Olympus PEN-F, E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III Mirrorless Cameras
Reviews

A comparison of the Olympus E-M1X, E-M1 Mark III and PEN-F mirrorless cameras

This is a hands-on comparison between these three distinctive cameras and designs from Olympus. I hope it helps you as you decide which model is best suited to your needs.

The E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III were on loan from Olympus Romania. The PEN-F is my personal camera.

This is not a paid review. It is my honest personal opinion on this matter.

You can watch this video directly here and here.

Released 26-02-2021
Thanks for watching!

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A Guide To A Good Life, Thoughts

A clarification of my message

This is a clarification of the message I put forth in my previous two videos. I hope it helps you understand me a little better.

This video can be seen directly here and here.

And here are my previous two videos, which I encourage you to watch in their entirety if you haven’t done so already:

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A Guide To A Good Life, Thoughts

On governments

These are my (admittedly pessimistic) thoughts on governments around the world. What can I say — this period has allowed me to stop and think, which is something that I was too busy to do before. The lockstep behavior of so many governments, at the behest of the powers that be, in order to advance a clear agenda, has also tipped their hands and allowed us, those who want to open our eyes to the truth, to see what’s really going on.

You can access the video directly here or here.

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A Guide To A Good Life, Thoughts

On these times

Here is a video I’ve been meaning to do for some time: my thoughts on these times we’re living in, and what we can do to improve our lot. This is quite a different video from what you may be used to seeing from me, but I hope it’s useful to you nonetheless.

You can access the video directly here and here.

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We had one of the few snowfalls of this winter come down on our town (Medias, RO) today, starting at about 4 pm. By 6 pm or so, it had begun to settle on the ground, which is when I took a walk through the town’s old center to capture some photographs.

A cold front is projected to move in, so we’ll have negative (Celsius) temperatures (both highs and lows) for the next several days, which I hope means that the snow will stick around.

That incoming cold front meant that the air was quite chilly, unusually so for a snowfall, and the tips of my fingers did not thank me for not wearing gloves.

It was quite peaceful in the town, with very few people walking around. We are certainly living through strange times…

On the bright side, I am using a beast of a camera these days: it’s an Olympus E-M1X, their top of the line, their “swan song”, which they put out before selling their camera division to Japan Industrial Partners. I have it on loan for a couple of weeks, along with a remarkable lens, the M.Zuiko 25mm f1.2 Pro. That’s the combo I used for these images, and what a combo! Even wide open at f1.2 it’s incredibly sharp, and it focuses so quickly, even in very low light. It is a joy to use and it is a testament, in more ways than one, to the kind of work Olympus could put out when they were still making cameras.

Enjoy the photographs!

Places

An evening snowfall

Gallery

The theme is once again winter. I know that other parts of the world have had plenty of snow, but we have not, so I yearn for it and treasure every little snowfall we’ve had. Enjoy!

Places

Today’s images

Gallery

This winter has been uncharacteristically warm, with little snow, which has been disappointing for me. However, I’ve gathered here a set of photos which will show a nicer, whiter winter to you. Enjoy!

Places

Today’s images

Gallery

This is a mix of images from throughout this year: from last winter, the spring, the summer, the autumn and this winter, which has been quite soft so far. Enjoy!

Places

Today’s images

Gallery
Thoughts

On race and color

I’m going to start with a statement that I’ve made before: people are people are people; they should be judged on their merit alone. I know that when I meet someone of a different race, I don’t judge them based on their skin or appearance. Although there may be an initial element of surprise at how differently they look from me (and that’s okay), I will judge them based on their merit, and by that I mean this: are they a good and decent person; are they honest and hardworking?

I believe most people in the world judge others based on these basic questions, if given the chance. I think the time when the color of one’s skin or their race automatically meant certain things, is in the past. Race relations have been getting better, slowly but surely, until new tensions were introduced by weaponized untruths such as critical race theory (in the US) and ridiculous immigration quotas (in Europe). We’ve been allowing shysters and grifters to dictate new codes of morality to us, the decent, law-abiding people, new codes that are meant to terrify us and induce false guilt, not correct any wrongdoings.

I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t racial problems in the world. There are plenty, but on the whole, they are fewer than before. People are behaving better toward each other. They may grumble, they may make stupid remarks, they may even get into fights, particularly when drunk or angry (for unrelated reasons such as the economy and lack of jobs), but in the end, I believe people are judged by their peers based on their merit, not their race or their color. I believe all of the racial tensions that we’re seeing now aren’t based on color or race, but on misguided (and in part, insane) expectations and on differences in culture/tradition/religion. Now let’s delve into some of the issues that have cropped up lately.

I’m not going to use the various new terminologies of critical race theory that have gotten a lot of press. I refuse to learn them. I am going to talk as a person would talk to another person, based on common sense and mutual respect. Those who would use new words to describe old problems and would accuse instead of discuss are the ones who are causing the racial tensions and the bad color optics. Do not listen to them. Call them out for what they are. Use your common sense. Do not let a bunch of loud gasbags who probably haven’t put in an honest day’s work in their entire lives, dictate how you live your life. These are assholes, plain and simple; lying assholes who couch their utter lack of actual thinking and actual work in academic language, who come up with bullshit papers that build on more bullshit papers, to justify their utterly meaningless careers and lives. They are contributing nothing to the wellbeing of humanity — they are actually detracting from it — and in the end, they will get the full brunt of what they deserve, as they live and after they depart this world.

There are old problems, and there are new problems. Let’s talk about the old problems first, because they’ve been around longer.


Slavery. Colonization. Exploitation. These are the old problems. When it comes to the current racial tensions related to these acts of the past, we’re talking about the era of colonization and expansion of European empires, and the time of plantations and slavery in the US.

This was wrong thinking that went beyond pretentious after-dinner discussions and was put into action by many countries. This caused so much harm, for so long, harm that’s been thoroughly documented in the annals of history. It is important to point out that it was government officials, people of influence and others with an axe to grind or an ulterior motive such as cheap labor and easy wealth, that created these problems. The wrong thinking, the thing that got this nasty ball of evil rolling, was the idea that cultures different from Western standards were primitive and thus inferior. It then stood to (wrong) reason that they could be conquered, colonized and exploited for their vast natural wealth, which they “weren’t putting to good use”. And it didn’t take long for the conquerors to “realize” that the people of those countries, being “primitive” and thus “inferior”, could also be put to good use as slaves.

That was the thinking of the time, and it wasn’t new even then. The idea of conquering lands and taking slaves has been around since the beginning of our recorded time. Just look at what the Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian kings used to do. Look at the oldest city states in that region of the world, and you’ll see that as soon as a city was formed and developed, its king wouldn’t be content enough to hold it, develop it and care for it, but would quickly look around for other city states to conquer, for wealth to steal, for people to kill and enslave.

Coming back to the more recent time of colonization and slavery, it is important to point out once more that it wasn’t everybody of that time (17th, 18th and 19th centuries) who thought this way. It was, as it usually is, the tail the wagged the dog — a relatively small group of people of wealth, government officials and others with influence and a mercenary spirit that developed these ideas into the actual deeds that happened. If you’ll look through accounts of the time and newspaper articles, I’m sure you’ll find people who spoke out against these things. But just as it happens now, when entire nations are dragged into wars unwillingly and those who are in the military have to obey the orders that are given to them, no matter what they think of them, those countries were eventually “convinced” into doing these things. I doubt that any normal, decent person of the time, when presented with the situation impartially, thought it was a good idea to go and kill the people of another nation and take their wealth, but that’s not how these ideas are usually presented. No, they’re presented as propaganda through various mediums such as newspapers, books, textbooks, speeches, etc. Certain sound bites are repeated over and over, until people believe them.

What I’m trying to say is that you can’t hold entire nations or entire races and colors, responsible for the decisions of a few bad eggs. You must realize that coercion was used quite a lot by rulers and regimes of the past. People did things not because they believed in them or they liked them, but because they were ordered to do so. You also can’t hold entire races or colors responsible for these acts, because not all of them participated in them. You have to remember that numerous so-called “white countries” never engaged in colonization and slavery. They’re the ones that weren’t wealthy in the Middle Ages and in the Industrial Era, and they aren’t doing that well nowdays, either.

I can give you one personal example: my country of birth, Romania, has never engaged in any of those acts. What’s more, Romania has been overrun, conquered, raped and pillaged throughout history more times than I care to remember. Did we, as Romanians, ever vow to go and conquer, rape and pillage other countries ourselves? No. All we wanted to do was to defend our country, even though we were outnumbered and outgunned most of the time. We did the best we could, we suffered through the occupations, through the tributes paid in blood and money and children, through all of the corrupt regimes, and all this time we tried our best to get along with all the different races that wanted to settle in our country: we had Tartars, Ottomans, Russians, Germans (Saxons), Romans, Slavs, Huns (and the list can go on). We were enslaved, we were persecuted, we had our lands stolen from us, we had our children stolen from us, and yet we are somehow still here as a nation and as a country and as a language, and we get along with the various ethnic groups that now exist within our borders. I’m not saying you should emulate Romania’s example, because it involved terrible suffering. I’m saying that not all white people did harm to the black people, or to the people from the Far East, and so on. Even more to the point, the very countries that are now blamed for these historic harms (US, UK, France, Spain, etc.) contain so many different white people of different origins, that you cannot issue blanket statements about their general guilt without being terribly wrong.

Here’s something else to think about: white men, women and children were also slaves, throughout history, including the time that people from Africa were enslaved. And in the slave trade of today (that’s right, slavery still exists, but it’s hidden from view), people of all colors are being sold into slavery. I would also encourage you to read up on serfdom and indentured servitude, which were practiced throughout Europe for much longer than slavery and weren’t much better in my opinion. If you want to read up on some of the biggest injustices done throughout history, you should read up on European history. Those particular readings will point out quite clearly that white Europeans did unspeakable things to other white Europeans from neighboring countries and even from the very same countries, long before they stepped out of Europe to do more of those same things to people of other races and colors. I’m not saying these things to get into an argument about which race or color suffered more. That’s a very unpleasant game to play. All races have suffered throughout history. All have inflicted needless harm and killing on their own people. Instead of playing the comparison game, we should come together to create a better world for our children, no matter what color they may be.

To get back to colonial times, sure, plenty of people ended up believing the propaganda. Yes, they enjoyed the prosperity that trickled down, more or less, even though it was ill-begotten. Yes, many ended up thinking they were a superior race. Just like it’s happening today, when people are drinking the period-appropriate koolaid and they end up screaming bloody murder on the streets, vandalizing cities and terrorizing innocent people in the name of stupid ideas that they’ve bought into…

Furthermore, you cannot hold entire races and colors responsible for the actions of dead people who died long ago. It’s been many generations since then. The people who got those horrible situations started are dead. The people who participated in them are dead. The people who were enslaved and exploited are dead. Long dead. Colonization itself is dead. The kind of slavery that some are getting so worked up about is long dead. Make no mistake, critical race theory is actually injecting racism into the public discourse, mostly at the expense of whites. It is trying to legitimize anti-white language and behaviors. Refuse this hateful lunacy now or you will regret it. We, the whites of today, are not guilty of the past crimes of our nations, done at the behest of leaders long dead, nor are we responsible for heeding all the bitchy, whiny speechifying of entitled little shits writing bogus papers out of their tenured offices at leftist academic institutions.

We have an old saying in Romania that goes like this when translated: “If you stir up the manure pile, it’s going to stink again.” That’s what’s going on now. The people who are stirring up the manure pile are doing this on purpose, because they want to cause a stink. They have an axe to grind themselves, an agenda that they want to fulfill, and their agenda is pretty simple: they want to profit from the mess that they’re stirring up. They want to justify their meaningless, useless little lives. I can assure you that decent people on both sides of this issue never thought of arguing about these things after race relations became somewhat normal, but the people who are stirring up these tensions are not decent people. They masquerade as respectable people, self-appointed thought leaders, self-appointed community leaders or academicians, but they are none of those things. This is where the misguided and insane expectations I mentioned at the start of my post come in… These people would disturb the race relations in entire countries simply to advance their personal agendas, and they must not be allowed to do so.


Immigration. This is a new problem, and it’s one that perhaps deserves its own post, so I’m only going to talk about it here as it relates to race and color. (As a side note, immigration itself isn’t new. Just have a look at the history of immigration into the US during the late 19th and early 20th century and the attitudes of existing US citizens back then. Tensions related to immigration have always been around. What is new are the waves of undocumented and mostly unwanted immigrants pouring into the US and Western Europe.)

I must first say that I am myself an immigrant, so I cannot be against immigration. I emigrated to the United States in 1991 with my parents, all three of us seeking a better life. We went there and we worked hard. Our hard work was in the end rewarded, as we became prosperous. We learned English, proper English and we did our best to integrate ourselves into the communities where we lived. We respected the laws, the culture and the traditions of the United States. We paid our dues and we did well.

As an immigrant, I must also say that current-day immigrants are treating the countries that are receiving them with disrespect. They’re not learning the language, they’re not trying their best to integrate into communities, and they don’t obey the laws, and the culture and the traditions of those places. Instead, they form enclaves where they begin to bully, abuse and assault the unfortunate citizens who live in the area, forcing them to move or worse, killing them or raping their children (there are plenty of cases of this sort of behavior in Western Europe). They force their outside religion on the citizens of their adoptive countries and they proselytize aggressively.

Do you see the incredible tragedy of what’s happening? A people uprooted, abused, killed and raped by their own country, moves to another country where they end up uprooting, abusing, killing and raping the people of that country. The victims become the abusers! And then we wonder why there are racial tensions… If some of the things you’ve just read in this paragraph seem unreal to you, please do some online searches on violence in the UK and in France. Just the things that have happened in recent months ought to make you realize the situation has become untenable.

I also mentioned at the start of this post that I’d talk about how culture ties into this. Well, what we as Westerners must realize is that the things that we’re accusing the immigrants of doing are part of their culture and that in their own countries, the sorts of things they’re doing are considered normal. I don’t mean that murder is normal anywhere. But marriage with underage girls is quite normal in a lot of Arabic and African countries. It’s certainly not okay in Western countries. Rape is also condoned and victims are intimidated into silence. If you don’t believe me, research this. Large groups of people, multiple generations living together in small spaces is also normal in many other countries in the world, but it’s unusual in highly developed Western countries. Disrespect for women is also a cultural norm in many of these countries. Because the public infrastructure is not developed in a lot of these countries, it’s also normal for a lot of immigrants to be unfamiliar with bathrooms, with running water, with toilets, and with proper disposal of garbage and recyclables. But that’s where the integration part comes in. Governments must hold classes where they stress what is mandatory and what is recommended or polite in those countries, for each and every single immigrant. And immigrants must recognize that they must pay their dues. Out of respect for their adoptive countries, they must obey their laws or else… Out of respect for the countries where they’re received, they must do their best to fit in. Out of respect for the cultures in those countries, they must learn about them and about the traditions of the people who are allowing them to live in their countries, or else they must leave. Immigration is a two-way street. If immigrants only take and take and take and they don’t give back, they’re not welcome and they shouldn’t ever be welcome.

As I said at the start, people should be judged on their merit. I know that race and color ultimately do not matter if someone is a good and decent person. It’s cultural differences that introduce tension, particularly when there are stark differences between groups of people. We have to constantly keep in mind that in the West and the North, we have evolved to think very differently from those in the East and in the South. To some extent, it’s okay for these differences to exist, particularly when they’re part of long-standing traditions. That’s why there are countries, so that different cultures and traditions can exist and the people that belong to those cultures and traditions can congregate and separate from other people in those places. It’s when people from different countries are brought together in close quarters that problems arise, and this is why it’s so important for incoming immigrants to do their best to integrate. The onus is on them to change in order to fit into their adoptive countries, not the other way around! I do not believe the citizens of a country should be the ones that change in order to accommodate the immigrants. The citizens of a country have an absolute right to keep their own cultures and traditions alive, and the immigrants must change in order to fit into that place or else they are not welcome there, and rightfully so. I’m not saying they need to change completely, but they must fit in, out of respect. This was the norm, the expected behavior, during millennia of immigration. It’s only during the past decade or so that governments have tried to force-feed their citizens a different ideology, and it’s wrong. The way to handle these situations is to ask: how would peaceable, understanding people do this? Instead of legislating race relations, communities ought to hold open discussions where all points of view, from all sides are heard, solutions are developed and also implemented. with people of different nations, races and colors are the right ones, particularly when it comes to things that are deeply entrenched in people’s psyches like culture and tradition. Slow, steady and respectful wins the race, in more ways than one.

It’s also important to point out that I harbor no illusions, if it hasn’t already become abundantly clear to you, about people of one color getting along better with one another “if only other colors or races weren’t present”, as certain groups of angry people have espoused throughout history, including nowadays. That is most certainly not true and history has proven this beyond doubt. I believe quite strongly that people will always find reasons to argue, fight, hate, murder and persecute each other, even when they’re part of the very same family tree. Having people of a different race or color present “there” simply gives them a scapegoat to blame, but as soon as the scapegoat is out of the picture, they’ll go right back to finding fault with each other. No, as far as I’m concerned, peaceful co-existence is about people who share common values, particularly lifestyle and work values, who come together in communities where they can collaborate with each other to good effect, no matter what race or color they are. We also have to admit that this peaceful co-existence is made easier (not perfect, just easier) when those people also share common cultures and traditions, and that typically happens when they also share a common race. Will this change with time? Yes. It has been slowly changing, no thanks to the agitators. Nationality will in time supersede race and color, and that’s why immigrants must integrate into the cultures of each adoptive country, for the good of their communities and those countries as a whole. People need to have a common bond, something that holds them together, something that gives them a sense of identity, of belonging, of community. The more traits they share, the better their chances of getting along with each other will be.

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Thoughts

On lockdowns

As more lockdowns are enforced in various countries all around the world, I thought I’d lay down my mixed feelings about them.

I realize they destroy small businesses and they obliterate the hospitality industry. We own a small business. Thankfully my wife and I set it up from the get-go so we could run it from home, therefore we weren’t so badly affected. We still lost money though. Also, during late 2019 and for most of 2020, we were part of the hospitality industry, because we opened a small pension in a Saxon parochial house, on an historic property adjoining a Saxon fortified church where we were taking care of the buildings through our NGO. Obviously, we lost a lot of money on that venture. Lots for us, so much so that we had to cut our losses and move on. Operating a pension during a worldwide pandemic is not a profitable business model.

I get it. My bank account gets it. Every time I have to print out a form, as we do here in Romania, sign it and stamp it with our company’s or our NGO’s official stamp just so I can leave my home, it gets tiresome and infuriating.

However, as you’ve read here on my site, time and time again, I welcome the quiet and the peace that sets over cities, towns and villages when there’s a lockdown, and that’s because:

  • I cannot stand loud noises. I can stand purposeful noise, such as construction noise, or the noise of diligent work, but idiotic or unnecessary noises, particularly loud music, parties, yelling or loud voices, banging, etc., they really set me off. I don’t know if you’ve ever been so mad that you’ve seen red, that you were ready to jump on someone and rip them apart with your bare hands, but that’s how I get when there are loud noises.
  • I cannot stand crowds. I find them suffocating. I find the invasion of my personal space by other bodies, voices, looks, body odors, to be repulsive. I can’t help it. I like people, but I have my limits. I enjoy being with friends, every once in a while, I enjoy seeing acquaintances on the street and having a short chat with them, every once in a while, but to find myself surrounded by a sea of people when I go into town is unbearable. Having to dodge and weave my way through a crowd just to run a simple chore is insanity. Different strokes for different folks I guess… I enjoy seeing happy, peaceful people at work, playing with their children, living their lives. I don’t enjoy crowds and their inherent chaos. I like to see order and ordered, purposeful movement. So you can well imagine that lockdowns, which do away with crowds almost completely, are a welcome respite from a loud, crowded, chaotic world.
  • I welcomed the change of pace that accompanied the lockdowns this year. It was nice to slow down and take time for personal reflection, for rest, for reading, for one’s spouse and child. That was a truly wonderful benefit, an unexpected present from a horrible situation.

A case in point: one of the villages near my town, where we are doing maintenance and restoration work on another Saxon fortified church and parochial house, is a gorgeous place. It’s got beautiful nature, wonderful rolling hills, healthy forests, clean, crisp air, fertile ground, good water, etc. It’s the kind of place where you’d want to live and grow old — except there are a few shitheads that completely ruin the place. They throw drunken parties, they put loudspeakers in their yards and blast loud music that can be heard up and down the main road of the village, and if you try to reason with them, they make threats, they intimidate, trespass and sometimes assault people. The village police have offered no permanent solution to the problem, because they’re more interested in maintaining good relations with everyone than punishing those who are guilty to the full extent of the law. It doesn’t even matter that plenty of other villagers complain about them, the police still do nothing. So a village that could be heavenly turns out to be unbearable, just because of a few rotten apples. When I go there to do repairs or maintenance work on the historic buildings and there’s loud music in the village, I have to make a decision: do I call the police, in which case I am going to get threats later on and as soon as the police leave, the music will probably get turned on again, or do I just go home and come another day… It is exactly because of situations like this (and there are plenty of them everywhere, even in our town) that I welcome lockdowns, because it forces the shitheads to be quieter. It doesn’t quiet them completely, but things are better. I realize liking a lockdown just because it makes a few shitheads quiet for a while is like using a machine gun to cut the grass, but there you have it.

Let’s talk about how these lockdowns affect the world, because that’s the important stuff. Remember how I talked about the pandemic being an agent for change? I can see the changes taking place and they’re not pretty.

I see the ultra-wealthy drooling because they’re making tons of money during this pandemic, including during the lockdowns. While decent folks are losing money left and right, these grievously greedy grubbers have already made a ton and they stand to make much more. I see how entire sectors of industry and economy are being purposefully destroyed via lockdowns, just so a few ultra-greedy sickos with a foot in the grave can get a bargain-basement price on good companies and properties as they gobble them up and add them to their empires. If profit for the few is any indication, I don’t think these pandemics will stop, because they’re too profitable. That’s troubling.

I can see the erosion of our personal freedoms. For a virus with a 99,96% survival rate, I cannot believe how much we have to give up in terms of the freedom of our movements and associations. In spite of what the politicians say, you cannot save everybody. People die every day. Death is kind of mandatory for people. It’s hard to avoid it. Using 0,04% as an excuse to shut down the world and lock people in their homes is either irrational or premeditated. I agree that the experience and sequelae from serious cases of COVID seem to be pretty terrible, as described by those who’ve gone through them. It’s an odd variance of the typical coronaviruses. But something to keep in mind is that people are suffering and dying everyday from all kinds of diseases and conditions. Every single day, people around us are dying, whether or not we know about it. While the world is obsessed with coronavirus, those people are still dying, and their deaths are no less important than a coronavirus death. Furthermore, their decreased access to treatment because of the pandemic is the real downside and what I would call the real sick part of keeping the world and the hospitals obsessed with COVID. A death is a death is a death.

I see the censorship that’s happening on social media and in the news. We cannot express any point of view that disagrees with the narrative that the media want us to know, and the media is all on one page, as if they’re all being fed the same script. I’ve been either forbidden from posting links to dissenting articles and videos on Facebook and Twitter, or I’ve been fact-checked after posting them. In much the same way, governments all over the world fell in line with the pandemic narrative soon after the virus hit the Western world. This is worrisome and it should be on your mind. It’s not about the spread of disinformation. It’s about the active suppression of information, and this has never happened to this degree in the Western world before. We’ve prided ourselves on our freedoms, including our freedom of speech. We’ve prided ourselves on questioning the status quo, on questioning the media, on questioning our politicians. Now we are not allowed to question them publicly, only privately. It isn’t right. I remind you, the survival rate for this virus stands at 99,96%.

I see the sickening desire to control more and more, and to gather up more and more wealth. It’s masquerading as the exact opposite, as a “great reset” that will improve the world. It won’t. What it will do, if it’s executed, is that it will concentrate power and wealth in the hands of even fewer individuals, while the rest of the people will be left to kiss the foot of those individuals in order to have a life. Not a good life, just a life. Good lives will be reserved for the vomitously unabashed brown-nosers and the exquisite lives will be the domain of those with the power and the wealth. That’s a disgusting and repulsive prospect.

I see the long game. What we’re experiencing now has been in the works for a number of years. The signs are there for you to see, if you do your homework. This is wrong. This is not the direction the Earth should be heading. This is not the direction humanity should be heading. An immediate course correction is needed.

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