We can all agree that 2020 has been unlike any other year that many of us can remember or would have ever lived through.
Many of the elite world leaders have been as bad as ever, we've seen disturbing scenes of social unrest and institutional racism rear its ugly head again, Australia was ravaged by wildfires.
Oh, and there was and still is a major pandemic, which completely altered everybody's life on the planet considerably (and that's not an understatement).
The worry and trauma that coronavirus and many other things have caused this year have made it very difficult to even raise a smile or remember some of the stranger things that have happened this year.
However, there have been a few things that left us either scratching our heads or crying with laughter.
Note: For the purpose of this list we've tried to steer clear of anything political or related to coronavirus because we've all had enough of both of those subjects this year.
1. People were actually making memes about World War 3
This was the first major news story of 2020 after president Trump ordered the killing of Iranian army general Qasem Soleimani via an airstrike on 3 January.
This very serious and worrying story had many concerned that Trump was going to ignite another global conflict. For a few days, nobody seemed to know what was going to happen and the situation eventually dissipated. It wasn't a laughing matter but for a few days you couldn't log onto to social media without seeing tons of memes about World War 3.
Me and the lads meeting up in jail after rejecting the world war 3 draft! #worldwar3 #WorldWarThree #WWIII https://t.co/ntpsVxwCGs— Mobeen (@Mobeen) 1578060437
At the time it seemed highly inappropriate but on reflection, you have to admire the gallows humour of the internet.
2. Monkeys run riot in Thai city
As the world began to go into lockdown in March and face the consequences of Covid-19, animals who had no idea what was going on began to reclaim their rightful place on Earth.
Soon enough the internet was awash with videos of marine life returning to the canals of Venice and deer venturing into towns in Japan. Some of these videos remain pretty unclear regarding whether they were actually a result of lockdown or not. However, footage of monkeys swarming and taking over a city in Thailand was undeniable and quite frankly terrifying.
Thousands of hungry monkeys storm the town center in Lopburi, Thailand because the tourists that usually fed them f… https://t.co/IFsLIGk8Pa— 🐵🌞 (@🐵🌞) 1584059984
A few months later the local police claimed that the monkeys had well and truly taken over and that trying to stop them was 'hopeless.'
3. Pentagon releases UFO videos
In any other year this probably would have been the biggest story on the planet but it happened to occur in 2020 so it was reduced to just something a bit weird.
Even with that in mind, it is still staggering that the Pentagon released actual footage of a UFO and now it's just out there in the public realm for everyone to see. UFO enthusiasts didn't know whether to cry or be completely elated.
It's not every day one reads a New York Times article containing the phrase “off-world vehicles not made on this ea… https://t.co/HoD8PUvI0E— Nick Pope (@Nick Pope) 1595568812
4. The massive lasagne in Wembley Stadium story
Another weird sensation of the first few weeks of lockdown was memes and videos going viral on WhatsApp. Most of the stuff was utter nonsense and scams designed to catch people out but one will undoubtedly live on in infamy and that is the Wembley Stadium-Lasagne voice note.
Wtf https://t.co/WWvY98H2zR— Will Joseph Cook (@Will Joseph Cook) 1584631403
We can only take a guess as to how many times this was shared and listened to by people who either found it hilarious or genuinely believed it to be true and that the Ministry of Defence was turning Wembley into a giant oven.
It was all the work of a man named Billy McLean who initially did it as joke to cheer people up before things got out of hand. He told ITV News:
Initially, it was just a joke amongst my friends but quickly it became apparent how worrying it is that something shared just among friends in a living room with a mobile phone can quickly spread.
Obviously, this joke was fine, but sort of the information that people could believe to be true could be quite dangerous. One of the things it’s shown me is that people have a sense of humour even in difficult times.
It’s good that people can have a laugh and a joke with it. Overall, its had a positive impact.
5. Everyone became obsessed with Tiger King
The first major cultural sensation of 2020 was a Netflix series about unusual big cat enthusiasts in Oklahoma.
Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin became legit stars almost overnight as their bitter feud which almost resulted in murder and Exotic being incarcerated captivated viewers both sides of th Atlantic.
Baskin is now a contestant on Dancing With the Stars while Trump even hinted at pardoning Exotic for his crimes. However, we're still not sure if Donald Trump Jr has watched the documentary yet.
6. People were very excited about Gillian Anderson playing Margaret Thatcher
Away from Tiger King, Netflix caused some uproar and a lot of head scratvhing after bonafide bombshell Gillian Anderson was cast as Margaret Thatcher, possibly the most hated British prime minister ever, for the fourth season of The Crown.
The new season is yet to air but people's feelings towards Anderson, who has been considered to be one of the most attractive people on the planet since the 1990s, is likely to dramatically change.
Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown is seriously freaking me out. I’ve never felt more sexually conf… https://t.co/HvVl6mGl3G— Gary Whitta (@Gary Whitta) 1580833629
7. People thought Kim Jong-un was dead
For the record: the supreme leader of North Korea is not dead.
However, for a short period in April people genuinely believed that Kim Jong-un had passed away thanks to a lot of misinformation that was being spread about the dictator. Despite there being no confirmation about Kim's death, the internet still went ahead and made lots of memes as others were speculating that his sister Kim Yo-jong, was set to replace him.
kim jong un Sir, we dont see eye to eye on many policy's. But I look forward to you recovering from being brain dead, so we can share a Beer— wint (@wint) 1587435765
8. Elon Musk and Grimes baffled everyone with their choice of baby name
The musician and the South African entrepreneur are one of the most unlikely celebrity couples in the world today and keeping true to their surreal relationship they welcomed their first child into the world. Their choice for the child's name was X Æ A-12 Musk, which Grimes gave a full and clear explanation behind.
•X, the unknown variable ⚔️ •Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence) •A-12 = precursor to SR… https://t.co/Vn38xXLLiA— 𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (⌛️,⏳) ᚷᚱᛁᛗᛖᛋ (@𝔊𝔯𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 (⌛️,⏳) ᚷᚱᛁᛗᛖᛋ) 1588726461
There was some dispute as to whether the baby's name was legal as the use of numbers in a name is outlawed by California law, leading the proud parents to call the child X Æ A-Xii instead.
9. The Rock pulled the gates off to his house
We all know that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is strong as muscles on his muscles but this is ridiculous. In September he shared pictures on Instagram of the electric gates to his house completely demolished and lying on the ground.
Turns out there was a power outage at the star's home which left him locked in the grounds. However, Johnson still needed to go to work so he did what any normal person would do and literally ripped the gates off their hinges.
10. A star went missing
Stars, as in those in outer space, don't traditionally vanish without a trace. It's just not something that they do. However. that's exactly what happened to a star that was 2.5 million times brighter than the Sun.
The blue star, also known as a 'Luminous blue variables' was in the Kinman Dwarf galaxy, is a staggering 75 million light-years away from Earth and had began to be observed by astronomers between 2001 and 2011 but now it's not there.
Weirdly the star didn't even supernova which is what usually happens when a star vanishes. In a statement released by the European Southern Observatory, Andrew Allan, a PhD student at Dublin's Trinity College and the lead researcher on the study said:
It would be highly unusual for such a massive star to disappear without producing a bright supernova explosion. Instead, we were surprised to find out that the star had disappeared. If true this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner.
Data has since shown that the star likely lost its luminosity in 2011 and faded from view altogether following a mass spike.
11. QAnon supporters thought JFK Jr was going to become Trump's running mate
The QAnon conspiracy is probably the most dangerous and worrying theory linked to Trump and his presidency.
Trump and his administration have tried to distance themselves from it but haven't publicly disavowed the cult-like following which believes that there a secret individual in the government who is attempting to expose a deep state Satanic paedophile ring that is trying to undermine Trump's presidency.
That's probably one of their least unhinged theories as in October some followers genuinely believed that John F Kennedy Jr, who has been dead since 1999, was going to come out of hiding and replace Mike Pence as Trump's running mate. Its safe to say that absolutely none of that happened whatsoever.
Big day in the "JFK Jr lives" sect of QAnon as the man himself is expected to reveal himself and replace Pence as T… https://t.co/WpQEsMhoiH— Travis View (@Travis View) 1602945273
12. Miley Cyrus claims she once had an 'experience' with an alien after being 'chased' by a UFO
More UFO madness here as musician Miley Cyrus claimed to have had an 'experience' with an alien in front of a taco shop. Speaking to Interview magazine she said:
I’m pretty sure about what I saw but I’d also bought weed wax from a guy in a van in front of a taco shop so it could have been the weed wax. It looked at me and we made eye contact and I think that’s what really shook me, looking into the eyes of something that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. I was shaken for like five days. It f***ed me up. I couldn’t really look at the sky the same. I thought they might come back.
Cyrus wasn't the only celebrity running into aliens like it was nothing. Rapper Post Malone said that he has seen aliens and UFOs 'more than once.' Sounds like a case for the Men in Black.
13. An airline offered people a 'flight to nowhere' and it sold out
With the pandemic restricting people's travel this year, airlines have been forced to improvise to at least give passengers the feeling that they are allowed to fly around the world.
The Australian airline Qantas offered customers the chance to fly around the sights of Australia and even travel to Antarctica without even leaving the plane before touching down right where it had left off in Sydney. It doesn't sound that thrilling and with prices ranging between $575 (£445) and $2,765 (£2,145) you could understand if people passed on it.
Bizarrely, it become one of the airline's most popular flights ever and sold out in just 10 minutes. A spokesperson for Qantas said:
It's probably the fastest-selling flight in Qantas history. People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we'll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.
14. Ben Shapiro sang the lyrics to WAP and became a meme
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's 'WAP' is arguably the most popular song of the year and definitely not something that you would want to have to listen to with your parents.
The sexually explicit song features some of the most graphic lyrics you'll ever hear and is all the better for it.
It's not to everyone's taste though and we shouldn't be surprised that it offended many conservatives in America, chief among them, Ben Shapiro, who attempted to criticise the song on his podcast by literally reading the lyrics out but censoring one word that he was too embarrassed to say.
Unfortunately for Ben, this went viral and the internet had a field day with memes.
Cardi B - WAP feat. Ben Shapiro https://t.co/OzbKwJLRby— Timothy Burke (@Timothy Burke) 1597091075
Ben Shapiro has a reaction video crying about the new single WAP by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion and his reactio… https://t.co/AK183NGJjG— Allergic to my own Swag (@Allergic to my own Swag) 1597088971
15. Jedward becoming unlikely heroes
More pop stars doing unlikely things here as Ireland's Jedward reemerged from obscurity to become the heroes that we didn't know we needed in 2020. Firstly, they were spotted at a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles.
#BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/YL1McHwMmw— JEDWARD (@JEDWARD) 1591128417
Then they took aim at politicians and branded Donald Trump and Boris Johnson 'Poundland Jedward' for trying to copy their hairstyles.
Poundland Jedward https://t.co/bhoMnlHsRJ— JEDWARD (@JEDWARD) 1598554493
Our favourite Jedward moment of 2020 has to be when they mocked Noel Gallagher after it emerged that the former Oasis band member was an anti-masker. The twins tried to help Gallagher see his mistakes by rewriting the lyrics to his classic hit Wonderwall.
Today is gonna be the day @NoelGallagher That we're gonna throw it back to you👍🏻 by now you should've somehow Real… https://t.co/u7tmhCuLqI— JEDWARD (@JEDWARD) 1600184690
16. There was a reverse waterfall in Australia
There have been plenty of weird weather-based phenomenons this year like that heat-wave that just didn't want to end and the fire tornado in California.
However, we're not sure anything was stranger than the waterfall that went backwards in Australia. As wind gust reached 70km/h, several waterfall in the Royal National Park near Sydney actually started to be blown backwards creating a literally reverse waterfall.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds and damaging surf is current for Sydney, Central Coast, Mid North Coast… https://t.co/gXXwLvgeHy— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NEWS Sydney) 1597017826
17. A pair of gay penguins stole an egg from a pair of lesbian penguins
If you had 'drama in the Dutch LGBTQ+ penguin community' on your 2020 bingo card then congratulations, your luck has come in.
Over at the Amersfoort’s Dierenpark zoo, a pair of gay penguins stole an entire batch of eggs, to hatch as their own, from a lesbian couple. The gay penguins, named 'Tux and Flipper' have a reputation for causing trouble having previously stolen a single egg in 2019, which failed to hatch.
They clearly didn't want to be foiled again and this time stole an entire batch of eggs and also took over two enclosures. Although the pair seem determined to get their own little penguins, it is unlikely to happen.
Zookeeper Sander Drost explained to RTV Utrechtthat because the eggs were produced by a lesbian couple they won't have been fertilised and are unlikely to bring any baby penguins into the world. Drost does believe that one day a same-sex penguin couple could conceivably lay an egg that hatches
If we have a penguin couple with fertilised eggs, where something happens that prevents them from hatching it themselves, we can also surrender those eggs to such a gay couple.
18. Murder hornets
Animals have had quite a year but no creature grabbed more headlines than the so-called 'murder hornet.'
This pesky insect, also known as the Asian giant hornet made their way into the United States in May and quickly alarmed people, as stories about them taking over honeybee hives, decapitating their less aggressive winged friends and taking their corpses home to feed their young swarmed the internet.
It sounds like something from a horror movie but for a brief moment the idea of 'murder hornets' running rampant in the US, combined with a pandemic had people fearing the worst.
I feel like god is using an end-of-the-world problem generator and just got “murder hornets”— C.H.U.D.ney Spears (@C.H.U.D.ney Spears) 1588478588
Thankfully, nothing too serious happened in regard to these little fellas and people calmed down a little when videos began emerging of bees working together to kill off one of the hornets. When it was all said and done all it took to kill a murder hornet was a vacuum.
19. Water discovered on the Moon
Much like the previous UFO story, water being discovered on the surface of the Moon would be a gigantic story but 2020 is gonna 2020. This year really doesn't want anything about space becoming anything more than a 'weird news story' does it?
🌔 ICYMI... using our @SOFIATelescope, we found water on the Moon's sunlit surface for the first time. Scientists th… https://t.co/UAmjnvsw6g— NASA (@NASA) 1603756506
Scientist and experts are yet to state what they believe will be the implications of this landmark discovery but in the meantime, everyone couldn't resist making memes.
their impact https://t.co/SROEKOSLey https://t.co/goBEjkwwmx— alex (@alex) 1603731850
i have drunk the water that was on the moon and which you were probably saving for research forgive me it was ref… https://t.co/Hm36Galnlo— jonny sun (@jonny sun) 1603739165
Even Nasa joined in.
@Twitter H2O? More like H2whoa.— NASA (@NASA) 1603745336
Yeah, that actually happened. We still don't understand it and at this point, we're not sure anyone else does either...
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