How does a robin know to fly south? The answer might be weirder than you think: Quantum physics may be involved. Jim Al-Khalili rounds up the extremely new, extremely strange world of quantum biology, where something Einstein once called “spooky action at a distance” helps birds navigate, and quantum effects might explain the origin of life itself.
Tony Wyss-Coray studies the impact of aging on the human body and brain. In this eye-opening talk, he shares new research from his Stanford lab and other teams which shows that a solution for some of the less great aspects of old age might actually lie within us all.
Who is listening in on your phone calls? On a landline, it could be anyone, says privacy activist Christopher Soghoian, because surveillance backdoors are built into the phone system by default, to allow governments to listen in. But then again, so could a foreign intelligence service ... or a criminal. Which is why, says Soghoian, some tech companies are resisting governments' call to build the same backdoors into mobile phones and new messaging systems. From this TED Fellow, learn how some tech companies are working to keep your calls and messages private.
Swallowing pills to get medication is a quick, painless and often not entirely effective way of treating disease. A potentially better way? Lasers. In this passionate talk, TED Fellow Patience Mthunzi explains her idea to use lasers to deliver drugs directly to cells infected with HIV. It's early days yet, but could a cure be on the horizon?
Around the world, women still struggle for equality in basic matters like access to education, equal pay and the right to vote. But how to enlist everyone, men and women, as allies for change? Meet Elizabeth Nyamayaro, head of UN Women's HeForShe initiative, which has created more than 2.4 billion social media conversations about a more equal world. She invites us all to join in as allies in our shared humanity.
Alix Generous is a young woman with a million and one ideas -- she's done award-winning science, helped develop new technology and tells a darn good joke (you'll see). She has Asperger's, a form of autistic spectrum disorder that can impair the basic social skills required for communication, and she's worked hard for years to learn how to share her thoughts with the world. In this funny, personal talk, she shares her story -- and her vision for tools to help more people communicate their big ideas.
ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas. These three very different groups are known for violence — but that’s only a portion of what they do, says policy analyst Benedetta Berti. They also attempt to win over populations with social work: setting up schools and hospitals, offering safety and security, and filling the gaps left by weak governments. Understanding the broader work of these groups suggests new strategies for ending the violence.
As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA -- and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we've spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.
In the fog of war, civilian casualties often go uncounted. Artist Matt Kenyon, whose recent work memorialized the names and stories of US soldiers killed in the Iraq war, decided he should create a companion monument, to the Iraqi civilians caught in the war's crossfire. Learn how he built a secret monument to place these names in the official record.
Some of us learn best in the classroom, and some of us ... well, we don't. But we still love to learn -- we just need to find the way that works for us. In this charming, personal talk, author John Green shares the community of learning that he found in online video.
What does this gorgeous street art say? It's Arabic poetry, inspired by bold graffiti and placed where a message of hope and peace can do the most good. In this quietly passionate talk, artist and TED Fellow eL Seed describes his ambition: to create art so beautiful it needs no translation.
When artist Salvatore Iaconesi was diagnosed with brain cancer, he refused to be a passive patient -- which, he points out, means "one who waits." So he hacked his brain scans, posted them online, and invited a global community to pitch in on a "cure." This sometimes meant medical advice, and it sometimes meant art, music, emotional support -- from more than half a million people.
Twitter gives a voice to the voiceless, a way to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But sometimes, says Jon Ronson, things go too far. In a jaw-dropping story of how one un-funny tweet ruined a woman's life and career, Ronson shows how online commenters can end up behaving like a baying mob -- and says it's time to rethink how we interact online.
Stacey Baker has always been obsessed with how couples meet. When she asked photographer Alec Soth to help her explore this topic, they found themselves at the world's largest speed-dating event, held in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day, and at the largest retirement community in Nevada — with Soth taking portraits of pairs in each locale. Between these two extremes, they unwound a beautiful through-line of how a couple goes from meeting to creating a life together. (This talk was part of a TED2015 session curated by Pop-Up Magazine: popupmagazine.com or @popupmag on Twitter.)
What really causes addiction -- to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do -- and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.
Strong faith is a core part of Alaa Murabit's identity -- but when she moved from Canada to Libya as a young woman, she was surprised how the tenets of Islam were used to severely limit women's rights, independence and ability to lead. She wondered: Was this really religious doctrine? With humor, passion and a refreshingly rebellious spirt, she shares how she found examples of female leaders across the history of her faith — and how she speaks up for women using verses from the Koran.
Abortion is extremely common. In America, for example, one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime, yet the strong emotions sparked by the topic -- and the highly politicized rhetoric around it -- leave little room for thoughtful, open debate. In this personal, thoughtful talk, Aspen Baker makes the case for being neither “pro-life” nor “pro-choice” but rather "pro-voice" -- and for the roles that listening and storytelling can play when it comes to discussing difficult topics.
How does knowledge grow? Sometimes it begins with one insight and grows into many branches; other times it grows as a complex and interconnected network. Infographics expert Manuel Lima explores the thousand-year history of mapping data -- from languages to dynasties -- using trees and networks of information. It's a fascinating history of visualizations, and a look into humanity's urge to map what we know.
Memory Banda’s life took a divergent path from her sister’s. When her sister reached puberty, she was sent to a traditional “initiation camp” that teaches girls “how to sexually please a man.” She got pregnant there — at age 11. Banda, however, refused to go. Instead, she organized others and asked her community’s leader to issue a bylaw that no girl should be forced to marry before turning 18. She pushed on to the national level … with incredible results for girls across Malawi.
Basketball is a fast-moving game of improvisation, contact and, ahem, spatio-temporal pattern recognition. Rajiv Maheswaran and his colleagues are analyzing the movements behind the key plays of the game, to help coaches and players combine intuition with new data. Bonus: What they're learning could help us understand how humans move everywhere.
With his signature resolve, former US President Jimmy Carter dives into three unexpected reasons why the mistreatment of women and girls continues in so many manifestations in so many parts of the world, both developed and developing. The final reason he gives? "In general, men don't give a damn."
What do you learn when you sail around the world on your own? When solo sailor Ellen MacArthur circled the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she came back with new insight into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources, where the decisions we make today affect what's left for tomorrow. She proposes a bold new way to see the world's economic systems: not as linear, but as circular, where everything comes around.
Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is ... the driver. In 2015, Chris Urmson was head of Google's driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver's seat. He shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.
Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we've squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we're entering a post-antibiotic world -- and it won't be pretty. There are, however, things we can do ... if we start right now.
In 2011, the US Armed Forces still had a ban on women in combat -- but in that year, a Special Operations team of women was sent to Afghanistan to serve on the front lines, to build rapport with locals and try to help bring an end to the war. Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the story of this "band of sisters," an extraordinary group of women warriors who helped break a long-standing barrier to serve.
Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly -- clarity and mystery -- and when, why and how they work. He celebrates beautiful, useful pieces of design, skewers less successful work, and shares the thinking behind some of his own iconic book covers.
Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to “a perfect storm of autism awareness” — a pair of psychologists with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944. Because it was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since. (This talk was part of a TED2015 session curated by Pop-Up Magazine: popupmagazine.com or @popupmag on Twitter.)
For the longest time, doctors basically ignored the most basic and frustrating part of being sick -- pain. In this lyrical, informative talk, Latif Nasser tells the extraordinary story of wrestler and doctor John J. Bonica, who persuaded the medical profession to take pain seriously -- and transformed the lives of millions.