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Tomorrow we launch Axios Autonomous Vehicles. It'll be worthy of your time — sign up here.
Situational awareness: As we reported Tuesday, the signs are growing that the U.S. and China are headed into a prolonged period of tensions. Oblivious of the building trouble, though, markets closed at record highs today.
Okay, let's start with ...
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Around a century ago, amid a massive surge of immigrants, Americans — themselves virtually all of foreign blood — pushed back in what turned into a more than four-decade-long uprising against newcomers.
The big picture. Now, the U.S. immigrant population is nearing the same proportions, and again Americans are revolting.
Why it matters: The new wave of migration is, along with automation, one of the primary drivers behind the anti-establishment uprising roiling both in the U.S. and Europe, experts say.
"We've begun the 21st century as we began the 20th. The target may be different, but the anxiety is the same."— Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute at New York University law school
The background: The U.S. has gone through at least three waves of anti-immigrant fevers.
Then, in 1965, Johnson pushed through legislation that ended the quota system. But experts say the current fever is in large part an unforeseen byproduct of that legislation: By linking immigration to relatives of the current population, Congress thought the makeup of the U.S. population would not change much. Instead, it resulted in the surge of immigrants from Latin America and elsewhere.
The bottom line: As researchers have sought an answer for the Western world's abrupt pivot to populism, the main explanations they have settled on are:
A Meituan Dianping delivery guy in Hangzhou. Photo: VCG/Getty
When some of the world's biggest retail companies are announcing forays into food delivery, they might be thinking about Meituan Dianping, which while not widely known outside its base in China, is worth $55 billion.
The big picture: In China, delivery is not just delivery. Meituan Dianping gained notoriety among its 310 million active users by delivering meals super fast, but it has since become the "everything app" — Seamless, Yelp, Uber, Facebook Messenger and more, all rolled into one, writes Axios' Erica Pandey.
"This is exactly why we have to say China is innovating now and is no longer a copycat," says Samm Sacks of the Center of Strategic and International Studies.
The backdrop: Meituan Dianping is backed by Tencent, Alibaba's epic rival. Alibaba has its own delivery arm, Ele.me, but it isn't employing an Amazonian strategy of doing everything like Meituan Dianping.
The catch: As quickly as Meituan Dianping has climbed to the ranks of global tech giants, it has not been able to figure out how to turn a profit. The company lost $3 billion in 2017, according to the WSJ.
Lidar, sensing what's in its path. Screenshot: Vayavision
Most driverless vehicles rely on a clutch of sensors — radar, cameras and especially a 3D, 360-degree viewing technology called lidar, which is that big spinning thing you see atop test vehicles.
Why it matters: A big problem, in addition to making the sensors better and cheaper, has been unifying all their feeds into a single stream of information and acting reliably on what they indicate. If they could be fused in a sensible way, that could compensate for flaws in the individual sensors.
At Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Photo: ©Art Wolfe/Science Advances
DNA to find elephant poachers (Andrew Freedman — Axios)
The great German beer battle (Olaf Storbeck — FT)
We could cure cancer — if pharma would charge less (Ezekiel Emanuel — WSJ)
China's renewed push to a homegrown, non-US chip (Marrian Zhou — CNET)
A hospital’s controversial deal to share patient data with an AI startup (Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas — NYT/ProPublica)
Away's store in NYC. Photo: via Away on Twitter.
The big upside to brick-and-mortar shopping has always been instant gratification — you buy and take your stuff home immediately. But now retail startups are hard at work developing another perk: "Instagramification."
The big picture. New retailers are making sure millennials and Gen Zers have a reason to come into their stores — with state-of-the-art interior design as a backdrop to artsy Instagram posts, writes Erica.
New features showing up in hip stores around New York City and Los Angeles include brightly painted walls with catchy slogans and photoshoot-ready nooks decorated with props. A not-incidental added plus: Social posts are free advertising.
What we're seeing: The trend is common among companies that were digital first and got into brick-and-mortar second. They sit in stark contrast to the flickering fluorescents and tired beige stucco of old-school retailers.
Go deeper: Your Entire City Is an Instagram Playground Now (CityLab)