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Jarreth Merz: Filming democracy in Ghana

Jarreth Merz, a Swiss-Ghanaian filmmaker, came to Ghana in 2008 to film the national elections. What he saw there taught him new lessons about democracy -- and about himself.
( 2011-09-29 , Grade: 6.2 )

Elizabeth Murchison: Fighting a contagious cancer

What is killing the Tasmanian devil? A virulent cancer is infecting them by the thousands -- and unlike most cancers, it's contagious. Researcher Elizabeth Murchison tells us how she's fighting to save the Taz, and what she's learning about all cancers from this unusual strain. Contains disturbing images of facial cancer.
( 2011-09-28 , Grade: 8.7 )

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension -- and our creative thinking. So why do we still feel embarrassed when we're caught doodling in a meeting? Sunni Brown says: Doodlers, unite! She makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen.
( 2011-09-27 , Grade: 9.5 )

Yasheng Huang: Does democracy stifle economic growth?

Economist Yasheng Huang compares China to India, and asks how China's authoritarian rule contributed to its astonishing economic growth -- leading to a big question: Is democracy actually holding India back? Huang's answer may surprise you.
( 2011-09-20 , Grade: 8.8 )

Richard Resnick: Welcome to the genomic revolution

In this accessible talk from TEDxBoston, Richard Resnick shows how cheap and fast genome sequencing is about to turn health care (and insurance, and politics) upside down.
( 2011-09-19 , Grade: 7.0 )

Misha Glenny: Hire the hackers!

Despite multibillion-dollar investments in cybersecurity, one of its root problems has been largely ignored: who are the people who write malicious code? Underworld investigator Misha Glenny profiles several convicted coders from around the world and reaches a startling conclusion.
( 2011-09-15 , Grade: 9.1 )

Kenichi Ebina: My magic moves

Kenichi Ebina moves his body in a manner that appears to defy the limits imposed by the human skeleton. He combines breakdancing and hip-hop with mime using movements that are simultaneously precise and fluid.
( 2011-08-10 )

They Might Be Giants: Wake up!

In a very, very early-morning set, They Might Be Giants rock the final day of TED2007. Songs include "Older," "Bee of the Bird of the Moth," "Asbury Park," "Fingertips," the premiere of "Phone Calls from the Dead," and "Alphabet of Nations."
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 4.9 )

Joseph Pine: What consumers want

Customers want to feel what they buy is authentic, but "Mass Customization" author Joseph Pine says selling authenticity is tough because, well, there's no such thing. He talks about a few experiences that may be artificial but make millions anyway.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 7.3 )

Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices

Sure, the web connects the globe, but most of us end up hearing mainly from people just like ourselves. Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world. He talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don't even know.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 7.5 )

Susan Shaw: The oil spill's toxic trade-off

Break down the oil slick, keep it off the shores: that's grounds for pumping toxic dispersant into the Gulf, say clean-up overseers. Susan Shaw shows evidence it's sparing some beaches only at devastating cost to the health of the deep sea.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 6.5 )

Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours

Laurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. A clever series of experiments in "monkeynomics" shows that some of the silly choices we make, monkeys make too.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 6.8 )

Jim Toomey: Learning from Sherman the shark

Cartoonist Jim Toomey created the comic strip Sherman's Lagoon, a wry look at underwater life starring Sherman the talking shark. As he sketches some of his favorite sea creatures live onstage, Toomey shares his love of the ocean and the stories it can tell.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 5.7 )

Maz Jobrani: Did you hear the one about the Iranian-American?

A founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, standup comic Maz Jobrani riffs on the challenges and conflicts of being Iranian-American -- "like, part of me thinks I should have a nuclear program; the other part thinks I can't be trusted ..."
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 3.4 )

Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index

Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 6.4 )

His Holiness the Karmapa: The technology of the heart

His Holiness the Karmapa talks about how he was discovered to be the reincarnation of a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In telling his story, he urges us to work on not just technology and design, but the technology and design of the heart. He is translated onstage by Tyler Dewar.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 11.6 )

Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice

Rob Dunbar hunts for data on our climate from 12,000 years ago, finding clues inside ancient seabeds and corals and inside ice sheets. His work is vital in setting baselines for fixing our current climate -- and in tracking the rise of deadly ocean acidification.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 6.5 )

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment.
( 2011-08-10 , Grade: 8.7 )

Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky

New York was planning to tear down the High Line, an abandoned elevated railroad in Manhattan, when Robert Hammond and a few friends suggested: Why not make it a park? He shares how it happened in this tale of local cultural activism.
( 2011-07-01 , Grade: 6.5 )

Maya Beiser: A cello with many voices

Cellist Maya Beiser plays a gorgeous eight-part modern etude with seven copies of herself, and segues into a meditative music/video hybrid -- using tech to create endless possibilities for transformative sound. Music is Steve Reich's "Cello Counterpoint," with video from Bill Morrison, then David Lang's "World to Come," with video by Irit Batsry.
( 2011-06-27 , Grade: 9.8 )