10 weird things I accidentally learned about New York

TED Blog

New York, . Here's one of my favorite images of it, Image: Wikipedia/George Schlegel lithographers New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town! Here’s one of my favorite images of it, created by George Schlegel lithographers in 1873, while the Brooklyn Bridge was under construction. Image: Wikipedia

New York is a playground of absurdity. I’ve lived here on and off for the past decade. Since I ate my first workday lunch in a “park” in downtown Manhattan, I’ve been blindly accepting everyone’s inexplicable behavior in this city, not least of all the block-long cronut line I pass on my way to work every morning. So when I started curating the speaker program for TEDxNewYork — which is less than two weeks away — it seemed a productively impossible task: to expand my view beyond my own little pocket of the city.

New York is an extrovert, leading and looking forward, not looking underground, inside or backwards. So finding local speakers with ideas that haven’t yet…

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Reflections on TEDGlobal 2014, from the community

TED Blog

TEDGlobal 2014 brought our conference to the tropics. Here's what the community had to say following this conference all about the theme "South!" Photo: Ryan Lash TEDGlobal 2014 brought our conference to the tropics. Here’s what the community had to say following this conference all about the theme “South!” Photo: Ryan Lash

One of the best things about a week after a conference? The chance to reflect on the experience. In the last week, several TEDGlobal 2014 attendees and community members have shared their thoughts throughout the blogiverse. Below, some highlights:

Steve Song shared his experience preparing to speak at TED in a post called “Steve and TED’s Excellent Adventure.” “Have you ever found yourself at a party where you felt like if someone discovered who you really were, you would be ejected immediately? That’s a little bit how I’ve felt for the last six months since my invitation to speak at TEDGlobal 2014,” he writes in a wonderful diary. “My dominant emotion in coming away from TEDGlobal — a powerful urge to…

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Watch the reveal of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List


Fortune Senior Editor at Large Pattie Sellers revealed the 2014 Most Powerful Women list on CBS This Morning on Thursday. She explained why IBM [fortune-stock symbol=”IBM”] CEO Ginni Rometty is No. 1 in the Fortune rankings — and how General Motors [fortune-stock symbol=”GM”] chief Mary Barra is seizing this period of crisis at the auto giant to transform a poisonous corporate culture. The remarkable ascension of one of Home Depot’s [fortune-stock symbol=”HD”] Anne-Marie Campbell, from cashier to Southern division president, captivated CBS Morning Show co-host Gayle King.

Watch the interview below.

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Meet Jennifer Brain, your new favorite TED speaker, and the 13-year-old student who drew her

TED Blog


When Cecilia Matei’s science teacher showed a TED Talk about the promise of stem cell research to her class at the American School of Milan, Italy, she was immediately intrigued.

“For me it was a completely new subject that I had never heard of before,” the 13-year-old says.

The talk inspired her to create this drawing (click on it to see a larger version), a cross between a comic strip and a movie storyboard. While the star of the image is named “Jennifer Brain,” she closely resembles real-life TED speaker Susan Solomon, who at TEDGlobal 2012 shared the advances being made toward creating lab-grown stem cell lines, which could accelerate many types of medical research.

Matei’s teacher, Joseph Leonetti, handpicked this talk to kick off a special project for his students — as they did a three-week lesson on cell structures and processes in class, they were tasked with researching stem cells…

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How do you animate cosmic rays? The story behind a TEDxCERN TED-Ed lesson

TED Blog

CosmicRaysOn September 24, TEDxCERN was hosted by physicist Brian Cox (watch his TED Talk: “CERN’s supercollider“), and the world was welcomed to watch for free. Below, an appetite-whetter that originally ran on the TEDx Innovations Blog.

Cosmic rays. Active galactic nuclei. Nucleosynthesis. For physicist Veronica Bindi, this is everyday vocabulary. A ten-year collaborator with AMS-02 — an experiment analyzing the data coming in from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector mounted on the International Space Station — Bindi deals with dark matter, solar activity, and the ins-and-outs of time of flight particle detectors with ease.

For someone without a double-digit career in particle physics, these topics can seem a bit intimidating. Bindi believes they shouldn’t be. Which is why when she was asked if she would contribute to a series of short physics-related lessons created by TED-Ed for TEDxCERN, she was both ecstatic and a bit daunted by…

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Inspiring words from TED@IBM: The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

TED Blog

The program guide for TED@IBM, themed "Reimagine our world." Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED The program guide for TED@IBM, themed “Reimagine our world.” Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED

By Laura McClure, Emily McManus and Kate Torgovnick May

Big data is already transforming our daily lives. And at TED@IBM, a TED Institute event, we got a glimpse of what’s next. Speakers revealed how data will change spaces from the kitchen to the emergency room, and how it will even help us react more quickly to the next ebola-scale epidemic. Throughout the day echoed the message that, for the technologists creating this new future, it is both a tremendous opportunity as well as a big responsibility. 

Below, some choice words from each of the TED@IBM talks:


“There is no business-to-business, there’s no business-to-consumer, there is only human-to-human. You don’t sell to a brand, you sell to a person. People identify with human experience, with human conversation.”

Bryan Kramer, CEO of Pure Matter, who…

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The math behind the movies: An interview with Tony DeRose of Pixar

TED Blog

Tony DeRose captivated the audience at TEDYouth, sharing how mathematics makes Pixar characters look so life-like. Photo: Ryan Lash Tony DeRose captivated the young audience at TEDYouth, talking about how mathematics makes Pixar characters look so real. Photo: Ryan Lash

Pixar films are known for their thoughtful storytelling and groundbreaking animation. One of the coolest things about these movies: the math that Pixar’s team is actually inventing to improve the audience experience and the look of the characters. We caught up with Pixar’s Research Lead, Tony DeRose—who gave the TED-Ed Lesson, “The math behind the movies,” about how arithmetic, trigonometry and geometry helped bring Woody and the rest of your favorite characters to life—to hear more. Bonus: we got to hear about his own progression from building model rockets to creating Oscar-winning characters.

What got you interested in mathematics as a kid?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in science, but my interest in mathematics really began when I was in 7th grade. I was into building model…

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EyeWire’s creative director on how she got her job from an email, how her team is highlighting the beauty of the brain

TED Blog

Amy Robinson spent everything she had to attend the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal 2010. A connection she made there led to her current position as the creative director of EyeWire. Photo: James Duncan Davidson Amy Robinson spent everything she had to attend the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal 2010. A connection she made there led to her current position as the creative director of EyeWire. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Amy Robinson maxed out her bank account to attend TEDGlobal 2010. While there, she heard Sebastian Seung of MIT give the talk “I am my connectome” and knew she had to talk to him.

Two years later, Robinson—the organizer of TEDxHuntsville—saw on Twitter that Seung was launching something new: EyeWire, a game allowing citizen scientists around the world to map the 3D structure of neurons. Robinson sent Seung an email, casually suggesting some ways to get people excited to play. Soon after, Robinson was hired as EyeWire’s creative director.

Robinson talked to Science Careers this week, telling them more about the email that got her this amazing job and what it was like to…

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The man who plants trees: Shubhendu Sharma is reforesting the world, one patch at a time

TED Blog


A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? With his company Afforestt, eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma is creating mini-forest ecosystems using an accelerated method. It’s based on the practices of Japanese forester Akira Miyawaki, as well as on Sharma’s own experiences gleaned from his former career in car manufacturing. The TED Blog spoke to Sharma to learn how he’s developing ways to grow native, self-sustaining forests anywhere in the world, with the efficiency of industrial processes.

You started out as an industrial engineer at Toyota. How did you go from the car industry to forestry?

Back in 2008, I was at Toyota in India, helping prepare assembly lines and dispatch systems for car manufacture. One day, a scientist named Akira Miyawaki came to the factory to plant a forest on Toyota’s campus. He gave a…

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8 TED Talks about memory

TED Blog

Experiences we have all had: walking into a room with a tremendous sense of purpose, only to realize that you have completely forgotten what the purpose was. Talking to someone in a restaurant and losing the thread of your conversation because you’re distracted by the juicier one at the table next door. Slowing down as you walk because you’re thinking about how to phrase a text message.

[ted_talkteaser id=1878]In today’s talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle shares how each of these phenomena is related to working memory, that thing which allows us to store and process our immediate experiences and mix them with long-term memories.

“Life comes at us, and it comes at us very quickly,” says Doolittle. “What we need to do is take the amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it with a working memory that is about the size of a pea.”

Watch Doolittle’s…

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