Research investigator Michael Hendryx studies mountaintop removal, an explosive type of surface coal mining used in Appalachia that comes with unexpected health hazards. In this data-packed talk, Hendryx presents his research and tells the story of the pushback he's received from the coal industry, advocating for the ethical obligation scientists have to speak the truth.
In this talk-performance hybrid, drummer, percussionist and TED Fellow Kasiva Mutua shares how she's breaking the taboo against female drummers in Kenya -- and her mission to teach the significance and importance of the drum to young boys, women and girls. "Women can be custodians of culture, too," Mutua says.
If you ever struggle to make decisions, here's a talk for you. Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths shows how we can apply the logic of computers to untangle tricky human problems, sharing three practical strategies for making better decisions -- on everything from finding a home to choosing which restaurant to go to tonight.
TED Fellow Nighat Dad studies online harassment, especially as it relates to patriarchal cultures like the one in her small village in Pakistan. She tells the story of how she set up Pakistan's first cyber harassment helpline, offering support to women who face serious threats online. "Safe access to the internet is access to knowledge, and knowledge is freedom," she says. "When I fight for a woman's digital rights, I am fighting for equality."
Business school professor Amy Edmondson studies "teaming," where people come together quickly (and often temporarily) to solve new, urgent or unusual problems. Recalling stories of teamwork on the fly, such as the incredible rescue of 33 miners trapped half a mile underground in Chile in 2010, Edmondson shares the elements needed to turn a group of strangers into a quick-thinking team that can nimbly respond to challenges.
If you think democracy is broken, here's an idea: let's replace politicians with randomly selected people. Author and activist Brett Hennig presents a compelling case for sortition democracy, or random selection of government officials -- a system with roots in ancient Athens that taps into the wisdom of the crowd and entrusts ordinary people with making balanced decisions for the greater good of everyone. Sound crazy? Learn more about how it could work to create a world free of partisan politics.
LB Hannahs candidly shares the experience of parenting as a genderqueer individual -- and what it can teach us about authenticity and advocacy. "Authenticity doesn't mean 'comfortable.' It means managing and negotiating the discomfort of everyday life," Hannahs says.
Frustrated by her lack of self-determination in the housing market, Sarah Murray created a computer game that allows home buyers to design a house and have it delivered to them in modular components that can be assembled on-site. Learn how her effort is putting would-be homeowners in control of the largest purchase of their lives -- as well as cutting costs, protecting the environment and helping provide homes for those in need.
From rides to homes and beyond, we're sharing everything these days, with the help of digital tools. But as modern and high-tech as the sharing economy seems, it's been alive in Africa for centuries, according to author Robert Neuwirth. He shares fascinating examples -- like apprenticeships that work like locally generated venture capital and systems for allocating scarce water -- and says that if we can propagate and scale these models, they could help communities thrive from the bottom up.
If you want to build a team of innovative problem-solvers, you should value the humanities just as much as the sciences, says entrepreneur Eric Berridge. He shares why tech companies should look beyond STEM graduates for new hires -- and how people with backgrounds in the arts and humanities can bring creativity and insight to technical workplaces.
Why do we still think that drug use is a law-enforcement issue? Making drugs illegal does nothing to stop people from using them, says public health expert Mark Tyndall. So, what might work? Tyndall shares community-based research that shows how harm-reduction strategies, like safe-injection sites, are working to address the drug overdose crisis.
When lawyer Sarah Donnelly was diagnosed with breast cancer, she turned to her friends and family for support -- but she also found meaning, focus and stability in her work. In a personal talk about why and how she stayed on the job, she shares her insights on how workplaces can accommodate people going through major illnesses -- because the benefits go both ways.
What good is a sophisticated piece of medical equipment to people in Africa if it can't handle the climate there? Biomedical engineer Tania Douglas shares stories of how we're often blinded to real needs in our pursuit of technology -- and how a deeper understanding of the context where it's used can lead us to better solutions.
Each year, the world loses enough food to feed half a billion people to fungi, the most destructive pathogens of plants. Mycologist and TED Fellow Mennat El Ghalid explains how a breakthrough in our understanding of the molecular signals fungi use to attack plants could disrupt this interaction -- and save our crops.
Comic books and graphic novels belong in every teacher's toolkit, says cartoonist and educator Gene Luen Yang. Set against the backdrop of his own witty, colorful drawings, Yang explores the history of comics in American education -- and reveals some unexpected insights about their potential for helping kids learn.
By expanding boundaries, exploring possibilities and conveying truth, films have helped change Africa's reality (even before "Black Panther"). Dayo Ogunyemi invites us to imagine Africa's future through the lens of inspiring filmmakers from across the continent, showing us how they can inspire Africa to make a hundred-year leap.
Ocean expert Nancy Rabalais tracks the ominously named "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico -- where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. The Gulf has the second largest dead zone in the world; on top of killing fish and crustaceans, it's also killing fisheries in these waters. Rabalais tells us about what's causing it -- and how we can reverse its harmful effects and restore one of America's natural treasures.
Malika Whitley is the founder of ChopArt, an organization for homeless teens focused on mentorship, dignity and opportunity through the arts. In this moving, personal talk, she shares her story of homelessness and finding her voice through arts -- and her mission to provide a creative outlet for others who have been pushed to the margins of society.
There's no such thing as throwing something away, says Andrew Dent -- when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. Dent shares exciting examples of thrift -- the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new -- as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable.
In the US, your taxes fund academic research at public universities. Why then do you need to pay expensive, for-profit journals for the results of that research? Erica Stone advocates for a new, open-access relationship between the public and scholars, making the case that academics should publish in more accessible media. "A functioning democracy requires that the public be well-educated and well-informed," Stone says. "Instead of research happening behind paywalls and bureaucracy, wouldn't it be better if it was unfolding right in front of us?"
From Beyoncé to Drake and beyond, the world is rocking to the rhythm of Afrobeat. Feel the music as Kenyan afro-pop superstars Sauti Sol take the TED stage to perform three songs: "Live and Die in Afrika," "Sura Yako" and "Kuliko Jana."
Still invisible and often an afterthought, indigenous peoples are uniting to protect the world's water, lands and history -- while trying to heal from genocide and ongoing inequality. Tribal attorney and Couchiching First Nation citizen Tara Houska chronicles the history of attempts by government and industry to eradicate the legitimacy of indigenous peoples' land and culture, including the months-long standoff at Standing Rock which rallied thousands around the world. "It's incredible what you can do when you stand together," Houska says. "Stand with us -- empathize, learn, grow, change the conversation."
In this perspective-shifting talk, Danny Hillis prompts us to approach global issues like climate change with creative scientific solutions. Taking a stand for solar geoengineering, he looks at controversial solutions with open-minded curiosity.
There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."
In 2009, journalist and screenwriter Drew Philp bought a ruined house in Detroit for $500. In the years that followed, as he gutted the interior and removed the heaps of garbage crowding the rooms, he didn't just learn how to repair a house -- he learned how to build a community. In a tribute to the city he loves, Philp tells us about "radical neighborliness" and makes the case that we have "the power to create the world anew together and to do it ourselves when our governments refuse."
As quantum computing matures, it's going to bring unimaginable increases in computational power along with it -- and the systems we use to protect our data (and our democratic processes) will become even more vulnerable. But there's still time to plan against the impending data apocalypse, says encryption expert Vikram Sharma. Learn more about how he's fighting quantum with quantum: designing security devices and programs that use the power of quantum physics to defend against the most sophisticated attacks.
How can we make AI that people actually want to interact with? Raphael Arar suggests we start by making art. He shares interactive projects that help AI explore complex ideas like nostalgia, intuition and conversation -- all working towards the goal of making our future technology just as much human as it is artificial.
Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in -- in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest -- and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do.
You don't have to be a scientist to help protect the world's oceans, says underwater drone expert and TED Fellow David Lang -- in fact, ordinary citizens have pulled together to save the planet's natural treasures many times in history. Lang asks us to take a lesson from the story of the US National Parks Service, offering a three-point plan for conserving underwater wonders.