As 2013 draws to a close, we’ve taken a look back at the last year and the stories that you–our readers–found the most compelling. Here’s one simple way to sum up nearly all of them: People are deeply concerned about their happiness and well-being, and how where they live effects that. Many of our stories that brought the most clicks and discussion were about the happiest countries, the happiest cities, the smartest cities, and how what part of America you live in defines your attitude about life. Then, of course, there are underwear that stops your farts from smelling, a reinvented condom, and a high-design house that could be yours for just $20,000.
Thanks for reading these and our countless other stories throughout the year. We have big things planned for 2014, so please stick around.
When humans go to live on Mars, those 300-pound space suits are going to get old fast. The Biosuit, with its tight-fitting Spiderman look, could make exploring the red planet a bit sexier.
Which cities are doing the most to become the sustainable, connected, innovative city of the future?
For years, students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio have been building cheap houses for impoverished locals. Now their designs are going mass market.
It’s not surprising that people in Hawaii are super happy. But the other states whose residents feel the best might surprise you.
They’re looking for a more pleasurable STD and pregnancy prevention device that people will actually use. They already have proposals for one made out of silicone and one made out of–we’re serious–electrically spun fabric. What else will condom innovators come up with?
What makes these cities’ residents happier than anywhere else?
Using a site that tracks dollar bills, a theoretical physicist noticed that our state boundaries are rather arbitrary, but that money tends to stay within new, more realistic boundaries.
Cities are so … static. The Very Large Structure will let an urban population just roll down the road if commerce or resources dry up.
New technologies will change the kinds of jobs people have in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if one day you’ve taken on the position of microbial balancer, corporate disorganizer, or urban shepherd.
True world-changing innovation.
In the 1970s, the EPA commissioned photographers to take photos of the environment and the “human condition” of American life. The Documerica project’s photos have recently been unearthed, and you can see them now.
Micro-apartments are in vogue today. But in Japan, people have been living in the Nakagin Capsule Tower’s 100-square-foot housing for decades.
America is divided by politics, economics, and geography. But it turns out that we also tend to cluster around people who act the same as us.
Read more of our best stories of the year in these categories: Top stories, infographics, photography, maps, buildings, design, cities, food, transportation, innovative workplaces, bikes, collaborative consumption, energy, crowdfunding, robots, environment, health, education