Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.
Sad but true: Many of the cures and vaccines our world desperately needs -- for illnesses millions of people have -- just aren't being produced or developed, because there's no financial incentive. Thomas Pogge proposes a $6 billion plan to revolutionize the way medications are developed and sold.
When Ramona Pierson was 22, she was hit by a drunk driver and spent 18 months in a coma. In this talk, she tells the remarkable story of her recovery -- drawing on the collective skills and wisdom of a senior citizens' home.
Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche come from Moto, a Chicago restaurant that plays with new ways to cook and eat food. But beyond the fun and flavor-tripping, there's a serious intent: Can we use new food technology for good?
Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste? Think of Pavan Sukhdev as nature's banker -- assessing the value of the Earth's assets. Eye-opening charts will make you think differently about the cost of air, water, trees ...
Surgeons are taught from textbooks which conveniently color-code the types of tissues, but that's not what it looks like in real life -- until now. At TEDMED Quyen Nguyen demonstrates how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut.
International aid groups make the same mistakes over and over again. David Damberger analyzes his own engineering failure in India -- and calls for his friends in the development sector to publicly admit, scrutinize and learn from their missteps.
What is a mistake? By talking through examples with his improvisational jazz quartet, Stefon Harris walks us to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don't react to them appropriately.
Imagine having a surgery with no knives involved. At TEDMED, Yoav Medan shares a technique that uses MRI to find trouble spots and focused ultrasound to treat such issues as brain lesions, uterine fibroids and several kinds of cancerous growths.
Cheryl Hayashi studies spider silk, one of nature's most high-performance materials. Each species of spider can make up to 7 very different kinds of silk. How do they do it? Hayashi explains at the DNA level -- then shows us how this super-strong, super-flexible material can inspire.
After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. In this talk, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the web quickly and accurately -- all for free.
People-powered resistance: can it work? Srdja Popovic led the nonviolent movement that took down Milosevic in Serbia in 2000; he lays out the plans, skills and tools that a people-powered movement needs -- from nonviolent tactics to a sense of humor.
Spoken-word poet Sarah Kay was stunned to find she couldn't be a princess, ballerina and astronaut all in one lifetime. In this talk, she delivers two powerful poems that show us how we can live other lives.
Real narratives are complicated: Africa isn't a country, and it's not a disaster zone, says reporter and researcher Leslie Dodson. She calls for journalists, researchers and NGOs to stop representing entire continents as one big tragedy.
Charles Limb performs cochlear implantation, a surgery that treats hearing loss and can restore the ability to hear speech. But as a musician too, Limb thinks about what the implants lack: They don't let you fully experience music yet. (There's a hair-raising example.) At TEDMED, Limb reviews the state of the art and the way forward.
Instead of a boring slide deck at your next presentation, how about bringing in a troupe of dancers? That's science writer John Bohannon's "modest proposal" in this spellbinding choreographed talk. He makes his case by example, in collaboration with dancers from Black Label Movement.
Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb -- from the lilt of our native language to our soon-to-be-favorite foods.
Political prisoners aren't the only ones being tortured -- the vast majority of judicial torture happens in ordinary cases, even in 'functioning' legal systems. Social activist Karen Tse shows how we can, and should, stand up and end the use of routine torture.
Damon Horowitz teaches philosophy through the Prison University Project, bringing college-level classes to inmates of San Quentin State Prison. In this powerful short talk, he tells the story of an encounter with right and wrong that quickly gets personal.
When she was 19, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now ... she's a pro snowboarder (and a killer competitor on "Dancing with the Stars"!). In this powerful talk, she shows us how to draw inspiration from life's obstacles.
Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles -- researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.
Nature’s beauty can be fleeting -- but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.
iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.
Engineering student Péter Fankhauser demonstrates Rezero, a robot that balances on a ball. Designed and built by students, Rezero is the first ballbot made to move quickly and gracefully -- and even dance. (Could the Star Wars sphere droid be real? Watch this and judge.)
What's six miles wide and can end civilization in an instant? An asteroid -- and there are lots of them out there. With humor and great visuals, Phil Plait shows us all the ways asteroids can kill us (yipes), and what we must do to avoid them.