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If you don’t really watch TV—you’d rather settle into a movie or show using your laptop, computer or tablet—there’s a way to get much better audio quality without using headphones.
The Insmart Laptop Sound Bar will give your laptop or tablet the audio boost it needs. And right now, it’s on sale for $25, or $9 off with the on-page coupon at Amazon—its all-time lowest price!
Usually going for $34, the sound bar features 360-degree audio for an immersive feel, and dual five-watt drivers for detailed audio with deep bass. Translation: It’ll make your laptop, desktop, tablet, gaming console or phone sound extremely richer and more robust. It also works with some TVs. (If it has a headphone jack, you can connect it). It uses a 3.5mm audio jack, and it’s powered with USB.
“This little guy actually delivers far better quality than I was expecting. Music is clear and has a rich tone, with an impressive amount of low-end response,” wrote a five-star reviewer. “I can’t recommend this enough if you just need to put some sound somewhere real fast.”
Just 16 inches long, it’s small enough to sit in front of a laptop or desktop without crowding a desk. It also has a second audio jack, so you can plug in your headphones too.
“This sound bar is amazing,” added a satisfied Amazon shopper. “The sound quality is not distorted, no matter how loud you play the audio. It goes perfectly with my projector setup, and I have no complaints so far. It’s money well spent.”
At $25 (was $34), this Insmart Laptop Sound Bar is a great way to upgrade your audio on the (really) cheap.
“For years, I’ve put up with the puny speakers built into my monitor,” shared another five-star reviewer. “Then I saw this soundbar for your PC and it’s great. Plugs right into USB for power and into your speaker ports for sound (no HDMI) and it works instantly. Volume can go from soft to very loud. Much clearer audio than those little monitor speakers.”
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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Presidential race tightens even as most voters oppose GOP’s push to replace Ginsburg before election
Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump has shrunk from 10 points two weeks ago to 5 points today, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
Yet most voters oppose the GOP’s pre-election push to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Biden supporters seem more energized than Trump supporters by the issue.
The survey, which was conducted from Sept. 21 to Sept. 23, found that after leading Trump 49 percent to 39 percent among registered voters earlier this month, Biden now leads 45 percent to 40 percent. The shift was within the poll’s margin of error (4.1 percent), yet there are signs Biden has lost some support among white voters and voters over 65 even as Trump has failed to grow his base much beyond the 40 percent mark. National polling averages show Biden ahead by about 7 percentage points.
At the same time, the battle to replace Ginsburg threatens to scramble the presidential contest — and here, a majority of voters agree with Biden that after voters “pick the [next] president,” the next “president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.”
According to the poll, a full 53 percent of registered voters say that whoever wins the 2020 election should nominate the next Supreme Court justice; just 40 percent say the current president should pick Ginsburg’s successor. Voters also say by the same 13-point margin that the Senate elected in November (51 percent) should vote to confirm the next justice — not the current Senate (38 percent).
Overall, registered voters trust Biden (49 percent) more than Trump (42 percent) to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.
The precedent created in 2016 when Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court pick in an election year looms large in voters’ minds; by a 14-point margin (47 percent to 33 percent) they say Republican senators are being hypocritical when they agree to hold hearings and vote on Trump’s nominee so close to an election.
In theory, this could hurt Republicans on Election Day. The GOP currently controls 53 Senate seats, and at least 10 of those are seen as vulnerable. Asked which party they would like to control the Senate in 2021, a majority of registered voters say Democrats (54 percent) rather than Republicans (46 percent).
The electoral politics of the coming Supreme Court fight are tricky to decipher at this early stage, and it may be that few voters flip because of it. While a larger number of voters say they are “more likely” to vote Democratic (36 percent) than Republican (29 percent) as a result of Ginsburg’s death and the push to fill her seat, the vast majority in each category are already supporting Biden or Trump, respectively.
Only 3 percent of Biden voters say the Supreme Court skirmish makes them more likely to vote Republican; just 2 percent of Trump voters say it makes them more likely to vote Democratic. Likewise, a mere 2 percent of Biden voters say they’d be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she votes to confirm Trump’s nominee; the same percentage of Trump voters say they’d be less likely to vote for their senator in that scenario.
In other words, whatever small number of Supreme Court swing voters there are, they’re liable to cancel each other out.
Yet contrary to the conventional wisdom that court fights motivate Republicans more than Democrats, it’s Biden supporters who seem more energized than Trump supporters — at least at this early stage. In fact, 86 percent of those who intend to vote for Biden say appointments to the Supreme Court are either the “most important factor” (40 percent) or an “important factor” (46 percent) in their presidential vote — 7 points higher than the corresponding number among those who intend to vote for Trump (37 percent “most important,” 42 percent “important”).
Beyond energizing the Democratic base, there are other risks ahead for Trump and the GOP. If the president nominates a pro-life justice who is also inclined to rule against the Affordable Care Act — as is widely expected — voters may balk. Just 29 percent of registered voters think that Roe v. Wade should be overturned; 54 percent do not. The same number (29 percent) think the court, which is hearing an ACA case on Nov. 10, should invalidate President Barack Obama’s signature health care law; 50 percent do not.
Abortion has long been seen as a wedge issue for both parties, but in this case, the danger may be greater for Trump. Just 51 percent of his voters actually want to overturn Roe v. Wade; a full 29 percent do not. Among Biden voters, opinion is much less divided, with 77 percent saying they want Roe to remain the law of the land and a mere 9 percent saying the opposite.
It’s possible, however, that Democrats could overplay their hand. Voters show either tepid support or opposition for measures some Democrats are vowing to take as retaliation for Republicans filling the vacancy before the election.
Only 32 percent support increasing the number of justices to the Supreme Court (39 percent oppose, 29 percent are unsure). Just 37 percent support abolishing the filibuster so that 40 senators cannot block legislation (23 percent oppose, 39 percent are unsure). And voters are divided 35 percent to 35 percent on whether it is a good or bad idea to expand the court “so that five justices are affiliated with the Republicans, five are affiliated with the Democrats, and five are apolitical and chosen by the other 10 justices.”
The only such measure that commands anything approaching majority support (50 percent) is admitting Puerto Rico as a state. Admitting Washington, D.C., is less popular (42 percent).
Asked directly which of these measures Democrats would be “justified” in doing if they win the election but Republicans confirm Trump’s nominee anyway, more voters said none of the above (41 percent) than any of the individual proposals, which all garnered 35 percent support or less. Even support for admitting Puerto Rico as a state fell to 35 percent in this “retaliatory” scenario.
The problem with tinkering with the Supreme Court is that even though 67 percent of voters say it has become too politicized, a majority of them (57 percent) approve of the way it’s handling its job, with only modest differences by party. Just 24 percent disapprove. An even larger majority (70 percent) have either some (50 percent) or a lot (20 percent) of confidence in the institution.
The corresponding number for Congress? Just 37 percent.
The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,284 U.S. registered voters interviewed online from Sept. 21 to 23. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 presidential vote, registration status, geographic region and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S registered voters. The margin of error is approximately 4.1 percent.
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3 “Strong Buy” Stocks That Are Flirting With a Bottom
In the investing game, it’s not only about what you buy; it’s about when you buy it. One of the most common pieces of advice thrown around the Street, “buy low” is touted as a tried-and-true tactic.Sure, the strategy seems simple. Stock prices naturally fluctuate on the basis of several factors like earnings results and the macro environment, amongst others, with investors trying to time the market and determine when stocks have hit a bottom. In practice, however, executing on this strategy is no easy task.On top of this, given the volatility that has ruled the markets over the last few weeks, how are investors supposed to gauge when a name is flirting with a bottom? That’s where the Wall Street pros come in.These expert stock pickers have identified three compelling tickers whose current share prices land close to their 52-week lows. Noting that each is set to take back off on an upward trajectory, the analysts see an attractive entry point. Using TipRanks’ database, we found out that the analyst consensus has rated all three a Strong Buy, with major upside potential also on tap.Progenity (PROG)Offering clear and actionable genetic results, Progenity specializes in providing testing services. The company started trading on Nasdaq in June and saw its shares tumbling 44% since then. With shares changing hands for $8.11, several members of the Street recommend pulling the trigger before it heats up.Piper Sandler analyst Steven Mah points out that even against the backdrop of COVID-19, PROG managed to deliver with its Q2 2020 performance. “We are encouraged by the recovery in late Q2 2020 with 75,000 accessioned tests (~79,000 in Q1 2020), driven by noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and carrier screening,” the analyst noted. Expounding on this, Mah stated, “Progenity did not provide guidance, but June test volumes of ~28,000 were strong (Q1 2020 monthly average was ~26,000) which we believe showcases the durability of its reproductive tests and the success that Progenity has in co-marketing and attaching carrier screening to the more essential NIPT. Of note, despite the pandemic disruptions, Progenity was able to maintain its leading pre-COVID test turnaround times.”Additionally, health insurer Aetna is temporarily extending coverage of average-risk NIPT until year-end as a result of the pandemic, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also expected to endorse average-risk in the future given its clinical utility, in Mah’s opinion.Reflecting another positive, the fourth generation NIPT (single-molecule counting assay) test was able to measure fetal fraction, a key milestone according to Mah, and will continue to be developed into 2021. As the technology could potentially be applied to DNA, RNA, epigenetic markers and proteins for additional clinical applications such as oncology, the analyst is looking forward to the completion of the preeclampsia verification in Q4 2020 and a possible 2H21 launch. “We believe preeclampsia (~2.3 billion serviceable market) is a major differentiator for Progenity, allowing them to cross-sell across the full-continuum of reproductive testing,” the analyst added.If that wasn’t enough, PROG signed its first GI Precision Medicine partnership agreement with a top-20 Pharma company in August. The Oral Biotherapeutic Delivery System (OBDS), an ingestible drug and device combination designed to precisely deliver biologics systemically through a needle-free liquid jet injection into the submucosal tissues of the small intestine, is set to be utilized as part of the collaboration. Mah commented, “We believe Progenity can sign additional Pharma deals and look forward to the newsflow coming out on this front.”To sum it all up, Mah said, “We believe Progenity shares are undervalued given the robust recovery in the core testing business and multiple upcoming growth catalysts.”To this end, Mah rates PROG an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $17 price target. Should his thesis play out, a twelve-month gain of 105% could potentially be in the cards. (To watch Mah’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: PROG is a Strong Buy. Given the $13.33 average price target, shares could climb 60% higher in the next year. (See PROG stock analysis on TipRanks)Tactile Systems Technology (TCMD)Developing at-home therapy devices, Tactile Systems Technology wants to provide new treatments for lymphedema, which occurs when the lymphatic system is impaired, disrupting normal transport of fluid within the body, and chronic venous insufficiency. Down 52% year-to-date, its $32.67 share price lands close to its $29.47 52-week low. Thus, with business trends improving, the Street is pounding the table.Writing for Canaccord, analyst Cecilia Furlong acknowledges that the pandemic has hampered the company, with COVID-19 weighing on both volumes and sales. In the second half of March, volumes were down 50% compared to the first half of the month, and TCMD’s patient volumes in April and May remained challenged. That being said, trends started to improve at the end of May.“Going forward, given the vast majority of TCMD’s clinician customers practice in outpatient or office-based settings, we remain positive on TCMD’s ability to demonstrate better insulation against COVID impacts and likely experience a greater bounce-back relative to overall med-tech volume trends, with TCMD further benefitting from its expanding using of technology to remotely engage with clinicians and support patients,” Furlong explained.The analyst added, “Furthermore, recent trends among some providers to prescribe Flexitouch (an advanced intermittent pneumatic compression device to self-manage lymphedema and nonhealing venous leg ulcers) earlier along the therapy process, as a means to reduce in-person contact, could provide upside near term, as well as potentially transition to a longer-term tailwind.”On top of this, Furlong is also optimistic about new CEO Dan Reuvers and the reprioritization of the company’s investment and market development efforts. TCMD will shift focus away from its acquired Airwear product line, with it redirecting investments toward its Flexitouch and Entre (a pneumatic compression device used to assist in the home management of chronic swelling and venous ulcers associated with lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency) products.“Given significant under-penetration in the lymphedema/phlebolymphedema market targeted by Flexitouch alongside the large patient population with limited treatment options today targeted by the firm’s Head & Neck platform, we view the combination of education and clinical data as key to further developing and penetrating these markets… Going forward, we expect management to continue to compile a broad base of clinical data to support reimbursement and drive broad adoption,” Furlong commented.All of this prompted Furlong to keep a Buy rating and $62 price target on the stock. This target conveys her confidence in TCMD’s ability to soar 90% in the next year. (To watch Furlong’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts are on the same page. With 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold, the word on the Street is that TCMD is a Strong Buy. The $62.33 average price target brings the upside potential to 91%. (See TCMD stock analysis on TipRanks)uniQure N.V. (QURE)Last but not least we have uniQure, which delivers curative gene therapies that could potentially transform the lives of patients. Even though shares have fallen 44% year-to-date to $40, not much higher than its 52-week low of $36.20, multiple analysts still have high hopes.Representing SVB Leerink, 5-star analyst Joseph Schwartz acknowledges that shares struggled after news broke of its collaboration and licensing agreement with CSL Behring for AMT-061, QURE’s gene therapy for Hemophilia B, he argues the “shareholder base turnover is likely now complete as investors and QURE shift focus to next-in-line AMT-130, its AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD).”Schwartz further added, “With the M&A premium now out of the stock, we see the QURE’s current level as an attractive buying opportunity for those investors interested in the company’s up and coming CNS gene therapies, internal manufacturing, and robust intellectual property and knowhow.”Looking more closely at the agreement with CSL Behring, QURE will be tasked with the completion of the pivotal Phase 3 HOPE-B trial as well as the manufacturing process validation and manufacturing supply of AMT-061.According to management, 26-week Factor IX (FIX) data from all 54 patients enrolled in the trial remains on track, and topline data from the pivotal trial is still slated to read out by YE20. It should be mentioned that in a Phase 2b dose-confirmation study, QURE reported 41% FIX activity out to one year. Additionally, Schwartz points out that with HOPE-B progressing as planned, QURE has continued its manufacturing process validation work ahead of the anticipated BLA/MAA submissions in the U.S. and EU in 2021.On top of this, as part of the deal, QURE is eligible to receive more than $2 billion including a $450 million upfront cash payment, $1.6 billion in regulatory and commercial milestones and double-digit royalties ranging up to the low-twenties percentage of net product sales.“With a strengthened cash position, QURE is well funded to rapidly advance CNS assets including AMT-130 (AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD)) and AMT-150 (AAV gene therapy for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/SCA3)…We continue to believe that as QURE’s CNS pipeline assets mature, the company could once again be an attractive partner to larger biopharma companies that have recently acquired many publicly traded gene therapy platforms with substantial manufacturing capabilities,” Schwartz noted.Everything that QURE has going for it convinced Schwartz to reiterate an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. Along with the call, he attached a $67 price target, suggesting 68% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Schwartz’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? 9 Buys and 3 Holds have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $69.89 average price target indicates 75% upside potential. (See QURE stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
Mysterious beaked whale smashes mammal diving record
A little known, shy whale has surprised scientists by staying submerged for almost four hours.
Cuvier’s beaked whales are known for their abilities to dive deep and they average around an hour under water.
But researchers were astounded when they recorded one animal diving for three hours and 42 minutes.
They believe that it is the longest dive yet recorded for any whale and almost certainly a record for all mammals as well.
Beaked whale species are a bit of mystery to scientists, spending much of their time far from shore.
The Cuvier’s beaked whale has a stout body, a small sloping head and short beak. Males appear to have two teeth which they use for fighting, females don’t seem to have any.
They normally hunt squid for food, usually sucking the creatures into their mouths to eat them.
Scientists say that in pursuing their favourite food, these whales have been documented diving down to around 3,000m.
When they surface they spend about two minutes before diving again, meaning it is very difficult for researchers to observe and tag them.
In 2014, one whale was recorded diving for just over two hours, the longest known time underwater.
In this latest study, researchers recorded more than 3,600 dives by two dozen Cuvier’s beaked whales over a five-year period.
They recorded dives lasting from around half an hour to two hours thirteen minutes, well past the point at which an animal of this size should run out of oxygen.
But two dives by one individual whale “astounded” the research team.
One was almost three hours long, another three hours 42 minutes.
“The longest dive for the species was about two and a half hours, so this is the longest for Cuvier’s beaked whales, but it’s also the longest for any mammal,” Dr Nicola Quick, from Duke University in Durham, US, told BBC News.
While this one individual was recorded completing these extremely long dives, Dr Quick says her study showed that a large percentage of the animals observed were capable of going under for very long periods.
The researchers speculate that the whales might have an extremely slow metabolism, perhaps coupled with larger than average oxygen stores, and an ability to tolerate the build up of lactic acid.
“Their body muscles are sort of built differently, from what you maybe would expect from a deep diver,” said Dr Quick.
“They have sort of smaller brains, and quite a small lung volume. And they have a lot of good muscle tissues that are great for holding oxygen stores, which probably helps them to increase their dive durations.”
Fear may also have played a part in the record dive.
This species is vulnerable to killer whales and larger sharks. The whales react to threats by staying underwater as long as possible, until the predators move away.
And the deep dive may also have been in response to humans. The record took place some 24 days after exposure to a US Navy active sonar signal, and the researchers excluded them from their data set, as they could potentially have been impacted by the noise.
Cuvier’s beaked whales are known to be sensitive to sonar and other experts believe that this may have had an impact on the dive length.
“The recorded dive time of more than three hours is likely not typical, and instead the result of an individual pushed to its absolute limits,” said Nicola Hodgkins from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, who was not involved with the study.
“Only one whale, thought to already be compromised as a result of being exposed to extremely high levels of noise from military sonar, and therefore showing abnormal behaviour, was recorded undertaking such extreme dives.”
The research team found that there was little relationship between the length of dive and the recovery time needed by the whales before going down once again.
The scientists believe that studying these deep diving animals could offer some clues to challenging questions such as cancer in humans.
“There’s some interest in working with colleagues in oncology in Duke University, and even with Covid, as that involves cells losing oxygen or being in hypoxic conditions,” said Dr Quick.
“So if these whales are in these hypoxic conditions in their tissues, and if we can find out what they were doing, then could that have some other implication for human health or just ocean health in general?”
The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
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