Goldline is a scam

If you’ve been listening to the radio or television lately, you may have watched or listened to a commercial for Goldline, a company which sells gold coins. A common question I come across is whether or not Goldine is a scam. The simple answer, in fact the only defensible answer, is a resounding yes. Goldine is a scam. Goldline has never been anything but a scam. Here’s how the general scam works.

Step one: Scare the consumers

Like so many scams, Goldline relies on people’s fear. Fear of inflation, fear of further economic disaster, fear of losing money, etc. This is why Goldline relies heavily on advertising with people like Glenn Beck, which are extremely good at scaring people about the future. Whatever you do, don’t buy into this fear, or you will make very poor investment decisions. For example, buying anything from Goldline would be an aweful investment for reasons I’ll outline for you later.

Step two: Differentiate gold from money

Gold is nothing like paper money, like the US currency for example. Money can always be printed, but the fact of the matter is that gold cannot be printed. It must be mined out of the earth. Goldine points this out, and indeed this one point is valid. There is nothing wrong with gold, and it can certainly be an appropriate investment. But not if it’s bought from Goldline. When people say you should consider holding gold as an investment, they don’t mean physical gold.

Step three: Goldline lies about other types of gold investments

A third thing Goldline is notorious for is lying about legitimate gold products. When people talk about owning gold as an investment, they usually mean the ETF, GLD, or stocks in companies that mine gold. Sure, there are several ETFs dealing with gold, but GLD is the most well known and well respected one. ETFs trade just like stocks, and can be bought with Scottrade, or whatever company you use to trade stocks. The GLD ETF is backed by physical gold, so when you buy a share of GLD, you are owning one tenth of an ounce of actual, physical gold. Goldline loves to lie about GLD, but the fact of the matter is that GLD is legitimate.

Step four: Goldline sells you old gold coins that have significantly less value than they’re worth

That’s right. Goldline doesn’t sell gold bars, it sells gold coins. Why coins? Because they can claim outrageously inflated prices and claim it’s because they’re coins. For example, if you buy $1,000 worth of gold from Goldline, you’d be lucky if you get $600 worth of actual gold. That’s a 40% loss in investment already. That’s absolutely devastating, and why Goldline is nothing more than a scam and should be stopped. Remember, what Goldline does is not technically illegal, but it’s still an absolute scam. What happens when you want to sell your gold? You have to have them examined, which costs time and money, so you’re out even more on your ‘investment’. Compare this to an ETF like GLD. When you buy $1,000 worth of gold from GLD, you’ll own $1,000 worth of gold, minus whatever commission there is. This is $7 for scottrade, but varies by broker. Generally commission is identical to a stock transaction, so it’s cheap. Then when you want to sell your GLD shares, you simply sell them and pay another $7 or whatever your broker charges.

Conclusion

If you didn’t read the article, here’s the short of it. Goldline claims to sell you gold as an investment, but in actuality, Goldline steals a massive percentage of your ‘investment’. It’s stealing plain and simple. If you want to own physical gold as an investment, buying shares of GLD is exactly that. Also, you may wish to invest in gold mining companies, which is legitimate as well.

Disclaimer: At the time of this writing, I don’t own any shares of GLD or gold miners, nor do I have any immediate plans to buy. I simply want people to be aware that Goldline is a company designed to do one thing and one thing only, steal your money.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees

This post was written by admin on May 8, 2011

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Magnetic slimming panties review

There are plenty of companies advertising magnetic slimming panties, or magnetic healing panties. The advertisements promise everything from helping you lose weight, boosting your metabolism, improving circulation, relieving body aches and pains, and more. But the real question is, do they really work? Find out here!

Do magnetic slimming or healing panties work?

The answer is no. Absolutely not. These products are absolute scams, and the people or companies selling them are scam artists. It is that simple. How can I be so sure? Let me guide you as to how I can make such a bold claim.

Fact: Magnetic fields do not significantly affect the human body.

This fact should be the first indicator that therapeutic magnetic products do not work as advertised. The fact of the matter is that the human body isn’t made of ferrous metals. A common misconception is that since blood contains iron, blood reacts with magnets. But the iron atoms in our blood are not stray atoms, they are in a compound that doesn’t react to magnets. Humans can safely stand right next to large, powerful magnets, such as the ones in junkyards used to pick up cars.

Think about this for a moment. If extremely large, extremely powerful electromagnets don’t affect human health, how could small, permanent magnets imbedded in underwear possibly have any affect? The answer, of course, is that they don’t. In one advertisement I received through the mail today, I saw these being advertised as “healing magnets.”

What is a healing magnet?

A healing magnet is what a scam artist calls a magnet, in hopes people will buy it at dramatically inflated prices. The fact of the matter is that a magnetic field is a magnetic field. Calling normal, permanent magnets ‘healing magnets’ does not give them magical healing properties.

The short version

If you just skipped to the end, here is a short summary. Human health is not affected by even the most powerful magnetic fields. Logically speaking, small permanent magnets would not be sufficient to affect your health in any measurable way. People advertising magnetic panties or underwear make incredible claims that are not backed up by modern science or any published scientific study. Don’t buy these fraudulent products because that is what they are.

Posted under Avoiding Scams

This post was written by admin on April 19, 2011

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iRenew Bracelet - A Comprehensive Review

The iRenew Bracelet commercial promises to restore your balance and renew your energy, but does it really work? This review will tell you the truth behind the iRenew bracelet.

How the iRenew bracelet supposedly works

On the outside, the iRenew bracelet is a fairly ugly product, so what makes it so special? According to the iRenew commercial and official website, the bracelet works by sending electrical waves at ‘natural frequencies’ that your body ‘positively responds to.’ They claim to renew your balance, strength, energy, overall health, increase mental and physical performance, and reinforce ‘natural immunity to stress’ and enhance a sense of well-being. It looks like the folks who make this bracelet are promising anything and everything they could think of.

The harsh reality

Does this $20 bracelet sound too good to be true? We thought so. The fact of the matter is that there have been no scientific studies which link radio frequencies of any kind to a ‘positive effect’ in humans. Period. In fact, radio frequencies in most spectrums have no measurable effect on human health at all. We’re surrounded by radio waves every day, including radio stations, wireless mice and keyboards, wireless network cards, cell phones, over the air HD television channels, background radiation, etc. So right away we know there is no scientific basis for how this product could actually work. Even if there was a magical ‘natural frequency’ that the body responds too, I find it incredibly hard to believe that such a small bracelet would ever have enough power (and I’m not talking about magical power, I’m talking about electrical power) to make any noticeable effect o human health.

Scam, or well intentioned company?

For years, I have been fascinated with scams and have studied many of them. The iRenew bracelet falls squarely into the pseudoscience fraud category. This is where the designers of the product are well aware that their claims are bogus, but they don’t care. The commercial throws in words like ‘biofield’ and ‘frequencies’ in an attempt to dupe television viewers into buying their hoax. They’re scam artists, and their goal is to take your money. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that their bracelets don’t even send out any frequency of any kind. Fortunately, I do not send my money to scam artists to find out. However, I do hold a BSE and MSE, both in electrical engineering, so if someone would like to donate a bracelet, I’d be happy to dissect it, measure any electrical signal, and post the results online.

But it worked in the commercial!

What? The test where the host of the commercial pulls people backwards and they lose their balance? This is purely a placebo effect. Don’t believe me? The results in the commercial are remarkably similar to this video. Should you decide to watch the full video, you will immediately see why it worked in the demonstrations on the commercial, and why it is strictly a placebo effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_MzP2MZaOo

The Verdict

The iRenew bracelet product is obviously a scam. There is no scientific basis behind the product; the demonstrations in the commercial are successful because of the placebo effect. The commercial tries to tell you how their product is a good deal because athletes have spent thousands of dollars for the same ‘technology.’ Notice how they didn’t mention any names. And even if they did, it doesn’t matter. Athletes aren’t typically known for academic knowledge. Stay away from iRenew. It won’t hurt you, but it certainly won’t help you either.

Posted under Avoiding Scams, Technology

This post was written by admin on July 6, 2010

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Traffic Tickets in Yosemite National Park

Visiting a Yosemite and other national parks can be a fun and rewarding experience. Unfortunately, it can also be an extremely costly and frustrating experience. This article focuses on the common practices and corruption which is prevalent among law enforcement agents all throughout Yosemite National Park. To enter the park by a normal vehicle, the fee is $20, which sounds reasonable. After all, the Yosemite has huge attendance, and is consistently ranked in the top 5 most visited national parks. If spent wisely, the revenue from the entrance fee alone would be more than enough to employ and maintain the entire park, never mind revenue from camping sites, lodging, food, etc. Still, Yosemite will milk you for all your worth and it starts with the park police.

As soon as you enter Yosemite, you’ll notice a drastically increased police presence. Rest assured, the police are not there for your safety, or for the safety of the animals or wilderness. The police are there generate as much revenue as possible by giving you tickets. Speeding tickets, parking tickets, littering tickets, just about anything you can think of. Sometimes, the tickets they give are legitimate, but more often the case, they are not. Let’s take a look at all the ways you can get a speeding ticket in Yosemite.

Yosemite National Park is filled with speed traps of all sorts. For example, there are a handful of tunnels in the park, and at the end of each tunnel is a very easy place for a police officer to hide. In fact, I’ve seen a police officer on a motor cycle laying in wait just outside of a tunnel, all in the pursuit of screwing someone over by giving him or her a bogus ticket. Due to how the tunnel is built, it is impossible for a driver to see the corrupt officer until after it is too late. There are also numerous speed traps. Sometimes, signs will warn you that the speed limit is about to decrease. Usually, it’s from 40mph to 35mph, or some minor change. Other times, a sign will warn you that the speed limit is about to decrease. Next thing you know, you turn around a mountain corner, the speed limit is now 20 miles per hours, and you’re about to get a ticket. The placement of some of these signs is intentional, and all an officer has to say to defend their fraudulent tickets is ‘a sign warned you that the speed limit was about to decrease.’ These sorts of ninja speed-change traps are technically legal, but certainly not moral or ethical. Of course, the park police don’t care, they’re giving you a ticket.

It’s important to keep in mind that the park police in Yosemite aren’t human. Maybe they were once, but they’ve been trained to remove all human emotions, and the sense of human decency. They have no empathy, sympathy, or any other positive words in the English dictionary. This is never more apparent than how they issue and attempt to explain or defend parking tickets. I’ll tell you something that no other brochure will tell you about Yosemite. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you may be slapped with an illegitimate ticket for $175. That’s right, parking tickets in Yosemite cost $175, which is conveniently broken down into $150 forfeiture amount and a $25 processing fee. I should know, I received such a ticket. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t matter where you park. You can park in a parking lot, on the side of a road, or on the side of cliff, but it doesn’t matter. If you enter Yosemite National Park, you risk getting slapped with a completely illegitimate, bogus ticket. Maybe officer B. Bonner was just getting nervous because he was having trouble meeting his quota, maybe he didn’t like my car, maybe he even saw me park and simply didn’t like my face. I’ll never know. But What I do know is that the ticket was illegitimate, and worse, several times what most parking tickets go for. And I also know that the officer probably sleeps like a baby at night, despite screwing people over day in and day out, every day. Remember, the Yosemite police don’t think like you or I. They have no moral, or ethical compass, and are perfectly content to fine you because you are small and defenseless.

If you look at a map of Yosemite Valley, you’ll see that there is a US court inside the national park. I always thought that was strange, but not anymore. The reason there is a court is because of the amount of bogus tickets written in the park. Where does the money go? Apparently, the money goes to the crime victim’s fund, but that’s obviously not true. The mere fact that they itemize $25 for a ‘processing fee’ is absurd. The very notion that it costs them 25 dollars to fine me 175 dollars, something I just had to go to a website and do, is ridiculous. But if Yosemite only gets 25 smackers per ticket, it explains why the police there have to write so many illegitimate tickets. That being said, how much of the $150 goes to actual victims? Not much, probably nothing.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Hidden Fees

This post was written by admin on June 24, 2010

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The Amway Scam

It’s hard to imagine that an entire corporation could be based off a scam, but that’s exactly the case for Amway and Quixtar. This article will detail exactly how Amway and Quixtar work, and why it is a scam you should avoid. Because Amway and Quixtar are the same company, I’ll just be using the name Amway from now on.

Like many scams, the Amway scam is based off people’s urge to be rich, drive a nice car, and live in a big house. People often want to live that lifestyle so badly that they will do anything and believe anything in order to achieve that goal. This is where Amway steps in. The main idea is that you become a salesperson and sell Amway products, such as vitamins, electronics, and various other goods. Of course, you won’t get rich selling knifes door to door, but that’s where the twist comes in. The idea is that the more people you recruit into Amway, the more money you’ll make because you’ll get a percentage of their earnings. If the people you recruit, recruit more people in turn, you’ll get a percentage of that, and so on. So the main idea is to recruit as many people as possible, and have an automatic stream of revenue. Does this sound like a pyramid scam to you? Well, it basically is. Technically, it’s labeled as multi-level-marketing, which is nothing more than a legal pyramid scam.

So where is the harm? So far, everything sounds legitimate, and harmless. That’s exactly what they want you to think. The fact of the matter is that once you’re recruited, Amway starts selling things to YOU. That’s right, anything from motivational tapes, to motivational books, to tickets for conventions and rallies, and even entire bus trips to rallies. Through a series of talks, basic brainwashing techniques are used in order to convince you that you will succeed and become a millionaire, but only if you buy motivational tapes which hold the key to your success. In fact, it is commonly said that Amway rallies resemble religious revival meetings more than anything else. Now, I’m not trying to knock on religious revival meetings, but Amway preys on your desperation, and preys on your dreams. They tell people over and over that they will become rich if they follow the Amway business plan. Unfortunately, virtually the only people making any sort of significant money are the people selling motivational tools at the rallies and so forth. According to Amway itself, the average amount of money people make at Amway is a measly $1,400 a year. This doesn’t include all the money for meetings, rallies, travel, books, tapes, and everything else. When all is said and done, most people actually lose their money, friends, and a huge amount of time.

Posted under Avoiding Fees, Avoiding Scams, Hidden Fees, Making Money

This post was written by admin on June 24, 2009

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Review of Henry Coe State Park

Recently, I took a daytrip to Henry W. Coe State Park, in California, and I just wanted to share my experience with all of you. Getting to the park was fairly straightforward, you can just follow E. Dunne Ave. until you get to the main visitor’s center. I believe the address is 8000 E. Dunne Ave. for the main entrance; however some GPS units like mine did not have that address. Still, finding the entrance to the park was fairly easy. The road winds and turns an awful lot, with numerous hairpin turns, so be sure to drive extra carefully. Google Streetview is available for this road, if you’re curious to see what it’s like before getting there.

For day hikes, the standard fee is 5 dollars per vehicle, and it’s worth every penny. You’ll get a double-sided map printed on a standard piece of paper. However, unlike many other state parks, the map is detailed and accurate. As long as you have the map, you should be able to get wherever you’re trying to go without getting lost. All the major trails, along with the distance of each trail are clearly printed on the map. I told the ranger that I was interested in walking about 6 or 7 miles, and he recommended a route for me to take.

Henry Coe State Park is massive, and provides a lot of different environments. When I first started, I found myself going into a forest. Unlike some parks like Castle Rock, there were not many bugs or flies at all. The forest sections of the trails were nice because of the shade, and the trail was well-kept. For parts of my day hike, I had to walk on a dirt road to get from one trail to the next, which was a little bit of a bummer. The only good news is that the traffic is extremely light. I probably spent a total of forty minutes walking on a dirt road, but I didn’t see one car driving on it the whole time. Other than the dirt road, I went on Springs Trail which went on went through a lot of wheatgrass. I also walked past several campgrounds, and a small pond called Bass Pond. The pond had fish and other natural wildlife in it. Another trail I went on was called China Hole, which was predominantly in the forest. However, as I approached Manzanita point, the trail opened up, and the view of all the other hills around me was just staggering. The view was excellent. The best part about this is that there are absolutely no signs of man-made structures in the view. Usually, there will be some road, or some buildings, but not in Henry Coe State Park. There’s just you and the wilderness, which I thought was great.

Overall, my day trip to Henry Coe State Park was excellent. I ended up walking about 7.9 miles, which is just about my personal limit for a day. I was able to see birds up close, far away, and even circling above me. I saw a deer, a couple wild Turkeys up close, many butterflies, and some fish, all in one day. The forests were nice and light, which meant that bugs aren’t going to eat you alive. All the trials I went on were fairly easy, (Corral Trail, Forest Trail, Springs Trail, Manzanita Point Road, and China Hole Trail) so this is a suitable place to bring the family, or even children for a short walk. This is a great place to visit if you want a casual day hike, or even to camp.

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by admin on June 9, 2009

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Is the NVIDIA ION platform worth it for home theater PCs?

There has been a lot of buzz around nVidia’s ION platform, and the central question being addressed in this post is simple. Is the nVidia ION platform really worth the money? If you’re planning on building or buying a media PC for a home theater, then the simple answer is yes.

What is nVidia ION?

The nVidia ION platform consists of an nVidia chipset which is connected to Intel’s Atom processor. The Atom is a very small processor that is not powerful enough to display any sort of decent graphics or video. In short, the Intel Atom processor lacks the ability to play video, making it seemingly worthless for home theater PCs. Luckily for Intel, nVidia’s chipset saves the Atom processor by making it useful for home theater computers. The ION chipset contains a graphics processing core which is more than capable of displaying flawless high definition, video. 720p, 1080p, everything plays flawlessly with the nVidia’s ION chipset because it can do the complex and computationally intensive task of displaying high definition video. Of course, the ION platform is fully capable of outputting with a regular DVI or HDMI connector, making it ideal for connecting it to your television. Without the ION chipset, you can not connect an HDMI connector to a computer with an Intel Atom processor. Period. Intel’s default chipset is extremely primitive when compared to the ION.

Other advantages

Aside from being able to flawlessly play HD content with the ION chipset, there are other advantages as well. The ION uses about the same amount of power on average as Intel’s default chipset. This means you aren’t going to need any additional fans or any noisy components in order to keep the computer cool. The ION is also advanced enough to enable playing 2d and 3d games on your computer. Intel’s chipset for the Atom processor is simply too primitive to play any sort of modern game. Having said that, please keep in mind that the ION is not, and is not meant to be, a high end gaming solution, but it can play most modern games at reasonable settings.

The cost

This blog is about saving money, so what sort of cost will the ION add to any computer? Reports have been claiming that the addition of the ION graphics processor will add approximately 50 dollars to the total cost of the system. This is actually pretty reasonable considering that it allows you to play and display video in true HD quality, even with the puny Atom possessor. The ION is worth every penny because there is simply no alternative. If you’re building or buying a media or home theater PC, the absolute best choice is anything with nVidia’s ION processor inside.

Posted under Shopping, Technology

This post was written by admin on May 24, 2009

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California’s failed renewable energy programs

If you live in California, you’re likely all too familiar with all of California’s green and renewable energy initiatives. Many of these eco-friendly programs are funded by taxpayer’s dollars. However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret that California doesn’t want you to know. Many of the renewable energy programs in California are dysfunctional at best.

Last week, I decided to take a trip to Death Valley National Park. In the 500 miles of driving I did, I passed by two wind farms. The first wind farm I passed was small, only containing about a dozen wind turbines. Because the turbines were built on top of a hill, it was easy for me to drive and keep an eye on the turbines for a couple minutes. None of them were turning. That’s right, not a single wind turbine was turning, and that means no electricity was being generated at all.

Later, I passed a much larger wind energy farm, containing at least a few hundred wind turbines. I kept a close eye on them, and I’d guess that only about 10 percent of them were turning. It appeared that many weren’t even pointed in the right direction to capture any wind. Maybe it wasn’t a very windy day, but it looked like an absolute economic disaster.

The fact of the matter is that the technology needed to make reliable, clean, renewable energy just isn’t here yet. Sure, there are reliable sources like hydroelectric dams, but California’s wind energy programs are a complete failure. There is absolutely no excuse to have a wind farm where barely any of the wind turbines were spinning at all. On my way back a few days later, perhaps 25 percent of the turbines were functional. Still, I shudder to think of how many tax payer’s dollars are wasted on trendy yet dysfunctional systems. The state of California is nearly broke, and the taxes have been increased very recently. Yet the state still manages to lose an incredible amount of money to projects that barely work.

Posted under Politics, Saving Electricity, Technology

This post was written by admin on March 10, 2009

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An AAA membership is worth the money

Sometimes, you need to spend some money in order to save money at a later time. Such is the case with an AAA membership. The current rate for the American Automobile Association, or AAA, is $75 for the first year, and $50 for each year after that. It’s best to think of AAA as a form of insurance. For the membership price, you get a magazine about once every two months, along with special discounts at hotels, car maintenance, and more. Just with hotels alone, I was able to save more than a hundred dollars simply by being an AAA member, which is great. A lot of businesses claim that their product pays for itself, and often times that simply isn’t true. However, I have found that an AAA membership truly does pay for itself.

Not only do you get discounts, but AAA also gives massive discounts and free emergency roadside assistance. Just last week, I took a vacation to Death Valley national park. I was driving on a desert road with gravel shoulders. I tried to zoom out on my GPS unit while I was driving. Unfortunately, I went off the road and onto the shoulder, slammed on my brakes, and spun out off the road. There I was, stranded off the road, in the middle of the desert. Fortunately my cell phone worked. I took out my AAA card, dialed the number, and within an hour and a half, a tow truck pulled my back onto the road, and I was back to my vacation! How much did I pay for this service? I paid absolutely nothing. If your car is less than 30 feet away from the road, AAA pays for 100% of the service! You don’t have to get your credit card out or anything; it’s all a complimentary service. I did end up tipping the tow truck guy 20 bucks because he kept complaining about how little AAA pays him, but that was my choice. Had I not had AAA, it probably would’ve taken much longer and cost much more in order to get my car back onto the road. Please keep in mind that there are limits to the free service. If you’re car is fifty feet away from the road, for example, it could cost you.

In short, if you drive a lot, or spend a couple nights in a hotel each year, AAA might very well be worth the membership fee. I’ve found that having an AAA membership truly does pay for itself if you know how to take advantage of all its benefits.

Posted under Saving Money, Shopping

This post was written by admin on March 9, 2009

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How to burn salt water as fuel

In the ultimate quest to save money, people often look at how to save or reduce their gasoline consumption. There has been a lot of buzz about promising technologies like HHO, or burning salt water as a fuel instead of gas. First, let me be very clear; HHO technology is nothing more than a scam. Many HHO venders use pseudo-scientific explanations and videos of electric cars (which don’t use HHO) as a well to sell their fake gas-saving product on the unsuspecting masses. But this article isn’t about HHO; it’s about burning sea-water as fuel.

About 70% of the planet’s surface is covered with salt water. This means that if there were a way to burn the sea-water and use it as a fuel, it would completely solve all of the world’s energy problems. There has been a lot of buzz about an invention by John Kanzius. His invention uses radio waves to actually burn saltwater. The chemistry is a bit complicated, but for now, it’s confirmed that 14 MHz signals do indeed ignite saltwater.

This is great, isn’t it? Well, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, the amount of power needed to generate the radio waves exceeds the amount of power produced by burning the saltwater. Unless an even newer technology is developed, this means that it is impossible to generate any power from seawater. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is what it is. So the next time to you a Youtube video about the saltwater torch, just remember that an enormous amount of electricity is used to generate the flames, and that electricity has to come from somewhere! While it was an interesting discovery, it is extremely unlikely that this technology will ever be able to power cars, power plants, or anything else. Save your money and don’t buy any fuel savings devices that claim to work by burning saltwater.

Posted under Avoiding Scams, Saving Gas, Technology

This post was written by admin on March 1, 2009

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