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Satellite images show impact of West's historic drought on Colorado River region in just 1 year

Newly released satellite images of the Colorado River and Lake Mead in Nevada show the impact the historic drought has had on the region in just one year.

The big picture: The nation's largest reservoir by volume is at its lowest level since being filled after the Hoover Dam's completion in the 1930s — prompting the federal government to this week for the first time declare a water shortage for Lake Mead. The Hoover Dam has been operating below its maximum capacity all summer, and it may drop further.


Lake Mead on the Colorado River on Aug. 8 2020. The West is in the grip of the worst drought of this century, while has been hit by the first climate change-caused megadrought seen in the past 1,200 years, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Lake Mead on Aug. 8 this year. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
An overview of Southern Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam on May 18, 2020. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
An overview of Southern Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on July 27 this year. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Hemenway Harbor Boat Launch at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on May 18. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Hemenway Harbor Boat Launch at Lake Mead and Hoover Dam on July 27. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
The Hoover Dam on May 18. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
The Hoover Dam on July 27. Photo: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies

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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