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Today's edition is 1,101 words — a 4-minute read. To begin...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The world is entering the age of extreme fire — and we're increasingly unprepared for it.
The big picture: As we've seen in Australia, California and the Amazon, fires are burning hotter, longer and more frequently around the world. Our resources to suppress them are stretched dangerously thin. And even though the wildfires are getting worse, the way we fight them hasn't changed in a century.
"There's no such thing as a fire season anymore," says Fernanda Santos, a former New York Times reporter and author of "The Fire Line." "There has to be a rethinking of the way we fight fires."
What's happening: Even with help from seasonal workers, student volunteers, inmates and more, the crews that fight wildfires are often understaffed, says Don Whittemore, former assistant chief of the Rocky Mountain fire department.
What's next: In the face of bigger fires and labor shortages, firefighters are turning to technology to help. They now use 747s and air tankers, which help give firefighters a break, "but at the end of the day all fires need to stopped on the ground," says Whittemore.
But fire equipment has hardly evolved because there isn't much that these new technologies and techniques can do in the face of extreme fire. "We won't win an arms race with fire," says Pyne.
The bottom line: The stakes of complacency in firefighting and prevention can't be overstated, experts tell us. "Our combustion practices are adding up to create the fire equivalent of the ice age," Pyne says. "Australia may be the first continent to feel it at scale."
Venture capital investment is seeping out from Silicon Valley to the rest of the country, but the West Coast still dominates the market by a wide margin, Kim Hart writes in her Axios Cities newsletter.
Why it matters: Venture capital investment can play a crucial role in building fast-growing, tech-based economies like those of the Bay Area, Seattle, Austin, New York and Boston. But VC investors don't typically stray outside those markets to look for the next big thing.
By the numbers: Last year, the Bay Area's proportion of overall U.S. venture capital investment fell to the lowest point since 2013, according to year-end data from Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association.
The big picture: The majority of U.S. venture capital funding goes to California, New York and Massachusetts — and 2019 was no different.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
With a new $1 billion investment, Amazon is doubling down on its India bet.
The big picture: India has the world's fastest growing e-commerce market, and retail giants from America and China are battling each other as well as homegrown Indian rivals to dominate it.
This week, Jeff Bezos donned traditional garb and visited Delhi for a two-day event with Amazon India and local sellers. He announced a $1 billion investment toward digitizing small businesses in India and bringing 10 million of them online by 2025, per Quartz.
The backdrop: As we've reported, Amazon has become a target for activists and regulators alike, and that turbulence followed Bezos to India. People gathered near where Bezos was speaking to protest the investment, saying Amazon's discounts will put smaller retailers out of business. At the same time, India's antitrust regulator has opened an investigation into the e-commerce behemoth.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The earthly limit on satellite ambitions (Miriam Kramer, Alison Snyder — Axios)
How China obtains American trade secrets (Keith Bradsher — NYT)
Money alone can't fix Seattle's housing mess (Noah Buhayar — Bloomberg)
Continents of the underworld come into focus (Joshua Sokol — Quanta)
America's favorite restaurants are convenience stores (Nathaniel Meyersohn — CNN)
A wine cellar in Champagne, France. Photo: David Silverman/Getty Images
The volume of wine Americans purchased fell 1% last year — the first time it has dropped in 25 years, reports WSJ.
The big picture: The U.S. is drinking less overall (Americans will drink 1.2% less alcohol in 2023 than in 2018, per IWSR, a global database that tracks alcohol trends). Wine and beer are getting hit particularly hard as younger drinkers opt for spiked seltzers like White Claw and Truly over the classics.
Go deeper: Big Beer faces a risky future
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