The Most Popular Stories Slate Published in 2012

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Dec. 28 2012 1:03 PM

Slate’s Most Read Stories

The most popular articles of 2012.

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:

  1. What Is the World’s Most Dangerous Animal? Sharks? Lions? Grizzly bears? Try bats. By Tara C. Smith. Posted Dec. 4, 2012.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Why Are Smart People Usually Ugly?: An answer to the Explainer's 2011 Question of the Year. By Daniel Engber. Posted Jan. 10, 2012.
  6. The Date Whisperer: This dating guru will fix your worst habits. By Diana Spechler. Posted Nov. 29, 2012.
  7. Why Do We Really Get Tattoos?: A theory. By Simon Doonan. Posted April 13, 2012.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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:

MIT prank: An electronic road sign on Brookline Avenue began to misfire around 11 p.m. on July 24, 2008. The sign was supposed to warn drivers about a closing on nearby Albany Street. It did so, and then flashed an SOS message: “Trapped in a sign factory, send help!”
MIT prank: An electronic road sign in 2008

Alessondra Springmann.

  1. Eight Great MIT Pranks. By Katy Waldman. Posted Feb. 29, 2012.
  2. Actors’ and Models’ Invisible Ink: A Look at the Tattoos That Brands Airbrush Away. Posted May 31, 2012.
  3. The Romney-Inspired Age Guessing Game. By Heather Murphy. Posted March 8, 2012.
  4. A Photographic History of Presidential Campaign Gaffes. By John Dickerson. Posted October 9, 2012.
  5. The Queen of Animal-Skin Bikinis: Raquel Welch Through the Ages. Posted Feb. 16, 2012.

 Most Viral Articles:

Imus map of the United States
  1. How One Guy in Oregon Made the Best U.S. Map You’ll Ever See. By Seth Stevenson. Posted Jan. 2, 2012.
  2. Are Epidurals Really So Bad?. By Melinda Wenner Moyer. Posted Jan. 11, 2012.
  3. Amazon’s New Push for Same-Day Delivery Will Destroy Local Retail. By Farhad Manjoo. Posted July 11, 2012.
  4. How China’s Super Rich Hire “Body Doubles” to Do Their Prison Time for Them. By Geoffrey Sant. Posted Aug. 2, 2012.
  5. Every Last One of Us Is a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet. By Dahlia Lithwick. Posted June 8, 2012.



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I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

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

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

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

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
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.