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Some time ago, the yellow crazy ant was accidentally brought to Australia's Christmas Island. These ants, known for their predatory behavior, can kill organisms over 500 times their size. In this fascinating talk, find out how Dr. Kirsti Abbott and her team are studying these insects and working on ways to re-balance the Christmas Island ecosystem.
Ants have one of the most complex social organizations in the animal kingdom; they live in structured colonies that contain different types of members who perform specific roles. Sound familiar? Deborah M. Gordon explains the way these incredible creatures mate, communicate and source food, shedding light on how their actions can mimic and infor...
The good news is that your experimental robo-ants are a success. The bad news is that you accidentally gave them the ability to shoot deadly lasers ... and you can't turn it off. Can you stop them from escaping their habitat before the lasers are activated? Dan Finkel shows how. [TED-Ed Animation by Artrake Studio].
Ecologist Deborah Gordon studies ants wherever she can find them -- in the desert, in the tropics, in her kitchen ... In this fascinating talk, she explains her obsession with insects most of us would happily swat away without a second thought. She argues that ant life provides a useful model for learning about many other topics, including disea...
Bugs are one of nature's wonders. These insect-obsessed speakers talks about how ants form societies, how bees pollinate flowers, and how termites can be quite ... tasty.
Curated by TED · 11 talks
Deborah Gordon studies ant colonies in the Arizona desert to understand their complex social system. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business -- and even multitask when they need to -- with no language, memory or visible leadership? Her answers could lead to a better understanding of all complex systems, from the brain to ...
By studying how ant colonies work without any one leader, Deborah Gordon has identified striking similarities in how ant colonies, brains, cells and computer networks regulate themselves.
Scared of superintelligent AI? You should be, says neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris -- and not just in some theoretical way. We're going to build superhuman machines, says Harris, but we haven't yet grappled with the problems associated with creating something that may treat us the way we treat ants.
By studying the movement and bodies of insects such as ants, Sarah Bergbreiter and her team build incredibly robust, super teeny, mechanical versions of creepy crawlies … and then they add rockets. See their jaw-dropping developments in micro-robotics, and hear about three ways we might use these little helpers in the future.
These exciting innovations and breakthroughs demonstrate what's possible when humans draw inspiration from some of nature’s best work.
Curated by TED · 10 talks
Zoom in -- way, way in -- to look at the world from speck's-eye view. Learn about very tiny insects, the world at the nanoscale, and sculptures so small it's best to hold your breath while viewing.
Curated by TED · 12 talks
Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has broken dozens of stories of corruption and organized crime all over Ghana -- without ever revealing his identity. In this talk (in which his face remains hidden) Anas shows grisly footage from some of his investigations and demonstrates the importance of facing injustice.
Biologist Sheila Patek is addicted to speed -- animal speed. She's measured the fastest animal movements in the world, made by snail-smashing mantis shrimp and the snapping mandibles of trap-jaw ants.
Biologist, biomechanics researcher
Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) has been blogging from China for 12 years. Despite the control the central government has over the Internet -- "All the servers are in Beijing" -- he says that hundreds of millions of microbloggers are in fact creating the first national public sphere in the country's history, and shifting the balance of power in une...
Biologist E.O. Wilson explores the world of ants and other tiny creatures, and writes movingly about the way all creatures great and small are interdependent.
"I study ants in the desert, in the tropical forest and in my kitchen," says Deborah Gordon. An ecologist, she researches the behavior of ant colonies -- which are systems that operate without central control. (While they have a queen, Gordon explains, the queen only lays eggs and doesn't actually issue orders.) Gordon thinks that, from a...
Posted March 20, 2014
We at TED have a new addition to the office: a space-age ant farm! The Ant Column Cylinder Ant Farm arrived at our office last week. It’s a six-inch tube filled with a nutrient-rich blue goo. We added ants ordered from Ants Alive into the equation and within a few hours, the ants had built a complicated series of tunnels in the goo and looked...
Posted May 3, 2013
Enjoy these fascinating reads from across the internet: In this podcast about the spread of Argentine ants -- which hitchhike between continents and fight any ant not a part of their clan -- evolutionary biologist Neil Tsutsui makes the interesting statement that his work is like a Rorschach test. He explains, “We’ve had people say, ‘Loo...
Posted August 7, 2012
Tom Shannon shows off his gravity-defying, otherworldly sculpture -- made of simple, earthly materials -- that floats and spins like planets on magnets and suspension wire. It's science-inspired art at its most heavenly.
Deborah Gordon studies ants and the way they form networks to get things done. Like nodes on the internet, individual ants organize into large, complex systems by passing simple signals back and forth. We’re encouraged to call this the “Anternet,” and Gordon and her collaborators are thinking in terms of network theory -- studying how ants creat...
Posted May 13, 2014
Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past -- and shares his vision for a new, "anti-CEO playbook" that prioritizes people over profits. "This is the difference bet...
David Binder is a major Broadway producer, but last summer he found himself in a small Australian neighborhood, watching locals dance and perform on their lawns -- and loving it. He shows us the new face of arts festivals, which break the boundary between audience and performer and help cities express themselves.
How can the magic of live theater, live music, live dance compete with the always-on Internet? Ben Cameron offers a bold look forward to a world where live arts matter more than ever -- to link humans together at a primal level of shared experience.
Willard Wigan sculpts figures small enough to fit on the head of a pin. To create these microscopic masterpieces, he works diligently through the stillest hours of the night, between his own heartbeats.
Mae Jemison is an astronaut, a doctor, an art collector, a dancer ... Telling stories from her own education and from her time in space, she calls on educators to teach both the arts and sciences, both intuition and logic, as one -- to create bold thinkers.
Biomaterials are substances -- synthetic or natural -- that can be used to improve health, minimize suffering and improve or correct the way the body works. A suture? That’s a biomaterial. The pacemaker? Indeed. Contact lenses? Yeah, you get the idea. As technology and science have advanced, so too have the sophistication of such biomaterials a...
Posted February 18, 2014
About this event: From where we stand as humans, at the scale that we are, we push the edges of our knowledge from the inside out. Join TEDxSF as we explore the very small (the nano, the microbial, ants) and the unimaginably large (supernovae, black holes). We will push your senses spanning what you see to how you perceive and explore how that impacts what we kno...
Event details: San Francisco, California, United States · November 16, 2010
The other day, while sitting on my couch, I saw a flicker of black on a wall across the apartment. The sight was enough to send a surge of adrenaline rushing through my body. A longtime New Yorker, I knew what it was: a roach. Normally, I would have tried to find a can of Raid. If that failed, I would have located a sturdy shoe and attempted ...
Posted June 5, 2014
Corruption manifests in many ways -- from money-laundering shell companies to bribes to broken electoral systems. These speakers look boldly at what's wrong, and offer bold ideas on what we can do about it.
Curated by TED · 11 talks