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Best Costco Black Friday 2018 deals: $250 iPad, $200 laptops, and more

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Dell has been the first to see its Black Friday ads leaked online in the past couple of years, but its streak comes to an end in 2018. Costco has now seen its ad posted to Black Friday deal sites. The retailer is known for its massive members-only warehouse locations, but it looks like it is saving some of its best sales for its website this year.

Best Costco Black Friday 2018 deals:

Costco Black Friday 2018 ad

2018 Black Friday deals

  • Walmart features $99 Chromebook, $89 Windows 2-in-1 laptop
  • BJs Wholesale ad leaks with laptop, desktop, tablet deals
  • Target ad includes $250 iPad mini 4, $120 Chromebook deals
  • Costco kicks off leaks season with $250 iPad, pair of $200 laptops
  • Amazon: See early deals on Echo, Fire HD, and more
  • Dell features $120 Inspiron laptop, $500 gaming desktop
  • Sam’s Club: TVs, game consoles, and cameras
  • Office Depot: Laptops, printers, and chairs

While keeping its stores closed on Thanksgiving, Costco hopes to be doing a lot of business online with a number of turkey day sales, including a sizable discount on Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad, which will see its priced shaved by more than 20 percent for the base 32GB model to $249.99. Costco.com will also have a pair of laptops on sale for $199.99 during Thanksgiving: a 14-inch HP Chromebook with Intel Celeron processor and 1080p HD display, and a Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 with AMD A6 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter’s top picks

Two other laptop deals on Costco’s website on Thanksgiving jump up to $449.99 for a Lenovo Ideapad 330 15.6-inch touchscreen system with Intel Core i5 processor, 12 gigs of RAM, and terabyte hard drive — $150 off the current Costco price and about $125 off the price on Lenovo’s own site — and a much pricier $1,499.99 for a Dell XPS 13 with a 4K touchscreen display, 16GB of RAM, 1TB solid-state drive, and Core i7 CPU. That price is $500 less than Costco’s current price, and even more of a discount off a similarly configured system on Dell’s site.

CNET: Best Black Friday deals 2018 | Best Holiday gifts 2018 | Best TVs to give for the holidays

Another four sales are online exclusives, but continue through the Black Friday weekend. These include an HP 14 laptop with Pentium CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64 gigs of storage for $224.99 (down from $299.99) and an Acer 2-in-1 Chromebook with a quad-core processor, 4 gigs of RAM, 32GB of storage and 13.3-inch 1080p touchscreen for $289.99 (down $100). A more powerful 2-in-1 comes in the form of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 15-inch touchscreen for $599.99 ($150 off), while a conventional HP Pavilion laptop with 16GB of RAM, terabyte hard drive, Core i7 processor, and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card for $799.99. Though the ad claims a $300 discount off the HP, a very similar configuration is currently available on the Costco site for the same price.

TechRepublic: A guide to tech and non-tech holiday gifts to buy online | Photos: Cool gifts for bosses to buy for employees | The do’s and don’ts of giving holiday gifts to your coworkers

Finally, there are four deals that will be available both online and in brick-and-mortar locations, though again they will get a head start on the website starting on Thanksgiving. One desktop is included among these: a full-featured HP Pavilion all-in-one with Core i5 chip, 12 gigs of memory, terabyte hard drive, and 23.8-inch 1080p touchscreen for $699.99 , or $200 less than the current price. The trio of notebooks starts with a 15.6-inch Dell Inspiron 5000 with Core i3, 12GB of RAM, and 1TB hard drive for $379.99 ($90 off), then shifts gears to an Asus ROG gaming laptop complete with Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, terabyte hard drive and 256GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card, 17.3-inch display, and gaming mouse for $999.99 ($300 savings). A slightly less expensive Dell XPS 13 configuration rounds out the deals — this version comes with half the SSD capacity and a $1,349.99 price tag.


For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and technology for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet’s Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet earns commission from the products and services featured on this page.

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Unusual Ebola strain kills 23 in Uganda; no vaccines, treatments available

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Enlarge / Health measures are taken at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital after an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.

Health officials in Uganda are scrambling to catch up to a burgeoning Ebola outbreak caused by a lesser-seen Ebolavirus species called Sudan virus (SUDV), for which there is no vaccine or treatment.

Information so far suggests that the outbreak response efforts may be three weeks behind the initial spread of SUDV, which has an incubation period of up to 21 days and a case fatality rate between 41 percent and 100 percent. So far, 36 cases (18 confirmed, 18 probable) have been identified, with 23 deaths. Health officials have listed a total of 223 contacts.

But that number is likely an undercount. Several transmission chains have not been tracked, and some health facilities that saw Ebola patients did not follow optimal infection control measures, the World Health Organization warned. Further, because of the delayed recognition of the outbreak, some patients were buried in traditional ceremonies with large gatherings that could have allowed the virus to transmit further.

Yet another complicating factor is that the outbreak has been detected among those living around an active gold mine, which relies on a highly mobile population. “The declaration of the outbreak may cause some miners already incubating the disease to flee,” WHO warned, possibly enabling the disease to spread to new areas.

In an outbreak update Monday, the WHO assessed the risk of spread through Uganda to be high given the multiple concerning factors.

Evolving situation

The concern is yet higher because there is no licensed vaccine or treatment for SUDV, as there is for the more common species of Ebolavirus, Zaire. Currently, there are two vaccines and two treatments for Ebola disease caused by the Zaire species, which has caused nearly all the Ebola outbreaks documented and all of the largest outbreaks. In addition to Zaire and SUDV, there are four other rare Ebolavirus species: Bundibugyo, Taï Forest, Reston, and Bombali.

Of the 41 outbreaks WHO lists on its website, SUDV was responsible for only seven, the most recent of which was in 2012. That outbreak, also in Uganda, involved seven cases and had a fatality rate of 57 percent.

The current outbreak came to light with the death of a 24-year-old man on September 19 in central Uganda. The man developed a range of worrying symptoms on September 11, which included a high-grade fever, tonic convulsions, blood-stained vomit and diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain while swallowing, chest pain, dry cough, and bleeding in the eyes. He sought care at two different private clinics to no avail and was eventually referred to a Regional Referral Hospital (RRH) on September 15. There, health care workers suspected he had a case of viral hemorrhagic fever, isolated him, and collected blood samples for testing. On September 19, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Kampala confirmed he had an SUDV infection—the same day he died. Ugandan health officials declared an outbreak the next day.

Now, a week later, the case count is up to 36, with 23 dead and the remaining 13 confirmed cases still hospitalized. The median age of the cases is 26 years, with ages ranging from 1 year to 60 years.

For now, the WHO assessed this outbreak’s overall regional and global risks to be low. However, the agency noted that the outbreak’s scope is not yet known, and cross-border spread cannot be ruled out.

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Ian reaches major hurricane status, will be a historic storm for Florida

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Enlarge / As of 5:50 am ET on Tuesday, Hurricane Ian had nearly traversed the island of Cuba.

NOAA

Hurricane Ian continued to intensify on Monday night and reached sustained winds of 125 mph as its center passed across the western edge of Cuba. From there, the storm will move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, where very warm water and low wind shear will allow for further intensification.

The hurricane has been moving around the western edge of a high pressure system, but as Ian approaches the western coast of Florida on Wednesday it will start to run into a trough of low pressure draped across the southeastern United States. The net effect of this will cause Ian to slow down, perhaps only moving a few miles per hour for a couple of days.

All of this is a recipe for disaster for much of the Florida peninsula, but it’s difficult to say precisely where, and precisely which effects. Even though landfall is expected to occur in less than two days, there remains considerable uncertainty in where Ian will make landfall along the western Florida coast, and where it will go. This is due, in part, to the breakdown of its steering currents.

Tampa

The area most at risk is the densely populated Tampa region, which is built up around a large bay that would serve as a funnel for storm surge. Some risk analyses have found that more than half a million homes in Tampa are vulnerable to surges of water—pushed by the circulation of a hurricane over the ocean—with a replacement cost of $126 billion. About half of the metro area’s population lives in homes built at elevations of 10 feet or lower.

In the run-up to Ian’s landfall, the Tampa region has received much of the attention due to its large population and the fact that it has not been struck by a major hurricane in more than a century. The region has escaped direct impacts from a powerful hurricane ever since an unnamed hurricane hit the area in late October, 1921. The region’s population has increased more than 10-fold since then, to about 3 million people.

Were Ian to make landfall on Tampa, or within about 50 to 100 miles to the north, it truly would bring a devastating storm surge to the area, along with major wind damage. These effects, combined with a slow-moving hurricane, would be just about the worst-case-scenario storm for Tampa or any populated area.

However, due to the lack of certainty about Ian’s track during the next two days, it remains possible that Ian could come ashore south of Tampa. A hurricane’s storm surge is always worse to the right of its center, where its counter-clockwise circulation is pushing water toward the shore. A landfall even 20 or 30 miles south of Tampa would still be bad, but it would spare Tampa Bay from considerable flood damage.

Rest of Florida

Ian is expected to make landfall along the west or southwest coast of Florida and then track northward across much of the peninsula. Although its winds will be somewhat reduced as the center comes onshore, it will still pack a punch. Inland communities such as Orlando and The Villages, according to the National Hurricane Center, have at least a 1-in-5 chance of experiencing hurricane-force winds.

In addition to the winds, for inland areas of Florida, there is also a serious threat of heavy and prolonged rainfall. Ian’s slow movement will exacerbate these rains as part of its large structure remains offshore, drawing moisture to thunderstorms over land.

Although it’s not yet possible to have confidence in precisely where the heaviest rains will occur, it seems probable that a swath of 15 to 25 inches of rainfall will cover a significant area of the Florida peninsula as Ian moves inland and drenches the state. This will compound the misery for those whose roofs are damaged by wind or are left without power.

Considerable uncertainty remains in the track of Hurricane Ian as of 8 am ET Tuesday morning.

Considerable uncertainty remains in the track of Hurricane Ian as of 8 am ET Tuesday morning.

National Hurricane Center

The latest track forecast for Ian also brings the storm center very near, if not directly over Kenned Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. NASA prudently decided on Monday to roll its massive Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft into the Vehicle Assembly Building for protective cover. While this is likely to cause an approximately six-week delay to the Artemis I mission, that is better than damaging the vehicles.

United Launch Alliance has a mission planned for Friday, September 30, to launch two television broadcast satellites for SES from Cape Canaveral. Expect that to be delayed. NASA, too, is also hoping to launch its next crew mission to the International Space Station as early as October 3. Depending on Ian’s effects, including damage to the spaceport and disruption of the lives of those who work there, this Crew-5 launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket could also be delayed.

On Monday SpaceX Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability Bill Gerstenmaier said the Crew Dragon spacecraft is mated to the Falcon 9 rocket. For now, however, the vehicles remain safely inside the company’s hangar in Florida. “We’re ready to roll out whenever the weather is ready to roll out,” Gerstenmaier said during a news conference.

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DART goes silent after hitting an asteroid

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Enlarge / One of the last images from DART.

NASA/APL

About 24 hours prior to its collision, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) probe performed its last course correction based on commands sent by ground controllers. “It’s pointed to within a football field of the central body,” said Bobby Braun of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL). “That last maneuver was spot-on.”

Even at this late stage, DART’s onboard camera couldn’t resolve its ultimate target, the small asteroid Dimorphos, so the central body it was targeting is the partner Dimorphos orbits, called Didymos. DART’s onboard navigation couldn’t start navigating toward its target until it could see it, which was only expected to occur about 90 minutes before impact. At that point, the navigation started adjusting DART’s course to get it heading straight at Dimorphos. Ground controllers, separated by about a minute of communications time, could only watch.

“Space is full of moments, and we’re going to have a moment tonight, hopefully,” said Braun.

It all worked. Images from the DRACO camera showed Dimorphos looming ever larger over the last minutes leading up to the collision, eventually filling the entire field of view. And then, in a moment that would normally indicate disaster, transmissions stopped part way through the final image. “What we’re cheering for is loss of spacecraft, so it’s different,” Braun had said earlier in the day.

As for the details of that impact, we’ll have to wait. The best images we’ll get are from an Italian Cubesat called LICIACube that has been trailing DART since the two separated a few weeks ago. LICIACube will be about 50 km from the point of impact and will get even closer over the three minutes after impact before passing behind Dimorphos. But it will take some time to transmit images to Earth—possibly a day or more for processing and release.

So, the first images are likely to come from ground observatories, which are looking for brightening caused by the debris plume spreading from the point of impact. When asked how much ground-based hardware was dedicated to watching for the plume, Cristina Thomas of Northern Arizona University said, “I don’t know, but there’s a lot of them—it’s very exciting to have lost count.” Nancy Chabot of APL said the count was up to three dozen, and they’ll be joined by the Hubble and Webb Space Telescopes. Some of those images are likely to show up online by tomorrow.

The exact details of the debris plume can potentially tell us a lot about the asteroid’s interior, and help us design planetary defense hardware. But that level of analysis will take months, with lots of computer modeling compared to images from multiple sources to try to understand what happened.

NASA is about to hold a press conference about the results, so we’ll see if any details or images released and update this story accordingly.

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