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No. 10: Polar Vortex

A liberal plot from climate-change apologists? That was radio personality Rush Limbaugh's take in January, after an Arctic sweep led to record-low temperatures from Wisconsin to Florida. The term "polar vortex" did smack of sci-fi mythology. Comedians and Twitter wags alike gleefully batted the phrase about. And, of course, these days there must be a sequel:

The polar vortex returned later in the year, although pundits pointed out that people were using the term all wrong . As far as Limbaugh’s suspicion that the the phrase was a liberal invention, The Wall Street Jounal pointed out that it goes as far back as Victorian England, when journalist John Capper wrote about a “great polar vortex” in a magazine called Household Words, edited by Charles Dickens.

The Year’s Obsessions

Vera H-C Chan
Senior Editor, Special Projects
Yahoo Tech

How does one qualify as an obsession? In the case of this top 10 list of search terms, it’s a jab-hook combo of search volume and growth. Yahoo first launched

10 Obsessions of 2010

, which featured the likes of “Jersey Shore,” Facebook, bedbugs, and Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl” thrillers. And then the obsessions list got, well, all-consuming. After all, how else to explain

2011’s fascination

with the Rapture, Tiger Mom, and planking? Or the

2012 addiction

to Mega Millions lotteries, Honey Boo Boo, and “Gangnam Style”? And selfies and twerking and zombies in

2013? Sorry, we got a little carried away. Here’s what people couldn’t stop looking up in 2014.