It's been a great year here at Pacific Standard, and we're thankful for all of our wonderful readers, writers, and supporters. We've covered a lot of topics that we know you expect from the Internet (dogs, sex, and hypothetical space travel). We've also tried a few new things—like our first-ever 30 Thinkers Under 30 package, and a special report called You Don't Know America (go on, click, you really don't).
Here's a look back at our most popular stories in 2014:
10. The Unseen Consequences of Pumping Breast Milk: In perhaps one of our most controversial stories this year—as most stories about breastfeeding are—Olivia Campbell looks at the growing evidence that pumped breast milk does not have the same health benefits as direct breastfeeding.
9. Casual Sex Is Actually Excellent for You, If You Love Casual Sex: Ryan Jacobs looks at a study that accounts for some confounding variables that are typically left out of research on casual sex. The results reaffirm a universal truth—not all one-night stands are the same.
8. How the Other Half Lifts: What Your Workout Says About Your Social Class: Dan Duane gave up endurance sports for weightlifting. He didn't realize that he'd stumble upon hidden class prejudices along the way.
7. The Truth We Won't Admit: Drinking Is Healthy: Popular for all the reasons you'd expect, but true for many reasons you've never heard. Substance's Stanton Peele explains why health organizations have covered up the truth about drinking.
6. We Are All Confident Idiots: In everyone's favorite Schadenfreude article, psychologist David Dunning explains the latest research on human ignorance. But don't get too smug—if you don't think you're a victim of the Dunning-Kruger effect, you probably are.
5. #InstagrammingAfrica: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism: What does social media know about your semester in Uganda? Our friends at Sociological Images point out the ways narcissism leaks into our well-meaning attempts to help impoverished people.
4. We Aren't the World: Everything you thought you knew about psychology is wrong. At least it is for non-Western brains. This 2013 cover story by Ethan Watters continued to draw scores of new readers to our site this year because it turns so many of our assumptions upside down, and makes us fundamentally rethink the way we study human brains and behavior.
3. Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet: In a paradigm-shifting piece, Amanda Hess tells her personal story of online harassment and exposes readers to the terrifying reality of gendered threats online. With Gamergate and other high-profile harassment cases in 2014, this piece set the scene for countless lawsuits, articles, and policy changes since its publication.
2. A Toast Story: Deputy Editor John Gravois began by wondering why in the world artisanal toast cost $4 in San Francisco. He stumbled onto a profound, heartbreaking story of mental illness and coping mechanisms—a beautiful piece of writing that served as many people's first introduction to Pacific Standard.
1. What If We Admitted to Children that Sex Is Primarily About Pleasure?: In our no. 1 most popular story of the year, Alice Dreger writes candidly about teaching her son about sex. In a politically correct age, many parents and teachers leave out key pieces of information about sex, leaving kids to their own devices—often to everyone's detriment.
That's all, folks! We have a lot of exciting projects on the horizon for 2015, so come back soon. And happy new year!