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The first estimate of third-quarter U.S. domestic product — GDP — did not disappoint. The two percent growth is a nice increase from the anemic 1.3 percent in the previous quarter. Of course, these numbers often get revised, but that’s what we’ve got to work with for now.

A new consumer sentiment index released today puts our mood this month at the best in five years. People are more upbeat about their own prospects and those of the economy. Comcast released a strong earnings report this morning, helped along by — of all things — NBC. The afterglow from the London Olympics continued to pay off into the latest quarter, and Comcast also saw a healthy rise in cable internet subscribers.

With today’s release of that new Windows tablet, the Surface, Microsoft is keen to show it off. The head of the company’s Windows division yesterday set out to demonstrate the strength of the thing. Steve Sinofsky strapped four skateboard wheels onto a Surface tablet. Then he popped on a stylin’ helmet and cruised on down the New York sidewalk. Guess it’s nice to know that after you use the Surface to map your way home, in a real pinch you can actually ride it there.

The man credited with transforming pro basketball into a $5-billion-dollar-a-year business is stepping down. NBA commissioner David Stern says he’ll retire in February 2014, which would mark 30 years since he took over.

On November 6th voters in Chicago won’t just be voting folks into or out of office. They’ll also decide whether or not to grant City Hall the authority to act as an energy broker. The goal would be to secure cheaper electricity rates for Chicago residents.

It’s little tricky to get to the New York Times this morning in China. The country is blocking the website because of an expose on the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The story draws on corporate and regulatory records to show how Wen’s family has hidden riches worth $2.7 billion.

A new set of beetles taking North America by storm. This time the casualty is lumber, and lumber prices. The mountain pine beetle is taking a dramatic toll on Canadian forests, which are critical for home building and other lumber needs here in the U.S. A lumber-industry consultant called the International Wood Markets Group has sounded the alarm in a recent report.

A little political news here as we wrap up — decide for yourself if the coincidence is too good to be true: Yesterday Ann Romney appeared on the Rachel Ray show to do a little cooking. Ann and Rachel whipped up Mitt Romney’s favorite dish: Meatloaf cakes. Then last night, at a giant rally in Ohio, Mitt Romney welcomed to the stage and celebrated the enthusiastic celebrity endorsement of none other than Meat Loaf.

And finally, Mitt we know won’t partake, but on this Friday how about a little beer with your meatloaf? A Scottish brewery has just launched what it’s billing as the world’s most potent beer. “Brewmeister Armageddon” has an alcohol content of 65 percent by volume — compare that to a can of Budweiser, at five percent, or even a tumbler of Johnnie Walker whiskey, at 40 percent. The brewer describes the experience of Armageddon as a “supersonic-charged explosion,” but then goes on to recommend that this beer’s for sippin’, not for chuggin’.

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