playlist

Staying in? Geek out

A fun, nerdy collection of thought-provoking talks perfect for days when you want to sit back, relax and spend time indoors.

  1. 15:57
    Helen Czerski The fascinating physics of everyday life

    Physics doesn't just happen in a fancy lab — it happens when you push a piece of buttered toast off the table or drop a couple of raisins in a fizzy drink or watch a coffee spill dry. Become a more interesting dinner guest as physicist Helen Czerski presents various concepts in physics you can become familiar with using everyday things found in your kitchen.

  2. 16:13
    Manoush Zomorodi How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

    Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular? It's because when your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections that connect ideas and solve problems. Learn to love being bored as Manoush Zomorodi explains the connection between spacing out and creativity.

  3. 18:19
    Suzanne Simard How trees talk to each other

    "A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.

  4. 15:31
    Jia Jiang What I learned from 100 days of rejection

    Jia Jiang adventures boldly into a territory so many of us fear: rejection. By seeking out rejection for 100 days — from asking a stranger to borrow $100 to requesting a "burger refill" at a restaurant — Jiang desensitized himself to the pain and shame that rejection often brings and, in the process, discovered that simply asking for what you want can open up possibilities where you expect to find dead ends.

  5. 4:36
    Camille A. Brown A visual history of social dance in 25 moves

    Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.

  6. 11:57
    Simone Giertz Why you should make useless things

    In this joyful, heartfelt talk featuring demos of her wonderfully wacky creations, Simone Giertz shares her craft: making useless robots. Her inventions — designed to chop vegetables, cut hair, apply lipstick and more — rarely (if ever) succeed, and that's the point. "The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don't always know what the best answer is," Giertz says. "It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn't the answer, but at least you're asking the question."

  7. 11:22
    Eduardo Briceño How to get better at the things you care about

    Working hard but not improving? You're not alone. Eduardo Briceño reveals a simple way to think about getting better at the things you do, whether that's work, parenting or creative hobbies. And he shares some useful techniques so you can keep learning and always feel like you're moving forward.

  8. 11:37
    Julia Galef Why you think you're right — even if you're wrong

    Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: "What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?"

  9. 17:03
    Casey Gerald Embrace your raw, strange magic

    The way we're taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted. But at what cost? In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the personal sacrifices he made to attain success in the upper echelons of American society — and shows why it's time for us to have the courage to live in the raw, strange magic of ourselves.

  10. 6:32
    Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar What happens in your brain when you pay attention?

    Attention isn't just about what we focus on — it's also about what our brains filter out. By investigating patterns in the brain as people try to focus, computational neuroscientist Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar hopes to build computer models that can be used to treat ADHD and help those who have lost the ability to communicate. Hear more about this exciting science in this brief, fascinating talk.

  11. 14:20
    Tiffany Watt Smith The history of human emotions

    The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they've often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance: first defined in 1688 as an illness and considered deadly, today it's seen as a much less serious affliction. In this fascinating talk about the history of emotions, learn more about how the language we use to describe how we feel continues to evolve — and pick up some new words used in different cultures to capture those fleeting feelings in words.

  12. 9:42
    Raymond Tang Be humble — and other lessons from the philosophy of water

    How do we find fulfillment in a world that's constantly changing? Raymond Tang struggled with this question until he came across the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. In it, he found a passage comparing goodness to water, an idea he's now applying to his everyday life. In this charming talk, he shares three lessons he's learned so far from the "philosophy of water." "What would water do?" Tang asks. "This simple and powerful question ... has changed my life for the better."

  13. 8:48
    Lauren Sallan A brief tour of the last 4 billion years (dinosaurs not included)

    In this hilarious, whirlwind tour of the last four billion years of evolution, paleontologist and TED Fellow Lauren Sallan introduces us to some of the wildly diverse animals that roamed the prehistoric planet (from sharks with wings to galloping crocodiles and long-necked rhinos) and shows why paleontology is about way more than dinosaurs.

  14. 15:00
    Amit Sood Every piece of art you've ever wanted to see — up close and searchable

    What does a cultural Big Bang look like? For Amit Sood, director of Google's Cultural Institute and Art Project, it's an online platform where anyone can explore the world's greatest collections of art and artifacts in vivid, lifelike detail. Join Sood and Google artist in residence Cyril Diagne in a mind-bending demo of experiments from the Cultural Institute and glimpse the exciting future of accessibility to arts and culture.

  15. 3:32
    Paola Antonelli The 3,000-year history of the hoodie

    The hoodie is a lot more than just a comfy sweatshirt. Design curator Paola Antonelli takes us through its history.

  16. 13:43
    Camilla Arndal Andersen What happens in your brain when you taste food

    With fascinating research and hilarious anecdotes, neuroscientist Camilla Arndal Andersen takes us into the lab where she studies people's sense of taste via brain scans. She reveals surprising insights about the way our brains subconsciously experience food — and shows how this data could help us eat healthier without sacrificing taste.

  17. 10:51
    France Villarta The gender-fluid history of the Philippines

    In much of the world, gender is viewed as binary: man or woman, each assigned characteristics and traits designated by biological sex. But that's not the case everywhere, says France Villarta. In a talk that's part cultural love letter, part history lesson, he details the legacy of gender fluidity and inclusivity in his native Philippines — and emphasizes the universal beauty of all people, regardless of society's labels.

  18. 14:03
    Giulia Enders The surprisingly charming science of your gut

    Ever wonder how we poop? Learn about the gut — the system where digestion (and a whole lot more) happens — as doctor and author Giulia Enders takes us inside the complex, fascinating science behind it, including its connection to mental health. It turns out, looking closer at something we might shy away from can leave us feeling more fearless and appreciative of ourselves.

  19. 14:14
    Walter Hood How urban spaces can preserve history and build community

    Can public spaces both reclaim the past and embrace the future? Landscape architect Walter Hood has explored this question over the course of an iconic career, with projects ranging from Lafayette Square Park in Oakland to the upcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. In this inspiring talk packed with images of his work, Hood shares the five simple concepts that guide his approach to creating spaces that illuminate shared memories and force us to look at one another in a different way.

  20. 11:47
    Jennifer Vail The science of friction — and its surprising impact on our lives

    Tribology: it's a funny-sounding word you might not have heard before, but it could change how you see and interact with the physical world, says mechanical engineer Jennifer Vail. Offering lessons from tribology — the study of friction and wear — Vail describes the surprisingly varied ways it impacts everyday life and how it could help us make a better world.

  21. 10:38
    Prumsodun Ok The magic of Khmer classical dance

    For more than 1,000 years, Khmer dancers in Cambodia have been seen as living bridges between heaven and earth. In this graceful dance-talk hybrid, artist Prumsodun Ok — founder of Cambodia's first all-male and gay-identified dance company — details the rich history of Khmer classical dance and its current revival, playing the ancient and ageless role of artist as messenger.

  22. 13:38
    Ingrid Fetell Lee Where joy hides and how to find it

    Cherry blossoms and rainbows, bubbles and googly eyes: Why do some things seem to create such universal joy? In this captivating talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee reveals the surprisingly tangible roots of joy and shows how we all can find — and create — more of it in the world around us.

  23. 11:37
    Tiffany Kagure Mugo and Siphumeze Khundayi How to have a healthier, positive relationship to sex

    From our fear of women's bodies to our sheepishness around the word "nipple," our ideas about sex need an upgrade, say sex educators (and hilarious women) Tiffany Kagure Mugo and Siphumeze Khundayi. For a radical new take on sex positivity, the duo take the TED stage to suggest we look to Africa for erotic wisdom both ancient and modern, showing us how we can shake off problematic ideas about sex we've internalized and re-define pleasure on our own terms. (This talk contains mature content.)

  24. 14:11
    Lucy Cooke Sloths! The strange life of the world's slowest mammal

    Sloths have been on this planet for more than 40 million years. What's the secret to their success? In a hilarious talk, zoologist Lucy Cooke takes us inside the strange life of the world's slowest mammal and shows what we can learn from their ingenious adaptations.

  25. 14:12
    Lera Boroditsky How language shapes the way we think

    There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world — and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language — from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian — that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."