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UCD Computational and Molecular Biology Symposium, Dublin, Ireland. 1-2 Dec 2016.

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World's Most Popular Questions—Today's Interrogative Zeitgeist

Man's Earliest (and Toughest) Questions

Even before we explored outside our caves, mankind has been plagued by unanswerable questions.

How do I heal a broken heart?

Why do I never see baby pigeons?

I don't understand how Lost ended.

You may notice that the third example isn't phrased as a question—it's what makes it so hard to answer.

What we know defines us as much as what we ask. So let's look at who we are, shall we?

Modern Look at Questions, Old Yet Ever New

The most popular questions are collected daily using Google's autocomplete feature. Autocomplete lists popular search queries that begin with your entry.

What are people looking to sell? What do people want to have, but can't? Autocomplete suggests an answer, in the form of a question!

While most autocompleted phrases are questions, a few are statements (see Limits & Desires, e.g. I need to vent.).

Why Can't I?

Below are combinations of the terms why can't I with the words make, have, buy and sell.

why can't i
make have buy sell

why can't i…


hold all this mana


lose weight

download apps


get pregnant



fall asleep

why can't i make…



calls on my iphone

a decision

a fist

treat fever

in app purchases

myself throw up

friends in college

outgoing calls

why can't i have…



a baby




nice things

it all

why can't i buy…

rise of iron


vc on 2k17


rune pages


an unlocked iphone 7

a gun

battlefield 1

music on itunes

why can't i sell…

on ebay

my iphone on amazon

my house

my h1z1 items

my vote

my stock

my tickets on ticketmaster

warp cells

tickets on stubhub

my car gta v

retrieved on 07-12-2016 from Google