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Coronavirus cases at almost 6,000, death toll rises again: Everything we know – CNET

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A never-before-seen virus first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan has claimed over 130 lives and infected almost 6,000 Chinese citizens with a pneumonia-like illness, according to China’s National Health Commission. The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 and has been under investigation since. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome. 

As concerns continued to grow Tuesday, United Airlines announced it would suspend some flights between the US and China. The US also announced increased screening measures. Meanwhile, Germany announced three more cases of the novel coronavirus and Japan also suggested the mysterious new disease has spread further through the country.  

Scientists have yet to fully understand the destructive potential of the new virus, known as 2019-nCoV. Researchers and investigators are just beginning to figure out where it originated, how it’s transmitted and how far it has spread.

As of Monday morning, confirmed case numbers had reached over 5,900 in China and abroad. Chinese authorities also confirmed that health workers have been infected with the virus, suggesting that human-to-human transmission is possible.

Authorities are taking steps to guard against the spread of 2019-nCoV. On Jan. 23, a special WHO committee decided it was still too early to declare a public health emergency on a global level. On Tuesday, Hong Kong declared travel would be limited from mainland China, after canceling all official Chinese New Year celebrations and extending school breaks for the holiday until Feb. 17. In addition, Thailand announced six new confirmed cases, bringing the total cases in the country to 14. 

The situation is rapidly evolving. We’ve collated everything we know about the mystery virus, what’s next for researchers and some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk. 

Now playing: Watch this: Deadly coronavirus detected in the US


What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses belong to a family known as Coronaviridae, and under an electron microscope they look like spiked rings. They’re named for these spikes, which form a halo around their viral envelope.

Coronaviruses contain a strand of RNA in their envelope and can’t reproduce without getting inside living cells and hijacking their machinery. The spikes on the viral envelope help them bind to cells, which gives them a way in. It’s like blasting the door open with C4. Once inside, they turn the cell into a virus factory, using its molecular conveyor belt to produce more viruses, which are then shipped out. The virus progeny infect other cells and the cycle starts anew.

Typically, these types of viruses are found in animals ranging from livestock to household pets to wildlife such as bats. When they make the jump to humans, they can cause fever, respiratory illness and inflammation in the lungs. In immunocompromised individuals, such as the elderly or those with HIV-AIDS, such viruses can cause severe respiratory illness.

Extremely pathogenic coronaviruses were behind SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS and were easily transmitted from human to human. SARS, which showed up in the early 2000s, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in nearly 800 deaths. MERS, which appeared in the early 2010s, infected almost 2,500 people and led to more than 850 deaths.

Where did the virus come from?

The virus appears to have originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing that has a population of more than 11 million people. The market sells fish, as well as a panoply of meat from other animals, including bats and snakes. The Wuhan market was shut down Jan. 1. 

Markets have been implicated in the origin and spread of viral diseases in past epidemics, and a large majority of the people so far confirmed to have come down with this coronavirus had been to the Huanan Seafood marketplace in recent weeks. The market seems like an integral piece of the puzzle, but researchers will need to conduct a range of experiments and tests to confirm the virus’ origin.

“Testing of animals in the Wuhan area, including sampling from the markets, will provide more information,” said Raina MacIntyre, a head of the biosecurity research program at the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute.

On Wednesday, a report in the Journal of Medical Virology by a team of Chinese researchers suggested snakes were the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for 2019-nCoV. The work examined the genetic code of the virus and compared it with that of two types of snakes, the many-banded krait and the Chinese cobra. The research demonstrated that the snakes’ genetic code displayed a high level of similarity with the virus. 

Shortly after, two preprint studies refuted these claims, suggesting 2019-nCoV likely originated in bats. 

“We haven’t seen evidence ample enough to suggest a snake reservoir for Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” said Peter Daszak, president of nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, which researches the links between human and animal health.

“This work is really interesting, but when we compare the genetic sequence of this new virus with all other known coronaviruses, all of its closest relatives have origins in mammals, specifically bats. Therefore, without further details on testing of animals in the markets, it looks like we are no closer to knowing this virus’ natural reservoir.”

On Thursday, a group of Chinese scientists uploaded a paper to preprint website biorXiV, having studied the viral genetic code and compared it to the previous SARS coronavirus and other bat coronaviruses. They discovered the genetic similarities run deep: The virus shares 80% of its genes with the previous SARS virus and 96% of its genes with bat coronaviruses. Importantly, the study also demonstrated the virus can get into and hijack cells the same way SARS did.

All good science builds off previous discoveries — and there is still a lot to learn about the basic biology of 2019-nCoV before we have a good grasp of exactly which animal vector is responsible for transmission. 

How many confirmed cases have been reported?

Authorities have confirmed over 5,900 cases as of Monday. The bulk are in China, with a total of 20 cases reported in neighboring Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. There are almost 7,000 suspected cases

Internationally, a handful of cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. In the US, five cases have been confirmed: Two in California and one each in Washington, Illinois and Arizona. Australia has seen five cases, France and Germany four. Canada has announced one confirmed case, with a presumptive case also described as of Monday. 

Here’s the breakdown as it stands:

  • China: 5,889 confirmed cases 
  • Thailand: 14 confirmed cases 
  • Hong Kong: 8 confirmed cases
  • Taiwan: 8 confirmed cases
  • Japan: 7 confirmed cases
  • Singapore: 7 confirmed cases  
  • Macau: 7 confirmed cases
  • US: 5 confirmed cases
  • Australia: 5 confirmed cases
  • Malaysia: 4 confirmed cases
  • South Korea: 4 confirmed cases  
  • Germany: 4 confirmed cases
  • France: 4 confirmed cases
  • Vietnam: 2 confirmed cases  
  • Cambodia: 1 confirmed case
  • Canada: 1 confirmed case, 1 presumptive case
  • Nepal: 1 confirmed case
  • Sri Lanka: 1 confirmed case
  • Ivory Coast: 1 confirmed case

You can track the spread of the virus with this handy online tool, which is collating data from a number of sources including the CDC, WHO and Chinese health professionals. (Note: There may be differences in our reports and the tracking tool.)

How many deaths have been reported?

The death toll passed a grim milestone on Monday, with the confirmation 100 people have been killed by the novel virus. The toll now stands at 132. No deaths have been recorded outside of China as yet and 1,200 cases are considered critical.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Hubei: 125
  • Beijing: 1
  • Hainan: 1
  • Hebei: 1
  • Heilongjiang: 1
  • Henan: 1
  • Shanghai: 1
Protecting against the coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

Protecting against the coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

A pedestrian in the city of Wuhan, China. The virus appears to have originated in Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

Getty Images

How do we know it’s a new coronavirus?

In short, science.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention dispatched a team of scientists to Wuhan to gather information about the new disease and perform testing in patients, hoping to isolate the virus. Their work, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Jan. 24, examined samples from three patients. Using an electron microscope, which can see in nanometers, and studying the genetic code, the team were able to visualize and genetically identify the novel coronavirus for the first time.

Understanding the genetic code helps researchers in two ways: It allows them to create tests that can identify the virus from patient samples, and it gives them potential insight into creating treatments or vaccines. 

How does the coronavirus spread?

This is one of the major questions researchers are working hard to answer. Though the first infections were potentially the result of animal-to-human transmission, it’s likely that human-to-human transmission has followed.

On Monday, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported that health workers in China had been infected with the virus. During the SARS epidemic, this was a notable turning point, as health workers moving between countries spread the disease.

Chinese authorities have since confirmed that health workers have been infected with the virus, suggesting human-to-human transmission.

“The major concern is hospital outbreaks, which were seen with SARS and MERS coronaviruses,” MacIntyre said. “Meticulous triage and infection control is needed to prevent these outbreaks and protect health workers.”

In Wuhan, authorities are rushing to build a thousand-bed hospital to treat coronavirus patients as the province struggles with hospital bed shortages. It’s aiming to open the facility on Feb. 3, giving construction workers 10 days to get it ready.

China shut down Wuhan to reduce the spread of the virus, canceling transportation leaving the city starting at 10 a.m. Thursday. The travel restrictions were extended to four other cities (Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi and Zhijiang) later that day, and constraints were announced in eight more cities on Friday — impacting more than 35 million people. 

The restrictions come during a busy travel period for China, when citizens typically travel for the Lunar New Year. Major public events Chinese capital Beijing have been canceled, and both Beijing’s Forbidden City and Shanghai’s Disneyland said they’d close from Saturday. All of the restrictions and closures will last indefinitely.

There is some suggestion the virus can spread before symptoms appear, according to a report by the BBC citing Chinese officials. The incubation period — when the virus is building up in the body — can last between one to 14 days without a patient realizing they are infected. However, it must be stressed, experts still aren’t sure how infectious this period is.

Coronavirus that causes SARS, seen in an electron microscope

Coronavirus that causes SARS, seen in an electron microscope

An electron microscopy image of the coronavirus that causes SARS. 

Getty Images

How infectious is coronavirus?

A widely shared Twitter thread by Eric Feigl-Ding, a Harvard University epidemiologist, suggests the new coronavirus is “thermonuclear pandemic level bad” based on a metric known as the “r nought” (R0) value. This metric helps determine the basic reproduction number of an infectious disease. In the simplest terms, the value relates to how many people can be infected by one person carrying the disease.

Infectious diseases such as measles have an R0 of 12 to 18, which is remarkably high. The SARS epidemic of 2002-2003 had an R0 of around 3. A handful of studies modeling the 2019-nCoV outbreak have given a similar value with a range between 1.4 and 3.8. However, there is large variation between studies and models attempting to predict the R0 of novel coronavirus due to the constantly changing number of cases. 

In the early stages of understanding the disease and its spread, it should be stressed these studies are informative, but they aren’t definitive. They give an indication of the potential for the disease to move from person-to-person, but we still don’t have enough information about how the new virus spreads. 

“Some experts are saying it is the most infectious virus ever seen — that is not correct,” MacIntyre said. “If it was highly infectious (more infectious than influenza as suggested by some) we should have seen hundreds, if not thousands of cases outside of China by now, given Wuhan is a major travel hub.”

WHO convenes emergency committee

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, convened an emergency committee on Wednesday to determine whether this new virus constitutes a public health emergency. 

“There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information,” Ghebreyesus said during a press conference Wednesday. A full replay of the press conference is available on Twitter.

The emergency committee reconvened Thursday to continue to discuss the outbreak. On Thursday, the committee decided that it was still too early to declare a public health emergency.

“If WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern, it enables WHO greater powers for disease control using the International Health Regulations,” MacIntyre said.

In the fall, an emergency committee met regarding the Ebola virus epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The meeting outlined key strategies and commitments to strengthen and protect against the spread of the disease.

What are the symptoms?

The new coronavirus causes symptoms similar to those of previously identified disease-causing coronaviruses. In currently identified patients, there seems to be a spectrum of illness: A large number experience mild pneumonia-like symptoms, while others have a much more severe response.

On Jan. 24, prestigious medical journal The Lancet published an extensive analysis of the clinical features of the disease.

According to the report, patients present with:

  • Fever, elevated body temperature.
  • Dry cough.
  • Fatigue or muscle pain.
  • Breathing difficulties.   

Less common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Coughing up mucus or blood.
  • Headaches.
  • Diarrhea.

As the disease progresses, patients also come down with pneumonia, which inflames the lungs and causes them to fill with fluid. This can be detected by an X-ray and was present in all 41 cases studied.

Is there a treatment for coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are notoriously hardy organisms. They’re effective at hiding from the human immune system, and we haven’t developed any reliable treatments or vaccines that can eradicate them. In most cases, health officials attempt to deal with the symptoms.

“There is no recognized therapeutic against coronaviruses,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said during the Emergency Committee press conference Wednesday. “The primary objective in an outbreak related to a coronavirus is to give adequate support of care to patients, particularly in terms of respiratory support and multi-organ support.”  

That doesn’t mean vaccines are an impossibility, however. Chinese scientists were able to sequence the virus’ genetic code incredibly quickly, giving scientists a chance to study it and look for ways to combat the disease. According to CNN, researchers at the US National Institutes of Health are already working on a vaccine, though it could be a year or more away from release.

Notably, SARS, which infected around 8,000 people and killed around 800, seemed to run its course and then mostly disappear. It wasn’t a vaccine that turned the tide on the disease but rather effective communication between nations and a range of tools that helped track the disease and its spread.

“We learnt that epidemics can be controlled without drugs or vaccines, using enhanced surveillance, case isolation, contact tracking, PPE and infection control measures,” MacIntyre said.

How to reduce your risk of coronavirus

With confirmed cases now seen in the US, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and potentially Australia, it’s possible that 2019-nCoV could be spreading much further afield. The WHO recommends a range of measures to protect yourself from contracting the disease, based on good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene — in much the same way you’d reduce the risk of contracting the flu.

Meanwhile, the US State Department has issued a travel advisory, urging people to “exercise increased caution in China.” A warning from the CDC advises people to “avoid nonessential travel.”

A Twitter thread, developed by the WHO, is below.

This story was originally published Jan. 19 and is updated frequently as new information becomes available.

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Our favorite gourmet frozen pizzas to order online – CNET


Thanks to the internet, the best pizza across the country — from Chicago deep dish to square Detroit style — is available to almost anyone, so why settle for your usual local pizza delivery when you can order gourmet pizza online?

Chances are if you order a cheese pizza from a chain or the neighborhood joint on Super Bowl Sunday you’re going to end up waiting two hours for it to arrive while everyone stares at the empty bowl of wings. But with a little bit of expert planning, you can order a frozen pie in advance that’s even better than delivery — and far surpasses what you’re going to find in the frozen food aisle at your local grocery store.

Plus, these pies won’t show up cold. Well, they will, but intentionally. And each of these pizzas are near-legendary in their respective home cities, which makes ordering them any day of the year a great idea. Below, a guide to the best frozen pizzas you can order online and stick in your own oven, whatever the occasion.

Read more: How to watch Super Bowl 2020 in 4K for free


The famously chewy crust and perfectly melted cheese — all from your oven in just five minutes — make us wonder what kind of witchcraft is going on over there at the Roberta’s HQ in New York’s Bushwick neighborhood, where this no-frills pizzeria has been feeding hungry hipsters for the last decade. What time of day is it? Doesn’t matter, there’s definitely still a line for a table after all these years. If you can’t get Fresh Direct, order on Goldbelly.


This thin crust pie from Table 87, the definitive home of the coal-fired slice, is the best you can get without actually making a trip to the iconic Brooklyn spot on Atlantic Avenue. Just pop this margherita pizza in the oven for seven to nine minutes — way faster than delivery. And so much more delicious. If Fresh Direct doesn’t deliver near you, get it on Goldbelly.


Feed the whole crew with these heavy pies that have been legendary in Chicago ever since Lou’s opened in 1971. (There’s now 52 locations in the area.) Nowhere else can you get this kind of flavor magic — flaky buttery crust loaded with tomato sauce and slathered in gooey cheese. Choose from a wide variety of toppings (definitely put a spinach in your order) and know that you can even order heart-shaped versions. Awwww.


It would be unfair to mention Lou Malnati’s and not Gino’s East, another Chi-town fave with graffitied walls that have been around since the ’60s. (Why do locals like one over the other? It’s hard to say; it’s like asking a Chicagoan why they like the Cubs over the Sox. You’re just kinda born liking one over the other.) We’d advise going for the Meaty Legend, which is loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon and more bacon — but if you find it’s sold out (which happens), the second best thing is this pair of pies topped with sausage and pepperoni only.


This go-to from the Lou (that’s Midwestern speak for St. Louis) has a cracker-thin crust that comes with tons of different topping options: Buffalo chicken, hamburger, deluxe (pepper, onions, mushrooms, sausage and bacon) and all the options in-between. Just make sure when you take it out of the oven you cut it into squares, which is exactly how they do it in the Lou.


The dense dough of this rectangular pie is stacked with pepperoni, ham, applewood smoked bacon and Italian sausage — so basically every meat imaginable. The Detroit delicacy gets a caramelized crust when the cheese warms up in the oven, and the result is worth writing a Motown ditty about.


You fancy, huh? These pizzas (if that’s what you want to call them) are made with puff pastry, which add a buttery goodness to the veggie version, and make you look like you really know what you’re doing in the kitchen.


This Old Forge, Pennsylvania darling has a thick airy crust that comes two ways: Choose from the traditional red, or keep it clean with just cheese, rosemary and olive oil.

This story was written by Julie Vadnal for Chowhound.

Super Bowl 2020

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How to make perfectly crispy baked buffalo wings – CNET


Sometimes the universe is just plain cruel. Exhibit A: the plopping down of one of the great, gluttonous food holidays — football’s biggest night, with its buffalo wings and chili and vats of dip — smack dab in the middle of our earnest attempts at healthy New Year’s resolutions for eating and dieting. *Cut to me glaring up at the heavens with one slowly shaking fist.*

A conundrum to haunt us all our days (or until they move New Year’s back on the calendar), but what to do until then? Diet-friendly versions of game day food may sound anything but super — however, with a little technique, and insights from some of our favorite culinary friends, you can in fact health-ify big game grub, without losing out on taste. In this piece we’ll tackle baked buffalo chicken wings.

Wings are gotta-have big game food. In fact, the National Chicken Council predicts over 1.4 billion wings will be consumed on game day this year alone. Already naturally high in protein, they’ve got that going for them, and most sauces and dips aren’t total diet-busters, but things begin to unravel when we bread and/or deep-fry the suckers, so baking wings is a natural remedy. The air fryer is also a great option, but most models just aren’t big enough to handle enough wings to feed a crowd (unless you want to cook several batches and risk missing the action).

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Unlike deep frying, which famously makes anything taste good, baking requires more strategy and attention to detail to achieve that moist-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside buffalo wing we all covet. How long do you bake buffalo wings? What if they’re frozen?

Here are a few tips to help with this years batch of delicious baked buffalo chicken wings, and a few recipes to get you started. Baking your buffalo wings does not require mountains of technical skill, but following a few basic rules is important.


An extra-large baking sheet fits a whole flock of wings and the rack elevates above the dripping fat — or can be used for cooling.

Porter Road

Starting with high-quality chicken wings is also a good idea. These come from pasture-raised birds that get room to move in fresh air and a varied diet without added hormones or antibiotics.

How to bake chicken wings in the oven:

1. Decide how many wings you need. Generally speaking, budgeting six to eight wings per person is wise, depending on what else is being served. A variety of sauces and dips will keep things interesting.

2. Make sure the wings are washed and patted completely dry. Preparing the wings beforehand is as important as anything to achieve crispy results, so don’t skip the drying step.

3. To lock in moisture and also help the skin develop crispiness, most chefs encourage a light coating of baking powder and/or white flour. If you’re trying to avoid those two ingredients, trusted food nerd Alton Brown suggests lightly steaming the wings for 10 minutes to render the fat, which naturally helps to crisp skin during cooking.

4. If you’re doing a dry rub like Cajun seasoning or jerk spices, apply to the wings before cooking. Otherwise, wings are tossed in a wet sauce afterward (but never before).

5. Place the wings in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Feel free to line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, and place the wings on a wire rack set within the pan so the fat drips down (optional).

6. Bake the wings at 350 degrees for 1 hour, turning them over halfway through. This helps the skin crisp relatively quickly without drying out the inside. Optional: A good, if slightly more caloric, tip comes from Mark Bittman who suggests a little extra fat to baste the wings while they cook, still flipping them partway through. Not only do they stay moist, according to Bittman, but they get beautifully browned too.

7. For truly crispy skin, turn the oven up to 425-450 degrees during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. Or, broil the wings for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. If you’re basting per Mark Bittman or the wings are baking in some of their own juices in a tray, you may cook them for longer without risk of them drying out. Just look for a crispy skin to develop and don’t exceed 90 minutes of total cooking time.

8. You can follow these same basic rules and processes to make frozen chicken wings crispy in the oven too. Just make sure to pat them dry especially well before cooking, as ice may have formed on the skin.

9. Once cooked, it’s saucin’ time. There are a million and one sauce (and dip) recipes to try, from classic buffalo with blue cheese to international flavors like soy, garlic, teriyaki, ginger and even curry.

Here are some favorite wing recipes to get you started:

Truly crispy oven-baked buffalo wings

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DO NOT believe me when I tell you these baked wings are super crispy, just like deep fried. Pump up the volume and LISTEN for yourself!!!! . I hate recipes that lie (or profusely exaggerate). So I swear to you, there are no false promises here! These wings are SUPER CRISPY, just like they’re deep fried. Crisper than coating in just cornstarch, flour or any other method you’ve tried!! . What’s more, they STAY crispy for longer than 2 seconds, and they also reheat crispy. I have made these hundreds of times because I made a whole chicken wings recipe book centred around these baked crispy wings so they’ve been tested to death!! . Truly Crispy Oven Baked BUFFALO WINGS . INGREDIENTS Crispy Baked Wings: 4 lb / 2 kg chicken wings (wingettes & drumettes) 5 tsp baking powder (NOT baking soda / bi-carb soda) 3/4 teaspoons salt (yes really, that’s all) Oil spray Sauce: 4 tbsp / 60g melted unsalted butter 1 tbsp brown sugar + ¼ tsp salt ½ cup Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce Blue Cheese Dip: 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, softened (I use gorgonzola), 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 small garlic clove, minced, 1 – 3 tbsp milk (use to adjust consistency) 2 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp salt, Black pepper . DIRECTIONS 1. Lay wings out on tray and leave uncovered in fridge 3 hrs to overnight, or pat dry with paper towel. Line tray with foil, place rack on. Spray rack generously with oil (any). 2. Place wings in large ziplock bag or bowl. Add salt and baking powder, toss well to coat evenly. Spread out on tray (snug is fine, they shrink). 3. Bake on LOWEST shelf at 250F/120C for 30 min, then move to HIGHEST shelf and bake at 425F/220C for 40 – 50 min until golden brown and crispy. Toss in sauce and serve immediately with blue cheese dip and celery sticks. 4. Sauce: Mix together. Blue Cheese Dip: Mix and mash to desired consistency. . . #recipetineats #superbowlsunday #partyfood #buffalowingsrecipe #buffalowings #bakedwings

A post shared by Nagi & Dozer – RecipeTin Eats (@recipe_tin) on Jan 31, 2019 at 2:06pm PST

This demonstrates the use of a rack to drain juices for less fat and more crisp. Get the truly crispy oven baked buffalo wings recipe.

Smoky rubbed chicken wings with honey, bourbon and molasses sauce



Quentin Bacon

A smoky spice rub and a doctored barbecue sauce make these baked-then-broiled wings irresistible.  Get the smoky rubbed chicken wings with honey, bourbon and molasses sauce recipe.

Soy-glazed chicken wings




These sweet soy-glazed wings are great as is, but add some fresh chive, sesame, crushed red pepper or diced garlic for a multilayered sauce. Get Chowhound’s soy-glazed chicken wings recipe.

Maple-mustard BBQ wings




These grilled wings are easily adapted to the oven-baked method. Just brush the wings with the sauce in the last few minutes of cooking so it caramelizes a bit but doesn’t burn. Get Chowhound’s maple-mustard BBQ wings recipe.  

Super Bowl 2020

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New software shows safest way to store chemicals, or dispose of them – CNET


Mixing the wrong swimming pool chemicals together is dangerous, but a new app might prevent accidents. 

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

When chemicals are carelessly stored, mixed together or even disposed of, fires, explosions and injuries can result. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, it’s estimated that at least 4,500 injuries a year happen not in a lab but at home when people mix the wrong swimming pool chemicals together. 

But a new open-source computer program called ChemStor might prevent these dangerous situations from happening — in labs, offices, schools and homes — by warning users whether certain chemicals are unsafe to mix or store together.

Developed by engineers at the University of California at Riverside, the new program uses a database from the US Environmental Protection Agency of 9,800 chemicals that are classified into different reactive groups. The program then sets the chemicals apart using different colors. 

The colorful chemical interaction graph shows users if specific chemicals can safely be mixed or stored together without creating a dangerous reaction. 

Chemicals with the same color can be stored together, while chemicals with different colors cannot.

Currently, ChemStor software is limited to a command-line interface, meaning users must manually enter the type of chemicals and amount of storage space into a computer. 

However, there are plans to make ChemStor more user-friendly, including a smartphone app that can access a user’s camera to record information about chemicals and storage areas, according to a statement from UC Riverside.  

The UC Riverside engineers’ work appears in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.

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Peloton alternatives: 4 great indoor exercise bikes that cost less – CNET

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Indoor cycling is all the rage. That’s in part because it’s easier on your knees and takes up less space than a treadmill, and in part because you can experience virtual rides and classes via an interactive screen. But here’s the thing: As you probably learned from that now-infamous Peloton commercial, a Peloton bike starts at $2,200, and a class subscription will run you another $39 per month. Show of hands: Who’d like to see a cheaper option?

Read more: The best treadmills of 2020

Meeee! Thankfully, there are plenty. Below I’ve rounded up some of the latest and greatest so you can see just how much cheaper. I have firsthand experience with several of them, and will be updating this post in the coming weeks as I’m able to try others.

For now, let’s talk about the two key features that impact an indoor cycle’s price: The screen and the subscription.

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The screen: Built-in or BYO?

The sexiest aspect of the Peloton bike is, without question, its integrated 21-inch touchscreen. It just feels really luxurious to interact with such a spacious display, whether for browsing class choices, viewing your cycling stats or just watching your onscreen instructor. Of course, that’s also a big reason the bike is so expensive; most competitors come with a smaller screen or none at all.

For example, the Bowflex C6 costs just $900, but doesn’t come with any kind of display. Instead, it has a mount for your tablet, which connects to third-party apps via Bluetooth. The smaller tablet screen may not draw you in as much, but a tablet allows you to do things other than watch class videos, like read books, stream Netflix or even go on virtual outdoor rides.

I’m not saying one is definitively better than another, just that there are pros and cons to built-in and BYO screens.

The subscription: Mandatory or optional?

If the goal of purchasing a piece of home-fitness equipment is to avoid pricey gym or class memberships, some of these bikes may leave you scratching your head. As noted, Peloton charges $39 per month, while Echelon’s plans range from $20 to $40.

If you purchase a NordicTrack cycle, you get your first year of the companion iFit service at no extra charge. After that, it costs $39 per month, or about $33 if you prepay annually. Bowflex is the outlier here, with no required membership: It’s designed to work with various third-party services, including Peloton Digital ($20 per month) and Zwift ($15 per month).

You can use any of these bikes independently, of course — you don’t have to take a class (though Peloton does require a minimum one-year subscription as part of your purchase). But if you decide not to pay for a membership, some bikes will no longer collect or display data (speed, distance, etc.) about your rides.

What’s more, as much as you might dislike the idea of yet another monthly subscription, even if $40 is less than what you’d typically pay for just two or three drop-in classes at your favorite studio. The key is to factor that cost into the overall expenditure and, where possible, look for discounts on prepaid, annual subscriptions.

Read more: Peloton, Daily Burn and more: Best workout subscription apps  

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Peloton’s cycle is, without question, the Bentley of home exercise bikes — a sturdy and beautiful machine that feels every inch like a premium product. Of course, it’s priced to match: $2,245 (which includes delivery and setup) and $39 per month for classes.

Because I tested only the less-expensive alternatives, I’ll turn you over to CNET colleague Megan Wollerton’s Peloton review. Even with the need to purchase special clip-in shoes, she found it a “worthy splurge.”  Read our Peloton Bike review.


If you want something close to the Peloton experience without the price, look to Echelon. The company offers a very similar class structure, both live and on-demand, but it’s available via less-expensive hardware. The EX3, for example, costs $1,040, or you can get it with a one-year subscription for $1,400.

Actually, Echelon’s new EX5s ($1,640) comes closest to matching the actual Peloton hardware, thanks to its massive 21.5-inch screen. Other models in the lineup, including the EX3, require you to bring your own screen, in the form of an iPad or similar tablet. That means a smaller display, but it also opens the door to nonclass activities like reading books, streaming Netflix or the like — options unavailable on the Peloton.

However, you can’t use an Echelon bike with any third-party cycling apps — not if you want real-time stats. For the moment, the bikes can pair only with the Echelon app. As noted, that app delivers a very Peloton-like experience, but also has roughly the same subscription rates.

To find out more, read my Echelon EX3 hands-on story from a few months ago.


NordicTrack’s bike uses a mechanical shaft to simulate the inclines and declines of actual bike riding, so that when you’re pedaling a virtual hill, it feels more like a hill. What’s more, class instructors and virtual-ride leaders can remotely adjust your bike’s resistance and incline, meaning you’re not constantly futzing with controls.

That’s pretty cool, and one reason the S15i stands out among the bikes in this roundup. However, while the flywheel itself is all but silent, the rest of the machinery gets loud every time there’s an adjustment. Likewise, the built-in fan is noisy to the point of distraction, even on the lowest speed.

My bigger complaint is with the integrated iFit software, which provides access to a wide assortment of classes, virtual rides and off-bike workouts like HIIT and kickboxing, all via a 14-inch touchscreen. Unfortunately, it’s marred by an aggravating interface. Scrolling is slow and jerky, and there’s no way to sort or even search the content, which isn’t categorized in any meaningful way. So if you wanted to find, say, a yoga class, you’d have to scroll-scroll-scroll down the list until you eventually found the yoga section. And the bike classes are all prerecorded; there aren’t any live ones like with Echelon and Peloton.

At least the first year of iFit is free. After that, it would cost you $39 per month or $33 if prepaid annually. You don’t have to use it, but there’s nowhere on the bike to rest a tablet if you’d rather, say, watch Hulu.

The bike itself is comfortable to ride, easy to adjust and fairly attractive, save for the the chunky-looking arm-mounted screen. On the plus side, it can rotate for any off-bike classes you might want to take (though it can’t tilt down, so it’s hard to see during floor exercises).

Hardware and iFit issues aside, I really liked riding on virtual global roads and trails and letting instructors control the bike’s incline and resistance. If that kind of exercise experience appeals to you, there’s no better option than the S15i.


Nearly all the other bikes here have one thing in common: They effectively rope you into their ecosystems, requiring a membership to fully take advantage of the hardware. Not so the Bowflex C6 — It can pair via Bluetooth to a variety of different exercise apps, including Peloton’s. Add to that one of the lowest prices of any “connected” bike and you’ve got a serious contender.

The included assembly manual provides very little actual instruction; it’s mostly just a few diagrams. Using these, I was able to assemble the bike in about 45 minutes, with only a few head-scratching moments along the way. But Bowflex really should include a printed version of the more complete manual that’s available online. That guide also covers using the control panel, which is barely mentioned in the print version. Even then, there’s not nearly enough instruction on Bluetooth pairing.

The C6 looks a little skinnier, and therefore less substantial, than bikes costing more, but it feels mostly sturdy while you’re riding and makes virtually no noise. The pedals have toe cages, but can also be used with clip-in shoes. I did encounter one mechanical issue: My handlebar post wobbled just a bit, even after being fully tightened, though thankfully it didn’t bother me while riding.

What did bother me was the tablet mount, which puts the screen at a very shallow angle and can’t be adjusted. That mount sits just beyond the bike’s control panel, which comes to life as soon as you start pedaling and displays six key metrics: time, calories, speed, distance, resistance level and pulse. Pulse readings come from an included rechargeable forearm monitor. Also included: a pair of 3-pound weights and two roomy water-bottle holders.

As noted above, the C6 works with a wide variety of third-party apps. I tried it with a few, including Peloton and Bowflex’s own Explore the World. The latter takes you on virtual rides around the world, matching the video playback to your pedaling speed, but it’s nowhere near as good as one called FulGaz. What’s great, though, is you can try these and other apps to find whatever you like best.

That flexibility, coupled with the relatively low price of the machine itself, makes the C6 a great choice for the budget-minded biker.

MYX Fitness

A newcomer to the market, Myx Fitness has what appears to be a straight-up Peloton clone: A bike with a 21.5-inch screen and original, in-house fitness programming. However, the similarities end there: The Myx costs just $1,199, with a monthly membership fee of $29. So while it’s not the least-expensive option in the roundup, it may well offer the most bang for the buck.

I haven’t yet had the chance to try the Myx, but a demo is in the works. So check back soon for some hands-on (make that feet-on) coverage.

As noted above, stay tuned for additional reviews as I’m able to test more bikes. In the meantime, if you’ve already pulled the trigger on one of these models yourself, hit the comments and share what you like or don’t like!

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.      

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Get started in VR with the Samsung HMD Odyssey Plus for just $230 – CNET


As something of a VR fanatic, I have some strong opinions about which headset I’d recommend to friends looking to get into virtual-reality gaming. Unfortunately, starting at $400, even the “affordable” Oculus Quest is priced beyond what many reasonable people are willing to spend on the equivalent of a gaming peripheral. But what if you could get a solid VR headset for just $230? That’s a game-changer. Right now, you can get the Samsung HMD Odyssey Plus VR headset for just $229, slashed from the regular price of $500. 

If Dell runs low on inventory, you can also get it at the same $230 price for the Odyssey Plus directly from Samsung

At its regular price of $500, I would not necessarily recommend the Odsyssey Plus, but at less than half that price, it’s a whole different story. It’s part of Microsoft’s not-super-popular Windows Mixed Reality family of headsets, but is also compatible with the large library of Steam VR games. Its dual AMOLED display matches the 1,440×1,600-pixel resolution of the HTC Vive Pro, and also includes an anti-screen-door technology that Samsung claims makes the notorious cross-hatching common in VR headsets less noticeable. For more information, you can read our first impressions of the Samsung Odyssey Plus

Bottom line: There are not many ways to get into VR for less money than this Odyssey Plus headset deal. 

Now playing: Watch this: Zuckerberg shows off Oculus Quest hand tracking


CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

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Motorola Razr foldable phone preorders are backed up until mid-February – CNET

Motorola Razr delay February

Preordering the Motorola Razr now will see it arrive on Feb. 18.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Preorders for the Motorola Razr have been backed up until midway through next month. According to a new notice on Motorola’s website on Monday, the expected delivery date of the foldable flip phone is now Feb. 18, 2020. It follows Motorola delaying the sale of its Razr by a month in December, as preorders for the phone finally went live on Jan. 26 for a delivery date of Feb. 6.

It’s unknown whether all deliveries have been pushed back, or whether mid-February is the expected delivery date if you order it now after the first wave has already been sold out. Motorola didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Now playing: Watch this: Motorola Razr is futuristic and familiar


On sale for $1,499, the Razr is Motorola’s response to the $1,980 Samsung Galaxy Fold and the $2,300 Huawei Mate X. The Razr will be available around the same time as Samsung’s second foldable phone, which is rumored to be called the Galaxy Z Flip.

The Motorola Razr comes with a 6.2-inch internal screen and a 2.7-inch outer display, a 16-megapixel rear camera and 128GB of onboard storage.

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50 mesmerizing desk toys that could replace your Newton’s cradle – CNET

Light it up

Crazy Aaron’s specializes in what it calls thinking putty. We like Crazy Aaron’s Strange Attractor variety because, one, it’s magnetic, two, it comes with a magnet, three, the magnet makes the putty sparkle, and four, we just know it’ll make us the talk of the office.  

Published:January 28, 2020
Caption:Photo:Crazy Aaron’s/AmazonDisclosure:We may get a commission from retail offers.
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TomTom’s 2019 Traffic Index puts bad traffic in pespective – Roadshow


Americans will spend, on average, 4 days 13 hours and 38 minutes per year in rush hour traffic.

Getty Images

The human race is an incredibly diverse group, with thousands of beautiful and different cultures. Still, one thing that seems to be nearly universal is how much people love to complain about traffic.

Well, the good news for people who love to complain and bad news for everyone else is that it’s getting worse pretty much everywhere, according to the Traffic Index released Tuesday by TomTom.

In the US, the top 10 worst cities for traffic with populations of over 800,000 all posted double-digit increases in extra travel time with — surprise, surprise — Los Angeles being ranked as the worst with a 42% increase. Next up — also a no-brainer — is New York, which went up by 37%. San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle make up the rest of the top five, followed by Miami, DC, Chicago, Honolulu and Austin.

But wait — if you think that’s bad, get a load of the top 10 global cities. Thankfully, the US didn’t manage the top 10, with almost all the entries coming from Southeast Asia, apart from Bogota and Moscow. Bengaluru, India — aka Bangalore — and Manila, Philippines are worst of all with a shocking 71% increase in travel time, followed by Bogota, Mumbai and Pune, India with scores of 68%, 65% and 59%, respectively.

From there we go to Moscow, Lima, New Delhi, Istanbul and Jakarta. Jakarta’s score of 53% is still 11% ahead of Los Angeles, which — as an Angeleno myself — kinda makes me morbidly curious just how bad it actually is.

“In the US, it’s paramount for city planners and policymakers to have all of the necessary tools at their disposal to help them properly analyze traffic levels and citywide congestion, which is exactly why we designed the Traffic Index — to help them make critical infrastructure decisions in real time,” said Nick Cohn, senior traffic expert for TomTom, in a statement. “By identifying problem areas in live traffic patterns with the Traffic Index, we’re helping optimize traffic flow and creating a safer, cleaner, congestion-free world together with our partners and drivers.”

To build the Traffic Index, TomTom used 221,581,713,027 miles of data from 2019 alone, which makes it kind of hard for anyone to complain about sample size — that number works out to nearly 9 million trips around the globe.

What’s the takeaway from this? Commuting still sucks, and it’s only getting worse, so anything we can do to help stay off the roads, take up less space on the roads or increase the number of people per car is going to make a difference. Other than that, maybe this is the chance you’ve been looking for to talk to your boss about telecommuting?

Now playing: Watch this: Driverless cars speed up traffic


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Here’s every electric vehicle on sale in the US for 2020 and its range – Roadshow


It’s getting easier, slowly but surely, to plug in to electric motoring. EVs are becoming an increasingly common sight on US roads, along with the charging stations needed to keep ’em juiced up. A few brands seem to dominate the news cycle when it comes to new electric cars, but there are actually well over a dozen fully electric models on sale in the US today.

That in mind, here’s a list of every electric vehicle on sale in the US, and how far each will go on a single charge, according to the EPA.

Editors’ note: Our list only includes vehicles that have been certified by the EPA. More EVs might be in the news, but they will not be added to this compilation until they’re officially about to go on sale in the US.

Audi E-Tron

Audi’s first purpose-built battery electric road car has been on our radar for a long time, but now it’s finally starting to get to dealerships in the US for testing and order books are open. This electric SUV packs a 95 kilowatt-hour battery and a maximum range of 204 miles. The E-Tron’s starting price isn’t cheap at around $75,000, but you do get a lot of Audi quality for that cash.

BMW i3

BMW’s i3 has always been a little weird looking and expensive at $44,450, but it does offer a few things that nothing else in the class can match. The biggest of these is its carbon-fiber chassis, which increases stiffness, reduces weight and looks great on a spec sheet. The i3 is definitely meant to be a city car with a relatively short range — up to 153 miles — but it is easy to park and a nice place to spend time, so we can’t fault it too much.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt EV was the mainstream car industry’s first real, practical answer to Tesla’s electric juggernauts. It’s an affordable little hatchback that doesn’t stick out like the i3 and today, it packs plenty of all-electric range at 259 miles — a nice increase over its initial 236-mile range. With a starting price of just $36,620, the Bolt has positioned itself as the perfect alternative to the impossible-to-spec $35,000 Model 3 from Tesla.

Honda Clarity Electric

The Honda Clarity Electric is available, it’s spacious and those are kind of the best things we can say about it. When you consider its size and the competition, a range of just 89 miles is unacceptable. Add in that you can’t buy the car outright, only lease it, and it compounds things further. Still, it’s a Honda and all the stuff that Honda does well — like build quality — is up there, so that counts for something.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai is getting way more into the electric vehicle game, but the car that started it out for them was the Ioniq Electric, and you can still get it. It’s basic in almost every sense of the word, but its range got a nice increase for 2020, to 170 miles. This bad boy lists for just a hair over $30K and that makes it a decent deal.

Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona Electric is one of the most exciting new EVs you can buy right now. It has excellent range, weird-but-fun styling, tons of standard equipment and all the other killer Hyundai stuff, including a great warranty. The Kona EV is a lot quicker and more fun to drive than you’d expect, while its range of 258 miles puts it among the upper-echelon of modern battery-electrics. With a price tag starting at $36,990, you’re getting a lot for your money.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar was one of the last companies we’d have expected to release a purely electric SUV. But it did, and the decision ended up working in its favor. The I-Pace looks like nothing else, drives like a Jag and offers a real alternative to the Tesla Model X. The I-Pace is a practical beast too, having been designed from the ground up to be an EV, it has plenty of space for people and things and a substantial range of 234 miles.

Kia Niro EV

Kia’s Niro EV is Kia’s best effort yet at making a fully battery-electric SUV that offers good range — 239 miles — for not a lot of money ($38,500 to start), and it surprised us when we drove it for the first time. It’s more fun than its looks or specs would suggest and it’s packed with a deep roster of standard features that make modern Kias so hard to beat for value.

Mini Cooper SE

You may not remember this, but Mini was actually an early pioneer of modern EVs. Back in 2009, the automaker underwent a large-scale test of electric Mini E hatchbacks, building hundreds and leasing them to hand-picked consumers and utility companies. After a couple of years, it gave up on the tech, and it’s taken until now for the brand to offer a BEV for sale. 

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric hits dealers in March and promises to be one of the most-affordable EVs on the market. Priced from $29,900 plus delivery, when you factor in the full federal tax credit and potential state and local incentives, you could own one for well under $20,000. There’s a catch, of course — limited range. The Mini Electric is only estimated at 110 miles of range, about as short an e-leash as you’ll find today. Not a compliance car sold only in California-emissions markets, Mini says the SE is a 50-state model.

Nissan Leaf

Ah yes, the granddaddy of all affordable electric cars. There is a reason that the Leaf is the world’s bestselling EV by a factor of a zillion. And if you’ve spent time in one recently, you’ll know it’s easy to see why that is. The Leaf is a simple, well-built, affordable electric car that offers reasonable range — 150 miles — and still feels a little like the future.

Nissan Leaf Plus

The Leaf Plus is Nissan’s answer to cars like the Tesla Model 3, the Kona Electric and the Bolt. It has the Leaf line’s best range yet at 226 miles, and while it’s not as cheap as the standard leaf, it offers you more for your money. More what? Power and torque mostly. Sure some of its tech is a little old, but that means it’s well proven at this point.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche’s first battery-electric car arrives to take on the Tesla Model S. It’ll initially be offered in two flavors at launch, Turbo and Turbo S, later followed by the 4S, the former packing 670 horsepower, the latter with 750. The EPA has only rated the Turbo and Turbo S models for now, and they come in at a relatively dismal 201 miles and 192 miles, respectively, on the US cycle. (For what it’s worth, Porsche says the Taycan should achieve 256 miles on Europe’s notoriously optimistic WLTP cycle.) The Taycan Turbo starts at $150,900, while the Turbo S comes in at $185,000. Later, the cars’ prices will increase to $153,310 and $187,610, respectively.

Tesla Model 3

This is the EV to which all other midpriced electric vehicles have to answer. The Model 3 is just that good. It’s comfortable, fun to drive, has tons of cargo space and one of the best ranges in its class. In fact, the Tesla Model 3 offers a number of range options depending on the model:

  • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range: 220 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus: 250 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Mid Range: 264 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD: 322 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range Performance AWD: 322 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range: 330 miles

Tesla Model S

The Model S has been around in more or less the same form since 2012. It’s gotten several updates to its hardware, its styling and its performance but it is still one of the oldest vehicles here. That said, it’s also the reigning champ of all-electric range. Thanks to a recent overhaul, the S 100D can eke out 373 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately, it’s also $79,990 before adding things like different wheels, paint or Tesla’s dubiously named Full Self-Driving feature. Like the Model 3, here’s a breakdown:

  • Tesla Model S Standard Range: 287 miles
  • Tesla Model S Performance: 348 miles
  • Tesla Model S Long Range: 373 miles

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X is like the Model S in that it’s fast and expensive, but it’s also bigger, roomier and has the craziest doors to be found on a production car this side of the Lamborghini Aventador. Thanks to a similar update to the Model S, the X 100D now offers 328 miles of range on a single charge. That’s not bad for something so big. Here’s how the rest of the model line shakes out:

  • Tesla Model X Standard Range: 258 miles
  • Tesla Model X Performance: 305 miles
  • Tesla Model X Long Range: 328 miles

Volkswagen E-Golf

Volkswagen has been teasing us with electric ID concepts for years now, and while some of those are supposed to make it to production soon, the only EV you can currently get from VW is the humble E-Golf. The Mk VII Golf is already a pretty great platform, to begin with, and while the E-Golf’s range isn’t stellar at just 123 miles, it’s a pleasant enough car to live with and drive. Plus, with a starting price of $31,895, it’s actually not that bad of a deal.

Originally published Apr. 30.
Update, Sept. 4: Adds Porsche Taycan.
Update, Sept. 18: Updates for 2020 model year.
Update, Dec. 28: Adds Porsche Taycan Turbo.
Update, Jan. 15: Adds Porsche Taycan Turbo S, updates Hyundai Ioniq.

Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Porsche Taycan is ready to tackle Tesla