Regular Features Sandpit February 24, 2013 John Quiggin25 Comments A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
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A Billion Chinese Don’t Care.
Lazlo’s “Chinese Relativity Axiom” has it that “No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats — a billion Chinese don’t care.” Actually, it is 1.344 billion now.
The common Chinese name for China is Zh?ngguó. This translates as “central nation” or “middle kingdom”. China is seen by the Chinese as the centre of the world, the civilizational centre.
More Chinese live outside China than French people live in France.
Historically the Chinese term for Overseas Chinese is huaqiao or Chinese sojourner. This term is used even today to describe all Chinese of any generation living abroad.
The overseas Chinese account for the largest number of investors in China.
Twenty years ago, Chinese living abroad produced approximately as much wealth as China’s entire internal population.
According to Ivan Krastev, “First the Chinese Diaspora succeeded, then China itself.” (He is speaking in modern economic terms.)
“In Indonesia, where they are less than four per cent of the population, they have 75 per cent of the wealth; in Thailand, the Chinese represent eight per cent of the population, but control 80 per cent of the wealth. The numbers are even more amazing in the Philippines – population less than 2 per cent and control 70 per cent of the wealth. Even in the backward economies – Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam – Chinese entrepreneurs are behind the vast majority of private business ventures”. – National Review.
“No (homeland) Chinese doubts their ultimate destiny after they have restored their civilization, the oldest in the world, with 4000 years of unbroken history.” – Lee Kwan Yew.
The relationship between the Chinese Government and the Chinese Diaspora was illustrated by the following events.
“The enthusiasm of the Overseas Chinese came into sharp focus during the torch relay which was part of the build up for the Beijing Olympics in the summer of 2008. Just before the torch relay Tibet was in a state of ferment and the PRC used brute force to suppress the Tibetan monks and other protestors. The torch relay became an opportune moment for those who were critical of China on the Tibetan issue to express their anger and indignation. In London, Paris, Athens and San Francisco massive demonstrations took place to protest against China’s gross human rights violations. The Overseas Chinese considered these demonstrations as an affront to China. What is more the Chinese Embassies in different countries became very active and exploited the patriotic feelings of the Ethnic Chinese to China’s advantage. Huge (sic) demonstrations were organized in Canberra, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hong Kong and the Ho Chih Minh city, with the ethnic Chinese taking the lead and outnumbering the local people. The solidarity and support of the Overseas Chinese was wholeheartedly welcomed and praised by the Chinese leaders.” – DR. V. Suryanarayan; former Senior Professor and Director, Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras and President, Chennai Centre for China Studies.
It is clear that the loyalties of many, if not the bulk, of the Chinese Disapora ultimately lie with China. This is only natural and it is exactly as we Westerners behave (in the main) when expats.
Do I raise this issue to suggest a pogrom? Of course not, as that would indeed be dangerous nonsense. But equally I suggest that imagining that China shares the same liberal, multicultural ideals as (parts of) the West is also dangerous nonsense. China seeks full national emergence, full spectrum dominance and hegemonic power (as do all great powers, nothing new there) and China’s definition of the Chinese nation does not end at the current borders of the PRC. The Chinese Government regards the Chinese Diaspora as part of the Chinese nation even if many of the Diaspora do not so regard themselves. The Chinese Government will seek to enforce this view as a reality over time but will do so quietly and insidiously and will always disavow such an end. There is much in standard and ancient Chinese cultural attitudes that makes the Chinese mainland people at one with their government on this issue.
This paper is worth a read.
Click to access 72190.pdf
I think it goes a long way to refuting Prof. J.Q.’s rubbishing of my point about the Communist Party of China’s engagement with and manipulation of the Chinese Diaspora. This paper and other extant information also indicate that there is a culturally deep-seated division of loyalities within the Diaspora.
The Chinese Communist Party would now be better termed a hybrid Corporate State Capitalist and Confucian-Legalist party dictatorship. It is not Communist in any sense.
I was in Singapore earlier this year, which is conflicted about China and the diaspora.
On the one hand, the Singaporean government legislates strongly in favour of ethnic Chinese – over the Indian and Malays – and encourages population growth through ethnically Chinese families having children.
Meanwhile, even the Chinese Singaporeans are aghast at immigrants from mainland China, who they consider uncivilised, uneducated and affiliated with organised crime.
So, the sentiment is varied among various groups. I’d argue that Singaporean Chinese are more likely to reject CCP overtures because they enjoy a position of authority, but more marginalised immigrant communities elsewhere may view themselves as outposts of the mother country rather than citizens.
Yes, the second part of Lee Kwan Yew’s quote which I left out (and perhaps I shouldn’t have) indicated that Overseas Chinese (at least Singaporean) are more conflicted and uncertain about the future and their relationship with Mainland China.
I have the feeling that wealthy overseas Chinese are like all wealthy people. They will do business with whomever if it makes them good money. The CPC have built upon and leveraged this along with residual goodwill and shared cultural understanding.
The West’s willingness to do business with China greatly contrasts with the ostracizing of Soviet Russia, Cuba and other Communist regimes during the Cold War and the ostracizing of Iran today as a theorcratic dictatorship. Apparently, it was wrong to do business with communist dictatorships then but now it’s alright. It’s odd and I wonder why. I suspect plain old inconsistency coupled with huge lashings of greed. This greed will be our downfall. The CPC is planning on it.
The existence of the zombie ideas in economics has been well documented on this blog. The glaring failure of neo-liberal policies is most evident in the financial breakdown commonly called the GFC. From issues such as income inequality through public investment in infrastructure to a functioning model to alleviate climate change the paucity of progress is all too apparent. That the political class has failed to present any rational alternative other than ‘business as usual’ speaks not so much to the lack of intellectual rigour or awareness by our intellectual and political elite as to the sheer momentum of the current paradigm and the political commitment required to realign winners and losers.
It is therefore of interest to watch an almost identical failure arising in a non-related field, namely the science of nutrition in medical science, in both its academic and practical out-workings. In the first instance, like the GFC, we are faced with a visible failure of current practice in the form of the growing obesity epidemic. This epidemic has its roots in the high density/high calorie diets made available through the industrial food complex. The lack of a ‘societal’ or political response may be traced directly to the McGovern Committee that oversaw the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It introduced the concept of the high carbohydrate/low fat diet that now dominates the middle aisles of our supermarkets. As Philip Handler of the National Science Board testified before the congressional committee in 1980; ‘what right has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment , with themselves as subjects, on the strength of so very little evidence that it will do them any good?’.
The general argument, as put forward by Ancel Keys was that the observed correlation between cholesterol and the rising incidence of heart disease in the 1960s was fed, literally, by dietary fat. Robert Lustig critiques Keys seminal Seven Countries study on four grounds, including the omission of data that didn’t fit the hypothesis, the role of trans fat in his studies but most significantly on the fact that both sugar and fat correlate with heart disease, and Keys did not conduct a multivariate regression on both factors to determine which was the primary culprit.
There is little doubt in the science that high carbohydrate/high fat diet is not good for you. However, there is now mounting evidence that for a very large proportion of the population, the high carbohydrate/low fat diet is equally as toxic, giving rise to metabolic syndrome and a host of co-morbidities through carbohydrate intolerance.
Last week the NHRMC released new dietary guidelines for Australia. When one of the barking dogs from the right has a go one has to laugh, but in the case of Chris Berg he at least makes sense when he notes that reducing food to a mere functional role in our lives is not likely to cut it with the punters, particularly if the prime directive is to restrict consumption. But what can the boffins do in the face of growing obesity, where ‘paradigm correctness’ prevents them from acknowledging the metabolic diversity of people and the industrial food complex prevents them from even minor criticism of the highly processed packaged food (including the fast variety) that dominates not only western societies but now the global society.
As Lustig points out, obesity is not a life choice but a metabolic response, as much driven by our bodies internal balancing mechanism as our need to breathe air and drink water. The question is will the politics of food reduce the lifespan of the coming generation for the first time in modern history through the prevalence of non-communicable diseases that are associated with metabolic syndrome? It would seem that losing economic opportunity through wrong-headed policies may be considered a misdemeanour, but losing one’s life to a captured science would surely count as a felony.
As your first paragraph illustrates, our society and economic system are maladaptive on so many levels, it should not surprise us that we have “wrecked” food and our bodies as well. We have wrecked food by over-industrialising it and over-processing it. Appetites are over-stimulated by a variety of methods including advertising and ingredient combinations of fats, sugars, salts and additives. There are no solutions to any of these dilemmas, at least no solutions that we humans can implement in the current system which is geared to profits for the elite rich and no other purpose. Again, you refer to this in the “sheer momentum” of the current system. Very soon, what is going to happen is that natural forces are going to implement the solutions for us.
The obesity epidemic is going to be cured by food shortages. It’s as simple as that. The over-population crisis is going to be cured by die-off. The current capitalist-industrial system has hit the limits to growth and indeed is already in overshoot. A growing food shortage crisis is already hitting the Middle East, North Africa and Central Africa. Revolutions and unrest there relate more directly to food shortages and competition for food and other scarce resources than to any other factor. Food shortages will hit the West within the next ten to twenty years.
If people think I am exaggerating about the looming food crisis;
“UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013
• Global grain reserves hit critically low levels
• Extreme weather means climate ‘is no longer reliable’
• Rising food prices threaten disaster and unrest.”
Didn’t think we see Malthus back so soon.
I’m with @Sancho on this one. My interest is not in food supply but intransigence in the face of countervailing evidence.
To follow on from my last post, one of the primary studies into the new nutritional
guidelines was the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial running from 1973 to 1982. The results for the study showed that there was no statistical difference in mortality due to coronary heart disease (CHD) between those who lowered their cholesterol and those who did not, and in fact the special intervention (SI) group that had reduced their cholesterol levels had slightly higher total mortality rate than the non-intervention group. The obvious conclusion, that lowering cholesterol does not affect CHD, was rejected, as was the suggestion that the trial wasn’t big enough or long enough to affect CHD. The authors voted for ‘other factors’ as the most reasonable explanation.
This study has been followed up numerous times with the same result. The most cited
study is from the American Heart Journal in 2009. 136,905 people who were admitted to 541 different hospitals over 7 years for CHD had their LDL level (the ‘bad’ part of cholesterol) measured within 24 hours of admission. Average LDL for this group was 2.7mmol/L which was lower than the 3.2mmol/L average found in the broader population, with over 70% being within the normal range .
While CHD is still the major cause of mortality in Australia, the rate has been declining since about 1970 This is a complex matter, and may well be related to exogenous factors including the reduced incidence of smoking. It is almost certain that statins have had some impact on this decline, but this may be due more to their anti-inflammatory effect rather than their cholesterol lowering effect. Despite this fall, it is expected that the comorbidities associated with metabolic syndrome (including CHD, and in particular type II diabetes) will continue to be the leading cause of death in Australia, of which the rising incidence of obesity is a symptom, not the cause.
The situation could be considered analogous to Australia’s economic performance, where GDP has continued to grow despite sectoral imbalances, the pursuit of wrong-headed policies such as mass privatisations and failed PPPs, and the teetering mountain of private debt that undermines national resilience to external shocks, such as the case with rural debt.
I’m not sure how to end the post, because I’m not sure how one describes knowledge acquisition in a post-modernist society, but the efficacy of the dominant discourses to disrupt the pursuit of evidence based science seems to be prevalent in much less political fields than macroeconomics.
“When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be” – per 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
sea shepherd is being sued under the the Alien Tort Statute, which dates from 1789, and provides remedies for violations of the law of nations.
sea shepherd claims the US courts lacks of jurisdiction. dutch shell and Rio Tinto tried that argument too. the National Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia will be next.
the pioneering suit was against a Paraguyan police chief living in the US in 1980.
Less than 75 whales killed this season out of an intended 950, the lowest kill yet.
The whalers hurled concussion grenades, hit Sea Shepherd members with water cannon and all three SS ships were damaged after multiple hits from the Nisshin Maru.
The whalers have also, in past confrontations, used propeller fouling lines and high powered lasers.
The authorities have had a very powerful spotlight shone on their failures to stop whale slaughter.
@Salient Green good to see that facts are undisputed: sea shepherd rams ships; hurls glass containers of acid; drags metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launchs smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and points high-powered lasers at other ships.
You forgot the context:
given the failure of Australia to administer its own territorial waters.
You forgot the context:
given the failure of Australia to administer its own territorial waters.
@Chris Warren when sea shepherd rams ships; hurls glass containers of acid; drags metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launchs smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and points high-powered lasers at other ships, is that non-violent direct action?
So Jim, it’s OK according to you for the whalers to use violence but it is not ok for the anti-whalers to use violence? It’s now a compicated situation where arguments about self-defence and use of reasonable force could be employed by both sides.
But let’s not forget the situation is created in the first place by Japan’s criminal, illegal and immoral whaling. The Japanese side of this issue is characterised by extreme illogic, hubris and arrogance.
1. It is illogical to harvest whales for food. The catch does not justify the huge energy input. There are many other ways Japan could get marine protein more cheaply and more reliably in energy terms and money terms. Fish farms are a prime example.
2. The hubris is the claim that it is some kind of “cultural” imperative. This is irrational and maladaptive nonsense. The longer Japanese persist with this emotive logic the more it will harm both their international standing and their actual food security. Resources wasted on whaling would be better employed elesewhere.
3. The arrogance is the assumption that the rights of rest of the world (and the whales’ survival) does not count. The only thing that counts apparently is the irrational and self-destructive “right to whale” of the Japanese.
When police smash doors to break into drug dens to stop criminal actions – is that non-violent direct action.
Anyone complaining about the broken door are infact defending drug manufacturers to continue their practices, for the sake of their own bank accounts uninterrupted by morals, social norms, or recognition of international agreements underpinning a civilised society.
From the report, “During the campaign the Sea Shepherd crews did not throw any projectiles or deploy any propeller-fouling devices.”
In light of that, and the tactics used by whalers this campaign, and the tactics used by whalers in previous campaigns, the US courts are guilty of hypocrisy for as long as they fail to sue the whalers.
Another plank removed from Climate Change deniers
Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link
By JUSTIN GILLIS
Published: February 28, 2013
A meticulous new analysis of Antarctic ice suggests that the sharp warming that ended the last ice age occurred in lock step with increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the latest of many indications that the gas is a powerful influence on the earth’s climate.
Previous research suggested that as the world began to emerge from the depths of the ice age about 20,000 years ago, warming in Antarctica preceded changes in the global carbon dioxide level by something like 800 years.
That relatively long gap led some climate-change contrarians to assert that rising carbon dioxide levels were essentially irrelevant to the earth’s temperature — a side effect of planetary warming, perhaps, but not the cause.
Mainstream climate scientists rejected that view and argued that carbon dioxide, while it certainly did not initiate the end of the ice age, played a vital role in the feedback loops that caused a substantial warming. Still, a long gap between initial increases of temperature and of carbon dioxide was somewhat difficult for the scientists to explain.
A wave of new research in the last few years has raised the likelihood that there was actually a small gap, if any.
The latest paper was led by Frédéric Parrenin of the University of Grenoble, in France, and is scheduled for publication on Friday in the journal Science. Using relatively new, high-precision chemical techniques, his group sought to reconstruct the exact timing of the events that ended the ice age.
Scientists have long known that ice ages are caused by variations in the earth’s orbit around the sun. When an intensification of sunlight initiates the end of an ice age, they believe, carbon dioxide is somehow flushed out of the ocean, causing a big amplification of the initial warming.
Since the 1980s, scientists have been collecting a climate record by extracting long cylinders of ice from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and from glaciers atop high mountains.
Air bubbles trapped in the ice give direct evidence of the past composition of the atmosphere. And subtle chemical variations in the ice itself give an indication of the local temperature at the time it was formed.
The trouble is that air does not get sealed in the ice until hundreds or even thousands of years after the snow has fallen, as it slowly gets buried and compressed.
That means the ice and the air bubbles trapped in it are not the same age, so it becomes tricky for scientists to put reconstructed atmospheric composition and reconstructed temperature onto a common time scale.
With its improved techniques, Dr. Parrenin’s group sought to clarify the dating of previously recovered ice cores from Antarctica. Instead of the 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide increases found in some previous research, their work suggests that the lag as the ice age started to end was less than 200 years, and possibly there was no lag at all.
“Before, because of these wrong results of CO2 lagging temperature, people were interpreting it as a weak role for CO2 in the climate variation of the past,” Dr. Parrenin said.
Indeed, though most climate scientists have never seen the supposed gap as a major conceptual problem, it has been invoked repeatedly by American politicians who want to delay action on global warming.
In 2007, for example, former Vice President Al Gore was testifying to Congress about the science in his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” He came under attack by Representative Joe L. Barton, a Texas Republican.
“CO2 levels went up after the temperature rose,” Mr. Barton said, citing a scientific paper from 2001. “The temperature appears to drive CO2, not vice versa. On this point, Mr. Vice President, you’re not just off a little. You’re totally wrong.”
The emerging evidence suggests that Mr. Gore was right.
Richard B. Alley, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the new work, said by e-mail that it essentially confirmed previous scientific understanding.
“What this does, again and more clearly than ever, is to show that the large temperature changes are tightly coupled to the large CO2 changes,” he said.
Dr. Parrenin’s paper is the third in recent years to suggest that the gap in the climate records between polar temperature and CO2, if it exists at all, is relatively small. And Jeremy Shakun, a visiting scholar at Harvard, pointed out in a paper last year that the timing of the temperature increase in Antarctica could not be assumed to be representative of the world as a whole. When he compiled a global temperature record for the end of the ice age, he found that increases of carbon dioxide came first, and rising temperatures came second.
The tight relationship in past climate between temperature and carbon dioxide is a major reason scientists have warned that modern society is running a big risk by burning CO2-producing fossil fuels.
The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has jumped 41 percent since the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, and scientists fear it could double or triple unless stronger efforts are made to control emissions.
Even at the current concentration of the gas, the evidence suggests that increases in sea level of 25 feet or more may have already become inevitable, albeit over a long period.
“We’re just entering a new era in earth’s history,” Dr. Shakun said. “It will be an unrecognizable new planet in the future. I think the only question is, exactly how fast does that transformation happen?”
Salient green, you refer to a report finding that “Sea Shepherd crews did not throw any projectiles or deploy any propeller-fouling devices”.
the animal planet channel on cable plays the TV series Whale Wars made by Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd’s own TV footage shows them throwing projectiles at Japanese whaling ships and their breaching of anti-collision regulations
See for yourself at 55 seconds and following at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCl0AvwLXlU for the throwing of these projectiles. A projectile is a fired, thrown, or otherwise propelled object, such as a bullet, having no capacity for self-propulsion.
Google Greenpeace cooperation sea shepherd where in a media release Greenpeace USA explains that it:
“passionately want to stop whaling, and will do so peacefully.
That’s why we won’t help Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace is committed to non-violence and we’ll never, ever, change that; not for anything.
If we helped Sea Shepherd to find the whaling fleet we’d be responsible for anything they did having got that information, and history shows that they’ve used violence in the past, in the most dangerous seas on Earth …
We believe that throwing butryic acid at the whalers, dropping cables to foul their props, and threatening to ram them in the freezing waters of the Antarctic constitutes violence because of the potential consequences.”
Greenpeace USA links to a 2008 article in the New Yorker where Watson claims that Sea Shepherd has sunk ten ships since its founding.
Sea Shepard is free to seek redress in courts of appropriate jurisdiction for any criminal offences that Japanese might have committed against them.
Sea Shepard can even sue under the U.S. Alien Torts Act of 1789 which it is currently been used successfully to injunction them from being within 500 yards of the Japanese whalers.
You twit, that video was uploaded four years ago. If you had bothered to read the link I provided, you would have seen it was a report on THIS years campaign. Sheesh!!!
Do not believe everything that a bail jumper says.
Sea Shepherd is now ramming the Japanese whalers. That is not an improvement.
See http://www.icrwhale.org/gpandsea.html for 2013 videos of Sea Shepard rammings and sabotage. Sea Shepherd should not be that close to the other ships.
The TV series for the 2013 whaling season is due out mid-year and will show whether Watson, as he says, “act[s] non-violently and within the boundaries of the law”.
Sea Shepard is free to litigate any complaints they might have against Japanese flagged ships in Japanese courts and in any other court where those ships enter port.
Great to see Sea Shepherd kicking whale killers butt out on the ocean and saving whales.
Bob Barker 800t, Sun Laurel 5000t, Nisshin Maru 8000t.
Why would the Sea Shepherd waste money on the courts? How many whales have the courts saved?
What’s your interest in supporting the continued slaughter of whales? Have you got money in the game? Japanese investments, exports? Or is it blind ideology, the ruling class mindset -“can’t have these vigilante upstarts shining a light on the failure of our systems”. Or worse, “can’t have these vigilante upstarts getting in the way of our natural right to pillage the oceans”.
There is, in many jurisdictions, the legal concept of “citizen arrest”.
“A citizen’s arrest is an arrest made by a person who is not acting as a sworn law-enforcement official. In common law jurisdictions, the practice dates back to medieval Britain and the English common law, in which sheriffs encouraged ordinary citizens to help apprehend law breakers.” – Wikpedia.
The captain and crew of Sea Shepard and related vessels are acting in a citizen arrest capacity in an attempt to prevent the crime of whale slaughter. In 2008 the Federal Court ruled that the Japanese whaling fleet was breaking Australian law and issued an injunction to stop its activities. It was subsequently admitted that Australia did not have the capacity to enforce its declaration of the Whale sanctuary in internnational waters. Where the state’s capacity or will is lacking, citizens have stepped up to the plate and are using common law citizen arrest powers. This is perfectly valid, legal and reasonable. The attempt to arrest can include the attempt to prevent the commission of a crime even it does not result in the actual apprehension of the perpetrator(s).
I assume Jim Rose, if being assaulted in the street, would be grateful for the intervention and assitance of another non-law-enforcement person using the general citizen arrest power to prevent the assualt abd possibly apprehend the perpetrator. The case is the same. Whales are protected by Australian Law in declared sanctuaries. Sea Shepard personnel are acting under common law to protect person, property or environment protected in turn by statutory law. Their actions are on the face of it legal and reasonable under this head.
@Ikonoclast Imagine the chaos and potential for violence if people started enforcing Australian family court orders with citizen’s arrests? Things would soon get out of hand.
• Citizen’s arrests under Australian federal criminal law are limited by the 1914 statute to indictable offences where a summons would not be satisfactory.
• Contempt of court is not an indictable offence. Federal indictable offences must be tried by a jury.
Rawls was good on civil disobedience:
• Civil disobedients address themselves to the majority to show that, in their considered opinion, the principles of justice governing cooperation amongst free and equal persons have not been respected.
• Civil disobedience is never covert or secretive: to show fidelity to law and democracy, acts are only ever committed in public, openly, and with fair notice to legal authorities and done in a situation where arrest and punishment are accepted without resistance.
• The intent to bring about a change in the policies or laws of the government. The intent is not to impose your will on others.
• Violent acts likely to injure are incompatible with civil disobedience.
No bail jumping. Fidelity to the rule of law and democracy is a must.
If the Japanese are to be expected to obey an Australian federal court injunction, Sea Shepherd is honour bound to obey the recent U.S. federal court injunction to not come within 500 yards of the Japanese whalers and to not navigate in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel.
The whole purpose of the U.S. litigation is to put Sea Shepherd (and their bush lawyers online) in the position of ignoring a foreign court injunction while demanding the Japanese whalers respect a foreign court injunction.