Each year sees its share of bizarre stories, but it seemed like 2010 was overflowing with "you've got to be kidding me!" moments. Perhaps the proliferation of social media has made the quirky behavior of a few more accessible to the masses in warp speed -- but whatever the reason for the uptick in news of the weird, we're grateful for the fodder. Here are The Lookout's five oddest news events of 2010.
1. Paul the Octopus: The World Cup commands far and away the largest global following of any major sporting event. But no one could have predicted that an undersea creature would be among the most canny prognosticators of World Cup outcomes. Then again, perhaps it stands to reason that a sport so focused on leg agility should earn the close attention of an eight-legged animal.
2. The Chilean miners: It's unfortunately a common occurrence for miners to get trapped underground--but it's unheard of for their captivity to result in so many happy endings. All of the 33 miners trapped in a mine in Chile for 2 months not only survived, but became regular fixtures on news programs and even morphed into international celebrities.
3. Volcanic ash: Who would have thought that an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano could cause the biggest slowdown in the airline industry since the terror attacks on 9/11? But hey, it actually happened.
4. The midterm elections: Perhaps it had something to do with the sluggish economy and the generally dour national mood, but this year's elections seem to have inspired more wacky, gaffe-prone candidates to come out of the woodwork than any time in recent memory.
5. Steven Slater: When word began to spread on a Monday afternoon last April that a JetBlue flight attendant had -- in a fit of rage after an altercation with a passenger -- exited the plane via an emergency chute, the nation seemed instantly captivated.