As the FiveThirtyEight staff recovers from a hectic year of news, we’ve been reflecting on our favorite stories from the past 12 months. What follows is not a comprehensive list of our best work, but it is some of what has lingered in our minds as we get ready for 2018.
As stories about sexual assault and harassment inundated the fall, Clare Malone noted that nearly all of them were about people in white-collar industries. That prompted her to investigate whether the #MeToo moment will reach women in low-wage jobs.
When the FBI released its first crime report under Trump, Clare Malone and Jeff Asher noticed something: It was missing a ton of data, and the agency’s explanations for why didn’t add up. FBI Director Christopher Wray now says the data will again be released to the public.
After the U.S. men’s national soccer team broke our hearts with the worst loss in the history of U.S. men’s soccer, we went looking for another squad to support. It’s not like us to just pick things at random, so we designed a quiz that helps you find the World Cup team you should root for.
Despite never playing a snap in the 2017 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick dominated the conversation around football this year. As Kaepernick went unsigned in the offseason, Kyle Wagner and Neil Paine investigated whether it was Kaepernick’s skills that were to blame. It wasn’t.
One of the runner-ups for MVP, James Harden, has bloomed over the past few years into one of the league’s best players. Chris Herring noted one of Harden’s many quirks: He’s great at drawing fouls behind the 3-point line.
Nate Silver is tired of baseball closers being used only as ninth-inning specialists. So, to help get more of a team’s best relievers in the game earlier, he created a new stat: the goose egg, which tracks which relievers are the best at putting out fires when the stakes are highest.
People are still trying to figure out why there are so many dang home runs in baseball now. Rob Arthur continued his investigation into the home-run surge, and the evidence points to the balls being juiced.
Speaking of those home runs, midway through this MLB season, there had been 56,785 home runs hit since the start of 2006. Neil Paine and Rachael Dottle charted how far those home runs would have traveled if you put them all together (4,280 miles) and which MLB player’s bombs traveled the furthest.
For years, the Bechdel Test has been used to evaluate whether a film is invested in its female characters. But the Bechdel Test is an imperfect measure of Hollywood’s inequalities. So Walt Hickey, Ella Koeze, Rachael Dottle and Gus Wezerek canvassed Hollywood in search of a new one and watched 2016’s 50 top-grossing movies to see how they stacked up.
Is your Dungeons & Dragons character rare? Gus Wezerek went spelunking to tell you whether you’re basic in your selection of a goliath paladin.
If one of your 2018 resolutions is to get better at spelling bees, we have the perfect guide for you. (It’s harder than it looks.)
When Maggie Koerth-Baker wasn’t writing about space sex, she was writing about panda sex. In November, she wrote about Pan Pan, the panda who was so good at sex that he helped save his species.
The Trump administration has reshaped the nation’s science agenda, and Republicans are often demanding that researchers provide “sound science” to substantiate their claims. Christie Aschwanden wrote about that term and why the easiest way to dismiss good science is to demand sound science.
Dan Engber went to rural Oregon to find the grandfather of alt-science. His name is Art Robinson, and his contrarian views about things like climate change have found their way into powerful circles in Washington.
Which will surely be less hectic … right??