I was so busy helping the BGR Deals team during Black Friday and Cyber Week this year that I didn’t actually get the chance to do any holiday shopping for myself. Luckily, the deals out there right now from top retailers are just as good as even the best bargains we saw during this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Week blowouts. Examples of some of the hottest deals out there today include up to $30 off Apple AirPods 2, an Echo Dot bundled with a month of Amazon Unlimited Music for just $8.98, a $30 credit when you buy a Nintendo Switch and use the promo code D3E2CDJ6GB6S at checkout, the best Ring Doorbell bundle deals we’ve ever seen (like a free Echo Sho 5 when you buy a $250 Ring Video Doorbell Pro for $229), discounted Philips Hue LED smart bulbs, Black Friday pricing on Samsung microSD cards, the best prices on Bose headphones and speakers including the first discount ever on the Bose 700 wireless ANC headphones, $300 off Apple’s MacBook Air, and so much more.
Most people seem to agree that Amazon has the best deals around right now, and you’ll find plenty of examples in the company’s holiday 2019 deals hub. But Amazon obviously isn’t the only big online retailer offering killer deals today. In fact, some of the sales right now in Walmart’s big “Daily Deal Drop” sale are just as good as sales we saw on Black Friday 2019! You can shop the entire sale right here on the Walmart website, and you’ll find our choices for the 10 best deals of the day on Wednesday below.
Nintendo Switch Bundle with Mario Red Joy-Con, $20 Nintendo eShop Credit
- Nintendo Switch console (Battery life approx. 4.5 – 9 hours)
- Nintendo Switch dock
- Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R)
- Two Joy-Con strap accessories
- One Joy-Con grip
- HDMI cable
- Nintendo Switch AC adapter
- Mario & Bowser Edition Carrying Case
- Free $20 Nintendo eShop Credit
Nintendo Switch Bundle with Mario Red Joy-Con, $20 Nintendo eShop Credit: $299.00
(get $30 instead of $20 on Amazon)
Apple AirPods 2
- Automatically on, automatically connected
- Easy setup for all your apple devices(2)
- Quick access to Siri by saying “Hey Siri”
- Double-tap to play or skip forward
- New Apple H1 headphone clip delivers faster wireless connection to your devices
- Charges quickly in the case
- Case can be charged using the lightning connector
- Rich, high-quality audio and voice
- Seamless switching between devices
- Listen and talk all day with multiple charges from the Charging Case(3).
- Condition : New
KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
· 3.5 Quart Glass Bowl to mix up to 5 dozen cookies in a single batch. Dishwasher-safe. · Turn your stand mixer into the culinary center of your kitchen. With over 10 different attachments available, you can make everything from fresh pasta to burgers, veggie noodles and more. · Flex edge beater improves ingredient incorporation by scraping the bowl sides while mixing · Soft Start® helps to avoid ingredient splash and flour puff by starting at a lower speed · Tilt-Head Design for clear access to the bowl to easily add ingredients · Model KSM3306 includes (1) Flex Edge Beater, (1) Dough Hook, (1) Wire Whip Mini Mixer. Powerful Performance. The Artisan® Mini Design Series tilt-head stand mixer makes up to five dozen cookies, a loaf of bread, batch of gucamole or pulled pork and so much more, in a single batch, with the same power as the full size KitchenAid® tilt-head Stand Mixers while being 20% smaller, 25% lighter. KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Design Series compared to the full size KitchenAid® tilt head Stand Mixers. This stand mixer includes the Flex Edge Beater which improves ingredient incorporation by scraping the sides of the bowl during the mixing process.Turn your stand mixer into the culinary center of your kitchen. With over ten different attachments available*, you can make everything from fresh pasta to burgers, veggie noodles and more. *sold separately.
KitchenAid Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer: $179.00 (reg. $259.00)
MOTILE 14″ Performance Laptop
- MOTILE Performance Laptop
- 14” FHD
- AMD Ryzen 5 with Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
- 8GB Memory
- 256GB Storage
- Front IR Camera
- Rose Gold
- THX® Spatial Audio
- Tuned by THXTM display
- 720p IR Webcam
- 1 x USB-C
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x USB 2.0
- 1 x HDMI Port
- 1 x Ethernet Port
- 3.5mm Headphone jack
- Weight: 2.55 lbs
MOTILE 14″ Performance Laptop: $299.00 (reg. $699.00)
RCA Galileo Pro 11.5″ 32GB 2-in-1 Tablet with Keyboard Case
- 1.3GHz quad-core processor
- 1GB DDR of system memory
- 11.5″ touchscreen, 1024 x 600 resolution, virtual keyboard with Swype
- Built-in 802.11 WiFi and Bluetooth v4.0
- Rear 2MP camera and front 1MP webcam with microphone, auto-focus and digital zoom
- microUSB 2.0 port, miniHDMI port, USB 2.0 port, headphone jack, microphone jack
- 32GB onboard storage memory, additional memory via microSD card slot
- Built-in speaker
- Up to 6 hours of battery life on a single charge
- Weighs 1.65 lbs; 11.81″ x 0.43″ x 7.28″ dimensions
Software and Applications:
- Android 6.0 OS (Marshmallow)
- Google Play (for applications)
- Android Music Player
- Media Formats: popular media formats
What’s in the Box:
- Tablet and AC adapter
- Detachable keyboard
RCA Galileo Pro 11.5″ 32GB 2-in-1 Tablet with Keyboard Case: $79.99 (reg. $179.99)
Hover-1 Pioneer Electric Folding Scooter
It’s time to rock ‘n’ ride with a sleek new scooter! Unfold the HOVER-1 Pioneer electric scooter, charge it up and marvel at its slick design and eye-catching LED display. Even if you’ve never ridden a scooter, you will instantly love it. A scooter with air-filled tires this big is super easy to balance and is great for all sorts of adventures. Whether you’re taking a stroll around the neighborhood, heading to work in the city or enjoying a nice day in the park, this is the scooter for you! You can cruise up to 16 miles at a max speed of 14 mph. What’re you waiting for? The time is now, it’s fun for the whole family! Hover-1 Pioneer Electric Folding Scooter, Black with 8.5” Air-Filled Tires, LED Headlight, Digital Display, Electronic throttle, 14 MPH Max Speed, 264 lbs. Max Weight:• 16 miles max range• 14 mph max speed• 264 lbs. max load• 8.5” tires on board• Digital Display• Cruise Control• LED Headlight• 30 Cell Lithium Ion Battery• Foldable for easy storage• Air-filled smooth ride tires• Electric throttle and hand operated brake
Hover-1 Pioneer Electric Folding Scooter: $198.00 (reg. $348.00)
Mongoose Excursion Mountain Bike
- Steel mountain frame with suspension fork to smooth bumps and increase control on the trail.
- 21-speed with twist shifters and Shimano rear derailleur for precise gear changes.
- Front disc and rear V-brakes provide fast, controlled stops.
- Alloy rims provide lightweight durability, while the 3-piece crank makes for a reliable power train.
- 24-inch wheel fits riders 4’8” to 5’6”. This bike comes unassembled.
Mongoose Excursion Mountain Bike: $98.00 (reg. $148.00)
Hoover WindTunnel 2 Rewind Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum
- WindTunnel® 2 Technology -WindTunnel® 2 Technology creates two channels of suction to lift and remove surface debris and deep down embedded dirt. Vacuums without WindTunnel® Technology rely on only one channel of suction.
- Automatic Cord Rewind – retracts the cord in seconds.
- Reusable Easy Rinse Filter -Regularly rinse the filter under running water for long-lasting use.
- Convenient Bottom-Release Cup – Hold cup over a trash receptacle and empty debris with the push of a button, without getting your hands dirty.
- Dual-Cyclonic – Air passes through not one, but two cyclonic stages to filter dirt and debris from the air path; no loss of suction.*
- Carbon & HEPA Media – Filter made with HEPA media and an odor-absorbing carbon layer. HEPA media traps 99.97% of dirt, dust, and pollens down to 0.3 microns.
- Rubberized Pet Tool Pack – to help remove stubborn pet hair and get into hard to reach places.
Hoover WindTunnel 2 Rewind Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum: $69.00 ($169.00)
Sceptre 50″ Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) LED TV
- Screen Size (Diag.): 49.5″
- Backlight Type: LED
- Resolution: 2160p
- Effective Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- Smart Functionality: no
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 15,000:1
- Viewable Angle (H/V): 178 degrees/178 degrees
- Number of Colors: 1.07 B
- OSD Language: English, Spanish, French
- Speakers/Power Output: 10W x 2
Sceptre 50″ Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) LED TV: $189.99 (reg. $389.99)
VIZIO 55″ Class M-Series Quantum 4K Ultra HD (2160p) HDR Smart TV
- Online Only
- 10 Local Dimming Zones VIZIO’s powerful full array local dimming technology intelligently adjusts the backlight to match what’s on the screen, resulting in deep black levels with striking detail and contrast.
- 4K Ultra HD With over 8 million pixels — 4 times the resolution of 1080p — enjoy every scene in breathtaking detail.
- SmartCast™ 3.0 Finding great content and streaming high-quality 4K HDR video is incredibly easy with SmartCast Home. Browse favorites like Netflix and Hulu right on the TV using the included remote or SmartCast Mobile™ app on your phone or tablet.
- Works with Apple AirPlay Use your iPhone, iPad or Mac to stream movies, shows, music, and photos from iTunes, Apple TV, and other AirPlay-compatible apps to the TV. You can also wirelessly mirror content such as web pages and presentations from your iOS device or Mac to the big screen.
- Works with Apple HomeKit Control your TV using the Apple Home app or Siri on your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Simply add this TV to the Home app and include in scenes or automations like any other HomeKit accessory. Use Siri on your iPhone or iPad to turn the TV on or off, control the volume and switch inputs – you can even use Siri to play movies, TV shows or music.
- Chromecast Built-In With Chromecast built-in, the M-Series™ Quantum offers thousands of streaming apps and the ability to display anything from your phone or Google Chrome browser on the big screen.
- Hands-Free Voice Control The M-Series™ Quantum is a perfect smart home companion with support for popular smart home voice ecosystems like Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- VIZIO WatchFree™ Enjoy free & unlimited TV from over 150 channels – news, sports, movies, TV shows, music, and the best of the internet. No fees, subscriptions or logins.
- Clear Action™ 180 Enjoy fast action sports and movies with superior motion clarity using powerful image processing and a blazing 120Hz effective refresh rate achieved with backlight scanning.
- Laptop screen mirroring Whether it’s browsing a website or giving a presentation, you can easily stream from your phone, tablet or laptop to the M-Series with Chromecast built-in.
- Octa-Core Processor The processor is the brain of your TV, and a high-powered processor means less lag in smart home apps or while switching activities.
- 3 UHD/HDR-Ready HDMI Ports Supporting the latest HDMI standards, the M-Series™ allows you to connect to 4K Blu-Ray players, game consoles, and more.
- DTS Studio Sound II Advanced virtual surround sound audio from the TV’s two built-in speakers.
- USB Multimedia Play photos, music, and video right on the big screen using the built-in USB port.
- Quick Start Mode Enable Quick Start Mode to turn your TV on automatically with a simple voice command or tap of the Cast button. Enabling Quick Start Mode will change the energy consumption required to operate this TV.
- Cinemawide® Black Bar Detection Movie Nights just got better! This VIZIO SmartCast TV automatically detects ultra-wide 21:9 movie content and dims the backlight in the top and bottom black bars to achieve deep black levels delivering a more authentic movie watching experience.
VIZIO 55″ Class M-Series Quantum 4K Ultra HD (2160p) HDR Smart TV: $378.00 (reg. $498.00)
Fossil discovery shows how ancient ‘hell ants’ hunted with metal headgear
A new fossil discovery shows how ancient ‘hell ants’ hunted with metal headgear and vertically-grasping pincers.
The 99-million-year-old amber fossil has pristinely preserved the hellish predator as it embraced its unsuspecting final victim, an ancient relative of the cockroach.
The ancient encounter recovered from Myanmar, offers a detailed glimpse at how the prehistoric hell ants once used their killer features to exterminate prey.
It also reveals vital information about how the evolutionary process enabled the ants to accrue their remarkable killing kits.
Perhaps at the pinnacle of its hellish armoury were deadly, scythe-like mandibles which operated in a vertical motion to pin prey against their long horns.
Among the recently-identified ants is a species named Linguamyrmex vladi, or ‘Vlad the Impaler’ by Dr Phillip Barden and his colleagues in 2017.
The 16 species of hell ants evolved their jaw dropping head and mouth weaponry in an integrated process helping them to trap their ancient prey, without hurting themselves.
The researchers say the earliest hell ant ancestors would have first gained the ability to move their mouthparts vertically.
This, in turn, would integrate the mouthparts and head in a way that was unique to this extinct lineage.
Dr Barden, of New Jersey Institute of Technology, US, said: ‘Integration is a powerful shaping force in evolutionary biology… when anatomical parts function together for the first time, this opens up new evolutionary trajectories as the two features evolve in concert.’
He added: ‘The consequences of this innovation in mouthpart movement with the hell ants are remarkable.’
Vlad the Impaler, discovered by Barden and colleagues in 2017, was thought to have used a metal-reinforced horn on its head to impale prey — a trait potentially used to feed on the internal liquid (hemolymph) of insects.
He continued: ‘While no modern ants have horns of any kind, some species of hell ant possess horns coated with serrated teeth, and others like Vlad are suspected to have reinforced its horn with metal to prevent its own bite from impaling itself.’
Researchers say the rare fossil demonstrating the hell ant’s feeding mode offers a possible explanation for its unusual morphology.
They also said the finding highlights a key difference between some of the earliest ant relatives and their modern counterparts, which all feature mouthparts that grasp laterally.
The hell ant lineage are suspected to have vanished along with many other early ant groups during periods of ecological change around 65 million years ago.
Dr Barden added: ‘Fossilised behaviour is exceedingly rare, predation especially so.
‘As palaeontologists, we speculate about the function of ancient adaptations using available evidence, but to see an extinct predator caught in the act of capturing its prey is invaluable.’
‘This fossilised predation confirms our hypothesis for how hell ant mouthparts worked
‘The only way for prey to be captured in such an arrangement is for the ant mouthparts to move up and downward in a direction unlike that of all living ants and nearly all insects.’
Since the first hell ant was unearthed about a hundred years ago, it’s been a mystery to biologists as to why these extinct animals are so distinct from today’s ants.
Dr Barden said: ‘This fossil reveals the mechanism behind what we might call an ‘evolutionary experiment,’ and although we see numerous such experiments in the fossil record, we often don’t have a clear picture of the evolutionary pathway that led to them.’
To explore further, the researchers compared the head and mouthpart of hell ants with similar datasets of living and fossil ant species.
The team also conducted an analysis to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among both extinct and modern ants.
Their probe confirmed that hell ants belong to one of the earliest branches of the ant evolutionary tree and are each other’s closest relatives.
Moreover, the relationship between mandible and head morphology is unique in hell ants compared to living lineages due to their specialised methods for capturing prey.
The fossil has finally provided Dr Barden’s lab with firmer answers as to how this long-lost class of ant predators reigned for nearly 20 million years.
But questions persist, such as what led these and other lineages to go extinct while modern ants flourished into the common insects we know today.
The team is now seeking to describe species from new fossil deposits to learn more about how extinction impacts groups differently.
Dr Barden added: ‘Over 99 per cent of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct.
‘As our planet undergoes its sixth mass extinction event, it’s important that we work to understand extinct diversity and what might allow certain lineages to persist while others drop out.
‘I think fossil insects are a reminder that even something as ubiquitous and familiar as ants have undergone extinction.’
The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.
Microsoft Abandons Project xCloud Game Streaming on iOS
Microsoft’s upcoming game streaming service, Project xCloud, will allow you to play games in the cloud no matter where you are. However, for some unknown reason, Microsoft has abandoned testing xCloud on iOS. And the company is instead focusing on an Android-only release.
What Happened With Project xCloud on iOS?
Microsoft opened its doors for iOS testers back in early 2020. Microsoft had previously told users that testing would continue until September 11, 2020; however, the company has since announced that iOS testing will end on August 5. The planned Android test dates did not change; neither did its release date of September 15, 2020.
In a statement to The Verge, A Microsoft representative said:
“Our Project xCloud preview TestFlight period has ended on iOS and we are focused on delivering cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to Android customers beginning September 15. It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices.”
Why Has Microsoft Killed Project xCloud on iOS?
Microsoft has not make an official statement explaining why it has abandoned iOS in favor of Android. However, there are a few reasons which hint as to how Microsoft arrived at this decision.
First, testing Project xCloud on iOS did not go smoothly. Due to the iOS App Store policy, Microsoft could only allow 10,000 users to test the service. Not only that, but this small pool of testers could only test the game, Halo: The Master Chief Edition. As a result, Microsoft probably could not test the iOS app to a satisfactory level, thus prompting the company to drop support for it.
If this theory is correct, Microsoft is not the first company to suffer issues launching on iOS. Google’s game streaming service, Stadia, has still not launched on iOS devices. The Steam Link app took a year to release after Valve fought to meet Apple’s high standards. As such, this may be another story of a games company struggling to launch on the iOS App Store.
However, Microsoft made an appearance at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event. During the event, Samsung mentioned how close the company has worked with Microsoft to bring Project xCloud to Galaxy phones. While the Project xCloud presentation did not show any Samsung-exclusive features, the partnership may have forced Microsoft to stop its iOS support to favor Android instead. But that is pure speculation.
Preparing for the Launch of Project xCloud
With the launch of Project xCloud rapidly approaching, Microsoft has stopped testing on iOS to focus on an Android-only release. Whether this is because Microsoft encountered issues with Apple’s App Store policies, or because its Samsung partnership has muddied the waters, is as-yet unknown.
If you’re unsure about how gaming in the cloud works, be sure to read our explainer detailing how cloud gaming works.
Read the full article: Microsoft Abandons Project xCloud Game Streaming on iOS
The pandemic has changed how criminals hide their cash—and AI tools are trying to sniff it out
Profits from organized crime are typically passed through legitimate businesses, often exchanging hands several times and crossing borders, until there is no clear trail back to its source—a process known as money laundering.
But with many businesses closed, or seeing smaller revenue streams than usual, hiding money in plain sight by mimicking everyday financial activity became harder. “The money is still coming in but there’s nowhere to put it,” says Isabella Chase, who works on financial crime at RUSI, a UK-based defense and security think tank.
The pandemic has forced criminal gangs to come up with new ways to move money around. In turn, this has upped the stakes for anti-money laundering (AML) teams tasked with detecting suspicious financial transactions and following them back to their source.
Key to their strategies are new AI tools. While some larger, older financial institutions have been slower to adapt their rule-based legacy systems, smaller, newer firms are using machine learning to look out for anomalous activity, whatever it might be.
It is hard to assess the exact scale of the problem. But according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, between 2% and 5% of global GDP—between $800 billion and $2 trillion at current figures—is laundered every year. Most goes undetected. Estimates suggest that only around 1% of profits earned by criminals is seized.
And that was before covid-19 hit. Fraud is up, with fears around covid-19 creating a lucrative market for counterfeit protective gear or medication. More people spending time online also creates a bigger pool for phishing attacks and other scams. And, of course, drugs are still being bought and sold.
Lockdown made it harder to hide the proceeds—at least to begin with. The problem for criminals is that many of the best businesses for laundering money were also those hit hardest by the pandemic. Small shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs are favored because they are cash-heavy, which makes it easier to mix up ill-gotten gains with legal income.
With bank branches closed, it has been harder to make large cash deposits. Wire transfer services like Western Union—which usually allow anyone to walk in off the street and send money overseas—shut their premises, too.
But criminals are nothing if not opportunistic. As the normal channels for money laundering closed, new ones opened up. Vast sums of money have started flowing into small businesses again thanks to government bailouts. This creates a flurry of financial activity that provides cover for money laundering.
Breaking the rules
The upshot is that there are more demands being placed on AML tech. Older systems rely on hand-crafted rules, such as that transactions over a certain amount should raise an alert. But these rules lead to many false flags and real criminal transactions get lost in the noise. More recently, machine-learning based approaches try to identify patterns of normal activity and raise flags only when outliers are detected. These are then assessed by humans, who reject or approve the alert.
This feedback can be used to tweak the AI model so that it adjusts itself over time. Some firms, including Featurespace, a firm based in the US and UK that uses machine learning to detect suspicious financial activity, and Napier, another firm that builds machine learning tools for AML, are developing hybrid approaches in which correct alerts generated by an AI can be turned into new rules that shape the overall model.
The rapid shifts in behavior in recent months have made the advantages of more adaptable systems clear. Financial regulators around the world have released new guidance on what sort of activity AML teams should look out for but for many it was too late, says Araliya Sammé, head of financial crime at Featurespace. “When something like covid happens, where everybody’s payment patterns change suddenly, you don’t have time to put new rules in place.”
You need tech that can catch it as it is happening, she says: “Otherwise by the time you’ve detected something and alerted the people who need to know, the money is gone.”
For Dave Burns, chief revenue officer for Napier, covid-19 caused long-simmering problems to boil over. “This pandemic was the tipping point in many ways,” he says. “It’s a bit of a wake-up call that we really need to think differently.” And, he adds, “some of the larger players in the industry have been caught flat-footed.”
But that doesn’t simply mean adopting the latest tech. “You can’t just do AI for AI’s sake because that will spew out garbage,” says Burns. What’s needed, he says, is a bespoke approach for each bank or payment provider.
AML technology still has a long way to go. The pandemic has revealed cracks in existing systems that have people worried, says Burns. And that means that things could change faster than they were going to. “We’re seeing a greater degree of urgency,” he says. “What is traditionally very long, bureaucratic decision-making is being accelerated dramatically.”
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