Top viral news stories of 2015

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SAN DIEGO — It was a question that stirred debates between friends, family and colleagues — is it blue and black, or white and gold?

The color of “the dress” made the list as one of the most viral questions of the year. We’ve compiled some this year’s most shared stories, from a tiny, sassy tap dancer to “the most hated man in America.” Some are shocking, others funny — and some completely outrageous.


drew back to future
Back to the Future

1. October 21, 2015 — The year of the future

October 21, 2015: The date Marty McFly travels to in the second installment of “Back to the Future.” The 1989 movie depicts the year of 2015 as one of flying cars, hoverboards and holograms. So what did the move actually get right? Big screen TVs, drones and hands-free video games — but good luck trying to get anywhere with a hoverboard.


Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has been arrested.
Martin Shkreli

2. ‘The most hated man in America’

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, became unpopular fast when he raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients, from $13.50 to $750 — per pill. That’s about a 5,000% increase. The drug has been in use for 62 years, but Shkreli’s company bought the rights to it in August. After the outrage, he later said he would lower the price to something more “reasonable” — but that hasn’t happened yet. Shkreli made recent headlines for purchasing a Wu-Tang Clan album for $2 million.


TransAsia airline crash
TransAsia airline crash

3. TransAsia plane crash video

A terrifying video surfaced this year of a plane careening out of the sky, directly in front of a highway, clipping the side of a bridge and ultimately crashing into a river in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. The TransAsia flight was carrying 58 passengers including crew members. The cause of the crash was later determined to be pilot error, according Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council. Forty-three people were killed.


Cecil the lion and Walter Palmer, the American hunter who shot him
Cecil the lion and Walter Palmer

4. Cecil the lion

Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, was the target of global outrage this year for illegally killing a prized African lion named Cecil, while on a hunting expedition in Zimbabwe. Palmer claimed he had no idea that the lion was a local favorite. Well, try telling that to social media. Palmer garnered his own hashtag, #WalterPalmer, and a Facebook page dedicated to shaming him. Palmer never faced charges.


Walter Morris

5. FOX reporter breaks out epic Nae Nae moves during commercial break
FOX 5’s Walter Morris dance moves during a commercial break went viral.


6. Praise for Patti’s pies

Shoutout to Patti LaBelle! A particularly enthusiastic fan of Patti LaBelle’s gained fame overnight when he posted a video to YouTube singing praises for LaBelle’s sweet potato pies. James Wright’s video received over 4 million hits on YouTube and caused the pies to sell out nationwide. LaBelle invited Wright to Thanksgiving dinner in her home, and she also filmed a cooking special with Wright, set to air for the holidays on the Cooking Channel.


Brad Wills

7. Large bug scares weather reporter on live TV
FOX 5’s Brad Wills freaked out when a bug flew near him in a live report from Pacific Beach that went viral.


8. 6-year-old tap dancer commands R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Johanna Colon, 6, stole the show with her performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Colon gave “full out” a whole new meaning, with her expressive facials and sassy dance moves. She got quite the applause from the audience, and her video has been viewed over 21 million times on YouTube. We respect that, Johanna.


Weasel on woodpecker
Weasel on woodpecker

9. Yes, that’s a weasel — on a woodpecker’s back

A bizarre photo of a weasel hitching a ride on a woodpecker’s back went viral on Twitter this year, with more than 12,000 users retweeting the original post of the picture. The photo was taken by an amateur photographer in Essex, near London, and it is very, very real.


Llamas on the loose

10. Llamas on the lam

A chase ensued after two llamas got loose in Sun City, Arizona, in February — causing #Llamas to trend worldwide on Twitter. More than 220,000 tweets were sent about the duo, and several parody accounts formed. Luckily, CNN affiliate KNXV was able to get a visual on the furry bandits with aerials from its chopper, helping police eventually lasso and catch the animals.


11. Foo Fighter breaks leg on stage

Dave Grohl, the lead singer of the Foo Fighters, broke his leg at a concert in Sweden this summer after falling off the stage. “Now look! I think I just broke my leg. I think I really broke my leg.” He heroically finished the performance. An X-ray later showed Grohl suffered at least one fracture, which caused the band to cancel two shows.


The dress
The dress


Finally, the story that had everyone talking — and arguing — this year, was of course the great debate over what color “the dress” was. It all began when a woman posted a picture of the dress to Tumblr asking for help — “What color is this dress?” The world was then divided into two camps: #TeamBlueandBlack and #TeamWhiteandGold. Blame your retinas — but the dress is blue and black. The photo has since been removed from Tumblr.

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