Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit

TED2016

Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit

February 18, 2016


To those who feel like they don't belong: there is beauty in being a misfit. Author Lidia Yuknavitch shares her own wayward journey in an intimate recollection of patchwork stories about loss, shame and the slow process of self-acceptance. "Even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful," she says. "You don't know it yet, but you have the ability to reinvent yourself endlessly. That's your beauty."

Trevor Timm: How free is our freedom of the press?

TED2016

Trevor Timm: How free is our freedom of the press?

February 15, 2016


In the US, the press has a right to publish secret information the public needs to know, protected by the First Amendment. Government surveillance has made it increasingly more dangerous for whistleblowers, the source of virtually every important story about national security since 9/11, to share information. In this concise, informative talk, Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder and TED Fellow Trevor Timm traces the recent history of government action against individuals who expose crime and injustice and advocates for technology that can help them do it safely and anonymously.

Toni Mac: The laws that sex workers really want

TEDxEastEnd

Toni Mac: The laws that sex workers really want

January 30, 2016


Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) ... but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. "If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you," she says. "Make space for us in your movements." (Adult themes)

Sebastian Junger: Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war

TED Talks Live

Sebastian Junger: Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war

November 4, 2015


Sebastian Junger has seen war up close, and he knows the impact that battlefield trauma has on soldiers. But he suggests there's another major cause of pain for veterans when they come home: the experience of leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society. "Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets," Junger says. "I think the real question is if we can save ourselves." (This talk comes from the PBS special "TED Talks: War & Peace," which premieres Monday, May 30 at 9 p.m. EST.)

Laura Indolfi: Good news in the fight against pancreatic cancer

TED2016

Laura Indolfi: Good news in the fight against pancreatic cancer

February 15, 2016


Anyone who has lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer knows the devastating speed with which it can affect an otherwise healthy person. TED Fellow and biomedical entrepreneur Laura Indolfi is developing a revolutionary way to treat this complex and lethal disease: a drug delivery device that acts as a cage at the site of a tumor, preventing it from spreading and delivering medicine only where it's needed. "We are hoping that one day we can make pancreatic cancer a curable disease," she says.

Moran Cerf: This scientist can hack your dreams

TED2016

Moran Cerf: This scientist can hack your dreams

February 18, 2016


What if we could peek inside our brains and see our dreams -- or even shape them? Studying memory-specific brain cells, neuroscientist (and ex-hacker) Moran Cerf found that our sleeping brains retain some of the content we encounter when we're awake and that our dreams can influence our waking actions. Where could this lead us? "Neuroscientists are now giving us a new tool to control our dreams," Cerf says, "a new canvas that flickers to life when we fall asleep."

Andrew Pelling: This scientist makes ears out of apples

TED2016

Andrew Pelling: This scientist makes ears out of apples

February 15, 2016


TED Fellow Andrew Pelling is a biohacker, and nature is his hardware. His favorite materials are the simplest ones (and oftentimes he finds them in the garbage). Building on the cellulose structure that gives an apple its shape, he "grows" lifelike human ears, pioneering a process that might someday be used to repair body parts safely and cheaply. And he has some even wilder ideas to share ... "What I'm really curious about is if one day it will be possible to repair, rebuild and augment our own bodies with stuff we make in the kitchen," he says.

Kang Lee: Can you really tell if a kid is lying?

TED2016

Kang Lee: Can you really tell if a kid is lying?

February 18, 2016


Are children poor liars? Do you think you can easily detect their lies? Developmental researcher Kang Lee studies what happens physiologically to children when they lie. They do it a lot, starting as young as two years old, and they're actually really good at it. Lee explains why we should celebrate when kids start to lie and presents new lie-detection technology that could someday reveal our hidden emotions.

Michael Bodekaer: This virtual lab will revolutionize science class

TEDxCERN

Michael Bodekaer: This virtual lab will revolutionize science class

October 9, 2015


Virtual reality is no longer part of some distant future, and it's not just for gaming and entertainment anymore. Michael Bodekaer wants to use it to make quality education more accessible. In this refreshing talk, he demos an idea that could revolutionize the way we teach science in schools.

Monica Byrne: A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram

TED2016

Monica Byrne: A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram

February 18, 2016


Science fiction writer Monica Byrne imagines rich worlds populated with characters who defy our racial, social and gender stereotypes. In this performance, Byrne appears as a hologram named Pilar, transmitting a story of love and loss back to us from a near future when humans have colonized the universe. "It's always funny what you think the future is going to be like versus what it turns out to be," she says.

Sangeeta Bhatia: This tiny particle could roam your body to find tumors

TED Talks Live

Sangeeta Bhatia: This tiny particle could roam your body to find tumors

November 6, 2015


What if we could find cancerous tumors years before they can harm us -- without expensive screening facilities or even steady electricity? Physician, bioengineer and entrepreneur Sangeeta Bhatia leads a multidisciplinary lab that searches for novel ways to understand, diagnose and treat human disease. Her target: the two-thirds of deaths due to cancer that she says are fully preventable. With remarkable clarity, she breaks down complex nanoparticle science and shares her dream for a radical new cancer test that could save millions of lives.

Dan Pallotta: The dream we haven't dared to dream

TED2016

Dan Pallotta: The dream we haven't dared to dream

February 15, 2016


What are your dreams? Better yet, what are your broken dreams? Dan Pallotta dreams of a time when we are as excited, curious and scientific about the development of our humanity as we are about the development of our technology. "What we fear most is that we will be denied the opportunity to fulfill our true potential," Pallotta says. "Imagine living in a world where we simply recognize that deep, existential fear in one another -- and love one another boldly because we know that to be human is to live with that fear."

Sanford Biggers: An artist's unflinching look at racial violence

TED2016

Sanford Biggers: An artist's unflinching look at racial violence

February 15, 2016


Conceptual artist and TED Fellow Sanford Biggers uses painting, sculpture, video and performance to spark challenging conversations about the history and trauma of black America. Join him as he details two compelling works and shares the motivation behind his art. "Only through more thoughtful dialogue about history and race can we evolve as individuals and society," Biggers says.

Uri Hasson: This is your brain on communication

TED2016

Uri Hasson: This is your brain on communication

February 18, 2016


Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become "aligned," when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge. "We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning," Hasson says.

Jennifer Kahn: Gene editing can now change an entire species -- forever

TED2016

Jennifer Kahn: Gene editing can now change an entire species -- forever

February 17, 2016


CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now? Join journalist Jennifer Kahn as she ponders these questions and shares a potentially powerful application of gene drives: the development of disease-resistant mosquitoes that could knock out malaria and Zika.

Alice Rawsthorn: Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers

TED2016

Alice Rawsthorn: Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers

February 18, 2016


In this ode to design renegades, Alice Rawsthorn highlights the work of unlikely heroes, from Blackbeard to Florence Nightingale. Drawing a line from these bold thinkers to some early modern visionaries like Buckminster Fuller, Rawsthorn shows how the greatest designers are often the most rebellious.

Sarah Gray: How my son's short life made a lasting difference

TEDMED 2015

Sarah Gray: How my son's short life made a lasting difference

November 18, 2015


After Sarah Gray's unborn son Thomas was diagnosed with anencephaly, a terminal condition, she decided to turn her family's tragedy into an extraordinary gift and donate his organs to scientific research. In this tribute to life and discovery, she shares her journey to find meaning in loss and spreads a message of hope for other grieving families.

Carrie Nugent: Adventures of an asteroid hunter

TED2016

Carrie Nugent: Adventures of an asteroid hunter

February 15, 2016


TED Fellow Carrie Nugent is an asteroid hunter -- part of a group of scientists working to discover and catalog our oldest and most numerous cosmic neighbors. Why keep an eye out for asteroids? In this short, fact-filled talk, Nugent explains how their awesome impacts have shaped our planet, and how finding them at the right time could mean nothing less than saving life on Earth.

Riccardo Sabatini: How to read the genome and build a human being

TED2016

Riccardo Sabatini: How to read the genome and build a human being

February 15, 2016


Secrets, disease and beauty are all written in the human genome, the complete set of genetic instructions needed to build a human being. Now, as scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini shows us, we have the power to read this complex code, predicting things like height, eye color, age and even facial structure -- all from a vial of blood. And soon, Sabatini says, our new understanding of the genome will allow us to personalize treatments for diseases like cancer. We have the power to change life as we know it. How will we use it?

Michael Metcalfe: A provocative way to finance the fight against climate change

TED@State Street Boston

Michael Metcalfe: A provocative way to finance the fight against climate change

November 3, 2015


Will we do whatever it takes to fight climate change? Back in 2008, following the global financial crisis, governments across the world adopted a "whatever it takes" commitment to monetary recovery, issuing $250 billion worth of international currency to stem the collapse of the economy. In this delightfully wonky talk, financial expert Michael Metcalfe suggests we can use that very same unconventional monetary tool to fund a global commitment to a green future.

Ameera Harouda: Why I put myself in danger to tell the stories of Gaza

TED2016

Ameera Harouda: Why I put myself in danger to tell the stories of Gaza

February 18, 2016


When Ameera Harouda hears the sounds of bombs or shells, she heads straight towards them. "I want to be there first because these stories should be told," says Gaza's first female "fixer," a role that allows her to guide journalists into chaotic, war zone scenarios in her home country, which she still loves despite its terrible situation. Find out what motivates Harouda to give a voice to Gaza's human suffering in this unforgettable talk.

R. Luke DuBois: Insightful human portraits made from data

TED2016

R. Luke DuBois: Insightful human portraits made from data

February 15, 2016


Artist R. Luke DuBois makes unique portraits of presidents, cities, himself and even Britney Spears using data and personality. In this talk, he shares nine projects -- from maps of the country built using information taken from millions of dating profiles to a gun that fires a blank every time a shooting is reported in New Orleans. His point: the way we use technology reflects on us and our culture, and we reduce others to data points at our own peril.

Shivani Siroya: A smart loan for people with no credit history (yet)

TED2016

Shivani Siroya: A smart loan for people with no credit history (yet)

February 15, 2016


Trust: How do you earn it? Banks use credit scores to determine if you're trustworthy, but there are about 2.5 billion people around the world who don't have one to begin with -- and who can't get a loan to start a business, buy a home or otherwise improve their lives. Hear how TED Fellow Shivani Siroya is unlocking untapped purchasing power in the developing world with InVenture, a start-up that uses mobile data to create a financial identity. "With something as simple as a credit score," says Siroya, "we're giving people the power to build their own futures."

Chris Anderson: TED's secret to great public speaking

TED Studio

Chris Anderson: TED's secret to great public speaking

March 24, 2016


There's no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. TED Curator Chris Anderson shares this secret -- along with four ways to make it work for you. Do you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading?

Kenneth Lacovara: Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe

TED2016

Kenneth Lacovara: Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe

February 16, 2016


What happens when you discover a dinosaur? Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara details his unearthing of Dreadnoughtus -- a 77-million-year-old sauropod that was as tall as a two-story house and as heavy as a jumbo jet -- and considers how amazingly improbable it is that a tiny mammal living in the cracks of the dinosaur world could evolve into a sentient being capable of understanding these magnificent creatures. Join him in a celebration of the Earth's geological history and contemplate our place in deep time.

Aditi Gupta: A taboo-free way to talk about periods

TEDxGatewayWomen

Aditi Gupta: A taboo-free way to talk about periods

May 29, 2015


It's true: talking about menstruation makes many people uncomfortable. And that taboo has consequences: in India, three out of every 10 girls don't even know what menstruation is at the time of their first period, and restrictive customs related to periods inflict psychological damage on young girls. Growing up with this taboo herself, Aditi Gupta knew she wanted to help girls, parents and teachers talk about periods comfortably and without shame. She shares how she did it.

Joshua Prager: Wisdom from great writers on every year of life

TEDActive 2015

Joshua Prager: Wisdom from great writers on every year of life

March 19, 2015


As different as we humans are from one another, we all age along the same great sequence, and the shared patterns of our lives pass into the pages of the books we love. In this moving talk, journalist Joshua Prager explores the stages of life through quotations from Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, William Trevor and other great writers, set to visualizations by graphic designer Milton Glaser. "Books tell us who we've been, who we are, who we will be, too," Prager says.

Amanda Palmer, Jherek Bischoff, Usman Riaz: "Space Oddity"

TED2016

Amanda Palmer, Jherek Bischoff, Usman Riaz: "Space Oddity"

February 19, 2016


Singer Amanda Palmer pays tribute to the inimitable David Bowie with a cover of "Space Oddity." She's joined onstage by Jherek Bischoff, TED Fellow Usman Riaz and, no, your eyes are not deceiving you, none other than former Vice President Al Gore.

Christiana Figueres: The inside story of the Paris climate agreement

TED2016

Christiana Figueres: The inside story of the Paris climate agreement

February 17, 2016


What would you do if your job was to save the planet? When Christiana Figueres was tapped by the UN to lead the Paris climate conference (COP 21) in December 2015, she reacted the way many people would: she thought it would be impossible to bring the leaders of 195 countries into agreement on how to slow climate change. Find out how she turned her skepticism into optimism -- and helped the world achieve the most important climate agreement in history.

Mary Norris: The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen

TED2016

Mary Norris: The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen

February 17, 2016


"Copy editing for The New Yorker is like playing shortstop for a Major League Baseball team -- every little movement gets picked over by the critics," says Mary Norris, who has played the position for more than thirty years. In that time, she's gotten a reputation for sternness and for being a "comma maniac," but this is unfounded, she says. Above all, her work is aimed at one thing: making authors look good. Explore The New Yorker's distinctive style with the person who knows it best in this charming talk.