Jeff Smith spent a year in prison. But what he discovered inside wasn't what he expected -- he saw in his fellow inmates boundless ingenuity and business savvy. He asks: Why don't we tap this entrepreneurial potential to help ex-prisoners contribute to society once they're back outside? (From the TED Talent Search event TED@NewYork.)
Throughout the history of Islam, says journalist Bobby Ghosh, there have been two sides to jihad: one, internal, a personal struggle to be better, the other external. A small minority has appropriated the second meaning, using it as an excuse for deadly global violence against "the West." Ghosh suggests it's time to reclaim the word.
People don't just cook anymore -- they're cooking, texting, talking on the phone, watching YouTube and uploading photos of the awesome meal they just made. Designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for -- gasp -- "monotasking."
Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal -- until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.
It's an unfortunate reality in nearly every major city—road congestion, especially during rush hours. Jonas Eliasson reveals how subtly nudging just a small percentage of drivers to stay off major roads can make traffic jams a thing of the past.
How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.
When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you're trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.
How do you build a wheelchair ready to blaze through mud and sand, all for under $200? MIT engineer Amos Winter guides us through the mechanics of an all-terrain wheelchair that's cheap and easy to build -- for true accessibility -- and gives us some lessons he learned along the road.
When he realized his wife had to choose between buying family meals and buying her monthly "supplies," Arunachalam Muruganantham vowed to help her solve the problem of the sanitary pad. His research got very very personal -- and led him to a powerful business model. (Filmed in Bangalore as part of the TED Global Talent Search.)
Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living -- and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.
Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest.
If you had to walk a mile for a jug of water every day, as millions of people do, it's unlikely you'd use that precious water to bathe. Young entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane tells the amazing, funny story of how he invented a cheap, clean and convenient solution: DryBath, the world's first bath-substituting lotion.
As natural garbage collectors, vultures are vital to our ecosystem -- so why all the bad press? Why are so many in danger of extinction? Raptor biologist Munir Virani says we need to pay more attention to these unique and misunderstood creatures, to change our perception and save the vultures.
Designing electronics is generally cumbersome and expensive -- or was, until Leah Buechley and her team at MIT developed tools to treat electronics just like paper and pen. In this talk from TEDYouth 2011, Buechley shows some of her charming designs, like a paper piano you can sketch and then play.
After fighting overseas, 92 percent of American veterans say they want to continue their service. Meanwhile, one after another, natural disasters continue to wreak havoc worldwide. What do these two challenges have in common? In telling the story of his friend Clay Hunt, Jake Wood from Team Rubicon reveals how veterans can contribute to disaster response -- and regain their sense of purpose, community and self-worth.
When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Adam Garone has an impressive moustache, and it's for a good cause. A co-founder of Movember, Garone's initiative to raise awareness for men's health -- by having men grow out their moustaches every November -- began as a dare in a bar in 2003. Now, it's a worldwide movement that raised $126 million for prostate cancer research last year.
In Western society, bats are often characterized as creepy, even evil. Zoologist Emma Teeling encourages us to rethink common attitudes toward bats, whose unique and fascinating biology gives us insight into our own genetic makeup.
When photographed under a 3D microscope, grains of sand appear like colorful pieces of candy and the stamens in a flower become like fantastical spires at an amusement park. Gary Greenberg reveals the thrilling details of the micro world.
Hannah Brencher's mother always wrote her letters. So when she felt herself bottom into depression after college, she did what felt natural -- she wrote love letters and left them for strangers to find. The act has become a global initiative, The World Needs More Love Letters, which rushes handwritten letters to those in need of a boost.
The suits, numbers and colors in a deck of cards correspond to the seasons, moon cycles and calendar. Marco Tempest straps on augmented reality goggles and does a card trick like you've never seen before, weaving a lyrical tale as he deals. (This version fixes a glitch in the original performance, but is otherwise exactly as seen live by the TEDGlobal audience, including the dazzling augmented reality effects.)
Orphanages are costly and can cause irreparable damage both mentally and physically for its charges -- so why are they still so ubiquitous? Georgette Mulheir gravely describes the tragedy of orphanages and urges us to end our reliance on them, by finding alternate ways of supporting children in need.
Faith Jegede tells the moving and funny story of growing up with her two brothers, both autistic -- and both extraordinary. In this talk from the TED Talent Search, she reminds us to pursue a life beyond what is normal.
How do we make sure that development and aid money actually goes to the people who most need it? Sanjay Pradhan of the World Bank Institute lays out three guidelines to help relief efforts make the most impact -- while curbing corruption. One key: connecting the players who are working to change broken systems with the data they need.
Modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows give spectacular views, but they require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung works with thermo-bimetals, smart materials that act more like human skin, dynamically and responsively, and can shade a room from sun and self-ventilate.
What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between your sensitivity to disgusting cues -- a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor -- and your own moral or political conservatism.
Literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children, from Moses to Cinderella to Oliver Twist to Harry Potter. So why do many parentless children feel compelled to hide their pasts? Poet and playwright Lemn Sissay tells his own moving story.
The public is losing faith in democracy, says British MP Rory Stewart. Iraq and Afghanistan’s new democracies are deeply corrupt; meanwhile, 84 percent of people in Britain say politics is broken. In this important talk, Stewart sounds a call to action to rebuild democracy, starting with recognizing why democracy is important -- not as a tool, but as an ideal.
Our leaders need to be held accountable, says journalist Heather Brooke. And she should know: Brooke uncovered the British Parliamentary financial expenses that led to a major political scandal in 2009. She urges us to ask our leaders questions through platforms like Freedom of Information requests -- and to finally get some answers.