This is a big deal
March 13, 2014
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There's a reason — a really, really good reason — that natural gas companies add a rotten-egg smell to their otherwise odorless product: Gas leaks are dangerous, and the best way to find them is with your nose. Wednesday's huge gas-leak explosion in New York City, which leveled two buildings and killed at least six people, is a sad reminder of that danger.

Digg's Josh Petri has taken the occasion to remind everyone that if you smell gas in your home, open the windows and leave, immediately. Smell isn't the only way to detect a leak — a hissing sound, dead houseplants, or bubbles in flooded areas are also red flags — but it's the most obvious one. Don't let the jocular tone of Petri's article dissuade you from reading about the dangers and aging infrastructure of natural gas delivery. Almost as important as the advice to leave your home and call the utility company (or 911), though, is Petri's list of what not to do if you smell gas:

Do not, under any circumstances:

• Flip any switches

• Unplug or plug in any electronics

• Use a telephone

• Start your car

• Use an open flame [Digg]

Most deadly gas explosions aren't as dramatic as the ones in Harlem, but they happen all over the country, and they kill people. Be safe. Peter Weber

Britain Votes
5:02 a.m. ET
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Polls are open for Britain's national election, and neither Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party nor the Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband, is expected to win a majority of the 650 seats in Parliament. Not only have the polls been tight and fluctuating, but other parties are expected to fracture the vote: Liberal-leaning Scotland is expected to vote heavily for the Scottish National Party, and the populist conservative U.K. Independence Party is polling in third place.

Political gambling sites basically have the odds at 50-50 on whether Cameron or Miliband will be the next prime minister, Justin Wolfers says at The New York Times, adding, "I can recall very few elections where the bookies couldn't pick a favorite by election eve." The stakes are big, and not just for Cameron and Miliband and their respective parties: Bettors have put down more than $150 million on the outcome of the election. The polls close at 10 p.m. in Britain (5 p.m. EDT). Peter Weber

Watch this
4:31 a.m. ET

When Norah Jones made her debut on the Late Show 13 years ago, she played her hit "Don't Know Why," David Letterman noted on Wednesday's show. He had her back to sing the same song, and she did, just piano and guitar. This version is slower, almost meditative, befitting the end of a show and an era of late-night TV. "Every night," Letterman said after the performance. "We could have that every night." In Letterman's case, that would only be nine more shows. —Peter Weber

The Daily Showdown
4:01 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton celebrated Cinco de Mayo but unambiguously embracing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. On Wednesday's Daily Show, Senior Latino Correspondent Al Madrigal was underwhelmed by Clinton's "solid opening offer" to Latinos. Democrats have to do more than pander, he said, "especially since Republicans finally have a candidate Latinos can call their own."

When Jon Stewart tried to correct him, pointing out that Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both Latinos, Madrigal scoffed. "I guess those guys are technically Latinos," he said, but not really. That's partly because they "threw away a path to citizenship for a path to the White House," Madrigal added, "but mainly because they're Cuban, really a small and, I've got to be honest, a snooty subset — they're like the WASPs of the Latino world."

No, Madrigal said, the Republican who speaks Spanish, "literally married into the demographic" with his Mexican wife, and pronounces guacamole correctly is Jeb (pronounced "yeb"), "or as we call him, El Jebe." Watch Madrigal make his case below. —Peter Weber

happy birthday!
2:03 a.m. ET

At 108, Richard Overton is the oldest living World War II veteran, and he doesn't bother trying to figure out the secret to his longevity.

"That's what God only knows," he told ABC News. "That's God's work. He's the one who keeps me living." The Austin, Texas, resident turns 109 on Monday, but he's been celebrating with family and friends in the days leading up to the milestone: On Sunday, about 100 people, including Mayor Steve Adler, came out to celebrate at his "Mighty Fine at 109" party. "I feel like I've made it," he said. "I know I can't make another 109, so I'm satisfied with this one."

Overton smokes 12 cigars a day — he says he started at 18 — and has outlived two wives. While he doesn't have any children, he never feels like he's missing out. "I have a lot of family," he said. “The biggest family in Austin." Catherine Garcia

The future is now
2:00 a.m. ET

Self-driving vehicles aren't limited to sedans. On Tuesday, Daimler Trucks unveiled the Freightliner Inspiration, the first autonomous commercial truck given permission to drive on public roads, in this case, Nevada highways. At Tuesday's unveiling ceremony, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) ceremonially gave Daimler its special permit to test its self-driving big rig on public roads around Las Vegas. On Wednesday, Daimler gave test-rides to the media. Here is The Associated Press' report:

Daimler says that the Inspiration, when it hits the market, will still require a driver to be behind the wheel, even if he or she isn't touching it. The 18-wheeler can't change lanes on its own yet, for instance. The advantage of semi-autonomous trucks is supposed to be safety and fuel efficiency, but they won't be viable until more than four states and Washington, D.C., allow self-driving vehicles on their roads. Peter Weber

i'm not lovin' it
1:30 a.m. ET

When we last saw the Hamburglar, he was a husky, red-headed cartoon criminal who liked to wear prison attire. Now? He's an actual man who looks like a cross between Inspector Gadget and a bandit who bought his wardrobe at a Party City fire sale.

It's been 13 years since the Hamburglar made his last official appearance in a McDonalds ad, and the company thought his return was overdue. "We felt it was time to debut a new look for the Hamburglar after he's been out of the public eye all these years," Joel Yashinsky, vice president of U.S. marketing for McDonalds, told Mashable. "He's had some time to grow up a bit and has been busy raising a family in the suburbs and his look has evolved over time." The Hamburglar is already shilling the new Sirloin Third Pound Burger online, and will soon show up in TV spots. It remains to be seen if McDonalds will clue us in to why he's decided to return to a life of crime. Catherine Garcia

1:18 a.m. ET

"The 2016 presidential election is already such a big story, get this, TBS is making a made-for-TV movie about it," Conan O'Brien said on his eponymous TBS show. They aren't, of course, but he needed some sort of set-up for his dream cast for the field of 2016 candidates. Conan's biggest laugh was David Spade as Hillary Clinton, but all the real and potential presidential wannabes got the treatment, with a little time travel, gender-bending, and other wistful machinations employed. Some of the casting is dead on — Mike Huckabee, say — and other picks border on mean (poor Bernie Sanders), but most are pretty funny. Watch below. —Peter Weber

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