"In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us." Boyd Varty, a wildlife activist, shares stories of animals, humans and their interrelatedness, or "ubuntu" -- defined as, "I am, because of you." And he dedicates the talk to South African leader Nelson Mandela, the human embodiment of that same great-hearted, generous spirit.
Snow Dragon. Pure Imagination. Frozen Minotaur. These are the names Eddy Cartaya and his climbing partner Brent McGregor gave three glacier caves that they were the first to explore. As the Sandy Glacier slowly slides down Mount Hood in Oregon, the caves and tunnels inside it morph annually thanks to warm water from above and warm air from below. At TEDYouth, Cartaya takes us inside these magical spaces where the ice glows in bright blues and greens, and where artifacts rain from the ceiling.
Diébédo Francis Kéré knew exactly what he wanted to do when he got his degree in architecture... He wanted to go home to Gando in Burkina Faso, to help his neighbors reap the benefit of his education. In this charming talk, Kéré shows off some of the beautiful structures he's helped to build in his small village in the years since then, including an award-winning primary school made from clay by the entire community.
Almost everything we own and use, at some point, travels to us by container ship, through a vast network of ocean routes and ports that most of us know almost nothing about. Journalist Rose George tours us through the world of shipping, the underpinning of consumer civilization.
"An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport," argues Enrique Peñalosa. In this spirited talk, the mayor of Bogotá shares some of the tactics he used to change the transportation dynamic in the Colombian capital... and suggests ways to think about building smart cities of the future.
David Lang is a maker who taught himself to become an amateur oceanographer -- or, he taught a robot to be one for him. In a charming talk Lang, a TED Fellow, shows how he and a network of ocean lovers teamed up to build open-sourced, low-cost underwater explorers.
It's time for liberals and conservatives to transcend their political differences and really listen to each other, says political pundit Sally Kohn. In this optimistic talk, Kohn shares what she learned as a progressive lesbian talking head on Fox News. It’s not about political correctness, she says, but rather, emotional correctness. (Contains profanity.)
It's relatively easy to imagine a new medicine -- the hard part is testing it, and that can delay promising new cures for years. In this well-explained talk, Geraldine Hamilton shows how her lab creates organs and body parts on a chip, simple structures with all the pieces essential to testing new medications -- perhaps even custom cures made for one specific person.
Here's a stat worth knowing: In the UK, 63% of men who finish short-term prison sentences are back inside within a year for another crime. Helping them stay outside involves job training, classes, therapy. And it would pay off handsomely -- but the government can't find the funds. Toby Eccles shares an imaginative idea for how to change that: the Social Impact Bond. It's an unusual bond that helps fund initiatives with a social goal through private money -- with the government paying back the investors (with interest) if the initiatives work.
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
The human brain is puzzling -- it is curiously large given the size of our bodies, uses a tremendous amount of energy for its weight and has a bizarrely dense cerebral cortex. But: why? Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel puts on her detective's cap and leads us through this mystery. By making "brain soup," she arrives at a startling conclusion.
"Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it." In this funny, enlightening talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle details the importance -- and limitations -- of your "working memory," that part of the brain that allows us to make sense of what's happening right now.
There's an irony behind the latest efforts to extend human life: It's no picnic to be an old person in a youth-oriented society. Older people can become isolated, lacking meaningful work and low on funds. In this intriguing talk, Jared Diamond looks at how many different societies treat their elders -- some better, some worse -- and suggests we all take advantage of experience.
A billion people in the world lack access to all-season roads. Could the structure of the internet provide a model for how to reach them? Andreas Raptopoulos of Matternet thinks so. He introduces a new type of transportation system that uses electric autonomous flying machines to deliver medicine, food, goods and supplies wherever they are needed.
Paralyzed by a stroke, Henry Evans uses a telepresence robot to take the stage and show how new robotics, tweaked and personalized by a group called Robots for Humanity, help him live his life to the full. He shows off a nimble little quadrotor drone, created by a team led by Chad Jenkins, that gives him the ability to once again stroll a garden, visit a campus or give a TEDx Talk.
What are our forests really made of? From the air, ecologist Greg Asner uses a spectrometer and high-powered lasers to map nature in meticulous kaleidoscopic 3D detail -- what he calls "a very high-tech accounting system" of carbon. In this fascinating talk, Asner gives a clear message: To save our ecosystems, we need more data, gathered in new ways.
Different hospitals produce different results on different procedures. Only, patients don’t know that data, making choosing a surgeon a high-stakes guessing game. Stefan Larsson looks at what happens when doctors measure and share their outcomes on hip replacement surgery, for example, to see which techniques are proving the most effective. Could health care get better -- and cheaper -- if doctors learn from each other in a continuous feedback loop?
Ecologist Lian Pin Koh makes a persuasive case for using drones to protect the world's forests and wildlife. These lightweight autonomous flying vehicles can track animals in their natural habitat, monitor the health of rainforests, even combat crime by detecting poachers via thermal imaging. Added bonus? They're also entirely affordable.
What happens when you get an entire audience to stand up and connect with one another? Chaos, that's what. At least, that's what happened when Jane McGonigal tried to teach TED to play her favorite game. Then again, when the game is "massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling," what else would you expect?
Oklahoma City is a midsized town that had a big problem: It was among the most obese towns in America. Mayor Mick Cornett realized that, to make his city a great place to work and live, it had to become healthier too. In this charming talk, he walks us through the interlocking changes that helped OKC drop a collective million pounds (450,000 kilos).
For the young and unemployed in the world's big cities, dreams of opportunity and wealth do come true -- but too often because they're heavily recruited by terrorist groups and other violent organizations. Human rights advocate Mohamed Ali draws on stories from his native Mogadishu to make a powerful case for innovation incubators for our cities' young and ambitious.
What would a city designed for the blind be like? Chris Downey is an architect who went suddenly blind in 2008; he contrasts life in his beloved San Francisco before and after -- and shows how the thoughtful designs that enhance his life now might actually make everyone's life better, sighted or not.
Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)
Recent events have highlighted, underlined and bolded the fact that the United States is performing blanket surveillance on any foreigner whose data passes through an American entity -- whether they are suspected of wrongdoing or not. This means that, essentially, every international user of the internet is being watched, says Mikko Hypponen. An important rant, wrapped with a plea: to find alternative solutions to using American companies for the world's information needs.
A spinal cord injury can sever the communication between your brain and your body, leading to paralysis. Fresh from his lab, Grégoire Courtine shows a new method -- combining drugs, electrical stimulation and a robot -- that could re-awaken the neural pathways and help the body learn again to move on its own. See how it works, as a paralyzed rat becomes able to run and navigate stairs.
Up to 100,000 people died in drug-related violence in Mexico in the last 6 years. We might think this has nothing to do with us, but in fact we are all complicit, says Yale professor Rodrigo Canales in this unflinching talk that turns conventional wisdom about drug cartels on its head. The carnage is not about faceless, ignorant goons mindlessly killing each other but is rather the result of some seriously sophisticated brand management.
New York City residents produce 11,000 tons of garbage every day. Every day! This astonishing statistic is just one of the reasons Robin Nagle started a research project with the city's Department of Sanitation. She walked the routes, operated mechanical brooms, even drove a garbage truck herself--all so she could answer a simple-sounding but complicated question: who cleans up after us?
Chernobyl was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident and, for the past 27 years, the area around the plant has been known as the Exclusion Zone. And yet, a community of about 200 people live there -- almost all of them elderly women. These proud grandmas defied orders to relocate because their connection to their homeland and to their community are "forces that rival even radiation."
One year ago, Abha Dawesar was living in blacked-out Manhattan post-Sandy, scrounging for power to connect. As a novelist, she was struck by this metaphor: Have our lives now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what's real?
Why doesn't the government just get out of the way and let the private sector -- the "real revolutionaries" -- innovate? It's rhetoric you hear everywhere, and Mariana Mazzucato wants to dispel it. In an energetic talk, she shows how the state -- which many see as a slow, hunkering behemoth -- is really one of our most exciting risk-takers and market-shapers.