Trending November 2023 # Don’t Stash Away Your Camping Gear—It Could Save The Day During A Power Outage # Suggested December 2023 # Top 11 Popular

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Last year amid the pandemic, many of us took to nature to find some space and solace. For some, what started as brief escapes developed into a fledgling camping hobby. A year later, as we look to keep outdoor escapes a permanent part of our self-care, it’s worth upgrading our gear closets to match a more rugged lifestyle. A few simple charging, hydration, and cooking tools can make camping safer and more sustainable, while also preparing us for ever-increasing power outages at home.

Stock up on power banks

A power bank can help keep your devices charged and make it possible to level up from a cooler full of ice to a camp fridge. I use a Goal Zero Yeti 500X power station to run the Dometic fridge and electric kettle in my Habitat Truck Topper. It has enough juice for 10 laptop lives or 20 fridge hours, and can be recharged through a car outlet or a little sunlight. I also keep a Goal Zero Sherpa power bank as a backup––you can’t have too much power for the work laptop.

[Related: Four things to do long before you lose power]

These accessories have helped me in a few tough situations back at home, too. As a Floridian, I’m no stranger to power outages during hurricane season. With climate change and intense storms beginning to affect all regions of the country, power outages will be an emergency everyone has to be ready for. Gear you buy for energy resilience in the outdoors can be a great first step toward building a survival kit at home.

Invest in portable solar panels

No matter what type of shelter I’m camping in, I rely on portable solar panels to power through long trips. Your power bank will go a long way in extending your electric capabilities, but you don’t want to cut your trip short just because the display says there’s no juice left. 

In that case you can collect and convert light energy using portable solar panels to get that power bank back to 100 percent. But first, you’ll want to pick the right size and wattage for you and your camping crew. Generally, the greater the rated wattage, the bulkier the models—so you’ll have to decide what size stores easily in your home and vehicle, and how fast you want to be able to charge up. My Goal Zero Boulder 100 solar panels refills my Yeti power station within six to 12 hours (more compact solar panels might take twice as long). Just be sure to check your power bank manufacturer’s tech specs for compatible solar panel options and charge time estimates. 

Portable solar panels can also relieve some uncertainty in the wake of a blackout. Storms can knock out power for days or weeks, depending on the age and complexity of your local utilities. While you may eventually want to look into larger-scale energy resilience solutions for your home, portable solar panels can help in a pinch.

Lighten up in more ways than one

Battery-powered lanterns and headlamps are a great first solution to camp lighting. But if you’d like to ditch your dependence on batteries (and the weight they add to your bags), try opting for a USB device that you can connect to your power bank.

If you’re looking for a more multipurpose alternative, however, Biolite’s Solar Starter Pack works great at the campsite and at home in the case of an outage. It includes four stand lights, two hanging lights, and a security light, which all run off a central control box and panel. As long as you have access to the open skies and sunlight, you can recharge the kit while you’re on an excursion and have it ready to go by sundown. The system takes six hours to get to full, and can be left out in a light rain and other elements. At home simply set the lights up in the yard or patio to recharge. 

Access clean water almost anywhere

Lugging around a 24 pack of water bottles isn’t the most efficient solution for hydrating while camping, nor is it environmentally friendly. But while you may be surrounded by water on your hikes and at your sleeping site, it can be dangerous to sip directly from a natural body. To avoid picking up a parasite or pathogen that will plague you after your trip, look into water filtration options that allow you to safely use abundant sources like streams.

[Related: How to repurpose your old outdoor gear]

Sawyer is a trusted name in the camping community when it comes to water filtration, and they have options for a range of needs, including an extremely lightweight one for backpacking and a durable tap system for trailers. Sawyer’s offerings keep harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, protozoa, and disease-causing parasites like giardia out of drinking, cooking, and cleaning water. These same filters can be repurposed at home in case of boil-water orders, which many Texas experienced during the ice storms this past winter. 

Cook up a real off-the-grid meal

Sandwiches, protein bars, and freeze-dried meals are convenient camping fare, but a propane camp stove can elevate your outdoor meals, even when you’re trying to feed a big group 

Jetboil’s Genesis Basecamp System folds up into a neat, easy-to-store bag and comes with both a frying pan and a pot. Eureka!, meanwhile, offers budget-friendly options that can serve anywhere from one to a dozen people.

These incredibly portable camping stoves will come in handy at home if an emergency renders your electric stove useless, as long as you have a clear outdoor space to safely use them in.  You can also opt for a butane stove—the canisters are more compressed, making them easier to carry along while backpacking. In terms of energy resilience at home, however, butane has a much higher boiling point than propane, so it’s not recommended for use in cold weather. It also doesn’t fare well at high altitudes because of its low vapor pressure. 

You’ll also have to do a little math to figure out how many fuel canisters you’ll need for your camping stay, plus a few spares in case you get stuck in the woods (or at home) for too long. Portable 16-ounce canisters of propane generally allow for 1.5 to 2 hours of cook time. If you run low on fuel, keep the menu simple to stretch out any amount you have left.

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How Decoding The Genome Of Pearl Oysters Could Save Them

In Japan, pearl oysters (Pinctada fucata) are an aquaculture staple. These precious baubles produced by tiny irritants trapped inside the mollusks are used to make jewelry around the world. Entrepreneur, farmer, and merchant Kokichi Mikimoto is widely credited with first developing cultured pearls 130 years ago and the legacy lives on. In 2023, pearls traded for about $5,810 (850,000 yen) per kilogram and prices surged as more and more people began to embrace wearing them.

However, over the last 20 years, a combination of diseases caused by viruses and red tides have hit the cultured pearl industry very hard. The production of Japan’s iconic pearls fell from over 150,000 pounds in the early 1990’s to just 44,092 pounds today.

[Related: 8 ‘insignificant’ creatures that will make you dream about the ocean.]

To learn more about oyster genetics with the hope of discovering more resilient strains, a team of researchers have built a high-quality, chromosome-scale genome of a pearl oyster. The team outlines their finding in a study published yesterday in the journal DNA Research.

“It’s very important to establish the genome,” study author Takeshi Takeuchi, staff scientist in Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology’s (OIST) Marine Genomics Unit, said in a statement. “Genomes are the full set of an organism’s genes—many of which are essential for survival. With the complete gene sequence, we can do many experiments and answer questions around immunity and how the pearls form.”  

This work goes back to 2012, when Takeuchi and his collaborators published a draft genome of the Japanese pearl oyster. This was one of the first genomes assembled of a mollusk, and in the 10 years since, they have continued sequencing the genome to find a higher quality, chromosome-scale genome assembly.   

The oyster’s genome is made up of 14 pairs of chromosomes (28 total), one set inherited from each parent. The two chromosomes of each pair carry nearly identical genes, but there can be subtle differences and a diverse gene repertoire benefits their survival.  

Typically, when a genome is sequenced, this pair of chromosomes is merged together. This process works well for animals in a laboratory setting, since they normally have almost identical genetic information between the pair of chromosomes. However, wild animals like oysters have more variants in the genes that exist between chromosome pairs, and all of that variation can lead to a loss of genetic information.

[Related: First Octopus Genome Sequence Reveals Clues About Camouflage And Big Brains.]

For this study the team sequenced both sets of chromosomes instead of merging them, possibly for the first time in a marine invertebrate. The genome sequence reconstructed all 28 oyster chromosomes and found key differences between the two chromosomes of one pair—chromosome pair 9. Importantly, many of the genes present on chromosome pair 9 were related to immunity.

“Different genes on a pair of chromosomes is a significant find because the proteins can recognize different types of infectious diseases,” said Takeuchi.

The immunity of the oysters can then be impacted if the reduced diversity happens in the chromosome regions with genes related to immunity—like chromosome 9 in pearl oysters. “It is important to maintain the genome diversity in aquaculture populations,” added Takeuchi.

This kind of research will help the industry better prevent inbreeding so that the pearl oysters’ immune systems can fight off their increasing threats.

Add A Few Laughs To Your Day With Instafun

How many times have you been told that you need to lighten up and have a little fun? If you’re an uptight person, always stressed out or a workaholic, taking a break and having fun is probably something that you don’t do enough.

Everyone needs and deserves a little bit of fun in their lives. As the saying goes, “all work and no play makes (insert name here) a dull boy/girl.” This is why I wanted to write about Instafun, a new Mac app that reminds you to have some fun. Instafun gives you instant access to fun and interesting images and Internet memes. Instafun is simple, with a minimalistic design that needs a little work, but gets the job done.

Getting Started Usage and Interface

Instafun currently gives you access to the mobile versions of three popular sites: 9gag, CHEEZburger and LOLsnaps. Each site has it’s own tab and you must use the slider at the top to switch between them. One thing I noticed is that the icons for each site (at the top) are a bit blurry.

As you can see from the screenshot above, navigating in Instafun is easy. There are arrows in the top left corner so that you can easily go back and forth between pages. On the far right there are buttons for sharing, opening the current view in a browser and settings.

The sharing button allows you to send images to email, Messages/iMessage, Twitter or Facebook. In settings you can choose to: start Instafun automatically (at login), remind you to have fun, and play a sound with reminder your reminder. Instafun will remind you to have fun every 15 minutes; unfortunately there’s no way to customize this.

It’s nice to have an unobtrusive reminder to have fun. Every 15 minutes you’ll see the smiley face turn from black to blue. If you enable sound to go along with your reminder, you’ll hear a short laugh as well. Although I must admit that the laugh sound is borderline creepy – especially if you’re home alone and it’s quiet in the house and your volume is up loud.


If you’re using this app from work, it’s probably best to keep safe mode on. The filter does not totally remove unsafe images, instead it blocks them out and adds a “NSFW” tag next to them (see screenshot above).

LOLsnaps CHEEZburger

Finally we have the CHEEZburger Network, which is a favorite of mine. Although you don’t need an account, you’ll want to sign up so that you can like and dislike images, add to your favorites and share on Facebook.

I tried to find a way to sign up through the app, but failed to find a signup/login link. I have an account on the CHEEZburger Network, so I know that it is possible.

Final Thoughts

I’m sure that some may find this Mac app a bit cheesy, but I like the idea of having fun images to view right from my menu bar. Instafun has great intentions and I feel that it delivers nicely.

Charnita Fance

Charnita has been a Freelance Writer & Professional Blogger since 2008. As an early adopter she loves trying out new apps and services. As a Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS user, she has a great love for bleeding edge technology. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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Save $41 On Lenovo Tab M10 Plus – Early Prime Day Deals

Last Updated on July 5, 2023

As Prime Day approaches, we’re scouring the web for the best early deals, and here’s one you’ll be thrilled to discover.

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Editor’s pick

Save $41 NOW!

Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Tablet

FHD Android Tablet, Octa-Core Processor, 128GB Storage, 4GB RAM, Dual Speakers, Kid Mode, Face Unlock, Android 9 Pie, Iron Grey

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

As of now, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Tablet is retailing for just $208.50 on Amazon, a generous $41 drop from its regular price of $249.99. Let’s delve into the distinctive features that make this deal shine:

Power-Packed Performance: With an Octa-Core processor running at up to 2.3 GHz, the M10 Plus offers swift and seamless performance, making it ideal for gaming, streaming, or multitasking on your tablet.

Ample Storage: The 128GB storage capacity lets you stockpile apps, documents, and media without worrying about space constraints, ensuring that your favorite content is always at your fingertips.

Optimal Viewing Experience: Sporting a 10.3″ Full HD display with TDDI technology, the M10 Plus delivers sharp visuals with vibrant colors, enhancing your movie or gaming sessions.

Superior Sound: Dual speakers fine-tuned with Dolby Atmos create immersive audio, offering you a rich and resonant sound experience whether you’re watching movies, listening to music, or on a video call.

Camera and Connectivity: The 8 MP rear and 5 MP front cameras capture clear and detailed photos, while the dual microphones enhance audio input during calls. With Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz Dual Band) and Bluetooth 5.0, you can stay connected wherever you go.

Kid-Friendly Features: Kid’s Mode comes with curated content, parental controls, and eye protection, making this tablet a safe and engaging device for children. It even alerts for incorrect posture or bumpy environments, adding another layer of safety.

Elegant Design: The tablet’s sleek metal back cover and narrow bezels lend it a premium look, ensuring it’s as stylish as it is functional.

What we think

The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus strikes an ideal balance between performance, functionality, and price. At just $208.50, this tablet is a robust choice for anyone seeking to upgrade their device. Coupled with kid-friendly features, it also makes for a great family device. This discounted rate is a rare find, and we recommend considering it if you’re in the market for a new tablet.

Best early Prime Day tablet deals

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Editor’s pick

Save $41 NOW!

Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Tablet

FHD Android Tablet, Octa-Core Processor, 128GB Storage, 4GB RAM, Dual Speakers, Kid Mode, Face Unlock, Android 9 Pie, Iron Grey

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

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Editor’s pick

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Samsung – Galaxy Tab S8

11″ – 128GB – Wi-Fi – with S-Pen – Graphite

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SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7″ 32GB WiFi Android Tablet

Compact, Slim Design, Kid Friendly, Sturdy Metal Frame, Long Lasting Battery, US Version, 2023, Silver

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My Experience As A Transfer Student During A Global Pandemic

My Experience as a Transfer Student during a Global Pandemic

Photos courtesy of Kelsey Martirano (COM’23)

Student Voices

My Experience as a Transfer Student during a Global Pandemic A Class of 2023 member reflects on her journey to BU in the midst of worldwide turmoil

With the 2023-2023 school year slowly approaching, I found myself reminiscing over the past year and a half. The pandemic undoubtedly tilted life as we knew it on its axis, and like everyone else, I spent much of the last 18 months indoors. However, unlike many, I transferred schools amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, making for a unique experience.

For a bit of context, I applied to transfer to Boston University in January 2023, with the hope of being admitted and attending BU that fall. At the time, I had no idea how much the world, and my life, would change just two months later.

After being admitted to BU’s Class of 2023, I found myself in a rather complex situation. Do I move to campus or stay remote? The fall of 2023 presented many students with a difficult choice, with mine being no exception. However, as a new student, knowing next to no one at BU, I struggled to determine the best plan for me socially and academically. Ultimately, I settled on learning remotely that fall with the determination to move to Boston in spring 2023.

“Regardless of the pandemic, transferring is one giant leap of faith, with its own set of challenges.”

– Kelsey Martirano (COM’23)

Once I found a roommate, thanks to the Boston University Class of 2023 Facebook Group, I scheduled my move-in for that January. After weeks of preparation, I packed up my dad’s truck and moved into what I believe is one of the tiniest dorm rooms on Bay State Road.

Regardless of the pandemic, transferring is one giant leap of faith, with its own set of challenges. On top of it all, I had never lived in a large city like Boston, which came with its own adjustments, such as navigating the MBTA, known to Bostonians as the “T,” and adapting to the never-ending city noise. Eventually, I figured it out, not without a few bumps along the way.

Acclimating to life at Boston University was rather interesting, as I heard students and faculty reminisce about a version of BU that I never knew. I only knew BU’s campus and classrooms as socially distanced, mask-wearing, and green badge–requiring places. Luckily, I was able to meet other transfer students who felt the same.

When comparing the social and academic difficulties that come with transferring, I found comfort in the kindness shown to me at BU. As I adjusted to my classes, I encountered challenges here and there, yet the professors I had were more than accommodating and understanding, which I am still so grateful for. Similarly, I found amazing people who went out of their way to make space for me despite already having their own friend groups.

With all of that said, I want to be transparent and reiterate that it was by no means easy. There were callous times along the way, and while lots of things are simply out of our control, I inevitably had to decide if those things were going to define me and my experience. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but there are defining moments in life where you have to determine which path you’re going to take. While transferring was not the easier path, it is the path I knew I needed to take, and I’m so glad I did.

When looking back over the past 18 months, I have overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and while the future is still uncertain, I think it’s safe to say that we have all come a very long way. I have immense pride for my fellow transfers and myself for the leap of faith we all decided to take during unprecedented times.

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Save 21% On This Apple Magsafe Wireless Charger – Early Prime Day Deals

Last Updated on July 1, 2023

There is always something for everyone on Early Prime Day deals, and this year is no exception, as you can add an Apple accessory while saving some money.

21% off

Apple MagSafe Charger – Wireless Charger with Fast Charging Capability

Type C Wall Charger, Compatible with iPhone and AirPods

Best Deals

deal @ amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

At the time of writing, the Apple MagSafe Wireless Charger is down 21% at Amazon, bringing its price down to $31 from its listed price of $39. That’s a little saving of $8, but it’s worth remembering that most offers on Apple products don’t appear regularly.

Let’s look at what you can get for the new reduced price and why we think this deal is perfect for those looking to upgrade or find the perfect gift idea.

Fast charging: Provide faster wireless charging up to 15W by connecting it with an Apple 20W USB-C power adapter (sold separately). Perfect for those who need to charge their iPhones and specific AirPods models quickly.

Easy setup process: Plug and connect your MagSafe charger using the USB-C connector on an Apple or third-party USB-C power adapter or a USB-C port on a Mac or PC.

Portable design: Carry this slim and simple-like charger around in your pockets to charge devices on the go by attaching it to a compatible power output.

Qi charging compatibility: A Qi-certified charger compatible with iPhone 8 or later and AirPods with wireless charging.

Magnetic alignment: When charging, you can secure your iPhone 12 or later by snapping it on the magnetic alignment.

USB-C integrated cable: Get a 1m USB-C cable (sold together) with the MagSafe charger for a faster charging experience.

What we think Best early Prime Day Apple deals

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Editor’s pick

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Apple 2023 MacBook Air 15.3″ (2023, M2 chip)

Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works

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Apple 2023 MacBook Pro 16.2″ (2023, M2 Pro)

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 16GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage.

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Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS + Cellular 41mm] Smart Watch

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Apple Watch Series 8

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*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

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