"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail. (Followed by a Q&A with TED's Chris Anderson)
What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage -- so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."
Jer Thorp creates beautiful data visualizations to put abstract data into a human context. At TEDxVancouver, he shares his moving projects, from graphing an entire year's news cycle, to mapping the way people share articles across the internet.
We can't control if we'll die, but we can "occupy death," in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives -- and to question the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can help you start this tough conversation.
Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel. Five of them are included in this wonderfully entertaining and moving talk -- and don't miss the hilarious final poem!
Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story.
Surprising, but true: More women now die of heart disease than men, yet cardiovascular research has long focused on men. Pioneering doctor C. Noel Bairey Merz shares what we know and don't know about women's heart health -- including the remarkably different symptoms women present during a heart attack (and why they're often missed).
The US consumes 25% of the world's oil -- but as energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens points out onstage, the country has no energy policy to prepare for the inevitable. Is alternative energy our bridge to an oil-free future? After losing $150 million investing in wind energy, Pickens suggests it isn't, not yet. What might get us there? Natural gas. After the talk, watch for a lively Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.
Architecture can bring people together, or divide them -- witness the skyscraper, costly, inefficient, and only serving small portions of the community. At TEDxPortofSpain, Mark Raymond encourages city governments to let go of their old notions of success and consider the balance of environment, economy, and society to design cities for social change.
Prosthetics can't replicate the look and feel of lost limbs but they can carry a lot of personality. Designer Scott Summit shows 3D-printed, individually designed prosthetic legs that are unabashedly artificial and completely personal -- from macho to fabulous.
Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.
Psychologist Jonathan Haidt asks a simple, but difficult question: why do we search for self-transcendence? Why do we attempt to lose ourselves? In a tour through the science of evolution by group selection, he proposes a provocative answer.
Adam Savage walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed -- Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849.
In the deepest, darkest parts of the oceans are ecosystems with more diversity than a tropical rainforest. Taking us on a voyage into the ocean -- from the deepest trenches to the remains of Titanic -- marine biologist David Gallo explores the wonder and beauty of marine life.
TED curator Chris Anderson shares his obsession with questions that no one (yet) knows the answers to. A short intro leads into two questions: Why can't we see evidence of alien life? And how many universes are there?
By dissecting a cockroach ... yes, live on stage ... TED Fellow and neuroscientist Greg Gage shows how brains receive and deliver electric impulses -- and how legs can respond. This talk comes from the TED-Ed project.
Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can -- and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments -- and their neighbors.
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language ... (Note: this talk is not available for download.)
In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”
Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that's equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful.
The ocean has degraded within our lifetimes, as shown in the decreasing average size of fish. And yet, as Daniel Pauly shows us onstage at Mission Blue, each time the baseline drops, we call it the new "normal." At what point do we stop readjusting downward?
Oceanographer Paul Snelgrove shares the results of a ten-year project with one goal: to take a census of all the life in the oceans. He shares amazing photos of some of the surprising finds of the Census of Marine Life.