Thursday, November 20, 2014

The shirt from #ShirtGate is not just ‘little stuff’

Sexism and misogyny is a systemic problem present in multiple cultures throughout the world. Bad behavior that dismisses and extinguishes the accomplishments of women is so prevalent that it’s atmospheric across every strata of Western society from the home, to the street, to the workplace. So when the European Space Agency landed a space probe on a comet (an amazing event in of itself you should read about) and scientist Dr. Matt Taylor wore a shirt covered in pin-up women in provocative poses it wasn’t an act that represented the ‘little stuff.’

The reason why Taylor’s shirt is a problem arises not only because it was grossly inappropriate to wear during a broadcast about a scientific accomplishment, nobody should have been wearing that shirt in a professional environment where women are already commonly treated as objects. That shirt was already the reification of how women’s accomplishments in science are often boiled down to their bodies and appearance.

The shirt was already bad before it appeared on TV. When it appeared on TV it became the perfect example of why it’s unacceptable.

To his credit, Taylor apologized for wearing the shirt. And, while certainly he’s socially accountable for choosing to wear the ambient misogyny of his profession literally on his sleeve, he and the European Space Agency staff have done the best they can do in the aftermath of their insensitivity to a problem they were only making worse.

Social media made the problem obvious

To answer foolish responses and silencing people who were not happy about the shirt: “You misunderstand what ‘little stuff’ is if you think people shouldn’t talk about it.”

The “little stuff” is aggregate. Little stuff is the pebbles moving in the avalanche; little stuff is the droplets of water battering down in the tsunami. When you are buried beneath “little stuff” it’s organized together into “big stuff.”

Every little act that makes me feel like less of a person in any space where I should be welcome as a person adds up to an atmosphere of ill will. That ramps from little stuff such as making jokes about women’s sexuality in the workplace all the way up to dismissing their accomplishments. A group of people who spend their time thinking about, talking about, and treating women like they exist only as abstract “things” have the foundation that makes ignoring their deeds an afterthought.

Don’t do this people

Finally, if you responded to people who had a problem with the shirt with an image that says anything like: “Ask me what I was wearing.” (A thinly veiled wink towards how rape victims are often asked what they were wearing when they were attacked.)

You are a bad person and you should feel bad.

Taylor is not a victim in the reaction his shirt generated. Wearing that shirt demonstrably adds to an environment that is already harmful to women and by wearing that shirt on TV he simply managed to make it obvious there was a problem.

He is most certainly not a rape victim (re: the shirt) and borrowing the language used against rape victims is profoundly contemptible.

Taylor was called-out for his choice of expression because it communicates, reinforces, and buttresses a massive, recognizable problem.

In the end, Taylor is also much more adult than many of the people outraged that he was called-out for the shirt: he acknowledged the problem and apologized. People who use rape-language to comment on the reaction to the shirt belittle Taylor’s own autonomy and dignity by acting as if he is not a moral agent who can make choices.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Upcoming review of Star Trek Online's Benthan Assault Cruiser

The Benthan Assault Cruiser is a new lock box ship that bears witness. It's a strong cruiser, with a staggering amount of firepower, and I enjoyed my career with the ship. She may become my liberated borg's new vessel for a while.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I think I know that idoru with Dave Letterman

This caught me by surprise when I saw that Hatsune Miku appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. She's an idoru, or a virtual pop star, and extremely popular in Japan. Although the technology for virtual pop stars isn't exactly science fiction level yet, the phenomenon has been around for a while for the Japanese.

I've even written about her before, in article about how a programmer used augmented reality to give her a second life (in his virtual reality specs). Western audiences are certainly not used to this sort of show.

According to Polygon, David Letterman wasn't quite ready for it either.

I wonder what it would be like to have Hadaly from Black Hat Magick projected into my living room. I think she'd be amazing company.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Just put The Holocaust Star on Amazon Kindle

Right now I am waiting for this book, a sequel to The Byzantium Outcast, to publish. I will have to let everyone know when it goes live.

This Vexations novel has been a long time in the waiting. It’s never been quite ready.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time to re-edit Black Hat Magick vol 1 Dread Vote

I’ve finished vol 2 of Black Hat Magick, which means its time for me to get back to work on vol 1 and make sure that it’s up on as an e-book.

I didn’t really like how I ended vol 1—I’m not going to go into that here because the end of the story is entirely a spoiler. I did what I needed to point the readers (and Elaine) in the right direction, but there’s a long laundry-list of things that were just kruft and not really displayed as much.

When I went to vol 2, I had learned a bit more about how to plot the short of story that a BHM story is.

Now I’m thinking bout vol 3 and that might mean League of Legends players, gold sellers from MMORPGs, and potentially a serial thief stealing virtual items. It’s a good time to bring up Bitcoin again—something I expect Elaine to intersect with often—but I don’t think it’ll be about that technology entirely.

I’ll let everyone know when I finish editing vol 1 and vol 2 and have them on

I do look forward to starting on vol 3.

Thanks for keeping up and be sure to check out Invincible and Vulnerable on Amazon.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ferguson protests and gamers?

I’ve been reading way too much Ferguson news lately. It’s a stressful story about a city and population essentially under siege, journalists accosted and harassed by police, and the slow semi-transparent wheels of justice…

Even though I heard about the news of Darren Brown’s death the day it happened (and the night of the first protest) it’s taken a while for the news to finally reach the national stage.

With Twitter leading the way with most of the on-the-spot news of what’s been happening, I’ve long wondered how gamers and the MMO gaming community has reacted so far.

Looking at Google and the Internet at large, and a dearth of articles on the subject (from said community) I’d have to say I agree with Helvetica at Vox Ex Machina in that the impact is little seen.

How has the Ferguson news affected the MMO gaming community? (Not much) | Helvetica | Vox Ex Machina

I’ll be keeping an eye out for news to tip the people I know who write about this sort of thing, but I’m not holding my breath. If anyone notices any gaming groups making an effort to spread awareness -– through in game rallies, their own blogs, Twitter, etc. -- let me know and I’ll pass it along.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Interview with CrayzECook on MMO Anthropology

An interview in World of Warcraft with CrayzECook

As it turns out, CrayzECook is a 7-year-veteran of World of Warcraft. It’s been an interesting journey for him and recently he even started leading a raid group.

Hopefully the interviews can come back to see how he’s doing and what leading raids is like in the almost decade old MMORPG game of Warcraft.

via MMO Anthropology.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Welcome to the fog of war: In #Ferguson

A particularly damning image of the Al Jazeera news crew being tear gassed has been making rounds in the media. The image of reporters fleeing from attack, followed by another of uniformed police in SWAT gear taking down the TV equipment makes for a punchy, dramatic image of journalistic suppression. However, the situation seems to be a little bit different.

It is now known that whatever police department fired the tear gas canister at the reporters may not be the same department as came back for their equipment. In fact, those taking down the equipment were assisting the reporters to get away from the gas.

One of the strange things that social media does is it produces the perception of swift messaging out of time. In times of great strife and conflict, it is difficult to get information out of a hot zone in time for context to form—this is often known as the “fog of war”. Actors in a war often use this effect to their advantage by producing propaganda or a narrative that aids their position before actual facts come to light. Social media zings facts, photos, videos, and commentary out extremely rapidly and interpretive contexts form faster than facts can catch up.

Last night, an Al Jazeera news crew got caught in a tear gas cloud and ran. Another news team caught footage of this occurring and even took footage of a SWAT team arriving at their position who then lowered their lights and turned the camera away from recording the scene.

Al Jazeera itself put out a statement condemning the SWAT team saying, “tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction.” The statement goes on to say that the police continued to fire on the crew even as they shouted that they were press.

People on social media took the dismanteling of the equipment shortly after the crew ran as a sign the police sought to quell media presence. Not difficult to believe after reports of police ejecting media from the city, the arrests of several journalists, and—of course, the video of a tear gas canister being fired directly at the feet of reporters.

In an attempt to get out from under the obviously damning images, St. Charles SWAT spokesperson Lt. David Tiefenbrunn says that the team took down the equipment to help the crew move to a new location. They were also not the SWAT crew who fired the tear gas.

It seems that separate SWAT vehicles are involved. One that fired the tear gas and a second one who assisted in moving the equipment, who were with the St. Charles SWAT team.

Tiefenbrunn also stated he does not know who fired the tear gas.

In statements to the media, Tiefenbrunn opined that the Al Jazeera crew may not have been targeted intentionally and that the police crews in the area did not know that the lights belonged to a news crew. The Al Jazeera news crew, however, noted to the media that they had spoken to officers stationed near their position, and had identified themselves long before. In fact, as seen from the footage across the street, the well-lit position would have been easily identified as journalists setting up.

Much like what happened during the Occupy protests, multiple police departments with little coordination is leading to situations where bad actors (firing tear gas at journalists) are not going to be disciplined.

We are still waiting for the Ferguson police to identify if it was one of their squads who fired the gas canister and how it was that it ended up landing at the feet of a TV news crew.

#Ferguson police dangerous, despicable, failures—tear gas, inciting riots, endangering life

The Ferguson police have shown a reckless disregard for peaceful protest such that displays a gross disregard for human safety in general.

If the police in Ferguson do not want to be portrayed as “bad guys”; perhaps they should stop tear gassing state senators and TV crews.

After all, at least that should show some sort of restraint.

The response to a US senator chastising you, by asking if she’s going to get “gassed again,” while attending a peaceful protest is not: “I hope not.” It should be, “Ma’am, I will attend to restraining those under my command to common regard for the safety of those they’re sworn to protect.”

Stop harassing the media. Stop arresting journalists. Stop firing dangerous weaponry in residential neighborhoods. The police in Ferguson have obviously failed, in an attempt to “keep the peace,” the police have become the primary present breach of the peace.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Comic-Con does not have a formal anti-harassment policy?

I was reading an article written up in The Washington Post about Geeks for CONsent and the second paragraph leads with this:

Geeks for CONsent, founded by three women from Philadelphia, gathered nearly 2,600 signatures on an online petition supporting a formal anti-harassment policy at Comic-Con.

I am baffled. Comic-Con has no formal anti-harassment policy? I’ve known about Comic-Con for what seems forever now. It’s a massive gathering of geeks, cosplayers, aficionados, and much of nerddom in a place that emblematizes comic fandom and everything amazing about comic culture.

So I poked around, I found the convention policies (and code of conduct) but it’s a bare minimum of metal-on-metal “use common sense,” and “harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated.”

Sensible but hardly formalized.

By now, even people who do not participate in conventions know that women—and especially cosplayers—suffer a noticeable or even ambient amount of harassment. The article itself highlights complaints spoken to CONsent involving groping, being fallowed, and other forms of sexual harassment.

Yes. Much of this harassment follows women from the streets (from cat-calls to following) but in the charged environment of a convention this sort of behavior becomes even more sinister. A cosplayer wearing an outfit that restricts her vision or movement may not even be able to react to someone groping or grabbing her; and we need only look as far as the “Cosplay is Not Consent,” meme to see there’s some amplification of bad behavior going on.

While the Comic-Con Code of Conduct may have mentions of not tolerating harassment, there’s no definitive examples of intolerable harassment. There’s also no guide to the policies that Comic-Con engages in when such harassment occurs. What can victims expect from the Comic-Con staff when they bring a report to them? Saying, “go to security” is hardly enough.

Comic-Con could do a lot to set itself apart from other conventions by outlining a filled out guide to process, expectations, and policy when it comes to the treatment of conventioneers.

Why Comic-Con has not already done this feels like a massive oversight given the well-documented and widespread knowledge and continuing visibility of these issues is disappointing. Fix it already. A solid, formal anti-harassment policy, with a little compassion, would go a long way to making comics and fandom safer for everyone to participate in.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Opening Star Trek Online lockboxes for fun and profit

Looks like I’ve become the proud owner of a Xindi-Aquatic Narcine Dreadnought Carrier.

Whenever a new lockbox drops in Star Trek Online, I often use my lifetime stipend to buy 10 or 20 keys. This time, opening the new Xindi lockboxes, the ship dropped from the second box I opened.

I will be flying it for a while to get a review written for this starship and try to get that up on GameOgre and Vox Ex Machina. Recently, I’ve written one review for the T’varo Light Warbirrd Retrofit and the Undine Nicor Bio-Warship (the second one is still pending publication.)

I particularly enjoy flying carriers in STO and I have a Catian Atrox Carrier as well as a Tholian Recluse Carrier on different characters. So we’ll see where the Narcine stacks up—from the look of it, with a heavy Tactical loadout, it’s a battleship designed for front line fire-support. This is especially accentuated by the fact that it comes with two hangars of frigate pets.

The frigates are also minelayers, which is an unexpected pet capability.

Just an FYI, “narcine” is the scientific name of a family of electric rays, which the Narcine Dreadnought looks a little bit like from a dorsal profile. I named mine “Sepiida” which is the order that cuttlefish belong to (a mollusk closely related to squid, octopus, and nautulus.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Upcoming covers for Black Hat Magick Kindle-edition short stories

I am slowly working on filling out my Kindle store with e-book editions of stories I’ve written. I have quite a few and from what I’ve heard, the critical mass is about 30. That might take me a while to reach.

So here’s a pair of covers to enjoy as I work towards getting them into the Kindle store.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fish in trees arrived by comet

So, I just learned that Ray Comfort actually asked a geologist if fish hitched a ride on comets to Earth[1]. Apparently, this was part of a question series about why there is so much water on Earth and the geologist suggested that much of it could have come from cometary bodies during the formation of the planet.

Well, if fish arriving on comets explains fish to Ray Comfort; perhaps it would also explain why there are fish in the trees to Brother Jed Smock.

The latter point comes from something Brother Jed once said to thunderstruck listeners on ASU campus, saying something about how “fish don’t live in trees,” which shortly became a meme mocking him for whatever failed point he was attempting to make.

Those fish living in the trees arrived on comets.


[1] paulchartley, Noah Proving Bullshit Pays [Video file] , Retrieved from

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Interview: On Being a Captain in Star Trek Online

The folks over at MMO Anthropology had a chance to talk to a mutual friend of ours from Star Trek Online about what it’s like to be a captain in the game. Then I took a chance to write up an article about the interview over at SiliconANGLE. Be sure to watch the video and read the article to get a glimpse of some of what happens in STO and how it affects personal experience and expression In virtual worlds.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Reflections on chasing space bunnies: Epohh tagging in Star Trek Online

With the introduction of the Legacy of Romulus expansion in Star Trek Online, Romulan reputation became a thing—also, so did, chasing, petting, tagging, and fostering furry, antennaed, irradiated space bunnies called epohhs. The prolific and agile epohh tagger engages not just in a quaint little minigame (the chase and tag) but also research and a bit of animal husbandry and can generate up to 600 reputation marks as the result of along chain of duty officer missions.

I’ve been playing around with this system and I have some thoughts on how Cryptic has implemented it and the social phenomena that have emerged.

Epohh Tagging

To get the whole chain started, players head to Mol’Rihan (New Romulus) and transport themselves to the Epohh Fields. An aptly named area that’s filled with space bunnies and NPCs offering missions related to them.

Tagging involves rushing out into the field and using a tricorder on every epohh visible.

Some basic advice: Get used to the geography so that you can run between the areas that have a lot of epohhs, avoid going in when there’s too many other players already on the ground (competition lowers tagging opportunities), when tagging an epohh get an eye on the next target so you can get moving immediately.

The last part is extremely important so that you don’t accidentally chase the just-tagged epohh—which race off as if shot out of a cannon and vanish after a few yards of running.

While it’s possible to easily solo this mission (netting 2-3 tags easily) to get the maximum of 4 it’s necessary to grab a group. As a result, there’s numerous people in the area looking for FED or KDF teams who are doing tagging. Three people can easily get 4 every time.

Researching epohh tags

For every 4 tags it’s possible to run a duty officer mission that “researches tags.” Do this to generate Epohh Research—you need five of these to buy a space bunny kit (I mean an epohh pup.)

This assignment will always end in success so you can run it with any science DOFF, as a result, you can ignore the “success condition” trait on DOFFs and should instead aim for DOFFs with the critical traits of Efficient and Logical. Any DOFF with both would be superb.

Once you have an epohh pup you will then start running DOFF assignments to foster and care for them. The assignments grow epohhs through pups, to moppets, to adults, to elders. The same traits—Efficient and Logical—assist with criticals on the epohh fostering missions so keep those DOFFs in stable to run your farm.

The elders can be sold for 400 Romulan marks; or you can collect the various colors and have a nice Pokemon stable of space bunnies.

To discuss, read this thread on the Star Trek Online official forums.

Tagging Teams

Players seeking that lofty 4 tags from the tagging mission have started to band together to form tagging teams. Usually players can Pick Up Group (PUG) this and there’s usually some people all hours of the day seeking teams. It’s hard to tell so far how effective that is, but people seem to do well with it.

Fleets already provide a social infrastructure that many players use to put together tagging teams and it’s common to see similar Fleet names on players in the Epohh Field when I’ve been observing.

In 2012, an in-game channel was added called “Epohh Tag” similar to other social channels in the game to assist people in finding tagging teams.

That players can at-best get three (3) tags (and not the maximum) and even a group as small as two (2) players can get the maximum reward allows for a highly casual experience in the Epohh Fields for most players. However, it also provides strong encouragement to form groups and the presence of people seeking groups (and finding them) suggests a thriving grouping experience.

There is no epohh trade—this is because epohhs are bound-to-character and not tradable. The gotta-catch-em-all element of space bunnies could have made for a thriving epohh trade; but Cryptic’s decision to make the husbandry and fostering of space bunnnies part of Romulan reputation has probably caused the developers to segment epohh raising from the economy-at-large. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

City of Paradigm and Dr. Katherine Frase: How the Internet of Things Can Make Cities Smarter

city-of-paradigm-thumbnailI spoke with urban anthropologist Dr. Katherine Frase—also vested with the title of Chief Technology Officer, IBM Smarter Cities—about how the Internet of Things and sensor technology intersects with human efforts in metropolises and urban centers for my most recent article about smart cities at SiliconAngle.

You can go read the entire thing at “City of Paradigm: The Internet of Things.”

The article opens with an excerpt from a book that doesn’t exist (The City of Paradigm) but frames a narrative scene designed to show government officers and construction workers reacting to and acting on information from a sensor network and analysis of data therefrom.

Here’s some of what didn’t make it into the article but are still things we can all think about.

During our talk she spoke about some of the questions that arise from dealing with large groups of people who take part in a city infrastructure. One of the problems cities are facing is attempting to communicate information to people and doing so in a way that’s less likely to be misunderstood. Sensors can only go so far when attempting to manage traffic on the streets—they can tell us where the high congestion areas historically happen and help computer scientists model what happens when a particular core street is shut down.

However, getting traffic patterns to change is at its very crux a human communication problem. Telling people not to take a particular street (to reduce congestion) usually ends with a large number taking a specific side street, simply moving the congestion problem somewhere else. Actually easing congestion may take more than just modelling; but a communication solution that actively attempts to redirect humans to different traffic patterns. A radio broadcast or a simple message may not suffice.

Another interesting tidbit that she spoke about was how some utilities companies have been attempting to gamify their service to cause households to reduce costs. By allowing people to “compete” for better energy use they are hoping to pit house vs. house (or neighborhood vs. neighborhood) towards using less energy overall. By using gamification—comparison charts, badges, accolades, etc.—these utilities hope to use gamification theory to make better energy users out of customers.

If I have a chance, I might revisit these subjects in later editions of The City of Paradigm on SiliconAngle.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Star Trek Online: Solanae Dyson Science Destroyers

I noticed that a lot of people have been very interested in this new virtual items from Star Trek Online. These ships are a reward from participating in the 4th Anniversary Event in STO and bring a few new interesting mechanics into the game. As a result, the folks over at Vox Ex Machina sat down with a few players and looked at their Dyson science destroyers and wrote up a review.

Star Trek Online: Dyson Science Destroyer Review

Head over there and let them know what you think. There are two screenshots right now (from the Aves-class Romulan variant) but more screenshots are expected today.

I personally have an Aves-class and I’ve been slowing grinding up the Dyson reputation so that I can grab the Experimental Proton Weapon for its front arc. I know that there’s a dearth of consoles that buff proton damage, but I’m intrigued by a weapon that can act as both a cannon and a beam.

I’m not a very good Romulan player at this point--I’ve noticed I’m a cruiser captain who doesn’t deal well with warbirds—but the hit-and-run tactics needed by a battle-cloaking science vessel with some escort-upbringing do make for exciting space battles.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Star Trek Online: Hirogen Hunter Heavy Escort?

With Star Trek Online providing a surprising venue to talk about the nature of virtual items—and the fact that I have a job that lets me report on the goings-on in free-to-play MMO games—I decided to try an experiment by having a player in STO who flies one of these ships give me notes to review it by.

The result, this badass virtual item spotlight on GameOgre about the Hirogen Hunter Heavy Escort lockbox ship.

The game mechanics have generated a layered culture of thought about equipment, strategy, and button-press abilities. This means that reviews of these virtual items (the starships) includes a lot of jargon that to an outsider sounds and looks a lot like gibberish—but with a little bit of context quickly makes a lot of sense.

I am especially intrigued by the proliferation of the understanding of the Aux2Bat (referring to an ability called “Auxiliary to Battery”) starship build. A methodology that takes advantage of synergies between STO game mechanics that allow a single ship-equippable ability (on a bridge officer) to significantly lower skill cooldowns. Since the concept of A2B is so popular in starship building it was important not to leave it out of the review of the Hirogen Hunter.

Keeping in mind how STO players relate to ships, builds, and other players when referring to game mechanics will make for better, in-depth, audience-centric reviews. In the past I’ve covered the Catian Atrox Carrier, the Tholian Recluse Carrier, and the Romulan Dreadnought Warbird.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Star Trek Online: The Art of the Build

I know that the analysis from the Star Trek Online Winter Event survey is not done yet (and this might take a while) so this is a poor time to develop a new project, but I have a great idea for an essay and video series: STO: The Art of the Build.

I came up with this shortly after talking about the Dyson Solanae Hybrid-Technology Romulan science-destroyer warbird being released in STO Season 8.5. It comes with a set of consoles, weapons, and even different ship-costume effects that have sparked a lot of discussion on how to “build” it and its variants.

The premise is, that similar to many RPGs, STO has paper-dolls for players’ equipment--but players can also captain starships. A starship isn’t just another piece of equipment, it’s almost another character/class all on its own and players must spend time thinking of how to build them.

Not only does this come down to a choice in ship—based on specs, opportunity, and play-style—but there’s also a great deal of thought that goes into building up bridge officers, training them, equipment for the ship—from weapon layout to console choice to support weapons and abilities.

All of this collapses together alongside a large number of ships available to every faction, a huge amount of choice also exists in aesthetic effect as well as game mechanics.

To this end, the playerbase continually digests and spins out configurations, resources, and communicates on how to approach particular goals in game for PvE, PvP, and ship costuming.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Star Trek Online: Dyson Solanae hybrid-technology science destroyer

I think that I just found the ship for my Romulan Star Trek Online character: the Dyson science destroyer.

STO must be beside-themselves in producing new content, including bringing back Tim Russ to reprise his role as Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager to become Admiral Tuvok. It’s fun to hear his voice chastising the enemy as I blast them out of space.


Of course, my romulan character—one Simpronia—will be flying the Romulan warbird variant of the Dyson science destroyer. The lower shield capacity coupled with the battle-cloak makes this ship unstoppable and it will nicely synergize with her science career path.

The path to getting Sim a proper ship to fly has been a long and hard one. As romulan, she has a huge decision matrix to pick between Romulan faction ships and Federation faction ships—the Fed ship is tempting, but it has no cloak and ambushes with this ship seem exactly what I’d like to do.

Since this is a science-based destroyer I can still act as a second-line support in the beginning of battles by using debuffs and sensor confusion; but upon closing range, I can switch into tactical-mode, cloak, and then ambush craft trying to pick on my teammates in PvE.

While there’s a full-on Dyson set to be had, I am still considering going primarily with polaron-based weaponry and the Jem’Hadar set (or components thereof.) I might hybridize between damage capability and science-tanking but we’ll see.

I just love those purple beams and bolts.