Ink that conducts electricity; a window that turns from clear to opaque at the flip of a switch; a jelly that makes music. All this stuff exists, and Catarina Mota says: It's time to play with it. Mota leads us on a tour of surprising and cool new materials, and suggests that the way we'll figure out what they're good for is to experiment, tinker and have fun.
Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono "embraces his inner nerd" and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.
Throughout humankind's history, we've driven species after species extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Eastern cougar, the dodo ... But now, says Stewart Brand, we have the technology (and the biology) to bring back species that humanity wiped out. So -- should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.
Modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but neurobiologist David Anderson has a more nuanced view of how the brain functions. He shares new research that could lead to targeted psychiatric medications -- that work better and avoid side effects. How's he doing it? For a start, by making a bunch of fruit flies angry.
Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend -- not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world.
By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it's like to be young and … different. "To This Day," his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."
Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight -- and the teamwork -- that helped to capture the squid on film for the first time.
"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work may show -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert. (NOTE: Statements in this talk have been challenged by scientists working in this field. Please read "Criticisms & Updates" below for more details.)
Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.
Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?
Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra makes his bold TED Prize wish: Help me design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud. Hear his inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments.
There's a place in France where the robots do a dance. And that place is TEDxConcorde, where Bruno Maisonnier of Aldebaran Robotics choreographs a troupe of tiny humanoid Nao robots through a surprisingly emotive performance.
Ethnographer Wade Davis explores hidden places in the wider world -- but in this powerful short talk he urges us to save a paradise in his backyard, Northern Canada. The Sacred Headwaters, remote and pristine, are under threat because they hide rich tar sands. With stunning photos, Davis asks a tough question: How can we balance society's need for fuels with the urge to protect such glorious wilderness?
Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments.
An insect's ability to fly is one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a fruit fly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain.
Trinidad and Tobago amassed great wealth in the 1970s thanks to oil -- but 2 out of every 3 dollars earmarked for development ended up wasted or stolen. This fact has haunted Afra Raymond for 30 years. Shining a flashlight on a continued history of government corruption, Raymond gives us a reframing of financial crime.
Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo a traditional Maasai rite of passage, female circumcision, if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community, changing the destiny of 125 young women.
Can we use our brains to directly control machines? Miguel Nicolelis suggests yes, showing how a clever monkey in the US learned to control a robot arm in Japan purely with its thoughts. The research has big implications for quadraplegic people -- and in fact, it powered the exoskeleton that kicked off the 2014 World Cup.
What can economists learn from linguists? Behavioral economist Keith Chen introduces a fascinating pattern from his research: that languages without a concept for the future -- "It rain tomorrow," instead of "It will rain tomorrow" -- correlate strongly with high savings rates.
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system -- say, a swarm of birds -- is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the world economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable.
How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another -- then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.
Imagine a country where girls must sneak out to go to school, with deadly consequences if they get caught learning. This was Afghanistan under the Taliban, and traces of that danger remain today. 22-year-old Shabana Basij-Rasikh runs a school for girls in Afghanistan. She celebrates the power of a family's decision to believe in their daughters -- and tells the story of one brave father who stood up to local threats.
Paved roads are nice to look at, but they're easily damaged and costly to repair. Erik Schlangen demos a new type of porous asphalt made of simple materials with an astonishing feature: When cracked, it can be "healed" by induction heating.
Make a city beautiful, curb corruption. Edi Rama took this deceptively simple path as mayor of Tirana, Albania, where he instilled pride in his citizens by transforming public spaces with colorful designs.
There are so many tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic moments in your life -- how are you going to remember them all? Director Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day as part of an ongoing project to collect all the special bits of his life.
Kid President commands you to wake up, listen to the beating of your heart and create something that will make the world awesome. This video from SoulPancake delivers a soul-stirring dose of inspiration that only a 9-year-old can give.
Imagine a country with abundant power -- oil and gas, sunshine, wind (and money) -- but missing one key essential for life: water. Infrastructure engineer Fahad Al-Attiya talks about the unexpected ways that the small Middle Eastern nation of Qatar creates its water supply.