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TED Talks

Season 2012 2012
TV-PG

  • 2012-02-29T05:00:00Z on YouTube
  • 15 mins
  • 1 day, 12 hours, 0 mins (144 episodes)
  • United States
  • Documentary, Special Interest

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker "ideas worth spreading," talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world's most inspiring voices.

144 episodes

2012x01 Paul Gilding: The Earth is full

  • Season Premiere

    2012-02-29T05:00:00Z — 15 mins

Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that's equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful.

Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I'm not saying we don't have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down."

In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams -- for construction, surveying disasters and far more.

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. (Contains graphic language ...)

Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can -- and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments -- and their neighbors.

2012x09 A TED speaker's worst nightmare

  • 2012-03-09T05:00:00Z — 15 mins

Colin Robertson had 3 minutes on the TED stage to tell the world about his solar-powered crowdsourced health care solution. And then...

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt asks a simple, but difficult question: why do we search for self-transcendence? Why do we attempt to lose ourselves? In a tour through the science of evolution by group selection, he proposes a provocative answer.

2012x11 Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

  • 2012-03-15T04:00:00Z — 15 mins

Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists.

2012x12 Brené Brown: Listening to shame

  • 2012-03-16T04:00:00Z — 15 mins

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

The US consumes 25% of the world's oil -- but as energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens points out onstage, the country has no energy policy to prepare for the inevitable. Is alternative energy our bridge to an oil-free future? After losing $150 million investing in wind energy, Pickens suggests it isn't, not yet. What might get us there? Natural gas. After the talk, watch for a lively Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.

Anemia is a major -- and completely preventable -- cause of deaths in childbirth in many places around the world, but the standard test is invasive and slow. In this witty and inspiring talk, TED Fellow Myshkin Ingawale describes how (after 32 tries) he and his team created a simple, portable, low-cost device that can test for anemia without breaking the skin.

Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story.

Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Five of them are included in this wonderfully entertaining and moving talk -- and don't miss the hilarious final poem!

What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage -- so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED's Chris Anderson)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell -- of her own life's transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?

Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.

Marco Tempest spins a beautiful story of what magic is, how it entertains us and how it highlights our humanity -- all while working extraordinary illusions with his hands and an augmented reality machine.

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

Chip Kidd doesn't judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book -- and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs. <i>(From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)</i>

Onstage at TED2012, Jack Choi demonstrates a powerful tool for training medical students: a stretcher-sized multi-touch screen of the human body that lets you explore, dissect and understand the body's parts and systems.

TED Fellow Lucy McRae is a body architect -- she imagines ways to merge biology and technology in our own bodies. In this visually stunning talk, she shows her work, from clothes that recreate the body's insides for a music video with pop-star Robyn, to a pill that, when swallowed, lets you sweat perfume.

Secrets can take many forms -- they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful. Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards.

TED Fellow Abigail Washburn wanted to be a lawyer improving US-China relations -- until she picked up a banjo. She tells a moving story of the remarkable connections she's formed touring across the United States and China while playing that banjo and singing in Chinese.

Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine -- with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.

Drew Curtis, the founder of fark.com, tells the story of how he fought a lawsuit from a company that had a patent, "...for the creation and distribution of news releases via email." Along the way he shares some nutty statistics about the growing legal problem of frivolous patents.

Imagine what we could learn about diseases by studying the history of human disease, from ancient hominids to the present. But how? TED Fellow Christina Warinner is an achaeological geneticist, and she's found a spectacular new tool -- the microbial DNA in fossilized dental plaque.

Is there more than one universe? In this visually rich, action-packed talk, Brian Greene shows how the unanswered questions of physics (starting with a big one: What caused the Big Bang?) have led to the theory that our own universe is just one of many in the "multiverse."

Eduardo Paes is the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a sprawling, complicated, beautiful city of 6.5 million. He shares four big ideas about leading Rio -- and all cities -- into the future, including bold (and do-able) infrastructure upgrades and how to make a city "smarter."

When Nancy Lublin started texting teenagers to help with her social advocacy organization, what she found was shocking -- they started texting back about their own problems, from bullying to depression to abuse. So she's setting up a text-only crisis line, and the results might be even more important than she expected.

How do you make a great public space inside a not-so-great building? Liz Diller shares the story of creating a welcoming, lighthearted (even, dare we say it, sexy) addition to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors"”and four kinds of innovation.

Reuben Margolin is a kinetic sculptor, crafting beautiful pieces that move in the pattern of raindrops falling and waves combining. Take nine minutes and be mesmerized by his meditative art -- inspired in equal parts by math and nature.

As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil -- personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it's your right to know what data is being collected about you and how it affects your online life. He unveils a Firefox add-on to do just that.

In this epic overview, Michael Tilson Thomas traces the development of classical music through the development of written notation, the record, and the re-mix.

There are people who can quickly memorize lists of thousands of numbers, the order of all the cards in a deck (or ten!), and much more. Science writer Joshua Foer describes the technique -- called the memory palace -- and shows off its most remarkable feature: anyone can learn how to use it, including him.

Oops! Nobody wants to see the 404: Page Not Found. But as Renny Gleeson shows us, while he runs through a slideshow of creative and funny 404 pages, every error is really a chance to build a better relationship.

2012x41 Tali Sharot: The optimism bias

  • 2012-05-14T04:00:00Z — 15 mins

Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.

Is your school or workplace divided into "creatives" versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create... (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

There have been remarkable advances in understanding the brain, but how do you actually study the neurons inside it? Using gorgeous imagery, neuroscientist and TED Fellow Carl Schoonover shows the tools that let us see inside our brains.

Street artist JR made a wish in 2011: Join me in a worldwide photo project to show the world its true face. Now, a year after his TED Prize wish, he shows how giant posters of human faces, pasted in public, are connecting communities, making change, and turning the world inside out. You can join in at insideoutproject.net

We've been to the moon, we've mapped the continents, we've even been to the deepest point in the ocean -- twice. What's left for the next generation to explore? Biologist and explorer Nathan Wolfe suggests this answer: Almost everything. And we can start, he says, with the world of the unseeably small.

Even a death-defying magician has to start somewhere. High-wire artist Philippe Petit takes you on an intimate journey from his first card trick at age 6 to his tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

Reggie Watts' beats defy boxes. Unplug your logic board and watch as he blends poetry and crosses musical genres in this larger-than-life performance.

Quixotic Fusion is an ensemble of artists that brings together aerial acrobatics, dance, theater, film, music and visual fx. Watch as they perform three transporting dance pieces at TED2012.

Why is 'x' the symbol for an unknown? In this short and funny talk, Terry Moore gives the surprising answer.

The world needs clean water, and more and more, we're pulling it from the oceans, desalinating it, and drinking it. But what to do with the salty brine left behind? In this intriguing short talk, TED Fellow Damian Palin proposes an idea: Mine it for other minerals we need, with the help of some collaborative metal-munching bacteria.

2012x52 John Hodgman: Design, explained.

  • 2012-06-08T04:00:00Z — 15 mins

John Hodgman, comedian and resident expert, "explains" the design of three iconic modern objects. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue -- and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. <i>(From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)</i>

In this short talk, TED Fellow Sarah Parcak introduces the field of "space archeology" -- using satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilizations.

Combining projection mapping and a pop-up book, Marco Tempest tells the visually arresting story of Nikola Tesla -- called "the greatest geek who ever lived" -- from his triumphant invention of alternating current to his penniless last days.

In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ -- and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.

Designer Jared Ficklin creates wild visualizations that let us see music, using color and even fire (a first for the TED stage) to analyze how sound makes us feel. He takes a brief digression to analyze the sound of a skatepark -- and how audio can clue us in to developing creativity.

Using video mapping and projection, artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo captures and shares his memories and friendships. At TED Fellow Talks, he shows his charming, thoughtful work -- which appears to preserve the people in his life in jars, suitcases, blenders ...

Is there a definitive line that divides crazy from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of <em>The Psychopath Test</em>, illuminates the gray areas between the two. <em>(With live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant.)</em>

As the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Thomas P. Campbell thinks deeply about curating ”not just selecting art objects, but placing them in a setting where the public can learn their stories. With glorious images, he shows how his curation philosophy works for displaying medieval tapestries" and for the over-the-top fashion/art of Alexander McQueen. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living -- and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

A long time ago in New York City, Steve Addis stood on a corner holding his 1-year-old daughter in his arms; his wife snapped a photo. The image has inspired an annual father-daughter ritual, where Addis and his daughter pose for the same picture, on the same corner, each year. Addis shares 15 treasured photographs from the series, and explores why this small, repeated ritual means so much.

It's been 110 years since Georges Méliès sent a spaceship slamming into the eye of the man on the moon. So how far have visual effects come since then? Working closely with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Don Levy takes us on a visual journey through special effects, from the fakery of early technology to the seamless marvels of modern filmmaking.

There are so many tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic moments in your life -- how are you going to remember them all? Director Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day as part of an ongoing project to collect all the special bits of his life.

Ethnographer Wade Davis explores hidden places in the wider world -- but in this powerful short talk he urges us to save a paradise in his backyard, Northern Canada. The Sacred Headwaters, remote and pristine, are under threat because they hide rich tar sands. With stunning photos, Davis asks a tough question: How can we balance society's need for fuels with the urge to protect such glorious wilderness?

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

Call it "fuel without fossils": Jonathan Trent is working on a plan to grow new biofuel by farming micro-algae in floating offshore pods that eat wastewater from cities. Hear his team's bold vision for Project OMEGA (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae) and how it might power the future.

Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.

When a squirrel chewed through a cable and knocked him offline, journalist Andrew Blum started wondering what the Internet was really made of. So he set out to go see it — the underwater cables, secret switches and other physical bits that make up the net.

Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action.

There's been an explosion of collaborative consumption — web-powered sharing of cars, apartments, skills. Rachel Botsman explores the currency that makes systems like Airbnb and Taskrabbit work: trust, influence, and what she calls "reputation capital."

Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating — jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain't seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising view of what comes next.

Mice, bugs and hamsters are no longer the only way to study the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) allows scientists to map brain activity in living, breathing, decision-making human beings. Read Montague gives an overview of how this technology is helping us understand the complicated ways in which we interact with each other.

The open-source world has learned to deal with a flood of new, oftentimes divergent, ideas using hosting services like GitHub — so why can’t governments? In this rousing talk Clay Shirky shows how democracies can take a lesson from the Internet, to be not just transparent but also to draw on the knowledge of all their citizens.

Gravity. The stars in day. Thoughts. The human genome. Time. Atoms. So much of what really matters in the world is impossible to see. A stunning animation of John Lloyd's classic TEDTalk from 2009, which will make you question what you actually know.

When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world — except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

2012x80 Bahia Shehab: A thousand times no

  • 2012-06-01T04:00:00Z — 15 mins

Art historian Bahia Shehab has long been fascinated with the Arabic script for 'no.' When revolution swept through Egypt in 2011, she began spraying the image in the streets saying no to dictators, no to military rule and no to violence.

As Vicki Arroyo says, it's time to prepare our homes and cities for our changing climate, with its increased risk of flooding, drought and uncertainty. She illustrates this inspiring talk with bold projects from cities all over the world — local examples of thinking ahead.

In this gripping talk, lawyer Jason McCue urges for a new way to attack terrorism, to weaken its credibility with those who are buying the product — the recruits. He shares stories of real cases where he and other activists used this approach to engage and create change.

As the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Thomas P. Campbell thinks deeply about curating—not just selecting art objects, but placing them in a setting where the public can learn their stories. With glorious images, he shows how his curation philosophy works for displaying medieval tapestries—and for the over-the-top fashion/art of Alexander McQueen. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)

The days are past (if they ever existed) when a person, company or brand could tightly control their reputation — online chatter and spin mean that if you're relevant, there's a constant, free-form conversation happening about you that you have no control over. Tim Leberecht offers three big ideas about accepting that loss of control, even designing for it — and using it as an impetus to recommit to your values.

John Maeda, former President of the Rhode Island School of Design, delivers a funny and charming talk that spans a lifetime of work in art, design and technology, concluding with a picture of creative leadership in the future. Watch for demos of Maeda's earliest work — and even a computer made of people.

Art history is far from set in stone. Engineer Maurizio Seracini spent 30 years searching for Leonardo da Vinci's lost fresco "The Battle of Anghiari," and in the process discovered that many paintings have layers of history hidden underneath. Should they be part of the viewing experience too?

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng — and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure."

When you're getting medical treatment, or taking part in medical testing, privacy is important; strict laws limit what researchers can see and know about you. But what if your medical data could be used — anonymously — by anyone seeking to test a hypothesis? John Wilbanks wonders if the desire to protect our privacy is slowing research, and if opening up medical data could lead to a wave of health care innovation.

Our leaders need to be held accountable, says journalist Heather Brooke. And she should know: Brooke uncovered the British Parliamentary financial expenses that led to a major political scandal in 2009. She urges us to ask our leaders questions through platforms like Freedom of Information requests — and to finally get some answers.

Videos on the web should work like the web itself: dynamic, full of links, maps and information that can be edited and updated live, says Ryan Merkley. On the TED stage he demos Mozilla's Popcorn Maker, a web-based tool for easy video remixing.

It may seem that we're living in a borderless world where ideas, goods and people flow freely from nation to nation. We're not even close, says Pankaj Ghemawat. With great data (and an eye-opening survey), he argues that there's a delta between perception and reality in a world that's maybe not so hyperconnected after all.

What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between your sensitivity to disgusting cues — a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor — and your own moral or political conservatism.

Literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children, from Moses to Cinderella to Oliver Twist to Harry Potter. So why do many parentless children feel compelled to hide their pasts? Poet and playwright Lemn Sissay tells his own moving story.

Modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows give spectacular views, but they require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung works with thermo-bimetals, smart materials that act more like human skin, dynamically and responsively, and can shade a room from sun and self-ventilate.

The suits, numbers and colors in a deck of cards correspond to the seasons, moon cycles and calendar. Marco Tempest straps on augmented reality goggles and does a card trick like you’ve never seen before, weaving a lyrical tale as he deals. (This version fixes a glitch in the original performance, but is otherwise exactly as seen live by the TEDGlobal audience, including the dazzling augmented reality effects.)

The public is losing faith in democracy, says British MP Rory Stewart. Iraq and Afghanistan’s new democracies are deeply corrupt; meanwhile, 84 percent of people in Britain say politics is broken. In this important talk, Stewart sounds a call to action to rebuild democracy, starting with recognizing why democracy is important — not as a tool, but as an ideal.

How do we make sure that development and aid money actually goes to the people who most need it? Sanjay Pradhan of the World Bank Institute lays out three guidelines to help relief efforts make the most impact — while curbing corruption. One key: connecting the players who are working to change broken systems with the data they need.

In Western society, bats are often characterized as creepy, even evil. Zoologist Emma Teeling encourages us to rethink common attitudes toward bats, whose unique and fascinating biology gives us insight into our own genetic makeup.

Adam Garone has an impressive moustache, and it's for a good cause. A co-founder of Movember, Garone's initiative to raise awareness for men's health — by having men grow out their moustaches every November — began as a dare in a bar in 2003. Now, it's a worldwide movement that raised $126 million for prostate cancer research last year.

Faith Jegede tells the moving and funny story of growing up with her two brothers, both autistic — and both extraordinary. In this talk from the TED Talent Search, she reminds us to pursue a life beyond what is normal.

When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.

After fighting overseas, 92 percent of American veterans say they want to continue their service. Meanwhile, one after another, natural disasters continue to wreak havoc worldwide. What do these two challenges have in common? In telling the story of his friend Clay Hunt, Jake Wood from Team Rubicon reveals how veterans can contribute to disaster response — and regain their sense of purpose, community and self-worth..

When photographed under a 3D microscope, grains of sand appear like colorful pieces of candy and the stamens in a flower become like fantastical spires at an amusement park. Gary Greenberg reveals the thrilling details of the micro world.

Orphanages are costly and can cause irreparable damage both mentally and physically for its charges — so why are they still so ubiquitous? Georgette Mulheir gravely describes the tragedy of orphanages and urges us to end our reliance on them, by finding alternate ways of supporting children in need.

Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest.

Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living — and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

When he realized his wife had to choose between buying family meals and buying her monthly "supplies," Arunachalam Muruganantham vowed to help her solve the problem of the sanitary pad. His research got very very personal — and led him to a powerful business model. (Filmed in Bangalore as part of the TED Global Talent Search.)

Hannah Brencher's mother always wrote her letters. So when she felt herself bottom into depression after college, she did what felt natural — she wrote love letters and left them for strangers to find. The act has become a global initiative, The World Needs More Love Letters, which rushes handwritten letters to those in need of a boost.

Designing electronics is generally cumbersome and expensive — or was, until Leah Buechley and her team at MIT developed tools to treat electronics just like paper and pen. In this talk from TEDYouth 2011, Buechley shows some of her charming designs, like a paper piano you can sketch and then play.

David Binder is a major Broadway producer, but last summer he found himself in a small Australian neighborhood, watching locals dance and perform on their lawns — and loving it. He shows us the new face of arts festivals, which break the boundary between audience and performer and help cities express themselves.

How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.

How do you build a wheelchair ready to blaze through mud and sand, all for under $200? MIT engineer Amos Winter guides us through the mechanics of an all-terrain wheelchair that's cheap and easy to build — for true accessibility — and gives us some lessons he learned along the road.

Brothers Jonny, Robbie and Tommy Mizzone are The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, a trio of virtuoso bluegrass musicians who play with dazzling vivacity. Did we mention they're all under 16?

Nature’s beauty can be fleeting — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.

In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: "Before I die I want to ___." Her neighbors' answers — surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What's your answer?)

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you're trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

It's an unfortunate reality in nearly every major city—road congestion, especially during rush hours. Jonas Eliasson reveals how subtly nudging just a small percentage of drivers to stay off major roads can make traffic jams a thing of the past.

Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

As natural garbage collectors, vultures are vital to our ecosystem — so why all the bad press? Why are so many in danger of extinction? Raptor biologist Munir Virani says we need to pay more attention to these unique and misunderstood creatures, to change our perception and save the vultures.

People don't just cook anymore — they're cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for — gasp — "monotasking."

Throughout the history of Islam, says journalist Bobby Ghosh, there have been two sides to jihad: one, internal, a personal struggle to be better, the other external. A small minority has appropriated the second meaning, using it as an excuse for deadly global violence against "the West." Ghosh suggests it's time to reclaim the word.

If you had to walk a mile for a jug of water every day, as millions of people do, it's unlikely you'd use that precious water to bathe. Young entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane tells the amazing, funny story of how he invented a cheap, clean and convenient solution: DryBath, the world's first bath-substituting lotion.

Jeff Smith spent a year in prison. But what he discovered inside wasn’t what he expected — he saw in his fellow inmates boundless ingenuity and business savvy. He asks: Why don't we tap this entrepreneurial potential to help ex-prisoners contribute to society once they're back outside? (From the TED Talent Search event [email protected])

Each of our bodies is utterly unique, which is a lovely thought until it comes to treating an illness — when every body reacts differently, often unpredictably, to standard treatment. Tissue engineer Nina Tandon talks about a possible solution: Using pluripotent stem cells to make personalized models of organs on which to test new drugs and treatments, and storing them on computer chips. (Call it extremely personalized medicine.)

Would you kill for a pair of Air Jordans? Lemon Andersen spins a tale of someone who did, reciting a poem by Reg E. Gaines. These verses taught Lemon that poetry could be about more than self-expression, and could sound like music when given rhythm and infused with the grit of the New York streets around him.

Patenting a new drug helps finance its immense cost to develop — but that same patent can put advanced treatments out of reach for sick people in developing nations, at deadly cost. Ellen 't Hoen talks about an elegant, working solution to the problem: the Medicines Patent Pool.

By the end of this talk, there will be 864 more hours of video on YouTube and 2.5 million more photos on Facebook and Instagram. So how do we sort through the deluge? At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate.

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East — like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane.

A dung beetle has a brain the size of a grain of rice, and yet it shows a tremendous amount of intelligence when it comes to rolling its food source — animal excrement — home. How? It all comes down to a dance.

Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside! Not because it’s always pleasant and happy, but because that’s where the meat of life is, “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” Saunders’ next outdoor excursion? To try to be the first in the world to walk from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again.

A decade ago, Robin Chase founded Zipcar in the US, now the largest car-sharing company in the world. Now she's exploring the next level of car-sharing: Buzzcar, a French startup that lets people rent their own cars to others. The details are fascinating (how does insurance work, exactly?), and the larger vision (she calls it Peers, Inc.) points to a new definition of ownership and entrepreneurship.

Brains are ubiquitous in modern marketing: Headlines proclaim cheese sandwiches help with decision-making, while a “neuro” drink claims to reduce stress. There’s just one problem, says neuroscientist Molly Crockett: The benefits of these "neuro-enhancements" are not proven scientifically. In this to-the-point talk, Crockett explains the limits of interpreting neuroscientific data, and why we should all be aware of them.

A long time ago in New York City, Steve Addis stood on a corner holding his 1-year-old daughter in his arms; his wife snapped a photo. The image has inspired an annual father-daughter ritual, where Addis and his daughter pose for the same picture, on the same corner, each year. Addis shares 15 treasured photographs from the series, and explores why this small, repeated ritual means so much.

At the end of 2012, the US political system was headed for the "fiscal cliff" — a budget impasse that could only be solved with bipartisan agreement. Adam Davidson, cohost of "Planet Money," shares surprising data on how bipartisan we truly are — and hints at the disconnect between representatives and the people they represent.

When war between Israel and Iran seemed imminent, Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry shared a poster on Facebook of himself and his daughter with a bold message: "Iranians ... we [heart] you." Other Israelis quickly created their own posters with the same message — and Iranians responded in kind. The simple act of communication inspired surprising Facebook communities like "Israel loves Iran," "Iran loves Israel" and even "Palestine loves Israel."

Autonomous cars are coming — and they’re going to drive better than you. Chris Gerdes reveals how he and his team are developing robotic race cars that can drive at 150 mph while avoiding every possible accident. And yet, in studying the brainwaves of professional racing drivers, Gerdes says he has gained a new appreciation for the instincts of professional drivers. (Filmed at TEDxStanford.)

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers — and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

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