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All-Star Lame
July 7, 2014
Al Bello/Getty Images

The 2014 All-Star Game lineups are out, and as always, the fans made some terrible choices. The most glaring inclusion this year: Catcher Matt Wieters, who hasn't played a game in two months and is out for the season. But the next most glaring inclusion: Derek Jeter.

Yes, this is Jeter's farewell season, and even absent that he probably would have gotten in on name recognition alone. But per WAR, Jeter has been only the 20th best shortstop in baseball this year; even limiting it to just the American League, he ranks 11th. In a range of other offensive metrics, Jeter ranks at or near the bottom of that list, too, and he's on pace to have his worst full season ever.

Jeter is in the All-Star Game because he feels like an All-Star to most fans. This year, though, he hasn't proven he deserves the nod. Jon Terbush

Squares
3:26 a.m. ET

Haters of square photos, your long nightmare is over. On Thursday, Instagram announced that users of its iOS and Android apps will finally be able to post photos and videos in landscape and portrait orientations.

Love the squares? Don't worry. "Square format has been and always will be part of who we are," Instagram said in a blog post. "That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to." You can download the new versions of Instagram, with the new format button, right now.

Why could you only share square photos earlier? "The story we've heard is it looked beautiful, and it looked really nice in feed when they were mocking it up," Ashley Yuki, the Instagram Product Manager who pushed through the new options, tells TechCrunch. Now you know. Peter Weber

Your Daily Science Lesson
2:55 a.m. ET

Starting about 542 million years ago, a huge diversity of new animals appeared in the Earth's oceans, continuing over a 20 million year stretch known as the Cambrian Period. "The Cambrian explosion was really biology's Big Bang," Andrew Parker, a professor of life science at London's Natural History Museum, tells The Economist in the video below. "Life literally exploded." And nobody is quite sure why.

In just under 11 minutes, The Economist provides a crash course on the Cambrian explosion, talking to Parker and two other experts in the field, trying out different theories: A sharp increase in oxygen levels in the water, new nutrients from melting glaciers, evolutionary innovation in nervous systems and vision, the rise of more capable predators, perhaps some catastrophic explosion that wiped out the shell-less creatures who lived before. But "from the human point of view," The Economist notes, "the significance of the Cambrian explosion is that homo sapiens wouldn't be here if it hadn't happened." If you're curious, watch the video below. Peter Weber

a date with destiny
2:11 a.m. ET

In Idaho, investigators are still on the hunt for an enamored teen who used a cliffside to ask a girl on a date.

Sometime in May, the unknown vandal scribbled, "Destiny, Prom?" in huge letters on the Black Cliffs climbing area outside of Boise. Destiny may have thought this was a sweet gesture, but the authorities aren't swooning. "Whoever did this did a lot of damage aesthetically and culturally," Patrick Orr, spokesman for the Ada County Sheriff's Office, told KBOI.

Deputies decided to try to nab the mysterious vandal by finding Destiny. They have interviewed over a dozen girls with the name and checked a few leads, but none have panned out. Investigators say they are hopeful that with school being back in session, they'll get a break in the case. If the enigmatic delinquent is ever found, they could face a misdemeanor charge of injury by graffiti, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Destiny, if you're reading this, turn him in. Vandal, if you're reading this, Google "ways to ask a girl to prom without destroying nature in the process." Catherine Garcia

What happens in Vegas...
1:11 a.m. ET
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A spokesman for the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas said on Thursday that earlier in the week, two men jumped into an outdoor canal on the property and had to be rescued because they could not swim.

On Monday morning, two men were spotted on surveillance cameras jumping over the fence that surrounds the canal, Reuters reports. The hotel offers gondola rides in the area, which is based on the Grand Canal in Venice, but the gondolas were not in operation at the time. The men were rescued and taken to a local hospital in critical condition. Authorities did not give an update on their condition, and said they are not sure why the men jumped into the canal. Catherine Garcia

ISIS
1:11 a.m. ET

Junaid Hussain, a 21-year-old British citizen, was one of Islamic State's secret weapons, a convicted hacker who fled to Syria in 2013 while awaiting trial in England, then took a leading role in ISIS's efforts to recruit members online, hack into U.S. military sites, and beef up the group's cybersecurity. He was killed Tuesday in a drone strike on his car outside Raqqa, Syria, U.S. officials told The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

British and U.S. officials decided a few months ago that Hussain and other British nationals who had prominent roles in ISIS should be captured or killed. Using the online nom de guerre Abu Hussain al-Britaini, Hussein was linked to a thwarted plot to bomb a parade in London, encouraging the two gunmen who died shooting up a cartoon-drawing contest outside Dallas, and efforts to hack into military sites and the social media accounts of U.S. service members, publishing their personal information online to target them for attacks.

Hussein is also believed to have convinced ISIS leaders to stop communicating through non-secure networks, making it harder for Western intelligence to track and monitor them. He "was an irritant that had developed a worrying edge," Raffaello Pantucci of London's Royal United Services Institute told The New York Times. "Undoubtedly his online skills will be missed by the group... but it is unlikely to dramatically change the pattern of dangerous plots emanating from the group."

ISIS hasn't confirmed Hussein's death, but condolences started showing up Thursday on Twitter from ISIS supporters. Hussein was married to Sally Jones, 45, a former punk rocker whom he met online. Peter Weber

RIP
12:40 a.m. ET

Retired Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first black Marine Corps aviator and officer promoted to brigadier general, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Petersen was born March 2, 1932, in Topeka, Kansas. After serving two years in the Navy, Petersen was commissioned in the Marine Corps. He flew more than 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 military aircraft hours, and received the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

Petersen's wife, Alicia, said that her husband didn't see himself as a trailblazer, but he did work toward equality in the Marine Corps. "He was a man who had very strong character, strong goals, and a lot of determination to achieve what he wanted to do," she told the Topeka Capital-Journal. "And very early on he decided that he wanted to be a pilot." In 1979, he was promoted to brigadier general, and in 2010, was appointed by President Obama to the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy. Petersen is survived by his wife, five children, one grandson, and three great-grandchildren. In the video below, Petersen describes what it was like to be in the military during the 1950s, and the obstacles he faced. Catherine Garcia

fighting the drought
August 27, 2015
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In July, California cut its water use by 31.3 percent, exceeding a goal of 25 percent set by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in April.

Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco were among the cities that saved the most, and Beverly Hills was at the bottom of the list. "San Francisco is achieving 17 percent of cumulative savings, and that's a real success story," said Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager at the State Water Board Office of Research, Planning, and Performance. He told Al Jazeera other cities should take a look at its "edgy, some might even call R-rated" public awareness campaign, with slogans that include "Nozzle Your Hose: Limit outdoor watering" and "Gardens Gone Wild: Use native, water-efficient plants."

Education about the drought is one factor in the push to conserve water, and peer pressure is another. When people see their neighbors letting their lawns go brown, it shows that they are "taking action," says Jon Christensen of the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability. "It really makes a difference." Catherine Garcia

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