Hashtag Trending Jan. 12 – Amazon’s employee ranking system; Bitcoin ban; California allocates $6.1 billion to EV

Today’s Hashtag Trending script was prepared by Samira Balsara

A former Amazon employee is working with lawmakers to force companies to open up about employee-ranking systems, more countries continue to ban bitcoin, and California is prioritizing electric vehicle-related initiatives.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, January 12, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

A former Amazon drone engineer who left the company after being told he was among the worst-performing members of his team is now working with lawmakers who want to force companies to open up their employee-ranking systems. The former employee, Pat McGah, was told by his managers last February that he was one of the “least effective” members of his team. When McGah asked for a reasoning for this comment, they provided no details. According to Bloomberg, McGah, was told he could either submit a 30-day performance plan or accept severance. Now, McGah is planning to give testimony on Amazon’s employee ranking system to lawmakers in Washington. The bill is stalled but many tech workers are planning to testify on its passage in the upcoming legislative session.

More and more countries are banning bitcoin and the latest one on the list is Kosovo. Located in southeastern Europe, the tiny country announced that it’s banning mining after spending the last 60 days in a government state of emergency over an ongoing energy crisis. Last month the country’s largest coal-fired plant shut down which led to protests due to the high prices of electricity. Authorities said the country was importing about 40 percent of its energy, leading its Economy Minister to announce the crypto ban in a bid to alleviate pressure.

On Monday California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed to spend $22.5 billion to address the climate crisis in the state, allocating $6.1 billion to electric vehicle-related initiatives. While the amount being allocated is a large sum of money, the governor said such spending was justified to counter greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes and fossil fuel extraction. In 2021 California committed to spending $15.1 billion on several climate-related efforts which included $3.9 billion to electric vehicle-related initiatives. California also became the first state to say it would ban sales of new, internal combustion engines or gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

And now for something a little different. Engineers have found a way to swap indium, a key ingredient in electronic devices, for graphene to make devices with the exact same electronic properties. Thin films of indium tin oxide (ITO) are electrically conductive and transparent to light which makes them perfect for a variety of display technologies such as LCD, OLED, e-ink and touchscreens. However, indium is a rare metal that rarely occurs in elemental form in the Earth’s crust. So, an alternative for rare metal is graphene. It exhibits useful electronic and optical properties, and of course, it helps that carbon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth.

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, if you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected]

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