This year, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary announced that it was adding the word "selfie" to its pages, forever legitimizing every crappy photo we've taken of ourselves. In tribute, we decided to put together a gallery of selfies that push the envelope a little bit. OK, a lot. Here are the most insane selfies ever.
Russian Daredevil Selfie
Russia's "city climbers" are notorious for scaling insanely tall buildings in order to snap pictures of themselves at the top, and probably the ballsiest of them all is Kirill Oreshkin. He's climbed dozens of cranes, buildings and other super-high structures for thrills, but his crowning moment probably came with getting to the top of Moscow's Red Gates Administrative Building and taking this absolutely badass selfie. The building, constructed in 1953, is crowned by an enormous star-shaped sign, which Oreshkin clambered up to the very top of before snapping his shot.
Teacher in Labor Selfie
High school students are responsible for approximately 88 percent of all selfies, according to a statistic we just made up, so it's not surprising that a few of them would wind up on this list. Coral Springs, Florida, high school junior Malik Whiter was in business class when his pregnant teacher, Susana Halleck, started feeling contractions. Whiter, intent on capturing the moment for posterity, took a selfie with Ms. Halleck in the background and Tweeted it with the caption "selfie with my teacher while she having contractions." Halleck was rushed to the hospital but the baby wasn't quite ready to come out yet, and Whiter's selfie got retweeted over 55,000 times.
Hong Kong Bananas Selfie
Here's another selfie snap from way up top, with a video component to make you even more dizzy. Photographer Daniel Lau recently climbed to the top of the Centre skyscraper in Hong Kong (all 1,135 feet of it) with two friends and a bunch of bananas. The trio had a little snack on the insanely tiny spire of the building, taking a terrifying selfie with the city spread out below them. Let's hope nobody slipped on a banana peel on the way down. That would be tragic. Hilarious, but tragic.
Turkish Air Force Selfie
One of the most important elements of a selfie is a badass location, and few photographers get the angle quite like this unidentified Turkish Air Force pilot, who pulled out his mobile phone and took a gravity-defying selfie in 2013. The pilot flies with Solo Turk, the F-16 aerobatics team that Turkey sends to global competitions and events. If you need a little explanation, the pilot in this picture is engaged in an aileron roll, where the plane spins around its long axis, while heading toward the ground and releasing flares in a spiral pattern. Pretty badass.
Plane Crash Selfie
Let's go to the flip side of the last one, shall we? In December of 2013, Ferdinand Puentes took off on a tour flight from Hawaii's Kalaupapa Airport with eight other passengers. A few minutes after takeoff, there was a loud bang from the engine area and the pilot made a rough water landing. Passengers scrambled to get on life jackets before the plane submerged beneath the waves, but only Puentes had the presence of mind to whip out his smartphone and snap a selfie with the wreckage behind him. The Coast Guard rescued the passengers and pilot after about 80 minutes in the water.
You don't need to be human to take an awesome selfie, but it helps. When photographer David Slater visited a wild animal preserve in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, he left one of his cameras unattended while he was taking care of business. Without him knowing, an inquisitive black crested macaque approached the camera and started pressing buttons. The result was literally hundreds of photographs, most of which were blurry and random. One stood out, though - the macaque had managed to take a textbook selfie, even saying "cheese" to produce a friendly smile.
Skydiving Animal Costume Selfie
Forgive us for seeming jaded, but we've seen plenty of skydiving selfies, and they just don't impress anymore. You've really got to mix things up a bit to win it, and this selfie by Mike Escamilla nails it. First and foremost, Escamilla and his partner Travis Fienhage aren't just skydiving - they're jumping out of a hot air balloon. Second of all, the duo are wearing insane animal costumes during their jump. The photo came from a series of shots Escamilla took on Halloween of 2013 for GoPro.
Here's a particularly gross one to balance out all of this feel-good insanity. In 2012, call girl Kirsty Edmonson injected a client, former teacher Kenneth Chapman, with a lethal heroin overdose so she and her pimp Christopher Sawyers could steal his money and possessions. She then took the time to snap a selfie while standing over his (just out of frame) corpse. The demented pair then spent the week in Chapman's apartment, having sex in his bed while his dead body rotted away on the floor. Cops picked them up and charged the duo with murder.
Christ the Redeemer Selfie
Here's another "friends in high places" selfie example, this one atop the massive statue of Christ the Redeemer that looms over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The 124-foot high statue stands, arms outspread, atop Corcovado Mountain and has scaffolding inside for maintenance crews. While in the city taking photographs of the run-up to the World Cup, photographer Lee Thompson asked if he could be allowed inside the statue, and once he made it through the tiny hole at the crown of Jesus's head, he whipped out his cell phone and took this vertiginous selfie.
Let's close this out with a selfie that's going to be well-nigh impossible for any other human on Earth to replicate. Astronaut Aki Hoshide was working on the International Space Station in 2012 doing routine maintenance and decided to pull out a camera to take a souvenir snapshot selfie. Of course, you can't see his face through his dome helmet, but what you can see is amazing - the sun over his right shoulder, the globe of the Earth reflected in the glass, and the ISS's robotic arm and other equipment. That's the kind of selfie you make your permanent Facebook profile shot.