45 Awesome Things People Did In 2017

45 Awesome Things People Did In 2017

As the year draws to a close, we aren’t going to pretend that 2017 is going to be fondly remembered by everyone. But instead of taking the easy route and simply pretending that 2017 never happened, let’s instead focus on the fact that a lot of awesome people did some really amazing things this year.

We strive to feature humanity’s most awe-inspiring achievements; be it soaring through the air in a wingsuit, slowing down time with a high-speed camera, or simply super-sizing a popular kid’s toy. The world still needs fixing – we aren’t going to pretend it doesn’t – but you should really spend a few moments to focus on the good out there, for the sake of your own mental health.

Using just a parachute and guts to fly like an eagle? Awesome.

This Guy Is Living My Fantasy Of Flying Like A Bird

Video: Even with the hours of preamble as I shuffle through the airport to my gate, flying is still an amazing experience for me. But taking off in a commercial airliner isn't anywhere near as magical as the way Jean-Baptiste Chandelier takes flight in this stylishly-edited new video, which makes paragliding look as close to being a bird as any human can hope to be.

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Skipping 225 times in 60 seconds to set a new Guinness World Record? Awesome.

Watch These Impossibly Precise Japanese School Kids Set A New Jump Rope World Record

Video. With a mind-blowing display of precision and timing, 14 students from the Fuji Municipal Harada Elementary School in Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, set a new Guinness World Record for the most skips over a single rope. In just 60 seconds, the students managed to skip 225 times without a single mistake.

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Letting eight kids experience what it’s like to float in zero gravity? Awesome.

There'll Be Something In Your Eye As You Watch These Kids Experience Zero-Gravity

So far, 2017 hasn't exactly been a great year, but if you look hard enough, you'll find the world is still filled with wonderful things. In August, eight children living with disabilities were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience zero gravity. Before watching, you'll probably want to reach for a tissue.

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Climbing a 29-storey hotel using nothing but your bare hands? Awesome.

Breathe Into A Paper Bag While This Real-Life Spider-Man Climbs A 29-Storey Hotel

Video. Thanks to an exterior clad in what look like reflective metal bars, Alain Robert, a professional urban climber, simply walked up to the Meliá Barcelona Sky hotel and started climbing, eventually scaling the 29-storey structure in just 22 minutes, without the use of any safety gear.

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Getting hit and thrown by a bus and then simply walking away from the ordeal? Awesome.

British Badass Gets Thrown 20 Feet By A Runaway Bus, Brushes Himself Off And Walks Away

We'd say this video is another good example of why it's important to look both ways before crossing the street, but this out-of-control bus in Reading, England, comes around the corner so quickly that local badass Simon Smith wouldn't have been able to avoid, even if he saw it coming.

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Building the world’s largest Super Soaker water gun? Awesome.

The World's Biggest Super Soaker Is Powerful Enough To Shatter Windows

Video. Last year, Mark Rober built the world's largest Nerf dart gun, capable of blasting foam at 64km/h. Sure, that made it slightly more dangerous than the toy it was based on, but it doesn't even come close to Rober's latest bonkers creation. A giant Super Soaker that fires water at 391km/h.

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Using your jet boat to put out a fire on land and save the day? Awesome.

Watch This Heroic Captain Use His Boat's Powerful Jet Stream To Put Out A Massive Fire

Video. It doesn't take long for a grass fire to turn into a raging inferno that sweeps through entire forests, so a pair of quick-thinking boaters in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, used their jet boat to create a massive rooster tail that helped douse the flames before firefighters arrived on scene.

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Keeping your wits about you and surviving a bear attack by just screaming at it? Awesome.

Here's Getting Attacked By A Bear Looks Like

Video. So you're doing some hunting in Canada and all you have is a bow and arrow. And then, suddenly, a black bear appears in the distance and starts charging straight at your face. What do you do? You scream - scream and hope for the best.

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Diving head first into 1000 mouse traps just so you can capture the ensuring carnage in extreme slow-motion? Awesome.

Diving Into 1000 Mouse Traps On A Trampoline Looks Even More Painful In Slo-Mo

Video. High-speed cameras help make cars safer, factories run smoother, and athletes improve their performances. But The Slow Mo Guys have found an even better use for the technology. Capturing the explosive chain reaction after diving onto a trampoline covered in 1000 armed mouse traps.

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Turning a classic LEGO set into an RC toy that actually flies? Awesome.

An Aerospace Engineer Turned A Classic LEGO Set Into An RC Plane That Actually Flies

Video. Fuelled by imagination, this 27-year-old LEGO set -- the Solo Trainer -- flew thousands of hours in the hands of kids and collectors. But Adam Woodworth, an aerospace engineer and hardware designer at Google, wanted to see just how aeronautically sound LEGO's design really was, so he built a giant RC version of it.

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Kayaking through an abandoned shipwreck? Awesome.

Kayaking Through An Abandoned Shipwreck Is Like Discovering An Ancient Alien Spaceship

Video. Mother Nature has done a good job at dotting the planet with hidden caves and caverns that yield amazing footage once they're discovered. Humans have created similarly spectacular secret locales, albeit accidentally, as this kayaker discovered while paddling through the abandoned MV E Evangelia cargo ship off the coast of Romania.

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Perfectly steering a 60m-long semi-trailer around a sharp 90-degree right turn? Awesome.

Badarse Trucker Nails The Gnarliest Right-Hand Turn You've Ever Seen

Video. Those towering wind turbines that are slowly starting to cover countrysides around the world don't just show up overnight -- and they're definitely not dropped in place by a helicopter. They arrive on trucks in pieces -- staggeringly massive pieces -- that test the skills of drivers navigating roads not designed to accommodate 60m-long trailers.

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Making your own camera lens from scratch? Awesome.

Watching Someone Make A Camera Lens From Scratch Explains Why No One Makes Camera Lenses From Scratch

Video. The next time you complain about spending thousands of dollars on a precision camera lens, stop and think about all the all hard work that went into its design and creation. As camera maker Mats Wernersson reveals, were you to make a lens yourself, you'd be spending days ensuring every last component was flawless.

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Building the most epic Rube Goldberg machine we’ve ever seen? Awesome.

It Took 297 Agonising Tries For This Complex Rube Goldberg Machine To Work Flawlessly

Video: After losing a bet, YouTube's jackofallspades98 spent four months building one of the most complicated Rube Goldberg machines I've ever seen. Spread across two tables, it's so dense and complex that it took 297 attempts before it worked all the way from start to finish.

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Hand-carving an incredibly intricate design onto a Lincoln penny? Awesome.

Watch This Talented Carver Turn A Lincoln Penny Into A Morbid Masterpiece

Video. Michelangelo's David is undoubtedly a masterpiece, but would the artist have been as adept with a chisel if he was working on a tiny copper coin instead of a giant slab of marble? Using a magnifying scope, artist Shaun Hughes managed to skillfully turn Lincoln's head into a remarkably detailed skull.

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Building and flying an RC plane that can hit 720km/h without crashing it? Awesome.

How Do You Even Pilot A 720km/h RC Plane?

We've seen remote control aeroplanes powered by tiny jet engines before. But what's mind-blowing about this particular RC craft is that it weighs just 8kg but can blast through the skies at an astonishing 720km/h, making you wonder how any human has the reflexes needed to keep this thing from crashing.

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Painting your self-portrait backwards while looking at a mirror? Awesome.

Watch This Incredibly Talented Artist Create A Self-Portrait While Painting Backwards

Video: I couldn't even accurately trace a photo of myself to create a self-portrait that looked anything like me. But artist Ewan McClure manages to make a masterpiece by looking at his face and the canvas in a mirror, which must have been incredibly frustrating as all of his brush movements would have been reversed as he reached around to the front of the canvas to paint.

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Creating Vegas-calibre magical illusions using just your smartphone’s camera? Awesome.

This Guy's Simple-Looking Camera Tricks Are Actually Pretty Amazing

Before Twitter killed it off, Kevin Parry was a Vine star (who has since jumped ship to Instagram) known for his simplistic yet mind-blowing optical illusions. He's since compiled a few of them into a longer video that will have you spending the rest of the day trying to figure out how he made each one.

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Building a chainsaw-powered tricycle? Awesome.

Rule The Playground With A Chainsaw-Powered Tricycle

Video. As a kid, you probably came up with a lot of terrible ideas your parents wisely stopped you from carrying out; that's why you're alive today. But once grown up, you're free to try anything that pops into your mind, like upgrading a toddler-sized tricycle so that it's powered by an old chainsaw.

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Autotuning animals to sing the Duck Tales theme song? Awesome.

Autotuned Singing Animals Absolutely Nailed The Duck Tales Theme Song

Video. Animals electronically coerced into singing has been one of mankind's greatest artistic achievements. The internet is now packed full of countless songs performed by countless creatures, but few are as wonderful as these random autotuned animals singing the Duck Tales theme.

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Parkour running while wearing an inflatable T-rex costume? Awesome.

Autotuned Singing Animals Absolutely Nailed The Duck Tales Theme Song

Video. Animals electronically coerced into singing has been one of mankind's greatest artistic achievements. The internet is now packed full of countless songs performed by countless creatures, but few are as wonderful as these random autotuned animals singing the Duck Tales theme.

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Making arrows change direction mid-flight with your amazing archery skills? Awesome.

This Mind-Bending Archer Fires Arrows That Change Direction In Mid-Air

Video: Archer Lars Andersen doesn't post a lot of videos to his YouTube channel. But when he does, it's to show off a mind-melting new trick he's mastered, such as getting arrows to change direction mid-flight so that he can hit targets hidden behind obstacles that he can't actually see.

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Mountain biking down an abandoned mine shaft? Awesome.

Mountain Biking Down An Abandoned Mine Shaft Is A Dimly Lit Descent Into Hell

Video. There are lots of places to go off-road mountain biking if you're looking for a cheap thrill (or the chance to break your neck). But one of the most dangerous has to be riding into an abandoned mine shaft. If your torch dies as you're pedalling deep into the earth, you're probably screwed.

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Using your rocket science skills to build a dartboard that always guarantees a bullseye? Awesome.

Brilliant Motion-Tracking Dart Board Guarantees A Bullseye With Every Throw

Video. A night at a local pub isn't complete without a few rounds of darts, but as your blood-alcohol level rises, your ability to hit the bullseye greatly diminishes. Unless you're playing with Mark Rober's motion-tracking dart board that automatically repositions itself so you're guaranteed to hit the bullseye every time.

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Electrocuting a watermelon using 20,000 volts? Awesome.

Pumping 20,000 Volts Into A Watermelon Ends As Spectacularly As You'd Hope

Video. Unlike a battery, which stores power as chemical energy that's slowly and steadily discharged to keep your gadgets running, a capacitor can unload all of its juice in the blink of an eye. Even a small capacitor has the potential to stop your heart, but when it's the size of a dishwasher, well, this watermelon demonstrates exactly how destructive it can be.

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Kayaking down a flooded mountainside ditch? Awesome.

Riding A Kayak Down A Mountain In A Ditch Is Scarier Than A Roller Coaster

Video. Watching brave kayakers navigating tumultuous whitewater rapids is terrifying enough, but Rush Sturges and Ben Marr decided they needed a more exciting way to risk their lives. So they dragged a tandem kayak up to the top of a drainage ditch in the bush, and then hopped in for a ride back down that looks more thrilling than any roller coaster.

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Turning a logging machine into a bucking rodeo bull? Awesome.

Riding A Logging Machine Like A Rodeo Bull Is The New Definition Of Terror

Video. Hopping on a well-padded mechanical bull at a bar is already terrifying enough for most people. Trying to survive eight seconds on the real thing at a rodeo is a whole other level of fear, but that still doesn't come close to the terror of trying to stay in the saddle while the robot arm of a logging machine is trying to whip you off a flying log.

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Building a working jetpack? Awesome.

Gorgeous Aerial Footage Makes Me Want To Spend All My Money On A Jetpack

Like flying cars, jetpacks are the kind of technology that seems perpetually on the cusp of going mainstream. Though they're both still incredibly expensive and incredibly dangerous, it's easy to ignore those glaring issues when footage like this makes jetpacks look like the best toy one could ever own.

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Performing beautiful ballet-like manoeuvres inside a wind tunnel? Awesome.

We Should Definitely Replace The Olympics With These Badarse Indoor Skydiving Wind Games

Video. A few months ago we discovered synchronised wind tunnel dancing and hoped the event would become a real Olympic sport. But now we've discovered an annual competition for indoor skydiving athletes called the Wind Games, and we should probably just cancel the Olympic Games altogether and watch them instead.

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Building a self-driving potato that ends up being the perfect house pet? Awesome.

Guy Builds A Self-Powered Driving Potato That Turns Out To Be A Better Pet Than A Cat

Video. We've all seen the primary school science experiment where sticking a couple of electrodes into a potato produces enough current to power a small light bulb. But engineer Marek Baczynski took that experiment several steps further, building what could be the world's first autonomous potato - and the ultimate housepet.

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Jumping off a mountain wearing a wingsuit and then landing in an airborne plane? Awesome.

Watch These Daredevil Wingsuit Flyers Land In A Flying Plane

Video: Because jumping off a mountain with just a pair of thin fabric wings underneath your arms isn't already dangerous enough, professional wingsuit flyers Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet decided to do that and then try and land inside an airborne plane, using a side door that was just a couple of metres from the aircraft's spinning propeller.

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Designing a cheap pair of self-lacing joggers using LEGO? Awesome.

Save $US700 And Build Your Own Pair Of Self-Lacing Sneakers Using Lego

Back to the Future II gave us an awesome glimpse of the future where sneakers automatically laced themselves. What the movie left out, however, was that those sneakers would cost you $US720 ($938) a pair. Oof. But if you've got a bit of Lego lying around at home, you can give any shoe self-lacing powers on the cheap.

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Letting those of us stuck on Earth experience what it’s like to take a space walk? Awesome.

Incredible First Person Footage Of A Real Spacewalk Will Leave You Speechless

Video. On March 24, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet was joined by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The outing was fairly routine, but this footage captured by Pesquet gives all of us stuck here on Earth an amazing first-person look of what it's like to be an astronaut looking down on our planet.

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Building a never-ending Slip ‘N Slide? Awesome.

Try Not To Lose Your Lunch On This Australian Never-Ending Slip 'N Slide

Video. In an effort to celebrate Australia Day -- a holiday in which the nation apparently likes to risk life and limb for a little fun -- a bunch of Aussies realised that the ride on a Slip 'N Slide is always way too short. So they built an infinite version where you can keep hurtling around for as long as you can hold on.

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Double back-flipping a snowmobile? Awesome.

Watch The World's First Double Backflip On A Snowmobile

Video. Snowmobiles weigh over 200kg, so flipping them once in mid-air is already insanity. But Daniel Bodin wanted to do something nobody else has ever done, so he went for it and nailed a double backflip on a snowmobile. It's a helluva trick that was attempted back in 2009 and 2011 at the X-Games, but hadn't ever been landed before like this.

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Capturing the northern lights at 10,600m? Awesome.

Seeing The Northern Lights At 10,600 Metres Is The Best Reason To Fly To Iceland

Video. Iceland's board of tourism is doing something right because the country has become a holiday hotspot in recent years. Apparently, even the flight up north can be a spectacular experience, as you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the northern lights from 10,600m.

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Building a flying RC plane with KFC buckets as wings? Awesome.

This Plane With KFC Buckets For Wings Flies Remarkably Well

Video. In the land of no wings, the KFC bucket is king. That's the theory YouTube supergeek Peter Sripol set out to prove recently by building an RC plane with nothing but greasy KFC buckets for wings. And guess what? It worked.

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Planning and perfectly executing the world’s greatest billiards shot? Awesome.

The World's Greatest Billiards Shot Spanned Two Floors And Nine Pool Tables

Video. If your plan for 15 minutes of fame involves a fancy billiards trick shot, you're going to have to spend far more than a quarter of an hour trying to top the Allstars Sports Bar in the UK who recently pulled off what has to be the most amazing, most complex pool shot in history.

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This trucker’s one-of-a-kind tattoo? Awesome.

World's Greatest Trucker Tattoo Makes This Guy Look Like A Tiny Person Driving Another Human

Video. If you're going to endure all the pain and discomfort of getting a tattoo, you might as well ensure you're getting inked with a memorable design. Truck driver Kenny Ollerenshaw raised the bar with a tattoo that makes him look like a tiny pilot controlling a humanoid robot.

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Surviving a terrifying avalanche? Awesome.

What It's Like To Get Caught In An Avalanche

Video. Snowboarder Tom Oye was snowboarding in Whistler, Canada when he got caught in a pummelling avalanche, and it's beyond terrifying. In this video we get to see the entire harrowing slide down the mountain. One second he's getting ready to carve the slopes, and the next he feels the ground crack underneath him and finds himself trapped inside the avalanche.

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Flinging yo-yos at the world championships like you’ve been playing with them for a hundred years? Awesome.

I Refuse To Believe This World Champion Wasn't Born With Yo-Yos Attached To His Arms

Last week, the 2017 World Yo-Yo Championship was held in Reykjavík, Iceland. And as in years past, watching these performers, including world champion Shu Takada, can only lead you to a single conclusion. these competitors were probably born with yo-yos attached to their arms.

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Using your mastery of carpentry to carve intricate joints that fit together flawlessly? Awesome.

Watching These Precisely Crafted Wooden Joints Fit Together Is Deeply Satisfying

Video. You probably want a carpenter using nails to build your house, so, you know, it doesn't fall down. But for more decorative wooden creations, fasteners can result in an unsightly finish. An alternative is to rely solely on precisely engineered wooden joints that fit together so perfectly you'd swear they were optical illusions.

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Covering your entire office in slot car racing tracks? Awesome.

Every Office Should Have Slot Cars Racing Across All The Desks

Video. Think your office is cool and progressive because there's a ping pong table in the corner? You'll still be stuck at your soul-sucking cubicle desk most of the day, which is why these engineers created a giant slot car track that races across everyone's desk, letting you compete while still getting some work done. (Theoretically. Who could resist getting totally distracted?)

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Skimming a lake in a WWII-era fighter plane? Awesome.

Watching A Daredevil Pilot Fly This Low Is Absolutely Terrifying

Video. If you're a nervous flyer, you're probably going to want to skip this video, because after watching YouTube's Linkerius fly so low to the ground that it looks like he's perpetually going to crash, you'll be terrified of ever stepping foot on a plane again.

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Slicing an olive in mid-air with a playing card? Awesome.

Watch A Master Magician Slice An Olive By Throwing A Playing Card

Video. Ninjas are stereotypically known for their expertise with shuriken, also known as throwing stars. But while Rick Smith Jr spends his days as a professional magician, we're going to assume his nights are spent as a crime-fighting ninja who uses throwing cards instead of pointy stars.

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