Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged looks for the roots of humanity in Ethiopia's badlands. Here he talks about finding the oldest skeleton of a humanoid child -- and how Africa holds the clues to our humanity.
In an exclusive preview of his book The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker looks at language and how it expresses what goes on in our minds -- and how the words we choose communicate much more than we realize.
Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence.
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.
In this provocative talk, journalist Andrew Mwenda asks us to reframe the "African question" -- to look beyond the media's stories of poverty, civil war and helplessness and see the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness throughout the continent.
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."