The Curious Incident of the Fish in the Google Trends

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 6 2010 3:00 PM

The Curious Incident of the Fish in the Google Trends

It's usually pretty easy to figure out how a word, phrase, or name makes its way into Google Trends ' "Hot Searches," where the search behemoth lists the queries that are burning up the algorithm. The Consumer Electronics Show is ongoing, so lots of people are searching for info about gadgets like the Nexus One phone and the Blio e-reader ; death announcements, news events, and weather peculiarities—Fulton, N.Y., has had 55 inches of snow!—often make the billing, too.

But today, there's a mystery afoot on Google Trends. The No. 1 and No. 8 trends at the moment refer to the hogchoker fish. The hogchoker is a small fish—about 6 inches—found in coastal waters of North America. The Chesapeake Bay Program's "Bay Field Guide" notes that the odd name "comes from farmers who used to feed these fish to their hogs. The hogs would often choke on the fishes' scaly, bony bodies."

Advertisement

But why are so many people searching for it today? We at Slate searched news items, blogs, and Twitter for a news hook but didn't turn anything up. Do you know what's going on with the sudden increase in hogchoker searches? Let us know in the Fray , or e-mail me at boschv@gmail.com .

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 19 2014 11:37 AM Why Urban Outfitters and Other Brands Troll Their Customers
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 19 2014 11:32 AM Why Do Pirates Talk Like That?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM The Curious Incident of the Supernova in the Nighttime
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.