If we are what we Google, then Google Hot Trends —an hourly rundown of search terms "that experience sudden surges in popularity"—is the Web's best cultural barometer. Here's a sampling of today's top searches. (Rankings on Hot Trends list current as of 9 a.m.)
No 1: "alexis cohen death ." Alexis Cohen, the 25-year-old American Idol contestant famous for flipping off Simon in Seasons 7 and 8, was killed in a hit-and-run this morning in Seaside Heights, N.J. "She had a very, very high regard for Simon Cowell ... that [ranting] was done purposely to get ratings," her mother told themorningcall.com. Idol judge Paula Abdul tweeted today: "My heart goes out to the family of Alexis Cohen."
No 19: "apple tablet." The Financial Times today confirmed the widespread rumors that Apple is launching a tablet computer in September, leading to much speculation about the device. The FT report suggests that Apple is trying to revitalize the multi-song album by letting consumers see liner notes and album art; Forbes thinks iPhone App developers will be hurt by the tablet because of the added hassle of programming for a second platform; Wired sees the tablet as a potential "Kindle killer" if it's got sufficient battery life.
"No. 35: stephon marbury." What do NBA free agents do while waiting to be signed? On Friday, troubled former Knicks guard Stephon Marbury streamed his life to the Internet for 24 hours straight on Ustream.tv. A sample of the poetry that came out of his face during that time, courtesy of Deadspin : "UStream TV, you see me. Holla back if the window is crack. Whatup, Star. Born. you know who you are. Holla. I love Canada. 'Ohhh, Canada. We'—I love that song. I love y'all's anthem. That anthem is dope. And I love when I come there and they sing it. I love hearing it. It's fresh. Now, I never suck no wee-wee before."