TIME headphones

These Are the 4 Best Headphones for the Holidays

ATH-M50x
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Audio-Technica

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best under $200

Few gifts are safer than a pair of headphones. Unless you’re shopping for DJs or recording artists, chances are your recipient is still limping along with two-year-old Apple earbuds. Just about any pair will provide some improvement.

And then there’s you. Once you’ve given up on your new fitness tracker, why not trade it in for a decent pair of headphones? You may not lose any weight, but your ears will thank you.

With this in mind, we set out to pick a handful of headphones with a good mix of price and quality. We compiled expert reviews from across the industry, gathered specifications for each pair, and tracked customer reviews. We ended up with four final pairs, each best for a particular kind of shopper. Yes, you can break headphones into a dozen more categories, but in our experience, most consumers just want one of these four types.

The Dirt Cheap Pick

Koss KSC75 ($15)

Officially, we advise against picking something dirt cheap (aka under $30), but if you must—and based on our user behavior, many people must—the Koss KSC75 are a pretty reasonable pair. With decent lows and crisp highs, the KSC75 headphones sound like they should cost $100, not $15.

Before you buy, keep in mind that these are clip-on style headphones, so while they’re good for running or biking, they’re not as sleek looking or as comfortable as a pair of (worse-sounding) Beats. The KSC75 also use an open-air operating principle, which is a fancy way of saying that music will sound more natural (like you’re at a concert) but that a bit of sound will leak—making them less ideal for a study session at the library.

The Sporty Pick

Sony XBA-S65 ($90)

Already a solid pair of headphones, the Sony XBA-S65’s design helped cement its spot. Light but secure, simple-looking but sweatproof, these in-ear headphones the perfect choice for a runner, cyclist or gym rat.

Sound-wise, the XBA-S65 are solid across the board, with good detail and a clear, pleasant mid-range. They do show some restraint with the bass, but we like how this keeps the listening experience balanced. If you need a pounding, aggressive low-end to drive your workout, you may want to look elsewhere. For everyone else, grab this pair and head to the gym.

The ‘Affordable Luxury’ Pick

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($169)

The most popular model at our office, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x sound like $300 but clock in at nearly the half the price. The headphones have a balanced, accurate sound overall, with a classy kick in the bass that’s sharp but not overpowering.

The pair is also notable for its design, with detachable cords, cans that can swivel and some of the comfier earcups on the market.

If there’s one thing to criticize, it’s the bulk. Even for an over-ear pair, all the design frills make for a hefty product, particularly for anyone who’s spent time with a light pair, like the Bose Quietcomfort 15s.

The Premium Pick

Sennheiser HD 650 ($396)

It’s not the newest pair on the market, but in this case, it doesn’t matter: the Sennheiser HD 650s are still among the finest headphones you can buy, even eight years since their release. They pull off the rare feat of combining accurate, detailed audio with a warm overall ambience, making them a gratifying listen for both audiophiles and casual listeners alike.

Like our dirt cheap pick, the Sennheiser HD 650s have an open-air operating principle, so some sound will leak to classmates or coworkers. The only other problem, of course, is the price. If you’re simply squeezing in half a podcast in the evenings, you won’t notice what all that extra money is getting you. If, however, you want a transcendent audio experience, the Sennheiser HD 650s are an excellent choice.

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TIME Money

This MLB Team Has the Most Expensive Beer in Baseball

Red Sox Beer
Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling holds a beer to the crowd, mostly Red Sox fans after the Sox won the series 4-0. Andy Cross—Denver Post via Getty Images

In 2014, Fenway supplied the most expensive beer per ounce in the MLB

Fenway Park is representative of how the game used to be played and how it probably always will be: the sound made when a wooden bat connects with the ball; the crescendo of noise as the ball arches toward center field; and mildly cold draft beer, spilled or unspilled, but likely mildly cold in either case.

While the Red Sox couldn’t quite pull it together in 2014, finishing the season at well under .500 and last in the AL East, there’s one leading metric Red Sox fans can hold onto until next season. In 2014, Fenway supplied the most expensive beer per ounce served in Major League Baseball.

Using our MLB Teams topic with data supplied by Chicago-based Team Marketing Report, FindTheBest set out to determine and then visualize the cost of brews served at big league ballparks. With the price of the smallest size of beer available in a ballpark as one input in TMR’s Fan Cost Index, here was the outlook for the 2014 season on a per-ounce basis. Tap into the visual to take an in-depth dive into any team:

In March 2014, the release date of the TMR report, the Red Sox reported that 12 ounces of beer would cost $7.75, or $0.65 an ounce. This likely relates to small domestic drafts, with craft brews presumably commanding a premium.

To put that into perspective, the second most expensive beer per ounce, found at the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, clocked in at $6.75 for the same 12 ounces, a much more palatable—but still pricey—$0.56 an ounce. Boston’s perennial rival, the New York Yankees, reported a price of $6 for 12 ounces (the smallest size available at Yankee Stadium), or $0.50 an ounce, the third highest per-ounce price for beer in baseball (a per-ounce price shared by the San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, and Seattle Mariners).

Looking at all 30 big league teams, the median smallest-size beer offering was 15 ounces, close to but not quite a proper 16-ounce pint. The league median per-ounce price was $0.41 for the smallest beer available in each stadium.

If we were to sort the price of beer at each stadium and ignore the size of the drink, the picture naturally changes somewhat. Still, the Red Sox are right there near the top. If you tap into the header for ‘Average Ticket Price,’ you can re-sort the list according to that metric.

Ignoring drink size, the Yankees would fall further down the list, and the Marlins would have the most expensive beer in baseball at $8.00. In a simplified sense, assuming you buy one small beer and pay the average ticket price, the best deal in baseball this season could be found in San Diego at $21.37.

Given the same assumptions, you also could attend a game at 11 major league stadiums and not pay more than $30 at each. Conservatively presented, the priciest deals in baseball were at Fenway and Yankee Stadium, where one small beer and the price of the average ticket would run you $60.07 and $57.55, respectively. Any way you cut the numbers, though, these prices are still by and large much more reasonable than the price of beers at NFL games this season.

This article was written for TIME by Ryan Chiles of FindTheBest.

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This Football Team Has the NFL’s Most Expensive Beer

Oakland Raiders
Marcel Reece #45 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates with fans in the Black Hole after the Raiders beat the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on November 20, 2014 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

Catching a game in Oakland could really raid your wallet

If the price of a beer at an NFL game this season is any indication—and arguably it is—it’s little wonder the NFL is scrambling for ways to reverse a growing attendance problem in its stadiums. If you pair expansive, on-demand TV offerings with cheaper prices outside of stadiums, people will shy away from the vastly more expensive live experience.

Here at FindTheBest, we organized and connected data compiled by Team Marketing Report and Forbes to better illustrate a fan’s cost for attending an NFL game. We’ll start with beer before getting into the treacherous territory that is the total cost of attendance at an NFL game.

The below table is a snapshot of how NFL teams compare when it comes to the price of the cheapest draft beer at each stadium, independent of size. You can tap anywhere in the table to learn more about a given team or tap into the four headers to sort the list according to what you want to see:

The Oakland Raiders—who are just 1-11 on the year as of Sunday morning—have the most expensive beer independent of drink size, followed in short order by the somewhat-adjacent San Francisco 49ers, whose move to a new home at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. prompted a 40.1% increase in the price of an average ticket.

Although the league averages a 16-ounce pint across all stadiums, the above table only tells part of the story. Breaking out that last column—the price per ounce of beer—is perhaps more telling.

Considering just the price of beer by ounce, these are the 16 teams with the most expensive beers:

This reordering is important since the mere price of a given stadium’s beer doesn’t describe how much value you’re getting out of that beer. A 20-oz. beer at a Raiders game is still pricey at $0.54 per oz., but it’s suddenly a little more palatable than the $0.71 per oz. being charged at a Philadelphia Eagles game (for a 12-oz. beer, that amounts to $8.50 per beer for the cheapest beer in the house).

That’s particularly pricey when you consider that a full 16-ounce domestic pint at your average local watering hole rarely would run that high even with a tip for the barkeep. Yet, the effect a football game has on your wallet gets even worse — Let’s turn to the total cost of attendance to see why.

Here’s the picture for the top 16 teams when it comes to the total cost of attendance, with “total” conservatively representing fairly basic purchases such as a beer, parking, the average ticket price, and a hot dog:

Of the 16 teams depicted, 10 have per-ounce beer prices of more than $0.44—the median per-ounce price for the league. Of these 10 teams, eight are in the NFC, with representatives from each division, as seen in the chart below:

Assuming a fan attending a Dallas Cowboys game pays the average price for a ticket, buys one cheap beer, a hot dog, and parks one car, that fan can expect to drop almost $200 on seeing a game.

In fact, total costs using the above assumptions stubbornly stay above $100 for all but the four teams with the lowest total fan attendance costs (Miami, Detroit, Jacksonville, and Cleveland). Without the full range of ticket prices, we can only speculate as to how much pull outliers might be having on the average ticket price, which is easily the biggest component of the total cost. With that said, the average ticket prices give us a baseline for comparison purposes.

The average NFL fan pays top dollar just to watch a game and eat a meal, which speaks for itself. But these prices don’t even begin to factor in considerations like team brand premiums and the cost of new stadiums. Prices don’t exist in vacuums.

Looking at some of the clubs with the highest total fan costs, Dallas, New England, and Washington have the three highest-valued franchises in football ($3.2 billion, $2.6 billion, and $2.4 billion, respectively). While the 49ers are worth less from a valuation standpoint ($1.6 billion), they’ll be dealing with the debt from their new $1.31 billion (before interest) stadium in all sorts of ways for years to come.

This article was written for TIME by Ryan Chiles of FindTheBest.

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Laptop or Tablet? 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself First

Apple MacBook Air; Microsoft Surface Pro 3 AP; Microsoft

Ask these questions to yourself or before buying a gift

By the way Microsoft is marketing the Surface Pro 3, you’d think tablets and laptops were practically interchangeable: just a matter of personal preference. We’re not convinced.

Using a mix of product testing and data crunching, we’ve come up with five key questions to ask yourself before you commit to one device over the other for yourself or for a holiday gift.

1. Precise control or display quality?

Unless you’re talking about tablet-specific apps (which we’ll get to below), the laptop is still the king of control. Whether you’re writing a document or crafting a presentation, the tablet has yet to beat the precision of a point-and-click mouse or the convenience of a shortcut-rich keyboard. Don’t fool yourself with a flashy tablet demo; even the simplest spreadsheet will become a chore after weeks of taps and swipes.

On the flip side, however, tablets have a sneaky advantage: display quality. Typically measured in pixels per inch (PPI), a device’s pixel density determines how sharp your content looks, and after several hours of use, how much your eyes will (or won’t) hurt.

According to our data, the average 2014 tablet has a pixel density of about 260 ppi (pixels per inch)—fairly solid for a 10-inch device. That’s not to mention flagship models like the Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX and iPad Mini 3, which each have pixel densities well over 300.

For laptops, the 2014 average drops below 200 PPI, barely better than the pixel density on the original iPhone (163 PPI). Yes, top models like the Yoga 3 Pro (276 PPI) and 2014 Razer Blade (262 PPI) are notable standouts, but even these products don’t match the best tablets on the market.

The bottom line is that most tablets will be easier on the eyes, and thus, better for extended viewing.* The question is just whether you’ll have enough control to get everything done.

*If you want to get technical, you can factor in “typical viewing distance” to make the comparison more apples-to-apples. On average, tablets still win handily.

2. Screen size or portability?

Yes, you can find just about any screen size on either device these days. The Planar Helium (a tablet) has a 27-inch display. The Acer Aspire One (a laptop) sports a diminutive 10.1-inch display.

But these are the outliers. Generally speaking, tablets are 7-11 inches, while laptops are 12-16 inches. Within each device category, if you wander outside those ranges, your selection tends to drop fast.

So let’s concede that the laptop will usually get you more screen real estate. Instead, consider portability, a feature that both tablets and laptops like to advertise. Once again, we crunched the numbers to see just how thin and heavy the average device in each category tends to be.

The average 2014 tablet is less than half the thickness (0.42 inches) of the average 2014 laptop (1.09 inches, folded). What’s more, with Sony and Apple shaving off inches on the iPad and Xperia every year, the gap may grow even wider.

The comparison looks even worse for laptops when you turn to weight. The average 2014 laptop still weighs about five pounds (4.99 lbs), over five times as much as the average 2014 tablet (0.95 lbs). Those extra inches and pounds will add up during commutes, presentations and vacations, so choose carefully.

3. Performance or simplicity?

Glance at a tablet’s spec sheet and you’ll see a few misleading numbers, like processor cores and clock speeds. Numbers like these tend to look comparable next to today’s mid-to-high range laptops, but they don’t tell the full story.

Take Geekbench, which stress tests all sorts of products to give you a fair comparison between device categories—a better reflection of real-world performance. Here, even some three-year-old laptops outperform today’s most powerful tablets. When looking at the table below, consider that the late 2011 MacBook Pro (13-inch) scored a 5,119. (The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro scored a 6,373.)

The silver lining for tablet buyers is that they may not need any of that power to begin with. If you’re just browsing the web, checking email, and downloading Angry Bird spinoffs, you’ll never need the processing power to edit a video or run a high-end video game. In fact, most tablets are built from the ground up to do one simple thing at a time, and do it well. If this is all you need, the simplicity of a tablet will more than make up for its lack of power.

4. Web browsing or apps?

Both laptops and tablets can browse the web. Both laptops and tablets can run apps. But each device excels where the other is merely satisfactory.

Take web browsing. To this day, tapping your way around the mobile Internet is an inconsistent experience. Flash is still buggy, text sizes unpredictable, and menus sometimes unusable. Granted, most modern websites work fine on a tablet, but there are still enough unpleasant surprises to send users back to their laptops, particularly with activities like buying gifts, managing finances or updating professional profiles.

On the other hand, the laptop often falls short in the world of apps. Sure, there are the old standbys like Word, Excel and Photoshop, but the laptop tends to miss out on new content from young, agile development teams. With a tablet, you can pick from dozens of polished photo-editing apps, half of them available for free. On a laptop, it’s often an extreme choice: either a $300 application from Adobe or a risky download for a clunky, limited editor from 2009.

In the end, it comes down to where you prefer spending your time. Love apps? Grab a tablet. Prefer to do everything in a browser? Stick with a laptop.

5. High-performance games or time-wasters (or neither)?

This won’t apply to everyone. For the gaming-indifferent, there’s no need to obsess over a laptop’s graphics card or a tablet’s selection of games.

For the rest of us, however, the situation gets a bit more complicated. Today’s best tablets are reasonably powerful, but traditional developers have yet to launch a truly incredible title on tablets (sorry, Infinity Blade). The device is still best for clever puzzles and fun time-wasters, like Angry Birds or Monument Valley (and we mean this as a compliment).

Meanwhile, the best gaming laptops can play just about anything, often outperforming the latest game consoles in performance and graphical prowess. The problem is that you’ll need to drop at least $1,500 to get the power you need.

Either device can scratch your gaming itch, it just depends upon the kind of game you’re into. Keep in mind, however, that a ~$500 laptop is probably the worst of both worlds: it’s not optimized for simple tap-and-swipe games, yet not powerful enough for top PC games. So if you like gaming, and you prefer PCs, start saving. Strapped for cash? There’s a big, angry bird waiting with your name on it.

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Thanksgiving Survival Guide: 8 Gadgets to Keep the Family at Bay

879105-008
Thanksgiving dinner Bruce Ayres—Getty Images

Remember to bring a nice pair of headphones

We all know what Thanksgiving is supposed to look like: cute grandkids, fond memories and turkey dinners as polished as a Pinterest board. But let’s be honest: Even if we love grandpa, we’ve heard the same story every year since 2003. We’d rather talk movies than aunt Mildred’s political platform. And maybe it’s time uncle Larry laid off the Merlot.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a Thanksgiving survival guide: eight gadgets for putting up with eight troublesome family members.

The relative: Grandpa

The problem: Tells the same story 13 times in a row

The solution: Headphones

We’ll admit: this is a delicate one. After more than 80 years of hard work, tough luck and thankless children, the least grandpa deserves is a glass of scotch and some listening ears. It’s just that you already know exactly when he thinks the country “took a wrong turn” and precisely “how things were at your age.” So instead of telling your gramps to keep quiet, wait for the right moment and throw on a pair of discrete noise-cancelling headphones.

Our recommendation:

The Audio Technica ATH ANC23BK’s are low-profile, affordable and well-reviewed—the perfect pair to slip in once grandpa rounds the country’s-gone-to-pot bend for the sixth straight time.

The relative: Aunt

The problem: Can’t stop talking about politics

The solution: A lightweight laptop

There’s one aunt in every family who has a knack—even talent—for turning every conversation back to politics. Your body armor? A light, inconspicuous laptop. Each time your aunt raises her finger with another opinion, calmly perform a search to confirm or refute her claims. The key here is de-escalation: you’re simply the keeper of a small fact-checking tool, not a worthy antagonist.

Our recommendation:

With a sleek frame and 12 hours of battery life, the MacBook Air 13-inch is the ideal device—small enough not to threaten your aunt but efficient enough to outlast even the most tireless debater. Problem solved.

The relative: Grandma

The problem: Assumes command of the entire house

The solution: A vacuum cleaner

It’s a familiar story. Grandma arrives, the family members hug, and after two quiet beats, the power shifts, imperceptibly, from hosts to matriarch. Grandma is now in charge. Get caught watching football, and you’ll be summoned to wash the potatoes. Flip on your phone, and you’ll be lectured for ignoring the family. The answer is a luxury vacuum—the sort of device that simultaneously says “I’m working” and “don’t bother me.” Even grandma can’t blame you for checking Twitter while hunting for dust bunnies.

Our recommendation:

More tech marvel than classic vacuum, the Dyson DC40-Origin handles like a dream and maneuvers like butter. After two minutes, you’ll volunteer for full-time vacuum duty. And besides: that carpet in front of the Cowboys-Eagles game isn’t going to vacuum itself.

The relative: Dad

The problem: Just a little too protective of the turkey

The solution: An outdoor grill

If there’s one thing men do well, it’s internalizing stress from work and taking it out on loved ones. For dads, this means demanding complete control over all turkey-related matters, from cook time to temperature to presentation. Our advice? Double-down. Buy dad a BBQ grill so he can have his own private workspace. Instead of grumbling from two feet away while you mash the potatoes, he’ll be standing outside, manning the grill and ignoring suppressed feelings of incompetence. But don’t worry about the weather: dads thrive in the cold.

Our recommendation:

With seven separate burners and gobs of space, dad can prepare the whole meal on a single Napoleon Mirage 7-Burner. If nothing else, it’ll help him forget how cramped he is in his work cubicle.

The relative: Nephew

The problem: Just a little too proud of his new job

The solution: A big tablet built for productivity

You’re 15 minutes into dinner when your nephew finally rolls in, loudly ending a phone call while running his hand through a $300 haircut. He drags a chair up to an empty slot at the table, noisily removes his coat, then tells the family he doesn’t “mean to interrupt.” Five minutes later, he launches into a 30-minute treatise on his new company’s “sales philosophy.”

Our recommendation:

You can’t beat him, so play into his unbridled enthusiasm with a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Casually leave the device on the coffee table, preferably open to a PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet. With any luck, he’ll spot the device and snap into corporate mode, critiquing the slides or reviewing the balance sheet. Meanwhile, the rest of the family can get back to arguing about The Voice.

The relative: Niece

The problem: Obnoxiously smart

The solution: A pre-loaded e-reader

Smart, industrious and impossibly successful, the Ivy League-educated niece is a staple at Thanksgiving. Publicly, everyone applauds her achievements, but privately, you’re just sick of all the one-upping. Your son passed his high school biology class; your niece just got into Harvard Medical School. Your daughter wrote an op-ed for your town’s dying newspaper; your niece is already a syndicated columnist for The New York Times. The best defense? Load up a few academic journals—or better yet, her textbooks—on an e-reader, then see that she finds it shortly after dinner. The overachiever in her will spend the rest of the evening reviewing biochemistry and less time reminding everyone how average they are.

Our recommendation:

The Kindle Voyage is the company’s latest e-reader, and still the class of the market, with better lighting, an improved screen and the best e-ink tech in the business.

The relative: Uncle

The problem: Three bottles deep by 2 p.m.

The solution: Wine chiller

You wouldn’t say your uncle has a problem, but there’s just something about turkey, family and the holidays that brings about an overly festive spirit. Without a proper plan, he’ll be drunk by lunch and asleep by dinner. The answer: buy a wine chiller. With a pane of glass and semblance of order, your uncle’s consumption will slow just enough to keep him in the “silly” zone before he spills over to “slob.”

Our recommendation:

With two temperature zones and a surprisingly affordable price for its features, the Winter WC-212BD is a solid choice for any wine enthusiast. As a backup plan, tell your uncle he can “manage the temperature zones:” he’ll be so excited about dividing Pinot Noir from Pinot Grigio that he might just skip a glass.

The relative: Mom

The problem: Wants five full family photos on the hour, every hour

The solution: A wide-angle camera lens

They might be terrible shots by any objective photographic standard, but it’s just a fact: Moms love staged family photos. Humor her by supplying her with a wide angle camera lens. Instead of the usual 15-minute circus (step closer; okay, turn your shoulders; I still can’t see you), she’ll be able to snap the pic in 10 seconds flat, even if your tipsy uncle is still trudging over from the opposite side of the room.

Our recommendation:

With a minimum focal length of 10mm, the Tamron SP 10-24mm is an extremely wide-angle lens, perfect for family photo efficiency. It’s got plenty of space to fit everyone in the frame, while it’s acceptable to Mom and respectful of personal space: a win-win.

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People Are Naming Their Babies Katniss Thanks to The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 Murray Close—Lionsgate

See the history of franchise-inspired baby naming

The first Hunger Games scorched its way to the top of the box office.

Its $152.5 million opening weekend in North America made it the fifth-highest-grossing debut of all time. The release of the second film—The Hunger Games: Catching Fire—didn’t disappoint either, grossing $161 million in its first weekend, overtaking The Dark Knight Rises as the fourth-best debut as well as securing its spot as the highest-grossing debut starring a female lead in history.

Nor did theater-goers lose their luster for the films after opening weekend. Together, they’ve raked in about $1.5 billion globally. And with the release of MockingjayPart 1 this Thursday and the last installment still to come, the franchise stands to make a lot more.

The movies owe much of their smashing success to Katniss Everdeen, a character all audiences, not just teenage females, have fallen in love with. In fact, crowds over 25 and under 25 were evenly split during Catching Fire’s opening weekend. And while there were more women than men in attendance—59 percent female vs. 41 percent male—crowds were more evenly split by weekend number two, comprised of 51 percent females and 49 percent males. Compare that to an 80 percent female audience for Twilight.

So why does Katniss have so much appeal?

According to Jennifer Lawrence in an interview with NPR, “She’s not a hero…she’s just a girl who’s standing up for what’s right when something is wrong, when it’s hard – and when it’s scary.”

Whatever the attraction is that’s driving voracious appetites at the box office, it’s not only in record-breaking sales where Katniss Everdeen is leaving a mark. She’s also left a mark—a very permanent mark—in the lives of dozens of baby girls across the U.S.

Why? They’ve been given her name. That’s right, 29 girls have been named Katniss since the release of the first Hunger Games in 2012, according to an analysis by research engine FindTheBest. That’s up from a grand total of zero baby girls given the name Katniss every year prior.

It’s not only Katniss who’s inspiring a baby name trend. Strong female characters in popular literature turned film have influenced the names of hundreds of baby girls. Take Harry Potter’s leading lady, Hermione Granger. Her name stayed flat in the single digits from 1932 to 2001, but jumped to 17 occurrences in 2002, the year after the first Harry Potter movie was released. And it didn’t stop there; more than 500 girls have been named Hermione since.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is another big name influencer, with Khaleesi (which means queen) leading the way. Like Katniss, the name Khaleesi was virtually nonexistent before Game of Thrones aired in 2011, but it’s been climbing rapidly ever since.

Even Khaleesi’s real name, Daenerys, saw a spike that hasn’t stopped climbing in popularity since Game of Thrones aired.

And of course, the Twilight saga has influenced names as well. We can’t say for sure if Bella Swan is to credit for the recent uptick in her name—the first Twilight book was published in 2005 and the name has been rising since the 1990s—but we can see the effect other characters have had. Rosalie for example, was a popular name in the 1930s, but didn’t make a comeback until the first Twilight movie was released in 2008.

Even Renesmee, a mashup of the names Renée and Esme—two other female characters in the series—sprung into existence in 2008. Although Renesmee’s character wasn’t in the first Twilight movie, she was in the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, which was published in 2008.

So what’s next on the baby name front? Maybe parents will take a liking to the name Tris, from the latest book series turned 2014 blockbuster film, Divergent. It’s a name that went out of style in the 1970s, but could be due for a comeback.

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These Cities Have the Highest Rents in the Country

Liverpool FC Training At Fenway Park
General view of Fenway Park during a training session at Fenway Park on July 22, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Andrew Powell—Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Rent in Boston is a real green monster

In addition to the price of a beer at Fenway Park, Bostonians—and esteemed guests of Fenway alike—now have something else to complain about: Boston has the highest rents in the country.

Here at FindTheBest, we’re on a mission to collect, structure, and connect the world’s data. Taking the most recent Five-Year American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in late 2013, we set ourselves the task of determining which U.S. cities have the highest rents. Defining a high rent conservatively to be a contract rent (i.e., excluding utilities) of more than $1,500 per month, we identified where rents are more likely to take a big bite out of your paycheck.

These major U.S. cities—all with more than 500,000 residents—have the greatest proportions of high rents in the country. You can tap anywhere on the table to explore a given city in more detail.

The West Coast has been supplanted in at least one regard. Although four of the five richest cities in America—and six of the top ten here—are on the West Coast, Boston has the most expensive rents. Moreover, it’s also the only East Coast city in which more than 30 percent of rents are over $1,500 (48.8 percent).

A list of the top ten cities for highest rents reads like a rap sheet of the usual suspects, with perennially expensive West Coast metropolises San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle interspersed with East Coast behemoths like Washington D.C. and New York City.

In general, cities with greater population densities tend to have higher rents, as seen in the scatter plot below. The precise reality, however, is more complicated.

Among the ten cities where rents are highest (again defined as the percentage of contract rents over $1,500), New York is both the most densely populated city (27,308 people/sq. mi) and the one with the highest proportion of renter-occupied dwellings (68.3 percent). Yet it’s not even in the top five for greatest proportion of rents over $1,500. Boston, on the other hand, has a 66.8 percent rental rate—the second highest on the list—along with the third-highest figure for population density (13,007 people/sq. mile). So cities with higher densities and renter occupancies tend to have higher rents, but it’s not gospel truth.

While Boston may be the most expensive place to rent based on our working definition, there’s a fair bit of nuance to the list. Denver and Baltimore, for example, have a relatively low percentage of rents over $1,500 (8.1 and 6.3 percent, respectively). In the next tier down ($1,001-$1,500), however, these two cities have percentages high enough to launch them into the top ten within that next tier (19.6 and 19.5 percent, respectively).

In fact, by adding the two rental buckets together (“$1,001-$1,500 + “$1,500+”), San Jose has the highest percentage of rents over the $1,000 mark (80.7 percent compared with Boston’s 80.5 percent). And $1,000 or more per month is nothing to scoff at.

With a mean of 12.7 percent and a median of 5.3 percent (the middle point in the data set), the percentages of rents over $1,500 are skewed upward toward Boston, San Jose, and San Francisco (the top three in that category).

Using $1,500 as a proxy for cities with the most expensive rents allows uncapped extremes to factor into the comparison. While considering the next-highest tier of rents ($1,001-$1,500) changes the picture somewhat, one thing is for sure: Boston wins out when it comes to extreme rents. And in Beantown, neither the beer nor the price of admission at a Red Sox game is cheap enough to get over that.

This article was written for TIME by Ryan Chiles of FindTheBest.

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The Detroit city skyline viewed from Windsor after the Detroit Red Wings NHL game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Joe Louis Arena on March 31, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Tom Szczerbowski—Getty Images

Detroit tops the list

Poverty—like the creation of wealth—is a fact of city life.

Here at FindTheBest, we recently examined the most current Five-Year American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 to find the wealthiest cities in America. To fill out the picture of many of these cities, we picked apart the same data set and turned our lens on the places with the highest percentages of households making less than $25,000 a year.

Listed in descending order by the percentage of households with annual incomes below $25,000, here are how the 34 American cities with more than 500,000 residents compare. You can explore each city in greater detail by clicking into the table:

As of 2012—the last year considered in the most recent five-year ACS data—the poverty threshold for a four-person household was $23,492. This amount is a weighted average based on the range of income increases each additional related child necessitates (for a household of four, that’s a maximum of three children). This is according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the six major U.S. cities with the highest percentages of poverty, at least one in three households make less than $25,000 per year. In Milwaukee and Philadelphia, the proportion is higher at 37.8 percent and 37.6 percent, respectively, and in Detroit, it approaches one in two (49.2 percent). The average across all 34 cities is 28.6 percent.

What’s remarkable is that San Jose is the only city profiled where less than 20 percent of households have a yearly income below $25,000 (in San Jose, 15.6 percent of households make less than $25,000). San Diego and Seattle come close at 20.2 percent each. Put another way: in 33 of America’s 34 biggest cities, at least one in five households makes less than $25,000 per year.

Taking a step back, Detroit—which is getting ready to emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history—has by far the highest percentage of households earning less than $25,000 per year (49.2 percent).

Moving down the list, cities in the west tend to have fewer households under this $25,000 threshold compared with cities in the midwest and east. Four of the five cities with the lowest percentages of households making under $25,000 per year are on the west coast.

One potential reason for this geographic split could be the role public transportation plays in bringing poorer people to city centers, which is exactly what Edward Glaeser, Matthew Kahn, and Jordan Rappaport argued in 2000 in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. (the paper was later published in The Journal of Urban Economics in January 2008.) In their view, it isn’t the city itself that creates poverty. Rather, increased levels of mobility and opportunity provided by the central city encourage poorer people to congregate there. Cities in the east and midwest tend to have more public transit options, whereas the car is a central part of sprawling cities in the west — a situation that could lead more poorer people to eastern cities than their western counterparts. More favorable city governments also could play a role.

Municipal management aside, once again, it’s also hard to discount the role of education in creating wealth through information spillovers. While Boston’s 30.8 percent clearly complicates this notion, given that it has solid bachelor’s and graduate degree metrics, the observation remains largely the same — cities situated near world-class research institutions or else with larger numbers of bachelor’s or graduate degree holders tend to fare better.

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The Best-and Worst-Case Scenarios for 5 Hot Holiday Products

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A hostess holds a remote of a Playstation 4 at the Sony booth during the China Joy fair in Shanghai on July 31, 2014. Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images

Which companies and products will win the holidays this year?

With high-profile product launches and billions of dollars at stake, the holidays have a habit of separating the winners from the losers, the booms from the busts. With that in mind, let’s explore the best-and worst-case scenarios for five hot holiday products.

For each scenario, we’ll start things out realistically, then get a bit crazier as we go along.

1. iPhone 6

Best-case scenario

Following its record-breaking launch, the iPhone tears through the holidays, setting sales records in over 30 countries. Millions of Android users abandon their 7-inch phablets for the iPhone 6 Plus. As usual, Apple makes untold billions, but it also grabs back five points of smartphone market share on the strength of the gold iPhone 6, which rapidly becomes China’s best-selling phone. Samsung CEO Boo-Keun holds an emergency press conference to assess the damage, then steps outside the room to take a phone call. The next day, a hastily snapped photo confirms Boo-Keun took the call on an iPhone.

Worst-case scenario

Apple’s bet on bigger phones proves disastrous. After riding geeks and early-adopters to a record-breaking launch, iPhone sales plummet in November and December. A raft of user reviews confirm Apple’s worst fears: the iPhone’s secret wasn’t Touch ID, iOS polish or “Apple charm”—it was the 4-inch screen. “I wanted a cellphone, not a computer,” writes disillusioned Amazon shopper Scott M, a North Carolina carpenter with small hands and modest needs. Meanwhile, the 4.3-inch Sony Xperia Z1 Compact becomes the holiday season’s hottest handset. In a cascade of criticism, second-guessing, and a falling stock price, Cook resigns.

2. iPad Air 2

Best-case scenario

After two years of stagnant sales, the iPad Air 2 reinvigorates the tablet industry in one scorching Black Friday weekend. Stubborn first- and second-generation iPad owners finally decide to upgrade their four-year-old devices. A Louisiana woman draws blood after cutting herself on the iPad Air 2’s corner, but Apple successfully parlays the accident into its new holiday marketing campaign, “Thinner than a Pencil, Sharper than a Knife.” Meanwhile, Google’s new Nexus 9 tablet flops.

Worst-case scenario

Sales for the new iPad Air 2 mirror the launch event itself: tepid, restrained, unexciting. Google wins the holiday quarter with its HTC-made Nexus 9, leveraging a $200 price tag and a series of rock-bottom-price promotions. Slaves to saving money, consumers opt for the outdated iPad Mini ($249) instead of the flagship Air 2 ($499), then clog Apple Stores across America after they realize how terribly the device runs iOS 8. One man even buys a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 out of spite. Three days after New Years, a leaked Tim Cook email signs off with “Let’s face it, tablets are a lost cause.”

3. PS4

Best-case scenario

With the Wii U still stumbling and the Xbox One still Xboxing, the PS4 cements its status as Best Console of the Current Generation. Mothers around America ignore a “Nintendo is for families” campaign, opting for PS4-exclusive Little Big Planet 3 instead. Swept up in a tide of Sony holiday success, Activision agrees to make the next three Call of Duty games exclusively for PS4. With the original Halo soundtrack playing on low-volume, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella cries himself to sleep.

Worst-case scenario

Microsoft’s Xbox One price drop (now $349) winds up the most brilliant move of the holiday season, tipping the scales from Sony to Microsoft. Even the lowly Wii U—emboldened by the release of the latest Smash Bros—beats the PS4 in November. Scrambling to salvage the situation, Sony America CEO Michael Lynton pressures star developer Naughty Dog into pushing out Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End before Christmas. The game is an unplayable, unfinished mess, instantaneously defiling the series’ memory and tarnishing a once-great developer brand. Naughty Dog abandons Sony. Meanwhile, Microsoft buys Nintendo.

4. Microsoft Band

Best-case scenario

The Microsoft Band shakes off early bad reviews—“it’s awkward and inaccurate”—to become a modest holiday success. Tech geeks, couch potatoes and retired high school coaches across the nation collectively decide “if there’s one Microsoft product I’ll take a risk on, this is it.” Meanwhile, Fitbit has another scandal. The Moto 360 gets recalled. Everyone remembers the Apple Watch won’t come out for another six months, and even then, the mid-range models might cost thousands. The Microsoft Band goes on to win the holiday season by default.

Worst-case scenario

After launching accidentally at 10 p.m. and generating a slew of confused, frustrated reviews, the Microsoft Band roll-out only gets worse. Customers report the band is waking them up, only to tell them they need to sleep better. Executive Vice President Stephen Elop is caught wearing something from Nike. Even former CEO Steve Ballmer is overheard praising the Apple Watch’s design at Staples Center. By December 1st, paltry Microsoft Band sales dissolve into nothing, and Microsoft abandons the wearable market for good. “At least we still have the Surface Pro 3,” Nadella ad libs on a Sunday talk show. Nine hundred miles away, Apple execs play the clip on repeat while celebrating record-breaking iPad Air 2 sales.

5. The Amazon Fire TV Stick

Best-case scenario

After a bumbling first year, the TV streaming stick finds its perfect manufacturer in Amazon: a company known for cheap prices, convenience and world-class distribution. The sneaky little device sits in Amazon’s top-selling electronics slot for the entire holiday season, quietly winning over tens of thousands of new Prime subscribers in the process. Apple TV users, tired of its clunky user interface and terrible controls, sell their old boxes before snapping up Amazon’s latest stick. Despite terrific sales, the product doesn’t actually make much profit, but the company’s shareholders don’t care (as usual). Amazon stock soars.

Worst-case scenario

After pouring years of deals and development into the Amazon Fire TV service, a series of harsh realities hit. People don’t want to play games on an Amazon Fire TV or Stick; they want to play on a legitimate game console. HBO might have given Amazon the rights to play classic series like The Wire and The Sopranos, but HBO is launching a standalone subscription service anyway, with more current shows and wider availability. Google Chromecast does the same thing as the Fire TV stick, but retails at a lower price, and doesn’t require an Amazon Prime subscription for all its best features. Customers pass on the Fire TV stick. Jeff Bezos calls an emergency shareholder meeting. Skeptical of Bezos’ latest pet project, Amazon’s investors demand the company “wake up and actually turn a profit.” Later that night, Bezos pens an open letter on Amazon’s homepage titled, “Turn a profit? Who do people think we are? Apple?”

 

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Alcohol Is Getting More Expensive Most Quickly in These Cities

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Jeff Allen, a driver for Brewers Distributing Co., delivers Anheuser-Busch beer in Pekin, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bay Area booze is getting pricey

If the price of your pints seems steeper than it did a year ago, you might be on to something.

Depending on where you live, the price of alcoholic beverages was increasing faster than the rate of inflation heading into this fall season. This rate of increase is according to Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) data for all urban consumers released periodically by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This first chart shows how fast alcohol prices increased or decreased when it comes to alcoholic beverages alone:

Note that we are using only eight months of 2014 data in the above chart to compare against the 2013 yearly index average for each area.*

To better understand these numbers at scale, consider for a moment the all-items CPI-U basket, a weighted average of expenditures across all consumer goods and services. It’s the most common measure of inflation in the U.S. Throughout the year, the BLS publishes U.S. city average index values as well as more granular metropolitan index values. You’ll often hear about the inflation rate. Specifically, this number tells us how fast the index value for all the items in the CPI-U index is increasing for a given timeframe. As of August 2014, that number was averaging 1.65%, up from last year’s total average of 1.46%:

In nine of the 25 metro areas considered, the price of alcohol outpaced the ongoing 2014 rate of inflation. Naturally, these were areas in which the price of alcohol was increasing the fastest.

The fact that alcohol prices were increasing the fastest in the San Francisco Bay Area is not necessarily an indication that the Bay Area’s alcohol is the most expensive in the nation. Because a CPI measures how fast prices change in one area over time, it can’t be used to compare prices across cities. Increases or decreases, however, can be compared across geographic areas over time.

If you’re wondering about specific alcoholic beverages, it’s mostly beside the point. For those living in an area where the price of alcohol was increasing faster than inflation, drinks this weekend really might be a little more expensive.

*In FindTheBest’s CPI comparison topic, we use the yearly average of monthly index values. Using the yearly average smoothes out the potential volatility of year-over-year comparisons because it incorporates more data points. So measuring against the 2013 yearly index average for each area, the chart shows the percent change from that 2013 yearly index average to the end of August 2014. The August to-date average covers eight months of BLS data, though indexes for most metro areas are released on an odd/even basis or else a semiannual one.

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