415 Area Code Status Symbol & Taylor Swift for the Mid-Life Crisis

Curated by CLAI

AREA CODE STATUS: San Francisco, a city with no shortage of status symbols, has just gained another: the 415 area code. As with all status symbols in San Francisco and elsewhere, a 415 number can be yours, for a price. 415 was a “sizable market” even before the appearance of 628.

  • But it’s not the most in-demand area code. “310” — Los Angeles — “right off the bat, are the hardest numbers to secure. People can’t get a 310, even a random 310 anymore.” Instead, they’re stuck with LA’s version of 628, 424. Nobody wants a 424, especially if they’re in business.
  • Other popular area codes: 214 (Dallas), 312 (Chicago), 305 (Miami), 404 (Atlanta), 818 (Hollywood), and 626 (Pasadena). These are “original area codes.
  • Most expensive number: 702 FORTUNE for $99,999. Most expensive ending digits -XXXX for $31,250.
The most popular area codes

The most popular area codes (

AVERAGE MIDLIFE CRISIS AT 42: Spotify found that there’s a specific point when middle-aged listeners drop their sophisticated singer-songwriters, their “best of the 80s, 90s and today,” and spontaneously start listening to teeny-bopper pop again. That age is — drumroll, please — 42.

Listeners become less interested in popular music over time — until that little dip, circa age 42. (Spotify)

Listeners become less interested in popular music over time — until that little dip, circa age 42. (Spotify)


Spotting Fake Laughter and Real Emotions

Curated by CLAI

NAME YOUR EMOTIONS: It’s also true that we can’t change what we don’t notice. Denying or avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, nor does it lessen their impact on us, even if it’s unconscious. Noticing and naming emotions gives us the chance to take a step back and make choices about what to do with them.

Emotions are just a form of energy, forever seeking expression. Paradoxically, sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that they will spill out at the expense of others over the course of a day.


Emotions (

FAKE LAUGHING: A fake laugh is an imitation of a real laugh, but produced with a slightly different set of vocal muscles controlled by a different part of our brain. The result is that there are subtle features of the laughs that sound like speech

  • If you slow down a “real” laugh 2.5 times, the result is strangely animal-like. It sounds like an ape of some kind, and while it’s hard to identify, it definitely sounds like an animal. But when you slow down human speech, or a “fake” laugh, it doesn’t sound like a nonhuman animal at all—it sounds like human speech slowed down.
  • When we asked people whether a slowed laugh recording was a human or nonhuman animal, they couldn’t tell with the real/spontaneous laughs, but they could tell that the recordings of fake/volitional laughs were of people.

World’s Favorite Beers + Luxury Toilet Paper

Curated by CLAI

FAVORITE BEERS AROUND THE WORLD: Americans love Bud Light. in Canada, the beer of choice is Bud Light’s heavier cousin Budweiser. Down in Mexico, people choose Corona most often. In China, beer drinkers down a lager beer called Snow; in India, people like a pale lager called Kingfisher best; in Brazil, the most popular brew is a Pilsner called Skol; and across the ocean, in Australia, it’s a beer called Victoria Bitter.

How to drink beer like a local

How to drink beer like a local (WAPO)

LUXURY TOILET PAPER: Americans have a new favorite way to flush money down the drain: luxury toilet paper. Sales in the United States of what the industry calls “luxury” rolls — anything quilted, lotioned, perfumed or ultra-soft, from two- to four-ply — climbed to $1.4 billion last year, outpacing all other kinds of toilet paper for the first time in nearly a decade.

A roll of luxury toilet paper is stamped with gold in Germany. American luxury toilet paper is softer, thicker and gold-free.

A roll of luxury toilet paper is stamped with gold in Germany. American luxury toilet paper is softer, thicker and gold-free. (Michael Dalder, Reuters)



American Religion & Optimism: 200 Years of Immigration

Curated by CLAI

AMERICAN RELIGION AND OPTIMISM: Americans’ emphasis on individualism and work ethic stands out in surveys of people around the world. 57% of Americans disagreed with: “success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control” – far above the global median of 38%.

Wealthier nations tend to be less religious, but USA is a prominent exception. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies surveyed. 53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France.

U.S. more likely to say "today is a good day" than other rich countries

U.S. more likely to say “today is a good day” than other rich countries (Pew Research Center)

200 YEARS OF US IMMIGRATION: Mass immigration has been sparked by tragic events.

  • The first influx of Irish occurred during the potato famine in 1845.
  • Russians in the first decade of the 20th Century was driven by anti-Semitic violence of the Russian pogroms (riots).
  • In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, army conscription and the forced assimilation of minority groups drove people to the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Since WWII, Central and South America and Asia have replaced Europe as the largest source of immigrants to the U.S. Immigration shrunk to almost nothing as restrictions tightened during WWII, and then gradually expanded to reach its largest extent ever in the first decade of the 21st Century.

200 Years of Immigration in the USA

200 Years of Immigration in the USA (Insightful Interaction)

USA in 4 Presidential Lifetimes & Unique Jobs by State

Curated by CLAI

UNIQUE JOBS BY STATE: Washington, D.C. is truly a mecca for political scientists. The district has 120 times the number of political scientists than would be expected based on the national average. Sunny Florida is home to an unusual percentage of athletes, while Hawaii has dancers and New York has fashion designers. Nevada has 32 times more gaming supervisors than the national average. And New Jersey is, for whatever reason, home to lots of marriage and family therapists.

The United States of odd jobs (Pew Charitable Trust)

Graphic: The United States of odd jobs (Pew Charitable Trust)

USA IN 4 PRESIDENTIAL LIFETIMES: When President Obama was born in 1961, President Herbert Hoover was still alive. When Hoover was born in 1874, President Andrew Johnson was still alive. When President Johnson was born in 1808, President John Adams was still alive.  Charlie Chaplin and 50 Cent were both alive at the same time. So were the Egyptian pharaohs and the wooly mammoth. Paul Revere and Karl Marx shared a planet, just barely, as did Betty White and Alexander Graham Bell. America is only as old the lifetimes of four American presidents.

American presidential lifetimes overlapped

American presidential lifetimes overlapped (Philip Bump)