We have Reddit to thank for some less serious topics of interest, including a funny story about songwriter Tom Lehrer (#5), as well as how land mine (#7) areas in the Falkland Islands have become penguin sanctuaries. Actress Rose Leslie (#21) made the top 25 simply because Reddit noticed she grew up in a castle. It's worth noting that earlier this week The New York Times was asking "Can Reddit Grow Up?", about that site's efforts to develop a mature business model. Considering that Reddit and Google Doodles are without peer in their ability to direct traffic, at least to Wikipedia, it stands to reason that someone will figure out how to leverage that site's massive audience.
This American actor died on July 19 at age 86 of a heart attack. Garner starred in several popular television series over more than five decades, including Maverick and The Rockford Files. He also starred in more than 50 films.
This 2011 erotic romance novel by E. L. James (pictured) is one of the biggest best sellers of the past decade. It is being adapted into a movie directed by Sam Taylor-Wood so that even more people can experience it. On July 24, the movie trailer for the film was released, which is no doubt why this article was so popular this week.
The tragic shooting down of this passenger aircraft over Eastern Ukraine drops one spot this week. Although it seems likely that Russian-backed insurgents, who recently downed some Ukrainian planes in the same area, mistook the Boeing 777 for a Ukrainian military plane, a full investigation of the crash needs to be completed. That continues to be hampered by the lack of government authority and ongoing fighting in the region, leading to news reports about the efforts made to simply transport bodies out of the area, as well as disturbing claims of scavenging of passenger belongings by local residents.
The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, part of a very long and complicated history of conflict, keeps this article on the list for the second straight week. The military operation is dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" though our article on the conflict is now filed under 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
This American singer-songwriter, satirist, and mathematician was the subject of a very popular Reddit thread this week. As Reddit noticed, when Lehrer was asked at age 84 by hip-hop artist 2 Chainz for permission to sample a song he wrote 60 years ago, Lehrer responded: "As sole copyright owner of 'The Old Dope Peddler', I grant you motherfuckers permission to do this. Please give my regards to Mr. Chainz, or may I call him 2?"
The 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Games kicked off on 23 July in Glasgow, Scotland, and will run through 3 August. Almost 5,000 athletes from 71 different nations and territories will be competing in 18 sports, including Lawn Bowls.
Reddit also caused a huge spike in the popularity of this article on 25 July, when a "Today I Learned" thread noted that areas around landmines laid near the sea during the Falklands War (1982) have become favorite penguins sanctuaries, as penguins do not weigh enough to detonate the mines, and can breed free of human interference. The sanctuaries have proven so popular and lucrative for ecotourism that removal efforts have been opposed.
The list of deaths in the current year is always a popular article. In addition to James Garner (#1), deaths this week included (and this is a random sample, truly): Indian actor Kadhal Dhandapani (July 20), English female aviator and World War II military pilot Lettice Curtis (July 21), American football player Robert Newhouse (July 22), American swimmer and 1932 Olympics gold medal winner Helen Johns (July 23), South Korean vionlist Ik-Hwan Bae (July 24), American author Bel Kaufman (July 25), and Ukrainian mayor Oleh Babayev (July 26).