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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

Do you trust your government?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I gots guns.. who cares 'bout the gubmint?
  • What government? This place is anarchy! And I'm going fishing.
  • Hang all them power mad bastards.
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox was a bad choice.
  • Abstain due to NSA fears.
  • Hillary Clinton is HOT!

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:86 | Votes:383

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @11:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the bring-yer-beer dept.

Drones have been banned from flying within 32 miles of American Football's Super Bowl, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said.

In a video to sports fans, the FAA warns the stadium is a "no-drone zone".

The restrictions cover anywhere within 32 miles of the Super Bowl stadium in Santa Clara, California, between 14.00 and 11.59 PST on 7 February.

FAA regulations also advise that "deadly force" may be used if a drone is perceived as a security threat.

The Super Bowl is the climax of the football season, and a crowd of 70,000 is expected for this year's game.

"Bring your lucky jersey, bring your facepaint, bring your team spirit," the video announces, "but leave your drone at home."

Original Submission

posted by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday February 06, @09:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the workin'-in-the-coal-mine dept.

It's that time again, boys and girls. I know it's been a while since the last site update but this kind of thing can happen when everyone on staff has life things happening at the same time. Still, we weren't entirely goofing off. We managed to get the following all squared away for this update:

  • API made more nexus/topic-friendly. (see TFM)
  • Fixed the API to return the proper mime type. (this fixes the unicode issue)
  • Fixed some backend stuff that you don't care about.
  • Added the ability for Editors to give you a reason if they reject your submission. (In your Preferences, click on the Messages tab, and then set "Declined Submission Reason" to one of: "No Messages", "E-mail", or "Web"; default is "Web")
  • Added the ability for Admins/Editors to message users using our message system. (In your Preferences, click on the Messages tab, and then set "Admin to user message" to one of: "No Messages", "E-mail", or "Web"; default is "Web")
  • Several template fixes by martyb (Bytram).
  • You will now be notified in the moderation slashbox if you are mod banned.
  • Added Stripe as a CC payment processor.[*]
  • URLs with spaces are working again.
  • Some typo fixes from stmuk
  • Two new themes. VT220 by me and Grayscale by chromas.
  • Unbelievably alpha version of some mobile css that should only show up on devices with a horizontal resolution of 800 pixels or less. View it while you can; if there's significant aversion to it, it's going away until we can polish it properly.
  • Some XSS bug fixes by paulej72.
  • Much fixing of my screw-ups by paulej72.
  • A few more things you won't care about but that make us happy.

[*] Okay, the code is all there. We just forgot to have mrcoolbp activate the account so we could switch it from test mode to live mode. We'll drop another note when it gets squared away.

Alpha version of a mobile theme for the site was deemed too sucktastic to run with so you'll have to wait two or three more months. As in April or May. Of this year. Really. Personally, I have a clear schedule and the burning desire to code stuff, so we should have enough material to release another upgrade by then even if paulej72, NCommander, and Bytram get abducted by supermodels. What we plan on working on:

  • You know how heavily commented stories load slow? I hate that and would like them to load fast. I'm thinking caching will play a big role here.
  • Mobile theme. Currently fleshing out how best to go about it.
  • Bug fixes. Gravis keeps finding new ones. The bastard.
  • General QA/test and UI sanity checking/fixing from Bytram.
  • Whatever strikes his fancy from paulej72.
  • Ditto NCommander, time allowing.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @08:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-their-computer-network dept.

The Register reports on an uproar following the discovery of an Internet traffic spying device on campus at the University of California Berkeley:

Academics at the University of California Berkeley have protested after it emerged that management had put a secret data slurping device into the campus that was mapping and storing all network traffic. "The intrusive device is capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley campus and has enough local storage to save over 30 days of all this data," Ethan Ligon, a member of the Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology, wrote in an e-mail to fellow faculty members, the SF Chronicle reports.

Benjamin Hermalin, chairman of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate, also expressed serious concerns about the monitoring, and about the storage of the data off-campus. As a third party company is running the device, rather than the university's IT staff, there were also privacy issues to consider.

The device was installed after UCLA Health was hacked in June. Who ordered the installation of the device? No other than Former Governor of Arizona and United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who is now the President of the University of California.

A statement from the chair of the University Committee on Academic Computing and Communications has this to say about the monitoring:

We have been informed that the monitoring of communications looked only for "malware signatures" and Internet traffic patterns. As neither message content nor browsing activity were monitored, we believe this level of monitoring can be appropriate.

We have been informed that monitoring of transmissions occurs only at campus edge, and does not capture internal campus traffic. Monitoring of traffic patterns for a pre-defined purpose can be appropriate given that results are maintained for a limited time and limited use.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @06:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the if-I-rub-these-two-nickles-together dept.

Banks are watching wealthy clients flirt with robo-advisers, and that's one reason the lenders are racing to release their own versions of the automated investing technology this year, according to a consultant.

Millennials and small investors aren't the only ones using robo-advisers, a group that includes pioneers Wealthfront Inc. and Betterment LLC and services provided by mutual-fund giants, said Kendra Thompson, an Accenture Plc managing director. At Charles Schwab Corp., about 15 percent of those in automated portfolios have at least $1 million at the company.

"It's real money moving," Thompson said in an interview. "You're seeing experimentation from people with much larger portfolios, where they're taking a portion of their money and putting them in these offerings to try them out."

Traditional brokerages including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. are under pressure to justify the fees they charge as the low-cost services gain acceptance. The banks, which collectively employ about 46,000 human advisers, will respond by developing tools based on artificial intelligence for their employees, as well as self-service channels for customers, Thompson said.

E-trade disrupted brokerages for small investors. Looks like that disruption is arriving at the top end, too.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @05:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the sometimes-they-do-nice-things dept.

Microsoft and the Speaker of the New York City Council announced Office 2016, Office for Mac 2016, and Office 365 are being made available to New York City's 1.1 million students at no cost:

Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced an innovative collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to provide New York City students and families with access to Microsoft software.

Students and families will be able to download Office 2016, Office for Mac 2016 and the Office 365 mobile apps available for Windows 10 tablets, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. All of these are part of Microsoft's Office 365 Education offering and available to download from the website There is no cost for up to five (5) downloads on their personal computers, Windows or Mac, up to five (5) tablets and up to five (5) phones.

"This initiative is about providing students with the tools they need to succeed," said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "Technology like Microsoft software enhances the educational experience and infuses learning with crucial hands-on computer skills – skills that will be an asset as students prepare for college and the workforce. Learning doesn't stop at the end of the school day – we want to ensure children and their parents have the resources at home to get curious, organized, and ready to learn together. I thank Microsoft and the Department of Education for partnering with the New York City Council to make this exciting initiative a reality."

"We are committed to using technology as a tool to facilitate better instruction and engage students and families," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "This exciting new initiative is going to help us do just that – I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council, and Microsoft for their partnership."

"Ensuring students have access to technology that can support their unique learning styles and will prepare them for the workforce is a top priority for Microsoft," said Margo Day, Vice President, U.S. Education at Microsoft. "We are proud to join with the New York City Department of Education to support educators in preparing students for college and careers."

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @03:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the gotta-cut-costs-somehow dept.

Yahoo! Inc. was accused in a lawsuit of manipulating employee performance evaluations to justify firing hundreds of workers in order to meet its financial targets.

Gregory Anderson, who was an editor for some of Yahoo's online news content, claims he and about 600 others at the company were unfairly fired in 2014 after managers retooled a numerical ranking system to downgrade their performance.

The mass terminations occurred without appropriate notice in violation of state and federal laws, according to the complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Jose, California. Anderson also accused the company of gender discrimination under the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing internal promotions he said were limited to female candidates.

"The employees were never told their actual metric numeric ranking or how it had been determined," according to the complaint. The quarterly performance rating process "therefore permitted and encouraged discrimination based on gender and any other personal bias held by management."

California law requires that the termination of 50 or more employees within a month occur with a 60-day notice period. Anderson was told by Yahoo that he was fired while attending a journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan granted with the support of the company, according to the complaint. He said he was informed the decision was effective immediately.


Earlier Coverage: Yahoo! Turnaround Plan: Proxy War and Fire Mayer?

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @01:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-one-should-be-surprised dept.

The Danish government has confirmed that the U.S. had a jet laying in wait for Edward Snowden:

The twin-engined Gulfstream aircraft, which had previously been used to fly Abu Hamza to the US from the UK, landed shortly before the FBI called on Scandinavian police forces to arrest Snowden and hand him over for extradition. Søren Pind, the justice minister, wrote to Danish MPs (pdf): "The purpose of the aircraft's presence in Copenhagen airport is most likely to have been to have the opportunity to transport Edward Snowden to the United States if he had been handed over from Russia or another country."

This week, Pind confirmed to the Danish parliament that the aircraft had been given high-level permission to land in Copenhagen, but said he did not know the purpose of its visit. "I must note that my answer was not adequate at this point," he wrote in the letter, dated Thursday 4 February and revealed by MPs on Friday. "Usually, information of this nature is confidential because of Denmark's relations with foreign states. In view of the impression that my earlier answer may have created, I think it proper to inform parliament thereof. The US authorities have also been informed."

The admission confirms speculation about the aircraft after enthusiasts in the UK saw the jet flying at very high altitude through Scottish airspace on its way to Copenhagen, as first reported in 2014 by the Register. The Gulfstream jet was identified by its registration number, N977GA, as the aircraft used to extradite radial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, and other prisoners, to the US in 2012.

[...] Redacted emails among the documents released by the Danish government reveal high-level discussion about N977GA between Danish police and top civil servants between 25 and 27 June. Permission for the jet to land was granted on 24 June. The United States took drastic methods in trying to grab Snowden in the summer of 2013: a plane carrying the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, was forced to land in Vienna because of rumours that Snowden was on board.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @12:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the oog-drag-girl-to-cave-by-hair dept.

What happened to the Neanderthals? They left their African homes and migrated into Europe 350,000 to 600,000 years ago, well ahead of modern humans, who showed up only about 45,000 years ago. But within about 5,000 years of our arrival, the indigenous Neanderthals had disappeared.

Anthropologists have proposed that they may have been done in by terrible epidemics or an inability to adapt to climate changes of the era, but a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1524861113], now suggest culture wars of a sort might have spelled the end.

The researchers came to their conclusion after creating mathematical models that demonstrated that it wasn't necessary for the humans to outnumber the locals in order to prevail. A smaller band of humans with a more highly developed level of culture could eventually push out the Neanderthals, the models showed.

The edge wasn't just raw intelligence. Archeological findings have shown that brain size was essentially the same for humans and Neanderthals, and recent paleo-anthropological studies suggest that Neanderthals were capable of a range of advanced intellectual behaviors typically associated with early modern humans.

Original study. The role of culture in competitiveness has been debated by many, including Max Weber. The question is far from settled. Also, there have been other recent studies that suggest Neanderthals were better tool makers and had more culture than had previously been supposed.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @11:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the crust-should-be-flaky-like-apple-pie dept.

Back in the beginning of December the JOIDES Resolution, a scientific drilling vessel, began Expedition 360 to drill the deepest hole into the Earth and reach the mantle. The Expedition ended at the end of January with a 789 meter hole, which is short of their goal of 1300 meters. They do have the distinction of having drilled the 5th deepest hole into the solid crust, and they did return both the longest single piece and the widest single piece of hard rocks recovered for scientific purposes. They hope to be able to return to the drill site to continue drilling in a future expedition.

The next expedition for the JOIDES Resolution started on January 30, and will run through March 31, 2016.

Expedition 361: South African Climates will drill core six sites on the southeast African margin and Indian–Atlantic ocean gateway to better understand the relationship between the Agulhas Current -- the strongest western boundary current in the Southern Hemisphere -- and the development of climate in southern Africa during the Pliocene/Pleistocene periods.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @09:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the waaaaaaannnnnttttttttt dept.

CBS news reports that someone is fighting fire with fire where telemarketers are concerned. A developer named Roger Anderson, founder of The Jolly Roger Telephone Co, employs AI to annoy to them so he doesn't have to. He even has a Kickstarter page to make a service available, large-scale.

We've all been there -- usually right at dinner time, the phone rings and you pick up only to find out that you have now been roped into an unwanted conversation with a telemarketer. Have you ever wanted to give them a taste of their own medicine? Well, now, a developer is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to turn the tables and annoy those pesky callers.

The Jolly Roger Telephone Co., from developer Roger Anderson, is a robot voice that answers with "hello?" and keeps the conversation going. When you get a telemarketing call, you manually conference in the robot and then go on about your life. It stays on the line and any time it senses a moment of silence in the conversation, the robot voice jumps in and fills the gap with generic responses like "yes" or "right" or "hang on."

[Ed Note: Some of the links in the blockquote from CBS News have autoplay videos.]

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @08:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the get-a-bigger-hammer dept.

Twitter has been engaged in a game of whack-a-mole with accounts linked to "terrorism" since 2015, and has announced that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts as part of its efforts to "combat" extremism:

In its ongoing effort to combat violent extremism, Twitter announced Friday that it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 because of what it called their connections to terrorist or extremist groups, primarily ISIS.

NPR's Aarti Shahani reports that the company says there is no "magic algorithm" to identify terrorist content on the Internet, so they're forced to make make challenging judgment calls based on "very limited information and guidance." "The company says it's trying to strike the right balance between enforcement against tweets that break the rules, the needs of law enforcement, and free expression," Aarti reports.

In a statement, Twitter also said it has "increased the size of the teams that review reports," enabling it to respond more quickly to terrorism-related posts. "We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter," the company said.

The statement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, accusing the platform of giving voice to ISIS. Tamara Fields, a Florida woman whose husband Lloyd died in a November attack on a police training center in Amman, Jordan, said Twitter "knowingly let the militant Islamist group use its network to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits," according to the complaint. The suit also alleged that "ISIS members use Twitter to post instructional guidelines and promotional videos, referred to as 'mujatweets.'"

Related: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Asks for "Spell-Checker" for Hate and Harassment

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday February 06, @07:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-more-worlds-to-conquer dept.

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell has passed away:

US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, has died aged 85. He passed away at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, his family said.

As part of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, he spent more than nine hours on the Moon's surface. He said he had had an "epiphany" in space and later devoted his life to studying the mind and unexplained phenomena. He said he believed that aliens had visited Earth.

From NASA:

Mitchell joined Apollo 14 commander Alan Shephard, Jr., the first American in space, in the lunar module Antares, which touched down Feb. 5, 1971, in the Fra Mauro highlands. Shepard and Mitchell were assigned to traverse the lunar surface to deploy scientific instruments and perform a communications test on the surface, as well as photograph the lunar surface and any deep space phenomena. It was Mitchell's only spaceflight.

Mitchell and Shephard set mission records for the time of the longest distance traversed on the lunar surface; the largest payload returned from lunar surface; and the longest lunar stay time (33 hours). They were also the first to transmit color TV from the lunar surface. Mitchell helped collect 94 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that were distributed across 187 scientific teams in the United States and 14 other countries for analysis.

"On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe."

He died on the eve of the 45th anniversary of his Moon landing.

Image gallery and 1997 interview transcript with the NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @06:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-be-stupid dept.

A team of researchers from several countries in Europe and Canada has found that approximately half of all attacks on humans by large carnivores in the wild can be attributed at least in part, to risky behavior by those that have been attacked. In their paper published in Scientific Reports [open, DOI: 10.1038/srep20552], the team describes the study they carried out, their results and their hope that better education will prevent more such attacks from happening in the future.

To learn more about attacks on humans by large carnivores, which included several types of bears, wolves, coyotes and cougars, the team searched wildlife databases that held such information for attacks in North America, Russia, and three European countries—they discovered that over 697 reported attacks occurred over the time span 1955 to 2014. They also found that the number of attacks each year has been rising steadily. The databases also held information regarding the circumstances surrounding the attacks which allowed the team to sort and count various scenarios. The group also conducted research regarding human activities in the wild and found that the number of people venturing into remote areas has been rising rapidly during the same time frame.

In studying their data, the researchers found that roughly half of the documented attacks they studied occurred during what they describe as risky human behavior, e.g. leaving children alone in wilderness areas, walking a dog without a leash, or tracking a game animal that has been shot and wounded. They theorize that the steady increase in the number of such incidents is likely due to the growth in numbers of wildlife due to conservation efforts, and the rise in the number of people entering areas where wildlife live.

Moose attack more people every year than bears and wolves combined.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @04:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-is-it-room-temperature dept.

New findings from an international collaboration led by Canadian scientists may eventually lead to a theory of how superconductivity initiates at the atomic level, a key step in understanding how to harness the potential of materials that could provide lossless energy storage, levitating trains and ultra-fast supercomputers.

Professor David Hawthorn, Professor Michel Gingras, doctoral student Andrew Achkar, and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Zhihao Hao from University of Waterloo's Department of Physics and Astronomy have experimentally shown that electron clouds in superconducting materials can snap into an aligned and directional order called nematicity.

"It has become apparent in the past few years that the electrons involved in superconductivity can form patterns, stripes or checkerboards, and exhibit different symmetries - aligning preferentially along one direction," said Professor Hawthorn. "These patterns and symmetries have important consequences for superconductivity - they can compete, coexist or possibly even enhance superconductivity. "

Their results, published today in the prestigious journal Science, present the most direct experimental evidence to date of electronic nematicity as a universal feature in cuprate high-temperature superconductors.

"In this study, we identify some unexpected alignment of the electrons - a finding that is likely generic to the high temperature superconductors and in time may turn out be a key ingredient of the problem," said Professor Hawthorn.

Nematicity in stripe-ordered cuprates probed via resonant x-ray scattering (DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1824)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @03:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the maybe-mining-isn't-dead dept.

The United States could soon decrease its dependence on importing valuable rare earth elements by extracting it from coal.

Rare earth elements are widely used in electronics, such as smartphones and computers, and in many other industries.

China produces more than 85 percent of the world's rare earth elements (REEs), and the US produces the second most at just over 6 percent, according to the United States Geological Survey, which estimates worldwide demand for REEs to grow more than 5 percent annually through 2020.

"We have known for many decades that rare earth elements are found in coal seams and near other mineral veins," says Sarma Pisupati, professor of energy and mineral engineering at Penn State. "However, it was costly to extract the materials and there was relatively low demand until recently.

A Study on Removal of Rare Earth Elements from U.S. Coal Byproducts by Ion Exchange (DOI: 10.1007/s40553-015-0064-7)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @01:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-will-convert-your-wealth-to-earth-dollars dept.

Luxembourg has announced that it will invest in the fledgling asteroid mining industry:

The government of Luxembourg announced Wednesday that the country will be investing in the as-yet-unrealized industry of asteroid mining. The tiny European country will be funding research into the extraction of minerals from objects in space, working on legal and regulatory frameworks to govern such activities and, potentially, directly investing in companies active in the field. The nation's ministry of the economy says in a statement that the measures are meant "to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources."

It's a futuristic move, but not a wholly startling one. Luxembourg is already home to SES, a satellite operator, and has previously moved to boost its international high-tech profile.

[...] Luxembourg hopes to address [the legality of space mining] too, with a formal legal framework of its own — possibly constructed with international input — to ensure that those who harvest minerals can be confident that they'll own what they bring home. "The aim is to stimulate economic growth on Earth and offer new horizons in space exploration," Luxembourg's ministry of the economy writes.

TechCrunch reports:

This announcement comes shortly after the United States took a huge step forward in making commercial space mining legal. President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) in November, which stated that U.S. companies are entitled to maintain property rights of resources they've obtained from outer space. [...] CSLCA explicitly outlined private sector rights which were only implicitly stated in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which is the prevailing international law on these matters. Now that CSLCA has been passed in the U.S., it reduces regulatory risk for domestic companies investing millions of dollars into the technology required to properly mine space resources. With today's announcement Luxembourg is on its way to become the second country to lay the groundwork required to make space mining a reality.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday February 06, @12:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'm-really-a-nice-person dept.

Humans are very perceptive to facial expressions and face-to-face interactions are strongly influenced by detecting very subtle changes in those expressions. For instance, we know someone is pulling our leg when we see a "twinkle in their eye", or when you're talking to someone and you see a very small change in position of their eyebrows, that can indicate a change in their mood from indifference to annoyance. We can form initial impressions of people based solely on their expressions, and some people just rub us the wrong way because they might have RBF: Resting Bitch Face (also called Bitchy Resting Face). These are people who always seem to look annoyed or pissed-off, but it might not be their fault. A couple of behavioral researchers think they have figured out why we react so negatively to these expressions and they've posted their research.

We all know the face. No, not just the face, but that face. That look that she swears is not a look. She says she's not angry; she reassures you she's having fun. But her face has been "throwing shade" all night – without saying anything, that face is indicating that she is not happy; more than not happy, she's about to make your night miserable too.

They ran thousands of pictures through a facial recognition program designed to detect emotions. What they saw was that most neutral expression faces registered low indicators of emotion, but fairly equally distributed across emotions; however, pictures of people who are said to exhibit RBF all seem to consistently register strong indicators of contempt. People seem to develop stronger opinions against those who look like they're showing contempt rather than those who look angry or grumpy.

While on the same continuum as anger, the philosopher Robert C. Solomon and others, such as researcher John Gottman, treat contempt differently – it's more a blend of anger and sadness directed at those deemed below you. Contempt is maladaptive in that it is particularly toxic when it develops between people in a relationship.

Do you have RBF? Remember, admission is the first step to recovery.

Original Submission

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