Talk:Hoe (tool)

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The Oxford English Dictionary gives "hoe" a much older etymology--going as far back as the 13th century.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Jcgood (talkcontribs) 09:23, 16 November 2006


It seems that this page is prone to vandalism despite not being a hot or controversial topic. Reverted to last known 'good' version. Tripledot 09:46, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

That's because it sounds like a well-known slang word. Axeman89 00:13, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I've been watching this page for a while and I think that the level of vandalism doesn't require semiprotection. The article does receive legitimate edits and has improved over the past year. Darkspots (talk) 13:26, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Mortar Hoe[edit]

There is no mention of the use of a hoe to mix mortar, cement or concrete (usually in a wheel barrow). In Australia this is called a "larry" (or perhaps lary) two suppliers refer to the tool as a "mortar hoe" & and I have also found the term "mason's hoe" —Preceding unsigned comment added by UTS cob (talkcontribs) 05:29, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Hula Hoe[edit]

BRAND NAME ALERT!!! I don't know what the policy is. I'll cap it, but I don't know if more than that should be done. Thmazing (talk) 05:19, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

"Hula Hoe" is a brand owned by "Flexrake" used also for rakes and "single prong" things. Their version of the stirrup hoe doesn't seem to differ much from other brands. Perhaps it was the first stirrup hoe, which might be notable, but I haven't found evidence to show it, so I have removed mention of it for now. Batternut (talk) 20:48, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

I like the mention of it in the article, because i think it's become a colloquial word, like Kleenex for tissue and Xerox for copy. Would you reconsider including it, Batternut if we note that it's a brand name? Brand names are things that so exist in the world and i think can be included if they're extremely common in the class, or if their brand name has become used like a word. SageRad (talk) 01:02, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

The subject of 'generic trademarks' is a popular debating point. I'd suggest that once the name starts appearing in dictionaries then it has been recognized as a generic term, as the Xerox and Kleenex examples now do. Hula-Ho is mentioned on, but personally I hesitate to take that as a reliable source. Once again, I think finding good references must be our guide. NB 'Hula-Ho' seems to be the correct spelling according to its manufacturer Flexrake. Batternut (talk) 20:33, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Well, i know an old farmer who calls it a Hula Ho. What about folk knowledge? Isn't that valid knowledge? Specially on a hoe. SageRad (talk) 22:01, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Documenting folk knowledge is good, but I doubt wikipedia is the place to do it - have a read Wikipedia:Verifiability. Batternut (talk) 15:14, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
Cause it's a lot less likely it would make the dictionary like Kleenex or Xerox because it's a lesser used item than those things, so only about 2% of people even know about the hoop hoe... but i know that people call it that, so can't i make that contribution? This could be the way that Wikipedia excels, from the input of people with good faith contributing their knowledge. I know that if i were adding some theory like the Earth is flat, or something, then i would expect to be challenged with the need for sources on that crazy theory, but this little name for a hoe, couldn't it be a nice detail in this story? I did a straw poll among farmy people, and found about 20 to 30% called it a hula hoe. I showed a picture and said "What's this called?" and got many different names, from scuffle to hula to hoop, to stirrup, and a few more. I call it oscillating hoe. SageRad (talk) 22:18, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
This is a good point about being a lesser used item - agriculture and gardening knowledge is relatively niche these days, but amongst those involved a trademark can become a generic term. There has been quite a bit of discussion of trademarks etc on Wikipedia: Wikipedia:Deletion_policy/Brand_name_products. Anybody else got a view on the Hula-Ho? Batternut (talk) 15:14, 14 May 2015 (UTC)\
Thanks, Batternut, for seeing my point about the less used nature of this term... i think i found a source that might be good enough but maybe others can be a judge, too. It happens to also cover the use of "scuffle hoe" as well as the non-capitalized "hula hoe" ... it is a patent that reads:

Both home and commercial gardeners have a need for a gardening tool that offers the precision of a hand-weeding tool, such as the standard garden hoe but, unlike the hoe, that is less physically demanding to use. One improvement has been the hula hoe, which developed from the need for tool that was both effective and easy to use. This tool is a type of scuffle hoe in which the head pivots back and forth, creating a pushing and pulling action just under the soil surface to cut newly emerging or shallow-rooted weeds and/or to break up any crust on the soil surface.

It is Linear actuated reciprocating garden HOE US 20070193754 A1. SageRad (talk) 17:01, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Images could use improvement?[edit]

It appears none of the images are good representations for the typical use case -- only the last image shows the common tool, and it is shown without the handle... jhawkinson (talk) 18:37, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Much better, thanks! jhawkinson (talk) 10:47, 24 May 2011 (UTC)\
I can donate this one of my hula hoe and i can take a better one later, an action shot. SageRad (talk) 22:10, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Surface weeding hoe categories & names[edit]

Hi, i made some edits based on my understanding of hoe names and types, and it was reverted in this diff by Batternut. I appreciate the effort and the intent, but i'm wondering if Batternut understood my edit.

  • I've worked with these hoes, and i've asked people for their names for the hoes, using pictures. I got a lot of names for the hoop hoe, which i call the oscillating hoe, or the stirrup hoe, or the Hula-Hoe (which i know is a brand name but is used by a lot of people as a word for this kind of hoe), and a few other names, including the "scuffle hoe".
  • I see two kinds of surface weeding hoes, here. I see the fixed-blade delta-shaped one, and i see the one that has a loop of metal that moves a little bit.
  • It's possible that some names are used for both kinds of hoes. Perhaps "scuffle hoe" is used for either type of hoe. Perhaps some people use it to refer to the class of hoes including the Dutch hoe and the oscillating hoe. Maybe others use it to refer to the Dutch hoe. Maybe others use it to refer to the oscillating hoe. A hoe is a tool that would garner a lot of alternate names, and some of those would mix things up and become new words, sometimes based on an error, and sometimes just with whimsy.

I'd like to do a little more editing on this subject. Would that be alright with you? SageRad (talk) 01:09, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

The reference I cited for scuffle hoe clearly showed it to be a variant of the Dutch hoe - wikipedia is very much driven by trustworthy references, so I beg SageRad to find a good reference showing the scuffle hoe as being stirrup-like. Btw I would like to thank SageRad for his bringing attention to the 'Types' section of the article which I think did need some improvement. Batternut (talk) 20:33, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I know lots of people who call the hoop hoe a scuffle hoe, too. . . . When i do a Google image search for "scuffle hoe" what comes up is a lot of oscillating hoes. Those are two bases for this notion that the name crosses both kinds of surface weeding hoes. SageRad (talk) 22:03, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Some more Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources would help clarify this. Shops and such sites are often happy to stuff their pages with keywords to try and get more hits. Batternut (talk) 15:14, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
As i also posted above under "hula hoe", i think i found a source that might be good enough but maybe others can be a judge, too. It happens to also cover the use of "scuffle hoe" as well as the non-capitalized "hula hoe" ... it is a patent that reads:

Both home and commercial gardeners have a need for a gardening tool that offers the precision of a hand-weeding tool, such as the standard garden hoe but, unlike the hoe, that is less physically demanding to use. One improvement has been the hula hoe, which developed from the need for tool that was both effective and easy to use. This tool is a type of scuffle hoe in which the head pivots back and forth, creating a pushing and pulling action just under the soil surface to cut newly emerging or shallow-rooted weeds and/or to break up any crust on the soil surface.

It is Linear actuated reciprocating garden HOE US 20070193754 A1. SageRad (talk) 17:01, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
It seems the term 'scuffle hoe' is used pretty widely. Mawe and Abercrombie's 1778 book in the 'hoe' entry says "the scuffling commonly called the Dutch Hoe";[1] likewise American Agriculturist journal depicts a "shuffle hoe, also called a Dutch-hoe and Push-hoe".[2]
The earliest patent I've found, filed in 1895 by Henry Parcells,[3] described as an improvement in the shuffle-hoe, has the appearance of a non-oscillating stirrup hoe. Donald Towt, the designer of the Hula-Ho (US patent 2943690[4]), describes his 1959 invention as an improved 'pendulum action cultivating tool'. He trademarked the name 'Hula-Ho' the next year. [5]. The oscillating stirrup-style hoe was probably invented in 1915 by John Gilsen. [6] It seems to me that all push/thrust hoes have been called scuffle hoes or have developed from them; which seems much like SageRad's view. Batternut (talk) 12:00, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I would like to rework the hoe categories so that "scuffle hoe" is a category that includes hoop hoes (by its many names) and also Dutch hoes. I'll do it later on. SageRad (talk) 14:26, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I was wondering if this would be a spelling thing- what made me think that this wasn't just a case of someone lazing out and using Wikipedia as a shortcut was that they used different names and not just the one name. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 16:16, 21 May 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Mawe, Thomas Mawe; Abercrombie, John (1778). The Universal Gardener and Botanist; Or, A General Dictionary of Gardening and Botany, Etc. G. Robinson; T. Cadell. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  2. ^ American Agriculturist, Volume 24 (24 ed.). Orange Judd Company, Publishers,. 1865. p. 51. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "US Patent 568143 Shuffle-hoe". Google Patents. USPTO. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "US2943690". Google patents. USPTO. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Hula Ho - Trademark 72074760". Inventively. Inventively Inc. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "US Patent 1224630 - Garden-tool". Google Patents. USPTO. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 

Dego Hoe[edit]

Is there any reliable evidence for this term? It seems to have been added in April 2008‎ by an unidentified contributor without providing any references. Googling "dego hoe" finds a good few pages that have information copied from the wikipedia article, and not much else. No dictionaries mention it - it might just be offensive slang! Batternut (talk) 15:14, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I've never heard of it personally and my Google searching, like yours, finds nothing about a "Dego Hoe" except content that's been ripped from this article, and so it seems like this might be a case where the Wikipedia article created the thing itself, and then like an echo chamber kept on going. Hmm. Shall we remove it? SageRad (talk) 12:22, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes. I think Wikipedia:Editing_policy#Problems_that_may_justify_removal para 2: 'material for which no reliable source that supports it has ever been published' applies here, so the term can be simply removed. Batternut (talk) 16:46, 18 May 2015‎
I'm going to go ahead and remove it right now. I continue to fail to find reliable sources for it. Thanks Batternut. SageRad (talk) 14:19, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
  • You can see it used here. "The grub hoe is a variant of the tool also known in various regions as the farmer's grab, dego, or pattern hoe, useful for turning soil, weeding, and thinning." It's published through the University of Chicago Press. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 10:01, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I know of that book, but it was written after "Dego Hoe" was added to the article, so it's entirely likely that the author got it from wikipedia. An older reference would be better. Batternut (talk) 10:04, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • How do you know that it isn't the correct term? What makes it a little better than say, the blogs or various websites that use the term is that it was published by one of the most reputable academic publishers and it lists that there are several different terms for this one style. It's not exactly the same as a fly by night publisher. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 10:07, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • The generic term of "hoe" is mostly applied to it, but the fact is that there are multiple recorded terms for this hoe. "Dego" just happens to be the less frequently recorded of the group. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 10:08, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Oh, i was loving that so much, but i didn't realize it is published in 2014. Wow, it's amazing how a little mention in Wikipedia can make it into the books like this. We must be careful of what we write because it becomes reality, to some extent. I will keep a-looking for some older reference. SageRad (talk) 10:09, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Maybe, but you also need to consider that this is an academic publisher and they have a more stringent fact checking process than Random House or 41North. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 10:11, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
On a little factoid like this, it's probably not subject to much fact-checking ... I'm going to keep on looking for older references to it... and probably learn more in general while doing so. SageRad (talk) 10:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Or, what if their fact-checking was to Google it and they found the Wikipedia article, and that was both the source and the fact-checking... SageRad (talk) 10:17, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Here i found a mention of the "dago" hoe (quotes in original) from a 1919 letter on fire fighting of forest fires in California -- but no description of what that kind of hoe looks like. Good lead -- new spelling "dago" versus "Dego" -- and at least some confirmation that there is a word for a kind of hoe called "dago" somewhere, sometime.... and this may have morphed into "Dego" later on... and then someone sometime included that in Wikipedia, and then it got into books like the one you cited... interesting how this works. SageRad (talk) 10:22, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── And now, i find in this source, this text: "USE THE RIGHT HOE FOR THE JOB The Eye Hoe has been a favorite of gardeners and farmers for 2OOO years. ... An eye hoe, also referred to as an Italian hoe, grape hoe, Dago hoe, grub hoe or grading hoe, was the hands down favorite of ..." We're on the trail of something real... this is from 1994. SageRad (talk) 10:25, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Yes is a particularly good reference SageRad! I think it shows the etymology of the "Dego Hoe", connecting the "Italian Hoe" with the more common spelling of the derogatory term "Dago". Batternut (talk) 10:50, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
We still need to get a good read on what the "dago hoe" is -- seems to be a kind of draw hoe / garden hoe / farm hoe -- the common hoe. I'll keep researching. SageRad (talk) 10:42, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Oh wow, Batternut, i didn't even put the two together -- that "Dago" is an ethnic slur. This is exciting and also disturbing. I think we're breaking new ground, so to speak, on the etymology here. I think we ought to research more, and if it turns out to be accurate and there seems to be other sources on this etymology then we could write this in the article. We're doing good work here, i think. Yeah, the derogatory nature of the term could be two-fold, for people also get derogatory against farmers and laborers on the land. There is a nasty trend of insulting people for being farmers, etc. So then to call a tool a "Dago hoe" becomes a way to insult others for ethnic background as well as profession. SageRad (talk) 11:01, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Tokyogirl79, i see your edit here but the problem is that you ignored the conversation here, and the article is becoming circular, using a source that seems to have used Wikipedia for the source itself. We have identified a few other, older sources here, and we've been having this conversation about "Dego" versus "Dago" and "dago" and that it is likely to be an ethnic slur of a sort, too... and that's all quite interesting to me. Also, i liked the wording that i had put in there about "the word hoe alone generally refers to ..." the farm/garden/draw hoe. I think that's a nice disambiguation, because when someone does say "hey, grab the hoe!" they usually mean the regular draw hoe that we're talking about. I'll get back to this later, but i wanted to point out that the edit still needs work. SageRad (talk) 11:33, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Tokyogirl79 added the terms dego hoe, farmer's grab pattern hoe, and grub hoe to the article (as mentioned I think in Bill Law's book). A simple phrase search using google books shows the following frequencies of use: "dego hoe" 3, "dago hoe" 29, "Italian hoe" 88, "pattern hoe" 270, "grub hoe" 9640, "farmer's grab" 5. Restricting the date range to pre 1980 (hopefully before common use of the 'whore' meaning of hoe) gives frequencies "dego hoe" 1, "dago hoe" 11, "Italian hoe" 24, "pattern hoe" 25, "grub hoe" 240, "farmer's grab" 0. Batternut (talk) 11:47, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
None of the 5 books that mention "farmer's grab" actually refer to a hoe. Google image search of "farmer's grab" just shows images from the article and unrelated stuff - so I think that term is a dud really. Batternut (talk) 12:15, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I just put this conversation into order, so we can keep adding to the end of it, to be easier. Anyway, i see "grab hoe" is a term related to "grub hoe" -- one of them must have come from the other -- and both seem to be pretty reliable and common. I guess "farmer's grab" is just a version of "grab hoe" so that seems simple. SageRad (talk) 12:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── SageRad, your removal of dego was unsourced. The source says "dego", so I have made an edit which restored "dego" (because it is sourced), and kept "dago" and added "Italian", with an explanation and "citation needed" tag. Here's my edit summary: "the source says "dego", so the removal was unsourced. The discussion says there are far more finds for "dago" and "Italian", so please add those sources and then remove the citation needed tag." Also pinging Batternut. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:22, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Looks good to me. Thank you, BullRangifer for getting up to speed on this conversation and for looking out. I guess i was thinking "dego" was almost certainly a corruption of "dago" but then again, corruptions are indeed new words. I would err on the side of being inclusive, within reason. Anything that's got a reasonable percentage of the usage in the language. And thanks for adding about the ethnic slur. I wonder if that is connected. I suspect it's connected but i wonder if we can source that. SageRad (talk) 16:54, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually, though, BullRangifer, the problem with that source (the 2014 book about 50 garden tools) is that it looks very very likely that it's a circular thing, for it really truly seems like that hoe information in the book was sourced to Wikipedia to begin with, so i think it's a case of a rumor becoming reality, and that is not what Wikipedia wants to do. So i think we should remove the term "dego" altogether unless we get another source from an earlier time, or one that doesn't look like it's copied from Wikipedia. There is another book from 2010 that was blatantly copied from Wikipedia, too, that contains the same stuff. When i search in Google books for "dego hoe" i get only those two and nothing more at all... and those both seem sourced to Wikipedia, so to prevent a WP:CIRCULAR i am going to remove it. If you have another source please add it back. SageRad (talk) 17:03, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm also writing to the author of that book, Bill Laws, to ask him about his sourcing on it. SageRad (talk) 17:11, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Update: Bill Laws told he'll look into his sourcing by Monday, to see where the word came from in his book. SageRad (talk) 09:53, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, when i checked my email, he had replied. Indeed, it was [WP:CIRCULAR] because he sourced it to Wikipedia, and one other cheap website that pretty surely sourced from Wikipedia. As evidence here is an image from the email he wrote back. SageRad (talk) 09:59, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Good stuff SageRad! I was going to ask him, but you beat me to it... Batternut (talk) 10:02, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Good resolution. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:02, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Out of curiosity I checked out other edits that the original (address April 2008 contributor made: only two others, one boring, and [this one]! Batternut (talk) 22:56, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Wow, weird, potentially it was a person with a very short run of inserting obscure racist memes into Wikipedia? SageRad (talk) 10:33, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Major edit*[edit]

Well, i did a major edit, for clarity and organization, and incorporated many of the things we talked about in the last few days here. Please don't simply revert that without some discussion. I worked on it and i think it's a lot better than the previous state of the article. I hope we can work from this point on smaller edits and refine it.

Here is a summary of my changes:

  • used most common names in the list of types -- like "hoop hoe" instead of "stirrup hoe" for the main label. I kept "stirrup hoe" with the other names in the list, and included "hula hoe" in the list as well.
  • used "draw hoe" instead of "pull hoe" for the main label for that category. It seems much more common as a name for the type of hoe.
  • classes of hoe --> changed to "draw hoe" and "scuffle hoe" as per discussion. Dutch hoe is a type of scuffle hoe, not the whole class.
  • general readability, and brevity.

Hope you like it, and i hope this gives us a good new ground to work on. SageRad (talk) 12:57, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Yes, a definite improvement. I wonder if there's much sense in keeping the two sections 'Classes' and 'Types'? There's no established Linnaean hierarchy for tools, afaik. Batternut (talk) 16:56, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing. I do like the distinction between the scuffle hoes and the draw hoes, as major classes of hoes, but maybe it would be better explained under just one heading "Types of Hoes". There are also other kinds of hoes that don't fit those classes, like the clam hoe and the mixing hoe, i think... but i do like the distinction between surface weeding versus soil moving hoes being in this article. SageRad (talk) 18:37, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the categories/classes/families of draw hoes and scuffle hoes is useful and shouldn't be lost. But I suspect a greater flexibility than just the draw/scuffle/other classes will be useful when documenting the hoes from other eras and cultures. Batternut (talk) 20:39, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Pacul or cangkul[edit]

These two terms are Indonesian and Malaysian, respectively, for "hoe" -- but they refer to a shorter-handled hoe, more like the adze hoe. They're not in the article yet. I wonder if we can add just a mention of these in the same list with adze hoe. And maybe do we need some more inclusion of hoes of different cultures and places? SageRad (talk) 10:14, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree, the article would definitely benefit from expansion in that direction. Batternut (talk) 10:17, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

I did add them in. I suggest that we may find many versions of the hoe around the world, and it would be good include those that seem to be anything different from the hoes already described in the article. Just being another word for "hoe" doesn't qualify but if it seems to be something different at all from another common hoe, then i'd suggest it deserves inclusion, at least just the word so it shows up on Google searches and brings people to the diversity of hoes. SageRad (talk) 10:37, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

There's a nice image of a pair of cangkul shown on the Indonesian site (language 'Bahasa Indonesia'), but its not in commons yet. We could import it to commons, though I'm not sure about the copyright issues... Batternut (talk) 22:11, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Very nice image of the pacul, thank you for adding it. SageRad (talk) 10:34, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

Gang Hoe -- real?[edit]

I'm wondering about the "gang hoe" term -- I'm not familiar and when i Google "gang hoe" what comes up is not related to agriculture. I wonder if this is a real term, or if it's an uncommon name for another thing. What is powered use of a gang hoe, as described in the article? Can we figure this out and source it, if it's real, or pull it out if it's a joke? Maybe it such an obscure thing or a compound term, or maybe it's a real thing. Here is one reference i found: this patent. Not "gang hoe" as a term but a lot of references to rotary weeding hoes in a gang. SageRad (talk) 11:46, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

@SageRad you could be right, 'gang' simply referring to the arrangement, as in "2-gang switch". This usage occurred in the earlier days of agricultural mechanization, but seems to have fallen out of use in the 1960's or 1970's. I'll add a couple more refs, one from 1887 which I think predates the rotary hoe, and one from 1964 which lists gangs hoes separately from rotary hoes. Yes, googling this subject is prone to a lot of rather irritating non-agricultural usage! Batternut (talk) 21:41, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

The hoe given by Jerry Brown to Cesar Chavez[edit]

The last "citation needed" tag is on this sentence: "The short-handled hoe that Governor Jerry Brown gave to César Chávez in 1975 was displayed in the California Hall of Fame in 2006."

I did a half hour of searching and didn't turn up anything on this at all. However, there is plenty of talk about Chavez and Brown's relationship, and the short-handled hoe and the wear and tear on the human body of the workers that was caused by its use. I think that the hoe being in the museum is not really noteworthy and i cannot find a source for it. However, i will rework the paragraph to include mention of Chavez and Brown and just to leave out the detail about the hoe in the museum. If anyone disagrees, you an revert and discuss here. SageRad (talk) 16:38, 29 October 2015 (UTC)