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Digital Culture Links: December 6th 2010
December 6, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: December 6th 2010
Links for December 2nd 2010 through December 6th 2010:
- Facebook Causes One In Five Divorces In US [Link Newspaper] – I think ’causes’ is an overstatement; facilitates, perhaps: “Flirty messages and photographs found on social networking website Facebook are now leading to at least one in five divorces in the US, a survey has revealed. A new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also says around 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating, according to the Daily Mail. Many cases revolve around social media users who get back in touch with ex-girlfriends and lovers they had not heard from in many years. Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at five per cent and other websites together at 14 per cent.”
- When Oprah Winfrey educates Yanks on our ‘hip’ McCafes, it’s the dollar talking [News.com.au] – For Oprah, Australia = product placement: “Oprah Winfrey has already given Americans an insight into our culture. This is despite the fact the TV queen some say is the most influential woman in the world doesn’t arrive in Australia until tomorrow. According to Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, which screened to 10 million Americans last week, we Australians call men “blokes”, women “sheilas” and we like to meet up at “hip joints” called McCafes to sip on gourmet coffee. Some of the one-million-strong Australian audience who saw this report on the Ten Network last week were a little surprised to hear of the importance of McCafes to the Australian lifestyle. […] The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”. In other words, the segment was paid for and funded by McDonald’s”
- Labor to back adults-only games classification [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Good news: “The Federal Government has announced it will support a push for an adults-only classification for video games. A decision on the matter is expected on Friday at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. A recent Galaxy survey has found strong support for an R18+ classification, with 80 per cent of people surveyed saying they believed an adult classification was needed, while a government public consultation on the matter received close to 60,000 responses – with 98 per cent in favour of an adult rating. Currently in Australia, games classed above MA15+ are refused classification and cannot be brought into the country. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says an adults-only classification would include games with excessive violence or adult themes.”
- Life on Mars? Not yet. But in the meantime, NASA has found a new kind of life on Earth… [Perth Now] – It’s life, Jim, but its diet is not as we know it: “Lurking in the depths of a California lake is a bacteria that can thrive on arsenic, an explosive discovery that could expand the search for other life on Earth and beyond, researchers have found. The NASA-funded study released today and published in the journal Science redefines what biologists consider the necessary elements for life, currently viewed as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. Not only does the bacteria survive on arsenic, it also grows by incorporating the element into its DNA and cell membranes. “What is new here is arsenic is being used as a building block for the organism,” said Ariel Anbar, co-author of the study. “We have had this idea that life requires these six elements with no exceptions and here it turns out, well maybe there is an exception.””
- Making Copyright Work Better Online [Google Public Policy Blog] – From the point of view of digital libertarians, Google just got a bit more evil as they’ve pledged to act on reducing the ease of access to links to allegedly pirate material in their index. Google aren’t removing links (except where a DMCA takedown notice is submitted) but will prevent suspect material appearing in auto-complete, act faster on DMCA takedown notices, more carefully ensure AdSense doesn’t get used for ads pointing to pirated material, and other experiments. So the material is still returned in normal search results unless you’ve got the autocomplete on by default.
- BBC Plans Subscription-Only U.S. iPlayer On iPad [mocoNews] – “This is huge. The BBC will launch the long-awaited global version of its iPlayer TV catch-up service on a subscription-only basis, and initially only on iPad. The service, carrying BBC shows like Doctor Who on-demand, will likely be very popular in the U.S., generating new income for the BBC back in Britain. The significance of the move is clear – it means the BBC will operate a subscription worldwide media channel that, in time, could become one of its biggest.”
Digital Culture Links: November 9th 2010
Links for November 7th 2010 through November 9th 2010:
- Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook [danah boyd | apophenia] – Fascinating look at certain teen uses of Facebook, including those who deactiviate their profile every time they log out (preventing unwanted uses/interactions when the user isn’t “there”) and others who continually delete all FB traces, using the platform to engage in the ‘now’ but erase the ‘then’. The most interesting insight: “For the longest time, scholars have talked about online profiles as digital bodies that are left behind to do work while the agent themselves is absent. In many ways, deactivation is a way of not letting the digital body stick around when the person is not present.”
- Google Maps Mistake: Nicaragua Accused Of Invading Costa Rica [WA Today] – Surely no army can really be relying purely on Google Maps data?!? “A Google Maps error is being blamed for Nicaraguan troops accidentally invading Costa Rica last week. The troops have been accused of crossing the hotly disputed Nicaragua border into Costa Rica and setting up camp for the night after taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag. But their commander, Eden Pastora, told Costa Rica’s largest newspaper, La Nacion, that Google Maps was used to justify the incursion. Nicaraguan government officials have also blamed a “bug in Google” for the error. […] In a blog post at the weekend, Google geopolicy analyst Charlie Hale confirmed the error, which misplaced the border between the two countries. The error lies in Google’s depiction of the border in part of the Caribbean coast, near the San Juan River, the centre of the dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua that arose over the latter’s dredging of a river separating the two countries.”
- Politicians Caught in the Web in Past Images [NYTimes.com] – A new generation of politicians have long digital shadows: “With the ubiquity of technology and social networking Web sites like Facebook that allow — and compel — young people to document themselves drinking, wearing little clothing or putting themselves in otherwise compromised positions, it was a given that a generation of politicians would someday find themselves confronted with digital evidence of their more immodest and imprudent moments. But who knew it would happen this quickly? Politics today is rife with examples of candidates having to explain why they were posing shirtless for pictures poolside with a skimpily clad woman (Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois), simulating sex acts on a toy (the Congressional candidate Krystal Ball of Virginia), or carousing on Halloween night dressed as a ladybug (the Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware).”
- Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up [Reuters] – Clash of the titans: “Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users’ information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants. Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users’ email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users’ information. Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google’s Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network. In a statement, Google said websites such as Facebook “leave users in a data dead end.” Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday.”
Digital Culture Links: June 10th 2010
June 10, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: June 10th 2010
Links for June 4th 2010 through June 10th 2010:
- Copyright: The Elephant in the Middle of the Glee Club – Christina Mulligan [Balkinization] – Great post from Christina Mulligan about copyright and the (fantasy of) Glee: “The fictional high school chorus at the center of Fox’s Glee has a huge problem — nearly a million dollars in potential legal liability. For a show that regularly tackles thorny issues like teen pregnancy and alcohol abuse, it’s surprising that a million dollars worth of lawbreaking would go unmentioned. But it does, and week after week, those zany Glee kids rack up the potential to pay higher and higher fines. […] Defenders of modern copyright law will argue Congress has struck “the right balance” between copyright holders’ interests and the public good. They’ll suggest the current law is an appropriate compromise among interest groups. But by claiming the law strikes “the right balance,” what they’re really saying is that the Glee kids deserve to be on the losing side of a lawsuit. Does that sound like the right balance to you?”
- Second Life in second incarnation [The Age] – “Linden Lab, creator of the online virtual world Second Life, is laying off 30 per cent of its staff and restructing it to make the once popular online world more relevant to social networking times. The San Francisco company did not reveal how many people it was letting go as part of what it called a “strategic restructuring,” but it is understood it has more than 300 employees. […] Chief executive Mark Kingdon, known inworld as M Linden, said the company plans to create an internet browser-based virtual world experience, eliminating the need to download software, and extend Second Life into social networks. […] Second Life was an online sensation after Linden Lab launched the virtual world in 2003 as a place for people to play, socialise and do business but its popularity has faded in recent years.”
- Ashton Kutcher: ‘Bruce Willis? At first it was difficult. He’s the guy who used to sleep with my wife…but it got easier’ [Mail Online] – Ashton Kutcher on how he used Twitter to escape the paparazzi: “There used to be five or six cars full of paparazzi following us – I stopped that with Twitter. Except for rare occasions, they don’t follow us any more. I definitely try to lead the long tail of the press, so if I’m going to an event I break the story myself – I don’t need somebody making money from breaking a story about me. If I’m going to be in a zoo, I want the keys to the cage – I saturate the market with images of myself, so their images won’t have any value.” (5th June 2010)
- The ‘Star Wars Kid’: Where is he now? [The Age] – “Today, Canadian law student Ghyslain Raza is president of a nonprofit organisation dedicated to preserving the heritage, culture and history of a riverside French-Canadian town called Trois-Rivières. But before that, the world knew him by a different title: The “Star Wars Kid.” Raza is now a law student at Montreal’s McGill University. In February of this year, he took control of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières (formerly called the Society for Conservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage), which was founded more than 30 years ago. […] Is that where you expected the Star Wars kid to be today? The short attention spans of viral video viewers prevent the subjects of the videos from fully and accurately presenting themselves. Few people would want to be entirely defined by one minute and 48 seconds of fame, but that’s the hand Raza was dealt in his youth. Hardly anyone would recognise him these days, though.”
- Court uses Facebook to serve paternity test order [The Age] – Australian courts allow Facebook to be used as a communication platform for serving legal papers: “In a case which highlights the difficulties of keeping a low profile when you have a Facebook account, a court has ordered that the social networking site be used to serve legal documents on an elusive father in a child support dispute. The federal magistrate who made the order, Stewart Brown, said the Adelaide case was unusual but ”demonstrative of social movements and the currency of the times”.”
Digital Culture Links: June 3rd 2010
Links for May 31st 2010 through June 3rd 2010:
- Anatomy of an Unpublished Chapter [Just TV] – Jason Mittell’s insightful post about academic publishing in general, and the challenges of balancing copyright, readership and academic reputation. I admire Jason’s decision to give up publishing a chapter in a collected edition due to the inflexible copyright demands of the publisher (including a requirement for him to remove a pre-print version on his blog); that said, at this stage of my academic career, I’m definitely not established enough to be this brave!
- Did Twitter censor the #flotilla hashtag following the Israel attack? [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – The #flotilla hashtag disappeared from Twitter’s trending topics briefly – cries of censorship erupted – but it soon returned and it appears that the disappearance was due to automated spam filtering (the hashtag had been active earlier in the week relating to another story).
- Terminating employees for their conduct on social media sites – Malcolm Burrows (B.Bus.,MBA.,LL.B.,GDLP.,MQLS Associate) offers some useful advice and tips about social media and the law in Australia, especially as to whether it’s legal to fire someone for social media comments made outside of work time (short answer: mostly no, but with some important exceptions).
- When Facebook Says – You Have Too Many Friends [NYTimes.com] – 5000 Facebook friends: that’s your limit.
“anthropologist and Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has posed a theory that the number of individuals with whom a stable interpersonal relationship can be maintained (read: friends) is limited by the size of the human brain, specifically the neocortex. “Dunbar’s number,” as this hypothesis has become known, is 150. Facebook begs to differ. […] Facebook famously co-opted the word “friend” and created a new verb. Friending “sustains an illusion of closeness in a complex world of continuous partial attention,” said Roger Fransecky, a clinical psychologist and executive coach in New York (2,894 friends). “We get captured by Facebook’s algorithms. […] Facebook discourages adding strangers as friends, adding that only a tiny fraction of its 400 million users have reached the 5,000 threshold, at which point Facebook wags its digital finger and says: That’s enough.”
- Facebook, you’ve been sent a message . . . Angry users quit over privacy fears [The Australian] – “Tens of thousands of other disaffected former Facebook fans are also due to commit mass account suicide today, which has been declared “Quit Facebook Day” in a grassroots campaign started by two tech guys, Joseph Dee and Matthew Milan. Motivating them in part are the increasing privacy concerns surrounding the world’s most popular networking site. As of yesterday afternoon, about 24,000 Facebook users had committed to leaving, according to the tally on QuitFacebookDay.com. That’s about 0.006 per cent of the site’s approximately 400 million active users. However, surveys show growing dissatisfaction with the site, with users complaining settings make it too hard to restrict who can view their personal information and too easy for them to inadvertently share details with third-party websites, which mainly use the information to better target them for advertising.”
Digital Culture Links: May 14th 2010
Links for May 13th 2010 through May 14th 2010:
- Well, These New Zuckerberg IMs Won’t Help Facebook’s Privacy Problems [Business Insider] – “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy. An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won’t help put these concerns to rest. According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Brutal. Could Mark have been completely joking? Sure. But the exchange does reveal that Facebook’s aggressive attitude toward privacy may have begun early on.”
- Why, despite myself, I am not leaving Facebook. Yet. [Online Fandom] – “… Using Facebook with the rules I signed on for makes me a subversive user. That’s wrong. What I want is a Facebook that is premised on a belief that first and foremost human relationships are valuable and sacred, not the ground on which money trees grow, but that if the value of relationships is genuinely nurtured, there will be ways to earn money. I want a Facebook that really believes that people have a right to select how their information will be shared, instead of a belief that they’re too dumb to figure it out if the settings are too confusing so it’s okay to dupe them. I want a Facebook that can find creative ways to make a profit using the rules they originally set for their own game. I want an ethical Facebook. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.”
- Social networks and the end of privacy [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Pesce on wanting to let go: “I want to quit. Like Michael Corleone, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in! No, I’m not talking about the Mafia, though I am Sicilian. I’m talking about an organisation that’s more pervasive, and more insidious – Facebook. […] For now, I’ve cut back on Facebook. I’m not accepting new friend requests, or joining new groups. I’m still using Facebook to share interesting information – particularly if that information is about the problems with Facebook. It is possible that we can use Facebook to accelerate the transition to an alternative to Facebook. That would be the most appropriate end to a fun but unwholesome chapter in the Web’s history.”
- Apple ‘digital locker’ to allow online music stream [The Australian] – Apple iCloud: “The move could pose a significant threat to existing music operations such as Spotify and We7. According to music industry insiders, iTunes customers will be given access to a “digital locker” that will automatically store songs bought through Apple’s music store. At present, songs downloaded from iTunes can be stored only on a computer or iPod. Under the digital locker system, customers will also be able to access the tracks they have purchased by logging on to a website — expected to be called iTunes.com — where the songs could be streamed over the internet to any computer. Spotify and We7 are fledgeling services giving access to millions of songs that can be heard over the web and paid for through monthly subscriptions or advertising. Analysts have long expected Apple — acting before Google or Amazon — to create a system allowing people to store and access their music collections “in the cloud” on the internet.”
Digital Culture Links: May 10th 2010
May 10, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: May 10th 2010
Links for May 7th 2010 through May 10th 2010:
- An Early Look At Twitter Annotations Or, “Twannotations” [TechCrunch] – Twitter are adding annotations, or twannotataions, in the near future; it’ll let specific ‘things’ be identified. It’s a bit like turning Twitter into a semantic communication tool. Richard Giles asks if this will make Twitter (a privately owned) internet protocol be default, but either way annotations should make Twitter even more of a cultural barometer.
- The Tell-All Generation Learns When Not To, at Least Online [NYTimes.com] – Privacy concerns online cross all generational barrier, despite the myth of the millennial mindset: “The conventional wisdom suggests that everyone under 30 is comfortable revealing every facet of their lives online, from their favorite pizza to most frequent sexual partners. But many members of the tell-all generation are rethinking what it means to live out loud. While participation in social networks is still strong, a survey released last month by the University of California, Berkeley, found that more than half the young adults questioned had become more concerned about privacy than they were five years ago — mirroring the number of people their parent’s age or older with that worry. They are more diligent than older adults, however, in trying to protect themselves.”
- Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative [Wired.com] – Ryan Singel takes Facebook to task for the continual failings in respecting user privacy both in terms of their architecture (so many things simply can’t be turned off now) and their policies (basically, screwing with privacy one step at a time, while using a raft of lawyers to ensure it’s not illegal … but maybe unethical). Singel argues that everything Facebook currently provides could be achieved by a series of open tools and protocols which provide real and clear choices about what we do and don’t share with the world. Singel argues we need to make these choices now because Facebook, for many, has almost become our online identity.
- Zuckerberg’s Law of Information Sharing [NYTimes.com] – From November 6, 2008: “On stage at the Web 2.0 Summit on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, was cheerfully unruffled. Mr. Zuckerberg pinned his optimism on a change in behavior among Internet users: that they are ever more willing to tell others what they are doing, who their friends are, and even what they look like as they crawl home from the fraternity party. “I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before,” he said. “That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.” Call it Zuckerberg’s Law.” The great thing about controlling the privacy settings for more than 400 million people, is it’s pretty easy to change things so more and more and their information is shared … even if many users don’t understand how and don’t think this is what they signed up for!
- The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook [mattmckeon.com] – A really useful inforgraphic by Matt McKeon which demonstrates five stages of Facebook’s default settings and how much information is public by default at each stage (short version: 2005 – not much; 2010 – almost everything!)
- Most pirates say they’d pay for legal downloads [News.com.au] – Peer-topeer sharers want legal options in Australia: “Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent. That’s the finding of the most comprehensive look yet at people who illegally download TV shows, movies and music in Australia, conducted by news.com.au and market research firm CoreData. The survey canvassed the attitudes of more than 7000 people who admitted to streaming or downloading media from illegitimate sources in the past 12 months. It found accessibility was as much or more of a motivator than money for those who illegally download media using services like BitTorrent. More respondents said they turned to illegal downloads because they were convenient than because they were free … [More results here.]
- What Happens When You Deactivate Your Facebook Account [Read Write Web] – Facebook is a big part of millions and millions of peoples’ lives, but what happens when you pull the plug? Last night I met a man who walked to the edge of the cliff and nearly deactivated his Facebook account. He took a screenshot of what he saw after clicking the “deactivate my account” link on his account page – and it is pretty far-out. That man considered quitting Facebook because it was having an adverse emotional impact on him and I’ll spare him and his contacts from posting the screenshot he shared with me. I have posted below though a shot of the screen I saw when I clicked that button myself. Check it out. I bet you haven’t seen this screen before, have you? […] Can you believe that? How incredibly manipulative! And what claims to make. Facebook has undoubtedly made it easier to keep in touch with people than almost any other technology on the planet, but to say that leaving Facebook means your friends “will no longer be able to keep in touch with you” is just wrong.”
Digital Culture Links: April 29th 2010
April 30, 2010 / 1 Comment on Digital Culture Links: April 29th 2010
Links for April 25th 2010 through April 29th 2010:
- Thoughts on Flash [Steve Jobs – Apple] – Steve Jobs nails down Flash’s coffin with his post from on high about why the iRange don’t (and won’t) support Flash: “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short. The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games. New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”
- O’Hara, Kieron (2010) Intimacy 2.0: Privacy Rights and Privacy Responsibilities on the World Wide Web. In: Proceedings of the WebSci10: Extending the Frontiers of Society On-Line, April 26-27th, 2010, Raleigh, NC: US. (In Press) – Abstract: “This paper examines the idea of privacy in the world of ‘intimacy 2.0’, the use of Web 2.0 social networking technologies and multimedia for the routine posting of intimate details of users’ lives. It will argue that, although privacy is often conceived as a right with benefits that accrue to the individual, it is better seen as a public good, whose benefits accrue to the community in general. In that case, the costs of allowing invasions of one’s privacy do not solely fall on the individual who is unwise enough to do so, but also on wider society.” [PDF]
- Noticed – College Applicants Hide Behind Facebook Aliases [NYTimes.com] – Are colleges in the US checking the digital footprints on applicants? Well, the number of aspiring college applicants changing their Facebook names because that’s their suspicion is definitely growing!
Digital Culture Links: April 19th 2010
Links for April 19th 2010:
- Why the Library of Congress cares about archiving our tweets [Ars Technica] – Interesting look at the motivations behind the US Library of Congress twitter archive – and their perspective on how Twitter has changed communication – and why Facebook hasn’t. Some of the challenges the Library of Congress archive will face are important issues for researchers, including dealing with shortened urls through third parties such as bit.ly and tinyurl; and whether or not to archive photos on twitter specific photos (eg twitpic) – this one seems unlikely.
- Twitter Chirp Conference – Videos [Justin.tv ] – A video archive of Twitter’s first official conference – Chirp – in April 2010.
- Facebook Ads Will Use Your Web History [Mashable] – “Facebook will soon use your activity on other web pages to target ads based on your interests, Financial Times reports. That’s potentially a big boon for advertisers, but it won’t sit well with privacy advocates. Note that Facebook already targets ads using information from your profile, and this new system will not track all of your browsing. Rather, Facebook will offer sharing buttons to interested websites. Readers will be able to click on them to share the links with their Facebook friends via Facebook Connect […] Once the user shares a link with his friends, Facebook will assume that person shared it because he or she liked it, so the company will include content from that web page in the data it uses to target ads based on user interest. The ads will appear whenever the user visits the Facebook website.”
- Internet dating [SMH] – “Australians are changing the way they date and mate, a survey shows. A Nielsen poll found one in four adults have used the internet to find a partner and another 38 per cent are considering using online dating. The other 37 per cent – many presumably in relationships – said they would never go online to meet someone. Of those who had used online dating, 33.6 per cent reported a short-term relationship, 16.2 per cent said they had a long-term relationship, 8.9 per cent said they had married or were in a defacto relationship, and 2.7 per cent had children. […] The survey shows that:
* Of those who had used online dating, 62 per cent had dated someone they met online;
* Men were slightly more likely than women to use online dating services; and
* Most of those polled (72 per cent) were seeking a serious relationship, but many were looking for friendship or just sex.
Nielsen polled 3057 people online in November and 3764 in January, with the data weighted to the general population.”
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