We Asked You!
We polled our readers on Facebook and Twitter; we combined that with the number of page views; and now we have our winners! See what you thought were the weirdest, most absurd, least romantic, most mind-blowing, most mysterious, coolest, most distressing and most surprising stories of this year.
Oddest Historical Find: 'Royal Blood May Be Hidden Inside Decorated Gourd'
Just in time for Halloween, archaeologists announced this pumpkin relative was once home to royal blood -- and revealed quite a macabre story. The gourd, originally used to store gunpowder, was extensively decorated on the outside with a flame tool. Burned into its surface is the text: "Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading."
Most Surprising Animal Story: 'Creepy Crustacean Hauled From Ocean Depths'
Back in May, a team of explorers searching the deep ocean in a submarine surfaced to find they were not alone. A horrifying sea creature had attached to some of the sub's outer equipment. Talk about a BIG surprise! This isopod was more than two feet long.
Most Contrary to Popular Belief: 'Light Drinking Said OK for Pregnant Women'
Drinking a little alcohol during pregnancy is just fine for most women -- now they tell us! Researchers published their findings in October, after a long-term study that followed more than 18,500 children since birth between 2000 and 2002.
Most Mind-Blowing: 'Are We Living in a Hologram?'
Do you ever get those days when you question reality? This year one scientist went a step further. Fermilab particle physicist Craig Hogan is currently building an experiment that will hopefully answer whether or not we all exist as a result of a universal hologram. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next year to find out if our world is truly real.
Artwork by Mike Skrepnik
Coolest Dinosaur Story: 'Tyrannosaurus Rex Was a Cannibal'
What could possibly be scarier than a T. rex? How about one T. rex eating a another T. rex? Turns out the T. rex's worst nightmare might have been its own kind. Paleontologists published their findings back in October --and added to T. rex's reputation as the ultimate dinosaur meany.
Least Romantic: 'Resort Attracts Men With Virtual Girlfriends'
Would you want to spend a romantic weekend with the virtual love of your digital life? Some Japanese men do -- and now they have a vacation destination just for them! The real resort is based on a computer game called "Love Plus," which encourages players to develop long-term relationships with virtual women. More than 200 Love Plus fans have stayed at the Ohnoya hotel alone, while well over 2,000 have visited the resort town for the campaign, which kicked off on July 10 and ran until the end of August.
Jacobs Stock Photography
Most Absurd Use of Technology: 'Underwear Sends Text Message'
I see London, I see France, I see...oh, wait...nevermind, now I can rely on text messaging! In March, a firm in Australia called Simavita went public with a pair of electronic underpants for people who have incontinence that works to monitor and relay information about "accidents."
Most Mysterious Story: 'Signs of Amelia Earhart's Final Days?'
Back in June, tantalizing new clues surfaced in the Amelia Earhart mystery, according to researchers scouring a remote South Pacific island believed to be the final resting place of the legendary aviator. Did Earhart and her navigator survive the crash? Did they live for years as castaways? The mystery continues...
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Most Distressing Story: 'Birds Caught in Oil Spill: Big Pics'
Oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion not only affected the coastlines of several states, it also devastated the local wildlife throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Birds coated in oil were a heartbreaking symbol of the disaster.
Weirdest Story: 'Naked Dwarf Revealed Again in Painting'
In September, art historians rejoiced as the Portrait of Dwarf Morgante was returned to its original state -- of nudity. Long considered to be obscene, the full frontal view of the naked dwarf had been painted over in the 18th century.