Is there a definitive line that divides crazy from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, illuminates the gray areas between the two. (With live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant.)
TED curator Chris Anderson shares his obsession with questions that no one (yet) knows the answers to. A short intro leads into two questions: Why can't we see evidence of alien life? And how many universes are there?
For as many people as there are on Earth, there are as many answers to the question: Are you there, God? These talks offer a spectrum of personal perspectives on faith, from ardent atheists to devout believers.
Sarah Jones changes personas with the simplest of wardrobe swaps. In a laugh-out-loud improvisation, she invites 11 "friends" from the future on stage—from a fast-talking Latina to an outspoken police officer—to ask them questions supplied by the TED2014 audience.
Why do we love our favorite stories? Do they need a beginning, middle and end, and a character who changes by the conclusion? Masters of storytelling explore new answers to age-old questions of the craft.
Physicist and surfer Garrett Lisi presents a controversial new model of the universe that -- just maybe -- answers all the big questions. If nothing else, it's the most beautiful 8-dimensional model of elementary particles and forces you've ever seen.
It may seem that big problems require big solutions, but ad man Rory Sutherland says many flashy, expensive fixes are just obscuring better, simpler answers. To illustrate, he uses behavioral economics and hilarious examples.
Evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald drags us into the sewer to discuss germs. Why are some more harmful than others? How could we make the harmful ones benign? Searching for answers, he examines a disgusting, fascinating case: diarrhea.
Why is there something instead of nothing? In other words: Why does the universe exist (and why are we in it)? Philosopher and writer Jim Holt follows this question toward three possible answers. Or four. Or none.
Should you date your coworker? Should workplace couples keep their relationships secret? And why are coworkers so often attracted to each other? Organizational psychologist Amy Nicole Baker shares the real answers to commonly asked questions about romance at the office.
Nate Silver has data that answers big questions about race in politics. For instance, in the 2008 presidential race, did Obama's skin color actually keep him from getting votes in some parts of the country? Stats and myths collide in this fascinating talk that ends with a remarkable insight.
Cosmologist Sean Carroll attacks -- in an entertaining and thought-provoking tour through the nature of time and the universe -- a deceptively simple question: Why does time exist at all? The potential answers point to a surprising view of the nature of the universe, and our place in it.
Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet? Philosopher Dan Dennett has answers you wouldn't expect, as he shares evolution's counterintuitive reasoning on cute, sweet and sexy things (plus a new theory from Matthew Hurley on why jokes are funny).
In the face of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need a new radical humanism, says Tim Leberecht. For the self-described "business romantic," this means designing organizations and workplaces that celebrate authenticity instead of efficiency and questions instead of answers. Leberecht proposes four (admittedly subjective) principl...
After a surprise appearance by Edward Snowden at TED2014, Chris Anderson said: "If the NSA wants to respond, please do." And yes, they did. Appearing by video, NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett answers Anderson's questions about the balance between security and protecting privacy.
How do cancer cells grow? How does chemotherapy fight cancer (and cause negative side effects)? The answers lie in cell division. George Zaidan explains how rapid cell division is cancer's "strength" -- and also its weakness. [Directed by Biljana Labovic, narrated by George Zaidan].
Why these talks, Damon Lindelof, writer of "Lost" and "Prometheus"? "These are the ones that stayed with me. That I watched more than once. That I have forwarded to friends with hopes of not only expanding their horizons but stimulating conversation."
In a short but powerful talk, Dolores Huerta -- one of the most influential labor leaders and civil rights activists of recent memory -- poses questions about how to build a more just society, and suggests we turn to feminism and radical empathy for the answers.
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.
What does it mean to be civil? Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be dismissed as conversation-stifling political correctness or censorship. Learn three ways we can each work to be more civil -- and start talking about our differences with respect.
Our leaders need to be held accountable, says journalist Heather Brooke. And she should know: Brooke uncovered the British Parliamentary financial expenses that led to a major political scandal in 2009. She urges us to ask our leaders questions through platforms like Freedom of Information requests -- and to finally get some answers.
"Magic is a great analogy for how we edit reality and form a story -- and then mistake that story for the truth," says psychological illusionist Derren Brown. In a clever talk wrapped around a dazzling mind-reading performance, Brown explores the seductive appeal of finding simple answers to life's complex and subtle questions.