Most Read U.S. News Stories of 2012, Part I

We reveal the first installment of the most read news stories at U.S. News in 2012.

In this Tuesday April 24, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave to supporters in Manchester, N.H.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave to supporters in Manchester, N.H., after winning the primary April 24.

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Drones, archaic legal theory and naked zombies made it into the top 20 news stories published by usnews.com in 2012.

Here's a look at No.'s 20-11:

20) Study: Black Americans Feel Less Empowered Under Obama Than They Once Did
Published Oct. 17

Four years after Barack Obama was elected president, this is not exactly a "post-racial" America. A new study from Washington University in St. Louis finds that under Obama, many black Americans feel less free than whites when it comes to political participation. From 2005 to 2011, only 45 percent of blacks said they believed the government would allow them to make a public speech, while 67 percent of whites believed they could, the study found.

19) VIDEO: Miami Naked Zombie Was Likely High on Bath Salts
Published May 29

Police were blaming bath salts for turning 31-year-old Rudy Eugene into what multiple media outlets called the "naked zombie" after Eugene was found eating the face of a homeless person in Miami.

18) S.C. Lawmakers Propose 5-Year Jail Sentence for Enforcing Obamacare
Published Dec. 17

Nullification is yet again picking up steam in Dixie. Pursuing an archaic legal theory that punctuated pre-Civil War disputes between the federal government and states, South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would criminalize implementation of President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare reform law.

17) Romney to Nation: 'Hold On a Little Longer'
Published April 24

Armed with a fresh slate of primary victories, Mitt Romney urged Americans to "hold on a little longer" after winning the Republican primary in April. He had just scored victories in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

16) Court Upholds Domestic Drone Use in Arrest of American Citizen
Published Aug. 2

In August, a North Dakota court upheld the first-ever use of an unmanned drone to assist in the arrest of an American citizen. A judge denied a request to dismiss charges against Rodney Brossart, a man arrested last year after a 16-hour standoff with police at his Lakota, N.D., ranch.

15) The Pirate Bay to Fly Server Drones to Avoid Law Enforcement
Published March 19 

The world's largest and most resilient BitTorrent site made plans to redefine "cloud computing" by moving at least some of its servers onto unmanned drones miles above Sweden.

14) Who Should Have Access to Student Records?
Published Jan. 19

Since "No Child Left Behind" was passed 10 years ago, states have been required to ramp up the amount of data they collect about individual students, teachers, and schools. But parents and students have very little access to that data, according to a report released in January by the Data Quality Campaign, an organization that advocates for expanded data use.

13) Earth's Polar Ice Melting Less Than Thought
Published Feb. 8

Nearly 230 billion tons of ice is melting into the ocean from glaciers, ice caps, and mountaintops annually—which was actually less than previous estimates, according to new research by scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

12) Kopimism, Sweden's Pirate Religion, Begins to Plunder America
Published April 20

A Swedish religion whose dogma centers on the belief that people should be free to copy and distribute all information—regardless of any copyright or trademarks— made its way to the United States this year. Followers of so-called "Kopimism" believe copying, sharing, and improving on knowledge, music, and other types of information is only human—the Romans remixed Greek mythology, after all, they say.

11) New Ad Implies Obama Is Cozy With Muslim Brotherhood
Published Sept. 20

The conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring sped up their delivery of an ad to run in key swing states depicting President Barack Obama as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer after U.S. embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya.

Looking for the top 10? Stay tuned! Part II will be released soon.