Datos abiertos: seis desafíos de la Hacks/Hackers BA Media Party

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Unos días antes de realizar nuestra primera Media Party en agosto de 2012, nuestro capitulo de Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires se dio cuenta de que íbamos a necesitar un megáfono para anunciar algunas de nuestras actividades a los cientos de participantes.

Pregunté por Twitter quién tenía uno: alguien lo dejó en la puerta el primer día del evento y lo devolví unos meses después.

El proceso de construcción colectiva es arduo y azaroso, pero siempre entretenido. La Media Party de este año, un encuentro de tres días que tendrá lugar del 29 al 31 de agosto en Buenos Aires, juntará a periodistas, programadores, diseñadores, 20 invitados internacionales, 30 talleres y un gran hackatón.

Organizado nuevamente por Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, será el resultado del arduo trabajo de muchos de nuestros 2.000 miembros. Esto no fue un accidente. Hemos construido la comunidad intencionalmente y con mucho esfuerzo.

La presencia de invitados internacionales como Jacqui Maher del New York Times, Brian Boyer de la radio pública estadounidense (NPR), Joe Germuska del Knight Lab, Dan Sinker de Open News y Ted Han de Document Cloud, nos permite generar la credibilidad necesaria y asegurar concurrencia. Pero la Media Party no se trata sólo de grandes nombres. Es una oportunidad para que todos los involucrados se unan a una comunidad productiva y construyan algo valioso para impulsar el periodismo en el futuro. La Media Party sería imposible sin la contribución de estas decenas de personas.

Hace unos días realizamos un encuentro preparatorio para pensar en los grandes problemas que queremos resolver en el mundo de la innovación, los datos abiertos (open data) y los medios de comunicación. La misión de la Media Party tomó forma durante este encuentro, que contó con la participación de unos 50 editores y periodistas de grandes medios argentinos, miembros de la comunidad de open data y hackers cívicos. “Ahora necesitamos resolver los grandes temas”, dijo el diseñador y desarrollador Davo Galavotti.

A continuación, los desafíos y problemas que queremos abordar:

1. La sobreproducción de software de participación civil

El mundo está lleno de software de participación civil que pocos conocen y muy pocos usan. Podríamos crear un índice de soluciones para gobiernos, medios y sociedad civil que ya están disponibles y que se pueden mejorar, agregar o incluso innovar desde el conocimiento. Podríamos organizar un taller sobre la personalización de las soluciones existentes.

2. Los medios y la sociedad civil a menudo no saben cuáles son los datos que existen

¿Dónde están los conjuntos de datos para usar en América Latina y cómo podemos conectarlos con OpenDataLatinoamerica y acercarlos a los medios y a la sociedad civil? ¿Cuáles son los conjuntos de datos en otras regiones del mundo y cómo podemos brindar esa información a aquellas personas que la necesitan?

3. Grandes ideas y colaboraciones que quedan en la nada

¿Cómo podemos hacer un seguimiento de nuestras ideas y preservar el trabajo de nuestros encuentros? ¿Qué rol puede cumplir el HackDash? (Lee mi post sobre Hackdash aquí).

4. ¿Cuáles son las herramientas, lenguajes o aplicaciones que hay que saber para poder incursionar en el mundo de la innovación en medios, el periodismo de datos y el open data?

La mayoría de las personas se sienten abrumadas por el número de herramientas, plataformas y habilidades. ¿Cómo podemos ayudarles a elegir una?

5. ¿Cómo se hace para que los proyectos lleguen a los medios?

Incluso los mejores sitios o las plataformas más fáciles de usar son un fracaso si nadie las utiliza.

6. ¿Cuáles son los aspectos comerciales y financieros que necesitamos considerar para los nuevos reportajes basados en datos? ¿Cómo encauzar los proyectos para que encuentren viabilidad?

¿La gente posee las habilidades necesarias para liderar proyectos y empresas de medios? ¿Y qué nuevos modelos podemos aprender, enseñar o inventar?

La Media Party proporcionará a nuestros participantes de tres continentes la oportunidad de tener un impacto sobre estos desafíos a escala local, regional y global. Estás invitado a unirte. Aprende más sobre la Media Party aquí e inscríbete aquí.

Post publicado originalmente en IJNet. Mariano Blejman, Knight International Journalism Fellow 2013, es editor y emprendedor en medios especializado en periodismo de datos.  Fotografía: miembros de Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, cortesía de Ramiro Chanes. Este post fue traducido del inglés al español por Nathalie Cornet.

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Hacks/Hackers Austin: Code With Me Workshop

Hacks/Hackers Austin was one of several organizations that helped bring the Code With Me Workshop to the Texas capital city on May 18-19. Along with the local Online News Association and the Austin American-Statesman, with generous funding from the Knight-Mozilla Open News project and Texas State University, Code With Me provided of HTML, CSS and JavaScript skills for journalists. The workshop is the brainchild of Sisi Wei of Propublica and Tom Giratikanon of The New York Times. The Austin event was the fourth they have done across the country, after D.C., Miami and Portland.

Using a combination of presentations and exercises, Code With Me is able to introduce a broad range of material in a short time. Their unique approach pairs groups of 2 students with a professional mentor to help them through each lesson. Mentors came from Texas State University, Austin American-Statesman, Texas Tribune and more. The workshop culminated with lots of focused work time and discussion of projects and future plans. Students worked on photo slideshows, data visualizations, FAQ sites and interactive games.

Check out the site for the Austin Workshop, which includes presentations and exercises. Additional photos, provided by Pete Karl can be found on Flickr and from Cindy Royal on Meetup.com. Thanks to Christian McDonald of the Statesman who provided the venue for this event. And a special thanks to Sisi and Tom for putting together such an engaging program.

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Hacks/Hackers Rosario launches; highlights openness and collaboration in news and civic media

Hacks/Hackers Rosario (HHROS) is already a reality. On Thursday, April 25, the second Argentine chapter of Hacks/Hackers (HH) had its first meetup in ClubdeFun Bar, with more than 60 attendees.

Programmers, journalists, designers, entrepreneurs, technologists and IT professionals gathered at the venue to attend the talks offered by Ezequiel Clerici (Journalist and co-organizer of Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires and HHROS), Pablo Cuadrado (Mozilla Argentina ), Dart Ceballos (Bachelor of Social Communication, digital reporter and co-organizer of HHROS) and Mariano Blejman (Knight International Journalism Fellow at International Center For Journalists and co-founder of Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires).

The opening talk, by Ezequiel Clerici, focused on the objectives of HH as global organization, noting that is an ideal space for networking where professionals of multiple areas can approach and assist in the development of the future of media, as well as technology projects related to civic information at large.

HHROS discussed the new space occupied by programmers, journalists and designers in media at outlets like ProPublica (USA), The New York Times (USA) and The Guardian (UK).

In particular, we discussed the policy of openness developed by The Guardian interactive news team, and the public-facing production processes of its Datablog. Attendees were encouraged to replicate this example in the local media.

Next, the journalists and co-organizers of Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires (HHBA) and HHROS showed two examples where journalism, programming and design intersect in order to tell a story.

The first was the multimedia journalistic investigation: 68 Blocks: Life, Death, Hope conducted by the Boston Globe on violence in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood. The second focused on one case about data journalism by The Guardian (Afghanistan: The war logs) realized in 2010 and produced based on a series of Excel spreadsheets obtained through WikiLeaks.

Pablo Cúbico’s talk highlighted the potential of collaboration between programmers and journalists, from the point of view of a programmer. “Even though we live in a time when the programmer is a fundamental part of any industry and the software rules any minimum instrument  with which we interact during our lives (like software that counts the coins we put in the public transport), programmers are rarely seen as agents of change, because the need for more software development comes from the corporate world,” Pablo said. Yet the man from the Mozilla community in Argentina believes that the culture of the programmer (and hacker) has a strong inclination toward cooperation, knowledge sharing, and the production of the public good as reflected in the open source software movement, since many are involved in projects or communities about open source culture, but with a very varied involvement level.

From Pablo’s perspective, Hacks/Hackers represents a participation space that is a great opportunity for programmers encounter the discipline of journalism, which is opening its production processes and looking for ways to create non-linear storytelling, with a production process that’s less like a tree and more like network.

The idea, in his own words, is that the product that born from this amalgam is developed in a collaboratively way, open and outward. Mental models of journalists, programmers, designers, and other stakeholders are quite complementary. The transformation of the stories and the data in interactive material (views, transmedia or whatever), lets the reader put the data in perspective and sometimes visualize it in a way that can produce an epiphany. At first glance, the conclusion is immediate, as seen during Pablo’s presentation of Pablo of a voting in block visualization, created by Andy Tow.

Pablo explained that collaborative teams are not only important when working in newsrooms today, but should also represent a new way of thinking the work in areas outside the media.

Meanwhile Dardo Ceballos, conducted a brief review of the state of the art in multimedia journalism and the data journalism in the region. Disciplines almost absent in the local mainstream media and smaller emerging media projects, or institutional, but still remain tied to closed technologies like Flash, or trying to apply Web 2.0 tools without much implication of programmers.

Dardo noted that until now the programmers have been basically dedicated to implementing publishing platforms and that journalists then use to publish. This division between developer and user demonstrates a lack of actual cooperative work towards enhancing products.

From Dardo’s perspective, HHROS would be local opportunity to create that cooperation — the place that brings people together to make working teams of programming, design and journalism, and other specific areas such as application development, interactive video, and other areas of technological innovation and journalism that can truly reboot journalism in Rosario.

Mariano Blejman, journalist and Knight International Journalism Fellow, was the last in lecture and the duration of his presentation addressed issues related to how Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires was formed and what projects have been developing since the founding of the HHBA in 2011. In this segment of his speech he spoke about the work experiences around the platforms: Elecciones 2011 (Elections 2011) and Mapa76. He also explained how they worked on georeferencing of tweets about the #8N protests and what the HackDash can do to help for monitor progress and completion of many projects.

Then he reviewed the Media Party 2012 and said it will be repeated again, from August 30 to September 1, 2013 at the Ciudad Cultural Konex (CABA) in Buenos Aires.

To close, Mariano talked about the most recent HHBA hackathon. At that event, attendees worked with D3.js, the data visualization library widely used today by many, including the interactive news team of The New York Times. Mariano showed some of the results through the project “La trama financiera de la dictadura” (The financial scheme of the dictatorship in Argentina).

The HHROS meeting ended with the presentation of the group’s first collaborative project and a call for participation: “Evolución del crimen sicario en la ciudad de Rosario” (Evolution of sicario murders in the city of Rosario), presented by the local organizers.

The next HHROS meetup will take place in late May in the form of a workday. We welcome all new and existing Hacks/Hackers Rosario members (currently at 70 and counting)  to come and propose more projects, meet contributors, discuss ideas and identify possible tools to make them happen.

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Hacks/Hackers Austin: Tableau Public

On April 1, Hacks/Hackers ATX (in conjunction with ONA Austin) hosted Ben Jones and Jewell Loree of Tableau Public. The pair went through the comprehensive offering that Tableau provides for data visualization.

The meeting opened with a presentation from Harsh Patel of MakerSquare, a new organization providing Web development training in the Austin area.

Many thanks to Christian McDonald for arranging this event with refreshments sponsored by Tableau Public. And we are always grateful for the usage of space at The Austin American-Statesman.

 

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Cómo se hizo el hackatón sobre D3.js en Buenos Aires

Temas de lo más variados aparecieron en escena: la represión sobre el sector financiero durante la última dictadura militar, visualizaciones sobre destinos turísticos, análisis visual de las votaciones nominales, líneas de tiempo comparativas sobre funcionarios y un instructivo sobre resultados deportivos, fueron algunas de las implementaciones que se desarrollaron en el Hackatón D3.js, organizado por Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires, con la presencia de Manuel Aristarán, Knight Fellow en La Nación y Knight Mozilla Open News, International Center For Journalists, NXTP Labs, Eter, Vurbia, Fundación Desarrollar, AreaTres entre otros. En los próximos días se anunciará una microgrant de mil dólares para terminar uno de los proyectos.

Cerca de 70 personas pasaron durante diez horas el sábado por el hackatón de D3.js en Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires y el encuentro sirvió también para estrenar una nueva versión del HackDash, una plataforma para trackear ideas en los hackatones. La plataforma de ideas puede verse funcionando aquí.

Las mejores visualizaciones de datos de The New York Times han sido realizadas en D3.js (data driven documents), una librería de JavaScript creada por Mike Bostock que está cambiando la forma en que se narran historias interactivas, y que tiene cada vez más interés en el mundo de los medios. Este hackatón tenía varios objetivos, uno de ellos es acercar el uso de D3.js a comunicadores y desarrolladores, resolver problemas de visualización de datos preexistentes, detectar e incentivar el uso de la librería y terminar la jornada con media decena de aplicaciones para que rápidamente lleguen a los medios. En los próximos días, se anunciará una microgrant de 5000 pesos para mejorar, terminar y documentar una de las aplicaciones.

Proyectos realizados

1. La trama financiera de la dictadura

La Comisión Nacional de Valores elaboró un informe que revela como el Terrorismo de Estado también impactó en la configuración de la City financiera. La CNV nos facilita un dataset con los secuestros y relaciones entre los grupos de tareas, empresarios, operadores de bolsa y financistas durante la dictadura militar. ¿Cómo lo hicimos? El equipo de investigación de la CNV construyó un dataset que identifica a todos los empresarios y agentes de bolsa que fueron secuestrados por los grupos de tareas para quitarles empresas y bienes. Con el equipo de HHBA entendimos que la mejor forma de visualizar esta información era graficar el esfuerzo represivo de la dictadura para apropiarse de empresas y, para ello, nos valimos del Diagrama Sankey que permite mostrar el flujo que va de un punto a otro. Así, nuestro punto de partida era la estructura represiva (fuerza interviniente) que utilizó un recurso determinado (represores) para secuestrar gerentes de empresas y agentes de bolsa (empresarios) que eran titulares de compañías que operaban en la city porteña (empresas).
Tras las primeras pruebas, vimos que el diagrama solo funciona si se le asigna un valor al flujo, representado por el tamaño de la conexión con el nodo siguiente. Tuvimos que reconstruir la tabla de datos de la CNV porque este tipo de diagrama (del que no encontramos un generador que nos facilite la tarea) está pensado para representar flujos a partir de un valor. O sea, tuvimos que repetir las conexiones “n” veces para que el digrama identifique las cantidad de relaciones, es decir, construimos el flujo como dato. Por ejemplo, algunos secuestradores actuaban en grupo, o también, en los listados había empresarios que eran dueños de más de una empresa.
Normalizada la información, descubrimos que la tabla no puede tener campos vacíos porque generan referencias circulares (se apuntan a sí mismos) que inutilizan el diagrama. Una vez “curada” la tabla, todo fue diferente y pudimos visualizar esta primera demo que permite ver la envergadura de la represión dirigida específicamente a los grupos financieros. Entre las mejoras que nos proponemos realizar al diagrama, están la posibilidad de aislar una conexión (haciendo un zoom o resaltarla para diferenciarla del resto) y mejorar el tooltip que informa el detalle de la conexión.

Prototipo  Dataset
Team: Sergio Sorín, Ramiro Calero, Agustín Schelstraete, Diego Bechi, Luciana, Silvina Frederic.

2. Votaciones nominales

La aplicación muestra las votaciones nominales de cada diputado en la legislatura 2008-2009
Prototipo
Team: Andy Tow, Gonzalo Bellver, Martín Szyszlican, Luciano Amor, Yamila García, Olivia Sohr, Sonia Jalfin, Mariela Duarte, Amel Rame, Thalis Kalfigkopoulos, Teresa Alberto, Agustín Tealdo y otros héroes anónimos.

3. Línea de tiempo de funcionarios argentinos

La idea fue visualizar en una linea de tiempo interactiva, la mayor cantidad de funcionarios públicos posibles desde los 70′s en adelante (para empezar) Esto permitiría, en principio, ver la carrera política de cada político, que cargos tuvo, en que gobiernos y bajo que otros funcionarios. Luego podrá agregarse datos de las elecciones, de patrimonio, etc. El punto de partida para la Linea de Tiempo de Funcionarios Argentinos, era un boceto hecho previo a las primarias de 2011. La base de datos, tambien de esa epoca, contenia unos 500 registros, todos ingresados de forma manual con información recolectada de la red, conteniendo principalmente el nombre, el cargo, y las fechas de inicio y fin del mismo.

Tomando el boceto inicial como objetivo a llegar, primero se buscaron ejemplos preexistentes de D3.js similares en forma y funcionamiento. Se selecciono una librería, que parecía la adecuada, pero luego de varias horas se decidió descartarla por otra que estaba más cerca. No obstante ese proceso sirvió para empezar a conocer el funcionamiento de D3. En paralelo, otros integrantes del grupo trabajaron en agrandar la base de datos, agregarle datos, rectificar algunos, y pensar futuros ajustes a la base y a la forma de adiquicision de datos.  La hackaton de d3, y el entusiasta equipo de Cargografias, logro resucitar un proyecto que dormia en un jpg, con la esperanza de que sea util para el votante de las proximas elecciones

Team: Andres Snitcofsky, Pablo H. Paladino”, alejandro baranek, Guillermo Movia, John Diddle, Pablo Javier Etcheverry

4. Resultados Deportivos
Una suma de visualizaciones de resultados deportivos utilizando d3js y un tutorial explicando cómo se hizo. (Próximamente on line)

5. Turismo
Cruzar datos de turismo con destinos turísticos: de alguna manera buscar unir con google analytics y blogs para visualizar tendencias web de turismo con tendencias de viajes. (Próximamente on line)

El encuentro fue auspiciado por Knight Mozilla Open News, International Center For Journalists, NXTP Labs, Eter, Vurbia, Fundación Desarrollar y AreaTres.

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Hacks/Hackers NYC: Download Investigative Journalism Icons for Free

Hacks/Hackers NYC Noun Project investigative journalism iconathon drone
SuperPACs. Drones. Gerrymandering. Dark Money. How do you quickly illustrate these concepts in a way that is meaningful and impactful to an audience of different education levels and cultural backgrounds? That was the challenge set out before a group of 60 volunteers at the February Hacks/Hackers NYC Investigative Journalism Iconathon led by The Noun Project in partnership with ProPublica.

Hacks/Hackers NYC Noun Project iconathon
Journalists, editors, graphic designers, web developers and engaged citizens brainstormed and sketched ideas for icons frequently needed throughout news editorials and applications. The goal of creating these symbols is to help guide readers through the in-depth stories investigative journalists help uncover, to provide a graphical shorthand that helps navigate readers through complicated concepts, as well as to help illustrate infographics that help people better understand important facts and correlations.

The final set of 22 investigative journalism symbols are now included in the Iconathon suite and available for anyone to use as public domain.


Thanks to Knight-Mozilla OpenNews and The New York Times for supporting the event.

(Cross-posted at The Noun Project blog)

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Hacks/Hackers Miami: MySQL bootcamp

Hacks/Hackers Miami MySQL bootcamp

Hacks/Hackers Miami officially launched Saturday, April 13, when Stephanie Rosenblatt, a full-stack developer with a long-standing love of journalism, led about 25 members through a 3-hour MySQL bootcamp at the University of Miami School of Communication.

The group gained hands-on experience creating tables, importing and formatting data, and performing simple queries via phpMyAdmin. Participants got a working understanding of basic syntax and data structure and saw many examples of how MySQL powers web apps, news and data projects.

Participants came from as far as Naples, Fla., for the meetup, and many said they were excited about the potential to learn more. South Florida Sun Sentinel reporter Ben Wolford offered this feedback: “That was just what I was hoping for. I learned enough to know how much I don’t know about MySQL. In other words, I have the concept and the basic tools and now I can teach myself.”

Steph Rosenblatt breaks down query syntax at Hacks/Hackers Miami MySQL bootcamp.
Rosenblatt, who formerly worked at the Miami Herald developing online applications for the paper’s investigative team, said Miami is primed for tech and journalism collaboration. “Journalists have great problems for developers to solve, and once you do journalism, it never leaves you,” she said.

Rosenblatt also contributed to the University of Florida’s Journalism Now Podcast and has taught courses at Florida Society of News Editors, WordCamp and BarCamp conferences. She is currently a technical producer and senior developer for an ad technology startup in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Hacks/Hackers Miami is working to build ties among local tech and journalism communities in a variety of ways, including through educational events like MySQL bootcamp, said chapter organizer Dan Grech, radio news director of WLRN-Miami Herald News. In the next few months, the chapter will host several demo and show-and-tell events and will participate in Miami’s National Day of Civic Hacking.

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Follow the Money: How to fund serious journalism online

The latest Hacks/Hackers event brought together the creator of Pocket and Matter, and a former Wired.com head editor to talk about ways to make money from serious journalism


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Hacks/Hackers New Delhi: How to Visualize Big Data?

Hacks/Hackers New Delhi gathers for their first hackathon.
How to curate and present big data sets in India? A group of about 70 coders and journalists met for the first Hacks/Hackers New Delhi hackathon in order to answer that question.

Attendees introduced themselves to the group and then pitched an idea for a data-driven story. Initial ideas included stories in environment, sports, health and crime. The group then broke into smaller groups of six to eight people, working to scrape and parse their data before coding their interactive data visualizations.


After four hours, the groups met again to present their demos. The ideas presented included:

Mapping the Maha Kumbh Mela which mapped information about the location of public services at the Maha Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious festivals in the world, currently happening in Allahabad, India.

Crimes against women, an interactive map of rape charges by state. The team added additional layers to show how often rape resulted in a police complaint, and how many of these complaints actually led to convictions.

Health investment and doctor availability, which graphed the availability of doctors by state, as well as investment made in each state by international health funding agencies.

Literacy and social ills, which graphed literacy rates per states against the occurrence of other social ills like crime and infant mortality, to see if literacy correlated with lower incidences of social problems.

Infant mortality, a heat map of infant mortality across states that attempts to visualize where the problem was most concentrated across India.

Many groups faced challenges gathering the data they needed, either because such granular data do not exist for India or because the information isn’t in the public domain. To read more about one group’s experience and see clips from their visualization, read journalist Pierre Fitter’s blog post.

The event was co-organized by Hacks/Hackers New Delhi and the 9.9 School of Convergence, a media academy, and partly sponsored by the School of Convergence and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.

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Hacks/Hackers Austin: Innovation in Media

Tim Lott, vice president of disruptive innovation of Cox Media Group, met with Hacks/Hackers Austin in a joint meetup with Online News Association on Jan. 28 at the Statesman to discuss the activities of his team. They are working on TwelveApp, but are also pioneering in new ways to approach innovation. During the talk, Tim discussed the lean startup process, working to develop a minimum viable product (MVP), that can be implemented and tested quickly. This process relies on iterative development and quick prototyping. Tim was joined by other members of his team, Zach McGhee and Rocky Medure.

There were several questions. Rob Quigley of The University of Texas asked what students should be doing to stay on top of innovation. Tim said students should “read a lot and practice creative confidence.” He went on to explain that a focus on making things that allow people to communicate and solve problems will be critical.

Another question had to do with risk around the sharing of ideas, with concerns that an idea could be “stolen.” Medure said, “There is enormous value in sharing ideas. It synthesizes new ideas.” It is unlikely that someone has the passion, commitment and resources to execute your idea, but your likelihood of success is much greater if you talk to more people.

Refreshments were sponsored by the Austin American-Statesman. Stay tuned for details on a February Hackathon. We appreciate the time that Tim, Zach and Rocky spent with us!



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