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David Naughton
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To those who claim that narrowly targeted airstrikes can completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons capability, while avoiding any civilian casualties: A study by the Rand Corporation finds that to be impossible.

'The study warns of “substantial” collateral damage if the U.S. attempts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, arguing that locating and striking the relevant facilities would require “very precise and detailed intelligence.” It concludes that the prospects for scrapping Syria’s chemical weapons via air strikes alone “do not appear promising” and “would require ground forces” in order to have a realistic chance at success.'

-- http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/09/rand-study-syria-obama.php

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These revelations about Obama's antagonism toward unions, public employees, and the left in general, in a review by Thomas Frank of a couple of new books by Jonathan Alter and Dan Balz, may surprise some of his supporters, but shouldn't surprise anyone who has really, honestly been paying attention:

...Obama was happy to pocket the electoral dividends that these state-level controversies generated, he wasn’t truly upset with governors who attacked the pensions paid to members of public-employee unions. “Months before Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin,” Alter writes, “Obama told aides that pensions had become ‘ridiculous—they’re bankrupting the states.’” In fact, as Alter continues, Obama sort of wanted to pull a Scott Walker of his own; he hoped “to reform the federal pension system” with the idea of slashing retirement benefits for federal workers, and he “reviewed federal sick day rules” to see how those workplace gains might be cut as well.

-- Thomas Frank, http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/020_03/12185

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Anyone willing and able to sell me two tickets to the SPCO Liquid Music concert on 9/22? I desperately want to go, but it's already sold out.

http://content.thespco.org/events/zola-jesus-and-stephen-prutsman-ian-ding-and-ashley-bathgate/

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Excellent analysis of the trade-offs inherent in using automated software to fight harassment online, and on twitter in particular. Also a great example of careful, rational treatment of a controversial, potentially explosive topic.

http://skeptools.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/block-bot-twitter-report-abuse-ool0n-atheism-plus/

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Just put a new pair of Specialized Armadillo tires on the Cannondale. Went years without a flat on the old pair. They finally wore out. <3
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More and more, I see this meta-meme: "I made a meme!" where "meme" means "photo with a caption on it". If you have been infected, meme does not mean what you think it means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

Mom just called to ask me for a phone number. Reminds me that we recently had this conversation:

"Mom, you should get an email account."
"I already have one."
"Really? What's the address?"
"Same as Dad's."

But that account name is essentially Dad's name, and Mom never uses it. I sometimes forget that there are people who don't use the internet.

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The things I learn running Linux. I had been trying to make back up copies of DVDs, but couldn't even get most of them to play. After reading and following the instructions on many tutorials, I finally found the solution: 

"On delivery, most DVD drives have no region code set."

-- http://linvdr.org/projects/regionset/

I was aware of region restrictions on DVD playback, but had not encountered this particular problem before. I suspect it's because I ordered my machine with no OS installed, knowing that I was going to install Linux on it. Or have people using machines with Mac or Windows pre-installed encountered this problem, too?
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