Wikipedia is the internet’s first stop for fast familiarization. Quartz has analyzed English-language Wikipedia data from 2014 to find out how the things people want to learn about change day to day. The interactive graphic below shows the top-viewed page for every day of last year.
Some top pages: Cher, Cremation, Daft Punk, Amazon.com, Denial, Impossible colors, Brown v. Board of Education.
Scroll down to view the results for the whole year. Click or tap on a square for more info. The darker colors indicate more pageviews. (There’s more explanation of the data below.)
Many of the top results follow big news events. The World Cup dominates most of June. Crimea takes the top spot in early March, soon after pro-Russian forces began taking control of the peninsula from Ukraine. The pages for well-loved celebrities spike after their namesakes die—Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman were viewed millions of times after their early deaths.
Some results are odd. Because the data measure pageviews and not unique visitors, they are subject to distortion from bots, or software that requests pages programatically. A software developer could accidentally write a bot that views a page tens of thousands of times instead of once. This helps explain the very large numbers of views for random pages like Malware and “Less (Unix),” as well as the entries for articles that don’t exist, such as “O. Gabriel”.
Others can simply be attributed to the unpredictability of the internet. “Impossible colors” is the top page on January 5, with nearly 100,000 views—probably the result of this Reddit post that answers the question, “Can you name one thing that is and will remain impossible?”
If you’d like to further explore 2014 according to Wikipedia, the full pageviews dataset is available on Quartz’s GitHub account.