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Author: Subject: CPSC Won! FireFox case Lost!
quicksilver
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CPSC Won! FireFox case Lost!

Despite the best intentions of those in PGII and hundereds of contibuters FireFox lost the case with CPSC and therfore chemicals via that source are lost to pyro hobbiests and rocket hobbiests. If you need supplies NOW is the time to stock up even if it means using a credit card. The pyro hobby and rocket hobby is gone in the US and canada for all intents and purposes. Unfortunatly the Gov't has decieded against the Rocket hobbiests and the limitations of oxidizers are to ONE POUND a year and fuels to 100 mesh and no smaller. If you haven't stocked up; the chances are you won't get a chance after January..... If you don't have a few chems to experiment with you had better get them in the next week. You won't have a chance ever again most likely. CPSC has won their case that the chems make for too many M80's in the hands of kids, etc.

Here is a blurd from Skylighter:

THE FIREFOX CASE HAS BEEN LOST
On December 6th, 2006 Firefox lost the case brought
against it by the CPSC. What will follow is an
injunction against Firefox. In his ruling, the judge
directed both parties to negotiate a mutually
acceptable plan for enforcement of the regulations and
applicable law which CPSC has authority to enforce.
Both sides are currently engaged in those negotiations.

What that means is that CPSC and Firefox must reach an
agreement on which chemicals and supplies are to be
limited in sales to non-ATF license holders, and what
quantities will be allowed to each purchaser.

The judge set a deadline of January 15, 2007 to
present the agreed-upon compromise to him. It is
possible that this deadline could be extended an
additional 30 to 90 days if need be.

The judge indicated that he does not want to see
Firefox be forced out of business. The judge has
instructed both the government and Firefox that if
they fail to reach an agreement, he will make the
decision. The judge has stated explicitly that it is
in the parties' best interests to reach a compromise
agreement--meaning that it is in both parties' mutual
interests for them to decide what to do rather than
the judge.

What does this mean for our hobby?

1) Whatever we get, it will almost certainly be
better than what the CPSC wanted, but less than what
Firefox would want. Given that the judge has
indicated is willingness to consider lesser
restrictions than CPSC desired to impose, we are
hopeful. But it is too soon to know the final
outcome. And there is a very real possibility of
further expensive and time-consuming legal action. In
the short-term, we must prepare thoroughly for the
upcoming negotiations, including creative approaches
that might satisfy CPSC's desire to ensure that
pyrotechnic materials are only used in an acceptable
manner.

2) The fireworks hobby community will have input
in the final outcome, either via negotiations with
CPSC or via submission to the judge.

3) If a mutually acceptable negotiation is
reached, our hobby will continue. But, whether a
negotiated settlement is reached or the judge himself
decides, it is inevitable that quantities of some
reduced.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP IN THE FIREFOX CASE
1) The case is not over. We still have huge expenses
contribution to the Fireworks Foundation. We do not
want to falter now that we are entering the home
stretch. We absolutely need more funding.

2) If you know federally elected or appointed
officials with potential influence at or upon CPSC,
Gilliam immediately. Contact information below.

3) Please join the Fireworks Alliance if you have not
already done so. This will be the basis of our future
efforts as we continue our long range goals of working
to develop a better regulatory climate for our hobby.
there. It's free.

The PGI Board of Directors, the Board of the Fireworks
Alliance, and the Trustees of the Fireworks Foundation
want to thank each and every one of you who has
contributed time, money or effort to this matter so
far. You have made it possible for the Firefox case
to get this far. Although the case is not over yet,
and there is still much legal work to be done on it,
we want you to know that you have truly made a
difference to the fireworks hobby. Without the strong
showing we made enabled by the funding you provided to
defend this matter aggressively, Firefox would have
been compelled to enter into an agreement, crafted
unilaterally by the CPSC, that would have effectively
ended their business and quite possibly our hobby
years ago.

Thank you again, and, please, send those checks and
Pay Pal donations to the Fireworks Foundation today.
After all, couldn't you use one more tax deduction in
2006?

Fireworks Foundation:
Make your check payable to: "The Fireworks Foundation"

Michael Swisher, Treasurer
The Fireworks Foundation
14511 Olinda Boulevard, North
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
_________________________________

The most likly result is that they won't stay in business nor will Skylighter due to the overwhelming majority of consumer hobbiests are real hobbiests and don't have a ATF licience. Those "restricted" chems will still be available but at prices that are close to prices for illicit substances....that's all the law does: make the costs so high that the profit margin becomes attrctive to those with evil purposes.....
Will M80's still be out there? Of course they will.....Someone will find a way to get cholrates and fuels and make a fast buck. It's the same old song.

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Does this apply only to the US, or to Canada as well? Also, do you have a CPSC link to the restriction that I can look at?
Endo
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Well, it looks like I will have to get some friends together and carpool the 30miles or so to get to firefox and make some purchases.

Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Endo
Waffles
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 Quote: Originally posted by quicksilver Unfortunatly the Gov't has decieded against the Rocket hobbiests and the limitations of oxidizers are to ONE POUND a year and fuels to 100 mesh and no smaller.

NOT TRUE. You obviously didn't read it very closely. I condensed it for you:

 Quote: What that means is that CPSC and Firefox must reach an agreement on which chemicals and supplies are to be limited in sales to non-ATF license holders, and what quantities will be allowed to each purchaser. 1) Whatever we get, it will almost certainly be better than what the CPSC wanted, but less than what Firefox would want. 2) The fireworks hobby community will have input in the final outcome, either via negotiations with CPSC or via submission to the judge. 3) If a mutually acceptable negotiation is reached, our hobby will continue. But, whether a negotiated settlement is reached or the judge himself decides, it is inevitable that quantities of some chemicals available to non-ATF licensed buyers will be reduced.

\"…\'tis man\'s perdition to be safe, when for the truth he ought to die.\"
quicksilver
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I would like to think that's true but the reality is that if the case was not clearly won then the repercussions will be intense. It's only my opinion but I believe that the condensation that you quoted is there to help maintain a flagging loyality to a cause. --- I am truely saddened by that as I really believe that since the Judge ruled in favor of the CPSC the question of if our hobby will maintain itself is a moot point. We will never have access to the materials we have today. And that is not opinion, my friend, that is a judical ruling. I eanestly believe that we should stock up and not stop support of the FF (Fireworks Foundation) but after this ruling I can't see a reversal. Thus what would happen is that the hobby will be curtailed in the extreme. However the elements of that hobby like hand-tooling will still be available but the production of colours will be a tough thing to accompish.
Was this hobby abused? NO - I honestly believe that those who had been loyal hobbiests did not act in a manner that was illegal or abusive but what DID happen was that FireFox got some very bad press (i.e. M80 mfg from various sources and the Waco disaster).

[Edited on 22-12-2006 by quicksilver]

The_Davster
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This was also in the newsletter from skylighter:

woelen

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Over here in NL, the situation is MUCH worse than you can ever imagine. Pyrotechnics is forbidden. PERIOD.

Actually, the situation is quite funny. We can purchase chemicals like KNO3, KClO3, S, metal powders, red P etc. without worrying about ilelgal purchases and so on. These chems are not illegal, but on the other hand, even making a little fountain can bring you in deep trouble. We can light fireworks on Dec. 31 and on Jan. 1 during the first hours of the night and that's it. During the rest of the year, this is forbidden. Making your own fireworks even is a larger problem, that really is not allowed. I'm a member of a Dutch chemistry forum, and now we had two recent cases of members, who were busted by the police (the last person lives just 25 km from me and was raided last week because he made fireworks himself and also had nice equipment for making fuses, stars and other nice things ).

But I'm feeling sad that again one of the freedoms is taken away in what is called the "land of the free". 10 years ago I envied the US-citizens that they could obtain reagents so easily from all kinds of on-line suppliers, but now I'm glad I'm in the EU. Things are not easy over here, but at least things are constant and what I could obtain 10 years ago, I still can obtain.

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Want to wonder? Look at http://www.oelen.net/science
The_Davster
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I am curious about places like pottery stores. They use a few oxidizers for something or another, I recently got a few pounds of KNO3 from the US when I heard Canada wanted to ban it. I used around a kilo of KNO3 in the last 3 years, so this should last me a good while.
It would be funny if the US pyro suppliers started selling kits to make oxidizers, like chlorate cells and such. Or even selling perchloric acid for 'make your own perchlorates' sets.

evil_lurker
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Mood: On the wagon again.

More importantly what about the farmers?

They go thru powdered sulfer for dusting, and for treating soybean fields by the ton. Oh yeah, lets not forget ammonium nitrate. Is every farmer that goes thru 25 tons a year of AN going to have to get a ATF permit to fertilize his crops? Even though its not used much, the same applies to KNO3. Oh yeah last time swim checked sodium chlorate was a weed killer.

What are the people with greensand water filters going to do without their KMnO4?
quicksilver
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The liklyhood is that there will be no limitation nitrates for agra-business as they have methods of policing their people ("Be Awair America" campaign aimed at terrorist use of AN) But as you said there are MANY other business that use nitrates. The actual chemical will be available but not the variety of salts (strontium or barium) for colours, etc).
It's time to seriously stock up on those little things that some folks use like the coloration salts or fuse, and especially metal fuels! The availablity of Al is not that big of a deal since it mills so easily but Mg will be a tough one to find unless people start to make friends with milling shops. I found floor sweepings to the extent that I once got about 30 lbs of Mg at a metal-working firm. They were happy to have me sweep it up and thought I was a odd fellow in a suit and tie sweeping the floor. I honestly told them what I wanted it for and they thought I was a rather devoted hobbiest. But begrudged me no amount of the Mg.
The real problem was the M80 manuafcturers and their stupid antics. They ruined it. The small "companies" that sold red tubes and fuse were actually the ones that got the attention of the CPSC. They sold what the CPSC called "kits" for making M80's. That's where a hell of a lot of the bad press started as I was told.
The actual source of "M80" chems come not from places like FireFox! Most of them come from disgarded or broken "B" class shells that had been paid for and are available to individuals who take them apart to re-use the chems. Those are re-packaged as illegal fireworks (in the USA) often on Reservations where fireworks are sold. The burst charges (flash) is prepaired for the shell and often each shell can yield as much as a pound or more. These then are made into illegal fireworks. This was determined by a PGII member who found a source of "M80" type fireworks and took some of them apart. The materials were the same as those used in Chinese shells sold for a large display. The material was placed under a mircoscope and found to consistently contain a specific type of Al powder sold as "Indian Black" which was common in a specific Chinese shell. This material was identifiable by it's use of carbon for an adulterant (it was an inferior grade) and visable at greater than 200x magnification. Additionally the oxcidizer contained was not "pure" in that it contained several types, some of which were commonly used for colouration for stars. Although this was known in certain circles, the discovery was not used in the presentation in the CPCS ruling due to the lack of a Professional Witness to present this information. Thus it was simply hear-say. However, I personally believe it to be true. FireFox was NOT the source for illegal fireworks materials for the most part. Old or damaged class B stuff was!

[Edited on 23-12-2006 by quicksilver]

neutrino
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Well, looks like we gotta stock up ASAP, definitely ordering before 1/1.

Looking through my list of pyrotechnical suppliers, it seems that most have gone out of business. Does anyone know of any good suppliers that are still around? I want to stock up on the soon-to-be-forbidden perchlorates and Al powder, among other things. Firefox says they don't sell to anyone making M-80s, which it would look like I'm doing while stocking up.

Anyone? Post here or U2U me if you think it'll make a difference.

quicksilver
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The whole issue is problematic. But note that most any flake Al can be ball-milled into some of the finest pyro-al. So that if a cheap source of moderate Al exists; buy a boat-load of it. I have tested this time and again. If one obtains a simple rock-tumbler and some tractor or tank ball-bearings (bigger than 1" in dia.) and mills a good quality flake Al for about 48 hours the result is some of the best dark Al available. This has been done time and again and has been a wll known issue discussed in Fireworks News for years. So that should be no problem. For the per/chlorate supply the best move is floor sweepings from technical-greade suppliers. Even ammonium perchlorate is available in that form at less than $3 a lb. So if you want to invest in a large amount of standard paint grade flake and floor sweeping you should be set for about$100. I just can't see anyone needing more than 40-50lbs of that stuff I have even heard of people going to milling shops and collecting their floor sweepings for Mg, etc. I actually did that myself. I got about 20lbs one time of Mg at a place and they were kind enough to give em a tub to put it in. Of the 20lbs of Mg about 1/3 was fine enough to start to mill it further after cleaning. Metal powders won't be too hard to come by; if you are creative and really want to hassel it. And it shouldn't be too damn tough to make a chlorate from a cathode/anode set with water softener materials to start. I'll bet someone here could outline how to do that with yields of 30-50 lbs at one time! ---- Damn it! This is just my point about restricting OBJECTS !
That never works to eliminate a problem. When a large Fireworks shoot is held someone will still collect the duds and make M80's out of them. It's been happening that way for more years than most people want to admit. And there is no way on Earth that those duds can be collected by the shoot crew. They have mostly just the night to work with and those shells go for some distance....
This whole deal was not about "protecting the children" - it was about the admin of the CPSC having a case citation to point to and being able to say "Look at what we accomplished during our tenure..."

Oh and if you want a laugh go here: http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm
It's the national safety council's stats on injury's and deaths. What are your chances of cying or being injured from fireworks and explosives? - They are not too high....

And if that isn't enough for you the article from CPSC itself stated that the stats for fireworks relaed injuries are steadily going down: In all of 1998 7000 folks got injured from fireworks. - Out of a nation of how many hunderds of millions people??????
____________________________________
The most dangerous explosives - fireworks accident statistics - Brief Article
Combat Edge, July, 2001 by J.C. Bollman

Often, the question is asked, "out of all the different explosives -- homemade or manufactured -- which are the most dangerous?" It may surprise you to learn that according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 7,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries in 1998. This is down from an estimated 8,300 in 1997. In general, this makes fireworks, such as bottle rockets and sparklers, the most dangerous manufactured explosives and the M80 and M100 cherry bombs the most dangerous homemade explosives.

The bottle rocket is dangerous for two very simple reasons. First, the rate of travel of a standard bottle rocket can reach speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Bottle rockets are very susceptible to ricochet and can end up traveling in any direction but the one intended. Second, the bottle rocket presents a significant fire hazard. When a bottle rocket detonates, the casing burns from a few seconds to a few minutes. A few seconds are all that is needed to start a fire, which is often the case. The sparkler is the silent danger. Sparklers do not blow up and they do not have trajectory What they do have is heat. A typical sparkler can burn at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees. At this temperature even gold melts so imagine the close range effects on your skin and eyes.

The M80 and M100 cherry bombs are illegal in many states. This is because of the amount of energetic material contained in these small packages. Typically, 16 M80s or eight M100s detonated together can equal a stick of commercial grade dynamite. The destructive power of these fireworks is very impressive. The same general principles that apply to commercial and military explosives apply to fireworks. The explosive power of these fireworks can be doubled when they are compressed or contained. Illegal fireworks continue to be a serious problem. According to the CPSC, over the past 10 years, illegal explosives or homemade fireworks have typically caused 33% of the injuries associated with fireworks. According to Air Force requirements, on- or off-duty Air Force personnel must not take part in the transportation, storage, set up or functioning of commercial fireworks for on-base fireworks displays. As the Fourth of July approaches, do not become another statistic. Fireworks can be the most dangerous explosives an d are best handled by trained professionals.

[Edited on 25-12-2006 by quicksilver]

S.C. Wack
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Polverone
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That's sad to see. I wonder if the CPSC is only going to go after places that clearly cater to hobbyists/pyro supply or if they're going to try to institute controls everywhere. I have a hard time imagining them cracking down on sales of agricultural nitrates, or even permanganate for water filters -- which renders many of the controls trivially circumventable (and never mind trying to control sales of cardboard tubes less than 10 inches in length). Or if they did try to control such things no matter what the source, maybe we can see industries with more money/lobbying muscle fighting back. If they're content to just harass the little guys, that's relatively good for us even though it stinks for the suppliers, since it leaves many avenues of supply open.

On the bright side, it looks like they just impose mesh size restrictions on the fuels, not annual purchase limits. Most mesh size deficiencies can be corrected with milling by any half dedicated pyro, and for general chemistry use mesh size usually isn't a concern.

Edit: I know that this case was technically only about Firefox in particular, not any other supplier, but I'd be rather surprised if the CPSC doesn't attempt to expand such restrictions to other suppliers too, or if other suppliers don't "voluntarily" enact the same restrictions because they can't afford to tangle with the government. But I'm wondering how far the effects will go.

[Edited on 5-7-2007 by Polverone]

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 Quote: Originally posted by Polverone I have a hard time imagining them cracking down on sales of agricultural nitrates

Ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate will never be banned. They are the cheapest way of fertilizing nitrate-depleted soil, and any restriction would badly hit the agricultural industry. (Urea is arguably an alternative to ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but in the light of any ban, its price would skyrocket, again hitting the agricultual industry.)

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quicksilver
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The CPSC has to have a reason for it's existence. Thus this "issue" becomes a "cause celebre'" for the feds. The numbers of injuries don't warrant the expenditure of energy to curtail the sale of chemicals or the Firefox case in it's entirety. I know that it sounds incredible but some agencies do actually invent fodder for the media / public - to give reason for their existence! That's inefficient at best and grossly dishonest & deceitful at worst.
obsessed_chemist
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 Quote: Originally posted by I am a fishUrea is arguably an alternative to ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but in the light of any ban, its price would skyrocket, again hitting the agricultual industry.

Urea and ammonium nitrate are not necessarily interchangeable; their uses are rather specific. For instance, in the greens-keeping industry, such as golf-course or football field maintenance, NH4NO3 is typically used in the spring or summer, whereas urea is applied in the fall. Urea needs time to decompose and form nitrates, and in order to be effective, it require that the ground to which it is applied already has ample nitrifying bacteria. IMO, ammonium nitrate is THE ultimate fertilizer.
g&t
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Hello, this is my first post on sciencemadness and I'm glad I found a great forum for discussion of all these interesting things! I though I'd just say in this thread that ammonium nitrate is already banned in australia. You probably already know this but I want to express my opinion on it. A couple of years ago parliament passed a bill that made it illegal to sell HH4NO3 to anyone who doesn't have a special licence. To get this licence, you have to have a police check, and ASIO check, prove that you are a farmer and need the chemical, agree to undertake certain secure storage measures etc. It's a bit rediculous.. but anyway, I was amazed that they have taken it so far as to change all the ammonium nitrate instant cold packs to urea :S So it's VERY hard for anyone to get their hands on any quantity of this evil and incredibly dangerous threat to society which is ammoniun nitrate. You americans don't know how strict the laws already are over here!
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I believe that the USA Is heading the same route. Most farmers out here use Calcium Nitrate because finding Ammonium nitrate is rather difficult. The local fertilizer distributor doesn't carry it anymore because of certain liability issues now. If it weren't for this fucking war on terror certain explosive chemicals would still be aviable to the general public granted you looked hard enough.

O are their any new updates on the CSPC case? I haven't seen anything relating to it on skylighters blog...

MagicJigPipe
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I consider NH4NO3 so insensitive to detonation that it poses no real threat in the hands of your average dumbass. It takes some knowledge and slightly ingenious design to make AN detonate from my experience.

I want to stock up on the stuff but I'm afraid of the ATF (damn them) or the DHS thinking that I'm gonna blow up the White House or something.

I mean really, if you were determined enough couldn't you just use KNO3 to make AN? I know it's really roundabout but it could be done.

"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
JohnWW
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f you can get Ca(NO3)2 AND (NH4)2SO4, you can still make your own NH4NO3, by reacting these in stoichiometric proportions. The Ca and SO4 nearly all precipitate out as the only slightly soluble CaSO4, which can be filtered off and used for various purposes as gypsum.
The_Davster
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An article on the CPSC vs rationality stuff.
http://rapidshare.com/files/80454549/CEN_CPSC.pdf.html
From an issue of C&EN news this last summer.
Apologies for the file size.

Some chemistry proff, and pyrotechnics affiliated, testified against firefox. This says it all about the scum " the ability to buy 1lb of oxidizer per year is sufficient to any amateur chemist's needs" and "the government made a conservative desecion with the 100mesh size, if they erred, they erred on the side of safety to the public".
Sauron
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The CPSC is a Nanny State bureaucracy that has no real reason to exist at all.

It should be disestablished.

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 Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster ...This says it all about the scum " the ability to buy 1lb of oxidizer per year is sufficient to any amateur chemist's needs"...

To start a well stocked lab, it would be difficult to buy less. If you were to buy reagents in 100g quantities, you could only buy four items before reaching your "sufficient" limit. When you consider the number of oxidizers that even a moderately well stocked lab will have, the limit is completely ridiculous.

However, there is a very slight silver lining, namely the acknowledgment that "amateur chemists" actually exist. It is remarkably unusual for us to be described as anything more than terrorists or drug-cooks.

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The_Davster
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I thought it tricky wording as well, I wonder why they did not say amateur pyrotechnicians? They go through much much more than a pound of oxidizer a year, wheras the total oxidizers used by amateur chemists(those not into pyrotechnics) will use less(but likely greater than a pound). I think the wording was to justify a 1lb limit for everyone.

I am angry that someone in the chemical academia and affiliated with a pyrotechnics society would even consider this rational.
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