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The All-Time Most Popular Posts From 21 Wonderful Websites

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While poking around in Google Analytics the other day, I was a little surprised to learn this was our all-time most popular story. I thought it was this. Or maybe this. So we decided to call people at various websites and ask everyone the same question — what was your #1 all-time most-clicked-on post? Here's what they told us.

1. Boing Boing — Classic Arcade Game Deaths

Directed by Rob Beschizza, this video has been viewed over 1.2 million times. I recommend watching it, then letting the music — a MIDI version of "Mad World" — play in the background the rest of the week.

Link: Classic Arcade Game Deaths (Boing Boing Video)

2. The Week — Why Do Smart Kids Grow Up to Be Heavier Drinkers?

Francesco83 / Shutterstock.com

Two studies suggested a correlation between intelligence and a thirst for alcohol. The good people at our sister site The Week examined the connection.

Link: Why Do Smart Kids Grow Up to Be Heavier Drinkers?

3. Flavorwire — The 30 Harshest Musician-on-Musician Insults

Flavorwire followed up their popular lists of author-on-author and filmmaker-on-filmmaker insults with a look at music feuds. Like this Elton John zinger about Keith Richards: “It’s like a monkey with arthritis, trying to go onstage and look young.”

Link: The 30 Harshest Musician-on-Musician Insults

4. Lifehacker — Turn Your $60 Router into a $600 Router

This is one of at two posts in Lifehacker's 3 Million Pageviews Club. "How to Crack a Wi-Fi Network’s WEP Password" is the other.

Link: Turn Your $60 Router into a $600 Router

5. LIFE.com — 30 Dumb Inventions

Reg Speller/

Society made some great strides in the early 20th century. These inventions weren't among them.

Link: 30 Dumb Inventions

6. Neatorama — The 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World

Image credit: Vladi22

A little tree porn from our friends at Neatorama.

Link: The 10 Most Magnificent Trees in the World

7. The Awl — Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

"There are indications — particularly in the markings of his books — of Wallace's own ideas about the sources of his depression, some of which seem as though they ought to be the privileged communications of a priest or a psychiatrist. But these things are in a public archive and are therefore going to be discussed and so I will tell you about them."

Link: Inside David Foster Wallace's Private Self-Help Library

8. Geeks Are Sexy — The Geek Alphabet

Z is for Zork, indeed. That makes me so happy.

Link: The Geek Alphabet

9. BuzzFeed — The 24 Best Chat Roulette Screenshots

The photo above is from the sequel, 30 More Great Chat Roulette Screenshots.

Link: The 24 Best Chat Roulette Screenshots [NSFW]

10. The Atlantic — Caring for Your Introvert

"Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone."

Written back in 2003, this one might not technically be most popular thing ever posted at TheAtlantic.com, but I'm told that if it's not #1, it's close.

Link: Caring for Your Introvert

11. Smithsonian Snapshot — Parachute Wedding Dress

"This wedding dress was made from a nylon parachute that saved Maj. Claude Hensinger during World War II."

Link: Parachute Wedding Dress

12. YesButNoButYes — 15 Unintentionally Hilarious Comic Book Panels

YesButNoButYes is no more, but several of their writers — Miss Cellania and myself included — spent good times writing over there. Nothing I contributed ever approached the pageview onslaught of this Rich Barrett masterpiece.

Link: 15 Unintentionally Hilarious Comic Book Panels [NSFW]

13. Go Fug Yourself — A Royal Fugging: Wedding Live-Blog

Excerpt: "1:22 a.m: Blah blah blah. Ann Curry is talking about balloons."

Link: Will & Kate's Wedding Live-Blog

14. The Daily Beast — Did the White House Pressure General Shelton to Help a Prominent Donor?

Narrowing down the top Daily Beast story was tough. Do we count all the old Newsweek content? We decided to go with the top story since the merge.

Link: Did the White House Pressure General Shelton to Help a Prominent Donor?

Bonus Newsweek Link (from 1995): The Internet? Bah! Why Cyberspace Isn't, and Will Never Be, Nirvana

15. Twaggies — That's Larsony!

As someone once said (on Twitter, of course), Twaggies is kind of like the Twitter Hall of Fame.

Link: That's Larsony!

16. The Daily Dish, Featuring Andrew Sullivan — The Odd Lies of Sarah Palin

© BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters/Corbis

Sarah Palin equals pageviews.

Link: The Odd Lies of Sarah Palin

17. PhillyMag — Jon + Kate + 8 = $$$

This lengthy 2009 profile on the Gosselins nabbed the top spot over at Philadelphia Magazine.

Link: Jon + Kate + 8 = $$$

18. Capital New York — Bloomberg to Protesters: Clear Zuccotti Park

Protests equal pageviews, too.

Link: Bloomberg to Protesters: Clear Zuccotti Park

19. MetroFocus — Observations of a Jailed Journalist

Probably the youngest site on the list, MetroFocus covers life in New York. Back in September, their editor John Farley was working on a story on citizen journalism and wound up in jail.

Link: Observations of a Jailed Journalist

20. Miss Cellania — Sadie Hawkins Day

When she's not working here (or Neatorama, or...), Miss Cellania maintains her own site. This piece on the history of Sadie Hawkins Day has been getting steady traffic for years.

Link: Sadie Hawkins Day

21. The Winslow Gardens — The Front in the Morning

This is our art director's Tumblr blog. He wouldn't let me see his stats, so I picked this post at random.

Link: The Winslow Gardens
* * * * * *
We're still waiting (hoping) to hear back from a bunch of other places. If we do, expect a sequel. If there are other sites you're curious about, let us know in the comments — and if you run or work for another web entity, feel free to give your most popular story a plug and a link below.

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Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California
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History
The Concept of the American 'Backyard' is Newer Than You Think
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California

Backyards are as American as apple pie and baseball. If you live in a suburban or rural area, chances are good that you have a lawn, and maybe a pool, some patio furniture, and a grill to boot.

This wasn’t always the case, though. As Smithsonian Insider reports, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans began to consider the backyard an extension of the home, as well as a space for recreation and relaxation. After World War II, Americans started leaving the big cities and moving to suburban homes that came equipped with private backyards. Then, after the 40-hour work week was implemented and wages started to increase, families started spending more money on patios, pools, and well-kept lawns, which became a “symbol of prosperity” in the 1950s, according to a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

A man mows his lawn in the 1950s
In this photo from the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit, a man mows his lawn in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington
Library in San Marino, California

Entitled "Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard," the exhibition includes photographs, advertisements, and articles about backyards from the 1950s and 1960s. The traveling display is currently on view at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas, and from there it will head to Hartford, Connecticut, in December.

Prior to the 1950s, outdoor yards were primarily workspaces, MLive.com reports. Some families may have had a vegetable garden, but most yards were used to store tools, livestock, and other basic necessities.

The rise of the backyard was largely fueled by materials that were already on hand, but hadn’t been accessible to the average American during World War II. As Smithsonian Insider notes, companies that had manufactured aluminum and concrete for wartime efforts later switched to swimming pools, patio furniture, and even grilling utensils.

A family eats at a picnic table in the 1960s
A family in Mendham, New Jersey, in the 1960s
Molly Adams/Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection

At the same time, DIY projects started to come into fashion. According to an exhibit caption of a Popular Mechanics article from the 1950s, “‘Doing-it-yourself’ was advertised as an enjoyable and affordable way for families to individualize their suburban homes.” The magazine wrote at the time that “patios, eating areas, places for play and relaxation are transforming back yards throughout the nation.”

The American backyard continues to grow to this day. As Bloomberg notes, data shows that the average backyard grew three years in a row, from 2015 to 2017. The average home last year had 7048 square feet of outdoor space—plenty of room for a sizable Memorial Day cookout.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]

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