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TED Talks


Ideas worth spreading

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This is a robogami: a robot-origami hybrid. This little guy in particular is designed to navigate through different terrains autonomously. So when it’s in a dry and flat land, it crawls. When it meets a stair, it flings itself over it. Robogamis are thin and flexible, composed of multiple layers of circuits, motors, microcontrollers, and sensors. A group of them can even assemble to create different shapes and handle more complex tasks. “The robotics technology is advancing to be more personalized and adaptive, to adapt to our everyday needs,” says robotician Jamie Paik, who created robogamis with her team. “These robots will no longer look like the characters from the movies. Instead, they will be whatever you want them to be.” Watch her #tedtalk at go.ted.com/robogami  Clip courtesy of Jamie Paik
Unnecessary work meetings are such a waste of time. Steven G. Rogelberg, a professor of organizational science, management and psychology, has some advice on how to lead meetings that truly engage and inspire the group: 1. Keep things small. Eliminate anyone there “just to listen” and weed out all the non-essential people. 2. Mix up the length. Aim for 20 or 30-minute meetings with clear agendas and goals. 3. Try new formats, such as walking meetings. Research shows they lead to higher satisfaction and more creativity. For three more tips, visit go.ted.com/bettermeetings  Illustration by @justintran
Doesn’t this look like a ghost heart?? It’s actually a pig heart. We know that’s slightly less exciting, but the reason why it looks translucent is still pretty cool — the living cells were washed off using a soap solution, which bursts the cells and leaves only the protein structure behind. This lets the heart serve as a scaffold to grow a new working heart out of human stem cells. Believe it or not, scientists at the Texas Heart Institute have successfully implanted tissue-engineered hearts like this one into rats and pigs. Next up: humans! You can read about this and other bio-engineering experiments in the TED Book, “Super Cells.” Photo courtesy of RMR Labs, Texas Heart Institute
Do you ever feel lonely or like you don’t belong? Almost like you’re an alien? Writer and artist Jonny Sun can relate. To practice being more open and vulnerable, he created the character Jomny, an alien who often feels like an outsider. Through his drawings, Jonny depicts Jomny finding community and common ground in unexpected locations — like a bouncy castle. “I think the inflatable metaphorical bouncy castle in this case is really our relationships and our connections to other people,” he says. “The thing that we have to hold on to is other people. And I know that is a small thing made up of small moments, but I think it is one tiny, tiny sliver of light in all the darkness.” Swipe to see one of Jonny’s cartoons, and watch his #tedtalk at go.ted.com/jomny. Happy Friday — we hope you find your own personal bouncy castle this weekend.  Images courtesy of @jonnysun
This massive mechanical elephant marched the streets of London for four days. It was part of a parade created by visual artist Helen Marriage, whose goal was to transform a city into a playground of the imagination. It took seven years for her to make this dream a reality, but when the big day arrived, millions of people showed up to witness the amazing spectacle. “It was our first show, and it changed the nature of the appreciation of culture, not in a gallery, not in a theater, not in an opera house, but live and on the streets, transforming public space for the broadest possible audience, people who would never buy a ticket to see anything,” Helen says. “[Imagination] can transform our physical surroundings, but in doing so, we can change forever how we feel and how we feel about the people that we share the planet with.” To watch her #tedtalk, visit go.ted.com/parade  Photo courtesy of Helen Marriage
Ignore the threatening vibe of this image — this 1,000-pound leopard seal is actually flashing her teeth to protect @natgeo photographer Paul Nicklen from an enemy. Paul spent some time with this magnificent creature, and eventually she started to develop a bit of a soft spot for him. She even began bringing him penguins as a snack, going as far as throwing them onto his head to get him to eat them. If that’s not true love, we don’t know what is. To see more stunning Arctic photography, watch Paul’s #tedtalk at go.ted.com/seallove  Photo courtesy of @paulnicklen
Zoom in to see the FIREBall, a telescope that hangs from a giant balloon and looks for clues about how stars are created. Unfortunately, this picture shows the FIREBall as it’s failing. There’s a hole in it (which is why it’s teardrop-shaped instead of spherical), and soon it’ll fall from space and crash in the New Mexico desert, losing all of the data it collected. @TEDFellow and astronomer Erika Hamden leads the team building FIREBall, and the journey to send it into orbit has been a rollercoaster of successes and failures. But she knows that failure is inevitable when you’re pushing the limits of knowledge. Her team plans to launch the telescope again in 2020. “The reality of my job is that I fail almost all the time and still keep going, because that’s how telescopes get built,” she says. “It’s only going to stay a failure if I give up.” To learn more about her work, watch her #tedtalk at tedtalks.social/erikahamden  Photo courtesy of Erika Hamden
These are Baobab trees. West African legend says that God turned them upside down to punish them for lording over other plants, but many Africans actually consider them the “tree of life.” They produce fruit with pulp richer in nutrients and proteins than human milk, their trunks store water for thirsty travelers, and their leaves are even used in traditional medicine to fight infectious diseases. To learn more about this plant and many others with hidden, surprising secrets and capabilities, visit go.ted.com/treeoflife  Photo courtesy of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
Transgender activist and TED Resident Samy Nour Younes shares the centuries-old history of the trans community, filled with courageous stories, inspiring triumphs — and a fight for civil rights that's been raging for a long time. "Whenever people ask me why trans people are suddenly everywhere, I just want to tell them that we've been here. These stories have to be told, along with the countless others that have been buried by time,” he says. Swipe through to listen to his #tedtalk. #pride #pridemonth #lgbtqia
As you drive over the Granville bridge into downtown Vancouver, this is the building that welcomes you to the Canadian city. Architect Bjarke Ingels built it right where the bridge triforks, and his goal was to create a landmark that serves as a gateway, that feels like you’re pulling a curtain back to reveal someplace magical. Part of the reason for the building’s top-heavy shape is that Bjarke only had a tiny, triangular plot of land to work with. So, he decided to build upwards 100-feet and use air space to add back some of the width. To see more futuristic architecture, watch his #tedtalk at go.ted.com/vancouverhouse  Photo courtesy of @bjarkeingels
This is a tiny lab test, and yes, it really is the size of a postage stamp! When you dip the corners into a liquid, like blood or urine, the dots change color to reveal the diagnosis. This ingenious device is made entirely out of paper and carpet tape, and it can be produced at almost zero cost. To learn more, watch chemist George Whitesides’s #tedtalk at go.ted.com/tinylabtest  Photo courtesy of George Whitesides
Artist Daniel Lismore lives his life like a work of art. Every day, he puts on an outfit that he created out of materials ranging from beer cans to diamonds to 2,000-year-old Roman rings. He has over 6,000 items in his collection, and he carefully places each one to complete his daily look. It certainly makes everyday tasks a bit more difficult (can you imagine grocery shopping wearing all of this?), but Daniel wouldn’t have it any other way. For him, each outfit is an opportunity to live confidently and embrace the art of being unapologetically himself. “Everyone is capable of creating their own masterpiece. You should try it sometime. It's quite fun,” @daniellismore says. Watch his full #tedtalk at go.ted.com/workofart