The end of one year and start of another is the perfect time for reflection. So, we thought it only fitting to cap off the year with a celebration of all the wild moments that made us go “WHAT?!” throughout 2013 by naming 13 of our favorites.

Running the gamut of funny, sad, shocking, gross and just plain baffling, here are the stories from a year’s worth of “The Week In WHAT?!” that we felt most deserved a double take! Did your favorite(s) make the list? If not, tell us yours in the comments below!

Grumpy Looking Blobfish Named World’s Ugliest Animal

Ugly animals need love too, and no one appreciates them more than the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. They held a vote for the world’s ugliest, and after tallying the results, Australia’s blobfish took the top honor. The blobfish, which looks like a cross between Mr. Grumpy, Abe Simpson, and Jabba the Hutt, bobs around the sea floor making it highly unlikely that you’ll ever see one in person if not at an aquarium. In fact, scientists have yet to witness a blobfish feeding! So, if a blobfish eats and no one sees it, did it actually happen? That could explain its everyday resting face. (Reprinted from 9/14/2013)

Toddlers Reveal Incredible Foresight in Pregnancy Prevention Campaign

After spending two years and over $400,000, New York City recently launched its new teen pregnancy prevention campaign, which quickly drew the ire of various groups in the community including Planned Parenthood. Critics insist that the advertisements are merely reinforcing stereotypes and not providing any information to girls that might need assistance. The posters feature images of sad toddlers and slogans such as “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen” and “Honestly Mom … chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?” Um… do these kids seem wise beyond their years or what? All joking aside, do you think the campaign is on point or crossing a line? (Reprinted from 3/10/2013)

Life Lessons Courtesy of Twitter

One student learned a valuable lesson the hard way: teachers use Twitter too. After he took out his anger towards the teacher in a tweet, one of the student’s fellow classmates revealed his own sentiments about the rant by snitching. When the teacher found out about it, he opted to shame the student by sharing the tweet with the entire class. In a twist of events, the story about the tweet-shaming went viral on Reddit. Talk about a teachable moment! No word on whether the snitch needed a stitch. (Reprinted from 3/10/2013)

Who Ordered the Large Diet Soda With a Side of Depression?

Say it ain’t so! A new study suggests that all those sweet drinks you love could be turning you sour. That is, if you’re over the age of 50. After monitoring over 260,000 AARP health and diet subjects, researchers found that people who drank more than four cups of diet soda per day had a 30% higher rate of developing depression compared to people who drank only unsweetened beverages. Comparatively, regular soda drinkers only had a 22% higher rate of depression. You’re probably thinking the caffeine played a role too, but… guess again! Coffee drinkers notably received a 10% reduction on their risk of developing depression. More research is necessary to confirm any of these findings, and with so many factors at play, skepticism is only natural. So continue sipping on that Big Gulp of Diet Coke at your desk… for now. (Reprinted from 1/12/2013)

Re-Defining The Phrase “Potty Mouth”

There’s no easy, non-nausea inducing way to say this, so here it goes: a group of scientists in China are growing brand new teeth using urine. Human urine, just to be clear. It’s not like they’re scooping up random puddles of street pee. It’s one part “Ew!” and another part “Amazeballs!” The team harvests stem cells from the secreted fluid, and three weeks later those cells became “tooth-like structures” featuring dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ. The jury’s still out on whether turning your bodily waste into a fresh set of veneers is the best method. It’s certainly the green way to go! Sorry, referring to colors was probably a mistake… (Reprinted from 8/3/2013)

If They Can’t Smell It, They’ll Never Know Who Dealt It!

Farting is a perfectly natural, healthy bodily function, and there is absolutely no reason anyone should ever feel uncomfortable when it happens in a public situation. Yet for some reason everyone reverts to kindergarten playground tactics when a little unexpected gas enters the room. Fortunately, a new British underwear line can help you calm your inner fart anxieties. Known as “Shreddies,” these tighty whities can cut the odoriferous scent of flatulence down by “200 times,” according to a spokesperson for the company. Well, that’s one less thing the Real Housewives should be less ashamed about doing in front of their husbands. (Reprinted from 10/27/2013)

Are We Humans or Are We Furby?

Pending the invention of time machines, there’s pretty much a 100% guarantee that you won’t be around to experience the world in the year 102,013. That hasn’t stopped two researchers from speculating what humans might look like after 100,000 years of further evolution and scientific discoveries. Working with computational geneticist Alan Kwan, artist Nicholay Lamm created renderings of how the species would appear in a world where humankind is “able to bend human biology to human needs.” Of course, the resemblance to photos of you and your friends that you’ve personally “enhanced” on your Macbook are more than likely a pure coincidence. (Reprinted from 6/15/2013)

Seriously, Babies Are the New Adults

When you’re a hipster baby, you know you’re in for a life of marching to the beat of your own drum. That is, until you end up in a class with other hipster babies who are doing the same thing that every hipster is doing, thus making being a hipster the most un-hipster thing you could possibly do in life. Either way, it looks like the latest trend in Brooklyn hipster culture is teaching newborns and toddlers how to DJ. It’ll set parents back $200, but they’ll get a return on their investment plus interest when their little one mans the booth at the next neighborhood loft party. (Reprinted from 9/28/2013)

We Could Be (Super)Heroes

Looking to get in touch with your inner Tony Stark? Well, if you’re a member of the armed forces, you may be slowly inching closer to making that dream a reality. Developers are hard at work on robot exoskeleton suits that could turn the U.S. military into a full-fledged “Iron Man” army. As with many other modern-day technological advances, things are moving quite fast. “In the next five years we’re going to see more and more exoskeletons out there in practice,” revealed Arizona State University engineering professor Thomas Sugar. If that’s not sweet enough, some of the devices will enhance the lives of people dealing with issues related to lower-body paralysis. #TeamScienceFTW (Reprinted from 5/25/2013)

This Little Alligator Went To Acupuncture

Acupuncture isn’t just going to the dogs but to the alligators too. The Sao Paulo Aquarium is currently home to an eight year old albino alligator that has a hunchback and suffers from scoliosis. Hoping to provide the aptly named Bino the alligator with some relief, Brazilian veterinarians decided to try out a holistic approach. Turns out the weekly acupuncture sesh is paying off as Bino has regained some movement in his tail and hind legs. It’s nice to see alternative medicine at work. When does the debate on medical marijuana for animals begin? (Reprinted from 8/31/2013)

Look Who’s Going Pee Pee in the Potty Now

There’s nothing quite like rushing to find a public restroom when nature calls, and the pets of residents in Shenzhen, China are about to experience the sensation firsthand. In an effort to promote what officials refer to as civilized behavior, citizens will now face a fine if they fail to dispose of pet excrement properly. As a bonus, the city will also install as many as 1,000 sand-filled public pet restrooms on roadsides and in parks. In the words of Right Guard, “anything less would be uncivilized.” (Reprinted from 2/10/2013)

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? No, Really — Can You?

A new study suggests that domesticated cats may not be as fond of people as some women (and men) are of them. Researchers at the University of Tokyo tested how cats respond to hearing the sound of their owners’ voices. Sadly for cat lovers everywhere, it seems that the felines recognized the sounds but opted not to display any real signs of affection. In the words of Liz Lemon, “that’s a deal breaker, ladies!” (Reprinted from 12/8/2013)

Shall we now come full circle with the story that launched the very first Week In What?! column?

Who’s Ready For An Intergalactic Dance Party?

Even if you’re not a sci-fi enthusiast, chances are you’ve at least questioned the existence of extraterrestrial life forms or found yourself enthralled by the concept of outer space. And if you haven’t, then you’re probably about to. A new study suggests that there may be over 100 billion alien planets in our home galaxy. That’s right. Billion. Some of these planets could even exist in what scientists refer to as a “habitable zone,” which means there’s the potential for living organisms, or at the very least liquid water. As Ke$ha once posited, “Does anyone ever stop to think maybe we are the aliens?” (Reprinted from 1/4/2013)

And there you have this YEAR in “WHAT?!” Can’t wait to see what’s in store for humanity next!

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