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The Morning After: Wednesday, December 13th 2017

Making Bitcoin money.
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Good morning! It's the middle of the week and some of us are mortgaging our homes to get into Bitcoin. Meanwhile, SpaceX's recycled spacecrafts get together, Apple's new iMac is coming and we open nominations for the Best of CES 2018. Yep, the Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner, and we're looking for the best tech to be found in Vegas.



It's just about that time of year.
Engadget is once again presenting the official Best of CES awards

CES is just around the corner, and we're getting ready to try out all the latest gadgets. We're also pumped to be hosting the official Best of CES awards for the fifth year in a row. Just as in years past, our team of intrepid editors will search out the cream of the crop, nominate a group of finalists and later select the winners. Oh, and you, too, will have your voice heard through the People's Choice award. Want to know more? Head over to our awards hub. Oh and if you're part of a company who wants to submit a product for consideration, you'll find instructions for that, too.


There's a reason it's called the Bitcoin bubble, folks.
People are mortgaging their houses to buy Bitcoin

Bitcoin is sitting at $16,674 at the time of writing, after rocketing from $1,000 to more than $19,000 in the course of this year. Those types of eye-catching numbers (and the resulting media hype) are bound to draw the interest of casual folk. But, unless you've got money to burn, most analysts will tell you the same thing: steer clear of the hyper-volatile currency.

Still, it seems some people aren't paying heed. A bunch of wannabe investors are even going so far as to take mortgages out to buy bitcoin.


One is a serious VR contender.
Samsung vs. Acer Mixed Reality headsets: Which handles VR best?

The big VR story this year isn't another headset from Oculus or HTC -- it's Microsoft's entry into the space with Windows 10 Mixed Reality devices. They promise to be cheaper and easier to use than the Rift or Vive, thanks to a bit of help from HoloLens' 3D tracking technology. Acer's was among the first we saw in action, and it was a promising example of what an inexpensive VR headset could look like. Samsung, meanwhile, was late to the party with HMD Odyssey, but it also gave us a glimpse at high-end Mixed Reality headsets. Now that we've spent some time with both (along with HP's headset earlier this week), it's time to decide which handles Mixed Reality best.


Its first pro desktop in years is almost here.
Apple iMac Pro goes on sale December 14th

If you like your Apple hardware incredibly powered, you've been waiting on this. Apple's new iMac Pro will launch mid-December, with prices starting from $4,999. That 'starter' model ships with an 8-core Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of solid-state storage and a Radeon Vega Pro graphics chipset with 8GB of RAM. And it all scales up from there.


Almost ready for tourists
Blue Origin tests Crew Capsule 2.0

The latest rocket launch from Blue Origin featured a second generation of its capsule equipped with "the biggest windows in space." The Jeff Bezos-backed company has said it could start space tourism trips as soon as next year, and giving passengers a good view for their money will be critical. This flight only had equipment and a test dummy onboard, but all went well -- check out the video here.


The number-one-selling EV in the world gets a much-needed makeover.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf gets a semi-autonomous upgrade

The Nissan Leaf is the top-selling electric vehicle in the world. Sure, Tesla and Chevy get all the hype with the Bolt and Model 3, but with more than 290,000 cars sold, Nissan's little electric car is the one people are buying. But after seven years without a design refresh, Nissan has finally gone back to upgrade the original for 2018. We took it for a spin.


Nearly 40 senators signed a letter asking Ajit Pai to abandon the proposal.
Senators make last-ditch effort to halt the FCC's net neutrality vote

The FCC votes this Thursday on its proposal to remove net neutrality protections, and while it's all but certain that the commission will vote in favor of the proposal, some still haven't given up trying to convince the commissioners to change their minds -- including 39 senators. They apparently signed a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that he reconsider: "We write to urge you to abandon your reckless plan to radically alter the free and open internet as we know it," the Democrats wrote. "Your proposed action will amount to the largest abdication of the Federal Communications Commission's statutory responsibilities in history."

But wait, there's more...


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