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Hashtag Trending June 23 – Is Amazon running out of workers? Texas to install EV charging stations across highways; Twitter introduces “Notes” feature

Amazon may run out of workers, Texas plans to install many EV charging stations on its interstate highways, and Canada will be one of Twitter’s test markets for a new feature. 

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, June 23, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

Amazon may be running out of workers. A leaked internal memo has revealed that if the company continues business as usual it will “deplete the available labour supply in the U.S. network by 2024,” research reported by Recode, stated. Amazon’s staff turnover rate is pretty quick. According to The Guardian, pre-pandemic, Amazon was losing about three per cent of its workforce weekly, or 150 per cent annually. For comparison, the annual average turnover in transportation, warehousing and utilities was 49 per cent in 2021 and in retail it was 64.6 per cent, which is less than half of Amazon’s turnover. In Jeff Bezos’ final letter to shareholders as chief executive last year, Bezos said the company had to “do a better job” for its employees. Amazon has made multiple headlines recently for its poor working conditions and workers and labour groups have criticized Amazon’s working conditions and high employee turnover amid high injury rates.

The state of Texas is planning to make public electric vehicle (EV) chargers a norm by installing charging stations every 50 miles on its interstate highways. The state wants to provide EV charging stations supporting one million vehicles and the program’s main focus is to make traveling long distances with electric cars a smooth and pleasant experience. The Texas Department of Transportation is working on a multi-year plan to install the chargers on the main corridors and interstate highways. The plan also involves covering rural areas as well. There will be enough charging stations so that drivers won’t need to drive more than 50 miles before coming across another station. Texas is spending $408 million on the charging program with money obtained from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act. Less than one percent of the state’s registered vehicles are electric, but records show that the number of EVs in the state is growing. In fact, it tripled since 2020, pointing to room for potential growth in the sector, Drive Tesla Canada reported

Canada will be one of Twitter’s test markets for Notes, a new feature that will allow writers to publish longform written content on Twitter for the first time ever. Notes will allow writers on Twitter to go beyond the 280 character limit when making a tweet. Writers can use a text editor to capture articles, thought pieces, and other kinds of content. This week, Twitter announced it is partnering with a small group of writers from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and Ghana to test drive its new feature. 

Robots may be the answer to tackle the microplastic pollution problem. A fish-shaped robot that can collect tiny pieces of plastic waste has been developed by scientists at a university in China. The robot uses light from a laser to flap its tail side-to-side and has a body that can attract molecules found on microplastics, causing them to stick to it as it swims past. All items that contain plastic can release microscopic amounts of plastic debris into the water. The debris is known as microplastics and these small bits of material build up on the seafloor. The tiny particles can get lodged deep within cracks and crevices on the seafloor, which is why it can be hard to reach using large machines. However, this new robo-fish is just 15mm long and its design also allows it to swim in all directions using a light source as its power. Currently the team has only tested the fish on microplastics that float in water. The next test will be to see if the robot can attract plastic in challenging areas like the ocean floor.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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