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As far as years go, 2015 was a combination of both ass and balls. Between terrorist attacks, a cartoonish primary season, and just plain old sucking, we had only a few morsels of joy to tide us over, like that one Twitter account that rates dogs. So, it pains us to inform you that all of those silly and life-affirming Internet stories that distracted from civilization's inexorable march into the void were just the E. coli icing on 2015's cake of turds.

Pizza Rat Is Definitely Dead Now

Matt Little / Jukin Media

Back in September, we were all briefly spellbound by the inspirational story of a rat trying to make it in the big city. This little guy was filmed dragging a slice of pizza down into a subway entrance, which was probably the New Yorkiest thing ever caught on tape since the last time someone got footage of Larry David eating a hot dog.

The part where he gives up at the very end is the most Knicks thing ever.

The world took a couple days off to laugh and smile at what came to be known as Pizza Rat (which is also a rejected name for Chuck E. Cheese), and we all knew we would have let him on the train with us if we saw him. Unfortunately, rats are particularly hard to follow up with, so nobody really knows what became of the hungry and highly practical rodent.

The Aftermath:

Unfortunately, we have a pretty good idea: Pizza Rat was probably exterminated, and then another 10 rats took his place. New York is so knee-deep in rats right now that New Yorkers have put their city dogs to work killing them in organized rat hunts.

William Reyna, R.A.T.S.
Westminster champion by day, Splinter killer by night.

And, keep in mind -- these are New Yorkers. They wear all-black ensembles and breathe grit every time they leave their tiny closet apartments. For New Yorkers to get worked up enough about vermin to make 24,000 rat-related complaints to a specific rat-related hotline, you know the problem is bad. One woman discovered a colony of roughly 200 rats in her local park, calling it "the Burning Man of rats," a title previously held by Burning Man.

Right now it's unclear if there are actually more rats, or if the rats are coming out in more force thanks to an increase in garbage left out over 2015's winter. Mayor Bill de Blasio has added an additional $3 million to the city's budget just to take care of them, which is a pretty astounding sum. As of right now, it's still not clear how much of that each rat will be receiving to migrate.

Considering how it's now two Pizza Rats for every pizza, probably not much.

So as adorable as Pizza Rat was, the pizza either gave it more fuel to nibble on the skin of a sleeping homeless New Yorker, or it was hunted down by a terrier. Either way, the situation is less Ratatouille and more Plagues Of Egypt-y.

The "Clock Boy" Story Only Fueled More Racism

Ben Torres/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Back in September, most of the nation was appalled by the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Texas student who brought a homemade clock to school to show to one of his teachers. One of the teachers assumed it was a bomb, based on such technical details as Ahmed's name and skin color and called the police to have him arrested.

Rachel Woolf/Dallas Morning News
"His clock would have hit 9:11 twice a day. What more evidence do you need?"

The event sparked national outrage and an outpouring of support for Ahmed, leading to offers for him to study science at prestigious universities and become R&B singer Ne-Yo's protege. Overall, this incident showed that maybe most of this country is on the right side of this racism thing after all, right?

The Aftermath:

At least, until most of the nation stopped paying attention. After that, things got pretty terrible.

It turns out that it's not just one school -- much of Irving, Texas, is astoundingly fucking racist, and Mayor Beth Van Duyne may be the worst of all of them. She's convinced that Muslims are trying to enforce Sharia law in the United States, a sentiment shared by a number of other shitheads in the country. So, naturally, when the news about Mohamed broke, she decided that doubling down was a better strategy than apologizing, which led to the town being sued by Mohamed's family to the tune of $15 million, which won't help Irving's rat problem at all.

David Woo/Dallas Morning News
That's what happens when you elect rejected experiments from the Ann Coulter Cloning Factory.

Meanwhile, the other racists of Irving made sure the town understood how dangerous and violent Muslims are by protesting outside the local mosque with their guns, because that'll show 'em.

Avi Selk/Dallas Morning News
"See!? If they are innocent, why are they all nervous and jittery whenever we stop by?"

Within a few days of all the support generated for Ahmed, he was accused of planning the whole thing to garner sympathy by some, including renowned scientist and patron saint of reason Richard Dawkins. Add the barrage of death threats on top of that, and it's no surprise that the Mohamed family said "fuck it" and moved to Qatar instead. Apparently, they feel safer hanging out with a wanted war criminal than dealing with America's Islamophobes.

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Those Cats Being Scared By Cucumbers Are Victims Of Animal Abuse

Doki Doki

Recently, people have discovered that cats are dramatically startled by cucumbers, which are famous for being one of the least terrifying foods on the planet. So people with lots of free time have found themselves placing cucumbers behind their cats while they're eating, then waiting for the cat to notice and completely freak out.

It takes a special breed of asshole to be disappointed when they don't give their pet a heart attack.

It's good family-friendly fun, and laughter always makes the world a better place. It's not like we're leaving the cats with lasting psychological damage from a cucumber or any other obviously leading question, right?

The Aftermath:

Yeah, it goes without saying that you probably shouldn't be stressing your pets out for your own amusement. Cats aren't running away from cucumbers because they hate salads; it's because when you're an animal who didn't learn about vegetables in school, a cucumber looks like a fucking snake. And when a cat sees a snake, it does what any of us would do -- a triple Axel quadruple kickflip to indy, followed by running away as fast as possible.

Alex N.
No cat wants to go from eating Fancy Feast to becoming one.

What makes it worse, however, is when people do the cucumber trick while the cat is eating. A cat generally sees their food dish area as the ultimate safe and relaxing space, so when you suggest that it's actually a snake den, they start feeling less safe in their own home. Nobody's ever happy when a fake gunman shows up to scare the piss out of everyone at a fast food restaurant, so don't do the same thing to your cats, you maniacs.

The Blue-Black/Gold-White Dress Was Sold By A Company That Faced A Child Labor Scandal

Cecilia Bleasdale

In February 2015, social media users were utterly baffled at how people could be confused by the color of a dress, until they saw this picture:

Cecilia Bleasdale
We apologize for reminding you of all the friendships you lost over this thing.

As it turns out, this perfectly (terribly?) framed picture gives different color impressions based on your monitor's brightness, the time of day, and the current standing of the New York Yankees. The argument inexplicably consumed the Internet for a couple of days, until someone definitively proved that the dress was, in fact, blue and black.

Roman Originals
Just like this model's hair.

So that's the end of that, right?

The Aftermath:

Actually, the dress story took quite a turn for the unexpected in March, when Mother Jones revealed that the dress manufacturer, Roman Originals, has previously had issues with child labor laws. Suddenly, "black and blue" potentially takes on an entirely new and terrifying meaning.

Back in 2007, the dress manufacturer was investigated for using child labor, and it was discovered that sweatshops in Haryana, India, were making clothing for them, with children as young as 7 spotted. Roman Originals responded quickly to the report by cutting ties with the suppliers in question, and reportedly none of these dresses were ever sold in stores. So if Roman Originals was responsible for any crimes, they were only crimes against fashion.

Hatty Collier / News Shopper
Also, they're clearly just fucking with us now.

And, don't worry: Roman claims that the controversial dress was, in fact, made in China, which has never had any problems with the way it treats its factory workers.

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Martin Shkreli's Price-Gouging Was Just The Beginning

NBC News

Martin Shkreli is now a world-renowned social scientist, having broken new ground in the exciting field of being the world's most hated man. The 32-year-old entrepreneur made headlines back in September, when he took a drug named Daraprim, which treats toxoplasmosis, and raised the price per pill from $13.50 to $750, on the basis of "fuck HIV patients/get money."

The move caused outrage among the people of the world with functional souls, which was helped in no small part by his amazingly punchable face. Despite protests on social media and widespread condemnation from politicians, Turing Pharmaceuticals (one of the companies he operated) insisted that increasing the price of the drug would "something something competition free market." After a while, though, Shkreli finally relented and agreed to lower the price of the drug again, reducing his greed to mere Ebenezer Scrooge levels.

CBS News
The face punchability remained the same.

The Aftermath:

Shkreli had so much fun being evil the first time, he decided that he would hop right back on and do it again. He next targeted a drug for Chagas disease, a Resident Evil-sounding disease that mostly affects Central Americans, and announced plans to increase the price an astonishing 100,000 percent, from about $100 per treatment to roughly $100,000. Because if there's one region with lots of money to play with, it's Central America.

Not content with just being a douchebag in the medical industry, Shkreli then turned his sights toward the music industry, purchasing the ultra-rare, one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin for $2 million. And now the album is stuck with him, unable to be released to the public for 88 years by contractual obligation -- unless the Feds (and not Bill Murray) yoink it back.

But while we were putting this article together, Shkreli got himself arrested for comical levels of securities fraud, and someone finally took him up on his claims of increased competition, offering a very similar drug for a mere $1 a pop. So sometimes there are happy endings after all. Thanks, Martin!

We're not saying this album is cursed by the ghost of ODB, but we're not not saying it.

The CEO Who Gave All His Employees A $70,000 Salary Was Probably Avoiding A Lawsuit

Gravity Payments / Facebook

In recent years, the national minimum wage has become a hot topic, with people debating about the importance of a living wage vs. the value of certain kinds of jobs. However, one CEO, Dan Price of Gravity Payments, shocked everyone on April 13 of this year by announcing that all of his employees would be receiving a minimum salary of $70,000 a year; not only that, he'd be substantially cutting his own salary to pull it off. In one of the many interviews he had after the announcement, he stated that he had learned how raises can mean the world to lower-income employees, especially after talking to one of his lower-paid workers, like a highly condensed version of A Christmas Carol.

Unfortunately, it wasn't all happy for Price, who ended up being sued by his brother shortly after the raises were announced. His brother Lucas owned about 30 percent of the company, and apparently wasn't happy with this newfound generosity. But hopefully he'll weather the storm, thanks to the support from the nation, as well as the generous $500,000 book deal he's now signed.

Nathanael Turner
"The average person doesn't get any happier with more than $75,000, but why take the chance?"

The Aftermath:

Actually, it turns out there was a small error in the above paragraphs. We said that Dan Price was sued after the pay raise, but as it turns out, the lawsuit was actually filed before the controversial move. Also, by "small error," we mean "enormous mistake that changes everything about the story." Our bad.

According to Dan Price, the lawsuit was filed two weeks after the pay raise, which is true. However, Bloomberg did some digging and discovered that Price was served on March 16, nearly a month before. According to the lawsuit, Dan Price abused the company's assets to give himself a huge salary, while cutting down on what Lucas would be paid, in a somewhat Zuckerberg-esque move.


So when you look at that timeline, it seems a lot less like the headline is "CEO Has Change Of Heart, Becomes Generous" and more like it's "CEO Tries To Hide Douchebaggery By Acting Like Santa Claus." Though Santa probably doesn't pay elves much more than minimum wage either.

Be sure to check out 5 Viral Stories That Had Insane Twists After We All Moved On and The 22 Most Misleading Viral Photos (Explained).

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