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    18 Facts That'll Make The World Seem A Little Less Like A Dumpster Fire

    The world is still a pretty good place.

    1. The voice actor for Mickey Mouse married the voice actor for Minnie Mouse.

    Stephen Shugerman / Getty Images

    Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor voiced Mickey and Minnie for more than 30 years, longer than any other voice actors have performed in the roles.

    2. This year, for the first time, the UK produced more power through renewables than through fossil fuels.

    Lovelyday12 / Getty Images

    According to analysis by Carbon Brief, the UK generated 29.5 TWh (terawatt hours) of power from renewable energy like wind and solar, compared with 29.1 TWh from fossil fuels.

    3. Kate Winslet keeps her Oscar in the bathroom so that people can pretend to give acceptance speeches.

    Gabriel Bouys / Getty Images

    Since guests have some privacy in the bathroom, they can pick up the award and pretend to give a speech in the mirror. "The whole point is for everybody to pick it up and go, ‘I’d like to thank my son and my dad’ — and you can always tell when someone has, because they’re in there a little bit longer after they flushed," Winslet said.

    4. When Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt, it opened up the patent to all automakers instead of licensing it to make money.

    Fatcamera / Getty Images

    The reasoning was that the new seatbelt design would save so many lives that making it available to everyone was far more important than profit.

    5. Military dogs always outrank their handlers.

    Bruev / Getty Images

    Working military dogs are NCOs — noncommissioned officers — and are always one rank above their handlers. Some say that tradition was started to prevent handlers from abusing the dogs (it would count as assaulting a superior officer, which has serious consequences), but it's also just a sign of respect for the dogs. After all, one dog will go through training with multiple handlers, sometimes even dozens.

    6. Overall, the world is safer and less violent than it was 30 years ago.

    Romrodinka / Getty Images

    Drops in crime rates have been reported all over the world: In the US, homicide rates fell by about 40% over the 1990s; in the UK, violent crime fell by 47% between 1995 and 2007.

    7. Also, there is less extreme poverty worldwide as poor countries and regions become richer.

    Bumbumbo / Getty Images

    In fact, extreme poverty worldwide has been halved since the 1990s. HALVED!

    8. We might have a vaccine for ovarian and breast cancers within the next 8–10 years.

    Marianvejcik / Getty Images

    That's according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, who are in the early stages of creating a vaccine that will hopefully both prevent these cancers from recurring in current patients and protect other people from developing the diseases in the first place.

    9. Bob Ross donated many of the paintings he made on The Joy of Painting and didn't collect a salary from the show.


    Ross often painted three of the same paintings for an episode: one pre-painted to use as a reference off camera, one that he painted during the episode, and one that he painted after the episode so a photographer could take photos for his how-to books. Ross donated many of these paintings to PBS stations to auction off for fundraising.

    Ross also never took a salary from PBS for his show. Rather, he did the show for free and used the publicity to promote his line of art supplies.

    10. Smiling and laughing are basic human instincts: People who are born blind and have never seen a smile still smile, and people who are born deaf and have never heard a laugh still laugh out loud.

    Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

    Even the social dynamics of laughter are similar between people who are deaf and people who can hear. For example, in conversation, people who are talking will laugh more than the people they're speaking to, whether they're speaking audibly or signing.

    11. Seahorses not only mate for life but also dance together every morning to strengthen their bond.

    Nastazia / Getty Images

    The dance also helps synchronize their reproductive cycles!

    12. If you look around while you're on the Disneyland tram, you might spot some feral cats napping around the park. Disneyland provides shelters for these cats so they can control the rat population.

    Jean / Via Flickr: 7326810@N08

    The company vaccinates, feeds, and neuters the cats to help keep them safe and healthy.

    13. Canada and Denmark have the politest ongoing dispute over a small island. Each country's navy has sailed out to the uninhabited rock, put up a flag, and left a bottle of booze for the opposing country's navy.

    Sldesign78 / Getty Images

    It started in 1984 when Denmark's minister of Greenland affairs put up a Danish flag at Hans Island and left a bottle of brandy and a note that read, "Welcome to the Danish island." In 2005, Canada's defense minister landed there and put up a Canadian flag. The next month, Denmark sent a warship, put up a Danish flag, and claimed that the Canadian flag had blown over.

    Danish Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen has said that the countries continue to visit the island, with Denmark leaving a bottle of schnapps and Canada leaving a bottle of Canadian Club whisky each time.

    14. Norway knighted a penguin.

    Afp / Getty Images

    When the Norwegian King's Guard visited the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland in 1972, a lieutenant named Nils Egelien loved the penguin exhibit so much that he decided he wanted the regiment to "adopt" a penguin. They chose a king penguin and named him Nils Olav, after Egelien and Norway's King Olav V. The penguin was made a lance corporal in the King's Guard.

    Since then, "Nils Olav" (so far, the name has been passed down to two more king penguins at the zoo) has been given a promotion every time the King's Guard returns to the Edinburgh Zoo. He is now a brigadier and was even knighted by King Harald V in 2008. So that's SIR Nils Olav, Brigadier of the Norwegian Guard, to you. The king penguin even has a bronze statue in the zoo!

    15. The sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on his show were knitted by his mother.


    Rogers said that his mother was an avid knitter and would knit at least one sweater per month, giving him plenty of options to wear on the show.

    16. The main reason heart disease and cancer are the leading cause of fatalities is that we're so good at fighting infections and other diseases that we're living longer.

    Seventyfour / Getty Images

    First of all, the overall mortality rate from all causes decreased by 54% between 1900 and 2010 in the US, so that's awesome. But also, back in 1900, the mortality rates for pneumonia/influenza, gastrointestinal infections, and tuberculosis were ALL higher than rates for heart disease. Today, improvements in public health have dramatically reduced the risk of dying from TB, pneumonia/influenza, and gastrointestinal infections in the US. Modern medicine already saves countless lives, and it continues to improve.

    17. We're all made out of stars.

    Mode-list / Getty Images

    Carl Sagan famously said, "We are made of star stuff." And he was right! The elements that exist on Earth, and most of the elements that make up our bodies, came from stars that exploded into supernovas, spreading those elements across the universe. You're part star.

    18. And finally, here's a corgi who "awoos" while she eats, just because:

    This is Willo. She likes to awoo while she eats. Tonight’s meal was worthy of a gentler, but perhaps more meaningful, second awoo. 13/10

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