The Atlantic Daily: Why Do People Have the Political Opinions They Have?

Political beliefs may derive from a biological propensity to feel physical disgust. Plus the day of the second State of the Union has finally come, and a city aiming to be the first in America to ban face-recognition technology

A view of Democratic women of the U.S. House during President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019 (Leah Millis / Reuters)

What We’re Following

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his second official State of the Union at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, following a border-wall-funding standoff and a record-long government shutdown that led to a week’s delay for the speech. Sure, he may talk about investing in policy with bipartisan support—infrastructure, lowering prescription-drug prices—and all under the umbrella theme “Choosing Greatness,” but what other political achievements might Trump have to show off? (Here’s why any gesture at unity won’t work tonight, John Dickerson argues.)

San Francisco is hoping to ban local-government use of facial-recognition technology. If lawmakers pass the ordinance, it would make the California city the first in the nation with such an outright ban. But San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s bill hones in on face-recognition as used in policing. So what about, say, that infamous face-unlock feature on Apple’s latest iPhone model?

The Oscars is demonstrating its inferiority complex, as the Academy prepares for the 91st iteration of its awards ceremony later this month. First it tried to add a (short-lived) new prize to recognize “outstanding achievement in popular film.” It’s trimmed its broadcast of award categories without much celebrity (including, reportedly, cinematography). It remains host-less. Is there a solution for the institution that’s trying to balance maintaining its stature and broadening its appeal as a supposed purveyor of the best in film?

Evening Reads

Liberals and conservatives respond differently to repulsive images

(Image: Jeff Brown)

Why do people have the political opinions they have? How, and why, do stances change?

“On rare occasions, we learn of a new one—a key factor that seems to have been overlooked. To a surprising degree, a recent strand of experimental psychology suggests, our political beliefs may have something to do with a specific aspect of our biological makeup: our propensity to feel physical disgust.”

Read the rest

Readers tell us their childhood P.E. experiences. This is an old report card one reader found.

(Courtesy of Atlantic reader Katrina Weinig)

Last week, we asked you what your childhood physical-education experience was like, in light of recent research that backs up what many of you experienced: that gym class was a no good, very bad time. One reader dug deep into primary sources and found her third-grade report card (printed above).

Here’s more of what readers had to say about their time in gym

Chinese workers make traditional red lanterns at a local factory on January 24, 2019, in the village of Tuntou, Hebei province, China

(Kevin Frayer / Getty)

In the above image, Chinese workers make traditional red lanterns at a local factory in Tuntou, China last month. The village is responsible for millions of these red decorations.

Today marks the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year 2019, the Year of which animal, the last of the 12 animals included in the Chinese Zodiac?

→ For the answer, see this gallery of images from several countries ushering in the arrival of a new lunar year

Urban Developments

Inside of a refurbished London train

(London Transport Museum)

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing urban dwellers around the world. Gracie McKenzie shares today’s top stories:

Despite perceived fears of added costs and crime, refugees resettled in the United States bring population gains and economic benefits, new research shows—they open up businesses, hire locals, buy homes, and pay taxes.

Does upzoning boost the housing supply and lower prices, like many claim? Maybe not, Richard Florida writes—but that shouldn’t make zoning reform any less of a priority, Alex Baca and Hannah Lebovits argue.

A rich and wonderfully nerdy archive commemorates an aspect of London that has long been both omnipresent and scarcely noticed: Its colorful transit seat design.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Subscribe to the CityLab Daily newsletter.

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