Slate’s 10 Most Popular Stories of 2011

The inner workings of Slate.
Dec. 28 2011 12:33 PM

Slate’s Most-Read Stories

The 10 most popular articles of 2011.

Every year, Slate publishes a list of its most-read stories, and it’s always intriguing to see which topics piqued reader interest. In 2011, you were avidly following the red-hot Republican primary race, reading stories about Rick Perry’s ranch, and Michele Bachmann’s “crazy eyes.” You were also fascinated by the secret history of the Muppets’ catchy “Mahna Mahna” song—which has its origins in an Italian soft-core film—and enthusiastic about Farhad Manjoo’s fervent takedown of the practice of putting two spaces between sentences. But the top story of the year was “Ghost Ship,” Paul Collins’ tale of the mysterious Mary Celeste, whose crew disappeared without a trace in 1872. Below you’ll find links to Collins’ story and the rest of our most-read pieces.

The Mary Celeste.
The Mary Celeste, the unluckiest ship ever.

1. “Ghost Ship: In 1872, the crew of the Mary Celeste disappeared without a trace. Her story only got weirder from there,” by Paul Collins. Posted Dec. 6.

2. “The Perfect Day: His dog was dying. But they could spend one last day together,” by Jon Katz. Posted Sept. 29.

4. “Gringo Gulch, Dago Spring, and Polack Swamp: How many racist place names are there in the United States?” By Brian Palmer. Posted Oct. 3.

5. “The Greatest Country on Earth: What the United States can learn from the tiny island nation of Mauritius,” by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Posted March 7.

6. “ ‘Mahna Mahna’: How a ditty from a soft-core Italian movie became the Muppets’ catchiest tune,” by Sam Adams. Posted Nov. 23.

7. “Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period,” by Farhad Manjoo. Posted Jan. 13.

8. “I Did a Crazy Fad Diet From the Internet: And it worked,” by Rachael Larimore. Posted Oct. 19.

9. “Sex Is Cheap: Why young men have the upper hand in bed, even when they're failing in life,” by Mark Regnerus. Posted Feb. 25.

10.  “Canine Commando: Why did the military send a dog to help kill Bin Laden?” By Brian Palmer. Posted May 4.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 2:57 PM ISIS Helps Snuff Out Conservative Opposition to Government Funding Bill
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?