NaturalVision Remastered, a mod we’ve covered previously, takes Grand Theft Auto V—already still a very good-looking game!—and turns it into something extraordinary. It’s just got its final update, and surprise, it now looks even better.In a chat with PC Gamer the mod’s creator, Razed, explains that the last update was also one of the biggest, toughest and best: an overhaul of the cloudy weather system, which has been done with an eye on a newer Rockstar game.“A lot of this was inspired by the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 which I think looks absolutely stunning”, he says. “I’m hoping that game comes out on PC next year because I’d love to mod it.”The final update is out tomorrow, October 24. You’ll be able to download it here, and there are more screens over at PC Gamer to tide you over.
The device was safely detonated by a bomb squad. The case has been handed over to the Joint Terrorism Task Force Division of the FBI. (Image credit: Olivier Hoslet/AP)
GIF We see a lot of deals around the web over on Kinja Deals, but these were our ten favorites today.Head over to our main post for more deals, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to never miss a chance to save. You can also join our Kinja Deals Community Facebook group to connect with your fellow deal hunters.#1: Instant PotInstant Pot Ultra 8 qt. | $120 | AmazonGraphic: Shep McAllisterThanksgiving is just around the corner, and you can make meal prep easier with the best deal ever on the 8 qt. Instant Pot Ultra. At just $120, it’s actually the same price today as the miniature 3 qt. model, and $30 less than the 6 qt.The Instant Pot Ultra features a completely revamped, dial-based UI that makes fine-tuned adjustments faster and easier than the older models. A new processor allows it to compensate for altitude and carry out completely custom programs, and it also has a few modes you won’t find on the standard Instant Pots, like cake, eggs, and sterilize. I have the six quart model, and the thing is a freakin’ miracle. Just note that today’s price is only available today, or until sold out.Beyond ultra-fast pressure cooking, Instant Pot is also our readers’ favorite slow cooker, and one of their favorite rice cookers too. Basically, it’s one of the most versatile kitchen gadgets you can own.#2: AudibleThree Month Free Audible Trial | Amazon | Prime members and new Audible members onlyGraphic: Shep McAllisterLove to read but don’t have the time to sit down and actually read a book? Sign up for Amazon’s audiobook service, Audible, during this extended trial offer for Prime members. AdvertisementFor a limited time, Prime members can get three months of the service for free, rather than the typical one-month trial. That entitles you to a new book of your choice each month, plus two free Audible originals of your choice. Plus, every book you choose is yours to keep, even if you cancel. The offer is available to new subscribers only.Note: After the three month trial ends, you’ll automatically be charged $15 per month, so be sure to cancel if you don’t like it.#3: Smart Car ChargerRoav by Anker SmartCharge Spectrum | $16 | Amazon | Promo code BGREXLF6Graphic: Shep McAllisterJust when you thought you had car chargers pegged, Anker went out and made the smartest one you’ve ever seen.AdvertisementSimilar to the Nonda Zus, the Roav by Anker SmartCharge Spectrum connects to your phone over Bluetooth while you drive. When you turn the car off and the Bluetooth connection breaks, the Roav app will mark down your parking location on a map, so you can find your way back.Perhaps more usefully, every time you start your car, the SmartCharge will also log the health of your car battery, so you can track its charge over time from your phone, and get a replacement ready before you get stranded in your office parking garage on a Friday evening.AdvertisementThose features alone (along with Quick Charge 3.0 charging) would make this worth $16 (with promo code BGREXLF6), but it does have one last trick up its sleeve: A customizable accent light. The LED ring around the USB ports can display 16,000 different colors, and you can choose your favorite from the app to make it perfectly match (or stand out from) your car’s own dashboard lighting.#4: Milanese LoopsTirnga Milanese Loop Apple Watch Bands | $5 | Amazon | Promo code OE3N9LSHWhether you’re getting a brand new Apple Watch today, or just want to accessorize your old one, this Milanese loop band is a great deal at $5, with promo code OE3N9LSH. That should work on any color and size, so you can match your watch’s color, or create a nice contrast.#5: Alice Whittles$65 Ankle Boots | Alice WhittlesImage: Alice WhittlesAs they say, when it rains, it pours. That sentiment can also be applied to Alice Whittles rain boots: When they go on sale, they really go on sale. The “Classic Olive Black” and “Minimalist Navy” iterations of their quintessential, functional-yet-chic ankle boots are available right now for just $65 plus free shipping — that’s 59% off their original price of $160 — through October 26. Now, don’t rain on your own parade; get these limited edition pairs ASAP, or risk being hung out to dry.#6: NCAA FleecesNCAA Team-Branded Fleece Pullovers | $25 | WootGraphic: Shep McAllisterIf you want to rep your alma mater as the weather gets cooler, Woot’s discounting a variety of NCAA-licensed fleece pullovers to just $25 each, today only. You can pick your style from this page (there are four available as of now), then choose the school on the individual product page via a dropdown menu. Dozens of schools are available, and some even have multiple color options.#7: Squatty PottySquatty Potty 7
It is one of the enduring mysteries of our time: in a lineup full of otherwise neatly named products, Apple’s alternative hardware cycle iPhones have always seen an -S appended to their names, going back to the iPhone 3GS in 2009. But the question remains: what does the S actually stand for?
Turns out, mostly nothing — according to Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, who told Engadget in an interview that the letters the company picks for its products don’t actually stand for anything at all. That includes this year’s iPhone XS and XS Max, and of course, the puzzlingly named iPhone XR. (The X does stand for 10, though.)
Schiller did go on to explain what the letters meant to him, commenting that “I love cars and things that go fast, and R and S are both letters used to denote sport cars that are really extra special.” (Porsche is fond of appending the letters on its models, and Mercedes Benz has both its R- and S-Class vehicles, for example.)
It hasn’t always been this way. Back when Apple first announced the iPhone 3GS, Schiller himself proudly explained the name as “the S simply stands for speed, because this is the most powerful, fastest iPhone we’ve ever made.”
And when the iPhone 4S rolled around two years later, CEO Tim Cook explained in an interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D10 conference that the product’s “S” designation there stood for Siri, Apple’s then newly introduced digital assistant.
By the time that the iPhone 5S and 5C came out in 2013, though, Apple had stopped offering explanations for its names, a trend that continued to the iPhone 6S. Interestingly, the iPhone SE did get a name explanation, again by Schiller, who confirmed that it stands for “Special Edition” to journalist Jason Cipriani.
But now, with the XS, XS Max, and XR, we’re back to the alphabetically nihilistic approach where none of these letters actually stand for anything. It’s a curious choice for Apple, a company that usually prides itself on hidden details, as well as for luxury products in general, which often go out of their way to manufacture elaborate stories behind tiny aspects of their brands to further the air of value and history.
But sometimes, it seems an R is just an R. (Or at least, a car)
When Matt Fahey, a cameraman for Deadliest Catch, was diagnosed with colon cancer last November, he didn’t have health insurance. He nonetheless went through with surgery and got stuck with a $51,000 bill. Facing six months of follow-up treatments and a six-figure total cost, bankruptcy seemed almost inevitable.
Instead, his cousin, Chuck Horton, a former professional fundraiser-turned-software-entrepreneur, stepped in and set up a Rally.org campaign called “Dumb Ass Cancer” to help pay for Fahey’s treatment.
“We wanted something up and running quicker than a traditional fundraiser,” says Horton. “Matt has a lot of friends on Facebook. We have a large extended family. We knew it was a good way to reach a lot of people really quickly.”
They came up with the idea on Friday. A week later it was live. Within two days, they had raised around $7,000. (The fund is currently approaching $40,000.)
“People jumped in so we can have him focus on recovering rather than worry about where the money will come from,” says Horton.
Fahey is not alone. An increasing number of people are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for their health-care costs, to the point that it’s becoming the number one category on some crowdfunding websites. Many campaigns — perhaps a majority — are for cancer treatment, but they also include help with HIV, gunshot wounds, organ transplants, and even infertility treatments. One campaign raised $171,525 for Farrah Soudani, who was critically injured in the Aurora shooting. Another hopes to raise $5,000 for an Iraq War veteran with Gulf War Illness.
Rally, which hosted Dumb Ass Cancer, is at the center of the trend. Originally intended as funding tool for political causes, it is now a platform for a wide range of fundraisers. People have used it to raise money for the March on Washington for Gun Control, for scientific research on great white sharks, and to bring the Buzkashi Boys actors to the Oscars from Afghanistan.
But over the past six months, health care has emerged as the site’s top category, accounting for one in ten of their campaigns. “When we first conceived of Rally.org, we were acutely aware of walkathons and joint fundraising drives for various diseases,” a Rally spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “However, we did not anticipate the pent-up demand for a fundraising platform for individuals from all walks of life to pay their medical bills.”
“Given the seriousness of medical issues and related expenses, it makes sense that these campaigns generate the most support,” says a spokeperson for GoFundMe, another platform that has watched health care become its most popular category.
“People are turning to crowdfunding because they are much more connected socially through the internet, and the ability to crowdfund is becoming less complex,” YouCaring, another crowdfunding site, told BuzzFeed. Sixty-five percent of its campaigns are for medical issues. “Medical costs and the costs associated with sickness are completely out of hand. Many times when someone is sick they also cannot work, which causes even greater financial issues — even though they may have insurance.”
There are even some sites devoted entirely to raising money for health care, such as GiveForward. RareGenomics charter is even narrower: It helps raise money for patients with rare genetic diseases to get genome sequencing tests.
Numbers are rising across the industry. In 2012, there were approximately nine times the number of health-care campaigns on Indiegogo as the year before, pushing it up to the fourth most popular category on the site.
The rise of treatment through crowdfunding corresponds with other worrying trends in health care. Health-care expenditures are the number one source of bankruptcy, according to a 2007 Harvard study published in the American Journal of Medicine. The majority of those filing for bankruptcy — 78% — had medical insurance when they first got sick.
“The best thing of the whole ordeal is seeing how much people love me and have helped,” says Fahey. “Obviously the money is a reflection of that, but besides that, I have had a ton of support from friends and family.”
As grateful as Fahey is for the campaign, he admits that fundraising while ill can be exhausting and says he was lucky that his family took on the responsibility.
“I went to one of the first fundraising meetings and I got frustrated. I was like, ‘I have to go. I’m stressing out too much,’” says Fahey. “Cancer is a full-time job, especially with all the bills and paperwork I get.”
Publicly asking for help also takes an emotional toll. “Personally I don’t like being a charity case or asking for help,” he says. Fahey says it took him a while to reach out to people on his Facebook page — he was worried about how it might look.
Recently, Fahey signed up for a Preexisting-Condition Insurance Plan — aka ObamaCare — but is still facing tens of thousands in bills. “My fear is one asshole will repeal it before I finish treatment and then it will start racking up even more [costs],” says Fahey.
So far Fahey’s campaign has raised $38,000 out of the $65,000 goal. A separate, real-world fundraiser raised $7,000 — paling in comparison to the online contributions. But they still don’t have enough to pay for his chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which he is about to begin.
“The journey is not over,” says Fahey. “At this point, the financial part is harder than the treatment.”
Facebook is taking a new step in the direction of public social responsibility with a campaign to combat veteran suicides by making it easier for veterans to connect with each other and locate resources when they’re in need.
The goal is an old one — to combat suicide, depression, and alcoholism, and to smooth veterans’ transitions back into civilian life. And the tools are built into the social network, the people designing the new app say.
“Facebook can help because we understand the things that might tie you to other people in a community and can help find what’s best for you,” said Jake Brill, one of the Facebook employees working on the project.
The move is the latest in a gradual shift toward public engagement for the social giant. In 2007, Facebook launched its Causes.com platform to help grassroots groups organize, publicize their causes, and fundraise. It has helped register people as organ donors and has encouraged people to get out and vote with its “I voted” button. It continues to fight against cyberbullying, most recently with its reporting system that encourages victims to reach out to adults for help or talk to the bully directly.
And there’s no question of the need among returning veterans. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs report released today, approximately 18 to 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each day. And nearly 19% of veterans who call the Veterans Crisis Line call more than once a month. The two-year study is the first comprehensive look at U.S. veteran suicide rates nationwide.
Currently there are thousands of Facebook pages for vet groups, but according to Brill, it can be hard to find the right information amongst the noise.
“There are so many organizations online, and you might happen on one serendipitously on Facebook,” says Brill. “The question is, how do you connect the dots and help people get to the right place?”
In collaboration with various experts who work closely with returning soldiers, Facebook is creating a curated list of vetted organizations and resources covering issues like mental health, job placement, and education opportunities for the Veterans App.
Facebook plans to include a specialized way for veterans to address posts and photos that indicate their fellow veterans are in immediate distress. They’re also given an option to send a message to a fellow veteran crafted by Facebook, suggesting specific resources for suicide, depression, alcoholism, or employment. Putting words in users’ mouths to help them talk to troubled friends might seem creepy, but it could also be life-saving. (Other Facebook experiments with crafting messages on behalf of users have been successful.)
There are already examples of veterans reaching out to each other on Facebook to help prevent suicides. One particularly startling example involved members from the Awesome Shit My Drill Sergeant Said group, where a soldier reached out for help when a fellow serviceman was attempting suicide. The group, while focused on humor, was able to mobilize veterans around the country who found the solider and saved his life.
“Since then we have taken that success, achieved by chance crowdsourcing, and have repeated it,” says Dan Cuddy, founder of the group, who served in Afghanistan. “We have saved 33 people and have engaged and connected with hundreds more.”
Since many veterans are hesitant to reach out for help, Facebook is using the Veterans App as an opportunity to test out some of their theories about how to encourage people to join groups. Working with social scientists, including psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo, psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, it is looking at ways to increase empathy and compassion between people online. It all sounds touchy feely and academic, but Facebook is convinced that it will work.
One current plan is to place information next to the Veterans App page about mutual friends and shared likes between the viewer and people in the group. The idea being that if you see people that like the same TV shows, music, books, movies, or celebrities, you are more likely to check it out and think about joining.
Just as with Facebook’s Graph search, the Veteran App’s success relies on getting more people to “like” stuff. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked at the Graph launch how Facebook was addressing the problem, he admitted it was a challenge. “People have been asking a long time to see who in their network like things,” Zuckerberg optimistically told the crowd.
If the Veterans App is successful, Facebook hopes to expand the model to offer services for other groups of people, such as those dealing with bullying or coping with disease.