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Twentyeight Health is a telemedicine company expanding access to women’s health and reproductive care

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New York’s Twentyeight Health is taking the wildly telemedicine services for women’s health popularized by companies like Nurx and bringing them to a patient population that previously hadn’t had access. 

The mission to provide women who are Medicaid or underinsured should not be deprived of the same kinds of care that patients who have more income security or better healthcare coverage enjoy, according to the company’s founder, Amy Fan.

The mission, and the company’s technology, have managed to convince a slew of investors who have poured $5.1 million in seed funding into the new startup. Third Prime led the round, which included investments from Town Hall Ventures, SteelSky Ventures, Aglaé Ventures, GingerBread Capital, Rucker Park Capital, Predictive VC, and angel investors like Stu Libby, Zoe Barry, and Wan Li Zhu.

“Women who are on Medicaid, who are underinsured or without health insurance often struggle to find access to reproductive health services, and these struggles have only increased with COVID-19 pandemic limiting access to in-person appointments,” said Amy Fan, co-founder of Twentyeight Health, in a statement. “We are fighting for healthcare equity, ensuring that all women, particularly BIPOC women and women from low-income backgrounds, can access high quality, dignified and convenient care.”

To ensure that its catering to underserved communities, the company works with Bottomless Closet, a workforce entry program for women, and the 8 colleges in the City University of New York ecosystem including LaGuardia College, which has 45,000 students with 70% coming from families making less than $30,000 in annual income.

The company’s services are currently available across Florida, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania and it’s the only telemedicine company focused on contraception services to accept Medicaid.

In another example of how awesome this company is, it’s also working to provide free birth control for women who aren’t able to pay out of pocket and are uninsured through a partnership with Bedsider’s Contraceptive Access Fund. The company also donates 2% of its revenue to Bedsider and the National Institute for Reproductive Health. (Y’all, this company is amaze.)

To sign up for the service, new customers fill out a medical questionnaire online. Once the questionnaire is reviewed by a US board-certified doctor within 24 hours customers can access over 100 FDA-approved brands of birth control pills, patches, rings, shots, and emergency contraception and receive a shipment within three days.

Twentyeight Health provides ongoing care through online audio consultations and doctor follow up messages to discuss issues around updating prescriptions or addressing side effects, the company said.

“Today, low-income women are three times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than the average woman in the U.S., and nearly one-third of physicians nationwide aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients,” said Bruno Van Tuykom, co-founder of Twentyeight Health, in a statement. “This underscores why offering high-quality reproductive care that is inclusive of people across race, income bracket, or health insurance status is more important than ever.”

Launched in 2018, Twentyeight Health said it would use the new cash to continue to expand its services across the U.S.

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Apple should switch the iPhone to USB-C if it really wants to help the environment

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If you buy an iPhone in the future, you’re not getting an included charging brick or earbuds. Apple says the reasons are environmental. Giving out fewer “free” accessories with every phone means using less materials, the company claims, and also makes for smaller boxes that can be shipped more efficiently. So going forward, those boxes will just come with a phone and a Lightning to USB-C cable.

I think Apple’s approach is generally a good thing, but it should have gone further by switching away from its proprietary Lightning port entirely and fully embracing USB-C. Right away, that Lightning to USB-C cable would turn into a much more useful USB-C to USB-C cable that could charge basically all of your electronics. Or better still, Apple could remove the cable entirely and just ship the phone by itself, eliminating even more duplicitous waste.

It’s a relatively small change for each person buying an iPhone, but it’s massive when you consider the fact that Apple shipped almost 200 million iPhones over the past year, according to IDC. Chargers might make up a relatively small proportion of total e-waste, as Wired notes, but on a global basis, that’s still tens of thousands of metric tons annually. And as the lack of headphone jacks on 2020’s flagship smartphones shows, Apple’s decisions also have a huge influence on the rest of the industry.

Apple argues no charging brick makes for smaller, more efficient, packaging.
Image: Apple

USB-C is already becoming the standard

I’ll be the first to admit that USB-C isn’t a perfect standard. Its naming scheme has been a mess (the current USB standard is called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 for chrissake), and there are so many bad USB-C cables in the wild that some people have made it their mission to root out the worst of them. To borrow a famous turn of phrase, USB-C is the worst connection standard… except for all the others. But it’s also the best one yet created.

In 2020, USB-C is about as universal as wired connection standards come. It’s used by over-ear headphones, true wireless earbuds, VR headsets, tablets (including some of Apple’s), laptops (including all of Apple’s) and laptop accessories. It’s used by game consoles like the Nintendo Switch, and it’ll be used with both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X’s controllers when those consoles ship next month. USB-C batteries are becoming commonplace and chargers are getting tiny and extremely capable — with up to 100 watts, a powerful battery or a charger the size of a deck of playing cards can sometimes power a laptop, tablet, and phone all at once.

Not only is USB-C used almost everywhere, it’s also hard to name something that Lightning actually does better. Longtime Apple blogger John Gruber has argued in the past that it’s a more elegant and slightly thinner port which… sure, maybe? But is that enough reason to maintain the status quo if Apple cares as much about the environment as it claims?

You probably already have a USB-C charger

Apple’s core argument for taking the charger out of the box is that it avoids piling on accessories that a lot of people already own. During its presentation, Apple estimated that there are 2 billion of its power adapters out in the world, and “billions” of third-party chargers.

But let’s put that into perspective. According to IDC, Apple commanded just 13.9 percent of the global smartphone market in 2019, shipping close to 200 million phones last year. Meanwhile, the rest of the industry combined shipped over a billion phones over the course of just a single year, and most of those devices used USB-C. That’s a lot of people who already have everything they need to charge a hypothetical USB-C iPhone, including both charging bricks and USB-C cables. And it doesn’t include all the people who bought other USB-C devices like headphones, laptops, and tablets, including recent MacBook and iPad Pro devices.

All of that means that if you really want to, you can absolutely sell a USB-C smartphone without any charging accessories at all. That’s what ethical smartphone manufacturer Fairphone does. Inside the box for its most recent phone, the Fairphone 3 Plus, you’ll find no headphones, no USB-C charging cable, and no USB-C charging brick. Instead there’s a small screwdriver, so that when the time comes, you’ll be theoretically able to repair the phone for yourself rather than having to throw it out.

A slightly weird halfway house

There are serious questions to be asked about how positive an environmental impact Apple’s existing plan is actually going to have. A big part of Apple’s pitch is that there are already billions of power adapters out there, but it’s likely that a significant portion of them use the USB-A standard, which is incompatible with the Lightning to USB-C cable Apple now packs into the box for faster charging speeds. Apple only started putting USB-C power adapters in the box last year, and even then it was limited to the Pro models, meaning the vast majority of iPhones sold came with a USB-A brick bundled in.

USB-C charging bricks only started getting bundled with last year’s iPhone 11 Pro.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

I’m not saying there’ll be no environmental impact. With the iPhone 12, a lot of people will still be able to reuse their existing USB-A to Lightning charging cables and USB-A power bricks, regardless of the new cable they get in the box. But then what’s the point of that Lightning to USB-C cable, particularly if you wind up switching to Apple’s MagSafe wireless chargers instead? If it were a USB-C to USB-C cable, at least you could use it with other gadgets. Apple could have a much bigger environmental impact in the long run by eliminating its proprietary Lightning port entirely.

Apple’s argument

We already know what Apple thinks about potentially switching to USB-C connectors, because it put out a statement on this very topic earlier this year. The statement came in response to EU efforts to mandate a common charger for all smartphones, and Apple argued that a switch to USB-C would actually be worse for the environment overall, by rendering hundreds of millions of Lightning accessories obsolete. Here’s the relevant part of the statement it issued in January (emphasis added):

“More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users.”

There absolutely are a lot of Lightning accessories out there. But the argument rings hollow given Apple’s own history of obviating all those 30-pin iPod docks and early iPhone peripherals when it switched to Lightning in 2012. Instead of sending them straight to the dump, Apple and others sold 30-pin to Lightning adapters to extend the usefulness of those legacy accessories for years. Apple and its partners can surely now do the same in order to preserve all those Lightning devices. Yes, it would create a one-time glut of adapters that would eventually end up in landfills, but it’s the short-term price to pay for the long-term benefits of convergence.

Same pain, more gain

As someone who has a whole drawer filled with spare power adapters I never use, I’m sympathetic to what Apple is trying to achieve with the iPhone 12. Giving out duplicate accessories with every new phone really isn’t sustainable if we want to try and cut down on the estimated 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste we threw out last year.

But I also have some sympathy for those who say Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers with the move. When a phone costs hundreds of dollars, it’s hard not to feel a little cheated by a smaller box with fewer accessories, particularly if the remaining ones are still half-proprietary.

By using the environment to justify the removal of wasteful iPhone charging accessories, Apple has now argued itself into a corner. If its environmental concerns are important enough to influence what gets included with a new phone, then they should also be important enough to influence its design directly.

Last year my colleague Dieter argued that the iPhone 11 should have been the last with Lightning. He’s still right.

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Get an Early Start on Your Black Friday Shopping in Amazon’s Holiday Dash Sale

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Illustration for article titled Get an Early Start on Your Black Friday Shopping in Amazon’s Holiday Dash Sale

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Holiday Dash Sale | Amazon

Prime Day might be done, but the savings haven’t stopped. Amazon’s Holiday Dash sale collects all sorts of bargains from across the site, from headphones to smartphones, toys, candy, DNA tests, and plenty more. Each day brings new deals, and we’ll be updating this space daily to bring you the best of the sales in the weeks ahead. Whether you’re starting your holiday shopping early or just want to keep an eye out for serious savings, be sure to check back regularly!

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Save Up to 30% on Halloween Candy

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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We’re coming up quick on Halloween, so if you’re planning on handing out candy this year, now’s the time to act. Luckily, Amazon is taking up to 30% off a whole heap of bulk candy right now, ranging from Nerds and Lemonheads to Butterfingers and Trolli Gummy packs.

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Save on Motorola Smartphones

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Motorola makes some of the best budget Android smartphones around, and right now Amazon is carving down prices even further on several of those handsets. Hit the link above for the full range, but you can get a 2019 Moto G7 Play for just $130 ($70 off), a Motorola One Action for $230 ($120 off), and a 2020 Moto G Stylus (shown) for just $244 ($56 off)

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Amazon Echo Dot | $30

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Save $20 right now on Amazon’s compact Echo Dot, one of the easiest and most affordable ways to bring the Alexa voice assistant into your home. With Alexa and the Echo Dot, you can call up tunes from various streaming services, control smart home gadgets, ask a wide array of questions, and plenty more. This small Wi-Fi speaker is an ideal way to amplify tunes anywhere in your home, and the rest is just the cherry on top.

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Scott Essential Toilet Paper (80 Rolls) | $54

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Worried about the availability of toilet paper in the months ahead or just want to ensure that you have a steady supply for some time to come? Scott offers TP in bulk thanks to this Scott Essential bulk toilet paper package, which piles 80 rolls (2-ply) into a box for just $54 right now. That’s half the regular price, and while this might not be the super-soft stuff you’ll pay a premium for in smaller packages, it is a whole lot of toilet paper.

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Save Up to 30% on Eufy Security Hardware

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Amplify your home security setup with some well-priced Eufy security gear, today only. You can get a Eufy Video Doorbell for $90 ($30 off), a 2-camera security system for $210 ($90 off), 2K-resolution indoor cam for $38 ($12 off), and a EufyCam 2 wireless security camera for $98 ($32 off).

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23andMe Ancestry & Traits DNA Test | $89

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Got questions about your heritage? You’re certainly not alone, as the millions of folks sending away saliva to DNA testing services demonstrate. Seek answers with the 23andMe ancestry and traits DNA test, one of the most popular kits around. It only takes a few minutes to spit into the tube and mail off your sample, and then within a couple of weeks, you’ll have a detailed and extensive look into your ancestry, along with the ability to connect with DNA relatives. It’s $10 off at Amazon right now.

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Save Up to 39% on Sweese Plate and Bowl Sets

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Amazon has a huge sale on Sweese plates, bowls, cups, butter dishes, and other kitchen needs across a variety of styles. Whether you want vibrant bowls, a set of blue salad plates, stackable espresso cups and saucers, or soup bowls with handles, you’ll find a deal. Hit the link to see all the different styles and options.

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Vava Dual Dash Cam | $125

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You might be a safe driver, but you can’t always count on everyone around you to be quite so careful—and anything goes once your car is parked and you’re away. That’s why you might consider Vava’s handy dual dash cam, which provides both forward and in-car views at 1080p resolution, or you can solely activate the forward-facing cam at a crisper 1440p resolution. It also automatically records any sensed movements or bumps when parked, keeping a record when you’re away. Save $25 total when you clip the coupon on the page.

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Jointown Disposable Face Masks (50-Pack) | $12

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Save 20% off the list price on this 50-pack of disposable face masks, which have a 3-ply design complete with a nose clip at the top. These aren’t designed for medical usage but can help keep you covered up in a pinch while out and about. Grab a box for the car for when you need to go out, or keep a box or two handy for the months ahead.

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Anker Soundcore Life Q20 ANC Wireless Headphones | $45

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Active noise-canceling headphones don’t have to total wallet-drainers. Anker’s Soundcore Life Q20 headphones feature hybrid active noise canceling smarts at a fraction of the price of big-name rivals, priced at just $45 right now—a 25% savings off of the already-low list price. These Bluetooth wireless cans promise a big bass kick and up to 40 hours of battery life on a single charge, making them ideal for use just about anywhere and with any device.

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Kinetic Sand 2-Pound Sandisfying Set | $15

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Kinetic Sand is a fun gift for kids of all ages, and right now Amazon has this affordable starter set for 25% off the list price at just $15. You’ll get 2 pounds of the stuff, which looks like sand but can be easily molded and shaped into place without water, plus it has 10 included tools to help you further manipulate the stuff. You get a pound of red sand and a pound of blue, too, providing additional creative opportunities over simply getting the usual tan sand.

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Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7500 Electric Toothbrush | $140

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Looking for a serious clean for your teeth? Right now, Amazon has this Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7500 electric toothbrush for $30 off the list price. Available in black, white, and pink versions, this feature-rich tooth-scrubber has a pressure sensor that alerts you if you’re brushing too hard, plus it syncs via Bluetooth to a smartphone app to help you oversee your brushing habits.

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How to Deal With Anxiety Related to the Election and Polling Numbers, According to Nate Silver

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Illustration for article titled How to Deal With Anxiety Related to the Election and Polling Numbers, According to Nate Silver

Photo: Never Settle Media (Shutterstock)

At this time four years ago, polls indicated that Hillary Clinton had a 12-point lead over Donald Trump, giving many a false sense of security regarding the election results. Election Night champagne was purchased, and the Javits Center was filled with balloons under a literal glass ceiling in anticipation of the election of the first woman president in American history. And we know how that turned out.

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So now that most current polls have Joe Biden ahead of the incumbent president, it has the potential to increase the election-related anxiety many people have been experiencing for months (or, in some cases, since 2016). To help guide us through the next few weeks, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has a few tips for handling poll-related anxiety.

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Don’t assume Biden is going to win

Sure, Biden may be ahead in the polls at the moment, and Democrats appear to be doing well in early voting, but that doesn’t mean he has it in the bag. According to Silver, Trump currently has a 12 percent chance of winning the Electoral College. Even if that continues to decline over the next few weeks—say, to a 5% chance—that’s still something to take seriously in a race where the stakes are this high.

And if Biden does win, that doesn’t mean this is all over: the outcomes of the Congressional races—as well as those for statewide office—will have a major impact on our political future.

But also don’t completely discredit the polls

Strictly based on the difference between some of the polls leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the actual election results, it can be easy to simply write polls off as ineffective and pointless. But Silver cautions against this:

Polling is an imperfect instrument, more so in some years than others. However, 2016 — while far from a banner year from the polls — was not quite so bad as some critics assume. The national polls were pretty good, and Trump’s wins in the swing states were not that surprising based on the close margins in those states beforehand. Meanwhile, 2018, with the midterms, was one of the more accurate years for polling on record.

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Try not to obsess over 2016

Clearly, this is easier said than done, but Silver says that some comparisons between 2016 and 2020 are misguided. For starters, we shouldn’t draw any absolute conclusions based on a sample size of one election (no matter how devastating the consequences have been). Also, even if the current polls are wrong, Silver says that it’s still possible for Biden to win the election. Plus, there’s no guarantee that polling errors would favor Trump the way they did four years ago.

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Wait for polling averages

Sometimes, the results of a single poll can be pretty startling—which is why Silver recommends waiting for data on polling averages (coincidentally, like the ones provided by FiveThirtyEight):

But while there is such a thing as underreacting to news developments, the more common problem in the last days of a campaign is false positives, with partisans and the media trying to hype big swings in the polls when they actually show a fairly steady race.

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In other words, if you see a poll with results you find upsetting, wait until you’re able to put them in context with other polls, rather than panicking right away.

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