Today's math curriculum is teaching students to expect -- and excel at -- paint-by-numbers classwork, robbing kids of a skill more important than solving problems: formulating them. Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think.
Enric Sala shares glorious images -- and surprising insights and data -- from some of the most pristine areas of the ocean. He shows how we can restore more of our oceans to this healthy, balanced state, and the powerful ecological and economic benefits of doing so.
Nathan Myhrvold and team's latest inventions -- as brilliant as they are bold -- remind us that the world needs wild creativity to tackle big problems like malaria. And just as that idea sinks in, he rolls out a live demo of a new, mosquito-zapping gizmo you have to see to believe.
We're all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know.
Anil Gupta is on the hunt for the developing world's unsung inventors -- indigenous entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hidden by poverty, could change many people's lives. He shows how the Honey Bee Network helps them build the connections they need -- and gain the recognition they deserve.
In this bracing talk, coral reef ecologist Jeremy Jackson lays out the shocking state of the ocean today: overfished, overheated, polluted, with indicators that things will get much worse. Astonishing photos and stats make the case.
To write his first studio album in decades, "A Map of the Floating City," Thomas Dolby has been working in the inspirational setting of a restored lifeboat. At TED2010 he premieres a gorgeous, evocative song from that album -- about one night with a legend. He's backed by members of the modern string quartet Ethel.
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership -- starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ...
Alleviating poverty is more guesswork than science, and lack of data on aid's impact raises questions about how to provide it. But Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo says it's possible to know which development efforts help and which hurt -- by testing solutions with randomized trials.
In a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek analysis, Sebastian Wernicke turns the tools of statistical analysis on TEDTalks, to come up with a metric for creating "the optimum TEDTalk" based on user ratings. How do you rate it? "Jaw-dropping"? "Unconvincing"? Or just plain "Funny"?
Five years ago, Roz Savage quit her high-powered London job to become an ocean rower. She's crossed the Atlantic solo, and just started the third leg of a Pacific solo row, the first for a woman. Why does she do it? Hear her reasons, both deeply personal and urgently activist.
Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica, talks about his quest to make all knowledge computational -- able to be searched, processed and manipulated. His new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, has no lesser goal than to model and explain the physics underlying the universe.
Investing in women can unlock infinite potential around the globe. But how can women walk the line between Western-style empowerment and traditional culture? Kavita Ramdas of the Global Fund for Women talks about three encounters with powerful women who fight to make the world better -- while preserving the traditions that sustain them.
Birds, a perennial human fascination, entertained medieval homes long before science took them for serious study. "Wisdom of Birds" author Tim Birkhead tours some intriguing birdwatcher lore (dug up in old field journals) -- and talks about the role it plays in ornithology today.
Want your local politician to pay attention to an issue you care about? Send a monthly handwritten letter, says former mayor Omar Ahmad -- it's more effective than email, phone, or even writing a check. He shares four steps to writing a letter that works.
Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the "marshmallow problem" -- a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?
Drugs alone can't stop disease in sub-Saharan Africa: We need diagnostic tools to match. TED Senior Fellow Frederick Balagadde shows how we can multiply the power and availability of an unwieldy, expensive diagnostic lab -- by miniaturizing it to the size of a chip.
Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.)
Some 80 to 90 percent of undersea creatures make light -- and we know very little about how or why. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder explores this glowing, sparkling, luminous world, sharing glorious images and insight into the unseen depths (and brights) of the ocean.
185 voices from 12 countries join a choir that spans the globe: "Lux Aurumque," composed and conducted by Eric Whitacre, merges hundreds of tracks individually recorded and posted to YouTube. It's an astonishing illustration of how technology can connect us.
Thelma Golden, curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, talks through three recent shows that explore how art examines and redefines culture. The "post-black" artists she works with are using their art to provoke a new dialogue about race and culture -- and about the meaning of art itself.
Underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy has spent decades looking intimately at the ocean. A consummate storyteller, he takes the stage at Mission Blue to share his awe and excitement -- and his fears -- about the blue heart of our planet.
In a short, funny, data-packed talk at TED U, Catherine Mohr walks through all the geeky decisions she made when building a green new house -- looking at real energy numbers, not hype. What choices matter most? Not the ones you think.
Photographs do more than document history -- they make it. At TED University, Jonathan Klein of Getty Images shows some of the most iconic, and talks about what happens when a generation sees an image so powerful it can't look away -- or back.
Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.
Natalie Merchant sings from her poetry-inspired album "Leave Your Sleep," which pairs lyrics from poets -- from Gerard Manley Hopkins to a near-forgotten 10-year-old girl in Brooklyn -- with simple melodies and her unmistakable voice. Stay for an encore performance of her hit "Thank You," dedicated to a notable philanthropist in the audience.
Pollen goes unnoticed by most of us, except when hay fever strikes. But microscopes reveal it comes in stunning colors and shapes -- and travels remarkably well. Jonathan Drori gives an up-close glimpse of these fascinating flecks of plant courtship.
Meet seven all-terrain robots -- like the humanoid, soccer-playing DARwIn and the cliff-gripping CLIMBeR -- built by Dennis Hong's robotics team at RoMeLa, based at Virginia Tech. Watch to the end for the five creative secrets to his lab's success.
Soldiers who've lost limbs in service face a daily struggle unimaginable to most of us. At TEDMED, Dean Kamen talks about the profound people and stories that motivated his work to give parts of their lives back with his design for a remarkable prosthetic arm.