The Pandas Are Back in Town!


The population of Giant Pandas has been steadily on the decline so we are very happy to announce that, in light of China’s most recent National Giant Panda survey, this has now changed! The survey revealed that there was a minimum of 1,864 pandas in the wild with a 16.8% increase in their numbers in the past decade.

Giant Pandas are only found in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces of China. There are 67 natural reserves and 1,246 Pandas living in them, the 33% living outside the reserves are most at risk.

As well as helping to preserve Giant Pandas the forest reservations are also home to other rare species and plants of Southwest China, housing the likes of the Takin, Golden snub-nosed Monkey, Red Panda and Serow. Forest reserves also contain fresh water conservation areas which hugely benefit the locals.

WWF have made a massive contribution to this effort by donating money and technology to China, their iconic Panda logo is symbolic for the great work they have done and will continue to do. The charitable organisation have been in China helping the Giant Panda population for 30 years and hope to increase the numbers even more within the next decade.

Pandas are among a huge list of endangered animals and it is up to us to change this. We need to

Sign up to the WWF Newsletter here and you can keep an eye on whether the panda – monium ends for good!

Now, here’s some cute pictures of the Pandas so that you can see what all the fuss is about!









What is Synesthesia?

Synesthesia is a rare condition where two or more of a person’s senses are joined together.

This means that feeling something with one sense leads to a response from another one. So some synesthetes (people with synesthesia) see certain colours when they hear sounds, music and words, and other people experience tastes when they look at images or objects.

The most common form of synesthesia is connecting letters and numbers with particular colours. People who have this might think of the letter ‘M’ as blue, and the number ‘12’ as red. Some letters are the same colour whereas others are unique – it’s different for everyone.

Some synesthetes also see colours when they hear music, so a certain song could be black, while another is pale yellow, and a long symphony changes colour at different points. Musicians who have this experience often talk about liking songs because they are the right colour or disliking them because they’re an ugly shade.

Synesthesia is totally harmless, but it can cause problems! For example, some Synesthetes taste and smell things when they hear words and names. If hearing someone’s name leads to a nasty or unpleasant taste, this can make it difficult to be around that person. Some people might hate Tuesdays, because the word has a horrible smell.

Famous people throughout history who have synesthesia include the musicians Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder, plus the artists Vincent Van Gogh, David Hockney and Edvard Munch.

Five facts about synesthesia

1) Synesthesia affects about 4% of people

2) Women are twice as likely as men to have the condition

3) The name comes from the Greek words ‘syn’ and ‘aesthesis’, and literally means ‘together feeling’

4) Synesthetes (people with synesthesia) are more likely to be left-handed than the rest of the population

5) Scientists aren’t completely sure what causes synesthesia, but they do think it runs in families


Why You Should Learn to Code

Playing computer games, checking social media, using apps on our phones – without coding, we would’t be able to do any of these things.

Code is like a language for computers – it tells them which complicated tasks to perform when a user clicks the mouse or hits a button.

With digital skills growing ever more essential in our lives, there are plenty of reasons to give coding a try, here are just a few:

It’s a great skill for future jobs

Computer programmers are in high demand, as more and more companies try to stay ahead in the digital world. Knowing how to code is a great asset for job hunters, and may well rocket your CV to the top of the pile. As the technology industry continues to grow, so does the importance of having these skills.

It lets you bring new ideas to life

Have you got a brilliant idea for the next game-changing app? Think you’ve dreamt up the next must-click website? With coding, you can actually make your dreams a reality and build something entirely new. You never know, your website could become the next Facebook.

Learning code is good for your brain

Like tackling any new skill, learning to code helps your brain in heaps of ways. It teaches you how to tackle big problems using logic, it encourages you to be creative and it helps you to break down mammoth tasks into manageable chunks.

You can be as creative as you like

Computers these days are so clever and advanced. The only thing that limits what you can create is your own imagination. Think how much has changed in technology over the last 20 years. Just think what could be possible in the next 20, and you could be the one to make it happen!

It’s not as hard as you think!

Coding, programming, the languages of computers, it all sounds very complicated. However, it’s possible to pick up the basics of coding in a few hours, and you certainly don’t need to be a technology whizz or a maths genius. Don’t be put off by the idea that it’s too difficult, anyone can learn to code.


Careers that Help the Environment

Why not pick a career where you can help the environment?

Picking a career path can be difficult. It’s important to focus on what motivates you, what inspires you and what difference you want to see in the world.

Protecting the environment is not only a worthy cause to be in involved in but it can provide you with an incredibly fulfilling and exciting working life. Here is a small selection of the career paths you could take.

Conservation Scientist

Do you dream of spending your life behind a desk? Perhaps not. In an environmental role such as a conservation scientist you’d get the opportunity to travel, be outdoors and have an active, hands-on job role.


Environmental Scientist

Obviously, an income is a necessary part of any job but if you have a strong moral compass and put the needs of others before yourself then working as an environmental scientist could be just the thing for you.


Zoologist or Wildlife/ Marine Biologist

It’s not just humans that need looking after. If you love your pet cat imagine the thrill of looking after wild or exotic animals. Studying them, learning from them and making sure they have a safe and enjoyable life. A ground-breaking zoologist or marine biologist could be the job for you.


Environmental Lawyer

If you’re really passionate about the environment and want to help your peers, maybe you could consider environmental law? Fight the man, whether it’s protecting land, people or animals. Also make sure that those who do impact the environment negatively are held accountable for their actions.


A lot of environmental work is a breath of fresh air, excuse the pun, as it’s a chance to work for smaller companies whose primary purpose is to help others rather than just make profit.

Personal benefits are important too. A job that has variety, positivity and makes a difference will keep your creative juices flowing. It’ll relax you and make your time spent away from work all the better as well.

So, if you’re looking for a fulfilling and challenging career, help the environment!


Vivo’s Favourite YouTube Channels

Want to impress your friends, parents and teachers with your breadth and depth of knowledge?

But don’t have the time to read 1000s of books? Have no fear. There’s always YouTube.

It isn’t just videos of cats,  people hurting themselves and acoustic covers of Rihanna songs. There are thousands of channels devoted to making learning fun and accessible  to everybody.  You don’t have to pay huge tuition fees or be the top of your class to view them.

Take a look at Vivo’s pick of the best educational YouTube channels for teens. Which one is your favourite?

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Kurzgesagt provides us with fresh visuals that make all those crazy statistics and science mumbo-jumbo a whole lot easier to understand. This is not the most busy or frequent channel, meaning it is extra special when a new one is published. In case you were wondering, Kurzgesagt translates into English as “in a nutshell”.

Subscribers: 244, 805

Views: 8,974,908

Joined Jul 9, 2013


Ted is built up of two channels. Ted Ed publishes videos of educators explaining the answers to fascinating questions, spiced up with amazing animation. Ted Talks is similar, but with no animation. With these videos you get to watch educators giving inspiring and informative lectures to hundreds of people on stage at a TED Conference.

Subscribers: 5,206,058

Views: 752,085,427

Joined Dec 6, 2006


Vsauce combines his incredible knowledge of obscure topics and a delightful humour to create a truly magnificent channel. His videos answer fascinating questions, such as: ‘How many things are there?’, ‘Is my red the same as your red?’  All of these videos are educational yet addictively gripping.

Subscribers: 7,795,749

Views: 676,503,863

Joined Jul 30, 2007


SciShow is a youtube channel where presenters explore various topics from the world of science news, history and concepts. It has previously published videos on dinosaurs, why stars twinkle and how rainbows are formed. It’s another really engaging channel, worth checking out.

Subscribers: 1,983,373

Views: 201,467,008

Joined Oct 20, 2011


Why Are Bees Being Given Backpacks?

Did you know that one third of the food we eat worldwide relies on pollination by bees?

Without these buzzing bugs, thousands of species of fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants would be at risk. This could lead to global food shortages and big jumps in the price of groceries.

But for some reason, bees are dying out. Each year the earth’s bee population is falling dramatically, putting them in danger of extinction and affecting humans’ food supply. Parasites, weather changes, pollution and loss of their habitat have been blamed for the decline in bee numbers, and scientists across the globe are working to find a solution.

In Australia, researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have come up with an amazing strategy to help the effort – tiny tracking backpacks for bees!

These trackers, which measure only a quarter of a centimetre and weigh just 5.4 milligrams, have been carefully glued to the backs of 15,000 honeybees. They use identification technology to see where bees are going, how far they travel and what their routines are.

The high-tech backpacks also monitor external factors that can cause stress to bees such as extreme weather and pesticides, and how these issues impact bees’ ability to pollinate. This information is sent back to the scientists at the CSIRO, who will use it to work out how best to tackle the problems facing bees.

How you can help bees

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden to provide nectar for bees. Fewer people grow these sorts of flowers in their gardens these days, and bees are struggling to find food sources.
  • Try to choose honey from local producers to help small-scale producers carry on with their work. They’re essential for keeping up bee populations.
  • Be bee-friendly! Bees only sting when provoked, so if you see one out and about try not to disturb it. Don’t try and swat a bee away if it’s near you, just stay still and it will soon lose interest and buzz away.

The World’s Most Unusual Beaches

Check out this list of some of the most unusual beaches from around the world.

Glass Beach, California


This beautiful beach is actually the result of human pollution. Local residents used this site as a dump to discard glass, appliances and even vehicles. Until the California State Water Resources Control Board closed the area in 1967. Over time the glass and marble eventually shaped into smooth pieces.

Marieta, Mexico


The Marieta Islands were formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity and are completely uninhabited. The islands are about an hour ride from Puerto Vallarta and are visited daily, yet no one can legally set food on the islands. In the early 1900s, the Mexican government began conducting military tests on the Islands. The beach is nicknamed “The Hidden Beach” and is only accessible when the tide is low. The island’s wildlife includes thousands of birds as well as sea turtles, manta rays and octopuses.

Vieques, Puerto Rico


Vieques is an island of Puerto Rico in the northeastern Caribbean. It’s home to the Bioluminescent Bay, also known as Mosquito Bay or “The Bio Bay”. The luminescence in the bay is caused by a micro-organism, dinoflagellate pyrodinium bahamense, which glows whenever the water is disturbed, leaving a neon blue trail. Spanish sailors believed that the bioluminescence was the work of the devil and tried to block the ocean water from entering the bay by dropping boulders in the channel. They only succeeded in preserving and increasing the luminescence.

Ribadeo, Spain


Catedrais beach translates as “Beach of Cathedrals”. The beach features natural arches and caves, which can only be seen in low tide. During high tide, the beach appears quite small. During low tide the sheer size of the cliffs and sea caves can be overwhelming. These rock formations are the result of crashing waves on the rock face over time.

Maho Beach, Saint Martin


Maho beach is on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. It is most famous for the Princess Juliana International airport adjacent to it. The beach is a popular destination for plane spotters.  Most of the local restaurants and bars show timetables or announce when planes are leaving or landing. The beach has white sand with no vegetation due to the blast from jet engines. Some parts closer to the runway are fenced off due to health and safety reasons.

Giant’s Causeway, Ireland


The Giant’s Causeway is made up of about 40,000 interlocked basalt columns. It’s the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Located in County Atrim in Northern Ireland, the shore was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve in 1987. It was also named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff into the ocean. Most of the columns are hexagonal, the tallest is 12 metres (39 ft) high.

Punalu’u Beach

Punaluu Black Sand Beach

Also known as Black Sand Beach, Punalu’u is located on the island of Hawaii. The beach has black sand made of basalt created by lava flowing into the ocean. It is home to many endangered species, such as the Hawksbill turtle, the Green turtle and the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

Harbour Island, Bahamas


The pink sand get its colour from fractured shells mixing with the sand. Also home to an abundance of wildlife including species of crabs, fish, ants and reptiles.

shutterstock_165053570 (1)

8 Ways to Break Out of Your Shell

Would you say that you’re shy?

Everybody can be a little shy from time to time. And shyness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if you feel your shyness is holding you back, perhaps it’s time to break out of your shell.

Here are 8 ways that you can begin to overcome your shyness and feel comfortable in your own skin.

Try to understand your shyness


Try to understand what’s causing your feelings of shyness. What situation is triggering it and how might you be able to confront the problem? Of course, the reasons behind your shyness may be quite complex. Try and understand a little bit more about yourself each day.


Learn to love yourself

love yo self

A lot of people suffer from shyness due to lack of confidence and self-esteem. It can be really helpful to remind yourself that you are unique and perfectly fine the way you are. It’s what makes you special.


Focus more on others around you

focus on others

In social situations, try not to worry about how you are fitting in or how you are coming across. Think more about what’s being said and listen to the conversation(s).




Words and thoughts sometimes affect us more than we imagine. If you repeatedly put yourself down with negative thoughts then you may just convince yourself. Try the opposite. Keep reminding yourself that you are an awesome human being. Why not start by focusing on some of your strengths?


Don’t leave uncomfortable situations

awkward situation

Try not to immediately run away from awkward situations. How about turning them into a learning experience? See how far you can go before you need to retreat. Push yourself that little bit and learn where your current boundaries lie.


Stop labeling yourself

be yourself

Stop labeling yourself as this or that, just because you read it in a magazine or heard someone say something about you. These labels don’t tell the truth about the real you.


Practice Social Situations


To excel at anything in life, you need to practise. The same can be said for social skills. It’s not weird to take some time to think about interesting conversation topics to bring up when you are next with your friends. It can be really helpful. Before meeting up with people, consider some questions you might ask or be asked and try out a few responses to yourself in your head beforehand. This may help smooth over any awkward silences.


Try something new

try something new

Why not try something new. If you’re feeling confident, throw yourself into situations you wouldn’t normally be in, talk to new people or new groups and learn about new things.

Source(s): Think Simple Now