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Topic Summary - Displaying 25 post(s).
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 30th, 2008 at 5:55pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Well, it's been a week now and no response.  I wonder if any poly will be able to defend his profession and indicate how society benefits from their actions in the situation indicated in my last post.  My guess is, probably not: they're too used to getting their own way without having to argue about costs and benefits.  Their ability to present a rational argument has atrophied. 

They are victims of the polygraph too, let us not forget.  Just like a rabid dog is a victim of the virus.  However, that doesn't mean that the dog doesn't need to be put down.
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 24th, 2008 at 10:29pm
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on Jun 8th, 2008 at 1:12pm:
Lethe

Thank you for a through and thoughtful reply, but was your answer yes or no?  Is NDI the correct call for a truthful using CM?


It is impossible to answer this question of yours without you defining what a "correct call" is.  If you have a valid definition, my answer would probably become obvious.  But come up with one and I'll let you know whether your call was correct or not.

But I don't think you're asking the right question.  You need to dig deeper; don't just think about what call is going to bring you the most prestige among your fellow pollies or which will most enhance your reputation and money-making ability, or even your self respect.  Dig down to the bedrock: which call is in the best interests of society?

I would say, and am prepared to defend, the proposition that no possible outcome in that situation is good for society: like nuclear war, you only win if you don't play.  Of course, not playing with the polygraph would be bad for your prestige and wallet, so I don't expect you to agree with that proposition.  But lets look at all possible outcomes.

Well, first, the situation is as follows: a truthful examinee is being pollied for a position of trust for which he or she is qualified.  The examinee, knowing how the polygraph works and that the polygraph is unlikely to be accurate in his case because of said knowledge, attempts CM.  Possible outcomes are:
    (1) Subject ruled truthful
    (2) Subject ruled deceptive
    (3) Subject ruled to be using CM
    (4) No conclusion possible

Now, the consequences for (2), (3), and (4) are virtually identical: the subject does not get the position and significant government resources have been wasted.  Additionally, the subject may become bitter at the farce that he has been put through and the job may go to a less-qualified person (if the next guy was more qualified, he would have been hired in the first place ahead of the initial subject).

Outcome (1) at first appears to be good, or, at least, neutral.  I admit that it is the least bad outcome, but it still results in considerable waste of taxpayer resources (just think about how much money you suck out of society for every test). 

Additionally, the main value of the polygraph to the government vis-a-vis people they need to control employees is not in detecting deception, but in deterring bad behavior in the future.  If the person uses CM and passes (even if he was truthful on the relevant questions, as he should be), it would be natural for him to credit his passing not to his truthfulness (on the relevant questions) but to his use of CM.  He may thus think that he can beat the polygraph in the future if needed and thus it's deterrent value is close to 0.
Posted by: Drew Richardson
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 7:15pm
  Mark & Quote
Pailryder,

You raise the great conundrum for the innocent examinee.  In reality it is just a variant of the oft spoken of situation of pay your money and take your choice.  It is largely a risk/benefit assessment with one additional twist. 

This examinee, realizing that he is burdened with subjecting himself/herself with an inaccurate diagnostic test of his truthfulness and realizing that he has the ability to manipulate polygraph tracings, can do one of two things: (1) answer relevant questions truthfully in the absence of countermeasure utilization or (2) answer relevant questions truthfully and apply countermeasures.

The identified risks and benefits are the same for both.  The risk is a determination of any opinion other than NDI (DI, Inc, NO, countermeasures used) and the benefit is a determination of NDI. 

The choice for the examinee is determined by two things: (1) his/her personal assessment of the risk/benefit probability ratio for each of the two alternative strategies and (2) a desire or ambivalence towards having an added and personal role (applying countermeasures) in affecting an outcome having significant impact on one’s future.

Although I have enjoyed our brief and respectful exchanges, I must return to other matters. 

Best Regards…
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 6:45pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Drew Richardson

Indeed, in many specific issue exams there are clear and demonstrable negative consequences for the examinee that is saddled with any opinion other than a NDI as well. 

Given my limited understanding as a non scientist and my preference for a common sense connotation, I wonder if use of CM by a truthful subject to avoid a False Positive result, could result in a NO, with negative consequences.  But of course I am aware that neither I nor any other examiner has ever demonstrated any ability to identify CM.
Posted by: Drew Richardson
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 5:40pm
  Mark & Quote
Pailryder,

With both the main event (the determination of truth and falsehood regarding relevant issues) and the use of countermeasures, you are faced with a binary event: (1) the examinee, to the first approximation (absent misspoken testimony and misremembered facts), is either telling the truth or lying on any given relevant issue and (2) the examinee has either attempted/employed countermeasures or he/she has not. 

Your opinion rendered in most situations (absent a pre-test confession or a particularly uneducated and clumsy attempt at countermeasures) is little more than a guess with both of the tasks before you.  I say this realizing that there is an appearance of objectivity and scientific determination with the utilization of scoring systems employed with the former task. 

And finally returning to your question…in a common sense connotation, given the tools available to you, a rendering of no opinion is probably the only sane (justified) opinion that you can render with either of the two aforementioned tasks in a typical lie test.  That having been said, nothing is resolved with such an opinion, and, in the case of many screening exams, there are clear and demonstrable negative consequences for the examinee that is saddled with any opinion other than a NDI determination.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 4:24pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Drew Richardson


Although I have never demonstrated any ability to do so, if I call this same test NO for suspected employment of CM, is that also a correct call?
Posted by: Drew Richardson
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 2:18pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Pailryder,

If you render a NDI opinion for a polygraph examination in which the examinee employed countermeasures you are correct if: (1) none of your relevant issues/questions included the use of countermeasures during that exam, and (2) the relevant issues/questions you did address through your exam were answered truthfully.  Your question is neither difficult nor philosophical but merely definitional in nature.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 8th, 2008 at 1:12pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Lethe

Thank you for a through and thoughtful reply, but was your answer yes or no?  Is NDI the correct call for a truthful using CM?
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 7th, 2008 at 4:44pm
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on Jun 7th, 2008 at 2:39am:
Its not that I am so much concerned about countermeasures, but that I find the topic very interesting.  For instance, if a subject answers truthfully and employes CM, and my call is NDI.  Was my call correct?


That is a very interesting question indeed.

Obviously, the answer hinges on one's definition of what constitutes a correct decision in a polygraph exam.  I think that question can be approached as follows.

First, there are four possible decisions (or "calls") that a polygrapher can make on an exam:
    (1) Examinee is deceptive,
    (2) Examinee is truthful,
    (3) Examinee is using countermeasures, and
    (4) No conclusion possible from the available data
Obviously, it is possible for examinees to tell the truth, to lie, and to use CM.  But, in a well-constructed exam, it is not possible for an examinee to neither lie nor tell the truth.  And, of course, the examinee can use CM while telling the truth or while lying.

I think that reaching no conclusion must be regarded as something of a failure of the polygraph, though not as large a failure as reaching a conclusion that is wrong.  That is, it is better to say "I don't know" than to make a positive statement that is false.  Similarly, if the examinee uses CM you can't tell if he or she was lying or telling the truth on the relevant questions; the polygraph has failed to determine what it is ultimately meant to determine.

This brings up my second major point: the purpose of a polygraph exam is to determine if the examinee is telling the truth or lying vis-a-vis the relevant questions.  The purpose of the polygraph is not to determine if someone is using CM; obviously, it is necessary to be able to tell if someone is using CM, but that is only so that it can be determined if he or she is lying on the relevant questions. 

Now, to accomplish it's purpose, the polygraph community has devised various practices and techniques.  Basically, you follow these practices, whose application varies case-by-case, and then other standards tell you how to interpret the resulting charts.

From all this, two possible answers present themselves to the question "What constitutes a correct decision in a polygraph exam?"
    First, what we might call the teleological answer: A correct decision is one which says someone who is lying (on the relevant questions) is lying and that someone who tells the truth (on the relevant questions) is telling the truth. 

    Secondly, what, for lack of a better term, we might call the process-based answer: A correct decision is one which says an examinee who has produced charts consistent with what is expected from someone who lies (on the relevant questions) is lying; that an examinee who has produced charts consistent with what is expected from someone who tells the truth (on the relevant questions) is telling the truth; that an examinee who has produced charts consistent with what is expected from someone who uses CM is using CM; and that no conclusion is reached on an examinee who has produced charts inconsistent with any other determination.
The important thing to note is this: neither of those two responses is incorrect.

Here is an analogy.  Suppose you were visiting my house and saw a tea kettle on my stove that was boiling and you asked "why is the kettle boiling?"  I could respond "the kettle is boiling because the heat released from the burning propane transfers energy to the water molecules in the pot which become excited and, at 100 degrees centigrade, begin to boil and go from a liquid to a gas."  That answer would be correct in one sense.  However, I could also say "the kettle is boiling because I want tea," and that response would also be correct, albeit in a different way.

I think polygraphers are mostly concerned with the process-based response: their decision is correct if it is in line with what polygraph doctrine tells them about a certain pattern on the charts.  There are many reasons that they prefer this sort of answer.
    First, they know all about polygraph doctrine and practice; they spend their careers learning and studying it and become good at applying the principles.  Therefore, they attach great importance to correct practice and come to take pride in their ability to proficiently apply the doctrines.

    Second, they really can't measure their success at finding liars and identifying truthful people because it is very rare to have independent confirmation of an obtained result (it can happen, but those cases are the exception).  Since they can't tell how good they are at achieving the ultimate end of the polygraph (identifying who lies and who tells the truth on relevant questions) the must perforce measure their abilities and successes against how well they follow the means by which the end is most likely to be obtained.

    Thirdly, polygraphers know that they will make bad calls which condemn the innocent and exonerate the guilty.  If they measure success the teleological way, they'd have to consider these grave failures, which would be very uncomfortable.  However, by defining  success as correctly applied practice they can transfer much of the responsibility for these calls to the polygraph.  "I did my job, my interpretation of the charts was correct; I succeeded at what I had to do, which was ask the questions in the correct way and interpret the results correctly"
However, my position is that the success of the polygraph must ultimately be measured in what I have called the teleological manner: every person who tells the truth on the control questions and is declared truthful is a success, every such person who is declared untruthful is a failure, and every person who lies on the relevant questions and is declared a liar is a success and every such person who is declared truthful is a failure.

Every person who uses CM also is a failure of the polygraph system, in my view, since we don't know (at least via the polygraph) if the person was telling the truth or lying on the relevant questions.  I have discussed this with Sackett, who, of course, disagrees.  But the purpose of the polygraph is to find out if someone did or didn't do the act described in the relevant questions, not if he did the things described in the control questions.  Therefore, we don't care if someone tries to deceive us by lying on the control questions except insofar as it helps or hinders our quest to find out if they are lying on the relevants because, contrary to what the given instructions tell the examinee, lying on the control questions doesn't correlate with lying on the relevants.  In precisely the same way, we don't care about if someone uses CM in and of itself except that it makes it impossible to determine if someone is lying on the relevant questions.  Using CM is no more or less immoral than lying on the control questions.

This leads to a fourth reason why polygraphers generally prefer the process-based approach to measuring their correctness: it leads to a far, far higher success rate.  An inconclusive result isn't a failure on their part to obtain the desired information after consuming significant societal resources, it is a success at correctly interpreting the data.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 7th, 2008 at 2:39am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Lethe

Thank you for the reply.  Its not that I am so much concerned about countermeasures, but that I find the topic very interesting.  For instance, if a subject answers truthfully and employes CM, and my call is NDI.  Was my call correct?
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 7th, 2008 at 1:14am
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:42am:
Lethe

I have over a hundred posts on this board for you to choose from.  I challenge you to cite one instance where you think I have favored ignorance over knowledge and we will have that conversation, but I started this thread to discuss countermeasures and I wonder why you have been unwilling to address my initial post? 


I don't believe I've ever promoted the use of countermeasures against the polygraph.  I think George believes they're easier and more likely to work than I do, but I also think they are easier and more likely to work than polygraphers claim.

Most polygraphers claim that the success rate for countermeasures is pretty close to zero.  But, like yourself, they're always very, very concerned about them.  This fact seems inconsistent with their claims that countermeasures don't work.

What point or question, specifically, would you like me to address, if the above is unsatisfactory?
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:42am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Lethe

I have over a hundred posts on this board for you to choose from.  I challenge you to cite one instance where you think I have favored ignorance over knowledge and we will have that conversation, but I started this thread to discuss countermeasures and I wonder why you have been unwilling to address my initial post?  
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 7th, 2008 at 12:07am
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on Jun 5th, 2008 at 11:09pm:
Lethe.

You are correct, that is an ad hominem attack.  The second in fact.  You attacked polygraphers as favoring ignorance, the energy crisis, global warming, inadequate health care, WMD's, government overspending and oh yeah,  increasing crime( as most poly ex's here of the LEA variety, that last one baffles me).  Over the top even for you, oh Lethargic one.

From the abyss my soul stabs at thee.


There are two paraphrases there.  I did say that polygraphers favor ignorance, that is true--and if you claim that is not true (and if it is true, why take me to task for making a true statement?) I'd be happy to debate you in full on the matter. 

However, I did not say that polygraphers favor the other things (the energy crisis, global warming, inadequate health care, proliferation of WMDs, government overspending, and  increasing crime).  What I said, if you will kindly refer to my post is that (while they may not like those things), they are willing to tolerate them in order to obtain the ignorance they desire.  That is, they want people to be ignorant more than they want to solve those sundry problems.

I thought that was rather clear in the original post:

Lethe wrote on Jun 2nd, 2008 at 12:11am:
So, it's a harder to conduct a test on an intelligent subject than a stupid one?  And it's harder to conduct a test on an informed subject than an ignorant one?  (One can, of course, be intelligent but ignorant of how the polygraph works or stupid but informed about how it works)  Of course it is; it's easier to get good results from a stupid, ignorant person.

Thus the Polygraph Imperative: people who use or depend on the polygraph have a vested interest in keeping as many people stupid and ignorant as possible.  Polygraphers and their clients are among those rare people (religious fundamentalists are also in the same class) who actually want people to be dumb.  The vast majority of the population would prefer that people act more wisely and with more deliberation because, you know, that might help solve problems like the energy crisis, global warming, inadequate access to health care, proliferation of WMDs, controlling government spending, decreasing crime, and the like. 

Polygraphers have decided that they don't mind those problems, so long as people are nice and dumb and easy to polygraph.  And that's why the world would be better off if your guild holds it's next grand meeting in a building with inadequate structural integrity.  You guild started to solve certain problems but instead has become the problem.


Do you deny that you prefer people to be ignorant of how the polygraph works?  If not, do you deny that it is hard to keep people from investigating that one area of knowledge without discouraging curiosity or critical thinking generally?  If not, do you deny that curiosity and critical thinking are usually very important for solving problems?

If you deny any of those statements, then we'll each have staked out some territory to defend and we can have a discussion to see which of us is more likely to be correct.  Or perhaps you would like to explain how you can encourage curiosity and critical thinking generally without those skills being turned on the polygraph by at least some people (and hopefully the sorts of people against whom the polygraph is used, prospective government employees, have those skills).

P.S. Wrath of Khan is a great movie.  They've all been downhill since then.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 6th, 2008 at 3:58am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Sergeant 1107

Paraphrasing, not quoting, thank you.
Posted by: Sergeant1107
Posted on: Jun 6th, 2008 at 12:06am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
pailryder wrote on Jun 5th, 2008 at 11:09pm:
From the abyss, my soul stabs at thee.


If you were quoting "Moby Dick" I believe the phrase you were looking for is:

Quote:
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.


You may also have been quoting Khan Noonien Singh from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", but he was in fact quoting Melville during that scene on the bridge of the Reliant.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 5th, 2008 at 11:09pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Lethe.

You are correct, that is an ad hominem attack.  The second in fact.  You attacked polygraphers as favoring ignorance, the energy crisis, global warming, inadequate health care, WMD's, government overspending and oh yeah,  increasing crime( as most poly ex's here of the LEA variety, that last one baffles me).  Over the top even for you, oh Lethargic one.

From the abyss my soul stabs at thee.
Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 5th, 2008 at 6:39pm
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on Jun 2nd, 2008 at 11:40am:
Lethe

If it is harder to poly an intelligent subject, based on this post, I am forced to conclude you would be one easy test.


LOGICAL FALLACY ALERT: Ad hominem attack. 

Sadly, no attempt to address the points that I raised has been detected.

Anyway, this is what's wrong with your guild: you can't address these points.  Not that you lack the ability, but your dogma forbids you from doing so because to have a coherent discussion you'd need to admit certain uncomfortable facts that call your whole enterprise into question.  That's unfortunate.

I was expecting better from you, pailryder.  An ad hominem attack?  That's the last refuge of the incompetent.  I was at least hoping for begging the question or a red herring.  Usually, the ad hominem attack is the last one trotted out before begging out of the conversation.

Hmm.  Sackett actually doesn't use the ad hominem attack very much; he usually resorts to the two fallacies just mentioned.  My estimate of your intelligence and his had rated yours higher and I'm not inclined to give up that assessment.  Perhaps trying to end debate as you have done is the wiser course of action?  After all, I'm very confident that avoiding uncomfortable discussions is much more important to your guild than is presenting an intelligent case once one has come up.

Anyway, these musings are just for fun and, of course, are not part of my case against the way the polygraph is currently used except insofar as turning perfectly good people (pre-polygraphers) into dumbasses (polygraphers) is generally bad for society.
Posted by: pailryder
Posted on: Jun 2nd, 2008 at 11:40am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Lethe

If it is harder to poly an intelligent subject, based on this post, I am forced to conclude you would be one easy test.

Posted by: Lethe
Posted on: Jun 2nd, 2008 at 12:11am
  Mark & Quote
pailryder wrote on May 23rd, 2008 at 1:49pm:
Lethe

Setting up a comparison issue for an intelligent, knowledge subject is  as much an art as a science.  And, has been the most challenging and rewarding part of my career.  Proper selection and formulation of a comparison issue makes or breaks the truthful test.


So, it's a harder to conduct a test on an intelligent subject than a stupid one?  And it's harder to conduct a test on an informed subject than an ignorant one?  (One can, of course, be intelligent but ignorant of how the polygraph works or stupid but informed about how it works)  Of course it is; it's easier to get good results from a stupid, ignorant person.

Thus the Polygraph Imperative: people who use or depend on the polygraph have a vested interest in keeping as many people stupid and ignorant as possible.  Polygraphers and their clients are among those rare people (religious fundamentalists are also in the same class) who actually want people to be dumb.  The vast majority of the population would prefer that people act more wisely and with more deliberation because, you know, that might help solve problems like the energy crisis, global warming, inadequate access to health care, proliferation of WMDs, controlling government spending, decreasing crime, and the like. 

Polygraphers have decided that they don't mind those problems, so long as people are nice and dumb and easy to polygraph.  And that's why the world would be better off if your guild holds it's next grand meeting in a building with inadequate structural integrity.  You guild started to solve certain problems but instead has become the problem.    The abyss has claimed your souls.

pailryder wrote on May 23rd, 2008 at 1:49pm:
We can all agree there are times when it is ethical to lie, sometimes there is even an ethical duty to lie and sometimes there is a right to defend one's self by lying.  So lying is not always wrong or bad, it can be  the proper ethical course of action.

I know, as you take pleasure in pointing out, that I lie in connection with my work, and I will tell you from personal experience that I am uncomfortable answering when confronted with that fact.  But don't we all lie in connection with our work?  And if I knew the sins of your profession, as you already know mine, might I not be able to point out lies you likely tell, and to ask you questions in a manner that you may find uncomfortable to answer, even if answered truthfully?  Could I create an ethical delima for you asking about something you have done, that would be more meaningful than the relevant questions about something you did not do?  Is that possible?


I agree that there are times when it is not just OK to lie but morally correct to lie. 

I'm not sure if everyone lies in connection with their job.  But you remind me of something that happened at my workplace last week.  I was querying a coworker for advice on how to handle a consumer of our service who was in a lamentable and unfortunate situation and was not pleased with us.  My coworker told me to tell them a reassuring lie in order to smooth things along with the client.  I said "but that's a lie."  To which he replied "Lethe, we lie to these people all the time."  And then we both burst out laughing.
Posted by: sackett
Posted on: May 27th, 2008 at 7:25pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Disproving a hypothesis or theory is just as important as validating it.  Any researcher can tell you that!  A claim was made, and I asked for proof (as is oftentimes demanded of me).  Hiding behind the cloak of, "well you can't prove a negative" does not aply to this claim. 

Good dodge though...


Sackett

Posted by: Sergeant1107
Posted on: May 27th, 2008 at 5:31am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
sackett wrote on May 25th, 2008 at 5:02pm:
To now use your choice of logic.  What is your proof that polygraph can not accurately detect "any of them?"

I suppose I'll be waiting a while for you response, so I'll check back tomorrow...

Sackett


Since you are the one claiming the fantastic, i.e., that the polygraph can accurately detect deception, it is far more logical for you to prove that such a thing can be done, rather than requiring that skeptics prove it cannot be done.

If I claimed to have invented a device that turns water into gasoline, would it make more sense for me to have to prove it works, or for the rest of the world to prove it doesn't?
Posted by: T.M. Cullen
Posted on: May 25th, 2008 at 7:29pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
Quote:
To now use your choice of logic.  What is your proof that polygraph can not accurately detect "any of them?"


Again, what proof do you have that it DOES?

Whoever puts forth a hypothesis is the one that must do the "proving".

It's called the "scientific method", and there are very specific steps to follow:

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_scientific_method.shtml

We DON'T have to prove that your hypothesis "the polygraph can accurately and consistently detect deception" is NOT true.

Any high school science teacher will tell you that it RUBBISH!

TC
Posted by: sackett
Posted on: May 25th, 2008 at 5:02pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
notguilty1 wrote on May 24th, 2008 at 2:30am:
pailryder wrote on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:22pm:
Stopit

Consider the case of someone who lies to protect a child from the Nazis.  Or a priest to protect a confidential communication.  Or an undercover agent to a drug dealer or organized crime target.   Or someone on the underground railroad who lies to protect an enslaved person.  Or a civil rights worker to a klansman.  


The point on this site however is the fact that a polygraph cannot accuratly detect any of them.
Grin


To now use your choice of logic.  What is your proof that polygraph can not accurately detect "any of them?"

I suppose I'll be waiting a while for you response, so I'll check back tomorrow...

Sackett
Posted by: notguilty1
Posted on: May 24th, 2008 at 2:30am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
pailryder wrote on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:22pm:
Stopit

Consider the case of someone who lies to protect a child from the Nazis.  Or a priest to protect a confidential communication.  Or an undercover agent to a drug dealer or organized crime target.   Or someone on the underground railroad who lies to protect an enslaved person.  Or a civil rights worker to a klansman.  


The point on this site however is the fact that a polygraph cannot accuratly detect any of them.
Grin
Posted by: StopIt
Posted on: May 23rd, 2008 at 9:34pm
  Mark & QuoteQuote
"Consider the case of someone who lies to protect a child from the Nazis."

Yes in such a case as this, or to protect a child from any other evil! I would most definitely agree!!!!
Thanks for that analogy...
 
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