Tristram Wyatt: The smelly mystery of the human pheromone

TEDxLeuvenSalon

Tristram Wyatt: The smelly mystery of the human pheromone

September 17, 2013


Do our smells make us sexy? Popular science suggests yes — pheromones send chemical signals about sex and attraction from our armpits to potential mates. But, despite what you might have heard, there is no conclusive research confirming that humans have these smell molecules. In this eye-opening talk, zoologist Tristram Wyatt explains the fundamental flaws in current pheromone research, and shares his hope for a future that unlocks the fascinating, potentially life-saving knowledge tied up in our scent.

Sara Lewis: The loves and lies of fireflies

TED2014

Sara Lewis: The loves and lies of fireflies

March 20, 2014


Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It's not pretty.) Find out more astonishing facts about fireflies in Lewis' footnotes, below.

Rives: The Museum of Four in the Morning

TEDActive 2014

Rives: The Museum of Four in the Morning

March 25, 2014


Beware: Rives has a contagious obsession with 4 a.m. At TED2007, the poet shared what was then a minor fixation with a time that kept popping up everywhere. After the talk, emails starting pouring in with an avalanche of hilarious references—from the cover of "Crochet Today!" magazine to the opening scene of "The Metamorphosis." A lyrical peek into his Museum of Four in the Morning, which overflows with treasures.

Sebastian Junger: Why veterans miss war

TEDSalon NY2014

Sebastian Junger: Why veterans miss war

January 16, 2014


Civilians don’t miss war. But soldiers often do. Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo, an outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley that saw heavy combat. Giving a look at the "altered state of mind" that comes with war, he shows how combat gives soldiers an intense experience of connection. In the end, could it actually be "the opposite of war" that soldiers miss? 

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

TED2014

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe

March 14, 2014


What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.

Kevin Briggs: The bridge between suicide and life

TED2014

Kevin Briggs: The bridge between suicide and life

March 18, 2014


For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.

William Black: How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is)

TEDxUMKC

William Black: How to rob a bank (from the inside, that is)

September 9, 2013


William Black is a former bank regulator who’s seen firsthand how banking systems can be used to commit fraud — and how “liar's loans” and other tricky tactics led to the 2008 US banking crisis that threatened the international economy. In this engaging talk, Black, now an academic, reveals the best way to rob a bank — from the inside.

Deborah Gordon: What ants teach us about the brain, cancer and the Internet

TED2014

Deborah Gordon: What ants teach us about the brain, cancer and the Internet

March 20, 2014


Ecologist Deborah Gordon studies ants wherever she can find them -- in the desert, in the tropics, in her kitchen ... In this fascinating talk, she explains her obsession with insects most of us would happily swat away without a second thought. She argues that ant life provides a useful model for learning about many other topics, including disease, technology and the human brain.

Mark Ronson: How sampling transformed music

TED2014

Mark Ronson: How sampling transformed music

March 17, 2014


Sampling isn't about "hijacking nostalgia wholesale," says Mark Ronson. It's about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward. In this mind-blowingly original talk, watch the DJ scramble 15 TED Talks into an audio-visual omelette, and trace the evolution of "La Di Da Di," Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's 1984 hit that has been reimagined for every generation since.

Randall Munroe: Comics that ask "what if?"

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Randall Munroe: Comics that ask "what if?"

March 20, 2014


Web cartoonist Randall Munroe answers simple what-if questions ("what if you hit a baseball moving at the speed of light?") using math, physics, logic and deadpan humor. In this charming talk, a reader’s question about Google's data warehouse leads Munroe down a circuitous path to a hilariously over-detailed answer — in which, shhh, you might actually learn something.

Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge

TED2014

Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge

March 20, 2014


When General Stanley McChrystal started fighting al Qaeda in 2003, information and secrets were the lifeblood of his operations. But as the unconventional battle waged on, he began to think that the culture of keeping important information classified was misguided and actually counterproductive. In a short but powerful talk McChrystal makes the case for actively sharing knowledge.

Marco Tempest: And for my next trick, a robot

TED2014

Marco Tempest: And for my next trick, a robot

March 20, 2014


Marco Tempest uses charming stagecraft to demo EDI, the multi-purpose robot designed to work very closely with humans. Less a magic trick than an intricately choreographed performance, Tempest shows off the robot’s sensing technology, safety features and strength, and makes the case for a closer human-robot relationship. (Okay, there’s a little magic, too.)

Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?

TED2014

Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?

March 20, 2014


The subject of race can be very touchy. As finance executive Mellody Hobson says, it's a "conversational third rail." But, she says, that's exactly why we need to start talking about it. In this engaging, persuasive talk, Hobson makes the case that speaking openly about race — and particularly about diversity in hiring -- makes for better businesses and a better society.

Sarah Jones: What does the future hold? 11 characters offer quirky answers

TED2014

Sarah Jones: What does the future hold? 11 characters offer quirky answers

March 21, 2014


Sarah Jones changes personas with the simplest of wardrobe swaps. In a laugh-out-loud improvisation, she invites 11 "friends" from the future on stage—from a fast-talking Latina to an outspoken police officer—to ask them questions supplied by the TED2014 audience.

Gavin Schmidt: The emergent patterns of climate change

TED2014

Gavin Schmidt: The emergent patterns of climate change

March 12, 2014


You can't understand climate change in pieces, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. It's the whole, or it's nothing. In this illuminating talk, he explains how he studies the big picture of climate change with mesmerizing models that illustrate the endlessly complex interactions of small-scale environmental events.

Andrew Bastawrous: Get your next eye exam on a smartphone

TED2014

Andrew Bastawrous: Get your next eye exam on a smartphone

March 17, 2014


Thirty-nine million people in the world are blind, and the majority lost their sight due to curable and preventable diseases. But how do you test and treat people who live in remote areas, where expensive, bulky eye equipment is hard to come by? TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous demos a smartphone app and cheap hardware that might help.

David Epstein: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

TED2014

David Epstein: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

March 20, 2014


When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents is just one of them.

Wendy Chung: Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet)

TED2014

Wendy Chung: Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet)

March 20, 2014


In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening.

James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands

TED Fellows Retreat 2013

James Patten: The best computer interface? Maybe ... your hands

August 20, 2013


"The computer is an incredibly powerful means of creative expression," says designer and TED Fellow James Patten. But right now, we interact with computers, mainly, by typing and tapping. In this nifty talk and demo, Patten imagines a more visceral, physical way to bring your thoughts and ideas to life in the digital world, taking the computer interface off the screen and putting it into your hands.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

TED2014

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

March 19, 2014


Elizabeth Gilbert was once an "unpublished diner waitress," devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple -- though hard -- way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

Will Marshall: Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real-time

TED2014

Will Marshall: Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real-time

March 20, 2014


Satellite imaging has revolutionized our knowledge of the Earth, with detailed images of nearly every street corner readily available online. But Planet Labs' Will Marshall says we can do better and go faster -- by getting smaller. He introduces his tiny satellites -- no bigger than 10 by 10 by 30 centimeters -- that, when launched in a cluster, provide high-res images of the entire planet, updated daily.

Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think)

TEDxPerth

Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think)

October 14, 2013


Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion

TED2014

Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion

March 20, 2014


Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win

TED2014

Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win

March 20, 2014


At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces

TED2014

Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces

March 18, 2014


Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets

TED2014

Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets

March 19, 2014


Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" positioned 50,000 km from a telescope to enable imaging of planets about distant stars. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar

TED2014

Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar

March 21, 2014


The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy?

TED2014

David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy?

March 19, 2014


Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly: Be passionate. Be courageous. Be your best.

TED2014

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly: Be passionate. Be courageous. Be your best.

March 21, 2014


On January 8, 2011, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head while meeting constituents in her home town of Tucson, Arizona. Her husband, the astronaut Mark Kelly, immediately flew to be by her side. In this emotional conversation with Pat Mitchell, the pair describe their lives both before and after the accident -- and describe their views on responsible gun ownership.

David Sengeh: The sore problem of prosthetic limbs

TED2014

David Sengeh: The sore problem of prosthetic limbs

March 17, 2014


What drove David Sengeh to create a more comfortable prosthetic limb? He grew up in Sierra Leone, and too many of the people he loves are missing limbs after the brutal civil war there. When he noticed that people who had prosthetics weren’t actually wearing them, the TED Fellow set out to discover why — and to solve the problem with his team from the MIT Media Lab.