Anthropologist Wade Davis muses on the worldwide web of belief and ritual that makes us human. He shares breathtaking photos and stories of the Elder Brothers, a group of Sierra Nevada indians whose spiritual practice holds the world in balance.
Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge.
Nathan Myhrvold talks about a few of his latest fascinations -- animal photography, archeology, BBQ and generally being an eccentric genius multimillionaire. Listen for wild stories from the (somewhat raunchy) edge of the animal world.
Around the world right now, one billion people are trapped in poor or failing countries. How can we help them? Economist Paul Collier lays out a bold, compassionate plan for closing the gap between rich and poor.
Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. She makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology -- and invents ways to keep itself alive
Dr. Seyi Oyesola takes a searing look at health care in underdeveloped countries. His photo tour of a Nigerian teaching hospital -- all low-tech hacks and donated supplies -- drives home the challenge of doing basic health care there.
Designer Yves Behar digs up his creative roots to discuss some of the iconic objects he's created (the Leaf lamp, the Jawbone headset). Then he turns to the witty, surprising, elegant objects he's working on now -- including the "$100 laptop."
Ocean explorer Robert Ballard takes us on a mindbending trip to hidden worlds underwater, where he and other researchers are finding unexpected life, resources, even new mountains. He makes a case for serious exploration and mapping. Google Ocean, anyone?
In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it's putting the entire planet at risk.
Hacker and writer Joshua Klein is fascinated by crows. (Notice the gleam of intelligence in their little black eyes?) After a long amateur study of corvid behavior, he's come up with an elegant thought experiment: a machine that could form a new bond between animal and human.
Evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald drags us into the sewer to discuss germs. Why are some more harmful than others? How could we make the harmful ones benign? Searching for answers, he examines a disgusting, fascinating case: diarrhea.
Hector Ruiz, the executive chair of AMD, wants to give Internet access to everyone. In this talk, he shares his extraordinary life story and describes AMD's 50x15 initiative that calls for connecting 50 percent of the world by 2015.
"Rock-star physicist" Brian Cox talks about his work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Discussing the biggest of big science in an engaging, accessible way, Cox brings us along on a tour of the massive project.
Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.
Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that -- with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve -- it's possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.
Tod Machover of MIT's Media Lab is devoted to extending musical expression to everyone, from virtuosos to amateurs, and in the most diverse forms, from opera to video games. He and composer Dan Ellsey shed light on what's next.
Building sophisticated educational tools out of cheap parts, Johnny Lee demos his cool Wii Remote hacks, which turn the $40 video game controller into a digital whiteboard, a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer.
In keeping with the theme of TED2008, professor Stephen Hawking asks some Big Questions about our universe -- How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Are we alone? -- and discusses how we might go about answering them.