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An unexpected promposal from Robin Williams

Robin Williams and Ben Stiller help their Midnight at the Musuem co-star, and high school senior, Skyler Gisondo ask a girl to prom in this Prom Proposal (Credit: jgoal10 via Youtube) Robin Williams's suicide made him Google's #1 search topic in 2014, but he is still generating headlines today.  Here's why: a teenager who costarred with him and Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum sought their help in asking a girl to the prom.  (This is called a "promposal," a new word for me.)  The YouTube video they made is hilarious, and has gone viral.  Watching it makes me miss Robin Williams all over again.  But his death proves that celebrity and wealth are no guarantee of life.

Also among Google's top ten searches for 2014 was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8 and still has not been found.  Air travel is the safest form of transportation (statistically, according to The New York Times, a traveler could fly every day for 123,000 years and still be safe), but no flight's safety is guaranteed.

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2014's top 10 stories: an addictive game and a drag queen

Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst poses with the trophy after winning the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen May 11, 2014 (Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz)When Vietnamese businessman Dong Nguyen invented the video game Flappy Bird in 2013, he had no idea that he created a phenomenon.  Six months later, it was the most downloaded free game in the iOS App Store and was earning $50,000 a day.  Last February, Nguyen removed the game from Apple's App Store and Google Play, stating that he felt guilty over the game's addictive nature.  Irate players threatened to murder him or commit suicide, perhaps making his point.  A revised version was released in August.

It's no surprise that Flappy Bird would be included in Google's Top 10 searches for 2014.  Here's a name that was less predictable: Tom Neuwirth, better known by his persona Conchita Wurst.  Neuwirth is openly gay, and performs as a drag queen.  As Conchita Wurst, he won the Eurovision Song Contest for 2014 and subsequently performed in various gay pride parades, the European Parliament, and the United Nations regional headquarters in his homeland of Austria.  A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Wurst a "cultural icon."

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2014's top 10 ​stories: Ebola and Frozen

Olaf, the snowman from Disney's Frozen, smiles as he looks at a flower (Credit: Disney Movies)What do the movie Frozen and the Ebola epidemic have in common?

The first earned $67 million on opening weekend and became one of the most beloved movies of all time.  The second has killed more than 7,500 people and could cost the global economy $32 billion.  They share the fact that they made the top 10 list of Google searches for 2014.  And they illustrate this lesson: people matter forever.

In Frozen, a character named Anna sets off on an epic journey to find her sister Elsa.  At one point she is alone, shivering on a floor without heat.  Her situation is dire.  Her snowman friend Olaf finds her and starts a fire to revive her.  As Olaf begins to melt, Anna begs him to back away.  But Olaf responds with this memorable line: "Some things are worth melting for."

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The best of 2014: Sochi Olympics and World Cup

Germany players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples) Google has released its top ten search topics for the year.  On the global list for 2014 are—no surprise—the Sochi Olympics and the World Cup.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia were held February 6-23 and were watched by more than two billion people.  The World Cup was played in Brazil last June 12-July 13.  More than a billion people watched the final between Germany and Argentina; a billion accessed World Cup information through the tournament's digital platforms.  The Cup's global significance became personal for me when I tried to hail a cab in New York City but most of the drivers were at home watching the competition.

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The best of 2014: Ice Bucket Challenge

Houston Texans Coach Bill O'Brien (center) Chief Operating Officer Cal McNair (right) and Houston Chronicle reporter Brian Smith take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday to raise money for the ALS Association. (Credit: AP/David J. Phillip) Mitchell Whisenhunt left an amazing gift for his daughter.  Mitchell died last October at the age of 26.  After his death, his widow was astonished to discover letters he left for her and their 18-month-old girl.  She will open a letter from her father every year from her second to her 18th birthdays.  Mitchell's gift highlights the abiding power of the written word, and is inspiring enough to be included in ABC's "most heartwarming stories of 2014."

On a different end-of-year topic, Google has released its top ten search topics for the year.  On the global list for 2014 is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which swept the Internet last summer and raised more than $115 million for ALS research.

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