AuthorTopic: RIP Aaron Swartz  (Read 6148 times)

Offline Snowleopard

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Re: Aaron Swartz: Suicide or Murder?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2013, 11:05:15 AM »
Aaron Swartz: Suicide or Murder? by Diner Crossposting Blogger Steve Lendman now UP on the Diner Blog.

RE

Aaron's Blog is still up.  I was reading, trying to find an indication that he was suicidal.  There is alot there and i'm not done reading.  This post though, tends to crystalise my opinion that Aaron was not suicidal:


Lean into the pain

This post is part four of the series Raw Nerve.

When you first begin to exercise, it’s somewhat painful. Not wildly painful, like touching a hot stove, but enough that if your only goal was to avoid pain, you certainly would stop doing it. But if you keep exercising… well, it just keeps getting more painful. When you’re done, if you’ve really pushed yourself, you often feel exhausted and sore. And the next morning it’s even worse.

If that was all that happened, you’d probably never do it. It’s not that much fun being sore. Yet we do it anyway — because we know that, in the long run, the pain will make us stronger. Next time we’ll be able to run harder and lift more before the pain starts.

And knowing this makes all the difference. Indeed, we come to see the pain as a sort of pleasure — it feels good to really push yourself, to fight through the pain and make yourself stronger. Feel the burn! It’s fun to wake up sore the next morning, because you know that’s just a sign that you’re getting stronger.

Few people realize it, but psychological pain works the same way. Most people treat psychological pain like the hot stove — if starting to think about something scares them or stresses them out, they quickly stop thinking about it and change the subject.

The problem is that the topics that are most painful also tend to be the topics that are most important for us: they’re the projects we most want to do, the relationships we care most about, the decisions that have the biggest consequences for our future, the most dangerous risks that we run. We’re scared of them because we know the stakes are so high. But if we never think about them, then we can never do anything about them.

Ray Dalio writes:


It is a fundamental law of nature that to evolve one has to push one’s limits, which is painful, in order to gain strength—whether it’s in the form of lifting weights, facing problems head-on, or in any other way. Nature gave us pain as a messaging device to tell us that we are approaching, or that we have exceeded, our limits in some way. At the same time, nature made the process of getting stronger require us to push our limits. Gaining strength is the adaptation process of the body and the mind to encountering one’s limits, which is painful. In other words, both pain and strength typically result from encountering one’s barriers. When we encounter pain, we are at an important juncture in our decision-making process.1
 
Yes it’s painful, but the trick is to make that mental shift. To realize that the pain isn’t something awful to be postponed and avoided, but a signal that you’re getting stronger — something to savor and enjoy. It’s what makes you better.

Pretty soon, when you start noticing something that causes you psychic pain, you’ll get excited about it, not afraid. Ooh, another chance to get stronger. You’ll seek out things you’re scared of and intentionally confront them, because it’s an easy way to get the great rewards of self-improvement. Dalio suggests thinking of each one as a puzzle, inside of which is embedded a beautiful gem. If you fight through the pain to solve the puzzle, you unlock it and get to keep the gem.

The trick is: when you start feeling that psychological pain coming on, don’t draw back from it and cower — lean into it. Lean into the pain.

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In agile software development, there’s a phrase: If it hurts, do it more often.2

For example, imagine Jane and Joan are working on a software project together. They both have a copy of the code; Jane is making the error messages friendlier while Joan is adding a new feature. They both work on their task for days and days until it’s finally done. Now they face a problem: they need to merge their different changes back together.

Maybe you’ve had this problem, either with code or with text documents: you send a draft of a report to two friends, both suggest different changes, and you have to merge all their changes back into the original document. It’s incredibly annoying — and doing it with software is way worse. So people put it off. Jane thinks “you know, let me just make the thank you messages a little nicer before we merge” and Joan thinks “you know, let me add just one more feature before we merge”.

They keep putting the merge off, and every time they do the task gets bigger and more painful. But they have to do it eventually. By then, the merge is so big that it takes days of painstaking work just to piece together the already-written code. It’s an arduous, painful process — which makes Joan and Jane just want to put it off even longer next time.

The agile approach, however, is to do the opposite: merging hurts, so we’ll do it more often. Instead of merging every couple weeks, or every couple months, we’ll merge every single day, or every couple hours. Even if Jane and Joan aren’t even close to finished with their work, they’ll check in what they have so far (maybe with some special code deactivating it until it’s finished) so they don’t end up in merge hell later on. These very small merges tend not to be painful at all, they’re so easy that you hardly even notice.

The same principle shows up all across software development: from testing to releasing, your natural inclination is to put off painful things, when doing them more often actually is much easier.

And I don’t think it’s limited to software. I think the same principle would work even if, for some odd reason, you were required to touch a hot stove for an hour. Procrastinating and putting it off until you had no choice but to hold your hand to the stove for a full hour would end up being very painful. But if you did it in small frequent bits, just quick taps of the stove with your finger that eventually added up to an hour, it wouldn’t be so bad at all. Again, the trick is not to run from the pain.

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Of all the self-improvement tricks I’ve learned, this one was by far the most surprising — and by far the most impactful. I spent most of my life hemmed in by my talents. I knew I had strengths and weaknesses and it just seemed obvious I should find jobs that fit my strengths. It seemed crazy to take a job that probed my weaknesses.

Sure, there were somethings, over there, that I wished I was better at, but they seemed so far away. Meanwhile, there were lots of things over here that I was good at. Why not just keep doing them? Sure, I realized intellectually that I could get better at the other stuff, but it hardly seemed worth the pain of trying.

I’d learned not to shrink from hard truths, so I’d literally have this conversation with myself: “Yes, I know: if I got better at selling things to people [or whatever it was], I’d be much better off. But look at how painful I find selling: just thinking about it makes me want to run and hide! Sure, it’d be great if I could do it, but is it really worth all that pain?”

Now I realize this is a bogus argument: it’s not that the pain is so bad that it makes me flee, it’s that the importance of the topic triggers a fight-or-flight reaction deep in my reptile brain. If instead of thinking of it as a scary subject to avoid, I think of it as an exciting opportunity to get better, then it’s no longer a cost-benefit tradeoff at all: both sides are a benefit — I get the benefits of being good at selling and the fun of getting better at something.

Do this enough times and your whole outlook on life begins to change. It’s no longer a scary world, hemming you in, but an exciting one full of exciting adventures to pursue.3

Tackling something big like this is terrifying; it’s far too much to start with. It’s always better to start small. What’s something you’ve been avoiding thinking about? It can be anything — a relationship difficulty, a problem at work, something on your todo list you’ve been avoiding. Call it to mind — despite the pain it brings — and just sort of let it sit there. Acknowledge that thinking about it is painful and feel good about yourself for being able to do it anyway. Feel it becoming less painful as you force yourself to keep thinking about it. See, you’re getting stronger!

OK, take a break. But when you’re ready, come back to it, and start thinking of concrete things you can do about it. See how it’s not as scary as you thought? See how good it feels to actually do something about it?

Next time you start feeling that feeling, that sense of pain from deep in your head that tells you to avoid a subject — ignore it. Lean into the pain instead. You’ll be glad you did.


http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/rawnerve
"A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest." -  Simon and Garfunkel

Offline davisherb

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2013, 04:07:50 PM »
Great article and you raise a truth that needs to be told...thank you

Offline RE

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2013, 05:28:24 PM »
Great article and you raise a truth that needs to be told...thank you

:hi: to the Diner DH.

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Offline WHD

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2013, 05:46:19 PM »
Great article and you raise a truth that needs to be told...thank you

:hi: to the Diner DH.

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Thanks for sayin' so davisherb. And Welcome.

WHD

Offline RE

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Clan of the Copyright Bear Revisited
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2013, 11:23:02 PM »
Clan of the Copyright Bear Revisited by Diner GODFATHER RE now UP on the Diner Blog!

The recent Murder of Aaron Swartz, along with my own recent issues with archiving importat digital material in advance of the End of the Internet led me to revisit the concepts of Intellectual Property Law, most specifically Patents and Copyrights.

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Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz Anonymous hacker group: Two jailed for cyber attacks
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 05:46:22 PM »

BBC News UK
24 January 2013 Last updated at 13:10 ET
Anonymous hacker group: Two jailed for cyber attacks

Two men who carried out cyber attacks for the Anonymous hacking group have been jailed.

Christopher Weatherhead, 22, of Northampton, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, of Camberwell, London, were jailed for 18 months and seven months respectively.

The two men carried out distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks which paralyse computer systems by flooding them with online requests.

The ones they attacked included payment site PayPal, costing it £3.5m.

Co-defendant Peter Gibson, of Hartlepool, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Another defendant, Jake Birchall, 18, from Chester, will be sentenced on 1 February.
'You're being stung'

The sentences were handed down at Southwark Crown Court and are thought to be the first convictions for DDoS in the UK.

Weatherhead and Rhodes were found guilty of conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011.

Gibson was deemed to have played a lesser role in the conspiracy and admitted his part, as did Birchall.

The websites targeted by the cyber attacks were chosen by Anonymous, as part of what it called Operation Payback, because the hackers did not agree with their views.
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21187632#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa    :icon_study:

Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz: MIT consults staff and students over Aaron Swartz probe
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2013, 06:06:20 PM »

BBC News Technology
24 January 2013 Last updated at 10:25 ET
MIT consults staff and students over Aaron Swartz probe

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has begun soliciting input from the university's "community" into its review into the suicide of internet activist Aaron Swartz.

The site allows staff, students past and present and their parents to submit questions to MIT's investigation team.

Mr Swartz, 26, was found hanged earlier this month.

He was accused of illegally downloading academic documents using MIT networks, a charge many had said was unfair.

Suggestions on the site include: "What support, if any, does MIT offer for students undergoing federal investigations or criminal charges? If none, why not?"

MIT has said its review will be complete in "a few weeks".

It will be a chance to rebuild its reputation following heavy criticism over its role in Mr Swartz's arrest and subsequent treatment.

According to police reports of his arrest, Mr Swartz was first reported to the authorities by an employee at MIT's IT department.

MIT told officers more than 70GB of data had been downloaded from JStor, a subscription service that offers academic journals.

If convicted, Mr Swartz could have faced up to 35 years in prison.

He also might have had to pay a fine of more than $1m (£630,000).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21182107#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa   :icon_study:

Offline WHD

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Re: Clan of the Copyright Bear Revisited
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2013, 12:10:14 PM »
Clan of the Copyright Bear Revisited by Diner GODFATHER RE now UP on the Diner Blog!

The recent Murder of Aaron Swartz, along with my own recent issues with archiving important digital material in advance of the End of the Internet led me to revisit the concepts of Intellectual Property Law, most specifically Patents and Copyrights.

RE

F****** awesome. Thank you, for everything.

I've been suspicious of that Cloud idea since I first heard it. I think we need a global, hardware network as part of the Commons.  Along with land, btw.

Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz:
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2013, 08:00:10 AM »
Hacktivist organization, Anonymous, is threatening perhaps their biggest play ever: a massive WikiLeaks-style exposure of sensitive U.S. government secrets. As proof of their power, they announced details of the plan on hacked government website, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC.gov). Citing the recent death of free information activist Aaron Swartz, they explain, “With Aaron’s death we can wait no longer. The time has come to show the United States Department of Justice and its affiliates the true meaning of infiltration.”

Swartz was facing up to 50+ years in prison and a $4 million fine after releasing pay-walled academic articles from the popular JSTOR database. Some legal scholars have argued that releasing copyrighted material, or breaking the “terms of service” of a website, should not carry such harsh penalties. Anonymous is demanding that legislation be passed to no longer consider such violations a felony–a law that Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CrunchGov Grade: A) has already introduced.

If legal reforms are not enacted, Anonymous has threatened to activate files containing embarrassing or incriminating secrets.

    “The contents are various and we won’t ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file. Any media outlets wishing to be eligible for this program must include within their reporting a means of secure communications.”

                                                    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/WaPni5O2YyI&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/WaPni5O2YyI&fs=1</a>

techcrunch.com/2013/01/26/anonymous-threatens-massive-wikileaks-style-exposure-announced-on-hacked-gov-site/?icid=maing-grid10|htmlws-sb-bb|dl3|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D262101 
 :icon_study:

Offline WHD

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2013, 08:23:14 AM »
http://rt.com/usa/news/napolitano-us-cyber-attack-761/


Homeland Security's Napolitano invokes 9/11 to push for CISPA 2.0



Published @ RT: 25 January, 2013, 21:33

In an attempt to scare the public with a looming cyber attack on US infrastructure, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is once again pushing Congress to pass legislation allowing the government to have greater control over the Internet.

Napolitano issued the warnings Thursday, claiming that inaction could result in a “cyber 9/11” attack that could knock out water, electricity and gas, causing destruction similar to that left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

Napolitano said that in order to prevent such an attack, Congress must pass legislation that gives the US government greater access to the Internet and cybersecurity information from the private sector. Such a bill, known as CISPA or  Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was already introduced last year, but failed to pass in Congress due to concerns expressed by businesses and privacy advocates.

“We shouldn’t wait until there is a 9/11 in the cyber world. There are things we can and should be doing right now that, if not prevent, would mitigate the extent of the damage,” Napolitano said in a speech at the Wilson Center, a Washington, DC think tank.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also been a strong advocate for increased governmental grip on the web and in October warned that the US is facing a possible “cyber-Pearl Harbor” by foreign hackers.

“A cyber attack perpetuated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” he said during a speech. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

Last September, Napolitano reiterated disappointment with Congress for failing to pass the cybersecurity legislation in August.

“Attacks are coming all the time,” she said in a speech at the Social Good Summit. “They are coming from different sources, they take different forms. But they are increasing in seriousness and sophistication.”

Despite Homeland Security’s constant warnings that hackers could shut down critical US infrastructure, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 was shot down by the Senate in August, even though the Obama administration had pushed for the bill in numerous hearings and briefings.

Privacy advocates had expressed concern that the US government would be able to read Americans’ personal e-mails, online chat conversations, and other personal information that only private companies and servers might have access to. The head of the National Security Agency promised it wouldn’t abuse its power, but critics have remained skeptical.

A coalition of Democrats this year pledged to make this legislation a priority.

“Given all that relies on a safe and secure Internet, it is vital that we do what’s necessary to protect ourselves from hackers, cyber thieves, and terrorists,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

The White House is also working on an executive order that would encourage companies to meet government cybersecurity standards.

Offline JoeP

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Re: RIP Aaron Swartz
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 02:45:43 PM »
For anyone interested...

Aaron Swartz’s FBI File
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 02:47:31 PM by JoeP »
just my straight shooting honest opinion

Offline RE

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RIP Aaron Swartz: New Documentary Film
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2014, 01:31:19 AM »
There is a new Documentary Film about the Life & Death of Hero of the Revolution Aaron Swartz, "The Internet's Own Boy"

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/RvsxnOg0bJY?feature=player_detailpage" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/RvsxnOg0bJY?feature=player_detailpage</a>

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“The Internet’s Own Boy”: Documentary about “Hacktivist” Aaron Swartz


internet3

The Internet’s Own Boy (2014, Filmbuff/Participant Media), directed and produced by Brian Knappenberger, is a documentary film about Aaron Swartz (1986-2013), the open Internet activist and web technology prodigy who took his own life after being hounded by a vindictive criminal lawsuit orchestrated by the US federal government.

The film was recently presented at the American Film Institute’s AFI Docs film festival in the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. The film was released nationwide June 27.

The Internet’s Own Boy

In 2010, security cameras at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) caught Swartz using a laptop to download thousands of scholarly papers from the Internet subscription site JSTOR by hacking into the building’s computer system. Swartz was intending to make the documents free to all for downloading. This initiated a federal witch-hunt against Swartz, which threatened to send him to prison for nearly 50 years as well as force him to pay fines of up to $1 million for charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer.

This vindictive attack on Swartz, for the crime of wishing to make information widely available through the Internet, was most famously captured in a statement by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who said that “stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data, or dollars.”

In the film, one gets a sense of both how truly young Swartz was when he died, as well as how much he could have contributed to the world under different circumstances. Interspersed with footage of Swartz throughout his younger years are interviews with friends, associates and family, portraying the various aspects of his life and personality. Swartz’s ideals were informed by his genuine enthusiasm and preoccupation with the world around him.

At one point a clip is played of Aaron saying, “I think you should always be questioning, I take this very scientific attitude in which everything you’ve learned is just provisional, that it’s always open to recantation, refutation… I think the same thing applies to society.” (The film includes a clip relaying that a potential cure for pancreatic cancer had come about due to JSTOR documents Swartz had downloaded.)

Likewise, some of his personal achievements include co-founding the RSS web feed protocol at age 13, the creation of software company Infogami (which later merged with the link aggregator web site Reddit) before age 20, as well as his work for Condé Nast Publications, the owner of Wired magazine. Swartz would later turn his back on his career in Silicon Valley to pursue ideals closer to his heart. Swartz’s attitude toward corporate America is memorably captured by the commentary of an associate, who suggests that the young man had “climbed a mountain of shit” in order to “pluck a single rose, only to find that he had lost his sense of smell.”

The film turns toward Swartz’s involvement with activism and other social issues. This culminates in his role in organizing the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills in 2012. These bills, which sought to implement a framework of legal censorship, were eventually abandoned after numerous companies came out against them on the grounds that they would impose undue financial burdens upon them. This episode is handled somewhat uncritically, portraying this essentially pro-corporate decision as a “victory” for grassroots activism.

Aaron Swartz

The section of the film dealing with the US government’s repression of Swartz is the film’s strongest, as various people recount the brutal persecution meted out by Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann, acting on behalf of the Obama administration. After initially being caught at MIT, Swartz and his family were placed under FBI surveillance. At one point, the surveillance became so intrusive that Aaron refused to leave his house. Upon being detained, Swartz was assaulted by police officers, as well as later being strip-searched and having his belt and shoelaces taken from him.

Swartz was initially charged with five felonies and offered a plea bargain, which would have placed him under house arrest and barred him from Internet usage if he admitted criminal guilt. After refusing this deal, eight more dubious felony counts were added to Swartz’s charges under the draconian 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Meanwhile, the film notes, JSTOR—the corporation that Swartz had allegedly stolen from—had sought to drop the lawsuit.

Robert Swartz, Aaron’s father, tells interviewers that Heymann sought to make a “case of deterrence” out of his son’s case. The elder Swartz contrasts this aggressive behavior to the kid gloves treatment the banks received from federal officials after the 2008 economic meltdown. Swartz’s father goes on to note that famous technology billionaires such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates achieved initial successes by creating devices that had undermined the profitability of communications companies in the US. “The only difference with Aaron,” his father states, was “he wanted to make the world a better place, not just make money.”

In another scene, Quinn Norton, Swartz’s former girlfriend, breaks down in tears as she details the US attorney’s attempts to make her inform on Aaron. When she pleaded with US federal prosecutors that they were “on the wrong side of history,” she says that the officials simply “looked bored” with her. Something of the shortsightedness and philistinism of the ruling class is captured in these scenes.

Eventually, the constant harassment and struggle to obtain funds for his defense overcame the young activist, who numerous friends and associates stated was tired of feeling like “a burden on those around him.” Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment from suicide on January 11, 2013. He was 26 years old.

To demonstrate the political nature of the persecution of Aaron Swartz, the film makes note of the historical setting of the prosecution. The film contains clips of both the Egyptian Revolution, which forced a US-backed dictator from office, as well as the Occupy Wall Street protests that swept the globe in that period. The film notes that both these phenomena relied heavily on the networking power of the Internet, of which Swartz was a known expert.

In various aspects of his story, Swartz bears similarity to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who gave up a highly lucrative career with the spy agency in order to reveal details of government surveillance programs carried out against and behind the backs of the world’s population. To his credit, the film features Swartz speaking out against the unchecked power of the federal government to spy, noting that it is primarily directed at the population itself.

The filmmakers make much of the CFAA, highlighting efforts to have the law repealed, as well as at one point inviting commentary from Democratic politicians—Senator Ronald Wyden of Oregon and Representative Zoe Lofgren of California—to denounce the bill. This narrow focus on the CFAA fails to note the deeply anti-democratic character of the US state itself. This is captured by one commentator who, in describing the SOPA and PIPA bills, correctly calls all legislative matches “just fights between different corporate interests.”

Still, this fairly predictable limitation does not fundamentally undermine the strength of the film, which serves to unmask the hypocrisy of the US federal government, whose functionaries view all creative and egalitarian impulses from the population with distrust and hostility, and are willing to go to criminal lengths to suppress it. For that reason alone, the film deserves a wide viewing.

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