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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#19781 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 07:51

Matt Yglesias, whose kid attends public school in DC, wrote about "CRT and actual education policy" last year here and here. He concludes:

Quote

... the basic message is really simple. Narrowing the racial gap in educational attainment is both possible and achievable, but you achieve it by making neighborhoods more integrated, investing more in poor kids’ health and nutrition, and making the schools they attend better. You make schools better by paying teachers more and holding them to higher standards, and by using curriculum design programs that are backed by evidence. You don’t achieve it by waving a magic anti-racism wand and mouthing the right anti-racism incantations while deriding the use of tests to figure out who’s learning and what’s working.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19782 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 08:39

I am still angry about Critical Math Theory, that made kids like me who are poor at math feel guilty, being taught in public schools.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19783 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 14:42

First, I want to claim credit for bringing MikeH back, at least for the moment, as a poster. Welcome. We won't hold you hostage for more posts, but welcome. Yes, I am pessimistic and I welcome optimism.

Next, I have read the Matt Yglesias articles Y posted. It will take some thought before I can say much, but I favor testing for the moment I'll say: I favor testing, but it can be overdone, both by having too many tests and by putting too much emphasis on the tests. But I do favor tests.

Winston's comment "I am still angry about Critical Math Theory, that made kids like me who are poor at math feel guilty, being taught in public schools" was meant, at least partially, in humor. But the best humor is related to some truth. I have been having some vision issues. Today I had a 45-minute eye exam, very thorough, using advanced technology. He listened to my concerns and addressed them. It was all very useful. I have no idea whether he can solve two linear equations in two unknowns. Or, going back to my youth, I read Scientific American as a youngster, my father read Popular Mechanics, there are a lot of people out there doing very useful work who would side with my father on their choice of magazines. I also read Hot Rod. This all might relate to the Yglesias comments.
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#19784 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 16:19

View Postkenberg, on 2022-May-27, 06:34, said:

We have a deep problem. When I said that my problem with CRT was the T, I meant that I am not sure I have heard of any suggestions from them that that have been successfully implemented with good results.

I just don't understand this attitude. Do you have no intellectual curiosity at all at understanding the structural forces shaping the society you live in?

There is a place and time for both - for understanding how we got where we are, and for making well-tested proposals for effective scaleable implementable and verifiable change.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#19785 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 18:08

To add to or expand upon Arend’s comment: we bought a new car a few years back and it has the ability, with my iPhone onboard, to play podcasts: something with which I had no previous involvement. I was still working and, on occasion, had to drive for 3+ hours to a small town where I had several cases…it was easier to drive than to fly.

So I listened to podcasts for the first time. One of them was the NY Times 1619 Project. I never did hear all of it, which I suspect is my loss. What I did hear was enough to shatter some illusions.

Every society with which I’m familiar (which isn’t many in terms of personal experience but I’m reasonably well read for a layperson) teaches its children myths in addition to and often instead of actual history. I certainly grew up with a very, very different understanding of the British Empire than I now have! I remember, as a child of 13, writing an essay extolling the virtues of Clive of India, as a hero advancing the civilization of the Indian peoples. Of course, he was a deeply self-interested mix of patriot and scoundrel (the two terms tend to overlap, as per Conan Doyle’s saying that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel) and essentially blackmailed and coerced the ‘native’ rulers into submission, becoming insanely wealthy in the process. Those aspects of his character were strangely absent from the sort of history books available to young teenagers in the UK of the early 1960s or from my main source material: my grandmother’s 1912 Encyclopedia Brittanica (I deeply regret not being able to have that today).

I refer to my English background, and my indoctrination in the myths of empire, because I don’t want to come across as anti-American. America now is roughly equivalent to late 19th century Great Britain.

Getting back to the 1619 Project, I’d always understood that Lincoln’s greatness was most manifest in his freeing of the slaves. The myth seems to be that he was not a racist.

The 1619 Project and, to some degree, the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War reveals that to be pure myth.

Lincoln was a racist through and through.

His decision to issue limited emancipation was a calculated wartime ploy to cause problems in the slave holding states, since the proclamation would work its way into the slave population and cause unrest, at a time when the Confederates were under great stress. It would also encourage northern blacks to enlist on the Union side.

In addition, and this I had no prior knowledge of, Lincoln met leading members of the ‘negro’ community in New York and told them bluntly that he saw no place for negros in American society. Yes, they were free but he wanted them to go live in Africa!

That’s not to detract from Lincoln, the person, who seems to have been a truly remarkable person. But he was a man of his times: no white man then would be likely to think in terms of racial equality.it was ‘known’ as fact that whites were superior in all meaningful ways to non-whites, who in turn were stratified primarily by degree of colour.

After all, even the leading abolitionists, in the UK and the US were not arguing for equality: their arguments were on moral grounds…blacks were clearly inferior but they were human and humans should not be property.

I’m going on at length because, to counter Ken’s concerns and to echo Arend’s reply, my view is that knowledge of how things really were and are is essential if we are collectively or individually unlearn learned biases and prejudices. To mangle a famous saying, those who do not understand the past are doomed to repeat it. CRT is, I understand, an attempt to systematically understand not merely what happened or how things are but instead an attempt to understand why things happened and how those things cause today’s issues.

It seems to me that the teaching of mythology rather than history underlies many of the problems we see on the evening news or read in print media, including the perverse decisions coming out of the SCOTUS, and the obsession with gun rights. Not to mention the grotesque deification of the Founding Fathers.

End of rant for today. Blame Ken for prompting me to return, however temporarily, to the WC.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#19786 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 19:47

Mike, it's not exactly podcast, and I don't know of it's current availability, but the BBC did a series of British history called A Sceptered Isle, with several offshoots. The one on Empire was - even to people like us who have had eyes opened a bit since high school - an education. Our buddy Clive featured strongly.
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#19787 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-27, 19:48

Just to be clear, I have never at all, at least not since I have been old enough to have some modest grasp of history, doubted the enormous capacity of humans to be ruthless and cruel to other humans. Sometimes it is one on one, sometimes it is country versus country, and of course many variations in between. I have never thought the US to be exempt from that description.

We can acknowledge our own good fortune and we can try to make things better for others. While doing so we should not lose sight of basic human nature. We look for the good, often it will be more complicated than it seems.

The above pessimism could lead to sensible and productive action. If Black children feel happy to be part of the US, just as I felt as a child, and then grow up to be productive adults, this will be good for everyone. I regard that as completely obvious. It's not a zero-sum game. So we can look for ways to make this happen more often than it does. If reading the 1619 Project would help, then perhaps we should. But I doubt many school kids will do so. I wrote my book report on A Tale of Two Cities based on the Classic Comics version. Same with Don Quixote, only I did that for both my Spanish class and my English class.
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#19788 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-28, 06:59

I will add on a bit here. I said "If reading the 1619 Project would help, then perhaps we should. But I doubt many school kids will do so." True enough, but then I realized "Hey, I also haven't read it. And I doubt I will". And then I thought about Arend's comment "I just don't understand this attitude. Do you have no intellectual curiosity at all at understanding the structural forces shaping the society you live in?" There might be some sort of meat for discussion here with me as the guinea pig.

I am interested some in history. Becky and I were having lunch with Joan and Ginny last week. All of us over 70. The conversation hopped around but education was part of it. Joan and Becky (my wife) said they didn't much like history, Joan really didn't like it, way to much about remembering dates, Ginny (a retired high school biology teacher) ventured no opinion, I said that I liked history. So what did I mean? I took world history as a sophomore, that's age 14-15 and was very interested in learning of various civilizations, even if I have now forgotten most of it. I learned of the defeat of the Spanish Armada but I don't think I earned until later that in the late 15th century Jews had to either leave or convert to Christianity. I visited Granda as an adult and learned about Muslim history and a bit about Ferdinand and Isabella, but don't expect me to pass an exam on the subject. And so on.

As to American history, one of my complaints was that every time we started with the Pilgrims and somehow never got past Teddy Roosevelt. I was in high school in the 50s and I wanted to learn about the 20s and the 30s. In my high school class we went into some detail but we skipped the war with Mexico which the text described as a land grab. So I made sure I read that chapter. I knew little of the Second World War, I was 6 when it ended, although somewhere along the way I learned of the Manhattan project. I never much liked war movies but I read The Third Man when it came out, I missed the movie, and I found the description of post-war Vienna interesting although also confusing at whatever age I was.

So now as to 1619. I get the idea that the people that are putting it together have their own set of biases. That's ok, I can handle that, the people that wrote my high school history text had their biases, we have to work through that. As mentioned, I greatly liked reading A Choice of Weapons. I have since checked and I see in came out in 1966 so I was 27, not my early 20s as I said. But it was a personal story by Gordon Parks who, I guess, would be seen as part of the great migration. I could relate to it. no, I am not Black and I am not saying he was just like me. But somehow, the whole thing made sense to me. I have never read Beloved but my guess is that A Choice of Weapons resonated with me in ways that Beloved wouldn't.


Ok, that's a bit. I'll finish by saying that I don't think I am regarded as racist by people who know me. I am interested in history, I am interested in a lot of things, I doubt I will read the 1619 project. Make of it what you will. I think there are quite a few people out there who are a lot like me. Whether that is grounds for optimism or pessimism I am not sure.
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#19789 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-May-28, 07:40

Ken, the only thing I find troubling in a pessimistic way is that I get the impression your understanding of teaching about race in public schools coincides mostly with right-wing talking points. I say this because you repeat that framing when a slightly deeper dive would tell you that this is a red herring.

This is part of my overall pessimism of the USA as I too lived when we could get factual information from our 3 television networks and the country could agree on the facts.

Now it requires serious individual effort to uncover facts and few are willing to put in the effort. No matter what the claim, our response should be, that’s interesting, let me find out if that is a reflection of reality.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19790 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-28, 11:14

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-May-28, 07:40, said:

Ken, the only thing I find troubling in a pessimistic way is that I get the impression your understanding of teaching about race in public schools coincides mostly with right-wing talking points. I say this because you repeat that framing when a slightly deeper dive would tell you that this is a red herring.

This is part of my overall pessimism of the USA as I too lived when we could get factual information from our 3 television networks and the country could agree on the facts.

Now it requires serious individual effort to uncover facts and few are willing to put in the effort. No matter what the claim, our response should be, that's interesting, let me find out if that is a reflection of reality.


I thought I might be a useful guinea pig for just the reasons you present. You said "right-wing talking points". Really? My main news sources are the PBS Newshour and WaPo, sometimes the NYT. WaPo carries op-ed pieces from some conservatives, George Will and Michael Gerson come to mind, and I don't cover my eyes and refuse to read them, but I would think that if I were simply repeating talking points it is far more likely they would be liberal talking points.

I do recall when Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America". That might or might not have been the case and he might or might not have been entitled to such trust but it is true that if you accidentally watched the ABC evening news instead of the CBS evening news it is pretty likely you would hear the largely same account of the day's news.

Consider this: If the left regards me as speaking with conservative talking points then this could be an explanation of why the Dems are in serious danger of losing both the House and the Senate. I do think that there are a great many people out there who think along the same general lines as I do. I continue to leave it open whether this is a reason for optimism or a reason for pessimism.
Ken
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#19791 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-May-28, 14:06

View Postkenberg, on 2022-May-28, 11:14, said:

I thought I might be a useful guinea pig for just the reasons you present. You said "right-wing talking points". Really? My main news sources are the PBS Newshour and WaPo, sometimes the NYT. WaPo carries op-ed pieces from some conservatives, George Will and Michael Gerson come to mind, and I don't cover my eyes and refuse to read them, but I would think that if I were simply repeating talking points it is far more likely they would be liberal talking points.

I do recall when Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America". That might or might not have been the case and he might or might not have been entitled to such trust but it is true that if you accidentally watched the ABC evening news instead of the CBS evening news it is pretty likely you would hear the largely same account of the day's news.

Consider this: If the left regards me as speaking with conservative talking points then this could be an explanation of why the Dems are in serious danger of losing both the House and the Senate. I do think that there are a great many people out there who think along the same general lines as I do. I continue to leave it open whether this is a reason for optimism or a reason for pessimism.


Thanks for the reply. One of the points I am trying to make-apparently unsuccessfully-is that virtual all of our news sources have become little more than stenographers, each repeating what the other said, which comes first from whomever has access to someone to quote. Hence, those sources in the past we used to believe unbiased or left-leaning are not doing the necessary digging to report facts; everyone is doing the he said/she said reporting that doesn't challenge to determine accuracy; hence, we get the same basic inaccuracy from both sides.


This is not a left/right problem. This is a problem. Without agreed upon reality, we're in Oceana.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19792 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-May-28, 15:59

I've lived most of my adult life in Australia.
The Murdoch family have been doing exactly the same thing for more than 100 years.
In WW1 Rupert's dad tried to denigrate and destroy John Monash.
When Rupert took over we endured two decades of conservative rule and then climate change denialism.
The ironically named "News corporation" is the fifth horseman of the apocalypse, nourishing itself on war, famine, pestilence and death.

non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19793 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 05:39

Just to clarify, my position is that the fact that we are discussing this in the WC is a win for propaganda because the reality is that once again the Republican disinformation machine created a controversy out of thin air. It is now the “talking about it” that is being reported as news in the he said/she said fashion.
Here in Tulsa, we are being inundated by political ads, and one Republican’s ad states that Democrats want boys and girls in sports to compete against each other. This is obviously BS, a gross exaggeration, but the instant we respond to it then that “controversy “ between his claim and our counter is the “news”. Whether there is truth to the original lie becomes irrelevant.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19794 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 07:10

A friend of mine - a successful politician - told me that LBJ once asked his aide to tell the media that his opponent "F***ked pigs".
The aide was horrified - "Nobody will believe it!" he said.
LBJ replied "Yeah but he'll have to deny it."

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#19795 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 10:38

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-May-29, 07:10, said:

A friend of mine - a successful politician - told me that LBJ once asked his aide to tell the media that his opponent "F***ked pigs".
The aide was horrified - "Nobody will believe it!" he said.
LBJ replied "Yeah but he'll have to deny it."



I haven't really decided if I believe LBJ really said that, but I would not rule it out. And the story definitely has a point!
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#19796 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 11:53

Regrading teaching about racial issues: I was thinking of a high school assignment that could go over well with both parents and students, and might do some good.

List several topics. The students would be told to pick one of those topics, do some research on the topic that they choose, and write a paper, maybe 4 or 5 pages, maybe more, on what they discovered. There could be suggested resources, but the student would choose what to read and choose what to write. The grade would be based on how well he (ok, how well they) researched the topic and how well they wrote it up, it would not be based on whether their conclusion agreed with the teacher's viewpoint. Or with anyone else's viewpoint.

I found such assignments, not on race but on a variety of other matters, very useful when I was in high school. Independent thinking is very valuable.
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#19797 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 13:38

View Postkenberg, on 2022-May-29, 11:53, said:

Regrading teaching about racial issues: I was thinking of a high school assignment that could go over well with both parents and students, and might do some good.

List several topics. The students would be told to pick one of those topics, do some research on the topic that they choose, and write a paper, maybe 4 or 5 pages, maybe more, on what they discovered. There could be suggested resources, but the student would choose what to read and choose what to write. The grade would be based on how well he (ok, how well they) researched the topic and how well they wrote it up, it would not be based on whether their conclusion agreed with the teacher's viewpoint. Or with anyone else's viewpoint.

I found such assignments, not on race but on a variety of other matters, very useful when I was in high school. Independent thinking is very valuable.

Given the horror stories one can find online, very easily, about how some ‘science’ teachers in the US teach creationism, I’d be astounded if this sort of bias could somehow be eliminated.

And even from the perspective of a committed atheist and someone who is ok with being called ‘woke’ (although I suspect my definition of the term would be far different from those bigots who consider it to be an insult), I’d be very leery of how some secular, non racist teachers might view what amounts to ‘proper’ or ‘reliable’ sources.

Not to mention the chances that any republican controlled state or local educational authority would ever approve of such a proposal

As an outsider to the US, but as someone who reads a lot and has had extensive discussions with two friends, one of whom attended high school in Texas for a couple of years and the other was on an athletic scholarship for four years at firstly UCLA and latterly an Ivy League eastern school, what I’ve learned is that the general level of secondary education in the US is abysmal. That’s not surprising because of the equally abysmal salaries paid to teachers, the intentional starving by republican states of the public educational system, and the horrific approach to funding, which in many places means that people who live in low income areas can forget about access for their children to anything approaching a decent education. In fairness, we have a similar approach in many parts of Canada, where property taxes are used to fund school districts.
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#19798 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-May-29, 18:50

View Postmikeh, on 2022-May-29, 13:38, said:

Given the horror stories one can find online, very easily, about how some 'science' teachers in the US teach creationism, I'd be astounded if this sort of bias could somehow be eliminated.

And even from the perspective of a committed atheist and someone who is ok with being called 'woke' (although I suspect my definition of the term would be far different from those bigots who consider it to be an insult), I'd be very leery of how some secular, non racist teachers might view what amounts to 'proper' or 'reliable' sources.

Not to mention the chances that any republican controlled state or local educational authority would ever approve of such a proposal

As an outsider to the US, but as someone who reads a lot and has had extensive discussions with two friends, one of whom attended high school in Texas for a couple of years and the other was on an athletic scholarship for four years at firstly UCLA and latterly an Ivy League eastern school, what I've learned is that the general level of secondary education in the US is abysmal. That's not surprising because of the equally abysmal salaries paid to teachers, the intentional starving by republican states of the public educational system, and the horrific approach to funding, which in many places means that people who live in low income areas can forget about access for their children to anything approaching a decent education. In fairness, we have a similar approach in many parts of Canada, where property taxes are used to fund school districts.


The public high school I went to (graduating in 1956) was far inferior to the good ones of today and far superior to the bad ones of today. By the time I was a senior most of my friends were students at a better one, but the gap between the good and the bad was not remotely like what it is today..

But one thing we did was to write many term papers, pretty much in the style I have described. I found it very useful. I am tired right now but I might come back and say more later. I could easily find good things, and easily find bad things, to say about my school, but I also had a few things to work out, let's just say that I sometimes did a really good job of being an adolescent, and maybe the school would have a few things to say about me as well. I look back with pleasure on those term papers.
Ken
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#19799 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-May-30, 01:05

I had no teaching of slavery and other issues of race at school. Why ? well I had a tough choice of subjects to study, and to be able to do the 3 sciences, plus maths, english and french which were compulsory I could only do one of geography and history beyond 15 for timetabling reasons and chose geography (I also had to take the Spanish exam a year early). The history syllabus ended at 1700 pre 15.
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#19800 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-May-30, 05:12

I just read that Raffensberger narrowly succeeded in being re-elected but that his victory was likely due to tactical voting.
I believe that a similar phenomenon happened in Australia at the last election with many Labor voters backing in 'moderate' independent candidates (Liberal = Conservative - just to confuse non-Australians).
You will be delighted to know that the main reason the Conservative government was booted was because large numbers of Conservatives were concerned about climate change.

Is tactical voting a common in the USA? Could it be the way forward for de-Trumping of the Republican party?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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