Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity

TEDGlobal 2011

Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity


Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language. He suggests that language is a piece of "social technology" that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.

Harald Haas: Wireless data from every light bulb

TEDGlobal 2011

Harald Haas: Wireless data from every light bulb


What if every light bulb in the world could also transmit data? At TEDGlobal, Harald Haas demonstrates, for the first time, a device that could do exactly that. By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower -- and do it in a way that's more efficient, secure and widespread.

Adam Ostrow: After your final status update

TEDGlobal 2011

Adam Ostrow: After your final status update


Many of us have a social media presence -- a virtual personality made up of status updates, tweets and connections, stored in the cloud. Adam Ostrow asks a big question: What happens to that personality after you've died? Could it ... live on?

Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better

TEDGlobal 2011

Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better


In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world around you.

Josette Sheeran: Ending hunger now

TEDGlobal 2011

Josette Sheeran: Ending hunger now


Josette Sheeran, the head of the UN's World Food Program, talks about why, in a world with enough food for everyone, people still go hungry, still die of starvation, still use food as a weapon of war. Her vision: "Food is one issue that cannot be solved person by person. We have to stand together."

Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure

TEDGlobal 2011

Paul Bloom: The origins of pleasure


Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists -- that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations

TEDGlobal 2011

Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations


Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.

Rory Stewart: Time to end the war in Afghanistan

TEDGlobal 2011

Rory Stewart: Time to end the war in Afghanistan


British MP Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan after 9/11, talking with citizens and warlords alike. Now, a decade later, he asks: Why are Western and coalition forces still fighting there? He shares lessons from past military interventions that worked -- Bosnia, for instance -- and shows that humility and local expertise are the keys to success.

Markus Fischer: A robot that flies like a bird

TEDGlobal 2011

Markus Fischer: A robot that flies like a bird


Plenty of robots can fly -- but none can fly like a real bird. That is, until Markus Fischer and his team at Festo built SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, that flies by flapping its wings. A soaring demo fresh from TEDGlobal 2011.

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world

TEDGlobal 2011

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world


Kevin Slavin argues that we're living in a world designed for -- and increasingly controlled by -- algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can't understand, with implications we can't control.

Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself

TEDGlobal 2011

Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself


Actor Thandie Newton tells the story of finding her "otherness" -- first, as a child growing up in two distinct cultures, and then as an actor playing with many different selves. A warm, wise talk, fresh from stage at TEDGlobal 2011.

Mikko Hypponen: Fighting viruses, defending the net

TEDGlobal 2011

Mikko Hypponen: Fighting viruses, defending the net


It's been 25 years since the first PC virus (Brain A) hit the net, and what was once an annoyance has become a sophisticated tool for crime and espionage. Computer security expert Mikko Hyppönen tells us how we can stop these new viruses from threatening the internet as we know it.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf: See Yemen through my eyes

TEDGlobal 2011

Nadia Al-Sakkaf: See Yemen through my eyes


As political turmoil in Yemen continues, the editor of the Yemen Times, Nadia Al-Sakkaf, talks at TEDGlobal with host Pat Mitchell. Al-Sakkaf's independent, English-language paper is vital for sharing news -- and for sharing a new vision of Yemen and of that country's women as equal partners in work and change.

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex

TEDGlobal 2011

Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex


Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems -- and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.

Maajid Nawaz: A global culture to fight extremism

TEDGlobal 2011

Maajid Nawaz: A global culture to fight extremism


Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold? Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist, asks for new grassroots stories and global social activism to spread democracy in the face of nationalism and xenophobia.

Rebecca MacKinnon: Let's take back the Internet!

TEDGlobal 2011

Rebecca MacKinnon: Let's take back the Internet!


In this powerful talk from TEDGlobal, Rebecca MacKinnon describes the expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace, and asks: How do we design the next phase of the Internet with accountability and freedom at its core, rather than control? She believes the internet is headed for a "Magna Carta" moment when citizens around the world demand that their governments protect free speech and their right to connection.

Nina Tandon: Caring for engineered tissue

TED2011

Nina Tandon: Caring for engineered tissue


Tissue engineer and TED Fellow Nina Tandon is growing artificial hearts and bones. To do that, she needs new ways of caring for artificially grown cells -- techniques she's developed by the simple but powerful method of copying their natural environments.

Simon Lewis: Don't take consciousness for granted

INK Conference

Simon Lewis: Don't take consciousness for granted


After a catastrophic car accident that left him in a coma, Simon Lewis found ways to recover -- physically and mentally -- beyond all expectations. At the INK Conference he tells how this remarkable story led him to concern over all threats to consciousness, and how to overcome them.

Jonathan Drori: The beautiful tricks of flowers

TEDSalon London Spring 2011

Jonathan Drori: The beautiful tricks of flowers


In this visually dazzling talk, Jonathan Drori shows the extraordinary ways flowering plants -- over a quarter million species -- have evolved to attract insects to spread their pollen: growing 'landing-strips' to guide the insects in, shining in ultraviolet, building elaborate traps, and even mimicking other insects in heat.

Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before

TED2011

Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before


Cookbook author (and geek) Nathan Myhrvold talks about his magisterial work, "Modernist Cuisine" -- and shares the secret of its cool photographic illustrations, which show cross-sections of food in the very act of being cooked.

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

TED2011

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days


Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky

TED2011

Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky


New York was planning to tear down the High Line, an abandoned elevated railroad in Manhattan, when Robert Hammond and a few friends suggested: Why not make it a park? He shares how it happened in this tale of local cultural activism.

Dave deBronkart: Meet e-Patient Dave

TEDxMaastricht

Dave deBronkart: Meet e-Patient Dave


When Dave deBronkart learned he had a rare and terminal cancer, he turned to a group of fellow patients online -- and found the medical treatment that saved his life. Now he calls on all patients to talk with one another, know their own health data, and make health care better one e-Patient at a time.

Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for a lost language

TED2011

Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for a lost language


Rajesh Rao is fascinated by "the mother of all crossword puzzles": how to decipher the 4000-year-old Indus script. He's enlisting modern computation to try to read this lost language, the key to understanding this ancient civilization.

Emiliano Salinas: A civil response to violence

TEDxSanMigueldeAllende

Emiliano Salinas: A civil response to violence


In this passionate talk that's already caused a sensation in Mexico, Emiliano Salinas, son of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, confronts the current climate of violence in Mexico -- or rather, how Mexican society responds to it. He calls on ordinary citizens to move from denial and fear to peaceful, community-based action. (Delivered in Spanish with English subtitles.)

Joshua Walters: On being just crazy enough

Full Spectrum Auditions

Joshua Walters: On being just crazy enough


At TED's Full Spectrum Auditions, comedian Joshua Walters, who's bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental "skillness." In this funny, thought-provoking talk, he asks: What's the right balance between medicating craziness away and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive?

Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound

TEDSalon London Spring 2011

Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound


Artist-technologist Honor Harger listens to the weird and wonderful noises of stars and planets and pulsars. In her work, she tracks the radio waves emitted by ancient celestial objects and turns them into sound, including "the oldest song you will ever hear," the sound of cosmic rays left over from the Big Bang.

Jok Church: A circle of caring

TED2007

Jok Church: A circle of caring


In this 3-minute talk, cartoonist and educator Jok Church tells a moving story of the teacher who cared for him when no one else did -- and how he returned the favor.

Daniel Tammet: Different ways of knowing

TED2011

Daniel Tammet: Different ways of knowing


Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia -- meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of "Born on a Blue Day," Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind.

Bill Ford: A future beyond traffic gridlock

TED2011

Bill Ford: A future beyond traffic gridlock


Bill Ford is a car guy -- his great-grandfather was Henry Ford, and he grew up inside the massive Ford Motor Co. So when he worries about cars' impact on the environment, and about our growing global gridlock problem, it's worth a listen. His vision for the future of mobility includes "smart roads," even smarter public transport and going green like never before.