The new ‘Dune’ is a great start — but can’t outrun the book’s biggest problem

Call off the search: There is, finally, a definitive movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 sci-fi novel Dune. Or at least, a definitive adaptation of the first half of that 896-page paperback monster.

Denis Villeneuve has made a big, rich, moody sci-fi tone poem in the style of his previous outing, Blade Runner 2049. If you liked that — and we did — you’ll love this, and its 150 minutes will fly by in a kind of pleasant hypnotic trance, with a few flashes of humor to relieve the ever-present tension.

Dune launched Thursday night on HBO Max. Villeneuve would prefer you risk rousing the giant sandworm named Delta-variant COVID by seeing it in theaters if you can do so (relatively) safely, as home viewing would be “a diluted experience”. He’s got a point: Like many desert movie classics, this is best seen in an epic setting. And best felt there, too, with Hans Zimmer’s portentous, bass-heavy score rattling the seats. A good chunk of the early third is dimly lit, which makes for a nice contrast when we reach sunlit Arrakis, but also means home viewers with sub-$5,000 TVs may have another Battle of Winterfell situation on their hands.

Beyond the audio-visual artistry, however, how you feel about Dune may depend on how you feel about Herbert’s book. If you’ve never read the sprawling original, Villeneuve’s script does just enough hand-holding to keep you afloat — though you may wonder why we’re asked to sympathize with the aristocratic, militaristic Atreides family at its center. If you read it and loved it, Villeneuve’s your guy. If you read it and were ambivalent, like me, then you may appreciate the small updates and omissions and flash-forwards that make it seem less like a story about a colonizing white male savior.

Trouble is, Dune is still a story about a colonizing white male savior, especially in its first half. To put it in 21st century terms and with only spice-sized spoilers, book protagonist Paul Atreides is a somewhat creepy rich religious mama’s boy who steps into his fated role by taking a bunch of drugs during a desert outing that goes horribly wrong. (Burning Man, anyone?) He then joins a bunch of locals, his former servants, all examples of the noble savage trope. The rest of Herbert’s tale is more quirky and interesting, but since Villeneuve has paused there, so shall we.


Trouble is, Dune is still a story about a colonizing white male savior.

Some of this one-percenter crudeness was Herbert’s intent. Paul was supposed to subtly subvert a lot of expectations about saviors — but in 2021, our expectations have evolved. It’s easier now to see through the beautiful language and intriguing world-building grafted on to his problematic arc. By being faithful to the story, Villeneuve — who says he loved the book as a kid, and identified with Paul Atreides — unintentionally reveals that the story has not aged well.

The native Fremen get more respect and screen time than in the 1984 Dune, but only by a few precious scenes. Were it not for Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and his screen dad Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) both looking so goddamn pretty and puppy-dog sad all the time, you might wonder who to root for.

Chalamet may be the most fitting big-screen Paul yet, with apologies to Kyle MacLachlan. The characters arrayed around him may help provide some much-needed warmth. But you are still, by design, going to get some serious Bran-in-Game-of-Thrones vibes here.

Dune it right

The long and tortured story of Dune adaptations is familiar to many movie nerds by now. First in the 1970s came Alejandro Jodorowsky, a brilliantly batty Chilean indie auteur with a very specific vision of the book — one that could only be fulfilled with Salvador Dalí playing the Emperor of the universe. His Yankee studio bankers pulled the funding, so we never saw the up-to-12-hours-long film he wanted to make. We did at least get the documentary Jodorosky’s Dune, which is so off-the-wall entertaining, it may win the all-time award for best piece of celluloid to cover Herbert’s story in some way.

Then in 1984 came David Lynch’s attempt at Dune, which is best remembered these days for nearly-naked Sting’s turn as an evil spike-haired assassin. Lynch lost control over the final cut and disavowed the film; like Jodorosky, he wanted it to be as long as he wanted it to be. But you can still blame Lynch for the way the characters are oddly static in scenes, for the way they talk in endless internal narration, and for his campy, gross and homophobic interpretation of Baron Harkonnen.

To be fair to Lynch, the Baron is a tough nut to crack. He is so cartoonishly villainous in the book, floating through the air like a bad guy in a cliched kid’s adventure, how do you not put him on screen to laugh at rather than to fear? Even Villeneuve’s Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) tends a bit towards the gross-out side of things. Only the combination of lighting, score and Skarsgård’s sinister, subtle grumpiness prevents this Baron from being too two-dimensional.

But overall, Villeneuve has done what his auteur predecessors failed to do: He has translated Dune to the screen in a basically reasonable way, with clear exposition, no Emperor, and enough diversity to bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. He could have paid more attention to what keeps happening to his characters of color; there is going to be more discussion of that once more of us have seen it. But he made the Atreides clan likable, which these days is a feat in itself. Now let’s see what Villeneuve can do with part 2, which could soar higher than any sandworm.

No, Venmo isn’t going to tax you if you receive more than $600

A recent piece of TikTok finance advice has struck terror into the hearts of payment app users, claiming that anyone who receives more than $600 on platforms like Venmo, Zelle, or CashApp will receive a 1099-K tax form starting next year.

Of course, everyone in these videos’ comments immediately freaked out. What are we supposed to do for payments like splitting rent with roommates? Or paying for a big group trip? Would we have to – gasp – resort to cash?

Take a deep breath. These TikToks are leaving out a bit of vital information, probably in the quest for more enraged views.

The answer is no, you most likely will not have to move larger payments away from your preferred app, or pay a sort of sales tax on large money transfers between friends or family members. While there are some policy changes afoot, taxes on larger payments will be mostly aimed at business transactions, not individual person-to-person payments.

The impetus for the misleading social media finance tips comes from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The act modifies the IRS reporting requirement for payments on apps from the previous threshold of $20,000 down to $600, and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. While this threshold is significantly shorter, it should only apply to business accounts on each platform.

To make extra sure that you won’t be suddenly surprised with a tax form, we reached out to each popular payment app for their explanation on any changing policies.

Venmo (PayPal)

According to a spokesperson from PayPal, the American Rescue Act will be affecting tax reporting thresholds as stated, but will only be applicable to payments for goods and services, not to friends and family. It’s also important to note that these changes should be industry-wide and not specific to PayPal or Venmo.

Zelle

While it’s likely that Zelle’s policies will be altered in similar ways to Venmo’s and Paypal’s, the platform declined to say anything specific enough to reassure users. “Zelle does not provide tax or legal advice. If consumers have questions about their individual situations, they should seek advice from a tax professional,” a spokesperson told Mashable.

CashApp

CashApp did not respond to a request for comment from Mashable for more specific advice, but the official TikTok account did comment for clarity on one of the videos purporting the tax claim, as seen in the screenshot below.

CashApp's comments on a TikTok warning users about the tax amount.

CashApp’s comments on a TikTok warning users about the tax amount.
Credit: Screenshot: TikTok

As stated in the comments, a user may only receive a 1099-K form if they receive more than $600 on a Cash for Business account starting in 2022. Regular accounts seem to be exempt.

It’s important to note that if you do receive a 1099-K form next year that you believe to be a mistake, you’re not doomed to pay an additional tax. “These [1099-K forms] are just information reports. They don’t themselves determine tax liability,” said Steven Rosenthal, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, to Acorns.

If you do receive a form and need to prove that you aren’t hiding business transactions, you can provide receipts for bigger transactions to explain any gifted amounts or person-to-person payments. As long as you’re not making additional income over $600 via these apps, you should be in the clear!

Amazon’s early Black Friday sale is on — here’s a monster list of the top deals

UPDATE: Oct. 21 2021, 5:15 p.m. EDT This story has been updated to include the latest deals.

Here are the best early Black Friday deals on Amazon as of Oct. 21:

  • BEST TV DEAL: Samsung 55-inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $997.99 (save $502)

  • BEST LAPTOP DEAL: 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) — $1,169 (save $130)

  • BEST HEADPHONE DEAL: Sennheiser HD 450BT Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Headphones — $119.95 (save $80)

  • BEST SMART HOME DEAL: Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) — $44.99 (save $35)

  • BEST ROBOT VACUUM DEAL: Shark IQ Self-Empty Base Robot Vacuum — $449.99 (save $150)


You probably weren’t expecting to start your holiday shopping in the beginning of October, but Amazon had other plans for this year’s pre-Black Friday deals. The mega-retailer unveiled its early holiday sales event, Epic Daily Deals on Oct. 4, marking what might be the earliest start to the shopping season we’ve ever seen.

Collage with Laptop, TV, headphones, robot vacuum, dutch oven, and robot vacuum on a colorful background.

We’re already seeing deals on major brands like Instant Pot, Apple, Shark, and more.
Credit: Mashable Photo Composite/Apple/Le Creuset/Samsung/Shark/Sony

Supply-chain Scaries

You know, like the Sunday Scaries — but instead, the entire globe is running low on pretty much everything. Everything from books to the semiconductor chips that power smartphones, cars, and more are short-stocked, and it means that this holiday season, it’s more important to actually find the products you’re looking for rather than worry about if you’re getting the cheapest deal.

With that being said, Amazon’s new early sales strategy isn’t just a ploy to get the holiday cheer going before winter hits — it’s likely in response to these global supply chain issues. For a company that prides itself in getting orders to customers basically immediately, these shortages are a major concern. There’s truly no time to wait until Black Friday for everyone to start shopping, or no one will have any presents under their tree come the morning of Dec. 25.

Considering that availability is the name of the game this shopping holiday, the best way for consumers to avoid running into supply issues is to buy early. If you see hot-ticket items like AirPods, iPads, or gaming consoles drop in price, you’d best scoop them up while they’re still in stock — or you might have to write an IOU for a loved one’s holiday gift.

What are the best Amazon Black Friday deals?

So far, we’ve seen huge discounts on Amazon devices, robot vacuums, headphones, iPads, and kitchen gadgets. As we get closer and closer to the actual shopping holiday, we’re expecting to see sales on smart home gadgets, TVs, small kitchen appliances (like air fryers and Instant Pots), headphones, laptops, tablets, and more. We’ll probably also see some sweet gaming bundles — but if this year is anything like last year, Nintendo Switches and other gaming consoles will sell out fast.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s where all the best Black Friday 2021 deals will be

Without any further ado, here’s a master list of the best early Black Friday deals we’ve seen on Amazon as of Oct. 21. (We’ll keep updating this list as new products get added, so be sure to check back often.)

TV DEALS

Our top pick: Samsung 55-inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $997.99 (save $502)

  • Doubles as wall art

  • Built-in Alexa

  • 100% color volume with Quantum Dot technology

Home decor enthusiasts will love The Frame TV since it doubles as wall art when it’s not in-use. The 55-inch (and four other sizes) are currently at record-low prices on Amazon, with savings up to 33%.

Samsung The Frame TV

Credit: Samsung

Samsung 55-inch Class Frame Series 4K TV

Buying Options

$997.99 at Amazon

More TV deals:

  • Samsung 43-Inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $797.99 (save $202)

  • Samsung 50-Inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $897.99 (save $402)

  • Samsung 65-Inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $1,497.99 (save $502)

  • Samsung 75-Inch Class Frame Series 4K TV — $2,197.99 (save $802)

  • Samsung 55-Inch Class Neo QLED QN85A Series 4K TV  — $1,097.99 (save $502)

  • Insignia NS-43DF710NA21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD Fire TV — $269.99 (save $50)

LAPTOP AND TABLET DEALS

Our top pick: 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) — $1,169 (save $130)

  • High-performance M1 chip

  • 8-core CPU and GPU for fast performance and graphics

  • Up to 20 hours of battery life

Not the lowest price we’ve seen, but still a solid price drop on last year’s MacBook Pro with Apple’s new M1 chip.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s where all the best Black Friday 2021 deals will be

Macbook Pro

Credit: Apple

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip

Buying Options

$1,169 at Amazon

More laptop and tablet deals:

Laptops

  • 2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage — $1,099 (save $150)

  • HP Chromebook 11-inch Laptop — $137.96 (save $122.03)

  • HP Chromebook 11-inch Laptop (4 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC Storage) — $249.99 (save $50)

Tablets

  • 2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 128GB) — $749 (save $50)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A — $129.99 (save $70)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE 2021 (12.4-inch screen, 64GB) — $449.99 (save $80)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 — $179.99 (save $50)

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (11-inch screen, 128GB) — $519.99 (save $180)

HEADPHONE DEALS

Our top pick: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones — $248 (save $101.99)

  • 30-hour battery life

  • Quick charge feature

  • Superior noise canceling

Sony’s most-loved noise canceling headphones are once again back to their previous lowest Amazon price— making now the best time to finally cop a pair.

black wireless headphones

Credit: Sony

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones

Buying Options

$248 at Amazon

More headphone deals:

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus — $99.99 (save $50)

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — $129.99 (save $40)

  • Sennheiser HD 450BT Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Headphones — $119.95 (save $80)

  • Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds — $79.99 (save $70)

  • JBL Tune 125TWS True Wireless In-Ear Headphones — $59.95 (save $40)

  • JBL Live PRO+ TWS True Wireless in-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones — $89.95 (save $90)

  • JBL Quantum 400 Wired Over-Ear Gaming Headphones — $79.95 (save $20)

  • JBL Quantum 300 – Wired Over-Ear Gaming Headphones — $59.95 (save $20)

SMARTWATCH DEALS

Our top pick: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm, GPS, Bluetooth, Unlocked LTE) — $329.99 (save $150)

  • Stylish design that emulates a designer watch

  • Call, text, stream music, and more from your wrist

  • Track sleep, workouts, steps, and more

Go from work to the gym with this stylish smartwatch, now on sale for $100 off. 

Samsung galaxy watch 3

Credit: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm, GPS, Bluetooth, Unlocked LTE)

Buying Options

$329.99 at Amazon

More smartwatch deals:

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm, GPS, Bluetooth) — $219.99 (save $30)

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm, GPS, Bluetooth) — $249.99 (save $30)

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm, GPS, LTE) — $299.99 (save $30)

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm, GPS, LTE) — $269.99 (save $30)

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (40mm, GPS, Bluetooth) — $199.99 (save $50)

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (44mm, GPS, Bluetooth, Unlocked LTE) — $249.99 (save $50)

SMART HOME DEALS

Our top pick: Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release) — $44.99 (save $35)

  • Acts as a smart home hub

  • Connect with loved ones via video call

  • Manage your day with your voice

The ideal bedside assistant is now on sale for under $50, matching the lowest Amazon price we’ve seen on this model.

Echo Show 5

Credit: Amazon

Echo Show 5 (1st Gen, 2019 release)

Buying Options

$44.99 at Amazon

More smart home deals:

  • All-new Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021 release) — $99.99 (save $30)

  • ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control — $219 (save $30)

  • Kasa Smart Light Switch — $34.89 (save $10.10)

  • Philips Hue 548610 CFH Smart Light A19, 2 Count — $68 (save $11.99 with on-page coupon)

KITCHEN DEALS

Our top pick: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse Oven, 3.5 qt — $179.95 (save $120.05)

  • Wide base is perfect for searing and browning

  • Oven- and stovetop-safe

  • Interior enamel that prevents sticking and stains

There’s a reason everyone’s grandmother has Le Creuset cookware that’s lasted generations. Scoop up an heirloom-quality pot for yourself for over $120 off. 

Orange Sauteuse Oven

Credit: Le Creuset

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse Oven, 3.5 qt

Buying Options

$179.95 at Amazon

More kitchen deals:

  • Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer — $279.95 (save $20)

  • Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Smart Blender — $579.49 (save $120.46)

  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer Lid — $169.95 (save $30.04)

VACUUM DEALS

Our top pick: Shark IQ Self-Empty Base Robot Vacuum — $449.99 (save $150)

  • Extra-large self-emptying base

  • Smart assistant compatible

  • Self-cleaning brush

This Shark robot vac has you covered for a completely hands-off cleaning experience, and it’s currently back at its lowest Amazon price since Prime Day.

Robot vacuum with self-emptying base

Credit: Shark

Shark IQ Self-Empty Base Robot Vacuum

Buying Options

$448 at Amazon

More vacuum deals:

  • eufy by Anker BoostIQ RoboVac 30 Robot Vacuum Cleaner — $149.99 (save $90)

  • iRobot Roomba i3+ (3550) Robot Vacuum with Auto Dirt Disposal — $549.99 (save $50)

  • iRobot Roomba i3 (3150) Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum Vacuum — $349 (save $50.99)

STREAMING DEALS

Our top pick: Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote — $34.99 (save $15)

  • Support for Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+

  • Access to all the best streaming services

  • Stream free TV from select services

You don’t need to have a fancy 4K smart TV to get access to all of your favorite shows and movies — this Fire TV Stick will give you a hub to access streaming channels and give you a vibrant, 4K picture.

Amazon fire stick

Credit: Amazon

Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote

Buying Options

$34.99 at Amazon

More streaming deals:

Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) with Alexa Voice Remote — $27.99 (save $12)

This post will be updated continuously throughout the holiday shopping season.

Best gifts under $50: 70+ ideas for absolutely everyone

Gift-giving on a budget is an art. Think about the “Christmas Party” episode of The Office where Michael insists on doing a Yankee Swap with everyone’s Secret Santa gifts: You don’t want to pull a Michael and go way over the agreed price limit, but you also don’t want to choose a gift that no one actually wants (like Phyllis’ oven mitt). You’ve got to ride the line: cool gift, but appropriate cost.

Yes, some people possess an innate talent for thoughtful gift-giving on a budget. No matter the occasion (anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day) or recipient (wife, boyfriend, teens, in-laws), they somehow nail it every time.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s where all the best Black Friday 2021 deals will be

Then there are the not-so-intuitive gift-givers who’ve maybe leaned on the same scented candle or gift basket a few too many times. If you’re one of those people, that’s OK! Gift-giving is hard. So we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

Below, find more than 70 unique gift options for under $50 that people will actually be happy to receive.

Trump announces ironically named social media platform TRUTH Social

Donald Trump is launching a new social media platform, and because the “very stable genius” is a wealthy former U.S. president, I guess we have to hear about it. I’m just as thrilled about this as you.

Hilariously named “TRUTH Social,” Trump’s new vanity project plans to launch its invite-only beta in November, with a wider U.S. rollout intended for early 2022. It’s the first project by the Trump Media & Technology Group, which also announced its merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. and its upcoming public listing.

Judging from the screenshots on its Apple App Store page, it looks like TRUTH Social is a straight-up ripoff of Trump’s first love: Twitter.

TRUTH Social basically looks like Twitter with red buttons.

TRUTH Social basically looks like Twitter with red buttons.
Credit: TRUTH Social

“I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon,” Trump said in an unintentionally comedic press release, also unilaterally dubbing himself “your favourite American President.” “TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech.”

It seems that only Apple users will be able to suckle from Trump’s new teat, though. TRUTH Social is currently only available for pre-order on the Apple App Store, with no indication of if or when it might hit Android — which makes sense considering Trump is currently trying to sue Google.

SEE ALSO:

Florida man sues Twitter in a desperate bid to post again

Unfortunately, Trump Media & Technology Group isn’t just copy-pasting Twitter and calling it a day. The company also intends to launch a subscription video on demand service called “TMTG+,” featuring “‘non-woke’ entertainment programming” as if the Hallmark Channel’s entire back catalogue doesn’t already exist.

Since losing his second run at the White House and being booted off a plethora of social media platforms for violations including inciting violence, Trump has been making flailing attempts at amplifying his incoherent ramblings via other means. Thus far he has had limited success, with his blog “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” shutting down just one month after its launch.

Trump is now attempting to sue Twitter, Facebook, and Google for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights — a lawsuit that demonstrates a frankly impressive misunderstanding of the law, government, and private business.

Teslas will drive under the Las Vegas Strip in tunnels

Elon Musk’s The Boring Company is spreading its underground tunnels throughout Las Vegas.

On Wednesday, the Las Vegas’ Clark County zoning commission unanimously approved plans to add to the Las Vegas “loop” underground transit system, but it’s not a subway. The underground highway will cover 29 miles and 51 stations along the famous Las Vegas Boulevard strip and beyond to the local university campus and NFL stadium.

It will be called the Vegas Loop, with electric Teslas whisking away passengers from stations at the main casinos, hotels, and attractions. The commission anticipates as many as 57,000 people can ride through the tunnels every hour.

The current Las Vegas Convention Center Loop (aka the LVCC Loop) opened at the beginning of the year in the middle of the pandemic. The 1.7-mile tunnel stops at three stations around the convention center, the home of the massive CES tech convention.

SEE ALSO:

Elon Musk’s Boring Company gets approval to build tunnels in Florida

Eventually the Vegas Loop will connect passengers to the airport. TBC projects only a five-minute underground ride from the airport to the convention center. There’s also plans to use fully autonomous Tesla vehicles through the loop system.

But until then, it’s just regular Teslas in tunnels around the convention center.

The best gifts for people who love to travel

Traveling can be very exciting — and rewarding. There’s nothing like going out into the world and experiencing new cultures, cuisines, and different ways of life. There’s a whole big planet out there that extends so much further than small neighborhoods and towns.

While the payoff of traveling is pretty big, packing and planning for those adventures around the world can be tedious and stressful. If you’re buying a gift for someone with an acute case of wanderlust, prioritize items that can make their travels easier and more relaxing. Perhaps they need a stellar carry-on that can get effortlessly tucked into the overhead bin? Or maybe a pillow that helps them get some shuteye during a layover? Travelers have very specific needs — plus, they may not have time to make a wish list (because they’re so busy living that jet-set life).

SEE ALSO:

Here’s where all the best Black Friday 2021 deals will be

Below, we’ve rounded up the best gifts for travelers who need smart, tech-savvy, and multi-functional gear that makes it easier to pursue their passions. From backpacks to subscription services to adapters and more, there’s stuff on here that can streamline their way of packing, keep them entertained while they wait for a connecting flight, and just plain make their adventures more fun.

Bon voyage.

8 TikTok accounts to follow if you’re tired of COVID misinformation

Paging Dr. Internet, we need a diagnosis. In this series, Mashable examines the online world’s influence on our health and prescribes new ways forward.


TikTok: an app for music, memes, and medically-accurate vaccine information?

Increasingly, medical professionals are using the app to share myth-busting information about things like the COVID-19 vaccine, rates of infection, and COVID treatments, all through succinct, engaging videos that will hopefully reach the people who need them. At the very least, they offer a link for other viewers to send to their more stubborn friends and relatives.

@drsiyabmd

The vaccine provides more robust, predictable and consistent immunity than prior infection. ##covid19 ##naturalimmunity ##covidvaccine ##teamhalo

♬ original sound – Dr. Siyab, MD

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation has been a long battle led by government officials, news outlets, and health professionals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has its own guide to combatting misinformation, and other social media platforms, like YouTube, have even gone so far as banning content that contains vaccine misinformation.

TikTok has taken its own steps to ensuring its users get the most accurate information about COVID-19 and the vaccine, like information centers with links to government resources, FAQs, and videos from official health organizations built directly into the app (just search “covid” or “covid vaccine” and click the top link). The app even places information banners on videos that mention the virus.

Beyond these resources, though, creators have taken on the task of addressing misinformation in their own comments and on trending videos by fellow TikTok users. The eight accounts highlighted below actively share videos about the COVID vaccine, treatment, and the realities of medical science.

1. EpidemiologistKat

Kat breaks down the hard science behind vaccines.
Credit: tiktok/ epidemiologistkat

And she responds to even the wildest of science-related comments.
Credit: tiktok/ epidemiologist

For the science behind the spread of COVID-19 and the vaccine (as well as a bit of biting sarcasm), head to EpidemiologistKat’s page. Katrine Wallace is an epidemiologist and adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health. Through TikTok, she shares general information about COVID-19, vaccines, and public health, and is also a member of the UN’s Project Halo, a team of doctors, scientists, and other medical professionals from around the world sharing accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. Kat’s account is engaging, informative, and great for viewers who want succinct, research-filled videos to share with others.

2. Dr.Eric.B

Dr. Eric responds directly to misinformation spread in his comment section.
Credit: tiktok/ Dr.ERIC.B

He’s made multiple videos about ivermectin, which is definitely not a doctor recommended treatment for COVID-19.
Credit: tiktok/ dr.eric.b

As a hospital physician, Dr.Eric.B is just as tired about vaccine misinformation as the rest of us, but he still makes it online everyday to let people know when they’re wrong. Dr. Eric Burnett specializes in hospital and internal medicine, is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University, and is a member of Team Halo alongside Wallace. The bulk of his videos address conspiracies shared in his own comment section and debunk common misinformation about both the vaccine and treatment options that are frequently spread across the app. Burnett also tags fellow creators who are spreading dangerous misinformation on the app, disputing their claims and warning his own followers.

3. Dr_AsherWilliams

Direct from her lab, Williams urges viewers to get vaccinated.
Credit: tik tok/ dr_asherwilliams

No bad science on Williams’ page.
Credit: tik tok/ Dr_asherwilliams

Asher Williams, another member of Team Halo, is tackling vaccine misinformation using TikTok trending sounds and humor, as well as years of experience in her field. A chemical engineer and researcher focused on vaccine manufacturing at Cornell, and former NASA bioengineering intern, Williams shares about the science behind vaccines with her followers. Her videos are both informational and relatable to younger audiences, as she combines facts with the voice of Keke Palmer or ABBA’s “Slipping Through My Fingers”.

4. Anna.blakney

Blakney dives into the history of vaccines and disease treatment.
Credit: tik tok/ anna.blakney

Some conspiracies hit a little too personal.
Credit: tiktok/anna.blakney

Anna Blakney’s account is full of hard science and memes, making it a great resource for people of all ages who want to combat vaccine misinformation. Blakney is a researcher and professor of biomedical engineering at the University of British Columbia, as well as a Team Halo ambassador. Her videos cover a wide variety of topics within vaccine science and lab research — like highlights of the scientists who made the COVID vaccine possible, explanations of virus variants, and explainers on FDA approval. She also started her own YouTube channel to offer deeper science explanations about vaccines — check out her first video on the history of mRNA use in vaccine development. Blakney’s videos have the same vibe as Bill Nye-esque science shows for kids, but for adults who want to promote vaccines and public health.

5. ChristinaNP

Kim focuses on explaining research that might be confusing for people without a medical background.
Credit: tik tok/ christinaaaaaaanp

Kim urges vaccinations for folks who are at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
Credit: tik tok/ christinaaaaaaanp

Christina Kim is a nurse practitioner and verified TikTok celeb making succinct science videos for her more than 300,000 followers. She has a background in biochemistry that aids her explanations of difficult-to-understand vaccine research, and is a Team Halo ambassador. As a health professional for high-risk cancer patients, Kim advocates heavily for vaccinations to help those most vulnerable and has treated her own clinic patients affected by COVID-19 by administering monoclonal antibody therapies. Kim’s account is full of quick rebuttals of common misinformation, as well as duets with other popular creators (like EpidemiologistKat).

6. DrSiyabMD

Panhwar tries to point out fear-mongering tactics among his fellow creators and anti-vaxxers.
Credit: tik tok/ drsiyabmd

Like everyone else, he warns you: Do not take the horse medicine!
Credit: tiktok/ drsiyabmd

Dr. Siyab Panhwar is a physician, cardiology fellow, and member of Team Halo who shares informational one minute videos and snarky conspiracy theory takedowns about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Because of his medical expertise, some of Panhwar’s most popular videos address the fear of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) affecting young men who get the vaccine (he reassures his viewers that these risks are rare). He also calls out misleading headlines and duets creators directly to debunk their incorrect science. Like many other creators, Panhwar has conveniently organized all of his videos into playlists at the top of his page to make finding and sharing accurate information even easier.

7. BehBer

Hebert shows care with scared commenters online.
Credit: tik tok/ behber

She keeps her followers updated with the latest vaccine information.
Credit: tik tok/ behber

Dr. Britni Hebert started her “A TikTok a day to keep COVID away” series in March, with the goal of convincing her viewers that the pros of vaccination far outweigh the “cons.” As an internal medicine and geriatrics doctor, Hebert treats her followers in the same way she would her patients, with clear communication and compassion. Many of her videos offer gentle reassurances for those feeling anxiety about vaccines and treatment. And she responds directly to misinformation or vaccine hesitancy in her comments. In response to one viewer claiming health professionals are just pushing the vaccine onto others and not taking it themselves, Hebert posted her vaccine journey several months after getting her first shot, from an exciting first visit to the clinic in December 2020 to going out for a run just 48 hours after her second dose.

8. Jesss2019

Jess urges her followers to trust scientists and health professionals.
Credit: tiktok/ jesss2019

She’s advocating for her patients and correcting misinformation.
Credit: tiktok/ jesss2019

If you’d like to learn more about the stark reality of being a COVID nurse and vaccine misinformation, go through the videos on Jesss2019’s page. She has six years of experience as a registered nurse, worked in her state’s COVID-19 vaccine clinics during the pandemic, and recently decided to pursue a career in medical research. She frequently calls out fellow nurses who choose not to get vaccinated or share misinformation. She’s a member of Team Halo, and also has an extremely robust LinkTree (also linked in her TikTok bio), with dozens of sites sharing research, resources for health care workers, and other important vaccine-related information.

Tile floors have met their match in these 7 robot vacuums

BEST DEALS ON ROBOT VACUUMS:

  • Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum — $209.99 (save $90)

  • Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty — $399.99 (save $100)

  • Samsung JetBot+ Robot Vacuum with Clean Station — $699.99 (save $100)


When it comes to household cleaning products and devices, most folks would agree that you’d be hard-pressed to name a more revolutionary concept than the robotic vacuum — even the dishwasher doesn’t really compare to the convenience of a device that does your floors without you ever having to lift a finger.

And it’s not just the ease of use or satisfaction of watching a robot do the work for you that makes a robotic vacuum oh-so-appealing, either. Not having to worry about stress-cleaning before guests arrive, the ability to schedule cleans while you’re away from home, and even foregoing having to empty the dustbin in certain cases are all enticing benefits of upgrading to a robot vacuum — especially if you have tile floors.

Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about the best robot vacuum for tile floors — whether you want a device to do all the vacuuming and mopping for you, you need something that self-empties, or you just want a complementary helper to pick up the dust and debris you might have missed while manually vacuuming.

When to shop for a deal on robot vacuums

Robot vacuums receive more front-page attention in Black Friday ads each year, but even more deals are exclusively scattered across the internet. We’re tracking them from October all the way to Cyber Monday and beyond, including early Black Friday robot vacuum deals that are already live. Keeping your options open is the best way to guarantee a vac that has the features (automatic emptying, mopping, specific room targeting) at the budget you’re comfy with (whether that’s under $300 or over $1,000 if it’s really nice).

Vacuuming carpet vs. hardwood vs. tile floors

Figuring out the right routine for your specific household is key to making sure your floors stay as tidy as possible — which is why it’s vital that you understand exactly what type of robot vacuum is right for your floor. If you’re dealing with a mix of different types of flooring — say you have tile in the kitchen but carpet in the living room, for example — you’ll want to make sure you look for a robot vacuum that has sensors to differentiate between different types of flooring.

That being said, you’ll want to keep in mind that most modern robotic vacuums are made for hardwood flooring, which is great news if you have a particular amount of tile as well. This means that the brushes are specifically made to capture dust and debris without pushing it away; something that can be tricky when you consider the lack of friction when comparing hardwood and tile flooring to carpeted areas or rugs.

Do robot vacuums work on tile floors?

Yes! There are quite a few robot vacuums on the market that work very well on tile floors. In fact, there are many robotic vacuums that are also equipped with mopping features (like the iRobot Braava Jet M6) which is especially effective when dealing with tile flooring.

What features are most important for vacuuming tile floors?

What to look for when considering a robot vacuum for tile floors depends on a handful of lifestyle and household factors as well as the budget you’re hoping to stick with. That said, if you’re looking for something that will keep your tile floors sparkling, there are a few universal factors that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Suction power and rubber brushes: If you’re looking for something that will efficiently suck up dust and debris rather than just pushing it into the corners of your home, you’ll want to get a vacuum that has both powerful suction and brushes that will catch dirt on the first pass — rather than simply pushing it around.

Integrated sensors: Here’s where things can get tricky: if you’re dealing with tile flooring but do have rugs or carpets in various rooms in your home, you’ll want to ensure that you pick up a vacuum that has integrated sensors that can adjust based on the surface area. Most modern robot vacuums do have built-in sensors but some of the older models do not — so double check the fine print accordingly.

Smart home integration: Smart home features have become so precise and efficient over the past couple of years that it only makes sense to optimize your vacuum as well. Robot vacuums with smart home and app integration will allow you to schedule cleans from your device, have clear access to maintenance information and errors, and even set up specific zones you want the robot to focus on or avoid.

Are there robot vacuums that also mop?

Yes, there are a ton of great robot vacuums on the market that also include mopping features, which can be a great option for anyone with a home that is mainly tile flooring. Not only do you skip vacuuming but integrated mopping capabilities allow you to forego dragging out that old mop and bucket.

What is the best robot vacuum for tile floors?

These days, there are a ton of robot vacuums on the market; enough to cover pretty much all types of flooring, lifestyles, and budgets. Whether you’re looking for something that can handle pet hair and dander without batting a metaphorical eye (like the Roborock S6 Pure Robot Vacuum and Mop) or you want something that can tackle both vacuuming and mopping, here are some of the best robot vacuums for tile floors.

The best robot vacuums for every budget

BEST DEALS ON ROBOT VACUUMS:

  • Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum — $209.99 (save $90)

  • Yeedi Vac Station Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty — $399.99 (save $100)

  • Samsung JetBot+ Robot Vacuum with Clean Station — $699.99 (save $100)


We all know at least one person who claims a robot vacuum has changed their life. Honestly, they’re probably right. There is something to be said for always knowing your floors are clean. Plus, some people simply hate vacuuming.

Just like all tissues are called “Kleenex,” and all bandages “Band-aids,” robot vacuums and the brand Roomba have become interchangeable. But we’re here to put some respect on the other names in the robot vacuum game.

Given Roomba-maker iRobot’s domination of the robot vacuum market since 2002, this assumption made sense for a while. Roombas have been around longer than the movie Holes and came out less than a year after Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake stepped out in that all-denim ensemble.

But the first robotic vacuum wasn’t even an iRobot brainchild. iRobot may be the brand to credit for making robot vacuums attainable for mainstream households, but Swedish brand Electrolux technically introduced the first robot vac in 1996. iRobot continues its reign as one of the best, but it wasn’t the first — and isn’t the last either.

Roborock, Shark, and Eufy have entered the chat.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s where all the best Black Friday 2021 deals will be

This Black Friday, expect deals on all oft the aforementioned brands, plus iRobot (of course. Robot vacuums receive more front-page attention in Black Friday ads each year, but even more deals are exclusively scattered across the internet. We’re tracking them from October all the way to Cyber Monday and beyond, including early Black Friday robot vacuum deals that are already live. Keeping your options open is the best way to guarantee a vac that has the features (automatic emptying, mopping, specific room targeting) at the budget you’re comfy with (whether that’s under $300 or over $1,000 if it’s really nice).

Are robot vacuums worth it?

The crisp control of an upright Dyson vacuum comes with its own type of buzz. But if you’re not one to classify cleaning as cathartic, a robot vacuum could erase that huge, agonizing task off of your chore list. (And did we mention the joy of having first-day-clean floors every. single. day.? It’s not totally unlike staying in a hotel in that regard.)

But whether robot vacuums are worth it or not comes with a caveat: It can’t be just any robot vacuum. A cheap robovac that acts drunk — scattering dust rather than sucking, bumping into walls, getting stuck on area rugs — is completely missing that convenience factor that draws people to robot vacs in the first place. We’ve gathered the best-reviewed models in general for 2021, but some extra criteria specific to your home or needs can help narrow down the options:

  • Suction power: A vacuum is the one purchase that you hope sucks a lot. Suction power is typically measured in Pascals (Pa), ranging between 600 Pa to 2,500 Pa in the ones on this list. Stronger sucking will be needed to pick up heavier pieces of debris (be sure to set up a barrier around Legos) and to pull patted-down pet hair from rugs.

  • Floor type: Carpeting and high pile rugs will probably require stronger suction than hard floors, as well as special features like an extra-wide or self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from wrapping and clogging. Folks in homes with multiple floor types might consider a bigger, sturdier robovac that can hurl itself and its wheels over mats, rugs, and transitions from carpet to hard floors.

  • Home layout: Every robot vacuum is equipped with sensors and drop detection. But if your home has lots of rooms, lots of turns, or lots of close-together furniture, you’ll have fewer navigation issues with an advanced model that uses intelligent mapping to remember exactly how your home is laid out, including labeling of specific rooms, mental notes of staircases, and ability to deploy zone cleaning.

  • Low-profile furniture: No one should have to be scared about what’s accumulated under their couch over the past year. A robot vacuum measuring three inches or less in height should be able to scoot under most low-hanging couches and beds.

  • Battery life and square footage: One of the main complaints people have about their robot vacuum is that it craps out in the middle of the floor. Larger spaces require more time to clean, and it all depends on how annoyed you’ll be if it only finishes a few rooms at a time. Average run times for the list below range between 90 and 150 minutes, which translate to about 500 and 2,600 square feet covered on one charge.

  • App control: WiFi-enabled robot vacuums can be synced with a smartphone app to control scheduling, manual start, cleaning settings, as well as telling your vac to make its rounds when you’re not home. Low-end models that don’t connect to WiFi will usually come with a separate remote. If you’re used to asking Alexa or Google to turn off the lights or tell you the weather, a model with voice integration will blend in nicely.

Robot vacuums and pet hair

Pet hair can straight-up clown a botvac without the right features. If your home is shedding heaven, a D-shaped vacuum could take some of the pressure off of you to find the spots where it collects. We can’t scientifically back this, but we’re pretty sure pet hair gets up and crawls into corners when we’re not looking. A robot vacuum with a flat side can fit into those 90-degree angles and skim the edges of walls better than most circular bots can.

The next line of defense is a tangle-free brush roll. It’s essentially an XL brush roll that prevents shedding remnants from from getting wrapped up and tangled, likely having to be cut with scissors. Rubber trim or rubber fingers are a material that hair already doesn’t like to stick to, but also works to kill static that may be pinning hair to a carpet.

A robot vac’s filtration system is also an important consideration for homes with pets, as well as allergy sufferers in general. Vacuuming is bound to kick up dander, dust, and pollen into the air. A good filter captures that (HEPA filters catch the smallest particle) and makes sure it also makes its way into the dust bin. (All vacuums listed below have a HEPA filter unless noted otherwise in “The Bad” section.)

Roomba vs. Shark robot vacuums

In an unspoken sort of way, Roomba has been crowned as “the best” on the sole basis that it’s the most established brand in the robot vacuum market. But Shark has the automatic advantage of being a brand that’s hella established in the vacuum market as a whole, from stick vacuums to handheld ones, to ones with huge canisters.

But while Shark may be experts on suction power, brush rolls that don’t tangle, and other things on the vacuum end, Roomba has mastered suction and dominates the robot end. The maps created by a Roomba after it gets a sense of your home feature precision down to each room and the type of messes it typically sees. Shark’s vacuums struggle to make reliable maps more often. Roombas also typically have better run time.

A general comparison between the two brands doesn’t work so well. Like the Instant Pot vs. Ninja Foodi debate, Roomba has significantly more models to choose from at a range of prices and features that can be tailored to your needs. Shark’s whole lineup is generally more budget-friendly than its most direct counterpart from Roomba. Shark offers self-emptying, a self-cleaning brushroll, and smart-home mapping for as low as $449.99, while Roomba’s cheapest self-emptier starts at $599.99 — two models top that at $849.99 and $1,299.99.

Whether iRobot, Shark, Robovac, or any other brand is the best at actual cleaning is pretty subjective. “Best” to someone with four dogs and lots of carpet may not mean “best” to someone with a huge house with stairs and 100% hardwood. At any rate, patience is required. Not even the best robot vacuum is guaranteed to not be a bumbling idiot on occasion, especially when they’re still learning the blueprint of your home.

Here are the best robot vacuums for any home and budget in 2021: