In the quest to map the brain, many scientists have attempted the incredibly daunting task of recording the activity of each neuron. Gero Miesenboeck works backward -- manipulating specific neurons to figure out exactly what they do, through a series of stunning experiments that reengineer the way fruit flies percieve light.
Aboard Mission Blue, scientist Greg Stone tells the story of how he helped the Republic of Kiribati to create an enormous protected area in the middle of the Pacific -- protecting fish, sealife and perhaps the island nation itself.
We're bringing gameplay into more aspects of our lives, spending countless hours -- and real money -- exploring virtual worlds for imaginary treasures. Why? As Tom Chatfield shows, games are perfectly tuned to dole out rewards that engage the brain and keep us questing for more.
Using animation, projections and her own moving shadow, Miwa Matreyek performs a gorgeous, meditative piece about inner and outer discovery. Take a quiet 10 minutes and dive in. With music from Anna Oxygen, Mirah, Caroline Lufkin and Mileece.
Chef Barton Seaver presents a modern dilemma: Seafood is one of our healthier protein options, but overfishing is desperately harming our oceans. He suggests a simple way to keep fish on the dinner table that includes every mom's favorite adage -- "Eat your vegetables!"
Historian and diplomat Joseph Nye gives us the 30,000-foot view of the shifts in power between China and the US, and the global implications as economic, political and "soft" power shifts and moves around the globe.
Engineer RA Mashelkar shares three stories of ultra-low-cost design from India that use bottom-up rethinking, and some clever engineering, to bring expensive products (cars, prosthetics) into the realm of the possible for everyone.
In a series of witty punchlines, Patrick Chappatte makes a poignant case for the power of the humble cartoon. His projects in Lebanon, West Africa and Gaza show how, in the right hands, the pencil can illuminate serious issues and bring the most unlikely people together.
Did you know you have functioning neurons in your intestines -- about a hundred million of them? Food scientist Heribert Watzke tells us about the "hidden brain" in our gut and the surprising things it makes us feel.
What do you think of people in poverty? Maybe what Jessica Jackley once did: "they" need "our" help, in the form of a few coins in a jar. The co-founder of Kiva.org talks about how her attitude changed -- and how her work with microloans has brought new power to people who live on a few dollars a day.
In a courageous, intensely emotional talk at the city council in Fort Worth, Texas, councilman Joel Burns reaches out to the targets of teen bullying -- kids who are gay, perceived as gay, or just different -- with a vital message about their lives, and the harassment they face.
On the web, a new "Friend" may be just a click away, but true connection is harder to find and express. Ze Frank presents a medley of zany Internet toys that require deep participation -- and reward it with something more nourishing. You're invited, if you promise you'll share.
Natalie Jeremijenko's unusual lab puts art to work, and addresses environmental woes by combining engineering know-how with public art and a team of volunteers. These real-life experiments include: Walking tadpoles, texting "fish," planting fire-hydrant gardens and more.
What did the world learn from the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010? That shoddy buildings and bad planning can make a terrible situation even worse. "Haiti was not a natural disaster," says TED Fellow Peter Haas. "It was a disaster of engineering." The solution: Help builders on the ground get trained in modern engineering practices, so they can rebuild their country stronger, brick by brick.
Melinda Gates makes a provocative case: What can nonprofits learn from mega-corporations like Coca-Cola, whose global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants -- and can get -- an ice-cold Coke? Maybe this model could work for distributing health care, vaccinations, sanitation, even condoms ...
Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities ... But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.
Hans Rosling reframes 10 years of UN data with his spectacular visuals, lighting up an astonishing -- and under-reported -- piece of front-page good news: We're winning the war against child death. Along the way, he debunks one flawed approach to stats that blots out such vital stories.
Tuna are ocean athletes -- fast, far-ranging predators whose habits we're just beginning to understand. Marine biologist Barbara Block fits tuna with tracking tags (complete with transponders) that record unprecedented amounts of data about these gorgeous, threatened fish and the ocean habitats they move through.
As the world faces recession, climate change, inequity and more, Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.
Thailand's "Mr. Condom," Mechai Viravaidya, retells the country's bold plan to raise its standard of living, starting in the 1970s. First step: population control. And that means a lot of frank, funny -- and very effective -- talk about condoms.
When Jungian analyst Inge Missmahl visited Afghanistan, she saw the inner wounds of war -- widespread despair, trauma and depression. And yet, in this county of 30 million people, there were only two dozen psychiatrists. Missmahl talks about her work helping to build the country's system of psychosocial counseling, promoting both individual and, perhaps, national healing.
Sebastian Seung is mapping a massively ambitious new model of the brain that focuses on the connections between each neuron. He calls it our "connectome," and it's as individual as our genome -- and understanding it could open a new way to understand our brains and our minds.
At TED@Cannes, Gary Wolf gives a 5-min intro to an intriguing new pastime: using mobile apps and always-on gadgets to track and analyze your body, mood, diet, spending -- just about everything in daily life you can measure -- in gloriously geeky detail.
Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health -- even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound.