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In the land around Baku, truck tires tear out ruts that pool spontaneously with natural bitumen seeping up from below. Mysterious gasses burble up through mounds of gray mud, and the placid surfaces of dead ponds are disturbed by a constant effervescence. And strewn over the land, a swarm of oil derricks, arrayed like gigantic mosquitoes, are sucking the black blood of the earth.