Look, we get it, it’s been too weird a year (like the year before, and the year before, and the year before) to keep track of everything that happened. Luckily, we’ve been tracking all the weird developments and strange things we’ve come across over the past 12 months. Here are some of our favorites.
Dream about spiders
Yes, that was the year spiders got even cuter. Researchers recording the eye and leg movements of jumping spiders noticed that their retinal tubes moved regularly during sleep, coinciding with a period when they twitched their legs. The researchers believe this is the first evidence of REM sleep in a terrestrial invertebrate.
Dead spiders make great claw machines
While it’s cute that they’re dreaming, let’s be honest: who hasn’t looked at a spider and thought “this would make a great gripping tool”? Not scientists, that’s who.
Spiders don’t have muscles in their limbs to force their legs outward. To move, they move their legs using hydraulic pressure, redirecting fluids to their legs and building up pressure, forcing them outward. Scientists realized they could use the spider as a gripping tool by artificially forcing air in and out of the legs. It will make them dream.
Penguin eggs are transparent when cooked
There are few things less appetizing than the idea of eating a penguin egg, but one of those things is this fact about a penguin egg: they stay transparent when boiled. Or fried, or poached.
Although you can eat them (if you can cope with an egg that tastes extremely fishy), cooking the egg leaves them translucent, allowing you to preview the yolk before eating it.
Putting a coat hanger on your head can cause it to turn unintentionally
An old urban legend turns out to be true: if you put a coat hanger over your head, it can involuntarily make your head spin like you’re in a cheap suite at Ratatouille.
Known as the “suspension reflex”, a peer-reviewed study looked at the phenomenon by placing coat hangers over the heads of healthy volunteers. Of the volunteers, 85% experienced involuntary head rotation, with 96% reporting feeling a sensation of rotation.
How people wiped their butts before toilet paper
Here’s a weird fact for you: the first toilet paper was only made in 1857. Before that, people had to rely on other methods to clean there. While in China they preferred a bamboo stick wrapped in cotton cloth, the Europeans opted for a slightly different technique of sponge on a stick.
By far the worst part about sponge on a stick was that it was common.
bees are fish
Bees are fish, according to California law. Biologically speaking, of course, bees are not fish, as the judges of the California Third District Court of Appeals noted in their decision. However, the court ruled that bumblebees could be classified as invertebrates, giving them protection under the California Endangered Species Act, which previously did not protect them.
The Mandela Effect is somehow real
There’s a lot of talk about the Mandela Effect on the weirder parts of the internet (Reddit). Essentially, the term is given to collective false memories of a thing or event. It is named after people who poorly remember Nelson Mandela’s death, believing it happened long before his actual death in 2013.
Oddly, this year a study looked into the Mandela Effect, focusing on visual versions of it. The researchers found that in the general population, there are some instances of collective false memory, where a large number of people remembered exactly the same details as each other. Moreover, researchers are not sure why.
Here comes an even stranger year 2023.