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(CBS) -- For better or worse, these jaw-dropping news stories caught our attention over the last year.

Porn plays on TVs at Best Buy

A woman, her son and his children saw 55-inch screen TVs display an offending photograph of a man and woman. The image was up for several minutes, allowing time for other families to see the pornographic image.

Racially-charged ad airs during the Super Bowl

An ad for Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra, depicting several Asian stereotypes, raised the ire of several advocacy groups. Hoekstra did not formally apologize for the ad, but did pull down his website depicting similar imagery.

"Kony 2012" viral video stirs emotion and controversy

"Kony 2012," uploaded to YouTube on March 5, tells the story of filmmaker Jason Russell's personal mission to take down Joseph Kony, the Ugandan leader of the guerrilla group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

The video garnered over 26.6 million views in less than a week, but it's also sparked controversy because the filmmakers were accused of spending more money on marketing than on-the-ground humanitarian work.

Russell was later arrested in San Diego, but not before being filmed naked and rambling on the street, in a video that was broadcast on TMZ.com.

Graffiti artist goes from homeless to millionaire following Facebook IPO

There was plenty of drama surrounding Facebook's initial public offering, but the most unique story was of graffiti artist David Choe. Choe was hired by then Facebook president Sean Parker to paint a mural at Facebook's first office in Palo Alto in 2005. When the mural was finished, Parker gave Choe the option of taking cash or stock options. He took the stock and went from being homeless to being a millionaire.

"Linsanity" sweeps the nation

New York Knicks phenomenon Jeremy Lin, who was then only known as a bench-warmer, took the National Basketball Association and the Internet by storm after he lead the Knicks to a win against the New Jersey Nets, scoring 25 points. And "Linsanity" was born.

Immediately, commentators and fans began playing off of Lin's name and phrases like "Linsanity," "Linderella," "Linsane" and "Linferno" began popping up.

The Knicks went on a seven game winning streak, but did not reach the playoffs. Lin has since been drafted by the Houston Rockets.

Olive Garden restaurant review goes viral

Marilyn Hagerty, 85, became instant Web hit when her piece in Grand Forks, N.D. paper about new Olive Garden restaurant in town Grand Forks Olive Garden review goes viral" suddenly went viral. She's seen here during an interview on "CBS This Morning: Saturday" on March 10, 2012.

Marketing firm hires homeless people to be Wi-Fi hotspots

Melvin Hughes, who was hired by BBH Labs to provide and promote a mobile 4G Wi-Fi service during SXSW, holds the T-shirt he was given by the marketing agency in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Hughes said he was paid $20 for each six-hour shift over four days this past weekend and he may receive extra money if those who used the online 4G service made a donation.

BDSM e-book goes viral and becomes blockbuster

E.L. James' "Fifty Shades" trilogy started off as a popular independently distributed e-book, but quickly became a viral hit Amazon's Kindle Store and the social network Goodreads. The sexually explicit book took the crown of bestselling book in the U.K. from J.K. Rowling's entire 7-book Harry Potter series.

"This American Life" retracts Apple Foxconn episode

Chicago Public Media radio program "This American Life" retracted an episode containing a scathing account of Apple manufacturer Foxconn by American author Mike Daisey, after discovering there were "significant fabrications" in his story.

Hillary Clinton brings the LOLZ

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted her sense of humor when she posed for a photo with two publicists who created a blog dedicated to her called "Texts from Hillary."

The blog posted photo "memes" depicting Clinton texting politicians and celebrities like a boss. A pair of photos depicted public figures, like Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg or politician Sarah Palin, exchanging text messages with the secretary of state.

Tupac performs at Coachella ... sort of

Audiences were treated with a reunion between deceased rapper Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. The question on most people's minds was, "How did they do it?"

Although the perception was of a 3D likeness of Shakur, the image was actually a 2D image. Shakur's likeness was projected onto an angled piece of glass on ground, which in turn projected the image onto a Mylar screen on stage.

Abraham Lincoln invented Facebook?

Blogging consultant Nate St. Pierre decided to have a little fun with the Internet by fabricating a story about how Lincoln was rejected for a patent in 1845 for a Facebook-like newspaper.

St. Pierre got a few bites and the story spread through the Internet and Twitter as a newly-discovered fact. The viral hoax was picked up by a few tech blogs.

Taking a jab at reporters, St. Pierre's final reason for the hoax was to "to illustrate one of the drawbacks to our 'first and fastest' news aggregation and reporting mentality, especially online."

Facebook co-founder ditches his U.S citizenship

Leading up to Facebook's initial public offering reports that the social network's co-founder Eduardo Saverin relinquished his U.S. citizenship in favor of his current residence of Singapore.

It was reported that Saverin could have dodged $67 million in U.S. taxes because Singapore does not have capital gains taxes. Saverin was born in Brazil, moved to the United States in 1992 and became a citizen in 1998.

Saverin, who has been living in Singapore since 2009, denied that his move was related to tax evasion and said in a statement that he is obligated and will pay "hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government."

Tanning mom gets arrested

A Nutley, N.J., mother was arrested in May after taking her 6-year-old daughter to a tanning salon and allegedly causing a slight burn by allowing the child to use one of the tanning beds.

However, Patricia Krentcil, 44, told WCBS in New York that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding. Krentcil was charged with second degree child endangerment and has since said she has stopped tanning.

"Face-chewing" naked man sparks zombie scare

Rudy Eugene came to national attention when he was caught chewing on the face of Ronald Poppo, before being shot and killed by police. The bizarre crime sparked dubious speculation that he was a zombie. However, an autopsy showed there was no human flesh in Eugene's stomach. Police initially blamed Eugene's mental state on an LSD-like drug called "bath salts."

He was a good kid," Eugene's mother told CBS Miami. "He gave me a nice card on Mother's Day. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son."

Sweden's Twitter experiment draws ire

Curators of Sweden has a simple premise: Every week, a new Swedish citizen takes charge of the official tourism Twitter account of Sweden and becomes a "curator" who represent a sample of the country's population. The experiment garnered controversy following a series of racially charged tweets.

Chick-fil-A president's conservative views fuels gay rights debate

Although Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy's stance on gay rights was already known, it came into the spotlight with vigor in July. Cathy reaffirmed his support for a Christian values in interviews over the summer.

Activist put pressure on the company to join other major corporations, which expressed support for gay rights. Protests on both sides of the issue were staged and government leaders said they would ban the fast food chain from opening in their cities.

Spanish fresco ruined by good intentions

They say no good deed goes unpunished. A fresco, titled "Ecce Homo," in Borja, Spain became a media sensation after it was discovered that amateur art restorer Cecilia Jimenez destroyed the painting. The fresco, which was painted by famous Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez was turned into a cartoonish rendition of Jesus Christ.

The incident became so famous that tourists now visit the Spanish city to see Jimenez's work.

Clint Eastwood talks to an empty chair at the RNC

Clint Eastwood's surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention was exciting for fans, but has also attracted some likely unintentional, unwelcome attention.

The 82-year-old legendary actor and director made an appearance at the RCN to support Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. During a 10-minute improvised speech, Eastwood exchanged words an imaginary President Obama.

The appearance sparked Internet jokes on Twitter and other social networks, including a photo meme that depicted people talking to empty chairs. Eastwood defended himself, saying that when he was mayor of Carmel, Calif. he never gave speeches.

"They've got this crazy actor who's 82 years old up there in a suit," he said. "I was a mayor, and they're probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks."

Apple Maps becomes butt of jokes

Apple maps came under fire when it launched with the tech giant's latest mobile operating system iOS 6, which dropped Google Maps in favor of its own mapping app. Users complained of missing landmarks, wrong directions and the lack of public transportation directions.

Several stories surrounding Apple Maps' shortcomings went viral, including one of Australian police warning drivers to be careful using the mapping app, after police responded to several calls to rescue "distressed motorists" who were reportedly navigating through city streets, but ended up in a national park over 40 miles away.

Google Maps returned to iPhones and iPod Touches on Dec. 13. It quickly became the No. 1 free app at Apple's App Store.

"Clueless" star sparks controversy after endorsing Mitt Romney

One tweet sets off a national debate over whether or not an African-American woman should vote for a Democrat by default. "Clueless" actress Stacey Dash was at the center of harsh Twitter backlash after the she tweeted out an endorsement for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Dash immediately began experiencing racially-based hate tweets, attacking the African-American actress for supporting a Republican candidate -- the implication being that her race should decide her vote. Dash defended herself on "Piers Morgan Tonight," saying "We're all entitled to our own opinion."

Mitt Romney's binders full of women

During the second presidential debate Mitt Romney was asked to respond to a question about pay equity for women. Romney recounted a story in which he noticed none of the applicants for his cabinet were women, adding that his staff responded by saying: "Well, these are the people that have the qualifications."

"I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks,' and they brought us whole binders full of women," Romney said. The quote immediately went viral on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube. The hashtag #bindersfullofwomen become a worldwide trend on Twitter.

Google search interest in the term "binders" increased by 425 percent during the first hour of the debate and "binders full of women" was the No. 3 Google trending query for the night.

Superstorm Sandy Twitter hoax uncovered

During superstorm Sandy, Twitter user @ComfortablySmug spread misinformation about the storm in New York City, including rumors that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was trapped in Manhattan and that the New York Stock Exchange was flooded. It was discovered by BuzzFeed that 29-year-old hedge fund analyst Shashank Tripathi was behind the tweets. Tripathi later apologized for making a series of "irresponsible and inaccurate tweets."

The hunt for John McAfee

Police in the Central American nation of Belize began the hunt for the founder of the software company McAfee Inc. in November. McAfee was a "person of interest" in the slaying of another U.S. citizen, his neighbor in an island town on the Caribbean.

McAfee could not be found, sparking an international manhunt. It was discovered that the eccentric millionaire was hiding in Guatemala after Vice Magazine sent a photo out to the press that held meta data, including McAfee's exact location.

McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala, but was later released and fled to Miami in December.

Ikea monkey wins hearts, goes viral

Twitter went wild for a monkey wearing a pint-sized shearling coat that was spotted wandering around in the parking lot of an Ikea in Toronto. The monkey, which reportedly wore a diaper as well, never made it inside the store and was picked up by Animal Services officers within half an hour. The animal's owner later contacted police and was reunited with the pet.

The incident sparked a flurry of comments and photos on Twitter, as well as two parody Twitter accounts which took on the persona of the wandering monkey.


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