What I think causes climate change…

​In response to a post on the Reality Party’s Facebook page, I wrote a comment that was too long to post so I ported it into my blog instead:-

Weather can be controlled by the government. Again, action against climate change is mainly sponsored by the Rothschilds. I do believe the climate of the world is changing and I believe CO2 plays a part but that overlooks the real cause. The real cause is energy usage. The population density of Earth is about 14 people/km2 so imagine that. A square 1000m x 1000m with fourteen people living in it. The presence of humans already messes with nature’s cycles. Say they all have houses with working toilets. The nitrogen that their waste would ordinarily be putting into the soil doesn’t exist so the Nitrogen cycle is already out of sync. They all need to eat so let’s say they all plant vegetables on their little plot. The water the humans and plants absorb will be knock the Hydrogen cycle out of sync. Say they all need to heat their houses at night using carbon based fuels (wood, coal, natural gas, oil, what have you) and that is obviously going to knock the carbon cycle out of sync, especially if there aren’t any trees to soak it up. This is where the energy consumption comes into it. All of them having their heating on at the same time will raise the ambient night temperature of the by about two or three degrees. 14 fires burning, that instantly changes the climate. 
So we can see how it changes the climate in that way. Let’s factor in cities, cars, factories, and so on. Let’s look at Greater Manchester. Its population density is 2,100/km2. That’s about a person every 5 square metres. Evenly spaced, everyone would be just over two metres apart. They all need a fire at night so 2.7million fires. I’m guessing, aside from being suffocating, that would raise the temperature of Manchester exponentially. Obviously nothing like that is happening because we’re clever enough that several people can be around one fire. Think about it though. Cars. Essentially, a portable fire and how many of them are on Manchester’s Streets at any given time? Light bulbs, again, miniature fires. Anything with electricity running through it will generate heat. The tram might not produce fumes but I’d wager it produces a lot of heat. I like trams and think they’d solve a lot of the world’s problems, but you can see what I’m getting at. So what happens in winter. Snow doesn’t settle in Manchester, certainly not in the city centre. It used to. Not any more. It used to be down for six weeks (ask anyone of the generation that voted “leave”, they’ll tell you it was down for weeks back in the day) (side note: this isn’t the only thing they know about, they’re actually really clever and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on when asked for their opinion) but Manchester simply doesn’t freeze in winter any more. Years ago that bus wasn’t driving down the road warming it up. Again, I like buses. They represent Marxist social egalitarianism at its absolute best. I’m just pointing out that it’s more heat. 
So when the BBC are doing their weather forecast they stress that the difference in temperature between the city and the country is about 5℃. Multiply that across the world. That’s quite a temperature difference.
Manchester, like every city of its size, has little/no nature to speak of. I’m sure there are a lot of parks, but I happen to know the lack of them in Manchester is something that the council is “on”, but even if there were huge parks, Manchester doesn’t have enough trees to soak up the Carbon, so it waits in the atmosphere to be processed. This messes with the Carbon cycle. For those of you who have forgotten GCSE biology/chemistry, Google it. Tracking aside, it has no natural carbon reserves and even if it, at the rate  Manchester uses it, it wouldn’t be renewable. The Carbon cycle would effectively stop changing our atmospheric make up and thus our climate.
Save a few people, most people in Manchester will use a toilet to defecate in. See this is how the soil gets its nitrogen to help plants grow. The fact that we don’t defecate outdoors removes that nitrogen from the cycle, preventing things from growing, sterilizing and reducing the fertility of the soil and adversely effecting the climate.
Then you have 2.7 million people in Manchester. Each one of those 2.7 million people has 32 trillion cells in their body and every single one of those cells needs water to function. The average human needs to drink two litres of water per day to function. Manchester, therefore requires 5.4 million litres, roughly 10 million pints, to function each day. That doesn’t take into account showering, or the water that goes into growing the plants or raising the animals that you need to eat three times a day, or the water that one would use to flush the Nitrogen out of its natural cycle. Where does all that water come from? Some of it will come from rain, some from reservoirs, some from rivers but to take that water out of the system halts the Hydrogen cycle. Ever wonder why the poles are melting but sea levels don’t seem to be getting any higher? It’s because that water is taken as soon as it is released. So when it restarts we see deluges. That never happened when I was a kid. It falls on the peaks and the lakes causing huge floods. This stopping and starting and interrupting the cycle is causing us to go from hosepipe bans to record breaking floods.

So, let’s say we cut all CO2 out of our lifestyles. All power stations, cars, cookers and so on went electric and we only used renewable sources to power them. That doesn’t eliminate the problem. They are still generating heat warming not just themselves but their immediate environs to. Multiply this to a planet of 7+billion and it’s easy to see where the problem is. Do I think CO2 is a problem? Yes. A big one, but no more of a problem than going to the toilet or even drinking a glass of water. While CO2 is the signature of the problem, the actual problem is the heat produced and that, without speculating why our polar friend there is skinny, is, in my opinion the real source of climate change. Getting rid of CO2 won’t change that and messing with Earth’s natural cycles certainly doesn’t help it.

TV competitions and how to spice them up a bit.

The French are terrible businessmen. There has just been a competition on French channel M6 for the Belgium vs Italy match saying “To win €100,000, answer this question, what is the nickname of the Belgian team?”

The answer is the Red Devils, like Manchester United. That’s not the issue for me. The issue is the question they are asking for the money they are giving away.

See, if they want to know the answer to that question, they don’t need to spend €100,000. They could just Google it.

They’d get a lot more for their money if they were to ask a more complicated question. For instance “For your chance to win €100,000, answer this question: How do we solve world hunger?” Or “What do you think will finish off the human race sooner? A supervolcano, bees, nuclear war or climate change? Text your answer to…”

Just a thought.

Sorry

Sorry. Far from being the hardest word, it’s actually one of the easiest. As an eighteen years old translator for BT, I was told “Don’t be afraid to say sorry.” Since then, coupled with an appreciation of what I may have done wrong, it has gotten me out of several scrapes.

Throwing one’s hands up and saying sorry is a huge strength. People see it as a weakness. I’ve never understood that. To have that ability to self reflect, acknowledge your wrongdoing and move on from it takes a lot of courage. Those who can’t simply don’t have that bravery.

It’s difficult for someone to stay angry at someone who has apologised. It’s difficult to continually castigate them for their actions if they already realise that their actions were wrong. It’s difficult to hold something against someone if they realised they made a mistake and will endeavour not to make it again.

However, on the flipside of that, an inability to apologise can lead to all sorts of problems. If someone doesn’t say sorry when they have done wrong, people will pursue it. It will follow them. It will haunt them. The aggrieved person will go after them until they hear that five letter word coupled with an appreciation of wrongdoing.

I see people damaging their life chances, isolating themselves from their friends and family, lowering themselves in other people’s estimation and all because of the inability to utter that five letter word. I couldn’t count on both hands the amount of people I no longer speak to simply because of their inability to acknowledge wrongdoing or say sorry.

To this end, I would share this one piece of advice: don’t be afraid to say sorry.

David Miliband once gave me a piece of advice, and I urge everyone to take it on board.

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Myself and David Miliband at the Mechanics Institute in Nottingham. 1st August 2010

Politicians peddle in, well, I will refrain from using the word, but I think you can guess it. When people go to Prime Minister school, they come out and give vague answers to complicated questions specifically so it looks like a sound bite that can be repackaged by the media therefore there is very little, if anything, that can be taken from what politicians say. David Miliband was a prime example of this. I saw him a few times when he was on the campaign trail in the 2010 Labour Leadership Election. He gave me one piece of advice that I have always carried with me and today I had to put that advice into action.

Listening, truly listening

He was recalling his time as Foreign Minister and talked about when he had to speak to his American counterpart who, at the time, was Hilary Clinton. He said this:

Whenever we had an issue or something to talk about, there was something that set her aside from every other politician I’ve ever met. Most politicians sit there and they are not listening to what is being said, instead they are just waiting for it to be their turn to talk. Hilary Clinton always did something different. She would get out a writing pad and a pen and paper. Instead of constantly butting in and saying what she had to say, she would write down what I was saying, her thoughts and would wait until I had finished speaking before she shared her conclusions. The one thing I got from that was that she was listening, and I mean truly listening, to what I had to say.

Today I had a conflict that was the result of a breakdown in communication. I tried it and it actually worked. I listened. Paid attention and respect to what the other person was saying and managed to resolve things. I would share that with anyone.

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Online communication: No substitute for the real thing

I remember about five years ago, I used to hang around with this guy. He was a neuroscientist who worked in the psychology faculty of Nottingham Trent University. One day he had some of his students doing an experiment and they hadn’t finished so he suggested I take a saunter around. That was when I saw the poster. It was offering an MA or MSc, I forget, in Cyberpsychology. It then occurred to me that our interaction with technology is changing the base of our psychological processes. I regret to say, by and large, it isn’t a positive change. I also notice that young people who have grown up with this technology have an entirely different thought process to anyone who didn’t grow up with this technology.

The ex-girlfriends

Last year, I was in an extremely abusive relationship with a girl. The bulk of our communication took place online. When we were together, I mean in each other’s company, it was really good, but then she’d go home and we just communicated online. I found it horrible, unbearable at times. It was impossible to have sound discussion with her. Don’t get me wrong, there were other factors, such as her schizophrenia, an unplanned pregnancy, my lifestyle at the time, etc etc that all contributed to the breakdown of the relationship but I noticed that none of those barriers could be overcome as there was a irretrievable breakdown of communication between us.

These problems prevented us from progressing the relationship. This is because relationships never run smoothly. Relationships are peppered with problems. The success or failure of any relationship doesn’t hinge on the what has gone right but more on the ability, or lack thereof, to deal with the problems.

The problems and traumatic situations that arose out of that relationship were best solved when we spent time together. Problems can’t be sorted out online because online communication is incoherent. We would periodically block each other on various social media platforms as a means of punishment. So rooted was our relationship in doing that I was frustrated that I couldn’t have a proper conversation and problems couldn’t be addressed (as an OCD sufferer I have to solve problems) that what would happen is that I would walk to where she lived (about seven miles from where I lived) and walk back, just for the sake of seeing her for fifteen minutes. It alleviated the stress, the anguish, the angst and the anxiety that communicating principally online brings about. A fifteen minute conversation in person had coherency, context, tone and sentiment.

Bizarrely, it mirrored the relationship previous to that one the year before. In that instance I was in a relationship with a girl who lived about 100 miles away in the Roman Spa town of Bath. All through the week we would speak to each other through a variety of social media platforms and conversations were disjointed and fractured. She would absolutely beg, or close to it, to phone me. Sometimes I simply wasn’t up to a phone conversation, but on reflection she garnered tone and a sense of calm from it, something which doesn’t come across in messages over web.

If we rewind to my last “serious” (though in hindsight I probably should have given it more gravity than I did) relationship before both of those, it was again, a long distance relationship. She lived in London and I lived in Nottingham. She would call me everyday, sometimes for upwards of an hour. I found it exhausting. Even though we spoke by telephone regularly, she would constantly relay her problems to me. It was frustrating knowing that I was miles away and in no position to help. It was crushing, emotionally.

The France Situation

I find myself in a situation at present that is not dissimilar but at the same time hugely different.

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Me in France doing French people stuff.

I’m in another long distance relationship. This time it is with a French woman. Being the social creature that I am I have a new and emerging social circle in the city where I live. I don’t live there though, yet. I know my way around the city I live in and can successfully navigate Paris with some proficiency at street level. I was really enjoying France, not least because of the people I had around me. My partner, my friends, I wouldn’t go so far as to say my family, but my home life was good. My life is so good in fact that I’m thinking the next move may be a permanent one.

When I was over there, life was good, but some base in reality is always needed. I had to come back for work. As much as I missed all my friends in Plymouth, am missing people in France like crazy. The main form of communication that I use to communicate with people in France is what’s app. I notice, almost immediately that there is a disconnect there and I wonder about how changed and diverted things are from the essence of the relationship that was originally started given that now the relationship is principally a digital one.

The first example is with a friend. I’m not going to go into detail but one friend that I’ve spoken to since I got back, I said something to. There was an abundantly clear lack of context which led to a huge misunderstanding. Suffice to say that this misunderstanding would not have happened had we actually been face to face. When people communicate digitally, there is no context to what they are saying. It’s not that something can more easily be taken out of context, it is that it isn’t out into context in the first place.

The second example is a good one, and I can be a bit more specific here. One of, if not my closest friend in France, is also the person that speaks the best English. I try and speak French to her and she tells me to stop. Ironically, she has never been to England or an English speaking country. We can chat for hours. She was a real pillar to me in France. Now our messages don’t follow a linear path, there are always fractures and splinters. Think about it this way. She sends me a message which I pick up when I wake up, I respond. She picks that one up a bit later. Then I pick that one up when I’m about to start work, and so on. Can you imagine periodically returning to the same conversation, over the course of a busy day, every few hours and remain focused on the attention you’re supposed to give that person and your interaction? Of course not. It’s impossible. The conversation ends up fractured with no conclusion or end point, along with the lack of fluidity and the other things that one can take from a conversation either by phone or in person.

The third and final example is my partner. Aside from the obvious that one misses not being in her company, people often turn to their partners for support and reassurance. I am in another country, pondering a huge move to another country, and that really scares me. Sometimes I look too deeply into the messages she sends and when problems do arise, they are impossible to resolve and will be impossible to resolve until I return to France. There is also another thing. My partner doesn’t have the best command of the English language. My French isn’t perfect either, not by any stretch of the imagination. Our bodies have an unspoken communication with each other though. I’m not talking about anything sexual or even about body language. It’s really difficult to explain or describe. I think when two people don’t share a language fluency, they have to communicate in other ways. Say for instance when we are brushing our teeth before bed, we may be silent but more often than not there are a series of glances, small actions, I may reach for the mouthwash, she may turn off the tap I’ve left running and these things form a conversation. Sometimes when we’re doing something more, like playing pool or digging up vegatables on the farm, these small, almost insignificant actions make up a conversation. That’s why being away from her is unbearable. I suppose it is that that highlighted to me that while messages back and forth are ok, there really is no substitute for being together and in person.

A question for Charlie Brooker: why Plymouth?

A friend posted a status recently saying “Plymouth, Britain’s evil seaside.”

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I instantly got the reference.

I instantly knew that it was from Charlie Brooker. Charlie Brooker is an accomplished screenwriter, comedian and broadcaster. He appears to have a natural intelligence and perhaps the sharpest wit on television at the moment. I say appears as it is impossible to deduct without first hand knowledge of the man.

Time and again though he seems to crack a joke about Plymouth and I constantly wonder why. It’s a very specific reference to make and the repetition of it signals some underlying connection. We got chatting about this on my friend’s status and it provoked an intense curiosity.

Plymouth

When former Labour Leader Michael Foot held a meeting in Plymouth when he was first running for Parliament, he was talking about rebuilding Plymouth and he said “We can make ours the most beautiful city in the whole wide world.” I agree with him but I think Plymouth, already, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Of course I would say that though, I’m Plymouthian

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Tombstone Cove, West Hoe, Plymouth - Taken on Boxing Day 2008

Visually, the city is stunning. It is a natural harbour, the third largest in the world in fact, behind Sydney and San Francisco, with a rich history reflected in its architecture, where man meeting the challenges of the natural world is iconically expressed. I’ll admit, I’m biased but I think the human and natural geography of Plymouth is astounding and pretty hard to dispute, though I’m always happy to have that debate. The stories behind most of it as well is worth exploring. Charlie Brooker’s banter about Plymouth I find difficult to explain. This would suggest a genuine dislike for the place.

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Smeaton's Tower Selfie. This lighthouse is easily the most iconic in the world. Ask someone to close their eyes, and then ask them to describe a lighthouse. Nine times out of ten they will describe Smeaton's Tower, such is its fame.

Plymouth has a dark side though. Actually, I wouldn’t say dark side. It definitely has a weird side though. Most people from Plymouth, myself included, are a little, shall we say, peculiar. Every person from or living in Plymouth is living a unique life. Nobody has had the same life as everyone else. We don’t do that in Plymouth. People who live in Plymouth, and again I include myself in this, often exhibit odd behaviour. We don’t really acknowledge it, principally because we don’t really care. Every single person in Plymouth has a very strong sense of individual identity. We don’t really “mesh” well as a city because of that, but it does make us unique. The city is beautiful, but the people are, to put it mildly, bizarre. I’ve travelled widely and in terms of beauty, Plymouth is up there with the best of them but in terms the way society functions is inexplicable. This is because Plymouth is detached. It’s not an island, but it might as well be.

This overlay makes for a very conflicted city. It is easy to make digs at the city, but we’re very secure in how we view Plymouth and we know how Plymouth is viewed externally both within the UK and around the world. As a result we can not only take a joke, but enjoy one. The fact that he mentions Plymouth over and over again made us wonder why? Where is it rooted? This joke doesn’t simply come about randomly. There must be reason behind it, and we’re very keen to know what that reason is. We came to the conclusion that we needed to pose the question and that should any of us ever get the chance, we would.

Twitter

Celebrated folk and those who interact with the media are a peculiar bunch. They all seem to have an ingrained persecution complex. I think it comes from being immensely tactile with media and an inability to be oneself for fear of what criticism that may draw.

I’d like to furnish you with a couple of examples. Firstly, a few years ago Nuts magazine suggested a statue of Alan Partridge in Norwich City Centre. The council reacted furiously saying “Haven’t we had enough of Norwich bashing?”. The bizarre thing is though, Alan Partridge was more of a dig at a culture that existed at the BBC when it was going through a period of change as was the country. There was never any animosity towards Norwich, or any anti-Norfolk sentiment, but it was presumed that the jokes were a dig or a jibe at Norfolk. That is the persecution complex at play in thinking that if it gets a mention, it must be in a negative way. If they hadn’t had that they could have produced maybe an Alan Partridge trail, showing where various parts of the series were filmed which would have been a sure fire tourism booster.

The second example I’d use is that of Dave Gorman. I’m a huge Dave Gorman fan and follow him on Twitter. The first time we had a chat he made the point that people mention celebrities and the like in tweets meaning the celebrity in question will see the hurtful things written and it will usually knock them a little. The people specifically mention the celebrity as well which makes their insults in a direct way that they wouldn’t go out of their way to say if they met the person in question. He’s exactly right and I would guess that if your Twitter timeline is clogged with negativity about you and the programme you’ve just been on or presented, it’s difficult to remember the millions that watched it, enjoyed it and didn’t go on Twitter to throw a hissy fit. I can’t remember exactly what I said as it was years ago but I saw things in a slightly different way. Same with a legal case. Nonetheless, I saw a few of his programmes later on and tweeted him and he naturally thought I was being condescending and negative, or so his reply would insinuate, when in truth I have never seen/heard anything of his that I didn’t like. He’s perhaps the example that sticks most in the mind but I could name half a dozen others that I have had similar experiences with.

The suggestion was made to tweet Charlie Brooker. I said I already have, about exactly this.

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I obviously meant to finish the comment with the phrase "bants" rather than "bangs"

I’ve never received a response. The idea was that we could Twitter Rush him, that is to say several people ask at the same time, but I presumed that would be a bad idea for a few reasons. First of all it is harrassing, y’know, and if you’re on the end of it it can be quite stressful and so on. Secondly, if a load of people from Plymouth ask him what the Plymouth jokes are for, he may see it as a similar situation to Norwich in that loads of people are offended that he’s slagging off their city. This may cause him to stop making jokes about Plymouth. He may presume that people are attacking him for doing so when in actual fact we simply want to know where this connection comes from so that maybe, given that there seems to be a shared understanding of Plymouth and we want to understand the bants about it. We’re not offended and I think I speak for everyone involved when I say we’re huge fans. I have to ask, why Plymouth? I’m guessing it holds a special place in your heart and no doubt you’ve got stories to tell, but why? We’d love to know.

Married at first sight: A review (mainly of the concept)

There was a show on Channel 4 recently called “Married at first sight” in which the basic premise was that a group of psychologists, anthropologists, an Anglican vicar, and so on, would discuss and match up two random strangers, who would only meet on the day of the wedding and see how it would pan out.

It was interesting, I’ll give it that but as a Catholic, I think marriage is a serious, eternal commitment. It is binding yourself to someone for the rest of your life and beyond the grave. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. It certainly shouldn’t be done for entertainment purposes. That, to my mind, devalues marriage.

Obviously, a programme like that that lays bare a dystopian view of marriage, and it has to get past the commissioning editors (the people who pick TV shows) and to do that it was framed as an “experiment”. They framed this experiment as, if two people were matched using scientific methods (like all dating sites use but e-harmony makes a point of saying they use it) then if they had an arranged marriage on the basis of this, would it work?

Now, this is only going to attract two sorts of people. It will attract desperate people and opportunists. They may feign curiosity, but no-one makes a life decision as big as marriage, out of curiosity. Nothing is as involving to a person’s core as the person they share a sexual relationship with. That is the Catholic view, but I have a lot of atheist friends and they seem to share that belief when I’ve shared it with them. Given that it involves something so core, it shouldn’t be the subject of a television programme as these are human beings. Inevitably, someone will, as someone did, get deeply hurt and driven to tears. The programme was well produced and presented but watching the inevitable happen was actually rather unpleasant. I think the science of it is interesting, but in a series such as this, to describe it as anything other than entertainment is misleading. It is called an experiment to try and validate the selatious nature of the show.

If dating sites use this logic, how many times daily are these logarithms run and how many potential partners are identified? Of those potential partners, how many result in them actually meeting, or having a relationship, or an intimate relationship? Crucially, how many people, with time and space given, actually end up marrying the person that the dating site says is best? If it doesn’t happen in the real world, why would it work in a controlled environment? Even when they do, are those marriages successful? It is a naive concept to thing that this would work and could be done ethically and it was opportunist of the show’s production team to exploit that curiosity. People generally don’t end up marrying people as a result of what a dating site says because it is generally a bad idea.

One general rebuttal that I’ve heard in response to this is that if the marriage doesn’t work out, there is always divorce. In my opinion, if divorce is something you are considering on your wedding day, you really shouldn’t be getting married. Marriage should be a rest of life commitment and not something done to get viewing figures.

If indeed, it were a genuine experiment and there was a genuine desire not just to make a television show but to see if an arranged marriage based on dating website logic could actually work, then the ethics must be considered. Given the subject matter of the experiment it would be wise not to use human subjects where possible. This is why, if it were an experiment, it wouldn’t actually need to take place. Given the immense human and emotional hurt, and spiritual collateral damage that could be involved in something like this, it would make sense, if the outcome could be theorized or predicted, not to actually use people in the experiment. In this particular case, it can. The idea for this show experiment actually comes from a Danish show experiment that has been exported globally so that there are several international versions of this show experiment. In all of the other versions the outcome is overwhelmingly similar. In the Danish one, the couples are divorced. In the Australian one, all but one of the couples are separated. The American one is the same. Therefore it does not take much of a leap that in the English one, at least one couple would fail and very few couples, the exception rather than the rule, make it past six months, let alone a year. A marriage failing, however dubiously entered into, is always an emotionally draining and stressful experience, as I can personally attest to having witnessed several of them break down.

In summary, this show has a really interesting concept, but it turns extremely dark and very disturbing when it becomes apparent that these people are being drawn into an obviously doomed situation, one that will undoubtedly damage them, and at that point, the show ceases to be a piece of fun entertainment and just becomes depressing.

If we strip away the illogical instruments of reason from this situation, we examine it logically and pragmatically. If we remove subjective elements from this, such as love, emotion, it can be seen to be hugely damaging in ways other than spiritually or soulfully, marriage is contract. It is a hugely complicated legal contract and one that can be enforced through the courts. Radmacher vs Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 is a legal case that declared that pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding. There is therefore no guaranteed legal protection for anyone from being legally bound to someone they might not want to be bound to. Signing any document, especially one as legally important as a marriage contract, should always be given due diligence and consideration, and to enter into such an arrangement with someone that one doesn’t know could potentially be devastating. I can’t see how they could have factored the UK’s strict marriage laws into the making of the program.

To quote the Simpson’s “You have given a chance for everyone to express love In its most purest form — a binding legal contract.”