A break from the mundane

By Whskyjack, a Trail Mix Contributor

Or, how do they do this?

Some days we just need a break from the news about idiots and their mistresses. Thank your favorite deity.  We have science and  the real wonders  in astronomy

I just  read this article and it made my day.  I hope you enjoy it too. Beats the hell out of anything Donald Trump tweeted, just sayin’ …

Red giant brings its companion star back to life


There’s some adage out there about helping out your neighbor, right? Well, a red giant star was recently spotted lending more than just a cup of flour to its companion neutron star — it blasted it with winds that nourished the dead star back to life in a burst of X-ray light …

Stars with masses ranging from the size of the Sun to eight times that mass turn into red giants toward the end of their life. As they age, their outer layers are slowly pushed away from the star’s center by solar winds traveling at a few hundred kilometers per second. Over time, the outer layers can expand by millions of kilometers.

Rather than floating off into no-man’s-land like they normally would, the winds from the red giant were captured by its neighboring neutron star, which flared up in X-rays as it began accreting them …

Neutron stars typically develop when stars eight to 30 times more massive than the Sun run out of fuel and detonate in a supernova, leaving a small but incredibly massive spinning core behind. With masses of one and a half times that of the Sun squeezed into a core only about 6 miles (10 kilometers) across, neutron stars are some of the densest objects in the universe.

Neutron stars also exhibit a powerful magnetic field in the object’s early years, which is thought to fade significantly over time. When this particular neutron star’s magnetic field was measured, it was found to be quite strong, hinting that it’s still relatively young. However, its red giant companion is much older, leading researchers to wonder how the system has evolved to this point. One answer could be mass transfer, which can occur in close binary systems when material from one star is pulled in by or expands out past the other.

“These objects are puzzling,” Enrico said. “It might be that either the neutron star magnetic field does not decay substantially with time after all, or the neutron star actually formed later in the history of the binary system. That would mean it collapsed from a white dwarf into a neutron star as a result of feeding off the red giant over a long time, rather than becoming a neutron star as a result of a more traditional supernova explosion of a short-lived massive star.”

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90 thoughts on “A break from the mundane”

  1. “…as a result of feeding off the red giant over a long time”

    brings many images to mind from putin to baby grizzlies.


    speaking of *mama bears, nice segue into last thread’s discussion about misnomers. somewhere between BiD’s observation “nicknames are meant to be derogatory” and bink’s “an attempt to elevate themselves above their audience to try to assume authority on the topic being discussed in lieu of any genuine insight” lie some  pragmatic motives:   do not refer to the subject by his/her real name so as not to

    (1)  inflate their online popularity ratings ,

    (2) trigger or become the target of unnecessary surveillance and

    (3) regret having said something later that negatively affected commenter’s employment or future.


     * half-gov aka ms palin

  2. jack, thanks… had the same kind of wow reaction yesterday with this photo.
    NASA’s Kepler telescope sees Earth as a celestial lightsaber
    Earth cosplays as a Star Wars lightsaber in a radiant portrait from NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

    k2-c16-ffi-with-earth-croppedEnlarge Image
    Earth looks like a glowing Star Wars lightsaber in this Kepler Space Telescope image.

  3. oops, image didn’t come thru.  maybe this one from this scientific American article will
    You Are Here: Earth Shines in Image from Kepler Spacecraft
    Last December, the planet-hunting mission viewed our planet from 94 million miles away

  4. meanwhile in the “mundane” gop world

    the guardian:

    Republican candidate’s North Korea experience may not be all he claims


    Rick Saccone, standing in Pennsylvania’s special congressional election, says he negotiated regularly with communist officials – others remember it differently

    North Korea rarely plays a prominent role in US congressional elections, but Rick Saccone – the Republican candidate for Congress in Tuesday’s crucial special election in Pennsylvania – has made much of his experience in the reclusive country.
    A television advertisement features moody shots of a missile launch and goose-stepping North Korean soldiers – and Saccone’s claim that his career as “a diplomat in North Korea” makes him uniquely placed to deal with the looming crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
    Saccone’s campaign website says that he “spent one year on a diplomatic mission in North Korea” and describes him as “the only United States citizen living in North Korea that negotiated with the North Korean regime on a daily basis”.
    But the four-term state legislator may be overstating his role.
    According to former colleagues, although Saccone is one of the few Americans to have dealt with North Korean officials, he was not a diplomat, and was not engaged in traditional diplomacy.

  5. Thanks, whskyjack. Much needed, much appreciated. A breath of fresh air.

    Can this place go one day without mention of *you know who/what*? I dares ya.

    It’s a big world out here. Or, as friend whskyjack so brilliantly noted, out there. ( For some reason the Star Trek opening & theme song just crossed my mind: Boldly go where no Trail Mixer has gone before …..)

  6. I love the radio series Only A Game, based in Boston & broadcast nationally on NPR. Not a show about scores & idiot fans (boring) but a show about life & people who just happen to be involved in sports. Today they shared a segment from GameBreaker, a new podcast by Keith Olbermann. Heart warming, heart tugging: the human experience. Good stuff.

    It’s a big world out here. And there.  🌎🌏🌍



  7. somehow these americans have been forgotten by msm

    Just this week, a power outage put nearly 900,000 residents in and around the capital city of San Juan in the dark and without water — again. Five months after the tempest, tens of thousands in Puerto Rico haven’t had electricity since the hurricane, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that 1 in 10 customers still won’t have it back as of the end of March.


    while these are news all over the place

    Outage outrage: Nearly 500,000 customers still in dark after nor’easter


  8. 1) Media bigwigs live in New York City & Washington

    2) Puerto Rico is an island far away from New York City & Washington

    If it snowed Puerto Ricans to the extent it cancelled airlines & blocked traffic, annoying everyday life for said bigwigs, well then, that’s a story.


  9. sjwny, here’s something that transcends politics applying to other interactions with others, a thought provoking discussion on a nowadays phenomenon

  10. “We have science” – Whskyjack

    Just thinking what those words mean, entail, provoke, inspire.

  11. “My favorite space place, NASA“.
    bbronc, better download all you can. your (and my) beloved nasa may fall into a budget black hole that gobbles all that boldly goes where none have gone before.
    sjwny, sorry to bring up bugaboo politics again. mea culpa. i must be a political nympho-addict. can’t help it.
    from ars technica:
    Eating your seed corn —
    In response to Trump budget, NASA ending separate technology plan
    “We need Space Technology if we want NASA to have a bold future.”
    Braun said he is principally concerned that, when research activities are combined with hardware-development programs, it never works out in favor of research into advanced technologies. The large development programs have huge, immediate needs for funding. “All one of those long-term programs do is need to burp, and it eats up the seed corn of the technology program,” Braun said.
    A similar situation occurred during the 2000s when NASA formulated the Constellation Program to send humans to the Moon and then Mars. Because of vast funding needs for the Ares line of rockets and a spacecraft that became the Orion vehicle, agency officials cannibalized technology research to pay for hardware. Running way behind schedule, the Constellation Program was canceled in 2010—in the same budget that created the space technology program.


  12. Jack

    Thank you for the missive about a place far far away.  Scientifically, I’m a little more down to earth with Egg Watch 2018.  Mr. P and First Lady have finished nestorations and are busily trying to make the moss in the middle more comfortable.  Live cameras with the ins and outs of the expectant parents.  

    Probably due to weather the DC nest is a little late this year.  The Florida bald eagle nests have already fledged in one and branching ready to fledge in the other.


  13. Did you know if you make to 100 and  live in the Barbados they will issue a stamp in your honor

  14. For the past couple of hours I’ve been going through music intended to elicit a reaction from Jace. Here is what I arrived at. I’m doing it today because I surely don’t want to trespass on his special Sunday.


  15. Jaime

    I think you have to be a resident to get the stamp.   And to get medical care as well.

    I don’t think they will do it for a tourist..even if you are 100.

  16. Sturg

    You’d rather have corn bread than a stamp?  You must have a great recipe or know someone who does.

  17. One of Al Capone’s nicknames, besides Scarface, and Big Al:  Snorky.

    · Snorky: Slang for an elegant, sharp dresser. Though this nickname was only really used by close friends, it was no secret that Al loved fine clothes. 

  18. The shootings at the Veterans Center in Napa are horrible.  Three young and compassionate women were killed and the murderer shot himself as well.  He was a troubled veteran who had been receiving treatment and was asked to leave the program.  He came back with a gun and killed people involved in his care.

  19. I don’t have the recipe, but there was always a pan waiting for me at Annabelle’s house…..she was the black lady we lived next to and who became my second mother over time as I was a Yute.

    I’d say make a batch and add some sugar and if it’s not sweet enough, add some more next time.   I haven’t had any since Annabelle got the Alzheimer’s…….

    It’s pretty good stuff though…….

    She made real biscuits too…….Walter and I would carry them into the woods for lunch.

  20. Katherine Graham Cracker,

    Your comment captures the incident perfectly. That was a terrible situation that resulted in three good people being killed.

  21. I can’t make biscuits or cornbread.  I’m missing something.  I have tried a zillion different recipes and yuck.

  22. Walter and I ran around after school and on weekends, cause we went to separate but equal schools……

  23. Sturge

    Speaking of Al Capone

    Here in Kansas City they renovated the old Rieger hotel. I was in the mens restroom, they had a plaque above the urinal “Al Capone pissed here” which may explain why it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the 1930’s


  24. Here’s something for Fla and NY goopers to think about.  Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto Rico do not have a vote.  Puerto Ricans who live in one of the states can vote.

  25. hah, jack, locals here in the wilds of ky also have stories of capone visits to load up on fine bourbon during prohibition days.  there was a train regularly running from nashville to chicago with whistle stops along the way each  little town with its unique distillery (s).

  26. I once stayed in the suite which Al Capone used at the Royal Hotel in Moose Jaw……corner room, second floor……. He only went there a couple of times buying liquor and after that sent his henchmen……..,there were tunnels connecting all the hotels……big tourist thing now, The Tunnels of Moose Jaw.

  27. Sturg,
    You know better than that.
    Yoot. n. pl. Ute or Utes 1. A member of a Native American people …

  28. My late brother went steady with the daughter of the G-Man Elliot Ness. Mr Ness had a battle going with all the gangsters of that era.

  29. I think the word shooter should be changed to murderer in these mass shootings  and the people are murdered.

  30. one word on making cornbread: Jiffy. Ridiculously cheap and easy. I make it in my iron skillet with a touch of bacon grease.

  31. The School District has had to hire more teachers here because of the influx of displaced Puerto Ricans. Recently there was a drive for donated winter coats, hats, gloves to help out our new neighbors. Winter is a learning experience for the uninitiated.

    Makes Spring all the more appreciated.

    Our Summers & Autumns are spectacular, btw.


  32. I have tried buttermilk, heating the pan, the Marie Callendar recipe and mine is always dry and I had a friend who made great cornbread and I slavishly followed her instructions and flat and dry —  I’ve given up. And there are no mile high biscuits in my life Mr Cracker makes better biscuits

    I do agree with you about buttermilk —

  33. I’m a Yankee. I like my cornbread with yellow meal & some sugar. A handful of fresh blueberries tossed in is mighty tasty too.

    White cornmeal is good used in mash to ferment Salt Rising Bread.




  34. SJ, my sense is that there’s a tremendous variation in corn muffins/bread. This stems from amounts of all the major ingredients–type of corn, leavening, liquid/eggs, sugar, shortening. Much of the difference is brought about by differing availability of ingredients where the particular end product originated. The sweeter corn products I liked in Ohio would quite probably be shunned here in South Carolina. Oh, well…

  35. Don’t overmix. Cornbread, muffins, pancakes. A few streaks of flour = OK.

    This may be heresy to some but I use good old Crisco in Pie Crust.

    2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp sugar mixed together. Cut in 1 cup Crisco (Original or Butter Flavor) until crumbly. Gradually toss in 1/2 cup cold water until moistened; if you can make a ball with it, you’re OK.  May or may not use all depending on humidity. Always flaky & delicious.

    I grew up with Spry Shortening but alas that ceases to exist.




  36. Flatus,

    Growing up using white meal was secesh. The Union ate yellow meal 😉

    Old things die hard. Family lasts forever. Seriously, my Gram talked about her Great Uncle Theodore Bacon who died at Fredericksburg as if she knew him; in a way, she did –  her stories kept him relevant … & now I do the same.

    Food. Memories.

  37. Fredericksburg had a lot in common with the battle of Crécy

    Jiffy corn bread ain’t bad at all

  38. Of all the ways that people are obnoxious and overbearing – I think being the town scold is the worse.    Goopers have a tendency toward this–

  39. I think it is good that people feel freer to speak their minds without thought to “etiquette.”   I’d much rather hear the painful truth then try to figure out what someone really meant

  40. The whole theme of Animation & Best Song Oscar winner Coco is that people never die until there is no one to remember them. which is why Dia de Muertos is celebrated.



  41. One of al capone’s nicknames, besides Scarface, Big Al, and Snorky : Mr Brown. Al Brown, that is.

    His brothers were also Messers Brown. 

  42. Jiffy Mix is good. White Cake with Chocolate (slightly grainy) Frosting = yum.

    Bisquik mixed with a couple Tbsps sugar & a can of beer substituted for the water makes really good biscuits. That recipe was a “Hints from Heloise” fave back in the day.


  43. hoecakes, johnny (journey) cakes, fried cornbread….  another variation.  varieties dependent on whether the recipe descended from which kin – those along the northern atlantic as far down as the caribbean

  44. SJ is fortunate to have a wonderful family history and people who want to share it.   The idea of food  with the memories.  You bring them alive with the food which for the most part all the ingredients are available,

    I make Indian pudding for a friends birthday and the first couple of times I made it – I tinkered with the recipe –honey instead of molasses for example.  My friend was polite but it wasn’t until I used original blackstrap molasses and slightly burned it that he said it was perfect.

  45. about the above Carolina chocolate drops band
    Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.
    “An appealing grab-bag of antique country, blues, jug band hits and gospel hollers, all given an agreeably downhome production. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are still the most electrifying acoustic act around.” -The Guardian
    “The Carolina Chocolate Drops are…revisiting, with a joyful vengeance, black string-band and jug-band music of the Twenties and Thirties—the dirt-floor dance electricity of the Mississippi Sheiks and Cannon’s Jug Stompers.” —Rolling Stone

  46. A high percentage of Fredericksburgers also die in Fredericksburg. There is no particular honor extended to them, and they had to put up with that place all the time. Oh no, the fame and adulation only goes to slick carpet baggers like stonewall jackson and Great Uncle Theodore. Those newcomers get all the bronze statues designed by Parisian sculptors and all the biographies written by bigshot authors with hyphenated names.

    Now, is that justice, I ask you ? Is it ?

  47. rhiannon is one of the founding members of the carolina chocolate drops band. this is about one of her albums that came out last year:
    Know thy history. Let it horrify you; let it inspire you. Let it show you how the future can look, for nothing in this world has not come around before. These songs are based on slave narratives from the 1800s, African American experiences of the last century, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Voices demanding to be heard, to impart the hard-earned wisdom of a tangled, difficult, complicated history; we just try to open the door and let them through.” –– Rhiannon Giddens
    Rhiannon’s new studio album Freedom Highway is out now!


  48. We used to get our corn meal at the water-turned gristmill at the locks on the old Ohio Canal. It must have been opposite Sagamore Hills, about fifteen miles south of Cleveland.

  49. the daily beast:


    The Four People Who Know What Stormy Daniels Has on Trump
    One Stormy Daniels confidant who knew of her alleged affair with President Trump is a gay photographer whose hubby supported Hillary Clinton.
    Keith Munyan, a 56-year-old shutterbug in Los Angeles, was listed as one of four people in Daniels’ nondisclosure agreement as having “confidential information” about the alleged tryst between the porn star and the future commander in chief.
    Indeed, Munyan was eavesdropping in 2006 when Trump offered to give Daniels a condominium, The New York Times reported.
    Munyan didn’t return messages seeking comment. But his husband, J.D. Barrale, said the 38-year-old Daniels is like their daughter.
    “Stormy is family to us,” Barrale told The Daily Beast. “We love her. I’m hoping at one point in time she’ll be able to come forward with what her experience has been.”
    Also named in the “hush agreement” is Angel Ryan, revealed to be Jessica Drake, the porn actress who accused Trump of making unwanted sexual advances toward her at the same Lake Tahoe golf tournament where the president met Daniels. Drake is a client and friend of Munyan, according to the photog’s social media posts.

    In January, Drake’s publicist revealed to The Daily Beast that Drake was not allowed to discuss Trump because of her own nondisclosure agreement.
    Mike Mosny, Daniels’ ex-husband, and Gina Rodriguez, her manager, were also listed as having intel on Trump prior to Daniels signing the non-disparagement agreement.
    Rodriguez—a former adult actress turned publicist—is now being represented by Daniels’ lawyer and has declined to comment on the NDA, according to The Washington Post. The day before the lawsuit dropped, she told The Associated Press that “everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story.”
    Mosny has said that Trump and Daniels were in close contact after meeting at the Tahoe tournament. An October 2016 piece by The Smoking Gun notes that at the time Daniels met Trump, she was living with Mosny; they would later marry (and then undergo a contentious divorce). Mosny told the site that Trump would call Daniels at their home and she’d put the calls on speakerphone; and that he invited the actress to several events, including the launch of Trump Vodka. When asked if Daniels and Trump had been intimately involved, Mosny said he was “not under the impression,” adding, “it would be surprising, but not shocking.”


  50. I just thought a little name-calling levity was in order. My apology to Great Uncle Theodore, though I’ll bet he could enjoy a little camp humor.

    I take Mr Flatus’ critique seriously, though. The thing is, per exemplum, how can I not call these men, deadbeat pussypincher, rant pol, or AG secessions ? Won’t my colleagues fail to catch the context of my statements, if I do not abundantly stress my disgust over and anger with my fellow holier-than-thou & mean-spirited Americans ?

    I mean, GRRRRR, my friends; GRRRRRRRR, and then some.

  51. It’s one thing when candidates or their supporters use nicknames quite another when they are the product of the media.

  52. Also, no offense meant to the Korean people if I write, noKorea.

    The northern people are Korean; their mis-government is the ‘no’.

    And, I’ll second Mr Flatus’ complaint about dogmeat remarks. What Koreans actually eat is sesame. Sesame is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

  53. so what does Stormy know?   Did he hit her?  Did she get pregnant?  Is he a bad lover?   Take the money Stormy and spill the beans– he was going to leave Melanoma and Barron but she turned him down.   The 130k sounds like the same amount the National Enquirer paid the other woman.   Did Stormy have an article in mind,  It’s not a lot of money (it is but you know what I mean)  What is it?

  54. We’re back from vacation…  had lots of fun…   hate doing lots of laundry and an empty frig now.  My cat, Peanut, won’t leave me along…  she acts like I was gone for a week 😉

    Jack… great article and great idea about needing a politics break.

    My favorite cornbread comes from a box mix.  I love Stonewall Kitchen’s organic honey cornbread.  It’s a bit pricey…   but being a Yankee (hi sj!) it’s not a daily or weekly standard fare.

  55. Talking about corn products, the best corn meal I have ever used I ground myself with a little crank burr mill from field corn I picked on the sly without the owners permission. It made the best fried mush. What I learned is that store bought corn meal doesn’t use the whole kernel and has much more of the hard outer shell.

    For corn bread I mostly use jiffy mix but don’t follow the directions. I add more milk and make a pourable batter like a cake batter rather than a muffin batter.



  56. I  wish my grandmother had been more sharing, I wish I knew how she made her corn bread.  No sugar, a bit on the dry side but spread some butter and sorghum on it…….

    I’ve been trying for years to perfect it  but haven’t come close yet.


  57. “GRRRRR, my friends; GRRRRRRRR, and then some.”

    x-r, eloquently put.  my sentiments exactly.

  58. When the idiots start imitating you, it’s time for a new schtick.  Trump loves pejorative misnomers.  I rest my case.

  59. jack & craig, same here about jiffy plus enhancements like eggs, sugar, half&half instead of milk and cooked either in preheated cast iron cornsticks or frying pans.

    btw, one of the cornsticks pans passed down from my great grandmother… and from the looks of it from her great grand too. very Spartan with a colonial aura about it. or maybe it was a sears roebuck bargain from their earlier catalogue

  60. then, may we assume bink is your real name and not a nickname since surely you are not one of those “idiots” who misname.


  61. SJWNY – the secret to great fried chicken is soaking in buttermilk for a few hours.  Can of Crisco in the refrigerator which is used to make pie crust.  Pasty crust has to be made with suet.

    KGC – a lot of recipes have issues at altitude.  I forgot how I made good biscuits back there, it did take years to make something that was not a hockey puck.

    Jack – my grandmother taught  me a lot about cooking, from cleaning the fresh killed chicken to cooking it, to making pies and so much more.  When she died she willed me all her cookbooks. It is from her I learned to make corn bread.  I believe simple corn bread is an art.  Even my Mother could not match mine.

    Corn pone  or Corn Bread?  I make both, something I grew up cooking. You could make a meal out of a chunk of corn bread and a couple chicken legs.  I am also learning how my Native American ancestors used corn.

  62. Blue Bronc,

    My father could make a meal of biscuits or cornbread with maple syrup.


    Maybe Bink IS Bink.

    SJWNY is pronounced Syv-nee ( in the Scandinavian way 😉 )


  63. ny times via msn: Trump Talks With Clinton Impeachment Lawyer About Aiding in Mueller Response
    President Trump is in discussions with a veteran Washington lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during the impeachment process about joining the White House to help deal with the special counsel inquiry, according to four people familiar with the matter.
    The lawyer, Emmet T. Flood, met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office this past week to discuss the possibility, according to the people. No final decision has been made, according to two of the people.
    Should Mr. Flood come on board, the two people said, his main duties would be a day-to-day role helping the president navigate his dealings with the Justice Department.
    Two people close to the president said that the overture to Mr. Flood did not indicate any new concerns about the inquiry. Still, it appears, at the least, to be an acknowledgment that the investigation is unlikely to end anytime soon.
    Mr. Flood would not replace Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer who since last summer has taken the lead role in dealing with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. But Mr. Cobb has told friends for weeks that he views his position as temporary and does not expect to remain in the job for much longer.
    Mr. Cobb’s primary task — producing documents for Mr. Mueller and arranging for White House aides to meet with pro
    secutors — is largely complete. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers have been handling negotiations with Mr. Mueller over the terms of a presidential interview.
    Mr. Flood had been on the wish list of some of the president’s advisers to join his legal team last year, and he is the only person the White House has been in contact with about such a role.
    White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Flood declined to comment.

  64. so that i’m not completely ruining everyone’s day who want to avoid political discussion on this blog, please read the following as an article on lifestyle challenges and opportunities. thank you for your forbearance.

    the guardian:

    Jeff Sessions says US prosecutors will not pursue small-time marijuana cases

    Federal prosecutors will not take on small-time marijuana cases, despite the Trump justice department’s decision to lift an Obama-era policy that discouraged authorities from cracking down on the trade in states where the drug is legal, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, said on Saturday.

    Federal law enforcement lacks the resources to take on “routine cases” and will continue to focus on gangs and larger conspiracies, Sessions told students after a speech at Georgetown law school.

    “I am not going to tell Colorado or California or someone else that possession of marijuana is legal under United States law,” Sessions said. But, he added, federal prosecutors “haven’t been working small marijuana cases before, they are not going to be working them now”.
    It remains to be seen whether prosecutors will seek to punish state-sanctioned businesses. Some have indicated they have no plans to do so.
    “Those are the kinds of things each one of those US attorneys will decide how to handle,” Sessions said.


  65. pogo, sorry about that 86-63…  well, not so much.  the cats have been more like kittens most of the season cause they’re so young and undisciplined. it was good to see them get their act together for a change.  too bad it was against your guys.

  66. Here is an interesting article about the Millennial and X/Z generations.  Gamers in this article.  It is a good look into the generations who will be replacing us.  It is a big read and maybe behind a paywall.

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