Are we filtering the wrong microbes? Jessica Green on TED.com

Should we keep the outdoors out of hospitals? Ecologist and TED Fellow Jessica Green has found that mechanical ventilation does get rid of many types of microbes, but the wrong kinds: the ones left in the hospital are much more likely to be pathogens. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Duration: 5:25.) [ted … Read more

The great penguin rescue Dyan deNapoli on TED.com

A personal story, a collective triumph: Dyan deNapoli tells the story of the world’s largest volunteer animal rescue, which saved more than 40,000 penguins after an oil spill off the coast of South Africa. How does a job this big get done? Penguin by penguin by penguin … (Recorded at TEDxBoston, June 2011, in Boston, … Read more

Playlist Nature, nature, nature

(TED is on its annual two-week vacation. During the break, we’re posting playlists from the TEDTalks archive. We’ll be back with new talks on August 29th.) We live amongst it. We live away from it. We live with it. We live in spite of it. We love it. We hate it. Regardless of how we … Read more

Playlist All kinds of minds

(TED is on its annual two-week vacation. During the break, we’re posting playlists from the TEDTalks archive. We’ll be back with new talks on August 29th.) “If you could only see the world the way I see it …” Four TEDTalks from non-neurotypical thinkers, people whose minds work in extraordinary and unusual ways. 1) Temple … Read more

Beware conflicts of interest Dan Ariely on TED.com

In this short talk, psychologist Dan Ariely tells two personal stories that explore scientific conflict of interest: How the pursuit of knowledge and insight can be affected, consciously or not, by shortsighted personal goals. When we’re thinking about the big questions, he reminds us, let’s be aware of our all-too-human brains.. (Recorded at TED University … Read more

DNA clues to our inner Neanderthal Svante Pääbo on TED.com

Sharing the results of a massive, worldwide study, Svante Pääbo shows the DNA proof that early humans mated with Neanderthals after we moved out of Africa. (Yes, many of us have Neanderthal DNA.) He also shows how a tiny bone from a baby finger was enough to identify a whole new humanoid species. (Recorded at … Read more

Can we make things that make themselves? Skylar Tibbits on TED.com

MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits works on self-assembly — the idea that instead of building something (a chair, a skyscraper), we can create materials that build themselves, much the way a strand of DNA zips itself together. It’s a big concept at early stages; TED Fellow Tibbits shows us three in-the-lab projects that hint at what … Read more

Explore the relaunched Encyclopedia of Life EOLv2

Yesterday, the Encyclopedia of Life launched EOLv2 — a new design and new features for this database of all life on Earth. Inspired by E.O. Wilson’s 2008 TED Prize wish, the Encyclopedia of Life contains some 700,000 pages, each listing a different living thing. The redesign is meant to increase ease of use — and … Read more

Battling Bad Science Ben Goldacre on TED.com

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in … Read more

Trust, morality and oxytocin Paul Zak on TED.com

What drives our desire to behave morally? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it “the moral molecule”) is responsible for trust, empathy, and other feelings that help build a stable society. (Recorded at TED Global, July 2011, in Edinburg, Scotland. Duration: 16:35.) [ted id=1259] Watch Paul Zak’s talk on TED.com, where you … Read more