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Talks for when you want to laugh and think
These hilarious talks won’t just make you laugh out loud -- they’ll make you think twice.
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Why we laugh
17 minutes 4 seconds
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of cracking up.
You have no idea where camels really come from
12 minutes 27 seconds
Camels are so well adapted to the desert that it's hard to imagine them living anywhere else. But what if we have them pegged all wrong? What if those big humps, feet and eyes were evolved for a different climate and a different time? In this talk, join Radiolab's Latif Nasser as he tells the surprising story of how a very tiny, very strange fossil upended the way he sees camels, and the world. This talk comes from the PBS special "TED Talks: Science & Wonder."
My road trip through the whitest towns in America
13 minutes 1 second
As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA -- and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.
One woman, five characters, and a sex lesson from the future
25 minutes 28 seconds
In this performance, Sarah Jones brings you to the front row of a classroom in the future, as a teacher plugs in different personas from the year 2016 to show their varied perspectives on sex work. As she changes props, Jones embodies an elderly homemaker, a “sex work studies” major, an escort, a nun-turned-prostitute and a guy at a strip club for his bachelor party. It’s an intriguing look at a taboo topic, that flips cultural norms around sex inside out.
Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you've never noticed
18 minutes 18 seconds
Roman Mars is obsessed with flags -- and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don't have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology -- the study of flags -- Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.
Why I keep speaking up, even when people mock my accent
10 minutes 48 seconds
Artist Safwat Saleem grew up with a stutter -- but as an independent animator, he decided to do his own voiceovers to give life to his characters. When YouTube commenters started mocking his Pakistani accent, it crushed him, and his voice began to leave his work. Hear how this TED Fellow reclaimed his voice and confidence in this charming, thoughtful talk.
Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón
Math is forever
9 minutes 41 seconds
With humor and charm, mathematician Eduardo Sáenz de Cabezón answers a question that's wracked the brains of bored students the world over: What is math for? He shows the beauty of math as the backbone of science — and shows that theorems, not diamonds, are forever. In Spanish, with English subtitles.
A science award that makes you laugh, then think
13 minutes 12 seconds
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.