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How Jill Biden changes the classroom reopening conversation

In Dr. Jill Biden's speech from a classroom where she once taught, she took on the issue of reopening schools safely, acknowledging the yearning many families have for a return to learning.

Why it matters: This could help scramble President Trump's message that Republicans want to open while Democrats want to stay shut. Jill Biden wants to open, too, but it has to be safe.


Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Del., gave her a vehicle to talk to parents everywhere who are worrying about how to protect their kids.

  • "This quiet is heavy," she said with a flag and empty desks in the background. "You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways."

Jill Biden invoked themes of healing a family hit by tragedy, hoping they translate to Joe Biden healing the nation.

  • "How do you make a broken family whole?" she said. "The same way you make a broken nation whole: With love and understanding, small acts of kindness, with bravery, with unwavering faith."

Jill Biden's humanizing appearance could help inoculate her husband from some GOP attacks.

  • She talked about "rowdy Sunday dinners" and "silly arguments."
  • And nights when she was "studying for grad school, grading papers under the pale yellow kitchen lamp, the dinner dishes waiting in the sink."

Managing editor David Nather contributed reporting.

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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