A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism. In this enthralling talk Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object.
How often do you see the true beauty of the night sky? TED Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz shows how light pollution is ruining the extraordinary -- and often ignored -- experience of seeing directly into space.
What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.
The disastrous earthquake in Haiti taught humanitarian groups an unexpected lesson: the power of mobile devices to coordinate, inform and guide relief efforts. At TEDxRC2, Paul Conneally shows extraordinary examples of social media and other technologies becoming central to humanitarian aid.
They're the second-largest fish in the world, they're almost extinct, and we know almost nothing about them. In this talk, Simon Berrow describes the fascinating basking shark ("great fish of the sun" in Irish), and the exceptional -- and wonderfully low-tech -- ways he's learning enough to save them.
You can use your smartphone to find a local ATM, but what if you need a defibrillator? Lucien Engelen shows us online innovations that are changing the way we save lives, including a crowdsourced map of local AEDs.
Filmmaker Penelope Jagessar Chaffer was curious about the chemicals she was exposed to while pregnant: Could they affect her unborn child? So she asked scientist Tyrone Hayes to brief her on one he studied closely: atrazine, a herbicide used on corn. (Hayes, an expert on amphibians, is a critic of atrazine, which displays a disturbing effect on frog development.) Onstage together at TEDWomen, Hayes and Chaffer tell their story.
Keith Nolan always wanted to join the United States military. The challenge: He is Deaf, which is an automatic disqualification according to military rules. In this talk, he describes his fight to fight for his country. (In American Sign Language, with real-time translation.)
Erik Johansson creates realistic photos of impossible scenes -- capturing ideas, not moments. In this witty how-to, the Photoshop wizard describes the principles he uses to make these fantastical scenarios come to life, while keeping them visually plausible.
Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, talks about how art and culture create a country's identity -- and allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world. As she says: "We don't want to be all the same, but we do want to understand each other."
Pepper spray, Tasers, tear gas, rubber bullets -- these "non-lethal" weapons are being used by more and more local police forces, as well as military forces brought in to control civilian crowds and other situations. Despite their name, non-lethal weapons have been known to cause deaths ... and as Stephen Coleman suggests, there are other, more insidious hazards as well. He explores the complex ethics -- and the unexpected consequences -- of using non-lethal weapons to control civilians.
How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination.
From the "I have a dream" speech to Steve Jobs' iPhone launch, many great talks have a common structure that helps their message resonate with listeners. In this talk, presentation expert Nancy Duarte shares practical lessons on how to make a powerful call-to-action.
From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever.
What if you're in surgery and the power goes out? No lights, no oxygen -- and your anesthesia stops flowing. It happens constantly in hospitals throughout the world, turning routine procedures into tragedies. Erica Frenkel demos one solution: the universal anesthesia machine.
We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.
Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are the best-known methods for treating cancer. At TEDMED, Bill Doyle presents a new approach, called Tumor Treating Fields, which uses electric fields to interrupt cancer cell division. Still in its infancy -- and approved for only certain types of cancer -- the treatment comes with one big benefit: quality of life.
Peter van Uhm is the Netherlands' chief of defense, but that does not mean he is pro-war. In this talk, he explains how his career is one shaped by a love of peace, not a desire for bloodshed -- and why we need armies if we want peace.
We make millions of online purchases daily, but who (or what) actually puts our items into packages? In this talk, Mick Mountz weaves a fascinating, surprisingly robot-filled tale of what happens inside a warehouse.
Bjarke Ingels' architecture is luxurious, sustainable and community-driven. In this talk, he shows us his playful designs, from a factory chimney that blows smoke rings to a ski slope built atop a waste processing plant.
Women aren’t micro--so why do they only get micro-loans? Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms-- from home businesses to major factories-- are the overlooked key to economic development.
Imagine playing a video game controlled by your mind. Now imagine that game also teaches you about your own patterns of stress, relaxation and focus. Ariel Garten shows how looking at our own brain activity gives new meaning to the ancient dictum "know thyself."
Every doctor makes mistakes. But, says physician Brian Goldman, medicine's culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong.
In the 1970s, Diana Nyad set long-distance swim records that are still unbroken. Thirty years later, at 60, she attempted her longest swim yet, from Cuba to Florida. In this funny, powerful talk at TEDMED, she talks about how to prepare mentally to achieve an extreme dream, and asks: What will YOU do with your wild, precious life?