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10 Obsessions of 2013: The undead, bondage casting, twerking

How do you measure obsession? At Yahoo, we look at concepts that not only had big search averages, but accelerated fast up the search charts. In years past, we’ve had contentious figures (Tiger Mom), dance crazes (Gangnam Style) and the weirdly inexplicable (planking). How does 2013 measure up? Scroll down to see what preoccupied us in 2013. (AMC)

10. Bitstrips

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Instead of finding the local tourist trap for a caricaturist, more than 10 million people downloaded the mobile comics app to star in their own strip. Bitstrips avatars took over Facebook and Twitter feeds, but backlash followed fast: Haters despised the art and inane humor. Too bad: While the Toronto-based Bitstrips preloads the drawings, what’s in the speech balloon comes from pals.

9. Selfie

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Self-portraiture may go back to cave paintings, but smartphones made selfies instant, and social networks became the instant distribution network. The word “selfie,” which was a hashtag as far back as 2004 on Flickr, was named 2013 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

8. Rainbow Loom

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Clumsy fingers aside, crash test engineer Cheong-Choon Ng knew he could show his daughters he could make intricate, vibrant bracelets. Taking rubber bands and a pegboard, he turned fun into a lesson in preteen dexterity and adult entrepreneurship. Buoyed by YouTube lessons, the bargain-priced best-selling Rainbow Loom has sold more than 3 million kits. (Andrew A. Nelles/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

7. Snapchat

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If you’ve never head of Snapchat, chances are you’re over 18 and/or don’t deal with kids. The app has an irresistible simplicity in an information-saturated age: Send a photo that disappears (well, unless you take a screenshot). Talk about no ties: The company, which processes about 350 million messages daily, rejected offers from Facebook ($3B) and Google ($4B).

6. Twerking

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Grinding one’s posterior and suggestive squats were decades-old dance moves before Miley Cyrus wriggled them in her VMA performance. New Orlean’s DJ Jubilee gets the credit for mashing words like twist, twitch, jerk and work in the local bounce music scene in 1993. Some 20 years later, Cyrus cued up a meme that helped score Yahoo’s most-searched person of 2013. (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

5. New 100 dollar bill

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The new Benjamins barely landed in circulation when numismatic conspiracists started reading hidden messages within its antipiracy features. They should’ve been more impressed with the touches of color and texture: After all, as respected as U.S. currency is, the green-and-white color schemes are a little staid. About 3.5 billion bills will be making the rounds. (LM Otero/AP)

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey” casting

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Ardent readers of the 2012 torrid trilogy loaded up e-petitions and fan posters online with their choices on who should play wealthy sexual sadist Christian Grey and ingenue Anastasia Steele. Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam signed on, but outrage may have chased the “Sons of Anarchy” star out. Jamie Dornan quickly took up the silk bonds, but the movie was delayed to Feb. 13, 2015.

3. “The Walking Dead” and the zombie apocalypse

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The undead still dominates as the villain du jour in games and movies, and Yahoo searchers are still prepping for the “zombie apocalypse.” Little wonder then that critics and fans have been eating up Season 4 of the wildly successful gorefest “Walking Dead,” No. 1 among adults 18-49. While few of the characters survive, the AMC show itself will make it to Season 5. (AMC)

2. “Breaking Bad” series finale

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Morally crossed and utterly commanding, “Breaking Bad” made meth dealing high drama. Besotted fans were pent up with anticipation, wondering if redemption was possible for kingpin Walter White, how vengeance would be wrought and what bodies would be left lying in the saturated Albuquerque backdrop. The five-season run left people wrung dry. (Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

1. “Duck Dynasty” family


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Nearly 12 million viewers tuned into the fourth season premiere of the A&E show, a new record for nonfiction cable. Its episodes spin the homey vignettes into Bayou fables, layering messages in cozy kinship, faithful friendship and Bayou tradition with “redneck” witticisms — plus lots of facial hair. And yes, those beards must be contractually kept at a certain length. (A&E)

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