* This should go without saying, but all photos from within the moving vehicle were either taken by me as a passenger, or by a passenger while I was driving. Please do not try taking photos of your dashboard or dials while operating a moving vehicle.

My 20-year old Toyota Echo isn't a "family road trip" car.

Since my partner became pregnant a couple years ago, we've been saving up to buy a larger family car. I've been driving a 4-door Toyota Echo for almost 20 years, and she owned a 4-door Mazda 3. Both cars were sufficient for commuting around town and for taking weekend trips out of state back when it was just the 2 of us and our daughter. But both have also seen a lot of wear and tear over the years. And with a baby, which comes with a car seat, stroller, diaper bag, and so forth, those small coups are just not comfortable for long trips. Even though I love my little Toyota Echo, and am determined to drive it till it won't drive anymore, I recognize that it isn't a very good "family road trip" car.

We both agreed that we wanted a vehicle that is big enough to transport our larger family, and which has 4-wheel-drive so that we can safely drive through snow to ski resorts for snowboarding and skiing. But we each had other priorities that we had to compromise on. I wanted an electric car, and I promised myself a long time ago that I would never buy a gasoline-powered car if I could avoid it. My partner wanted a large, 3-row SUV. Unfortunately, there aren't many options for 3-row, 4-wheel-drive, electric SUVs. At least not in 2022. There's the Tesla Model X, and the upcoming Rivian ESUV, but those both cost well over $100 thousand. We needed a more affordable options. So I had to compromise on my all-electric priority and agree to go with a hybrid gas SUV, with a preference for a plug-in hybrid model.

These concessions reduced our options down to 2 vehicles: the Kia Sorento PHEV and the Toyota Highlander hybrid. The Highlander is a little bigger and has a 7-seat capacity, which my partner preferred. I've been driving a Toyota Echo for almost 20 years, and my mom's only two cars during my lifetime have been Toyotas, so I trust Toyotas to be reliable cars. I would have been fine with the Highlander hybrid. In fact, if the Highlander had a plug-in electric hybrid model (instead of just a traditional hybrid), we probably would have bought the Highlander instead.

We purchased a 2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid.

But the Sorento has the plug-in electric capability, and there just so happened to be one in the queue at one of our local Kia dealerships. We reserved it. Its arrival was delayed several times, and it took about 3 months before it was finally there at the dealership, ready to be driven home. We have so far been very happy with the purchase, with the only real regret being that we had to pay a high dealership markup due to the high car prices in 2022 and the limited availability of this model in particular. Love the car; hate the price we had to pay for it.

[More]

Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

I am really struggling to see how the National Football League thinks that it's NFL+ subscription service is worth $30 - $80 a year. I tried a free trial of the app during the first week of the NFL regular season and was thoroughly disappointed by the service in almost every conceivable way.

First of all, just signing up for it is a pain in the ass because their payment provider, Cleeng takes forever to load. I had to refresh it several times and wait several minutes before I was finally able to actually activate the trial.

The NFL wants $30-$80 for its streaming service. Is it worth it? Spoiler: NO.

The real kicker is that I can only watch live games that are televised anyway, as well as in-market games. So I can watch the Raiders (because I live in Las Vegas), even though I hate the Raiders; but I can't watch the Bears unless they're on TV anyway. I don't have cable, but I do have a broadcast TV antennae, and an Amazon Prime subscription (which carries Thursday night games). I can already watch every game that NFL+ offers at no extra charge, with the sole exception of Monday night games on ESPN, because even though we have a Disney+ subscription that supposedly includes ESPN+, we can't actually watch any live sports on ESPN+ because the Disney subscription only covers the basic ESPN+ content, and live sports requires the premium ESPN+ subscription. So, without needing to write another review, ESPN+ is also a complete waste of money.

If I really want to watch a Monday night game, I can go to my parents' house and watch it. They have cable, and they live less than 2 miles away.

The only thing that NFL+ offers that has any value to me is the ability to watch replays of games. But that's a feature of the premium ($80) subscription, and isn't offered by the basic ($30) subscription, and it's not something that is likely to be particularly valuable to most casual NFL viewers. It's only potentially valuable to me because I make YouTube content about Madden and other football video games, and I often use NFL footage (under Fair Use) to demonstrate how those games get football right or (more often) wrong. Most people don't bother to watch replays of live sports. The appeal of sports is to watch it in the moment. Once the moment has passes, so has the appeal. People watch highlights after the fact, but not entire games. The only time I've ever watched re-broadcasts of NFL games was when I would watch replays of Bears preseason games on NFL Network in order to see how the backups play. I have no interest in watching re-broadcasts of regular season or playoff games, except in the context of using it in a YouTube video. And that also has limited value because I'm usually able to find the clips or highlights that I need for free on YouTube or from NFL or ESPN highlight and analysis shows.

[More]

Tags:, , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 18, 2022 12:00 PM

PayPal phishing scam alert

in Science and Technology by MegaBearsFan

I came across an interesting new phishing scam in my personal inbox earlier this week. The scam came in the form of an email from ... paypal.com ... ?

Yep, that's right! I received an invoice from service@paypal.com requesting that I pay a sum of $600 for a gift card for someone who I have never heard of.

This caught me off guard at first. Obviously, I hadn't bought a $600 gift card for a complete stranger, so I suspected phishing right out of the gate. But for a phishing attack like this, I would normally expect the email to come from some random email made up of alphabet soup and coming from a clearly illegitimate domain, and for all the links in the email to refer to similarly illegitimate addresses. But that wasn't the case. The email came from PayPal, and all the buttons and links referred to pages in the PayPal domain. This email looked like a legitimate invoice from PayPal.

I received this email invoice from service@paypal.com, and all the links go to pages in the PayPal domain.

Turns out, it is a legitimate invoice from PayPal! Well, sort of. It is "Legitimate" in the sense that it actually came from PayPal. It is not "legitimate" in the sense that I did not actually buy the thing, nor did I actually owe the money.

After doing a bit of research, I found that this particular scam has been happening since at least 2020, but has been gaining popularity in the past couple months. Basically, the scammers take advantage of a legitimate feature of PayPal, which is the ability for any PayPal user to send an invoice for payment to any other PayPal user. The invoice is, thus, very real. In fact, if the target logs into your actual PayPal account, you might see the invoice there as well, which grants an extra illusion of authenticity to the scam, and might scare people into thinking that they actually owe the money (especially if the email threatens penalties for not paying immediately).

[More]

Tags:, , , ,

Last week, experimental physicists at Fermilab made an exciting announcement. They believe they have confirmed the presence of anomalous activity among muons in an electromagnetic field that are not predicted by the Standard Model of Physics. This result could point to the existence of heretofore unknown particles, or maybe even a fifth fundamental force of physics!

The possibility of a fifth fundamental force of physics was reported back in 2011. That research was a completely different experiment, and as far as I know, it ended up being a dead end. I don't recall ever reading confirmation of the experimental findings.

Fermilab researchers have reproduced experimental results that suggests a new particle or force of nature.

This new experiment, however, makes much more precise measurements, and the confidence is much higher that the anomalous data actually represents a new phenomenon. If this new experimental outcome does, indeed lead to a new fundamental force, it would be very exciting news, indeed.

[More]

Tags:, , , , , ,

2020 has been a shit year for most of us here on Earth. But it may turn out to be a landmark year for science, and the search for life outside of Earth.

The search for extra-terrestrial life has mostly focused on Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system.

For decades, the focus of the search for extraterrestrial life has focused on Mars, the outter solar system (such as the moon Titan and Europa), and searching for non-natural radio signals from other stars. But a recent review of data from the Pioneer 13 space probe has revealed that the probe detected one of the tell-tale indications of life in the atmosphere of Venus way back in 1978. The review of Pioneer 13's data was prompted by the recent discovery (by scientists using a land-based telescope) of a chemical called phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. The findings were published in the journal Nature Astronomy a month ago, on September 14.

Phosphine is a class of gas that can be produced from atmospheric chemistry under high pressure, or as a by-product of anaerobic biology. Phosphine has also been detected in the atmosphere of gas giants such as Jupiter, where the incredibly high pressure and energy of Jupiter's interior atmosphere produces the compound, which then floats up to the upper atmosphere, where it reacts with other chemicals and oxidized (or dissolves). The atmosphere of Venus, however, lacks the higher pressure of Jupiter that would be continually-creating phosphine. As such, the chemical cannot be produced in Venus' atmosphere, in the quantities detected, by the same mechanisms that produce it on Jupiter. Another explanation is required, and the only other known way to produce this type of phosphine is through anaerobic biological processes.

[More]
Grid Clock Widget
12      60
11      55
10      50
09      45
08      40
07      35
06      30
05      25
04      20
03      15
02      10
01      05
Grid Clock provided by trowaSoft.

A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

Check out my YouTube content at YouTube.com/MegaBearsFan.

Follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/MegaBearsFan

Patreon

If you enjoy my content, please consider Supporting me on Patreon:
Patreon.com/MegaBearsFan

FTC guidelines require me to disclose that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made by clicking on Amazon product links on this site. All Amazon Associate links are for products relevant to the given blog post, and are usually posted because I recommend the product.

Without Gravity

And check out my colleague, David Pax's novel Without Gravity on his website!

Featured Post

The Humanity of NCAA Football's In-Season RecruitingThe Humanity of NCAA Football's In-Season Recruiting08/01/2022 If you're a fan of college football video games, then I'm sure you're excited by the news from early 2021 that EA will be reviving its college football series. They will be doing so without the NCAA license, and under the new title, EA Sports College Football. I guess Bill Walsh wasn't available for licensing either? Expectations...

Random Post

Playing my souvenir games from Europe: Hnefatafl (The Viking Game)Playing my souvenir games from Europe: Hnefatafl (The Viking Game)03/29/2018 Souvenir board game!!! During a holiday in Europe, I procured a few souvenir board games to add to my collection. I didn't have room in my luggage for the larger Stonehenge Anthology Game or the Ring of Stones game. So instead of buying them in the Stonehenge gift shop, I ordered them online and had them shipped to my house....

Tag Cloud

Month List

Recent Comments

Comment RSS