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Brick Stains – Efflorescence (White Powder)

If you own a brick home and have a white powdery substance on some of your brick, block or stone then you have what is called in the trade, efflorescence.

Is it a problem? Well it can be. Is it serious? Well it can be but not usually. Can I fix the cause of this problem? Yes you can but first let’s try to define what this substance is and then offer some solutions on how to prevent its’ occurrence.

Efflorescence is a white power that when visible on the surface of brick, block or stone masonry is an indication of excessive water within the masonry structure.

It often occurs when flashing, cap stones, rowlocks, chimney crowns, etc. leak allowing rain water to enter the masonry wall system. Once the water is inside the wall it will dissolve soluble salts within the individual masonry units and the mortar.

As the water migrates to the outside surface of the masonry wall by wicking action it carries these soluble salts with it and then deposits them on the surface of the masonry during evaporation. This is a sure sign of excessive water infiltration into the masonry and if not taken care of, can lead to costly damage with premature deterioration.

Solution: As with any water problem you must stop the water from entering the wall system at the source. Flashing joints must be checked periodically as well as mortar joints on cap stones and rowlocks and cracks repaired on chimney crowns. Once the leak has been repaired, wait for a few weeks of high pressure weather to arrive which will dry out the wall system.

Many times rain or a simple hosing will wash the efflorescence off, if it is minor. Usually though, further steps are needed to remove the stain completely. You may remove the efflorescence by using a stiff brush to scrub the masonry surface while applying a mild diluted acid such as muriatic acid. It may take more than one scrubbing and application. Be certain to flush liberally anything that has come in contact with the acid to assure that it has been sufficiently diluted including the roof, masonry, siding or ground.

If your effort was not effective then there may be other issues that need to be addressed by a professional masonry repair expert. Contact your local repair expert, explain the steps you have taken and ask for advice on what should be done next.

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Crystal Meth and the Gay Community

In recent years, crystal meth has become the drug of choice in the gay men’s party scene. Like the mainstream use of crystal meth, this trend spread from west to east – San Francisco to New York and Vancouver to Toronto. At “PNP” parties (shorthand for “party and play” – meaning sex and drugs), crystal meth, known as “tina,” increases energy and reduces sexual inhibition. The superhuman feeling that often comes with a crystal meth high means the sex is often unprotected.

The dangerous mix of crystal meth and unprotected sex got the world’s attention in February 2005 when it was revealed that a New York City man who is a frequent crystal meth user and had unprotected sex with numerous other men contracted a highly virulent strain of HIV. The virus with which he is infected is resistant to three out of the four classes of commonly used HIV drug treatments, and is so fast-acting that it progressed from initial infection to full-blown AIDS within three months.

If you are gay and looking for a drug rehab with an addiction treatment component specifically for the gay population, you might want to look at www.lakeviewfreedomrings.com [http://www.lakeviewfreedomrings.com/]. This particular center seems to have a medical component capable of managing the medical problems associated with crystal meth addiction and a staff sensitive to the needs of the gay population.

What is crystal methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a chemical stimulant that is similar to amphetamine, but creates a much stronger effect on the central nervous system. In low doses, it can be used to treat ADD, narcolepsy and, for short periods of time, obesity. It became a common street drug known as “speed” in the 1960s, usually taken in pill form, but lost popularity after a number of incidents that spread the warning that “speed kills.”

“Meth” was not a drug of choice through much of the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s, a smokable, crystal form was created, perhaps in Asia, and then surfaced in California in the 1990s. It has increased in popularity among drug users in the past decade-and-a-half.

How does crystal methamphetamine work?

Methamphetamine releases high levels of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasurable or rewarding experiences.

After it is taken in oral form, the user experiences increased wakefulness and physical activity, and decreased appetite. For some people, even low doses can be addictive.

With higher doses of crystal meth, especially if it is smoked or injected, the user immediately experiences an intense “rush” (also called a “flash”) that causes intense pleasure but only lasts a few minutes. Users can become addicted and dependent quickly, needing more and higher doses as the addiction progresses. One of the other reasons people continually return to crystal meth use is found in the “crash”. When the effects of the crystal meth high wear off, it leaves the person feeling so low, they want to return to the previous state of elation.

In high doses, crystal methamphetamine causes irritability, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia and increased aggression. In even higher doses, hypothermia and convulsions can cause death.

When the body is stimulated by crystal methamphetamine, the drug can cause irreversible damage. The increased heart rate and blood pressure damage blood vessels in the brain, which can cause strokes, or irregular heart beat, which can cause cardiovascular collapse and death. By vastly increasing the release of dopamine, methamphetamine appears to damage brain cells, eventually reducing the amount of dopamine available to the brain, causing symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and severe depression, or both.

Treatment for Crystal Meth Addiction

In almost every case, treatment for crystal meth addiction should occur in an inpatient drug rehab or addiction treatment program. The intense cravings that are associated with discontinuing the use of crystal meth are best managed in a medical detox unit on the drug rehab. In conjunction with these cravings, there are ussually a number of medical problems associated with crystal meth addiction that are best dealt in drug rehab. Most drug rehab’s have their own detox unit’s and physicians which are capable of managing the medical and psycholobgical issues associated with detox from crystal meth.

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Five of the Best Cruise Lines

Do you want to have a holiday in an extravagant way? Do you want to live in a lavish way while you are on a vacation? If the answers to both of the questions are yes then you need to try cruising. Most cruises cost a lot but they are worth your money. You get to reach different countries by traveling through different oceans or seas. The amenities of most of the cruise ships are also excellent that you will really feel as if you are inside a hotel in Vegas.

1) Crystal Cruises is the top one of the best rated cruise lines. It is popular as the cruise that have elegant ships. Their ships are also very large and spacious. It boasts to have the finest amenities for hospitality and leisure. Crystal Cruises has won several awards for their entertainment amenities. They also won for serving the most delicious cuisine for cruise ships. Their sips can accommodate nine hundred hundred to one thousand two hundred guests. They have destinations all over the world. Their ships go to some of the most beautiful cities and exotic islands.

2) Regent seven seas is the top two of the best rated cruise lines. This cruise explore the exotic places in the world. They even go to places you may have never heard before. They cover routes that are considered remote on earth. These are places you may not have seen on the television or in the theaters. This is the best cruise for those who love exploring nature.

3) Oceania Cruises is the top three of the best rated cruise lines. This is the cruise that gives guests plenty of time to tour the city it reaches. Guests can stay in the city's port for one night. This cruise goes to some of the world's most beautiful ports. This cruise is also popular for having the largest number of activities offered for a day. The guests are treated to wine tasting events, live band concerts, festivals and other events in the community.

4) Disney Cruise line is the top four of the best rated cruise lines. This is the cruise famous for providing the great entertainment for the family. This is the best cruise line for a family vacation. This is the best cruise line for kids because they get to see popular characters from Disney.

5) Celebrity Cruises is the top five of the best rated cruise lines. This is the cruise that pampers their guests the treatment that celebrities receive. For two guests there is one person from the staff who will be at your service all the time. Celebrity Cruises is also known for having the best amenities for spa lovers.

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Hard Drive Selection

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when building their computer(s) is to underestimate the importance of the hard disk drive (HDD). In our modern society, bigger is synonymous with better, so when you go to buy a hard drive you look at how “big” it is, its data capacity. But is that all you should be considering when buying your hard drive?

Like every other component of your computer, the HDD is far too complex a system to describe in any sort of detail here, but hopefully by the end of this article you will know what to look for when you go to buy your new hard drive.

There are 4 primary aspects to look at in a hard drive (in order of importance):

  1. Rotational frequency and average seek time
  2. Buffer size
  3. Internal/external transfer rates
  4. Capacity

Rotational frequency has become a large selling point (5400/7200/10000/15000RPM) recently, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding out what the rotational frequency of your HDD is when you go to buy it. Now of course the faster it spins, the faster it can read from the disk (there are other advantages also), but be aware that the faster it spins, the more wear is put on the drive, and the more likely it is to encounter errors and malfunctions later in life. Hard drives are pretty much the only systems within your computer that have moving parts (CD-ROM, floppy disk drives, and fans also have moving parts, but they’re all cheap and if they break you won’t lose all the data you’ve accumulated over the course of owning your computer, be sure to back up your data regularly!).

If you know anything about physics or engineering, then you know that moving parts produce friction and wear, and a faster spinning platter (the part that holds the data and spins) means more friction, and therefore more wear on your drive. Of course the faster it spins the faster it can read data from the platter. So what can you do? well again you backup your data as much as possible and you get the fastest spinning drive money can buy (which is 7200RPM for ATA devices (the sort you are buying) and 15000RPM for SCSI and some Serial ATA devices (you might get Serial ATA, that depends on your motherboard)). So look for a “7200RPM” label on the drive you’re thinking of getting, it’s important!

The “buffer” I’m referring to is the transfer buffer that temporarily stores data to read from or write to the hard drive. The reason for this is that the bus (data channel between the hard drive and the motherboard) can only handle so much information at a time, and it takes a long time for the data to be found and retrieved from a platter (random seek time), so it takes a big chunk of the requested data and stores it in a very fast data buffer to be sent at the bus’s convenience. So with a larger buffer you can queue more data for transfer over the bus without having to keep sending requests to slowly find more data from the platters. Some newer drives come with as much as 8MB of buffer capacity, but it is more common to see 2 or 4MB. Usually a drive with a large amount will use that as a selling point and print it on the box/website, otherwise you can assume it has a 2/4MB buffer. My advice is to find one with as much as you can afford.

Now for the transfer rates you’re going to need to do some searching, the best way to find these numbers is to go to the manufacturer’s website and look at specification sheet for the model you’re looking to buy (actually this is the best way to get all the information I’ve talked about so far). One thing to look out for is that you may read something that says 133MB/s or ATA/133 or SATA150 or 150MB/s, and these are not the numbers you are looking for, those numbers describe the bus connecting the hard drive to the motherboard, and are theoretical peak numbers, which tell us virtually nothing. Also, if you are buying a Maxtor, don’t bother looking up actual transfer rates, as Maxtor is apparently afraid to release such information. Not to say Maxtor’s are bad drives, actually Maxtor has risen to the top in terms of technical support and they are much more willing to replace broken drives than some other companies, which is important since some ridiculously large amount (something like 10 or 15%) of hard drives are either dead on arrival or die within the first few weeks of use. As with the last two points, when looking at transfer speeds (if you can find them) always try to pick the one with the highest numbers you can afford.

Notice that the first three of the 4 major aspects were all speed related? That was done intentionally to give you a sense of the importance of speed in the hard drive, because they are very very slow creatures, and for your gaming experience you don’t need an enormous hard drive so much as a fast one. To increase speed substantially more you can set up a RAID, which is a network of hard drives which (in RAID0 mode) share portions of the same data, such that accessing data takes 1/n time (n = number of hard drives attached) compared to 1 hard drive. To do this you really need a hardware RAID chipset, which are commonly included on higher-end mainboards.

Finally, capacity is an unnecessary nicety. The smallest hard drives you can buy today that are still within those higher speed classes are all about 30GB, which is more than enough for your games. But since games are not everything, and if you happen to be an iTunes member or like to download anime then you will really want some extra space. So I would recommend getting something between 60 and 120GB, any more and you’re going to be paying through your teeth, any less and you might be looking to buy a supplementary hard drive in a couple years. And, oh yeah, 300GB hard drives from Maxtor are out, but they are comparatively slow, so I wouldn’t recommend getting one for gaming, I like to stick to single platter drives (40-100GB usually), as they produce less heat and are less likely to break down on me.

That is really all you need to know in order to make a good choice when upgrading your hard drive or buying one for a new computer. Of course there are many other resources on the web if you would like more detail on the inner working of hard drives.

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Stay Healthy With Green Drink Recipes

Most diets you come across claiming to help you lose weight, fight fatigue and lower your blood pH will inevitably have you removing food from your diet. This is what people typically think of when starting a new diet and to be honest, it’s what scares most people away. We hate not being able to eat the foods we love! Well, I’m sick of doing things the hard way and you should be too.

This approach has you adding things to your diet instead of taking away and will leave you healthier than ever. By utilizing green drink recipes, we can easily do this. Adding a healthy green smoothie or drink to your diet will have a profound impact on how you structure your meals. This is how it works:

  • Add a green drink or smoothie to at least one meal a day (breakfast is probably the best choice).
  • Drink it before you eat the rest of your meal.

What does this do?

Since green drinks and smoothies consist of very pure, nutritious ingredients like leafy greens, fresh fruit and fresh vegetable or fruit juices, this is a fantastic way to consume all your necessary vitamins and minerals without having to resort to a multivitamin.

It also allows you to eat less “junk food” because your stomach will be satiated from the nutritious green drink and you won’t have enough room for a giant meal afterwards. This is great for people who have a problem with overeating.

How will this help you lose weight? Simple, you’re eating less junk food and more low calorie nutritious food.

How will this help you fight fatigue? By adding a fresh green drink to your diet, your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs to operate at full capacity.

How will this lower your blood pH? Green leafy vegetables are extremely alkaline and eating alkaline foods will lower your blood pH which helps remedy all sorts of dis-eases.

Soon, your body will start to crave food that is of higher nutritious quality and because of that, you will naturally start to eat better, lose weight, and be healthier overall.

Here’s a recipe you can try out:

6 strawberries

1 cup pomegranate seeds

1 apple

1 stalk of celery

1 peach

1 handful of red grapes

1 handful of fresh spinach

1 banana

1 cup water

Just toss everything into a blender and blend until your desired consistency. Enjoy!

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David Clark DC Pro-X Headset Review

There’s a brand new aviation headset that’s just recently been released. It’s made by the David Clark company, and it’s called the DC Pro-X. Actually, there are two types of these headsets – an active noise reduction model and a passive noise reduction model. This article will be reviewing the active noise reduction model.

The David Clark DC Pro-X headset is a different type of headset for the company, in that it’s extremely light. Most pilot headsets weigh between 12 and 17 ounces, but this new headset weighs only 7.5 ounces. This can really make a difference in comfort, especially on longer flights.

Another feature that pilots like is the Bluetooth connectivity. A cell phone or an ipod can be connected wirelessly to the headset. This is very convenient for pilots when they need to make a quick call while still on the ground and don’t want to go through the hassle of donning their headset and adjusting it all over again.

It’s also a nice feature to be able to listen to music while flying a long cross country trip. It can help make the time pass more quickly.

The style of the ear cups is known as “rest-on-ear”. The idea is that the ear cups don’t completely envelope the ear and cause discomfort to the pilot’s ears. Sometimes the squeezing effect can cause some real pain after several hours.

The active noise reduction (ANR) technology works well to cancel out surrounding noises in the cockpit. This technology requires batteries, but the DC Pro-X has dual-coil drivers in their mics so communication won’t be lost in the event of battery loss.

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the David Clark DC Pro-X:

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight, good for long flights
  • Easy to use
  • Has Bluetooth connectivity
  • Collapses easily to fit into flight bag
  • Well made – they feel like they’ll last
  • 5 year warranty
  • Excellent customer service
  • Affordable – Priced at $637.00, they’re less than comparable headsets

Cons:

  • Some pilots complain that they don’t block out noise adequately
  • There were also some complaints that the headset didn’t fit over their sunglasses

Because the DC Pro-X was only released a few months ago, it’s difficult to find a lot of reviews, but so far pilots who have purchased them have been quite happy with this newest headset from David Clark. This company has been around a long time and has been producing great aviation products since 1941.

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IT Support Services to Banking Sector

With the other industries the banking industry is also growing at a significant good rate today. The main reason behind this is the use of the latest technology tools. In the olden days banking was done on paper but now it is done electronically with the help of computers. Many IT support companies are giving their IT services to the banking sector.

It has been observed during the last few decades that IT infrastructure services have been taken by the banks and other financial institutions. In the early 80s the banks started to make their branches computerized and were purchasing the software packages. In the early 90s replacement of the computer systems with the inexpensive and latest technology powered PC’s began. Information technology opened up the way for the banks to make their products sophisticated, diversified and adopting new techniques and make better market infrastructure. The internet has become the remote channel of communication between banks and its customers.

The E-Banking came to the United States of America and the United Kingdom in between 1020 to 1030 and now India is also following it. Most of the banks have made their services based on these technologies and equipments which are offered by many IT support companies. Now the customers can view their account summary, status, receipts, transaction records, can make online funds transfer and many more online options like these. Undoubtedly today banking has become more fast and easy and the customers’ expectations are also increased. Now the customer needs not to have its account summary on registers because everything is now online with the advent of the internet technology which is providing many benefits to the customers as well as the banks.

A customer can take his cash fast and easy with the use of an ATM machine. He can use his debit or credit card for purchasing purposes. He can use e-cheques, mobile banking, telephone banking and internet banking for remote transactions. He can also make payment transfers when the bank is closed. Easy to keep an eye or monitor the account status. It is cost effective for the bank because thousands of customers can be handled at a time and no need to use so many clerks.

We can say that technology has always played an important role in the growth of financial organizations and banks. It has shortened the paths of long transactions to smaller ones. It is giving proper service quality and satisfaction to the customers.

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Why Does It Take Two to Tango? A Book Review Tango Instructural Dance Book

Do you ever remember your folks or grandparents telling you; "It takes two to tango," meaning that there must be more to the story and more fault of the circumstance to spread around. Often, it was a notification that they were not buying the total story and that the blame bought to be spread around a little bit more. Well, the other day, I got thrown out of McDonalds; Why you ask?

Well for food-fighting, but I swear that the guy thread nothing back at me, indeed, the manager did not buy it, and thread us both out. Boy was that guy mad at me, I started and he never thread anything back at me, but the manager throws us both out and said; "It takes two to tango!"

Indeed, it usually takes two to tango, but in reality it was not a food-fight anyway, as the gentleman was simply reading his newspaper and never responded. Now that is a funny true story, but have you ever surprised why it takes two to tango? Let me recommend a book that is quite good and will completely clear this up for you:

"Gotta Tango" by Alberto Paz and Valorie Hart – 2004

This is a really cool book which will teach you dance the Tango in true Argentina style and it comes with a music DVD with music to assist you in feeling the moment. The book is full of minor tricks to create passion, emotion, and sexy alluring moves. You will be blown away as to just how good you can get using this book. Are you looking for pure romance and learning expert style in the Tango? Look no further, this is it.

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ASUS UL30A-X5 Laptop Review

The traditional laptop manufactures better watch out. ASUS has taken over the Netbook market with their slim, sleek, ever-lasting line of Netbooks and now they are gunning for control of the laptop market with the ASUS UL30A-X5 which has just been released. It has one characteristic which sets it apart from all of the other laptops available.

Last week I had to take a flight from California to New York. On this flight, which I do far too often, I like to get some work done, watch a movie or two, and maybe play some games on my laptop. This flight takes approximately 5 hours.

Normally, I carry my Dell Latitude Laptop computer with me because this is where all of my work is stored. About half way through the flight, the battery sends me signals of death and I am forced to put in the extra battery that I carry with me. On my particular Dell Laptop, they boasted that the battery would last for 5 hours. In reality, after one year of use, I am lucky to get 2.5 hours of battery life. Thus, I have to carry a spare battery which also becomes drained on the 5 hour flight.

I looked at this as simply the necessary pains of doing business on a long flight.

However, this flight would be different and much more pleasurable. I recently heard about a new line of laptops by ASUS and offered to give one a test drive for this trip. The model number on this was the ASUS UL30A-X5, which had just been released and promises to be on the best laptop computer list very soon.

I have test-driven the leading ASUS Netbook and loved it. In fact, I often carry their Netbook model, voted the top rated Netbook, with me for the long battery life. However, for this trip, I needed a full-fledged laptop so I was delighted to test-drive their new model.

It boasts 12.5 hours of battery life, which simply blows away the competition! 12 hours on one battery–amazing. But is it true?

With laptops, I always want to know three things: battery life, aesthetics, and support. The reason that these three things stand out is because all else is equal. All of the inside parts on most laptops are exactly the same.

So, my three questions are as follows: Is the battery life as good as they say? Do I like to type on it and work on this machine? And, if it blows up, is there someone on the other end to help me?

The ASUS UL30A-X5 wins in all of these categories. The battery lasted the duration of my flight and for 3 hours when I got home. I used resource intensive applications for 8 hours and the battery was still humming–best I have ever seen. Second, I like the Chiclet style keyboard even though I am not accustomed to it. It was easy to type on and the overall look and feel of the machine was great. On the support question, I never had anything go wrong so I never had to call ASUS, but they do have a 24/7 hotline available if needed.

In summary, the “big boys” of laptops (Dell, HP, etc.) need to watch out. ASUS overtook them in the Netbook market and now they may just do the same in the laptop market with the ASUS UL30A-X5. It is a laptop with a great look and feel, it’s extremely price competitive, and it has battery life that blows away the competition.

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Why Women Prefer Bad Boys

Not real: Nice guys are too nice. No one can always be that nice unless they’re a saint. They are busy being nice instead of being real and women instinctively don’t trust that. Bad boys “keep it real”. Nice guys don’t want to upset the apple cart.

Respect: No one respects a doormat. Nice guys don’t set boundaries or make any real demands. A bad boy doesn’t let a woman walk all over him or control him. Women can’t respect a man they can control. No respect = No attraction.

Predictable: Most people lead boring, predictable lives, so they’re attracted to people who are exciting and unpredictable. Bad boys are always a challenge. Nice guys are never a challenge. Predictable = No excitement = No challenge = I prefer a bad boy.

Mother Nature: Women are designed to nurture. However, instead of doing this with children, they often end up doing it with bad boys. They think their love will save them. Nice guys rarely need to be saved.

Fixer-Upper: Nice guys don’t usually need to be fixed. Bad boys usually do, so they become a project. Women think if they can “create” the perfect man, he will never leave them. Also, if they’re busy fixing someone else, they don’t have to look at what needs to be fixed in their own lives.

Sperm wars: Women are designed to procreate with the strongest possible genes. Bad boys are sending an unconscious message that they have great genes, so they’re not afraid of losing the woman by misbehaving. Nice guys are sending a message that they don’t think their genes are good enough, so they won’t misbehave.

Fear of intimacy: If a woman is afraid of intimacy, she subconsciously knows she can avoid it with a bad boy, since she can never get close enough to him to have to go there. A nice guy will eventually want a commitment, and that’s scary.

Low self-esteem: We don’t feel comfortable with people who treat us better than we treat ourselves. If you don’t think much of yourself, the bad boy is simply reinforcing your negative belief. A nice guy is treating you in a way you’re unfamiliar with.

Sex: Women feel a nice guy won’t be good in bed. They like to be manhandled sometimes and think a nice guy won’t be able to take control and get the job done. A bad boy comes across as being able to get the job done, even though that may not always be the case.

Hot: Have you ever seen a bad boy who wasn’t hot? I’m sure there are a few, but they wouldn’t be able to get away with half the stuff they did if they didn’t look so good. Meanwhile, when a woman describes someone as a nice guy, she means, “He’s not hot”.

Charm: Nice guys don’t always know what to say, and are sometimes at a loss for words. Bad boys can be very charming and know exactly what women want to hear. However, they eventually switch over to being selfish. By the time they reveal their true colors, the woman has fallen for them and has a hard time letting go.

Protection: Historically, men have protected women – physically and otherwise. Bad boys give the illusion of being able to protect women, while with nice guys, women aren’t so sure.

Life is about balance. Most men fall into either the bad boy or the nice guy category. The ideal man is neither, but walks that fine line between the two. Until men learn how to do this, more often than not, women will choose the bad boy.

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