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Best Cyber Monday 2018 laptop deals: Apple, Dell, HP, and more



If you weren’t satisfied with the Black Friday deals on laptops, Cyber Monday gives you a second chance to find a laptop at the price you want. While there probably won’t be as many sales as over Black Friday, many of the same retailers are back with second helpings of savings. We’ll keep updating the deals, so check back over the next couple of days as more stores announce their Cyber Monday plans.


14z — AMD E2 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 14-inch display — $169.99
15-bs121nr — Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 15.6-inch display — $299.99
17z — AMD A9 processor, 17.3-inch display — $339.99
15t — Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display — $499.99
Chromebook x2 — Core m3 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD, 12.3-inch display — $549.99
Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15t — Core i7 processor, 8GB, 1TB hard drive, GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, 15.6-inch touchscreen — $749.99
Zbook x2 — Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 256GB SSD, 14-inch touchscreen — $849.00
Spectre x360 13t — Core i7 processor, 13.3-inch touchscreen — $989.99


Asus VivoBook F441 — AMD A9 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch full HD display — $399.99
Lenovo IdeaPad — AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 6GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display — $399.99
Asus VivoBook S15 — Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch full HD display — $569.99
Asus TUF — Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, GeForce GTX 1050Ti, 15.6-inch full HD display — $699
Lenovo Flex 5 — Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 14-inch touchscreen — $749.99
Dell Inspiron — Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and 128GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 15.6-inch full HD display — $799.99
Acer Aspire 7 — Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1060, 17.3-inch full HD display — $949.99


MSI Performance Gaming Laptop — Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, 15.6-inch display — $799.99


Apple MacBook Air (previous generation) — Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 13.3-inch display — $749.99

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CDC greenlights RSV vaccine during pregnancy—but only for seasonal use



Enlarge / An intensive care nurse cares for a patient suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), who is being ventilated in the children’s intensive care unit of the Olga Hospital of the Stuttgart Clinic in Germany.

A Pfizer vaccine designed to protect newborns and infants from severe RSV illness won a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday—but only for seasonal use.

The vaccine is Pfizer’s bivalent RSVpreF vaccine, called Abrysvo, and is administered to pregnant people late in gestation, between 32 and 36 weeks.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, is the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the US. Each year, 1.5 million children seek out-patient care for RSV, with 58,000 to 80,000 ending up in the hospital and 100 to 300 tragically dying from the infection.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 11 to 1 on Friday in favor of the limited recommendation for the vaccine, which in a clinical trial appeared 91 percent effective at preventing severe RSV in the first three months of a baby’s life and 76.5 percent effective against severe disease in the first six months. It demonstrated 57 percent efficacy in preventing hospitalization in the first six months.

The vaccine did appear to increase the pre-term birth rate compared with placebo, but the increase was not statistically significant.

Ultimately, the committee only recommended the vaccine to be used seasonally—between September and January to protect babies born between October and March, when RSV transmission typically peaks. (There is an exception for pregnant people who live in an area of the US where RSV circulates year-round, such as Hawaii and Gaum.)

For pregnant people whose babies are due between February and August, the vaccine is not recommended. Instead, those babies will have the option of a monoclonal antibody immunization by Sanofi, called nirsevimab (Beyfortus), available to protect against RSV in the run-up to the seasonal transmission. The antibody has been shown to be about 80 percent effective at preventing severe RSV over five months.

The one dissenting vote on the CDC’s committee was Helen Keipp Talbot, a medical professor at Vanderbilt University, who questioned the complexity of the recommendation and the need for another option, given the availability of the antibody. But other members highlighted the benefits of having two options available.

Shortly after the advisory committee’s vote, CDC Director Mandy Cohen endorsed the recommendation.

“This is another new tool we can use this fall and winter to help protect lives,” Cohen said in a statement. “I encourage parents to talk to their doctors about how to protect their little ones against serious RSV illness, using either a vaccine given during pregnancy, or an RSV immunization given to your baby after birth.”

Both options come at steep prices. Pfizer plans to charge $295 for its shot, and Sanofi sells the monoclonal immunization for $495.

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Worm that jumps from rats to slugs to human brains has invaded Southeast US



Adult female worm of Angiostrongylus cantonensis recovered from rat lungs with characteristic barber-pole appearance (anterior end of worm is to the top). Scale bar = 1 mm.

The dreaded rat lungworm—a parasite with a penchant for rats and slugs that occasionally finds itself rambling and writhing in human brains—has firmly established itself in the Southeast US and will likely continue its rapid invasion, a study published this week suggests.

The study involved small-scale surveillance of dead rats in the Atlanta zoo. Between 2019 and 2022, researchers continually turned up evidence of the worm. In all, the study identified seven out of 33 collected rats (21 percent) with evidence of a rat lungworm infection. The infected animals were spread throughout the study’s time frame, all in different months, with one in 2019, three in 2021, and three in 2022, indicating sustained transmission.

Although small, the study “suggests that the zoonotic parasite was introduced to and has become established in a new area of the southeastern United States,” the study’s authors, led by researchers at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, concluded. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The finding is concerning given the calamitous infection the rat lungworm, aka Angiostrongylus cantonensis, can cause in humans. The parasitic nematodes are, as their name suggests, typically found in rats. But they have a complicated life cycle, which can be deadly when disrupted.

Sickening cycle

Normally, adult worms live in the arteries around a rat’s lungs—hence rat lungworm. There, they mate and lay eggs. The worm’s larvae then burst out of the lungs, get coughed up by the rat, and are swallowed and eventually pooped out. From there, the larvae are picked up by slugs or snails. This can happen if the gastropods eat the rat poop or if the ravenous larvae just bore into their soft bodies. The larvae then develop in the slugs and snails, which, ideally, are eventually eaten by rats. Back in a rat, the late-stage larvae penetrate the intestines, enter the bloodstream, and migrate to the rat’s central nervous system and brain. There they mature into sub-adults then migrate to the lungs, where they become full adults and mate, thus completing the cycle.

Humans become accidental hosts in various ways. They may eat undercooked snails or inadvertently eat an infected slug or snail hiding in their unwashed salad. Infected snails and slugs can also be eaten by other animals first, like frogs, prawns, shrimp, or freshwater crabs. If humans then eat those animals before fully cooking them, they can become infected.

When a rat lungworm finds itself in a human, it does what it usually does in rats—it heads to the central nervous system and brain. Sometimes the migration of the worms to the central nervous system is asymptomatic or only causes mild transient symptoms. But, sometimes, they cause severe neurological dysfunction. This can start with nonspecific symptoms like headache, light sensitivity, and insomnia and develop into neck stiffness and pain, tingling or burning of the skin, double vision, bowel or bladder difficulties, and seizures. In severe cases, it can cause nerve damage, paralysis, coma, and even death.

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Rocket Report: Two small launchers fail in flight; Soyuz crew flies to ISS



Enlarge / NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara, Russian commander Oleg Kononenko, and cosmonaut Nikolai Chub prepare for launch September 15 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Welcome to Edition 6.12 of the Rocket Report! Two of the world’s most successful small satellite launchers suffered failures this week. We’ve seen many small launch companies experience failures on early test flights, but US-based Rocket Lab and China’s Galactic Energy have accumulated more flight heritage than most of their competitors. Some might see these failures and use the “space is hard” cliché, but I’ll just point to this week as a reminder that rocket launches still aren’t routine.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets, as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Rocket Lab suffers launch failure. Rocket Lab’s string of 20 consecutive successful launches ended Tuesday when the company’s Electron rocket failed to deliver a small commercial radar imaging satellite into orbit, Ars reports. The problem occurred on the upper stage of the Electron rocket about two and a half minutes after liftoff from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. This was the fourth time a Rocket Lab mission has failed in 41 flights. A small commercial radar surveillance satellite from Capella Space was destroyed when the rocket crashed.

Not great, not terrible … The Electron rocket has a 90 percent success rate over its 41 missions to date, which is still better than Rocket Lab’s competitors in the market for dedicated launches of small satellites. Aside from Rocket Lab, Astra and Firefly Aerospace are the only other active companies in the new wave of commercial small satellite launch startups that have achieved orbit. Virgin Orbit launched a handful of successful missions, but that company went out of business earlier this year. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

Firefly launches responsive space mission. Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket successfully delivered a US military satellite into low-Earth orbit on September 14, Ars reports. The two-stage Alpha launch vehicle lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California with a small satellite built by Millennium Space Systems. This was the third flight of Firefly’s Alpha rocket, which is designed to lift about a ton of payload into orbit. But it was the first time Alpha has successfully placed a satellite into the planned orbit, following a launch failure in 2021 shortly after liftoff, and an off-target orbital deployment last year.

“Conquer the night” …As part of its efforts to be more nimble in space, the US military has been pushing satellite and launch companies to become more “responsive” in their ability to put spacecraft into space. This launch—known as Victus Nox, Latin for “conquer the night”—was the next step in the military’s effort to demonstrate it can quickly replace a satellite that might be destroyed by an enemy attack in a future conflict. Firefly and Millennium met the military’s goal of being “launch ready” within 24 hours, and the total time from receiving the go command to liftoff was 27 hours, far eclipsing the previous record set by the first tactically responsive launch two years ago. (submitted by Ken the Bin)

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