This past year, we went on some amazingly strange journeys and made some bizarre discoveries. We ventured into realms of weird science, and delved into the meaning of pop culture. We asked some dangerous questions — and sometimes, the results were too complicated to boil down to a few snappy paragraphs.
So here are the best long reads that io9 published in 2012, including essays as well as journalism.
Top image: Just one of the dazzling images from the image and VFX design studio Framestore that io9 was lucky enough to feature in 2012 — this one was part of a celebration of our dreams of space exploration at the American Museum of Natural History. See more beautiful images here.
I slowly make my way down a hallway lit only by the glow of a few TVs strewn about the floor. As I creep forward, so does a figure on the screens. The footage is a live feed of myself projected onto each television. More »
Someday I will come up with a good reason why I am friends with the neighborhood crows. For now, I can say that it started when I looked up from my office window to see this big flock of crows hanging out on the roof of an apartment building nearby. More »
Allergies were pretty much completely unknown until the beginning of the twentieth century, and allergic diseases have skyrocketed in the last twenty years, and well over half of all Americans are allergic to an airborne substance. More »
Mass Effect is epic. It's the product of the best parts of Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and more with a protagonist who could be the love-child of Picard, Skywalker, and Starbuck. More »
We're distantly related, you and I. Somewhere deep in the past, the two of us share a common ancestor. The same can be said for us and chimps. Or chimps and alligators. But what about alligators and sycamore trees? Or humans and Tyrannosaurus rex? Are you and I, as paleontology expert Brian Switek puts it, distant (distant, distant, distant) cousins of the great, tyrant lizard? More »
One of the biggest things people noticed about Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones was something that wasn't there: nudity and explicit sex. The show totally failed to meet whatever quota you might imagine it would have for naked skin and heaving bosominess. More »
There's not much doubt that autism, along with Asperger Syndrome, is finally becoming accepted as a normal part of the human fabric. Even if some people still see autism as a condition that needs to be "treated," it's increasingly obvious that people on the autism spectrum are finding ways to succeed in our neurotypical-based society. More »
If you're familiar at all with my work, you've noted that, not only do I frequently write stories with female characters as my protagonists, but these women share certain traits. They tend to be quite smart, if not all of them well-educated. They tend to be physically active, most capable of taking a punch as well as throwing one. They tend to be driven, goal-oriented, and willing to go to great lengths to secure their aims. More »
We can send people into space and put vehicles on Mars - why can't we stop a hurricane in its tracks, before it comes to our major population centers and starts rolling for damage? Here are some methods that people have suggested for preventing, or stopping, a hurricane - and why they might not work. More »
Greek fire. Damascus steel. These are two technological innovations whose secrets are said to be lost to time. Even the original schematics for the Apollo missions have disappeared into the mists of history, forever hidden inside hopelessly obsolete computers. More »
If in 2007, manga was like a foreign movie star who had arrived on American shores to make it big, the last four years have been like watching that star run out of roles, run out of money, sell their house, go into rehab, and end up barely limping along in infomercials. More »
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. More »
Abortion is a hotly debated and poorly studied medical procedure. There are a few studies of dubious validity that connect abortion to mental illness and drug use. More »