WTF Happened in 2016?

Ah, suh dude. I think we’re all in agreement that 2016 was a pretty wild ride, we even got to have an extra day to question our lives and the actions of humankind this year.

In the news

FILE PHOTO | THE SPECTRUM The Dakota Access Pipeline clouded news about North Dakota in 2016.
The Dakota Access Pipeline clouded news about North Dakota in 2016.

Populism stemmed the two largest what-the-f—k moments of 2016; the slaughter by republicans in the United States general election and Brexit.

First, a disclaimer: this doesn’t stem from any pre-conceived political beliefs or any endorsements by The Spectrum. The mainstream American media grossly misrepresented the voting population’s thoughts with advanced polling and Brexit passed with a very narrow margin of victory.

Polls leading up to the presidential election had Hillary Clinton winning with a margin of at least two points, the New York Times reported. Clinton did win the popular vote, but Donald Trump ultimately won the Electoral College and thus the presidency.

Mainstream media affiliates where wholesomely wrong with polling leading up to the election. Donald Trump’s victory left the world appalled in part because of inaccurate polling.

Brexit, too, shocked the world. Immediately following the announcement of the British voting to leave the European Union, the British currency devalued by 10 percent overnight, the Washington Post reported. The British pound has not rebounded since.

The results of Donald Trump and the Brexit move come with increasing populism in the United States and Britain. Populism is best defined as rule by the common people, those that do not want Washington insiders running the country.

In more local aspects, the Dakota Access Pipeline clouded news from North Dakota for much of the year.

The pipeline, denied by the Army Corps of Engineers Sunday, was slated to be built across the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on land privately owned by the Army Corps.

The land protested by activists due to concerns over the Standing Rock Sioux tribe holding the land sacred, as well as concerns that the pipeline would pollute drinking water.

Nationwide, Black Lives Matter movements have continued to progress and protest police brutality toward African Americans. One catalyst for protesting occurred in August when Philando Castile was killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

A Fargo police officer was killed in the line of duty for the first time since the 1800s in 2016. The officer, Jason Moszer, was shot when responding to a domestic violence call in February. He passed away the following morning.


CASEY MCCARTY | THE SPECTRUM Water bottles flipped into a popular trend in 2016.
Water bottles flipped into a popular trend in 2016.

Memes have once again been further incorporated into contemporary culture in the way spiders begin to inhabit an attic space; inevitably.

America spent more than six months mourning the loss of Harambe, a gorilla who was euthanized at the Cincinnati Zoo due to a child falling his enclosure.

Another meme that transpired throughout 2016 is that of Ken Bone. Bone is a 34-year-old resident of the St. Louis metropolitan area who happened to ask a question to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on live television.

A meme, like Harambe, was also slain outright in 2016. Leonardo DeCaprio won an Oscar for best actor for his leading role as Hugh Glass in “The Revenant.” Memes typically do not die outright; rather they fade away like the relevancy of Martin O’Malley.

Some memes are immortal, too, but that’s a story for another time.

Water bottles flipped into pop culture in 2016 after a video went viral of a student dramatically flipping a water bottle at his talent show.

A Fergus Falls man, Rick Swenson, broke a world record for longest distance traveled in a pumpkin this year, too. The Grand Forks Herald reported Swenson presumably and unofficially set the record to 26 miles.


The Chicago Cubs ignited the party of the century, winning the team’s first World Series championship in 108 years.

The last time the Cubbies won the World Series the Titanic was merely blueprints and Teddy Roosevelt was president.

A Football Championship Subdivision football player was drafted into the National Football League in the highest draft position by an FCS player ever. That player, Carson Wentz, was drafted second overall and is the king of Wentzylvania and most celebrity-like person from North Dakota. Sorry, Josh Duhamel.

Michael Phelps also splashed down in record books, again. The Olympic legend officially retired following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, accumulating a total of 28 Olympic medals along the way. Twenty-three of those medals are gold.

At press time, the former Bison quarterback stands as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team in which he’s championed to a record of 5-7.

Sports did not venture without its share of political commentary in 2016, either. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police actions that have targeted African Americans across the country. Kaepernick’s actions did not go unnoticed, as several other NFL players have also taken a knee in protest.

Kaepernick set a new record Sunday, too. He threw for a total of four yards and was sacked five times in his game against the Chicago Bears.


WIKIMEDIA COMMONS | PHOTO COURTESY Former International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly snaps a selfie on the ISS.
Former International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly snaps a selfie on the ISS.

This year was a big year for scientific advancement, particularly among space knowledge.

Twin brothers Scott and Mark Kelly completed their year in space study, in which Scott spent a year aboard the International Space Station while Mark remained on Earth.

The two were research experiments to learn how long-term space exposure will impact the human body in an effort to prepare for future interplanetary travel to Mars.

Zika virus became the new threat to humanity in 2016. The virus is passed along by infectious mosquito bites, from mothers into their unborn children and through sex. Infected people can also pass the disease back to mosquitoes, which can further transmit the disease.

Zika virus affects the unborn as it causes hindered brain development.

Editor’s Note: Originally a top 10 list was to be made, but the difficulty of only choosing a top 10 was too limiting.

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