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Thread: Fermi paradox. Maybe once you get technologically advanced enough there's no point.

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    Fermi paradox. Maybe once you get technologically advanced enough there's no point.

    Maybe the reason we haven't been visited or seen any signs of intelligent life is because once you get advanced enough for interstellar travel there's no point in visiting every planet and you go beyond exploring planets, maybe intelligent life went outside the visible universe or to a parallel universe or created their own universe etc.

    A few hundred years ago or even just a hundred years ago it was extremely difficult to explore the sahara, islands, the antarctic. Now it's easy, people can rent or buy helicopters or dune buggies etc. What explorers over a hundred years ago only dreamed of, but very few people ever do. People are more concerned with getting a 50 inch 3D LED TV than renting a helicopter ride over the amazon.

    Samething maybe with intelligent life, maybe once you get so advanced, you visit a couple hundred solar systems, or even have the technology to see the surface of most planets in the universe and you go beyond that to things we haven't even discovered yet like what's beyond the 13.7 billion year light barrier.

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    Actually we may have been visited by intelligent whatsits who were kind enough to leave us alone, and reopen their time warp to get back in time for tea. Or maybe they left a few miscellaneous bugs sprinkled liberally in a long running experiment that ultimately disappointed. I expect we could find some von Daniken type people who are convinced we are actually alien. Even at light speed interstellar travel seems rather boring and perhaps advanced intelligences have improved on Canasta and even on X box. Although how could that be? (I have no idea about this but when I picked up a toy and asked my three year old granddaughter if it was a new playstation, she said, patronisingly, "No Grandad that's an X Box".)
    Maybe we are watched as an amusing diversion by countless civilisations on the spacetime loop service. Sometimes I can hear them laughing, it's not all thunder you know.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Well as far as improving on Canasta and Xbox, we already have Oculus Rift, virtual reality headsets. How long before that would become like Inception or the Matrix...a hundred years? A couple hundred? Let alone thousands or millions.

    I don't know about any intelligent life thousands or millions of years ahead of us, that would watch us, anymore than say a US Navy destroyer or a NASA satellitte watching an island full of monkeys that no one has ever set foot on in the Indian Ocean. Like I said their discoveries and technology wouldn't stay still, after being able to explore planets they would move beyond that.

    Also, once you're able to travel around the galaxy, you know where you're going to go after looking at a few planets and maybe finding life on some of them? The supermassive black hole at the center. Why would you waste time after visiting hunks of rock and maybe finding life on some of them. Unless the life they findon planets are able to warp space and time and have as much energy efficiency as a black hole it would be redundant and pointless after a while.

    If we want to find if there's any life that discovered interstellar travel, they'd probably be around a supermassive black hole using it for energy. There's nothing on Earth that they couldn't find a billion times else where.
    Last edited by MVAgusta1078RR; 2014-Jun-30 at 08:17 PM.

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    well I heard that quite a few of us watch facsimile lives of ordinary people doing ordinary things using high technology information dissemination and display devices which are otherwise used for advertising trivial repetitive junk and the majority of the most advanced network is occupied by vulgar and useless moving images totally unrelated to productive activity. Therefore the more advanced the alien neighbours are, presumably the lower their standards of literacy and good taste. Pointless yes but then what was ever the point? Travel broadens the behind, but it is better to travel in hope than arrive in more or less where you started from. Loose quotation from the primatives that lived before prime movers.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Some of the ETs may buy into the virtual world to the point that they lose interest in the real world. But why would all of them do so?

    There are plenty of biologists and primate anthropologists who would love the opportunity to study an undiscovered island of monkeys.
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    One of my favorite answers to Fermi is that all civilizations that make it through the filter end up becoming machine intelligences, and then lose interest in finding other biological intelligences.

    the reasoning is that the end result of all technology is the extension of the biological bodies to the point it's perfected, basically making the beings immortal. In doing so, they become a new species which quickly loses any attachment to the old biological ancestry, and anything biological.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MVAgusta1078RR View Post
    Maybe the reason we haven't been visited or seen any signs of intelligent life is because once you get advanced enough for interstellar travel there's no point in visiting every planet and you go beyond exploring planets, maybe intelligent life went outside the visible universe or to a parallel universe or created their own universe etc.

    A few hundred years ago or even just a hundred years ago it was extremely difficult to explore the sahara, islands, the antarctic. Now it's easy, people can rent or buy helicopters or dune buggies etc. What explorers over a hundred years ago only dreamed of, but very few people ever do. People are more concerned with getting a 50 inch 3D LED TV than renting a helicopter ride over the amazon.

    Samething maybe with intelligent life, maybe once you get so advanced, you visit a couple hundred solar systems, or even have the technology to see the surface of most planets in the universe and you go beyond that to things we haven't even discovered yet like what's beyond the 13.7 billion year light barrier.
    Ok few things. There is no "13.7 billion year light barrier". If you traveled in any direction for 13.7 billion years, even at .99999999c, all you would see is pretty much more of the same but galaxies around you that are now about 27 billion years old. The CMBR would be even colder. You can never get to the CMBR because while it is like a shell around your current location it isn't a shell right now. What is at that location in space now is like what we have here galaxies ~13.8 billion years old.

    It is hard to say what an alien species might do because the odds are that they probably have a very different evolutionary progression then we do. After finding lots of life many of them might just start regarding life around the galaxy like we regard bacteria. But maybe they have members like we do that are like scientists that are still interested in discovering new life. If we anthropomorphise aliens then I'd hope, for our case, that their would still be those among them that are interested in discovering new things. Yes most people on Earth could care less about a new species of ant or bacteria or even a new mammal but we do have those that are. If our whole species became that self centred it would be a sad day in deed.

    I'm not sure what going outside the universe even means. IE out side of sci-fi novels it seems, by the physics of our universe, it is not an achievable goal. Personally I think it is a much more mundane reason why there hasn't been contact yet. For one we are relatively early in the game of the universe. Two I wouldn't doubt there are things that, no matter how advanced a species gets, may always be unknowable and not achievable. Things like traveling through a black hole. It is fine to dream but all evidence points to the conclusion that dropping into a black hole is not a good idea in any way.

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    It makes sense: I like the panorama but I never go there in the bush... wild boars almost never get to see/smell me... unless they come near my house (maybe once in 10 years, once in a lifetime for them)
    .
    Last edited by Barabino; 2014-Jul-01 at 06:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iquestor View Post
    One of my favorite answers to Fermi is that all civilizations that make it through the filter end up becoming machine intelligences, and then lose interest in finding other biological intelligences.

    the reasoning is that the end result of all technology is the extension of the biological bodies to the point it's perfected, basically making the beings immortal. In doing so, they become a new species which quickly loses any attachment to the old biological ancestry, and anything biological.
    But again, why would everyone in the entire civilization go the exact same route? A high-tech civ would be marked by tremendous variety as they learn to alter themselves; with some choosing to remain as they are, some becoming advanced biologicals of various strains including immortals, some uplifting whole new young sapient species, and some uploading minds into machines.

    I also question the assumption that becoming post-biological would necessarily lead to losing curiosity about the biological world.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post

    I also question the assumption that becoming post-biological would necessarily lead to losing curiosity about the biological world.
    Instead I agree... our curiosity for animals is someway a sexual interest...

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    Noclevername wrote:
    I also question the assumption that becoming post-biological would necessarily lead to losing curiosity about the biological world.

    I don't think you can just discount it though. Consider: there could be four life-bearing worlds in our solar system alone. Any world with a sub-surface ocean is fair game for life to be present. That adds up to possibly trillions of life-bearing worlds in the galaxy.

    Most of this life is primitive, no more advanced than chemotrophic life on Earth. But a race of machine or biologically enhanced beings millions of years in advance of us might well lump all natural life together. We are seen just as yet another type of slime amongst trillions of types of slime. So not very interesting.

    Whether its a satisfying answer to the FP, well I don't know. If we are considering living in virtual realities, you may as well say we are simply subroutines in one of ET's virtual realities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Noclevername wrote:
    I also question the assumption that becoming post-biological would necessarily lead to losing curiosity about the biological world.

    I don't think you can just discount it though.
    I'm not discounting it, but unless it applies uniformly to all post-bio life AND all life inevitably leads to being post-biological, then it's not a viable answer to the paradox. It only takes one group of planet-peepers to start sending Von Neumann probes.

    But a race of machine or biologically enhanced beings millions of years in advance of us might well lump all natural life together. We are seen just as yet another type of slime amongst trillions of types of slime. So not very interesting.
    Again, unless there's some reason this attitude is shared by all advanced beings, there will be exceptions that still possess curiosity about biolife. We have plenty of scientists who study and distinguish what you and I might consider "slime", and they consider their work very interesting.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2014-Jul-02 at 12:46 PM. Reason: added detail
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    Still I have to wonder why "contact" would be important to "them"? It seems more important to us for them to do so (it's really all about us ya know), but they'd be giving up the huge advantage of remaining secretive via stealthy observation by not stirring the pot via contact.
    Don't forget, it was the Vulcans who invented the "prime directive" policy, not us

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    Still I have to wonder why "contact" would be important to "them"? It seems more important to us for them to do so (it's really all about us ya know), but they'd be giving up the huge advantage of remaining secretive via stealthy observation by not stirring the pot via contact.
    Don't forget, it was the Vulcans who invented the "prime directive" policy, not us
    What advantage would that be? It's not like we could pose any threat to a civilization that can explore the galaxy.
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    et
    What advantage would that be? It's not like we could pose any threat to a civilization that can explore the galaxy.
    Yes, no threat at all. ET wouldn't worry about that angle. But suppose for a moment that we were advanced enough to explore the galaxy (say, 1000 years from now), wouldn't our own history tell us that contacting a civilization 1,000 years our junior would result in a bad way? At the very least we'd study them in secret for some time to learn how they might react to direct contact, and if they're anything at all like us we'd keep ourselves in the shadows for a long time. The advantage would be to absorb knowledge about them without having to do anything at all in return. The biggest negative of direct contact would be them wanting to know everything about us and what we know about the universe, our technology would seem like magic and they would want some. They would soon ask questions that we would not want to answer and once we stopped answering their questions they would instantly stop trusting us (assuming they ever did). There would be absolutely no point in ET contacting us as we'd just be disgruntled in the end and they'd go along their merry way regretting ever getting directly involved (probably a lesson learned from experience). So, with all that hypothesis being said I still wonder why, for what reason at all (just gimme one) would a highly advanced ET ever want to directly contact us?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    et

    Yes, no threat at all. ET wouldn't worry about that angle. But suppose for a moment that we were advanced enough to explore the galaxy (say, 1000 years from now), wouldn't our own history tell us that contacting a civilization 1,000 years our junior would result in a bad way? At the very least we'd study them in secret for some time to learn how they might react to direct contact, and if they're anything at all like us we'd keep ourselves in the shadows for a long time. The advantage would be to absorb knowledge about them without having to do anything at all in return. The biggest negative of direct contact would be them wanting to know everything about us and what we know about the universe, our technology would seem like magic and they would want some. They would soon ask questions that we would not want to answer and once we stopped answering their questions they would instantly stop trusting us (assuming they ever did). There would be absolutely no point in ET contacting us as we'd just be disgruntled in the end and they'd go along their merry way regretting ever getting directly involved (probably a lesson learned from experience). So, with all that hypothesis being said I still wonder why, for what reason at all (just gimme one) would a highly advanced ET ever want to directly contact us?
    Yes... If they gave us all the information we asked for, the consequences for us might be disastrous... like giving a loaded gun to an intellectually handicapped child.

    On the other hand, if they didn't answer our questions, perhaps we would send well-resourced expeditions to the fringes of their civilisation, eagerly looking for scraps of information about their science and technology... like polar bears fossicking through garbage bins...

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    One thing about the last series of posts, containing some interesting speculation, is that there seems to be an assumption that more advanced civilization will have incredibly advanced technologies that will seem like magic to us. That may be true but is not necessarily true. For example, nature creates energy from mass in processes that are at least understood at a basic level, and we are still learning to replicate them but we don't have any good reason to believe there are processes going on that we have not yet discovered (as in their existence). Mastering nuclear fusion will be an advance, but beyond that I don't there are really mysterious processes that nature uses to create energy that we don't understand and might manipulate some day.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Yes... If they gave us all the information we asked for, the consequences for us might be disastrous... like giving a loaded gun to an intellectually handicapped child.

    On the other hand, if they didn't answer our questions, perhaps we would send well-resourced expeditions to the fringes of their civilisation, eagerly looking for scraps of information about their science and technology... like polar bears fossicking through garbage bins...
    Let me fix that for you
    "the consequences for us might be disastrous... like giving a loaded gun to a child. "

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    maybe a child is compliant to orders to put it down, or his weak hands can't shoot for real...

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    One thing about the last series of posts, containing some interesting speculation, is that there seems to be an assumption that more advanced civilization will have incredibly advanced technologies that will seem like magic to us. That may be true but is not necessarily true. For example, nature creates energy from mass in processes that are at least understood at a basic level, and we are still learning to replicate them but we don't have any good reason to believe there are processes going on that we have not yet discovered (as in their existence). Mastering nuclear fusion will be an advance, but beyond that I don't there are really mysterious processes that nature uses to create energy that we don't understand and might manipulate some day.
    Hi Jens, to me "magic" is in the eye of the beholder and just 100 years can make the difference in perception. Folks who relied upon candles for light for centuries would think that a simple light bulb is magical. I'll go out on a limb and predict that a 1,000 years from now electricity may be obsolete and technologies of that time will appear magical to us. We seem to believe that something as strange as dark energy exists but we lack any understanding of it, perhaps one day we will have found a way to harness it but for now it remains a mystery despite our belief that it exists. I do understand you point ie, basic mass/energy physics, but I'm of the opinion that mankind's book of scientific knowledge consists of chapter I of a very thick book yet to be written.

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    While it's true that things like dark mass or dark energy or even matter-antimatter asymmetry could lead to new technologies, it seems less likely to me than light bulbs. The physical phenomena used in bulbs, like incandescence, fluorescence, electroluminescence, are clear in nature, and it was just a question of harnessing them. Dark matter only seems to exert gravity, which isn't all that useful, and dark energy seems too weak to have any real use. We don't see nature using it for anything. So I'm pretty skeptical.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    But suppose for a moment that we were advanced enough to explore the galaxy (say, 1000 years from now), wouldn't our own history tell us that contacting a civilization 1,000 years our junior would result in a bad way?
    We know nothing about what their societies or psychology is like, how can we guess at their motives or actions?

    They will have a different history. It may even be possible that they are experienced enough to have learned to do it better than us, or think they can. Or they (or one faction of them) may want to proselytize their culture, beliefs or politics.

    Or they may know the consequences and not care as long as it's not their society being affected.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    One thing about the last series of posts, containing some interesting speculation, is that there seems to be an assumption that more advanced civilization will have incredibly advanced technologies that will seem like magic to us. That may be true but is not necessarily true. For example, nature creates energy from mass in processes that are at least understood at a basic level, and we are still learning to replicate them but we don't have any good reason to believe there are processes going on that we have not yet discovered (as in their existence). Mastering nuclear fusion will be an advance, but beyond that I don't there are really mysterious processes that nature uses to create energy that we don't understand and might manipulate some day.
    There are a few possibilities that are consistent with current theories, but so far have not been observed: q-balls, GUT-monopoles, and micro black holes.

    All could be used to turn matter into energy far more efficiently than fusion.

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    We know nothing about what their societies or psychology is like, how can we guess at their motives or actions?

    They will have a different history. It may even be possible that they are experienced enough to have learned to do it better than us, or think they can. Or they (or one faction of them) may want to proselytize their culture, beliefs or politics.

    Or they may know the consequences and not care as long as it's not their society being affected.
    Thanks NCN, that is so true and guessing is just that, guessing. As far as motives go I doubt that our own motives will remain unchanged over the next 1,000 years so taking a stab at ET's motives is a stab in the dark for sure. If ET wants to proselytize their culture, beliefs or politics on the human race I wish them luck . We find it extremely difficult if not impossible to do that to ourselves. Perhaps they would take notice of that early on during their observations, say in just 1 day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    One thing about the last series of posts, containing some interesting speculation, is that there seems to be an assumption that more advanced civilization will have incredibly advanced technologies that will seem like magic to us. That may be true but is not necessarily true. For example, nature creates energy from mass in processes that are at least understood at a basic level, and we are still learning to replicate them but we don't have any good reason to believe there are processes going on that we have not yet discovered (as in their existence). Mastering nuclear fusion will be an advance, but beyond that I don't there are really mysterious processes that nature uses to create energy that we don't understand and might manipulate some day.
    I've been wondering along the same lines since I saw a Carroll lecture in which he said we have a handle on quantum field theory, and we've found all the forces and particles we are likely to ever find if the Standard Model is any indication.

    On the other hand, I think there are still a number of exotic phenomena yet to be discovered. The movement of current and phonons along the surface of special materials, cloaking, and possible room temp superconductivity are indications that designer molecules in general will offer some astounding new capabilities. Not that any of that does away with, say, no FTL, but if designed materials ever become capable of stabilizing exotic atoms, we may get some engineering surprises yet.

    As a layman, I also wonder (a) if supersymmetry is ever confirmed and there are larger particle cousins, what that may add to the QFT mix and (b) if the extremely short range fields or weak interactions Wilson said we can never ever detect might yet be detected. Since they are known to be too insignificant in terms of forces that affect us, say we find that they are what adds properties to quarks, eg, and we go on to figure how to harness that in a way that leads to effects on fields and particles we do care about.

    ...
    As for ET, anyone see that recent Cosmos that discussed panspermia as possible among star systems due to galactic rotation? Seems we should focus SETI ahead and behind in our galactic orbit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But again, why would everyone in the entire civilization go the exact same route? A high-tech civ would be marked by tremendous variety as they learn to alter themselves; with some choosing to remain as they are, some becoming advanced biologicals of various strains including immortals, some uplifting whole new young sapient species, and some uploading minds into machines.

    I also question the assumption that becoming post-biological would necessarily lead to losing curiosity about the biological world.
    Its a good question...

    From a human perspective, lets assume we create technology that would allow humans to become immortal and free from biological needs: eating, sleeping, sex. , companionship
    1. If this technology were widely available, then I believe a very large % of humans would accept it and become post biological.
    2. if this technology were not widely available, then I would argue that those who could not afford it or didn't have access to it would almost certainly also not have the technology to create VN Probes or space travel.
    - therefore, in the cosmic scheme of things, these humans would not be the ones making contact.

    3. post biological beings that were once human, who no longer need to eat, drink or have sex or companionship would no longer be human, or have human drives. Eating, sleeping, sex give us pleasure, which is natures way of making sure we do it. So a post biological being would be able to have the same pleasure sensation without the need for real food, real sleep or real sex.

    Also we have no idea what would drive them to continue to exist, if anything at all.

    Anyway, that's the reasoning. We can't be sure everyone who didn't evolve to post biological didn't continue searching and to make contact. but if they are anything like us Humans, it seems reasonable that the evolution would affect most of us, and the ones who didn't would very likely be impotent to make contact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iquestor View Post
    2. if this technology were not widely available, then I would argue that those who could not afford it or didn't have access to it would almost certainly also not have the technology to create VN Probes or space travel.

    ...but if they are anything like us Humans, it seems reasonable that the evolution would affect most of us, and the ones who didn't would very likely be impotent to make contact.
    And those who had access to PB existence but just chose not to take it? Would they all automatically become Luddites who reject advanced technology in all its forms forever?

    Or if they are not like humans? Or if some PBs still have curiosity about the physical world?

    ADDED: I seems to me that indulging in curiosity would be one of the few true pleasures left to beings beyond physical needs. That would likely be their main driving force. So if anything, PBs might be more likely to explore the universe and try to contact alien life.
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2014-Jul-09 at 04:36 PM.
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    ADDED: I seems to me that indulging in curiosity would be one of the few true pleasures left to beings beyond physical needs. That would likely be their main driving force. So if anything, PBs might be more likely to explore the universe and try to contact alien life.
    I still agree with just about everything you've stated except for the "try to contact" part. Try to contact when conditions are right....perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacedude View Post
    I still agree with just about everything you've stated except for the "try to contact" part. Try to contact when conditions are right....perhaps?
    What are the right conditions?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What are the right conditions?
    Maybe when contact wouldn't unleash utter chaos among the contacted?

    I'd like to think that humanity would retain the control of its mental bowels, but judging by what I see, I have no confidence of that, simply a hope.

    The 20th Century was an abattoir. People died by the millions fighting over who had the better way to order societies.

    Tens of millions were killed in genocides in Europe and Africa.

    People still kill one another over who has the better invisible friend, and/or the True Understanding of that friend.

    1/4 of the population of the United States (one of the better educated countries) believe that the sun goes around the Earth. 46% of them believe that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, and by extension, biological evolution has not happened.

    If I was in their position, I would not contact us in our present condition.

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