Speaking of serving to Barnaby

Australia’s Minister for Agriculture was greeted by protesting koalas late last week at his Tamworth office. It seems the good people of Gunnedah are unhappy about the prospect of having much of their home country bulldozed and koalas killed or run off.

The company behind the mine has proposed that the koalas will be “encouraged to naturally move away from habitat that is being cleared” but that they will be forcibly translocated if they do not move. The Australian Koala Foundation has cited evidence from previous translocation projects where many koalas died, including one project where 80-100% of the translocated koalas died.

stop Maules creekIf you haven’t been following the story of the Liverpool Plains, it’s worth a look. Greg Hunt has apparently green lighted up to sixteen new mines in the Hunter region.

At a time when the coal market is winding down, coal is recommended by International auditors to be bought from warehousing rather than new mines, and Australia’s biggest buyers of coal, India and China, are building sustainable power investments hand over fist. Even bloody Adani is putting money into solar.

Why we’re considering destroying so much farmland, forest and possibly also our water table to fuel the COALition’s obsession is beyond me. It’s as if the LNP never got past the 18th century. Might have been better if some of those koalas had great big gnashy teeth. Or I could join the Knitting Nannas.

stop CSG

Posted in Australia, environmentality, sustainability, what's wrong with these people? | Tagged , , , , , ,

LLAP

leonard-nimoy

Well, that’s the end of my childhood. While I later came to consider that being in touch with one’s emotions is a really good thing, Spock was something of a hero to me as a kid, he was my favourite. It’s hard to believe he’s gone. My condolences to his family.

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Spiritual awakenings and transpersonal psychology

 

Stan Grof gave this talk at the SAND conference last year. If you’re not familiar with Transpersonal psychology, or psychology that overlaps into spirituality, you may find it an interesting talk. Particularly the mention of spiritual emergence and the way it is sometimes written off as psychosis.

When dissolving of the ego, I won’t use the term ego death, occurs when one is unprepared for it, that can be a strange experience. There isn’t much in the Western mythology to prepare you for it. What’s worse, there’s been a tendency in some groups to talk a lot about Lucifer appearing as an angel of light. I think that makes people unduly suspicious of what they experience when investigating transcendental meditation. It’s a particularly nasty thing to do, to sow mistrust into spirituality. Perfect love casts out all fear. If the message you’re getting is coming from a perspective of, or pushing fear and paranoia, it’s not coming from source.

The Biblical reference to Lucifer as an angel of light was a past tense. In the internal logic, he was replaced by Christ. But teaching people to question, to explore their doubts and fears, and to come to their own personal conclusions doesn’t serve the agenda of religious gate keepers. It certainly isn’t Rupert Murdoch’s agenda. If you wonder how he got in there, keep in mind the religious background to a great deal of what News Corpse publishes and the fact that Murdoch owns the world’s largest religious publishing house, Zondervan.

Here’s another video from SAND, this one’s Neal Goldsmith. He’s also involved in Transpersonal psychology.

 

If you’re not aware of the research into the connection between spirituality and psychedelics, which Dr Goldsmith defines as soul manifesting, there’s plenty around. 25 years’ research and more. As well as the emergence of Transpersonal psychology, the Spiritual Emergence Network and Holotropic Breathwork. There’s a substantial overlap with Eastern philosophies and Shamanism because it’s all human spirituality.

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TPP and International trade warfare

It was with some amusement that I viewed John Oliver’s episode about the practises of Big Tobacco. Namely, one Philip Morris International. For some years now I’ve boycotted PMI and its subsidiaries. Of which there are many.

 

For those of you who can’t watch the whole 18 minutes right now, I’ll pick out a couple of relevant points. Do watch it when you get home. He’s hilarious. And smart. And right.

Australia has been taken to court already by Big Tobacco and we caned them. Are they taking “no” for an answer? Of course not. Like the military industrial complex, why let lives stand in the way of a profit.

Big Tobacco has a record of using old trade agreements to fuel new spurious lawsuits to push their agenda, in spite of the public well being or the representation of the Australian Government. Which was, let’s face it, surprising in itself. The Hong Kong example was strange enough, but then Ukraine? Really?

Having Ukraine suddenly involved in this right at the time when the Ukraine war has heated up, after one of its many little rest periods, stinks worse than last week’s cat food.

costa rica

Now Australia is being pressured hard to sign the TPP, provisions of which have already resulted in Big Oil suing nations like Ecuador and Costa Rica for trying to sensibly limit prospecting, development and environmental catastrophe. In the (brief) search for those links, many more turned up. In fact, there’s an entire database of corporate vultures trying to dodge accountability or sue communities into submission.

It’s bad enough that these retrogressive pinheads are trying to keep humanity shackled to an out dated economic and business system. To do it so sneakily and with such overt violence is a strong indicator of why this old system is being replaced so rapidly by everyone who is capable of putting their pants on in the morning. Well, and all the Open Source devs who work from home in their undies. Because why wouldn’t you?

 

jeffwecan

#jeffwecan

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Charlie Phillot the new Ned Kelly

Charlie Phillott was about to be kicked off his farm.

He wasn’t even behind on the mortgage. Never missed a payment. The ANZ declared they couldn’t wring enough blood out of him, so they gave him the hurry up.

“He has owned his station since 1960, nurtured it and loved it like a part of his own flesh. He is a grand old gentleman, one of the much loved and honoured fathers of his community,” Pascoe writes. “Not so long ago, the ANZ bank came and drove him off his beloved station because the drought had devalued his land and they told him he was considered an unviable risk. Yet Charlie Phillott has never once missed a single mortgage payment.”

A vet with a my face account wrote about the story. It was picked up by Mashable and other ezines. The ANZ appears to be reconsidering, or perhaps waiting for the furore to die down.

That’s how it’s done, folks. Electronic graffiti. Which is just as well because I don’t have a horse and it’s a bloody long way to Jerilderie. The lake is really nice, though.

Electronic graffiti, or memes and stories, can be used to push the development of local power and other similar projects. It’s happening world wide, now. Only a few very noisy lunar right hate preachers and a small cohort of Murdoch’s puppets are still toeing that old establishment line. It’s had it’s day. Thank Christ.

While everyone’s watching Tones fly to Darwin to open an abattoir and do pushups with some sailors, keep an eye on Charlie and those vulture bankstas. Don’t let them sleaze their way out of this. This is a test case for many, many more farmers in Australia.

But hey, Charlie got a break. That’s the point of a David and Goliath story. David’s supposed to win. We’re supposed to win. Practise it like you do your sports psychology improving your tennis serve.

Imagine you’re serving the ball to Barnaby Joyce.

Posted in Australia, Go for it!, social justice, sustainable community, teh interwebs | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

March in March

Yes, we’re doing it again. Last year for the inaugural March in March 2014 some 50,000 Australians took to the streets to show their support for a fair go. There were three of these events and they were all well attended and popular with the press overseas. Locally, certain elements of the media predictably tried to flog folk devils, portraying citizens exercising democracy as being a bunch of crazies or extreme greens.

not st patricks dayIndications are that this year’s March is likely to be much bigger. The unnecessary austerity budget has pissed off just about everyone.

There’s a thought I’d like to add to this, while we’re all painting our t-shirts and printing off our demands. In recent weeks two State Police Commissioners have publicly distanced themselves from crooked politicians. Buggered if I can find a link to either of them, though. A funny thing happened in the news. The feed is full of sudden new enquiries.

Take a thermos of tea and your scones or apples or whatever you take for lunch. Be prepared to share it with the cops. If possible, march up into Parliament and sit in, with the cops, and represent yourselves all together as Australians demanding a fair go and an end to this stupid riding of the US coat tails down the gurgler.

It might not happen this time, but it’s on the cards. Public police forces began in Britain in the wake of the French Revolution. The joke was that it was never your interests they were there to protect and serve. In recent decades, though, the police unions have become more and more vocal about cuts to pay, conditions and numbers. What was always between the lines was the use of police to harass the public into complying with a corrupt regime. It’s one of the reasons why there’s always a certain type of cop, and the mounted police, deployed at public gatherings. The establishment knows that when the police union joins with the other unions and the rule of law is enforced at the top, which it has to be to be respected at all, the paradigm is over.

The police are among those with the biggest interest in seeing that the transition takes place smoothly, from vulture capitalism to corporate regulation that includes social and environmental costs. The majority of them signed on to ensure that everyone keeps the rules to make sure we all can get along. When the rules are so obviously corrupt, they’re in a difficult position. It will be interesting to see the police responses this year to the massive public marches.

As always, visualise yourself winning. Like you do in sport. What we’re asking for is a fair go. There’s no law against that.

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Tesla batteries can end the private utilities’ strangle hold

elon-musk.si

Something has to.

Elon Musk is now working on batteries that will serve the home solar market. This has the potential to make genuine off grid living available to a whole new class of households, possibly even tenants. Wouldn’t that be something.

Musk’s technology is only one aspect of the big move to sustainables. Not only is the tech becoming rapidly more efficient and affordable, there’s a massive aversion factor.

I’m in the midst of an ongoing electricity hijacking case. It is not isolated and obviously illegal behaviour, but the system to address it is woeful. At this stage I’m still waiting on advice from a financial advisor who is snowed under, it may also involve legal proceedings. It’s unclear as to whether I have to press charges or the State does.

The Senate enquiry being held at the moment is in relation to pricing only. Its scope doesn’t cover my circumstances but it does cover those of a lot of other people who have experienced incredible bad behaviour, loading bills, overcharging and effectively holding households to ransom. When private utilities’ customer base bolts away from them, they’ll have only themselves to blame.

In connection with this article I was searching for the recent report that regional Queensland is looking to invest a billion dollars in a solar thermal plant. It was funny seeing the results. For a while there, I wondered if certain large companies are google bombing. Searches for solar plants returned a bunch of solar panel sales sites and a number of Origin Energy links that led to pages describing their huge gas turbines in Queensland. And the fact that they also own fracking interests. And indirectly, that they’re in bed with multi-nationals with reputations for signing public/private deals and syphoning millions out of the public coffers.

Gee, I wonder why they didn’t upgrade the grid to handle solar feed in when they had the chance. For ten years. With all those millions of taxpayer dollars. Funny that.

crescent dunes solar array

Lismore and Townsville are building huge solar installations, including that solar thermal collector. That’s base load solar, as piloted in Spain. If anywhere on the planet has enough sunshine to escape dirty fossil fuels, Queensland would have to be it. If only there were a way to harness the power in storm surges, we’d be set. Distributed power generation can meet the needs of many local and regional communities, but the batteries price reduction is the final nail in the utilities’ coffin. It puts off grid power capacity in the hands of many more people in the suburbs and towns. At that point continuing with the current business model will mean utilities are openly holding the remaining customers on the grid hostage with ever increasing prices. Nobody’s going to put up with that.

Other companies are also getting into the battery market. Redflow is making a new technology available to miners as well as households. Yes, you read that correctly. Even mining companies are now building their own sustainable energy arrays. That photo of the Crescent Dune setup is a system built for a mining outfit.

Regardless of the Senate Select Committee results, the behaviour of privatised utilities is so consistently bad it is sure to be a political issue until local and State Governments start to back community level developments and rein in the vultures. Local co-operatives like that in Lismore are the beginning of a stampede. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The private utility companies do have a way forward here, by spending the money needed to update the grid, where it is actually necessary and in reconsidering the extortionate fees and charges. Whether it’s greed or stupidity that’s keeping them from doing that is anyone’s guess. Everyone else is doing their level best to make those companies in their current form obsolete. Sustainables employ many more people than the old fashioned system did and more of them locals, that’s three levels of win.

Personally, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

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The illusion of separation

yoga at sunset  #9

Separation and loneliness is a huge issue right now. Important enough to interrupt the tech with a post about spirituality. Along with lots of discussion about meditation, in particular mindfulness, one sees articles about the outer darkness. The deep loneliness and dissatisfaction that so very many people deal with on a daily basis. It’s a horrible burden and people feel very isolated in dealing with it. Well, you’re not alone.

There’s a story going around that someone told the Dalai Lama that people in the West are filled with self-loathing and he was shocked. He could not comprehend that. The Maharishi taught that where ever the mind goes, it always goes toward greater happiness. But for many Westerners who start meditating, that is not what they experience.

It’s really important to remember that the West has imported a lot of ideas from other cultures, ethnicities and eras. Our own culture is not set up well to support spirituality. There is a cartesian division between the religious gatekeeping of the church, and science which is supposed to deal with the purely physical domain. If you believe what Murdoch publishes, your options are either orthodox Western religion or orthodox Western Atheism or “woo” which is proscribed. It’s no accident that the Atheists promoted most in the media are those who object to the gatekeeping of religion but not the values of domination and privilege that go with the Western social construct.

We are encouraged to repress our emotions. Feelings are considered much less important than rational thought. We are pressured to build a bridge and get over it. People who fail to adequately repress feelings of sadness, guilt or loneliness are portrayed as losers or playing the victim. That’s not what playing the victim means, btw. This, together with the glitch in Western mythology, leave a lot of people feeling awful and having a lot of trouble overcoming that.

800px-Milky_Way_IR_Spitzer

When reading about things like spiritual growth and development I often come across the term ascendance. People talk about “raising their frequency” or “raising your vibration.” After having grown up being told that humans were fallen, that creation was fallen and that when we died we go to heaven if we’re good, the impression in my mind was one of looking up. Heaven was somewhere outside me and creation. We were separate, less than, diminished, lower.

Not only in religious circles but in the wider culture there is a lot of play on that feeling of separation. We are exposed to advertising that permeates every aspect of our lives. The message in images that try to sell you something is that you need this thing in order to be acceptable. In order to be okay. To be part of an in crowd. To be fuckable. To belong. Those are some pretty heavy emotional buttons to push and they build on the idea that you alone are insufficient or somehow unworthy. The subconscious feeling of separation and insecurity rapidly builds in such an environment and needs frequent attention to keep a handle on.

Like the media hype about terrorism and lazy bludgers. Divide and conquer. You are taught to feel resentment toward others who are falsely and maliciously portrayed as getting an undeserved easy ride. At the same time odds are that you belong to a group who has been demonised in the press, because there’s simply so many of them. So there’s that expectation of stigma along with the resentment. This does not make for a cohesive society. It lowers your seratonin levels and raises adrenaline and cortisol. This means your basic biology is off kilter as well, leaving you feeling even more unhappy and isolated. Your biochemical homeostasis is disrupted by the button pushing of media and advertising.

These feelings are expected to be repressed. You’re not supposed to acknowledge that the media is driving everyone crazy. You get out of bed every morning and get the kids ready for school, go off to work and pretend everything’s normal. You can’t sleep, feel nervous, have indigestion or trouble concentrating and still are expected to pretend it’s all normal.

green pond

That is not normal. Those are symptoms of severe stress. When you start to try to meditate, you take your conscious mind off the hook a bit. The distractions you’ve had in place to suppress all that are temporarily off line. Your subconscious immediately takes the opportunity of reacquainting you with everything you’ve been repressing, because you have to deal with it to fix the imbalances. A good meditation teacher will prepare you for this and support you through this phase.

Still mind and particularly mindfulness meditation can be really confronting in this manner. A lot of people who would like to spend more time meditating find themselves putting it off, because it means confronting those subconscious needs and feelings. Our culture gives us no scope to understand or process this. In many cases it’s only when we see a therapist that we start to get a handle on what’s happening to us. In the case of trauma or abuse survivors it’s best to go through a therapist first. Then your practise occurs in the context of a supported journey of self discovery and liberation, which is important if you’re going to avoid spending the rest of your life in the valley of the shadow of death.

There are many other types of meditation, though.

My experience was that when I started doing the unbounded mind meditation I found myself sinking in rather than reaching out, since consciousness arises out of all the physical systems that the brain and body are made up of. All those atoms are the same type of matter that is created in the hearts of stars. There’s no coelestial aether or crystal rings or perfect, pure heavenly matter. It’s all matter. In our Newtonian space-time dimensions, atoms are atoms. After shifting this perception it was suddenly much easier for me to feel connected while meditating. When I took my focus off the alpha wave state and relaxed inward, I did indeed find the river of cosmic consciousness and experience it as loving and accepting. It took some more work on the anxiety and other symptoms, but this is now my experience of meditation.

For the best part of three decades I was never more than a flat tyre from suicidal ideation. That’s a really shitty place to be. I don’t recommend it. Sure you can work on your inner self to achieve spirituality and peace, but keep in mind that the studies of neuro-plasticity had their origin in stroke therapy. This is a gentle, gradual process that takes place according to the needs of your own path and your own experiences. It grows according to your own internal energy levels and awareness, not on anyone else’s timetables or because of demands or expectations. Certainly not according to those of the social construct. The first thing you have to do is be honest with yourself. Admit that it hurts. You have to respect the pain, in your own life and in others’. It’s real and it has real causes that can be addressed.

Thaddeus rockies 7

It might help to give yourself a glimpse of the point you’re trying to reach. Or anything other than the endless, soul sucking murk of depression. For that you do sometimes need something external. There’s a trick called standing in awe of the Universe. Prof Brian Cox does this brilliantly and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. I love that. What you do is look at a lovely view or starry night sky. Look at the trees, rivers, valleys and mountains. The sky, the stars, the galaxies. Consider that in the hearts of those stars all the atoms are formed. That all of this surrounding us is a matrix of interactive life forms and physical systems.

Your body is made up of the same sort of atoms. You are part of this planet. This Cosmos. There’s no “holy” and “corrupt.” It’s all the same matter, all the same energy. The tiny electrical currents and chemical interactions in your brain and nerves that give rise to your personality are the same electricity and chemistry that operates everywhere else. What you experience as “I,” your conscious self, arises from that activity. The archetypes that you encounter in your subconscious are projections of meaningful symbols in your experience and that of humanity and our stories. Our myths. Depicting God as being somehow outside of creation is a glitch in Western mythology that arose from the incorporation of Imperial Roman politics in Christendom at the Nicean council in 326 CE. Whatever you experience “God” as, be it an anthromorphised personality or a physical evolutionary force or something like the electromagnetic field, if it’s here in this cosmos, it’s in the same Newtonian space as we are.

arapiles rainbow

This gives you permission to start considering the social construct as just a construct. All the messages, money and rules for acceptance are made up among a group of people. Those people are all living on the surface of this one small, blue marble. This planet is floating through space. Orbiting the Sun. Which is part of the Milky Way galaxy. It puts fashion and oil wars in a different perspective. It gives you the option of valuing yourself as part of the greater whole. We all still interface with the construct because we live in communities. We are a cooperative great ape species. But you are not limited to seeing yourself in terms of how the construct would (de)value you. You are not limited to having to accept those rules and values as gospel. Indeed, humanity has made and remade culture and social structure over and over during our evolution. We make it up as we go along and it is currently undergoing some much needed revision.

For years I battled with this. It’s only very recently that I’ve been able to find a break in that depression and stress. If you are in that place, the one thing I want to say to you is that I’m on your side. Hang in there. Despite what the construct will tell you, there are billions of people waiting to welcome you to real, meaningful connection. We want for you to be well. We want for you to be happy. We look forward to living in a social structure of a more intentional creation. One where people have access to the resources they need to grow and live, rather than constant debt and fearmongering.

We’re in this together.

Posted in environmentality, meditation, mysticism, sustainable community, visualisation | Tagged , , , , ,

The Crimean War

You know that little dust up in Ukraine? Where that plane was shot down and our illustrious PM was going to naked Turkish wrestle a bear over it? There’s a bit of a funny story behind that.

Victorian-Cartoons-Punch-1855-11-03-179

The other day I picked up Dickens’ A tale of two cities. It’s been near the top of the pile for a while now and it seemed apt to read in light of the current social milieu. The introduction to this little old second hand Penguin edition, from back when Penguin was a respectable publisher and not another nag in the Murdoch stable, mentioned Dickens’ career and development as a writer. Turns out he’d been known for his criticism of English mismanagement of the Crimean war. You know the one where we got Florence Nightingale, who went on to be a driving force in infrastructure development like sewers and public health? She retired to her bed with PTSD in her thirties and all her well to do neighbours and their friends were the aristocracy and Parliamentarians. John Stuart Mill was among them.

Well, all that was in the 1850’s. The British Empire was still fighting the Turks, making inroads on the coat tails of the Ottoman Empire, which had dominated MENA for about a thousand years.

It was all about oil, resources and controlling some of those Central Asian trade routes that would otherwise be profitable enough for part of the world to exist without the overtures of the white lawmen. Heaven forbid!

chargepdp2

A hundred and sixty years later, they’re still at it. Seriously, boys, you can give up any time now. The ref’s called it out of bounds play. The US is still using the global bully tactic that got it through the 2nd World War, after they’d armed both sides to the teeth and made a fucking fortune, naturally. And then Vietnam. We got the point. You think you have a big dick. You can stop now. It’s the 21st century and we are allowed to talk together like grown ups and organise International trade globally from our backyards. We don’t need to behave like troupes of baboons at a fruit tree in order to solve some of these issues. The rest of the species has evolved somewhat in the interim.

We’ve also noticed that a few of you are still trying to take the mythology seriously. So sorry about that. It’s a myth. Like Daniel C. Dennett’s intuition pumps. A story with a meaning that gets your mind thinking on new ways to approach situations, a source of insight or realisation or some such. It’s okay to stop pretending we’re all still living in the pre Bronze age. Nobody else is. We’ll even wait while you catch up with the new playbook.

We’re funny like that, us grown up types. No reason why you can’t have a seat at the table, just stop demanding that it be a board room table with some sort of plastic throne. The planet is round. We’ve noticed that, too. It goes all the way around.

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Carbon capture technologies

What if we could stop making plastic out of oil, and start making it out of carbon pollution floating around in the atmosphere?

That’s a good question. What if we could use all that Carbon? There are a number of different approaches to this, some of which are potentially useful high tech solutions. The article quoted above is about Newlight’s AirCarbon, which is captured atmospheric Carbon that’s been turned into plastics.

The NewLight system took years of hard slogging to develop but the basics are relatively simple. Emissions are funnelled into a  patented conversion reactor and carbon and oxygen are separated out, then reassembled into long chains of molecules called polymers, aka plastic.

carbon-fibre-plateOne issue with Carbon capture has been the amount of energy required to do it. If the conversion reactor is relying on a coal fired power station to do this work, it’s not really saving much. It’s the sort of thing a Cleanergy system would be very good for, as it’s sustainable energy that doesn’t have a big Carbon cost itself.

Carbon fibre is increasingly being used in 3D printing applications that require light weight and flexibility. It will be interesting to see the adaptation of captured Carbon for use in 3D printing.

Newcastle Uni had a new system coming up that stored atmospheric carbon in building bricks, which can do a similar job of Carbon sequestration with less overheads.

The ultimate goal is to transform the captured CO2 emissions into carbonate rock ‘bricks’ for use in the construction industry, therefore both dealing with carbon storage needs and introducing new green building materials.

frackingIn Texas, Rice University, in affiliation with the fracking industry, uses a similar system to polymerise Carbon at the well head and use it or store it underground.

The potential for capturing atmospheric Carbon to use as long chain polymers for any number of applications is fantastic. Industrial chemistry students all over the planet have their choice of thesis subjects in this sort of future technology. And it’s not going to stop any time soon. Humanity now has the capability to manipulate these polymers at the molecular level and design textiles for specific applications.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you won’t be surprised by my take on all this. Why capture Carbon at the well head? Why dig the well in the first place? Algae can be used to create bio-fuel and a hectare of hemp takes 22 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere during its 90 day growing season. And it can be processed into silky fibre for clothing, bricks or hempcrete for building or seed food products. You can wear your Carbon sink investment to work every day.

Those who rely on the mainstream media for news and ideas may not have heard of any of this. That’s the main thing that’s keeping Australia on the go slow in this regard. We simply aren’t aware, on a day to day basis, that Asia is producing many more highly intelligent and well educated people than the West, which continues being whipped along in an austerity fervour by Murdoch’s minions. Don’t get left behind, Australia. Paul Keating observed that the 21st century will be the Asian century and that Australia is very well positioned to do business in Asia. He was right.

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