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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3220 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
1. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 13, 2016, 12:19 Scottish Martial Arts
I'm always kind of surprised at the rancor directed at DST when its time to switch. The pain of the switch only lasts a day (or two I suppose if your internal clock is particularly slow to adjust) but the benefit of long summer evenings and of winter mornings where the sun is at least partly up by the time you get to work last for the rest of the year. Nice to see you distinguish between the switch and the concept in general, Blue. (I do however feel tired and grump from an hour less sleep in an already short night though!)  
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News Comments > Diablo II Patch Adds OS X Support
9. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 11, 2016, 19:32 Scottish Martial Arts
KS wrote on Mar 11, 2016, 13:01:
Yeesh I loved it but don't even know where my discs are anymore.

I assume a 63 fire trapsassin is still on their server somewhere. Alls I was doing was Pindleskin runs anyway.

I'm pretty sure that if you still have the CD key, you can just enter it into your account and get the installer. Of course, given that CD keys were on the CD case in 2000 and that if you're missing the CDs you probably don't have the case around, then that doesn't do you much good.
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 4, 2016, 21:22 Scottish Martial Arts
So did any of you even read the article? Because we're now 12 comments into this thread and the word "obesity", which is what the demonstrative pronoun in the article title refers to, has yet to be mentioned...  
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News Comments > HTC Vive Preorders This Morning
26. Re: Morning Mobilization Mar 1, 2016, 00:14 Scottish Martial Arts
HorrorScope wrote on Feb 29, 2016, 18:18:
I'm an ole man these days, but don't feel as old as the comments I read here. Not sure if there is a better gaming site now with some fresh optimism. But overall this audience seems to be getting too old for my pov.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one feeling this way/noticing these things. I registered in 2002, and honestly, it seems like 1/4 - 1/3 of the comments these days seem to be stuck in that year for all the relevance they have to computing/gaming in 2016.
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News Comments > Morning Legal Briefs
12. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 23, 2016, 13:09 Scottish Martial Arts
Armengar wrote on Feb 23, 2016, 11:33:
Blame the laws not the outcome.

Well that's the thing: the law is completely ignorant of the technical factors involved. I doubt Apple would be objecting if they weren't seriously concerned that what's being asked of them could permanently damage the security of data stored on iOS devices. By analogy, the FBI has asked that Apple, in lieu of providing a key, damage the lock.

It's an open question whether what the FBI is asking Apple to do, i.e. create custom firmware that bypasses lockout and data-erasing mechanisms and successfully load it on to the suspect's phone, is actually possible. Frankly, only Apple's security engineering team knows the answer. Further, writing secure code is very difficult. Writing secure code is even more difficult when done under the exigency of time, with a court order breathing down your neck. Even if Apple can write the custom firmware that the FBI wants, there's no guarantee that it will be secure. If that firmware then gets out into the wild, the potential attack vectors that could be opened up are innumerable. As others have noted, the FBI has asked Apple to open Pandora's Box and merely hope that nothing unintended happens.

The question isn't the legality of the court order; it's whether or not one dead terrorist's phone is worth compromising the security of the world's most popular smart phone. The terrorist in question is dead; he's not going to shoot anymore people. Is his phone worth losing the assurance, for example, that you can safely do your banking on your phone? Is his phone worth compromising the privacy of political dissidents in countries like China or Russia? I tend to think not, but then I'm one of those wusses who thinks our (over)reactions to terrorist attacks are more destructive than terrorists themselves.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
21. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 15, 2016, 10:28 Scottish Martial Arts
Inexorable wrote on Feb 15, 2016, 09:59:
Except he is not being racist.

Except that he was. He was not speaking about people in their multitudes (white, black, green, purple, short, tall, etc.). He was talking about a specific racial group and was making specific negative generalizations about that group that are part of a history of negative generalizations that go back to chattel slavery. How do you think otherwise decent people were able to convince themselves that slavery was a morally defensible institution? Slave owners convinced themselves that the people in their thrall weren't fully people, that their slaves were less sensitive to pain, that they were more brutish and bestial in nature, and, yes, that they were less intelligent and less likely to rise to the demands of any task of the mind.

Whether Scalia realized it or not, he was tapping into specific historical racial stereotypes that have been and continue to be used to oppress a specific racial group. And he was using those same stereotypes to make the same characterization about the same group in order to end a program, however flawed, meant to address the social imbalance created by that historical, and indeed present day, oppression. Sound like racism to me, intentional or not.
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News Comments > etc.
13. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 14, 2016, 11:20 Scottish Martial Arts
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Feb 14, 2016, 07:12:
Well you're sure doing a fine job of showing your fine reasoning skills. So you're saying "fuck you" to an entire group of people who make their money from something, and want to work in that industry because it's lucrative. Very regressive.

Dude, what are you talking about? I'm saying that your indignant over-reaction about rape games is hilarious, nothing more.

The UN can't enforce anything with its member nations; it can only put a seal of disapproval on something. And that disapproval isn't rooted in "pixel feels" its rooted in the tacit approval such games give to the objectification of women and sexual violence against them. That doesn't mean that such games should be banned, but it does mean that an outraged response to an unenforceable tentative proposal, followed by the sexual violence equivalent of "I'm not racist because I have a black friend", makes for awfully entertaining, not to mention revealing, reading.
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News Comments > etc.
9. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 14, 2016, 00:32 Scottish Martial Arts
"I like rape games but its cool because not only do I have female friends, I have female friends in the GAMING industry!"  
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News Comments > etc.
5. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 13, 2016, 22:14 Scottish Martial Arts
I'm going to guess that a certain poster's defensive response and the linguistic origin of his handle are indicative of a fondness for the kind of game in question.  
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News Comments > David Gaider Joins Beamdog
11. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 10, 2016, 16:02 Scottish Martial Arts
SXO wrote on Feb 10, 2016, 08:33:
The ones he wrote, such as HK-47 and Morrigan. If you read the first two Dragon Age novels (which he wrote), you would see there's a huge discrepancy between the quality of the storytelling in the books versus that of the games.

I've read an excerpt from his first Dragon Age novel out of morbid curiosity and it was one of the worst pieces of genre fiction I have ever read, and it's not like genre fiction sets much of a high bar to begin with. On the other hand, I give a wide-berth to the world of fan-fiction, so I'm sure by that standard, Gaider is a fucking genius in comparison. But given that he WAS solely responsible for the abominable (at least if the first chapter of the first book is indicative of his "talents" as a writer) Dragon Age tie-in novels (gee, who could have guessed that a marketing prop for a video game would be terribly written?), I think it's fully justifiable to refer to him as a hack.

The only reason he has any credibility at all is because he works in an industry where the audience generally either doesn't read, or only reads bad genre fiction, occasionally stumbling into the rare work of sci-fi/fantasy, like Dune or Lord of the Rings, which transcends it genre into something actually worth reading. And Gaider is definitely no Tolkien or Herbert; he barely even rises to the level of bad imitator of R.A. Salvatore or Kevin J Anderson, a rather ignominious benchmark.

I suppose such scorn for Gaider is a bit overblown, but I dislike him because he represents the kind of game developer that continues to ensure that gaming is a pastime for children and adolescents, or adults who just want to feel like a kid again for an afternoon. There's nothing wrong with getting in touch with your inner child, but I'd love to see gaming grow up someday, and no, pretentious indie pseudo-games aren't really a step in the right direction. But as long as we have developers of limited artistic maturity, like David Gaider, heading up game development, then we can't expect much from games as an "art form" any time soon.
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News Comments > David Gaider Joins Beamdog
4. Re: Morning Mobilization Feb 10, 2016, 02:05 Scottish Martial Arts
A win, I suppose, for those who like adolescent power fantasies that amazingly still have pretensions of being socially relevant, continually recycled plot structures, and characters that ALWAYS have some sort of traumatic history which the PC has to play therapist for. It still blows my mind that people think this hack has something to contribute to game writing except for keeping it at its current bottom-of-the-barrel standard.  
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News Comments > Saturday Tech Bits
6. Re: Morning Mobilization Jan 31, 2016, 00:23 Scottish Martial Arts
4D-Boxing wrote on Jan 30, 2016, 21:39:

I thought that education fell under state jurisdiction like health or is that a Canadian thing?

Education is one of the most highly localized functions of government within the US. While there are state-level education departments and a federal department of education, most curricular, administrative, and budgetary decisions are made at level of local school districts. Some school districts, like the Los Angeles Unified School District, are gigantic, but most comprise only a handful of schools for a given town or city. Further, the majority of a school district's funding comes from local property taxes. In other words, rich neighborhoods get richly funded schools, and poor neighborhoods get poorly funded schools. As you can probably imagine by this point, the quality of public education runs the gamut from 3rd-world conditions to competitive with the likes of Finland, with most somewhere in the middle range of mediocrity.

The federal department of education doesn't directly control local school districts or state departments of education, but they do have money to distribute, and they can use the promise of that money to influence state and local education policies. In other words, it's something along the lines of "here's x dollars which you can use to hire y qualified computer science teachers who will teach courses based upon z curriculum we've developed."
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News Comments > PC Rise of the Tomb Raider Rises
21. Re: Morning Mobilization Jan 28, 2016, 15:54 Scottish Martial Arts
ForgedReality wrote on Jan 28, 2016, 12:29:
"including 4k resolution"

Which every single game made in the last 10 years supports, so long as it lets the driver tell the game what resolutions your system (videocard and monitor) support. How is this a feature?

"advanced graphics"

Relative to what? A console? I bet it looks the exact same as those shitty, 5-years-behind, 2005-Dell-laptop-emulators, since it was made for fucking consoles...

"Pure Hair technology"

Oh jesus fucking christ. Excuse me while I go stab a baby.

I don't know if you've been living under a rock for the past 4 years or so but the gaming industry has kind of moved on from its brief infatuation with living room consoles as the only platform of relevance. If you can't find enough worthwhile games to play on the PC because some AAA releases are still console first, then you clearly need to find more uses for your time. Seriously bro, your comment is straight out of 2007 when consoles really were stealing the PC's thunder. In 2016 though, the problem is too many worthwhile games to play on the PC, not too few.

And as far as graphical advancements being "held back" by the consoles, we've hit the limit of where we're reasonably going to go. Diminishing returns have fully set in, and marginal improvements in graphical fidelity require huge budget increases. Have you not noticed how long the credits run for AAA releases? Game budgets for AAA games are already GIGANTIC. More powerful hardware implies the CAPABILITY for better graphics, but not the REALITY of it. To actually make better graphics, you need more artists, more animators, and more programmers, and these people all cost money to employ. Better hardware doesn't conjure more photorealism out of the ether: it merely gives those artists, animators, and programmers a larger performance budget to work with. Their time to make use of that performance budget, however, does not particularly change, which means that better graphics means a more expensive development process.

AAA game budgets aren't going to get any bigger (how much bigger could they conceivably get?) unless the market for AAA games gets larger. But that would mean making conscious efforts to expand the appeal of AAA games beyond the teens through mid-30s male demographic, but we all know how it goes if someone dares to suggest that maybe gaming should be less of an adolescent male power fantasy club.
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News Comments > Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak Released
22. Re: Morning Mobilization Jan 22, 2016, 19:43 Scottish Martial Arts
jdreyer wrote on Jan 22, 2016, 05:49:
NKD wrote on Jan 21, 2016, 10:10:

There's the problem with developing AI for RTS, and why RTS has always been primarily a player versus player affair.

The vast majority of RTS players never play online, according to a recent statement by Blizzard about Starcraft 2. And that backs up an old article by RPS how only 23% of Demigod players ever played online. Demigod, a game designed precisely for online play. Given that, it's in devs best interest to make fun, challenging AI.

Speaking anecdotally, I find playing RTSes online to be much more intimidating than playing a first person shooter or games of other genres. I think it has to do with the relative importance of each team member: unless you're playing competitive level Counter-Strike, no one particularly notices or cares if you're a mediocre player in a 32 player match. Where as if you're in a 2v2 or 3v3 SC2 game, and you play poorly, you feel a stronger sense of having let down your teammates, or at least I do. And of course, in 1v1, you either win or you lose, and if you lose it's entirely your fault, and you can only hope your opponent is a gracious winner.

Nearly all online gaming is competitive, but for me at least RTSes tap into a fear of failing the social group (teammates) that other genres do not. I do very much enjoy RTS single player however, where there is no fear of letting anyone down.
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News Comments > Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak Released
21. Re: Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak Released Jan 22, 2016, 14:26 Scottish Martial Arts
yuastnav wrote on Jan 21, 2016, 12:06:
There are so many scientists working on machine learning and what not and yet AI in video games is one of the things that barely changes.

And you're aware they work for Google for hundred of thousands if not millions of dollars per year, right? You're also aware that their machine learning research is being conducted on complex, networked server, computational architectures which give them multiple orders of magnitude more computing power than what will EVER exist on a desktop? And you expect them to jump ship for the gaming industry where maybe they'll make $75k/yr, experience shitty working conditions, rampant layoffs, and an end product which ultimately is just a toy for the inner-child of adult nerds? Give me a break.

I rarely agree with NKD but his analysis was spot on. There are certainly better game AIs and worse game AIs, but the people with the brainpower who might be able to move game AI algorithms forward, given the computing power of a desktop/console, sure as fuck aren't going to waste their genius on the gaming industry: they're making the big bucks at big organizations, doing work that they believe will advance the human race rather than entertain a man-child for an afternoon.

Given conventional game AI programming techniques, most of the calculations which would lead to realistic opponent/bot behavior are computationally expensive. They further most occur in real-time (no user perceived latency) in tandem with a real-time 3D graphics engine (hugely computationally expensive), on top of the core game logic, networking computations (in multiplayer), etc. Some developers strike a better balance with their finite computational resources than others, leading to more realistic and challenging AI behavior, but most don't. But this idea that game developers just need to focus on AI more and suddenly there will be a breakthrough on the order of the Quake 1 engine is pure fantasy, and reflective of abject ignorance of the technical hurdles involved.

Until you can beg a few high end research scientists to abandon MIT, or UC Berkeley, or Google to come work for a no-name game developer, we're stuck with computationally expensive AI algorithms which are competing for CPU time with a lot of other computationally expensive systems that make up the game as a whole.

Homeworld: DoK itself is excellent by the way: it really is Homeworld, but in the desert, and perfectly recaptures the spirit and much of the gameplay mechanics, of the originals. The AI is a little weak though.
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
8. Re: Morning Mobilization Jan 15, 2016, 21:52 Scottish Martial Arts
Should you cut yourself off from the majority of recently released games, after already choosing to cut your performance to a third? Tough question. I'll have to think about that one for a while.

It's a question of what laptops are for. People buy laptops to do work on them. Gaming laptops have been and will always be retarded: to get comparable performance you have to spend about three times as much money, for a 6lbs monstrosity of a laptop with 2 hours of battery life.

So if you have and routinely use a laptop, it's presumably because you have work to do, which presumes you have a job, which further presumes that there are roughly 1000 times more worthwhile games to play than you have time to devote to them. That means what little time you do spend gaming is going to be selectively spent on a handful of titles, and most certainly NOT playing every major release simply because you derive your core identity from being a "gamer".

In that context, being able to play CS:GO, with significant but not huge performance gains over Windows, on the Ubuntu/Fedora/Gentoo laptop you use for work may in fact be all you need to satisfy your gaming needs, because if you take your career and family and social lives seriously, its doubtful you have time for anything more than that.
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
4. Re: Morning Mobilization Jan 15, 2016, 15:29 Scottish Martial Arts
RedEye9 wrote on Jan 15, 2016, 14:53:
Only if you want to spend the rest of your life searching for driver workarounds while not being able to play games.
And the games you want to play won't be available, ever, on linux.

Note that the article is about "gaming laptops" not "gaming desktops". While I love my laptop and use it far, far more than my desktop gaming rig, the fact is that you are going to have to drop a lot cash ($2500+) to get something even comparable to the hardware in a $800-1000 gaming desktop. So, if your primary criterion for OS selection is "be able to play every game I could possibly want, but on my laptop" then you clearly haven't put a lot of thought into what form factor of PC you should buy. Anyone playing games on a laptop is doing so with the understanding that they WILL have to lower graphics settings from time to time, and that they aren't going to be able to run the 2016 equivalent of Crysis, i.e. you won't be able to play all the games you want.

With that all in mind is Linux a bad OS for a gaming laptop these days? Not unless you're willing to invest upwards of $3000 in an overpriced "gamer's laptop" that still won't be as good as your $800 gaming desktop.
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News Comments > Op Ed
21. Re: Op Ed Dec 31, 2015, 03:24 Scottish Martial Arts
jdreyer wrote on Dec 31, 2015, 02:36:

It's worse than that even. I largely agree with this article which is where I must have read about the study.

That suggests people are willing to support a war, as long as it doesn't impact them. Which is kind of the opposite from how it should be. It also suggests a delta between the military and the rest of the population. SHould the lack of understanding and common ground grow, it could have severe consequences for our democracy.

I agree completely. The end of the citizen-soldier ethos, the professionalization of the US military, and the end of the draft have created a situation in which military service, or at least the willingness to go if necessary, has ceased to be a part of civic obligations. Instead, wars are fought by other people, namely a minuscule minority of our fellow citizens, most of whom we don't know or interact with, and the costs of the wars we ask for are born by everyone but ourselves. We can ask for war when we feel frightened, unburdened of the obligation to consider whether its really a good idea, never have to look at the consequences for a moment, and then, if our military adventures turn out to be less than thoroughly victorious, we can tune out the stalemate and the casualty reports and the destroyed lives and countries and pretend that it's not even happening. That was exactly what we did in the post 9/11 years, we should be ashamed for it, and it makes me sick to my stomach that we're all to ready to do it again. And we're ready to do it over again over a couple of losers with AKs who have no choice but to engage in international terrorism because the strategic position of their actual "Islamic State" is so fucked that they need to do something to inspire people to continue to join up, because being hemmed in by enemies on all sides and engaging in a long term attritional stalemate is hardly a rallying cry to jihad.

Furthermore, while we collectively lost our shit over Paris and San Bernadino, and not entirely without justification, why do we think that it is any different for the people in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan, or Yemen, or anywhere else where we conduct drone and air strikes that occasionally obliterate a wedding party or a hospital? Just because our bombs are dropped from 30,000 feet rather than be hand carried by a suicide attacker doesn't mean the dead civilians are any less dead, and the anger that that engenders is any less real.

I am not a pacifist by any stretch. But only an idiot -- and apparently we are a nation of idiots -- thinks the cost-benefit analysis of warfare works to your benefit by default. Sometimes war is worth the costs, but that's pretty rare. Far more often, the costs far outweigh the benefits, but because of poor leadership, concerns about national honor, short sighted greed, or simple fear, war is pursued when it wasn't worth it. Now that America has established a system in which we enjoy the luxury of never having to perceive the cost of war, we're only going to further waste our strength on ill-conceived ventures that may make us "feel" safe, but do nothing to actual further our interests or enhance our actual security.
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News Comments > Op Ed
16. Re: Op Ed Dec 30, 2015, 23:39 Scottish Martial Arts
jdreyer wrote on Dec 30, 2015, 22:10:
There was an interesting survey the other day. 65% of the people thought we needed boots on the ground to battle ISIS. However 65% of people said they had no interest personally in joining the military to ensure that the job got done.

To get on my soapbox for a moment, it's further evidence that the American people don't take the military and military affairs seriously. We'll praise the military to high heaven, proclaim every last service member a hero -- ignoring that the military like every other human institution is made up of actual people and not superheroes, some of whom may indeed be heroic, but some of whom are truly terrible, and most are somewhere in between -- and thump our collective chests about having the most powerful military on the planet, while once again ignoring that you can have the most powerful military on the planet and be nowhere close to omnipotent. But the thing we won't do is give serious thought to military policy, military weapons acquisitions, and whether or not what we can reasonably hope to achieve in a military campaign has a cost-benefit analysis that comes out in our favor. Unless you genuinely believe that a given threat is great enough, and a military response likely enough to succeed, that you would be willing to sacrifice the life of your son or daughter to see that threat defeated, then it's time to stop posturing, and stop dick wagging, and start doing some serious thought about our foreign policy goals and what military intervention might do to further or set back those goals. But why think when we can just pretend that going to war is as simple "killing them all"?

Thus endeth the soapbox rant.

This comment was edited on Dec 31, 2015, 01:06.
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News Comments > Op Ed
14. Re: Op Ed Dec 30, 2015, 21:52 Scottish Martial Arts
harlock wrote on Dec 30, 2015, 14:32:
if you watch someone dying in agony, choking on their own blood, right in front of your face... its hard to call it "boring"

The title of the blog is rather facetious. They generally do pretty in depth reporting on military affairs, weapons acquisitions, and foreign policy as it pertains to military intervention and war. This short post -- usually they do several thousand word articles -- is rather lite fare in comparison.

That said, when you do anything in the military, there is a whole hell of a lot of "hurry up and wait", e.g. getting off the bus to the airfield as fast as possible to the beat of "Hur-RY UP! Hur-RY UP! Hurry the FUCK up!" and then... you sit on the tarmac for two and a half hours while the first chalk gets ferried to the AO and your alphanumerically higher platoon/company sits on its ass and waits for the CH-47s to come back.

Long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of extreme stress/excitement? Sounds about right. Pulling 4 hours of security in the middle of the freezing night definitely falls under the category of long stretches of boredom, but then seeing trip flares go off and hearing the crack of blank rounds as the OPFOR starts probing your strong point definitely qualifies as a moment of extreme excitement. Same deal with that half-second when an artillery simulator goes off at night, and you get the brief moment where the flash of light precedes the BOOM which you don't only hear but feel; that stuff is exciting as hell, but the hours spent pulling security waiting for it to happen, and the hours spent digging your fighting position beforehand certainly fall into the "boring as fuck" category. Given that the Army's training motto was always "Train as you will fight", and given what other combat veterans have described to me, I don't have any reason to doubt that that's basically how it goes in Afghanistan too.

This comment was edited on Dec 30, 2015, 22:07.
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