The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

We've posted thousands of pieces in 2013, so to pluck out a few dozen and to call them our favorite is in some ways impossibly arbitrary. But that doesn't mean we didn't try.

If you'd rather see our most popular stories, there's a list for that, too. But below are the posts that stood out in our minds as the best Gizmodo had to offer. Some are long, some are short, some are tech, some are design, one is an adorable toddler in an LED Halloween costume. It's a mix.

If you're looking for a common thread, they're all topics we cared deeply about last year. If you're looking for an organizing principle, there is none, other than that they're all here for your enjoyment.


iOS 7: Instead of Flatness, We Got Depth

The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

After plenty of self-deprecating jokes about virtual cows, Apple unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the mobile software by Jony Ive. After months of speculation and weeks of rumor-mongering, we finally have our answer: the future of iOS is, actually, is rife with dimensionality and texture. Which is a good thing.


How To Take Care of Your Smartphone Battery the Right Way

The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

Your smartphone is a minor miracle, a pocket-sized computer that can fulfill almost every whim. But none of its superpowers matter a bit if it runs out of juice. With removable batteries becoming more and more rare, you've got to take good care of the one you got. Fortunately, it's not to hard keep the lithium-ion powering your everything machine happy if you follow a few simple rules.


Beat By Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World

The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

There's never been anything like Beats By Dre. The bulky rainbow headphones are a gaudy staple of malls, planes, clubs, and sidewalks everywhere: as mammoth, beloved, and expensive as their namesake. But Dr. Dre didn't just hatch the flashy lineup from his freight train chest: The venture began as an unlikely partnership between a record-industry powerhouse and a boutique audio company best known for making overpriced HDMI cables.


    What We Found at Hart Island, The Largest Mass Grave Site In the U.S.

    The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

    It's a place where few living New Yorkers have ever set foot, but nearly a million dead ones reside: Hart Island, the United States' largest mass grave, which has been closed to the public for 35 years. It is difficult to visit and off-limits to photographers. But that may be about to change, as a debate roils over the city's treatment of the unclaimed dead. Never heard of Hart? You're not alone—and that's part of the problem.


      Jobs, Reviewed by Steve Wozniak

      The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

      In the discussion section of our Jobs review, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak weighed in with his own impressions of the movie—and how he and others were portrayed.


        There's No Such Thing As an "Apple Trap"

        The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

        New York Times Magazine blows the lid off of an Apple conspiracy more outrageous than a dozen Foxconns. Cracking the Apple Trap, it's called in the print edition. Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone, online. But in our hearts, let it be known only as Uhh... Seriously? Time to sigh together, point by point.


          Digital Drills: The Monster Machines that Mine Bitcoin

          The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

          Bitcoin! It's everywhere right now. Its value is dropping, spiking, dropping again. More and more new converts are hopping in, buying a few coins and trying their hands at the market, looking to make a quick buck with a profitable exchange. But all the while, there's an ever-dwindling army of specialists working in the shadows, painstakingly extracting more and more digital doubloons from the cryptographic static.


            The Brilliant Insanity Behind the New Mac Pro's Design

            The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

            The last we heard of the Power Mac G4 Cube—a computer everyone loved, but no one could quite figure out—was in a press release from 2001. Twelve years later, we've finally met its beautiful, brilliant, and not altogether sane successor.


              7 Uses for Your Outdated iPad

              The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

              While most tablets have a shelf life longer than six months (*cough* iPad 3 *cough*), they all grow obsolete eventually. When the march of technology sends your slate to the junk drawer don't just sell it off. Recycle it into a high-powered specialist device.


                How Much Would It Cost to Build the Starship Enterprise?

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                So you want to build the Enterprise. Don't we all! Well good news: according to some quick, messy, napkin math, it's possible. Kind of. The bad news? It's going to be stupid expensive. But not unfathomably so! Start scrounging up your space-pennies.


                How Inventor Paul Vo Created a Little Black Box That Could Change Guitars Forever

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013

                The Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer is one of the most innovative musical instrument products created in years. Strap one onto any acoustic guitar and you can transform the way it sounds by breaking—or at least manipulating—the laws of physics. Here's the story of how inventor Paul Vo made a device that sounds like magic.


                Tim Tebow's Press Conference Sucked, or, Why the Celebrity Headphone Trend Is Idiotic

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                At the end of December, a PR agency representing Tim Tebow's new signature line of Soul brand headphones—model numberSL300, $299.95 retail—emailed us to invite us to a CES event at which Tebow himself would be showcasing his headphones and "speaking with the media." The event was total bullshit. Just like celebrity headphones.


                DARPA Tried to Build Skynet in the 1980s

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the Terminator movies. They wanted to build Skynet.


                Why Android Updates Are So Slow

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013

                If there is one complaint we hear from Android users more than any other, it's the speed at which software updates arrive. Or don't arrive. This has been going on for years. So what the hell? Why hasn't the problem been fixed? And who's to blame here? We asked Android manufacturers, carriers, and Google what the hold-up was. And, what a tangled web we found.


                Meet North Korea's Bizarre English-Language Social Media Strike Force

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                The North Korea YouTube account is the country's officially recognized, premier means of reaching Western audiences. It's also utterly insane. But it starts to make a little more sense once you meet the people behind it.


                The Amazing Quest To Preserve and Restore 52,000 Holocaust Testimonials

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                From 1994 to 1999, some 52,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors and eye-witnesses were recorded on Betacam SP tapes by USC's Shoah Foundation's Institute for Visual History and Education. Last year, a massive preservation project was completed that digitized all the inventory—but about five percent of the tapes were discovered to be almost completely unwatchable.


                Hyperloop Could Totally Work. But Will It Ever Happen?

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                As enamored as you are with the idea, your gut says that Elon Musk's Hyperloop is never going to happen. The good news is that the tech, according to experts we've talked to, is actually feasible. That bad news? That might not matter. Musk's plan is futuristic, beautiful, and sound. It just might be more ambitious than the problem he's is trying to solve.


                Tall Is Good: How a Lack of Building Up Is Keeping Our Cities Down

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Early in Spike Jonze's new film Her, Joaquin Phoenix's character gazes out his Los Angeles window. As the camera pans, we see not a squat, sprawling metropolis, but a golden-lit landscape of skyscrapers stretching all the way to the horizon. When I saw the film last Friday night, this scene made me gasp.


                The Los Angeles Aqueduct Turns 100, or The Mules That Built L.A.

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Wicked dust storms spun through Newhall Pass during the centennial celebration of the Los Angeles Aqueduct on Tuesday. The winds shuddered against the tent that held hundreds of LADWP workers and sent blinding poofs of dirt into the faces of the civic dignitaries seated onstage. It was a rather ominous sign.


                Something Called "The Object" Stops World's Largest Tunneling Machine

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Bertha, the world's largest tunneling machine, churning through the rock and mud beneath Seattle, has hit a mysterious roadblock—so mysterious, it is only known for now as "the object."


                Concrete-Printing Bees And Other Living 3D Printers

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Animals that double as living 3D printers. They are sentient printheads, we might say: biological sources of material, whether it's silk and honey or plastic and even, as we'll see below, concrete.


                In An Artificial Cave 200' Beneath Central Park with Michael Bloomberg

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                At 5pm today, the complete Manhattan section of City Water Tunnel No. 3 became operational, sending drinking water through this colossal piece of subterranean infrastructure—under construction since 1970—for the very first time.


                Every Android Phone, Ranked

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                There are something like one million Android phones for every person on the planet right now (plus or minus one). Most of them suck. Many are great. Here's the definitive list that tells you which is which.


                Can China Really Build the World's Tallest Building in 90 Days?

                The race to build the world's tallest building has taken on an urgent tone these past few years. Like the mountaineers of the 1930s, or the astronauts of the 1960s, the developers struggling to out-build each other are also struggling to articulate something deeper—something that smacks of national (or maybe economic) pride. But a Chinese plan to build the world's tallest building in mere months takes the latest salvo in this architectural arms race to new heights.


                Forget It, This Toddler Just Won Halloween

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013

                We hope you didn't spend the last six months designing and building an elaborate over-the-top Halloween costume with which you hope to win over the internet next week.


                Can Humans Breathe Liquid?

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Deep water and the unprotected human body don't play well together—like, at all. But what if there were a way to get around the body's chemical limitations, a means of deep diving without the bends or lengthy decompression? Actually, there is. And we've almost figured out how to do it without killing ourselves in the process.


                How Diet Soda Can Be Used to Track Sewage

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013

                Fake sugar found in Ontario's tap water can be traced back to… sewage. Artificial sweeteners originating in diet soft drinks and foods survive a pretty remarkable journey through our bodies, down the toilet, through the wastewater treatment plant, into rivers, and, finally, into the water flowing out of the tap all over again.


                The Aluminum Airship of the Future Has Finally Flown

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                There was once a time when man looked to the skies and expected to see giant balloons rather than airplanes drifting above. TheHindenburg Disaster promptly put an end to those dreams. But nearly a century later, one company may have finally figured out how to build a dirigible suitable for the 21st century. Just don't call it a blimp.


                Inside the Bone Room: Where Dinosaurs Live at AMNH

                The most interesting room in the American Museum of Natural History is one you'll never see. Its inhabitants are millions of years old, its proprietors among the brightest in their field. This is the big bone room, home to what is arguably the largest and most important collection of mammal bones in the world. And we got a first-hand look.


                The Throwable, Panoramic Ball Cam Is Finally Here—and It's Incredible

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                The Panono camera is nearly half its former size, just as powerful, and finally ready to be caught by consumer hands. And after playing around with the ball for a bit, we can officially say that, yes, it is every bit as awesome as it seems.


                How to Make Cocktails With Your Keurig

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                If you've ever worked in an office you probably know the ubiquitous K-Cup machine, made by Keurig. It quickly and painlessly dispenses single-servings of the hot beverage of your choice. Even, it turns out, if that beverage is 100-proof.


                I Wore a Bionic leg, and I Never Wanted to Take It Off Again

                Say you've just had ACL surgery. Or you're recovering from a bad break. Or, worse, you suffer a stroke, or MS, or spinal or neurological damage. Regaining the power to walk is one of the toughest things you can do, and it may be impossible without a crutch, rail, or physical therapist to lean on. The AlterG Bionic Leg—straight out of the sci-fi future—may be the answer you've been dreaming of. I should know. I tried it.


                Autobots Assembled: How Transformers Come to Life

                Transformers. There's maybe no more iconic toy, especially if you're a child of the 80s and 90s. And while the memories of making them shapeshift are indelible, the process of actually building one from scratch is far more involved (or exactly as involved, if you spent your entire childhood dreaming of this) as you'd imagine.


                How Close Are We to Building a Full-Fledged Cyborg?

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                The dream of the cyborg is coming true at an exhilarating rate. As humans gets better and better at making machines, we keep attaching those machines to our bodies to make ourselves better humans. It seems at times that the only question left is if we can put a human brain in a robotic frame. Actually, it's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when.


                Where the Future Came From: A Trip Through the 1893 Chicago World's Fair

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                What would you do if you had a time machine? Go watch the ancient Egyptian pyramids being built? Hang out with Jesus and turn some water into wine? Kill Hitler, maybe? These are all, no doubt, noble endeavors. But I've often said—and I stand by this—that if I had a time machine, I'd go visit the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.


                5 Crazy New Man-Made Materials That Will Shape the Future

                The Best Gizmodo Stories of 2013S

                Forget Mother Nature: when it comes to all matters matter, the sheer ingenuity of the human mind can give rise to some of the most insane—and useful—new materials you've ever encountered. Here are five crazy new man-made materials whose uses could be practically limitless.