Pygmies, Poe, Monkeypox: What’s Spiking (Friday)

The weekday report for the topics and people that are trending on
Yahoo! and across the Web for Friday April 27, 2012.

Research by Search editor Liz Streng

What makes a pygmy short? Why is Poe so pop-culture addictive? Why do mothers worry about monkeypox? These are just some of the stories getting attention on the Web. Below, a roundup of what people are searching for, before the weekend hits.


Pygmies: Ever wonder why Western African pygmies are so short? It’s in their genes. OK, so everything is in the genes, but their height is the stuff of academic debate. Now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are not only signaling out a particular set of genes, but also thinking “hormonal pathways and immune system regulations” played an evolutionary role. What makes the study significant is that most genome studies have been conducted among European populations. For an abstract of the study, head to PLoS Genetics or Scientific American.

Edgar Allan Poe: The John Cusack movie “The Raven” opens today, and searches on Yahoo! have revved up on Edgar Allan Poe and his works. The Atlantic has a theory about our “undying” obsession, thanks to his stories “laden with macabre, feverish imagery.” All together now, from the Poe original: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary/Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore …” Related searches: quoth the raven

Monkeypox: A rash grounded a flight after a worried mother reported to authorities that her daughter, who had just returned from Uganda, might have monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control had the plane quarantined after its landing in Chicago, but it was a false alarm: The rash may have been bedbug bites. Related searches: quarantined plane

More quick hits:


  • Student Loans: The House will be voting on a bill to keep interest rates down on federal student loans at 3.4 percent. The rates would otherwise go up to 6.8 percent in July. See other political news in The Ticket.
  • Ann Romney: The wife of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told of a multiple sclerosis attack right before Super Tuesday that affected her speech: “I try to explain to people what M.S. is like and most people when they get tired they go to empty and have a reserve tank. With M.S., that’s it, you’re done. And you literally collapse and can’t walk and talk.”
  • Bin Laden’s Family: Pakistan sent the late al-Qaida leader’s kin back to Saudi Arabia, nearly one year after he was killed by U.S. special forces.
  • CIA Memo: The latest issue of Time magazine features stories—and this CIA memo—surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden.
  • Joe Biden: The veep told Turkish and Azerbaijani donors at a breakfast event that they looked “dull as hell.” The cost of jesting abuse: $2,500.
  • Karla Vanessa Perez: Move over, Octomom! A Mexican woman is pregnant with nine babies—six girls and three boys. Related search: nuevemom
  • Rick Perry: The Texas governor and former presidential nominee endorsed Romney. But all he got was a tweet acknowledgement: “Great to have @GovernorPerry’s support. Looking forward to working with him – a lot to be done before November.” #isthisallthereis
  • White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Late-night talk-show host and slow-jammer Jimmy Kimmel will host the annual fete Saturday night.
  • George Zimmerman: The defendant on trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin has received $200,000 in online donations for his defense. His site has since been shuttered, as the judge in the case decides whether to increase the amount of Zimmerman’s bond.
  • Brittany Killgore: The Southern California woman apparently sent a text message saying “help” the night she disappeared. Blood and a weapon were found in the car of Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, the second person to be arrested in the case.






  • 2012 NFL Draft Picks: There goes the first round, with Stanford’s Andrew Luck chosen first by the Indianapolis Colts; No. 2 Robert Griffin III headed to the Washington Redskins; No. 3 Oklahoma quarterback Brandon Weeden on his way to the Cleveland Browns—and making the status of current QB Colt McCoy mighty short-term. Related searches: 2012 NFL mock draft database, updated NFL mock draft, Chicago Bears draft 2012, Viking draft, Stellers draft, Seahawks draft, 1938 NFL draft, 1998 NFL draft, 2005 NFL draft, 2012 NFL draft grades, 49ers draft 2012, draft top quarterbacks
  • Urijah Faber: Nature or nurture? The UFC martial artist and “Ultimate Fighter” coach told the story of his mom’s house-sitting and using a pellet gun to stop a burglar. The burglar, thinking the gun was real, stayed put until the police came.
  • Delmon Young: New York police arrested the Detroit Tigers outfielder on a hate-crime charge after he got into a brawl and allegedly yelled anti-Semitic insults at a panhandler who, wearing a yarmulke, approached a group of tourists in front of a hotel.
  • Devils: The New Jersey Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup conference semifinals Thursday, beating the Florida Panthers 3 to 2.
  • Michael Pineda: This All-Star pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, who was traded to the New York Yankees in January, will have season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.
  • Pep Guardiola: “Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola announced Friday he is leaving at the end of the season, ending a four-year reign over one of the greatest eras in club football.” Assistant coach Tito Vilanova will take over coaching duties.
  • Suspending Pro Bowl: According to anonymous sources, Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t thrilled with the Honolulu game, and something about the game “resembling touch football.” Ouch.
  • Aubrey Huff: The San Francisco Giants slugger has been placed on the 15-day disabled list because of an anxiety disorder.

HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WEB What’s popular on Yahoo!, Twitter, Google Trends, CNN, BBC, Hollywood Reporter, and other sources.

Yahoo! News (sampling of the popular)