Unemployment claims drop, but Bay Area tech firms prep layoffs

SAN JOSE — Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began in March — but a few Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

In November alone, Hitachi Vantara, Boston Scientific, Marvell Semiconductor and PayPal have revealed plans for job cuts in Silicon Valley, according to official state filings.

Despite the improvement in unemployment claims in California, the tech industry layoffs and weekly jobless filings that remain far higher than what is typical are disquieting reminders that the economy in the state and the Bay Area remains feeble.

“The California economy is in a suspended state,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the state Employment Development Department and an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris. “There is little new hiring and no economic uptick over the past two

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Spacewalking astronauts prep for 2021 arrival of Russian lab

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station’s two Russian astronauts ventured out on a spacewalk Wednesday to prepare for next year’s arrival of a long-delayed lab.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov — dubbed Sergey 1 and Sergey 2 by flight controllers — left four Americans and one Japanese inside. The space station population grew to seven late Monday with the arrival of a SpaceX capsule, making the company’s second astronaut flight.

Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov, on their first spacewalk, spent nearly two hours doing extra leak checks before exiting from an air lock. The compartment has been at the space station since 2009 but it was being used for the first time by spacewalkers.

“Congratulations. You are out!” Russian Mission Control radioed from near Moscow.

Russia’s old spacewalking compartment will be removed and junked next year to make room for the research lab Nauka — Russian for “science.”

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High levels of microplastics released from infant feeding bottles during formula prep — ScienceDaily

New research shows that high levels of microplastics (MPs) are released from infant-feeding bottles (IFBs) during formula preparation. The research also indicates a strong relationship between heat and MP release, such that warmer liquids (formula or water used to sterilise bottles) result in far greater release of MPs.

In response, the researchers involved — from AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, TrinityHaus and the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin — have developed a set of recommendations for infant formula preparation when using plastic IFBs that minimise MP release.

Led by Dr Jing Jing Wang, Professor John Boland and Professor Liwen Xiao at Trinity, the team analysed the potential for release of MPs from polypropylene infant-feeding bottles (PP-IFBs) during formula preparation by following international guidelines. They also estimated the exposure of 12-month-old infants to MPs in 48 countries and regions and have

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