It's been a little more than three months since HowStuffWorks Now launched in fall 2015. We're super excited about this site where we get to cover and share bigger, breaking stories (Reusable Rockets Are Here. Thanks, Blue Origin), smaller, offbeat stories (Your Heart — and Your Life Story — in a Computer Game) and a smattering of episodes in ridiculous history (The Great Stink of London).
It's easy to get to know HowStuffWorks Now. Just start by checking out some of our most popular stories from this year that we've compiled for you. And if you already dig the site, stick around to revisit some old favorites.
A lot of you are sporting ink these days, which may explain why this was our most popular article. In any case, researchers have taken notice of all the body art. This story reported on a study of U.S. college students that found that women with four or more tattoos had higher self-esteem than female participants with fewer or no tattoos. The researchers also uncovered an interesting association between suicide and tattoos.
This HowStuffWorks Now story seemed to be a huge hit with insomniac rodents. A bunch of scientists from the University of California figured out a way to send mice tumbling into REM sleep almost instantly. That ability to induce REM sleep could have some far-reaching effects on sleep research and, perhaps, mood disorders and neurological diseases.
One thing we've noticed about you guys is that you like your coffee. (We're going to have to run a control story on tea in 2016 to see if that grabs as many as you.) Or maybe this story caught on because the idea of putting egg in your cup of java sounds a bit odd. That may be, but it's part of an old but enduring method of brewing that devotees say yields a better cup of joe. Try it for yourself after reading the article and let us know if you agree.
Those hands that are so good at gripping a mug of coffee could also be uniquely tailored for punching someone in the face. Furthermore, your lovely face may have evolved to take a blow. That's the general idea behind this fascinating take on human evolution that University of Utah biologist David Carrier has researched at length and host Robert Lamb explores in this video.
Right in time for seasonal binge-eating, writer Julia Layton explores an idea that you'll no doubt remember while you're snacking on a holiday cookie at midnight. Here's the scoop: Researchers with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California having been experimenting with a dietary approach called time-restricted feeding in mice. They've found that limiting the rodents' food intake to certain hours (say 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) can have some seriously positive health effects, given a certain diet. Almost makes you want to try it.
Sometimes we just write stories because we're curious. This was one of them. After all, if you're a clean freak, the thought of a meal cooked on an ongoing basis in a vessel that's never washed may sound horrifying. But some swear by nosh prepped in perpetuity and flavored with all manner of food scraps. Which side of the debate do you land on?
Forget the Hindenburg. That's old news. Modern dirigibles could be rising stars for carting cargo. And sure, we're not quite at floating cruise ship phase, but these airships definitely aren't relics. This article got us excited about a class of air travel that seems to be rising from the dead.
Writer Bryan Young traveled to the "The Force Awakens" press conference in Los Angeles in December 2015 and sent us a slew of stories giving us the goods on what went down. Apparently, there were jokes; there were songs; there was Carrie Fisher sassing director J.J. Abrams.
We close with a video that looks into the wonders of transcranial magnetic stimulation, and how it may affect theism and bigotry, courtesy of a UCLA study. As host Robert Lamb explains, we've been zapping subject with TMS for decades now. This particular study got curious about whether TMS could affect someone's "ideological convictions." Watch the video to see what they found.
That's it for our little roundup. Come visit us lots in 2016! We'll have plenty more stories to share.