Time crystals sound like something out of a sci-fi TV show, but they're real. They're a new form of matter — now we have solids, liquids, gases, and time crystals. This is not a joke. They are complicated, but they are real.
Only in 2017 did we learn that we have been playing Monopoly wrong our entire lives. That's right. There are real, official rules to the game that make it not be so long and boring and horrible! Why haven't we been playing that way all along? Who fooled us?
The most hilarious line of Thor: Ragnarok comes when he's about to fight the Hulk and he goes, "I know him from work!" That line was actually written by a Make-A-Wish kid who was visiting set that day. How amazing is that?!
Russian interference in our election was a hot-button issue in 2017, and we learned that their influence spread further than we originally thought. In one case, Russian trolls actually created conflicting Facebook events that two opposing groups showed up to in Houston. Scary stuff.
Time travel is mathematically possible. No, seriously. We have all the math to do it. The only thing stopping us is that we don't have the materials necessary to build it. This stuff would have to withstand time jumps. And we just don't know what, if anything, has that capability.
A mysterious blob of hot, molten rock is growing underneath the Northeast states of the U.S. And yes, it will erupt one day. But don't worry — an event like that won't happen for at least a few million years.
Two big movies were almost very different, as we recently learned. Emma Watson was originally offered Emma Stone's role in La La Land, but she turned it down because she was committed to Beauty and the Beast. And Ryan Gosling passed on Beauty and the Beast to do La La Land. Interesting...
The world's rarest and most ancient dogs were recently discovered to be thriving in the wild. The New Guinea highland wild dog has been extremely hard to find, and scientists feared that they'd gone extinct. But they're actually probably just really good at hiding.
In 2017, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender candidate to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly. In addition to being a badass woman breaking barriers in the government, Roem is also the frontwoman of a heavy metal band. Yeah, you read that right.
For a long time, the appendix was thought to be one of those vestigial organs that modern humans don't use anymore. But that might not be the case. It's possible that the appendix is a "haven" for good bacteria that live in our intestines and help us fight certain infections. Interesting...
Guys, there's a new continent! Her name is Zealandia, and she's beautiful. Eleven researchers were behind a study that argues that New Zealand and New Caledonia aren't just a chain of islands. They're both part of a massive piece of continental crust that is distinct from Australia and lies mostly under the water.
In 2017, we learned that farmers sometimes feed their cattle red Skittles instead of corn because it's cheaper. Not great, I know. How did we learn this? Oh, a ton of red Skittles fell off the back of a truck on a highway in Wisconsin.
We finally figured out why flamingos are more sturdy on one leg than on two! Two scientists discovered that flamingos have self-locking legs, which means they don't have to constantly use their muscles to stand up straight like humans do. Even with a dead flamingo, their legs will snap into place.
Scientists recently discovered that infants can understand language much more than we originally thought. According to The Atlantic, a new study revealed, "When words have similar meanings, babies can get confused. That confusion hints that babies know more about language, at a younger age, than scientists have found before."
The three main actors in Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, were extremely committed to their roles. How committed were they? Well, they wore vintage undergarments from the time period in order to be extra authentic.
Humans have accidentally created a protective bubble around the Earth that has the capacity to protect us from dangerous weather events like solar flares. Go us! How'd we do it? It's all those radio waves and high-energy radiation particles in space.
The cabbage white butterfly is a common, fairly boring-looking butterfly. But their reproductive process is anything but. The female cabbage white butterfly literally has vagina teeth with which she chews apart sacs of sperm!!
China is working way harder than the U.S. to make contact with extraterrestrials. The country has a brand new radio dish that's almost twice as wide as the U.S.'s. China's is the largest in the world and it was custom-built to listen for messages from aliens. Cool.
Boxer crabs are these cute little guys who carry sea anemones to defend themselves from predators. In 2017, scientists discovered that if the crabs only have one anemone, they can clone it by literally ripping it in half. Harsh.
Chris Lowe captured this image of a deer licking a small, adorable fox, and immediately there were so many questions. The theory scientists developed is that deer on islands lick small animals because the breeze from the water makes these animals salty, delicious deer treats. We just think it's really cute.
The "fake news" crisis is defining this moment in time. But in 2017 we learned that this isn't the first "fake news" crisis. There was one in 1896. After losing the presidential election, William Jennings Bryan started his own newspaper. In it was the line, "There seems to be an epidemic of fake news from the city of Lincoln..."
It's not your imagination. Spider webs are self-strengthening. The silk of cribellate spiders absorbs chemicals from the bodies of insects that get stuck in it, which in turn strengthens the silk. According to The Atlantic, "The victim literally becomes part of the web, inadvertently strengthening the instrument of its own capture." Spooky.
Those big furry elephants are making a comeback! That's right. In the near future, woolly mammoths may be grown in a lab in order to help with a project that will try to slow the thawing of the Arctic permafrost.
Scientists discovered that the only other animal besides humans that uses musical instruments is none other than the palm cockatoo! Male palm cockatoos use custom-made instruments made from sticks or rocks and bang them on tree trunks in predictable, rhythmic patterns. All for the ladies, of course.
In 2017, we learned that the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line was happening in November and December of the year before. In those two months, more than 92,000 called the hotline with turkey questions. How? Why? What? So many questions.
Sometimes we're reminded just how much we don't know about even our own bodies. 2017 was one of those years. Scientists just discovered an entire system of lymphatic vessels in our brains. They are probably super important when it comes to things like diseases and aging. Cool cool cool.
New York City is known for its pizza, its bagels, and its rats. And now, we're learning that the rats that live uptown and the rats that live downtown are genetically different and distinct. Crazy, right?
OK this is technically a 2018 fact, but we just learned that Baby Groot is Groot's son, not just a reincarnation of the Groot we knew and loved from the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Director James Gunn tweeted this life-shattering fact.