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The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.



Updated: 2017-02-21T13:20:03Z

 



WordPress.comA night to talk about redemption: TEDNYC Rebirth

2017-02-17T05:05:19Z

How do we make sense of the tumult around us? How can we grapple with the confusion and alarm so many of us are feeling? In a special session of talks curated and hosted by Jon Ronson at TED HQ on Wednesday night, six speakers looked not at the ruin that follows hardship but the […]Journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson curated and hosted a night of talks about moving toward greater certainty and stable ground. (Photo: Dian Lofton / TED) How do we make sense of the tumult around us? How can we grapple with the confusion and alarm so many of us are feeling? In a special session of talks curated and hosted by Jon Ronson at TED HQ on Wednesday night, six speakers looked not at the ruin that follows hardship but the recovery. That’s why we called the session “Rebirth” — because it was a night to talk about redemption. Whether it’s the crushing grief of losing a child, the manipulation of an electorate or the fear of public humiliation, each speaker has encountered trauma in one form or another. And as they shared their narratives, they offered useful mechanisms for getting a new purchase on reality. First up was Mona Chalabi, data editor for Guardian US. “We’re living in a world of alternative facts, where people don’t find statistics to be a common ground or a starting point for debate,” says data editor Mona Chalabi. “This is a problem.” (Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED) How to paint with numbers. In the current age of distrust and alternative facts, people have begun to question the reliability of data from even the most trusted institutions, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once a source of common ground between individuals, government numbers now provide a starting point for contentious debate. There’s even a bill in Congress that argues against the collection of data related to racial inequality. Without this data, “how can we observe discrimination, let alone fix it?” asks Mona Chalabi. This isn’t just about discrimination: think about how much harder it would be to have a public debate about health care if we don’t have numbers on health and poverty. Or how hard it would be to legislate on immigration if we can’t agree on how many people are entering and leaving the country. In an illustrated talk full of her signature hand-drawn data visualizations, Chalabi offers advice on how to distinguish good numbers from bad ones. As she explains, if we give up on government numbers altogether, “we’ll be making public policy decisions in the dark, using nothing but private interests to guide us.” A story of hope in the shadow of death. When writer/comedian Amy Green’s 12-month-old son was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, she began to tell her children bedtime stories in order to teach them about cancer. What resulted was a video game called “That Dragon, Cancer,” in which a brave knight named Joel fights an evil dragon. In the game, the autobiographical story of Joel’s terminal illness, players discover that although they desperately want to win and want Joel to beat cancer, they never can. What do you value when you can’t win? In a beautiful talk about coping with loss, Green brings joy and play into tragedy. “We made a game that’s hard to play,” Green says. “People have to prepare themselves to invest emotionally in a story that they know will break their hearts, but when our hearts break they heal a little differently. My broken heart has healed with a new and deeper compassion.” With speech and song, Emmy the Great shares her story about standing out, fitting in and finding her identity through music. (Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED) Where East meets West. Emmy the Great grew up wrestling the East and West within herself — the East of her Chinese mother, the city of Hong Kong where she was born, and the West of her English father, her British peers, and the UK, where she grew up. But her 30th birthday blessed her with a unique coming-of[...]



“Humanity can rise to the challenge”: Yuval Harari in conversation at TED Dialogues

2017-02-18T12:47:25Z

How to explain the stunning political upheaval of 2016 — Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in the US — as well as the current and ongoing atmosphere of division, discontent and disquiet that fills many people’s lives? One simple answer: “We’ve lost our story,” says Jerusalem University historian Yuval […]In a wide-ranging conversation with Yuval Harari at TED’s theater, TED’s Chris Anderson (left) asked: How should we behave in this post-truth era? And Harari replied: “My basic reaction as a historian is: if this is the era of post-truth, when the hell was the era of truth?” Photo: Dian Lofton /TED How to explain the stunning political upheaval of 2016 — Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in the US — as well as the current and ongoing atmosphere of division, discontent and disquiet that fills many people’s lives? One simple answer: “We’ve lost our story,” says Jerusalem University historian Yuval Harari, in a conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson during the first of a series of TED Dialogues in NYC. Humans “think in stories and make sense of the world by telling stories,” says Harari, the author of Sapiens and the new book Homo Deus. In the past few decades, many of us believed in the “simple and attractive story” that we existed in a world that was both politically liberal and economically global. At the same time, some people felt left out of — or didn’t believe — this story. By 2016, they voiced their discontent by supporting Brexit and Trump and LePen, retreating into the cozy confines of nationalism and nostalgia. Right now, “almost everywhere around the globe, we see [politicians with a] retrograde vision.” Harari points to Trump’s efforts to “Make America Great Again,” Putin’s hearkening back to the Tsarist empire, and leadership in Israel, his home country, seeking to build temples. He views leaders — and citizens — a bit like lost children retracing their steps back to the place they once felt safety and security. Unfortunately, taking refuge in nationalism will not help humanity tackle the huge and looming problems of climate change and technological disruption at global scale. While climate occupies the worries of many people, Harari believes the general public is less informed about the latter problem: that in the next 20 to 30 years, hundreds of millions of people might be put out of work due to automation. “It’s not the Mexicans, it’s not the Chinese who are going to take jobs from people in Pennsylvania,” he says, “it’s the robots and algorithms. And we have to do something about it now. What we teach children in school and college now is completely irrelevant for what they will need in 2040.” And nothing less than a concerted international solution — most likely, in the form of global governance — is needed to take on these planet-scale issues. “I don’t know what it would look like,” admits Harari. “But we need it because these situations are lose-lose situations.” When it comes to an area like trade, where both sides can benefit, it’s easy to get national governments to come together and negotiate an agreement. But with an issue like climate change in which all nations stand to lose, an overarching authority is needed in order to force them to act. Such a global government would “most likely look more like ancient China than modern Denmark,” he says. Harari notes that most of today’s nationalist governments seem loath to address — or even acknowledge — global problems like climate change. “There’s a close correlation between nationalism and climate change denialism,” he says. “Nationalists are focused on their most immediate loyalties and commitments, to their people, to their country.” But, he asks, “Why can’t you be loyal to humankind as a whole?” So in our current political climate, Harari says anyone interested in global [...]



TED and Star India greenlight “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch” TV series, hosted by Shah Rukh Khan

2017-02-15T20:45:21Z

Today we confirmed some exciting news about TED’s most ambitious television project yet: a major network series in India hosted by megawatt Bollywood film star Shah Rukh Khan. The program will air on Star India, one of India’s largest media conglomerates and our partner in production. TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, which translates to “new thinking,” marks [](image)

Today we confirmed some exciting news about TED’s most ambitious television project yet: a major network series in India hosted by megawatt Bollywood film star Shah Rukh Khan.

The program will air on Star India, one of India’s largest media conglomerates and our partner in production. TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, which translates to “new thinking,” marks the first time TED is collaborating with a major network to produce a TV series featuring original TED Talks in a language other than English—Hindi.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be bringing TED to India in this form,” TED curator Chris Anderson tells us. “The country is teeming with imagination and innovation, and we believe this series will tap into that spirit and bring insight and inspiration to many new minds.”

“The sheer size of Star TV’s audience, with more than 650 million viewers, makes this a significant milestone in TED’s ongoing effort to bring big ideas to curious minds,” added Juliet Blake, head of TV at TED and executive producer of the series. “Global television is opening up a new frontier for TED.”

Shah Rukh Khan says the show is a concept he “connected with instantly, as I believe that the media is perhaps the single most powerful vehicle to inspire change. I am looking forward to working with TED and Star India, and truly hope that together, we are able to inspire young minds across India and the world.”

More on this unique initiative will be announced at TED2017 in Vancouver and in the coming months. Stay tuned!


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Watch: Yuval Harari in conversation with TED’s Chris Anderson

2017-02-15T19:32:30Z

Watch: Chris Anderson speaks with the historian Yuval Noah Harari on what’s happening now, and what’s to come during this extraordinary moment in time -- when nationalism is pitted against globalism, while the world is facing a job-loss crisis most of us are not even expecting. A rewarding hour of big ideas about humanity's future.(image)

In this one-hour video from TED headquarters, curator Chris Anderson sits down with historian and social critic Yuval Noah Harari to talk about this extraordinary moment in time — when nationalism is pitted against globalism, while the world is facing a job-loss crisis most of us are not even expecting. Rewatch this Facebook Live video:


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‘Armchair archaeologists’ search 5 million tiles of Peru

2017-02-15T15:51:45Z

GlobalXplorer, the citizen science platform for archaeology, launched two weeks ago. It’s the culmination of Sarah Parcak’s TED Prize wish and, already, more than 32,000 curious minds from around the world have started their training, learning to spot signs of ancient sites threatened by looters. Working together, the GlobalXplorer community has just finished searching the […]Morning clouds reveal Machu Picchu, ancient city of the Incas. Peru is home to many archaeological sites — and citizen scientists are mapping the country with GlobalXplorer. Photo: Design Pics Inc./National Geographic Creative GlobalXplorer, the citizen science platform for archaeology, launched two weeks ago. It’s the culmination of Sarah Parcak’s TED Prize wish and, already, more than 32,000 curious minds from around the world have started their training, learning to spot signs of ancient sites threatened by looters. Working together, the GlobalXplorer community has just finished searching the 5 millionth tile in Peru, the first country the platform is mapping. “I’m thrilled,” said Parcak. “I had no idea we’d complete this many tiles so soon.” “Expedition Peru” has users searching more than 250,000 square kilometers of highlands and desert, captured in high-resolution satellite imagery provided by DigitalGlobe. This large search area has been divided into nearly 120 million tiles, each about the size of a few city blocks. Users look at tiles one at a time, and mark whether they see anything in the image that could be a looting pit. When 5–6 users flag a site as containing potential looting, Parcak’s team will step in to study it in more detail. “So far, the community has flagged numerous potential looting sites,” said Parcak. “We’ll be taking a look at each one and further investigating.” GlobalXplorer volunteers are searching Peru, one tile at a time, looking for signs of looting. Each tile shows an area the size of a few city blocks. Photo: Courtesy of GlobalXplorer When GlobalXplorer launched, The Guardian described its users as “armchair archaeologists.” As this growing community searches for signs of looting, it’s unlocking articles and videos from National Geographic’s archives that give greater context to the expedition. So far, four chapters are available — including one on the explorers whose work has shed light on the mysteries of Peru, and one on the Chavín culture known for its psychedelic religious rituals. “Everyone will find things on GlobalXplorer,” said Parcak. “All users are making a real difference. I’ve had photos from my friends showing their kids working together to find sites, and emails from retirees who always wanted to be archaeologists but never could. It’s really heartwarming to see this work.” Expedition Peru draws to a close on March 15, 2017. Start searching » [...]



A personal memory of Hans Rosling, from TED’s founding director of video

2017-02-16T02:44:29Z

I was there when Hans Rosling first shook the room at TED, and transformed tiresome medical statistics into an action-packed, live performance about real people’s lives on the line. He’s since been namechecked by Bill Gates. And he outlasted Fidel Castro – twice. Not merely mortally. In an interview on the TED Blog, Hans recounts […]Hans Rosling. Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson I was there when Hans Rosling first shook the room at TED, and transformed tiresome medical statistics into an action-packed, live performance about real people’s lives on the line. He’s since been namechecked by Bill Gates. And he outlasted Fidel Castro – twice. Not merely mortally. In an interview on the TED Blog, Hans recounts an all-night argument with the Cuban dictator that upended the country’s healthcare system. At our second encounter, shortly after the launch of TED Talks, Hans pulled up a chair and sat down by my side to ask about the instant replay I’d inserted into his presentation. He listened to my answer attentively, then shared his greatest secret as a speaker, a secret he had refined over years of teaching with a sportscaster’s exuberance: “I must strike a delicate balance,” he explained, “Too much data, and I become boring. But too much humor, and I am a clown.” He drew diagrams. His ideas spilled forth with lucidity, seemingly effortlessly, because he loved what he did, and he worked with the people he loved. He couldn’t wait to share his latest revelations with everybody at every opportunity: He evaded bribery in some of the more corrupt corners of the world by showing off printouts of his data, page by page, until local interlocutors would release him, either out of inspiration or sheer exhaustion — but never confusion. Years after we first met, Hans showed up at my door one night with a toothbrush and a laptop full of data visualizations, announcing himself as my roommate, staying up all hours to work out the particulars of his latest presentation. And I told him that my favorite part of any of his TED Talks, the bit that gives me chills to this day, was something that could easily go unnoticed, from that very first speech comparing the developed world to the developing world, when, about four minutes in, he leans in to take us on our first journey through time, and he says, “Let’s see,” to an unsuspecting audience, “WE START THE WORLD.” — Jason Wishnow TED’s founding director of film + video, Jason Wishnow, gives Hans Rosling some presentation tips backstage at TED in Long Beach. Image courtesy M ss ng P eces and Jason Wishnow   [...]



“I cried as you told your story”: Comment of the week, Feb. 8, 2017

2017-02-15T01:12:31Z

This week’s comment was posted on Sue Klebold’s talk, “My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story.” Many times, a comment section represents the worst of our collective thoughts, but in this instance, on this platform, there is so much compassion. I was impressed with the level of respect and understanding shown to Sue […]This week’s comment was posted on Sue Klebold’s talk, “My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story.” Many times, a comment section represents the worst of our collective thoughts, but in this instance, on this platform, there is so much compassion. I was impressed with the level of respect and understanding shown to Sue by our entire community, but Heidi’s comment stands out because of her personal experience with the Columbine shooting. Heidi writes: “I was in the library during the Columbine shooting. I cried as you told your story, and my heart really just ached. I admire your courage to stand up and speak about this and have found healing in your words.” Heidi’s sentiments are mirrored in her community members’ comments, but her proximity to the shooting adds a specific weight to her words. As an outsider, it’s comforting to read Heidi’s comments and, if the upvotes are any indication, I’d imagine I’m not the only person who feels this way. Sue’s bravery in both her talk and advocacy work is so important, and I hope the comments from the TED.com community can stand to show just how impactful it is too. Here’s to another week of powerful community interactions! [...]



Remembering Hans Rosling

2017-02-07T18:03:21Z

Bounding up on stage with the energy of 1,000 suns and his special extra-long pointer, Swedish professor Hans Rosling became a data rock star, dedicated to giving his audience a truer picture of the world. Bounding up on stage with the energy of 1,000 suns and his special extra-long pointer, Swedish professor Hans Rosling became a data rock star, dedicated to giving his audience a truer picture of the world. Photo: Asa Mathat Is the world getting worse every day in every way, as some news media would have you believe? No. In fact, the most reliable data shows that in meaningful ways — such as child mortality rate, literacy rate, human lifespan — the world is actually, slowly and measurably, getting better. Hans Rosling dedicated the latter part of his distinguished career to making sure the world knew that. And in his 10 TED Talks — the most TED Talks by a single person ever posted — he hammered the point home again and again. As he told us once: “You see, it is very easy to be an evidence-based professor lecturing about global theory, because many people get stuck in wrong ideas.” Using custom software (or sometimes, just using a few rocks), he and his team ingested data from sources like the World Bank (fun story: their data was once locked away until Hans’ efforts helped open it to the world) and turned it into bright, compelling movable graphs that showed the complex story of global progress over time, while tweaking everyone’s expectations and challenging us to think and to learn. We’re devastated to announce that Hans passed away this morning, surrounded by family. As his children announced on their shared website, Gapminder: “Across the world, millions of people use our tools and share our vision of a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand. We know that many will be saddened by this message. Hans is no longer alive, but he will always be with us and his dream of a fact-based worldview, we will never let die!” [...]



A Q&A with Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger

2017-02-07T12:21:32Z

In October 2016, a group gathered in San Francisco for the TEDWomen 2016 conference, this year themed around the idea of time. One talk was given by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, who took the stage to share a story that took place in 1996, when Stranger raped Elva, then his girlfriend. The talk had […]In October 2016, a group gathered in San Francisco for the TEDWomen 2016 conference, this year themed around the idea of time. One talk was given by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, who took the stage to share a story that took place in 1996, when Stranger raped Elva, then his girlfriend. The talk had a powerful effect on the audience in the room, and is now available online. We had some follow-up questions. This is an incredibly personal topic and talk. What made you decide to go so public with your story? Thordis Elva: I’d be lying if I said that it was an easy decision, and questions about how it’ll be received have entered my mind regularly on this journey. But most importantly, I know in my heart that hearing a story like the one I share with Tom would have made a world of a difference to me when I was younger. As a survivor, it would have helped me realize that the shame wasn’t mine to carry, and that there is hope of finding happiness in life even after a shattering experience like rape. Also, if hearing our story could help potential perpetrators realize how imperative it is to get consent for all sexual activity, ultimately lessening the likelihood of them abusing other people, that would be a goal worth striving for. Tom Stranger: The road from that dire night in 1996 until now has been long and fraught with uncertainty. We acknowledge that the choices and pains in our past are not unique to us, and are situated within a deeply pervasive societal issue. In going public with our TED Talk and book, and speaking to the 20-year path of reconciliation and dialogue behind us, we are not seeking to offer a manual or methodology to other survivors or perpetrators of rape, but to simply offer a story — a personal communication that can possibly give hope to others, and add our voices to the public discussion that is now seeking to better comprehend and address this multifarious issue. How did you prepare for the talk? TS: It took considered writing, online discussions from different time zones, significant editing and frequent rehearsal, and wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of our two incredible coaches. The chronology of our history was divided into periods, and we each committed to talking to these stages honestly. We did our best to keep our diverse audience in the fore of our minds, and selected the language that would be suitably considerate but also do justice to our individual parts. The intense period prior to the talk was dedicated to rehearsing, and this saw the talk repeated to the point of knowing that we retained the words well enough to invest in them the authentic feelings they deserved. TE: After we laid this groundwork, we worked individually on committing the talk to memory, sometimes in very odd circumstances. I admit that for a while there, I was the strange lady who was talking to herself on the bus. Tom, you show obvious contrition in the talk. Nonetheless, it will almost certainly be difficult for some people to see you take center stage like this. What would you say to someone who feels like you’re trying to portray yourself as some kind of hero for speaking up? TS: I recognize this as valid questioning, and wouldn’t offer any argument to counter such a response. As much as I can convey, I recognize that just me being up on stage, and for people to see and hear me, would be challenging and triggering for some. I acknowledge that my past choices invalidate any suitability for present or future praise. The risk of me receiving any[...]



TED Dialogues: An urgent response to a dangerously divisive time

2017-02-20T22:35:45Z

These are astonishing days. Amid rapid-fire policy changes, America has grown even more divided; similar divisions are spreading across the world. Vitriolic rhetoric roars from all sides, and battle lines are hardening. We aren’t listening to one another. Is there space left for dialogue? For reason? For thoughtful persuasion? We’re determined to find that space. This [](image)

These are astonishing days. Amid rapid-fire policy changes, America has grown even more divided; similar divisions are spreading across the world. Vitriolic rhetoric roars from all sides, and battle lines are hardening.

We aren’t listening to one another.

Is there space left for dialogue? For reason? For thoughtful persuasion?

We’re determined to find that space. This goes to the core of TED’s mission. We’re therefore launching a series of public events, TED Dialogues, that will focus on the burning questions of the moment; questions about security and fear, democracy and demagoguery, neo-nationalism and neo-globalism.

We’re not looking for more angry soundbites. We’re looking to pull the camera back a little and get a clearer understanding of what’s going on, where we are, how we got here—and how we must move forward. Our speakers will be invited to give short, powerful talks, followed by probing questions from both live and virtual audiences — including you. We will search for voices from many parts of the political landscape. And we will focus on the ideas that can best shed light, bring hope and inspire courageous action.

The events will be held at our theater in New York and streamed freely online. The first event was heldWednesday, February 15, featuring the acclaimed historian and author Yuval Noah Harari. Watch it here. A tentative schedule for further talks:

Thursday, February 23, 1pm, streamed live on Facebook Live
Wednesday, March 1, 1pm, on Facebook Live
Wednesday, March 8, 1pm, on Facebook Live

If you have specific speakers to recommend or topics to suggest, please submit them here. Please sign up for email notification of these events. Or join our Facebook community.

The need for ideas—and listening—has never mattered more.


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“Could threat data be anonymized?”: Comment of the week, Feb. 1, 2017

2017-02-15T01:12:35Z

This week’s comment comes from Joe, who has enough understanding of the topic of Caleb Barlow’s talk, “Where is cybercrime really coming from?” to pose a great question to the speaker. Particularly on topics I’m less familiar with, it’s great to come to the comments and hear from people who have much more experience with […]This week’s comment comes from Joe, who has enough understanding of the topic of Caleb Barlow’s talk, “Where is cybercrime really coming from?” to pose a great question to the speaker. Particularly on topics I’m less familiar with, it’s great to come to the comments and hear from people who have much more experience with the ideas presented. Joe asks: “Could the threat data be anonymized? That is, could companies and individuals send this data through an ‘opaque’ slot to one or more aggregation sites for meta-analysis (along the lines of what I assume exists for whistleblowers contacting sites like wikileaks)?Caleb’s reply: “Joe – that’s an excellent point and actually something that is being widely discussed. The challenge is that you need to maintain the REPUTATION of the source will also hiding the true identity. Without also maintaining the reputation you run the risk of bad buys flooding you with bogus data. There are several emerging theories on how this could be accomplished.” At the end of a talk like Caleb’s, I find myself wondering how likely it is that the solutions he mentioned will be implemented, or how quickly they could be. However, it’s tough to answer my own questions because I know very little about the liabilities involved, or the logistical feats that are likely required to pull this off. Where I’d normally be quite discouraged by my own “ignorance overload,” both Joe’s comment and Caleb’s reply give me a push in the right direction. Joe asks a question I wish I’d known to ask myself, and with the information shared in the thread — anonymizing data, establishing a source’s reputation, and the fact that this method is already being discussed — I have somewhere to start. It can be hard to have a deep understanding of the solutions in more complicated and technical talks, but with a comment community you can ask questions of, and a starting line to walk towards, hopefully we all will keep trying. The nuances of implementing the idea can be just as fascinating as the ideas themselves, and if something sparks your interest, I’d say you owe it to yourself to keep digging. Or at least to scroll down to the comments :) Thanks for asking, Joe! [...]



TED and Audible debut “Sincerely, X” audio series: Sharing important ideas, anonymously

2017-02-01T16:39:33Z

TED’s always on the hunt for new speakers with new ideas. But in our latest project, we’re offering speakers something unprecedented: anonymity. Our hunch? Inviting people to share ideas without having to reveal their identity might allow for an entirely new category of talks. Today TED and Audible announce the release of Sincerely, X, an original […] TED’s always on the hunt for new speakers with new ideas. But in our latest project, we’re offering speakers something unprecedented: anonymity. Our hunch? Inviting people to share ideas without having to reveal their identity might allow for an entirely new category of talks. Today TED and Audible announce the release of Sincerely, X, an original audio series that features speakers sharing their important ideas in TED’s signature format, anonymously. Episodes include speakers who need to separate their professional ideas from their personal lives; those who want to share an idea, but fear it would hurt someone in their family if they did so publicly; and quiet idealists whose solutions could transform lives. Hosted by June Cohen and executive produced by Deron Triff, both TED veterans, along with executive producer Collin Campbell from Audible, each episode is shaped to bring out the importance of the idea. “The reach of TED Talks has expanded wildly over the years,” said Cohen. “But one question always nagged us: How many ideas worth spreading remain hidden because people can’t speak publicly about the very thing they feel the world needs to hear? It’s an exciting moment for us to now have Sincerely, X as a vehicle for unearthing and sharing just this kind of idea.” The first three episodes are now available within the Audible Channels experience, with additional episodes coming out every week. (Get the Audible app.) You can listen with an Audible or Amazon Prime subscription. Learn more here … and watch the trailer: class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/CkGkWoYx2lM?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> [...]



GlobalXplorer invites you to find and protect archaeological sites

2017-01-30T16:17:05Z

The power of the crowd has helped digitize the world’s books; it maintains the online encyclopedia many of us check by default. The crowd has fueled our understanding of the connections between neurons in the brain and contributed voice samples that will become a simple phone test for Parkinson’s. Incredible things happen when people around the world team up to […]On GlobalXplorer, people around the world will team up to map satellite imagery of Peru. Image: GlobalXplorer The power of the crowd has helped digitize the world’s books; it maintains the online encyclopedia many of us check by default. The crowd has fueled our understanding of the connections between neurons in the brain and contributed voice samples that will become a simple phone test for Parkinson’s. Incredible things happen when people around the world team up to work on important tasks. Today, a new one for you: searching satellite imagery to help find and protect ancient sites that modern archaeologists don’t know about. In today’s TED Talk, Sarah Parcak explains that hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites around the world are vulnerable to looting because archaeologists, and often governments, don’t know about them. The winner of the 2016 TED Prize, Parcak is a pioneer of satellite archaeology, which operates like a “space-based CAT scan.” Her team takes imagery captured by satellites and processes them using techniques that allow them to see patterns in the vegetation and soil that might signal manmade features, hidden from view. Parcak’s work has helped locate 17 potential pyramids and more than 3,000 potential settlements in Egypt, and led to major finds in the Roman and Viking world. Searching satellite imagery once it’s processed is easy. But Parcak’s team is small. That’s where you come in. With the TED Prize, Parcak has built GlobalXplorer.org, a citizen science platform to crowdsource this work. Launched today, GlobalXplorer’s first campaign will take users to Peru, where they’ll help search 200,000 square kilometers of satellite imagery, from the highlands around Machu Picchu to the deserts around the Nazca Lines.   “We’re the generation with all the tools and all the technology to stop looting, but we’re not working fast enough,” says Parcak in her talk. Users will search 200,000 square kilometers of satellite imagery. Large sections like this will be broken into smaller tiles. Archaeological features like this stone structure on a hill will be visible. Image: ©DigitalGlobe 2017 GlobalXplorer is a collaboration between the TED Prize, National Geographic and DigitalGlobe, which provided the satellite imagery broken down into search tiles the size of a few city blocks. When users log on to the site, they’ll get a tutorial on how to search satellite imagery for signs of looting. Users will level up as they search and unlock photos, articles and videos from National Geographic’s archives that will give them rich context on the ancient cultures of Peru. When they train their eye, users will move on to comparing imagery from two different time periods, to look for signs of sites threatened by urban development. Finally, users will learn to search imagery processed with a technique called “Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).” It makes healthy and unhealthy vegetation appear in different colors, and users can spot patterns in less-healthy vegetation that might be growing over ancient ruins. To keep the location of potential sites safe, GlobalXplorer tiles do not contain any location data and are displayed to users in a random order, one at a time, without the ability to navigate or pan away. Peru’s Ministry of Culture is a close partner in the [...]



From shanty mega-towns to a cyborg uprising: Talks from TEDNYC Idea Search 2017

2017-01-28T00:21:46Z

Here at TED headquarters, we are constantly looking for new voices, new ideas — and late last year, we opened a challenge to the world: Make a one-minute audition video that makes the case for your TED Talk. On Thursday night, January 26, at our New York office, co-hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Cloe Shasha presented us […]Artist Olalekan Jeyifous kicks off the night at TEDNYC Idea Search 2017 with a gallery of his hyper-detailed and gloriously complex imaginary cities. The event took place January 26, 2017, at TED’s New York headquarters. Photo: Anyssa Samari / TED Here at TED headquarters, we are constantly looking for new voices, new ideas — and late last year, we opened a challenge to the world: Make a one-minute audition video that makes the case for your TED Talk. On Thursday night, January 26, at our New York office, co-hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Cloe Shasha presented us with eleven audition finalists in a fast-paced program that took us from imaginary shanty towns to the cyborg uprising. (It’s all part of our Idea Search project, and Thursday’s event was the first of three evenings planned — the next two are in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya.) Here are voices you may not have heard before — but that you’ll want to hear more from soon … Dystopian design. Artist Olalekan Jeyifous creates speculative architectural interventions — fantastical, sci-fi-inspired designs that spur inquiry and discourse about the places we live. In an image-packed talk (seriously, check out his work), Jeyifous shows us his future vision for cities like Lagos, Nigeria, where millions of people live and work in improvised buildings cheek-by-jowl with luxury megastructures. With elegant lines and colors, and the kind of detail you could get lost in for days, his work celebrates the organic, eye-popping complexity of our cities. Designing the “how” conversation. Ask a group of people whether something should happen, and you’ll get a discussion where people take sides and likely end in a stalemate; but ask them how something might happen, and you’ll get a design discussion with room for many voices and, possibly, a solution. In his six-minute talk, David Dylan Thomas suggests that too much of our discourse, both online and off, focuses on telling people what they’re doing wrong instead of on how they could be doing better. “The best thing we can do is ask the right question in the first place,” Thomas says. “The next time you see someone doing it wrong, ask yourself, is there a How conversation to be had?” Journalist and “industrious optimist” Lara Setrakian runs Syria Deeply, a news site that covers complex and difficult — and vastly important — global news. As she says, we must “embrace complexity to make sense of a complex world.” Photo: Ryan Lash / TED The news, deeply. Lara Setrakian was working as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East when she noticed the stories all around her, from conflict zones to climate change, that were going untold by the news industry. Determined not to let Syria become another forgotten story, she left ABC News to found Syria Deeply, a news site that’s dedicated to helping people understand current events in all their complexity. With trust in the media at an all-time low, Setrakian offers a three-point manifesto for fixing the news, never wavering from her belief that for journalism, today is “a time of reawakening and reimagining.” Life lessons from NYTimes obituaries. By analyzing 2,000 obituaries over a 20-month period, Lux Narayan uncovers the lessons and values that obituaries can teach us about ou[...]



A new museum 14 meters under the sea, a dance that draws on fiction, and other news from TED speakers

2017-01-27T21:40:53Z

As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. An underwater museum. Off the south coast of Lanzarote, 12 to 14 meters beneath the sea, lies artist Jason DeCaires Taylor’s latest museum, Museo Atlántico, which opened on January 10. Three years in the making, the installation is not […] As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. An underwater museum. Off the south coast of Lanzarote, 12 to 14 meters beneath the sea, lies artist Jason DeCaires Taylor’s latest museum, Museo Atlántico, which opened on January 10. Three years in the making, the installation is not only an artistic way of raising awareness about environmental issues, but will provide a home for marine organisms: Taylor designed each of more than 300 life-size pieces to be artificial reefs, which will attract a diversity of marine life from angel sharks to barracudas to sponges. (Watch Jason’s TED Talk) A documentary on a baffling disease. Jennifer Brea was 28 when she came down with a 104.7-degree fever. The fever marked the beginning of a host of symptoms, from dizziness to temporarily losing the ability to write, and endless doctor’s appointments that always ended with reassurances that she was physically fine. Later diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, Brea filmed a documentary from her bed to shed light on this widespread but poorly understood illness. The resulting film, Unrest, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 20 — and was widely and warmly reviewed. (Watch Jennifer’s TED Talk) The fight for accessible mental health care. Vikram Patel and colleagues have published two new papers in The Lancet that explore similar strategies for closing the global treatment gap for depression and harmful drinking. Both studies evaluated the use of brief psychological treatments delivered by lay counsellors in primary health-care settings. The researchers found that for both depression and harmful drinking, the lay counsellors’ treatment, combined with usual care, was more effective than usual care alone, a combination that may be more cost-effective. (Watch Vikram’s TED Talk) Fiction as dance. After its premiere in 2015, choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Virginia Woolf–inspired ballet, Woolf Works, returns to the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, where McGregor is resident choreographer with The Royal Ballet. The production is broken into three acts, each of which draws on a different novel: the first is inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, the second by Orlando, and the third by The Waves. The show will run through February 14, 2017. (Watch Wayne’s TED Talk) Healthcare’s digital future. The Scripps Translational Science Institute, of which Eric Topol is founder and director, announced a partnership with Nature Research to launch an international journal, npj Digital Medicine. The open-access journal will publish original articles and review research that focus on the use of digital and mobile technologies in healthcare. Along with Steven Steinhubl, Topol will act as editor-in-chief of the journal. (Watch Eric’s TED Talk) The continued rise of a data-driven world. Data advocate Mallory Soldner presented at the first United Nations World Data Forum, held January 15–18 in Cape Town, South Africa. Soldner participated in two panels. The first explored the use of big data for sustainable development. The second took a hard look at new types of data and emerging techniques for managing big data, exploring, among other questions, how these new frontiers could be used to fill existing data gaps. (Watch Mall[...]



Comment of the week, January 25, 2017: “Use your voices on our behalf”

2017-01-25T19:06:57Z

The comment I’d like to highlight this week was left on Jen Brea’s TED Talk by Serena Morriss, who is currently suffering with ME. Although many community members have shared their personal experiences with the condition, Serena also asks those of us who are physically well to do more than listen. For anyone moved by […]The comment I’d like to highlight this week was left on Jen Brea’s TED Talk by Serena Morriss, who is currently suffering with ME. Although many community members have shared their personal experiences with the condition, Serena also asks those of us who are physically well to do more than listen. For anyone moved by the Jennifer’s struggle, and the struggle of so many others, Serena directs our desire to help towards actionable steps: “use your voices on our behalf, to raise awareness, but also put pressure on governments and health organizations.” She calls on those who can, “to fight for us, to get behind scientific research, to lobby governments to put money into proper scientific research and…to stand up for us, to fight the prejudice discrimination that we face by being wrongly labelled.” I hope that Jennifer’s talk, as well as Serena’s comment and the comments of other community members, helps us all to make changes that will help those living with ME/CFS to feel even a little less forgotten. We, the physically well, can’t ignore the lived experiences of Serena and Jennifer, and so many others.   [...]



On Roxane Gay’s TED Book

2017-01-25T19:07:25Z

Author Roxane Gay has asked to cancel her planned TED Book, titled How to Be Heard. We’re disappointed that we won’t get to put this important book out into the world, but we respect and accept her decision.(image)

Author Roxane Gay has asked to cancel her planned TED Book, titled How to Be Heard. We’re disappointed that we won’t get to put this important book out into the world, but we respect and accept her decision.


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This billion-dollar fund wants to prevent the next epidemic

2017-01-27T13:00:55Z

A powerhouse coalition will change the way vaccines are made — and help us prep for the next global outbreak. (Because it’s not if but when.) One of the cruelest ironies of the recent Ebola outbreak: There was a promising Ebola vaccine already, sitting in a Canadian lab, awaiting human trials — the last step away from being […]A powerhouse coalition will change the way vaccines are made — and help us prep for the next global outbreak. (Because it’s not if but when.) One of the cruelest ironies of the recent Ebola outbreak: There was a promising Ebola vaccine already, sitting in a Canadian lab, awaiting human trials — the last step away from being approved to use on people. But development had stalled in 2010, and it wasn’t ready to use. “Why is it that the Ebola vaccine wasn’t fully developed at this point?” asked vaccine advocate Seth Berkley in March 2015 on the TED stage. “Mainly because of the financial risk in developing it. The sad reality is, we develop vaccines not based upon the risk the pathogen poses to people, but on how economically risky it is to develop these vaccines. Vaccine development is expensive and complicated.”  As he concluded, “There’s a complete market failure. If we want vaccines, we have to provide incentives or some type of subsidy.” Last Thursday, January 18, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Berkley saw the launch of exactly that: CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a fund from a coalition of countries, labs and foundations that will create incentives for academic and industry labs to create and test vaccines, and will help form global partnerships that will speed reaction times. The first $460 million of backing comes from founding partners including the governments of Norway, Germany and Japan, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; other nations and groups are poised to join. The organization expects to raise the full $1 billion that it needs for the next 5 years by the end of 2017. The first targets will be the MERS-CoV, Lassa and Nipah viruses.   In an email to TED after the launch, Berkley calls this fund “exactly the type of initiative I called for in my TED Talk.  It was also set up well by Bill Gates as he did the epidemic talk right before mine.” Watch this clip of Bill Gates at the CEPI announcement: class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/e-j5u5QoKvU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> Berkley shares more details: “I participated in the Davos launch today and am excited that CEPI could be put together and funded over the last year. It brings together companies — both large multinational vaccine companies and small biotech companies — to pursue two goals: First, to create some vaccines for known pathogens that are at risk of epidemic spread.  They will be produced and go through early-stage testing and then will be stored to be immediately ready for response to an outbreak.  Second will be to develop, test and validate platforms that could be used for novel agents that might appear as part of an outbreak. These will allow us to be much further prepared to move quickly if a new pathogen appears.”  Berkley runs Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which was launched at the WEF in 2000. “Gavi has immunized 600 million addition kids, changed the marketplace for vaccines and prevented more than 8 mil[...]



One TED speaker adorns the walls of the New York City subway, another the walls of a building in Dubai…

2017-01-13T23:18:29Z

As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. A subway line with museum-worthy art. After 45 years of construction and $4.5 billion spent, the first section of New York City’s Second Avenue subway line opened on January 1 with four stations. Maybe the best feature of the […] As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. A subway line with museum-worthy art. After 45 years of construction and $4.5 billion spent, the first section of New York City’s Second Avenue subway line opened on January 1 with four stations. Maybe the best feature of the new line? The amazing artwork decorating the walls of the new stations, including Vik Muniz at the 72nd Street station. Muniz was one of four artists chosen from 300 applicants to turn a station into an art installation. (Watch Vik’s TED Talk) A silver mural for Dubai. Artist eL Seed is wrapping up work on his first public-art project in the city that he calls home, Dubai. On the walls of the city’s Green Planet Building, the mural is done in his signature calligraphic style using iridescent silver spray paint, so that the color of the mural changes depending on the time of day and angle from which it’s viewed. The work spells out the words of the poem Positive Spirit, written by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, with a message about the importance of faith and the resolve it takes to fulfill your dreams. (Watch eL Seed’s TED Talk) A mission to asteroids. Dedicated to unlocking mysteries of the solar system through shorter, more focused missions, NASA’s Discovery Program announced on January 4 that they were launching two new missions to asteroids in a search for clues about the early solar system. The projects, Lucy and Psyche, will respectively study the Trojan asteroids behind Jupiter and will send an orbiter to 16 Psyche (hence the name), a massive metallic object in the asteroid belt, as detailed by the Washington Post. According to NASA’s Planetary Science Director and TED speaker Jim Green, these missions will “help us understand how the sun and its family of planets formed, changed over time, and became places where life could develop and be sustained — and what the future may hold.” (Watch Jim’s TED Talk) “I don’t think we’re free in America.” In order to confront and reclaim this country’s long history of racial violence, the Equal Justice Initiative launched a “Lynching in America” initiative–a comprehensive record of racial terror lynching–and has plans for a memorial in Alabama dedicated to victims of lynching. In an interview in The Intercept, director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson discusses the urgency of facing this long history of violence in the wake of this country’s civil unrest: “I think we’re all burdened by this history of racial injustice, which has created a narrative of racial difference, which has infected us, corrupted us, and allowed us to see the world through this lens. So it becomes necessary to talk about that history if we want to get free.” (Watch Bryan’s TED Talk) In search of the perfect surf. Surf photographer Chris Burkard’s upcoming documentary Under an Arctic Sky follows six adventurous surfers who set sail along the frozen shores of Iceland in the midst of the worst storm the country has seen in twenty-five years. The film is due for release in early 2017. (Watch Chris’ TED Talk) Stem cell science: from ben[...]



Meet the 2017 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows

2017-01-10T21:21:07Z

Welcome the class of TED2017 Fellows! Representing 12 countries, one tribal nation and an incredible range of disciplines, this year’s Fellows are all leaders in their fields who constantly find new ways to collaborate and bring about positive change. Among those selected are an Ecuadorian neurobiologist working to uncover the neural circuits that connect the […] Welcome the class of TED2017 Fellows! Representing 12 countries, one tribal nation and an incredible range of disciplines, this year’s Fellows are all leaders in their fields who constantly find new ways to collaborate and bring about positive change. Among those selected are an Ecuadorian neurobiologist working to uncover the neural circuits that connect the gut and the brain, an Afrofuturist filmmaker from Kenya who tells modern stories about Africa, a Chinese entrepreneur and venture capitalist tackling global food system challenges, an Indian investigative journalist exploring discrimination around the world, and many more. Below, meet the new group of Fellows who will join us at TED2017, April 24-28 in Vancouver, BC. TED2017 Fellows Karim Abouelnaga (USA) Education entrepreneur Founder and CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, a summer school operator, which addresses the summer learning loss in low-income communities by connecting younger students with mentors from their neighborhood for leadership development, academic instruction and career training. Karim Abouelnaga speaks to a group of students participating in the Practice Makes Perfect summer program. Christopher Ategeka (Uganda + USA) Healthcare entrepreneur Ugandan founder of Health Access Corps, which is addressing the uneven distribution of health professionals across the African continent by compensating and supporting trained healthcare professionals to stay and serve their local communities. Diego Bohorquez (Ecuador + USA) Gut-brain neurobiologist Ecuadorian neuroscientist studying the neural pathways linking the brain and the gut, and how these connections affect human behavior and disease, from Parkinson’s to autism. Rebecca Brachman (USA) Neuroscientist + entrepreneur Neuroscientist studying how the brain, immune system, and stress interact and co-founder of a biotech startup working to develop the first prophylactic drugs to prevent mental illness and increase resilience to stress. Kayla Briët (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation + USA) Filmmaker + composer Mixed-cultural artist infusing her Neshnaabe, Chinese, and Dutch-Indonesian heritage in multiple mediums of storytelling: film, virtual reality, and music – from orchestral to electronic. Armando Azua-Bustos (Chile) Astrobiologist Chilean astrobiologist studying how microbial life has adapted to survive in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth, and what this means for our search for life on Mars. The extremely low water availability, high salinity and high UV radiation present in the Atacama Desert make it the closest analog to Mars on Earth. (Photo: Clair Popkin) Reid Davenport (USA) Documentary filmmaker Documentary filmmaker focused on telling stories about people with disabilities, who incorporates the physicality of his own disability into his craft. Damon Davis (USA) Interdisciplinary artist Musician, visual artist and filmmaker working at the intersection of art and activism, exploring the experience of contemporary Black Americans. His documentary Whose Streets, which will premiere at Sundance 2017, tells the story of the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri from the perspective [...]