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Florida court sides with Expedia, Priceline, other travel companies in hotel tax battle

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 16:03

For years, a legal battle has been going on at the state level over how Expedia, Priceline and other online booking websites pay taxes. While local governments — which collect significant revenue from the hospitality industry — argue the final sale price should determine the amount paid, the companies say taxes should be based on the price paid to hotels for rooms.

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court sided with the companies. It ruled that third-party travel agencies do not have to pay taxes based on the resale rates of the hotel rooms.

See also: How to Save Money by Adding Vacation Time to Your Next Business Trip Read more...

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Sunny Indian ad with lesbian couple goes viral

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 16:02

A groundbreaking commercial in India portrays a relationship between two women that has swept the traditional country, where being gay could send a person to prison

Clothing brand Anouk Ethnic Wear's three-minute spot, called "The Visit," shows a live-in couple chatting casually and primping in preparation for a visit from one of the woman's parents

See also: The Caitlyn Jenner paradox: Are brands ready to talk about gender identity?

With flowing curtains and sunny windows, the ad feels like a scene out of everyday life and treads lightly around the pressures that surround a same-sex relationship in a culture of deep-seated social conservatism. Read more...

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The trailer for Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig's new Lifetime movie is so Lifetime it hurts

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:25

Cue the dramatic and slightly creepy music

Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig's "high-stakes dramatic thriller" for Lifetime, A Deadly Adoption, officially has a trailer

Inspired by a true story, the film finds the Saturday Night Live alums playing a successful couple "who house and care for a pregnant woman" ( Jessica Lowndes) "with the hope of adopting her unborn child."

Then things turn deadly. We assume

This is the same movie that was filmed in secrecy, then later scrapped after news of it accidentally leaked online. However, it was ultimately put back on the schedule — and thank God for that Read more...

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East Coast people are more likely to #hatetheirjobs

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:23

West coast, best coast — at least when it comes to being happy at work.

In a new report released on Wednesday, social technology company Brandwatch and jobs site Monster analyzed over 1.1 million tweets on career sentiment from March 2014 to March 2015 to figure out which workers across the country were the happiest with their careers.

And turns out workers on the West Coast were as sunny as California when it comes to their jobs — the top ten happiest states were concentrated out West

The only outliers for happiness were Maine and Arkansas. (Yes, Arkansas.)

See also: 3 Signs That It’s Time To Quit Your Job Read more...

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You'll be able to try and buy games without taking off your Oculus Rift

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:01

Oculus VR unveiled a storefront for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift on Thursday, allowing players to try and buy games without ever taking off the headset.

During the company's first press conference, Oculus Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell unveiled Oculus Home, a storefront for gaming that will activate "as soon as you put on the headset."

See also: Oculus VR unveils the version of Oculus Rift you'll actually buy

Once inside Oculus Home, users will be able to see their games library on the dashboard. Mitchell didn't elaborate how users would navigate around the dashboard, but the new Xbox One controller and upcoming Oculus Touch controllers are safe bets. Read more...

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4 things you need to know about the new season of 'Orange Is the New Black'

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 15:00

It's once again time to do some time at Litchfield Prison

Orange Is the New Black premieres its entire third season Friday at midnight PT in a moment that will, as always, unite night owls with the show's superfans. These people, at least in cast member Lea DeLaria's experience, waste no time consuming the episodes they've been served

See also: The new 'Orange Is the New Black' teaser is hot and Taystee

"What happens is all 50 million people that are watching it, watch it all at the same time," DeLaria says. "And they watch all of it."

50 million might not be exactly right, of course. That's actually the number of subscribers Netflix surpassed almost a year ago, with help from Orange Read more...

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The 'Mean Girls' mobile game will be so fetch

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:55

You will soon be able to sabotage Regina George without buying Swedish nutrition bars designed for weight gainMean Girls is getting its own choose-your-own-adventure mobile game

Mobile game designer firm Pocket Gems is reporting working with Paramount Pictures, according The Hollywood Reporter. You're out of luck if you're still using a pink Motorola Razr, though

See also: 12 Mean Girls Who Belong in History's 'Burn Book'

Pocket Gems' Jameel Khalfan told THR that the game will pick up after the movie, and what you wear, do and who you socialize with will affect the story — just like real high school. Do you dare find out what happens if you show up in sweatpants or aren't feeling the whole pink thing when Wednesday rolls around? Read more...

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The global warming conference where skeptics think they're winning the debate

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:30

For two days this week, there is a place in Washington where down is up, and up is down. A place where the globe isn’t warming due to manmade emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but where evil government-funded scientists are cooking the books to obtain more research grants

It's a gathering where fossil fuels aren't something to be phased out, as G7 leaders decided to do this week, but rather something to be expanded in order to fight poverty

This is the morally correct thing to do, advocates say.

You’ve come to the annual International Climate Change Conference, which this year runs Thursday and Friday, just steps from Capitol Hill. Read more...

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Oculus Rift will ship with Xbox One controller

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:23

The Oculus Rift is officially an Xbox device. Sort of.

When consumer versions of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset ship in early 2016, they'll include an Xbox One wireless controller and PC adapter inside the box. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe confirmed the news at the VR maker's pre-E3 reveal in San Francisco on Thursday.

See also: E3 2015 has more press reveals than ever, but what will we see?

The Xbox One controller bundle is part of a broader partnership with Microsoft that includes some unexpected Windows 10 integration. The Oculus takes advantage of the upcoming operating system's native support for game streaming from Xbox One consoles. Read more...

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The Reddit revolt begins: Users push back against community crackdown

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:22

The battle over one of the last prominent bastions of unfettered free speech on the Internet has begun

For months, Reddit's top leadership have toughened their rhetoric and policies to push back against harassment on the social news site. On Wednesday afternoon, the execs finally took action to make good on that by removing five offensive subreddits, or custom Reddit communities, for abusive behavior. The bans were the first for behavior reasons (as opposed to spam) under interim CEO Ellen Pao, but almost certainly not the last

See also: Reddit bans toxic communities in biggest-ever crackdown on hate speech Read more...

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Pornhub wants to make a sex tape in space. Can they do it?

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:14

Pornhub just launched a crowdfunding campaign asking fans of their wares to help send two porn stars to outer space to, well, do what they do best

But before you run off to donate your life's savings to the cause, there are a few things to keep in mind

Pornhub, which is partnering with the adult studio Digital Playground to make the movie, hopes to release the finished cosmic sex tape by 2016. They plan to send two porn stars — Eva Lovia and Johnny Sins — to suborbital space with a six-person crew to boldly shoot a pornographic movie where one has (probably) never been shot before

The plan is generally light on the details, however. Pornhub is being cagey on which commercial spaceflight company will fly the cast and crew to space for the filming Read more...

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Oculus has figured out hand input for VR, and it's called Oculus Touch

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:02

While the consumer version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will come with an Xbox One controller and wireless adapter right in the box, the future of VR controls will involve Oculus Touch, two controllers that fit in each hand.

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey unveiled a prototype of the Oculus Touch "Half Moon" controllers at the company's "Step into the Rift" event in San Francisco on Thursday.

See also: Oculus VR unveils the version of Oculus Rift you'll actually buy

Oculus Touch will give VR users the ability to have "hand presence" Luckey said. With Touch, users will be able to manipulate objects, kind of like how Sony's Project Morpheus VR headset uses PlayStation Move controllers to do the same. Read more...

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'Einstein ring' reveals mysterious birth of a star

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:00

The mysteries of star formation in a distant galaxy have been revealed in unprecedented detail, thanks to the twisting and bending of light by gravity.

By pairing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile with a natural phenomenon known as gravitational lensing, scientists have probed the details of a galaxy 11.4 light-years away with remarkable precision and, in the process, have learned details about its structure, contents, motion and other physical characteristics. ALMA scientists also created a video of the so-called "Einstein ring's" magnifying effect.

SEE ALSO: 65 amazing galaxy images

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Google's latest project: Improving city life

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:59

Google's products are designed with the goal of improving your digital life, but the company now wants to help city dwellers IRL with Sidewalk Labs.

In a Google+ post Wednesday, Google CEO Larry Page announced the formation of Sidewalk Labs, which has the lofty goal of trying to make city life better for all. A press release on Sidewalk Labs' website described itself as an "urban innovation company" with a "focus on improving city life for residents, businesses and governments."

See also: How the Internet of Things is affecting urban design

Heading up Sidewalk Labs will be Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg LP and former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding in New York City. Doctoroff was also a Managing Partner at a private equity firm and one of the leaders of New York's failed 2012 Olympics bid. Read more...

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Germanwings pilot who flew passenger jet into the Alps 'feared going blind'

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:51

PARIS — The co-pilot who crashed a Germanwings jet into the Alps feared that he was losing his eyesight, and some of the many doctors he consulted felt he was unfit to fly, a French prosecutor said Thursday.

The doctors didn't report their concerns to Andreas Lubitz's employers, however, because of German patient privacy laws, Marseille Prosecutor Brice Robin told reporters in Paris.

See also: The problem isn't if the Germanwings pilot had a mental illness, it's why he hid it

Robin met with families of victims Thursday and updated reporters on the status of the investigation into the March 24 crash, which killed all 150 people aboard. Families are just starting to receive remains of their loved ones and will start holding burials in the coming days and weeks. Read more...

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Maggie Gyllenhaal was told she wasn't 'sexy enough' to get movie roles

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:47

First too old and now not sexy enough? Color us unimpressed by Hollywood

After a revealing interview in which Maggie Gyllenhaal shared how she was rejected from a movie for being too old at 37 to play opposite a 55-year-old male lead, she is now discussing the hardships she faced as a young actress

See also: 16 honest quotes about body image from famous women

Gyllenhaal told The Hollywood Reporter in a roundtable discussion that she often received feedback from casting agents and managers that she wasn't "sexy enough" to get roles — even for terrible movies. It should be noted here Gyllenhaal is an Oscar-nominated actress, so it definitely wasn't her acting chops Read more...

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Taylor Swift may have donated $15,000 to help family injured in car crash

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:41

Taylor Swift is obscenely rich and loves surprising fans, a combination that makes her the perfect mysterious benefactor

So when a $15,000 donation from "Taylor Swift" showed up on the GoFundMe campaign to pay the medical bills of a mother and son injured in a car crash, it seemed likely that the singer herself was behind it.

See also: 25 Standout Taylor Swift Lyrics From '1989' Plastered on Polaroid Pictures

Aaron Van Riper, a volunteer firefighter from Huntsville, Texas, responded to a head-on-collision only to find that his wife Amber and son Bear were the victims, according to ABC13. Amber and Bear were air rushed to Memorial Herman hospital in Houston for emergency surgery. Read more...

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Oculus VR unveils consumer version of Oculus Rift headset

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:26

Oculus finally debuted the long-awaited consumer version of Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset, at a media event in San Francisco on Thursday

"For the first time we’ll finally be on the inside of the game," Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said onstage. "Gamers have been dreaming of this. We’ve all been dreaming of this for decades."

See also: Lonely hedgehog just wants a hug in Oculus Rift's new VR movie

Iribe gave a broad overview of the headset, which includes custom display and optics, constellation tracking for accurately tracking eye movements, integrated audio via headset, and advanced ergonomics. The device is scheduled to hit first quarter of 2016. Read more...

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6 Christopher Lee quotes that prove he was a true artist

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:24

Throughout his career, the late Christopher Lee played a variety of characters, including Count Dracula and Saruman in The Lord of the Rings, but he should also be remembered for his insightful views on the world of acting.

Although the British actor was most famous for his roles in fantasy movies, he had many other passions, including metal and opera music.

See also: How Christopher Lee landed his iconic 'Lord of the Rings' role

To honor the iconic actor and his celebrated career, we've compiled some of Lee's most memorable quotes, which prove he was a true artist who cared deeply for his craft Read more...

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Goodbye, Christopher Lee, who opened up worlds of terror and magic

Mashable - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 13:23

Christopher Lee was terrifying.

When I was just a preteen, my parents handed me a collection of horror film books. I was obsessed with monster movies. Not the kind of slasher and gotcha films popular today, but real monster films like Frankenstein, The Werewolf, Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. I loved them because they were creepy, even outright terrifying, and because of the way average-looking actors were transformed into my worst nightmares using movie magic.

See also: How Christopher Lee landed his iconic 'Lord of the Rings' role

Lee, who died on Sunday morning at 93, was not exactly average-looking. Unlike Bela Lugosi *who, in real life, had all the sex appeal of his name), Lee had movie star good looks. Read more...

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