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California lawmakers take on Amazon warehouses with AB 701

California lawmakers are taking aim at Amazon. An Assembly-passed bill is expected to reach the Senate floor this week or next to crack down on the opaque, algorithm-led and harsh warehouse work conditions often attributed to the Seattle technology behemoth. The bill, the first such legislation in the nation, would …

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Los Angeles is about to get its first robotaxi test fleet

If you’ve driven around the Bay Area lately, there’s a good chance you’ve spotted a driverless test car sharing the highway, a whirling lidar array atop its roof. Not so much in the Southland. Little robot car testing has been conducted in Southern California to date. That will change soon. …

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Wind energy installation hit record in 2020

The U.S. installed a record amount of wind-generating capacity last year, adding nearly 17,000 megawatts of power on land, according to an Energy Department report being released Monday. Wind energy’s share of total utility-scale generating capacity in the U.S. was only 11% in 2020, behind natural gas at 43% and …

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First autonomous cargo ship faces test with 236-mile voyage

In just two decades from now, half of all domestic ships plying Japan’s coastal waters may be piloting themselves. That’s the ambitious goal of the Nippon Foundation, a public-interest organization backing the country’s development of ocean-traversing autonomous ships. It aims to see crewless ships make up 50% of Japan’s local …

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S&P 500, Nasdaq notch more records even as the Dow slips

Gains for several Big Tech stocks helped push the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Nasdaq composite to more record highs Monday, even as weakness elsewhere in the market sent the Dow Jones industrial average and small-company stocks lower. The S&P 500 also set a record high Friday after …

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Corporate wellness programs fall short of COVID vaccine mandates

As we’ve been reporting, one key to improving COVID-19 vaccination rates in the U.S. is held by employers, who can and should mandate the shots for all employees (other than those with legitimate medical reasons for refusing). Mandates are simple, straightforward and effective: No shot, no job. There’s virtually no …

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SpaceX sees launch risk from low oxygen supply amid pandemic

One consequence of the coronavirus pandemic is showing up in an unlikely place: the space industry. A summer surge in COVID-19 patients is diverting liquid oxygen from rocket launch pads to hospitals, leading NASA to announce Friday it will delay the September launch of its next Earth-surveillance satellite by a …

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A Hurricane Ida unknown: The economic impact

Hurricane Ida, which barreled through Louisiana with high winds and heavy rain Sunday, could damage the energy-heavy Gulf Coast economy and potentially have economic consequences well beyond the region. The Gulf Coast is not only a major base for oil and natural gas companies but also a vital hub for …

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