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Dixie Fire now 2nd largest wildfire in California history

As wildfires rage across the West, California's Dixie Fire has grown to more than 463,000 acres as of Sunday, making it the second largest wildfire in the state's history, a representative from Cal Fire told Axios.

Why it matters: The Dixie Fire, which stretches across several counties in northern California, is currently the biggest wildfire burning in the country. As of Saturday evening, three people remain missing.

The state of play: The Dixie Fire, which erupted in mid-July, is burning across 463,477 acres and remains only 21% contained, per Cal Fire.

  • Evacuation orders have been issued to dozens of communities across Plumas, Butte, Lassen, and Tehama counties.

The big picture: The U.S. West is in the grip of a severe drought exacerbated by human-caused climate change that has proven to be the worst to hit the region so far this century.

  • Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of heat waves, droughts and wildfires.
  • Six of the seven largest fires in California's history have occurred since August 2020, according to CalFire.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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