* Posts by veti

2633 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

veti Silver badge

Re: So then people rely even more on the system, what if it fails?

The difference between "education" and "automation" is:

Automation costs a fortune, works most of the time, and reduces the pressure on humans. Education costs a bigger fortune, almost never works, and increases the pressure on humans.

Did you know? The word 'Taiwan' would crash iOS thanks to a buggy filter for the Chinese govt

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Re: Denying reality for the sweet, sweet cash

You'll always have to make some compromises with reality.

Example: thinking back a couple of years now, how did your timezone databases list territory that was controlled by ISIS?

My guess is, it simply denied its existence.

US taxman wants AI to do the security checks it seemingly can't do itself

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Re: I disagree: this is becoming routine and the IRS should be doing it as well.

This seems to be about hacking rather than fraud, but I agree with you anyway. Security is an area that AI techniques should adapt well to. The environment is finite and comprehensible - more so to software than to humans. The "normal" usage patterns are well known, and deviations are easy to spot. (Whether a particular deviation constitutes an attack, that's another matter. But that's where the "AI" comes in.) And a large part of the job is simply "being awake 24/7", and computers are good at that.

UK.gov IT projects that are failing: Verify. Border control. 4G for blue-light services. We can go on

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Presumably they would need to add new colours to the spectrum to capture the full awfulness of the Brexit "project".

I suggest octarine, since clearly the whole thing will only work by magic.

Euro privacy watchdog raises eyebrows at mulled EU copyright law

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Yes, there should really be a caveat on this opinion:

When interested parties are directly involved in the drafting of a law, the probability of its being both worded poorly and applied badly rapidly approaches 1. Therefore, the actual law, if any, must be drawn up by people who have no contact whatsoever with any of the companies concerned. That way, there is at least a fighting chance that it won't be deliberately sabotaged.

Smash-hit game Fortnite is dangerous... for cheaters: Tools found laced with malware

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Let me be the first to say...

<voice="Nelson Muntz">Ha ha. </voice>

Foot lose: Idiot perv's shoe-mounted upskirt vid camera explodes

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Re: The real question is...

And in order to tell whether it was "for salacious purposes", obviously you'd have to peep. To see if she's riding the pommel suggestively, or has tassels on her... extremities.

So that's Tom off the hook too. He was just doing his civic duty, however unpleasant.

veti Silver badge

Re: The real question is: did he want to get arrested?

Yeah, that was my thought too. Perhaps it's just a plea for attention.

Or maybe he just couldn't think of a plausible innocent reason for having a camera mounted in his shoe in the first place. I could relate to that.

veti Silver badge

Re: Is it too early to ask....

Well, if he has any sense, obviously he'll sue the manufacturer of the camera for that. Plus a whole lot more to cover his pain, inconvenience and embarrassment.

Infamous 'Dancing Baby' copyright battle settled just before YouTube tot becomes a teen

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Re: Its too bad the EFF couldn't continue to fight in her name

There's nothing left to fight. The courts have spoken, the mother won. She may or may not want to further her career in campaigning on this issue, but that's really down to "what does she want to do with her time?" And if she thinks she's already spent quite enough of her energy on it, I for one sympathise completely.

As for the EFF, I'm sure that when the next case comes along they'll make a reasoned decision then whether or not to take it up.

Labour MP pushing to slip 6-hour limit to kill illegal online content into counter-terror bill

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Re: In theory, and practise

@TechyLogic: your link (that isn't linked) points to a story that links to a story that doesn't link to alleged materials allegedly used by the US Department of Defense. That's pretty tenuous. Even if it's true (and no final link means that can't be verified), it's (a) a completely different government and (b) a department of that government that has nothing to do with domestic law enforcement.

The phrase "So, legally speaking" is therefore gross exaggeration. Training materials produced by the DoD have zero legal weight even in the USA. In the UK, it's hard to imagine anything less relevant.

veti Silver badge

Re: It is impossible.

@The Vogon:

China seem to manage it.

China's approach to censorship is more sophisticated than that. Yes, they do have the Great Firewall, but they've also realised - like the Russians - that the truth can be just as effectively suppressed by bombarding people with false, or simply irrelevant, information, so that the information you want to cover up gets - literally - covered.

That's why China has huge and thriving social media companies of its own: they're part of a deliberate government strategy to do to its own population - the same thing that the populations of the West are doing to themselves voluntarily.

veti Silver badge

Re: Who decides what is illegal?

@Yet Another Anonymous Coward

Then so should the network companies that carry it.

That's a complete non-sequitur. The Royal Mail doesn't get prosecuted for delivering dodgy materials in a plain brown wrapping. Vodafone doesn't get prosecuted if you shout abuse at someone over the phone. Nobody prosecutes Highways England for maintaining the roads that criminals drive on. It's the publisher who's responsible, not the carrier.

@Loyal Commenter:

There you go, FTFY.

Nonsense. All of those publications have highly trained journalists, and editors, who know to an inch what the libel law says - and more importantly, what it doesn't say. I suggest you do some research on it yourself, then maybe you'll understand why they do things the way they do.

@Graham Cobb:

Policing forums is not at all related to publishing. The publisher is the person putting up the post. All Google/FB/etc are doing (in these cases) is providing transmission capability (just like BT and the Royal Mail).

That's like saying "the journalist is the one publishing the story, the newspaper is just transmitting it". It's - just wrong.

Facebook and Google - their entire business model is based on drawing people's attention to content that they wouldn't otherwise be aware of. If that's not publishing, what is?

So woke: Microsoft's face-recog can now ID more people who aren't pasty white blokes

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Any guesses, what "reducing an error rate by up to 20 times" might mean in English?

Dot-Africa saga going to jury trial... thousands of miles away in America

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Re: How about no .africa

Every country already has its own TLD. Fine.

If other organisations want to, and are prepared to go to the trouble of administering them, then - OK, let them do it. Mind, there should be some solid commitment to meet a defined standard of maintenance, and failing to do that would result in the entire TLD being basically blackholed from the internet.

But what ICANN decided to do was create all these stupid, stupid TLDs that have no clear owner, in the (well founded) hope that various thugs and hucksters would bid for them. The outcome of that was always going to be recrimination and corruption, and it hasn't disappointed.

White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

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Re: Please Donald, put an export ban on the F-35

Putin may be America's enemy, but he's Trump's friend. Trump has no issue with Putin, or Erdogan for that matter.

(Note, the Senate voted to block the sale of F-35s to Turkey entirely. Turkey responded by threatening to buy arms from the Russians instead, whereupon the US gov't quietly dropped all opposition. The Turks, of course, went on to buy the Russian missiles anyway, and quite right too.)

veti Silver badge

Re: Tired of Euphemisms

Doesn't matter. A sufficiently sophisticated Trumpkin will tell you, it doesn't matter that he's lying all the time, because they know what he means and what he's doing - he's confusing the enemy (a category that includes all liberals and liberal media, as well as foreigners).

You can point to him contradicting himself in the very same statement, and they'll just shrug and say "that's what he does".

Only the liberal media obsesses with this "truth" thing. Trump has transcended it, at least to the extent of making it politically irrelevant.

Pretty soon he's going to declare his trade war won. You watch. The media will all point out "but nothing's changed, at least nothing good", and his followers will laugh and say "they still don't get it, do they?"

Happy birthday, you lumbering MS-DOS-based mess: Windows 98 turns 20 today

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Re: The ONLY things going for it were

95 was a revolutionary change, it's to be expected that it would be a bit buggy. 98 was an upgrade from 95, but I would dispute that it was worth waiting 3 years for that benefit.

I still have a soft spot for 95, relative to 98. It's like - Vista to 7. I loathed Vista with a violent passion, but it had this much excuse: that it was at least trying to be something different. 7 learned (and benefited) from Vista's mistakes.

In huge privacy win, US Supreme Court rules warrant needed to slurp folks' location data

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Re: Gorsuch's dissent FTW.

The question is, would "burning third party to the ground and pissing on the ashes" result in a different decision in this case? It's a yes/no question.

If no, then the question remains "why vote against the majority?'

If yes, then the question becomes "how do Gorsuch's high-minded opinions actually represent a net improvement to the private citizen?"

veti Silver badge

Re: Gorsuch's dissent FTW.

If Gorsuch believes all that, then why did he dissent from the judgment? You're allowed to add a minority opinion even if you voted with the majority, you know.

Words are all very fine, but at the end of the day what sets the precedent is the decision.

Want to know what all that Fortnite hype is about? Whoa, Android fans – mind how you go

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Re: Not going to mention?

I don't see anything in that list that would deter - well, just about anyone I've ever met between the ages of 10 and 25.

US Supreme Court blocks internet's escape from state sales taxes

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Re: Better still ...

What on earth makes you think I'm blowing 90% of my income on stuff I don't need?

Newsflash, most of us working people actually budget quite carefully. Sure there's some wastage, but it's closer to 9% than 90%, and usually well below even that.

veti Silver badge

Re: Easy prediction

Exactly how "off grid" can you be, and still have internet access?

veti Silver badge

Re: Death and Taxes

What about the rates for a new item, not yet in anyone's database? Every jurisdiction has its own rules about how you decide what rate applies to what item. Who's gonna take responsibility for applying all those?

And once you've got this database up and running, and some idiot in Dogtown, Alabama decides to add a $0.10 levy to all drinks sold in bottles larger than 2 pints and containing more than 6.4% sugar content - who is going to update it with that information?

Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies

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Re: Coup

Oh yes... the army and the queen collaborating (!) to overthrow a duly elected government, in order to overturn a referendum decision.

What a brilliant idea, I can't begin to imagine how that might backfire.

No, wait a minute - that should have read "I can't begin to imagine how that could do anything other than backfire in the most horrible and explosive way possible".

If you want to see England (not the UK any longer) led by President Farage, locked in a civil war against Generalissimo Corbyn, then that might be the way to do it. If you'd rather go on living in some semblance of peace, however, it's probably not such a good idea.

You've seen the hype. Now you're curious. Why not have a crack at AI using this online lab...

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Re: Use our Labs

Ideas are ten a penny. I'm really not worried about Microsoft stealing those.

Implementation, that's where the money is. And by the time you're ready to tackle that, you should have long since graduated from this "playground" environment anyway.

JURI's out, Euro copyright votes in: Whoa, did the EU just 'break the internet'?

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Re: Blakes7 Internet Federation

Blake's 7 already had its reboot. It was called Firefly. Sadly didn't last.

UN's freedom of expression top dog slams European copyright plans

veti Silver badge

Checksum checking would catch some small fraction of uploads, but as already mentioned, there are many, many workarounds that are both easy and well known.

To defeat all these well known workarounds, copyright owners would likely end up registering thousands of checksums per protected work, dealing with all the variations as they find them. Not long before that process gets automated, and all anticipated variations get registered at the time of publication. And then you have a situation where the index of forbidden checksums is growing by several million entries per day.

And that's assuming private individuals don't get into the act. In law, everything we write or photograph or record is a new copyrighted work. How long till someone creates a tool to register the checksums for every comment we type on a blog? If that happens, we're looking at billions of new entries per day. More, if the tool also applies the "minor variations" algorithm.

Apart from the sheer overhead of managing all that data, and comparing every new item to them, which frankly I can't even imagine, you also create a rapidly growing probability of false positives. After a few years of this regime, not only would it be a coin toss whether each new item was allowed, it would also take several minutes to do the screening. So then you have a situation where people don't know, often until much later, whether their posting was successful or not.

BOFH: Got that syncing feeling, hm? I've looked at your computer and the Outlook isn't great

veti Silver badge

Re: Lies and lying lyers.

Doesn't work for me. If I show up a sales guy for the lying liar he is, somehow I end up as the bad guy. I've come to the conclusion that everyone already assumes they're lying, and drawing attention to it is considered bad form.

US senators get digging to find out the truth about FCC DDoS attack

veti Silver badge

Re: What's the difference between...

Yeah... I'm still not seeing anything in that definition that can be used to tell whether a given incident was a DDOS or not. Not unless someone actually says "yeah, we did that".

veti Silver badge

Re: When it is a Net bad thing

On the one hand, I agree with you about e-voting. But it is a solution to a problem, namely "how can we make it possible for some companies to make money out of the election process, which we can then funnel from taxpayers to our supporters?"

On the other hand, you are not thinking through the dependencies between online systems and offline, to which the British system is far from immune. Think about, for instance:

  • online maps and directions to polling stations - hackers can send voters to the wrong places
  • online voter registration - hackers could fraudulently register voters, or worse, deregister them before polling day
  • or, they can just DDOS the registration site for six hours before the deadline closes. There's always a last-minute rush
  • more subtly, change voter information - scramble names, addresses, dates of birth - so the records no longer match the voters. Voters could be transferred to the wrong rolls, so they're no longer on the list at their local polling station.
  • if they get really ambitious, they could invent whole new, completely fictitious polling stations. Then someone could turn up at the count with a box of ballots from there.

Just because the voting itself is offline, doesn't mean it can't be hacked.

veti Silver badge

Re: What's the difference between...

Right, so it's defined by "intent". Which is impossible to know, unless someone confesses to it.

So from the victim's point of view, there is no meaningful definition.

veti Silver badge

Re: What's the difference between...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe there is any such thing as a rigorous definition of a DDoS attack.

So it's basically an irregular verb: "I suffered a DDoS attack, you were unable to cope with a spike in traffic levels, they ran a poorly-designed shamtastic comment system."

Relax. It's OK, folks, the US government isn't going to try to take back control of the internet

veti Silver badge

I don't know first-hand, but I'd be prepared to bet there are a non-trivial number of blowhards in right-leaning (therefore, Obama-hating) media who keep saying this must be done, without having any idea of how to do it.

Posing this question to the public is a way of telling those people to put up or shut up.

It will do some good, but probably not as much as you'd think. Media blowhards are quite capable of banging on for years with zero basis in reality. (And then getting elected president.) The best you can hope is that Cruz himself will be shamed into shutting up about it in future, but I wouldn't put money even on that.

New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

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Re: Bullshit

Laws like this are pointless, because the content that's been produced using the deepfakes technology has been created and posted online by anonymous individuals, who likely won't be deterred by legislation.

By that logic, laws against child porn are just as pointless.

Zelig inserts contemporary actors into old footage. No issue there. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid would be more problematic - and it should be - except that the studio presumably owns all the footage, and clearly the rights that go with it would be written into the actors' contracts. Apart from that, I suspect that if you tried to make either one of these movies nowadays, you'd get far more trouble from copyright trolls than from this law.

veti Silver badge

Re: Bullshit

Yes, thank goodness this technology has come along now. How many times have you thought "it sure would be great if there was such a thing as 'biopics', shame it's technically impossible to make them"?

Dear Hollywood: it's called "acting", you should try it sometime.

June 2018, and Windows Server can be pwned with a DNS request

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Let's face it, most code is breakable when a sufficient number of people are sufficiently motivated to break it. Nothing on Github has ever had to withstand that level of attack.

Maybe 1% of it really could. But I for one sure as heck wouldn't be able to identify which 1%.

Tesla undecimates its workforce but Elon insists everything's absolutely fine

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Re: Unfortunately necessary

Virtually every major car manufacturer has their own electric vehicles, either on the road already or scheduled for launch within the next 2-3 years. And, unlike Tesla or some hypothetical new company, those companies have a profitable existing business to support their R&D.

With or without Tesla, electric vehicles are coming. I predict, within 10 years, at least one car in three on the roads will be electric. Probably more. Tesla as a company will never have more than a small fraction of that market even in the best case - they're a niche product, and their pricing pretty much guarantees they'll remain so.

veti Silver badge

Re: "some kind of journalist rating system"

It's way better than that. He wants to call the site "Pravda".

No, really.

That was quick: Seattle rushes to kill tax that would mildly inconvenience Amazon

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Re: If only there were a politician with the courage to stand up to Bezos

"Standing up to people" is something you do when other people are stronger than you.

When you do it to someone who's in a weaker position than you, it's called "bullying".

What you're asking for is one bully to be controlled by a bigger one. Mind where that leads.

Men are officially the worst… top-level domain

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I'm feeling left out

I've never so much as seen an email from any of the new domains. As far as my inbox is concerned, the expansion ended with '.biz'.

Serious proposal: is there anything to be lost by simply blackholing every TLD not registered before 2010?

UK digital secretary throws cold water over bid for laws on kids' use of social media

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Re: cross-party support

If you've never witnessed cross-party support, it's because you haven't been paying attention.

In the UK right now, for instance, there's strong cross-party support for: Palestine; programs to fight malaria in developing countries; greater freedom for tied pubs (in Scotland); the Fitness for Human Habitation Bill; and many other issues.

What they all have in common is that they're not particularly controversial, and hence don't get a lot of news coverage. That's - really, implicit in the nature of "news" - it tends to focus on areas where the "correct" course isn't already well agreed, and is under debate.

That's not a bad thing.

'Vigilance' hacker charged over Minnesota government attacks

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"Damage and loss to the state of more than $5000"?

Odd, that figure seems very modest. Positively plausible, even.

What did he actually do to these servers, to meet this ludicrously low threshold?

NHS England fingered over failure to forward patient correspondence

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Re: @ adam payne

Whatever the cause, there's still a valid question in "why did nobody foresee and take measures to prevent it?"Apparently, it's something that simply never occurred to either NHS management or Capita, despite both organisations' vast wealth of experience in this field (dealing with GPs on the one hand, dealing with the public sector on the other).

OK, you can't foresee everything. But you absolutely should try to, and when you fail, review why you failed and how you can do better next time.

My suspicion, based on nothing more than a few years' experience in project management and a cynical nature, is that Capita deliberately avoided asking questions that it thought would complicate the project and jeopardise some arbitrary deadline. So even if they did think of it, they would have kept quiet. I may be completely wrong, but if so... well, let's just say there's an awfully big pattern of failure still looking for an explanation.

Artificial intelligence... or advanced imitation? How DeepMind used YouTube vids to train game-beating Atari bot

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Re: Pointless

Incorrect, there are AIs that can invent for themselves new ways to solve games that may vastly improve on what any human has achieved.


Experts build AI joke machine that's about as funny as an Adam Sandler movie (that bad)

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Re: Major Overreach

Yeah... I'm not so sure. It seems to me that AI should be able to take a reasonable stab at what's "expected" by humans, if someone takes the trouble to train it on a relevant data set.

My phone's keyboard software is pretty good at guessing what I'm going to type. Rudimentary, of course, but for such a tiny and limited system using essentially zero resources, it's impressive.

veti Silver badge

Re: やっぱり

That's easy for you to say.

'Autopilot' Tesla crashed into our parked patrol car, say SoCal cops

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That's just not true. That 40,000 figure got extensive coverage from, among others, Washington Post, Wall St Journal, USA Today, CNBC, AP, and just about every other mainstream outlet.

In 2014, $416 billion was spent on maintaining US highways, and that's not including the cost of policing them, or the cost of building new highways, or vehicle inspections, driver education and licensing, or many other related costs. That's over $10 million per death, even excluding some of the largest costs. That's - not my idea of "completely ignored".

veti Silver badge

Re: I'd add to that line of thinking:

It's fair to compare accidents\fatalities involved per mile, but you should also consider the number of times that the safety features engaged successfully and prevented or reduced the severity of an accident.

No, you shouldn't. The reason being, those numbers are already included in the headline "accidents/fatalities per million miles", or whatever number you're looking at.

The trouble is that if you get a number for "times safety feature engaged", you have nothing to compare that number with. Human drivers don't, typically, make a systematic count of every time they have to brake to avoid crashing into the car in front - and if they did, the answer would be so subjective as to be meaningless anyway. So that number can only, at best, be a distraction.

We need numbers that can actually be measured with a reasonable degree of certainty and consistency. Number of accidents, and especially number of fatalities, are the only metrics that come close to meeting that requirement.

GCHQ bod tells privacy advocates: Most of our work is making sure we operate within the law

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Re: Legal =/= moral or right

@DCFusor: The issue is, "do we want public servants following the law, or do we want them making their own private decisions?" That's not a strawman, that's precisely the point the OP raises. I'm just pointing out where else that logic might lead.

@GrumpyKiwi: If you don't consent to the laws, then lobby to change them. If your lobbying isn't successful, then that is the verdict of the democratic system you live in: "the governed" as a group have decided to consent, even if you as an individual dissent. You don't get to opt out of laws once passed, any more than you get to decide what the speed limit on any given road "should be".

@Harry Stottle: First, are you seriously comparing breaches of privacy with Nazi war crimes? If so I'm gonna have to declare the thread Godwinated, because that's ridiculous. Moreover, the Nuremberg defence relates to "following orders", which is separate from "following the law".

The most recent treaty on the subject, the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, says:

1. The fact that a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed by a person pursuant to an order of a Government or of a superior, whether military or civilian, shall not relieve that person of criminal responsibility unless:

(a) The person was under a legal obligation to obey orders of the Government or the superior in question;

(b) The person did not know that the order was unlawful; and

(c) The order was not manifestly unlawful.

2. For the purposes of this article, orders to commit genocide or crimes against humanity are manifestly unlawful.

When international law feels it necessary to spell out that "genocide or crimes against humanity" are "manifestly unlawful", I find it very hard to imagine a court bracketing "mail tampering" in the same category. In other words, the Nuremberg precedent is not relevant here. Not even close.

The Windrush scandal is different again. Capita unlawfully sent letters to people who shouldn't have received them. The issue there is precisely that they weren't following the law, but rather bowing to pressure from (presumably, though the detailed chain of blame is still coming out) politicians.

For myself, I want to see public servants following the law, as debated in parliament, and written, and published, and adjudicated by independent courts. I don't want them each obeying the little voice in their own heads, because that makes them basically unaccountable to anyone. And some of those voices are frankly scary.

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