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Things that me and Luke Skywalker now have in common - Tactical Ninja

Apr. 19th, 2011

09:41 am - Things that me and Luke Skywalker now have in common

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First, I paid someone to come at me with a needle. Then I paid someone to come at me with a scalpel. Now, I have paid someone to come at me with a laser. What on earth could be next?

(actually, moar scalpel is what's next)

The pain level was about the same as the cutting but the whole process lasted just under an hour (instead of 6 hours) and the skin wasn't broken so it came with less shock/body trauma. The machine makes a weird clicking noise like a repetitive electrical spark, that I think someone should sample and remix. It's left red lines where the pigment lines used to be, with some subdermal pinpoint bleeding. From what I understand it'll be difficult to see how well it's worked for a couple of weeks because the ink is broken up by the laser and then expelled naturally - but I can already see the lines are less defined and I suspect it'll be overall a success. Today I feel like I have a sunburn, and overall I'm pleased with how easy it was.

The upshot of all this is that in 4-6 weeks I'll be able to go back to Scott for the touch-up work and he'll be able to see clearly what needs doing and where. I plan to get it done in small pieces so I can really work at them to make sure it comes up even. Apparently you have to wait that long with laser treatment because the subdermal layer is damaged by the heat of the laser and breaking the surface can cause it to pop open while it's healing, creating an uneven scar. Folks wanting to get tattooed over a removal be warned.

Seems I have a high pain threshold. I'm also getting intimately familiar with where the nerves are in my back. I know just where to poke you to make you twitch. O.o


Last night I tweeted this:

"Dear geeks, please make the connection between the anti-filesharing law and the #tppa. Small part of a bigger picture. #blackout"

It was retweeted a bit. This has happened some lately, and every time it happens I get followed by all sorts of weird and wonderful people. This morning I woke up to discover I've been followed by a man with a conehead icon who claims to be 43, Christian and living in Mt Eden with his wife and 2 kids. Well that's nice dear. I do wonder why folks feel the need to declare their religious beliefs when introducing themselves. It's kind of like declaring your sexuality in that it's not something I really need to know on first meeting (unless I'm trying to sleep with you, then both your religion and sexuality might be important).

*cough*

Anyway, this tweet was the result of going to a meeting about the TPPA, in which I was surprised by the age range of people there, and disappointed by the complete lack of geeks. Most folks at the meeting were older people, and (possibly quite rightly) most were more concerned about the privatisation of state owned assets and the sale of NZ land to corporate interests and the impact that the US's imposition of patent law might have on health costs in New Zealand. And the gasps of surprise when I brought up the connection between the filesharing law and the US demands regarding intellectual property in the TPPA told me that this is an area that hasn't been explored enough as part of organised action against the agreement.

This feeling was exacerbated when discussing over cookies (come to the dark side!*) afterwards, and pombagira asked one of the main organisey people if the TPPA Action Group have a Twitter account. This person didn't seem to grasp the significance of using Twitter as a network. So essentially, the people opposing the TPPA need more People From The Internet to get involved. Last week's filesharing bill upset A LOT of geeks, yet the same group of geeks doesn't seem interested in following up that upset with tackling this problem where it really sits - and the absence of geek involvement is really showing in this group.

The thing is, nobody has yet been able to explain to me specifically how the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will benefit New Zealanders. There's a lot of ideological wank out there about free trade and the so-called efficiency of the private sector vs the state - but I have not heard a single solid example of how the TPPA will make my life, or the lives of my fellow Kiwis, better. I've heard a lot of evidence-based examples of ways in which folks who've taken this very road in the past have suffered. Hello, Ethiopia! Hello, AirNZ! Hello, railways! Hello, fucking USA who are actually quite a lot worse off than us, standard-of-living wise!

So again, how is this good for us? And what about these unspecified good things makes them worth the sacrifices in lifestyle that evidence shows us we will make should we sign this thing?

And why the hell are Kiwis, especially smart, informed Kiwis like the geek community, not standing up and going "FFS STOP THIS BULLSHIT!"

*ggng*


So yeah, more geeks needed. Stat.

* I actually said "Come to the dark side" and the only person who got it was the priest-person (sorry I'm crap at religious titles) who was cleaning up the church hall after the meeting. *meep*

Meanwhile, I am hoping that today's lovely sunshine will help Dr Wheel get better. We have dinner tonight, tomorrow and Thursday. Because we're that social-butterfly-ey. Even when he's all sick and only operating on some cylinders, he's still awesome. And multidimensional. And warm. <3

Comments:

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From:t_c_da
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Actually I'm right with you on the TPPA - it's a load of old cobblers being sold to anyone who wants to trade with Uncle Sam's corporate sponsors - and for some obscure reason (ideology anyone? Anyone?) the lot currently occupying the beehive seem to think it's fine to drop your trousers and bend over for Uncle Sam when any carefully observant person can see quite clearly that the US is screwed up beyond rational belief. e.g. healthcare, social security, intellectual property, just for starters, not to mention their political system which requires humungous quantities of money to function...
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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The thing is, Labour also supports the TPPA which makes me think two things:

1. Voting out National in November will not change much - strategic voting to install powerful coalition partners is called for if we want to stop the bulldozing.

2. There's a lot we're not being told about what's in this. And I want to know what that is.

So I'm suggesting that rather than simply voting in November, people need to stand up now and lobby for some transparency so we can make informed choices - especially in a governmental situation where there is zero trust that they will act in our best interests.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh and another thing I find disturbing - a lot of people I know personally who are probably far more informed than I am on this issue have been strangely silent about it.

This makes me wonder what they know that I don't, and why keeping quiet is being chosen as the best option.
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From:t_c_da
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
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I'm not entirely keeping quiet on this, but not being a twitterati I don't twitter on about it, although I do speak about it in RL interactions.

Also I am tarred somewhat with the brush mentioned by rantydave below, and nothing done by national, or reported in mainstream media, changes that situation.

Last time I voted Bill'n'Ben (aka d) none of the above), and this time around it could well be green - I agree that Phil's mob look nearly as useless as key's...
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From:richdrich
Date:April 18th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Basically, I can't think of anything much I can do. The "geek community" as you call it, even if it was a coherent group, represents a few percent of the voting population, not anywhere near enough to sway an election where National currently lead by 20% or so.

The media in this country is lined up firmly with the right of the National party and will not give traction to any narrative that undermines that.

Most people are selfish and won't act until there is a practical threat to their livelihood or lifestyle. Something as nebulous as an FTA in the process of negotiation is very hard to get traction on.

I suspect that the best we can hope for at the next election is that the Greens get a decent vote increase to maybe 9%, and that Labour realise that being a fake National party isn't going to get them anywhere. Sorry, and that.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
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I agree re: how folks should consider voting. However, given the potential impact on everyone who lives here (bar the rich of course), it seems that there is already a practical threat to our livelihood and lifestyle - and the amount of outrage from geeks NZ-wide over the filesharing bill amounts to something completely un-nebulous for them to get their traction on.

I think Beagl's right in that having a copy of a draft agreement would be useful. I disagree that there's 'not much' that can be done, and the best I hope for is that people realise that standing up and going "Oi! We see what you're up to and it's wrong" is actually doing something if enough people do it.

Naive maybe, but I'd rather be naive than know that I took this lying down and did nothing.
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From:rantydave
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)

Sunburn and despondency

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I think you do have sunburn. From what little I know it's a carbon dioxide excimer laser which gobs out extremely short but very powerful blasts of ultra violet - horribly owning the now ex-pigment in your skin and giving you sunburn into the deal. It's an improvement on the alternative though, right?

And the geeks are, I think, disempowered and despondent. With National riding high in the polls and having got away with fucking us over under "urgency" there seems little point in fighting. What would be practical, however, is learning Mandarin.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, last night I advised a couple of people to talk to you and seek out Tech Liberty on Twitter as a way of centralising their information about the TPPA. It seems to me that the disconnect between disparate groups of people who all seem to agree on the bottom-line issue (TPPA = not cool) is a weakness in the opposition to it.

I am fairly new to this kind of thing so I'm a bit flaily regarding how to encourage a more united approach to it.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
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And it probably didn't help that the latest talk on the TPPA clashed with Nerdnite. I do find myself wondering how many geeks that were at Nerdnite would have been at that meeting if they hadn't clashed though.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 19th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
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The lack of unity and grasping a shared sense of opposition is one of the biggest problems the opposition generally has. People have their angle that they get active over - be it copyright, economics/trade agreements, human rights, animal rights, global warming, the environment - whatever they are getting angry enoguh to act over, they are all fighting the same underlying system. Getting people to realise we are fighting the same fight, that is the trick.

But this takes communicating a comprehensive vision, which is even more effort to grasp than the specific area of obsession that you have to get into to get active in the first place. And this is where we loop back, as ever, to media as the bottleneck, as we have the information, we have the physical means to broadcast this information to everyone, yet the media is part of the same corporate system which has no vested interest in exposing itself in a way that will change it...

*disappears muttering down an alley to find wall to bang head against*
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
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This is why I think the internet and so-called 'social media' has an important place as a form of independent media.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
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I see what you're saying, but in respect of the TPPA both of those situations come down to a fundamental similarity - our government is willing to sign away its right to make laws in favour of the rule of the market.

So corporations with a vested interest will be able to 'sue' the government for making laws that reduce fossil fuel dependency, if those laws impact their business. Likewise other corporations will be able to dictate how NZ law deals with copyright for the sake of their own profits.

The closer one gets to the TPPA, the more these diverse interests converge. And while it isn't a solution per se, making sure the power make and retain those laws remains with New Zealand and not in the hands of foreign investors seems like a fairly good starting place.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 19th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
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yes, and no, and but.

a response to this could become book length :)

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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
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"The agreement contains US domestic agriculture protection measures that will prevent the food we grow being sold there. Next."
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
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"Ask the Queensland sugar cane growers how well the Australian free trade agreement with the US is working out for them."

etc

That argument goes on and on. "Free trade" agreements aren't about free trade, they're about the conditions of foreign investment.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 19th, 2011 10:46 am (UTC)
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Generally speaking, the issue uniting all of them is our screwy value system, whereby we put making a profit - an inhuman abstraction - ahead of all other considerations in deciding what things to do.

The problem is the underlying value system. A response on the terms of the system still plays by the system's rules. Or will be ignored as incoherent from within that systems terms of reference. ("Lust of money is the root of all evil" :P )

I am sure I have ranted about this at length elsewhere.
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From:dreadbeard
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I doubt very much that we agree on the problem, because our models of the world are likely very different, as is the case with most people alive; if people agreed on the problem, surely they would agree on a solution, as the solution is implicitly defined by the problem - the question asked determines the answer.

(Also, lust of money etc is a diagnosis of the problem, not a solution...)

Oh hai, getting further from the topic. So what we need is rhetoric which doesn't really hold up to rigorous analysis from any point of view but which sounds good enough to get enough people with different axes to grind nodding in unison long enough to act... damn.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
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"New Zealand is selling its sovereignty to the evil US corporations."

This is in some aspects true but there are plenty of logical arguments against the statement as well, especially if you throw in 'evil' and the spectre of 'corporations'.

NZ, in general, has Little Guy Syndrome in a fairly big way. The dynamic with the US is such that it exacerbates this given that US power already controls a lot of what we do and the US has (globally) come to symbolise everything that's wrong with capitalism in a lot of people's minds. Add into this that the anti-nuclear stance that includes a fair bit of 'teeny nation sticking it to the giants' has become pretty much part of the national psyche, I reckon that statement will pull the strings of most Kiwis reasonably effectively.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:April 18th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
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I am very much enjoying the fact that the sky is crisp blue instead of a gray haze of blue.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 18th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
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And you can tell it's sunny without having to crane your neck! ;-)
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From:wildilocks
Date:April 19th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
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I had to scroll back a loooooong ways in my Twitter (past numerous RTs about TPPA stuff I realise in retrospect, more than I thought given all the crazy travelling I've been doing over this time) but found it! THis was a Twitter RT going around from Johann Hari a few weeks back, it stated:

"I always feel so sad when people message me saying "Yes it's terrible, but we can't change any of this." You can:"

which linked to this news article and seems worth repeating here in case there's anyone *cough* above who feels despondent and that there's nothing that can be done. YOU CAN make a difference!!!

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From:t_c_da
Date:April 19th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
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YOU CAN make a difference!!

OK, so when are we going to start waving placards outside parLIARment??
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
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May 1st, 12pm.

For the Facebook-allergic, this protest was started by someone way before the filesharing bill went through, but folks have picked up on it as a way for disparate groups to unite in protest for whatever their foible is.

Personally, I disagree quite strongly with some of the views of Christopher Wingate who seems to have started it - but we are united in believing that we are governed by idiots and that it's time the people got mobilised against it.
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From:wildilocks
Date:April 19th, 2011 03:16 am (UTC)
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May 1st is a very traditional protest day, I approve. Bugger though, won't be there.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 19th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
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Good thing it's not you we're trying to convince then, isn't it?

I do understand where you're coming from but in lieu of a better idea, could you please try to refrain from shooting down everyone else's by telling them how crap you think they are?
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From:wildilocks
Date:April 19th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
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I saw a whole bunch of handwaving about people going down at midnight last week..... or did everyone stay stuck in front of their computer? (I tend to access Twitter on my mobile though, so anyone with a smart phone has no excuse!!)
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From:danjite
Date:April 20th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
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Geeks work the way geeks work: Do a systemic analysis, figure out what needs doing, and do it.

Protesting in the streets will be covered by the unions and the usual anti-FTA crowd.

TechLiberty and many organisations like them write public position papers and do submissions directly to government.

At this point I am literally hundreds of hours into my TPPA opposition work, including many coffees with many people in and out of Govt,, attendeing the Auckland round of talks back in November and I'm currently working on setting up an event specifically focussed on opposition to the IP chapter in Vietnam before the next round of talks.

My cohort of like-minded geeks is similarly occupied, quietly working other fronts.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 20th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I know all that.

Part of the problem here is that the street-marching types being assumed to be 'unions and the usual anti-FTA crowd' means they are easily discounted as not representative of the population. The petition that was presented the other day was rejected for that very reason - "Those people have never seen a FTA they liked."

Likewise, the geeks talking in a language the politicians don't understand and getting uppity about the filesharing law are easily discounted as an elitist minority of people who just want to upset diplomacy so they can watch Doctor Who.

In this situation, there needs to be representation from the whole population and it needs to come across as united, because this thing affects all of us.

And if the number of geeks who were outraged last week vs the number that went to nerdnite instead of the TPPA talk on Wednesday is anything to go by, the people who would judge them might well be right*.

* Obviously not all, but I'm amazed how many care so much yet do so little.
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From:danjite
Date:April 20th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
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"...how many care so much yet do so little..." could describe most of human endeavour, and certainly when it comes to politics.

Or sex, or sport, or diet, or, or, or...

Those who do get involved figure out where their niche is, as people find different things that work for them.

Despite being a geek, I have marched with the unions. Wasn't my thing. While I have been involved with (Many) street protests in the past, it is clear from previous behaviour that this government is immune to the consideration of public action, so a different tack must be taken in the name of effectiveness.

That said, that very street theatre is essential for increasing public awareness in case - with an election looming - the government does decide to pay attention to public opinion- which they aren't going to.

Fighting insanity like TPPA or Section 92A requires an ecosystem of opposition, with each concerned activist finding their ecological niche. If I were working publicly with the hard left, I wouldn't get into some of the places I do where I can be effective.

That said, we absolutely meet with each other to discuss long term strategy and work to make sure our tactics and scheduled activities don't usually conflict- but sometimes you get Nerdnite happening on the night of a TPPA event and both of them conflicting with a Jewish family holiday.



Edited at 2011-04-20 07:02 pm (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:April 20th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
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The biggest hurdle I've come across so far is the lack of public awareness or interest in the TPPA. For some, they've never heard of it (witness my experience in a tutorial at uni where even the tutor had no idea it existed). For others, it's a boring thing, this high-government trade interaction - why on earth would they want to find out about that?

So I see a lot of value in raising awareness of the issue. As Happy says, some kind of soundbite statements that make it clear that it exists, what it's about and why people should care.
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From:danjite
Date:April 20th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Public awareness is important, definitely, and I think an inspired, interesting, innovative person could really do something important.

*Looks pointedly at inspired, interesting, innovative person*

I am booked solid at this point, but happy to help you plot and strategise and think there are a couple of others on here who would, too.




*Note: This is not meant as jackassery to put you on the spot, as it were: It is a statement of my belief that you, personally, could bring something important to the game.
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From:tatjna
Date:April 20th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
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I think I could too, but I have little experience with this sort of thing (having previously leaned towards one-on-one persuasion and governmental submissions as my methods of political action) - therefore could use advice on where and how to apply myself.
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