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The Year In Search Terms

The readers have spoken. Here is your ranking for the top stories of 2009.

1. Iran's protests
2. Global economic crisis
3. Obama's first year in office
4. Swine flu
5. Michael Jackson's death

But to drill a little deeper and really capture the zeitgeist, here is a selection of popular search terms that users typed into Google and then ended up on Some reflect the spirit of the time, while a few are just plain bizarre.

"ahmadinejad jewish"

"sex video"

"yugo car"

"taliban vs al qaeda"

"obama speech"


"what time is the inauguration"

"michael jackson dead"

"power vertical"

"swine flu in ukraine"

"taliban al qaeda difference"


"nokia iran"

"nicaragua's parliament does not approve recognition of south ossetia"

"do reporters care about eastern europe?"

"kite flying in afghanistan"

"medvedev drunk"

"moldova twitter"

"russia kebab cannibals"

"oldest person in the world"

"minsk worst city in europe"

Compare these with Google's most popular search terms of 2009.

-- Luke Allnutt
For years, Russian diplomats have insisted the globe is no longer unipolar, as they seek to downplay the global influence of the United States.

They may have a point. "National Geographic" reports that the Earth's north magnetic pole -- which for decades sat immobile under the frozen reaches of northern Canada -- is on the move.

And it's racing toward...Russia.

Magnetic north is the place where compass needles actually point. It's near but not in the same place as the geographic North Pole.

Due to little understood changes in our planet's core, the magnetic pole is now moving toward Russia at the incredible speed of 64 kilometers per year.

No one is willing to forecast when and if the magnetic pole will cross into Russian territory, but it's looking like a distinct possibility.

-- Jeremy Bransten

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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