Friday Five: Google tells US employees: no jab, no job
For the final time in 2021, Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the best new stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. Google tells US employees: no jab, no job
Google is giving US employees until 18 January to prove they’ve been vaccinatedagainst Covid-19 or apply for an exemption. After this date, they’ll be placed on paid administrative leave for 30 days and then unpaid personal leave for six months. If they still haven’t shown proof of vaccination after seven months, they’ll be fired.
Google’s news came three weeks after a federal court declined to lift a stay on Joe Biden’s executive order that directed large companies to require vaccination for their employees. Not many Google employees seem opposed to the requirement — only 0.4% of the workforce signed a ‘manifesto’ asking the company to rescind it.
2. Reddit starts process to join stock market
Social media platform Reddit has announced that it has started the process to sell its shares on the stock market. In a confidential filing, it did not reveal how many shares it planned to sell or the price of the shares. In August, the company said it had raised $700m (£528m) in new funding, valuing it at more than $10bn.
Earlier this year, investors flocked to the San Francisco-based firm’s messaging board for tips on trading stocks like US video game retailer GameStop and the AMC cinema chain — known as “meme stocks”. Reddit, which was founded in 2005, had around 52 million daily users as of August this year.
3. James Webb Telescope ready to go into orbit
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been hoisted atop the rocket that will blast it into orbit. Weighing more than six tonnes, the $10bn successor to the Hubble observatory was lifted by a crane and edged into position using guide lasers. Webb is the single most expensive space science experiment ever conceived.
The rocket will throw Webb on to a path that will take it to an observing station some 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. The telescope has been designed to image the earliest objects to form after the Big Bang, more than 13.5 billion years ago. These are theorised to be colossal stars, grouping together in the first galaxies.
4. YouTube scientist has tram named after him
A professor who is a familiar face to millions around the world thanks to his hit YouTube videos is to have a tram named in his honour. Sir Martyn Poliakoff — a research professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham — will see the naming at a special ceremony. Sir Martyn said he was “hugely honoured” by the accolade.
Sir Martyn is known worldwide as the presenter of YouTube science series Periodic Table of Videos, which attracts a global audience with millions of views. Tim Hesketh, from Tramlink, said: “We hope the thousands of Nottingham students using the tram each day will see his name and be inspired by his ground-breaking achievements.”
5. Last Christmas is the paw-fect festive tune
And finally… we all love Christmas songs (well, maybe not all of us) but did you ever wonder which festive tunes are the biggest hits with dogs? Well, wonder no more, for it turns out that Wham’s Last Christmas is No1 with our pooches, followed by Jingle Bells and All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.
The results came from a survey of 1,000 dog owners by Guide Dogs, although it’s not entirely clear how the owners chose their dogs’ favourites. Those who took part said their animals liked upbeat tracks, rather than quieter, slower or instrumental ones. And on that bombshell, the Friday Five wishes you a very merry Christmas!