The gifs aren't necessary, but I found them refreshingly amusing. This article isn't for a professional press release for a scientific journal, it's aphyr's blog.
Why so serious?
It doesn't mean that aphyr was wrong to include them – if you do the hard work you can style it however you like – but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that some people do something like run it through instapaper before circulating it to the button-down set.
"I lost, like 27 pound."
"Oh my god, what's your secret?"
"... I had my arms ripped off."
If enough people complain this time, maybe I won't have to waste a couple minutes clicking "Inspect Element -> display: none" on all the animated junk before reading the next article.