Tim Birkhead: The early birdwatchers

The Do Lectures

Tim Birkhead: The early birdwatchers

September 18, 2009


Birds, a perennial human fascination, entertained medieval homes long before science took them for serious study. "Wisdom of Birds" author Tim Birkhead tours some intriguing birdwatcher lore (dug up in old field journals) -- and talks about the role it plays in ornithology today.

Omar Ahmad: Political change with pen and paper

TED2010

Omar Ahmad: Political change with pen and paper

February 10, 2010


Want your local politician to pay attention to an issue you care about? Take this tip from Omar Ahmad, the beloved former mayor of San Carlos, California: Send a monthly handwritten letter. Old-fashioned correspondence, he shows, is more effective than email, phone -- or even writing a check. Listen for his four simple steps to writing a letter that works.

Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team

TED2010

Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team

February 14, 2010


Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the "marshmallow problem" -- a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?

Frederick Balagadde: Bio-lab on a microchip

TED2010

Frederick Balagadde: Bio-lab on a microchip

February 11, 2010


Drugs alone can't stop disease in sub-Saharan Africa: We need diagnostic tools to match. TED Senior Fellow Frederick Balagadde shows how we can multiply the power and availability of an unwieldy, expensive diagnostic lab -- by miniaturizing it to the size of a chip.

James Randi: Homeopathy, quackery and fraud

TED2007

James Randi: Homeopathy, quackery and fraud

February 2, 2007


Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.)

Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world

Mission Blue Voyage

Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world

April 9, 2010


Some 80 to 90 percent of undersea creatures make light -- and we know very little about how or why. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder explores this glowing, sparkling, luminous world, sharing glorious images and insight into the unseen depths (and brights) of the ocean.

Eric Whitacre: A choir as big as the Internet

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir

Eric Whitacre: A choir as big as the Internet

March 10, 2010


185 voices from 12 countries join a choir that spans the globe: "Lux Aurumque," composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre, merges hundreds of tracks individually recorded and posted to YouTube. It's an astonishing illustration of how technology can connect us.

Thelma Golden: How art gives shape to cultural change

TED2009

Thelma Golden: How art gives shape to cultural change

February 10, 2009


Thelma Golden, curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, talks through three recent shows that explore how art examines and redefines culture. The "post-black" artists she works with are using their art to provoke a new dialogue about race and culture -- and about the meaning of art itself.

Mike deGruy: Hooked by an octopus

Mission Blue Voyage

Mike deGruy: Hooked by an octopus

April 7, 2010


Underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement -- and his fears -- about the blue heart of our planet.

Catherine Mohr: The tradeoffs of building green

TED2010

Catherine Mohr: The tradeoffs of building green

February 13, 2010


In a short, funny, data-packed talk at TED U, Catherine Mohr walks through all the geeky decisions she made when building a green new house -- looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think.

Jonathan Klein: Photos that changed the world

TED2010

Jonathan Klein: Photos that changed the world

February 11, 2010


Photographs do more than document history -- they make it. At TED University, Jonathan Klein of Getty Images shows some of the most iconic, and talks about what happens when a generation sees an image so powerful it can't look away -- or back.

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

TED2010

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

February 11, 2010


Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

Natalie Merchant: Singing old poems to life

TED2010

Natalie Merchant: Singing old poems to life

February 12, 2010


Natalie Merchant sings from her new album, Leave Your Sleep. Lyrics from near-forgotten 19th-century poetry pair with her unmistakable voice for a performance that brought the TED audience to its feet.

Jonathan Drori: Every pollen grain has a story

TED2010

Jonathan Drori: Every pollen grain has a story

February 11, 2010


Pollen goes unnoticed by most of us, except when hay fever strikes. But microscopes reveal it comes in stunning colors and shapes -- and travels remarkably well. Jonathan Drori gives an up-close glimpse of these fascinating flecks of plant courtship.

Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot

TEDxNASA

Dennis Hong: My seven species of robot

September 10, 2009


Dennis Hong introduces seven award-winnning, all-terrain robots -- like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR -- all built by his team at RoMeLa, Virginia Tech. Watch to the end to hear the five creative secrets to his lab's incredible technical success. (Filmed at TEDxNASA.)

Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention

TEDMED 2009

Dean Kamen: The emotion behind invention

October 26, 2009


Soldiers who've lost limbs in service face a daily struggle unimaginable to most of us. At TEDMED, Dean Kamen talks about the profound people and stories that motivated his work to give parts of their lives back with his design for a remarkable prosthetic arm.

Elizabeth Pisani: Sex, drugs and HIV -- let's get rational

TED2010

Elizabeth Pisani: Sex, drugs and HIV -- let's get rational

February 12, 2010


Armed with bracing logic, wit and her "public-health nerd" glasses, Elizabeth Pisani reveals the myriad of inconsistencies in today's political systems that prevent our dollars from effectively fighting the spread of HIV. Her research with at-risk populations -- from junkies in prison to sex workers on the street in Cambodia -- demonstrates the sometimes counter-intuitive measures that could stall the spread of this devastating disease.

Jesse Schell: When games invade real life

DICE Summit 2010

Jesse Schell: When games invade real life

February 18, 2010


Games are invading the real world -- and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning, says Jesse Schell. At the DICE Summit, he makes a startling prediction: a future where 1-ups and experience points break "out of the box" and into every part of our daily lives.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

TED2010

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

February 13, 2010


Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

TED2010

Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

February 11, 2010


With help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started. (Hint: it takes two.)

Kirk Citron: And now, the real news

TED2010

Kirk Citron: And now, the real news

February 11, 2010


How many of today's headlines will matter in 100 years? 1000? Kirk Citron's "Long News" project collects stories that not only matter today, but will resonate for decades -- even centuries -- to come. At TED2010, he highlights recent headlines with the potential to shape our future.

Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time

TEDIndia 2009

Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time

November 6, 2009


Educating the poor is more than just a numbers game, says Shukla Bose. She tells the story of her groundbreaking Parikrma Humanity Foundation, which brings hope to India's slums by looking past the daunting statistics and focusing on treating each child as an individual.

Kevin Bales: How to combat modern slavery

TED2010

Kevin Bales: How to combat modern slavery

February 12, 2010


In this moving yet pragmatic talk, Kevin Bales explains the business of modern slavery, a multibillion-dollar economy that underpins some of the worst industries on earth. He shares stats and personal stories from his on-the-ground research -- and names the price of freeing every slave on earth right now.

Patsy Rodenburg: Why I do theater

Michael Howard Studios

Patsy Rodenburg: Why I do theater

October 9, 2008


Patsy Rodenburg says the world needs actors more than ever. In this talk at Michael Howard Studios, she tells the story of a profound encounter that reveals the deeper role theater can play in people's lives.

Robert Gupta: Music is medicine, music is sanity

TED2010

Robert Gupta: Music is medicine, music is sanity

February 10, 2010


Robert Gupta, violinist with the LA Philharmonic, talks about a violin lesson he once gave to a brilliant, schizophrenic musician -- and what he learned. Called back onstage later, Gupta plays his own transcription of the prelude from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1.

Joel Levine: Why we need to go back to Mars

TEDxNASA

Joel Levine: Why we need to go back to Mars

November 20, 2009


In this talk, planetary scientist Joel Levine shows some intriguing -- and puzzling -- new discoveries about Mars: craters full of ice, traces of ancient oceans, and compelling hints at the presence, sometime in the past, of life. He makes the case for going back to Mars to find out more. (Filmed at TEDxNASA.)

Alan Siegel: Let's simplify legal jargon!

TED2010

Alan Siegel: Let's simplify legal jargon!

February 11, 2010


Tax forms, credit agreements, healthcare legislation: They're crammed with gobbledygook, says Alan Siegel, and incomprehensibly long. He calls for a simple, sensible redesign -- and plain English -- to make legal paperwork intelligible to the rest of us.

Juliana Machado Ferreira: The fight to end rare-animal trafficking in Brazil

TED2010

Juliana Machado Ferreira: The fight to end rare-animal trafficking in Brazil

February 2, 2010


Biologist Juliana Machado Ferreira, a TED Senior Fellow, talks about her work helping to save birds and other animals stolen from the wild in Brazil. Once these animals are seized from smugglers, she asks, then what?

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

TED2010

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

February 11, 2010


Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can -- and should -- be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves

TEDIndia 2009

Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves

November 11, 2009


Where does creative inspiration spring from? At TEDIndia, Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth," "Mr. India") pinpoints his source of creativity: sheer, utter panic. He shares a powerful way to unleash your inner storyteller.