The Blind Watchmaker (album)
The Blind Watchmaker is the fifth album by Mana ERG, released on June 15, 2004. It builds on Mana ERG's ideas of coalescing forms of techno, drum'n' bass and electronic ambient into a collage of modern music. Produced and recorded by Bruno de Angelis, contributors to the CD include Joe Erber and Lee Stacey. Guest contributors who did some electronic arranging for The Blind Watchmaker include Russian composer Artemiy Artemiev and contemporary electronic creator Dieter Moebius. All tracks written by All songs by Bruno De Angelis.. Bruno De Angelis - Writer / Recording / Producer / Programming / Vocals / Keys / Guitar Martin Bowes - Mastering Artemiy Artemiev - Composition Deborah Roberts - Vocals Tiberio - Guitars Joe Erber - Piano Antonym - Composition Nihm - Didgeridoo / Synth Dieter Moebius - Synths Lee Stacey - Drum Programming
River Out of Eden
River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life is a 1995 popular science book by Richard Dawkins. The book is about Darwinian evolution and summarizes the topics covered in his earlier books, The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype and The Blind Watchmaker, it is Dawkins's shortest book. It is illustrated by Dawkins's wife; the book's name is derived from Genesis 2:10 relating to the Garden of Eden. The King James Version reads "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden. River Out of Eden has five chapters; the first chapter lays down the framework on which the rest of the book is built, that life is like a river of genes flowing through geological time where organisms are mere temporary bodies. The second chapter shows how human ancestry can be traced via many gene pathways to different most recent common ancestors, with special emphasis on the African Eve; the third chapter describes how gradual enhancement via natural selection is the only mechanism which can create the observed complexity of nature.
The fourth chapter describes the indifference of genes towards organisms they build and discard, as they maximise their own utility functions. The last chapter summarises milestones during the evolution of life on Earth and speculates on how similar processes may work in alien planetary systems. Dawkins begins the book by stating that all our ancestors reached adulthood and begot at least one child before they died. In a world where most organisms die before they can procreate, descendants are common but ancestors are rare, but we can all claim an unbroken chain of successful ancestors, right back to the first single-celled organism. If the success of an organism is measured by its ability to survive and reproduce all living organisms can be said to have inherited "good genes" from successful ancestors; each generation of organisms is a sieve against which mutated genes are tested. Good genes fall through the sieve into the next generation; this explains why organisms become better and better at whatever it takes to succeed, is in stark contrast to Lamarckism, which would require successful organisms to refine their genes during their lifetime.
Following this gene-centered view of evolution, it can be argued that an organism is no more than a temporary body in which a set of companion genes co-operate toward a common goal: to grow the organism into adulthood, before they go their separate ways in bodies of the organism's progeny. Bodies are created and discarded, but good genes live on as replicas of themselves, a result of a high-fidelity copy process typical of digital encoding. Through meiosis, genes share bodies with different companion genes in successive generations, thus genes can be said to flow in a river through geological time. Though genes are selfish, over the long run every gene needs to be compatible with all other genes in the gene pool of a population of organisms, to produce successful organisms. A river of genes may fork due to the geographical separation between two populations of organisms; because genes in the two branches never share the same bodies, they may drift apart until genes from the two branches become incompatible.
Organisms created by these two branches form separate, non-interbreeding species, completing the process of speciation. When tracing human lineage back in time, most people look at parents, great-grandparents and so on; the same approach is taken when tracing descendants via children and grandchildren. Dawkins shows that this approach is misguided, as the numbers of ancestors and descendants seem to grow exponentially as generations are added to the lineage tree. In just 80 generations, the number of ancestors can exceed a trillion trillion; this simple calculation does not take into account the fact that every marriage is a marriage between distant cousins which include second cousins, fourth cousins, sixteenth cousins and so on. The ancestry tree is not a tree, but a graph. Dawkins prefers to model ancestry in terms of genes flowing through a river of time. An ancestor gene flows down the river either as perfect replicas of itself or as mutated descendant genes. Dawkins fails to explicitly contrast ancestor organism and descendant organisms against ancestor genes and descendant genes in this chapter.
But the first half of the chapter is about differences between these two models of lineage. While organisms have ancestry graphs and progeny graphs via sexual reproduction, a gene has a single chain of ancestors and a tree of descendants. Given any gene in the body of an organism, we can trace a single chain of ancestor organisms back in time, following the lineage of this one gene, as stated in the coalescent theory; because a typical organism is built from tens of thousands of genes, there are numerous ways to trace the ancestry of organisms using this mechanism. But all these inheritance pathways share one common feature. If we start with all humans alive in 1995 and trace their ancestry by one particular gene, we find that the farther we move back in time, the smaller the number of ancestors become; the pool of ancestors continues to shrink until we find the most recent common ancestor of all humans alive in 1995 via this particular gene pathway. In theory, one can trace human ancestry via a single chromosome, as a chromosome contains a set of genes and is passed down from parents to children via independent assortment from only one of the two parents.
But genetic recombination mixes genes from non-sister chromatids from both parents during meiosis, thus muddling the ancestry path. However, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA
The weasel program or Dawkins' weasel is a thought experiment and a variety of computer simulations illustrating it. Their aim is to demonstrate that the process that drives evolutionary systems—random variation combined with non-random cumulative selection—is different from pure chance; the thought experiment was formulated by Richard Dawkins, the first simulation written by him. In chapter 3 of his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins gave the following introduction to the program, referencing the well-known infinite monkey theorem: I don't know who it was first pointed out that, given enough time, a monkey bashing away at random on a typewriter could produce all the works of Shakespeare; the operative phrase is, of course. Let us limit the task facing our monkey somewhat. Suppose that he has to produce, not the complete works of Shakespeare but just the short sentence'Methinks it is like a weasel', we shall make it easy by giving him a typewriter with a restricted keyboard, one with just the 26 letters, a space bar.
How long will he take to write this one little sentence? The scenario is staged to produce a string of gibberish letters, assuming that the selection of each letter in a sequence of 28 characters will be random; the number of possible combinations in this random sequence is 2728, or about 1040, so the probability that the monkey will produce a given sequence is low. Any particular sequence of 28 characters could be selected as a "target" phrase, all as improbable as Dawkins's chosen target, "METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL". A computer program could be written to carry out the actions of Dawkins's hypothetical monkey, continuously generating combinations of 26 letters and spaces at high speed. At the rate of millions of combinations per second, it is unlikely given the entire lifetime of the universe to run, that the program would produce the phrase "METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL". Dawkins intends this example to illustrate a common misunderstanding of evolutionary change, i.e. that DNA sequences or organic compounds such as proteins are the result of atoms randomly combining to form more complex structures.
In these types of computations, any sequence of amino acids in a protein will be extraordinarily improbable. Rather, evolution proceeds by hill climbing. Dawkins goes on to show that a process of cumulative selection can take far fewer steps to reach any given target. In Dawkins's words: We with a crucial difference in its program, it again begins by choosing a random sequence of 28 letters, just as before... it duplicates it but with a certain chance of random error –'mutation' – in the copying. The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the'progeny' of the original phrase, chooses the one which, however most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL. By repeating the procedure, a randomly generated sequence of 28 letters and spaces will be changed each generation; the sequences progress through each generation: Generation 01: WDLTMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P Generation 02: WDLTMNLT DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO P Generation 10: MDLDMNLS ITJISWHRZREZ MECS P Generation 20: MELDINLS IT ISWPRKE Z WECSEL Generation 30: METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL Generation 40: METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL Generation 43: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASELDawkins continues: The exact time taken by the computer to reach the target doesn't matter.
If you want to know, it completed the whole exercise for me, the first time, while I was out to lunch. It took about half an hour. Computers are a bit faster at this kind of thing than monkeys, but the difference isn't significant. What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other procedure of single-step selection: about a million million million million million years; this is more than a million million million times as long as the universe has so far existed. The program aims to demonstrate that the preservation of small changes in an evolving string of characters can produce meaningful combinations in a short time as long as there is some mechanism to select cumulative changes, whether it is a person identifying which traits are desirable or a criterion of survival imposed by the environment. Reproducing systems tend to preserve traits across generations, because the offspring inherit a copy of the parent's traits.
It is the differences between offspring, the variations in copying, which become the basis for selection, allowing phrases closer to the target to survive, the remaining variants to "die." Dawkins discusses the issue of the mechanism of selection with respect to his "biomorphs" program: The human eye has an active role to play in the story. It is the selecting agent, it surveys the litter of progeny and chooses one for breeding.... Our model, in other words, is a model of artificial selection, not natural selection; the criterion for'success' is not the direct criterion of survival, as it is in true natural selection. In true natural selection, if a body has what it takes to survive, its genes automatically survive because they are inside it. So the genes that survive tend to be, those genes that confer on bodies the qualities that as
Alternatives to evolution by natural selection
Alternatives to evolution by natural selection described as non-Darwinian mechanisms of evolution, have been proposed by scholars investigating biology since classical times to explain signs of evolution and the relatedness of different groups of living things. The alternatives in question do not deny that evolutionary changes over time are the origin of the diversity of life, nor deny that the organisms alive today share a common ancestor from the distant past; this distinguishes them from certain other kinds of arguments that deny that large scale evolution of any sort has taken place, as in some forms of creationism, which do not propose alternative mechanisms of evolutionary change but instead deny that evolutionary change has taken place at all. Not all forms of creationism deny. Where the fact of evolutionary change was accepted but the mechanism proposed by Charles Darwin, natural selection, was denied, explanations of evolution such as Lamarckism, orthogenesis, vitalism and mutationism were entertained.
Different factors motivated people to propose non-Darwinian mechanisms of evolution. Natural selection, with its emphasis on death and competition, did not appeal to some naturalists because they felt it immoral, leaving little room for teleology or the concept of progress in the development of life; some who came to accept evolution, but disliked natural selection, raised religious objections. Others felt that evolution was an inherently progressive process that natural selection alone was insufficient to explain. Still others felt that nature, including the development of life, followed orderly patterns that natural selection could not explain. By the start of the 20th century, evolution was accepted by biologists but natural selection was in eclipse. Many alternative theories were proposed, but biologists were quick to discount theories such as orthogenesis and Lamarckism which offered no mechanism for evolution. Mutationism did propose a mechanism, but it was not accepted; the modern synthesis a generation claimed to sweep away all the alternatives to Darwinian evolution, though some have been revived as molecular mechanisms for them have been discovered.
Aristotle did not embrace either divine creation or evolution, instead arguing in his biology that each species was immutable, breeding true to its ideal eternal form. Aristotle's suggestion in De Generatione Animalium of a fixed hierarchy in nature - a scala naturae provided an early explanation of the continuity of living things. Aristotle saw that animals were teleological, had parts that were homologous with those of other animals, but he did not connect these ideas into a concept of evolutionary progress. In the Middle Ages, Scholasticism developed Aristotle's view into the idea of a great chain of being; the image of a ladder inherently suggests the possibility of climbing, but both the ancient Greeks and mediaeval scholastics such as Ramon Lull maintained that each species remained fixed from the moment of its creation. By 1818, however, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire argued in his Philosophie anatomique that the chain was "a progressive series", where animals like molluscs low on the chain could "rise, by addition of parts, from the simplicity of the first formations to the complication of the creatures at the head of the scale", given sufficient time.
Accordingly and biologists looked for explanations of such evolutionary change. Georges Cuvier's 1812 Recherches sur les Ossements Fossiles set out his doctrine of the correlation of parts, namely that since an organism was a whole system, all its parts mutually corresponded, contributing to the function of the whole. So, from a single bone the zoologist could tell what class or genus the animal belonged to, and if an animal had teeth adapted for cutting meat, the zoologist could be sure without looking that its sense organs would be those of a predator and its intestines those of a carnivore. A species had an irreducible functional complexity, "none of its parts can change without the others changing too". Evolutionists expected one part to change at a time, one change to follow another. In Cuvier's view, evolution was impossible, as any one change would unbalance the whole delicate system. Louis Agassiz's 1856 "Essay on Classification" exemplified German philosophical idealism; this held that each species was complex within itself, had complex relationships to other organisms, fitted into its environment, as a pine tree in a forest, could not survive outside those circles.
The argument from such ideal forms opposed evolution without offering an actual alternative mechanism. Richard Owen held a similar view in Britain; the Lamarckian social philosopher and evolutionist Herbert Spencer the author of the phrase "survival of the fittest" adopted by Darwin, used an argument like Cuvier's to oppose natural selection. In 1893, h
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
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The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument which states, by way of an analogy, that a design implies a designer. The analogy has played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe, in both Christianity and Deism. Sir Isaac Newton, among other leaders in the scientific revolution, including René Descartes, upheld "that the physical laws he had uncovered revealed the mechanical perfection of the workings of the universe to be akin to a watch, wherein the watchmaker is God."The 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection put forward an explanation for complexity and adaptation, which reflects scientific consensus on the origins of biological diversity. In the eyes of some, this provided a counter-argument to the watchmaker analogy: for example, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins referred to the analogy in his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker giving his explanation of evolution.
Others, consider the watchmaker analogy to be compatible with evolutionary creation, opining that the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. In the 19th century, who championed the watchmaker analogy, held that Darwin's theory fit with "the principle of uniformitarianism—the idea that all processes in the world occur now as they have in the past" and that deistic evolution "provided an explanatory framework for understanding species variation in a mechanical universe."In the United States, starting in the 1960s, creationists revived versions of the argument to dispute the concepts of evolution and natural selection, there was renewed interest in the watchmaker argument. The most famous statement of this teleological argument using the watchmaker analogy was given by William Paley in his 1802 book Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity; the scientific revolution "nurtured a growing awareness" that "there were universal laws of nature at work that ordered the movement of the world and its parts."
James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong write that in "astronomy, the Copernican revolution regarding the heliocentrism of the solar system, Johannes Kepler's three laws of planetary motion, Isaac Newton's law of universal gravitation—laws of gravitation and of motion, notions of absolute space and time—all combined to establish the regularities of heavenly and earthly bodies." With such a backdrop, "deists suggested the watchmaker analogy: just as watches are set in motion by watchmakers, after which they operate according to their pre-established mechanisms, so was the world begun by the God as creator, after which it and all its parts have operated according to their pre-established natural laws. With these laws in place, events have unfolded according to the prescribed plan." For Sir Isaac Newton, "the regular motion of the planets made it reasonable to believe in the continued existence of God." Newton upheld the idea that "like a watchmaker, God was forced to intervene in the universe and tinker with the mechanism from time to time to ensure that it continued operating in good working order."
Like Newton, René Descartes viewed "the cosmos as a great time machine operating according to fixed laws, a watch created and wound up by the great watchmaker." Watches and timepieces have been used as examples of complicated technology in philosophical discussions. For example, Cicero and René Descartes all used timepieces in arguments regarding purpose; the watchmaker analogy, as described here, was used by Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle in 1686, but was most famously formulated by Paley. Paley used the watchmaker analogy in his book Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature, published in 1802. In it, Paley wrote that if a pocket watch is found on a heath, it is most reasonable to assume that someone dropped it and that it was made by at least one watchmaker, not by natural forces: In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, were asked how the stone came to be there, but suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place.
There must have existed, at some time, at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed for the purpose which we find it to answer. Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature. Paley went on to argue that the complex structures of living things and the remarkable adaptations of plants and animals required an intelligent designer, he showed the nature of the creator. According to Paley, God had designed "even the most humble and insignificant organisms" and all of their minute features, he believed, that God must care more for humanity. Paley recognised that there is great suffering in nature and nature appears to be indifferent to pain, his way of reconciling that with his belief in a benevolent God was to assume that life had more pleasure than pain. As a side note, a charge of wholesale plagiarism from this book was brought against Paley in The A
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. Bats are more manoeuvrable than birds, flying with their long spread-out digits covered with a thin membrane or patagium; the smallest bat, arguably the smallest extant mammal, is Kitti's hog-nosed bat, 29–34 mm in length, 15 cm across the wings and 2–2.6 g in mass. The largest bats are the flying foxes and the giant golden-crowned flying fox, Acerodon jubatus, which can weigh 1.6 kg and have a wingspan of 1.7 m. The second largest order of mammals, bats comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide, with over 1,200 species; these were traditionally divided into two suborders: the fruit-eating megabats, the echolocating microbats. But more recent evidence has supported dividing the order into Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera, with megabats as members of the former along with several species of microbats. Many bats are insectivores, most of the rest are frugivores. A few species feed on animals other than insects. Most bats are nocturnal, many roost in caves or other refuges.
Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of cold regions. They are important in their ecosystems for dispersing seeds. Bats provide humans at the cost of some threats. Bat dung has been used as fertiliser. Bats consume insect pests, they are sometimes numerous enough to serve as tourist attractions, are used as food across Asia and the Pacific Rim. They are natural reservoirs such as rabies. In many cultures, bats are popularly associated with darkness, witchcraft and death. An older English name for bats is flittermouse, which matches their name in other Germanic languages, related to the fluttering of wings. Middle English had bakke, most cognate with Old Swedish natbakka, which may have undergone a shift from -k- to -t- influenced by Latin blatta, "moth, nocturnal insect"; the word "bat" was first used in the early 1570s. The name "Chiroptera" derives from Ancient Greek: χείρ – cheir, "hand" and πτερόν – pteron, "wing"; the delicate skeletons of bats do not fossilise well, it is estimated that only 12% of bat genera that lived have been found in the fossil record.
Most of the oldest known bat fossils were very similar to modern microbats, such as Archaeopteropus. The extinct bats Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon and Hassianycteris kumari are the first fossil mammals whose colouration has been discovered: both were reddish-brown. Bats were grouped in the superorder Archonta, along with the treeshrews and primates. Modern genetic evidence now places bats in the superorder Laurasiatheria, with its sister taxon as Fereuungulata, which includes carnivorans, odd-toed ungulates, even-toed ungulates, cetaceans. One study places Chiroptera as a sister taxon to odd-toed ungulates; the phylogenetic relationships of the different groups of bats have been the subject of much debate. The traditional subdivision into Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera reflected the view that these groups of bats had evolved independently of each other for a long time, from a common ancestor capable of flight; this hypothesis recognised differences between microbats and megabats and acknowledged that flight has only evolved once in mammals.
Most molecular biological evidence supports the view that bats form a monophyletic group. Genetic evidence indicates that megabats originated during the early Eocene, belong within the four major lines of microbats. Two new suborders have been proposed. Yangochiroptera includes the other families of a conclusion supported by a 2005 DNA study. A 2013 phylogenomic study supported the two new proposed suborders. In the 1980s, a hypothesis based on morphological evidence stated the Megachiroptera evolved flight separately from the Microchiroptera; the flying primate hypothesis proposed that, when adaptations to flight are removed, the Megachiroptera are allied to primates by anatomical features not shared with Microchiroptera. For example, the brains of megabats have advanced characteristics. Although recent genetic studies support the monophyly of bats, debate continues about the meaning of the genetic and morphological evidence; the 2003 discovery of an early fossil bat from the 52 million year old Green River Formation, Onychonycteris finneyi, indicates that flight evolved before echolocative abilities.
Onychonycteris had claws on all five of its fingers, whereas modern bats have at most two claws on two digits of each hand. It had longer hind legs and shorter forearms, similar to climbing mammals that hang under branches, such as sloths and gibbons; this palm-sized bat had short, broad wings, suggesting that it could not fly as fast or as far as bat species. Instead of flapping its wings continuously while flying, Onychonycteris alternated between flaps and