Author Archives: binghamboatwright

About binghamboatwright

newshound, tech adventurist, with an interest in anything electricity goes into and out of.

What Are Computer Ports? The Input and Output Interfaces in Computer Networking

All computers, whether they’re laptops or desktop computers, Windows, Macs, Linux or any other operating system, have ports. Ports can be physical and virtual. A standard computer has both types of ports — subsequently both having their own specific functions. Ports, whether they’re physical or virtual, are how devices,  peripherals, computer networks or software, interact and communicate with eachother.

Today we decided toget deep into it and explain — the easy way, so that everyone understands — the all sorts of computer ports and the issues that may arise from using them.

Physical Computer Ports

Physical computer ports are the ones users are more familiar with. The USB port or the HDMI port are common examples of physical computer ports. Both types of ports are found on both Macs and PC. The ports might follow different standards e.g. you might have a few USB 3.0 ports and maybe one USB 2.0 port on your system but there functions are otherwise standardized.

Virtual Computer Ports

Virtual computer ports are used by network devices to interact with each other. They’re used via services that run on a computer and that can send data or listen for incoming requests. Network ports are identified by their numbers and some ports are reserved for a specific service. For example, SSH usually uses port 22, while FTP uses port 20 or 21.

Your router has virtual ports that allow it to direct traffic to the different devices on the network. If, for example, you have network printer and you send a document to print, your router will send the command to the printer via internal ports. On the surface of it, it appears that the router is only using the IP address of the printer to send the print command but virtual ports are at work making sure the correct IP address receives the print command.

Source: What Are Computer Ports? The Input and Output Interfaces in Computer Networking

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What is hepatitis A and how can you get it from eating frozen fruit?

Seven people in New South Wales have been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating imported frozen pomegranate seeds from Coles. Although still under investigation, the company responsible for production recalled the implicated product as a precaution.

Around 40,000 packs of Creative Gourmet Frozen Pomegranate Arils have been sold since hitting the shelves in September 2017. NSW Health is advising consumers to immediately dispose of any in their possession.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. Symptoms usually take 15-50 days to develop after initial infection and typically last for several weeks or sometimes longer.

Source: What is hepatitis A and how can you get it from eating frozen fruit?

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Thousands of hacked websites are infecting visitors with malware

Thousands of hacked websites have become unwitting participants in an advanced scheme that uses fake update notifications to install banking malware and remote access trojans on visitors’ computers, a computer researcher said Tuesday.

The campaign, which has been running for at least four months, is able to compromise websites running a variety of content management systems, including WordPress, Joomla, and SquareSpace. That’s according to a blog post by Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes. The hackers, he wrote, cause the sites to display authentic-appearing messages to a narrowly targeted number of visitors that, depending on the browsers they’re using, instruct them to install updates for Firefox, Chrome, or Flash.

To escape detection, the attackers fingerprint potential targets to ensure, among other things, that the fake update notifications are served to a single IP address no more than once. Another testament to the attackers’ resourcefulness: the update templates are hosted on hacked websites, while the carefully selected targets who fall for the scam download a malicious JavaScript file from DropBox. The JavaScript further checks potential marks for virtual machines and sandboxes before delivering its final payload. The resulting executable file is signed by an operating-system-trusted digital certificate that further gives the fake notifications the appearance of legitimacy.

Source: Thousands of hacked websites are infecting visitors with malware

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Watermelon assault lands man in jail

A man’s weapon of choice? Police said a watermelon.

Hastings Police said Alosius Bailey, 41, threw a watermelon at a customer at Russ’s Market, after claiming he could hear people whispering about him.

The man hit told police that his hip hurt, but that he didn’t suffer major injuries.

Bailey, who police said is homeless, was arrested for 3rd degree assault and criminal mischief.

Source: Watermelon assault lands man in jail

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‘Dismantle whiteness’ mural installed at USC – The College Fix

An artistic mural has been installed at the University of Southern California that declares “dismantle whiteness” in big, black and white capital letters, one part of a larger display designed to spark conversations regarding “racism, sexism and xenophobia,” according to its creators.

The mural was designed by the feminist artist collective When Women Disrupt in conjunction with students in the class “Women: Designing Media for Social Change.”

Recently installed at an entrance to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism building, it depicts large sketch drawings of four women of color on walls flanking the doorway with the words “DISMANTLE WHITENESS AND MISOGYNY ON THIS CAMPUS” posted on the ceiling above it.

“The installation is intended to spark dialogue,” communications Professor Alison Trope said in a statement to The College Fix. “To that end, the signage is meant to offer grounding of terms and ideas. There is no expectation that everyone agree with the statement offered by the artists, but hopefully viewers can acknowledge the experience of peers on campus around these issues.”

Source: ‘Dismantle whiteness’ mural installed at USC – The College Fix

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Zuckerberg denies knowledge of Facebook shadow profiles

The fact that Facebook  probably has a profile of you whether you’re a Facebook user or not might come as a surprise to some users, though today even the company’s chief executive denied knowledge of the practice — or at least the term used to describe it.

In this morning’s hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, New Mexico Representative Ben Lujan cornered Mark Zuckerberg  with a question about so-called “shadow profiles” — the term often used to refer to the data that Facebook collects on non-users and other hidden data that Facebook holds but does not offer openly on the site for users to see.

In one of the handful of slightly candid moments of the past few days, Rep. Lujan pressed Zuckerberg on the practice today:

Lujan: Facebook has detailed profiles on people who have never signed up for Facebook, yes or no?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, in general we collect data on people who have not signed up for Facebook for security purposes to prevent the kind of scraping you were just referring to [reverse searches based on public info like phone numbers].

Lujan: So these are called shadow profiles, is that what they’ve been referred to by some?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I’m not, I’m not familiar with that.

Lujan: I’ll refer to them as shadow profiles for today’s hearing. On average, how many data points does Facebook have on each Facebook user?

Zuckerberg: I do not know off the top of my head.

Lujan: Do you know how many points of data Facebook has on the average non-Facebook user?

Zuckerberg: Congressman, I do not know off the top of my head but I can have our team get back to you afterward.

Lujan: It’s been admitted by Facebook that you do collect data points on non-[Facebook users]. My question is, can someone who does not have a Facebook account opt out of Facebook’s involuntary data collection?

Zuckerberg: Anyone can turn off and opt out of any data collection for ads, whether they use our services or not, but in order to prevent people from scraping public information… we need to know when someone is repeatedly trying to access our services.

Lujan: It may surprise you that we’ve not talked about this a lot today. You’ve said everyone controls their data, but you’re collecting data on people who are not even Facebook users who have never signed a consent, a privacy agreement.

And it may surprise you that on Facebook’s page when you go to “I don’t have a Facebook account and would like to request all my personal data stored by Facebook” it takes you to a form that says “go to your Facebook page and then on your account settings you can download your data.”

So you’re directing people that don’t even have a Facebook page to sign up for a Facebook page to access their data… We’ve got to change that.

Source: Zuckerberg denies knowledge of Facebook shadow profiles

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Americans waste 150,000 tons of food per day: study

Tampa (AFP) – Americans waste nearly 150,000 tons of food per day, amounting to about one pound (422 grams) per person, and fruits and vegetables are mostly what gets tossed, said a study Wednesday.

The amount of land used annually to grow food that ends up in the garbage in the United States is 30 million acres, or seven percent of total US cropland. Some 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water gets wasted, too, said the report in the journal PLOS ONE.

Fruits and vegetables made up 39 percent of total food waste, followed by dairy (17 percent), meat (14 percent) and grains (12 percent).

Items least likely to be thrown out included salty snacks, table oils, egg dishes, candy and soft drinks.

“Higher quality diets have greater amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are being wasted in greater quantities than other food,” said co-author Meredith Niles, an assistant professor at the University of Vermont.

Source: Americans waste 150,000 tons of food per day: study

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Naturopath facing controversy after treating a child with rabid dog saliva

File this one under “Yes, this is real.”

A Victoria, B.C. naturopath is facing a storm of online criticism after she posted an article claiming she treated a four-year-old boy’s aggression and behavioural problems with a remedy made from rabid dog saliva. Dr. Anke Zimmermann, who has been in practice for 26 years, posted in February that it was a “very interesting case.”

“Why are some kids so aggressive? Maybe they were bitten by a dog! This four-year-old boy with sleep and behavioural problems, including aggression and violence towards school mates as well as hiding under tables and growling, improved dramatically with a remedy made from a rabid dog’s saliva,” Zimmermann wrote in a Facebook post that linked to an article about the case.

Source: Naturopath facing controversy after treating a child with rabid dog saliva

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‘I may have done it once or twice, maybe’

A CONSTRUCTION firm employee who claimed his former supervisor would regularly “lift his bum and fart” on him has lost a $1.8 million compensation case.

David Hinsgt sued Construction Engineering, where he worked as an entry-level contract administrator between 2008 and 2009, for psychiatric and physical injuries allegedly suffered as a result of being bullied in the workplace.

After an 18-day trial in November before the Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Rita Zammit last month dismissed the case, finding that even if the farting occurred it “would not necessarily amount to bullying”.

Mr Hingst claimed that former supervisor Greg Short “started farting” the day he returned to the head office and took a desk in the communal office space, and this progressed to the point where he would do it every day.

“Look, I don’t recall doing it, but I may have done it once or twice, maybe,” Mr Short told the court. “But I can’t recall. I don’t recall doing so, so I’m not flat out saying I didn’t or I did. I just can’t remember doing it. But if he alleges I did it.”

But Mr Short denied he was doing it “with the intention of distressing or harassing” Mr Hingst. “No, not at all, no,” he said. The court heard that the constant farting led Mr Hingst to spray deodorant on Mr Short and call him “Mr Stinky”.

Source: ‘I may have done it once or twice, maybe’

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Drunk tourist accidentally climbs mountain


A DRUNK tourist had a very rough night after he got lost on his way back to his hotel and found himself climbing the Italian Alps.

An Estonian tourist known as Pavel, has been enjoying a few drinks at Cervinia, a resort in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta, when he decided to call it a night and head back to his hotel.

However, it seemed that Pavel, 30, may have had a bit more to drink than he thought as his short walk back to his room soon turned into a mountain hike.

According to Italian newspaperLa Stampa, Pavel seemed not to notice that he had taken a wrong turn and was heading up the mountain side until it was too late.

Source: Drunk tourist accidentally climbs mountain

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Montreal residents warned: ‘Don’t take selfies with coyotes’

Montreal residents are receiving a word of warning from wildlife experts in the wake of increased coyote sightings: the animals are not your Instagram fodder. If you see one, let it be.

“Don’t try to take selfies with the coyote,” said David Rodrigue, director at Ecomuseum Zoo, in an interview with CTV Montreal. “Just enjoy the fact that it’s there and it’s an animal and you have the opportunity to see him.”

Coyotes have always been a part of the city’s urban wildlife, but in recent months they’ve become increasingly visible. Since June, there have been 379 sightings — five incidents of aggression against humans, 10 dog injuries and one dog death — according to a city spokesperson. Montreal announced Tuesday it has hired a company to track and trap a small number of coyotes that have become aggressive and euthanize them. They have their eyes on one coyote in particular at the moment, said Emilie Thuillier, Montreal’s Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough mayor and city spokesperson for the coyote crisis.

Source: Montreal residents warned: ‘Don’t take selfies with coyotes’

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Routing Attacks on Internet Services

[In this post, we discuss a recent thread of research that highlights the insecurity of Internet services due to the underlying insecurity of Internet routing. We hope that this thread facilitates important dialog in the networking, security, and Internet policy communities to drive change and adoption of secure mechanisms for Internet routing]

The underlying infrastructure of the Internet comprises physical connections between more than 60,000 entities known as Autonomous Systems (such as AT&T and Verizon). Internet routing protocols such as the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)govern how our communications are routed over a series of autonomous systems to form an end-to-end communication channel between a sender and receiver.

Unfortunately, Internet routing protocols were not designed with security in mind. The insecurity in the BGP protocol allows potential adversaries to manipulate how routing on the Internet occurs. For example, see this recent real-world example of BGP attacks against Mastercard, Visa, and Symantec. The insecurity of BGP is well known, and a number of protocols have been designed to secure Internet routing. However, we are a long ways away from large-scale deployment of secure Internet routing protocols.

This status quo is unacceptable.

Historically, routing attacks have been viewed primarily from the perspective of an attack on availability of Internet applications.  For example, an adversary can hijack Internet traffic towards a victim application server and cause unavailability (see YouTube’s 2008 hijack). A secondary perspective is that of confidentiality of unencrypted Internet communications. For example, an adversary can manipulate Internet routing to position itself on the communication path between a client and the application server and record unencrypted traffic:

In this post, we  argue that conventional wisdom significantly underestimates the vulnerabilities introduced due to insecurity of Internet routing. In particular, we discuss recent research results that exploit BGP insecurity to attack the Tor network, TLS encryption, and the Bitcoin network.

BGP attacks on anonymity systems/Tor: The Tor network is a deployed system for anonymous communication that aims to protect user identity (IP address) in online communications. The Tor network comprises of over 7,000 relays which together carry terabytes of traffic every day. Tor serves millions of users, including political dissidents, whistle-blowers, law-enforcement, intelligence agencies, journalists, businesses and ordinary citizens concerned about the privacy of their online communications.

Tor clients redirect their communications via a series of proxies for anonymous communication. Layered encryption is used such that each proxy only observes the identity of the previous hop and the next hop in the communication, and no single proxy observes the identities of both the client and the destination.

However, if an adversary can observe the traffic from the client to the Tor network, and from the Tor network to the destination, then it can leverage correlation between packet timing and sizes to infer the network identities of clients and servers (end-to-end timing analysis). Therefore, an adversary can first use BGP attacks to hijack or intercept Internet traffic towards the Tor network (Tor relays), and perform traffic analysis of encrypted communications to compromise user anonymity.

It is important to note that this timing analysis works even if the communication is encrypted. This illustrates an important point — the insecurity of Internet routing has important consequences for traffic-analysis attacks, which allow adversaries to infer sensitive information from communication meta-data (such as source IP, destination IP, packet size and packet timing), even if communication is encrypted.

We introduced the threat of “Routing Attacks on Privacy in Tor” (RAPTOR attacks) at USENIX Security in 2015. We demonstrated the feasibility of RAPTOR attacks on the Tor network by performing real-world Internet routing manipulation in a controlled and ethical manner.  Interested readers can see the technical paper and our project webpage for more details.

Routing attacks challenge conventional beliefs about security of anonymity systems, and also have broad applicability to low-latency anonymous communication (including systems beyond Tor, such as I2P). Our work also motivates the design of anonymity systems that successfully resist the threat of Internet routing manipulation. The Tor project is already implementing design changes (such as Tor proposal 247 and Tor proposal 271) that make it harder for an adversary to infer and manipulate the client’s entry point (proxy) into the Tor network. Our follow-up work on Counter-RAPTOR defenses (presented at the IEEE Security and Privacy Symposium in 2017) presents a monitoring framework to analyze routing updates for the Tor network, which is being integrated into the Tor metrics portal.

BGP attacks on TLS/Digital Certificates: The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol allows a client to establish a secure communication channel with a destination website using cryptographic key exchange protocols. To prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, clients using the TLS protocols need to authenticate the public key corresponding to the destination site, such as a web-server. Digital certificates issued by trusted Certificate Authorities (such as Let’s Encrypt) provide an authentic binding between destination server and its public key, allowing a client to validate the destination server. Given the widespread use of TLS for secure Internet communications, the security of the digital certificate ecosystem is paramount.

We have shown that the process for obtaining digital certificates from trusted certificate authorities (called domain validation) is vulnerable to attack.

A domain owner can perform a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) to a trusted Certificate Authority to obtain a digital certificate.  The Certificate Authority must verify that the party submitting the request actually has control over the domains that are covered by that CSR. This process is known as domain control verification and is a core part of the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) used in the TLS protocol.

In our ongoing work in progress, presented at the HotPETS workshop in 2017, we demonstrated the feasibility of exploiting BGP attacks to compromise the domain validation protocol. For example,  HTTP domain verification is a common method of domain control verification that requires the domain owner to upload a string specified by the CA to a specific HTTP URL at the domain. The CA can then verify the domain via a HTTP GET request. However, an adversary can manipulate inter-domain routing via BGP attacks to intercept all traffic towards the victim web-server, and successfully obtain a fraudulent digital certificate by spoofing a HTTP response corresponding to the CA challenge message. We have performed real-world Internet routing manipulation in a controlled and ethical manner to demonstrate the feasibility of these attacks. See our attack demonstration video for a demo.

This attack has significant consequences for privacy of our online communications, as adversaries can bypass cryptographic protection offered by encryption using fraudulently obtained digital certificates. Our work is leading to deployment of suggested countermeasures (verification from multiple vantage points) at Let’s Encrypt. Please see the Let’s Encrypt deployment for more details.

So far, we have discussed our research results from Princeton University. Below, I’ll briefly discuss research from Laurent Vanbever’s group at ETHZ and Sharon Goldberg’s Group at Boston University that have shown that it is possible to use inter-domain routing manipulation for attacking Bitcoin and for bypassing legal protections.

BGP attacks on Crypto-currencies/Bitcoin: BGP manipulation can be used to perform two main types of attacks on crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin: (1) partitioning attacks, in which an adversary aims to disconnect a set of victim Bitcoin nodes from the network, or (2) delaying attacks, in which an adversary can slow down the propagation of data towards victim Bitcoin nodes. Both of these attacks result in potential economic loss to Bitcoin nodes.

BGP attacks for bypassing legal protections: Domestic communications between US citizens have legal protections against surveillance. However, adversaries can manipulate inter-domain routing such that the actual communication path involves a foreign country, which could invalidate the legal protections and allow large-scale surveillance of online communications.

Concluding Thoughts:  The emergence of routing attacks on anonymity systems, Internet domain validation, and cryptocurrencies showcases that conventional wisdom has significantly underestimated the attack surface introduced due to the insecurity of Internet routing. It is imperative for critical Internet applications to be aware of the insecurity of Internet routing, and analyze the resulting security threats.

Given the vulnerabilities in Internet routing, applications should consider domain specific defense mechanisms for enhancing user security and privacy. Examples include our Counter-RAPTOR analytics for Tor and Multiple vantage point defense for domain validation). We hope that our work, and the research discussed above is an enabler for this vision.

While it is important to design and deploy application-specific defenses for protecting our systems against routing attacks that exploit current insecure Internet infrastructure, it is even more important to rethink the status quo of insecure routing protocols. Our ultimate goal ought to be to fundamentally eliminate the insecurity in today’s Internet routing protocols by moving towards the adoption of secure countermeasuresHow do we drive this change?


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Babies Who Look Like Their Fathers Are Healthier, According To New Research

According to new research out of Binghamton University, babies who look like their fathers are healthier.

Distinguished Research Professor of Economics Solomon Polachek and his institution colleagues analyzed data from 715 families where infants only lived with their mothers, in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) study. Using private interviews with both parents, they measured how much babies resembled their dads. Additionally, they gauged fatherly investment based on each mother’s report of financial investment, time spent with the baby, and shared parental responsibilities.

Finally, to assess each child’s health the researchers relied upon mothers’ reports of indicators, such as the number of doctor visits for sickness since birth. The results suggest that father-child resemblance causes a dad to spend more time engaged in positive parenting, with fathers spending an average of 2.5 more days per month with their babies than dads who didn’t resemble their offspring.

Source: Babies Who Look Like Their Fathers Are Healthier, According To New Research

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Why washing dishes or showering during a storm can be extremely dangerous

It’s common advice to stay away from plumbing or metal objects during a thunderstorm, but what could happen if you don’t?

Lightning can strike and electricity can travel through pipes and water, shocking you, according to John Jensenius, lightning safety specialist for the National Weather Service (NWS).

During a thunderstorm, simple daily tasks such as doing the dishes or taking a shower can increase your risk of getting struck by lightning.

Source: Why washing dishes or showering during a storm can be extremely dangerous

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MPAA Report Shows How The Internet Is Saving The Film Industry, Not Destroying It

The MPAA has long found itself in the odd position of cheerleading its own industry’s never-attained demise. One of the core functions of the organization has been to demonize the internet with incessent discussions about how piracy is “killing” the industry, a death that never seems to take. Others have posited that the movie industry needs the internet more than the other way around, which hasn’t prevented Hollywood from waging a clandestine war through pricing and burdensome licensing arrangements with service providers that actually stave off piracy, such as Netflix. Whether Hollywood knew it was waging this war is an open question, but the end result of its tactics were to tamp down the usefulness of Netflix.

And, yet, Netflix grew and grew anyway.

Which perhaps has brought us to something of a turning point. There is a major change in the MPAA’s latest annual report, one which serves to laud the internet for saving its industry, instead of killing it. The MPAA has decided to finally start including home-viewing numbers and revenue in the report, and the numbers make it quite clear where the industry’s revenue is coming from.

Source: MPAA Report Shows How The Internet Is Saving The Film Industry, Not Destroying It

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10% Of US Facebook Users Deleted Their Accounts Over Data-Privacy Scandal, Survey Shows

It looks like Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk are in good company.

According to a recent poll conducted by Techpinions, a technology research group, 9% of a sample of 1,000 people surveyed said they had deleted their Facebook page in the wake of revelations that Cambridge Analytica used the personal data of 87 million people in its work for the Trump campaign.

This revelation, brought to the attention of the media by whistleblower Christopher Wylie (who promptly saw his own Facebook account deleted by the company shortly after the New York Times and the Observer published the initial exposes), ignited an international scandal about how Facebook collects, stores and utilizes the personal data of its users to target advertisements – a business that has transformed Facebook into perhaps the most profitable company of its size in the history of capitalism.


While Facebook insists it doesn’t “sell” data to advertisers, for years, the company allowed third party app developers nearly unfettered access to this data to build apps that could be integrated with the platform (Farmville, anyone?).

The scandal led to the hashtag #DeleteFacebook to trend on Twitter, and also inspired one of the co-founders of WhatsApp, a company that was bought out by Facebook in 2014 for the astronomical sum of $19 billion, to declare that “it’s time” to delete Facebook.

Source: 10% Of US Facebook Users Deleted Their Accounts Over Data-Privacy Scandal, Survey Shows

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Hobart’s ‘museum of sex and death’ to help design Australia’s first dementia village

David Walsh, founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), has rejected praise for giving back to his Tasmanian hometown by choosing to set up Australia’s most experimental and popular gallery there. “People keep saying, ‘It’s so great that you did this in the place where you were born’,” he said in 2016. “But I couldn’t give a fuck about where I was born.”

That assertion seems ever more unlikely given the latest surprising move by the so-called “museum of sex and death”: Mona is in talks with Glenview, a provider of aged care homes and services.

Source: Hobart’s ‘museum of sex and death’ to help design Australia’s first dementia village

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“Privacy is not for sale,” Telegram founder says after being banned in Russia

A Russian court has paved the way for the government to block the Telegram messaging app over its creators’ failure to provide authorities with access to users’ encrypted messages, it was widely reported on Friday.

Russia’s state communications watchdog sought the ban last Friday in a lawsuit that asked the court for the authority to block the app’s use in Russian territories. The watchdog said Russian authorities needed the ability to decrypt messages sent by potential terrorists and that Telegram had missed an April 4 deadline to turn over keys that would make that possible. At today’s hearing, which was scheduled only 24 hours earlier, the court granted the request after just 18 minutes of deliberation, The New York Times reported. Telegram lawyers skipped the hearing in protest.

Source: “Privacy is not for sale,” Telegram founder says after being banned in Russia

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Los Angeles painting city streets white in bid to combat climate change

California officials are hoping their latest attempt to stem the rising tides of climate change leads to a more socially conscious — and cooler — summer.

Officials in Los Angeles have been painting streets white to reduce the effect of urban “heat islands” and combat the effects of climate change.

The LA Street Services began rolling out the project last May, which preliminary testing shows has reduced the temperature of roadways by up to 10 degrees. The project involves applying a light gray coating of the product CoolSeal, made by the company GuardTop.

“CoolSeal is applied like conventional sealcoats to asphalt surfaces to protect and maintain the quality and longevity of the surface,” according to the company website. “While most cool pavements on the market are polymer based, CoolSeal is a water-based, asphalt emulsion.”

Source: Los Angeles painting city streets white in bid to combat climate change

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Georgia goat forced to ingest whiskey, cocaine begins new life as therapy animal

Kyla Jones has seen a lot of abused animals during her years in pet rescue.

Animals that have been starved or physically and sexually abused by humans have crossed her path. She thought she had seen it all.

Then came Whiskey.

The goat of unknown age or origin made news headlines when Sergio Palomares-Guzman, 28, a horse trainer from Grayson, Georgia, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after posting a video on social media in which a goat was being force-fed cocaine and whiskey.

Jones, president and founder of SNAP2IT pet rescue in Atlanta, heard about the incident but didn’t watch the video. It would have made her too angry, she said. “Cocaine and whiskey is a first,” Jones said in a telephone interview. “Most people want to save that for themselves.”

She immediately contacted animal control and told them she would take the goat. They dropped the animal at her farm the next day.

When he arrived, the first order of business was to give him a name.

“We tried to think of all kinds of names. We named him Whiskey. It just suits him,” Jones said with a chuckle.

Source: Georgia goat forced to ingest whiskey, cocaine begins new life as therapy animal

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Scottish police ‘rescue’ metal fans mistaken for suicide pact members

Emergency services mounted a full-scale rescue operation, including fire engines, ambulances and lifeboats, after a passerby thought a group of heavy metal fans out camping were involved in a suicide pact.

The three men were enjoying beers around a camp fire on an island in Loch Leven, Perthshire on Sunday night, as their children slept in a tent, when they saw the lights from police boats rushing across the water towards them.

“For some reason the police had received a tip that we might be in grave danger and they came to rescue us,” said Panagiotis Filis, a lecturer at Aberdeen University and a founder of the Black Metal Brewery. “They really did a great job of rescuing us, the only issue is that we didn’t need rescuing.”

Police had smashed the windows of one of the group’s cars, which was parked on the mainland, apparently searching for a suicide note. When interviewing the men, they said they had been concerned about a potential kidnapping.

The group was ferried across to dry land, where they reported seeing more than 20 emergency service vehicles and about 50 people waiting for them. “The amount of resources they threw at it was just ridiculous,” said Ross Anderson, a civil engineer.

Source: Scottish police ‘rescue’ metal fans mistaken for suicide pact members

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Sheriff says killing suspects makes better fiscal sense than wounding them

A California sheriff up for re-election has found his words coming back to haunt him after a local police union dug up a 12-year-old video in which he stated it was “better financially” for law enforcement officers to kill suspects than to injure them.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood made the statement in a snippet of video posted on Facebook Monday by the Kern County Detention Officers Association. The short segment was taken from a longer video shot when Youngblood, who was first elected as sheriff in 2006, was answering questions at an endorsement meeting during his first campaign.

Kevin Dees, the president of the union, told the Bakersfield Californian that the statements were found as he and his staff were searching the video for campaign promises that the sheriff has failed to deliver on. The KCDOA is backing Youngblood’s challenger, Justin Fleeman, who is also chief deputy.

Source: Sheriff says killing suspects makes better fiscal sense than wounding them

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Family Farm Could Face Prison for Calling Skim Milk by Its Name

Forget narcotics. Uncle Sam has a new substance to crack down on: all-natural skim milk.

Food and Drug Administration regulations make it a federal crime for dairy farmers to call all-natural skim milk exactly what it is—skim milk. Instead, the FDA demands that farmers label additive-free skim milk as “imitation milk product,” because, in the FDA’s mind, skim milk just isn’t the real thing.

The FDA’s finicky rules are not going unchallenged, however. Attorneys with the Institute for Justice are challenging those rules on behalf of a dairy farmer, Randy Sowers, who wants to sell all-natural products and label them honestly, without the threat of fines or imprisonment.

Source: Family Farm Could Face Prison for Calling Skim Milk by Its Name

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Many people taking antidepressants discover they cannot quit 

Long-term use of antidepressants is increasing in the United States, a new analysis of federal data by the New York Times shows. Almost 25 million adults have been taking antidepressants for at least 2 years, a 60% increase since 2010. Moreover, approximately 15.5 million individuals have been taking the drugs for at least 5 years, nearly doubling the rate since 2010. While the drugs have helped millions of people with depression and anxiety, and many people can stop taking them without significant issues, some individuals who try to wean themselves off cannot due to harsh withdrawal symptoms they say they were not warned of. Initially, the drugs were cleared for short-term use; but even today, with millions of long-term users, there is little data about their effects on individuals who take them for years. According to the Times analysis of data collected since 1999 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than 34.4 million adults took antidepressants in 2013–2014, up from 13.4 million in 1999–2000. The report found that individuals older than age 45 years, women, and whites are more likely to take antidepressants than younger adults, men, and minorities; however, usage among older adults across the demographic spectrum is rising. “What you see is the number of long-term users just piling up year after year,” said Mark Olfson, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University who assisted the Times with the analysis. And yet, it is not clear that everyone who is taking an open-ended prescription should stop. Most physicians agree that a subset of users may benefit from a lifetime prescription, though they disagree on the size of that group. Peter Kramer, MD, a psychiatrist and author of several books about antidepressants, noted: “There is a cultural question here, which is how much depression should people have to live with when we have these treatments that give so many a better quality of life. I don’t think that’s a question that should be decided in advance.”

Source: Many people taking antidepressants discover they cannot quit | American Pharmacists Association

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Homeless Girl Scouts Aim To Sell 6,000 Boxes Of Cookies In NYC

If you’ve ever been tempted to buy Girl Scout cookies, now is the time to break out your cash, New Yorkers.

Girl Scouts in New York City’s Troop 6000, a troop for girls in homeless shelters, are selling their delicious wares in Union Square through Friday. And they’re aiming high: The goal is to sell 6,000 boxes.

“The biggest impact that we see and when you talk to the girls you’ll hear them say, is that they belong to something, they have a sisterhood within the other Girl Scouts,” Meridith Maskara of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, told  ABC News. “They talk to other girls who may be in their same situation who feel alone, and they feel like they have a stronger sense of community and belonging overall.”


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Prosecutors: DNA ties suspected killer clown to getaway car

DNA tests show that hair found in a car likely used in a 1990 Florida slaying committed by someone dressed as a clown possibly came from a recently arrested suspect now married to the victim’s widower.

The Palm Beach County state attorney’s office released late Thursday the evidence that they say ties 54-year-old Sheila Keen Warren to the fatal shooting of Marlene Warren, who was then married to Keen Warren’s current husband. The evidence shows that several witnesses told detectives Sheila Keen and Michael Warren were having an affair before the killing, something they both denied. They married in 2002 and lived in Virginia before her arrest in September.

Michael Warren declined comment Thursday. Detectives have refused to rule him out as a suspect. Prosecutors also declined comment. Keen Warren’s attorney didn’t respond to an email and phone call.

Source: Prosecutors: DNA ties suspected killer clown to getaway car

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Nanomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory develop injectable bandage

A penetrating injury from shrapnel is a serious obstacle in overcoming battlefield wounds that can ultimately lead to death. Given the high mortality rates due to hemorrhaging, there is an unmet need to quickly self-administer materials that prevent fatality due to excessive blood loss.

Experiment Kcas1 7 Day Zoom1 (1)With a gelling agent commonly used in preparing pastries, researchers from the Inspired Nanomaterials and Tissue Engineering Laboratory have successfully fabricated an injectable bandage to stop bleeding and promote wound healing.

In a recent article “Nanoengineered Injectable Hydrogels for Wound Healing Application” published in Acta Biomaterialia, Dr. Akhilesh K. Gaharwar, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, uses kappa-carrageenan and nanosilicates to form injectable hydrogels to promote hemostasis (the process to stop bleeding) and facilitate wound healing via a controlled release of therapeutics.


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Norway is getting a floating suspension bridge tethered to the bottom of the sea

As Elon Musk noted in a recent tweet, “Norway has some really cool tunnels and bridges.”

He’s not wrong. The small, wealthy nation has the longest road tunnel in the world, it’s considering a plan for the world’s first floating underwater tunnel, and it could soon be home to a floating, multi-span suspension bridge in unprecedentedly deep waters.

Bridge engineer Ian Firth discussed the 3-mile-long bridge, which will cross a long and deep Norwegian fjord known as Bjørnafjord, during a talk at this week’s TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

Bridge foundations in deep water can be incredibly expensive. But the Bjørnafjord bridge gets around that by floating.

Source: Norway is getting a floating suspension bridge tethered to the bottom of the sea — and it could change the way we make bridges

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Boycotts ‘the Modern Way of Cutting off Free Speech’ 


On Friday’s broadcast of HBO’s “Real Time,” host Bill Maher defended Fox News host Laura Ingraham, and stated the boycott of her sponsors over her comments about Parkland survivor David Hogg is wrong and boycotts are “the modern way of cutting off free speech.”

Maher said, “I want to defend Laura Ingraham. … Now, I think those kids did a great thing, they put this issue in a place we’ve never had it before, and I wish them success. But, you know, if you’re going to be out there in the arena, and make yourselves the champions of this cause, people are going to have the right, I think, to argue back.”

He continued that Ingraham “has become a deliberately terrible person, I think, you know, just saying horrible things.” Maher then said of her comments on Hogg, “OK, maybe you shouldn’t say that about a 17-year-old, but again, he is in the arena. And then he calls for a boycott of her sponsors.”

Source: Maher: Calling for Boycott of Ingraham’s Sponsors Is ‘Bullying’ – Boycotts ‘the Modern Way of Cutting off Free Speech’ | Breitbart

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China sperm bank asks for ‘Communist only’ semen donations

sperm bank in China is demanding potential donors are good Communists, as Beijing’s campaign to increase its control over people’s lives extends to before they are born.

The Third Hospital of Peking University is asking donors to answer the party’s call before they hand over semen in a six-week donation drive launched this week.

Demand for sperm is booming in China since the one-child policy was axed in 2016, but there have been concerns over quality levels.

Source: China sperm bank asks for ‘Communist only’ semen donations

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Pahrump-based radio host Art Bell dies at 72

He was awake when most of the country was asleep, cultivating a loyal following while sharing his fascination with the unexplained on his nighttime paranormal-themed show.

For the better part of two decades, longtime late-night radio personality Art Bell was his own producer, engineer and host of his show, “Coast to Coast AM.” He later launched his own satellite radio program from his Pahrump home after retiring from full-time hosting duties in 2003.

On the airwaves, Bell captivated listeners with his fascination for the unexplained, such as UFOs, alien abductions and crop circles. He died Friday at his home at the age of 72.

“As he begins his journey on the ‘other side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us,” Coast to Coast said in a statement Saturday.

Source: Pahrump-based radio host Art Bell dies at 72

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5 Compelling Reasons Why The Youtube Shooting Has Disappeared From Headlines

 Breaking news alerts announcing reports of a shooting at YouTube’s headquarters quickly faded from the spotlight and out of the news cycle—and there are a number of imperative reasons why the rampage initiated by a woman who injured three people and then killed herself, has not been used to push the mainstream media’s obsession with gun control.

Here are 5 compelling reasons why the YouTube shooting has disappeared from headlines:


When the suspected shooter was identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam—a 39-year-old woman attempting to carry out a mass shooting when the overwhelming majority of mass shooting suspects are typically men in their early 20s, it may have seemed as though she would actually receive more media attention than most.

However, Aghdam does not appear to have been a white supremacist, a crazy conspiracy theorist, or a religious cult member. Instead, she was a vegan YouTube content creator with a long list of bizarre videos and a passion for animal rights. Despite being Iranian-American, which would excite neocons who are hungry for war with Iran, it does not appear that Aghdam had a political motive or was affiliated with any terrorist groups.


Aghdam’s weapon of choice was a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, which she purchased legally in January. While Bloomberg attempted to blame Smith & Wesson by noting that the company’s AR-15 was the gun used in the Parkland shooting, the fact is that the weapon Aghdam used does not fit the narrative of dangerous firearms pushed by the mainstream media.

To attempt to ban a 9mm handgun would be almost impossible, but to attempt to ban a firearm that has been demonized and referred to as an “assault rifle” used in a number of mass shootings, is something the media has been working towards for years. While it is estimated that more than 8 million Americans own AR-15’s, it has not stopped the mainstream media from openly calling for a ban on “assault rifles” and attempting to explain Why the AR-15 keeps appearing at America’s deadliest mass shootings.”

Source: 5 Compelling Reasons Why The Youtube Shooting Has Disappeared From Headlines

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Anne Frank House banned Jewish employee from wearing skullcap at work 

A Jewish employee at Anne Frank House could not believe his ears when his bosses banned him from wearing a skullcap at work.

A Jewish employee at Anne Frank House (pictured) could not believe his ears when his bosses banned him from wearing a skullcap at work

Barry Vingerling turned up for work on his first day at the museum in Amsterdam and


was told to take off his ‘yarmulke’.

Anne Frank House is a writer’s house and museum dedicated to a famous Jewish teenager who wrote a diary as she hid from the Nazis in World War II.

A Jewish employee at Anne Frank House (pictured) could not believe his ears when his bosses banned him from wearing a skullcap at work

Barry Vingerling, 25, turned up for work on his first day at the museum in Amsterdam and was told to take off his ‘yarmulke’

The 25-year-old was told wearing the skullcap might endanger the neutrality of the foundation which runs the museum and ‘influence its work combating antisemitism’.

Mr Vingerling did not don a skullcap for his interview but hoped to wear it at work to meet his requirement as an Orthodox Jew to keep his head covered.

The Dutchman was told the brimless cap, also known as a kippah, was banned by the Anne Frank House as employees were not allowed to wear Jewish symbols.

Source: Anne Frank House banned Jewish employee from wearing skullcap at work 

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Swedes don’t want to be teachers anymore due to dangerous school environments

Sweden has growing difficulties in recruiting teachers due to a lack of respect and safety at its schools. Many teachers witness harassments, violence and teenagers that threaten and sexually abuse fellow pupils and teachers.

Swedish schools are now planning on reinforcing security measures in schools due to the aggravated situation. There are a growing number of violent conflicts, often involving knives and other kinds of weapons.

Last year, a 17- year old Afghani refugee was stabbed to death by another 17-year old Afghani pupil in a school in south of Stockholm.

But many serious incidents never reach mainstream media. Even schools that have previously been more or less calm are now ridden by severe problems, often connected to groups of different ethnicities and problems involving “honour”.

Source: Swedes don’t want to be teachers anymore due to dangerous school environments

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A Third Of Millennials Aren’t Sure The Earth Is Round, Survey Finds

A new survey has found that a third of young millennials in the U.S. aren’t convinced the Earth is actually round. The national poll reveals that 18 to 24-year-olds are the largest group in the country who refuse to accept the scientific facts of the world’s shape.

YouGov, a British market research firm, polled 8,215 adults in the United States to find out if they ever believed in the “flat Earth” movement. Only 66 percent of young millennials answered that they “always believe the world is round.” Science teachers across the U.S. will be shaking their heads after learning that nine percent of young adults answered that they have “always believed” the planet was flat.

Another nine percent said of young adults said they thought the planet was spherical but had doubts about it. In a disturbing display of indecision, 16 percent of millennials said they weren’t sure what the shape of the planet was.

Overall, only two percent of the respondents said they always thought the Earth was flat without any doubt. YouGov found that age was directly connected to Americans’ views on the shape of the world. Seventy-six percent of adults age 25-34 say they’ve always believed the Earth is round, compared to 82 percent of ages 35-44, 85 percent of ages 45-54, and 94 percent of adults 55 and over.

Income seemed to play a role in people’s beliefs as well. Ninety-two percent of adults making over $80,000 believed the Earth is round, compared to only 79 percent of adults making under $40,000.

Source: A Third Of Millennials Aren’t Sure The Earth Is Round, Survey Finds

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Resort looks for people who threw carrots at alligator

Officials at a South Carolina resort are looking for the people who harassed an alligator by throwing carrots at him, calling the action “a new level of stupid.”

The Island Packet in Hilton Head reports the Fripp Island Resort Activity Center posted about the harassment Friday on its Facebook page.

Fripp Island naturalist Jessica Miller says the people were lucky because the alligator didn’t respond and later slid back into the water

The Facebook post says Fripp Island has a description of the people who threw carrots. The fine is $200 per carrot thrown.

Source: Resort looks for people who threw carrots at alligator

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Tiny Injectable Sensor could Provide Unobtrusive, Long-Term Alcohol Monitoring

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a miniature, ultra-low power injectable biosensor that could be used for continuous, long-term alcohol monitoring. The chip is small enough to be implanted in the body just beneath the surface of the skin and is powered wirelessly by a wearable device, such as a smartwatch or patch.

“The ultimate goal of this work is to develop a routine, unobtrusive  and drug monitoring device for patients in substance abuse ,” said Drew Hall, an electrical engineering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who led the project. Hall is also affiliated with the Center for Wireless Communications and the Center for Wearable Sensors, both at UC San Diego. Hall’s team presented this work at the 2018 IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC) on Apr. 10 in San Diego.

Source: Tiny Injectable Sensor could Provide Unobtrusive, Long-Term Alcohol Monitoring

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Another company’s been harvesting Facebook user data

Déjà data-analytics vu: Facebook’s suspended yet another firm for dressing up its personal-data snarfing as “nonprofit academic research,” in the form of personality quizzes, and handing over the data to marketers.

The company, Cubeyou, a la Cambridge Analytica (CA), pasted the label “for non-profit academic research” onto its personality quizzes, CNBC reported on Sunday.

One of Cubeyou’s quizzes, “You Are What You Like,” was created in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, as was the psychographic data collected by the Facebook quiz thisisyourdigitallife.

Another version of Cubeyou’s quiz, named “Apply Magic Sauce,” states that it’s only for “non-profit academic research that has no connection whatsoever to any commercial or profit-making purpose or entity.” That sounds an awful lot like thisisyourdigitallife, which billed itself as “a research app used by psychologists.”

Source: Another company’s been harvesting Facebook user data

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Cat-like ‘hearing’ with device trillions times smaller than human eardrum

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are developing atomically thin “drumheads” able to receive and transmit signals across a radio frequency range far greater than what we can hear with the human ear.

But the drumhead is tens of trillions times (10 followed by 12 zeros) smaller in volume and 100,000 times thinner than the human eardrum.

The advances will likely contribute to making the next generation of ultralow-power communications and sensory devices smaller and with greater detection and tuning ranges.

“Sensing and communication are key to a connected world,” said Philip Feng, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and corresponding author on a paper about the work published March 30 in the journal Science Advances. “In recent decades, we have been connected with highly miniaturized devices and systems, and we have been pursuing ever-shrinking sizes for those devices.”

Source: Cat-like ‘hearing’ with device trillions times smaller than human eardrum

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Lawmakers use Zuck questioning to ask for favors

Instead of using the full four or five minutes allotted to question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about user privacy and his business, some lawmakers used time to ask the CEO for favors.

Why it matters: These requests could have easily been made outside of this hearing, but the event is being broadcast, and constituents could be tuning in.

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  • “My state, I’m from West Virginia, and thank you for visiting and next time you visit, if you would please bring some fiber because we don’t have connectivity in — in our rural areas like we really need, and Facebook could really help us with that,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
  • “I hope you might commit to returning to Westchester County [where Zuckerberg grew up] perhaps to do a forum on this or other things. I hope you’ll consider that. We’ll be in touch with you but I know that Ardsley High School is very proud of you,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY).
  • “We’ve got a lot of drone activity going on in our district, whether it’s University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. We’d be happy to help out there too,” said Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), with regard to Facebook’s efforts to expand internet access.
  • “Let me suggest that perhaps you look some place — perhaps in the middle of the North American continent — for some people [referring to diversifying Facebook talent]. Maybe even your next big investment of capital could be in some place like, let’s say Bismarck, North Dakota,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), in a half-joking tone.

There were plenty of other friendly moments, including members of Congress who thanked Zuckerberg and Facebook for their efforts supporting STEM and innovation.

Bottom line: The hearings, which were expected to be testy, were tempered by lawmakers who didn’t want to burn bridges with the tech giant, as their campaigns and constituents have made avid use of the free service.

Source: Lawmakers use Zuck questioning to ask for favors

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