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Series of Tubes: The smart growth ouroboros has finally eaten itself. Greater Greater Washington, caught between mandating inscrutable CAPTCHA phrases in its comment or succumbing to spam, has found a clever way out. Starting today, commenters on the site have to answer questions about the Metro system to prove that they’re human. +3

Paper Chase: Living in Washington grew still more expensive in the second quarter of this year, according to the Center for Community and Economic Research. D.C. scores 145.5 on the cost of living index, up from 144.6 in the first quarter. That makes Washington the eighth-most expensive city in the U.S., between Queens, N.Y., and Framingham-Natick, Mass. -6

Ladies’ Night, Part II: Yesterday’s Needle mentioned that Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad contestant Chris Bukowski is planning to open a D.C. sports bar for women. More details have emerged today, and oh man. Bukowski’s investors say the bar will serve “really nice edgy food that women would like.” The decor will feature “leather sofas where ladies can drink wine.” Sounds like a cool place to hang out! That, or the set of Caligula. +3

Balz to the Wall: Longtime Post political reporter Dan Balz landed his 1,500th frontpage story in the paper recently, earning him a round of applause in the newsroom today. +1

Thursday‘s Needle rating: 84 Today’s score: +1 It’s Friday: +1 Today’s Needle rating: 86