Do you remember where you were when you heard about The Dress? We do. We were in the WIRED newsroom cocking our heads at our screens and squabbling. Well, most of us were squabbling. A few reporters started making phone calls (what is the science of this crazy thing?) and the result was a story that swept across the internet.
p class=”paywall”>And as we put together this list of the most-read WIRED.com stories of the past five years, what we found is that people really love a good meme: Yanny vs. Laurel, Kendall Jenner and Pepsi, covfefe. They also love a good fight, a sexy hack, and (of course) a shiny new phone.
Come with us on a journey of compulsive clicks.
The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of This Dress, by Adam Rogers, February 26, 2015
“The fact that a single image could polarize the entire Internet into two aggressive camps is, let’s face it, just another Thursday. But for the past half-day, people across social media have been arguing about whether a picture depicts a perfectly nice bodycon dress as blue with black lace fringe or white with gold lace fringe. And neither side will budge. This fight is about more than just social media—it’s about primal biology and the way human eyes and brains have evolved to see color in a sunlit world.”
Hackers Finally Post Stolen Ashley Madison Data, by Kim Zetter, August 18, 2015
“I’m looking for someone who isn’t happy at home or just bored and looking for some excitement,” wrote one member who provided an address in Ottawa and the name and phone number of someone who works for the Customs and Immigration Union in Canada. “I love it when I’m called and told I have 15 minutes to get to someplace where I’ll be greeted at the door with a surprise—maybe lingerie, nakedness. I like to ravish and be ravished … I like lots of foreplay and stamina, fun, discretion, oral, even willingness to experiment—smile“
I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me, by Mat Honan, August 11, 2014
“My News Feed took on an entirely new character in a surprisingly short amount of time. After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages.
Likewise, content mills rose to the top. Nearly my entire feed was given over to Upworthy and the Huffington Post. As I went to bed that first night and scrolled through my News Feed, the updates I saw were (in order): Huffington Post, Upworthy, Huffington Post, Upworthy, a Levi’s ad, Space.com, Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Verge, Huffington Post, Space.com, Upworthy, Space.com.
Also, as I went to bed, I remember thinking “Ah, crap. I have to like something about Gaza,” as I hit the Like button on a post with a pro-Israel message.
By the next morning, the items in my News Feed had moved very, very far to the right. I’m offered the chance to like the 2nd Amendment and some sort of anti-immigrant page. I like them both. I like Ted Cruz. I like Rick Perry. The Conservative Tribune comes up again, and again, and again in my News Feed.”
The Internet Defines ‘Covfefe’, by Angela Watercutter, May 31, 2017
“Leave it to Donald Trump to keep Twitter guessing. Just after midnight Eastern this morning, the president did what the president often does at odd hours: He sent out a tweet. But this one, rather than attacking a political opponent or offering up a 140-character policy position, just plain made no sense: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Wait, “covfefe”? No one knew what it meant. Surely it was a mistake that the president would soon delete. But after five minutes, he didn’t. Then a few more passed. Before long, social media was in a mad dash to try to define Trump’s typo. News reports followed, and soon a five-alarm internet fire was burning.”
Here’s How to Stream the Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight, by Molly McHugh, May 2, 2015
Fans cheer before the official weigh-in for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao on May 1, 2015 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two boxers will face each other in a welterweight unification bout on May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas.
Harry How/Getty Images
“HBO and Showtime are trying to make it impossible to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight online. But where there’s an Internet, there’s a way—even if it’s a fairly convoluted one.”
How to Check if You or a Loved One Were Exposed in the Ashley Madison Hack, by Emily Dreyfuss, August 19, 2015
“Wait. Stop. Don’t do this. Don’t check these websites.”
Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It, by Andy Greenberg, July 21, 2015
“As the two hackers remotely toyed with the air-conditioning, radio, and windshield wipers, I mentally congratulated myself on my courage under pressure. That’s when they cut the transmission.
Immediately my accelerator stopped working. As I frantically pressed the pedal and watched the RPMs climb, the Jeep lost half its speed, then slowed to a crawl. This occurred just as I reached a long overpass, with no shoulder to offer an escape. The experiment had ceased to be fun.”
The True History of ‘Yanny’ and ‘Laurel’, by Louise Matsakis, May 16, 2018
“There are a few partial explanations for how Yanny and Laurel became 2018’s version of “the dress,” which similarly tore the internet apart three years ago. The now-infamous audio recording itself originated on the resource website Vocabulary.com, under the entry for “laurel,” defined as a “wreath worn on the head, usually as a symbol of victory.” And a number of publications have traced the meme back to Reddit, where the user RolandCamry posted it to the subreddit r/blackmagicfuckery, a forum for discussing unbelievable natural phenomena. The meme was then picked up on Twitter by Cloe Feldman, a popular YouTuber with over 610,000 subscribers.
But Yanny and Laurel didn’t actually start on Reddit. Like any good meme, it started with teens.”
Meet the iPhone X, Apple’s New High-End Handset, by David Pierce, September 12, 2017
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., speaks about the iPhone X on September 12, 2017.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images
“The X looks like no other phone. It doesn’t even look like an iPhone. On the front, it’s screen head to foot, save for a small trapezoidal notch taken out of the top where Apple put selfie cameras and sensors. Otherwise, the bezel around the edge of the phone has been whittled to near-nonexistence and the home button disappeared—all screen and nothing else. The case is made of glass and stainless steel, like the much-loved iPhone 4. The notched screen might take some getting used to, but the phone’s a stunner.”
Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad Was So Awful It Did the Impossible: It United the Internet, by Angela Watercutter, April 5, 2017
“In the 2-minute-39-second “short film,” [Kendall] Jenner throws off the chains of the modeling industry by taking off her wig, then leaving a photoshoot to join a protest. After sharing some knowing nods and #woke-ass fist bumps with her fellow protesters, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star manages to bring everyone together by … handing a cop a Pepsi. The message is clear: All those women’s marches, Black Lives Matter protests, and demonstrations outside Trump Tower would be much more effervescent—and effective!—if someone had just brought some soda.
The internet, as you might suspect, disagreed. “
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/the-most-read-wiredcom-stories-of-the-past-five-years-say-so-much