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The statistical mechanics of black holes arbitrarily far from extremality is modeled by a gas of weakly interacting strings. As an effective low energy description of black holes the model provides a number of highly non-trivial consistency checks and predictions. Speculations on a fundamental origin of the model suggest surprising simplifications in non-perturbative string theory, even in the absence of supersymmetry.doi:10.1103/physrevd.56.1005 fatcat:oprcshadanczjevfguxelnc64e