Julia Sweeney: It's time for "The Talk"

TED2010

Julia Sweeney: It's time for "The Talk"

February 12, 2010


Despite her best efforts, comedian Julia Sweeney is forced to tell a little white lie when her 8-year-old begins learning about frog reproduction -- and starts to ask some very smart questions.

Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover

TEDxNYED

Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover

March 6, 2010


Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. In his talk, Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think. (Filmed at TEDxNYED.)

Enric Sala: Glimpses of a pristine ocean

Mission Blue Voyage

Enric Sala: Glimpses of a pristine ocean

April 10, 2010


Enric Sala shares glorious images -- and surprising insights and data -- from some of the most pristine areas of the ocean. He shows how we can restore more of our oceans to this healthy, balanced state, and the powerful ecological and economic benefits of doing so.

Nathan Myhrvold: Could this laser zap malaria?

TED2010

Nathan Myhrvold: Could this laser zap malaria?

February 12, 2010


Nathan Myhrvold and team's latest inventions -- as brilliant as they are bold -- remind us that the world needs wild creativity to tackle big problems like malaria. And just as that idea sinks in, he rolls out a live demo of a new, mosquito-zapping gizmo you have to see to believe.

Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

TED2010

Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

February 12, 2010


We're all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know.

Anil Gupta: India's hidden hotbeds of invention

TEDIndia 2009

Anil Gupta: India's hidden hotbeds of invention

November 6, 2009


Anil Gupta is on the hunt for the developing world's unsung inventors -- indigenous entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hidden by poverty, could change many people's lives. He shows how the Honey Bee Network helps them build the connections they need -- and gain the recognition they deserve.

Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

Mission Blue Voyage

Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

April 9, 2010


In this bracing talk, coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson lays out the shocking state of the ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse. Astonishing photos and stats make the case.

Thomas Dolby: "Love Is a Loaded Pistol"

TED2010

Thomas Dolby: "Love Is a Loaded Pistol"

February 10, 2010


To write his first studio album in decades, "A Map of the Floating City," Thomas Dolby has been working in the inspirational setting of a restored lifeboat. At TED2010 he premieres a gorgeous, evocative song from that album -- about one night with a legend. He's backed by members of the modern string quartet Ethel.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

TEDxPuget Sound

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

September 17, 2009


Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ... (Filmed at TEDxPugetSound.)

Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty

TED2010

Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty

February 12, 2010


Alleviating poverty is more guesswork than science, and lack of data on aid's impact raises questions about how to provide it. But Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo says it's possible to know which development efforts help and which hurt -- by testing solutions with randomized trials.

Sebastian Wernicke: Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks)

TED2010

Sebastian Wernicke: Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks)

February 10, 2010


In a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek analysis, Sebastian Wernicke turns the tools of statistical analysis on TEDTalks, to come up with a metric for creating "the optimum TEDTalk" based on user ratings. How do you rate it? "Jaw-dropping"? "Unconvincing"? Or just plain "Funny"?

George Whitesides: Toward a science of simplicity

TED2010

George Whitesides: Toward a science of simplicity

February 13, 2010


Simplicity: We know it when we see it -- but what is it, exactly? In this funny, philosophical talk, George Whitesides chisels out an answer.

Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific

Mission Blue Voyage

Roz Savage: Why I'm rowing across the Pacific

April 8, 2010


Five years ago, Roz Savage quit her high-powered London job to become an ocean rower. She's crossed the Atlantic solo, and just started the third leg of a Pacific solo row, the first for a woman. Why does she do it? Hear her reasons, both deeply personal and urgently activist.

Stephen Wolfram: Computing a theory of all knowledge

TED2010

Stephen Wolfram: Computing a theory of all knowledge

February 12, 2010


Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.

Kavita Ramdas: Radical women, embracing tradition

TEDIndia 2009

Kavita Ramdas: Radical women, embracing tradition

November 5, 2009


Investing in women can unlock infinite potential around the globe. But how can women walk the line between Western-style empowerment and traditional culture? Kavita Ramdas of the Global Fund for Women talks about three encounters with powerful women who fight to make the world better -- while preserving the traditions that sustain them.

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.)