Category Archives: Technical Ramblings

Price We Pay

With the start of a new year, usually we are given more time to live with a certain level of optimism. 2016 doesn’t seem to be following the same pattern. I wonder why that is? Could it be that our continued denial of the fact that all is not right with the world is causing reality to want to teach us a harsh lesson? We talk of history as lessons we’ve learned, and yet our actions deny the knowledge. Acceptance of all that is seems to be the answer of the da(ys)ze. We are dazed from the continued thumping we get when we choose anything but the accepted path…the one that society tells us we must follow.

Or we can stray from the garden path – if you’ve been watching “The Magicians” on SyFy (no, I haven’t read the books yet, as I still hold the meaningful world of Harry Potter in high esteem). This series is starting a good talk with me, simply because it’s being told by people who are not part of the “accepted” or status quo (and I love fantasy so I will give any such storyline a chance to experience a little magic in my life). Here is a hero that we can all relate to in all of his broken potential. People who chose not to follow the norm are attempting to live without drowning out themselves. They understand the importance of being different, and that it’s much more than some cliche saying.

Think of all those articles you’ve read that try to help you to accept yourself if you’re not popular or “normal”. What do they all have in common? They try to build a narrative that allows us to fit our true selves within the construct of acceptance. We all crave to be accepted by someone, or we would never try so hard to build our relationships. It’s an integral part of nature, though even nature understands that growth requires change.

And then some book comes along that touts the norm and tries to discourage us from “being different” because that process wastes too much (like the one below – thanks again Reddit). These books are written and published by humans so you might want to take their advice with a barrel of salt, and question everything with a sense of humor (if possible).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All I could think was…WOW, really? As I’ve never read this book because my SAT days are in the distant past (when I accepted its importance because I was too young to know better), I’m choosing to see the dark humor of their sarcasm. Once again, here’s the story about the fight for acceptance which is showing its ugly face in politics (which I truly despise). That this fight is at the forefront in politics is showing just how far our current form of morality (the so-called lifeblood of society) has receded from our beliefs. Rules have now taken the place of human intuition, and these rules are not something we should blindly accept as our only fact. When anyone tells you that we are a nation of laws, ask them what importance they place on such rules and why. If it is their guiding light, then you should probably ask further questions and be prepared for a long-winded argument about their beliefs. And if they claim that chaos does not have a place in this world, because order is the most important, then be prepared for a long battle because they think that they are in charge and won’t want to give that up. Remember…greed is a powerful thing.

Rules are the new price that we pay for not fighting the current condition of humankind. We have strayed from the lessons of old, as well as the ways of old. And I’m not talking about our recent forefathers, but those who brought mankind into enlightenment. Who saw that light and dark co-exist because they must in order to get the full story. Who understood that the battle of good and evil was never about choosing a side, but about accepting that we all carry a duality that is necessary for us to grow and learn. Who learned their lessons when simple actions like beliefs became ugly in their consequences and derailed the true progress of our potentials.

If you’re like me and are tired of the prices that we continue to pay by not fighting the established, then we need to laugh at the sarcasm that shows in the above text. Just as we need to help those who see a future that is much different from the present that we are all drowning in. The good guys are no longer as obvious as we once thought they were. Even our stories show that heroes such as Superman and other such warriors are not so clean-cut in their intentions. When intentions get strangled in human greed (and they somehow always do), then other heroes must take the place of the original. That logic shows us that there CAN be a hero in each one of us, and the potential is simply waiting to be discovered by us. Potential is our magic that just might build a wider and more colorful future.

Do we choose to be a hero because it brings us acceptance, or do we choose to become a hero because the world needs us to step up? That’s a question that only you can answer. But having a whole lot of heroes working together is what we all need if we want things to be different. Words are cheap, and there are a lot of words out there to swim through in order to find the right ones. Who we choose to be a temporary beacon of hope is important, if we want other heroes to show their actions for good possibilities. The price we pay can no longer be about chasing a shallow acceptance, when we’re all so different by a deeper design. Differences make possibilities come alive. Acceptance smothers possibilities so that creativity and innovation are controlled by the present. The future, for us and everything on this tiny world, requires that we change from belief to a possibility that can’t be caught by what we consider normal.

Take this from someone who has had to answer the question, WHAT ARE YOU, throughout her life. There are a a lot of you out there who know what I’m talking about. Do we want to change a system that only worries about checkboxes that label us incompletely, or do we finally build a new way that no longer worries so much about acceptance in its current context? No one should fit into a single checkbox!

…just saying

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Saving Your Passion

Today, I read an opinion piece from a fellow writer fighting against corporate strictures (it’s called How Corporate America Killed My Writing by Jim Sollisch). It resounded with me because I also feel the shackles that he fights against. I’m not linking to it because of all of the stupid copyright fights that are going on in court nowadays, killing the ability to share with one another without worrying about ownership. But that’s a discussion for another day.

We’re all writers, though some are more in tune with this passion than others. We all have passions that drive us, whether it be words, rhythms, or brush strokes. We all have a creative side that yearns to be heard, touched, and respected. I’ve even bought myself a quote ring (by the phenomenal Juella Designs) that I wear daily to remind myself to respect my passion because that’s the only way that I’m saving my passion. Passion is nurtured, just as any emotion needs to be. But the passion of creation is one of the most powerful because of what it can become.

Anyone who does their passion professionally runs the risk of facing disagreement with their creation. No one seems to respect the creator much anymore, because all they’re concerned with is the product. It can’t even be called a creation because it lacks the passion that normally drives our creations. Words put together to sell have a different rhythm than words that contain our soul. Perhaps they’re meant to, because the process is so different. But the one risk that we all face is the loss of passion because someone worries about cost without respecting the personal. If it costs you more than you’re willing to part with, then what is its true worth to YOU? And if it doesn’t create more passion, than what is its purpose to YOU? At some point, you have to recognize that YOU count just as much as what you can do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

We all have to sell out to some level to pay the bills. But we shouldn’t have to suffocate our soul in order to produce on demand. True creation cannot be demanded – it comes naturally because life searches out what it wants to spark. The spark is there for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with money. If all you see is the money, then you won’t get why so many chose to create just because. Some creators get that you’re saving your passion, because it’s the way to save your soul. Life has soul, and it’s a very important spark of creation.

Perhaps DangerDust represents it best with a quote from Robin Williams:

Spark of Madness by DangerDust and Robin Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…just saying

 

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Philae Is Up!

Did you hear the awesome news???

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yup, Philae is finally up after a really long 7 months (has it really been that long?). ESA must be celebrating right now, and rightly so. When the little lander hit that shady spot and shut down into hibernation, we all held our collective breath in hopes that he’d wake up (he feels like a he to me). All of that data that had been collected had not been returned home yet, so there was a lot riding on this wake up. Go check out Rosetta’s blog to keep up to date with the latest happenings. There will be a lot of new discoveries since this is the first time this type of landing has been accomplished. Yes, science can bring the wonders of the universe alive if you just pay enough attention to the conversation.

Really amazing! Congrats again, ESA!

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The Importance of Fitting In Isn’t Really So Important

We’re hearing a lot of news about inequality of all kinds, but the most hurtful in my opinion is when someone questions YOU at first sight. Lack of time has turned us into appearance surfers. We judge on the outer look while rarely delving below the surface, unless we see a benefit to do so. And yet, so many of us don’t seem to think that there is anything wrong with how we live. Seriously?!!!!

Take a look at this and figure out how you’d use this little chart, which shows a small spectrum of people out there in our world:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think your answer would be? It probably depends on your life experiences, as well as what’s most important when you make judgment calls during a first meeting. But the one thing that we can all say is that we’re taught to question anything that is different from the norms we’ve been taught throughout our lives. Did you figure out how you’d mark up the matrix?

We’ll all have different answers because we’re all different. And I think that your answer will say quite a bit about you. If you’re like me, and you never fit in with anything, then you’ll be used to seeing a check mark next to you. You’ve probably filled out “Other” in all of those annoying questionnaires that have turned so many into questions. If you’ve ever had to answer the question, “What are you?”, then you’ve probably gotten creative with your responses. I know that I have!

This isn’t a question about race, gender, or any other category unless you want it to be. It’s not about labels, because they are so unimaginative. I refuse to be reduced to one word or sentence so that someone else can avoid  an iota of inconvenience. Life is all about inconvenience because that is how we grow and learn. You seriously need to look below the surface in order to find the truth of what you’re looking at. Just like you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t surf through life without plunging into the deep end.

Why do we continue to work with the lowest common denominator without realizing that the equation for a good life requires all of its components? Life’s complexity shows that every existence counts, though we may not always see its importance until it’s been removed. We’re the sum of not only our own experiences, but also our teachings. It would be impossible to discount any of it, because they form the foundation of who we are. But who we are won’t dictate who we become. That is up to what we’re willing to learn, accept, and build upon. How limited do you want your dreams to be?

So, here’s my answer: All of those who have a mouth and use it. It’s not always going to be a good conversation, but at least it is starting a conversation. If you disagree with someone, then you’ll be able to ask them questions and try to see things from a perspective different from yours.  And hopefully they’ll also be open to see things from your point of view and respect the difference. All of those painful topics like inequality won’t get solved until we start to have honest conversations. Until the ugly is confronted, we’ll never be able to create beauty that we can all appreciate.  Difference is what makes life more interesting…especially when it leads to creative solutions that will replace the norm with something much better for us all. Our fragile little planet requires that we take this much more seriously than we currently do.

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Another Thought…

Writing is the other side of reading, and yet it is driven by the same emotions. A lot like life, also full of emotions.

We thrive on feeling these ups and downs, like we would on a roller coaster ride. But unlike a roller coaster which has predicted turns and rolls, life is completely chaotic. And that can be trying if you’re not prepared for that unexpected sharp turn and drop into an unforeseen void. So why do we keep coming back?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you find a good book, you read it until you reach the end. Hopefully, you find something within the words that resound in your own life. No, we don’t wish for vampires, zombies, and other such creatures who lurk in the deepest darkest regions of our minds. But we do look for answers to those troubling questions that plague our waking (and sleeping hours), which sort of feel like creatures of the night. And if our favorite books turn into series (long or short, whichever you want), then we are more excited to delve into a world created from a mind that might be different from our own but feels like home.

But here’s another thought: When life is so full of trials and tribulations, do we really have to always force our heros and heroines to experience those lowest of lows that make us curl into a ball and howl? As someone who writes, I know that the words that hit home comes from emotions that tear at the soul. But sometimes, the soul can only take so many tears before the fabric can no longer retain the same resilience. As living beings, we’re tested on a daily basis through different circumstances. No two people will experience the same feelings or reach the same outcomes. We are too complex for duplications, though we do experience similar motivations to succeed or fail. But I’m sure that we all feel like a break would be welcome – maybe one filled with a little early happiness for once.

And that brings me back to all of my favorites books written by authors who are all so very different, though driven by similar compulsions. Thank you for pushing these characters to reach beyond themselves, and pushing for excellence. We have so little excellence in places that are supposed to help change all of our lives for the better. But can we have a few more unicorns and rainbows – even gargoyles can play on rainbows? My chest hurts every time a piece of their heart is torn out. And no, an unexpected stumble is not the same as keeping the hero and heroine together (yes, I get that my favorite paring might not be yours). Please?

We need to allow more time for dreams, and less time for embracing reality. We all know that reality is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There aren’t enough boot straps to string together to build sturdy bridges over the torrents of trouble that rumble across the planet. If more dreams came alive from books, then life would be pushed towards true excellence. You don’t have to believe in magic for it to live. Look at a picture. Smell a flower. Marvel at a bumblebee. Sit in a tree. We’re surrounded by magic that we’re not allowed to appreciate because someone’s always telling us to keep working, do more, focus on the bottom line.

The bottom line is that creativity has always gotten us to dream big. We fly over so many other planets in our solar system. We’ve actually left our system (you’re amazing, Voyager 1) and are in the true unknown. Can you imagine what that little craft is seeing and experiencing? No realist can ever come up with a close description of something that has never happened before in our lives.  And there are more “voyagers” who want to explore to grow. All of the naysayers in our world will never shut out the light of curiosity. The one thing that life will always guarantee is that every experience is an opportunity for magic.

Now, don’t you want to try your hand at creating your own magic?

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You’re Not Looking Deep Enough

edit: I can’t believe that I didnt’ say this, but to CatMaster3000, I am really sorry for your loss! You had a beautiful relationship with Kitten, and I hope that she is happily chasing stars in the sky and looking down at you.


Stories have words, but have those words ever caused you to look deeper into its soul to find why it was written in the first place? As a writer, I can tell you that there is always an underlying motive that causes words to flow out into sentences. The trigger is always an emotion that drives my thoughts into bouts of frenzied typing (writing, any way that allows me to produce the words that fight for light).

We live in a world that is full of emotion, but it’s not always driven by soul. As a matter of fact, there is a distinct soullessness that permeates the shiny exterior we all cherish. That exterior is fashioned by the drive for beauty, but the undercurrents flow with something else altogether. So, when I saw this post on Reddit, I knew that it would be a worthwhile journey. Note [deleted] because it’s important in today’s world: When those corporations who are people can make you afraid to speak out loud, then you know that the world is going down a road full of sinkholes and it won’t get better until life is fixed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always so easy to follow the beauty of advertisements because that’s kind of what they’re made for. But sometimes, just sometimes, another perspective can turn all of that beauty on its head. Status quo loves to tout all of the good that comes from following what is accepted by the majority. But have we ever really tried to see it from the other side? If you’ve never traveled outside of your sphere of existence, then you wouldn’t know that there is an underbelly to our world driven by commerce. Lately though, it seems like it’s becoming easier to see that the reality of life is screaming for our attention, to fix all of the injustices which are being ignored because of whatever reason status quo has to offer.

This particular image strikes at the heart of the matter. Some people try to shine light on all of the accepted ugliness that we no longer challenge, until we are personally affected by it, because that’s how the truth is uncovered.

Have you listened to the words coming from the mouths of our leaders and institutions of late? It always sounds so pretty, until we see the actions that follow. Those are pretty ugly, because they belie all of those pretty words that have no substance. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to look harder to find people who are worth paying attention to. Perhaps that’s why people flock to blogs like this because they are looking for depth behind beauty. No, I’m not saying that I have such to offer, just that I’m trying to find examples to tout just as much as you all are. And on that note, I do continue to appreciate those who drop in (especially those with comments directly related to what I’m writing about), though I’m still unsure whether you mean your words or if you’re looking for a reward for your efforts? I still continue to hold hope that some of you are driven by the same inspirations that keep me delving into our incredible universe – and just want to share in the journey.

Life shouldn’t be about the pursuit of rewards. It shouldn’t be about plaques on a wall, glory being plied in public, or anything remotely associated to the superficial garments that we all wrap around ourselves because status quo tells you it’s a requirement. In truth, it really isn’t in order to experience the fullness that all of life has to offer.

Take CatMaster3000‘s story about his Kitten. I have never seriously cried as much as I did going through their story, and others were just like me. If you have a companion who is different from you (read: non-human), then I tip my hat to you. I’ve never had a pet family member because we moved so much. Right now, I have friends who pop into our backyard to nibble, meow, and be cuddled until they reach their limit, and even that is killing my heart. I don’t know how pet “owners” (I know it’s the other way around) do it, because your heart takes a real beating.

How about the story about YMCA Encinitas, where two of its former boardmembers wanted to stand up for the kids who would suffer from their company’s new desire to only serve families and not individuals. It’s refreshing to see people who fight for more than bigger profits for less efforts. Perhaps all the news are telling you that our institutions of yesteryear are no longer qualified to be the leaders that they still claim to be.

And did you watch the rage-inducing show from Rachel Maddow regarding the recent news cycle:

It was enough for me to have a permanent vein popping in my head. And to think that these are the people that we are supposed to follow and respect. If it hopefully awoke something inside of you that wants you to fight what status quo is offering, then your heart and soul are still working as they should.

There are so many people out there who are tired of waiting for change to happen, who don’t believe that voting holds the answers, who realize that we all need to DO instead of follow in order to reach a new standard of excellence. We need a standard that isn’t so worried about its golden (ok, it’s probably platinum or titanium now) sheen, but is aiming to really find the real power to lift those who have fallen towards a life-giving light. So my advice to you is to not respect someone because of the uniform that they wear, but because of their actions that moved you. Whether it’s a artist (just go through this blog to find some of my inspirations) or a musician (OMG, have you listened to Alisa Weilerstein) or even a writer whose heart rises above numbers (yup, I’m talking about Umair Haque), there are people out there who can move status quo towards the stars.

Because until you’re actually feeling like you need to change and grow while investigating all that life has to offer, you’re not looking deep enough. When you’re bleeding from the heart and your soul is joyfully dancing, then you know that you’re on the right path.

-oh and I also found another inspiring magazine (verynearlyalmost) that covers street art and much more with some amazing writing – just thought you should know

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We NEED To Dream!

I’ve been silent for a while, because the world is back to frustrating me. No time, no patience, no sense. Exactly why am I on this planet? It can’t be just to do my job, because I need to be more than that. And the world needs to be more than what we’re told to vote for, because THAT is so not working for most of us. It’s getting to the point that I talk back to the TV or computer (too often) when I find myself in disagreement of something or someone. There have been so many someones that I disagree with, that I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find a way to help rebuild this working disaster we currently live in. Leaders everywhere and status quo, I’m disagreeing with you! And to those of you who think that nothing is going to change, I’m determined to prove you wrong or die trying (and I really don’t want it to end like that).

This is what the world of today looks like (thanks again Reddit for helping me find an answer to almost everything):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn’t have to be like this! How about we try something different? I don’t know, how about we each get a chance to make a difference with our own talents and dreams! There are just too many talented dreamers out there who are remaking little bits of the world and sending it out to others who agree with them. Like:

OFFBITS – The Art of Spare Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We look at things that are needed and think they are trash. And yet someone else’s trash is anothers treasure…or at least that’s how the saying goes. So why did we ever grow up? Because the loss of our childhood has led to a seriously cookie-cutter, boring world devoid of any imagination. Who knew that bits of parts could lead to some amazing creations. This is like the next generation of builder blocks but only more portable. If you think this looks like fun, then check out their Kickstarter campaign now going (click the like above). I know that I did!

 

And to go a little further with the topic of imagination, take this pretty spot on (and amazing) image by adamtots (Books of Adam) of what an adult sees vs. a child:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And If you need to see the world from a different perspective, then how about stepping into someone else’s shoes (and to celebrate Mom):

I’ve never given birth, but I have been a baby to my Mom and Dad. And I too would like to thank Mom and say sorry for the pain I caused (as well as missing lunch). Happy Mothers Day! Love you.

 

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. And the best of all, they are as infinite as your imaginations. So the more you dream, then the brighter and deeper the world gets. The shallowness of the world around us can change each time we take an interest in someone’s dreams, ours and/or others. Talk to an artist and get their perspective on the world and why they do what they do. The leaders of today don’t get that everything isn’t about the almighty currency, but is about the deepest of souls. Perhaps the reason why status quo never changes is because too many of us listen to others who tell us that dreaming is a waste of time. The waste of time is living a life that isn’t the fullest that it can be. Money isn’t the only thing that makes the world go round, no matter what a suit will tell you.

Remember every time you’ve face a scene that felt so much bigger than you? Remember how you felt and how colorful everything was around you? Take that feeling and bottle it into the center of your heart and soul. Compare everything you do to that specific moment. If it falls short, then you have some dreaming (not work) to do.

…just saying

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Net Neutrality….WINS!!!!

Today is a historic day. The FCC, after having heard from millions of people, has made the decision to protect the Internet by declaring Title II protection. This means that the Internet will be regulated as a public utility, which will make it more difficult for corporations to control the information and its flow. People have been fighting to protect the Internet in the form of its birth: a beautiful, free form of communication -albeit more than a bit chaotic at most times. Just like life…controlled chaos. As I’ve said before, chaos can provide creative inspiration, and the Internet is the best example of the birth of a multitude of life-altering ideas by people unconstrained by societal strictures.

Congrats to mankind for winning one small protection against the encroachment of mindless commerce. We’ve been waiting a long time for this victory. And thanks to Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners who heard our voices.

edit: I forgot to add that the FCC has also preempted the state laws that bans municipal broadband providers from providing services in competition with established cable providers. Now we might finally get the types of choices that we’ve all been yearning for…like Google Fiber.

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When We Work Together

Curiosity takes a selfie....on Mars (courtesy: NASA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after thinking about all of the difficulties that we have living with one another, here’s a reminder of what can be accomplished when we work together. This selfie of Curiosity, taken ON MARS, should just blow your mind when you think of everything that went into not only creating the rover but also getting it to another planet. Think about how tricky it is to calculate the distance due to the planetary movements around the sun (see more details from Universe Today) and just what scientists have to think about when planning such amazing feats of discovery. Read more about the latest happenings with the Mars rover to see the incredible accomplishments that NASA and science agencies just like them around the world do on a daily basis.

We should also congratulate Great Britain after we found out that Beagle2 did actually land on Mars back in 2003. Though the mission had not managed to gain contact with the lander after its launch, they learned over a decade later that they had actually succeeded in their endeavor through a recent NASA image. Read more about it on ESA’s site and congratulate another insanely smart team for making their dreams come true.

*Thanks to Reddit for being just as curious and amazed at what humans are capable of doing.

Now, if only we humans on the planet Earth could remember just how important collaboration is to our own survival. The news doesn’t have to be filled with only gloomy predictions. It’s up to us, together, just as it always has been!

…just saying

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Sorrow…Followed By Anger

JE SUIS CHARLIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep rewriting this because my emotions are in a jumble. The Charlie Hebdo massacre (there really is nothing else to call this) has hit me as hard as 9/11 did. Though the scale is different, the feeling is just as devastating. Sorrow…followed by an increasing anger has become a common theme for so many of us. Something has got to change.

It is just too early in this new year for these bad events to continue to escalate in the way that they always seem to. It’s especially hard because so many of these bad happenings all have a common foundation: the increasing loss of our freedoms. Whether it is by corporations, governments, or religious groups (or some individual who just wants to crush anyone), a majority of people are losing themselves at the expense of a status quo’s belief systems. And that is why this particular moment is resounding within me (and so many others).

Any creative person who values freedom during the creation process will feel this personally. Any attack on our ability to freely create (while hopefully respecting multiple perspectives) is tantamount to attacking us personally. If you don’t respect our right to our own opinion, then who knows what else you’ll disrespect or how far you’ll go to stop us? And that is why this latest attack is just one more in a series that aims at taking away our freedoms, one at a time. Or worse, take away our very lives, which aren’t yours to take.

We have to change the way that we interact with one another. We have to learn to respect the idea that ours isn’t the only way to do, think, or act. We have to realize that the world will only feel smaller if we’re all fighting to take our own piece of it, while screwing everyone else.

Beliefs are  as abundant as they are diverse. There is no one right anything. Until each and every one of us truly understands this, we won’t have a different or better future.

Sorrow….followed by anger just isn’t any way to live.

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Stop censorship