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Science Current Events and Science News | Brightsurf | January 22, 2018


TU Wien develops new semiconductor processing technology
Extremely fine porous structures with tiny holes -- resembling a kind of sponge at nano level -- can be generated in semiconductors.
Climate engineering, once started, would have severe impacts if stopped
Facing a climate crisis, we may someday spray sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere to form a cloud that cools the Earth, but suddenly stopping the spraying would have a severe global impact on animals and plants, according to the first study on the potential biological impacts of geoengineering, or climate intervention.
Vaccines not protecting farmed fish from disease
The vaccines used by commercial fish farmers are not protecting fish from disease, according to a new study.
New fuel cell technology runs on solid carbon
Advancements in a fuel cell technology powered by solid carbon could make electricity generation from coal and biomass cleaner and more efficient, according to a paper published this week.
Dietary fiber protects against obesity and metabolic syndrome, study finds
Consumption of dietary fiber can prevent obesity, metabolic syndrome and adverse changes in the intestine by promoting growth of 'good' bacteria in the colon, according to a study led by Georgia State University.
Big energy savings: OSU researchers build the world's smallest electro-optic modulator
Researchers at have designed and fabricated the world's smallest electro-optic modulator, which could mean major reductions in energy used by data centers and supercomputers.
Researchers reveal new insights into how your brain keeps its balance
An interdisciplinary team of scientists from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) discovered that two large protein kinases, ATM and ATR, cooperate to help establish the go/stop balance in human brains.
Scientists find mechanisms to avoid telomere instability found in cancer and aging cells
Researchers from Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) João Lobo Antunes have found that a functional component of telomeres called TERRA has to constantly be kept in check to prevent telomeric and chromosomal instability, one of the underlying anomalies associated with cancer.
TSRI researchers identify gene responsible for mesenchymal stem cells' stem-ness'
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute recently published a study in the journal Cell Death and Differentiation identifying factors crucial to mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, providing insight into how these cells should be studied for clinical purposes.
3-D printing improves cell adhesion and strength of PDMS polymer
Combining two different polymer forms can switch manufacturing of silicone parts from molding, casting and spin coating of simple forms to 3-D printing of complex geometries with better mechanical characteristics and better biological adhesion, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay
A scientifically based approach that includes a tooth-decay risk assessment, aggressive preventive measures and conservative restorations can dramatically reduce decay in community dental practices, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.
Genes contribute to biological motion perception and its covariation with autistic traits
Dr. JIANG Yi, Dr. WANG Ying and their colleagues from the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have conducted a behavioral genetic study to find out the sources underlying the individual differences in biological motion perception.
Combination chemotherapy may significantly improve treatment for deadly brain tumor
A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital investigators has found that adding the chemotherapy drug hydroxyurea to the current chemotherapy protocol for glioblastoma significantly increased survival in animal models.
The role of cranial modification in identity formation
It has long been recognized that the Inka incorporated diverse peoples into their empire, but how these ethnic groups developed historically during the political upheaval of the preceding Late Intermediate Period (LIP; AD 1100-1450) is only now receiving commensurate attention.
Artificial intelligence predicts corruption
Researchers from the University of Valladolid (Spain) have created a computer model based on neural networks which provides in which Spanish provinces cases of corruption can appear with greater probability, as well as the conditions that favor their appearance.
A 'hot Jupiter' with unusual winds
The hottest point on a gaseous planet near a distant star isn't where astrophysicists expected it to be -- a discovery that challenges scientists' understanding of the many planets of this type found in solar systems outside our own.
Forest fire risk assessment using hotspot analysis in GIS
This research identified and prioritized forest fire hotspots, highlighted the shortage of fire stations within the identified hotspots and suggested the suitable locations for new fire stations in Brunei Muara district.
A method to measure diagnostic errors could be key to preventing disability and death from misdiagnosis
In an effort to reduce patient misdiagnoses and associated poor patient outcomes from lack of prompt treatment, a Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality researcher is helping to lead the way in providing hospitals a new approach to quantify and monitor diagnostic errors in their quality improvement efforts.
Feedback enhances brainwave control of a novel hand-exoskeleton
EPFL scientists are developing a lightweight and portable hand exoskeleton that can be controlled with brainwaves.
Finding unravels nature of cognitive inflexibility in Fragile X syndrome
Mice with the genetic defect that causes Fragile X syndrome (FXS) learn and remember normally, but show an inability to learn new information that contradicts what they initially learned, shows a new study by a team of neuroscientists.
Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases.
Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors.
Lobachevsky University researchers obtain magnetic semiconductor layers of a new type
Researchers at the laboratory of spin and optical electronics of the Lobachevsky University (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) have obtained a new type of magnetic semiconductor layers, which demonstrate spin-dependent phenomena in the transport of charge carriers at room temperature.
Study examines differences in hip fracture rates among nursing homes
In a nationally representative study, researchers found considerable variation in the rates of hip fractures across US nursing home facilities.
Depressive symptoms linked to shorter survival in patients with head and neck cancer
In a study of patients with head and neck cancer, even mild depressive symptoms were associated with poorer overall survival.
How very low birth weight affects brain development
Children born with very low birth weights are at an increased risk of cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems throughout their lives.
New Eocene fossil data suggest climate models may underestimate future polar warming
A new international analysis of marine fossils shows that warming of the polar oceans during the Eocene, a greenhouse period that provides a glimpse of Earth's potential future climate, was greater than previously thought.
Heat loss from the Earth triggers ice sheet slide towards the sea
In North-East Greenland, researchers have measured the loss of heat that comes up from the interior of the Earth.
Want a healthier population? Spend less on health care and more on social services
Increased social spending was associated with health improvements at the population level, while health spending increases did not have the same effect, according to a large new Canadian study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Cutting edge technology reveals how to dig
Musculoskeletal modeling applied to horticultural workers engaged in digging to predict risk of injury.
Siberian scientists learned how to reduce harmful emissions from HPPs
A team of scientists from Siberian Federal University (SFU) and their colleagues from Novosibirsk and the Netherlands modeled the process of coal burning in HPP boilers and found out which type of fuel produced less harmful emissions.
Digging deep into distinctly different DNA
A University of Queensland discovery has deepened our understanding of the genetic mutations that arise in different tissues, and how these are inherited.
Use of dirty heating oil in NYC concentrated uptown
Residential buildings that continued to burn residual fuel oil were concentrated in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, as of late 2015.
The scent of the city
In the scientific journal PNAS, researchers from Innsbruck, Austria, present the world's first chemical fingerprint of urban emission sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Transportable laser
PTB physicists have developed a frequency-doubling unit for transportable, optical atomic clock that will even continue to operate when it has been shaken at three times the Earth's gravitational acceleration.
User experiment at BESSY II: Complex tessellations, extraordinary materials
An international team of researchers lead by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has discovered a reaction path that produces exotic layers with semiregular structures.
Researchers discover that female cats are more likely to be right-handed
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have found that female cats are much more likely to use their right paw than males.
BU: Young men who have sex with men receive less HIV education
Young men who have sex with men (MSM) are at much higher risk of HIV infection compared to their peers, but a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher suggests young MSM are less likely to receive school-based HIV education than young men who only have sex with women.
New study: Industry conservation ethic proves critical to Gulf of Maine lobster fishery
A new study demonstrates how conservation practices championed by Maine lobstermen help make the lobster fishery resilient to climate change.
Use evidence to inform Isle of Man draft abortion bill debate, urge researchers
The most up to date evidence shows that women in the Isle of Man need full spectrum, accessible abortion services, free of any age or timing restrictions, conclude researchers in an editorial, published online in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Biomarkers helped solving the mystery of 500-million-year-old macroorganisms
A postgraduate student of the Faculty of Geology of MSU, working with an international scientific group, participated in chemical analysis of biomarkers -- compounds that remained after the decomposition of organic remains of the genus Beltanelliformis.
Swansea University research helps break ground to clean up land
Researchers at Swansea University's Complex Flow Lab have been exploring the intricate shapes that emerge when air is injected into soil.
Microbiome predicts blood infections in pediatric cancer patients
Patients who developed bloodstream infections had significantly reduced microbiome diversity than patients who remained free of infection.
Double trouble: Moisture, not just heat impacts sex of sea turtle hatchlings
Male sea turtles are disappearing and not just in Australia.
Wild Sri Lankan elephants retreat from the sound of disturbed Asian honey bees
A new study using playbacks, has for the first time shown that Asian elephants in Sri Lanka are scared of honey bees, much like their African counterparts.
Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communication
Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip.
Computational method speeds hunt for new antibiotics
A team of American and Russian computer scientists has developed an algorithm that can rapidly search massive databases to discover novel variants of known antibiotics -- a potential boon in fighting antibiotic resistance.
What effect did the ACA have on out-of-pocket and premium spending?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) two years after implementation was associated with reduced out-of-pocket spending overall, particularly among low-income Americans, but spending on premiums also increased.
New NOAA research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls
As farmers in the American West decide what, when and where to plant, and urban water managers plan for water needs in the next year, they want to know how much water their community will get from melting snow in the mountains.
Overall in-hospital cardiac arrest survival improves, lower survival on nights, weekends
Overall survival has improved for the approximately 200,000 patients experiencing in-hospital cardiac arrest in the US each year, but patients who arrest during nights or weekends continue to experience lower survival compared to patients who arrest during daytime hours.
Taking control at the junction
Fine tuning the composition of nitride alloys can further the development of optical and electronic interface devices.
Improving vaccines for the elderly by blocking inflammation
By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people.
Crows 'hooked' on fast food
Biologists at the universities of St. Andrews and Edinburgh have discovered why some crows 'craft' elaborate hooked tools out of branched twigs.
Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats
An NC State-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
BU: Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant
Marijuana use -- by either men or women -- does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.
Phone-addicted teens are unhappy
Researchers found that teens who spent a lot of time in front of screen devices -- playing computer games, using more social media, texting and video chatting -- were less happy than those who invested time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction.
A new approach to rechargeable batteries
A new battery technology developed at MIT, based on a metal-mesh membrane and electrodes made of molten sodium, could open the way for more intermittent, renewable power sources on the grid.
Multifunctional platform for the delivery of gene therapeutics
Gene editing is one of the hottest topics in cancer research.
How breast cancer survivors can increase their reduced life expectancy
A USC study suggests regular exercise could add to the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors because it lowers their heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and possibly breast cancer recurrence.
'Depression education' effective for some teens
In an assessment of their 'depression literacy' program, which has already been taught to tens of thousands, Johns Hopkins researchers say the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) achieved its intended effect of encouraging many teenagers to speak up and seek adult help for themselves or a peer.
Study reveals abnormalities in infants born in withdrawal after opioid exposure in utero
A new study of infants born in withdrawal due to opioid exposure in utero shows a dramatic increase in torticollis -- an abnormal twisting of the neck.
Study reveals perceived gender bias against women is dominant factor in college major choice
College-bound women are not less likely to enter specific fields because more math or science is required, but rather because of the gender discrimination they are likely to encounter in those fields, finds a new nationally representative longitudinal study published in the American Educational Research Journal.
Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems
Mining on the ocean floor could do irreversible damage to deep-sea ecosystems, says a new study of seabed mining proposals around the world.
Housing instability negatively affects the health of children and caregivers
When families don't have stable housing, their risk of struggling with poor health outcomes and material hardships, such as food insecurity, increases, according to a new study from Children's HealthWatch.
How climate change weakens coral 'immune systems'
Researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues have demonstrated how two separate effects of climate change combine to destabilize different populations of coral microbes -- that is, unbalance the natural coral 'microbiome.'
FRAX intervention and assessment thresholds for seven Latin American countries
Newly published Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX®) -based intervention thresholds for the following seven Latin American countries represent a substantial advance in the detection of individuals at high risk of fracture: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.
Johns Hopkins scientist proposes new limit on the definition of a planet
A planet can be no bigger than about 10 times the size of Jupiter, an astrophysicist has calculated.
Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness
A major review by UNSW Sydney medical researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.
New for three types of extreme-energy space particles: Theory shows unified origin
One of the biggest mysteries in astroparticle physics has been the origins of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, very high-energy neutrinos, and high-energy gamma rays.
Making fuel cells for a fraction of the cost
In a paper published today in Small, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, describe the development of an inexpensive, efficient catalyst material for a type of fuel cell called a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), which turns the chemical energy of hydrogen into electricity and is among the most promising fuel cell types to power cars and electronics.
The ins and outs of Area 25
Neuroscientists have charted the incoming and outgoing connections of a brain region located deep within the monkey prefrontal cortex that has important roles in emotion and memory processes.
Combination of resistance genes offers better protection for wheat against powdery mildew
UZH plant researchers have tested newly developed wheat lines with improved resistance in field trials.
Study shows first evidence of winds outside black holes throughout their mealtimes
New research shows the first evidence of strong winds around black holes throughout bright outburst events when a black hole rapidly consumes mass.
Ancient rice heralds a new future for rice production
Growing in crocodile infested billabongs in the remote North of the country, Australia's wild rice has been confirmed as the most closely related to the ancient ancestor of all rices.
New metal-semiconductor interface for brain-inspired computing
One of the big challenges in computer architecture is integrating storage, memory and processing in one unit.
Powerful food-derived antioxidant can halt, prevent fatty liver disease in mice
As obesity continues to rise in the US, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a major public health issue, increasingly leading to cancer and liver transplants.
Speech analysis software predicted psychosis in at-risk patients with up to 83 percent accuracy
Computer-based analyses of speech transcripts obtained from interviews with at-risk youths were able to predict which youths would later develop psychosis within two years, with an accuracy of up to 83 percent.
Scientists discover material ideal for smart photovoltaic windows
Researchers at Berkeley Lab discovered that a form of perovskite, one of the hottest materials in solar research currently due to its high conversion efficiency, works surprisingly well as a stable and photoactive semiconductor material that can be reversibly switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state, without degrading its electronic properties.
Algorithm identifies ten times more naturally occurring antibiotics
In a paper published in Nature Microbiology on Jan. 22, a team of American and Russian computer scientists described a new algorithm that identified an order of magnitude, or roughly 10 times more, naturally occuring antiobiotics than all previous studies.
Study may improve strategies for reducing nutrient runoff into Mississippi River
Every summer, the Gulf of Mexico is flooded with excess nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment plants and farm fields along the Mississippi River basin.
A race against pine: Wood-boring wasp in North America threatened by a Eurasian invader
Invasive species have diverse impacts in different locations, including biodiversity loss, as a result of native species being outcompeted for similar resources.
Anemia discovery offers new targets to treat fatigue in millions
UVA has discovered an unknown biological process that controls the production of vital cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
In the analysis of the human genome, one question researchers have so far left unanswered is how to differentiate the variants of a gene inherited from the mother and father.
New neuron-like cells allow investigation into synthesis of vital cellular components
A new method to create synthetic neurons allows researchers to investigate how the human brain makes metabolic building blocks essential for the survival of all living organisms.
How cells are able to turn
Researchers have long wondered how our cells navigate inside the body.
Gene delivery of drugs directly into arthritic joints is making the leap to patients
Localized gene delivery to diseased joints to achieve sustained drug production at the site of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis is gaining momentum, with clinical trials underway in the US and the first arthritis gene therapy recently approved in Korea.
Global temperature targets will be missed within decades unless carbon emissions reversed
In their latest paper, published in the February issue of Nature Geoscience, Dr Philip Goodwin from the University of Southampton and Professor Ric Williams from the University of Liverpool have projected that if immediate action isn't taken, the earth's global average temperature is likely to rise to 1.5°C above the period before the industrial revolution within the next 17-18 years, and to 2.0°C in 35-41 years if the carbon emission rate remains at its present-day value.
Kicking an old can of worms -- the origin of the head in annelids
Researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto have described an exceptionally well-preserved new fossil species of bristle worm called Kootenayscolex barbarensis.
Inverse-design approach leads to metadevices
A Northwestern University research team used inverse design principles and a 3-D printer to create highly efficient broadband metadevices at millimeter-wave frequencies that could prove revolutionary for consumer products, defense, and telecommunications.
Developing the VTX-1 liquid biopsy system: Fast and label-free enrichment of circulating tumor cells
A new article in the February 2018 issue of SLAS Technology describes a new platform that could change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated by automating the isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) directly from cancer patient blood.
Optical nanoscope allows imaging of quantum dots
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale.
Cryo-EM reveals critical protein-modifying complex and potential drug target
Scientists have revealed the atomic-level structure of a molecular complex responsible for modifying proteins, possibly paving the way for the development of new medications for cancer and a host of other diseases.
Not just a stem cell marker
The protein CD34 is predominantly regarded as a marker of blood-forming stem cells but it helps with migration to the bone marrow too.
Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
Rutgers scientists have found the 'Legos of life' -- four core chemical structures that can be stacked together to build the myriad proteins inside every organism -- after smashing and dissecting nearly 10,000 proteins to understand their component parts.
Marine vegetation can mitigate ocean acidification, UCI study finds
Marine plants and seaweeds in shallow coastal ecosystems can play a key role in alleviating the effects of ocean acidification, and their robust population in shoreline environments could help preserve declining shellfish life, according to a study by University of California, Irvine ecologists.
New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.
Persistent photoconductivity used to stimulate neurotypic cells
Researchers have, for the first time, used a material's persistent photoconductivity to stimulate neurotype cells.
Pathway opens to minimize waste in solar energy capture
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science have made an important discovery with significant implications for the future of solar cell material design.
Using social and risk networks helps identify people undiagnosed with HIV
Conducting HIV testing among the social and risk networks of those recently diagnosed with HIV helps identify undiagnosed cases of HIV at significantly higher rates and at a lower cost than other testing approaches, finds a new study conducted in Ukraine by an international research team.
Researchers find latent HIV reservoirs inherently resistant to elimination by CD8+ T-cells
A research team at GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences found that latent HIV reservoirs exhibit resistance to elimination by CD8+ T-cells.
People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the 'size-weight illusion' as strongly as other people, new research shows.
Climate change and snowmelt -- turn up the heat, but what about humidity?
Changes in humidity may determine how the contribution of snowpack to streams, lakes and groundwater changes as the climate warms.
Researchers reveal how microbes cope in phosphorus-deficient tropical soil
A team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has uncovered how certain soil microbes cope in a phosphorus-poor environment to survive in a tropical ecosystem.
Engineers design artificial synapse for 'brain-on-a-chip' hardware
Engineers at MIT have designed an artificial synapse in such a way that they can precisely control the strength of an electric current flowing across it, similar to the way ions flow between neurons.
Small hydroelectric dams increase globally with little research, regulations
University of Washington researchers have published the first major assessment of small hydropower dams around the world -- including their potential for growth -- and highlight the incredibly variability in how dams of varying sizes are categorized, regulated and studied.
Discrepancies between satellite and global model estimates of land water storage
Research led by The University of Texas at Austin has found that calculations of water storage in many river basins from commonly used global computer models differ markedly from independent storage estimates from GRACE satellites.
Lab-made hormone may reveal secret lives of plants
A new synthetic hormone promises to tease apart the many different roles of the plant hormone auxin and could lead to a new way to ripen fruit.
Realizing highly efficient quantum dot LEDs with metallic nanostructures at low cost
KAIST researchers have discovered a technology that enhances the efficiency of Quantum Dot LEDs.
A better HIV test
Stanford researchers have developed a reliable, hassle-free HIV test -- just what public health officials need to screen large numbers of people and head off potential outbreaks.
Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle.
Combined nutrients and warming massively increase methane emissions from lakes
Shallow lakes in agricultural landscapes will emit significantly greater amounts of methane, mostly in the form of bubbles (ebullition) in a warmer world, which is a potential positive feedback mechanism to climate warming.
Clarifying the interplay between bone cells in bone remodeling
Bone homeostasis is regulated by communication between bone-forming mature osteoblasts (mOB) and bone-resorptive mature osteoclasts (mOC).
Better predicting mountains' flora and fauna in a changing world
Climbing a mountain is challenging. So, too, is providing the best possible information to plan for climate change's impact on mountain vegetation and wildlife.
Astronomers produce first detailed images of surface of giant star
An international team of astronomers has produced the first detailed images of the surface of a giant star outside our solar system, revealing a nearly circular, dust-free atmosphere with complex areas of moving material, known as convection cells or granules, according to a recent study.
Scientists achieve high power with new smaller laser
An international team of scientists has produced the first high-powered, randomly polarised laser beam with a 'Q switch' laser, which typically emits pulses of light so brief that they're measured in nanoseconds.
Portland State study spotlights cultural barriers to student financial success
The college financial aid process ignores the cultural needs of minority students, causing many of them to not receive adequate financial aid and dropping out because they've run out of money, according to a Portland State University study.
'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma
Researchers in Memphis and Boston have collaborated to show c-MYC is an oncogene that drives neuroblastoma in some high-risk patients; the findings help set the stage for much-needed precision medicines
Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

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