Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development
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Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is about acting now with an awareness of the future.
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The Chilling Guide to the End of the World | Daily Infographic

The Chilling Guide to the End of the World | Daily Infographic | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

All of the typical threats to humanity found in dystopian movies are on today’s infographic, from evolved diseases that create sweeping plagues to climate change, and even vengeful robots. The difference? These threats are real. What constitutes a real threat to humanity?

Any mass incident on the horizon that results in a collapse of civilization and leads to a drastic decrease in global human population for an extended period, along with the crash of political, economic, and social systems.

The following is a list of the most pressing issues that could sweep away humanity in the next 100 years, unless we reverse course and take action:

Artificial Intelligence: Machines that develop a primal consciousness and unlimited intelligence might look at humans as a threat to themselves or the environment as a whole. With the ability to shut down the resources we need to survive, AI could eventually end us all.
Extreme Climate Change: Climate change could create a nightmare of famine, mass migration, and destructive weather events like relentless hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, and sweeping fires.
Global Pandemic: An unknown infectious disease could spread rapidly because of large metropolitan areas and our advanced transportation network.

Kim Flintoff's insight:
All of the typical threats to humanity found in dystopian movies are on today’s infographic, from evolved diseases that create sweeping plagues to climate change, and even vengeful robots. The difference? These threats are real. What constitutes a real threat to humanity?

Any mass incident on the horizon that results in a collapse of civilization and leads to a drastic decrease in global human population for an extended period, along with the crash of political, economic, and social systems.

The following is a list of the most pressing issues that could sweep away humanity in the next 100 years, unless we reverse course and take action:

Artificial Intelligence: Machines that develop a primal consciousness and unlimited intelligence might look at humans as a threat to themselves or the environment as a whole. With the ability to shut down the resources we need to survive, AI could eventually end us all.
Extreme Climate Change: Climate change could create a nightmare of famine, mass migration, and destructive weather events like relentless hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, and sweeping fires.
Global Pandemic: An unknown infectious disease could spread rapidly because of large metropolitan areas and our advanced transportation network.
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Flinders to rays the roof on solar energy

Flinders to rays the roof on solar energy | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Almost 6000 solar panels have been fixed above a Flinders University carpark and onto its rooftops
Kim Flintoff's insight:

University being very responsible and showing community leadership in the renewables space!

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Extreme weather is triggering climate despair – Paris Marx –

The combination of more frequent extreme weather events and a lack of climate action are making me hopeless we'll change our ways in time to avoid potentially catastrophic warming.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

"More people will become hopeless unless there’s radical change"

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Hothouse Earth Is Merely the Beginning of the End – RollingStone –

“Our future,” scientist James Lovelock has written, “is like that of the passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly above the Niagara Falls, not knowing that the engines are about to fail.”
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Not the end of the planet, but maybe the end of its human inhabitants

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– Discovering the keys to future ready learning

– Discovering the keys to future ready learning | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

This project is aimed at developing a framework for identifying, developing, collecting evidence of and evaluating key attributes of future ready learners.

We would like your ideas, comments and advice to define and refine the attributes.

We understand that learner attributes will manifest in many different ways depending upon content and level of development. For example they may have cognitive, behavioural and emotional components that will vary from the youngest to the eldest learners.

The project will step through 4 main phases:

Define the attributes and identify broad elements of evidence;
Identify the indicators of these elements at different stages of life-long learning;
Refine and categorise the indicators with degrees of confidence;
Identify the most appropriate approaches learning design and pedagogy to support the continued development of the attributes.

Kim Flintoff's insight:
This project is aimed at developing a framework for identifying, developing, collecting evidence of and evaluating key attributes of future ready learners. We would like your ideas, comments and advice to define and refine the attributes.
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Australia's Science Channel | The climate change we’re probably not noticing

Australia's Science Channel | The climate change we’re probably not noticing | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

While CO2 emissions are behind the global climate change that is currently focusing global thought, there is also a rather more subtle impact going on in the background

Kim Flintoff's insight:

While CO2 emissions are behind the global climate change that is currently focusing global thought, there is also a rather more subtle impact going on in the background

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Games legacy is an innovation hub

Games legacy is an innovation hub | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Work to transform the Commonwealth Games Village to form part of a 200-hectare Gold Coast health and knowledge precinct (GCHKP), which has been in development since 2001, has now begun.

The former Athlete’s Village is being re-made into a residential space for 2,500 people, while another seven hectares of parkland adjacent to the Village is to be handed over to Gold Coast City Council to manage, with 9.5 hectares of greenfield land reserved for health and innovation investment.

The project is spearheaded by the City of Gold Coast in collaboration with the Queensland government, Griffith University and Gold Coast Health is part of a $550 million Health and Knowledge legacy project.

The GCHKP is already home to Griffith University, Gold Coast University Hospital, and Gold Coast Private Hospital.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Work to transform the Commonwealth Games Village to form part of a 200-hectare Gold Coast health and knowledge precinct (GCHKP), which has been in development since 2001, has now begun.

The former Athlete’s Village is being re-made into a residential space for 2,500 people, while another seven hectares of parkland adjacent to the Village is to be handed over to Gold Coast City Council to manage, with 9.5 hectares of greenfield land reserved for health and innovation investment.

The project is spearheaded by the City of Gold Coast in collaboration with the Queensland government, Griffith University and Gold Coast Health is part of a $550 million Health and Knowledge legacy project.

The GCHKP is already home to Griffith University, Gold Coast University Hospital, and Gold Coast Private Hospital.

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We need to become global citizens to rebuild trust in our globalised world

We need to become global citizens to rebuild trust in our globalised world | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The erosion of trust in a civil society is one of the greatest moral challenges facing the world today.

Democratic societies are anxious. Leaders, and the general public, are worried about extremism, terrorism and radicalisation. Educators and experts are rightly concerned about those who perpetuate approaches that resemble indoctrination. Such threats are making us less trusting of others, particularly of those we see as somehow different from ourselves.

A remedy may be found in educating people to be “global citizens”, who are not just caring, but are also critically engaged with ideas, beliefs and attitudes exhibited across the world. These global citizens can help to rebuild the lost trust in civil society in an increasingly diverse and globalised world.
Kim Flintoff's insight:
The erosion of trust in a civil society is one of the greatest moral challenges facing the world today.Democratic societies are anxious. Leaders, and the general public, are worried about extremism, terrorism and radicalisation. Educators and experts are rightly concerned about those who perpetuate approaches that resemble indoctrination. Such threats are making us less trusting of others, particularly of those we see as somehow different from ourselves.A remedy may be found in educating people to be “global citizens”, who are not just caring, but are also critically engaged with ideas, beliefs and attitudes exhibited across the world. These global citizens can help to rebuild the lost trust in civil society in an increasingly diverse and globalised world.
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Making climate models open source makes them even more useful

Making climate models open source makes them even more useful | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Designing climate experiments is all but impossible in the real world. We can’t, for instance, study the effects of clouds by taking away all the clouds for a set period of time and seeing what happens.

Instead, we have to design our experiments virtually, by developing computer models. Now, a new open-source set of climate models has allowed this research to become more collaborative, efficient and reliable.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

Designing climate experiments is all but impossible in the real world. We can’t, for instance, study the effects of clouds by taking away all the clouds for a set period of time and seeing what happens.

Instead, we have to design our experiments virtually, by developing computer models. Now, a new open-source set of climate models has allowed this research to become more collaborative, efficient and reliable.

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Self-driving cars might be able to repair themselves in the future

Self-driving cars might be able to repair themselves in the future | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Big data could lead to a future where cars are able to diagnose faults and repair themselves.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

Big data could lead to a future where cars are able to diagnose faults and repair themselves.

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Australian cities are crying out for better planning, but the research funding is missing

Australian cities are crying out for better planning, but the research funding is missing | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Although 90% of our population lives in cities, Australia lacks a national urban policy and our government provides insufficient funding for urban sustainability projects.

Good urban planning is important for a number of reasons. Australian cities face the possibility of significant disasters due to climate change. Air pollution kills 3,000 people a year. A housing price crisis has taken hold. Reports on the energy and oil vulnerability of Australian cities are disquieting. And food and water security often seem like policy afterthoughts.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Although 90% of our population lives in cities, Australia lacks a national urban policy and our government provides insufficient funding for urban sustainability projects.

Good urban planning is important for a number of reasons. Australian cities face the possibility of significant disasters due to climate change. Air pollution kills 3,000 people a year. A housing price crisis has taken hold. Reports on the energy and oil vulnerability of Australian cities are disquieting. And food and water security often seem like policy afterthoughts.

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How we decide who and what we care about – and whether robots stand a chance

How we decide who and what we care about – and whether robots stand a chance | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
When psychologists talk about a “moral circle” they are referring to how far we extend our moral consideration towards others. That is, whether we care about the well-being of others, and act accordingly.

For most of us, the continuum of our moral circle is pretty straightforward: we include our loved ones, and we aren’t all that concerned about rocks or the villains of society. But the middle ground between the obvious ins and the obvious outs are not quite as clear-cut.

In a paper published in this month’s issue of Current Directions of Psychological Science, myself and a team of researchers from The University of Queensland, The University of Melbourne, and The University of Bath synthesised this emerging field of psychological research. We found that our moral circles are a surprisingly multifaceted and impressionable element of our moral cognition.

And historical trends suggest they are expanding, meaning the future of our moral circles may be vastly different from today. Could they one day include robots?
Kim Flintoff's insight:

When psychologists talk about a “moral circle” they are referring to how far we extend our moral consideration towards others. That is, whether we care about the well-being of others, and act accordingly.

For most of us, the continuum of our moral circle is pretty straightforward: we include our loved ones, and we aren’t all that concerned about rocks or the villains of society. But the middle ground between the obvious ins and the obvious outs are not quite as clear-cut.

In a paper published in this month’s issue of Current Directions of Psychological Science, myself and a team of researchers from The University of Queensland, The University of Melbourne, and The University of Bath synthesised this emerging field of psychological research. We found that our moral circles are a surprisingly multifaceted and impressionable element of our moral cognition.

And historical trends suggest they are expanding, meaning the future of our moral circles may be vastly different from today. Could they one day include robots?

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How to make smart cities human again

How to make smart cities human again | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Huge quantities of networked sensors have appeared in cities across the world in recent years. These include cameras and sensors that count the number of passers by, devices to sense air quality, traffic flow detectors, and even bee hive monitors. There are also large amounts of information about how people use cities on social media services such as Twitter and foursquare.

Citizens are even making their own sensors – often using smart phones – to monitor their environment and share the information with others; for example, crowd-sourced noise pollution maps are becoming popular. All this information can be used by city leaders to create policies, with the aim of making cities “smarter” and more sustainable.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Huge quantities of networked sensors have appeared in cities across the world in recent years. These include cameras and sensors that count the number of passers by, devices to sense air quality, traffic flow detectors, and even bee hive monitors. There are also large amounts of information about how people use cities on social media services such as Twitter and foursquare.

Citizens are even making their own sensors – often using smart phones – to monitor their environment and share the information with others; for example, crowd-sourced noise pollution maps are becoming popular. All this information can be used by city leaders to create policies, with the aim of making cities “smarter” and more sustainable.

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Tiny crystals pave the way for new design of digital devices

Tiny crystals pave the way for new design of digital devices | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

Curtin researchers have developed a tiny electrical circuit that may enable an entirely new design of digital devices.

The electrical circuit is made from crystals of copper that are grown and electrically wired at nanoscale and may lead to digital devices that have increasing amounts of computational power packed into a smaller space.

In a paper published today in the leading nanotechnology journal ACS Nano, researchers used a single nanoparticle to create an ensemble of different diodes – a basic electronic component of most modern electronic devices, which functions by directing the flow of electric currents.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

In a paper published today in the leading nanotechnology journal ACS Nano, researchers used a single nanoparticle to create an ensemble of different diodes – a basic electronic component of most modern electronic devices, which functions by directing the flow of electric currents.

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The Neutrality Network – Words That Matter –

As I write these words, the FCC has just issued draft regulations abolishing the rules meant to secure “network neutrality” on the internet. Those regulations themselves were a surprising victory…
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Law professor Lessig analyzes the link between the “internet we want” and the “democracy we should have.”

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Sustainable development: an ideological illusion – TheBeamMagazine –

To address the complex issues of sustainability and social injustices, the challenge today consists just as much in formulating sharp critiques of current ideology as it does in formulating a qualitatively different economic system. The discourse of sustainable development does neither. Ultimately, sustainable development often reinforces the established ideological landscape, where “(…) subjects as well as objects constitute instrumentalities in a whole that has its raison d’être in the accomplishments of its overpowering productivity. Its supreme promise is an ever-more-comfortable life for an ever-growing number of people who, in a strict sense, cannot imagine a qualitatively different universe of discourse and action” (Herbert Marcuse in One-Dimensional Man (1964)).

Kim Flintoff's insight:

"To address the complex issues of sustainability and social injustices, the challenge today consists just as much in formulating sharp critiques of current ideology as it does in formulating a qualitatively different economic system. The discourse of sustainable development does neither."

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Electric vehicles soar by 160 per cent

Electric vehicles soar by 160 per cent | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The number of electric cars on Australian roads has soared by 160 per cent in the past five years, fuelling concerns that a core part of the tax base will be eroded over the next decade without intervention.

Technological change has hammered the $12.4 billion-a-year fuel tax, used to pay for roads around the country and paid for by motorists every time they fill up at the bowser.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

The number of electric cars on Australian roads has soared by 160 per cent in the past five years, fuelling concerns that a core part of the tax base will be eroded over the next decade without intervention.

Technological change has hammered the $12.4 billion-a-year fuel tax, used to pay for roads around the country and paid for by motorists every time they fill up at the bowser.

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Breakthrough Energy Ventures has made its first two investments in energy-storage startups —

Breakthrough Energy Ventures has made its first two investments in energy-storage startups — | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
The way to reach the world’s climate goals is straightforward: reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions to zero within the next few decades. But the energy technologies that can help us get there tend to need lots of money and long lead times to develop. That’s why many conventional investors, who are looking for quicker returns, have burned their fingers investing in clean tech.

Kim Flintoff's insight:
The world needs radical new energy technologies to fight climate change. In 2016, Quartz reported that a group of billionaires—including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani, and Richard Branson—launched Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) to invest at least $1 billion in creating those technologies. Now, 18 months later, Quartz can reveal the first two startups that BEV will be investing in: Form Energy and Quidnet Energy. Both companies are developing new technologies to store energy, but taking completely different approaches to achieve that goal.
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No death and an enhanced life: Is the future transhuman? | Technology | The Guardian

No death and an enhanced life: Is the future transhuman? | Technology | The Guardian | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

The 21st-century tech revolution is transforming human lives across the globe

Transhumanists believe that we should augment our bodies with new technology. 


The aims of the transhumanist movement are summed up by Mark O’Connell in his book To Be a Machine, which last week won the Wellcome Book prize. “It is their belief that we can and should eradicate ageing as a cause of death; that we can and should use technology to augment our bodies and our minds; that we can and should merge with machines, remaking ourselves, finally, in the image of our own higher ideals.”

The idea of technologically enhancing our bodies is not new. But the extent to which transhumanists take the concept is. In the past, we made devices such as wooden legs, hearing aids, spectacles and false teeth. In future, we might use implants to augment our senses so we can detect infrared or ultraviolet radiation directly or boost our cognitive processes by connecting ourselves to memory chips. Ultimately, by merging man and machine, science will produce humans who have vastly increased intelligence, strength, and lifespans; a near embodiment of gods.

Kim Flintoff's insight:
The idea of technologically enhancing our bodies is not new. But the extent to which transhumanists take the concept is. In the past, we made devices such as wooden legs, hearing aids, spectacles and false teeth. In future, we might use implants to augment our senses so we can detect infrared or ultraviolet radiation directly or boost our cognitive processes by connecting ourselves to memory chips. Ultimately, by merging man and machine, science will produce humans who have vastly increased intelligence, strength, and lifespans; a near embodiment of gods.
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This visualization shows 20 years of Earth’s seasons and the disturbing impact of climate change

In just 250 seconds you can watch 20 years of seasons flash by — polar ice caps shrink and grow again, while in more temperate climates the land darkens as plants grow, only to become paler as winter approaches.

The animation, created for NASA, is not a cartoon of how the changing seasons might look if sped up; it is an amalgamated collection of images harvested from satellites over the past two decades, from September 1997 to September 2017.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

In just 250 seconds you can watch 20 years of seasons flash by — polar ice caps shrink and grow again, while in more temperate climates the land darkens as plants grow, only to become paler as winter approaches.

The animation, created for NASA, is not a cartoon of how the changing seasons might look if sped up; it is an amalgamated collection of images harvested from satellites over the past two decades, from September 1997 to September 2017.

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Mine rehab in WA is the pits: Inquiry finds few success stories

Mine rehab in WA is the pits: Inquiry finds few success stories | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

West Australian mining industry representatives have struggled to point to even a single instance of a mine site having been rehabilitated to a high standard.

There are upwards of 11,000 abandoned mine sites and about 200,000 abandoned mining "features" across WA, features meaning things such as storage facilities, pits, shafts and tailings.

'Voids to the horizon': Collie's coal pits are nearing the end of their lives.  Photo: Wesfarmers


Mines get abandoned for many reasons: commodity prices collapsing or demand dipping, costs spiralling, lower than expected ore grades, regulatory breaches, changes in policy or government.

In these cases companies leave the taxpayer to clean up their messes: resulting in what are at best eyesores, at worst safety or public health risks.

Kim Flintoff's insight:
West Australian mining industry representatives have struggled to point to even a single instance of a mine site having been rehabilitated to a high standard.There are upwards of 11,000 abandoned mine sites and about 200,000 abandoned mining "features" across WA, features meaning things such as storage facilities, pits, shafts and tailings.
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Why blockchain challenges conventional thinking about intellectual property

Why blockchain challenges conventional thinking about intellectual property | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Cryptocurrencies are getting a lot of attention, but finance is only one of many applications of the blockchain technology behind it.

Blockchain technology is poised to revolutionise almost everything from supply chains (including illegal fishing and human rights abuses), insurance and health.

It is flourishing in an open-source environment, which raises the question whether our current intellectual property laws are fit for purpose to foster innovation.
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“You can’t just disconnect your kids”

“You can’t just disconnect your kids” | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Media researcher Michael Robb talks about the rise of personal devices among children and the importance of raising responsible digital citizens.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Media researcher Michael Robb talks about the rise of personal devices among children and the importance of raising responsible digital citizens.

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Our acid oceans will dissolve coral reef sands within decades

Our acid oceans will dissolve coral reef sands within decades | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it
Carbonate sands on coral reefs will start dissolving within about 30 years, on average, as oceans become more acidic, new research published today in Science shows.

Carbonate sands, which accumulate over thousands of years from the breakdown of coral and other reef organisms, are the building material for the frameworks of coral reefs and shallow reef environments like lagoons, reef flats and coral sand cays.

But these sands are sensitive to the chemical make-up of sea water. As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, they acidify – and at a certain point, carbonate sands simply start to dissolve.

The world’s oceans have absorbed around one-third of human-emitted carbon dioxide.
Kim Flintoff's insight:

Carbonate sands on coral reefs will start dissolving within about 30 years, on average, as oceans become more acidic, new research published today in Science shows.

Carbonate sands, which accumulate over thousands of years from the breakdown of coral and other reef organisms, are the building material for the frameworks of coral reefs and shallow reef environments like lagoons, reef flats and coral sand cays.

But these sands are sensitive to the chemical make-up of sea water. As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, they acidify – and at a certain point, carbonate sands simply start to dissolve.

The world’s oceans have absorbed around one-third of human-emitted carbon dioxide.

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Global sea level rise rate speeding up, 25 years of satellite data confirms - Science News

Global sea level rise rate speeding up, 25 years of satellite data confirms - Science News | Futures Thinking and Sustainable Development | Scoop.it

The rate of global sea level rise is accelerating as ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland melt, an analysis of the first 25 years of satellite data confirms.

Key points
It was thought sea level rise was accelerating at steady 3mm a year
Analysis of first 25 years of satellite data shows rate going up by 3mm a year, plus 0.08mm a year, every year.
Acceleration largely being driven by melting of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and likely to increase in future, say scientists

The study, by US scientists, has calculated the rate of global mean sea level rise is not just going up at a steady rate of 3mm a year, but has been increasing by an additional 0.08mm a year, every year since 1993.

If the rate of change continues at this pace, global mean sea levels will rise 61 centimetres between now and 2100, they report today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kim Flintoff's insight:

The rate of global sea level rise is accelerating as ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland melt, an analysis of the first 25 years of satellite data confirms.

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