Dell has kicked off its annual President’s Day sale a bit early — it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet — with discounts on a variety of hardware. Some of the discounts are bigger than others, but if you were already considering buying a gigantic TV, laptop or other device, there are a bunch of deals here worth a look.Many of the discounts are available right now, with more scheduled to come online over the next few days. The company is giving members of its rewards program early access to a handful of special “Doorbuster” deals. And we’re checking with Dell about exactly when the sale ends — the press release says Feb. 18 at 7:59 a.m. ET (4:59 a.m. PT), but the circular I received in the mail says Feb. 20.Here are some of the best deals we found. Sarah Tew/CNET Bluetooth Dell Intel LG Read the CNET review Computers Speakers TVs Laptops See at Dell Survive Valentine’s Day 2019 on a limited budget: Save on flowers, gifts and more.The best dating sites for Valentine’s Day and beyond: Get swiping! Dell is currently selling a midrange configuration of its older Alienware m15 for $1,450 — about $150 off the usual price. On Feb. 19, it will begin selling the brand new Alienware m15, announced at CES in January, discounted by $400. That deal features an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, though the company said that the new model would be available configured with Nvidia’s newer RTX card. Still, the President’s Day deal is a good one — and worth waiting for. See at Dell CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Preview • Dell’s new XPS 15 revealed Comments Read the CNET review This is a decent deal on the 15-inch version of the XPS. It comes equipped with a beautiful, high-resolution and accurate broad-gamut display. And it incorporates the Nvidia GTX 1050 gaming GPU, which raises playtime performance in general-purpose laptops. This configuration features an eighth-gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Dell is also selling the two-in-one version of the XPS 15 for $1,400 — that’s more than $300 off of the usual price. See it Read the CNET review Sarah Tew/CNET 2 We haven’t reviewed this particular LG TV. But CNET’s resident expert, David Katzmaier, has certified it as a legit deal on the screen-size-to-cost basis alone. This appears to be the 2018 version of Dell’s nearly perfect XPS 13 — we’ve asked Dell for clarification and will update this post when it comes. Either way, the configuration is legit: You get an eighth-gen Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. But there’s no touchscreen, and you’re stuck with Dell’s annoying below-the-screen webcam, which has been fixed in the 2019 edition of this laptop. Sarah Tew Sarah Tew/CNET See at Dell 1:49 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Dell XPS 13: $1,200 (save $270) This terrific Bluetooth speaker cost $300 when it debuted in 2015. At $90, it’s an absolute steal — you get impressive sound quality, great connectivity range and excellent battery life. Plus, it’s waterproof. Justin Jaffe/CNET Review • XPS 15 is Dell’s high-end midsize workhorse Now playing: Watch this: Alienware m15 with Intel Core i7: $1,650 (save $400) $1,499 Dell XPS 15 Mentioned Above Dell XPS 15 – Core i5 TFT Tags See at Dell Read the CNET review Dell XPS 15: $1,350 (save $160) Ultimate Ears Megaboom: $90 (save $160) The Alienware m15 is shockingly slim, for an Alienware Disclosure: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page. Share your voice LG 86-inch 4K Smart HDR Ultra HDTV: $3,000 (save $1,500) See at Dell
Enlarge ImageEA is taking harassment more seriously. James Martin/CNET When Amira Virgil is playing the world-building game The Sims, she likes to craft different characters, create houses for them and tell stories about their lives.She’s well known within the player community of Electronic Arts’ game, in part because she created modifications that gave characters more racially diverse skin tones and hair. She also started a website for people to share their own mods and other creations, called The Black Simmer. Often, she’s streaming a live broadcast of her play online, sharing her Sims exploits with hundreds of fans under the username Xmiramira. But every once in a while, people join her stream to cause trouble. Enlarge ImageThe Sims world-building game is one of the most popular video games ever made, with more than 200 million copies sold. Electronic Arts One way they do that is to change their username to include racially charged language when they leave comments while she’s streaming. They’d include words “like ghetto, N-word and slurs,” she said.Virgil isn’t alone.Which is why EA held its first large-scale meeting, called the Building Healthy Communities Summit, with 230 gaming influencers it calls Game Changers who it flew in to the meeting to discuss the problem.Sitting in the conference room nestled in the Loews Hollywood Hotel ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, EA’s head of community engagement, Adam Tanielian, asked the roomful of influencers whether any of them had seen or been the target of bullying or harassment online. Nearly every hand shot up.”It’s a really crappy thing,” Tanielian said. Over the next three hours, EA outlined how it plans to combat this issue. It’s going to start releasing regular reports about the health of its online communities. It’s going to offer new tools to players to help tamp down on toxicity. And it’s going to bring together a council of players to regularly discuss these issues and what the company can do about it.EA said it also wants to inspire its players to help make change, too. That includes hearing about positive behavior from influencers they look up to. “You guys have a lot of power to try to solve some of these issues, or at least provide solutions,” Tanielian said.The company’s efforts come at a time when the video game industry is larger and more influential than ever. Its worldwide sales topped $137.9 billion last year, according to data from industry watcher Newzoo, more than music and movies combined. Online communities, such as the more than 250 million people who’ve signed up to play the hit online battle game Fortnite, are swelling with millions of players.Maintaining those large networks of gamers playing together has caused many companies to rethink the way they approach the lives people lead in the worlds they’ve created.Enlarge ImageEA’s Chris Bruzzo said the company feels a responsibility to work on these issues. James Martin/CNET In the past, companies largely left players to sort themselves out. But now, with multiplayer aspects of games like EA’s Battlefield war simulation franchise growing in popularity alongside gaming social networks like Microsoft’s Xbox Live, companies say they’re compelled to start influencing the culture of players in their games for the better.”There was a period of time where it was accepted — that’s how games are,” said Chris Bruzzo, EA’s head of marketing, who also helped head up its healthy communities summit. “We’ve started to hear more and more from players that this wasn’t something they wanted to tolerate anymore.”Of course, harassment and bullying are pervasive on social networking. And EA isn’t the only gaming company attempting to tackle these issues. In May, Microsoft posted its community standards, and committed to more moderation tools to help people avoid toxic players. Ubisoft, ahead of its E3 press conference Monday, played a video of the rapper and actor Ice-T talking about how to handle gaming online.”Video games are for everyone, and we need to keep a safe environment for the enjoyment of all, but not everyone’s cool like that,” he said. Tags Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, said the company has been more actively discussing these issues in part because he feels it’s part of the company’s responsibility when creating online games that connect players.”Because our games are more and more social, we want those games to be safe. We want people to come in and feel good,” he said. “It is our job to make sure it’s as safe as possible.” There are also organizations like the Fair Play Alliance, a collection of companies working to encourage healthy communities. And there are anti-bullying nonprofits such as Ditch The Label, which EA supports financially, that promote equality and study the effects of toxic behavior.”Bullying is real, and it has real and devastating consequences,” said Liam Hackett, head of Ditch The Label, who spoke at the event. He said Ditch The Label’s data found that one in 10 victims of bullying has considered suicide and that one in five people has quit a game because of how they’re treated by other players. Bullying is real, and it has real and devastating consequences. Liam Hackett, head of Ditch The Label Now playing: Watch this: E3 2019 Aug 3 • E3 journalists see their personal info exposed by security flaw Aug 19 • Borderlands 3: FL4K, new endgame content and everything else we know Our E3 breakdown: Microsoft’s Project Scarlett looks… “It’s already hard enough being a content creator,” she said. But she’s often had to narrow her focus on playing with her community, rather than entering public matches for video games like Activision Blizzard’s popular multiplayer shooting game Overwatch, because of the environment she encounters. “I don’t want to deal with the racism, sexism and general toxicity that comes with being in the gaming space,” she said. As much as influencers might be able to help, she added, companies like EA and platforms like YouTube need to actively help solve some of these issues too.”It’s up to them to them to foster and create environments, and better to moderate the situations that we encounter on a day-to-day basis,” Virgil said. “It’s up to them, because there’s only so much we can do.” Jul 26 • Doom Eternal: QuakeCon ‘Year of Doom’ keynote shows more ‘Battlemode’ action 4:22 Brittney Brombacher, co-founder of the podcast What’s Good Games, said at EA’s event that bad behavior can also build on itself and affect the community. “Toxicity breeds toxicity,” she said.An increasing number of companies are taking notice. Last week, YouTube said it would take away advertising from the conservative personality Steven Crowder for using homophobic slurs against journalist Carlos Maza, a writer and video host at Vox. And some advertisers said they would no longer run ads on at least two gaming YouTube channels whose criticism and personal attacks went against their “strict” guidelines for advertising placement. Looking to the communityEA knows a thing or two about online behavior. The company’s run afoul of gamers many times.When EA began promoting its World War II-inspired shooting game Battlefield V last year, players immediately seized on the promotional materials that featured a woman on the cover. It wasn’t historically accurate to show a woman on the front lines, critics said. When the company stood up to them, saying don’t buy it if you don’t like it, the backlash grew got even worse. Ultimately, the game’s sales underperformed expectations despite a positive reception among some critics.EA was criticized for putting a woman on the cover while promoting Battlefield V, a World War II-inspired game. EA It’d be easy to dismiss EA’s Building Healthy Communities Summit as a knee-jerk reaction to all that. After all, EA’s sales and usage of its games are tied to customers being happy. Any effort to help everyone be nicer to one another could be dismissed as self-serving.But Bruzzo said it’s more than that. A player at a competitive event for EA’s Madden NFL football series shot and killed one of his competitors last year. Bruzzo said the company realized it didn’t just need to make sure the events were safe, but also to make sure there was mental health support for players too.”On the empathy side, there is work to be done,” he said. There are no clear answers yet. During a breakout discussion about research EA had done around the impacts of disruptive player behavior, attendees grappled with how involved any company should be in these issues and where the line should be drawn between banter, trash talk and hurtful actions. Some attendees said they’re frustrated by incessant harassment by other players. Some people in particular try to undermine them in a game, such as by accusing them of cheating. Some attendees said they’re targeted by disruptive players in an effort to make them look bad during a live stream.”Disruptive behavior doesn’t just disrupt the game, it disrupts people’s actual life,” said Andy Castell a 25-year-old gaming YouTuber from the UK who’s part of EA’s Game Changers influencer program. He often makes videos about playing EA’s FIFA soccer game at his channel, AJ3, which has nearly 1.5 million subscribers. “It’s obviously very important to create as positive an environment as possible in the game.”Castell said he hasn’t struggled too much with disruptive behavior himself, but he can see why it’s a problem. Solving this issue, he said, will take a delicate community discussion that doesn’t come off as paternalistic. “It’s hard in the environment that social media currently is, because you look like someone on a high horse trying to tell everyone they’re wrong, and people will take offense to it,” Castell said. “It does feel like the world’s playing catchup to this beast that’s just running out of control.”Finding solutionsFor now, EA’s focused on starting conversations. It held the Building Healthy Communities Summit ahead of E3 with its Game Changers influencers, and it made those commitments to releasing research and building tools to fight toxicity. It also plans to meet with other companies to swap ideas and to work with gamers themselves to come up with features and rules to help reduce these issues.”It’s going to be challenging to expect any one of the companies in this space will be able to ‘solve it,'” Bruzzo said.Virgil, of The Black Simmer, said she hopes this represents EA’s first steps toward seeking out more diverse perspectives — and not just from its player base but in its employee ranks as well. I don’t want to deal with the racism, sexism and general toxicity that comes with being in the gaming space. Amira Virgil, The Black Simmer reading • Gaming can be toxic toward women and minorities. Electronic Arts wants to help fix that • See All Aug 28 • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer, gameplay footage and everything we know Culture Tech Industry Gaming Comments 22 E3 2019 Share your voice Activision Electronic Arts (EA) Microsoft
Share Harris County Animal Shelter.Dogs are housed at the Harris County Animal Shelter, which is currently severely overcrowded.The Harris County Animal Shelter is currently housing more than double the animals it has capacity for and is asking for help from residents that could adopt or foster. Shelter officials are concerned about the possibility of having to euthanize a significant number of animals.As of Tuesday, the shelter was housing 510 animals, mostly dogs, while its maximum capacity is supposed to be 200, spokesperson Kerry McKeel told News 88.7.“We don’t have the ability to hold animals indefinitely and space is a concern,” said McKeel. “We are putting animals everywhere we can right now.”The shelter is located at 612 Canino Road, 10 miles north of downtown Houston.McKeel noted that “at the beginning of May, spring time, is when we really started to see an uptick in the number of animals coming in.” She said summer is traditionally the busiest intake season at the shelter and added the limited medical staff makes it difficult to properly care for the large numbers of animals coming in. Over the past week, a high number of strays combined with owners surrendering their pets resulted in the critical overcrowding.Harris County officials say the shelter has managed to maintain a 90 percent life-saving rate since January. They have accomplished the high rate through adoptions, fostering, help from animal rescue groups and even by transferring some animals to other states with lower intakes. “Although we are doing all these things, we are still drowning right now in the numbers that are coming in,” McKeel said. She said the option of transferring animals within the Houston area isn’t practical because “in the immediate Houston area we are all facing the same issues, we are all struggling with the number of intakes of animals.”The shelter is looking for foster homes as an alternative, because that frees up space, medical care and supplies. “Even two to three weeks can give us the breathing room that we need to be able to save more lives,” McKeel said. The current shelter has been open since 1986 and McKeel said the facility has become “antiquated.”A new county shelter is scheduled to open by Spring 2020. The new facility will double the current capacity, give dogs and cats more space, and have separate entrances for adoptions, admissions and the medical area.Voters approved the construction in a $24 million bond election in 2015.
Copyright 2013 Phys.org Citation: Research station on skis withstands Antarctic ice and snow (2013, February 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-station-antarctic-ice.html Russia celebrates 50 years at Antarctic Seven blue modules contain living spaces and laboratories. In consideration of the residents’ psychological needs, a central red module, intended for use as a social space, contains communal dining areas, a hydroponic garden, and climbing wall. Colors were even chosen on the advice of a color psychologist. Construction of Halley VI began in Capetown, South Africa. The first modules were shipped to Antarctica at the end of 2007. Halley VI delivered its first scientific data in 2012. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Credit: BAS Halley Research Station, devoted primarily to work in atmospheric science, was established by British Antarctic Survey in 1956. Halley researchers also perform glaciology and geology studies. Notably, scientists first recorded ozone layer depletion in the stratosphere above the Antarctic here.Antarctic conditions have caused problems for Halley research bases. Accumulated snow, measured at more than three feet per year, crushed buildings in the first four bases. Movement of the ice shelf toward the ocean at an annual rate of a quarter of a mile means that research stations are at risk of falling into the ocean when ice separates from the mainland. These factors give buildings that cannot be moved a lifespan of only ten years. Halley VI, commissioned in 2006, consists of eight connected modules, each of which sits atop hydraulic legs. The legs allow the individual modules to be raised above the snow. Additionally, placement of the modules at a right angle to the prevailing wind encourages snow to blow underneath the station. Skis positioned beneath the legs allow inland towing of each module, thereby minimizing its proximity to the ocean. Antarctica Halley VI Halley V had extensible steel legs, allowing operators to maintain the buildings above the snow’s surface. The legs, though raised every year, were eventually trapped in 75 feet of ice. Because the station was rendered immobile, it was carried along with the ice and was therefore at risk of plummeting into the ocean when the ice caved.In June 2004, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched a competition to design a new research station. In addition to being able to cope with moving ice and heavy snow accumulation, this new station would have to provide psychological comfort to the station’s residents—around 70 in summer and around 16 in winter—who are at great risk of stress and depression related to the harsh Antarctic weather and permanent lack of sunlight in winter. Credit: James Goby/BAS (Phys.org)—The world’s first completely transportable research station officially opened in Antarctica on February 5. The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, designed by Hugh Broughton Architects, utilizes a modular design that incorporates hydraulic legs fitted with skis. This design allows Halley VI to survive in conditions that have destroyed its five predecessors. The Halley VI modules at the Halley VI site. Credit: British Antarctic Survey