The 10 Best And Weirdest Science Stories Of 2015


As the Year of the Hoverboard comes to a close, Tech Time reflects on the best and weirdest news stories, accomplishments and announcements coming out of the scientific community. Every Dec. 31, it's good to look back on how science served us, whether with important discoveries, or guttural chuckles.

Here are our favorites:

10. Hold everything! Science has finally answered life's big question: Do cats fare better when they have access the boxes? The answer: Yes, they do.

According to a study undertaken by kitty enthusiasts from the University of Utrecht, cats show lower signs of stress and have faster recoveries, if they are given access to boxes. The scientists concluded that cats in shelters and clinics should be given their own boxes, to give them a sense of security and reduce stress, promoting healing and psychological health.

9. Nonprofit Greenpeace did some major sleuthing when it caught climate change "skeptics" taking secret money from what they thought were coal and oil companies, to write papers challenging the established science of climate change.

The very same week the academics were caught, one of them testified as an "expert" on climate change at a Senate subcommittee hearing, chaired by the eternally-worried-looking Ted Cruz.

Read more about this story, here.

8. In the "weird" category, we have this story courtesy of the International Space Station, where an astronaut tweeted an innocent and beautiful story from the dark night of space, only to wake up to countless people asking him if he had just shared evidence of a UFO.

Tech Times got to the bottom of it, confirming that the "UFO" was just a window on the Space Station, from a distance.

Read more about this story, here.

7. In October, a team of astronomers from the University of Maryland announced that they observed a tidal disruption in a galaxy 290 million light years from Earth. It's the biggest tidal disruption they've seen in a decade, and it indicates that a massive black hole is eating a star alive.

Read more about this story, here.

6. We learned that a North Carolina town didn't outlaw solar panels for sucking up the sun, even after it was widely reported that the allegedly science-ignorant town had done just that.

Although outlets like The Independent, Mashable, Fusion, Ars Technica, Fox, Engadget, Boing Boing, MTV, the Telegraph, and others reported that the tiny town had banned the panels due to community outcry about the panels sucking up the sun's energy and keeping plants from photosynthesizing, Tech Times reached out directly to the town council and found that these reasons actually had nothing to do with the moratorium, which was put in place because of an already high number of not-so-pretty panels in the town may be driving away residents and businesses.

Read more about this story, here.

5. Huge news in breast cancer treatment this year, as University of Maryland cancer specialists announced a new way to target radiation treatment directly at breast tissue, while patients lie comfortably on a couch.

The new "GammaPod" could mean infinitely more comfortable treatments for victims of the most common cancer in American women.

Read more about this story, here.

4. Japanese scientists announced that they are mere steps away from a shot or pill that would give men the same kind of temporary birth control that has been available to women for over 50 years.

The successful drug has so far only been studied in mice, so the results can't be verified until they have moved on to human trials, but scientists are hopeful that this could mean men will finally have control of their reproductive destinies (as well as taking the burden of total responsibility off women alone).

Read more about this story, here.

3. The World Health Organization announced this year that it had conclusive data showing that most of the meat eaten by Americans is cancer-causing, and that the bacon craze is primed to kill us all.

While cigarettes are a worse cancer threat than meat, the WHO adds that the strength of the evidence between mammal meat and cancer is just as sound as the evidence between cigarettes and cancer. Which is to say, there's no question.

Read more about this story, here.

2. NASA confirmed this year that its scientists had found evidence of water flows on Mars — one key sign that life may have once thrived there. This could mean that creatures once roamed the red planet, or maybe even intelligent life.

Read more about this story, here.

1. Our top science story of the year may sound like old news, and that's because it is. This year is the hottest on record, as have been the last several years. Every single year, our average temperatures are getting hotter and hotter, demonstrating incontrovertibly that climate change is happening rapidly. Read more, here.

Unless we fix it, we're all going to die.

Happy New Year!

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