MONEY health

5 Celebrity-Endorsed Health Tips That Are Total Wastes of Money

News flash: Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry are not health experts.

Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? That’s the big question (and title) of a new book from Timothy Caulfield, a professor of law and health policy at the University of Alberta.

The book’s subtitle—How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness—gets right to the meat of the matter in Caulfield’s research. Namely, that while celebrities are great at selling us all sorts of products, there is no evidence whatsoever to back up the claims of many of the trendy health products and practices endorsed explicitly or implicitly by the likes of Paltrow and her famous peers.

Caulfield actually loves celebrities and is fascinated by celebrity culture. He also understands that given the way celebrities affect how we dress, what we buy, and what we watch, it’s natural for them to have an outsized influence on what we eat and how we take care of our bodies.

Still, he feels it’s unwise, to put it mildly, for you to blindly follow their leads when your health—and often, a decent chunk of your disposable income—is on the line. Here’s a look at a handful of widely endorsed health ideas that Caulfield says are total bunk.

  • Vitamin Supplements

    Katy Perry
    @katyperry via Twitter In 2013, Katy Perry Tweeted this picture showing the supplements she takes.

    “The supplement market is a billion-dollar industry,” says Caulfield. “It’s a huge part of the diet and fitness world.” And yet, Caulfied says, there’s “very little evidence” to support the idea that people with healthy diets should be taking daily supplements of any kind, let alone taking them by the bag-full like singer Katy Perry apparently does. “No one [trustworthy] believes that taking mega doses of supplements is a good idea,” Caulfield says. “There is zero proof that mega doses improve health.”

    As for the idea that some supplements will make your sex life better or improve your IQ, let’s hope you never believed them in the first place. The morale is: Save your money. Don’t take supplements unless they’re specifically recommended by your doctor.

  • Detoxes and Cleanses

    Gwyneth Paltrow attends the goop pop Dallas Launch Party in Highland Park Village on November 20, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.
    Layne Murdoch Jr.—Getty Images for goop Gwyneth Paltrow, seen at a goop event in Texas, is a big believer in detoxes and cleanses.

    To rid the body of “toxins,” many health gurus are proponents of various detoxification plans, which typically come down to fasting and avoiding certain foods. It would seem like such a process would cost next to nothing. In fact, the detoxes and cleanses suggested by the Gwyneth Paltrow lifestyle site Goop often include rare (and very expensive) ingredients—to the extent that Shape magazine felt compelled to round up a list of cheaper alternatives to the Goop detox recipes. Meanwhile, the cost of 21-day cleanses that require little or no cooking might easily run $400 to $500.

    The real problem, according to Caulfield, is that the body is constantly undergoing a natural cleansing process that doesn’t cost a penny. “The organs in the body do this for us. When you pee, you detox,” he says. Most importantly, “There is no evidence to support the idea that we should detox and cleanse. It’s bogus.” In his book, Caulfield offers an alternative cleanse, which he hopes readers will take to heart: “Cleanse your system of all the pseudo-science babble that flows from many celebrities, celebrity physicians and the diet industry.”

  • Spot Reduction

    U.S. first lady Michelle Obama flexes her arms in response to a joke about her habit of wearing sleeveless dresses during the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington May 9, 2009.
    Jonathan Ernst—Reuters There are plenty of myths about how to attain toned arms like U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.

    Women are constantly bombarded with celebrity trainers and assorted other “experts” offering advice about to get the flat stomach of Jessica Alba, the rock-hard arms of First Lady Michelle Obama, and the booty of Kim K or Jennifer Lopez. Often, the suggestions call for exercises that focus on one particular part of the body. Yet the commonly accepted concept of “spot reduction”—losing fat in one specific area through targeted workouts—is nonsense, according to Caulfield.

    “You can’t reduce fat on one part of the body,” he says, no matter how much time, effort, and (possibly) money you devote focused to that specific part. “The way to have skinny arms, or to tighten your tummy, is to have low body fat” overall. Likewise, a comprehensive, full-body approach to exercise is healthiest. And sorry, there’s no exercise in the world that will give you longer legs.

  • Water

    Jennifer Aniston stars in her new 'Smartwater' advert in Los Angeles. The 44 year old is pictured sitting in bed holding on to a 'smartwater' bottle. The new billboard campaign reads 'inspired by the clouds'.
    Splash News—Corbis Jennifer Aniston, shown here on a billboard in Los Angeles, is a longtime endorser of Coca-Cola-owned Smartwater.

    Before jumping to conclusions, let’s state explicitly: Caulfield believes that there is nothing better in the world for people to drink than water. “Water should be your go-to drink, hands down,” he says. Still, Caulfield points out that there is nothing scientific about the widely accepted concept that we must drink eight cups of water per day. Drinking lots of water won’t reduce wrinkles or make your skin glow either.

    “Just drink when you’re thirsty,” and you’ll be fine, says Caulfield.

    If that’s all there is to it, then why is the eight cups myth still being circulated? Caulfield thinks the bottled water companies have a lot to do with it. Bottled water has been called the “marketing trick of the century,” in that it costs 2,000 times more than a nearly identical product that comes out of the tap in your home. Americans spend roughly $12 billion annually on bottled water, and some of the biggest markups are for water brands endorsed by celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, who has long been tied to Coca-Cola-owned smartwater.

  • Gluten-Free Diets

    Miley Cyrus at the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of "China: Through the Looking Glass,” New York, NY, May 04, 2015
    Clint Spaulding—PatrickMcMullan.com via AP Images Miley Cyrus once Tweeted of her decision to go gluten-free: "The change in your skin, phyisical (sic) and mental health is amazing! U won't go back!"

    “The change in your skin, phyisical (sic) and mental health is amazing! U won’t go back!” Miley Cyrus Tweeted back in 2012. She was writing about switching to a gluten-free diet, and she was responding to critics who accused her of having an eating disorder. “For everyone calling me anorexic I have a gluten and lactose allergy,” she wrote in another Tweet. “It’s not about weight it’s about health. Gluten is crapppp anyway!”

    Caulfield begs to differ. “It’s fair to say that there is absolutely no evidence that going gluten-free is healthier,” he says. “There is no evidence that it’s a good weight-loss strategy” either, according to Caulfield. People with celiac disease must avoid gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. But less than 1% of the population has celiac disease, whereas some 30% of U.S. adults in a recent survey said that they’re trying to embrace a gluten-free diet. Caulfield assumes that a large portion of those going gluten-free believe that they have a sensitivity to gluten, or they perceive such a diet to be healthier. In fact, there are plenty of fast food menu items, donuts, cookies, and junk food snacks that have been slapped with the gluten-free label in order to jump on the fad, and they are certainly not healthy.

    Caulfield says that his truth talking about gluten generates more hate mail than any other subject he tackles. “Some people go gluten-free or all-organic as a form of self-expression,” he says. By questioning their motivations, and the science (or lack thereof) behind their decisions, he is essentially questioning who these people are as individuals. So it’s no wonder people take offense. But it doesn’t make them right about what is and isn’t healthy.

TIME trends

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: beer, costumes and, somewhere, a result
Stringer—AP Fans wearing emoji masks watch a rugby match of the Hong Kong Seven in Hong Kong on March 28, 2015

Did somebody say "national stereotypes"?

The French are serious and romantic while Australians are all about partying according to a survey on emoji use worldwide.

In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages.

According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities.

Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average.

France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else.

No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.”

Check out the full report here.

Read next: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s New Emoji Feature

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Pop Culture

How Frisbees Got Off the Ground

1966, ENGLAND, FRISBEE TREND
Gamma-Keystone / Getty Images Frisbees were a trend in 1966 in England

Jan. 23, 1957: The Wham-O toy company releases the Frisbee

Fred Morrison never liked the name “Frisbee,” but he stopped complaining after sales began to soar.

The flying disc was Morrison’s invention, first sold by the Wham-O toy company on this day, Jan. 23, in 1957 — as the “Pluto Platter.” Wham-O changed the name the following year as a misspelled homage to the popular New England pastime of tossing around pie tins from Connecticut’s Frisbie Pie Company.

Fifty years later, Morrison recalled his initial displeasure, telling the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California, “I thought the name was a horror. Terrible.”

“Frisbee” was only the latest in a series of brandings for the idea, although it happened to be the one that became a household name. When Morrison first fell for flying discs, it was 1937 and he was 17, tossing the lid of a popcorn container to the girl he would later marry. The future Mrs. Morrison — Lucile Nay, better known as Lu — shared his love of lid-throwing. Soon they upgraded to cake pans, which flew better, as he explained to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 2007.

The idea of improving on the cake pan — and perhaps turning a profit — was born the next year, when a stranger saw Fred and Lu tossing one back and forth at the beach and offered them a quarter for it. “That got the wheels turning,” Morrison told the Pilot, “because you could buy a cake pan for five cents, and if people on the beach were willing to pay a quarter for it, well — there was a business.”

The business got off the ground with what Morrison called the “Flyin’ Cake Pan.” He retooled the disc’s design and renamed it several times, producing models called the “Whirlo-Way” and the “Flyin’ Saucer” before landing on the “Pluto Platter.”

Although he didn’t quit his day job — first as a carpenter, then a building inspector in L.A. — Morrison was an inventor above all, as his 2010 New York Times obituary made clear. He sold two other creations to Wham-O: the Crazy Eight Bowling Ball and the Popsicle Machine (a mold for freezing juice), although neither quite reached Frisbee-level success. He was a natural salesman as well, and would hawk the Pluto Platter at fairgrounds, demonstrating the disc’s unwavering flight.

The people couldn’t resist. As TIME recounted in a 1972 story about “froupies” — Frisbee groupies — the reason behind their popularity may be a deep one:

Dr. Stancil Johnson, a long-haired Santa Monica psychiatrist who serves as Frisbee’s official historian, has an apparently sober explanation for the disks’ popularity. They are, he says, “the perfect marriage between man’s greatest tool—his hand—and his greatest dream —to fly.”

And the name didn’t hurt. Although he initially hated calling his toy a Frisbee, Morrison reversed his stance after royalties from its sales made him a millionaire, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I wouldn’t change the name of it for the world,” he said then.

Read about the time the Navy tried to use Frisbees as military tools—and failed—here in the TIME Vault: The Frisbee Fiasco

TIME Humor

I’m So Bored With This ‘Color of the Year’ Thing

red
Getty Images

Calling something a trend doesn't make it trendy

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who shows up on the Internet to complain about something completely pointless, can I just vent real quick?

Last week, Pantone unveiled the 2015 Color of the Year, and immediately, everyone ran their typical headlines “You’ll Be Seeing This Color Everywhere in 2015” and “The Trendiest Hue for All Your Holiday Parties.”

This year’s Color of the Year is Marsala, for those playing along at home.

I think it’s time for us to all step back, take a breath, and collectively agree to just calm the eff down.

I’ve never really gotten the whole Color of the Year thing, for many reasons. For one, it’s just such a forced trend. I have a weird relationship with trends in general because I always want to rebel against them on principle, and yet embody each and every single one of them because I have a horrible fear of being left out and also want to be viewed as one of the cool kids. So there’s that.

What makes a trend ~trendy~ is that it happens organically. People see something, respond to it, and incorporate it into their own lives. Like, I don’t know, dark lipsticks, messy fishtail braids, or literally anything on Pinterest. All of that caught on because that stuff is cute. No one just decided on those certain things and handed them down to us.

The whole concept of the Color of the Year just seems very manufactured, like a bunch of execs were sitting around a board room in gray suits, analyzing pie charts and bar graphs, whatever those are, to figure out which color would sell the best throughout the coming year, then making that the color of the year.

It’s just BORING. And doesn’t officially declaring something a hot item automatically negate any cool factor it once had? What’s interesting about a certain color if we’re all going to be wearing it? And could you ever actually hear yourself saying, “Oh yeah, this? It’s the Color of the Year.” I’d rather go blind.

Maybe it’s the fact that the Color of the Year never feels very thought out. Pantone always partners with Sephora for a Color of the Year collection, which is an awesome idea in theory, but the execution always seems to fall a little short. The Color of the Year for 2014 was Radiant Orchid, and the year before that, Emerald. Good on Sephora and Pantone for not being afraid of vibrant colors, but neither of the aforementioned shades struck me as being very wearable nor flattering on any skin tone. I realize that this is just a matter of taste, but still, I would think it would be a factor that would inform the decision on what color you’re going to be marketing to the masses.

This year’s color, Marsala, is in my opinion, the most versatile color Pantone has chosen in a while. They describe it as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, body, and souls.” SIGH.

The images accompanying the announcement play up the luxuriousness of Marsala.

Everywhere you look, there are plush fabrics, mulled wine, berries, and of course, macarons. What would a photo shoot in 2014 be without a macaron? They’re serving up the color to be perfect for the holidays, very warm, able to be incorporated into your clothes, makeup, your couch, your kitchen, whatever.

As colors go, I actually kind of like this one, because it’s sort of an in-between of, like, five other colors. It’s vague. All of my favorite colors are lifeless and boring and this one fits right in. Marsala is like a darkened dusty rose, a muted brick red, with a tiny bit of taupe thrown in there for good measure. It’s a nice departure from the jewel tones of the last couple of years. It’s also a lot more in line with what is actually going on in fashion right now. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Marsala pairs very well with this 90s revival we’ve been seeing with the darker makeup and brown lipsticks.

But do we really need to pair one trend with another? That almost seems like it defeats the purpose of having a color of the year, if they’re just going to align it with what we were already doing anyway.

Is it just me? Are you down with having a color of the year every year? Trends, even at their silliest and most pointless, are supposed to be fun, and I am the last person to hate on something that’s simply supposed to bring us a little joy. After all, I’ve been known to lose my mind over a color-changing nail polish or whatever, so it’s not like I take any of this too seriously. It just seems a little forced. To me, the people who would respond to the Color of the Year are the same people who would wear a band T-shirt without actually knowing any of the band’s music, just because they think it makes them cool (he types, wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, unable to name a single AC/DC song).

Am I putting too much thought into this? Am I taking this too seriously? Have I become what I fear the most: A hater? What trends do you hate? How do you feel about marsala? Was that seriously the cutest name they could come up with?

Tynan Sinks is a Beauty/Style contributor for xoJane.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

5 Fitness Trends to Try in 2015

weight stack
Getty Images

The next big thing? Body weight training

Curious about what’s going to be hot in the wellness sphere next year? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We put our sneakers to the ground to find out what fitness trends could be making their way into your gym in 2015. Happy sweating.

Body weight training

According to an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey of more than 3,000 fitness professionals worldwide, body weight training is predicted to be the next big thing. “Expect to see it continue to expand in all movement experiences including both group and personal training,” says Carol Espel, Senior Director, Group Fitness and Pilates at Equinox. “Look for the comprehensive incorporation of gymnastics, adult jungle gyms, workout spaces that are uncluttered with weight machines and open for training, greater suspension training options, primal movements, and more programming that is less focused on standard weight lifting protocols.” In other words, those tried and true exercises that don’t require equipment—like lunges, squats, push-ups, and burpees—are here to stay, so embrace them.

HEALTH.COM: 25 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

OK, HIIT (think P90X) did take a hit over the past year dropping from the number one spot on the 2013 ACSM survey to number two this year. But we assure you that this technique, which alternates intense bursts of exercise with short, sometimes active, recovery periods, isn’t going anywhere. The reason: It’s super effective. “People are exercising in shorter bursts and they are still seeing results,” notes Donna Cyrus, Senior Vice President of Programming at Crunch. This should be no surprise, though. After all, who wants to slave away at the gym for hours each day when you can blast fat in as little as 20 minutes? Exactly.

HEALTH.COM: 11 Fitness Foods to Help You Get in Shape Faster

Treadmill training

Boutique studios that specialize in one specific fitness genre—be it underwater cycling or trampoline workouts—will continue to rise in popularity. However, within this group fitness sector, indoor group running has been steadily gaining momentum. From big gym chains like Equinox and Crunch to smaller studios like Mile High Run Club, treadmill-based training is poised to become the new “it” workout. Yes, many view this piece of machinery as a torture device (I know I’ve called it a dreadmill on more than one occasion), but these classes are truly beneficial, helping to improve your running through speed, incline, and interval-based drills.

“There is a trend in fitness to return to simplicity, and running is the oldest form of exercise,” explains Andia Winslow, a fitness expert and coach at Mile High Running Club. “With indoor treadmill training, participants are in a controlled and yet challenging environment where they can, regardless of fitness level, keep up with class while running on industry elite commercial equipment. With less strain on bones, joints and tendons, runners can focus instead on form, specialized and programmed intensity and being wholly engaged with their runs.” Even better: You will never have to worry about it being too cold or raining too hard to log those miles.

HEALTH.COM: 18 Moves to Tone Your Butt, Thighs, and Legs

Recovery efforts

Don’t you just love a super intense workout? The way it pushes you to your limits, leaving behind a reminder (read: sore muscles) of all the hard work you put in. Here’s the deal, though, too much intense training can throw your body out of whack, leaving it open for potential injuries, which is why recovery is essential. “A balanced body is key, which means all of your muscles are working correctly, not just some of them,” says David Reavy, PT, owner of React Physical Therapy and creator of the Reavy Method. “Weak muscles will fatigue quickly, and you over train muscles that are already strong. The compensation and overuse of muscles and not the work brings the need for recovery.” This is why “we will continue to see the rapid expansion of group formats that include self-care protocols for self myofascial release (SMR), such as foam rolling and therapy balls, core strengthening and dynamic stretching, full recovery days and clear focus on sleep as an integral part of one’s fitness regimen,” says Espel. “And of course restorative yoga formats will continue to become a much more prevalent part of programming.”

HEALTH.COM: 10 Exercise Cheats That Blow Your Calorie Burn

Digital engagement

In our tech-obsessed world, this one seems like a no-brainer. Just take Nike, for example: I learned at their Women’s Summit last month that 9 million women have downloaded the Nike Running app and 16 million women have downloaded the Nike Training (NTC) app. And that’s just one company—think about all of the other fitness apps and cool trackers out there that put a wealth of health info at our fingertips. The reason we’re still obsessed with these modalities is because “they provide inspiration, guidance and coaching,” explained Stefan Olander, VP of Digital Sport for Nike at the summit. Not to mention the social factor. Adds Espel: “We will continue so see an even greater level of engagement of the use of multiple devices to track and log movement, nutrition, sleep and all aspects of activity,” she says. “The challenge for all will be determining what data is pertinent and then how providers and health care experts take the most relevant information and make it continually meaningful to users.”

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Management

3 Workplace Trends to Watch For in 2015 (and Beyond)

Artificial intelligence will rock the job market, your company will need a Chief of Work, and cubicle farms will disappear

Correction appended, Dec. 11

If you happen to work at Microsoft, Google, Credit Suisse, or Unilever, you may be slightly ahead of your time — but only slightly. Those four companies have been featured in a new research report on the future of work.

“Most of the changes we’ll see in the next few years have already started to happen, but they will accelerate,” says Peter Andrew, workplace strategy director for Asia at real estate company CBRE. “The future is already here.”

Why real estate? Simple: Many big commercial clients sign leases for a quarter century or more into the future, so the industry keeps an eye on how work, and the places where we do it, are most likely to evolve. CBRE teamed up with Genesis, a giant real estate developer in China, to conduct in-depth interviews and other research with about 220 expert observers, executives, and office workers around the world, many of them Millennials.

The study turned up some intriguing signs of things to come, like these three:

Artificial intelligence will transform the workplace

The era of automation, which has seen robots replace workers in routine jobs in warehouses and on manufacturing assembly lines, is shifting to “knowledge work.” Among the advantages of teaching computers to gather information, and base decisions on it, is that “humans have biases. For example, people tend to be overly optimistic about a risky course of action if they’ve already invested a lot in it,” Andrew says. “AI eliminates those biases.”

It could also eliminate a lot of jobs — up to 50% of what knowledge workers do now, according to some estimates. Economies worldwide “won’t create new jobs at the same rate as we lose old ones,” says Andrew. “So there will be a difficult period of adjustment.”

Andrew likens this to what’s already happened within the legal profession, where computerization of routine research has slashed the number of new associates law firms need to hire. The upside: AI will free up human talent for more interesting, creative work. Eventually, we’ll all get used to it, Andrew says — especially since many of the tasks AI will take over are the business equivalent of household drudgery: “You never hear anyone complain about the invention of the dishwasher.”

Companies will need a Chief of Work

Most C-suites haven’t added new roles since the Chief Information Officer title took hold about 20 years ago, but CBRE’s research suggests that’s about to change. For one thing, companies today have “human resources, we have IT, and we have a real estate division — all acting separately and, often, unwittingly working against each other,” Andrew says.

A Chief of Work would coordinate all that, with an eye toward building a culture that attracts top talent, or what Andrew calls “the complete experience of working for the company, and how that affects performance.” Finding the most efficient balance between full-time employees and growing armies of independent contractors will be in the Chief of Work’s wheelhouse, too.

Office cubicles will be a relic of the past

For huge swaths of the knowledge-working, laptop- or tablet-toting world, technology has already made a desk in an office obsolete, or at least optional. So, partly in the interest of face-to-face collaboration, companies in CBRE’s study are thinking up ways to make workspaces healthier, more comfortable, and more fun.

One example: Old-school fluorescent lighting could be replaced by LED lights that can easily change color throughout the day to reflect subtle changes in the sky outside, like those lights on many airliners now that simulate dawn, midday, and dusk for long-distance travelers.

Companies will also move toward creating campus-like office buildings, like Chiswick Park in England, with amenities and events that draw people in. Andrew says more big companies around the world are starting to hand empty space, including erstwhile cube farms, over to local artists and musicians for use as studios.

“HR people tell us they see a tremendous increase in employee engagement from art, in particular,” says Andrew. “Making a more interesting environment, where you bring more of the broader culture into the space, creates a buzz and an energy that you really can’t replicate in any other way.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

Correction: The original version of this article misstated the surname of Peter Andrew.

TIME Pop Culture

The Most Popular Game in History Almost Didn’t Pass ‘Go’

Soldiers playing Monopoly
Wallace Kirkland—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images US troops on a transport to Australia playing Monopoly, in 1942

Nov. 5, 1935: Parker Brothers begins marketing the game Monopoly

When Parker Brothers rolled the dice on “the real estate game,” it did so reluctantly. The game seemed too long, too complicated, and too niche: who, after all, would get excited about buying imaginary realty in Atlantic City?

The brainchild of an out-of-work heating contractor named Charles Darrow, according to the New York Times, the game that became Monopoly wildly outperformed Parker Brothers’ modest expectations, becoming the most popular game in history. Although they initially rejected Darrow’s offer to sell it to them, the powers that be at Parker Brothers changed their minds after the independently manufactured game began flying off the shelves of a Philadelphia department store, though the company still believed the game was a fad that would soon fade. They began marketing it as Monopoly on this day, Nov. 5, in 1935.

Monopoly sales soon made Darrow so rich that he abandoned the heating trade for a hothouse hobby: growing orchids. According to Hasbro, which acquired Parker Brothers in 1991, more than 275 million Monopoly games — including more than 6 billion green houses and 2.25 billion red hotels — have been sold since 1935.

And while Monopoly remains a fixture in American homes, it has undergone periodic changes in an effort to stay relevant. Last year, following a vote on the Monopoly Facebook page, game lovers chose a new token — a cat, which triumphed over proposed tokens including a toy robot, a guitar, a helicopter, and a diamond ring — to replace the least popular of the existing tokens: the iron. It wasn’t the first upheaval among the tokens, which have at times included a purse, a lantern, an elephant, a horse and rider, and a rocking horse. The game board has gone through a number of updates, too, and met with mixed reviews.

In 1978, to celebrate the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, Parker Brothers released a new version called “Advance to Boardwalk,” which allowed players to build casinos, according to the Times. It never became popular.

In 2006, Hasbro released the “Here and Now” edition, meant to bring the game into the 21st century — in all its branded glory — with corporatized tokens including McDonald’s fries, a Starbucks coffee cup, a New Balance sneaker and a Toyota Prius. According to TIME’s coverage of the new edition, the properties in that version:

… include real estate from around the country, selected by online vote. The railroads have become airports. Weimar-style hyperinflation has set in–for passing Go, you collect $2 million–but Times Square is a bargain at $4 mil, and while it’s a refreshing admission that, yes, you can buy the White House, it cost the present occupant far more than $3.2 million.

This spring, Hasbro adopted a grassroots approach to improving the game by polling players on their “house rules,” acknowledging their findings that half of all Monopoly players have made up their own rules and 68% have never read the official rules all the way through. The House Rules Edition includes the five most popular of those made-up rules, which include doubling the amount collected for passing “Go,” collecting an additional $500 for rolling “snake eyes,” and not collecting rent while in jail.

To appease purists, Hasbro points out that these rules are, of course, entirely optional.

Read more about the 2006 edition of Monopoly, here in TIME’s archives: Monopoly in Elysium

MONEY Charity

The Surprising Reason People Are Mobbing Church Pews

This Jan. 12, 2014 photo shows people gathered for mass inside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Buffalo, N.Y., during a “Mass Mob.”
Carolyn Thompson—AP A "Mass Mob" in January packed the pews of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Buffalo, N.Y.

So-called "Mass Mobs" are flooding beautiful old Catholic churches in Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, and other cities to raise money and boost enthusiasm among the faithful.

The term “flash mob” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004, defined as a group of people meeting in a public place to perform an “unusual or seemingly random act,” before heading off again on their merry way, in also random fashion. While the original inventor of the flash mob came up with the idea as a way to mock hipster conformity, the concept was nonetheless broadly adopted (of course!) by the trend-following masses. Within weeks of the first flash mob, there were copycat events all over the world.

Mobs have since popped up everywhere from Target stores to Manhattan’s Katz’s Deli (the latter for a group re-creation of the fake orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally”). The movement has also been coopted by Russian political operatives, who reportedly paid people to form a flash mob in support of Vladimir Putin; by corporate brands like Oscar Mayer, BMW, Arby’s, and IKEA, which are known to hire “random” flash mobs for marketing events; and even by hoodlums who conduct “flash robs,” in which a group of young people floods a store and grabs as much stuff as possible before running off without paying.

In the next evolution of the flash mob, the masses have turned their attention to, well, mass. Credit for the rise of the Mass Mob goes to a group in Buffalo, which organized its first event at Saint Adalbert Basilica last November and followed that up with a handful of flash mass (in both senses of the word) attendances at other churches in the city. At a Mass Mob in January, for instance, Buffalo’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church received a helping hand in the form of 300 parishioners, when a typical Sunday mass sees fewer than 100 churchgoers.

“Maybe it will inspire people to come a few times a year,” Christopher Byrd, one of Buffalo’s Mass Mob organizers, said of the group’s efforts. “And it gives the church a little one-day boost, attendance-wise and in the collection basket.”

The idea has proven inspirational in another way, with similar Mass Mob groups and events popping up in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. A recent Mass Mob at Detroit’s St. Florian church, for instance, resulted in a crowd of 2,000 people for a mass that’s usually attended by about 200, and the collection basket topped $19,000, also roughly 10 times the norm.

TIME singles

Why 25% of Millennials Will Never Get Married

A new report from Pew Research predicts that more folks under 35 will be single forever. Here's why

The number of Americans who have always been single and will never marry is at a historic high, says a new Pew Research report, partly because they don’t have jobs and partly because marriage is becoming less highly-regarded. Most people think it’s important for couples who intend to stay together to be married, but the number of single Americans who want to get married has dropped significantly even in the last four years.

The report, based on census data and Pew’s surveys, is the latest in a series of indicators that marriage’s stock is on a sharp downward trajectory. Fewer young people are getting married and many are getting married later. About 20% of Americans older than 25 had always been single in 2012, up from 9% in 1960. In the black community, the numbers are even starker: 36% of black Americans older than 25 have never been married, a fourfold increase from 50 years ago.

The one number that hasn’t really budged is the percentage of 64 year olds who have never been married. In 1960, it was 8% and in 2012, it was 7%. But the report’s authors Wendy Wang and Kim Parker say this might be changing. Each decade, the percentage of people of marriageable age who are single has grown. “When today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (roughly 25%) is likely to have never been married,” they write. “This is not to say that adults in their mid-40s to mid-50s who still haven’t married will never marry, but our analysis suggests that the chance of getting married for the first time after age 54 is relatively small,” adds Parker.

Why aren’t people getting married anymore? The three main reasons people give for their singleness are that they haven’t found the right person (30%), aren’t financially stable enough (27%) and are not ready to settle down (22%). Many more young people are eschewing tying the knot, at least for a while, for shacking up. The researchers don’t see that as the new normal yet. “Cohabitation is much less common than marriage and cohabiting relationships are much less stable than marriages,” says Parker.”It’s hard to imagine marriage being replaced any time soon.”

But the Pew researchers teased out a bunch of other reasons by asking what people wanted in a partner.

The quality most women want in a husband, somewhat unromantically, is a secure job, followed very closely by similar ideas on raising kids, which was the quality most men wanted in a spouse. The problem is, the report points out, that young men are increasingly less likely to be employed. “In 1960, 93% of men ages 25 to 34 were in the labor force; by 2012 that share had fallen to 82%.” Those young men who are employed are not bringing home as much bacon as they once did. In fact, if you adjust for inflation, the median hourly wages of men aged 25 to 34 are a fifth less than they were in 1980.

Compounding that issue is that women have entered the labor force in much higher numbers. So while there are more men than women who are single and available, there are far fewer employed men who are single than employed women. Fifty years ago there were 139 single young men with jobs for every 100 single young women; that ratio has now dropped to 91:100. “If all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9% of them would fail,” says the report, “simply because there are not enough men in the target group.”

But lest that bum all the single ladies out too much, the report points out that single young women don’t have to marry single young men: they can marry guys who are divorced, widowed or much older. Should they bother? Now that comedian Sarah Silverman has declared marriage barbaric, is it done? The Pew researchers don’t think so.

“Marriage hasn’t fallen out of favor,” says Parker, “but financial constraints and imbalances in the marriage market may be holding people back from taking the plunge.”

TIME viral

Dear Teens: Please Stop Lighting Yourselves on Fire

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Mark Weiss—Getty Images

The newest viral video trend is literally on fire

Trends change with the seasons, and for America’s Internet-addled teens, there is nothing more trendy than melting skin. Now that the season for tossing boiling water into sub-zero air is far behind us, listless teens have found new ways to critically burn themselves. Betraying a nostalgia for simpler times, some of today’s young adults have returned to the most reliable route to injury in the name of YouTube infamy: dousing your body in accelerant and just straight up lighting yourself on fire.

The Daily Dot reports that videos of teens purposefully engulfing themselves in flames are spreading like wildfire across social media platforms like Vine and YouTube. One Kentucky teen whose video went viral even had to be treated for second-degree burns to his torso.

It is scientifically proven that hormones are extremely flammable even without the help of lighter fluid. This is why it is absolutely crucial for teens to stay away from anything that poses a fire hazard, such as matchbooks or a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

So, kiddos, please step away from the lighter fluid or I will use it to burn this One Direction poster, and you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

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