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The feel-good stories and fun facts in this episode of The List Show will hopefully give you a reason to smile in stressful times. From poop pranks to inspiring historical stories to good old fashioned cute dogs and cats, this list is engineered to put a smile on your face. These days, we can all use some good news (even if it's from 150 years ago).

To support John Green's efforts with Partners in Health in Sierra Leone, go here: https://www.pih.org/vlogbrothers-support-maternal-health

To check out our list of 101 women who changed the world, go here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/618992/women-who-changed-world

For The World Health Organization's tips for staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, go here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

We hope these stories will make you smile. Remember: be informed, but don't drive yourself crazy.

In case you forgot, The List Show is a trivia-tastic, fact-filled show for curious people. Subscribe here for new List Show episodes the first and third Wednesday of each month: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpZ5qUqpW4hW4zdfuBxMSJA?sub_confirmation=1

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Did you know that 19th-century paleontologist William Buckland once carried out a poopy prank on the lawns of Oxford University?

Buckland, a student of the university at the time, spelled out the word GUANO *in* guano. It seems school officials removed the feces, but didn’t realize the effect it would have on the grass.

Soon, the word GUANO could be read on the university’s lawn—the feces had acted as a fertilizer, promoting growth where the word had been spelled out, and there was nothing they could do about it. According to Buckland’s biographer, “[T]he brilliant green grass of the letters amply testified to [guano’s] efficacy as a dressing.” Hi, I’m Erin McCarthy, editor-in-chief of MentalFloss.com. I hope that ridiculous but true story made you laugh like I did when I first read it.

Laughing, and finding joy where we can, feels more important than ever these days. I don't know about you, but we at Mental Floss have had to dramatically alter how we do things recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're all working from home—the only coworkers you might see in this video are my cats (and home-office managers) Pearl and Ollie.

It feels a little weird to go about business as usual without acknowledging what's happening in the world. And while it's important to stay informed and take common-sense steps to limit the spread of this disease, it’s also important to not drive yourself crazy. That’s why William Buckland’s precocious poop prank is just the first of many things that will hopefully make you feel a little bit better that I’m going to share with you today.

Here’s some great news: According to the World Health Organization, there’s no evidence dogs or cats can spread the coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Though a Pomeranian in China tested “weak positive” for the virus, the WHO and the CDC maintain there’s no evidence dogs can spread it. That’s good news for all the good dogs out there, like Gracie the “bark ranger” who shepherds bighorn sheep away from high-traffic areas in Glacier National Park, or Riley, the Weimaraner who sniffs out pests that threaten precious artifacts in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Watching footage of good boys and girls like these is definitely recommended to combat stir craziness—not by medical authorities, just by me. But I feel like they'd agree. And if you’re interested in meeting your own potential superpup, there’s a Mississippi hotel that gives guests that opportunity.

The Home2 Suites in D'Iberville [Dee-eye-bur-vill] has at least one foster dog on hand at all times. Guests can walk them, feed them, spend the night snuggling them, and even adopt any dogs they hit it off with. This is *such* a good idea.

Not only does it sound like an amazing hotel amenity, they’ve also found forever homes for over 60 pups. Let’s go from a wonderful story of creative entrepreneurship to a story that is just plain stupid and makes me laugh. Apparently dog feet sometimes smell like Fritos.

There’s a naturally occurring bacteria sometimes found in dog paws that gives off a yeasty scent. The corn chip scent is so common, people have dubbed the phenomenon “Frito Feet.” And while I love dogs—Frito feet or otherwise—returning audience members will know I am avowedly a cat lady. *Not* crazy. But, ya know, bonus thing to make you feel better- here’s some video of Pearl talking to birds.

Anyway, the Cat Museum in Kraków, Poland, crams about 1000 kitty curiosities into a 161-foot square space. Small adorable art *and* cats. What more could you want?

All in a room smaller than my first apartment! Opened in 2019, this tiny feline wonderland is filled with an eclectic collection that was a decade in the making. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet the museum’s “real” owner: a gray cat named Geisha.

Museum cats aren’t the only creatures with power. The Edinburgh [ed-in-bur-ah] Zoo is home to a high-ranking military penguin—and that’s not “Military Penguin” like “Emperor Penguin.” That means a penguin...in the military. While visiting the Scottish city in 1972, the Norwegian King’s Guard gave a king penguin named Sir Nils Olav the rank of lance corporal.

Over the years, subsequent Sir Nils Olavs have continued to rise up the ranks. Sir Nils Olav II was knighted in 2008, and Sir Nils Olav III became a brigadier in 2016. And while social distancing is a good idea for human beings these days, it’s not a sea otter specialty.

And for that we should be glad. Look at this photo. They often hold hands while sleeping so they don’t drift away from each other.

How cute is that?! Sea otters aren’t the only ones who’ve found an adorable way to travel. In 1963, a builder in Longview, Washington, created the “Nutty Narrows Bridge” so squirrels could cross a busy thoroughfare without having to dodge human traffic.

Decades later, people have reported seeing adult squirrels teach their babies how to safely use the tiny overpass. Now let’s hear about some other awesome animals… people! It’s no secret that Keanu Reeves is one of the internet’s favorite humans.

He’s having what some historians, and I use that term very lightly, describe as a Keanu-ssance. But he’s more than just a likable guy in Hollywood. Back around the turn of the new millennium, Keanu Reeves signed on to make two sequels to a little movie called The Matrix.

After the immense success of the first film, Reeves was offered a LOT of money. But a 2001 report revealed that he actually ended up requesting a significant pay cut so that members of the special effects and production crew could see some of that cash. An unnamed Hollywood executive told the Wallstreet Journal that, quote, “He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate.” How’s that for a Keanu-saince?

Roboticist and former Mythbuster Grant Imahara recently put his impressive technical skills to an undeniably good use. He developed an animatronic baby Yoda as part of a personal not-for-profit project. Imahara and his adorable replica of The Child, from The Mandalorian, are going to tour various children’s hospitals, giving kids the ultimate Baby Yoda experience.

An amazing project, done purely because it’s going to bring some smiles to kids in need of some fun. As of now, the animatronic has a programmed sequence of moods and reactions, but it will reportedly be able to respond to environmental stimuli once it’s complete. Look at this footage Grant shared with us of the little guy reacting to a chicken nugget!

And here’s one more story of awesome people remembering to be awesome. Best-selling author and longtime Mental Floss contributor John Green and his family are donating 6.5 million dollars to help Sierra Leone’s healthcare system. Sierra Leone has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

To help provide the time, attention, and resources needed to effect systemic change in the country, Green announced that his family is donating a total of $6.5 million over the next five years to the Sierra Leone branch of Partners in Health. PIH is an organization that supplies poor communities with medical resources and works with local governments to establish long-term healthcare infrastructure. If it seems like those objectives might cost even more than $6.5 million to achieve, you’re right.

Partners In Health’s overall fundraising goal is $25 million in the next five years, and they’re already more than halfway there. Green is hoping to raise a little over $1 million each year, and there’s also a group of matching donors who have pledged to match up to $120,000 in donations per year. If you want to help contribute to this awesome cause, we’ll leave a link in the description.

Of course, awesome people who want to help others isn’t a new phenomenon. Take Nicholas

Winton: working with a handful of other volunteers in what they called “the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, Children’s Section,” the British stockbroker helped to save more than 600 Jewish children from almost-certain death at the hands of the Nazis. His efforts included finding British families willing to welcome the children into their homes, arranging for transportation, and sometimes even forging permits and bribing railway officials to successfully remove the children from danger. It’s a cliché, maybe, but to me it’s a comforting one: many times it’s in the darkest times that our compassion and humanity shine brightest. About 15 years after Winton’s heroic deeds, Jonas Salk helped save thousands of lives when he developed the polio vaccine.

In a time like now, when many people are anxiously looking for news about a medication or vaccine that could combat COVID-19, it’s worth taking stock of the incredible advances made possible by science and medicine. In 1952, polio killed 3,000 Americans, on top of which 58,000 new cases were reported; by 1979, polio was eliminated in the United States. Today, thanks in part to further advances like Dr.

Albert Sabin’s oral polio vaccine, the disease has been nearly eradicated worldwide. Score one for science. And when I think of inspiring scientists from history, I’m reminded of Dr.

Virginia Apgar, who we recently featured in a piece on MentalFloss.com about amazing women who changed the world (we’ll drop a link in the description if you wanna check out 100 other women who will probably make you feel better about humanity). Apgar became the first female board-certified anesthesiologist in 1937, and eventually revolutionized the way newborn baby health is assessed. Before Apgar’s system was put in place, there was no standardized way of checking on newborns, which could lead to problems when issues went ignored for too long.

Apgar presented a system that looked at a baby's skin color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and breathing as indicators of health. The so-called APGAR test was eventually made a backronym, standing for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. Backronyms also make me happy.

What a fun word: backronym! Hearing happy stories about cats and Keanu Reeves and awesome figures from history is clearly a good way to feel good about the world, in my book. But if you want some scientifically proven ways to boost your mood on your own, here are four tips to increase your happiness.

Exercise is known to improve mood. But if you want a potentially bigger boost, try yoga. One study suggests that yoga could be more effective at increasing happiness than other exercises.

It also slashes stress and might even improve general immunity, which can contribute to overall long-term health and happiness. Downward facing cat, anyone? Eat your vegetables.

And your fruits, for that matter. Research finds that happiness and mental wellbeing are highest among people who eat at least seven portions of fruits and veggies per day. Smoothie time!

Adding a little color into your life can help. But not just any hue. Some science suggests that yellow is the color of happiness.

Happy people tend to associate their cheerfulness with the color, and it’s often linked to the feeling of optimism, potentially because of its association with the sun. So, mix a little yellow into your life. This could be as simple as adding some yellow into your wardrobe, or, if you’re feeling extra crafty, painting some walls in your home.

What do you think, Olly -- should we repaint the apartment? And the final tip to improve your happiness: write your feelings down. Dwelling on negative thoughts can be painful, but research suggests that jotting down your feelings and then physically throwing the paper away can lessen feelings of negativity.

And as you might have guessed, documenting positive experiences on paper makes you more likely to feel happy and satisfied with your life. For an extra big dosage, phone a friend. Sharing some of your happy journal entries has been shown to dramatically increase your positive feelings.

Sometimes, though, you just wanna laugh. So here are some truly stupid stories that brought a smile to my face. Napoleon was once bested by a foe even smaller than he was (though to be fair, Napoleon’s infamous tiny stature is probably mostly a historical myth).

Anyway, the story goes that Napoleon's chief of staff, Alexandre Berthier [Beer-tee-ay], arranged a rousing rabbit hunt for him and his military buddies. Berthier collected hundreds or possibly even thousands of rabbits and arranged them in cages along the edges of a large field. When freed, the rabbits were supposed to scurry around in a panic.

Instead, they all—literally, all—made a beeline for Napoleon. He took off for his imperial coach, rabbits in “hop” pursuit, and escaped on wheels. No, the rabbits weren’t British Commandos—they were just hungry!

Berthier had procured tame animals from local farmers instead of wild ones from, you know, the wild, and they thought Napoleon was there to deliver their next meal. At a Canadian parliament meeting in November 2016, Michelle Rempel asked, quote, “Why does the government treat Alberta like a fart in the room that nobody wants to talk about or acknowledge?” What happened then was a rather long-winded discussion where everyone talked about and acknowledged each other’s positions on the word fart. Elizabeth May called it “distinctly unparliamentary” and offered Rempel a chance to withdraw it from the record. “Is my colleague actually serious?” Rempel responded. “No, I do not withdraw it.” After all, you can never take back a fart.

Farts, by the way, have made it far beyond Canadian Parliament. There isn’t any oxygen on the moon, but there was briefly another kind of gas—that of astronaut John Young. During the Apollo 16 mission in 1972, NASA’s Mission Control got an earful of information about Young’s fruit-induced flatulence when he accidentally described it to fellow astronaut Charlie Duke … while his mic was on.

He complained, quote, “I have the farts again. I got them again, Charlie. I haven’t eaten this much citrus fruit in 20 years!” He then swore that after the mission was over, he’d never eat any citrus again.

Mary Roach later recounted in her book, Packing for Mars, that after the incident hit the press, the governor of Florida actually made it a point to reassure everyone that Young’s intestinal issues had been caused by *artificial* citrus, not real oranges. In reality, it was probably a side effect of all the potassium Young was eating to avoid heartbeat irregularities, which had been a problem for the astronauts of Apollo 15. Divorces can be complicated, especially when there are … Beanie Babies involved?

In 1999, four months after Frances and Harold Mountain had officially split up, they still hadn’t figured out how to split up their beloved Beanie Baby collection, which had an estimated worth (in 1999 Beanie Baby money) of 2500-5000 dollars! So the judge ordered the former couple to lay out all of the Beanie Babies on the courtroom floor and divide them up one by one. Fances said, quote, “I don’t agree with the judge’s decision to do this.

It’s ridiculous and embarrassing.” Still, she approached the pile, knelt down, and chose … gasp! Maple the Bear, an all-white animal embroidered with a tiny Canadian flag. The people watching the events unfold from the gallery apparently laughed.

Which is, I’m sure, no reflection on their feelings toward Maple. Medieval manuscripts have some pretty weird art in the margins—snails fighting knights, animals pooping, people mooning other people. But my personal favorite is the butt trumpet.

According to a TED-ED lesson put together by Michelle Brown, they were likely added to express disapproval or add an ironic spin on the ideas or actions presented in the text. Whatever the reason they exist, they make me smile. Back in 1899, a Tennessee dentist named William James Morrison received a patent for a machine that manufactured floss—Fairy Floss, that is, otherwise known as cotton candy.

Was Morrison a cunning mastermind trying to drum up business for his dental practice by rotting everyone’s teeth? No, he just really loved sweets. He designed the machine with the help of confectioner John C.

Wharton, and the two debuted it at the 1904 World’s Fair, where they sold their not-exactly-dental-floss for 25 cents a box. And in the annals of genius and/or hilarious marketing, we have to credit Parker Brothers’ sales pitch for the nerf ball, which included this brilliant, if debatable piece of copy: “You can’t hurt babies or old people.” Makes sense to me! Now, let’s tackle some easy and practical ways you can take care of yourself and your community right now.

First, frequently washing your hands, with soap, for at least 20 seconds is the number-one thing you can do to reduce your chance of contracting or spreading the virus. Wondering how long 20 seconds is? Experts recommend singing “Happy Birthday” twice, but if you’re tired of that, the website WashYourLyrics.com will pair your favorite song with a handwashing diagram.

I’m personally singing the Flying Toasters song from the After Dark Screensaver, but … that’s just me. You should also avoid touching your face so any germs on your hands don't make their way into your nose or mouth. When soap isn't available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

And, of course, do not go out in public if you're sick! In fact, it’s probably a good idea to limit your time in public, period, even if you’re feeling well. Exercise and fresh air are important, though—when you do go out, do what you can to maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance from others.

If you, like us, are working from home right now, setting up a designated spot in your house and keeping your regular workday schedule will help ease the transition (but remember, pants are optional). If you find your productivity waning, you can download an app to block your social media accounts or track the time you spend on each task. The main thing is, don't panic—and that might mean limiting your news consumption.

The constant onslaught of news is enough to stress anyone out, so the World Health Organization recommends checking in on the news at specific times once or twice a day, and relying on trusted organizations to get your information. Websites for the CDC, World Health Organization, and your local health department have factual, no-nonsense info about keeping yourself and your family safe from coronavirus. Media outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, STAT, and others have dedicated health teams to serve readers.

We’ll post a link with some other tips in the description. It’s good to stay informed, but we wanted this video to lift your spirits a bit. So here’s one last ridiculous fact to wrap things up with.

Bags o’ mystery was a Victorian slang term for sausages. According to the 1909 book Passing Slang of the Victorian Era, it was reportedly coined because, quote, “no man but the maker knows what is in them.” We hope this video has made you smile and helped you feel a little bit better. Feel free to share what’s bringing you joy these days in the comments—we’ll be reading!

We’ll be back with another List Show video in a couple of weeks. Until then, take care of yourselves, and stay safe out there.