November 30, 2015

Overnight Open Thread (11-30-2015)
— Maetenloch

Remembering Johnny 'Mike' Spann 15 Years Later

He was killed on November 25, 2001 during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi when Taliban prisoners (including John Walker Lindh) gained access to weapons and attacked. He was the first American killed in Afghanistan after 9/11.

J_M_Spann Memorial-to-Mike-Spann-Northern-Afghanistan-Close-Up-e1402765850420

Vetted Refugees in America Try to Join ISIS

Reading the criminal complaint and underlying affidavit, I was struck by how "connected" the six men were to local schools and jobs. They were "connected" right up until the moment they weren't. The Star Tribune noted this aspect of the case in the article "Minneapolis men facing ISIL-linked terrorism charges belie stereotypes." I was also struck by the mysterious appearance of cash to pay for the travel each of the six planned to Syria.

In the case of Guled Omar, the travel expenses were to be defrayed in part by taxpayers. The affidavit reveals: "Bank records obtained show that OMAR withdrew $5,000 in cash from his federal educational financial aid debit card in the weeks leading up to his attempted departure." It's a striking fact I haven't seen noted or have overlooked in news of the charges.

20 Years Since Sammy Hagar Got His Wish

'Shockingly' the highways have not turned into the predicted bloodbath.

On November 29, 1995, President Clinton grudgingly signed a highway bill repealing the much-hated National Maximum Speed Limit. In 1973, President Nixon signed the NMSL into law in an effort to force people to save gas. This law allowed the federal government to withhold federal highway money from states that didn't drop their speed limit to 55 mph. Real-world fuel savings were negligible. Safety activists proclaimed that it saved a lot of lives, and would bring out charts showing that the highway fatality rate had dropped since the law was enacted. The starting point for said charts was when the law was enacted, and sure enough, the fatality rate decreased in the years after. Had they shown a chart going back decades, you would have seen that the fatality rate had been declining since the late 1940s.



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And Then, For Some Reason, Amy Schumer Took Her Clothes Off and Posed Nude for Annie Liebowitcz, And Then For Some Other Reason, People Began Saying She Was Beautiful
— Ace

Eh. She's a very average looking woman. She's not really ugly or anything.

But also... not any kind of girl of your dreams, either.

It's just -- this is a weird double-game the sexual left plays. On one hand, they insist that no one sexually objectify them. On the other hand, they put out naked pictures of themselves.

That's not the only double game going on here, either. Because while Schumer is presenting herself in a sexualized manner -- here's my naked body -- she insists simultaneously that you do not score her according to the rules of the game she is playing. That is, when she appears naked (for no good reason), she doesn't want an honest assessment of how she looks naked; she still wants you to evaluate her by what she thinks is her inherent value as a human being.

But I could do that -- and in fact usually did do that -- when she had her clothes on.

The only new variable here is her body, so what else is there to talk about except he body, and what shape she's in?

Now that she has her clothes off -- Eh, a somewhat over-gallant five for her age group.

What else am I supposed to say? Should I say she's beautiful? She's not. And I wouldn't be remarking on this in either direction save for the fact she is implicitly now telling the world she wants to be rated not on on her inner beauty (whatever that is), but her actual beauty.

Like I said: Meh.

Very average, like most people are quite average looking (me included). I don't get why average looking people wish to compete in a game in which they have so little actual ability.

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More Hillary Emails Turn Out to be Classified
— Ace

Wonder of wonders

The State Department released another batch of the emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server, and with that more indications Clinton possessed classified information on her unsecured private account according to Ed Henry.

"The bigger picture, the broader point here is Hillary Clinton back in March said no classified information on this server and as we continue to see the drip-drip there are indications, of course, that there are dozens of those emails already come out that did have classified information," Henry said.

Because, get this, she's a liar.

The number of emails containing classified information has been raised from about 600 to 700, Politico estimates.

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Corrupt New York Machine Politician Sheldon Silver Convicted on All Counts
— Ace

Previously, New York Times had reported previously that Silver had taken "millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks." He disguised this income as money earned from his personal-injury law firm, which he kept going as a sideline to his main job of being the Assembly leader in Albany. But the law firm was essentially "a fiction," a money-laundering front to disguise the money he was taking as a fixer.

Earlier today, a juror asked the judge to be removed from the jury. He claimed he had discovered a conflict of interest -- that he was a taxi-medallion owner, and feared retalliation from Silver if a conviction should ensue.

The judge told him to remain in the jury and keep deliberating.

Silver has now been found guilty of all counts.

Manhattan federal court jurors found Silver guilty of all counts in the indictment -- bribery, extortion and money laundering. Silver, a Democrat who resigned as speaker after his indictment, continued to represent Manhattan's Lower East Side neighborhood, but automatically lost that post after the conviction.

Be careful of what you say about Silver. Your Magic Words of Evil might put a whammy on him, and he might suffer some mishap in prison.

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Ben Carson: There's a Lot of Extreme Language on Both Sides of the Abortion Debate
— Ace

I can't get too excised about this because it's certainly true; there is a lot of very harsh talk on both sides. One may say this is justified; but of course the other side says that too. I don't think Carson is saying much here more than "We need to listen and speak softly if we are to persuade," which is generally true, if you're trying to make headway on an issue. If you have a different goal, that might not be true.

At any rate, people are now screaming that a would-be politician dared to say something politic.

Of course, this comes as the left takes a shooting and claims the only way to stop further shootings is to ban all political ideas they don't like, which of course they always do.

The Colorado governor says that the Planned Parenthood shooting is due to the rhetoric of "talk radio" and "bloggers."

Ed Morrissey catches the Washington Post saying the same thing.

He notes an example where the left does not find its own hot rhetoric linked to a murderer's rampage -- the Family Research Council shooter. I can name another one -- the Discover Channel Shooter, a shooter the left seized upon initially because they assumed he was rightwing, then discarded quickly when his manifesto indicated that he was so left-wing on climate change he thought the Discovery Channel was too soft in its climate change propaganda.

Gabriel Malor has documented the left's "incurable" disease of blaming shootings on right-wing speech.

But never, ever on leftwing speech -- obviously! Leftwing speech never inspires violence. Except when it does. And there's an interesting argument to explain why, and that argument is complete media silence.

I find this part of the left's broader mission of shutting down any thought of which they don't approve. The left routinely -- reflexively -- links any sort of political thought they don't like into a dire real-world consequence or crime.

If you deny the fake 1-in-5 claim, you're encouraging rape.

If you publicize the fact that baby organs are in fact being harvested at Planned Parenthood, you're encouraging shooting.

If you call a woman "bossy," you're both fostering an anti-woman "atmosphere" and encouraging violent crimes against women.

And so on. As I say, the left's own hot rhetoric -- that we need to reduce the human population to save us from global warming; that anyone who disagrees with this is a "denier" like a Holocaust denier; etc., etc. -- is never, apparently, linked to any violence.

There are several points to be made here:

1. The left is, of course, a group of vicious liars and nonstop propagandists entirely unwilling to engage even on their own claimed premises.

That is: If hot talk leads to violence, and therefore we must stop hot talk, why am I told, by some senior Democrat party officials, that anyone who disagrees with climate change should be prosecuted for a crime? Does this not tend to excite the passions of the strange-minded as well?)

2. It has become de rigeur on the left to claim that some political thoughts -- coincidentally, all of which are political thoughts hated by the left -- must simply be abandoned in order to forestall any possibility of violence.

Sorry, they say, we'd love to have that tumultuous marketplace-of-ideas you lads are always on about, but the dangers are just too great to allow it.

This is, of course, the censor's eternal apologetics for his censorship: Sure, we'd love to let you publish that book, Old Boy, but the threat to the public safety and national morals are just too great.

3. On that last point, several things should be kept in mind: The first is Justice Holmes' dissent from The People vs. Gitlow, a case about communists attempting to incite people into a revolution (which would, of course, involve violence). This dissent is now far more influential in constitutional law than the actual decision, which upheld the convictions for incitement.

On the idea that some ideas are so "hot" they may become an incitement to criminal action, Holmes says:

If what I think the correct test is applied, it is manifest that there was no present danger of an attempt to overthrow the government by force on the part of the admittedly small minority who shared the defendant's views. It is said that this manifesto was more than a theory, that it was an incitement. Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief, and, if believed, it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result. Eloquence may set fire to reason. But whatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us, it had no chance of starting a present conflagration. If, in the long run, the beliefs expressed in proletarian dictatorship are destined to be accepted by the dominant forces of the community, the only meaning of free speech is that they should be given their chance and have their way.

This is why the court has strictly limited (since then) such incitement laws: The speaker must expressly call for a crime to occur, and the danger of that crime occurring must be a clear and present one, not a speculative one.

The left, of course, ignores this (and ignores how this liberal spirit of speech kept their own brethren, and even they themselves, out of jail for decades), and wishes to use this sort of "ideas = murder" equation to attack its enemies.

4. One final thought: I believe, as you know, that the left is a cult, and is chiefly engaged in the mode of primitive, magical thinking.

Let me point out there are a huge number of superstitious about Speaking of Evil: That if an evil is spoken aloud, it might make that evil manifest in the world. This is why people rap twice on wood after talking about an event they fear could happen: the rapping on wood is supposed to be some kind of charm preventing that evil thought from gaining traction in the mud of reality.

Curses -- spoken words of evil wishes -- were (are) thought to somehow carry actual power to make those wishes into reality.

"Speak of the devil and soon he appears" may mean something else now -- it just means that you mentioned something in conversation, and suddenly it actually appears -- but it used to have a much more literal meaning:

Deriving from the Middle Ages, this proverb (which was, and to a certain extent still is, rendered as "Talk of the Devil...") was a superstitious prohibition against speaking directly of the Devil or of evil in general, which was considered to incite that party to appear, generally with unfortunate consequences. Its first printed usage in modern English can be found in Giovanni Torriano's Piazza Universale (1666), as "The English say, Talk of the Devil, and he's presently at your elbow."

The left engages, as I say, in magical thinking, but they dress up their primitive, archaic superstitious -- barely -- in allegedly "scientific" garb. Thus we get the "Gaia Hypothesis," proposing that the earth is actually a self-protecting deity -- metaphorically, you understand; the left wouldn't say the earth is actually a goddess. That's far too medieval for them. So they say it is metaphorically a goddess, and just happens to behave in every single fashion the way an actual goddess would, including raining fire and damnation upon those who offend Her.

Now, if you want to take that metaphor and maybe believe it's a bit more real than that... well, you're welcome to. But We didn't say She was actually a God. We just said She was metaphorically a goddess. Though We can quite understand how you could mistake Her for a real one...

In the case of speech, the left similarly engages in speak-of-the-devil/jinks/curse-type thinking to claim that any Evil Words they don't like will bring Evil Itself into the real world. The mechanism they propose for this is not straight magic, as the old version of the superstition had it.

No, just like they dress up their Goddess Earth language in some minor trappings of modernity, they have a different mechanism by which to explain how Evil Words work actual Evil in the real world: Because you add to the "atmosphere of hate" and the "climate of fear" and etc..

Rather than your words working in the magical aether that surrounds and interpenetrates the Material Plane, your words instead work by spreading mental contagions among the herdlike populations of human beings living upon this earth (curse them!).

The mechanism has undergone a slight modernization and rationalization -- your Evil Words lead, through social intercourse, to a Rube Goldberg type contraption where a single falling domino winds up, many collisions and contacts down the line, in a shooting at an abortion clinic -- but in broad summary this is no different at all from the various prohibitions against Speaking Evil.

It's magic -- but We are just too sophisticated now to call it that. We have new words to call Evil Magic Words, and those new words are "Rhetoric of Hatred."

For more on this idea (but don't comment in this post -- you'll get banned, because comments in old posts are considered spam by the system), read Enchanted Crocodiles, Mighty Sorcerers, and Lee Harvey Oswald.

As Carl Jung observed:

The civilized man of today shows these archaic processes as well, and not merely in the form of sporadic "throw-backs" fro the level of modern social life. On the contrary, every civilized human being, whatever his conscious development, is still an archaic [primitive, shamanistic] man in the deeper levels of his psyche.

And no men are so archaic in their thoughts as the future primitives of the left.

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Has Jeb Bush Been Pushing Infidelity Rumors About Rubio?
— Ace

Rubio thinks he has been.

Posted by: Ace at 07:53 AM | Comments (644)
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Open Thread
— rdbrewer

Martin Johnson Heade, "Jacquiminot Roses" (c. 1883)

Posted by: rdbrewer at 04:37 AM | Comments (572)
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Morning Thread (11-30-2015)
— andy

Ok, back to work. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Posted by: andy at 01:18 AM | Comments (354)
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November 29, 2015

Overnight Open Thread (11-29-2015)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

It is outrageous to suggest that I have ever referred to a distinguished figure such as Michael Mann as "Mr Fraudpants". I'm always very careful to refer to him as "Dr Fraudpants". His Nobel Prize is false, but his PhD appears to be genuine, at least at the time of writing.

-- Mark Steyn

Upset in the Iowa Polls: Ancient God Who Favors Child Sacrifice Now in the Lead

Frankly Moloch had fallen off of my radar almost completely other than the rare occasions when I need a neighbor's cow to sicken and die. But now he has decent shot at becoming known as Moloch, Devourer of All Flesh and President of the United States.

Moloch: 31%
SMOD: 29%
Cthulhu: 22%
SMBH: 3%
Undecided, but committed to nihilism in general: 15%

Apparently Moloch isn't into the whole social media thing so the only online picture I could find is this one off of a really old GeoCities page.


Weekly Commenter Standings

Top 10 commenters:
1 [507 comments] 'Bruce Boehner' [71.21 posts/day]
2 [323 comments] 'Nevergiveup'
3 [308 comments] 'logprof'
4 [305 comments] 'Ricardo Kill'
5 [287 comments] 'Bruce With a Wang!'
6 [278 comments] 'Harry Paratestes'
7 [271 comments] 'chemjeff'
8 [269 comments] 'Christopher Taylor'
9 [259 comments] 'willow'
10 [248 comments] 'Nip Sip'

Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [63 names] 'Moron gourmand' [8.85 unique names/day]
2 [51 names] 'Turd Ferguson'
3 [47 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
4 [45 names] 'Bruce Boehner'
5 [42 names] 'Bertram Cabot Jr.'
6 [41 names] 'logprof'
7 [39 names] 'Bruce Boehner'
8 [38 names] 'Bruce Boehner'
9 [36 names] 'The Political Hat'
10 [34 names] 'U of Missou Snowflake'

The group. Banned on 12 universities.

Where it's at - the Twitter

Tonight's post brought to you by Mars this past Wednesday:

Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to the usual suspects. No bailment is created by participation in this 'ONT'.

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Football Thread: Late Game Edition [CBD]
— Open Blogger

New England visits the Broncos tonight, and maybe, just maybe, the Patriots' string of lucky wins will come to an end.

denver cheer 3.jpg

And....Am I the only one who thinks that Brady is a spoiled little brat? more...

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Food Thread: Ah....The Food-Induced Thanksgiving Coma [CBD]
— Open Blogger

My Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving pork roast.jpg

Yeah....I am not intently focused on food right now. A week of cooking and then a few days of nonstop eating will tend to put me off my feed. And I have a confession: I had a salad on Friday night. Please don't hate me! Now, I ordered it with sliced hanger steak, but still.....

food coma 1.jpg

I have found that when I am cooking for things like Thanksgiving, I have very little desire to taste the food as I cook, which is a necessity if you want it to taste good. I do it, but it isn't as pleasurable as dipping a chunk of bread into a sauce on some random Tuesday night in February, or that first spoonful of stew on a cold and rainy March weekend. My guess is that my taste and smell is just overwhelmed with the sheer volume of all that is floating around. It must be an incredible challenge for chefs in serious restaurants to taste and re-taste, dish after dish, day after day. more...

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Football Sunday in America! - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]
— Open Blogger

Happy Holiday Season!

Thanksgiving down, Christmas, Hanukkah and, Festivus to go!

Who pardoned this turkey?

Bite this.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:40 AM | Comments (290)
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-29-2015: Do It Yourself [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger

The Last Bookstore , Los Angeles.jpg
The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA.

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Or kilts. Also, assless chaps don't count. Serious you guys. Kilts are OK, though. But not tutus. Unless you're a girl.

‘All words have some power. We feel it instinctively. Some, like magical spells and the true names of the gods, have a great deal. They must be treated with respect. In Klatch there is a mountain with many caves, and in those caves are entombed more than a hundred thousand old books, mostly religious, each one in a white linen shroud. That is perhaps an extreme approach, but intelligent people have always known that some words at least should be disposed of with care and respect...Enough words crammed together can affect time and space.’

--Terry Pratchett, Going Postal


Here is something new. Well, actually, it's not new, it first came out over 50 years ago.

I'm talking about the first "do it yourself" novel:

Composition No. 1 by Marc Saporta was the first-ever do-it-yourself or interactive novel. It was published in French in 1962, and an English translation followed a year later. The novel came in a box, as a set of looseleaf pages. Readers were instructed to "shuffle them like a deck of cards" before reading, so that chance would decide the order of events in the narrative.

You can actually purchase a copy of Composition No. 1 on Amazon.

In fact Saporta's novel has 150 opening paragraphs, because it consists of 150 unbound pages, printed on one side only, which the reader is meant to shuffle and read in any order.

The Guardian review describes the plot as being a bit thin:

How does the randomness work, and how does it affect our perception of the narrative? The story is a flimsy wisp of a thing, really no more than a jumble of fragments. The setting is Paris during the German occupation. The central character is little glimpsed and never named. He has a mistress called Dagmar, a depressed wife (I think) called Marianne, and a young German au pair whom he rapes during the course of the novel, before being injured in a serious car accident.

I suppose the "wispiness" is a necessity, since if too many details are locked down, that would tend to diminish the "DIY" nature of this experimental novel.

The Argentinian author Julio Cortazar did something similar with his experimental novel Hopscotch. There you have a choice of reading the chapters sequentially, or you can "hopscotch" around the chapters at random, and it should make sense either way. As one reviewer says about Hopscotch:

There is an abundance of metaphors, of connections, bridges, symbols, and artistic allusions. There are ejaculations of phrases in foreign languages and an interjection of aphorisms in verse. If history were to rewrite itself and eradicate all traces of Joyce, Hopscotch would have been the equivalent of Ulysses. The language is incredibly vivid, infinitely descriptive, colorful, sensuous, poetic, maddeningly abstract, and psychedelic.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of these experimental-type novels, but as the poet says, de gustibus non est disputandum.

But if you're craving a bit of surrealism in your life, you can do it like my brother once told me he does, on the cheap: If you have a new novel to read, start reading it chapter by chapter backwards, from the last chapter down to the first. Brother swears he gets more out of the novel that way, but I've never tried it, so I don't know. But telling the story backward is a well-known narrativt technique. I think of movies such as Memento and Betrayal as examples of this, and there are others.

Thanks to 'mindful webworker' for this tip

Yet Another E-Book Spotting Service

It's called Early Bird Books:

Each edition of Early Bird Books offers a curated list of titles across many of the genres you enjoy. For a more personalized experience, set your preferences and we’ll deliver a custom selection of ebooks based on your categories of interest!

The interface is a bit clunky, but other than that, I'm curious to see if it gives me different selections other than what I get with the daily BookBub e-mail. more...

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EMT 11/29/15 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Heading to Secaucus today, where my ccl doesn't apply.

Gov Christie is no daisy at all.

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November 28, 2015

Overnight Open Thread (28 Nov 2015)

Don't get this article confused with the AoS HQ barrel. What happens as decades pass in a whiskey barrel. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 04:56 PM | Comments (527)
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Just A Thought...[CBD]
— Open Blogger

If the Colorado Springs shooter (who sounds like a lunatic) entered the Planned Parenthood clinic/abattoir and began shooting out of a window at people outside PP, wasn't his intent to kill everyone but PP staff and customers?

So this guy could just as easily be described as a PP supporter and protector.....

And Open Thread.


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Saturday Gardening Thread: What is your Statice? [Y-not and KT]
— Open Blogger

Y-not: Good afternoon, gardeners!

This week the incomparable KT asks "What is your Statice?"

When I went to do my own "status assessment" it went something like Kryten's in this classic Red Dwarf episode:


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Colleje Football Thread: Week 11 [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Some serious rivalries this week.....

#1 Clemson visits South Carolina @ 12:00pm
#2 Alabama visits Auburn @ 3:30pm
#3 Oklahoma visits #11 Oklahoma State @ 8:00pm
#5 Michigan State hosts Penn State @ 3:30pm
#6 Notre Dame visits #9 Stanford @ 7:30pm
#8 Ohio State visits Ann Arbor and the Michigan Wolverines @ 12:00pm

Finding photos that will get past the censor office is sometimes difficult, but what is interesting is that some schools are shockingly underrepresented in the cute/hot/not-unpleasant-to-look-at bracket. I will leave to your imaginations which of this week's schools is in that sad group. This of course does not include the Playboy pictorials of the various schools and conferences. The airbrush is an invention that, while supposedly feminist magazines use to excess, should not be wielded to exploit the tender and innocent college co-eds who pose for that charming but ultimately sleazy guy from "Garçon Qui Joue."


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Saturday Politics Thread: Turnout Trends and Strategies [Y-not]
— Open Blogger

I side-barred this the other day, but you may have missed it. Dan McLaughlin wrote a great piece about trends in voter turnout over the past several presidential elections. It's full of crunchy data -- follow this link to read it.

The gist of the article concerns the much-circulated myth that some 4 million conservative voters stayed home in 2012, leading to Romney's loss.

Here's what Dan has to say about that:


Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:44 AM | Comments (234)
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EMT 11/28/15 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Absent some inconceivable deus ex machina, victory over the 2015 Turkey menace would appear to be secured.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (336)
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