Mortgage Loans, Supermoon, Jessica Simpson Baby: What’s Spiking (Tuesday)

Vera H-C Chan

The weekday report for the topics and people that are trending on
Yahoo! and across the Web for Tuesday May 1, 2012
.

Research by Search editor Liz Streng

On May Day, as some of the 99 percent took to the streets, others took to the Web to dig into other financial matters such as mortgage loans. On the science front, an impending celestial phenomenon has generated a lot of anticipation. And while celebrity babies get more than their fair share of coverage, one singer's heavyweight has been getting a double-take. Here now, some of the searches, and the stories behind them, that have been occupying people's minds today.

STANDOUT SPIKES

Mortgage loans: Pointing to internal documents, Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and John Tierney, D-Mass., sent a letter questioning why Fannie Mae canceled a 2009 pilot program that would have reduced mortgage principals for homeowners and saved taxpayer money. A former Fannie Mae employee said the program had been stopped by people "philosophically opposed to writing down principal balances." The letter, sent to Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, also criticized DeMarco for mentioning these internal documents during a November 2011 congressional hearing.

Supermoon: Come Saturday at 11:35 p.m. EDT, a full moon will coincide with the planet's proximity to the earth (221,802 miles), making this the "biggest" and "brightest" (16 percent brighter than average) of 2012. Some have blamed the phenomenon for causing devastating tidal forces; the last took place March 2011 before the Japan earthquake and tsunami. While lunar tides can be higher than usual, scientists have dismissed connections to the 2011 disaster, and nothing extreme is expected this week.

Jessica Simpson baby: The singer and husband Eric Johnson welcomed a whopper of a baby: Maxwell, coming in at 9 lbs. 13 ounces. The average birth weight of a U.S. baby is about 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and 80 percent of newborns range between 6 pounds and 9 pounds 4 ounces. Maxwell doesn't approach the 2012 records: Chun Chun weighed in at 15.52 pounds, winning her the title of China's biggest baby in recorded history. A few weeks later, Naimh came in at 14 pounds, 4 ounces to be the British leader. Among her celebrity peers, Maxwell seems to come in after the not-so-wee babes of Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford (Mary, 10 pounds, 3 ounces), Sean Young and Bob Luhan (Quinn, 10 pounds, 3 ounces), and Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid (Jack, 10 pounds).

NEWS & POLITICS

  • Chen Guangchen: The blind activist, who managed to escape house arrest, is the subject of delicate conversations between Chinese and U.S. officials. The self-taught lawyer made it to Beijing to U.S. diplomats. Political asylum is being discussed, although Chen does not want to leave behind his civil rights efforts.
  • Anna Mackowiak: Shades of "Marathon Man." A Polish woman scorned used her professional dental skills as vengeance when she allegedly removed her ex's teeth. All 32. She's under investigation for medical malpractice and faces a potential jail sentence.
  • Dan Savage: The columnist who started the "It Gets Better" movement apologized for criticizing students for walking out of an April 13 Seattle lecture in which he said people could "learn to ignore" anti-gay biblical passages.
  • Osama bin Laden: The anniversary of his death is today.
  • Glynis Lawson: A Georgia tornado victim, found in the wreckage of her home, told her story of being packed in a body bag and brought to a temporary morgue. A nurse heard moans and unzipped the bag to find her alive.
  • Isabel Celis: Police have focused on a breaking-and-entering case that happened 30 minutes north of the missing girl's home in Tucson. On Monday, a white male in his 20s allegedly entered a bedroom and molested a girl before fleeing.
  • Kelly Ayotte: The New Hampshire senator, thought to be a Republican VP candidate, campaigned with Mitt Romney on April 30 and evoked much speculation.
  • May Day: Besides being International Workers' Day in some countries and an Occupy moment in some American states, May 1 is also a spring festival in which children play around a maypole and hand out baskets full of goodies. Related search: Occupy May Day
  • Nayati Moodliar: Social media has spread news of the 12-year-old Dutch boy kidnapped on April 27 around the globe. He was allegedly seized by two men in a black car on his way to school in Malaysia.
  • RFK Assassination: A witness named Nina Rhodes-Hughes told CNN that investigators changed her account that she heard two guns in the 1968 assassination of the president's brother. Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the murder, recanted his confession after the 1969 trial.
  • Rupert Murdoch: The British parliament has declared the media mogul unfit to run his own company, following the devastating phone-hacking scandal.
  • World's Greatest Gambler: The title was claimed by Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston Jr., who died of colon cancer at age 83. He won the 1972 World Series of Poker Main Event and is in the Poker Hall of Fame.

SCIENCE & NATURE

  • Bullied dolphin: A beleaguered dolphin hid out from a "pushy pod" along the California coast. While the marine mammal has been dubbed "bullied," some want to hear the pod's side of the story.
  • Frog Relaxes: A video goes viral over a frog sitting on its patootie. Does Michigan J. Frog know about this?
  • Peru Pelican Deaths: An investigation is underway as to why nearly 600 pelicans have died on the northern coast. This is the same stretch where 877 dolphins were found dead earlier in April, washed up in the tides.
  • Priapism: The erectile disorder is at the crux of a lawsuit by a man who has taken issue with the design of 1993 BMW motorcycle. The rider claims a four-hour ride resulted in a two-year (yes, year) condition.
  • Sea Shadow: On auction now, DARPA's stealth ship, valued at $195,000. Opening bid's just $50K with just a $10K down payment.
  • SpaceX Capsule: The private company launches the first commercial spacecraft, the unmanned Dragon capsule, to the International Space Station on May 7.

BUSINESS & MONEY

  • Generic Lipitor: The cholesterol pill went generic, and has been partly blamed for the drugmaker Pfizer's first-quarter decline in profits, down about 19 percent.
  • Nook: Microsoft and Barnes & Noble will partner to make the e-reader more competitive to Kindle and iBook.

ENTERTAINMENT

CELEBRITIES

SPORTS

  • Alexander Dale Oen: The 26-year-old champion swimmer and Norway's Olympic contender died of cardiac arrest at a Flagstaff, AZ, training camp.
  • Kentucky Derby: The 138th annual horse race will start at 5 p.m. EDT on May 5 at Kentucky's Churchill Downs.
  • Amare Stoudemire: Punching a fire extinguisher case following a loss means the Knicks forward has likely put himself out of commission for the rest of the playoffs.
  • Brooklyn Nets: Rapper Jay-Z, who also is the team's part-owner, redesigned the logo which takes its design cue from the New York subway system. Reaction has been "decidedly mixed."
  • Dallas Mavericks: The team lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second game of the Western Conference playoff series.
  • Hideki Matsui: The former Yankees player has signed a minor-league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Delmon Young: The Detroit Tigers suspended this player for seven days.
  • Jordan Hill: The Los Angeles Lakers forward will not need to appear at a court hearing for charges that he hit and choked his girlfriend on Feb. 29.

HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WEB

What's popular on Yahoo!, Twitter, Google Trends, CNN, BBC, Hollywood Reporter, and other sources.

Yahoo! News (sampling of most popular)

Twitter Trends (International)

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