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As we wrap up 2017, here is a look back at some big announcements, important topics, cool classes, amazing inventions and fascinating research. We present you with the list of the most-read stories on news.byu.edu. Click on the titles to read the full articles. 

1. Music makes kids 6 times more likely to enjoy P.E. 

Professor David Barney is on a research mission to hook kids on exercise. Hopefully the 100,000+ readers people who read this story will spread the word that music during P.E. is good. But maybe something a little more enjoyable than the Pacer test music.  

2. Regular exercise gives your cells a nine-year age advantage

"The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies," said exercise science professor Larry Tucker. Take a look at the BYU research that was covered in TIME and Newsweek. 

3. Six must-take elective classes at BYU


Meagan Larson/BYU Photo

BYU grad Porter Charles loved Professor Norah Hunter's enthusiasm for Interior Plants and Landscapes. Plus, he got to take a plant home every week. 

In our search for great electives, students also told us about Wilderness Trek, Positive Living, Innovation, World Religions and French & Italian Cinema.

Give one of these a try before you get that degree!

 

4. The bulletproof origami shield

BYU engineering professors created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement from gunfire. Although this was the No. 4 article on news.byu.edu, the video about their work reached more than 4 million views on Facebook and 1 million on YouTube, making it BYU's top social media post for 2017. 

5. That caffeinated soft drinks announcement

How is real Coca Cola on campus not the No. 1 story, you ask? It surely would be except that the announcement came from Dining Services on their site. A few hours later we cross-posted their Q & A for reference here on news.byu.edu. 

Thanks, by the way, to all of you for the clever reactions on social media. Even the University of Utah joined in with a friendly toast - which we hear is their Twitter account's best all-time tweet.

 

6. Superhero culture magnifies aggressive, not defending behaviors


Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

BYU's Sarah Coyne is a world-class scholar who studies the impact of media consumption. One of her studies this year found that pre-school age boys and girls miss the good deeds that superheros do. What sticks with the kids is the aggressive action. 

"The point of the study is not to ban superheroes as they can be a fun and magical part of childhood," Coyne said. "However, the superhero culture can become consuming, especially if kids are watching the movies, playing with the toys, strongly identifying with the characters, dressing up, etc. This study is all about balance." 

7. Public transit passes for everyone!

In case you didn't hear, BYU will provide all-access UTA passes to employees, students and dependents for the next 10 years. The program begins in August 2018 with the launch of a new bus rapid transit system connecting Provo and Orem in a 10.5 mile, 18-stop continuous bus loop. Hooray for clean air! 

8. Student-created budgeting app wins the 2017 Mobile App Competition Clay Ellis holding up an iphone

Computer Science student Clay Ellis designed a digital envelope system that connects a Visa debit card to budgeted categories you create in the app. Take a look at how this tech can help improve your finances.

9. Recap of Elder Ballard's "questions and answers" devotional

Elder M. Russell Ballard answered questions from students about perfectionism, missionary service, issues that LGBTQ young adults face and more. 

"I want anyone who is a member of the Church, who is gay or lesbian, to know I believe you have a place in the kingdom and recognize that sometimes it may be difficult for you to see where you fit in the Lord’s Church, but you do. We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord."

10. Results of the BYU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault

Students who experienced unwanted sexual contact usually confided in a friend or roommate. And friends or roommates want to know how to help in that situation. 

“Encourage the victim to get help from someone who has the training,” said Professor Ben Ogles, the survey committee chair and dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. “Say ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you.’ Don’t question them or second-guess them. Accept what they say and walk them over to a place where they can get help.”