Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Quotation
I’ve consumed very large amounts of coffee, and extensively used sweeteners, thinking like many other people that they are at least not harmful to me and perhaps even beneficial… Given the surprising results that we got in our study, I made a personal preference to stop using them.
— Dr. Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science, discussing research findings which show that artificial sweeteners may disrupt the human body’s blood sugar controls, resulting in unwanted side effects.

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Video Clip

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Glasgow speech calling for a “No Thanks” vote in tomorrow’s Scottish independence referendum is widely being hailed as one of the best speeches ever given by a British orator, and certainly his best. Huffington Post U.K. has the transcript.

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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

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Aside

Wi-Fun, September 2014 edition

While walking in Seattle’s University District this evening, a member of our staff glanced at the list of Available Wi-Fi networks on his smartphone and was amused to discover a very long list of nearby secure networks, some with clever and funny names. Here is a partial list of the SSIDs he saw:

  • WiBelieveICanFi
  • 4NDdonotclickit
  • GanjaNinja
  • InUrBase
  • MeepMeep
  • Nameless
  • Dirt Shack

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Quotation
I clearly understand the final goal of Putin. He doesn’t want to take just Donetsk and Luhansk… He is trying to take all of Ukraine. He wants to re-form the Soviet Union.
— Ukranian premier Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, speaking to a conference of security experts in Kiev about Vladimir Putin’s endgame (via the New York Times).

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Friday, September 12th, 2014

Quotation
The point is not that an independent Scotland won’t work, but that it’s not going to fulfill the expectations shining in the eyes of those angry, optimistic boys.
— Leah McLearen, commenting on the Scottish referendum for The Globe and Mail (When it comes to matters of heart, nations need to think with their heads).

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Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Photo  An outstanding picture of New York City’s Tribute in Light, taken over the span of nearly five minutes with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM. (Photo: Anthony Quintano)

An outstanding picture of New York City’s Tribute in Light, taken over the span of nearly five minutes with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM. (Photo: Anthony Quintano)

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Aside

RadioShack might be forced into bankruptcy

Years of lackluster sales, along with mismanagement, are apparently taking a serious toll on RadioShack, which is one of America’s oldest electronics retailers. According to news reports, RadioShack’s latest regulatory filings acknowledge the possibility that RadioShack could be forced into bankruptcy if it can’t get help shoring up its finances. The company only has around $30.5 million in case on hand… less than $10,000 for each of its more than four thousand stores.

RadioShack traces its origins to a single store in Boston, founded in 1921 by two brothers selling equipment for and to ham radio operators. RadioShacks are a common sight in malls and strip malls throughout America. The company has struggled to compete, however, with the likes of Amazon, BestBuy, Fry’s, and Newegg, which offer much wider selections of equipment.

Part of RadioShack’s problem may be that it doesn’t have what people need. The last few times one of us has gone into RadioShack, we’ve come out empty-handed and disappointed. That included an instance last year when NPI’s executive director was hunting for a USB dialup modem to connect to a computer in a location with no wireless service or DSL/cable. RadioShack, surprisingly, didn’t have such an adapter in stock. Thankfully, a nearby office supply store did.

If RadioShack wants to survive, it should ensure it is stocking hard-to-find items that people might need in a pinch. For instance, it could easily offer a wide range of flash drives and memory cards at reasonable prices, along with film, generic lens caps, and of course, unusual but crucial items like dialup USB adapters.

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Photo  Join the Battle for the Net: Stand up for a free and open Internet by letting the FCC and Congress know that net neutrality is essential to the medium’s future.

Join the Battle for the Net: Stand up for a free and open Internet by letting the FCC and Congress know that net neutrality is essential to the medium’s future.

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Quotation
The United Kingdom is a precious and special country. That is what is at stake. So let no one in Scotland be in any doubt: we desperately want you to stay; we do not want this family of nations to be ripped apart. Across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, our fear over what we stand to lose is matched only by our passion for what can be achieved if we stay together.

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

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Quotation
I wasn’t the obvious punk-rock singer, or even rock singer. I sang like a girl — which I’m into now, but when I was 17 or 18, I wasn’t sure. And I heard Joey Ramone, who sang like a girl, and that was my way in.
Bono, speaking with Rolling Stone about the making of U2’s surprise album ‘Songs of Innocence’, which was released today through iTunes.

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