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Techlife News #462

Read the most relevant news of the week about the world of technology and its influence on our lives. New products, Apps, acquisitions in the industry, highlights about the digital world and everything about your favorite iGadgets and upgrades. Everything you need to keep well informed. A new concept of light, intelligent, innovative reading at your fingertips. A global view of Tech LifeStyle and its influence on our lives.

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Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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3 min.
study: electronics could stop 40% of big truck rear crashes

Safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings could prevent more than 40% of crashes in which semis rear-end other vehicles, a new study has found. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group supported by auto insurers, also found that when the rear crashes happened, the systems cut the speeds by over 50%, reducing damage and injuries. The institute called on the federal government to require the systems on new large trucks and said many truck fleet operators are already adding emergency braking on their own. “Rear-end crashes with trucks and other vehicles happen a lot, often with horrible consequences,” said Eric Teoh, the institute’s director of statistical services who did the study. “This is an important countermeasure to that.” Trucks with collision warning systems reduced rear crashes…

2 min.
us agency posts online map to track autonomous vehicle tests

If you’ve ever seen one of those self-driving vehicles with strange equipment on the roof and wondered where it’s going, then there’s a website for you. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched its autonomous vehicle online tracking tool, a map that shows some of the places where the vehicles are being tested on public roads. The map is a pilot program that now shows testing in 17 cities across the nation, and the safety agency says it will grow as companies submit more information. “The more information the public has about the on-road testing of automated driving systems, the more they will understand the development of this promising technology,” Deputy NHTSA Administrator James Owens said in a statement. But critics say the map relies solely on information that’s voluntarily submitted by companies…

2 min.
u.s. productivity rises a record 10.1% in second quarter

U.S. productivity rose at a 10.1% rate in the second quarter as the number of hours worked declined by the largest amount since the government started compiling the data more than 70 years ago. The Labor Department said Thursday that hours worked fell by 42.9%, contributing to a 37.1% decline in output as the coronavirus pandemic ripped through nearly every corner of the U.S. economy. The decline in output was also the biggest dropoff since the government began tracking the data in 1947. In its second and final estimate for the second quarter, the government said labor costs rose 9%, slightly less than last month’s first estimate of 12.2.%. The original estimate for productivity was a 7.3% increase. Productivity — the amount of output per hour of work — is the key to…

3 min.
fed survey finds widespread pessimism about economic future

The latest Federal Reserve survey of U.S. economic activity found generally modest gains in August but also pessimism about the future given the threats posed by the coronavirus. The Fed report made public Wednesday said that a theme echoed across the country is the lingering uncertainty stemming from the pandemic and its negative effect on consumer and business activity. The Fed’s Philadelphia regional bank said that businesses in that area reported that “uncertainty is extremely high” with households awaiting more “layoffs, evictions, foreclosures and bankruptcies while the coronavirus persists and the stimulus ends.” The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank called conditions in the consumer and business services sectors “precarious,” while the Dallas Fed said that increasing coronavirus infections in Texas had “disrupted the budding economic recovery in some sectors.” The Boston Fed said,…

4 min.
depression, anxiety spike amid outbreak and turbulent times

Mental health therapists’ caseloads are bulging. Waiting lists for appointments are growing. And anxiety and depression are rising among Americans amid the coronavirus crisis, research suggests. In the latest study to suggest an uptick, half of U.S. adults surveyed reported at least some signs of depression, such as hopelessness, feeling like a failure or getting little pleasure from doing things. That’s double the rate from a different survey two years ago, Boston University researchers said this week in the medical journal JAMA Network Open. The study did not ask about any diagnosis they might have received, and for many people, the problem is mostly angst rather than full-blown psychiatric illness. But experts say the feeling is genuine and deserving of professional help. For some people, it stems from lost loved ones and the…

4 min.
still too soon to try altering human embryo dna, panel says

It’s still too soon to try to make genetically edited babies because the science isn’t advanced enough to ensure safety, says an international panel of experts who also mapped a pathway for any countries that want to consider it. Thursday’s report comes nearly two years after a Chinese scientist shocked the world by revealing he’d helped make the first gene-edited babies using a tool called CRISPR, which enables DNA changes or “edits” that can pass to future generations. He Jianqui did this to three babies when they were embryos to try to make them resistant to infection with the AIDS virus and described it in exclusive interviews. Mainstream scientists condemned his experiment as unethical, and He was sentenced to three years in prison for violating Chinese laws. The experts commission was formed…