Pandas are hot.
“Panda” is the top song on the charts.
It’s the symbol for a country of over one billion people.
Pandas have inspired movies, TV shows, and are used in commercials, logos and ads for countless organizations.
Since 2014, over 6.5 million people have used the 🐼 panda emoji on Twitter.
All across the world, people line up in zoos just to see the cuddly critters.
Yet just 50 years ago, no one knew they existed.
Even in China, little was known of the panda bear until the last century.
Pandas are layabouts. They live deep in the jungle, far away from human cities and towns. They mostly keep to themselves.
There were rumors and possible sightings here and there, a handful of references over dozens of centuries of history.


What changed?
The story isn’t that interesting.
Around the time of World War I, a few Western explorers and missionaries in China came into contact with them. A Roosevelt shot and killed one.
It wasn’t until the 1960s and ’70s that the Panda really took off.
Westerners got very interested in them, and thus so did the Chinese.
The Chinese government started giving them to Western governments to encourage diplomatic ties.
We got a few dozen pandas. They got our entire manufacturing economy and a couple trillion dollars worth of bonds. Fair trade!
The greatest cardinal sin of our time is to be unscientific.
Smart people live according to science.
Smart people only believe in those things which science can measure and prove.
But how can you measure that which you don’t know exists?
500 years ago if you believed in the Panda bear, you were a madman.
You were also right.
How many more pandas are out there?