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Playlist (7 talks)
David Blaine: My favorite talks

For the last 17 years, I’ve had the good fortune of participating in TED, both as a listener and a speaker. The talks often move me to tears. Listening to stories of passion, dedication and triumph remind me of how truly amazing humans can be. Below are some of my favorites.

Playlist (7 talks): David Blaine: My favorite talks

  • 5:27
    Now playing
    David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square's worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This short talk celebrates the pioneering work of ocean explorers like Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon.
    “This is one of my favorite TED Talks. Gallo shows us beautiful and mysterious underwater worlds and how brilliantly the animals that inhabit them adapt to survive. One of the best examples I have seen is the way an octopus changes its color and texture to blend perfectly into its surroundings. I witnessed this firsthand while diving underwater, and it was like watching actual magic. I was literally screaming underwater until I had almost no air left.”
  • 24:09
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    JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. Learn more about his work and learn how you can join in at insideoutproject.net.
    “JR is inspiring, creative, generous and full of energy. His vision is to make the world a better place, using his art as his medium. Photographs of people from all over the world, from opposing cultures and groups, are laid side-by-side, diminishing the disparities between them. In his own way, he is using illusion to create a beautiful reality.”
  • 8:47
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    Hailed as the greatest pickpocket in the world, Apollo Robbins studies the quirks of human behavior as he steals your watch. In a hilarious demonstration, Robbins samples the buffet of the TEDGlobal 2013 audience, showing how the flaws in our perception make it possible to swipe a wallet and leave it on its owner’s shoulder while they remain clueless.
    “Apollo is much more than a pickpocket. He is an artist. He demonstrates why he is hailed as the greatest pickpocket in the world. This entertaining talk gives us a glimpse into how being able to control someone’s attention can be a very powerful tool. He leaves the audience wondering about their own perceptions and brings awareness to the way we see things.”
  • 9:58
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    Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs — she's got a dozen amazing pairs — and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height ... Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be.
    “Aimee Mullins genuinely shows us how strong and capable we are as humans. Nothing can hold her back. You cannot complain about the struggle to succeed when you see what she overcame to live out her dreams.”
  • 18:05
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    You'll never sing again, said her doctor. But in a story from the very edge of medical possibility, operatic soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick tells a double story of survival — of her body, from a double lung transplant, and of her spirit, fueled by an unwavering will to sing. A powerful story from TEDMED 2010.
    “I was sitting in the TEDMED audience, crying like a baby for this talk. Charity Tillemann-Dick is amazing.”
  • 25:35
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    Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, author Dave Eggers asks the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools. With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired others around the world to open
    “Where was David Eggers when I was in public school?”
  • 25:18
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    The face of nuclear terror has changed since the Cold War, but disaster-medicine expert Irwin Redlener reminds us the threat is still real. He looks at some of history's farcical countermeasures and offers practical advice on how to survive an attack.
    “An interesting and informative talk. Watch it, because you never know.”