The Questions and Answers that Defined 2012

2012-132012 was an election year, an Olympics year and the year a superstorm struck the Big Apple. The iPhone 5 was released, Whitney Houston died, and we all heard PSY’s “Gangnam Style” one too many times. Before we ring in 2013, or before the world ends, let’s review some of the top questions you searched for on Answers.com in 2012:

Election coverage dominated the news this year. You were most interested in how the number of electoral votes for each state is determined as well as what Mitt Romney’s real name is. The economy stayed stagnant in 2012, and as a result, job interview questions remained popular on Answers.com. Our top interview question: How do you answer ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses’ in a job interview?
In August, the world tuned into the Summer Olympic Games in London. How much Olympic gold medals are worth piqued your curiosity as did the symbolism of the Olympic rings. In the world of entertainment, you wondered what in the world “Gangnam style” is, how Whitney Houston died, and what the names of the One Direction boys are.

Hurricane Sandy battered the east coast this fall. How many people died from Sandy was one question you wanted answered about the so-called superstorm. On a lighter note, we finally updated our answer to the ever-popular query, Is Kate Middleton pregnant? Next year expect questions about the royal baby to top our list again.

Current events and pop culture aside, are you curious what was our most popular question of the year? Here you go: What is the easiest way to get rid of lower stomach fat? (Clicked more than 650,000 times!) Hmm, look’s like some New Year’s resolutions are in order.

The Newtown Tragedy: When There Are No Answers

holdinghandsHere at Answers.com we would love to believe there is an answer to every question. But why a young man would kill his mother, 20 first graders, six adults and then himself, we don’t know. And we may never know. Our hearts are broken over the senseless loss of life and innocence and our minds yearn for an explanation.

Many of the questions you searched for on Answers.com this past weekend were related to the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. You wondered how many gun deaths are in the United States every year (around 30,000). You asked how many Americans own guns (nearly half). And you were curious which countries ban firearms (the UK has some of the strictest laws).

But those are just facts. And none of those facts can fully explain the evil that visited Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14, 2012. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this tragedy and we hope for a brighter future.

Five Questions about Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy

williamandkateAfter months of tabloid speculation, it’s official — Kate Middleton is pregnant. St. James Palace announced the news on December 3 after the Duchess was hospitalized for morning sickness.

Questions about the highly anticipated announcement have been rolling in to Answers.com. Here are five popular questions about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy:

1. When is Kate Middleton’s due date?

2. Is Kate Middleton having a boy or girl?

3. Will William and Kate’s child be heir to the throne?

4. Can Kate Middleton’s baby inherit the throne if it is a girl?

5. Where will William and Kate live with their baby?

Ask and answer more questions about Kate Middleton in the comments or in our category about the Duchess here.

Five Questions about Presidential Elections

On November 6, Americans will elect their next president and we’ve got answers to your questions about elections.

1. Election Day is always held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Which makes us wonder: Why are US elections held on a Tuesday?

2. Alright, so you cast your ballot. Now what? How do elections exactly work? And what is the electoral college all about?

3. Elections are the best example of the democratic process, but were there ever US presidents that weren’t elected by the people?

4. So maybe you have a jaded view of voting. What are two good reasons you should exercise your right to vote?

5. Many Americans have the option to vote early or by mail, but if you’re planning on going to the polls Tuesday, you might be wondering when the polls close in your state.

P.S. Curious who is going to win? Check out these weird ways to predict the presidency. And if you’re not happy with the result, find out when the next presidential election is here.

Hurricane Sandy: Get Your Answers Here

Superstorm Sandy hit the northeastern US on Monday and Tuesday with relentless winds, rain and flooding. Millions of Americans are without power and dozens of coastal towns in New Jersey and New York are under siege. The horrendous hurricane has caused at least 30 deaths. Our thoughts are with those affected by Sandy.

 

Answers.com has a new category for Hurricane Sandy Q&A. Here are a few popular questions related to the storm:

Baseball, Coffee & Costumes: Weird Ways to Predict the Presidency

Forget the polls, here are some quirky ways to foresee who will be our next commander-in-chief.

1. World Series 

According to baseball researchers, there’s a correlation between the league that wins the World Series and the party that takes the White House. If the American League wins, it’s more likely a Republican will win the election. If the National League takes it, a Democratic win is in the cards.

2. Halloween costumes

Sales of presidential candidate Halloween masks can foretell the winner, according to Spirit Halloween stores. The more masks sold, the more likely a candidate will win.

3. Coffee Cups

Convenience store chain 7-11 claims that their 7-Election coffee cups are a more accurate predictor of the American vote than professional polls. The chain sells blue and red cups to represent the rival parties and whichever sells the most predicts the winner.

4. The Redskin Rule

If the Washington Redskins win the game before Election Day, the incumbent party will win the election.

5. The Kids Vote

Scholastic holds a mock kids vote every year. And since 1940, the results of that election have predicted the winner every time except twice. This week, Scholastic released the results and the kids picked Obama.

Looks like it’s up to sports to determine the winner. In addition to winning the kids vote, Obama has a lead when it comes to Halloween mask and coffee cup sales. Who do you think will win this election?

Top 10 Pop Culture Halloween Costumes for 2012

Thinking of dressing up as a witch or vampire this Halloween? You’re not alone. Witch, vampire and pirate getups are the three most popular costumes this Halloween season, according to the National Retail Federation. But if you want to look beyond the broomstick, think about costume ideas based on pop culture and current events from 2012.

Here are 10 ideas for pop culture Halloween costumes this year:

1. Gangnam Style

PSY’s Gangnam Style, a rap song that parodies an upscale district in Seoul, South Korea, is 2012′s biggest viral video. Throw on some shades, tuxedo and sneakers and enter your Halloween party doing the horse-riding dance and you’re a shoe-in for best costume of the night.

2. President Obama or Mitt Romney

It’s election day just six days after Halloween. Dressing up as the incumbent or his rival is sure to spark a debate amongst your friends, especially if you bring along a birth certificate or tax return.

3. Big Bird

Everyone is rallying behind Sesame Street’s main personality, after Mitt Romney proposed cutting PBS funding in the first presidential debate. Buy a bunch of yellow boas to fashion a Big Bird costume, and be prepared to entertain the kids.

4. Lost Tourist using Apple Maps

Apple Maps, part of the new iOS6, is notoriously bad. Hospitals are misnamed as supermarkets, bridges plunge into water and entire cities disappear. (CEO Tim Cook had to issue an apology about it all.) So it’s not all that far fetched to dress up as a hypothetical tourist, lost from using Apple Maps. Or, even better, don a black turtleneck and be Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave.

5. Olympian McKayla Maroney

Alright, so you can dress up as any of the Fab Five, or maybe Ryan Lochte if you’re comfortable in a speedo. But our pick for the best Olympian costume would be gymnast Mckayla Maroney of “Mckayla’s not impressed” meme fame. A leotard, tight ponytail and pursed, unapproving lips are all you need for this costume.

6. The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen or Effie Trinket

If you’re a fan of going all out for Halloween, Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games is your girl. White hair, gaudy makeup and outlandish clothing will make you an Effie lookalike. Minimal more your style? Channel Katniss Everdeen’s hunter chic with some cargo pants, boots and braided hair. Don’t forget your bow and arrow.

7. Prince Harry

What happened in Vegas is all over the Internet for this royal. A Prince Harry costume? Hmm, how about boxers and a beer can? Not much creativity is required to mimic the party boy.

8. Justin & Selena

If you need a couples costume idea, try lovebirds Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Shaggy hair and hightops for Biebs, wavy locks and boho chic clothes for Selena are all you need. Oh and memorizing the lyrics to “Baby” wouldn’t hurt.

9. Sam Shakusky & Suzy Bishop

Hipper than Justin & Selena? Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom featured a quirky young couple in love. Wear a scouting uniform for Sam Shakusky, and a vintage pink dress for Suzy Bishop.

10. Snooki’s baby boy Lorenzo

Slather on some fake tanning lotion, pop in a pacifier, and you’re set! Alright, we’re sorry Lorenzo, you’re pretty cute.

What do you think of our ideas? If you have any of your own pop culture themed costume ideas, let us know in the comments. If nothing struck your fancy from this list, don’t worry. Answers.com contributors have your back. Check out the answer to What are some good Halloween costume ideas? for tons of ideas.

Year in Review: Our Top Questions of 2011

2011 is winding down and you know what that means — time for our year in review! Take a look back on current events from the past 365 days and what questions and answers you clicked on the most.

January: The NFL playoffs were in full swing, which made our top question this month What is the date for Super Bowl 2011? (The Packers defeated the Steelers 31-25.) Another popular in January was Where can you play Angry Birds online? Apparently the smartphone app wasn’t enough to satisfy our desire to slingshot birds at greedy pigs. During post-holiday January, you were also curious about When should you take down your Christmas tree and decorations? Answers vary from New Year’s Day, to the Epiphany (Jan. 6) to whenever those needles look so dry they could be a fire hazard!

February: Even though Charlie Sheen was #winning the TV news cycle in February, the Green Bay Packers dominated Answers.com traffic. Two of our top questions for February this year asked about the Green and Gold including: How many Super Bowls have the Green Bay Packers won? (Answer: 6), What does the G stand for on a Green Bay Packer helmet? (Answer: Greatness).

March: The death of iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor prompted many of you to wonder, Where are Elizabeth Taylor’s children now? Our minds also turned to those in Japan and the staggering death toll from the March 11 Sendai earthquake and tsunami. How many people died in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011? Answer: 15,841

April: Love was in the air this month as Prince William wed Kate Middleton, making royalty-related queries spike in popularity. Some of our top questions this month were: What is the full name of Prince William?, What is Queen Elizabeth’s last name? and When did Princess Diana and Prince Charles get married?

May: The world’s most wanted terrorist was killed by American soldiers on May 2, making How did Osama bin Laden die? an obvious top question for this month. Harold Camping predicted the Rapture on May 21 this year (and hey look, we’re still here!). Whether or not you believed his end times prediction, you were asking about it — When is the world going to end? was a very popular query in May.

June: Summer arrived in the Northern Hemisphere meaning BBQs, vacations and swimming! As a result, you were curious to ask: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a saltwater swimming pool? And since we were baring more skin by the pool or on the beach, the question What is the easiest way to get rid of lower stomach fat? shot up in popularity.

July: Sports fans dread July for its lull in activity so they might want to cover their eyes when reading the answer to this top question: On which two days of the year are no professional sports games played — MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL? The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on July 15 had you wondering about all things wizardly. As such, What are the seven Horcruxes in the Harry Potter series? earned a spot on our top question list in July.

August: Pop star Beyonce revealed her baby bump at the Video Music Awards this month so When did Beyonce get pregnant? racked up the page views. And even in the depths of summer, many of you were still on the job hunt thanks to the recession. Two popular job-related queries this month were: How do you answer ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses’ in a job interview? and How do you answer ‘Describe yourself’ in an interview?

September: For some odd reason, What was the largest crocodile ever captured? made our high-traffic list this month. On a more serious note, the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 was on all our minds. The #1 question for September was How many people died in the September 11 attacks?

October: Iconic innovator Steve Jobs died this month, leading many of you to ask Who are Steve Jobs’ children? The
release of Paranormal Activity 3 also had you wondering Is the movie ‘Paranormal Activity’ based on a true story? — another to question during the month of Halloween.

November: Americans prepped for Thanksgiving with the most important of questions: How do you cook a turkey? and How long do you defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator?

December: Kids turned to Answers.com this month for answers to life’s most urgent questions: What is Santa’s address? and more importantly, Is Santa Claus real?

So what do you think of this year’s top questions? Predictable? Surprising? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Five most popular questions on Steve Jobs

Legendary businessman Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away this week. Although a very private person, Jobs was a public icon and very revered in the tech scene. The ubiquitous white earbuds you see every day are a testament to how revolutionary his “i”nventions have been.

Since the news of his death first hit the internet, Answers.com contributors have flooded the site with questions about Apple’s mastermind. Here are five of the most popular questions on Steve Jobs this week, based on traffic:

Who are Steve Jobs’ children?

How did Steve Jobs die?

Was Steve Jobs a Christian?

What did Steve Jobs invent?

Did Steve Jobs and Bill Gates work together?

For more Steve Jobs Q&A visit his category page here.

Presidential Elections 2012: Republicans in the Running

Presidential election season is once again upon us. The Republicans are rounding up their best to compete against Barack Obama and nine nominees have given an official announcement of their candidacy. So, just who are the 2012 GOP presidential candidates? Get ready for the 2012 election by learning more about each of these politicians:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is currently being considered the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination. As former governor of Massachusetts, he helped pioneer divisive healthcare law that some call “RomneyCare” in the likes of “ObamaCare.” Romney is also a Latter-day Saint, or Mormon, which was seen as a major obstacle to his 2008 presidential run.

Jon Huntsman

Jon Huntsman is former governor of Utah and former ambassador to China. He is son of billionaire Jon Huntsman, Sr. and is fairly new to the Republican race. Challenges he could face include: name recognition, having a moderate stance on social issues, and his religion (he is also a Mormon).

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the U.S. House from Georgia. He helped lead a Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and has built name recognition through his many speeches, books and policy positions.

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty is a former governor of Minnesota and is known for being consistently conservative on social and economic issues. He has visited many of the primary states recently while doing a book tour and built name recognition when he was selected as a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain in 2008.

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is a current US representative for the state of Minnesota and a Tea party favorite. She was the first Republican woman to represent the state of Minnesota in Congress and made headlines when she said in an interview that Barack Obama “may have anti-American views,” during his 2008 presidential run.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza from Atlanta, Georgia and is highly backed by Tea Partiers. His bid for the Senate seat of Georgia in 1994 was unsuccessful and many wonder if he can pull off a national campaign.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul is a fiery Congressman from Texas whose libertarian views have built a large grassroots following.  He has spoken out about US foreign policy, specifically ending the war in Iraq and on fiscal policy.

Gary E. Johnson is a former governor of New Mexico. He is a libertarian with small government and anti-tax ideals, although he supports gay marriage, abortion rights and looser immigration rules. He does not have a lot of name recognition and may have trouble appealing to the Republican base.

Rick Santorum is a former US Senator of Pennsylvania.

Turn to Answers.com to learn more interesting facts about the candidates such as:

What religion is Michele Bachmann?

Where did Mitt Romney go to college?

What are Ron Paul’s views on abortion?

How old is Newt Gingrich?

Where is Tim Pawlenty from?

How old is Rick Santorum?

Five inspirational quotes from Oprah Winfrey.

Considered to be the world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey is ending her 25-year reign as the queen of daytime talk television this week. The final Oprah Winfrey show will air today, May 25, 2011. Oprah will then focus on her new cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

In her quarter century on national TV, Oprah has hosted thousands of guests — from presidents to Michael Jackson — and doled out plenty of wisdom along the way. Here are five examples of  inspirational words from this extraordinary woman:

Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.

I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism.

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Read more about Oprah and her life story on Answers.com and ask your own questions here.

All your Royal Wedding questions answered.

Are you as excited as we are for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? Judging on the number of questions we’re getting about the big event, we think you are. In case the coverage of thousands (yes, thousands!) of journalists who have descended on London for the nuptials doesn’t satisfy your appetite, you can always turn to Answers.com for more. We’ve set up a new category for all your burning questions about royal weddings, past and present. Check out the new Royal Weddings category here.

There you’ll find queries such as:

What TV channels will broadcast the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton?

Where can you watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton online?

What will Kate Middleton’s royal title be after she marries Prince William?

Who has been announced as Prince William’s ‘Best Man’ for the Royal Wedding?

Who is the flower girl at the Royal Wedding?

Q&A not enough? Check out the royal wedding coverage on Video Answers.

Here’s a look back at the 10-year romance of Prince William and Kate Middleton:

Where my Peeps at?

Easter is next Sunday, but it’s highly likely most of you have been noshing on some Easter sweets already, are we right? Although chocolate takes the cake as Easter’s most popular candy, Americans eat 700 million marshmallow Peeps every spring. The Chicago Tribune has a great slideshow that goes into the Just Born factory to see just how Peeps are made.

Leave it to our Answers.com contributors to fill us in on these brightly colored treats:

Where were Peeps invented?

How many colors do marshmallow peeps come in?

Why are Peeps made out of marshmallows?

How many calories are in one marshmallow peep?

Kids, don’t try this one at home: Why do marshmallow peeps explode when heated?

Hosting an Easter dinner this weekend? Check out these creative centerpieces (including one made out of Peeps!) in this clip from Video Answers.

http://embed.5min.com/267508187/&sid=813/

All your Passover questions answered.

Passover begins tonight at sundown and lasts seven days. Passover commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  Jews celebrate this important holiday with a traditional two-night feast, called a Seder, meaning “order.” At a Seder, friends and family gather, a variety of dishes are prepared, songs are sung and the story of passover is told.

Other interesting facts about Passover:

  • To produce Passover matza, flour must remain in contact with water for no longer than 18 minutes before it is baked.
  • Coca-cola makes a kosher Coke for Passover version, substituting pure sugar for corn syrup in its recipe (Ashkenazi Jews customarily refrain from eating corn on Passover).
  • Moses, the leader who was central to the biblical account of the Exodus, is notably absent from the Haggada, the rabbinic retelling of the story. This is to emphasize the divine, miraculous nature of the event.
  • Some believe that Jesus’ Last Supper was a seder.

To learn more about this important Jewish holiday, read some Passover questions and answers here and check out this clip from Video Answers.

Tax Day Delayed! (You still have to pay them though.)

If you woke up last night in a cold sweat realizing April 15th is fast approaching and you haven’t filed your taxes yet, we have some good news for you. Your tax return isn’t due until next Monday! Why did Uncle Sam cut us Americans some slack this year? You can thank a little known holiday, Emancipation Day, celebrating the abolition of slavery. This year it falls on a Saturday but will be officially observed in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 15th, closing many federal buildings. As a result, the IRS pushed the income tax deadline to Monday, April 18th.

Haven’t filed yet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The IRS estimates “20 to 25 percent of all taxpayers file in the final two weeks of the tax season.” The average individual spends upwards of 14 hours on his tax return, so an extra weekend should be plenty of time, right? Check out this clip from Video Answers for tips on how to prepare your tax return this year.

Angry that you had to cough up more cash to the government? Hey, at least America’s tax rate isn’t close to 50 percent like other countries!

Some more helpful answers to prepare you for Tax Day:

SXSW coverage at Answers.com and beyond.

Are you attending SXSW this week? Are you wishing you were there? Are you wondering what I’m talking about?

Answers.com has an SXSW Q&A category just for you.

Learn all about South by Southwest, the annual Music + Film + Interactive event in Austin, Texas. This year the conference/festival started on March 11th and will run through March 20th.

You can get the ‘best of’ the Interactive part of SXSW by our very own Product Management greatness, Gil Reich. Check out his SXSW review: Best of SXSW Interactive 2011. You can also find out how last week’s SMX West stacked up.

What is tiger blood, and why does Charlie Sheen have it?

Whether you’re into the gossip columns, entertainment blogs and celebrity news  - or not – the term ‘tiger blood’ may have seeped into your subconscious over the last few weeks. Specifically, in relation to Charlie Sheen, who aside from doing a lot of ‘winning’ lately seems to have coined quite a few crazy phrases.

Well, no need to look further than Answers.com: What is tiger blood?

Here’s a quick excerpt:

During his publicity tour in February and March 2011, American actor Charlie Sheen often compared himself to a tiger, claiming he has tiger blood running through his veins… When asked by Access Hollywood what tiger blood means, Sheen said, “I don’t know. It’s blood that flows through me that I can feel.”

So, are you willing to try the new cocktail named after Charlie Sheen’s free-flowing tiger fluids? Seems like bars across America are giving it a shot – even P. Diddy gave it his own twist. Find out how to make your own: What is in a Tiger’s Blood cocktail?

By the way, I don’t think it’s coincidental that when categorizing the cocktail question, I was repeatedly offered the same category:

Hmm…

 

 

Predict Super Bowl XLV winner with chicken wing bones.

Yes, you heard me. Predict the Super Bowl XLV winner with buffalo chicken wing bones.

Answers.com presents a hungrynation chef predicting the outcome of tonight’s Super Bowl with his eaten chicken wing bones… Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Disclaimer: Not to sound too skeptical, but you may not want to put too much money down based on this one.

And, in all fairness, if you want to watch the game itself and be totally sure, you can find that out on Answers.com, too: What time does the Super Bowl start?

For settling your Super Bowl munchies, check out our very own list of super snacks.

And if you’re not sure what this whole Super Bowl thing is about – and could use some background before joining in the cheers – here’s a quick guide.

Some more info to get you going before the game begins:

For more Super Bowl Q&As, facts, and trivia, check out the Super Bowl category on Answers.com.

5 fascinating facts about the Chinese New Year.

Happy new year! Sure, it’s February, but we’re not talking about the Gregorian new year. Today marks the first day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. So pull up a chair to the reunion dinner, have some Niangao, open a red envelope, dance with a dragon and read on for more fascinating facts about celebrating this new year festival.

  1. Party like it’s 15 days! And you thought the week between Christmas and New Years is long. This  new year festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar, and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day.
  2. Think traveling the week of Thanksgiving is tough? The largest human migration happens during the month around Chinese New Year due to the travel of migrant workers in China and Chinese ex-pats around the world arriving home for the traditional reunion family dinners on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Did you know? There are more intercity trips taken inside mainland China for this celebration than the total population of China itself.
  3. Spring cleaning come early. Days before the celebration begins, Chinese families give their homes a deep clean. The belief is that the cleaning helps sweep away any bad luck from the outgoing year, making homes ready for the new year’s good luck. But it’s not all work and no play: brooms are shoved aside on the first new year’s day so as not to sweep away incoming good luck.
  4. When else could you dance with a lion? Dragon and lion dances are a fun, colorful feature for the Chinese New Year. Loud drum beats and cymbals, together with the faces of the dragon or lion dancing, rid us of the evil spirits. Fun fact: Lion dances are also a popular activity for business openings in Hong Kong.
  5. It’s not just China. Wherever a sizable Chinese population can be found, so can Chinese New Year. That includes Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and others in the region. In addition, although it’s not an official holiday there, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations in Australia, Canada and the United States. Even the mail gets into it: the Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service all issue New Year’s themed stamps.

Read more fascinating facts about the Chinese New Year on Answers.com. Check out the Answer of the Day for more Chinese New Year trivia: Do the Japanese and Chinese have the same zodiacal calendar?