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



Updated: 2017-05-23T16:11:49Z

 



WordPress.comMeet the TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows

2017-05-23T15:23:50Z

Meet the new class of TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows! Representing 18 countries — including, for the first time in our program, Somalia, Uruguay, Liberia and Zimbabwe — this class clears a high bar of talent, creativity and eccentricity. Among those selected, you’ll find a Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland; a […] Meet the new class of TEDGlobal 2017 Fellows! Representing 18 countries — including, for the first time in our program, Somalia, Uruguay, Liberia and Zimbabwe — this class clears a high bar of talent, creativity and eccentricity. Among those selected, you’ll find a Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland; a policy influencer working to make healthcare Deaf-friendly; the founder of Botswana’s first and only LGBT-themed theater festival, and many more. Below, get to know the new group of Fellows who will join us at TEDGlobal 2017, August 27–30, in Arusha, Tanzania. Nighat Dad (Pakistan) Digital rights activist Pakistani founder of the Digital Rights Foundation, a research and advocacy NGO that protects women and minorities from cyber harassment and defends their online freedom of expression. Kyle DeCarlo (USA) Policy influencer + healthcare entrepreneur US co-founder of the Deaf Health Initiative (DHI), an organization working to make healthcare Deaf-friendly through advocacy, policy changes and the creation of new medical devices. Abdigani Diriye (USA) Tech entrepreneur + inventor Somali computer scientist catalyzing the tech scene in Somalia and Somaliland through coding camps, incubators and accelerator programs. An inventor and advocate for innovation and research in Africa. With Moving and Passing, a multidisciplinary project that combines performance, sports and culture, artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph invites immigrant youth to join soccer clinics and writing workshops. (Photo: Joan Osato) Susan Emmett (USA) Ear surgeon US public health expert and ear surgeon studying global hearing health disparities in 15 countries and Indigenous groups around the world, in an effort to fight preventable hearing loss Mennat El Ghalid (France | Egypt) Mycologist Egyptian microbiologist studying fungal infections in humans, in an effort to discover their causes and develop new treatments and cofounder of ConScience, a nonprofit dedicated to science education. Victoria Forster (UK | Canada) Cancer researcher UK scientist researching new treatments for pediatric cancer, drawing on her own experience with leukemia to investigate the devastating side effects of current therapies Mike Gil (USA) Marine biologist + science advocate US marine biologist who studies the way reef fish communicate — and what these social interactions mean for the future of our coral reefs. Robert Hakiza (DRC | Uganda) Urban refugee expert Congolese cofounder of the Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID), which empowers refugees and builds community through vocational education, English classes, access to sports and computer literacy skills. Miho Janvier (France) Solar storm scientist French astrophysicist who works to predict “space weather” by studying the nature of solar flares and space storms, and how they impact planetary environments in our solar system and beyond. Astrophysicist Miho Janvier researches solar flares — the extreme bursts of radiation from the sun’s surface pictured here — and what they might mean for possible interstellar travel. (Photo: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA) Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia | USA) Clean water advocate Liberian founder and CEO of FACE Africa, which strengthens water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa through the establishment of community-based WASH Committees and post-implementation support services. Marc Bamuthi Joseph (USA) Writer + performer US artist and curator investigating cultural erasure through performance, ranging from opera to dance theater. Ado[...]



TED Prize winner Sarah Parcak unearths ancient mysteries on “60 Minutes”

2017-05-22T19:52:06Z

What’s the best way to find something lost on the ground, like a historical site from a civilization lost to time? For archaeologist Sarah Parcak, the answer’s obvious — from way up above, using satellites, of course. As a space archaeologist, she’s found the lost city of Tanis (of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost […]What’s the best way to find something lost on the ground, like a historical site from a civilization lost to time? For archaeologist Sarah Parcak, the answer’s obvious — from way up above, using satellites, of course. As a space archaeologist, she’s found the lost city of Tanis (of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark fame) and identified thousands of other potential ancient sites in Iceland, Europe and across North Africa — and now she’s letting everyone in on the fun with her $1 million TED Prize wish, GlobalXplorer. To get an up-close introduction to the revolutionary techniques of space archaeology, 60 Minutes joined Parcak at her tomb excavation site in Lisht, Egypt, a village 40 minutes south of Cairo with a history dating back more than 4,000 years. When they arrived, the biggest find of the season had just been unearthed — a hand, and a piece of stone tablet describing a powerful man, inscribed with one name: Intef. Interestingly, the slab is damaged in a way that hints it might have been intentionally desecrated. “Did he step on too many people on his way to the top?” Parcak speculates. “Who was this guy? What did he do?” “But that’s what makes archeology interesting,” says Parcak. “It’s like you’re reading the ancient version of the National Enquirer in slow time.” Yet, ironically, archaeologists like Sarah are in a perpetual race against time — hoping to find and secure ancient sites before they can be looted.   So far, less than 10% of the Earth has been explored and secured by archeologists, leaving many sites vulnerable to looting. For instance, after the Arab Spring in 2011, hundreds of ancient sites and antiquities in Egypt were left unprotected and open for pillage. Looking at satellite images, Parcak was able to identify some 800 places where looters were digging into unprotected tombs to bring out antiquities for sale. When they saw the satellite evidence of looting, the Egyptian government asked Parcak to excavate Intef’s tomb at Lisht, to preserve and protect what remains. This isn’t a new development — looting, says Parcak, has been going on for thousands of years, at a cost to history that’s priceless. “The most important thing for archeological discovery is context,” she tells 60 Minutes. “That’s why for us, as archeologists, looting is such a huge problem. Because when an object is taken out of its original context, we don’t know where it comes from. We can’t tell you anything about it aside from, ‘Well, it’s a mummy, or, ‘It’s a statue.’ But that’s kind of it. The story doesn’t get told.” Which is why Parcak is so excited about GlobalXplorer, which lets thousands of people help pore over satellite maps together to find potentially historic sites — which local governments can then help secure for future generations to learn from. Join her and thousands of other citizen scientists (now scouring Peru’s Machu Picchu) in the fight to protect history and our global heritage. src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/sarah_parcak_help_discover_ancient_ruins_before_it_s_too_late" width="585" height="329" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> [...]



Filmmaker Jen Brea gets a Sundance fellowship, Pamela Ronald makes the case for engineered rice, and more

2017-05-19T17:27:28Z

Behold, your recap of TED-related news: A new Sundance grant helps indie films get seen. Making a film is hard enough — but getting the film seen by an audience can be just as difficult, especially in this era of non-stop media shifts. To help, Sundance just launched the Creative Distribution Fellowship — and among […] Behold, your recap of TED-related news: A new Sundance grant helps indie films get seen. Making a film is hard enough — but getting the film seen by an audience can be just as difficult, especially in this era of non-stop media shifts. To help, Sundance just launched the Creative Distribution Fellowship — and among the first recipients is TED Fellow Jennifer Brea, whose documentary Unrest premiered at Sundance in January 2017. The fellowship offers resources, support and mentorship to find creative new ways to reach audiences. In the press release, Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance, said: “This entrepreneurial approach to marketing, distribution and audience building empowers independent filmmakers to release their own films, on their own terms, while retaining their rights.” (Watch Jen’s TED Talk) Dance that’s accessible to all. Wayne McGregor has partnered with Sense, a charity that supports people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments, to create an “educational dance resource … to make dance and movement classes accessible to people with disabilities.” Making Sense of Dance, available free online, is a downloadable booklet and videos with lessons, ideas and games to help people lead movement sessions for people of all abilities. (Watch Wayne’s TED Talk) The case for engineering rice. Growing rice can be a gamble, especially in the face of climate change-induced droughts. That’s why Pamela Ronald and her lab at UC Davis are engineering rice to be more resilient, in hopes of safeguarding the crop against droughts while protecting food security and the livelihood of farmers who could be devastated by climate change in southeast Asia and sub-saharan Africa. Ronald continues to emphasize the importance of using genetic tools to protect both crops and people. “This focus on genes in our food is a distraction from the really, really important issues,” she told the MIT Technology Review. “We need to make policy based on evidence, and based on a broader understanding of agriculture. There are real challenges for farmers, and we need to be united in using all appropriate technologies to tackle these challenges.” (Watch Pamela’s TED Talk) How to prepare workers for global trade. As trade becomes more globalized, with production scattered across many countries, how should we educate our kids in the skills they will need? That’s the focus of the OECD’s Skills Outlook 2017 report: it suggests that nations around the world should focus on diversifying their population’s skills, to gain advantage in globalized industries. “Countries increasingly compete through the skills of their workers. When workers have a mix of skills that fit with the needs of technologically advanced industries, specialising in those industries means a comparative advantage,” explains the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. (Watch Andreas’ TED Talk) New additions to the Academy of Sciences. Three of our TEDsters have just been elected to the National Academy of Sciences! Sangeeta Bhatia, Esther Duflo and Gabriela González have all been recognized for “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” Bhatia is the director of MIT’s Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, which engineers nanotechnologies to improve human health. Also hailing from MIT, as the co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Esther Duflo aims to eradicate poverty by informing policies with scientific research. Gabriela González, who spoke at the TED en Español session at TED2017, contributed to the detection of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein, throug[...]



We asked 3 experts: How will AI change our lives in the near future?

2017-05-17T11:43:30Z

Imagine a world where your car drives itself, your fridge does the grocery shopping, and robots work alongside you. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are turning that world into a near-future possibility. But what will that future really look like, and how will it change our lives? We spoke with three artificial intelligence experts at […] Imagine a world where your car drives itself, your fridge does the grocery shopping, and robots work alongside you. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence are turning that world into a near-future possibility. But what will that future really look like, and how will it change our lives? We spoke with three artificial intelligence experts at TED2017 in Vancouver, at a dinner on the future of AI, hosted by Toyota. Here are their thoughts on how AI will change our lives in the coming years: When we talk about AI transforming our lives, what will that really look like? How will it change life as we know it? One of the more transformative changes I see coming is the mobility network: an internet of “physical” things, if you will. Everything is going to be able to move around the world autonomously, and we’re going to see an incredible number of different services running on this network. — Michael Hanuschik, CEO of a stealth-mode startup AI will continue to provide a set of tools to people that expand their horizons and enhance their ability to work and play. — Janet Baker, founder of Dragon Systems Do you think AI will help people make decisions and enhance our lives, or are we basically programming ourselves into oblivion? What will the role of humans become in the future? I certainly don’t believe we’ll program ourselves into oblivion any time soon. AIs are specialized tools. Very powerful tools, but tools nonetheless. AIs are great at making statistical guesses based on enormous data sets, but they have no real understanding or comprehension of the tasks they are performing. — Hanuschik Powerful technologies will be used and abused. Sophisticated AI-based technology for pattern recognition can be used to recognize the words we speak, faces in crowds, cancer cells in images, or protective radar signal analysis. It can also enable the automated surveillance of vast quantities of audio and visual materials, and unprecedented profiling and tracking through the collection and convergence of personal data. We must be aware and take active roles in advancing our capabilities and protecting ourselves from harm––including the harm from escalating prejudices we foster by isolating ourselves from differing ideas (e.g., with polarized news feeds) and productive discourse about them.  — Baker AI will enhance and augment the human experience. Historically, humans have formed strong bonds — even relationships — with their automobiles (machines). The bond between humans and human-support robots may well prove to be even stronger. — James Kuffner, roboticist and CTO at Toyota Research Institute There’s a lot of talk about how AI will affect the workplace. Do you think robots will take our jobs, or free us to perform new ones? Jobs based on fairly simple and repetitive tasks will probably continue to disappear, but anything more complex is likely to be around for quite some time. I haven’t seen evidence that a true AI, with the ability to understand and reason, will be seen in our lifetimes. — Hanuschik This is not a dichotomy. AI will replace workers, including many presently highly paid professionals, and it will provide a means for new jobs. As always, adaptation is the key for survival and success. — Baker Humans and robots working together, each with their own strengths, will be more productive and more efficient than either one on its own. — Kuffner As we develop more sophisticated AI technology — like self-driving cars or intelligent weapons — we put our lives in the hands of machines. Should we trust these systems, and how shoul[...]



In memory of Benjamin Barber

2017-05-09T19:15:05Z

Nation states are failing miserably on some of the more urgent global challenges of the modern age — especially climate change, predatory capitalism, terrorism and forced migration. Nations are increasingly closed, parochial and outdated, slow to respond to the pressures of a fast changing world. The three and a half long century experiment is rapidly coming […]Benjamin Barber spoke at TED Global 2013. Photo by James Duncan Davidson. Nation states are failing miserably on some of the more urgent global challenges of the modern age — especially climate change, predatory capitalism, terrorism and forced migration. Nations are increasingly closed, parochial and outdated, slow to respond to the pressures of a fast changing world. The three and a half long century experiment is rapidly coming to an end. The good news is that cities are stepping-up to fill the gap. And not a moment too soon. Mayors of some of the world’s largest cities are agitating for a new urban agenda. And while many nation states succumb to reactionary nationalism and dangerous populism, more and more cities are calling for openness, interdependency and pluralism. Every once in a while a scholar comes along who predicts the big trends before the rest of us. Benjamin Barber was such a person. His 2013 TED talk — Why Mayors Should Rule the World — was a clarion call to action. It also led, late last year, to the creation of the world’s first Global Parliament of Mayors which today empowers city leaders from around the world not just to talk about our problems, but to deliver solutions. Benjamin was a democratic futurist. His thinking was big, bold, and bombastic. His 1984 Strong Democracy: Politics for a New Age — urged readers to embrace the politics of the local. His celebrated Jihad versus McWorld came out six years before 9/11. And his most recent books — If Mayors Ruled the World (2013) and Cool Cities (2017) — are manifestos for a progressive politics of urban governance. Benjamin was an indefatigable urban activist. He did more than shout from the rooftops. He got down into the trenches and led the way. Benjamin spent the better part of the past decade recruiting mayors to the cause. He convinced them that cities don’t just have the responsibility to confront our most urgent global challenges, but the right to do so. He radiated optimism and suffered no fools. Benjamin was a fighter to the end. His last tweet in April ended with a reference to #globalcities and #localresistance to Trump. His life embodies all that is great about TED — the sharing of transformation ideas and the conviction to see them put into the service of the public good. He will be dearly missed, though his tireless efforts to build a better world will live on in his words and deeds. Benjamin Barber died of pancreatic cancer at age 77 on April 24, 2017.  [...]



A celebrated building turns 50…and other TED news

2017-05-05T21:02:16Z

Behold, your recap of TED-related news: Habitat turns 50! First conceptualized in 1961 as part of architect Moshe Safdie’s thesis at McGill University, Habitat 67 has gone on to inspire several generations of architects. Combining high-rise living with community connection, Habitat’s concrete cluster of homes challenged the contemporary notions of apartment complexes and Brutalist architecture. […] Behold, your recap of TED-related news: Habitat turns 50! First conceptualized in 1961 as part of architect Moshe Safdie’s thesis at McGill University, Habitat 67 has gone on to inspire several generations of architects. Combining high-rise living with community connection, Habitat’s concrete cluster of homes challenged the contemporary notions of apartment complexes and Brutalist architecture. Each of the 354 concrete boxes maintains an individual feel while stacking on top of each other to create an elaborate frame of community housing. Habitat was exhibited at Montreal’s 1967 World Expo when Safdie was just 28. Fifty years later, Safdie still feels “as though it was built yesterday.” (Watch Moshe’s TED Talk) Panama Papers project nabs Pulitzer. Published a year ago, the Panama Papers have sparked outrage and global investigations into offshore tax havens and national political leaders. On April 10, they also sparked praise, winning a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting. The ICIJ, the consortium of reporters who led the global effort to unpack the trove of data, were commended by the Prize Board for their collaborative feat, using 400 journalists from six continents to coordinate reporting on the largest data leak in history. “We believe collaboration is the wave of the future in global journalism,” said the director of the ICIJ, Gerard Ryle. (Watch Gerard’s TED Talk) Racial bias may begin earlier than we thought. Kang Lee and his colleagues published two studies providing evidence that racial bias may emerge as early as six months old. In the first of two separate experiments, Lee and his team examined whether infants ranging from three-to-ten months would associate happy or sad music with same-race faces and other-race faces. They found that, starting at six-to-nine months of age, infants exhibited a racial bias, looking longer at other-race faces when they heard sad music and same-race faces when they heard happy music. The second experiment examined how race impacted gaze following when infants were learning under uncertainty. In this experiment, six-to-eight month old infants were shown a series of videos. In the video, an adult looked at one of the four corners of the screen. In some cases, an animal appeared in the gazed at corner (a reliable gaze) and in others, the animal appeared in a different corner (unreliable gaze). The babies again exhibited a racial bias, preferring to follow a same-race gaze even when it was unreliable. While racial bias was previously thought to start later in a child’s development, these studies show an earlier adoption and that it can originate without experiences with people of other races. Lee explains that, “If we can pinpoint the starting point of racial bias, which we may have done here, we can start to find ways to prevent racial biases from happening.” (Watch Kang’s TED Talk) A “game changing” diagnostic tool. Pardis Sabeti and her team have adapted the CRISPR protein Cas13a into a highly sensitive diagnostic tool that can be programmed to detect individual nucleic acids. This new method, called SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unlocking) targets RNA molecules with a sensitivity a million times greater than the previous method. This sensitivity allows for an astounding specificity in detecting cancerous mutations, antibiotic genes, and the presence of small traces of diseases such as Zika. Sabeti calls this advance “a game changer” not only for its unprecedented sensitivity,[...]



In Case You Missed It: The themes that echoed through TED2017

2017-04-30T15:31:02Z

Over the past five days, the TED2017 conference has explored the theme “The Future You.” This has spanned an incredible number of ideas on a huge array of topics. Below, a tour through some of the key themes that emerged — through the week and in the double-stuffed session of day 5. All eyes on […]On Day 5 of TED2017, one two-hour session included a in-depth conversation with Elon Musk and a powerful talk from writer Anne Lamott. The themes they shared echoed throughout the conference. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED Over the past five days, the TED2017 conference has explored the theme “The Future You.” This has spanned an incredible number of ideas on a huge array of topics. Below, a tour through some of the key themes that emerged — through the week and in the double-stuffed session of day 5. All eyes on AI. How will artificial intelligence reshape our world? TED2017 brought many answers. The conference kicked off with a dance between a robot and human, followed by chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov’s call to add human purpose and passion to intelligent machines’ ability to calculate and parse. Then, in a session called “Our Robotic Overlords,” Noriko Arai showed the secrets of an AI that can pass a college entrance exam, Joseph Redmon revealed an algorithm (called YOLO) that lets AI identify objects accurately, Stuart Russell outlined a plan for aligning AI values with our own, and Radhika Nagpal imagined AI based on the collective intelligence of schools of fish. Later on, Martin Ford warned that, with AI mastering the ability to learn, humans are headed toward a future without work — which will require radical adjustments in society. And Robin Hanson brought us to a trippy possible future where “ems,” emulations or uploaded human minds, run the world. The need to erase the boundary between ‘me’ and ‘us.’ Some cultures worship many gods, others one. Us? We worship the self, said Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks — we think in terms of self-realization and partake in “that newest religious ritual: the selfie.” Sacks challenged us to replace the word ‘self’ with the word ‘other’ and see what happens. “The only people that will save us from ourselves is we.” That thought boomeranged through the week. His Holiness Pope Francis delivered a beautiful message of solidarity: “If there is an ‘us,’ there is a revolution.” Anna Rosling Rönnlund took us to “Dollar Street,” where the world’s poorest people live on the left and the richest on the right. “The person staring back at us from the other side of the world actually looks like you,” she said. Luma Mufleh shared her experience coaching a soccer team for refugee students in Georgia, and how she wished everyone people could stop seeing these young people as others to keep out and embrace them as they rebuild their lives with determination, resilience and joy. In a scathing look at ageism, Ashton Applewhite pointed out, “All prejudice relies on ‘othering.’” Finally, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, summed it up this way: “The Future You will depend on how much The Future Us brings opportunity to every child on Earth.” The future is now. Want a robotic dog that can deliver packages and fetch you a soda? Marc Raibert showed it to us. Waiting for your personal flying machine? Todd Reichert demoed the Kitty Hawk Flyer, a 254-pound personal electric aircraft, and Richard Browning showed us an IronMan-like suit designed for hovering. Meanwhile, Elon Musk said that the future of Earthly transportation isn’t above our heads, but below our feet, and talked about building a high-speed tunnel network under Los Angeles. Tom Gruber, co-creator of Siri, wondered if a superintelligent AI could augment our memory by helping us remember everything we’ve ever read and every person we’ve ever met. Ray Dalio shared how, at Bridg[...]



The future us: The talks of Session 11 of TED2017

2017-05-01T06:48:44Z

In the final session of TED2017, we look ahead to the future we’ll build together. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 11, in chronological order. A design renaissance for our apps. “There’s a hidden goal driving all of our technology, and that goal is the race for our attention.” says Tristan Harris. He would know; he […]Kelly Stoetzel and Chris Anderson invite all the TED2017 speakers back onstage to close out TED2017: The Future You, April 28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED In the final session of TED2017, we look ahead to the future we’ll build together. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 11, in chronological order. A design renaissance for our apps. “There’s a hidden goal driving all of our technology, and that goal is the race for our attention.” says Tristan Harris. He would know; he used to work in Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, studying firsthand how tech engineers are using psychology to steer our thoughts. From Facebook notifications to Snapchat streaks to YouTube autoplays, technology orchestrates our time and attention for its own profit. But what if our phones “empower[ed] us to live out the timeline we want?” Harris calls for a “design renaissance,” one in which our apps encourage us to spend our time in a way compatible with what we want out of life. Imagine if instead of just commenting on a controversial Facebook post, you had the option to click a “Host a dinner” button in which you could have the same conversation but in person and over a meal. Harris believes that fixing the way our technology guides our thoughts and behavior is “critical infrastructure for solving every other problem. There’s nothing in your life or in our collective problems that does not require our ability to be able to put our attention where we care about.” Jim Yong Kim speaks at TED2017, April 28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED A global convergence of aspirations. Jim Yong Kim wrote a book he describes as “a 500-page diatribe against the World Bank.” Today, he’s the president of it. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds — he was nominated for the role because of his critiques, and he’s given it a central goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity around the world. Why? Because everywhere he travels, he sees the same thing: kids gathered around a smartphone. Access to the internet has led to increases in reported satisfaction — but it also ups people’s reference income, or the income to which they compare themselves. Globally, this is leading to a convergence of aspirations. “Are we going to have a situation where aspirations are connected to opportunity?” he asks. “Or are aspirations going to meet frustration?” The World Bank is aiming for the former. “We’re trying to use tools … that rich people use every single day to make themselves richer, but that we haven’t used adequately on behalf of the poor.” They’re aiming to de-risk investment in developing countries, to boost private capital going to them. This has led to a company scaling solar energy in Zambia, so the price for a kilowatt hour dropped from 25 to 4 cents. And to another using drones to deliver blood anywhere in Rwanda in an hour — saving lives while making money. This kind of thinking could have a big effect, he says. Kim grew up in South Korea, one of the poorest countries in the world at the time, and the World Bank expressed low aspirations for it. He refuses to do the same to anyone’s country now. Making music together. “For all of us,” says Found Sound Nation (FSN) co-founder Christopher Marianetti, “music making is our birthright.̶[...]



12 things I know for sure: Anne Lamott speaks at TED2017

2017-04-28T21:51:23Z

Author Anne Lamott recently turned 61. So she’s compiled the following list of “every single true thing I know.” A brief recap: All truth is a paradox. “Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift, and it is impossible here,” she says. Life is “filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, […]Anne Lamott speaks at TED2017, April 28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED Author Anne Lamott recently turned 61. So she’s compiled the following list of “every single true thing I know.” A brief recap: All truth is a paradox. “Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift, and it is impossible here,” she says. Life is “filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.” . “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.” That includes you. . Nothing outside of you will help you in any real, lasting way. Radical self-care is the only thing that will get you through. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true, and it works the other way around too. “If it is someone else’s problem, you probably don’t have the solution,” she says. . “Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared. Everyone, even the people who seem to have it most together.” So don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides, she warns. . “Chocolate with 75% cacao is not actually a food. Its best use is as bait in snake traps or to balance the legs on wobbly chairs.” . Every writer puts down terrible first drafts. The trick is that they commit to sticking with it. They take it Bird by Bird, her father’s advice that became the heart of her bestselling book. “Every story you own is yours. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better,” she says. “You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves of your heart — your stories, visions, memories, visions and songs. Your truth, your version of things, your own voice. That is really all you have to offer us. And that’s also why you were born.” . Creative success are “something you have to recover from. They will hurt, damage and change you in ways you cannot imagine.” And that brings us back to #1, because creative success is also amazing. “It is a miracle to get your work published,” she says. “Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesey holes inside you. It can’t. It won’t.” . Families are both astonishing and hard. Again reference #1. “Earth is forgiveness school,” she says. “It begins with forgiving yourself — then you might as well start at the dinner table.” . Speaking of food: try to do a little better. “I think you know what I mean.” . Grace is a powerful thing. “Grace is Spiritual WD-40 or water wings,” she says. “The mystery of grace is that God loves Henry Kissinger and Vladimir Putin and me exactly as much as He or She loves your new grandchild.” Grace doesn’t always come in the forms you expect. Lamott sees it most in laughter. “Laughter really is carbonated holiness,” she says. “It helps us breathe again and again, and gives us back to ourselves.” . God isn’t that scary. Rather than getting trapped in the mundanity of our own lives, she tells us to “go look up.” Now. “My pastor says you can trap bees on the floor of a Mason jar without a lid, because they don’t look up,” she says. “If they did, they could fly to freedom. Instead, they walk around bitterly, bumping into glass walls.” . Death is incredibly hard to bear, and you don’t get over losing peopl[...]



What will the future look like? Elon Musk speaks at TED2017

2017-05-01T06:48:34Z

In conversation with TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson, serial entrepreneur and future-builder Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, Hyperloop, Tesla, SpaceX and his dreams for what the world could look like. Below, highlights from the conversation. Why are you boring? “We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to […] src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/elon_musk_the_future_we_re_building_and_boring" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen> In conversation with TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson, serial entrepreneur and future-builder Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, Hyperloop, Tesla, SpaceX and his dreams for what the world could look like. Below, highlights from the conversation. Why are you boring? “We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to create the beginning of what will be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion,” Musk says, describing the work of his new project, The Boring Company. Musk shows a video of what this system could look like, with an electric car-skate attached to an elevator from street level that brings your car vertically underground into a tunnel. There’s no speed limit in the tunnel — and the car-skates are being designed to achieve speeds of 200 km/h, or about 130 mph. “You should be able to get from Westwood to LAX in 5-6 minutes,” Musk says. Why aren’t flying cars a better solution? “I do rockets, so I like things that fly,” Musk says. “There’s a challenge of flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy. If something’s flying over your head, a whole bunch of flying cars going all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation … You’ll be thinking, ‘Did they service their hubcap, or is it going to come off and guillotine me?'” How will these tunnels tie in with Hyperloop? The Hyperloop test track is the second biggest vacuum chamber in the world, smaller only than the Large Hadron Collider, Musk says. The proposed transportation system would propel people and freight in pod-like vehicles in a vacuum, and tunnels end up being great for creating vacuum. “We’re cautiously optimistic that it’ll be faster than the world’s fastest bullet train, even over a .8-mile stretch,” Musk says of Hyperloop. What’s happening at Tesla? Tesla Model 3 is coming in July, Musk says, and it’ll have a special feature: autopilot. Using only passive optical cameras and GPS, no LIDAR, the Model 3 will be capable of autonomous driving. “Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved … You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras.” Musk says that Tesla is on track for completing a fully autonomous, cross-country LA to New York trip by the end of 2017. “November or December of this year, we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey,” Musk says. More news from Tesla: a semi truck, which Musk reveals with a teaser photo. It’s a heavy-duty, long-range semi meant to alleviate heavy-duty trucking. “With the Tesla Semi, we want to show that an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi. If you had a tug of war competition, the Tesla Semi will tug the diesel semi uphill,” Musk says. And it’s nimble — it can be driven around “like a sports car,” he says. What else is going electric? Showing a concept photo of a house with a Tesla in the driveway, Powerwalls on the side of the house and a solar glass roof, Musk talks[...]



A beer exchange that spanned the globe

2017-04-28T19:23:59Z

During the International Beer Exchange held on Day 2 of TEDFest, a screening event for TEDx’ers in New York City, bottles were lined up side by side like passengers on the subway during morning rush hour. A pale ale from Vail stood tall next to a stout from Kentucky that had been aged in oak […]A highlight of TEDFest — a beer exchange between members of the TEDx community. Photo: David Rosenberg / TED During the International Beer Exchange held on Day 2 of TEDFest, a screening event for TEDx’ers in New York City, bottles were lined up side by side like passengers on the subway during morning rush hour. A pale ale from Vail stood tall next to a stout from Kentucky that had been aged in oak bourbon barrels. They were flanked by a beer made from seawater, another that had been infused with coffee, as well as a group of lagers, pilsners and stouts. The beer exchange was a little bit like TEDFest itself: attended by 500 TEDx organizers from more than 60 countries. Attendees packed a table inside St. Ann’s Warehouse with beer from countries including Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Japan, France, Ireland and Aruba. Organizers were allowed to choose one beer for every bottle they brought, and when the time came to make the exchange, many took their time, studying what was available before carefully making the final decision. (For attendees who don’t drink alcohol, candy and other goodies were also exchanged.) Since they weren’t allowed to drink on site, whether they were satisfied with their selections would be discussed later. At the TEDx beer exchange, if you brought a beer, you got to take a beer. Photo: David Rosenberg / TED Some brought individual bottles, some brought six-packs — all left happy. Photo: David Rosenberg /TED The beer exchange is a fitting illustration of how, even though members of this community live in 60 countries, they have quite a lot in common. Photo: David Rosenberg / TED [...]



The TED2017 film festival: Shorts from the conference

2017-05-06T19:55:28Z

TED is about speakers stepping on a stage and sharing an idea in 18 minutes or less. But throughout our annual conference, short films play a vital part in the program too — opening sessions and providing moments of pause, reflection and laughter between talks. The short films shown during the conference are selected by Anyssa […]Every year at TED, we curate a program of short films to play between speakers and set the mood. The massive screens in the TED2017 theater made for spectacular viewing. What we’re looking at here is our opening video, created by Alec Donovan. Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED TED is about speakers stepping on a stage and sharing an idea in 18 minutes or less. But throughout our annual conference, short films play a vital part in the program too — opening sessions and providing moments of pause, reflection and laughter between talks. The short films shown during the conference are selected by Anyssa Samari and Jonathan Wells, who talk to filmmakers and scour the internet year-round to find the right pieces. “We’re looking for artful treatments of topics,” says Samari. “The films we show are usually around 60 seconds, so it has to communicate an idea visually in a small fraction of time.” Below, the short films that showed over the course of TED2017.   class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/jkBb7dePIL8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: Desiigner’s “PANDA” featuring Taylor Hatala & Kyndall Harris. A duo of teenage dance prodigies slay a hip-hop performance. The creators: Directed by Tim Milgram. Choreography by Antoine Troupe. Shown during: Session 1, “One Move Ahead”   class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/VXa9tXcMhXQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: Kraftwerk’s “The Robots.” The classic 1977 video from the band that blazed the trail in electronic music. The creators: Kraftwerk Shown during: Session 2, “Our Robotic Overlords”   class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/AWJJnQybZlk?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: “Laws of Robotics.” The legendary sci-fi writer’s words prove eerily relevant in our debates on artificial intelligence today. The creators: BBC Horizon Shown during: Session 2, “Our Robotic Overlords”   class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/ABz2m0olmPg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: “Kenzo World.” A woman lets her inner dance machine lose in this viral Kenzo fragrance ad. The creators: Directed by Spike Jonze Shown during: Session 3, “The Human Response”   class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='586' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/UlP4Z_pWhKo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: “Simone Giertz and Her Ingenious Robot Helpers.” These dinky makeshift robots will surely add more time to your morning routine. The cre[...]



In Case You Missed It: The personal talks from day 4 of TED2017

2017-04-28T04:57:13Z

On the fourth day of TED, the talks got more personal and packed with takeaways for everyday life. Below, some highlights. Pond scum: a source of wonder. In her ode to the microorganisms we’ve spent a century trying to kill, Anne Madden shared how, in pond scum, scientists found an organism that appears to vaccinate […]Today, the scale of talks at TED2017 moved from lofty technology and global issues to the personal, with ideas on topics like aging and heartbreak. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED On the fourth day of TED, the talks got more personal and packed with takeaways for everyday life. Below, some highlights. Pond scum: a source of wonder. In her ode to the microorganisms we’ve spent a century trying to kill, Anne Madden shared how, in pond scum, scientists found an organism that appears to vaccinate mice against PTSD; in dirt, a microorganism that could kill superbugs; and in wasps, a microorganism that makes delicious sour beer. Pond scum also led Elizabeth Blackburn to the discovery that secured her the Nobel Prize in Medicine, as they proved perfect research subjects for her work on telomeres, the caps of DNA at the end of chromosomes. And other gross things are amazing too. Levon Biss showed his stunning portraits of insects, created by stitching together thousands of individual photographs. The goal: to reveal the “microsculpture” of their bodies. Meanwhile, Wang Jun suggested the idea of a “smart toilet” that collects data about our health: “So much valuable information gets flushed away every day!” Big thoughts on aging. Just a few hours after Elizabeth Blackburn’s talk on telomeres, believed to play a central role in how we age, Shah Rukh Khan made a powerful age-related analogy. “Humanity is a lot like me,” he said. “It’s an aging movie star, grappling with all the newness around it.” Then Ashton Applewhite burned the house down with a takedown of ageism, the prejudice against our future selves. “There is no line in the sand, no crossover between young and old after which it’s all downhill,” she said to cheers. Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn touched on aging and pond scum — two surprising themes of the day. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Why you should make a list of the things you hate about your ex. Guy Winch said that heartbreak isn’t just sad — it’s addictive. We refuse to accept the simple reasons why it didn’t work out, and we keep on idealizing our exes. So he suggested: remembering all the bad. Write down all those negative qualities, all those little things you dislike about your former partner, and keep a list in your phone. Read it out loud when you feel sad. The importance of connection. Emily Esfahani Smith shared how belonging is one of four key pillars that make people feel like they’re leading a meaningful life. But connection might mean a longer and healthier life too. Susan Pinker showed us our brain on face-to-face social interaction — it’s lit up in bright yellow, in the shape of two large butterfly wings. Smiles and high fives are enough to lift our spirits, and close connections are associated with lower stress and increased healing. “I call this building your village,” she said. “Building it and sustaining it is a matter of life and death.” Two talks from bold-faced names. The first two featured videos from TED2017 are live on TED.com. Check out Serena Williams and Gayle King on tennis, love and motherhood — and Pope Francis on inclusion, interconnection and hope. The second is setting a TED.com record for views, already nearing a million. It’s even the subject of the highest form of flattery, parody, courtesy of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. class='y[...]



Tales of tomorrow: The talks of Session 10 of TED2017

2017-04-28T15:45:35Z

The stories we tell define us. In the Thursday-night session of TED2017, a singer, an artist, a poet, an author, two podcasters and Bollywood’s biggest star showed us what our stories mean today — and gave a preview of what they’ll look like in the future. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 10, in chronological order. […]The star of The Color Purple on Broadway, Cynthia Erivo comes to TED to perform “Johnny and Donna” and “Natural Woman” on Thursday night at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED The stories we tell define us. In the Thursday-night session of TED2017, a singer, an artist, a poet, an author, two podcasters and Bollywood’s biggest star showed us what our stories mean today — and gave a preview of what they’ll look like in the future. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 10, in chronological order. A little bit of tune in our hearts. “I don’t know if you can tell, but I love music,” says Cynthia Erivo. “I love to sing … because it’s the fast track to the heart. When I sing I get to connect with each one of you, because we all understand music. With music, we get a little bit of a superpower.” Best known for her role in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, the Tony- and Grammy-winning performer opens the session singing two songz, “Johnny and Donna” and a laid-back rendition of “Natural Woman,” accompanied by Jason Michael Webb, the musical director of The Color Purple. Her unforgettable voice opens the session. Manoush Zomorodi wondered what would happen if we put down our phones and let ourselves get bored … so she asked her listeners to find out. She speaks at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED How to wrestle your life back from your phone. A UX designer told Manoush Zomorodi that “the only people who refer to their customers as ‘users’ are drug dealers and technologists.” Our attention is valuable, and we’re feeling the effects of competition for it. “A decade ago we shifted our attention about every three minutes. Now we shift it about every 45 seconds,” says Zomorodi, host of the radio show “Note to Self.” The problem: we’re never bored. Thus, we’ve lost our most creative mode. “When you get bored, you ignite a network in your brain called the ‘default mode,'” she continues. “In the default mode, our mind makes connections between disparate ideas and finds solutions to nagging problems.” Zomorodi was concerned that “all the cracks in my life were filled with phone time.” So she posed a week-long challenge to her listeners, called “Bored and Brilliant: The Lost Art of Spacing Out.” About 20,000 people signed up to do a challenge every day, like deleting the app most likely to draw them in. Before the challenge, her users were averaging two hours a day on their phones. And after? Well, they only shaved about six minutes off. But they felt different. Seventy percent said they got more time to think; they slept better and felt happier. Teenagers who’d never known life without connectivity found it a revelation. One user described it as “waking up from a mental hibernation.” Zomorodi’s point: we have to decide how we want to use technology. Otherwise, it uses us. Writing as a form of time travel. A single letter has the power to change friends into fiends. Language enthusiast and podcaster Helen Zaltzman knows this more intimately than most (due to a grave error on her grandmother’s tombstone), whi[...]



The quest for love and compassion: Shah Rukh Khan speaks at TED2017

2017-04-28T07:58:24Z

“I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people,” says Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s biggest star and the host of the upcoming TED Talks India: Nayi Soch. In a charming, funny, insightful and self-aware talk, Khan traces the movements of his life — and leaves us with hard-earned wisdom. “I’ve been made to understand there […]Shah Rukh Khan speaks at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED “I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people,” says Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s biggest star and the host of the upcoming TED Talks India: Nayi Soch. In a charming, funny, insightful and self-aware talk, Khan traces the movements of his life — and leaves us with hard-earned wisdom. “I’ve been made to understand there are lots of you here who have never seen my work, and I feel really sad for you,” Khan says to uproarious laughter from the crowed gathered in Vancouver. “That doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m completely self-obsessed, as a movie star should be.” “Humanity is a lot like me,” he says.”It’s an aging movie star, grappling with all the newness around it, wondering whether it got it right in the first place and still trying to find a way to keep on shining regardless.” Khan brings us back to his early days, from the refugee camp in New Delhi where he was born to the night his father died when Khan was only 14. “From that night onwards, much akin to humanity in its adolescence, I learned the crude tools of survival,” he says. The framework of life was simple then. You ate what you could find, and you did what you were told to do. “You married the first girl you dated, and you were a techie if you could fix the carburetor in your car,” Khan says. “You went wherever life took you for work, and people were mostly welcoming of you … Most important, you were who you were, and you said what you thought.” In his late 20s, Khan shifted to the sprawling metropolis of Mumbai, and his framework — like the industrialized aspirations of humanity — began to change. He met people from all over the world, and definitions became more and more fluid. Ideas were flowing with more freedom and speed, and he experienced the miracle of innovation and cooperation. His own creativity, supported by the resourcefulness of the collective, catapulted him into superstardom. “By the time I was 40, I was really flying. I had done 50 films by then, and 200 songs, and I’d been knighted by the Malaysians and given the highest civil honor by the French government,” Khan recounts. “Humanity was soaring with me,” he says. “We were both flying off the handle, actually.” Then the internet happened. “Everything I said took a new meaning; everything I did — good, bad, ugly — was there for the world to comment upon and judge,” Khan recalls. “Everything I didn’t say or do was also met with the same fate.” In this new world, reality became virtual, and virtual became real. “I started to feel that I couldn’t be who I wanted to be or say what I actually thought,” Khan says. “And humanity at this time completely identified with me. Both of us were going through our midlife crisis. Humanity, like me, was becoming an over-exposed prima donna.” “The whole world, and all of humanity, seemed as lost as I was,” Khan says. And here we are. With all of the complex problems and confusion in the world, Khan, now 51, still believes that t[...]



It’s personal: The talks of Session 9 of TED2017

2017-04-28T03:10:02Z

For the ninth session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Editorial Director Helen Walters and Curation Director Kelly Stoetzel, we look into ourselves with seven speakers who take on subjects ranging from parenting to social interaction and heartbreak, revealing nuggets of wisdom that just might help you lead a better, more fulfilled life. The longest-running study […]For the ninth session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Editorial Director Helen Walters and Curation Director Kelly Stoetzel, we look into ourselves with seven speakers who take on subjects ranging from parenting to social interaction and heartbreak, revealing nuggets of wisdom that just might help you lead a better, more fulfilled life. Helen Pearson wrote a book about the longest-running study of human development. She talked about it at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED The longest-running study of human development. “I’ve got three boys, and like most parents, the honest truth is that I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing,” admits science journalist Helen Pearson. She spent most of her parenting time making it up as she went along … until she stumbled across the longest running study of human development in history. For 70 years, British scientists have been following thousands of children from the time they were born, allowing researchers a unique chance to make sense of why some adults struggle more than others. On stage, Pearson shared two important discoveries from the research. The first, those born into poverty will have a more difficult path in life. The second, “parents really matter,” she says, explaining that good parents can help children partially overcome early disadvantages. “Poverty leaves a really lasting scar,” says Pearson. “It means that if we really want to ensure the success and well-being of the next generation, tackling child poverty is an incredibly important thing to do.” Your brain on social interaction. Psychologist Susan Pinker starts with a fact you might have heard: across the developed world, women live an average of six to eight years longer than men. She traveled to a place where that isn’t true — the so-called “Blue Zone” of Sardinia, an Italian island in the Mediterranean. Here, there are six times as many centenarians as on the mainland, a mix of men and women. Centenarians here don’t eat a low-fat or gluten-free diet. (Pinker notes their love of pasta.) They don’t all have a sunny disposition. (She mentions Giovanni, “the grumpiest person I’ve ever met.”) But they do constantly have people dropping by to spend time with them. Pinker sees these social connections as the secret to their longevity, as well as the reason why women tend live to longer than men. “Women are more likely to prioritize and groom face-to-face relationships over their lifetime,” she says. Close relationships and high social integration are key predictors of longevity, she explains. Women with strong connections more likely to survive breast cancer than loners; baboons with three stable relationships show lower levels of stress. “Social isolation is the public risk of our time,” says Pinker. But it can be fought back against with every smile, high five and moment of eye contact. Schedule a screen sabbatical. Many of us spend a large part of our day studying our screens. Adam Alter has spent the last five years literally studying screens and their effects on our lives, specifically how much time they steal from us and how they’re getting away w[...]



Heartbreak 101: Guy Winch speaks at TED2017

2017-04-28T01:32:03Z

“Why do the same coping mechanisms that get us through all kinds of life challenges fail us so miserably when our heart gets broken?” asks psychologist Guy Winch. For the past 20 years, Winch has counseled people of all ages reeling from the blow of a breakup, and in this talk, he explains why heartbreak […]Psychologist Guy Winch tells us how to fix a broken heart at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED “Why do the same coping mechanisms that get us through all kinds of life challenges fail us so miserably when our heart gets broken?” asks psychologist Guy Winch. For the past 20 years, Winch has counseled people of all ages reeling from the blow of a breakup, and in this talk, he explains why heartbreak is so severe — and shares some tools and tactics the brokenhearted can use to move on. Above all, he says: Don’t trust your instincts. Heartbreak causes such dramatic emotional pain, says Winch, that our mind tells us the cause must be equally dramatic. But often it’s not — often the reason a relationship ends is as simple as someone waking up one morning and deciding they no longer feel the way they once did. And while Winch confirms that you need closure to move on, you shouldn’t play detective and sift through your memories or your ex’s Facebook looking for clues. Those behaviors only fuel your obsessive mind, and they don’t help you heal. Winch says, either take the reason you were offered or decide on one yourself — and then put the question to rest. Instead, rely on your reason. Make an exhaustive list of all of your ex’s worst qualities (their nail-biting, their chronic lateness …) and keep it on your phone. Consult it whenever your mind starts spinning a fantasy narrative about your ex or playing a highlight reel of your relationship’s “best of” moments. And if you’re already in too deep, too distraught to remember your ex as anything other than perfect, Winch suggests cautiously asking your friends for their input. Fill in the gaps. “Heartbreak is a complex psychological injury,” says Winch, and recovering from one is not easy. Not only have you lost a lover and a companion but a social network, a routine, a rhythm. To recover, Winch urges you to identify these voids in your life — the voids in your identity, the gaps in your social life, the lost activities, even the empty spaces on your wall where pictures used to hang — and find ways to fill them. We grieve a heartbreak just like any other significant loss. Heartbreak can provoke clinical depression, impair cognition and even lower immunity. But whereas we once had to rely on time and social support to get over an ex, we now know what helps. If you avoid the mistakes that set you back, says Winch, you can significantly minimize your suffering — and heal faster. [...]



The puzzle of aging: Elizabeth Blackburn speaks at TED2017

2017-04-28T01:09:41Z

For Nobel Prize-winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, it all began with pond scum. She was curious about chromosomes, and specifically the caps at the ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres, and pond scum provided an ample supply for her research. Her curiosity sent her on a journey that shed light on one of humanity’s biggest, and oldest, […]Nobel-winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn studies how humans age — and the hidden factors that might explain differences in how age affects different people. She speaks at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED For Nobel Prize-winning biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, it all began with pond scum. She was curious about chromosomes, and specifically the caps at the ends of chromosomes, known as telomeres, and pond scum provided an ample supply for her research. Her curiosity sent her on a journey that shed light on one of humanity’s biggest, and oldest, questions — why and how we age. Telomeres are special sections of noncoding DNA at the end of chromosomes that, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces, protect our coding DNA during cell division. Each time a cell divides, all of its genetic information has to be copied, but due to a glitch in how DNA is copied, telomeres get worn down and shortened. Telomeres help protect our coding DNA from being worn down during cell division by sacrificing themselves. Eventually, worn-down telomeres send a signal to cells that the coding DNA is at risk and it’s time for the cell to die. Based on this research, Blackburn concluded that telomere shortening was simply a fact of aging, but it turned out to be far from the full story. With colleague Carol Greider, she noticed something strange. Pond scum cells never got old and died. “Their telomeres weren’t shortening as time marched on. Sometimes they even got longer,” she says. “Something else was at work.” The mystery led them to the discovery of a previously undreamed-of enzyme, telomerase, which helps replenish telomeres. “When we removed telomerase in pond scum, their cells wore down and they died,” she says. In other words, telomerase can slow, prevent or even reverse telomere shortening caused by cell division and, as we’ll see, exacerbated by the stresses of life. (Warning: unless you mistakenly think at this point that the puzzle of aging has been solved and all you have to do is get your hands on a bottle of telomerase, Blackburn is careful to stress that too much telomerase can actually be a bad thing, increasing your risk of cancer.) “Our telomeres shorten as we age, and that’s aging us,” says Blackburn. Telomere shortening has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s — the diseases that many of us eventually die of. However, telomere shortening doesn’t happen at the same rate in everyone. For some, it happens slowly, extending the healthy, productive years of life, what Blackburn calls your “healthspan.” For others, it happens faster, and the disease span — the years of feeling old and sick — comes more quickly. Blackburn began to wonder whether we had any control over our telomere length — and thus our health and wellbeing. The answer came when psychologist Elissa Epel walked into her lab. Appel studied the effects of severe chronic psychological stress, focusing on caregivers to children with a chronic disorder, and she wanted to know what happened to telomeres in the chronically stressed. [...]



Bugs and bodies: The talks of Session 8 of TED2017

2017-04-28T23:08:57Z

In the eight session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson, eight speakers — and one unforgettable live jetpack demo — showed us that there’s wonder all around us, from the bugs that live in our backyards and on our skin to the dreams that live inside our minds, waiting to be unleashed. Below, […]In the eight session of TED2017, hosted by TED’s Head Curator Chris Anderson, eight speakers — and one unforgettable live jetpack demo — showed us that there’s wonder all around us, from the bugs that live in our backyards and on our skin to the dreams that live inside our minds, waiting to be unleashed. Below, recaps of the talks from Session 8, in chronological order. Explaining our extremes. Robert Sapolsky is not a violent person. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t fantasized about torturing Hitler — or gotten a little too into shooting his friends in a game of laser tag. When it comes to violence, we’re all a little confused. “We don’t uniformly hate violence,” Sapolsky says. “We hate the wrong kind of violence … when it’s the right kind of violence, we love it.” In order to understand how such a compassionate and altruistic species can also exhibit such brutality, we need to understand context, at every stage — from “one second before to a million years before,” from adulthood to embryo. Only then can we attempt to understand the poles of human behavior and our remarkable ability to change. Wang Jun talks about the future of personal genomics at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED Better health choices, through digital doppelgangers. For his college thesis, genomics researcher Wang Jun coded a digital ladybug to search for food. He was delighted to find that its paths matched those of ladybugs in real life. “Life is a learning program,” he says. The code is DNA, but our genomes aren’t the only things that affect our health; environment and lifestyle factors play a part, too. Jun wondered: “Could I make a ‘digital me’? Could I try to run multiple options on that ‘digital me’?” At iCarbonX, Jun is working to develop digital doppelgangers for real people. These include genetic code, but they’ll factor in other kinds of data as well, from food intake to sleep to data collected by a “smart toilet.” (“So much valuable information flushed away every day!” he jokes.) The idea is that, with all this information, a person could see what would happen with different choices. What if they eat less meat? Run a marathon? Work less? Take a certain dosage of a medication? This tool would empower people to make better health choices. But there’s a bigger goal here too — to pool all this data and create an engine that learns more and more about health and disease. “When we make this ‘digital me’ a ‘digital we’ — when we try to form an internet of life — people can learn from each other’s data.” Anne Madden introduces us to the thousands of microorganisms in our homes and on our bodies at TED2017, April 27, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED How the microorganisms in dust bunnies could change our lives. When you touch your face, you’re feeling more than your skin — you’re also feeling fungi pumped out of the air ducts, some of the one hundred billion bacterial cells that live on your skin and [...]



Building bridges and playing with data at the Target social space

2017-04-28T23:08:48Z

This year at TED, Target is all about building bridges and forging strong connections — literally and figuratively. The Commons — an open, airy minimalist structure — is a truly interactive space that allows TED attendees a moment to recharge away (and above) from the hustle and bustle of the conference. Made from sturdy wood […]Target builds a bridge to create a cozy social space at TED2017, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED This year at TED, Target is all about building bridges and forging strong connections — literally and figuratively. The Commons — an open, airy minimalist structure — is a truly interactive space that allows TED attendees a moment to recharge away (and above) from the hustle and bustle of the conference. Made from sturdy wood and cardboard with a backdrop of the breathtaking Vancouver mountains, The Commons appears as an intricate and inviting bridge that provides ample seating within the structure itself. As a cozy place to get work done or rest, attendees are encouraged to sit down, relax and engage with classic wooden puzzles, with easy access to notebooks and pencils for note-taking. The space is more than just a place to take a breath, but also functions as comfortable grounds to reflect. Every day, Target presents a new question with two answers that attendees can choose between — with each answer represented by specific colors that change daily. For example, Wednesday’s question was “What is the future of communities?”  the answer being either “Face-to-face” in yellow and “Online” in blue. Today’s is: “Would you consider committing to a tech sabbatical?” Bright, colorful beams that line The Commons change dependent on which answer (thus, which color) gets more votes and puts on open display where the TED audience diverges in vibrant harmony. This thought experiment is meant to start conversation, spark curiosity by asking questions that will impact the future you. Giorgio Lupi draws data portraits at the Target social space during TED2017, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED When attendees want to take a step back from the future and are curious about the current them, TED speaker and MoMA artist Giorgia Lupi between sessions (and in only a few questions) transforms personalized data into mini visual portraits that are truly unique to each attendee — with color and shapes — as a conversation starter. The questions are non-invasive and reveal only fun, small facts about participants, such as “Which TED letter are you?” and “When do you get your best ideas?” “Soft, small data can promote connections with a bold visual representation,” says Liupi. “You can find data everywhere, if you’re wearing the right glasses.” So far, Lupi and her team have completed over 500 portraits and when asked the last question on her data portrait survey (The future is…), a majority of attendees have said that the future is bright. [...]