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<< The string "foo" has no file, not in the past, present, or reasonably-predictable future. Ditto for the literal bytes. >>

Is Python not parsing/compiling the source file ? Does the "foo" string constant not live in such a source file ?

<< Explicitly specified by who? Where? When? >>

The "b" prefix states what the encoding is: it is a raw byte string whose bytes are assumed to correspond to their ASCII counterparts.

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