Each year Slate publishes a list of its most popular stories. Some years, tales about animals dominate. In others, political news reigns supreme. As you’ll see below, 2012 encompassed both extremes: The most widely read story of the year was one about bats and their terrifying knack for spreading disease. (And stories about white tigers and pet adoption also made the top 10.) But our coverage of the presidential election was also popular, in particular John Dickerson’s takes on Mitt Romney’s veep choice and two critical debates.
We also rounded up lists of our five most popular slideshows (yes, one of them was just photos of Raquel Welch), and, in a new category, our five most viral stories: the ones readers shared most widely on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. The most viral story of the year (through November) was Seth Stevenson’s article on the greatest map of America ever made (and the one guy in Oregon who made it).
Check out all of our top stories in the lists below.
Most Read Articles:
- What Is the World’s Most Dangerous Animal? Sharks? Lions? Grizzly bears? Try bats. By Tara C. Smith. Posted Dec. 4, 2012.
- The Greatest Paper Map of the United States You’ll Ever See: Made by one guy in Oregon. By Seth Stevenson. Posted Jan. 2, 2012.
- Rejoice! It’s Ryan!: Conservatives are thrilled by Romney’s VP pick. So are Democrats. One camp is very wrong. By John Dickerson. Posted Aug. 11, 2012.
- The Joe Biden Workout: The vice president was everywhere at once. He probably won the debate. He definitely shed a few pounds. By John Dickerson. Posted Oct. 12, 2012.
- Why Are Smart People Usually Ugly?: An answer to the Explainer's 2011 Question of the Year. By Daniel Engber. Posted Jan. 10, 2012.
- The Date Whisperer: This dating guru will fix your worst habits. By Diana Spechler. Posted Nov. 29, 2012.
- Why Do We Really Get Tattoos?: A theory. By Simon Doonan. Posted April 13, 2012.
- Romney Rising?: Obama won the debate, but the Republican nominee seems to think he is winning the war. By John Dickerson. Posted Oct. 23, 2012.
- Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct: Everything you’ve been told about this exotic, royal, endangered species is wrong. By Jackson Landers Posted Dec. 13, 2012.
- No Pet For You: Want to adopt a dog or cat? Prepare for an inquisition at the animal rescue. By Emily Yoffe. Posted Jan. 26, 2012.
Most Popular Galleries:
- Eight Great MIT Pranks. By Katy Waldman. Posted Feb. 29, 2012.
- Actors’ and Models’ Invisible Ink: A Look at the Tattoos That Brands Airbrush Away. Posted May 31, 2012.
- The Romney-Inspired Age Guessing Game. By Heather Murphy. Posted March 8, 2012.
- A Photographic History of Presidential Campaign Gaffes. By John Dickerson. Posted October 9, 2012.
- The Queen of Animal-Skin Bikinis: Raquel Welch Through the Ages. Posted Feb. 16, 2012.
Most Viral Articles:
- How One Guy in Oregon Made the Best U.S. Map You’ll Ever See. By Seth Stevenson. Posted Jan. 2, 2012.
- Are Epidurals Really So Bad?. By Melinda Wenner Moyer. Posted Jan. 11, 2012.
- Amazon’s New Push for Same-Day Delivery Will Destroy Local Retail. By Farhad Manjoo. Posted July 11, 2012.
- How China’s Super Rich Hire “Body Doubles” to Do Their Prison Time for Them. By Geoffrey Sant. Posted Aug. 2, 2012.
- Every Last One of Us Is a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet. By Dahlia Lithwick. Posted June 8, 2012.