In 2007, as the world worried about a possible avian flu epidemic, Laurie Garrett, author of "The Coming Plague," gave this powerful talk to a small TED University audience. Her insights from past pandemics are suddenly more relevant than ever.
In this hilariously lively performance, actress Sarah Jones channels an opinionated elderly Jewish woman, a fast-talking Dominican college student and more, giving TED2009 just a sample of her spectacular character range.
Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function.
The "dismal science" truly shines in this optimistic talk, as economist Alex Tabarrok argues free trade and globalization are shaping our once-divided world into a community of idea-sharing more healthy, happy and prosperous than anyone's predictions.
In this captivating talk from the TED archive, cartoonist Ben Katchor reads from his comic strips. These perceptive, surreal stories find the profound hopes and foibles of history (and modern New York) preserved in objects like light switches and signs.
At TEDU 2009, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.
Nate Silver has data that answers big questions about race in politics. For instance, in the 2008 presidential race, did Obama's skin color actually keep him from getting votes in some parts of the country? Stats and myths collide in this fascinating talk that ends with a remarkable insight.
Design legend Niels Diffrient talks about his life in industrial design (and the reason he became a designer instead of a jet pilot). He details his quest to completely rethink the office chair starting from one fundamental data set: the human body.
Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician -- celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin demos the AlloSphere, a new way to see, hear and interpret scientific data. Dive into the brain, feel electron spin, hear the music of the elements ... and detect previously unseen patterns that could lead to new discoveries.
In this prophetic 2003 talk -- just days before Dolly the sheep was stuffed -- biotech ethicist Gregory Stock looked forward to new, more meaningful (and controversial) technologies, like customizable babies, whose adoption might drive human evolution.
In this funny (and actually poignant) 3-minute talk, social strategist Renny Gleeson breaks down our always-on social world -- where the experience we're having right now is less interesting than what we'll tweet about it later.
Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks (hilariously) about science, math, society and the way everything connects. She's a brilliant trickster, poking holes in our fixed ideas and bringing hidden truths to light. Settle in and let her ping your brain.
Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses mathematical analysis to predict (very often correctly) such messy human events as war, political power shifts, Intifada ... After a crisp explanation of how he does it, he offers three predictions on the future of Iran.
Nathaniel Kahn shares clips from his documentary "My Architect," about his quest to understand his father, the legendary architect Louis Kahn. It's a film with meaning to anyone who seeks to understand the relationship between art and love.
In this powerful talk, P.W. Singer shows how the widespread use of robots in war is changing the realities of combat. He shows us scenarios straight out of science fiction -- that now may not be so fictitious.
Wingsuit jumping is the leading edge of extreme sports -- an exhilarating feat of almost unbelievable daring, where skydivers soar through canyons at over 100MPH. Ueli Gegenschatz talks about how (and why) he does it, and shows jawdropping film.
Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.
Poet C.K. Williams reads his work at TED2001. As he colors scenes of childhood resentments, college loves, odd neighbors and the literal death of youth, he reminds us of the unique challenges of living.
Virus hunter Nathan Wolfe is outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering deadly new viruses where they first emerge -- passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa -- before they claim millions of lives.
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father's wisdom.
In this engaging talk from the EG'08 conference, New York Times tech columnist David Pogue rounds up some handy cell phone tools and services that can boost your productivity and lower your bills (and your blood pressure).
Jacqueline Novogratz tells a moving story of an encounter in a Nairobi slum with Jane, a former prostitute, whose dreams of escaping poverty, of becoming a doctor and of getting married were fulfilled in an unexpected way.