Things happening in 2016

Table of Contents

It’s nearly impossible to sum up the year 2016 with a single word, phrase, or story. Dominated by political coverage and consumed with tragedy, there’s little doubt that events of this year will go down in history for having a lasting impact on millions of people.

  • WATCH: The year that took Bowie and Prince and gave us Zika and President Trump

Here are 16 stories that unfolded in 2016 which will surely reverberate into 2017 and far beyond.

1. U.S. presidential election

The narrative of the 2016 election seemed to set the tone for the entire year. Donald Trump’s surprising win came at the end of a long, bitter campaign where both sides flung accusations of sexism, racism, lies, cover-ups, illegal activity, and even sexual assault.

Wildest moments of the 2016 election, ranked 21 photos

The country saw for the first time a political candidate who could change the entire conversation with a tap of his thumb and a tweet. And we saw our first female nominee of a major political party, Hillary Clinton.

But it was the “October surprises” that ultimately came to dominate the story of the 2016 election. Trump’s came in the form of a leaked “Access Hollywood” tape, more than a decade old, in which he described groping women in offensive detail. Clinton’s was a letter from FBI director James Comey to Congress updating the status of an investigation into her email server that didn’t result in charges but never quite disappeared. Both story lines exemplify the dark clouds that hovered over each candidate throughout the race.

Now, Americans are buckling up for the political roller-coaster ride that’s likely to last for the next four years.

2. Russian hacking

The hacking of the Democratic National Committee before the convention in July was a game-changer that rocked the presidential race. The following email leaks exposed damaging and embarrassing information on the Democrats, creating a major headache for the Clinton campaign.

But it increasingly became clear that the larger story was that the hack revealed America’s vulnerabilities to countries like Russia. U.S. intelligence officials said the attack had Russian “fingerprints,” and as the investigation progressed their confidence grew that Russia was directly involved with the intent of influencing the election. Most recently, officials said they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin himself ordered the hack. Although Donald Trump disputed Russia’s role, senators from both parties have called for an investigation that will keep making headlines in the new year.

3. Syrian civil war

The brutal war in Syria is nearing its six-year mark, with no end in sight for the violence that has already killed more than 400,000 people and driven nearly five million from their homes.

Aleppo: Before and after 20 photos

Several cease-fire deals were made this year, including one agreed to in mid-December just after Syrian government forces claimed the hard-hit city of Aleppo, but in many cases they failed to protect vulnerable civilians.

The realities of war were exposed through heartbreaking photos, videos, and even a Twitter account belonging to a 7-year-old girl and her mother. Among the most searing images of the year was one of a 5-year-old boy just after an airstrike, bloodied and ashen-faced with a blank stare in the back of an ambulance. He is just one of many innocent children who have known nothing but war their entire lives.

4. Brexit

The U.S. election wasn’t the first shocking vote of 2016. In June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a move nicknamed “Brexit.” After months of bitter campaigning, the result sent Britain’s prime minister packing and caused economic panic across the globe. The leaders of the “Leave” movement campaigned on the idea that, among other things, the U.K. could have tighter control of its borders without the E.U., while “Remain” supporters mostly argued that leaving would be an economic disaster for Britain. Now the country’s new prime minister plans to move forward with Brexit negotiations, and the official break could happen as early as 2019.

5. Zika outbreak

Mosquitoes were public enemy number one in many parts of the world this year due to their role in spreading the Zika virus.

20 alarming facts about the Zika virus 21 photos

Brazil was the epicenter of the outbreak, where thousands of babies were born with Zika-related microcephaly, or a small head and under-developed brain. That’s just one terrifying result linked to the virus, and it seemed researchers learned more each day throughout the year. The virus has also been linked to miscarriages and a neurological condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis. Although the World Health Organization said in November the virus is no longer a “global health emergency,” Zika continues to spread, with locally transmitted cases reported in Florida and Texas for the first time in recent months.

6. Flint, Michigan water crisis

President Obama declared a state of emergency in response to the Flint water disaster on January 16, 2016. That was a little less than two years after the local government switched the city’s water source to the Flint River, causing an unprecedented public health crisis which officials were slow to recognize. The resulting corrosion of the water pipes meant the residents of Flint, many of them poor and a majority black, were drinking lead-contaminated water day after day. When Obama approved FEMA aid, at least 100 children had already tested with high lead levels in Flint, and many more cases were feared. Lead poisoning can permanently and severely affect mental and physical development, according to the Mayo Clinic, and is especially harmful to children and pregnant women.

7. Terror attacks around the world

The year was punctuated by horrific attacks like the January siege by al Qaeda-linked militants on a popular tourist hotel in Burkina Faso, in West Africa, that left nearly 30 people dead, and a deadly bombing at the Brussels airport in Belgium that killed 32 in March. A terror cell involved in 2015’s Paris attack was found to be behind the Brussels plot.

Brussels attacks: Tributes and solidarity 41 photos

Suicide bombers linked to ISIS targeted the Istanbul airport in a similar attack just three months later, killing more than 40. Then in July, an attacker killed 86 people when he drove a large truck through a crowd celebrating France’s Bastille Day in Nice. And in December, at least 12 died when a hijacked truck slammed into a popular Christmas market in Berlin. The suspect, a migrant believed to have ties to ISIS, fled, sparking a manhunt across Europe.

8. Pulse nightclub shooting

In the midst of pride celebrations across the country, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history targeted the very group that should have been celebrating. A lone gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, just after last call on Latin night on June 12, 2016. For several hours, he terrorized club-goers as he gunned down 49 of them while holding off police just outside. The attack left the LGBTQ community feeling raw and unsafe in a space that was meant to be their haven.

Click to learn the personal stories of those lost in the Pulse nightclub shooting CBS News

Americans from all walks of life responded by donating blood, offering shelter, and providing comfort and support for those devastated by the massacre.

9. Deaths of iconic figures

2016 felt especially cruel as the losses of major cultural icons built up in a steady stream throughout the year — so many that it would be daunting to list them all here.

From musical game-changers like David Bowie and Prince, to beloved actors Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder, to The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, America seemed to be in a constant state of mourning over our treasured figures.

Notable deaths in 2016 150 photos

The deaths of political giants like Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former first lady Nancy Reagan left no facet of American culture untouched by a devastating loss this year.

10. America’s opioid crisis

Prince’s death was a high-profile chapter in the opioid addiction epidemic plaguing the U.S. that has dramatically increased in recent years. According to the Department of Health and Human services, 78 people die every day in this country from an opioid-related overdose, whether it be prescription drugs or heroin. Several gut-wrenching videos and photos went viral this year of users near death in public places, sometimes with children involved. In March, President Obama called the crisis is as great a threat as terrorism.

11. Police shootings caught on video

Two black men were shot and killed by police in two days in early July, and in both cases video of the incidents went viral, escalating tensions between the black community and law enforcement.

Aftermath of Minnesota police shooting streamed live on Facebook

Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge after an altercation with officers outside of a liquor store, and the very next day Philando Castile was shot 7 times in his car after a Minnesota officer pulled him over for a busted taillight. His girlfriend, who was in the car along with her 4-year-old daughter, broadcast the aftermath on Facebook Live. The raw, emotional content of her video was widely shared on social media as many people questioned how the shooting could have happened. The officer has since been charged with manslaughter.

The shootings re-ignited a national conversation about race, policing, and how to bridge the deep divide often exposed between the two.

12. Police officers ambushed in Dallas and Baton Rouge

Just days after the deaths of Sterling and Castile, a sniper angry over their shootings targeted and shot 12 Dallas police officers who were protecting a peaceful protest. Five officers were killed, and the country struggled with grief over such senseless violence.

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” President Obama said at the funeral for the Dallas officers, imploring Americans to come together in unity.

Police ambushed in Dallas 25 photos

But just 10 days later, it happened again: an attacker gunned down three officers in Baton Rouge. In both cases, the gunmen were killed by police and were believed to have acted alone.

13. Sexual assault sentencing outrage

When convicted rapist and ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail, the nationwide outcry was loud and clear. But it was his victim’s impassioned letter to the court, published in full online, that opened up the conversation on sexual assault and the nature of consent in America, especially on college campuses. Many pointed to Turner’s light sentencing, and the judge’s reasoning that he did not want jail to have a negative impact on Turner’s future, as a reason why victims often are afraid to come forward. The woman’s letter also called out Turner’s lawyers for citing her drinking as part of their defense. Critics say this kind of narrative suggests victims “ask for it” or should be held partly responsible when an assault takes place.

14. Ryan Lochte’s lie heard ’round the world

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte found himself in hot water after fibbing about being robbed at gunpoint during the 2016 Rio Games. Turned out, he and some younger teammates had actually just been asked to pay for damage they caused while drunk at a gas station. While some people shrugged them off as “drunk kids” who “made a mistake,” others pointed to the larger issue of privilege, saying the 32-year-old Lochte felt it was OK to lie on a national stage. His story infuriated Brazil because the country had already gone to great lengths to prove it was prepared to safely host the Olympics, and the unwelcome distraction wasted time and resources. Lochte ultimately bounced back with a spot on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Meanwhile, U.S. women’s soccer star Hope Solo had her contract terminated after she said her Swedish opponents played like “cowards” in an Olympic match.

15. Major sports milestones

It was the year of the underdog in the baseball and basketball worlds. First, the Cleveland Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors to win their city’s first professional sports championship in more than 50 years. Even more unbelievable was who they beat — the Warriors were being lauded as the best team in history after winning a record 73 games in a single season.

Then in November, the Chicago Cubs broke a 108-year curse by winning the World Series against the Cleveland Indians in heart-stopping fashion. Their victory in extra innings in Game 7 kept millions of fans on the edge of their seats.

Cubs banish curse with historic World Series win 39 photos

It was the first time the Cubs had even made it to the World Series since 1945.

16. Fake news and post-truth

Fake news ran rampant on social media throughout the presidential election, and was sometimes even shared by political candidates. But it wasn’t until after the election that Facebook made the decision to crack down on it.

The onslaught of fake news

Fake news sites often masquerade as legitimate sources, and they target the ultra-conservative and liberal corners of the internet. People tend to read and share stories that confirm their own biases, but don’t always fact-check the information.

Such stories have already proven to have dangerous consequences in real life. The outlandish “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory spread among users on Reddit and ended with a gunman opening fire in a D.C. pizza restaurant.

So it should come as no surprise that Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” the word of the year for 2016. It’s defined as “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

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Hindu holy men at the Kumbh Mela. Photo: Reuters

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Sixteen of the most important major events around the world for 2016 that are worth visiting.

1 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Despite recently hosting the FIFA World Cup, naysayers will tell you that Rio, the host city for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics is not ready … it can’t cope, it could never compare to Sydney. It’s a familiar line rolled out in the lead-up every four years, but come August, in between watching events any visitor will no doubt be wowed by Christ the Redeemer and charmed by the local residents, known as Cariocas. Walks along the beach at Ipanema will inspire song, and checking out the bars in Lapa will incite dance. There’s also the new wharf museum precinct called Porto Maravilha set to open in 2016, with the Museum of Tomorrow and the Rio Art Museum. For tickets see

See: The 20 must-do highlights of Rio

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Rio will wow visitors for the Olympics. Photo: AP

2 Field of Light, Uluru

It’s a given that Uluru will serve as a spectacular backdrop for British artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light art installation, his first in Australia. Come April, 50,000 solar-powered illuminated stems will bloom as nightfalls across a remote desert area. Though Field of Light has appeared in the UK, USA and Mexico so far, this will be the largest installation attempted. Guests at Ayers Rock Resort can see the display under the sky with a dinner called A Night at Field of Light. It runs from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. See

See: Six of the best experiences at Uluru

3 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Stratford upon Avon, UK

Fans of the playwright and poet should aim to be in Stratford upon Avon for the grand procession through the streets on his birthday weekend of April 23 and 24. Shakespeare’s re-imagined last home, ‘New Place’, will open after a lengthy transformation promising to reveal the missing story of his mature years as a successful writer. There will also be new theatrical performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bard of Avon’s schoolroom at King Edward VI School will open for the first time to the public. See

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See: As we like it: Shakespeare’s home town

4 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA

Next year marks 75 years since the ‘date that will live in infamy’, as President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, when Japanese troops attacked the Hawaiian port of Pearl Harbor. The day will be commemorated with the Mass Band of American and Japanese musicians presenting ‘A Gift of Music’ in front of The USS Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor designed to inspire peace and to honour those that died. There will also be a parade and special exhibits at the Pacific Aviation Museum. See

See: Why Hollywood loves Hawaii

5 Jubilee Year of Mercy, Rome, Italy

2016 is set to be a grande year for Rome, not only will the scaffolding finally come off the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps reopened, it’s also the official Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pilgrims are expected to descend on the city with Pope Francis allowing the doors of papal basilicas, usually sealed to the public, to be opened. Called the ‘Extraordinary Jubilee’, it is expected to be larger than the last, held in 2000, when 25 million visited. When in Rome, stay at Domus Australia, a 32-room guesthouse that was established by the Archdiocese of Sydney. See and

See: The three-minute guide to Rome

6 The Setouchi Art Festival, Japan

The islands of the Setouchi inland sea between Honshu and Shikoku play host to this innovative arts festival every three years bringing artists, architects and designers together. Over spring, summer and autumn expect contemporary and traditional installations on the ‘Art Island’ of Naoshima, so named because of all the galleries there. The nearby Teshima Art Museum, on the island of Teshima is a collaboration between the artist Rei Naito and the architect Ryue Nishizawa and could be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Inside Japan Tours run a 15-night self-guided ‘Japan Arts Trail’. See, and

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A Hindu devotee at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. Photo: Rajesh Kumar Singh

See: Japan’s islands of inspiration

7 90 years of Route 66, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

2016 might be the year to take the classic road trip across America. The celebrated Route 66, one of the oldest highways in the US, will be celebrating 90 years and the city of Flagstaff, Arizona will be hosting 66 events across the year. This part of the ‘The Mother Road’ still has diners and hotels dating back from the heyday of the route, when Chuck Berry sang of getting his kicks ‘on the highway that’s the best’. There’s also national parks to explore and Native American culture to learn about at the Museum of Northern Arizona. See

See: The world’s 10 most magnificent drives

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An installation on the beach at the Glow Festival. Photo: Glow Festival

8 World Design Capital, Taipei, Taiwan

Awarded biennially to cities based on their commitment to use design as an effective tool for economic, social, and cultural development, Taipei will be celebrating 2016 as the World Design Capital. Under the theme ‘Adaptive City – Design in Motion’, a succession of activities in formal venues, coffee shops, train stations and even street corners will turn Taipei into an inspiring design haven. Hotels are also getting involved, W Taipei plans to launch a design-themed room package for art-loving visitors. See

See: Taiwan: A beginner’s guide

9 Kumbh Mela, Haridwar, Haridwar, India

A Hindu religious festival held every three years for three months, this pilgrimage can attract up to 100 million worshippers. The Kumbh Mela holds that gods and demons struggled over a pitcher (known as a kumbh) containing the drink of immortality. Drops of the sacred nectar from the gods spilled out onto four locations on the Ganges with Haridwar being one. Worshippers, including naked sages covered in cow dung ashes, go there to cleanse sins and bless the future. Crooked Compass is running a tour in February. See

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The Setouchi festival in Japan is a celebration of art, design and architecture. Photo: Getty Images

See: India’s gateway to the gods

10 50th anniversary of Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam

August 18, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most well-known Australian engagements of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Long Tan where 108 Anzacs fought against a Viet Cong force 15 times larger. There are a number of Vietnam tours that have been set up, including Battlefields Tours’ 10-day commemorative expedition led by Gary McKay, who served as a platoon leader in Vietnam and was awarded the Military Cross during Australia’s last battle of the war. See

See: Why Aussies love cycling Vietnam

11 100 years of Indy 500, Indianapolis, USA

For the whole month of May the city of Indianapolis will be celebrating the 100th running of the Indy 500. Known as the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’, the Indy 500 is where the world’s best open-wheel drivers vie for the coveted Borg-Warner trophy. Held on May 29, it’s the world’s largest single-day spectator sporting event. In between celebrations you can take a track tour and also see past glories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. See

12 UEFA Euro Cup, France

France will play host to the European Cup in 2016, the quadrennial football championship. The usual 16-team format is being expanded into 24 teams, with countries competing in stadiums in Paris (including the Stade de France), Marseille, Saint Etienne and Toulouse as well as and four newly constructed stadiums in Lille, Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux. In Paris a fan zone will be set up on the Champ de Mars lawns under the Eiffel Tower and in Saint-Denis giant screens will be placed near the Basilica of Saint-Denis. The tournament runs from June 10 to July 10. See

See: The 20 greatest sporting events you need on your bucket list

13 Glow, Santa Monica, California, USA

In September, the golden sands of California’s Santa Monica Beach will play host to the triennial Glow festival, the first all-night free arts event in the United States to emphasise the commissioning of new work. Expect light projections, and interactive art installations as well as music performances along the beach, at Palisades Park and on the pier. There are also 120 museums, art galleries, public art displays to discover in the area. See

See: Where to eat in Santa Monica

14 Arctic Winter Games, Greenland

Winter sports lovers should head to Nuuk (population 17,000) this coming March for the Arctic Winter Games, set to be the largest event ever held in Greenland. This is no ordinary winter sports carnival, in among skiing and snow-shoeing there will be futsal, badminton, wrestling and table tennis competitions. If you plan to visit, expect sub-zero temperatures but sunshine. There’s a chance of also spotting the aurora borealis while there. See

See: Why you need to see Greenland now, before it’s too late

15 Easter Rising, Dublin, Ireland

2016 marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, one of the defining moments of the struggle for Irish independence. The rising saw days of fighting on the streets of Dublin with hundreds of casualties. Those who lost their lives will be honoured with commemorations in Dublin including a wreath laying at Dublin Castle on Easter Sunday, and a ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance. There will be a street parade and the Easter Rising Centenary Visitor Facility will be opened at the General Post Office.

See: Dublin: One day, three ways

16 Lenné landscape architect anniversary, Berlin, Germany

It’s a double anniversary in Berlin for celebrated landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné. 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the transformation of the UNESCO Heritage-listed Glienicke Landscape Park designed for Prince Carl of Prussia and 150th anniversary of death of the famous horticultural artist. On January 23 there will be a matinee event at Glienicke Palace with more events to be announced throughout the year. You can download the newly expanded Lenne app for a walking guide that highlights his work. See

See: Eight ways to become a hipster in Berlin

Jan 4 2016

The decade began amid the chaotic wake of a global financial crisis, and ended with the impeachment of a U.S. president. The growing use of social media fueled mass protest movements, bringing millions of people together around the globe in pursuit of common objectives. Britain saw a new generation of royals emerge, countries around the world passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, a U.S. president was impeached by the House of Representatives and a beloved baseball team ended a 108-year-long dry spell by winning a World Series.

From politics to culture to sports and beyond, here are 14 events, achievements, tragedies and otherwise memorable moments that stood out during the 2010s.

Politics and World Events

1. Occupy Wall Street

Participants in the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrate around Wall Street attempting to disrupt pedestrian flow for financial workers to get to work, in New York, September 19, 2011.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Around 1,000 people marched through the streets of New York City’s Financial District in September 2011 under an “Occupy Wall Street” banner. The protesters condemned income inequality and the influence of money in politics, and called for an overhaul of what they saw as a failing financial system. Like the Arab Spring, a wave of populist uprisings against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that began that same year, the Occupy Wall Street movement spread via social media. Thousands more people showed up to join the sit-in in Zuccotti Park, near the New York Stock Exchange, and similar protests launched in dozens of cities across the country.

2. Black Lives Matter

Ten-year-old Robert Dunn uses a megaphone to address hundreds of demonstrators during a protest against police brutality and the death of Freddie Gray outside the Baltimore Police Western District station April 22, 2015.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In 2013, three black female activists started using the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, the previous year. Drawing inspiration from the civil rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and Occupy Wall Street, the Black Lives Matter movement gained more attention in 2014 and 2015, when rioting followed the deaths of several black men who were killed by police. The slogan gained prominence throughout the decade and cemented the growing role of social media in modern-day activist movements.

3. 2016 Presidential Election

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the September 26, 2016 presidential debate.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In November 2016, one of the most bitterly divided political contests in the nation’s history ended when Republican candidate Donald Trump, a businessman and TV personality, won the election to become the 45th president of the United States. With his populist campaign and slogan, “Make America Great Again,” Trump capitalized on widespread discontent among white working-class voters, targeting the Washington establishment, undocumented immigrants and political correctness. Though his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, former first lady, New York senator and secretary of state and the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party, won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, Trump captured the electoral vote, 304-227.

4. Brexit

In mid-2016, amid a mass refugee crisis in Europe and furious debate over migration, Britons voted roughly 52 to 48 percent in favor of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, a.k.a. Brexit. The deadline for withdrawal was extended several times, as Parliament’s steadfast opposition to a proposed deal led to Prime Minister Theresa May’s resignation in mid-2019. Though May’s successor, Boris Johnson, initially planned to force an exit, with or without a deal, opposition to this plan forced him to seek yet another extension, pushing the contentious issue into the next decade.

5. Impeachment

President Donald Trump exits a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2019 in New York City. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the day prior that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the fall of 2019, a complaint by a whistleblower within the White House sparked an impeachment inquiry by the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives. The focus of the investigation was whether Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden (a Democratic presidential candidate for 2020) and his son Hunter, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy company. Trump became the fourth U.S. president in history—after Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton—to formally face impeachment. After a series of public hearings led by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, two articles of impeachment were brought against Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On December 18, the House voted to pass both articles and Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached.

Disasters & Violence

6. Haiti Earthquake

Sherider Anilus, 28, and her daughter, 9-month-old Monica, sit on the spot where her home collapsed during last month’s 7.0 earthquake in the Fort National neighborhood February 26, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The deadliest natural disaster of the decade happened in the first month of 2010, when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the West Indian island of Hispaniola on the afternoon of January 12. Followed by dozens of powerful aftershocks, the quake hit hardest in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, killing an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 people and affecting some 3 million. The disaster drew a worldwide humanitarian response, but the impact of the earthquake was felt throughout the decade, as Haiti and its people continued along the difficult path to recovery.

7. Hurricanes

Waves break in front of a destroyed amusement park wrecked by Hurricane Sandy on October 31, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Several massive hurricanes and tropical storms hit the United States in the 2010s, starting in 2012 with Sandy, which unleashed record-setting gales and storm surges in the Northeast. The storm killed more than 230 people and caused some $70 billion in damages. In 2017, three major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively, over five devastating weeks. A year later, Michael became the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the contiguous United States since 1992, causing more than 50 deaths and $25 billion in damages on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Some scientists have linked the increasing intensity—if not frequency—of hurricanes to climate change-related developments like rising sea levels and warmer oceans, raising the possibility that the next decade may hold more such mega-storms.

8. Terrorist Attacks

During the second decade following 9/11, the scourge of terrorism continued around the world. There were major attacks at the Boston Marathon; a music venue, cafes and restaurants in Paris, France; on London Bridge and a crowded Barcelona street; a nightclub in Orlando, Florida; and a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, among other places. U.S. Special Operations forces took down two major leaders of Islamic terrorism, 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But terrorism within the United States was on the rise, including an increasing number of attacks driven by racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-Muslim and/or anti-Semitic views.

9. Mass Shootings

Students are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Horrifying episodes of gun violence against schoolchildren marred the decade, including attacks at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and dozens of others. The horrifying spectacle of semi-automatic weapons used in mass school shootings, as well as in similarly brutal attacks in other public venues—from a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, to a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada—led to calls for increased gun legislation after each new tragedy.

People & Culture

10. Advances in LGBTQ Rights

A man waves a rainbow flag on November 15, 2017 in Sydney, Australia as Australians were asked to vote in the Marriage Law Postal Survey regarding sam-sex marriage.

Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

The decade saw key advances for LGBTQ people around the world, with the legalization of same-sex marriage in 18 countries, including Argentina, France, Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, Germany and the United States (via the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges). Meanwhile, anti-gay laws passed in Russia and China and there was an ongoing battle in the United States over laws preventing transgender people from using bathrooms matching their gender identity. The Trump administration also reinstated a ban on transgender citizens serving in the U.S. military.

11. New Generation of British Royals

Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge/Getty Images

With Queen Elizabeth II in her seventh decade on the throne, a new generation of royals made their mark in the 2010s. Prince William, Prince Charles’s eldest son with Princess Diana, married Catherine Middleton in 2011, and by decade’s end they had three children, including Prince George, now third in line to the British throne behind his grandfather and father. In 2018, William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, wed the biracial, divorced American actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony watched by some 29.2 million TV viewers. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

12. #MeToo Movement

Me Too founder Tarana Burke in her Brooklyn office in January 2018.

Ali Smith/Redux

Though activist Tarana Burke first coined the phrase #MeToo back in 2006, what’s known as the #MeToo movement exploded in late 2017, after a New York Times article exposed long-rumored accusations of sexual harassment and assault against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein made by dozens of women, including many famous actresses. In the aftermath of these revelations, millions of people came forward to express solidarity with the accusers and shared their own experiences with sexual assault, harassment and sexism in the workplace and beyond. Widespread media coverage of #MeToo led to the resignation or firing of numerous prominent figures accused of misconduct.


13. Chicago Cubs Win the World Series

LG Patterson/MLB/Getty Images

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended the longest drought in baseball by defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in the 10th inning of Game 7 to win the World Series. Before this historic victory, the last time the Cubs won a World Series was in 1908, 108 years earlier. Cleveland, who had taken a 3-1 lead in games before Chicago came back to win three in a row, took over the title of the longest World Series drought among active baseball teams: The Indians haven’t won a pennant since 1948.

14. Simone Biles Becomes the Most Decorated Gymnast in History

Simone Biles competing on the balance beam during Day 2 of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on August 17, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Finally, the 2010s saw the rise of Simone Biles, the jaw-droppingly talented gymnast who won four gold medals, including the individual all-around and team titles, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, setting a U.S. record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games. To close out the decade, Biles won five gold medals at the World Championships held in October 2019, bringing her total to 25 world medals and 19 gold—the most of any gymnast, male or female, in history. Biles will compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but has said she will retire from gymnastics after that competition.

READ MORE: The Events of 2019

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There was a government shutdown, a super blue blood moon, historic midterm elections and a very American addition to the British royal family. Take a look back at the eventful year of 2018 with a review of the most important events in politics, culture, science and the environment.

Memorable Images of 2018

9 9 Images


Immigration crisis: In President Donald Trump’s second year in office, the issue of immigration became an even bigger flashpoint for controversy. In January, the federal government briefly shut down over the fate of an Obama-era program deferring deportation for immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children.

Under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy against illegal border crossers, U.S. authorities separated some 2,300 children from their parents, provoking widespread international outrage until Trump ended the family separation policy by executive order in June. And in November, his administration deployed nearly 6,000 active-duty military troops to the Mexico border to meet the arrival of a large caravan of migrants from Central America.

Trump’s legal troubles: The investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election handed down dozens of indictments, including charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for cyber-attacks against Democratic officials.

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, and Michael Cohen, the longtime aide who acted as Trump’s legal “fixer” in the case involving an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, made plea deals to cooperate with the investigation. For his part, Trump continued to denounce Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” and his firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions increased speculation that he might be trying to shut the whole thing down.

Supreme Court battle: Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick to replace longtime swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy and create a solid conservative majority on the nation’s highest court, faced a fierce confirmation battle after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers.

President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Amid the #MeToo movement and a renewed focus on sexual misconduct, the nomination fight galvanized supporters on both sides, and brought up memories of Anita Hill’s accusations against Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings in 1991. After both Ford and Kavanaugh testified, and after an five-day FBI investigation into the allegations, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh. It was the narrowest margin in history for a Supreme Court justice.

Midterm elections reshuffle Congress: In November, U.S. voters turned out in record numbers for a midterm election. Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives after eight years, flipping 43 seats from red to blue (three seats went the other way). Republicans retained a majority in the Senate, with a net gain of two seats.

A united Korea?: All eyes turned toward the Korean peninsula in 2018, and not just during the Winter Olympics, which were held there in February. After decades of estrangement, the leaders of North Korea and South Korea met in an historic summit in April, agreeing to an official end to the Korean War and pledging to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons. And after trading barbs about nuclear war on Twitter, President Trump and Kim Jong Un appeared to make up. Their summit in Singapore in June marked the first-ever meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during their historic summit on June 12, 2018 in Singapore.

Handout/Getty Images

Ongoing conflict in Syria: The long-running civil war in Syria continued, involving forces of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, opposition rebels and ISIS, among others. In April, in response to a suspected chemical attack on the rebel stronghold of Douma that killed dozens of civilians, U.S. and other Western forces launched air strikes against government targets. As of mid-2018, more than 5.6 million Syrians had fled the country’s violence, according to the U.N. High Commissioner of Refugees.

Europe and beyond: Angela Merkel was sworn in for her fourth term as German chancellor, but announced she would be stepping aside when it ends. In less democratic news, Vladimir Putin won election to a new six-year term as Russia’s president, and China changed its constitution to remove presidential term limits, effectively allowing leader Xi Jinping to remain “president for life.”

Saying goodbye: It was a sad year for Republican nobility: John McCain died in 2018, as did both Barbara Bush and George H.W. Bush.


A British royal family portrait after the wedding of American actress Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Alexi Lubomirski/The Duke and Duchess of Sussex/Getty Images

Meghan Markle joined the British royal family: On May 19, the biracial, divorced American actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, becoming a real-life princess (officially, the Duchess of Sussex). In October, the royal couple announced they were expecting their first child.

#MeToo saw some justice served: Former Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein turned himself in at a New York City police station in May to face rape and sexual assault charges. Dozens of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct over a period of decades. A Pennsylvania judge sentenced Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in prison after his conviction for aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Costand, the only one of more than 60 women who accused Cosby of sexual misconduct to see her case lead to criminal charges.

Advances for women: The Miss America pageant announced an end to its swimsuit competition, and women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia for the first time in history.

Two retail icons went bankrupt: Founded as a mail-order watch business in 1886, Sears filed for bankruptcy this year, marking the end of an era for many Americans who remember paging through its massive catalog. And after declaring bankruptcy late last year, the former toy giant Toys “R” Us shuttered all of its stores after more than 65 years in business.

Facebook woes: A data mining scandal involving Cambridge Analytica and the sale of data from some 50 million users, a Congressional grilling for founder Mark Zuckerberg and losing $119 billion in value in a single day all spelled a terrible year for the world’s leading social network. In other tech giant news, Apple became the first American publicly traded company to reach $1 trillion in value, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon became the world’s richest man.

Students walking out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida after a shooter killed and injured multiple people there on February 14, 2018.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

National nightmare: Mass shootings at high schools in Florida and Texas, a bar in Southern California, and a synagogue in Pittsburgh, among many other places, fueled the ongoing debate about gun control and Second Amendment rights—and reinforced the presence of gun violence as a horrifying reality of American life. On March 24, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. and at sites across the country to call for tighter gun laws.

Troubled history confronted: 2018 saw the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The memorial and museum in Montgomery, Alabama commemorates the United States’ own history of slavery, lynching and Jim Crow laws.

Science and the Environment

Super Blue Blood Moon: Three lunar events coincided early in 2018 producing a rare “super blue blood moon” for the first time since 1866. The night of January 30-31 saw a total lunar eclipse (also called a “blood moon,” due to the reddish color of the moon while in Earth’s shadow) as well as a “blue moon,” or the second full moon of the month. Not only that—the moon was also at the closest point to Earth in its orbit, making it a “supermoon.”

Hurricane damage control: The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season opened in early September with the arrival of Florence, a Category 4 hurricane that battered the Carolinas and Virginia for days, resulting in some 51 fatalities. October brought Hurricane Michael, which killed 46 people across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico continued to struggle from the devastating effects of last year’s Hurricane Maria. In August, the Puerto Rican government revised the official death toll from 64 to 2,975, although some experts estimated it could be as high as 4,600.

Mission to the sun: In August, NASA launched the $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe, its long-awaited first mission to the sun and its outermost atmosphere, the corona. After zooming by the planet Venus, the spacecraft got its first up-close-and-personal (or at least from 3.83 million miles away, by far the closest of any mission in history) look at the sun in early November. Parker will make 24 similar approaches over the next seven years.

Embers fall from burning palms and the sun is obscured by smoke as flames close in on a house at the Woolsey Fire on November 9, 2018 in Malibu, California.

David McNew/Getty Images

Wildfires ravaged California: 2018 marked the most destructive fire season ever for California, with massive wildfires ravaging hundreds of thousands of acres in both the northern and southern parts of the state. In November, at least 90 people died as the Camp Fire destroyed the northern California town of Paradise, becoming the deadliest fire in the state’s history.

Dismal news on climate: In not-unrelated news, a major report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2040, with dire consequences—including extreme heat, increased flooding, wildfires. drought, food shortages and poverty. Adding to the grim prognosis, a report by numerous U.S. federal government agencies released in November argued climate change will reduce the U.S. economy by 10 percent by 2100, including a $141 billion cost from heat-related deaths.


“Timeline: Immigrant children separated from families at the border,” USA Today, updated July 25, 2018

“Trump Is Expected To Extend U.S. Troops’ Deployment To Mexico Border Into January,” NPR, November 28, 2018

“‘Mueller knows a lot’: Manafort and Cohen moves put Trump in line of fire,” Guardian, December 1, 2018

“Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate,” New York Times, October 6, 2018

“The 2018 Elections Saw Record Midterm Turnout,” Time, November 13, 2018

“What’s Happening in Syria”, BBC, April 16, 2018

Syrian War Fast Facts, CNN, May 3, 2018

“In pictures: President Trump meets Kim Jong Un,” CNN, June 2018

“China’s Xi allowed to remain ‘president for life’ as term limits removed,” BBC, March 11, 2018

“Harvey Weinstein surrenders to NYC police, is charged with rape,” NBC News, May 25, 2018

“Facebook just had the worst day in stock market history,” CNN Money, July 26, 2018

“Apple hangs onto its historic $1 trillion market cap,” CNBC, August 2, 2018“

Jeff Bezos Becomes the Richest Man in Modern History, Topping $150 Billion,” Bloomberg, July 16, 2018

“The Super Blue Blood Moon Wednesday Is Something the US Hasn’t Seen Since 1866,”, January 30, 2018

“Puerto Rico increases Hurricane Maria death toll to 2,975,” BBC, August 29, 2018

“NASA Solar Probe Flies By Venus on Its Way to ‘Touch’ the Sun,”, October 3, 2018

“Stanford experts reflect on the most destructive fire season in California history,” Stanford News Service, November 29, 2018

“Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040,” New York Times, October 7, 2018

“Major Trump administration climate report says damage is ‘intensifying across the country,’” The Washington Post, November 23, 2018

Here Were Some of the High Points of 2016

Dec. 30, 201600:44

Let’s be honest: 2016 was rough.

Yet amid the bad, the ugly and the end of Brangelina, there was still some good you might have missed while you were standing in your room crying to Joni Mitchell.

Here is the year that was in good news.

1. Unemployment hits lowest level since the recession

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The unemployment rate in November fell to 4.6 percent, the lowest in nine years, the Labor Department said earlier this month. To compare: When President Obama took office in 2009, the unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent.

2. Simone Biles takes Rio by storm

With 14 total world championship medals, 19-year-old Simon Biles arrived in Rio already a star. It was her near-perfect performance at the Olympics, however — which netted four golds and a bronze — that cemented her legacy as the greatest female gymnast who ever lived.

Simone Biles competes in the beam event of the women’s individual all-around final during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 11, 2016.Ben Stansall / AFP – Getty Images

3. The Cubs overcome their World Series curse

No matter what team you root for, it was hard not celebrate alongside the Chicago Cubs after they won their first World Series in 108 years. As legend has it, the team was cursed in 1945 when tavern-owner William “Billy Goat” Sianis was kicked out of Game 4 of the Cubs’ World Series game against the Detroit Tigers for bringing his smelly billy goat, Murphy. On his way out, Sianis is reputed to have declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,” thus spawning the so-called Curse of the Billy Goat that lasted seven decades.

Chicago Cubs celebrate after Game 7 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Nov. 3, 2016, in Cleveland.Matt Slocum / AP

4. Women of color make history on Election Night

Several women of color made political history last month when they were elected to prominent leadership positions within their respective states. California Attorney General Kamala Harris became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the Golden State; Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American lawmaker in the U.S. with her election to the Minnesota legislature; Catherine Cortez Masto became the first Latina senator in history when she won her U.S. Senate bid in Nevada; and Pramila Jayapal became the first Indian-American congresswoman with her victory in Washington state.

5. “Lemonade” and other musical triumphs

Few albums in history have managed to be as simultaneously vulnerable and powerful as “Lemonade” — Beyonce’s sixth solo record that laid bare an important slice of black womanhood. Indeed, “Lemonade” was an artistic feat so monumental, it helped ease the pain inflicted by the deaths of some of music’s greatest legends. But it wasn’t the only great album of 2016: Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest and Beyonce’s own sister, Solange, also created stunning music this year.

Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at NRG Stadium on Sept. 22, 2016, in Houston.Daniela Vesco / Invision for Parkwood Entertainment via AP

6. “Hamilton” exists

For most people, any bad day can be made slightly brighter by the mere thought that “Hamilton: An American Musical” is out there and might, one day, be enjoyed by you again or for the very first time. In June, the hip-hip Broadway sensation took home 11 Tony Awards — including Best Musical, the biggest prize of all. But the most moving moment of the ceremony came when show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda delivered his emotional “Love is love is love” speech while accepting the award for Best Score. Hours earlier, a lone gunman had killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Actors Leslie Odom Jr., left, Phillipa Soo, and Christopher Jackson look on as actor and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, right, takes his final performance curtain call at the Richard Rogers Theatre after a performance of “Hamilton” on July 9, 2016, in New York.Evan Agostini / Invision via AP

7. U.S.-Cuba relations thaw

President Obama made history in March when he became the first U.S. leader to visit Cuba in 88 years, culminating 15 months’ worth of effort to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries. In addition to Obama’s trip, Cuba and the U.S. have both taken steps since 2014 to end decades of hostility by opening embassies, restoring commercial flights and negotiating agreements on a range of issues — including the environment, law enforcement and communications. There is looming uncertainty, however, as to whether President-elect Donald Trump will maintain warmer relations with the communist country once he takes office.

8. Giant panda is no longer endangered

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, a leading environmental group, said in a report this fall that the giant panda is now classified as a “vulnerable” species, rather than “endangered.” According to the group, the wild panda population jumped to 1,864 in 2014 — up from 1,596 in 2004 — marking a significant achievement for Chinese agencies working to enforce poaching bans and expand forest reserves.

Giant panda Aibang with her newborn cub at a giant panda breeding center in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China on May 6, 2016.Reuters

All The Things That Were the Most 2016 Things of 2016

If there’s one thing you can say about 2016, it’s that it was extremely 2016.

Prince died? That’s 2016 for you. Trump got elected? So 2016. People got mad about a Star Wars movie starring a woman? It’s 2016, alright. Racists were upset about a black Santa? Incredibly, uniquely 2016.

Tweeting “this is the most 2016 thing” is a common trope that relatively meme-aware but ultimately not-that-clever internet users (that is to say, most of us) employed whenever something completely messed up happened this year. It denotes the ludicrousness of whatever just transpired, while highlighting the general mood of the time.

Pegging all of the ugliness to a finite stretch of 365 days also offers the hope that it’ll all be over soon.

Unfortunately, the problems that seem like they could only ever exist in the mud and the shit of 2016 all go back decades and even centuries. They’ll continue to stretch into 2017 and onwards forever and ever until we finally destroy the root causes, if we ever manage to do that.

Maybe, then, saying that something terrible or just plain crazy is “the most 2016 thing” is actually a mental defense mechanism that allows us to frame the day’s problems as temporary. Maybe it also allows us to shore up nostalgia for years that we remember more fondly. Or maybe it’s just lazy tweeting.


A fugitive sending police a better mugshot was the most 2016 thing.

Quantifying heartbreak was the most 2016 thing.

Rapper BOB being a flat-earth truther was the most 2016 thing.

A drone hitting Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on stage was the most 2016 thing.

Getting hit in the dong with a ping pong ball was the most 2016 thing.

A man on a hoverboard taking a Donald Trump flyer was the most 2016 thing.

the most 2016 thing to ever happen: a man on a hoverboard accepting a donald trump flyer
— Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro) February 1, 2016

Monica Lewinsky getting custom emojis was the most 2016 thing.

Kanye West manning the aux cord at Madison Square Garden was the most 2016 thing.

Jeb(!) Bush was the most 2016 thing.

A baby dolphin getting selfied to death was the most 2016 thing.

DJ Khaled selling vape juice was the most 2016 thing.

A guy on a hoverboard shooting someone was the most 2016.

Grime rapper Stormzy getting his own burger was the most 2016 thing.

Something called “BaeTea” was the most 2016 thing.

Taking a selfie with a hijacker was the most 2016 thing.

‘Best selfie ever:’ British man takes picture with Egyptair plane hijacker
— WAFB (@WAFB) March 31, 2016

Hamburger Helper dropping a fire mixtape was the most 2016 thing.

Stone Cold Steve Austin smashing IPAs at Wrestlemania was the most 2016 thing.

A Goofy Movie discourse was the most 2016 thing.

“Daddy” discourse was the most 2016 thing.

A decent meme becoming a symbol of hate was the most 2016 thing.

Thinking Rachel Ray cheated with Jay-Z was the most 2016 thing.

Hulk Hogan’s sex tape lawsuit being the long-term revenge plan of a billionaire egomaniac was the most 2016 thing.

A parrot witnessing a murder was the most 2016 thing.

Presidential candidates beefing on Twitter was the most 2016 thing.

Lindsay Lohan becoming a Twitter Brexit pundit was the most 2016 thing.

Mischa Barton trying to be woke while on a yacht was the most 2016 thing.

Taking a mass selfie with a politician was the most 2016 thing.

Thinking Pamela Anderson poisoned Wikileaks’ Julian Assange was the most 2016 thing.

Serious thinkpieces about Pokémon Go were the most 2016 things.

Pokémon Go was the most 2016 thing.

Donald Trump using Pokémon Go in an attack ad was the most 2016 thing.

NEW: Donald Trump captures “Crooked Hillary” Pokemon #PokemonGO
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 14, 2016

Turkish PM Recep Erdoğan thwarting a military coup via FaceTime was the most 2016 thing.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper quoting The Wire was the most 2016 thing.

Clint Eastwood calling people “pussies” was the most 2016 thing.

Cops trying to be woke was the most 2016 thing.

A guy climbing Trump Tower was the most 2016 thing.

Fucking a McChicken was the most 2016 thing.

Dogs taking anxiety meds was the most 2016 thing.

Old people learning how to slide into your DMs was the most 2016 thing.

Watermarking memes was the most 2016 thing.

Being aggressively vaped at was the most 2016 thing.

Tila Tequila becoming a Nazi was the most 2016 thing.

Donald Trump defending angry night-tweeting was the most 2016 thing.

Screaming humanoid fruit was the most 2016 thing.

Creepy clowns was the most 2016 thing.

Streaming a funeral was the most 2016 thing.

Candy companies weighing in on the presidential election was the most 2016 thing.

Being hated by your dog was the most 2016 thing.

Bob Dylan getting a Nobel prize in literature for some reason was the most 2016 thing.

Snoop Dogg inviting Ken Bone to smoke up on the internet was the most 2016 thing.

DJ Khaled Snapchatting his wife giving birth was the most 2016 thing.

Anthony Weiner returning in the third act to help sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was the most 2016 thing.

Donald Trump getting elected was the most 2016 thing.

Fidel Castro being dead was the most 2016 thing.

Taking an Uber to an anti-Donald Trump rally was the most 2016 thing.

The Rock being People’s Sexiest Man Alive was the most 2016 thing.

Kanye West meeting with Donald Trump was the most 2016 thing.

“We’ve been friends for a long time”: Kanye West and Donald Trump appeared together Tuesday at Trump Tower
— CNN (@CNN) December 17, 2016

Saying things are the most 2016 things of 2016 was the most 2016 thing.

#PizzaGate was the most 2016 thing.

A Woody Allen-looking Weird Twitter dude joining the Kurdish Peshmerga was the most 2016 thing.

See you in 2017!

Getty Images / Mohd Rasfan / Stringer

2016 hasn’t been kind to many people, as far as years go – celebrity deaths, controversial elections, and natural disasters have left a bitter taste in our mouths as we approach the New Year. But it wasn’t all doom gloom. We’ve rounded up the best developments in science, technology and pop culture to try to make the best of a bad 12 months.


A wild tiger photographed in Ranthambore National Park in Rajashthan, India in April 2010

Aditya Singh / Barcroft India / Getty Images

1. Wild tiger population increased for the first time in 100 years

Wild tiger numbers increased this year for the first time since detailed records began. In 2010, it was estimated there were around 3,200 animals, but this has since gone up to at least 3,890 according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Tiger Forum. The WWF says this was down to enhanced protection and also improvements in surveying.

2.Giant pandas are no longer endangered

There are now 2,060 giant pandas in the wild, leading the species being upgraded from endangered to “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The growth was due to an increase in the number of giant pandas being born in China.

3. Mutant snail Jeremy found love

In 2016, a mutant snail found love thanks to Twitter. Jeremy is a sinistral snail, meaning the spiral on the outside of his shell is anti-clockwise compared to other snails, and his genitals are also on the opposite side of his body compared to other snails, making mating an issue. Using the #snaillove hashtag, researchers at the University of Nottingham found another sinistral snail and will be observing the two to find out more about the genetics of the animals.

Scientific Developments

Scientists became one step closer to a cure for HIV in 2016

Getty Images / BSIP / Contributor

4. GSK and Google created a bioelectronics health firm

The development of bioelectronics is becoming more of a big deal, and a new project between GSK and Alphabet demonstrated how important research is in this area. The newly-formed Galvani Bioelectronics will develop miniaturised, implantable devices that can monitor nerve singles in the body to tackle chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma.

5. Zika was downgraded as a global threat

In what may seem like an example of clutching at straws, Zika is no longer considered a global health emergency as it was downgraded by the WHO to chronic threat level during the year. The risks are still huge, but the WHO is working on a new “robust” long-term strategy to tackle the virus and the birth defect, microcephaly, linked with it.

6. HIV cure closer after trial clears virus in British man

The first patient being treated in a recent HIV study showed no sign of the virus after initial treatment. The treatment combined antiretroviral drugs with a drug that reactivates dormant HIV and a vaccine that stimulates the immune system in an attempt to destroy the cells carrying the virus.

7. World’s first ‘three-parent baby’ is born

This year, the first baby was born using a technique that uses DNA from three people. It’s a controversial procedure, but in this case it was used to ensure the baby would not have Leigh syndrome, a lethal disorder that affects the nervous system and is carried by his mother. Three-person IVF has been proposed as a way to help those with mitochondrial disorders have a healthy child.

8. A man woke up from a coma after ultrasound waves were beamed into his brain

A 25-year-old man in a coma may have had his recovery kickstarted after researchers ‘excited’ his brain tissue with ultrasound pulses. Scientists at UCLA beamed ultrasound waves into his brain and after three days, he regained full consciousness and language comprehension. This may lead to new ways to treat patients in comas.

9. The Ice bucket challenge funded an ALS breakthrough

The Ice Bucket Challenge social media campaign, which took place in the summer of 2015, helped fund a breakthrough in ALS research in 2016. Though the campaign was criticised as ‘slacktivism’, it helped fund a study that discovered a new identified gene, NEK1. The gene now ranks among the most common genes that contribute to the disease, presenting scientists with a potential target for developing therapies.

10. Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter’s orbit

Nasa’s Juno space probe braved intense radiation and space debris on its 1.8-million-mile journey into orbit around Jupiter. It arrived at the planet in July after a five-year journey and for the next 20 months it will explore the origins of the largest planet in our solar system.

11. Plastic microbeads are to be banned by 2017

The UK government announced this year that it will ban plastic microbeads next year due to fears they are building up in oceans and potentially entering the food chain. The small pieces of plastic are commonly found in toothpaste and exfoliating body scrubs and the tiny beads are having a ruinous impact on the natural world.

Climate change was taken seriously

Solar Impulse completed its historic around-the-world flight

Solar Impulse

12. Solar Impulse 2 flew around the world

Climate change is a huge opportunity: Bertrand Piccard on fairytale flights and Earth’s future

Long Reads

Climate change is a huge opportunity: Bertrand Piccard on fairytale flights and Earth’s future

In July, Solar Impulse 2 touched down after its epic round-the-world trip. The solar powered plane flew 42,438km around the world to prove that clean technologies could be used in flight. Bertrand Piccard, one of the plane’s pilots told WIRED: “The sky is not the limit, the fuel is the limit. And with Solar Impulse there was no fuel – we could fly as long as we wanted.”

Relive the best photos from Solar Impulse 2’s round-the-world trip

Relive the best photos from Solar Impulse 2’s round-the-world trip

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13. Paris Climate Change Agreement came into force

On November 4, the Paris Climate Change agreement came into force. 55 countries with 55 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions agreed to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Countries will have to rapidly reduce their emissions but it’s a step towards solving the problems of climate change.

And finally …

The game allows users to catch Pokémon in real-world environments


14. The world was given the gift of Pokemon Go

Ah Pokémon Go. The augmented reality game, which allowed people to run around with their smartphones and catch Pokémon in cities and towns, had a peak of 45 million people playing the game when it launched earlier this year. Even WIRED made an appearance on BBC playing the game. A University introduced a class that saw people play the game for credits and someone reportedly got stuck in a tree in New Jersey, but many loved and enjoyed the nostalgia the game offered.

15. Netflix added offline downloads

Netflix fans across the globe rejoiced when the streaming service announced viewers could now download shows to watch offline. The new feature is included in all plans on its Android and iOS apps but not every show is available, at the moment. Some of Netflix’s original shows, including Orange is the New Black, are available to download now and more will become available soon.

16. We finally found out the best biscuit for dunking

WIRED settled one of the longest-standing questions mankind has always struggled with: what’s the best biscuit for dunking? Sarah Barnes from the Institute of Physics used a robolink D robot arm by igus to test 10 biscuits for ‘dunkability’ from Rich Teas, to Digestives and Oreos.

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You could argue that 2016 was the year that the meme fully went mainstream. In the past, these obscure, mostly silly splashes of Internet humor usually stayed within the confines of Tumblr or Twitter, but in 2016, memes became the way in which we consumed and commented on breaking news—like when Melania Trump was caught plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech at the RNC and the Internet responded with #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes, or when Taylor Swift stepped out with her new beau, Tom Hiddleston, and it took exactly eight seconds before they were bestowed with a new meme-friendly couple name. Memes also became a national coping mechanism (RIP Harambe). They were there to highlight the insanity of our quickly forgotten fads (hello, Pokémon Go), and sometimes even made us question their very existence—we’re looking at you, Damn Daniel. Try as you might to fight it, this was the year that memes became an inextricable part of our lives. And so, with the New Year on the horizon, here we remember the funniest and most viral Internet memes of 2016.

Damn Daniel
A California teenager named Daniel Lara wears a series of stylish looks to school, much to the delight of his friend, who captures them all on video while overzealously complimenting him. Within minutes of uploading the clip, “Damn Daniel” voice-overs take over the Internet and no one is able to look at a pair of white Vans ever again without the words back at it again popping up in their heads.

Bernie vs. Hillary
At the height of the Democratic primary race, a meme asking voters to compare Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on a variety of unimportant and pop culture–related issues—Olive Garden, Star Wars, Radiohead—started making the rounds. Sanders’s responses tended to be in line with what the Internet agreed was cool, while Clinton’s stances were out of touch or simply tried too hard. (What would we give to be able to joke about politics in that same, innocent way again!)

Crying Jordan
Basketball legend Michael Jordan couldn’t help but tear up in the middle of his acceptance speech when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2009. Unfortunately for him, his tear-soaked face will live on forever. Things came full circle last month when President Obama referenced Jordan’s meme fame while awarding him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which, understandably, made him cry all over again.

Drake Views
Drake must know he’s a meme-generating machine or why else would he make things so easy? After he shared the cover art for Views, which featured a tiny Drake atop Toronto’s CN Tower, miniature Drizzies started showing up everywhere: at the Seinfeld diner, on top of Tim Horton’s, even on Beyoncé’s cornrows.

The strangest meme of the year started after the tragic death of Harambe, a silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, which divided parents and animal rights activists as to whether it was ethically right to sacrifice an animal in order to save a child that had fallen into its enclosure. Once the controversy had died down, Harambe went on to become a meme that, ironically for some, would not die. For months, the gorilla was the subject of endless tributes, a number of conspiracy theories (Bush did Harambe!), and was even labeled this year’s sexiest man alive.

No question: 2016 was a surplus year for memes. Genius social-media users were screencapping, GIFing, remixing, and Photoshopping so quickly, there was practically a new viral sensation clogging up your timeline every day. Still, some memes stood above the rest. Let’s look back and celebrate this year’s standouts!

1. Angry Michael Phelps

Gymnast McKayla Maroney’s unimpressed face was the go-to Olympic meme — until this August, when Michael Phelps was caught on camera totally mean-mugging rival swimmer Chad le Clos. With that, the torch for Most Meme-able Face was passed on.

When you’re told to insert your card after you already swiped it.

— AJ Voelpel (@AJVoelpel) August 9, 2016

When you wake up before the alarm #PhelpsFace

— Jessica Reyes (@jessicareyes) August 9, 2016

When you accidentally tap an add and it goes to the App Store. #PhelpsFace

— Lexy (@LexyAtchison98) August 9, 2016

2. Mr. Krabs Blur

You know that dizzy, panicked feeling you get when your world is rocked by an unpleasant realization? Say, when you suddenly become aware that a McDonald’s crewmember is watching you fill your WATER cup with COKE? A warped screencap from SpongeBob SquarePants in which Mr. Krabs looks caught up and confused perfectly captures that sensation. For at least a month in 2016, it’s all you saw on your feed.

When you two hours into watching videos on your phone and realize the wifi was off the whole time

— Maybe: Marcus 🛸 (@marsoos_) March 24, 2016

When u filling a water cup with Sprite and then the McDonalds employee comes to restock the cups and napkins

— Ahmed (@ahmedobviously) March 14, 2016

3. Caveman SpongeBob

I don’t know what it is about SpongeBob SquarePants that’s so meme-able, but we couldn’t have a best-of list without the cartoon sponge himself. This year it’s Caveman SpongeBob, who represents all those situations when your primitive knee-jerk reactions rise to the surface. Like when your doctor asks right in front of your MOTHER if you’re sexually active, and you can barely keep from mumbling incoherently and slumping away from the awk on all fours.

When ur at the doctors office with ur mom and the doctor ask if you’re sexually active

— Zach Galifinakas (@ZachGalifinak) November 21, 2016

when your mom pulls into the driveway and you forget to clean the sink full of dishes

— Funny 💩 (@Teenagesmarts) June 9, 2016

4. Name a More Iconic Trio

When someone posted a picture asking the world to name a more iconic trio than Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, Twitter was more than up to the challenge. As awesome as the Kardashian–Jenners are, apparently there’s no shortage of trios who are more iconic (starting with Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney, many would say). For example:

Name a more iconic trio… #gilmoregirls #GilmoreGirlsRevival #netflix @gilmorenews @netflix

— Christina Geska (@christinageska) November 21, 2016

name a more iconic trio i dare you

— diana ♥ (@friendsd0ntlie) November 14, 2016

5. #UNameIt Challenge

In a world overrun with Christmas carols, the masses were yearning for a Thanksgiving tune. It finally came when someone uncovered a clip of gospel-music legend Shirley Caesar rapping off a list of holiday-worthy comfort food. The clip got remixed with new music, the Internet gave it the challenge treatment and, suddenly, it was everywhere. Under the tag #UNameIt, users began using the tune to create hilarious dance videos and celebrity mashups. A Turkey Day tradition was born.

I finally found the original video. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

— “Take care of yo chicken.” – Marshawn Lynch (@DrTGIF) November 14, 2016

“Grandma, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving?”

— Liberty OSD (@LibertyOSD) November 24, 2016

When you’re a vegan, but you still wanna eat good on #Thanksgiving #unameitchallenge #ShirleyCaesar

— Kenny Kixx™ (@KennyKixx) November 15, 2016

6. Conceited the Rapper

When New York-based rapper Conceited pursed his lips and side-eyed during a rap battle all the way back in 2013, he probably never predicted his expression would go down in meme history. Once it was re-discovered by Twitter, though, his look of disapproving skepticism became shorthand for You thought! Users began posting the screengrab with captions documenting life’s dubious disappointments, like when you take 20 selfies and not one is Insta-worthy.

Me: “I just took like 20 selfies, atleast one of them has to be cute”
Camera roll:

— Maxine Waters (@Nija315) October 26, 2016

Me; *Spends $200 plus+ online shopping*
Shipping: $5.99

— ✨✨ (@chullie___) December 6, 2016

7. Arthur’s Fist

This meme had a humble beginning: An Arthur fan simply pointed out to the Twitterverse how much Arthur’s clenched fist (screencapped from a season one episode) resonated with him.

This is just a pic of Arthur’s fist but idk how I feel that it’s just so relatable. So many emotions in one fist

— Kofi🇬🇭 (@AlmostJT) July 28, 2016

So many emotions indeed. From there, Twitter went wild using the young aardvark’s closed hand to symbolize how we endure countless minor annoyances every day.

8. Joe Biden

The interweb has always loved Joe Biden, America’s official funny uncle. Now, with the Obama–Biden administration winding down and the Trump–Pence era looming, the meme community has channeled its nostalgia and fear into the funniest Joe Biden memes to date: Petty Biden. In the memes, the veep is cooking up various plots to punk Donald Trump once Trump gets to the White House. The pranks get pettier and pettier — not to mention more hilarious.

biden: cmon you gotta print a fake birth certificate, put it in an envelope labeled “SECRET” and leave it in the oval office desk
obama: joe

— jonny sun (@jonnysun) November 11, 2016

Joe: Okay so we sneak in one night around February, steal his shoes
Obama: Joe
Joe: And then dump legos all over the floor

— Jac frost (@hellojcqln) November 13, 2016 — Thomas Moore (@Thomas_A_Moore) November 12, 2016

9. Evil Kermit

Kermit the Frog has been the mascot of internet shade for as long as I can remember (nobody sips tea like he does), but he really outdid himself in 2016. Somehow Kermie managed to become the meme manifestation of our dark sides, too. It started when one Twitter jokester took a screenshot from Muppets Most Wanted where Kermit meets his evil doppelganger, then used the image to represent the lazy and indulgent inner voice that commands her to do questionable things (like steal cute dogs off the street). The internet instantly related.

me: I already have 5 lipsticks in this shade
me to me: But this one has different undertones

— MAKEUP (@glowkit) November 16, 2016

Me: I’m done with him I’m not playing this time
*gets message*
Me to me: answer it

— VINETRIA (@VINETTRIA) November 7, 2016

10. 2016

This year was rough for a lot of people. From the tragic zoo killing of Harambe the gorilla to the results of the presidential election, there were countless moments when the Internet asked, “Could 2016 get any worse?” Some social media users decided to find dark humor in it all and roast 2016 hardcore. Now, it’s the “year” equivalent of Voldemort: We don’t talk about 2016.

View this post on Instagram

Nope. Ha! #2016sucks

A post shared by Lindsay Hecker (@lindsay_hecker) on Dec 6, 2016 at 4:13pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 🖤🍷🖤 (@silversnow3661) on Dec 6, 2016 at 12:58pm PST

View this post on Instagram

The first rule… #2016sucks #readyfor2017

A post shared by Sara M 🎂⚡ (@smstuart) on Dec 1, 2016 at 4:41am PST

me at the beginning of 2016 VS. me at the end of 2016.

— kzizz✰✰ (@kstrykk) December 11, 2016

P.S. RIP Vine.

P.P.S. Darn you, 2016.

Noelle Devoe Entertainment Editor When I’m not holed up in my room going on a completely unproductive Netflix binge or Tumblr stalking Timothée Chalomet, I’m searching for awesome celeb news stories that Seventeen readers will love!

Top 10 Things That Went Viral In 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, let us take a look at the headlines that caught everybody’s attention. Here is the list of Top 10 Things That Went Viral In 2016.

We call them viral stories because they spread like the viral fever. People love to share these stories and make the memes out of these by using their sense of humor and sarcasm. Every year, we see a lot of viral stories and the year 2016 is no different. As the year is running in its last month and soon will become a part of history we are taking a look back to all those stories that made us laugh.

Most Popular Topics in India in 2016


Twitter / Sagarcasm

India stood still when the entire wallet filled with five hundred and thousand rupee notes becomes redundant, and that story went viral all over the social media. People made videos, shared jokes, photos and memes over it. On November 8th, 2016 the Indian economy took a sharp turn when Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced the Note Ban. It was shocking news for people, but some guys found fun in it too.

Surgical Strike

Twitter / Rksadhi

On 29th September 2016, eleven days after the Uri attack, Indian Army did a surgical strike on Pakistan’s terrorist and military establishment. As soon as the news broke on TV channels and the Internet, this went viral, and people started sharing it with hashtags. The term surgical strike gained so much popularity when used in media that a lot of people googled what it means. Well, it means targeting the legal military establishment and causing no or minimal damage to the surrounding structure, building, etc. as the surgeon does while operating a particular part of the body.

Reliance Jio

Twitter / Aaqib Raza Khan

The 4G network came as a wave and people took it with both hands. The Airtel girl made its mark, and it became the first company to launch 4G services in India, followed by other network providers. When network companies were planning to milk the 4G services, Reliance Jio ruined it all by introducing free 4G services till December 2016. People stood in a queue outside the Reliance Express outlet to get reliance SIM and soon the story went viral on the Internet.

Udta Punjab Controversy

Twitter / Mahesh Bhatt

In the month of June 2016, when Shahid Kapoor starrer film Udta Punjab was ready to hit the silver screen; the CBFC denied giving it a certificate with any mention of the word Punjab in the movie. It created a huge uproar among the movie buffs and the producer of the film Anurag Kashyap protested it vehemently. Finally, he won the battle with CBFC chief, Pehlaz Nihalani, and the film got released.

Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai

Nobody knows whether Sonam Gupta is a cheat or not, but when it appeared on two thousand rupee currency note, people made memes out it. It all started when a broken heart announced the story of her cheating partner, Sonam Gupta on a ten-rupee currency note. Unremembered for a while, this story resurfaced after the demonetization drive. Soon, Sonam Gupta was all over, even on the currency notes of several countries.

Most Popular Topics in The World in 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio won Oscar

Despite acting in some very successful movies, Leonardo DiCaprio waited long to win an Oscar. Finally, this year he won an Oscar for his movie ‘The Revenant’ after six nominations in the Academy Awards so far. His victory catalyzed the twitteratti and soon he went viral on social media.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is a mobile game that depends on the geographical location for the completion of a stage and finding the fighter. This concept made people from all age groups go crazy about Pokémon Go. From common man to celebrities, everyone played this game on their smartphone and shared their achievements on the Internet. This topic went viral on the Internet due to the sheer craze among the smartphone users for this game.

USA Elections

The election of the most powerful country in the world will surely attract eyeballs around the globe. This year the stories about the USA presidential election went viral on the Internet and a lot of memes about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were shared on the Internet. Most of these memes suggested Donald Trump a bad choice for President, but eventually against all the odds he won the election. His victory further fuelled the Internet users and a new series of memes posted on social media after it.

Chaiwala from Pakistan

Recently, a local photographer from Pakistan posted a photo of a blue-eyed Pakistani Chaiwala on social media, and it broke the Internet in no time. People loved to share his picture and guess what!! He got a modeling assignment in a matter of days. So, have you started believing in destiny now?

Mannequin Challenge

Youtube / Nexus

Little did the students in Jacksonville, Florida know that the Mannequin Challenge they are starting would become a rage on the Internet. On October 12th this year they posted the first video, and soon people from all over the world followed the trend and took this challenge where they have to stand still as a mannequin while the song Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background. Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh was the first Indian actor who accepted the challenge and soon his video went viral on the Internet.