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That's right, more bizarre than the pandemic

That's right, more bizarre than the pandemic
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But while the pandemic and US election have dominated the year’s headlines, plenty of other things have happened, some of which are especially odd. Here are 13 of the most bizarre events of 2020 that have nothing to do with the pandemic. Brace yourself – it’s a lot, and yes, it all somehow happened in this very weird year. All that said, here’s why 2020 might have been the wake-up call we needed.

Murder hornets appeared in the United States

Murder hornets appeared in the United States
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Back in May, we found out about a terrifying winged creature called the “murder hornet” that had been spotted in the United States. Technically referred to as Asian giant hornets, the New York Times reported that the insects “can use mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins to wipe out a honeybee hive in a matter of hours, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young.” If they’re going for a bigger target, “the hornet’s potent venom and stinger – long enough to puncture a beekeeping suit – make for an excruciating combination that victims have likened to hot metal driving into their skin.”

In late October, local officials in Washington state destroyed the first murder hornet nest spotted in the country, though chances are, there are still plenty of others out there.

The Pentagon released three videos of UFOs

The Pentagon released three videos of UFOs
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When news broke in April that the US Department of Defence had reportedly released three Navy videos of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), it seemed too strange – even for 2020. Two of the videos had been making the rounds on the Internet since 2017, while the other one has been around since 2007. But, up until the Pentagon issued a statement confirming that all three videos are indeed real, there was some controversy over their authenticity. Now we know they are legitimate Navy videos, but we still don’t know what they show. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterised as ‘unidentified,’” the Department of Defence said in a statement on April 27.

Here are a few other examples of UFO sightings no one can explain.

People were obsessed with Tiger King

People were obsessed with Tiger King
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While there have been plenty of extremely popular true-crime docuseries over the past decade, few have had as expansive an influence as Netflix’s Tiger King. Though it was officially released on March 10 – and plenty of people watched it right away—the fact that so many of us were on lockdown this spring, thanks to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, meant that we were spending basically all of our time at home and had the chance to dig into this seven-episode series. The combination of colourful characters – namely, Joe Exotic (the eponymous “Tiger King”) and his rival, Carole Baskin – with a glimpse inside the world of exotic zoos, as well as murder, mullets, and questionable treatment of animals was like a car wreck we couldn’t turn away from, and it catapulted both Exotic and Baskin to international fame.

A high school student discovered a new planet

A high school student discovered a new planet
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Only a few days into 2020, news broke that NASA had identified a new planet. Specifically, a 17-year-old high school student discovered the planet on the third day of his internship with NASA. And it wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill planet: Named TOI 1338 b, it’s 6.9 times larger than Earth, orbits two stars instead of one every 95 days, and is 1,300 light-years away. The discovery was especially exciting for Star Wars fans, who saw similarities between the new planet and Luke Skywalker’s home world of Tatooine, which featured double sunsets. While you’re learning about space, check out these spooky (but fascinating) facts about the moon.

A massive star went missing

A massive star went missing
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So far, 2020 has been a strange year for space, between the discovery of a new planet and the Pentagon confirming the authenticity of videos of UFOs. On top of all that, scientists discovered that a giant star has seemingly disappeared. They think it may have collapsed into a black hole, instead of exploding as a supernova. “If true, this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner,” Andrew Allan, a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and the lead author of the paper published on this finding, told Forbes. This is significant because it’s still unclear how, exactly, stars of this size die.

Here are another 12 of the most amazing space discoveries of the last decade.

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The broom challenge hoax went viral

The broom challenge hoax went viral
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For the most part, 2020 has been too busy for viral Internet challenges, but there’s one notable exception to that from February. It was called the “broom challenge,” and the premise was that according to NASA, on February 10 (and that day only), a broom would be able to stand up straight on its bristles because of the specific type of gravitational pull on that date. Turns out, none of it was true. First of all, the claim was that this trick would work because of the planet’s gravitational pull on the vernal equinox. However, the spring equinox wasn’t until March 19. And, not surprisingly, NASA never issued any sort of message about this.

Poland accidentally invaded the Czech Republic

Poland accidentally invaded the Czech Republic
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Thanks to the events of World Wars I and II, you can’t blame people for being concerned when one European country invades another. That is, unless it was done by accident. That’s precisely what happened in May, when the Polish military mistakenly invaded and briefly occupied territory in the Czech Republic. “According to our information, the case was discussed by the authorities responsible for border protection on the Polish and Czech sides,” the ministry’s press office said in a statement, NPR reported. “In the spirit of good Polish-Czech relations, we believe that this was only a minor misunderstanding that was quickly cleared up.” The unintentional invasion was resolved almost immediately.

A puppy was born with green fur

A puppy was born with green fur
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In October 2020, an Italian farmer’s dog gave birth to a litter of five puppies – including one that had green fur. If this happened in March, it might have been safe to assume that this was some sort of St. Patrick’s Day prank, but there’s actually a scientific explanation behind the pup’s unusual colouring. In this case, it appears as though the white puppy – named Pistachio – came in contact with biliverdin, a green pigment, in its mother’s womb. Eventually, as the baby dog grows up, it’s thought that its green colour will fade.

Check out these adorable baby animals pictures that will make you melt.

A court ruled that Subway bread isn’t actually bread

A court ruled that Subway bread isn’t actually bread
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The Subway sandwich chain has one of the most distinctive fast-food smells around since they bake their own bread in-house. But, as it turns out, the rolls in their ovens aren’t technically considered bread – at least according to Ireland’s Supreme Court. On October 1, the court ruled that all of the roll options available at Subways in Ireland – white bread, Italian, nine-grain wheat, honey oat, Italian herbs and cheese, nine-grain multi-seed, and hearty Italian – contain 10 percent sugar, which is too high to be legally considered “bread.” A spokesperson for the sandwich chain issued a statement clarifying that “Subway’s bread is, of course, bread.”

 

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