The Story of “She Sells Seashells”

How many of you can say you have heard of Mary Anning?

There are very few people who haven’t attempted to master the tongue-twister, “She Sells Seashells on the Sea Shore”, until they are blue in the face.

Mary is the namesake and muse of Terry Sullivan’s infamous 1908 tongue twister. She earned the honour through her hard work and determination.

Lyme Regis is where the legend hails – a popular seaside resort teeming with visitors holidaying in the summer. Lyme Regis has a huge biological significance, offering a wealth of Jurassic fossils in its coastal cliffs, part of a geological formation known as the Blue Lias.


Mary’s father had earned his living and supported his family by selling objects known as curios, which he found whilst mining the coastal cliffs of the Blue Lias. These curios were incredibly old fossils of many varieties of ancient reptiles. Unfortunately, he passed away when Mary was just 11 years old.


It was not long before Mary stepped up and assumed his place as the main breadwinner of the family. With her passion for palaeontology already fervently ignited, she followed in her father’s footsteps and set up her own stall. Aside from supporting her loved ones, she also made some incredibly significant discoveries along the way.

The profession was not without its risks. Landslides tested her dedication and even took the life of her dog. However, this never kept Mary from her passion. Mary discovered several whole skeletons of ancient species. In 1823, she found the Plesiosaurus, pictured below; in 1828, she found a Pterosaurus; and, in 1829, the Squaloraja.


Even though Mary had grown up in a modest household with little to no education, she studied often and re-wrote scientific papers. Her work has since been praised by palaeontologists for its accuracy.

Mary managed to open her own shop called “Anning’s Fossil Depot”, which became a destination shop for geologists and palaeontologists around the country. During the course of her career, she promoted the concept of extinction through her discovery of fossils, proving this existence of ancient reptiles that were no longer living.

In 1847, Mary sadly died from breast cancer. Members of the Geological Society contributed a stain glass window in her memory with an inscription, part of which read: “In commemoration of her usefulness in furthering the science of geology…also of her benevolence of heart and integrity of life”.

The inscription was a testament befitting the sentiment. However; we think that Terry Sullivan’s tongue twister has preserved the memory of Mary Anning forever by using the most powerful thing of all, language.


Writing Tips from Roald Dahl

One of our favourite writers offers some tips to budding writers.

No childhood would be complete without a literary trip to the fantastic world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, or a journey to New York with James and co inside the giant peach.

Obviously we are talking about the marvellous works of Roald Dahl, who wrote those and many other literary classics.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a wordsmith, or a budding journalist, or even if you just like writing for the sake of writing, put down that pen of yours a second and check out these tips.

Check out these seven invaluable writing tips from one of everyone’s favourite authors.

“You should have a lively imagination”

“You should be able to write well. By that I mean you should be able to make a scene come alive in the reader’s mind. Not everybody has this ability…”

“You must have stamina. In other words, you must be able to stick to what you are doing and never give up, for hour after hour, day after day, week after week and month after month.”

“You must be a perfectionist. That means you must never be satisfied with what you have written until you have rewritten it again and again, making it as good as you possibly can.”

“You must have strong self-discipline. You are working alone. No one is employing you. No one is around to give you the sack if you don’t turn up for work, or to tick you off if you start slacking.”

“It helps a lot if you have a keen sense of humour. This is not essential when writing for grown-ups, but for children, it’s vital.”

“You must have a degree of humility. The writer who thinks that his work is marvellous is heading for trouble.”



First Jobs of Tech Giants

They run the world’s biggest technology companies, but what were their first jobs?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that all the tech industry’s biggest players leapt straight into high-powered jobs at the start of their careers. On the contrary, plenty started off with unglamorous jobs before soaring up through the ranks.

Tim Cook – CEO of Apple


Now the CEO of the company responsible for the iPad, iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch, Tim Cook started his career delivering newspapers in Alabama as a teenager.

He then worked in a paper mill and an aluminium plant before joining the world of tech.

Marissa Mayer – President and CEO of Yahoo!


She’s worth an estimated $380 million dollars and boasts a $42 million salary, but the president and CEO of Yahoo! took her first ever job working at a grocery shop.

Her next stop was a degree at Stanford, followed by a stint working for Google. In 2012 she was poached by Yahoo! and is now one of America’s highest paid CEOs.

Jeff Bezos – CEO of Amazon


Jeff Bezos’s very first job was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, a far cry from his current gig as Amazon’s top dog.

However, it didn’t take him long to discover his business skills. After McDonald’s, he set up a summer camp for kids.

Jan Koum – Co-founder and CEO of WhatsApp


In January 2015, WhatsApp became the world’s number one messaging app. In 2014, the app was purchased by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion.

Its co-founder and CEO Jan Koum was born in a small village in Ukraine, before moving to America at 16. There, he started out sweeping the floors of a grocery shop to help his mother with household expenses.

Soon he discovered an aptitude for technology, working for many years at Yahoo!, before spotting a gap in the market and founding the popular app.

Tell us what your ideal job would be and why?

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Is Chess Cool?

The game of kings is making a comeback.

Before you say no, consider the fact that, if Ron Weasley wasn’t such a pro at Wizard chess, Harry Potter never would have stopped Voldemort from getting his hands on the philosopher’s stone and the wizarding world would have been doomed.


Ron isn’t the only chess champion out there either. Over 650 million people play chess in over 160 countries these day. In the United States chess is becoming an increasingly trendy hobby – with chess clubs popping up all over the place. The video below shows how and why chess is becoming New York’s latest trend.

Still not convinced? Chess isn’t known as the game of kings for nothing! Here are a few perks you could take advantage of when you reach for those Kings, Queens and Knights:

It can raise your IQ


Contrary to popular opinion – you don’t have to be brainy to play chess. A study of over 4000 students who played chess found that their IQ scores increased significantly after just four months of playing!

It can help prevent Alzheimer’s


You may or may not know that your brain works like a muscle – and like all muscles it needs to be exercised in order to be healthy. Recent studies have found that people who are over the age of 75 and engage in brain-stimulating activities (like chess) are less likely to develop dementia. Nothing wrong with getting a head start though, is there?

Your creativity and memory will improve


The right hand side of our brains are our creativity banks – so the more we stimulate this then the more creative we become! Unsurprisingly chess also helps improve your memory, as it’s a game of tactics. In order to be a good player and beat your opponent, you need to remember how they played in the past and any signature moves they may have hidden up their sleeves. Almost 60% of chess players also believe the games make them better negotiators – so if you play chess then you’re more likely to get your own way…sounds good to us!

Who fancies a game of chess then?


Einstein’s Miracle Year

It’s no secret that Albert Einstein was a genius – that guy seriously knew his stuff.

But did you know that when he was just a young man working his way through education, he was often overlooked by many of his peers and professors? Admittedly, he did not help himself by skipping lectures to spend more time in the lab – but what’s an ingenious physicist to do?

It was not until 1905 that Einstein had his “Miracle Year” and, even then, it was not after another 15 years before he became a renowned genius! But what made that year so miraculous? Well, Einstein published 4 extraordinary papers, each of which contributed to significant areas of science within that year. Here is what he discovered:

Light Is Constant

Einstein proved that the popularised theory during the early 1900’s, that light was a wavelike formation, was actually incorrect when he released his first paper in March 1905. In it, he proposed light to be a particle formation that is constant and always travels at the same speed.

Time In Relation To Space Travel

Unlike light, Einstein stated that time is not constant but is instead relevant. Whilst this may not be noticeable to us Earth-inhabiting folk, the revelation hugely impacted space travel, proving that the speed of light is the same no matter what the speed of the observer.

Energy Equals Mass (Squared)

You have probably heard of the equation E=mc2. Einstein was the genius behind it. Einstein came up with this after exploring the relationship between mass and energy and discovering the two were equivalent. Essentially they are different forms of the same thing – a bit like ice and water!

Gravity and Density

Adding to Newton’s theory of gravitational pull, Einstein stated that the apple not only falls to the ground because of gravity, but also because of the dent the earth makes in the fabric of space.

Want to know even more about Einstein?

Check out the following strange and startling facts -

• Einstein was given the opportunity to be the president of Israel but politely turned the offer down.

• He failed his university entrance exam. Even geniuses can fail sometimes.

• The pathologist who carried out the autopsy on Einstein’s body stole his brain and kept it in a jar for 20 years.

• Einstein’s eyes are currently in a safe box in New York City.

• Yoda from Star Wars is based on Albert Einstein!



Classical Music: Where and Why to Start?

Classical music isn’t often thought of as cool, but it could be. It’s certainly worth giving it a go.

When people think of classical, Mozart and Beethoven probably come to mind. They might know that Mozart was a child prodigy, forced to travel the length and breadth of Europe at the age of six by his relentlessly pushy papa. And that Beethoven, also a child prodigy, continued to compose volumes and volumes of music after losing his hearing. A lot of people know these stories, but perhaps not the music.

People generally think of classical as “stuffy, pretentious, (and) unnecessarily formal”. Sadly, they are mostly right. But you don’t need to go to a posh concert hall to hear classical music. We are lucky to live in an age where we can access music of all genres online. Everybody can explore the wonders of classical music with a few clicks. Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube will all do the trick.

Here at Vivo, we believe there are different types of music to suit different occasions, for example, when you are dancing you’re not going to want to listen to sleep-inducing, chill out mixes. There is also a place and a time for classical. So, why not give it a go. Next time you are revising try playing Brahms or Bach. Classical music has been found particularly beneficial for focus, reducing blood pressure and aiding restless nights. Perfect just before a big exam!

5 reasons to listen to classical music

• It can help you unwind and relax
• It can make you smarter (kind of)
• It will increase your emotional intelligence
• It’s a new language to master
• It will open you to a world of new experiences

So why not start here. Check out these videos.

J.S.Bach – Tocatta und Fuge

Luigi Boccherini – Minuetto

Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No.1

Jean Sibelius – Finlandia

Franz Schubert – Ave Maria

Watched all of the videos? We’d love to know which was your favourite? Tell us on Twitter.

Source(s): Thought Catalog, ClassicWORLD, Tarja M


9 Surprisingly Old Species

Modern human beings have been on earth for around 200,000 years.

While that may sound like a long time, it’s a minuscule amount compared to many other animals, who have roamed the planets for millions of years. These are the ones who have been around the longest:

White-tailed deer – 3.5 million years


White-tailed deer are the oldest living species of deer, and can be found from southern Canada down to South America as far as Peru and Bolivia.The key to the deer’s lengthy survival is its intelligence from fawn to fully grown adult. For their first few days their body gives off no smell at all, their dappled coats blend into the bush, and they instinctively hide by dropping to the floor at the first sign of danger. They fool predators and mask their own tracks by circling over them, sticking to familiar routes when chased, and wading through water to destroy their trail.

Zebra – 4 million years


These striped animals have roamed the African plains for up to 4 million years. There are 3 species and 10 subspecies of zebra, which all sport the trademark mohawk and black and white coat. Zebra coats are like human fingerprints in that no two are ever exactly the same. Despite living in the same territories, the different species don’t interbreed. The Grevy’s zebra is thought to be the oldest of the three, but is a rare sight these days.

Red panda – 5 million years old


Unlike their colossal cousin the giant panda, red pandas only grow to the size of a household cat. They do share their namesake’s high forest habitat and love of bamboo. Red pandas used to be thought to be a kind of raccoon because of the similarity in appearance – the two share a masked face and ringed tail – but DNA testing proved them to be part of the panda dynasty.

Sandhill crane – 10 million years

Sandhill Crane

A 10 million year old fossil discovered in Nebraska was found to be structurally the same as the modern-day sandhill, making it the world’s oldest living bird species. It’s the most common of the 15 crane species, and they breed in Northern U.S., Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Every year they undertake an epic journey, migrating to the USA’s southern states, travelling up to 400 miles per day.

Hedgehog – 15 million years


The same species of this prickly little mammal has existed for 15 million years. They’ve been protected by their famous hollow spikes all this time, which are made of keratin, the same protein that forms human hair and nails. Newborns have tiny, barely visible quills under their skin and adopt their prickly look after a few days. The hog part of their name comes from the squeals and grunts they make when foraging and communicating.

Flamingo – 18 million years


In what was once a Spanish lake, researchers have discovered a nesting site believed to belong to a prehistoric species of flamingo. The nests were different from modern-day flamingo versions, but the DNA structure of the birds was almost identical. Baby flamingos are born either grey or white and develop their candy-pink colour after a few years. The rosy tint is a result of eating crustaceans and algae which contain a substance called beta carotene, also found in carrots and pumpkins.

Aardvark – 35 million years


This mammal has hardly changed during its 35 million year history. It still has primitive teeth with no enamel or roots, and no collar bones. Scientists consider the aardvark to be a genetic anomaly, as its genes have developed so little over its life span compared to the rapid changes in other mammals. They feed on huge amounts of ant using their long and sticky tongue, but are in no way relating to their fellow bug guzzler, the American anteater.

Virginia opossum – 70 million years


North America’s only marsupial has fossils dating back 70 million years, making it one of earth’s oldest mammals. Much like a kangaroo, it has a pouch for its young which is so tough that it can protect the bee-sized babies if the mother is hit by a car. The secret to the opossum’s longevity could be its uncanny ability to play dead in the face of danger. In an emergency they can go limp and lifeless, slowing their heartbeat and breathing for up to six hours. It is also known to drool and spit in front of predators in an attempt to appear too diseased to eat.

Indian purple frog – 134 million years


These bizarre frogs are extraordinarily old – they hopped alongside dinosaurs for about 70 million years and managed to survive the infamous disaster that killed them. They were discovered in the Western Ghats of India, scientists found that their DNA was unique, meaning the frogs didn’t belong to any known species. They live mainly underground, using their hands as spades to burrow as far as 12 feet below the earth. The frogs have a puffy purple body, little white snouts, no discernible heads, and an unusual lolloping way of moving around. Despite their lack of physical beauty, they carry huge scientific importance. They may shed new light on amphibian evolution and how species reacted to ancient shifts in landmasses.


5 Places to Learn to Code

Most of us spend a big chunk of our time on the internet and use our smartphones, tablets and computers every day.

But how much do we know about how our gadgets actually work?


If you want a better understanding of computers and technology, why not try coding?

Code is the computer language used to create websites, apps, games and programmes. Learning code means you can get ahead in the job market in the future, use it to start your own business, or simply gain a better understanding of computer science.

Despite what many people think, anyone can learn to code – not just tech geniuses. If you want to brush up your technology skills and get to grips with code, here are five places you can learn for free:

Code Academy

Code Academy offers a range of lessons, such as HTML, Make a Website, and Make and Interactive Website, that are simple enough for absolute beginners to understand. Take your first steps in programming with the interactive courses, then move on to the more advanced modules.




With Scratch, you can learn the ideas behind coding by creating games, stories and animations. Once you’ve crafted your very own piece of work using the principles of coding, you can then share it with other users on the online community.



Khan Academy

Khan Academy’s mission is to provide top-quality, free education online – coding included. There are introductory lessons to get you started, and more advanced ones once you’ve nailed the basics. There are also interesting profiles of people who work in the computer science industry, which show where coding could lead you.



Code Kingdoms

Code Kingdoms (suitable for ages up to 13) is a fun and creative way of learning programming, where you build your own world through interactive games that also teach you real coding language. You can share your world with friends, and challenge them to create something better!




CoderDojo is a global organisation that provides volunteer-run coding and computer programming classes for 7-17 year olds. At a Dojo you can learn to design brilliant programmes, apps, games and websites in a creative way, while also meeting a bunch of like-minded people. There are more than 675 Dojos across 57 countries, find your nearest one here.

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