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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Last week, the Trump administration said it is considering new export controls on a broad range of futuristic technologies, a move explained as a way to prevent foreign theft and espionage.
The big picture: The risk is that, by constraining the discussion and export of certain technologies, companies and academic researchers might find it impossible to collaborate with important foreign specialists. That could jeopardize the U.S. lead in strategically vital technologies.
Why it matters: At the center of the issue are American universities, which routinely navigate existing export controls that restrict the distribution of sensitive technologies like super-strong materials and certain types of centrifuges.
Things become trickier when companies get involved — which they often do: Industry throws big money at universities, which produce fundamental research that companies can then commercialize.
"Stanford, Harvard, MIT and other top research institutions do not take export control work by policy. We need to ensure that all students, regardless of citizenship, can fully participate in research."— Steve Eisner, director of export compliance at Stanford University
If export controls are expanded to include hot technologies like AI and robotics, some of the fastest-moving research could be off-limits to industry collaboration, potentially drying up an important funding source.
But some experts say new barriers are needed to preserve the U.S. technological advantage.
What’s next: Three weeks remain for the public to suggest changes to the government’s preliminary list.
Unauthorized immigrants have shrunk to their smallest share of the U.S. workforce in more than a decade, a trend that appears to have begun early in the Obama administration, according to a new study by Pew Research.
Axios’ Stef Kight writes: The number of unauthorized immigrants in the workforce was 7.8 million in 2016, the lowest since the mid 2000s. As a share of the workforce, they were 4.8% in 2016, a tick lower than the 4.9% in 2005. “The decline in the unauthorized immigrant workforce stems mainly from the decline in the overall unauthorized immigrant population,” Pew said.
Why it matters: While the Trump administration wages war on illegal border crossers and immigrants who overstay their visas, it is battling against a problem that is already steeply on the wane.
By the numbers: The median number of years that unauthorized adult immigrants have been in the U.S. reached a new high of 14.8 years in 2016, and most have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years.
The bottom line: This likely means there have been fewer new, unauthorized immigrants coming to the U.S. in recent years.
Ikea fashion, in Paris. Photo: Julien Mattia/NurPhoto/Getty
Millennials aren't the only ones ditching the suburbs for the cities. Some iconic retailers — fighting to stay relevant as Amazon looms — are downsizing and shifting to city centers.
Axios' Erica Pandey reports: As the density of the world's biggest cities keeps increasing, hopping in a car to drive out to a big-box suburban store 8 or 10 miles away is becoming a thing of the past.
Driving the news: Ikea has plans to open 30 smaller stores in big cities, AP reports. At 54,000 square feet, these are about one-quarter the size of a mall anchor like Macy's.
"Many people are still prepared to drive to big Ikea stores. But with growing choice online and improvements in delivery options, increasing numbers of people are becoming more reluctant to travel when they can shop online."— Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail
Ikea is not alone.
But, but, but: "I don't see this as a revolution," says Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail. The big stores in suburbs will survive, but at the same time, smaller urban locations will pop up to give shoppers choice.
What to watch: Amazon is once again leading the pack.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Photo: Cornell Admissions/Instagram
The newest way to study ornithology at Cornell is by spending an afternoon gazing up at 270 life-size, scientifically accurate birds (living and extinct), painted across a 4,000-square-foot mural.
Erica writes: The mural is the work of artist Jane Kim, who spent 2 1/2 years on the birds. The National Audubon Society calls the finished product a “Sistine Chapel for worshipping birds," reports Fast Company.
The colors are so specific that they are named after the birds, like Saddle-Billed Stork Legs, which is a dark gray.
Fun fact: One color, Cassowary Neck, a light blue-green, is used on every bird on the wall.