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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — As of Thursday, early voting had begun in every one of the 33 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that offer it.

More than 12 million voters have so far cast their votes for the 2014 midterm elections, which is almost double the tally from last week. Why the big jump?

A lot of it has to do with more states getting into their in-person early voting periods, which is the preferred early-voting method for the majority of Democrats.

That also means some earlier Republican gains around the country are diminishing.

But with Thursday’s total early vote tally representing about 63 percent of the total 19 million early voters in the 2010 midterm cycle, there are still plenty of early vote returns we’ll see before Tuesday.

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Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Amanda Bynes has been released from the facility where she had been on a psychiatric hold, a source told ABC News.

The hearing officer believed that Bynes was stable enough that it did not make sense to hold her involuntarily, so he ended the 30-day hold that had been granted last week, the source said. With that, the former child star, whose mother was also recently granted conservatorship over her finances, was free to go.

Bynes, 28, was hospitalized earlier this month after displaying erratic behavior, including going on a worrisome Twitter rant against her father. The 72-hour hold was extended twice before it was reversed Thursday. She was photographed in Los Angeles Thursday night.

“My clients are very concerned about their daughter,” Tamar Arminak, the lawyer for the Bynes family, told ABC News in a statement just prior to Bynes’ hospitalization. “They are doing everything they can to help Amanda.”

Last summer, Bynes was also hospitalized and spent time in rehab before moving back in with her parents last winter. She enrolled in fashion school and things appeared to be improving for the actress until just recently.

In September, the actress was arrested for an alleged DUI, when authorities claim she stopped in the middle of an intersection. She has yet to enter a plea.

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Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — You may be looking forward to catching an extra hour of shut-eye this Sunday as most of the country prepares to roll their clocks back an hour for Daylight Saving Time, but have you ever wondered where time actually comes from?

ABC News/Yahoo! News ventured to the U.S. Naval Observatory in search of answers.

Situated atop a hill overlooking much of Washington, D.C., the observatory is perhaps best known as the home of the vice president’s mansion, but it is also home to the nation’s master clock.

Every time you turn on your cellphone or plug an address into your car’s GPS, you are actually communicating with the Naval Observatory.

“Everything is tied in to the master clock here,” Naval Observatory’s Public Affairs Officer Geoff Chester explained during a recent tour. “So, if you use anything that remotely touches GPS as a timing source, then you are essentially getting your time from us.”

Chester explained how the job of keeping the nation on time is a whole lot more complicated than counting up from “one-Mississippi.”

“We now use a particular frequency of an atom,” Chester said. “It’s essentially a microwave resent frequency, and a second is now defined as the interval of 9,192,631,770 hyperfine transitions of the ground state of a neutral caesium 133 atom.”

The 9,192,631,770 atomic intervals that measure a second is the basic building block of time as it is measured today.

In addition to watching the clock, the Naval Observatory has long played a role in keeping an eye on the sky. Chester showed ABC News/Yahoo! News a telescope that was built in 1893 to observe a particular type of star called “double stars,” which appear close to each other when seen from Earth.

“Double stars make up about two-thirds of the population of all the stars that you can see in the sky,” Chester said. “So, it’s very important for us to understand how these components of these double stars move relative to each other, so we can properly get our guidance sensors pointing at the right things.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the telescope, which is not computer-controlled as many modern ones are, has nothing to do with the operation of the telescope itself.

If you stand in the middle of the domed room that houses the telescope and look up, there is no apparent way to reach the telescope, which is elevated above at the ceiling’s height — until Chester hits a button and the entire floor begins to elevate to reach the telescope above.

“We believe this is the largest elevator in the city,” Chester said, as the floor made its ascent.

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Earlier this year, Kaley Cuoco was one of the stars whose nude photos were leaked to the Internet. Now, she’s advising others to put down their cameras.

“Don’t take naked photos. That would be a good start. How about that?” she told Extra. “Just don’t take pictures. I’ve now taken to Polaroid cameras, so I just carry a big Polaroid around my neck, self-aroid, that’s what I do now. No one can get those. Polaroid cameras, that’s the way to go.”

Cuoco, 28, added that some of the photos that appear to be of her are not.

“Just so everyone knows, a lot of those were not real,” she said. “A lot were completely fake, if you look closely!”

Last month, the Big Bang Theory star told Jimmy Kimmel that after the leak, she alerted her family about what happened and then tried to find humor in the situation. Ultimately, she decided to post a fake nude photo on her Instagram page.

“It was just a really bad situation but I took it in my own hands and make a joke about it because what are you gonna do?” she said. “You gotta make fun of yourself.”

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HBO(NEW YORK) — The cast of Game of Thrones is getting a huge pay raise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The main actors on the HBO series had only been signed on through season six of the show, but their contracts were renegotiated to include the option for a seventh. In exchange for the option, HBO is shelling out the big bucks.

According to the report, the so-called “A” tier actors are being paid the highest amount. That includes Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

The “B” tier actors — Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams — also secured raises at a lower salary level.

It wasn’t specified how much of a pay bump each cast member will be receiving.

Game of Thrones is currently filming its fifth season.

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HBO(NEW YORK) — The cast of Game of Thrones is getting a huge pay raise, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The main actors on the HBO series had only been signed on through season six of the show, but their contracts were renegotiated to include the option for a seventh. In exchange for the option, HBO is shelling out the big bucks.

According to the report, the so-called “A” tier actors are being paid the highest amount. That includes Kit Harrington, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

The “B” tier actors — Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams — also secured raises at a lower salary level.

It wasn’t specified how much of a pay bump each cast member will be receiving.

Game of Thrones is currently filming its fifth season.

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Lloyd Bishop/NBC(NEW YORK) — Saturday Night Live castmember Michael Che has been blasted on social media for Facebook posts he wrote in response to a viral video showing a woman being verbally harassed more than 100 times while walking down a New York City Street this past Tuesday.

The posts linked to Che’s account have been deleted, but Business Insider captured a screenshot of the Facebook post, in which the 31-year-old comedian likens catcalls to fans recognizing him from SNL.

“i wanna apologize to all the women that ive harrassed with statements like ‘hi’ or ‘have a nice day’ or ‘youre beautiful’. i cant imagine what that must feel like. the closest thing I’ve experienced is maybe when a girl recognizes me from tv and they say things like ‘AHHHH!! OH MY GOD!! SNL SNL SNL!! TAKE A PICTURE!! TAKE A PICTURE!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! WHATS YOUR NAME AGAIN?! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! WAIT SAY SOMETHING FUNNY!!’ but even that is nothing like the harrassment of having a complete stranger tell me to ‘smile,'” Che writes.

He followed that with a somewhat sarcastic apology for the comment: “i wanna apologize for my last apology. sometimes i forget that i belong to all of you now, and that any thought i have should be filtered through you, and receive ur approval. it’s tough, because i’m used to taking risks and finding humor in places of discomfort. but thats all over cause i have a job on tv. and if i say the wrong thing youll see to it that its taken away. so the next time i have a silly thought, ill giggle to myself, keep my mouth shut, & post a picture with my arm around a more famous person i met somewhere.”

Che defended his remarks on Twitter, writing, “i think some of u are misunderstanding that post. im simply just making fun of something that is important to a lot of people.”

The video that prompted Che’s posts has received over 20 million views.

Che co-anchors SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment.

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Despite playing on short rest on the road against a division opponent, the New Orleans Saints easily handled the Carolina Panthers, 28-10 on Thursday Night Football.

Quarterback Drew Brees and running back Mark Ingram led the way for New Orleans on Thursday. Brees completed 24 of 34 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ingram wound up carrying the ball 30 for 100 yards while also scoring two touchdowns.

The Saints still managed a win after playing on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers and then traveling to Charlotte for an early turnaround.

“The offensive line and tight end did a great job of hitting them, hitting them and hitting them,” Ingram said. “I think they started to wear down and we were able to get some leaky yards and some big gains.”

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled all night as he completed 10 of 28 passes for 151 yards an an interception.

With the win, the Saints improved to 4-4 on the season and are now in first place in the NFC South.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — The injuries are piling up fast for the Oklahoma City Thunder as All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook suffered a small fracture of the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook suffered the injury with 6:35 left in the second quarter and underwent X-rays at the Staples Center.

It is unknown just how long Westbrook will be out of action, but the typical recovery time for the injury is about 6-8 weeks.

Already without league MVP Kevin Durant and free agent acquisition Anthony Morrow, the Thunder, who were expected to be among the NBA’s best teams this season, find themselves without a couple of their best players for at least the next month of the season.

“It’s unfortunate the way it is right now, but we have to figure out how to get better from all of our experiences,” coach Scott Brooks said. “Good teams and good players bounce back from adversity, and our guys understand that.”

Westbrook is in his seventh season in the NBA, all with the Thunder. He’s averaged 20.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game since entering the league.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — The injuries are piling up fast for the Oklahoma City Thunder as All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook suffered a small fracture of the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook suffered the injury with 6:35 left in the second quarter and underwent X-rays at the Staples Center.

It is unknown just how long Westbrook will be out of action, but the typical recovery time for the injury is about 6-8 weeks.

Already without league MVP Kevin Durant and free agent acquisition Anthony Morrow, the Thunder, who were expected to be among the NBA’s best teams this season, find themselves without a couple of their best players for at least the next month of the season.

“It’s unfortunate the way it is right now, but we have to figure out how to get better from all of our experiences,” coach Scott Brooks said. “Good teams and good players bounce back from adversity, and our guys understand that.”

Westbrook is in his seventh season in the NBA, all with the Thunder. He’s averaged 20.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game since entering the league.

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