What is altruism? Put simply, it’s the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.
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Navi Radjou has spent years studying “jugaad,” also known as frugal innovation. Pioneered by entrepreneurs in emerging markets who figured out how to get spectacular value from limited resources, the practice has now caught on globally. Peppering his talk with a wealth of examples of human ingenuity at work, Radjou also shares three principles for how we can all do more with less.
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In Guatemala’s 36-year conflict, 200,000 civilians were killed — and more than 40,000 were never identified. Pioneering forensic anthropologist Fredy Peccerelli and his team use DNA, archeology and storytelling to help families find the bodies of their loved ones. It’s a sobering task, but it can bring peace of mind — and sometimes, justice.
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In Brazil, “catadores” collect junk and recyclables. But while they provide a vital service that benefits all, they are nearly invisible as they roam the streets. Enter graffiti artist Mundano, a TED Fellow. In a spirited talk, he describes his project “Pimp My Carroça,” which has transformed these heroic workers’ carts into things of beauty and infused them with a sense of humor. It’s a movement that is going global.
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In 2011, journalist Bruno Torturra covered a protest in São Paulo which turned ugly. His experience of being teargassed had a profound effect on the way he thought about his work, and he quit his job to focus on broadcasting raw, unedited experiences online. In this fascinating talk, he shares some of the ways in which he’s experimented with livestreaming on the web, and how in the process he has helped to create a very modern media network.
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A very unsexy-sounding piece of technology could mean that the police know where you go, with whom, and when: the automatic license plate reader. These cameras are innocuously placed all across small-town America to catch known criminals, but as lawyer and TED Fellow Catherine Crump shows, the data they collect in aggregate could have disastrous consequences for everyone the world over.
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What do you call a veterinarian that can only take care of one species? A physician. In a fascinating talk, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz shares how a species-spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal — particularly when it comes to mental health.
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It sounds counterintuitive, but by 2030, many of the world’s largest economies will have more jobs than adult citizens to do those jobs. In this data-filled — and quite charming — talk, human resources expert Rainer Strack suggests that countries ought to look across borders for mobile and willing job seekers. But to do that, they need to start by changing the culture in their businesses.
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“People are so afraid of variety that they try to fit everything into a tiny little box with a specific label,” says 16-year-old Rosie King, who is bold, brash and autistic. She wants to know: Why is everyone so worried about being normal? She sounds a clarion call for every kid, parent, teacher and person to celebrate uniqueness. It’s a soaring testament to the potential of human diversity.
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Forget stitches — there’s a better way to close wounds. In this talk, TED Fellow Joe Landolina talks about his invention — a medical gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding without the need to apply pressure. (Contains medical images.)
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When 27-year-old Pete Frates injured his wrist in a baseball game, he got an unexpected diagnosis: it wasn’t a broken bone, it was ALS. Better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS causes paralysis and death—there is no cure. And still, Pete saw an opportunity to drive awareness about the disease. In a brave talk, his mom Nancy Frates tells the story of how the family developed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and took great pleasure in seeing everyone from Justin Timberlake to Bill Gates take part. If you accepted the challenge, please take the next step: share this talk as you did your challenge video.
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Satellite imaging has revolutionized our knowledge of the Earth, with detailed images of nearly every street corner readily available online. But Planet Labs’ Will Marshall says we can do better and go faster — by getting smaller. He introduces his tiny satellites — no bigger than 10 by 10 by 30 centimeters — that, when launched in a cluster, provide high-res images of the entire planet, updated daily.
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French filmmaker Vincent Moon travels the world with just a backpack, a laptop and a camera. He’s filmed Arcade Fire in an elevator and Bon Iver in an apartment kitchen – and single-shot films of a Sufi ritual in Chechnya and an ayahuasca journey in Peru. In this talk, he explains how film and music can help people see their own cultures in a new way. Followed by a performance by jazz icon Naná Vasconcelos.
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Wouldn’t you want to know if your doctor was a paid spokesman for a drug company? Or held personal beliefs incompatible with the treatment you want? Right now, in the US at least, your doctor simply doesn’t have to tell you about that. And when physician Leana Wen asked her fellow doctors to open up, the reaction she got was … unsettling.
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Is the War on Drugs doing more harm than good? In a bold talk, drug policy reformist Ethan Nadelmann makes an impassioned plea to end the “backward, heartless, disastrous” movement to stamp out the drug trade. He gives two big reasons we should focus on intelligent regulation instead.
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The term Gross Domestic Product is often talked about as if it were “handed down from god on tablets of stone.” But this concept was invented by an economist in the 1920s. We need a more effective measurement tool to match 21st century needs, says Michael Green: the Social Progress Index. With charm and wit, he shows how this tool measures societies across the three dimensions that actually matter. And reveals the dramatic reordering of nations that occurs when you use it.
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Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics — and their ongoing effectiveness — as a finite resource, and to think twice before we tap into it. It’s a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home.
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Artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn create community art by painting entire neighborhoods, and involving those who live there — from the favelas of Rio to the streets of North Philadelphia. What’s made their projects succeed? In this funny and inspiring talk, the artists explain their art-first approach — and the importance of a neighborhood barbecue.
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When asked to build housing for 100 families in Chile ten years ago, Alejandro Aravena looked to an unusual inspiration: the wisdom of favelas and slums. Rather than building a large building with small units, he built flexible half-homes that each family could expand on. It was a complex problem, but with a simple solution — one that he arrived at by working with the families themselves. With a chalkboard and beautiful images of his designs, Aravena walks us through three projects where clever rethinking led to beautiful design with great benefit.
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We all want to use our talents to create something meaningful with our lives. But how to get started? (And … what if you’re shy?) Writer Kare Anderson shares her own story of chronic shyness, and how she opened up her world by helping other people use their own talents and passions.
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In this intriguing talk, biologist Ameenah Gurib-Fakim introduces us to rare plant species from isolated islands and regions of Africa. Meet the shape-shifting benjoin; the baume de l’ile plate, which might offer a new treatment for asthma; and the iconic baobab tree, which could hold the key to the future of food. Plus: monkey apples.
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Too often, people feel checked out of politics — even at the level of their own city. But urban activist Alessandra Orofino thinks that can change, using a mix of tech and old-fashioned human connection. Sharing examples from her hometown of Rio, she says: “It is up to us to decide whether we want schools or parking lots, recycling projects or construction sites, cars or buses, loneliness or solidarity.”
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We can see the power of distributed, crowd-sourced business models every day — witness Uber, Kickstarter, Airbnb. But veteran online activist Jeremy Heimans asks: When does that kind of “new power” start to work in politics? His surprising answer: Sooner than you think. It’s a bold argument about the future of politics and power; watch and see if you agree.
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Debra Jarvis had worked as a hospital chaplain for nearly 30 years when she was diagnosed with cancer. And she learned quite a bit as a patient. In a witty, daring talk, she explains how the identity of “cancer survivor” can feel static. She asks us all to claim our hardest experiences, while giving ourselves room to grow and evolve.
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Nature photographer Frans Lanting uses vibrant images to take us deep into the animal world. In this short, visual talk he calls for us to reconnect with other earthly creatures, and to shed the metaphorical skins that separate us from each other.
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Let’s admit it: aerial photo drones and UAVs are a little creepy, and they come with big regulatory and safety problems. But aerial photos can be a powerful way of telling the truth about the world: the size of a protest, the spread of an oil spill, the wildlife hidden in a delta. Sergei Lupashin demos Fotokite, a nifty new way to see the world from on high, safely and under control.
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Every human deserves protection under their country’s laws — even when that law is forgotten or ignored. Sharing three cases from her international legal practice, Kimberley Motley, an American litigator practicing in Afghanistan and elsewhere, shows how a country’s own laws can bring both justice and “justness”: using the law for its intended purpose, to protect.
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As founder of the Ig Nobel awards, Marc Abrahams explores the world’s most improbable research. In this thought-provoking (and occasionally side-splitting) talk, he tells stories of truly weird science — and makes the case that silliness is critical to boosting public interest in science.
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In 1963, Jacques Cousteau lived for 30 days in an underwater laboratory positioned on the floor of the Red Sea, and set a world record in the process. This summer, his grandson Fabien Cousteau broke that record. Cousteau the younger lived for 31 days aboard the Aquarius, an underwater research laboratory nine miles off the coast of Florida. In a charming talk he brings his wondrous adventure to life.
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Before he hit eighteen, Fred Swaniker had lived in Ghana, Gambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. What he learned from a childhood across Africa was that while good leaders can’t make much of a difference in societies with strong institutions, in countries with weak structures, leaders could make or break a country. In a passionate talk Swaniker looks at different generations of African leaders and imagines how to develop the leadership of the future.
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Does a set of data make you feel more comfortable? More successful? Then your interpretation of it is likely wrong. In a surprisingly moving talk, Susan Etlinger explains why, as we receive more and more data, we need to deepen our critical thinking skills. Because it’s hard to move beyond counting things to really understanding them.
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In 2011 Ronnie Cahana suffered a severe stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome: completely paralyzed except for his eyes. While this might shatter a normal person’s mental state, Cahana found peace in “dimming down the external chatter,” and “fell in love with life and body anew.” In a somber, emotional talk, his daughter Kitra shares how she documented her father’s spiritual experience, as he helped guide others even in a state of seeming helplessness.
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50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their home — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN’s refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where people can develop the skills they’ll need to rebuild their hometowns.
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Along with a crew of technologists and scientists, Jorge Soto is developing a simple, noninvasive, open-source test that looks for early signs of multiple forms of cancer. Onstage at TEDGlobal 2014, he demonstrates a working prototype of the mobile platform for the first time.
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Myriam Sidibe is a warrior in the fight against childhood disease. Her weapon of choice? A bar of soap. For cost-effective prevention against sickness, it’s hard to beat soapy hand-washing, which cuts down risk of pneumonia, diarrhea, cholera and worse. Sidibe, a public-health expert, makes a smart case for public-private partnerships to promote clean hands — and local, sustainable entrepreneurship.
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The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.
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Glenn Greenwald was one of the first reporters to see — and write about — the Edward Snowden files, with their revelations about the United States’ extensive surveillance of private citizens. In this searing talk, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”
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In 2013, international migrants sent $413 billion home to families and friends — three times more than the total of global foreign aid (about $135 billion). This money, known as remittances, makes a significant difference on the lives of those receiving it and plays a major role in the economies of many countries. Economist Dilip Ratha describes the promise of these “dollars wrapped with love” and analyzes how they are stifled by practical and regulatory obstacles.
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Pia Mancini and her colleagues want to upgrade democracy in Argentina and beyond. Through their open-source mobile platform they want to bring citizens inside the legislative process, and run candidates who will listen to what they say.
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About 10,000 people a month Google the phrase, “Am I ugly?” Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project has a feeling that many of them are young girls. In a deeply unsettling talk, she walks us through the surprising impacts of low body and image confidence—from lower grade point averages to greater risk-taking with drugs and alcohol. And then shares the keys things all of us can to disrupt this reality.
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French economist Thomas Piketty caused a sensation in early 2014 with his book on a simple, brutal formula explaining economic inequality: r > g (meaning that return on capital is generally higher than economic growth). Here, he talks through the massive data set that led him to conclude: Economic inequality is not new, but it is getting worse, with radical possible impacts.
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Pianist Daria van den Bercken fell in love with the baroque keyboard music of George Frideric Handel. Now, she aims to ignite this passion in others. In this talk, she plays us through the emotional roller coaster of his music — while sailing with her piano through the air, driving it down the street, and of course playing on the stage.
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Big problems need big solutions, sparked by big ideas, imagination and audacity. In this talk, journalist Gail Reed profiles one big solution worth noting: Havana’s Latin American Medical School, which trains global physicians to serve the local communities that need them most.
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You’re doing everything right at work, taking all the right advice, but you’re just not moving up. Why? Susan Colantuono shares a simple, surprising piece of advice you might not have heard before quite so plainly. This talk, while aimed at an audience of women, has universal takeaways — for men and women, new grads and midcareer workers.
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In 1967, Moshe Safdie reimagined the monolithic apartment building, creating “Habitat ’67,” which gave each unit an unprecedented sense of openness. Nearly 50 years later, he believes the need for this type of building is greater than ever. In this short talk, Safdie surveys a range of projects that do away with the high-rise and let light permeate into densely-packed cities.
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