Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The US Senate acquits Donald Trump. Senators are expected to clear the US president on both articles of impeachment. Ahead of that foregone conclusion, Trump’s State of the Union address, which avoided all mention of impeachment, had the air of a campaign rally. House speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up a copy of the speech.
Wuhan opens another coronavirus hospital. The 1,300-bed Leishenshan Hospital is slated to be completed today, less than two weeks after construction began. Meanwhile, the death toll from infections neared 500, and more US airlines suspended flights to Hong Kong.
Spotify reports fourth-quarter earnings. The Swedish music-streaming service faces fierce competition in the US, and in India, where it’s betting on booming subscriber growth. But analysts still expect the company to pare losses and show it’s steadily moving towards profitability.
While you were sleeping
The Iowa caucus debacle dragged on. Pete Buttigieg appeared to have a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders, according to partial results from the first US Democratic primary election, which ended in chaos. The highly anticipated tally was delayed thanks to a faulty app used to submit vote totals.
The US head of SoftBank’s Vision Fund quit. Michael Ronen, who oversaw many of the $100 billion fund’s American investments, cited “issues” with the Japanese company as he stepped down.
Dubai’s airport recorded its first annual decline in traffic. The world’s busiest airport for international travelers handled 86.4 million passengers last year, a 3% decline from the previous year. It blamed the figures on a runway closure, the collapse of an Indian airline, and the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max plane.
The US issued a travel alert about sexual assault in Spain. The advisory from the US embassy in Madrid cited country statistics showing an increase in assaults, and a number of attacks on American women studying in the country. Spain saw protests last year over the legal system’s handling of rape cases.
Meet the unicorn breeders. Multibillion-dollar startups like Uber, Didi Chuxing, and WeWork routinely make headlines. But what about the venture capital firms that turn startups into unicorns—and profit from their rise? Quartz breaks down everything you need to know about how VC firms work, from their investment strategies to their role in IPOs.
Quartz daily obsession
Hundreds of thousands in Mumbai get their home-cooked lunches in Tiffins. The multi-layered stainless steel cylinders contain multiple parts of a homemade meal. They’re handed off to couriers called dabbawalas, who pass them along an hours-long journey across the city’s subways via a highly efficient analog system. Break it down in the Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of debate
When it comes to public health, China keeps making the same mistake… The problem is baked into the way its bureaucratic structure is set up.
…yet we can’t blame the coronavirus epidemic only on Beijing’s politics. Viruses do not respect rules, and they do not always act predictably.
The Iowa caucuses chaos is a godsend. The monumental meltdown confirms we need never spend a moment’s attention on the Iowa primaries ever again.
Humans can’t read cats’ facial expressions. A new study found that participants could correctly guess feline feelings only 59% of the time.
A “reverse” solar panel can create light from the dark. Pointing a warm source toward cold space at night could generate energy the same way traditional solar panels do.
The new coronavirus will soon get an official name. Appending geographic appellations to diseases can set off a backlash against specific populations.
Owls need to find balance. In California, the barred owl’s tyranny over the spotted owl has caused a significant disturbance in the forest.
Wheelchairs have been gamified. A third-party adapter can turn an electric wheelchair’s joystick into an Xbox controller.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, grumpy cats, and grumpy owls to email@example.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Isabella Steger.