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Google is selling the Home Hub and two Home Mini speakers for just $12

Google just launched an aggressive deal that might be all many people need to outfit their house or apartment with Google Assistant this holiday season. For a limited time, the company is selling a Home Hub smart display and two Home Mini smart speakers at a total price of $129. The Hub ordinarily retails for $149, with the speakers going for $49 each. This deal might be very limited, with Google’s terms indicating it will end at 11:59PM PT tonight, December 14th.

Obviously both products have been discounted at times during the holiday season — including right now at various retailers. But this bundle from the Google Store seems pretty tough to beat. As Google puts it, you’re basically getting $20 off the Home Hub and two Minis for...

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Bruce Springsteen’s Netflix special makes this a great weekend for T

There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

The Indian Runner, Sean Penn’s 1991 debut as a writer and director. Based on the 1982 Bruce Springsteen song “Highway Patrolman,” the movie stars David Morse as Joe Roberts, a deputy sheriff living a quiet life with his wife Maria (Valeria Golino) in a late-1960s Midwestern small town. Joe’s career and family are disrupted by the return of...

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Amazon’s Echo Wall Clock now shipping for $30

Amazon’s $29.99 Echo Wall Clock is now here to complete the set of minimalist Alexa devices (including a smart microwave and outlet plug) that the company announced earlier this year. Like some of those other products, the analog Wall Clock doesn’t actually have a mic for Alexa built in; it’s meant for those who already own an Echo. If you do, you can have it display timers, alarms, and reminders through voice commands.

The Echo Wall Clock runs on 4 AA batteries and needs to be synced to an Echo device through a quick setup process that requires Bluetooth and a Wi-Fi connection. But you can do it all through voice without having to pull out your phone. It has 60 LEDs running around the clock’s face, so you can look at multiple timers...

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All I want for Christmas is this twerking Alexa-enabled bear

The company behind the Alexa-enabled Big Mouth Billy Bass has created the most Spencer’s Gift-y item of them all: an Alexa-enabled twerking bear that dances to music and lip-syncs responses. It comes in three variations — Twerking Bear, Twerking Bear (seasonal), and Santa — all of which sell for $40. It’s a small price to pay for an animated plush that cheerfully lip-syncs responses to your questions, in addition to handling timers, alarms, reminders, and notifications.

Twerking Bear comes from novelty toy and inflatables company Gemmy, which already has an entire army of stuffed animal twerkers. Gemmy released its Alexa-enabled line of passionate dancers last month, but we somehow missed them amid the excitement of seeing an...

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Is vaping better than smoking? Scientists studied pee to find out

E-cigarette users’ pee contains more heavy metals as well as signs of exposure to carcinogens and other irritating chemicals than the pee of non-vapers, hinting that the habit might come with serious health risks. At the same time, vapers who switched completely from cigarettes still had lower levels of these substances in their urine than their smoking peers, new research says.

The study, published today in the journal JAMA Network Open, didn’t measure the risks from exposures directly — only the materials the participants peed out. But the findings may help with the ongoing debate about whether e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes. After all, that’s a major selling point for the vape industry, which markets e-cigarettes as a less...

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Federal court freezes Faraday Future CEO’s ownership stake, Californ

A federal US District judge in California has temporarily frozen Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting’s ownership stake in the company, and put a protective order on the mansions he owns in California, according to new court documents filed Thursday. It’s the second freeze placed on Jia’s ownership stake in the company in the last two weeks. The decision comes at a time when the EV startup is nearly completely out of cash after a months-long clash with its main financial backer, Chinese real estate conglomerate Evergrande, that has resulted in hundreds of layoffs and furloughs.

The new freeze is a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this week in the central district court of California by a Chinese company called Shanghai Lan Cai Asset...

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Apple Music support hits Amazon Echo speakers

Apple Music support for Amazon Echo devices has arrived, a few days earlier than it was scheduled to hit on December 17th. It’s rolling out now on the Alexa app for iOS and Android, adding Apple Music to the list of supported music streaming services, which already includes Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.

Once you link your Apple Music account to Alexa through the app, you can set it as your default streaming service so you don’t have to specify every time you ask Alexa to play something. Apple Music subscribers can ask Alexa to play songs from their personal playlists, the entire Apple Music library, or the service’s curated playlists and radio stations.

Unfortunately, the Apple Music update is limited to Echo...

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Epic says it ‘messed up’ and removes overpowered Infinity Blade fr

Epic announced this morning that its new and controversial Infinity Blade “mythic” item has been removed from Fortnite, following widespread criticism over the item’s overpowered nature and game-breaking position as a pinnacle, late-game weapon. The reversal, while not the first time Epic has changed course on an unpopular design decision rather quickly, is notable for the language the developer used to announce it, as well as how much Epic hyped up the item in marketing and promos for the recently released season 7.

“We messed up and rolled out the Infinity Blade overpowered / without good counters, especially in the end game,” reads the company’s tweet publicizing the change. “The Infinity Blade has been Vaulted and we are...

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Nintendo’s NES Classic and SNES Classic are going out of production

Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic consoles are going away after the holidays — probably for good this time. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé said that the mini-consoles will be going out of production, and once the holiday season stock sells out, they won’t be restocked.

Nintendo isn’t new to supply issues. The NES Classic immediately sold out when it was first released in November 2016, with resellers charging hundreds of dollars for the popular product. Initially discontinued in April 2017, Nintendo rereleased the $60 NES Classic this past June, and it has been fairly easy to come by ever since. The company corrected its mistake with the SNES Classic, its second...

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