Federal court rules California’s death penalty unconstitutional

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A federal judge in Orange County, California today struck down the state’s death penalty, arguing that the system is so fractured, it violates the state’s constitution.

Filed today by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney in the Central District of California, today’s opinion — posted here by KWMU — explains that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed.

The ruling ruled not based on the idea that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional, but rather that the delays and uncertainty constitute cruel and unusual punishment. For the hundreds of prisoners on death row, the opinion reads, “the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and…

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Watch the first trailer for ’12 Monkeys’ on Syfy

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Syfy is reimagining Terry Gilliam’s sci-fi classic 12 Monkeys as television show, and it’s just released the first trailer for it. The series appears to retain the film’s twisting time-travel arcs that find its characters journeying back to the past to prevent the planet from reaching a devastated future. This trailer doesn’t make the show appear quite as promising as you might hope, but things are still early: the series isn’t going to premiere until January 2015. Starring in the show is Aaron Stanford (X2), Amanda Schull (Pretty Little Liars), Noah Bean (Damages), and Kirk Acevedo (Fringe), and the first season is planned to include 13 episodes.

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Zillow Acquires Retsly, A Service That Helps Developers Access Real Estate Listings

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for sale Real estate site Zillow today announced that it has acquired Retsly, a Vancouver, B.C.-based startup that helps developers access real-estate data from multiple listing services (MLS). The service takes the data from these sites and normalizes it so developers can more easily use the data in their own applications. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read More

eBay Reports Mixed Q2 Results With Revenue Of $4.366B, Non-GAAP EPS Of $0.69

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ebay-earnings Today after the close of regular trading, eBay announced its second-quarter financial performance, including revenue of $4.366 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.69.
Its revenue tally for the period was up 13 percent year-over-year. eBay’s second-quarter GAAP earnings totaled $676 million. It’s non-GAAP earnings were much higher at $868 million. Read More

Evoke Is A New Induction-Based Vaporizer That Looks And Feels Like An Old-School Pipe

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Screenshot 2014-07-16 16.09.56 The Evoke is the latest electronic vaporizer to grace the industry with its presence, and I sincerely mean that. From the looks of things, the Evoke (from LotoLabs) is one of the first vaporizers I’ve seen that looks to the past for design inspiration, with a wooden, hefty look to it not unlike the tobacco pipes of the olden days. The company touts that its induction-based vaporizer… Read More

Shipping Startup Shyp Raises $10M Led By SherpaVentures, Plans Expansion To New York City

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Shyp On-demand shipping startup Shyp only officially launched in San Francisco just a few months ago, but it’s already looking to expand to new markets. First, though, the company raised $10 million in new capital, led by Shervin Pishevar and Scott Stanford’s SherpaVentures. The funding follows $2.3 million in seed funding that Shyp had raised from Homebrew Ventures and a large number… Read More

The best set-top box you can buy

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The numbers don’t lie. When Netflix accounts for more than a third of US internet bandwidth, when streaming services are racking up Emmys by the truckload, when cable subscriber numbers dwindle while Amazon Prime Video sign-ups soar, it’s hard to avoid the fact that the age of streaming video is upon us.

That’s not to say we’ve all canceled cable; far from it. But we’ve found other services to supplement ESPN and HBO, better ways to fill time than aimlessly surfing 900 channels to find…

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Here’s why your Comcast rep is yelling at you

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In 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari called AOL and tried to cancel his internet service. It took him 21 minutes as an increasingly desperate customer service rep named John tried to talk him out of it. “You used this quite a lot,” John says, in a recording Ferrari made of part of the call. “Last month was 545 hours of usage.”

“I don’t know how to make this any clearer, so I’m just going to say it one last time,” Ferrari says. “Cancel. The. Account.”

It goes on.

Last week, AOL vice president Ryan Block had a similar experience with a Comcast rep. Block and his wife spent around 18 minutes on the phone as an aggressive call-center employee asks questions like, “Why is it that you’re not wanting to have the No. 1 rated internet, No. 1…

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Ron Howard is directing a concert documentary on The Beatles

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The Beatles will be back on the big screen next year in a new documentary from Ron Howard, the director behind movies such as A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci CodeAccording to Variety, Howard’s documentary will focus on The Beatles’ on-tour performances, from their 1960s’ beginnings in Liverpool to their final show in San Francisco during 1966. “Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated,” Howard says. Howard plans to have the documentary in theaters next year.

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Scientists are one step closer to replacing mechanical pacemakers with biological ones

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Cardiologists in Los Angeles have developed a gene-therapy technique that allows them to transform working heart-muscle cells into cells that regulate a pigs’ heartbeat. This procedure, described today in the Science Translational Medicine, restored normal heart rates for two weeks in pigs that usually rely on mechanical pacemakers. The experiment, researchers say, could lead to lifesaving therapies for people who suffer infections following the implantation of a mechanical pacemaker.

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Google Starts Selling Its Aerial Imagery To Maps For Business Users

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2014-07-16_0940 Google Maps for Business is a service for enterprises and government organizations that need to visualize their assets on a map. Today, the company has announced that customers can now purchase Google’s aerial imagery directly from the company and use it to map public service projects, study the environmental impact of a project, or evaluate a property. Read More

Airbnb Launches Massive Redesign, With Reimagined Listings And A Brand New Logo

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Airbnb Symbol Today at an event for its users, Airbnb announced a massive redesign to its website and mobile apps that is designed to make it easier for users to find the information that they need while also making listings on its platform more appealing. The company also introduced a new, modern logo that will replace the lower-case cursive “a” that has defined it over the last several years. Read More

Popular Bitcoin Mining Pool Promises To Restrict Its Compute Power To Prevent Feared ’51%’ Fiasco

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banker-bitcoin This morning GHash.IO, a popular bitcoin mining pool, announced in a statement that in the future it will “not exceed more than 39.99% of the overall Bitcoin hashrate.” Earlier this year, GHash crested the 50% hashrate mark, sparking fears inside the bitcoin community regarding the so-called ’51% problem.’ The issue isn’t too hard to understand: If any one… Read More

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