Aereo takes on broadcasters before the Supreme Court

US will consider shortening sentences for harsh, outdated drug laws

The US Justice Department is beginning a big initiative to commute the sentences of some inmates serving drug convictions with overly long sentences. Announced this morning, the initiative will allow non-violent inmates who have served at least 10 years of a long drug sentence that would have been shorter if given today to apply for their sentences to be reduced by the president. "Some [defendants], simply because of the operation of sentencing laws on the books at the time, received substantial sentences that are disproportionate to what they would receive today," deputy attorney general James Cole said at a press conference announcing the initiative. "Even the sentencing judges in many of these cases expressed regret at the time at having to impose such harsh sentences."

"The President now has a momentous opportunity." Vanita Gupta, ACLU legal director


Amid rumors of a buyout and reports of cash crunch, is Square all boxed in?

Not so long ago, Square was flying high. Its CEO, Jack Dorsey, was being called the next Steve Jobs and bankers were reportedly salivating at the prospect of taking it public. But in the last few months its prospects seemed to have soured, at least according to the press. A recent report from the Wall Street Journal said that Square is running low on money and engaged in talks with multiple...

From IPO to uh oh in just six months

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BASE jumpers set record by jumping off the Burj Khalifa

Daredevls Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet broke the world record for the highest BASE jump earlier this week by flinging themselves off the top of the 2,717-feet tall Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. The jump was sponsored by the skydiving resort Skydive Dubai, which constructed a small platform at the top of the building in order to make the jump possible. The gentleman jump together and curve...

AOL launching ad-supported streaming movie service

AOL is getting into the streaming movies game. According to Variety, AOL will launch an ad-supported streaming movies section next Tuesday, April 30th, initially featuring "tens of films" from Miramax, the studio behind breakout pictures including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and There Will Be Blood, among many others. The film selection will rotate on a monthly basis, and the initial movies haven't yet been announced. It's not clear how many ads will be shown, but AOL tells Variety that it "won’t get too aggressive on monetization."

Drowning simulator uses terror to promote life jackets

The film that plays when you visit interactive life jacket awareness website Sortie En Mer begins optimistically. You watch from the first-person perspective of a man sailing on a calm, blue ocean. Your friend, coming up from below deck, notes the beautiful weather. You ask him to take the wheel, and steps to the front of the boat to adjust the sails. It's there that the story takes a darker turn: you're knocked into the sea by a swinging boom, and left to flounder as your friend tries, and fails, to bring the boat around.

Sortie En Mer's forced perspective makes for a harrowing experience as you try to prolong the time before your...

Edit image text with this useful Chrome extension

Meme generation might never be the same again. Project Naptha is a browser extension that lets users select, copy, edit and translate text from any image — so long as it is under 30 degrees of rotation. The plug-in runs on the Stroke Width Transform algorithm Microsoft Research invented for text detection in natural scenes. It also provides the option of using Google's open-source OCR engine Tesseract when necessary. Project Naptha utilizes a...

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Syria speeds up chemical weapon handover days ahead of deadline

With its deadline closing in, Syria has significantly sped up the rate at which it's been handing over chemical weapons materials for destruction, having now delivered 86.5 percent of its declared stockpile to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Though Syria's deadline is this Sunday, it's been quickly speeding...

"This latest consignment is encouraging." Ahmet Üzümcü, OPCW director-general
  • Features


'Sleep startup' Casper dreams of overturning the mattress racket

"Buying a mattress is one of the worst consumer experiences in the world," says Philip Krim. Yet, few startups have really tried to improve it — perhaps because the mattress business isn’t exactly the sexiest industry around. Buying a mattress will never be like buying an iPhone. The archetypal smarmy mattress store salesman is nothing like an...

90 Seconds On The Verge

Why Nike is getting out of the wearable game

After great success with the release of the Grimace pogo stick and the Hamburglar jump rope, we are sad to announce that the McNugget Pedometer will end its run next week. While the team behind the device was and still is very proud of it, the...

Samsung's damages expert calls Apple's patents ‘negligible' in value

An Ivy League professor of economics and finance says Apple grossly miscalculated how much its patents are worth when compared with the billions it now wants from Samsung as part of the latest court battle between the two companies. She even used Apple's own accounting math for iOS releases to help drive home the idea that patents for particular features should cost just a few cents apiece.

Ford executive Mark Fields will reportedly succeed Alan Mullaly as CEO

The second-biggest automaker in America is getting ready for a changing of the guard: according to Bloomberg, Ford is preparing to name its Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields as its next CEO. Under the reported plan, current CEO Alan Mulally would step down before the end of the year despite Ford claiming late last year that he would stay on as CEO "through 2014."

This move comes just a few months after General Motors itself appointed Mary Barra as its new CEO, the first time a woman was...

AT&T considers creating real competition to Google Fiber

AT&T could get a lot more serious about rivaling Google Fiber. The service provider is beginning to investigate the potential for expanding its GigaPower internet service into up to 21 new major metropolitan areas, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. The announcement does not mean that all of these cities will definitely be seeing AT&T's one-gigabit-per-second fiber service in the near future though — instead, AT&T is only announcing that it will begin discussions with...

The first commercial drone test site is now operational

The first of six testing sites for commercial drones is officially operational. Today, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a site in North Dakota has been certified to begin tests with the Draganflyer X4ES, a roughly 3-foot-wide,...

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