Patriotic Self Importance

It happens whenever some disaster like this occurs. If an airliner leaving France bound for Egypt crashes halfway to its destination, even though 580 people from both nations perished, it will be the 2 Americans / Canadians / Brits / whatever that get the most recognition at home. 580 families in mourning, but we have to outline the 2 most alike ourselves. 

It’s a tragedy when 580 people perish in an unfortunate situation, PERIOD. There is no need to add insult to injury by insinuating (even if unknowingly) that people more alike you have more value. 

Just my two cents on a phenomenon that has always happened, and is likely going to keep happening. Just keep this in mind, next time you see this article. 

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Milo Strikes Again / Crowd Funded Lawsuits

Ah the hilarity.

Sometime ago, I decided to comment on the Milo ban, mainly due to the  internet losing its collective shit. So many people shocked at social media censorship, and seemingly unintrested in a realistic solution. Because it’s easier to  convince multi million dollar companies to give up their internal sovereignty for the collective good

Just another day in the realm of social media.

I had (in a previous post) noted that high profile and fairly well to do free speech advocates like Milo Yianopolis should put their money where their mouth is and invest in the platform that they desire. You know, the liberation solution!

As it turns out, no such contribution was ever made, to my knowledge. Of which I am not surprised. Particularly considering this next new bit of information.

I remember him speaking of this campaign in a few places, months ago. But I had (like most everyone else aparently) forgetten all about it, until now. I likley thought it a stupid campaign at the time, but this certainly throws in an interesting twist. A twist that, it seems, could even be punishable by law. After all, fraud IS illegal.

Not to mention how this whole thing plays right into one of my criticsms of both anarchism and libertarianism. People generally tend to be far to self serving to be trusted in doing what’s right for the collective, if they may be affected negatively as a result. Thanks Milo for the anecdote!

Speaking of legal action, it seems that the whole Milo Twitter ban was about more than  just unprovoked censorship. For more on that, on to Secular Talk.

So, Milo was being a bit of a dickhead. Or as some would say, being himself. But he didn’t purposly threaten, sick, or otherwise direct his fans onto Lessie’s Twitter. That said however, reposting fake tweets posing as words of real people IS libel.

One would think a journalist (of all people!) would know this. But aparently, even I give people to much credit.

Crowd Funded Lawsuits

On the same topic (lawsuits), I have noticed a new trend that bugs me of late. That is, YouTube personalities using crowd funding as a means to aid their legal defence funds. This pandering also utilized the whole free speech bandwagon, with the funds presumably going into accounts meant only for funding possible suits against issuers of false DMCA’s.

First off, some background.

As many know, YouTube videos can be monetized. Meaning that every time you see an ad over a video, the creator gets a bit of a cut. Or if you share a copywrited work of an artist that has their intellectual property monetized, they (the owners of the IP) get a cut. This is why many privatly posted songs by artists often come with ads.

When you have a monetized channel however, you have to be careful of outside intellectual property, or the YouTube system (designed to prevent users from profiting from registered copywrited material) will trigger a warning. First off, the offending material must be removed. And as a result of the incident, your channel may receive a strike. Get 3, and your channel (along with all the work you put into it!) is gone.

Another way in which a content creator can receive a DMCA takedown notice is if a copywrite owner goes diectly to youtube. In which case the same process would go forward.

Being that YouTube relies  heavily on an algorithm in its automated issuing of notices on IP owners behalf, problems do occer. Another big issue comes in abuse of the system. Either issue usually rests in either the system or an IP owners misunderstanding of fair use.

In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement.

It’s a section of the law that I have utilized in the past. Even seconds ago.

Either way, both auto and manually generated false DMCA’s can cause a youtuber a lot of grief, considering the ease of filing a claim but the difficulty in fighting a claim. So difficult is the end result (aparently) that some creators are turning to potential lawsuits as a way to stem the tide. Though there is not much that can be done about the YouTube algorithm (other than hoping it improves), the manually filed claims can warrant a lawsuit. Unfortunately that costs money. Which is where we come in.

Those that file false DMCA’S are stomping on a creator’s right to freedom of speech and expression, so they should be punished! And were going to be the ones that get the ball rolling! That is, with a little help from you.

Therein lies my first problem with this.

Many of the personalities doing this kind of stuff are more than just people that create videos and content alone. Many operate podcasts and other types of shows, but most importantly, many also sell various types of wares. Which would make their channel a brand, and all of it a type of home business.

If you do not already know where I am going with this, most businesses (small or otherwise) do not directly outsource their operating costs \ losses to the public. First off, I’m not even sure if that would be legal. And even if it was, who would give?

I suppose it all depends on the business. If it’s a small mom and pop store being attacked unfairly by a big entity, people may be sympathetic (and give to help the fight). But otherwise, I would not think people would be interested. When it comes to lawsuits, this is where liability insurance comes in. As for operating costs (minor AND major), this is why it’s good business to have an account set aside just for that. Drop 5 or 10% of the profit margin in regularly, and major costs should inflict have less of a blow.

When it comes to YouTube, I doubt that there is insurance for false DMCA litigation. Though that would be a great insurance product  (available for any content creator, and funded by the premiums of all creator’s, alike any other insurance company), it does not yet exist. Which is unfortunate. But if it can’t be insured, then it should be considered a cost of doing business. Like electricity, bandwidth, equipment and the like, DMCA Litigation should be accounted for with the same regularity and importance as any other regular operating cost. If the notice is indeed false and a lawsuit is filed, then you will likely recuperate costs anyway.

Another interesting detail comes from this webpage.

The various associated costs (at least $10,000) are not as interesting as this part:

If you’re lucky, you won’t be paying any of the above costs yourself. Many lawsuits are funded by the lawyer, not the plaintiff. These are so-called contingency fee arrangements where the lawyer pays some, most or all of the costs and fees associated with the lawsuit and invests their time without charging the plaintiff. In return, the lawyer takes a percentage of the recovery from the lawsuit if you win (but they get nothing if you lose). So the lawyer ends up assuming most or all of the financial risk of the lawsuit.

In most cases, contingency fee lawyers aren’t going to want to invest their time and money into a case that’s frivolous. If they did, they wouldn’t be in business for very long.

It would seem to me that a false DMCA takedown suit would be a piece of cake. Though there is indeed a lot of ambiguity in terms of what constitutes fair use, there has to be a fairly set standard by now. Otherwise how would one EVER resolve these claims?

Going back to lawsuit costs, I recently stumbled across a GoFundMe campaign raising money for a lawsuit to fight several false DMCA takedown notices from the same entity. The thing has (so far) made about $64,000, with a set goal of $100k. Which makes one think . . . Jesus! Unless copyright cases are highly different than other typical cases, that seems at minimum of 30k more than necessary. 

Yet another podcast I heard (also asking money of its listeners to pad it’s apparently new legal fees account) called it (if memory serves) the DDOS Litigation Fund. Which peaked my attention, being that DDOS has nothing to do with copyright.

For non techies (or non-viewers of Mr Robot), DDOS (or designated denial of service) refers to a type of online attack. The goal is to flood a given server or destination with so much traffic (generated by a botnet consisting of thousands of compromised machines) that the server goes offline, or the destination becomes unreachable. 

I have seen this tactic used against live podcasts, or guests of said podcast’s. If they do not protect themselves by using a VPN and a fake (usually) Skype account, it’s (apparently) fairly easy to get their IP address and knock them offline (or at least severely throttle them) by flooding them with traffic. Idiotic attacks implemented by people like the Ashley Madison hackers. People that feel that whatever their grievance happens to be justifies the act. 

Either way, this is more an issue to be dealt with by an ISP than it is an issue of litigation. At least one ISP in my area offers DDOS protection and mitigation, so the service is likely available (though possibly for a fee). Which again, would be just another cost of doing business. 

Maybe I am being a bit to nitpicky on the language, but it is out of suspicion. Many people take the good word of their idols on faith, so I consider it a duty to look behind the curtain that the blind rarely see. It is worth it to nitpick why a podcast would need a DDOS litigation fund, when the name makes no obvious sense? Yes. The person may mean DMCA Litigation. In which case, why not name it that? 

It is likley plain as day by now, but I do not trust (and would not give to) around 99% of crowd funding campaigns. I also refuse to give to damn near ANYONE running a patreon account.

 I don’t care of you feel your effort deserves financial reward. I refuse to use ad blocking software (I consider it digital freeloading), so you get your little piece from those interactions. However, unless you are adding more to the public discourse than just more chatter, I feel no need to financially support your work. I would make allowance for creator’s that make meaningful contributions to society (for example, education resource videos). But if it’s primarily for the self, it’s not worth my money. 

In all honesty, I am fed up with crowd funding.

I have said this before (1 and 2) . But it is increasingly worrisome how much the ignorant are willing to finance both fantasy and whim. I would argue, at the expense of other (more pressing) social needs. For example, is 64 to 100k best utilized in a DCMA Litigation account of a YouTuber (no doubt earning interest!), or in disaster response and recovery? 

Louisiana is under water. I figure the residents of that already impoverished state deserve that cash a whole lot more than a business that can’t be bothered to factor in ALL its operating costs. 

I understand that most of these donations are small, unaffecting in personal budgets ($5 or $10). But as much as I agree that it’s your choice in how people spend their money . . . I wish people would be more careful. Even if they do not get swindled by a Milo type, or throw money into a money pit that no one wants to acknowledge, there are always better recipients.

I will personally put my money where my mouth is by making another donation to the Canadian Red Cross. $25 to the general relief fund. My words may mean little, but at least I can lead by example.

Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized, Various Commentary | Leave a comment

If You Lose Your Mind Over A T-Shirt, You May Be A Moron

Ah, Adam Buckley (aka A Dose of Buckley). How your weekly doses make me laugh. And cry. 

First, the source of all the fuckery. 

How OFFENSIVE! This makes me LOATH him! Metallica must be embarrassed to have their brand so widly tarnished! 

Nope. Wrong on all 3 accounts. 

1.) I don’t give a rat’s ass about attire. 

2.) I think it’s cool if he is expanding his horizons. If he decides to take his career more in a rock or metalic direction as a result, even better. 

3.) The band (well, James) actually lists this situation (Bieber showing off their wares) as one of his favorite things of 2015. At #10, mind you. But still!

The kid is using his platform to show respect for Hetfield and Metallica’s work. It’s a positive for everyone. But of course conformist metal fans have found reason to piss on a good thing. 

Insert here, the comments, the social media posts, and worst of all, the articles. All throwing up a wall of judgement and contempt towards unlikely metal fans. Something that bugs me due to the stupid factor. But something that bugs me more, due to the nature of metal.

 Unlike the typical inane Bieber-esk garbage that takes up so much space on the airwaves these days, one can often find real meaning and substance to metal. Sure, pop can dole out feel good and positive thinking. But metal rips the bandaid off. Something of a  necessity in an age when the digital world increasingly allows us to build a cocoon of positivity around ourselves, no matter the consequences. Be they personal, like delusions about obesity being healthy leading to potential problems when complications occur. Or more large scale, like some society affecting event sneaking up on an unsuspecting populace. Like climate change, political turmoil, Brexit, or the 2016 Donald Trump V Hillary Clinton showdown. 

Pop fans may migrate to metal and learn something in the process. Or they may just love the music. In the same way that I can love Rammstein without knowing German. 

Either way, it’s silly to shit on new fans of metal just because they are or were bliebers , or Kardashians, or what the fuck ever. Even if it is a phase, who gives a shit. It’s funny that I even have to say that. Being how many metal fans claim to be non-conformists , or as one put it, the anti-society .

 Fuck if I know how they reconcile living in the very same grid as the rest of us, yet claim outside status. Even I don’t even take my individuality that far. But I suppose the skewed understanding of what it means to self sufficient these days is a whole other topic in itself. 

Another aspect of this that I want to touch on, is clothing. This idea that metal clothing is for metalheads only. And that any other use is unpermitted, and otherwise deserves disdain.  

First off, the obvious. Fuck off and leave people alone. 

As for the more productive answer, there are many reasons why someone may choose an article of metal oriented clothing BESIDES them being a fan of the band depicted, or being a fan of metal in general. 

Metal clothing tends to sport eye catching designs. Maybe that is the appeal. Or maybe (like me!) it’s less about the design than it is about the type of clothing. T-shirts and hoodies, popular as metal clothing, are also popular in general. Maybe they were chosen for that reason. Chances are the person may shop at 2ed hand places, and (also like me!) may own clothing related to sports, events, destinations and other things outside of personal interest. Personally, I love the 2ed hand store. You never know what you will find. 

As for getting annoyed with talking to people wearing metal related clothing only to find that they are not metalheads (to reference a comment on the Buckley video), broaden your horizons a little. It’s hard NOT to take you as anything more than a conformist moron if you feel that not sharing that ONE SINGLE BOND is enough to end the conversation. 

In fact, as an extremely introverted person, I would rather not have people just come up to me a fair amount of the time. Sometimes one just  wants peace, to blend in. Which puts an interesting twist to this problem. Do some people avoid looking the part of a metal head just to escape the social contract that often comes with it? 

Either way, metalheads tend to be known as intolerant. This type of behavior certainly does not help it any.

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To My Pseudo Freethinker Friends 

If you want me to regard you as a freethinker, please avoid posting stuff like this. Though it is a well utilized term (misused 95% of the time, in my opinion!), I do not need one to tell me that they are a freethinker to figure it out for myself. In fact, when I see someone calling themselves a freethinker, I often get the impression that they haven’t a clue what the word even entails. And it’s funny how often this assessment turns out to be correct. 

Particularly atheist’s. There is more to seeing things clearly than embracing a secular form of ideology that often borders on the religious. Though the term is not necessarily contrary to an atheistic stance, it is certainly not a rule of thumb. 

It’s a useless label that should go away. Since adopting it can lead to the paradox of the free thinking, close minded moron. 

Posted in Opinion, Religion & Atheism | Leave a comment

#BernieorBust Movement – Stop Being Stupid, And Look To The Future

This election cycle has really been something. Hell, the past 2 really! 

Reeling from almost a decade of George Bush, America decided to vote in the first minority president ever. Twice. And with his presidency rapidly approaching it’s end, we have seen even more grassroots movement, spearheaded by unlikely candidate Bernie Sanders. A man that has been in the political arena for longer than I have been alive, but also a man whom has not received the attention that he rightfully deserves. That is, until the last year or so. 

His reason for drawing so many is obvious. Unlike damn near every other politician one can name, for the most part, the Bernie of today is the Bernie of yesterday. What he valued when he started out on his journey as a young ideolouge with big dreams, has mostly remained constant. Even when public opinion may lean heavily in a contrary direction, he stood his ground. As can be tracked over the years. In comparison to the swaying nature of his fellow politicians on both sides (though, some with more sway than others).

INCLUDING Donald Trump! People talk about the current democratic candidate having more sway than a palm tree in a hurricane. At least she stayed on the same side! Trump, who was once a Democrat , is now a tea party Republican.

Translation: How can I draw more of an audience? As a rich prick playing the part of Micheal Moore type? Or as a bafoonish moron without a clue or a filter? 

Of course, this is assuming that Donald has the faculties to make such judgements. In all honesty, I do suspect that at least part of this is for show. He may indeed be both ignorant and stupid. But I detect a self driven media circus. All surrounding an extrovert that has never had this much attention before, and as such an extrovert that will lap it all up for as long as possible. 

Moving on, I understand the Bernie draw. He represents something very different to the typical choices that Americans are used to. And really, on the heels of an Obama legacy (for better or worse), it’s unsurprising that Bernie fever gathered so much steam. Though Obama did not amount to all that many of us expected him to, he kicked open a door. He gave millennials hope. Even though the halls of power are filled with primarily baby boomers unwilling to let go of the influence they now have, Obama got in. Though he proved more alike many of them than different (unfortunately), he differed in a big way. Skin color. Whether you call him black or half black . . . Who gives a shit. He isn’t white, AND he ran the nation for a decade! 

Liberal values have been on the upswing of late. Whether or not one can attribute the Obama candidacy to this I suppose is debatable. All I know is that the old guard is increasingly losing its iron grip on contemporary society, and gradually things are getting more open, more diverse, more secular. 2 issues that seemed like mountainous battles just a few years ago (gay  marriage and marijuana legalization), are now law and gaining traction. Secular voices are now also increasingly feeling more comfortable than ever before to make themselves known for where they stand. 

In many respects, it really is a different world. Thanks no doubt to the great equalizer of our time, the internet. 

Given this environment, it’s not really all that surprising that Bernie’s flavor (or now, brand) of politics has become so favorable. Many are tired of what the system has to offer, and want a change. And in terms of progressing forward, America has been on a role for almost a decade. So why stop now? 

I can understand why after all this energy, campaigning and excitement, a Hillary victory is a bitter pill to swallow. I see why this ourcome leaves some Bernie fans opting out, some looking for life rafts in Stein, Johnson and Ventura, and others even supporting Trump (hopefully the minority). But no matter why you dislike Hillary so much, walking away from the Democrats is not a good choice. From the point of view of rationality, it’s incredibly stupid. From the point of view of politics, it’s incredibly short sighted. 

Many people that were captivated by the rise of Bernie seem far to fixated on the person. I get that. It would be hard to find another such politician almost anywhere. Jack Layton (rip), former leader of Canada’s New democratic party, comes to mind). But no matter Bernie’s credentials, what is bigger than him, is the progressive movement helped bolster. That does not have to end with his campaign suspension. Rome was not built overnight. Nor was the current status quo. So one can not expect to fix it all in one night. Or one election cycle. 

Now that all this energy and enthusiasm is being invested in progressive politics, it is time to look to the future. Do not stew in paralytic anger over Bernie’s defeat. Become focused on figuring out who the next Bernie could be. 

The Bernie loss is not a total defeat. If he helps inspire even one or 2 progressives into running for an office, his campaign has been a success. There are a whole lot more political positions (besides presidential) in the United States, many of which have a WHOLE lot more influence over your every day life than the executive branch. So start from there. 

Looking at this from a progressive point of view, I can see why Hillary leaves lots to be desired. 

She seems to be a fair weather politician, saying what needs to be said to get the job. There are questions of qualifications, and of past events happening under her watch (NOT Benghazi!). Not to mention the whole dynasty thing (“Oh yay! another Clinton. . .). 

But even if she is lackluster to Bernie’s strength, it is at our peril to not support her.

Maybe many have forgotten, but in tandem with the uprising in liberal values of the last 8 or so years, has been in uprising of right wing resistance to these changes. It was once called the tea party, a segment of the right wing. Now it is indistinguishable from the rest of the GOP.

Donald Trump. I don’t think I have pondered anyone as much as I have pondered him. 

At first, I (like many), didn’t take him all that seriously. Even refused to write about him (seeing him covered in excess, already). Then I realized that the prospect of a Trump presidency scared the shit out of me. After that, I begin to think (based on his past progressive stances) that he may be playing the part of a progressive Trojan horse. I even credited him at one point for blowing off an RNC debate to raise money for veterans charities.

I would later find out about controversies surrounding those donations. Not only did Trump run into controversies with the veterans charities, but with his donation habits in general. Apparently he once claimed to be a big philanthropist, donating hundreds of millions. Despite being fact checked as the least charitable billionaire in the world . To be fair, that was an online magazine article headline. But still. . .

Not that it matters much now. Even if he donated a billion dollars to every veterans charity, he would have a hard time smoothing over the Kahn mess. 

As for the rest of my delusions, he MAY have some trick up his sleeve. Whether or not he is intelligent enough to pull it off is debatable. But as much as it is a hilarious thought (Donald Trump trolling the world), I certainly would not bet my life on it. 

I just said “I would not bet my life on it”. Many people lately (including me, in the past) seem to be taking that statement literally. A fear that if Donald gets in the White House, it could indeed, all be over. 

I have since relaxed these fears (though not entirely). I do not fear some form of tyrannical dictatorship or other extreme regression, because of Congress. If they retarded Obama for 98% of his term, they will have no trouble with Trump. As for missiles flying . . . As nuts as Trump is, I still prefer him to God sanctioned Ted Cruz (“God told me that America must  annihilate Russia and Saudi Arabia!”). As for missiles flying in the other direction . . . Who knows. He could run his mouth and say something stupid. But then again, George Bush wanted to start a crusade against terrorism, and that didn’t get the US nuked. 

To make a long story short, I feel no need to use irrational reasons and fears to condemn Trump. There is a much simpler reason. The Supreme Court. 

Though elections pick who sits in the legislative and executive branches, the judicial branch is entirely appointed. These positions hold an ENORMOUS amount of influence, and often come with life long terms. So someone appointed now may be influencing society for decades to come. 

There is much to dislike about Hillary. But the price of the short term gratification of not supporting the evil of 2 lessers (to borrow a Micheal Moore quote), may be decades of regression. Imagine if the new Trump appointee put a stop to the marijuana legalization steamroller. Not only will there be massive economic ramifications, it will gurentee a racist and expensive drug war carried out indefinitely. 

So, as much as many of us millennials have gown used to instant gratification (having been brought up in the information age), some battles can not be fought quickly. As great as Bernie V Trump would have been, even Bernie knows his realistic limitations (however imposed).

 We didn’t get this cycle. But is the short period of gratification one will get from burning it all down REALLY worth possibility DECADES of problems (or worse . . .)? 

Not for me. 

Posted in American, Opinion, Political | Leave a comment

Oops I Did It Again!

First Putin (allegedly), now ISIL/ISIS. 

At this rate, Hillary may just win if she just stays at home with Bill. After Crimea . . .what will come next! 

It’s like the world’s most dangerous soap opera. 

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Hero Worship 

Recently I found myself reading a short list of hero’s posted by a friend on Facebook. The list was made up of various individuals that the person holds on high esteem. The reason they make his list is due to him considering all the individuals on it to be well rounded freethinkers, but that does not really matter. Many of us have our own such lists, for various reasons. Rangeing from the logical to the silly. 

 My list would grow over time (I tend to not be to the best at these spur of the moment type situations), and would likley be mostly influences that helped shape me.


– Bill Maher

– Bernie Sanders

– George Carlin

– Marilyn Manson

Why we make the lists does not matter. What is more important, is how we regaurd the people on it. Though I had not really thought about (realized?) it before, it occured to me that I no longer really have any hero’s. Don’t get me wrong, there are still people I look up to. But I don’t consider them hero’s, even simply as an expression of gratitude. 

There are many contexts to how the word can be used with regards to such list’s as this. Sometimes it has less to do with the definition than it does with the ease of useage (“These people are my heroes!” as opposed to “These are people I really look up to”). Or sometimes, they may in fact view the person as being, superior in comparison to everyone else. 

Either way, both of these phenomena can be risky (even dangerous). Particularly the latter, being the often irrational (and thus often unchangeable) nature of the positive feelings. But anyone is capable of cognitive dissonance. 

Having people you look up to is one thing. So long as you can still express criticism if it becomes necessary. But more importantly, you need to be still able to see them as just another human, capable of ALL human traits (we often forget the bad in the case of heroes). 

It’s something that one sees over and over. 

One example that comes to mind is Bill Cosby. Another, Michael Jackson. This is another list that could likely go on for pages. And that’s not even counting the everyday psychopaths, liars, cheats and other skum that permeate our own lives. People that will never make People Magazine or US weekly (or Newsweek), but none the less, people still capable of inflicting a lot of harm on a person (priests/minister’s? Organized religion PERIOD?). And not just harm in the context of supporting a scumbag. We’re talking financial, possibility even physical harm. 

That, got very dark in a hurry, considering I started from a context of just not being able to properly criticize such people. But though that is at the more harmless end of the spectrum (with something like Jonestown being at the other end), there is still a lot in the middle. 

Basically, if you have EVER spoken (or even THOUGHT) the phrase “He\She\They would never do that because they are ___________”, this is for you. It does not matter what fills in the blank. The more influential trait is the trait of simply being human. 

Everywhere, there are all kinds of people. Good, bad, and everything in between. This does not change when you throw some label on top of the mix. In fact, depending on the feel of the label, it may actually attract bad people. An obvious religious example comes to mind. But it is far from the only one. It’s good for you to come up with a few of your own.

So to cap this off, it is okay to look up to people you respect. But just do not forget that:

1.) They to, are capable of being wrong

2.) They are just as human as you and I, for better or worse

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