The 12 most-read 2011 articles in Life & Style

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From 3D porn films to European superbugs, Steve Anderson runs down the most popular articles published in 2011, as well as a few editors' favourites

Covering fashion, food and drink, health and families, house and home, love and sex, history, gadgets and tech, and motoring, Independent.co.uk's Life & Style section is always full to the brim with news and features that stretch across a wide range of interests.

Therefore it's no surprise that the collection of this year's most read articles paints a balanced picture of a busy, diverse, section, and includes an amalgamation of pieces stretching across all of its sub-sections, from hard-hitting health stories and lengthy features on human psychology, to quirky bites of gadget news and amusing commentary on dieting and fitness.

The 12 most read are those Life & Style articles published in 2011 that have been visited by the greatest number of separate users to date.

The list (click the headlines to read articles in full)

1. Adult industry enraged as 'Porn Wikileaks' gives stars real names
By Guy Adams, Friday 1 April

With both 'porn' and 'Wikileaks' in the headline, this article was a search engine's dream. Guy Adams, The Independent's LA correspondent, reports on the anger of California's x-rated film business following the leaking of a database containing the real names, dates of birth, and official nicknames of more than 15,000 'performers'.

2. Cataracts, hips, knees and tonsils: NHS begins rationing operations
By Oliver Wright, Thursday 28 July

Illustrating the aforementioned diversity of the Life & Style section, this story by Whitehall editor Oliver Wright is far removed from Guy's tongue-in-cheek reportage above. Oliver exposes the shocking finding that two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for 'non-urgent' conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years.

3. How Google Translate works
By David Bellos, Tuesday 13 September

This extract from David Bellos' book Is That a Fish in Your Ear: Translation and the Meaning of Everything explains the way in which Google's pioneering language translator scours the web for instances where certain phrases have been used in various languages previously, in order to translate the text you input. Far from being just one for the techies, this piece raises some very interesting ideas about the nature of language and the quest for 'pure meaning'.

4. Antibiotic-resistant infections spread through Europe
By Jeremy Laurance, Friday 18 November

A disturbing report by The Independent's health editor on the increasing resilience of the bacteria K. pneumoniae against carbapenems, the most powerful class of antibiotics. The expert warning that we are heading towards the 'unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections' seems to be taken seriously by our readers, with 128,000 viewing this article in just over one month.

5. 'Glitch' sees Apple's Siri find its voice on abortion
By Guy Adams, Friday 2 December

Another light-hearted story from Guy Adams on the iPhone 4S, and its voice-activated, 'opinionated', personal assistant Siri, who refuses to give details of abortion clinics or directs users to Planned Parenthood clinics, much to the joy of pro-life groups, and dismay of liberals. Another late entry, having only been online since the beginning of this month.

6. Secret history of Stonehenge revealed
By David Keys, Saturday 26 November 2011

The only history article among the 12 most read, this piece by David Keys takes a look at the findings of recent research into Britain's most famous ancient site, including the revelation that it may have been a place of worship 500 years before the first stone was erected. Such propositions offer new insights into the landmark's mysterious past, and turn past archaeological theories on their heads.

7. Why a lack of empathy is the root of all evil
By Clint Witchalls, Tuesday 5 April

An intriguing feature about the theories of Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, who suggests that acts traditionally labelled as evil - and written off as such - can be explained in terms empathy deficit. Clint Witchalls doesn't buy straight into Baron-Cohen's arguments, however, and it is the question surrounding culpability that makes this such a compelling read.

8. Don't let them see you sweat: Why Murdoch and other powerful men shouldn't exercise in public
By Will Dean, Thursday 14 July

Inspired by the summer's shots of the News Corp chairman being put through his 80-year-old paces by his personal trainer in a London park, this jovial piece by Will Dean argues that the power elite may be giving away a little more than intended when they're at their most primal. To paraphrase Will, the looks in the eyes of marathon runners are less windows into their souls than conservatories.

9. Does running make you fat?
By Sophie Morris, Tuesday 11 October

Continuing a running theme, this headline is an 'hallelujah' to exercisephobes everywhere, but, sadly, the content of Sophie Morris' fantastic piece isn't so kind on the sofa-bound. Sophie highlights the importance of a healthier diet and high-impact work-outs for weight loss, banishing the myth that donning lycra and hitting the tarmac will instantly sculpt that perfect beach bod.

10. China gets hot under the collar over world's first 3D porn film
By Clifford Coonan, Wednesday 6 April

The second entry on our list with 'porn' in its headline - is this telling us something about our readers? Clifford Coonan reports on the release of Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, the first major 3D pornographic movie, and how tour groups from mainland China were planning to make the trip across to Hong Kong to catch the opening, due to its banning in their home country. Like Guy Adams, earlier, Clifford keeps his tongue firmly held in cheek, pondering whether "viewers' 3D glasses steam up during Sex and Zen's racier moments" and "3D could be box-office Viagra for the genre".

11. 'I woke up in the wrong life'
By Naomi Jacobs, Tuesday 14 June

"Where was my lower bunk bed and my pink bedspread? Why wasn't my sister sleeping soundly above me? Why couldn't I hear my parents making breakfast downstairs?" Naomi Jacobs' first-person account of transient global amnesia is as fascinating as it is terrifying, as the 34-year-old mother describes waking up one day convinced she was only 15.

12. The uncomfortable truth about mind control: Is free will simply a myth?
By Michael Mosley, Thursday 6 January 2011

A curious piece by Michael Mosley on the pioneering psychological experiment by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s, in which participants would deliver what they thought were deadly electric shocks to a stranger if ordered to do so by someone they perceived to be in authority, and the way in which such an experiment holds a mirror up to our own morality and forces to ask how far we would go if told to.

 

Editors' choice

While the above list shows the most read articles of 2011, we asked our editors to nominate their favourite pieces of the year.

Susie Rushton, Editor, The Independent Magazine

'I haven't succeeded at love': A rare audience with rap legend P Diddy
By Guy Adams, Saturday 22 January

"My favourite feature of the year was Guy Adams's interview with Diddy. Getting him to turn up to the interview was a marathon in itself, but we we eventually got the date, he was very open about his career and personal life. I also loved the slightly awkward photographs that Stefan Ruiz shot for us of Diddy in his hotel room. A cracking cover story all round."

Laurence Earle, Executive Editor & Editor, The New Review

Béatrice Dalle: 'I am naturally quite bashful'
By Robert Chalmers, Sunday 17 July

"It may not have got as many hits as 'Mystery of the Mummy's Chinese travel ban' or 'The 10 Best fountain pens' ... but I'd like to nominate Robert Chalmers' eye-boggling interview with the actress Béatrice Dalle. After all, this too was a story that had everything: Shoplifting! Nudity! Drugs! A boyfriend who punched a monkey on TV!"

---

The 12 most-read 2011 articles in NEWS | SPORT | OPINION | ENVIRONMENT | LIFE & STYLE | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | TRAVEL | 50 BEST and The 12 most-viewed 2011 VIDEO articles

 

Plus: The 12 treats of Christmas: 2011's BEST TECH RELEASES

 

And looking forward: Alan Cleaver, Online House Hunter: 2012 HOUSING PREDICTIONS

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003