'Tis the season to be making lists, and checking them twice, about the best and the worst of 2012. Here are 12 of our favorites, in no particular order.
1. Poynter's "Best and Worst Media Errors and Corrections of 2012"
"It’s important to acknowledge the amusing and outrageous, and to collect them to help journalists avoid making the same mistakes," Craig Silverman writes of this list, which he calls a highlight of his year-end coverage. "I also want to celebrate the correction writers who went beyond the call of duty to offer something special." This list has everything from CNN and Fox's major fails in reporting the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act decision to the New York Times' My Little Pony mistake to my personal favorite, this correction in Vogue:
2. BuzzFeed's "30 Most Important Cats of 2012"
From Chimera Cat to weather-interrupting cat to Henri, le chat noir (above), the felines on this list will make you laugh and fill you with joy.
3. Movies.com's "10 Most Overrated Films of 2012"
There are probably a lot of movies you saw and loved and will want to defend on this list, but author David Ehrlich's takedowns are hilarious and definitely worth a read. On why people like The Hunger Games, for example:
Because you always thought that Battle Royale could have used Miley Cyrus’ fiancé and some mutant CG dogs, or maybe your name is Bumblethatch Hoggledeuce, and you’ve finally found a movie to vindicate decades of merciless mockery. More likely, a tripod killed your parents and Gary Ross’ incomprehensible direction is the closest thing you’ll ever get to revenge.
Burn! And he's just getting started.
4. Mashable's "Top Memes of 2012"
This list is a walk down memeory lane (sorry, I couldn't resist). And what a great year for memes! Our favorites are Overly Attached Girlfriend (her version of Justin Beiber's hit song is the only one we'll ever sing), dog shaming, McKayla is not Impressed, and Texts from Hillary.
5. Flavorwire's "The Most Controversial Artworks of 2012"
It's more than just paintings. This list includes Damien Hirst's butterfly-killing exhibit at the Tate in London (above), the desecration of an original Rothko, and the Andres Serrano artwork that probably inspired Glenn Beck.
6. The New York Times' "Words of 2012"
We have our own list of words we learned this year; this is the Times' take, a collection of words that entered the cultural lexicon thanks to news events. Frankenstorm, Eastwooding, and YOLO all made the cut.
7. Bad Astronomy's "The Most Beautiful Pictures in the Universe, 2012"
The Universe is a marvelous, wonderful, breathtakingly beautiful place. Need proof? Look no further than Phil Plait's list of the 21 most gorgeous photos of our universe taken this year. Plait also explains what's going on in each photo. My favorite is the photo above, of Venus transiting the sun, which Plait explains poetically:
Venus orbits closer to the Sun than the Earth does, and on rare occasions our orbits align such that Venus passes directly in front of the Sun. The last time this happened was in 2004, and it happened again on June 5, 2012. ... [T]his view from the NASA/JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) Hinode spacecraft [was taken] just as Venus was fully entering the Sun’s disk. The Sun looks like a boiling cauldron with Venus silhouetted against it. The ring around the planet is from Venus’s thick atmosphere, scattering and bending the sunlight coming through from the other side.
How can you not want to read more?
8. Gizmodo's "Biggest Tech Disappointments of 2012"
Image courtesy of GeekOSystem.
There were plenty of breakthrough, game changing tech products in 2012. These products had potential that they just couldn't live up to. The Google Nexus Q "should've never made it out of Google R&D." Sony's SmartWatch is "garbage." And don't even get them started on that Back to the Future "hoverboard." That was the biggest disappointment of all.
9. Wired's "Top Scientific Discoveries of 2012"
Catch up on a year's worth of incredible scientific breakthroughs by reading this list, which covers the discovery of the Higgs Boson "God Particle," Space X's two trips to the International Space Station, putting Curiosity on Mars, and many more. "While [these picks] may not all be discoveries exactly," the blog says, "they all will have a major, lasting impact on science and the world."
10. BuzzFeed's "25 Funniest Autocorrects of 2012"
They'll make you laugh! They'll make you cringe! They'll make you proofread your texts before sending! (I swear that the Erin in #7 isn't me.)
11. Tin House's Incredibly Specific Books List
Elissa Schappell is kind of irritated with lists. "This time of year all anyone can talk about is lists," she writes. "How particular will these 2012 lists get? How can you use these lists to improve your life?" To that end, she put together this list of books (some of which weren't released in 2012) that you can give, and by giving achieve a certain goal. There's "Best Book of 2012 to give, or read in front of that moody guy/gal at the coffee place who half the times seems to dig you and the rest of the time seems to think you’re shallow," "Best Book of 2012 that will convince your parents that you’re a serious person and they ought to lend you money," and more.
12. Slate's "Explainer Unanswered Questions 2012"
The questions on this list—which, according to post author Daniel Engber, "the Explainer felt unprepared (or perhaps unwilling) to address in 2012"—are funny, odd, and surprisingly thought provoking. Our favorites:
"What happened to the two straight lines through the S on the $? Why is it now just one?"
"Why do I smell peanut butter when I rub my eyes vigorously?"
"Has anyone ever actually used a falling chandelier to take someone out?"
"What is the deal with Bob Dylan and trains?"
"Why can someone who has trouble seeing things up close go into any drugstore and pay $15 for a pair of glasses, while someone who has trouble seeing things far away has to go through the trouble and expense of getting an eye exam and buying prescription glasses? Why is the presbyopic public deemed competent to decide whether their lens prescription is a +1.25 or a +1.50 while their myopic brethren are thought to be unable to discern between a -1.25 and a -1.50 lens without the help of a medical professional?"
"Why do people consider bears as adorable animals, while everyone knows that they can attack humans severely?"
Head on over to Slate to read the full list, and vote for your favorite, which The Explainer will not only name The Question of the Year, but also answer that question.
BONUS: The Onion's "Best Quotes of '2012'"
Well played, sirs.
What are some of your favorite year-end lists?