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The interesting facts in this episode of The List Show are pulled from 20 years of Mental Floss History. We've got fun and slightly random facts about all the important topics: presidents, literature, wombat poop. You'll learn our favorite fun facts about food history and more than you probably wanted to know about tortoise sex.

In case you forgot, The List Show is a trivia-tastic, fact-filled show for curious people. Subscribe here for new Mental Floss episodes every Wednesday:

Did you know that pozzee-wallah was an early  20th century term for a man who is inordinately fond of jam?

It apparently originated in the  military. I don’t know what was going on in the early 1900s that required this slang  phrase.

I do know that the definition of pozzee-wallah is just the first of our team’s  20 favorite facts from 20 years of Mental Floss. My personal entry to this list was,  disturbingly, obvious to anyone who knows me: lobsters pee out of their faces. I will never  get sick of this fact!

The urine comes from glands located near the crustacean’s antennae. As Bob Bayer, the former head of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute told us a few years  ago: "They're greenish brown spots. They actually look like two pieces of snot—that’s the best  way to describe them.

You'd have to open them up to see them." Peeing at one another is part  of both fighting and courtship. For lobsters. John Tyler is not generally considered one of  the United States’ most impressive presidents.

After coming into office following William Henry  Harrison’s untimely demise in 1841, Tyler was sometimes called “His Accidency”—not quite “The  Great Emancipator,” as presidential nicknames go. But Tyler did contribute one of our favorite  presidential facts. One of his grandsons, Harrison Ruffin Tyler, is still alive as we film this  video.

Not great-great-grandson—his dad’s dad was the 10th president of the United States. It helped  that President Tyler’s son, Lyon Gardiner Tyler, sired his second son at a spritely 74 years old. While we’re talking about family connections, let’s discuss Mary Shelley and her beloved  Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Mary was so fond of her husband that after he drowned at  age 29, she was said to have kept his heart—which somehow survived cremation—in a  poem wrapped in silk. Creepy, yet romantic. That means Shelley very well could’ve been  carrying around her husband’s heart in 1835.

That same year, in another unusual display  of passion, dairy farmer Colonel Thomas S. Meacham sent president Andrew Jackson a wheel  of cheese weighing in at nearly 1400 pounds. That is—and I never thought I would say this—too  much cheese.

At his last public reception as President, Jackson offered up his massive fromage  to the masses, who quickly polished it off. As a contemporary spoilsport noted, “A day more  disgustingly spent in the President’s house there could not with difficulty be . . . Pockets, hats,  handkerchiefs, everything was filled with cheese.” That was, to our eternal delight, not the  end of Meachem’s impact on The White House.

As then-Senator John Davis’s wife,  Eliza, wrote in an 1838 letter: Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren, “ ... had  a hard task to get rid of the smell of cheese, and in the room where it was cut, he had to  air the carpet for many days … ” Let that be a lesson to all those planning on cutting the  cheese in the hallowed halls of government. Another smelly fact: when a dead beached whale  sat on the shore just south of Florence, Oregon, in 1970, it began to emit a horrifying stench. The  Oregon State Highway Department’s solution to this problem involved a half ton of dynamite.

Yes, they  decided to blow the whale up. A crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene, but their hopes for a  wholesome whale-exploding diversion were soon waylaid. When the blast went off, the smell of  putrid whale engulfed the area, and a large chunk of flying whale carcass did some serious damage  to a 1969 Oldsmobile parked nearby.

Even with the collateral damage, a large portion of the whale  remained, and eventually it had to be buried in sand. It was not the finest moment for municipal  problem-solving, but the area’s residents evidently have a good sense of humor about the  whale thing. In 2020, Florence unveiled a new public space: Exploding Whale Memorial Park.

That’s not the only time government employees had an unconventional idea to deal with an animal  issue. In 1948, beavers near Idaho’s Payette Lake were proving to be a nuisance for the new (human)  residents. Officials at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game wanted to relocate the critters, but  driving them through the undeveloped, mountainous terrain would’ve been difficult—past experience  had taught authorities that beavers don’t like traveling via truck or pack animal—especially  when there aren’t any roads to traverse.

Instead, they decided to parachute the animals  to their new homes in the wilderness. A total of 76 beavers were eventually moved, via  airplane and surplus World War II parachutes. Let’s stay on the topic of ridiculous information  about animals, which made up a surprising number of our top 20 favorite facts.

Jurassic Park sound  designer Gary Rydstrom was responsible, in part, for some awe-inspiring cinematic moments. Think  about the noises made by the brachiosaurus in that iconic early scene, or the terrifying footsteps of  the Tyrannosaurus Rex. But Rydstrom’s true genius best shines through when you hear the movie’s  velociraptors bark at one another.

That sound was captured at the Marine World theme park—it’s  two tortoises having sex. Showing commitment to his craft, Rydstrom explained to Vulture, “ …  tortoises mating can take a long time. You’ve got to have plenty of time to sit around and watch  and record them.” We salute you, Gary Rydstrom.

Thomas Edison had some nerdy nicknames for  his eldest children, Marion and Thomas, Jr. The elder Edison had worked in the telegraph  industry early in his career, and it seems he had some fond memories of that time. He called  his oldest kids “Dot” and “Dash,” like the Morse Code signals—that is pretty delightful.

Wombats poop cubes. I don’t really feel like that fact needs any further analysis to merit its  place on this list, but I will tell you that a group of researchers may have determined the cause  of this unique fecal shape. Wombat intestines are stretchy, but not uniformly so—the stiffer parts  of the organs may help form the unusual sides of the fecal matter.

And there may actually be an  evolutionary benefit to this squarish stool. Science News suggests that the shape  lends itself to stacking and doesn’t roll off of rocks as easily as other feces would. This helps when wombats mark their territory, and the smell may even act as a nighttime  navigational aid for the adorable marsupials.

If you enjoy pumpkin pie with your thanksgiving  meal, you may want to save a word of gratitude for mastodon poop. Tens of thousands of years ago,  North American megafauna had an affinity for wild gourds—the ancestors of squashes and pumpkin. This  made the giant creatures somewhat unusual amongst animals, as the plants had a bitter-tasting  toxin in their flesh that kept many would-be gourd gourmands away.

By dispersing gourd seeds  through their feces, creatures like mastodons helped widely propagate the crops until humans  decided to domesticate them—the, um, squashes that is. Though I would love a pet mastodon if we  can get ahold of that Jurassic Park technology. Here is a far more horrifying food fact: Italian  Filippo Tommaso Marinetti once called for the abolition of pasta.

Marinetti was a leading  figure in the futurist movement, which was a far-ranging school of thought that began in the  art world and spread to other parts of society. Eventually, Futurists were advocating for a  future in which the government replaced all food with nutritional pills, powders, and other  artificial substitutes. Until chemists could create such innovations, the Futurists advocated  swapping out pasta with rice, which was easier to produce in Italy.

They thought this would  “ … free Italy from expensive foreign wheat.” Marinetti co-wrote the “Manifesto of Futurist  Cooking” with Luigi Colombo. In it, they described pasta as an “absurd Italian gastronomic religion”  and accused pasta lovers of being “shackled by its ball and chain like convicted lifers or [carrying]  its ruins in their stomachs like archaeologists.” You say that like it’s a bad thing. On the subject of foods and beverages for which moderation is advised, let’s talk  about beer.

Specifically Jane Austen’s beer, which she was fond of brewing. One of Austen’s  specialties—aside from devastatingly romantic comedies of manners—was her spruce beer. She  was also a big fan of mead, apparently.

It might sound like an odd hobby, but in the Regency  era and years prior, it wasn’t unusual for women to brew beer—we actually got into that  history a bit in an episode of Food History. In a different episode of Food History we  discussed an amazing fact about the science of food. Nacho cheese—the semi-liquid  stuff you might get at a sports arena—is often made possible by an ingredient with  the chemical formula Na 3 C 6 H 5 O 7.

Seriously. When Frank Liberto, the owner of Ricos  Products, had the idea to sell nachos at sporting events in the late 1970s, he knew customers  wouldn’t wait around for cheese to melt. Adding a specific kind of salt allows the  proteins in the cheese to become more soluble.

That means the emulsified liquid and fat is less  likely to separate when melted, creating a cheese that melts more easily and stays liquidy. One of  the most popular compounds used to achieve this perpetually melty cheese is sodium citrate,  whose chemical formula spells out nacho. You might think that Goodyear is the  world’s leading producer of tires, but to identity the real #1 in that field you have  to think bigger.

Or, smaller. They won’t help you when your car pops a flat, but the LEGO company  actually makes around 381 million tiny tires for their sets each year, making them, technically,  the world’s most prolific tire manufacturer. Let’s stay in the toy aisle.

Christopher Clayton  Hutton was an intelligence officer during World War II who helped supply Allied soldiers with  tools to escape German POW camps. Hutton’s clever methods included hiding piano wire in a  pair of trousers and a flashlight in a bicycle pump. While German authorities were eventually  able to stymie many of Hutton’s methods, one particular strategy evaded Axis interference.

With the help of a Leeds-based manufacturing company, Hutton hid escape kits for POWs in  ordinary-looking board games like Monopoly. Games like Monopoly were often allowed  in the prison camps, as Germans believed it was a diversion for soldiers who might  otherwise use their free time to plot escapes. Unbeknownst to them, some prisoners were actually  receiving contraband within the game sets like silk maps—which could help them navigate to  safety once outside of the prisons, and were quieter than paper maps.

Along with the maps, the  Monopoly boards could contain a small compass, a saw, and a file. Real money could even be  concealed within the play money of the game. It’s a fascinating story, laid out in greater  detail in Hutton’s biography, Official Secret.

In total, according to historian Philip  Orbanes, over 700 airmen used kits like the ones prepared by Hutton to escape. If you want to bring a pet fish aboard your next flight—and who doesn’t?—there’s no  need to hide her inside a board game. The TSA allows people to fly with live fish, as  long as they’re contained in water and inside a transparent container.

And yes, it seems  that water can exceed the usual 3.4-ounce limit. If we set our sights even higher than those  flying fish, we can recall the first moon landing. But if you want photographic evidence  of Neil Armstrong’s time on the lunar surface, you have a surprising dearth of options.

Buzz  Aldrin’s suit lacked the special camera holder that Armstrong’s had, so Neil handled most of  the photography. As the astronauts had a limited amount of time on the surface, Neil focused on  taking incredible photographs of his surroundings, not on rounding out his Tinder profile with the  ultimate travel shot. Besides, Armstrong was married at the time…and Tinder didn’t exist.

Buzz Aldrin did spend a bit of time as a lunar shutterbug, providing us with  a shot of Armstrong from the back, but we do have a photo of Neil from the  front, as well—and it’s hidden inside a very famous photo of Aldrin. If you look  closely at Buzz’s visor in this shot, you’ll see that it contains the reflection of  Neil Armstrong. The first moon mirror selfie, an incredible achievement of human  ingenuity, courage, and collaboration.

And then there’s the time Mr. Belvedere sat on his own genitals. OK, it was actually actor Christopher Hewett—Mr.

Belvedere would never do such a thing—but that ridiculous story was confirmed  by Belvedere producer Jeff Stein.   “He fell backwards riding in a convertible in  the Hollywood Christmas Parade,” Stein said, briefly halting production on the show. I will  not out the Mental Floss editor who chose that as their favorite fact in 20 years of publication,  to protect the innocent and/or ignorant. And I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t wrap  up with a Titanic fact, even if my producers have strongly suggested a moratorium on Celine Dion  impressions.

Over the years, a lot of suggestions have been made on how to salvage more of the famed  vessel. My personal favorite dates back to 1985, when an expert proposed filling the wrecked ship  with 180,000 tons of Vaseline in polyester bags. Theoretically it would've hardened in the cold  waters of the Atlantic and floated the ship up to a more accessible depth.

Sadly for  science, and for the Unilever company, the petroleum jelly plan never came to be. I wanna send you all at home 20 years worth of gratitude from all of us at Mental Floss. I’ve been here for the last 9 years, and I can honestly say that running the website and making  videos for this channel has been the most fun I’ve had in my professional life.

Our audience  is a bunch of curious weirdos, just like us, and we love you for it. And if this is the  first Mental Floss video you’re watching, please subscribe and start catching up with the  hundreds of videos on our channel. I’m pretty sure if you watch the entire catalogue, you’ll  have learned the entire sum of human knowledge.

Or at least a healthy slice of the human knowledge  about animal poop. We’ll see you next time!