crocodiles when they’re finished with them.

Sign Overload, some graphically scary

Sign Overload, some graphically scary – Stingers are not nice

View at Port Douglas

View at Port Douglas, Queensland

Memorial to a war on the opposite side of the world

Melbourne Memorial to a war on the opposite side of the world – beautiful quotes from Wilfred Own in there.

Another sign

Another sign

Random Public Art - McClelland Gallery, Frankston.

Random Public Art – McClelland Gallery, Frankston.

Odd Signs with Humour

Odd Signs with Humour

Serious Melbourne Tram System

Serious Melbourne Tram System

Odd Signs

Odd Signs

Ancient "cold" Tropical Rainforest in the South

Ancient “cold” Tropical Rainforest in the South (Dandenongs)

Odd signs

Odd signs

Odd Signs and characteristic Oz Humour

Odd Signs and characteristic Oz Humour

Blue-ringed octopus in a pool at Cape Schanck

Blue-ringed octopus in a pool at Cape Schanck – there is no known anti-venom!!! It is there in a crack.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-ringed_octopus

Odd Signs

Sudden Waves don’t reach the odd sign.

Red-bellied black snake - when walking down to Cape Schanck

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_black_snake
Red-bellied black snake taken walking down to Cape Schanck

 


Conclusion

Australia is a strange, deadly place, filled with amazing natural resources.

The quirky humour of the people is to be treasured.

They try to be uppity with their restaurants, vineyards, big boys toys and gadgets, yet underneath, the wild west existence is evident all around.

It’s all in the nature of the place.

We are a mixture of the land we live in and the land we came from.


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Zyklon B Zombies – Never Too Leyte

A performance piece for Dionysian Heights. Part Two: Death

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it – George Santayana

This is a revision of the earlier video with something that I consider more appropriate both to us at the time, the feel of the piece, and how I feel right now.  The music is the same and I’ve edited lots of WW2 video archive material to fit, where possible, to the sounds.
Recorded circa 1980-81
The music was created by Crawling Chaos as accompaniment to a performance piece by Zyclon B Zombies called Dionysian Heights, a morbid and gory on-stage blood fest with real offal and copious quantities of ketchup.
See http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/1145/zyklon-b-zombies-death/

All music copyright Crawling Chaos
All video and images are in the public domain, free of copyright or under creative commons’ licences.  They’re all available here on the wayback machine.  These are what I used:

NewsMaga00_2_edit.mp4
Into_the_wind_at_leyte_gulfRedoRedo_mpeg2video.mpg
gov.dod.dimoc.26524.mpeg
gov.archives.arc.65631_512kb.mp4
gov.archives.arc.35904_512kb.mp4
gov.archives.arc.3483_512kb.mp4
gov.archives.arc.2765_512kb.mp4
1944-12-20_Allies_Fight_Fierce_Nazi_Counter-Blow.mpeg

n.b. My dad missed The Battle of Leyte Gulf (some of the footage here) though he was at D-Day and then was part of the British Task Force  57 at Okinawa on his ship, HMS Slinger.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Pacific_Fleet
This piece is dedicated to my dad and folks like him

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Estonian Spammer Forges CBS and The Guardian

Get Rich Quick Scam Forges Genuine News Agencies Web Pages

Gmail Spam

Gmail Spam

I recently received two emails from a friend’s old Hotmail account, but to two of my email addresses.

Email Spam

Email Spam

Probably, the account has been hacked as I could detect no spoofing in the emails’ headers.  These are the emails, with the email addresses blacked out.

Initial Email Investigations

The text is similar in that they try to entice a user using pretty poor English to click on the shortened URL links, which are active.

Here’s how the links work:
To my Email address;
cbsbusiness9

cbsbusiness9

I had http://cbsbusiness9.com/index2.php?/5260 which then goes to

http://cbsbusiness9.com/uk.html?/partners/the-guardian/small-business/5672-9782-67834/making-money-online/

 

To my GMail address;
cbsnews-article

cbsnews-article

I had http://cbsnews-article.com/index2.php?/4032 which then goes to

http://cbsnews-article.com/uk.html?/partners/the-guardian/small-business/5672-9782-67834/making-money-online/

 

The screenshots show the results using a neat Firefox plugin, Flagfox, which displays the source IP address and country on mouse-over.

The WHOIS’s of each domain are almost identical.  These are screenshots.

whois.domaintools.com screen capture 2012-12-12-17-12-26 whois.domaintools.com screen capture 2012-12-12-17-13-17 That Arthor Brown’s a one, eh?  Notice the Ukrainian, Russian and New York connections?   Who is/are  or what is:

TNew line ave 172 95
NY, 18274
UNITED STATES
+1.7343541732

Google Search on +1.7343541732

Google Search on +1.7343541732

Googling the phone number pulls out a heap of (not)surprises including an awful cesspit of scamminess that’s now starting to rival Pacific Webworks’ Google Treasure Chest and Jesse Willms’ Colon cleansing efforts!  (We saw these scams a few years back – check the links)

Just check out the fake news and dodgy sounding sites in the search results….  These are the first couple of pages of current search results:

  • Com-news8.net
  • Bcnews8.com
  • Dildobigg.com
  • Raspberry-Ketone24.com
  • BigGgEts.com
  • HurtGuys.com
  • GrowsPeniss.com
  • HugerAss.com
  • Com-news9.net
  • Com-nbcnews9.net
  • coloncleanse-extreme.com
  • nbc9news.com
  • nbc1news.com

Arthor Brown is in most of them with his Yahoo! email address as arthor-brown289289@ymail.com.   Please don’t confuse him with this Arthur Brown, but yes, handle all of these websites like Fire!

Forged Webpages of The Guardian Newspaper

cbsnews-article.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-3-51

cbsnews-article.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-3-51

cbsbusiness9.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-3-23

cbsbusiness9.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-3-23

The Guardian, is an old and respected news organisation in the UK.  CBS is a long-established US media network.

They, and the purported author of both webpages, Sirena Bergman, must be pretty pissed off about the hijacking of their names.

Also to be annoyed, is Lloyds TSB Bank who apparently are “in association” with this get rich quick scheme for work at home moms!

Completely Forged News Articles!

Indeed they are.

  • The articles are dated “December, 11:41”, which is odd since there’s no day, just month and time!
  • Both articles are embedded in genuine Guardian web-pages, with all the links surrounding the article going to genuine Guardian web-pages or genuine advertiser websites!
  • The hook links in both forged webpages go to http://workinghome22.com/go.php

The forgery is done in the same manner as the well-known phishing scams done for banks and on-line finance and insurance.

Apart from the images sourced from The Guardian, the scammer’s images are sourced from:

  • ddmcdn.com which is HowStuffWorks.com!
  • localconsumeralerts.com
  • prosperadtracker.com
  • ophan.co.uk

So, Who Is workinghome22.com

Bad Gateway

Bad Gateway

The first link was dead, opening a bad gateway so the expected redirect didn’t work.  The tracking pointed back to Ireland!

Bad Gateway

Bad Gateway

The second link worked, but the sweetly named workingfromhome22.com wasn’t the destination.   No, the link immediate re-directed to http://onlineincnow.com/2/?aff_sub=72

Well, at least the affiliate number 72 is getting paid….

But hang on, who exactly is workingfromhome22.com?
workinghome22.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-31-44

workinghome22.com screen capture 2012-12-12-16-31-44

Well, typing the URL directly takes me to workingfromhome22.com!  This is it!

Cunningly, you’ll note that it’s pulled out my home-town as Bournemouth (where I live) with that awful “mom” Americanism!  No-one in the UK addresses their mother as mom…  I mean, FFS?

The webpage links, containing the disreputably used graphics of Thomson, Reuters, CNBC and NBC Universal all point to http://workinghome22.com/go.php, which is of course in this domain.  So let’s click it, shall we?

Well, pctrck.com is trying to load, but not much else.

Reversing then trying to exit workinghome22.com produces a pop-up of dubious functionality!  Check the words – there’s no cancel button!

workinghoome22_Popup

workinghoome22_Popup

I did however manage to successfully close this page following that.  Whew!

Now Back to onlineincnow.com

OnlineIncNow Location

OnlineIncNow Location

The previously mentioned http://onlineincnow.com/2/?aff_sub=72 is located in the USA.

So What Is It Up To?

OnlineIncNow.com Whois Record

OnlineIncNow.com Whois Record

Good Question!   A WHOIS puts the registrant in China with the DNS servers in Russia!

As I mentioned earlier, the similarity of the scamminess of this thing is just like the Google Treasure Chest/ Google Money Tree / PWW scams of old.

The site is plastered with the logos of well known businesses to ad an air of authenticity to things (just as the original hook sites used The Guardian Newspaper and CBS in the same way) yet at the bottom of the page they disingenuously ad:

This site and the products and services offered on this site are not associated, affiliated, endorsed, or sponsored by NBCNEWS, ABC, USA Today, CNN or Fox News, nor have they been reviewed tested or certified by NBCNEWS, ABC, USA Today, CNN or Fox News.

onlineincnow.com T&C Screenshot

onlineincnow.com T&C Screenshot

Despite all this, it is of course bollox set to deceive.  In fact, it now appears that it’s the well known negative option scam, used by Pacific Webworks (PWW) and Jesse Willms to good effect until they were found out.

Let’s see how this pans out, shall we?…..

Check out the T&C page from the tiny link in the page footer – screenshot on the right.

  • They say that the applicable law is the State of Florida.
  • You will become a “member” and the key phrases are here:

You must register as a “Member” with Online Income Now to access certain functions of the website. You must provide current, complete and accurate information about yourself (the “Registration Data”) when registering as a Member. You agree that such information is truthful and complete. You agree to maintain and keep your Registration Data current and to update your Registration Data as soon as it changes. You are responsible for maintaining the security of your password. Online Income Now is not liable for any loss that you suffer through the use of your password by others. You agree to notify Online Income Now immediately of any unauthorized use of your account or other breach of security known to you. You also, by becoming a Member, agree to report violations of these Terms and Conditions by others to Online Income Now.

For a limited time only, the cost of this product is $97.00 ( usual price $299.95 ) and every 32 days thereafter you will be billed the member’s only price of $9.95 for the monthly use.

MATERIALS PROVIDED TO Online Income Now OR POSTED AT ANY Online Income Now’s WEB SITE

Online Income Now does not claim ownership of the materials you provide to Online Income Now (including feedback and suggestions) or post, upload, input or submit to any Online Income Now Web Site or its associated services (collectively “Submissions”). However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you are granting Online Income Now, its affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees, permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses including, without limitation, the rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission.

You’ll see that “Online Income Now” will:

  • make you a “member” (of what?)
  • and you will be regularly billed, (why?)
  • and that for anything you post, upload etc (wah?  whadya mean?  Where is this uploading?),  “Online Income Now” will take no responsibility for what you do!

…………….which is curious as you don’t know what you’ll be doing and they have invited you to do it in the first place!!!

Now Lets Click The Link!  Follow that Opportunity!

onlineincnow.com screen capture 2012-12-12-17-46-50

2 Spots Left!

Amazingly (sarcasm alert) there are two “spots” left in my area!  This is the page… http://onlineincnow.com/2/index2.php

Michelle Johnson is the “guru” who will tell me everything!  So what do I do?  I have two options:

  • Back out
  • Sign up

Let’s Try Backing Out, Shall We?

CannotBackoutFromOnlineIncNow2

Cannot Backout From OnlineIncNow 2

CannotBackoutFromOnlineIncNow

Cannot Backout From OnlineIncNow

Well of course, they won’t let me.  It takes two goes to get out and the first one completely takes over the browser!  Bad.  This is B.A.D.

Ah, well.  Finally escaped.

Let’s Try Clicking to the Signup Page, Shall We?

secure.onlineincnow.com Data Entry Screen

secure.onlineincnow.com Data Entry Screen

I decide on my name, “Jobless Jake” and a random phone number…. The website is now https://secure.onlineincnow.com/2/cc_97.php

What I see is bad, really bad, and any attempt by this pack of jokers at saying they don’t run a negative option scam is now revealed on this sign-up page!

The scam is now revealed for what it is – a negative option scam!        Read it carefully…..  They expressly say;

By enrolling, you will be charged a one-time fee of $97.00

In teeny-tiny letters, note!

But remember, right back buried in the T&C’s they say;

every 32 days thereafter you will be billed the member’s only price of $9.95 for the monthly use.

This is expressly against the FTC code and laws in most countries.  If any extra charges are to be levied for any service or goods, they should be expressly stated on the sign-up page where the customer first enters their financial details.

Gotcha! You Bastards!

Okay, I’ve Had Enough of This. I’m Off!

“Not so fast, young Jobless Jake”, say onlineincnow.com……!

CannotBackoutFromOnlineIncNow3

Cannot Backout From OnlineIncNow 3

They’ve an extra 20% off plus and extra bit of webpage-erese!  The screenshot says it all, though it wasn’t the end of it.  I had one more “Leave Page” option like the earlier one above.

Conclusion

Negative Options are banned by law in most countries.  If you get collared by one, you’ll have a job stopping the bastards taking money from your account for ages.  The only sure way to stop this once you’ve been sucked in is through….

  • Chargebacks.   Get your bank or card company to get a charge-back saying the terms of trade or purchase were hidden (as seen in my screenshot above).

So………………….

  • It’s a scam.
  • Stay away from it.


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Good News on Google Scams – Consumers Get Money From FTC

Google Treasure Chest Pay Back to Innocent, Duped, Scammed Consumers

FTC Issues Cheques for Google Scams

FTC Issues Cheques for People Duped by Google Scams

It was over three years ago that I first came across a scam, centred around Pacific Webworks (PWW), mainly under the Google Treasure Chest and Google Money Tree monikers.  As I delved deeper, along with other folks, we came across the true scale of the scam.  Our researches then took us into similar scams run by Jesse Willms, all using the same modus operandi of:

  • negative option marketing
  • illegal cash withdrawals from bank accounts
  • a myriad network of affiliates
  • fake or holding addresses, many in foreign countries outside the normal laws, that opened and closed rapidly allowing consumers no come-back
  • illegal medical or wealth claims
  • offshore banking, now known following the recent banking scandals to be heavily centred around the City of London

We always recommended that consumers issue a credit card charge-back against PWW and Willms.  This is the only way to stop the withdrawals and to counter the “businesses” operations at source.   And it worked!

Yesterday, the USA’s FTC issued a statement as well as money in the form of cheques to all consumers known to have been defrauded by PWW and others in the Google Treasure Chest/Money Tree scam.  Their statement is here: FTC Returns More than $2 Million to Buyers of the “Google Money Tree” Work-at-Home Scam.  They say,

Under a settlement agreement with the FTC, the defendants are banned from selling products through “negative option” transactions, in which the seller interprets consumers’ silence or inaction as permission to charge them, and are also prohibited from making misleading or unsupported claims while marketing or selling any product or service. The settlement also required the defendants to surrender cash and other assets, and these are now being used by the FTC to refund consumers who bought the “Google Money Tree,” “Google Pro,” or “Google Treasure Chest” products.

They also include instructions for people who haven’t yet claimed – so if you were conned into getting rich with Google or similar, contact them now and get at least part of your money back!  This is what they said,

The checks will be mailed by an administrator working for the FTC. Consumers who made purchases from “Google Money Tree,” “Google Pro,” or “Google Treasure Chest” will receive approximately $24.50.  Consumers who have questions, or who have not yet filed a complaint with the FTC and wish to do so, should call the Redress Administrator, Gilardi & Co. LLC, toll free, at 1-877-226-2847. Consumers seeking general information about the FTC’s redress program may visit the FTC’s refunds website.  The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.

Checks will be mailed on September 11, 2012, and must be cashed on or before November 12, 2012.

So get on in there folks!


Crime Pays, But Not Always – added on 18 Sep 2012

Here’s a reminder of how crime does not pay – the Pacific Webworks share price!

PWW 5yr share history

PWW 5yr share history

Since the successive hits on PWW following our and others’ investigations their share price has languished at around a penny for about half the past year!  Their meteoric rise, right as the depression started to hit, was entirely due to conning vulnerable people in desperate times.

  1. Then folks like me started shouting!
  2. Then Google took note and sued them.
  3. Then the FTC laid charges.
  4. Then they were found to have funny-looking accounts and changed their accountants and management.
  5. Now they’ve had to pay out to the very people who were conned.

So as I just said,

Get on in there folks!


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