hand on mouseCan’t … resist … clicking …Photo: Lindsey TurnerWe’ve had a few year-end lists here at Grist. Here are our choices for top stories of the year, top cities stories of the year, and top food stories of the year.

But what about you, the great unwashed masses, surfing the great unwashed interwebs? What are your favorite Grist posts this year? To find out, I interfaced with our Stats-o-Matic 3000 machine and dug up The 11 From 11, that is to say, the 11 most clicked-upon Grist posts of 2011.

Frankly, I’m disappointed in you people. Here I am explaining how economic modeling of climate change seems incommensurate with zzzzz … hm? … something … and you’re off clicking on pictures of dolphin sex terrorists and lawn chairs. You think you’re hiding the wonkery when you shift it around your plate, but we can tell you’re feeding it to the dog under the table.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s tiptoe through the tawdry tarts and find out what, besides the hummus someone left in the fridge too long this summer, went viral at Grist this year.

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the medium chillThey’re chillin’.11. The medium chill

The fact that the only story on this list under my byline comes at No. 11 is no reason to be suspicious. People do Top 11 lists all the time!

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The medium chill is a post (and a concept) close to my heart. I’ve thought about it for years, but found writing about it quite difficult. It’s tough to write about chilling out and enjoying what’s around you without opening yourself to charges of being a lazy privileged white person of lazy privileged whiteness. I was gratified that so many people seemed to take it in the right spirit. This is one of the few posts I’ve written that’s gotten way past the usual suspects and out to people in the real world — friends from high school wrote me about it, that kind of thing. Maybe I’ll write a sequel in 2012.

10. Is your shampoo making you fat?

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This article is about chemicals that “alter the epigenetic regulation of certain genes, disrupting the programming of hormonal signaling pathways.” Something tells me it wouldn’t be on the list if that were in the headline.

9. The only weather map you’ll need this summer

weather map

A screenshot of someone else’s crudely drawn Tweet. Hey, whatever you’re into.


8. The most powerful climate video you’ll see all week

A post about a video about an op-ed. New media is so meta.

dolphins7. Sexually frustrated dolphins go on murderous rampage

Every word in this headline is search-engine gold.

6. Confessions of a former Big Food executive

In which someone who worked for General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco says that all the hippie talk about the evil of Big Food is … more or less accurate. If any other ex-execs from evil corporations are feeling twinges of conscience: We can guarantee you’ll get traffic!

5. Care for some human cheese?

“Human cheese”? You know what you were thinking. And it wasn’t breast-milk cheese. Let’s all just be honest here.

4. Buy a half-gallon of sugar water at KFC, give a dollar to diabetes research

It wasn’t just a soda. It was a Mega Jug.

3. No joke: This is the biggest battery breakthrough ever

A tip for anyone seeking a traffic injection: Get linked to by a big tech/gadget site. Also be the biggest/best/most something.

penguin sweaters2. You know you want to knit a sweater for a penguin

Really, people? This is just the kind of lightweight piffle that real journalists OH MY GOD LOOK AT THE PENGUINS.

1. Photo of devastation from the East Coast earthquake

A lawn chair. A fallen-over lawn chair. Not only did this post — which grabbed some dude’s picture off Twitter — get more hits than anything else on our site this year … it got well over five times as many hits as No. 2 on the list. Ten times as many as No. 3. We weren’t even the only site to grab the picture! The mysteries of the Social Tweetnet Webosphere are many.

So anyway, now we know what you like. Stay tuned to Grist in 2012 for more videos of sexy penguins!