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Dinner Party Download: Tracking happiness, traffic lights and a new Swiss anthem

A traffic light controls the flow of vehicles and pedestrians April 20, 2005 near downtown Chicago, Illinois.
A traffic light controls the flow of vehicles and pedestrians April 20, 2005 near downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Every week we get your weekend conversation starters with Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam, the hosts of the Dinner Party Download podcast and radio show.

On tap this week:

America's Happiest Places, Brought To You By Twitter
A University of Vermont study geotagged tweets, and the Huffington Post compiled a map showing happy or unhappy Americans are based on a positive-negative scale using 10,000 words and their frequency across the U.S. Almost all of the happiest cities were in California or Colorado, while the South was the saddest region with Louisiana being the saddest state. The happiest states are in the Rocky Mountains as well as Maine and Vermont, so maybe more exposure to nature has an effect as well?

Happy Birthday To The Traffic Light
Ninety-nine years ago this week, the first electronic traffic signal was placed on a corner in Cleveland, Ohio. It had four pairs of red and green lights, each mounted on a post. It was wired to a manually operated switch, and configured to make conflicting signals impossible. So while the streetcars and horse-drawn carriages that roamed the streets along with motor vehicles back then are almost all gone, the invention seems like a concept built to last.

Switzerland To Hold Contest For New National Anthem
Deciding that the old lyrics are outdated, the Swiss government has decided to hold a contest next year to create a new national anthem. The goal of the new lyrics are to include ideals in the Swiss constitution, like solidarity and democracy, and submissions will be judged by a jury of 25 members from all areas of Swiss life. The competition will run from January to June of 2014, and the winner will receive 10,000 swiss francs, a little over $10,000. Plus a shot at being a part of the nation's personal pride, at least until the next anthem change.