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Thread: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

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    Default Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    There's another current thread, a bit raw, about job-destroying technology of which I have some views. But discretion, being the better part of valour, makes me leery of entanglement. So I think it (marginally) safer to start this new thread with a statement, in case it might be of any interest whatsoever. Cheers


    The notion that innovation destroys jobs is of medieval origin. Monarchs would refuse patents on labour-saving innovations, and even put inventers to death. Innovation was seen as taking jobs and, of particular concern to monarchs, creating circumstances for social and political upheaval.

    The industrial revolution, and the current digital revolution, are driven by innovation. As the monarchs (and the Luddites) feared, innovation does destroy jobs - but it also creates jobs. Thus the term 'creative destruction' is often applied to describe the engine of innovation-energised economies.

    When the industrial revolution emerged in England, occupations and incomes in real terms had barely changed since the fall of the western Roman empire.

    The revolution (mechanisation, essentially) created entire new sectors of economies, new occupations, social mobility and higher incomes. Yes there were many downsides which needed mending, and much mending has since occurred and the task in this current digital revolution is ongoing.

    And while us wooden boaties are often viewed as creaky, cranky troglodytes, who here would really prefer to live in the pre-industrial/pre-digital era?



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    Last edited by Mitziel; 10-25-2021 at 06:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McMike View Post
    Yup.
    As a landless peasant? :-)

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    I hope we can at least agree that breaking machines is fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    Oh the confused.
    Can't you try something even a little bit humourous?

    Pless will be along shortly with "Fart" and, while he might have boiled that particular cabbage a thousand times, it is still kinda amusing.

    Lighten up bro! :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    I hope we can at least agree that breaking machines is fun.
    Yup! Just not mine :-)

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Of course any self respecting person wants to break their own machines and not give the pleasure to some sort of mob. Run them into the ground and see where the fire starts.

    Maybe the forces of innovation are moving things in some sustainable direction, but putting the remedial action on some ever retreating horizon seems like a bad idea.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    When the industrial revolution emerged in England, occupations and incomes in real terms had barely changed since the fall of the western Roman empire.
    Not entirely correct. The Plague wiped out so many tied serfs that the shortage of labour drove wages up, and crated mobility of labour. This also created a shift to the towns and an increase in the merchant classes.

    The revolution (mechanisation, essentially) created entire new sectors of economies, new occupations, social mobility and higher incomes. Yes there were many downsides which needed mending, and much mending has since occurred and the task in this current digital revolution is ongoing.
    The social mobility applied to the moneyed classes and merchants. The mill workers generally lived in squalor on such low wages that the entire family down to 6 yo children had to work.

    And while us wooden boaties are often viewed as creaky, cranky troglodytes, who here would really prefer to live in the pre-industrial/pre-digital era?
    So which age are you suggesting as an alternative?

    Me, I'll stick with the health care that I currently enjoy.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    And, in civilised countries, state healthcare at no extra cost.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Quite right. I agree almost 100%. Our problems now (which are very real, and serious) are a direct result of success beyond the wildest dreams of previous generations. There are a lot of us, the planet is finite, we only have one, and our way of thinking is all too often the same as it was when we could just move on to the next valley with our band of hunter-gatherers when the garbage piles got too big and nasty, or the game was all hunted out.

    And Mike, with all respect, while you might prefer to live in previous times, the odds are very good that if you did you'd be dead by your current age. And you're a lot younger than I am.

    The Plague wiped out so many tied serfs that the shortage of labour drove wages up, and crated mobility of labour. This also created a shift to the towns and an increase in the merchant classes.
    And in Eastern Europe, where the labor shortage was just as bad but the balance of power was slightly different, peasants were turned into serfs.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 10-26-2021 at 07:50 AM.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Consider modern dentistry. And pre-20th Century dentistry.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    “Medieval” teeth weren’t necessarily bad, european people didn’t consume much sugar.
    However, all the abrasives from the millstones in all the bread they ate played havoc.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The social mobility applied to the moneyed classes and merchants. The mill workers generally lived in squalor on such low wages that the entire family down to 6 yo children had to work.
    Some sons of aristocrats did well, likely helped by the leg-ups... ain't it always the way :-0

    But the clever were also able to do well, no matter what their background.

    George Stephenson, for example, was the son of illiterate parents, while the parents of Richard Arkright had the boy trained as a tailor as they could not afford schooling.

    Others who might otherwise have spent their lives as a stonemason (Telford), a millwright (Brindley) or an instrument-maker (Smeaton) saw opportunities in the new economy and ventured forth. All three turned independently to canal engineering (none had any such qualifications) and made their fortunes.

    And their canals, like the roads and railways which followed later, built the transport infrastructure essential for industry and commerce, careers and jobs and all else that flows in innovation-energised economies.



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    And since we've safely drifted away from the contentious question of whether a checkout operator's job can be saved by a refusal to use the self-checkout...

    The IR had upsides apart from wealth creation and new opportunities, including the emergence of political pluralism.

    The new commercial class was the seed for the liberal movement (and later party, replacing the Whigs). The burgeoning industrial centres were able to demand electoral reform, including representation in parliament and a wider franchise.

    And having so many workers on site allowed for the organisation of labour, giving rise to the labour movement (and later party) to press for improved pay and conditions.

    The industry leaders and workers also found common cause at times (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), like in the repeal of the corn laws and the successive reform acts.

    Which, to return to theme, is indication of the wide-ranging ways in which innovation energises economies and nations - as well as, admittedly, being a bane in some individual lives and livelihoods.


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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    I have seen this in my own career. in my time in, we went from standard Pars, Lekos, and Fresnels to "intelligent" lighting that started with moving mirrors to complete lights that can follow a person if they are wearing a tag. Because of this, the people who used to focus the lights are well out of a job, but those that adapted and learned how to deal with the new lights and their control boards have blossomed. I myself am not all that good with programming the boards for shows, but I know how to fix these lights when they go kaput. Another option that keeps me in cash.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    I have seen this in my own career. in my time in, we went from standard Pars, Lekos, and Fresnels to "intelligent" lighting that started with moving mirrors to complete lights that can follow a person if they are wearing a tag. Because of this, the people who used to focus the lights are well out of a job, but those that adapted and learned how to deal with the new lights and their control boards have blossomed. I myself am not all that good with programming the boards for shows, but I know how to fix these lights when they go kaput. Another option that keeps me in cash.
    I used to run follow spots… sigh.

    The best, though, is when they run random shows at old theaters around here, and nobody else knows how to run the light board.
    I try to not, but I often as not do, and I never get paid well because it’s some random dance or theatre troupe and this is a cultural desert.

    Still, it’s fun to play with the old stuff, sometimes.

    The newer stuff amazes me. I quit learning about new stuff when varilights first hit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post

    The newer stuff amazes me. I quit learning about new stuff when varilights first hit.
    I do not blame you on Varilights. They intentionally made them difficult to use and did their best to make everything proprietary, including who was allowed to teach people to use them. In short, the only people allowed to program a Varilight was a Varilight tech. Today's lights are actually very easy to use, I can program them and use them, but I am only good for comedians. Rock shows require more experienced hands.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    So, did Vanlight maintain or lose its market share?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Varilight is still around, but they lost 90% of their market once lights that anybody was allowed to use and program came out.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    I’m assuming by innovation you also mean automation.

    I can only comment about my little corner of the world. I flew the 727 till 2009. Then the company went belly up. being a first officer on one of those antiques wasn’t a pathway into another job. By that point any employer wanted Airbus or equivalent time. The 727 might as well have been a DC-3 in 2009. I went to truck driving school. When hiring started up again, I started over again at the regionals.

    the flight engineer is gone all together. Most that sat in that seat found work in the first officer seat because they want to be pilots to begin with and it was just a stepping stone. They’re all still flying. The few that insisted on staying flight engineers are doing something else.

    in 2009 3 mechanics met every 727 carrying a tool bag. Today they only come when called—there’s still 2 or 3 of them—and they carry an iPhone rather than tools. 99% of all issues are fixed with a computer reset and the a iPhone has an app with the resets.

    everyone seems to still be around, we’re just all doing something a little different.

    flying is a lot safer.

    The job is easier.

    the industry is desperately short of workers.
    Last edited by CK 17; 10-28-2021 at 09:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    I do not blame you on Varilights. They intentionally made them difficult to use and did their best to make everything proprietary, including who was allowed to teach people to use them. In short, the only people allowed to program a Varilight was a Varilight tech. Today's lights are actually very easy to use, I can program them and use them, but I am only good for comedians. Rock shows require more experienced hands.
    Oh, I meant the era, mostly. I used them as my time stamp, as it were. A local shop I did some work with and for was an early adopter of the tech, and it left me in the dust.

    The best job was manually setting cues for the ballet. Two circuits, switchable, and each circuit has a slider for each instrument channel. I think there were 50?

    Anyway, all through the dance, it was “switch to the cue, clear the inactive circuit, set the levels for the next cue, switch to the next cue, clear the OTHER circuit and set the NEXT cue…”

    What you don’t want to do is get lost, and wonder which cue you’re on, and which one you’re going to. Also, the designer needs to remember that each cue takes a certain amount of time to set up…

    Sheesh. I do NOT miss the ballet. They called again, and I said no.

    They may call back with more numbers. I’ll probably still say no. The Nutcracker drives me insane, anymore.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    In the Hindu way of thinking, before any innovation, Shiva must first dance.

    Later in my career, I worked for a full-service design shop, and was amused that every civil engineering project began with demolition.

    But I've also participated in both sides of the innovation attrition:

    Early on in my career, back when most shops still had large engineering offices filled with drawing boards, I was asked to assess the potential of an Apple II+ to change the design paradigm. I saw a demonstration of an early CAD program run on the computer, and saw the future. My office mate, a degreed BSME engineer saw it as only a passing fad. When I had an opportunity to learn CAD, I leapt at it. Fifteen years later, at a different job, I encountered a fellow designer, about my age, who faced the same choice I had. He chose to not learn CAD design work, and was definitely suffering for his choice. I was already deep into 3D design work while he still struggled with 2D AutoCad.

    And what did I do with my design skills? I designed machines to do tasks that had previously been done by humans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webishop_sccgj View Post
    In the Hindu way of thinking, before any innovation, Shiva must first dance.

    Later in my career, I worked for a full-service design shop, and was amused that every civil engineering project began with demolition.

    But I've also participated in both sides of the innovation attrition:

    Early on in my career, back when most shops still had large engineering offices filled with drawing boards, I was asked to assess the potential of an Apple II+ to change the design paradigm. I saw a demonstration of an early CAD program run on the computer, and saw the future. My office mate, a degreed BSMS engineer saw it as only a passing fad. When I had an opportunity to learn CAD, I leapt at it. Fifteen years later, at a different job, I encountered a fellow designer, about my age, who faced the same choice I had. He chose to not learn CAD design work, and was definitely suffering for his choice. I was already deep into 3D design work while he still struggled with 2D AutoCad.

    And what did I do with my design skills? I designed machines to do tasks that had previously been done by humans.

    I swear, man. Player Piano was one of the most prescient novels written.

    It is eerie how similar the world has become to the one he wrote…

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Change seems inevitable. Bridges replace ferries.

    Not always easy to adjust or adapt. Used to be a lot of Blockbuster video renting stores. Technology put them out of business.

    Someone, somewhere, likely pays a price for such improvements.

    Robots have led, I believe, to higher quality products. They've also put people out of work, more people than needed to be put out of work.

    I've argued for some time that the K-12, and the 40 hour full time week, need updating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    And in Eastern Europe, where the labor shortage was just as bad but the balance of power was slightly different, peasants were turned into serfs.
    Yes that's true, and the peasants in east Europe and west Asia remained in serfdom right up until, in some areas, the end of WW1.

    Why was that? Was it accident or design? The historical record clearly shows serfdom was maintained by the empires covering those regions specifically to safeguard absolute rule.

    The tsars/emperors etc observed what was happening in England and other newly industrialised areas - especially noting the challenge to authority - and did not like it one little bit.

    So they variously curtailed and banned aspects of the revolution, including railways, factories, trade, industry and innovation. This kept peasants in their place as a landless commodity to be worked or traded to settle debts in much the same way as livestock.

    Conditions in England for workers in factories at this time were far from flash but at least the workers were well on the historical path to freedom of occupation, organised labour, and political representation.

    And that's a headstart that the nations which have now replaced the eastern empires have generally not been able yet to bridge.

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    Last edited by Mitziel; 10-28-2021 at 11:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by webishop_sccgj View Post
    And what did I do with my design skills? I designed machines to do tasks that had previously been done by humans.
    Through its then feudal structure, Ethiopia raised an army of 100,000 to beat the Italian invasion in 1936 (or thereabouts).

    Lotsa jobs requiring huge labour input were not all that desirable - some jobs that machines can do might release humans to do something better.

    You might be a hero to some folks so-released and not know it :-)

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    And that's a headstart that the nations which have now replaced the eastern empires have generally not been able yet to bridge.
    Communism didn't help much either.

    FWIW, I've been designing various kinds of automated production machines for 40 years. They almost always do things that would be utterly mind-numbing for a human, are too dangerous, or simply impossible for someone to do. and much of the automation is just material handling; moving stuff from one place to another.

    Some recent examples:

    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 10-28-2021 at 11:50 PM.
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    As I walked through our engineering office a couple of days ago, I realised why I am seriously reevaluating whether I really want to grind out the next seven years to retirement in one of those roles. Fifteen people shuffling symbols around on dual monitors, silent apart from clicking mice and keyboards - our digital present and future, it suddenly struck me as pretty ******* sad actually.
    The money is good, some considerable way north of 100k, and yet I'm ready to seriously consider pretty much anything that isn't software development, come what may. Maybe this is burn out, definitely uncharted territory for me .
    There were lots of really sh***y dangerous old jobs, still are. But sitting on your arse in front of a computer eight to ten hours a day isn't without its dangers either, just a bit less messy.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    Seems to me we're mixing two completely different things here.

    I view the industrial age as the period following the introduction of power, as in prime movers. Very suddenly, what had once been viewed as impossible became commonplace. Transportation and its infrastructure. Large scale manufacturing. Machinery of all types. These things changed the way people lived, and mostly for the better, by freeing up the time that had previously been required for gathering or growing food and merely surviving. People's lives got much easier.

    The digital age is an entirely different thing, and most of us saw it happen during our own lifetimes. While the changes have been enormous, and changed our lives tremendously, I'm not so sure it has been for the better. Many of our manufactured products are better, but the old ones they replaced were pretty damn good, and much has been lost in terms of the talent and craftsmanship that went into their making.
    But, most of all, the digital interconnectivity of people, through various social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and even this forum, has allowed people to segregate into echo chambers where they rarely have to challenge their own beliefs. This has led to an unprecedented level of polarization in our society. It seems to be tearing us apart. I guess I'm not so sure the digital age has been a net positive on our lives because it has dehumanized us so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Bartlett View Post
    Seems to me we're mixing two completely different things here.

    I view the industrial age as the period following the introduction of power, as in prime movers. Very suddenly, what had once been viewed as impossible became commonplace. Transportation and its infrastructure. Large scale manufacturing. Machinery of all types. These things changed the way people lived, and mostly for the better, by freeing up the time that had previously been required for gathering or growing food and merely surviving. People's lives got much easier.

    The digital age is an entirely different thing, and most of us saw it happen during our own lifetimes. While the changes have been enormous, and changed our lives tremendously, I'm not so sure it has been for the better. Many of our manufactured products are better, but the old ones they replaced were pretty damn good, and much has been lost in terms of the talent and craftsmanship that went into their making.
    But, most of all, the digital interconnectivity of people, through various social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and even this forum, has allowed people to segregate into echo chambers where they rarely have to challenge their own beliefs. This has led to an unprecedented level of polarization in our society. It seems to be tearing us apart. I guess I'm not so sure the digital age has been a net positive on our lives because it has dehumanized us so much.

    It has taken a relatively short time watching the quality of human interaction deteriorate that many have been mesmerized by the peripherals of of the revolution and missed what is happening. Maybe being a sort of ludite has offered some protection. Maybe driving a car long distances can be mind numbing but some people don't want to get rid of what is often pleasurable.

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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    I dunno - it seems that 'the digital age' is a more or less linear development of something that's been going on since we invented the telegraph. That was the first electronic light-speed communication; all else is bandwidth. There are certainly good things and bad things about it, and any technology can be used for bad purposes, but it seems to me that easy access to information and easy communication is, on average, a Very Good Thing. I actually think Kipling got it mostly right, for all he couldn't have foreseen TikTok.

    The Deep-Sea Cables
    Rudyard Kipling, 1893

    The wrecks dissolve above us; their dust drops down from afar—
    Down to the dark, to the utter dark, where the blind white sea-snakes are.
    There is no sound, no echo of sound, in the deserts of the deep,
    Or the great grey level plains of ooze where the shell-burred cables creep.

    Here in the womb of the world—here on the tie-ribs of earth
    Words, and the words of men, flicker and flutter and beat—
    Warning, sorrow and gain, salutation and mirth -
    For a Power troubles the Still that has neither voice nor feet.

    They have wakened the timeless Things; they have killed their father Time
    Joining hands in the gloom, a league from the last of the sun.
    Hush! Men talk to-day o'er the waste of the ultimate slime,
    And a new Word runs between: whispering, 'Let us be one!'
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 10-29-2021 at 10:21 AM.
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    Default Re: Creaky, cranky troglodytes

    We've gone from the Town Cryer and early broadsheets - "one to many" communications but limited in scope and distance, to Kipling's cable - "one to one" unlimited by distance but with immovable endpoints, and very expensive, to what we have now. Essentially free "one to global" scope, with almost no editorial filtering. Hugely powerful and empowering, for good and evil. I think we're really just starting to see the large scale dark side, and some pushback. Rebranding FB is a bit like the response to global warming - everybody recognises there's a problem that requires some massive changes to address, but meh, let's just tinker around the edges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Bartlett View Post
    But, most of all, the digital interconnectivity of people, through various social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, and even this forum, has allowed people to segregate into echo chambers where they rarely have to challenge their own beliefs. This has led to an unprecedented level of polarization in our society. It seems to be tearing us apart.
    This comment of Gordon's is worthy of its own thread.

    When I first heard about the coming 'information super-highway', way back, I had virtually no comprehension of what was meant. But the digital revolution has delivered in spades and already is every bit as profound and wonderful as the industrial revolution.

    But the web is not all toffee apple. Forums like this are minefields and detonation common. It's fairly safe here when the topics are boating (except anchors etc), but anything more contentious is just plain dangerous.

    That danger means folk quietly retreat to safe echo chambers; few choose to risk life and limb by involvement in debate on contentious issues across multiple time zones, cultural and colloquial tripwires, assorted rigidities and other induced states.

    And then there's the ignore button option, which is perhaps both the indicator and the agent of the polarisation referred to in the quote block above.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitziel View Post
    This comment of Gordon's is worthy of its own thread.

    When I first heard about the coming 'information super-highway', way back, I had virtually no comprehension of what was meant. But the digital revolution has delivered in spades and already is every bit as profound and wonderful as the industrial revolution.

    But the web is not all toffee apple. Forums like this are minefields and detonation common. It's fairly safe here when the topics are boating (except anchors etc), but anything more contentious is just plain dangerous.

    That danger means folk quietly retreat to safe echo chambers; few choose to risk life and limb by involvement in debate on contentious issues across multiple time zones, cultural and colloquial tripwires, assorted rigidities and other induced states.

    And then there's the ignore button option, which is perhaps both the indicator and the agent of the polarisation referred to in the quote block above.


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