30th November 2006 | Uncompleted draft

Diversity of Understandings of any Universe of Information

from matter-as-information to cosmic consciousness

- / -

Annex 1 of Towards an Astrophysics of the Knowledge Universe: from astronautics to noonautics?

cult cat ***


As noted above, the following approaches to understanding any universe of knowledge -- however it is termed -- are considered indicative of the the challenge as much as variously offering insights of different kinds of relevance. A major reason for this overview is to indicate the extent to which there is an increasing degree of formal similarity, and/or overlap, that is evident (or claimed) between:

  • the material universe (now understood as information),
  • the universe of knowledge (as conceptual order and pattern)
  • universal enlightenment
  • universal mind
  • the universe of biological species (to be understood as information)
  • a cultural universe
  • a personal universe
  • Gnostic Logos
  • Net of Indra 377
  • cosmic consciousness (Telihard)
  • Omniscient mind
  • universe of cyberspace 233
  • global electronic mind
  • electromagnetic universe
  • Gaian Mind
  • ecology of mind
  • worldmind
  • universe of spirit
  • collective intelligence -- Pierre Levy -- cosmopedia
  • mundus imaginalis 243
  • universal machine
    • universal cellular automata
    • universe as logical matric of information algorithms
Clustered understandings of a "universe of knowledge" (tentative)
. (A)
non self-reflexive

pattern recognition

relativity effects
Universal machine
(as logical matrix of information algorithms)

World soul
Gaian mind
World mind
Anima mundi
Ecology of mind
Planetary consciousness
Anthropological matrix
(relevantial universe)
Universe of spirit
Universal mind
Gnostic Logos
Omniscient mind
Cosmic consciousness
Net of Indra
Noetic gnosis
Material universe
Electromagnetic universe
Biological universe
Global modelling
Knowledge organization
(classificational universe)
Cultural universe
Collective intelligence
Personal universe
Mundus imaginalis
(relational universe)
no relativity
no entanglement
Observational universe
Information system
Universe of cyberspace
World Wide Web
World system
Global Brain
Semantic web
Global electronic mind
Universal values
Global ethic

A1: Observational universe / Documentation / Information system


A2: Material universe

Electromagnetic universe see Davis 62

A3: Universe as information

Universe as information (perspective of physics)

A helpful overview in Future Feeder; Journal of Architecture and Information (2005, 1) states:

Much of physics and cosmology now thinks of information as ranking with matter and energy as a fundamental property of the universe. With this ranking comes the notion that information can be transformed (including to and from matter and energy) but it cannot be destroyed...

This leads to speculation that the universe is constituted of 2D membranes (i.e. information), and that our 3D world is a holographic projection from such a membrane. If information is the fundamental constituent of reality, there might be implications for how we understand every aspect of reality, from physics to architecture.

This view may be partly traced back to Alan Turing, now seen as a precursor in the new field of philosophy of information (cf Luciano Floridi, What is the Philosophy of Information?, Metaphilosophy, 2002, (33), 1/2)

Reality is then understood to consist of mass, energy and information. Like light, which is either a particle or a wave, information is then either mass or energy, depending on the way it is measured or observed.

  • Simon Berkovich. Prediction of the Virgo axis anisotropy: CMB radiation illuminates the nature of things [text]

Various authors as schools of thought associated with this perspective focus on themes such:

  • matter as information
  • energy as information
  • information as matter/energy [discussion]
    • Vince Cornellier. Information as Energy - From Dewey Decimal to Quantum: Is the Librarian the Motherboard?

      Information as energy, not mass, can travel on radio waves. Cornell Center for Materials Research, 2005 [text] Roy Freed. Updating the law to recognize that human minds as well as computers process information as energy signals. Yale Information Society Project, 2006: Roy Freed will start by briefly describing the early history of computer law, which he introduced in 1960 and for which he was the initial primary exponent. He then will point out the related basic facts that human minds are biological machines that literally purposefully process some still unknown form of electrochemical signals and that, hence, all information is various forms of energy signals, and will identify many legal ramifications of those facts. Those signals include those internal electrochemical ones; the external analog sound waves and light photons by which people communicate naturally; and the electromagnetic and optical pulses on which computers operate and by which they communicate. He will show that it is essential to accept those facts to enable many legal fundamental rules to reflect accurately the circumstances to which they purport to apply.

Universe in a computer: a programmed universe

  • G. Wells Hanson. Not Impossible!: How Our Universe May Exist Inside of a Computer. iUniverse, Inc. 2004)
  • The author then delves into why the idea of the universe-as-information appeals to theorists, resting his presentation on the weirdness of wave-particle duality. Challenging but rewarding fare for attentive general science readers, who might also be interested in Programming the Universe (2006), by information theorist Seth Lloyd.
  • Seth Lloyd. Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos. Knopf, 2006)
  • S. Lloyd, "Universe as quantum computer", quant-ph/9912088.
  • Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos
    by Seth Lloyd
    Understanding the universe as information processing.
  • Edward Fredkin
    Fredkin was an early pioneer of digital physics. His main contributions include his work on reversible computation (which presents a new solution to that Maxwell's Demon paradox, and theoretically uses no energy) and cellular automata. Fredkin maintains that the universe is a computer. Not that the universe can be better understood through the metaphor of computing, but that it is a computer. You can read more on his web site:

Universe: cellular automata

  • Stephen Wolfram
    In brief, Stephen Wolfram contends that Newton made a mistake when he sought to understand the universe through mathematics -- numbers. Instead, Wolfram contends that we should understand the universe through rules like those in computer programs, particularly cellular automata programs.
  • For more on Wolfram, go to: http://www.stephenwolfram.com/
  • A New Kind of Science
    by Stephen Wolfram
    From Amazon, from Library Journal: 'Galileo proclaimed that nature is written in the language of mathematics, but Wolfram would argue that it is written in the language of programs and, remarkably, simple ones at that. A scientific prodigy who earned a doctorate from Caltech at age 20, Wolfram became a Nobel-caliber researcher in the emerging field of complexity shortly thereafter only to abscond from academe and establish his own software company (which published this book). In secrecy, for over ten years, he experimented with computer graphics called cellular automata, which produce shaded images on grid patterns according to programmatic rules (973 images are reproduced here). Wolfram went on to discover that the same vastly complex images could be produced by even very simple sets of rules and argues here that dynamic and complex systems throughout nature are triggered by simple programs. Mathematical science can describe and in some cases predict phenomena but cannot truly explain why what happens happens. Underscoring his point that simplicity begets complexity, Wolfram wrote this book in mostly nontechnical language. Any informed, motivated reader can, with some effort, follow from chapter to chapter, but the work as a whole and its implications are probably understood fully by the author alone. Had this been written by a lesser scientist, many academics might have dismissed it as the work of a crank. Given its source, though, it will merit discussion for years to come. Essential for all academic libraries. [This tome is a surprise best seller on Amazon. Ed.] Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Alban. - Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.'
  • Some negative comments on Wolfram's book have surfaced, claiming that much of what he says is not new, and that he does not adequately credit others. The bottom line is that you should read the book. It is a fantastic education in all of contemporary science, physics, computation, and information theory, and it introduces numerous new ideas.
  • More on Cellular Automata
    From: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/depts/AI/alife/al-ca.htm
    'Cellular automata are discrete dynamical systems whose behaviour is completely specified in terms of a local relation. A cellular automaton can be thought of as a stylised universe. Space is represented by a uniform grid, with each cell containing a few bits of data; time advances in discrete steps and the laws of the 'universe' are expressed in, say, a small look-up table, through which at each step each cell computes its new state from that of its close neighbours. Thus, the system's laws are local and uniform…. The first cellular automaton was conceived by Von Neumann in the late forties….'

Physics From Fisher Information

  • B. Roy Frieden was working enhancing satellite photos, when he began to wonder, what is the theoretical limit of the information that can be extracted from a fuzzy photo? That led him to Fisher Information, a branch of statistical theory, and then to the notion that all of physics could be redone from Fisher Information.
  • Physics from Fisher Information: A Unification
    by B. Roy Frieden
    From Amazon: 'This book defines and develops a unifying principle of physics, that of 'extreme physical information.' Fisher information is a simple concept little known to physicists. The book develops statistical and physical properties of Fisher information. This information is a physical measure of disorder, sharing with entropy the property of monotonic change with time. The information concept is applied 'phenomenally' to derive most known physics, from statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to quantum mechanics, the Einstein field equations, and quantum gravity….'
  • Reviews of Physics from Fisher Information: A Unification by Frieden:
    '…This is a compilation of Roy Frieden's work in major physics journals over the last decade deriving the basic laws of physics - relativistic quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, gravitation, statistical thermodynamics - from a quantity (used by mathematical statisticians and by hardly anyone else) called Fisher Information. He derives the Klein-Gordon equation, Schroedinger wave equations, Maxwell's equations, DeWitt-Wheeler law of quantum gravity, and various statistical thermodynamics laws….'
  • A negative review:http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/reviews/physics-from-fisher-info/

Universe as information (perspective of biology)

  • Biosophy: In 1995, J Park (j@bio.cc), independently defined the concept of biosophy as the top level philosophy of the biological universe (http://biosophy.net/ ) Biosophy is the replacement of all the high level knowledge system such as philosophy, science and religion. However, biosophy is mainly a theoretical body of information architecture. For 3D representation of information such as humans as we perceive, Biomatics (http://biomatics.net ) functions as the main system. Biomatics perceives everthing in the universe as information object and it analyses and engineers the biouniverse
  • Biophilosophy (matter as information): Eugene Thacker. State Biophilosophy (Or, why are state bureaucratsconducting the 'public' debate on biotechnology?). Mute, 2002
    • These shifts inperspective are transversals, which, while acknowledging the formation of separate disciplines, alsoarticulate differences of all kinds across disciplines. In biotechnology; 'biological' would refer not toan isolated knowledge of living organisms in nature, but rather to a 'bio-logic,' a means of working with living matter as information, of approaching DNA as a computer, of materialising studies of metabolic networks, of databases and microarrays that differentiate and standardise the individualpatient - in short, biotechnical practices which 'subjectify'
  • Catherine Waldby. The Human Genome Project: Information, Embodiment and Experience Sociology Brunel University [text]
    • I also want to consider what this efficacy in the leveraging of matter as information might mean for the ways that human life, embodiment and subjectivity takes place. What is at stake in bioinformatics and biotechnology more generally for relations between technology and embodiment? How do the practices of bioinformatics negotiate this relationship?

Universe and order

David Layzer. Cosmogenesis: The Growth of Order in the Universe. Oxford University Press, 1991

B1: Infosphere / Cyberspace / World Wide Web

B2: Knowledge universe

Knowledge universe (classification / order)




Farzam Arbab. Promoting a Discourse on Science, Religion, and Development. THE LAB, THE TEMPLE, AND THE MARKET Reflections at the Intersection of Science, Religion, and Development Edited by Sharon Harper © International Development Research Centre 2000 [text]

The situation calls for a fresh look at the universe of knowledge and for a new way to bring together its diverse elements in curricula that respect the wholeness of knowledge yet anticipate specialization at a later stage. The focus of each set of interrelated educational activities should be the development of one or more capabilities -- scientific, artistic, technical, social, moral, and spiritual -- endowing the individual with the understanding of concepts, knowledge of facts, and mastery of methods, as well as the skills, attitudes, and qualities he or she needs to lead a fruitful life. Specifically, in this age of transition, it is imperative to endow youth with a twofold moral purpose: to take charge of their own intellectual and spiritual growth and to make significant contributions to the transformation of society.

Knowledge universe (information retrieval)

Karin McGuirk. Information Science and the Configuration of Meaningful Information. University of South Africa, 2004 [text]

The way we organise recorded information (as configured and then represented phyically) can also influence our view of ourselves, the world and others. It is important that we have awareness of such an organising system as only a representation (and even manifestation) of the knowledge universe, and that it is not that universe itself. We are not prisoners to it, but retain the choice of configuring meaningful information, and because our world of knowledge is vastly expanding due to development in ICT, it becomes even more imperative to be able to configure meaningful information. That is, configuring as an active verb, and not as a passive receiving of meaningful information.

  • W. Daniel Hillis. "Aristotle" (The Knowledge Web). Edge: The Third Culture, 138, 6 May 2004 [text]
  • Lennart Björneborn. Small-World Link Structures across an Academic Web Space: A Library and Information Science Approach. Ph.D. thesis from the Department of Information Studies, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark, 2004 [text]
  • Brian R. Gaines. The Emergence of Knowledge through Modeling and Management Processes in Societies of Adaptive Agents. Knowledge Science Institute University of Calgary [text]
  • The Concept of the Universe of Knowledge and the Purpose of LIS Classification (F.L. Miksa
  • Knowledge Science Institute (KSI)
  • Hillary Jay Kelley. Entropy of Knowledge. Philosophy of Science, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Jun., 1969), pp. 178-196 [abstract]
  • Larry Kerschberg. 'The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Libraries,' The Library Catalog: Bringing Order the Universe of Knowledge, a symposium sponsored by the Gelman Library of George Washington University, September 23, 1987.
  • Nitecki, Joseph Z. 1993. Metalibrarianship : A Model For Intellectual Foundations of Library Information Science. http://twu.edu/library/Nitecki/Metalibrarianship, 1993 [text]
  • MIT's OpenCourseWare: -- Big Bang in the knowledge universe
  • Otlet ??

Knowledge universe (semiotics)

Edwina Taborsky. The Methodology of Semiotic Morphology: An Introduction [text]

Semiotix: http://www.semioticon.com/semiotix/newsletterindex2.htm

At the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the BSC, in 1989, Paul Bouissac, quite appropriately, evaluated the results of the first eleven Bochum colloquia as follows: 'At a time when the universe of knowledge seems to be driven toward an indefinite, fractal expansion, with the consequence that specialties are pushed further and further apart, BSC indefatigably, with Promethean courage and lucidity, attempts to mend the torn fabric of a unitary science' (in Koch: 1989 [Perspektiven]: 113).

Davis (98-99):

But it wasn't until the twentieth century that information became a thing in itself... what was once merely a category of knowledge began to mutate into a new unit of reality itself, one that took its place alongside matter and energy as one of the fundamental building blocks of the cosmos. If electricity is the soul of the information age, information is its spirit... Information emerges in the spark gap between mind and matter... the constantly shifting borderlines around the term have lent the concept an incorporeal mystique; despite its erstwhile objectivity, information has become an almost luminscent icon, at once fetish and logos. Straddling mind and matter, science and psyche, hard drives and DNA, informastion hascopme to spawn philosophies both half-baked and profound, while also reconstructing, perhaps dangerously, our images of mthe self and its cosmic home

B3: World Soul / Anima Mundi / Anthropological matrix

Anthropological matrix: Erik Davis cites Bruno Latour (We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press, 1993)

premodern and indigneous people wove everything, whether nature or culture, into an immense collective network of mind and matter that he terms the anthropological matrix. Elements thereof are best understood as "hybrids", that he calls "speaking things", both natural and cultural, real and imagined, subject and object (TechGnosis, p 15)

Fraser Golden Bough

Anima Mundi: The Hermetica pictured the cosmos as a living soul, a magnetic network of correspondences that linked the earth, the body, the stars, and the remote spiritual realms of the godhead. This anima mundi could be accessed and tweaked by the symbolic rituals of ceremonial magic, even by a deeply pious Christian Neoplatonist like Ficino p. 44 davis

This "enchanted but dynamic cosmos" of Renaissance Heremeticists is central to the work on archetypal psychology promoted by James Hillman and Thomas Moore to counteract the "withering anomie of modern life" p 44 davis

C1: Global brain / Semantic web


C2: Personalized Group/Individual knowledge "universe"

Metaverse: The word "metaverse", without capitalization, is becoming a general term for the "universe within a universe" of a fictional work that is created by extremely popular fandom.

Alan Richmond. Towards an Astrophysical Cyberspace: The Evolution of User Interfaces [text] will synergize a powerful astrophysics environment.

Dynamically Gated Conceptual CommunitiesAstrophysical metaphor for evolution of gated conceptual communities ... "Theory of Everything": Within such a dynamically evolving knowledge universe, ...


Information and black holes

Black Holes and Information
'In 1997, the three cosmologists made a famous bet as to whether information that enters a black hole ceases to exist -- that is, whether the interior of a black hole is changed at all by the characteristics of particles that enter it. Hawking's research suggested that the particles have no effect whatsoever. But his theory violated the laws of quantum mechanics and created a contradiction known as the 'information paradox.''
From: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/fuzzball.htm

See Stephen Hawking's web site at http://www.hawking.org.uk/home/hindex.html

For the latest, see:
NewScientist.com, July 14, 2004
'After nearly 30 years of arguing that a black hole destroys everything that falls into it, Stephen Hawking is saying he was wrong. It seems that black holes may after all allow information within them to escape.

It might solve one of the long-standing puzzles in modern physics, known as the black hole information paradox. In 1976, he calculated that once a black hole forms, it starts losing mass by radiating energy. This 'Hawking radiation' contains no information about the matter inside the black hole and once the black hole evaporates, all information is lost.

But this conflicts with the laws of quantum physics, which say that such information can never be completely wiped out. Hawking's argument was that the intense gravitational fields of black holes somehow unravel the laws of quantum physics….'

For full article:

The Truth Is Still Out There
In an op-ed piece in The New York Times on August 3, 2004, Paul Ginsparg, professor of physics and information science at Cornell University, describing the background of the issues:

'… Near the end of a small meeting I attended in 1993, the question of 'What happens to information that falls into a black hole?' arose, and a democratic method was chosen to address it. The vote proceeded more or less along party lines, with the general relativists firm in their adherence to causality, and the quantum field theorists equally adamant in their faith in unitarity. Of the 77 participants, 25 voted for the category 'It's lost;' and 39, a slight majority, voted for 'It comes out,'' (that it re-emerges). Seven voted that the black hole would not evaporate entirely, and the remaining six voted for an unspecified 'Something else.' …'


Universe of knowledge (fractal?)


Each one of us carries within us a complex universe of knowledge, life experience, and human relationships. Each individual is gifted with unique insights possessed by no one else. Almost all of this rich treasury of information is forever lost to mankind when we die.

Comprehensibility of the universe

The Universe, the Eleventh Dimension, and Everything: What We Know and How We Know It Book by Richard Morris; Four Walls Eight Windows, 1999

The Comprehensibility of the Universe: A New Conception of Science Book by Nicholas Maxwell; Clarendon Press, 1998

Conceptual astronautics / navigation

Surfing: My fingers glide across the universe of knowledge A click,and

Jere W Clark. The Role of Unified Science in Vitalizing Research and Education [text]

Designing a Vehicle for Mental Space Travel

It is common knowledge that the outstanding achievement of man to be recorded in history for the year 1969 is expected to be the consummation of interplanetary space travel. This year has indeed been a great year not only for the four moon walkers but perhaps even more so for the designers, producers, testers, launchers, and controllers of the space vehicles involved in these ventures.

Today-four days before the end of the year, 1969-- we have met to test in a preliminary way, and to consider launching, a still more powerful and important kind of vehicle for space travel. This is a vehicle for what might be called "interdisciplinary mental space travel." Indeed, this vehicle is an interdisciplinary conceptual model whereby a specialist's mind can take flight to, and land on, distant intellectual planets, and return laden with a cargo far more valuable than moon rocks or gold dust. Although this special kind of space vehicle is not so romantic as those used by the moon walkers, it is far more important to the destiny of man--and much less costly.

Unique Capabilities of Mental Spacecraft

Fortunately, our mental space vehicle can have built into it a number of additional capabilities which the physical spacecraft do not have. As a stepping stone into the question of how an interdisciplinary conceptual model of unified science can vitalize education, we might note some of these unique qualities.

l. Exploration of Social Space

One of these extra capabilities of this conceptual model is its capacity to explore the galaxies of social space (as well as the galaxies of physical space). This model can link the various social disciplines with each other and with the natural science disciplines.

People as Stargates: an alternative perspective on human relationships in space-time, 1996[text]

Entering Alternative Realities -- Astronautics vs Noonautics isomorphism between launching aerospace vehicles and launching vehicles of awareness

General systems


C3: Conscious universe

Universe of spirit: Davis 63 -- theosophists

Universal enlightenment: Tesla 88-89


Robert Neil Boyd. The Consciousness of the Universe

Universe of Consciousness

Gerald M. Edelman, Giulio Tononi. A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination. Basic Books; 2000 [review]

Quantum consciousness


Richard P. Dolan:

G. Globus, "Quantum Consciousness is Cybernetic", Psyche, 2(12), August 1995.

Universe consciousness / Cosmic consciousness

Cosmic Consciousness- is science closing in

Definition: A non-physical perception that one is connected to the consciousness of other beings and places elsewhere in the universe. [text]

Conscious / Self-aware / Intelligent Universe

S. Hameroff and R. Penrose, "Orchestrated reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules: A model for consciousness". In: Toward a Science of Consciousness-The First Tucson Discussions and Debates, Eds. S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak, and A. Scott. MIT Press, 1996.

S. Hameroff and R. Penrose, "Conscious events as orchestrated spacetime selections", Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3, 1, 1996, pp. 36-53.

S. Hameroff, "Funda-mental geometry: The Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR model of consciousness. In: Geometry and the foundations of Science: Contributions from an Oxford Conference honouring Roger Penrose. Oxford Press (1997).

Stuart Hameroff. Could Life And Consciousness Be Related To The Fundamental Quantum Nature Of The Universe?

H. P. Stapp:

  • "Why Classical Mechanics Cannot Naturally Accommodate Consciousness but Quantum Mechanics Can", Psyche 2(5), May 1995.
  • Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics, Springer- Verlag, Berlin (1993).
  • Consciousness and values in the quantum universe. Journal Foundations of Physics, 15, 1, January, 1985, pp. 35-47 [abstract]

P. A. Zizzi. Emergent Consciousness: From the Early Universe to Our Mind NeuroQuantology,Vol.3(2003)295-311

Goswami, Amit. The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World. Putnam Publishing Group, 1993.

A. Goswami, M. Goswami, R. E. Reed, and F. A. Wolf, "The Self- Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World", Ed. J. P. Tarcher (1995).

M. Kafatos, B. Nadeau, "The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory", Springler-Verlag (1990).

Kurzweil, Ray. 'The Intelligent Universe' http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge107.html

Kafatos, Menas, and Robert Nadeau. The Conscious Universe: Parts and Wholes in Physical Reality. 2d ed. Springer, 2000.

Lothar Schäfer. Quantum Reality and the Consciousness of the Universe. QUANTUM REALITY, THE EMERGENCE OF COMPLEX ORDER FROM VIRTUAL STATES, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE UNIVERSE Zygon, 41, September 2006, p. 505; 41, 3 [abstract]

Dean Radin:

  • The Conscious Universe: The scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. HarperSanFrancisco, 1997
  • Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. Paraview Pocket Books, 2006

Alexandre V. Boukalov:

Doug Renselle. Research Review of David Bohm's 1980 Paper The Enfolding-Unfolding Universe and Consciousness. In Lee Nichol, The Essential David Bohm

Nova Spivack, Simulated Universes and the Nature of Consciousness Minding the Planet June 2005 ** camp

Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner. Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics: The Connection and Analogies The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Summer 1999, 20, 3, pp. 229-256

Symbolic universe

Jack A. Palmer, Linda K. Palmer. Evolutionary Psychology: The Ultimate Origins of Human Behavior. Allyn and Bacon, 2001 [Consciousness and the Symbolic Universe]

World mind

Universal mind

Global brain

Universal mind




Miscellaneous / Misleading

Knowledge Universe, Menlo Park: $1 billion tech training and consulting company http://www.knowledgeu.com/ Michael Milken

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