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If an asteroid were headed for Earth, we'd all band together and figure out how to stop it, just like in the movies, right? And yet, when faced with major, data-supported, end-of-the-world problems in real life, too often we retreat into partisan shouting and stalemate. Jonathan Haidt shows us a few of the very real asteroids headed our way -- some pet causes of the left wing, some of the right -- and suggests how both wings could work together productively to benefit humanity as a whole.
In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates, then engaged, took a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, and made a bold decision on how they would make sure that their wealth from Microsoft went back into society. In a conversation with Chris Anderson, the couple talks about their work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as about their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their wealth away.
On March 17, 2014, a group of physicists announced a thrilling discovery: the"smoking gun" data for the idea of an inflationary universe, a clue to the Big Bang. For non-physicists, what does it mean? TED asked Allan Adams to briefly explain the results, in this improvised talk illustrated by Randall Munroe of xkcd.
Do you have a TED Talk inside, just bursting to come out? Take this tongue-in-cheek musical journey to "Give Your Talk." A musical love letter to our speakers -- written, directed and performed by the TED staff.
When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a professionally shot photo of herself clad in a bikini, she was beside herself. "I thought...you have arrived!" she says proudly. This might not be the typical experience, but, as Rocero reveals, that's because she was born with the gender assignment "boy." In a moving and personal talk, Rocero finds that transgender activism is giving her a whole new sense of pride and purpose.
Seven years ago, Internet activist Aaron Swartz convinced Lawrence Lessig to take up the fight for political reform. A year after Swartz's tragic death, Lessig continues his campaign to free US politics from the stranglehold of corruption. In this fiery, deeply personal talk, he calls for all citizens to engage, and offers a heartfelt reminder to never give up hope.
Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature's own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that's both technical and deeply personal, with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.
When hundreds of thousands of Tweets are fired every second, a one-in-a-million chance -- including unlikely sounding scenarios that could harm users -- happens about 500 times a day. For Del Harvey, who heads Twitter's Trust and Safety Team, these odds aren't good. The security maven spends her days thinking about how to prevent worst-case scenarios while giving voice to people around the globe. With deadpan humor, she offers a window into how she keeps 240 million users safe.
Much can be done with online data. But did you know that computer wonks once determined that liking a Facebook page about curly fries means you're also intelligent? Really. Computer scientist Jennifer Golbeck explains how this came about, how some applications of the technology are not so benign -- and why she thinks we should return the control of information to its rightful owners.
When Bran Ferren was just 9, his parents took him to see the Pantheon in Rome, and it changed everything. In that moment, he began to understand how the tools of science and engineering become more powerful when combined with art, with design and beauty. Ever since, he's been searching for a convincing modern-day equivalent to Rome's masterpiece. Stay tuned to the end of the talk for his unexpected suggestion.
We humans set a premium on our own free will and independence ... and yet there's a shadowy influence we might not be considering. As science writer Ed Yong explains in this fascinating, hilarious and disturbing talk, parasites have perfected the art of manipulation to an incredible degree. So are they influencing us? It's more than likely.
Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don't want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school. "Why is my daughter so strong?" Yousafzai asks. "Because I didn't clip her wings."