Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form -- in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.
Every day, in a city the size of London, 30 million meals are served. But where does all the food come from? Architect Carolyn Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city, and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world.
Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.
Garik Israelian is a spectroscopist, studying the spectrum emitted by a star to figure out what it's made of and how it might behave. It's a rare and accessible look at this discipline, which may be coming close to finding a planet friendly to life.
Weeks from the Charter for Compassion launch, Karen Armstrong looks at religion's role in the 21st century: Will its dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for common good? She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.
Tim Brown says the design profession has a bigger role to play than just creating nifty, fashionable little objects. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory "design thinking" -- starting with the example of 19th-century design thinker Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Many people think the lines on the map no longer matter, but Parag Khanna says they do. Using maps of the past and present, he explains the root causes of border conflicts worldwide and proposes simple yet cunning solutions for each.
The debate over foreign aid often pits those who mistrust "charity" against those who mistrust reliance on the markets. Jacqueline Novogratz proposes a middle way she calls patient capital, with promising examples of entrepreneurial innovation driving social change.
Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography -- to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.
At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.
TED Fellow and journalist Evgeny Morozov punctures what he calls "iPod liberalism" -- the assumption that tech innovation always promotes freedom, democracy -- with chilling examples of ways the Internet helps oppressive regimes stifle dissent.
Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to differ. The Internet, he suggests, is made up of millions of disinterested acts of kindness, curiosity and trust.
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome -- when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature -- they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy -- and creating stunning views.
Journalist Misha Glenny spent several years in a courageous investigation of organized crime networks, which have grown to an estimated 15% of the global economy. From the Russian mafia to the giant drug cartels, his sources include not just intelligence and law enforcement officials but criminal insiders.
Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples' thoughts -- and judges their actions.
Lewis Pugh talks about his record-breaking swim across the North Pole. He braved the icy waters (in a Speedo) to highlight the melting icecap. Watch for astonishing footage -- and some blunt commentary on the realities of supercold-water swims.
Photographer James Balog shares new image sequences from the Extreme Ice Survey, a network of time-lapse cameras recording glaciers receding at an alarming rate, some of the most vivid evidence yet of climate change.
At his day job, Steve Truglia flips cars, walks through fire and falls out of buildings -- pushing technology to make stunts bigger, safer, more awesome. He talks us through his next stunt: the highest jump ever attempted, from the very edge of space.
As we reboot the world's economy, Geoff Mulgan poses a question: Instead of sending bailout money to doomed old industries, why not use stimulus funds to bootstrap some new, socially responsible companies -- and make the world a little bit better?
Josh Silver delivers his brilliantly simple solution for correcting vision at the lowest cost possible -- adjustable, liquid-filled lenses. At TEDGlobal 2009, he demos his affordable eyeglasses and reveals his global plan to distribute them to a billion people in need by 2020.
The wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vast treasury buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop seeds ... for whatever tomorrow may bring.
Natasha Tsakos presents part of her one-woman, multimedia show, "Upwake." As the character Zero, she blends dream and reality with an inventive virtual world projected around her in 3D animation and electric sound.
Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows.
Eric Giler wants to untangle our wired lives with cable-free electric power. Here, he covers what this sci-fi tech offers, and demos MIT's breakthrough version, WiTricity -- a near-to-market invention that may soon recharge your cell phone, car, pacemaker.