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The Kirby Seminars

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Simon Spooner, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Simon:

    I have always thought it would be nice to have a meeting with a relatively small group of people very interested in biomechanics to discuss various theoretical concepts, treatment ideas and research ideas here in Northern California. In addition, I have also dreamed of trying to take a relatively small group and do an intense 2-3 day seminar on foot and lower extremity biomechanics with the goal of trying to increase their level of understanding of biomechanics so that they could become better teachers of biomechanics.

    Certainly I am not getting any younger (will be 55 in a few months) and would hate to have the knowledge that I have gained by being taught by Mert Root, John Weed, Ron Valmassy, Rich Blake, and many others, in addition to my own personal observations/thought processes, be lost and not shared. Others will need to carry the baton when I am no longer around, just as I feel I am carrying the baton for Drs. Root and Weed in many ways after their passing.

    This was the main reason for publishing the three newsletter books I have written: Paul and Jennifer Rasmussen of Precision Intricast and I wanted to start sharing this knowledge with a larger audience so that many more around the world could benefit from this increased level of understanding of foot and lower extremity biomechanics and foot orthosis therapy. It would be nice to find a method by which this knowledge could be shared with others that would not be too expensive or time consuming.

    I will let you all discuss this if you are serious about it and then we can talk about the feasibility of such a course/seminar on a private basis if you wish.
  2. Kevin, thank you for this response. As I was never lucky enough to attend any of the root seminars, could you tells us the format that these took?
  3. I think these seminars could be useful in bringing the next generation of biomechanics teachers on. The "new blood". One of the things Ray Anthony said to me during the workshops at ACFAOM was: "who are the new kids on the block? Now that you are a part of the establishment Spoonz and one of the old hands, who have we got coming through?" -You're traditional and I'm now an "old hand"- how did that happen?

    Ray noted that he liked Robert Isaacs columns in Podiatry Now and I told him how I'd helped Rob to get an international gig but I felt he needs to get published in an international journal. I told Ray that I thought that in the UK we'd got some good talent in Rob, but also a chap called Ian Griffiths seems to have good potential in research, but that he needs to start speaking on the circuit and keep the research moving on.

    I could have added to the UK list: Athol Thomson, Dave Smith and Phil Wells at least.

    Obviously we should look worldwide for the future teachers of podiatric biomechanics too. I like the Qatar boys- Craig and Luke. Javier Pascual in Spain. Ken in Belgium. Miguel Olivera in Portugal, we got Weber in Sweden etc.

    Craig , Karl and Hylton are obviously the "establishment" down under, but who are the new kids down there?

    I like your idea of bringing "teachers" on Kevin, perhaps this is the way forward?

    What do others think?

    All, if you were planning the Kirby seminars what would you have as the mission statement and who would you invite?
  4. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    Excellent idea Dr Spooner.
    Have noted your list, they're all 'must read' posters now.
    No females? Last time I mentioned this Prof Kirby put me in my place, rightfully so.
    I've always enjoyed "Asher"'s contributions and enthusiasm.
  5. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Around 1991 an orthotic laboratory paid for a meeting of the biomechanics faculty of the U.S. colleges. Part of the impetus was to standardize what was taught and address insurance payment issues for orthoses. It was an interesting meeting, but I was somewhat frustrated by the goals.

    The Weed seminars were much more interesting. There was no real agenda except for discussing biomechanics. There was usually a 20-30 minute presentation followed by nearly equal time for discussion in small groups. Then there was brief presentation of what the small group consensus was with time for individual discussion. There were some fun heated debates.

  6. As the younger generation of new Podiatrists entering the industry I can say that biomechanics is an under-emphasized area of speciality within Podiatric Medicine and our residency training.

    I actually went into Podiatry to focus on Biomechanics but due to the changes in curriculum and residency training towards surgery I've sadly had to teach myself most of what I know in biomechanics.

    My passion to specialize in biomechanics and sports performance pushed me to pursue a Master's in Human Movement but I still seek for more knowledge within lower extremity biomechanics.

    I met Dr Spooner this past weekend at ACFAOM where I presented a small pilot study I did on trigger points and ankle mobility. I also attended a biomechanical workshop by Drs Kirby and Spooner. Hearing these influential Drs speak only re-emphasized my passion for biomechanics.

    I feel like my hands are tied preventing me from establishing the type of practice i envision and from pursuing research studies I'd like to explore.

    I applaud the idea of starting a series of Kirby Seminars to share the knowledge of past and current biomechanists and encourage the younger Podiatrists to step forward and explore this area of specialty.

    I'd love to see the Kirby Seminars be a reality - and of course would love to attend!
  7. Emily,

    I am so pleased to see that you took the step to write on the Arena :welcome: I'm sure you'll find this website to be a fantastic place to both learn and teach podiatric biomechanics. Why don't you really introduce yourself to the Arena by starting a new thread on your research project and post up the abstract for your current research which you presented so eloquently on Sunday morning? I'm sure everyone will be polite in their responses and take it easy on you as a newbie. Moreover, you'll gain some excellent feedback which will be beneficial in your future research endeavours.

    Once again :welcome: and keep eating now that you are a reformed gymnast ;)

    My very best wishes,

  8. Emily:

    Welcome to Podiatry Arena.

    If I was going to organize such a seminar, it would be for individuals like you who have a thirst for increased knowledge regarding the biomechanics of the foot and lower extremity and the effective surgical and conservative treatment of mechanically-based pathologies of the foot and lower extremity. I was just like you over a quarter century ago, a young podiatrist with a burning desire to learn more about these subjects. As far as I'm concerned, individuals like yourself are the future of our profession.:drinks
  9. I have received a total of one private e-mail from someone who expressed an interest in a biomechanics seminar such as Simon suggested. Therefore, in addition to the few others who have expressed an interest in such a seminar publically on this thread, I would not consider this an overwhelming response for such a seminar. If others are interested in such a seminar, please contact me privately at the following e-mail:
  10. Athol Thomson

    Athol Thomson Active Member

    Kevin, Simon and all,

    Just wanted to reiterate my interest in the Kirby Sessions becoming a reality. Please please push on with this as it would be massively beneficial to the collective professional kudos of podiatry if the 'across the board' lower limb biomechanics knowledge is improved.

    I would be happy to travel to where the sessions take place. A podcast style series might be the way to get it to the masses though.

    In fact with a 2-year old and 4-week old in the house I'm ready to travel right now...lets do this thing.......
  11. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I recall some of the old guys (Root, Scarlato, Sherer) talking about having multiple seminars across the U.S. to spread the word about neutral position. As I heard it, it almost sounded like a traveling road show. However, for all I know, it may have just been parts of already scheduled seminars.

    It seems the best way to pass on knowledge is to write and hope others read.

  12. The first Root Lab Seminars that I attended were held with Mert Root, John Weed and possibly a few others lecturing over a one to two day seminar. I went to these early on during my first year surgery residency and biomechanics fellowship years and during my first few years of practice (c. 1984-89?). These were lectures with possibly a few demonstrations.

    One of these meetings was a four day conference with about 30 podiatrists where we were supposed to help Mert edit his new book. That never got off the ground since we couldn't even make it past the first chapter we reviewed. I believe that I didn't help things a bit since I tended to disagree with some of the things Mert was saying. Ever seen a man look like he was going to blow steam out of his ears?....that was my effect on Mert Root on many occasions.:eek:

    Then when John Weed passed away, the Weed Memorial Seminars were created which involved more speakers and tended to have more small group discussions. For example, we may have had 50 in the audience and then after the lectures, we would split up into 10 groups of 5 to discuss questions and concepts among the groups of 5 so we could try to come up with a consensus opinion as a whole for the answer to the question.

    Here is what I lectured on at the first two Weed seminars:

    April 8-10, 1994: John H. Weed Memorial Seminar, Lake Tahoe
    -Biomechanics of the Subtalar Joint Axis

    March 17-19, 1995: Second Annual John H. Weed Memorial Seminar, Palm Springs, California
    -Rotational Equilibrium Across the Subtalar Joint Axis

    Then, in 1998 the PFOLA seminar series started in South San Francisco which, also, spelled the end to the Weed seminars. I lectured at the first 11 PFOLA seminars, ending in 2008. The 12th year of the PFOLA seminar, which I didn't lecture at, was held was in 2009. It has not been held since.

    Each biomechanics seminar series had its own pros and cons. But in each one I came away with greater knowledge. I can't imagine getting the same experience watching a live or recorded video.
  13. davsur08

    davsur08 Active Member

    Dr. Kirby,
    it would be a wonderful idea and an unique opportunity to be present for the seminar. i personally have benefited hugely from your news letters and from your web page. yet i have not even scratched the surface. it would be a very valuable opportunity to learn from Drs. Spooner and Kirby at the seminar.

    so much for my enthusiasm, would you be conducting these in ause? if not is there a way i can access the topics discussed.

    very much appreciate

    and thank you for the newsletters and for the valuable web site.
  14. Hi Kevin and Simon,

    As I hope you would expect I would love to be involved as a listener/Question side or even be dropped in the deep end with a presentation - so I can be shown/told that some of my thinking is wrong - best way to learn - selfish of me I guess

    Anyways - The reality of life for me at the moment would mean that a trip to the states with accommodation etc etc would unless I win Lotto would not be possible, I sure that being there in person would be a greater experience plus I would owe most of the presenters who are PA regulars a beer or 3 to say thanks.

    So I have done some research into maybe how we could do this type of thing and for those that are unable to make could be involved or even maybe the future of thia type of event.

    ie Eric in NY, Kevin in Cali, Simon in Plymouth, Athol in Ireland Ian at a Golf Course, etc etc etc

    I have come across Vokle where the presenters are able to be viewed - Question can be asked and answer via panel discussion.

    If Kevin and Simon you think tHis is an idea I can Research the ins and out ie an a powerpoint presentation be seen and get back to you.

    The program is then recorded and can be viewed again at a later time by anyone.
  15. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Cough www.portaleducation.com Cough can do all that and more far easier than anything else. Mike im disappointed you didn't suggest PORTAL first!!!!

    I'm sure they would be happy to assist getting an interactive lecture worldwide up and running from Kevin.

  16. Sorry Paul - funny how things in front of your face are the hardest to see. :drinks
  17. Y'all are missing the point. While video is useful, it's not the same as being together in a room.

    Nor me.
  18. I have received about six more people expressing interest in such a seminar via e-mail over the past 24 hours. It would be nice to know what type of format would best suit everyone.

  19. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    Why the need to email you privately? It seems obvious that this format is desired by the majority of posters here.
    It has been of interest to me from when I first heard of the weed seminars at least 10 years ago. It would be enjoyable to get people together to do this, wherever and whenever it can be scheduled.
    I would think that other than the costs of travel and hotel, a split in expenses for a lecture hall or meeting room, that this could be done relatively inexpensively.
    It would be nice to have the exact format layed out for everyone and an agreement on what issues would be specifically covered and how the presentations would be discussed in the smaller breakout groups.
    I'm sure you could get sponsors for the event, or do it completely free of all sponsors. I would be happy to help in whatever capacity I can. This is something that is long overdue.
  20. Bruce:

    I provided my private e-mail address for those who felt more comfortable about discussing the seminar on a private basis. I am more than happy to have you, or anyone else, take over organizing a seminar of this nature since my plate is very full without adding yet another thing to do to my schedule. I just don't know what people actually want in regards to the type of seminar, who would be lecturing, where it would be held, when it would be held, how many days, etc?

    Thanks for your assistance with this.
  21. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    I agree with you that we need to know what people want. I think your description of the Weed Seminars is what I have heard from Howard, Jeff Root and Norman Murphy.
    I would be happy to serve on a committee with you on this to help organize and pull it off.

    Questions to the massess:
    1: What is the most central and affordable location to hold such a seminar?

    2: Would people prefer to have this seminar without sponsorship, or does it matter at all if the fees are decreased via sponsoship from interested companies?

    3: Who would we like to hear speak at the conference and on what topics?

    4: Who would like to volunteer to work on committees and what committees should we have for the conference?

    5: How many days for the conference? This will ultimately determine how many speakers and how many topics we can and will be able to cover.

    6: Please feel free to suggest other questions that should be raised and answered that I did not cover adequately or at all here!

    Bruce Williams
  22. Here's what I had in mind: a small meeting of invited guests coming together to discuss a specific topic(s) with a transcript / report of the meeting/ faculty conclusions / recommendations being published somewhere after the event (JAPMA, JFAR etc). It should not be for profit; it should not become bloated and over-whelmed by commercialism and advertising, yet sponsorship should not be ruled out in order to keep individual costs down. It should be seen as an honour to be invited to attend (you can't just pay to speak nor pay to attend- you're invited because you show potential or have a demonstrable track record- there should be a balance of both). It should be elitist, it should be fun. It should be inter-continental. It shouldn't be about didactic lectures, it should be about discussion between the cohort; sharing ideas not just talking at people.

    I think to proceed we should first need to define a very clear mission statement with aims and objectives. Is this about the advancement of podiatric biomechanics; the advancement of individuals (bringing on those with potential- getting them speaking, getting them researching, getting them publishing); all of the above? None of the above?

    I could be living in the past and miles off target, but that is what I had in mind when I proposed this.

    Alternatively, or as part of, we could go down the mega-lab route- bring the people together, use the attendees as subjects in a research project, collect the data, analyse it and discuss it over the course of a couple of days. I'm very aware that I was hoping to do this during this year and the years nearly up. For one reason or another it hasn't happened this year and won't but it's still on the to do list. I was talking with Stephen Albert about this, he liked the idea and was going to put it forward for inclusion in the the next ACFAOM conference. I think this could be excellent. Simple research which should have been done, but hasn't; great minds looking at the problem, looking at the results and discussing the findings. Kirby seminars- pushing the frontiers; going boldly where no-one has gone before (we need more dilithium crystals Captain Kirby).
  23. DaveJames

    DaveJames Active Member

    Hi All,

    Can i just say that this sounds fantastic.

    I'm still relatively new to podiatry; however, over the last 18 months I've had the pleasure of being exposed to some real thought provoking and practice-changing biomechanical teaching (Bootcamp, Summer School, Podiatry Arena). Lightbulbs have come on; pieces have moved into place and things, to some degree, have become clearer.

    What all of this has done is given me a real thirst for biomechanics, making me realise how little I know and how much I want to learn. I have questions, even if I don't quite know how to ask them (yet). This kind of event/seminar/gathering is really exciting and I believe whole heartedly that it can only be of benefit to all.

    Am I interested? Hell yes!

    Kind regards,

  24. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    I like everything you suggested above. The question is, who makes the invites for those who are the elites? ;-) I don't mind the idea of having it before or after the ACFAOM meeting, or another meeting as well. I very much like your list of suggested invitees from your previous post too. I think a smaller more manageable group of folks from primary areas like Europe / UK, the US / Canada and NZ / AUS is a great place to start. It would then be good to see these primary people spread the word to their respective countries / areas. I think that Rich Dubin and Jordana Bieze Foster from LER would be a great people to work on this as well and might be seen as somewhat neutral for making a list of invitees. LER could transcript and publish findings as well if we chose not to go the peer review route or as a beginning and then take things farther.

    just a suggestion. I like the idea of not getting to pay your way to speak or payed to speak as well as an option.

    Doing this once a year or every 2 years might be a good way to go and then meet with the masses every other year for presentation of those findings. maybe even 2 meetings q 6 months, one for the core group and one for the masses? thinking out loud but I'm very glad you started this thread.
  25. There is a reason it is called the Kirby seminars... Why should two people who work for LER who, frankly I've never heard of, make the invites? I'd rather it wasn't tagged onto another meeting. I'd rather Kevin ultimately decide who should be invited. I'm sure people could be proposed, but ultimately they need to be selected for the team by someone who actually knows something about podiatric biomechanics.
  26. Simon and Bruce:

    I appreciate both of your suggestions and input. However, one of the reasons that I was speaking to people privately on e-mail about this seminar is I didn't want to have a public fight over how to organize it and how it is best done. I would be happy to offer suggestions on lecturers, but would want to consult with others on who would be chosen to speak and present so I don't make enemies of the people I don't invite. In addition, I would expect to be giving lectures myself, if I was going to be involved in this seminar. You will never please everyone when planning meetings, I know that for a fact.

    If something can't be agreed upon without a lot of hassle and arguments, then I will simply possibly rent a small hotel meeting room here in Sacramento or Lake Tahoe (2 hour drive from Sacramento) and do two to three days of lectures and workshops with myself only lecturing to the first 30 people who want to spend 3 days with me learning more about biomechanics and orthotics, with no profit on my part. Sometimes simpler is more fun for me.:drinks
  27. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member


    Other than the fact that you proposed the name, why should the semimar be named the Kirby seminars? Why not the Payne or the Dananberg or someone else's name for the seminar?

    The problem you run into, Simon, is being fair and balanced with who gets invited. It is bad enough that some highly critized individuals who like to post to the arena might not be invited, let alone others who might not get along with Kevin or you at times.

    This could easily break down to the Kirby medial STJ position seminar and then you have no true representation from those who may think differently in the paradigm's of how the foot functions.

    I like what you have proposed, but I hate to see it break apart those few who are passionate about lower extremity biomechanics rather than bring them together.


  28. No offence Kevin, but when I proposed this it wasn't to have just you lecturing to people, it was more about the sharing of ideas and inviting the views of several bright sparks. Never mind. If it becomes a hassle over the naming, it'll certainly become a hassle over the invites and the content. I'd go ahead and invite who you want and lecture to them.

    P.S. Bruce, it's called the Kirby seminar because it was my idea and I wanted to name it the Kirby seminar, end of story. Bruce, life isn't fair. When I hold a party I invite the people I want to share the experience with me. I don't invite my enemies nor drag people in off of the street. That's life. If Ed wants to start a Glazer seminar and invite who he wants to it, I won't hold my breath expecting to be on the guest list. Nor will I lose any sleep over it when I'm not. Ditto for Howard. Craig already does the biomechanics bootcamp, which is basically two days of the world according to Craig. I've attended this via the "guest list" and thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, if this idea became the world according to Kevin, you could probably count me out too.

    Kevin gave a clue in one of his earlier posts. He attended a Root seminar and they didn't get past page one because the individual personalities were too antagonistic to make it constructive. This should be a pointless exercise and a waste of everyones time. It's a case of striking the right balance. I really think it should have as little to do with lectures as possible though. Rather, it should be all about the people and what they bring to the party. If everyone is a clone of Kevin it won't work. If one man stands and lectures for two days it'll just be another one mans stand up show. Two or more big ego's that are too antagonistic will ruin it for everyone else. You got to use some common sense and invite a good balance of people. Much to be said for bringing on new talent as generally they don't have the ego problem.

    Anyway, I'll step right back now and see how this develops. If it goes ahead and I'm invited and interested and can afford it I'll attend, if not I won't. It's not about me; if it were I'd have proposed the Spooner seminars, and hold it in a pub in Plymouth. If people take my idea and run with it for their own ends, that's cool too.
  29. Kelsey

    Kelsey Member

    It has been a while since I have posted on this site, but I would like to lend my support to the Kirby Seminar. I also had the opportunity to attend the ACFAOM meeting and attended the biomechanics workshop. In fact, it was the primary reason I went to the meeting!
    Like some of the previous practitioners, I am frustrated by the lack of biomechanics in podiatry schools and I learned most of my knowledge through reading journals and Dr. Kirby's books, along with trial and error. I currently run a nonsurgical sportsmedicine/biomechanics clinic presently and have better conversations about biomechanics locally with physical therapists and massage therapists!
    I don't have any research behind my name, but I am willing to learn as much as I can to be 1/10th as knowledgeable as some of these people on this board.

    L. Kelsey Armstrong, D.P.M., CSCS

  30. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    I remember when we corresponded before. I'm sorry we did not get properly introduced in Orlando. Thanks for attending, it was a pleasure to work with Drs. Kirby and Spooner. I learned quite a bit from watching them both lecture and provide workshops.
    Bruce Williams
  31. Simon and Bruce:

    No worries. I kind of like Craig's Boot Camp idea since it is simple to organize and people can get a lot out of it with a minimum of hassle. This "one person lecture for a day or two on biomechanics" is something I have long thought of doing close to home for me, but have never had the time to do it since my practice, writing schedule and lecturing schedule are so busy. I have done numerous one day seminars before in Arizona at Precision Intricast Orthotic Lab and in Sydney, Australia. These are very different seminars, but not for everybody. In addition, these seminars are very tiring since I would need to talk for 6 hours in the day. As I age, this is less interesting for me.

    A better seminar would be one where about 5-6 people lectured over a two to three day period with the mornings being PowerPoint presentations and the afternoons being small group workshops and/or discussions. Then at night, we would be free to do as we please. This was the format of the Weed Seminars and was lots of fun and was where I first met Drs. Irene McClay (Davis) and Norman Murphy. The problem was that many people wanted to lecture but only a few could lecture due to time constraints. I was just happy to be there, lecture or not, and stir things up a bit with my comments on the lectures and small group discussions.

    And finally, I don't think I would call it the "Kirby Seminars". That is a little too much even for my own over-inflated ego. Maybe the "Kirby Memorial Seminar" would be a good name for a seminar in a few years, however, I don't think I could attend that one. :rolleyes:

    However, a "Tissue Stress and Advanced Podiatric Biomechanics Seminar" would likely generate considerable enthusiasm and would push forward the predominant treatment paradigm that most podiatrists will be using within the next 10 years.

    If all else fails with these seminar ideas, then I will just continue writing my monthly Precision Intricast Newsletters, lecturing , writing for Podiatry Today Magazine and Podiatry Arena, publishing an occasional paper and book chapter, reviewing papers for journals and continue running a busy podiatric practice here in Northern California. I'm sure my wife will be pleased if I don't volunteer to be even more busy than I already am.

    I enjoy teaching people that want to learn and enjoy learning from people who are good teachers. If anyone can make that happen for me with a minimum of hassle and expense, then I am all for it.:drinks
  32. Sounds like something that Ed Glaser or Dennis Shavelson would say about me.
  33. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Hi Simon - I agree to a point, but with PORTALs suite of interactive tools ranging from massive online lectures for tens of thousands of people - all the way down to platinum small online class events for up to 16 people who all interact with free speech and online sharing tools for drawing diagrams etc... I can see a no more cost effective tool.

    Take part live, interact, view it again at anytime - any location - anywhere in the world. Oh and the best part its secure and the lecturer gains revenue from sales.

    Of course feel free to fly Kevin to a venue and have everyone travel to him - its bloody brilliant to be there in person, but hardly practical in most instances. Even when it is practical - more people can attend online who couldn't be present at the in person event due to timing, cost, travel, family etc....

    I am sure PORTAL would love to be involved in some way, shape or form. Whatever that may be.
  34. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams Well-Known Member

    Of the "Williams Only talks about sagittal plane because of Dananberg seminars"?

    No insult intended...just making a point.

    Thank you again for asking me to participate this past weekend. I. Sorry I did not have more time to hang with you and Simon at the pool!
  35. Paul:

    Please contact me privately and let's see if we can make something happen.

  36. etc etc, and of course Paul, the one thing you failed to mention is that you make money from PORTAL. Like I said never mind; the more this has developed the further away it has become from what it was that I was proposing.
  37. johntee721

    johntee721 Member

    Hi, Newbie here.....kirby website?
  38. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member

    Dear all

    Brilliant idea that could really get the profession moving forward in a unified and coherent way.
    I feel that the most important aspect is to ensure that the lecture content is summarised and packaged to give everyone the ability to learn and also move forward.

    My personal favorite is the Khan Academy approach www.khanacademy.org which breaks things down into Youtube style packages of info.
    I think we now need a sponsor to help this happen.

  39. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I agree that a mission statement will be really important. Is this a meeting where research ideas will be generated. Is this a seminar to disemenate tissue stress biomechanics (or some other brand) to the teachers of biomechanics or to the masses. Different folks will want different types of meetings. Before you sign on saying that you want to attend, you should describe what you want the meeting to look like.

    How far I would travel to such a meeting would depend on what kind of meeting it was.


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