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Improved ‘to the point of perfection’: The best gadgets of the year

Improved ‘to the point of perfection’: The best gadgets of the year

Technology
Apple's Airpods Pro have been named Which? Product of the Year, after the wireless bluetooth earbuds were praised for being improved "to the point of near-perfection".Testers at the not-for-profit consumer group whittled down 3,500 products launched and tested between September 2018 and September 2020 to 50, based on exceptional innovation, sustainability or value for money. The entire company was then given the option to vote on the top 10.Judges concluded it was "remarkable that tiny earpods can create such versatile, powerful and spatial sound" and welcomed the introduction of a rubber earpiece to create a more secure fit. Image: Apple's Airpods Pro came top of the list Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said: "Apple's new Airp...
Medicaid expansion likely improved colon cancer care, study finds

Medicaid expansion likely improved colon cancer care, study finds

Health
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Medicaid expansion has likely improved care of colon cancer, researchers said in a study published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The researchers compared states that expanded Medicaid health insurance in 2014 to non-expansion states and found that expansion led to earlier diagnosis, better access to care and improved surgical care. Advertisement The reason states had more stage 1 diagnosis after Medicaid expansion is unclear, but may indicate better access to care, Samer Tohme, senior investigator on the study, said in a press release. "Studies show that patients who are diagnosed with cancer at an earlier stage are more likely to have better treatment options, improved quality of care, and longer survival," said Tohme, a surgical oncologist a...
Improved method for propagating sound waves may lead to better devices

Improved method for propagating sound waves may lead to better devices

Science
July 17 (UPI) -- Engineers have developed a way to more efficiently propagate sound waves along the boundaries of topological materials. The breakthrough, described Friday in the journal Science Advances, could pave the way for cheaper, lighter and more energy efficient technologies, including ultrasound imaging, sonar and electronic systems sonic devices. Advertisement The new technique could prove especially beneficial to devices that utilize acoustic wave technology, including temperature sensors, pressure sensors, humidity sensors and biosensors. Acoustic wave technology also powers many large touch screens, like those found on ATM machines and airport kiosks. Topological materials and metamaterials are materials that feature properties unaffected by continuous deformation -- pattern...
White House memo calls for study of improved Arctic icebreakers

White House memo calls for study of improved Arctic icebreakers

Business
June 10 (UPI) -- A White House memorandum on polar security has the U.S. Coast Guard considering the addition of armed, nuclear-powered icebreakers to its aging fleet. President Donald Trump, in a memo on Tuesday, called for "a ready, capable and available fleet of polar security icebreakers that is operationally tested and fully deployable by Fiscal Year 2029." Advertisement The United States has only two operational heavy icebreakers in use, the 44-year old Polar Star and the 24-year old Healy. Each is prone to breakdowns, officials have said. The memo comes as global warning has positioned the Arctic region as a possible shipping route, as well as a source of available mineral resources, and calls for evaluation of a "defensive armament adequate to defend against near-peer competitors ...
Studies show Medicaid expansion improved health outcomes, cost effects unclear

Studies show Medicaid expansion improved health outcomes, cost effects unclear

Health
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Expand it and they will come -- and, in the case of reforms to Medicaid eligibility, they might get healthier. Studies published in the last year, assessing the impact of broadening Medicaid eligibility on everything from colon and throat cancer to opioid addiction, suggest access to care is a big part of why people do not get treatment. The consensus of the studies, experts say, is that by providing more people with access to care, with low out-of-pocket costs, they are enabled to more proactively manage their health -- which, in turn, has led to better outcomes. Whether the stream of studies shows a true picture of the benefits and risks of expanding the federally supported health insurance program remains, however, an open question. "It's a bit of a mixed bag," Dr. D...