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.
Does science ruin the magic of life? In this grumpy but charming monologue, Robin Ince makes the argument against. The more we learn about the astonishing behavior of the universe -- the more we stand in awe.
What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a simple genetic mutation that can double the lifespan of a simple worm, C. elegans. The lessons from that discovery, and others, are pointing to how we might one day significantly extend youthful human life.
Most 12-year-olds love playing videogames -- but Thomas Suarez taught himself how to create them. After developing iPhone apps like "Bustin Jeiber," a whack-a-mole game, he is now using his skills to help other kids become developers.
Strapped to a jet-powered wing, Yves Rossy is the Jetman -- flying free, his body as the rudder, above the Swiss Alps and the Grand Canyon. After a powerful short film shows how it works, Rossy takes the TEDGlobal stage to share the experience and thrill of flying.
Charlie Todd causes bizarre, hilarious, and unexpected public scenes: Seventy synchronized dancers in storefront windows, "ghostbusters" running through the New York Public Library, and the annual no-pants subway ride. His group, Improv Everywhere, uses these scenes to bring people together.
How can we begin to understand the way the brain works? The same way we begin to understand a city: by making a map. In this visually stunning talk, Allan Jones shows how his team is mapping which genes are turned on in each tiny region, and how it all connects up.
Ancient monuments give us clues to astonishing past civilizations -- but they're under threat from pollution, war, neglect. Ben Kacyra, who invented a groundbreaking 3D scanning system, is using his invention to scan and preserve the world's heritage in archival detail. (Watch to the end for a little demo.)
Artist and TED Fellow Aparna Rao re-imagines the familiar in surprising, often humorous ways. With her collaborator Soren Pors, Rao creates high-tech art installations -- a typewriter that sends emails, a camera that tracks you through the room only to make you invisible on screen -- that put a playful spin on ordinary objects and interactions.
In his lab, Martin Hanczyc makes "protocells," experimental blobs of chemicals that behave like living cells. His work demonstrates how life might have first occurred on Earth ... and perhaps elsewhere too.
Medical, legal, and financial documents should be easy to read, but too often they aren't. With spot-on (and funny) examples, Sandra Fisher Martins shows how overly complex language separates us from the information we need -- and three steps to change that. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.
A flying car -- it's an iconic image of the future. But after 100 years of flight and automotive engineering, no one has really cracked the problem. Pilot Anna Mracek Dietrich and her team flipped the question, asking: Why not build a plane that you can drive?
What drives our desire to behave morally? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it "the moral molecule") is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society. NOTE: Research and statements in this talk have been challenged by other scientists working in this field. Please read "Criticisms & Updates" below for more details.
With scissors and paper, artist Béatrice Coron creates intricate worlds, cities and countries, heavens and hells. Striding onstage in a glorious cape cut from Tyvek, she describes her creative process and the way her stories develop from snips and slices.
How does cancer know it's cancer? At Jay Bradner's lab, they found a molecule that might hold the answer, JQ1. But instead of patenting it and reaping the profits (as many other labs have done) -- they published their findings and mailed samples to 40 other labs to work on. An inspiring look at the open-source future of medical research.