Talk:Science, technology and society

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Deliberative Democracy[edit]

Concerning the section "Deliberative Democracy", I recommend to add Habermas to the sources and to bring in the concept of the "spiral of silence" in regard to minority viewpoints. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Harald Schweiger (talkcontribs) 11:25, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

It's a Start[edit]

Please expand.Bryan 00:40, 18 November 2005 (UTC) Expanded and edited. 18:21, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

A few questions[edit]

  • The "blind/empty" quote here attributed to Hansen I have previously seen (rather prominently) attributed to Imre Lakatos. Can we double-check this one way or the author?
  • Is Kuhn really the father of mixing history and phil. of sci.? That seems like somewhat of an arbitrary line to draw to me (certainly the work done in the 1930s was a mixture of both history and philosophy of science)?

--Fastfission 02:42, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

  • is ssk a branch of sociology of science, vice-versa, or both the same? capi 05:29, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
ssk is closer to sociology of knowledge, i think.--Buridan 13:19, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  • i believe the article should introduce quite early that STS may refer to both: Science, technology and society as well as Science and Technology Studies. Any opposition to this proposal? Ingmar.lippert (talk) 22:34, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

STS Wiki[edit]

list of academic programs[edit]

As an article about an academic subject, shouldn't it list at some examples of STS programs? Or at the very least, provide a direct link to such a list? Expecting that readers will navigate away from Wikipedia and onto the STS Wiki is probably unrealistic. Fcendejas 23:03, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

the problem then becomes one of neutrality, are you going to list them all? or only ones you choose? if they are interested in degree programs, i bet they will go to the stswiki. The two that you chose aren't really even of sts. There is a difference between science and technology studies and science and technology in society, with different histories and movements. So until there can be some sort of neutral representation, I suggest we don't need them. --Buridan 00:27, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm the founder, funder, etc., of STS Wiki, and as far as I'm concerned, anything that gets STS information out to the public is a Good Thing. If you visit STS Wiki, though, I think you'll find that there are so many programs that, even if there were just one-line links, you'd add something like 2x - 3x to the length of the page... As for whether it's realistic for people to navigate away from Wikipedia, people with special interests in STS will be motivated to do so. STS Wiki offers all kinds of info that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia - in other words info that wouldn't of interest to the general reader (like what the best textbooks are, etc.) Bryan 22:45, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Needs work[edit]

Way too many acronyms on this page. I'll take some of them off. Pretty POV in favor of its discipline. I'll remove "vibrants" while keeping "new" and "rapidly growing." -- 21:56, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Discussion on a withdrawn merge to technology and society[edit]

sinProposal withdrawn: I am proposing that this article be merged with Technology and society. 01:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC) SteveMc 21:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Oppose This article is about the academic discipline itself, not the subject of that discipline. I would not oppose a merge of Technology and Society into this article, but it might be too big for that. Nick 02:16, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Response: Separating the discipline from the study is like saying the field of civil engineering is separate from the academic discipline of civil engineering. And merging "Technology and Society" into this article is like saying that the academic discipline of civil engineering encompasses civil engineering, when it is vice-versa. Nonetheless, I do agree that the size of this article may be too large to merge into the other, so I am withdrawing my proposal. SteveMc 02:26, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose sts is broader than technology and society. in fact, technology and society probably needs to be merged into a larger article 'technology studies' which would still be a smaller category than sts. --|Buridan]] 14:20, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Response: Since User:Buridan wants to maintain this discussion, I will respond: There seems to be a confusion between life and the study of life. In my paradigm of life, facts about life are discovered in its study. As such, science is about the study of life, science is not life. Consider, let's say, plants: it is nonsense to somehow say that biology is plants, when biology is the study of plants (by definition). Would we say that sociology is society? I hope not. Nor would we say that geology is earth, when geology is the study earth. This proposed taxonomy is confusing because it states that the science (study), a man-made activity, is the phenomenon (technology and society), not man-made, under study. Sure I agree that STS includes the study of technology and society (among many other topics). But, STS is only the "study" of that relationship, not the relationship itself. Therefore, life (technology, science, and society) should be at the top of the taxonomy, and the study (STS) therewithin it somewhere. SteveMc 21:01, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Future of STS[edit]

I removed this paragraph due to it lacking WP:NPOV and seems to be unsourced original research:

STS is now sufficiently well established to have taken on a distinct identity as a field capable of offering an indispensable perspective on science and technology. At the same time, STS has won widespread respect for the rigor and excellence of its scholarship, much of which takes the form of detailed, book length case studies [citation needed]. (The term "studies" in "science and technology studies" reflects the field's preference for high-quality, in-depth, detailed case studies as a fundamental measure of scholarly achievement.) Still, some STS scholars express dissatisfaction with the field's as-yet nascent impact on science and technology practice, and call for closer, more collaborative relationships with scientists and engineers.

Not a dog 20:22, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

what are the benefits derived from technology?

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:23, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Science, Technology and SocietyScience, technology and society

The article states at the opening that it's "the study of how social, political, and cultural values affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how these, in turn, affect society, politics and culture." Thus, it's clearly a generic term.

Per WP:CAPS and WP:TITLE: this is a generic, common term, not a propriety or commercial term, so the article title should be downcased. In addition, WP:MOS says that a compound item should not be upper-cased just because it is abbreviated with caps. Matches the formatting of related article titles. Tony (talk) 12:16, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Support - should not be controversial, not a proper noun. (Per WP:CAPSACRS Wikipedia doesn't use capitalization as a help for interpreting acronyms.) Jojalozzo 16:40, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

demarcation criteria for journals[edit]

Why student journals are not important? And what makes a non-student journal important? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Good point! I changed the word "important" to "notable", and added a link to WP:Academic journals' notability guidelines. If a student journal met those criteria, by all means it should be included in the first list. Kind regards, DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 15:24, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Addition of "Important concepts in STS" section[edit]

Myself and some of my colleagues and students would like to add a section that briefly describes some of the key concepts developed and/or used by STS scholars, with examples specifically relevant to their use in STS scholarship, and links to other Wikipedia main pages on those concepts where appropriate. I'm sure that the list that we generate will not be exhaustive, but it seems like the page would benefit from more information on the content of STS research in addition to information on the field's history, professional journals, etc. Hopefully later editors could contribute to this section as well.

Independebubble (talk) 13:14, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

This is a proposal for the addition of a section relating to the pace of innovation. The proposed section can be found at: Pace of Innovation

--Vbhagwani (talk) 19:11, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

This is a proposal for the addition of a section relating to technocrats, enlightenment thinking and the counter-enlightenment movement. The proposed section can be found at: User:Stsh_blue_6792/sandbox (talk) 19:45, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

This is a proposal for the addition of a section relating to the privileged positions of business and science. The proposed section can be found at: User:Martin75gk/sandbox — Preceding undated comment added 19:50, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

This is a proposal for the addition of a section relating to no innovation without representation. The proposed section can be found at No Innovation Without Representation — Preceding undated comment added 19:55, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

STS Intelligent Trial & Error[edit]

We are students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute taking a Science, Technology, and Source course. We plan on defining intelligent trial and error using five different strategies that we obtained from the following sources:

[1] Woodhouse, Edward J. Biotechnology and the Political Sociology of Risk. N.p.: Elsevier Science, 1992. Print.

[2] Redner, Harry. An Heretical Heir of the Enlightenment: Politics, Policy, and Science in the Work of Charles E. Lindblom. Boulder: Westview, 1993. Print.

[3] Woodhouse, Edward. "Conceptualizing Disasters as Extreme Versions of Everyday Life." Dynamics of Disaster (2013): 61-76. Web.

[4] Lindblom, Charles Edward. The Policy-making Process. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968. Print.

[5] Woodhouse, Edward J., and David Collingridge. "Incrementalism, Intelligent Trial-and-Error, and the Future of Political Decision Theory." An Heretical Heir of the Enlightenment: Politics, Policy, and Science in the Work of Charles E. Lindblom. By Harry Redner. Boulder: Westview, 1993. 139-144. Print.

[6] Urbina, Ian. "As OSHA Emphasizes Safety, Long-Term Health Risks Fester." The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Mar. 2013. Web. Mar. 2015.

STS Gentle Tyranny[edit]

Gentle Tyranny can be furthered understood by reading the following pieces

Kirkman, Robert (2009). "At Home in the Seamless Web". Science, Technology, & Human Values. Sage Publications. 34 (2): 234–258. 
Ludwik, Fleck (1979). Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. University of Chicago Press. 

Legacy Thinking[edit]

We would like to propose the addition of the concept of Legacy Thinking. As a part of our Science, Technology, and Society class at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute we have encountered this term and find it important to an understanding of the way society functions. Based on the following sources, we would like to provide a definition and a few examples of legacy thinking.

"Net Neutrality: A Free and Open Internet." The White House. The White House, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Corso, Regina, SVP. "PACs, Big Companies, Lobbyists, and Banks and Financial Institutions Seen by Strong Majorities as Having Too Much Power and Influence in DC." Harris Interactive: Harris Polls. Harris Interactive, 29 May 2012. Web. 21 Apr. 2015

Allison, Bill, and Sarah Harkins. "Fixed Fortunes: Biggest Corporate Political Interests Spend Billions, Get Trillions." Sunlight Foundation Blog. Sunlight Foundation, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Flow. Oscilloscope Pictures, 2008. DVD.

“The National Bureau of Asian Research." India's Water Crisis: Causes and Cures. Web. 21 Apr. 2015. <>. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2620:0:2820:A0D:B959:13AD:5850:203E (talk) 19:15, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Woodhouse, Edward. Science Technology and Society. Spring 2015 ed. N.p.: U Readers, 2014. Print.

STS Social Construction[edit]


Social constructions are human created ideas, objects, or events created by a series of choices and interactions.[1] These interactions have consequences that change the perception that different groups of people have on these constructs. Some examples of social construction include gender, class, race, money, and citizenship.

The following also alludes to the notion that not everything is set, a circumstance or result could potentially be one way or the other. According to the What is Social Construction? by Laura Flores, "Social construction work is critical of the status quo. Social constructionists about X tend to hold that: 1) X need not have existed, or need not be at all as it is. X, or X as it is at present, is not determined by the nature of things; it is not inevitable Very often they go further, and urge that: 2) X is quite as bad as it is. 3) We would be much better off if X were done away with, or at least radically transformed." In the past we have seen that some "knowledge" or "facts" have been disproven as new knowledge comes a long and helps our society be better informed or educated on things that were once not questioned. Such "knowledge" includes the past concept of a correlation between intelligence and the nature of a human's ethnicity or race (X may not be at all as it is).[2]


The intention of high-wheel bicycle is to get a higher translational velocity over the ground via replacing the front wheel with a lager-radius wheel. However, this attempt lead to the unstable of riding experience and potential harm. For young athletes and enthusiastic youth, this bicycle means passion. However, for some elder and women, they worry about the issue when a large wheel hit a piece of brick or stone, when rider try to check the wheel, the sudden check usually threw the rider over the handle bar. Therefore, a technological innovation or progress caused some unintended and undesired consequences. The social construction of safety caused the design of the bicycle to change to a more safe design. [3]

[Extended copy/paste from Bijker's essay on Bakelite removed for copyright reasons. Please do not copy/paste large blocks of text anywhere on Wikipedia. See WP:COPYVIO for more information.][4] --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:36, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

[refgroup 1]


  1. ^ Woodhouse, Edward (2014). Science Technology and Society (1st ed.). San Diego: University Readers. p. 255. 
  2. ^ Hacking, Ian (1999). The Social Construction of What? (1st ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, England: President and Fellows of Harvard University. p. 6. ISBN 067481200x Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). 
  3. ^ Bijker,, Wiebe (1993). The Social Construction of Technological System (1st ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 28-45. ISBN 0-262-52137-7. 
  4. ^ Bijker,, Wiebe (1993). The Social Construction of Technological System (1st ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 159-190. ISBN 0-262-52137-7. 


Our group has conducted extensive research on the STS concept,“technosocial.” Since there isn't a clear definition on the Science, Technology, and Society Wikipedia page, we propose adding the definition we have developed. In addition, we've compiled examples that relate to our definition, some of which, we would like to add. Additionally, we've formulated many related concepts of technosocial that will help Wikipedia users better understand how “technosocial” fits into the topics of STS.



"Technological action is a social process."[1] Social factors and technology are intertwined so that they are dependent upon each other. This includes the aspect that social, political, and economic factors are inherent in technology and that social structure influences what technologies are pursued. In other words, "technoscientific phenomena combined inextricably with social/political/ economic/psychological phenomena, so ‘technology' includes a spectrum of artifacts, techniques, organizations, and systems." [2] Winner expands on this idea by saying "in the late twentieth century technology and society, technology and culture, technology and politics are by no means separate."[3]

Specific Examples:

Ford Pinto[4]- Ford Motor Company sold and produced the Pinto during the 1970’s. A flaw in the automobile design of the rear gas tank caused a fiery explosion upon impact. The exploding fuel tank killed and injured hundreds of people. Internal documents of test results, proved Ford CEO Lee Iacocca and engineers were aware of . The company decided to ignore improving their technology because of profit-driven motives, strict internal control, and competition from foreign competitors such as Volkswagen. Ford Motor Company conducted a cost-benefit analysis to determine if altering the Ford Pinto model was feasible. An analysis conducted by Ford employees argued against a new design because of increased cost. Employees were also under tight control by the CEO who rushed the Pinto through production lines to increase profits. Ford finally changed are public scrutiny. Safety organizations later influenced this technology by requiring stricter safety standards for motor vehicles.

DDT/Toxins[2] - DDT was a common and highly effective insecticide used during the 1940’s until its ban in the early 1970’s. It was utilized during World War 2 to combat insect-borne human disease that plagued military members and civilian populations. People and companies soon realized other benefits of DDT for agricultural purposes. Rachel Carson became worried of wide spread use on public health and the environment. Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring," left an imprint on the industry by claiming linkage of DDT to many serious illness such as cancer. Carson's book drew criticism from chemical companies who felt their reputation and business threatened by such claims.. DDT was eventually banned by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after a long and arduous process of research on the chemical substance. The main cause for the removal of DDT was the public deciding that the benefits any outweighed potential health risk.

Autopilots/Computer Aided Tasks (CATs) [2] - From a security point of view the effects of making a task more computer driven is in the favor of technological advance because there is less reaction time required and computational error than a human pilot. Due to reduced error and reaction times flights on average, using autopilot, have been shown to be safer. Thus the technology has a direct impact on people by increasing their safety, and society affects the technology because people want to be safer so they are constantly trying to improve the autopilot systems.

Cell Phones[2]- Cell phone technology emerged in the early 1920’s after advancements were made in radio technology. Engineers at Bell Laboratories, the research and development division of AT&T discovered that cell towers can transmit and receive signals to and from many directions. The discovery by Bell Labs revolutionized the capabilities and outcomes of cellular technology. Technology only improved once mobile phone users could communicate outside of a designated area. First generation mobile phones were first created and sold by Motorola. Their phone was only intended for use in cars. Second generation mobile phone capabilities continued to improve because of the switch to digital. Phones were faster which enhanced communication capabilities of customers. They were also sleeker and weighed less than bulky first generation technology. Technologically advances boosted customer satisfaction and broadened cell phone companies customer base. Third generation technology changed the way people interact with other. Now customers had access to wifi, texting and other applications. Mobile phones are now entering into the fourth generations. Cellular and mobile phones revolutionized the way people socialize and communicate in order to establish modern social structure . People have affected the development of this technology by demanding features such as larger screens, touch capabilities, and internet accessibility.

Internet[2]- The internet arose because of extensive research on ARPANET between various university, corporations, and ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency), an agency of the Department of Defense. Scientist theorized a network of computers connected to each other. Computing capabilities contributed to developments and the creation of the modern day computer or laptop . The internet has become a normal part of life and business, to such a degree that the united nations views it as a basic human right. The internet is becoming larger, one way is that more things are being moved into the digital world due to demand, for example online banking. It has drastically changed the way most people go about daily habits.

Concepts related to Technosocial:

Technoscience[2]-The perception that science and technology are intertwined and depend on each other.

Technosociety[5]- An industrially developed society with a reliance on technology.

Technological Utopianism[6]- A positive outlook on the effect technology has on social welfare. Includes the perception that technology will one day enable society to reach a utopian state.

Technosocial Systems[7]-Technosocial Systems are people and technologies that combine to work as heterogeneous but functional wholes.

Classifications of Technosocial:

Technological Optimism[8] - The opinion that technology has positive effects on society and should be used in order to improve the welfare of people.

Technological Pessimism[8]- The opinion that technology has negative effects on society and should be discouraged from use.

Technological Neutrality[7] -"maintains that a given technology has no systematic effects on society: individuals are perceived as ultimately responsible, for better or worse, because technologies are merely tools people use for their own ends."

Technological Determinism[7]- “maintains that technologies are understood as simply and directly causing particular societal outcomes."

Scientism[9]- The belief in the total separation of facts and values.

Technological Progressivism[9]- technology is a means to an end itself and an inherently positive pursuit.


  1. ^ Goldman, S. (1992). No Innovation Without Representation (pp. 148-160). Troy, New York: Rensselaer.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Woodhouse, E. (2013). In The Future of Technological Civilization (Revised ed., pp. 1-258).
  3. ^ Winner, L. (1993). Artifacts/Ideas and Political Culture (pp. 283-292). Troy, New York: Rensselaer.
  4. ^ Dowie, M. (1977, October 1). Pinto Madness. Retrieved February 4, 2015, from
  5. ^ Technosociety dictionary definition | technosociety defined. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from __
  6. ^ Technological utopianism. (2015, March 18). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from __
  7. ^ a b c "Design by Society: Science and Technology Studies and the Social Shaping of Design", Edward Woodhouse and Jason W. Patton, Design Issues, Volume 20, Number 3 Summer 2004.
  8. ^ a b Hochschild, J., Crabill, A., & Sen, M. (2012, December 1). Technology Optimism or Pessimism: How Trust in Science Shapes Policy Attitudes toward Genomic Science. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from __
  9. ^ a b Kleinman, D. (2005). Science is Political/Technology is Social: Concerns, Concepts, and Questions. Maryland: Blackwell.


  • "Design by Society: Science and Technology Studies and the Social Shaping of Design", Edward Woodhouse and Jason W. Patton, Design Issues, Volume 20, Number 3 Summer 2004.
  • Woodhouse, E. (2013). In The Future of Technological Civilization (Revised ed., pp. 1-258).
  • Kleinman, D. (2005). Science is Political/Technology is Social: Concerns, Concepts, and Questions. Maryland: Blackwell.
  • Winner, L. (1993). Artifacts/Ideas and Political Culture (pp. 283-292). Troy, New York: Rensselaer.
  • Goldman, S. (1992). No Innovation Without Representation (pp. 148-160). Troy, New York: Rensselaer.

Hello student editors (please read)[edit]

I noticed several of you are copy/pasting sources into the talk page. This is a big copyright problem, even if you cite the source. Please remove any big blocks of copy/pasted material and be sure everything is cited. It's not as strict as it is in the article, but copyright applies to every page on Wikipedia. If you do not remove it, I or someone else will have to.

Also, there are a lot of resources available to help student editors. I work for the Wiki Education Foundation and would like very much to be able to contact your professor. Could you either direct him/her to email (ryan [at] wikiedu [dot] org) or give me a name/institution to look up? Thanks. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 13:10, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Follow-up: Thanks to Martin75gk for providing some information about the course. I removed the most egregious of the copyright issues and replaced it with an italicized explanation. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:38, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Garrett Hardin was not an scholar[edit]

"Although, Garrett Hardin was not an scholar, the concept of Tragedy of the Commons still applies to science, technology and society.[11] The internet is a science, technology and society example where tragedy of the commons is relevant as physical resources that are being exploited gets protected by legislation, the internet is a free market which is easily exploitable such as privacy." What? What are you trying to say? GangofOne (talk) 00:32, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Merge Science studies into this article[edit]

I propose that Science studies be merged here into Science, technology and society. The text in the Science studies article is lower quality and can be better explained in the context of this article. The merge should not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. There is an old circa 2005 discussion of the relationship between these articles at Talk:Science_studies#Science_and_technology_studies.2C_not_Science_studies. This line from the concluding argument there for having two separate articles is telling: "There still are science studies departments -- UCSD, for instance, that don't do much with technology." If you browse to UCSD's web page today, you will find that they are offering a "Minor in Science, Technology, and Society" ([1]). -hugeTim (talk) 15:34, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose: In the lede of science, technology and society it says "science and technology studies, is a branch or offspring of science studies". Science studies also investigates other areas related to science. Also while the science studies articles is more concerned with the methodology and history (etc.) of the field this article here is more about the findings etc. Additionally the article would be too long, people would have a harder time getting info on "science studies" and I don't see the advantage of merging them. --Fixuture (talk) 19:32, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree with proposal Key professional academic associations in the field integrate Science Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (e.g. 4S, EASST, APSTSN). Discursively, these fields are closely related. The merging might require some major re-organisation, such as pushing some subsections to their own pages.Ingmar.lippert (talk) 16:06, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support: The STS article is in need of a big overhaul, it's in bad shape. It's my area of specialty but I am not in a position to overhaul it at this time. I'd be happy to assist someone else with the task as I can. I agree with Ingmar.lippert that the two topics are compatible enough to merge and they are often considered one and the same. The most common label for these types of studies is STS. Meclee (talk) 03:23, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The science studies article is in better shape than this one, which is a mess. While related, there is sufficient historical and contemporary difference between the two to maintain the two separate articles, in my opinion. DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 10:14, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Science studies comprises a very specific research interest that arose as a cultural trend around the beginning of the 20th century. I think it's relatively clear that science studies as a phenomena was very focused on questioning the practice of science, and the impact of its practice on society, as opposed to STS which is concerned more with the way society interacts with science and technology. These two disciplines, while related, have distinct cultural origins, in my opinion, and the opinions of many others. --Shibbolethink ( ) 13:53, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

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