The pace of news is getting faster and faster — especially when a story can be captured in a single image. We were flooded with photos from the Middle East uprisings this year. And floods dominated the news, too; in Japan, Thailand, Vicksburg, scenes of high waters made a lasting impression.
It was a year of destruction and disaster — the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the back-to-back tragedies in Japan. But there were also the lighthearted events: a royal wedding and a good year for Ryan Gosling, if you know your memes, but we won't go there.
For better or worse, here are some of the images that topped our click charts.
Jan. 9: The office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords releases photos from the hospital that show nothing more than her hand.
Feb. 11: Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate under fireworks at Cairo's Tahrir Square after president Hosni Mubarak steps down.
Feb. 24: Space shuttle Discovery, NASA's oldest surviving space shuttle, rockets up into the sky for a final voyage. A photo taken from a commercial flight gives a unique perspective.
May 11: Homemade levees are a last-ditch effort for residents of Vicksburg in the Mississippi River floods.
Oct. 5: Apple CEO Steve Jobs dies; the company's website is transformed into a temporary memorial.
March 14: A screen grab taken from news footage by Japanese public broadcaster NHK shows the moment of a hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station's No. 3 reactor.
March 15: Neena Sasaki, 5, carries family belongings from her home that was destroyed after the earthquake and tsunami in Rikuzentakata, Miyagi province, Japan.
May 26: Before and after photos show the destruction in Joplin, Mo., after a tornado leveled much of the town.
May 2: The White House releases a photo from inside the Situation Room, as President Obama and members of his national security team receive an update from Pakistan, as the operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden unfolds. (The meme it became.)
June 16: A "mystery couple" is photographed making out amid riots in Vancouver.
Nov. 18: An image from a video shows a police officer using pepper spray on Occupy demonstrators at the University of California, Davis. (And the meme.)