What Readers Loved In 2014: Insane College Gyms, Hot Redheads Rebranded, Lost Subway Undies

These are a few of our favorite things from 2014.

What Readers Loved In 2014: Insane College Gyms, Hot Redheads Rebranded, Lost Subway Undies

In 2014, Fast Company expanded its Recommender column. While we continue to curate beloved books, apps, films, and other sources of inspiration from our Most Creative People, why not, we thought, recommend all the things we talked about as a staff on any given day?


So what were editors (and our readers) into in 2014? Here’s a list looking back at the most-trafficked stories from our 200+ Recommender columns this year–the stuff you loved best, from the stuff we liked best:

1. A Look Inside The Most Insane College Gyms

Exterior campus at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Recreation Center.Photo by Tim Griffith

Universities one-upping each other with increasingly lavish rec centers make for some eye-popping workout porn–including paw-print-shaped hot tubs, lazy rivers, climbing walls that function as staircases, and skateboard plazas. Here’s a look at them all.

2. Rebranding The Male Ginger As A Hottie

Photo: courtesy of BOSI

There’s a stigma about male redheads. Redheaded women get the fiery, sexpot treatment while carrot-topped men are branded as pale weaklings or weirdos. London-based photographer Thomas Knights set out to “rebrand the ginger male stereotype” with this undeniably sexy photo series.

3. What American Pop Songs Sound Like After Google Translate Butchers Them

Something interesting happens when you try to re-translate phrases in Google Translate—if by “interesting,” you mean “hilariously inaccurate.” When you plug in a sentence or paragraph in one language, translate to another, and then translate it back to the language you started with, you see just how much can get lost in translation. It’s Miley Cyrus like no one ever imagined: “I like the ball in the sink.” Watch the worst of the worst here.

4. What It’s Like To Own Grumpy Cat, The Most Famous Cat On The Internet

Tabatha Bundesen was a waitress at Red Lobster when her brother first posted a photo of her cat, Tarder Sauce, on Reddit. Soon the cat had become a meme. A couple of months later, she had an agent. Then she had a book deal, a beverage brand, a line of merchandise, and a Christmas movie on Lifetime. “I am Grumpy Cat’s human,” Bundesen says when I ask her if she owns the cat. “She owns me.” This is a day in their life.


5. The 1,696 Pairs Of Underwear And Other Items Lost On New York’s Subways

The 5 million people who ride New York City’s subways every day are bound to lose a few things. But this is New York–where the subways are used to haul everything from gym bags to band instruments to pets–so we’re not just talking misplaced mittens and scarves. This fascinating infographic about the stuff people leave behind on the subways says a lot about the people of New York City.

Special Mentions: Animal Edition

As Grumpy Cat proves, the Internet is all about cats (and dogs, and hamsters, and snow goats). Here are some of our top animal-related Recommenders of the year:

Watch A Disabled Dog Get A New Lease On Life With 3-D-Printed Legs

It’s hard to imagine getting tired of watching formerly legless animals gleefully trotting along on mini wheelchairs or 3-D-printed prosthetic legs, and in this entry Derby the dog doesn’t disappoint. Watch Derby go from relatively immobile to a happy, scampering pup in this video.

This Baby Goat Taking His First Steps With a Mini Wheelchair Will Melt Your Insides


Frostie the snow goat, the cutest kid with the cutest name, suffers from a debilitating condition called “joint navel ill” that has rendered his hind legs unusable. The kind people of Edgar’s Mission, an Australian nonprofit for rescue animals, provided him with a Frostie-size wheelchair to help him get around—and also to kill us with cuteness (and bleats of joy). Watch him take his first steps here.

Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Foodstuffs

Hamster videos practically became their own beat around here this year, and it all started with this stuffed-cheeks video of tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos.

Editor’s Pick: This Barbershop Quartet’s “Sexual Healing” Cover Will Make You Abstinent

This gem came too late in the game to qualify traffic-wise, but there may not have been a more perfect Internet moment in 2014: It’s got music, it’s got cringe, it’s got Steve Carrell.

About the author

Erin Schulte is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Fast Company, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Entrepreneur, among other publications. You can find her on Twitter @erin719nyc.