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Earth First Person Shooters (Games) Quake

Earthquake In China 595

Posted by kdawson
from the twist-and-shout dept.
Several readers sent in links on the earthquake that hit 10 hours ago near the Sichuan city of Chengdu in China. The Telegraph focuses on the citizen journalism that got word on the quake out on the Net instantly (the first report was via Twitter). Science magazine speculates that deaths from this event could exceed the 240,000 killed in the Tangshan quake in 1976, though the estimated death toll is below 10,000 at this writing. Hundreds of videos are up on YouTube, including this footage from a security camera — keep your eye on the goldfish.
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Earthquake In China

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  • Twitter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crazybit (918023)
    aren't there any seismographs connected to the internet in china?

    that should have been faster than a human posting on twitter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by terremoto (679350)
      >aren't there any seismographs connected to the internet in china?
      >that should have been faster than a human posting on twitter.

      How about less than a minute? Compare the event and solution times on this page.

      http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eq_depot/2008/eq_080512_ryan/neic_ryan_cmt.html [usgs.gov]
    • Re:Twitter? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kcelery (410487) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:54AM (#23388100)
        • Re:Twitter? (Score:5, Funny)

          by ComaVN (325750) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:36AM (#23388374)
          Sorry, but I just had to laugh at that translation:

          a large toad movement: hundreds of thousands of toads mighty size of a pharmaceutical factory in the vicinity of walking on the road, many vehicles were crushed


          Hundreds of thousands of toads the size of factories crushing vehicles? That makes the earthquake seem like a minor inconvenience...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Ex-MislTech (557759)
            Sorry, but I just had to laugh at that translation:

            Chinese was becoming a very complex language, and still
            today there is at least Cantonese and Mandarin, perhaps more.

            The people of the government decided to simplify the language
            and thus why some of it reads that way when translated.

            Also their language is not based of latin like most of Europes.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by sydneyfong (410107)
              I wouldn't normally reply to posts like yours... but then people might take you seriously.

              - Chinese is a very complex language, with subtle "grammar" rules which makes it hard to parse with an automaton.
              - Cantonese and Mandarin are (among the many) spoken dialects, and have little to do with the written language.
              - The simplification applies to Chinese characters only, basically establishing some kind of shorthand for writing complicated characters. It does not affect the grammar nor meaning nor content of t
              • Re:Twitter? (Score:4, Informative)

                by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:52PM (#23394064)
                I wouldn't normally reply to posts like yours... but then people might take you seriously.

                And here I thought you'd be pointing out that English is not considered a Latin-based language (though there are many latin words, the structure and grammar was from an independent language).

                Chinese is a very complex language, with subtle "grammar" rules which makes it hard to parse with an automaton.

                Actually, I'd say it is nearly grammar-less. When translating, you must hear an entire sentence, understand the meaning, then translate the meaning. When I was learning some Chinese, I would ask questions about grammar and the response was "they'll understand what you mean." There are no tenses at all. "I drive ago" for "I have driven" or "I drive later" for "I will drive" would be the words used. There is only what we would consider the present tense, and time modifying words. If ever you hear someone who speaks Chinese have trouble with tenses, it's because even the idea of them doesn't exist in their native language. They aren't just learning a new language, they are learning a whole different way of thinking.

                The simplification applies to Chinese characters only, basically establishing some kind of shorthand for writing complicated characters.

                The simplification was to improve literacy. However, it has not achieved its goal. Taiwan almost exclusively uses Traditional (I think as a sign of independence from the mainland pushing Simplified). And those that are literate on the mainland that completed university will probably know both and use Simplified. But you still need to know Traditional because of its use in Taiwan and limited continued use on the mainland. Add to that the effect that handwritten Simplified is more confusing than handwritten Traditional, and the limited alphabet replacement is pretty useless and probably not achieving its stated goal of imcreasing literacy.

                Cantonese and Mandarin are (among the many) spoken dialects, and have little to do with the written language.

                Both spoken languages can be represented with the same printed characters, so they could be classified as a single language (with an "accent" that renders it indecipherable to those that aren't trained in that "accent"). The grammar rules are quite similar, helping one written language represent both, and with one written language representing two spoken languages, the combination could also be reasonably regarded as three separate languages, one unpronouncable and two unwritten. It's a unique linguistic situation that defies all traditional (European-based) descriptions. It would be about the same as if you decreed that French and Italian must be written the same, but that you still spoke it as you always have. We would think that impossible, and the Chinese did it and have made it work for quite a while.
      • Re:Twitter? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @05:41AM (#23389138)
        Too much time on my hands I guess. Here's my personal translation:

        According to sources, omens appeared before the earthquake in Mianzhu, Sichuan: large scale migrations of toads. When some citizens commented that these were bad omens, the local forestry department explained that this was a normal phenomenon.

        According to reports by wccdaily, there are always indications before earthquakes, some animals react more strongly than humans. Large scale migrations of toads appeared in Sichuan Mianzhu city: hundreds of thousands of toads marched on a highway near a pharmacutical factory, and were rolled over by many passing vehicles, or crushed by pedestrians. The appearances of large numbers of toads led villagers to speculate that something bad will happen.

        ==Toads crossing roads in flocks, frightened pedestrians take alternate routes===

        "Too many, too frightening, flocks and flocks, as if they were taking their families to a carnival" villager Zhou said, "At early dawn, I went to the market to buy something, and I didn't get far before I saw toads strolling on the streets, and I was too frightened to put my feet on the ground. So I decided to take another route. When I went back home at noon, I saw a few toads remaining, and because some cars passed by, a number of toads were already killed under their wheels.

        The toads appeared near a pharmacutical facility. Mr. Liu who lived next to the facility said that he saw a black mass of toads crawling on the ground, "a lot of them had already been killed by cars and pedestrians at that time, lying bloodily on the floor. We never had such phenomenon here before."

        ==Was it a foreword for disaster? Forestry experts dismiss doubts==

        Many villagers expressed worries, "Isn't this a bad omen for some natural disaster?", as the news spread people got unsettled and worried.

        When the local forestry deparment received report and arrived at the scene, the head of the department said that large numbers of young toads grouping on shore to migrate is a normal phenomenon, unrelated to the natural disasters claimed by citizens, and the toads will not affect the living of people, their arrival would also reduce the number of mosquitoes and pests, so villagers need not worry.

        De-yang Forestry workers said that these massive migrations are good signs, they show that Mianzhu's wildlife environment is getting better and better.
  • This is the future (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Robert1 (513674) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:20AM (#23387942) Homepage
    The instant an event happens anywhere in the world you have hundreds of cameras on it. This is a very, very good thing. Reporters and ground crews are no longer necessary to capture footage, you can get it de novo, unfiltered, unbiased. Of course, this only happens in a sufficiency advanced nation that has ubiquitous means of recording and means of transmission.

    Which is interesting because I could swear China had a Youtube block to prevent such uncontrolled proliferation of footage.
    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:00AM (#23388154) Journal

      Which is interesting because I could swear China had a Youtube block to prevent such uncontrolled proliferation of footage.
      Well if you try to build a rabbit proof fence, you'll just end up with clever rabbits.
    • by IntelliTubbie (29947) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @04:07AM (#23388786)

      The instant an event happens anywhere in the world you have hundreds of cameras on it. This is a very, very good thing. Reporters and ground crews are no longer necessary to capture footage, you can get it de novo, unfiltered, unbiased.
      And then, 12 hours later, Slashdot limps across the finish line! Technology may advance, but at least some things never change.

      Cheers,
      IT
    • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @04:50AM (#23388968)
      I'm sitting in my flat in Beijing watching the "goldfish video" on youtube right now. The download was a bit slow, but it's not blocked.

      Don't get me wrong, China's censorship is lame and probably won't last much longer as it just becomes too difficult to accomplish, but it's not as all encompassing as people think. The pr0n must flow.

      Cheers,
  • Has /. just become a general news site? What's this got to do with flailing on Microsoft or promoting Linux?

  • by iamdrscience (541136) <(michaelmtripp) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:22AM (#23387956) Homepage
    I shudder to think how many lives could have been saved if only they had spent less time on chinese fire drills and more time on chinese earthquake drills.
  • Slashdot-proof? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Raineer (1002750) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:27AM (#23387978)
    I don't know if it's possible for the youtube link to get /.'ed but the shaking starts almost 5 minutes into the video and lasts for about 90 seconds. I have never been in an earthquake and certainly not sure how I'd feel about one that lasted so long.
    • Re:Slashdot-proof? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dreadneck (982170) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:58AM (#23388124)
      I was in the Loma Prieta earthquake that happened during the World Series back in 1989. I was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey and standing on the 2nd floor balcony of my barracks smoking a cigarette when it happened. It was the first and hopefully last earthquake I'll ever experience. It was a frightening and unnerving experience that seemed to last forever. The earthquake in China was almost 10 times more powerful and lasted 6 times longer than the one I went through - it must have been terrifying.
      • Re:Slashdot-proof? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by joggle (594025) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:45AM (#23388426) Homepage Journal
        I was a kid watching that game on TV. I remember seeing things begin to shake, then the signal was lost, then it came back for a bit and then I think there was a minute or more of no signal (just a screen saying they were having technical problems). And then they canceled the game so I was bummed out.

        Then the next day I found out how bad the earthquake had been and was sorry for the people living there and the victims but also glad I lived in an area that experienced no earthquakes.

        I recently went to Japan and experienced a couple of small earthquakes at night. I slept through the first one but the second one felt like somebody was trying to wake me by shaking me. I literally said out loud "I'm up already" before I realized nobody was shaking me and it was just an earthquake. It was so small that it didn't scare me though, although it was a bit unnerving (it was the first earthquake I ever experienced).
    • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:50PM (#23393176)
      The two different types of shaking (P and S waves, basically longitudinal and transverse) travel through the earth at different speeds, so the further away you are the more spread out over time they get, and the longer the shaking goes on. The video doesn't have very severe shaking so it was probably taken quite a distance from the epicenter, so the shaking duration would be extended.

      IIRC the Northridge quake in 1994 only lasted about 17 seconds at the epicenter. I was about 100 miles away when it hit and the shaking went on for a good 30-45 seconds. Based on the immediate reports I got from friends over email and their estimates of the duration of shaking, I was able to pinpoint the epicenter somewhere in western Los Angeles long before the news services.

      At the epicenter itself, the duration of the shaking generally corresponds to the length of fault that gives way. If only a few km slips, it's a short quake. If several thousand km slips (like happened in Chile 1960 and Alaska 1964 [usgs.gov]) the shaking can go on for several minutes. The Alaska quake was 4 minutes at the epicenter, with several distant but affected communities reporting shaking for almost 10 minutes.

      Also note that earthquake magnitude is a measure of energy released, while certain types of damage correspond more to the power (energy over time) of the quake. The Northridge quake was moderate in terms of magnitude, but its direction and focus generated enormous power in certain areas. One seismograph recorded accelerations over 1g, whereas the previous largest recorded acceleration during an earthquake was less than 0.25g (typically you only see about 0.5 - 0.1g).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:29AM (#23387984)
    In fact, nothing even fell over. This one [youtube.com] at least has stuff falling about, and a clipped British voice giving hard facts.
  • by crazybit (918023) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:29AM (#23387986)
    is covering how technology and internet is changing the way we used to face those tragedies.

    the faster the world knows about it, the faster help can be sent for the victims.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
      The government must be amenable to accepting help.

      Sometimes the ruling junta isn't interested in help [smh.com.au]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by willyhill (965620)
      Except that "from the twist-and-shout dept" thing is rather tasteless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      the faster the world knows about it, the faster help can be sent for the victims.

      Realistically, no.

      Technology has been sufficiently advanced to provide information about natural disasters effectively instantly for about a century. I say "effectively", because it doesn't much matter whether you hear about it 1 minute after it happened, or one day after it happened, if it takes you a minimum of two days to provide any meaningful response.

      This quake in China is an example of that - we knew about it within

  • by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @01:32AM (#23388000)
    is that video. Here's a hint, it's called edit out the boring parts, or make note of where the action starts. Cliffs notes on the video are 4:40 or so of nothing happening, 40 seconds or so of people running out of a building, and the last minute and change of a goldfish bowl being sloshed. I can honestly say that if that video were the only exposure I had to a major event like that I'd have to wonder what all the fuss was about.
    • by magicchex (898936)
      Agreed. That video was terrible and terribly boring.
    • by MrNaz (730548) * on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:02AM (#23388164) Homepage
      The initial 4:40 is to give you time to find your bottle of Ritalin.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trawg (308495)
      Also, why the hell is this filed under Quake (the game) stories?
    • I dunno, the girl certainly wasn't bad looking, although the angle kind of sucked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zoogies (879569)
      Ah, I see that the mods have become quite tasteless.

      The real tragedy of this world is that you can make such an insensitive comment and be modded +5 insightful.

      Yeah, the video doesn't have much in it. I know how much y'all wanted to see buildings cave and people die. I mean, whoever got a hold of that video, what WERE they thinking, not editing it? It's almost like they had something more pressing at hand; oh wait.
      • by Bin_jammin (684517) <Binjammin@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @10:29AM (#23390862)
        Actually I believe the point I was trying to make was that the video was needlessly long for the amount of action that it was supposed to contain, coupled with the fact that if I had never seen an earthquake before this video would ill prepare me for it. I'm sorry if you think I'm desensitized to it, and perhaps I am, but the fact that tragedies like this happen in third world countries is beyond the scope of my ability to change. I'm fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where building codes are not only enforced, but actually exist in the first place. I'll leave you to cry about every tragedy in the world that's out of proportion due to economic advantage.


  • If a quake gonna rocks, it gonna rocks.

    It is unfortunate for those who perished in this quake, but on the other hand, it is also "lucky" that the quake rocks now.

    Imagine what would happened if it rocks during the Olympics?

    Imagine stadium collapsing, spectators and athletes buried under the rubbles, a global sport event turns into a global nightmare ...

    Imagine that ...

    My prayers for those who lost their lives and are injured, or have lost their properties in this quake.
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:02AM (#23388166) Homepage Journal

    I always have a tough time getting my mind around the numbers bandied about in these human tragedies, but just imagine if 5,000 people died in the United States from something like this.

    The 1989 quake that hit Northern California caused a lot of economic damage and freaked the hell out of people. It took years for the areas hit to fully recover from it. That incident killed 67 people.

    I really do hope that the numbers turn out to be lower than expected. Major suckage.

    • by Splab (574204)
      The numbers coming out are pretty accurate. Last news broadcast said around 20.000 - both from officials and outside estimates.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zoogies (879569)
      The most heart-tugging line from an article I've read on this is that of a man and woman walking away from rubble, the man sheltering the woman as she cries, "My child is dead! dead!"

      Unfortunately, earthquakes cannot be prevented. I hope that in the future these areas - particularly ones so prone to earthquakes in the first place - are able to respond better.
  • Look, while I am happy to argue when a crappy story is posted here, but isn't a story about the earthquake in China, that's old news (sorta kinda internet time dilation sort of thing), this story is about the fact that the initial articles ABOUT this came via the likes of Twitter rather than Foxnews.

    Geez guys, put an extra loop of tape around the glasses where they got broken, chill out a little, and enjoy Slashdot for what it is! (That includes the articles)
  • Many aftershocks (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonfr (888673) * on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:45AM (#23388430) Homepage
    As an man interested in earthquakes, I have been watching the aftershock pattern over there and I think that there might be a small chance (or large, depending on things) of an aftershock that is Mw7.0 at least. But it also appears that the stress in the crust in this area has moved east and west of the current epicenter.

    The reason for the current massive damage due to this earthquake is because it did happen at only 10 km depth. If it had happened at 40 or 80 km depth, there would have been less damage as less energy from the earthquake would have reached the surface.

    There are going to be many, many aftershocks in this area for the next two months or more. Most of them from mb4.5 up to Mw6.5. Creating more damage to already badly damaged houses in the nearby area.

    Good list of aftershocks can be seen here, along with information on the main quake.

    http://www.emsc-csem.org/index.php?page=current&sub=list [emsc-csem.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rufus211 (221883)
      Wow, getting hit by a 7.9 sucks. An immediate aftershock of 6.0 sucks even more. Having an additional 32 (as of this post) aftershocks in the 4.5-5.5ish range?! That's just insane, I can't imagine the trouble rescue workers are having from them.

      list [usgs.gov] and map [usgs.gov] from USGS.
  • Compare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @02:47AM (#23388434)
    An earthquake hits China, tens or hundreds of thousands of people may have been killed. Response: idiotic jokes, complaints about this not being 'tech', ignorant nonsense about politics.

    Planes hit a couple of tall buildings in New York, a few thousand people are killed. Response: wild cries of pain and anger, unbridled hatred against anything from the Middle East, America starts two wars of revenge.

    Is there something about the proportions here that isn't quite right? I mean, after the 9/11 attack sympathy poured from all over the world, even Yasser Arafat expressed his outrage against the attackers. But the response of the Americans to a major disaster in China is one ridicule and cold, heartless arrogance hiding behind and thin excuse of 'but they are evil communists'. Is that really the best you guys can manage? You know, sometimes you really make it an uphill battle to love and respect America.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zoogies (879569)
      Thanks for putting this so clearly and succinctly. I cannot agree with you more.

      The things people do to act cool...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thedeviluno (903528)
      Lets be fair. Slashdot is an international Icon of intellectual individuals. I dont live in the USA but there is a big difference between an act of God(s) and murder.
    • Re:Compare (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @03:17AM (#23388546)
      You have to consider two things:

      1) The 9/11 attacks were entirely malicious, whereas an earthquake is an accident of nature. An earthquake sucks, but it happens every now and then. Some douchebags hijacking planes and crashing them into tall populated buildings doesn't fit into most peoples' view of "usual happenings".

      2) You're sampling the US's reaction based on a couple of comments made by trolls within the first 10 minutes that this post has been up. Give moderation a chance.
    • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @03:22AM (#23388566)

      An earthquake hits China, tens or hundreds of thousands of people may have been killed. Response: idiotic jokes, complaints about this not being 'tech', ignorant nonsense about politics.
      Given that this was also the entire US response to New Orleans, I can't really feel all that surprised about it.

      I was surprised that the US is willing to do more for the Burmese than they were their own citizens; although it came as no surprise that no one in the Bush administration seems to have realized the irony.
      • Ouch (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @04:42AM (#23388924) Journal
        First, that was NOT the entire's US response to Katrina. It was the feds, not citizen's. Many of us sent in money and did help how we could. Home were opened, jobs created, etc. But your characterizations of the bush response is actually kind of wicked. I had not thought about it in that context, but you are right.
    • Re:Compare (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brownstar (139242) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @07:22AM (#23389544)
      Please do.

      Here's the link to the first 9/11 story on Slashdot:

      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?threshold=-1&mode=nested&commentsort=0&op=Change&sid=21541 [slashdot.org]

      Be sure to browse at -1.

      It's chock full of idiotic jokes, complaints about this not being 'tech', ignorant nonsense about politics.

      I guess not that much has changed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by porcupine8 (816071)
        Wow, it's really interesting to read some of the serious posts and realize how much misinformation was swarming around in the minutes/hours after the attack - explosions at the white house, 11 planes hijacked (probably due to one of the flight #s being #11), Algeria claiming responsibility - no, it was the Palestinians! (With a bonus extremely protracted "Fuck the palestinians/good on the palestinians" flame war attached.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quanminoan (812306)
      I don't know about anyone else, but before I opened this page I expected most of the comments to be a little 'careless'. This has nothing to do with the nature of the event but the nature of the internet. Do yourself a favor and read through the Youtube comments of any popular 9/11 video.

      Of all the comments here that I've read so far your comment worries me the most. Even if this is not what you expected, you're judging an entire nation on a few comments you read on this site? I'm positive a nationwide po

  • Gee Thanks /. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coaxial (28297) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @04:07AM (#23388778) Homepage
    10 hours, later and only now /. is mentioning it.

    Personally, I find the the Quake 3 symbol a nice touch. Nice to see another section is being misused beyond enlightenment [enlightenment.org].
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @08:00AM (#23389710) Homepage Journal
    If you are looking at images of a Chinese man trying to pull his wife out of the rubble, or a mother searching for her baby, and all you can think of is what political system they have, then you need to get a life.

    You ought to be embarrassed to think that way.

    I don't think Chinese rescuers are thinking about chairman mao any more than US rescuers think about George Washington. I think they are more likely concerned with digging out as many wives, husbands and children so that husbands, wives and parents can have their loved ones back.

    I don't see these images of destruction and desperate hoping a story of politics. Instead, I see incredible suffering, and I feel for them. I imagine how I would feel if it were my wife, or my son, smashed up inside my crushed house, if that earthquake happened to me. Thank god it didn't.

  • by tetrahedrassface (675645) on Tuesday May 13, 2008 @08:17AM (#23389804) Journal
    For all the cold hearted folks carping about population control and karmic justice think about this.

    Imagine having your legs pinned under 18 tons of concrete. You are laying in the dark under the rubble of a multi-story apartment complex. Next to you is the body of one of your children, below you is your other child, who is suffering yet refuses to die. As the rest of the world is in a warm bed or on a comfortable couch or sitting here being crass, drinking coffee and taking this in as some sort of sick Romanesque spectator sport.

    Yet here you are under the rubble watching your last child suffer away and you are wishing and hoping that if you die maybe a higher power will be placated and spare your child. The pain isn't so bad anymore, except for the cries coming from under you in the rubble. The cries of people who had dreams that will likely never be realized. The cries of pain and anguish. You hope for some relief before the dark comes, but only rain water dripping down on you. The darkness comes the cries continue. The pain continues. You watch your child draw his last breath.

    Those of you without sympathy for the suffering are the ones that need to be lined up and shot on sight.

    Just 2 cents from a red blooded American!

    Remember that scenario is happening now....

  • Just an American expressing condolences to the Chinese people for their terrible tragedy. I have a wife and son myself and all I can think of is those family members under the rubble and those waiting to dig out.

    China is a pretty powerful country, but if there's anything China needs, I hope they ask just ask. Americans would be honored to help.

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