Sorry, selfie. There's another word of the year that's not all about you. While Oxford University Press, the British publisher of the Oxford dictionaries, declared those little smartphone self-portraits its winner last month, the folks at Merriam-Webster announced "science" on Tuesday.
Oxford tracked a huge jump in overall usage of selfie, but Merriam-Webster stuck primarily to lookups on its website, recording a 176 percent increase for "science" when compared with last year. "The more we thought about it, the righter it seemed in that it does lurk behind a lot of big stories that we as a society are grappling with, whether it's climate change or environmental regulation or what's in our textbooks," said John Morse, president and publisher of Merriam-Webster Inc., based in Springfield, Mass.
Science, he said, is connected to broad cultural oppositions — science vs. faith, for instance — along with the power of observation and intuition, reason and ideology, evidence and tradition.
Gaga to host another ball in St. Paul
Sales of her latest album aren't exactly monstrous and her recent "Saturday Night Live" performance was widely panned, but Lady Gaga is still launching an ambitious 2014 tour, with a May 20 stop at Xcel Energy Center. Tickets for the attention-hungry pop star's ARTPOP Ball in St. Paul go on sale at 10 a.m. Dec. 16 for $37-$202 via Ticketmaster or the arena box office. Pre-sale access to tickets will be offered next week via her fan-club site littlemonsters.com and citiprivatepass.com. The tour kicks off on May 4 in Fort Lauderdale. It also includes a May 22 date at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg — with a day off in between, which leaves an open date for a second Xcel Center gig to be added if ticket sales prove strong.
'Fast and Furious' on hold
Autopsies are underway on the bodies of "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker and his friend, both of whom died in a weekend car crash. The Los Angeles County coroner's office also said it has received dental records from the families of both men. Those will allow not only for formal identification of the bodies, but also official word on whether Walker or his friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas was behind the wheel. Walker's publicist has said Walker was the passenger when Rodas' Porsche Carrera GT crashed Saturday. Meanwhile, Universal Pictures said production of "Fast & Furious 7" is on hold. While a large portion of the film has been shot, the movie is incomplete. It's scheduled for release in July.
divorced: A Los Angeles judge has finalized Diane Lane and Josh Brolin's divorce. Court records show that the couple's divorce judgment was entered by a court Wednesday. The pair were married for more than eight years when they filed for divorce in February.