Tag Archives: Sarah Michelle Gellar

Theranos the Vampire

Yes, it was a stage in the making. The media painted every railing in immaculate white. The media made sure that she always looked her best but last week the hammer fell down and 4015 days in Hotel Penal became her new lodgings. Yet the stage was for a lot not that clear was it?

So let do some recap (my way). First there is the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/theranos-has-struggled-with-blood-tests-1444881901) with ‘Hot Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology’, the headline avoids a few terms and gives us “company founder Elizabeth Holmes holds up a tiny vial to show how the startup’s “breakthrough advancements have made it possible to quickly process the full range of laboratory tests from a few drops of blood.”” It also gives us the fact that the firm was at some point valued at 9 billion dollars. USA Today (at https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/03/15/behind-theranos-rise-and-dramatic-fall-powerful-backers-money-tech-and-politics/426364002/) gives us ‘Behind Theranos’ rise and dramatic fall: The powerful backers in money, tech and politics’ and there we get “Theranos raised money on the strength of Holmes’ ability to pitch her vision, whose reality often didn’t match up. But there were plenty of takers. Theranos’ fundraising resulted in a valuation of $9 billion — half of which belonged to Holmes, making her one of the youngest billionaires on the planet, at least on paper.” This article leads to “Shultz quit, and despite warnings from Holmes — she allegedly called the elder Shultz to warn him about his grandson’s threats to expose the company — decided to contact New York state’s public-health lab and alleged Theranos had manipulated its test results. This was the first known regulatory complaint about Theranos, whose issues would soon grow exponentially.” As such Tyler Shulz was the first brick that decided that the wall did not make sene, the wording “she allegedly called the elder Shultz to warn him about his grandson’s threats to expose the company” making the words ‘intent’ finally float to the top and an issue was finally raised. As stated the first. So how long was she out and about with this at present? Then we get the BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-63672103) where we are given ‘Theranos: Silicon Valley holds breath for Elizabeth Holmes sentencing’, the article also gives us “In January a jury concluded she had deliberately misled investors. She was convicted of four counts of wire fraud – with a maximum sentence of 20 years. However, it has taken an eternity to get this point – sentencing. Her legal team is arguing for 18 months of house arrest. The prosecution wants her to serve 15 years in prison and to pay back the best part of a billion dollars to investors.” So one side wants her to bake in sing sing for 15 years and the other side want to give her house arrest for 18 month a sway of no less. A mere 10% for the fraudster with nice tits. You think this is crude? How about the investors? So we get things like the dozens of letters have been submitted vouching for Holmes’ character. Character of a Fraudster? “one from Cory Booker, a US Senator for New Jersey, who wrote to the judge.

The Democrat said they’d bonded over vegan food at a dinner six years before she was charged with fraud, and they had remained friends. He appealed for clemency.” This can be seen in two ways. One is what we read, the other one is the one where the Fraudster is setting up a hedge fund of good calls, at the expense of other people. You decide. 

Last there is the BBC again (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-63685131) where we see ‘Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes jailed for fraud’ it is here that we get “Once hailed as the “next Steve Jobs”, she was at one time said to be the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. She launched Theranos after dropping out of Stanford University at age 19, and its value rose sharply after the company claimed it could bring about a revolution in disease diagnosis.” And how did faking test results help there? How do we get “Holmes, 38, who is pregnant, tearfully told the court she felt “deep pain” for those misled by the scam”? I am of the mind that she got pregnant to soften the blow of punishment, but that might merely be me. And how can she feel deep pain? The actions against Tyler Shulz seem to indicate that, I feel for Tyler Shulz who is the one setting this in motion. I cannot state that others were aware, well one other seemingly was. But he is the one who stopped it, but the Wall Street Journal wrote that away in an epitaph easily enough. It seems that only NPR took a better look in appreciation of what he did, what he found and how the ball got rolling. The Wall Street Journal went straight for daddy.

NPR gives us “he was the first to report troubling findings at the company to regulators. At the time, it was a risky and bold move, but it helped accelerate scrutiny that would ultimately end in the company’s implosion.” I have two issues here. The first I why only NPR is taking that stand, the second one is seen with “it was a risky and bold move” it was risky to warn the SEC for fraud events? In addition we get “Shultz had worked countless hours in labs. Armed with this scientific know-how, he quickly realised something was amiss when he looked inside of the Edison device.

“There is nothing that the Edison could do that I couldn’t do with a pipette in my own hand,” he said. Then he discovered another alarming thing: When Theranos completed quality-control safety audits, it was running tests not on the Edison, but on commercially available lab equipment. That did not seem right. “It was clear that there was an open secret within Theranos that this technology simply didn’t exist,” Shultz said.” The article (at https://www.npr.org/2022/01/05/1070474663/theranos-whistleblower-tyler-shultz-elizabeth-holmes-verdict-champagne) gives a rundown that none of the papers hd and NPR had it in January 2022. It seems that the media is all very forgiving towards fraud, it implies that fraud is applauded as long as you get away with it. So how come NPR has what the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the BBC do not? In addition the fact that the hard and ‘risky’ choices that Tyler Shulz made, not his father are seemingly ignored all over the place. And you wonder why I do not trust people with my IP? You have got to be joking. In the end we have a much larger problem, the media! They have gone out of their way to give space to a fraudster and only now, only after the verdict of 11 years is passed do we see the rundown, but till to the smallest degree and that is proven with the NPR article that was given to us 9 months earlier. Hell, a woman can get pregnant in that time. The fact that most media steps largely over Tyler Shulz might be seen as additional evidence.

Was it a simple story, or have they all been compelled by a vampire? I reckon someone has to ask the expert witness Sarah Michelle Gellar for insights.

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The insanity of Trolls

I have had my issues with many things, in some cases I was on one side where I lashed out at Yves Guillemot to some extent, not because he did something ‘wrong’ but as CEO, he is the main in charge, the buck stops at HIS desk! The fact remained (as I saw it) that an amazing concept like Assassins Creed got squandered in several ways. My criticism was always with a level of decency and it was always supported with evidence, evidence as I saw it. There were never any death threats, or threats against the person, because in the end, it is just a video game and I reckon Ubisoft broke its own glasses of profit, which is the jest of it.

Today I viewed the article ‘Joss Whedon Quits Twitter; James Gunn Responds‘ (at http://geeknation.com/joss-whedon-quits-twitter-james-gunn-responds/). I am slightly beyond outrage at this point. To illustrate this, we need to look at some of the achievements of Joss Whedon.

Buffy, seven seasons of amazing excellence, vampire movies were taken to a new level and Sarah Michelle ‘the Slayer’ Gellar would become the idol of many men and even more women. The series is still rerunning on many channels on a global scale and every now and then forums bump back alive the desire for a high resolution remastered Blu-ray edition.

Angel would become a first spinoff, not as successful, but still respected in the fantasy world. Whedon puts together a cast that rocks solid and it would herald the continuation of a lifelong career of David Boreanaz beyond Angel who is still going strong after almost 20 years.

Firefly is the result of creativity from creator Joss Whedon and the cast that would reunite in his projects again and again. Scrapped before its time, studios are still learning today what a stupid mistake they made, like Buffy re-runs of this series are ongoing and the fans remain loyal beyond measure. Nathan Filion and the Firefly caste are still the highly sought events in every Comic-Con, even now 12 years later.

Serenity is the movie that tied a lot together and should be regarded as an amazing gesture towards the Firefly fans (it was no box office hit)

Dollhouse is perhaps the least understood diamond in the crown of Joss Whedon. It was dropped by executives who seemed to have a limited brain capacity and no comprehension beyond mind controlled ‘sex-dolls’. Whedon shows here how technology unleashed could be the end of us and end many ways of life. What was likely to have been a 4 season gemstone showed a second season trying to fit it all so the fans had a decently complete picture. Amy Acker, Eliza Dushku, Dichen Lachman and Olivia Williams are the female titans each with a role to play, the male side with Harry Lennix, Tahmoh Penikett, Fran Kranz and later Alan Tudyk show us a story that is almost unparalleled in depth. It is a story with a ‘neuromancer ‘ difference, one that sounds almost plausible enough to be scary.

Joss Whedon was able to add ethical undertones to the story that makes this gem an absolute must.

Now we get to the first Avengers movie. It is the second true superhero comic (with multiple hero’s) that comes to life in many ways (after the X-men). The story was amazingly good (for a comic book) and the interaction was like seeing comic books actually coming to life, I saw it in the cinema and after that a dozen times on Blu-ray. Like in the comic books we see ego and strife taking part in the story on the big screen too. Like the comic books, we see events that are just too good to ever forget. Many people will forever see Loki who is playing Tom Hiddleston with virtual Mark Ruffalo, played by the Hulk who picks up Hiddleston and makes him ‘one’ with the concrete floor, the ‘puny human’ quote gave way to loud laughs in the cinema. It will remain a priceless gem forever! The Avengers showed to me and too many others that comic books can come to life (through special effects). We all agree that the cast (all of them) did an amazing job, but we all know that without the visionary view of Joss Whedon, this movie would never have been the success it became. It ended up being the third most successful movie ever (source: Box office Mojo), with only Titanic and Avatar surpassing the financial Avengers results.

Now we have Age of Ultron. Here we see the team growing through the same actors, the same visionary director, whilst adding the three Avengers we missed the first time around. The Maximoff’s (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch), both excellently played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elisabeth Olsen. It is hard to compare to the comic books, because the Avengers have been around so long. Missing is Ant-man (but he is coming in his own movie first), Wasp, Black Panther (another upcoming person in his own movie first) and Black Knight. There are so many more members as the team evolved from the 60’s onwards. The movie is an excellent piece of work, there are many sides and even though these movies survive by special effects, we are never visibly drowned in those special effects forsaking acting quality.

It is hard to judge whether two is better than one, important is that there is an evolving storyline as we see in the comics. Joss Whedon delivered!

So when I saw that Joss Whedon got hate mail and death threats, I could not believe my ears (or my eyes for that matter). You have to read the story for yourself, but overall, I massively disagree with James Gunn, not because of what he did, but because of the premise that he had to (which in itself is a good thing).

Joss Whedon is a visionary. He brought to life something millions of fans dreamed of seeing in their life time and my generation as such would be alive long enough to see it truly happen on the big screen. He did it with Avengers and does it again with Age of Ultron. I am 100% convinced that he would be able to surpass his previous work if he would be making the two Infinity Gauntlet movies, but that is not to be, it seems (according to IMDB) that this falls to Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, the people behind Captain America, the winter soldier. Or as we can voice it, that movie where Captain America gets slapped around by his former best friend. The movie is an excellent achievement and the subterfuge of Hydra is well portrayed by former Mr Brubaker (a Robert Redford reference). In all these movies, as well as her introduction when Iron Man is a little over his head dealing with Mickey Rourke is Scarlett Johansson who sets down a mean Black Widow. As I see it, she was, is and remains a very strong character. I do not get the hatred over any of this and as such, I very much opposed the words of James Gunn when he writes: “Anger makes us feel “right”. And powerful. But it also usually exacerbates whatever the underlying, more uncomfortable feeling is”.

I would to some degree accept these words, but I saw some of the tweets Joss Whedon received. (a few at https://storify.com/Astojap/wehdon-twitter-hate). The message “@josswhedon ALSO WHY THE FUCK DID YOU JUST PUSH ASIDE NATASHA? YOU COULD HAVE USED HER IN SO MANY GOOD WAYS AND INSTEAD YOU USED STARK“. As well as “@josswhedon I bet you like homestuck you fucking garbage asshole” and these are not even the worst tweets!

They seem to be written by people who are clueless in many ways, some perhaps frustrated and angry for other reasons. I do not care as to the why, I just think that no one needs to accept the abuse Joss Whedon was subjected to.

When I see the accusation of ‘Misogynistic’ and we see Buffy with Buffy and Faith, Dollhouse with Echo, Sierra and November, Firefly with Zoe, Inara and Kaylee. In serenity, we see River getting ‘enthusiastic’ which leads to the quote “Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a 90-pound girl ’cause… I don’t think that’s ever getting old“. I am clueless how Joss is voiced as Misogynistic.

The hatred for Joss Whedon is not just unfounded, it is wrong in many ways. Joss has always given us strong women (not all evenly sane, like Faith in season 3 of Buffy, but that is not the issue). In Age of Ultron we see ‘Black Widow’ Johansson having a soft spot for Bruce Banner and why not (apart from the fact that I am a better dancer then Mark Ruffalo)? And as for soft love interest, when the action starts, she states ‘I love you, but I need the other guy’ and shoves her love interest over the edge of a cliff, and out comes the Hulk, an excellent moment to giggle over!

We should not ignore Elisabeth Olsen either, especially as all but one member of the Avengers get introduced to her ability to boggle their minds, which gets crushed when at the end, when we see the ‘real life’ (the non-Comic book version) view of what Scarlet Witch is able to do.

So, I do not see any valid opposition to the visionary work of Joss Whedon, I also oppose James Gunn, not because what he said and how well he said it (one of the more eloquent writings this year), but the fact that he had to do it. These trolls and hate mail senders are not using their right to free speech. These people are guilty of Psychic Assault (in Common law Australia, New Zealand, UK and Canada). In the US we see a similar situation, where California has California Penal Code 422 PC, where we see how it defines the crime of “criminal threats” (formerly known as terrorist threats).

A “criminal threat” is when you threaten to kill or physically harm someone and
that person is thereby placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for his/her safety or for the safety of his/her immediate family, the threat is specific and unequivocal and
you communicate the threat verbally, in writing, or via an electronically transmitted device.

Criminal threats can be charged whether or not you have the ability to carry out the threat…and even if you don’t actually intend to execute the threat.

I think it is only fair that the FBI, arrests no less than 50-100 of these people and convict them accordingly. You see, what those ‘voicers’ seem to forget is that these movies are a massive slice of the tax collected, when people like Joss Whedon have had enough and they go somewhere else, then these people thinking in their own small minded self that they executed their ‘right” to free speech is costing the government millions. It seems only fair that they are taking to the district courts and are allowed to experience the consequences of their criminal behaviour.

In my view trolling has been going on for way too long, Anita Sarkeesian, Sara Payne, Claire Cohen, Nicki Minaj, Helen Skelton and now Joss Whedon joins the ranks of trolled people (mostly women mind you). In this list I must take time emphasize two names. The first one is Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne. Can you imagine this? A mother dealing with the murder and the funeral of her own daughter getting trolled! How sick can people get? In the second there is Helen Skelton she used to present the BBC children show Blue Peter. Yes, it seems that those relying on ‘free speech’ have done this for an unacceptable amount of time and it is now becoming more and more essential that trolls get introduced to the criminal courts in a very non-virtual way.

I reckon that true fans, now losing out on their idol speaking on Twitter will be an additional source of inspiration in finding out who those trolls really are.

 

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We lost a giant

I was hit with waves of sadness yesterday. We lost Robin Williams. I do not claim or pretend to know too much about him. When I was young, I loved watching ‘Mork and Mindy’. I saw him in the movies and lately his star ascended again in the advertisement comedy ‘the Crazy ones‘. The thought most on my mind was ‘How can Sarah Michelle Gellar ever keep a straight face around him?’
Yesterday and today there are no happy faces, we lost a giant. I am not the only one thinking this. Twitter was buzzing with news and condolences from the famous and non-famous alike. The Guardian had a story (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/russell-brand-robin-williams-divine-madness-broken-world). It is an article by Russell Brand, and seeing him outside of comedy or from the stage of the social aware was reason to take a look at this. The article shows two clear things. The first is that there is a lot more to Russell Brand then I thought there was. He is brilliant in his own way and he is asking out loud certain questions we do not tend to ask. Basically I saw more journalism in Russell Brand in one article then several have showed this year (if you, the reading journalist are the exception, then I apologise for my generalising directness).
There is a quote at the end that gives pause to wonder “What I might do is watch Mrs Doubtfire. Or Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting and I might be nice to people, mindful today how fragile we all are, how delicate we are, even when fizzing with divine madness that seems like it will never expire“.
If we are all so fragile, how can we cope? If we are all sane, how can we give support to those with mental health issues? It I however this quote which strikes a nerve “Hidden behind his beard and kindness and compliments was a kind of awkwardness, like he was in the wrong context or element, a fallen bird on a hard floor. It seems that Robin Williams could not find a context. Is that what drug use is? An attempt to anaesthetise against a reality that constantly knocks against your nerves, like tinfoil on an old school filling, the pang an urgent message to a dormant, truer you“.
I am not sure if the thought is correct as such (from my point of view). It might apply to Robin Williams, Russell had met the man, I never had, so why my opposition to this?
Well, is drug use just that? I was fortunate to stay away from drugs, yet is it an anaesthetic against reality or a way to see a better reality as these users think it will, a more appealing one? You see, if Russell is right, then every famous comedian would become a drug user, I find that thought too depressing. Robin Williams once stated “Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t handle drugs“, it is just a comedy statement, but there is also the statement from another giant, a musical one who stated “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself“. The man was Bob Marley!
Before I continue, I need to add another article. It was written by Dean Burnett (at http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish). Here he writes something particularly strong and interesting: “to say taking your own life because of such an illness is a ‘selfish’ act does nothing but insult the deceased, potentially cause more harm and reveal a staggering ignorance of mental health problems“.
Russell and Dean are both hitting one side of the same coin. My worry is not: ‘why this is happening to Robin Williams’, but why are we seeing it only now? Is Robin Williams the moment we start to wake up and realise that we have a massive issue which a ton of people have been hiding under the rug because it was too uncomfortable?
Dean goes on for a bit longer, but then he doesn’t just hit the nail on the head, he makes a case why the nail was never guilty and did not deserved to get hammered.
That doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider ‘too successful’ to be ill?
I myself had that very same thought. ‘Why would a man this successful, having a beautiful daughter who is starting to have her own successful career, a massive success in his field be depressed?
It is a side I never really considered when having to read ‘Crime and Mental Health Law in New South Wales‘ by D. Howard. Those who try to give aid in one way or another, being it through legal aid, through psychological aid or through medical aid might have unintentionally missed a side we never considered. Russell voices it as “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” But from my view the world is not broken (it is just in control by those filled with greed). The physician might note that this world can be lived in (it is just severely polluted and food is getting more and more expensive) lastly the psychiatrist wanted to talk about it but he had no sense of humour, apparently he was German.
The powerful statement Russell made in the beginning “Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?” is now slightly changed (by me). “Is the world making me too sad to consider remaining here for another day?” I feel so sad because I lost an idol of comedy. I am certain I will get over it, but I know I am not alone, many with me remember the man who was the Genie, voicing the life of Donald Trump ‘PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS!!! … Itty-bitty living space‘.
We will soon enough remember again and again the famous moments that made us laugh or be silent. Yet, the issues on depression remain, not for just those Robin left behind, but for those who are still fighting this battle. A battle that is not just uphill, but for many it is a losing uphill battle and that is how they feel from the beginning of the journey they walk.
It is not new; depression has been around for at least 3 centuries, it has had many names. It was called Melancholy and Charlotte Smith wrote a sonnet to it in 1785. She wrote:

O Melancholy!–such thy magic power,

That to the soul these dreams are often sweet,

And sooth the pensive visionary mind!

Which might be better phrased as:

Oh dark dread, stopper of heart and reason

in my dreams I yearn to end

so that in my next life, I find a friend

Did the sonnet turn people away from depression as it was not a real condition?

I think that too many have never seen it for the dangerous affliction it truly is. Dean goes on and writes in his article in regards to ‘a’ selfish act “The ‘selfish’ accusation also often implies that there are other options the sufferer has, but has chosen suicide“. Was suicide even a choice? Are those on this track choosing at all? I have seen my share of people under Section 20 and Section 21 of the mental health act. Those who are hospitalised through them without and with their consent. There has been enough documentation that these people never seemed to have any choice in the matter. From their one sided view, there was only one path and only when services were too late lives were lost.

So, the medical branch seems to know the dangers, the legal branch has the knowledge that resulted in the existence of a section 20 and a section 21 of the mental health act, but these two are only 0.001% of a population, wouldn’t it be great if the other 99% catches on, on how dangerous and lethal depression really is?
Russell also wakes up to a revelation in the quote “When someone gets to 63 I imagined, hoped, I suppose, that maturity would grant an immunity to adolescent notions of suicide but today I read that suicide isn’t exclusively a young man’s game“, depression is timeless and it is ageless. We are bound to endure its dangers quite literally from the cradle to the grave, we can only hope for true friends around us to be there when it overwhelms any of us.

There is one more article that must be mentioned. It is again in the Guardian, but now it is Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-sadness-clown-addiction-mental-illness) that writes his view, but then he makes one ‘mistake’, perhaps it is just the observation he makes, but I disagree completely and for that I must lash out. He wrote “Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do“.

I do not think that this is the case; it has not been the case for some time. Yet, some physicians and some psychiatrists seem to have inherited a former treatment for this, ‘have a pill, sit in a corner until the moment passes‘. There is enough evidence that this is no longer the approach and the current generation is still fixing the mess the previous generation made; but even today many are learning on how long the path to a cure is. Perhaps it is never cured, but in some cases it could be managed, as long as the patient does not do it alone. It is a personal view I have. I might be very wrong indeed and if someone lashes out to me for that same reason, then so be it.

I do know that in many places it is getting more and more the visibility it should have had, but let us not forget that depression was not generally accepted and published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until the 3rd edition in 1980. The documentation that is openly out there shows that depression was a debilitating disease long before it was made a sonnet in 1785, so people had known about it for well over 300 years, which means the adoption only 30 years ago is still a questionable issue. So, it seems that therapist are not at a loss for what to do, but there seems to be a lacking clarity of what will truly work. It does seem that medication alone will not ever be a solution.
It is clear that we are not there yet. If you think other whiles then consider that for the DSM-V the following is currently set: “DSM – V proposed (not yet adopted) anxiety symptoms that may indicate depression: irrational worry, preoccupation with unpleasant worries, trouble relaxing, feeling tense, fear that something awful might happen.

Proposed, but not yet adopted!

We are not there yet and there is a long way to go. We can only hope that this road will have the resources needed to get there. I reckon we need to keep a view on the events that have shaped our view of the world and of those in it, for some of them will need our help. We might not be physicians or psychiatrists, but we can all do a little bit, so that they can do what must be done to find a solution for those who need help. If we keep to the cold statistics then we see that in the USA alone, 10% have it, this means that in one nation alone 30 million people are afflicted with depression, the reality is much higher because many do not seek help and some around them do not realise that depression is very near to them. Healthline (provider of health information) also reported the following: “60%-80% of all depression cases can be effectively treated with brief, structured forms of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication“.

I find absolutely nothing true in that statement, if it was then depression would have been successfully treated in so many cases and I would not have lost an idol. I think that it is time to take another true look at this without caring about budget cuts and ego’s.

If we get Keating involved, as Robin played him in Dead Poet’s Society, I would state “Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die“, is that, what we, with our ‘generic’ view of mental health condemn these people to?
So I hope that politicians will take this event to sit down and proclaim that they will ‘take another true look at today’s mental health issues‘.

I will have a reason to smile, but I will say “Son of a bitch! They stole my line!

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