Tag Archives: halloween

These hacked streets signs are the scariest thing you’ll see this Halloween

Gather ‘round, monsters, goblins, and ghouls. It’s Halloween, and we have spooky news from one of the scariest places in the world (if you’re terrified of tall buildings, pretty people, and loneliness).

A haunted hacker has been taking over New York City Department of Transportation electronic road signs to send messages to New Yorkers from the other side. The first supernatural transmissions arrived earlier this month and included such eerily true statements as “cars are death machines” and “cars melt glaciers.”

Now, for Halloween, the trickster has some new messages for commuters: “Forget poison candy” / “cars are the real danger.”

The sprite responsible for these spine-chilling messages has been dubbed Bikesy — the NYC bike-advocate version of Banksy (don’t yell at me, I didn’t come up with the nickname). Bikesy also left a “Happy Halloween” message on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn this morning, along with a warning: “Don’t be creepy” / “Leave the car at home.”

OK, fine. Whoever is hacking into road signs is most likely a transportation nerd with tech skills and some free time, not a tormented spirit from beyond. But you know what is super scary? Cars!

Some 40,000 Americans died in car crashes last year, according to an estimate by the National Safety Council. Cars killed 111 New Yorkers in the first six months of 2019 alone. That means vehicles are way deadlier than guns, which killed 61 people in the city during the same period, according to NYPD data. So far this year, 25 cyclists have been killed by vehicles in the Big Apple, more than double the number of cyclists that were killed by cars in the entirety of 2018.

And Halloween is a particularly dangerous time for people trying to share the street with cars. Research shows it’s the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians, who are three times more likely to be killed by a car on this day. For kids between 4 and 8 years old, the risk is 10 times higher. Not to mention the fact that gas-powered vehicles are a major contributor to climate change and air pollution, both of which come with their own major health risks.

How’s that for a scary story? The moral is clear: if you don’t want to be cursed for all eternity, listen to Bikesy and leave the car at home tonight.

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These hacked streets signs are the scariest thing you’ll see this Halloween

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Watch Samantha Bee’s haunted house of climate hell.

A new Chicago Tribune investigation found that residents in black and Latino communities are charged water rates up to 20-percent higher than those in predominantly white neighborhoods.

The Tribune examined 162 Chicagoland communities with publicly managed systems using water from Lake Michigan. While only 13 percent of the cohorts surveyed are majority-black, those groups included five of the 10 areas with the highest water rates.

Water bills are soaring across the country. A recent USA Today report of 100 municipalities found that over the past 12 years, the monthly cost of water doubled in nearly a third of cities. In Atlanta, San Francisco, and Wilmington, Delaware, the price of water tripled or more.

Low-income residents and communities of color are bearing the brunt of surging water rates, which have buried families in debt, causing some to lose their homes. In Flint, Michigan, more than 8,000 residents faced foreclosure because of unpaid water and sewage bills.

This year, Philadelphia launched an income-based, tiered assistance program to aid low-income residents. City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez spearheaded the bill because residents in her district — which includes some of Philly’s largest Puerto Rican communities — bore 20 percent of the city’s unpaid water debt despite only being a tenth of its population.

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Watch Samantha Bee’s haunted house of climate hell.

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Obama Tells Samantha Bee a Halloween Story That Should Truly Terrify You

Mother Jones

President Barack Obama continued his media farewell tour on Monday with an appearance on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, where he made a pitch to young people to get out the vote next Tuesday.

“This is probably the most important election of our lifetimes,” Obama said. “The choices could not be clearer. If we want to build on progress on issues like climate change and gender equality and making sure everybody has health care and making sure young people have a good education and can afford college, they’ve got to make sure their voices are heard.”

He also shared his prediction for what the female equivalent of birtherism might be if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I think the equivalent will be ‘she’s tired,’ ‘she’s moody,’ ‘she’s being emotional,’ ‘there’s something about her,'” Obama said. “When men are ambitious, it’s just taken for granted. ‘Well, of course they should be ambitious.’ When women are ambitious, ‘why?’ That theme will continue throughout her presidency, and it’s contributed to this notion that she’s hiding something.”

Bee concluded the interview by asking the president to share a spooky Halloween story. His response should actually terrify you.

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Obama Tells Samantha Bee a Halloween Story That Should Truly Terrify You

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Remembering Candy Cigarettes, Big Tobacco’s Most Evil Way to Turn Children Into Smokers

Mother Jones

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Encouraging children to smoke? No, sir! Courtesy Robert Proctor

There was a time you’d think nothing of seeing young kids puffing on candy cigarettes. Parents would even hand them out on Halloween. Smoking was KOOL. “Just Like Daddy!” one candy ad promised. Hershey Corporation started the trend a century ago when it began hawking chocolate smokes, and by the 1920s, companies such as World Candies and Necco were selling a chalky white version. You could also get skinny bubble gum cigs in white paper tubes. Bonus: Blowing on them produced a little puff of gum-dust smoke.

All images courtesy of Robert Proctor

Big Tobacco often looked the other way as its names and logos popped up in candy aisles around the nation. “Not too bad an advertisement,” a lawyer for Brown & Williamson once conceded to a candymaker. Some tobacco execs even supplied art specs for use on candy packaging, notes Stanford historian Robert Proctor, who painstakingly details the industry’s evildoings in his 2012 book, Golden Holocaust.

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

It paid off, too: In a 2007 study that surveyed 25,000 people, researchers at the University of Rochester found that respondents who consumed candy cigarettes as kids were roughly twice as likely as those who hadn’t to report that they later became smokers. When tobacco companies eventually grew sensitive to negative PR and began policing their copyrights more aggressively, confectioners responded with a wink: “Marboro,” “Winstun,” “Kamel,” “Lucky Stripe.”

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

One state, North Dakota, actually outlawed candy cigarettes from 1953 to 1967, but federal lawmakers who tried the same were no match for Big Tobacco’s friends in Congress. In the end, didn’t matter. Following the massive tobacco settlements of the 1980s, which included restrictions on advertising and product placement, smoking became way less cool and candy cigs slowly disappeared from most stores on their own. You can still buy the fake cancer sticks online without the recognizable logos. Now they’re just “candy sticks.”

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

Courtesy of Robert Proctor

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Remembering Candy Cigarettes, Big Tobacco’s Most Evil Way to Turn Children Into Smokers

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Top 10 Ways to Green Your Halloween

From pumpkins to costumes to candy, heres how to reduce all your spooky Halloweenwaste.

Is the thought of all the potential Halloween trash more frightening than Halloween itself? No need to fear. Weve got some green Halloween tips that are sure to scare away any waste but dont worry, we promise youll still get all of your Halloween treats!

1. Make a jack-o’-lantern

Can’t decide whether to carve or paint your pumpkins? Carve them! Many paints contain ingredients that cant be composted, so to ensure you can still dispose of your pumpkin responsibly, skip the paint and get handy with some carving tools!

Read More:Proper Green: Is it Bad to Paint my Pumpkin?

2. Keep the dcor natural

Putting your pretty carved pumpkins on display is a given, but there are also other gourds and dcor (think branches, leaves) that can be brought inside to make your home feel like a haunted house while reducing your consumption of man-made materials. Since everything will be natural, just add it to the compost pile at the end of the season.

3. Opt for decorations you can repurpose

If you cant get your hands on compostable leaves or cornstalks, choose decorations that will last for years to come in some form or another! For example, you can use fake cobwebs as replacement stuffing for stuffed animals or throw pillows.

4. Make your own DIY costume makeup

Use natural food coloring and cornstarch to make your own vibrant face paint without any of the harmful chemicals. By using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, you can avoid the extra cost and all the packaging that comes with store bought versions!

5. Make your own DIY costume using only what you already have

From old school classics like a bed sheet ghost to new ideas like raining cats and dogs (where you glue a bunch of stuffed animals to a raincoat and umbrella), many costumes can be made without a trip to the store. To reduce even more waste, get creative with old clothes that were headed for the trash anyway!

Read More:7 DIY Costume Ideas You Already Have the Materials For

6. Raid a thrift store for costume ideas

There are so many clothes in need of a second life, and many of them are at thrift stores just waiting to be pieced together into your next Halloween costume. Plus, for any DIY costumes missing key pieces say, a fringe vest or cool tie-dye shirt to complete a hippie look a thrift store is just the place to find what youre searching for.

7. Donate old costumes

Dont let those ghosts of Halloweens past haunt you (and take up all your storage space). Raid your current costume collection and donate any that youve grown out of or that youve gotten the most possible uses out of. For any of those costumes that have a bit too much wear and tear, you might be able to bring them to a drop-off center fortextile recycling.

8. Choose your treats wisely

Go for bulk candy options to avoid unnecessary packaging, or ditch the candy idea altogether! Small toys, fun pencils and erasers, or even loose change have been some successful lower-waste alternatives to add to those trick-or-treaters Halloween haul.

Read More:Intertwined: Simple Green Tricks for Trick-or-Treating

9. Skip the store-bought treat buckets

Those clich plastic pumpkins seem to be ubiquitous, but believe it or not, thereareother options. Going with a reusable bag that can be used over and over again is your best bet for reducing waste. Pillowcases fit more treats, anyway!

10. Dispose of all leftover candy (or just wrappers) sustainably

The bad news is that the candy itself isnt compostable, but the good news is that there are programs that accept candy wrappers, likeTerraCycles mail-in recycling program. If youre having trouble keeping up with all the candy youve collected, you could donate wrapped candies (try something likeOperation Gratitude), freeze some of it to save for later, or turn it into something new, like chocolates into candy bark or hard candies into cake and cookie toppers!

Have any other ideas to reduce all that wicked waste? Share your tricks and tips (or treats) in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on Recyclebank.

Photo Credit: Recyclebank

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Top 10 Ways to Green Your Halloween

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"Looming Trump" Is a Metaphor for the Republican Party

Mother Jones

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Liveblogging a debate is an odd thing: You have to listen carefully to what the candidates are saying, but you’re also furiously typing away to deliver your brilliant commentary to a waiting world. For me, it’s exhausting. I have a one-track writing mind, and it doesn’t appreciate having background distractions. That’s why I can’t listen to music or have the TV going while I blog.

Obviously I have no choice during debates, but it means sometimes I miss things. Especially visual things. However, I know that my readers want to be au courant on all internet memes, so here’s one I missed last night: Looming Trump. Apparently Donald Trump is too hyperactive to simply sit in his chair when the other person is talking, so instead he wandered the stage. More often than not, he ended up about five feet behind Hillary Clinton, looming over her:

My guess is that this wasn’t deliberate on Trump’s part. It’s just an instinctive part of the stupid dominance games that control his life. On the other hand, some of his stupid dominance games were very, very deliberate:

Donald Trump’s campaign sought to intimidate Hillary Clinton and embarrass her husband by seating women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual abuse in the Trump family’s box at the presidential debate here Sunday night, according to four people involved in the discussions.

The campaign’s plan, which was closely held and unknown to several of Trump’s top aides, was thwarted just minutes before it could be executed when officials with the Commission on Presidential Debates intervened….The gambit to give Bill Clinton’s accusers prime seats was devised by Trump campaign chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and Jared Kushner, the candidate’s son-in-law, and approved personally by Trump.

That’s Jared Kushner, as in “Ivanka Trump’s husband”:

As the candidates’ immediate family members shook hands it was also noticeable that Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton, friends of years’ standing, ignored each other. Ms Trump had spent the last few days absorbing the news that her father once called her a “voluptuous piece of a–“. She looked sad, almost tearful, throughout the ensuing 90 minutes as Mr Trump attempted to crush the life out of his opponent.

Um…I’m not sure that’s why Ivanka and Chelsea weren’t on speaking terms. I think my boss has the better take:

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"Looming Trump" Is a Metaphor for the Republican Party

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Yo La Tengo Is Here for the Long Haul

Mother Jones

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Yo La Tengo: Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, James McNew Jacob Blickenstaff

Coming out of the close-knit music community of late-1980s Hoboken, New Jersey, Yo La Tengo was the product of the romantic and musical relationship between guitarist and music journalist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley, the daughter of well-known animation producers John and Faith Hubley. With help from a rotating cast of supporting musicians, the husband-and-wife duo released four albums, including their 1990 breakout, Fakebook, before bassist James McNew came on board as a permanent and stabilizing member.

Last month, Yo La Tengo released its 14th album, Stuff Like That There, which serves as a companion of sorts to Fakebook. Both albums draw on an eclectic mix of covers as well as remakes of the band’s previously recorded songs. Guitarist Dave Schramm also returns to lend his guitar work.

Active for more than 30 years, the band owes its staying power to its ability to absorb and integrate a vast range of influences. Stuff Like That There singles out and connects some of those myriad points of reference—including The Cure, the outsider doo-wop of Sun Ra, and Yo La Tengo’s 1980s alt-rock contemporaries Antietam—to reveal the band’s musical center. I visited with the trio at their Hoboken rehearsal space.

Mother Jones: How did the thematic similarity between Stuff Like That There and Fakebook come to pass?

Ira Kaplan: We’ve been asked a lot over the years about doing another album like Fakebook. When people ask you to do stuff, it’s not your idea anymore, so it’s tough to get behind it. But over time, we started realizing that that didn’t make it a bad idea.

MJ: Reinterpreting and re-recording your own songs is something you’ve done on other albums, too. Do you think that’s unusual?

IK: It may be unusual-ish. James was just listening to Country Joe and the Fish—all the San Francisco bands were very free with the interpretations of their material. If you listen to Jefferson Airplane’s God Bless Its Pointed Little Head, the live versions of their old songs don’t sound much like the studio versions. The Velvet Underground’s live versions changed constantly. And as Beatles bootlegs keep surfacing, you hear all the different sketches and ways they approached things, so it’s always felt pretty natural for us.

MJ: When Georgia and Ira created Yo La Tengo, you guys were very much amateur musicians.

IK: I still feel like an amateur! I remember being in college and taking a class on classical music and getting a big laugh when I said very sincerely that I was not really into trained voices. Some of the greatest singers can transcend their technical perfection and still sound great.

Georgia Hubley: They have to get over that stumbling block of talent!

MJ: You seems always to be evolving, yet Yo La Tengo maintains a consistent core identity. Is that deliberate? Like, are there parameters that you follow?

IK: I don’t think there are really that many rules. We are willing to change, and we’re willing not to, but we just try to be listening. This has been a crazy year. Every time we play live, it feels diametrically opposed to how we played the last time. We’ve been playing with different people and different configurations, and just allowing those things to happen. At the same time, we’re consciously going back in time and playing with Dave Schramm again to just see what that would be like.

MJ: The band began as a duo, with other musicians coming in and out. How did James’ involvement change things?

IK: We thought we had a band, but when James joined, it was, “Oh, I see! This is a band!” Everything we do now, even though we had four records before he joined, traces back to when he joined. May I Sing With Me was the first record he plays on, but with Painful, I think that’s when we were really a band for the first time.

MJ: Did it feel natural when you began, James, or did you find it tough to integrate?

JM: There’s a Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes back in time. If he touches one thing and then flashes back to the present, everything is different. I didn’t want to do that in the band. I was a fan; I already thought they were doing great. It was like, “Don’t touch anything! Don’t ruin that band you like!” So I tried to find that spot where I felt, “I didn’t ruin things today? Let’s move it a little further.” I’m still toeing that line. But it was natural in a sense of our personalities. The first day we practiced together, we spent just as much time discussing Second City Television episodes as we did playing music.

MJ: Georgia and Ira, how do you keep your marriage from interfering with the business of the band?

IK: It’s pretty jumbled, and it is a challenge. But I feel like it has to be that way when you are passionate about your work—as opposed to waiting until five o’clock so you can do the things you really care about. Like James mentioned about SCTV, there is a gray line. Like, what is band practice? These things just work their way in. That goes back to being receptive, and being confident that the experiences you are having are going to find their way into what you’re doing. It’s not a matter of “We gotta learn that bridge today!” Things happen more formlessly.

MJ: How would you say your dynamic has changed since you first started playing?

IK: I think there’s less panic, and more acceptance that not everything is going to go the way that you thought it might. We are much more accepting of the days, or the weeks, when nothing we really liked happens. Or we’ll like something and try to play it again and find that it’s gone. I think there was a lot more anxiety about that in the past. Now it’s more like, “Oh well, that’s part of it.”

GH: We always are learning something, whether its, “Let’s not do that again,” or “How do we make that better?” Making music is really fun. Some of the other stuff can get to you, but I think we do a pretty good job of riding it out.

MJ: What other stuff?

JM: Everything but music!

GH: Everything else is terrible!

JM: There’s an actual physiological thing that happens to me on tour. There’s that moment where I sit in my seat and click the seatbelt, and five seconds later I fall asleep. There’s the excitement, and I guess anxiety, about what the shows will be like, but it’s overwhelmed by, “Thank God, here we go!” It’s letting go of all that other shit I had to do to get to this moment. It’s done—or at least it can’t touch me until we land.

MJ: So, to what do you attribute Yo La Tengo’s longevity?

IK: We managed to not ever be part of a movement. Even “indie” is a word we run from—that word is so amorphous. We’ve never been trendy, so consequently we’ve never fallen out of fashion. We didn’t have a hit, so we’ve never been locked into anything. As far as we know, maybe we are locked in somewhere from a few years ago in other peoples’ perceptions. Maybe we’re too stupid to know it.

GH: Or delusional? I think it’s probably a good thing.

MJ: Is there anything about your group temperament that allows you to keep going?

IK: We were never a group that thrived on volatility. We just don’t work well calling each other out, saying, “That sucks!” Some sports teams hate each other in the locker room and that’s what makes them great, but we’re not that team.

We did a show recently in Spain where the sound on stage was miserable and no one knew what to do about it. Georgia stopped a song that had begun, which is not the response anyone was expecting, even Georgia. There’s no question in my mind that if that had happened years ago, the band’s response and my response would have been so much worse. We just kept going. It didn’t derail the show in ways that it would have. It wasn’t even something I had to reflect on later.

JM: Mindfulness in action. When you’re in the audience and you’re seeing a band and shit’s falling apart, that’s thrilling! But when it’s happening to you, you think, “This sucks! I hope nobody is seeing this.”

IK: Even if we do look awful, it was a human moment. But it’s not always easy, seeing yourself.

GH: This trip we just did was fairly difficult. We were on this bill with a lot of bands, and it was very hard to connect to the audience. It’s a strange way to feel when you’re about to pour your heart out—to get on stage and feel like, “Does this matter to anyone?”

JM: I was reacting to the same feeling, that there are some people who aren’t watching the show. I thought, “Okay, so this is for us.” It was a really beautiful, emotional feeling—just joyful: I love doing this so much, and I hope you do too. I left with a smile. Or something close to a smile. I was very tired.

You can catch Yo La Tengo at their upcoming tour dates in the United States and Japan. They’ll also be appearing at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival and Big Ears Festival in early 2016.

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Yo La Tengo Is Here for the Long Haul

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Here Are the Most Horrible Tweets About the Paris Tragedy

Mother Jones

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Here are some of the worst reactions we’ve seen so far to the tragedy in Paris. Follow our breaking news reporting on the attacks here.

Donald J. Trump had retweeted this one.

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Here Are the Most Horrible Tweets About the Paris Tragedy

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Conservatives Need to Admit That Racism Still Exists

Mother Jones

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I hopped over to The Corner to see what was going on, and the answer is….political correctness. Here are first few headlines I saw:

The Hidden Cost to Crazy Leftist Domination of Universities

Yale & Missouri: Power Play

The Left Is Starting to Tear Itself Apart: College Coeds Are Like Yazidi Slaves?

Campus Cattle Actually, I believe the correct term is “veal.” -ed.

The Mugging Continues

Conservatives are really flooding the zone over this. And since there’s obviously been some bad behavior on the part of the Yale and Missouri protesters, they have an easy time mining a few days of outrage over it. As for myself, I haven’t said much of anything, for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not just a middle-aged white guy, I’m a middle-aged white guy who grew up in Orange County and now lives in Irvine. Off the top of my head, I can remember only one black schoolmate while I was growing up, and pretty much none in the neighborhood I live in now. So I’m not exactly well placed to have any deep insights on interracial relationships.

Second, when things like this erupt, it’s often the case that the proximate cause is merely the last in a long series of things that already have everyone simmering. So the provocation itself (say, a fairly anodyne email about Halloween from a residential master) is often easy to mock because it really is sort of trivial on its own. And the reaction (“friends who are not going to class, who are not doing their homework, who are losing sleep, who are skipping meals”) can seem absurdly delicate. But fixating on a single incident like this is as silly as trying to figure out why all those European countries really cared so much about Archduke Ferdinand. In both cases, you’re missing the forest for the trees.

And this is why the conservative reaction to this stuff always seems so shallow. Sure, students shouldn’t scream at people. Sure, professors shouldn’t call in “muscle” to kick people out of public spaces. Sure, yet another demand for more diversity training can seem tiresome. Go ahead and criticize all this stuff. Plenty of people on the left have done so too.

But at the same time, if you are going to comment on these affairs, take the time to understand not just the (possibly trivial) proximate cause, but the underlying problems that have been building up for months or years. At least acknowledge what the real grievances are. I haven’t spent a lot of time reading about the Yale and Missouri protests, but even I know that there are a whole raft of complaints about racist behavior that have been accumulating for some time. Is it asking too much for conservatives to at least mention this, and perhaps condemn it? Even a “to be sure” paragraph would be better than nothing.

For what it’s worth, I think the hair trigger that campus lefties seem to have for all manner of isms often goes too far. It’s not just tiresome, it’s counterproductive, since it convinces too many people that they shouldn’t engage with these issues at all. One wrong word at the wrong time bears too much risk of career or education-threatening blowback—especially in an era when social media can randomly pluck people out of obscurity to become sacrificial lambs. Better to just hunker down and say nothing. Unfortunately, the result is that you lose the engagement of some of the very people it would be most helpful to have on board. Just a thought.

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Conservatives Need to Admit That Racism Still Exists

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Building a Better Candy Bar


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Building a Better Candy Bar

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