A liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders, says university head Patrick Awuah -- because it builds decision-making skills, an ethical framework and a broad vision. Awuah himself left a career at Microsoft in the US to found a liberal arts school in Africa: Ashesi University, in his home nation of Ghana. A passionate talk about dreaming, doing and leading.
In this deeply personal talk, Nigerian writer Chris Abani says that "what we know about how to be who we are" comes from stories. He searches for the heart of Africa through its poems and narrative, including his own.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, sums up four days of intense discussion on aid versus trade on the closing day of TEDGlobal 2007, and shares a personal story explaining her own commitment to this cause.
When Allison Hunt found out that she needed a new hip -- and that Canada’s national health care system would require her to spend nearly 2 years on a waiting list (and in pain) -- she took matters into her own hands.
Deborah Gordon studies ant colonies in the Arizona desert to understand their complex social system. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business -- and even multitask when they need to -- with no language, memory or visible leadership? Her answers could lead to a better understanding of all complex systems, from the brain to the Web. Thanks, ants.
Bill Stone, a maverick cave explorer who has plumbed Earth’s deepest abysses, discusses his efforts to mine lunar ice for space fuel and to build an autonomous robot for studying Jupiter’s moon Europa.
Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.
Microsoft's Stephen Lawler gives a whirlwind tour of Virtual Earth, moving up, down and through its hyper-real cityscapes with dazzlingly fluidity, a remarkable feat that requires staggering amounts of data to bring into focus.
The avant-garde string quartet Ethel performs the third movement from Phil Kline's four-part suite "The Blue Room and Other Stories." Searching melodic lines show off the deep, emotional musicality of these passionate players.
Anand Agarawala presents BumpTop, a user interface that takes the usual desktop metaphor to a glorious, 3-D extreme, transforming file navigation into a freewheeling playground of crumpled documents and clipping-covered "walls."
Blaise Aguera y Arcas leads a dazzling demo of Photosynth, software that could transform the way we look at digital images. Using still photos culled from the Web, Photosynth builds breathtaking dreamscapes and lets us navigate them.
"I don't think we're going to make it," John Doerr says in an emotional talk about climate change and investment. To create a world fit for his daughter to live in, he says, we need to invest now in clean, green energy.
We know the negative images of Africa -- famine and disease, conflict and corruption. But, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there's another, less-told story happening in many African nations: one of reform, economic growth and business opportunity.
Marine biologist Tierney Thys asks us to step into the water to visit the world of the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish. Basking, eating jellyfish and getting massages, this behemoth offers clues to life in the open sea.
Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.
Rural villages worldwide are being deserted, as billions of people flock to cities to live in teeming squatter camps and slums. Stewart Brand says this is a good thing. Why? It'll take you 3 minutes to find out.
IDEO's David Kelley says that product design has become much less about the hardware and more about the user experience. He shows video of this new, broader approach, including footage from the Prada store in New York.
In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.