Friday, January 2, 2015
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It's almost here, guys! Flying cars! Jetpacks! Hoverboards! Or so we've been promised. It seems these technologies are always just two years away. At least that's what the media keeps telling us.
Today we're looking at promises for the near-future that haven't quite arrived yet. We want so desperately to believe that they're just over the horizon! But we really wish that the horizon would stop moving on us.
Every six months or so, the media run stories about how YOUR FLYING CAR IS ALMOST HERE! Just two more years, they promise. Just two more years and you'll be flying like George Jetson. Except those two years keeps getting pushed back.
Flying cars have been a futurist staple since the 1920s. And we've even had real "flying cars" since the 1950s. Over the last half decade people like Paul Moller and companies like Transition have kept promising that soon they will become a mainstream reality. But until half of America has a Flying DeLorean in the garage, we're not ready to call this one realized.
We're living in 2015 — the year Marty and Doc traveled to in Back to the Future Part II . And last year was a big year for hoverboards. We had the Funny or Die hoverboard hoax. And then a company in California promised that their Hendo hoverboard was coming soon.
The only problem? The Hendo hoverboard is little more than a PR stunt for the inventors to raise money for their real goal: Levitation in architecture for earthquake-proofing. That's right. Even if the Hendo wasn't incredibly noisy, difficult to control, and only worked on special surfaces, we'd still be waiting for quite a while for that hoverboard to become mainstream. Don't get your hopes up just yet.
The promise that we'd one day have a humanoid robot butler is older than the word robot itself. Who wouldn't want their very own Rosey the Robot to cook meals for them or pick up their dirty socks? I know I would! But humanoid robots are hard work. They still have incredible obstacles ranging from battery life to problems with just general dexterity.
Agencies like DARPA and companies like Google have made tremendous strides in humanoid robot technology. But before we invite robots into our homes to help feed us salty snacks, we're going to have to make sure they're a bit more delicate than the robot pictured above.
The jetpack is one of those technologies that, much like the flying car, we've had since midcentury. The only problem? Just like the flying car, it's tremendously wasteful.
Sure, you can zip around for about 30 seconds. And it looks really really cool! But we have yet to devise an energy source to propel a person into the air that won't run out after a mere minute. Oh, not to mention that whole safety thing.
There's no technology that ebbs and flows quite like virtual reality. Unlike the flying car, various versions of VR headsets have actually come to market in a semi-serious way. But can they achieve mainstream success?
Facebook's purchase of Oculus gives many hope that ubiquitous VR is just around the corner. And I hope they're right! But consider me a skeptic until we have a way to make those headsets a bit more... compact.
The driverless car has a long, painful history. We've been waiting on this one since at least the 1930s. But making a fully autonomous driverless car that's safe and reliable is incredibly difficult. Just ask the people at DARPA who were trying to make one at a secret government facility back in the 1980s.
Thanks to companies like Google, the DARPA Challenge, and just about every car company in the world, the fully automated driverless car feels as close as ever. But promises of "just two more years" feel a bit premature. We've nearly cracked this nut. But sadly we have quite a while before the completely driverless car becomes mainstream. Until then the only thing we can say for sure is that we'll see plenty of articles promising that the driverless car is "just two years away!"
I legitimately hope I'm wrong about every single one of these. I'd love a robot butler right now! And driverless cars really would be neat! But despite our popular conception of technological development, progress is painfully slow. That's just the way things work.
Tech's march through history is incremental and rarely materializes precisely as it was envisioned. That's the fun of the future! But it's also what makes it so incredibly frustrating.
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The Next Big Trend in vaping is actually a very old idea: cigarettes that heat tobacco to produce an inhalable aerosol, but never reach the point of combustion, thus avoiding that sketchy part of smoking where you light something on fire and suck the smoke into your lungs.
How is that any different than the e-cigarettes we've come to know and love/hate? Because heat-not-burn cigs contain tobacco, not just flavored liquid nicotine, so it's much closer to the experience of smoking a regular cigarette, just without the smoke, smokey smell, and (hopefully) all the carcinogens. Not bad if your New Year's resolution is to kick smoking. Although as with all too-good things, there are caveats.
iQOS concept images from Philip Morris
Right now, two big tobacco companies are developing "smokeless" burn sticks. Philip Morris, of Marlboro fame, is selling its Marlboro HeatStick in Italy in Japan, with the goal of bringing it to the U.S. in 2016 at about $6 a pack.
The HeatStick, which looks like a regular cigarette, is heated inside a battery-powered, pen-like device called iQOS (pronounced "eye-coze"). The sticks are heated to a point just below combustion—so up to 660 degrees F—which produces a nicotine-infused vapor that you inhale through a mouthpiece. The holder can heat about 20 sticks per charge.
Meanwhile, RJ Reynolds—maker of Camel, Kool and Winstons—is launching a heat-not-burn product called Revo in February, first in Wisconsin at a similar price point, and then expanding from there if it sells.
Unlike the HeatStick, the Revo uses an actual flame, which lights a carbon tip that heats foil-wrapped tobacco until it evaporates into a flavored vapor.
Each cig lasts about five minutes, then you let it cool down and throw it out. It emits just whimper of smoke, and also doesn't cause that telltale smoker smell.
While you can't find either of these in the U.S. yet, the technology is nothing new. The Marlboro HeatSticks improves on a heat-not-burn product called the Accord, which launched in 90s and totally flopped.
And Revo is essentially the exact same product as Reynolds' Eclipse smokeless cigarette, which was developed in the 90s, hit the market in 2003 and fizzled out within four short years. It's got a new name, look, and marketing scheme, but the concept is unchanged.
Indeed, big tobacco firms—which realized as early as the freaking 50s that cigarettes were killing us—have been developing technology to strip out the combustion part of the equation for decades. Now, the cigarette makers are hoping that vaping's explosive popularity and an increasingly anti-smoking public opinion is a sign the time is ripe to give it another go.
But can the gimmick actually help you quit? Is it even safe? The short answer is, we don't know yet. The longer answer is as controversial, scientifically murky and politically complex as the heated debate on the health effects of e-cigarettes.
As of now, barring further research, the general consensus about heat-not-burn cigs is similar to vaping products: It stands to reason that not burning the tobacco is less bad for you than burning it, but it's maybe probably still bad for you. How much less, we're not sure. Is there some unknown consequence that's just as dangerous as smoking butts? Maybe. Is there a public health impact associated with products that encourage the habit at all, and potentially get a new generation hooked on nicotine? Sure. On the other hand, if a new product can get people to quit that otherwise would stay addicted, that's hard to argue with.
The current research is even more preliminary. A recent New York Times article sums it up:
The first study, conducted in 2013 in Poland, showed that levels of some of the most toxic contaminants in tobacco smoke were substantially lower in users of the iQOS heat-not-burn device than in smokers, though they were somewhat higher than in those who abstained. That study, however, lasted only five days. Scientists have not yet published results from a second study, which involved 160 people and lasted three months, company officials said. A third study, which is expected to last six to 12 months, has yet to begin, they said.
Looking back isn't too reassuring either. Not only was the Eclipse never proven to be less harmful than combustibles, Reynolds was actually sued for making those claims in the first place. The industry has since moved away from calling heat-not-burn products "safer cigarettes" and is hedging with terms like "reduced risk" or "less lethal."
It's also worth noting that tobacco companies have an obvious reason to introduce a cigarette alternative that still contains, you know, tobacco, that has everything to do with money and nothing to do with health. Until firms can get the FDA to sign off on a health claim, the smoke-free, smell-free angle is how the companies will be marketing its shiny new wares.
That said, U.S. tobacco isn't the only one developing portable tobacco vaporizers. If the heat-not-burn cigs sound a lot like the slate of vape pens already on the market that heat loose-leaf tobacco or more likely, weed, it's because it's basically the same thing.
So if you're trying to ween yourself off smoking in 2015, you could try battery-powered vapes like the popular Ploom Pax to heat tobacco into a smokeless vapor. But you're better off skipping the tobacco altogether.
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Two thirds of cancers are largely caused by random gene mutations, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.
The post Scientists Find That Most Types Of Cancer Are Caused By ‘Bad Luck’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.
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If you've resolved to get in better shape or improve your posture in 2015 , these discounted balance ball chairs can help you get it done without any real time commitment.
Amazon is offering the iconic Gaiam Balance Ball Chair in a variety of colors for $56, today only. That's one of the lowest prices ever listed, and well below the usual $80 asking price. If you're on the fence, check out the 4.2 star Amazon review average, and read some impressions from Lifehacker's Melanie Pinola for a more in-depth review.
If you want to class up your new furniture, you can pick up a velvet ball chair cover for $22 as well. These also come in a variety of colors, and sound like a great alternative to sitting on rubber, especially in the summer.
2014 is in the rear view mirror, so in the next few months, we'll all have to settle up with Uncle Sam. If you're a sane person with fairly standard finances, you use software to do this, and several of H&R Block's offerings are heavily discounted today on Amazon.
The discs and downloads are available at three different tiers for both Mac and PC, so odds are, one of them will be exactly what you need. For what it's worth, I used this product last year, and everything went swimmingly. Note that this is a Gold Box deal, so these prices are only valid today. Hope you get a refund! [Amazon]
Bonus: H&R Block will pay out a 10% bonus on your refund for every $100 increment that you choose to receive as a gift card to over 40 major retailers. Details here.
$60 is a decent price for a 1TB hard drive, but this drop-proof model has never been that cheap until today. It even meets US military standards for durability. [Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor External Hard Drive, $60]
This car charger can juice up two iPads at full speed, but still has an impressively slim profile. [ Aukey 4.8A / 24W Dual USB Car Charger, $8 with code MXLQQO9Y]
Need more ports? [Aukey 48W/9.6A Four Port USB Car Charger, $12 with code LWJUZUWN]
Best Buy has Games of Thrones Season 4 with 5 exclusive covers available for preorder.
Season 3 shot up in price immediately after release, so preordering will likely be the best deal you can get for a long time.
If you don't care about the exclusive covers, Amazon has it for $5 less.
- preorder Game of Thrones: Season 4 ($40) | Amazon | Preorder Price Guarantee
Slingboxes have been around forever, but their premise of beaming all of your TV channels over the internet to your phone, tablet, laptop, and other devices is as useful as ever. This is the cheapest it's ever been on Amazon. [ Sling Media SlingTV (Slingbox 500), $240]
Have any games you're excited to play in 2015? If you get a free My Best Buy account, you can get a $10 credit with select preorders of popular upcoming titles. [$10 back in rewards with select video game preorders]
Samsung EVO MicroSD cards always prove incredibly popular when we find deals, so stock up while these prices last. The 128GB model is only about a month old, and is marked down to an all-time low price today.
Samsung 128GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($99) | Amazon
Samsung 64GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($27) | Amazon
Samsung 32GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($13) | Amazon
Samsung 16GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($8) | Amazon
We love big Blu-ray collections around here, and so do you it turns out. Here's the Universal 100th Anniversary Collection at its lowest price ever, packed with 25 Blu-rays. [Universal Collection, $130]
If you haven't read Blake Crouch's excellent Wayward Pines trilogy, it should be at the top of your to-do list for 2015. Be sure to finish before the TV treatment comes to Fox in May. [Kindle Books in the Bestselling Wayward Pines Trilogy are Just $2 Each Today at Amazon]
Twitter isn't a bonus for us, it's an essential component of our coverage. It's the fastest way we can let you know about a deal, and many of our best deals only make it to Twitter because they're so short-lived. You can also set up push notifications just for our deals right in the Twitter app, or create an account just to follow along without having to participate in Twitter at all.
Follow us for the best deals on the Internet, and check out http://t.co/w8ke7mw7nT
— Kinja Deals (@KinjaDeals) June 9, 2014
- Seagate Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop External Hard Drive ($120) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH25
- Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor A30 Military Shockproof Standard 2.5-Inch USB 3.0 External Portable Hard Drive ($60) | Amazon
- Samsung 128GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($99) | Amazon
- Samsung 64GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($27) | Amazon
- Samsung 32GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($13) | Amazon
- Samsung 16GB microSD Class 10 UHS1 Memory Card ($8) | Amazon
- Mushkin Enhanced Atom 32GB USB 3.0 Micro Flash Drive ($15) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH67
- PNY Turbo Plus 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive ($43) | Best Buy
- FREMO Q-01 Black 3000mAh External Battery Pack ($9) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH78
- Aukey 4.8A / 24W Dual USB Car Charger ($8) | Amazon | Promo code MXLQQO9Y
- Aukey 48W/9.6A Four Port USB Car Charger ($12) | Amazon | Promo code LWJUZUWN
- Image ONE Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones ($80) | Newegg
- Sennheiser HD 439 3.5mm/ 6.3mm Connector Around-Ear Headphones ($40) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH55
- Beats by Dr. Dre Beats Mixr OnEar Headphones ($150) | Best Buy
- Acer H5380BD 1280x720 3D Ready Home Theater/Movie DLP Projector ($400) | Newegg
- JVC Emerald 32-Inch LED 1080p HDTV ($200) | Walmart
- Sling Media SlingTV (Slingbox 500) ($240) | Amazon
- Pioneer SP-C21 Center Channel Speaker ($50) | Newegg
- Pioneer SP-FS51-LR Pair Floorstanding Speakers ($130) | Newegg
- LG LAP240 TV SoundPlate 100W Slim 4.1 Surround Sound Speaker System w/Bluetooth ($119) | eBay
Computers & Accessories
- Asus Core i3 6GB, 500GB, Win 8.1, 2-in-1 13.3" TouchScreen Laptop ($480) | Best Buy
- Logitech HD Webcam C310 ($30) | Amazon
- Timbuk2 Showdown Pack Caddyshack for Laptops up to 15 Inches ($26) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH85
- Brother MFC-J4310DW Business Smart Series All-in-One Wireless Printer ($60) | B&H
- LG Blu-ray Burner w/ 3D Playback ($45) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH62
- PowerColor TurboDuo Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 Video Card ($150) | Newegg | After $30 rebate
- G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($119) | Newegg | After promo code EMCPWPH28
- SeaSonic X Series 850W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply ($90) | Newegg | After rebate and promo code EMCPWPH94
- CORSAIR HX series 650W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Power Supply ($70) | Newegg | After rebate and promo code EMCPWPH46
- Corsair Carbide Series 200R Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($40) | Newegg | After rebate and promo code EMCPWPH52
- DIYPC Micro-ATX Mini Tower Gaming Computer Case with Dual Fans ($20) | Newegg | After $5 rebate
- Fujifilm FinePix S9250 16.2 Megapixel Digital Camera Bundle ($130) | Best Buy
- WAHL Corded Color Pro 20-Piece Color Coded Haircut Kit ($17) | Walmart
- Hamilton Beach 33245 Stay or Go Slow Cooker, 4-Quart ($20) | Amazon
- SodaStream Genesis Starter Kit ($50) | Staples
- Get up to 40% Off Select Kitchen Islands and Workstations at Home Depot
- Kenmore 4 Burner LP Gas Grill with Rotisserie and Side Burner ($250) | Sears
- Gaiam Balance Ball Chair ($56) | Amazon | Balls also available separately for $22. Today only.
- The Firm Zip Trainer Medicine Ball Kit ($30) | Amazon
- Everlast PowerCore Freestanding Heavy Bag ($64) | Amazon
- refurb Garmin Forerunner 405CX Fitness / Health / GPS Watch ($90) | Staples
- NordicTrack X5.5I Incline Trainer Treadmill ($900) | Sears
Camping & Outdoors
- Ibera Bike Large Triangle Frame Bag ($11) | Amazon
- Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent (14'x10') ($155) | Amazon
- Zippo Black Crackle Lighter ($10) | Amazon
- Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter ($11) | Amazon
- Craftsman C3 19.2-Volt Lithium-ion Drill And Circular Saw 2-Piece Combo Kit plus $20 in SYWR Points ($70) | Sears
- DEWALT Black Oxide Drill Bit Set (16-Piece) ($7) | Home Depot
- DEWALT Screw Driver/Drill Bit Set (68-Piece) ($15) | Home Depot
- PORTER-CABLE PC1500HG 1500-Watt Heat Gun ($30) | Amazon
- Craftsman 26 in. 4-Drawer Standard Duty Ball Bearing Rolling Cabinet ($93) | Sears
- Buffalo Tools HDFDOLLY 1000-Pound Furniture Dolly ($20) | Amazon
- Back to the Roots AquaFarm v2 Fish / Plant Environment ($48) | Amazon
- Get an Extra 25% Off Clearance at Nordstrom Rack
- Hi-Tec Zuuk Lite Men's Shoes ($15) | 6pm
- Chaco Fathom Women's Sandals ($25) | REI
Movies & TV
- Universal 100th Anniversary Collection ($130) | Amazon
- preorder Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season (Best Buy Exclusive Covers) ($45) | Best Buy | Preorder Price Guarantee
- preorder Game of Thrones: Season 4 ($40) | Amazon | Preorder Price Guarantee
- preorder The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 Steelbook ($25) | Best Buy
- preorder Certain Scientific Railgun: Complete Season 1 ($29) | Amazon
- Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1 ($15) | Amazon
- Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go ($14) | Amazon
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 1 ($13) | Amazon
- Alice In Wonderland 60th Anniversary ($14) | Amazon
- The Rescuers: 35th Anniversary Edition ($14) | Amazon
- The Legend of Hercules 3D ($10) | Best Buy
- Homefront ($8) | Amazon
- Zodiac ($7) | Amazon
- RoboCop (Unrated Director's Cut) ($5) | Amazon
- Boogie Nights [DVD] ($8) | Amazon
- Seinfeld: The Complete Series [DVD] ($64) | Amazon
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Complete Collection Two [DVD] ($25) | Amazon
- Three's Company: The Complete Series [DVD] ($56) | Amazon
Books & Magazines
- Kindle Books in the Bestselling Wayward Pines Trilogy are Just $2 Each Today at Amazon
- Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Stories [audiobook] ($1) | Audible
- Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Series #1) [Nook] ($3) | B&N
- preorder Pokémon Omega Ruby & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire: The Official National Pokédex ($15) | Amazon
- Avengers Ultron Unbound Trade Paperback ($17) | TFAW
- My Best Buy members can get $10 back in rewards with select video game preorders
- South Park: The Stick of Truth ($14) | Amazon
- Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition ($8) | Green Man Gaming | Use code WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE
- flOw [PS4/PS3/Vita] ($2) | Amazon
- Shovel Knight [Wii U] ($10) | eShop | Same price on 3DS
- MONOPOLY: The Legend of Zelda Collector's Edition ($29) | Amazon
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— Kinja Deals (@KinjaDeals) June 9, 2014
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Starting today, Post Denmark is releasing a brand new set of Lego-branded, stamps featuring either a male or female minifig amidst a sea of floating bricks. In other words, you might actually have a reason to buy a stamp now.
The news stamps come as the first 2015 release in Europa's toy-themed series and come in both 10-krone and 14.5-krone options, with 4.1 million and 1.9 million in total to be released respectively.
And for those of you who don't live in Denmark (in other words, almost all of you), never fear. You can still get the stamps here in the US by contacting the Denmark Stamp Agency in North America. And while you can't legally use them domestically—when's the last time you needed a stamp in the first place? [Post Denmark via Linns]
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Bachmann had promised that she would lower gas to under $2 per gallon once elected president.
The post Michele Bachmann Kicks Off 2015 By Celebrating Life In Obama’s America appeared first on ThinkProgress.
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A magesterial longread from Hans de Zwart of the Netherlands' Bits of Freedom steps carefully through all the ways in which the modern technological landscape focuses on ubiquitous surveillance for the purposes of social control and increased profitability for corporations. Read the rest
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