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Where and how?

Posted 21 March 2007, 5.08 am by shaggy

I look and wonder; everyone has their own set of ideals, expectations, the way we think the world works. And yet the world is consistently unpredictable in human terms. The world was not built in our image, and we were not built in the image of the world. We are a pebble in the sand, and we rock to and fro in the whims of the tide.

And yet, there is magic-- or at least the will towards it. Freud defined magic as the childish will for control over environment. When a child cries and says "but I want it," magic is the tool with which 'it' can happen and fall unto their lap. And yet, sometimes we fluke magic even without requiring delusion.

So, then, is our will accidental? Some people have lives that are exactly as they wish; others fight the waves as they crash, and are buried underneath the rocks, their cries buried under the thrashing tumult. We remember the ones that stand out, the ones whose will fights against the current, and yet what of the pebbles that remained buried, the ones whose will did not magically coincide with that of the world?

Can we bend reality, or will it break? And what happens if we snap it, what would be the fallout?

We are chemical sloshing, meat that is rotting at each step. Our consciousness is an accident of energy and matter. And yet we piece together our surroundings; can we ourselves willingly create such an accident, replicate ourselves in the sand, make a pebble into our image?

They say that they studied prayer on a quantum level, and prayer actually changes the environment of those who pray. The will has a quantum effect on the environment. Is this my magic? Could I dissemble existence, then, if I willed it strong enough? Or could I create a utopia where our telomeres are ever shortened, our words are never drowned in the sea of human voices?

At which point does the will become delusional? Does the man who wish for a peaceful life suffer from delusions of grandeur?

Does the abyss ever stop staring back?

The end of the first world

Posted 7 March 2007, 9.07 pm by shaggy

Driving down the highway, same route she had taken a million times before, Mackenna tried to keep her eyes open, tried to stay awake. Her eyes were dry and sore, irritated and it felt like someone had been desperately rubbing sandpaper along her sockets.

She closed her eyes for a moment, to moisten them. She had been crying again, wanting desperately for things to work out. She had begun wondering if they would ever reconcile their differences, or if they would be forced to part ways. She did not want it to come to that, but the two were just getting increasingly bitter. As a part of her gave up, another part of her knew that they only fought about trivial things, and they could simply choose to not fight or bite their wicked tongues back for a moment and just truly appreciate each other.

As she smiled, content that they could do that, that they could both be happy, she looked up and realized she had swayed a little bit into the other lane. She opened her eyes as wide as they could go, terribly frightened by the mistake. Still, she was so tired, so exhausted, and her eyes were so very dry. As road signs blinked past her, as the light of her headlights fought the shadows, she thought to herself that she could just close her eyes for another instant. And in an instant, there was change, light, and pain. In a moment, she found herself approaching the other world she had promised her daughter. Metal scraped against metal, and the smell of burnt rubber, an inhuman screeching, and a warm, sticky feeling leaking all over her body as blood flowed freely, all came crashing together. Her first thought was, “no, not like this.” She thought of the last few words to her husband, trying desperately to hang onto life as her blood dripped out of her like a fountain. “You can’t die,” she repeated to herself again and again. She thought she saw a firefly, buzzing in front of her vision, and silently wondered if she was beginning to hallucinate.

She tried to move, but she felt a jagged bit of metal in her stomach, felt the pain of splintered ribs. She tried to breathe, but each gasp was far too painful, but she fought the pain, tried desperately to stay awake. She kept telling herself, again and again, that she would never get a chance to apologize to her husband, never get another chance to tell her family that she loved them.

Everything was fading. She cursed and tried to pull out whatever was jabbing through her torso, but she found that it was a part of the dashboard, and any attempt to remove it proved too painful to bear, each attempt sending her into a state of dizziness from which she feared, if she went too far, she would never wake. She screamed and shouted, cursed and yelled. Each angry curse became weaker and weaker as her consciousness began to fade. Again, she thought she saw a firefly buzzing across her vision, but then again, everything began to change, the world fading into darkness and becoming lit by phantasms, random lights that some people would attribute to a brain that was lacking in oxygen, and others still would have said to be passing onto another world.

She held her hand up and tried to catch the firefly. It escaped her. She closed her eyes and in her dream, she left her body and floated away, chasing a phantom insect and unsure exactly where she was headed, or why she felt compelled to go there.

I'm Not Done Yet.

Posted 25 January 2007, 12.07 pm by The_Roach

As I look back over the last six-plus years of my life, I realize that I've been through a few ups and downs. I've engaged in some rough relationships. I helped to create a reasonably successful local print publication in my home city, with all of its associated trials and tribulations. I've made friends and lost friends. Later this year, I plan to marry and start a family. None of these things would have happened without AKpCEP.

This is my home in the digital landscape. I've never found a place that felt more comfortable to me. The greatest thrills and the most crushing defeats that I have experienced in my time on this earth are all connected in some way to this place. I have physically moved my residence no less than four times since I became involved here but I've never left.

Now, I sit in front of this screen every night and I hit F5, hoping that there is something new. But it's largely become rote. It's killing me to see that my home, which I have so much love for, is simply decaying like the rotting corpses I've been reading so much about in Max Brooks' brilliant books on zombie survival.

I miss Spooky, even though he and I haven't really talked for years. I miss Amaurote, who hasn't left but has little to discuss except for British politics (despite the fucking brilliant Doctor Who revival which has not been discussed here since before it started airing two years ago). The elephants, Anton's second ass hole. At this rate, I'm going to start missing Gladiator soon.

Please, God, if you're up there... don't let it come to that.

I know I can't be the only one. It's simply not possible for there to only be one person whose life has been altered in some way by their participation here. I just hope I am not the only one for whom the effect has been positive.

We have tons of archival material. The thirty guests online right now... they aren't all spambots, are they? What can we do to get them in, get them involved, get their lives changed?

This started as a cultural engineering project. Is the culture gone? Has it already failed? Can it be saved or are we just wasting Alexander's (and the donators') money?

If so, I'm terrified. It's been a long time since I was homeless and it is not a prospect I look forward to.

Through Bright Light: In The Marsh

Posted 23 January 2007, 2.55 am by shaggy

(to catch up: Boogeyman, Peebles, and Mackenna have made it to the Marsh of the Malcontents. While wading through the wetlands, they are attacked on three fronts-- the Shadows of Shadow Forest coming from behind the lake, Anima, the soul of the Malcontents, swimming in from the east, and the Malcontents themselves, a hideous bunch of clay-creatures devoted to misery and pain, coming up from underneath the travelers, spewing from the mud itself.)

Mackenna ran toward Boogeyman, who simply turned to her and looked deep into her eyes. Their foreheads connected for a moment and she realized he was crying. “Go,” he said simply, and when she shook her head, he repeated himself. “Go or you’ll never get out alive.”

One of the Malcontents lumbered toward Boogeyman. Boogeyman made a gesture with his hand that was the same parents might to inform their child that they need to go. The hand stayed in this position even after he turned around. The message was clear: the grown-ups are talking.

Mackenna was hurt for a moment. But when the clay-creature swung at Boogeyman with a fearsome tool that looked like a combination of brass knuckles and pincushion, piercing and tearing a great deal of skin from his face, Mackenna’s base instincts overtook her, and fear, crawling inside her like an animal, forced her to flee.

Boogeyman recovered from the blow, his face dripping wet with blood and clay. He looked at the Malcontent, who appeared to be smiling as it wrapped its arms around Boogeyman, hauling him into the mud of the marsh. Even though he could not see what was happening beneath him, he could feel his lower extremities, already weak from the attack by Coagula, attached to a cold metallic thing. And as he struggled, the thing bit with sharp teeth, and he felt a fresh warm liquid pouring from the barely-healed wound on his ankle.

Mackenna made it to the other end of the marsh, where Peebles waited. She heard the sharp yelp coming from Boogeyman and it made her cry. Because she knew that he had done the right thing, that she had to see her family, and that he had sworn to protect her. This was his way of finally protecting her. She did not dare look back. She knew what was going to happen. Her upper body tensed up as she tried desperately not to cry.

Peebles looked up at Mackenna and let out an urgent meow that quickly escalated into a pathetic wail.

“There’s nothing we can do, Peebles,” she said with a sigh as she wiped tears from her eyes. “We have to get out of here.” With that, she picked up the one-eyed creature, trying not to squeeze him too hard, for all the love and sorrow that she felt for the pet.

Mackenna quickly glanced back at the marsh. Her lip quivering in frustration and grief, she closed her eyes and whispered a eulogy for the guide.

“Thank you for everything. Thank you for helping me finish my story.”

And with that, she turned around and continued in the only direction she knew, unsure of how she would find her way without her guide, but knowing that she had no choice, both for her family and out of respect for the gesture Boogeyman had given her.

Through Bright Light

Posted 15 January 2007, 1.16 am by shaggy

(to catch you up, after seeing a lifeless lump that had once been his pet Peebles, Boogeyman attacks a great dog-demon named Coagula, tearing away at the dog's eyes but getting a severe wound in his ankle in the process. The dog's owner shows up, but is frightened away by Mackenna, who shows no signs of being under his spell. After the dog-demon and its owner leave, Boogeyman is left staring directly at the lifeless lump that had once been his most beloved pet, a part of his family.)

Boogeyman, though he was hurt and though he swore to himself it would do no good, could only think about Peebles. Weak and bruised, and limping on his wounded ankle-- which luckily was not completely devastated-- he wandered over to what was once his pet and, dropping to his knees, picked it up.

Mackenna was amazed at the different applications that his claws had displayed. At one moment, they were desperately seeking the destruction of another being. And now, it looked as if he wanted to pour his own life into Peebles from his fingertips. His hands delicately picked up the body and gingerly lifted it up to his face. Boogeyman rubbed his face against the pet, his entire body heaving from his sobs.

Mackenna walked up to Boogeyman slowly. She bent down and tore a sleeve off her shirt, proceeding to make a wrap for his bleeding ankle. What looked like a chipped tooth was still stuck in the wound, which she carefully removed before wrapping. She did all this as Boogeyman simply lifted his leg, welcoming the nursing but at the same time not really allowing his attention to divert away from what he considered important.

For a moment, after the foot was properly wrapped, Mackenna was distracted away from Peebles and Boogeyman when she heard rustling in the leaves, in the trees. There was a moment in which she feared that Coagula had returned for vengeance. She expected to die for a split second. But as she looked toward the sound, she found she had to tilt her head upward.

The faces that she had seen before they entered into the Old Triangle, the disconnecting-reuniting-disconnecting heads that had separated Peebles in the first place, the beings Boogeyman knew as the Hopeless, flew up far above their heads, dancing around almost majestically. They would separate, and moan; reunite and then bicker; and they would separate again, and offer up a sorrowful, lonely cry only to begin the entire cycle again.

Mackenna closed her eyes, breathed in deeply. She sighed, looked at Boogeyman. He looked back at her, still holding Peebles, with eyes burning and leaking, red and pulsing. He held the body toward her as if it were an offering.

“I said that he would be alright. I said he had to be. But my words did not save him.” He paused for a moment, breathing in, trying to suffer in the way he thought he should. “I couldn’t save him,” he shouted desperately, loud enough that the Hopeless stopped for a moment, peering down at him before carrying on their dance. Mackenna looked at him apologetically, beginning to cry herself in sympathy.

“I’m sorry,” was the best she could do. She was no great storyteller. Her words had never created any living being. But at that moment, feeling the pain flowing off him like an aura, traveling straight to her heart, she wanted to tell him that she could do something, anything. But she could not.

“Please,” he said simply, not sure exactly what he was asking her. There were a million things he could have added. Please do something, for starters. Please make this pain go away, for another. But the only thing he spoke with where his gestures, his lower lip quivering uncontrollably, his big eyes staring at her in need and regret, in pain and woe.

As he sobbed one more violent time, there was a sound. At first, Mackenna thought it had been Boogeyman, but when she looked up at him, she saw on his face a look that spoke her mistake. It had not been Boogeyman making that noise at all.

She looked at his arms, and watched as Peebles huffed impatiently, shook his head, and meowed in triumph. The pet began to drool uncontrollably, and began licking Boogeyman’s shaking, tear-soaked cheek.

How do I sign up for the Grinding Shed Forums?

Posted 26 December 2006, 11.17 pm by Alexander

Hi all,

Because of the vast number of spam signups - and these are either very clever bots or very sad people to get past the visual validation - I've disabled new signups for the time being.

If you're a real live human being, and you don't just want to hawk viagra or your shit website, or something else you can't legitimately sell because it's either too shit, too illegal or too much like hard work to actually pay for marketing, you can sign up in the following way:

1) Email me at admin AT akpcep DOT com

2) In the email specify your desired username and password (which you can change later if you wish)

3) Your account will be set up manually and you'll receive confirmation within the day.

Obviously, if you have no intention of ever posting anything, please don't waste my time or yours.

Hope this is all clear.


Do MySpace Users Live Longer?

Posted 11 October 2006, 7.08 pm by HockeyGod

Can using MySpace have long term health effects? A recent study by NoosCorp of Texas has shown that seniors who actively engage in social networking sites like MySpace, FaceBook, and Friendster tend to live longer, fuller, healthier lives. The survey took into account the listed ages of active MySpace users along with age breakdown from the 2004 census as well as various other factors. The results are quite shocking:

According to the numbers, over 90% of Americans over the age of 90 actively use MySpace. The site also seems immensely popular with Americans in their late 60's. Roughly 300,000 Americans were born in 1937, and according to the study over 98% of living 69 year-olds actively maintain MySpace accounts.

Today's seniors are using social networking sites to stay in touch with their friends, read up on new bands, and post photos of themselves hitting the bong in their underwear.

"Looking at the photos, you'd never know these ladies were in their nineties.. I'd give anything to look that good when I'm that age," said Doris Shelton, a 34 year old mother of 2 whose daughters frequently use the site "Seniors are surprisingly hip," she said. "I never knew my daughter was so active in helping the elderly. Nearly half of her friends are in their late 60's or older. In fact just yesterday she was talking with a 69 year old man from our town." notes Mrs Shelton.

"It used to be that once a spouse died, a widowed senior would spend their days moping around depressed," said James Blutner - a clinical psychologist and avid MySpace user. "What's happening now," he says, "is that these once depressed seniors are turning to social networking sites as a way to meet new people. It's a fun, healthy alternative to bingo night. I just wish they'd stop posting those pictures of themselves in their underwear - although most of them still look good for 90!"

When asked why he thought social networking through sites like MySpace would have a positive health effect, Mr. Blutner replied, "It could be many things. It could be the positive emotional effect of connecting to other people their own age, or simply the healthy side effect of so much sex. Everyone knows that the 69 year-olds are a pretty randy bunch... if you know what I mean."

Blutner - who is also studying the link between online poker and terrorism - continued: "It's really nice to have a site like MySpace that contains such a representative sample of modern elderly Internet users. The amount of truthful data we have access to about someones personal life is really hard to get by any other means, since people tend to exaggerate or outright lie on our psychological surveys. These social sites are a blessing in disguise with their accurate demographics. It's like Psychology 2.0!"

Mad Props to Xichekolas for helping with this one.

Free Speech

Posted 21 September 2006, 9.35 pm by shaggy

(This is slightly edited from article found on , in "Philosopher" section)

The issue of free speech has always been a heated one. Although autonomy and freedom of expression have always been a big part of people's identity, rarely is it a topic that is discussed in depth. It is taken for granted, for instance, that there are no limitations on free speech, but this is incoherent a model for any freedom. Left to its own devices, without limitations, such a model of freedom would allow citizens to create limitations on other citizens (after all, they are free to do anything) and this would obviously not be a coherent model (what of those that have limitations imposed upon them?).

With the above in mind, the definition of free speech I am currently working with (one must always carefully define one's terms) is this: the freedom to express, through art, literature, or voice, any belief, no matter the opinions of others in society-- so long as said belief does not place limitations on the ability of any other person to express his or her belief. This definition is restrictive because it must be. In order to know what I am arguing for, I must set down what the ideal might be, and the ideal for free speech should always be a society of people unafraid to voice their opinions. This is not only conducive of change toward progress-- how can serfdoms gain power if they are never allowed to speak?-- but also conducive toward correction. This second point is integral to the growth and maturation of individuals. If no one can tell us when we can be proven wrong, we are just as ignorant as if we were never allowed to speak in the first place.

This model places restrictions on what people can and cannot do. I stress 'do' because one must recognize that free speech is not tantamount to free action. Speech itself can turn into action the minute it steps away from knowledge and moves toward roadblocking. Anyone familiar with politics has seen speech turned into this: debates that do not allow any one speaker to finish his or her speech are no longer debates of speech but of actions. Cutting off people's sentences, effectively placing limitations on a person's ability to return their opinion, or otherwise "shutting up" people is an insult to the foundations of free speech, and one that occurs at a surprising rate in our society.

With this in mind, one must ask the question, "what precisely is philosophically protected by a vow of free speech?" For instance, are hate-speeches protected philosophically-- I claim no authority for legality-- under the rights of free speech? The easy answer is "yes". If not allowed to voice an opinion, even if it is 'wrong' or 'hate-filled', people will never be called upon to be responsible for their beliefs. In other words, if I believe that 2+2=5, but am never called on it, I will continue to believe in the false mathematics much to the detriment of my understanding. However, if I am not only allowed to speak my belief (even if wrong), then I allow others to speak theirs (that 2+2=4). A dialogue ensues, and for better or worse, each side of the argument has an opportunity to express their perspectives.

However, I said this was the 'easy' answer. That is because one must also remember that speech that impairs the ability to speak in others is not considered 'free speech', and thus not protected under that flag. Hate-speech often attempts to impair the authority and voice of others; for instance, in the history of racism, an attempt at scientifically proving the "inferiority" of a race undermines any authority a race has. After all, if anyone under said race attempts to offer any evidence or opinion to the contrary, they can be 'debunked' based on their inferiority! This system does not encourage freedom, nor is it a chance for the speakers on either side to grow. This is another example of how speech can turn into action.

But can speech and action be separated? This is a more difficult question, and one which might not be possible to answer. Speech itself is a political action. "I will be heard," anyone who speaks (in any manner) announces, and this is where the model of speech as separate from action breaks down and needs to be elaborated upon.

This is where legality and philosophy cannot intersect. The reason is because the line between speech as voice and speech as action is divided by intention of the speaker. This can never be proven or known concretely, and thus can never be legislated, but a person can be said to be operating under the positive model of free speech if (s)he is said to have the intentions of her own beliefs at heart, and not the limitations of another. If someone truly believes in eugenics, they have a right to speak their mind, no matter how controversial. However, if someone believes in eugenics but wishes others to "keep quiet" about their arguments against such racism, their intentions are operating under a restrictive-speech model, which can be defined. Restrictive speech: when speech is used as a roadblock to the speech of another; when one person's voice attempts to drown out another.

The intentions people have toward each action remain implicit in their actions, and can never be upgraded to 'explicit'. Though we can have an inclination toward people's intentions-- often with more accuracy than they have for themselves-- by observing them, we can never truly know, and this places restrictions on what we can, ourselves, attack under the rubric of restrictive-speech. we cannot, for instance, attack the rights of people to speak, but we cannot allow other people to attempt to speak over others. That would be placing the rights of one person above another-- namely, the person with the loudest voice would 'win' their rights.

This can be protected only by allowing people to speak, and by giving fortification to minority-voice. While such fortification might include strengthening an opinion we believe in, it also must, in consistency, affect directly the voices and opinions we disagree with. In order for me to be able to speak against eugenics, someone must be able to speak for it. To restrict one for the sake of protecting the rights of a 'minority speaker' whose voice might be overcome is not a proper protection, but a restrictive and negative one. Rather, it would be in my best interest to support the minority voice so that it might not be lost in so much linguistic rubble.

The role of the minority voice is one which, by definition, is unpopular either by virtue of its belief or by a lack of support. A voice can be said to be in minority if it is shown little authority or support. That said, a voice can be driven into minority (through the restrictive-speech of another) or it can be placed into rightful minority (by virtue of its restrictions itself). Thus, a person who believes against eugenics, for instance, can be surrounded by eugenic supporters, and in this environment, the anti-eugenics supporter would be a minority. Or, similarly, a member of a racist organization can be surrounded by anti-racists, and in this case, the racist organizational voice would be the minority.

This is a long-winded way of saying that there are some opinions simply worth more than others. This is true of any open-source organization, and is why (at least in the computer-world) administrators and moderators are necessary. The opinion, for instance, that my butt is a planet is not very worthy. However, the opinion that I am an important and significant member of my society would happen to prove a worthy one. So how does one judge the validity (worthiness) of an opinion?

An opinion can actually be judged valid or worthy by at least some variables. One is its logical consistency. That is, an opinion that cannot remain logically consistent is at least less worthy than one that remains logically consistent. Thus, an opinion can be said to be more 'sound' than another. It is hard to say that the definition of 'planet' that our society embraces is consistent with my rump. I cannot say that there are many similarities between my backside and any other planet in general. While the definition of 'planet' has been under some crossfire because of its lack of explicitness, there still exists an aura of what it means in our society, with or without it being placed explicitly on paper. This is called 'tacit knowledge', one that we know but we do not necessarily know that we know, and thus one that we would be hard-pressed to define. We do not know exactly how to define planet, but we know roughly what serves as a planet. Only in extreme cases (for instance, distance from sun, size, etc) is this definition questioned. My ass is on the extremity of size, as it does not compare to any other 'planet', not even the recently removed Pluto. If Pluto is too small to be a planet, than certainly my rump (at least I would hope) is too small.

Another manner in which an opinion can be judged valid or worthy is by the validity of its premisses. The eugenics debate is founded under the assumption that good genes, when only mixed with good genes, produce good or better genes. The reason this can be said to be faulty is because it undermines a basic biological principle: variability produces stronger genes. Thus, though the premisses might seem true, and while someone is perfectly within their rights for saying that they believe it to be true, biological principles attack the principles of the premiss. IF it were true that good genes, when mixed only with good genes, produce good or better genes, eugenics would have an argument. However, there is no evidence toward this premiss, and much evidence to the contrary.

That said, as pointed out earlier, though an opinion can be more valid or sound than another, this does not restrict one's right to freely speaking on behalf of these beliefs. My point is not from the standpoint of legislation or censorship, but one of defending the rights of others to utilize the tools of other disciplines to speak for themselves. Science is not only based on empirical principles, but can also be used to promote or denote validity of opinions. Science enjoys this special privilege because of its testament of objectivity. In other words, science tries not necessarily to speak 'over' anyone at all, but merely attempts to judge, based on nature's examples, what one would be inclined to believe had they observed what the scientist has observed. However, this principle can also be abused, as in the next example.

As stated earlier, speech is said to be free when it allows the speech of others to be respected. A recent issue I have seen with this is on the Free Speech Coalition website ( ), 'free' only in their obvious political/capital bias. Without going into their defense of pornography (how they can define sexual intercourse as 'speech' is beyond me), an article on their website falls under the rubric of restrictive speech.

I am speaking about their article on the definition of 'addiction to pornography'. In the article, a 'scientist' attempts to denounce any working definition of 'pornography addiction'. Without going into too much detail, this places a limitation on the speech of those seeking pyschological help for what they define as an addiction. Any attempt to strip the patient of the right to define their actions as an addiction would be tantamount to speaking loudly so that another person cannot be heard. Not only is this an insult to free speech, it is also an insult to the autonomy of the patient. One can only imagine a person feeling abused by their own subconscious compulsions going to a psychiatrist only to be turned down for help.

"You aren't addicted, sir. I will not help you."

Many such issues arise in the area of health care ethics. Although it is outside of the scope of this essay, suffice it to say that the issue of autonomy (in effect, the right to free speech for patients) also has restrictions. Autonomy is an issue with many sides, and is a hotly debated topic in current health care ethics. However, one should never assume that any potential restrictions ethically placed on autonomy decrease the right of a patient for care, especially within the realm of psychiatry/psychology or any health care concerning pain.

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A year or so ago I undertook a study entitled 'Faces of Death'. I produced a quite substantial body of work concerning corpses, and faces in particular. I concentrated mainly on victims of murder. This image was produced by rolling a thick layer of ink onto a steel plate and rubbing, scratching and soaking it off with turps. The plate was then pressed onto paper, and this is the result.

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Hey Cris, it's as busy here as it was at the end - which is to say, not at all

I wish I could new you guys was here in the beginning of 2020 LOL

OMG I was feeling nostalgic and I can’t believe that AKP is still here! So how’s it going ?

Props to Green Mamba for bringing the weirdness


80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.


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