Our most-read stories of 2015: Kids’ food, becoming disabled by choice and The Dress. Also, cats are jerks


Here’s a look at the biggest stories on the National Post’s site in 2015. Almost all of the stories that came out on top were on one form of social-media steroid or another. They mostly avoided standard clichés about web news. Except for #10…

  • 10. Your cat doesn’t love you: science

    Rudyard Kipling was right. Cats really do walk by themselves, and do not need their owners to feel secure and safe, a study has shown. Although absent owners might worry that their pet is pining, in fact, cats show no sign of separation anxiety.

    Researchers at the University of Lincoln have concluded that cats, unlike dogs, do not need humans to feel protected.

  • 9. Quebec woman suing cop who left her locked in back of police truck with man who ended up raping her

    There was plenty of drinking in Tasiujaq that weekend in 2011, just as there was whenever a shipment of alcohol arrived in the isolated village in Quebec’s far north.

    The lone police officer on duty on the night of Sept. 19 had her hands full. Fresh out of police school, she had been on the job less than a month and was not even authorized to carry a sidearm.

  • 8. Woman stalks couple — posting fake ads for parties and sex services — after they outbid her on dream home

    A woman who missed out on her dream home in San Diego has been convicted of stalking the young family who outbid her.

    Kathy Rowe waged an escalating campaign of abuse, signing the buyers up to magazine subscriptions and sending them $1,200 worth of adult diapers before posting ads for fake parties at their home and leaving their photographs on sex websites.

  • 7. ‘Dead’ woman emerges 31 years after she disappeared and 28 years after a man confessed to killing her

    A woman who vanished 31 years ago and was assumed dead after a man confessed to killing her has emerged alive and well, admitting she plotted her own disappearance.

    The alleged murder victim, Petra Pazsitka, from the northern German city of Braunschweig, was 24 when she disappeared in 1984 while living in student accommodation.

  • 6. Christie Blatchford: Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech

    What’s believed to be the first case in Canada of alleged criminal harassment-via-Twitter is just a judge’s decision away from being over.

    After hearing closing submissions Tuesday from Chris Murphy, who represents 54-year-old Gregory Alan Elliott, Ontario Court Judge Brent Knazan is expected to rule on Oct. 6.

  • 5. What colour is the dress? White and gold or blue and black? Tumblr photo sparks unlikely online debate

    A photo uploaded to Tumblr has sparked an unlikely, and highly spirited, debate over the colour of a dress.

    Scottish singer Caitlin McNeill posted a photo of the enigmatic dress to the image-sharing site with this caption: “guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?

  • 4. U.S. scientists successfully turn human cancer cells back to normal in process that could ‘switch off’ disease

    Cancer cells have been programmed back to normal by scientists in a breakthrough which could lead to new treatments and even reverse tumour growth.

    For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths.

  • 3. Chris Hyndman — co-host of CBC’s Steven and Chris — found dead in Toronto at 49

    Chris Hyndman — one half of CBC’s afternoon lifestyle show Steven and Chris and a man known for his bright smile and witty banter — has died. He was 49 years old.

    Fans and colleagues from across Canada mourned the loss of the popular TV personality Tuesday and many sent heart-felt condolences to Hyndman’s business partner and spouse Steven Sabados.

  • 2. Death to the chicken finger: How we created an entire generation of unsophisticated, picky eaters — and why we must stop the tasteless cycle

    Cut up a fresh, bone-in chicken breast and you’ll notice that it naturally separates into two distinct parts: a larger, teardrop-shaped lobe of flesh — the piece of meat that you probably think of when someone says “chicken breast” — and a more narrow piece sometimes referred to as a “tender.” The chicken finger originated in the need to find something to do with that tender, explains food historian Gary Allen in a short history of the convenience food published online five years ago. Chicken fingers, Allen says, were seldom seen before 1990 or so, but by the end of the 1980s, fear of saturated fats turned many North Americans away from beef and toward chicken. Increased demand meant billions of additional chicken breasts were processed — but what was the industry to do with the tenders? The answer is on children’s plates. We can look at Allen’s mini-history of a mini-food as a metaphor for how cuisine has come to be divided in contemporary North America: The prime cuts go to the adults while the less healthy morsels — dressed up in extra salt, fat and sugar and processed almost beyond recognition — end up on the kids’ menu, both in the family restaurants that traffic in such fare, and at home.

  • 1. Becoming disabled by choice, not chance: ‘Transabled’ people feel like impostors in their fully working bodies

    When he cut off his right arm with a “very sharp power tool,” a man who now calls himself One Hand Jason let everyone believe it was an accident.

    But he had for months tried different means of cutting and crushing the limb that never quite felt like his own, training himself on first aid so he wouldn’t bleed to death, even practicing on animal parts sourced from a butcher.

    “My goal was to get the job done with no hope of reconstruction or re-attachment, and I wanted some method that I could actually bring myself to do,” he told the body modification website ModBlog.

We excluded explainers, election results and live blogs from this list, but fear not: there was plenty interest in Canadian politics in 2015. October 19 — the day of the federal election — was the biggest single day in the site’s history.

31/12/2015 14:04  By: National Post